Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Post

Miniature of Gawain in a green robe seated before master Blaise, who is holding a knife and quill, writing down his adventures as he is telling them. Photo courtesy British Library

Two-thirds of senators accused of extraordinary expenses have elected to use an arbiter to challenge the claims:

Almost two-thirds of senators flagged with problematic expenses by the auditor general have opted to challenge the findings before a special arbitrator.

Included in that group are six whose paperwork has been referred to the RCMP for a criminal review.

Friday marked the end of a 10-day grace period for the 30 sitting and former senators named by auditor general Michael Ferguson to decide whether to repay their questioned claims, or seek to have them quashed by former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie.

In all, Binnie will handle 19 cases that are worth about $540,000 combined, according to data posted Friday afternoon to the Senate's website.

So far, those named by Ferguson have repaid almost $126,000 of the nearly $1 million flagged in a critical audit of Senate spending earlier this month. That amount includes about $30,000 in partial repayments from four senators whose files are being sent to the RCMP for review.

If these senators had worked for private companies, they would have been given pink slips before the week-end.

An RCMP report stating that aboriginal women are more often than not the victims of violence at the hands of relatives or familiar men is dismissed by one family who didn't read the report:

Lorna Martin’s mother went missing in October 1987.

She hasn’t read the RCMP’s updated report on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. She doesn’t know what the statistics released this week have to say about the thousands of Indigenous women who have been killed or disappeared.

What she does know is that when her mother, Mary Jane Kreiser, was reported missing in Edmonton by her sister, the police officer didn’t seem very concerned.

This makes for a nice emotional article but disregarding facts is as helpful as a multi-million dollar inquiry that will lead to nowhere.

If the EU knew what was good for it, it would cut its losses with Greece and kick it to the curb. The EU is never getting its money back:

Greece and its creditors publicly blamed one another for an impasse in bailout talks Wednesday, on the eve of a eurozone finance ministers' meeting billed as key to their outcome.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lashed at rescue lenders for demanding pension cuts, and got support from thousands of Greeks who hit the streets in Athens to protest against any further austerity measures.

"If Europe insists in this incomprehensible option — if its political leadership insists — then they must bear the cost of developments that will not be beneficial for anyone in Europe," he said after meeting in Athens with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was defiant ahead of Thursday's meeting of finance chiefs from the eurozone. Asked during a visit to Paris on Wednesday whether the meeting could produce an agreement, Varoufakis said, "I do not believe so," and criticized the group for not making enough "preparations" to solve Greece's "incapacitating debt crisis."

Greece needs to get more loans from its creditors before June 30, when its bailout program expires and it is scheduled to make a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

European Union officials said they have already made major concessions, dropping a budget surplus target from 3 per cent to 1 per cent this year.

Athens still needed to come up with a more realistic plan, EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

We need another war:

Millions of yoga enthusiasts across the world bent and twisted their bodies in complex postures Sunday to mark International Yoga Day. ...

"We are not only celebrating a day, but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace and harmony," Modi told participants. "This is a program for the benefit of mankind, for a tension-free world and to spread the message of harmony."

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