Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friday Post

Just in time for the week-end...

Return nothing:

Almost 20 years after a deadly confrontation between natives and police at Ontario’s Ipperwash Provincial Park, the federal government is offering to pay a $95-million settlement and return Camp Ipperwash — a military training site adjacent to the park — to the natives from whom it was expropriated during the Second World War.
Trust me. It won't end there.

(SEE: Caledonia)

And people said that normalising relations with Cuba was no big deal:

The first U.S. secretary of state to visit the Caribbean island in 70 years, Kerry presided over a ceremony to raise the U.S. flag over the newly reopened American embassy.

Cuba is still a human-rights abusing hellhole:

Start with the elections in 2013 that were “neither free nor fair.”

Then move on to government intimidation, threats, beatings, harsh prison conditions, selective prosecution, denial of fair trial, travel restrictions, restrictive Internet access, media controls, limits on academic freedom and restrictions on religious freedom. There are violent government-organized demonstrations against peaceful demonstrators, harassment and detentions designed to prevent free speech and assembly.

“Most human rights abuses were committed by officials at the direction of the government. Impunity for the perpetrators remained widespread,” the State Department reported.

An irony of the recent thawing of diplomatic detentions is that U.S. officials have stopped meeting with dissidents. “Legislative staffers say Cuban officials have made clear that if Congress members meet with dissidents, they will not get access to high-ranking officials,” The Associated Press reports.

Kayla Mueller, an American citizen who was raped and murdered by ISIS, was also an anti-Israel activist:

Kayla Mueller was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who spent at least two years working with that terrorist support group. She was involved in demonstrations against Israel in Sheikh Jarrah (part of East Jerusalem) after a 20 year-long court decision recognized their rights to homes they were chased from in earlier wars launched by the Arabs. She also participated in demonstrations to interfere with the IDF demolishing the homes of terrorists and suicide bombers.

Japanese Prime Minister issued an apology for Japan's wartime atrocities but was his sentiment genuine?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched all the right bases from past statements issued on important war anniversaries, but the extensive use of citations from those messages blurred what he personally thought about the issues related to World War II. ...

Touching upon the fact that those Japanese born after the end of World War II now represent about 80 percent of the total population, Abe said, "We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize."

He added, "Still, even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past."
In past Diet deliberations, Abe has said no academic or international consensus had been reached on the definition of aggression.

However, during the Aug. 14 news conference, Abe referred to a recent report from an advisory panel examining what should be included in the Abe statement and said, "I believe there were acts that can be considered aggression."

At the same time, he said, "The matter of what specific acts can be called aggression or not should be left up to discussions by historians."

The statement also touched upon other aspects of the war and said, "We will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honor of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century."

So, does Prime Minister Abe consider enslaving girls and women and ISIS-like beheadings forms of "aggression"?


Public opinion in Korea has worsened significantly over the last decade, and now more than half of Koreans have a negative opinion of Japan, a survey suggests.

The findings come from a poll by the Chosun Ilbo and Seoul National University on various contemporary issues to mark the 70th anniversary of independence from Japanese rule.

Only 13 percent said they have a favorable impression of Japan -- 0.5 percent very favorable and 12.5 percent slightly favorable.

In a similar survey on the 60th anniversary in 2005, 26.8 percent of Koreans had a favorable impression of Japan. The proportion who said they have negative feelings about Japan rose from 43.7 percent to 55.4 percent over the same period.

Japan has never been hugely popular here, but a Gallup poll in 2002, just after the Korea-Japan World Cup, showed a peak of 32.4 percent with a favorable opinion.

The U.S., by contrast is getting more popular. Some 54.2 percent had a favorable impression of the U.S., up slightly from 53.7 percent 10 years ago. China's popularity is also plunging, from 39.3 percent a decade ago to just 23.1 percent.

A majority also feel that Japan does not contribute significantly to peace on the Korean Peninsula and promoting reunification. Some 53.9 percent said Japan actually hinders stability on the peninsula, even more than North Korea's staunch ally China, which 42.1 percent see as an obstacle, and Russia at 37.9 percent.

Yes, about that:

Sixty percent of WFP donations come from governments, but since 2008, amid heightening tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile programs, aid from the U.S., South Korea and Japanall major contributors to WFP — has evaporated. Washington agreed to 240,000 tons of direct food aid for North Korea in February last year, but that fell through when the North launched a rocket two months later.

The South Koreans are the limit. One wonders if they worth helping when the dam on the Korean Peninsula finally breaks. Without military or humanitarian aid from other countries, Chinese-backed North Korea would be a far more explosive tinderbox than what it already is. If the South Koreans are positive that they will see reunification in their lifetimes but aren't really happy about it, they should think long and hard who would be the friendliest nation in the region who could ameliorate the situation.

It sure as hell won't be China.

China's air pollution kills about 4,000 daily:

A big U.S. Study calculates that air pollution in China kills about 4,000 people a day. Physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, say about 1.6 million Chinese die every year from heart, lung and stroke problems because of dirty air, caused largely by burning coal for electricity for homes and industry. The study’s leader says 99.9% of Chinese live in areas with air dirtier than the dirtiest air in the U.S. (which is found in the town of Madera, California BTW).

Saint Maximilian Kolde, 1940
"Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends."

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