Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Post

Quickly now...

A bomb in Bangkok has killed eighteen people:

Police on Tuesday combed through shattered glass and other debris from a Bangkok bomb blast that killed at least 18 people and injured more than 100 the night before, trying to determine who set off the most devastating single attack in the capital's recent history.

The explosion at a central Bangkok popular shrine in next to one of the city's busiest intersections went off around 7 p.m., as the upscale area was filled with tourists, office workers and shoppers.

More like fear of embarrassment over yet another industrial accident in China:

Chinese authorities are scrambling to clear up to 700 tonnes of toxic sodium cyanide thought to have been stored at the site of the Tianjin explosions.

The discovery has led to homes within a 1.5-mile zone being evacuated, as the chemical can be fatal when ingested or inhaled.

It comes as the death toll rose to 112 and those declared missing increased significantly from 18 to 95 - including 85 firefighters.

With small explosions continuing to rock the area, authorities are now rushing to clean up the chemical contamination and prevent another tragedy occurring. ...

Many unfurled banners demanding government accountability and demanding compensation for their damaged homes.  

More than 200 nuclear and biochemical experts from the Chinese military have been assessing the industrial area of Tianjin, 75 miles east of Beijing.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency's environmental emergency response centre has also been present.

Outside the hotel where the authorities hold regular news conferences, a woman pleaded for information about her husband.

"(They) have said nothing. We know nothing," the woman said. "We've been told nothing."

A man demanded information from a government official, saying: "We've been here for three days, and we've not had one piece of information."

About 6,300 people have been displaced by the tragedy and 721 injured, with 33 of those in a serious condition, Xinhua news agency said.

This deal is getting worse all the time:

There was a lot of excitement in the industry when the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced a mammoth $400 billion (£256 billion), 30-year export deal to China in May 2014, but the agreement is now coming under extreme pressure on numerous fronts.

Morgan Stanley analysts on Monday morning suggested that construction of the necessary pipeline would be delayed by at least six months, taking the initial exports to mid-2019 at the earliest. ...

Last week, a Financial Times report noted that the deal offered Gazprom, which is majority-owned by the Russian government, no protection against a prolonged period of lower oil prices. According to analysts the FT spoke with, at current oil prices the project is unprofitable or even loss-making for Gazprom.

This is why people would rather use the Red Toronto Star as toilet paper:

“Why Harper (and friends) are a bigger threat than IS” was the title chosen for an op-ed article in last week's Toronto Star, penned by Tony Burman, former head of CBC News and Al Jazeera English, who teaches journalism at Ryerson University.

Burman accuses three Western Prime Ministers – Canadian Stephen Harper, British David Cameron and Australian Tony Abbott – of espousing an extremist policy that imposes much greater danger to the world than the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the expansionist Islamic jihadist ideology. 

“Their similarities are revealing. What links these three leaders, apart from their common ideology, is a remarkably identical — and extreme — approach to the challenges of today’s Middle East. In fact, there are growing signs that these politicians, all comrades in arms, are quietly working from the same playbook,” wrote Burman.

After all, the formula is simple: Wildly exaggerate the actual threat. Inflame the rhetoric. Blame Muslims. Brush aside issues of human rights. And strap in — while the votes flow your way. It is a clever way to distract voters from more immediate and genuine threats, such as climate change and the economy.” ...

Three days earlier, Umut Ozsu, an assistant professor of law at the University of Manitoba, attacked the Harper government’s humanitarian policy towards the refugee crisis in Syria in a Star opinion piece. In one of his arguments Ozsu blames the government of discriminatory immigration policy against Muslims.

“An additional problem concerns the fact that Canadian officials have made it clear that they are essentially prioritizing claims from members of “religious minorities,” a euphemism for Christians and Yazidis. This practice runs contrary to the non-discriminatory approach to status determination required by the 1951 Refugee Convention,” Ozsu stressed.

“Roughly 90 per cent of all Syrians (and the vast majority of those who have been displaced and persecuted) identify as Muslims. Their suffering and vulnerability should be taken just as seriously as that of non Muslims.”

Ozsu’s article goes in line with the official position of the Toronto Star. On August 12, The Star’s editorial harshly criticized PM Harper’s pledge to increase the support for “persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East” and to bring to Canada additional 10,000 refugees from this area.

Prioritizing the “persecuted religious minorities” - meaning “Christians, Yazidis [and] Jews” - as refugees who deserve an urgent humanitarian support is wrong, according to the Star. “The vast majority of people in dire need are Muslim. Cherry-picking non-Muslims may please constituencies that Harper is keen to woo but it would run afoul of UN guidelines.”

This toilet paper is already pre-stained.

And now, a wee hamster in his wee sleeping bag (futon):



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