Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Your middle-of-the-week zen...

Pakistani Taliban kills over twenty people:

Armed militants stormed a university in volatile northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens a little more than a year after the massacre of 134 students at a school in the area, officials said.

Among the murdered, a teacher:

A chemistry teacher who tried to shield his students by opening fire on Taliban militants during a deadly attack at a Pakistani university was known as "The Protector" even before his death in a hail of bullets Wednesday.

Lecturer Syed Hamid Husain, a 32-year-old assistant professor of chemistry at the Bacha Khan university in Charsadda, ordered his students to stay inside as Taliban gunmen stormed the school near the city of Peshawar on Wednesday, leaving at least 21 people dead.

The West, having grown indifferent to Christianity and Islamist terrorism, does nothing while a fourteen hundred year old monastery is destroyed by ISIS:

Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press confirm what church leaders and Middle East preservationists had feared: The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the Islamic State group's relentless destruction of heritage sites it considers heretical.

St. Elijah's Monastery stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years, including most recently for U.S. troops. In earlier millennia, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches, prayed in the chapel, worshipped at the altar. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ's name, were carved near the entrance.

This month, at the request of the AP, satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe tasked a high resolution camera to grab photos of the site, and then pulled earlier images of the same spot.

Before it was razed, a partially restored, 27,000-square-foot stone and mortar building stood fortress-like on a hill above Mosul. Although the roof was largely missing, it had 26 distinctive rooms including a sanctuary and chapel. One month later photos show "that the stone walls have been literally pulverized," said imagery analyst Stephen Wood, CEO of Allsource Analysis, who pinpointed the destruction between August and September 2014.

"Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely," he said from his Colorado offices.

Famous last words:

As the country's health ministers prepare to meet in Vancouver, Ontario is already saying decisions on changing the health care funding formula should be left for another day.

Ontario is a decrepit province. Industry is dead. There are more elderly to milk for taxes than young people to work for them. Migrants don't pay the taxes we think they will.

Start planning, Ontario.

Iran still enriched uranium while sanctions were in place and made Americans beg on their knees. I know that Trudeau is stupid but expecting Iran to join the twenty-first century would be a new level of idiocy even for him (I don't put it past him, though):

A Conservative foreign affairs critic says the Liberal government shouldn't lift sanctions or re-open its embassy in Iran because of continuing threats to foreign diplomats.

Peter Kent is also refuting a former government analyst's assessment that Liberal efforts to re-engage with Iran is hamstrung by the previous Conservative government having designated it a state sponsor of terrorism.

In 2012, the Tories closed Canada's embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats in Ottawa, severing relations.

They also passed the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allowed victims of terrorism to sue countries that are listed as supporters of terrorism.

The new Liberal government wants to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, and it is working to lift sanctions in return for Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement with the United States and five other major powers.

Kent says Canadian diplomats would remain at risk in a newly opened embassy in Tehran because the Iranian government still isn't living up to its international obligations to protect foreign missions on its soil.

Kent cited attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy earlier this month following the kingdom's execution of a prominent Iranian cleric. Kent also cited comments from Tehran in recent days since the landmark nuclear deal.

I suspect Trudeau will cater to Iran just to spite Harper who is so out of the picture that it's not worth it. 

Also: but... but... Harper was divisive!

The popular view that the relationship between the Conservative government under Stephen Harper and the Supreme Court of Canada was especially hostile appears to be misguided, a new study concludes.

At the same time, the analysis — to be published in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal — finds the now former government was less willing to be completely deferential to the high court than its predecessors.

The popular storyline, according to author Christopher Manfredi, took hold after the court handed the government a series of high profile losses in constitutional cases.

"In some versions of the narrative, these losses suggest that the court has become an explicitly, and even self-consciously, oppositional force against the (Conservative) government's 'extremist' policies," Manfredi writes.

"In other is a personal conflict between the prime minister and the chief justice."

In fact, the Conservative government's record on charter cases was not much different from its two post-charter predecessors, who also lost big cases, the study concludes.

Seven in 10 MPs feel that heckling has become a significant problem in the House of Commons, and that women politicians are disproportionately impacted by the practice, according to a survey with a low response rate.

It's 2016, girls. Man up. 

Of course, they are:

It's estimated dozens of Syrian refugees are receiving similar notices, advising them that they are starting out their new lives with a debt to repay, which can be as high as $10,000 for some. 

They have between one and six years to repay the loan, depending on how much they owe (Baghjajian and her family have six years to pay off their loan in monthly installments of $123.51, but interest begins to accrue after three years.)

It usually takes the government about three months from the time refugees land to set up a loan account and send out notices, so by the time refugees get the first notice, they are often already in arrears.

The notices are going out in spite of the fact that the government waived the transportation loan for Syrian refugees arriving in Canada as part of its election promise to bring 25,000 refugees here.  

But the exemption only includes those who arrived in Canada after Nov. 4, 2015, when the Liberals came to power.
Sit back and watch this train wreck.

Why not just bring back hanging?

Alberta Crown prosecutors argue the charge of infanticide is "outdated and rife with problems" and have asked Canada's top court to order a new trial for a woman convicted of the crime after tossing three of her newborns into the garbage.

Seeing as Russia holds all of the cards, Kerry will bring nothing to the table and still think he pulled a fast one on Lavrov:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on Wednesday in hopes of resolving differences over who is eligible to join U.N.-mediated peace talks for Syria due to begin next week. Those differences have threatened to delay the start of the negotiations.

The State Department said the two men had discussed plans for the negotiations that the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, hopes to convene in Geneva on Jan. 25 and "the importance of maintaining progress toward a diplomatic solution to the crisis." But, while both sides said they did not support a delay in the talks, it was not immediately clear if the differences had been resolved.

"We do not have any kind of thoughts about changing the beginning of the talks from January to February," Lavrov told reporters. "This is the position of Russia and the USA."

What a maroon, as a wise lagomorph once said.

And now, fried peanut butter is a real thing:

No comments: