Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Post

Rue, Britannia...

Stunned by a fifty-one-point-four percent vote to leave the European Union and horrified that a nation dared to take its matters into its own hands, the world freaks out and wonders what is next for Britain, another failed Pakistani state.

Prime Minister David Cameron, head of the ruling Conservative Party, announced he would step down by October. Speaking to reporters outside his Downing Street office, he said it wouldn't be right for him "to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination."

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, also a Conservative, was the most prominent supporter of the "leave" campaign and now becomes a leading contender to replace Cameron. Johnson said Friday he was "sad" to see Cameron resign but didn't say whether he plans to replace him. ...

The pound suffered one of its biggest one-day falls in history Friday, plummeting more than 10 per cent in six hours on concerns that severing ties with the EU will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London's position as a global financial centre. Authorities including the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England had warned Britain's exit would send shivers through a world economy that is only slowly recovering from the global crisis that began in 2008. Now economists will wait to see if their predictions come to pass.

(Sidebar: markets also dip whenever there are elections. Just pointing that out.)


Most Swedes still have a positive impression of the EU. However, this could potentially change if Britain voted "out." In that case, one of the central questions would be whether EU leaders will try to strengthen cohesion by deepening cooperation and focusing on core members, or whether they will loosen the union to allow national governments to have a bigger say. ...

Denmark held a referendum last December, although with a much more limited impact: Danes decided against handing over more powers to the EU. ...

"In many ways, Greece depends on greater burden sharing in a closer-integrated eurozone. But this would likely remain off the cards after Brexit," ...

Orban is planning to hold a referendum in Hungary that could hurt EU cohesion. After last year's influx of refugees into the country, Hungarians will be asked to decide whether the EU should be allowed to resettle refugees despite a lack of consent by national parliaments affected by the decision.

In Hungary, it might not be a clear-cut "in or out" referendum about EU membership that could cause trouble but rather a referendum that is designed to indirectly question Brussels's authority.

From Rex Murphy:

The EU vote is the most dramatic illustration to date of how the “guiding elites” of many Western countries have lost the fealty and trust of their populations. Of the gap between ordinary citizens, facing the challenges of daily life, and the swaddled, well-off and pious tribes of those who govern them, and increasingly govern them with a mixture of moralistic superiority and witless condescension.

But a decade ago, “Euroskeptics” were a slender group, derided by their betters as xenophobes and bigots, a splinter faction of regressive nationalists and illiberal tribalists. That, at least, was the approved version from on high. And from those smug heights, they dismissed with icy contempt the concerns of ordinary people that the “EU project” was draining their national identity, dissolving centuries-old democratic systems, and forcing their submission to an alien, unelected and unaccountable Brussels super-government.

At this point, I think that most Europeans know what the Britons know - that the EU is a failed experiment, a needless geo-political confluence that could have been done without and supplanted with better trade or other agreements. The American experiment worked (though often bloodily) because the parties involved opted to remain united yet unfettered by a central power. No amount of extortion or shaming could turn that into what the EU became.

One's daily chuckle:

Trudeau was booed briefly by a few people in Quebec City on Friday — the province's Fete nationale — about 11 seconds after he began speaking in English about the result of the Brexit referendum in Britain.

And he said Quebec was better.

There is no moral clarity in clearing hospital beds:

The passage of Bill C-14 into law last week ended some of the uncertainty around physician-assisted death in Canada. But on the issue of conscientious refusal by medical professionals, uncertainty remains, particularly for pharmacists, registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

“The bill, which is now legislation, is very silent on questions of conscientious objection,” Joelle Walker, director of government relations for the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPA), tells Yahoo Canada News.

That uncertainty could result in a situation where different provinces take different approaches to conscientious objection by medical professionals, Walker says.

The new federal law that legalized physician-assisted dying in Canada states that doctors have freedom of conscience on the matter and aren’t required to perform or assist in the provision of the procedure. The rights of other medical professionals aren’t specified in the bill, so their conscience rights have to be extrapolated from that statement.

The ways the right to conscientious objection will be handled could vary considerably across the country, and even among different medical professionals in the same province. 

Physician colleges across the country have all addressed the issue of conscientious objection for doctors, but with varying recommendations and subtle differences in language.

In Alberta, for example, physicians have an “obligation” to give patients a timely referral to doctors who will provide medical assistance in death if they themselves are unwilling to do so. In Nova Scotia, it is “recommended” that doctors do so.

There are reasons, aside from sound moral ones, why a door to euthanasia should never be opened. These so-called suggestions are not that. They are commandments. A doctor may refuse to kill or in any assist in a killing. What are his protections from lawsuits or other actions?

As of this date, none. Indeed, the law cannot even decide how far a doctor can or cannot go.

All for a hospital bed.

Nothing at all do to with Islamic terror:

Abu Sayyaf extremists rejoiced as they watched two Canadians being beheaded in the jungles of the southern Philippines, said a still-shocked Filipino hostage who was freed Friday.

Marites Flor tearfully recalled to reporters the moments when Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall were handcuffed and led away to a nearby jungle clearing to be separately decapitated in April and early this month by the ransom-seeking militants.

She said that Hall, who was killed last week, was her fiance. Ridsdel was beheaded by the militants in April.

"It's so painful because I saw them moments before they got beheaded," Flor told reporters in southern Davao city, where she was flown to meet President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after her release in nearby Sulu province.

"They were watching it and they were happy," she said of the militants, adding that she did not witness the killings.

The cost of China's one-child policy:

The breakdown of that structure began with the imposition of the one-child family rule which was only removed last year. When millions of migrants began leaving family homes in the past three decades to seek work in the cities, many left parents behind. Some 19 million people 65 years and older live alone now in China, and the number will more than double to 46 million by 2050, according to estimates of Yeung and her colleagues. ...

Many elderly, especially in rural areas, don’t have full health insurance or a pension. The government said it has expanded rural healthcare, encouraged private businesses to invest in retirement facilities and more than tripled the number of beds in nursing homes in the past five years. The nation’s top economic planning body allotted 10.8 billion yuan in that period to support the elderly.

More government subsidies will be needed. Only 9 percent of China’s private nursing homes made a profit as of 2015.

At the last census in 2010, 36 percent of men and 22 percent of women aged 25 to 29 weren’t married, twice the level of 2000. In cities, the ratio for unmarried women is even higher at 30 percent, according to Wang at the University of California. ...

China’s divorce rate almost tripled between 2002 and 2014, to 2.7 divorces per 1,000 people, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Newspaper commentators have blamed the rise of social media and dating sites, increased financial independence of women, and regulations that allow quick and cheap divorces.

And now, cool down with this video of ice-sculpting a flower.

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