Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Post

Three police officers have been shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Three police officers are dead and three others injured following a shooting in Baton Rouge, La., early Sunday. According to the East Baton Rouge Police Department, one suspect was killed in the shooting, which occurred along a stretch of highway about two miles from police headquarters, but two others remain at large. The killings come on the heels of the slayings of five Dallas police officers in an ambush during a protest of the police-involved deaths of black men in Falcon Heights, Minn., and Baton Rouge.

Black Lives Matter and Islamist terrorist groups differ how?

Also: so went Toronto, so goes Ottawa.

Don't picks sides. Watch the train wreck.

It has been posited (as with the many, many "lone wolves" somehow not at all associated with Islamist terrorism) that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who plowed through eighty-four people, had no jihadist ties and was simply one of the many disaffected persons out there who kill "random folks" by running them down.


The terrorist behind the Bastille Day atrocity was radicalised within months and sent his Tunisian family £84,000 just days before the massacre, it was claimed on Saturday.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's brother in Tunisia described receiving the fortune in cash as police swooped to arrest five suspected associates across the city of Nice.

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said  the attacker "appears to have become radicalised very quickly" as one neighbour of his estranged wife added: "Mohamed only started visiting a mosque in April."
Investigators examining Bouhlel’s phone records found evidence that he was in contact with known Islamic radicals.

However, an intelligence source cautioned: “That could just be a coincidence, given the neighbourhood where he lived. Everyone knows everyone there. He seems to have known people who knew Omar Diaby (a known local Islamist believed to be linked with the Al Nusra group close to Al Qaeda)."

(Sidebar: then that means that there are more terrorists out there.)

So who was he talking to?


Police arrested a man and a woman in the French city of Nice on Sunday morning in connection with the truck attack that killed at least 84 people celebrating Bastille Day, a judiciary source said.

Authorities have now detained seven people over the killings, claimed by Islamic State.

Erdogan is effectively purging anyone associated with the recent coup as well as dissenters:

Turkey’s justice minister says some 6,000 people have been detained in a government crackdown on alleged coup plotters and government opponents.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a television interview that “the cleansing (operation) is continuing. Some 6,000 detentions have taken place. The number could surpass 6,000.”

(Sidebar: there's that word - "cleansing".)

Russia is selling off its state companies:

Back in April, President Vladimir Putin was asked at a press conference why he planned to sell state companies just when the market was at bottom.

Putin's reply was blunt: "We need the money."

Russia was, after all, in a bind. A deep recession and plunging oil prices meant tax revenues were dwindling. Putin was unwilling to borrow to finance a growing budget shortfall. So his ministers drew up plans to privatize assets worth 1 trillion rubles ($15 billion). 

The largest privatization since the 1990s, it would be enough to cover around two-fifths of the planned budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP.

Still, many had their doubts. Putin has never been keen to privatize. And he insisted that despite rock-bottom company valuations, there should be no sales at knockdown prices.

But on July 11, the first sale was completed. The government successfully sold a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa, the world's largest diamond miner, for 52.2 billion rubles ($816 million).

The price wasn't the best. The shares went for 65 rubles ($1.01) each — nearly 4 percent cheaper than their price on the market. According to business newspaper Kommersant, the government had hoped for 71 rubles a share.

Expansion and wars can be expensive.


Ukraine’s highest economic court has dismissed Gazprom’s appeal against a $3.4 billion fine, the RBC newspaper reported Wednesday.

Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee (AMCU) fined the energy giant in January for “abuse of its dominant position in the country’s gas supply network.”
Gazprom subsequently described the Committee’s ruling as “an attempt to apply pressure” on the company and launched an appeal with Kiev’s economic court in April.

The appeal was dismissed in two courts before moving to Ukraine’s highest economic court last month.

Yuri Terentyev, head of the AMKU, claimed that between 2009 and 2015 Gazprom had on multiple occasions broken the terms of its contract with Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz.

The deal between the two companies had required Gazprom to deliver 100 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Ukraine. The Ukrainian company claims that it had only received 62 billion cubic meters in 2014, causing losses to the sum of $6 billion dollars, RBC reported.

Gazprom’s relationship with Ukraine has often been fraught with conflict, with Gazprom cutting off its supply completely for short periods in 2006 and 2009 over pricing and supply disputes.  

Naftogaz and Gazprom have been locked in legal battles since 2014, after two lawsuits worth $50 billion were filed against Gazprom in the Stockholm Court of Arbitration. A decision on both cases is expected before the end of the year.

Ukraine has not imported gas from Russia since the end of 2015. Naftogaz announced in April that they would not be renewing contracts with Gazprom, claiming they had found cheaper suppliers in Western Europe.

Russia has halted gas flows to Ukraine three times in the past decade — in 2006, 2009 and for six months in 2014 because of gas price disputes with Kiev. In response in 2015, Ukraine diversified its gas imports and now covers more than 50 percent of its gas needs with reverse flows from Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.


Every effort to persuade Moscow's authorities to build more mosques has been rejected. Consequently, Moscow's Muslims are forced to pray outside in the streets, no matter the weather, as a result of the lack of space. "We have up to 30,000 people praying outside, even during our bitter winters," says Albir Khrganov, an activist who has lobbied for the construction of more mosques in the Russian capital.

Gee, I wonder if the Russians are still mad about that Beslan thing. People tend to hold grudges when children are murdered.


When Putin cornered Harper at a G-20 conference two years ago, I think some liberals even momentarily stopped hating Harper, and had a flicker of national pride, that our prime minister stared down Putin and told him to get out of Ukraine. The media coverage so embarrassed Putin that he left town early.

Well, that was then, this is now.

Without a public debate, Trudeau has just cut off the Ukrainian military from that satellite intelligence.
So, Canada’s moving away from Ukraine, towards Russia. And what is Russia doing for Canada in return? Well, they’re moving closer to us too:

Putin just launched the largest, toughest nuclear-powered icebreaker in history. Who do you think Putin is planning to use these ships and bases against?

Once again, Justin Trudeau shows a combination of unseriousness, shallowness, and a natural affection for authoritarian Russian rulers. Just like his dad.

And now, some music for this sunny Sunday afternoon. Enjoy:


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