Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Week: Mid-Week Post


On the first day of winter, my true love gave to me...

The suspect wanted for killing twelve people at Christmas market in Berlin was meant to be deported:

A Tunisian man wanted in connection with the deadly truck attack on a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market had been previously investigated over an earlier terror plot, a senior German official has said.
It emerged that Anis Amri had been under covert surveillance for months but German police called off the operation in September.

Ralf Jäger, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, said an investigation had been launched against as Amri, who was due to be deported, earlier this year on suspicion of "preparing a serious crime endangering national safety".

He moved around Germany and lived in several places, Mr Jäger said. Since February this year he lived mostly in Berlin, but he had been back in North Rhine-Westphalia recently.

The man is aged 21 or 23 and known by three different names, according to reports in the daily Allgemeine Zeitung and the Bild newspaper.

Both said asylum office papers believed to belong to the man were found in the cab of the truck.

The documents, which announced a stay of deportation, were found under the driver's seat of the 40-tonne lorry that barrelled through the Christmas market in the heart of the German capital.

How many cement barricades will solve that?

A sad ending for the first victim of yet another terrorist attack in Europe:

Lukasz Urban would have been safely on his way home on Monday afternoon but for a hitch that meant he had to stay overnight in Berlin.

The Polish truck driver had been due to unload his trailer shortly after he arrived in the German capital at 7 a.m., but phoned his wife to say the delivery had been delayed until Tuesday. After a week and a half on the road, he had been looking forward to seeing his wife and son and was annoyed that he would have to stay.

Having bought a kebab for lunch, he went back to his truck in Friedrich Krauze Ufer, and was last in contact with his family at 3 p.m. When his wife tried to call him back at 4 p.m, there was no answer.

“The phone was just silent, silent. He should have picked up if he was on a break, particularly if his wife was calling,” said his cousin Ariel Zurawski, who was also his boss at the trucking company.

In that intervening hour, 37-year-old Urban had been hijacked by an armed assailant who would later use the truck to carry out a murderous attack on a packed Christmas market.

Urban would be found dead in the cab, shot and stabbed by the hijacker as he fought for his life, the first victim of the carnage.

Thanks, Angela Merkel.


Also: damn vans!

A burning van has hit the headquarters of an Australian Christian lobby group, with the organisation's head saying on Thursday that the group had received death threats this year.

Do you know who else wanted the Keystone Pipeline? Stephen Harper:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was "very supportive" of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline in their first conversation after the U.S. election.

"He actually brought up Keystone XL and indicated that he was very supportive of it," Trudeau told an event in Calgary, Canada's oil capital. "I’m confident that the right decisions will be taken."

But if someone cuts off Trudeau's slush fund, how can he buy more product for his hair?

The federal Conservatives are calling on the Trudeau Foundation to stop accepting foreign donations after a National Post analysis showed foreign donations increased ten-fold since Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership.

“I think if the Prime Minister had the wisdom that I hope he does have, that he would tell his family foundation to stop taking the foreign donations until Canadians can be assured that there’s no dirty dealings happening,” said Conservative house leader Candice Bergen.

Last week the National Post reported that about forty per cent of 108 donors, directors and members of the foundation since 2014 — or one in six when not counting academic institutions — have affiliations with organizations that currently lobby the federal government. Overall donations have increased four-fold since Trudeau won the Liberal leadership in April 2013.

The Trudeau Foundation says that the “vast majority” of the foreign donations were made by Canadian citizens living abroad. As the Post reported, the majority of foreign-donated funds came from the Switzerland-based McCall MacBain Foundation, founded by Marcy McCall MacBain and her husband John McCall MacBain, a Canadian and the Trudeau Foundation’s chair and the 75th richest person in Canada according to Canadian Business magazine. The McCall MacBains have donated more than $25,000 to the Liberal party over the past decade.
The donation that has received the most attention is from Chinese national Bin Zhang, who, along with a partner, made a $200,000 gift to the Trudeau Foundation after he attended a cash-for-access fundraiser with Justin Trudeau in May 2016.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose asked ethics commissioner Mary Dawson to look into that donation to determine whether Trudeau had broken the law. Last Tuesday, Dawson wrote a letter to Ambrose saying she would question Trudeau about some cash-for-access events, but would not ask him about the Trudeau Foundation.

“In relation to the donation to the Trudeau Foundation, at this time I have found no evidence that Mr. Bin [Zhang] has dealings with or is seeking funding from the Government of Canada or that Mr. Trudeau had any involvement in soliciting the funds from Mr. Bin [Zhang],” wrote Dawson.

(Sidebar: it's called your job. Do it.)

Bin Zhang is a Communist Party official who helps spread Chinese influence as president of the China Culture Industry Association, a group that is supervised by the Ministry of Culture and tasked with building international ties for Beijing. Other members of the group include senior leaders from the navy, the army, and China’s ruling Communist Party.

Zhang’s $200,000 donation will fund conferences and events. “It is expected that many of these events will explore the evolving role of China in the world and Canada-China relations,” according to an Aug. 17 post on the foundation’s website.

I'd say that is a very big fish worth investigating.

They kicked out Santa:

A Cape Breton fire chief says members of his department — including one dressed as Santa — were just trying to bring some holiday cheer to a local school when they were politely asked to leave because of an ongoing labour dispute.

A Chinese school was closed due to smog:

Despite school closings in areas under a smog-induced red alerts, photos shared widely on Chinese social media showed more than 400 students sitting an exam on a football pitch after their school was forced to close — while shrouded in a grey haze.

State media reported the school principal was suspended “for causing a bad impact on society.”
But what about all of that pristine Chinese air I kept hearing so much about?

Yeah, I can and it sickens me. Abortion eliminates one human being and rots the soul of another.

How badly can one person want her kid dead?

Oh, this will definitely be embarrassing:

Thae Yong-ho, North Korea’s former Deputy Ambassador to the U.K., who defected to Seoul earlier this year with his wife and two sons, is leaving the protection of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service and entering South Korean society, where he will not remain silent. - See more at:

Thae Yong-ho, North Korea’s former Deputy Ambassador to the U.K., who defected to Seoul earlier this year with his wife and two sons, is leaving the protection of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service and entering South Korean society, where he will not remain silent.

The North Korean dictator and those who fear him cannot claim that Thae was an embezzler or some other kind of traitor once Mr. Thae debunks those awful rumours.

And what other secrets might he divulge...?

And now, let us celebrate winter with huskies, God's way of giving us more fur than we can deal with:

Huskies often run long distances on very little food. When humans attempt this, we start to use our body’s glycogen and fat and eventually get fatigued. But huskies burn a lot of calories without ever tapping into these other energy stores—and they do this by regulating their metabolism.



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