Thursday, January 19, 2017

But Wait! There's More!

There often is....

Oh, dear:

Premier Paolo Gentiloni is urging Italian authorities to redouble efforts to reach people isolated by new earthquakes and unusually heavy snow, as he sought to deflect criticism of the rescue efforts.

Gentiloni told reporters Thursday that the priority is to reach all isolated towns and hamlets that have been buried under snowfall for days and then jolted by four powerful quakes on Wednesday. ...

Italian news reports say that some guests at a mountain hotel struck by an avalanche sent text messages to emergency numbers advising they were trapped inside.


A historic high-rise building in the heart of Iran's capital caught fire and later collapsed Thursday, killing at least 30 firefighters and leaving their stunned colleagues and bystanders weeping in the streets.

The disaster at the 17-story Plasco building, inadvertently shown live on state television, came after authorities said they repeatedly warned tenants about blocking stairwells with fabric from cramped garment workshops on its upper floors.

Firefighters, soldiers and other emergency responders dug through the debris into the night, looking for survivors. While it was not clear how many people were in the steel-and-concrete building, witnesses said many had slipped through a police cordon while the fire burned to go back inside for their belongings.

The Canadian Revenue Agency is spying on Canadians' social media:

The Canada Revenue Agency is scrutinizing the Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other social media posts of Canadians it suspects could be cheating on their taxes.

That's just one example of the agency's increasing focus on what it can learn by collecting and analyzing many kinds of data — both its own internally generated information and what it calls "publicly available information."

"The CRA does practice risk-based compliance, so for taxpayers identified as high risk, any relevant, publicly available information relating to the specific risk-based factors for the taxpayer may be consulted as part of our fact-gathering processes," said spokesperson David Walters.

Among those considered high risk are wealthy Canadians with offshore bank accounts, said Jean-François Ruel, director of CRA's Strategy and Integration Branch.

"If we go with high-risk, high-wealth individuals that do offshore [banking], then we would look at all information that is public for compliance action."

Tobi Cohen, spokesperson for the privacy commissioner, said CRA notified it of its plan to collect publicly available information from social media in connection with "tax fraud and non-compliance risk analysis, audits and investigations."

Also: "Maybe"? You mean - no one likes it when you're a rude, arrogant @$$hole who has contempt for over fifty-seven percent of the population?

What could the most  "transparent" government in the country's history be hiding?

If the carbon tax actually does reduce pollution, then why has a large portion of a federal memo been heavily redacted?

Reporters were briefly invited in. Wynne seemed to be doing little but commiserating and agreeing that Canadians shouldn’t have to turn off their heat in the middle of winter. But the premier has a gift: even more so than her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, she is very good at appearing engaged, interested and genuinely concerned about the problems she is addressing.

And when Keenan stepped out, she had been properly mollified.

“Have we made progress here today? Absolutely,” she enthused. “And what I’m so proud of is that as Canadians, this has not taken marching up and down, threatening tear gas. … This is the most polite revolution I’ve ever seen in my life, and that’s what makes me proud to be Canadian.”

Crisis defused, then, for now.

Ontarians will believe anything.

ISIS beheaded captives in what remains of Palmyra:

The Islamic State group has killed 12 people it held captive in Syria’s ancient Palmyra by shooting and beheading them, with some of the slayings carried out in the city’s second-century Roman amphitheatre, activists said on Thursday.

Several North Korean diplomats have recently defected to South Korea but the news has been kept quiet, the former No. 2 in the North Korean Embassy in London said Tuesday.

"A significant number of diplomats came to South Korea," Thae Yong-ho said. "Even now, there are a number waiting to head to the South."

Thae was speaking at a conference hosted by conservatives who defected from the Saenuri Party to launch their own. Intelligence sources say there has been a marked increase in defections among the North Korean elite since last July, when Thae fled to the South with his family.

One intelligence source said, "The number of North Korean diplomats who defected to South Korea last year stands in the double digits." The source added that includes not just diplomats but also high-ranking officials from Room 39, the Workers Party office that manages leader Kim Jong-un's private coffers, and military officers.
If this many high-level defectors are running, this could indicate a heavily cracking Kim dynasty. 

Something is coming down the pipe.

The Kremlin is planning to build an exclusive health clinic for President Vladimir Putin and senior officials, according to documents seen by Reuters and to medical sources familiar with the project.

The proposed three-storey building, in the grounds of the Kremlin-run Central Clinical Hospital in a Moscow suburb, will have space for 10 inpatients at a time and communications systems that under Russian law are reserved for the president, prime minister and other senior figures, according to design and planning documents.

The clinic, estimated in the documents to cost 2.9 billion roubles ($48.11 million) to build, will be fitted with VIP suites, a swimming pool, rooms where patients can hold meetings, and posts for aides, the plans show.
In a written reply to Reuters questions, the Kremlin's property management department said the clinic was being built but said it was for hundreds of state officials whose care falls within its remit, including but not limited to the president and prime minister.

The Central Clinical Hospital was for decades the place where senior members of the Soviet and then Russian leadership received medical care. Staff are vetted by state security, former managers at the hospital said.


 That’s all very well, but how many family doctors would you need? It simply doesn’t fit into the system of a free universal national health service.” “It’ll fit into a universal national health service, but it won’t fit into a free health service,” said Oreshchenkov, rumbling on and clinging confidently to his point. “But it’s our greatest achievement, the fact that it’s a free service.” “Is this in fact such a great achievement? What does ‘free’ mean? The doctors don’t work for nothing, you know. It only means that they’re paid out of the national budget and the budget is supported by patients. It isn’t free treatment, it’s depersonalized treatment. If a patient kept the money that pays for his treatments, he would have turned the ten roubles he has to spend at the doctor’s over and over in his hands. He could go to the doctor five times over if he really needed to.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
Cancer Ward

Carry on.

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