Thursday, February 16, 2017

But Wait! There's More!

Nine times out of ten, there is...

The story so far:

Malaysian police have arrested a third person in connection with the murder (or assassination) of Kim Jong-Un's elder half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam.

How it all might have gone down:

One of the women grabbed the man as the other sprayed liquid on his face and held a cloth over it for about 10 seconds.

In the hullaballoo of the check-in area, no one even seemed to notice. This account of the attack and its aftermath was pieced together from interviews with staff at the airport, police and other official statements, and leaks to the local media.

The women left swiftly, but not that swiftly. They went down three sets of escalators, past an H&M and a Baskin-Robbins, and out of the terminal to a taxi stand, where they needed to buy a voucher for their journey before lining up for a cab. They got in and told the driver to take them to the Empire Hotel, some 40 minutes from the airport.

Where are you from, the driver asked. Vietnam, the women responded.

Inside the terminal, Kim Jong Nam, feeling dizzy and apparently unable to see, stumbled to one of the counters to seek help. He was taken to a medical clinic inside the terminal, where he had a mild seizure, then was loaded into an ambulance.

He died on the way to the hospital, after telling medical workers at the airport that he had been sprayed with a chemical, said two senior Malaysian government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic issues involved.

Malaysian authorities on Thursday announced the second and third arrests in the death of the North Korean leader’s half brother, whose apparent assassination this week unleashed tales of spectacular intrigue.

The three suspects — two women and a man — were picked up separately Wednesday and early Thursday. The women were identified using closed-circuit TV footage.

Just after 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, one of the women was arrested at the airport – in the same terminal where the attack took place – and positively identified as one of the suspects. She was traveling on a Vietnamese passport identifying her as 29-year-old Doan Thi Hoang, police said.

North Koreans have been caught traveling on Southeast Asian passports before, making it entirely possible that the woman is, in fact, North Korean.

Police said that she was traveling alone and had told them she was tricked into the attack, which she had been told was just a prank. 

The other woman held an Indonesian passport and was arrested early Thursday.

Apparently, the North Koreans tried stopping the autopsy. Perhaps they were worried that the truth would upset a fictional narrative that Kim Jong-Nam committed suicide in a public place by spraying poison on his face the way he always talked about doing.

Another day in Pakistan:

A suicide bomber attacked a crowded Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 72 people and wounding dozens more in the deadliest of a wave of bombings across the South Asian nation this week.

A spokesman for medical charity Edhi said the attacker appeared to have targeted the women's wing of the shrine, and around 30 children accompanying their mothers were dead.

If Somalians are crawling through the porous segments of the Canada-US border and clueless leftists clamour for "sanctuary cities", then this is a particularly expensive bit of smoke and mirrors that no one in his or her right mind would believe given how many unvetted Syrian and Mexican migrants have already poured into the country:

According to supplementary estimates tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons, the federal government is giving the Canada Border Services Agency an additional $85.5 million.

"The agency is facing operational pressures due to changing volumes across business lines, growth in international commerce and the threats of terrorism and organized crime," the government wrote in the documents.

"This funding will be used to maintain service levels for wait times and inspection rates at major points of entry and to improve the capacity for export control over high-risk goods leaving Canada."

The CBSA will also get another $32.4 million in funding "for integrity of Canada's border operations."

News of the federal government's additional border-related spending comes as the election of Trump is focusing more attention on the fight against terrorism and border security.

PM Hair-Boy asked to change the name of Langevin Block:

The federal government is facing mounting pressure, including from within the Liberal caucus, to change the name of the building that houses the Prime Minister's Office — the Langevin Block, located across the street from Parliament Hill.

The building is named after Hector-Louis Langevin, a politician and father of Confederation who also happens to have expressed strong support for establishing what would become the infamous, government-run residential school program.

That particular detail is a problem for indigenous leaders including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who raised his concerns in a letter to the government obtained by The Canadian Press.

Bellegarde wants the government to find a new name for the building in consultation with indigenous peoples, something he says aboriginal communities would take as a sign of good faith.

In that case, I would like an enormous plaque indicating that Pierre Elliot Trudeau admired both the Nazis and the communists.

I would also like an enormous statue depicting how the Iroquois nearly wiped out the Huron. Maybe throw in another one of a man letting his daughters freeze to death.

As a sign of good faith...

Millions of dollars worth of tomatoes rotted in Southwestern Ontario fields last year when a Maidstone canning company — with plans to build a new state-of-the-art plant — didn’t take all the tomatoes it had contracted growers to deliver.

“The helpless feeling of watching a good crop rot, just rot, is hard to put into words,” Leamington farmer David Epp said Wednesday of what looked in late summer like it would be a bumper tomato harvest.

Thomas Canning (Maidstone) Ltd., ended up not taking about 75 per cent of the tomatoes it contracted farmers to grow because it wouldn’t schedule enough deliveries of the crop, according to the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers.

A lot of the crop ripened at once and there were delays in installing new equipment to process the tomatoes into a more concentrated paste at the current Thomas Canning plant, CEO Bill Thomas said.
The new equipment was finally in place in October, near the end of the tomato season. Once the plant fell behind it was difficult to catch up, Thomas said.

“We had some equipment challenges, too, with some new installations which caused some delays and we take responsibility for that,” he said. “All I can say beyond that is we’re taking care of the growers and that is currently being resolved.”

Thomas said he’s arranging a meeting with the growers next week on compensating them for the tomatoes that the plant couldn’t process.

Unhappy with an anti-Islamophobia motion proposed by a Liberal MP, the federal Conservatives tabled their own motion Thursday which, while referencing the “senseless violent attacks” on the Quebec mosque last month, avoids any reference of Islamophobia even as it condemns all forms of religious intolerance and racism.

The Conservative motion, tabled Thursday morning in the House of Commons by Saskatchewan MP David Anderson, is the latest in what has escalated into a political culture war between Conservatives and Liberals.

On the one hand, Liberals, with the support of many New Democrats, accused some Conservatives, particularly several running for that party’s leadership, of intolerance and bigotry.

The Conservatives, for their part, argue that while anti-Muslim sentiment is a problem, so, too is it a problem that other faith communities, including Christians and Jews, are under threat.

Thursday’s debate comes the night after a separate debate on what is known as M-103, a parliamentary motion put forward by Liberal MP Iqrad Khalid which, among other things, called on the House to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

Anderson’s motion, on the other hand, asks the House to “condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious communities.”

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, speaking ahead of the parliamentary debate Thursday morning, rejected the Conservative motion, saying that Liberals will oppose it.

“The Conservatives have brought this motion forward in a cynical attempt to serve their political purposes and avoid addressing the real issue concerning Islamophobia,” Joly said.

Joly, for example, noted that attacks in Canada against Muslims have doubled in recent years.

(Sidebar: yes, about that...)

Table nothing. We already have laws against murder. We don't need to elevate Islam over all other religions and then forbid criticising it because it hurts their hair-trigger feelings.

Trudeau declares that the world needs the EU:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the European Union on Thursday as an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation, in a speech to EU lawmakers that contrasted sharply with the critical stance of U.S. President Donald Trump.

(Sidebar: yes, everything boils down to Trump these days.) 

Yes, Mr. Alleged Voice of Reason, about that:

Brussels simply went too far. They crossed the line after moving from an economic union to a political subordinate of Europe. Now, six more countries want to hold referendums to exit the EU; France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Finland, and Hungary all could leave.

But... but... I thought there was brotherhood!

Turkey has increased scrutiny of Russian-speaking Muslim communities in the past few months following a series of attacks blamed on Islamic State, a concrete example of the renewed relationship between the two countries.

Turkish police have raided the homes of Russian-speaking immigrants in Istanbul, detained many and expelled others, according to interviews with Russian Muslims living in the city. At least some of those targeted by Turkish authorities are known to be sympathetic to radical Islamist movements.

The security activity indicates that Russia and Turkey are sharing intelligence, part of a newly-forged alliance that has also seen Moscow and Ankara work together on a peace deal for Syria.

The cooperation comes as a resurgent Russia, already active in Ukraine and keen to boost its diplomatic influence in the Middle East, has been playing a greater role in Syria in the vacuum left by the United States under Barack Obama.

(Sidebar: oh, that mess he made. That one.)

Speaking of Russia's meddling in the Middle East:

With its show of military force, Russia changed the tide of the Syrian civil war. It is finding the next phase -- brokering an end to the fighting -- a tougher proposition.

A round of Syria peace talks sponsored by Russia ended on Thursday with no joint communique, usually the minimum outcome of any diplomatic negotiation, and saw opposing Syrian groups exchanging angry tirades at each other and the brokers.

With no concrete progress to report, media representatives at the talks venue in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, were so hungry for a scrap of news that at one point a crowd formed around an Arabic speaker who they thought was a participant in the talks. He turned out to be another journalist.

Western diplomats, who say Russian President Vladimir Putin's campaign of air strikes has worsened the conflict, have, in private, reacted to Russia's tribulations as a peacemaker with variations on the phrase: "We told you so."


... says a region of the world that let incompetent people like Obama and their red lines make things worse. 

Putin wanted a pipeline. How did the deaths of Syrians benefit Obama?

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A court in Washington state has ruled that not giving a couple of fatties flowers for their wedding does not violated a florist's First Amendment rights:

The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state's anti-discrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

A lower court had fined Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington, for denying service to a gay couple in 2013, and ordered her to pay a $1,000 fine.

Stutzman argued that she was exercising her First Amendment rights. But the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

"As Stutzman acknowledged at deposition, providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism," the opinion said.
Stutzman's lawyers immediately said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

Is the court's decision an endorsement for frivolous though lucrative lawsuits?

Common sense says yes.

What if one does not want their company advertised on Breitbart?

“My reaction was surprise,” Graham says of learning that the ads had appeared. “We want our display ads and our ad dollars go to sites that are compatible with our values, and we feel that’s not a site that’s compatible with our values.

“Our customers know what our values are, and it was great to get that alert so we could move quickly,” he says. “We’re a data- and fact-driven company. About one third of employees were not born in Canada. We’re a diverse and inclusive company.”

That last statement presumes that others are not "diverse". It's the sort of hypocritical, virtue-signalling hypocrisy that would not stand up to scrutiny.

So remove one's company from the site if one wishes. I'm sure it won't be missed by the diverse readership you claim does not exist.

And now, a documentary on cats:

Call it Byzantium, Constantinople or modern Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis has always been a city of cats. “Cats have lived in what is now Istanbul for thousands of years,” according to the opening titles of the documentary Kedi (Turkish for cat). “They have seen empires rise and fall, and the city shrink and grow.”

And they’re decidedly unruffled by it all. In Ceyda Torun’s beautifully shot, feline-friendly film, most of the city’s cats live to eat, sleep and occasionally beg. And while there must be some hard-hearted types who dislike their presence, every Turk the director finds has something nice to say about them.

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