Monday, March 27, 2017

For A Monday

Before I begin, a merci to all y'all who have visited.

Much obliged.

And now, the news...

The US and Britain are among the nations who have skipped nuclear weapon ban talks:

The United States, Britain and France are among almost 40 countries that will not join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty starting at the United Nations on Monday, said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Haley told reporters the countries skipping the negotiations are instead committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970 and is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.

"There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic. Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?" Haley told reporters. 

Indeed. Why go through the virtue-signalling pretense when North Korea would have no compunction launching a third nuclear payload on Japan?

Putin is far more dangerous to his own people than any American election.

Case in point:

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was handed a 15-day jail sentence on Monday for his part in a big anti-government protest in Moscow which buoyed the liberal opposition's morale a year before a presidential election.

Sunday's protest and others like it across Russia were estimated to be the largest since 2012 and foreshadow a presidential election which Vladimir Putin is expected to contest.

Opinion polls suggest Navalny, who hopes to run against Putin, has little chance of unseating the Russian leader, who enjoys high ratings. But Navalny and his supporters hope to channel public discontent over corruption to get more support.

Navalny, who will appeal the court's verdict, was found guilty of disobeying a police officer at Sunday's Moscow protest and sentenced to 15 days in jail. He was also fined for organizing the protest, which the authorities said was illegal.

Navalny told reporters in the Moscow courtroom that he and his allies would not give up.

"You can’t detain tens of thousands of people," he said. "Yesterday we saw the authorities can only go so far."

(Sidebar: but they've been doing it since tsarist times, so...)

Israel is on high alert after the death of an Islamist leader:

Hamas closed its only civilian border crossing with Israel on Sunday, and Israeli troops were on high alert as tensions between the two enemies continued to rise, two days after a senior Hamas operative was mysteriously shot dead at point-blank range in the parking garage of his home.

Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, 38, a senior commander in the militant Islamist movement’s military wing. He spent nine years in an Israeli jail for his part in planning numerous suicide bombings that killed multiple Israeli civilians during the second Intifada in the early 2000s.

One hires a hacker for this sort of thing:

Security services must be allowed to crack into encrypted messaging services or terrorists will enjoy a digital “place to hide,” Britain’s top security official said Sunday, re-igniting a fiery debate over privacy on the Internet.

Amber Rudd, the U.K.’s home secretary, made the comments after police discovered that London’s Westminster attacker had sent a text via WhatsApp just before his rampage.

Rudd said investigators have been unable to access the message sent on the hugely popular service. 

WhatsApp is equipped with end-to-end encryption, meaning the company – now owned by Facebook – has no way to intercept its users’ communications, even if police present them with a warrant.

After having been caught funnelling money to Hamas, IRFAN hopes to be removed from a list of terrorist entities:

A Muslim relief group allegedly linked to Hamas has launched a legal challenge in Federal Court in an attempt to be taken off the Canadian government’s list of “terrorist entities.”

The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada has asked to be removed from the terrorist list and also wants the entire listing process struck down as unconstitutional.

This is the second time the Mississauga, Ont.-based group has gone to court in the hope of being de-listed. It last tried in 2014 but the case was discontinued the following year.

Fifty-three factions — including al-Qaida, ISIL and Hezbollah — are currently on Canada’s list of designated terrorist groups, which effectively makes them illegal organizations.

IRFAN-Canada’s troubles with the government began in 2011 when its charity status was revoked after federal auditors concluded it was an “integral part” of the Hamas fundraising network.

Investigators had also found videos at the group’s office that “demonize Israel, characterize the Arab-Israeli conflict as a religious war, appeal for all Arab and Muslim nations to join in the struggle against Israel and glorify martyrdom,” the Canada Revenue Agency wrote.

In 2012, Justin Trudeau, then a candidate for the Liberal leadership, was criticized for speaking at a Toronto Islamic conference sponsored by the group. Two years later IRFAN-Canada was added to the federal list of terror groups.


Imams in Canadian mosques have been inciting the killing of "infidels", primarily Jews, for years. This agitation appears to have had no visible impact on Canadian parliamentarians, evidently too busy with petitions and motions banning alleged "Islamophobia".

In 2009, for example, Toronto-area imam Said Rageah, at the Abu Huraira Centre, called on Allah to "destroy" the enemies of Islam from within and "damn" the "infidel" Jews and Christians.

"Allah protect us from the fitna [sedition, affliction] of these people; Allah protect us from the evil agenda of these people; Allah destroy them from within themselves, and do not allow them to raise their heads" prayed the imam.

In 2012, Sheikh Abdulqani Mursal, imam at Masjid Al Hikma mosque in Toronto, explained that Jews are destined to be killed by the Muslims. Citing text from a hadith, he said:
"You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them... Muslims [will] kill them until the Jews [will] hide themselves... and a stone or a tree [will] say: Muslim... there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him...."
In 2014, imam Sayed AlGhitawi, at Al Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal, prayed for success in jihad and the total destruction of the Jews:
"O Allah, give victory to our brothers who engage in jihad... destroy the accursed Jews... make their children orphans and their women widows... kill them one by one... do not leave any of them [alive]".
During the Muslim holiday of Ramadan in 2016, Imam Ayman Elkasrawy, of the Masjid Toronto mosque, said the following:
"...O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Give us victory over the disbelieving people... Give victory to Islam... humiliate the ...polytheists... Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims...Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!"
Another imam in Toronto, Shaykh Abdool Hamid, recited similar prayers on at least eight occasions in 2015 and 2016.

In February 2017, after being exposed as an extremist by CIJ News, imam Ayman Elkasrawy apologized for his words, which, despite being posted on YouTube, were apparently not meant to reach non-Arabic speaking Canadians:
"Neither I, Masjid Toronto or the congregation harbour any form of hate towards Jews. And so I wish to apologize unreservedly for misspeaking during prayer last Ramadan... "
The head of the mosque, Dr. El-Tantawy Attia, assured the Toronto Sun that his mosque was not a radical mosque:
"It was a mistake. It was not authorized. It should not have happened and we have apologized and I have personally reached out to my Jewish friends... I was so upset. I was surprised. In 45 years here, I had never heard anything like that."
He also assured the Toronto Sun that he and the mosque would "get to the bottom of this through their own investigation". He also said that, pending the probe, the imam had been "suspended". The head of the mosque, however, then said that he doubts if Ayman Elkasrawy "really meant it". "We are about peace", he added.

(Sidebar: this was super-Islamophobic. One should never question the obvious Jew-hatred that goes on unchecked in Canadian mosques. Instead, one should pretend that such things don't exist ... or else.)

But ... but ... the Narrative!

Fewer Canadians are being turned away at the U.S. land border in recent months despite mounting concerns that Donald Trump's immigration policies are making it much harder to cross, The Canadian Press has learned.

Refusals of Canadians at American land crossings dropped 8.5 per cent between October and the end of February compared with the same five-month period a year earlier, according to U.S. government statistics.

The total number of Canadian travellers denied entry also dropped: 6,875 out of 12,991,027 were refused entry, a refusal rate of 0.05 per cent.

Between October 2015 and February 2016, 7,619 out of 13,173,100 Canadian travellers were denied entry to the U.S., a refusal rate of 0.06 per cent.

The figures, confirmed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, contrast with recent anecdotal reports of Canadians denied entry into the U.S., with many placing the blame on the policies of the Trump administration, including its controversial attempts to ban arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.

The same government that promised to help families with small children has thrown them the smallest bone it can, just enough to get re-elected:

The federal government just allotted $7 billion over 10 years for “child care.” Who will benefit? The vast majority of families will benefit little if at all.

Daycare advocates have ensured that policies contain discriminatory definitions that explicitly exclude parental child care and preferentially fund institutional group care spaces. This is despite the fact that institutional group care is the most costly, least preferred and the most problematic for children’s mental and physical health.

The billions will flow in two ways: system subsidies like capital costs, operating grants, bureaucracy and advocacy, and fee subsidies to reduce parents’ expenses, typically paid on behalf of moderate or lower income families. Tax deductions will be available for up to about $7,000 in fees per child, $4,000 until age 15. (You read that right: daycare deductions for 15-year-olds.)

For a family with two parents in the top tax bracket with two young children in a daycare centre, the tax subsidy alone is worth over $6,500 per year. Add to that the value of the system subsidies at a super-subsidized daycare and clearly some families will be receiving public child care funding worth many tens of thousands of dollars every year while other families receive none at all.

Currently only about 15 per cent of Canadian children 0-5 are in daycare centres. Statistics Canada reports that higher-income families are more likely to use this arrangement.Taxpayers are funding higher-income families with huge subsidies for institutional child care at the expense of lower income families — including single parents — who prioritize parental child care.

One could make it so that people can look after their kids at home but that would just be nutty.

Who killed Otzi?

“The aim of the offender was to kill him, and he decides to take a long-distance shot — could be a learning effect from what happened one or two days before,” Horn said. “Which is pretty much what you see all the time nowadays. Most homicides are personal, and follow violence and an escalation of violence. I want to follow him, find him and kill him. All the emotions we have in homicide, these things have not died out in all these years.”

Robbery can certainly be ruled out, he said. Otzi had a copper ax, a valuable artifact only rarely seen in burials of the period. His clothing and kit were a match for the harsh alpine climate, and probably valuable, made from the leather and fur of at least 10 animals of six species.

“This was not a robbery gone bad or something,” Horn said; clearly, the killer was trying to cover up his act. “You go back to your village with this unusual ax, it would be pretty obvious what had happened.”

And now, even though his owner is dead, a dog walks the same route he and his owner had always walked:

When his owner Claudio Cantarelli died in 2015, Thor was so heartbroken that he stopped eating and would lie in the courtyard without moving for days. But, thanks to a loving neighbor who took him in, Thor is now doing better and has started walking the same route again.

"He [Claudio] walked every day and had his lunch. He was an artist and was everyone's friend - and now, Thor makes the same walk. I notice that the dog always stops at the same places. It's impressive," hairdresser Airton Oliveira said to RBS TV [in Portuguese].

Thor even made the same stop at the lottery office, where Claudio went almost every day. There, he waited for a while as if hoping for his owner to come out from the establishment to continue on their journey together.

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