Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Special

A would-be terrorist is shot after stealing a soldier's gun:

Security forces shot dead a man who tried to seize a soldier's gun at Paris Orly airport on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of the busy airport and putting security back in the spotlight in the middle of France's presidential election campaign.

The man, identified as a 39-year-old radicalised Muslim who was already on the radar of police and intelligence services, had earlier shot and wounded a police officer with an air gun after a routine traffic stop north of Paris, officials said.

Get used to it, France.

China runs interference for North Korea:

China urged the United States to remain “coolheaded” over North Korea and not to turn its back on dialogue, as visiting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed a “sense of urgency” to curb dangerous levels of tension on the Korea peninsula.

As usual, China will implore everyone to back off while North Korea continues growing its arsenal.

It's time to put sanctions on China.


Six North Korean defectors were arrested in China's Hebei Province last weekend and are at risk of being sent back to the repressive state. They were arrested with two other people who were helping them. Last month, another two South Koreans who help North Korean defectors were arrested in China. 

There are fears that Chinese authorities could come down harder on people fleeing North Korea amid a spat with South Korea over the stationing of a U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.

This decision.


The Japanese government held its first-ever drill Friday to protect citizens in case a ballistic missile is launched toward Japan.

More than 100 residents and schoolchildren of the coastal city of Oga in northern Japan participated in the drill. Loudspeakers warned them of a possible missile threat and urged them to seek shelter indoors because missile parts might fall.

The drill assumed a scenario of a hypothetical country firing a missile that falls into Japanese territorial waters off the coast of Akita prefecture. It came amid increasing missile threats from North Korea.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired four missiles, of which three landed in the 200-nautical mile offshore area where Tokyo has sovereign rights to explore and exploit resources.

And this:

The low birthrate is now starting to shrink high-school classes across the nation and in some cases shutting down some subjects completely.

Education Ministry data last week show that the number of new students entering high school this year dwindled by around 60,000 or 11 percent. A total of 525,300 students finished middle school last year and are entering senior high school this year, compared to 591,845 last year. And next year, only 460,000 are expected, down another 12.2 percent. 

"We've been reducing classes since 2004 and will have to sharply lower them again this year," a ministry spokesman said. 

The drop has prompted major changes. The same thing happened in middle schools in 2014 and elementary schools in 2008. 

The student-teacher ratio fell to 27.4 last year. The number of teachers allocated to middle schools has dropped since 2014, when it peaked at 113,349, reaching 109,525 last year. Now it is the turn of high school teachers to be weeded out.

The Europeans have depended on the US for so long that when anyone suggests that it should reimburse the US for costs, it is an earth-shattering event:

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to NATO and the U.S. "must be paid more" for providing defence , reiterating his stance that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance.

No wonder they want a wall:

It seems that an army of Canadian citizens — despite coming from a place of relative affluence and opportunity – live illicitly in the U.S. One research institute estimates the total at 100,000, while a recent American government report said nearly that many Canadians outstayed their legal welcome — and failed to leave – in one year alone.

Iran does not wish to abide by the deal Obama helped broker.

Case in point:

Iran has challenged the need for it to ship sensitive material abroad if its stock exceeds a limit set by its nuclear deal with major powers.

The challenge raises the prospect of a confrontation with the new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump because diplomats say Iran is only months away from reaching that cap.

The 2015 deal restricts Iran's atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran.
One restriction is on its stock of heavy water, a moderator used in a type of reactor that can produce plutonium, like an unfinished one at Arak that had its core removed under the accord.

Iran has already exceeded the 130-tonne limit on its heavy water stock twice. The latest standoff with Washington over the issue was only defused in December when Iran shipped the excess amount to Oman, where the heavy water is being stored until a buyer can be found.

In a letter to the U.N. nuclear watchdog circulated to member states on Thursday and posted on the agency's website, however, Iran argued that the deal does not require it to ship excess heavy water out of the country.

"Nothing in the (agreement) requires Iran to ship out the excess heavy water which is made available to the international market but has not yet found an actual buyer to which the heavy water needs to be delivered," Iran said.

The deal says all excess heavy water "will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices and delivered to the international buyer".

Israel intercepts Syrian missile:

Syria launched anti-aircraft missiles Friday at Israeli jets returning home from a bombing run over central Syria, marking a serious escalation between the two Middle East foes.

In a rare communique, in which Israel took responsibility for the usually clandestine airstrikes, the Israeli Air Force confirmed that its warplanes had struck several targets in neighboring Syria.

The guy who used to run this country has something to say:

“The reason Canada has not experienced these divisions is really rather simple: in Canada, at least until recently, we had middle class and working class income growth over the past couple of decades,” he said. “Should that change, I predict our politics here will change along the same lines.”

Before the election, Justin Trudeau could not identify who was middle-class or what made them so.

Also - Trudeau called prioritising Yazidis as refugees into Canada "disgusting":

Yazda, an international organization that advocates for the Yazidis, estimates that at least 35 mass grave sites of Yazidis have been identified. Those who escaped killing or enslavement eventually reached ramshackle refugee camps in Turkey and Greece.

Canadian border guards are detaining more voters blocks Mexican migrants than before:

Canada's border authorities detained more Mexicans in the first 67 days of 2017 than they did annually in any of the three previous years, according to statistics obtained by Reuters.

The spike comes immediately after Canada's federal government lifted its visa requirement for Mexican citizens in December.

Many Mexicans looking north have shifted their focus from the United States to Canada as President Donald Trump vows to crack down on America's undocumented immigrants, about half of whom are Mexican. On Friday, Reuters reported, immigration judges were reassigned to 12 U.S. cities to speed up deportation.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said it detained 444 Mexican nationals between Jan. 1 and March 8, compared with 410 for all of 2016, 351 for 2015, and 399 for 2014.

The CBSA can detain foreign nationals if it is believed they pose a danger to the public, if their identity is unclear or if they are deemed unlikely to appear for removal or for a proceeding.

The number of Mexicans turned back at the airport has risen, too - to 313 in January, more than any January since 2012 and more than the annual totals for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

With the visa requirement lifted, all that Mexicans need to come to Canada is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), obtainable online in a matter of minutes. But they cannot work without a work permit, and the eTA does not guarantee entry.

Canada issued 72,450 travel authorizations to Mexican citizens between Dec. 1, 2016, and March 10, 2017 - a significant increase compared with a similar period when visas were required.

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Minister Ahmed Hussen has said his department is monitoring the situation.  

(Sidebar: like fun it is.)

This is why one rule of law is better:
People living in First Nations communities now have the same emergency protections against domestic violence as other Nova Scotians.

The provincial Justice Department said Wednesday that a First Nations family seeking immediate protection against an abusive spouse, for example, can now apply for an emergency protection order.

The short-term, temporary orders can be put in place immediately and last for up to 30 days. They are issued by justices of the peace and family and provincial court judges under the province's Domestic Violence Intervention Act.

That law, however, does not extend to First Nations communities.

Under the changes announced Wednesday, emergency protection orders can now be issued under federal or First Nations laws.

One might suggest that referring to that chubby political dilettante known as Beyonce would either repel anyone with an excess of brain cells or draw those with a deficiency to one:

But back from these lofty heights, lest we faint, to our theme. Ashton, a proud leftist, was innocently underlining her “leftness” and burnishing those feminist credentials already alluded to, by citing Beyoncé. Beyoncé is herself a declared feminist (fleshpants and booty division) who lodged the ode Bootylicious into the common stock of human memory with lines only a Cheese poet could envy: “I don’t think you ready for this jelly.”

Ashton’s tribute, however, captured the hair-trigger ire of a monitor from the BLM Vancouver diocese, who instantly let fire one of those bolts from Twitter’s angry cloud that are so frequent these days, flailing Ashton for “appropriating Black culture,” requesting an immediate “Delete” and scorching her for a callous affront to the ineffable ideals of “intersectional feminism.”

Also in "the West has dumbed down" news:

Common Core is usually considered a national K-12 education initiative, but it is more than that. Federal and state regulations loop all the key parts of American education into Common Core, so it affects all levels of our education.
Unfortunately, Common Core undermines students’ intellectual growth (as I argue in my book The Education Invasion) and leaves many graduates unprepared for true college-level work, as opposed to career training.


The New York State Board of Regents, which supervises public education, has decided it will no longer be necessary for would-be teachers to pass an Academic Literacy Skills Test. The reason? The test was producing racially disparate results: Only 41 percent of black candidates and 46 percent of Hispanic candidates had passed the exam on their first attempt, compared to 64 percent of white candidates.


The ads likely wouldn’t have been approved under old government advertising rules, said auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, who has said changes the Liberals enacted in 2015 reduced her office to a rubber stamp.

“Under the previous legislation it would likely not have passed because it does convey a positive impression of the current government and it’s more like a pat-on-the-back type of advertisement,” she said.

And now, puppies versus couches - the struggle is real:

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