Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday Post

What a glorious day!

Why the idea of giving executive powers to a tyrant was ever entertained baffles me:

A defiant Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan denounced the West's "crusader mentality" on Monday after European monitors criticized a referendum to grant him sweeping new powers, won with a narrow victory laying bare the nation's divisions.

Addressing a crowd of flag-waving supporters from the steps of his palace in Ankara, Erdogan told election observers to "talk to the hand" and said it would not be so important to Turkey if the European Union broke off accession talks.

Sunday's vote ended all debate on forging a stronger presidency, Erdogan said, vowing that implementation of the reforms would begin straight away. But the main opposition party rejected the result and called for the vote to be annulled.

People voted for a dictatorship.


One hundred and twenty-six people were murdered when a bomb ripped through a convoy in Syria:

The death toll from a bomb attack on a crowded bus convoy outside Aleppo has reached at least 126 in the deadliest such incident in Syria in almost a year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Sunday.

The Observatory and the United Nations cited reports that more than 60 children were among the dead.

Syrian rescue workers of the Civil Defence said that they had taken away at least 100 bodies from the site of Saturday's blast, which hit buses carrying Shi'ite residents as they waited to cross from rebel into government territory in an evacuation deal between the warring sides.

The British-based Observatory said the number was expected to rise.

Those killed were mostly residents of the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province, but included rebel fighters guarding the convoy, the Observatory said.


Christians indigenous to the Middle East have been forced to leave it:

The Christian flight has broader implications for the Middle East. “If one of the most important religious groups in the world continues to be forced out of the Middle East, this bodes negatively for pluralism, tolerance, and the ability of the region’s people to live interlinked with the rest of the world,” the Center for American Progress reported. The status of Christians “is a barometer of whether those of other faiths or no faith at all will be able to live and thrive in the future Middle East.”

Since when has tolerance existed between Islamist interlopers and Christians who have been there since Christianity was founded?

Once a linchpin head of state is removed, a wave of violence, the seeds have which have been sown since the seventh century, is unleashed.

Despicable cruelty and intolerance are not only commonplace; they are methods of plucking the Christian religion from its native region:

After members of ISIS raided the home of Zarefa, an elderly Christian woman in Iraq, they discovered crucifixes and Christian icons. "They forced me to spit on the Cross," she recalled.

It sounds achingly familiar:

“And then the Christ in bronze speaks to the priest: ‘Trample! Trample! I more than anyone know of the pain in your foot. Trample! It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross.’”
While one may wonder if the fictional Father Rodrigues truly heard Christ or another entity speak, this is not unlike Japanese Christians forced to endure desecrating an iron image of Christ (known as a fumie) simply to live.

And it is during Christmas and Easter - two pivotal moments in the life of Christ - that evoke such bitter hatred and capacity for brutality in interlopers:

While almost anything can provoke Muslims around the world to attack churches, there is a reason that the animus can reach a fever pitch during Easter: more than any other Christian holiday, Resurrection Sunday commemorates and celebrates three central Christian doctrines that Islam manifestly rejects: that Christ was crucified and died; that he was resurrected; and that by especial virtue of the latter, he is the Son of God.  As Dr. Abdul Rahman al-Bir, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s mufti said in 2013, Muslims must not commend Coptic Christians during Easter, for that holiday “contradicts and clashes with Islamic doctrine unlike Christmas.”

Yes, because a Jew died for the sins of all and rose from the dead that the most brutal and intolerant reserve their venom in a blasphemous pitch.

Pater, dimitte illis: non enim sciunt quid faciunt.

(Paws up)

Oh, dear:

Omar Khadr's official criminal record in Canada contains oddities and errors that are at odds with how the federal government viewed him on his return from the notorious prison on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The record, obtained by The Canadian Press, makes no reference to the fact that Khadr, 30, was convicted by an internationally condemned U.S. military commission for purported offences he committed as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan.

Instead, the document states only that he was convicted at "Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Youth Court)." It makes no reference anywhere to the United States or the commission.

While it's not clear when the record was first created, Khadr's Canadian lawyers call it bizarre. For one thing, they note there's no such thing as a Guantanamo Bay youth court.

However, despite the document, the Canadian government argued strenuously for years against treating Khadr as a young offender — placing him, for example, in a series of maximum security adult prisons on his return to Canada in September 2012.

Additionally, the lawyers say, the record appears to formalize the fact that Khadr was convicted as a youth for alleged crimes that occurred in a war zone, which would make him a child soldier — a label the government has also always avoided.

Dennis Edney, one of Khadr's lawyers, who was initially unaware of the document, expressed profound surprise at its contents.

"There's not such a being as a criminal youth court in Guantanamo," Edney said from Edmonton. 

"Why would you do that? Internationally, the place was condemned because it didn't distinguish between Omar being a child and Omar being an adult."

(Sidebar: you're the one who defended this unrepentant terrorist, you piece of crap. Why don't you answer the question?)

Because voters blocks. That's why

The number of people seeking asylum in Canada from Mexico continues to rise.

New figures from the Immigration and Refugee Board show that March recorded the highest number yet of new claims in 2017 — 110, up from 85 in February and 71 in January, for a total of 266 so far this year.

In all of 2016, there were just 241, statistics from the IRB show.

Last December, the Liberal government lifted a requirement for Mexicans to obtain a visa before travelling to Canada and an increase in claims was forecast.

Remember - only 1200 Yazidis were let into Canada after terrible things like this:

“She was my friend, we were basically in high school together,” stressed Pirali, who hails from Sinjar, Iraq. But, unlike her friend, Pirali left Iraq in 2010.

Staying behind, the friend married and became pregnant with a baby girl. But things took a savage twist in 2014 when ISIS captured their hometown.

“When they were trying to run away,” Pirali said of the Yazidis, her friend “couldn’t run a lot” because “she was heavy, she was pregnant.”

To ensure they escaped ISIS, her friend urged her relatives to go ahead without her. “Just save yourself. Go,” the friend told her family.

And she was going to walk slowly until she gets to where they are,” Pirali added. “But unfortunately, she didn’t make it.”

Because she lagged behind, ISIS found her and tortured her in unimaginable ways.

“And what they did to her, opened up her stomach,” Pirali gestured with her hands, from one side of her stomach to the other. “Like from here to here, they opened her up, and they got her baby girl out, they raped the baby, and they also raped her.”

While her baby perished, the friend survived.

Why? Because stupid people don't vaccinate their stupid kids. That's why:

It didn’t help that the parents of the patient initially denied any travel. They had been to India, where over 83,000 measles cases were reported in 2015. In Canada, measles has been eradicated since 1998, meaning all cases originate from international travellers who bring the virus into the country. It then spreads in pockets where immunity is low. In 2015, one case brought into Quebec from Disneyland ballooned to 157 secondary cases in a religious, non-vaccinating community. Nova Scotia’s current outbreak is also travel-related. 

Russia and China, the two countries that helped separate the Koreas to start with and sit permanently on the UN Security Council, have sent vessels to monitor the USS Carl Vinson:

China and Russia have dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is heading toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, reveal multiple sources of the Japanese government.

It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea. The Japanese navy is strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.

The aircraft carrier strike group, composed of the Carl Vinson at its core with guided-missile destroyers and other vessels, is understood to be around the East China Sea and heading north toward waters near the Korean Peninsula.

China and Russia, which prioritize stability in the Korean Peninsula, showed concern over the tough U.S. stance, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the issue should be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic efforts.

Yes, about that:

China and Russia may not be able to prevent the United States from calling a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on human rights in North Korea this week, but they are expected to stop it from passing any punitive resolutions 


China rejected what it said was "unreasonable criticism" of Beijing in a new U.N. report on human rights abuses in North Korea, but it would not be drawn on whether it would veto any proceedings in the Security Council to bring Pyongyang to book.


The United States and China have agreed on new U.N. sanctions to impose on North Korea over the nuclear test it conducted in September, but Russia is delaying action on a draft resolution, a senior Security Council diplomat said on Wednesday.

Yep, let's go through Russia and China to put North Korea in its place.

They are still playing a Cold War game with that half of Korea.

Also: American Vice-President Mike Pence visits South Korea after a failed North Korean missile launch.

No, our economy is not strong:

Yet even with the economy suddenly running hot, caution prevails. The Canadian dollar has had a middling performance despite the strong economic numbers.

At a rate decision last week in Ottawa, Canada’s central bank revised up growth projections for 2017, but cut them for 2018. It also raised questions about the sustainability of the rebound and the country’s long-term growth outlook.


A review of all nine companies that HQ Vancouver touted as “success stories” in its two-year progress report late last month reveals F-Pacific is not the only company whose North American expansion plans have sputtered, whose parent corporation has fallen under scrutiny or whose objectives have come under question.

Critics say if millions of public dollars are going to be spent on this sort of outreach, it needs to be accompanied by due diligence.

Like fun it will.

But ... but ... I thought single parents could do it all!

Younger girls with single parents were more than twice as likely to be obese as girls living in two-parent households. And the older girls were three times more likely to suffer from a severe weight problem.

“We do not know why girls from single-parent households are more likely to be obese,” stated Peter O’Rourke, professor at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, in a press release. “More research is needed in this area.”

“The data would have the same results for kids in the United States, too,” Julie Upton, co-founder of Appetite for Health, tells Yahoo Beauty. “In fact, there are similar studies that have been conducted here that found the same things.”

For example, research conducted by medical investigators from California discovered that children from single-mother families — and especially children who were also without siblings — were at higher risk for obesity than children living with two parents and children with brothers and sisters.

Happy accident?

Last year, during the refurbishment of the Garden Museum, which is housed in a deconsecrated medieval parish church next to Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official London residence, builders made the discovery of a lifetime: a cache of 30 lead coffins that had lain undisturbed for centuries.

There is an Indiana Jones joke in here somewhere.

And now, some of the most fascinating Easter services in the world:

The Holy Resurrection Cathedral is an Orthodox Church in Tokyo, informally called Nikolai-do after its founder, St. Nicholas Kasatkin. The Easter mass at the cathedral begins Saturday 30 minutes before midnight and runs until about 4 a.m. During that time, the lighting in the cathedral is changed from dark purple to bright white, signifying the resurrection. Food that was eschewed during Lent is brought in to be blessed before the feast that breaks the fast on Easter Sunday. Blessings are given in dozens of languages.

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