Monday, July 31, 2017

For A Monday

On this, the last day of July ...

Australian authorities stop a plot of bring down an airplane:

Police have disrupted a terror plot to bring down a plane and arrested four men after raiding several properties in Sydney , Australia's prime minister has said.

Malcolm Turnbull told a news conference said the plot appeared to be "elaborate" rather than designed by a lone wolf.

He said: "I can report last night that there has been a major joint counter-terrorism operation to disrupt a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane.

"The threat of terrorism is very real. The efforts overnight have been very effective but there's more work to do."

He said security had been increased at all major international and domestic airports around Australia.

Officials did not specify if the plot targeted a domestic or international flight, but Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported that "a local route" had been the objective.

The four men held after a series of raids across Sydney on Saturday were allegedly linked to an "Islamic-inspired" plot, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said.

(Sidebar: oh, is that what the kids are calling it these days?) 

Also - he's trying for an insanity defense. Don't believe him:

Esseghaier, a Tunisian-born, Montreal-based PhD student, was convicted in 2015 of planning to blow a hole in an Ontario railway bridge. He also mused on tape about poisoning the food on a military base and setting off a volcano.

His arrest and conviction were hailed as landmarks in the Canadian battle against terrorism. But his case has since morphed into something much stranger and less morally clear.

According to multiple doctors, Esseghaier is severely mentally ill and almost certainly schizophrenic. 

He had long rejected that diagnosis. But in court documents filed this week, he revealed that he now agrees.

Then again, one would have to be insane to believe a war-mongering pedophile in the first place.

Saudi Arabia regards internationalisation of holy sites as "an act of war":

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister called what he said was Qatar's demand for an internationalization of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the kingdom, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday, but Qatar said it never made such a call. 

"Qatar's demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom," Adel al-Jubeir was quoted saying on Al Arabiya's website. 

"We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites," he said. 

Qatar denies that it ever made such a claim.


The federal government says it's trying to find out more about reports that Saudi Arabia is using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants.
Canada is back - as an arms dealer!


Thousands of people rallied in Turkey's largest city on Sunday against security measures Israel has imposed at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, shortly after Israel removed other measures that led to two weeks of violent Palestinian protests. 

I'm sure the goings-on of Israel are widely felt in Turkey.

This is the same country that backs an ever-belligerent North Korea:

President Xi Jinping said China needs to speed up the modernization of its military to fend off threats in increasingly dangerous times.

“The world isn’t safe at this moment” Xi, wearing a camouflauge military uniform, said on Sunday after riding in an open jeep at an army parade in Inner Mongolia. “A strong army is needed now more than ever.”

The speech came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump lambasted China for failing to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, saying “we will no longer allow this to continue.” North Korea, which relies on ally China for food and fuel, test-fired a second intercontinental ballistic missile late on Friday night.

Trump was wrong to believe that China wants a reunited or stable Korea. It should be clear to him now.


China hit back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” in China following Pyongyang’s latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.

China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang. China is North Korea’s closest ally, but Beijing is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests.

I'm not frustrated because I know China is a war-monger.

Oh, I'm sure that Glen Murray truly felt that it was time to go:

Glen Murray, Ontario’s minister of environment and climate change, is quitting to head an environmental think tank based in Alberta.

Murray is a longtime ally of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s, a former leadership rival who dropped out and endorsed her in 2013 and the minister trusted with the delicate and complicated job of devising the Liberals’ signature plan to cut the province’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

He’s proud to have had that responsibility, he said in a statement announcing his departure.

Again, he is totally sincere about this. There is no reason to think that he is fleeing while the fleeing is good.

Speaking of slime:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encouraged people over the weekend to donate to the Canadian Red Cross to help British Columbians affected by raging wildfires and he made a similar appeal for Ontario and Quebec flood victims earlier this year.

However unlike many international disasters like the earthquakes in Nepal two years ago or in Haiti in 2010, Canada's appeal for domestic donations isn't shored up by a pledge that the government will pony up an equal amount of cash to match the individual donors.

Fires in northern New Brunswick force residents to flee:

About 25 people in northern New Brunswick have been forced to leave their homes because of a forest fire.

New Brunswick’s fire prevention officer says the fire on Miscou Island is out of control and appears to have grown to 90 hectares as of late Sunday afternoon.

Roger Collet says water bombers and dozens of fire crew are fighting the blaze on the island.

Collet says the fire has been burning since 4 p.m. Saturday and the rate of growth appears to have slowed.

Also - people who are generally unco-operative should know what it's like to get the short shrift:

First Nations in the path of British Columbia’s forests fires say to protect their communities they need equal funding and recognition of their expertise that is granted to other emergency response organizations.

A "world-class" Arctic station is near completion:

A decade after it was first promised, Canada’s new High Arctic Research Station is nearly complete and already giving scientists access to a vast new section of ice and tundra.

“We’re trying to come up with a long-term, systematic, multi-disciplinary view of this part of the world, which is really understudied,” said David Scott, president of Polar Knowledge Canada, which operates the new station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

A line item in the 2007 federal budget, the station was a centrepiece of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Arctic strategy. Located in the centre of the High Arctic right along the Northwest Passage, the station was to give researchers a home base in a part of the North lacking in scientific infrastructure.

Although work will continue on the main building for a few months, the centre is “largely operational,” said Scott.

Researchers are already living and working on the site.

The parents of the late Charlie Gard are considering starting a charity for children with rare illnesses:

The parents of Charlie Gard are considering launching a charitable foundation to help other families with children suffering rare and complex genetic disorders.

An appeal launched by Connie Yates and Chris Gard received $2.23 million to help fund their legal battle to take their son to the U.S. for experimental treatment for the mitochondrial depletion syndrome he was suffering.

But, after losing that fight, and following Charlie’s death on Friday, the parents are said to be planning to use that money to set up an organization helping sick children.

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