Monday, July 03, 2017

Monday Post

For a post-Canada Day world ...

Suicide bomber kills fourteen people at a displacement camp in Iraq:

A suicide bomber dressed as a veiled woman killed 14 people and wounded 13 others in a displacement camp west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Sunday, security sources said.

Islamic State militants, who have been facing mounting U.S.-backed offensives in Iraq and neighboring Syria, claimed responsibility for the assault.
But ... but ... she did it because she was oppressed!

Trump discusses North Korea with China and Japan:

The threat posed by North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and the leaders of China and Japan, along with trade issues, the White House said on Sunday.

Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of expected meetings with the leaders of Asia's two biggest economies at a Group of 20 nations summit in Germany later this week.

"Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," the White House said of Trump's call with Xi from his resort property in Bridgewater, New Jersey, where he is spending a long weekend.

"President Trump reiterated his determination to seek more balanced trade relations with America’s trading partners," it added.

Trump has become increasingly frustrated with China's inability to rein in North Korea, and the reference to trade was an indication the one-time New York businessman may be ready to return to his tougher-talking ways on business with Beijing after holding back in hopes it would put more pressure on Pyongyang.

Why would Trump expect China to help?

No, Trudeau didn't forget to mention Alberta:

“We may live in British Columbia, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or Newfoundland or Labrador…but we embrace that diversity while knowing in our hearts we are all Canadians,” he said during his speech at Rideau Hall.

His and his father's opinions about Alberta are well-known. What the Right Honourable Douchebag neglects is the ever-struggling Liberal Party in Alberta. If he thought that his deliberate slighting of Alberta would win him any western friends come election time, he should be prepared for a bloodbath.


Before the day dawned dreary and rainy, there were confident reports in virtually every major news outlet in the land that 500,000 people would descend on Parliament Hill.

About 25,000 made it onto the lawns, as many again stuck in lines that went nowhere, and if you imagine it was all because of the grisly weather, think again.

By now, with the Vimy Ridge 100th anniversary celebration not far in the rear-view mirror, Canadians know precisely what to expect on such occasions — paeans to equity, refrains praising the collective modern tolerance (but damning the oppression that went before and lingers on), rote odes to all that is indigenous — and thought better of it.

Better a few days at a cottage or camp, a swim in a still-cold lake, a beer on the dock with family and friends, the Hip blasting all day long. Better a barbecue in a city park, cheek by jowl with families from other parts of the world, everyone minding their own business and getting along without the PM there, telling them how fabulous they were.

But that would mean people would have to have so healthy a self-esteem that they would eschew such shaming and self-conscious congratulatory bleatings of a former snowboard instructor.

And - but I thought these Stone Age societies respected women:

Canada’s Far North is getting the short end of the stick on a major federal investment aimed at reducing gender-based violence, advocates say, because the money is being meted out based on the size of a region’s population, rather than need.

“When I go to meetings with shelters in southern Canada, I am hearing about all these shelters being built (or repaired) with the renovation money and I’m thinking, ‘Holy cow! What happened to the North?”‘ said Lyda Fuller, executive director of the YWCA Yellowknife.

The Liberal government committed $89.9 million over two years in the 2016 budget for building or renovating shelters and transition houses for people escaping family violence. The investment was also highlighted in the recently launched federal gender-based violence strategy.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), through which the money flowed, split the money up among the provinces and territories, which were not required to match the funds in order to get things rolling.

But the money was divvied up according to the usual per-capita funding model, which means each share of the pie was determined according to the number of people who live there.

That's the government for you.

Why does China do anything?

... Unlike the U.S. dollar, the yuan is not a free-floating currency. From 1994 to July 2005, China pegged the yuan to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate, which many believe didn’t reflect the yuan’s true value. In July 2005, partially due to international pressure but mainly due to China’s increasing desire to make the yuan an international reserve currency, China announced it shifted from a fixed exchange rate to a “managed float.”

Here’s how it works: Chinese yuan is no longer pegged to the U.S. dollar. China’s central bank, People’s Bank of China (PBoC), sets the daily yuan’s central reference rate based on the weighted value of a basket of currencies. Domestically, the yuan is allowed to trade above or below the central reference rate within a narrow band preset by PBoC. Today that band is at 2 percent, which means PBoC caps the yuan’s daily up and down movement within 2 percent of its official reference rate. ...

Like all other government agencies in China, PBoC answers to the demands of the Communist Party leadership, who set the general direction for economic and currency policies. Thus, PBoC would adjust the yuan’s exchange rate not based on market direction, but whenever the party leadership deemed it necessary. For example, in 2008, China unofficially pegged the yuan against dollars rather than its stated basket currencies as a defensive mechanism to protect China from the global economic crisis.

From the fixed rate in 1990s to the “dirty float” in the 2000s, China’s currency manipulation focused on suppressing the yuan’s appreciation and keeping the yuan’s value artificially low to boost its exports. This strategy worked wonders for China. According to The New York Times, “By 2007, China’s broad trade surplus hit 10 percent of its gross domestic product — an unheard-of imbalance for an economy this large. And its surplus with the United States amounted to a full third of the American deficit with the world.” By the end of 2014, China built an impressive foreign reserve of $4 trillion.

Some in the West point to China’s effort to make the yuan stronger against the dollar as evidence that China is marching toward an eventual “clean” float of the yuan. That’s wishful thinking. China will never give up full control of its exchange rate and using it to serve whatever economic and political purposes the communist government deems necessary. China’s recent intervention to make the yuan stronger again only further proves that China doesn’t hesitate to spend its ample resources to defend its currency policy at the expense of investors.

What China failed to realize is that such manipulation erodes the investors’ confidence, both domestically and abroad. Not surprisingly, Chinese people and businesses still found many sneaky ways to move capital out of China. Whether President Trump calls China a currency manipulator or not, foreign investors should be extremely careful and take all risks into account before investing in China or Chinese currency.

Well, this doesn't look good for the NHS:

President Donald Trump and the Vatican have spoken out in support of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British infant whose case has captured worldwide attention after European courts decided that he could be removed from life support against his parents’ wishes.

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