Thursday, December 28, 2017

But Wait! There's More!

Often, there is ...

How could this go wrong? :

There was a spike in applications for Canadian citizenship after the government relaxed the rules around residency requirements and language proficiency this fall.

Figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship provided to CBC News show there was an average of 3,653 applications a week in the six months before changes were brought in Oct. 11.
The number shot up to 17,500 applications the week after the new requirements kicked in. There were 12,530 applications submitted the week after that, but data for subsequent weeks is not yet available.

"Reducing the physical presence requirement gives more flexibility to applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship and encourages more immigrants to take the path to citizenship," said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship spokeswoman Nancy Caron. "This helps individuals who have already begun building lives in Canada achieve citizenship faster."

Because being in Canada means more votes for the "post-national" party. 

We're not a country. We're an airport, a land-mass for which citizenship and civic duty are cheap commodities that benefit the Laurentian one-percenters.

Yeah, I said one-percenters.

What’s your favourite Canada 150 moment? The $5.6-million temporary Ottawa skating rink that bans hockey, figure skating, cellphones and roughhousing? The tedious CBC series that supposedly “snubbed” Nova Scotia and French-Canadians? The “Cultural Appropriation Prize” and subsequent white-guilt meltdown? The Duck To Nowhere? So many memories.

Caricatures of caricatures. A land-mass so in love with its stultifying social flatulence that it's embarrassing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed a crackdown after a supermarket bomb injured 10 people in St. Petersburg, the latest in a series of attacks linked to Islamic extremists that have targeted his home city.

Putin said Thursday that he’d ordered the head of the Federal Security Service, in case of a threat to officers’ lives, “to act decisively, not to take any prisoners, to liquidate bandits on the spot,” in remarks at a televised ceremony with veterans of Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

One would think that this would be shouted everywhere:

ISIS retains historically low numbers of fighters, controls little territory and has lost much of its command and control facilities in Iraq and Syria. The vast majority of the military progress against the group occurred in 2017.

“During 2017 over 60,000 square kilometers were liberated from ISIS across Iraq and Syria,” British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney told the Pentagon press corps Wednesday, explaining that “more than 98 percent of the land once claimed by the terrorist group has been returned to the people.” This estimate means ISIS lost nearly 60 percent of the territory it once controlled in 2017.

They're not dead enough, though.

The Moon government's efforts to dismantle the disgraced former president Park Geun-Hye's government are roaring along:

The closure of the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial park last year was a unilateral decision made by former President Park Geun-hye, a civilian panel tasked with reviewing unification policies said Thursday.

The panel also said that unification policies should be codified, and that the Ministry of Unification should be given more independence and its views given more weight in setting related policies. 

“Contrary to the former administration’s announcement, it has been confirmed that (former) President Park Geun-hye ordered (South Korean entities) to withdraw from the Kaesong complex on Feb. 8, before the National Security Council meeting on Feb. 10,” the panel said.

According to the panel, Park’s Foreign Policy Secretary Kim Kyu-hyun informed then-Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo of Park’s decision to shut the complex down on Feb. 8.

The NSC, led by former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin at the time, convened later in the day. Related plans were drawn up and announced on Feb. 10.

The Park administration had said that the decision was made by the NSC on Feb. 10. The complex was shut down in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and long-range missile launch conducted on Jan. 6 and Feb. 7, respectively. 

This Kaesong complex:

South Korea said on Thursday it “humbly accepts” there is no evidence North Korea diverted wages paid to its workers by South Korean firms in a now-closed border industrial park to bankroll its weapons programs as the previous government asserted.  

The South’s unification ministry was responding to the findings of a panel which contradicted claims of money being transferred by North Korea as it pursues its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. sanctions. 

It said would take follow-up steps to boost transparency and public trust in its policy towards the North.

Yes, about that:

At the time of its closure in April 2013, the minimum wage at the KIC was $67.05 per month, and once all payments and bonuses were accounted for, the average wage was $130.  Workers, however, were not receiving the full $130 per month; the North Korean government was thought to retain roughly 30 to 40 percent of this payment, ostensibly to cover social security payments, transportation, and other in-kind benefits. More importantly, while South Korean firms pay in US dollars, North Korea pays the workers in North Korean won converted at the wildly overvalued official exchange rate. Evaluated at the more realistic black-market rate, North Korean workers may have been netting less than $2 per month (if the entire dollar amount were converted into won at the black market exchange rate). …

No firms reported paying tips. This is slightly amusing insofar as Choco-Pies, a South Korean snack similar to American Moon Pies, emerged as a kind of parallel currency in the city of Kaesong. Originally providing Choco-Pies to workers as a snack, South Korean firms, unable to vary wage rates or reward particularly productive workers, began using extra allocations of the snacks as a way to lure workers away from their competitors. (The cakes circulated as a kind of parallel currency in the environs of Kaesong, so that providing workers with extra cakes that could be sold outside the KIC effectively amounted to granting them a bonus.  The North Korean government became sufficiently concerned over these developments that in November 2011, North Korean officials, the South Korean KIC management committee, and the employers agreed to rules to limit the distribution of the snacks. …

Chocolate Pie.jpg

(Sidebar: b@$#@rds.)

Given that wages are usually paid to the North Korean government, the firms hiring via the government were asked if they knew exactly how much money their workers were in turn receiving from the government. A majority of the employers refused to answer the question. Of those that did, their responses were split nearly evenly between those that said they knew (21 percent) and those that said they did not (18 percent). In other words, only one in five firms indicated that they knew how much their workers were actually paid. Remarkably, none of the firms that reported paying piecework rates indicated that they knew how much the workers were paid—they simply paid their North Korean counterparty and left it at that. However, when asked the follow-up question whether they believed that the government took a large amount of money that was supposed to go to their employees, a majority responded affirmatively (76 percent overall, 77 percent in the KIC, 71 percent outside the KIC). The implication is that those firms claiming to be paying piecework wages cannot know for sure if they actually are.


The UN estimated in September that 100,000 North Koreans work abroad and send some $500 million in wages back to the authoritarian regime each year. ...

Across the world, they work 12-hour to 16-hour days, with only one or two days off per month. The North Korean government takes between 70 and 90 per cent of their monthly wages, which range from US$300 to US$1,000, according to the US State Department.


“If you pay three Chinese yuan or half a U.S. dollar, you can officially take one day off,” RFA quoted an anonymous source in the country’s Yanggang province as saying. While that doesn’t sound like much, it represents twice what the average North Korean earns in a month.


The average annual income in North Korea according to a 2013 estimate, is thought be $1,000 to $2,000.


Quoting data by the China National Tourism Administration, the broadcaster said that the number of North Korean workers in China increased from about 50-thousand in 2006, when the North conducted its first nuclear test, to 94-thousand-200 in 2015, earning the regime billions of yuan, or hundreds of billions of won, a year.

So, if the North Korean government is taking the meagre earnings (wherever they work) and even the snacks of their workers (again, b@$#@rds) and South Korean firms aren't sure how much the workers got paid, does it move the Moon administration to belabour any point on this matter, moot or pertinent?

If the North Koreans worked in a free economy as their southern cousins do, Kim Jong-Un would be on a platter with an apple stuffed in his mouth by now, not using wages to fund his nuclear program.


Moving on ...

South Korea is displeased with a prior arrangement with Japan on the comfort women issue:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that a 2015 agreement with Japan over South Korean “comfort women” forced to work in wartime brothels was seriously flawed after Japan said any attempt to revise it could damage relations.  

Japan does not see it that way:

Japan is sticking to its position on a deal with South Korea concerning Korean women forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels as so-called comfort women, a government source said Thursday, even after South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the deal “flawed.”

Japan must make amends for its past brutality and the Moon government cannot draw this out any longer if it hopes to compensate the now elderly women violated by the militaristic Japanese.

Keep the statues where they are and hand out a lump sum. Stop using people to score points off of one another.

Furthermore, there are far greater issues to be worried about at present. Compensation won't matter if people are standing in rubble from a North Korean attack.

North Korean defectors may have been exposed to radiation:

At least four defectors from North Korea have shown signs of radiation exposure, the South Korean government said on Wednesday, although researchers could not confirm if the cases are related to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

If these people were not exposed to radiation from working on the nuclear weapons program, then it may be that there are villages or swaths of land that South Korea may have to clean up at a later date.


The question that has long been raised is: Did North Korea get this technology from a [Russian] fire sale?” asked David Wright, a missiles expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Did they get plans years ago and are just now at the point where they can build these things?”

Interesting question.

A Filipino survivor of the Bataan Death March has passed away at age one hundred:

A San Francisco Bay Area man who survived the infamous 1942 Bataan Death March and symbolized the thousands of unheralded Filipinos who fought alongside American forces during World War II has died. He was 100.

Ramon Regalado died Dec. 16 in El Cerrito, California, said Cecilia I. Gaerlan, executive director of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, which has fought to honor Regalado and others. ...

Regalado was born in 1917 in the Philippines. He was a machine gun operator with the Philippine Scouts under U.S. Army Forces when troops were forced to surrender in 1942 to the Japanese after a grueling three-month battle.

The prisoners were forced to march some 65 miles (105 km) to a camp. Many died during the Bataan Death March, killed by Japanese soldiers or simply unable to make the trek. The majority of the troops were Filipino.

Regalado survived and slipped away with two others — all of them sick with malaria. They encountered a farmer who cared for them, but only Regalado lived.

Afterward, he joined a guerrilla resistance movement against the Japanese and later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work as a civilian for the U.S. military.

In his later years, he gave countless interviews to promote the wartime heroics of Filipinos, who were promised benefits and U.S. citizenship but saw those promises disappear after the war ended.

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