Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mid-Week Post

And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men." 

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Christmas Bells”)

South Korea has chosen its first female president. The two candidates- Park Guen-Hye and Moon Jae-In (whose promise for unconditional aid to North Korea sounds familiar)- squared off for one five-year term of the halved Korean peninsula:

Conservative Park Geun-hye clinched a climactic election victory Wednesday to become South Korea’s first female president on the back of pledges for political reform and measured economic democratization.

The 60-year-old candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party won the race by a larger margin than those predicted by the most recent opinion surveys and exit polls.

She beat progressive rival Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party, who campaigned for more drastic reform in local conglomerates and a sharper boost in welfare spending.

Park won with 51.6 percent of the votes against Moon’s 47.9 percent as of 1:20 a.m. with 96.2 percent of the votes counted.

Park will succeed President Lee Myung-bak of the same party as Korea’s 18th president, realizing her dream of leading the country that her late father Park Chung-hee once ruled for 18 years.

“It is a victory brought by the aspiration of the people to overcome crisis and resurrect the economy. I will become a president who is devoted to the public livelihood and keeps her promises,” Park said before a cheering crowd of jubilant supporters in Gwanghwamun, downtown Seoul. They gathered to celebrate her win despite the freezing weather, chanting “President Park Geun-hye” and waving Taegeukgi.

The president-elect is expected to bolster the alliance with the U.S. while seeking improved strategic ties with China. She has expressed firm resolve on her intolerance to North Korea’s provocations, the most recent being its Dec. 12 rocket launch. Park, however, has also expressed willingness to better cooperate with Pyongyang to defrost highly strained inter-Korean relations.

One in every three babies born to multicultural families had a Vietnamese mother in 2011, according to Statistics Korea. Out of 22,000 mixed-race newborns, the largest proportion or 35.8 percent (7,880) were born to Vietnamese mothers last year.

As long as China props up North Korea, Kim Jong-Un will stay in power:

"Kim Jong-un has to some extent won the support of the elite in the past year, but the question is whether he can succeed in getting support from the people in his second year in power," said Prof. Cho Dong-ho of Ewha Womans University. "The regime's durability depends on whether it can achieve some success in improving people's lives."

Merry Christmas greetings are here to stay on Saskatoon Transit buses.

Following a brief debate during executive committee on Monday, city councilors decided Saskatoon Transit buses will continue to carry the ‘Merry Christmas’ holiday greeting. The city is also planning to explore the idea of allowing on buses in the future messages that reflect other religions. 

“Quite frankly I don’t see Merry Christmas leaving our signage at all,” Mayor Don Atchison told the city’s executive committee. 

The debate about displaying ‘Merry Christmas’ on the city’s electronic scrollers flared up after a local activist declared the signs “inappropriate” and “discriminatory.”

A complaint was filed Thursday by Ashu Solo, who complained to senior city officials that “Christmas messages on Saskatoon Transit buses make religious minorities, atheists and agnostics who do not celebrate Christmas feel excluded and like second-class citizens.”

Solo, a declared atheist, was also the person who filed a human rights complaint against the mayor and Coun. Randy Donauer for reciting a Christian prayer at city’s volunteer appreciation breakfast.

On Monday councillors were in agreement that the message will stay on the buses. 

They won the campaign handily and even had $14.2 million to spare, but the Obama-Biden campaign is still raising money, this time off the president's comments about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.

In email from chief campaign advisor David Axelrod that urges supporters to watch President Obama's moving address to the community of Newtown, Conn., there are two links that open a page with a video player featuring the president's speech and two donate buttons asking for $15-$1,000 for his campaign.

"The next chapter begins today. Stand with President Obama for the next four years," headlines the donation page.

While he links to the donation pages in his email, Axelrod did not mention donations with his words. Instead, he expresses the horror the nation feels about the shootings. "Our hearts broke on Friday as we learned of the tragic and senseless deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut," he wrote. "As we reflect on the lives lost last week, we must also, as the president urged, consider how each of us can play a part in making our country worthy of the memory of those little children."

But above and below a picture of Obama giving his speech are two links to the donation and video player page. One reads, "Watch this speech." The other reads "". Clicking the picture also directs supporters to the video player and donation page.

What a filthy, bloody man he is.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan is offering to meet this week with a northern Ontario chief who embarked on a hunger strike Tuesday out of frustration with the federal government.

Chief Theresa Spence of the remote Attawapiskat First Nation launched her protest with a vow to “die” unless the Conservative government starts showing more respect to First Nations concerns and aboriginal treaties.

Have her do it right. Send her to North Korea.

Speaking of North Korea, Time magazine's choices of  person of the year vacillate between an African dictator and a North Korean one.

Canada is again rejecting criticism of its human rights record after the release of a report that highlights the longstanding issues facing Aboriginal peoples.

Three mandatory United Nations reviews conducted in 2012 all found “very serious human rights challenges facing Indigenous peoples” in Canada, says an Amnesty International report released Wednesday.

“By every measure, be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, Indigenous peoples across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis,” the report says.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs minister John Baird said it was odd the UN was using its resources to evaluate Canada.

We find it strange that the United Nations Special Rapporteurs are devoting their scarce resources to countries like Canada, instead of countries like Iran and Syria where citizens do not enjoy rights and are subject to serious human rights violations at the hands of those regimes,” Rick Roth said.

Gunmen shot dead a woman working on UN-backed polio vaccination efforts and her driver in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said, raising to eight the number of people killed in the last 48 hours who were part of the immunization drive.

The attack on the woman was one of five that took place on polio workers in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday. One male polio worker was critically wounded, while the others managed to escape unharmed.

The recent killings prompted the UN’s public health arm to suspend work on the vaccination drive in two of Pakistan’s four provinces Wednesday, a major setback for a campaign that international health officials consider vital to contain the crippling disease but which Taliban insurgents say is a cover for espionage.

No comments: