Wednesday Night #1656

Written by  //  November 25, 2013  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

happy_thanksgivukkahWe take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Kosher Thanksgiving  or Thanksgivukkah on this historic “once-in-a-Talmud mashup of American Thanksgiving and Hanukkah” –which apparently will not happen again until the year the year seventy-nine thousand, eight-hundred and eleven, which we doubt that even the most tenacious of Wednesday Nighters will see.

Given the exceedingly precarious health of my computer, we hasten to send out the invitation for this week minus the usual carps and comments, but wanted to highlight some topics that will no doubt be the subject of intense discussion.

1. While we may act globally, we all tend to think locally, especially when there are by-elections on Monday whose outcomes may have considerable impact on all three national parties.  Also of interest is the Three to Watch panel on the 24 November edition of The National  – some of the contrarian views are intriguing.
Fortunately, the intrepid Alan Hustak will travel to Ottawa on Tuesday to glean reactions and be with us on Wednesday to share his findings.
And, of course, the Senate Scandal is still with us – we try to keep our page   up-to-date.

2. The outcome of the Iran nuclear talks in Geneva – good, bad or indifferent? John Baird (on behalf of all of us) has stated that Canada is ‘deeply’ sceptical and says Canada’s sanctions will remain in “full force” against the country. Predictably, Israel thinks it is a very bad idea. There’s lots more news including the Guardian’s report of the secret talks that were conducted in parallel to the official ones and Reuters’ Special Report: ‘Great Satan’ meets ‘Axis of Evil’ and strikes a deal

3. The Warsaw Climate talks, as is customary, stretched beyond their appointed hour. The BBC reports that: “After 30 hours of deadlock, they approved a pathway to a new global climate treaty in Paris in 2015. The agreement was achieved after a series of last minute compromises often involving single words in draft texts.
Negotiators also made progress on the contentious issue of loss and damage that developing countries are expected to suffer in a warming world.” Canada as usual distinguished herself, winning the ‘Lifetime Unachievement’ Fossil award, but was joined by Japan and Australia in the category of villains of the talks.  We now await further analysis of the outcomes.

4. The Ukraine-EU accord appears to be on the ropes, thanks to some heavy-handed interference from Russia, but not without protests by the citizens. The EU is trying to resolve the situation, offering to sit down with Russia  – stay tuned.

5. The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the China Seas are again in the headlines as China has announced airspace restrictions and Japan’s prime minister Abe has reacted  telling a parliamentary session that China’s declaration of the zone above the islands altered the state of affairs in the East China Sea and escalated a tense situation.

6. The mineral-rich (but poverty stricken) Central African Republic (CAR) is the focus of international attention as UPI reports that it is collapsing into chaos amid a worsening religious conflict between Christians and Muslims that could trigger genocide and bring more upheaval to a region already beset by turmoil, observers warn.
Malians voted on Sunday in a last step to return to constitutional rule, but turnout was light due to continuing security concerns.

With all that grim news, you deserve something to make you smile and this delightful Peer Review & Changing a Lightbulb: a Historian’s View should supply it. 

We also invite you to note in your calendars that the CIC, Montreal  is hosting a talk by Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman on December 10th at the University Club. His topic: Is the World Now in Democratic Recession? Ambassador Kinsman’s bio is far too long to reproduce here, his career with the Foreign Service spanned over 40 years, he is well known to readers of Policy Options and devotees of CBC; he now heads the project for the Community of Democracies which has recently produced the “Diplomat’s Handbook on Democracy Development Support”. This will certainly be one of the highlights of what has been a particularly interesting CIC calendar of events.

We hope that you will brave the cold and join us this Wednesday so we may wish you Gobble Tov in person!

 

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