Wednesday Night 2035

Written by  //  March 17, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Happy St Patrick’s Day! While we associate the traditional celebrations and parade with Boston, New York, and, of course, Montreal, the first recorded parade was held 420 years ago in St. Augustine, Florida in 1601.

A year on, WHO still struggling to manage pandemic response
Last Thursday was the first anniversary of the designation by the WHO of  the coronavirus-Covid19 as a pandemic.
Starting on Wednesday, the Montreal curfew is rolled back to 9:30pm – great news for those of us who were not keen on 6pm dinner, or were used in the past to run out for last-minute supplies after 7. We cannot help but wonder how this news affects grocery stores and related services who -with no warning- suddenly see their operating hours increased. How do they cope with such last-minute changes that have a major impact on staff scheduling?
While there is still a way to go, the Quebec vaccination program is running smoothly and, so far, is a success in the Montreal area. The process is efficient, quick and we have heard only praise for the staff at all centres.
We are not plunging into the AstraZeneca controversy. CBC reports that in the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, a spokesperson said Monday that 12 per cent of people refused the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, while in Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal eight per cent of people who signed up refused, according to authorities. Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, has stated that people who refuse to take AstraZeneca-Oxford will be bumped to the back of the line and have to make another appointment.

Congratulations Cleo Paskal!
We are delighted to announce the Chatham House webinar launch of Cleo’s report ‘Indo-Pacific strategies, perceptions and partnerships: The view from seven countries’.  It will take place next Wednesday, 24 March at 2pm GMT = 10am Eastern Time  To register

On Monday, 22 March, The Carnegie Moscow Center offers A Shifting Power Balance in the Indo-Pacific: Views from Tokyo and Moscow “China’s own foreign policy has shifted significantly since 2012. Russia, meanwhile, is not the most influential player in Indo-Pacific geopolitics, but in tandem with China, that might change.”

A few months ago, only the most avid followers of international affairs mentioned the Quad or knew what the term meant. Recently, it has flourished like dandelions in the lawn. Our friend Uday Bhaskar directs our attention to The World Outside: First Quad Summit Takes on China, Diplomacy over LAC Friction. He previously wrote Why Joe Biden’s Quad summit is unlikely to find consensus on containing China
We look forward to a reaction from Cleo to Gwynne Dyer’s most recent article:
The Quad awakes – round up the usual suspects
“Creeping shyly onto the stage via Zoom, the successor to Nato emerged into public view last Friday.It’s called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – the “Quad”, for short. It’s intended to be to China what Nato (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was to the old Soviet Union: an alliance to deter and contain the “evil regime”, now located in Beijing, until it finally collapses. … Is “Nato in Asia” really getting ready for another decades-long cold war and/or a possible hot war? Every nuclear weapons power except Israel and perhaps Russia would be part of this confrontation, and there are many more potential flash-points in the Asia-Pacific region than there ever were in Europe.”
On Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community, Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas did not discuss the Quad, but focused on the significance of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first official visit – to key Asian allies Japan and South Korea, followed by a meeting in Anchorage with his Chinese counterparts, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi.
See more on U.S.-China relations

Jeremy and Larry then briefly turned to the situation in Myanmar and the vital role of China in resolving the crisis.
From Sauvé alumna Pyone Kyaw:
“100+ civilians killed overnight and many more in the past a month and a half of the military coup period. The regime had just declared martial law in some parts of the country.
Mobile internet data connection had been cut as of this morning, WiFi is still accessible but patchy and we don’t know how long it’s going to last any longer.
Friends from around the world, if you don’t hear from us in the next few hours or days, it means more slaughtering is happening in this country and we don’t know who to go to for help. If you don’t act on your responsibility to protect, we don’t know how long we are going to be alive anymore.”

For close watchers of the US government and governance, the filibuster debate is key to the legislative success of the Biden administration. See U.S. Government & governance 2021 for various viewpoints and continue to follow Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletters. Meanwhile, the recent confirmations of Merrick Garland as Attorney General and Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior are cause for celebration.

We are always happy to add Wednesday Night authors to our list. Recently, Marie Lamensch published
The Cost of an Internet Shutdown Human rights and economic prosperity are at risk amid a spike in national internet shutdowns.
The topic dovetails nicely with two items of concern: Canadian systems compromised by malware in the Microsoft Exchange breach: officials and the proposed Shaw/Rogers merger

Marie also published Parliament’s recognition of Uyghur genocide sends strong message, adding to recent WN discussion with this statement: “Genocide is indeed not a word that should be used lightly. However, for the past few years, media reports, witness accounts, academics, and photos have provided evidence that genocide is taking place. While the Uyghurs are not being outrightly massacred, as one often imagines genocide, Beijing has set in motion a strategy “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” as defined by the Genocide Convention.”

News of an archeological find is almost always exciting and the Israeli Discovery of new Fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls is no exception. The finds, ranging from just a few millimeters to a thumbnail in size, are the first to be unearthed in archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert in about 60 years. Not that the discovery will have any effect on next week’s election, although we should never discount Netanyahu’s ability to spin…

Are you bored with the Meghan and Harry story yet?
Andrew Caddell‘s weekly column The royal soap opera may make news, but it’s not history makes the case that “History is ‘significant events’ including ‘those that resulted in great change over long periods of time for large numbers of people’—and the recent ratings-grabbing interview doesn’t meet the threshold.”
And for a less philosophical view: A feature by Richard Kay & Guy Adams in the March 13th Daily Mail entitled Harry and Meghan, the Inconvenient Truth : Dossier Reveals Many Explosive Claims Which Rocked the Royal Family Were Contradictory or Wrong will be ‘grist for the mill’ of those who had their doubts about their allegations in the Oprah Winfrey interview in the first place.

Long reads
There is no end to Ken Burns’ talent. Mark your calendars “Hemingway” (directed with Lynn Novick), premieres April 5 on PBS.
Ken Burns Still Has Faith in a Shared American Story
We have recently become fans of The Conversation and its several editions.
While this piece addresses the Canadian situation, we suspect that it is applicable in many other nations where teachers are neither appreciated nor supported as they should be.
Provinces should act fast to avert a teacher shortage now and after COVID-19
On March 3rd, The Conversation published this excellent analysis Why repressive Saudi Arabia remains a US ally
While avoiding the WE controversy, the reflections of Hilary Pearson on Philanthropy and the Pandemic Year: Past and Future raise important points.

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