Wednesday Night #2096

Written by  //  May 18, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

‘Anxiety and frustration’: Demonstrators protest Quebec language law
Congratulations to the organizers of  -and participants in- Saturday’s Bill 96 Protest – such an impressive turnout despite the heat.
Sadly, nothing will deter François Legault, but we cannot give in. Our hope may lie with the Mohawk and other Indigenous peoples of Québec who will likely pursue the argument at the UN – certainly not a good international image for what used to be la belle province.
Andrew Caddell devotes his Hill Times column (What the hell is a ‘historic anglophone’?) to the problem when Bill 96 passes, when half of the anglophone community will be refused government services in English, including health care, licences, welfare, or taxes. and concludes: “The next few months are bound to see Bill 96 legal cases, calls for Supreme Court references, media scrutiny, protests, and even demands for disallowance. But it is a classic case of what happens when vacuous, mendacious politicians make arbitrary decisions over issues without considering the human consequences.”
(See more on Quebec January 2022-)

Vladimir Putin and Putin’s War continue to dominate international news. The fall of Mariupol was sadly inevitable, and the fate of the valiant defenders who have surrendered to the Russians is of great concern (Interrogation, uncertainty for surrendering Mariupol troops). Meanwhile, the situation in Kharkiv offers encouraging signs as Ukraine drives back Russian troops.
As expected, Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join NATO in an ‘historic moment’
NATO gets Nordic and the Golden arches quit Russia. Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas start off by addressing Turkey’s threat to block entry to NATO by Sweden and Finland. Essentially they agree with Eric Reguly’s analysis below.
Eric Reguly (see also long reads) presents the arguments that Turkey’s threat to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO merely a negotiating ploy

Israel has outdone itself recently in courting a black international image over the past days. First, came the killing (murder) of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, followed by the disgraceful attack on the mourners at her funeral (Israel’s policy: Kill the messenger, attack the mourners).
At the same time, advancing plans for the construction of more than 4,000 homes in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank after the Israeli army demolished homes in an area where hundreds of Palestinians face the threat of expulsion – action condemned by UN experts as a possible war crime.

According to the BBC analysis of Sunday’s elections in Lebanon, the results raise [the] spectre of new power struggle. True, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement, the main group of Lebanon’s Shia Muslims, lost its majority in parliament, but what comes next? “Most likely, a long period of protracted negotiations to try to build a government. For those weeks, even months, Lebanon will carry on struggling to pull itself out of its deep financial crisis.But when the politicians aren’t sitting in cabinet or passing laws, there’s almost no chance of change.”

C. Uday Bhaskar writes that Bad Policy Decisions are Behind the Chaos in Sri Lanka warning that:
“The current Sri Lanka crisis has many valuable strands for the extended southern and West Asian region, West Africa, and the Horn, where many nations are highly dependent on China for trade and aid. Greater transparency and an equitable socio-economic underpinning for macro lending/aid projects would be desirable, even as the ravages of Covid-19 and climate change threaten to impact human security in the Afro-Asian region negatively.”

Another important development in news from Asia is the announcement that North Korea has  reported another big rise in new cases of what it continues to refer to as “fever” on Tuesday, days after it admitted it had identified Covid-19 infections for the first time since the start of the global pandemic. A significant Covid-19 outbreak could unleash a humanitarian crisis

More domestic terrorism in the U.S. (see Heather Cox Richardson on the Buffalo shootings) and little hope of eliminating the violence born of racism and hatred encouraged by Donald Trump and his ilk.
President Biden and The Democratic Party [are] Extremely Unpopular Right Now more so than is usual at this point in a 4-year term. Unless something extraordinary happens to turn the tide, we are condemned to observing the 2022 Midterms in despair. New York offers a comprehensive Guide to the Races Worth Watching A cheat sheet for all the crucial races, upsets, and campaign drama from now through Election Day.

There is not much entertainment value in news of the economy (Canada’s inflation rate jumps to new 31-year high of 6.7%) or the markets (Stock markets sell off as inflation fears settle in, but one story cannot be topped Elon Musk, notorious Twitter troll, is now trolling Twitter itself The stock price is plummeting, and executives are heading for the doors. Can the social media company withstand Musk’s takeover bid? Stay tuned.

Long reads/video
Poor Countries Face a Mounting Catastrophe Fueled by Inflation and Debt
Putin’s Road to War
The inside story of what led to Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
The transcript
Western Advocates of Appeasement Need Crash Course in Putinology
The only way to end the war conclusively is via a decisive Ukrainian victory that forces Russia to acknowledge its defeat and sees Ukraine regain all the land it has lost since 2014. If a compromised peace deal allows Putin to hold on to his latest territorial gains in Ukraine, he will use any pause in hostilities to prepare for the next stage in his campaign to subjugate the rest of the country. If he wins the war, Russian aggression will inevitably expand beyond the borders of Ukraine.
Russia’s reported abduction of Ukrainian children echoes other genocidal policies, including US history of kidnapping Native American children
Allegations have emerged recently that Ukrainian children are being forcibly removed from their country by Russia. Once there, they are put up for adoption.
These tactics are horrific, but far from rare.

Eric Reguly Gets to Know His Late Father by Writing a Book About the Famed Canadian War Correspondent
In “Ghosts of War,” the Globe and Mail journalist travels to Vietnam in an effort to reconcile Robert Reguly’s globe-trotting career with his family life

Event
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:00 PM EDT
Online event
Canadian International Council
CANADA SPEAKS: Economic Uncertainty
How serious a threat to Canada’s economy does rising U.S. protectionism represent? How concerned are Canadians about changes to the relationship with our key trading partner?
Join Stephen Poloz and interviewer Ayesha Malette (President, CIC National Capital Branch) for a discussion about the broader subject of global economic uncertainty in the months and years ahead
Register

And in conclusion, an innovation that will help to combat wheat scarcity:
Rwandan company making bread and biscuits from sweet potatoes

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