Wednesday Night #2107

Written by  //  August 3, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

The death of Nichelle Nichols at the age of 89 has generated a number of tributes noting that she was a trail-blazing inspiration for black women and black actors. Equally important was her role as advocate for NASA, inspiring women and people of color to join the agency, change the face of STEM and explore the cosmos. RIP Lt. Nyota Uhura.
Canadian civil rights lawyer and activist Clayton Ruby has died
During his long legal career Ruby represented numerous high-profile clients notably Guy Paul Morin, who was wrongly convicted – then exonorated – in the October 1984 rape and murder of eight-year-old Christine Jessop.
Back in 2012, Ruby served as the legal counsel for private citizen Paul Magder in a conflict-of-interest case against former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was briefly ordered to be removed from office. In the end, Ford launched an appeal and won.
Another one of Ruby’s most notable clients is former NDP MP Svend Robinson, who in February 1994 attended the unlawful medically-assisted death of right-to-die advocate Sue Rodriguez. In the end, Robinson was not charged.

Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas tackle the top two news items of the past few days
Was Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan an ego-driven goof? And 9/11’s worst killer is gone, politely but firmly disagreeing on the Pelosi trip, while both speaking admiringly of the message sent by the elimination of Ayman al-Zawahri by drone strike.

Politico’s Nightly Newsletter has a quite lengthy and well argued analysis of why Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan trip has stirred up so much tension, and how bad the aftermath could be. Scroll down to BLUSTER, NO BRAWL

Ayman al-Zawahri killed by drone strike
The early-morning strike in the heart of downtown Kabul over the weekend capped a 21-year manhunt for an Egyptian radical who more than anyone besides Bin Laden was deemed responsible for the deadliest foreign attack on the United States in modern times and never gave up targeting Americans.

We had hoped that Jeremy might address the shameful story Canada abandoned Ukrainian embassy employees despite their likelihood of being on Russian hit list
So far no comment from Ottawa. At least one friend wonders about Chrystia Freeland’s reaction.

Lebanon is in the third year of a financial meltdown that has left eight in ten people poor and which the World Bank says is deliberate and may be one of the three worst in modern times.World Bank accuses Lebanese politicians of cruelty over deposit promises
The World Bank accused Lebanese politicians of being cruel by asserting that deposits in the country’s collapsed banking sector are sacred, saying such slogans “flagrantly contradict the reality” in a report on Wednesday.
Thursday will mark two years since the deadly blast at Beirut’s port — considered the world’s biggest nonnuclear explosion — and there hasn’t been anyone held accountable in the country’s probe into the negligent storage of dangerous chemicals. Over the weekend, grain storage silos at the port, which were damaged during the explosion that killed 200 people, partially collapsed after being consumed by fire for weeks. Many in Lebanon blame government corruption and mismanagement for the tragedy, but the political elite’s stronghold on power is believed to be an impediment for justice. Some of those charged in the investigation were reelected to Parliament earlier this year.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
C. Uday Bhaskar: Amid Ukraine war, gap between nuclear weapon haves and have-nots needs urgent attention
The NPT Review Conference should address concerns over the failure of nuclear weapon states to make progress on disarmament
(SCMP) The international conference to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) could be one of the most important yet most bitterly contested global meetings in recent years.
The deliberations of the nearly month-long 10th NPT Review Conference starting today [1 August] in New York will affect how nuclear weapons will be managed in the decades ahead.

Hong Kong slips into second recession since 2019 mass protests
International financial hub’s economy shrinks 1.4 percent in the second quarter, after previous 3.9 percent decline.

Pope Francis’ “penitential pilgrimage” has ended, but the last word will not be written for months -possibly years. Christine Jamieson, Concordia Associate Professor, Theological Studies, sums up the problem(s) Pope Francis’s visit to Canada was full of tensions — both from what was said and what wasn’t.

U.S. Primaries
Abortion rights shockwave rocks the midterms and 3 other takeaways from primaries
(NPR) Tuesday was the biggest primary day left on the 2022 midterm calendar — and there were some telling results that could have implications for this fall, from the state of abortion rights in this country to the risks to Republicans and Democrats posed by former President Donald Trump’s influence.

Kyle Matthews has been invited by the Council of Europe to be a speaker at the November World Forum for Democracy

3 out of 5 candidates taking part in final Conservative leadership debate tonight
The topics include Indigenous issues, climate change, affordability, transportation and health.
Pierre Poilievre and Leslyn Lewis are not participating.
338Canada: Is Canada’s Conservative race a given?
Parsing the latest polling for hypotheticals and inevitabilities in the leadership contest led by Pierre Poilievre.
New data on the Conservative Party of Canada leadership contest was unveiled last week. While Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre remains the unquestioned favorite, former federal Progressive Conservative leader and Quebec Premier Charest has significantly improved his standing in recent months, both with the general electorate and among CPC supporters.

As the Atlantic Council noted recently, Mayors are quickly becoming international diplomats.. Therefore the importance of international gatherings like the World Cities Summit 2022, an exclusive platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships.
In other city-related news, Indonesia Breaks Ground on Its New Capital City Indonesia has begun clearing land to build the new city of Nusantara from scratch in a bid to alleviate overcrowding in Jakarta and promote equitable economic growth. The move signals Indonesia’s ambitions to be an economic powerhouse that’s also able to better spread the wealth among its 267 million citizens. How well we remember the excitement and scepticism surrounding the building of Brasília which for many years after it was built was called by Brazilians the city without a soul.

As Canada and much of the world endures heatwaves, seniors are among the most at risk. And new data shows that nearly half all of room in Quebec long-term care homes are still without air conditioners. Even though the province insists they have enough to supply one to everyone. Patients rights advocates are calling for air conditioning units in all Quebec long-term care homes, but could we not encourage a more sustainable approach?
Heatwave-proofing homes could save lives – and cut carbon …some of the solutions for decarbonising buildings: increased roof and wall insulation and double-glazed windows for energy efficiency, and replacing gas boilers with alternatives such as heat pumps which can run on renewable electricity. These same measures will also help people stay safe during future heatwaves.
Unsung climate hero: Heat pumps can cool homes and lower emissions
Replacing fossil fuel-powered heating and cooling systems in buildings with heat pumps — which, contrary to their name, not only efficiently warm buildings in cold weather but also function as air conditioners in summer — is a major way that households can fight climate change and save money.
A heat pump might help you save on utility costs, but do your research first
As energy prices soar and consumers look for ways to save on their utility bills, experts say Canadians should consider whether installing a heat pump could be part of the solution.
A heat pump is an electrically driven device that looks a bit like an air conditioner and can be used for both heating and cooling.

Long reads
Experts react: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is dead. What’s next for US counterterrorism?
For answers about what this strike means for al-Qaeda, the US approach to counterterrorism, and Afghanistan’s future.
Canada abandoned Ukrainian embassy employees despite their likelihood of being on Russian hit list
The decision to leave without informing local staff members or providing for their safety was based on a Canadian policy articulated in a Harper government memorandum in 2014 (subscribers only)
SM Teo Chee Hean at the World Cities Summit 2022 summarizes the challenges and opportunities for World Cities noting that since the last meeting of the group in 2018, “we have been weathering a world-wide pandemic, and facing the global effects of a war in Europe. We are also facing longer term secular trends, such as climate change, and attitudes towards a more integrated global economy have shifted. All these have major impacts on cities. Cities formed and grew because of the important economic, social, and cultural functions they play. But cities have also generated new problems because of the growth of economic activity and the crush of many people living together – and over the centuries, cities have been afflicted by plague, pollution, and uprisings.”
Students returning to campus want the ‘university experience’ missed during COVID-19
We asked thousands of students around the world about what they have missed most from pre-pandemic student life, as part of a broader study on COVID-19 and higher education at the Policy, Elections, & Representation Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

I recently consumed some excerpts of this highly readable book and found it fascinating
Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping by Roger Faligot

One of our all-time favorite travel-related headlines: The travel chaos is partially because passengers travel with black suitcases, head of Frankfurt Airport says
In view of the recent devastating floods, it hardly seems right to add this 2019 gem to headline favorites, Lawyers for Noah’s Ark theme park are suing its insurance company for rain damage
Just when you think Trump has reached venality maximus, e.g.
Ivana Trump passes away at the age of 73; Donald Trump attempts to fundraise off the announcement
comes this item
Dartmouth professor alleges ‘trifecta of tax avoidance’ burying Trump’s ex-wife on his golf course
A researcher confirmed earlier media reports indicating former President Donald Trump may receive hefty tax breaks for having his ex-wife buried on the Trump-owned golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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