Wednesday Night #2135

Written by  //  February 15, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2135

News of the death toll (estimated at well over 40,000) and devastation wreaked in Turkey/Turkiye and Syria by last week’s earthquake is punctuated with occasional stories of miraculous survival. At last, some aid is getting to Syria, but the situation is dire. Death toll in Turkey and Syria earthquake tops 41,000 as UN says rescue phase is coming to a close. Blame is being cast on engineers and contractors for faulty construction, and on the government for collusion (See Gwynne Dyer Blame Erdogan, not ‘destiny,’ for the earthquake devastation in Turkey); Erdogan’s chances for reelection are being viewed as somewhat in doubt.

One of the most deplorable related matters is Elon Musk‘s latest attempt to squeeze revenue out of Twitter by planning to charge for API , a crucial Twitter tool that thousands of volunteer software developers have been using to comb the platform for calls for help — including from people trapped in collapsed buildings — and connect people with rescue organizations.

First, came the mysteries of Balloongate and the three mysterious flying objects that were subsequently shot down. with much concern over the fragility of relations between the U.S. and China
Our friend C Uday Bhaskar suggests that the(se) event(s) Raises questions over equitable management of use of space as a domain China-US balloon fracas.

Then, award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published a piece accusing the U.S. and Norway of shutting down by blowing up sections of the Nordstream gas pipeline.
Ian Bremmer takes issue (Who blew up Nord Stream?) and suggests that it is more likely Ukraine, possibly aided and abetted by Poland, that was responsible. Stay tuned, this could be fun.

Putin’s War
Russia is expected to intensify its efforts as the February 24th first-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine approaches.
Battles in Vuhledar, Bakhmut Signal Imminent Russian Offensive, Analysts Say
Meanwhile conjecture continues regarding the role and importance of Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder and leader of the Wagner Group.
The war will be the main concern of the Munich Security Conference which convenes on Friday for the three-day 2023 meeting. Accordig to Politic Chinese mobile masts loom over the Munich Security Conference – Huawei kit is set up around the venue, highlighting a sore point in Germany’s security ties with the US and allies.

Marc advises that 1880 is hosting Concordia in Singapore Feb 20/21. President Graham Carr will be there with Paul Chesser.

Peter Berezin is heading to Australia and New Zealand – will be back with us 15 or 22 March.

The news that World Bank chief David Malpass is to step down a year ahead of the end of his mandate, coming after he ran afoul of the White House for failing to say whether he accepts global warming consensus, is seen by Bloomberg as giving the Biden administration an opening to pick someone to carry out its goal of overhauling the global development lender to focus more on fighting climate change.

What an amazing legacy!
Hazel McCallion remembered at funeral as ‘matriarch of Mississauga’ and ‘political powerhouse’
Friends, family, dignitaries, and members of the public gathered to bid a fond farewell to Hazel McCallion at her state funeral on the day she would have turned 102 years old.

In contrast, last Friday Toronto Mayor John Tory resigned, after having an affair with a staffer. Since then, much ado about whether he should or should not withdraw his resignation. Just Google it. We are very curious whether there may be darker secrets behind this story.

Last week, Andrew Caddell made a surprise appearance from the Prince George Airport where his flight to Whitehorse had made an emergency landing after experiencing depressurization. This week’s Hill Times column is devoted to that experience. A flight scare makes one think
We are fortunate to live in a country where things can be counted on to work, and when they don’t, people step up to the plate.

Human or AI author?
Online ad for lawyer Jeffrey Smart
If you’re Charged with Impaired Driving call us and learn how

Things Canadian
IRCC is out of control
In November it was announced that Canada will aim to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023, but there is an apparently incurable backlog.
On Monday (13 Feb), CBC published the story of a group of Iranian nationals who have waited years for Canada to process their permanent residency (PR) applications. They say Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has failed them with “unreasonably long” delays and in some cases by denying their visitor visas, keeping them physically apart for years.
But the group’s petition — a letter signed by all 110 individuals and addressed to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Jan. 9, 2023, demanding some reprieve or answers — was ignored.
On Friday (the 10th) IRCC Minister Fraser indicated that Canada may fast-track immigration applications from people in the earthquake zone. On the same day, he announced that a work permit program for Hong Kong residents seeking jobs in Canada is to be extended and expanded, while Fraser also said Ottawa was expanding eligibility for the program. A week earlier, Canada voted to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees. Then, after the federal government agreed to repatriate 19 Canadian women and children held in Syrian detention camps for suspected ISIS members and their families, the Federal Court ordered the government to repatriate four Canadian men currently being held in northeastern Syria, including ‘Jihadi Jack’ Letts (Yazidis plead with Canada not to repatriate alleged ISIS members)
And in December, Afghan refugees in limbo as resettlement program becomes full after weeks

Petition urges Postmedia not to cut 25% of Montreal Gazette newsroom staff
Postmedia is reportedly planning to lay off 11 per cent of its editorial staff, according to leaked audio from a January meeting. Some figures circulating suggest the Montreal Gazette would be hit particularly hard, with a planned cut of nearly 25 per cent of its newsroom.That led to the creation of the “Friends of the Montreal Gazette” petition. It launched one week ago with a target goal of 1,500 signatures, which it has easily surpassed.

Canada Healthcare
Despite the warnings of such as André Picard (Lots of numbers, little imagination: The federal funding deal won’t fix health care) and Konrad Yakabuski (Trudeau offers a Band-Aid for our bleeding health care system), it appears the Premiers accept the federal health-care funding offer and now the bilateral wrangling begins. None of this will reduce the shortage of general practitioners and nurses, or correct the Quebec government’s inequitable distribution of GPs between urban and regional areas  (see Dr. Mark Roper Equity needed in Quebec’s distribution of family doctors), nor the lengthy wait times for non-emergency surgery, nor …

Thursday, 16 February
5:30pm – 8:30pm PST
How (not) To Build a School in Haiti -Film Screening & Replay Panel Discuss.
Register at Register to join Engineers Without Borders EWB Canada
The event will feature a screening of the documentary “How (not) to Build a School in Haiti”. Created by filmmaker Jack Newell, the film showcases the human collision of development, history and colonialism when a seemingly simple aid project spirals out of control in Haiti, forcing a reckoning on privilege and power.

A squad of drug-sniffing squirrels is training to join China’s police
The newest prospective members of an anti-drug police squad are discreet, quick and agile. Once they’re fully trained, they could be deployed to large, complex sites such as logistics warehouses to uncover drugs that may be hidden there. This week, a police unit in southwestern China said it had “successfully trained” six Eurasian red squirrels to sniff out drugs, as part of a national initiative to test the use of animals other than dogs in drug-busting operations.

Long reads
Jared Diamond: Like Finland, Imagine Everything That Could Go Wrong
Finland offers a model of preparing politically for any disaster. During World War II, Finns suffered greatly as a result of being cut off from imports. Finns responded after the war by setting up a government commission that meets once a month, imagines everything that could go wrong and each month plans and prepares for one such disaster. Finns are now prepared for chemical shortages, fuel shortages, medical supply shortages, an electric net failure and other eventualities.

CBC Radio, The Current, featured a long segment on the earthquake in Turkey, including interviews with Allan Emre in Winnipeg about efforts to find and help members of his family -and the situation- in the Turkish city of Adiyaman, and with Turkish ambassador to Canada, Kerim Uras. Transcript for February 13, 2023

The Cult of Secrecy – America’s Classification Crisis
At some point early in that postwar expansion of government secrecy, the authority to mark something classified gave rise to a bureaucratic reflex. For any government officer making a quick decision in the course of a busy workday, the penalties for underclassifying are quite salient, whereas penalties for overclassifying do not exist.

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