Wednesday Night #2136

Written by  //  February 22, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2136

One month ago, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ organization moved the seconds hand of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight The Doomsday Clock is now at 90 seconds to midnight — the closest we have ever been to global catastrophe … the perils posed by human-made disaster threats, which emanate from nuclear risk, climate change, biological threats and disruptive technologies.

Putin’s War and its ramifications continue to dominate the news reports, commentary, analyses and chatter as the 24 February first anniversary of the invasion approaches.
For a sampling of commentary, see Experts react: One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin ditches arms control and Biden rallies for freedom
What is obvious is that The war in Ukraine is nowhere near over, says Ian Bremmer
“Between the Munich Security Conference, Biden’s Kyiv and Warsaw visits, and Putin’s big speech, it’s been an eventful week – and it’s only Wednesday.
Momentum has swung back and forth between the two sides multiple times, and with it so has the narrative. But zoom out and some things haven’t changed at all: Ukraine remains a sovereign nation. Volodymyr Zelensky remains president. Kyiv remains free. The West remains united and steadfast in support of Ukraine. Russia remains unable to achieve its war aims. Ukraine remains unable to take back all its land. Peace remains far out of reach.”
The question of China’s role has become increasingly important: A year later, China blames U.S. ‘hegemony’ — not Russia — for war in Ukraine – Beijing insists it is neutral in the conflict, but those claims routinely clash with its rhetorical and diplomatic support for Russia.
China and Russia reaffirm close ties as Putin meets top diplomat – On eve of the Ukraine invasion anniversary, Russian leader says China relations ‘proceeding as planned’
And Matthew Kaminski, editor-in-chief of Politico, frets that The West Is Avoiding the Big Question About Ukraine – Until the U.S. and allies decide what victory looks like for Kyiv, Europe isn’t likely to have peace.
On a more cheerful note: Jeremy Kinsman writes in Policy ‘Volya’ vs. ‘Vlast’: Why Ukraine is Winning

On the other side of the world, Cleo Paskal shines light on events in the Pacific Island States, citing China names special envoy to Pacific Islands as rivalry with US heats up in region, and commenting “China has appointed a “special envoy of the Chinese government” to the Pacific Islands. These post are for areas of particular focus. As an envoy of the entire government rather than, as is often the case, of just the Foreign Ministry, he may have greater access to a larger toolkit to use to expand China’s Comprehensive National Power in the region.”

India is hosting the first major event of its G20 presidency, the Feb. 22-25 meeting of G20 finance and central bank chiefs. Debt in focus as G20 finance chiefs meet in India
G20 finance and central bank chiefs meet in India at the first-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to discuss rising debt troubles among developing countries, the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the global slowdown.
Bloomberg comments India Is Speaking Loudly and Carrying a Bigger Stick
India, which is  welcoming the world’s finance titans in Bengaluru later this week, is using its fresh platform as Group of 20 host to push a range of changes to the traditional global order.
In a challenge to the decades-long norms led by the US and other Western powers, India has nominated itself as leader of the Global South — developing countries largely located in the Southern Hemisphere — and argued that these countries deserve greater say in international matters.
C Uday Bhaskar is concerned by the justice system
In Indian Constitution vs Collegium Debate, Can the Govt & Judiciary Reconcile?
While SC system nominating own peers needs review, so does legislature intimidating judiciary for subaltern position
The run-up to the 74th Republic Day has been discordant in a visible manner as evidenced in recent weeks, with the interpretation of the Indian constitution and the inviolability of its ‘Basic Structure’ being contested by the leading lights of the legislature.

More violence in Israel -and inevitably more to come
Israeli forces kill 10 Palestinians in Nablus raid
Dozens of Palestinians also wounded by live fire and taken to hospital after violent Israeli incursion in the occupied West Bank city.
Mass protests as Israel moves ahead with judicial ‘reform’
Legislation to get first reading in Knesset as the most right-wing government in Israel’s history forges ahead with the changes despite opposition.

Former president Jimmy Carter opts for home hospice care for final days
Fun fact: In 1976, Joe Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s campaign. From Jonathan Alter’s “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life”: “[Biden] joked that at age thirty-three, he was still two years shy of the constitutional age requirement to be president. So, since he couldn’t yet run himself, he was backing Jimmy.”

Nigeria’s election on 25 February has been described as pivotal to the progress of democracy in Africa, where military coups and attempts by longstanding rulers to cling to power have raised fears of a “democratic retreat” from advances made since the end of the cold war. Young Nigerians warming to outsider Peter Obi in final race for presidency
Polls put businessman ahead of the two main parties in next weekend’s elections seen as key ‘inflection point’ for the country.

Is it just us, or is there an overwhelming amount of (often conflicting) information and product pushing for various chatbots? It seems that there is an urgent desire to get users addicted immediately, while the jury is still out on what and how to regulate. On Wednesday we are informed that Microsoft brings Bing chatbot to phones after curbing quirks – ‘curbing’ quirks doesn’t sound reassuring. And to further undermine your confidence: Disinformation Researchers Raise Alarms About A.I. Chatbots – Researchers used ChatGPT to produce clean, convincing text that repeated conspiracy theories and misleading narratives.

Again! Many flights cancelled, delayed as winter storm grips parts of Canada
A new set of problems for Canadian immigration Trudeau calls for renegotiated border treaty to halt Roxham Road migrants — U.S. envoy pushes back and Trudeau knocks Poilievre’s ‘simplistic’ call to close Roxham Road
Quebec’s healthcare dire situation
Quebec’s new email offer to nurses, teachers and psychologists falls flat
Quebec’s new offers on working conditions for teachers, nurses and psychologists have fallen flat. The Treasury Board even had to send them by email to the unions, who wanted to negotiate at the actual bargaining tables, not in the discussion forums where Quebec wanted to table them.
Allison Hanes: PREMs driving new doctors out of public health system
This year’s placement rate for McGill grads offers a telling snapshot of how the process is undermining physician recruitment in Quebec.


‘Incredibly intelligent, highly elusive’: US faces new threat from Canadian ‘super pig’
Northern states on alert for invasion of cross-bred pig that threatens flora and fauna – and is difficult to stop

The Grim Secret of Nordic Happiness
It’s not hygge, the welfare state, or drinking. It’s reasonable expectations.
In terms of expectations for a good life, lagom [which can be translated as “just the right amount,”] encourages contentment with life’s bare necessities. If you already have those, you have nothing to complain about. Ergo, you are happy.

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