Wednesday Night #2152

Written by  //  June 14, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2152

Silvio Berlusconi, scandal-ridden former Italian prime minister, dies aged 86
The Many Twists, Quotes and Scandals of Silvio BerlusconiThe former prime minister of Italy reveled in the spotlight, even when it shined on him for causing offense.
Silvio Berlusconi may be gone, but Trump’s still here.
The former Italian PM, who combined celebrity antics with rightwing populism, laid the groundwork for Trumpism

Boris Johnson resigns as MP with immediate effect and says he is ‘bewildered and appalled’ at being ‘forced out’
Latest news is that Boris and Nigel Farage are teaming up. Whatever happens we can count on Boris to continue to stir the pot.

And a few hours later, David Johnston resigning as special rapporteur on foreign interference Not surprising given the attacks on his neutrality, competence and relationship with the Trudeau family and Foundation.
Unravelling the Canada-China Interference Saga
Also, see Paul Wells Long Read below.
Another dimension of China’s interference came to light on Wednesday Ottawa launching review of Canada’s membership in China-led development bank

Donald Trump arraignment
Almost anticlimactic – after weeks and months of anticipation- The former president, in growing legal peril, faced down the most serious threat to his personal liberty and political future like just another day on the campaign trail
Politico Playbook: Scenes from a presidential arraignment
Donald Trump was given permission to have continued contact with witnesses, most of whom work with or for him in Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster, including co-defendant Walt Nauta.
Here’s what you need to know about the legal next steps in this case:
Here are the legal next steps in the Trump documents case
Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to the slew of federal charges against him for storing dozens of classified documents at his Florida resort and refusing to return them to the FBI and the National Archives.
Special counsel Jack Smith wants the trial to move quickly — a “speedy” trial legally begins within 70 days — but there’s a lot that could get in the way of that.
You can’t tell the players without a program:  Aileen Cannon; Jack Smith; Jim Trusty and John Rowley; Walt Nauta; Todd Blanche; and the “firm to be named later,” More to follow, for sure.

Russia, Ukraine, Putin’s War
It seems pointless to dwell on the daily, too often painful, incremental and for the moment inconclusive, developments as Ukraine pursues its counteroffensive. However, Wednesday’s announcement that Belarus has started taking delivery of Russian nuclear weapons is far from reassuring. Suggested reading: What Happens if Russia Stashes Nukes in Belarus
The Economist‘s worries about the “Abominable showman”: the rise of Wagner’s Yevgeny PrigozhinPutin created him. Could the outspoken mercenary become the next president? would appear premature as Putin is now siding with his military chiefs over placing Wagner under direct control -a considerable blow to Prigozhin. See more on  Putin takes to TV

Netanyahu’s coalition suffers embarrassing defeat in Israel
In one of the most dramatic days for Israel’s parliament this year, the Israeli opposition won a crucial vote when its lawmaker was elected as one of the two Knesset representatives on the committee that appoints judges.
Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas is in Beijing where Xi told him China willing to help foster Palestinian peacemaking with Israel. However, Experts quash claims by Beijing that the Palestinian Authority president’s visit will facilitate new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and maintain that China’s Palestinian moment is about global standing rather than peace

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday backed a proposal by some artificial intelligence executives for the creation of an international AI watchdog body like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while Europe moves ahead on AI regulation, challenging tech giants’ power -European lawmakers voted to approve the E.U. AI Act, putting Brussels a step closer to shaping global standards for artificial intelligence – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday took a key step toward passing a landmark artificial intelligence bill, putting Brussels on a collision course with American tech giants funneling billions of dollars into the burgeoning technology

Following up on last Wednesday’s discussion: Forget the metaverse. For $3,500, Apple offers a new way to be alone …the most giant tech giant announced the Vision Pro, a $3,500 “spatial reality” headset, its first major new product in half a decade. … Why would the undisputed king of the hardware space want to wade into this territory at all?
It can’t just be about sunk costs — Apple has killed costly internal projects before, rather than ship an unpopular and potentially unsuccessful product. Apple must genuinely believe that there’s a future in headset computing, and that it looks nothing like the failed fantasies of the metaverse thus far.

Bad news from Bell Media:
Bell cutting 1,300 positions, closing or selling 9 radio stations
Bureaus in London and LA closed, Washington also scaled back. The Hill bureau has lost Glen McGregor senior parliamentary correspondent and bureau chief Joyce Napier, the top two people with journalism chops.
Bell executive vice-president and chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson said the company’s media branch “can’t afford” to continue operating with its various brands — such as CTV National News, BNN, CP24, its local TV news stations and radio channels — operating independently of one another…
Maybe this explains the abrupt cancellation of  CTV’s Diplomatic Community with Jeremy Kinsman?

All politics is local  –at least when a byelection looms.
Andrew Caddell devotes his weekly Hill Times column to next week’s NDG-Westmount contest
Quebec byelection leaves Anglo voters with little choice
Language is on the minds of many voters, and many anglophones may spoil their ballots to show their dissatisfaction.
Normally, Gainey would be a cinch to win the riding. But this time around, anger against Bill C-13 is almost visceral. A local contractor, Alex Montagano, is seeking out the protest vote, and Green candidate Jonathan Pedneault is going against his party in opposing C-13. But whatever the result, there is a consensus the people of NDG-Westmount are not happy. And for good reason.
Despite the discussion we had with Jonathan, he still does not seem to understand that NDG-Westmount voters know all about the Green Party position on the Environment, right now, the only topic they care about is Bill C-13 and the fed Libs abandonment of their traditional base
Greens’ Pedneault optimistic Montreal byelection will mirror ‘angry Liberals’ seeking climate crisis alternatives
Although the Green Party is only polling provincially at about six per cent, concern over the environment is the most pressing issue for Quebec voters, says pollster Nik Nanos.

To rebuild Notre Dame’s fire-ravaged roof, carpenters use centuries-old techniques
At Ateliers Perrault, a 250-year-old carpentry company in France’s Loire Valley — one of the two chosen to restore the roof — you don’t hear the whirring of electric saws. It’s the chopping of axes that resounds as craftsmen transform oak trees into long, rectangular beams by hand.
Pennsylvania using tons of recycled glass nuggets to rebuild collapsed Interstate 95
Pennsylvania will truck in 2,000 tons of lightweight glass nuggets to help quickly rebuild a collapsed section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia and crews will work 24 hours a day until they can reopen the critical commercial artery, officials said Wednesday.
Instead of rebuilding the overpass right away, crews will use the recycled glass to fill in the collapsed area to avoid supply-chain delays for other materials, Gov. Josh Shapiro said.
The Girsu Project combines research, on-site training and heritage management of one of the world’s oldest cities.
Discovery of 4,500-year-old palace in Iraq may hold key to ancient civilisation
Sumerian Lord Palace of the Kings found in archeological collaboration with British Museum
Ancient Sumerian palace found in southern Iraq
Project led by the British Museum uncovers significant information about the ancient civilisation
PG Wodehouse to now carry trigger warning as cancel culture of classic English literature spreads
Jeeves and Wooster series amongst books censored for ‘outdated language, themes or characterisations’
PG Wodehouse is the latest literary great to be targeted by cancel culture, as the publisher Penguin announces text removals and a trigger warning for all new editions of Wodehouse books.
While Penguin maintains that removals “do not affect the story,” the publisher has faced backlash for its decision to blue-pencil PG Wodehouse’s works. No kidding!

Quebec Wildfires
More firefighters from abroad arrive to help Canada battle wildfires
…the fire effort has also been bolstered by the arrival this week of two contingents of firefighters from the United States, representing about 80 people, with 40 more Americans coming.
There are currently about 1,100 firefighters on the ground across the province, according to the province’s fire prevention agency… more reinforcements are coming, with 100 firefighters on their way from Portugal and another 140 from Spain.
Personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Force are helping battle the fires on the North Shore of Quebec. The prime minister says military personnel will get more training for ‘inevitable climate emergencies.’
The PM says the federal government will work in tandem with provinces to offer disaster assistance programs… [He] also said the government will have to invest into [sic] more water bombers and disaster training for the military and the general population to better respond to “inevitable climate emergencies” over the next few years. About those water bombers – someone isn’t briefing the PM, he should have checked this out before speaking Is Canada ready for a fiery future? We tallied up all of its water bomber planes to find out
Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair has spoken with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — America’s federal disaster response force — on how to better cooperate in responding to major natural disasters.
“We’ve been talking about even a NORAD-like approach,” he said. “Because these emergencies of wildfires, floods, earthquakes, emergencies writ large and all hazards — they’re borderless.” WOW! Deep thinking!
With all those foreign firefighters coming to Quebec, we cannot help but wonder about implications for language of work … a concern we share with Grand Chief and Chairperson of the Cree Nation Mandy Gull-Masty, who fears Quebec’s new French-language law will complicate relief during natural disasters With wildfires affecting every community in her nation, she said she hopes the Quebec government takes a look at how the changes to the French-Language Charter will affect communication and logistics with the 11 communities spanning around 400,000 square kilometres of the Eeyou Istchee (Cree territory).

Greatly enjoyed CBC’s Cost of Living interview with Sean Silcoff  -lessons learned from the rise and fall of what was once one of the most important tech companies in the world: Blackberry. Unfortunately, I am unable to separate the segment from the rest of the podcast, and after the intro, it comes towards the end. The other topics are interesting, just not Sean.

Long reads
Ian Bremmer: Who runs the world?
About 15 years ago, the world changed again – and it got a lot more complicated. The United States became less interested in being the world’s policeman, the architect of global trade, and even the cheerleader of global values. And lots of other countries grew powerful enough to ignore rules they didn’t like and, occasionally, to set some themselves. That’s the G-Zero world order I named my media company after and constantly write about – a leaderless world.
Three things happened to cause this “geopolitical recession” – when the global architecture no longer lines up with the underlying balance of power.
Paul Wells gets better and better
Ostriches on the runway
Notable quotes:
“You can tell the Trudeau government is really badly rattled when it starts doing what it should have done in the first place”.
“Last September, the CBC’s Aaron Wherry reported, Justin Trudeau told his caucus “to focus on four Cs: competence, confidence, contrast and campaign-readiness (in that order).” I’m left wondering how the prime minister defines competence and how he thinks he’s doing. This is a guy who, when he made those remarks, was less than a year past deciding that the biggest problem with his cabinet was that Marc Garneau was in it.”
The United States v. Donald Trump
It’s important to understand why exactly the former president was arrested today.
Farewell to the Man Who Gave Us Trump
Mr. Berlusconi’s story is an inextricably Italian one. But it also goes beyond the peninsula. In leveraging his fame and celebrity to gain power — and managing against all odds to retain it — Mr. Berlusconi provided a template for Mr. Trump’s political career.
The Covid inquiry is digging up Boris Johnson’s blunders and the mess keeps piling up
The former prime minister seems determined to drag the Tories down with him when the public hearings into Britain’s handling of the pandemic begin

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