Wednesday Night #2156

Written by  //  July 12, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2156

Pretty much the expected outcome
Despite Successes at NATO Summit, Divisions Remain
The alliance added Sweden, laid out new ambitions for itself and offered long-term support for Ukraine, promising membership someday. But Kyiv wanted more.
Turkey lifted its objections to Sweden’s membership. The alliance approved new spending goals and its most ambitious military plans for Europe’s defense since the Cold War. There were new commitments for long-term support for Kyiv. And all 31 member states agreed that Ukraine belongs in NATO, a significant shift stemming from its brave, resilient defense of its country and of Western values.
Even so, the summit’s final communiqué, with its ambiguous diplomatic language, does not disguise some serious strains among alliance members in the bitter fight over how to describe Ukraine’s path toward NATO membership, and the US and UK call for more gratitude from Kyiv after Zelenskiy’s NATO complaint that his country had not been given firm timetable for joining alliance

Analysis: Ukraine rolls back 6 months of Russian gains in 5 weeks
Assessment of Ukraine’s counteroffensive suggests it has retaken 253sq km (98sq miles) of its territory since June.
Jeremy Kinsman: When Will Putin Finally Grasp That Russia Has Lost?
That the war is going badly for Russia is seemingly something everyone knows but him
News and analysis of Putin and Russia are complicated by the shifting sands of the status of Yevgeny Prigozhin and his whereabouts. Questions emerged this week about Prigozhin’s current standing with the Kremlin after he appeared to move freely in Russia despite the deal with Moscow under which he agreed to relocate to Belarus. Prigozhin’s current whereabouts are unknown. According to flight tracking data of his private jet, he has flown several times between Moscow and St Petersburg, where local news outlets reported sightings of him.
The media seek him here; the pundits seek him there
The [allies] seek him everywhere
Is he in Heaven? Is he in Hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel
With apologies to Baroness Orczy

For some time, we have been observing events in Israel with a combination of disgust and dismay, particularly in light of recent Facebook posts from Sauvé alumnus Tomer Avital who is an active participant -and frequent leader- of demonstrations against the actions of the Government. We are heartened therefore to read The U.S. Reassessment of Netanyahu’s Government Has Begun by the influential Thomas Friedman and hope that he is right that “Biden is prepared to get in Netanyahu’s face before America’s 2024 election suggests that our president believes he has the support not only of most Americans for this but of most American Jews and even most Israeli Jews. He is right on all three counts.”

Bank of Canada raises key interest rate to 5%, highest since 2001
The Bank of Canada has increased its benchmark interest rate to 5 per cent and pushed out the timeline for getting consumer prices under control, warning that the downward momentum of inflation could stall over the next year as the economy proves surprisingly resilient to higher borrowing costs.
The quarter-point increase, which was widely expected by analysts, brings the policy rate to a level last seen in April, 2001. This will further squeeze Canadians’ finances and push up costs for mortgage holders.
In an updated forecast, the central bank said it expects the annual rate of inflation to remain around 3 per cent for the next year, declining to the bank’s 2-per-cent target by the middle of 2025.

Canadian media, Bill C-18 and Big Tech
The Trudeau government appears to be backing down from its combative stance over the Online News Act. Will that be enough to calm the troubled waters?
Highly recommend
Cuts, concentration and C18: What will it take to save Canada’s news industry?
The Sunday Magazine with Piya Chattopadhyay (audio)
Amid an escalating fight between Ottawa and tech giants over the Online News Act, employee layoffs, and a shrinking media landscape… what will it take to save our news industry – and where does it all leave Canadians? David Common parses through the issues shaping our media world with former broadcaster Kevin Newman, Vass Bednar, the executive director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy Program, and former Wikimedia Foundation executive director and CBC journalist Sue Gardner.

While this is all being sorted out – or not-  we are hoping that one of our more social-media-savvy Wednesday Nighters will be able to enlighten us regarding the importance and impact of introduction of ThreadsReluctant Twitter users, influencers and others are flocking to Meta’s new Threads app
Do we need to pay attention? Why? Why not?

Labour minister asks mediator for terms to end B.C. port strike
Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan says he has asked a federal mediator to provide recommendations for settlement within a day after deciding the two sides are not far enough apart to justify prolonging the strike.
Both sides of B.C. port strike now considering mediator’s recommended deal

Canada and the Environment
As we justifiably worry about the rampant Canadian wildfires, and warily rejoice over the arrival of rain, (After heavy rains, floodwaters begin to recede in parts of Quebec) look what is happening in Vermont – scary! Catastrophic flooding swamped Vermont’s capital as intense storms forced evacuations and closures in Northeast
Our thoughts are with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, hospitalized for ‘overwork, fatigue and stress,’ husband says
The Canadian Lake that marks the Anthropocene, when humans started changing the planet (paywall)
A small lake near Toronto is on the verge of becoming the representative site of humanity’s impact on the planet across geologic time
On Tuesday, an international panel of scientists announced that Crawford Lake, a small body of water located 50 kilometres west of Toronto, has emerged from among a dozen candidates around the world as the place that best records the dawn of the human epoch.
That epoch, they say, began during the middle of the 20th century, when our species effectively became the main driver of global change.
Those who study Earth as an interconnected system maintain that this transition marks not only a turning point in history, but the beginning of a new interval in geologic time. And while the Anthropocene is unfolding everywhere around the world, its arrival was preserved with unusual precision at Crawford Lake.

From Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Andrew Caddell devotes his Hill Times column to
Alexander Graham Bell was a giant ahead of his time
We talk about ‘early adopters,’ but Bell was one long before the phrase was popularized.

Christopher Bourne has informed us that he will be returning to Dawson to teach for the fall semester and into the foreseeable future. His wife will remain at their home in Lennoxville, but he is looking for part-time accommodations in Montreal from roughly mid-August to mid-December. At this point likely 4-5 nights a week (Sunday afternoon to Friday morning most weeks).
Chris asks if any Wednesday Nighters know of any rooms to rent or similar accommodations? He will have early morning classes, so something near Dawson or a metro station would be ideal.

In fight against Canada fires, dancing South Africa crews are a familiar and uplifting sight
In a record-breaking year for Canada’s wildfires, with crews coming from all over the world to help out, the South Africans are a familiar and uplifting sight. This year’s deployment is the fifth — and largest — for the men and women in Working on Fire, a public works program for young people that serves as South Africa’s wildland fire agency.

A Montreal blacksmith is forging the same type of tools — axes — that were used to build the original Notre-Dame de Paris. They will be used to help rebuild the cathedral’s roof and spire.
… Meanwhile, in France, possibly at this very moment, carpenters are using axes he fashioned to carve logs of red oak into roof trusses for Notre-Dame-de-Paris. … The axes had to be as close as possible to the originals used by the carpenters who first built the cathedral in the 12th and 13th centuries — so that the new wood beams would bear the same markings as the old.
After a 2019 fire destroyed part of its roof, walls and spire, officials in France decided to reproduce the church exactly as it had been built some 800 years ago.
To know what types of axes to make, Soumia Luquet, the director of the Maison Luquet, a traditional workshop near Munster, France, and her team analyzed the markings that remained on wood oak beams salvaged from Notre-Dame. They also looked at old engravings that showed workmen of the time hoisting axes and using tools.
They decided on five models of axes — some built for chopping, others for finer, finishing work. But to make enough for the team of craftspeople, they needed to make multiple replicas of each axe, 60 in total. Given that it takes nine to 14 hours to make one axe, Luquet knew they needed additional manpower.
… In a way, Luquet said, the fire gave them the opportunity to build a new knowledge base, to relearn an art that was lost to history, and, as one of their team put it, to rebuild the cathedral, destroyed in a fire, with the fires of their forges.

Schadenfreude for those of us who seriously dislike and avoid imposed self-checkout
Self-checkout theft causing problems for retailers — and shoppers who despise receipt checks
Our personal quarrel has been with the Pharmaprix in Alexis Nihon where the policy was introduced and strictly enforced early on. More Shoppers Drug Mart customers complain they were pushed to use self-checkout

Long reads
Bill 96 is an attempt to scrub English from the mouths of Quebeckers

Thomas Friedman: The U.S. Reassessment of Netanyahu’s Government Has Begun
Let’s talk about Jenin by M Muhannad Ayyash, Professor of Sociology at Calgary’s Mount Royal University
If we are to have just, sustainable peace in Palestine, we should do everything we can to set the record straight on what’s happening in the Jenin Refugee Camp.

While we certainly share the problems identified, given our experience in Montreal with city government, the proposed solution is not one we would choose
We Need a Department of Sidewalks
Our walkways are for running, strolling, dining, delivering, protesting, loitering. It’s time for cities to give them some attention.

Beware the Luxury Beach Resort
These ostensible paradises have a dark side.
“The people who might most benefit from this book—those who have bought into the myth of paradise with an ocean view, deleterious impact be damned, and have the means to regularly experience a version of it—don’t want their illusions destroyed. If they were to receive The Last Resort as, say, a (passive-aggressive) birthday gift, they might well immediately fling it into the giveaway bin.”

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