Wednesday Night #2157

Written by  //  July 19, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2157

Putin’s War and the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal are worrisome. As of Wednesday, there is no good news and hardly a glimmer of hope.
Wednesday’s news includes sightings of Yevgeny Prigozhin, apparently none the worse for wear.
Russia says decision not to extend Black Sea grain deal is final
No more talks planned, says official, despite Turkish leader expressing hope of progress at UN meeting
All sides accept that if the suspension lasts more than a few days, it may be impossible to revive the deal, meaning grain prices will rise.
Ian Bremmer strikes a more hopeful note in The limits of Russia’s grain weapon, pointing out that “On Monday, the Kremlin said the deal was suspended, not canceled, which would allow Russia to return to the agreement – as it did last November after a previous halt”, adding ” Moscow’s concern for its image in developing countries leaves it no more likely to attack ships carrying grain to foreign ports than during last fall’s pause in the agreement.” However, his optimism is not shared.

We are slightly confused by the recent development in U.S.-Israel relations. We thought it was understood that President Biden was severely displeased by the right-wing antics of the Netanyahu government and was planning to send a reprimand home with Israeli President Isaac Herzog – instead, he has invited Bibi to come to the U.S. – but not a state visit. Meantime, while Israeli citizens continue to demonstrate in great numbers, President Herzog lectured U.S. Congress members on the dangers of criticism of the State of Israel becoming antisemitic statements. We will refrain from comment.

Legacy of Boris Johnson Looms Over By-election to Replace Him
The vote to pick a new member of Parliament in the ex-prime minister’s once-reliably Conservative district is just one of three by-elections on Thursday that will give a snapshot of Britain’s mood.

Canada’s inflation rate falls to 2.8 per cent but long road ahead to price stability
The annual inflation rate in Canada has eased to its lowest level since early 2021 and fallen within the Bank of Canada’s target range, marking a milestone on a journey back to price stability that could last for another two years.
The Bank of Canada has raised its trend-setting policy interest rate twice in the past two months – in June, then again last week. Both times, it cited concerns that inflation could get stuck well above 2 per cent. The two hikes ended a five-month pause to changes in the bank’s policy interest rate, which now stands at 5 per cent.
“Even as headline inflation has come down largely as we forecast, underlying inflationary pressures are proving more persistent than we expected,” Mr. Macklem said after the latest rate hike. “Higher interest rates are needed to slow the growth of demand in the economy and relieve price pressures.”
Mark your calendars
We look forward to welcoming Peter Berezin next week for his usual enlightening commentary on all things economic.
Wildfires in Canada have burned a staggering 25 million acres so far this year, an area roughly the size of Kentucky. With more than a month of peak fire season left to go, 2023 has already eclipsed Canada’s previous annual record from 1989, when over 18 million acres were scorched. And the country’s worst wildfire season on record continues to rage. How Canada’s Record Wildfires Got So Bad, So Fast
It’s hard to keep up with the Vancouver Port strike. On Tuesday, the ILWU dock workers rejected a tentative four-year wage deal that was agreed with their employers last week and returned to the picket line, but federal labour minister Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan called the renewed strike action illegal following the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ruling Wednesday morning that it was “unlawful.” The union did not give the required 72-hours notice before striking, according to CIRB’s decision. So the ILWU served the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) with a 72-hour strike notice starting at 9 a.m. PT Saturday morning. Meanwhile, amidst calls for Ottawa to pass back-to-work legislation from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), late Wednesday afternoon, the PM convened the Incident Response Group emergency committee. Stay tuned!
The, there is the housing (political) crisis
The Liberals are planning to lose a housing election
Right now the federal government is set up to continually fail unless it starts imposing some organization on a policy file it clearly has trouble grasping.
The Feds seem to be doing something right – Who knew? Canada recruits high-skilled foreigners in US – and gets 10,000 applications – Government launches work permit for foreign workers with H-1B visa in US and meets target number of applicants in just two days
All well and good, but we hope that the people responsible for this program are reading and analysing the housing crisis information above – could be some conflict.

‘Significant progress’ in in[ter]ference inquiry talks but no call yet: minister
A comprehensive account of the ‘election interference’ issue
Canadian Politicians Who Criticize China Become Its Targets
As China increases its reach in diaspora communities, Chinese Canadian politicians in Vancouver are the focus of Chinese state interference in Canadian politics.

We will wait for more concrete news
US, China to work ‘intensively’ on climate issues in weeks ahead
US envoy John Kerry says more work needed before agreement with China on key issues as both nations try to rebuild trust.
and instead, direct your attention to the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, or BBNJ, aka High Seas Treaty, the first-ever pact to govern and protect international waters and related developments, including recent this week’s meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which aims to adopt a revised greenhouse gas emission strategy for the shipping sector. See Oceans and seas 2020-
Intensifying heat waves prompt health warnings for Europe, US
The heatwave engulfing the northern hemisphere is set to intensify, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and deaths, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Temperatures in North America, Asia, and across North Africa and the Mediterranean will be above 40°C for a prolonged number of days this week, the WMO said.
Soaring temperatures across southern Europe could prompt a shift in tourist habits, with more travelers choosing cooler destinations, experts predict. Breaking News Editor for Companies Jo Mason tells the Reuters World News podcast why Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark are the upcoming top tickets.

Singapore’s passport is now the most powerful in the world. Here’s how other countries ranked
What it means is that the Singapore passport allows holders visa-free entry to 192 destinations out of 227 in the world.
The global passport ranking for 2023 was conducted based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority, or IATA, which ranks the world’s passports based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
Germany, Italy and Spain tied in second place, with their citizens being able to visit 190 global destinations.

An old idea that may be enjoying new life?
Un campus universitaire sur le site de l’ancien hôpital Royal Victoria?

Last week we asked about Threads and received no answers. This week, we add to that query What is the fediverse and why does Threads want to join?

Long reads
‘We are damned fools’: scientist who sounded climate alarm in 80s warns of worse to come
James Hansen, who testified to Congress on global heating in 1988, says world is approaching a ‘new climate frontier’
All Is Not Well on Russian Front Lines
Dara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, focusing on Russian defense and security issues.
(NYT Opinion) In the wake of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed rebellion, it seems as if Russia’s leaders are living in an alternate reality.

Lest we be accused of promoting all work and no play, need we remind you that on Friday, the Barbie movie is being released. The reviews are far more favourable than we would have expected, but what is more entertaining is The Right-Wing Backlash Against ‘Barbie’ Is Hilariously Flopping
From “Margot Robbie is mid” to complaints about Ken not having balls, they’re throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks
and this: Ted Cruz Goes to War Against Barbie
Tired of beefing with Big Bird, he’s picked another pop culture icon to fight with and lose to.
If all this sounds too frivolous, ‘Oppenheimer’ is also being released on Friday. Reviews are excellent, e.g.: Christopher Nolan Makes a Riveting Historical Psychodrama, but It Doesn’t Build to a Big Bang
Cillian Murphy gives a phenomenal performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw creation of the atomic bomb, in a film that’s ruthlessly authentic and, for much of its three hours, gripping

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