Wednesday Night #2159

Written by  //  August 2, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2159

As Tom Nichols of The Atlantic put it, This Is the Case
Every media outlet and analyst  has an opinion -a take on the case- and many are worth reading and considering, however, for an initial understanding of what is at stake, no-one is a better ‘splainer than Heather Cox Richardson August 1, 2023.

Africa – conflict and governance is in the news, not only because of the coup in Niger and resultant reaction from ECOWAS, world powers and others, but also the not-very-successful Russia-Africa summit (African leaders leave Russia summit without grain deal or a path to end the war in Ukraine). A not reassuring development was the pop-up appearance of Yevgeny Prigozhin, cheering on the coup and -of course- offering the services of the Wagner Group, giving rise to thoughts that Russia might be behind the coup in order to distract from Putin’s War in Ukraine. Could the Prigozhin/Wagner ‘insurrection’ been an updated version of a Potemkin village? An excuse to move Wagner forces to Belarus as a threat to Poland and free them up to cause havoc in Africa?

Threatening global food crisis
The world has never been wealthier or more advanced technologically, yet hunger still stalks tens of millions globally; 122 million more people now face hunger than in 2019. And now nearly 20 percent of the 1.4 billion people across Africa face hunger. (PBS Newshour)
Deep concern over the effects of the continuing failure to reach a new Black Sea grain deal is now compounded by aggressive Russian attacks on the ‘Plan B’ Danube River export route and India’s announcement of a ban on export of non-basmati white rice. It’s not often we have kind words for the Turkish president these days, but we applaud his attempts (whatever self-aggrandizing reasons he may have) to bring Russia to the table to resuscitate the grain deal (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeks to revive deal he brokered last summer after Russia strikes Odesa ports)

China, Pakistan marking mega infrastructure anniversary
(CNA) Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng arrived in the Pakistan capital on Sunday (Jul 30) to mark the 10th anniversary of an enormous economic plan that is the cornerstone of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Since its initiation in 2013, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has seen tens of billions of dollars funnelled into massive transport, energy and infrastructure projects.

As Israel continues unrepentant on its path, Tomer Avital raises the following disturbing question:
“I want to address something that supporters of the government refuse to talk about: what will happen to the state of israel if for God forbid Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves office while he is still in office?
It is not responsible to ignore such a scenario, especially Netanyahu recently feared for his life and was rushed to hospital.
So although it is not nice to talk about, in a normal democracy it should be clear to everything that happens in the script where a leader suddenly ceases to function, especially when in the background there is an unprecedented crisis and when we are surrounded by enemies. I’ll say it’s not patriotic. This is to act against the Israeli public.
The law allows the prime minister to appoint a full place to his position, but doesn’t oblige him. What happens if the prime minister chooses to leave the PM’s job vacant? ”

As the angst and arguments over AI and Chatbots continue, you may not be surprised to learn that Chatbots sometimes make things up. It seems that “Described as hallucination, confabulation or just plain making things up, it’s now a problem for every business, organization and high school student trying to get a generative AI system to compose documents and get work done.”

Have you followed the story of Henrietta Lacks and how HeLa cells became essential to medical research?
On Aug. 1, 2023, over 70 years after doctors took Lacks’ cells without her consent or knowledge, her family reached a settlement with biotech company Thermo Fisher. Lacks’ descendants had sued the company in 2021 for making billions of dollars off her cells. The family has not been previously been compensated.

On Wednesday, Justin and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau announced that they are separating. The announcement was sombre and appropriate, but we cannot help but wonder why it was made so public? Announcement on Instagram and a separate one from the PMO? All over the social media and by mid-afternoon, How the world reacted to Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s separation had made headlines in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, India and others (the AP, Guardian) to the bafflement of some friends abroad.  And in case you care: Marriage breakup might be OK for Trudeau’s political image: analysts -‘He’s been in the public eye for a long time, I don’t think a lot of things will change because of his marital status’
If this were Canada’s biggest problem, it would be loverly.

Unfortunately, it’s not. As unprecedented fire year rages on, experts warn of longer, more destructive seasons and the cost of repairing, rebuilding and replenishing will be staggering. And that’s not all. When tallying the economic toll of climate change, flooding tops the list in Canada. But the wildfire smoke that has blanketed many parts of North America this summer also comes with a financial cost.
Meanwhile, the Feds seem to have pushed everyone into opposing corners with a piece of unfortunate legislation,the Online News Act  aka Bill C-18. Trying to keep track of the twists and turns on Canada Media Matters and Bill C-18 The big question is who will back down first?
High on the list of unresolved problems: Surgery backlogs, staff shortages, no family doctor: New report highlights Canada’s health-care crisis The findings were released Wednesday (today, 2 August) by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), an independent organization which compiles and analyzes health system data. We have not had time to read the report or even the summary.
References are no longer to the housing problems across the country, but to the ‘housing crisis’ Please see two long reads on the topic.

Why cruise ships using LNG could be worse for the climate in the short term
Cruise ships using liquefied natural gas instead of oil-based fuel are supposedly a greener way to travel, but methane leakage could be making things worse

Two supermoons in August mean double the stargazing fun
The cosmos is offering up a double feature in August: a pair of supermoons culminating in a rare blue moon.
Tuesday evening’s full moon appeared slightly brighter and bigger than normal. That’s because it was closer than usual, just 222,159 miles (357,530 kilometers) away, thus the supermoon label.
Mark your calendar
The moon will be even closer the night of Aug. 30 — a scant 222,043 miles (357,344 kilometers) distant. Because it’s the second full moon in the same month, it will be what’s called a blue moon.

Long reads
Rigby and Juneau: Some advice for the prime minister upon the creation of his new National Security Council
It’s about time we caught up with our allies with this. Let’s make sure we do it right.
Trudeau’s shuffle puts new faces in charge of housing crisis and future of Canadian media
by Karl Nerenberg
While pundits focus on polls, Trudeau’s new cabinet has some serious policy challenges it must face.
Political geography aside, there are two ministers with new portfolios we should all watch carefully.
They are: Nova Scotian Sean Fraser, who moves from Immigration to Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and Pascale St-Onge, who leaves Sport and Physical Activity to take over the vast and complex Canadian Heritage department.
Michael Geist: Backdown or Bailout?- What Comes Next for the Government’s Epic Bill C-18 Miscalculation
Meta’s announcement this week that it has started to block news links in Canada on both Facebook and Instagram due to Bill C-18’s mandated payments for links approach has sparked a flurry of commentary and coverage
Taking the pulse: A snapshot of Canadian health care, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic and our growing population have placed enormous strain on Canada’s health care systems. In early 2023, the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments agreed to work together to improve health care in 4 priority areas and to report annually to Canadians. This first report is a snapshot of where we are today.
Mideast countries that are already struggling fear price hikes after Russia exits grain deal
Many have diversified their sources of wheat, the main ingredient for flatbread that is a staple of diets in many Mideast countries, and don’t expect shortages. Pakistan has even seen a bumper crop despite unprecedented flooding last year. But the end of the grain deal is creating uncertainty about price hikes, a major driver of hunger.
Why India’s rice ban could trigger a global food crisis

Comments are closed.