Morning Update July 26th, 2014 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Ont. gov passes budget; legislature goes on summer break

TORONTO — The same Liberal budget that triggered the June 12 election sailed easily through the legislature Thursday as MPPs packed up and headed home for the summer.

[...]

#2 — CTV | Quebec rejects bid by Newfoundland and Labrador to reopen Churchill Falls deal

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A Quebec Superior Court has struck down a bid by Newfoundland and Labrador to adjust the terms of a 1969 power price agreement with Hydro-Quebec for the Churchill Falls power project.

[...]

#3 — Globe | B.C. residents mourn the retirement of Mars water bombers

When lightning struck a single tree on Okanagan Mountain in 2003, sparking a fire that incinerated the forested slope and forced thousands of people out of their homes, residents waited anxiously for the Mars water bombers.

[...]

#4 — Postmedia | Fungicides linked to resistance in life-threatening fungus

Amid growing concern that fungicides are fuelling the rise of resistant and life-threatening fungus in Europe, China and India, a microbial sleuth says it is time to start filling in the gaps in Canada.

[...]

#5 — Sun | Ontario teen attempts record-setting Lake Erie swim

NANTICOKE, Ont. – Annaleise Carr, who in 2012 became the youngest person to swim Lake Ontario, began her attempt to swim cross Lake Erie Friday morning.

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WORLD

#6 — BBC | Syria conflict: Isis ‘overruns’ Raqqa military base

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) say they have overrun a large Syrian military base on the outskirts of the city of Raqqa.

[...]

#7 — CNN | Your personal information just isn’t safe

Companies can’t keep your data safe. It’s that simple.

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#8 — Fox | ObamaCare getaway: 5 US territories released from health care law

The Obama administration is coming under fire for once again making a unilateral change to ObamaCare — this time, quietly exempting the five U.S. territories and their more than 4 million residents from virtually all major provisions of the health care law.

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#9 — DM | Mystery of the ‘transformer’ pulsar

Astronomers have found a bizarre rapidly spinning star that appears to ‘vanish’ and transform every so often.

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#10 — WT | State Department: al-Maliki’s days numbered as Iraq PM

The State Department on Thursday all but showed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the door, saying he had been particularly hard to work with.

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Cooke: Obamacare’s Meaning Is Not Subject to the President’s Whim (2)

Halbig rebuked the administration’s lawlesness, but what happens next is far from clear.

This morning, at just after ten o’clock, a wave of hibernating progressives were awoken violently from their slumber, a federal court at long last issuing a ringing affirmation that, if the rule of law is to mean anything, congressional legislation must be restricted to its plain meaning. As David Harsanyi reports over at the Federalist,

Judge Griffith wrote that “the ACA unambiguously restricts the section 36B subsidy to insurance purchased on Exchanges ‘established by the State.” The law unequivocally, and more than once, stated that the federal government would only subsidize insurance plans in states that opted to create such marketplaces.

In plain English, then: There is nothing in the text of the Affordable Care Act that permits the federal government to subsidize health-insurance plans sold through federal, and not state, exchanges. Consequently, the Obama administration has been acting illegally since January.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Fast-Tracking ObamaCare to the Supreme Court

Watch!

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Afternoon Update July 25th, 2014 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Canadian victims in crashed Air Algerie flight ID’d

The husband of a Quebec woman who was one of five Canadians aboard the Air Algerie flight that crashed Thursday has yet to hear from officials about the fate of his wife.

[...]

BBC | Algeria passenger plane wreckage found in Mali

CNN | ‘Disintegrated’ Air Algerie jet found in Mali; official says no survivors so far

#2 — CTV | ‘Lethal force’ report calls for Toronto police to use body cameras, Tasers

A review of police use of lethal force, sparked by the shooting of a Toronto teen last year, is calling for an increase in use of Tasers and body cameras to record such incidents.

[...]

#3 — Globe | John Tory seeks a ruling before election on integrity commissioner’s Rob Ford investigation

Mayoral candidate John Tory has written to the city’s integrity commissioner, asking whether her investigation involving Mayor Rob Ford will be completed in time for the October election.

[...]

#4 — Postmedia | Canada urged to beef up security at border in wake of Hasibullah Yusufzai case

Canada’s security officials need to give serious thought to beefing up controls at the border in the wake of the revelation that a British Columbia man managed to slip out of the country despite allegedly being on the “no-fly” list, an intelligence expert said Thursday.

[...]

#5 — Sun | First Nations grand chief won’t step down over questionable expenses

WINNIPEG – The head of an organization that represents nearly half of Manitoba’s First Nations reserves is firing back at allegations he misspent organizational funds.

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WORLD

#6 — BBC | Arizona halts executions after Joseph Wood case

The US state of Arizona has halted executions pending a review of its death penalty procedures, after the allegedly botched lethal injection of a convicted murderer on Wednesday.

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#7 — CNN | Officials: ISIS blows up Jonah’s tomb in Iraq

(CNN) — If you blink during the video, you might miss the moment Jonah’s tomb in Mosul, Iraq, explodes.

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#8 — Fox | Fight heats up over EPA sabotage of Alaska gold mine

The Environmental Protection Agency is under fire for a preemptive strike against a massive copper and gold mine in Alaska, where hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake.

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#9 — DM | Only a TENTH of human DNA does something important – and the rest is just ‘junk’

We only use eight per cent of our DNA, scientists say.

An Oxford University study has concluded that just 8.2 per cent of our DNA is likely to be doing something important.

[...]

#10 — WT | Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight

Russian fighter jets and helicopter gunships are on their way to Iraq as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tries to reverse gains made by Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

[...]

Posted in Afternoon Updates | 1 Comment

Evans-Pritchard: Proposed EU sanctions threaten to shut Russia out of the world financial system (10)

Here is the EU sanctions document under furious debate today, courtesy of our Brussels correspondent, Bruno Waterfield.

Proposed sanctions

[ScribD insert]

Note the heading “Non paper”. It is leaked, not authorised. This is a menu of options. It requires unanimous backing of the 28 ambassadors. Any one country can veto it. Cyprus may find it too much to swallow, and will need a lot of sugar to help it go down.

The MICEX index of stocks in Moscow rallied in the mid-morning session and is level for the day. The state-owned banks VTB and Sberbank scarcely missed a beat. Investors are clearly calculating that nothing will come of this.

The measures come into force only if Russia continues to help the rebels and funnel militants across the border (which in reality no longer exists). Still, I hope these investors have good political intelligence in Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin, and Washington, because this looks a little cavalier to me – rather like those who continued to buy the dips even after the Austro-Hungarian Empire issued its ultimatum to Serbia in July 1914.

The document makes clear that the aim is to force Russian banks into the arms of the state, bleeding the Russian budget and reserves. This really is “tier III” level. It hammers the whole financial system.

[More]

See Also:

#1 — Hackers steal email addresses, phone numbers from ECB

#2 — Lithuania gets final approval to adopt euro currency

#3 — Eurozone bonds yields rise on strong data, dulling QE prospects

#4 — Eurozone economy rebounds, but France lags: survey

#5 — EU attitude to Moscow has changed, says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin

Afternoon Update:

#6 — CBC extends suspension of FBME operations

#7 — Murdoch consolidates European pay-TV assets under BSkyB

#8 — Spanish job figures provide ray of hope

#9 — Draghi safety net becoming blindfold as bonds soar

#10 — EU rejects Swiss request for freedom of movement talks: source

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How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

The country has positioned itself as one of the unlikely players in the escalating global race for military drones, a move that’s controversial both at home and abroad. A veteran Japanese politician even warned that the country’s re-armament looked like “a kind of pre-war revival.” The United States has aided Tokyo in its efforts to re-arm, deploying two unarmed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones in May to a base in Northern Japan, which infuriated both China and North Korea.

Japan is now in a position it hasn’t been in for nearly 70 years, when it gave up its right to engage in conflict outside its borders. The country is engaged in a bitter dispute with China over a set of islands that sit on resource-rich sea beds that each claims as its sovereign territory.

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the implications for both global peace and commerce could be widespread.

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Steyn: Fields of Blood (5)

The two big international headlines of the moment are the downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and Israel’s incursion into Gaza. On the face of it, these two stories don’t have much in common, but they are in fact part of the same story. To know Israel it helps to know Ukraine, and to know Ukraine it helps to know Israel.

~This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the day the Soviets re-took the city of Lviv (or Lvov, according to taste) in the western Ukraine, and ended a three-year German occupation. Before the Germans arrived, there were well over 100,000 Jews in the city and just shy of 50 synagogues. On July 26th 1944, when the Soviets returned, there were a couple of hundred Jews left.

Lviv, Lvov, Lemberg had been, variously, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Habsburg, Soviet – but always, across the centuries, Jewish. All gone.

Same with any number of Ukrainian cities. Chernivtsi, or Czernowitz, was once known as “Jerusalem on the Prut”. There were 50,000 Jews out of a population of approximately 100,000, and they dominated the city’s commercial life. “There is not a shop that has not a Jewish name painted above its windows,” wrote Sir Sacheverell Sitwell in 1937, when it was part of the Kingdom of Roumania .”The entire commerce of the place is in the hands of the Jews. Yiddish is spoken here more than German.” Not anymore. Today, the city’s population is over a quarter of a million, but only 2,000 are Jews.

[More]

See Also:

#1 — The Man Who Never Calls

#2 — Will Obama Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory Over Hamas?

#3 — The Alleged Leader of the Free World

#4 — Hamas arsenal suggests ‘apocalyptic’ scenario: Israeli official

#5 — Israel slams ‘diplomatic dwarf’ Brazil for recalling envoy to protest Gaza operation

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Canada’s tougher sanctions against Russia can have big impact

OTTAWA – Canada doesn’t need to be doing major trade with Russia for its sanctions to have a big impact, an expert says.

Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced his intention to slap sanctions on entire sectors of the Russian economy because he believes pro-Russian rebels, working with Russian support, shot down a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine last Thursday.

At the time, Baird said he hoped his European and American counterparts would also consider the broader sectoral sanctions – an acknowledgement of Canada’s limited international power.

The Obama administration hasn’t followed suit and a meeting of European leaders Wednesday failed to result in consensus on sectoral sanctions.

The U.K. and Sweden wanted to impose an arms embargo immediately, but France, which has a lucrative contract to supply warships to Russia, rejected the proposal.

Canada’s trade with Russia is less than $3 billion annually (for context, trade with Mexico is more than $21 billion).

[More]

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Baird maligns UN human rights council on Gaza resolution, defends Israel

OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is once again maligning the United Nations, accusing its human rights council of singling out Israel and making no mention of Hamas in its resolution on the Gaza conflict.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted 29-1 on Wednesday to authorize an international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged abuses since mid-June in the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. was the only opposing vote. Canada is not a member of the UNHRC.

The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, has also demanded that all sides in the two-week war in the Gaza Strip refrain from indiscriminate attacks on civilians, warning that violations may amount to war crimes.

In a statement, Baird accused the council of ignoring Hamas’s terrorist acts as it “continues to indiscriminately fire rockets into Israeli communities, striking fear in millions of Israelis.

[More]

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Applications to carry handguns skyrocket in B.C., Alberta

Applications to carry handguns have skyrocketed in B.C. and Alberta in the past three years – likely driven by demand among people who work in the bush and want portable protection against wildlife.

Rates have held steady in the rest of Canada, according to RCMP figures show released in response to an access-to-information request.

We don’t know how many of these applications were approved because the RCMP won’t tell us.

We also don’t know how many were for concealed-carry permits for people facing “criminal threats” and how many are for openly carrying handguns in wilderness areas to defend against wildlife. RCMP Staff. Sgt. Julie Gagnon refused to break out the two categories.

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Simon: Congress Must Investigate the UN Role in Gaza

Congressional committees have a lot on their plate these days with the IRS, Benghazi, the VA fiasco, etc., but recent events dictate they must add one more — the role of the United Nations in Gaza.

The United States provides more financial support to the UN than any other country. As Claudia Rosett wrote in Forbes in 2011 (“Magic for U. S. Money for the United Nations“): “The U.S. is by far the biggest donor to the U.N., bankrolling 22% of the U.N.’s core budget, and roughly one-quarter of its far larger and murkier system-wide spending (estimated at somewhere upward of $25 billion).”

In other words, the UN takes a bucket of your cash and mine at a time when many people in our country are suffering. It therefore behooves Congress to make sure this money is being spent for good, or at the very least benign, purposes.

Unfortunately, evidence developing from the ongoing conflagration between Israel and Hamas appears to suggest the reverse. The UN — specifically the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency), but other agencies as well — may have been actively supporting terrorism and terrorists in the Gaza Strip, even aiding with the storage of Hamas weaponry (missiles), whether deliberately or accidentally is unclear.

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Glick: Obama to the rescue – of Hamas

Operation Protective Edge is now two weeks old. Since the ground offensive began Thursday night, we have begun to get a better picture of just how dangerous Hamas has become in the nine years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. And what we have learned is that the time has come to take care of this problem. It cannot be allowed to fester or grow anymore.

We have known for years that tunnels were a central component of Hamas’s logistical infrastructure.

What began as the primary means of smuggling weapons, trainers and other war material from Hamas’s sponsors abroad developed rapidly into a strategic tool of offensive warfare against Israel.

As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.

But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well.

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