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Showing posts from May 8, 2015

Investors stung by eurozone bond volatility

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[Weird things are happening with the bond market, not just in Germany, but across Europe (Spanish bonds dropped 20% today), and in the US. It will be interesting to watch to see what happens net and how this gets explained. Though various partial explanations are being offered (e.g., rising oil prices), none are sufficient to account for this degree of volatility in what is usually an extremely stable, not to say boring, market. *RON*]

Elaine Moore, Joe Rennison & Michael Mackenzie, Financial Times, 7 May 2015

European bonds gyrated on Thursday in the worst bout of volatility since the eurozone debt crisis, as markets were thrown into confusion over the impact of quantitative easing on Europe’s financial assets and economies.

In the space of a few hours the yield on Germany’s 10-year Bund, which moves inversely to prices, jumped by 21 basis points to 0.80 per cent before easing back to 0.59 per cent.

With sovereign bond yields rarely moving by m…

The Price of Nice Nails

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[A nicely researched piece from the front lines of the class war. Manicurists are routinely underpaid and exploited, and endure ethnic bias and other abuse, The New York Times has found. See also PART 2 Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers. I had no idea it was this bad. *RON*]

By Sarah Masline Nir, New York Times, 7 May 2015

The women begin to arrive just before 8 a.m., every day and without fail, until there are thickets of young Asian and Hispanic women on nearly every street corner along the main roads of Flushing, Queens.

As if on cue, cavalcades of battered Ford Econoline vans grumble to the curbs, and the women jump in. It is the start of another workday for legions of New York City’s manicurists, who are hurtled to nail salons across three states. They will not return until late at night, after working 10- to 12-hour shifts, hunched over fingers and toes.

On a morning last May, Jing Ren, a 20-year-old who had recently arrived from China, stoo…

'Mr Khadr, you're free to go'

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[A Canadian judge has released Omar Khadr, formerly the youngest prisoner at Guantanamo, pending his appeal, no thanks to Stephen Harper, who has fought any attempt to alleviate the brutality of his treatment. *RON*]

Daniel Lak, Al Jazeera, 8 May 2015


I have covered Omar Khadr’s incarceration and legal battles since 2004, when the United States first convened the controversial military commissions to try inmates at Guantanamo Bay.

As the youngest prisoner at the US military base in Cuba, he was seen by rights groups as a juvenile, and entitled to much more lenient treatment than he was receiving.

But neither Canada’s government nor Washington agreed. Omar was subjected to brutal treatment on his way to Guantanamo and at the base detention centre.

Youngest prisoner leaves Guantanamo Bay

Canada not only condoned such treatment, it sent spies and diplomats to take part in his interrogation and obtained information that the Supreme Court of Canada late…

David Cameron and Conservatives Get Majority in British Election

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[The results were disastrous for the Labour Party, and (just like the BC elections) the polls proved to be totally incorrect. But the election results would not have made any big difference to the quality of life of average Britains, since all the major contenders had stated that they have an ongoing commitment to austerity policies. The Big Deal Cameron now faces is defining Britain's relationship to the European Union. *RON*]

By Steven Erlanger & Stephen Castle, New York Times, 8 May 2015

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservatives won a resounding victory in the British general election, with nearly complete results on Friday showing that the party had secured an overall majority in Parliament.

The vote was a stunning disappointment for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Ed Miliband, who had shifted the party away from the more centrist strategy it pursued in the late 1990s and early 2000s under Tony Blair. Mr. …

Tories Kill Bill Urging 'Harmony' Between Canadian Law And First Nations

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[The Harper government squashed a bill proposing Canada align its laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada was the only country to raise its objections on the Declaration. *RON*]
By Zi-Ann Lum, Huffington Post Canada, 7 May 2015


A NDP-sponsored bill proposing Canada align its laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was defeated Wednesday.

The Conservative government used its majority to reject Romeo Saganash’s private member’s bill, five months after it was first introduced to the House of Commons.

In a statement after the vote, Saganash said he was disappointed with the outcome.

“Conservatives ignored Canadians and voted down a piece of legislation that would uphold the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples,” said the Quebec MP.

He added that Bill C-641 “was not a matter of left against right, but right against wrong.”

Bill C-51 Takes a Sledgehammer to the Canadian Charter

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[As Mr. Parmar puts it:

See also Elizabeth May makes impassioned speech against Bill C-51. *RON*]
Shekhar Parmar, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Lawyer, Huffington Post, 7 May 2015.


As a Canadian citizen, lawyer, immigrant, and a student of world politics, I have always marveled at the beauty and principles of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To me it was the quintessential Canadian document -- one that protected the rights of all, promoted equality, celebrated our differences, and made our laws subject to a very high ethical and moral threshold. The Charter very carefully balanced individual rights versus the power of the state and purposefully set a high bar for when it would be appropriate for the individual's right to be secondary to the states. Our legal system had also added beauty to the Charter by adopting a living tree approach, which allowed the Charter's interpretation to evolve over time. So very rational. So balance…

How Canada made the Koch brothers rich

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[A good article based on the Koch brothers documentary that was suppressed by Global TV. The original article about that event is here: Global News Disappeared a Koch Brothers Exposé. *RON*]

By Bruce Livesey, National Observer, 5 May 2015

Author's note: Until this past February, I worked as a contracted television producer for Global TV and its current affairs program, 16x9. Last fall, I was commissioned to do a story for the program about the Koch brothers, their holdings in Alberta’s oil sands and their interest in getting the Keystone XL pipeline built. In January, two days before the 22-minute documentary was about to air on 16x9, Global's senior management pulled the story. After Jesse Brown's Canadaland published a story about its sudden disappearance, Global fired me, although I was not quoted in that story or had any involvement with it. What you're about to read includes some of the material that has not yet been permitt…