Showing posts from July 6, 2015

Canadian activists turn to UN with challenge to controversial anti-terror bill

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[Not legally binding on Canada, but worthwhile for the international spotlight it shines on Harper's shenanigans. Bill increasing powers of spy agency and federal law enforcement has met with accusations it is too broad and infringes on rights to privacy and free speech. *RON*]
Jessica Murphy, The Guardian, 6 July 2015
Canadian civil society groups are bringing their challenge to a contentious new anti-terror bill to an international audience: a key United Nations rights body in Geneva.

Opponents of bill C-51 will use a periodic review of Canada’s international rights obligations this week by the UN human rights committee to voice a laundry list of concerns related to the anti-terror legislation and other national security issues.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Amnesty International Canada (AIC) are among the groups that will plead their case before the UN panel.

“We want to ensure the human rights committee is aware of a f…

Confirming Arthur Porter's death in Panama on hold for forensic tests

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[To really catch the drift of this, read what's buried in the final two sentences of the article. To wit, "Porter also formerly served on the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the oversight body for Canada's spy agency, CSIS. He was named to the committee by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 and later elevated to chairperson before resigning in December 2011." It also helps to know that Lavalin is one of Harper's most favoured contractors and by leaps and bounds the most corrupt corporation in Canada. *RON*]

CBC News Posted: Jul 06, 2015 4:46 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 06, 2015 7:22 PM ET Related Stories
UPAC sends investigators to Panama to confirm Arthur Porter's death
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Arthur Porter, ex-McGill hospital CEO accused in $22.5M kickback scheme, dies in Panama

The positive identification of the body of suspected fraudster Arthur Port…

Puerto Rico debt mess a boon for lawyers

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[Quelle surprise! (Not) *RON*]

Robin Wigglesworth, Financial Times, 6 July 2015

When money managers logged on to a webcast by Puerto Rico’s governor on Monday to hear how the island intends to tackle its $72bn debt burden, they were instead initially treated to a few minutes of “¿Quién Sabe Más?”, a local game show.

Creditors and ordinary Puerto Ricans facing more years of uncertainty will hope that the government does a better job managing the restructuring than its announcement — which was clumsily first made in a newspaper interview rather than an official communiqué.

Meet Euclid Tsakalotos, the Oxford-educated economist set to become Greece's new finance minister

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[As predicted below, Tsakalotos is described here as being even more hard-line than his predecessor Varoufakis, who was criticized primarily for his negotiating style (in point of fact he is quite strongly pro-Europe. *RON*]
Mike Bird, Business Insider, 6 July 2015

ATHENS, Greece — Euclid Tsakalotos is set to become Greece's new finance minister, replacing outgoing Yanis Varoufakis.

Greek media are reporting that Tsakalotos will shortly be confirmed in the position and Varoufakis himself hinted Tsakalotos will take the job, saying: "I hope so," when asked if Tsakalotos would be the next Finance Minister.

Tsakalotos' got an enormous pile of issues to deal with, even more than Varoufakis had when he started.

In the aftermath of Sunday's referendum and the huge triumph for the "No" campaign backed by the government, it will be Tsakalotos' job to negotiate a deal after the latest one was comprehensively rejected by th…

Ending Greece’s Bleeding

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[If Europe doesn't bail out the Greek banks immediately they will in essence force Greece to recreate the drachma: "if the money doesn’t start flowing from Frankfurt (the headquarters of the central bank), Greece will have no choice but to start paying wages and pensions with i.o.u.s, which will de facto be a parallel currency — and which might soon turn into the new drachma." *RON*]

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 5 July 2015

Europe dodged a bullet on Sunday. Confounding many predictions, Greek voters strongly supported their government’s rejection of creditor demands. And even the most ardent supporters of European union should be breathing a sigh of relief.

Of course, that’s not the way the creditors would have you see it. Their story, echoed by many in the business press, is that the failure of their attempt to bully Greece into acquiescence was a triumph of irrationality and irresponsibility over sound technocratic advice.

But the c…

Female foeticide, India's 'ticking bomb'

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[A deep-seated cultural preference for boys is skewing India's sex ratio and making slaves of women. *RON*]

Sanjay Pandey, Al Jazeera, 6 Jul 2015

Bibipur, India - The jubilant young man's arrival brought an abrupt halt to the card game contested by the turbaned group sitting under the tree.

He thought he had good news for them: "I've been blessed with a baby girl!" he announced proudly.

The response was not what he expected - the group's shock quickly turned to ridicule.

"Why didn't you get her killed in the womb?" came the collective cry. "Did you not get a gender determination test done on the foetus?"

Such a test is illegal in India, but this reaction - discovered during an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera in the village of Bibipur - is a reflection of prevailing male-chauvinistic attitudes in the country.

Greece debt crisis: China is the real elephant in the room

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[More ominous rumblings about the Chinese stock market - "Even after falls of 25 per cent in the past couple of weeks, the Shanghai exchange is still boasting a one-year return of more than 86 per cent. And the money that has been poured into Chinese listed companies is coming primarily from local retail investors that have been treating the equities market like a casino. Making the situation even more explosive is the fact that a large part of the money invested is debt funded – thus it will be subject to margin calls that will force owners to sell stocks." Yet the appeal of a fast buck seems to be irresistible, even if it is merely blowing a bubble. See also: Asia-Pacific cities are driving the global economy, and TIMELINE: China’s Efforts to Stem $3.2 Trillion Stock Rout. *RON*]
Elizabeth Knight, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July 2015

Greece might be the word but China is what Australian investors should be watching and listening to thi…

Minister No More!

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[This certainly seems to come as a great surprise - Yanis was the enfant terrible Greek Finance Minister - but it may well have been planned. He was an enormous pain in ass for the European team (see Yanis Varoufakis: some of his best quotes). The buzz, however, is that his potential replacements are all less pro-Europe than he was. *RON*]
By Yanis Varoufakis, Thoughts for a Post-2008 World, 6 July 2015

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and re…

Is 'holding the course' putting Canada in recession?

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[Conservatives blame 'external factors' for our slide into another recession, "However, that's not to say there's nothing the Conservative government can do but sit back and watch." *RON*]

By James Fitz-Morris, CBC News, 6 July 2015
Emanuella Enenajor likely caused more than a few politicians to choke on their Stampede pancakes last week.

The analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the first from a major financial institution to utter the dreaded R-word — recession.

Two consecutive quarters of decline are what the textbooks define as a recession.
Stuck in a 'funk'

Statistics Canada has already told us GDP shrank by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, and slid a further 0.1 per cent in April.

Enenajor has seen nothing to indicate May or June — the last two months of the second quarter — were any different.