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Showing posts from January 14, 2016

What's Your Threat Score?

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[Pre-crime is here. Try to imagine how hard it will be to get this secret information corrected if it is wrong. At all events, 'authorities' are harvesting your data to calculate your 'threat score'. The joke that is privacy in the well-surveilled police state. *RON*]
By Sarah BurrisAlterNet, 14 January 2016

Police have found a new way to legally incorporate surveillance and profiling into everyday life. Just when you thought we were making progress raising awareness surrounding police brutality, we have something new to contend with. The Police Threat Score isn't calculated by a racist police officer or a barrel-rolling cop who thinks he's on a TV drama; it's a computer algorithm that steals your data and calculates your likelihood of risk and threat for the fuzz.

Beware is the new stats-bank that helps officers analyze "billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, …

Former Liberal minister calls for review of Saudi arms deal

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[At least someone is calling a spade a spade here. Trudeau made a dumb mistake by trying to pass these armoured vehicles off as jeeps. *RON*]

Steven Chase, The Globe & Mail, 14 January 2016
A prominent former Liberal foreign minister is calling on Justin Trudeau’s government to review a controversial $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, saying he doesn’t think Canada should be deepening relations with a Mideast country notorious for human rights abuses.
Lloyd Axworthy, who served as foreign minister between 1996 and 2000 under prime minister Jean Chrétien, remains influential in Liberal circles.

He said he was surprised that Mr. Trudeau is being advised in briefing books to strengthen economic ties with Saudi Arabia because it would be good for business and Riyadh is an influential regional power.

The Saudi arms deal: An explainer

Mr. Axworthy said a recommendation to “cozy up” to Saudi Arabia is “about the last piece of advice I would give,”…

Canada's Assisted Dying Ruling Is Tied Up In Government Delays

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["The Government of Canada has been a defendant in the litigation since 2011, when the case was launched in Vancouver in the British Columbia Supreme Court. In the intervening five years, the Federal Government had only two possibilities for which to prepare: a win or a loss. But the Conservative federal government did little, leaving the political hot potato for the new Liberal government, which might amend the Criminal Code by the deadline, but says it cannot." *RON*]
Juliet Guichon, Huffington Post, 13 January 2016


In an odd twist of Canadian history and fate, on Monday a British Columbia lawyer defended the Supreme Court of Canada against the Government of Canada.

Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that some Criminal Code sections were unconstitutional regarding a very small group of people who, the Court ruled, are entitled under constitutional law to a physician's help to die.

The Zero1 Flexible Football Helmet may Save Players' Brains

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[My interest in sports is below zero, but the issue of concussions in American football has been much in the news lately, so here is some news on a potential solution. *RON*]
Liz Stinson, Wired, 13 January 2016

Hong Kong bans import and export of ivory

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[Little enough, late enough. Let's hope this has some impact. Activists welcome ‘historic’ move to crack down on trade that is seen to help fuel rampant elephant poaching across Africa. Funny how people are gaga for Cecil the Lion but pretty lukewarm on elephants. *RON*]
AFP, The Guardian, 13 January 2016
Hong Kong will ban the import and export of ivory, the city’s leader announced on Wednesday, in a “historic” move hailed by animal welfare activists.

Chief executive Leung Chun-ying told lawmakers in his annual policy address that officials were determined to crack down on the trade in Hong Kong.

The southern Chinese city is a major hub of ivory sales and has been criticised by environmentalists for fuelling the illegal trade that leads to rampant poaching across Africa.

The smartest money in the room is turning bearish

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[This is the second time I've seen someone strongly recommending Japanese government bonds. *RON*]
Julia La Roche, Business Insider, 13 January 2016

Hedge funds are becoming increasingly bearish, according to a report from Societe Generale's Cross Asset Research team.

"Starting in December last year, Hedge Fund positioning reveals a further reduction in risk appetite in the early days of 2016," the note said.

"Falling oil prices, the uncertainty about Chinese growth and its exchange rate policy, as well as the increased market volatility, all seem to touch the open nerve of deflation fears. Independent of whether this particular focus is justified or not, it goes a long way in explaining the current risk aversion."

Income inequality will become more pronounced as US ages

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[African-Americans, Latinos and women are more likely to be poor in old age. *RON*]

by Haya El Nasser, Al Jazeera, 14 January 2016
The wide economic disparity between minorities and white people and between men and women is likely to broaden as the nation’s increasingly diverse population ages.

Among Americans 65 or older, black people and Latinos are much more likely than white people to rely solely on Social Security for income. And older women are more likely to live alone than men and twice as likely to be poor.

The number of seniors in the U.S. will more than double, from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060, when they will make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population.

The gray tsunami of the aging baby boomer population is projected to fuel a 75 percent increase in the number of older Americans needing nursing home care, from 1.3 million in 2010 to 2.3 million by 2030.

China income inequality among world’s worst

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[Read this one in conjunction with yesterday's story on The Zhaos. Note also that " The World Bank considers a coefficient above 0.40 to represent severe income inequality," and that "t he figure for the US is 0.41 " but, somehow, that is not the story. *RON*]

Gabriel Wildau and Tom Mitchell, Financial Post, 14 January 2016

A man rides a bicycle past a Gianni Versace luxury clothing store in Beijing, China.

Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest 1 per cent of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a report from Peking University has found.

The poorest 25 per cent of Chinese households own just 1 per cent of the country’s total wealth, the study found.

China’s Gini coefficient for income, a widely used measure of inequality, was 0.49 in 2012, according to the report. The World Bank considers a coefficient above 0.40 to represent severe income inequality.

Among the…