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Showing posts from January 24, 2016

La Loche, the Canadian Town Where 4 Were Killed, Has a Bleak History

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[Maybe more stories will show up in the Canadian press as details emerge (even the Aboriginal press response has been thin on the ground) but I have to say that, for now, the New York Times has given the strongest coverage to the La Loche story of anything I've seen. *RON*]

By Ian Austen, New York Times, 23 January 2016

OTTAWA — Sudden deaths in La Loche, Saskatchewan, where shootings at two locations left four people dead and seven wounded on Friday, are an all too familiar event. But before Friday, suicide was the main cause of such deaths.

The police on Saturday offered few additional details about the shootings. The 17-year-old suspect, whose motive has not been revealed, remains in the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who said they had also seized a weapon. The police said the suspect, whose identity cannot be disclosed because of his age, faced four charges of first-degree murder, seven charges of attempted murder and a we…

Japan rejected 99 percent of refugees in 2015

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[Why does not one seem to care that the Japanese are openly racist? Justice ministry says it accepted 27 asylum seekers out of record 7,586 applications last year. See also: Is Japan really racist?, and How a Japanese American burst Japan's bubble on racism, and Japan's Problem with Race. *RON*]

Al Jazeera and Agencies, 24 Jan 2016
Japan rejected 99 per cent of asylum applications last year, accepting only 27 refugees, government figures have shown.

The country's justice ministry said on Saturday it received a record 7,586 asylum applications in 2015, up 50 percent compared to the year before.

Asylum seekers from Nepal topped the list of those arriving in 2015, with 1,768 submissions.

The accepted applicants included six from Afghanistan, three Syrians, three Ethiopians and three Sri Lankans.

How Much Of Canada's Energy Industry Is Foreign-Owned? Good Question

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[It's amazing that we don't know how much of the Canadian economy is not owned by Canadians. Has this been purposive obfuscation, or are we manacled by so-called 'trade agreements,' or has our government's monitoring capacity been hampered by austerity cuts? *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 23 January 2016


OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's attempt Friday to attract more foreign investment to Canada comes as the government struggles to get a handle on exactly what foreigners own in the country's crucial oil and gas sector.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show the Finance Department only has a rough estimate on foreign ownership in the energy sector — a key destination for investment from abroad.

The February 2015 briefing note addressed to deputy finance minister Paul Rochon says it's likely between 40 and 50 per cent of the sector is owned by foreign investors.


Statisti…

Problem drinkers account for most of alcohol industry's sales, figures reveal

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["Exclusive: Firms claim to support responsible drinking, yet data shows those who consume at risky or harmful levels account for 60% of sales in England." *RON*]
Sarah Boseley Health editor, The Guardian, 23 January 2016

The alcohol industry makes most of its money – an estimated £23.7bn in sales in England alone – from people whose drinking is destroying or risking their health, say experts who accuse the industry of irresponsible pricing and marketing.

While the industry points to the fact that most people in the country are moderate drinkers, 60% of alcohol sales are either to those who are risking their health, or those – labelled harmful drinkers – who are doing themselves potentially lethal damage, figures seen by the Guardian show.

Work by Prof Nick Sheron of Southampton University, co-founder of the Alcohol Health Alliance of more than 40 concerned organisations and colleagues, has established that people who drink dangerously ar…

Hillary Clinton Laughs When Asked if She Will Release Transcripts of Her Goldman Sachs Speeches

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[Unfortunately there is no way to bring the video into this blog. So, if  you click on "Watch the video:" below, it simply takes you to the original article on The Intercept. This was no "gotcha" question. Hillary has made promises to increase regulation of the financial sector, so it is perfectly reasonable to ask what kind of conversations she has been having with Wall Street. *RON*]

Lee Fang, The Intercept, 23 January 2016

After Hillary Clinton spoke at a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday, I asked her if she would release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. She laughed and turned away.

Clinton has recently been on the defensive about the speaking fees she and her husband have collected. Those fees total over $125 million since 2001.

Her rival Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, has raised concerns in particular over the $675,000 she made from Goldman Sachs, an investment ban…

Guantánamo parole board clears Yemeni who was victim of mistaken identity

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[Mistaken identity - tell me this doesn't help to create ultra-radicals. *RON*]

By Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald, 21 January 2016 Mustafa al Shamiri was kept as an al-Qaida captive of consequence rather than run-of-the-mill jihadist

He spent more than 13 years at Guantánamo, 6 as a ‘forever prisoner’ because his name was similar to names of other extremists

Now he joins dozens of captives cleared for third-country resettlement with security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

The Guantánamo parole board on Thursday approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing U.S. intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years at the Navy base in Cuba as “discredited.”

US 'prepared for military solution' against Islamic State in Syria

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[Preparing to escalate their efforts to work with the wrong partners while ignoring root causes they promulgated. See also: US forces setting up airbase in northeast Syria: sources, and Saudi-Iranian proxy war over Syria spreads to Davos*RON*]
David Dolan, Reuters / Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 2016

Istanbul: US Vice-President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against Islamic State in Syria should the Syrian government and rebels fail to reach a political settlement.

The latest round of Syria peace talks are planned to begin on Monday in Geneva but were at risk of being delayed partly because of a dispute over who will comprise the opposition delegation.

Syrian armed rebel groups said on Saturday they held the Syrian government and Russia responsible for any failure of peace talks to end the country's civil war, even before negotiations were due to start.

Your job is about to get 'taskified'

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[More on the crapification of labour. *RON*]

Mary L. Gray, LA Times, 8 January 2016
The global digital assembly line has arrived. Its workers labor at computer keyboards, performing the behind-the-scenes tasks that make the Internet appear intelligent and functional. They assign labels like “family” or “theme park” to photos, check that Web URLs work, verify addresses on Yelp, review social media posts flagged as “adult.”

Corporations, from the smallest start-ups to the largest firms, can now “taskify” everything from scheduling meetings and debugging websites, to finding sales leads and managing fulltime employees' HR files. Instead of hiring help, firms just post their needs to the Web.

This online piecework, or “crowdwork,” represents a radical shift in how we define employment itself.

The individuals performing this work are of course not traditional employees, but neither are they freelancers. They are, instead, “users” or “customers” of We…