Showing posts from February 5, 2016

Liberals Willing To Cut Strings On Infrastructure Funds, Sohi Says

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[I wonder how much of this political pressure comes from Quebec, in which case "different aspects of a project" = graft. *RON*]
By Jordan Press, CP / Huffington Post, 4 February 2016
OTTAWA — The federal infrastructure minister says his government is willing to cut the strings on new infrastructure cash to help cities repair and build roads, bridges, sewers and public transit facilities.

The Liberal government has been under pressure from big city mayors to loosen restrictions on promised infrastructure dollars so that cities can spend the money where they feel they need it most.

Ottawa usually imposes multiple conditions on funding granted to cities and only gives out money for incurred project costs. That doesn't always help cities that want to spend federal funding on different aspects of a project, rather than a narrow window.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the government wants to cut as many strings as possible from th…

Canada to expand military mission against Islamic State

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[Trying to technically keep his campaign promise while simultaneously bowing to US political pressure. *RON*]

Robert Fife, Globe and Mail, 5 February 2016
The Liberal government will lay out its new role in the U.S.-led war against Islamic State next week that will include additional Special Forces, a non-combat air component and participation in an enlarged training mission, sources say.
The long-awaited announcement will be made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan attends a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels next Wednesday and Thursday, where the battle to defeat Islamic State militants will be a key topic.

“We’re talking about days,” International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a telephone conference call with reporters from London on Thursday, where she was attending a donor conference on Syria. “We really want to announce a holistic approach, and this includes all our contributions in term…

Canada lost 5,700 jobs in January

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[Alberta had 10,000 fewer jobs, country's unemployment rate inches up to 7.2%. In the age of growing inequality under the corporatocracy, job growth will be the litmus test for government longevity. *RON*]

CBC News, 5 February 2016
The Canadian economy lost 5,700 jobs in January and the unemployment rate inched up to 7.2 per cent.

That's worse than what economists were expecting — for the economy to add about 6,000 jobs during the month.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that fewer people were working in Alberta, Manitoba as well as Newfoundland and Labrador in January. Ontario was the lone province with an employment increase.

"Perhaps the greatest thing of note is that regional weakness in the energy dependent areas is being offset by regional strength in Ontario," Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said in a note after the numbers came out.

Alberta led the downside, with 10,000 fewer jobs.

Join us or die: the birth of Boko Haram

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[How the tattered remnants of an Islamist sect transformed into a relentless terrorist army that Nigeria cannot defeat. A scary read from Andrew Walker’s new book, Eat the Heart of the Infidel (Hurst). *RON*]
Andrew Walker, The Guardian, 4 February 2016
In February 2009, I was at a motor park in Maraba, a satellite of the Nigerian capital Abuja, looking for motorcyclists wearing dried vegetables on their heads. The Nigerian Police Force had recently tightened laws requiring drivers and passengers of motorcycles to wear helmets. In the case of motorcycle taxis – known as achabas in northern Nigeria – drivers would now have to provide helmets for their passengers. There was an uproar. Everyone knew that taking a trip on an achaba could be a dangerous thing; the drivers had a reputation for recklessness. But many Nigerians did not like the new rules.

Above all, the law gave the police an opportunity for extortion. One motorcycle taxi driver told me i…

Clearing the Body's Retired Cells Slows Aging and Extends Life

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["A series of experiments in mice has led to what some are calling 'one of the more important aging discoveries ever.'" It sounds wonderful, but if you think austerity is bad now, what do you suppose would happen is large swathes of the population started living 25% longer? *RON*]
Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 3 February 2016

I'm looking at a picture of two mice. The one on the right looks healthy. The one on the left has graying fur, a hunched back, and an eye that's been whitened by cataracts. “People ask: What the hell did you do to the mouse on the left?” says Nathaniel David. “We didn't do anything.” Time did that. The left mouse is justold. The one on the right was born at the same time and is genetically identical. It looks spry because scientists have been subjecting it to an unusual treatment: For several months, they cleared retired cells from its body.

Throughout our lives, our cells accumulate damage in their DNA…

More Than 60 Percent Of Uber Drivers Are Thinking About Quitting

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[The crapification of labour in the gig economy. The whole point is that, since they are ostensibly not 'employees' they can take it or leave it, but they can't do anything about it. *RON*]

By Lauren C. Williams, Think Progress, 4 February 2016
“My rent’s due and I’m struggling. I’m sweating bullets trying to make ends meet over here,” said Tanya Forister, a full-time Uber driver in Tampa, Florida. “I’ve had to work twice as hard to make half of what I used to make.”

Forister is one of hundreds of drivers nationwide protesting Uber’s fare cuts in January as a part of its “Beating the Winter Slump” campaign in more than 100 cities to increase ridership.

When Forister, a 49 year-old single mother, started working for Uber in April, it was a gift. She was making $700 to $800 a week and upgraded her car so she could take more riders using Uber XL. Things were going well.

But since the January price cuts, Forister now struggles to make $350 a…

Hillary Clinton struggled through an 'awkward' answer about her 6-figure Goldman Sachs speaking fees

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[Anderson Cooper asked Clinton whether she had used poor judgment by accepting $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for three speeches. "I don’t know. That's what they offered," she said. Besides: "They're not giving me that much money now." Eesh. *RON*]

Maxwell Tani, Business Insider, 3 February 2016

Hillary Clinton struggled Wednesday night through an answer about the large paychecks she received from the investment bank Goldman Sachs for several speeches, arguing they would not corrupt her judgment when it comes to regulating the finance industry.

During a CNN town-hall event Wednesday night, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Clinton whether she had used poor judgment by accepting $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for three speeches. The Democratic presidential front-runner said she was simply following the footsteps of past secretaries of state.

"I don’t know. That's what they offered," she said. "Every secretary o…

Ottawa Used Technicality To Disqualify 1,000 Residential-School Claims

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[" late 2010, Justice Department lawyers began arguing that schools listed in the settlement agreement ceased to be residential schools at the time the administrative split took place – and that any student who was abused after that point should be disqualified from receiving compensation unless the abuse occurred within the church-run residences. If a child was sexually or physically abused in a classroom, in a gym, or on a playground, the government lawyers argued, he or she should not receive payment for his or her suffering." *RON*]
Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail / Red Power Media, 2 February 2016
The federal government used a technical argument to disqualify an estimated 1,000 claims for compensation made by indigenous Canadians who were abused at Indian residential schools listed in the agreement negotiated to award them for their suffering.

It is a move that the people who signed the deal on behalf of former students denounc…