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Showing posts from August 27, 2016

Suddenly Scared of Vancouver’s Commercial Property Bubble?

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[Evidently our massive real estate bubble only goes unrecognized and unreported inside of Canada. *RON*]
by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street, 23 August 2016
The hunt is on for Chinese buyers.

For investors, Vancouver real estate has been a heavenly gift. But now, suddenly, some of the biggest institutional investors, including Canada’s third largest pension fund, are getting cold feet and want out.

Just over the past 12 months, the “benchmark price” soared 27% for apartments and 38% for detached houses! The term “housing bubble” doesn’t even do it justice.

But in July, British Columbia implemented a 15% transfer tax on home purchases involving foreign investors, an effort to put a lid on the price spiral that’s threatening to price an entire generation out of the housing market. By the end of July, the first squiggles appeared, as prices still soared but year over year sales volume plunged nearly 20% [read…Vancouver Housing Bubble, Meet Pin].

Preliminary rep…

Federal spies suddenly intercepting 26 times more Canadian phone calls and communications

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[Trudeau needs to completely rescind Bill C-51, not fiddle around the edges of it, one of these days. But Obama winked at him once and the bromance evidently lingers. *RON*]

Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen / National Post, 24 August 2016
OTTAWA — Interception of Canadians’ private communications by the federal electronic spy agency increased 26-fold last year, for reasons authorities won’t fully explain.

And despite commitments between Canada and its intelligence-sharing allies to respect the privacy of each nation’s citizens, the volume of information on Canadians collected by allied intelligence agencies and informally shared with Canada’s spies has grown to the point that it now requires a formal mechanism to cope with all the data.

At least one intelligence expert is concerned the change sidesteps the spirit of Canadian privacy laws.

Details are contained in the latest annual report by the independent, external oversight organization that reviews ac…

ICBC basic insurance rates may increase by 4.9%

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[Election 2017. An utterly uncritical piece. Why not also report that the BC Liberals are siphoning off $150 million per year for the next 3 years from ICBC and putting this money into their general revenues. I.e., this is yet another of Christy Clark's invisible taxes on British Columbians. The idea of attributing this increase to Brexit is noxious. See Editorial: Stop siphoning off ICBC money. *RON*]
DH Vancouver Staff, Daily Hive, 25 August 2016
ICBC is hoping to raise its rates for basic insurance by 4.9% – meaning it could soon cost you an average of $3.50 a month more to stay on the road.

In a release, ICBC says the rate hike is due to an increase in the number of crashes, claims being submitted, and the cost of settling those claims.

According to ICBC, the number of crashes across BC jumped by 15% in two years, from 260,000 in 2013 to 300,000 in 2015.

Meanwhile, it says, more damage claims are being filed to ICBC than ever before. In …

Next mission? Not Congo

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[An extremely difficult question. Note that he essentially argues that Canada should not intervene, not because it is not the right thing to do in principle, but because he believes the conflict is unwinnable in practice. See also: Shocking scenes as women are lynched and set on fire in Congo as ethnic tensions flare. Something of the complexity and, perhaps, hopelessness of the situation is brought across well in this short BBC film: Getting away with murder in DR Congo. *RON*]

By Louis A. Delvoie, TheWhig.com, 26 August 2016
Canada's defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, has just conducted a so-called "first finding" mission to five countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This mission was widely viewed as a first step in the implementation of the instruction that the minister had received from Prime Minister Trudeau "to renew Canada's commitment to United Nations peace operations." That instruction was certainly consistent with …

RCMP arrest four Indigenous protesters for fish farm demonstration

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[Aboriginals and the police state under the corporatocracy. The full force of the law falls swiftly and invariably on Aboriginal protesters; note that no charges have been laid. See also the real probably cause: 72 hours to evict: First Nations send message to salmon farm.*RON*]
By Justin McElroy, CBC News, 25 August 2016
Four members of the Yaakswiis Warriors — whose members are part of the Ahousaht First Nation — were arrested this week after protesting a fish farm operation north of Tofino.

"We were protecting our water and our land," said Lennie John, who drove up to the Dixon Bay fish farm — operated by the Cermaq Group — in a "tin can boat."

"I put my boat where they were going to put the barge down, and they wouldn't halt. I asked them to stop, and they told me to stay off their channel, that it was their channel."

John and the other three protesters were arrested and later released on August 23, a day after …

Philippines drugs war: The woman who kills dealers for a living

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[A horrifying side-bar to the basic story on Philippine President Duterte's war on drugs. Another thought: How does this differ from Obama's 'targeted killings'? "Do the lives of 10 of these criminals really matter? If I am the one facing all this grief, would 100 lives of these idiots mean anything to me?" *RON*]

BBC Global News, 26 August 2016

The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks. The BBC's Jonathan Head explores the country's dark underbelly of dealers and assassins through the story of one woman trapped in a chilling predicament.

When you meet an assassin who has killed six people, you don't expect to encounter a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby.

"My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was…