Showing posts from December 15, 2016

Despair and Debauchery in Assad's Capital

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[From the Fall of Empire File. "She says she supports Assad because she is happy that she can continue studying economics and going to parties." Even as war rages around them, residents of Damascus, the capital of Bashar Assad's Syria, seek to tune out the violence. The city's nightlife has blossomed as the country's Russian-backed military has pushed back the front. Those dissidents that remain have been forced into hiding. *RON*]

By Fritz Schaap and Christian Werner (Photos), Der Spiegel, 13 December 2016
Just before sunrise on a clear autumn morning, a minibus leaves Damascus. It initially detours around the Northern Highway to avoid the snipers who could be waiting in ambush near the front. Later, it will return to the highway and speed northwards toward the coastal range. It is heading for Homs.

Inside the bus on this Thursday morning are six people, all of whom live in the part of Syria controlled by Syrian President …

Boris Johnson's unused water cannon had stereos fitted at cost of £1,000

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[From the Fall of the Empire file: London mayor Sadiq Khan says £323,000 was spent on the vehicles, which were never approved and are now being sold. *RON*]
Damien Gayle, The Guardian, 14 December 2016
Officials in Boris Johnson’s administration while he was London mayor spent nearly £1,000 fitting stereos to three water cannon that were never approved for use on the capital’s streets, it has emerged.

Johnson’s successor, Sadiq Khan, revealed that nearly £323,000 had been spent to buy, modify and maintain vehicles, which were purchased secondhand from German federal police in 2014 in anticipation of social unrest.

Former B.C. NDP premier's pro-pipeline sentiments boost Rachel Notley's 'social license' strategy

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[This not only boosts Notley's 'social license' but it casts disturbing doubt on the true opinion of BC NDP leader Horgan, a notorious waffler on the subject of pipelines. Please email him  - - and tell him in no uncertain terms what you would think of him attempting to do an about-face on Kinder-Morgan! *RON*]
David J. Climenhaga,, 14 December 2016

There's more evidence out of British Columbia this week that Rachel Notley's social licence approach to pipeline development continues to work -- this time on the province's New Democrats, who up to now have been taking a hard line against the idea of more pipelines from Alberta.

Philippines' Duterte admits personally killing suspects

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[Murderous psychopath. See also: The Philippines' president gave a profanity-laced recounting of his phone call with Donald Trump; and The authoritarian leaders who are eagerly awaiting a Trump presidency; and Syria's Assad: Trump can be our natural ally. Every ass-hat, tinpot dictator on the planet is now rubbing his hands with glee. *RON*]

BBC News, 14 December 2016

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted he personally killed criminal suspects as mayor of Davao.

It is the first such admission he has made since becoming president in June, but echoes comments he made in 2015.

Europeans greatly overestimate Muslim population, poll shows

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[And not just Europeans, when you see the graphs. See also: Why 2016 is the year the public got things wrong. *RON*]
Pamela Duncan, The Guardian, 13 December 2016

Reversing Course, E.P.A. Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

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[Deny, deny, deny until it becomes unavoidable not to. Why on earth does Trump think the EPA needs to be 'fixed'? See also: Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water, Has Made Some Water Supplies "Unusable," Long-Awaited EPA Study Concludes. *RON*]

Coral Davenport, New York Times, 13 December 2016

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas extraction technique also known as fracking, has contaminated drinking water in some circumstances, according to the final version of a comprehensive study first issued in 2015.

The new version is far more worrying than the first, which found “no evidence that fracking systemically contaminates water” supplies. In a significant change, that conclusion was deleted from the final study.