|From: axial||7/4/2019 12:26:18 AM|
|theinterpreter — Pacific links: power games, volcanic eruptions, and media blackouts|
- “The United States wants Australia to embrace a power role in the Pacific”, says US ambassador to Australia, Arthur Culvahouse. His statement followed the weekend G20 summit, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump also agreed that France needs to play a stronger role in the region.
- The Guardian has an interesting series on a drug route you’ve never heard of: a multibillion-dollar operation involving cocaine and methamphetamines packed in the US and Latin America and transported to Australia via South Pacific islands. Fiji is particularly disrupted by this new industry and its police are overloaded. Dealers, however, are thriving and violence is rising. Jose Sousa-Santos, who researches transnational crime in the Pacific, explains how and why Australia and New Zealand need to take responsibility and partner with Pacific island states to take decisive action.
- Japan, the US and Australia have picked a liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea as their first case for joint financing in the Indo-Pacific region, planning to lend over $1 billion in the near future. Grant Wyeth looks closer at this trilateral initiative and the reasons behind this cooperation.
- Mt Ulawun, one of PNG’s most active volcanoes, burst into life last Wednesday morning, hurling ash some 17 kilometres into the air. Jamie Tahana followed Christopher Lagisa, a local living at the bottom of the volcano. The PNG government has set aside K5 million to support people affected by the eruption. Governor Fancis Maneke says locals are being forced to wait for assistance by damage to roads and interruptions to air links.
- Climate change has left PNG fishermen struggling to find a catch, says the national Fishing Industry Association. Climate change will challenges fishing practices across the broader Pacific, and Johann Bell looks at the possible solution, while warming waters are pushing tuna to the east. One solution would be to actually look north, to what Iceland has done as an example of how to make its fishing practices sustainable.
- Media are a crucial part of the democratic process and accessibility to politicians is key to informing the public. However, in the Pacific, this rule is not always respected. Last week, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne made a brief visit to PNG and Bougainville, journalists could not engage with her. For some, there seems to be a pattern, and it needs to be changed.
- Palau, a small island state in the North Pacific, is in a Compact Free of Association with the United States. Michael Wash explains what the US could do to include it more in subregional architectures and initiatives.
- Kiribati might graduate from the category of Least Developed Country (LDC). James Webb looks at the implications.'
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|From: Wharf Rat||7/4/2019 1:38:09 PM|
|Canadian buildings, coastlines, northern communities face biggest climate risks: report|
'[Most] think it's someone else's problem to solve,' co-author says
The Canadian Press · Posted: Jul 04, 2019 6:26 AM ET | Last Updated: 38 minutes ago
Canada's coastlines are among the top three things facing the biggest risks from climate change in the country.(Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)
New research for the federal Treasury Board has concluded that buildings, coastlines and northern communities face the biggest risks from climate change in Canada.
In a report released Thursday, the Council of Canadian Academies has narrowed down a myriad of threats posed by climate change into the most pressing dozen — a list co-author John Leggat hopes will wake people up to the urgent need to prepare for them.
"[Most] think it's someone else's problem to solve," he said. "It kind of goes to the root of the problem."
The council is comprised of Canada's leading academics and researchers. The report, done at the Treasury Board's request, was conducted by experts from industry, insurance firms, engineers, sociologists and economists.
Climate change is such a broad issue that it can be difficult to figure out what to do first, Leggat said, adding that the report is an attempt to do that.
"It puts it into a context of what are the top risks."
The research narrowed down a list of 57 potential environmental effects to six, and ranked them not only by magnitude of the threat, but by the availability of remedies.
Right at the very top was infrastructure.
Heavy rains, floods or high winds are growing threats to buildings from homes to hospitals. The same extreme weather increases the chance of power outages and grid failures — even what the report calls "cascading infrastructure failures."
Coastal communities come next. Climate change is slowly raising sea levels, making floods more common and surges heavier and more powerful.Northerners are third on the list. Not only do their homes and shorelines face unique challenges, such as permafrost melting away underneath them, climate change also threatens their way of life.
"They really rely on and are closely connected to the land," said co-author Bronwyn Hancock. "The way the culture is set up — governance, spirituality, the way language is passed — all really pivot around that connection to land."
The next three on the list are human health, ecosystems and fisheries. The top 12 are rounded out with agriculture and food, forestry, geopolitical unrest, governance, Indigenous traditions and water.
Getting people to pay is the challengeSolutions are available to mitigate many of the environmental effects from those top six threats. Building codes can be revised to ensure more resilient homes, offices, electrical pylons or airport runways. Coastal communities can prepare in advance for storm-driven flooding.
Information networks can provide northerners with up-to-date conditions for travel on the land or sea ice.
Leggat noted damage to roads and buildings is a lot easier to prevent or fix than damage to sensitive and poorly understood natural ecosystems.
"We have to start thinking about ways we can protect the natural systems so the human systems can survive," he said.
The challenge, Leggat said, is getting Canadians to pony up for ways to reduce the threat.
He pointed to a recent poll that found while most understood climate change presented a risk, few were willing to pay anything to reduce it.
"The majority of Canadians weren't prepared to pay any amount of money for mitigation," he said.
But Leggat said the council's report should reduce some of the uncertainty about where to start.
"We know what to do. We understand what the risks are and we can invest with confidence.
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|From: axial||7/6/2019 1:48:52 AM|
Canada’s Jobs Market Pauses After Monster First Half of Year
'Canada’s booming labor market geared down in June, with employment little changed and a slight uptick in the jobless rate from historical lows.
- Economy sheds 2,200 jobs, unemployment rate ticks up to 5.5%
- Despite pause, employment sees strongest first half since 2002
The economy shed 2,200 jobs on the month, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, versus economist expectations for a gain of about 10,000. The unemployment rate rose to 5.5%, after reaching a four-decade low of 5.4% in May.
The flat reading for employment in June doesn’t alter the picture of a hot labor market powering Canada’s expansion, with most economists widely expecting a slowdown from the economy’s recent unsustainable pace of hiring. That leaves the Bank of Canada plenty of ammunition to resist any pressure to cut interest rates, even if the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to ease policy.
“Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect to today’s report was the massive rise in wages,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, said in a note to investors. “For the Bank of Canada, the strength in wages and hours, and a still-low jobless rate will give them no reason to seriously consider matching Fed rate cuts anytime soon.”
The one area of weakness seems to be the goods sector, which saw employment contract 32,800 in June. Half of that came from manufacturers. Employment in goods-producing industries is down by 9,400 in the first six months of 2019.'
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|From: axial||7/6/2019 5:40:51 AM|
| It turns out Trudeau wasn't snubbed by Bolsonaro|
'Edited video of Trudeau
Global News shared a video late last week that appeared to show Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being snubbed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Trudeau was seen motioning to Bolsonaro, only to watch as the Brazilian president turned his back, seemingly giving Trudeau the cold shoulder and ignoring his attempt at a handshake. The clip ended at that point.
Initially, Global's caption and related coverage did not mention the apparent snub. But many others on Twitter were quick to seize on an opportunity to ridicule the prime minister. The account for conservative advocacy group Canada Proud was one of many to share the video with a caption focusing on Trudeau's apparent rejection and awkwardness on the global stage.
The video was eventually shared in Canada by pundits and mainstream news outlets alike, as well as by international newspapers, prompting comments such as, “ Trudeau is a walking embarrassment,” “ No one gives a sh-t about Justin from Canada,” “ Poor Justin from Canada” and “ Pathetic.” Notably, Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik News also weighed in on the viral video, as did the Spanish-language version of RT, formerly known as Russia Today. Both Kremlin-funded outlets pushed the widespread narrative suggesting that Trudeau had been snubbed.
The only problem? The incident never happened — at least, not the way it was depicted in the viral video, which edited out the part where Bolsonaro turned back to Trudeau and embraced him a moment later.
As it turns out, Trudeau was motioning to Bolsonaro to direct his attention to another person waiting to greet him. He wasn’t rejected or snubbed, and the full, unedited video makes that clear.'
[ — Global "news" Yeah, right.]
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|From: axial||7/6/2019 6:14:51 AM|
| Canadian airlines fight passenger rights bill in court|
Air Canada, WestJet, IATA ask Federal Court of Appeal to quash new air travel rules
'Canadian airlines are among hundreds of carriers asking the Federal Court of Appeal to quash new rules that beef up compensation for passengers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage.
Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc., along with 17 other applicants that include the International Air Transport Association (which has some 290 member airlines), state in a court filing that required payments under the country's new air passenger bill of rights violates international standards and should be rendered invalid.
The court application argues the new provisions contravene the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty, in part by setting compensation amounts based on the length of the delay and "irrespective of the actual damage suffered."
The application, filed last Friday, also says nullifying the regulations "would avoid the confusion to passengers" who could be subject to travel regimes from multiple jurisdictions on international flights.'
[ — "... avoid the confusion to passengers". Yeah. Cancel the legislation and passengers will have no doubt they've been screwed -- again.]
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