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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Sunday, June 05, 2011

An early story's breaking in Canada..
Prime Minister Steven Harper government’s plan to enlarge the House of Commons has touched a raw nerve with Jean Charest’s Quebec government, even as Western premiers praise the idea..
With Quebec marginalized within the federal Conservative caucus, and with the Quebec government also vowing to take the Conservatives’ plans for Senate reform to the Supreme Court.. the risk is increasing of French Canada becoming more estranged both from Ottawa and from Provinces to its west.
The Conservative government plans to introduce legislation this fall to increase the number of MPs from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, so that their growing populations are properly reflected in the House of Commons... A great idea is the consensus of the western Provinces.. They've felt somewhat marginalized over the past few decades.. Protesting their share of Parliamentary seats didn't reflect their numbers..
But Quebec..
Well the new legislation could see Quebec’s share of the total seats in the House of Commons drop below its current level of 24 per cent, which is slightly above the 23 per cent that is province’s share of the national population..
That's not going to please 'les pequistes'.. those who want to leave Canada and form an independent state, but will fight to the death for the lions share of Transfer Payments and representation in Ottawa..
Good luck Steven..

Economically.. The EU's European Investment Bank suspended all lending to Glencore..
citing "serious concerns" with governance at the world's biggest
commodities-trading company, which recently made its stock market debut..
The EIB is investigating a $50m loan it made to Glencore's Mopani
copper mine in Zambia, but says its concerns "go far beyond" that
investment. Glencore said it welcomed the inquiry and expects to be
"completely exonerated".
There are quite a few investors who have used that company to trade the commodities market.. and malfeasance is something the market could well do without.. especially concerning a house the size of Glencore..

America is a country of 310million people for whom free speech is a founding principle.. So it should be no surprise that it is inhabited by a large number of individuals with some pretty strange views. Largely due to local radio and more especially the Internet.. they are able to disseminate them to many others rather than just muttering away to themselves..
Jonathan Kay, an editor and columnist at Canada’s National Post, has chosen to shine a spotlight on one particular group of them.. the “truthers”.. who believe that when America was attacked on September 11th 2001 the American government was in the know, or even staged the whole thing in order (take your pick) to impose draconian social controls in the name of national security or to occupy the oilfields of the Gulf.
Americans.. of course.. have no monopoly on eccentric views.. one of the looniest is David Icke, one of our own, an Englishman who believes that the world is secretly run by a group of shape-shifting intergalactic lizards..
Nor is there any sign that the truthers are gaining much ground: in fact, they are puny in number compared with those who follow another nutty conspiracy theory, namely the “birthers”, who believe that Barack Obama was born outside the United States and is therefore, they hold, ineligible to be president. A significant minority of Republicans, according to opinion polls, hold this view. Birthers, however, get much less attention in Mr Kay's book..
This is a read thoroughly to be recommended..

Germany has reversed course on nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima
disaster in Japan.. now saying that all of its nuclear power stations
will be phased out by 2022..
Nuclear power supplies around a quarter of German electricity.. The government hopes to fill the gap with renewable energy, but critics say that this will be hard to achieve and that more gas- or coal-fired power generation may mean Germany misses its target for cutting carbon emissions..
It saves the country money in the short run.. but it will be exceedingly interesting to see how Angela plans to raise the profile of this 'renewable energy'.. and how she goes about avoiding the use of hydrocarbons for energy production..

The following's a quote from an article in the latest Economist.. It's worth a read..
"One day in 2008 an anonymous Twitter user posted a message: “I am certainly not bored. way busy! feel great!” That is all well and good, one might think, but utterly uninteresting to anyone besides the author and, perhaps, a few friends. Not so, according to Johan Bollen, of Indiana University Bloomington, who collected the tweet, along with plenty of others sent that day. All were rated for emotional content. Many proved similarly chirpy, scoring high on confidence, energy and happiness. Indeed, Dr Bollen reckons, on the day the tweet was posted, America’s collective mood perked up a notch. When he and his team examined all the data for the autumn and winter of 2008, they found that Twitter users’ collective mood swings coincided with national events. Happiness shot up around Thanksgiving, for example.
The idea of tapping web-based data to build a real-time measure of users’ emotions and preferences is not new. Nor is that of using the results to predict their behaviour. Interest in internet forecasting was sparked by a paper published in 2009 by Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist. He found that the peaks and troughs in the volume of Google searches for certain products, such as cars and holidays, preceded fluctuations in sales of those products. Other researchers have shown that searches for job-related terms are a good predictor of unemployment rates and that mentions of political candidates on Twitter correlate with electoral outcomes."
One will definitely see some reaction to this by conspiracy theorists.. along the lines of Big Brother..

Pope Benedict XVI denounced the "disintegration" of family life in Europe today, and called for couples to make a commitment to marry and have children, not just live together.. as he reaffirmed traditional Catholic family values during his second and final day in Croatia.
Benedict also voiced the Vatican's opposition to abortion at an open-air Mass this morning at Zagreb's hippodrome, the highlight of his trip to mark the local church's national day of families.. Tens of thousands of people, waving small plastic Croatian and Vatican flags, began arriving before dawn..
This is Benedict's first visit as pope to Croatia, an overwhelmingly Catholic Balkan nation that is poised to soon join the European Union. The Vatican has strongly supported its bid, eager to see another country with shared values join the 27-member bloc.

And finally.. Mercury breached the 40 degrees Celsius mark at several places in north India, with people in the national capital sweltering under oppressive heat..
In Delhi, mercury climbed to 42.2C.. two places above normal.. However, the pre-dawn temperature was two notches below normal at 26.3C..
Met officials said similar condition will prevail today.. it's expected that the mercury will fluctuate between 43C and 28C..
And the Camper Countdown continues..

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