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[LINK] On Canada keeping Russia and China from the 65th International Astronautical Conference

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MacLean’s shared a Canadian Press article noting that Canada did not give visa to Russian delegates to the 65th International Astronautical Congress.

Canada’s refusal to allow Russian delegates to attend a prestigious international astronautical symposium has angered Moscow, which said the decision flies in the face of international space co-operation and amounts to politicizing space exploration over the conflict in Ukraine.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy on Tuesday called Ottawa’s decision to deny visas for the delegates — including one of the country’s most renowned astronauts — unfortunate.

“In this regard, we can only express regret that a number of members of the Russian delegation did not get their visas,” Kirill Kalinin, second secretary at the Russian embassy in Ottawa, told The Canadian Press.

[. . .]

Ottawa initially declined to discuss the issue, citing privacy concerns, but on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada confirmed some applications were denied, while others were still being reviewed.

“Each will be assessed on its merits by professional, non-partisan public servants in accordance with Canada’s security and immigration laws,” Nancy Caron said in an email.

The CBC goes further, noting that Chinese as well as Russian delegates have prevented from getting visas.

The leaders of Russia’s and China’s space agencies were conspicuous by their absence at the opening plenary session in Toronto, sparking questions from among the thousands of participants.

The questions initially landed in the lap of Berndt Feuerbacher, past president of the International Astronautical Federation, who was moderating the session featuring the heads of space agencies.

“They were foreseen to be here with us, they have been with us in the past, and they will be with us in the future,” Feuerbacher said.

“It is just unfortunate, due to problems especially in the visa area, that we couldn’t have these delegations here. I apologize for this.”

The issue came amid much delegate talk about the importance of international co-operation in the space-exploration field as symbolized by the International Space Station. Russia plays a key role in the space station — its capsule brought home Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield — but has drawn the wrath of countries such as Canada and the U.S. for its aggression against Ukraine.

“How do you want to succeed talking about global space co-operation without involving representatives from Russia and China?” delegates asked Feuerbacher.

“This is not our intention,” he responded.

Walter Natynczyk, head of the Canadian Space Agency, was unable to explain what had gone wrong.

The retired general said he had only been alerted to the visa problem in the past couple of days.

There is a rationale for Russia, at least. But China? I would have thought that cultivating space links with China, or at least keeping connections alive, would have been a priority for the Canadian government.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO recommends things to do on the Danforth.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the importance of the discovery of water in the atmosphere of exoplanet HAT-P-11b.
  • Crooked Timber goes on at length about Kevin Williamson’s statement as noted by Joe. My. God. that women who have abortions should be executed.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes plans for futuristic architecture in Shenzhen.
  • Eastern Approaches observes the travails of a Roma soccer team in the Czech Republic.
  • Far Outliers notes two different movements of Romanian intellectuals responding to relative backwardness, pasoptism referring to the post-1848 effort at modernization and protocronism referring to efforts to claim all was invented first in Romania.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that in France, added years of education associated with avoiding conscription don’t produce different job results.
  • Spacing Toronto notes the failed visit of Upper Canadian reformer William Lyon Mackenzie to London in 1832.
  • Torontoist notes building regulations prevent Toronto from making use of green roofs.
  • Towleroad links to a study discussing the economic impact of anti-LGBT laws on Americans.
  • Why I Love Toronto talks about the importance of having a local barber.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians will begin to draft first Chechens then Crimeans, notes increased state spending on Russia Today, observes the belief among some Russians that Ukraine is somehow not really a nation, and suggests that Belarus is cracking down on pro-Russians.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Bad Astronomy notes odd changing features in one of Titan’s seas.
  • blogTO U>examines the birth of late-night television in Toronto in the 1980s.
  • Centauri Dreams looks again at the finding suggesting much Earth water predates the solar system.
  • Cody Delistraty considers the unusual joys of being placeless.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the Ukrainian war and notes that China is actively courting other countries to take part in its space stations.
  • The Everyay Sociology Blog considers the import of street food and its authenticity.
  • Geocurrents is skeptical about maps purporting to show state failure.
  • Joe. My. God. describes a flight that was delayed by the refusal of Hasidic Jewish passengers to sit next to women.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the steady decline of Hong Kong’s GDP as a fraction of China’s, suggesting that the territory is becoming dispensable.</li?
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla shares some of the first pictures of Mars taken by India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.
  • pollotenchegg examines the changing shape of Ukraine’s demographic pyramid from 1897 to the present.
  • Torontoist mourns the life of murdered Eritrean-Canadian community activist Nahom Berhane.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reports on the disturbing rise in the United States of inter-party prejudice.
  • Canadian science-fiction writer Peter Watts describes his visit to St. Petersburg.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the papal nuncio in Kyiv has condemned Russian aggression, observes the unpopularity of Ukrainian refugees in Russia, and observes Crimean Tatar complaints about Russian rule.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog wonders about the future of one country, two systems as a governing principle in Chinese Hong Kong.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes anti-Muslim ads in the New York City subways, China’s likely counterproductive crackdown on Uighurs, Kosovo’s efforts to stem the flow of fighters to the Islamic State, and observes the spread of Buddhist anti-Muslim chauvinism from Burma to Sri Lanka.
  • Bloomberg notes Japan’s strengthening of sanctions against Russia, notes that super-yacht sellers in Monaco are disturbed by anti-Russian sanctions and looks at the freezing of an oligarch’s assets in Italy, observes that Italian economic reforms are proceeding slowly, notes the relative strength of the Mexican economy, observes the travails of the economies of NATO-looking Ukraine and credit-crunched Russia and Bulgaria.
  • Bloomberg View considers the right of migrants from countries drowned by climate change to go to polluters, looks at Japan’s debt trap, an examines Ukrainian options in the wake of Russian victory in the Donbas.
  • CBC reports on Iraqi claims of Islamic State plans to attack subways in the United States and Paris.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the rapid growth of the world’s urban population, the rapid growth of the population of the Sahel region, and the growth of intra-Caribbean migration.
  • MacLean’s fears that constitutional reform in the United Kingdom may complicate the Scottish question and shares Indian Mars probe MOM’s Twittered photos of Mars.
  • National Geographic notes the relationship between poverty and poor food, observes the role played by guano in securing American territorial claims, and looks at the eventually rapid divergence of birds from dinosaurs.
  • Open Democracy is skeptical about the prospects of Ukrainian accession to the European Union, considers Ukraine’s security options, looks at the Azerbaijani perspective on the Ukrainian crisis, and considers strategies for the Scottish left and South Tyrolian separatists.
  • Universe Today looks at Russian contributions to the International Space Station, dates ancient Earth water, and notes that the ESA’s Rosetta mission will see the Philae lander touch the surface of its target comet on the 12th of November.

[BLOG] Some Monday linls

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  • blogTO notes the five longest TTC routes in Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes evidence that objects detected by Kepler are gravitationally bound to their parent stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales tracks the migrations of raccoons and their kind from North to South America, and notes that Pacific Island nations are hoping to find places they can evacuate their populations to.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the computer of the anti-gay papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic has been found to be filled with child porn, and observes apparent success in treating Ebola with HIV medications.
  • Language Log looks at gendered pronoun usage on Facebook.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes depression.
  • Marginal Revolution links to an article examining the lives of lightning survivors.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at Russian-Ukrainian energy wars and isn’t hopeful for Ukraine.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes war-related mortality patterns in Iraq.
  • Savage Minds notes that anthropologists at the University of Chicago have played a leading role in getting that university to disengage from its Confucius Institute.
  • Torontoist notes how 1971 thinkers thought Toronto could be made more pleasant.
  • Towleroad considers if Britney Spears is a proper gay icon.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the death of civic nationalism in Russia, notes the refugees in Ukraine displaced from the Donbas, suggests that there is sympathy in Tatarstan from Crimean Tatars, looks at Russian official support for the far right worldwide, and suggests that Eurasianism and Dugin are of falling importance.

[LINK] “Moscow’s ‘Mr. Yuan’ Builds China Link as Putin Tilts East “

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Evgenia Pismennaya’s Bloomberg article takes a look at one element of Russia’s forced rapprochement with China.

Vladimir Putin has a secret agent in his campaign to curb the impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy: Mr. Yuan.

That’s what skeptical bankers started calling Igor Marich after he introduced yuan trading in Moscow in 2010, when Russia became the first country outside China to offer regulated renminbi purchases. Now, as sanctions from the west over the conflict in Ukraine prompt more Russian companies to look east for growth, Mr. Yuan has become something of an honorific.

The yuan-ruble trade on the Moscow Exchange, where Marich runs money markets, has jumped 10-fold this year to $749 million in August, though still a sliver of the $367 billion in dollar-for-ruble sales. Yuan buying hit a then-peak of 666 million yuan ($109 million) on July 31, when the European Union penalized Russia’s largest banks, OAO Sberbank (SBER), VTB Group and OAO Gazprombank, over Putin’s support for Ukraine’s insurgency. With EU and U.S. sanctions in place and ties with China deepening, daily trading will soon reach 1 billion yuan, Marich said.

“I believe we can see this result within a year,” the 40-year-old sports enthusiast said in an interview at the exchange in central Moscow, where he started working in 2000, the same year Putin became president.

Marich’s goal may come sooner than he thinks. Russia is considering accepting yuan for gas under the $400 billion, 30-year supply deal that China signed during Putin’s visit to Beijing in May, according to four senior Russian officials and executives who asked not to be identified because a final decision hasn’t been made.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from the Asian Games.
  • blogTO notes that Loblaws in Toronto will pioneer drive-through grocery sales.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her issues with being an adjunct professor.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the ongoing disputes within the European Space Agency behind the creation of the next generation of Ariane rockets.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas notes some good recent criticism of Arendt and her Eichmann in Jerusalem.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and the New APPS Blog both note the expanding controversy surrounding philosopher Brian Leiter.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the beginning of drone delivery in Germany.
  • pollotenchegg notes the scale of demographic collapse and rapid aging in Ukraine’s Donetsk.
  • Torontoist notes that a Toronto policeman has been acquitted on charges of assaulting a former Torontoist contributor at the G20 protests.
  • Towleroad notes the Serbian Orthodox Church’s opposition to Belgrade Pride and observes that France has streamlined the adoption process for lesbian mothers.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Crimean Tatars should prepare for another deportation and notes that Russia’s economic travails are weakening its influence in Central Asia at China’s expense.
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