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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘globalization

[LINK] “Belgravia Mansion Sales Slump as Russians Vanish From London”

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Bloomberg’s Neil Callanan describes the collapse in the purchase of mansions in London by wealthy Russians.

Home sales in Belgravia, the London district favored by Russian oligarchs for its large Regency-style houses, are slumping after the collapse of the ruble against the pound.

Transactions dropped 25 percent in the neighborhood in the 10 months through October from a year earlier, compared with a decline of almost 20 percent in the rest of central London’s best districts, according to researcher Lonres. The ruble has fallen 26 percent in the past year against the U.K. currency amid international sanctions over Ukraine and the collapse of oil prices.

“The share of Russian buyers in the prime central London market is down due largely to the currency weakness and difficulty in getting money out of the country,” said Charles McDowell, who advises wealthy clients on buying luxury homes in London. “This has affected Belgravia and Knightsbridge in particular, which is very much the Russian heartland.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO notes Yonge Street probably beats out Davenport Road as Toronto’s oldest street.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes simulations of Earth’s early atmosphere that might help us determine if exoplanets host life.
  • Joe. My. God. notes an American Christian who thinks France deserved ISIS.
  • Language Hat notes how song lyrics help preserve the Berber dialect of Siwa, in Egypt.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Pereltsvaig reposts an old article of hers on the English language of the islands of the South Atlantic.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the complexity of solidarity with France in our post-imperial era.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests well-timed American aid helped Greece enormously.
  • Savage Minds notes the return of the Anthrozine.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russian is now widely spoken by ISIS and looks at the exact demographics of traditional families in Russia (largely rural, largely non-Russian).

[LINK] “Canada will implement UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Carolyn Bennett says”

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This Toronto Star report was lovely news.

ndigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says the new Liberal government will rebuild the relationship with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples by including them in every decision that affects them and their land.

“That means starting out right, such that everything has been considered before a decision is taken so that you can find that win-win of ‘you can develop there but not there,’ ” Bennett said in an interview this week, when asked how the Liberals plan to make good on their promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave that sentiment a boost when he told his new cabinet ministers in their : “No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples.”

The Crown already has a constitutionally protected “duty to consult” with aboriginal peoples on issues that might affect their interests, but the UN declaration goes much further and calls on governments to obtain “free, prior and informed consent,” including when it comes to natural resources development.

The idea that this could turn into a veto was one of the concerns that Canada — under the previous government of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper — cited as a reason for its opposition to signing UNDRIP in 2007 and then its refusal to adopt an outcome document last year.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes the plans to build a large park under the western Gardiner.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Pluto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales goes to Syria.
  • Far Outliers reports from a despairing Siberian village.
  • Geocurrents notes that most Moravians live in Tanzania.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Ireland’s marriage laws have gone into effect.
  • Language Log looks at the spread of the shawm, a musical instrument, across Asia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes David Frum’s proposal to ethnically cleanse Muslims from Europe.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the prospects for a widened French war in Syria, noting that despite the popularity of intervention France cannot do much more.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy is critical of the European Union’s policy requiring the labeling of goods made in the West Bank.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the growth of barriers hindering the departure of Russians and looks at Stalin’s rivalry with Hitler in the Balkans and elsewhere.

[LINK] “ISIS wants to destroy the ‘grey zone’. Here’s how we defend it”

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Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s Open Democracy essay makes very important points about how to, and how not to, respond to the threat of ISIS.

ISIS’s choice of targets reveal a range of ideological motives – sectarian targeting of minorities like Shi’as, Kurds and Yazidis; striking in the heart of Muslim regimes that have joined the anti-ISIS coalition; as well as demonstrating the punitive consequences of attacking ISIS to western publics by hitting them at their most vulnerable, in bars, restaurants and music venues.

The goal, of course, is to inflict trauma, fear, paranoia, suspicion, panic and terror – but there is a particularly twisted logic as part of this continuum of violence, which is to draw the western world into an apocalyptic civilizational Armageddon with ‘Islam.’

ISIS recognizes that it has only marginal support amongst Muslims around the world. The only way it can accelerate recruitment and strengthen its territorial ambitions is twofold: firstly, demonstrating to Islamist jihadist networks that there is now only one credible terror game in town capable of pulling off spectacular terrorist attacks in the heart of the west, and two, by deteriorating conditions of life for Muslims all over the world to draw them into joining or supporting ISIS.

Both these goals depend on two constructs: the ‘crusader’ civilisation of the ‘kuffar’ (disbelievers) pitted against the authentic ‘Islamic’ utopia of ISIS.

In their own literature shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, ISIS shamelessly drew on the late Osama bin Laden’s endorsement of the words of President George W. Bush, to justify this apocalyptic vision: “The world today is divided into two camps. Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.’ Meaning either you are with the crusade or you are with Islam.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

[LINK] “Author and artist Douglas Coupland reflects on our loss of freedom”

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From The Globe and Mail, Marsha Lederman reports on Douglas Coupland’s reaction to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

During our conversation, we also discussed his current appointment as artist-in-residence at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. The author and visual artist arrived in Paris last February, shortly after the attacks at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store.

He will return to complete the residency in Paris, likely in January.

It’s a city he loves. Mr. Coupland received the Legion of Honour earlier this year, and in the notes for his acceptance speech, he called Paris “possibly the most futuristic city in the world.” He added that the time he has been spending in France thus far had been the most interesting and productive time of his life – rivalled only by art school in Vancouver decades ago. “My Parisian co-workers have become close friends, and the city itself has also become a cherished friend.”

He also commended the way French society had handled recent events.

“French culture needs to remember that the world now looks to France as a critical political and social navigator of our new century,” he wrote in his speech.

What we didn’t know during our shopping mall interview Friday was that as we were speaking, Paris was under attack again.

More, including a short interview, via the link.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 17, 2015 at 10:57 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the things important to her.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram shares a quietly beautiful picture of a Paris café late at night.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper suggesting that atmospheric haze on exoplanets might be a biosignature.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the Earth appears not to have gotten its water from comets, and examines the geology of Mars’ massive Hellas crater.
  • Far Outliers notes initial Soviet goals in Afghanistan and looks at Soviet reluctance to get involved.
  • Joe. My. God. notes panic in the Republican Party establishment over a possible victory of Carson or Trump.
  • Language Hat notes some online resources on Beowulf and the Hittite language.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of ethnic Germans in Ukraine in 1926.
  • Torontoist notes an architecturally sensitive data centre on Cabbagetown’s Parliament Street.
  • Towleroad notes Ukraine’s passage of a LGBT employment non-discrimination bill.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Putin’s attempt at forming an anti-globalist coalition and notes Russian opinions about Western passivity.

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