Sunday, August 4, 2013

Canadian Olympians march for tolerance at Vancouver Pride Parade


A large rainbow flag is carried down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday August 4, 2013. A record crowd of approximately 500,000 people was expected to attend the event.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck , THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER - Two Olympians representing Canada's Olympic Team marched in Vancouver's Pride Parade today.

Canadian Olympic officials say it was an effort to spread a message of tolerance, acceptance and diversity in light of Russia's anti-gay laws and the upcoming 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Alpine skier and 2010 Olympian Mike Janyk and two-time Olympian snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll joined Pride participants as they marched through Vancouver's downtown and the West End.

Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut says the coming together of COC and Pride is a reminder that sport is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, creed or sexual orientation.

Anti-gay laws in Russia have provoked strong protest from Canada's gay community, and anti-Russian sentiment was visible throughout Sunday's Parade.

At least one marcher wore a T-shirt and hoisted a sign featuring a photoshopped image of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing blue eye shadow and blush.

This is the first time the COC has participated in Pride festivals across the country ? Olympians have already marched in Toronto and will also be present in the upcoming Pride celebrations in Ottawa, Calgary and Montreal.








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TransCanada moves forward with oil pipeline, but it's not Keystone XL

TransCanada, a Canadian energy company said Thursday it was moving forward with plans to build a?2,740-mile pipeline that would transit between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from western to eastern Canada.?Oil arriving through the Energy East Pipeline would feed refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick that at present get 86 per cent of their crude supply from the international market at much higher prices than they would pay for crude from Alberta.

By Robert M. Cutler,?Guest blogger / August 2, 2013

TransCanada CEO Russ Girling announces the company is moving forward with the 1.1 million-barrel-per day Energy East Pipeline project at a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Thursday.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/AP


The Canadian energy company TransCanada Corp announced today,?Thursday, its decision to move forward with the Energy East Pipeline, a 2,740-mile project that would transit between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from western to eastern Canada. Some longer-term estimates see the possibility of eventually ramping volumes up to 1.1 million bpd.

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Oil arriving through the Energy East Pipeline would feed refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick that at present get 86 per cent of their crude supply from the international market at much higher prices than they would pay for crude from Alberta. Conversion of the existing Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline for carriage of crude oil would account for slightly over two-thirds the projected length. The remainder would be new construction. Cost estimates range up to $12 billion, excluding the transfer value of the Canadian Mainline.?(Related article:?Canada Threatens U.S. with Oil Trains if Keystone XL Not Built)

The announcement follows by three weeks the signature by Alberta province of a memorandum of understanding to pay up to $5 billion in tolls for transportation of its crude oil to eastern Canada, if a pipeline is built. The proposal still requires regulatory approval, but the conditions in favor of this have been lining themselves up for some time.

The company anticipates beginning the regulatory process next year, with first oil flowing to Montreal and the Quebec City region by 2017, and to Saint John, New Brunswick, by 2018. TransCanada and IrvingOil have formed a joint venture, to construct, own, and operate a new deep water marine terminal at Canaport in Saint John.?

Mugabe re-elected as Zimbabwe president

  • Britain News.Net - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Former England footballer Michael Owen has said that he has a strong affinity with racehorses as their training is similar to that of a professional footballer. According to the Daily Star, Owen, who swapped the football pitch for the racecourse last season, trains 95 thoroughbreds with his wife Louise Bonsall at their Manor House Stables in Cheshire, England. Stating that horses are his main ...

  • Will-Kats royal prince George officially inked into royalty

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    The royal baby, who is the third-in-line to the throne, has now been officially named as 'His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge', by proud parents Prince William and Kate. Sources have revealed that Kate, who usually sticks to 'Duchess of Cambridge' for royal engagements, has listed herself as a 'Princess', which is a more senior title, on Prince George's birth ...

  • Prince Harry happy pressure to produce heir off after royal babys birth

    Britain News.Net - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Prince Harry has admitted that he's in "no rush" to have kids now following the birth of his nephew, Prince George. During a conversation with Royal Marines and their families at HM Naval Base in Devonport, Plymouth, the 28-year-old said that Prince Charles is over the moon at being a grandfather, People magazine reported. When asked if he'd be rushing to have children now, Harry said that the ...

  • Nepalese folk-rock band Nepathya to headline Wembley Arena gig

    Britain News.Net - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Popular Nepalese folk-rock band 'Nepathya' is all set to perform at one of the UK's largest venues- London's Wembley Arena- on Saturday. According to the organisers, people are travelling to the country from Holland, Belgium, Norway and the US for the concert, the BBC reported. Singer Amrit Gurung told the publication that it is like a dream come true to play at Wembley. The band, which was ...

  • Swann backs sore back Cook to counter Clarkes gauntlet at Old Trafford

    Britain News.Net - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    England bowler Graeme Swann has backed his team's batsmen '100 percent', and said that he is confident that captain Alastair Cook will be 'as right as rain' to carry on after a good rest following his two-and-a-half hours batting with a sore back. According to the Mirror, Cook, who battled hard for just over two hours to take his team to the close at 52-2, is as desperate for a big score as ...

  • Botham backs England to cash in at Old Trafford like excellent Aussies

    Britain News.Net - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Former England Test captain Ian Botham has praised the Australian team for regaining control of the third Ashes Test although he backed England batsmen to cash in at Old Trafford like their rivals. Australian captain Michael Clarke completed a brilliant 187 on day two of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford as part of his side's huge declared 527-7 which took control of the Test. According to ...

  • Duke of Cambridge lifts the lid on fatherhood - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Britain's Prince Harry (R) and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (L) share a joke with teammates Mark Tomlinson, (2nd L) and Luke Tomlinson (2nd R) after winning their charity polo match at Coworth Park, near Ascot, ...

  • England struggle despite Pietersen ton

    RTE - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    England face another two days of hard graft if they are to retain the Ashes in Manchester this week despite Kevin Pietersen's 23rd Test century. Pietersen has been largely absent with the bat so far this series but saved his best for an innings of 113 that was the backbone of England's 294 for seven at the close on day three of the third Investec Test at Emirates Old Trafford. That ...

  • Your country needs you The myth of the most iconic World War I emblem

    The Independent - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    The picture of Lord Kitchener has long been regarded as the poster that encouraged young men to join the army, but this may just be a popular ...

  • The essential etiquette guide to modern life | Rafael Behr

    Guardian - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    fracking " - the process of extracting shale gas by pumping water deep underground and fracturing layers of rock in which the precious stuff is trapped. It is either the salvation of Britain's economy or an act of reckless environmental vandalism.The first rule when choosing one of those positions is to ignore the full range of evidence. It is inconclusive and so too confusing to be ...

  • England 294-7 v Australia 527-7 Dec in Third Test-Close

    New York Times - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    MANCHESTER, England ...

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    Las Vegas Sun - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 | 10:15 a.m. MANCHESTER, England -- Getting ready to jet off to Mallorca, Alix Townsend picked what she thought was the perfect outfit for a holiday in the sun. Unfortunately, her short denim shorts did not pass muster with airport staff. The 18-year-old says she was horrified to be told by a Monarch Airlines supervisor to take off her high-cut shorts in front of hundreds ...

  • Teenager charged after petrol station owner injured in West Kingsdown hit and run

    This is Local London - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Police outside the Texaco garage in West Kingsdown (Picture: Invicta Kent Media, Sidcup) A TEENAGER has appeared in court this morning three days after a 58-year-old man was allegedly carried for half a mile along the A20 in West Kingsdown on the bonnet of a car. Joshua Charnley, 19, of no fixed address, faces charges of grievous bodily harm with intent, dangerous driving, theft of fuel ...

  • Tottenham says Dempsey is moving back to MLS ending six-year spell in England

    The Globe and Mail - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Tottenham Hotspur's Clint Dempsey, right, fights for the ball with South China FC's Joel Bertoti Padiha during a match at the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong Saturday, July 27, 2013. (Kin ...

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  • Dempsey set to leave England move to MLS

    San Diego Union-Tribune - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    LONDON -; Tottenham says United States forward Clint Dempsey is returning to Major League Soccer, ending his six-year spell in English ...

  • Pietersen and Bell hit 50s to steady England

    SBS - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Australia's captain Michael Clarke reacts after the dismissal of England's Alastair Cook during the third Ashes cricket test match against England at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester August 3, 2013. REUTERS/Philip ...

  • KP Bell to England?s rescue

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    Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell gave England a lifeline by batting through the middle session to reach tea on 211 for four in their first innings, 316 behind Australia on the third day of the third Ashes Test. Photo by Stu ...

  • Cuba says 11 dead 40 sickened by rum made with toxic alcohol

    Middle East Times - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    At least 11 people have died and 40 have been hospitalized in Cuba after drinking toxic methyl alcohol sold as rum, public health officials say. Health officials said the first cases of illness appeared Monday, with the victims suffering symptoms of poisoning from methanol, commonly used in fuel, the BBC reported. Cuban state television said some of the victims had been temporarily blinded ...

  • Rouhani installed as president of Iran

    Middle East Times - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Iran's newly elected president Hassan Rouhani (C) attends a Jerusalem Day (al-Quds Day) rally on August 2, 2013 in Tehran, Iran. Islamic states mark the annual even on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. UPI/Maryam ...

  • Local painter opening exhibition

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    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    FBI Reportedly Absolves Itself for not Preventing Boston Terror Strike

    The FBI reportedly has determined that it could have done much to foil the April bombing of the Boston Marathon, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

    That apparent determination was reached following multiple internal assessments of how the FBI responded to a 2011 appeal by a Russian intelligence agency to probe whether accused bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now deceased, had become sympathetic to militant Islamist thinking while living in the United States.

    Several lawmakers have said the FBI should have done a better job following up on the Russian tip about the elder Tsarnaev brother and monitoring him after 2012 travel back to the United States after a sojourn in Russia. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, is the chief surviving suspect in the April 15 attack, which resulted in three deaths and hundreds of injuries.

    The FBI agents who looked into Tsarnaev following the 2011 tip said there were federal legal limits to the type of probing they could do, such as wiretapping.

    The experience of treating the many people injured in the Boston attack has led the city's six chief trauma hospitals to modify some of the ways they respond to large-scale incidents, the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday. ?Lessons learned will be made available to other hospitals throughout the United States.

    One of the central findings in attack response was the difficulty in timely identification of patients.


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    Jailed Vietnam blogger ends hunger strike after five weeks

    HANOI (Reuters) - A Vietnamese dissident jailed for criticizing the country's rulers has ended a hunger strike after five weeks when judicial authorities agreed to accept his complaint about poor treatment, his son said on Saturday.

    Nguyen Van Hai, better known as Dieu Cay, resumed eating on July 27 after the Supreme People's Procuracy, the prosecutor's office, agreed to look into his claim of abusive treatment.

    The hunger strike has focused attention on Vietnam's harsh treatment of activists and bloggers, who face intimidation and long prison terms for what authorities call abuses of their constitutional right to free speech.

    Hai, 61, refused food and water for 35 days in what was his second hunger strike over the prison's failure to forward his petitions. He was jailed for 12 years for "anti-state propaganda" last September.

    "It's not about my father. His hunger strike was for all prisoners of conscience," said Nguyen Tri Dung, his 27-year-old son, who said he saw Hai for just seven minutes on Friday.

    Communist Vietnam has taken a tough line on dissent, with arrests and convictions on the rise in the past three years. Bloggers are increasingly targeted as the number of web users soars to a third of the one-party state's 90 million population.

    The United States wants closer trade and military ties with its former enemy as it seeks to strengthen allegiances in Asia and temper China's influence, but Vietnam's crackdown on critics is proving to be a major stumbling block.

    Two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama pressed visiting counterpart Truong Tan Sang on human rights but chose his words carefully, mentioning both "progress" and "challenges that remain". Sang said the two "have differences on the issue".

    Vietnam's state-controlled media ran video footage and photographs this week of Hai receiving medical care in an apparent effort to counter human rights groups concerned about his treatment. In several cases, media referred to the hunger strike as a "rumor" and reported Hai had been eating.

    Dung last week told Reuters his father appeared gaunt, pale and dazed during his previous visit to the prison in Nghe An province on July 22, when he saw him for five minutes.

    (Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Ron Popeski)

    (This story corrects name in second para: Dieu Cay instead of Dieu Ca)


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    Friday, August 2, 2013

    When Washington Forgot How to Negotiate

    When members of Congress return from summer recess next month, they will have less than a month to act before the farm bill expires?and face long odds that they can clear the partisan hurdles set up between the Democratic Senate, the Republican House, and final passage.

    On the debt ceiling, the sequester, immigration reform, and fixing the tax code, Democrats and Republicans have tried and failed to come up with comprehensive solutions to the country's problems. But the farm bill stands out as a case study of Washington's descent into an almost unbridgeable partisan divide precisely because the type of grand bargain President Obama and some Republican leaders now seek has been achieved so many times before?and now achieving one seems so far out of reach.

    The two sides are fighting over portions of the bill that allocate billions to food-stamp programs. The bill the Senate has already passed reduces $4 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a deep cut that has Democrats upset. The House has signaled it will take up the two halves of the bill?farm aid and food assistance?separately.

    That shreds a bipartisan legislative coalition that has existed since the 1973 version of the farm bill, when food-stamp funding was added to the bill to attract urban Democratic votes to a bill that had, until then, mainly benefited rural communities. The stalemate is the latest sign that Washington has either forgotten how, or is no longer willing, to negotiate to build bipartisan coalitions.

    It wasn't always this way. Even as Republicans made inroads in rural districts once held by Democrats while Democrats came to rely more on urban and suburban states, the coalition between backers of farm subsidies and food stamps held. Those who negotiated earlier farm bills took as a given that both pieces were necessary to build the bipartisan coalition that would ensure passage. The 2008 farm bill enjoyed such widespread support that 99 House Republicans and 35 Senate Republicans voted with most Democrats to override George W. Bush's veto.

    The farm bill has always led to contentious debate. Back in 2002, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa,?and then-Rep. Larry Combest, R-Texas,?led conference-committee negotiations over loan-rate structures and energy title and conservation provisions that Harkin backed, and on payment limitations and target price structures that Combest supported. The negotiations took weeks. The conference committee met first on the House side of the Capitol, then on the Senate side. When a deal seemed close, the conference committee met in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office, just off the Senate floor, to hammer out the final compromises. Daschle was intimately involved with the conferees.

    Those involved in the negotiations said the two sides built up from a foundation they could both support. When Harkin realized he was outnumbered in opposing a so-called Freedom to Farm provision, which had been included in a previous iteration of the farm bill, he dropped his opposition in exchange for the loan-rate structure he backed. The final bill included what's now called the Conservation Stewardship Program, another Harkin-backed last-minute addition that came out of the conference committee.

    "You build from a base of mutual interest and build upon that mutual interest to reach accommodation, not by saying you can't get what you want and I can't get what I want," Harkin said in an interview, recalling his legislative strategy. "I had dance partners. Sometimes they liked to polka and I liked to waltz. They liked to tango and I liked to line dance."

    "Everybody was going to have a part" of the bill, Combest recalled. "You've got the parameters that are established and you end up somewhere in the center."

    The farm bill, Daschle added, was classic legislative construction: The bill was crafted to give members in each state the buy-in they needed to vote for the final product. "If their state has no stake in the bill, the only way you get them is by getting them invested in the bill," Daschle said. "You've got to figure out a way to make this relevant to them."

    That buy-in-based, ground-up approach to legislating has become almost extinct in the capital today. Most congressional observers and former legislators in both parties point to the conservative contingent of junior Republicans, who wield huge amounts of influence over House GOP leadership and who are more interested in cutting the size of government than they are in cutting deals.

    "The problem in the House is a Republican majority committed to oppose anything associated with the president," said Thomas Mann, the Brookings Institution scholar who cowrote a recent book explaining Washington's dysfunction. "Our governing problems are primarily a consequence of the radicalization?ideologically and procedurally?of one of our two major parties."

    But the White House deserves some measure of blame, too. While President Obama has been frustrated by his inability to sell Republicans on elements of his agenda that borrow heavily from earlier Republican ideas?health care, the stimulus package, and cap-and-trade legislation, to name a few?some Democrats are critical of his approach. Capitol Hill Democrats fault the White House for failing to negotiate with Republicans from a stronger position; by beginning with old Republican ideas, those Democrats believe, Obama gives away too many of his own bargaining chips before the real bargaining even begins.

    "A good lawyer compromises on the courthouse steps. In other words, you compromise just before you walk into the courthouse. It seems like Obama is willing to compromise at the get-go," Harkin said.

    Obama also has a habit of confessing a certain measure's shortcomings, almost right out of the gate. He will frequently acknowledge that a compromise he has offered doesn't contain all the elements he wanted, while urging incremental progress nonetheless. "So while this compromise didn't contain everything I wanted or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress," he said of a bill to strengthen background-check requirements on April 17. "The bill introduced in the Senate doesn't include everything I want," Obama wrote in a Miami Herald op-ed on May 7. "It doesn't contain everything I want," he said five days earlier, meeting the press alongside Mexican President Enrique Pe?a Nieto.

    Obama's pessimism started even when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress: "It may not have everything I want," he said when introducing credit card reform legislation at an event in New Mexico, back in May 2009. The president, it seems, is so determined to win over Republicans that he denigrates his own legislation.

    Negotiating big deals, Daschle said, "shouldn't be lose-lose, it should be win-win. And finding ways to frame a deal as win-win is leadership."

    It's also something Washington has simply forgotten how to do.


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    Benghazi Cover Up by the CIA? (Powerlineblog)

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