Category Archives: world news

Canada is the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on Anti-Semitism!

Canada first to sign antisemitism protocol
Breaking News
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Fittingly, Canada is the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on combating antisemitism.The document was drafted in Ottawa at the November 2010 Conference on Combating Antisemitism and was signed last week by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.It represents the outgrowth of a series of conferences by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (IC-CA), which co-hosted the Ottawa conference along with the government of Canada last year.

The protocol contains a series of measures that seek to end hateful propaganda online and in places such as university campuses and distinguishes valid criticism of Israel from antisemitism.

“Criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic,” the protocol states. “But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.”

Jewish community leaders and groups hailed the government’s signing of the document last week.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) commended the signing. In a statement, CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel called the document “groundbreaking” in its findings and recommendations.

The Ottawa Protocol “will serve as the basis of the renewed international effort against antisemitism. The fact that this important document was crafted in Ottawa is further testimony to Canada’s leadership role in this vital global battle,” he said.

Fogel added: “We are hopeful that the recommendations of the Ottawa Protocol will not only be adopted by other countries, but will serve as a model for countering all forms of hatred and discrimination.”

At the signing, Kenney said Canada is fighting anti-Semitism in a number of ways.

“The Ottawa Protocol complements what Canada is already doing to combat hatred and discrimination, including antisemitism,” he said. “We are a member of the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. Here at home, we have launched programs to promote integration and social cohesion of Canadians from all backgrounds.”

The Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre  (FSWC) also praised the government for becoming the docu-ment’s first official signatory.

In a statement, Avi Benlolo, president and CEO said his organization applauded the government’s “principled leadership” on the issue.

“With the exceptional and pernicious rise of antisemitism throughout the world, the Ottawa Protocol sets an exam-ple for other nations to follow,” Benlolo said. “This announcement is particularly meaningful as Jews around the world watch in sadness as the racist Durban III conference in New York provides yet one more international forum for attacking the Jewish people, while here in Canada we read about another antisemitic inci-dent in which a swastika was carved on an Edmonton hill.”

To read the full text of the Ottawa Protocol, go to

Barry always has it RIGHT!

His column today in the Washington Post is right on the money.  Basically, he reiterates that we should not blindly follow Europe off the austerity cliff, which will not help to create a recovery after this credit crisis:

Wall Street analysts and economists have this recession recovery wrong

The recession is well behind us now, and Wall Street seems to think this recovery should be all wrapped up.

Consider this: The federal non-farm jobs report for June was pretty awful. The private sector created 57,000 jobs. Federal, state and local governments cut 39,000 positions (the eighth straight monthly decrease in government employment). We picked up a mere 18,000 net new jobs.


No run-of-the-mill recession

No run-of-the-mill recession

Not a single forecaster in Bloomberg’s monthly survey of 85 Wall Street economists got it anywhere close to right. The most common reaction was “surprise.” That any professional can sincerely claim to be surprised by continued weakness — in employment, GDP or retail sales — was the only revelation.
Let’s put the number into context: In a nation of 307 million people with about 145 million workers, we have to gain about 150,000 new hires a month to maintain steady employment rates. So 18,000 new monthly jobs misses the mark by a wide margin.

Why have analysts and economists on Wall Street gotten this so wrong? In a word: context. Most are looking at the wrong data set, using the post-World War II recession recoveries as their frame of reference.

History suggests the correct frame of reference is not the usual contraction-expansion cycles, but rather credit-crisis collapse and recovery. These are not your run-of-the-mill recessions. They are far rarer, more protracted and much more painful.

Fortunately, a few economists have figured this out and provide some insight into what we should expect. Among the most prescient are professors Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff. Back in January 2008 (!), they published a paper warning that the U.S. subprime mortgage debacle was turning into a full-blown credit crisis. Looking at five previous financial crises — Japan (1992), Finland (1991), Sweden (1991), Norway (1987) and Spain (1977) — the professors warned that we should expect a prolonged slump. These other crises had a number of surprisingly consistent elements:

First, asset market collapses were prolonged and deep. Real housing prices declined an average of 35 percent over six years, while equity prices collapsed an average of 55 percent. Those numbers were stunningly close to what occurred in the U.S. crisis of 2007-09.

Second, they’ve noted that the aftermaths of banking crises “are associated with profound declines in employment.” They found that following a crisis, the average increase in the unemployment rate was 7 percentage points over four years. U.S. unemployment climbed 6 percentage points (from about 4 percent to about 10 percent), while the broadest measure of joblessness gained over 7 percentage points (from about 9 percent to about 16 percent). Again, they were right on the money.

Third, the professors warned that “government debt tends to explode, rising an average of 86 percent.” Surprisingly, the primary cause is not the costs of bailing out the banking system, but the “inevitable collapse in tax revenues that governments suffer in the wake of deep and prolonged contractions.” They also warned that “ambitious countercyclical fiscal policies aimed at mitigating the downturn” also tend to be costly.

Hmmm, plummeting tax revenues just as the government tries to stimulate the economy . . . does any of this sound familiar? It should.

Read the rest here in the Washington Post, or on his blog,  here.

In conclusion, we are in for a long haul, no matter what we do, but austerity, or slashing government spending is the WRONG way to go, unless, like Republicans, you want to follow ideology and damn the little people, with no power, who will get hurt.



An absolute must-read on Rupert Murdoch and the Wall Street Journal

As usual, Barry Ritholtz has called the Emperor naked again.  The WSJ has done an abysmal job of not reporting on the scandal of immense proportions going on all over Murdoch’s empire, the WSJ being one of his prize holdings.  This just proves what all of us thought when he bought it – that he was actually buying the mouthpiece for his political views and not buying a media asset for his business empire.  Just like Faux News – oops, I mean Fox News – it has just proven itself a tool of its owner and buried the story on page 16.  Do read it here.  It makes you shiver at what we call “the freedom of the press”.

Bomb blast in Minsk – and my husband is there!

He just called and is fine, but the blast, in the subway at rush hour was 1/4 mile from where he is lecturing on a medical mission.  Not words to warm my heart!  But I’m glad he called before I heard the news elsewhere.  Here is a link to some news about it:

The Christian Science Monitor has good world news and preliminary news about it.