Archive for the ‘News and Politics’ Category

Terrorist bombing in Lahore

From Metroblogging Lahore [mbl]:

Eye-witnesses claim to have heard the blast from at least a kilometer away and that it shook office blocks, shops, GPO and the Lahore High Court building in the vicinity.

City’s emergency service, Rescue 1122, claims to have picked up 22 dead bodies while at least 70 of the critically injured have been shifted to the Mayo, Services and Ganga Ram Hospitals.

It seems not a month goes by when I don’t link to our sister blogs in Pakistan as some horrible event shakes their lives. In a part of the world where we have the luxury of being fairly certain that we will never face something so devastating it’s hard to understand how anyone could live with such ever present danger.

As much as people in Vancouver might bitch about the little inconveniences that the city throws up at us, from high rental prices to an idiot mayor or not being able to turn onto or off of Cambie Street, things like this regularly make me grateful that it’s Vancouver that I call home and that I was born into a comfortable, bomb free life in Canada though no merit of my own.

If praying is something you do offer one up for the people of Lahore this morning.

World reaction to the news of Benazir Bhutto’s murder


Bhutto assassinated….

Originally uploaded by Mig_R.

Metroblogging Islamabad [mbi] & [mbi]:

We never thought 2007 will say its final goodbyes on this note. On and off, I & many other bloggers shared our thoughts on the suicide bombings and massive killings. The prominent figures were never hurt and commoners lost their precious lives to such attacks. Today was an altogether different case though. We liked her or not, that’s an altogether different rant, Benazir Bhutto was a prominent and influential lady. The two times PM of pakistan is no more. Seems like legacy of Kennedy family has shown its face in Pakistan. May Allah bless her and the many others who have lost their precious lives.

Metroblogging Karachi [mbk]:

It is without doubt that an entire nation actually sheds a tear on the death of Benazir Bhutto, she was a hero to many, and rival to others, but the bottom line is that she was a brave leader of our nation and her struggles for democracy will not go unremembered. May Her Soul Rest in Peace.

Metroblogging Lahore [mbl]:

On the evening of 27th December 2007, Ms Benazir Bhutto died due to injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack on her life. I feel like repeating this to actually believe it. I feel that almost everything within the Pakistani political makeup will change. There is already incident reports of people ransacking offices of political officials, of protestors burning vehicles and the subsequent sense of fear that things will turn for the worse. I, unfortunately, also feel that the same unjust rule, the same all-consuming lust for power, the same indifference that seems to be root cause of everything evil and the same ‘wheeling and dealing’ associated with the politicians of today will continue unabated.

Emergency Rule in Pakistan


Pakistan

Originally uploaded by drmvrbr2000.

I go to bed complaining about the giant floodlight that Hollywood installed outside my bedroom window, and I wake up reminded that there are bigger problems than what we get riled about here in the western world. In Pakistan the media has been shut down by President Pervez Musharraf and 11 judges on their Supreme Court have been confined to the Supreme Court building over the potential verdict in their decision over Musharraf’s election vicotry in October [bbc].

Since Metroblogging is a world wide network of blogs there are bloggers we know affected by this. Some important Metroblogging posts to check out if you’re following this story and want a local on the ground perspective come from Metroblogging Karachi [mbk], Metroblogging Lahore [mbl] and Metroblogging Islamabad [mbi].

Currently the only media sources in Pakistan seem to be the BBC and Al-Jazeera English. Internet connectivity still seems to be working. What Metroblogging will be doing is if the bloggers at our sites in those cities do not feel safe in posting material under their own names to their own MB city sites, they hopefully will be able to forward information to Metroblogging proper. Any such reports will be posted Metroblogging.com [mb].

From the thread by Sean Bonner on metroblogging.com:

“We are all safe here in Karachi. All news channels are blocked & so [are] all news sites like cnn.com. Local calls are also blocked. I have heard from relatives abroad that it is being reported that traffic in karachi is bleak & Martial Law has been enforced. I want to clarify that there is nothing like that. Yes the traffic is a bit less but only because the president is to address the nation anytime. Also there is no Martial Law announced yet!”

I’m currently talking with a few of our bloggers via IM and things seem calm though they are confirming the news/phone block however the net it still up and running so far. More soon.

We’ll do out best here to keep you updated as things happen. Also we’re all hoping our fellow Metrobloggers, and everyone else, are okay.

Parity!

If you haven’t heard the news, for the first time in over 30 years, the Canadian Dollar reached equivalent value to the US Dollar.

Soon it will be the Canadians, not the Americans, tossing out the other country’s change. “Damn worthless american nickels — I *hate* when I get these things.”

But other than that, and the pride and bragging rights of phrases like “The Almighty Dollar” now having a truly ambiguous reference, what does it mean to every day Vancouverites?

A disclaimer that calling myself any kind of financial analyst would be a stretch at best, there are still the less esoteric effects:
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Here’s a protest you don’t see every day

http://vancouver.metblogs.com/archives/images/2007/06/islamicsign-thumb.jpgThe Vancouver Art Gallery has been a staging ground for countless demonstrations against the evils of Western imperialism, US and Israeli militarism and Canadian participation in the the United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan.

But in all of these protests that I’ve wandered by on Robson Street, the demonstrators and their signs have always been (at best) silent on the issue of political Islam, anti-Western terrorism and the role of certain Middle Eastern states outside of Israel in promoting hatred and conflict. Meanwhile, much of the peace movement seem pretty well set in in its unspoken (well, unholy, anyway) alliance with militant Islamists. To protest our world’s most urgent conflicts in this way is akin to communicating the sound of one hand clapping – at best, nobody really knows what you’re trying to say.

Today’s protest was different.
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Darfur crisis brought home

Vancouverites rallied for humanitarian intervention against the genocidal catastrophe of Sudan’s Darfur region today.

I was pleased to see such a high turnout behind the Vancouver Art Gallery – at least 150, possibly as high as 250, since some passersby came, stayed to hear a few of the speeches and left. Not exactly standing room only, but it was something. Rallies in support of Darfurians were held around the world.

Green Party Leader Adrianne Carr spoke there today, reminding Canadians that Canada has a responsbility to protect people in Darfur. “The humanitarian disaster in Darfur has its roots in the ecological disaster of climate change… The international community has an obligation to provide leadership and aid and to help find solutions.”

I also talked to some Darfurian refugees who had settled in Canada only recently. Most of their family members were not so lucky to escape the disaster. “We need aid,” one said. “People are dying. Soldiers would help. We need any help we can get.”

Act now.

Citizen Sam

Citizen Sam, the documentary of our own Mayor Sam Sullivan and his successful 2005 electoral run, is still getting a lot of attention, with a recent screening at the Toronto’s Hot Docs documentary film festival.

As a politically opinionated Vancouverite, I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t yet got around to watching it, but this trailer has certainly piqued my interest.

Director Joe Moulins: “He’s really an interesting character. What I like best about the film now when I watch it is how complicated everything is. Nothing is black and white in his life, even the love story between he and his wife.”

Stop! Thief! You forgot your change.

In another inspiring tale of Canadian justice, a shopflifter in Vancouver won $12,300 in damages for losing a tooth while he struggled with store security.

This story is making the rounds on the Odd News sections of online news daily roundups, so all the world gets to see what a civilized bunch of dorks we’ve become.

Get fat, go to the Olympics

Serious discussions are in the works between Canada’s Health Minister and Vancouver 2010 organizers to make the battle against childhood obesity an unofficial event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Hmmmm. Synchronized floating, anyone? Or perhaps a fight-to-the-finish battle royale amongst the world’s most rotund teenagers is a better idea. Instead of medals, perhaps the most talented of our morbidly obese youngsters will have the option of being adopted by foster parents who can actually ensure that the kids don’t get diabetes and heart disease before they leave their teen years. Just a thought.

Protest good. Goon-squad tactics, not so much.

Note to the self-appointed guardians of society against the police: provoking officers into attacking you with verbal taunts and violence, then shouting “police brutality” when the cops try to put a stop to your gong show, is lame.

The masked idiots who participated in the anti-police rally on Thursday didn’t do this city any favors. Fortunately, Vancouver’s protesters are for the most part a responsible, earnest bunch. Let’s keep things civilized, people.

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