Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 03:13.
Macleans, “China is buying Canada: Inside the new real estate frenzy”
How China’s affection for Canada’s real estate is reshaping the nation’s housing market well beyond Vancouver
Paul Shen can tick off the reasons Mainland Chinese people buy property in Canada as surely as any fast-talking B.C. realtor. Some long to escape the fouled earth and soupy air of their country’s teeming cities, he explains, while others are following relatives to enclaves so well-populated by other Chinese expats they hardly feel like foreigners.
The richest, of course, regard homes in the West as stable vessels for disposable cash, but Shen lays no claim to such affluence. Last spring, the 39-year-old left behind his middle-management advertising job in Shanghai to seek the dream of home ownership he and his wife couldn’t afford in their home city. “We just followed our hearts to begin a totally different life,” he tells Maclean’s, adding: “We can make the house dream come true in Canada.”
The starting point was one-half of a modest duplex near downtown Victoria, close to the university where his wife is seeking a master’s degree, and priced about right for their limited means. Selling points ranged from the quiet of the street—perfect for their six-year-old son—to the stunning Vancouver Island vistas all around. High on his list, though, was Victoria’s comfortable distance from the bustling Chinese communities of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. As Shen—betraying his limited knowledge of pre-settlement Canadian history—puts it: “We wanted a place that would allow us to live with the natives.”
It’s hard not to smile at his idealism. Substitute any one of two dozen nationalities, after all, and you have a chapter in Canada’s cherished narrative of migration, settlement and shared prosperity.
But as a Chinese newcomer with a buy-at-all-costs resolve, Shen also personifies a phenomenon dividing those “natives” he’d like to call his neighbours. In the past five years, the flow of money from mainland China into Canadian real estate has reached what many consider dangerous levels, contributing to a gold-rush atmosphere in the nation’s leading cities, while stirring anger among young, middle-class Canadians who feel shut out of their hometown markets.
Its impact on Vancouver’s gravity-defying boom is the best known—and most hotly debated—example, as eye-popping price gains leave behind such quaint indicators as average household income, or regional economic activity. “We’re bringing in people who just want to park their money here,” says Justin Fung, a software engineer and second-generation Chinese-Canadian who counts himself among those frustrated by Vancouver’s surreal housing market. “They’re driving up housing prices and simply treat this city as a resort.” Full story at Macleans
B.C.’s natural resources are being gobbled up by foreign entities at a record pace. Increasingly, those entities are controlled by governments, such as China’s, that may have motives beyond mere profits. (Return to B.C.‘s Top 100 of 2011.)
It’s that potential for conflict of interest that has a few people worried. Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., appreciates the “investment renaissance” that B.C. is now experiencing, but recommends a cautious approach.
“Canada needs to look at this,” he says. “I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do agree that the private-sector rules don’t apply to state-owned organizations, and it’s not just the Chinese. It requires an explicit look. Do we hold them to a higher test? They are going to have to do it sooner rather than later.”
John Bruk, who 27 years ago co-founded and headed the Asia Pacific Foundation, pulls no punches on this topic. He sees a need for some concerted action before too many horses have fled the barn. Bruk has prepared a comprehensive analysis of the track record of the foundation; he believes the government-funded organization needs to be re-energized in part because of China’s growing economic influence, and believes it needs to do much more to help Canada address an unsustainable trade deficit with China. (Disclosure: I provided editing services for Bruk on this paper.)
“Is trading our ownership and control of core assets for more consumer goods, resulting in unsustainable trade deficits, good for Canada?” Bruk asks in his report. “Are we jeopardizing prosperity for our children and grandchildren while putting at risk our economic independence? In my view, this is exactly what is happening.”
Posted by DanielS on Friday, 05 August 2016 09:09.
Visigard Post, “The Visegrád Four unite on forest management and ecology,” 3 August 2016:
Slovakia – The Visegrád Group’s countries signed a memorandum of collaboration for forest management.
The ministers and secretaries of state responsible for Agriculture and Forestry met in Slovakia on July 8 to sign a memorandum of collaboration across the Visegrád Group (V4). The document led to lay the foundations of cooperation between Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary for forest management covering several countries, the permanent exchange of information on the forestry sector, knowledge exchange industry experts and professionals, supranational cooperation in joint programs and especially the establishment of a common forest policy for the V4.
All parties have agreed to support the efforts which they have undertaken on their own, and have created a working group to follow up their work. Departmental officials will meet once a year and specific working groups will be created as needed. For now on, at a regional scale and inside the EU, the Visegrád Group will speak with one voice on the issues of forest management and ecology.
The Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna, a seven-time Grammy Award-winner, actress, pop culture icon, founder of Raising Malawi and a Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare is in Kenya.
The 57-year old icon with an estimated net worth of over $800 million spent the day visiting Kibra, also known as Kibera, Africa’s largest slum.
In an Instagram post published only a few minutes ago, Madonna shared some of the moments from her visit today to the slum with Shining Hope for Communities, an organization that links free schools for girls to essential services for communities like clean water, and free health care.
The charity that she’s stumping for support for, Shining Hope for Communities, was founded by a Jewess from Denver, Jessica Posner. Posner supposedly fell in love with a Kenyan Negro and then went on to open a school for Kenyan girls and install some toilets and is now out to bring joy and brightness to the underprivileged Africans, et cetera.
All of this, of course, has earned her much praise and adulation from self-righteous liberals and fellow tribe members.
For her efforts, Posner has been named one of the five biggest world-changers under age 25 by the Do Something Awards.
So on July 19 — 10,000 miles and just as many worlds removed from East Africa — she will be hanging at the Hollywood Palladium with the likes of Matt Damon and Natalie Portman for a star-studded awards ceremony to be hosted by Jane Lynch of “Glee” and nationally televised on VH1.
That’s the kind of random polarity in the world that Posner has learned to accept.
Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede
The entire concept of feeding starving Africans and somehow raising them up to our level is clearly insane, and the long-term implications of such an endeavor are mind-numbingly depressing and terrifying.
The population of Kenya was recorded at just under 7 million in 1955. It’s now 47 million and one of the fastest growing in the world, thanks to our misplaced altruism.
And for what purpose?
Liberals don’t care about the lives of Africans. They think they do, but they really don’t. They care about their own feelings. They want things to be a certain way in the world such that it leaves them room for a life filled with hope and inspiration. They don’t want to be depressed about the world. Unfortunately, the reality of the world at the current point in history is extremely dire, and anyone who appreciates it for what it actually is is inevitably going to suffer bouts of depression. And also unfortunately, most people react to that situation by retreating into a fantasy that reality can be changed by wishful thinking and meaningless activity.
What’s going to happen when you feed and cloth Africans is they’re going to produce more Africans for you to feed and cloth. That’s what they’ve been doing for the past several decades now. There were starving African children on television commercials when I was a child in the 70s, with a White man standing in their midst telling you that for just 35 cents a day you could save one. Undoubtedly many people signed up and adopted an African child via Unicef or whatever it was. And today dozens of descendants of that saved African child are picking around in the garbage dumps of Kibera looking for food. But now celebrities want your money to start schools and get them Internet access. Forget about the 35 cents a day for a bag of rice, we’ve got much larger ambitions today. We’re not just going to feed Africa, we’re going to make Africa fully capable of “realizing its potential.”
Teach a man to fish, and all that.
Feeding starving Africans only creates more starving Africans.
Anyone can see that this is nonsense – anyone who wants to see, anyway. The problem of world poverty cannot be solved in this manner. It has not been, and it will not be.
But Liberals don’t give a crap about that. Liberals want to do something. They want you to help them do something. They’re gonna fix it. They’re gonna change it. They’re not just going to end poverty and hunger and misery, they’re going to make Africa into some kind of beautiful Utopia. The fact that it doesn’t happen doesn’t concern them. The fact that they’re actually compounding the problem doesn’t concern them. They just plain don’t give a crap. They don’t want to make the world a better place, they want to make themselves feel better by pretending they’re making the world a better place.
The situation today is far worse than it was in the 70s if you count the number of people actually experiencing poverty and hunger and misery in the world. And not just in Africa, but all over the Third – or, as it’s now called, the “developing” – World. The problem is it’s not developing. Nor is it going to develop. The First World isn’t developing either. All that’s happening is more and more people are being born into a stagnant world. There are many times as many human beings alive. Most of those human beings are capable of very little in the way of development, of themselves or of a society around themselves. That was not a particularly unfortunate or desperate thing a hundred years ago. It is however calamitous at this point, since there is simply no way it can be sustained.
The State Department hoped Poland could be a “laboratory for testing whether U.S. success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country.”
Until an Eastern European Intermarium can come into effect, Poland’s land and people are in a position to be compromised by people like Hillary, her corporate and YKW backing. Fracking is a dubious technology, destructive to farms, ground water and public health. The profitability of the technology is highly suspect, while cash strapped farmers find it hard to resist (if they can at all) the short term pay-off.
Barack Obama’s Executive Action on immigration, which provided a free break for nonwhite invaders who entered the US before January 1, 2014, created an “open border” situation with Mexico, the head of the National Border Patrol Council (NPBC) told the US Congress.
NPBC president Brandon Judd told the House Judiciary Committee that Border Patrol agents were instructed to take invaders’ “word for it” that they had been in the US before that date, even though they were dripping wet after just having crossed the Rio Grande River.
Judd said that Border Patrol agents were ordered to “release dripping-wet illegal immigrants at the Rio Grande unless they actually see them climbing out of the river.
“This has created what amounts to an open border with Mexico,” Judd said.
The agents were, he continued, given the orders verbally soon after President Obama laid out plans for limiting immigration enforcement in 2014.
“We have apprehended illegal aliens just north of the border who are still soaking wet from crossing the river. If they claim, as increasingly they are doing, that they have been here since January 1, 2014, we will process and then release them,” Judd said in written testimony following up on questions from a hearing earlier this year.
“They are still wet from the river and miles from any civilization and on their word alone we release them unless we physically saw them cross the river,” he said. “This policy de facto creates an open border with Mexico for any illegal alien who wants to claim that they were here before 2014.”
The January 1, 2014, date was part of Obama’s “enforcement priorities” he laid out in November that year, which were designed to remove the threat of deportation to the vast majority of the illegal invaders in the US.
The Obama plan consists of giving long-time illegal immigrants “lower priority” for deportation in favor of recent border-crossers, and those with gang ties or who have amassed serious criminal records in addition to their immigration violations.
The rule meant that those illegal immigrants already in the pipeline for deportation were told they could have their cases dropped if they met the new cutoff and didn’t have serious criminal records.
Judd said that the invaders had quickly learned to “game the system,” and if apprehended anywhere, simply said that they had arrived before 2014—and Border Patrol agents had been instructed to simply “take their word for it” even if it was patently untrue.
Judd added that under the verbal directions, agents have been told to fingerprint illegal immigrants and process them to see if they have serious criminal records.
But those that claim to have been here since 2013, and who don’t show up with problems in their criminal history, are released into the US rather than held for deportation.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and Judiciary Committee Chairman, agreed, and said that the order had led to more illegal immigrants trying to make the trip into the US.
“Word has spread around the world about the administration’s lax immigration policies and now we see unlawful immigrants gaming the system and the administration’s so-called ‘enforcement priorities’ to come here,” said Goodlatte, after listening to Judd’s testimony.
Rerevisionist: April 11, 2016 at 6:33 pm - “Obama’s ‘own country’ is not the USA.”
Sumatran Rhino encountered in Indonesian Borneo (Photo: Angelskiss31 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
A very small number Sumatran Rhinos are remaining in the world.
The Sumatran Rhino is one of the world’s most endangered mammals, with possibly fewer than 100 left in the wild. Now, however, a little hope is kindled by a species branch member found in Kalimantan, Borneo for the first time in 30 years.
WWF reports that a female 4-5 years old was captured in a specially designed trap and that this came as a big surprise as most believed that the species is extinct in the Indonesian part of Borneo.
- This is a unique find, something I never thought we would be a part of. Now we have a great opportunity to save an almost extinct species, says Olle Forshed, rainforest expert at WWF.
Already in 2013 footprints were identified in the region and it is estimated that there are at least three families of about 15 rhinos in Kalimantan. In order to secure the survival of the species WWF experts need also to advocate policies for rainforest preservation so that the large animals can live and breed in peace. The female who was discovered and captured will now be moved to a safer rainforest, where her habitat is not threatened by destruction.
Felling of forests for coal mine in Central Kalimantan.
(Photo: Andrew Taylor / WDM / CC BY 2.0)
Poaching, oil palm cultivation and mining are deemed to be the greatest threats to Sumatran Rhino today. On the Malaysian part of Borneo it was declared the species extinct last year.