Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leveson Report Published: New Body Regulating British Press And Backed By Law Recommended

The long-awaited report from the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics and practices of the scandal-scarred British media was published on Thursday.

In the report, Lord Justice Leveson called for a new government law to back an independent regulatory body overseeing the press, which he said had acted in ways that "at times, can only be described as outrageous."

The Guardian said that it would be the first press law in Britain since 1695.

Fiscal Cliff Primer: Should Obama Take Advice From Regulator Who Missed Bear Stearns And Madoff?


Former SEC Chairman Chris Cox and former Rep. Bill Archer (R-Texas) penned a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed claiming that the total U.S. debt isn't the oft-cited $16 trillion figure, but a much, much scarier $86.8 trillion.

Cox and Archer reach this staggering $86.8 trillion figure by adding the existing $16 trillion in debts the nation has already accrued to all of the future obligations that Medicare and Social Security will ever have. The time figure that accountants use for this statistic is actually referred to as "the infinite horizon." It sounds like a huge number because comparing future obligations through infinity is a lot scarier than just looking at the actual debts the U.S. has accrued. Over the course of 60 or 70 years, small problems can snowball into what seem like disasters. Modest adjustments -- say, lifting the payroll cap on Social Security taxes so that wealthy people with income above $110,100 a year pay more into the program -- could solve many of the problems.

Hostess Executive Bonuses: Twinkie-Maker To Seek Approval For $1.8 Million In Bonuses During Liquidation

NEW YORK -- The future of Twinkies is virtually assured.

Hostess Brands Inc. said Thursday that it's in talks with 110 potential buyers for its iconic brands, which also include CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. The suitors now include at least five national retailers such as supermarkets, a financial adviser for the company said in bankruptcy court. The process has been "so fast and furious" Hostess hasn't been able to make the calls seeking buyers it previously intended, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.

Ontario Teachers Strike: Education Minister Says Government Won't Allow Walkouts

TORONTO - Ontario's governing Liberals say they're ready to respond to the threat of province-wide strikes by elementary teachers, but won't say when or if they'll force them back to work.

The province has the power under a controversial new law to stop strikes by teachers and lockouts, but Education Minister Laurel Broten won't say whether she'll employ that legislative hammer — just that she has it in her arsenal.

"My message to parents is, we have tools within the legislation," she said Thursday.

Conservatives Still Allies Despite Mayor's Ouster

OTTAWA - Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives.

Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

"I did support him and I do support him," said Conservative MP John Carmichael, who represents the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, after the controversial municipal leader was ordered removed from office this week for violating conflict-of-interest rules.

Suncor Drug Test: Alberta's Top Court Dismisses Bid To Randomly Screen Workers

EDMONTON - Alberta's top court has dismissed an appeal by Suncor Energy over its plan to randomly test thousands of its oilsands workers for drugs and alcohol.

Last October, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union won an injunction against the testing and a judge ordered the matter be settled by arbitration.

PLO warns of retaliation if Canada goes beyond ‘no’ vote at UN

As Canada takes a lead role in opposing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s bid for enhanced recognition by the United Nations, a senior PLO official is warning of “consequences” for any action against the Palestinian Authority.

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967, as a non-member state. The vote is expected to pass with an overwhelming majority.

Kevin Page: Deficit Picture Painted By Flaherty And Tories Overly Bleak

OTTAWA - A new report from Canada's budget watchdog suggests the Harper government might be in position to spring a good news deficit surprise before the next federal election.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page's analysis on the government's economic update budget projections suggests Finance Minister Jim Flaherty may be painting a bleaker picture than the current slowdown in the economy warrants.

Watchdog suggests Ottawa may preparing for pre-election good news on deficit

OTTAWA - A new report from Canada's budget watchdog suggests the Harper government might be in position to spring a good news deficit surprise before the next federal election.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page's analysis on the government's economic update budget projections suggests Finance Minister Jim Flaherty may be painting a bleaker picture than the current slowdown in the economy warrants.

Bill C-377: Costs, constitutional concerns raised in opposition to legislation targeting unions

Labour groups have called it a transparent attack on unions and on free speech. The NDP's federal labour critic dismisses it as "useless, discriminatory, unconstitutional, costly and excessively bureaucratic."

It's no surprise that Bill C-377, a private member's bill introduced by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert that would require unions to publicly disclose detailed financial information, has raised the ire of unions and the official opposition.

5 things to know about the Palestinian UN bid

The Palestinian Authority is asking to have its status at the United Nations upgraded to state recognition.

The UN General Assembly is expected to vote sometime after 3 p.m. Thursday on whether to upgrade the Palestinians' status from a non-member observer entity to a non-member observer state, a move that would put them on par with the Holy See.

No Commons marathon repeat as Speaker limits budget votes

MPs will avoid a second marathon voting session on whether to implement policies contained in the budget after the House Speaker limited the votes to a maximum of 47.

Speaker Andrew Scheer ruled Thursday morning that about 700 proposed changes could be grouped together and dealt with in 47 votes, rather than one vote on each amendment.

Greenland glacier melting 5 times faster than in 1990s

Scientists have definitive new evidence that shows all but one of the world's major ice sheets are shrinking.

The study, which will be published in the magazine Science on Friday, marks the first time scientists have come up with a way to measure the changing size of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica that they can all agree on.

Old (white) boys club alive and well in law, finance: U.S. study

The proverbial old boys clubs in elite professions may no longer have rules keeping women and minorities out, but an analysis of their hiring practices suggests their upper-class, male and white makeup will stubbornly remain.

According to a new U.S.-based study, bankers, lawyers and management consultants would rather hire someone who is like them than someone who is best qualified for the job — perpetuating the social and cultural makeup of these professions and reinforcing the glass ceiling that has been battled for decades.

City of Toronto proposes 1.95 per cent budget, pressures police force to freeze its budget

City of Toronto staff are proposing a 1.95 per cent property tax hike for next year but warn that the city’s return to fiscal health hinges on the police service freezing its budget.

City Manager Joe Pennachetti unveiled a proposed 2013 operating budget Thursday that would wipe out the annual predicted funding shortfall — but only if police Chief Bill Blair abandons his fight for more cash.

Canadian government increasingly asking for content to be pulled offline

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been quietly requesting third party content be removed from the internet and the requests are on the rise.

According to documents tabled in the House of Commons, federal government departments have made at least 44 requests since 2006 to various companies to have content posted by others wiped off the web or removed from Google’s index.

Elizabeth May to Liberals, NDs: Let’s make a deal

“Well Ms. May,” I was saying to the Green Party leader, “nice showing in the byelections. But what good does it do? Doesn’t your Green Party scoring better just split the opposition vote more? Doesn’t it make it harder for progressives to ever defeat the Harper Conservatives?”

Au contraire, responds Elizabeth May. “It improves the chances of Stephen Harper being defeated. And I’ll tell you why. Because we’re the only party committed to cooperation. If we appear marginal I wouldn’t have the clout it takes to get the other opposition to cooperate to defeat him.”

Doctors fight to save refugee health benefits

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has political power, taxpayer-funded polling and a bagful of emotion-triggering phrases — abuse of Canadian taxpayers, bogus refugees, gold-plated benefits — on his side.

Canada’s doctors have passion, medical ethics and a grassroots network of nurses, midwives, therapists, church leaders, social activists and health experts on their side.

Guantanamo Detainees Could Be Moved To U.S. Jails, Government Report Says

WASHINGTON — The controversial detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be closed and the 166 detainees being held there could be absorbed safely by U.S. prisons, a government report says.

Many of the detainees are accused of plotting terrorist acts against the United States.

"This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman who released the Government Accountability Office study Wednesday.

Canada should boost immigration levels starting 2014, says internal report

OTTAWA — After seven years of stagnating numbers, Canada should start boosting immigration levels starting in 2014, according to an internal government review obtained by Postmedia News.

The study, dubbed a “Literature review and expert advice to inform Canada’s immigration levels planning,” suggests immigration levels should begin increasing six per cent a year to approximately 337,000 in 2018, after which levels should plateau until 2021, the end of the review period.

Since 2007, annual intake targets have been frozen at about 253,000.

Car prices just went up

If the federal government were to decree that all new cars sold in Canada must now be Priuses or similarly priced, fuel-sipping models, imagine the reaction from Canadians.

You can’t tell us what to buy! You can’t force us to spend several thousand more on our cars!

Ah, Environment Minister Peter Kent would argue, but you’ll save hundreds every year at the pump. Trust us. We know what’s best.

Costliest Jet, Years in Making, Sees the Enemy: Budget Cuts

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — The Marine version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, already more than a decade in the making, was facing a crucial question: Could the jet, which can soar well past the speed of sound, land at sea like a helicopter?

 On an October day last year, with Lt. Col. Fred Schenk at the controls, the plane glided toward a ship off the Atlantic coast and then, its engine rotating straight down, descended gently to the deck at seven feet a second.

Canadians increasingly cynical about state of democracy

EDMONTON—In findings that should disturb every politician across the country, a series of new national surveys suggest record numbers of Canadians are fed up with the state of our democracy.

Worse for elected leaders, more and more Canadians believe that politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, don’t listen to them, don’t care about the issues that really concern them and aren’t willing to act to preserve and improve our democratic institutions and traditions.

Indeed, the surveys indicate Canadians are more cynical now than at any time in recent history about politicians and how our democracy is working.

Federal Tories still see ally in beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

OTTAWA - Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives.

Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

"I did support him and I do support him," said Conservative MP John Carmichael, who represents the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, after the controversial municipal leader was ordered removed from office this week for violating conflict-of-interest rules.

Higher alcohol prices could curb health-care, crime costs, report says

Higher alcohol prices may help curb heavy drinking and lower associated violence and health-care costs in Canada, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

The report recommends hiking minimum prices for booze in some provinces and implementing minimums where there are none, like in Alberta liquor stores. The author of the report hopes that government uses liquor prices to affect social factors, like health and crime.

XL Foods: Inspectors told to ignore contaminated carcasses

Federal beef inspectors were told to ignore contamination on carcasses being processed for sale to Canadians at the XL Foods plant.

A memo from a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) meat hygiene supervisor obtained by CTV News instructed CFIA inspectors to closely examine carcasses being processed for shipment to Japan, but to ignore visible contamination on meat for Canadians.

“Central Park Five”: New Film On How Police Abuse, Media Frenzy Led to Jailing of Innocent Teens

An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as "the crime of the century”: the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case — but far too few know that innocent men were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty, and used racially coded terms like "wolf pack" to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years. New York City is refusing to settle a decade-long civil lawsuit brought by the men. And now, lawyers for the city are seeking access to footage gathered for the new film. We speak to one of the Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, filmmaker Sarah Burns, and journalist Natalie Byfield.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Susan Rice's Canadian Oil Interests Pose Potential Conflict

WASHINGTON - Susan Rice's would-be path to the U.S. State Department hit another snag on Wednesday following revelations that she owns significant stock in Calgary-based TransCanada, the energy giant hoping to win approval from the Obama administration to build its Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Department is in charge of making a final decision on the $7 billion pipeline since it crosses an international border.

Union Rallies To Fight DND’s Plan To Cut Cleaners Who Make $12 An Hour – Opposition MPs Try Unsuccessfully To Get Details About Other Cuts

The Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) is hoping to bring some heat and light Wednesday on the Defence Department’s decision to cut 60 per cent of the cleaning jobs at CFB Borden.

At the base the contracted-out cleaning services provided by Koprash Inc. will be eliminated by the end of the year, the union says. The loss of the contract will mean 120 cleaners will lose their jobs, effective December 31st. This represents 60% of the cleaning staff on the base, according to UNDE. On average these workers earn $12 per hour; yet, their combined salaries represent a monthly loss to the local economy of over $200,000, the union states in a news release. The union represents the contracted workers.

F-35 audit ‘responsible': MacKay

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the Harper government’s decision to pay accounting firm KPMG over $700,000 to review the figures surrounding the F-35 is “responsible.”

The KPMG review of the stealth fighter jet’s cost was announced in September as costing $643,535, but is now pegged at $705,854.50, according to an order paper answer to an opposition member of Parliament.

The Commons: Give or take a dozen billion dollars

The Scene. The Finance Minister should at least feel chuffed that the Leader of the Opposition feels it important to pay very close attention to what he has to say.

“Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Finance Minister said that Canada is ‘not in need of a contingency plan’ to deal with the threats facing our economy,” Thomas Mulcair recounted this afternoon. “That was quite a surprise because just two weeks ago the same finance minister said, ‘we have contingency plans not only with respect to the fiscal cliff, but with respect to the European situation.’ Which is it? Facing the real threat of another recession, do the Conservatives have a contingency plan or not? Canadians deserve a straight answer.”

Conservatives defeat bill to ship generic drugs to the developing world

OTTAWA - The New Democrats' efforts to help Canada send desperately needed medication overseas to people suffering with HIV/AIDS was defeated in the House of Commons Wednesday – an action some are calling a “travesty” and a “betrayal.”

“It is a travesty that the Harper government, having made much of its initiative on maternal and child health, would now turn its back on an opportunity to help people dying of treatable diseases,” Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal network said in a release.

Campaign Research, Tory Pollster, Censured For Misleading Phone Calls

OTTAWA - A Conservative pollster has been censured by the market research industry's watchdog for conducting a misinformation campaign against Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

An investigation by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association concluded Wednesday that the actions of Campaign Research Inc. brought the industry into disrepute.

"The actions of Campaign Research have likely caused the Canadian public to lose confidence in marketing research and have tarnished the image of the marketing research profession," says a ruling by the association's three-member panel.

Canada’s governor general emphasizes diplomacy as he readies for his 19th trip abroad

OTTAWA — As he prepares to embark upon his 19th international mission since taking office two years ago, Governor General David Johnston admits the work he does doesn’t always get the attention he thinks it should.

During his upcoming nine days in Mexico, Peru and Guatemala, Johnston won’t be announcing any agreements, negotiating any deals or unveiling any of the so-called “deliverables” cabinet ministers or the prime minister partake of on such visits.

Baird going to UN to oppose Palestinian statehood bid

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he'll travel to New York Thursday and will oppose any "unilateral" move by the Palestinian Authority for statehood at the United Nations.

The UN General Assembly is set to consider the matter Thursday, a year after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the UN to consider his application for full membership in the UN.

Stephen Harper out of step on Israel and Palestine

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made it official: His Conservative government will oppose a bid by the Palestinians to have the United Nations recognize Palestine as a non-member “observer state.” No one really expected otherwise.

Yet it hardly follows that Ottawa need adopt a harshly punitive attitude if the General Assembly does vote this week to upgrade the Palestinians’ status, a symbolic measure but one that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fiercely resists. That would only further isolate Canada from some of our closest allies.

A Report From Gaza Under Siege

Gaza City—Casualties mount as the Israeli military continues to bomb the Gaza Strip. On Sunday Gaza’s health minister, Dr. Mofeed Makhlalati, said the death toll had risen to seventy-five killed and more than 680 injured. So far three Israelis have been killed as result of Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza.

Medical sources at Shifa Hospital say that 90 percent of the casualties are civilian. “We are human. We like life, and we would like to live life like other people,” Dr. Makhlalati said at Shifa on Sunday evening. Behind him, more bodies were being moved into the morgue.

19 Percent of Congress Is Female. Why Not Half?

When the new Congress is sworn in next January, women will occupy 19 percent of its seats, a record number in both the House and Senate.

Spirits were high a week after the election when EMILY's List, a political organization dedicated to electing pro-choice women, hosted a press briefing recapping the results. "Can I just start by saying, we won!" said Stephanie Schriock, the group's president. "And we won across the board. It was a historic night."

Human Rights Watch: 'Ban Killer Robots'

'Killer robots' with the ability to attack people without human intervention should be pre-emptively banned, a major human rights group has warned.

Such weapons do not currently exist - at least in a form which is regularly employed on the battlefield by major governments.

In fact the term 'killer robots' still brings to mind science fiction rather than a military reality.

Cone of Silence won't make Albertans any less angry at expense account shenanigans

Aw, geeze! Just when you thought it was safe to say something nice about Alberta's Progressive Conservative government and bury the phrase "culture of corruption" once and for all, another shoe drops in the apartment upstairs.

This time it was yesterday's report by CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell that a senior executive at the old Calgary Health Region used public money earmarked for health care to make donations to PC Party fund-raisers in the mid-2000s with more than a little help from her generous expense account.

Some of Rusnell's previous reports, as alert readers will recall, have catalogued similar donations of public funds to the Alberta Tories from school boards, community colleges, universities and health regions -- a sort of long-standing money laundering scheme in which taxpayers' public dollars were routinely converted into private cash for partisan use.

Elections Canada to take unprecedented steps to publicly consult on robocalls

Elections Canada is undertaking an unprecedented level of public consultation as part of Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand’s efforts to produce a report to Parliament in March on the misuse of communications technology during the 2011 federal election which resulted in the robocalls and voter suppression scandal.

“Although we have done surveys and recommendations and those kinds of things before, it’s the first time we’ve done this kind of consultation,” said Elections Canada spokesperson John Enright, referring to the Nov. 7 discussion paper, Issues Arising from Improper Telecommunications with Electors.

Morale ‘lowest it could ever be,’ says Transport Canada civil aviation safety inspector

Morale in the federal public service across Canada is at its “lowest” with employees becoming less innovative and questioning what the point of their job is as the federal government continues to cut $5.2-billion from its budget, say union representatives.

“Morale in my workplace, it’s the lowest it could ever be,” said Keith Parsons, a civil aviation safety inspector working for Transport Canada in St. John’s, Nfld.

Liberals to introduce 3,000 amendments to feds’ massive omnibus budget bill, NDP vow to do same; parties say to expect another Commons voting marathon

PARLIAMENT HILL—The federal Liberals plan to table 3,000 amendments to the government’s most recent omnibus budget bill, setting the stage for the same kind of Commons voting marathon the opposition parties mounted last June to protest the first massive omnibus bill from the spring budget.

The NDP says it too will not roll over for the latest omnibus budget implementation act, Bill C-45, which amends more than a dozen other acts and covers a range of measures, including further controversial changes and exemptions to federal environmental protection.

Divided States of America: Obama win sparks secession mania

The talk around Chuck’s Firearms Inc., a strip-mall gun shop in Atlanta, Ga., usually revolves around subjects like Georgia State football or quail hunting. But in this traditionally red state, a new online wave of anti-Obama protest is stoking secession mania — 150 years after the Deep South's original crusade for "states' rights" gave way to a bloody Civil War.

"People want their voices to be heard, and this is how they decided they're going to do it,” gun seller Jack Lesher said, describing the viral activism that began flooding the website this month with petitions for states to split from the Union.

Secret document details new Canadian foreign policy

A confidential government document obtained by CBC News warns the Harper government has been slow to open new markets in Asia, leaving Canada firmly tied to the troubled U.S. economy for a long time to come.

The document prepared by Foreign Affairs and dated Sept. 6 is a draft of a highly classified new "Canadian foreign policy plan" the Conservative government has been preparing for more than a year.

Israel kills Gaza militant as it widens bombings, Palestinian death toll rises to 100

Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip and killed a senior militant with a missile strike on a media centre Monday, driving up the Palestinian death toll to 100, as Israel broadened its targets in the 6-day-old offensive meant to quell Hamas rocket fire on Israel.

Escalating its bombing campaign over the weekend, Israel began attacking homes of activists in Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. These attacks have led to a sharp spike in civilian casualties, killing 24 civilians in just under two days and doubling the number of civilians killed in the conflict, a Gaza health official said.

On casino issue, Caesars Entertainment clashes with Public Health

The city’s board of health doesn’t support expanded gambling in Toronto.

The board voted 9-1 in favour of Councillor Joe Mihevc’s motion that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation “should not be invited to expand gambling in the City of Toronto,” based on health risks associated with gambling described in a report drafted by medical officer of health Dr. David McKeown.

Lack of skilled labour threatens Canadian economy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says

OTTAWA—Producing more skilled workers, scientists and engineers is the key to Canada’s future prosperity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.

His analysis may have surprised a Canada-United States business group in Ottawa to talk about cross-border irritants, international trade negotiations, stalled pipelines and the rise of China as an economic power.

A decisive conclusion is necessary

Anyone who thinks Hamas is going to beg for a cease-fire, that Operation Pillar of Defense will draw to a close and quiet will reign in the South because we hit targets in the Gaza Strip, needs to think again.

With the elimination of a murderous terrorist and the destruction of Hamas’s long-range missile stockpile, the operation was off to an auspicious start, but what now? This must not be allowed to end as did Operation Cast Lead: We bomb them, they fire missiles at us, and then a cease-fire, followed by “showers” – namely sporadic missile fire and isolated incidents along the fence. Life under such a rain of death is no life at all, and we cannot allow ourselves to become resigned to it.

Anti-gay marriage marches hit France

PARIS—Groups opposed to President François Hollande’s plans to legalize gay marriage and gay adoptions took to the streets Saturday across France.

Hollande said he would enact his “marriage for everyone” plan within a year of coming to power in May, but vocal opposition from religious leaders, some politicians and parts of rural France has divided the country.

Death toll jumps after Israeli missile flattens Gaza home

An Israeli missile flattened a two-story house in a residential neighbourhood of Gaza City on Sunday, killing at least 11 civilians, mostly women and children, Palestinian medical officials said, as Israel expanded a military offensive to target homes of wanted militants.

The attack, which Israel said targeted a militant, was the single deadliest incident of the five-day-old Israeli operation and hiked a toll Sunday that was already the highest number of civilians killed in one day, according to Gaza medics. The bloodshed is likely to raise international pressure for a ceasefire, with Egypt taking the leading role in mediating between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli Air Strike Kills 11 Palestinian Civilians

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- An Israeli missile ripped through a two-story home in a residential area of Gaza City on Sunday, killing at least 11 civilians, including four young children and an 81-year-old woman, in the single deadliest attack of Israel's offensive against Islamic militants.

A similar scene unfolded elsewhere in the city early Monday, when an airstrike leveled two houses belonging to a single family, killing two children and two adults and injuring 42 people, including children, said Gaza heath official Ashraf al-Kidra. Rescue workers were frantically searching for 12 to 15 members of the Azzam family under the rubble.

The C.I.A.’s Next Leader Posted

The office of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency sits on the seventh floor of the old headquarters building at Langley. The seventh floor feels a little like the Metropolitan Club in Washington: a lot of wood panelling, heavy carpets, and, in the director’s dining room, a disconcerting number of waiters. It smells like men. The director has a suite with a view of the woods— pleasant on autumn days, but otherwise not the most breathtaking view that Washington has to offer its ascendant class.

Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice, Takes On Citizens United Critics

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is defending the court's 2010 decision in the Citizens United case that helped fuel hundreds of millions of dollars of spending by independent groups in the just-concluded campaign season.

Alito told roughly 1,500 people at a Federalist Society dinner this week that the First Amendment protects political speech, whether from an individual or a corporation. His comments to the overwhelmingly conservative and Republican crowd were part of his broader analysis of arguments put forth by the Obama administration in recent years that Alito said would curtail individual freedoms in favor of stronger federal power.

Netanyahu: Israel Ready To Widen Offensive

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Israel bombed Palestinian militant targets in the Gaza Strip from air and sea for a fifth straight day on Sunday, preparing for a possible ground invasion while also spelling out its conditions for a truce.

Palestinian fire into Israel subsided during the night but resumed in the morning, with rockets targeting the country's commercial capital Tel Aviv for a fourth day. The two missiles were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome air shield.

Canada, Colombia strengthen defence relationship

OTTAWA -- Canada strengthened its military relationship with Colombia by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the Halifax International Security Forum Saturday.

The agreement was signed by Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno.

Why a carbon tax makes sense to conservatives

One of the more revealing moments of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent trip to India came when he was asked about the pollution and smog around the beautiful Taj Mahal. The prime minister responded that this was a question for the Indian government to answer. Good diplomacy, but there’s a larger question here: what is Canada’s energy policy?

Canada has a deposit of natural resources under its soil and water that other countries envy, yet we lack anything like a coherent and ambitious national energy strategy. As Canada pivots to an Asia filled with flourishing economies and a burgeoning appetite for energy, and as the Middle East begins a prolonged phase of turmoil, it is time for Canada to adopt what I call a ‘Grand Energy Strategy’.

Halifax International Security Forum Protest Draws Attention To Gaza Conflict

HALIFAX - Alberta Premier Alison Redford said Saturday that Canada is facing new energy opportunities, citing the importance of exploring new markets in the United States and Asia.

Redford told the Halifax International Security Forum that her province's oilsands need to access new markets, pointing to the Keystone XL pipeline to Texas and the Northern Gateway Pipeline to British Columbia as potential opportunities.

Ireland Abortion Rights Protests: Thousands March In Dublin

DUBLIN — About 10,000 people marched through Dublin and observed a minute's silence Saturday in memory of the Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning in an Irish hospital after being denied an abortion.

Marchers, many of them mothers and daughters walking side by side, chanted "Never again!" and held pictures of Savita Halappanavar as they paraded across the city to stage a nighttime candlelit vigil outside the office of Prime Minister Enda Kenny.