Wednesday, July 29, 2015

United Europe

From Unian:
"Another six states support sanctions against Russia"
Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, as well as Ukraine support the extension of restrictive measures against Russia until January 31, 2016 in view of its actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, according to the EU website. “The Candidate Countries [to the EU] Montenegro and Albania, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this Declaration,” reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini. 
According to the press release, The European Union takes note of the commitment of mentioned states and welcomes it.

^ It's good that more countries are stepping up to voice their concern and outrage at Russia invading, occupying and annexing the Crimea as well as giving soldiers and weapons to the ethnic Russian terrorists in eastern Ukraine. ^

Hunter Dentist

From Yahoo:
"Dentist Walter James Palmer sends patients apology letter after killing Zimbabwe lion Cecil"
The Minnesota dentist who killed “Cecil the Lion” in Zimbabwe wrote a letter of apology to his patients Tuesday as a media firestorm continued to grow and his online business and social profiles were assailed with threats and hate messages. Walter James Palmer, who paid about $50,000 to hunt the lion, used bait to lure the 13-year-old black-maned big cat out of Hwange National Park in early July so he could shoot it with a bow and arrow, authorities said. In the letter to his patients at River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, Palmer again said he did not know Cecil was a well-known lion who had been collared for a study until he had finished the hunt. He made the same claim in a statement to the media eariler Tuesday. Palmer said he hired local professional guides, acquired all the necessary permits for a legal big-game hunting trip and promised to assist Zimbabwean or American authorities with any questions, should he be asked. River Bluff Dental’s official website and Facebook page have been taken down. The business’ phone line has also been disconnected. Thousands of outraged citizens have flooded the office’s Yelp page with angry messages shaming Palmer for killing Cecil. Charity Charamba, a spokeswoman for Zimbabwean police, told The Associated Press that the two Zimbabwean men who allegedly helped lure Cecil out of its protected area will appear in court. The police are searching for Palmer, she added. On Tuesday, a “We the People” petition was launched on the official White House website in hopes of extraditng Palmer to Zimbabwe so he can face justice. It already has more than 66,000 signatures. “Two of Palmer’s local accomplices are already in custody. Zimbabwe authorities now actively seeking Palmer in connection with this incident,” the petition reads in part. “We urge the Secretary Of State John Kerry and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch to fully cooperate with the Zimbabwe authorities and to extradite Walter Palmer promptly at the Zimbabwe government’s request.”

^ This dentist has done several things in the past that are illegal (one involving another endangered animal and one dealing with sexual harassment of a woman that was settled outside of court.) This guy clearly has lots of issues and whether you agree with hunting or not I think we can all agree Palmer is not the kind of person anyone would want around their teeth. I do hope he is sent to Zimbabwe to face criminal action. ^

Future Disabled

From Disability Scoop:
"Parents Of Grown Children With Disabilities Worry About Future"
The doctors told Elizabeth Criss that a child with her daughter’s disorder would only live until she was 8. She would suffer from seizures, the doctors said. She would likely be unable to communicate and would have problems with her vision. Almost all of that was true, except Emily Criss is now 29.
“We never expected she would age out of the school system,” Elizabeth Criss said. “It feels good when the doctors are wrong.” Now Criss said she worries about her daughter’s future. What will happen if Emily outlives her parents? Who will bathe her, feed her, change her and understand that she likes to sit on the cool, green grass because it soothes her, or that small, colorful toys calm her? Thousands of families across California are grappling with the same questions as programs that serve those with developmental disabilities are increasingly strained. Their numbers are growing and they are living longer. But a decade-old funding freeze has closed group homes, halted work training programs and reduced staff at some agencies that serve the state’s most vulnerable individuals. And those who train them to work in the community and live independently say they are under more pressure than ever to uphold the quality of services. Figures by the state Department of Developmental Services show that from 2004 to 2014, the number of California residents who used those services rose 37 percent. Emily Criss is among the approximately 280,000 Californians with special needs. She is among the 76 percent who live at home and are cared for by a parent. And she’s among the 17 percent who are 22 to 31 years old, one of the fastest growing age groups in the state. The increase in those who need services combined with the rate freeze could topple California’s system to care for those with disabilities, wrote the authors of a UCLA study published in 2011. “These factors threaten the financial solvency of service providers, potentially resulting in decreased access to high-quality care and increasing the cost of care for the state,” the authors wrote. California’s Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, passed in 1977, mandates that people with developmental disabilities and their families have a right to receive the services and support they need to live like those without disabilities. Under the act, California formed 21 nonprofit regional centers that coordinate services for people with developmental disabilities. Those regional centers distribute pay to the agencies. It makes California one of the best states to care for those with developmental disabilities, many agree, but the system isn’t perfect. “All those services came from the Lanterman Act, but the problem is they didn’t properly fund it,” said Kenneth Lane, executive director of The Adult Skills Center in Lake Balboa. The nonprofit organization supports, trains and instructs individuals with developmental disabilities across the San Fernando Valley to be as independent as possible. During the Great Recession, more than $1 billion in funds were cut from the Department of Developmental Services. That funding has not come back, advocates say. The current state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June calls for $5.9 billion in total funds or $3.5 billion in general funds for the California Department of Developmental Services, an increase of $400 million. But the rates paid out to regional centers will remain the same. The issue is expected to be discussed in the next several weeks during a special session Brown has called. The committee, made up of several lawmakers who have pledged some sort of funding solution, will examine how to raise more money and how to increase oversight of those funds. “The administration is mindful but is not committing higher ongoing levels of spending because we know that a downturn in the economy is coming. We just don’t know when,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state’s Department of Finance. In the years since the recession, Palmer said the revenue stream is still volatile and anything can happen, but that the Department of Developmental Services wasn’t singled out. There were deductions in Medi-Cal rates and within the Department of Rehabilitation, among others, he said. But advocates for people with developmental disabilities see it differently. They see a state flush with more money and say it’s time programs see at least a 10 percent increase in funding across the board. The lack of rate increases has created a groundswell of protest from various groups, including the Lanterman Coalition and the Association of Regional Center Agencies, who have launched social media blasts and letter writing campaigns. In addition, there is concern about the 1,000 or so people who live in state-run homes for those with developmental disabilities, including one in Pomona and another in Costa Mesa. An investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that those state-run homes have been directly responsible for 13 deaths of patients since 2002. Brown and activists agree it’s time to close those homes and allow those who live there a chance to live in the community. Closing the homes would save the state millions of dollars, but it’s unclear if those dollars would follow the clients or go toward rate increases. “Yes, we absolutely want to take people out of the developmental centers and fold them into the community programs, but again, where will we get that funding?” asked Cyndi McAuley, the executive director for the Therapeutic Learning Center for the Blind, a nonprofit in Reseda where Emily Criss attends a day program. The organization runs a residential and after-school program, as well as other programs in the community.
“So many of my colleagues and I working in this field are wondering what will be the impact to the community if the rates continue to be frozen,” she said.

^ Being a caregiver is never easy especially when you have to worry about what is going to happen to your adult children if/when something happens to you. States have done a way with many programs and services to the elderly and the disabled - - the two groups that need the most help. We should do more to integrate the disabled and move them out of institutions and into more group homes as well as into their own homes where possible. ^

Stepping On History

From the DW:
"Munich decides against commemorative cobblestones for Nazi victims"

The Bavarian capital's council said it would instead honor the memory of the victims with commemorative plaques and small stone monuments in public places and on the walls of houses around the city. The Jewish community in Munich and several other victims' associations have long been against the cobblestones, called "Stolpersteine," or "stumbling blocks" in German, as they feel it is disrespectful to tread on people's names on public roads and pavements. Some also argue that it is legally unclear whether permission to place the stones has to be given by the victims' families. The decision also triggered plenty of reaction on Twitter, with many disappointed about the council's decision. This user says it's a "defeat for humanity."  The German sculptor Gunter Demnig is the brainchild behind the commemorative bricks that usually display the name of one victim of the Holocaust and a brief synopsis of his or her life. They are usually placed near the victim's former residence. His idea has been adopted across 500 towns and cities in Germany and several places elsewhere in Europe.
^ To me it doesn't make a difference if there are stolpersteines or other monuments and plaques. The main thing is that something is visible to remember each and every man, woman and child that was a victim of the Nazis. ^

Monday, July 27, 2015

$15 Wage

I have seen this going around Facebook. It sounds like something that should be easy and a no-brainer, but it's not all black and white.


From Google:

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

^ I can't see if there is a cookie statement on my blog as I am outside of the EU. If anyone inside the EU can let me know if the statement is there I would appreciate it. Thanks. ^

Cheap Airports

From Yahoo:
"The cheapest US airports to fly in and out of" just released its 6th annual US Airport Affordability Index, which ranks 101 popular US airports by average airfare.  Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport in Ohio has the cheapest flights, with an average airfare of just $199. It jumped to first place from 77th last year. Atlanta International, in Georgia, is the second-cheapest airport to fly from, with an average airfare of $231, and Dallas, Texas, hopped up one spot to 3rd, with an average airfare of $251 — tied with LaGuardia, New York. In contrast, you might want to avoid flying into McGhee Tyson, Tennessee, which is at the bottom of the list with an average ticket costing $552. Pensacola Regional in Florida and Portland International Jetport in Maine are hot on its heels, with average airfares of $540 and $537 respectively. This shows us that location doesn't necessarily matter, as popular airports like LaGuardia beat less frequented ones like McGhee Tyson.

Here are the top 10 cheapest airports in the country:

Average Airfare
Ranking  Last Year
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, OH (CVG)
Atlanta International, GA (ATL)
Dallas Love Field, TX (DAL)
La Guardia, NY (LGA)
Chicago-O'Hare International, IL (ORD)
Philadelphia International, PA (PHL)
Long Beach (Daugherty Field), CA (LGB)
Cleveland-Hopkins International, OH (CLE)
Orlando International, FL (MCO)
Metropolitan Oakland International, CA (OAK)

And here the 10 most expensive ones:

Average Airfare
Ranking  Last Year
92Portland Intl Jetport, ME (PWM)
93Pensacola Regional, FL (PNS)
94McGhee Tyson, TN (TYS)
95El Paso International, TX (ELP)
96Anchorage International, AK (ANC)
97James M. Cox Dayton International, OH (DAY)
98Greenville-Spartanburg International, SC (GSP)
99Northwest Arkansas Regional, AR (XNA)
100Yeager, WV (CRW)
101Honolulu International, HI (HNL)

^ This was an interesting read - -especially for anyone who travels a good amount. I have been to 4 of the 10 cheap airports and only 1 of the 10 expensive airports in the country. ^

Teaching The Past

From the Daily
"Should Palestinians Visit Nazi Concentration Camps?"
A Palestinian professor takes his students to visit Auschwitz to learn about the roots of their conflict with the Israelis. “We are breaking a big taboo. We are challenging the collective narrative of the Palestinians regarding the Holocaust.” Dr. Mohammed Dajani has become known worldwide as the Palestinian professor who led a group of students to visit the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. But he began life with a very different point of view. “We grew up in an environment that was totally anti-Jewish,” Dajani – a native of Jerusalem – explains. “People harbored a lot of anger towards the Jews for causing the Nakba (Catastrophe). They lost their property, they lost their home, they lost their identity. I grew up on the idea that the Holocaust was a conspiracy.” But something happened during Dajani's early adulthood that helped change his black-and-white view of Israelis. And recently, he organized a trip that caused a firestorm. The plan was to take thirty Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz. At the same time, thirty Israeli students planned to visit a Palestinian refugee camp, where they would hear from refugees of the Nakba. Dajani strongly believes that reconciliation between the two communities will never happen without each community understanding the historical, and current, trauma of the other.  “Palestinians should not compare the Nakba with the Holocaust,” he says. “While the Holocaust was the Final Solution for the Jewish people, the Nakba was not the Final Solution for the Palestinian people. It wouldn't have been possible for Jews to sit with Nazis and reach an agreement. Within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it is possible for Palestinians and Israelis to reach a comprehensive, just settlement that will accommodate both peoples. That's why I think that teaching about the Holocaust is important. For Palestinians to realize that there is hope, and that in negotiation the path to peace lies.” At the same time, he is deeply uncomfortable with Jews using the Holocaust “to rationalize, for us [Palestinians], why they had to deport us from our homes in order for them to come and live in them. It doesn't mean,” he insists, “that if we learn about the Holocaust we will not demand our rights, or [will] lose our national identity.” But this nuanced message was lost on those who stirred up controversy following the trip. Students at Al Quds University – where Dajani was the head of the American Studies Department and library director – boycotted him, claiming that he was “trying to sell Palestinians the Zionist story,” or was “collaborating with the Israelis to undermine Palestinian nationalism.” Dajani knew to take things seriously when he started receiving threatening letters at his office. His students also faced negative responses to the trip, as well. However, “many of them were courageous,” Dajani says proudly, “to stand up and say, 'We went to learn, and we learned a lot.'” See why Dajani persists with his work, how one student was affected by the trip and, most surprising, who else wants to go:
^ This is a really good article to show what both sides can learn from each other. ^

Sunday, July 26, 2015

ADA @ 25!

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed today (July 22nd) in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. It was the first major legislation in the United States that legally protected men and women with disabilities from discrimination. We  have come a long way in the past 25 years since the ADA was passed, but there is still a lot that needs to be done on this country and around the world to make sure that people with disabilities receive the same opportunities and chances that everyone else does.


From Gov.UK:
"Judy: The Dog who became a prisoner of war"
She saved countless lives, survived sinking ships and spent several years in internment camps – so it’s little wonder Judy the dog became one of the most famous and unlikely heroes of the Second World War. The pure-bred liver and white-coloured pointer stole the hearts of the nation in 1945 when news of her exploits and time served as an official Prisoner of War were revealed to the public. She returned to Britain, along with thousands of Allied troops, following Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day), which is being remembered this year on 15 August for the 70th anniversary. Judy was the ship’s mascot on board the gunboat HMS Gnat in 1936, part of the defence fleet in the Far East. Animals would often be adopted by warships as mascots to help with security, pest control and companionship for those on board. Initial attempts to train Judy as a gundog for shooting parties ashore were a failure and she would often end up falling overboard, forcing the ship to come to a stop to retrieve her. But before long Judy proved her worth to the ship’s company. She alerted the sailors to the presence of river pirates, who would have done them harm in the darkness, and could point out the approach of hostile Japanese aircraft using her superior sense of hearing. Years later, Judy transferred to the gunboat HMS Grasshopper, which in 1942 was attacked by Japanese aircraft forcing all those on board to abandon ship and head to the nearest land – an island in the South China Sea. With no fresh water supply to be found, the situation looked grim for the survivors of HMS Grasshopper and HMS Dragonfly, another British ship whose sailors ended up stranded on the island. But once again, Judy’s instincts saved the lives of her compatriots. Leonard Walter Williams, a British seaman who served on board HMS Grasshopper, recalled his memories of Judy in an interview for the Imperial War Museum.
He said:
We landed on the island and naturally water was short. Judy was lost one day and we couldn’t find her so we went to search for her and she had found a patch where she dug a big hole and she had found fresh water for the survivors of the Dragonfly and Grasshopper.
Judy was a saviour then. She was a marvellous life-saver.
Judy and the men trekked for hundreds of miles in a bid to reach safety at Padang in Sumatra, but missed the last evacuation ship as the Japanese were due to invade the city at any moment. At the arrival of the enemy forces, the survivors of the bombing of the Grasshopper were taken into custody as Prisoners of War – along with Judy – and taken to a camp in Medan, in North Sumatra.  It was at this camp in Medan in August 1942 that Judy bonded with Leading Aircraftman Frank Williams, from Portsmouth. The young British sailor shared his meagre rice ration with Judy and from that moment she never left his side. Judy protected Frank and the other Prisoners of War by distracting the camp guards when they were dealing out punishment to their captives. Later, the Prisoners of War were told they would be heading to Singapore on board the SS Van Warwyck – but the Japanese would not allow Judy to board the boat with them and ordered she be left behind.
Leonard Williams, of no relation to Frank, recalled:
We weren’t going to have that happen. Judy had been with us all that time.
So we had a sack and we would train her to hop in the sack at a given signal and then we would put her on our shoulders. Judy was put in the sack and we carried her on board.
The next day, on 26 June 1944, the SS Van Warwyck was torpedoed by a British submarine, unaware the vessel was being used to transport Allied prisoners of war. Of the estimated 700 prisoners on board, 500 were killed – but amid the fires and wreckage, Judy emerged unscathed.
Mr Williams added:
When we were torpedoed we heeled over and luckily Judy was by a port hole.
We opened the port hole and Judy was pushed through and she ran down the ship’s side.
Quite a few of us were lucky to get out at that particular time. A lot of people owe their lives to Judy. She was pushing pieces of wood towards people who couldn’t swim.
Eventually the survivors swam towards a Japanese tanker and climbed up the nets on its side. Judy too was hauled aboard, but the Japanese guards were not happy to see the dog, who they knew should never have been on board the ship. They declared they would have her killed as soon as they reached land.  However, as the execution was due to take place, the former commander of the prisoner of war camp they have travelled from in Medan intervened. He had taken a liking to Judy and to ensure her safety, ordered she be listed as an official Prisoner of War – making her protected from execution and eligible for rations. Judy was reunited with Frank and remained with him throughout the war, surviving several camp moves as well as gunshot wounds, alligator bites and attacks from wild dogs before the Japanese surrender in August 1945.  Once back home in Britain, Judy was met with national adoration. She was presented with the PDSA Dickin Medal – known as the animals’ Victoria Cross – which is the highest honour an animal can receive. It recognises the bravery and devotion shown by animals serving in time of military conflict. She received a citation that would make any human soldier, sailor or airman proud. It read: “For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped maintain morale among fellow prisoners and also saving many lives through intelligence and watchfulness.” Judy remained with Frank and died on 17 February 1960. She was buried in Tanzania, where Frank was working at the time. As a last tribute to his companion, Frank built a monument at the grave and attached a large metal plaque, which records the history of Judy’s life and all her daring feats.
Other notable Dickin Medal recipients
Since the first Dickin Medal in 1943 the PDSA has conferred the award on almost 100 animals including dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat.
  • Bing – an Alsatian patrol dog with the 13th Parachute Battalion in the Second World War. In addition to patrol duties, Bing was a ‘fully-qualified Paratrooper’ and joined the battalion when they jumped over Normandy on D Day, 6 June 1944.
  • Billy – a pigeon which delivered a message from a force-landed bomber, while in ‘a state of complete collapse’ and under bad weather conditions while serving with the Royal Air Force. Billy was given the Dickin Medal in August 1945.
  • Simon – the ship’s cat of HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident. Simon disposed of many rats despite being wounded by shrapnel in a blast on board. Simon was awarded the Dickin Medal posthumously in 1949.
  • Treo – a Labrador with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Treo located an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to trigger a series of bombs by a roadside soldiers were about to pass. Treo is credited with saving many lives of soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment and was awarded the Dickin Medal on 24 February 2010.
During the Second World War, dogs were recruited by the Armed Forces to serve on patrol and as guards. Ships would also often have animals on board as their mascots. The Second World War also saw the first use of mine detection dogs in the British Army. In total, the Army and Ministry of Aircraft Production employed around 3,500 dogs for guard, patrol and mine detection duties.  Military working dogs continue to serve a role today, ranging from the detection of explosives, weapons and drugs to the defence of military personnel and property. There is a memorial in Hyde Park, London, to animals involved in conflict called the Animals in War Memorial. It was unveiled in November 2004 by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.
^ It's important to realize and recognize all the animals (dogs, cats, horses, camels, etc) that helped our fighting men and women during war. ^

US Training Kyiv

From Yahoo:
"U.S. troops to train regular Ukrainian military troops: State Department"
 U.S. troops will begin training regular Ukrainian military forces later this year in an expansion of their current mission, which so far has been limited to instructing Interior Ministry national guard units, the State Department said on Friday. "This training is part of our long-running defense cooperation with Ukraine and is taking place at the invitation of the Ukraine government. This additional program brings our total security assistance committed to Ukraine since 2014 to over $244 million," State Department Mark Toner said. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, head of U.S. Army forces in Europe, said earlier this month that U.S. officials were discussing expanding the military training to include regular Ukrainian troops under the Defense Ministry. The training is part of U.S. efforts to strengthen Ukraine's security following Russia's seizure of the Crimea last year and the spread of separatist unrest in eastern, Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine.  Hodges said officials were looking at training army and special operations troops, likely focusing on skills like tactics and combat medicine. He said the expanded training mission did not mean the administration would be providing Ukraine with lethal arms. The United States has provided Ukrainian forces with non-lethal aid to help them battle Russian-backed rebels, but the administration has resisted providing lethal arms in hopes of preventing an escalation of the conflict. Some U.S. officials have called for giving Ukraine more sophisticated counter-battery radar to help them fight back against artillery and mortar fire from the rebels. Toner said he had nothing to announce on any new weapons for Ukraine and that the focus was on providing non-lethal aid. He said the training would begin in western Ukraine near the Polish border later this autumn. The Pentagon said the training offered to regular Ukrainian military troops would be similar to that given to the national guard forces. U.S. forces in Europe have been training the Ukrainian guard since this spring, focusing on strengthening internal defense capabilities.

^ It's about time the US did more to help the Ukraine. It is over a year since Russia invaded, occupied and annexed the Crimea and about the same amount of time that Russia started giving Russian troops and weapons to the ethnic Russian terrorists fighting in eastern Ukraine. The US, Canada, the EU and several other countries responded by putting sanctions on Russia and while they have had some effect they are only a small part in making sure Russia doesn't try to expand itself militarily into more of eastern Europe. Most of the EU (ie Germany, France, etc) doesn't seem to take the threat from Russia as seriously as places like the Baltics or Poland and so the US has to come in - through NATO - and do what the other countries refuse to do. It seems that nothing can get done around the world unless the US is there in some shape (ie protecting eastern Europe NATO countries from Russia, helping the Ukraine against Russia, fighting Islamist terrorists in eastern and northern Africa or fighting IS in the Middle East. Europeans and others around the world have come to rely too heavily on the US to protect them when they should be doing more to protect themselves. At least the Ukrainians want to do more to protect their citizens and their territory. They just need some help and training. The rest of the world should look at what the Ukrainians have suffered under the Russians and the ethnic Russian terrorists for over a year. They have achieved a great deal with very limited aid or support. I do not believe the majority of the citizens or governments of Europe or the EU would be able to survive the same kind of war - especially on two fronts since most of their people have been "babyed" for decades. ^

Lufthansa Charges

From the DW:
"Report: Lufthansa planning 'budget' pricing system"

Lufthansa is planning a new pricing system to meet challenges from low-budget competitors, a German paper has reported. Meager earnings have spurred the shakeup at Germany's classic airline.  Lufthansa's ticket chief Jens Bischof was quoted in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper saying that passengers would only pay for what they used, unlike the all-round service that the airline has offered since the 1950s. Economy-class flights would be offered in three categories from October 1: Flex, Classic and Light, which would comprise just a seat and hand luggage. The various options, spurred by low-cost rivals, would apply initially to Lufthansa's domestic and medium-haul flights. "A third of all passengers in Europe and Germany travel only with hand-luggage," Bischof said. "Why should these customers still pay a standard tariff?" "In our new concept the customer will only pay for the service ordered," he added. But basics such as free snacks and flight miles will be retained, as will Business Class. The new system would also apply to Lufthansa's foreign subsidiaries Austrian and Swiss. It remains unclear whether long-haul flights to Asia and America will also offer the new system. Luggage charges would start at 15 euros, if the passenger handed it over at check-in, or at triple that price if found to be excessive just before boarding. The Süddeutsche said Lufthansa would formally present its model on Monday, after planning the changes over the past year-and-a-half. Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr, who became a central figure after the crash of a flight of another subsidiary, Germanwings, in southern France in March, had previously pushed for efficiencies to head off airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Middle East competitors. The shakeup follows Lufthansa's meager earnings in 2014 and a tentative deal to avoid further strikes, reached last Friday with the pilot's trade union Cockpit. Both sides are to conduct a joint market analysis to develop a new salary system. The union wants guarantees that all Lufthansa pilots will no longer be allocated to the low cost subsidiary Eurowings in a salaries' packet said to be worth 400 million euros ($439 million). n exchange, Lufthansa wants to lift the pilots' normal retirement age, currently at 55. Currently, a company pension tides them over until they reach Germany's statutory retirement age between 65 and 67. The Süddeutsche said the ticket pricing plan marked an about-turn for Lufthansa, which in Germany remains market leader ahead of Air Berlin, which has the backing of Arab Gulf investors. Lufthansa pricing executive Jörg Hennemann told the paper that the proposed ticket pricing system was aimed at ensuring that aircraft seating was consistently "used to capacity." On average in 2014, Lufthansa flights recorded nearly 80 percent capacity. Worldwide, Lufthansa has 119,000 employees. Last year the airline had a turnover of 30 billion euros but earned a profit of only 55 million euros.

^ It seems Lufthansa and many European airlines are behind the times in more than just on-board security. US and Canadian airlines have been doing these kind of pricing for years now. I don't think airlines charging for everything from baggage to headphones to food is the right step it is the current trend and I don't see it ending anytime soon. The main reason Lufthansa isn't making enough money is because their pilots either go on strike or crash into mountains. Maybe Lufthansa should focus on their own employees as a way to cut costs and make a profit before they alienate even more people from flying them. ^

Committed President

From the Stars and Stripes:
"Obama commits US to intensified fight against terrorists in East Africa"
President Obama on Saturday committed the United States to an intensified fight against terrorists in East Africa, announcing here that his administration would expand support for counterterrorism operations in Kenya and Somalia, including increased training and funding for Kenya’s security forces. “We have to keep that pressure going even as we’re strengthening the Somali government,” he said at a joint news conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Obama acknowledged that al-Shabab terrorists retain the capacity to attack “soft targets” in both countries, even after years of American drone strikes and efforts from a regional, U.S.-backed counterterrorism force based in Somalia. But he said al-Shabab’s territory had been “systematically reduced.” Obama came to office vowing to move the United States off a perpetual war footing and promising to wage a smarter, swifter war on international terrorism. But his East African sojourn this week serves as a stark reminder that seven years into his presidency the long, difficult fight against terrorism remains a central and vexing component of his foreign policy. Security will also be similarly dominant during the president’s time in Ethiopia, a nation that has worked to keep the instability in Somalia from spilling across its borders and that has dispatched peacekeeping forces to South Sudan and elsewhere.
“Counterterrorism will certainly be a focus” national security adviser Susan E. Rice told reporters before Obama left for the trip. While al-Qaeda affiliates are the primary concern in East Africa, Rice said, “in West and North Africa, obviously we have seen [the Islamic State] become an increasing presence, particularly in the Maghreb, but also in Nigeria.” Kenneth Menkhaus, a political science professor at Davidson College, said it is hard to be hopeful that closer cooperation between countries could resolve the region’s problems anytime in the near future. “The Horn of Africa presents extraordinarily complex political and security dilemmas, for which there’s no obvious answer,” Menkhaus said in an interview. “The question really is which is the least bad choice, and how can you kick open doors which, down the road, could present opportunities for conflict resolution.” Obama’s decision to visit the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — the first sitting U.S. president to do so — is part of his push to build capacity among African nations to address the problems of their region. Ethiopia and Kenya — both of which border Somalia and South Sudan, countries that remain riven by deep conflict — have contributed troops to multiple regional peacekeeping operations. Both are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the U.N.-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). In 2015, Kenya received $100 million in U.S. counterterrorism assistance — more than doubling the amount allocated the previous year. As a result of this weekend’s talks, the Massachusetts National Guard and the Kenyan government will sign a partnership agreement, a senior administration official said, and the administration has pledged to work with Congress to provide additional counterterrorism aid to Kenya.
 ^ How does Obama and Congress expect the US Military to meet these new commitments  - or even their current ones  - - when they continue to reduce the budget and manpower of the US Military? Our soldiers are already stretched thinly around the world (Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Djibouti, countless more countries around the world - not to mention those within the US.) Anyone with even basic math skills knows you can't downgrade your troop size and their budget and still expect them to take on more and more commitments. It's not feasible. I know Islamist terrorists have been attacking most of eastern and northern Africa for many years now and that needs to stop, but the African countries themselves need to do more. Right now they aren't very effective. Also, the other NATO countries need to step-up and do more to protect Europe rather than make the US move it's forces to eastern Europe as a show of strength against Russia in the Ukraine. And the whole world needs to do more to stop IS in the Middle East. ^

Anthem's Merger

From Yahoo:
"6 Ways the Big Health Insurance Mergers Will Affect Your Coverage"
Health insurance company Anthem announced Friday that it will buy rival insurer Cigna for $48.3 billion. The deal comes just weeks after fellow health insurance providers Aetna and Humana announced their merger, concentrating health insurance providers in the U.S. to just three big companies. (UnitedHealth Group is the third.) The latest deal will impact more than 53 million people, representing about 17 percent of the U.S. population, The New York Times reports“We believe that this transaction will allow us to enhance our competitive position and be better positioned to apply the insights and access of a broad network and dedicated local presence to the health care challenges of the increasingly diverse markets, membership, and communities we serve,” Joseph R. Swedish, the CEO of Anthem, said in a news release on Friday.
1. There will be fewer options for insurance 
While these mergers might reduce costs for companies that provide insurance, what do they mean for people who are insured? Some markets will now have less competition — won’t that allow costs to go up? Antitrust regulators have said they plan to investigate these mergers, as options for consumers are dwindling. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that the Aetna-Humana merger will greatly increase the number of U.S. counties where at least 75 percent of Medicare Advantage (Medicare offered by a private insurance company) customers will only have one option for insurance. The mergers will also remove competitors from the exchanges where people can buy insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act in several states, the WSJ reports.
2. Plan quality and customer service could take a hit
However, Swedish said in his news release that the Athem-Cigna merger will provide an “acceleration of innovative and affordable health and protection benefits solutions” to customers. But … will it really? It’s doubtful, says health care expert Sarah O’Leary, founder of Exhale Healthcare Advocates, a national consumer health care advocacy. “When consumers have less choice and the insurers’ realize it, the cost of consumers’ coverage could rise,” she tells Yahoo Health. “Plan quality, as well as customer service, may be affected.”
3. Cost increases for the uninsured 
While health care expert and consultant Howard Peterson, a managing partner of TRG Healthcare, tells Yahoo Health that he doesn’t expect health care costs to go up for most of us who are already insured, he says they likely will for people who are still uninsured. Here’s why: Health insurance providers want to lower the costs of their coverage and essentially pay less to health care providers like hospitals and doctors. Those hospitals and doctors may in turn raise their rates for those who are actually paying out of pocket. “Generally, to the extent that you can get price payers to pay prices, you do,” Peterson says.
4. Out-of-pocket payments could increase 
People who are insured may feel the impact of this as well, health care expert Caitlin Donovan, spokeswoman for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, tells Yahoo Health.  Think of it this way: If you have to visit the emergency room and your health insurance covers only a certain percentage of ER visits, you could end up paying more out of pocket if your hospital charges a higher overall rate.
5. Prescription costs may rise
The cost of your prescription drugs — as well as your affordable access to certain brand-name drugs — could be impacted as well. “Insurers can place drugs on a ‘specialty tier’ that requires patients to pay a percentage of the cost of the drug rather than a simple copay,” explains Donovan. As a result, the cost of those drugs could be thousands per month or even per pill, and there’s really not much you can do about it.  Less competition means insurers have more power to add these barriers in their plans, Donovan says.
6. More doctors to choose from
But there might be an upside to these mergers. The new insurance companies have talked about the ability to provide a larger network, and Donovan says that may end up being true: “We can be hopeful that if you’re currently in a narrow network, you’ll have more access to providers in the future.” Your health insurance premium (i.e., what you pay every month to get health care coverage) shouldn’t go up, either. “We’re not worried about premiums increasing as much as out-of-pocket costs and changing networks,” says Donovan. But while experts have a good idea about what may happen, they all say it’s hard to tell exactly what the fallout of these mergers will be. Of course, we have a little time to wait and watch. “They’re big companies — it’s going to take a while,” says Peterson. “A lot will happen over the next two or three years.”
^ Oh great - just what the healthcare system in the US needs - - higher costs for the patients. ^

Obama's Call

From USA Today:
"Obama calls for African nations to treat gays equally"
President Obama called on African nations Saturday to confer equal rights to gays and lesbians, kicking off his first full day in the nation by undertaking a topic that remains highly sensitive on the continent. Kenyan President Kenyatta dismissed the importance of gay rights, calling it a "non-issue" in the nation. Speaking at a joint news conference after bilateral talks between the two leaders, Obama said he is "unequivocal" on the question of treatment of gay and lesbian citizens. "The idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong," Obama said. Obama drew a parallel to the treatment of blacks in the United States during the period of segregation and Jim Crow laws, saying he is "painfully aware of the history when people are treated differently under the law." "That's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode and bad things happen," Obama said. "When a government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread." Kenyatta was dismissive of the topic of gay rights, saying, "This issue is not on the foremost mind of Kenya — and that is a fact." For weeks, Kenyan leaders and locals have threatened to demonstrate and disrupt the president's first official trip to Kenya if he brings up gay marriage, legalized in the U.S. by a Supreme Court ruling in June. "We want to warn Obama to steer clear of any comments on same-sex marriages during his visit," Bishop Mark Kariuki said in Nairobi ahead of the speeches. "Any attempts will lead to a call for mass demonstrations across the country and disrupt his meeting." In the majority of Africa's 54 states, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have to hide their sexual orientation for fear of persecution or criminal prosecution. In Kenya, homosexuality is illegal and gay marriage unconstitutional South Africa is the only African country that permits gay marriage.
^ There  seems to be two sides to Obama. He stayed almost silent within the US (he didn't make these kinds of speeches to the states that didn't allow gay marriage before the Supreme Court forced them) but in Africa he makes it a big deal. Of course I think gay marriage is part of giving homosexuals equality and it should be legal around the world. I would have liked Obama to start in his own country (or perhaps he did - - wink, wink.)  ^

Health Mistakes

From Yahoo:
"State health insurance markets struggle with cost challenges"
State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama's health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states. Hawaii's marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205 million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015. Unable to sustain itself, the state marketplace is turning over sign-ups to the federal for 2016. Twelve states and the District of Columbia fully control their markets. Experts estimate about half face financial difficulties. Federal taxpayers invested nearly $5 billion in startup grants to the states, expecting that state markets would become self-sustaining. Most of the federal money has been spent, and states have to face the consequences. "The viability of state health insurance exchanges has been a challenge across the country, particularly in small states, due to insufficient numbers of uninsured residents," said a statement from the office of Hawaii Democratic Gov. David Ige, announcing last month that his state's sign-ups were being turned over to the federal government. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Obama administration can keep subsidizing premiums in all 50 states through, no longer is there a downside for states turning to Washington. If the decision had gone the opposite way, state exchanges would have been a leaky lifeboat for preserving a major expansion of taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the law. With the pressure gone, "I think you are going to see much more of a hybrid across the nation," said Peter Lee, who heads California's state-run marketplace. Covered California fell short of its sign-up projections this year by nearly 20 percent, but Lee says it remains "a solid business proposition."  States are "talking a lot about shared services," Lee said. "It's how you get economies of scale." States could pool resources on functions such as labor-intensive call centers or use's technology for online enrollment. They generally want to keep control over marketing, consumer education and oversight of insurance plans.
—The U.S. attorney in Boston has subpoenaed records dealing with the troubled rollout of the Massachusetts Health Connector, dating to 2010.
—Colorado officials are considering big changes to the state's marketplace, from pooling call centers with other states to dismantling the exchange and relying on instead. Although the market is on solid financial footing, it has fallen short of best-case enrollment goals.
—A federal audit concluded that Maryland used exchange establishment grants from Washington to pay for $28.4 million in costs that should have been allocated to the state's Medicaid program. State officials dispute that, but federal officials say Maryland should pay the money back. Separately, the original lead contractor for the state website has agreed to repay $45 million to avoid legal action over rollout problems last year.
—In Vermont, a debate has been raging about whether to abandon the state exchange. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin originally wanted a single state-run system for all residents, along the lines of Canada. Shumlin backed off because it would have meant prohibitively high taxes. He wants to fix the state exchange, still grappling with technology problems that plagued it from launch.

^ No one saw this coming. Oh wait - - I did! If Obama wants this as his legacy than the states should let him (ie the Federal Government) deal with it. That way when the health care system and health insurance system continues to fail - and it will - blame will be solely placed on where it is deserved.  Instead of fixing the crumbling healthcare system first Obama simply added millions upon millions of new people into the failing system. If it couldn't support the people it already had in it what makes anyone think that it would magically fix itself after adding the whole country to it? ^

Friday, July 24, 2015

Strange US

From Yahoo:
"16 things Europeans find strange about America"
No matter how many times a European visits the States, there are some Americanisms that Europeans simply cannot get used to. Here are 16 things that Europeans find strange about America.
1. How are you as a greeting, not a question
When a sales clerk in the States says "how are you" it's not a question, but a way of saying "hello." No matter how often this happens to a European, they will launch into a monologue about their health and well being and ask it right back — and expect an answer.
2. Ice Cubes
Just like Americans are flummoxed by the lukewarm water presented to them in Europe, Europeans can't wrap their heads around how drinks in the US are full of ice. Plus, the average soda-to-ice ratio is approximately 30:70, leaving any cup empty after a few sips.
3. Free refills
Is this because of all the ice? Europeans will never understand why they are presented with a second cup of soda while the first one is still half full in front of them. What's even stranger though, is the fact that one can (and does) order a large soda — despite the refills.
4. Portion sizes
They're huge! Doggy bags are great — who doesn't love a two-for-one meal — but the concept virtually doesn't exist outside of the US, as generally people can easily polish off their dinner.
5. Certain food combinations
Marshmallows and sweet potatoes? Ice cream and soda? Bacon and syrup? These combinations seem odd to Europeans.
6. The Question Game
Most Europeans feel accosted when bombarded with 12,857 questions when they just want to order a simple sandwich. 
7. Tipping
The fact that the onus is on the customer to pay for someone else's employees to make a fair wage is mindboggling to Europeans. The fact that they're paying extra for someone to do their job, not even for doing it well, is astounding. Europeans also find it confusing that there's no set amount or percentage one should tip, and who gets tipped seems equally ambiguous.
8. Taxes
Yes, annual taxes are hard for everyone, but that's different. What's just nonsense is the fact that the price you see on an item is not the same one you pay at checkout.
9. Coins
What are these strange nicknames that say nothing about the coin's  value? Why is a dime smaller than a nickel, but worth more? Euro coins, on the other hand, are actually called by their numeric denomination.
10. Air Conditioning
Why is the average shop or office set to Arctic temperatures? Indoors anywhere in America during the summer is unbearably cold, and most Europeans are just not used to this. 
11. The Measurement System
It just makes no sense. How is 7/8ths an appropriate measurement? How are feet still a thing? The rest of the world has embraced the metric system, and it's high time for the US to follow suit.
12. Being cashless
Few Europeans wander about with wallets utterly devoid of cash, but America is basically a cashless society. Being able to pay for as little as a pack of gum with a card is still amazing to most Europeans.
13. The insane range of options

The average European will walk out of the average American supermarket or deli utterly bewildered by the array of choices they just witnessed. There's an entire aisle for soda? A dozen brands of milk? How many flavors of chips?
14. 24-hour stores
Convenience seems to be the cornerstone of this great country. Stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There's a drive thru everything. Most European shops, on the other hand, close at 6pm and all day on Sundays.
15. The drinking age
In most of Europe, the legal drinking age is 18 (and in many places, it's legal for teens as young as 16 to drink alcohol) — much younger than the 21-age limit it is in the US. Europe also has a much more liberal stance on public drinking, as you are allowed to bring alcohol out on the streets — something that you generally can't do in the US, except for these American bastions of civilization.
16. Not taking vacation days
^ As  an American who has lived in Europe several times and has travelled throughout the continent I can agree with many of these "strange" things that Europeans experience while in the US. Americans are notorious for giving "fake" greetings. We all do it. We don't really care how the majority of people we meet or know are doing, we are just being polite. You are supposed to reply "fine" regardless of how things actually are and that's that. Europeans tend to seem very cold to Americans because they only ask you how you are doing when they really care and what to know the truth. European countries have the VAT and so you know exactly how much you are going to pay for an item before you get to the check-out. It is a much better system then what the US has where you have to figure out the sales tax for every item. The drinking age is also a dumb one. If someone is considered an adult at 18 in the US and can fight and die for their country then why can't they buy and drink alcohol at 18? Some things I prefer that the US does over Europe are: giving free refills and ice - -who wants to drink a warm beverage on a hot day? Not me. I prefer using Imperial units over the Metric system. I like places being open 24/7 - -even on holidays. Of course I now live in a state where the only things open 24 hours are: gas stations, hospitals and several McDonald's - -so I kind of feel like I am in Europe even here in the States. I also believe air conditioning should be used  - -maybe not set so cold - all over the place. When I am in Europe or talking with my European friends I still like to say that the US is the "land of the free" not solely because of our political beliefs and freedoms, but because we don't charge for drink refills, to use a public bathroom or for condiments in fast food places like Europe does. ^


Arrogant Apologies

From the G & M:
"Lacking proof, Mitsubishi unwilling to apologize to Canadian POWs"
On Christmas morning, 1944, 23-year-old Corporal George Peterson of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was told by his Japanese guards that he wouldn’t have to go down the Mitsubishi-owned coal mine that day. Mr. Peterson, who had already spent three grueling years as a prisoner of war, said it looked as though the POWs were about to get a break from the slave-like working conditions. The guards first dragged out a fir tree, then brought out extra food for the famished prisoners, including riceballs and beer. “They lined us up behind the table and took a picture,” says Mr. Peterson, now 94. But then “they said we could go back down the mine. … When we came up from the mine at about 5 p.m., the guards were laughing at us, saying the food was pretty good. We laughed right back, because we were trying not to let them know how much it hurt.” Nearly 70 years after the end of the Second World War, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. has begun to issue historic apologies to POWs – but it has not yet apologized to Canadians. On Sunday, Mitsubishi outside director Yukio Okamoto, who is also an adviser on historical issues to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made a landmark apology to American POWs in Los Angeles – the first Japanese company to do so – and later said the firm would also apologize to British, Australian and Dutch POWs. But Canadian POWs, the vast majority of whom were captured by the Imperial Japanese Army when it overran Hong Kong as part of a surprise offensive that included the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, have not been included. When reached by The Globe and Mail this week, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Materials said they “have no records and no means to verify whether or not we used Canadians POW in our predecessor company” – but that the company would make such an apology if presented with proof that they had forcibly employed Canadians. “We will consider [an] apology [to] such people if we can verify the fact and have [the] appropriate opportunity,” Mitsubishi spokesperson Takuya Kitamura said in an e-mail. But the president of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, Carol Hadley, is unsure what sort of proof or evidence might remain beyond oral accounts – since, she said, many of the historical records were destroyed in Japan. Her father Borge Agerbak was captured in Hong Kong, and told her he was forced to work in a separate Mitsubishi mine. “I’m pleased that they are apologizing to some, I just wish they would include the Canadians in it,” said Ms. Hadley, whose father died in 2001 and who is now working with others to amass documentation. “A lot of our veterans would never drive anything that had any Mitsubishi parts in it. My dad thought he should have had some shares in that company for all the work he put in.” Roughly 1,600 Canadians were captured at the Battle of Hong Kong. More than 250 of them would die in Japanese captivity by the end of the war as they suffered through starvation, beatings and diseases such as diphtheria. The legacy of such abuses by Japanese soldiers and businesses continues to reverberate. Unlike in Europe, which moved on after Nazi Germany’s atrocities, modern East Asian geopolitics are still complicated by Japan’s refusal to fully acknowledge its violent military colonization of Asia in the 20th century – from the annexation of Korea in 1910 to its subsequent invasion of China and much of Southeast Asia. Although Japanese leaders have in the past offered contrition, there is constant fury from China and South Korea over issues related to Japan’s wartime record, such as military brothels. And there is great anticipation over remarks Mr. Abe is set to make on Aug. 15, the 70th anniversity of the end of hostilities. Mitsubishi’s unprecedented apology, as well as a financial agreement it reached on Thursday with Chinese forced labourers, are historic steps in acknowledging past corporate injustices, and form just part of Japan’s complicated process of reconciling with its history. In an interview this week, Mr. Peterson said there were roughly 125 other Canadians imprisoned and employed alongside him at that particular Mitsubishi coal mine – adding that prisoners suffered through “disease, starvation, overwork” and that some prisoners were even murdered by their Japanese captors. “I think they should apologize to the Canadians, too,” said Mr. Peterson, who was one of three Canadian POWs who traveled to Japan and accepted a separate apology from the Japanese government in 2011. “I’d accept it, if they apologized.” The tales from POWs interned by the Japanese are truly horrifying. One Canadian POW, Edward Shayler, described life in a Mitsubishi coal mine on the day prisoners were told they would be buried alive in the mine if Allied forces invaded Japan. In an account recorded on the website of the group run by Ms. Hadley, Mr. Shayler wrote that after 1,365 days of confinement without adequate food or warmth, he was riddled with lice, fleas and bed bugs. He had sores all over his legs, and his teeth were aching, covered in a “thick scale,” and riddled with holes. “The hunger pangs were something I never could get used to,” Mr. Shayler wrote. There was some resistance. Mr. Peterson, who was forced to labour in Hong Kong before he was shipped to Japan’s mines, described working on a runway at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airport, shoveling soft clay onto the tarmac. He said the first Japanese plane to land “went through the runway,” but a Japanese engineer was blamed. Another group of Allied POWs at a Japanese shipyard, he said, managed to burn down the shed that held ship blueprints – but also avoided blame. At times, Mr. Peterson added, the POWs at the Mitsubishi mine would commit subtle acts of sabotage by refusing to haul out the required amounts of coal during their 12-hour shifts, which simply made the guards keep them down the mine even longer. Jennifer Lind, an associate professor at Dartmouth College who has written a book about apologies in international politics, said there is no legal obligation for Japanese corporations to get involved in the complex apology process – although German companies, along with the German government, agreed to offer roughly €4.4-billion ($6.3-billion) to more than 1.6 million people in nearly 100 countries who were forcibly employed or used as slave labourers in Europe during the Second World War. “So far the debate has focused on the policies of Japan’s government: whether a government was willing to offer apologies and to support reflection upon Japan’s past in history textbooks and so forth,” said Prof. Lind. “Firms have been uninvolved in this, basically, though there is a huge legacy of guilt that they could choose to explore if they wanted to.” The apology Mitsubishi issued to American POWs in L.A. was organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a human-rights activist who serves as the center’s associate dean, told The Globe he will raise the Canadians’ case when he meets with the CEO of Mitsubishi Materials on a trip to Japan next week. “This is an incredible opportunity for Japan,” said the rabbi, who is trying to encourage other Japanese companies to follow Mitsubishi’s lead in making an apology. “There is a window of opportunity here.” In Canada’s case, the window is fast closing: Including Mr. Peterson, there are just 25 Canadian veterans from the Battle of Hong Kong left alive, according to Ms. Hadley. One passed away in mid-June, she said, and of the rest only five are well enough to travel to the association’s convention in August.
^ This shows how Japanese arrogance continues. That arrogance made the Japanese start World War 2 in Asia in the first place. That arrogance allowed them to torture, abuse, imprison and murder innocent men, women and children from every country they occupied. That arrogance has allowed Japan and the Japanese people to "forget" their crimes for the past 70 years. And that arrogance is being used by Mitsubishi, among others, to deny giving a basic apology to the Canadian POWs. Every country in Asia that was occupied or attacked by Japan - along with the former colonial powers (France, the UK, the Netherlands, the US and Portugal)  - should be given apologies and compensation for their suffering the same way the Germans have been made to do for their own crimes. The Japanese arrogance needs to stop. ^