Wednesday, January 28, 2009




Supporting equality

1/15/2009 05:00:00 PM
In September of last year, Google announced its opposition to California's Proposition 8. While the campaign was emotionally charged and difficult for both sides, in the wake of the election many were concerned with the impact Proposition 8 could have on the personal lives of people they work with every day, and on California's ability to attract and retain a diverse mix of employees from around the world.

That's why we've signed an amicus brief (PDF file) in support of several cases currently challenging Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court. Denying employees basic rights isn't right, and it isn't good for businesses. We are committed to preserving fundamental rights for every one of the people who work hard to make Google a success.

Please join us in continuing to fight for equality for all Californians.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Premier recalls legislature to pass back-to-work legislation

Premier recalls legislature to pass back-to-work legislation
TORONTO, January 24, 2009 -- Premier Dalton McGuinty has recalled the Ontario legislature on Sunday 25 Jan at 1pm in order to pass back-to-work-legislation to bring an end to the strike by CUPE 3903 at York University. This is the text of the Premier’s statement:
“On Wednesday, I asked Ontario's top labour mediator, Reg Pearson, to make one final attempt to resolve the ongoing labour dispute at York University. Since that time Mr. Pearson has met with both sides and worked to resolve the strike through mediation and discussion. Earlier today I was advised by Mr. Pearson that there is no reasonable prospect of a negotiated settlement between York University and CUPE Local 3903. The sides are in a clear deadlock, and despite our best efforts to bring the sides together, that has not changed. The strike is also at the point where the academic year is in jeopardy for York students. In challenging economic times, when we need all our people at their best, we simply cannot afford to delay the education of 45,000 of our best and brightest young people. Having exhausted all other options, I will be recalling the legislature as of Sunday at 1 pm for the purposes of introducing back to work legislation. I am asking MPP’s from all parties to provide unanimous consent for immediate passage of the bill so that students can get back to school this week.”
York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri said: “Like the Premier, we would have preferred to reach a negotiated settlement at the table. However – and most importantly - this initiative by the Premier will help our 50,000 students get back to class as soon as possible.” Dr. Shoukri continued: “I look forward to welcoming our students back. We are working tirelessly to facilitate as smooth a return as possible and plans are already in motion to protect the integrity of their academic programs.” If this legislation passes, all outstanding items between the two parties will go to mediation and binding arbitration. Students should monitor the website for updates.
York University Senate policies for remediation and accommodation can be seen here.
- 30 -
Contact:Alex Bilyk, Director, Media Realtions, York University, 416.736.5603, cell 416.707.9574,

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Secret Service has arrested and is questioning a 30-year-old man for tossing a shoe this afternoon over the South fence of the White House.

From NBC's Les Kretman and Domenico Montanaro
The Secret Service has arrested and is questioning a 30-year-old man for tossing a shoe this afternoon over the South fence of the White House.

Officers identifed the man as Ryan Hill. No hometown was given.

Hill has been charged with disorderly conduct. He's still undergoing questioning, but it's likely he won't be held, sources said.

Sounds like he was channelling this guy...


Saturday, January 17, 2009


so what does constitute excessive force?
An officer tasers a woman holding a one-year-old and a five-year-old on her lap, and the RCMP continues to investigate itself.Elsewhere, Radley Balko asks, What Does It Take for a Police Officer to Get Fired? Read this one. Seriously. (Thanks to James, via The Lippard Blog.)
Posted by L-girl at 1/17/2009 07:05:00 PM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

this is why i love aviation! ... my op-ed pierce soon.!

All 155 safe after pilot ditches jet in NYC river

NEW YORK (AP) — A cool-headed pilot maneuvered his crippled jetliner over New York City and ditched it in the frigid Hudson River on Thursday, and all 155 on board were pulled to safety as the plane slowly sank. It was, the governor said, "a miracle on the Hudson." One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries.

The US Airways Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C., struck a flock of birds just after takeoff minutes earlier at LaGuardiaLaGuardia Airport, apparently disabling the engines.

The pilot, identChesleys Chesley B.SullenbergerSullenbergerDanville of Danville, Calif., "was phenomenal," passenger Joe Hart said. "He landed it — I tell you what — the impact wasn't a whole lot more than a rear-end (collision). It threw you into the seat ahead of you.

"Both engines cut out and he actually floated it into the river," he added.

In a city still wounded from the aerial attack on the World Trade Center, authorities were quick to assure the public that terrorism wasn't involved.

The plane was submerged up to its windows in the river by the time rescuers arrived in Coast Guard vessels and ferries. Some passengers waded in water up to their knees, standing on the wing of the plane and waiting for help.

Police divers had to rescue some passengers from underwaterBloombergichael Bloomberg said. Among those on board was one infant who appeared to be fine, the mayor said.

Helen Rodriguez, a paramedic who was among the first to arrive at the scene, said she saw one woman with two broken legs. Fire officials said others were evaluated for hypothermia, bruises and other minor injuries.

"We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have had a miracle on the Hudson," Gov. David Paterson said.

The crash took place on a 20-degree day, one of the coldest of the season in New York. The Coast Guard said the water temperature was 36 degrees.

"The captain said, `Brace for impact because we're going down,'" passenger Jeff Kolodjay said. He said passengers put their heads in their laps and started praying. He said the plane hit the water pretty hard, but he was fine.

"It was intense. It was intense. You've got to give it to the pilot. He made a hell of a landing," Kolodjay said.

Another passenger, Fred Berretta, who was on his way home to Charlotte from a business trip, told CNN doors were opened on both sides of the plane "as soon as we hit the water."

Witnesses said the plane's pilot appeared to guide the plane down. Barbara Sambriski, a researcher at The Associated Press, watched the water landing from the news organization's high-rise office. "I just thought, 'Why is it so low?' And, splash, it hit the water," she said.

Paramedics treated at least 78 patients, fire officials said. Coast Guard boats rescued 35 people who were immersed in the frigid water and ferried them to shore. Some of the rescued were shivering and wrapped in white blankets, their feet and legs soaked.

One commuter ferry, the Thomas Jefferson of the company NY Waterway, arrived within minutes of the crash, and some of its own riders grabbed life vests and lines of rope and tossed them to plane passengers in the water.

"They were cheering when we pulled up," ferry captain Vincent Lombardi. "We had to pull an elderly woman out of a raft in a sling. She was crying. ... People were panicking. They said, 'hurry up, hurry up.'"

Two police scuba divers said they pulled another woman from a lifeboat "frightened out of her mind" and lethargic from hypothermia. Another woman fell off a rescue raft, and the divers said they swam over and put her on a Coast Guard boat.

US Airways Flight 1549 took off at 3:26 p.m. It was less than a minute later when the pilot reported a "double bird strike" and said he needed to return to LaGuardia, said Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. He said the controller told the pilot to divert to an airport in nearby Teterboro, N.J.

It was not clear why the pilot did not land at Teterboro. Church said there was no mayday call from the plane's transponder. The plane splashed into the water off roughly 48th Street in midtown Manhattan — one of the busiest and most closely watched stretches of the river.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker confirmed that 150 passengers, three flight attendants and two pilots were on board the jetliner.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still ongoing identified the pilot Sullenberger. A woman answered and hung up when the AP asked to speak with Sullenberger's family in Danville.

Sullenberger, 58, described himself in an online professional profile as a 29-year employee of US Airways. He started his own consulting business, Safety Reliability Methods Inc., two years ago.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo said they had employees on the plane. Charlotte is a major banking center.

The plane remained afloat but sinking slowly as it drifted downriver. Gradually, the fuselage went under until about half of the tail fin and rudder was above water. Bloomberg said the aircraft finally wound up near Battery Park, at the lower tip of Manhattan and about four miles from where the pilot ditched it.

The Federal Aviation Administration says there were about 65,000 bird strikes to civil aircraft in the United States from 1990 to 2005, or about one for every 10,000 flights.

"They literally just choke out the engine and it quits," said Joe Mazzone, a retired Delta Air Lines pilot. He said air traffic control towers routinely alert pilots if there are birds in the area.

The Hudson crash took place almost exactly 27 years after an Air Florida plane bound for Tampa crashed into the Potomac River just after takeoff from Washington National Airport, killing 78 people. Five people on that flight survived.

On Dec. 20, a Continental Airlines plane veered off a runway and slid into a snowy field at the Denver airport, injuring 38 people. That was the first major crash of a commercial airliner in the United States since Aug. 27, 2006, when 49 people were killed after a Comair jetliner mistakenly took off from the wrong runway in Lexington, Ky.

Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan, Joan Lowy and Michael J. Sniffen in Washington; Richard Pyle, Adam Goldman, Colleen Long and Deborah Hastings in New York; and Harry R. Weber in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Windows Live Calendar Planned Downtime on Tuesday, January 13 a note

January 12

Windows Live Calendar Planned Downtime on Tuesday, January 13

Our team is about to release more cool features to the Windows Live Calendar service. In preparation for this upgrade, we expect 4-5 hours of downtime starting on Tuesday, January 13 at 11 AM Pacific time. You should see the new functionality by Thursday, January 15.

Stay tuned for more news about the great new functionality.

Your friends at Windows Live Calendar

Friday, January 9, 2009

Touching airplane entry doors in flight is a bad thing

This is a small rant/story about people who turn into morons at 35,000 feet. For this rant, I'm taking the role of the head of the cabin crew. To be clear to all of those nervous fliers and those prone to panic attacks, I am not targeting you. But to everyone else who acts stupid on a plane, listen up! Deciding to try and open the plane door when it is in flight can cause decompression to the cabin of the aircraft. It unduly scares the hell out of most passengers as they assume you can open the door completely. Generally, you can't do that but nobody wants to test that theory in real life. In theory there are several thousand pounds per square inch of outside pressure being exerted against that door which prevents it from opening however, it could cause a decompression as the air-tight seal may be broken. If this happens, the unflattering oxygen masks will deploy and you will look like you have a yellow rubber ducky on you face. The idiot who tried to open the door will force the flight crew to declare an emergency and will have to land at an airport. Said idiot will be taken off the aircraft and charged with a multitude of offenses depending on the jurisdiction. Most charges will be under the Federal system. I make the following disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

Some of the Federal charges can include:
1. Interfering with the operation of an aircraft
2. Endangering the flight crew.
3. Sabotage of an aircraft.
4. Failure to obey safety instructions.
5. Criminal negligence.
6. Criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Civil charges can include:
1. Fines totalling several thousand dollars by either Transport Canada or the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.
2. Be entered on a passenger 'no fly' blacklist.
3. Flagged by Airport Security as a nuisance passenger.
4. Several different corporate or individual lawsuits.

One of the lesser thought about consequences is doing something that stupid usually attracts media attention. So, people who do this will be caught on camera and replayed often on the news. You will certainly end up on YouTube and commented on by people like me who cover aviation as a hobby. Now, me being a blogger, this is great material for me. From an airline safety perspective, definitely not good. From a moral point of view, what the hell were you thinking. This is the last part of my rant. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't always males who do stupid things on an aircraft. In mid-2008, there was a case of two drunk British women who thought it would be a fun idea to try and open a door on their trans-Atlantic flight. Even when you're drunk, this is not fun. People, don't do it.

This is your captain speaking, thank you for flying the friendly skies. Keep them that way.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A good link list to have!

+The Gazetteer
+Let Freedom Rain
+A Creative Revolution
+centre of the universe
+Gay Persons Of Color: An Eye On The Gay Worlds Of Color
+Rolling Back the Tide of Extremism, One Post at a Time
+A Quiet Corner of Sanity
Law is Cool
Our Green Year
Dymaxion World
Mollys Blog
Stageleft:. Life on the left side
The "What Do I Know Grit"
Just Another Willy Loman
The Wingnuterer
Red Tory
Challenging the Commonplace
Ken Chapman
Blues Clair
Straight Outta Edmonton
Blast Furnace Canada Blog
A BCer in Toronto
Miss Vicky's Offhand Remarks
Hell, Upside Down
The Galloping Beaver
Woman At Mile 0
A Novelist's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online
Le Daro
we move to canada
World Report
The Robert Bond Papers
Maxwell's House
BigCityLib Strikes Back
Accidental Deliberations
Canadian Soapbox
Cyberwanderer's Blog
Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy
Where The Blog Has No Name
C'est mon opinion et je la partage
Everybody�s Wrong But Me
Dawg's Blawg
Larry Hubich's Blog
Relentlessly Progressive Economics
Shagya blog
Facing Autism in New Brunswick
Birth Pangs: Save Lives! Regulate Pregnancy
Searching for Dragons
The Skinny
News of the Restless
Matthias de Marburg � Qu�bec
Recreating Eden: Mary Soderstrom's Blog
Bene Diction Blogs On
Cathie from Canada
Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador
North American Patriot
Montreal Simon
Stop Canadian Complicity in Torture
Wandering Coyote
John Laforet's Blog
Peace, order and good government, eh?
Right of Center Ice
Mike Soron
The Vanity Press
Five of Five
Far and Wide
My Intellectual Odyssey
The Whole Ball of Wax in a Nutshell
Sudbury Against War and Occupation
Danielle Takacs: Galloping Around the Golden Horseshoe
Canadian Dimension Blog
Bill Longstaff
this is just to say
Better Parks
Jacked Up
Rusty Idols
The Befuddled Canuck
St. Albert Diary
Tunnel Under Snow
Unrepentant Old Hippie
More Notes From Underground
Blind Man with a Pistol
April Reign
Scott's DiaTribes
Nunc Scio
Politics - for the people
Slap Upside The Head
Thoughts on Climate Change
Anti-Racist Canada
A Socialist In Calgary
The Scott Ross
liberal catnip
Pondering the Myriad Things
The Canadian Republic/ La r�publique canadienne
Liberal Arts and Minds
Views from the Waters Edge
The Fifth Column
James Wanless
Moved to Vancouver
The View From The Lake
Not an Official Green Party Site
cartoon life
Troy's Scribbles
The Mumpsimus Blog
Bowie's Blog
Disgruntled Liberal Female
Canuck Attitude
Yappa Ding Ding
I love loi 101
Antigone Magazine
Take off, eh?
The Skwib
Points of Information
Vlad Glebov
Geoff at Mount Allison
Jake Gray for a Liveable Langley
Red Canuck
Greg's DTK
Excited Delirium
Bouquets Of Gray
Jerad Gallinger
Getting It Right
Albertosaurus Talks
Devin Johnston
Green Assassin Brigade
The Purple Soapbox
The Rational Number
Pample the Moose
One Woman. One Blog.
Hopefully Worth Writing Down
NDP Left: The Ginger Project
Critical Brain Candy
Borges' Blog
The Mike Powell Fan Club
Driving The Porcelain Bus
Another Point of View
Canadian Spades
Chris Tindal
The World According To CDLU
Blogging a Dead Horse
Sketchy Thoughts
Adventures of Diva Rachel
The Grumpy Voter
All Politics Is Local
Peterborough Politics
Four Strong Winds
A View From the Left
this on that
Queer Thoughts
To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth
The Guts of Public Affairs, Economics and Politics
James Laxer's Blog
thwap's schoolyard
La Soubrette
Harper Valley
Hope and Onions
A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land
Haldimand's Unheard Voice
Confessions of a Liberal Mind
Goodbye Blue Monday
Half an Hour
Presenting the World
One Woman Army
Cowboys for Social Responsibility
The Stormy Days of March
Wise Law Blog
Radio Free Collingwood
One Day for the Watchman
Business & Human Rights in Vancouver
The View From Elsewhere
Terahertz Atheist
Runesmith's Canadian Content
Lifting Autumn Fur
the regina mom
This is Rintrah
Written on the Body
Prairie Topiary
Random Noise
JimBobby Sez
life as i know it...
Rational Reasons
Giant Political Mouse
Pierre Trudeau Is My Homeboy
Canada Immigration Blog
Paulitics: Paul's Socialist Investigations
Bill Given
LeftCoast Rant
Rob Maguire dot Com
Toban Black
Davey's Politics
Carnival of Anarchy
Relentlessly Progressive Political Economy
Atypical Albertan
Canada's Debate
Blogging if necessary but not necessarily blogging
The Sleveen Institute
Art Threat | Political Art Journal
The Daily Noose
Le Revue Gauche
O Solo Mama
Northern BC Dipper
CMM Greens
Nobleton Clear
Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying
Politics, Re-Spun
Adam M On The Front Page
The mass is secretly obsessed with nipple dream
Paul S. Graham
Something Leftish
The Enlightened Savage
Fun, Green and Fair
The Wheatsheaf
De Nottingham | From Nottingham Blog
Section 15.
Life in Moderation
The Kalamalka Rainbow
Liberal Minute - the politics of .ca
Drunk in Ontario
Marginal Notes
Liberal. Geek. Since 1986.
My journey with AIDS
Liberal For Life
Democracy of Hypocrisy
Peter's Politics
mike watkins dot ca
Deliberative Dialogue
Vijay Sappani
where'd that bug go
The Canadianis
Baby Pop
Uncorrected Proofs
Dipper Chick
The Boog
The Canadian Post
Canadian Wild
John Waugh on Politics and Media
Tattered Sleeve
Lord Kitchener's Own
Idealistic Pragmatist
Clear Grit
Unpopular Dissent
The Progressive Right
Daniel Aldana
heureusement, ici, c'est james
David Empey
The Conscious Earth
Bob Broughton's Blog
The Anth Zone
Word of Mouth: Hornby Island Voices Online
The Louis Riel Trail
Thus Prate the IT Pundit
Seeing Red in the Southwest
The Silver Bullet
My Canada Includes Justice
Sean In Saskatchewan
No Longer Green in Alberta
all about pamusement
Colby File
Feminist Mom in Montreal: Experiments in Feminist Parenting
The John Lennard Experience
Liberals For Electoral Reform
Lots of thinking.
The militant Liberal
Home Grown Socialist
Prairie Fire
Little Miss Brightside
Zaphod's Heads
...cultural snafu
The Centre Block
Views from the Left
Knickers Down
Anh Khoi Do's blog: A Canadian's point of view
Red Jenny
Moderate Union
Long Cold Night Federal Election Blog
Black Mirror
While the Earth Burns
Cherniak on Politics
The Vancouver Manifesto
Carson's Post
Spark Of Freedom
Paper Dynamite Online
Kim Feraday
Une femme verte
Big Mac Political Hack Attack: Chaos In Canada
Weltschmerz: Canada's premier satire comic strip
Writings of J. Todd Ring
Wendy's Thoughts
Pacific Tribune
Liberal in the (905)
37 Days of Ottawa
The Blue Hysteria
The Dominion - News From The Grassroots
Ezra Winton's Blogy Thingy
The Church Of Mothra
Critical Research
Jacobs Super Patented Brain Thoughts
A Limerick Ox
Cameron wigmore, Crowfoot Green Party Member
The Coast of Bohemia
Radical Digressions
Suav�'s Last Call
Grumpy in Toronto
The Dan Report
Commercialism Deconstructed
Blogging for democracy
View from the Edge
Murphy's Pit
Murphy's Point
Bruno's Canada
sex in canada
Chroniques intempestives
F-email Fightback
Canadian Politics from the Left
Voice in the Wilderness
Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism
Alberta Alliance Watch
The Wildrose Report
Steve Anderson
Moldy Peaches
The Steel City Grit
The New King Of Kensington
Southwestern Ontario Liberal
The Daily Dissidence
Sarah Wong, Online Edition
Steve Thinks About Stuff
The Din of Inequity
The Frog Lady
The Hive
University of Ottawa Young Liberals
The Moderate Post
Canning's Guess
Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine
Caws from the Crows Nest
David Swann MLA Calgary Mountain View
Incoherent Genius
Julien Lamarche
Obscure Views
One Tenacious Baby Mama
Simon Archer: Corporate law, theory and policy in critical context
Social Justice A Liberal View
the bored bureaucrat
The G-Spot
The Lazy Populist
Veni Vidi Veritas
Video Vox
Visionary Planetary Healer Tutorial
Vive le

victory fund

Bloggers' chat
A BCer in Toronto
A Blog By James Curran
A Misanthropic Denizen
A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages
A View From The Left
Aarons Beard
Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy
Akaash Maharaj - Practical Idealism
Alberta Young Liberals
All Blog Entries
All Politics Is Local
Alter Boys
amherstburg liberal
An Albertan Aphrodite
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Anonymous Liberal
Atlantic Grit
BigCityLib Strikes Back
Blast Furnace Canada Blog
Bob Rae | MP for Toronto Centre blogs
Boogie Down
Borges Blogue
Bowie's Blog
Braeden Caley - On Politics
Browners Blog
Bryan's Blog
C A I T I - O N L I N E
C A I T I - O N L I N E - M E D I A
Canada's Debate
Canadian Publius
Canadian Rosebud
Canadians Without Borders
Canning's Guess
Cherniak on Politics
Chroniques intempestives
Clear Grit
Colby File
Confessions of a Liberal Mind
Cornwall Liberal
Cowboys for Social Responsibility
Crescent Canuck (Politics)
Cynthia Dunsford, MLA
Dan McTeague Campaign blog 2008
Danielle Takacs: Galloping Around the Golden Horseshoe
Darryl Raymaker
Davey's Politics
David Graham -
David Swann's Blog
Diplomatic Ideology
Eugene Forsey Liberal
Far and Wide
First Past the Post
Flights of Fancy
Four Strong Winds
Fresh Meat
Fuzzy left
Garth Turner - Commentaries
Gauche floue
Gerard Greenan - Liberal for District 22
Go on and Bleed
Golden Boy Grit's Golden Thoughts
Grant Mitchell's Blog
Grant Woods for MLA Riel
Greater Toronto Grit
Grumpy in Toronto
Hopefully worth writing down
Jacked Up
Jeremy's Blog
Jon Gerrard's Blog
Just another Liberal
Kaniz's Political Insight
Keith Torrie Today
Last Canadian Exit...
Letters from the Left
Liberal 308
Liberal Arts and Minds
Liberal Brave
Liberal For Life Blog
Liberal Life and Times
Liberal Minute
Liberal Party of Canada RSS News Feed
Liberal Randomness
Liberal Semantics
Liberal Senate Forum
Liberals For Electoral Reform
Lib�ral un jour, Lib�ral Toujours !
life in moderation
Little Fish in a Giant pond
Lobster Thermidor
Marva Wisdom blog feed
Michael Ignatieff's Blog
Mike and Dean's Cross-Border Tagteam
Miles Lunn's Views on the Issues
Miles' Blog
Morton's Musings
Murphy's Pit
Murphy's Point
Musings from St. Pauls
My Blog Feed
Next Face
Night Flight to Venus
Nobleton Clear
Offal News
One Ontario Liberal
One Warm line
Paper Dynamite Online
Parti lib�ral du Canada Flux RSS
Pebbles Take
Peter Allan Ker
PG Liberal
Philosophical Liberal
Pierre Trudeau Is My Homeboy
pleasure pure madmen know
Political Reason
Politics (chiefly as seen from Toronto, Canada)
Politics - for the people
Politics in Women !
Politics, and All That Matters
Prairie Fire
Presenting the world...
Progress For Progressives
Protected Blog › Login
Protected Blog › Login
Random Noise
Red Butler
Red Tory v.3.0
Richard Mahoney
Rolling Back the Tide of Extremism, One Post at a Time
Scott's DiaTribes
Section 15
Sir Robert Bond Papers
Social Justice A Liberal View
Southwestern Ontario Liberal
Stephane Dion - Canada's next Prime Minister
Stephen Harpers Broken Promises
Steve Thinks About Stuff
stop harper
Straight Outta Edmonton
Take off, eh?
TDH Strategies
TDot Grit
The Anth Zone
The Canadian Post
The Centre Block
The Centre for Strategic Centrism
The Conscious Earth
The Frog Lady
The Great Red Spot
The Jordan Glass Times
The Liberal Bag
The Liberal Factor
The Maple Three
The Militant Liberal
the new King of Kensington
The Northern Liberal
The Not-so-Detached Spectator
The Progressive Right
The Ramblings of Munro
The Rants of a Mad Milan
The Rest of the Story
The Rolling Five Year Plan
The Scott Ross
The Sleveen Institute
The Steel City Grit (in exile)
The View from Down South - A Liberal in DC
The Vital Centre
The Wingnuterer
Thought and Style
Too Much Geography
Trogdor the Burninator
Tutte Politiche (aka All Things Political)
Uncle J's Blog of Queries
Une femme verte
University of Ottawa Young Liberals
Views from the lake - eh?
Views From The Left
Views from the Water's Edge
where'd that bug go?
Yappa Ding Ding
Yes Another Liberal Blog
You've got the wong place...
Zaphod's Heads

Sunday, January 4, 2009

For the record.

For the record, just because I have a blogger tag called conservative party of Canada, doesn't mean I love them. In fact my perspective of them would have more in common with a metaphor, a wolf in sheeps clothing and the wolf and I certainly do not get along. According to the latest poll, they are going to get a majority government in which case I will not be pleased. There is a reason why they have not been in power in the last 15 years. They are usually a bunch of hot-heads who believe in 19th century values such as pro-life, but due to the ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988, they havn't been able to fulfil that dream. They also have no plans for improving the environment but that is not surprising as some of their biggest donors are big oil companies. The party is also known for some very obvious political theatrics. Most recently, P.M. Harper was photographed taking one of his kids to school after the summer break. It is a nice thing for a dad to do and I am not attacking that, however, if you're trying to play up your family values which is what the religious right lives for, then it was a wonderful photo-op. By the look on the child's face, he was not pleased to see the cameras. You can tell by the tone of this blog, I am not a fan of the conservatives. I never have been and most likely, never will be. I will slam the the conservatives and throw my support behind any other party in Canada but I will never tell you which one.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

TRAVEL REPORTIsrael, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

TRAVEL REPORTIsrael, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Table of contents
Recent Updates
Warnings and Recommendations
Safety and Security
Entry/Exit Requirements
Canadian Governement Contacts
Travel Health
Additional Health Information
Laws and Customs
Travel and Currency
Natrual Disasters and Climate
Additional Information
Country Profile for Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip 1. RECENT UPDATESThe level of Travel Warning in this report has not changed. Section 2 has been updated (Beersheba).BACK TO TOP 2. WARNINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Israel
Exercise normal security precautions
Exercise high degree of caution
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid all travelMost Canadian visitors to Israel do not experience problems. However, the security situation can change rapidly. Canadians, including dual nationals, should carry their passports at all times and register with the Embassy of Canada in Tel Aviv.In past years, terrorist incidents have occurred in a variety of locations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Haifa, Beersheba, Netanya and other major populated centres, including at tourist sites and in public areas, causing numerous deaths and injuries. Foreigners have been affected but have never been directly targeted. There is potential for further violence. Incidents could be unpredictable and there is a strong risk that Canadians could find themselves in the middle of dangerous situations. Following terrorist incidents, the Government of Israel may establish checkpoints without warning. Canadians visiting urban areas should exercise caution, stay informed of the security situation, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities, particularly during periods of religious holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan and Pesach (Passover). Canadians should also avoid large gatherings, crowded places and demonstrations, and stay away from other possible targets, including pedestrian promenades, shopping malls, open markets, restaurants, discotheques and bus stations. Public transportation should be avoided at all times, especially during peak hours. Canadians should exercise a high level of personal security awareness at all times if they are in Jerusalem, particularly in the Old City, especially during religious holidays as security incidents have occurred during these periods. Recent incidents include a security incident on July 22, 2008, when the driver of a bulldozer deliberately drove into vehicles, injuring at least 10 people. Three people were killed in a similar incident on July 2, 2008, and a number of others were injured. A shooting incident in a religious college on March 6, 2008, left 8 people dead and over 30 injured, including a Canadian. The popular intersection of Jaffa and King George streets and the adjoining Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall were targeted in previous years. It is important to note that dual citizens who hold Canadian as well as Israeli citizenship are technically required by law to enter and exit from Israel or the West Bank showing their Israeli documentation.Regions bordering Lebanon
Exercise normal security precautions
Exercise high degree of caution
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid all travelOFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to regions near the border with Lebanon.While a cessation of hostilities remains in effect between Israel and Hezbollah forces following the 2006 conflict, stability in the northern region of Israel could deteriorate rapidly without notice. Rockets fired from Lebanon into northern Israel have reached Shlomi and Kiryat Shmona. Although tensions have subsided since the 2006 conflict, there is still a strong potential for future incidents.Region surrounding the Gaza Strip
Exercise normal security precautions
Exercise high degree of caution
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid all travelOFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the region surrounding the Gaza Strip due to the risk of rocket and mortar launches, gunfire and of ongoing military activity. Since 2004, there have been regular (sometimes daily) rockets and mortars fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, especially Sderot. Some rockets and mortars have reached Ashqelon, located 12 km away. It has been reported that on December 30, 2008, a rocket reached Beersheba (42 km). Recent attacks have also targeted the Erez border crossing into Gaza.
General Information on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank The security situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is very poor and unpredictable due to inter-factional violence and ongoing military operations. Several thousand people have been killed in recent years. There is a continuing threat to Canadians who are present in these areas of being caught in the crossfire of such incidents.Since December 27, 2008, military air strikes are being conducted in the Gaza Strip causing extensive property damage. Reports indicate that at least 300 persons were killed and more than 1400 others were injured. Demonstrations took place in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem to protest against military operations; some demonstrations turned violent. Canadians are advised to exercise extreme caution at all times, avoid all crowds, political gatherings and demonstrations, monitor news reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.The Government of Israel tightly controls checkpoint crossings within the West Bank and to the Gaza Strip. Security-related closures can severely restrict entry to and exit from these areas, even for persons possessing valid entry and exit permits. Limited hours of operation, unannounced travel restrictions and extended closures result in large crowds often gathering which may elevate associated risks to personal safety. Curfews may also be imposed with little notice. There is a high risk of kidnappings in the Gaza Strip, as well as in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin. Foreigners have been kidnapped in the past.Canadians travelling to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip despite these Travel Warnings should ensure that they have appropriate security measures in place to protect themselves, as well as alternative travel arrangements in case of a rapid deterioration in the security situation. They should carry their passports at all times, register and maintain contact with the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah, keep a low profile, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Palestinian authorities may demand that Palestinian documentation be shown on exit or entry. Israeli authorities may allow exit from these locations only by persons showing Palestinian documentation.The Gaza Strip
Exercise normal security precautions
Exercise high degree of caution
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid all travelOFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the Gaza Strip, as it continues to be affected by serious violence. Attacks occurring as recently as September 2008 have resulted in multiple casualties. The situation could deteriorate further due to inter-factional violence, along with possible military operations in the area. Areas around the border with Israel are particularly dangerous. The entrances to and exits from the Gaza Strip are under the control of Israeli and Egyptian authorities and have been effectively closed since June 2007, even to those in possession of valid entry and exit permits. Terrorist attacks occurred at border crossings in 2008.Canadian consular officials have very limited ability to intervene on behalf of Canadians who choose to enter or remain in the Gaza Strip.The West Bank
Exercise normal security precautions
Exercise high degree of caution
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid all travelOFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the West Bank as the security situation could deteriorate rapidly due to inter-factional tension, demonstrations or military operations. There are frequent police and military operations targeting militants in cities and villages throughout the West Bank, particularly in Nablus, Jenin, Qalqiliyya, Tulkarem and the refugee camps. It is not possible to travel without passing through multiple Israeli military checkpoints. There is a threat of violent outbreaks in areas near checkpoints and of demonstrations. Areas in the vicinity of the Barrier separating the West Bank and Israel are particularly high-risk. It is recommended to travel only during daytime and not to stay overnight.OFFICIAL REGISTRATION RECOMMENDATION: We offer a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that we can contact and assist you in an emergency abroad, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home. Registration can be done on-line or by contacting a Canadian government office abroad. For more information, see our FAQs on Registration of Canadians Abroad.BACK TO TOP 3. SAFETY AND SECURITY The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. Travellers are responsible for their own personal safety. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely advice in its Travel Reports. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. Canada will assist Canadians in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at the individual’s personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources, which can limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability are high.CrimeThe crime rate is moderate in Israel, and low in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Vehicle theft is a serious problem. Car doors should always be locked and windows closed. Thefts also occur on public beaches. All Canadians should be particularly careful to keep wallets, money and valuables out of sight, particularly in large crowds and public markets. Violent crime is rare. Old City of JerusalemThere is a high incidence of crime in the Old City, particularly at night. It is recommended that visitors travel in groups and dress conservatively.DemonstrationsPlanned and unplanned demonstrations sometimes occur in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Caution should particularly be exercised if demonstrations take place around areas such as settlements, checkpoints or military zones. Canadians are advised to avoid crowds, political gatherings or demonstrations because they could turn violent without warning.LandminesThere are live landmines in certain areas, including parts of the West Bank and along Israel’s borders. Some minefields have not been clearly marked or fenced. Visitors should walk only on established roads or trails.General Safety InformationThere are frequent disruptions in telephone, power and water services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The main emergency phone numbers for Israel and the West Bank are 100 for police, 102 for fire department service and 101 for medical emergencies.BACK TO TOP 4. ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. All countries or regions have special requirements for persons intending to reside for extended periods (usually more than 90 days) or who plan to work, study, or engage in non-tourist activities. To obtain information on specific entry requirements, contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) to be visited. Violations of entry and exit requirements may result in serious penalties. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been confirmed with the Israeli authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is the traveller's responsibility to check with the Embassy of Israel and its consulates, as well as the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, for up-to-date information.A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Israel, the West Bank and/or the Gaza Strip. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of the expected departure from the country. Proof of a return ticket is required.Tourist Visa: Not requiredBusiness Visa: Not requiredStudent Visa: Not requiredWork Visa: Required (must be arranged by Israeli employer)Dual Nationals (see also Section 8)Canadians who were born outside Israel to a mother or father who is an Israeli citizen may be considered citizens of Israel. Israeli law requires Israeli citizens to enter and leave the country on an Israeli passport, and to show proof of military status upon arrival. Canadians who are unsure of their Israeli citizenship and/or their military status should verify it through the Embassy of Israel or an Israeli consulate before leaving Canada. It is imperative that Palestinian Canadians are aware of border control policies affecting entry to and exit from Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prior to travel as they are subject to Government of Israel travel regulations for Palestinians. Anyone registered in the Government of Israel’s West Bank or Gaza Population Registry as a resident of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip is not permitted to enter Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport.Canadians of Palestinian originA Palestinian Authority travel document may be required for any Canadian of Palestinian origin. Failure to present this document may prevent entry to or exit from Israel, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.Travel to and from the West BankFor information on travel to the West Bank, Canadians should consult the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website since Israel is the de facto authority responsible for foreign nationals’ entry to and exit from the West Bank. In some circumstances, Canadians may be denied entry into the West Bank by Israel.Palestinian Canadians are permitted to enter and depart only via the Allenby Bridge.Travel to and from the Gaza StripThere are currently severe restrictions on entry to and exit from the Gaza Strip. All border crossings have effectively been closed since June 2007. Palestinian Canadians should note that they are permitted to enter and depart only through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt when it is open. Non-Palestinians are generally not permitted to use this crossing. Travel to and from JordanVisas can be obtained at the Arava crossing (Wadi al-’Arabah) in the south (near Eilat) and at the Jordan River crossing (Sheikh Hussein Bridge) in the north (near Bet She’an). Canadian passport holders may also cross at the Allenby Bridge (King-Hussein) crossing near Jericho. Visas must be obtained before the date of crossing. They cannot be obtained at the crossing point.Regional TravelCanadians travelling to Israel from other countries in the Middle East are advised that their passports could come under increased scrutiny by Israeli immigration authorities because they bear visa and entry/exit stamps from those countries. Canadians experiencing problems are encouraged to contact the nearest Canadian government office or Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa for advice and assistance.Canadians have been denied entry into Syria, Lebanon and other countries because their passports bore: (a) an Israeli visa; (b) an Israeli border stamp; or (c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate that the traveller entered from Israel).
A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is not a travel document. A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. Canadian citizens returning to Canada who present other documents, such as a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, birth certificate, provincial driver’s license, or foreign passport, instead of a Canadian passport, may face delays or be denied boarding by transport companies. Selling, altering, or allowing another person to use your passport is a criminal offence. It could lead to the laying of charges and imprisonment if convicted. It could also lead to the denial of future passport services. Special and diplomatic passport holders should verify all visa requirements for this and other destinations, as they may differ from those that apply to regular passport holders. Any adult travelling with children may be required to show evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights. Foreign and Canadian authorities may also require evidence that the adult has the consent of the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court to travel with the children. Some countries or regions may not permit children to enter or, in some cases, leave the country or region without proper documentation such as a letter of consent or a court order. Although same-sex marriages are legal in Canada, many countries or regions do not recognize them. Attempting to enter as a same-sex married couple may result in refusal by local officials. For more information, contact the foreign government office accredited to Canada. BACK TO TOP 5. CANADIAN GOVERNMENT CONTACTS You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information at the following addresses: Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - TEL AVIV, Embassy of CanadaAddress: 1 Nirim Street, Entrance A, 4th Floor, Tel Aviv 67060, IsraelPostal Address: P.O. Box 9442, Tel Aviv, 67060, IsraelTel.: 972 (3) 636-3300 Emergency toll-free to Ottawa: 014-800-2326-6831Fax: 972 (3) 636-3383E-Mail: taviv@international.gc.caInternet: http://www.israel.gc.caWest Bank and Gaza Strip - RAMALLAH, Representative Office of Canada Address: 12 Mahfal Street, Ramallah, West BankPostal Address: P.O. Box 18604, Jerusalem 91184, or P.O. Box 2286, Ramallah, West BankTel.: 972 (2) 297-8430 Fax: 972 (2) 297-8446E-Mail: rmlah@international.gc.caInternet: http://www.westbankandgaza.gc.caFor emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Tel Aviv and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa toll-free at 014-800-2326-6831.BACK TO TOP 6. TRAVEL HEALTHThe Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) report on disease outbreaks that occur throughout the world. For the latest travel health advisories and related information, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Travel Health Web site. The Public Health Agency of Canada strongly recommends that your travel plans include contacting a travel medicine clinic or physician six to eight weeks before departure. Based on your individual risk assessment, a health care professional can determine your need for immunizations and/or preventive medication and advise you on precautions to avoid disease. Travellers are reminded to ensure that their routine (childhood) immunizations (e.g., tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and measles) are up to date. Standards of medical care may differ from those in Canada. Treatment may be expensive, and payment in advance may be required. Travellers are advised to arrange for medical insurance prior to departure. Prescription medications should be kept in the original container and packed in carry-on luggage. The Public Health Agency of Canada also recommends that travellers who become sick or feel unwell on their return to Canada seek a medical assessment with their personal physician. Travellers should inform their physician that they have been travelling or living outside of Canada.