Why Canada is changing its national anthem

Canada is making lyrical changes to its anthem to promote gender equality. Similar changes were rejected just a few years ago. What’s changed?

Patriotic love for Canada will no longer be in its “sons command” – at least not exclusively – according to a parliamentary vote.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons agreed yesterday to amend the country’s national anthem “O Canada” and replace the gender-specific phrase “in all thy sons command” with “in all of us command” in the English version. Members then stood and sang the anthem in both French and English, Reuters reports.

Speaking to reporters before the vote, Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu hailed the measure as one that would foster inclusivity. Continue reading

Russia outguns US in information war

Not only is the U.S. outgunned in the information war, it has allowed propaganda news outlets such as state-run (KGB) Russia Today to broadcast within the gates and manipulate the minds of American citizens for years already.

The Soviet propaganda factory Russia Today has gotten so bad that even one of the news anchors quit live in TV because she was sick of the lies she had to push forward on the Evil Empire’s behalf:

 

 

The West does not have one message and it’s up against a co-ordinated information war, academic says.

Washington: The troubled US agency responsible for delivering news around the world is being outgunned in Eastern Europe by Russian outlets unrestrained by notions of fact-based journalism.

The unequal competition raises fears among US officials that Moscow is winning the information war about events in Ukraine, even as the Russian economy staggers under economic sanctions imposed after the takeover of Crimea.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the very height of the Cold War,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate subcommittee in late February. It’s “spending hugely on this vast propaganda machine”, he told another panel the same day, and it’s succeeding “because there’s nothing countering it”. Continue reading

‘This crisis will be followed by a European Renaissance’

The United State of Europe is going full steam ahead as planned, regardless of EU failures and how it seems on the surface now.

More than 130 years ago, on March 11, 1882, the French philosopher and polemist Ernest Renan gave a speech at the Sorbonne that was to have a long lasting impact. It was entitled, Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?, or “What is a nation?”. “A nation is […] a great solidarity constituted by the feeling of sacrifices made and those that one is still disposed to make”.

There are still European philosophers and politicians, especially in Brussels, who would prefer to brush away the nation state as an obsolete and even dangerous 19th Century myth. They see the crisis as a means to now finally making a great leap forwards; they still dream of a European federation. If you apply Renan’s clear account to our continent, however, then – even half a century later after laying the foundations of the EU – there is still little to be seen of such a European nation. If anything has been damaged by the crisis and the subsequent extreme austerity drive, then it is that very solidarity and willingness to continue a common life that Renan stressed. Continue reading

Language please: Merkel wants more German spoken in EU

Berlin: Angela Merkel’s conservatives want to increase the use of German in Europe if they are re-elected in September, calling in their campaign programme for the language to be treated on a par with English and French in top Brussels institutions.

“German is the most frequently spoken native language and one of three working languages of the European Union,” a draft programme from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), reads.

“We will push for a further strengthening of the German language in Europe. Our goal is that it is treated in the same way as English and French in the European Parliament, the (European) Commission and (European) Council.” Continue reading

British forces in Syria, Assad presidential compound said under attack

Should this be confirmed, be ready to possibly hear that all hell is breaking loose in the middle east (and possibly on the homeland) as described in a previous post — and soon.

Unconfirmed first reports from British, French and Turkish sources say British special operations forces crossed from Turkey into northern Syria Tuesday, May 26, and advanced up to 10 kilometers inside the country. The same sources report heavy fighting around the Presidential Guards compound on the outskirts of Damascus.

debkafile’s military sources note that this compound exists to defend Bashar Assad’s presidential palace on Mount Qaisoun overlooking Damascus.

British and Gulf TV stations are again running interviews with dozens of Syrian soldiers taken prisoner by rebel forces and transferred to Free Syrian Army centers in South Turkey. But this time, they are being aired in conjunction with those two developments, indicating pivotal and coordinated military action inside the embattled country, or even the start of western intervention against the Assad regime. Later Tuesday, Gulf military sources confirmed the presence of British special forces in Syria.

Our military sources estimate that the British military drive into Syria, if confirmed, is designed to establish the first safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, to be followed by more Western military incursions to establish additional zones of safe asylum in other parts of Syria.

This follow-up action would depend substantially on Syrian, Russian and Iranian (+ Hizballah) responses to the initial stage of the operation.

The reported British incursion, if confirmed, occurred at the tail end of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 24-hour visit to Israel Tuesday morning and would have posed a direct challenge to his repeated warning that Moscow would not tolerate Western military intervention in Syria and actively prevent it. Similar warnings have issued from Tehran.

As for the timing, the double military drive against Assad also occurred hours before a NATO “consultation” in Brussels on the shooting down of a Turkish warplane by Syria last Friday, June 22,  which Ankara stated Monday “must not go unpunished.”

The two-pronged operation – the reported British incursion and major clash at the front door of Assad’s presidential palace – would appear to be designed to widen the cracks in his regime and speed its final breakup.

Full article: British forces in Syria, Assad presidential compound said under attack (DEBKAfile)