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  • At Slugger O Toole, Gerry Lynch makes an excellent case that the people behind Brexit might well have laid the foundation for a radical left takeover of the UK.

  • Natalie Nougayrède at The Guardian suggests that the EU-27 does not care especially about a UK deal, and just wants the country out.

  • Will Frankfurt and Dublin end up being the big winners of Brexit in the EU-27? The Irish Times reports.

  • Amsterdam, as Bloomberg notes, might also benefit from Brexit. Broadcasters are looking east from London.

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  • Peter Geoghegan writes at Open Democracy about the mess that Brexit has made of Ireland, two decades after the Troubles' end.

  • Anthrodendum's Alex Golub notes that a North Korean attack on Guam, among other things, would threaten the Chamorro natives of the island.

  • The Toronto Star carries an excerpt from a book by Mark Dowie looking at how the Haida, of Haida Gwaii, managed to win government recognition of their existence.

  • CBC's Sameer Chhabra explores how Canadian students at Caribbean medical schools find it very difficult to get jobs back home.

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  • Lisa Coxon of Toronto Life shares eleven photos tracking Toronto's queer history back more than a century.

  • Michelle McQuigge reports for the Toronto Star that the Luminous Veil does save lives. I would add that it is also beautiful.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee thinks it makes perfect sense for there to be a dedicated streetcar corridor on King Street.

  • Ben Spurr describes a new plan for a new GO Transit bus station across from Union Station.

  • Emily Mathieu reported in the Toronto Star on how some Kensington Market tenants seem to have been pushed out for an Airbnb hostel.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Irish-born John Doyle explores the new Robert Grassett Park, built in honour of the doctor who died trying to save Irish refugees in 1847.

  • Justin Ling in VICE tells the story of three gay men who went missing without a trace in Toronto just a few years ago. What happened?
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  • Antipope's Charlie Stross wonders if the politics of Trump might mean an end to the British nuclear deterrent.

  • Centauri Dreams shares Andrew LePage's evaluation of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where he concludes that there are in fact three plausible candidates for habitable status there.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the gender-bending photographs of Norwegian photographers Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

  • The Extremo Files looks at the human microbiome.

  • Language Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu dialect.

  • The LRB Blog looks at policing in London.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that 90% of the hundred thousand lakes of Manitoba are officially unnamed.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at the remarkable Akshardham Temple of New Delhi.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes how citizen scientists detected changes in Rosetta's comet.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer provides a visual guide for New Yorkers at the size of the proposed border wall.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper taking a look at the history of abortion in 20th century France.

  • Torontoist looks at the 1840s influx of Irish refugees to Toronto.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the research that went into the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on Belarus.

  • Arnold Zwicky shares photos and commentary on the stars and plot of Oscar-winning film Midnight.

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New Europe's Andy King reports on how iconic British insurance firm Lloyd's of London, in an effort to ensure that it can offer continuity of services to its European Union clients post-Brexit, has begun to shift jobs out of London to EU destinations. Ireland and Malta are apparently fronrunners.

After three centuries, the Lloyds of London will no longer be “of London.” The company is moving its headquarters, its CEO Inga Beale confirmed on Friday.

Talking to Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Beale confirmed that following Prime Minister May’s announcement last Tuesday, Lloyds was going ahead with its contingency plan.

Many insurance companies will be moving a big part of their operations, since passporting rights and licensing are key to the sectors’ business in Europe. Lloyds stands to lose as much as 11% of its premiums that come from Europe or little under 1bn Euros.

Lloyd’s was founded three centuries ago in London and is moving ahead because a licensing process could take more than a year. What Lloyd’s want to avoid is what the industry calls “cliff’s edge trap,” in which the service provider cannot move soon enough to ensure continuity of service.
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  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal for the relatively rapid industrialization of space in a few short years using smart robots with 3d printign technology.

  • To what extent, as Crooked Timber speculates, the Arthurian myth complex science fictional?

  • Dangerous Minds shares a lovely middle-finger-raised candle.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the interactions between atmospheres and rotation for super-Earths and Venus-like worlds.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Wikileaks' call for Trump's tax returns.

  • Language Hat shares some words peculiar to Irish English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the words of Trump are meaningless.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cown considers some scenarios where nuclear weapons may end up being used.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at births and deaths in Russia between 2000 and 2015.

  • Savage Minds considers, inspired by the recent Michel Foucault read-in protest to Trump, the relationships between Foucault's thinking and racism.

  • Window on Eurasia calls for a post-imperial Russian national identity, argues that Trump's assault on globalization will badly hurt a Russia dependent on foreign trade and investment, and wonders what Putin's Russia can actually offer Trump's United States.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell offers a unique strategy for journalists interested at penetrating Trump's shell: trick them into over-answering.

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes how astronomers are now collecting dust from space in their gutters, without needing to go to Antarctica.

  • blogTO notes the many lost dairies of mid-20th century Toronto.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at how volatiles freeze out in protoplanetary disks.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper considering the exploration of ocean worlds.

  • Far Outliers links to a report of a Cossack mercenary working in North America for the British in the War of American Independence.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the grave and the life of Homer Plessy.

  • Steve Munro looks at some possibly worrisome service changes for the TTC.

  • pollotenchegg notes trends in urbanization in post-1970 Ukraine.

  • Strange Maps looks at a scone map of the British Isles.

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CBC News' Nancy Russell reports on the senseless damage caused to a monument to Irish immigrants in Charlottetown. Alas, I've never been there to see it. Hopefully next time I'm on the Island it'll be in fine shape again.

A monument on the Charlottetown waterfront honouring P.E.I.'s Irish settlers needs substantial repairs after vandals appear to have driven over the stonework.

"It's a bad damage that has been done and it has to be repaired somehow," said Michael Hennessey, secretary of the Celtic Heritage Association which helped to raise $230,000 to build the Irish Settlers Memorial.

"I'd like to see it repaired and put back in the condition that it was in originally."

The monument overlooks the Charlottetown Harbour, just off the boardwalk, behind the Culinary Institute of Canada.

The centrepiece of the memorial is a 3.7-metre-tall cross modeled on the Cross of Moone in Ireland. There is a stone bench, as well as 32 flagstones arranged in a circle, from each of the counties where the 10,000 P.E.I. settlers came from in the 18th and 19th century.
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The Irish Examiner's John Whelan argues that, in coping with Brexit, Ireland has much to learn from Malta.

Malta is positioning itself as an alternative for companies willing to enter the EU market, and plans to use the EU Presidency, which passes to Malta for the first time in January 2017, to promote itself to UK-based international banks.

A recent visit to the island’s highly competitive, English-speaking (yes, we are not the only ones touting this advantage after Britain exits) and onshore EU jurisdiction allowing “passporting” and “re-domiciliation” of funds, with an efficient fiscal regime, a balmy Mediterranean climate and an ethical and professional workforce, left me with the impression that we will need to put our best foot forward to attract financial services from London as the Brexit talks get underway next year.

[. . .]

Malta, in a Trojan-horse-like-strategy, is focusing on maintaining the harmonious relationship it has with the UK.

“We see ourselves partnering with UK operators to provide solutions to help them sustain their business models; we’re not looking to try and take business away from the UK,” said Kenneth Farrugia , chairman of Finance Malta, which promotes Malta’s fund management industry overseas, as well as its insurance sector, trust and foundations and wealth management.

Financial and insurance activities contributed €149bn or almost 98% of all foreign direct investment in Malta last year. It is obviously an important industry for Malta.

From a regulatory and legal perspective it is difficult to differentiate Malta from other jurisdictions such as London, Paris, Frankfort, Rome or Dublin.
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Rosita Boland's interview with some New England Irish-Americans leaves me hoping that these people are not representative of the wider Irish-American community in their knowledge of what Ireland actually is right now.

We in Ireland might think we know who Irish-Americans are. They’re the visitors who arrive each year before the swallows, to travel the country on buses, to golf, to look for their roots. They search out traditional music, castles, scenic countryside, the Book of Kells and something far more abstract: an attempt to connect with their past.

But there are millions of Irish-Americans who never make it to Ireland, whose stories we do not know. Usually only the economically privileged can afford to travel to Ireland. And the sheer volume of people who identify as Irish-American might in any case make it hard for all of them to visit Ireland in their lifetimes.

The US Migration Policy Institute has recorded 39 million people as claiming Irish ancestry. The US Census Bureau data collected in 2011 recorded almost 33.1 million people, or just over 10 per cent of the population, in 2014. The disparity shows how hard it can be to define identity.

In September The Irish Times travelled to Boston, Massachusetts, where 21.5 per cent of the state’s population say that they are of Irish descent. I talked to eight people who claim Irish ancestry but who have never been to Ireland. I wanted to learn why their Irish heritage was so important to them and what their views were on a country they had never been to; how their lives had been shaped by a religion, culture and education that had been handed down.

In the course of these interviews I discovered that when Irish-Americans talk about identifying with the Irish they mean the Irish who came to settle in the United States and their descendants, not those of us living in Ireland. Ireland itself, the country, is the abstract, romanticised receptacle of dreams and green fields, and the place that will soothe a lifelong ache.
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Henry McDonald in The Guardian looks at how Brexit is encouraging pro-Union people in Northern Ireland to reconsider their territory's identity, perhaps even allegiances.

When Britain voted for Brexit, a strange thing happened in North Down, an affluent, unionist-dominated area of Northern Ireland with a strong sense of British identity.

As the results came in it became clear North Down had other affinities: European. The area voted in favour of staying in the EU, as the majority of people in Northern Ireland did.

The outcome of June’s referendum triggered a summer of speculation. Had attitudes changed? If unionists saw EU membership as important, might they reconsider their ancient hostility to reunification with Ireland?

Some asked if there should be a “border poll”, a referendum on whether Northern Ireland should stay in the UK or join the Irish Republic. Others feared a push by Scotland towards independence could fatally undermine unionist confidence in the unity of the UK.

But passions quickly cooled. Politicians, among them Bertie Ahern, the former Irish prime minister, said the time wasn’t right for a reunification vote.

In unionist strongholds voters stress that pro-remain is not the same as a pro-reunification. Even diehard loyalists say they are opposed to any “hard border” with the Irish Republic post-Brexit.
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The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll describes how Dublin is positioning itself to be one of the centres benefitting from the expected decline of London.

Ireland is mounting a vigorous charm offensive to lure thousands of financial jobs from London to Dublin, exploiting the growing uncertainty about Brexit and what it might mean for banking operations in Britain.

Irish officials say US banks and other non-EU financial firms worried about the future possibility of using London to do business in Europe are already scoping out the option of moving some operations to Dublin after Britain leaves the EU.

“Our approach is very clear, we will go after every single piece of mobile [non-finalised] investment,” says Martin Shanahan, the head of Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority, who has been touring the US and China to sell Dublin as a gateway to the EU.

“Undoubtedly there are more opportunities because of Brexit,” he adds. “You can be assured that any opportunities there are, Ireland will seek to take advantage of and we will be in the fray, as will others.”

Several European cities are jostling to court those businesses fretting that Brexit may disqualify British institutions from selling services into the EU. But while Paris is dangling new tax breaks for expatriates and Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Luxembourg are also making pitches, Ireland is presenting itself as the only English-speaking country in Europe that can offer continuity to banks in nearby London.
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CBC News' Lindsay Bird reports on an odd Viking inheritance.

Say it on your inhale: "yeeeeeeeah."

If that felt like second nature, chances are you're from Atlantic Canada, where this peculiar speech pattern prevails. And this habit of inhaling a 'yes', 'no,' or 'hmmm' even, has a name: ingressive pulmonic speech.

"It's really interesting. It's a phenomenon you don't find in too many of the world's languages, but [in] a big geographical zone," said retired Memorial University professor Sandra Clarke, an expert on the special inhale.

Ingressive pulmonic speech is widespread throughout Atlantic Canada, down into Maine, and then stretches across the North Atlantic to encompass Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Scandinavia, and as far east as Estonia.

[. . .]

"Where it seems to have come from originally, is probably what we now call Scandinavia. The Vikings were the ones who probably brought it to Scotland and Ireland," she said, adding the large influx of Scottish and Irish likely transported it to Canada's East Coast.
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Tricia Wood's Torontoist post is an ode to light rail that looks to the example of Dublin.

Dear LRT, please be mine.

I want to say a few things about light-rail transit (LRT)—really, it’s a love letter—but this is not meant to be a comment on any specific project under discussion in Toronto. This column is not about what we should build in Scarborough. It’s an effort to celebrate a great mode of transit that has been sadly misunderstood.

It seems appropriate that I am writing this from Dublin, Ireland, where there is, at present, a significant expansion of their LRT system under construction. I live in Toronto, but for research I spend a lot of time in Ireland.

When I am in Dublin, I often have to travel outside the city, and one of the things I appreciate about travel here is how easy it is to disembark from an intercity train at Heuston station, walk for no more than two minutes, and step on an LRT train that zips me into the central city.

No stairs, no tunnels, not even a real road to cross.

Let me tell you why I love LRT, using Dublin’s Luas system as an example. Spoiler: it has nothing to do with construction costs.

The Luas (Irish for “speed”) is a new system in a very old city. There has been some kind of permanent settlement on the site of Dublin for well over 1,000 years, and it has lots of old, narrow, winding cobblestone streets. The entire city centre could be considered a heritage district.

And it works, well.
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  • Bloomberg notes concerns over Northern Ireland's frontiers, looks at how Japanese retailers are hoping to take advantage of Vietnam's young consumers, examines the desperation of Venezuelans shopping in Colombia, looks at Sri Lankan interest in Chinese investment, suggests oil prices need to stay below 40 dollars US a barrel for Russia to reform, observes that Chinese companies are increasingly reluctant to invest, and suggests Frankfurt will gain after Brexit.

  • Bloomberg View gives advice for the post-Brexit British economy, looks at how Chinese patterns in migration are harming young Chinese, suggests Hillary should follow Russian-Americans in not making much of Putin's interference, and looks at the Israeli culture wars.

  • CBC considers the decolonization of placenames in the Northwest Territories, notes Canada's deployment to Latvia was prompted by French domestic security concerns, and looks at an ad promoting the Albertan oil sands that went badly wrong in trying to be anti-homophobic.

  • The Inter Press Service considers the future of Turkey and looks at domestic slavery in Oman.

  • MacLean's looks at China's nail house owners, resisting development.

  • The National Post reports from the Colombia-Venezuela border.

  • Open Democracy considers the nature of work culture in the austerity-era United Kingdom, looks at traditions of migration and slavery in northern Ghana, examines European bigotry against eastern Europeans, and examines the plight of sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco.

  • Universe Today notes two nearby potentially habitable rocky worlds, reports that the Moon's Mare Imbrium may have been result of a hit by a dwarf planet, and reports on Ceres' lack of large craters.

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Bloomberg View's Mark Gilbert writes about the advantages, and disadvantages, of London's different Eurozone competitors for its financial industry. Paris seems to come out broadly in the lead.

Have you heard? The platforms of London's St. Pancras train station and the departure lounges of its airports are packed with anxious investment bankers, ordered by their employers to relocate following Brexit.

Of course, that isn't happening at all; the U.K. decision to leave the European Union hasn't prompted an overnight exodus. But the banks that warned they'd consider moving thousands of staff out of a non-EU Britain are surely assessing "the next two weeks, two months and two years," as consultancy firm KPMG put it when appointing one of its senior partners to be head of its new Brexit division. "The French government, the German government, a number of governments, are making, if I may call it this way, a case for people to move to their jurisdiction," UBS Chief Executive Officer Andrea Orcel said on Tuesday. So which competing financial center looks most attractive?

On cost-cutting grounds alone, there are a number of options. London regularly vies with Hong Kong as the most expensive world city for renting office space. It ranks second according to figures compiled by real-estate firm CBRE for the first quarter of this year, with Paris 14th, Dublin at 30th and Frankfurt down at 47th. For a bank seeking a cheap European office, Frankfurt and Luxembourg look the best bets:

For a human resources department seeking the best overall environment for its employees, Frankfurt also looks attractive. In its annual scorecard of cities based on overall quality of life, including considerations such as political stability, economic backdrop, personal freedom and school systems, the consulting firm Mercer ranks the German financial capital as the seventh best place to live. Its 2016 ranking of 230 cities puts Luxembourg 19th and Dublin 33rd[.]

Bankers ordered to relocate can anticipate lower housing costs wherever they end up. For city-center apartments, London is the second most expensive city in Europe after Monaco, with Paris third at almost half the cost, and Luxembourg 10th. Frankfurt and Dublin, though, are even cheaper[.]
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  • Bloomberg notes Ireland's huge unexpected recent reported growth, looks at the deindustrialization of Israel, observes Deutsche Bank's need to search for wealth abroad, looks at the demographic imperatives that may keep healthy Japanese working until they are 80, notes the slipping ANC grip on Pretoria and looks at the rise of anti-Muslim Pauline Hanson in Australia, and predicts Brexit could kill the London property boom.

  • Bloomberg View calls for calm in the South China Sea.

  • CBC notes some idiot YouTube adventurers who filmed themselves doing stupid, even criminal, things in different American national parks.

  • The Globe and Mail reports on the plans for a test tidal turbine in the Bat of Fundy by 2017.

  • MacLean's looks at the heckling of a gay musician in Halifax and reports on the civil war in South Sudan.

  • The New York Times looks at the new xenophobia in the east English town of Boston.

  • Open Democracy notes that talk of a working class revolt behind Brexit excludes non-whites, and reports on alienation on the streets of Wales.

  • Wired looks at how some cash-strapped American towns are tearing up roads they cannot afford to maintain.

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  • Bloomberg notes the decline of Japan's solar energy boom with falling subsidies, suggests 1970s-style stagflation will be back, looks at how an urban area in Japan is dealing with overcrowding, looks at Russia-NATO tensions, and examines how Ireland is welcoming British bankers.

  • Bloomberg View looks at the return of Russian tourists to Turkey, notes Russia is not suffering from a brain drain, looks at the Brexit vote as examining the power of the old, and argues the Chilcot report defends Blair from accusations of lying.

  • CBC reports on the end of Blackberry's manufacturing of the Classic.

  • The Globe and Mail notes that, once, gay white men were on the outside.

  • The Independent describes claims that refugees in Libya who cannot pay their brokers risk being rendered into organs.

  • The Inter Press Service describes the horrors of Sudan and looks at how Russia will use Brexit to fight sanctions in the European Union.

  • MacLean's reports on the opening up of the Arctic Ocean to fishing and looks at Winnipeg support for Pride in Steinbach.

  • The National Post reports on the plague of Pablo Escobar's hippos in Colombia, looks at Vietnam's protests of Chinese military maneuvers, and examines Turkey's foreign policy catastrophes.

  • Open Democracy notes the desperate need for stability in Libya.

  • The Smithsonian reports on how video games are becoming the stuff of history.

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  • Bloomberg notes the rail boom in Bangladesh, looks at the fall in the value of the pound, notes a German proposal to give young Britons German citizenship and observes Spanish concern over giving Scotland a voice, looks at competition between Paris and Frankfurt to get jobs from the City of London, looks at how a Chinese takeover of an American ham company worked well, and observes that revised statistics show a much rockier economic history in Argentina.

  • Bloomberg View notes that Merkel is Britain's best hope for lenient terms and compares Brexit to the Baltic break from the Soviet Union.

  • The Globe and Mail notes continuing problems with the implementation of tidal turbines on the Bay of Fundy.

  • MacLean's notes that pride marchers in the Manitoba city of Steinbach can walk on the street, and looks at the impact of immigrant investment on Vancouver's housing market.

  • National Geographic notes the endangerment of Antarctica's penguins.

  • Open Democracy compares Brexit and the breakup of the former Soviet Union, looks at water shortages in Armenia, and examines the impact of Brexit on Ireland.

  • The Chicago Tribune looks at urban violence.

  • Universe Today notes the Dutch will be going to the Moon with the Chinese.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit could give Scotland a chance to take some of London's finance industry, looks at the Canadian-born governor of the Bank of England, looks at a quiet crisis in the Russian economy re: investment, and notes the awkwardness of the British diaspora in the European Union.

  • Bloomberg View notes the United Kingdom's upcoming challenges with India.

  • The CBC notes that Iceland has gotten a Canadian-born first lady and looks at the new Panama Canal expansion.

  • Daily Xtra quotes the Canadian prime minister as arguing Canada must make amends for past wrongs to LGBT people.

  • MacLean's looks at the indecisive results of the latest Spanish election.

  • The National Post notes that Scotland is already preparing for a second vote.

  • Open Democracy looks at the strange new dynamics in Northern Ireland, where Unionists are applying for Irish passports.

  • Universe Today examines experiments in agriculture using simulated Martian soil, and looks at a star set to rotate around the Milky Way Galaxy's central black hole at 2.5% of the speed of light.


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