Could the Elections End Canada’s Carbon Capture? — by Liane Schalatek on Heinrich Böll Foundation |Canada rank ninth in the list of the world’s worst polluters

Since taking office in 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has focused on turning Canada into an energy superpower. The strategy behind this is the proposed doubling of the extraction of oil from Canada’s bituminous tar sands, located primarily in the western province of Alberta.

Tar sands in Alberta. Creator

Tar sands in Alberta. Creator: Dru Oja Jay, Dominion. Creative Commons LizenzvertragThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

The Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in power since 2007, may well be voted out of office at the Canadian federal election to take place on October 19––at least that is the hope of global climate advocates. Not only does Canada rank ninth in the list of the world’s worst polluters, it is now also the world’s highest per capita GHG emitter. The culprit is the economic growth strategy pursued by the Harper government over the last nine years. Since taking office in February 2006, Harper has focused on turning this northern country on the edge of the Arctic––which possesses the third largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela––into an energy superpower. The strategy behind this––burn, baby, burn––is the proposed doubling of the extraction of oil from Canada’s bituminous tar sands, located primarily in the western province of Alberta, from the current 2.1 million to 5 million barrels of oil per day.


For the distribution and export of this dirty, marginal oil––the extraction of which only became profitable through modern production technologies, the global commodities boom and rising global crude oil prices––the Harper government has been pushing a number of massive oil pipeline projects for years. The most internationally known of these projects is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is to pump Canadian oil to Texas and which has been waiting for the approval of the U.S. government for years. In order to secure these projects at home, the Conservative government, since taking office, has systematically undermined Canada’s existing environmental legislation. Domestic opponents of this strategy––environmentalists, local activists and representatives of aboriginal First Nations––have been declared enemies of the state and are being monitored by the secret service. In addition, significant budget cuts throughout the Harper years have weakened the Canadian Department of the Environment, particularly its offices focusing on climate change and air protection, to such a degree that the party leader of the Canadian Green Party Elizabeth May mused that the Canadian environment assessment regime would be “a laughing stock in a developing country.”


The Canadian tar sands expansion promoted by the Harper government was also the main reason behind Canada’s exit in December 2011 from the Kyoto Protocol––to date the only international climate agreement with binding emission reduction targets––since it became clear that the country could not keep its commitment to reduce emissions by 2012 by six percent compared to 1990. In fact, only a year after its exit, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions were already 23 percent above the Kyoto target. In 2013, the Harper government then also withdrew––so far the only nation to have done so––from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which was back home seen as a “turning your back on the world community.” Canadian critics such as Maude Barlow from the Council of Canadians jeered that the UNCCD exit is at least consistent since “Anything that [the Harper government is] involved in that can lead to more evidence that we’re a planet in crisis environmentally [it doesn’t] want to be part of.” Internationally, Canada is now, along with Australia, Japan and Russia, considered to be a “major climate laggard” and as an obstacle to constructive climate negotiations. This group of “climate pariahs” is, according to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, playing “poker with the planet and the lives of future generations.” According to Canadian press reports, Canada and Japan even collaborated feverishly behind the scenes at the G7 summit in Germany in June in order to water down the climate passage in the G7 statement, thereby foiling Chancellor Merkel’s ambitious G7 agenda. Against that backdrop, the surprising promise of the Harper government to inject 300 million Canadian dollars into the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) comes almost as a miracle––or is the exception that proves the rule.


For years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sought to justify Canada’s low climate targets by claiming that Canada needed to, due align its climate and energy policies with those of the neighbor to the south to its symbiotic economic linkages with the United States. For example, at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, Canada pledged to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020––which corresponded to the reduction target of the United States. Incidentally, that target also meant falling significantly short of fulfilling the Canadian Kyoto promise. Benchmarked against the current climate and energy laws and regulations (and without any significant tightening of these), Canada’s emissions by 2020 will be a whole 26 percent above the Kyoto value. In that calculation, the proportion of air pollutants generated by tar sands oil extraction is continually growing, and is estimated to possibly account for 14 percent of Canada’s total pollutant emissions by 2020. Canadian climate change goals and ambitions are therefore inextricably intertwined with the Canadian tar sands issue. In the United States, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, underlined Canada’s “excessive emissions” and prompted it to do more to “compensate for its exploitation of the carbon intensive tar sands.”


Overall, Canadian public opinion on climate change has been relatively stable for a number of years, with more than 60 percent of all respondents expressing concern about climate change and demanding, or hoping, that governments (both federal and provincial) implement new standards and regulations for climate protection. However, whether Canadians’ concern for the environment, which is higher, percentage-wise, than that of the U.S. population, will be reflected in the actual votes at the upcoming election is uncertain––especially since that concern did not prevent them from voting Stephen Harper into office at the last two federal elections in Canada, in 2008 and 2011.


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Germany: Foreign Professional Qualifications “The chances are good” — Goethe de

People who come to Germany from abroad and hope to find work here face a number of obstacles. As the expert Ariane Baderschneider explains, however, more and more advice centres and programmes are available to help ascertain whether qualifications obtained in a person’s home country will be recognized in Germany.


Michelle-Ange Monteu (35)

Career in Germany: Michelle-Ange Monteu from Cameroon works as a doctor in Baden-Württemberg; | ©


Tayfun Tombul (31)
came to Berlin from Turkey in 2011. After completing an apprenticeship, he now works as a bodywork and vehicle construction mechanic.


Emma Jover García (40)
from Spain has a degree in political science. Now that her degree has been officially recognized, she works at a coordination office for migration and participation in the Heidekreis district.

Ms Baderschneider, you are a project leader at the Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (f-bb) in Nuremberg. At the “Advice and Qualifications” centre there, you provide support for example to institutions which advise people seeking recognition of qualifications acquired abroad. In which professions do qualifications tend to be recognized easily, and in which areas is this more problematic?
Generally speaking, recognition of qualifications works well in many sectors. Thanks to the Federal Government’s Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (also known as the Recognition Act for short), which has been in force since April 2012, far more skilled migrants are able to have their professional qualifications evaluated. This is because procedures that are as uniform and transparent as possible are now in place for all “regulated” professions. “Regulated” means that pursuit of the profession in question requires proof of specific qualifications or that the name of the profession is legally protected, as for example is the case with medical professions such as doctors and nurses, and with legal professions. In recent years, foreign professional qualifications have been recognized as being fully or partly equivalent in nearly 96 percent of all cases. The situation can differ according to the country of origin, authority or profession in question, however. For example, EU qualifications tend to be recognized more quickly and easily than those acquired outside the EU. In some of Germany’s federal states, qualifications acquired outside the EU will not be recognized at all in professions which are regulated according to state-level law, such as teachers or educators at state schools.





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Book: The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma’ilis, By Farhad Daftary

The Assassin Legends -Myths of the Isma'ilis

ISBN-13: 978-1850439509

ISBN-10: 1850439508

For hundreds of years Westerners have been fascinated by stories of the Assassins, their mysterious leader and their remote mountain stronghold at Alamut in Northern Iran. The legends first emerged in the 12th and 13th centuries, when Crusaders in Syria came into contact with the Nazari Isma’ilis, one of the communities of Shi’ite Islam who, at the behest of their leader Hassan Sabaa (mythologized as the “”Old Man of the Mountain””), engaged in dangerous missions to kill their enemies. Elaborated over the years, the tales culminated in Marco Polo’s claim that the “”Old Man”” controlled the behaviour of his self-sacrificing devotees through the use of hashish and a secret garden of paradise. So influential were these tales that the word “”assassin”” entered European languages as a common noun meaning “”murderer””.

Daftary traces the origins and early development of the legends – as well as investigating the historical context in which they were fabricated and transmitted. As such, this book reveals an extraordinary programme of propaganda rooted in the medieval Muslim world and medieval Europe’s ignorance of this world. This book also provides the first English translation of French orientalist Silvestre de Sacy’s famous 19th-century “”Memoire”” on the Assassins.


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Muslims, Martyrs and Misconceptions — By Farhad Daftary on Fair Observer com

 zarinaspeaks on the article:

Professor Farhad Daftary has done prolific research on Ismailis and deserves global platform.


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The Portuguese Miracle: Young Entrepreneurs Lead Country Out of Crisis — By Helene Zuber in Lisbon on Spiegel de

Portugal's economic resurgence is a remarkable success story

Portugal’s economic resurgence is a remarkable success story. Only four years ago, the country was forced to turn to the EU for a bailout. Today, a new generation of entrepreneurs and start-ups have fueled a turnaround and fostered a new national spirit.


The general mood in Lisbon ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Portugal is a cheerful one. The unemployment rate has fallen from 17 percent in 2012 to 12 percent. The government’s tax revenues are strong and almost twice as much has been raised through privatization than agreed to with the country’s lenders. Last year, Portugal was able to end its aid program and successfully raise its own money on the markets. Since then, the economy has grown steadily, with 1.6 percent growth this year — a figure that is higher than the euro-zone average. It’s even possible the country will achieve its deficit goal of 3 percent of gross domestic product.


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Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) Scholars Present Papers at the 8th European Conference of Iranian Studies

Janis Esots, an IIS scholar, presented a paper on “Henry Corbin and the Shi‘i Legend about the Green Island”

Janis Esots, an IIS scholar, presented a paper on “Henry Corbin and the Shi‘i Legend about the Green Island” at the 8th European Conference of Iranian Studies, which took place at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Russia), on 15-19 September. Dr Esots paper dealt with the final period of Henry Corbin’s work (approximately 1970-1978) and his attempts to build new (and rediscover old) bridges between European and Oriental esoteric spiritual traditions.

The French scholar Henry Corbin (1903 – 1978) was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris, France. Corbin is said to be responsible for redirecting the study of Islamic philosophy as a whole. In his Histoire de la Philosophie Islamique (1964), he argued against the common view that philosophy among the Muslims came to an end after Ibn Rushd.

Dr Esots’ paper focused on one of Professor Corbin’s works that explores the legend of the Green Island. The earliest known version of the Shi‘i legend of the Green Island goes back to the end of the 7th AH / 13th CE century and testifies to the legal and spiritual state of the Shi‘i community of that time. The community of the faithful, insofar as it perceives itself as an integral spiritual entity, is compared with the mysterious Green Island (earlier mentioned in the accounts of Alexander the Great’s travels). During the period of occultation (ghayba) and dissimulation (taqiyya), this community, together with its ruler, is hidden from the eyes of the non-believers.


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Muslims, Martyrs and Misconceptions — By Farhad Daftary on Fair Observer com

Legends based on polemic and fantasy distorted the image of medieval Nizari Ismaili Muslims, turning them into drug-crazed “assassins.”

Legends of the Assassins first appeared in medieval times and circulated widely in both the Middle East and Europe. Arising from the mysterious practices of the Nizari Ismailis and their unwavering devotion to their chief—the so-called Old Man of the Mountain—these myths depicted the group as a band of drugged murderers bent on senseless mayhem.


The prominence of these stories shows how readily fictions, if repeated long enough, may be confused with facts. These fanciful tales eventually became ingrained as historical reality for many citizens of the medieval world. These myths persist in modern times, with misleading analogies occasionally made in the media between suicide bombings of Islamist radicals and certain Nizari practices that led to their reputation as the world’s first political assassins.

Nizari Ismaili History


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Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) India CEO speaks on far-ranging impact of heritage restoration — The Ismaili on Ratish Nanda at Ismaili Centre.London

London, 25 September 2015 — Ratish Nanda, CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India spoke on Rethinking Conservation: AKTC Projects in India at the Ismaili Centre, London.

Dr David Taylor, Director of the AKU Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, thanks Ratish Nanda for his presentation.

Dr David Taylor, Director of the AKU Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, thanks Ratish Nanda for his presentation.

Ismaili Council for the UK

During the talk — a joint presentation of the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations — Nanda shared his experience leading AKTC India’s work on the Urban Renewal project in the Nizamuddin Conservation area and the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park in Hyderabad. He illustrated the wide-ranging impact of heritage restoration projects like Humayun’s Tomb.

In addition to rehabilitating cultural assets, he said, these initiatives affect the social fabric of the surrounding area and the local economy. For example, the Urban Renewal project includes the conservation of over 50 monuments, environmental development of over 300 acres in the heart of Delhi and an extensive socio-economic development programme leading to an improvement in quality of life for more than 15 000 residents of Nizamuddin Basti.


Also see:
» Foundation for Humayun’s Tomb site museum laid by Mawlana Hazar Imam and India’s Minister of Tourism and Culture
» Humayun’s Tomb restoration a model of public-private partnership
» Urban renewal through cultural revitalisation transforms Mughal monument into a locus of opportunity for residents

Sharing over 200 photographs together with insight into the challenges of restoration work, Nanda explained that a long term commitment to partnership is a critical factor in the successful delivery of these projects.

Guests described the work as “mind-blowing” and many were awed to learn not only of the investments of time, knowledge and resources into such efforts, but that the outcome is felt at so many levels — in the lives local people, amongst policy makers and indeed on the public imagination.


Source: The Ismaili Org


Video: 26 August 2015 TALK-Epic Heritage Lecture Series By Ratish Nanda..

India Habitat Centre Lodhi RoadIndia Habitat Centre Lodhi Road

Published on 26 Aug 2015

TALK-Epic Heritage Lecture Series. Nizamuddin Urban Renewal: Rethinking Conservation In The Indian Context by Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect & Head, Aga Khan Trust for Culture in India. Check insert for details. Collab: The Epic Channel


Ratish Nanda | The custodian of ruins — Live Mint com

The man behind the restored Humayun’s Tomb and other Delhi monuments; his efforts rejuvenate history by embracing the present

Ratish Nanda outside a Lodi-era tomb in Lado Sarai,

Ratish Nanda outside a Lodi-era tomb in Lado Sarai, New Delhi. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint


Freedom from neglect | Ratish Nanda

He was taking photos of an obscure Lodi-era tomb in south Delhi’s Lado Sarai when a man rushed out of it, and attacked him with an iron rod. Ratish Nanda was hospitalized for a week. Fifteen years later, standing fearlessly outside the monument, he says, “That man had occupied this gumbad (dome) and wanted to demolish it to build his garage.”

Today, the tomb and Nanda are both intact. (…)

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More on Ratish Nanda at  Wikipedia,

Ratish Nanda

23 August 1973 (age 42)[1]
Delhi, India

conservation architect,

Projects Director Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India

Known for
Conservation of Humayun’s Tomb (1999–2013)

Ratish Nanda (born 23 August 1973) is a noted Indian conservation architect,[2] who is the Projects Director of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India.[3]

He presently heads a mult-disciplinary team implementing the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative in Delhi – a project with distinct conservation, environmental development and socio-development components and the conservation iinitiative in the Quli Qutb Shah Heritage Park in Hyderabad.

He headed the team which overlooked the garden restoration work at Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi completed in March 2003. This was also first privately funded restoration of a World Heritage Site in India, undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the National Culture Fund.

In 2007, Nanda was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship.[4]


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