"Dallaire says Canadian troops must be prepared for child soldiers"

The Globe and Mail:

[Retired general Roméo Dallaire] said Canadian soldiers must learn how to defuse or de-escalate confrontations with child soldiers rather than withdraw from such incidents. Otherwise, he said, they play into the hands of belligerent forces who use children to fight precisely because unprepared foreign troops are reluctant to shoot children and confused about how to deal with them. “Pulling away … has been so much the norm and gives the advantage to the guy who is recruiting these kids.”

The Globe and Mail reported on March 6 that the Trump administration has told Ottawa it has no problem with Canada dispatching soldiers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding back approval as he assesses the risks of fighting Islamist rebels who use child soldiers.

It seems to me that a country being more hesitant to address a situation if child soldiers are present also makes it more likely for opponents to use child soldiers are part of their strategy. Some of these situations you might be able to (literally) defuse with better training, but it seems inevitable than there will be limits to the effectiveness of any training program that might be developed. I wonder if this might explain why Boko Haram is increasingly using children as suicide bombers.

Random links

Why we should tax meat that contains antibiotics
Makes sense to me. "The use of antibiotics in meat production is a major contributor to one of the biggest threats facing human health in the 21st century: antibiotic resistance. ... One way to tackle this would be to introduce a tax on meat produced with the use of antibiotics, to take account of our moral responsibility for the cost of our actions. And most meat eaters are responsible."
Trump Says He Offered China Better Trade Terms in Exchange for Help on North Korea
"Mr. Trump said he told his Chinese counterpart he believed Beijing could easily take care of the North Korea threat. Mr. Xi then explained the history of China and Korea, Mr. Trump said. 'After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power' over North Korea,” he said. 'But it’s not what you would think.'"
Pierre Brassau
"a chimpanzee and the subject of a 1964 hoax perpetrated by Åke “Dacke” Axelsson, a journalist at the Swedish tabloid Göteborgs-Tidningen. Axelsson came up with the idea of exhibiting a series of paintings made by a non-human primate, under the presumption that they were the work of a previously unknown human French artist named 'Pierre Brassau', in order to test whether critics could tell the difference between true avant-garde modern art and the work of a chimpanzee. ... Critics praised the works, with Rolf Anderberg of the Göteborgs-Posten writing, 'Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.' After the hoax was revealed, Rolf Anderberg insisted that Peter/Pierre’s work was 'still the best painting in the exhibition.'"

The Justice Department doesn't have a great history on forensics

The current US Attorney General seems to be doing some stupid shit when it comes to investigating the possibility of false convictions:

I happen to agree with a lot of press commentary that it's outrageous - it's just that it seems to be almost par for the course when it comes to the possibility of false convictions. As an example, see the actions of the US Attorney General under Obama from September last year:

Random links

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The Uttar Pradesh Association of Dead People
"Lal’s cousins had bribed a local official and declared him dead in order to take his land. One would think it a fairly easy procedure to prove that you aren’t dead but even in the United States this can take months. In India, it took 17 years."
Suicide Risk Assessment Doesn't Work
"But how good are we at predicting the level of suicide risk? Not very good at all, it seems, according to two recent meta-analyses of the last forty years of suicide risk research. One group of authors even suggests that the process of suicide risk assessment itself might increase the likelihood of suicide."
Secondhand Smoke Is Not Nearly As Dangerous As We Thought. Shouldn’t That Matter?
I'm kind of glad for the existence of secondhand smoking bans ... but the claims used to justify them appear to be overstated.


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