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Anger and resignation
Palestinian militants had called for a “day of rage” Friday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this week.
But while there were protests — and at least one death — they were not as large, or violent, as many had feared.
In Old Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities added extra police, things went relatively smoothly as thousands of Muslims observed Friday prayers at the al-Asqa mosque.
The bigger clashes occurred in Gaza, where a 30-year-old Palestinian died after he was hit by gunfire east of Khan Younis. The Israeli military said soldiers had “fired selectively at two main instigators.” Dozens more protesters were injured.
Last night, The National‘s Adrienne Arsenault told the story of Wajeeh Nuseibeh, one of the keepers of the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a Muslim who works with the Jewish state to maintain order at one of Christianity’s holiest sites.
Today, she sends some thoughts on his 23-year-old daughter, Nour.
Nour, who is now teaching English, has learned well from her family’s tradition of talking and co-operating.
She is nervous about people taking to the streets. She’d rather they strike peacefully and not resort to violence.
But more, she is like a lot of Palestinians from East Jerusalem who say they don’t expect a hint of a difference to their daily lives.
“I think nothing will be changed in Jerusalem because it’s just what we have been living with. Nothing will be changed,” says Nour.
Substantively she’s probably not wrong. Palestinians are under no illusions about Israeli control of this city. It is already fact — with or without American support for its status as capital.
But what has changed for them, we keep hearing, is a deepening feeling of futility. There will be fury — there already is — but there is also a resignation among some.
Some 15 years ago when I first started reporting in Jerusalem, a journalist who had been here seemingly forever told me that optimism in this region is a bit like the flu.
For people on both sides, it comes in waves, but eventually, it goes away and the normal pessimism sets in.
It was a depressing thought but has long had a ring of truth to it.
It seems it still does.
The text messages that Canadians send are private — up to a point.
That’s the gist of two Supreme Court of Canada rulings handed down this morning that say police need a warrant to seize and search phones.
In a 5-2 decision, the justices overturned the firearms trafficking conviction of a Toronto man, Nour Maraka. Back in 2012, police ripped his BlackBerry out of his hands during a raid and found messages he had been exchanging with a man who had legally purchased — and sold on — 45 guns.
And in a second related case, the court upheld the conviction of an Ottawa man, Tristan Jones, who was arrested along with two others in 2009 and charged with drug and weapons offences.
Police had obtained a broad production order for all incoming and outgoing messages over a two-week period for one of his co-accused’s phones. The investigative technique appeared to clash with a 2013 Supreme Court ruling R. vs. Telus Communications, in which the court declared that obtaining texts was tantamount to intercepting private communications and required a special wiretap order.
Today, the court ruled that police didn’t need a warrant in Jones’s case because they weren’t intercepting the messages as they were sent — just lawfully retrieving a copy afterwards.
Of course, in the narrow cops and robbers sense, these decisions won’t affect most law-abiding Canadians. But the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which had intervenor status, argued that there were broader privacy implications for the more than 30 million Canadians who use cellphones.
And sent texts can certainly have other negative consequences.
This past summer, for example, Alberta Health Services — the organization that delivers health programs for the provincial government — fired two employees for making a racial slur against an Indigenous educator in a text conversation. The message was inadvertently sent to another member of the Kainai Board of Education who forwarded it on to their bosses.
Employers have also been known to dismiss workers with a faceless ping. The practice is considered dodgy enough in Canada that even a small scale text firing — like this closing of a Coffee Culture franchise in St. Catharines, Ont. — makes the papers. But there have been mass text sackings in the U.K., where a bankrupt personal injury claims firm dumped 2,400 employees by remote in 2003.
If you’re looking for a positive spin, try this dubious survey from a software company that claims that millennials are “more likely to prefer” being fired by text or instant message. (Spoiler: one in eight say they’d be OK with it, versus one in 13 workers from other age groups.)
Then there’s the issue of scams by text. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre heard from almost 800 people who lost a total of $500,000 to text-based frauds in 2016. That’s probably the tip of the iceberg as the centre estimates that only five per cent of victims file a report.
Spam texts are also a growing concern. In the United States, Uber recently settled an Illinois class action over unwanted messages for $20 million US. And Hooters is paying out $1.3 million for similar offences — albeit in the form of gift cards for their restaurants.
Anyone anticipating a payday in Canada will be disappointed, however. Civil suits were supposed to be allowed under our anti-spam legislation as of this past July. But in June, the Trudeau government quietly passed an order in council postponing the change indefinitely.
Knee for victory
One of the business world’s strangest — and most painful — bets comes due on Monday.
Five years ago, Richard Branson, the billionaire gadfly behind the Virgin empire, was deep in a feud with Willie Walsh, the head of International Airlines Group, the owners of British Airways.
At the time, the future of Branson’s Virgin Atlantic seemed in doubt and Walsh shared his belief that the rival airline would soon disappear.
“This is wishful thinking and totally misguided,” Branson wrote on his blog. “Will BA never learn? Let’s see how much they believe this. Let them put their money where their mouth is.”
And Branson offered to bet him one million pounds that Virgin’s red and white planes would still be flying in late 2017.
Walsh demurred, saying that the ultra-rich Branson would hardly miss such a paltry sum.
The two men then struck upon an eye-watering compromise.
Happy to accept Willie Walsh’s bet: loser to receive a knee in the groin – at winning airline’s HQ http://t.co/AZlVuYYf
The history of claims, counter-claims and dirty dealings between Virgin and BA is legendary.
But this could set a bruising precedent for business disputes.
Branson‘s original blog post on the bet has disappeared, but he hasn’t forgotten about it.
In a July letter to employees, after his company sold 31 per cent of Virgin Airways to Air France-KLM, Branson reminded his rival that their date with destiny was approaching.
“Willie Walsh predicted that the Virgin Atlantic brand would disappear within five years as a result, whether childishly or bravely, he also said he’d accept a knee in the groin from me if it didn’t,” Branson wrote. “Well Willie, that five-year point is up this December. And Virgin Atlantic is still flying strong!”
Quote of the moment
“Do not let me fall into temptation, because it is I who fall, it is not God who throws me into temptation and then sees how I fell.”
- Pope Francis on the new wording he wants to see in the Lord’s Prayer, a tweak from the traditional “lead us not into temptation.”
What The National is reading
California wild fires spread to San Diego, devour race horse training ground. (Associated Press)
U.K. reaches Brexit border deal; divorce from Europe draws nearer. (Guardian)
How a woman went from living on Edmonton’s streets to driving world’s biggest truck. (CBC)
Boris Johnson on his way to Iran to try and free jailed British woman. (Telegraph)
The hidden politics of China’s new English food translations. (Quartz)
The worst-dressed villains in Doctor Who history. (Gizmodo)
Today in history
Dec. 8, 1978: Hot night of disco.
Two minutes of raw-footage-goodness from the Canadian National Disco Championships in Toronto. You’re welcome.