Soukie's Place

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O Canada!

Canadian flag with a Czech passport

When commenting on the new visa requirement for Czech citizens, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said: “It’s not a pleasant thing to do, but it’s absolutely necessary to protect the integrity of our immigration system and our laws.”

Kenney’s comment was related to some 3,000 asylum claims filed by Roma minority members from the Czech Republic which lead Canada to introduce the visa restriction effective of July 14, 2009. I will go on to argue that the Canadian immigration system is broken, and therefore should not be “protected,” as Mr Kenney claims, but changed. Continues » 

Gaza, Gas, EU and “…Not My President”

What do the conflict in Gaza, an ‘anti-EU’ campaigner Declan Ganley and Russia’s cutoff of gas have in common? The answer is surprisingly the Czech Republic. This is not a conspiracy theory; the explanation lies in the beginning of the Czech Republic’s six-month presidency over the European Union. These are all grave issues (pun on my home country intended; and you’ll soon see why) so I decided to address them with a somewhat light-hearted tone. Continues » 

Putin-Kasparov
A Ruthless Game

Considered the strongest chess playerGarry Kasparov dominated the chess scene for 21 years. He holds many tournament records and he is widely known for losing a rematch against Deep Blue in 1997, which is populary misrepresented as the computer surpassing humans in chess. of all times, Garry Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005—after having achieved everything a chess player could—to concentrate on Russian politics. His possibly toughest match yet. Continues » 

Recount

I did not follow the events of the 2000 presidential election in Florida the way I have the 2008 race, so I was happy that I could catch up on the subject while on the plane to Seattle with the movie Recount. Three weeks later, I watched it again.

The appeal is coming from the awareness of the inevitable.

The movie, written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, documents the legal struggle of Al Gore’s team, including the hand recounting of the ballots, all the way to the official result: George W. Bush winning the state by 527 votes, thus securing his first term. Continues » 

13:0

You can tell something is wrong if you see a result like this not on the sports page of the newspaper but headlining the front pages as the results of the Czech regional electionsCzech Republic held elections in its 13 regions in October (except Prague which will hold elections in 2010). All regions were won decisively by one party..

So what is the anomaly behind this? Although I have stopped following the politics in my country, I was curious enough to do some reading that showed that apart from the expected factors favoring Social Democrats (who happen to be the winners) such as rising costs and an aggressive campaign to support worries about the economy, there was a lot of non-standard activities on both sides of the political spectrum that one would stereotypically associate with Italy (or, more recently, Russia). Continues » 

Wrong Pick

I am going to risk being labeled as backwards or uninformed but using a lottery to award places in schools (a practice designed to allow greater equity, as reported by The Times) throws a towel in the ring of choosing a sound allocation process.

Maybe I could accept this if it applied only to basic schools but that does not seem to be the case. The article never mentioned entrance tests so it is possible that such practices are nowadays frowned upon in England as discriminating the students based on their intelligence and knowledge. Continues »