Christmas photo of dog suffering ‘existential crisis’ goes viral on Twitter


The holiday season can be overwhelming for both humans and pets, as evidenced by a small dog who was recently pictured suffering an “existential crisis” during a wintery photo shoot.

Last week, dog-mom Lauren Carter tweeted a hilarious image of her two pets from a professional portrait session, and the post has since gone wildly viral with over 757,000 likes and more than 175,000 shares.

In the photo, her pups are flanked by evergreens as faux snow falls around them. Her more chipper dog, Opiee, seemingly smiles at the camera while wearing a string of lights. But her other dog, Mika, is desperately staring into the distance with an empty-looking gaze, apparently unimpressed by her jaunty hat and jingle bell collar.

CAT MEOWING WITH ‘THICK SOUTHERN ACCENT’ GOES VIRAL ON INSTAGRAM

“Took my dogs to take their yearly Christmas photos. It’s really hard when you have one super photogenic dog and one dog having an existential crisis,” Carter wrote.

In reply, jokesters seized the opportunity to speculate about what Mika could be thinking behind her grave gaze.

“What does it even mean to be ‘good’?” one user imagined the pooch pondering.

“How I look on the outside vs. how I feel on the inside,” another offered, in a post juxtaposing the two dogs.

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Carter later admitted that her pets frequently mirror each other’s moods.

“Sometimes she rubs off on him,” she explained, sharing a somber-looking image of the pups in reindeer hoods.

“Sometimes he rubs off on her,” she added, posting a sweet photo of Opiee nuzzling Mika’s face, as they sported Santa Claus and elf outfits, respectively.

As for Mika’s one-of-a-kind personality, Carter said that she doesn’t take Mika’s somewhat dimmer disposition too seriously.

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“I’m telling y’all she has a very classic ‘Oh god… did I leave the stove on?’ type of face 24/7,” she joked.



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Bolivia lithium: Industry business hit by political crisis | Bolivia News


Bolivia is home to one of the largest reserves of lithium.

The mineral is used in smartphones and electric car batteries. But extracting it can be challenging.

And now the future of the industry seems uncertain, as the country descends into a political crisis.

Al Jazeera’s John Holman reports from the Uyuni salt flats.





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Scheer vows to never support carbon tax, blames Trudeau for national unity ‘crisis’ – National



Andrew Scheer is doubling down on his insistence that the federal Conservative party will never support a carbon tax.

The Conservative leader is proposing an amendment to the Liberals’ throne speech that would commit the government to scrapping the carbon tax.

“We’re going to fight for pipelines, lower taxes and reduced regulations to make Canada the best place in the world to invest, start a business and create jobs,” he said.

READ MORE: Climate change, healing regional divides key planks for Trudeau Liberals in Throne Speech

The amendment is unlikely to pass since all the other parties in the House of Commons support the tax and advocate bolder action to tackle climate change.

Scheer also blamed the Trudeau government for creating what he called a national unity “crisis.” with policies that he claims alienated residents in Alberta and Saskatchewan.



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“A national unity crisis requires respecting provincial jurisdiction and scrapping the carbon tax and stopping the attack on the Western Canadian economy,” Scheer said.

“I want all our colleagues from across Canada to not underestimate the deep alienation and anger the people of my province, along with our neighbours in Alberta, currently feel about their deal in Confederation,” he said. “The damage done over the past four years is significant.”

But Scheer, who is fighting to retain his post as leader amid heavy criticism from some within his own party over his handling of the recent election campaign, appears to be comfortable isolating his party in Parliament.

He dismisses those who blame the election result on Scheer’s failure to offer a credible climate change plan, as “a chorus of voices from elite corners of Canadian high society” who want the Conservatives to endorse the idea of a carbon tax.

He says Conservatives will always oppose a carbon tax because of the real costs it imposes on Canadians.




© 2019 The Canadian Press








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UN warns climate crisis close to ‘point of no return’ as climate conference begins – Channel 4 News


The climate crisis could soon reach the point of no return, the United Nations chief António Guterres has warned,  describing the global response so far as ‘utterly inadequate’.

Delegates from almost 200 countries are in Madrid for the two week UN climate conference –   intended to set out the next phase of action to tackle global warming. And the sense of urgency could not be more critical.



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William Ruckelshaus, Who Defied Nixon During Watergate Crisis, Dies At 87


Ted S. Warren/ASSOCIATED PRESS

William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, at his office in Seattle in April 2009.

William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the deputy attorney general who resigned rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s orders during the “Saturday Night Massacre,” died at his home in Seattle on Wednesday. He was 87.

Ruckelshaus, a lifelong Republican, led the EPA twice during his long career in government service. He was the agency’s administrator from 1970 to 1973 and again from 1983 to 1985, using his time to enact some of the nation’s keystone environmental laws, including legislation to ban the pesticide DDT. During the latter tenure, Ruckelshaus helped restore confidence in the agency, which had been plagued by corruption in the decade after he left and played host to fears that the EPA worked more closely with polluters than environmentalists. He earned the nickname “Mr. Clean” during his time at the agency.

But Ruckelshaus is perhaps best known for his defiance during the Watergate scandal. He was brought to the Justice Department in 1973 as the crisis was unfolding and made acting FBI director and later deputy attorney general by Nixon, who had hoped to avoid any fallout from the scandal. Nixon, however, later ordered the top three Justice Department officials to fire Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor. Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused and the order was passed down to Ruckelshaus, who resigned rather than carry out the firing during a day that became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”

Cox was ultimately fired by the U.S. solicitor general, Robert Bork, setting off a national firestorm that led to Nixon’s resignation.

Ruckelshaus was celebrated for his work in government after his death was announced on Wednesday.

Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama awarded Ruckelshaus the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called Ruckelshaus the “father” of the agency, saying he “solidified our country’s commitment to protecting human health and the environment.”

“Thanks to his leadership, all Americans are living with better air quality, water quality and a cleaner and healthier environment,” Wheeler said in a statement. “I am grateful for his service to the agency.”

Ruckelshaus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his work to put “country before party or politics.”

“He reminds us how noble public service can be,” Obama said at the time. “And our air and water is cleaner and our lives are brighter because of him.”

Charles Tasnadi/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ruckelshaus as the first head of the Environmental Protection Administration in 1972. 

In recent years, Ruckelshaus clashed with members of his party and their efforts to roll back environmental regulations. In an interview with HuffPost last year, he said Republican opposition to widely accepted climate science was a “threat to the country” and warned that “lives will be sacrificed” unless dramatic action is taken.

“They certainly are killing everything,” Ruckelshaus said of the GOP, pointing to President Donald Trump’s assault on environmentalism. “If your position is, ‘I don’t believe the science, therefore I’m going to get rid of all the scientists studying this, and let’s not mention it in any public announcement,’ that’s just crazy.”

Ruckelshaus was born in 1932 in Indianapolis. Between his stints in Washington D.C., Ruckleshaus had a private law practice in Seattle, often working on environmental issues. He led federal efforts to protect Chinook salmon and a state project to clean up the Puget Sound region, according to The Associated Press.





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Canadian banks are about to report their slowest earnings growth since the financial crisis


TORONTO — Canadian banks this week are gearing up to report their slowest annual earnings growth since the global financial crisis, as analysts and investors brace for another challenging profit season due to tougher economic conditions.

Profit margins are being squeezed by factors such as falling revenues from capital market units and higher bad-loan provisions. Analysts expect earnings per share (EPS) to grow at just 3 per cent to 4 per cent for fiscal 2019, according to a straw poll by Reuters. That would be the slowest growth rate since the fiscal 2009.

“Banks are facing a perfect storm with a confluence of headwinds,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel in Toronto, adding that lenders’ long-run aspirational EPS growth targets are nearly double their current levels.

Loan books and margins should be under pressure in the near term, analysts said, as oil pipeline congestion weighs on the energy-reliant economy, record household debt curbs mortgage growth and global economic uncertainty keeps interest rates low.

That has weighed on bank stocks, with the Canadian banks index rising just 9.4 per cent over the past year, less than the 13 per cent gain in the broader Toronto stock benchmark.

“There is downside risk to (banks’) share prices, given a challenging operating environment,” Credit Suisse analyst Mike Rizvanovic wrote in a note, adding that fiscal 2020 average EPS estimates have declined by more than 4 per cent since Jan. 1, 2019. Bank of Nova Scotia kicks off earnings reporting on Tuesday, with Canada’s remaining five major banks following next week.

Credit Suisse expects a 26 per cent rise in fourth-quarter loan-loss provisions for the sector from a year ago, driven by consumer insolvencies, which jumped 19 per cent in September, the largest increase since at least 2011.

There is downside risk to (banks’) share prices, given a challenging operating environment

Credit Suisse analyst Mike Rizvanovic

Challenges also linger for banks’ beleaguered capital markets businesses, the only segment to deliver negative earnings growth with a 12 per cent decline so far this year, according to National Bank of Canada.

Banks’ investments to expand their capital markets’ businesses, particularly in the U.S., have not yet generated revenues, Gabriel Dechaine, an analyst at National Bank of Canada, wrote in a note.

“However, the cost of these strategies has definitely had an impact,” he added.

Barry Schwartz, chief investment officer at Baskin Asset Management, who expects earnings growth of between 4 per cent and 6 per cent in fiscal 2020, believes some of the concerns are overblown.

“Capital markets are extremely cyclical,” he said. “But no one’s defaulting on their (loans), net interest margins have remained stubbornly higher than anybody would have expected… banks have yet to get full credit for that.”

Goodreid’s Madden expects EPS growth of 4-6 per cent in 2020, with share buybacks bolstering that rate, while net income grows more slowly.

“But it is a testament to the banks’ capital strength that they can use share buybacks to bolster EPS growth during… slower organic growth,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2019





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