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Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

18th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is apparently poised to begin issuing new identification cards to participants in the Global Entry Program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of USCBP, CBP.gov:

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced that Global Entry members will now be issued a Global Entry version of the SENTRI card which allows expedited entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico using the NEXUS, SENTRI and Ready Lanes at land ports of entry. The new card operates as a SENTRI card for Global Entry members. The Global Entry card is a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology-enabled document that may be used by U.S. citizens when entering the U.S. through a land or sea port of entry from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks noted above to read this information in detail.

Frequent readers may recall that the Global Entry Program was purportedly created in an effort to streamline the process of entering the United States for American Citizens. How the creation of new identity cards will facilitate this program remains to be seen, but hopefully such developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to the economies which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some commentators are noting positive economic developments in the region. To quote directly from the Money Control website, MoneyControl.com:

ASEAN economy has proven itself to be resilient, but there are lingering challenges and risks, including the sovereign debt crisis and fiscal problems in some developed markets, rising food and commodity prices, and continued financial market stresses…According to the ASEAN secretariat’s press release received yesterday, ASEAN’s recovery as a whole has matured as both exports and domestic demand fueled growth to expand by 7.5% last year. Intra-regional trade and investment flows also showed an upward momentum and are likely to support domestic growth this year, which is projected between 5.7% and 6.4%. ASEAN`s merchandise trade grew at 32.9% last year, as trade value jumped from USD 1.54 trillion in 2009 to USD 2.04 trillion last year, after the 19% decline in 2009,” according to ASEAN`s high ranking officials as quoted by the secretariat. As an attractive foreign direct investment (FDI) destination, ASEAN has maintained its allure…

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As ASEAN jurisdictions continue to be “alluring” to foreign investors it stands to reason that further economic growth can be expected in the future. That stated, as ASEAN has a unique Constitution in much the same way that each of her component jurisdictions have unique Constitutions one can easily infer that the trajectory and complexion of the economic growth and innovation in the coming years may be quite unlike anything seen in recent memory. For instance, the ramifications of a unified ASEAN visa much akin to the Schengen visa scheme in the European Community could be economically explosive while such a visa scheme could be custom tailored to the unique needs and desires of both ASEAN as a whole and her member nations.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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12th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the often venerated alternative media outlet ZeroHedge.com has posted an analysis of issues pertaining to a proposed change to the forms used by those seeking a US Passport. To provide further insight it is necessary  to quote directly from the Zero Hedge website, ZeroHedge.com

In the US, the government now requires all citizens to have a passport in order to pass the border, even when driving into Mexico or Canada. Obtaining a passport, however, is neither free nor guaranteed.  You must apply, pay an ever-increasing fee, and wait for weeks to be approved and receive it. Recently, the State Department quietly proposed a new ‘biographical questionnaire’ in lieu of the traditional passport application. The new form requires you to provide things like:

- names, birth places, and birth dates of your extended family members
– your mother’s place of employment at the time of your birth
– whether or not your mother received pre-natal or post natal care
– the address of your mother’s physician and dates of appointments
– the address of every place you have ever lived in your entire life
– the name and address of every school you have ever attended

Most people would find it impossible to provide such information, yet the form requires that the responses ‘are true and correct’ under penalty of imprisonment. Naturally, the privacy statement on the application also acknowledges that the responses can be shared with other departments in the government, including Homeland Security. If this proposal passes, then US citizens will have a nearly insurmountable hurdle to obtain a passport and be able to leave the country at will…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted prior to this excerpt. Also, it is advisable to click upon the hyperlinks contained within this quotation in order to understand this situation in context.

Each year, many Americans traveling abroad, or those Americans resident abroad, renew their passport at an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. It has always been this blogger’s opinion that personnel of the Department of State who handle such matters do so in an efficient and courteous manner. Meanwhile, many United States Citizens opt to seek passport renewal in the USA. This blogger has undertaken both endeavors and in each case the officers involved processed the request quickly and with little difficulty. Although it remains to be seen how the proposed questionnaire would actually impact the processing of passport issuance requests one can hope that the process will not become overly cumbersome.

In news pertaining to the struggle for LGBT Equality, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that a woman in the sovereign State of New York is challenging the legal status and Constitutionality of the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide the reader with some relevant insight it is necessary to quote directly from an article by Mark Hamblett for the New York Law Journal posted on Law.com:

Challengers to the federal Defense of Marriage Act insist that every justification offered by Congress for defining marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman is contrary to logic and the law. In summary judgment papers filed in the Southern District of New York, lawyers for Edith Schlain Windsor argue that there is no good reason for treating her marriage to the late Thea Clara Spyer any differently than a heterosexual union. Read Ms. Windsor’s motion and memorandum. Ms. Windsor’s lawyers call the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) a radical measure and a clear violation of the right to equal protection of the laws under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “DOMA is a sweeping statute that rewrites over one thousand federal laws and overturns the federal government’s long-standing practice of deferring to state determinations of marital status,” the lawyers claim in a memorandum asking Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV for summary judgment in the case of Windsor v. United States, 10-cv-8435. “Throughout history, the federal government has never married people, leaving that to the states…”

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read about this case in detail.

Those unfamiliar with the current predicament of the LGBT community should note that in immigration matters same sex bi-national couples, even those who have entered into a same sex marriage in one of the sovereign American States which legalize and/or solemnize such unions, are unable to petition for the same immigration benefits as their different-sex counterparts. In order to attempt to remedy this particular discrepancy Representative Jerrold Nadler recently introduced legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The Respect for Marriage Act was also introduced by Representative Nadler in order to remedy the issue of “certainty” in such cases. As of the time of this writing, neither of these bills has seen enactment although there has been recent news that the Senate Judiciary Committee may be holding hearings pertaining to the Respect for Marriage Act soon. On a related note, the Reuniting Families Act, which apparently includes UAFA-like language, was lately introduced by Representative Mike Honda although passage of this legislation remains to be seen.

There is certainly an “equal protection” component to any argument against DOMA, but relatively few commentators seem to take note of the fact that the way DOMA is currently enforced may also violate notions of States’ Rights. Generally, matters pertaining to the prerogatives of the Several States are debated by the United States Congress before enactment of legislation which maintains interstate compliance with the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. In this case, Congress has arguably abrogated the notion of Full Faith and Credit inherent in the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause since section 3 of DOMA effectively renders the prerogatives of the sovereign States ineffective when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage.

The issues associated with DOMA have yet to be fully resolved, but it seems likely that these matters may remain contentious both inside the Courtrooms of America and elsewhere.

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25th March 2011

Those following this blog or the many other sources of information available on the World Wide Web may have, no doubt, noticed the impact of the recent tragedy in Japan and the unfolding events springing therefrom. The tragic plight of the Japanese people was further highlighted recently by what appears to be a trend among many nations in their refusal to allow imports of foodstuffs from Japan. To quote directly from the website NAMnewsnetwork.org:

TOKYO, March 24 (NNN-BSS) — Australia, Canada and Singapore joined a list of countries shunning Japanese food imports Thursday as radioactive steam wafted anew from a disaster-struck nuclear plant, straining nerves in Tokyo.

The grim toll of dead and missing from Japan’s monster quake and tsunami on March 11 topped 25,000, as hundreds of thousands remained huddled in evacuation shelters and fears grew in the megacity of Tokyo over water safety.

The damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant from the tectonic calamity and a series of explosions has stoked global anxiety. The United States and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food, and France wants the EU to do the same.

The administration of this blog highly encourage readers to click on the above hyperlinks to read further about the situation in Japan. As the situation becomes more dire in Japan it would appear that even Japan’s key allies are unable to allow importation of possibly dangerous food products. The authorities in the Kingdom of Thailand appear to be taking preventative measures regarding importation of possibly tainted food as well. To quote directly from Bloomberg.com:

Thailand will check all fruit and vegetable imports from Japan’s main island, Honshu, before allowing their sale and will randomly screen other products such as fish, Pipat Yingseri, secretary-general of the Thai Food and Drug Administration, told a media conference today. The country hadn’t found any abnormal contamination since checks started in mid-March, he said.

As Thai, Hong Kong, Chinese, American, Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean authorities place restrictions on food imports, speculation abounds as to the response from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In discussions regarding the ramifications of the Japanese Crisis it may be best to remember the human elements which are constantly present in all of these regulatory and policy calculations.

As the situation in Japan continues to have global implications it remains to be seen how the various governments and international organizations around the world will react both politically and economically. One thing is clear, the crisis in Japan has the potential to completely reshape the geopolitical situation in Asia from both an economic as well as political perspective. How this change will impact both Thailand and the ASEAN community will be of increasing interest to the administration of this web log.

For related information please see: Legal.

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