Friday 12 August 2011

 

We can't do this without you

Please see Editor's Notes below


'The day I finally lost all respect for The National'

By Tim Knight
Posted by Lauren McKeon
The Canadian Journalism Project
 
Broadcast veteran Tim Knight talks about how he lost respect for CBC's flagship news program The National on July 7, 2011. After 30 years of watching, some years of working there, and pages and pages of notes, Knight asks: Has The National lost its journalistic soul?
 
27 July 2011 — The date was July 7, 2011 — the day Canada pulled its troops out of Afghanistan after nine years of brutal war ending without even a truce. One hundred and sixty-one Canadian soldiers and civilians died in that war. At a financial cost of some $18-billion.
 
By the close of this day we’d lost more troops per capita in Afghanistan than any of the 21 other coalition nations — including the United States which started it.
 
July 7, 2011 was the end of Canada’s longest-ever war. An historic, momentous day for our nation. A day to remember. A day to show respect. A day to mourn. A day to celebrate, perhaps.
 
Yet you wouldn’t have had a clue about this day’s significance if you watched the CBC’s flagship news program on the evening of July 7, 2011.  

The National devoted its entire first section to coverage of Will and Kate smiling and shaking hands at the Calgary Stampede. (This followed endless, excruciating weeks of  fawning over two pretty celebrities who had never actually done anything of note except get married and come visit us on their honeymoon. Adding to this fiasco, was The National’s hugely expensive weeklong pilgrimage to London to broadcast that wedding live.)

So the thirteenth day of the Will and Kate tour was lead story on The National. Then, after a commercial, a murder trial in Florida, floods in China, a stadium collapse somewhere and a dust storm in Arizona.

Only after all this entirely meaningless celebrity-adoring, foreign crime and weather did The National report on the end of Canada’s mission to Afghanistan — the sixth story in its lineup, not from brutal, battered Kandahar, but voiced-over from Toronto, using free pool video. 6,653 words.
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Anarchy in the U.K.
 

Riots reflect a society of greed and looting

everywhere — not just in the streets

What we're seeing across the cities of England is the reflection of a society run on greed – and a poisonous failure of politics and social solidarity.

By Seuma Milne
The Guardian
 
10 August 2011 —  It is essential for those in power in Britain that the riots now sweeping the country can have no cause beyond feral wickedness. This is nothing but "criminality, pure and simple", David Cameron declared after cutting short his holiday in Tuscany. The London mayor and fellow former Bullingdon Club member Boris Johnson, heckled by hostile Londoners in Clapham Junction, warned that rioters must stop hearing "economic and sociological justifications" (though who was offering them he never explained) for what they were doing.
 
When his predecessor Ken Livingstone linked the riots to the impact of public spending cuts, it was almost as if he'd torched a building himself. The Daily Mail thundered that blaming cuts was "immoral and cynical", echoed by a string of armchair riot control enthusiasts. There was nothing to explain, they've insisted, and the only response should be plastic bullets, water cannon and troops on the streets.1,017 words.
 
 
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
 
If you think it's too radical, please read
 
 
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 28 (287)
Friday, August 12, 2011

Editor's Notes

We can't do this without you

Effective tomorrow, Saturday 13 August, due to financial constraints, True North Perspective is taking an enforced summer holiday during which we'll do our best to inspire readers to send pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and mucho-mucho loonies.

We operate at a severe financial deficit and have, from time to time, seriously considered abandoning our determination to bring you honest news and honest analysis of what's behind the news. However, we'll take a deep breath during the next three weeks and take one more proverbial kick at the can by resuming publication Friday 9 September.

We are dedicated to the success of True North Perspective because we believe that an accurately informed people are a free people. All of us at True North Perspective have ambitions aside from this project and would be immediately and happily otherwise occupied should we have to, albeit most reluctantly, bury True North Perspective.

We know we can't succeed in publishing True North Perspective without you. We desperately need your financial support to "Keep Carry On" as a great man once said.630 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 

 

Not guilty!

Police the aggressors during G20 rally, judge rules

Held for two days, not one of four officers who testified at man's trial could say why he was detained — or which officer made the intial arrest
 
By Chloé Fedio
The Toronto Star

11 August 2011 — A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.” 760 words.

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'The Senate should be seen as a permanent Canadian think tank' 

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

12 August 2011 — In a few short weeks, Parliament will be back in session and Prime Minister Harper will be pushing his agenda forward. While there will be lots of chatter about balancing the budget and the state of the international economy, we’ll also be hearing about his pet projects.

Just before Parliament broke for the summer in late June, Harper introduced his Senate Reform Act. It doesn’t reform the Senate. It tinkers with the upper chamber by proposing to elect Senators and restrict them to nine year terms. It doesn’t offer any ideas why an elected Senate would be better than the current appointed one.

It would be a gigantic step backwards for our Parliament to have two elected chambers. One is quite enough to accommodate the differing political views within our country.925 words.
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Don't bother me with the facts!
 
 
 
By Anna Mehler Paperny
The Globe and Mail
 
8 August 2011 — Canada’s federal prisons are getting more crowded, more tense and more polarized between young and old inmates – and that’s contributing to an increase in violence and deaths behind bars, says Ottawa’s prison watchdog.

As new rules send more people to prison for longer periods of time, correctional investigator Howard Sapers argues, it’s putting a greater strain not only on Canada’s aging prison infrastructure but also on its inmates.

“The indicators that we look at in terms of getting a measure of institutional violence are all going in the same direction,” Mr. Sapers said. “And they’re all going up.” 714 words.

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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor, Vancouver
Msnbc.com
 
02 August 2011 VILLINIUS — Frustrated by motorists who park their cars with impunity around the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Mayor Arturas Zuokas reportedly took an extreme approach to express his displeasure.
 
According to the Irish Times, the mayor, seeking to reassure residents that the city will not let drivers park illegally without punishment, hopped in an armored personnel carrier and drove over a Mercedes-Benz. 291 words.
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Health Watch
 
 
The Associated Press
 
10 August 2011 — Scientists are reporting the first clear success with gene therapy to treat leukemia, turning the patients' own blood cells into assassins that hunt down and wipe out their cancer.

They've only done it in three patients so far, but the results were striking: Two appear cancer-free up to a year after treatment, and the third had a partial response. Scientists are already preparing to try the approach for other kinds of cancer. 766 words.

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Spirit Quest
 
 
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

12 August 2011 — I noticed him at the bus stop. It was winter and he was.wearing an old parka but around his middle he wore a brightly coloured sash. It was this colourful cummerbund that drew my attention.

“It's a Metis sash,” he volunteered as he saw the question forming on my face. “I am Metis and this is what my forbears used to wear as they trekked the woods and lakes of this country. We have adopted it as the symbol of our nation.”
 
I was attracted by the bright beauty of his apparel. And then it occurred to me that it could lend itself as a stole to enhance my liturgical haberdashery. It contained all the colours of the liturgical year.
 
For those unschooled in ecclesiastic liturgics, let me explain that each season of the Christian year is designated by a colour: Christmas and Easter are white, Lent and Advent are purple. When some protestant churches adopted liturgical reforms it added much needed colour to their black/white dour monotony. I now have a rack of coloured stoles to enhance my clerical attire.910 words.
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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

 

 

Report from Obama's America (Reality Check)

160 children among the dead in CIA's illegal 'secret' war in Pakistan

By Clive Stafford Smith
The Guardian
 
11 August 2011 — This week, a new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism gives us the best picture yet of the impact of the CIA's drone war in Pakistan.
 
The CIA claims that there has been not one "non-combatant" killed in the past year. This claim always seemed to be biased advocacy rather than honest fact. Indeed, the Guardian recently published some of the pictures we have obtained of the aftermath of drone strikes. There were photos of a child called Naeem Ullah killed in Datta Khel and two kids in Piranho, both within the timeframe of the CIA's dubious declaration.

The BIJ reporting begins to fill in the actual numbers. It's a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought, including an estimated 160 children overall.751 words.

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Belgian national radio interviews Dutch visitor to Gerardo Hernandez, Cuban anti-terrorist held in U.S. prison

ACN, Cuban News Agency
 
10 August 2011, HAVANA, Cuba — Radio 1, the Belgian national radio station in Dutchlanguage, broadcast a live interview with Katrien Demuynck, who recently visited Gerardo Hernandez at the federal prison of Victorville, California, the United States.
 
While introducing the case, the interviewee denounced the unjust nature of the excessively long sentences given to the five Cubans in US territory, for having monitore. 422 words.
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'African Cruella De Vil' who trafficked young woman

and forced her to work as a slave jailed for just six months

Scientist jailed after enforcing 'coerced servitude'

The Daily Mail

11 August 2011 LONDON — A scientist dubbed an 'African Cruella De Vil' who forced a young woman to work as her house slave has been jailed for six months in a landmark case.

Rebecca Balira, 47, brought 21-year-old Methodia Mathias to the UK from Tanzania and made her work as a servant from dawn until midnight seven days a week.

The 21-year-old woman cooked, cleaned and washed for the HIV expert while acting a nanny to her three children for six months without pay.

She was made to share a bed with Balira's 12-year-old son, stripped of her passport and banned from contacting her family or friends.

Ms Mathias was forced to walk to and from church each Sunday while Balira and her children took the bus, Southwark Crown Court heard.1,228 words.
 

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.


Russian billionaire's teen cancels marriage to 'strange' man 

Slums in 'small and cozy' $6.46 million London starter home

By Anna Malpes
The Mosow Times

12 August 2011 — This week, Roman Ab­ra­movich’s teenage daughter reportedly moved into a starter home in London worth £4 million ($6.46 million), soon after calling off an engagement that had raised eyebrows in the British press.

Anna Abramovich’s new place in Belgravia is a mews cottage with three bedrooms, which is all you get for a few million pounds in such a chi-chi area. The house belongs jointly to Roman Abramovich and his ex-wife Irina, the London Evening Standard reported, with Anna describing it as “small and cozy.”

The same could not be said of Roman Abramovich’s own house. He must find football pitches too poky and claustrophobic because he is extending his mansion to 30,000 square meters, the newspaper reported.

The Daily Mail gasped in a biblical way that Anna Abramovich had shunned “her father’s many mansions” by moving into such a tight space. 615 words.
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A cool story to take our minds off the sweltering heat

Remembering the Polar Bears on a Cruise to Svalbard

They may be nice to look at but they can be very dangerous 

By Hazel Johnson
True North Perspective
Hazel (Gulka) Johnson is the author of RV-ING and Other Adventures North of 60.  She lives in Ottawa and has published travel articles in the local media, as well as in several anthologies. She blogs at www.travelnorthwithme.blogspot.com.

12 August 2011 — It's been a long, hot, dry summer, and I am reminiscing about some of my trips North – wish I were up there now. I realize that one of our reasons for often heading north in the summer was to avoid the 30 plus temperatures of Ottawa at this time of the year. Five of our nine trips North have been in the last six years – no wonder I'm feeling the heat this summer.

While I lounge in my air-conditioned home, news about the North keeps popping up in the newspapers and TV. Lately it has been about polar bears: first, declaring them a protected species; and just today I saw an article in the Citizen (Aug. 6) about a polar bear killing a student in a group camp in Svalbard, Norway, as the group slept in their tent. This was just 40 km from the town of Longyearbyen, that I fondly recall visiting on a cruise North we took in 2006. While the polar bears are beautiful animals, they are very dangerous; I've been lucky to see them close up, but from the protection of a ship.1,102 words.
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Money and Markets

Keynes spins (and spins, and spins) in his grave

America is in trouble, but in Europe the markets see disaster on the periphery and Japanification at the core. For once, Paul Krugman agrees with the markets

By Paul Krugman
TruthOut
 
11 August 2011 — In recent online commentary for The New York Times, Simon Johnson, the former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, considered who is in worse shape — America or Europe?
 
“In the near term, the Europeans have the bigger problem — and this will only be compounded by slower growth in the United States (home to about one-quarter of the world economy),” Mr. Johnson wrote on July 28. “Over the longer haul, it remains to be seen when and how politicians in the United States will take up the real budget issues.”491 words.
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Venezuela prepared for onslaught

of global economic crisis, says Finance Minister

By Juan Reardon
Venezuelanalysis.com
 
11 August 2011 CARACAS — On Wednesday, Venezuelan Minister of Planning and Finances, Jorge Giordani, reiterated comments made by other members of the ruling socialist party that their country’s people and economy are largely protected from the global economic crisis thanks to the socio-economic policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
 
Amongst said policies, explained Giordani, is the investment of some $400 billion USD in health, education, housing, and agriculture in the past 10 years.838 words.
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Science
 
 
Ancient humans were not just having sex with Neanderthals. Ancient toe suggests we were getting it on with at least one other species as well
 
By Alasdair Wilkins
io9.com
 
10 August 2011 — Late last year, we learned that early humans and Neanderthals once shared Eurasia with a third hominin group, known as Denisovans. Now, the new discovery of a Denisovan toe bone might indicate that these three hominin groups were pretty much constantly interbreeding.
 
This new find is exciting scientists - so much so, in fact, that some researchers are discussing the find before the official publication of the DNA analysis. As a result, this is more speculative than normal, and we'll know more when the official DNA analysis of the find is released. Still, with those caveats in mind, let's take a walk on the scientific wild side and see what this new discovery might mean.487 words.
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The Book Shelf

Reviewing Crysis: Legion, by Peter Watts

Strange bed-fellows:

First-person shooter meets hard science fiction

Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

10 August 2011, OTTAWA — As you might know, I've been serially reviewing the latest Torchwood series, a work that (I presume) is as much the product of Russell T Davies' personal vision as is possible with an inherently collaborative medium.

So it is rather difficult to ignore the irony, that there is more credible social commentary, more humour and more excitement in Peter Watts' 300 page adaptation of a first-person-shooter video game, which (again, I presume) was written strictly for the money, than there has been in the first five hours of Davies' brain-child.

Watts' story, about a an accidental cybernetic soldier's brief campaign on a ruined island of Manhattan a scant 12 years in our future is also fairly rigorous science fiction, as one might expect from the "reformed marine biologist", but probably not from a novel about a super-soldier and his mysterious battle-armour.

If Crysis: Legion is not quite the follow-up to his 2006 hard-SF masterpiece, Blindsight one might have wished for, it's a better book than one has any reason to expect of a media tie-in.1,283 words.
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The Glass Teat — Serial-reviewing Torchwood: Miracle Day

Torchwood: Miracle Laws

The categories of idiot plots

True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

An unabashed (if often critical) fan of all things Doctor Who, Geoffrey Dow is writing about Torchwood: Miracle Day each week. Click here to for an overview and links to all the postings.

7 August 2011, OTTAWA — Why am I writing this? Why am I even still watching?

At the half-way mark of Torchwood's miraculously boring 2011 series, there are two answers to both questions.

The first is that I said I would and that I am trying to develop a reputation for reliability. The second is that there is some morbid fascination in watching to see just how bad this thing can get.

Contrary to a prediction made in an early draft of my my review of last week's Escape to L.A., the return of Jane Espenson, whose keyboard was behind the best episode in the series so far, didn't make for any improvement after all.

The Categories of Life is so slow moving and so driven by idiot plot devices that it's tempting to imagine Russell T Davies is playing some sort of Zen game of Patience with his audience, but on reflection, the evidence doesn't support that hypothesis.

A far more plausible explanation for the ineptness on display is that Davies was so excited about the huge sums of American money at his disposal, that he was so distracted by fantasies of crane shots and exploding helicopters, that he forgot to write a story in which to blow his toys up until mere days before shooting was scheduled to start.

Click below to read of the Miracle of the Legislatures and the Parliaments. Yes, there are lots of spoilers behind the link, but click away! I've watched it so you don't have to. 1,413 words.
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The Book End

Stargazer Volume Two

Ottawa artist announces completion of all-ages graphic novel

True North Perspective will feature a book by a Canadian writer each Friday or, as often as we can. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author and information about the product of the author's literary labours. Today we present Stargazer, Volume Two, by Von Allan, the first volume of which we reviewed in last year's November 19 edition of True North Perspective. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.

By Von Allan

10 August 2011, OTTAWA — “All ages” comics and graphic novels are stories that parents can hand to their children without worrying about what they're reading. Unfortunately, the term “all-ages” also implies safe, dull stories that are not exciting or believable and feature characters that are not realistic. Von Allan, an Ottawa-based artist and graphic novelist, is challenging these ideas with his two part graphic novel series Stargazer. The concluding volume arrives in stores world-wide in October.

“In Volume 2, I really wanted to play with people's expectations of an all-ages comic, especially one with younger girls as the protagonists,” said Allan. “I think a lot of people take all-ages to mean safe or gentle. But graphic novels and comics are flexible and I don't think a children's comic has to be completely tame for it to qualify as 'kid-friendly.'  — 667 words.


 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the County or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.


"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper government makes lots of noise about building more p
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper government makes lots of noise about building more prisons 
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper government makes lots of noise about building more prisons 
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper gover
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

Canada's blind spot

Harper government tough on criminals, what about spies?

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
29 July 2011 — The Harper gover
Reality Check

War and the real Tragedy of the Commons

'In the early 1980's, the Center for Disarmament estimated that global military operations used more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum than the entire Third World did for development'
By H. Patricia Hynes
Truthout
Reality Check

War and the real Tragedy of the Commons

'In the early 1980's, the Center for Disarmament estimated that global military operations used more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum than the entire Third World did for development'
By H. Patricia Hynes
Truthout
Reality Check

War and the real Tragedy of the Commons

'In the early 1980's, the Center for Disarmament estimated that global military operations used more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum than the entire Third World did for development'
By H. Patricia Hynes
Truthout
Money and Markets

When economies collide!

Shaking the three pillars of McWorld

The U.S., Europe and even China ignore the rocks ready to gouge the hulls of their economic ships. What happens if they all crash at once?

Money and Markets

When economies collide!

Shaking the three pillars of McWorld

The U.S., Europe and even China ignore the rocks ready to gouge the hulls of their economic ships. What happens if they all crash at once?

 

A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”

 

A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”

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