Friday 8 October 2010

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

'If the world does not phase out fossil fuels by 2015, then by 2025, the Arctic
will be eight to 10 degrees warmer and the world will lose most of its permafrost'

Arctic ice in death spiral

Researchers fear permafrost has passed the point of no return

By Stephen Leahy
InterPress Service

5 October 2010 — The carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have melted the Arctic sea ice to its lowest volume since before the rise of human civilisation, dangerously upsetting the energy balance of the entire planet, climate scientists are reporting.

"The Arctic sea ice has reached its four lowest summer extents (area covered) in the last four years," said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US city of Boulder, Colorado.

The volume — extent and thickness — of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month, Serreze told IPS.

"I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It's not going to recover," he said. — Read the full article at Straight Goods News, 1,068 words.
  Cartoon by John Sherffius,  
  Cartoon by John Sherffius,, 7 October 2010  


In the Spirit of Fair Play we run verbatim a second press release by the Cuban Embassy in Canada (in case you missed the first, please see last week's issue)

Cuba says that a 1965 Act by the U.S. Congress opened wide

the doors of terrorism against Cuba for the Batista mafia 

Here following the press release:

1 October 2010 — One of the most criminal laws designed to destroy the Cuban Revolution was signed when the US Congress approved Public Law 89-732, known as the Cuban Adjustment Act on November of 1965.

Valid since 1966, this legislation promotes destabilization, incitement to illegal migration, and other  ways to discredit the Cuban government offering preferential treatment to those, with their action, that inflict damages to the image of the country.

Ways of immigration, turned into ideological channels to worsen the US war against Cuba allowed firstly, to protect assassins and terrorists that belonged to the bloody Batista dictatorship (1952-1958) and a group of swindlers, thieves and exploiters of the Cuban people. — Read the full article inside, 435 words.
Editor's Notes
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 43 (247)
Friday, October 8, 2010

What is a 'reasonable donation'?

Recently, we received an email from a reader complementing True North Perspective on its new and improved format and wondering what a "reasonable donation" in support of our experiment in news and opinion might be.

As I contemplated a reply, I realized that there is no easy answer to the question, especially for a web-based publication. Unlike an old-fashioned newspaper, with physical costs for printing and transportation, a website's mechanical costs are relatively low — which is why True North Perspective has survived for so long on so little. Our biggest expense is the time we and our growing team of writers put into creating this unique window on the world; the cost of hosting the bits of electronic data that is the physical aspect of True North Perspective can be done for far less money than it would cost to print a few thousand copies of the same production on paper.

On the other hand, it is easy to stamp an actual price on a newspaper, and easy enough to learn whether or not that price is something people are willing to pay. — Read the full story inside,  637 words.

Our readers write
Your article "Please, don't be a chicken" was much appreciated! Thank you! How many women are like Dee? Controlled and told what to do. Thank God, it's not my case but I sympathize! If this person has to take over some day, will she have the capacity and self-confidence to do so? After all, this is not a muslim world where women are not given much choice...
 — Juliette Vinette, Ottawa, Ont.

Excellent message in Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's article, "Don't be a chicken"! Women must learn how to fly on their own during their youth so they can avoid being controlled later. They must learn to be self-sufficent, to love and respect who they are are. Thank you for the love and concern you offer your readers!
 Normande Leduc, Québec. Qué.

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Then say it!

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who celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday 26 September 2010

Col. Harold Wright was one of the earliest to sign on as a volunteer Contributing Editor to True North Perspective.

I was introduced to Col. Wright in 2007 at the Lansdowne Park Ottawa Independent Writers Book Fair by Randy Ray where the two were sharing a table.

Randy simply introduced him as Harold Wright. He had a forthright manner and that kind of smile that combines strength of character and encourages trust and friendship. — Read the full story inside, 315 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 —
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'…sticking to your message and making a solid case … pays off eventually.'
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
8 October 2010 — It went generally unnoticed by the media when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Oct. 1 the elimination of a 25% duty on foreign built freighters even though the move could revitalize shipping in Canada and reduce green house gas emissions and other environmental problems.
The issue is simple enough. Many Canadian-registered ships are antiques; a lot of the Great Lakef leet was built before Pierre Trudeau became prime minister. — Read the full story inside, 647 worlds.
21 September 2010 — Canadian Press reporter Murray Brewster will be awarded the Ross Munro Media Award, sponsored by the Conference of Defence Associations and Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. Some journalists think he should refuse the offer.

The Ottawa Citizen's David Pugliese wrote a lengthy examination of the award and the ethical implications of accepting an award funded by the very companies and government bodies that you're covering. He notes that every year, protesters show up to the awards. He himself has refused nomination twice.

The writer presents a few ethical questions:

"Should journalists who report on DND take an award and money from an organization that is partly financed by DND?

Read the full article at The Canadian Journalism Project, 474 words.
'It is with the smallest brushes that the artists paint the most beautiful pictures'
True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:

8 October 2010 — I’ve added this saying to my fridge display, beside other inspirational ones and alongside my grandkids’ photos and artwork. I have always believed in miracles. One of our family stories is that my father had this baffling health problem when he was a child; he would have a reaction similar to epileptic seizures. Guesses are it was probably an allergic reaction to something that went undiagnosed at that time. As the story goes, Grandpa took him to Montreal to see Brother André. And Dad was cured. 
People are always skeptical when it comes to discussing miracles and healers. This is partly because there are charlatans in their midst. But real healers are recognized by the sheer number and complexity of the miracles performed. — Read the full story inside, 1,051 words.
Saskatoon aims for garlic self-sufficiency!
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — On October 10th we will be planting our way to City Hall -- that's right, we're planting enough garlic to make Saskatoon garlic self-sufficient by 2012. The October 10th day of action will give us a huge head start in growing 100% safe, healthy, and delicious garlic locally instead of importing the bulk of it from half-way across the planet. Come join us for a really fun day outside . . . and, of course, there will be great food!

How to Get Involved Planning the Event: Please call WAM organiser Daniel McLaren at 306-262-5882 to get involved.

Event Host: We Are Many (WAM) is an innovative, award-winning youth-run arts and environmental organisation with a focus on practical outcomes. Right now we're working on a tap water station for outdoor festivals, an urban agriculture co-op, and a world-record bike ride, among other (exciting!) things.

Conservative arithmatic: 25-30 complaints a year, or 1,000 a day — what's the difference?
25+5= 1,000. One-time Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.  
4 October 2010 — An Industry Canada employee questioned Conservative MP Maxime Bernier's claims in July that as minister he received about 1,000 complaints a day about the mandatory long-form census, internal documents obtained by CBC News show.

The former industry minister, now a Conservative backbencher, said in July of this year that he was blitzed by complaints when he oversaw the 2006 census as minister.

However, in a July 18 email found among documents obtained by CBC News through an access-to-information request, ministry employee Paul Halucha asked a high-ranking official at Statistics Canada whether the agency had any numbers to back up Bernier's statement.

Industry Canada's "internal survey of correspondence did not show anything close to a thousand a day," he wrote to Statistics Canada's Connie Graziadei, adding in brackets "we got a standard 25-30 a year."

— Read the full story at CBC News, 753 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Vancouver's Olympic streetcar experiment showed they reduce carbon, promote healthy development, and tourists love them
By Monte Paulsen


1 October 2010 — Four out of every five people aboard the Olympic Line streetcar last spring were not tourists but Metro Vancouver residents.

And many of those 550,000 passengers — about a third, during peak transit hours rode the 60-day demonstration train not for amusement but as part of a daily commute to work or school.

These results were among the boxcar of data unloaded during a daylong symposium sponsored by the University of British Columbia and entitled, "Streetcars: The Missing Link?"Read the full article at, 2,395 words.
Blaming success, inventing failure:

By Alan Broadbent
Somehow, citizens still survive the urban cesspool that is the city of Toronto.  
September 2010 — It is hard to believe what a terrible city Toronto has become. One candidate says we can’t take care of the 2.5 million people who live here. Another warns darkly about “more of the same” that has left us in “the current mess.” Only one, the deputy mayor who is carrying the legacy of the incumbent regime, is upbeat on the city, but he gets drowned out in the raucous litany of abuse. Failure lurks around every corner, financial collapse is at hand, dispirit darkens every city street.

It is a bad time generally for cities in Ontario as municipal elections heat up, because in almost every city most of the candidates are running against the city where they want to be mayor or councillor. Cities are portrayed as serial failures, fiscal nightmares, administrative disaster zones, and places which fail citizens day after day.

— Read the full article at, 431 words.
Spirit Quest

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

8 October 2010 — What a surprise!  I was amazed one Sunday to discover that much of the outdoors had moved inside the church. Around the alter/communion table were beautifully arranged fruits, vegetables and colourful leaves. It was, of course, Thanksgiving. But we were new in this country and had never experienced this annual transformation of a place of worship.

Thanksgiving is a universal celebration, albeit not at the same time for everybody. People throughout history have sensed a need to express gratitude particularly at harvest time. Sacrificing the first fruits of the land as well as livestock was a common and elaborate religious practice in many traditions. In the Hebrew faith which is of course the background for Christianity as well as Islam. Thanksgiving has been a most important harvest festival.

The Jewish feast of Succoth was celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It was also known as Festival of Booths  or Ingathering, a  time when the people moved out of their permanent homes into a simple dwelling with a roof of branches through which the sky can be seen. The purpose was to remind the people of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness by their ancestors, a time when they lived very primitively and depended on what nature/god provided.

— Read the full story inside, 1,183 words.
Medical marijuana users can smoke up,
but taking it as tea or with food is still a legal no-no
By Meagan Fitzpatrick
Postmedia News

4 October 2010, OTTAWA — A medical marijuana user lit up a joint in the House of Commons Monday to draw attention to what he calls unfair rules set by Health Canada.

Samuel Mellace, who lives in Abbotsford, B.C., is a licensed pot user under the federal government's medical marijuana program. He started smoking a joint Monday afternoon while in the public gallery of the House of Commons as the daily question period came to an end. Mellace took a few drags on the joint before a security guard asked him to put it out and leave the gallery, which he did without incident.

At a news conference on Parliament Hill a short time later, Mellace said he didn't think it was wrong for him to take his medication in the House of Commons.

His complaints about the government's medical marijuana program are twofold: delays in processing applications for licences and restrictions on how medical marijuana can be used. — Read the full article at The Vancouver Sun, 474 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Worlds largest solar power plant opens in Ontario

By Timon Singh
1 October 2010 — Canada may not be the first place you would guess to have the world’s largest photovoltaic facility. In fact, if this writer was asked he’d have opted for somewhere notoriously sunny such as Saudi Arabia or Australia. However, it was announced this week by Canadian firm Enbridge Inc. and Arizona-based First Solar Inc. that the 80-megawatt Sarnia Solar Project was not only opening, but it was now the largest operational PV plant in the world. Who’da thunk it?
In times when every country is trying to diversify its energy supplies, it is refreshing to see Canada step up to the plate with such a large scale project. The Sarnia Solar Project, which sees 1.3 million First Solar modules spread over 950 acres of land, has the potential to supply the energy needs of up to 12,800 households. — Read the full article at, 415 words.
The Movies

Don't bother looking for Signs or Significance!

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally posted at Edifice Rex Online

'Well, you know, I just — I was thinkin' that I'd just nip it in the bud. Before it gets worse. 'Cause they were talkin' in health class about how pregnancy can lead to ... an infant.'

Catching up on ...

Ellen Page in 2007 (image Wikipedia).

It's not giving much away to say that Juno MacGuff does not nip her pregnancy, "in the bud" or otherwise. Instead, after a brief flirtation with abortion, the 16 year-old opts to carry the foetus to term and give the baby up for adoption. Significantly, Juno is not punished for her transgression (except insofar as the pregnancy itself must be considered a punishment) persons seeking in the entrails of Juno any overt anti-abortion, pro-choice, pro- or anti-sex or other coded messages are in for a serious disappointment.

The movie's eponymous title gives the game away.

Juno is a story about (nearly) a year in the life of a teenage girl named "Juno". It is not an issue movie, or a cautionary tale, or a call to arms. The fact that Juno is about a pregnant 16 year-old girl does not mean it is "about" teenage pregnancy.

At its heart and despite its subject-matter, Juno is a romantic comedy. Where we might once have had Katherine Hepburn as a wise-cracking career-woman in a man's world, we now have Ellen Page as a wise-cracking teenager, who is every bit as independent as Hepburn ever was, if in a very different world.  — Spoilers inside, but not many; this is a movie whose surprises are worth keeping. 868 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

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.


China's best-known dissident probably unaware he has won prize

By Tania Branigan
The Guardian

8 October 2010 — China's best-known dissident today won the prestigious Nobel peace prize from the prison cell where he is serving 11 years for incitement to subvert state power.

The Norwegian Nobel committee praised Liu Xiaobo for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The ... committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace."

As the news was announced, transmission of both BBC news and CNN television channels was interrupted in China.

Liu was detained at his Beijing home in December 2008 after co-authoring Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms in China.

The decision will infuriate the Chinese government. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said last week that awarding Liu the prize would contradict the aims of the award. The director of Norway's Nobel institute said a senior Chinese official had warned that Sino-Norwegian relations would be damaged if Liu won. — Read the full article at The Guardian, 503 words.


China’s growing independence and the New World Order

'China is now the largest importer of Middle Eastern oil and the largest exporter to the region, replacing the United States'
By Noam Chomsky
In These Times

5 October 2010 — Of all the “threats” to world order, the most consistent is democracy, unless it is under imperial control, and more generally, the assertion of independence. These fears have guided imperial power throughout history.

In South America, Washington’s traditional backyard, the subjects are increasingly disobedient. Their steps toward independence advanced further in February with the formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which includes all states in the hemisphere apart from the U.S. and Canada. — Read the full article at In These Times, 804 words.


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Venezuela election analysis

By Eva Golinger 

1 October 2010 — Although it is undeniably true that the winner of Venezuela’s legislative elections last Sunday was the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which sealed a solid and absolute majority in the new National Assembly, there was also another winner: US interference 

President Hugo Chavez’s party, PSUV, achieved a landslide victory this past Sunday, September 26 in the nation’s legislative elections, winning 98 seats out of 165 in the parliament. The coalition of opposition parties, grouped under the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), won 65 seats, while a third party, PPT, took two. 

On a national level, the PSUV won in 56 out of 87 circuits, and 18 states out of 24, including the capital district, Caracas. PSUV also won 7 seats on the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), while MUD took five. Out of the votes tallied nationally 5,422,040 went to PSUV and 5,320,175 were for MUD parties. 

In all scenarios, PSUV won. It’s an impressive achievement for a political party formed just three years ago, and demonstrates PSUV is the primary political force in the country. — Read the full article inside, 1,426 words.

Reality check: The dubious power of the internet
The internet didn't have much to do with the Green Revolution
(which — nearly, maybe brought down Iran's mullah's
But it is very good at helping well-off New York stock traders
get their cell-phones back from teenage girls
By Malcolm Gladwell
The New Yorker

4 October 2010 — At four-thirty in the afternoon on Monday, February 1, 1960, four college students sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. They were freshmen at North Carolina A. & T., a black college a mile or so away.

“I’d like a cup of coffee, please,” one of the four, Ezell Blair, said to the waitress.

“We don’t serve Negroes here,” she replied.

The Woolworth’s lunch counter was a long L-shaped bar that could seat sixty-six people, with a standup snack bar at one end. The seats were for whites. The snack bar was for blacks. Another employee, a black woman who worked at the steam table, approached the students and tried to warn them away. “You’re acting stupid, ignorant!” she said. They didn’t move. Around five-thirty, the front doors to the store were locked. The four still didn’t move. Finally, they left by a side door. Outside, a small crowd had gathered, including a photographer from the Greensboro Record. “I’ll be back tomorrow with A. & T. College,” one of the students said.

By next morning, the protest had grown to twenty-seven men and four women, most from the same dormitory as the original four. The men were dressed in suits and ties. The students had brought their schoolwork, and studied as they sat at the counter. On Wednesday, students from Greensboro’s “Negro” secondary school, Dudley High, joined in, and the number of protesters swelled to eighty. By Thursday, the protesters numbered three hundred, including three white women, from the Greensboro campus of the University of North Carolina. By Saturday, the sit-in had reached six hundred. People spilled out onto the street. White teen-agers waved Confederate flags. Someone threw a firecracker. At noon, the A. & T. football team arrived. “Here comes the wrecking crew,” one of the white students shouted.

By the following Monday, sit-ins had spread to Winston-Salem, twenty-five miles away, and Durham, fifty miles away. The day after that, students at Fayetteville State Teachers College and at Johnson C. Smith College, in Charlotte, joined in, followed on Wednesday by students at St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University, in Raleigh. On Thursday and Friday, the protest crossed state lines, surfacing in Hampton and Portsmouth, Virginia, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee. By the end of the month, there were sit-ins throughout the South, as far west as Texas. “I asked every student I met what the first day of the sitdowns had been like on his campus,” the political theorist Michael Walzer wrote in Dissent. “The answer was always the same: ‘It was like a fever. Everyone wanted to go.’ ” Some seventy thousand students eventually took part. Thousands were arrested and untold thousands more radicalized. These events in the early sixties became a civil-rights war that engulfed the South for the rest of the decade—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter. — Read the full article at The New Yorker, 4,534 words.
Health Watch

CBC News

6 October 2010 — Potentially toxic Listeria bacteria has been found in 18 per cent of ready-to-eat fish products tested in B.C, according to an unreleased study by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

All of the contaminated fish was smoked salmon, the study found. It also concluded fish processing facilities need more scrutiny.

The study looked at 293 samples of ready-to-eat foods — including meat, dairy and fish — purchased in B.C. between August and October, 2009.

The results triggered at least one recall in November 2009, of Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Log and Maple Salmon Nuggets from Classic Smokehouse Inc.

However, the full results and recommendations have not been released.

— Read the full article at CBC News, 346 words.

Reality Check

Meanwhile ...

By John Cloud
Time Magazine
31 August 2010 — One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. — Read the full article at Time Magazine, 656 words.

Study reporting on group now aged five says none suffered as a result of their mothers having an occasional drink while pregnant

By Sarah Boseley
The Guardian

6 October 2010 — Light drinking in pregnancy  does babies no harm in the long run, according to a substantial new study which challenges the government's advice that women should abstain completely for nine months.

The study showed that the children of mothers who drank one or two units of alcohol a week during pregnancy have suffered no ill-effects by the time they are five. They do not have behavioural difficulties and nor are they behind in their intellectual development.

The work is published online today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It should help to give women credible information on which to base their choice, said joint author Dr Yvonne Kelly of University College London's department of epidemiology and public health. — Read the full article at The Guardian, 646 words.

Largest ever swarm of flying robots takes to the sky

Inspired by army ants, Linux-controlled robot swarm communicates via wireless

By Olivia Solon

27 September 2010 — The EPFL School of Engineering is developing swarms of flying robots that could be deployed in disaster areas to create communication networks for rescuers. The Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (SMAVNET) project comprises of robust, lightweight robots and software that allows the devices to wirelessly communicate with each other.

The flying robots were built out of expanded polypropylene with a single motor at the rear and two elevons (control surfaces that enable steering). The robots are equipped with autopilot to control altitude, airspeed and turn rate. A micro-controller operates using three sensors -- a gyroscope and two pressure sensors. The robots also have a GPS module to log flight journeys.

The swarm controllers running Linux are connected to an off-the-shelf USB Wi-Fi dongle. The output of these (the desired turn rate, speed or altitude) is sent to the autopilot. — Read the full story at, 406 words.

Solution to the mystery of missing bees?

Honeybees killed by virus/fungus combination, study says

CBC News

7 October 2010 — The mass deaths of honey-bee colonies in the U.S. may be caused by a lethal combination of fungi and viruses, suggests new research.

Researchers, predominantly from the University of Montana, have identified three viruses — Varroa destructor-1, Kakugo and an invertebrate iridescent virus — in dead honeybees felled by what is known as colony collapse disorder. They also found these bees were infected with two fungi — Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae.

Colony collapse disorder involves the sudden death of a large number of bees that leave the hive and disappear, reducing the colony to a handful of bees or no bees at all. The phenomenon has been occurring with increasing regularity since 2006, particularly in the U.S.

— Read the full article at CBC News, words.

'Peak oil' is here - economically if not physically

We have run out of oil we can afford to burn

By Jeff Rubin
The Globe and Mail

6 October 2010 — As I head down to Washington to speak at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas 2010 World Oil Conference this week, I can’t help but reflect on how far the peak oil movement has come over the last decade. It’s not too hard to figure out why. There is a very simple litmus test for the credibility of the movement’s central theory of depletion — the price of oil. With oil already trading at over $80 (U.S.) per barrel in the shadow of the world’s deepest-ever postwar recession, I guess there’s not much of a debate anymore.

Of course the world will never run out of oil in the literal sense. There are some 170 billion barrels of the stuff trapped in the Alberta oil sands, and over 500 billion barrels more in the Orinoco oil sands in Venezuela. And if we suck them dry, there are billions more barrels of oil in shale, just as there is natural gas.

But what the global economy has already run out of is the oil it can afford to burn. Depletion isn’t just a geological concept; it’s also an economic one. From a purely geological standpoint, you can always boost production—or at least offset depletion—by accessing increasingly costly and environmentally problematic sources of new supply (such as the tar sands). But as we saw from the recent recession, the global economy can’t afford to run on the prices needed to pull that oil out. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 503 words.

Bringing the Afghan war home (to Pakistan)

Driver killed, 25 NATO tankers torched at Torkham border crossing

The Associated Press


CIA doubles rate of drone bombings in Pakistan

Agence France-Presse

2 October 2010 — The US military is secretly diverting aerial drones from Afghanistan to escalate a CIA-led campaign against militants in neighboring Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The military has lent Predator and Reaper drones to Central Intelligence Agency operatives to target and bomb militants on the Afghan border, the report said, citing unnamed US officials.

CIA drone strikes in September in Pakistan rose to an average of five per week, up from an average of two or three per week, the Journal said.  — Read the full story at, 306 words.

6 October 2010 — Gunmen torched more than two dozen tankers carrying fuel to NATO troops and killed a driver Wednesday, the sixth attack on convoys taking supplies to Afghanistan since Pakistan closed a key border crossing almost a week ago.

Islamabad shut down the Torkham crossing along the fabled Khyber Pass last Thursday after a NATO helicopter attack in the border area killed three Pakistani troops.
The closure has left hundreds of trucks stranded alongside the country's highways and bottlenecked traffic heading to the one route into Afghanistan from the south that has remained open. — Read the full article at, 697 words.

Report from Obama's America

Obama condemns Iran for torture and murder

Won't take action against Americans for same crimes

By Jason Leopold

1 October 2010 — This week, in a burst of stunning hypocrisy, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that imposes sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and targets eight Iranian government and military officials who are blamed for the torture, abuse and murder of citizens who protested Iran’s 2009 presidential election.

“The United States is strongly committed to the promotion of human rights around the world, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the White House said in an accompanying news release. “As the President noted in his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, human rights are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States.”

A State Department fact sheet added, “protesters [in Iran] were detained without formal charges brought against them and during this detention detainees were subjected to beatings, solitary confinement, and a denial of due process rights at the hands of intelligence officers under the direction of [Iran’s then-Minister of Military Intelligence Qolam] Mohseni-Ejei. — Read the full article inside, 1,589  words.

'It seems very frightening that the FBI have placed a surveillance-tracking device on the car of a 20-year-old American citizen who has done nothing more than being half-Egyptian'

By Kim Zetter
7 October 2010 — A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do.
It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted its expensive device back, the student told in an interview Wednesday.
The answer came when half-a-dozen FBI agents and police officers appeared at Yasir Afifi’s apartment complex in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday demanding he return the device.
Afifi, a 20-year-old U.S.-born citizen, cooperated willingly and said he’d done nothing to merit attention from authorities. Comments the agents made during their visit suggested he’d been under FBI surveillance for three to six months.
An FBI spokesman wouldn’t acknowledge that the device belonged to the agency or that agents appeared at Afifi’s house. — Read the full article at Wired, 1,722 words.


U.S. kids are all right ... when it comes to safer sex

But their elders don't play nearly as smart


4 October 2010, CHICAGO — U.S. teens are not as reckless as some people might think when it comes to sex, and they are much more likely to use condoms than people over 40, according to a survey released on Monday that could help guide public health policy.

The study from sex researchers at Indiana University and paid for by Trojan condom maker Church & Dwight Co is the most comprehensive look at sex behaviors in the United States in the past 20 years.

Some findings heartened public health officials -- one in four acts of vaginal intercourse involve condom use. And among people who are single, that figure is one in three. — Read the full story at, 578 words.

Russian journalism students hit back with rival anti-Putin calendar

Women appear dressed in black with their mouths taped shut in riposte to classmates' racy tribute to president

By Miriam Elder
The Guardian

7 October 2010, MOSCOW — Twelve scantily clad women oozing praise for Vladimir Putin versus six stern-looking female students demanding human rights – who will win Russia's battle of the calendars?

A day after 12 journalism students at Russia's most prestigious university released a racy calendar in honour of Putin's 58th birthday, six of their colleagues hit back with their own version, pointing to the murders and curbs on freedom under Putin.

"Who killed Anna Politkovskaya?" asks Yekaterina Ulianova, posing, like all the young women, in a sombre black outfit with yellow tape sealing her mouth shut. Politkovskaya, a journalist who was one of the Kremlin's toughest critics, was shot dead on Putin's birthday four years ago today.

The students in both calendars study at Moscow State University's journalism faculty, which has produced some of the country's finest journalists, including Politkovskaya. — Read the full story at The Guardian, 445 words.


In case you missed it ...

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. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The 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.