Friday 10 May 2013

Special

US-backed Guatemalan dictator found guilty

of Genocide and of Crimes Against Humanity

By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Newspapers
 
Rios Montt - guilty! Image
11 May 2013 MEXICO CITY Mexico — A three-judge panel Friday 10 May convicted former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt of genocide, saying his military regime used “extreme terror” in an effort to wipe out a Mayan minority ethnic group in the early 1980s.
 
In a packed courtroom in Guatemala City, Judge Yassmin Barrios said investigators had proven that the regime led by Rios Montt, who is 86, used starvation, mass homicide, dislocation, rape and aerial bombardment as tactics to exterminate the Ixil minority, which it believed to harbor leftist guerrillas.
 
Barrios gave Rios Montt a 50-year jail term for genocide and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.
 
When Barrios read the sentence, cheers erupted in the courtroom, a sign of the high emotions surrounding the trial, which deeply divided Guatemala and drew attention in other Latin American nations with a history of military dictatorships.
 
The conviction marked the first time a former Guatemalan military strongman known for “scorched earth” tactics to eradicate leftist guerrillas had been found guilty of genocide and ordered to prison. (More)

Calls mount for war with Syria as pro-US opposition

loses military ground and suffers fading public support

By Thomas Gaist
10 May 2013 (WSWS) — Calls for a war with Syria mounted yesterday, despite mass popular opposition to war in the United States, amid reports that US-backed Islamist opposition forces fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have suffered serious reverses.
 
Speaking on NBC News Thursday 09 May, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for Washington to take military action against Syria.
 
He repeated unsubstantiated allegations that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, which have been refuted by UN investigator Carla del Ponte, claiming, “It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons and missiles.” Claiming that a “red line” had been crossed, he said: “We want the United States to assume more responsibilities and take further steps. And what sort of steps they will take, we are going to talk about this.”
 
Erdogan dismissed out of hand reports that chemical weapons used in Syria were in fact used by the US-backed opposition.
 
Erdogan’s calls for military action were echoed across the American press. The Washington Post ’s editorial board called for “an air campaign as well as arms for the moderate opposition” aimed to “quickly tip the military balance against the Assad regime.” Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens proposed a long list of attacks against Assad, including sending in US ground forces: “disable the runways of Syrian air bases, including the international airport in Damascus…use naval assets to impose a no-fly zone over western Syria…supply the Free Syrian Army with heavy military equipment, including armored personnel carriers and light tanks; and be prepared to seize and remove Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, even if it means putting boots (temporarily) on the ground.” (More)
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Shades of Iraq: War machine smothers UN findings

that US-backed Syrian opposition has used poison gas

The 'rebels' have used chemical weapons – Carla Del Ponte, UN investigator

Syria says opposition smuggled poison gas in from Turkey

07 May 2013 — In a series of interviews, UN investigator Carla del Ponte said that sarin gas used in Syria was fired by the US-backed opposition, not the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Carla Del Ponte had previously served as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and is a former Swiss attorney-general.

Carla Del Ponte said on Swiss television yesterday that the UN investigators had "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," of rebel use of chemical weapons, BBC News reports.  

… Ms. Del Ponte, one of its commissioners, told Swiss-Italian TV: "Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals.

"According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated."

… "I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got ... they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition," she said.

UN Human Rights Council duplicity

Western pressure forced retraction despite clear use evidence

'In other words, clear evidence that Washington-backed insurgents used sarin and perhaps other chemical weapons no longer matters. HRC's Commission of Inquiry about-faced. Credible testimonies are now inconclusive.'

By Stephen Landeman
Mathaba.net
 
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He's available at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book is titled Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
 
08 May 2013 — A previous article said the following:

On May 5, Reuters headlined "UN has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator."

Geneva-based "UN human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday."

"The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons."

On May 6, the UN News Centre headlined "Syria: UN human rights Inquiry has 'no conclusive findings' on use of chemical weapons."

The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) issued a statement saying:

It "wishes to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict."

"As a result, the Commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time." (More)

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research shows that there is a gender difference in brains

Even better, regular sex increases the brain cells of both sexes

By David Hurst
International On Line News

Neurons, image23 April 2012 LONDON England —  The brain is one of the last frontiers of medicine — we still don’t really know how all those blood vessels, brain cells and nerves work together to shape our lives and our health.

“More and more research is revealing that male and female brains are much more different than we previously thought,” says neuropsychiatrist Dr Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain And The Male Brain.

Here, with the help of leading experts, we reveal some of the latest thinking about what your sex says about your brain. (More)

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Venezuelan opposition defector says rightwing faction

is using 'electoral struggle' to cover up plans for a coup

VenezuelAnalysis.com

Ricardo Sanchez image02 May CARACAS Venezuela Opposition deputy representative member of the National Assembly, Ricardo Sánchez, says that the faction of the opposition that has been leading the violent attacks in recent days, against institutions and people who support the Bolivarian government, belongs to the same sector that perpetrated the 2002 coup d’état.

“I wouldn’t describe the opposition as a single bloc; there are various factions that make it up. On the one hand, those who follow the democratic route, and on the other, a faction that is not beyond the suspicion of planning coups, even if presently they are trying show that their struggle is an electoral one, a democratic struggle," said Sánchez in an interview with AVN.

He said that among radical sectors of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, “undoubtedly the Primero Justicia (PJ - ‘Justice First’) party and Voluntad Popular (‘Popular Will’) are those with a hidden agenda, outside the democratic course (...) whereas there is another sector that wants to continue working in democracy." (More)

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

'Even atheists fear the word God' study suggests

Even committed non-believers find it hard to totally erase the powerful idea of God from one’s psyche

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Obama cuddles with plutocrats, heaping more scorn

on millions of hopeful innocents who voted 2008/2012

Embraces plutocrats again with billionaire choice Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

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US rich gained $5.6 trillion in the 'recovery'

while stats show everyone else lost $669 billion

It's no accident — the bailouts went to Wall Street not Main Street
 
YOU'LL FIND ALL THIS AND MORE BY CLICKING HERE FOR

TrueNorth Humanist Perspective


Suicide watch

Is corporate power pushing Americans over the edge?

By Robert Bridge

Robert Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which discusses the dangerous consequences of excessive corporate power in the United States.

Demonstration image05 May 2013 — From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among US citizens between the ages of 35 to 64 soared by 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000.

Suicide now ranks higher than death by automobile: in 2010, there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes compared with 38,364 suicides.

Although suicide tends to be viewed as a problem inflicting teenagers and the elderly, the recent study shows a marked rise in the number of suicides among the Baby Boom generation (a demographic group born between the years 1946 and 1964, when the annual birthrate rose dramatically in the US).

Suicide rates soared across all four geographic areas and in 39 states. The state of Wyoming recorded the highest increase in suicides with a 78.8 per cent jump (31.1 per 100,000). Even the paradise state of Hawaii witnessed a 61.2 per cent increase (21.9 per 100,000).

Yet some believe even these shocking numbers are too low since many deaths are not treated as actual suicides. (More)

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Harper Government corrupt, incompetent, or both?
 

Parliamentary secretary said 'all costing and information' already provided

By Terry Milewski
CBC News

200 Million dollar ice-breaker, artist's impression.

9 May 2013 — The department of Public Works has been unable to substantiate claims by parliamentary secretary Chris Alexander that the department gave the CBC details of the budget for designing a new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships.
 
The CBC had, in fact, received none of the details requested, and still hasn't.
 
Alexander was responding in the House of Commons on Monday to a report by CBC News last Thursday, which found that the Canadian government is spending far more to design its new ships than other countries pay to both design and build them.
 
The government has not denied that, but has nevertheless accused the CBC of "misinformation." (More.)
 
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. 8, No. 9 (337)
Friday 10 May 2013
 
Editor's Notes

Syria: A wet dream gone wrong for Washington

Syria map, detail.Washington had hoped for a slam-dunk like Libya. So Syrian resistance and success over religious fanatics who would destroy the secular rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad have inspired a deluge of anti-Syrian hysterical propaganda.

To win American public approval of their planned attack on Iraq the war makers created the false allegations that Iraq had nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that threatened the American continent.

Of course we all know, or should know, if we’ve been paying attention, that the reasons for that war were simply lies.

Telling lies to go to war has become an American tradition, from Vietnam through Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. As True North Perspective has revealed, Syria has been on a list of five middle east countries to be subjected to regime change by the empire builders in Washington.

As with the Iraq and WMD lies, now the US is fabricating a chemical weapons claim that Assad is on the verge of using them, or already has used them.

This hysterical claim is made despite Assad’s declaration that he would not use the chemical weapons on his own people. Why should we not believe him? There is no evidence that he is a liar.

The only evidence we have of lying are those told by Washington again, and again, and again. (More)

"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.
 
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...

The Binkley Report

A starting point for a cabinet shuffle would be Joe Oliver

who is now a national embarrassment bowing to big oil
 
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
10 May 2013 — When Prime Minister Harper juggles his cabinet this summer, he should start with Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
 
Oliver has become a national embarrassment through his complete capitulation to the oil industry and his groveling requests to the Obama Administration to approve the XL Pipeline.
 
Oliver’s whinnying hit rock bottom during a recent visit to Washington when he attacked prominent American scientist Joseph Hansen for making exaggerated claims about the impact of climate change. Specifically he accused Hansen of speaking nonsense.
 
The nonsense isn’t coming from Hansen, a highly-respect scientist who retired from NASA earlier this year to speak up for the environment. He has long warned about the threat of climate change and the failure to take any action to mitigate its impact. He’s been particularly critical of the development of the Alberta tar sands as “game over for the climate.” (More)
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

World Trade Organization

kills Ontario’s green jobs initiative

By John Upton
grist.org
 
Windmills image08 May 2013 — It’s great to go green and it’s laudable to go local. But don’t you dare try to do both at once.
 
That’s the message the World Trade Organization sent this week went it ruled — again — that Ontario’s Green Energy Act illegally discriminated against international renewable energy companies. Similar green jobs programs in other countries might also have to be disbanded following the ruling.

The Green Energy Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging energy conservation and fostering a jobs-rich renewable energy sector. Under the controversial elements of the act, electricity suppliers could charge premium prices for clean energy, but only if they produced that electricity using a certain amount of locally manufactured equipment like solar panels.

The European Union and Japan protested to the international trade body, claiming that the program illegally discriminated against their manufacturers. The WTO sided with the E.U. and Japan in a November ruling. Ontario appealed against that ruling, and on Monday the WTO rejected the appeal [PDF] while making some minor tweaks to its earlier ruling. From the Toronto Star: (More)
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Canadian Democracy

There might be a pulse after all

By Elizabeth May
Rabble.ca
 
Elizabeth May, image.10 May 2013 — The essence of Westminster Parliamentary democracy is that all MPs, including the Prime Minister, are equal, all are elected to represent their constituents, and that, even though a Prime Minister with a majority government can gather up all the levers of power, the Parliament is ultimately supreme. All of this relates to Canada's other distinguishing feature -- that we are a constitutional monarchy. None of this applies to the US system of government, in which checks and balances prevail and the Executive is directly elected.
 
Parliamentary democracy in Canada has been on the ropes for a while. The Prime Minister does not act as "first among equals," but increasingly like a Roman Emperor. The Prime Minister and his cabinet do not respect principles of the supremacy of Parliament, but act in arrogant and unaccountable ways -- denying Parliament key information, even information as essential to good government as basic background to fiscal decisions.
 
Fundamental to these dangerous trends is the rise in control of MPs by political parties. (More.)
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By Geneviève Hone

Where There Is A Family

Table manners

Home decorating magazines show lovely tables but no humans

Hone, small image.Family Dinner, detail, image by Julien Mercure.10 May 2013 — Where there is a family, there is hopefully food and a table on which to serve it. Look through any home decorating magazine and you will find numerous pictures of lovely tables displaying beautiful table linen, dinnerware and of course fresh cut flowers. You will probably have noticed that most of these pictures do not include people. Put people in the picture and things will get messier, especially if the people are children!  

Let’s see how Granny Witch responds to the following letter.

Dear Granny Witch

Our three boys whom I dearly love drive me crazy. My husband and I provide them with wholesome food that we prepare with love and creativity. In return, they behave abominably at the dinner table. They argue, they complain, they put their fingers in their neighbors’ plate, they pick their noses, they poke their brothers’ face, they want to eat spaghetti with their hands, they compete to come up with the best dirty word, they call each other names. My husband is quite relaxed about this, being of the belief that boys only become interested in good table manners when they acquire a girlfriend. I, on the other hand, would like our dinners to be peaceful, civilized and enjoyable affairs, and if somebody said thank you once in a while, I’d really appreciate that too. I may come across as a complainer, being blessed with a loving family and all that, but still, table manners are really important to me. Please help.

Dining yet Whining

(More)

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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Stop Bullying … Inspire instead of intimidating

Harper Conservative political bullying offers poor role model for our children

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

A Genie for Jessie, cover image.10 May 2013 — I had the privilege of participating in the Seventh Annual Caring Across Communities Forum at the Centurion Conference Centre in Ottawa in April.

A Genie for Jessie, my children’s book on bullying was ready in time for this special conference by Dr. Larry Epstein, Ph.D, director of School-Based Services for Think:Kids at Boston’s Massachusett General Hospital.

Dr. Epstein’s theme 'Creating a Positive, Bully-Free School Climate' was a perfect fit for my book that runs along the same lines. Identifying the basic dynamics involved in bullying, describing the key elements of a comprehensive, universal bullying prevention program, identifying specific strategies that can be used with bullies, targets, and bystanders/upstanders and describing strategies to use in situations of relational aggression and cyberbullying were on the agenda. (More)

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Spirit Quest

'We must be hard on our sense of integrity and justice'

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

10 May 2013 — The term “Root Cause”  has taken on new currency since Justin Trudeau, the new leader of the Liberal Party, referred to it after the Boston Marathon bombing. Accolades and brickbats descended on him forthwith.

As expected, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, immediately took issue criticizing Trudeau for being soft on crime: “When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes, you condemn it categorically and, to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.”

Trudeau had insisted that “there is no question that the (Boston bombings) happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded ... our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?” (More)
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Parktales
 
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
 
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

ParkTales Image, small

Friday 10 May 2013

Frances

Sedgwick

will

return in June 2013


Beating the Drum

Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario.  She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa. Her blog is Ancient Wisdom at: www.beverlyblanchard.blogspot.ca
 

Filling up with stuff while we point fingers at suppliers

 
By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective

Beverly D. Blanchard

Friday 10 May 2013 — It is interesting that we are all quick to point the finger of shame at Loblaws in light of the recent tragedy in a Bangladesh clothing factory. We have been quick to point out this is another example of corporate greed. The media was quick to write articles about the need for corporations to become socially responsible. What about the consumer’s role in all this?

What happened in Bangladesh was a tragedy. It was not the first time news of poor working conditions and accidents have hit the news. We have had numerous tragedies reported. There are the suicides of Chinese workers making the latest technological gadgets that we the consumers line up in advance to buy. There are stories of the children working in sweat shops to produce the clothing we wear on our backs. There have also been stories about other fires and lives lost at manufacturing plants. It is the same issue over and over again.

The consumer’s response to the recent Bangladesh tragedy was outrage. There were articles and posts telling me to boycott Loblaw’s Joe Fresh brand. I am told it will force the corporation to change its practices. To me this is a naive and simplistic approach since it neglects to take into account that the majority of the products we buy are made in similar manufacturing plants. Demanding that one company change is meaningless since we will continue to buy products from companies like: the Gap, Lululemon, Old Navy, Apple, Samsung, the Bay, Nike, Adidas...almost everything you buy was made somewhere in the world where working conditions would not be tolerated in developed countries. (More)

 

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Cross Town with Carl Dow

On character studies and on training travel companions

Carl Dow photo

When I'm out and about and have the opportunity to ask questions of those I meet, I find that I have to train my travel companions.

Until they get the idea, they will jump in with answers even as I ask a stranger a question.

Sometimes I'll say abruptly, perhaps in a way that may be considered rude, I'm not asking you, I'm asking him, or her. If I want you to answer I'll speak directly to you.

I know that this sounds bad-mannered but it is really an honest expression of friendly frustration. What I'll explain when time and space allow, is that my questions are not necessarily related to information I don't already have. I often ask questions the answers to which I already know. The questions are asked as a way of prompting character studies — all grist for a writer's mill. (More)
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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

From the Desk of Nick Aplin

There can be no life without laughter

Who gains from spending $436 million

on the tanks the Pentagon doesn't want?

Hint: it's not Meals on Wheels.

01 May 2013 — On last night’s Colbert Report, our favorite fake conservative pundit took on Congress’ insistence on spending taxpayer money on tanks the Pentagon doesn’t want, while “The unemployed have seen smaller benefit checks, some cancer patients have gone without treatment, and lines for New York’s La Guardia Airport now start at Chicago’s O’Hare.

“Well there are things the government spends money on that are worth — stay with me — spending money —stay with me — on,” Colbert continued. “And as usual, those things are tanks. They are so important that we need them even when we don’t need them.”

The host notes that Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman and Representative Jim Jordon advocate most for dishing out $436 million on Abrams tanks that the army would use in “a different way.” Rep. Jordan of Lima, Ohio, where the tanks are manufactured says, defense spending is one of the only areas we can’t afford cutting back. The other, Colbert notes, is his district. (More.)


 
Quiz

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa are the authors of nine books about Canada, with best-seller sales of more than 50,000. Their Web site is: www.triviaguys.com

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover

Questions

 

1. The Toronto Blue Jays play their home games in what used to be called the Skydome, but the building has since changed its name.  What’s the stadium called now?

a) CNE Stadium  b) Rogers Centre  c) The Dome  d) Blue Jay Stadium

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2.  True or false.  The name Quebec comes from an Algonquian word meaning “rocky cliffs.”

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3.  What southern Ontario city used to be known as Berlin before its name was changed during World War I?

Answers.

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Food and drink
 
Oenophiles look away!
 
 
io9.com
 
Why tasting bullshit, image.8 May 2013 — The human palate is arguably the weakest of the five traditional senses. This begs an important question regarding wine tasting: is it sham, or is it complete and utter sham?

There are no two ways about it: the sham is strong with wine.

Wine tasting. Wine rating. Wine reviews. Wine descriptions.

They're all related. And they're all egregious offenders, from a sham standpoint.

Exhibit A: Wine experts contradict themselves. Constantly.
 
Statistician and wine-lover Robert Hodgson recently analyzed a series of wine competitions in California, after "wondering how wines, such as his own, [could] win a gold medal at one competition, and 'end up in the dumpster' at others."
 
In one study, Hodgson presented blindfolded wine experts with the same wine three times in succession. Incredibly, the judges' ratings typically varied by ±4 points on a standard ratings scale running from 80 to 100. (More.)
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The term &ldquo;Root Cause&rdquo;&nbsp; has taken on new currency since Justin Trudeau, the new leader of the Liberal Party, referred to it after the Boston Marathon bombing. Accolades and brickbats descended on him forthwith.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">As expected, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, immediately took issue criticizing Trudeau for being soft on crime: &ldquo;When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes, you condemn it categorically and, to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.&rdquo;</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Trudeau had insisted that &ldquo;there is no question that the (Boston bombings) happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded ... our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?&rdquo;</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Undoubtedly there will be many Canadians, not usually in Harper&rsquo;s camp, who will agree with him on this issue. The crime was horrendous and it appears that the perpetrators were not at the end of their ability to cause more carnage. There were more pressure cookers at the ready. This fear has been especially enhanced here in Canada&nbsp; with the arrest of two suspects planning to blow up a VIA Rail train. There is now much shaking of heads and agreeing that there is an evil foreign influence at work. Al-Quaeda rides again, even in Canada!</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">But Trudeau&rsquo;s call for a probe of a root cause does not, at least in my mind, mean being soft on crime. He believes that we need to take a serious look at what precipitates such violence, not exonerating it.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">There is much unrest in the world, much of it precipitated by western powers. I refer to the Iraq war which, thank God, Canada avoided and which Harper would only too readily have joined. The US forces quickly overran the country and Bush announced proudly &ldquo;mission accomplished&rdquo; while the country lay in ruins. Unrest has continued with daily bombings and loss of life. No one can claim that the American intervention has settled anything rather it has unleashed new and longstanding animosities. The return home of US forces will prove that without a doubt. The same can be said for the NATO intervention in Afghanistan which Canada did get involved in with much sacrifice of life.&nbsp; Canadians and Americans and other countries have tried hard to extricate themselves from these quagmires. The USSR did so earlier with great loss.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">There is no doubt that these two interventions have caused much bitterness among the people of those countries and may well contribute to the &ldquo;root cause&rdquo; of the bombing in Boston and of the aborted (thankfully) VIA Rail bombing. The ghost of Osama lives on.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">By now I shall have been written off as being soft on crime and the enemy in general. Certainly this cannot be said for the Harper Conservatives who are busy building new and bigger jails, who have closed such rehabilitative institutions as the Joyceville penitentiary farm north of Kingston and have passed more security legislation that will undoubtedly curtail public freedoms. Pointing to Boston and to Toronto they have the perfect argument that security trumps freedom.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">I fear that looking for root causes puts us into uncomfortable situations. The image of our so-called democratic society becomes somewhat tainted at least in the eyes of many of the world&rsquo;s people and perhaps even in our own.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">The West has painted itself into a precarious corner. Frankly, it is hard to know how we can change our image from that of warlords equipped with the most sophisticated weaponry and delivery systems to that of peacemakers and peacekeepers. Canada has totally given up on those roles. We are not trusted by many and thus some of the young&nbsp; idealistic, impressionable, and, yes &ldquo;fearless to the point of self sacrifice&rdquo; are ready to take up violent means. The two brothers involved in the Boston bombing are signs of that.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Root causes are difficult to deal with, perhaps even impossible without a serious&nbsp; rethinking of our position in the world. This does not mean being soft on crime or not pursuing the perpetrators and bringing them to justice, but it certainly means&nbsp; stopping the justifying and celebrating our own acts of aggression abroad. How many civilians particularly children have we murdered with the use of drones in Pakistan? We must stop backing repressive military dictatorships and cease supporting those who exploit the poor at home and abroad.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Have we the will and the courage to question ourselves and our ways in the past? Have we painted ourselves too far into the corner to find a way out except to deny that we are cornered? Cornered animals are dangerous and so are we. In which case my sense of hope has been badly tarnished.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">But I believe in a Spirit that leads us in ways hitherto unthought of, that hopefully may yet take us from violence to peace. This is not being soft on crime but hard on our own sense of integrity and justice. For that Spirit I dare to pray.<br />
The term &ldquo;Root Cause&rdquo;&nbsp; has taken on new currency since Justin Trudeau, the new leader of the Liberal Party, referred to it after the Boston Marathon bombing. Accolades and brickbats descended on him forthwith.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">As expected, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, immediately took issue criticizing Trudeau for being soft on crime: &ldquo;When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes, you condemn it categorically and, to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.&rdquo;</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Trudeau had insisted that &ldquo;there is no question that the (Boston bombings) happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded ... our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?&rdquo;</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Undoubtedly there will be many Canadians, not usually in Harper&rsquo;s camp, who will agree with him on this issue. The crime was horrendous and it appears that the perpetrators were not at the end of their ability to cause more carnage. There were more pressure cookers at the ready. This fear has been especially enhanced here in Canada&nbsp; with the arrest of two suspects planning to blow up a VIA Rail train. There is now much shaking of heads and agreeing that there is an evil foreign influence at work. Al-Quaeda rides again, even in Canada!</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">But Trudeau&rsquo;s call for a probe of a root cause does not, at least in my mind, mean being soft on crime. He believes that we need to take a serious look at what precipitates such violence, not exonerating it.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">There is much unrest in the world, much of it precipitated by western powers. I refer to the Iraq war which, thank God, Canada avoided and which Harper would only too readily have joined. The US forces quickly overran the country and Bush announced proudly &ldquo;mission accomplished&rdquo; while the country lay in ruins. Unrest has continued with daily bombings and loss of life. No one can claim that the American intervention has settled anything rather it has unleashed new and longstanding animosities. The return home of US forces will prove that without a doubt. The same can be said for the NATO intervention in Afghanistan which Canada did get involved in with much sacrifice of life.&nbsp; Canadians and Americans and other countries have tried hard to extricate themselves from these quagmires. The USSR did so earlier with great loss.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">There is no doubt that these two interventions have caused much bitterness among the people of those countries and may well contribute to the &ldquo;root cause&rdquo; of the bombing in Boston and of the aborted (thankfully) VIA Rail bombing. The ghost of Osama lives on.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">By now I shall have been written off as being soft on crime and the enemy in general. Certainly this cannot be said for the Harper Conservatives who are busy building new and bigger jails, who have closed such rehabilitative institutions as the Joyceville penitentiary farm north of Kingston and have passed more security legislation that will undoubtedly curtail public freedoms. Pointing to Boston and to Toronto they have the perfect argument that security trumps freedom.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">I fear that looking for root causes puts us into uncomfortable situations. The image of our so-called democratic society becomes somewhat tainted at least in the eyes of many of the world&rsquo;s people and perhaps even in our own.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">The West has painted itself into a precarious corner. Frankly, it is hard to know how we can change our image from that of warlords equipped with the most sophisticated weaponry and delivery systems to that of peacemakers and peacekeepers. Canada has totally given up on those roles. We are not trusted by many and thus some of the young&nbsp; idealistic, impressionable, and, yes &ldquo;fearless to the point of self sacrifice&rdquo; are ready to take up violent means. The two brothers involved in the Boston bombing are signs of that.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Root causes are difficult to deal with, perhaps even impossible without a serious&nbsp; rethinking of our position in the world. This does not mean being soft on crime or not pursuing the perpetrators and bringing them to justice, but it certainly means&nbsp; stopping the justifying and celebrating our own acts of aggression abroad. How many civilians particularly children have we murdered with the use of drones in Pakistan? We must stop backing repressive military dictatorships and cease supporting those who exploit the poor at home and abroad.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">Have we the will and the courage to question ourselves and our ways in the past? Have we painted ourselves too far into the corner to find a way out except to deny that we are cornered? Cornered animals are dangerous and so are we. In which case my sense of hope has been badly tarnished.</p>
 
<p style="text-align: justify;">But I believe in a Spirit that leads us in ways hitherto unthought of, that hopefully may yet take us from violence to peace. This is not being soft on crime but hard on our own sense of integrity and justice. For that Spirit I dare to pray.<br One Up — Four to go

Rene Gonzalez: Happy among his people and family

07 May 2013 HAVANA, Cuba — On his way out of the US Interests Section in Havana on Monday 06 May, René Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban antiterrorist heroes unfairly condemned by a US court, said he was very happy to be among his people and family.
 
Gonzalez arrived at the US diplomatic mission accompanied by his lawyer Phillip Horowitz, to begin the formal procedure of relinquishing his US citizenship, a condition imposed by Judge Joan Lenard to allow him to stay permanently in Cuba. (More)
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Science

After a violent youth

Earth is said to be getting calmer in middle age

By Staff Writers
Terra Daily
 
Ancient Earth, image.07 May 2013 SIDNEY Australia — Earth endured a tectonic upheaval 1.1 billion years ago that saw the world's continents collide and form a single supercontinent, Australian researchers say.

It was the most active period of tectonic motions in Earth's history but the globe has been getting calmer since, they said.

Martin Van Kranendonk of the University of New South Wales and Christopher Kirkland of the Geological Survey of Western Australia set out to reconstruct the history of plate tectonics to determine whether Earth has been getting more or less active over time.

Their analysis of 3,200 rock samples from around the world suggests tectonic activity increased from 3 billion years ago, when the Earth was very young, to a peak around 1.1 billion years ago and then fell, NewScientist.com reported Tuesday.

During the peak, all the continents collided and merged into a vast supercontinent called Rodinia, the researchers said, spanned by a mountain range that dwarfed today's Himalayas.

However, in its middle age the planet has calmed down considerably, they said.

Does that mean it will eventually go completely quiet? (More)

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Climate record from bottom of Russian lake

shows Arctic was warmer millions of years ago

By Eurasia Review
 
Image: The Lake El'gygytgyn drilling rig is shown at night. Credit: The Lake El'gygytgyn Drilling Project09 May 2013The Arctic was very warm during a period roughly 3.5 to 2 million years ago–a time when research suggests that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was roughly comparable to today’s–leading to the conclusion that relatively small fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels can have a major influence on Arctic climate, according to a new analysis of the longest terrestrial sediment core ever collected in the Arctic.

“One of our major findings is that the Arctic was very warm in the middle Pliocene and Early Pleistocene–roughly 3.6 to 2.2 million years ago–when others have suggested atmospheric carbon dioxide was not much higher than levels we see today,” said Julie Brigham-Grette, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (More)

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Nanotech researcher says

‘Everything is possible’ in new brain treatments

By David Ferguson
RawStory.com
 
Nano Brain image8 May 2013 — Raw Story reported Tuesday on a new technique pioneered by researchers at Florida International University for treating HIV by acting directly on the brain, delivering medicine across the blood-brain barrier through the use of nanoparticles. Wednesday, we spoke to Florida International University researcher Sakhrat Khizroev about the breakthrough and its potential for treatment of other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and brain cancers.
 
“Crossing the blood-brain barrier using nanoparticles is not a new thing,” explained Khizroev. “Our discovery involved using the latest nanoparticles, called magneto-electric particles.” These particles utilize quantum mechanics to couple fields of magnetic and electric energy without generating heat.
 
The FIU team’s approach uses magnetic energy to manipulate the electrical charges of those particles once they are inside the brain. Khizroev and the research team loaded the nanoparticles with the drug AZTTP, then signaled them to release the drug directly at the site of infected tissue. (More.)
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Sunshine makes women feel sexier - study

Report also says sunshine has more impact on women than men

Daily Mail

summer confidence bikinni image03 May 2013 LONDON England — After months hiding behind winter coats and woolly tights, you might think women would dread the hassle of getting ready to bare their skin in the summer.

But it seems the majority embrace the warmer weather — because it actually makes them feel sexier, according to research.

 
Far from becoming more self-conscious as their outfits get strappier, a study of 2 000 Brits found 59 percent of women feel more attractive in June, July and August. (More)
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Health Watch
 
First they came for the stomach ulcers, now ...
 
 
Scientists hail medical breakthrough by which millions
could avoid major surgery by taking antibiotics instead
 
By Ian Sample
The Guardian
 
Aching back image
7 May 2013 — Up to 40% of patients with chronicback pain could be cured with a course of antibiotics rather than surgery, in a medical breakthrough that one spinal surgeon says is worthy of a Nobel prize.
 
Surgeons in the UK and elsewhere are reviewing how they treat patients with chronic back pain after scientists discovered that many of the worst cases were due to bacterial infections.
 
The shock finding means that scores of patients with unrelenting lower back pain will no longer face major operations but can instead be cured with courses of antibiotics costing around £114.
 
One of the UK's most eminent spinal surgeons said the discovery was the greatest he had witnessed in his professional life, and that its impact on medicine was worthy of a Nobel prize.
 
"This is vast. We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics," said Peter Hamlyn, a consultant neurological and spinal surgeon at University College London hospital. (More.)
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Israeli justice minister pledges to end gender segregation

Israel’s secular majority struggles with ultra-orthodox minority which seeks to enforce gender segregation, including making women sit at the back of buses

By Jeffrey Heller
Reuters News Agency
 
Image: Israeli women ride on a bus used mainly by ultra-Orthodox Jews during a protest against zealots trying to enforce gender separation in public places. RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS09 May 2013 JERUSALEM, Israel — Back-of-the-bus seating for women on public transport in Israel will be outlawed soon, its justice minister said on Thursday, pledging sweeping legislation to stop Jewish religious zealots trying to enforce gender segregation in many spheres of life.
 
The issue is at the heart of a long and emotional struggle between Israel’s secular majority and an ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority over lifestyle in the Jewish state.
 
“Today, I instructed the Justice Ministry to draft legislation . . . that will make any segregation of women and their humiliation in a public space a criminal offence,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said on her Facebook page.
 
She made the announcement a day after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommended outlawing any behaviour that stops women from receiving “public services with equal conditions”. (More)
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By Daily Mail

Image: Sheryl Crow.22 March 2013 LONDON EnglandLadies, if you’re not yet 50, you’ve got something to look forward to. And if you are? Well, you’re probably reading this with a smile on your face.

Because sex, relationships and wellbeing all improve once a woman has celebrated half a century, according to research.

In a poll, 49 percent of older women said they felt generally happier with life since turning 50.

And more than a quarter said they were enjoying sex more than ever, with at least one in five venturing between the sheets with their partner at least once a week – the same as women in their 20s.

The survey of 1 500 British women aged 20 to 65 also found that those aged 50-plus were happier, more active and more adventurous than their younger counterparts.

Among the single women, 11 percent of over-50s used online dating sites to broaden their social circles and meet new men, compared to 15 percent of those in their 20s.

And those in stable relationships were not stuck in a rut either, with nearly half of older women saying they enjoyed time spent with their partners more since turning 50.

Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that 50 percent of the older women also said they still donned sexy lingerie – and would not sacrifice allure for comfort.

Far from slowing down with age, the survey, carried out by lingerie firm Playtex, found 50-plus women are more active than their younger counterparts, with almost half (42 percent) starting energetic zumba dance classes in the past year. (More)
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How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

Hot Home News:  Jackie's Mom, Rita Rudner and Fifty Shades Of Grey Penthouse

This week at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com we take a look at the just sold $8.6 million Georgetown home that Jacqueline Kennedy's mother, Janet Lee Auchincloss, purchased during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Its history also includes Martha Washington’s great great granddaughter; the first mayor of Georgetown; and Laughlin Phillips, former CIA operative, founder of Washingtonian magazine and head of the family's Phillips Collection — the first American modern art museum. Hillary Clinton considered buying this home in 2000 following her election to the U.S. Senate.

In other home new:

The setting for the steamy Fifty Shades Of Grey novel is a stunning penthouse on top of Escala, Seattle’s new high rise condo in the heart of downtown. It was picture perfect for the character Christian Grey and is now that for the new owners, who paid $6.2 million to acquire the fantasy laden condo. The 5,100 square-foot home in the sky has stunning views over Elliott Bay, the Olympic mountains and downtown. It is the highest price ever paid for a condo in Seattle.

The 1920's era Villa Lauriston estate was built by Herbert Edwards Law, a San Francisco capitalist better known for purchasing the historic Fairmont Hotel just days before the 1906 earthquake. Unlike his peers who built their mansions in the city, Law chose to build his 16,000 square foot home in the rolling hills to the south in today’s Silicon Valley. Law made many trips to Europe where he acquired marble flooring, fountains and statuary, wrought iron gates, leaded and stained glass windows, brass hardware, bronze and crystal light fixtures, paintings and artwork. Villa Lauriston was for sale at $20 million, now going to auction.

Also, Rita Rudner has made a funny video to help sell her $8.975 million California beach home, and Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are Florida neighbors with new homes who will be competing this week in The Masters.

Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's most entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week. News such as weird celebrity homes, haunted homes you can actually buy, and dirty real estate tricks.

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com also features Top 10 Condo Developer Deals, Top 10 upcoming home and condo auctions, and regional real estate agents' choices for the best deals in their areas.

Contact:
Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator
terry@toptenrealestatedeals.com
 


The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
(To read the stories just click on the italic titles. Please tell us what you think.)
 
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow 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 Country 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 Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.