Friday 18 March 2011


Chernobyl cleanup expert slams Japan and IAEA

Corporate greed and bullied UN watchdog

dooms Japan to spreading nuclear disaster

The Moscow Times

16 March 2011 VIENNA — Greed in the nuclear industry and corporate influence over the UN watchdog for nuclear power may doom Japan to a spreading nuclear disaster, one of the men brought in to clean up Chernobyl said Tuesday.

Slamming the Japanese response at Fukushima, Russian nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreyev accused corporations and the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of willfully ignoring lessons from the world's worst nuclear accident 25 years ago to protect the industry's expansion.

"After Chernobyl, all the force of the nuclear industry was directed to hide this event, for not creating damage to their reputation," Andreyev said in an interview. "The Chernobyl experience was not studied properly because who has money for studying? Only industry. But industry doesn't like it." 350 words.

Chavez says Jimmy Carter should lead

peace delegation to resolve Libyan conflict

By Edward Ellis
Correo del Orinoco International

11 March 2011 CARACAS. Venezuela —  Member states of the Latin American and Caribbean alliance, ALBA, pledged their support last Friday for a peace delegation to intercede in the insurrection currently playing out in the North African country of Libya.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the regional trade alliance’s political council held in Caracas. 484 words.

Qaddhafi threatens to join forces

with al-Qaida if West attacks Libya

Libyan leader says he is shocked by betrayal of European leaders, his former allies, who have slapped economic sanctions on Tripoli following a violent crackdown on protests in the country.
Israel news

15 March 2011 TRIPOLI, Libya — Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddhafi has warned Western leaders that if they dare to attack the North African country, he would form an alliance with al-Qaida - who he previously claimed are responsible for the domestic rebellion currently taking place in Libya – and together declare holy war against the West.

Qaddhafi dismissed demands by world powers for a no-fly zone or airstrikes on Libya, telling the Italian daily Il Giornale on Tuesday, "We will fight and win. A situation of that type will only serve to unite the Libyan people." If western forces attacked Libya, "We will ally ourselves with al-Qaida and declare holy war," he said. 538 words.

Montreal's La Presse to slash print run

of 200,000 to 75,000 in move to digital

Will offer free ipads for long-term subscribers


11 March 2011 MONTREAL — One of Canada's most influential French-language newspapers is discarding most of its print distribution to focus on a digital edition, and will give away iPads to promote the move, Canadian media reported on Friday.
La Presse, which was founded in 1884, will phase out its printed broadsheet over three to five years, online trade publication said.
The Montreal-based newspaper's circulation of around 200,000 will be slashed to 75,000, rival Le Devoir reported. 247 words.

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
Editor's Notes
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 9 (268)
Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Editorial

Reality Check: Approval of a no-fly zone doesn't mean

the U.N. has given go-ahead for regime change in Lybia

By Robert Naiman

18 March 2011 — It's a great thing that the Obama administration has resisted calls for unilateral US military action in Libya, and instead is working through the United Nations Security Council, as it is required to do by the United Nations Charter.

Now, the administration needs to follow through on this commitment to international law by ensuring that foreign military intervention remains within the four corners of what the UN Security Council has approved. If it does not, and instead Western powers take the view that we now have a blank check to do whatever we want, the certain consequence will be that it will be much more difficult to achieve Security Council action in a similar situation in the future, and those who complain that the Security Council is too cautious will have only themselves to blame.558 words.

Our readers write
In praise of Columnist Frances Sedgwick

Knitting on a street car

11 February 2011 — Had great fun reading Frances Sedgwick experiences on the Toronto street car. (ParkTales Friday, February 11, 2011.)

I came from a small town in Holland to Toronto in 1953, and yes, was used to people saying good morning, and engaging in small talk until they reached the stop where they had to get off.

Funny thing was, that in Toronto not all found my cheerful good morning normal, and looked at me, as if I had come from another planet. Well, to some degree that was true.

It did not take me long to keep my mouth shut, and just sit there staring out of the window all the years i spent in that too large City.   But many years later I moved to Ottawa, many years later, and, unlike Toronto, I found those who do talk on the bus.

Conversationa included sharing opinions on election news (so different from what the had expected), and of course the weather, on the timeliness of the buses, the manners of the drivers, and the lovely flowers in the spring on parliament hill. Before you know it, you're at your stop and sorry to leave the exchange of feelings, opinions and ideas. A most enjoyable sharing. I took special pleasure in talking with the homeless.

Frances, thanks for sharing the knitting story. I hope the child learned to enjoy knitting as I never learned to do. Yohanna Loonen, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair on International Women's Day

I really enjoyed the article "International Women's Day...", a celebration of local women's dedication and caring and their impact on their respective communities. Some continue to offer loving support despite their advancing years. — Liliane Gratton, Bourget, Ont.

Lovely article! I could feel the joyful energy and the community gratitude that went into honouring the lives of these very special ladies. — Marie Mignault, Orléans (Ottawa), Ont.

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The importance of infrastructure

Cities need ongoing help maintaining basic services

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

18 March 2011 —  The federal and provincial governments face a lot of pressure to cut spending and get their financial houses in order.

That could be bad news for municipal governments that have a whopping backlog of sewers, roads and other essential infrastructure to improve and replace. In 2007, a McGillUniversitystudy estimated there was $123 billion backlog in municipal infrastructure upgrading and another $153 billion needed in new facilities.  —763 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

New life for unused parking lots caused by rapid transit

Vancouver Observer

12 March 2011 VANCOUVER British Columbia — I look out the window each day to a sea of concrete. One full city block, 72 parking spaces, always empty. I’ve been studying at SFU Harbour Centre in Downtown Vancouver for the last few months. From our third floor classroom I see that the large parking garage next door is never close to full. Nearby lots are the same, with many floors of empty space, hundreds of empty parking stalls, even during peak weekday hours.

Vancouver Councilor Geoff Meggs confirms that half-empty lots are part of a larger trend in downtown parking. Easypark, the city-owned parking management company, has seen a dramatic 20% drop in revenues since the Canada Line was built, a trend Councilor Meggs attributes to changing travel patterns:

“It’s not just an economic downturn, it’s a fundamental shift because of increased investments in rapid transit,” says Meggs. 2,859 Words.

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor, Ottawa

Vital 'Milk Runs' are threatened

by proposed cutbacks in public transportation

'Bus services affect everyone in the city and we all need to be concerned when they're threatened'

By Linda Lalonde
True North Perspective

18 March 2011 OTTAWA Canada — The budget that was passed last week included severe cuts to OC Transpo, the city's public transportation system.

In order to keep operating, the Transit Commission will have to cut back on routes and other services to the public. They are going to do this by amalgamating part or all of some routes, cutting hours of operation on some and amputating sections of some. Some routes aren't affected at all and some are going to be hit by all three types of cuts.

The target is local routes that run through our communities during the day plus evenings and weekends that are being labelled, rather derisively, by the mayor as  "milk runs". 

Express routes are seen as efficient and necessary because they take people to day jobs while the community routes are expendable since they only take people to unnecessary things like shopping, medical appointments, schools, evening and weekend shift work jobs, play groups, family get-togethers, church, social events, and other frivolous activities.

On March 23 the Transit Commission will be tabling the proposed changes at a meeting that will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 941 words.
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

When things go wrong, don’t despair!

What if love was a skill you could strengthen and master?

True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more
18 March 2011 — Your mind may be elsewhere right now! You may be worried about a possible nuclear meltdown following the 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that is causing a nuclear nightmare in Japan. And to top this, the 4.6 tremor felt in this area on Wednesday may have reminded you that no one is safe when Mother Nature unleashes its fury. The world has witnessed many disasters in the past year or so. The earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and New Zealand are still fresh in our collective memories.978  words.

Spirit Quest

Do I care? Does anyone?

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

18 March 2011 — Does anyone really care? It is a question often asked by those who have laboured hard for some cause but whose efforts have been left unacknowledged.

It is also a complaint heard from those who have experienced hardship, loss and sorrow, whose lot is unseen and they feel forgotten. It is a question on the minds of lonely people, the neglected and misunderstood. Unfortunately their ranks are many. Indeed, most at some time in our lives have  wondered whether there is anybody who cares.1,196 words.


The Panhandler

Humour is definitely a tool of his trade
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.

18 March 2011 — On my way home from swimming I stopped at the liquor store to get a bottle of wine for an evening engagement.

As I left the store, there on the curb, was a cheerful, familiar, panhandler.  

Have a nice day, he said with a smile. 
Now I sometimes give a donation to this friendly, I assume needy, individual, but this day I only had my charge card since I was returning from swimming.
"Sorry mate I only have plastic today, do you take Mastercard?" I said with a chuckle.

He laughed and said you have to listen to this and told me the story of when he was "panning" on Bay Street in front of the "high end" bars.  — 315 words.


As winter starts its long retreat from the lawns of Ottawa ...

  Photo by Geoffrey Dow  
  ... a wild mower slowly wakes from its frigid slumber  

Always worth repeating

'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.

By Tamara Pearson

14 March 2011 Merida, Venezuela — On Friday, March 11, President Hugo Chavez announced the creation of the Ministry of Youth and Students to address the needs of young people, which will be run by them.

“We are already thinking about how to structure this ministry, which the Venezuelan, working, student, sport, rural, indigenous, female, male, and artistic youth are going to run,” Chavez said during a meeting to organise the upcoming first National Bicentenary Student Congress.

He said it was the youth who have enough “fire” to make a revolution, and yesterday on national television he said that the new ministry should “grow out of the dynamic of the youth, I don’t want to choose a minster who has the magic wand to run it. No, rather it should be the other way around, that’s the idea.” — 794 words.

You can count on the True North Team

Publishers are cutting back and that includes in-house editors

Outside editors of the True North Team

are rescuing writers from oblivion

We handle fiction and memoirs and full-length books

Manuscript editing to ghost writing

Everything to put the best face on your work to publishers and the reading public

For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact

or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225

Always looking forward

U.S. citizen Alan Gross sentenced to 15 years jail in Cuba

14 March 2011 HAVANA —The Court for Crimes against the Security of the State in the Provincial Court of Havana sentenced U.S. citizen Alan Philip Gross to 15 years in prison on Friday, March 11, for "Acts against the Independence or the Territorial Integrity of the State."

In making this decision, the court took into account the testimony, expert and documentary proof presented during the trial, especially those presented by the prosecution that proved the direct involvement of the American contractor in a subversive project sponsored by the U.S. Government to overthrow the Cuban Revolution using private systems of communication and information in order to promote destabilizing plans against different groups in the Cuban population.

During the trial, the accused recognized being used and manipulated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a subordinate of the State Department and the financial sponsor of the DAI contractor company, on behalf of which Gross travelled to Cuba. (End)

'Less than 20. More than five.'

Stolen-car moments with ‘Daily Show’ star

Samantha Bee says cars were just for road trips

Samantha Bee, Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Most Senior Correspondent, reminisces about her shady past in Toronto

By Yvonne Marton
Special to The Star
11 March 2011 — Toronto-born Samantha Bee, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s “Most Senior Correspondent,” isn’t intentionally vague. It’s just that when it comes to pinning down the actual number of cars she helped steal — as a teenager mind you — it’s all a surreal blur.

“It just seemed so adventurous and it just seemed like the right thing to be doing,” she says.  Contrite today, Bee says she was easily influenced by others; admitting that at the time, her moral compass wasn’t very strong. “My needle went all over the place. I had no idea which end was up for a long, long time.”

Like her send-ups of the nightly news, it could be hard to discern how much of Bee’s tales of unconventional family life and troubled adolescence is fact and how much is brilliant comedy — or both. But she’s on the record, saying that it really happened.

Recounting her teen crime spree in her hilarious book, I Know I Am But What Are You, the 41-year-old actress and comic writes that the stolen cars (she says she served as the lookout) were used for out-of-town road trips. — 898 words.
(No) freedom of the amateur press

Minnesota 'community leader' engaged in mortage fraud

Wins $60,000 from blogger who exposed the truth

Jurors said "Johnny Northside" intentionally interfered with man's job at University of Minnesota
By Abby Simons
Star Tribune
12 March 2011 — Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.
The jury awarded Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress. The civil verdict culminated a nearly two-year legal scuffle between John Hoff, whose blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, has 300 to 500 readers daily, and Moore, former director of the Jordan Area Community Council.743 words.
Genetic comparison with chimps suggests that losing chunks of DNA – including one associated with penis spines and facial whiskers – played a crucial role in making us human
By Ian Sample
The Guardian
9 March 2011 — Scientists have identified a clutch of subtle genetic changes that have shaped our minds and bodies into the unique form that sets humans apart from chimpanzees and the rest of the animal kingdom.
The work by researchers in the US represents a landmark in a search that has occupied philosophers and scientists for millennia and one that goes to the heart of understanding what it means to be human.
The findings offer up the humbling conclusion that the secret of human success may owe more to what we lost along the path of evolution, rather than anything we gained. 721 words.

South American rivals opt for peace in leadership compromise

Secretary-general post split between Colombia and Venezuela

By Merco Press

14 March 2011 BOGATA Colombia — Colombia’s former Deputy Foreign Secretary Emma Mejía will be occupying the post of UNASUR secretary-general for the next twelve months beginning April, while Venezuela’s Ali Rodriguez will hold the post on the following twelve months.
UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) has been founded to create an assertive representation of Latin American countries independent of U.S. control. 313 words.
Whistle-blowing U.S. soldier held naked in solitary confinement 23 hours per day — allegedly for own safety
By Kevin Zeese
17 March 2011 — Bradley Manning's appeal of the refusal to relax his conditions of confinement makes a strong case that he has been a model prisoner who is being unjustly abused. His inhumane treatment violates his due process rights and is cruel and unusual punishment.
After providing detailed descriptions of his excellent behavior and the positive reports he has received while detained at Quantico since July 29, 2010, Manning contradicts the military's claim that he is being treated just like any other prisoner.2,367 words.

From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

No pictures, please, we're (animal-abusing) farmers!
Associated Press
17 March 2011 — The Iowa House approved a bill Thursday to prevent animal rights activists from getting hired on farms just so they can secretly record what they believe is the mistreatment of livestock.

The bill has had strong support from farmers angered by repeated releases of secretly filmed videos claiming to show the mistreatment of farm animals. It was introduced after groups around the nation released videos showing cows being shocked, pigs being beaten and chicks ground up alive.631 words.


'Tired' voters give Putin's United Russia

an average of 46% support in regional elections

United Russia won 375, or 70 per cent, of all seats in regional legislatures . . . The Communists came a distant second with 71 seats (13 percent) followed by A Just Russia with 48, and the Liberal Democratic Party with 33.

“It means that people, despite being tired, evaluate United Russia’s activity in a positive way and express with their votes a hope that the situation will change,” Putin said during a visit to Tomsk, Interfax reported.

Two billionaires elected as independents .

By Alexandra Odynova
The St. Petersburg Times
16 March 2011 MOSCOW — United Russia scored an unconvincing victory in Sunday’s regional vote, leaving some analysts in doubt about whether it could perform better in the decisive battle for the State Duma (parliament) in December.
Preliminary results showed that the ruling party swept most of the 3,300 elections held in 74 regions on Sunday but had the support of less than half the population, with an average 46 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results released Monday. 768 words.

Bolshoi ballet head quits in erotic photos scandal

Associated Press
16 March 2011 MOSCOW—The director of the Bolshoi ballet troupe has resigned after erotic photographs purporting to be of him were posted on the Internet and circulated via a weblink to thousands of email addresses. 124 words.

From the Desk of Bob Kay, Contributing Editor, Montreal

No Jews for Debutante Melinda

A US Navy cruiser off Mississippi for a week's shore leave. The first evening, the ship's Captain received the following note from the wife of a wealthy plantation owner:

Dear Captain, Thursday will be my daughter Melinda's Debutante Ball. I would like you to send four well-mannered, handsome, unmarried officers in their formal dress uniforms to attend the dance. They should arrive promptly at 8:00 p.m. prepared for an evening of polite Southern conversation. They should be excellent dancers, as they will be the escorts of lovely refined young ladies. One last point: No Jews please.

Sending a written message by his own yeoman, the captain replied: 365 words.

U.S. pays $2.34 million 'blood money' for release

of CIA contractor Ray Davis in Pakistan killings

A Pakistani court has freed a US CIA contractor after acquitting him of two counts of murder at a hearing held at a prison in Lahore, officials say.

16 March 2011 LAHORE Pakistan — Raymond Davis, 36, was alleged to have shot dead two men in the eastern city of Lahore in January following what he said was an attempted armed robbery.
The acquittal came when relatives of the dead men pardoned him in court. They confirmed to the judge overseeing the case that they had received compensation - known as "blood money". 1,023 words.

Redhead Spy Anna Chapman In From Cold, Out On Web


05 March 2011 MOSCOW — Russian spy Anna Chapman is in from the cold and out on the Internet with an official web site featuring photos, news and an upbeat message urging Russians to smile and be self-reliant.

The site is the latest venture from Chapman, who has made a media splash since her deportation from the United States in a Cold War-style spy swap last July.
She has posed in slinky lingerie for photographs with the Kremlin as a backdrop, started a weekly television show, trademarked her name and taken a position with the youth wing of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party. 265 words.
(Far-right) 'populism' on both sides of the Atlantic
You'd think a party that attracts voters by calling Islam a backward, totalitarian ideology, openly using the term "rotten Moroccans", and calling for banning the Koran would have some trouble accusing anybody else of a "hate-campaign". But they've got gumption, they're smart, and they know how this stuff works.
The Economist
10 March 2011 — The two most consistently fascinating, and most consistently infuriating, email lists I subscribe to are those of Tea Party Nation and Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV). One thing that's extremely interesting about reading both lists is how similar, on a formal level, their strategies and appeals are.
For example, yesterday I got an email from the PVV relaying the questions put to a government minister by one of the PVV's members of parliament, regarding a scandal over an Amsterdam Muslim-oriented community organisation, Asri, that ran a local get-out-the-vote campaign including the message:
"Asri calls on everyone to go vote on March 2. The future, or back to 1939." The PVV response, in the form of questions to the Minister of the Interior, under the headline "No subsidies for hate-campaign against the cabinet":792 words.
Money and Markets (or tales from the Brothers Grimm)
By Conn Hallinan
Foreign Policy in Focus
17 March 2011 — In the Greek town of Aphidal, people have stopped paying road fees. In Athens, bus and metro riders are refusing to cough up the price of a ticket. On Feb. 23, 250,000 Greeks jammed the streets outside the nation’s parliament.
The Portuguese nominated the protest song “A Luta E’ Alegria” (The Struggle is Joy) for the Eurovision song contest and, when judges ignored it, walked out in protest. They also put 300,000 people into the streets of the country’s major cities on Mar. 12.
Liverpool bailed from a Conservative-Liberal scheme to supplement government funding with private funding when it found there wasn’t any of either, and the British Toilet Association protested the closure of 1,000 public bathrooms across the country.
In ways big and small, Europeans from Greece to Portugal, from Britain to Bavaria are registering their growing anger with the relentless assault inflicted by government-imposed austerity programs.1,671 words.

Poll: Nearly two-thirds of Americans

say Afghan war isn’t worth fighting

By Scott Wilson and Jon Cohen
The Washington Post

15 March 2011 WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say the war in Afghanistan is no longer worth fighting, the highest proportion yet opposed to the conflict, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll

The finding signals a growing challenge for President Obama as he decides how quickly to pull U.S. forces from the country beginning this summer. After nearly a decade of conflict, political opposition to the battle breaks sharply along partisan lines, with only 19 percent of Democratic respondents and half of Republicans surveyed saying the war continues to be worth fighting.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say Obama should withdraw a “substantial number” of combat troops from Afghanistan this summer, the deadline he set to begin pulling out some forces. Only 39 percent of respondents, however, say they expect him to withdraw large numbers. 970 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. 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.