Friday 22 April 2011

 

NDP jumps ahead of Bloc in Quebec: Poll

Andrew Chung
Quebec Bureau
The Toronto Star

21 April 2011 MONTREAL — Never before seen in Canadian politics, the New Democratic Party has jumped to the top of the heap in Quebec, ahead of even the Bloc Québécois.

A new poll released by CROP, published in La Presse Thursday, shows that the NDP is the choice for 36 per cent of survey respondents, compared to 31 per cent for the Bloc. The Tories and Liberals trail at 17- and 13 per cent support respectively.

If the support holds it could lead to a breakthrough for the left wing party in the province.

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From the Desk of Sigrid Macdonald

Who benefits from low voter turnout?

Harper knows playing dirty keeps you away from voting

By Kerri-Anne Finn
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

14 April 2011 OTTAWA Canada — Right now people in other parts of the world are laying their lives on the line in the fight to bring democracy to their country in the hope they might one day cast a ballot in a free and fair election.

In Canada, increasing numbers of us aren’t voting.

Politics are boring. I don’t like any of the leaders. Nothing is going to change. My vote doesn’t really count, anyway.

The excuses Canadians give for not voting are many but evidence suggests one party in particular benefits from it — the Conservatives. — 408 words.
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While U.S. military exhausts the economy with war

'China is getting far more worldwide influence from its sovereign investment fund than the United States got from a $1 trillion war in Iraq and a half-trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan — with several more years to go. With the interest on the money the United States owes China — $1.3 trillion in trade debt — the Chinese are winning friends and influencing people at breakneck speed.'

By Arnaud De Borchgrave
United Press International

19 April 2011 WASHINGTON DC — While World Bank President Robert Zoellick warns that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis," China has broken ground and taken over the economic future of a country whose nearest island to the U.S. mainland is Bimini, only 50 miles away.

The Nassau Guardian editorialized: "The Bahamas has fallen fully into the embrace of China. And the rising empire has been kind with its gifts … What Bahamians must understand is that when China lends, and it contracts its own workers to do the job, a significant amount of the money borrowed goes back to China with the workers who build the project. They pay their workers with money we borrow … The Chinese also keep their workers in self-contained on-site camps when they are sent abroad. We barely get them to visit our stores to spend the money we borrowed when they are working in our countries."

When China invests in developing countries, Chinese labor is part of a "no-ticky-no-laundly" deal. A Chinese construction company recently broke ground for Baha Mar, a $3 billion gambling project on Cable Beach, 15 minutes from Nassau's international airport and 30 minutes from downtown Nassau. 1,012 words.
 

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight D. EisenhowerFrom a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953 34th president of US 1953-1961 (1890 - 1969)


Can there be any question that something big is happening here . . . ?

Sleepwalking into the Imperial Dark

What it feels like when a Superpower runs off the tracks

19 April 2011

TomDispatch.com

This can’t end well.

But then, how often do empires end well, really?  They live vampirically by feeding off others until, sooner or later, they begin to feed on themselves, to suck their own blood, to hollow themselves out.  Sooner or later, they find themselves, as in our case, economically stressed and militarily extended in wars they can’t afford to win or lose.

Historians have certainly written about the dangers of overextended empires and of endless war as a way of life, but there’s something distant and abstract about the patterns of history. It’s quite another thing to take it in when you’re part of it; when, as they used to say in the overheated 1960s, you’re in the belly of the beast. 

I don’t know what it felt like to be inside the Roman Empire in the long decades, even centuries, before it collapsed, or to experience the waning years of the Spanish empire, or the twilight of the Qing dynasty, or of Imperial Britain as the sun first began to set, or even of the Soviet Empire before the troops came slinking home from Afghanistan, but at some point it must have seemed at least a little like this — truly strange, like watching a machine losing its parts. It must have seemed as odd and unnerving as it does now to see a formerly mighty power enter a state of semi-paralysis at home even as it staggers on blindly with its war-making abroad. 2,727 words
 

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Guest Editorial
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 14 (273)
Friday, April 22, 2011

‘Harperizing’ our minds

Americanizing our perceptions

By John Meisel
The Toronto Star
 
19 April 2011 — Among the many reasons that attitudes toward public issues in Canada are moving to the political and economic right, one is particularly intriguing. It is that Canadians — who may have originally been indifferent to some government policies and even rejected them — change their views once these programs are in place.
 
The abolition of capital punishment is the most striking example, but there are others: acceptance of gay marriage; generous immigration policies; and tolerance toward cultural and religious traditions of newcomers at variance with the mainstream. Thus attitudes are insinuated from the top down in response to leadership provided by political elites.739 words.
 

Why Parliament runs like it has square wheels

While political parties treat 'their' MPs like fast-food franchises

The MPs are as disenchanted with Parliament as their constituents

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
Image manipulation by Geoffrey Dow22 April 2011 — With a lot of first time MPs likely to be elected May 2, Canadians might hope that the new faces will lead to more grown up behaviour among our Parliamentarians.
 
Don’t hold your breath. As a new report from Samara explains, the problem isn’t who we elect as much as the parties they belong to.
 
Samara is a charitable organization that has authored three studies based on exit interviews with 65 MPs who retired or were defeated between 2004 and 2009 to see how Parliament can be made a more effective voice for Canadians.907 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.
 
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

By Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez
Center for American Progress
 

19 April 2011  — On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such as solar and wind is safer for workers as well as better for public health, economic competitiveness, and the environment. We can take steps to make fossil fuel industries less dangerous while we transition to cleaner energy.
 
The toll of fossil fuels on human health and the environment is well documented. But our dependence on fossil fuels exacts a very high price on the people who extract or process these fuels. Every year, some men and women who toil in our nation’s coal mines, natural gas fields, and oil rigs and refineries lose their lives or suffer from major injuries to provide the fossil fuels that drive our economy.1,390 words.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Some say love, it is a flower …

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.

22 April 2011 — A friend sent me a lovely butterfly story that I’ve read before and always enjoy each time over. As the story goes, a man found a cocoon and wanting to help the butterfly emerge, he sliced the cocoon open; the butterfly was weak and its wings still immature. And so, the butterfly perished.
 

Thus it is, in love and in life. It is quite normal to want to protect our loved ones when they navigate difficult passages, but experience (good and bad) is what molds us. “I asked to fly and life gave me obstacles”, says the video. I can still remember how battered and exhausted I felt after my first marriage ended tragically… and yet, relief soon followed and the realization that I could now shape my own life by sheer will and perseverance. The secret was to persevere. 968 words.

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Spirit Quest
 

Saint Carmen lives, Hallelujah!

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

22 April 2011 — The time of hot cross buns, pussy willows and chocolate bunnies is upon us. But is there more to this season, perhaps the celebration of a resurrection?
 
Once upon a time Saint Laurent Boulevard divided the city of Montreal  between  the Anglos and the French. This colourful street was popularly known as The Main even by Francophones.  It was a red light district, an avenue of entertainment and sin.
 
Michel Tremblay, the quintessential Quebec playwright, located his fascinating drama Saint Carmen of the Main on this questionable terrain. I recently saw the play performed in Ottawa. 694 words.
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ParkTales

Spring Comes to Parkdale

Taking a walk is a truly satisfying feast for all five senses

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.

22 April 2011 — As I walk by the schoolyard I see the basketball players have returned.  In this case mostly Tibetan. There is a large community from Tibet in Parkdale.

One young man  from Tibet gave me a refresher course in driving and much to his dismay and my delight I failed both tests.  Such a gentle young man. He would tell me his problems while I was driving.  "You know Fran, what should  I do? My girlfriend used my cell phone to phone Tibet!!"

I was amused by this, thinking, in my day we sure never had problems like that — we didn't even have a phone let alone a cell-phone. I smiled at him and said the obvious, "Don't let her use your phone."

As I looked at the school, Parkdale Collegiate, I thought to myself, this  school may not have been here but for the will of the people in the community.

I recalled attending a meeting to save this school.  — 820 words.
 

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.


Communist nabs Tory seat when he fails

to show for a Toronto Fair-Vote meeting

By Frances Sedgwick
Parkdale Columnist
 
22 April 2011 — Wednesday, April 20, I attended a meeting co-sponsored by Fair Vote Canada and Canadians Advocating Political Participation.
 
The meeting was held at St Paul's Anglican Church on Bloor Street in Toronto to discuss fair voting in our electoral system, and proportional representation.
 
It was a very informative, well-attended meeting.
 
An interesting situation arose when Elizabeth Rowley, Ontario Leader of the Communist Party of Canada, a long time proponent of Proportional Representation, got up at the beginning of the meeting to challenge the decision to only include the four main parties — Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, the Greens.349 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

carl.dow@truenorthperspective.com

or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225

Always looking forward

From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

 

U.S. admits to funding Syrian opposition

But as with Libya, denies it wants 'regime change'

CBC News
 
16 April 2011 — The U.S. State Department acknowledged Monday it has been funding opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, following the release of secret diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks that document the funding.
 
The files show that up to $6.3 million US was funnelled to the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based dissident organization that operates the Barada TV satellite channel, which broadcasts anti-government news into Syria. Another $6 million went to support a variety of initiatives, including training for journalists and activists, between 2006 and 2010.
 
Asked point-blank by reporters whether the United States is funding Syrian opposition groups, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news conference Monday, "We are — we're working with a variety of civil society actors in Syria with the goal here of strengthening freedom of expression."659 words.
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One porn company has quietly taken control of almost one quarter of North America's 1-800 numbers

By David B. Caruso
The Associated Press
 
19 April 2011, NEW YORK — For years, teenagers across the U.S. could call a toll-free hotline if they had embarrassing questions about AIDS and safe sex. Dial the same number now and you get a recording of giggling women offering to talk dirty to you.

“We both have big appetites for sex,” they purr. “Pinch us and poke us. Spank us and tease us. We love it all. ... Enter your credit card number now.”

Those naughty misdials, and countless others like them, appear to be no accident.1,530 words.

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From the Desk of Laureen McKeon, The Canadian Journalism Project

'Liberal-Tory coalition kept Afghanistan off 2008 campaign'

Why the media loves elections polls -- but maybe shouldn't

By Erin James-Abra
J-Source.ca

Erin James-Abra is a freelance journalist in Toronto. She is working toward her Master of Journalism at Ryerson University.

20  April 2011 — On Monday, The Globe and Mail reported that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives lead the election horserace with the support of 39.8 per cent of Canadians, a full 10 percentage points ahead of Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals. Meanwhile, the NDP, under the leadership of Jack Layton, are rising steadily, now backed by 17.4 per cent of the population. As Simon Doyle, former deputy editor at the Ottawa-based independent newsweekly The Hill Times, says, “The polls tend to look at who’s up and who’s down, almost like a sports match.”

Doyle’s complaint is a common one, especially during election times. Though sports analogies often suit the scrappy side of political parties, ultimately governments deal with issues that are much weightier than whether, say, the Toronto Maple Leafs will make the playoffs. Unfortunately, when the media focus on horse race polls, weightier issues are relegated to the back pages. 851 words.
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From the Desk of Laureen McKeon The Canadian Journalism Project

The search for narrative in campaign 2011

J-Source.ca

19 April 2011 — Week three was supposed to be when things took off: media would know a whole lot more, and the election narrative would become clearer — and hopefully more dramatic. However, by week's end not much had changed. Elly Alboim discusses the media's search for good narrative when it comes to reporting Election 2011. Reprinted in full with permission from Carleton University's Political Perspectives.

By Elly Aboim

Elly Alboim is an associate professor of journalism and a former CBC TV Parliamentary bureau chief.

Among media, week three began with a sense of pregnant expectation. This was the week that the campaign would really begin, when things might start to shift and the campaign take off. By week’s end we would know a lot more and the narrative of the election would become clearer – and hopefully more dramatic. 543 words.
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Will the real terrorist please stand up

Democrat politicians, movie stars, among those

who sit for documentary on the jailed Cuban 5

16 April 2011 SAN FRANCISCO U.S.A. — When the Brava Theater opened its doors at 6 p.m. on Saturday April 16, there was a long line of people waiting to purchase their tickets to watch the new documentary by Saul Landau. The theater, situated in the heart of the Mission district, has a capacity of exactly 356 seats and each single one of them was taken. The premiere of the documentary Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up!brought an audience from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

Coincidently, the screening took place on the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Bay of Pigs when the CIA sent a force of Cuban exiles to over-throw the Cuban Government. The invasion was defeated, but 50 years later this new documentary shows that U.S.-backed violence against Cuba has continued unabated for decades. The film includes interviews with infamous anti-Cuban exiles such as Luis Posada-Carriles and Orlando Bosch, as well as recently filmed cameos of Fidel Castro and Danny Glover.

It also features fascinating archival footage of Cuba and a rare recorded interview from prison with Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban 5. These men are serving long sentences in U.S. prisons for trying to stop terrorism against tourist sites in their country. 832 words.
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Serbia says Kosovo prime minister sold

organs of Serb prisoners on black market

Associated Press

20 April 2011 BELGRADE, Serbia  Russia is backing Serbia's bid for the UN Security Council to authorize an investigation into allegations that Kosovan rebels traded in the organs of imprisoned Serbs during and after the 1998-99 war.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia was fully behind Serbia on the issue.

A December report by the Council of Europe claims that Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, was once the head of a criminal organization that kidnapped Serbs and other civilians and killed them to sell their organs on the black market.

Report investigator Dick Marty said harvested organs were sold to buyers outside Kosovo, including Turkey and the Middle East.

Lavrov, visiting Belgrade at the start of a Balkan tour that will take in Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia, said the report should be followed by a "full, non-compromised, impartial and objective" investigation. END.
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Migrants turn Moscow into Europe's biggest city

Gender split down the middle as female inflow increases

By Herbert Mosmuller
The Moscow Times

20 April 2011 Moscow is Europe's biggest city with a population that has swelled by 1.1 million people over the past eight years, mostly due to an inflow of migrants attracted by the best wages in the country, new statistics show.

The population has grown from 10.4 million to 11.5 million since 2002, as provincial Russians and natives from other former Soviet republics flock to the country's sprawling, chaotic capital, according to preliminary data from last fall's national census.

Moscow now boasts more than twice as many inhabitants as St. Petersburg, the country's second-largest city with 4.7 million, and almost eight times more than Novosibirsk, which ranks third with 1.4 million, according to statistics released last week on the web site for the census.

Moscow is also Europe's biggest city, well ahead of London, which places No. 2 with 7.7 million residents as of 2010, according to statistics by the British capital's authorities.788 words.
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Report from Obama's America

U.S. looks the other way as peaceful demonstrators

 
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
 
13 April 2011 WASHINGTON DC — If President Barack Obama wanted to place Washington "on the right side of history" during the ongoing "Arab Spring", his reaction to recent events in Bahrain will likely make that far more difficult, according to a growing number of analysts and commentators here.
 
While his administration has become ever more outspoken against repression in Syria and Yemen — not to mention Libya, where Obama has called for regime change — it has remained remarkably restrained about the escalating crackdown by the Sunni monarchy against the majority Shia population and prominent pro-democracy figures.
 
Professionals, including doctors, lawyers, and human rights activists, have not been immune from the repression. Media critical of the government have been effectively muzzled, bloggers arrested, local journalists hauled into court, and foreign journalists expelled. Even star football players have been booted off the national team and arrested for taking part in peaceful protests.1,243 words.
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Book Review

Six Days a Week: Travels with My Amp by Greg Godovitz

Reviewed by Sigrid Macdonald
Ottawa, Canada
 
Sigrid Macdonald is author of Be Your Own Editor and is available at 

22 April 2011 — If you think that being a rock 'n roll star is glamorous and lucrative, think again. It's hard work with long hours and no paid holidays or vacations, according to Canadian rock legend Greg Godovitz.
 
Bargain-basement accommodations on the way up leave much to be desired. And if you want to know where your money goes, you'd better have solid financial management or a clean, sober mind, both of which were lacking in Godovitz's rise to fame. But he doesn't regret any of it and provides all the gritty details in his stunning autobiography, Travels with My Amp.
 
So, buckle up your seatbelt and get ready for an action-packed, cocaine soaked, music loving ride in the Goddomobile. No, wait. On second thought, unfasten your belt -- Godovitz would hate you to be restrained.840 words.
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NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd

Says Bob Dylan is Blowin' In The Idiot Wind

10 April 2011

By Maureen Dowd
Op-Ed Columnist
The New York Times

Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out.

The idea that the raspy troubadour of '60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout -- even worse than Beyoncé, Mariah and Usher collecting millions to croon to Qaddafi's family, or Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding.

Before Dylan was allowed to have his first concert in China on Wednesday at the Worker's Gymnasium in Beijing, he ignored his own warning in ''Subterranean Homesick Blues'' — ''Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose'' — and let the government pre-approve his set.

Iconic songs of revolution like ''The Times They Are a-Changin,' '' and ''Blowin' in the Wind'' wouldn't have been an appropriate soundtrack for the 2,000 Chinese apparatchiks in the audience taking a relaxing break from repression. 828 words.
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Science

Not just methane rain and lakes, like Europa

Saturn's moon Titan might have giant subsurface ocean

Orbit and rotation indicate enormous water ocean lurks beneath icy surface

Technology Review

18 April 2011 — In the seven years Cassini has spent orbiting Saturn, the spacecraft has sent back mountains of data that has changed our view of the ringed planet and its moons. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has been a particular focus of attention because of its dense, complex atmosphere, its weather and its lakes and oceans.

Now it looks as if Titan is even stranger still. The evidence comes from careful observations of Titan's orbit and rotation. This indicates that Titan has an orbit similar to our Moon's: it always presents the same face towards Saturn and its axis of rotation tilts by about 0.3 degrees.

Together, these data allow astronomers to work out Titan's moment of inertia and this throws up something interesting. The numbers indicate that Titan's moment of inertia can only be explained if it is a solid body that is denser near the surface than it is at its centre.

That's just plain weird--unthinkable really, given what we know about how planets and moons form.  480 words.

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

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

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the 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.


The Associated Press

8 April 2011 — The secret network of jails, known as "black sites," that grew up after the Sept. 11 attacks are gone.

But suspected terrorists are still being held under hazy circumstances with uncertain rights in secret, military-run jails across Afghanistan, where they can be interrogated for weeks without charge, according to U.S. officials who revealed details of the top-secret network to The Associated Press.

 

Quantico Blocks official visits

to Bradley Manning by UN, Amnesty

By Michael Whitney
FDLAction
 
7 April 2011 — Government officials and Quantico Marine base haveblocked official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Amnesty International, and the UN Special Rappateur on torture. According to Manning’s attorney, Kucinich, Amnesty, and UN have been trying to get clearance for “official visits” to Manning at the Quantico Marine brig. — 282 words.
 

The Pentagon has previously denied operating secret jails in Afghanistan, although human rights groups and former detainees have described the facilities.

U.S. military and other government officials confirmed that the detention centres exist but described them as temporary holding pens whose primary purpose is to gather intelligence.

The Pentagon also has said that detainees only stay in temporary detention sites for 14 days, unless they are extended under extraordinary circumstances.

But U.S. officials told AP that detainees can be held at the temporary jails for up to nine weeks, depending on the value of information they produce. — 1,230 words.
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Report from Obama's America
 
 
By David Kravets
Wired
4 April 2011 — The authorities may seize laptops, cameras and other digital devices at the U.S. border without a warrant, and scour through them for days hundreds of miles away, a federal appeals court ruled.
 
The 2-1 decision (.pdf) Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as the government is increasingly invoking its broad, warrantless search-and-seizure powers at the U.S. border to probe the digital lives of travelers.
 
Under the “border search exception” of United States law, international travelers, including U.S. citizens, can be searched without a warrant as they enter the country.
 
Under the Obama administration, law enforcement agents have aggressively used this power to search travelers’ laptops, sometimes copying the hard drive before returning the computer to its owner. — 430 words.
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Waiting workers: why it's still hard to find a job

'Networking is essential to finding employment'

By Catherine Benesch
Student Journalist, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

04 April 2011 OTTAWA Canada — “When you’ve had a year of sending in resumes and hearing nothing, you can be like … 'there’s something wrong with me,’” said Kirsten Partanen, who’s just lived through a year of being unemployed.

“Why bother trying if I’m doing everything the way that I should, and nothing’s happening?”

Partanen, 43, sent out dozens of resumes after losing her job in early 2010. She did keep trying though – she’s starting a new job working with children at a local library.

It’s been a hard year for people like Partanen, even with the 322,000 new jobs created nationwide in the last 12 months.

Weary job seekers might be forgiven for wondering and worrying why it’s still so hard to find a job.

Even as conditions apparently improve, unemployment in Ontario still sits at more than eight per cent. That’s slightly above the national average of 7.8 per cent, and more than two percentage points higher than before the recession started in 2008, according to Statistics Canada.

“The statistics are bullshit,” said Aimee Britten, a freelance writer and consultant who has been looking for work since Christmas. — 1,208 words.
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Rear-view Mirror
 
 
 
By Robin McKie
The Guardian
 
13 March 2011 — It remains the one untarnished triumph of Soviet science. On 12 April 1961, a peasant farmer's son with a winsome smile crammed himself into a capsule eight feet in diameter and was blasted into space on top of a rocket 20 storeys high. One hundred and eight minutes later, after making a single orbit of our world, the young pilot parachuted back to Earth. In doing so,Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to journey into space.

The flight of Vostok 1 – whose 50th anniversary will be celebrated next month – was a defining moment of the 20th century and opened up the prospect of interplanetary travel for our species. It also made Gagarin an international star while his mission was hailed as clear proof of the superiority of communist technology. The 27-year-old cosmonaut became a figurehead for the Soviet Union and toured the world. He lunched with the Queen; was kissed by Gina Lollobrigida; and holidayed with the privileged in Crimea.

Gagarin also received more than a million letters from fans across the world, an astonishing outpouring of global admiration – for he was not obvious star material. He was short and slightly built. Yet Gagarin possessed a smile "that lit up the darkness of the cold war", as one writer put it, and had a natural grace that made him the best ambassador that the USSR ever had. Even his flaws seem oddly endearing by modern standards, his worst moment occurring when he gashed his head after leaping from a window to avoid his wife who had discovered a girl in his hotel room.

To many Russians, Gagarin occupies the same emotional territory as John F Kennedy or Princess Diana. The trio even share the intense attention of conspiracy theorists with alien abduction, a CIA plot, and suicide all being blamed for Gagarin's death in 1968. — 3,659 words.
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A fallen giant: The Soviet Space Industry

'Enormous challenges were laid before Soviet scientists, and they proved themselves up to the task.'

'The existence of nuclear physicists in the Soviet Union was an open secret, but no one knew about the missile-defense specialists who had worked in secret since the 1950s until the collapse of the Soviet Union.'

By Konstantin Bogdanov
RIA Novosti

04 04 2011 MOSCOW — Ordinary Russians see little connection between space exploration and economics. If anything, they see expensive space programs as a permanent drain on the nation's resources. Some are inclined to take it personally, as if the dark vacuum of space somehow sucked the money right out of their pockets.

Space is beyond the realm of the rational and, therefore, beyond the realm of economics. But Russia's space program was built, in part, by ordinary Russians using ordinary steel. Space exploration was considered a national priority in the Soviet Union, with the funding to match.

Elaborate production chains were set up, the necessary infrastructure was built, and state-of-the-art technologies were developed virtually from scratch. Aerospace specialists were paid stable salaries and received good housing, both of which were in short supply in the command economy of the Soviet Union.

But it wasn't just about the money for them. By their own account, they worked to experience the thrill of creative endeavor and to feel a sense of confidence about the future. — 1,395 words.
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The Associated Press

6 April 2011 — A Russian capsule delivered three new astronauts to the International Space Station on Wednesday, doubling the size of the crew just in time for a pair of major space anniversaries.

The Soyuz spacecraft docked two days after blasting off from Kazakhstan. The linkup took place 350 kilometres above the Andes Mountains of Chile.

Settling in for a five-month mission are Russians Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev, and American Ronald Garan Jr. — 257 words.
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While under house arrest Egypt's Mubarak

receives monthly allowance of $339. from the state

29 March 2011 — Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is in receipt of a monthly allowance of $339 from the state, an Egyptian paper said Tuesday.
 
Mubarak's pension as the former commander of the armed forces could not be disclosed, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said, citing an unnamed state official, RIA Novosti informs.
 
"There is no truth to reports that former president Hosni Mubarak has left Egypt for Tabuk in Saudi Arabia", "He is under house arrest, with his family, in Egypt," the country's military rulers said in a statement on Facebook.
 
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has ruled Egypt since Mubarak was forced to quit in February this year after 18 days of massive street protests against his 30-year autocratic regime.
 
The council has announced it will hold a general election in September. It said emergency laws would be lifted before the elections, Sifi says. END
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Colombia to extradite drug lord Walid Makled

to Venezuela, not U.S.

By Adriaan Alsema
Colombia Reports

06 April 2011 Bogata — Colombia will extradite alleged drug lord Walid Makled to Venezuela and not to the United States, which had also requested the extradition, Colombia President Santos announced on Wednesday.

In an interview with news network Univision, Santos said "I promised [Venezuelan] President [Hugo] Chavez that if the law said this man should be extradited to Venezuela, I would extradite him to Venezuela. Moreover, at this moment I am asking Venezuela [to extradite] two big drug lords." — 262 words.
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Film documentary review

 
By Sigrid Macdonald
Ottawa, Canada
 
Sigrid Macdonald is author of Be Your Own Editor and is available at 
 

8 April 2011 — Based on real footage, and old and new interviews, this 2009 documentary by Steven Soderbergh and Marina Zenovich was fascinating. Despite the media frenzy surrounding the now internationally acclaimed Polish-French film director, Roman Polanski, for much of his adult life, there are still some facts that people may not know, such as the devious way his trial was conducted, and the excruciating losses he endured before his child molestation trial in 1977.

 
In a Kennedyesque fashion, everything went wrong for Polanski, who experienced extreme highs and lows in life. He was a Holocaust survivor and lost both his parents to the camps. Somehow he made it to Hollywood, despite all odds, creating smashing movies such as Rosemary's BabyThe Tenant and Chinatown. Meanwhile, party boy Roman fell in love with the stunning Sharon Tate. For once in his life he was happy and safe until a real-life Satanic force, in the form of the Manson family, brutally murdered pregnant Sharon. — 1,082 words.
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From the Desk of Carl Hall, Entertainment Editor

Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert sing duet of Friday 

by Rebecca Black, 13, to raise $86,000 for child education 

Originally aired on episodes of The Colbert Report and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Recently, Stephen Colbert auctioned off one of his portraits to DonorsChoose.org, subsequently raising $26,000 for child education. After announcing this milestone, Colbert unilaterally decided that his "best friend for six months" Jimmy Fallon would match the $26,000. Following is the response from Jimmy Fallon, then the duet performance by the two video comics of the hit single Friday by Rebecca Black. —Click for all three videos inside.
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Gained in Translation

Words of wisdom from a Moscow-based American translator

The Moscow Times
 
Michele A. Berdy, a Moscow-based translator and interpreter, is author of The Russian Word’s Worth(Glas), a collection of her columns.
 
Талант: talent
 
08 April 2011 — Like the vast majority of my fellow Americans, I’m great at making New Year’s resolutions and horrible at keeping them. But there is one resolution I’d like to keep.
 
Awhile back, I realized that I always complain about translation goofs and gaffes, so I resolved to celebrate translation successes from time to time. As we blunder our way through a foreign language, it’s heartening to remember that with time, effort and talent, it is possible to make translations that sing. 606 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.


 

 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______