Friday 24 May 2013


Terracide and the Terrarists

Destroying the planet for record profits

The biggest criminal enterprise in history

Osama Bin Laden had nothing on Big Tobacco ...

and Big Tobacco taught Big Oil everything it knows


By Tom Engelhardt
TomDispatch via Reader Supported News

Burning world, image.

23 May 2013 — We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide. But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night. A possibility might be “terracide” from the Latin word for earth. It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.
The truth is, whatever we call them, it’s time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world.  Yes, I know, 9/11 was horrific.  Almost 3,000 dead, massive towers down, apocalyptic scenes. And yes, when it comes to terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings weren’t pretty either.  But in both cases, those who committed the acts paid for or will pay for their crimes.
In the case of the terrarists — and here I’m referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet, giant energy companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell — you’re the one who’s going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren. You can take one thing for granted: not a single terrarist will ever go to jail, and yet they certainly knew what they were doing. (More.)

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

Brian Mulroney pronounces on the Jewish question and Israel

'One can strongly disagree with policies of the government of Israel without being an anti-Semite'


Stephen Harper would have us believe the impossible

'Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a bitter control freak. How could he not know what was going on between his office and Mike Duffy?' — Thomas Walkom Toronto Star


More than 85,000 US veterans raped by fellow servicemen

60 per cent were women and 40 per cent men — cost of rehabilitation astronomical


Israel ex-intel chief says Russia won't let the US attack Syria

Amos Yadlin warns Israel should be wary of carrying out further airstrikes on Damascus, says Russia is signaling that it won’t let the US touch Syria


TrueNorth Humanist Perspective


Cuba launches massive anti-corruption sweep

Canadian canary who blew whistle on fellow businessmen

who corrupted Cuban brass, now faces 12 years in prison

Sarkis Yacoubian, jailed as a ‘fall guy,’ warned Cuban officials about corruption. He and another Toronto-area man now are caught in a Havana-Ottawa standoff.

By Julian Sher
The Toronto Star

Photo, Sarkis Yacoubian.16 May 2013 HAVANA Cuba — Speaking over a scratchy telephone line from inside a Cuban prison, Sarkis Yacoubian’s voice goes suddenly silent. He’s crying.

Behind his muffled sobs, the din of the crowded jail outside of Havana can be heard.

“I was so depressed at times, I wanted to commit suicide,” says the 53-year-old entrepreneur.

In exclusive jailhouse interviews with the Star from Cuba’s La Condesa prison, Yacoubian provides an insider’s view of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign by the government of Raul Castro that has seen several foreign businessmen — including himself and another Toronto-area businessman — jailed. (More)


EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions boosts jihadist groups

Playing God from a safe distance to satisfy US imperial ambitions has backfired

Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate, consolidates position as scramble for control of wells accelerates. The Syrian northern front hasn't just gone dormant; the northern front has gone commercial and Washington-designated terrorists are in charge.

By Julian Borger and Mona Mahmood

Photo, makeshift oil refinery site in al-Mansoura village, al-Raqqa province, Syria. Reuters.19 May 2013 — The EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions to aid the opposition has accelerated a scramble for control over wells and pipelines in rebel-held areas and helped consolidate the grip of jihadist groups over the country's key resources.

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with al-Qaida and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force. They have also seized control of other fields from Kurdish groups further to the north-east, in al-Hasakah governorate.

As opposition groups have turned their guns on each other in the battle over oil, water and agricultural land, military pressure on Bashar al-Assad's government from the north and east has eased off. In some areas, al-Nusra has struck deals with government forces to allow the transfer of crude across the front lines to the Mediterranean coast. (More)


Radical Al Nusra Front gathers strength in Syria to destroy

President Assad's secular rule and establish an Islamic state

By Primoz Manfreda Guide

20 May 2013 — Al Nusra Front is an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group in Syria fighting the government troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Although not officially recognized by Al Qaeda’s central leadership, the Nusra Front has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US State Department in late 2012. It’s one of the most effective rebel units in Syria, drawing on foreign fighters, and committed to establishing an Islamic state in Syria.

The Syrian civil war has created a new theater for foreign jihadists – radical Islamists committed to a global military struggle against secular governments in Muslim countries and Western targets. Nusra Front (full name "Support Front for the People of Levant") started as a small group of experienced fighters, believed by the US State Department to be a front for Al Qaeda in Iraq trying to "hijack the struggles of the Syrian people".

Through tactical prowess, discipline and the shortcomings of other rebel groups, Nusra Front evolved into a formidable force numbering up to 10 000 fighters who play a key role in the battlefields of northern and eastern Syria, particularly in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, but also present in the capital Damascus and in the south close to the Jordanian border.


What if Canadian political parties stood behind their Bozos?

Have we gone too far in preventing Rob Ford-like outbursts and gaffes on the campaign trail?

By David P. Ball
Photo, Rob Ford.20 May 2013 — The bewildering fact that Rob Ford remains Mayor of Toronto — in spite of his current crack-smoking video allegations, not to mention regularly insulting gays, calling for homeless lynchings, or insisting that killed cyclists had it coming — could be considered either the best, or worst, argument for more closely vetting candidates before they're even allowed to hit the hustings.

Ford has proven a genius for getting himself into trouble of mind-boggling variety.

Every time his name pops up in headlines, heads hit desks in despondency, bemoaning the state of today's electoral politics: He should have been nipped in the bud!

Then again, Ford's mess-ups prove him all too human, precisely, perhaps, why so many voters root for him. And although many of those cheerleaders are likely the hordes of entitled, angry white suburban men that form Ford's base, some liken it to a more universal yearning: the desire to cheer for an escaped, rampaging bull in the slaughterhouse. (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. 10 (338)
Friday 24 May 2013
Guest Editorial By Andrew Pulver, Guardian UK
Robert Redford on America: 'Certain Things Have Got Lost'

The writer-director uses Cannes press conference to say that the US has lost its way since the second world war, and that rampant development must be controlled.

23 May 2013 — Robert Redford today accused the US of losing its way in the years since the second world war. Speaking at the press conference for his new film All Is Lost at the Cannes film festival.

"Certain things have got lost," said Redford. "Our belief system had holes punched in it by scandals that occurred, whether it was Watergate, the quiz show scandal, or Iran-Contra; it's still going on...Beneath all the propaganda is a big grey area, another America that doesn't get any attention; I decided to make that the subject of my films."

Redford, now 76, also had critical words for the US's never-ending drive for economic and technological development, which he considers has been a damaging force.

"We are in a dire situation; the planet is speaking with a very loud voice. In the US we call it Manifest Destiny, where we keep pushing and developing, never mind what you destroy in your wake, whether its Native American culture or the natural environment.

"I've also seen the relentless pace of technological increase. It's getting faster and faster; and it fascinates me to ask: how long will it go on before it burns out."

Redford suggested this in All Is Lost, which concentrates on a single man's struggle to survive at sea after his boat is damaged and loses all power, could be seen as a counterweight. "This film is about having none of that: all you have is a man, a boat and the weather, nothing but the elements. That's it."

Redford also said that he enjoyed working purely as an actor, "give myself over completely to another director." Redford's work for JC Chandor was his first lead role for anther film-maker since 2005's An Unfinished Life. His decision to step back from day-to-day involvement in the Sundance film festival would appear to have given him more scope for acting.

The pair met when Chandor's debut film, Margin Call, was selected for the Sundance in 2011. Chandor had already completed the script for his follow-up, and shortly after the festival offered the role to Redford.

Redford joked that none of his Sundance directors had ever approached him as an actor — "Gee, it was nice!" — but was fulsome in his praise of the younger man. "He was relentless in his vision, but also very respectful, and it encouraged me to give it more and 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.
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!


Op Ed

Black philospher cites Obama's betrayal of trust

'Maybe he (Obama) couldn't do that much. But at least tell the truth. I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones.'

By Hugh Muir
Guardian UK

Cornel West in Cambridge, photo.

15 May 2013 LONDON England Cornel West, the firebrand of American academia for almost 30 years, is causing his hosts some problems. They are on a schedule but such things barely move him, for as he saunters down the high street there are people to talk to, and no one can leave shortchanged. Everyone, "brother" or "sister", is indeed treated like a long lost family member. And then there is the hug; a bear-like pincer movement. There's no escape. It happens in New York, where the professor/philosopher usually holds court. And now it's the same in Cambridge.

The best students accord their visitors a healthy respect, but West's week laying bare the conflicts and fissures of race and culture and activism and literature in the US and Britain yielded more than that during his short residency at King's College. There are academics who draw a crowd, but the West phenomenon at King's had rock star quality: the buzz, the poster beaming his image from doors and noticeboards; the back story – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, his seminal work Race Matters, his falling-in and falling-out with Barack Obama. (More)

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is 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

Senate should break its silence starting with Gang of Four

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Image, Senators Barzeau, Harb, Wallin and Duffy24 May 2013 — The living expense allowance scandal and the other antics of Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and Mac Harb have brought a tidal wave of well-deserved ridicule crashing down on the Senate. The chamber of supposed sober second thought has become an object of ridicule for editorial writers and open line hosts to say nothing of coffee shop pundits.

It has claimed Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Harper’s right hand man, and will undoubtedly give Harper political indigestion for weeks to come. In a way, the embarrassment the Conservative Senate appointees have caused is fitting, because Harper promised Senate reform, and then packed the joint with party cronies just like every prime minister before him. The Conservative Senators certainly haven’t done much to raise the institution’s status.

However, what’s most amazing in the whole sad charade is the silence of the other 101 Canadians who sit in the Senate, raking in a mighty handy salary, and the dozens of retired senators who are still active and enjoying their Senate pension. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Ukulele gangsters mob Toronto's morning subway commute

  Photo, Toronto ukele flash mob, detail of photo by Jason Cook.  

Thugs of the Copenhagen Philharmonic strike in Copenhagen

Something to make your day. Click here.


Austria says UK push to arm Syrian rebels

would violate international law

Forceful Austrian position signals deep EU divisions on Syria ahead of this month's embargo decision

By Julian Borger
Guardian UK
Photo: Fighters from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra.
14 May 2013 — "Die Briten sind not amused," is how Die Presse reported it today. "The Brits are not amused."
The Austrian foreign ministry circulated a discussion paper (known in Brussels jargon as a non-paper) among the EU member states yesterday forcefully rebutting British and French arguments for amending the European embargo on Syria to allow weapons shipments to the rebels.
The Austrian paper argues that lifting the embargo would "constitute a breach of international and EU law" and be contrary to the "principle of non-intervention and non-use of force" laid down in the UN Charter. If the weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra Front, it would also violate UN Security Council resolutions on al-Qaida, given al-Nusra's stated affiliation. (More)

AP, IRS, Benghazi

How can Americans trust President Obama now?

The only 'political circus' is all the controversies in the Obama administration. Republicans and America want answers

By Crystal Wright

14 May 2013 — How can Republicans in Congress work with President Obama when they can't trust him to be an honest broker or treat them with respect? If Obama isn't blaming Republicans for his inability to advance his agenda, he's calling them names. During Monday's White House press conference, Obama reiterated his disgust with the GOP's doggedness to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi.

"The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow," said Obama. Belittling comments like these don't warm Republicans' hearts to help Obama advance one scintilla of an issue in his second term.

Call them what you will — sideshows or scandals — they seem to be swirling around the White House like bees to honey. Days after the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee concluded a fresh hearing into who knew what and when about the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, the public learned the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups seeking non-profit exemption to engage in political activism. The IRS's interrogation style questioning of the groups began in 2010. It's hard to read this as anything other than appearing politically motivated. (More)


Major sea change in media discussions

of 'President-of-Hope' Obama and civil liberties

The controversies over the IRS and especially the AP phone records appear to have long-lasting effects

By Glenn Greenwald

Photo: Barack Obama

15 May 2013 — Due to the controversies over the IRS and (especially) the DOJ's attack on AP's news gathering process, media outlets have suddenly decided that President Obama has a very poor record on civil liberties, transparency, press freedoms, and a whole variety of other issues on which he based his first campaign. The first two paragraphs of this Washington Post article from yesterday, expressed in tones of recent epiphany, made me laugh audibly:

"President Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer who came to office pledging renewed respect for civil liberties, is today running an administration at odds with his résumé and preelection promises.

"The Justice Department's collection of journalists' phone records and the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups have challenged Obama's credibility as a champion of civil liberties — and as a president who would heal the country from damage done by his predecessor."

You don't say! The Washington Post's breaking news here is only about four years late. Back in mid-2010, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, speaking about Obama's civil liberties record at a progressive conference, put it this way: "I'm disgusted with this president." In the spirit of optimism, one can adopt a "better-late-than-never" outlook regarding this newfound media awakening. (More)

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Geneviève Hone will move you to tears of pleasure as she

visits her great-grandfather who wrote Un Canadien errant

By Geneviève Hone
True North Perspective

Geneviève Hone is a grandmother, family therapist and social worker. With her husband, Julien Mercure (also a family therapist), she has co-authored three books on couples and family life. Her home on the web is

Detail of Tomb, photo provided by Geneviève Hone.24 May 2013 “So”, says my husband as we linger over morning coffee, “What subject have you chosen for the next Bits and Bites? You mentioned yesterday that you had two great ideas.”
“Well, I did”, I reply, somewhat sheepishly, “But I don’t remember what they were.” He bursts out laughing: this kind of conversation is replaying too often in our advancing age, but it’s all right. After all, we did decide, some time ago, though I don’t exactly remember when, that we would laugh at and with ourselves till the day we no longer could or should, and then we would cry… for help. Or if we left it too late, our loved ones certainly would inform us that the time had come for additional help in travelling safely through our ordinary days.

But meanwhile, I have lost my two great ideas for the Bits and Bites article and, seriously, that is no laughing matter as great ideas for articles are not that easy to come by. I stir my coffee, hoping that some nice genie will emerge and dictate a fully edited article to my brain, but the mug is as devoid of genius as I am this morning. I do remember though that today is spring checkup day for our car, so I prepare to leave, bringing a book to pass the time while waiting for the results of the examination. Once at the garage however, I put the book aside and decide to walk toward the cemetery down the road, where my great-grandfather Antoine (GGFA) lies peacefully, or so my family hopes. (More)


Spirit Quest

Those in the free world must be heard on the side of justice

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

24 May 2013 — The audience was on its feet applauding and cheering wildly as the curtain came down on the last act of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio. It is without a doubt my favourite opera not only for the beautiful music but because in it the well known German composer expresses  his  great passion for freedom for the oppressed.

The beautiful baroque opera house in my home town where I first saw Fidelio performed managed to survive the war intact while all around it buildings lay in ruins.

It was 1937. I was only eight and my parents, who were ardent human rights activists as well as opera buffs, took me to see this opera. Even at that age I was well aware of the threat that hovered on the other side of the border not far from home. Concentration Camp or KZ, the German acronym, was not strange for me. (More)

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.

15 February 2013

Frances Sedgwick

will return


June 2013


Cross Town with Carl Dow

A major self confidence is built on a mryiad of small victories

24 May 2013 — More than a quarter century ago I took a day canoe trip with a CBC radio woman who had a voice with a smile.

She had transferred to Sudbury from Inuvik and knew what canoeing was all about. We decided on a one-day picnic adventure.

She met me at my place about 15 miles southwest of the centre of Sudbury. I had Ford station wagon that would easily carry the canoe but she said she preferred to go in her car. She didn't know me well and I concluded that she'd feel a greater sense of control by using her car.

My canoe was what many have called the Rolls Royce of canoes. It was a 17-foot cedar canvass Chestnut Prospector. Wide and deep, without a keel. It was perfect for riding alone, or with two companions and a thousand pounds of gear in high lake waves and in slipping around rocks in rapids. Dry, it weighed about 85 pounds; after a day's paddling it weighed a little better than 100 pounds.

Carrying a canoe is all in the balance. Properly set on my shoulders I always felt I could carry my baby easily during an all day portage. (More)


British Mom confronts London attackers (video)
  Screen-shot: Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts knife-wielding murderer.  
  In an interview with ITV, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett of Cornwall says that she was not scared for herself when she approached the two men responsible for the brutal killing of a British soldier in London. 'There were more and more mother's with children stopping around,' she says. 'Better me than a child'. Click here to see the whole interview.  


Amid sexual assault crisis in military, sergeant accused

of filming West Point Cadets in the toilet and showers

A Pentagon survey revealed 26,000 reports of sexual assault in the military in 2012 alone.

By Steven Hsieh
Image: West Point crest detail23 May 2013 — An Army sergeant on staff at West Point is accused of filming at least twelve women without their consent, including in the toilet and showers, The New York Times reports.

According to the Associated Press, Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon faces charges of “dereliction of duty, mistreatment, entering a women's bathroom without notice, and taking and possessing inappropriate photos and videos of women who were naked or in various states of undress.” (More)


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.


Julian Assange leads suit over secrecy of Manning trial

By Anne Sewell

Image, Julian Assange, Christmas 2012.

22 May 2013, WASHINGTON D.C. — The trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning is to be held in secret. A group of journalists and activists, including Julian Assange, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Department of Defense and the military judge, demanding access to the trial.

Along with WikiLeaks founder, Assange, co-plaintiffs will include Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and also the Nation magazine.
While physical access to the pretrial hearings was not a problem, keeping track of, and understanding the court proceedings has been made difficult as prosecution and defense motions, court orders, and transcripts are rarely released to the public. A huge number of documents have been kept totally hidden from public view.
The complaint said, "The press and public have been largely denied access to even non-classified documents filed in Manning's court-martial." (More.)

There can be no life without laughter

Three gifts of the best in political satire courtesy of YouTube

as Jon Stewart tackles Obama on IRS, spying on journalists

Amazing Baseball - Fathers with babes in arms and babes


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:

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover


1. What is the longest river entirely located in Ontario?

a)  Albany river b)  Grand river  c) Humber river  d) Trent river


2. If it’s noon in Calgary what time is it in St. John’s, Nfld.?


3. At the time of Confederation in 1867 what was the estimated population of Canada?

a) two million  b) 3.5 million  c) four million  d) 5.5 million


Banks to porn stars: Your money's not welcome

Chris Morris
Photo of porn star Chanel Preston17 May 2013 — Chanel Preston knows not everyone approves of her chosen profession. That's one of the risks that go with being one of the biggest stars in porn. But she never thought it would affect her ability to open a bank account.
Preston recently opened a business account with City National Bank in Los Angeles. When she went to deposit checks into the account days later, however, she was told it had been shut down, due to "compliance issues".
She found the manager she had originally worked with and asked what had happened. The bank, she was told, was worried about the Webcam shows she had on her site and had revoked the account. (More.)

Brit former UN ambassador warns against

supplying weapons to rebel groups in Syria

Photo: UN General Assembly vote-tally, detail

16 May 2013 — Britain's former ambassador to the UN has warned against external intervention, including supplying weapons to rebel groups, and urged the international community to get behind a proposed peace conference to find a political solution. Writing in the Guardian, Jeremy Greenstock said:

Outside intervention offers no kind of a solution. The past 12 years have shown too many instances of unintended consequences, particularly when the intervener becomes the enemy. Even the delivery of more lethal weaponry to the opposition resolves nothing, because it could end up with the wrong people, and because it allows scope and pretext for the regime's supporters – notably Iran and Russia – to balance it on the other side. Iraq and Afghanistan have hammered home the lesson that without a workable political plan the use of force is a recipe for deep and prolonged trouble ...

We must now put effort and compromise – real sweaty, expensive effort and painful compromise – into dealing with the Syrian morass. Otherwise it will all become much more expensive and bloody down the road. (More)


Footage of opposition mutilation and cannibalism

sparks doubts over the wisdom of backing Syrian rebels

Anti-Assad fighter appears to eat internal organ of dead government soldier in horrific footage

By Ian Black and Martin Chulov
The Guardian UK

Photo detail: Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble of Homs, Syria.

14 May 2013 — Horrific video footage of a Syrian rebel commander eating the heart or lung of a dead government fighter has aroused furious international controversy, fuelling an already heated debate over western support for the armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

(Viewer discretion advised. For video of opposition cannibalism click HERE)

The grisly film had been circulating for several days, attracting extensive comment on social media networks such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. But in the face of an often vicious propaganda war between the government and rebels, early doubts about the film's authenticity faded when the perpetrator, named as Khaled al-Hamad, admitted that he had mutilated the corpse of an unnamed soldier as an act of revenge. (More)


US approves new pesticides linked

to mass bee deaths as EU enacts ban

Photo: Honey bee at work.11 May 2013 — In the wake of a massive US Department of Agriculture report highlighting the continuing large-scale death of honeybees, environmental groups are left wondering why the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to approve a "highly toxic" new pesticide.

The continuing mass death of honeybees, known scientifically as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and a “pollinator crisis,” could well strain production of over 100 crops in the US including apples, zucchinis, avocados and plums. The agriculture value of these products is estimated at over $200 billion globally per year.

As RT recently reported, a new USDA report has taken a broad look at the decline of bee colonies in the country, highlighting a dire situation as the number of colonies has plummeted from 3 million in 1990 to 2.5 million this year. Demonstrating that the decline is a long-term issue, that same report points to the existence of 6 million honey bee colonies in 1947. 

Though dire, the report does not offer any immediate solutions, as scientists continue to examine the potential causes for the mass colony collapses, during which adult bees abandon their hives, along with the queen, brood and food supplies. (More)

The mechanics of being a CIA spy

and making one million US a year

Cloak, dagger and a blond wig? FSB (KGB) says CIA agent nabbed in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Image: Spy-tech

14 May 2013 MOSCOW Russia — If you're tired of being unemployed and broke, or you're facing the prospect of having to join that growing club, you could be a CIA spy and make one million US a year — a major catch is that you'd have to live in Russia.
Promises of millions, a new face and detailed instructions on a double-agent conspiracy in Moscow. Bearing the hallmarks of a Cold War spy thriller, Russia’s counterintelligence agency says it caught a CIA officer trying to flip a Russian operative.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) Public Relations Center announced that detained individual was Ryan Christopher Fogle, a career diplomat working as the third secretary of the Political Section of the American embassy in Moscow.

The agency stressed that Christopher had “special technical equipment” in his possession, including an additional wig, a microphone, multiple pairs of dark sunglasses and a lot of cash in euro — along with a Moscow atlas, a compass, a knife, and an American Bic lighter. (More)

Pyongyang, North Korea, image.19 May 2013 — Activity at local markets in North Korea has picked up in recent weeks since Pyongyang toned down threats of war against South Korea and the US, according to traders along the Chinese border.

Both black and authorized markets had quieted down during weeks of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula in March and April, with border restrictions tightened and many North Koreans busy with war drills and other preparations, sources said.

But this month, with Pyongyang’s war rhetoric dying down, the marketplaces have started bustling again, according to traders who bring goods to North Korea from neighboring China—the isolated country’s main trading partner and source of goods.

“Business is going well because North Korea’s markets are recovered, and they hadn’t until May,” an ethnic Chinese North Korean who runs a small trading business between China and Pyongyang told RFA’s Korean Service, speaking on condition of anonymity. (More)

About us
Agence-France Press via Terra Daily
Image: Early hominids make fire21 May 2013 PARIS France — Early humans living in South Africa made cultural and industrial leaps in periods of wetter weather, said a study Tuesday that compared the archaeological record of Man's evolution with that of climate change.

Anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, first made their appearance in Africa during the Middle Stone Age which lasted from about 280,000 to 30,000 years ago.

Some of the earliest examples of human culture and technology are found in South Africa -- with fossil evidence of innovative spurts whose cause has left scientists puzzled.

The record reveals that a notable period of human advancement occurred about 71,500 years ago, and another between 64,000 and 59,000 years ago. (More)


Teen's invention charges cell-phones in 30 seconds

By Evette Dionne
Photo: Eesha Khare displays super-capacitor.21 May 2013 — Full cell phone batteries are a rarity. Between answering emails, text messaging and sneaking in quick rounds of “Angry Birds,” cell phone chargers are normal additions to tote bags. Waiting hours for a phone to charge seems like death, especially when traveling, but a new invention may soon cut charging time down to 30 seconds.
Eesha Khare, 18, invented a fast-charging device called the supercapacitor. It is miniature energy-storing device that can juice a phone to full charge within 20-to-30 seconds.
“I developed a new supercapacitor, which is basically an energy storage device which can hold a lot of energy in a small amount of volume,” she told KPIX 5 in California.
Khare – a high school student from Saratoga Calif. – grew tired of never having a full battery, leading to this creation.
“My cellphone battery always dies,” she told NBC News. Creating the supercapacitor solved Khare’s issue and also piqued her interest in “really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields.” (More.)
Study sheds new light on disorders such as autism and dyslexia
By Staff Writers
Terra Daily News
Durham UK (SPX)
Photo: Professor Rob Barton, with skull.21 May 2013 — Human intelligence cannot be explained by the size of the brain's frontal lobes, say researchers. Research into the comparative size of the frontal lobes in humans and other species has determined that they are not — as previously thought — disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to the most accurate and conclusive study of this area of the brain.

It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes cannot solely account for humans' superior cognitive abilities.

The study by Durham and Reading universities suggests that supposedly more 'primitive' areas, such as the cerebellum, were equally important in the expansion of the human brain. These areas may therefore play unexpectedly important roles in human cognition and its disorders, such as autism and dyslexia, say the researchers. (More)

By Human Wrongs Watch

Photo: A woman sells dried caterpillars in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo14 May 2012 ROME Italy — Forests, trees on farms and agroforestry, are critical in the fight against hunger and should be better integrated into food security and land-use policies, said José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the United Nations Food an Agricultural, on 13 May 2013 at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in Rome (13-15 May).*

“Forests contribute to the livelihoods of more than a billion people, including many of the world’s neediest. Forests provide food, fuel for cooking, fodder for animals and income to buy food,” Graziano da Silva said.

“Wild animals and insects are often the main protein source for people in forest areas, while leaves, seeds, mushrooms, honey and fruits provide minerals and vitamins, thus ensuring a nutritious diet,” he added. “But forests and agroforestry systems are rarely considered in food security and land use policies.” (More)

Money and Markets
'Today, what’s totally unprecedented is that ALL the major central banks of the world have checked into the same insane asylum …  and all of them seem to agree that THEY are the 'new normal.''

By Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.Money and Markets

Cartoon: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher18 May 2013 JUPITER Florida — Is today’s rally in stocks something you can count on and invest in with profitable results?

Or is it likely to end soon — most likely, just as you put YOUR money on the table?

Among the thousands of investors flocking to Las Vegas for the Money Show this week — in workshops, during cocktails and around the hotel’s gambling tables — this is the big question being asked over and over again.

It’s the same question debated on Yahoo! Finance, CNBC, and in the halls of big Wall Street firms.

It’s also the same question I hear from friends in Germany, Japan, Russia, China, Brazil and even Vietnam.

Everyone wants to know. Many venture to guess. But no one has an unimpeachable answer.

So let’s zero in on …

What we do know about the US stock market with reasonable certainty

First, we know that it’s going up, making new all-time highs and doing so consistently. Regardless of what dangers may lie below the surface or beyond the horizon, that’s obvious and undeniable. It’s a trend.

Second, we know that such trends are driven by economic forces — whether known or unknowable — that perpetuate themselves. Like objects in motion, they tend to stay in motion. Like politicians in power, they want to remain in power. And as long as all that continues, there’s money to be made.

But we also know that most stocks are going up for all the wrong reasons: (More)


How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

Hot Home News: Mary Hart, Taylor Swift & Chicago's Trump Tower

Mary Hart's Elk Horn Ranch

Mary Hart made television history by breaking a Guinness World Record for the "longest serving entertainment news host" with her 29-year run as host of the ever popular celebrity gossip show, Entertainment Tonight.

In addition to her TV hosting talents, Mary was a singer and dancer who got her big break in 1988 appearing with comedian David Brenner in his Las Vegas show. An interesting brouhaha developed when it was publicized that certain notes she sang had the effect of making some people pass out. Hired by the Hanes hosiery company to advertise their stockings, and known for her shapely legs, her manager had Mary’s legs insured with Lloyd’s of London for $1 million dollars each.

Mary married her film-producer husband, Burt Sugarman, in 1989. Sugarman is well-known for the production of The Richard Pryor Show, Celebrity Sweepstakes, as well as films Children of a Lesser God, Kiss Me Goodbye and Crimes of the Heart, among many others. The couple acquired one of the first ranches in Big Sky, Montana at the exclusive Yellowstone Club when it opened in 2001, as the only private ski resort in the world. Now owning another property at the Club, they have put their original 160-acre ranch on the market for $26.5 million.

The Hart ranch consists of three buildings on 160 acres, consisting of the 7,000 square foot 6 bedroom, 7 bath main residence with a two-car detached garage and guest quarters above a 4-stall horse barn with a huge recreation venue above and a hand-hewn, one room “wrangler’s cabin” with kitchenette and bath. Built of log and stone, the buildings within the compound blend rustic elegance into the dramatic mountain landscape. A unique feature for this property is that the ranch has a trail that courses through the ranch connecting to the Gallatin National Forest and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness areas, allowing direct access to summer horseback exploration and hiking.

$32 Million for Trump Chicago Penthouse

Chicago has some of the most seen buildings in the world such as the 1920’s Wrigley Building that anchors the southern section of the Magnificent Mile, the 1960’s corn-cob shaped Marina City that was on TV every week in the opening scenes for The Bob Newhart Show and the 1970’s Sears (aka Willis) Tower that was the tallest building in the world for almost 25 years and starred in The Dark Knight Batman movie in 2008. The 2009 addition of Trump International Hotel and Tower to the city’s postcard skyline is another jewel in the city’s portfolio of famous architectural design. The Trump penthouse is for sale at $32 million.

The 14,250 square-foot, full-floor penthouse on the top of the tower is 1,178’ above the ground on the 89th floor. Just about at the same height where clouds form. The Trump people claim it’s the highest residence in the Western Hemisphere, offering 360-degree views from the floor to 16’ ceiling glass walls that surround the home with views to Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The penthouse with 5 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms sells as a shell for the buyer’s architect and designer to finish. Taxes will be $320,000 a year with monthly maintenance fees currently set at $12,000 a month. A total of 15 parking spaces are set aside for the penthouse at a cost of $100,000 each. The listing agent estimates that the same unit in New York City would cost about $100 million.

Trump Tower was originally planned as a 150-story building that would reach 2,000’, but due to the 2001 World Trade Center attack, the height was scaled down to its current 1,389’ and 92 floors by the time it was completed in 2009.

Another Taylor Swift Home Purchase

Super talented singer-songwriter she might be, but here’s a very young girl who seems to also have the instincts to some day be a real estate mogul. With each new real estate purchase she proves her classic good taste and a nose for a deal.

Having recently flipped her Hyannis Port waterfront mansion next door to former boyfriend Conor Kennedy for almost a million dollar profit within months of purchase, Taylor just completed the purchase of a 1930's Rhode Island mansion for $17.75 million. The classic colonial is perched 65’ above wide beaches on an outcropping of rock jutting out into Little Narragansett Bay.

Sited on 5.23 waterfront acres in affluent Watch Hill, the 11,000 square foot four-level house has 8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and 8 fireplaces. The property includes more than 700’ of shoreline with views over Fishers Island Sound and seven miles of wide sand beach. It was originally listed at $24 million.

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 America's top ten bargain mansions, Monaco's $250 million penthouse and haunted homes you can actually buy.

Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator

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.