Friday, February 7, 2008
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"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

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Editor’s Notes

No matter who wins in November, the Americans
will continue to lead in playing ‘The Great Game’

Hillary Clinton has always hedged on bringing home the troops from Iraq. As she was pushed harder and harder during the past few months, especially by John Edwards, she reluctantly declared herself more and more in favour, but never all the way. — 549. words.

A British perspective on Afghanistan

Fall back, men, Afghanistan is a nasty war we can never win

Britain’s commanders ignored every warning that
the Taliban were the toughest fighters on earth

By Simon Jenkins
The Sunday Times

Simon Jenkins edited The Times of London from 1990-92, going on to contribute a twice-weekly column until 2005. He now writes weekly for The Sunday Times. He was formerly political editor of The Economist and Editor of The Evening Standard, and has been deputy chairman of English Heritage and a member of the Millennium Commission. He was knighted for his services to journalism in 2004, — 1,400 words.

NATO struggles for unity over Afghan war
as some drag feet on Canada’s challenge

VILNIUS/KABUL (Reuters) - NATO tried to patch over divisions about the war in Afghanistan on Thursday but differences remained over the willingness of some members to contribute troops to the fight. — 674 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Bombs Away Over Iraq

Looking up: normalizing air war from Guernica to Arab Jabour.

A January 21 Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed. ("Asked why one member of his Albu Issa tribe would kill another, Aftan compared it to school shootings that happen in the United States.") Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way:

"The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches. — 3,739 words.

Chavez celebrates progress on 9th anniversary of power

‘We should be proud of ourselves,’ he tells Venezuelans

CARACAS, Venezuela — After nine years in office, President Hugo Chavez underlined what he considered were some of the main economic achievements of his government. These included the lowering of inflation, of poverty, inequality, the increase in school attendance and access to drinking water. — 301 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

The human brain is shrinking but not to worry
evolution makes it more compact and efficient

Far from having stopped, pace of 'advantageous mutation' moving much faster than we thought, a new study discovers

By Lynda Hurst
Feature Writer
The Toronto Star

Think that we humans are a fait accompli, a done deal that hasn't changed over the eons?
Think again. Evidence is accumulating that the species is still evolving, and doing so at an unprecedented rate. — 1,271 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Artificial letters added to life's alphabet

By Robert Adler news service

Two artificial DNA "letters" that are accurately and efficiently replicated by a natural enzyme have been created by U.S. researchers. Adding the two artificial building blocks to the four that naturally comprise DNA could allow wildly different kinds of genetic engineering, Eventually, the researchers say, they may be able to add them into the genetic code of living organisms. The diversity of life on earth evolved using genetic code made from arrangements of four genetic "bases", sometimes described as letters. — 642 words.

From the Desk of RCAF Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Harold Wright

Battle concussions tied to stress disorder

About one in six combat troops returning from Iraq have suffered at least one concussion in the war, injuries that, while temporary, could heighten their risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers are reporting. — 714 words.

U.S. and Venezuela squabble
while trying to kiss and make up

Venezuela cops 59 tons of drugs in one year

CARACAS, Venezuela — Despite recent verbal clashes between government officials of Venezuela and of the U.S., both Venezuela's ambassador to the U.S. and the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America both issued statements that tried to calm relations between the two countries. — 814 words.

CPC packs Lunar New Year Gift for its poor members

The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) will hand out gifts and cash worth 64 million yuan (about 8.7 million U.S. dollars) to veteran and needy members for the lunar new year, the most important traditional Chinese festival. — 155 words.

Venezuela readies rescue operation to receive
three more hostages held by Colombian rebels

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez confirmed on Monday that Venezuelan authorities are ready to carry out the rescue operation of three former Colombian legislators soon to be released by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Relatives of the hostages arrived in Caracas yesterday to await the release of their family members. — 911 words.

Is it a midlife crisis or is it a 'jerk with a meltdown'?

By Dr. Richard A. Friedman
International Herald Tribune

NEW YORK With the possible exception of "the dog ate my homework," there is no handier excuse for human misbehavior than the midlife crisis. — 790 words.

Serbian health ministry bans gossip, mini-skirts
and grumpiness to improve hospital patient care

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A ban on grumpiness, gossiping, mini-skirts and rudeness is what the doctor orders to improve patient care in Serbia's hospitals, according to new rules issued by the country's health ministry. — 138 words.

Brilliant billionaire Warren Buffett
says bank woes are "poetic justice"

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The woes in the U.S. financial sector are "poetic justice" for bankers who designed and sold complex investments that have since gone sour, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Wednesday. — 435 words.

The ‘Great Game’: Eurasia and the history of war

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya,
Global Research
Payvand News

The History of War  History is often self-repeating. Those who are oblivious to the lessons of history are, by virtue of ignorance, doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.  Samuel P. Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations," is an outright camouflage, an ideological instrument used to reach geo-political objectives.  This "conflict notion" is part of a broad strategy that has been used throughout history to divide, conquer, and rule. By Huntington's definitions, nine diverse civilizations co-inhabit Eurasia; establishing conflict between them is a means towards controlling them and eventually absorbing them in the Spencerian sense of war and the social evolution of nation-states and societies, as defined by British sociologist Herbert Spencer. Is humanity witness once again to a gradual march towards a large-scale international war like the Second World War, as Vladimir Putin has warned the Russian people? Or is fear being used to push forward otherwise unacceptable global economic policies? — 5,547 words.

Fascinating historical notes … by George Laidlaw

George Laidlaw is a novelist and President of the Ottawa Independent Writers.

The Catch-22 with new technology!

How Yugoslavia shot down
an American Stealth Bomber

Man with his inventive brain has been increasing the development of remarkable new electronic gadgets such as ipods, invisible aircraft, and genetic manipulation. — 351 words.

How to Promote Your Book or Your Business:

An April 19, 2008 Workshop

Ottawa publicity experts Barbara Florio Graham and Randy Ray will share their expertise on how authors and businesses can get their message out to the public effectively and inexpensively.

The three-hour workshop opens at 1 p.m. on April 19 at the National Library in Ottawa and is sponsored by Ottawa Independent Writers.

Cost: $50 for OIW members; $60 for non-members.

For more information: Randy Ray: (613) 731-3873 or

The Book End

Every Friday in this spot True North will feature a book by a Canadian writer. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author written by him/herself and about the product of the author’s literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we’ll publish it. Looking forward.

Retired Minister of Toronto’s St. James-Bond United Church
tells of his escape from the Nazis to freedom and peace in Canada

Uprooted and Transplanted: A Sudeten Odyssey from Tragedy to Freedom 1938-1958 by Hanns Skoutajan

New web site may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a new Web site to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies.  Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers.  Mr. Ray's eb site is:  He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, and his colleague George Carlin succinctly deal with profound questions of life and living: Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?

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Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Assistant Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright