Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective

Friday, January 8, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 6 — 210
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'Get back to work'

Harper's tactics backfire again
as more than 100,000 angry citizens
join Facebook protest in just a few days

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament on Wednesday has created a large and growing backlash. Over 100,000 angry citizens have joined a Facebook group to protest the move and demonstration are being planned for cities all over the country. — 856 words.

Cartoon by Theo Moudakis, The Toronto Star, January 6, 2010.

Guest Editorial

Friday, January 8, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 6 (210)

'Mr Harper is a competent tactician with a ruthless streak ...
now he is subjecting Parliament to prime-ministerial whim'

Harper goes prorogue

Parliamentary scrutiny may be tedious,
but democracies cannot afford to dispense with it

The Economist

Canadian ministers, it seems, are a bunch of Gerald Fords. Like the American president, who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, they cannot, apparently, cope with Parliament's deliberations while dealing with the country's economic troubles and the challenge of hosting the Winter Olympic games. This was the argument put forward by the spokesman for Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, after his boss on December 30th abruptly suspended, or "prorogued", Canada's Parliament until March 3rd. — 596 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.

Thousands gather to honour slain Ottawa constable

By Joanna Smith
The Toronto Star

OTTAWA — Thousands of police officers have gathered in the city to mourn a colleague stabbed to death while sitting in his cruiser last week. The funeral of Ottawa police Const. Eric Czapnik, 51, began with the tapping of a drum, the marching of feet and a prayer after more than 4,000 officers from across Canada and the United States marched behind his casket along a two-kilometre route from Carleton University to the civic centre. — 1,035 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Recession? What recession!?!

CEOs paid 174 times more than average worker: report

CBC News

The average pay packet of Canada's 100 highest-paid CEOs hit more than $7.3 million in 2008, a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has found. The $7,352,895 figure is 174 times more than the average wage of the typical Canadian worker. — 375 words.

Canadian Arctic ice outpacing global melt average: study

By Bob Weber
The Canadian Press

American researchers suggest the melting season for Arctic sea ice is growing faster across much of the Canadian Arctic than anywhere else in the world. A recently published article outlines how they used satellite microwave data to measure when sea ice begins to melt in the spring and when it starts refreezing in the fall. — 545 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Experts says road development in energy sector threatening Prairie songbird

By Jennifer Graham
The Canadian Press

REGINA — Experts say the increasing quest for energy is devouring a prairie songbird's habitat and putting the future of the species in doubt. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has added the chestnut-collared longspur to the threatened list. — 692 words.

Spirit Quest

The Spirit of Truth is still alive but struggling

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

"I used to live in a country called America. It was not a perfect country, especially if you were of African American or Native American or of Japanese descent in the Second World War ... It was a country I loved and honoured ... I do not know if this America will return, even as I work and pray and strive for its return." — 731 words.

Canada refuses to seize Dead Sea scrolls

CBC News

The Canadian government says it will not act upon a request by the Jordanian government that it seize the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea scrolls, whose final day of display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto was on Sunday. — 303 words.

A True North Perspective classic

A Garden Bouquet to your Health

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

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

I have good news to share! News that gardeners have always suspected ... An extensive survey, financed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has shown the numerous benefits of plants, flowers and gardening on the environment and on peoples' physical and mental health. — 610 words.

Calgary Transit pulls racy ads

CBC News

Calgary Transit has removed two mobile phone ads, showing a man and woman in a passionate kiss, after complaints that they were too provocative. The ads are part of a campaign by Virgin Mobile and feature the tagline "Hook up fearlessly." — 440 words.

Honking from behind, Part 3

By Rosaleen Dickson
Contributing Editor
True North Perspective

Rosaleen Leslie Dickson has been an active, leading member of a number of organizations including the National Press Club and the Ottawa Independent Writers. She has been publisher and editor of her own weekly newspaper, professor of journalism, author of two books and has an on-line advice column with an international circulation. For more, please visit her webpage.

Another wonderful development currently evolving in the hands and hearts of right-minded people around the world, is an Arab and Muslim writers’ group dedicated to excellence in free and responsible journalism. — 337 words.

Nova Scotia company helps build plasma rocket for NASA

CBC News

A Nova Scotia company that builds transmitters for radio stations is helping develop a new plasma rocket engine that could cut a trip to Mars down to just 40 days. Nautel Ltd. of Hacketts Cove has partnered with a Texas rocket company, Ad Astra, to build a radio-frequency amplifier for a new plasma rocket engine. — 470 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

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.

Looking forward ...

2020: China rises, the U.S. declines
and the planet strikes back

Much will change in 10 years. China will rise, the global South will grow in importance, the U.S. will decline. These phenomena will be eclipsed by devastating planetary changes

By Michael T. Klare

You can already see a new style of writing about China emerging in our American world. The New York Times set it off recently by publishing a front-page piece on a $3.4 billion Chinese investment in one of the planet's last great copper reserves — in Afghanistan. In passing, reporter Michael Wines also pointed out that Chinese energy companies had gained a stronger foothold in the future exploitation of Iraq's massive oil reserves than had U.S. multinationals. The ironies were legion and painfully visible.

Our two wars have been sucking us dry in two countries where state-owned Chinese companies have just scored significant economic victories. "While the United States spends hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda [in Afghanistan]," wrote Wines, "China is securing raw material for its voracious economy. The world's superpower is focused on security. Its fastest rising competitor concentrates on commerce." — 4,340 words.

Iceland's president warns U.K. over Icesave referendum

By Graeme Wearden
The Guardian UK

The president of Iceland has warned British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling to avoid alienating Icelanders ahead of next month's crucial referendum on repaying the country's €3.8bn (£3.4bn) Icesave bill. Ólafur Grímsson said Icelanders were paying very close attention to British politicians as they weighed up how to vote in the referendum, which is likely to take place on 20 February. Latest opinion polls suggest that a majority of the population plans to vote against repayment. — 573 words.

Are planned airport scanners just a scam?

New technology being implemented in airports across the United States and in Europe has been tested — and found wanting

By Jane Merrick
The Independent

The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night. The claim severely undermines British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day. — 731 words.

BBC probe casts doubt on Lockerbie evidence

Agence France-Presse

LONDON — A BBC investigation has cast doubt on key evidence in the case against the Libyan convicted of blowing up a US jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, the broadcaster said Wednesday. — 371 words.

Chinese railway set for record-high passenger numbers in 2010


BEIJING — China's rapidly expanding and modernizing rail network will record 1.64 billion passenger journeys in 2010, up 120 million or 7.6 percent from last year, Railways Minister Liu Zhijun said Thursday. — 394 words.

Australia suffers hottest decade as globe warms


Australia has sweltered through its hottest decade on record, officials said Tuesday, linking a rise in heatwaves, drought, dust storms and extreme wildfires with global warming. — 431 words.

Colombia: Women empowered by restoring desertified land

By Helda Martínez
Inter Press Service

NATAGAIMA, Colombia — Indigenous and rural women from southern Tolima, a province located in the heart of Colombia, are lending a hand to the bleak land around them, with the aim of simultaneously recovering the ecosystem and regaining their own dignity, in a community effort that is changing their environment and their lives. — 1,648 words.

Satellite images reveal ancient civilization flourished in Amazon basin

By John Roach
National Geographic

Hundreds of circles, squares, and other geometric shapes once hidden by forest hint at a previously unknown ancient society that flourished in the Amazon, a new study says. Satellite images of the upper Amazon Basin taken since 1999 have revealed more than 200 geometric earthworks spanning a distance greater than 155 miles (250 kilometers). — 665 words.

Venezuela implements measures to curb commercial energy use

By Tamara Pearson

MERIDA — Following months of regular blackouts in some regions of Venezuela, the government has implemented energy saving measures, requiring companies to submit plans to save 20% of their electricity usage, regulating the usage of lighting for advertising, and creating schedules of electricity usage for shopping centres, casinos, and bingo halls. — 876 words.

Lithuanian nuke plant closed under EU deal

Agence France-Presse

VILNIUS — Lithuania Thursday shut down its Soviet-era nuclear plant under an EU deal in a move set to drive up electricity prices amid an economic crisis and leave it counting on ex-master Moscow for power. "At 11:00 pm (2100 GMT) everything went offline. It all went according to plan," Viktor Sevaldin, director of the 26-year-old plant, told AFP by telephone. — 681 words.

Egypt: Rooftops Empower the Poor

By Cam McGrath
Inter Press Service

CAIRO — In one of the poorest and most populous neighborhoods of Cairo, Hussein Soliman and his family live in a small apartment that is a model of clean energy living. — 1,024 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Top environmental issues of the decade, 2000-2009

By Larry West

The first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) was 10 years of change for the environment, as new environmental issues emerged and existing issues evolved. Here's my take on the top environmental issues of the past decade. — 1,083 words.

Health Watch

Obesity's disease burden worse than smoking

CBC News

besity is emerging as a greater threat to public health than smoking, a U.S. study suggests. The largest ongoing health survey interviewed more than 3.5 million American adults every year from 1993 to 2008. 527 words.


First small steps on land, giant leap for evolution

The discovery of fossil footprints of the first known walking land creature proves us wrong — and that couldn't be more exciting

By Adam Rutherford
The Guardian UK

Life on Earth began in the seas, around 4 billion years ago. Skip forward a few billennia and the oceans are teeming with creatures, but until around 400 million years ago the land of our largely blue planet remained bereft of large animal life. The step in that perfect unbroken chain of evolution that resulted in your existence on terra firma began with a fishlike ancestor wading out of the shallows, and finding that breathing air had its own advantages. — 799 words.

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'

By Jonathan Leake
The Times

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as "non-human persons". — 768 words.

Become a True North 10 per center

True North Perspective invites our readers to join us in celebration of our 200 series, that began with the Friday, October 30, 2009, Edition — #200.

While most of our readers are in Canada and the United States we are being read in growing numbers in as many as 88 countries. October saw us reach a record number of 59,493 hits. Ever more high-end readers are finding satisfaction in what we publish. However, we're operating at a severe financial deficit. That's why we're asking readers, effective Edition 200, to become True North Perspective 10 per centers.

Ten per cent of 200 is $20. If all readers were to send in $20, it would help ease us back from the edge of financial desperation. We need the nourishment. We are happy to rely on our readers to provide. Please take time to give this request a key moment of attention by mailing your 10 per cent to:

Carl Dow, True North Perspective, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

GM China reports record sales in 2009


SHANGHAI — US auto giant General Motors said Monday it had sold a record 1.83 million vehicles in China last year, and expressed optimism for even better results in the year to come. — 311 words.

Europe's lost generation

By Martin Walker

A specter is starting to haunt Europe. Youth unemployment is reaching record levels and the implications for social stability are alarming. Unemployment among those ages 15-24 is now averaging 20 per cent across Europe, with an extraordinary peak of 43 per cent in Spain. But it is above 20 per cent even in prosperous Luxemburg, the country with the highest income per capita in the European Union. — 784 words.

From the Desk of Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pie.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at: TriviaGuys.com.

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25 per cent of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

In case you missed it ...
The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

The short story, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story, in the Friday, April 24 edition of True North Perspective, concludes the collection titled The Old Man's Last Sauna, written by Carl Dow. On Friday, April 17, you'll find O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series began Friday, February 20, with Deo Volente (God Willing). The second, The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Friday, February 27. The third, Sharing Lies, Friday, March 6. The fourth, Flying High, Friday, March 13. The fifth, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, Friday, March 20. On Friday, March 27, One Lift Too Many, followed by The Model A Ford, Friday, April 3. The out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only, Friday, April 10. The series closed Friday, April 24, with the collection's namesake The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

Website may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a website 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 web site is: www.randyray.ca. He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or rocket@intranet.ca.

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, send an email to Carl Hall  chall2k5@gmail.com , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

Alex Binkley, Ottawa
Dennis Carr, Vancouver
Rosaleen Dickson, Ottawa
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa