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

Friday, June 25, 2010, Vol. 5, No. 30 — 234
"True North is for opinion leaders"
Mission Statement        Archives        Contact the Editor        Subscribe!

Arbitrary powers

G20 law gives police sweeping powers
to arrest anyone within 5 metres of security fence

By Jennifer Yang
Toronto Star

25 June 2010 — The province has secretly passed an unprecedented regulation that empowers police to arrest anyone near the G20 security zone who refuses to identify themselves or agree to a police search.

A 31-year-old man has already been arrested under the new regulation, which was quietly passed by the provincial cabinet on June 2.

The regulation was made under Ontario's Public Works Protection Act and was not debated in the Legislature. According to a provincial spokesperson, the cabinet action came in response to an "extraordinary request" by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who wanted additional policing powers shortly after learning the G20 was coming to Toronto.

The regulation kicked in Monday and will expire June 28, the day after the summit ends. While the new regulation appeared without notice on the province's e-Laws online database last week, it won't be officially published in The Ontario Gazette until July 3 — one week after the regulation expires. — Read the full story at the Toronto Star, 1,064 words.

G7 & G20 costs soar to $1.2 billion from $187 million estimate —
Last year's G20 meeting in Pittsburgh cost only 1.5 percent as much

G20: Canada's billion-dollar summit mystery

'Maybe someone added on an extra zero?'

By Oakland Ross
Toronto Star

Security costs at last year's G20 summit in Pittsburg totalled U.S.$12.2 — about $1.2 billion less than this year's summits in Canada. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.)

24 June 2010 — It's a good thing for British newspaper reader Reuben Camara that he doesn't pay taxes in Canada.

The Lancashire resident was outraged last year at the price-tag for an April summit that brought the G20 leaders to London for two days. Billed in some quarters as the "budget" summit, the meeting cost an estimated $30 million.

"I'd hate to think what a full-blown summit would cost," Camara complained on the website of the London Daily Standard.

Come to Canada, Ruben — and don't forget your cheque book.

Ottawa initially allocated $179 million for the G8 and G20 summits — three days of talks that are now expected to set taxpayers back at least $1.1 billion. Most of the money, about $930 million, is for security.

Last September, Pittsburgh hosted a G20 summit that resulted in no great breaches of public order but whose security-related costs totaled only about $12.2 million (U.S.) — less than 1.5 per cent of the projected costs of the summits in Toronto and Huntsville. — Read the full article at Toronto Star, 836 words.

Signe Wilkinson, Comics.com, 24 June 2010.

The CSIS Affair

What in the world was CSIS chief thinking?
And why wasn't the CBC thinking at all?

Fadden evoked questions the CBC failed to ask. Like why he dropped his bombshell, and why now?

By Crawford Kilian

Intelligence? CSIS chief Richard Fadden

25 June 2010 — The CBC's "inside report" on CSIS puts both institutions in a very strange light. Neither the broadcaster nor the spy agency seems to have thought through what it was doing.

The two-part series on CSIS looked like a pilot for a sequel to the late lamented Intelligence, one with the working title "Stupidity." It gave us ominous background music, faceless people walking around an ugly building, and painfully scripted exchanges between spymaster Richard Fadden and his underlings, all pretending as if the CBC cameras weren't in the room.

Apparently they were worried about Somalia.

Fadden himself was the epitome of the bland bureaucrat, right down to the owlish horn-rim glasses and a face like rice pudding. A genius like Sir Alec Guinness could put such a face on George Smiley and make it the visage of modern espionage, but Fadden is clearly no genius. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 907 words.

Note to our readers:

True North Perspective will not be published next Friday, July 2, 2010.

We will be celebrating Dominion Day, yes, but also working to bring you a new and much improved package begining on July 9, 2010.

We hope you enjoy next week's celebrations, if you are Canadian, or that you will forgive us ours, if you are not.

We look forward to our return — better than ever — on the second Friday in July. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor

Guest Editorial

'He shall have dominion from sea to sea'

Friday, June 25, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 30 (234)

Give us back our Dominion Day!

By Sandy Wakeling
Give Us Back Our Dominion Day! Facebook Group

This year we will be celebrating the 141st birthday of the Dominion of Canada, as our fair country has been known since 1867. Back in the eighties though, use of the word "Dominion" fell out of fashion for some reason. I have heard some suggest that the term implied our subjugation to the British crown. It in fact does no such thing.

Our country’s name was a thoughtful decision on the part of the Fathers of Confederation, to come up with a unique title for our new country. While Kingdom of Canada, was rejected as too imperial, others such as Republic of Canada were avoided in order to maintain a clear distinction between our nation and our neighbour to the south that was then in the midst of a bloody civil war.

It was during these deliberations that Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley received some inspiration in Psalm 72:8, as he read, "He shall have dominion from sea to sea." The phrase struck a chord with Tilley who suggested it to the Fathers of Confederation as a unique moniker which would underscore our individuality as a nation. The Fathers liked the idea and unanimously adopted the Dominion of Canada as our official name. Read the full article at the Facebook group, 535 words.

Letters to the Editor

More memories of fathers

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's Father's Day articles, "A Tribute to Dads" (Part 1 here and Part 2 here), brought back vivid memories of my Dad. He was a man of a few words but generous with his time and a fine listener whose greatest pleasure was to prepare meals for all of us on Sunday mornings. When he passed away I treasured his love for music, his ability to work hard every day of his life and his love for his family. Today, I watch my husband, a father and a grandfather, and I realize how important he is to our family. As a father, our daughters turn to him when making important decisions. He becomes their sounding board! As a father-in-law, he has become a friend to our daughters' husbands. To our six grandchildren, he is their only Papi or Popi! He lives for their pleasure!

As I ponder all of this, it is clear to me that men play such an important role in family relationships, be it their wisdom, knowledge, masculinity, their particular sense of humour... all of these attributes are needed to make up a balanced and well-meshed network in any family. I think that sometimes men don't take their role as seriously as they should or maybe we, as women, should remind them more often how valuable their role is. Thank you these articles and affording me time to reflect on this.

— Lise Chatelain, Gatineau, Québec

"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.

In the belly of the beast (Huntsville, Ontario)

How I was detained by G8 security

'You can videotape the bomb-sniffing dog, and we will have to keep you here while we take it up the chain of command. Or you can leave the video recorder off and we can let you go in a few minutes.'

By Terry Pedwell
The Canadian Press

25 June 2010 — There's security, and then there's G8 security — complete with hundreds of police officers seemingly bored out of their minds.

"Excuse me, sir, can you open the trunk of your car?" one young officer asked as he motioned for me to pull over Thursday evening.

Alarm bells went off in my head as I was about to enter the "interdiction zone," dreaded by the poor residents living near the site of Canada's G8 summit.

Living inside the zone has meant a five minute drive home from downtown Huntsville could easily take half an hour or more. — Read the full article at the Globe and Mail, words.

How things happen sometimes in Ottawa

Sorely needed ships to guard Canada's north
are just drawings while Harper stages press meet

'While the Harper government has paid a lot more attention to the north, the ships that will enable Canada to back up its jurisdiction exist only in drawings'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

25 June 2010 — OTTAWA — One might wonder why just days before the start of the G8 and G20 summits, the Harper government would dispatch a cabinet minister to a news conference in the National Press Theatre to announce a new Arctic ship reporting regime would start July 1.

Transport Minister John Baird had announced months ago that Canada would make it mandatory this year for all commercial ships entering Canada's 200 mile Arctic zone to report to the Canadian Coast Guard before they arrive.

The news conference attracted a handful of reporters and generated few headlines. The government would have got the same attention with a press release. — Read the full article inside, 895 words.

West Quebec Wisdom

With Oprah and stiletto-heeled boots on her mind
Lakshmi decides she'll clean house on the morrow

'My life has no purpose, no direction no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?' — Charles Shultz

By Lakshmi Sundaram
True North Perspective
First published in the West Quebec Post

25 June 2010 — I was reading an old issue of Oprah magazine full of gorgeous clothes and beautiful people and tons of things to buy; and yet the theme was to de clutter. Oprah herself was downsizing and had sold off some of her closet contents on eBay (I fleetingly fantasized about the brown, tooled leather, stiletto heeled boots that killed her feet- maybe they wouldn't kill mine and if they did I could save them for when I was off my feet). I looked around my own house, the chaos and the mess, the nose prints on the windows, the beer cans in the hallways and ugh ... the kitchen floor. My house is out of control. It is man and pet friendly alright but is in need of a good spring clean and who has time for that? — Read the full story inside, 752 words.

Most Canadians blame CSIS, airport security in Air India disaster, poll finds

Survey found that respondents were split as to whether race played a factor in how investigation handled

By Tiffany Crawford
The Vancouver Sun

19 June 2010 — A majority of Canadians surveyed believe that Canada's spy agency and airport security staff shoulder much of the blame for the Air India disaster, a new Angus-Reid poll suggests.

The survey was conducted Thursday and Friday of last week, the same day former Supreme Court justice John Major released the final report into the Air India bombing.

It asked 1,008 Canadian adults whether four entities — the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS), airport security personnel, the RCMP and Transport Canada — deserve blame for the bombing of the Air India flight that killed 329 people off the coast of Ireland in 1985. — Read the full article at The Vancouver Sun, 466 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Gulf disaster raises alarms about Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline

Diverse foes of TransCanada project fear catastrophic oil leak into vast water source for US breadbasket states

By Geoff Dembicki

21 June 2010 — A Calgary-based pipeline company could soon start shipping Canadian oil across one of the biggest freshwater aquifers in the world — part of a proposed fossil fuel mega-highway from Alberta to Texas.

Critics worry that a major leak could ruin drinking water for millions of Americans and devastate the mid-western U.S. economy.

The project developer, TransCanada, has applied for special permits to build its Keystone XL pipeline with thinner-than-normal steel, possibly saving the company more than a billion dollars. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 1,387 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Threatened with legal action, Alberta government scientist
admits he lied to public about oil sands study with 'urgent' concerns

By Geoff Dembicki
The Hook, TheTyee.ca

21 June 2010 — A senior Alberta government scientist has apologized for attempting to discredit the authors of a report that raised "urgent" concerns about oil sands pollution.

"(i) You did not lie (ii) You did not choose to remove data from your study," reads a letter signed by Dr. Preston McEachern, an administrator with Alberta Environment.

"The statements in my presentations that you did these things were false and I regret very much that I made these statements." — Read the full article at The Hook, TheTyee.ca, 314 words.

OIW to fund scholarship
for creative writing at the University of Ottawa

True North Perspective

24 June 2010 — Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) has created a writing scholarship for students who attend the University of Ottawa (U of O).

Known as the Ottawa Independent Writers' Scholarship for Creative Writing, it will award $500 per year to a student involved in creative writing courses at U of O during the academic years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The first and third years of the project will see scholarships given to the student who has achieved the highest mark on the portfolio of finished works completed at the end of the seminar ENG3264, Creative Writing, a U of O course in the English program.

The second year will see a scholarship given to a deserving undergraduate student registered in a program at the Département de français at U of O that includes at least one course in creative writing. Applicants must submit a portfolio composed of three of their finished works.

OIW's board of directors will review the scholarship in 2012 and decide if it will be renewed.

"OIW does its best to help writers in the Ottawa area develop their skills. Our board felt it was appropriate for the organization to contribute money to deserving young writers who show promise during their academic years," said OIW President George Laidlaw.

For more information, please contact: Randy Ray, OIW director of publicity at: (613) 731-3873 or rocket@intranet.ca.

Eight dauntless OIW readers had their voice despite
a 5.0 earthquake and barred national archives gates

By Carl Dow
Vice President Ottawa Independent Writers

25 June 2010 — Randy Ray, publicity director, Ottawa Independent Writers, moved quickly in the wake of the 15-second earthquake that shook most of central and eastern Ontario, Wednesday, June 23.

He checked on the status of 395 Wellington. Learned that the building was closed and sent an email to all members announcing the fact.

Randy and I agreed that we should arrive on schedule to greet any who did not receive the email. Good move because about 20 came. We milled about for a half-hour or so, waiting for stragglers, while considering two options: one that we convene somewhere else or that we postpone reading night to the first membership meeting in September. — Read the full article inside, 440 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Canada highly-regarded in poorer countries, not so much by citizens of its wealthy peers

Historica-Dominion Institute

21 June 2010 — As Canada prepares to play host to the world's leaders at the G8 and G20 Summits, a new survey commissioned by The Historica-Dominion Institute, takes the pulse of the global community's perceptions of Canada and Canadians.

With the state of the global economy and international relations as the major themes of the upcoming summits, the first part of the survey, entitled Canada and the World in 2010, focuses on the perceptions of Canada as an economic and world power.

The online survey of over 18,000 people in 24 countries, conducted by Ipsos Reid, shows that Canadians sometimes overestimate their own influence in world affairs as two in three Canadians (67%) agree that Canada has an influence on the world stage, while only 55% of global respondents agree. — Read the full article at Historica-Dominion Institute, 577 words.

'Falling in love is easy but staying in love is something very special'

"I see you!" Can we honestly say that to our mate?

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.

25 June 2010 — Last week, I had the opportunity to watch a rerun of Pour tout l'amour du monde a very popular talk-show on Rogers cable 23.

Ginette Gratton is a very talented, award-winning host and on this occasion she had invited Anne Guillemette, a federal employee and mother of an eight year-old autistic child, Kareen Aristide, a mother of five, who runs a business with her husband and me, the most senior of the three, mother, grandmother, retired teacher and artist. — Read the full article inside, 1,015 words.

Spirit Quest

As perfect love casts out fear
so perfect fear casts out love

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

The Reverend Doctor Hanns F. Skoutajan

25 June 2010 — "Fear pervades our country."

... Allow me to reword this statement: Fear is made to pervade our country.

And indeed, the whole world is filled with fear.

When no expense is spared by our governments to protect the participants of the G8 and G20 meeting; when our leaders staunchly defend a billion dollar, and counting, price tag in order to build a security fence/wall around the Deerhurst Lodge near Huntsville, Ontario, and establish a virtual army camp to house the forces that are to patrol the lakes, forests and golf courses; when rail traffic, buses and pedestrians are rerouted from approaching the Toronto Conference Centre and all chip wagons are banished from the vicinity for three weeks; one can only surmise that danger lurks behind every tree, garbage bin, under every manhole cover and home fried potato, that terrorists totally pervade our "Peaceable Kingdom." — Read the full article inside, 1,048 words.

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor

True North

By Heather Meek

Read the full story at DominionPaper.ca.

A True North Perspective classic
Originally presented on June 13, 2008


Furious Peacenik solves The Peace Tree Mystery

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Photo by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com.

13 June 2008 — There was a furious peacenik in Parkdale — that's me. I went to the library to drop off some papers and then to the community centre to do a workout in the gym.

Well, I got my workout alright. As I approached the Community Centre I noticed my Peace Tree had been chopped down. This peace tree I had fought so hard to get as a symbol in our community of Peace to counteract all the other not so peaceful monuments along the Lakeshore and in our neighbourhood.

We fought hard to get the tree and finally succeeded in 1986, the Year of Peace in the city of Toronto. Beneath it is a stone with a plaque with words: PARKDALE PEACE TREE ... For All Our Tomorrows ... CITY OF TORONTO ... INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PEACE ... PARKDALE FOR PEACE ... 1986.

The stone and plaque were still there but no peace tree. — Read the full article inside, 667 words.

Health Watch

Choose this starch for better blood sugar

One simple substitution reduces risk of diabetes by 16 percent


21 June 2010 — You could lower your risk of diabetes by 16 percent with this starch substitution: brown rice instead of white.

Research shows that people who consume lots of white rice each week may up their diabetes risk, while people who regularly eat brown rice lower theirs.

One Big Bowl

In a study, the people who consumed five or more servings of white rice per week had a 17 percent higher risk of diabetes compared with the people who consumed less than a serving of the white stuff each month. — Read the full article at RealAge, 237 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.

Steve Jobs now advises Russian president Medvedev
Change business mentality by cleaning out corruption

By Olga Razumovskaya
The Moscow Times

25 June 2010 — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev left California's Silicon Valley with a brand-new iPhone 4 and a bit of advice from Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Change Russians' mentality.

Medvedev, who toured the U.S. cradle of innovation to get tips and drum up support for his modernization drive, also won a pledge from Cisco Systems to invest $1 billion as a tenant in Skolkovo, the Kremlin's version of Silicon Valley outside Moscow.

But with a business culture where corruption and bureaucracy are rampant, Russia poses a huge risk for U.S. companies, said the U.S. congresswoman whose California district includes Silicon Valley. — Read the full story at The Moscow Times, 1,034 words.

'You cannot tell God's air where to flow and go, and you can't tell water where to flow and go.'

A hole in the world

The Gulf oil spill is not just an industrial accident
it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself
which lays bare the hubris at the heart of industrial civilization

By Naomi Klein
The Guardian

Obama cannot order pelicans not to die (no matter whose ass he kicks). And no amount of money — not BP's $20bn, not $100bn — can replace a culture that's lost its roots.' Photograph: Lee Celano/Reuters

19 June 2010 — Everyone gathered for the town hall meeting had been repeatedly instructed to show civility to the gentlemen from BP and the federal government. These fine folks had made time in their busy schedules to come to a high school gymnasium on a Tuesday night in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, one of many coastal communities where brown poison was slithering through the marshes, part of what has come to be described as the largest environmental disaster in US history.


'The front fell off' — Australian humour
From the Desk of Hanns Skoutajan

"Speak to others the way you would want to be spoken to," the chair of the meeting pleaded one last time before opening the floor for questions.

And for a while the crowd, mostly made up of fishing families, showed remarkable restraint. They listened patiently to Larry Thomas, a genial BP public relations flack, as he told them that he was committed to "doing better" to process their claims for lost revenue — then passed all the details off to a markedly less friendly subcontractor. They heard out the suit from the Environmental Protection Agency as he informed them that, contrary to what they have read about the lack of testing and the product being banned in Britain, the chemical dispersant being sprayed on the oil in massive quantities was really perfectly safe.

But patience started running out by the third time Ed Stanton, a coast guard captain, took to the podium to reassure them that "the coast guard intends to make sure that BP cleans it up".

"Put it in writing!" someone shouted out. By now the air conditioning had shut itself off and the coolers of Budweiser were running low. A shrimper named Matt O'Brien approached the mic. "We don't need to hear this anymore," he declared, hands on hips. It didn't matter what assurances they were offered because, he explained, "we just don't trust you guys!" And with that, such a loud cheer rose up from the floor you'd have thought the Oilers (the unfortunately named school football team) had scored a touchdown. — Read the full article at The Guardian, 4,537 words.

Whales even in remote regions weighed down by industrial poisons

Biologist: Ocean pollution 'threatening the human food supply'

'I don't see any future for whale species except extinction. This is not on anybody's radar, no government's radar anywhere.'

The Associated Press

24 June 2010 — Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth's oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.

A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. From polar areas to equatorial waters, the whales ingested pollutants that may have been produced by humans thousands of miles away, the researchers said.

"These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They certainly are threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean," said biologist Roger Payne, founder and president of Ocean Alliance, the research and conservation group that produced the report. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 992 words.

Report from Obama's Afghanistan ...


Switch to Petraeus betrays Afghan policy crisis

By Gareth Porter
Inter Press Service

23 June 2010, WASHINGTON — Despite President Barack Obama's denial that his decision to fire Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as commander in Afghanistan and replace him with Gen. David Petraeus signified any differences with McChrystal over war strategy, the decision obviously reflects a desire by Obama to find a way out of a deepening policy crisis in Afghanistan.

Although the ostensible reason was indiscreet comments by McChrystal and his aides reported in Rolling Stone, the switch from McChrystal to Petraeus was clearly the result of White House unhappiness with McChrystal's handling of the war.

It had become evident in recent weeks that McChrystal's strategy is not working as he had promised, and Congress and the U.S. political elite had already become very uneasy about whether the war was on the wrong track. — Read the full article at Source, 1,017 words.

French prisons over-crowded, under-monitored, unsafe

Prisoner fried and ate cellmate's lungs

Agence France-Presse

22 June 2010, ROUEN, France — A prisoner who killed his cellmate and devoured his lung with fried onions put France's troubled prison system under critical new scrutiny Tuesday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Nicolas Cocaign is on trial for the murder of Thierry Baudry, whom he punched, stabbed with a pair of scissors and suffocated with a rubbish bag before cutting him open with a razor blade.

After removing a rib, Cocaign pulled out a lung, which he mistook for his victim's heart, ate part of it raw and then fried the rest of it with onions on a makeshift stove in his cell, prosecutors say. — Read the full article at the RawStory.com, 597 words.

Reality Check

Is BP oil spill helping Obama's war in Afghanistan?

By David Corn
Politics Daily

22 June 2010 — The gushing oil of the BP spill continues to darken the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, posing a profound challenge to President Barack Obama, whose efforts seem (perhaps through no fault of his own) barely connected to whatever will bring this eco-disaster to an end. But the dark swill pouring into the gulf has also drawn attention from another challenging problem for the president: Afghanistan.

Granted, the $100 billion-per-year war in Afghanistan usually attracts little media notice or political debate. It's not often on the front pages, and it's barely a blip on the cable news radar screen. I see this firsthand, too. Whenever I write a column or article about the war, it's a traffic-killer. A piece on Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin can light up the Internet; one on Afghanistan — say, how Obama and his aides are disingenuously touting anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan — doesn't generate much in the way of links, buzz or tweets. (So why am I writing this column? Isn't there something else to be said about Palin's implants — or lack thereof?)

Still, whatever press or political attention Afghanistan might be receiving now, it's obviously less due to the BP nightmare. That's good for Obama, for his Afghanistan policy has not been looking so hot lately. — Read the full article at Politics Daily, 844 words.

Venezuela to nationalize U.S. firm's oil rigs

Venezuela will nationalize a fleet of idle oil rigs belonging to U.S. company Helmerich and Payne as President Hugo Chavez struggles with lower oil output and a recession


24 June 2010 — The takeover of the rigs, owned by the Helmerich and Payne oil firm, is the most recent move in a programme of nationalisation as part of the socialist 'Bolivarian revolution' of Hugo Chavez, the president.

The rigs have been out of use for months due to a dispute over payments by PDVSA, the state oil company.

Helmerich and Payne, which owns other rigs in the country, had said that it would not work at the sites until they were paid the $49 million it was owed. It did not immediately comment on the planned nationalisation. — Read the full article at the CommonDreams.org, 305 words.

Cuba elected vice-president of the UN Human Rights Council


21 June 2010, GENEVA — Cuba has been elected as vice president of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the main UN agency that specializes in promoting and protecting human rights, PL reports.

During the annual organizational session of the HRC and to great acclaim, its members decided to elect Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez, the Cuban ambassador in Geneva, to the post, in what is thought to be an acknowledgement of the work the island has done in this area. — Read the full article at Granma, 307 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Activists, auto-workers seek global answers in auto-industry shake-up

Falling salaries in North America meet rising wages in Asia
Environment, oil costs and supplies, new technologies, all wild-cards

By Bankole Thompson and Mitch Moxley
Inter Press Service

20 June 2010, DETROIT/BEIJING — As thousands of people from around the world prepare to converge in Detroit, where expectations are high for the Jun. 22-26 U.S. Social Forum, activists and auto workers hope the meet will be an opportunity to chart a sustainable future for an industry that provides 1.7 million U.S. jobs.

Detroit has been hit harder than nearly any other U.S. city by growing competition from Asia, rising oil prices, and the economic recession that took a heavy toll on the "Big Three" U.S. carmakers — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. — Read the full story at Inter Press Service, 1,069 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Downsizing Detroit — to save it

Once the fourth-largest city in the United States, 'urban renewal' in the Motor City now includes demolishing empty buildings and disconnecting others from city services

By Susan Saulny
The New York Times

20 June 2010 — For generations, residents of this hollowed-out city hoped that somehow Detroit could be reborn — its population would return and its crumbling core would be rebuilt. No idea was more heretical than widespread demolition of thousands of derelict buildings.

But a new momentum has taken hold here that embraces just that: shrinking the city in order to save it.

"There's nothing you can do with a lot of the buildings now but do away with them," said Mae Reeder, a homeowner of 35 years on the southeast side, where her bungalow is surrounded by blocks that are being reclaimed by nature, complete with pheasants nesting in vacant spaces where people once lived.

The residential vacancy rate in Detroit is 27.8 percent. This is up from the 10.3 percent rate found in 2000 by the United States census. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 1,404 words.

Third Ways

In the aftermath of disaster, rural Hatian women organize

'There are some violent men who prevent women from attending women's meetings, because they know women can speak freely and badly about them. Sometimes the men use violence to stop the women from going, but it's much less these days than it used to be.'

By Beverly Bell

24 June 2010 — "If we rural women can organize ourselves together to form a bloc, we could accomplish a lot of things," says Yvette Michaud, founder of the National Coordinating Committee of Peasant Women (KONAFAP by its Creole acronym). The committee is a first-ever effort to unite, on a national basis, the voices and interests of this large and excluded sector of the population.

KONAFAP was formed two years ago by women from the 56 member organizations of the Haitian National Network for Food Sovereignty and Security. KONAFAP is still in a building stage, and to date only a few organizations are active within it. Those members are excited about the future potential of the group.

Here, three organizers within KONAFAP discuss the status of rural women, challenges they face to organizing as women, advances they have made toward gender justice, and what they hope for in a rebuilt Haiti. — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 1,602 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Necessity turns South America into a public transit laboratory

The continent that gave the world Bus Rapid Transit now looks to the skies

By Steven Dale

This ain't no ski-lift! Urban transit, Santo Domingo-style.

10 June 2010 — Another ingenious solution to an urban transit dilemma has made its way north from the cities of Latin America. Recently opened in Portland, Metro Cables have already provided a low cost rapid transit solution for Caracas, Medellin and Santo Domingo. The gondola lines are cheaper than light rail transit, and able to navigate more topographically challenging terrain than buses.

The continent that gave the world Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is at it again, this time transforming ski lift style urban gondolas into fully-integrated parts of their public transit networks.

Is it absurd to travel to work in a ski lift?

To North Americans, probably. The idea transcends the absurd into the laughable.

Yet South America may have the last laugh. Because for residents of our neighboring continent to the south, commuting via gondola is becoming more and more common. Normal, even. — Read the full article at Source, 1,283 words.

From the Desk of Carl Hall, Technology Editor

Apple now collecting, sharing precise location of iPhone users — in real-time

Users can turn off locator, but default position is 'On'

By John Byrne

22 June 2010 — The world's largest technology company by market capitalization may soon rival the National Security Agency in its ability to track Americans using their cell phones.

Apple Inc. is now tracking the "precise," "real-time geographic location" of iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers — and has unwittingly gotten its customers to sign off on their being tracked by making a little-noticed modification to the language in its apps store.

The company's "partners and licensees" will now be able to collect and store data about your location. — Read the full story at RawStory.org, 869 words.

Israel team develops software to spot depressed bloggers

Inventors say program could enable mental health workers to identify individuals in need of treatment and recommend they seek help

By Yuval Azoulay

21 June 2010 — sraeli researchers have developed software that claims to identify depressed bloggers by analyzing their writing.

The program scours blogs for words and phrases, descriptions and metaphors that can indicate the writer's psychological state.

The software's initial test run, which was part of a research study headed by Professor Yair Neuman of Ben-Gurion University's department of education, combed more than 1,000 blog posts written by American bloggers that were online in 2004. — Read the full article at the Haaretz, 535 words.

Pakistan to monitor websites for 'anti-Islam content'

Agence France-Presse

25 June 2010, ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's government ordered the monitoring of websites including Google, Yahoo and YouTube for "anti-Islam content" Friday, an official said, amid renewed tensions over the Internet.

"The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received orders from the ministry of information technology to monitor these websites, which are being implemented," a spokesman for the authority told AFP.

The order comes after a row over Pakistan's blocking for nearly a fortnight last month of the Facebook website due to content deemed blasphemous. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 305 words.

To serve and protect ...

Cops tasered bed-ridden, 86 year-old woman: Oklahoma lawsuit

Grandmother 'took more aggressive stance' in her bed: Officer

By Daniel Tencer

25 June 2010 — When Lonnie Tinsley of El Reno, Oklahoma, called 911 to ask for medical assistance for his disabled, bed-ridden grandmother, he couldn't have dreamed it would end with police tasering the 86-year-old woman twice, stepping on her oxygen hose until she couldn't breathe, and sending her to a psychiatric hospital for six days.

Yet that's what a lawsuit (PDF) filed in a federal court in Oklahoma this week alleges.

According to the lawsuit, in December, 2009, Tinsley came by his grandmother's apartment to see if she was doing alright in the midst of a winter storm. When she wasn't able to tell him if she had taken her medication, Tinsley called 911 and asked responders to send medical technicians over to evaluate her.

But instead of an ambulance, the lawsuit alleges, "as many as 10 El Reno police" arrived and "pushed their way through the door." — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 376 words.


Gorilla in our midst:
How we miss seeing what's around us

The "gorilla in our midst" psychology experiment is up there among the world's most famous. But as Liz Else found out from Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, the psychologists who devised it, exactly how it fools half of the people who take part is still a mystery

By Liz Else
New Scientist.com

23 June 2010 — How did you come up with the experiment?

Christopher Chabris: We didn't say, "let's do a really intriguing experiment people will talk about for years". It was just a class project on visual attention in a course we were teaching 12 years ago. The gorilla suit was lying around in a lab. If it hadn't been there, who knows?

Daniel Simons: Our study revisited work from the 1970s by Ulric Neisser, where subjects had to watch a video and count the times players passed a ball. Neisser had someone with an open umbrella walk through the game, and many people didn't notice it. But his video had an odd, ghostly appearance which gave people an excuse for missing the person with the umbrella. We filmed the entire game with a single camera so that everything was fully visible — and the person in the gorilla suit was there for 9 seconds! When we showed the video, only half of the viewers saw the gorilla.

Is it the same for every group?Read the full article at NewScientist.com, 773 words.

Amputee cat gets bionic paws

Agence France-Presse

25 June 2010, LONDON — A cat whose back legs were chopped off in a farming accident has been given a new bionic pair, in a ground-breaking feline first in the country.

Two-and-a-half year old Oscar lost at least one of his nine lives when he was run over by a combine harvester last October — but eight months later he has regained a spring in his step.

The prosthetic paws were fitted by neuro-orthopaedic surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick, in a three-hour operation involving grafting the replacement legs onto the stumps of Oscar's remaining bones. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 181 words.

What separates us from the other animals?
Yes, we have big brains, but also, we masturbate. A lot

By Jesse Bering
Scientific American

22 June 2010 — There must be something in the water here in Lanesboro, Minnesota, because last night I dreamt of an encounter with a very muscular African-American centaur, an orgiastic experience with — gasp — drunken members of the opposite sex and (as if that weren't enough) then being asked by my hostess to wear a white wedding dress while giving a scientific keynote presentation. "Does it make me look too feminine?" "Not at all," she assured me, "it's a man's dress."

Now Freud might raise his eyebrows at such a lurid dreamscape, but if these images represent my repressed sexual yearnings, then there's a side of me that I apparently have yet to discover. But I doubt that this is the case. Dreams with erotic undertones are like most other dreams during REM sleep—runaway trains with a conductor who is helpless to do anything about the surrealistic directions they take. Rather, if you really want to know about a person's hidden sexual desires, then find out what's on his or her mind's eye during the deepest throes of masturbation.

This conjuring ability to create fantasy scenes in our heads that literally bring us to orgasm when conveniently paired with our dexterous appendages is an evolutionary magic trick that I suspect is uniquely human. It requires a cognitive capacity called mental representation (an internal "re-presentation" of a previously experienced image or some other sensory input) that many evolutionary theorists believe is a relatively recent hominid innovation. — Read the full article at Scientific American, 3,812 words.

Annals of Education

School district blames disabled student with mental age of 7 for own molestation

By Muriel Kane

25 June 2010 — When a teacher's aide at Saddleback High School in Santa Ana, CA was arrested for molesting one of the special-ed students under his care, the school district's first impulse was to cover the incident up and hope no one would find out.

Now the student's parents have sued the Santa Ana Unified School District for negligently keeping on an employee that other parents had been complaining about for years. The district's lawyers have responded by not only blaming the mentally disabled girl for her own abuse but asking that the judge dismiss the charges and make the victim's family pay the district's legal fees.

The seventeen-year-old victim, who has cerebral palsy, has the mental capacity of a seven-year-old and is confined to a wheelchair. Because she is unable to speak, no one knows exactly what was happening when another school employee found her alone in a room with Alonso Manuel Gonzalez, with her shirt pulled up and her breasts exposed, but the incident resulted in the aide's arrest for a "lewd act with dependent adult." — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 540 words.

Looking forward ...

'Good' death rains down on foreign skies

Detached America wages tele-operated war
As always, innocent civilians pay the price

While the United States and Britain prepared for war on baseless accusations that Iraq had 'weapons of mass destruction' and un-manned aerial vehicles that threatened American cities, the first real drones were already flying over Afghan skies

By Tom Engelhardt

24 June 2010 — Admittedly, before George W. Bush had his fever dream, the U.S. had already put its first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone surveillance planes in the skies over Kosovo in the late 1990s. By November 2001, it had armed them with missiles and was flying them over Afghanistan.

In November 2002, a Predator drone would loose a Hellfire missile on a car in Yemen, a country with which we weren't at war.

Six suspected al-Qaeda members, including a suspect in the bombing of the destroyer the USS Cole would be turned into twisted metal and ash — the first "targeted killings" of the American robotic era. — Read the full article at TomDispatch.com, 2,598 words.

Whalewatching worth billions and booming: study

Sea Shepherd's Watson on Interpol wanted list

Agence France-Presse

25 June 2010, TOKYO — Interpol this week placed the head of US-based anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd on an international wanted list at Japan's request, authorities in Tokyo said Friday.

The Japan Coastguard was informed by Interpol Thursday about the listing of Canadian Paul Watson, 59, for allegedly conspiring to harass whaling ships in Antarctic clashes in February, a coastguard spokeswoman said.

The coastguard filed the request with the French-based police service in April as part of Japan's long-running battle with militant environmentalists from Watson's Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. — Read the full story at RawStory.com, 303 words.

Agence France-Presse

25 June 2010, AGADIR, Morocco — Whalewatching revenue topped two billion dollars in 2009 and is set to grow 10 percent a year, according to a new study.

The findings boost arguments that the marine mammals are worth more alive than dead, the researchers said.

They also coincide with a decision by the 88-nation International Whaling Commission (IWC), meeting in Agadir, Morocco, to move forward with a "five year strategic plan" exploring the economic benefits and ecological risks of whalewatching.

Some 13 million eco-tourists in 2009 paid to see the animals in their natural element, generating 2.1 billion dollars (1.7 billion euros) and employing 13,000 people across hundreds of coastal regions worldwide, the study found.

"This shows that we can have our whales and still benefit from them, without killing them," said co-author Rashid Sumaila, a researcher at the University of British Columbia. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 671 words.

Money and Markets

World economy taking new shape

By Richard Johnson
InDepth NewsAnalysis

17 June 2010, PARIS — The biggest economic story of our times is unfolding itself. In the new economic world we live in, countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are providing the dynamism for future growth.

In fact, economic growth in the developing world has outpaced that in advanced economies for more than a decade. Developing countries are set to contribute nearly 60 percent of world GDP (gross domestic product) by 2030.

Non-OECD countries, which do not belong to the traditional category of rich industrial economies, give over 100 times more aid to developing countries than they did in 1990. — Read the full article at InDepth NewsAnalysis, 871 words.

Economic recovery, California-style

Town of Maywood to fire all city employees

By Muriel Kane

23 June 2010 — Economic hard times are causing many municipalities to look for ways to reduce their payrolls, but none has taken it as far as the town of Maywood, California.

On Monday night, the Maywood City Council voted unanimously to fire all 100 city employees and contract out most services, including record-keeping, street maintenance, and parks and recreation, to the neighboring town of Bell.

"We will become 100% a contracted city," Maywood's interim city manager stated. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 434 words.


Brazilian President Lula da Silva: 'When I met with the head of the IMF and paid off the debt in full, he did not want me to pay the debt. He said, "Don't worry about the money, we can roll it over. Keep the money."'

Oliver Stone's Border pierces the American media's 'Berlin Wall' between the United States and a changing Latin America

By Robert Naiman

24 June 2010 — On April 13, 2002, an event occurred in Venezuela which was as world historical for South America as the fall of the Berlin Wall was for Eastern Europe: a US-backed coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela collapsed. The Bush administration's efforts to promote the coup failed in the face of popular resistance in Venezuela and diplomatic resistance in the region.

The failure of the Bush administration's effort to overthrow President Chavez was world historical for South America because it sent a powerful new signal about the limits of the ability of the United States to thwart popular democracy in the region. — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 779 words.

Blackhawks to bring Stanley Cup to Chicago's Gay Pride Parade

By Michael Sneed
Chicago Sun-Times

22 June 2010 — Is the ultimate game of testosterone going to dispatch a Blackhawk with the Stanley Cup in tow to the Gay Pride Parade this weekend?

You betcha!

Sneed has learned Blackhawks President John McDonough is rerouting the Stanley Cup from the NHL draft in L.A. to the parade Sunday . . . and Blackhawk defenseman Brent Sopel has volunteered to represent the team.

"I am honored to do it," said Sopel, who will be accompanied by wife, Kelly, and his four kids, Jacob, 12, Lyla, 8, Jayla, 6, and Paul, 20, whom they adopted three years ago after Paul's parents died within six months of each other. — Read the full article at Chicago Sun-Times, 489 words.

Sex with strangers and other tales from Sook-Yin Lee

In her new film, the actor and CBC personality explores how a teenage girl finds a home on the cultural outskirts

By Guy Dixon
The Globe and Mail

22 June 2010 — There's a secret to understanding Sook-Yin Lee.

She actually cares what other people think of her. A lot.

This might come as a surprise to anyone who saw her masturbate in the film Shortbus. Or appear naked in the short film she directed and starred in for Toronto Stories. Or those who listen to her unconventional CBC Radio show Definitely Not the Opera. Or follow her presence on the highly uncommercial fringe of indie rock.

Her new film Year of the Carnivore, however, is the first feature film she's directed, and that makes it personal. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 664 words.

Pete Seeger spellbinds with intimate New York set

91-year-old folk legend opens up about supporting Obama, new disc

By Patrick Doyle
Rolling Stone

22 June 2010 — At 91, Pete Seeger doesn't like to travel anymore, preferring performing in front of school children in his hometown of Beacon, New York, to big journeys into the city. But last night, the folk legend played a short but spellbinding set for 400 fans at New York's Gotham House, an old converted bank, and received WhyHunger's Chapin award in recognition of his work on hunger and poverty issues.

After a dinner in the sprawling banquet hall, Tom Chapin outlined Seeger's 70-year career and still-active life upstate, joking, "He poisons the minds of children with his subversive attitudes about poverty and human rights." Seeger didn't give much of an acceptance speech, choosing instead to strap on his rustic banjo for a politically charged set that began with his 1970 track "We'll All Be A-Doubling." He still picks masterfully, and his voice sounds gloriously ragged. When Rolling Stone told him the performance recalled his legendary 1963 Carnegie Hall recording, Seeger laughed, "I can't remember that far back — it was 50 years ago!" — Read the full story at Rolling Stone, 630 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. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The 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 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 Source, Source, 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.


Yvette Pigeon, 1934-2010, National Editor, 2006-2010

Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing 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

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