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

Friday, March 5, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 13 — 217
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European Dis-Union

'Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks — and the Acropolis too!'

Greek bailout drives rift in European 'brotherhood'

German response to Greece's emergency is another humiliation in an increasingly nasty war between Europe's North and South

By Doug Saunders
The Globe and Mail

As Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepared for a crisis meeting in Berlin Friday, a retired bank clerk named Yannis Pannousakis and a dozen supporters blocked the entrance to a German electronics franchise in downtown Athens, handing out leaflets showing Ms. Merkel in an SS uniform. — 943 words.

Cartoon by Nick Anderson, Comics.com, 3 March 2010.

Canada wanted Afghan prisoners tortured: lawyer

Unredacted documents show officials hoped to gather intelligence, expert says

CBC News

Federal government documents on Afghan detainees suggest that Canadian officials intended some prisoners to be tortured in order to gather intelligence, according to a legal expert. If the allegation is true, such actions would constitute a war crime, said University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who has been digging deep into the issue and told CBC News he has seen uncensored versions of government documents released last year. — 606 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, March 5, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 13 (217)

The curious incident of the budget
that didn't bite in the night (much)

Harper's 'stay-the-course ' budget is as dishonest as it is sly

So, prorogation is over, the Vancouver Olympics have already begun to recede into (yes) golden memory ... and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has deigned to let Parliament sit once more. To absolutely no one's surprise, neither this week's Throne Speech nor Thursday's subsequent budget offer any clear reason for decision to prorogue; those who believed it was to avoid embarrassment during the Olympics, or to derail Opposition enquiries into the alleged torture of Afghan prisoners of (de facto) war, among other theories, can rest assured the stoppage certainly wasn't due to the drastic change of governmental priorities or to the economic crisis still shaking the foundations of the western world. — 911 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.


Careful budget, hidden bite

Conservative surprises hidden in the fine print

By Thomas Walkom
Toronto Star

It is a careful budget, a soothing budget — but one with a hidden bite. The work of a minority government preparing for the possibility of election, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic blueprint panders to the usual suspects. — 608 words.

Canadian Women denied fair share of stimulus spending

Animal shelters received three times that spent on women's shelters

By Susan Delacourt
Toronto Star

OTTAWA — Women have only seen a small part of the action in the Conservative government’s “Economic Action Plan,” according to a new study of how the sexes are faring in federal stimulus spending. — 681 words.

Kenney blocked gay rights in citizenship guide: documents

Minister denies one day, accepts responsibility the next

By Dean Beeby
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked any reference to gay rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, The Canadian Press has learned. — 1,021 words.

End of Games

Go for the podium all the time

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

The Own the Podium program earned a lot of scorn at the Vancouver Olympics until Canadian athletes started showing up there on a regular basis. In the end, the performance of our athletes dominated conversations in this country for two weeks. — 358 words.

This was an Olympics of the streets

It was at Vancouver's ground zero where protests urged change, police behaved, and throngs celebrated

By Steve Burgess

The Vancouver Olympic experience — better or worse than expected? There were plenty of worst-case scenarios. Culinary tourists might have deluged local chefs with requests for stir-fried Mika the Sea Bear or Ginger Quatchi. Supplies of endangered Muk Muk marmot meat would have been out by day three. — 910 words

A real leader is one who conjures up our passion

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.

Sidney Crosby's amazing overtime goal caused a volcanic eruption of pride and joy that swept Canada in an instant last Sunday. As Wayne Scanlan reported for The Citizen, "The great ones rise up in these moments, as though only their class of player is worthy". Canadians, young and old, from my grandkids to 91 year-old Elizabeth Sinclair of Prince George, joined in the cheering frenzy. Our fourteen gold-medal win, a feat unequalled by any country in Winter Olympic history, sent Canadians dancing in the street, hugging perfect strangers, reveling in the patriotic glory. — 812 words.

Spirit Quest

Nearer my God to Thee:
March is a time of contradictions, but so is life

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

The third month of the year is a time of contradictions. One day the sun shines brightly and the ravages of winter seem to take a beating. The next moment a cold wind rushes upon us from the north, chilling our optimism and reminding us that we are of a northern clime. We are comforted by the knowledge of who will win this battle. — 696 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

From gold(s) to green:
Vancouver duo makes timely transit pitch

While Gregor Robertson and Geoff Meggs make a good case, it will be a tough sell

By Vaugh Palmer
The Vancouver Sun

The Games belonged to the athletes, as they should. But from my armchair in the provincial capital, I thought the politician who seized the moment was Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, with a helping hand from council colleague Geoff Meggs. — 898 words.

Steelworkers negotiate Local 2020 contract with Xstrata Nickel

By Heidi Ulrichsen
Northern Life

"Literally minutes" before a midnight Feb. 28 strike deadline, Xstrata Nickel and Steelworkers Local 2020 reached a tentative agreement on behalf of the mining company's office, clerical and technical workers. "(Xstrata Nickel negotiators) were tough, but so were we," Gerry Loranger, area co-ordinator for Local 2020, said. "It's just the normal kind of bargaining with Xstrata." — 892 words.

Scandal at University of Manitoba

Engineering students produce ribald humour magazine!

In break with staid tradition, publication is crude, irreverent and mentions sex a lot

By Nick Martin
Winnipeg Free Press

The University of Manitoba's equity services office will investigate whether a raunchy engineering students' publication is offensive. The 24-page Red Loin magazine features several articles in which male engineers tell women how to please them in sexually explicit terms. Some of the articles are illustrated by scantily clad women in suggestive poses. — 708 words.

Quebec to address niqab issue

Egyptian immigrant expelled from language class for wearing niqab

CBC News

The Quebec government stands by its decision to expel a woman from a language class for refusing to remove her niqab veil and will take further steps to avoid similar situations in the future, Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau said on Wednesday. — 594 words.

Had it up to here department (white folks, take note!).

It may not be racist, but it's a question I'm tired of hearing

Looking a bit brown still means being asked where you're from
So here's a ready-made answer for the overly curious

By Ariane Sherine

Last weekend, I had The Conversation for the 3,897th time – and this time, it took place in central London just two roads away from the hospital where I was born. As usual, it went like this: — 922 words.

Health Watch

Long-time cannabis use linked to psychosis: study

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — The longer people use cannabis or marijuana, the more likely they are to experience hallucinations or delusions or to suffer psychosis, according to a study released Saturday. 283 words.

Something more than fishy in these oils?

By Joanna Smith

OTTAWA — A California lawsuit aims to push companies that make and sell fish oil supplements to be more upfront about their ingredients, claiming testing showed some brands contain high levels of carcinogenic industrial chemicals. — 667 words.

Appeal by man convicted of duping twin brother’s lover into sex

By Jesse McLean
Toronto Star

Everything changed when the lights came on. The woman, who had earlier consumed several glasses of wine, was sleeping in her lover's darkened bedroom when a man joined her. The two had sex, but something felt off to her. His body didn't feel right. She flicked on the bedroom light and realized the man wasn't her lover but his identical twin. 643 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.

Report from Obama's America ...

Patriot Act kissed with another year of life

Warrantless wiretapping, record and property seizures will continue in the land of the free

By Andrew McLemore

If the Patriot Act hadn't been approved for another year, Sunday would have looked much different. Sunday could have meant the government was no longer given permission to wiretap the phones of Americans and seize their records and property. — 284 words.

Haitian earthquake aftermath

Death toll remains a mystery

By Alfonso chardy and Jacqueline Charles
The Miami Herald

The view from the busy two-lane road is spectacular: tall limestone mountains rising to the east and the turquoise Caribbean shimmering to the west. But this is no tourist resort. It's the site of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of mass graves where government crews buried tens of thousands of people killed by January's 7.0-magnitude earthquake. — 1,188 words.

Haitian peasant groups offer humanitarian aid

By Beverly Bell

"Yon sèl dwèt pa manje kalalou," says Christroi Petit-homme, a member of a peasant farmer organization. You can't eat gumbo with one finger. Peasant groups throughout rural Haiti form the fingers of the hand, reaching out with humanitarian aid for those left bereft after the earthquake. — 1,351 words.


'But I forecast that it is possible now to have something that has never happened in earth's history: an earthquake killing perhaps a million people. And how can you make such a ridiculous prediction? The answer is that never before have we had such large populations at risk from earthquakes, cities of 12 million. And there are many cities like this, and several of them, like Istanbul and Tehran, have a history of damaging earthquakes, and we may well see the effects of corruption and bad building practices revealed only after these earthquakes have struck.'

Earthquakes don't kill people, bad construction kills people;
Buildings as weapons of mass destruction — is your city earthquake-proof?

The earthquake that struck Chile was 500 times more powerful than the earthquake that struck Haiti, but it caused a fraction of the casualties

By Amy Goodman
Democracy Now

In Chile, rescue workers are searching for survivors under the rubble following Saturday's massive 8.8 earthquake, one of the strongest in recorded history. More than 700 people were killed, with the number expected to rise. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has announced emergency measures to deal with the destruction. She said one-and-a-half million people have been affected by the earthquake and declared a "state of catastrophe." A curfew has been put in place in some areas. — 2,746 words.

Chile navy admits tsunami failure

Alarm sounded by port captains may have saved lives on Chile's coast

Al Jazeera

The Chilean navy has admitted that some deaths in the tsunami triggered by the earthquake four days ago could have been avoided.

Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez said some lives could have been spared in coastal areas if a tsunami warning had been issued earlier. — 519 words.

Myanmar court rejects Suu Kyi appeal

By Aung Hla Tun

YANGON — Myanmar's Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her house arrest, a ruling diplomats said would cast further doubt on the legitimacy of this year's election. — 621 words.

The captains of industry and government admittedly blew the economic meltdown; too bad the environmental meltdown is following the same, lame script

Remember the economic melt-down of 2008?
The west is fiddling the same tune with the environment

Meanwhile, China overtook not just the United States but also Denmark, Germany and Spain to become the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines, which is to say the engine of the wind-power economy

By Scott Thill

Lately, the United States hasn't been very good at looking down the road. Its captains of industry and government admittedly blew the economic meltdown, even as its sellout media kept urging buys on stocks that were mostly worthless. Too bad the environmental meltdown is following the same, lame script. — 1,225 words.

How the monsters at Goldman Sachs caused a Greek tragedy

Greece's crushing debt has exploded into a full-blown crisis, with the country on the precipice of the unthinkable — the default of a sovereign nation — thanks Goldman Sachs

By Jim Hightower

Another Greek-based cargo ship and its crew was recently hijacked by Somalian pirates, costing the Greek owners an undisclosed amount in ransom. Such ongoing acts of brazen piracy off the coast of Somalia have riveted the establishment media's attention. But the same news hawks have missed (or ignored) a much more brazen, longer-running and far larger robbery in Greece by Gucci-wearing thieves who are more sophisticated than common pirates — but lack a pirate's moral depth. — 703 words.

Reality Check

Neocons clutch at Chilean straw, credit dictator with his murdered victim's regulations

How socialism protected Chileans from earthquake fall-out

Wall Street Journal columnist tries to rewrite history, claiming that Chile's "free-market" dictator Augusto Pinochet can be thanked for preventing destruction there

By Naomi Klein
The Nation

Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September 2008 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn't been easy to be a fanatical fan of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his followers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far-fetched. — 610 words.

Rise of the Middle Kingdom

'China does not need the world. The world needs China'

Rising China embraces the sun for a green future

By Ashwini Srinivasamohan
Foreign Policy Journal

US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu returned from China last July with a sober understanding of the degree to which China had advanced in green technology. Sino-US clean energy cooperation reached a milestone later in 2009, when the two presidents signed various bilateral agreements, including the establishment of the US- China Clean Energy Research Centre in Beijing to improve research and development in the field. But clean energy was caught in the political firestorm of the health care debacle. As the recent New York Times article on China's advancements in green technology reinforced, the Chinese have made exceptional progress in this field and are the leaders of our green revolution. — 2,387 words.

Afghanistan bans coverage of Taliban attacks

By Sayed Salahuddin and Hamid Shalizi

KABUL — Afghanistan on Monday announced a ban on news coverage showing Taliban attacks, saying such images embolden the Islamist militants, who have launched strikes around the country as NATO forces seize their southern strongholds. — 761 words.

B is for Happiness — as in Bhutan?

By Jacques Attali
Translation by Leslie Thatcher, TruthOut.org

Is this minuscule nation, among the least populated in the world (roughly 700,000 inhabitants), stuck between two of the most densely populated countries in the world (India and China), totally isolated for millennia, whose penultimate monarch was the first, at the end of the nineteen seventies, to define and implement the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), happier than other countries? — 520 words.

Germany unveils next generation 'personal security card'

And one in four Germans wants microchip under skin: poll

By Stephen C. Webster

The new identity card isn't just to verify who a person is. It's now a matter of personal security, according to German officials who showed off the country's newest ID technology at this year's CeBIT conference. — 651 words.

Coffee producers 'getting hammered' by global climate change

Agence France-Presse

Coffee producers say they are getting hammered by global warming, with higher temperatures forcing growers to move to prized higher ground, putting the cash crop at risk. — 286 words.


Advantage — kindness and empathy

'Positive psychology' research indicates that the kinder you are,
the more likely you are to survive — and evolve

By Yasmin Anwar

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive. — 1,162 words.

Ice deposits found at Moon's pole enough to launch
one shuttle a day for 2,200 years

By Paul Rincon
BBC News

A radar experiment aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft has identified thick deposits of water-ice near the Moon's north pole. The US space agency's (Nasa) Mini-Sar experiment found more than 40 small craters containing water-ice. — 764 words.

Big tobacco and the historians

By Jon Wiener
The Nation

Last summer Robert Proctor, a Stanford professor who studies the history of tobacco, was surprised to receive court papers accusing him of witness tampering and witness intimidation, along with a subpoena for his unfinished book manuscript. Then in January he got another subpoena, this one for three years of e-mails with a colleague, and also for his computer hard drive. Attorneys for R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris USA are trying to get him barred from testifying in a Florida court as an expert witness on behalf of a smoker with cancer who is suing the companies. Proctor hadn't tampered with any witnesses; all he had done was e-mail a colleague at the University of Florida asking about grad students there who were doing research for Big Tobacco's legal defense. But he's had to hire his own lawyers and spend days in depositions, defending himself from the charges. He told me he had recently spent "sixteen hours under oath, twelve lawyers in a room overlooking San Francisco Bay, a million dollars spent on deposing me and going after these e-mails." — 4,252 words.

Rear-view Mirror

The chemists' war

The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences

By Deborah Blum

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat. — 1,467 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Opel's new inner-city car is all electric

Agence France-Presse

Ailing carmaker Opel is considering launching an electric car for inner-city use to tap what it sees as a high-potential market, the firm's boss said in an interview Sunday. — 266 words.

Man killed by urinating on downed power line

The Sidney Morning Herald

US authorities believe a man was killed by accidentally urinating on a downed power line after a car crash. — 124 words.

Web overtakes paper for news-delivery in the United States

Local and national television newscasts still in top two positions

BBC News

Online news has become more popular than reading newspapers in the U.S., according to a survey. It is the third most popular form of news, behind local and national TV stations, the Pew Research Center said. "News awareness is becoming an anytime, anywhere, any device activity for those who want to stay informed," it said. — 446 words.

Sarah Polley pulls name from sponsored film

Actor and director won't promote 'any corporate brand'

CBC News

Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley is dissociating herself from her latest film, slated to air in Canada during the upcoming Academy Award broadcast. — 261 words.

The Glass Teat

Memo to ESPN's Bill Simmons:
Tiger Woods is not Muhammad Ali

By Dave Zirin
The Nation

Can ESPN please declare a company-wide moratorium on comparing current athletes to Muhammad Ali? I thought it was unfortunate when columnist Jemele Hill wrote that anti-choice icon Tim Tebow was "as courageous" as Ali. But that comparison is inspired compared to recent comments by "ESPN's The Sports Guy" Bill Simmons. Simmons wrote that Tiger Woods's return to golf from "sex addiction" would be tougher than Ali's return to the ring after being banished for opposing the war in Vietnam. Yes, for Simmons, Ali's efforts to resist the military draft are dwarfed in importance by Tiger's efforts to resist nookie. — 922 words.

The Glass Teat (meets the boob tube)

Chatroulette craze brings out the Web cam creeps

You never know who you'll meet. Maybe even a fake celebrity or two ... or three

By Nicole Baute
Toronto Star

Some creep pretending to be the Jonas Brothers asked me to show him my boobs on Chatroulette the other day. I declined, if you're wondering. But the experience, like most of my brief foray into the wild world of Chatroulette, left me rattled. — 615 words.

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