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Friday, May 9, 2008 Vol 3 No 19 (133)
"True North is for opinion makers"
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"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

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Editor’s Notes

Friday, May 9, 2008

Literary Editor Mike Heenan takes time to smell the tulips

Summer season in Ottawa starts with the Tulip Festival, now in full flower. By the thousands, tulips welcome visitors by the thousands who come to take pleasure in the bright colourful display. — 92 words.

Judge Wright hears confessions
by Canada’s top five tax dodgers

— 157 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

A smarter smart car
now with no roof

By Michel Deslauriers

Let's face it. For the price, there are a lot of good small cars that are much more practical and cheaper to maintain than the smart. But for some odd reason, we're always willing to spend money on things that seem superfluous. We pay to sweat in a sauna and dunk ourselves in cold water at the spa. We pay to go to the gym when we could just go jogging or work out at home. We pay for bottled water when it unlimitedly flows out of the kitchen faucet. What's wrong with us? — 1,025 words.

Media monopolies incur wrath of Raging Grannies

Ottawa Raging Grannies, rousted by police, continue to protest unfair treatment of freelancer media workers as they stand on the parapet outside the National Arts Centre.     

Freelance writers and photographers stand firm
in battle for control of the work that they create

By Shannon Lee Mannion

Freelance writers and photographers are in danger of losing their bylines if they refuse to sign unjust contracts proposed by media conglomerations across Canada. This includes agreements forthcoming from CanWest MediaWorks, Quebecor and Torstar, among others. — 457 words.

CanWest media empire stomps on peace activist
with SLAPP suit after he spoke in favour of Palestine

By Murray Dobbin


There is a very important freedom of expression fight going on in Vancouver, pitting the Asper family and their CanWest media empire against a long time Vancouver peace activist and Palestinian advocate, Mordecai  Briemberg. — 240 words.

Spirit Quest

Youth with T-Shirt message ‘Ban all Wars’
pulled aside by Canadian airport authorities

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

I first took notice of him in the departure room at the airport. He slightly resembled  the celebrated Khadar of Guatanamo fame, the young Canadian whose plight our government long ignored. But what really took my eye was the short-sleeved black T-shirt which he wore over a long-sleeved white T-shirt. It was embellished with a barbed wire design, a tank that was crossed out with a red X. The words “Ban All Wars” were on the front and back of his garment. — 633 words.

The U.S. Army's Math Problem

‘There is no way to put more boots in Afghanistan without taking boots out of Iraq.’

 By Fred Kaplan
Slate Magazine

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants to send 7,000 more U.S. troops — about two brigades — to Afghanistan, according to the May 3 New York Times. But there's a problem, which the story underplays: we don't have any more troops to send. The Army is in a zero-sum state: No more soldiers can be sent to Afghanistan without a one-for-one reduction of soldiers in Iraq. —1,141 words.

Genetically engineered foods bill is sent
to winter again in the House of Commons

By Alex Binkley
Originally published in Ontario Farmer

For the third time in four years, the Commons has defeated an opposition proposal to label genetically engineered foods. As in the past, the Conservatives and a large chunk of the Liberals opposed the motion that was advanced by the Bloq Quebecois this time. —  502 words.

China President Hu tells Dalai Lama to get honest

Up to 1959 Tibet had 700,000 serfs who could be
sold by their masters, subjected to torture and death

Now the former masters bleat about their lost freedom

Until 1959 when the Chinese marched in and broke up their cozy little arrangement on “the roof of the world” Tibet clergy and their secular allies owned more than 700,000 serfs and slaves. This, out of an estimated total population of 1,250,000 Along with the upper clergy, secular leaders did well. A notable example was the commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army, who owned 4,000 square kilometers of land and 3,500 serfs. He also was a member of the Dalai Lama's lay Cabinet. — 710 words.

O where are you now Osama bin Laden?
O where are you now Osama?

In order to determine where we’re going, it behooves us to take time to understand where we’ve been and how we got to where we are. Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa, spotlights September 11, 2001, and what led to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. — Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.

The CIA met Bin Laden while undergoing treatment at an American Hospital last July in Dubai. No attempt was made to arrest him. by Alexandra Richard. 2 November 2001’  — 3,459 words.

Dealing with a rice crisis

China Daily columnist warns against complacency
as possible world food crisis looms on the horizon

By You Nuo
China Daily

When the Chinese press reports about the surging price of rice worldwide it tends to give the impression that China is safe because of its ample stocks. Really? Most of China's stocks — currently about 50 million tons, according to some sources, is admittedly huge, but most of these stocks are in farmers' barns. — 574 words.

Venezuela seeks Latin American oil-for-food fund
to give poor nations relief from soaring food prices

MANAGUA (Reuters) — Venezuela called on fellow Latin American energy producing countries on Wednesday to set up an oil fund for food aid using windfall oil profits in an effort to give poor nations some relief from soaring prices. — 302 words.

China to send extra $2 million cash to UN food program

BEIJING (Xinhua) — China will send another 2 million U.S. dollars to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), in addition to its originally planned 2.5 million-US-dollar donation to the world's largest humanitarian agency in 2008. — 252 words.

Russia’s Medvedev to continue strategic partnership with China

By Zhang Haizhou
China Daily

With Dmitry Medvedev sworn in as Russia's president on Wednesday, all eyes will be on how the 42-year-old leads the Kremlin. But what is likely to remain is his predecessor Vladimir Putin's grand foreign policy strategy in the next four years, including Moscow's position toward China, Chinese analysts have said. — 431 words.

Focus on Real Estate

Focus on Real Estate is a new feature in True North Perspective. Each Friday we’ll bring you news and analyses on the subject from throughout the world. Today we begin with the below by Martin D. Weiss, a leading American investment analyst.

Real Estate in Brief

Colliers International says Canadian economy positive despite negative predictions by analysts: Ottawa market remains steady

Meanwhile now Prime Minister Putin of Russia considers buying
new luxury home in Switzerland that cost $25 million in 1970

The Canadian economy has shown positive GDP movement early in the year according to Stats Can, which was opposite to what the majority of analysts were expecting considering the economic woes down south,” said Dustin Paul of Colliers. — 821 words.

Your Latest Credit Market Road Map

The bond market is on the brink!

No rest for the weary in today's U.S. housing market!

(In the U.S.) The string of unimpressive housing numbers continues. There's a real risk that many of these pending sales won't turn into closed transactions, too, given the tightening we've seen in the mortgage lending market. — 1,675 words.

"The bells that toll today for those who starve to death each day shall toll tomorrow for the whole of humanity if it refuses to or is unable to be sufficiently wise to save itself". — Fidel Castro, 1996.

Growing food crisis prompts calm discourse
and considered action at Managua conference

Latin American leaders attended a conference in Managua, Nicaragua May 7 hosted by Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua. The summit was called Sovereignty and Food Security: Food for Life. We present here verbatim the contribution by the lead Cuban representative Esteban Lazo Hernandez Vice-President Council of State of the Republic of Cuba

‘The facts speak clearly for themselves. In 2005, we used to pay 250 dollars for every ton of rice we imported; now we pay 1,050 dollars, four times as much. For a ton of wheat, we used to pay 132 dollars; now we pay 330 dollars, two and a half times as much. For a ton of corn, we used to pay 82 dollars; now we pay 230 dollars, nearly three times as much. For a ton of powdered milk, we used to pay 2,200 dollars; now it's 4,800 dollars. This is a perverse and unsustainable trend.’ — 1,255 words.

China, Japan must seek path of peace, friendship: Hu

TOKYO (Xinhua) — Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Wednesday that historical experience shows China and Japan must seek a path of peace, friendship and cooperation. — 415 words.

Matawa First Nations want consultation on decision to allow exploration rights on 75,000 acres to Platinex mining company

From the Desk of Joan Kuyek
National Coordinator MiningWatch Canada

THUNDER BAY, ON — The President of Platinex says that he is upset about how his company has been viewed in the media. The small mining company has been at the centre of the controversy over the jailing of First Nations Chief, Band Councillors, and a resident of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI). — 399 words.

Adventures in revolution and counter-revolution
U.S. is promoting secession in Bolivia repeating failed Venezuela effort

By Nikolas Kozloff

Having avoided any meaningful coverage of Bolivia since the election of Evo Morales in December, 2005, the international media is now obliged to play catch up.  Monday, May 5, the Andean nation of 9.1 million held a crucial vote that could pave the way for secession of the resource-rich Santa Cruz region. — 1,824 words.

Weary of war? Don’t collaborate

Americans urged to open tax front against Iraq war
as Washington considers making victims pay

By Kathy Kelly
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
An April 14 Associated Press article by Anne Flaherty reported that U.S. senators and representatives are finding common ground in asking that Iraqis begin picking up the tab for the cost of war.  — 1,225 words.

US Navy Deploys Around Latin America

Like a punch drunk boxer and in the continuing grip of
the military-industrial complex Washington learns nothing
from Iraq and prepares for another losing war in South America

Choosing to confront the rise in power of left-leaning governments in its backyard, the United States is recreating the Fourth Fleet. — 553 words.

Did you know?

Homes Quiz – by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

For many Canadians, their home is their castle.  It’s where they spend the greatest portion of their time relaxing with friends and family, entertaining, tackling odd jobs, or sleeping.  They also spend a large chunk of their income on mortgage payments, property taxes, repairs and upgrades.

But how much do Canadians know about the homes they live in or are planning to buy?  As you tour open houses in search of your dream home this spring, or plan renovations at your existing abode, we invite you to test your knowledge of housing with our trivia quiz.. We’ll pose one question each issue here. You can find the answer at the bottom of the page. Good  luck!

Match the homes-related song with the musician(s) who had the hit
i) Our House                        a) Billy J. Kramer
ii) House of the Rising Sun         b) Kim Mitchell
iii) Shutters and Boards            c) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
iv) From a Window                   d) The Animals
v) Patio Lanterns                   e) Jerry Wallace

Randy Ray of Ottawa and Mark Kearney of London, Ont. are the authors of seven books, including Pucks, Pablum & Pingos, a Canadian trivia book, published in April.  Visit their Web site at:

Random Acts of Poetry

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

Zero Degrees of Separation

In Ottawa you really can’t walk down the street without running into someone you know, knew, or are happy to meet again. Maybe it’s our size or place between two major Metropoles; maybe it’s just our Valley manners, or the constant silliness on The Hill that provides instant laughter between former strangers. — 309

The Book End

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

The Ambulance Driver

Quebec City, 2000

Marie Rioux flings law career and burning causes into the wake of her dead marriage to sail for England and the grand voyage of inner discovery we all secretly crave. But Marie already knows herself; it’s her forbears who are closeted in obscurity. Three generations in England and Quebec answered ‘the call’, caring amidst the carnage of the Boer, ‘Great’, and Second World Wars; their lives and kinship exist only in hints and whispers. Not to mention her father, no hero, who absconded to Europe without trace in her infancy. For more please click here.

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 , and he will be more than happy to assist you.

Answer to Homes Quiz Did You Know?

 i) c ii) d iii) e iv) a v) b


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Mike Heenan, Literary Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright