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Friday, May 15, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 25 — 176
"True North is for opinion makers"
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Pipeline-Istan: Everything You Need to Know About Oil, Gas, Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Obama

Nothing of significance takes place in Eurasia without an energy angle

By Pepe Escobar

As Barack Obama heads into his second hundred days in office, let's head for the big picture ourselves, the ultimate global plot line, the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order. In its first hundred days, the Obama presidency introduced us to a brand new acronym, OCO for Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as GWOT (as in Global War on Terror). Use either name, or anything else you want, and what you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the Liquid War for the control of Eurasia takes place. — 4,291 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.

Editor's Notes

Friday, May 15, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 25 (176)

They don’t get it
Child abuse comes in many guises

During dinner with a prominent primary school principal of 600 students we talked of many things. Inevitably the conversation got around to maintaining a safe world for children. At one point she made mention of occasional adult male lurkers outside her school. With these there were no signs of dope peddling. Just an unpleasant sense of sexual predators. If they remained beyond an acceptable length of time she'd call the police and the latter on loitering grounds would advise the men to move along. — 644 words.

Letters to the editor

Readers comment on columns by Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

I enjoyed your article "Grandparenting on Demand" in True North Perspective (April 3rd)). I truly believe what you are saying. I miss having my grandchildren around to love and play with as you are doing. My love for them is shown in my writing. You are a very good person.

      — Roberta Dupont, Ottawa, Ont. — 282 words.

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura loads disgust on Dick Cheney


Canada must exert Arctic role

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Canadian Sailings

OTTAWA — Canada has to make its presence felt in the Arctic in concrete ways that will convince other countries that it takes its northern sovereignty claim seriously, says a report from the Senate Fisheries and Oceans committee. — 553 words.


Uninvited critters and other pests

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of "The Neglected Garden/Le jardin négligé" and "Une prière pour Hélène". Her website is

My daughter and son-in-law are dealing with a mess: two gaping holes in their living-room roof. You may have guessed that the perpetrator is a raccoon who wanted to build his home there. We live on the same street, at the eastern edge of Ottawa. It's countryside. The raccoon has abandoned his project and they are left with a roof to repair. — 1,156 words.

Health Watch

Chernobyl kids keep arriving in Cuba

By Patricia Grogg
Inter Press Service

This story is part of a series of features on sustainable development by IPS — Inter Press Service and IFEJ — International Federation of Environmental Journalists, for the Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development (

HAVANA — Thousands of kilometres from Ukraine, where the worst nuclear accident in history occurred 23 years ago, the sun and fresh air of a Cuban beach provide therapy for Ukrainian children, who continue to be born with problems stemming from the disaster. — 944 words.

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 be found in the True North Perspective Archives. — Mike Heenan, Literary Editor.

US And China threaten European solar supremacy

By Staff Writers

LONDON — Increased competition and the global economic crisis have cast clouds upon the Western European solar energy market. Falling polysilicon and solar module prices have the potential to cement China's role as a solar manufacturing hub. — 818 words.

Pakistan needs hearts and minds to defeat Taliban: analysts

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan may have superior military might, but to win the war against Taliban guerrillas they must avoid collateral damage and rebuild angry lives shattered by the offensive, analysts say. — 696 words.

Can you die from lack of sleep?

By Brian Palmer

CIA interrogators at Guantanamo Bay subjected dozens of detainees to sleep deprivation, shackling the prisoners in a standing position for up to 11 days at a time. Recently released Justice Department memorandums claim sleep deprivation studies show that "surprisingly, little seem[s] to go wrong with the subjects physically." Wait, is it really safe to go without sleep? — 420 words.

Viral time bomb set to explode in Egypt

By Cam McGrath
Inter Press Service

CAIRO — It is a health crisis of alarming proportions. Up to nine million Egyptians have been exposed to hepatitis C, and tens of thousands will die each year unless they receive a liver transplant. — 905 words.

For sale — tropical islands at recession-friendly prices

By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY — Dreaming of a tropical paradise to call your own? Several Australian islands off the Great Barrier Reef are on sale, and thanks to the global recession, they're cheaper than they used to be. — 322 words.

'Politics is key to opening all doors to equality for Latin American women'

'The media, on the other hand, remain trapped by stereotypes. They only see women in very specific roles, as victims or villains.'

Estrella Gutiérrez interviews Gladys Acosta, Chief of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for Latin America and the Caribbean

By Estrella Gutiérrez
Inter Press Service

CARACAS — "People have to imbibe with their mother's milk the idea that women have an equal right to participate in politics," says Gladys Acosta, UNIFEM head for Latin America and the Caribbean, who underscores that politics is the key that opens all doors to equality. — 1,834 words.

The AfPak puzzle

The good news: Obama understands what's wrong in Afghanistan and Pakistan
The bad news: He can't fix it

By Fred Kaplan

We finally have a president who grasps what needs to be done about Afghanistan and Pakistan. The frightening thing is that much of what needs to be done lies beyond the scope of American power. — 1,301 words.

French and American diplomats warn of looming danger
of Islamist extremists seizing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal

French envoy warns on Pakistan nukes

By Staff Writers

France's special envoy to Pakistan painted a grim picture Thursday of a country collapsing under pressure from Islamist rebels which could one day seize control of its nuclear arsenal. — 271 words.

Top ex-US diplomat likens Pakistan to Cuban missile crisis

By Staff Writers

The rise in Islamist militancy in Pakistan could become the biggest threat to world peace since the Cuban missile crisis, a former senior US diplomat said here Thursday, May 7. — 313 words.

Escape from Guantanamo

Shouldn't Republicans want terrorists dumped into the abusive U.S. prison system?

By Cristopher Beam

Some members of Congress are up in arms about the Obama administration's plan to transfer Guantanamo detainees to prisons in the United States. Objections range from legal (how do we try all 270?) to logistical (how do we move them?) to plain old NIMBY-ness: "Our constituents don't want these terrorists in their neighborhoods," said House Minority Leader John Boehner. — 919 words.

How China sees the Putin-Medvedev tandem in the context
of Russian and international economic and military security

By Xinhua writers Yu Maofeng, Hai Yang, Liu Yang People's Daily Online

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday, May 7, marked his first year in office, which saw a brief war with Georgia, ups and downs in its ties with the West and the spread of an international financial crisis. — 828 words.

Bless that greenhouse gas

Rise of oxygen caused Earth's earliest ice age

By Staff Writers

COLLEGE PARK, MD — An international team of geologists may have uncovered the answer to an age-old question - an ice-age-old question, that is. It appears that Earth's earliest ice age may have been due to the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, which consumed atmospheric greenhouse gases and chilled the earth. — 531 words.

Child abuse

Child beauty pageants: a scene from the 'Other America'

By Henry A. Giroux|Perspective

Henry A. Giroux holds the Global TV Network chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada. Related work: Henry A. Giroux, The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence (Lanham: Rowman and Lilttlefield, 2001). His most recent books include Take Back Higher Education (co-authored with Susan Searls Giroux, 2006), The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (2007) and Against the Terror of Neoliberalism: Politics Beyond the Age of Greed (2008). His newest book, Youth in a Suspect Society: Beyond the Politics of Disposability, will be published by Palgrave Mcmillan in 2009.

Mark Shultz's play, "The Gingerbread House," operates off the absurd and repulsive assumption that when kids start to become a burden one option is to treat them like a commodity and simply sell them. In this case, Stacy and Brian, a young married couple, want to start their lives over, free of the endless time, money and responsibilities that are part of rearing their two young children. As Brian puts it, "We can start our lives again.... We can have it back. All of it." In order to act on their quest for personal happiness, they decide to traffic their children for the right price to an Albanian couple, freeing themselves to indulge their private aims, joys, desires and goals. While Shultz is clearly making a critical statement about the selfish, market-driven values that shape our highly individualized and self-seeking commodified age, he has hit upon a repellent conceit that finds everyday expression in the dreadful emergence and popularity of child beauty pageants. — 2,974 words.

The victim of adult passion

Three-year-old girl caught in the middle of a war raging between French and Russian courts of law and a fevered media campaign

By Alexander Arkhangelsky

It appears that the story of an unfortunate little girl named Liza is nearing an acceptable conclusion. The little girl has become a bargaining chip in the relationship between her French father and her Russian mother. But while the Russian media has raised a lot of noise about the “victimized” mother and the evil-doing father, speculating about which laws and court orders the parents should abide by, few have thought about the effect that this media campaign may have on the little girl herself. — 1,105 words.

Husband seeks damages after sex-ban

International OnLine News

NAIROBI — A homeless South Korean unable to withdraw his life savings because he could not remember his real name has died in poverty, officials said. — 236 words.

Q&A: Plenty of Water in the Desert, if Only ...

Baher Kamal interviews leading water expert Habib Ayeb
Inter Press Service

MADRID — Most policy makers draw a bleak picture of dramatic water scarcity in the Middle East, warning of water wars to come. But there is plenty of water in the desert, says Tunisian geographer and water expert Habib Ayeb. — 1,216 words.

Rich and poor rub shoulders to celebrate South African president Zuma's election

South Africa's newly elected president celebrated In rich, colourful tradition. Jacob Zuma exits ceremony with his first wife saying two of his other wives exited by a side door

By Xolani Mbanjwa and Lynnette Johns
International OnLine News

Jacob Zuma's disparate worlds met in a blaze of emotion, colour and stormy weather on Saturday, May 9, at his inauguration as president. — 802 words.

Zuma introduces wife to supporters

By Staff Writers
International OnLine News

New South African President Jacob Zuma introduced his first wife Sizakele Khumalo to supporters after his inauguration on Saturday. — 179 words.

Newly elected South African president Zuma urges media freedom

By Janet Heard
International OnLine News

Thabo Mbeki, defeated president of South Africa, was booed by the crowd on the lawns, despite Zuma describing him as embodying all the finest aspects of the ANC. — 120 words.

Russia charges NASA 51 million dollars for Soyuz seats

By Staff Writers

MOSCOW — Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and NASA have agreed on a new price for ferrying U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) after 2012, a Russian space official said on Wednesday. NASA will now pay $51 million for a single seat on Soyuz spacecraft. — 270 words.

Two new Canadian astronauts

Jeremy Hansen and David St-Jacques are the first Canadians to join the astronaut corps since 1992

By Staff Writers

OTTAWA — Nearly 25 years after the first Canadian astronaut flew into space and only weeks before two Canadian space veterans launch to the International Space Station, the Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President Steve MacLean revealed the names of Canada's newest astronauts. — 358 words.

Reporting from Afghanistan is getting tougher

By Patricia Elliott
The Canadian Journalism Project

Canadian journalists covering NATO activities in Afghanistan are being subjected to increased surveillance, including biometric scans and restrictions on independent travel to and from Kandahar airport. — 110 words.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, sez:

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Manitobans win recognition of being able to walk while drinking beer

In 1968 it became legal to stand while drinking beer in Manitoba beverage rooms. The regulation required a patron to have a seat "but a drinker does not have to be in his seat to be served. He can wander around the room carrying his glass."

Trivia compiled by Randy Ray and Mark Kearney, authors of nine books about Canada. For more fabulous facts, visit their Web site at:

Money and Markets

Bear market windfalls being earned now!
While those fooled into thinking crisis is over took heavy losses

By Martin D. Weiss
Money and Markets

JUPITER, Florida — Wednesday — in a single trading session — investors who owned stock in MGM Mirage watched helplessly as nearly one-third of their money vanished into thin air. — 972 words.

Spirit Quest

Juan Geuer: Such a life can never die

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Juan Geuer is a person that I cannot imagine as dead, indeed, he isn't. To all who knew him he will always be very much alive, full of energy and curiosity even at 92 years of age. On Thursday, May 7, 09 his life was celebrated in a beautiful requiem mass at Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Almonte, Ontario. The music included pan pipes from Latin America, some of the familiar songs of the sixties, as well as violin solos. Josie Geuer, a granddaughter gave a moving portrait of her "Opa" that roused both tears and laughter. — 1,097 words.

A reflection

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

I am a very disorganized person and stand in awe of those who keep letters and pictures in albums and folders where they are easily retrievable. Literally thousands of my photographs are chucked into shoe boxes, most are unidentified. Occasionally I browse through them and discover gems. This was the case yesterday and the gem was the photo of a steam locomotive with passenger cars standing along the platform of Trenton Junction. To my surprise the picture was dated: May 1947. — 1,093 words.

PublishAmerica presents Matt and the Wonder of Wishes by Bobby Hawley

FREDERICK, MD — PublishAmerica is proud to present Matt and the Wonder of Wishes by Nepean, Ontario author Bobby Hawley. In this masterfully written book, Queen Zephania is the ruler of the fairy realm and can be found in the forest glade not far from a magnificent landscape of flowers. Should you become one of the chosen, you might even be given a wish. The fairies were attracted to this location by the display of colors and the heavenly scents coming from a beautiful garden right at the forest's edge. — 310 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

"A host of Daffodils along the way...."

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

Here's a seasonal favourite of mine that all schoolboys in the '50's had to learn by heart and "declaim with feeling." We're easily spotted by the Canal or Dow's Lake as the old guys who mumble rhythmically while passing a host of Daffodils along the way....— 661 words.

Book Review

Work Less, Do More: the 14-Day Productivity Makeover, by Jan Yager, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective

Barbara Florio Graham is the author of Five Fast Steps to Better Writing, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, and Mewsings/Musings. Her website is

This mantra has been popular for some time, but certainly even more important in the current financial situation. We all have to make the most of every working hour to maximize earnings and diminish stress. — 677 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:

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% 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.

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: He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

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.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
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
Anita Chan, Australia
Rosaleen Dickson
Tom Dow
Bob Kay
Randy Ray
David Ward
Harold Wright