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Friday, October 16, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 47 — 198
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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Quote of the Week:
"In absolute terms, I am the most legally persecuted man of all times, in the whole history of mankind, worldwide, because I have been subjected to more than 2,500 court hearings and I have the good luck — having worked well in the past and having accumulated an important wealth — to have been able to spend more than €200m in consultants and judges ... I mean in consultants and lawyers."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, October 9, 2009 — 649 words.

Why U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden should resign

'The Sharia Personal Status Law, signed by Karzai, became operational in July. Among its provisions: custody rights are granted to fathers and grandfathers, women can work only with the permission of their husbands, and husbands can withhold food from wives who don't want to have sex with them. On the plus side, if a man rapes a mentally ill woman or child, he must pay a fine.'

By Arianna Huffington

Joe Biden met with CENTCOM chief Gen. David Petraeus this morning to talk about Afghanistan — an issue that has pushed the vice president into the spotlight, landing him on the cover of the latest Newsweek. I have an idea for how he can capitalize on all the attention, and do what generations to come will always be grateful for: resign. — 1,832 words.

Cartoon by Martin Rowson, October 9, 2009 (The Guardian).

"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, October 16, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 47 (198)

Ottawa once again smokescreens the Canadian Stupidity and Incompetence Service (CSIS)

Several years ago a prominent newspaper columnist applied the above name to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. With almost the frequency of drumbeats the designation proves ever more appropriate. — 491 words.

Federal Court of Canada quashes case against terror suspect

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Canada — The Federal Court of Canada on Wednesday set aside the last of the tough restrictions against a Moroccan man the government wanted to deport because of alleged links to al Qaeda. — 157 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

For the Danes, city planning is all about the bike

By Gary Mason
The Globe and Mail

COPENHAGEN — From his second-floor office overlooking a Baltic-fed canal, Andreas Rohl ponders a daily question: How can he make life hell for the car drivers of this Scandinavian capital? Mr. Rohl, you see, is the bicycle program manager for the city government of Copenhagen. And it's his job to get more of the almost two million Danes living in Greater Copenhagen out of their cars and onto bikes. And to do that he must find ways of making a daily commute on two wheels more attractive than one on four. — 847 words.

Support for high-speed rail hard for politicians to ignore

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Pushed by their success elsewhere and their sudden popularity in the United States, high speed trains are finally getting a serious but long overdue look in Canada. In the spring, a $3 million technical review of 20 years worth of studies on high speed rail costs and challenges in Canada will be released. After that it will be up to the federal,Quebec, Ontario and Alberta governments to decide whether to proceed. — 823 words.

Water demand puts Canadian rivers at risk

By Staff Writers
CBC News

Increasing demands on Canada's fresh water is putting rivers at risk, according to a new report. Growing more food, generating more electricity, expanding cities and industry are all taking a toll on Canada's rivers, according to the World Wildlife Fund Canada. The report released Thursday, Canada's Rivers at Risk: Environmental Flows and Canada's Freshwater Future, examines the health of 10 major rivers from the perspective of water flow. — 442 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Respectful talk about ‘honour' killings desperately needed

By Janet Keeping
President, Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership
Troy Media Corporation

Following the murder of four females found in a car near Kingston, Ontario, this summer, so-called "honour" killings were much in the news. Although many Canadians are uncomfortable talking about this difficult subject, we have to be able to talk publicly about cultural difference on gender equality. — 781 words.

Khadr's family ties to al-Qaeda worry U.S.: UN official

By Staff Writers
CBC News

A top UN official says the United States is leery of freeing Canadian Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay for fear he will return to al-Qaeda once he is released. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the United Nations' Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, has been meeting with the top-level White House committee reviewing the Toronto-born Khadr's file. She said on Wednesday that of all the cases involving detainees remaining at the U.S. prison camp in Cuba, Khadr's file is the most troubling for the U.S. — 590 words.

CSIS Russian spy suspect named head of Russian hockey team at 2010 Vancouver Olympics
Tretiak not as sexy as East German figure skater Katerina Witt who spied for East Germans

Let the games begin!

By Michael Farber

Vladislav Tretiak might be the Olympic hockey general manager who is coming in from the cold.

Tretiak, president of the Russian ice hockey federation, was named Monday as his country's GM for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. While this clearly is an upgrade over Pavel Bure in Turin 2006 — at the time, we noted that Bure was known as the Russian Rocket and not the Russian Rocket Scientist — Team Russia still would have been better served by tapping into one of the great hockey brains: Igor Larionov, The Professor, who has a superior handle on the NHL players who will represent Russia. As an added fillip, Larionov, who played in Vancouver, is revered in that city, but then Tretiak has been worshipped in Canada pretty much since the 1972 Summit Series. — 461 words.


Passing of Innu leader Daniel Ashini lamented

By Jamie Kneen
MiningWatch Canada

OTTAWA, Canada — MiningWatch Canada was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Innu leader Daniel Ashini Monday evening. Ashini, who had served as chief negotiator and president of the Innu Nation and as chief of the Sheshatshui Band Council, was involved in the creation of MiningWatch and was a member of its founding Board of Directors. — 282 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.

Poll sees potential Conservative majority in Canada

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Canada — Canada's ruling Conservatives could well turn their minority government into a majority if the opposition forces an early election, the Ekos polling firm said on Thursday. — 467 words.

Health Watch

A solution for diabetes: A vegan diet

More Doctors and nutritional scientists are saying that a diet high meat is disastrous to our health, while a plant-based (vegan) diet prevents disease and is restorative to it

By Kathy Freston

I've been researching the most common and devastating diseases Americans are dealing with, with the aim of finding a common thread running throughout both cause and reversal. As it is now, one out of every two of us will get cancer or heart disease, and one out of every three children born after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. These are devastating diseases, certainly to those who are burdened by them, but also to a health care system that is struggling to keep up. — 1,702 words.

Nader on Obama: "A Frightened Man" — "Very Disappointing"

By Aaron Task

President Obama has come under withering attacks from right-wing politicians, pundits and Tea Party throwers. But the Glenn Becks of the world could learn a few things from Ralph Nader when it comes to criticizing the President. — 283 words.

U.N. mission chief denies Afghan fraud cover-up

By Peter Graff and Akram Walizada

KABUL — The head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan denied accusations on Sunday that he had helped cover up election fraud, and said he still believed a result could be reached that Afghans would find credible. In strongly-worded remarks at a news conference, Kai Eide said allegations by a U.S. diplomat who was fired as his deputy were false and undermined the election process. — 673 words.

U.S. spends $1 million per soldier in Afghanistan, says government report

By Staff Writers

The monthly cost of the US presence in Afghanistan isn't quite as much as the planned 2009 bonuses at Goldman Sachs. At $3.6 billion a month, however, the annual total does exceed the firm's planned $23 billion in bonuses for the year. — 216 words.

Canadian diplomat flagged Afghan torture allegations
Countering government's claim it had no credible evidence

By Staff Writers
CBC News

A former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan said he repeatedly warned government officials about allegations of torture of detainees transferred by Canadians to Afghan prisons. — 592 words.

Judge confirms Guantanamo prisoner tortured into making false confessions

By Andy Worthington

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison and Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List, published in March 2009. He maintains a blog at

A declassified ruling by a federal court judge reveals that Fouad al-Rabiah, an innocent Kuwaiti prisoner who was ordered released from Guantanamo three weeks ago, was brutally tortured into making false confessions by US interrogators and repeatedly threatened until he confessed to terrorist activities in which he was not involved. — 5,844 words.

Give until just before it hurts

I'm delighted to report that readers are responding to our plea for financial support. So far it's a trickle, but trickles are known to grow and, eventually, to become nourishing rivers. Give us the flow and we'll take the current as it serves to provide you with the True North Perspective you deserve. Don't be shy. Shake your purse or your wallet or last winter's coat for a stray dollar you may have forgotten. If you find one send it to us. You won't miss it. We need it. We ask our readers to voluntarily donate $80 a year. But we'll be happy to receive whatever you can spare. So please give until just before it hurts. No subscription will be cancelled because of non-payment. For those who can't afford anything, we simply ask you to introduce True North Perspective to others. Please take time to send whatever you can afford to:

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

Venezuela nationalises Hilton Hotel
Hilton says it's business as usual

By Tamara Pearson

MERIDA — The Venezuelan government nationalised the Hilton Suites and its assets, located on Margarita Island, a popular local and international tourist destination. The nationalisation or "forced acquisition" was made by presidential decree and announced in the official government bulletin on Friday. — 356 words.

Annals of Education

'Training Citizens Who Are Well-Informed About Scientific Choices'

By Brigitte Perucca
Le Monde
Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.

An astonishing convergence: A great number of countries, from China to India by way of Europe, worried by the decrease in scientific vocations, have undertaken an overhaul of their teaching of the sciences. With a change in perspective, however. The primary reason invoked to justify these reforms is no longer economic competitiveness, but the necessity of recreating a sort of democratic contract between citizens and scientific development. — 621 words.

From the Desk of Vernon Pineau

Washington's revolving door hazardous for Americans' health

'The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members'

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship | Perspective

Bill Moyers is managing editor and Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers' Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at Research provided by producer Gail Ablow and associate producer Julia Conley.

On Tuesday, October 13, the Senate Finance Committee finally is scheduled to vote on its version of health care insurance reform. And therein lies yet another story in the endless saga of money and politics. — 916 words.

The one per cent solution

Has feminism made women miserable?
Barbara Ehrenreich examines the evidence behind the hype

By Barbara Ehrenreich
(Copyright 2009 Barbara Ehrenreich.)

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of 16 books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper's and the Nation, she has also been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine. Her seventeenth book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan Books), has just been published.

Feminism made women miserable. This, anyway, seems to be the most popular takeaway from "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," a recent study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers which purports to show that women have become steadily unhappier since 1972. Maureen Dowd and Arianna Huffington greeted the news with somber perplexity, but the more common response has been a triumphant: I told you so. — 1,348 words.

Government builds genetics research center and special classrooms for Venezuela's disabled

By James Suggett

MERIDA — In an expansion of the Jose Gregorio Hernandez Mission, a national program of assistance for people with disabilities, the Venezuelan government inaugurated a new genetics research center on Wednesday, and announced the construction of nearly four hundred special public school classrooms with facilities designed to accommodate the disabled. — 287 words.

No insurance for you!
4-month old baby 'too fat' to get health insurance

Frustrated parents of a big infant who is being denied insurance view the system as "absurd"

By Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — Alex Lange is a chubby, dimpled, healthy and happy 4-month-old. But in the cold, calculating numbered charts of insurance companies, he is fat. That's why he is being turned down for health insurance. And that's why he is a weighty symbol of a problem in the health care reform debate. — 619 words.

Husband left wife for other woman 24 times
Wife says only one chance left

By Staff Writers

A 75-year-old man from Nanchang, Jiangxi province, has left his wife and his home for another woman 24 times in the past seven years. Zhang and Wang, 75, got married in 1958. Things were as smooth as can be until Zhang fell in love with 55-year-old Xiong in 2002.

Since then, Zhang has often left home to live with Xiong, only to return each time regretting his decision to leave his wife. The last time Zhang left home to return a few days later was a few weeks ago, when his wife told him she was giving him one last chance.

"If he ever leaves home again, he's never coming back," she said.

Venezuela re-stocks subsidized food markets amid continued inflation

By James Suggett

MERIDA — The Venezuelan government announced a plan this week to purchase 4.8 million bolivars (U.S. $2.2 million) worth of basic foods to be sold over the next ten months in its state-run subsidized food market chain, Mercal. The measure comes as new statistics show that monthly inflation increased by 2.5% in September, with food price inflation above average. — 405 words.

No wedding day off for Ken Livingstone

Work as usual for former London mayor on wedding day

By Tracy McVeigh

Not many people go to work on their wedding day, but Ken Livingstone was never going to be a traditional groom. The former London mayor married his long-time partner Emma Beal at London Zoo yesterday afternoon, but worked in the morning, hosting his radio show at London's LBC. — 143 words.

Cleaner cleared of gold 'theft'

By Hu Yongqi
China Daily

The case against an airport cleaner detained for more than nine months after she took home a jewelry box she found next to a bin has been dropped, police confirmed on the weekend. — 454 words.

Call to legalise World Cup sex trade

Fear of spread of HIV infection among football fans sparks demand for registration of South African prostitutes

By Tracy McVeigh and Savious Kwinika

Calls are growing for South Africa to legalise prostitution ahead of next year's football World Cup in an effort to limit HIV infection among millions of fans visiting the country for the tournament. — 665 words.

Venezuela and U.K. Sign Anti-Drug Trafficking Agreement

By James Suggett

MERIDA — During a two-day visit to Caracas by the vice-minister of foreign affairs of the United Kingdom, Chris Bryant, Venezuela and the U.K. strengthened their mutual commitment to combat drug trafficking and prevent drug consumption. Bryant also recognized Venezuela's increased efforts to put a halt to the illegal drug trade. — 390 words.

U.S., FSB share notes on a charity

By Staff Writers
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Oregon — Recent court filings in a criminal case against the operator of a defunct U.S. charity reveal that American prosecutors traveled to Russia in an attempt to find proof that the organization had been involved in terrorism in Chechnya. — 474 words.

2012 isn't the end of the world, Mayans insist

By Staff Writers
China Daily

MEXICO CITY — Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly "running out" on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it's not the end of the world. Or is it? — 1,187 words.


First black hole (for light) created on Earth

By Anil Ananthaswamy

An electromagnetic "black holeMovie Camera" that sucks in surrounding light has been built for the first time. The device, which works at microwave frequencies, may soon be extended to trap visible light, leading to an entirely new way of harvesting solar energy to generate electricity. — 552 words.

Meredith Whitney casts doubt on banks' bounce

'She was right once, and we'll see — her credibility is on the line'

By Boyd Erman
The Globe and Mail

Meredith Whitney still has the power to move markets. Two years after making her name by predicting correctly that banks were in trouble and that Citigroup Inc. would have to cut its dividend, the financial services analyst is again causing investors to sell bank shares. — 772 words.

Money and Markets

Getting inside the Fed's head

By Mike Larson
Money and Markets

JUPITER, Florida — Every so often, someone decides to pick a fight with me over the Federal Reserve. They say I've got it all wrong. They say the Fed is going to prove its mettle. They say that foreign central banks are crying "Uncle" over the dollar, and that this will force the Fed to reverse course and start raising rates. Folks, that's just hokum. Bunk. Hogwash. B.S. Pick whatever term you're comfortable with! — 1,006 words.


A goat named Bobbi

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective

Barbara Florio Graham uses music in her online creativity course. Information on her website:

An 11-year-old boy in Kenya is the proud owner of a goat named after me. This initiative is called the Get Your Goat program, and is designed to provide destitute families in African countries with milk for the children as well as providing baby goats so other families can benefit as well. — 1,122 words.

Have you used your intuitive skills lately?

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

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

I read somewhere that your intuition is the GPS of inspired actions. How appropriate! I did not always rely on intuition... When I was young, adults often lied about important things, causing me to distrust my intuition. But as I became an adult, I read a lot about the power of the mind, the unconscious, esoterism... I realized that always playing it safe, keeping the "status quo" or relying on old habits was preventing me from getting on with my life. — 528 words.

Spirit Quest

Kind'a late to admit that priests also sin

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

When I first heard of the plight of the archbishop of Antigonish as he arrived at Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, I thought that a mistake must have been made. Perhaps a border official not up on baroque art had mistaken pictures of those naked cherubs cavorting among the clouds so often depicted on cathedral ceilings, as pornography. — 670 words.

'Anyone can be killed'

Former right-wing leader warns of violence from U.S. religious right

By Larisa Alexandrovna

Frank Schaeffer is an outspoken critic of the politicized Christian evangelical right. He sees the "End Times" movement as anti-Semitic. He fears that a right-wing terrorist might assassinate the President of the United States.

None of these talking points would be novel on the left, but Schaeffer is hardly a bleeding heart liberal. His father, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, is considered to be the godfather of the modern religious right movement. Schaeffer himself took up the family mission and became a prominent speaker and writer, promoting many of the sentiments that have given rise to the politically active, extremely well organized and zealous movement of today. He left the religious right in the 1980s, and was a Republican until 2000. — 4,311 words.

Ukraine's Got Talent winner brings nation to tears

'I only entered because there was a child I know who needed an operation and I wanted to help," she said. 'I did not mean to make the whole country cry.'

By Peter Graff and Akram Walizada

The appearance of a shy 24-year-old on a Ukrainian TV talent show this year has caused a nation to revisit its painful wartime past and is well on the way to becoming an international sensation. — 386 words.

The Reading Room

Smokers of the world unite!
You have nothing to lose but your jones(ing)!

Book Review:
Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

At some point or another we've all heard the phrase, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and most of us have also probably used it. "Easy" ways to make money, lose weight, find love, and cetera and cetera, are forever singing their syren songs from television adds, email spam and the self-help sections of bookstores, to name just a few. So you can imagine my scepticism when a friend gave me his copy of Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. My friend told me he butted his final cigarette when he finished the book and he felt sure that I would do the same. — 1,052 words.

Monty Python's fly-in Bafta: stars collect British award in New York

Comedy group's five surviving members still full of gags on 40th anniversary of Flying Circus

By Ed Pilkington i
The Guardian

NEW YORK — The five surviving members of Monty Python reunited briefly in New York last night, using the occasion to poke fun at each other, Germans, Bafta, which gave them an award from 3,000 miles away in London, and above all the one person who wasn't there: Graham Chapman. — 298 words.

The Movies

Cinememe — 15 memorable movies in 15 minutes (sort of), Part III

True North Perspective's Managing Editor takes a strictly personal trip down a cinematic memory lane

By Geoffrey Dow

The following is adapted from a post originally published at

Fifteen films in fifteen minutes!
(May not actually be do-able in 15 minutes!)

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that still keep a powerful hold on your mind. The first fifteen you can recall within no more than 15 minutes.628 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.

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: 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
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Manager, Business and 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