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Friday 29 July 2011
Time coming to declare victory and get out?
They also have no problem with meeting the oft-repeated U.S. demand that the Taliban cut ties completely with Al-Qaeda.
Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, who was acting prime minister of Afghanistan in 1995-96, told IPS in an interview that a group of Taliban officials conveyed the organisation's position on starting peace negotiations to him in a meeting in Kabul a few days ago.
"They said once the Americans say 'we are ready to withdraw', they will sit with them," said Ahmadzai. — 1,068 words.
Cartoon by Sidra Mahmood, OneSeventyFive.com.
Public money, government science
Paper published in January, author still not allowed to talk about her findings
The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister's Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.
Science, one of the world's top research journals, published Miller's findings in January. The journal considered the work so significant it notified "over 7,400" journalists worldwide about Miller's "Suffering Salmon" study. — 1,322 words.
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© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Canada's blind spot
28 July 2011 — The most chilling phrase in the Norwegian horror was the killer’s statement, through his lawyer, that it was “trocious,” or in another translation “gruesome,” or even just that he was sorry — but it was necessary.
I’ve never seen anything that expresses the toxic potential of ideology so eloquently. It’s especially in that note of regret. Rage and hate do terrible deeds but they may falter. An idea that you know with certainty is true can be put into action no matter what your state of mind or feelings. You might even have tears in your eyes as you shoot.
(The video has hiccups but the spirit is there, so please go with the flow and enjoy)
It's no secret that the same words can fill hearts with either joy or anger.
Back in the 1950s the song This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land was blacklisted and banned from the airways in the United States.
Today it is a prominent selection of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and was sung by thousands, including the president of the U.S. and his wife, at an open-air rally at Washington D.C. on the night of President Barack Obama's inauguration January 18 2009.
On June 27 of this year a Canadian version was delivered with joy and characteristic sophisticated gusto by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall. Jerry Gray, a dentist, and founder of the Canadian song group, The Travellers, was asked to conduct This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land as the final encore of the concert.
Jerry Gray of Toronto, in 1954 was the co-writer of the Canadian version of the American song by Woody Guthrie. The Travellers at the time included Jerry Gray (banjo and lead singer) Sid Dolgoy (mando-cello) and singers Helen Gray, Jerry Goodis, and Oscar Ross.
Jerry Gray was prompted to write a Canadian version by Pete Seeger. Pete said that he and Woody Guthrie had been blacklisted and that they and the song itself were no longer allowed on air.
Pete suggested a Canadian version would help keep the song alive until the clouds were blown away. It took ten years before the hysterical right wing could be crowded out of control.
Bylaw enforcement officers recorded most of the infractions during the final week of the campaign, as well as the three-day grace period after the vote that is meant to allow candidates to collect their signs.
News of the waived fine emerges at a time when the Ford administration is considering a range of new user fees to help cover the cost of delivering city services. — 780 words.
24 July 2011 WASHINGTON — California's futuristic plans for 220-mph bullet trains linking the Bay Area with Los Angeles and beyond are facing a moment of truth.
Prospects for a $19 billion federal infusion — covering more than 40 percent of a $43 billion system that would be the nation's largest single investment in transportation infrastructure in decades — dim each day as Washington scrambles madly for trillions of dollars in savings to raise the national debt ceiling.
If completed, California's system would be the first truly high-speed-rail network in the United States. Bullet trains would race down the San Joaquin Valley, linking Sacramento to San Diego and tying into the Peninsula that links San Francisco and San Jose.
More than $250 million has been spent so far, but the real money will kick in with the scheduled start of construction between Bakersfield and Fresno in 2012, which is estimated to cost $5.5 billion.
"It is re-traumatizing. The trauma goes back to the shock and fear of being diagnosed again with a potentially life-threatening illness," says Dr. Andrew Matthew, a psychologist who counsels cancer patients at Princess Margaret Hospital.
"When you've gone through a first diagnosis and treatment, time has passed and you gain greater confidence in your health. So when there is a re-experience of that diagnosis, all the same feelings of fear and uncertainty race to the surface even more quickly than before. It's like you thought you had left that in your past and all of a sudden it's part of your future again." — 1,455 words.
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” — Dalai Lama
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.
31 July 2011 MERIDA Veneuzuela — On Saturday Venezuela ended weeks of bicentennial independence celebrations with a massive cultural parade at the Paseo de los Proceres in Caracas. Televised live on national television, thousands of artists, musicians, and dancers joined together in a cultural display aimed at presenting the different historical moments Venezuela has lived through before, during, and after the break from Spanish colonial rule. Titled Independence Forever, Saturday’s parade marked the end of bicentennial independence celebrations that began on July 5. — 362 words then photos.
— Winston Churchill
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.
Posted by Lauren McKeon
27 July 2011
After the earthquake in Haiti last year, plenty of organizations rushed in to help. One of those was former U.S. president Bill Clinton's foundation, which promised to build several "hurricane-proof" shelter/school duos. However, in a recent investigation published by the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting two journalists discovered promises that look good on paper don't always look great on the ground. This week, we talk to reporters Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet on how they got the story, what it was like reporting in Haiti, and sharing a byline.
J-Source: The fact that the shelters/schools were being built seems to be well-known, and indeed well-publicized, but when did you start to think an investigation was needed? What tipped you off?
Isabel Macdonald: We originally began discussing our idea for this shelters story as one part of a broader investigation (which we are still working on) into the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is the commission co-chaired by Bill Clinton that was set up to coordinate and ensure transparency in Haiti's post-earthquake rebuilding. There has been very little oversight or monitoring of the projects approved by the commission, and several Haitian board members had complained about lack of transparency.
Isabeau had first reported on the shelters before they were even built, as part of an Al Jazeera team, and it was from her that I first heard about the project. Before we began the investigation, both of us had visited the schools where the trailers were installed, and had spoken to the school directors, some of whom were quite disappointed with the project. So we had some sense already that there might be a story.
Before that deluge, Khatoon, 45, could not have dreamed of owning a well-ventilated house with such luxuries as an attached toilet and a clean kitchen.
Khatun was lucky that the district administration of Khairpur identified her village Darya Khan Sheikh, on the banks of the Indus in Sindh province, as one of the worst affected, and her house as one that had been completely destroyed and, therefore, merited replacement. — 944 words.
'In the early 1980's, the Center for Disarmament estimated that global military operations used more aluminum, copper, nickel and platinum than the entire Third World did for development'
The U.S., Europe and even China ignore the rocks ready to gouge the hulls of their economic ships. What happens if they all crash at once?
That suggests major changes to marine ecosystems can be reversed with time, says a Canadian study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
It also "bodes well" for other cod populations further north along the East Coast that have yet to recover, says the study, led by researcher Kenneth Frank at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S. — 816 words.
The Glass Teat
Torchwood: Miracle Day, part 3: Dead of Night
An unabashed (if often critical) fan of all things Doctor Who, Geoffrey Dow is writing about Torchwood: Miracle Day each week. Click here to for an overview and links to all the postings.
July 24, 2011 — Miracle Day's third episode marks another step on the road towards a fully-engaging story, but still with some mis-steps, awkward steps and hints of dumbing-down for the new (yes, American) audience along the way.
Despite those cavils, a lot more seemed to happen in "Dead of Night" than in both of its predecessors put together, an important thing for a program that is trying to do triple duty as a mystery, a science fiction thriller and a social satire.
Unfortunately, too much of what happens feels as if it was inserted according to Russell T Davies initial plans, rather than growing organically out of the characters and the action. — 874 words.
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 County 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.