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Ottawa Star www.OttawaStar.com • November 21, 2013 • Volume 1, Issue 11
For Canada & World News visit Ottawa Star.com
EU citizenship for sale with practically no strings attached By Stephen Calleja, The Associated Press
ALLETTA, Malta—Malta’s Parliament has voted to sell citizenship with practically no strings attached for 650,000 euros ($865,000) to help reduce the nation’s deficits. The plan, approved Nov 13, is expected to go into effect within a few weeks. Opposition Nationalist Party lawmakers have vowed to repeal the law and revoke all citizenships sold if their party returns to power. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat predicted that selling citizenship will bring 30 million euros into government coffers annually and help ease the country’s deficit. In Brussels, European Union spokesman Michele Cercone noted that Malta and other member states have full sovereignty to decide how and to whom they grant nationality. The European Court of Justice has on several occasions confirmed the principle of international law that it is for each member state to lay down the conditions for acquisition of its nationality. Continued on page 12
Lessons from the past: How Quebec abolished its ‘Senate’ in one simple step
Ysabel Li-Lopez, winner of City of Ottawa 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award. See Page 2
Man charged after young black woman killed while seeking help By Corey Williams, The Associated Press
DETROIT—A U.S. man was charged Nov 15 with murder and manslaughter after a 19-yearold black woman was fatally shot
in the face just outside his home while apparently seeking help after a car crash. The case has drawn national attention and calls for a thorough investigation from civil rights groups that say race was a factor.
Theodore P. Wafer, 54, faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Renisha McBride in Detroit on Nov. 2. Police say they believe she was involved in a car accident nearby, and Continued on page 5
By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL—It was a case of political payola for the ages. A guaranteed salary for life, to two-dozen politicians, if they would perform the ultimate foolproof task: vote to stop working forever, and start collecting paycheques to stay at home. That not-too-distant episode offers some relevant lessons today for Canada as the country wrestles with the future of its Senate. History provides one recent precedent for the abolition of an upper chamber, with the 1968 bill that shut down Quebec’s unelected Legislative Council. Past attempts to kill it had failed. But the feat was finally achieved, 90 years after the first unsuccessful attempt. The key was a sweetening provision in the bill that offered councillors their $10,000 salary, every year, up until they ascended to that great trough in the sky. Continued on page 5
International Anti-chemical weapons law used against woman who poisoned romantic rival in love triangle By Jesse J. Holland, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON—An illicit love triangle that ended with a woman poisoning her pregnant rival spawned a debate over chemical weapons, international relations, federalism and
chocolate at the US Supreme Court early this month, with justices left trying to make sense of how a jealous wife ended up being prosecuted for violating an international chemical weapons treaty. Carol Anne Bond is challenging her conviction, saying that the fed-
eral government’s decision to charge her using a chemical weapons law was an unconstitutional reach into a state’s power to handle what her lawyer calls a domestic dispute. Bond, unable to bear any children of her own, was excited when Continued on page 11
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
‘5 Broken Cameras’ presented at Ottawa students’ movie night and discussion event By Layla Piedra Abu Sharar
he Palestinian Student Association (PSA) of both Ottawa and Carleton University, collaborated with Young Jews for Social Justice (YJSJ) and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), on Friday, Nov.1 to present the award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, for their movie night and discussion event. It was organized in hopes of bringing students from different ethnic backgrounds together in a social setting to raise awareness of the Palestinian conflict against the Israeli occupation and encourage the students to voice their opinions. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian
farmer living in the West Bank village of Bil’in, directed the film over a five-year period, as a first-hand account of the nonviolent resistance against the actions of the Israeli army. “The film is so simplistic, yet it shows you more than you have seen anywhere else,” said PSA member Yazen Abed. Burnat showed raw footage of the daily struggles faced by Palestinian villagers as they slowly watched their homeland be taken away by the construction and expansion of an Israeli West Bank Barrier. He used five different cameras to record the hardship faced by Bil’in villagers, as their loved ones were taken from their
homes and arrested. He continued to record until his last camera got destructed in the spring of 2010. Through his lens, he also showed peaceful protests being raided, and the agricultural land, which united the villagers, being confiscated. Following the film, PSA, YJSJ and SPHR members took to the stage to lead an open discussion about the film and the message behind it. The discussion was focused on the importance of having students from different parts of the world gather together to watch the film and learn more about the conflict in Palestine. “Everyone coming from different places just to be here
Ottawa students push for global health, education By Ellen O’Connor
Thirsty? Turn on your tap and fill up a glass with cool, clean water. It’s a simple action performed by many who don’t need to ask whether it’s bacteria-free or will lead to health problems. But what about those who don’t have a tap to turn on or the knowledge to boil the germs teeming in the contaminated water they drink? Students from the University of Ottawa have made it their mission to improve the health of those living in developing countries through educational projects, clean water infrastructure and equitable healthcare. “We focus on a mandate of global health,” said 21-year-old Vidya Nair, communications chair of Initiative for Global Health. Nair is one of over 20 volunteers with IGH, formed by co-presidents Ankur Chopra and Prachur Shrivastava, and six executive members in September 2011. They began fundraising for three global projects in Kenya, India and Sri Lanka, all of which took place in the spring of 2012. The Sri Lanka project is currently ongoing and headed by 23-year-old Hasitha de Alwis, who began phase one last year when his team travelled to villages in the
“Our hope for these projects is to get to the point where we can be removed from the equation and they can step into our positions and take over,” added Nair. Now with their newest initiative, IGH From Left (top): Prabjyot Chahil, Pritish Kal- has a project coordira, Ankur Chopra, Faizan Khan, Vidya Nair. nator on the ground, From left (bottom): Neetika Chopra, Kristina Nagesh Karuturi from Baier, Sonia Dhawan. Photo: IGH the organization Embracing the World, to monitor allocation of resources Hambantota district to collect water samples, which were analyzed and ensure transparency and efficiency. at the University of Ruhuna to “Our project is to build a look for waterborne diseases. telemedicine facility in rural NaiAlwis is now back in Ottawa and working on phase two robi because the access for local citizens to get to a hospital is of the project to raise funds to sometimes challenging and very sustain a Community Based far, so these facilities act as primaWater Scheme in the region. ry healthcare centres,” said Nair. Both the Kenya and India Nair and Chopra said IGH project were about one-month is aiming to raise $3,000 this year long, and while they were a to fund the construction of a balearning experience, Nair and sic centre, but they would love Chopra said they faced some to raise $7,500 to build an adethical issues with allocation of vanced centre. Along with planfunds, and the projects themselves weren’t sustainable. ning for upcoming fundraisers in “We want to have a projJanuary and March, IGH is also ect that we can continue, rather reaching out to local high school than just going there and giving students to join in on fundraising them money, and not knowing for the Kenya project. where the money went or how For more information visit impactful it was,” said Chopra. iglobalhealth.org
Tyler Levitan, YJSJ member (left), PSA members: Hadeel Buhisi, Hassan Elbairam, Rami Rustom, Mona Wazzi-Moukahal, and Khaled Alanqar. Photo by: Iman Al-Buhaisi
for one reason shows that we are the future, we have everything we need to do something,” said
Abed. “Don’t forget about Palestine, I promise it has not forgotten about you.”
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards Winners’ success inspires future entrepreneurs Ottawa—The City of Ottawa presented their 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards to three local business people—Manu Sharma, Julia Chen, and Ysabel Li-Lopez—whose business success and spirit have contributed to the local economy and serve as an inspiration to new Canadians to start their own businesses. “Today’s winners exemplify how important immigration is to Ottawa’s cultural vitality and economic prosperity,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “These three business people serve as role models to inspire both newcomers and all residents to harness their entrepreneurial and community spirit to make a difference to our community.” The three winners of this annual event were selected for their contribution to the local economy, the entrepreneur community, and the broader Ottawa community. Manu Sharma came to Canada in 2002 as an international student and co-founded OAK Computing in 2007—a software and development firm. Over the years, he has grown his business in terms of both the number of employees and annual revenues. In
addition to his business contribution, Manu has volunteered more than 3,000 hours in the community, and mentors new Canadians to become entrepreneurs. Julia Chen is the CEO of Advanced Machine Materials Incorporated—a leading powder manufacturer in the Solar and Semiconductor industry. After five years of operation, the company has grown to $1 million in annual sales worldwide. Julia volunteers with the Hunan Fellow Association of the National Capital Regions of Canada, and helps to mentor other local immigrant entrepreneurs, especially women originally from China. Ysabel Li-Lopez moved to Canada in 2006. Following the birth of her son in 2010, Ysabel started her e-commerce business. Nurture-Elle is a leading supplier of designer nursing apparel in Canada and the U.S. Ysabel also works full-time at the YMCA as a counsellor to help new entrepreneurs and existing small businesses. This year’s awards were presented at the TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Conference luncheon on Oct 31
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Canada supports nourishing India’s children, growing it’s economy
Mr. Venkatesh Mannar, President, Micronutrient Initiative, and Senator Asha Seth By Ellen O’Connor
he Micronutrient Initiative partnered with the Indo-Canadian Ottawa Business Chamber to co-host an evening reception to bring to attention the effect nutrition has on India’s growing economy. Held on Tuesday, Nov. 5 on Parliament Hill, the event was called Nourishing India’s Children, Growing its Econ-
Photo: Manny Virdee
omy. It was co-hosted by MP Patrick Brown, Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Association and Senator Asha Seth, and drew an audience of business, political and community leaders. The speakers discussed how our efforts to improve the nutrition of India’s newborns, young children and pregnant mothers can increase productivity and growth.
“There still exists great disparity in the distribution of quality foods and nutrients to the population of Indians such as seniors, children and very poor,” said Seth. “This means that millions of people do not receive the essential nutrients to maintain normal healthy body functions.” Thousands of children and pregnant women in developing countries suffer from malnourishment and a deficiency of vitamin A, zinc, folic acid and iodized salt. The Micronutrient Initiative is the leading organization working to eliminate vitamin deficiency around the world with the support of the Canadian government. Lois Brown, Parlimentary Secretary for International Development, said in her speech that their three pillars of development—food security, secure futures for children and youth, and sustainable economic development—all work handin-hand, and thus it is crucial children receive the nutrients they need. President of Micronutrient Initiative, Venkatesh Mannar, took the stage to talk about the importance of integrating iodization in India’s processes—something that has been done in Canada for 100 years, and is now beginning to spread to other parts of the world, including India.
Seventh annual “Turn Toward Busan” Korean War Veterans Ceremony held By Ellen O’Connor
Canadian soldiers who died in the Korean War were remembered on November 10 at the seventh annual “Turn Toward Busan” Korean War Veterans Ceremony held at Ottawa City Hall. The ceremony was presented by Veterans Affairs Canada, and conceived and managed by Lieutenant Commander (Ret’d) Bill Black, President of National Capital Unit 7, Korean Veterans Association of Canada. Black and his team held the service at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the bronze Monument to Canadian Fallen. The ceremony was attended by dedicated veterans, Mayor Jim Watson, Lt.Gen J.M.M. Hainse, Commander Canadian Army, MP Royal Galipeau, H.E. Cho Hee-yong, Ambassador and Colonel Jang Min Choi of the Republic of Korea, Young Hae-Lee, President of the Canada Korea Society, and Mr. Andre Levesque, Director General of VAC. The Ottawa ceremony is directly synchronized with its counterpart Remembrance Day ceremony held on November 11 at 11 a.m. in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea
Lieutenant-General J.M.M. Hainse, Commander Canadian Army, Ms. Young-Hae Lee, President, Canada Korea Society and H.E. Cho Hee-yong, Ambassador, Republic of Korea Photo: Jiyun Shin
where Canadians killed in action are buried. Canadian Veterans participated in the UN service at the Wall of Remembrance and the Monument to Canadian Fallen. When the clock struck 9 p.m. in Ottawa, the attendees turned along a plot line to face Busan where 378 Canadian soldiers are buried, 16 soldiers listed as “missing in action” are commemorated, and where five Royal Canadian Navy
sailors who were lost at sea are now commemorated on a new bronze panel on the Commonwealth Monument to Those With No Known Names. Black was involved in the project, funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, to add the five names to the Commonwealth Monument, which has stood in the UN cemetery since 1975 and now lists 491 names of servicemen who were missing in action or lost at sea.
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 3 “It is protecting billions against mental impairment, and it takes only a small amount of Iodine over a lifetime, to protect us against effects of iodine deficiency,” said Mannar. He added that Canada’s support of salt iodization through initiatives like MI has resulted in four billion people—71 per cent of households in India—receiving Iodine through salt. “History has shown that India is capable of great achievements and there are proven solutions to malnutrition that are all in our reach and extremely low cost,” said Mannar. Mr. Jack Uppal spoke on the potential of India and the opportunities for Canada to do business with India. Minister Christopher Alexander, Canada’s first ambassador to Kabul, Afghanistan, closed the speeches and shared the success the Micronutrient Initiative has brought to the agricultural sector and school system in Afghanistan. “Let us re-dedicate ourselves to getting the small things right because they have big consequences.”
Mingle in this room By Samantha Ammoun
Eat, drink, mingle. But not just yet. Mingle Room, a new bar and lounge that will be opening its doors at the end of November, is what 23-year-old Ardy Rahmani believes to be just the beginning for Sandy Hill. The lounge combines classic black leather couches, with HD televisions, LED lights, a DJ booth, a full service bar and good old pub food. “The easiest way I can put this is twice the quality and half the price. I was a student at one point and I understand. I couldn’t go out and pay $15 for 12 chicken wings, or $7 for a regular beer,” he said. Rahmani, who was born and raised in Canada by his Iranian parents, has managed some of the busiest student lounges in the Ottawa and Gatineau region over five years and could not be happier about opening his own bar and lounge on 470 Rideau Street. He said as long as people come to have a good time, even if they’re only spending $3 or $4 each, it’s money being spent at Mingle Room where a cover charge is inexistent and parking is abundant and free. And why exactly is the lounge called Mingle Room? “My partner in this project, along with my promoter, were thinking back a couple of years ago about a popular bar that was called Mingle Woods, which was made for Ottawa U students,” he said. “The name itself mingle meant gathering. We really want to create a similar atmosphere. There’s nothing a student loves more than watching a Sens game, having a beer and a poutine on the side, for cheap.”
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
The Spiritual Classics of India No Bollywood included. By Samantha Ammoun
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he music of India is said to be one of the world’s oldest musical traditions, going back to ancient Hindu scriptures. While it is often confused with westernized Bollywood tunes, they are not one and the same. However, for the Indian Classical Music Association of Ottawa, classical Indian music is nowhere near what you hear in Singer Kakoli Nag, a student of classical Indian music teacher, Bollywood films, but is the true Vinay Bhide (right) Photo: Samantha Ammoun reflection of Indian tradition. “I always tell my students, if you learn western music, that’s good but taught you in your own way and that is what don’t forget yours,” said Vinay Bhide, music Vinay wants,” she said. “He never wants you professor at Carleton University and private to sound like him, he always says you have to classical Indian music guru. have your originality.” For over twelve years, the Indian Classical “Here (in Canada) you have to make a Music Association of Ottawa has celebrated conscious effort. It has to run in the family. You international teachers’ day singing and playing have to live this life,” she added. classical hymns. One after the other, performers With a turnout of almost 60 people, removed their shoes, sat on the carpeted stage nine-year-old Trishna Praharaj did not let floor and were accompanied by either the flute, her nerves get to her. Although she does not the table or the harmonium. understand everything she is singing, she said Kakoli Nag, a singer who recently became she has never enjoyed anything more than a student of Bhide, described the event as a time performing. where shishyas, also known as students, come to “You get to learn new songs, perform to pay tribute to their gurus. other people and then they get to know how “The best way to celebrate your teacher much you’ve learned. At first it was difficult, but or pay a tribute is rendering whatever they I got used to everything. It’s easy now,” she said.
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udy’s mother took her shopping for warm underwear and stockings before she left Trinidad to study nursing. She was surprised to see how Canadian women who lived in cities were dressing. To her surprise, they were not as warmly dressed as she was. Back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s they even wore pantyhose on the coldest winter days. Hats exposed their ears, and unlined overshoes protected their shoes more than their feet! It was “unfashionable” to look too bundled up. Nowadays, it’s easier to keep warm while looking great. One of the big changes is that women may now wear pants (or trousers) in most workplaces. You might hear someone say “You should dress like an onion.” This means that you will be more comfortable if you wear two to three
layers of clothing. This way, you can add or remove a layer according to how you feel. The layer next to your skin should be able to move moisture away from the body. Wool or specially treated polyester can do this. The middle layer is mainly for insulation, but it also allows moisture to move away from the body. Fleece is the most popular fabric for this middle layer. The outer layer protects you from the wind, snow or rain. It needs to be able to “breathe” or else you will feel chilled. This layer also needs to be roomy enough to fit comfortably over the other two. “Goretex” fabric is often used for this layer. When choosing boots, the principle of “layering” also applies. But they have to be big enough. If you can’t wiggle your toes, the boots are too small. Roomier footwear lets blood reach your feet. You’ll be a lot more comfortable if your feet are warm. It’s also important to choose hats, mitts and gloves carefully. Hats need to cover the ears in the colder weather to prevent frostbite. Mitts are warmer than gloves, because you can wiggle your fingers in them. For the coldest days, you’ll need lined mitts and gloves. So “dress like an onion” and you’ll be ready for whatever weather comes your way.
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Lessons from the past Continued from page 1
“It was a high price,’’ Rene Levesque, the future premier, later observed. “But (it was) fully worth it.’’ Don’t expect the Receiver General of Canada to whip out that chequebook and follow suit, just yet. Canada’s Senate is constitutionally much more difficult to reform. Unlike the Government of Canada, the Quebec legislature didn’t need to worry about getting provinces’ consent, or about maintaining regional balance within the federation, when it hatched its cash-for-life scheme. Quebec’s 24-member council was seen as a vehicle for guaranteeing minority anglophone rights, with English-speakers traditionally overrepresented compared to their real demographic weight. Which stirred some resentment. The old francophone newspaper Le Canadien once wrote of the institution: “It’s a fortress placed on our territory in which an English garrison keeps our forces in check.’’ But according to a seminal study of the chamber by the late political scientist Edmond Orban, the deepest fault lines weren’t actually linguistic. The real battles were economic. In Orban’s description, the upper house was dominated by the upper classes and was particularly forceful in its early days in blocking activist government especially of the pro-plebeian variety. It blocked a 1906 bill to compensate the widows and orphans of workplaceaccident victims. It blocked a tax on bigbox stores. It helped topple the Liberal government in 1879. And in 1898 it shot down an attempt to create a department of education—something Quebec would not achieve for another six-and-a-half decades. Has Quebec lost anything? Without the benefit of a crystal ball, there’s no certainty about what legislation it might have changed but two prominent possibilities spring to mind: Quebec’s landmark language law and the current charter on religious values. Given the vociferous Liberal opposition to the 1977 language law, Bill 101, it’s entirely possible that the newly elected Parti Quebecois government would have been thwarted in a Liberal-dominated upper chamber. Public opinion be damned, the chamber might have scrapped Bill 101, diluted it or delayed it a few years until Levesque could stack the institution with fellow Pequistes. Universite Laval’s Louis Massicotte, for one, isn’t pining for that parallel universe. He points to three other, more effective mechanisms that already exist to block a politically popular law if it’s deemed to violate the public interest: court challenges, referendums, and international sanctions. It already happens at the federal level, where there is an upper chamber, and in Quebec, where there isn’t.
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 5
Man charged after young black woman killed while seeking help Continued from page 1
family members say she likely approached Wafer’s home for help. Prosecutors insisted that race was not relevant. Wafer is white. McBride’s death has been compared to that of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen shot dead by a suspicious neighbour in Florida in 2012. That case led to debate over so-called stand your ground laws that protect gun owners who claim to shoot in self-defence in at least 23 states, including Michigan. Under a 2006 Michigan self-defence law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must show that his or her life was in danger. Prosecutors said evidence showed McBride knocked on the locked screen door and that there was no evidence of forced entry. The interior front door was open, and Wafer fired through “the closed and locked screen door,’’ Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. “We do not believe he acted in lawful self-defence,’’ she added. Wafer’s attorney Cheryl Carpenter told The Detroit News earlier this week that Wafer was awakened by what sound-
Theodore P. Wafer, 54, faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Renisha McBride in Detroit on Nov. 2.
ed like “a person or persons’’ trying to get into his home. Carpenter told the newspaper that the shooting was justified, and that she and Wafer “recognize it’s a tragedy and a 19-year-old woman died.’’ A toxicology report released Nov 14 showed McBride had alcohol and
marijuana in her system. The report said McBride’s blood alcohol content was about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving. Wafer is a 10-year employee at a local airport and has a clean record except for having been in court for past drunken-driving cases, Carpenter said.
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PAGE 6 • www.OttawaStar.com
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Letter to Editor
Dying with dignity
Re: Racism and Paranoia against Roma Parents
n my opinion the right to die is the last and the greatest human freedom” -H. L. Mencken. There has been a sudden interest nationwide to talk about what had once been a taboo topic: Euthanasia or assisted suicide. What ignited this right -to- die debate was the tabling of Quebec’s euthanasia law and an emotional video plea made by Donald Low, a respected Ontario medical official who called for legalized euthanasia shortly before he died of cancer. As Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald rightly said, “There are many standing here that are torn on this matter and believe that this is a conversation whose time has come.” Euthanasia which is derived from Greek means pleasant death. It is the act of helping someone die painlessly, especially someone suffering from an incurable illness and is legal in Netherlands, Australia, United States of America and now Columbia.
Quebec’s report has recommended, as a temporary measure, that Crown attorneys no longer prosecute suspected cases. British Columbia has already directed its prosecutors to avoid trials for alleged assisted suicides whenever possible. If proper and rigorous safeguards are in place in an assisted dying law, there is no reason why such a law which gives dying people the right to choose the manner and timing of their death should not be supported. Even Professor Stephen Hawking, a world renowned cosmologist and theoretical physicist, offered his unqualified support to those who feel their life is no longer tolerable. “I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives and those that help them should be free from prosecution,” he said. “We don’t let animals suffer, so why humans?” There is growing feeling that Euthanasia can be part of
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good terminal care. The question being asked is whether we accept the right of human beings to decide for themselves how their lives will end. As Socrates said it so well, “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” Constant pain and suffering is not conducive to living well. The old argument, “we treat our pets better than our family” is true. We do not make our pets suffer needlessly, but make our family suffer needlessly by trying to keep a patient with no hope alive. Although we agree that there are many reasons to fight for every last day of life, but when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one and to entrust the individual citizen with the right to decide for themselves when their remaining days are not worth living. Editorial by Sangeetha Arya.
Publisher: Chandrakanth Arya Chief Editor: Sangeetha Arya Editor: Ellen O’Connor
would like to take this opportunity to thank-you and the staff of the Ottawa Star for producing and distributing your fine newspaper. I read your editorial, Racism and Paranoia against Roma Parents, with great interest because I have been following the case of the original “trafficked” child in Greece. The article, Irish Police Return Children to Roma Parents, also in the November 7, 2013, edition of your paper, seems to confirm that the Irish authorities were motivated by the original Greek case. I admit that in both instances it does seem to be an open and shut case of racial discrimination especially in light of the treatment Roma people in Europe experience on a regular basis. However the greater need here is that of the children. I worked as a public school teacher for forty years and I did witness more than my share of child neglect/abuse during that time. I can tell you that I would not hesitate to break any law or trample on any adult’s rights as long as I had the best interests of the child at heartI am sure that some type of lawsuit and subsequent settlement shall occur in the Irish case and that the waters will be calmed until the next incident with racial overtones shall take place. I was much more disturbed by the article on page 12, Brunei Sultan Announces Islamic Laws That Could Include Stoning, Amputation. I would have expected an indignant editorial based on this article rather than one which entertains a discussion on the chromatic values of skin hues among people of Roma ancestry. But when an
editorial is agenda driven it becomes difficult to maintain journalistic detachment and to react accordingly when deciding which information to focus on. The Brunei article is so discriminatory that one does not know where to start the criticism. When Sharia laws are applied and an error is made, an apology such as that proferred by the Irish police to the insulted dark skinned Roma might seem to lack sincerity especially if the wrongly amputated cut hand were to be returned. Personally I would much rather be a Roma in Ireland than a Moslem in Brunei. I would suggest that human discrimination is not solely based on skin colour. In fact ethnic origins, gender, demographics, political philosophies and confessionality are often greater drivers of the horrors which have taken place in our collective history and which are currently to be found throughout the world. Who can forget Cambodia or Rwanda? The caste system still makes me shake my head in disbelief. I am appalled by how women are treated in certain countries. The grandaddy of them all is the Holocaust. I have had the good fortune to work with Canadian young people who represent the entire world: West Indians and East Indians, Chinese and Koreans, Italians and Aboriginal Canadians, Ukranians and Greeks and many more. I would have to say that I learned more than what I taught. The first thing that my students taught me was that when it comes to racism the first place to look is within ourselves. Thank-you for your kind attention. Sincerely yours, Sigismondo Springer
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 7
They don’t just change diapers: New generation of dads views parenting as equal partnership By Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press
EW YORK—Something is changing with today’s young fathers. By their own accounts, by their wives’ testimony, and according to time-use studies and other statistics, more men are doing more around the house, from packing school lunches and doing laundry to getting up in the middle of the night with a screaming infant. But it’s not just about sharing chores. For dads in their 20s and 30s, being an involved father is part of their identity. They blog about changing diapers, they chat nonchalantly with colleagues about breastfeeding, and they trade recipes for baby food while working out with guys at the gym. Part of why dads are doing more around the house may be that women are doing more
in the workplace. A study from the Pew Research Center this month found that mothers are the breadwinners in a record 40 per cent of families. At the same time, the number of stay-at-home dads is twice what it was 10 years ago - though still a relatively small number at 176,000. And in two-thirds of married couples with children under 18, both parents work, according to the U.S. Census. As working moms increasingly become the norm, and as their financial contributions become more critical, they’re doing less cleaning and cooking. A Pew study released in March shows that since 1965, fathers have increased the amount of time they spend on household chores from four hours to 10 hours a week. In the same time period, mothers reduced their housework from 32 hours a week to 18.
Jay Fagan, a sociology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and founding editor of the academic journal Fathering, says the inverse relationship between hours worked outside and inside the home makes sense: “When the mother is working full-time, it is impossible for her to do everything.’’ But there’s another aspect too, he notes: “The more you earn, the more it buys you out of some of the mundane responsibilities.’’ For their part, the new dads say they want things divided equally. Fatherhood, says Jeremy Foster, 37, of Kansas City, Mo., has gone from a “provide, protect scenario, to a team effort, especially nowadays with couples raising children where both work full-time.’’ Foster and his wife also have his-and-
Inside Stephen Harper Paul Wells’ book The Longer I’m Prime Minister won’t satisfy the Harper-hating legions
By Pat Murphy
ORONTO, Troy Media—Paul Wells is one of the more astute commentators on Canadian politics, and his new book on Stephen Harper—The Longer I’m Prime Minister—is a good read. But while the book’s warts-and-all picture certainly isn’t hagiographic, it won’t satisfy the Harper-hating legions. Wells, you see, thinks Harper’s success is neither an accident nor a trick. Rather he “wins elections because millions of people want somebody like him to be prime minister.” Oh dear, such heresy! If you’re looking for a refresher on the Harper years, the book’s generally chronological structure does the job reasonably well. However, its real strength is the light it shines on personality and motivation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Prime Minister’s Office Photos by Jason Ransom.
And while it’s mostly about Harper, there are some pungent observations on others. For those who’ve ever wondered about the Liberal affection and respect for Joe Clark, there’s an easy explanation. “Every Liberal loves a Conservative loser.” And Stephane Dion? Well, he was a guy flexible enough to change his mind and take on board an idea that he’d initially rejected. However, there was a proviso. First, he had to persuade himself that it “was not only an excellent idea, but that it was his own.” Then there’s Michael Ignatieff, a chameleon who made several careers out of being whatever it was he needed to be in order to get along and join the club. As Wells neatly puts it, Ignatieff was “a world champion shucker-off of old flesh.” So what about Stephen Harper? Who is he really? To his credit, Wells doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. It would seem that few people do. Even as close a political associate as the late Doug Finley, former Campaign Director for the Conservative Party of Canada, drew a blank, telling Wells that he didn’t really know the prime minister. But a penchant for privacy and inscrutability notwithstanding, a sense of
the person does emerge. Much of it is well known. Yes, he’s intelligent, combative, secretive, ruthless, and vindictive. If you cross Stephen Harper, he’ll carry a grudge indefinitely. There are also aspects that are less well known, even surprising. For instance, while Harper may be stiff and deficient in social skills, he’s someone you can have a real conversation with. If he engages you, he’ll actually listen to what you have to say. And unlike conversations with other recent prime ministers, it won’t all be about him. As for Laureen Harper, she’s a key part of her husband’s political support system. She scans the media with him first thing in the morning, acts as a filter for his reading, and puts some added steel in his spine when required. Most useful, though, Wells is particularly good at putting his finger on what Harper is all about politically. And contrary to some detractors, it’s not just about winning for its own sake. Harper wants to leave behind a federal government that meddles less in jurisdic-
her diaper bags - hers with a floral pattern, his a grey-and-orange messenger bag from DiaperDude.com. Other signs that hands-on dads are now mainstream range from changing tables in men’s restrooms to unisex baby showers to paternity leave in the workplace. Fagan says “there’s no question that young fathers are far more involved,’’ not just in how much time they spend with kids, but also in “their sense of who they are as individuals - their personal identities.’’ But he noted that the trend of sharing child care and housework is “largely happening among college-educated couples.’’ Families where parents lack college degrees and are struggling with unemployment are “more likely to be raising their children as single parents,’’ he said. “It’s a real concern.’’ tions where it doesn’t belong, and that’s less able to devise costly new schemes to dictate how people should lead their lives. To accomplish this, political longevity is critical. Wells particularly notes two considerations. One is the concept of the New Class. The other is the simple fact that it’s tougher to spend money if you don’t have it. The New Class—a concept first outlined by American journalist Irving Kristol in the 1970s—describes an informal alliance of educators, lawyers, social workers et al. Or put another way, people who prosper “in the kind of society only an activist state could build and sustain.” And the source of their influence isn’t directly electoral, but rather depends on appointment. In Canada, this has historically translated into an unelected establishment— such as the courts and the bureaucracy —appointed by Liberals. By staying in power, Harper can transform that into one appointed by Conservatives. Then there’s the grubby matter of money. Policies like GST reductions and guaranteed fiscal transfers to the provinces upset the cognoscenti. Surely, they argue, federal policy could be more closely calibrated with informed social and economic objectives? But there’s another way of looking at it. When the Liberals return to power – as they surely will one day – there’ll be less spare cash lying around for their New Class buddies to dream up ventures in social engineering. If your politics are left-of-centre, this won’t thrill you. But don’t make the mistake of calling it stupid. Troy Media columnist Pat Murphy worked in the Canadian financial services industry for over 30 years. Originally from Ireland, he has a degree in history and economics. www.troymedia.com
PAGE 8 • www.OttawaStar.com
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Pakistani action movie bashes India and troubles some critics while scoring big at box office By Rebecca Santana, The Associated Press
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—“Waar’’ seems ordinary enough as an action movie— Pakistani forces fighting terrorism, a James Bond-like character hunting an assassin, a woman ensnaring a patriot with her sexual wiles. But the Pakistani-made film playing to packed houses these days has some critics worried, because it suggests that the country’s terrorism problem is not homegrown, but a sinister plot by outside enemies, particularly long-term adversary India. “Waar’’ seems to have hit a chord with a public that widely believes Pakistan is viewed from abroad as a perpetuator of terrorism, rather than a victim measured in the tens of thousands of people killed in bombings and shootings over the last decade. The movie opens with a man illegally entering Pakistan and teaming up with
an assassin. Both supposedly are working for India and are being hunted by security agents led by an army major whose family was killed by the assassin. “The central idea is very good,’’ said Shama Kazmi, 24. “The act of terrorism that we are facing is basically not done by the Pakistanis. An external factor is involved.’’ But it’s a narrative that worries those who wonder how Pakistan can ever defeat militants in its own country if it can’t agree about who is to blame. Pakistanis have a history of perpetuating conspiracy theories that blame problems on “outside forces.’’ Many believe, for instance, that the Pakistani Taliban leader killed in a drone strike Nov. 1 was actually a pawn of the U.S. and India. Columnist and cultural critic Nadeem Paracha said the idea that India is to blame for Pakistan’s problems has long been prevalent in Pakistani society,
Poster of Pakistani movie “Waar”. AP Photo/B.K. Bangash
which tends to view itself as a bastion of Islam surrounded by enemies. But the movie’s director says people may be taking the film a bit too seriously.
“It’s just a film, the same way that Hollywood has portrayed the good guys and the bad guys. It’s not a documentary,’’ said Bilal Lashari, 31.
Study finds Swedish cinemas challenge that PG 13 Hollywood’s gender bias by movies have introducing feminist movie rating as much gun violence as R rated films By Malin Rising, The Associated Press
By Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
NEW YORK—A study finds that gun violence in PG-13 rated movies has increased considerably in recent decades, to the point that it sometimes exceeds gun violence in even R-rated films. The Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Ohio State University on Monday released a study that surveyed gun violence in top-grossing movies. Researchers found that gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled since 1985. According to the study, gun violence in PG-13 movies has rivaled the level of gun violence in R-rated movies since 2009, and actually surpassed it in 2012. Critics of the ratings system have long held that it places too much emphasis on sexuality and too little on violence. The Motion Picture Association of American declined to comment on the study.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden—You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now movie theatres in equalityminded Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it. To get an “A’’ rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
“The entire ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, all ‘Star Wars’ movies, ‘The Social Network,’ ‘Pulp Fiction’ and all but one of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies fail this test,’’ said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house movie theatre in Stockholm’s trendy Sodermalm district. Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them,’’ Tejle said. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens.’’
Antipiracy curriculum for elementary students The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES—When it comes to learning about the evils of Internet piracy, Hollywood studios and the major music labels want kids to start young. A non-profit group called the Center for Copyright Information has commissioned a school curriculum to teach elementary-age children about the value of copyrights.
The curriculum, still in draft stage, includes lesson plans, videos and activities for teachers and parents to help educate students about the “importance of being creative and protecting creativity,’’ with topics such as “Respect the Person: Give Credit,’’ “It’s Great to Create,” and “Copyright Matters.” The non-profit is backed by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of
The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For’’ in 1985. The “A’’ rating has been criticized as a blunt tool that doesn’t actually reveal whether a movie is gender-balanced. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for “The Hurt Locker.’’ That movie—a war film about a bomb disposal team in Iraq—doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.
America and others, the Los Angeles Times reported Nov. 11. Some critics say the curriculum, called “Be a Creator,’’ would promote a biased agenda. Others contend it would use up valuable classroom time when public schools already are struggling to teach the basics. The MPAA blames the illegal distribution of movies and TV shows for causing billions of dollars annually in lost revenue. The trade group has tried various tactics over the years to fight the problem, from filing lawsuits against college students who illegally downloaded movies to backing ill-fated federal laws that would shut down rogue websites.
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 9
Several Canucks make cut for possible Oscar nomination in animated shorts category The Canadian Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Oscar-winning animator Chris Landreth is among several Canadian-based filmmakers being considered for an Oscar nomination in the animated shorts category. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says 10 films will advance to the voting process for the 86th
Academy Awards. Fifty-six pictures had originally qualified in the category. The short list includes Landreth’s 11-minute “Subconscious Password,’’ which imagines what goes on inside the mind when it goes searching for information. There’s also the war critique “Gloria Victoria,’’ by National Film Board of Canada director Theodore Ushev, and “Re-
quiem for Romance,’’ by Toronto-born, Montreal-based filmmaker Jonathan Ng. Vancouver-based Irish animator Eoin Duffy also makes the cut with the colourful short “The Missing Scarf ’’ while the NFB is listed as a co-producer on “Hollow Land,’’ along with Denmark’s Dansk Tegnefilm and France’s Les Films de l’Arlequin. Landreth previously won an Oscar for his 2004 animated short “Ryan.’’
Young Spanish pianist, parents face possible jail for ‘noise pollution’ By Ciaran Giles, The Associated Press
MADRID, Spain—To most people, noise pollution is a jet engine roaring over their head. For one Spanish woman, it was a neighbour playing the piano more softly than a spoken conversation. The woman has taken her neighbours in the apartment below—a 27-year-old pianist and her parents— to court. Prosecutor Emma Ruiz says professional pianist Laia Martin should serve 16 months for pollution plus another four months for causing her neighbour “psychological harm.”
Ruiz also asked that Martin be disqualified from any professional piano playing for six months. In a country known for its exuberant noisiness, the case has raised eyebrows. At the trial in the northeastern city of Gerona, Sonia Bosom claimed she suffered noise pollution from 2003 to
2007 due to the five-days-a-week, eighthour practice sessions of Laia Martin, who lived below her in the northeastern town of Puigcerda. Martin, 27, denies that she played at home that often, saying she took regular classes in other towns. She claims she mostly practiced at home on the weekends.
Others making it further into the Oscar race include “Room on the Broom,’’ by Magic Light Pictures directors Max Lang and Jan Lachauer; “Feral,’’ directed by Daniel Sousa; “Get a Horse!’’ directed by Walt Disney Feature Animation’s Lauren MacMullan; “Mr. Hublot,’’ directed by Laurent Witz of Zeilt Productions; and “Possessions,’’ directed by Shuhei Morita of Sunrise Inc. The prosecution claims that years of hearing constant playing has caused Bosom “psychological injury.’’ Medical reports showed she suffered from a variety of problems, including insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks and gynecological problems. The prosecutor said tests by local authorities found that the sound levels made by the piano were repeatedly up to 10 decibels higher than the 30-decibel limit laid down for musical instruments in the town. The family told the court they carried out soundproofing work twice but the complaints continued.
‘Amazing Race Canada’ looking for contestants for Season 2 The Canadian Press
TORONTO—CTV now is taking applications for Season 2 of “The Amazing Race Canada.’’ The network announced Nov. 11 that online audition videos and applications can be submitted at ctv.ca. Olympic champion Jon Montgomery will return as host. CTV says teams are encouraged to “showcase their personalities’’ and that the deadline for submissions is Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The inaugural season of “Amazing Race Canada’’ was won by a father-son team from Winnipeg. Complete entry details are available on CTV’s website. Would-be contestants must be Canadian citizens and must be at least 19 years old by April 1.
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Savings, budgets and planning key to the financial success of new Canadians By Romina Maurino, The Canadian Press
ORONTO—For many immigrants setting up a new life in Canada, the biggest challenge isn’t coming face-toface with a mountain of snow or dealing with unfamiliar customs, but the sticker shock that comes with such a move. Elke Van Hout figured she’d thought of everything when immigrating to Canada from her native Belgium with her husband and teenage son in 2010. She’d done her research, accumulated savings, rented an apartment and even opened a Canadian bank account ahead of the move in August, 2010. But there were two challenges she didn’t foresee: How difficult it would be to establish a credit history and how high the cost of university would be for her son.
Van Hout said she was fortunate to have had enough savings to convince her new bank to give her get a credit card with an initial limit of $1,000 and slowly help her to build credit. But the family was forced to use their savings to buy their home in cash, along with the used car they needed to get around. The process was expensive and required much more than the $17,000 in savings the government recommends newcomers to Canada bring with them if they are a family of three. “If people from Belgium or the Netherlands contact me and say: ‘We want to move to Canada, and luckily, we have the $17,000,’ I say: ‘If that is everything you have, please stay where you are,’’ said Van Hout. Alex Harchenko, a settlement information specialist said one of the biggest
“We want this debate to take place in a serene atmosphere—a serene and respectful atmosphere.’’ — Premier Pauline Marois.
Highlights of Quebec’s values charter By The Canadian Press
QUEBEC—The Parti Quebecois government presented its values charter Nov.7 as Bill 60, and it threatened an election unless opposition parties agreed to table the controversial legislation. With the bill now tabled, the PQ has also hinted that it might continue to treat it as a confidence matter while it’s debated in the legislature. Here are some highlights of the plan, which would set restrictions on hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and largerthan-average crucifixes: n Prohibits state employees from wearing objects such as headgear, clothing, jewelry or other conspicuous adornments that overtly indicate a religious affiliation. n Failure to comply can lead to firing. Provides for ‘’dialogue’’ with a supervisor after a first offence, then disciplinary measures would apply. Compliance would be treated as a mandatory job condition.
n How many people will it affect? The government doesn’t know. It says counting everyone affected would amount to racial profiling. It says it hopes nobody loses their job over this. n It would also affect people in the private sector. It says that a public body would force any person with whom it has entered into a service contract or subsidy to comply with the dress code. n Provides for a five-year transition period, with health-care institutions granted a longer phase-in. n States that the primacy of French will be added to the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, setting up a potential legal conflict with the Canadian Constitution. n The bill could even apply to someone who has been elected and wants to sit in the legislature. It says the rules also apply to members of the national assembly, although they could request a special exemption from the assembly’s office.
challenges immigrants face is underestimating the amount of money that they’ll spend in the first year. Many wait to sell their homes over-
seas, he said, but would be wiser to dispose of those properties and take advantage of newcomer initiatives to buy a home in Canada or have the extra cash.
More than 800,000 Canadians still relying on food banks By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA—The number of Canadians using food banks has fallen off slightly but still remains near record highs almost four years after the end of the economic recession. The annual study by Food Banks Canada shows that more than 833,000 people relied on food handouts during one snapshot month earlier this year, compared with 872,379 the previous March. More than a third of them were children. “Underlying this small drop is a concern of enormous proportions: food bank use remains higher than it was before the recession began,’’ the report states. Low-income jobs are the culprit, the report found, and there’s an abundance of them thanks to a Canada-wide loss of manufacturing jobs over the past three decades. Roadblocks on the path to employment
insurance and social assistance—and the paltry incomes provided by those programs once disadvantaged Canadians are able to access them—only add to the misery. The latest Statistics Canada numbers show that 8.8 per cent of people were living below the low-income cutoff in 2011. Who is going hungry in 2013? More than half of those turning to food banks are families with children, the report concludes. Twelve per cent of households asking for help were currently employed, while another five per cent were recently employed. Eleven per cent of those using food banks self-identify as First Nations, Metis or Inuit, and another 11 per cent are new immigrants to Canada. “Both of these groups continue to face unacceptable levels of poverty, and are forced to turn to food banks as a result,’’ the study found.
Canada lifts Czech Republic travel visa As approval of EU trade deal looms The Canadian Press
OTTAWA—Canada has lifted a visa requirement for travellers from the Czech Republic, bringing them in line with most other European countries. But visas still apply to would-be visitors from Romania and Bulgaria. The issue is significant because Canada and the European Union signed an agreement in principle on a free trade deal last month that still requires the final approval of the EU’s 28 member countries. Canada’s visa requirements are resented in the affected European countries, raising fears they could take steps to block the government’s coveted deal with Europe. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last month in Brussels that he would even-
tually like to see visa-free travel between Canada and the EU. Canada originally imposed the visa to block what it called bogus refugee claims by large numbers of ethnic Roma applicants from European countries. A statement from Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says changes to Canada’s asylum system will deter bogus claims. Mexico, meanwhile—another major trading partner—remains angry with Canada over the continued imposition of a travel visa against that country. The country’s ambassador, Francisco Suarez, has said the controversy could impact the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement and 70 years’ worth of diplomatic relations.
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 11
Ontario to ban smoking Bill would change On restaurant and bar patios, Ontario Human Rights playgrounds, sports’ fields Code to prevent genetic discrimination By Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
ORONTO—Physicians and patient advocacy groups said they support a proposed change to the Ontario Human Rights Code aimed at protecting people’s genetic information from being used by insurance companies and employers. People will avoid getting genetic tests that could detect a predisposition for potentially life-threatening diseases and won’t participate in research and clinical trials if they have to disclose the results, especially to insurers, said the Coalition for Genetic Fairness. Canada is the only G8 country not to protect genetic information. Liberal backbencher Michael Colle, who introduced a private member’s bill, hopes to change that. Some people are already being denied insurance because they have a genetic
predisposition for a particular illness, even something that many people live with such as celiac disease, said Dr. Yvonne Bombard of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “Individuals at risk for more common diseases such as breast, ovarian or colon cancer are unduly discouraged from undergoing genetic testing and participating in genetic research because of concerns of how their genetic information might be misused by third parties such as insurers and employers.’’ Part of the problem with not protecting the genetic information is it can be used not only against the patient, but against the next generations in their families too in cases of hereditary diseases like breast cancer, warned Heim-Myers. “They would not be able to get insurance either,’’ she said. “You’re putting it out there for your whole family.’’
By Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
TORONTO—The Ontario government plans to amend legislation to ban smoking on all restaurant and bar patios as well as at playgrounds and sports fields. Health Minister Deb Matthews says restaurant and bar owners know that the majority of people don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke on patios. Matthews says most people are like her—they enjoy sitting on a patio but don’t like being surrounded by smoke. She says Ontario will also double the fine for stores that sell cigarettes to minors, and will follow Alberta’s lead and introduce legislation to ban all sales of candyand-fruit-flavoured tobacco products. The Ontario bill would extend the current prohibition on selling flavoured tobacco cigarillos and chewing tobacco
International Anti-chemical weapons law used against woman who poisoned romantic rival in love triangle Continued from page 1
her best friend Myrlina Haynes announced her pregnancy. But later Bond found out her husband of more than 14 years, Clifford Bond, had impregnated Haynes. Bond, a laboratory technician, then stole the chemical 10-chloro-10H phenoxarsine from the company where she worked and purchased potassium dichromate on Amazon.com. Both can be deadly if ingested or exposed to the skin at sufficiently high levels. Bond spread the chemicals on Haynes’ door handle and in the tailpipe of Haynes’ car. Haynes, noticing the chemicals, called
the local police, who didn’t investigate to her satisfaction. She then found some on her mailbox, and called the United States Postal Service, which videotaped Bond going back and forth between Haynes’ car and the mailbox with the chemicals. Postal inspectors then arrested her, and a federal grand jury indicted her on two counts of possessing and using a chemical weapon, applying a federal anti-terrorism law. The law was passed to fulfil the United States’ international treaty obligations under the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons
Is It Time For A Second Opinion?
and on Their Destruction. Bond pleaded guilty and received six years in prison. A couple of justices were very critical of government prosecutors for choosing even to prosecute Bond using the chemical weapons law. “If you told ordinary people that you were going to prosecute Ms. Bond for using a chemical weapon, they would be flabbergasted,’’ said Justice Samuel Alito. “It’s so far outside of the ordinary meaning of the word.’’ Justice Anthony Kennedy said it “seems unimaginable that you would bring this prosecution.’’ Justices went down a long list of everyday items that could be prosecuted un-
to youth to a total sales ban, although there would be an exemption for menthol cigarettes which Matthews says are preferred by adults. The proposed legislation would also ban other flavoured products such as twist sticks, dissolvable strips and lozenges if they contain tobacco, but not if they have only nicotine without tobacco. The Canadian Cancer Society warns the lozenges, which look like candies and come in colourful packages, contain three times as much nicotine as a smoked cigarette. The Heart and Stroke Foundation said companies were targeting youth with flavours like “grapes gone wild,” “appletini,” or “cherry vanilla,” and warned parents “have to be very concerned with the ability of the industry to adapt and change and work around legislation.”
der the law since they could cause harm to humans or animals, including the use of kerosene, matches, performance-enhancing drugs used in sports, and even vinegar—which would poison goldfish if introduced to a fishbowl. Alito later drove home his point by saying under the law, even innocent ordinary actions could become questionable if the government’s power is not limited. “Would it shock you if I told you that a few days ago my wife and I distributed toxic chemicals to a great number of children?’’ he said to laughter from the courtroom. “On Halloween we gave them chocolate bars. Chocolate is poison to dogs, so it’s a toxic chemical under the chemical weapons’’ law. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli assured Alito he would probably get away with it, but warned justices that the issue was no joke and they shouldn’t get involved in trying to decide what treaty terms mean. Justices are expected to make a decision before summer.
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UN mercenary report: Private military and security on track to be $244 billion business By Peter James Spielmann, The Associated Press
he private military and security business is growing by 7.4 per cent a year and on track to become a $244 billion global industry by 2016, the U.N.’s expert on mercenaries reported. The United States is the biggest single spender on private security. While most of that business is not illegal, and ranges from private security guards and prison guards to contractors protecting U.N. missions, independent U.N. expert Anton Katz told the U.N. General Assembly’s committee dealing with humanitarian affairs that there are still vestiges of shadowy “dogs of war’’ activity. “Recent events in several parts of the world clearly demonstrate that mercenaries remain a threat not only to security but also to human rights and the right of peoples to self-determination. We continue to call on states to co-operate in eliminating this phenomenon,’’ Katz said. His report to the U.N. committee cited alleged mercenaries, some from
Eastern Europe and Africa, brought in by Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 to try to crush the uprising there who are languishing in detention. The report also drew attention to mercenary threats to Ivory Coast from the Liberian border area. Cuba, France and Montenegro have in the last year reported cases of mercenaries being convicted in their courts, the report said. The United States alone spends $138 billion a year on private security, much of it in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, the report said. As the U.S. military presence winds down, much of the private security work is shifting to police work and base support, but the protection of oil company facilities is a new growth area, it said. Private security on shipping off Somalia’s coast is another new market identified by the report, with over 140 companies providing armed guards in the region. The United Nations itself is another major employer for private security, the report said.
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Former Japan prime ministers urge phase out of nuclear power By The Associated Press
TOKYO—Two of Japan’s former prime ministers are adding their voices to calls for the country to phase out nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Nov. 12 that the current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, should use his public popularity to “do the right thing.’’
Koizumi said that with Japan’s nuclear plants all offline for safety checks it would be easier to begin the phase-out soon. Abe favours restarting the nuclear plants under safety guidelines revised after the March 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima, contending that Japan cannot afford not to. Another former leader, Morihiro Hosokawa, said in an interview published in the Tokyo Shimbun on Nov. 12 that he also favours an end to reliance on nuclear power.
India braces for increase in Kashmir militancy As US winds down presence in Afghanistan By Aijaz Hussain And Katy Daigle, The Associated Press
SRINAGAR, India—India is bracing for more militancy in the battlescarred region of Kashmir, believing that fighters now focused on resisting U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan will shift toward the Himalayan flashpoint with Pakistan. Some say increased violence recently along India’s heavily militarized border with Pakistan proves that shift is already underway. As a result, India is increasing use of drones, thermal sensors and foot patrols as it tries to catch out any battle-hardened militants moving through the forested mountains near the frontier. At the same time, Indian troops have increas-
ingly been engaging in skirmishes with Pakistan’s military. U.S. officials and experts acknowledge there are valid concerns, though the U.S. government has not discussed such a risk publicly. The chief of its forces in the Pacific says the U.S. is increasingly discussing terrorist movements with countries in the region. “We are thinking about it more and more each day, and this includes dialogue with our partners in India and Pakistan,’’ Adm. Samuel Locklear told reporters in Washington this week. India has long accused Pakistan of arming and training militants who fight in Kashmir, a charge Pakistan vehemently denies. Pakistan has consistently said it gives the rebels only moral and diplomatic support.
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Anyone 18 or older will be able to become a citizen of Malta, which has a population of 418,000. Due diligence will be given to applications, such as criminal background checks, but neither investment on the island nor residency will be required. Purchasers are entitled to buy Maltese passports for immediate relatives for 25,000 euros. The Labour-led government has said it won’t publish the names of those buying citizenship, but the political opposition has said it will if possible.
The prime minister has said the new way to acquire citizenship will attract wealthy individuals “who can help change Malta’s economy.’’ A private company entrusted by the government with promoting the citizenship purchase estimated that there will be some 200-300 buyers each year. Opposition leader Simon Busuttil called the amendment’s passage by Parliament a “black day for democracy’’ and raised the possibility of a petition drive to force a referendum on repealing the law.
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 13
For Philippine typhoon survivors, search for missing loved ones is a hellish daily routine By Kristen Gelineau, The Associated Press
ACLOBAN, Philippines—John Lajara peers under a slab of crumbled concrete, lifts a sodden white teddy bear then drops it back into the filth. He reaches again into the rubble and pulls out a boot, a treasured find in this typhoon-flattened village. But he’s searching for something far more precious - the body of his brother, Winston. For those still looking for loved ones missing since the storm, their already torn-apart lives are shot through with a difficult question—How do you move on when there is no body to bury?
Court rules lesbian egg donor has parental rights to child her partner had By Brendan Farrington, The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child, and on Nov. 7 it ordered a lower court to determine custody and visitation rights. The case involves two women, identified only by their initials, who began raising the child together. One donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other, who gave birth in 2004. But the couple split up two years later and a custody fight ensued. At issue is the 1993 state law meant to regulate sperm and egg donation and to prevent donors from claiming parental rights to a child born to another couple. In this case, however, the Supreme Court said the donor provided her egg as part of an agreement to parent the child together and she acted as a parent after the child was born. Thus, the law doesn’t apply. “It would indeed be anomalous if, under Florida law, an unwed biological father would have more constitutionally protected rights to parent a child after a one-night stand than an unwed biological mother who, with a committed partner and as part of a loving relationship, planned for the birth of a child and remains committed to supporting and raising her own daughter,’’ the court wrote.
The search for the missing—1,179 by official count as on Nov. 16—has become a hellish daily activity for some. In Lajara’s seaside village, residents estimate that about 50 of the 400 people who lived there were killed. About half of the dead are still missing: mothers, fathers, children and friends. According to the latest figures (Nov. 16) by the Philippines’ main disaster agency, 3,633 people died and 12,487 were injured. After the initial days of chaos, when no aid reached the more than 600,000 people rendered homeless, an international aid effort was gathering steam. “We’re starting to see the turning of the corner,’’ said John Ging, a top U.N. humanitarian official in New York. He said 107,500 people have received food assistance so far and 11 foreign and 22 domestic medical teams are in operation.
A woman cries as she pleads with military to let her husband through to the front of the queue as they wait for evacuation on Nov. 14 in Tacloban city, Leyte province, Philippines. AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
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Self described ‘hacktivist’ gets 10 years in prison By Tom Hays, The Associated Press
NEW YORK—An unrepentant self-described “hacktivist” was sentenced Nov. 15 to 10 years in prison for illegally accessing computer systems of law enforcement agencies and government contractors. Before hearing his sentence, Jeremy Hammond told a Manhattan federal judge that his goal was to expose injustices by the private intelligence industry. “Yes I broke the law, but I believe sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change,” he said. The Chicago computer whiz and college dropout insisted his hacking days are over but added, “I still believe in hacktivism as a form of civil disobedience.” Defence lawyers asked that Hammond be sentenced to time served, 20 months. But U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Hammond’s previous hacking conviction and arrests for other smaller crimes demonstrated his disrespect for the law. She also said she was imposing the sentence sought by prosecutors because his own words from online chats revealed his motive was malicious. In one chat, Hammond wrote that he hoped to cause “financial mayhem” with one of his cyberattacks. “I’m hoping for bankruptcy, collapse,” he said.
No more passwords? By The Associated Press
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—You may never need to memorize another password. That’s the goal of researchers at Purdue University’s International Center for Biometrics Research. Stephen Elliott is the director of international biometric research at Purdue University in Indiana. He says iris and fingerprint scans as well as facial and voice recognition are just a few of the tools that improve security while making lives easier. His basement lab is a place where emerging biometric technologies are tested for weaknesses before they can go mainstream. Biometrics is already in use at one local restaurant. Chris Smith, assistant manager of KFC in West Lafayette, Ind., says workers punch in by putting their finger on a fingerprint scanner attached to their cash register.
Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
Give rural Canada more high speed Internet or lose unused spectrum: government By LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press
elecom companies hoarding airwaves that could be used to provide more high-speed Internet service to rural Canadians have been given a warning by the federal government: ‘Use it or lose it.’ “Those that have not used the spectrum will lose it,” Industry Minister James Moore said in a statement. Telecom companies Bell and Rogers hold the bulk of the spectrum licences through their Inukshuk venture to provide wireless Internet to more than 100 rural communities, but it’s not widely used. Telus and some smaller Internet providers also claim licences. Some rural Internet providers say they have waited for years for the chance to bid on this spectrum—radio waves that can be used to provide wireless Internet service. Chatham Internet Access in southwestern Ontario says it’s struggling to provide enough bandwidth to its thousands of customers. “If we could get 20 per cent of that spectrum, we could literally double the speed for our customers,” said general manager Wally Romansky.
Xplornet Communications Inc., which provides Internet service to rural communities across Canada, said it also wants some of this spectrum. “The rural con-
sumer is saying I need more speed…all of the things that every other consumer is saying,” said C.J. Prudham, executive vice-president of Xplornet.
A riot policeman warns activists gathered outside the Romanian parliament that their protest is illegal as people gather to protest against a planned Canadian mining project, in Bucharest, Romania, Nov. 11. The Romanian government won’t allow a Canadian company to develop what would have been Europe’s biggest open gold mine, the prime minister said Monday, shortly before a parliamentary commission would have permitted the project. AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda
World’s biggest economies being sustained by, central banks pumping cash that carries risks By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON—Five years after a global financial crisis erupted, the world’s biggest economies still need to be propped up. They’re growing and hiring a little faster and creating more jobs, but only with extraordinary aid from central banks or gov-
ernment spending. And economists say major countries may need help for years more. From the United States to Europe to Japan, central banks are pumping cash into economies and keeping loan rates near record lows. Even fast-growing China has rebounded from an uncharacteristic slump with the help of government money that’s
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, left, presents Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz with the five dollar bill he took into space at a Canadian Space Agency ceremony to officially issue the new $5 polymer note which features the robotic Canadarm2 and Dextre. The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz
poured into projects and made loans easily available from state-owned banks. For now, thanks in part to the intervention, the world economy is improving. The International Monetary Fund expects global growth to rise to 3.6 per cent in 2014 from 2.9 per cent this year. The improvement “does not mean that a sustainable recovery is on firm footing,” Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, warned last month. He said major economies will need stimulus from “extraordinary monetary policies” to sustain momentum into 2014. Many economists think stimulus will be needed even longer. Yet these policies carry their own risks: Critics, including some of the Fed’s own policymakers, note that the cash the central banks are pumping into the global financial system flows into stocks, bonds and commodities like oil. Their prices can escalate to unsustainable levels and raise the risks of a market crash. Other analysts warn that the easymoney policies could cause runaway inflation in the future.
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Ottawa Star • November 21, 2013
By The Canadian Press
ORONTO—A new study shows that non-mortgage debt is continuing to rise in Canada, but at a relatively modest pace, and that low delinquency rates indicate Canadians have so far been able to handle the increase. The study by credit reporting agency TransUnion says that the average consumer debt load, excluding mortgages, increased $225 to $27,355 in the third quarter. Despite the increase, two of the country’s largest cities—Toronto and Vancouver—both experienced quarterly and yearly declines in average consumer total debt. Montreal, the country’s second-largest city by population, saw minimal rises
on both a quarterly and yearly basis, while the only major city to experience a rise in debt greater than the national average was Edmonton, with total debt rising 4.6 per over the past year. Meanwhile, TransUnion says delinquency rates, or failure to make good on debt repayment, remains low across all credit products, from credit cards to auto loans. Meanwhile, the study showed that the increase in average debt varied throughout Canada, with provinces experiencing year-over-year changes from a low of minus 0.4 per cent in British Columbia to a high of 15.49 per cent in Saskatchewan. Elsewhere, consumer debt levels fell 0.03 per cent in Ontario, while rising 2.72 per cent in Quebec and 7.46 per cent in Alberta.
www.OttawaStar.com • PAGE 15
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As US economy plods and pay lags, companies profit By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON—Look at the U.S. economy and you’ll notice an unusual disconnect. The economy is being slowed by a tight job market, scant pay raises and weak business investment. Yet corporate profits are reaching record highs and fueling record stock prices. What gives? For starters, weak job growth has held down pay. Since the recession struck six years ago, businesses have been relentless in cutting costs. They’ve also stockpiled cash rather than build new products or
lines of business. And they’ve been earning larger chunks of their profits overseas. All of which is a recipe for solid profits and tepid economic growth. The economy grew at a meagre annual rate of just 1.8 per cent in the first half of 2013. The unemployment rate is 7.2 per cent, far above the 5 per cent to 6 per cent considered healthy. Even so, corporate profits equaled 12.5 per cent of the economy in the April-June quarter, just below a 60-year high reached two years ago. Profits of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 have nearly doubled since June 2009. Earnings appear to have risen again in the July-September quarter.
Taiwan signs trade deal with Singapore By The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan signed a trade deal with Singapore, part of the island’s efforts to reduce reliance on the Chinese market. It is the first trade pact Taiwan has signed with a member of the Association of Southeast Nations. About 40 per cent of Taiwan’s total trade is with mainland China. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing continues to claim the island as part of its territory, to be brought into the fold by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary. Many Taiwanese fear that increasing dependence
on the mainland market gives China leverage that could ultimately be used to undermine Taiwan’s de facto independence. Under the terms of the deal Taiwan will reduce tariffs on a number of items it imports from Singapore. There are also some tariff concessions set for Taiwanese exports to the city state, but Singapore’s effective status as a free port means that they are less significant in the overall context of the deal. Singapore is Taiwan’s fifth largest trading partner, with trade between the two in 2012 amounting to $28.2 billion. Taiwan signed a free trade deal with New Zealand in July.
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