By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister’s speech to the World Economic Forum yesterday.
Erica Alini explains Mr. Harper’s six-day stay in India.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:11 AM - 0 Comments
Jared Lee Loughner will be sentenced in an Arizona court Thursday morning after pleading…
Jared Lee Loughner will be sentenced in an Arizona court Thursday morning after pleading guilty to killing six people and injuring 13 during a shooting in Tuscon last year, and many of his victims, including former congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, will face him.
Loughner has pleaded guilty to the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting at a Giffords campaign event and his lawyers have arranged a bargain that will let him spend the rest of his life in prison, with much of it expected to be served in a psychiatric ward, reports The Arizona Republic. Loughner was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the shooting and was initially found unfit to stand trial.
Giffords, who was shot in the head and continues to recover from a brain injury, will be in court with her husband, former Space Shuttle commander Mark Kelly, who is expected to speak on her behalf. Other victims, as well as Loughner and his friends and family, will also have a chance to address the court.
Giffords’ former congressional aide Ronald S. Barber, who was also injured in the shooting and later took over Giffords’ seat when she resigned, is also expected to appear in court, reports CNN.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
Expect to see a lot more of this man in your morning paper. His name’s John Boehner, and he’s the Speaker of the House of Representatives. You may remember him as President Barack Obama’s nemesis from budget negotiations past. Well, he and the president are about to renew their acquaintances. This morning, Canada’s national papers, far from celebrating Obama’s win, focused largely on Boehner’s and Obama’s greatest immediate challenge: that massive roadblock to stability known as the “fiscal cliff.” The potentially massive spending cuts and tax increases that could spark an American recession has almost every single analyst of note, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, worried. So get ready for headlines aplenty, because this will be the news for a while. Harper’s still in India, by the way, where he scored what’s become the normal amount of press for this trip: a friendly photo-op, this time in the Sikh holy city of Anandpur Sahib; prominent play in a couple of papers; and nothing hugely critical, now that the armoured car affair has mostly faded away.
What’s above the fold this morning?
The Globe and Mail leads with U.S. President Barack Obama’s immediate challenges as his second term in the Oval Office commences. The National Post fronts a similar story about Obama’s upcoming struggle against the “fiscal cliff.” The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the “crisis” facing Republicans in America. The Ottawa Citizen leads with its own teaser of the looming battle over the fiscal cliff. iPoliticas fronts the real source of Canada-India nuclear cooperation (spoiler alert: it’s America). National Newswatch showcases Michael Harris in iPolitics following up on a story earlier this week about a Conservative MP who allegedly played a role in a Manitoba journalist losing a reporting gig.
Stories that will be (mostly) missed
1. Legal spending. The federal government spent $500 million on legal fees last year, writes the Ottawa Citizen. A wide swath of departments saw fees increase by wide margins. 2. B.C. pot sales. The Globe reports that Washington’s successful ballot initiative to legalize marijuana could cut deeply into British Columbia imports of pot south of the border. 3. Bluefin catch. Environmentalists are worried that Canadian officials will seek an increased allowable annual yield of bluefin tuna, a move that has plenty of critics around the world. 4. PQ tackles corruption. Quebec’s governing party tabled legislation that would set fixed election dates; reduce the allowable amount for political contributions; and increase a vote subsidy.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Attention high school students: I don’t know you (unless I do, in which case: Hi!), but as a diploma-having university graduate who successfully completed an entire four-year degree program in only six years, I am fully qualified to guide you through your upcoming life transition.
I’ll admit a lot has changed during the past 20 years. For instance, that Salisbury steak I had one Tuesday in the residence cafeteria has pretty much worked its way through my system. Also, whereas I was taunted and pelted with eggs during Frosh Week, new guidelines now restrict upperclassmen to cocking one (1) eyebrow at newcomers for no more than 12 seconds. Consider yourselves hazed!
For further information on ﬁrst year, please consult this list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: What should I not do at university?
Don’t sweat the roommate thing.
These living arrangements couldn’t be more normal or natural. Dave—here’s Phil. You’ve never met, you may not be the least bit compatible, and each of you has at least one habit that will make the other guy want to punch you in the throat—but hey, enjoy the next eight months of stressful, high-stakes academics alongside a complete stranger in this cell-sized hellbox!
It’s fun to envision what awaits you. Maybe your roommate will instantly become your bestest friend and you’ll wear each other’s clothes. Or maybe she’ll have punishing body odour, night terrors and the world’s foremost collection of doom metal. Oh, good, it’s 6:30 a.m. and she’s playing Eyehategod again! All you can do is make the best of it. I knew two guys in residence who hated each other but found a way to tolerate life together by rarely coming into contact. Think of it as useful preparation for marriage.
Q: What should I deﬁnitely not do at university?
Plagiarizing is commonplace now. Recently, a researcher was even censured for his habit of self-plagiarizing. Self-plagiarizing? It’s not worth the risk of going blind, people!
At the risk of overdoing it with the slang preferred by today’s teens, I’m not some rule-loving dip stick from Squaresville who’s trying to play back-seat bingo with the Man. I myself pushed the boundaries as a student. Once I even composed an essay for a friend, who in the place of a mark received a note from the professor that said: “This is a terrific essay, Nick. Who wrote it?”
And that’s my point: if you plagiarize, you’ll get caught. THE ALL-SEEING EYE OF GOOGLE WILL FIND YOU. Kids today are always getting busted for cheating or plagiarizing and I just have to wonder why they don’t do things the old-fashioned way: put in a half-hearted effort, earn a terrible grade and make your parents wish you’d never been born. That method works, folks. It’s time-tested.
Q: What should I not, under any circumstances, do at university?
Don’t pass out in a ditch.
I haven’t done a lot of bone-stupid things in my life—but I did spend one entire night in a ditch during my second year at school. You may be thinking to yourself: I would never pass out in a ditch! But take it from me: drink enough (i.e. too much), stumble out of a bar, start sway-walking home and all of sudden those ditches start to looking pretty enticing, especially once you somersault into one.
Drinking is as much a part of university as later regretting having drunk so much. But here’s a general guideline worth following: it’s more fun to be the slightly tipsy person who experiences, remembers and possibly live tweets the mayhem than the blind-drunk fool who wakes up with a screaming hangover, no eyebrows and his pants filled with poop (his own, if he’s lucky).
Q: Hey, is there anything I should not do at university?
Don’t skip too many classes.
It’s thrilling to have full control over your life for the first time—and it’s fun to blow off the occasional lecture to do something more important, like nothing. But you don’t want to wind up like me. You are reading the words of a man who skipped so many classes in first year that he ended up having to withdraw from introductory geology. I still feel a wave of shame every time I see a—uh, what are those things called again?—oh yeah, a rock.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:25 AM - 0 Comments
Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, 80, announced Thursday that he is resigning from his position…
Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, 80, announced Thursday that he is resigning from his position on the board of directors at car parts manufacturerer Magna International Inc., in part to pursue politics in his native Austria.
“It has been two years since control of Magna has changed hands and, in that time, I have become involved in numerous activities outside of the automotive industry,” said Stronach in a statement that was released as part of the company’s third-quarter earnings statement. “One of these activities involves politics in Austria and I do not want my political views to be confused with my role on Magna’s Board.”
Stronach, who founded Magna in 1957, had remained on as honourary board chair at Magna International after a buyout process two years ago. He has since founded a political party in Austria, with the aim of running in the country’s 2013 election. Part of his party’s platform includes getting rid of the Euro in Austria.
Stronach is one of the richest men in the country, coming in at No. 19 on Canadian Business magazine’s Rich 100 list in 2011.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:10 AM - 0 Comments
A business recap of energy drinks, electric cars, and Mexican labour
Energy drinks have courted controversy with a business model many see as based on pumping teenagers full of caffeine. But investors have largely tuned out those complaints. Monster Beverage Corp. has been the greatest beneficiary of the stock market’s love for energy drinks. Company shares more than doubled last year, topping $78 in June, as its oversized cans and provocative slogan—“unleash the beast”—made it the largest U.S. energy drink producer by volume.
That was until last week, when its shares plunged nearly 30 per cent on news the Food and Drug Administration is investigating reports five people have died since 2009 after consuming Monster drinks. The FDA said it has not yet linked Monster to any of the deaths, but the bad publicity sparked whispers that Coca-Cola is backing away from plans to buy the company. The stock market, it seems, is finally coming down off its buzz around energy drinks.
Bright Idea: Lube, oil and software fix
Last week, General Motors Co. announced a software update for its Chevrolet Volt, contacting about 4,000 owners of the plug-in hybrid over a glitch that could cause the electric motor to suddenly shut down, even while the car was moving. They were asked to bring their vehicles to a dealer for a fix, but in the future, more software updates might happen automatically and over the air—just like an iPhone. Continue…
By Sunny Freeman - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:57 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A BMO holiday outlook suggests Canadians’ spending spirits have improved this season,…
TORONTO – A BMO holiday outlook suggests Canadians’ spending spirits have improved this season, with the bank projecting an average 15 per cent jump in holiday spending over last Christmas.
The Bank of Montreal’s 2012 Holiday Spending Outlook finds that survey respondents plan to spend an average of $1,610 this holiday season, up from $1,397 in 2011.
Shoppers surveyed say they plan to shell out an average of $674 for gifts this year, compared to an average of $583 last year.
The top reasons for spending more are having more people to shop for and being better off financially.
Spending on trips is also projected to increase, while amounts allocated for entertaining were expected to fall from a year ago.
Nearly half of respondents say they’ll set a loose budget, while three-in-ten say they plan on sticking to a firm budget.
Other analysts weighing in on holiday spending this year also believe Canadians will be more generous with their finances.
By Murray Brewster - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:53 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Canadians are a humble bunch. Maybe too humble.
Within a few weeks,…
OTTAWA – Canadians are a humble bunch. Maybe too humble.
Within a few weeks, Gov. Gen. David Johnston will bestow a final batch of bravery decorations on Canadian troops who fought in southern Afghanistan, but the list likely won’t include the nation’s highest battle honour: the Victoria Cross.
The notion that Canada will exit its first major shooting war in 60 years without such recognition has some asking what precisely a Canadian soldier must do to win the honour — and whether the criteria in a professional, often self-deprecating military is too stringent.
The British, the Australians, and New Zealand have all given out a handful of VCs for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the United States has awarded 10 Medals of Honour, the American equivalent, in both wars.
The lack of Canadian Victoria Crosses is also strange in light of the intensity of fighting that took place in the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, as well as the Harper government’s apparent fondness for military pageantry.
The military recoils at the suggestion that politics comes within a country mile of deciding who is awarded the country’s highest decoration for “extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing a hostile force.” The stringent process that sees a nomination pass through no less than three committees of senior officers ensures that selection is based on merit.
By Brian Bethune - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:33 AM - 0 Comments
The Writers’ Trust is justifiably proud of the efficiency of its awards night–”six prizes, in and out in an hour,”crowed cheerful host Shelagh Rogers. (And she wasn’t far wrong either.) But it is also frequently surprising, as it was tonight in its choice for its $25,000 fiction prize.
Short -story collections not penned by Alice Munro have traditionally not fared well in the higher reaches of CanLit awards, but the jury (Lynn Coady, Esi Edugyan and Drew Hayden Taylor) gave the nod to Tomas Dobozy’s Siege 13, a lovely set of 13 stories, all linked, however tenuously, to the siege of Nazi-occupied Budapest by the Red Army in the winter of 1944-45.
Dobozy seemed, if anything, more surprised than the audience, and bounded to the podium to say he no remarks prepared, because he “didn’t want to do a Mitt Romney.” So he thanked his wife, children and publishers, and dedicated his win to his father, a survivor of the brutal siege.
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:20 AM - 0 Comments
If a cow wanders on a road, and is hit by a car, who is liable?
Last October, Justice Robert Maranger presided over the biggest criminal case in Canada: the Shafia “honour killing” trial in Kingston, Ont. One year later, in a different courtroom, his Honour was asked to rule on another pressing legal question: If a cow wanders onto a road, and is hit by a car, who is liable?
The plaintiff, Graham Burn, was driving on County Road 10, in the township of Beckwith, when he steered into such a scenario last September. As the judge described it, “he collided with a large cow located on the roadway.” Burn sued a nearby property owner, Yasmin Aikman, claiming that “she failed to properly confine” the wandering animal. But Burn also sued the township and surrounding county of Lanark, alleging they should have ensured the owner “properly secured the cow.”
On Oct. 12, lawyers for the town and the county asked Maranger to strike all the allegations against them. He agreed. “The duty of care alleged by the plaintiff in this case is one that has never been recognized in law,” the judge ruled. “It is not a reasonable proposition to expect that municipalities would patrol roadways to prevent animals from escaping private property or inspect privately owned fences to make sure that animals do not escape onto public roadways.” Besides, the judge wrote, bylaws already govern straying animals, and it’s the animal owner’s responsibility to abide by them.
In other words, if the driver milks any money from his lawsuit, it will come from the cow’s owner—not taxpayers.
By Michael Tutton - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 6:53 AM - 0 Comments
A piece of a fossilized reptilian horn that sat in an Ottawa museum for…
A piece of a fossilized reptilian horn that sat in an Ottawa museum for decades has led to the discovery of a new dinosaur species the size of a rhinoceros that roamed Alberta 80 million years ago.
Pieces of skulls from the recently named Xenoceratops were originally dug up from rocky sediments in southern Alberta sediments in 1958.
However, a pair of paleontologists rediscovered the bones a decade ago and gradually pieced together the sweeping neck plate of the four-footed, horn-headed giants.
Their work has been published in the October issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.
The 3,000-kilogram creatures used their beak-like mouths to munch on plants and had a fearsome appearance due to a sweeping neck shield topped by two protruding spikes.
Canadian paleontologists Michael Ryan and David Evans say in their paper that the fossils were first discovered at a dig near Foremost, Alta., by American paleontologist Jann Langston Jr., who was working in Canada at the time.
They said Langston, now a professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, left the bone fragments wrapped up and shelved in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
Evans said he and Ryan started to wonder in 2003 about two pieces of the neck shield — known as the frill — stored loosely in metal cabinets at the Ottawa museum. One was a spike and the other was an unusually large socket, he recalled.
He said the pieces aroused his curiosity in part because they came from rock formations that contained some of the oldest dinosaur fossils in Alberta.
That led them to investigate further in 2009, when they found Langston’s bone fragments from at least three animals, wrapped in a plaster and burlap casing. They were helped by Kieran Shepherd, curator of paleobiology for the Canadian Museum of Nature.
“Sure enough there was much more material and that was the key to identifying the new species,” Evans said in an interview.
The paleontologists took the fragments to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where they pieced together the metre-long piece of neck bone and then returned it to Ottawa.
They named the animal with the Greek words meaning “alien-horned face,” due in part to its unusual appearance.
Ryan, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, said he gradually learned that they had come upon the oldest known big-horned dinosaurs known as ceratopsids.
The herbivores are part of a family that later diversified, featuring a remarkable array of varying horn and frill configurations, said Ryan.
Orphaned bones like the ones they came across sometimes only make sense decades after they’re found, he added.
“The early fossil record of ceratopsids remains scant,” said Ryan. “This discovery highlights just how much more there is to learn about the origin of this diverse group.”
The scientists also suggest the size of the horns may have played a role in reproductive success — the bigger the horn, the more attractive they were to their female counterparts.
“We feel they were actually used for mate recognition. … We think the male dinosaurs with the biggest horns were the most reproductively successful,” said Ryan, though he added that this theory is a source of debate.
“It was that ornamental arms race on their skulls that drove the evolution.”
This dinosaur is just the latest in a series of new finds made by Ryan and Evans as part of their Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project, designed to improve knowledge of late Cretaceous dinosaurs and their evolution.
The project focuses on the paleontology of some of the oldest dinosaur-bearing rocks in Alberta, which is not as well studied as that of the famous badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park and Drumheller.
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 6:40 AM - 0 Comments
Could a junk food tax fight back the bulge?
Every once in a while an issue hits the headlines that isn’t an issue at all, but a combination of a someone’s pet peeve and a slow news month: the rising tide of misandry (the war on men), reverse discrimination (the war on whites), draconian political correctness (the war on everything). And now, the ultimate non-issue issue: the war on fast food—or the “WAR ON FOOD FREEDOM” as Sun TV likes to call it. Even though the Canadian Medical Association Journal says “obesity is expected to surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable mortality” in Canada, and roughly one-quarter of Americans eat fast food every day, our right to gluttony is apparently on the line. Big Brother is watching what you eat. In September, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the “Big Gulp” ban, which outlawed the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 oz. everywhere except supermarkets and grocery stores (the ban is currently being contested in court by both the American Beverage Association and National Restaurant Association). Meanwhile in Ontario, student leaders are boycotting the fast food joints neighbouring their high schools; it appears the province’s year-old, health-food-only-cafeteria policy has teenagers running for the nearest McDonald’s. Students involved in the “Stick it to Fast Food” campaign are urging students to bring their own lunches through November, in the hope that their cafeterias will one day adopt lunchtime fare that is both nutritious and tasty. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 6:10 AM - 0 Comments
Life after a tragic death
Emma Teitel was bang-on in identifying the root of…
Life after a tragic death
Emma Teitel was bang-on in identifying the root of bullying as “discord and cruelty” in her article “Bullied to death” (Society, Oct. 29). Let’s start recognizing how deeply cruelty has invaded our society. Our mass media positively revel in cruelty and mockery: look no further than supermarket tabloids or other gossip-peddlers. Our society seems to fully accept that celebrities and public figures are fair targets of our scorn and ridicule because they have put themselves out there in the spotlight, but it is only a small step from there to then believe that anyone active online, including a 15-year old girl, deserves the same treatment because they once posted a video, photo, or comment.
Scott Mitchell, Orangeville, Ont.
The story of Amanda Todd is entirely heartbreaking, and I can’t begin to imagine what her family is going through. That being said, she is not the only teenager to be picked on and then commit suicide. Why do we all have to focus on the tragic loss of one girl? Please, someone explain to us, so then maybe all the other families can understand why the deaths of their children just don’t seem to be important enough for the world to know about, but one girl becomes a martyr for bullying victims around the world. Also, where were all of these people who are mourning her now when she was being tortured then? Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 6:01 AM - 0 Comments
Anyone born in 1991, the year Maclean’s produced our first University Issue, may have already finished an undergraduate degree by now, or may be in their final year. Certainly a lot has changed since then: on campus and on these pages. Everyone has grown up.
Over the past 22 years, our annual University Issue has gone from a first-of-its kind ranking of post-secondary institutions to an irreplaceable tool for Canadian students and their parents making the single biggest decision of a young person’s life. We have expanded significantly over the years, adding new surveys, correspondents and reams of easy-to-use data. We’ve also established a hefty online presence that includes a personalized ranking feature and other tools.
And yet the biggest changes have been going on at the schools themselves. There are currently over a million full-time and part-time students enrolled at Canadian universities, and their choices have never been greater. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
Election night, U.S.A., 2012: Democracy? Check. Hyperbole? CHECK! But where, oh where, were the dazzling technological innovations in broadcast coverage?
Four years ago, the guy from the Black Eyed Peas appeared via hologram for an interview on CNN. Surely this election season would produce nothing less than a trio of Anderson Cooper clones being attended to by a robot butler. Surely by now the technology would exist to beam up an actual live person from a spaceship or, at minimum, make James Carville not look like he just wandered in from the set of The Walking Dead.
Or maybe CNN spent all its money this time around on a robust supply of exclamation marks for Wolf Blitzer: “We are about to make a really major projection! . . . These are ACTUAL numbers coming in! . . . WOW, THE NUMBERS JUST CHANGED AS WE! WERE! LOOKING! AT! THEM!!!!” Believe me, if Election Night 2012 proved nothing else, it proved that Wolf Blitzer is amazed by numbers suddenly becoming other numbers. “Wow,” he said, more than once. “WOW!” Continue…