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2012 News

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2012 News - Page Text Content

1: An Issues Database Assignment | By Meaghan Squire

2: Political Unrest

3: Contents: Demanding Syrian cease-fire Mubarak'sTrial Syrian Rebels Retreat Hadi- Yemen's new leader Hong Kong election scandals Protesters in Bahrain, Iraq South Africa's Diminishing Democracy Overthrow of Mali Government Sall- Senegal's new President | A follow-up look at the Arab spring as well as other international political upheavals, elections and fights for democracy across the globe.

4: Source: February 24 2012 | Assad regime will have ‘blood on its hands’ without Syrian ceasefire, Clinton warns | Synopsis: Many nations and organizations including the UN and the Arab League are demanding a cease-fire of the Syrian regime headed by the president Bashar Al-Assad. The civilians of Syria are in need of medical aid but humanitarian aid cannot inter into the country until the violence stops. The Tunis Conference took place to work out their demands. Not all nations are in support of the revolution- for instance China and Russia, who have blocked UN support to Syria and have been supplying the regime with weapons. It is believed by some that the violence cannot be stopped via military power, though Mrs. Clinton suggests that offering lethal military aid may be under consideration. | Scope: Global Categorization: This issues falls under both the political and social categories because the people of Syria desperately need help but this is inhibited by political powers that are out of their control. I would say that this article in particular focuses more on the political aspect and the influence of other governments and agencies in encouraging a ceasefire.

5: Reflection: I chose this article because last year, there was a lot of coverage about the political uprisings in the east but lately the progress hasn’t been part of mainstream news as much. The process of becoming a democracy is not an easy or quick one and this article shows the aftermath of the over throw of the government in Syria and how badly the people there are in need. While the Arab Spring may be old news it is just as, if not more, relevant now. If we turn our backs on these countries, the progress they have already made will be all for naught and everything will return to its former state. I was also interested in reading about the political influence that other governments have over the issues in far away countries. | Who Are They? The Friends of Syria Group- collection of former Australian political figures who served in Syria as well as many Syrian journalists, authors and academics. They are a non- political contact group that started in 2004 and aims to better the connection between Syria and Australia. Arab League- looks to protect the independence of and increase the relations between its 22 member states. In general it considers different issues and interests that face the Arab countries. Syrian National Council- created as an opposition to the government during the uprisings. It seeks a democratic society for Syria. It is a partially recognized government in exile of Syria which is now based in Turkey. The SNC runs the Free Syrian Army which has been active against Bashar Al-Assad and his regime during the uprisings.

6: "Someone must answer for my boy's death. I'll take my rights with my own hands." | Synopsis: The former president of Egypt, Mubarak is being tried in court for ordering the killing of many of his own people- innocent civilians. Many family members of the victims want him held responsible for the violence that took their loved ones lives. The trial has been going on since August and it is thought to last through to March. A lot of issues are presented. One of them being that no one can give hard evidence that Mubarak actually gave the orders. Another stumbling block is that the very institutions that are trying Mubarak are the ones he set up, the laws ones he made and even the very courthouse is dedicated to him. One of the biggest mistakes of the revolutionaries was that they did not take action to set up revolutionary courts. Along with him, 7 senior police officers are also being tried for ordering the killing of protesters and Mubarak’s two sons are being tried for abuse of power. | Source: February 22 2012 | Mubarak's trial leaves Egypt with open wounds

7: Reflection: To see an autocratic leader being put on trial for his crimes against his own people is long-awaited for the Egyptians. It will be interesting to follow the case and see if justice really will prevail. Egypt being the leading country in the Arab Spring, Mubarak’s guilty conviction would bring great relief to the loved ones of his victims, bring hope to the future of Egypt as a democratic society as well as offer hope for similar nations. I chose this article because a former president being put on trial for murder is so different from the society we are used to. In a democratic society, it is easy for us to underestimate the significance of this event. It really is a huge step considering not all that long ago this man had all the power in this country and many lived in fear of him and now he is facing the judicial system just as a regular citizen would. | Scope: Global Categorization: I would argue that this article is primarily political in nature because it is all centered on the uprisings that ousted Mubarak from his place of power and held him accountable for his actions while in power. His crimes themselves were political in nature and his trial will more likely than not, be swayed by his political influence. As well, his guilty conviction would be a great step for Egypt towards a truly democratic society.

8: Source: March 1, 2012 | Synopsis: Baba Amr, an area of Homs the third largest city in Syria, was heavily fortified with rebels for many months. The government was bombarding the rebels with tank shells in these last four weeks making this one of the most severe rebellions in Syria. The opposition is now backing out of this region because the government was preparing for one final grand attack on Baba Amr and the rebels wanted to spare the lives of up to 4000 civilians who refused to evacuate. They were also running out of food, medicine and water. The conditions were worsening and all communications in that region were cut off by the government. Due to this retreat, Bashar Al-Assad’s government finally allowed the Red Cross entry into the area. The threat of civil war looms over the nation of Syria, but the rebels are reluctantly realizing that they may need to use more aggressive violence in order to defend themselves and rid the country of Assad’s regime. Anti-Assad forces need to unite under one objective and present a united front. The Syrian National Council is trying to aid in this process and is also providing the opposition with arms. The rebels have been successful in gaining and keeping small pieces of territory. Human Rights council voted in favour of calling Syria’s government to stop attacking civilians and allow Humanitarian aid in. | Syrian Rebels Make Tactical Retreat from Besieged Neighbourhood in Homs

9: Reflection: I chose this article because Syria is one of the main countries of the Arab Spring and this uprising is one of the biggest they have had. The headline originally drew me in because I was curious as to the reasons the rebels had for pulling out of Homs. I also wanted to see how things may have changed since the first article I read which was about the increased pressure from other nations on Al-Assad to cease fire. After looking into it more, I found that the day after the rebels retreated, aid workers were allowed into the city to bring much-needed help to the civilians. While it was definitely a set-back that the rebels were driven out and the government continued to threaten and act with violence but at least those who needed it received help because of this 'tactical retreat'. | Scope: Global Categorization: This is a political piece because it deals with the progress and setbacks of those rebelling against the political regime in Syria.

10: Synopsis: On Tuesday, Yemen’s autocratic leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted from power, the vice president -Hadi was voted to be taking his place, though he was the only candidate. The turnout was an estimated 80% of eligible civilians voting. The view of many is that Yemen can only get better from here. As of now, many problems plague this nation- including a divided military, a horrible economy and rebellion. There has been a lot of violence surrounding the elections, and some of the same rebels who opposed Saleh’s rule are now sceptical of Hadi’s motivations, believing him to be in cahoots with Saleh’s violent reign including supporting the killing of protesters. Hadi plans to carry out a Power transfer deal (which is backed by the US and Saudi Arabia) which includes drafting a new constitution, restructuring the armed forces and preparing for multiple elections which would include varying parties in the upcoming years. | Yemen’s new leader inherits poor, fractured country | Source: February 21 2012 | Update: Hadi's rule is proving to be peaceful and he is making fighting Al-Qaeda as well as re-uniting the military top priorities.

11: Scope: Global Categorization: This article is political in nature as it deals with the ousting of an autocrat and the election of a new leader. This definitely has a lot of social repercussions as well and whether they will be mostly positive or negative, we can’t know quite yet. | Reflection: I was immediately drawn to this article because Saleh is the fourth autocrat to be ousted through the uprisings in the Middle East throughout this past year. While Yemen is a small nation, its people have been oppressed for far to long, and this past Tuesday marks what could be interpreted as the most pivotal moment in their countries history. Obviously the conditions are still not ideal, and it will be interesting to see whether Hadi lives up to his promises and leads Yemen into a prosperous future, or if he will indeed follow in his predecessor’s footsteps as some predict. I was surprised that Yemen, too was involved in political uprisings and it seems that the wave of democracy is spreading further and further as the Arab Spring continues to progress. | “We are now declaring the end of the Ali Abdullah Saleh era and will build a new Yemen,” –Humans rights activist

12: Source: Mar. 9, 2012 | Hong Kong leader race roiled by scandals | Synopsis: Elections are coming up in Hong Kong, China on March 25th but the people of Hong Kong are concerned that their values are being jeopardized by the many corrupt leaders. They feel as if they don’t really have any options as their choice is between two equally unpromising candidates. There are scandals circulating about Henry Tang’s alleged affair, illegitimate child and an illegally built underground place for his own enjoyment. Leung Chun-ying is dealing with a conflict of interest in relation to his property firm. Both candidates face criticism as Leung seems more prepared to initiate additional | Tang | drastic social reforms without concern for the business world, but Tang does not seem to be ‘for the people’. The current chief executive, Tsang has also been found in the middle of some bad publicity and many protests took place, urging him to step down.

13: Reflection: This article caught my eye because the idea of democracy can be very relative to the place and circumstances. If you don’t have confidence in either of the candidates than how fair is the voting system? At the same time, some of the issues that were raised weren’t about their politics at all. It has always fascinated me how some people can be so interested in the private dealings of celebrities, other famous individuals or politicians. While an alleged affair or illegitimate child may say some things about Tang’s personality, is his personal life really of any influence on his ability to govern? It also interested me to just see what kind of election process they have in Hong Kong because before reading this article and looking more into it, I didn’t know that the Hong Kong government is financially independent from China’s government. | Scope: Global Categorization: This article is political in nature as it deals with elections and the political policies of the two candidates. | Chun-ying

14: Thousands of protesters flood major highway in Bahrain | Synopsis: There were tens of thousands of protesters gathered for one of the largest rallies in months in Bahrain, Iraq. Pearl Square was the center of the uprisings for an extended period last year when the uprisings started and the police are trying to keep the protesters away from that area using very harsh tactics including tear gas. 45 people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested. They are protesting the rule of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Shiite make up 70% of the population but claim to be discriminated against when it comes to their ability to gain political positions. They look to overthrow the Sunni dynasty and their control over all the main posts and policies in the country. The leaders have given in a little, by allowing more decision-making powers in parliament but they are still withholding the opportunity of higher political positions such as Prime Minister from the Shitte people. | Source: Mar. 9, 2012

15: Scope: Global Categorization: This article deals with political issues such as a disparity of political influence and power between different cultures. It is largely about protests and political unrest. | Reflection: This article caught my eye because I didn’t know much about Iraq or their politics. I know that many middle-eastern countries are very dominated by Islamic rule. I found it interesting to learn more about the different divisions within Islamic religion and the conflict between them. Usually there is power in numbers, but that isn’t the case in this instance with the majority being oppressed and refused certain privileges. The fact that the government has given in a little to the demands of protesters is promising towards the prospect of equality. Though the numerous fatalities of protesters make it very clear that the government has a lot of power and isn’t afraid to use violence in order to keep it that way. | Did You Know? Sunni and Shiite are the two main divisions of the Islamic religion and there has been much conflict between the two groups in many regions throughout history.

16: Southern African countries losing grip on democratic gains | Source: March 20, 2012 | Synopsis: This article touches on the political situation in Southern Africa, where the democratic societies are slowly deteriorating and seeming to revert back to their previously autocratic rule: including Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. In Zimbabwe, different activists have been arrested for showing footage of the Arab Spring and they face the possibility of ten years in prison. The new government in Zambia has started to arrest and harass supporters of the party that was previously in power (Movement for Multi-party Democracy) and this former party which is also the leading opposition will be stripped of it’s legal status by a government agency. Malawi started a multiple-party system in 1994 after a 33 year autocratic rule but the current president, Mutharika, is starting to appear more like a dictator. Mutharika isn’t tolerating any opposition to his government and he assigned a jail sentence of two years to anyone who insults him. He is arresting people for printing anti-government slogans on shirts and has been very violent towards protesters, including the use of teargas. In one particular protest at least 18 demonstrators were killed by police. | A looter during the riots.

17: Reflection: In the face of the Arab Spring where many countries are working towards a democratic society, it is shocking that other regions are moving backwards. I was interested in reading about African governments that are based more around ideas of democracy. It also makes one wonder about how these systems of parliament have impacted the prosperity of the country- are these nations more well off in terms of economics and quality of life? Something else about this article that drew my interest was the use of technology to show footage of the Arab spring in other nations. Many of these uprisings were enabled by new technology and communication innovations and these countries are no exception. The Arab Spring and the formation of democracy, as a whole is a very positive development and yet most of what we hear in the news is stories of continued oppression and protesters or civilians being killed or badly hurt. Now these situations in Africa make me wonder if in the end there will be more harm done than good. | Scope: Global Categorization: This would be a political headline because it deals with the function or dysfunction of different kinds of governments such as democracy. It also delves into the ability of power to corrupt and bring down a previously fair government. | In other news the US does not support the tyrannous rule taking place and they froze a 350 million dollar grant to Malawi.

18: Soldiers Overthrow Mali Government in Setback for Democracy in Africa | Synopsis: Mali, a previously democratic nation has been the model of a peaceful South American country- until now. Democratic elections were set to take place in a month and the current president was not going to try to get another term (this isn’t allowed but commonly in African countries, the leader will attempt to stay in office). Soldiers overthrew the government and gained control. Many of the same rebel soldiers had fought for Qaddafi in Libya before attacking the Mali government. They call themselves the National Council for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State. The Malian Army has been trying to fend off rebellion for a while now and was not prepared to deal with such an uprising. It had a lack of resources, and weak management. They blame the government for these issues. It is said that the constitution of the country has been ‘suspended’ and the institutions ‘dissolved’. The leader of the rebels, Sanogo, has enforced a curfew and closed down the Malian borders, both air and land. Ministers have been arrested and the president’s whereabouts are currently unknown. | Source: March 22, 2012 | Scope: Global Categorization:This article is political in nature as it pertains to the overthrow of a government and a rebel group seizing control of the nation.

19: "It's very surprising in Mali" | Reflection: I chose this article because I know a minimal amount about Mali and it interested me to see a setback to democracy during this time when so many countries are fighting for just that. This story reveals how inter-connected many issues can be. The article explained with overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, weapons for the rebellion flooded into Mali. I’m sure we will see many more articles in the months and even years to come about the repercussions of the Arab Spring, whether they are positive or negative.

20: Senegal opposition candidate wins presidential vote in landslide | Source: Expired Alternate source: Mar. 27, 2012 | Synopsis: Elections have taken place in Senegal. Macky Sall, the leader of what was previously the opposition won in a landslide. Abdoulaye Wade, former president, is handing over the title gracefully. As we delve into the past couple months, we see that this could have had a drastically different outcome. Wade had tried to pass legislation to say that one could win the | elections on the first round with a 25% vote rather than the usual 50%. Extreme protests prevented him from following through. Many had been displeased with the high costs of living, high unemployment rate and the amount of power Wade gave to his son. Much of the population did want Wade to running for his third term and many protests took place in which 6 people died. Sall won 65.8% of the ballots and many are holding onto the hope that they will lead their country into a better future. Senegal is a positive example for other African nations of peaceful and democratic elections.

21: Reflection: This article caught my eye because it is so rare that democracy occurs so painlessly. During the Arab Spring, we’ve heard so many cases of violence and death between protesters and the government. To see that the protests were effective and that Wade gave up his place pretty gracefully offers hope for other nations who are facing many of the same issues. I was interested in reading about why these elections went so smoothly. It’s always promising to see a case where protests truly changed the mind of a greedy leader. Wade was going to try to make it easier for him to stretch his presidency into another term but in reaction to his people, he played fair. | Scope: Global Categorization: This is a political issue because it deals with the federal elections that took place in Senegal. A new president has been elected, replacing an unpopular leader, through a democratic process.

22: On The Home | Canada

23: Contents: Pennies and Pensions- the new budget Trafficking Ring in Hamilton Beaten Bus Driver New Digital Penny Rafferty in the Victoria Stafford Murder Psychiatric Hospital Murder Suspect The end of Kingston Pen. New look at Abortion? Tobacco Companies FIght Against Warning Labels | Front

24: Canada budget raises pensions benefit age and cuts penny | Synopsis: Canada’s new budget has been released stating 5.2 billion dollars worth of cuts. It costs 1.6 cents to make a penny, so in an effort to save 11 million of tax-payers money, the government has released its plans to stop making pennies. Those in circulation can still be used for purchase, however. Electric transactions such as debit and credit cards can be counted to the very cent, while cash transactions will be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. Canada is not the first to catch onto this idea- ten other countries have also stopped issuing coins of small value. | Source: March 29, 012 | As well as eliminating the penny, new budget cuts are affecting Old Age Pensions and healthcare. In a response to the aging baby boomers, the age of eligibility for OAP is being extended from 65 to 67. Ironically enough, this will for the most part, not affect the baby boomers at all, but rather those who are not yet over the age of 54.

25: Scope: National Categorization: Canada’s new budget would fall under the heading of economics. The federal budget is always a politically driven discussion, but in the end it all boils down to how our government is going to use our tax dollars to benefit society. | Reflection: This article drew my attention because cutting the penny has been a topic of discussion for a long time and I was pleased that they are implementing it. Why wouldn’t we stop issuing the penny if it is just taking up funds that could be better directed towards healthcare, education or social services? I know that some people will be upset by it, thinking that by rounding up purchases, the government is just scamming more of their money. I would argue that while that may be true, it’s definitely worth it. The negative effects don’t come close to the money that the government can save and redirect towards something productive. I found it interesting that the age for receiving retirement benefits is being raised. I think that the government didn't implement this sooner and have it actually effect the baby boomers because of the great mass of boomers and how much voting power they have. This surplus of retirees is something that we have seen coming since their birth. Even without the boomers, this change is long overdue considering how much longer people are living these days in comparison to just a few generations ago.

26: How Hungarian criminals built a slave trade in Ontario | Source: Apr. 02, 2012 | Synopsis: The largest human trafficking ring ever in Canada was uncovered recently. It was run by a Hungarian family- the Domotors- that had immigrated and moved into Hamilton. They then began to have some of their relatives and colleagues back home lure unemployed men by promising them decent work in Canada and even paying for their plane ticket. The men were not met with what they were expecting. They got paid no money and were held against their will. They slept in the basements of gang members. Their passports and other documents were taken from them and they had to work from 6 in the morning until 11 at night and on only one meal a day. They were told that they had to work off their ‘debt’ – the money that it had cost them to ‘purchase’ these men and fly them to Canada. Some worked in the family’s stucco business and others were shipped off to other manual labour companies. They were yelled at, threatened and even hit and beaten if their work was viewed as slow or not meeting the standard. Many had to clean the house that they lived in. One of the enslaved men told an officer at the welfare office (they had them setting up fraudulent welfare claims) of the situation, and another man informed a contractor where he was working. The police were contacted and they were freed from the situation. Yet, the gang members tracked them down wherever they went- even to a police safe house- and threatened them to drop their testimonies. Police continued to investigate, but the Domotor crime organization only grew, continuing to bring workers into the country and even starting new crimes such as stealing and cashing cheques from Postal boxes. In 2010, 9 of the people responsible were charged with human trafficking and since August, 12 gang members have plead guilty and 8 have been convicted on the charge of conspiracy to human trafficking. One of the members of the Domotor family, who was believed to be the second in command, was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison- record breaking for this crime in Canada. | Tamas Miko - Victim

27: Human trafficking is the3rd largest illegal industry in the world, raking in billions of dollars annually. Many individuals who find themselves in poverty are offered promises at a new start in a new country with great wages. Eager to believe there is a way out, they oblige. Many times people are lured by fraudulent agencies, gangs and some are even sold by their own family or friends. Conditions vary, but all are controlled by fear and the inability to escape. It isn't uncommon for the captors to take their passports and documents. Those enslaved are afraid of the police and have nowhere to turn. Their safety as well as the safety of their family is threatened in order to keep them in line. A minimum sentence for trafficking children was only added to the criminal code in 2005- that of a mere 5 years in prison. | Reflection: I was interested in reading this article because human trafficking has always been an issue that I’m passionate about. Many people don’t realize the severity of this issue or how prevalent it really is, even in our own country and as close as our own communities. I was especially intrigued by the fact that one of the offenders in this case received the record amount of time in jail for any trafficking conviction, but it pains me greatly that this is only 7 and a half years. I feel that more attention needs to be put on this issue, from a governmental and judicial perspective and also in terms of the general public’s level of awareness. Slavery is seen by today’s society as such a primitive idea, and yet it is still a thriving industry in the modern world, though it takes on different forms. It has always amazed me that there are individuals out there who can see people as tools to generate a profit instead of the treasured human beings that they are. I hope that this article sheds some light on the topic of human trafficking and reminds Canadians of its reality. | Scope: National Categorization: This is a social issue as it affects the lives of many individuals who are trafficked. In a broader view, the convictions of these criminals is a great step towards justice and it also raises awareness about the atrocities of modern day slavery that are occurring, even in our own communities here in Canada.

28: Man who punched bus driver spared jail time due to his native ancestry | Source: April 4 2012 | Section 718.2(e) of the criminal code of Canada was enacted in 1996 and it holds a sentencing judge responsible for considering "all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders." This law is not just for Aboriginals, but for offenders of any race. There is a special emphasis places on those of aboriginal background, maybe because there is a shockingly high percentage of aboriginal peoples in jail (compared to their percentage of the population). It should be noted that 95% of all Aboriginal inmates in a Saskatchewan penitentiary had been adopted or were in foster care at some point in their lives. This just shows that the cultural background of an Aboriginal tends to be that of family or even cultural dislocation which may explain why there are mentioned ‘with particular attention’ but that doesn’t mean that they should receive any treatment that someone without an Aboriginal background but similar circumstances would. | Synopsis: Charles Dixon, a city bus driver was punched in the face by Del Louie after telling him not to enter using the back door. Dixon received neck injuries, a concussion and two broken bones in his face as well as permanent cognitive and psychological issues from just the one blow. The accused is facing 18 months of conditional sentence in rehab, 200 hours of community service and two years of probation. Louie has been in trouble with the law before including a previous altercation with a bus driver. Louie suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, had a rough upbringing and is of aboriginal heritage (his mother is aboriginal). Other mitigating factors include his cooperation with the police and his guilty plea. Many are appalled that he is getting off without jail time. The Criminal Code says that all possible sanctions must be taken into consideration before jail time and many believe that this law is only being brought up because of Louie’s heritage. The judge warned Louie that he is being closely watched by the law and the community, and there is a lot at stake this time. This may seem like an isolated issue, but over 1000 transit officers have been assaulted over the last decade.

29: Reflection: I chose this article for many reasons. Firstly, the way that Aboriginals have been treated in the past is despicable. I believe it is important for us as a community to recognize what many of them have been through and work towards equality as well as helping them maintain their culture. But, that said, I do not believe in affirmative action: overcompensating for inequalities in the past can never bring about justice. It only swings the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. You are not your ancestors. Many times there is little difference between the upbringing and culture of someone with Aboriginal heritage and other Canadians and it simply makes no sense for them to be treated with an advantage. Secondly, after reading the article, bias in the media was very evident. The man’s aboriginal heritage was only one of the many factors that contributed to his sentencing but the media highlights the details that they know will catch the attention of readers. This article could have easily been written from a perspective of sympathy for Louie, who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and is suffering a lot of criticism for his lenient sentence which allows him another attempt at getting his life back on track in rehab. And lastly, after taking a law class and having a mom who works with disabled children, the whole idea of jail time or punishment vs. rehabilitation has always interested me, especially when it pertains to someone being mentally incapable of taking responsibility or understanding their actions. | Fetal alcohol syndrome sometimes occurs in a baby whose mother drank alcohol during their pregnancy. The child may suffer from: Poor growth, low muscle tone and poor coordination. Social problems (like difficulty relating to and making friends with others), Learning difficulties (poor memory and problem-solving skills) Behavioral problems (such as impulsiveness and hyperactivity). Difficulty learning from past experiences and connecting actions with future consequences. This leads many who suffer from FAS into a world of crime. 86% of those diagnosed with FAS are aboriginal. | Scope: National Categorization: I would categorize this article as social because it is about an incident within a community and the greater applications of this case such as the effectiveness of our judicial system, inequality and violence.

30: Royal Canadian Mint mulls digital penny | Source: April 12 2012 | Synopsis: The penny is starting to be phased out of Canadian society in order for the government to save money. Now they are looking at creating a technology specifically designed for purchases of small dollar value, whether it is for virtual or real goods. The ‘MintChip’ would sustain the one cent denomination and be cost effective when it comes to fees in | comparison to other digital payment methods. The current model is taking the form of a microSD card. The Mint has offered up a reward for the software developer who can come up with the best application for this technology. A new report came out saying that Canada would benefit from moving into a more digitally run payment system. Financial institutions are reluctant to integrate such technologies, though in the long run it would greatly benefit our economy. The penny’s days are numbered but the Royal Canadian Mint is now researching ways to find a second life for the one-cent denomination via the digital world.

31: Reflection: This article drew my interest because it is a great follow up to my previous article about the new budget change. I was surprised at how quickly after they announced the new budget that this new technology surfaced. Newer innovations and technology never fail to surprise me in their simple complexity. A tiny microSD card will now be able to serve as a form of payment. After discussing this with other people I found that many are wary of this new technology as they see it as the next step towards chips that are imbedded in our skin. While technology’s purpose is always for progress, there are many negative effects as well, including loss of privacy or loss of security- how easy will it be to steal or spread viruses to these chips? | “Technology has radically changed consumers’ behaviours and expectations. We are early adopters of smartphones and tablets, and we are among the world’s heaviest users of the Internet and online banking and shopping. Why, then, are mobile payments largely absent in Canada?” | Scope: National Categorization: This is an economic issue as it looks at new ways of payment, online or off. The aim is to better our economy, effectively phase out the physical penny (in order to save more tax dollars) and offer a cheaper payment method.

32: Rafferty finally shows emotion, at sight of ex-girlfriend | Source: April 12 2012 | Tori | had originally been spotted by an OPP officer on a security tape from Tori’s school where she had been abducted. Additionally, two blonde hairs have been retreaved off of a piece of clothing of Rafferty that are thought to be Tori’s and are undergoing DNA tests. Rafferty has plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first degree murder. He has showed no emotion throughout the trial, until recently when his ex-girlfriend Ms. Lane was brought to the stand and his eyes followed her, engaged. He is described as having teared up as she walked away. | Synopsis: 8 year old Victoria Stafford was murdered just over three years ago. The trial is still ensuing. Origionally, Terri-Lynne McClintic plead guilty to first degree murder, saying she had lured Tori to Rafferty who then raped her. Just recently she has changed her story to say that she was the one who beat Tori to death. Tori’s blood was found in Rafferty’s car which

33: Reflection: I chose this article because this murder has been in the news for a long time and I didn’t know all that much about it. Since the victim was so young I think it draws a lot more attention. When children are taken before their time, especially by another person, it is difficult for us to wrap our minds around it. The headline caught my eye because it hinted at the suspected murderer’s psyche. I think that it’s so attention-grabbing because of its horrendous irony- the man shows next to no reaction during the murder trial of an eight year old girl and yet is riveted by seeing an ex. It really makes you curious as to how this man’s mind works. | Scope: National Categorization: This is a social issue as it deals with a murder and the ensuing trial. Murder not only takes the life of the victim, but throws the family and community into complete disarray | McClintic Rafferty

34: N.S. launches probe into release of Andre Denny murder suspect from psychiatric hospital | Source: April 19 2012 | Synopsis: Andre Noel Denny killed Raymond Taavel in Halifax and has been arrested and charged with second degree murder. Denny had been released from a psychiatric hospital on Monday evening but did not return for his 8:30 curfew. At 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday he entered into a fight with a man outside of gay bar in Halifax, and when Taavel tried to intervene, he attacked him. The hospital and government of Nova Scotia are under much scruteny for permitting Denny to be released unescorted. The police are investigating whether this may have been a hate crime because of Taavel’s sexual orientation, though there is no indication in Denny’s past | that supports this idea. Denny had been previously convicted of other crimes including threats, unnessisary injury to a dog and harbouring stolen property (which was that dog). He also has a history of violence, paranoia, substance abuse and shitzophrenia. | Raymond Taavel

35: Reflection: I was surprised that a psychiatric hospital would release someone so unstable into the community without supervision. While we don’t know all the details surrounding the murder, or Denny’s actual state of mind at the time, we can determine that this could have easily been prevented. I have an interest in law and a case like this is complicated because it deals with his mental capacity to be accountable for his crimes. I can image that as a psychiatric institution, it would be a difficult balance between protecting society from those who may be potentially dangerous, but also allowing the patients enough freedom so that they may grow personally and be rehabilitated. | Scope: National Categorization: I would categorize this as a social issue because it deals with how we deal with psychiatric patients and how we view murder and hate crimes. | Andre Denny

36: Source: April 19 2012 | Budget cuts prompt Ottawa to shut down Kingston Penitentiary | Synopsis: The Kingston Penitentiary, a jail of maximum security in Ontario, is being shut down as well as the Leclerc penitentiary in Quebec. This is a part of the new federal budget and will be implemented in order to save $120 million per year. They were expecting a rise in inmate numbers because of the harsher crime laws which never happened. No new prisons have been built since 2006 and they don’t plan to build any soon. There was a 20% increase for the CSC’s budget this year because of a new Truth in Sentencing Act which makes it more difficult to get parole. The government is planning to expand other prisons in order to hold all the prisoners.Those affected by the resulting job cuts have been promised other positions within Correctional Service Canada. | Reflection: This article drew my attention because I know that the Kingston Pen is probably the most well-known jail in Canada. It has been around for a long time and throughout the years there have even been scandals about the treatment of prisoners there. This building is of monumental historical value and I was surprised to see it being closed down. I’m curious to see if there will be any more stories in the news telling us of the inmates’ move to their new facilities. Taking the most notorious criminals and trying to integrate them into a new system may prove difficult and perhaps even dangerous. The government claims that all of the workers will have a job after these jails close down, but I wonder how that is possible, if they are pretty much downsizing after not experiencing the boost in numbers that they thought they would. Where will they employ all these people and will their positions be similar or will they be demoted?

37: Scope: National Categorization: I would categorize this article as primarily an economic issue because this change was driven by money. While making the budget, the government considered the monetary value of these prisons and decided that this was a financially responsible move. As they attempt to allocate the tax money to where it is needed most, many institutions and facilities are effected, whether for the better or for the worse we cannot yet know. | Kingston Penitentiary is a maximum security male prison in Kingston, Ontario. It opened in 1835 and was one of the oldest prisons still in constant use in the world. Almost half of their inmates are lifers. They also have 465 employees (As of April 2010), more than the number of inmates- that is a lot of people to move around once the penitentiary is shut down. It can house up to 421 inmates. Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olson were some of the notorious killers housed in this jail. | Leclerc opened in 1961 in Laval, Quebec and can hold up to 481 inmates. It is a medium security prison for men, though it is seen as having tighter security than most medium-security prisons. A lot of ‘Hell’s Angels’ can be found within the walls of Leclerc. There is not a lot of rival gang violence (in comparison to other jails) because of this one prevailing group. | Other sources say that the government is going to spend 60 million dollars to build 2700 cells in 33 existing prisons. The new laws creating mandatory minimum sentences and the limited the use of house arrests lead the expectation that the inmate numbers would increase drastically. | P.S.

38: Scope- National Categorization- I would categorize this article as being a political issue because it focuses on the laws surrounding abortion and the role of political leaders such as Harper and Woodworth in this highly controversial issue. This article makes one wonder if there are greater motivations behind the different stances that politicians take on the issue rather than their moral and personal beliefs. Undoubtedly, if as a whole, society refused to show support for abortion, many more leaders would take the pro-life stance because it would benefit their careers. Abortion on a larger scale would be social in nature because of its impacts on individuals (the mothers and the unborn children) and our society. | Anti-abortion activists laud Tory MP’s bid to revisit rights-of-unborn law | Source: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Synopsis: Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth (of Kitchener area) has initiated a motion to establish a committee to re-evaluate the definition of a human in the criminal code. The current laws state that to be defined as a human, the infant needs to have passed completely out of the birth canal. This law is the basis of the legalization of abortion. There are currently no restrictions on abortion in Canada and Woodworth says that he is just asking for our laws to be brought up to date with science. Harper has made the statement that he doesn’t want this issue brought up but he hasn’t made any effort to prevent it. The MPs will weigh in on Thursday April 26th. Pro-abortionists say this is not progress, but rather an attack against women’s rights.

39: There are no restrictions on abortions in Canada which means abortion can take place at any time throughout the pregnancy. At 19-26 weeks this often includes the method of Intact dilation and extraction wherein the baby is turned feet first and face-down and is delivered up to its neck. The doctor then breaks the base of the skull and sucks out the brain mass which causes the skull to collapse so that it can be completely removed from the birth canal. Oftentimes its heart is still beating and this little life form is still breathing until its head is caved in while sometimes a saline solution is injected ahead of time to kill the baby. In other forms of abortion, the child is sucked out of the womb. If the child is too strong it sometimes has to be torn apart by way of a hooked sharp knife before being suctioned out. After 16 weeks a saline injection can be used. Saline solution is injected into the amniotic sac and then the child swallows the poison and it also burns their skin. It usually takes one hour for the baby to die by this method. | Reflection: This article attracted my attention because I am pro-life and this struck me as a great stepping stone to abolishing abortion. I completely agree that our definition of ‘human’ as it pertains to the criminal code and abortion is based less on science and more on convenience. The truth of the matter is that as humans we can not be arrogant enough to think we can determine when a life is a life- essentially when a soul meets its form. To me this is a long-awaited discussion and I commend Woodworth for his bravery in bringing up such a controversial subject. In politics we need people who are willing to stand up for their beliefs no matter how it may affect their popularity. Woodworth recognizes that there are people- very tiny people mind you- but still people in his country that are being murdered and need our help, despite the fact that they cannot vote. Contrarily, this issue is so important because the individuals being advocated for have no voice of their own. While doing further research I was appalled by the lack of data that Canada has on its abortions. Abortion clinics are not required to provide any records on the abortions they perform yet they receive full funding through the government by way of tax-payers money. Abortion in Canada has been a hidden issue for far too long and we need to bring it to light. In a society as focuses on human rights and safety as ours is it shocks me to find that we still uphold an institution such as abortion. | Modern science shows us that by eight weeks, a fetus has the necessary sensory and motor nerves as well as the thalamus (part of the brain) required to feel pain. Experiments have shown that a fetus this young responds to heat, cold, light, taste and pain. More than 3,000,000 (recorded) babies have died in Canada due to abortion since 1969 when it was decriminalized.

40: Source: April 26, 2012 | Tobacco companies launch legal battle over health warning regulations | Synopsis: Cigarette package regulations that came into effect last fall require cigarette companies to include warning labels on 75 % of their products. Canada was the first to mandate 50% in 2001 and still has some of the strictest requirements along with Australia. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. and JTI-Macdonald Corp are resisting these regulations, calling this a breach of their freedom of expression. The tobacco companies claim it is the responsibility of the government to inform the populace of the dangers of smoking. The companies themselves face a 27 billion dollar class action lawsuit from addicts and those who have suffered from tobacco illnesses. | Reflection: I chose this article because the issue of tobacco is a complex and interesting one. The only reasons that the government still allows cigarettes are that they get so much tax money from it and if it was illegal, there would be hundreds of thousands of smokers protesting. A main theme in the article is accountability. Whose responsibility is it for the many negative health effects of tobacco; the users, the tobacco companies, or the government? It’s strange to me that the government, the tobacco companies and the individuals (based on the many lawsuits they’ve filed against the industry) don’t want to be accountable for the horrors of tobacco usage. The whole industry strives on greed- making money off of individuals by offering them a highly addictive product that is slowly killing them.

41: Scope: National Categorization: This article is mainly social as it pertains to questions of responsibility for the health of Canadians. There are also undertones of politics because it is the federal government calling for these companies to increase their use of warning labels.

42: HappilyEver After | Positive news and hopeful stories

43: Contents: Old Car Donated Yoga in Schools Haiti Hotels Al-Qaeda Loosing Ground in Yemen General Mladic held accountable New Heart Pump Saves Toddler Study Offers Hope to Paralyzed Teen Drug and Alcohol Use Declining Cracking Down on Human Trafficking Disney Serious about Healthy Eating

44: Two-car giveaway changes women’s lives | Source: May 2, 2012 | Synopsis: A woman in Sooke, BC bought a new car and instead of selling her old one, she decided to give it away. Mickey Cherneski, a divorced mother of one, said that if she had sold her old car she would have just gotten money for it and bought stuff- stuff that she didn’t need. She quickly realized how many people were really in need when she received 60 requests for her car after posting a page on Facebook offering her 9-year-old Chevy Cavalier with 228,000 km on it to whoever would benefit from it the most. In the end, she had to choose between an elderly woman living on disability or a mother of two children who had medical needs. The decision was a difficult one because both women needed to make frequent trips into Victoria for medical appointments. Cherneski ended up giving the car to the mother, but convinced the owner of a used car lot to give the other lady a 1998 Oldsmobile Delta 88, worth about $2,500. | Scope: National Categorization: This issue is social because Mickey wasn't motivated by politics or money, she simply donated her car out of her own generosity and consideration for others.

45: Reflection: As my first ‘Happily Ever After’ article, this report caught my eye quickly whereas I may have just passed it by before. I like to keep up with all the things that are happening on a large global scale, but it’s always refreshing to hear stories of good Samaritans and little acts of charity. I hope that this story encourages others to consider the same alternative for their used cars, or to at least pause and think about what extra thing they could do, just for the sake of someone else. The sheer amount of people who responded to her offer just opens our eyes to how many people there are in our own communities that could use our help. | “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

46: Source: April 30 2012 | Schools adding yoga to phys-ed classes | Synopsis: Schools in Nova Scotia are the first in North America to integrate yoga classes into their Phys. Ed. credit. The program was lead by a former physical education teacher in collaboration with the company Breathing Space Yoga. The success of this program is encouraging other provinces to try yoga programs as well. Students, especially females, have responded very positively to this active alternative to the more competitive gym classes. It is a great opportunity for students who are not usually involved in sports. It is helping in lowering inactivity, obesity and it has increased overall health, but its positive effects are not limited to only the physical. Teachers are reporting a more peaceful, attentive and respectful school community. One girl from a difficult upbringing found that she was finally able to sleep through the night because of yoga.

47: Reflection: I think it is great that they are putting a focus on physical activity in schools. Childhood obesity and inactivity in children are serious issues today. Gym classes have always been fairly prescribed and consequently, only appeal to certain personalities. I’m glad to see that they are integrating different activities such as aerobics. It’s about time that our physical education classes have caught up with the rest of our education in terms of offering options. In the classroom, different tricks, techniques and methods of teaching appeal to different pupils and physical activity is no different. I was also pleasantly surprised with the non-physical effects that yoga is having on students and I think that this program would do very well in other schools. Stress is a big factor for many students and I think that yoga would be a great way to elevate some of that extra burden in a healthy, active way. I wonder if our high school will see yoga as an option in the coming years and if the students of Belle River will take to it as positively as these students did. | Scope: National Categorization: This would be a social issue because it affects the well-being and health of students as well as the effectiveness of our education systems and encourages a positive learning environment.

48: Epigenetic Cancer Pills Are Safe | Source: May 01 2012 | Synopsis: A new cancer treatment has been deemed safe in Phase 1 of trials. It was created by the institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Chroma Therapeutics.This new epigenetic pill (CHR-3996) deals with the way that the body reads the DNA rather than trying to deal with the errors in the DNA like many other cancer treatments. Reading the DNA involves chemical switches that when turned on and off decide what the cell will look and act like, which can lead to cancer. The pill targets a specific enzyme (HDAC). There are already two other drugs being used for lymphoma that target HDAC, but they include injections and often have harsh side effects. CHR-3996 seems to be effective in just an oral capsule and the side effects are proving to be minimal. In lab tests it killed many different types of cancer cells and shrunk or stabilized tumors in ten different patients.

49: Scope: Global Categorization: This would be a social issue as it pertains to the medical field and will offer hope for many individuals and families who suffer from cancer. This new pill may be able to redefine cancer as we know it, and lead us to finding an obsolete cure. | Reflection: I went looking for an article on these pills because we had discussed it in class and it really interested me. While I don’t know anyone personally who has been affected by cancer, I have seen the horrible power of this disease over our society. No one wants to see a loved one die before their time, or be put through the painful and terrifying experience of some of the current cancer procedures. Cancer awareness is huge, and there are always fundraisers to raise money for cancer research. While it is a wholly worthwhile cause, I always wonder what developments really are being made with these funds. Seeing this article is a fresh reminded of what can be accomplished if we put our resources and minds together for the good of all. | HOPE

50: Source: May 05 2012 | Organ donation advocate discharged after lung transplant | Synopsis: Hélne Campbell was released from the hospital after her double-lung transplant and looks forward to healing completely. Her case was not all that abnormal for the situation, but what makes her unique is that she managed to attract the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber. She made a blog to document her journey through sickness and to recovery and it gained a lot of attention, as did her Twitter account. Hélne and her family used her situation to promote donating organs. Registrations went from 350 a week to 3000 after endorsements from Bieber and an appearance on Ellen, by way of Skype. She has been invited to visit the show in person once she feels up to it.

51: Reflection: This article interested me because it shows the immense impact that one person can have. It’s especially notable that this great opportunity showed itself in the form of a hardship and sickness that she had to go through. It is truly a story that inspires hope. We also see the effect that celebrities have in bringing issues such as organ donation into the light. Awareness and knowledge are huge steps toward change and action. She first caught the attention of others by sharing her story through her blog and Twitter account. This is a great example of the power of words because when we hear statistics it often does very little to motivate us, we want to see the name and face behind the cause. Instead of wallowing in self-pity she made an effort to initiate change, and great things happened. | Scope: National Categorization: This article is social in nature because it not only touches on the life, journey and recovery of Hélne, but draws our attention to how social awareness of particular causes comes about. Celebrities have a great influence over a culture’s values and actions and can reach a much larger audience than your everyday person.

52: New hotels arise amid ruins in Haitian capital | Source: May 17 2012 | Synopsis: Haiti attempts to make its way back from its devastating earthquake in 2010 by way of developing the hotel industry in its capital of Port au Prince. Seven new hotels are under construction, and previously standing ones that have been damaged are being repaired, totalling over 100 million dollars. These new hotels will attract diplomats, foreign aid workers and journalists who have struggled to obtain hotel rooms that are up to standard. It will also create thousands of jobs to boost the economy and lower the unemployment rates which are alarmingly high at the present time. Some are skeptical though, saying that they can’t hope to fill the hotels unless the government deals with some deeper issues- such as their need of a new Prime Minister and instances of violence and killings in the capital. The president’s hope for this project is to encourage investors and decrease the country’s dependency on international aid. One of these foreign investments includes an industrial park being built in the north, funded by a North Korean company and worth 300 million dollars. | Scope: Global Categorization: This article is of an economic nature, because the purpose of building the hotels is to better the Haitian economy by way of creating jobs, attracting investors and bringing in profit.

53: Reflection: This article caught my eye because building up an area after such a devastating natural disaster is a slow, difficult process. Individuals and governments are often encouraged to give to emergency relief and aid. Initial relief is extremely important, but an initiative such as this is even more encouraging. If the | A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on January 12 2010, only 15 miles from Port-au-Prince. 2 million were left homeless and 3 million were in need of emergency aid. 61 have been reported dead, but estimates reach 200,000. Unemployment is high, and a lot of jobs are in the informal sector, like shelling peanuts and selling artwork and other crafts. It is a beautiful city, but tourism fluctuates depending on the political stability. There has been a lot of violence (usually between gangs and UN peacekeepers) in Port-au- Prince since 2010. | government of Haiti can better their own economy and build a basis for the future, they have a real hope at bouncing back from the earthquake in 2010 and years of poverty. Now Port-au-Prince will have something to offer- to visitors, investors and their own people. It will be interesting to follow the developments within Haiti to see whether these hotels will fill up, if prosperity spreads throughout the whole country, and if the deeper roots of the issues will be resolved. | The Earthquake

54: Al-Qaeda losing ground to U.S.-backed Yemeni offensive | Source:\ May 15 2012 | Synopsis: The US is backing attacks in Yemen against Al-Qaeda militants who have been controlling several towns for about a year now. They gained control during the political upheaval surrounding the ousting of President Saleh. The new President, Hadi has vowed to prioritize the fight against Al-Qaeda rule. The US is providing informational and logistical support. They are sending in troops that are skilled in training indigenous forces in counterterrorism. The US has also sent 2000 marines with Navy ships to Syria. The Yemeni troops’ main goal is to regain the capital, Zinjibar. They brought in military helicopters and six militants were captured. They also bombed Al-Qaeda militant hideouts to the north, killing 2 militants. 8 more were killed in bombings on the eastern outskirts of town. They drove militants out of Hurour, a town just to the west of the capital and then bombed it with war planes, killing 30 militants.

55: “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.” -Jimmy Carter | Reflection: I included this in my ‘happily ever after’ segment of my scrapbook because violence is not the ideal way to regain peace or justice, but sometimes it is the only way. While the violence in Yemen is tragic, the United States joining with Yemen to overcome such a great and malicious terrorist group that we have been after for years, is definitely positive news. The Al-Qaeda has been responsible for many attacks and attempted attacks against the United States, and after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, we may just be witnessing their unravelling. I also found it interesting that the United States is getting within another country in a ‘war on terror’ of sorts against the Al-Qaeda. I hope that this will be a much quicker and more painless process than the fighting in Afghanistan. | Scope: Global Categorization: This is a political issue, because the new government of Yemen is striving to rid the country of the Al-Qeada’s presence. The U.S. government is aiding Yemen in their fight, bringing American politics into the mix. Of course there are economic aspects (such as the cost to the U.S. for supporting Yemen with arms and soldiers) and cultural aspects (like the impact of the Al-Qaeda’s control, and the impact of this fighting on their country and their daily lives) but this article focuses on the governments of both the U.S. and Yemen and what they are doing to better life for their citizens and the future of their nations and the world as a whole.

56: Ratko Mladic trial for Bosnian war crimes begins in The Hague | Source: May 16, 2012 | Synopsis: 17 years after Mladic’s original indictment was issued, he is finally being brought to international criminal court war crimes tribunal to face charges of masterminding atrocities during the Bosnian war. Serbian forces finally arrested him in 2011 after he had been one of the world’s most wanted fugitives. Former political leader, Radovan Karadzic was arrested in 2008 and is in the same jail awaiting trial on similar charges. Mladic was a military leader and is accused of leading the Bosnian Serb forces to kill 8000 Muslims as well as heading the deadly sniping and shelling in the siege of the capital. There are testimonies from over 400 witnesses. Mladic could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He suffered a stroke while in hiding and many fear that he will die before the outcome of his trial which they would see as a loss because he wouldn’t be held responsible for his actions. Mladic doesn’t see what he has done wrong, and claims that all he did was out of a need to protect the Serbs in Bosnia. | Update: His trial has been postponed due to an error in which all the evidence was not put forward. The new documents will take a month to read over.

57: Upon Bosnia’s independence, Bosnian Serbs were not pleased, wishing for their country to be part of a greater Serbian nation. By the end of 1993, Bosnian serbs were in control of three quarters of the country. After killing Muslim soldiers in the countryside, Mladic sent the troops to begin shelling Srebrenica. The Dutch soldiers protecting the city were not prepared, and were taken prisoner by the Serbs. In the Srebrenica massacre, 7500 older boys and men were killed, some were shot or decapitated for trying to escape, others were locked in a warehouse and fired at with machine guns and grenades. The UN avoided getting involved in the conflict by calling it ‘ethnic clensing’ (which involves ridding a nation of a certain ethnicity, but not necessarily by way of killing them) instead of the more severe term of ‘genocide’ but they did provide humanitarian aid. | Bosnian Genocide | Scope: Global Categorization: Mladic’s trial would be a social issue as it pertains to justice. It’s important to many people that he is held accountable for his actions. | Reflection: This article caught my attention because Mladic’s actions and the nature of the genocide was intensely tragic. Yet there is a positive turn of events because though Mladic’s trial and potential conviction cannot restore the lives of those who were lost, it is definitely a big step in a positive direction. To be honest, I had never heard of the Bosnian war and this article opened up a new door for me to learn about it. In general, war crimes have always interested me because standards of morality and ethics are always different in times of war. In everyone’s mind there is a fine line between protecting yourself, your people and your country and taking the offensive and becoming the threat. | "Tell me what I've done wrong. Tell me what bad things I've done." - Mladic

58: Toddler received world’s smallest artificial heart as he waited for a transplant | Source: May 24, 2012 | “The patient was in our intensive care unit since one month of age. So he was a mascot for us, he was one of us” | Synopsis: In Rome, a 16-month-old baby received the smallest ever artificial heart. The titanium pump weighing only 11 grams was invented by an American doctor, Robert Jarvik and had only ever been tested on animals. The surgery was successful and managed to keep him alive until they could find a match for a heart transplant. The toddler had been diagnosed with Dilated Myocardiopathy- a disease which causes stretched or enlarged fibres in the heart which gradually weakens the heart and makes pumping blood impossible. A surgeon commented that while it was just a temporary (13 day) fix this time, in the future it may be developed into a permanent solution for some patients which is a huge milestone. All of the doctors were thrilled at the success from a medical standpoint and because they all had come to know and love the toddler, who had been at the hospital since he was only a month old.

59: “This is a milestone" | Reflection: This story stood out to me because of how invested the doctors and nurses were in the life of this little boy. He was in the hospital for a substantial amount of time and they really grew to know and care about him. The life of a child is just so innocent and pure and it brightened my day to read about a new way in which we can save the lives of infants. This article was of particular interest to me because when my mother was under a year old she was scheduled to have heart surgery. She got sick and so they had to postpone it. In the meantime they were working on a new procedure in which they went in the side (under the arm) instead of the front and they decided to implement it. She was the second baby to have the procedure that way and because of it her life was spared. I guess this story just reminded me of her though it was a different condition altogether. Just knowing how close of a call it was for her and how thankful I am makes me think about all the different things this little boy will be able to grow up and do thanks to this new heart pump. | Scope: International Categorization: This is a social issue as it affects health and medicine. Any new lifesaving technology is a great step for the medicinal world and has vast positive influences on our society. Many who wouldn’t have had a chance before (like the young toddler in this article) are offered a second chance at life.

60: Source: May 31, 2012 | Are teens becoming abstainers? Study charts declines in smoking, drinking, drugs | Synopsis: The Youth Smoking Survey, which is released every other year, has revealed that youth drug and alcohol abuse is decreasing. The survey involves over 50,000 middle-school and high-school students spread across 9 Canadian provinces. Grade 6-9 smokers dropped by one percent, while the older grades dropped by three percent since the last survey. Use of ecstasy, hallucinogens, cannabis and salvia are also down from two years ago. 45% of grade 7-12 students said they had drank alcohol in the past year compared to the previous 53%. Instances of binge drinking in teens have also decreased. There are still concerns, however, including flavored tobacco products that appeal to the youth and an increased popularity of water-pipe smoking which may be a gateway to tobacco use.

61: Scope: National Categorization: I would tag this article as social, because issues of alcohol and drugs are very subjective to the culture. Peer pressure, stigma and societal expectations play a huge role in whether someone decides to get involved in such activities or not. The impacts of these statistics on individuals, communities and youth culture are huge. Many people are affected by this type of lifestyle and the resulting consequences to their health and well-being. | Reflection: I found this survey very informative and interesting. It seems to be that the adult generation always believes that teenagers are becoming worse and worse throughout the generations. Our current culture puts a lot of stigma on youth culture. At the same time there are many more efforts to educated young adults about the dangers of these actions and it has become less of a taboo. We can see that this has been successful in discouraging teens from unhealthy behaviours. I would like to see statistics on the health effects of these actions, for instance I know that many drugs these days are much more potent and harmful then they would have been a couple of generations ago. While there are less instances of drug and alcohol abuse I wonder if the health-related illnesses and deaths have also decreased. I think this is a very encouraging trend and it gave me hope for our generation and the upcoming teen generations.

62: Source: May 31, 2012 | New trials for treatment to help paralyzed walk 'in a year' | Synopsis: In Switzerland, a new experiment on paralyzed rats showed that they could overcome severe spinal injuries and regain their ability to walk and even climb within 6 weeks. They tricked the rats’ brains into thinking that their spines were unimpaired. They did this by putting them into a harness which held them upright and when the rats strained to walk it developed new nerve connections around the injured area. Electrical currents and chemical stimulation into the spinal cord aided in | the process. This is the first study that shows full rehabilitation after sever spinal injury and the scientific community is hopeful about the potential human applications. Clinical trials on humans should be possible within a year or two.

63: Reflection: I always enjoy reading articles about new advances in medicine and new ways to help people with health problems. This is a huge advancement and it offers a lot of hope for those who have been told that there is nothing that can be done for them. While it is just one study, it opens up many doors and shows us a glimpse of a future where serious spinal injuries could be overcome and those individuals could go on to lead full, uninhibited lives. The study itself drew my attention because it is almost too simple. Is it really just as simple as tricking our brain into thinking that nothing is wrong? Mind over matter, I suppose. I’m eager to see how this process will transfer to humans if it proves capable of curing people too. | Scope: International Categorization: This would be a social issue as it deals with the prospect of better the lives of many individuals who are confined to wheelchairs. Society as a whole would definitely be benefited by the discovery of re-growing nerve connections in patients with spinal cord injuries.

64: Source: July 6, 2012 | Tories unveil plan to fight 'evil' human trafficking | Synopsis: The Federal government has released a new plan to crack down on human trafficking. 25 million dollars will be invested over a 4 year period. Their plan involves raising awareness for the public and for law enforcement and conducting more research about the issue at hand. Strategies include combining RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency to create an integrated law enforcement team. There will also be more specialized training for police, border agents and other front-line workers in order to identify and prosecute traffickers. Provincial governments are being encouraged to contribute money to services for the victims of this crime. A new private members bill (C-310) has been introduced that would define human trafficking in greater detail and would make it possible to prosecute Canadians who committed trafficking crimes within other countries. It has been proposed by the same MP who initiated Bill C-268 which created a minimum jail sentence of 5 years for those who traffic children. They have determined that women and girls are most at risk, especially those who are native or are a part of other economically disadvantaged groups. | The Status of Women Minister introduces the new anti- trafficking plan.

65: Reflection: This article drew my interest because, for me, this is the best ‘positive’ story I have come across. A country like Canada has no excuse for why trafficking still occurs in the masses that it does. Law enforcement needs to be more equipped to deal with this crime and our judicial system needs to take this issue more seriously. It is slavery. A minimum of 5 years is a joke. I hope that these new initiatives will bring the attention needed and help our government and society to recognize that harsher penalties are in order. The new bill that has been introduced would be a great step forward, as many Canadians know they can get away with this crime in other countries; places where the police are paid off to look the other direction and some are even personal customers of these trafficking businesses. | Scope: National Categorization: This article deals with politics- more specifically, new initiatives enacted by the federal government along with a new bill that has been introduced.

66: Source: June 5 2012 | Synopsis: Disney is now banning junk food ads from its programs that are directed at children. This can’t start until 2015 when current contracts expire. The hope is that companies will create healthy food in order to avoid having to find another advertiser. Because of this new initiative, other mainstream children’s channels and cartoon networks may experience pressure to do the same. They’re aiming to include more vegetables and fruit and decrease intakes of sodium, sugar and saturated fat. Companies have to have a broad menu of healthier options and a main dish should have no more than 600 calories and a side dish 200 by Disney’s standards. Changes that have already taken place include the removal of Disney movie promotional toys from Kids Meals. They also aim to make 85% of the food at their resorts healthy. 60% of their resort meals are served with healthier options. | Disney to phase out junk food ads | Scope: Global Categorization: I would categorize this article as being social because it deals with advertising and its influence on children’s lifestyle habits and health.

67: Reflection: I was interested in this article because there is always a big debate surrounding child obesity and who is responsible for a child’s habits of eating and exercise. In reality, children young enough to be highly influenced by these advertisements are under the control of their parents. Parental figures have to take responsibility for their child’s eating habits. That being said advertisers have a great influence and should use it to encourage healthy eating. Extensive advertising for delicious unhealthy food gives children a false perception of food and how they should be eating which may even transfer over into how they will lead their adult lives. Just as media has an influence on self-esteem and youth culture it effects consumer trends and the resulting health effects.

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  • By: Meaghan S.
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  • Title: 2012 News
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  • Published: almost 6 years ago