In The News

New Zealand To Reopen, Sweden’s First Female P.M., Albatross Divorce​

👋 Rimaykullayki!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where New Zealand is set to reopen to foreigners after nearly two years, Sweden elects its first ever female Prime Minister and climate change has unexpected consequences on albatross couples. Die Welt journalist Steffen Fründt meets undertakers preparing for a new coronavirus wave as Germany becomes one of the world's worst-hit COVID hotspots.

[*Quechua]

Watch Video Show less

How Climate Consensus Could Cool Appetite For Arctic Exploitation

As global warming melts the ice covering parts of the Arctic Ocean, new opportunities are opening up for the exploration of natural resources, including oil. But the accelerating cooperation on climate objectives could wind up saving the Arctic from both business and military interests.

Analysis

PARISMoscow is militarizing the North Pole ... China claims near-arctic state status ... Trump wants to buy Greenland ...

That sampling of headlines from the last few years is a testament to the emergence of the Arctic as a frosty point of potential conflict among the major geopolitical force reshaping our world. Most would still struggle to imagine why this distant place of drifting ice blocks and polar bears, historically considered a place too inaccessible and distant for governments to pay any mind, is suddenly emerging as a frontier of global power play.

Keep reading... Show less

Time To Triage (Out!) The Anti-Vaxxers Who Get COVID

In Canada's Western province of Alberta, hospital beds are running out and forcing officials to "triage" to decide who does and doesn't get care. The same formula should not apply to those who have chosen not to get the COVID vaccine.

-OpEd-

CALGARY — The province of Alberta in western Canada has a reputation for being outdoorsy, somewhat conservative, and laid back. Well, it's not laid back anymore. Over the past week, both medical administrators and the media have been warning that due to steeply rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and rapidly filling hospitals, medical workers may soon have to apply the triage policy to determine who is allocated medical care …and who is not.

In reality, triaging already began several weeks ago — and to the detriment of the vaccinated and children.

A common definition of triage is "a practice invoked when acute care cannot be provided for lack of resources. The process rations care towards those who are most in need of immediate care, and who benefit most from it"

Keep reading... Show less

Japan’s Next Leader, Asylum For Snowden “Guardian Angels”, Crypto-Trading Hamster

👋 Bula!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Japan has a new Prime Minister, Canada grants asylum to four Edward Snowden "guardian angels," and a rodent gives cryptocurrency trading advice. Spanish daily La Razon also crunches the numbers to counter those who blame immigrants for spikes in crime.

[*Fijian]

Keep reading... Show less
Society
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Cancel Tintin? Spotting Racist Imagery In Comics Around The World

Some of the world's most beloved comics and graphic novels contain depictions that are antiquated at best and downright racist at worst.

PARIS — From the anti-Semitic children's books of Nazi Germany to the many racist caricatures of Asian, African or Indigenous people in the 20th century, comics have long contained prejudiced, sexist and xenophobic stereotypes.

These publications have been rightfully criticized and, in some cases, replaced with more diverse and accurate narratives created by a broader range of artists and writers. Earlier this year, the publisher of beloved American author Dr. Seuss announced it would no longer distribute six of his books due to racist and offensive imagery of Black people, Asians and Arabs.

Watch Video Show less
In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Litvinenko Verdict, Trudeau Survives, Woolly Hybrid

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where there's a verdict in the poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, Canada's Justin Trudeau scores a narrow victory and mammoths may soon make a woolly comeback. Meanwhile, from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela, we look at how top oil producing nations risk going the way of the dinosaur as the rest of the world adopts renewable energy.

[*Breton, France]

Watch Video Show less
Society
Hélène Jouan

Poutine, The Greasy Canadian Delicacy Tempting Global Diners

The Quebecois soft cheese fries drowned in brown sauce, wants to make it as the "next culinary trend" worldwide

MONTREAL — Some national culinary "treasures' were never destined for export, which only adds to their status at home. That's how many have seen poutine, a dish composed of soft French fries drowned in gravy and topped with molten cheese curds. It's found everywhere in Canada, from upscale restaurants in Montreal to fast food joints in Vancouver, from highway chains to village snack bars where they're served on traditional aluminum plates. It's a link that culturally unites an entire nation, alongside ice hockey and Leonard Cohen.

Undeniably hearty and of questionable taste, it seems the meal was specifically concocted to be enjoyed after a hockey game or a snowshoeing trip at -20°C. Some Quebecois, however, are convinced that poutine is "the next global culinary trend," like the hot dog, the hamburger, pizza, tacos or sushi.

Watch Video Show less
WHAT THE WORLD
Clémence Guimier

Quebec's Latest Demand For Recognition: An Emoji

At 3,304 and counting, the list of officially recognized emojis includes more than just happy faces, hearts and clinking beer mugs. With certain icons there are politics at play, and even questions about regional pride and sovereignty, as lawmakers in the Canadian province of Quebec made clear in recent days.


Watch Video Show less
WHAT THE WORLD
Anne Sophie Goninet

In Quebec, 'Hot Mic' Gaffe Reveals What Judge Really Thinks

The truth, the whole truth ... and exactly what he thinks — but should never say out loud.

We all know the risks of teleworking and what can happen when someone accidentally forgets to turn off a camera or mute a microphone. Just last week a Canadian member of Parliament was caught naked during a Zoom conference when his laptop camera switched on as he was changing into his work clothes.

Doh!

Watch Video Show less
Sources

In Ottawa, The Neighborhood Bully Is A House Cat

While some cities are plagued by youth gangs and others by encroaching wild animals, one neighborhood of Ottawa is reckoning with a small but very scary cat.


Watch Video Show less
Sources
Hélène Jouan

Montreal's #MeToo Comedy Crisis Is No Laughing Matter

Long considered the 'capital of Canadian humor,' the Quebec city is currently facing simultaeous storms: the pandemic, #MeToo accusations and a deeper debate on the limits of comedy.

MONTREAL — At the Just for Laughs festival ticket office, on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the windows are dirty, the walls covered with graffiti and the doors are decidely closed. An old poster announces the shows "from July, 10 to 28, 2019." Only a few red lanterns remain lit. The heart of humor in Quebec seems to have stopped beating.

For nearly a year, the coronavirus has frozen laughter. The curfew, in effect in the province since Jan 9, has once again forced local stars of the comedy scene — like Katherine Levac, François Bellefeuille and Rachid Badouri — to postpone their shows.

Watch Video Show less
La Presse
Anne Sophie Goninet

How The Pandemic Is Changing Birth Control Choices

As the pandemic's first wave of lockdowns began, there was plenty of chatter about how it would affect couples, relationships and sex — and consequently what it would mean for contraception. Earlier this year, the UN warned in a report that more than 47 million women in 114 countries could lose access to contraception if health services continue to be heavily disrupted.

As many now brace for COVID-19's second wave, and renewed restrictions, birth control is again on people's minds. A recent report in Canada found that the health crisis has prompted many to reassess their main method of contraception.

Watch Video Show less
La Presse
Sylvain Charlebois*

From Canada To The UK, Shedding Light On Quarantine Weight

In developed countries, this long period of self-isolation has caused waistlines to bulge — a serious matter, especially since obesity is a clear COVID-19 risk factor.

-OpEd-

There's a heaviness to the pandemic that's weighing people down, including in a very literal sense. Here in Canada, polls show that some 40% of the population gained weight since mid-March.

The issue isn't, of course, limited to this country. Nor is there one single explanation for why some people have put on a few extra kilograms of late. But governments are choosing to act now, during the pandemic, to raise awareness among their citizens.

Leading the way is the government of Great Britain, where public initiatives include a ban on television and online junk food advertising before 9 p.m. Restaurant menus will also be required to display calories, while over-the-top marketing campaigns for calorie-heavy foods will have to stop: No more chocolate bars near cash registers that encourage impulse buying.

British authorities are even considering a requirement that calories be displayed on alcoholic products. The "Better Health" campaign, as it's known, will be introduced with expanded weight management plans to serve citizens, and will run for nine months.

But governments are choosing to act now, during the pandemic, to raise awareness among their citizens.

The timing of the campaign is no coincidence: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who lost more than 6 kgs (13 lbs) after suffering a life-threatening COVID-19 infection last May — acknowledged that overweight people are more likely than people of average weight to contract the virus. About 60% of Britons are overweight, including the prime minister himself.

The food and drink industry was quick to react by saying that the initiative was a good thing, even though this kind of campaign isn't to everyone's liking, since certain products are intentionally targeted. Some companies claim that the program is unfair and prevents the British from enjoying themselves.

Here in Canada, research suggests that about 25% of the people have used self-isolating as an opportunity to change their habits and adopt healthier behaviors. But there's also evidence that more than half of the population has had more difficulty staying healthy during this period.

Gaining the infamous "quarantine 15"... — Photo: Szabo Viktor

Either way, the "Great Quarantine" — aside from the stress it caused — has changed our habits. While it is important to stay active to successfully lose and maintain weight, it is also essential to improve diets, as most people consume more calories than they need. Snacks and sales of alcoholic beverages are increasing throughout the West.

Along with nationwide mass advertising, the British campaign will specifically target areas and groups most affected by obesity. Evidence shows that Black, Asian and minority communities are disproportionately affected by obesity and COVID-19.

The British government's effort should be acknowledged for going much further than any other campaign of its kind. First, it is timely, given the pandemic and its impact on certain demographic groups. The program addresses the taboo of obesity, an important factor in the prevention of COVID-19. It is also the first time a health-oriented program has interfered with the way products are sold in stores without using a regressive tax.

Yes, retailer revenues will be affected. But the program will only last nine months. The same goes for advertising and media revenues. But again, these measures are intended to be temporary. It is a kind of pilot project, and one that will no doubt cost the British state a lot of money for advertising and promotion.

Either way, the "Great Quarantine" — aside from the stress it caused — has changed our habits.

Paradoxically, the announcement of the British approach came just 10 days after the same government spent roughly $750 million on restaurant discounts to encourage its citizens to go out more. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August, every citizen will be entitled to a savings of $15 a day every time they visit a restaurant. Any restaurant can participate in the program, even fast-food restaurants where calorie-filled and unhealthy products are sold in abundance. In this regard, there's a glaring lack of consistency.

In Canada, certain practices are already in place: For example, the number of calories is displayed next to each dish on menus. A next and necessary step is to publicly admit that our population is too fat and even fatter than before.

We should use our COVID-19 public service announcements to encourage people to exercise more and lead active lifestyles. True, the importance of protecting oneself should not be overlooked, but it's also a good opportunity to share a more positive message — while giving Canadians a welcome light push.

Watch Video Show less
La Presse
Patrick Legacé

Far From Alabama: Quebec Must Face Its Own Systemic Racism

-OpEd-

Let's talk about the words that are at the center of this wake-up-call of a debate.

Watch Video Show less
BBC

The Latest: China’s Two-Child Policy Ends, Netanyahu’s Job At Risk, Darth Vader’s House

Welcome to Monday, where China ends its two-child policy, Netanyahu risks losing his job, and Darth Vader's house is up for sale. We've also zoomed in on a single photo to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre in our This Happened video.

• China bumps two-child policy up to three: China announces that married couples may have up to three children, after data showed a steep decline in birth rates in the country. The move puts an end to the existing limit of two, in place since 2016, which itself replaced the 1979 one-child policy.

• Netanyahu vs. coalition: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that a proposed coalition would be "a danger to Israel's security and future," a day after nationalist Naftali Bennett announced he would join forces with a centrist party to form a unity government by Wednesday, which would end the rule of the country's longest-serving prime minister.

• Canada mourns 215 indigenous children: Flags were flown at half-mast across Canada yesterday, in homage to the 215 children whose remains were found on the grounds of a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia, earlier last week. The preliminary findings of the investigation into what was part of a nationwide effort to force-assimilate Indigenous children into Canada, are expected to be published in a report this month.

• Denmark helped NSA spy on Merkel: A European media investigation reveals how Denmark's secret service helped the U.S. spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European officials from 2012 to 2014. The report confirms NSA wiretapping allegations originally made by whistleblower Edward Snowden back in 2013.

• COVID Vietnam variant: Vietnam has started a mass COVID-19 testing campaign and toughening lockdown measures to respond to a new spike in COVID cases and the discovery of a new hybrid discovered in the country, said to combine features of the Indian and UK variants.

• Tarzan's Joe Lara presumed dead in plane crash: American actor Joe Lara, known for his role as Tarzan in the 1990s TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, is presumed dead after a plane crash in Tennessee along with his wife and five other people.

• Living like Darth Vader: An ominous-looking home, nicknamed "the Darth Vader House," in Houston, Texas, is now on the market for $4,3 million. At 7,000 square-foot, it has plenty of breathing space ...

Watch Video Show less
food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

Not Quite Groundhog Day

I had to be quick to snap a photo of this little fellow in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, before it dashed back into its burrow. I'd always assumed it was a groundhog, like those I'm used to seeing in the French Alps. But looking at it now, I'm quite sure it's a prairie dog.

EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS