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Society

Indigenous Tribes Use High-Tech Tools To Unearth Buried Crimes Of The Past

Indigenous groups in the U.S. and Canada are using ground-penetrating radar to look for burial sites at former schools. The technology has the potential to help a reckoning with a dark chapter in the countries' histories.

Over four days last May, members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc — a First Nations community in the interior of British Columbia — oversaw a site survey of around two acres of land surrounding the province’s former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Using an electromagnetic technology called ground penetrating radar (GPR), an archeology professor charted what appeared to be the grave shafts of 215 children lying below the ground. The technology furthered the long-held suspicion that there were remains of missing children hidden on the land of the school.

Former students at the school recall being woken at night to dig graves, for example, and a child’s rib bone and a juvenile tooth had surfaced in the area. Kamloops was the largest of the 139 government-sanctioned residential schools in the country that operated between the 1880s and 1990s. The facilities separated 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and educated them in English or French while banning native languages and indoctrinating them into Christianity.

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Scholz In Kyiv, Canada Trucker Blockade Ends, Valentine For Your Ex

👋Yáʼátʼééh!*

Welcome to Monday, where German Chancellor Sholz goes to Kyiv and then Moscow to try to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the trucker blockade has ended at the U.S.-Canada border and we’ve got one perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your ex. For weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, Eva Sauphie reports on the women flipping the conversation on sexuality in West Africa.

[*Navajo]

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Anti-Vaxxers Of Yore: Pandemic History Is Rife With Conspiracy Theories

Debates around COVID-19 are now fueled by conspiracy theories, fake news and scapegoats. But as the story of Quebec in the 19th century makes clear, pandemics have always been linked to outbreaks of mass skepticism and witch hunts.

Last summer, Quebecois comedian, storyteller and biologist Boucar Diouf featured an episode of a radio show with Denis Goulet, an associate professor at the University of Montreal and a specialist in the history of medicine. They talked about Goulet’s book, "Brève histoire des épidémies au Québec – du choléra à la COVID-19" (“A Brief History Of Epidemies in Quebec — from Cholera to COVID-19”).

MONTREAL — Let’s go back to Montreal between 1875 and 1885. Although waves of smallpox were raging like Facebook trolls, many francophones refused the vaccine to protect themselves against the disease. Some columnists and clergymen even started a rumor that the British authorities were trying to weaken the French Canadian population by injecting poison into their veins! An anglophone newspaper went as far as to peddle the idea that the virus was spreading due to the bad hygiene of francophones.

That’s just how it goes; the witch hunt for scapegoats is tied to the history of epidemics. You can even find doctors ready to testify that vaccines are useless. It should be noted that at the time, vaccines — made using a virus with a weakened virulence — had their risks. Contrary to today’s hyper-safe vaccines, the vials of yore sometimes contained microbes that were “healthy” enough to infect someone during their vaccination.

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“Boldest” North Korean Missile Test, Olympic COVID Spread, Frozen Iguanas

👋 ¡Ola!*

Welcome to Monday, where COVID cases are rising among Beijing Olympics athletes and staff, North Korea conducts its “boldest” missile launch in years and the weather forecast for Florida is chilly with a chance of falling iguanas. Meanwhile, we turn to Iceland, whose “business-as-usual” way of handling the pandemic is proving surprisingly successful.

[*Galician - Spain]

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In The News
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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]

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Russia
Carl-Johan Karlsson

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.

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Coronavirus
Ranjani Iyer Mohanty

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"

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet & Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

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]

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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.


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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!

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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.


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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.

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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.

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