A royal welcome
When William and Kate arrive in Canada this week, those planning to greet the royal couple will find them pleasantly open to interacting with the common folk. Stuffy etiquette rules have relaxed so much of late that even the official royal website says curtsies and bows are optional. Now it’s all about simple courtesy: handshakes and chit-chat are fine. In fact, even cellphone photos are appropriate. The couple, meanwhile, are reportedly looking forward to attending the Calgary Stampede undeterred by animal rights activists who’ve been trying to deter them from attending.
Out with the evil
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, stating there is reason to believe he is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians during protests this year. Libya’s future now clearly lies with the rebels, who this week received a visit from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Canada has played a leading role in NATO raids in Libya, and Baird’s trip shows Canada remains committed to seeing a stable democracy replace Gadhafi’s regime.
After decades where it seemed aircraft manufacturers were determined to make flying less and less pleasant, Boeing has finally come up with some passenger-friendly innovations. Its newest 737 jet boasts higher cabin storage bins to minimize head bumps, and a flight-attendant call button that can’t be confused with the light switch. Rival EADS, meanwhile, is working on a hypersonic jet that can make the trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo in 2.5 hours, with no greenhouse gas emissions. By mid-century, we may be able to skip continents faster than we can get through airport security.
Less swearing, more swaying
For the third straight week, the comical but controversial children’s book Go the F— to Sleep topped the New York Times bestseller list. But parents desperate for a few hours of shut-eye may want to try a different approach to napping their kids: put them in a hammock. A study out of the University of Geneva says people who curl up on a gently rocking hammock nod off quicker—and sleep more deeply—than they would on a standard mattress.
Conrad Black’s re-sentencing to 13 more months in prison was heavy-handed, but hardly surprising given his cruel tour through the U.S. justice system. Of the 13 charges he once faced, Black was acquitted of nine (including the most serious ones) in 2007 and further vindicated by a victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, which limited a law used to convict him. In total, Black has served 29 months in prison, paid millions in legal fees and witnessed the destruction of his business empire—all over two charges for which he’s already paid his dues. This latest punishment is simply vindictive.
A different kind of casualty
As Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan enters its final days, the military is bracing for a much different fight: confronting suicide. A soldier serving in Kandahar was found dead this week, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted wound. If confirmed, his death would be the second suicide in a month, and the fifth since the Afghan mission began. The news follows a report that found female Canadian Forces members in their early 40s are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as their civilian counterparts. Suicide in the ranks is not random, and deserves DND’s attention.
Four months after Japan’s earthquake damaged reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, workers are still struggling to get its cooling system back on line. Meanwhile, in the U.S., raging wildfires have forced authorities to shut down the Los Alamos nuclear lab in New Mexico, where scientists developed the first atomic bomb. And in Nebraska, the surging Missouri River threatens to flood two nuke plants, as officials work around the clock to avert a deeper crisis. Is somebody trying to send us a message?
Are you sure that’s clean?
A deadly fungus could be festering inside your dishwasher. A three-year study of black gunk embedded in the rubber seals of 189 household dishwashers, including seven in Canada, found overwhelming evidence of killer pathogens. In explaining the chilling new discovery, the study’s lead researcher, Nina Gunde-Cimerman, said she now washes her dishes by hand.