This Week: Good news/Bad news - Macleans.ca
 

This Week: Good news/Bad news

Plus a week in the life of Hugo Chávez


 

Face of the weekFace of the week
Royal furrow: Britain’s Prince Harry and girlfriend Chelsy Davy attend a rugby match between England and Australia in London

Hugo ChávezA week in the life of Hugo Chávez
“Let’s not lose a day in fulfilling our main mission: to prepare for war”: thus spake the Venezuelan president on Sunday. Chávez is upset over neighbouring Colombia’s decision to grant the U.S. Army access to its military bases. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe claims the agreement with the U.S. is part of a joint effort to clamp down on drug traffickers and guerrillas, but Chávez is convinced Uribe is helping America gain a secure position in South America.

GOOD NEWS

Lest we forget
Seven out of 10 Canadians believe the two minutes of silence observed each year at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day should be made mandatory, according to an Ipsos-Reid poll. We wholeheartedly agree—it’s the least we can do for the brave men and women who have fought bravely and sacrificed their lives to maintain our freedoms. Which is why we are disappointed that francophone schools in New Brunswick are making a stink about being forced to sing O Canada every day: like the two minutes of silence, the anthem is a small but significant ode to our country—there’s no reason why students shouldn’t be taught to appreciate Canadian values.

Smitherman vs. Tory
Hogtown is about to get interesting again. George Smitherman, a cabinet member in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario Liberal government, announced his intention to run for mayor of Toronto. Rumour has it his opponent will be Conservative veteran John Tory. With two high-profile candidates throwing their hats in the ring—each with competing visions and political affiliations—the mayoral race should provide a compelling storyline for a city in desperate need of one. Canada’s biggest city—literally and figuratively—is a mess, so whoever wins will have a massive cleanup task on his hands.

Iraqis go to the polls
Speaking of elections, Iraqis can mark Jan. 21, 2010, on their calendars—that’s the day they will go to the polls. After weeks of negotiations, the Iraqi parliament finally passed an election law, ensuring that the vote would go ahead as planned, though there are still questions as to how votes in the Kurdish-dominated city of Kirkuk will be apportioned. This is another major step in the country’s transition after the ousting of Saddam Hussein; hopefully the election will provide more of the sort of grassroots support for democracy that sprung up the last time Iraqis voted (remember the images of ink-stained thumbprints?), and not turn into a shameful debacle like the recent elections in Afghanistan.

Tabby pride
The cats are back! With a 39-17 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats clinched a CFL playoff spot for the first time in five years. In between playoff berths, the Cats endured one of the worst streaks of mediocrity in league history (just last year, the team finished the season with a 3-15 record). Among the other teams joining them are the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who finished first in the CFL’s West division for the first time in 33 years. In an eight-team league, that’s a long, long time.

BAD NEWS

Why did it happen?
The killing spree at the Fort Hood, Tex., U.S. Army base is a major tragedy that could have been prevented. Thirteen innocent people are dead, and 30 more wounded, at the hands of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist. American officials first cautioned the media and everyone else from blaming Hasan’s Muslim background—which seemed a sensible warning. But we have since learned of his affiliation with a radical Islamist cleric—information the FBI apparently knew about but chose not to investigate further. Had authorities taken a closer look, this calamity might never have happened.

RCMP hypocrisy
Drunk driving kills: it’s a message we’ve heard over and over again from law enforcement agencies. But those words are ringing a little hollow after a Vancouver RCMP officer was arrested for driving while under the influence—not once, but twice. In August, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP called for a federally legislated RCMP review body—the recklessness of this officer will surely raise British Columbians’ ire yet again. We entrust police to protect us from criminals. When an officer breaks the law—especially in such a dangerous way—it is an inexcusable failure of duty.

Don’t go, Mahmoud
We never thought we would be sad to see Mahmoud Abbas exit from the Mideast political stage, but we are. The Palestinian Authority president’s announcement that he would not seek re-election in January elections has many fretting that terrorist group Hamas, which already controls Gaza, will try to take over the West Bank, too. Abbas has not proven himself to be a useful partner in protracted peace negotiations with Israel, and yet he remains the most viable partner for Israel and the U.S. to work with. If he steps down, the prospects for peace go with him.

Band breakup
Steven Tyler is apparently out of the saddle. According to guitarist Joe Perry, the Aerosmith frontman has quit the band to work on solo projects. Aerosmith, which had been together for more than 35 years, is considered one of the greatest rock groups ever—known for catchy riffs and Tyler’s flamboyant vocals. Perhaps the worst news from this story is that the rest of the band is considering replacing Tyler with a new singer—a scheme that we doubt would lead to artistic success. If Tyler is indeed gone for good, we hope the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group retires. We’d rather have the music and memories of an intact Aerosmith than what would surely be a mediocre Aerosmith 2.0.


 
Filed under:

This Week: Good news/Bad news

  1. As we're in a symbiotic trade relationship, and both sides are well stocked with nukes, it doesn't seem to matter what either thinks of the other. But I think non-Chinese nations might get together and make it very clear that we won't allow China to bully any particular other country economically. That will keep relations on a firm basis of Realpolitik. China may be full of arrogance and racism, as it always used to be, but I couldn't care less if they think they're God's Anointed; all they achieve with that way of thinking is to isolate themselves intellectually from the rest of the civilised world. Which apparently they're cool with.

  2. As we're in a symbiotic trade relationship, and both sides are well stocked with nukes, it doesn't seem to matter what either thinks of the other. But I think non-Chinese nations might get together and make it very clear that we won't allow China to bully any particular other country economically. That will keep relations on a firm basis of Realpolitik, and prevent China from overreacting to ordinary criticism. China may be full of arrogance and racism, as it always used to be, but I couldn't care less if they think they're God's Anointed; all they achieve with that way of thinking is to isolate themselves intellectually from the rest of the civilised world. Which apparently they're cool with.

    Further, I don't see why democracy always needs to be expanding; that's a habit of thought carried over from economics. As long as there is no internal threat to Western liberty, such as the Germans and Russians posed, what does it matter to us if the poor Tibetans and Uighurs, along with China's dissidents, are oppressed by a ruthless authoritarian regime? One feels very bad for the victims, but from a selfish point of view it's not a threat like the West's self-generated authoritarianism was.

    • To Jack,

      Who has the most nuclear weapons and advanced weapons systems? NATO and USA!

      Aren't all the developed countries already ganging up against China? At least the majority of Chinese think so!

      Don't you know China doesn't believe in GOD? We need to be thankful for this as the major conflicts in the world right now are over who own the right GOD.

  3. Your editorial this week is a disgrace to journalism. If you couldn't afford sending a reporter to Xingjiang to find out what went on there, at least you can read/watch reports filed by other "Western" journalists before making false accusations.

  4. No news here. China has seen itself as superior to any other culture for at least two thousand years. Communism didn't change that, neither did it change the Chinese method of top-down, ruthless rule and a willingness to slaughter its citizens in order to maintain "order".
    Maurice Strong, a man who has done nothing of value in his life and yet is still seen as some sort of philosopher/guru of everything, is just another of the fawning westerners who attribute China as being "civilized". It is just another brutal, backward culture that represses the individual for the benefit of the "rulers".

    • Hasn't the West considered itself superior to other civilizations during the last several hundred years?

      Hasn't the West exploited the rest of the world in the last several hundred years, using guns, steels, germs, and more recently trade?

      China has been looking up to the West for the last 30 years. However, what they have gotten are increasingly hostile reactions from the West, especially the media. I believe the Western media's twisted and prejudiced reporting about China is the biggest threat to a friendly relationship between Chinese and Westerners. More than anythings else, they (the Western media) are driving the nationalism in China.

      Don't do it to others if you don't want others to do it to you.

  5. JIANPING XU:

    China WILL NOT rule the world.

    It is big, but other big countries will gang up to prevent its dominance.

    An anti-China alliance of the US plus Japan plus India plus Vietnam plus Korea plus Indonesia plus Russia plus the European countries, is more than enough to keep China down.

    China has too many enemies.

    • Kumarright:

      China does NOT want to rule the world. It will not want to be intimidated either, as it has shown for thousands of years. All it wants is internal peace and prosperity through hardwork.

      Who has been sending warships all overall the world, including the waters around China?

      • JIANPING XU:

        I am an Indian who was long disposed to think well of China. Unfortunately, like most Indians, I realized that China is bitterly anti-Indian. It proves this by protecting Pakistan which is encouraging Muslim terririst attacks in India. Thus, I have come to see China as a great danger.

        Other countries like Vietnam have come to the same conclusion as Indians.

        We – India, the US, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Indonesia – will all join hands to keep China under control.

        As for Western warships – these are free countries where people can say what they like. China is a totalitarian dictatorship allied to Muslim expansionist countries.

        • I am really shocked!

          Please send me evidence that China is supporting Muslim terrorism against India or any other country. If any country is or has been doing it, it's the US. If you have issues with Muslims, find the right outlet to do it.

          I despise any form of action that Incite hatred and violence against any ethnic group or country. Any country, including India, is free to pursuit its diplomatic goal as long as it doesn't impinge other country's souveingty.

  6. JIANPING XU:

    More bad news for China: the Han Chinese numbers are going to fall drastically in the next couple of generations, because of the one-child policy.

    The Han will soon become a population of the old, with relatively few young people.

    China's Muslim minority, by contrast, will expand hugely in proportion to the Han, because they have never been subject to the one-child policy.

    So China will be tied down trying to control an increasingly big and angry Muslim minority.

    • Kumarright:

      The world should be thankful for China's one-child policy over the last 30 years! Otherwise we would have seen much bigger shortages of food and other materials.

      Though it would be extremely foolish, it won't be difficult for China to rapidly increase its population. If you want to know anything about China, it's the fundamentally different family structure from those in the West. In China, the whole extended family help raise children, relieving much of the pressure for young parents.

      I certainly wish India and all the Muslim countries the best in dealing with their rapidly growing populations.

      • JIANPING XU:

      • JIANPING XU:

        China's policy of encouraging Muslim terrorism against India is extremely cynical.

        China has become known around the globe as a country which cannot be trusted.

        That is why it will NEVER succeed in becoming the world's dominant power.

        • Correction, 'trust' doesn't have anything to do with 'power', but everything to do with 'leader'. China is becoming one of world's dominant power, no matter you admit it or not. But yes, China is not ready to be the leader now, nor will it be in the near future. On the other hand, don't think everything will be un-changed in the future. Did people 'trust' quality in Japanese cars 20 years ago?

          • DOGBERT -CATBERT:

            I am an Indian, and I can assure you you massively underestimate the incredible bitterness and anger Indians have towards China.

            We will in a few decades become the world's largest nation and WILL NEVER LET CHINA TAKE OVER. Period.

            We will do all we can with other nations which loathe China like the US, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, to keep China down.

            You ain't seen anything yet.

          • Kumarright:

            I don't know which group of people you represent and how many people you represent when you say "We".

            I work closely with several Indian students and colleagues. We know the real and potential problems facing both China and India. We also have tremendous respect for each other country's history, culture and civilization.

            China and India are different. Both China and India have responsibility to their own citizens and, increasingly to the rest of the world. You need to step out of your box, do not incite hatred against China or any other country, and promote harmony among ethnic groups and countries.

  7. 'This reality was on display this week, with Beijing's ruthless suppression of a protest in its western Xingjiang region, home to most of the country's eight million Muslim Uighurs. Protesters reportedly took to the streets after a mob of Han Chinese attacked several Uighurs at a toy factory in Guangdong, injuring almost a dozen and killing two. What started as a protest devolved into a riot and left 150 dead and more than 800 injured after China's paramilitary police force moved in.'

    The above portion of the editorial bothered me as this its NOT fact based. I was in China in the last couple of weeks, the people were killed mostly were Han civilian among them many women and kids, they were killed by Uighurs. I am sympathic of Tibetans as their protests were towards government but killing civilian women and children just made these Uighurs terrorists.

    Our media needs to learn how to stay fact-based, no matter how attempting it is by just twisting the truth to support your points (which still could be true and correct). Unlike news in the Western world, while correctness of information is constantly monitored by the pubic. News about China hardly receives feedback from its subject – Chinese public.

    I would concur Jianping Xu's previous comment that a large population of Chinese who previously admire western democracy and media had turned around recently, mainly due to these fact-twisted news. To avoid this happening again, check your journalism practice 101.

  8. Hello.

    I would like to put a link to your site on my blog roll if you want to do the same for mine. It would be a good way to build up both of our readerships.

    thank you.