This week: Good news, bad news

This week: Good News / Bad News

Chinese researchers in costume move a cub being reintroduced to the wild

Facing the music

Justice Richard Boivin of the Federal Court got it right when he ruled that multi-millionaire Han Lin Zeng must answer non-capital charges of fraud back in China—notwithstanding claims he might face other indictments punishable by death. Canada’s policy against deporting people who face execution is proper, but Ottawa is hardly in a position to assess potential future cases against an accused. And as Maclean’s recent piece on the convicted Bangladeshi assassin Nur Chowdhury illustrates, this country is playing host to more than its share of miscreants and murderers ducking punishment in their homelands. Han Lin Zeng must go.

Madame premier

Something about provincial politics is drawing women back toward public life. In Alberta, Progressive Conservative Alison Redford and veteran Liberal Laurie Blakeman are seeking their parties’ respective leadership nominations—and the chance to take on Danielle Smith of the upstart Wildrose Alliance. In B.C., Christy Clark is considered the front-runner to replace Gordon Campbell, while all three party leaders in Newfoundland are women. Canada could soon witness a first ministers’ conference featuring a trio of female premiers. It won’t come a moment too soon.

A better way

It wasn’t the new provincial party media predicted, but the launch of a conservative-leaning political movement in Quebec offers a beacon to those who reject visions of the place as a sovereignist, taxpayer-funded utopia. The Coalition for the Future of Quebec wants to bring probity to a province it says is crippled from endless debates over secession and rife with public sector graft—to wit, the latest round of corruption allegations within Montreal city council. If Quebecers can’t vote for the “CFQ” now, they might soon want to.

Waste not, want not

India has found a solution to soaring food prices: simpler weddings. The government says 15 per cent of all grains and vegetables are tossed in the trash after “extravagant and luxurious” receptions, and is proposing a new law that will “curb profligacy” and ensure extra food stocks for the poor. We propose a toast.

Good News / Bad News

Americans Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were killed by Somali pirates

Buy now, pay later

Canadian families are swimming in debt—and the pool is getting deeper and deeper. Not only has the average household deficit surpassed $100,000 for the first time, but debt-to-income ratio has also reached a record high (150 per cent, which means that for every $1,000 in after-tax income, families owe $1,500). At the same time, annual savings have plummeted, from 13 per cent in 1990 to just 4.2 per cent last year. With so many unpaid bills piling up, it’s no wonder Canadians are flocking to booze like never before. According to a separate report, our wine consumption over the past decade has grown six times faster than the rest of the world.

Still trust your doctor?

If you’re reading this magazine while sitting in a physician’s waiting room, beware. In British Columbia, a radiologist with three decades of experience is under investigation after misreading seven CT scans in one weekend. In Montreal, a lung specialist was suspended and fined for using a hidden camera to film more than a dozen naked patients. And in Toronto, two doctors are behind bars after allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at a downtown hotel.

Assumed risk

It was another fatal week for folks who strayed from the beaten path while enjoying the mountains. Three snowmobilers died in the backcountry near Golden, B.C.—buried by an avalanche they likely triggered—while a skier was killed after he went out of bounds at Lake Louise, Alta. We understand that danger is all part of the thrill, but there are endless warnings about the risk of going outside the ropes. When will the fun-seekers take them to heart?

Sick with anticipation

The royal wedding invitations are in the mail—and if the early reports are any indication, the guest list is not exactly majestic. In are David Beckham, Posh Spice, and the owner of Kate Middleton’s favourite pub. Out are Barack Obama, the first lady, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Said a royal aide: “Prince William has led a fairly ordinary life in the military and the couple’s guests reflect this.” Those “sick” over not making the cut can always purchase the latest in royal wedding souvenirs: William and Kate barf bags.

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