This Week: Good news/Bad news


The tabloids aren’t the only ones profiting from the Tiger Woods scandal. When the planet’s best golfer (and allegedly worst husband) dropped out of the Chevron World Challenge, McDowell was offered his spot as a last-minute replacement. The Irishman, who was in China when the phone call came in, jumped on a plane to California—and proceeded to play some inspiring golf. He finished second, pocketed the fattest cheque of his career, and shot up to 38th in the world rankings.


The correct verdict
The family of the late Robert Dziekanski can take some solace in a scathing report from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which concluded that the Mounties who Tasered him, leading to his death, acted inappropriately. “I found that the conduct of the responding members fell short of that expected . . . of the

RCMP,” wrote commission
head Paul Kennedy. We are still left wondering why it took two years to reach a conclusion that most Canadians understood the first time they saw the infamous amateur video of the Oct. 14, 2007, incident at Vancouver International Airport: the four RCMP officers involved acted with cruelty and brutality, leading to the death of an innocent man.

What swine flu?
Finally, some reassuring news about the swine flu pandemic. The number of confirmed cases in Canada appears to have peaked, and demand for the H1N1 flu shot is so low that some cities, including Toronto and Winnipeg, are shutting down public clinics. After a shaky start to Canada’s mass vaccination program—and countless horror stories about day-long lineups and flu shot shortages—it looks like our inoculation efforts may have been effective. Then again, maybe we just got lucky. A new U.S. study has found that the H1N1 strain is much less severe than originally thought.

A coffee a day …
Great news for all you coffee lovers—male and female. A new U.S. study found that a cup of joe may cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer by up to 60 per cent, while a separate study concluded that moderate coffee consumption (up to four cups a day) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease in women. In other coffee news, yet another study suggests that, contrary to popular thinking, drinking coffee will not help sober you up after a night of heavy drinking. In fact, it might actually make you feel more drunk. Of course, blurry vision seems a small price to pay for a healthy prostate or a strong heart.

Cellphone service
Welcome to the digital world, New Denver, B.C. The tiny village (pop. 600) has lost its battle to ban cellphone provider Telus from servicing its community. Some residents tried to paint the company as a “corporate bully” and complained that installing a phone transmitter would damage New Denver’s bucolic way of life. Industry Canada disagreed and gave Telus the go-ahead—which is good news for all New Denverites who do want cell service. As for the town’s rustics, well, no one’s forcing them to sign up for a three-year plan.


Great gall of China
As public scoldings go, it was harsh. Standing in the same room as Stephen Harper, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao snidely remarked that it had been five years since a Canadian prime minister visited Beijing—“too long a time,” in his opinion. Harper, of course, has been frosty with China since taking office, refusing to ignore human rights abuses in the name of trade. But Jiabao’s rebuke was both petty and counterproductive. Harper travelled to China to mend fences, not to be lectured by a Communist dictator.

Osama bin hiding
An additional 30,000 U.S. troops are preparing to touch down in Afghanistan, all part of Barack Obama’s “surge” strategy. Here’s hoping one of those soldiers stumbles across Osama bin Laden. Eight years after 9/11, the search for the world’s most wanted man is ice cold. U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones said this week what the White House has been saying for years: bin Laden is probably hiding in the lawless outskirts of western Pakistan, and may be slipping periodically into Afghanistan. But Defense Secretary Bill Gates was less certain, saying the U.S. has lacked reliable intelligence on bin Laden for a long time. (“I think it has been years,” he said.) Too bad Osama wasn’t fooling around with Tiger Woods. The paparazzi would have found him by now.

No cameras, please
Speaking of ruthless photographers, Queen Elizabeth has written a stern note to Britain’s tabloids, threatening legal action if they continue to snap shots of the royal family while they’re “off duty.” According to Buckingham Palace, “the letter was sent to editors in response to many years of the royal family being hounded by photographers on the Queen’s private property.” The actual content of the letter is unknown (it was marked “private and not for publication”), but no matter what it says, don’t expect Fleet Street to stand down. They may be merciless, but the paparazzi are right about one thing: when you’re royalty, there is no such thing as “off duty.”

Say it ain’t so, Roy
At press time, Roy Halladay was still a Toronto Blue Jay. But as trade rumours continue to swirl, it now seems certain that the face of Canada’s baseball franchise—and arguably the best pitcher in the game today—has played his last game in a Toronto uniform. If that proves true, we wish Doc nothing but the best. During his 12 seasons as a Blue Jay, he collected 146 wins, six all-star game nods, and one Cy Young award. What he wants now is a chance to pitch in the playoffs, and he deserves it. But please, Roy, grant your fans one last favour: don’t sign with the Yankees.


CASUALTY OF WAR: Victoria Chant, 9, at the funeral of her father, Darren Chant, a British warrant officer killed in Afghanistan

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