This week - Macleans.ca

This week

For the week of June 11th, 2009

by

Face of the weekFace of the week
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tours a Cairo mosque with U.S. President Barack Obama, making nice with the Muslim world.

A week in the life of Ryan DempsterA week in the life of Ryan Dempster
The Chicago Cubs wasted his solid pitching performance last Saturday in a 4-3 loss in Cincinnati, but the Gibsons, B.C., native had other worries. He went public on the weekend with his two-month-old daughter Riley’s battle with DiGeorge syndrome, which leaves her unable to swallow and digest food. She has yet to leave the hospital but her prognosis is hopeful. With his four-year, $52-million contract, he can afford the best possible medical care. “Thank God she’s ours,” he says.

GOOD NEWS

Cup runneth over
After that humiliating loss to Detroit in game five, we couldn’t expect the Pittsburgh Penguins to surrender the Stanley Cup Tuesday night on home ice. Evgeni Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby are simply too good for that. So, this magazine goes to bed not knowing who won the Cup. Most frustrating. But we know this: it was an epic battle of youth against experience, far more inspired than last year’s showdown between the same teams. The Penguins grew up in the last half of this season, and brought their rookie coach along with them. And the Red Wings—what grit, playing most of the series without Pavel Datsyuk, their best player. Others filled the void. The stellar defence of Henrick Zetterberg comes to mind and the resolve of Nicklas Lidstrom—back from what a scribe called “a nearly catastrophic injury to his testicle.” That takes, well, you know. Two Rust Belt regions duking it out, both deserving our respect—it gives one hope.

Wonderbod
An Australian undergarment manufacturer has developed a body-shaping undershirt that promises to do for men what Wonderbra did for women. The Core Precision Undershirt promises to “sculpt, tone and improve body mechanics.” Holt Renfrew is the first Canadian retailer to carry the line and expects to have it in stock later this month. There is another option. Clinical trials confirm the effectiveness of a procedure that involves sewing together the sides of the stomach, reducing hunger pangs. In fact, just reading the last sentence is an appetite deterrent.

Vote of confidence
In a week that saw Europeans electing to the EU Parliament members of the far right, including the U.K.’s anti-immigrant British National Party, and the wacko fringe (the free-Internet Swedish Pirate Party), it’s nice to know that democracy still works somewhere. In a record turnout, Lebanese voters returned the pro-Western 14 March coalition of Saad Hariri to office by a narrow margin. The victory spares the West from dealing with a government led by the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah, labelled a terrorist organization. And it adds momentum to the push for Middle East peace.

Ralph, one smart kid
Want your child to excel in school? Let them spend time at the playground. A new study says physically active kids outperform their lazy peers in the classroom. And pray for morning sickness. Yet another study says would-be moms who puke their way through pregnancy give birth to extra-smart offspring.

BAD NEWS

Facebook furor
This week offered more reasons to keep your personal life off-line, though Facebook’s use as a public confessional may also have saved lives. A Vancouver high school student was arrested after posting a hit list of 117 names on his page. Another student in Illinois was arrested for writing that his high school “needs to be the target of domestic terrorism.” A new study out of the University of Guelph says Facebook creates jealousy and suspicion in romantic and sexual relationships by offering partners way too much information. Twitter—note the root word—is no better. A California couple who Twittered their vacation—“another 10 hours of driving ahead”—had their house broken into. Clearly thieves subscribe to Twitter, too.

Taxpayer turbulence
Airlines around the world will lose a collective $9 billion this year, according to the International Air Transport Association. That’s a number Canada’s airlines will likely contribute to. Air Canada reported this week that its planes were flying less full last month, even as it cut flights. And it has even bigger worries—a multi-billion-dollar pension shortfall that has raised the prospect of bankruptcy for the second time in just six years. The situation is desperate enough that last week the government stepped in to appoint a mediator in talks between the airline and its unions. The government has reason to worry. If talks ultimately fail, it could come under pressure to bail the company out. The government of Canada is already the proud owner of a piece of GM. It doesn’t need an airline.

Mexican maelstrom
It was a horrific week in an awful year for Mexico. Last Friday, fire ripped through a children’s daycare centre in Hermosillo, killing 42 children, most under two years old, and sending dozens more to hospital. Then last weekend, the resort city of Acapulco was the scene of a four-hour gun battle between soldiers and suspected drug dealers. Left dead were two soldiers, 13 gunmen and two bystanders. And badly wounded is a tourist industry already decimated by the swine flu outbreak.

No truck or trade
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities decided on the weekend to retaliate against the U.S. “Buy American” policy. This is both futile and unhelpful—and it’s a trade war that Canada, let alone its cash-strapped municipalities, can’t hope to win. In any event the resolution is largely theoretical. The federation complained municipalities can’t buy much of anything, Canadian or American, until Ottawa finally coughs up the economic stimulus funds it promised.

Filed under: