Good news, bad news: Jan. 5-12, 2011

After 11 distressing years, there is new hope that justice will prevail in an alleged honour killing case

Good news

Good news, bad news

The hunt is on for a mate for rare Galapagos tortoise 'Lonesome George'.

In pursuit of justice

After 11 distressing years, there is new hope that justice will prevail in an alleged honour killing case. In 2000, Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu was murdered in India; her wealthy family was reportedly furious that the girl known as “Jassi,” who lived in a Vancouver suburb, was marrying a lower-class Indian rickshaw driver. Vancouver police recently arrested Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha, Jassi’s mother and uncle, the result of an international investigation that focused not only on Jassi’s murder, but on the several attempts on the life of her husband, Sukwinder Singh Sidhu.

Mending fences

The presidents of South Korea and China met this week to discuss the future of the Korean peninsula, which is all the more restive with the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, and the naming of his son Kim Jong Un as his successor. North Korea is a recurring irritant between South Korea and China, but South Korean officials hope Jong’s death can bring about positive change—from stronger trade ties with China to, possibly, an end to China’s military support of the Hermit Kingdom.

Orange crash

The hard-luck Liberals, in advance of their party convention this week, found a slight morale boost in the form of a new member of Parliament. New Democrat Lise St-Denis crossed the floor to join the party. The NDP said her move showed a lack of respect for democracy. The Liberals, however, seemed happy to have her. For her part, St-Denis offered a jarringly frank, and possibly insensitive, summary of how she became an MP, admitting that she was voted in as part of the NDP orange wave in the last election. “They voted for Jack Layton,” she said of her constituents. “Jack Layton is dead.”

Say ‘ah’—and ‘cheese’

Researchers in Boston have developed a pill that can be “steered” by doctors through a patient’s body. The pill contains a miniature camera that can take pictures of the digestive tract, which could then be relayed wirelessly for real-time diagnosis. Researchers hope the technology can one day be used for more complex, non-invasive treatments like laser surgery. Let’s hope they have an equally high-tech method of retrieving the robot pills.

Bad news

Good news, bad news

Floods affect two million people and kill eight in southeastern Brazil.

Making war not peace

At recent Israel-Palestinian peace talks, hawkish Israeli foreign minister Avigor Lieberman said many Israeli Arabs should be stripped of their Israeli citizenship as a precursor to any peace agreement between the two sides. The comments stunned many observers; roughly 20 per cent of the country’s population is Arabic, and the declaration comes not long after Lieberman tried (and failed) to have Israelis sign a loyalty oath under threat of expulsion. With this kind of leadership on display, it’s no wonder relations between the two sides are so badly frayed.

Shelve it

In a bid to boost readership, the Windsor Public Library decided to eliminate late fees. Libraries have come under pressure in the digital age, and creative solutions are needed. But this plan represents a total breakdown of a time-tested lending system, and seems certain to ensure popular books are forever out of stock. (Not to mention the fact it didn’t help Blockbuster Video.) File this plan under “certain failure.”

What happened to winter?

January is supposed to be one of the coldest months. Yet in Alberta this year, officials are worrying about wildfires, not snowstorms, given the large areas of exposed grass. In the balmy southern Yukon, 14 trumpeter swans have decided to take up winter residence. Winterpeg may need a new nickname after temperatures hit 5° C this week (about 20 degrees above normal). A not-frigid winter is nice, but the warm spell of recent weeks, which has turned Canadian cities green and is causing headaches for the nation’s farmers, just feels unnatural. Please, let it snow again.

Cold War faceoff

As part of the 40th anniversary of the Canada-U.S.S.R. Summit Series, organizers planned exhibition games featuring Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Vladimir Putin, believing both PMs to be interested. But Harper’s spokesman said that there will be no faceoff. Too bad. It would have been fun to see our hockey-mad PM actually lace on a pair of skates. On the plus side, photographic evidence would seem to indicate their PM is the better athlete. Maybe it’s best to let the original results stand.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.