The world as we see it -

The world as we see it

A roundup of victories, tragedies, triumphs, disappointments, and the names making news—good or bad—this week



Missing Women: Facing the facts

Aboriginal and political leaders met last week for a roundtable on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The daylong event fell well short of the national inquiry that many feel is necessary to address the problem: According to the RCMP, more than 1,000 Aboriginal women have been killed or have gone missing since 1980. And not all attendees were pleased with the outcome of the event, nor Ottawa’s foolish suggestion that Aborginal men are to blame. But at least it gave the problem the long-overdue attention it deserves and—along with Ottawa’s pledge of $25 million to combat violence—started a search for real solutions.

Iraq’s National Museum reopens

Iraq’s National Museum in Baghdad reopened last weekend, after more than a decade was spent trying to recover some of the 15,000 artifacts looted after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Iraqi officials say about a third of the lost items are now back in the museum’s collection. The reopening was reportedly hastened in response to a video released last week showing Islamic State ransacking a museum in Mosul. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi used the occasion in Baghdad to issue a warning: “We will chase them in order to make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq and for the destruction of Iraq’s civilization.”

Stephen Harper: A man of the shoppers

It was nice to see our notoriously media-shy Prime Minister reach out to the regular folks by granting an exclusive interview to Costco in the latest issue of the big-box retailer’s magazine/flyer. The interview, conducted by Louise Wendling, Costco’s former country manager for Canada, was three questions long and focused largely on tax policy as it relates to families and small businesses (i.e., Costco shoppers). “In a global economy, you have to have competitive prices, and governments have to have competitive tax rates,” he told Costco. It’s just too bad he didn’t land the cover story. That went to designer and reality-TV personality Sarah Richardson.

Attention IKEA shoppers: No cords required

Ikea announced plans this week to launch a line of furniture featuring built-in wireless charging pads for mobile devices. The line, which will go on sale in April, operates on a wireless charging technology called Qi that uses magnetic coils to generate a miniature electromagnetic field. The end of the annoying power cord is finally here. Allen keys, unfortunately, aren’t going anywhere.

Opposition silenced in Moscow

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

As many as 50,000 protesters marched through the streets of Moscow this week following the murder of Boris Nemtsov, an opposition politician and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov, who was preparing documents on Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine, was gunned down as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin with his girlfriend, making him the latest in a long line of Putin critics to wind up shot, poisoned or otherwise felled by mysterious unnatural causes. The protesters’ defiant placards read: “I’m not afraid.” Maybe they should be.

Paul Franklin on a sad state at Veterans Affairs

In 2006, Paul Franklin lost both his legs after a roadside bombing in Kandahar. Last month, he wrote an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post saying that, in order to qualify for the support he needs, Veterans Affairs makes him prove each year that he lost both limbs. Last week, that policy changed—to every three years. From dropping satisfaction surveys of ex-soldiers to job cuts and lapsed budgets, the latest policy demonstrates Ottawa’s repeated ineptitude when it comes to veterans’ affairs. Every year, it seems, it proves it.

Pakistan combats polio outbreak

The alarming number of unvaccinated children is not solely the product of hippy-dippy parenting in places such as California. Pakistan is currently dealing with a polio outbreak, because of some Pakistani parents’ refusal or inability to vaccinate their kids. (The Taliban, for instance, is opposed to vaccinations.) As such, the Pakistani government issued hundreds of arrest warrants this week to those refusing to inoculate their children against the virus. According to reports, 10 parents are currently in prison because of the order. Last year, 306 new polio cases were reported in Pakistan, breaking the country’s record high of 199 new cases in 2000.

The latest on the ‘mystery tunnel’

(Toronto Police Service)

(Toronto Police Service)

The cavernous “mystery tunnel” that authorities discovered near York University in Toronto, which sparked endless speculation and fears of terrorism plots, is apparently nothing more than a glorified man cave. The police announced that two men in their 20s (one is reportedly a construction worker) dug the hole for “personal reasons,” and would only elaborate to say the tunnel was intended to serve as a hangout. It was a deeply unsatisfying conclusion to the mystery. If nothing else, it confirmed that if Millennials aren’t listless, they certainly are strange.

Jim Watson: On the rebound

Where else—outside of Scandinavia—would the mayor of a nation’s capital city be injured in a snowmobiling accident? Watson suffered a pelvic fracture during an outing last week in a rural area inside Ottawa city limits. Watson will continue his mayoral duties during the expected six-week recovery period, but the busy mayor will refrain from making personal appearances; just before the accident, he’d already made a half-dozen appearances that day.

Rania El-Alloul

Last week, the Montreal woman was feeling pretty low: Her vehicle had been seized because one of her sons was driving it with a suspended licence and, when she appeared in court to reclaim it, Judge Eliana Marengo refused to hear her case because Alloul was wearing a hijab. Outrage followed; even the PMO sided with Alloul. Supporters in Vancouver and Toronto set up a crowd-funding campaign to help buy Alloul a new car; it raised more than $40,000 in the first 48 hours. Still, Alloul is lucky she doesn’t live in Douglasville, Ga., where a woman was removed from her nephew’s probation hearing because she refused to remove her hijab. She was immediately hauled in front of a judge and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Eddie Redmayne to replace Nicole Kidman as Lile Elbe

Hot off his Oscar win for Best Actor in The Theory of Everything, the British actor is replacing Nicole Kidman in the title role of a film about 1930s transgender pioneer Lile Elbe, The Danish Girl, directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). It promises to make more waves than the first Redmayne project announced after his Oscar win: He’ll be voicing engine Ryan in a new Thomas the Tank Engine movie, Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure.

Lupita Nyong’o: Missing a dress

The actress turned heads at this year’s Oscars in a custom Calvin Klein gown featuring 6,000 white Akoya pearls. It estimated value is $150,000, but the man who tried to steal the gown might beg to differ. The dress was reported missing from her Sunset Boulevard hotel room and was recovered two days later when the thief called TMZ to say it was stashed elsewhere in the hotel. He apparently took two of the pearls to get them appraised—but was told they were worthless fakes. The thief also admitted to leaving behind Nyong’o’s gift bag from the ceremonies—which was worth $125,000.

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