Good news, bad news: Oct. 6-Oct. 13, 2011

The alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. uncovered this week in Washington has put paid to any hope of respite from global terrorism

Good news

Good news

Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman is this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

Crisis management

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed on a “comprehensive response” to Europe’s debt crisis that will ensure the continent’s banks have adequate capital. With the crisis claiming its first casualty, Belgium’s Dexia bank, the response can’t come soon enough. In another development, the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been gaining mainstream backing, is set to spread to Toronto this week. Whatever your political views, you have to appreciate a protest movement that is non-violent, well-organized, and, as Naomi Klein told New York protesters last week, “deeply democratic.”

Accounts receivable

Props to the Harper government for sticking the bill to abusers of due process. First it invoiced the owners of the rusting ship the Ocean Lady for the cost of processing the 76 illegal migrants it carried. Now Ottawa is demanding $300,000 from accused Serbian war criminal Branko Rogan—the cost of investigating him and having him stripped of his citizenship. The gestures are symbolic (the feds are now trying to sell the Ocean Lady for lack of an identifiable owner). But they serve to put a price on the all-too-frequent abuse of Canada’s immigration system. Why not try to collect?

Go long!

The Montreal Alouettes’ Anthony Calvillo broke the professional football record for career passing yards with 72,429. Of the 10 best passers in the game of football, five are CFLers, including number two on the list, Damon Allen. The fourth best passer, Warren Moon, won five Grey Cups before joining the NFL. Passing plays are a hallmark of Canadian football, and as Calvillo has shown, it’s one of the reasons the CFL remains one of the most exciting brands of the game anywhere.

Hit the snooze button

Attention teenagers: new research offers two very good excuses for sleeping late. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found teens who don’t sleep enough are more likely to use drugs and engage in risky behaviours. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, meanwhile, found that chronic lack of sleep in adolescents may affect brain development.

Bad news

Bad news

Heavy rainfall in Switzerland has flooded rivers and destroyed roads. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

Peace out

Thank heaven it failed, but the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. uncovered this week in Washington has put paid to any hope of respite from global terrorism. Not only does the plan suggest Tehran is assuming a role in anti-U.S. plotting, it raises the spectre of co-operation between Iranian operatives and players in Mexico’s drug wars. No one thought the death of Osama bin Laden equalled the end of such schemes. But with the economy wobbling, it’s a bad time to rewind the fear and insecurity of the past 10 years.

Weaving a basket case

More signs this week that Hamid Karzai’s government is ill-prepared to go it alone in Afghanistan. Last week, the president inked a strategic pact with India that seems certain to inflame relations with Pakistan—a neighbour he needs in order to take on the Taliban waging war from across the border. Six days later, the UN released a report finding that torture is now systemic in Afghan jails, highlighting the sense of desperation permeating the government. NATO might want out, but if current events prevail, “peace” will be the wrong word for what it leaves behind.

Flight delays

Ottawa privatized Air Canada in 1988, but still has had its hands full with the airline. This week, in a bid to protect a fragile economy, government officials tried to head off a strike by flight attendants for the second time in less than a month. In June, Ottawa also tabled back-to-work legislation after ticket agents walked off the job. The constant brinkmanship between Air Canada and its workers is becoming problematic—maybe now is the time for Ottawa to consider, for the sake of travellers, allowing more foreign competition.

Cherry picking

“Pukes,” “turncoats” and “hypocrites” are the sort of epithets that draw lawsuits, so the CBC might have expected this week’s threat of legal action from three enforcers Don Cherry insulted on Hockey Night in Canada. The CBC issued a disavowal, which nevertheless defended Cherry’s “right” to vent his cerebral flatulence. Note to the Ceeb: it’s not censorship to tell a man to think before spouting nonsense.

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