Category Archives: world

Joe Medicine Crow gets Presidential Medal of Freedom

During World War II a soldier entered into the battle wearing traditional war paint under his uniform. On Wednesday the soldier, Joe Medicine Crow was at the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Medal.
Joe Medicine Crow has walked in two sets of moccasins, understanding both the Indian and white man’s worlds. His grandfather, who helped raise Joe wanted him to become a warrior even if the family did not live on Indian land. When Joe was just a young boy about 6 years old his grandfather had him running barefoot around outside during the cold Montana winter. National Geographic Kids reports:

“The next day he said, ‘Run around twice,’” says Medicine Crow, chuckling. It might sound crazy, but there was a reason. “He was training me to be a warrior!”

Joe Medicine Crow joined other world leaders to be honoured by President Obama for their contributions to the world. Joe came from a line of warriors. His step-grandfather, White Man Runs Him, was an eyewitness to the Battle of Big Horn while acting as a scout for George Custer. During the war Crow helped retrieve dynamite that was used to attack the Germans. He earned a Bronze Star for his courage under fire. Crow, a 95-year-old Crow Indian was the first of his tribe to earn a master’s degree. His thesis, “The Effects of European Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians” is the most read source even today for the history of his people. The oldest member of the Crow tribe, Joe Medicine Crow is the last surviving war chief. He is a strong advocate for his people, still bridging the gaps between reservation life and the outside world.

Toronto’s TeamSickKids Off For the 17th World Transplant Games

A group of athletes from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children are headed to the Gold Coast of Australia to compete in the 17th World Transplant Games with TeamCanada.
Each one of the 25 members of the team have received a heart, lung, liver or kidney transplant. The athletes have been training for months to take part in the games held August 22 to August 30. Sick Kids reports:

“One of the main goals of our organ transplantation program is to provide a better quality of life and as normal a childhood as possible,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids. “Our patients’ participation in the World Transplant Games is a testament not only to the quality of care they have received but also to their own and their families’ resolve. It is their determination, spirit and enthusiasm that we are celebrating today.”

The children that left for the Gold Coast have prepared for several months in an exercise training program with SickKids physiotherapists. This is the second time the team has appeared at the World Transplant Games. In 2007 the 17 heart transplant patients that attended brought Canada back 38 medals from Bangkok, Thailand. The team was the only delegation from Canada to send a team to the Games at that time. This year’s team all receive their treatments at SickKids. The team is comprised of members from eight to 18 years of age. Sick Kids quotes Dr. Anne Dipchand:

“At the 2007 Games, Team SickKids athletes had the opportunity to meet and interact with transplant recipients of all ages and organs,” said Dr. Anne Dipchand, Associate Director of the SickKids Transplant Centre, Head of the SickKids Heart Transplant Program and General Manager of Team SickKids. “One of the greatest highlights for both the parents and the kids was to see people who had received organ transplants as kids, who have grown up into adults leading healthy, successful and fulfilling lives.”

Returning champ Jessica Dorcich, 10, enjoys the chance to meet with other heart transplant patients just like her.

“Even though we have all had different experiences, it is nice to know that we have this chance to come together and compete and show the world what we can do,” she said.

The Daily Observer says that more than 1,500 people from 60 countries will be Down Under competing in the Games this year.

White House not happy with school lunch ads starring Obama girls

There were 14 ad banners at Washington D.C.’s Union Station on August 4 that the White House wanted to disappear. A young girl is featured asking, “President Obama’s daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don’t I?”
The White House may want the ads gone but they are within the right of free speech. While the administration has said that using the daughters of President Obama infringes on their private life, the ads only ask a legitimate question. ABC Blogs reports:

“We’ve been very clear I think from even before the administration started that their two girls would have a very private life, and we want to protect that private life and their privacy,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said this morning when asked about the PCRM posters. “And we hope that others will be respectful, as many in the media have been, about not using the girls as a publicity stunt.”

No one though is speaking on behalf of the eight-year-old Jasmine Messiah of Miami-Dade who is featured in the ad asking a very real question of the government. Why do some children reap the benefits that all children deserve? The ads are from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) who are lobbying for healthy lunch programs within the nation’s school systems. CBS Blogs reports:

“The contrast is not with the daughters,” Dr. Neal Barnard says of the controversial poster, pointing out that Sasha and Malia’s names and pictures are not in the ad. “The contrast is with the school the president’s daughters are able to patronize. Sidwell Friends is able to offer health nutritious meal options.” Veggie burgers are offered alongside hamburgers, vegetarian chili is served next to meat chili with higher cholesterol, he says. “Go a mile away to any school in the district” and what options are there to a bologna-and-cheese sandwich? he asks. “What’s left? Nothing. Nothing at all.”

Little Jasmine brings her own lunch to school by the way in order to have fruits and vegetables. MSNBC quotes the young girl:

“Sometimes I bring in broccoli and carrots and my friends are like, ‘Ewww, this is disgusting,’ ” she told The Miami Herald. “But I think if they tried it more, they’d like it.”

Jasmine is wise. The United States is dealing with a nation of children that have unhealthy diets. At this point one in three will deal at some point in their lives with diabetes. Changing the diets of children in the school could lead to a healthier nation. The campaign by PCRM points out the fact that the average school is pushed to serve high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. This is in spite of the knowledge that a low fat, vegetarian diet helps prevent obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The federal child nutrition legislation does not have provisions in place to support vegetarian meals in schools. News 8 reports that the ads will remain in place at Union Station until August 31.

Canada needs sperm donors

Thousands of Canadians who are infertile in Canada have to place all their hopes on just 33 men who are Canadian sperm donors. Other donors are imported from outside of the nation, a result of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

At one time Canada had two dozen sperm banks but when the Assisted Human Reproduction Act made it illegal to pay for sperm or egg donors they dried up in 2004. Today there are very few men willing to give up their sperm for nothing. CTV reports:

“Today, there is one South Asian donor for all of Canada,” he says, noting that couples are often shocked at the limited choices. “There is a significant shortage of donor semen in this country, yes.”

While it seems like being a donor is as easy as a sit-com plot in reality there is a screening process that takes time. Egg donors have to inject themselves with fertility medications and then suffer through a painful procedure to extract eggs. For men the process is simpler, a cup and perhaps a couple of Hustler magazines, but it’s no guarantee that the sperm can be used. For every 100 donor candidates only 5 have buggers that swim the right way. For couples wanting to be parents that’s not good news. Outreach Health Services is the biggest supplier of donor sperm but it has to import their product. Most of the donors are from Georgia and Florida where donors are paid $100 per visit. Clients can look through donor listings to select that special sperm, as long as they don’t mind it being foreign brewed. The clinics have little choice with the heavy rules applying to home breed donors. CTV reports:

“The legislation said donors could only be compensated for expenses that could be receipted. There was a grace period where people could be compensated for non-receipted period and we’ve been in that grace period ever since,” Dr. Cliff Librach of the CReATe Fertility Centre in Toronto told, explaining how they’ve managed to keep the Canadian donors they have.

LG Life’s Good FilmFest Launches in Toronto

On August 11 LG Electronics announced the first LG Life’s Good FilmFest, a Canadian film festival offering up $130,000 in prize money for short films. With no entry fee, this film festival will allow all talent to show their stuff.

“There’s really no other film festival like the LG Life’s Good FilmFest. The concept is simple: an engaging HD short film festival with no entry fee and the chance to win incredible cash prizes. We’re absolutely thrilled that Jaime Foxx could join us to help launch the festival, as his amazing work in film, comedy and music really exemplifies the spirit and talent the FilmFest will no doubt attract,” Tim Barnes said to a media gathering to announce the film festival. Tim Barnes, marketing director for LG Electronics Canada told a media gathering about the short film festival. Using old school snail mail, participants can send in their films in hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize within one of four categories: Animation, Fashion and Music, Sports and Narrative. The other top three films will each win $10,000 in prize money.

Viewers can watch the short films that have been submitted on the LG’s Life’s Good YouTube channel or at the LG Film Fest site. During the holiday season shoppers will be able to take a five-minute break in stores while viewing some of the best short films from the Film Festival. “We will be giving customers a chance to smile.” stated Barnes. The films will all be presented in HD format, giving the best views for the film makers. Deadline for entering this year’s FilmFest is October 16. The winner will be announced in January 2010. Some people that attended questioned Foxx as the celebrity launching the festival because he is not Canadian. Still Foxx does bring a vast array of talent to the table.

Opinion: Let’s All Get A Kenyan Birth Certificate

Do you have a Kenyan birth certificate? It’s not hard to get one with the Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator. All it takes is a few minutes to fill out the details and you can be Kenyan or make a Birther’s version of President Obama’s birth document.
This past weekend ‘Birther’ Orly Taitz said she had the real birth certificate of President Obama showing Kenya as the nation he was born in. It was a forgery. The real document that she was using was for David Jeffrey Bomford who was born in April 1959 in Australia. Salon reports:

“That is ridiculous. Little old person in Adelaide, the President of the United States. I don’t know whether to laugh about it or not, be worried about it,” Bomford said. “It is interesting, someone from here being involved in a conspiracy — that is so funny …. It’s definitely a copy of my certificate. It’s so laughable it’s ridiculous.”

There is plenty of software on the Internet to produce fake documents. Of course Taitz is not admitting to committing the crime of fraud when it comes to the fake documents that she paraded over the Internet early this week. President Obama’s birth certificate has been public since June 2008. That hasn’t stopped the Birthers from looking into any dark corner to find something that will prove their claims. Each claim gets wilder. Obama is a closet Muslim. Obama is Kenyan. Obama runs with scissors. One day we may even hear a rumor that Obama plays with dolls. Perhaps we should all make our own Kenyan birth certificates and be part of the Birthers’ 15 minutes of fame.

Ontario Living Pink Balloon Event is Slated for September 5

On September 5 The Living Pink Balloon Event will take place at Alderville First Nation Ball Diamond. The goal is 500 people wearing pink t-shirts forming a giant pink balloon in order to give Sick Kid’s Foundation $10,000 for brain research.
The Living Pink Balloon comes from two families dealing with the effects of brain disorders and their want to give back to Sick Children’s Hospital. Last September Hollie Gray, 10, was found unresponsive at her home. Her parents called for help and paramedics quickly took the little girl to the hospital. On route to Northumberland Hills Hospital Hollie’s heart stopped. Hollie was revived. At the hospital a mass was found on her brain. That discovery lead to a quick transfer to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto where her parents were told that their little girl was brain dead. The parents were approached by Trillium Gift of Life to discuss organ donation. Hollie’s parents decided that her spirit had to live on in others. Tanya Gray told Digital Journal that the day before her daughter Hollie died from a brain aneurysm she was joking and laughing while watching television with her family. “She had a mild headache the day before. I thought maybe she had the flu. Hollie was such a go-getter kid. She went to bed and just never woke up.” Brenna was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma or pituitary tumor in 2008. She had early symptoms that were unexplained until she had a CT scan after a third seizure. The little girl was taken to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. There she received treatment and is living a near normal life today. The families are asking people to purchase a pink t-shirt by August 20 from The Scissors Edge (1-905-352-2211) and Our House Snack ‘n’ Go in Alderville and at Herbal Magic in Cobourg, Ontario that will be on hand at Sick Kids on September 5 at the hospital. The goal is that 500 people in the t-shirts will help to form a human pink balloon to show recognition for the staff at the hospital. All proceeds will go to brain and behaviour research. Daryl Crowe says, “We understand that there are many causes and people are stretched thin but Sick Kids has touched everyone in some way. So please come out and help us give back.” On September 5 The Living Pink Balloon is hoping to gather 500 people in one place as a symbol of solidarity of support for Sick Kids Foundation wearing pink t-shirts. One giant pink balloon. The September 5 event will feature prizes, BBQ and Pony Rides. The cost is $25.00 a person which includes a Living Pink Balloon T-shirt. The shirts will be available for pick-up at the event. Please reserve your spot by August 20. Tanya Gray is encouraging companies to have teams register along with individuals. All proceeds from the event will go to Sick Kids Foundation.

Opium addictions plague Afghanistan

Afghan families are dealing with a double problem when it comes to poppy fields. With a governmental ban on the production they face prison or poverty. They also have to deal with the huge addictive nature of opium, made from the milk of the plant.

It’s a race against the calendar for British and United States to convince Afghan farmers to replace their yearly poppy crops with another seed. The planting season starts in October. In a nation where the population has become addicted to the drug made from poppies, opium, that will be a hard sell. Farm workers make double the money in poppy fields than when working with other crops. While using lower prices for wheat seeds could have a short term affect for some poppy farms the long term could be an additional problem. As poppy fields are replaced by wheat and fruit fields those who stay in the business will make even more money. When there is less of a product that is desired the price can be jacked up. Opium is part of the Afghan culture. Many areas used it as the common currency. It is grown in most family plots. That has changed as the government enforced a ban on the production of opium though. That ban has put many in this struggling nation in deep debt. reports:

“Now we don’t even have 10 Afghanis ($0.25) to give our children to buy bubble gum,” opium farmer Abdul Hay says. “Before they would go into the field and collect the money themselves.”

With the ban working well in most of the county now only seven of the 34 provinces have large fields. The rest of the nation is dealing with the poverty that the ban put into place with growing anger. Those farmers who could easily take care of their families with one crop of poppies struggle with reduced crop productions. The newer crops that the government suggested require fertilizer and water, two things that poor farmers can not afford.

“See this mustard? It can take care of my family for one month,” says 25-year-old farmer Abdul Saboor, pulling up a shoot of the green plant and snapping it open with his teeth. “When we planted opium in this same plot, it took care of all our expenses for an entire year.”

In many areas of the county entire families are addicted to the drug. Nationwide there are one million addicts according to the United Nations. That number say local drug counselors is at least double. Almost a quarter of the addicts are children and their mothers. Children grow up inhaling the smoke as their parents pass around the pipes. The government has buried their heads in the plentiful sand. CBS reports:

“Even Afghans aren’t aware of this problem, most people thought we were producers not consumption,” said Mohammad Zafar, Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics.

Families will use their last coins to buy more opium instead of food. Dirty, hungry children stumble around in an opium daze. The more remote villages are baring the brunt of the addictions. There are no treatment centers around the corner to contend with the effects of the addiction. In most of these small villages it is over a day’s walk to medical help. Opium is their medicine. The Toronto Star reports:

“Opium is our doctor,” says Beg, an addicted villager. “When your stomach hurts, you take a smoke. Then you take a little more. And a little more. And then, you’re addicted. Once you’re hooked, it’s over. You’re finished.”

Opium addictions quickly spread like wildfire through villages. Those addicted have no money to feed their families. Their neighbours provide for them but as they feed more and more they too become poorer. One mother Najiba started to feed her family the powerful drug to keep them from shivering in the cold winter. She brews the opium as a tea, its cheaper than food and she says brings her hungry family some happiness. Families sell their children for another fix. It is an endless cycle for these families. The Star reports:

Mohammad Asef, a health worker at the clinic taking care of Zaihar Pari, says he is worried about the boy’s chances of recovering. “In America people go and get high in the park. In Afghanistan, they do it in the home,” says Asef. “They bring it inside. They burn it on the family stove. Everyone sees. So everyone is affected.”

There is no quick or easy fix for Afghanistan’s poppy problem. Without crops that make more money the farmers will continue to be in debt. Without hundreds of treatment centers focusing on the most remote locations addiction will continue to multiply. Both issues needed to be addressed in the beginning of the ban of poppy production not in the midst of a crisis.

The leaders behind the ‘birther’ movement

The Internet has been the site of a group that would like to throw the current president of the United States out of office for not being born in the USA. The group has been dubbed the ‘birthers.’ But who are they and why are they spreading lies?
The ‘birthers’ are a few men that are intent on using the Internet as a means of spreading lies about President Obama’s birth. While his birth certificate has been approved and the fact that security clearance would be required in a bid for the highest office in the land these people are trying to create discord in the nation. Anthony Martin of Chicago was the first to head to court demanding to see the original birth certificate in Hawaii. He was denied. Perhaps had he been allowed the ‘birthers’ would have faded away with their tails between their legs. Instead the movement grew. Anthony not only went on the rampage over Obama’s nation of birth but tossed out to the media that Obama’s religion background was Muslim. The Kansas City Star reports:

“I would like to claim the role of ringmaster in this birth certificate circus,” Martin said last week on his Web site. “From the first day I began writing about Barack Obama’s secret life five years ago, Obama has obstructed access to the truth about himself. Obama’s sycophants in the media and government have tried to protect him from the truth and the facts of his life.”

While Martin admits that he has doubts about the claims to a Kenyan birth he has not stopped his online campaign. Martin is also known for his anti-Sematic comments.

“I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

Ms. Orly Taitz is another on the “birthers’ wagon. She is a lawyer and dentist out of Orange County, Califorina. She has the means to not only file lawsuits but to travel around the nation spouting her claims that Obama is not a citizen. She also asks for people to fund her accounts on PayPal. She is behind the lawsuit where an officer in the Army Reserve wanted to not serve in Afghanistan because of the birthers claims. The Army excused the man saying he could back out because he was a volunteer. Taitz claims she has proof of a Kenya birth but won’t show it. The Kansas City Star quotes her:

“I don’t need to prove anything,” she said. “He’s the one that needs to provide proper evidence that he is qualified to be president.”

Another lawsuit filer is Philip Berg of Pennsylvania. He’s known for his conspiracy theories, including a lawsuits against every male Bush for two generations for the government’s alleged involvement of the 2001 attacks (9/11). He is also against Taitz saying that she should be disbarred. Jerome Corsi fights as a birther with the pen. He’s a writer at WorldNetDaily. There is now a ‘breaking news’ story on a Kenyan birth certificate.

“It’s a fake document,” he said on Fox News. “I’m convinced it’s a forgery,” he said on

Corsi was one of the authors of “Unfit for Command.” The book attacks John Kerry, one of the 2004 Democratic presidential nominees. He doesn’t just give it to the Democrats though, targeting Bush for allegedly surrendering U.S. sovereignty to the new North American Union. The union would put the three nations of North America into one governing body. These people though could not have spread their views without help. The movement also shows the power of the Internet when it comes to gathering like minded people in smear campaigns. Not only is the Internet pushing the ideas onto the public. CNN has been known to host the leaders. Rush Limbaugh has joked about the questions over where Obama was born. This movement doesn’t appear to be going away soon. Those behind it are known for filing lawsuit after lawsuit. The question is will they make a huge difference in the general population.

Food Science Exhibit comes to the Ontario Science Centre

Attention Toronto foodies, the Ontario Science Centre is bringing top chefs in during this summer’s weekends to show off the science that lurks in your kitchen.
The weekend program will be featuring local produce as the chefs prepare recipes and centre researchers discuss the scientific processes involved when it comes to creating culinary masterpieces in your kitchen. Dietitians will also be on hand to explain the importance of nutritional elements of the recipes, highlighting how they work in your body.
The Food Science –Unearthed schedule is as follows:
-Aug. 15 & 16 Claudio Aprile, Executive Chef and owner, Colborne Lane.
-Aug. 22 & 23 Bob Blumer, Author and host of the TV series Surreal Gourmet and Glutton for Punishment.
Other features of the summer programs include a takeoff of the popular Family Feud game show, Family Food Game Show where teams work together to answer science questions while competing for prizes.
There will be Edible Wildlife Nature Walks to teach visitors how to ID which plants are safe to eat and which ones to stem away from because of toxic values. Killer Food teach participants about foods that contain toxins and how to identify them as to stay healthy in the kitchen. Finally No Food to Waste is an exhibit that teaches about composting, fermentation and bio-digestion.
While the chefs will only be on site during weekends the other aspects of the programs run everyday during the summer.
For more information please visit us at the web page for the Ontario Science Centre.