Fighting Words

    
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  Fighting Words
April 08, 2010
  The Catholic Church deserves investigationPDF files may take a moment to load

The Vatican is in a tough spot. When news broke over a month ago that Irish Cardinal Sean Brady admitted to taking part in a secret tribunal to make rape victims take an oath of secrecy, the Vatican had enough to deal with. Then, things got worse. Reports arose detailing the cover-up of Rev. Peter Hullermann's abuse of children in Germany. This abuse came to the attention of church authorities in 1980 when Joseph Ratzinger, then archbishop of Munich and current pope, was in charge of Hullermann's area.

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April 01, 2010
  The cure for the common e-reader? Espresso!PDF files may take a moment to load

Last August, I wrote an article discussing the imminent fall of the book. The e-reader, I suggested, was going to overrun the market just as soon as people realized what a great idea it was for many of the uses that the traditional book fills. Few agreed with me. There is something important about the physical book, they said. I agree: lacking a television in my apartment, the books that my partner and I have collected are something like a status symbol.

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March 25, 2010
  The case against home-schoolingPDF files may take a moment to load

Two cases in the last month have brought Germany's education policy under scrutiny. In the first, a family fled to America, sought asylum and were granted it by a Tennessee judge, because the parents wanted to home-school their children. The second is much the same, but it strikes closer to home: after fleeing Germany for Denmark, a family ended up in Canada because Germany doesn't allow home-schooling. This past Tuesday, the family went before the Alberta Immigration and Refugee Board to plead their case.

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March 11, 2010
  Our national anthem needs revisionPDF files may take a moment to load

"O Canada" has a storied past. Canada's national anthem was commissioned in 1880 by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec for that year's Saint Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony. Some of the English version used today was penned in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote new lyrics instead of using the French version. Weir's lyrics were amended twice in the 20th century and the variation, in addition to the French, became Canada's official national anthem in 1980. People rarely think about it.

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February 25, 2010
  Baby Isaiah should be allowed to diePDF files may take a moment to load

In late October, a boy was born in Rocky Mountain House. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and, by the end of the 40-hour labour, the baby needed to be flown to Edmonton to be placed in neonatal intensive care. Over two months passed before doctors determined that the boy -- Isaiah James May -- had severe oxygen debt during his delivery and would be permanently damaged. With that, the doctors sent a letter to the Mays, informing them that Isaiah would be taken off of life support within a week.

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February 11, 2010
  Can the games solve Canada's weight problem?PDF files may take a moment to load

The Olympics has a bad reputation. With its nationalism, its history of human rights being sidelined wherever it goes -- Vancouver included -- and the incredible amount of money spent, thinking the entire thing is unjustified is a defensible position. In spite of these problems, there is one upside to the Olympics that is often overlooked: it gets people excited about sports in a positive way.

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January 28, 2010
  Stop giving tax breaks to religious groupsPDF files may take a moment to load

There is a difference between freedom of speech and freedom from taxation. This difference makes it possible to retain the former without being able to claim the latter, but not everyone sees it this way. In October the King's Glory Fellowship Association, a protestant church, was alerted that they would be losing their charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA has guidelines about the amount of partisan political activity a charitable group can take part in and it found King's Glory in violation of them.

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January 21, 2010
  On Haiti, God, and the case for aidPDF files may take a moment to load

Underlying all earthquakes is the idea of Fault," says a character in Salman Rushdie's novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet, which begins with an earthquake that kills the female protagonist, and then jumps back to trace her life from beginning to end. Rushdie is a master story-teller who wonderfully describes the search all people face to answer the difficult question: Why did this happen?

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January 14, 2010
  The trouble with aiding YemenPDF files may take a moment to load

Yemen keeps a low profile. It's rarely mentioned in the news, few can find it on a map and most of the international community has had little reason to pay it any mind. Things are changing, however. The terrorist who attempted to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day came from Yemen, and so the country is receiving more attention. The question of how best to direct the West's anti-terrorism strategy is broadening in scope as countries, like Yemen, take on a sometimes unwilling role in the spread of terrorism.

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December 03, 2009
  The Swiss aren't neutral anymorePDF files may take a moment to load

Switzerland has long been known for its neutrality, but the attitude Swiss citizens have recently taken toward Muslims is calling into question its non-partisan reputation. On November 29 Swiss voters chose to ban all minarets in Switzerland. Minarets are the tall spires connected to some mosques and are used by the mosque's leader to call Muslims to prayer. Fifty-seven per cent of those who voted in the referendum chose to ban any more minarets being built.

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