QuickNews, Monday, Nov. 16.
LEADERS ON TOUR | Harper in India, Obama in China. Harper acknowledges Canada's trade with emerging Indian economic superpower is embarrassingly tiny. "Between us, our combined GDP is well on the way to $4 trillion. Yet at the moment we are only doing $5 billion worth of business per year. Where we are today is not where we ought to be." Obama, in Iowa-style town hall in Shanghai, describes liberating wonders of the Internet, a hint at Beijing repression he'd rather not dwell on tomorrow in tete-et-tete with Chinese president Hu Jintao, where the topic will be the debilitating trade imbalance between the U.S. and China. Paul Krugman convincingly explains once again here how China's artificially depressed currency effectively steals jobs from rest of world. Meanwhile, China has detained activists to squelch criticism prior to Obama's arrival.
APOLOGIES | Britain and Australia apologize for deportation, mistreatment of "Home children." Practice begun in 19th century, extending into 1900s, saw thousands of British orphans, runaways and other troubled children sent to Canada, Australia and other existing and former U.K. colonies, where often they were abused and used as slaves, including on Canadian farms.
GM COMEBACK | Troubled giant's 3Q losses lower than expected. CEO Fritz Henderson vows GM to begin paying back loans from Washington, Ottawa and Queen's Park as early as December.
AFGHAN QUAGMIRE | Canadian military leader insists progress being made. Arrival of Obama's extra troops, mostly deployed in treacherous south where Canadian forces are, has enabled Canadians to focus on smaller region of Kandahar, establish more intimate and humanitarian relations with Afghan civilians.
P.R. BONANZA | Canada's space clown got vastly more media coverage than Afghan mission. Cirque de Soleil cofounder brags that media survey shows his stunt generated 23 times more international press attention than Canada's Afghan mission. In return for the $35-million (U.S.) cost of his space trip, Guy Laliberte figures he generated $592 million (Cdn.) worth of publicity. Guy's red clown nose was key, marketing expert says.
LOOSE GERMS | Canadian labs have poor control over viruses in storage. Auditor calls for enhanced monitoring of inventories of potentially harmful bacteria and other compounds at federal labs across the country.
HOMELESS | Nicolas Cage joins expected 2 million Americans who will lose homes to foreclosure. Actor's financial woes known for some time, he loses two New Orleans residences in auction. Between 2008 and hoped-for stabilization of U.S. housing market by next year, estimated two million American families will have lost their homes to foreclosure.
CANADIANS REJECTING WILDERNESS | Attendance down even at most famous parks. Parks Canada says even Banff, Jasper, Cabot Trail see decline in visitors. "The population of Canada has become very urban," says Gloria Keyes-Brady, a Parks Canada tourism specialist. "A few decades ago people would go camping with their parents. That is not the trend anymore." Not enough cellphone towers, is my guess, or WiFi connections.
QUOTE OF THE DAY | "We're entitled to it." -Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, on why U.S. companies deserve first bids on Iraqi oil plays, arguing for compensation for unprovoked U.S. war of choice on sovereign Iraq that claimed more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers' lives. So the estimated 200,000 Iraqi civilians killed in this needless war, to what are they entitled?
Courtesy The New Yorker, Nov. 16 edition.
Please consider joining me as an elf this holiday season by participating in the Toronto Star's Santa Claus Fund, a century-old Toronto tradition. The Star uses donations to assemble and distribute gift boxes to thousands of less-financially advantaged children throughout the GTA. Each box contains a book, clothing and a toy. You can read all about it, including first-hand accounts of Toronto families in need, at http://www.thestar.com/santaclausfund. I'm counting on your kindness to help put smiles on thousands of young faces this December 25th! Many thanks, David