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Government of Canada launches search for Chief Science Advisor

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

More than 35,000 people in the federal government are involved in science and technology activities. Also, nearly 50,000 researchers and trainees across the country are supported by the federally funded research councils. From clean air and water to fo…

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The Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada collaborate on new exhibition gallery

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are proud to announce their agreement to create a Treasures from LAC gallery within the Museum.

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Sport icon honoured as Rugby Canada begins construction of new national training centre

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Public infrastructure connects people, supports job creation for the middle class, and helps build communities that Canadians are proud to live in.

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Improving Services for Victims of Crime in the Northwest Territories

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Department of Justice Canada is providing $3,75 million over five years to the Government of the Northwest Territories to support victims’ access to services.

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Toosey First Nation Turns on the Tap to a new Drinking Water System

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

All Canadians – including First Nations – should have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water.

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Improving Services for Victims of Crime in the Northwest Territories

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Government of Canada supports programs and services that respond to the immediate and ongoing needs of victims and survivors of crime and help ensure a just, fair and compassionate Canadian justice system for all Canadians.

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Canada to create new investment hub

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Canada will dedicate $218 million over the next five years to increase investment that will create jobs and growth for the middle class. This unprecedented funding will support the creation of a new investment promotion agency, said the Honourable Chry…

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Liberal Democracy’s Atrophy

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Anonymous

Throughout the western world, the public embrace of liberal democracy is growing weaker, more distanced. Like many of these fractured paradigms today, there’s a distinct generational aspect at play. Put simply, fewer young people today support liberal democracy. It’s still a minority who discount liberal democracy but the number seems to be growing.

Stanford historian, Francis Fukuyama believes that the public is becoming detached from their failing democratic institutions.

The U.S. has been the paradigm example of a large democracy in the post-WWII world, but it shows signs of wear and decay—as with some other larger-scale democracies. Fukuyama complains of “vetocracy,” not only in the U.S., but also other countries such as Greece, India and Ukraine. The idea is that power in western democracies has been “captured by elites” who can veto anything which crosses their interests; and it will take some shock to the system to get needed reforms.

David Runciman of Cambridge University

Runciman emphasizes that the pace of technological change is throwing up problems more quickly than democratic politics can come to terms with them. I suspect that much the same could be said about the pace of change thrown up by globalization. Runicman claims that democracy is better than alternative systems in eventually dealing with major system-threatening problems, that it is better in self-correction. But what is happening now is that “the bad news doesn’t reach us in time.” He warns against the temptation to by-pass politics through the use of technology. He sees it as problematic that in the last 25 years there has been a technological revolution but no related political crisis, as needed to make adjustments and institute reforms. In a political crisis, democracy will “kick the bums out,” and he emphasizes the importance of this sort of negative result of democratic political processes. The point is that the problems, say those generating economic inequality, come too fast to be dealt with by proper political processes. In some contrast Fukuyama complains that “identity politics” has substituted for traditional focus on economic issues on the left.


Last week The New York Times reported on Yascha Mounk’s research suggesting that liberal democracies are becoming unstable.
Mr. Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard, has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way.

His research suggests something quite different: that liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline.

Mounk began by looking at the spread of populism in Europe.

A populist backlash was rising. But was that just a new kind of politics, or a symptom of something deeper?

To answer that question, Mr. Mounk teamed up with Roberto Stefan Foa, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. They have since gathered and crunched data on the strength of liberal democracies.

Their conclusion, to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Democracy, is that democracies are not as secure as people may think. Right now, Mr. Mounk said in an interview, “the warning signs are flashing red.”


since 2005, Freedom House’s index has shown a decline in global freedom each year. Is that a statistical anomaly, a result of a few random events in a relatively short period of time? Or does it indicate a meaningful pattern?

Mr. Mounk and Mr. Foa developed a three-factor formula to answer that question. Mr. Mounk thinks of it as an early-warning system, and it works something like a medical test: a way to detect that a democracy is ill before it develops full-blown symptoms.

The first factor was public support: How important do citizens think it is for their country to remain democratic? The second was public openness to nondemocratic forms of government, such as military rule. And the third factor was whether “antisystem parties and movements” — political parties and other major players whose core message is that the current system is illegitimate — were gaining support.


If support for democracy was falling while the other two measures were rising, the researchers marked that country “deconsolidating.” And they found that deconsolidation was the political equivalent of a low-grade fever that arrives the day before a full-blown case of the flu.


Mounk and Foa looked at two countries that embraced liberal democracy initially but almost as quickly turned away, Venezuela and Poland.

According to the Mounk-Foa early-warning system, signs of democratic deconsolidation in the United States and many other liberal democracies are now similar to those in Venezuela before its crisis.

Across numerous countries, including Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States, the percentage of people who say it is “essential” to live in a democracy has plummeted, and it is especially low among younger generations.


It’s apparent that we take liberal democracy in Canada for granted at our peril. I’m convinced that we need a democratic restoration in Canada, a return to truly progressive democracy, the sort that builds social cohesion and a robust and broad-based middle class.
This isn’t going to happen when we’re told we’re a post-national state; not a country at all but some Balkanized gaggle of regions united by a matrix of stitched-together trade deals.
Part of it is our neoliberal rejection of posterity. I addressed this in 2009

…the genetic flaw in Western society, particularly North American society, the missing gene that pretty much dooms us all, is the absence of posterity in our planning.

Posterity doesn’t fit into our economic model of production and consumption because it creates a fetter on both. We have lost our understanding of the importance of posterity to our society, to our country. We no longer plan today for generations to come far in the future. We no longer look much beyond the next electoral cycle.

Protecting posterity is an act of collective consciousness and will. It is acknowledging that we’re entitled to our fair share and no more. We can’t have it all without depriving future generations of their fair share.
To try to understand the idea of “fair share” imagine if our great, great, great grandparents had followed our path.

Imagine if our ancestors had two things – the ability to consume everything they could get their hands on and a blind indifference to the day when it was our turn to populate this country. Imagine if two or three generations had gone on a rapacious binge gobbling up the world’s resources; going into serious deficit on renewables (emptying the oceans, logging off the forests, transforming farmland into desert) and fouling the environment. Then consider how their depredations might impact on your life today. I think that’s beyond the imagination of all but the best science fiction writers but that’s of no real matter. It’s enough in any event to make the case for posterity and the concept of “fair share.”


What is liberal democracy absent sovereignty, especially when national sovereignty is recklessly ceded to the corporate sector when inking free trade deals?
Our young people know all too well what our liberal democracy has bequeathed them – membership in the precariat, a future of “job churn” and the promise of a low-paying position in some service industry. They know that liberal democracy as we’ve practiced it has been a device for facilitating our maximum comfort and ease while preserving for them the shit end of the stick. We know and they know that they will never have it nearly as good as we’ve had it and they know that we liberal democrats aren’t doing a damned thing to ease their plight.


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Notice to the Media – Minister of Health speaking at the Canadian Immunization Conference 2016

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, will be providing opening remarks at the Canadian Immunization Conference 2016.

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Government of Canada Invests in Low-Carbon Transportation

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Investing in infrastructure to support the move to a cleaner transportation system will make it easier for Canadians to choose low-carbon vehicles while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating middle-class jobs.

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Maybe Chris Hedges Has a Better Name for It.

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Anonymous

Our prime minister has proclaimed Canada the “first post-national state.” Economist James Galbraith prefers the term “predator state.” To Chris Hedges, it’s the “mafia state.”

Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years—Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States—are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years—Donald Trump—see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.

Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme. …This fevered speculation [globalisation/free trade] and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers. Politicians, from Reagan on, were handsomely rewarded by their funders for delivering their credulous supporters to the corporate guillotine. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain. The Obamas in a few weeks will begin to give us a transparent lesson into how service to the corporate state translates into personal enrichment.

Adam Smith wrote that profits are often highest in nations on the verge of economic collapse. These profits are obtained, he wrote, by massively indebting the economy. A rentier class, composed of managers at hedge funds, banks, financial firms and other companies, makes money not by manufacturing products but from the control of economic rents.
To James Galbraith, today’s rentiers are the “looter class.”

“The great Roman historians Livy and Plutarch blamed the decline of the Roman Empire on the creditor class being predatory, and the latifundia,” [economist Michael] Hudson said. “The creditors took all the money, and would just buy more and more land, displacing the other people. The result in Rome was a dark age, and that can last a very long time. The dark age is what happens when the rentiers take over.

“If you look back in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky said that fascism was the inability of the socialist parties to come forth with an alternative,” Hudson said. “If the socialist parties and media don’t come forth with an alternative to this neofeudalism, you’re going to have a rollback to feudalism. But instead of the military taking over the land, as occurred with the Norman Conquest, you take over the land financially. Finance has become the new mode of warfare.

“You can achieve the takeover of land and the takeover of companies by corporate raids,” he said. “The Wall Street vocabulary is one of conquest and wiping out. You’re having a replay in the financial sphere of what feudalism was in the military sphere.”

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Minister Qualtrough to Attend “We Can Do Better: Governor General’s Conference on Concussions in Sport”

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough has been invited to attend and provide…

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NASA’s Kepler Mission Discoveries Transform Drake’s Equation –"Humans Not the First Technological Civilization in the Universe"

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  dailygalaxy.com

"The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation," said Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester. "We’ve known for a…

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16 Year Tradition

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Ever since Theresa, Doris and I moved to Oakville and lately Burlington we have taken a day and made tourtiere .It is a rather simple exercise but we all have our own recipes for this French Canadian Xmas treat. My recipe came mainly from my late Mothe…

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Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The proposed Scott Islands Protected Marine Area, also known as the Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area (NWA), located off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, will be the first protected marine area established under the Canada Wildlife Act.

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Government Releases Proposed Amendments to Regulations on Humane Transportation of Animals

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII which deals with humane transportation.

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Media Advisory – Langford, British Columbia

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Members of the media are invited to attend an important ground breaking and name unveiling event for the Rugby Canada National Training Centre facility with His Worship Stewart Young, Mayor of Langford, and Allen Vansen, CEO of Rugby Canada.

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Government of Canada Invests to Assist Moonbeam Diversify its Economy

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Government of Canada is helping the Township of Moonbeam to develop a five-year strategic plan. Thanks to $8451 in FedNor funding, the community is working with a consultant to help it identify the best options for growing and diversifying its tour…

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Government of Canada Invests to Assist Moonbeam Diversify its Economy

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Government of Canada is helping the Township of Moonbeam to develop a five-year strategic plan. Thanks to $8451 in FedNor funding, the community is working with a consultant to help it identify the best options for growing and diversifying its tour…

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Government of Canada announces concrete action on marine conservation

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Canada is taking action in the conservation and long-term protection of marine biodiversity. At the recent Convention on Biological Diversity at the Conference of the Parties (COP13), the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and th…

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Canada signs the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Sargasso Sea, located near Bermuda, is a unique, high-seas marine ecosystem. The ecologically and biologically significant area is unique because it is an area of open ocean bounded on all sides by the clockwise flow of major ocean currents.

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Statement by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on International Volunteer Day

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

In celebration of International Volunteer Day, I would like to recognize the 13 million Canadians who volunteer each year for their generosity, their dedication, and the selfless work they do in support of communities across Canada.

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On International Volunteer Day, Minister Bibeau thanks Canadian volunteers for making a difference in the world

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

“On International Volunteer Day, I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions that Canadian volunteers make in the lives of people in need-in Canada and around the world.

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Official International Reserves

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Department of Finance Canada announced today that Canada’s official international reserves decreased by an amount equivalent to US$253 million during November to US$83,130 million.

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Reminder – International Trade Minister to make announcement

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, will deliver a keynote address to the Toronto Region Board of Trade and make an announcement. A media availability will follow the address.

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Empowering Canadians to Have Their Say About Our Democracy

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

The Government of Canada wants to hear from as many Canadians as possible in a national conversation about electoral reform.

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About MyDemocracy.ca

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

A healthy democracy requires that governments listen to citizens in order to make better decisions.

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"Spooky Action Planet!" –Unique "BIG Bell" Worldwide Experiment Confirms Predictions of Quantum Physics

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  dailygalaxy.com

On November 30th, for the first time, participants around the world took part in a unique worldwide experiment with the aim of testing the laws of quantum physics. Twelve laboratories from around the world collaborated in quantum experiments powered by…

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Holiday Gift Guide Edition

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Full disclosure: Each of the items I’m mentioning today I purchased myself, use regularly, and love. I was not asked or paid by anyone to provide these reviews. You should know too, that if you use the links to purchase them on Amazon, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

The Cookbook: Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi

This past summer I had the incredible fortune to spend two weeks travelling through Israel in celebration of my oldest daughter’s bat-mitzvah. If you’ve never been to Israel, then you probably don’t realize that the food there is incredible. Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi’s tribute to Israeli cooking, is both beautiful to read and to explore. While we’ve cooked a good percentage of its meals, with all being incredible, it was only after I returned from Israel that I found what for me is its truest gem. It’s Ottolenghi’s take on shakshuka.

For those who don’t know, shakshuka is an Israeli comfort food. Often consumed for brunch, it’s equally adept at serving as a dinner time meal and at its simplest is peppers and tomatoes stewed with a hot middle eastern spice paste, finished by poaching eggs directly in the mixture, and then eaten with crusty white bread.

When we were in Israel, one of the restaurants I needed to eat at was called, “Shakshukia” and the only thing they serve there is shakshuka. It was incredible. And when we got home, and I cooked Ottolenghi’s version, it was almost a dead ringer (when made with Ottolenghi’s pilpelchuma (which I’d recommend making with Ancho rather than Pasilla peppers and also doing a quadruple batch and then freezing, in 1/8 of a cup measures, the extra which will allow you to make shakshuka with at most 10 minutes of prep time).

If you do make it, know that you can keep it vegetarian by cooking it as is, or you can, like I learned to do at Shakshukia, add some grilled merguez sausage to it.

Click here to buy for US readers, or click here to buy for Canadian readers.

The Surprisingly Awesome Kitchen Gadget: A Vacuum Sealer

Though it might not seem exciting, I can’t tell you how much I love our vacuum sealer. We bought it this year to use in conjunction with the sous-vide setup I received for my birthday, and honestly, I think I’ve used it every single day since.

Of course its primary function for us is to freshly seal cooked meals (we batch cook so we always have lunch options and quick dinner options as the ready), and because it does so with a vacuum, the foods stay fresh for far longer than if you were to use (like we used to) Ziplock freezer bags. I have read in some places that you can save a great deal of money using a food saver, both in terms of the ability to buy meats on sale and freeze them without worrying about freezer burn, and also in terms of the heat-sealed bags being cheaper than Ziplocks – but I haven’t done the math. What I do know though is that a vacuum sealer is more than that, and for chip-aholics like me, it’s a great way to reduce my temptation to eat more. What I mean is that heat based vacuum sealers will also re-seal bags of chips (and rice, and spices, etc.). Doing so not only stops me from going back for seconds, it also keeps the chips as fresh as they day they were opened.

If you do buy one, or even if you use Ziplocks, another tip I’ve got is once sealed, smooth out the contents of the bags so that they’re as thin and as flat as you can make them. That way they’ll take up far less room in your freezer, and they’ll thaw that much more quickly. The link below is to a Foodsaver version, I bought the one from the US link because it’s cheaper and I didn’t want fancy bells and whistles (and it’s been great), but I couldn’t find the same one for sale on Amazon Canada.

Because the prices vary regularly, and because there are many makes and models, make sure you hunt around on Amazon before choosing one, and you might also consider buying some discount bulk no-name vacuum sealing bags – so far they’ve worked well for us.

Click here to buy for US readers, or here to buy for Canadian readers.

The Incredibly Useful Kitchen Gadget: The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

We bought ours a few years ago and we’re using it more and more often and not just for speedier rice, beans, and quinoa. Don’t worry about the space it takes up as the Instant Pot actually replaces a whole pile of devices in your kitchen as it is at once a pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and even can be used as a saute pan. The online Instant Pot communities on both Facebook and Reddit are incredibly helpful, and recipe wise, Serious Eats has a pile as well.

Lately we’ve been using our Instant Pot to take a shortcut with Ottolenghi’s shakshuka (using a can of San Marzano tomatoes and then a 45 minute high pressure run through the Instant Pot as opposed to the long simmer recommended by Shakshukia’s chef and owner) – a shortcut inspired by this recipe for an almost as good all-day red sauce for pasta. The one thing we have yet to try is the yogurt making feature which I hear is easy and great.

These Instant Pots go on sale regularly, and there are many models, so once again, have a hunt around on Amazon before buying.

Click here to buy for US readers, or here to buy for Canadian readers

The Home Barista: The Breville BES870XL Barista Espresso

I bought this for my wife for her birthday 3 years ago and we’ve both used it virtually every single day since. Though it’s definitely not describable as inexpensive (generally it runs around $500-$600), if over time it precludes your need to buy espressos, cappuccinos, americanos, or lattes at an expensive coffee shop, you may make some of your money back. For us, because we buy green coffee beans in bulk and roast them ourselves, I’m guessing a fancy coffee costs us somewhere on the order of $0.40 each. Multiply their savings over the at least 730 cups we pull a year and that argument about paying for itself probably holds water.

That aside, this thing is an absolute workhorse and it allows for tremendous customization of grind (the built in grinder works great), tamp, and temperature which in turn yields coffee shop worthy cuppas. It’s also incredibly speedy. From turning it on to a double espresso in my hand in just over a minute (and this includes the time it takes for the machine to heat, the beans to grind, me to tamp, and the pour).

Click here to buy for US readers, or here to buy for Canadian readers.

For other ideas, feel free to have a peek at my last year’s gift guide which also includes the simple, relatively inexpensive coffee roaster we’ve been using for the past 4 years now.

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Army Denies Dakota Access Easement Under Lake Oahe; Exultation Ensues

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

Federal officials with the Department of Army announced on Sunday, December 4 that they would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline….

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No Peace, No Pussy: A Brief History of Political Sex Strikes

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

Spike Lee’s film ‘Chi-raq’ documents a long history of women using sex bans as a way to stop wars and bring about social change.

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Victory at Standing Rock?

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

The US Army Corps of Engineers has thrown in the towel. After months of determined protests, the Dakota Access Pipeline has been stopped in its tracks.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Moria Kelley said in a news release Sunday that the admi…

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Shoppers Drug Mart Recalls Digital Temple Thermometers due to Inaccurate Temperature Display

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

OTTAWA – Shoppers Drug Mart, in consultation with Health Canada, is voluntarily recalling Life Brand Instant Read Digital Temple Thermometers (see photo below), Model No. 057800711568, due to some devices displaying temperatures that are lower than actual body temperatures. All affected devices were sold between January 2013 and December 2015.

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GOVERNMENT HOUSE, EDMONTON, ALBERTA

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Government House served as the official residence of Alberta’s first six Lieutenant Governors from 1913 to 1938 and became the centre of political and social life in the province in that era. With its imposing exterior and dramatic location overlooking…

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Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of Government House in Edmonton

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Randy Boissonnault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, tod…

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Thousands of Veterans Descend on Standing Rock to Protect and Serve

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

Cannonball River, North Dakota—Thousands of U.S….

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What Does It Take to Get a Lifetime Ban from a Bar?

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

Peeing on the carpet? Doing ketamine in the beer garden? We look into the delicate art of getting banned.

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Peering Into the Fabric of Spacetime –"We’ll Soon See a Totally Different, Totally Unexpected Universe"

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  dailygalaxy.com

The physicist Neils Bohr once said to a colleague, "your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true." For many scientists, the most exciting result of the LIGO discovery of gravitational waves is that astronomy can now…

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Renewable Energy in the Age of Trump: Open for Business

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  guest
Solar panel installation in Oregon

By Joel Stronberg

“I am white…a woman…pro-choice…educated…The government needs to run like a corporation, simple as that.”
—Trump supporter

In the age of Trump, all sustainability programs and policies will not be equal. Proven technologies and designs will surely be easier to market to the incoming administration than environmental regulation.

Trump’s surrogates would have us believe that he follows in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan. In fact, he patters the path of our 30th president: Calvin Coolidge. 

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Pushing Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (While a Replacement Can Wait)

Posted  December 4, 2016  by  Mark Trahant

TRAHANT REPORTS—President-elect Donald Trump and Congress are…

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