Israel & the Law

Palestinian leaders are gearing up to take Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague — a move Washington and its beloved ally will vociferously denounce and attempt to block. Do Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, its settlement enterprise and assault on Gaza violate international law? Have Palestinian militants violated the laws of war by firing missiles at Israel? Listen to a trio of international jurists commenting on these matters.

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Martyr Cities

Of all the acts committed by German troops at the start of World War One, none sparked more outrage within European and North American intellectual circles than the destruction of the medieval library of the Flemish University of Leuven – laid to waste on the night of August 25, 1914, a hundred years ago. Together with the nearby “Martyr Cities” of Dendermonde and Aarschot, Leuven is poised to commemorate those events.

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Twelve Canadians – Cheryl Greenberg

Of all the medical afflictions a person or family can suffer from, none is as burdensome as a rare genetic condition that hasn’t even been named. With a name, access to treatment or support services are limited or absent. Cheryl Greenberg sees herself as an advocate for patients suffering from genetically-based metabolic conditions that deny definition.

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Ghosts of Hate Radio

Twenty years ago today, the tiny east African nation of Rwanda was mired in the bloody pit of mass murder. Hate radio incited the slaughter. Whispering into microphones in darkened studios, radio announcers for a broadcaster called Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines called upon listeners to “kill the cockroaches.”

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Jerusalem, Jerusalem

On a trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories back in the summer of 2012, I took the opportunity to walk through several West and East Jerusalem neighborhoods, on both sides of Israel’s Separation Wall. The latter were hard scrabble and unkempt, though filled with charm and character. So were the latter, European style — scrubbed, tidy, efficient, busy, cafe-filled. The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) took a couple of tourists and me on a tour of the east side of what Israel calls its “undivided” capital.

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Personal Genome Testing

Rosie Redfield spat in a tube and mailed it to a Mountain View, California outfit called 23andMe. A month later, the University of British Columbia geneticist and MOOC instructor received a nuanced assessment of her potential susceptibility to a variety of genetically-linked disorders. A genetics researcher and educator herself, Rosie Redfield was glad she had her spit tested, and encourages others to do the same, if they are so inclined. Their choice will be more limited than Redfield’s, though.

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New Jewish National Fund

On the evening of Tuesday, May 27, on the occasion of Winnipeg’s annual “Negev Gala,” organized by the Canadian chapter of the Jewish National Fund, a couple of dozen local activists (quite a few of them Jewish) gathered in front of the JNF’s Centennial Concert Hall venue, on the prairie metropolis’ busy Main Street. The purpose of the gathering was two-fold.

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Phylo

Debron, Luke and Paula huddle around a laptop in a McGill University cafeteria, deeply absorbed in an online game. No dreadful monsters, zombies or bloody explosions here. No violence or aggression of any sort. Phylo is much more serious than that. The mission of these three Montreal students is to solve a DNA puzzle; to pinpoint mutations in the human genetic code that cause cancer and other human disorders.

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Mr. HapMap

Tom Hudson is a busy guy. Few have contributed more to our understanding of how the human genome works — for good or ill — than this congenial, 53 year-old native of Arvida, Quebec. A clinical immunologist by training, Hudson has played a lead role in the discovery and mapping of haplotypes, a feature of the human genome that has become instrumental in identifying the genetic origins of disease.

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Pharmacogenomics

There’s hardly a facet of drug action that isn’t determined in some way by our DNA. Pharmacogenomics is the field of science devoted to the study of drug-gene interactions. On a recent trip to Vancouver, I visited the offices and labs of the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety.

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Nakba

May 15 is Nakba Day in Palestine/Israel and around the world, the day Palestinians and their friends commemorate one of the twentieth century’s greatest bouts of mass expulsion: the “cleansing” by Zionist militias (a word the Zionists used themselves) of 750,000 of historic Palestine’s native inhabitants.

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Adverse Drug Reactions

Have you ever popped the recommended dose of an over-the-counter analgesic, and it did absolutely nothing? Or a double dose did squat? Sorely in need of shut-eye, perhaps you downed half of what the small print on a sleep medication bottle told you to, and it knocked you out for twelve hours. Or perhaps you’re one of the truly unlucky ones, and suffered a life-threatening adverse reaction from a perfectly ordinary pill that doesn’t bother anyone else. If so, you’re in large company.

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Rare Genetic Disorders

An estimated 350 million people suffer from some 7000 rare genetic and metabolic disorders, many linked to a single faulty gene. Clinicians might stumble across one of these once in their lifetime, and have no idea what they’re dealing with. Now, a first-of-its kind web portal is allowing clinicians and geneticists around the world to match unusual symptoms with known mutant genes, and to provide firm counseling to patients in search of answers.

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Twelve Canadians – David Phillips

As everyone knows, Arctic ice cover is slowly melting. As it does so, Earth’s northern pole is turning from white to dark and the planet is absorbing even more solar energy, putting the pedal to the metal in what may be turning into a vicious global warming cycle. With this and other related weather issues in mind (e.g. that polar vortex), I sought out the thoughts of a gentleman named David Phillips. In our age of potentially accelerating global warming, no one has his finger on Earth’s weather pulse more squarely and firmly than Phillips, Canada’s chief climatologist.

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Backyard Fracking

Diana Daunheimer and her husband Derek were a typical young couple pursuing their dreams. In the summer of 2002, they moved into a rambling old house just outside the village of Didsbury, an hour’s drive north of Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. With high hopes of raising kids and living the good life, Diana, 26 years-old at the time, decided to grow organic produce on their twelve acres of land. But in 2008, a nastier crop sprouted around her property.

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Ecological Food in Bolivia

The slow-food movement has reached dizzying heights on the sun-baked altiplano of Bolivia, in the Andean highlands. Here, small-scale producers are making the most of scarce water supplies, ample sun, a few inexpensive materials and local expertise to eke out a living in some of the highest elevation farmland in the world.

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Vandana Shiva

In the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains – in northern India – a very energetic woman has declared that seeds should also be free! Her name is Vandana Shiva, and she’s a tireless defender of farmers rights. GPM producer Dave Kattenburg caught up with Vandana Shiva at her biodiversity farm north just outside Dehradun. Click on read more, then on the audio button beneath her photo to hear their conversation.

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Twelve Canadians – Dinah & Zack

Who exactly coined the phrase “Think globally, act locally” is a matter of dispute. Dinah Ceplis and Zack Gross certainly exemplify the philosophy in action.

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Twelve Canadians – Jessica Ernst

Imagine what it would be like to have your water supply morph into a fire hazard; to have to haul this most precious of life’s resources from a public tap an hour’s drive from your home, in the dead of winter, because the liquid flowing from your own tap has been contaminated with methane gas and is liable to explode if you light a match.

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Twelve Canadians – Ken Lewenza

Looking back over a tough 42-year career in the Canadian trade union movement — a journey that took him from the assembly line at Chrysler to the national presidency of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union — what has made the most lasting impression on Ken Lewenza?

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Israel’s Wall

Israel’s “Separation Barrier” — aka the “Apartheid Wall” — is one of those works of human ingenuity that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. These photos were taken during my trip to Israel and Occupied Palestine in August/September 2012. Israel began constructing its wall in 2002, under the leadership of then Prime Minister, now deceased Ariel Sharon. The declared rationale for its construction — protecting Israeli Jews from the ravages of Palestinian “terrorism” — seemed compellingly straightforward at the time, with the Second Intifada at its height. Palestinians and their supporters saw things differently.

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Twelve Canadians – The Good Food Club

John K. Sampson’s poignant song about Winnipeg captures the cold anonymity of Prairie Canada’s capital on a grey dismal day. But there are as many reasons to love this town as to hate it. The socially conscious West Broadway neighborhood, and its Good Food Club, is one.

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Twelve Canadians – Inka Milewski

Inka Milewski was a marine biologist, not a public health researcher or epidemiologist, when she received a phone call from worried residents of her community. As is often the case with energetic people of conscience, Inka Milewski took up that call. She had no choice. It was something she had to do.

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Twelve Canadians – Midwives

Midwives catch babies. A midwife cares for a pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. Most everything relevant to a woman’s health in the childbearing period comes under the midwife’s watchful eye. The “mid” part of the word midwife is derived from the German mit, or with. The French phrase for midwife is “sage femme,” or wise woman. Put the two together, says midwifery educator and researcher Elaine Carty in this audio piece, and you’ve got the whole story.

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Twelve Canadians – Fundy Baykeepers

I was born on Long Island. Grew up there. On summer days we’d pack up our picnic gear and head for the Sound, a huge, beautiful, typically calm body of water on the island’s north shore — the opposite side from the wild, open Atlantic. All that exposure to Long Island and its two shores imbued in me a love for the sea, and for the calmer side of sea-swept peninsulas. Such is the Bay of Fundy, on the north shore of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

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Mining in Bolivia

Cerro Posokoni towers over the town of Huanuni, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, in the Bolivian department of Oruro, like an upside-down ice cream cone. Reputed to contain the largest deposits of tin in the world, thousands of miners pick away at its entrails each day.

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Twelve Canadians — Prairie School for Union Women

In search of ideas on who to profile for this Twelve Canadians series of mine, I reached out to an old friend in Regina, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Cindy nominated Adriane Paavo, co-founder of Saskatchewan’s Prairie School for Union Women. The Prairie School has been building personal and leadership skills, and solidarity among women workers, for sixteen years.

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Twelve Canadians – The Watershed Sentinel

In need of a hard-hitting enviro news fix? BC-based publication The Watershed Sentinel is your go-to magazine for cutting edge green news and trenchant analysis — from a British Columbia perspective, but always tuned in to global connections. Turning 24 next year, the Sentinel has always been an eclectic read.

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Stranded on Bikini

When a group of “tech” divers from around the world travels to Bikini Atoll for a week’s adventure in paradise, preparing to feast their eyes on the world’s most famous collection of sunken nuclear warships, inconvenience is the last thing on their mind. Dave Kattenburg watches as their holiday unfolds.

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Twelve Canadians – The Nashwaak River

Getting to visit some of Canada’s most gorgeous spots is one of the perks of the reporting profession. This past July I got to visit New Brunswick’s Nashwaak River; to travel up from her mouth, across the Saint John River from Fredericton and the provincial legislature, to headwaters a hundred and fifty kilometers north, near the spot Vancouver-based Northcliff Resources wants to set up a tungsten-molybdenum mine.

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Bottom Line

Melaku Worede

An Interview with 1989 Right Livelihood Award winner Melaku Worede.

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