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Our squeamishness over world's greatest plague

A group of activists caught some attention at last week's AIDS conference in Toronto by protesting that the attention was too much on “celebrities” — Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Richard Gere — rather than on the specifics of the disease and its effects.

Activists are always making a fuss, but I must admit that as I sought to make sense of the conference, the thought had already crossed my mind that the exercise is far more about “us” — the dominant people of the Earth — than about “them” — the afflicted.

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Cambodia: Another kind of war

(Editor's note: In September of 2005, Karoline Kemp travelled to Cambodia with Outer Voices, a California-based independent media group, to make a radio documentary program about sex trafficking in Cambodia. The story she told on her return is here.

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Food risk: a result of industrial farming

Throughout evolutionary history, the omnivorous human species has been guided almost entirely by experience and consequence in deciding on possible foods. One negative consequence of eating widely is that we risk stumbling upon something toxic.

Millions of years of this kind of food testing has undoubtedly left us pretty anxious eaters. Today, we look to the processes of civilization to provide us with a modicum of power over the natural world. We rest assured that our Ministry of Health will tell us what is safe to eat.

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Irene and the road to Amuru

Patrick, our driver, uses all of the red dirt road ahead. He gingerly steers our Land Rover from ditch to ditch to avoid the potholes and ruts in hopes of giving the “visitors” a smooth (let's say smoother) ride as we make our way along Amuru Road.

“You would not have survived this trip at the height of the conflict,” announces our translator Evelyn.

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Report back from Montebello

On August 20, we were in Montebello, Quebec to voice our opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), and to the secret meetings and agenda set by Stephen Harper, George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón. Hundreds of community, labour, student and peace activists converged next to the huge, metal security fence circling the resort, patrolled by a massive show of police and security officers.

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The right to say no?

Before 8 a.m. on Sunday September 16th, hundreds of campesinos, many kept warm by heavy wool ponchos, were already lined up in front of the municipal stadium in Sapalache. In some cases they had traveled for more than a day to reach the highland capital of El Carmen de la Frontera District in the remote Eastern Andes of northwestern Peru, very close to the border with Ecuador.

Arriving on horse, by foot, or cheek to cheek in a shared truck with neighbours, they had come to participate in a voluntary referendum.

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Music legends at Salvador Allende Arts Festival

Quilapayun, the legendary folk music group, is the closing act of Torontoâe(TM)s 4th annual Salvador Allende Arts Festival for Peace held at Harbourfront November 9 to 11, 2007. The group, renowned for their involvement in the socially conscious Chilean New Song Movement (Nueva Cancion), returns to Toronto after more than three decades.

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Facing deportation: the case of Laibar Singh

The recent case of Laibar Singh, a paralyzed refugee claimant, has created much debate and division. There is a strong outpouring of sympathy for Laibar Singh and his medical condition. However, the fundamental question turns on whether Canadian society has any "obligation" to support Mr. Singh, as he has exhausted all his legal avenues. In addition, much of the public perception around Mr. Singh has unfortunately been fuelled by inaccurate facts.

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Stay issued on Safe Third Country deal's overturn

On January 17, 2008, the Federal Court of Canada issued its order regarding the Safe Third Country Agreement (IMM-7818-05). Mr. Justice Phelan, following his Reasons for Judgement of November 29, 2007, ordered that "this application for judicial review is granted and the designation of the United States of America as a 'safe third country' is quashed." Justice Phelan and the Order took effect on February 1, 2008.

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I want my rabbletv

Think of a television studio. Got the picture? Tall ceiling, shadowy cameras on meaty tripods, hot lights, phony sets, suits, hairspray and anchors aging with more foundation than grace. Cables and assistants run everywhere and everything run by the few networks with enough money to afford that tall room filled with pricey gear and temperamental talent.

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