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Gerbil be home for the holidays: This week's blog roundup

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Happy holidays! If you're looking for the perfect gift for the gerbil lover in your life, look no further than Barrie, Ontario's Gerbil Meets Mouse. Lauren Scott talks to Bailey J. Thompson, the founder of this curious independent publishing house that publishes exclusively gerbil-themed children’s books.

Pivoting now to a much less cute topic, the U.S. government made waves this week when it released the Torture Report, a probe into torture tactics employed by the C.I.A. under the Bush administration. In case we get too smug in Canada, John Baglow is here to remind us that our torture record isn't so perfect.

The one and only David Suzuki is back on the blogs this week to tell us that we need to start thinking of the bigger picture when it comes to the environment. Burnaby Mountain may be a victory, but it is a small one -- we must alter the current framework by demanding the recognition of the right to a clean environment at all levels of government.

This comes off the heels of a historic ruling in Mumbai this week, where the High Court ruled that clean water is a human right. Residents of Mumbai slums had been having trouble accessing clean water after the Urban Development Department Maharashtra and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai issued circulars instructing that water should not be supplied to those living in unauthorized structures. Mardhuresh Kumar gives us the lowdown on that story.

Progress has been slower on the climate change front. The UN climate conference in Lima has ended, and high-ranking delegates from around the world accomplished...not much. John Dillon outlines all the exciting inaction, and breaks down what we can do next.

There was one person whose absence was felt from the conference -- José Tendetza, a Shuar Indigenous community leader from Ecuador, whose body was found tied up with blue cord in the Zamora River on December 2. Jennifer Moore tells us his story: how he refused to give up land to an illegal mining project, then belonging to a Vancouver-based company, and died because of it. 

The Imitation Game is out this month, and is generating a ton of Oscar buzz. The film depicts the life of Alan Turing, a British computer scientist who helped crack a key Nazi code that was instrumental in helping the Allies win the Second World War, only to be later persecuted for his homosexuality. But, as Jesse McLaren points out, the film has some issues -- namely, that it glorifies the Allies and erases their own atrocities.

In other movie news, remember The Blind Side, that sorta-racist movie starring Sandra Bullock in a bad wig? Well, the woman Bullock played, Leigh Anne Tuohy, did something racist on Instagram this week and was lauded for it. Anne Thériault tells us why white saviourism is kind of the worst.


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