Poll: Over 40% of Canadian Teens Think America is “Evil”

Poll: Over 40% of Canadian Teens Think America is “Evil”

by ARTHUR WEINREB
Toronto Free Press (Canada)

Can West News Services, owners of several Canadian newspapers including the National Post as well as the Global Television Network commissioned a series of polls to determine how young people feel about the issues that were facing the country’s voters. Dubbed “Youth Vote 2004”, the polls, sponsored by the Dominion Institute and Navigator Ltd. were taken with a view to getting more young people involved in the political process.

In one telephone poll of teens between the ages of 14 and 18, over 40 per cent of the respondents described the United States as being “evil”. That number rose to 64 per cent for French Canadian youth.

This being Canada, the amount of anti-Americanism that was found is not surprising. What is significant is the high number of teens who used the word “evil” to describe our southern neighbour. As Misty Harris pointed out in her column in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, evil is usually associated with serial killers and “kids who tear the legs off baby spiders.” These teens appear to equate George W. Bush and Americans with Osama bin Laden and Hitler, although it is unknown if the teens polled would describe the latter two as being evil. Whether someone who orders planes to be flown into heavily populated buildings would fit that description would make a good subject for a future poll.

The Liberal government came into power in 1993 gushing anti-Americanism. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s communications director, Francoise Ducros, made headlines when she referred to President Bush as a moron. Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish was picked up on a boom microphone saying, “Damn Americans — I hate those bastards”. Not only did Parrish not apologize for her remarks, but she later appeared on a television show hosted by alleged comedian Mike Bullard and laughed about the incident. Parrish played to the anti-Americanism of the youthful studio audience by saying that she couldn’t guarantee that she wouldn’t do it again.

Not only did then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien not take any action against his staff or caucus members, he himself engaged in America-bashing. The depth of his anti-Americanism surfaced shortly after the 9/11 attacks when he blamed the arrogance and greed of the West (read the United States) for those attacks.

When Paul Martin assumed office last December, the childish cheap shots ended but, if anything, anti-Americanism became stronger.

Anti-Americanism played a prominent role in the election strategy of the Liberals. Paul Martin portrayed himself as the saviour of Canadian medicare while saying that if Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada came to power they would introduce “American-style” health care. Martin was happy to take credit for cutting taxes and eliminating the deficit during the 1990s when he was Minister of Finance, but he referred to tax cuts included in the Conservative Party platform as being “American-style tax cuts”. Canadians who favour lower taxes or the private delivery of health care services or smaller governments or anything similar to what is found in the United States were called “un-Canadian” by Paul Martin.

It is therefore not surprising that a high percentage of Canadian youth think that the United States is evil. Nor is it surprising that this feeling is more pronounced in Quebec where Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said that he would rather live under the United Nations than the Stars and Stripes. The left wing Canadian political parties, aided by their supporters in the elite media don’t seem to be able to say anything positive about Canada without denigrating the United States in the process.

The poll results reflect that anti-Americanism will be solidly entrenched in future generations of Canadians. As well as listening to the propaganda espoused by their political leaders and the media, these kids have no experience with what constitutes real evil. They live in a country that much like pre-9/11 America, thinks that terrorist attacks are something that happens in other countries. And as the World War II veterans slowly die off, they have no conviction of the evil that the allies risked their lives to defeat.

With anti-Americanism playing such a prominent role in this past election campaign, it is no wonder that the United States was viewed in such a negative light. 2004, Toronto Free Press

Utah restaurant uses honor system

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ One World Cafe owner/chef Denise Cerreta ditched fixed prices for the honor system a year ago, and her social experiment is on the verge of showing a profit.

“It’s between you and the box,” Cerreta said of a money chest that sits next to a water jug and mugs on a serving table. “We continue to grow. We continue to make money.”

Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association, said many restaurants are moving to a menu-free, size-optional format. But she knows of none that have experimented with the honor system.

The One World Cafe depends on the kindness of strangers, rich and poor.

Take the landlord, who lets Cerreta determine her rent: $1,650 a month for a two-story brownstone, where she lives upstairs. Or “Farmer John” Norborg, a 53-year-old self-employed gardener who tends a spice garden in back of the cafe in exchange for meals.

Another regular donated a quarter-acre lot for a vegetable garden three blocks away; retired oil-and-gas engineer Bill Wood picks up the water bill.

“I eat here all the time. Best place in the world,” said Wood, 70, who favors the fruit salad.

Some customers volunteer for kitchen duty, another way to pay for meals.

Al Travland, a 66-year-old masseur, also believes honesty is both the best and most profitable policy. He, too, lets customers decide how much to pay _ and insists the concept, though foreign to corporate America, brings out the best in customers, making for good business.

“Sometimes I pay less because I have less money. But I pay more when I have money. It always seems to balance out,” said customer Carolyn Pryor.

Pryor contends Salt Lake City, where “you have so many honest people,” is the right place for a pay-what-you-can plan. “In any other city it might not work.”

There may be a subtle prod attached to Cerreta’s kindness. Kitchen workers dole out itty-bitty portions of the organic meals, and hungry customers who have to ask two or three times for larger helpings may feel more generous at the money chest.

With lunchtime donations averaging $5, Cerreta said she was happy to collect $60 a day. But business and receipts grew to more than $700 and as much as $1,000 a day.

Still, the profit margin “comes and goes,” she said. “It’s a wash right now, but I’m committed to this working.”

Cerreta pays her 15 workers $10 an hour; her monthly payroll is $12,000. She often has to buy equipment on credit, but when her rice cooker burned out recently, a customer offered to fix it.

She says the cafe is worth all the effort.

For years Cerreta ran an acupuncture clinic at her brownstone building, then decided to branch out with a sandwich and coffee shop.

She grew weary of offering the same menu, however, and decided overnight to take down the menu and price board.

“I’m just sick of business as usual,” she said.

Later she dropped the acupuncture business, turning spare rooms into cozy dining with an old-world decor.

Business appears to be booming at One World Cafe; the money box is stuffed with bills including one $20 left poking out. Cerreta stuffs it back into a slot. The chest has an unlocked lid, but she doesn’t seem the least bit worried.
AP

UFO over Durban captured on video

“The light was so bright, at first I thought it was a police helicopter searching for criminals. But when I could not hear the sound of the rotor blades, I decided to draw the curtains and check what it was.”

Roshnie Naidu, of Phoenix, could not believe her eyes when she saw a huge, pulsating, colourful light in the sky. “It looked like a massive ball of light, much brighter than the sun, with blue and purple colours filtering through. My eyes were glued to it for almost 10 minutes, it was unbelievable. I had never seen anything like it before,” she said.

Naidu told the Daily News she woke up just before 4am on Sunday.

Shrirama managed to capture video footage
She was watching TV when she noticed a bright light flashing through her curtains. She did not take any notice of it at first, but the light continued to shine in her face.

According to Naidu, when she drew the curtains she could not believe what she was seeing. “I still cannot explain to people who did not see the object what it was.

“After a couple of seconds, the object would change shape from being circular to oval.”

She rushed to her daughter’s bedroom to wake her up, but she refused to get up.

“When I tried to wake up my husband he told me that I was seeing things and sent me away.

“But I persisted and pulled him out of bed and opened our bedroom curtains.”

Naidu’s husband, Shrirama, said he wiped his eyes a couple of times because he could not believe what he was seeing. “I immediately told my wife to call our neighbours and alert them to what was happening.”

Shrirama managed to capture video footage of the unidentified object that was in the sky.

According to the Naidus, the object was in the sky for about three hours. It disappeared as the sun came up and it became lighter.

The Naidus said they had no idea what the object was and would like someone to explain it to them. “We are hoping that someone will be able to view the footage that we have captured and explain the fireball to us,” they said.

Weather forecaster Ntobeko Nkangana said no objects were picked up in the sky on Sunday morning.

Nkangana said weather balloons are released only at midnight and midday. “The weather balloons remain in the sky for a maximum of two hours.”
Ayanda Mhlongo –

FL – DCF’s choice of bids under protest

The Department of Children & Families awarded a $21 million contract to upgrade the state’s troubled child welfare computer system to a company whose board of directors included the former governor of Oklahoma — the man who recommended Secretary Jerry Regier to Gov. Jeb Bush.

The company, AMS Inc., submitted neither the lowest nor the best bid for the contract, according to the DCF’s initial tabulations. But a second tabulation — which included several ”intangibles” such as the agency’s ”confidence” in the team — concluded AMS was the best bidder.

Now, the company whose proposal originally was ranked the best, CIBER, Inc., is appealing the decision — a process that could prove costly to taxpayers. In a June 4 letter to a DCF attorney, a CIBER attorney called the contract award “unprecedented and unlawful.”

In a letter to the agency Wednesday, CIBER’s attorney asked the department to refer the company’s protest to the state Division of Administrative Hearings, where the matter could be resolved by an administrative law judge.

”It smells fishy,” said state Rep. Kenneth A. Gottlieb, a Miramar Democrat on the Human Services Appropriations subcommittee. “There’s been nothing throughout the entire process that leads me to believe they are going to move in the right direction when it comes to fixing [the computer] or any other problems we have at DCF.”

TROUBLED SYSTEM

HomeSafenet, as the computer system is called, has been a disaster virtually since its inception. Five years behind schedule and considerably more than $100 million over budget, the child-tracking system has never been fully implemented, and regularly goes on the fritz.

”Delays in getting the system fixed affect the protection of the children in the child welfare system,” said Rep. Nan Rich, a Weston Democrat who sits on the House’s Future of Florida’s Families Committee.

DCF officials declined to discuss the contract controversy in detail.

‘Due to the complexity and technical requirements in the HomeSafenet procurement, the department appointed a `best and final’ negotiation team to choose a vendor,” spokesman Bill Spann said. That team chose AMS.

Spann said Regier, who joined the department in August 2002 after serving as a Cabinet secretary for Health and Human Services in Oklahoma, was not aware Keating had been on AMS’ board of directors. In 2002, Bush told reporters he considered Regier for the DCF chief’s job at the recommendation of Keating.

”The secretary never discussed the award, or the process, with Frank Keating,” Spann said.

AMS merged with CGI Group Inc., a Montreal-based company with U.S. headquarters in Fairfax, Va., in May, a month after the contract was awarded.

When AMS became a subsidiary of CGI, Keating was no longer on the company’s board of directors.

Officials at CGI-AMS, as the group is now called, declined to comment in detail.

”We are aware that this is going on. We are monitoring it, and we are cooperating with the process,” said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman.

Last year, DCF published a ”request for quotes” to identify a company willing to complete upgrades to HomeSafenet, which provides information to 6,000 child welfare investigators, caseworkers and administrators throughout Florida.

The upgrades were expected to be completed next year.

DCF received three proposals, from AMS, CIBER, and Unisys.

`RATED BEST’

Agency records show CIBER was ”rated best and highest” among the three proposals in an initial ranking. CIBER’s proposal was $4.5 million lower than any of the other proposals, the company contends in a May letter to DCF.

However, administrators reevaluated the proposals under a second ranking system, called “Best and Final Offer.”

The new ranking placed AMS at the top, based largely on seven “intangibles.”

The intangibles included the company and staff’s experience developing child welfare computers, DCF’s ”confidence” in the project management team, and ”demonstration of commitment” to the project. For every category of intangibles except one, AMS ”exceeded” expectations while CIBER only ”met” them.

DCF awarded the contract to AMS April 13.

In a protest letter, CIBER officials questioned why AMS was given glowing reviews for their child welfare computer experience when a similar contract in Illinois was ”terminated,” and the company ”failed” in its attempt to develop a similar project in Georgia.

”CIBER’s review of the evaluation summary provided by the department indicates that the spreadsheet is more of an effort to justify a desired result than a fair and objective balancing of the respective proposals,” CIBER’s attorney, J. Stephen Menton, wrote in a May 19 letter.

DCF has defended its procurement process. Its general counsel, Josefina Tamayo, wrote in a letter to CIBER’s attorney: “Permit us to assure you and your client that the department is committed to conducting procurements that are fair, transparent and compliant with law.”
CAROL MARBIN MILLER – Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder

I apologise for what my country has done

MANAMA: A US lawyer representing three Bahraini Guantanamo Bay detainees has hit out against his own government, which he accused of trampling on the rights of prisoners. Clive Stafford Smith apologised for what he called “the misguided actions” of the US administration and pledged to secure a lawyer for each detainee free of charge.

His promise came just two days after the US Supreme Court granted detainees the right to appeal against their detention through the American legal system.

That verdict marked a huge victory for human rights campaigners and lawyers, who argued that prisoners were being denied basic rights, including the right to a fair trial.

“As an American national, I am deeply ashamed of what my government has done,” Mr Stafford Smith said in a letter to the GDN.

“It is profoundly hypocritical for us to pretend that we are fighting a war to spread the rule of law to Afghanistan and Iraq and – as our first action – deprive people of the very rights we say we are fighting for.

“Hypocrisy is the yeast that leavens hatred and it is hardly surprising that so many people express their disdain for us.”

Mr Stafford Smith has spent 20 years working in the US as a Death Row lawyer – mostly for black prisoners sentenced to die by the American judicial system.

The British-born lawyer, who has been awarded the OBE, also represents an organisation called Justice in Exile.

“I apologise to the prisoners’ families, and to the Muslim world in general, for what my country has done,” said Mr Stafford Smith.

In around three weeks, Mr Stafford Smith is planning a visit to the Gulf – including Bahrain – where he hopes to meet families of all the Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The GDN has already reported how Mr Stafford Smith is mounting a case on behalf of around 60 prisoners, including three Bahrainis.

However, he is hoping that number will increase after the visit.

“We need their consent, and their written testimonies, to represent the prisoners and prove that they are not the wicked, evil people that the US military pretends them to be,” said Mr Stafford Smith.

Justice in Exile has vowed to represent detainees for free and is planning to file a case on their behalf in the US Federal Court.

The three Bahraini detainees already represented by Mr Stafford Smith are Essa Al Murbati, Salah Abdul Rasool Al Blooshi and Adel Kamel Hajee.

He is hoping the remaining three Bahrainis – Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Abdulla Majid Al Naimi and Juma Mohammed Al Dossary – also get on board.

Two Britons represented by Mr Stafford Smith, Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal, were released from Guantanamo Bay earlier this year.

US officials may move the detainees to facilities in the US after Monday’s ruling, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported yesterday.

Pentagon and Justice Department officials said they were considering moving all the detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a single judicial district within the US.

Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Yousif Mahmood yesterday announced that the government has delegated a lawyer to defend Bahraini detainees being held in Cuba.

He said there was no need for any other lawyers to talk on their behalf.
By ROBERT SMITH – Copyright © 2004, Gulf Daily News

Cell Phone Usage Cuts Male Fertility

Research into the fertility of men who regularly carry and use mobile phones has suggested their sperm count can be cut by up to 30%, reducing chances of conception.

The study is the first to indicate male fertility may be damaged by the radiation emitted by mobiles. Men who carry the phone in a belt holster or trouser pocket are thought to be at the highest risk and could one day be advised to put the mobile in a bag or briefcase and away from vulnerable areas.

Details of the research will be released on Tuesday at an international scientific conference of fertility experts in Berlin. The researchers studied 221 men for 13 months comparing the sperm of those who used their phones heavily with others who did not.

They found that heavy users of mobile phones, those who carried their phone around with them most of the time, had their sperm counts reduced by nearly 30%. Many of the sperm that did survive showed abnormal movements further reducing fertility.

While the research suggests an effect on the sperm, the scientists say further work will need to be done to confirm the finding and establish the mechanism by which it might happen.

In the paper, Dr Imre Fejes of the obstetrics and gynaecology department at the University of Szeged in Hungary concludes: “The prolonged use of cell phones may have a negative effect on spermatogenesis (sperm production) and male fertility, that deteriorates both concentration and motility.”

Unlike previous studies, the researchers believe that phones may cause damage while in stand-by mode. Although not in use, they make regular transmissions to maintain contact with the nearest radio masts. It had been assumed such transmissions were too short to cause harm.

In the study, the researchers looked at men using mobile phones operating on a single frequency. In Britain the picture is more complex with a range of technologies and frequencies in use. Experts believe, however, that if biological or health effects were to emerge, they would probably be found across the spectrum.

The findings will be presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference.

Lawrence Challis, emeritus professor of physics at Nottingham University, who chairs the government’s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Group, said that although there were many studies into the health effects of mobile phones, the results were too contradictory to draw firm conclusions.

“There is no conclusive evidence of damage to health, but mobile phones have only been around for about 15 years,” he said. “Many serious diseases take much longer than that to produce symptoms and there is no way the research could show this up.”

Later this year Challis will announce plans for the world’s biggest study into the health impact of mobile phones. He wants to follow the lives of 250,000 people for at least 15 years — simultaneously tracking their phone usage from data supplied by mobile phone companies.

Challis also sits on the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation. In a report last January it reviewed the evidence for damage to sperm by mobile phone radiation, but concluded that although there was a theoretical risk there was too little research to draw conclusions.

A spokesperson for the Mobile Operators Association, which represents the five main UK mobile phone network operators, said there was still no firm evidence of damage to health. “Successive studies have found no adverse health effects,” she said. New doubts are being raised over the safety of Viagra, the impotence drug, after experiments showed it may damage sperm and sharply reduce male fertility.

In the work at Queen’s University Belfast, the researchers found female mice impregnated by a male treated with Viagra produced only about half the normal number of viable embryos.

The researchers also found that Viagra altered the mice’s sperm motility, a key measure of fertility, and that it caused premature changes in the acrosome, the part of the sperm that helps it enter and fertilise an egg cell.

The new study suggests the same problems will occur in human patients. More than 40% of clinics prescribe Viagra to male patients in the belief that it will increase sperm production.

Earlier, test-tube research into Viagra’s effect on human sperm, by the same group, also suggested a risk. It found the drug made sperm swim too fast and caused other damaging physiological changes. Johnathan Leake – The Sunday Times June 27, 2004