Residents of doomed ancient town have nowhere to go

The small ancient town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey.

The small ancient town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey.

ISTANBUL – Hasankeyf, an 11,500 year-old town in southeastern Turkey with vestiges of 20 distinct cultures, is slated to be under 60 metres of water in the near future. As construction of the controversial Ilisu Dam nears completion some 80 kilometres away, the government is encouraging the 3,000 mostly poor residents to move into apartments they can’t afford.

“They killed Hasankeyf,” says Ercan Tarhan, who works at a café in the village. He says he doesn’t have much hope for saving his town, and isn’t sure what he’ll do after it’s flooded. “We don’t want to leave.”

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The ‘Magic Pill’: How Music Helps Kids Escape a Stressful World (30 minute radio documentary)

Young people live increasingly stressful lives these days. One way of alleviating this stress is by taking music classes. In fact, researchers agree that studying music has all kinds of benefits for kids. Despite these benefits, most schools in Ontario don’t have a qualified music teacher with a musical background. Many parents therefore put their children into private music classes, but these can be expensive. Advocates argue that a robust musical education should be provided by public schools so that everyone has access. Nick Ashdown reports in Ottawa.

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The CIA’s targeted killing program

As a month of anti-drone protests begins in the United States, some advocates are calling for the controversial targeted killing program to be shifted from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Defence Department. The program targets suspected members of terrorist groups in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Human Rights Watch is among the groups advocating for this transfer. “Our first and primary concern right now is the lack of transparency,” says Andrea Prasow, HRW’s senior counterterrorism counsel for the U.S. She says the Defence Department tends to be more transparent and accountable than the CIA, and must report its actions to Congress.

The Obama administration is widely reported to be seriously considering such a transfer. Prasow is cautiously optimistic. “I think the reason the administration is considering that move is because they recognize that the lack of transparency has become a problem. At least I hope that’s why.”

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Geoengineering may be option in battle against climate change

As scientists’ predictions about climate change become ever more grim, some are saying we have another weapon in our arsenal.

Geoengineering is the intentional intervention in the climate system to counteract the effects of human-made climate change.

Examples include putting sulphur dioxide droplets into the upper atmosphere to deflect solar radiation away from the Earth, or spraying saltwater into clouds to make them more reflective.

Such measures may become necessary as climate change spirals out of control.

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Most Canadians in favour of changing pot laws

Most Canadians are opposed to the legal prohibition of marijuana, according to a new poll.

The Toronto-based Forum Research Inc. polling agency found that sixty-six per cent of Canadians are in favour of either decriminalization or legalization of cannabis, which is the most widely used illicit drug in Canada.

With the majority of Canadians in favour of less stringent pot laws, the Conservatives find themselves in the minority with their prohibition policies.

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Maman looms next to the National Art Gallery, in that funny position between sitting and standing that spiders often assume. She must be cold, but she doesn’t shiver.

As I venture directly beneath her, her spindly legs, all length and no girth, form a prison around me. They leave smaller footprints than the giant boots worn by the tiny humans quickly walking by in the absurd cold. A cage of 26 white marble eggs hovers above me, attached to her underbelly. I wonder what might hatch from them.

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Braedon’s Adventure

“You no superman,” said the tall, dark skinned man, his heavily accented English tinged with a mixture of amusement and mild disgust.

A very embarrassed Braedon Clark, his sandaled feet bright red, his head festooned with a cartoonishly large silver helmet, tried desperately to balance on the old scooter, as his girlfriend Caitie McRae stood nearby, shrieking with laughter.

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, a fully loaded school bus pulled up, the young children pointing, laughing, and yelling at the silly pink man.

Under the blazing hot sun, Clark pondered his mistake.

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Experts debate humanitarian intervention

OTTAWA — As political violence rages on in Syria, many commentators have called for a humanitarian intervention.

The concept of humanitarian intervention is controversial, with many criticizing and defending it in both theory and practice.

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Speed dating in Ottawa

I’m sitting, drink in hand, in a small, softly-lit lounge, with big band music quietly playing in the background. People are sitting at tables, in booths, and at the bar, chatting, laughing, and drinking brightly coloured cocktails. Many of the tables are adorned with appetizers. Everyone seems relaxed, and so am I, surprisingly.

You’d never know that a speed dating session is about to begin. There’s no long table and benches, no buzzer, and people aren’t dressed especially formally.

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Experts and advocates want supervised injection site for Ottawa

Researcher Ahmed Bayoumi, and advocates Tarah Heighton and Rick Sproule take questions from the audience at a discussion on November 29, 2012 about bringing supervised injection sites to Ottawa. Photograph by Nick Ashdown.


OTTAWA — Researchers and harm reduction advocates are calling for supervised drug injection facilities for Ottawa. Read more of this post