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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Canada's Top 10 in '10: The Newsmakers

By: Christian Cotroneo
AOL Canada

For all its bumps and bristles, 2010 was a headline kind of year for Canadians. We thrilled to the triumph of a figure skater who took the ice with tears in her eyes. We recoiled in horror at a soldier's secret second life.

And we got warmed all over by the stunning philanthropy of a humble Nova Scotia couple.

This is a time capsule of the triumphs, terrors and tears that moved us all in 2010.

10. Allen and Violet Large. Sometimes, it takes a lottery to vault a truly special Canadian to our attention. When Lotto 649 announced the winning ticket on July 14, we were the lucky ones in meeting not one, but two extraordinary people: Violet and Allen Large. The couple's surname is certainly in the right place... as well as their hearts. After winning $11.2 million, the Nova Scotia couple wasted no time in giving it away – to charity. "What you've never had, you never miss," Violet told reporters earlier this year.

9. Joannie Rochette. There are too many reasons for Joannie Rochette to make this list. Born in the miniscule Quebec town of Île Dupas, Rochette catapulted to national attention as the country's premier figure skater. Then tragedy struck. While asleep in athletes village in Vancouver, her father delivered a sudden, harsh message: Rochette's mother had died.

With all the pressure in the world on her shoulders – as Canada's brightest hope for a skating medal since Liz Manley 22 years earlier – Rochette had a ready excuse for not taking home a medal. Instead, Rochette turned her pain into a tour de force at the Vancouver Games, earning third-place at the women's singles event.

8. Mark Carney. For a man with such a tight grip on the public purse, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney's proved to be all butterfingers when it came to his personal belongings – if you could call classified bank documents personal. On Nov. 1, while the economic czar was attending a meeting, thieves smashed the windows of his car, making off with Carney's bag. Cue the RCMP, public hand-wringing and all the requisite conspiracy theories. Where was Carney's ubiquitous driver anyway? And what was with all the back-peddling? Suddenly, the missing documents were a little less top secret because they had 'Bank of Canada internal security classification' instead of 'Government of Canada security classification.'
Whoah. K.

In any case, headlines hummed along for a couple more weeks before the bag was somehow recovered. With documents intact? Well, they're keeping that a secret for now.

7. Leslie Nielsen. For his final act, Leslie Nielsen had us in tears once again – just not the kind we're used to when we hear the beloved comedian's name. The star of Naked Gun and Airplane!, Nielsen's straight-faced shtick seemed hilariously fresh even into his 80s. But in late November, Nielsen succumbed to pneumonia in a Florida hospital. And Canadians laughed a whole lot less.

6. Sidney Crosby. Since Sidney Crosby was drafted in 2005, the National Hockey League hasn't been the same. He's been turning scoring titles – along with goaltenders – upside down. Year after year, the product of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia has improved on his dominant 102-point rookie season. But this year, 'The Kid' has been downright torrid – with 53 points in just 33 games. Over the course of a season, that puts him on pace for an eye-popping 132 points. Did we mention he led Team Canada to a gold medal in Vancouver?

5. Russell Williams. In any other light, the broad-shouldered soldier, with his square-jawed features and impeccably pressed uniform might have elicited a certain martial admiration among his fellow Canadians. Williams seemed the very icon of Canadian military service. But all that changed in one blinding instant in February. Instead of colonel, the 47-year-old earned a couple of other titles: Murderer. Rapist. His trail of carnage – from the stalking and murdering of young women to his own self-documented demons – was suddenly laid bare upon his arrest and confession. And Canadians woke up to find no hero in this story. Only a monster in their midst.

4. Toronto Police Officers. Toronto police get more than their share of hard knocks. If it's not the kaleidoscope of crime the city throws at them every day – it's a local media that's all too eager to throw them under a bus to sell a few extra newspapers.
It is, certainly, an unenviable tightrope to walk every day – especially when your critics are also those you're sworn to protect.

But, on the whole, Toronto police have had an eventful year, on the positive side – community projects, outreach programs, and yes, crime-fighting. Just one blemish. But it's a biggie. The handling of last summer's G20 Summit. There's no getting around the images or the eyewitnesses accounts of police brutality and mass detentions. A few bad apples? Sure. But they made it a heck of a lot easier for the usual antagonists to throw a few pies.

3. Stephen Harper. You knew our Prime Minister was a shoo-in for this list – if only by virtue of having a job that can't help but set the national agenda. The only question was where he would land on the list. Well, for the longest time it looked like Harper would occupy a lower-tier this year – having a particularly ho-hum 2010. Then he showed up at the Conservative caucus Christmas party and burned the place down. He belted out the likes of Jumpin' Jack Flash and the Who's The Seeker with dog-baying enthusiasm. That's right, the 22nd prime minister of Canada, the honourable Stephen Joseph Harper went live. Some say, for the first time.

2. Justin Bieber. Annoyed yet? For some Canadians, just the name may be all it takes to trigger a gag reflex. Call it the price of super-saturation. Since the 16-year-old pop singer parlayed his surging YouTube career into a recording contract with Island Records, Canadians haven't had a moment's silence. Of course, for the millions who made his first two albums – My World and My World 2.0 – platinum that can only be a good thing.

1. Julian Assange. How did an Australian make his way onto Canada's Top 10 Newsmakers of the Year? The WikiLeaks founder may seem like a cheat for this list, but in our defense, he has rocked more Canadian headlines in 2010 than the prime minister. Through his whistle-blowing website, the 39-year-old has exposed everything from how a former CSIS chief really feels about Canadians to the real reason why our prime minister may have taken a sudden French vacation.

If journalism's much-touted mission is to keep authorities honest, then Assange may be the uber-journalist. Through his website, WikiLeaks, Assange has triggered an avalanche of honesty. His enemies brand him a destabilizing force – with some prominent Canadians even calling for his head. His admirers see a champion of truth, being martyred by the machine.

So is Assange a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing information from the rich and doling it out to the poor? Or a reckless endangerer of international diplomacy – and, oh yes, sexual assaulter of Swedish women?

They say history is written by the winners. So it's fair to say that Assange's legacy is still a work in progress. WikiLeaks has made authorities uncomfortable. And it appears that authorities are doing their best to make him even less comfortable. That relationship promises to continue unabated in 2011.

We can only hope it will be a good long read.

Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP/CP
36 photos
Julian Assange walks out of a London court house after being released on bail. The WikiLeaks founder was fighting extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations. Assange later called the claims "ridiculous" and a "smear campaign" in an interview with BBC's' Newsnight.'

WikiLeaks: Documents of Mass Destruction

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court inside a prison van with red windows on December 14, 2010 in London, England. Mr Assange is expected to seek bail during his extradition hearings.
Journalist John Pilger arrives at Westminster Magistrates court as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appeals for bail on December 14, 2010 in London, England. Mr Assange is expected to seek bail during his extradition hearings.
Bianca Jagger arrives at Westminster Magistrates court as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appeals for bail on December 14, 2010 in London, England. Mr Assange is expected to seek bail during his extradition hearings.
Hundreds of Australians rally in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sydney on December 10, 2010. People gathered outside Sydney's central Town Hall and Brisbane's foreign ministry office to support the 39-year-old who remains on remand in Britain on sexual assault allegations, with the rallies designed to coincide with international human rights day.
Linus Olsson is Chairman of the Flattr Company photographed in Malmo, Sweden, December 9, 2010. Flattr described them self as "the world's first social micro-payment system" and are in contrast to PayPal Visa and MasterCard still transferring money to Wiki leaks.
Jon Karlung, the chairman of the board and founder of Bahnhof, one of the companies to host WikiLeaks servers gestures as he speaks on November 9, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Pionen White Mountain data centre, once a cold-war era bunker and nuclear shelter, is now home of one of the most intesnse data centres in the world.
A Bulgarian demonstrator attends a protest against the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, outside the British embassy in Sofia on December 7, 2010. WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange was refused bail by a British judge over claims of sex crimes in Sweden, dealing a fresh blow to the website which vowed to stay online and reveal more US secrets.
Julian Assange wasn't granted bail after appearing in court on Tuesday following his arrest by British police over alleged sexual offences in Sweden and was taken away in a white van.
The WikiLeaks founder, 39, told a district judge at Westminster Magistrates Court that he refused to be voluntarily extradited to face the four charges.
He was refused bail despite five wealthy supporters, including heiress Jemima Khan, film director Ken Loach and writer John Pilger, (pictured here) offering £180,000 in assurance.
A vehicle carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at the rear entrance of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, where he was scheduled appear on an extradition warrant. Assange surrendered to London police as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the latest blow to an organization that faces legal, financial and technological challenges after releasing hundreds of secret U.S. diplomatic cables. If he challenges his extradition to Sweden, he will likely be remanded into custody or released on bail until another judge rules on whether to extradite him, a spokeswoman for the extradition department said on customary condition of anonymity.
Peruvian Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa gives a press conference at the Old Stock Exchange in Stockholm on December 6, 2010. Vargas Llosa said that the publication of secret documents by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks was great because it encouraged tranparency, but at the same time dangerous because it fragilized the essence of democracy.

Filed under: Canada

Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html

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Did You Know......?

Did you know.................
50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality (Source: 1989 State of Massachusetts Study)
AIR FRESHENERS: interfere with the ability to smell by coating nasal passages with an oily film, or by releasing a nerve deadening agent! Toxins in air fresheners include: Formaldehyde: highly toxic, known carcinogen. Phenol: can cause skin to burn, peel, and sweat. Can cause convulsions, coma, circulatory collapse and even DEATH!

LIQUID DISH-SOAPS: is the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of 6 (over 2.1 million accidental poisonings per year) (contains formaldehyde and ammonia in most brands) One Million poisonings in Canada each year are due to household cleaner ingestion. Some are fatal. The #1 cause of household poisoning is dish detergent. What kinds of chemicals are in those products? http://www.rense.com/general19/chemical.htm

AUTOMATIC DISHWASHING DETERGENTS: contain dry chlorine that is highly concentrated. #1 cause of child poisonings, according to poison control centers.

CHLORINE BLEACH: is a strong corrosive and can burn or irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory system. Can cause vomiting or coma if swallowed! WARNING! Never mix with ammonia as the fumes are very dangerous and can be DEADLY!

AMMONIA: is very volatile and damaging to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract!

FURNITURE POLISH: contains Petroleum Distillates, which are highly flammable and can cause lung and skin cancer!

DRAIN CLEANER: most drain cleaners contain lye, hydrochloric acid or trichloroethane, which are all very caustic. They burn the skin and eyes, and can cause liver and kidney damage.

OVEN CLEANER: contain lye, which is a strong caustic and irritant to skin and eyes. Can cause tissue damage if swallowed.

TOOTHPASTE: can contain a number of harmful ingredients, such as: ammonia, benzyl alcohol/sodium benzoate, colors, ethanol, flavours, fluoride, formaldehyde, mineral oil, plastic (PVP), saccharin. Formaldehyde, mineral oil, PVP, and saccharin are all classified as carcinogens or suspected carcinogen, as is fluoride, which has been banned in many European countries and is the subject of concern with regard to thyroid problems. In fact, as of April 1997, toothpaste is required to carry poison control information on the label as even a small amount can harm or kill a small child.

Occupational Safety & Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products. A personal care product is de-fined as anything we use to clean our bodies, or make ourselves look or smell good.
The results are as follows:
884 are toxic
146 cause tumours
218 cause reproductive complications
314 cause biological mutation
376 cause skin and eye irritations
778 caused acute toxicity

Over the last 20-30 years, as more toxic chemicals have been introduced in greater amounts, the level of toxins stored in adipose tissues (fat cells) of our bodies has risen. Bio-accumulation studies have shown that some toxins store in our bodies for life. Greater and greater amounts are being stored at younger ages. Diseases that used to occur later in life are now appearing at younger ages. Diseases that used to be rare are more frequent. For Example: There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer since the addition of pesticides into household products. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

In one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma (29% for men; 82% for women-the higher rate for women is believed to be due to women's longer exposure times to household chemicals) (Source: Center for Disease Control)

Due to the increase in toxic build-up in our bodies, including the toxic build-up of formaldehyde, dead bodies are not decomposing as fast as they used to. (Source: National Institutes of Health)

There is an increased risk for leukemia in children where parents have used pesticides in the home or garden before the
child's birth (Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological
abnormalities. (Source): Consumer Product Safety Commission

In most cases, however, you won't find much information on the label. There are no requirements of manufacturers to actually disclose what is in a product, and there is no regulation or enforcement. All of it falls under proprietary trade secret legislation.

Today, cancer is the leading cause of death for women ages 35-74. In 1901 cancer was considered a rare disease. Statistics show that only 1 out of 8000 people had cancer. TODAY, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 out of every 3 people has cancer. TODAY, 1 out of every 2 people has been touched by cancer. The fear of cancer is on every-one’s mind these days. So many forms of cancer and they all had to start somewhere . . .

How Safe is My Family?
This is the question that every parent should be asking themselves.

We have no choice but to breathe the air, eat the food, and drink the water; but we DO have a CHOICE of what we put on our skin and what products we have in our homes.

I know that I personally do not ever want to believe that I caused harm to my family, when I had the choice to change it. I’d love to help ensure a safer home for your family.

For more information on how to make your home a healthier place for you and your family please go to my website and I will call you with the information. I would love to help you have a healthier safer home!
Jennifer McLennan


"To be successful, you must love and believe in what you do! You must have belief in yourself! Anything is possible with belief!"
Written in 2011 by Jennifer McLennan (ME) --- Canada
I truly think if you don't have belief in what you are doing and in yourself, there is no chance in success. But if you do have the belief, all things are possible!

"Life's like a boom-a-rang. The more good you throw out, the more you receive in return." ~Josh S. Hinds

"Treat people how you want to be treated."~Unknown

"Honesty is always the best policy."~Unknown

"No act of kindness, know matter how small is ever wasted."~Unknown

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We should All start our day like this :)

Sheryl Crow on Motherhood & Healthy Child Healthy World