DEMOCRACY NORTH: Feb 10—LGBT Olympics boycott—CBSA custody death—Egypt uprising anniversary

DEMOCRACYNORTH.NET  »  Democracy North is a weekly independent Canadian and global news hour, featuring the week’s top grassroots headlines and interviews produced by our team of journalists this week on Media Mornings daily broadcast.

Mexican refugee Karla Lottini and other advocates deliver a 7,500-signature petition to CBSA’s Vancouver offices Wednesday. Photo by David P. Ball
  • 03:00 This week’s top Canadian & global news headlines.
  • 18:30 — Interview with Josh Paterson (executive director, BC Civil Liberties Association) and Karla Lottini (Mexican journalist, refugee, author of Talent of the Charlatans) on the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez in Canada Border Services Agency custody, a month before the media learned of the death. Interviewed Jan. 30 by David P. Ball.

  • 34:15 — Interview with Mark Smith in Toronto on the Olympics in Sochi and concerns over Russia`s sweeping anti-gay `propaganda`law and boycotts of Games sponsors Coke and McDonald`s. Interviewed Jan 28 by Irwin Oostindie.
  • 44:10 — Interview with Ehab Letoyef (Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy, activist and poet in Montreal) about the third anniversary of Egypt`s popular uprising. The struggle for democracy continues in spite of a military coup. Interviewed by Derrick O`Keefe.
  • Music: Shad Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins), Lal (“Belong”, album “Deportation”), Emel Mathlouthi (Kelmti Horra)

THIS WEEK’S TOP CANADIAN & GLOBAL NEWS

  • TOP STORY: OLYMPICS: GAY LAW — Russia paraded the Olympic torch through Sochi as the Winter Games kicked off, as protests were held around the world against the country’s anti-gay legislation. Vladimir Putin has vowed that Russia will ensure hospitable and top class Games for everyone but the $50 billion project has long been overshadowed by Russia’s law outlawing “gay propaganda” to minors. Gay rights group All Out is organising protests in 19 cities around the world — including Saint Petersburg in Russia but not Sochi itself — urging sponsors to “break their silence” on the controversial legislation (AL JAZEERA).

  • VANCOUVER: CBSA INQUIRY — Several dozen people crammed into the foyer outside Canada Border Services Agency’s Vancouver offices Wednesday, delivering a petition demanding a public inquiry into a Mexican woman’s in-custody death. The BC Coroners Service is continuing to investigate the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, a failed refugee claimant who was awaiting deportation after being arrested for an unpaid transit fare in early December (24H).

  • CANADA: ELECTIONS ACT — The head of Elections Canada raised serious concerns about the Conservatives’ proposed election reform bill, saying it risks suppressing the vote of a number of Canadians and muzzles his office. In his first interview since the tabling of Bill C-23, the Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act, Mayrand raised concerns that changes to the identification requirements could disenfranchise some Canadians, including Aboriginals, youth, and seniors. The bill also means that Mayrand can only communicate when an election is, where polling stations are, and how to vote (STAR).

  • CANADA: SENATE SCANDAL — After a 10-month investigation, the RCMP has laid the first but possibly not the last criminal charges over the Senate expense scandal. Former Liberal senator Mac Harb and suspended former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau were charged Tuesday with one count each of breach of trust and fraud (CP).

  • CANADA: POSTMEDIA OIL LINKS — The same day that Postmedia downsized its parliamentary bureau in Ottawa and laid off prominent environmental journalist Mike De Souza as well as political reporters Andrea Hill and Tobi Cohen this week, a presentation by the media empire at an oil lobby group conference has raised questions about journalistic integrity (VO).

  • AUSTRALIA: CHILD DETENTIONS — Australia’s human rights watchdog has opened an inquiry into the detention of more than 1,000 children under punitive government policies that have seen asylum-seekers arriving by boat taken to Pacific camps. The probe, launched on Monday, will examine the impact of mandatory detention on more than 1,000 asylum-seeker children being held in immigration facilities in Australia (AL JAZEERA).

  • EGYPT: JOURNALIST WARRANTS — The Al Jazeera media network said it has been served with a list of 20 people being pursued by Egypt’s government in connection with a case against its journalists but that only nine of those named were on its staff. In a news bulletin on Wednesday, the Doha-based organisation said that the list was accompanied by several formal charges that were different for each named individual. Three of the Al Jazeera employees listed have been in detention since December 29th – correspondent Peter Greste and producers Baher Mohamed and Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy (AL JAZEERA).

  • SRI LANKA: WAR ABUSES — A report on Sri Lanka’s civil war shows new evidence that the government may have covered up proof of human rights violations. A team of international lawyers on Tuesday said security forces systematically destroyed mass burial sites of civilians, and called on the UN to launch its own investigation into their findings. NGos and the international media were prevented from witnessing the final months of Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil war as government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers in the north of the country, a battle in which the UN believes 40,000 people died (AL JAZEERA).

  • UN: VATICAN CONDEMNED — The UN has rejected a Vatican argument that it cannot implement a children’s rights convention beyond its walls, saying the church has “placed the reputation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s interests.” The Vatican was denounced on Wednesday by a UN human rights committee for failing to prevent priests raping and molesting tens of thousands of children over decades and for adopting policies that allowed abuse to continue once detected (AL JAZEERA).

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