Thinking of travelling to New York City for the holidays? If you’re like thousands of other regular Big Apple vacationers, you may be having second thoughts, thanks to the bedbug epidemic that is reported to be sweeping the city. Reports that the critters are now infesting tourist landmarks like the Empire State Building, Bloomingdales and Lincoln Centre have apparently caused some holiday-makers to head elsewhere, and though none of these destinations have full-blown infestations, the pesky bugs have also been reported in movie theatres, hotels and clothing stores.
Any Canadian child of the 80s or parent during that decade will be saddened to learn of the death of Denis Simpson. The Canadian actor is most widely remembered as host of the hit kids television show Polka Dot Door, but also had a long and successful acting and teaching career since the show’s 22-year run ended in 1993. Simpson died of a sudden brain hemorrhage at the age of 59. Much beloved by the Canadian performing community, Simpson will also be remembered as one of the first black actors to appear regularly on Canadian television. A video of Simpson in a classic 1983 episode of Polka Dot Door can be seen here.
A group of scientists from countries including Canada, the U.S., Russia and Denmark all agree that the Arctic has warmed permanently. Increased Arctic temperatures directly affect lower latitudes, and the team says the warming is directly responsible for the heavy snow seen by much of the U.S., Northern Europe and western Asia last year. The group also reports that Arctic surface air temperatures are warming at twice the rate of lower latitudes, and agree it is unlikely the region will return to previous conditions.
A new study of Massachusetts and Vermont teens found that 9.3 percent of teens reported having had a same-sex partner, up from only five to six percent in 2002. The statistic has Dr. Susan Blank of the New York City Health Department concerned. Blank refers to new research published in the Journal of Pediatrics that reveals that teens in same-sex relationships are more likely to engage in risky, unprotected sexual behaviour. A researcher at the University of British Columbia named Elizabeth Saewyc says this unsafe behaviour happens because safe sexual practices for same-sex couples are not taught properly in high school sexual education classes, a situation she says needs to be remedied.
Omar Khadr pleaded guilty yesterday to the five charges against him, including murder and supporting terrorism. The Canadian-born Khadr has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, when, at the age of 15, when he was accused of murder and terrorism by the U.S. military. Khadr pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with American prosecutors, who told him he would be eligible to apply for transfer to a Canadian prisoner after serving one year of his sentence in a American prison. Many human rights groups claim that because Khadr was only 15 years old at the time of his alleged crimes, he should be considered a child soldier and rehabilitated, rather than incarcerated. Khadr is expected to be sentenced today by a jury of seven military officers.