Feds hang Mohamed Fahmy out to dry
Human rights groups, press freedom advocates and many national governments strongly condemned the sentencing of Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy to seven years in prison by an Egyptian court Monday, June 23, on trumped-up terrorism charges. Fahmy, a reporter with Al-Jazeera English, was convicted along with two colleagues.
"This is a corrupt system making a political move to warn other journalists and Egyptian citizens that honest and objective reporting on the country's political climate will not be tolerated," said Canadian Journalists for Free Expression executive director Tom Henheffer. PEN Canada president Philip Slayton called the sentence "shameful," noting a growing trend toward arresting and imprisoning journalists. A 2013 prison census by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that more than half the journalists imprisoned worldwide had been jailed on anti-state charges.
CJFE is urging the Harper government, which has remained largely silent on the verdict, to call on Egypt's president to pardon Fahmy and the others. You can encourage the feds to do so at cjfe.org/AlJazeera.
Ernie Eves irie with medpot
Add former Ontario premier and Mike Harris-era finance minister Ernie Eves to the growing list of high-profile former pols getting in on the medical marijuana game.
Eves, chair of an outfit called Timeless Herbal Care, a Jamaica-based medical marijuana company with a strong Canadian connection, makes the Original Guinea Hen Weed line of products developed by Jamaican researcher Dr. Lawrence Williams and touted as a herbal treatment for cancer and other ills.
Out with the bad at American Apparel
The booting of Dov Charney, the American Apparel CEO, reportedly over a string of sexual harassment lawsuits, has divided the fashion world. Fashion Takes Action's Kelly Drennan says Charney was a force in the shrinking landscape of domestic clothing production. Over at Maquila Solidarity Network, however, Bob Jeffcott isn't convinced American Apparel's ethical image was ever all that, pointing to the company's fight against unionization of its workers. "The real tragedy of Dov Charney is that he never fully delivered on his promise of sweatshop-free clothing." Read Adria Vasil's take at nowtoronto.com.
Nuke threat? Take a pill.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is reportedly considering distributing potassium iodine pills (KI), which reduce the risk of thyroid cancer, to people living near nuclear reactors in the GTA. Right now, the 4 million or so folks who live near Pickering and Darlington have to schlep to one of five pharmacies in Durham Region to pick up the pills. But very few even know they're available. Ontario Power Generation hasn't exactly been keen to advertise the fact.
City moves to patch unused streetcar tracks
Transportation Services is carrying out a pilot project where cyclist Joe Mavec died two years ago on Wychwood just south of St. Clair when his wheel got caught in the track. The solution: thermoplastic paint and asphalt. The new technique might also be used on decommissioned tracks on Adelaide, where a stretch of separated bike lanes will be installed later this year. Unfortunately, cyclists will still have to negotiate the hazards posed by streetcar tracks still in use. On that front, work on a safety strategy that would include an education campaign has yet to be completed. More on this story at nowtoronto.com.
Number of Ontario voters who declined their ballots in the June 12 vote, the highest since 1975.
Compiled by NOW staff, with files by Ben Spurr, Adria Vasil and Shawn-Patrick Stensil.