Bitcoin brew

The world’s first ATM capable of swapping bitcoins for any official currency started operating this week in a coffee shop in Western Canada. Bitconiacs, a storefront currency exchange owned by three 20-something entrepreneurs, claims to be first in the world to set

Defending the “black market in human decency”

This essay in the New York Times, Slaves of the Internet, Unite, is a fine defence of the value of writing, art and, yes, journalism. Tim Kreider, an American writer and cartoonist, quotes Vladamir Nabokov: “Let us not kid ourselves. Let us remember that

Manthorpe on Mozambique’s ageing rebels

Brutal politics and governance in Mozambique are worthy of a Greek tragedy or Game of Thrones-type saga, all on their own. With supporting roles played by a rotating cast of Portugal, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, South Africa and America’s puritanical Christian Taliban, the country previously descended into

Polio and progress

In most of the world polio is a mere bogeyman, a shadow that drifts through our awareness every October 24, the day global health agencies call World Polio Day. Few suffered, or now recall, the polio epidemics that menaced cities from the

Manthorpe: pirates and mercenaries

Writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe: Piracy and ship hijackings have spawned a worrying boom in largely-unregulated security companies offering armed mercenaries to protect merchant ships plying dangerous waters. However, the perils of having freelance guns-for-hire roaming the high seas have been again

Naheed Nenshi’s unlikely stardom

There are strange doings in Alberta, the Canadian province that’s often compared to America’s state of Texas. Alberta has been characterized by its Go-Get-‘Em attitude, cowboy hats, and an economy based on oil and gas extraction, especially the oil sands in its

The Facts Behind Fracking

Public debates and heated controversies over hydraulic fracturing have become a constant, currently including in South Africa,  Europe and even the meatpacking district in New York. But it was a protest against fracking in eastern Canada that made world news this month: Five police vehicles were

Carpe diem? Not for long.

In the perpetual debate about whether humans are good, greed scored another point. Researchers in Europe and North America invented a game in which players had to cooperate to receive both individual cash and a reward for achieving a public-good  – the

Manthorpe on the Commonwealth summit boycott in Sri Lanka

Writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe in today’s column: Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, does not come across as a man who is much concerned whether or not he has allies for his political stands. However, Harper may not welcome India’s Prime

Remembering the Famous Five

By Brian Brennan Today is Persons Day in Canada. I was reminded of this, not by a story in the Canadian media – which by now has become blasé about this annual commemoration of women’s rights – but by an opinion column