10/26/2012 04:54 EDT | Updated 12/26/2012 05:12 EST

Don't Miss: 6 of the week's must-reads from

Making headlines this week were a scathing report from the auditor general about Ottawa's cyber-security strategy, new concerns about Canadian meat-processing techniques, revelations about federal Conservative election campaign strategy, the much-anticipated final U.S. presidential debate, growing global apprehension about al-Qaeda militants in Mali, and the 50th anniversary of what could have been the end of the world.

Here are six pieces of coverage from you won't want to miss.

Meat tenderizing and E. coli

Mechanical meat tenderizers use needles and blades to penetrate steak and roasts in what Health Canada says is a "very common practice" used by suppliers, retailers and restaurants "to improve the tenderness and flavour of cooked beef." The process can also drive E. coli on the surface of the meat into the centre, making it harder to kill during cooking, CBC's Marketplace found during a recent test. The Public Health Agency said evidence suggested some of the illness connected with the XL Foods beef recall seemed to be caused by tenderized meat.

- READ THE STORY: Canadians 'need to know' about mechanically tenderized meat

Canadian cyber-security

The auditor general's excoriation of Canada's computer security strategy and the expensive Cyber Incident Response Centre set up to combat online hacking would make perfect fodder for a sitcom about government bungling, were the issue not so serious. Canada's intelligence service puts the threat of online attacks on a par with terrorism, and experts say commercial cyber-espionage costs the Canadian economy billions of dollars a year in stolen technologies and trade secrets.

- READ THE STORY: Greg Weston on Ottawa's blind eye to cybersecurity

Convervatives' ethnic strategy

It's no secret that a highly targeted, well-financed campaign was one of the Conservative Party's strategies in the 2011 election that produced their long-sought majority government. CBC News has learned that strategy was more extensive, ambitious and ultimately successful than previously thought. Its success was thanks in large part to the Conservatives' ability to target swing seats in ridings with large ethnic populations by "narrow-casting" tailored messages to specific groups.

- READ THE STORY: Ethnic riding targeting key to Conservatives' 2011 victory

Presidential debate fallout

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney sought to sell their foreign policy strengths to voters in their final debate, grappling over America's role on the global stage and accusing one another of faltering on foreign policy concerning Mideast tensions, a nuclear Iran and a rising China. Obama ridiculed Romney for expressing Cold War-era concerns about Russia being America's biggest geopolitical foe, while Romney did his best to portray himself as an alternative commander-in-chief with a solid grasp on world affairs. Even so, the political opponents were less at odds than in the previous two debates, taking similar positions on courses of action for some world affairs.

- ANALYSIS: Neil Macdonald - How 'Moderate Mitt' might steal this election

- STORY: Obama chides Romney on foreign policy in debate

- REPLAY: The video of the final presidential debate and the online chat

Al-Qaeda Militants in Mali

Mitt Romney put Mali in the political spotlight during the presidential debate when he said its northern region has been taken over "by al-Qaeda type individuals." The UN and a number of African states are drawing up battle plans. And France is reportedly moving surveillance drones to West Africa and held secretive talks in Paris this week as it seeks to steer international action to help Mali's feeble government win back the northern part of the country from the rebels. And there's a Canadian who knows more than he ever wanted to about these al-Qaeda-linked militants: Robert Fowler, who spent three months as their captive in 2008.

- READ THE STORY: Rick MacInnes-Rae on Robert Fowler's case for taking on al-Qaeda in Mali

Missile crisis and modern politics

This week marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's address to the nation about the Russian attempt to base nuclear missiles in Cuba. "The Cuban missile crisis was the most dangerous event in human history," writes David Welch at the beginning of his book on the events of 1962. In an interview with, the University of Waterloo political science professor and CIGI chair of global security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs says the crisis holds crucial lessons for the leaders of the modern world.

- READ OR WATCH: Cuban missile crisis: From the brink of nuclear war

And from the lighter side, a moo-st interesting story...

A UK insurance company recently revealed some of the odd claims received by its agents over the past 12 months. Thanks to their size and portability, handheld mobile devices and smartphones can be lost in some of the strangest — and hilarious — ways possible.

- READ THE STORY: Farmer who lost iPhone inside cow tops bizarre mobile insurance claims list