Having just returned from Rio in a regular airplane seat and not in a body bag, I am pleased to say that we had a fabulous time and are the proud parents of a rugby sevens medal holder. Yes, Rio has problems of major proportions -- including a soaring murder rate and grinding poverty. But let's look at the positive side.
Through unrelenting determination and sheer talent, you finally reach the world's greatest theatre of athleticism -- a level of competition few ever reach. You are an Olympian. Then you see it: the headline describing your victory reads, "Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics."
The Canadian dollar may not be in line with the U.S. dollar anymore, but that doesn't mean it's time to stop traveling. In fact, there are plenty of places around the globe where your Canadian dollars can make you a millionaire, literally. After all, $100 CAD is equivalent to roughly 1,004,817 Indonesian Rupiah and 168,842 Tanzanian Shillings.
The global economic recovery is stumbling badly. Even in the U.S., weakening corporate earnings are deflating stock prices. We can all see that, too. Increasingly, the "smart money" is betting on gold. That is because gold bullion has traditionally been prized as a hedge against both economic malaise and political crises.
The World Health Organization is pulling out all the stops in its effort to turn public opinion against the tobacco industry. Its campaign will launch "monitoring centres" in cities across the world, tasked with unmasking the tactics of the tobacco industry and its attempts to "interfere" with public health policy.
Left out of its December release -- announcing the awarding of the $1.75 billion contract -- was any mention of collusion and bid-rigging by Korean-based Samsung C&T; the ongoing investigation by a Spanish magistrate and anti-corruption prosecutors into "allegations of misappropriation of public funds, falsifying documents and money laundering" at Acciona; and liquidity issues at Petrowest.
While still unproven, the Zika virus, mild for many who get it, appears to cause a severe fetal abnormality -- microcephaly -- in which an infant's head doesn't develop properly in the womb and causes brain damage. The rate of microcephaly in Brazil is suddenly 20 times above average and that rise appears to coincide with Zika outbreaks.
I stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, New York and all over the world who are experiencing police violence. I encourage those of us who are committed to dismantling structural violence against black people that as we chant the slogan "Black Lives Matter", we must also remember "Black Lives Matter Everywhere". Let us not limit our desire for structural changes to only the United States.
There are a group of people often overlooked in the fight against climate change and they can be one of our greatest allies as we figure out how to limit the damage from extreme weather, rising seas and threats to food security. They are the millions of indigenous people who live in the world's remaining forests. Often overlooked, ignored, marginalized and attacked, they stand at the heart of a global solution on climate change that all of us, whether we live in big cities or remote villages, can benefit from.
While the players and fans from Brazil mourned their brutal loss, my son shared the same feelings of defeat. From his folded arms, sulky stare and giant pout -- he was clearly angry about the unfortunate outcome. My son's passionate reaction to the Brazil upset made me reflect on how difficult learning to lose gracefully can be for kids -- and even parents, too.