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Jean Jacques Rousseau and Egypt

From The Vancouver Sun’s online opinion blog:

In watching the live streaming coverage of the Egyptian revolution on Aljazeera, I am awe-struck by the incredible humanity of what is unfolding in that country. I imagine Jean Jacques Rousseau wandering amongst the throngs of people and being equally amazed and delighted. For the character of this uprising, this outpouring of frustration and joy, of kindness and determination, of compassion and hope and community is more Rousseau than it is Mohammed or Marx.

The image of an old man with a long white beard racing his horse across Liberation Square yelling at the top of his lungs “I am free! I am Free! I am free!” – hardly able to comprehend that he was able to do so without fear of bring beaten or worse, is for me the most enduring image of the incredible events taking place in Egypt.

Read more.

Osama who?

Anwar al-Awlaki named America’s new No. 1 terror threat

 Photos: Margaret Atwood tours The Vancouver Sun newsroom
Canadian literary (and Twitter) icon was in Vancouver for a Writers Trust event on Thursday. We invited her, via Twitter, for a tour of our Digital First newsroom, and she came in to have a look around with our editor-in-chief, Patricia Graham.

Photos: Margaret Atwood tours The Vancouver Sun newsroom

Canadian literary (and Twitter) icon was in Vancouver for a Writers Trust event on Thursday. We invited her, via Twitter, for a tour of our Digital First newsroom, and she came in to have a look around with our editor-in-chief, Patricia Graham.

Muslim Brotherhood promises “day of rage” in Egypt today

The extent of the threat to the 30-year regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be seen on the streets of Cairo and other cities today as the banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood promises to mount a “day of rage.”

Since widespread protests against Mubarak’s authoritarian rule erupted on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood, widely believed to be Egypt’s most popular political group if free and fair elections were held, has refrained from official involvement.

And although a few easily identifiable members of the Brotherhood have taken part in demonstrations, the protests, mostly involving young people marshaled by social network messaging, have quickly lost steam.

The extreme but largely nonlethal response by the Egyptian police and security forces has seen the numbers dwindle from about 20,000 on Tuesday to minor protests by a few dozen people on Thursday.

In an effort to stop the kind of organic uprising that happened in Tunisia and spread to Yemen on Thursday, Egyptian authorities have shut down social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and have even blocked cellphone text messaging.


Read more from The Vancouver Sun’s Jonathan Manthorpe on the “day of rage”.

How you can watch 'Iranium'

The Iranian government’s campaign to suppress the critical documentary Iranium has met another setback.

 

When she was born, Queen Victoria ruled England, Czar Nicholas II led Russia and William McKinley was president of the United States. Happy birthday to Sum Ying Fung, who, at the age of 112 today, is likely the oldest living Canadian.
More.

When she was born, Queen Victoria ruled England, Czar Nicholas II led Russia and William McKinley was president of the United States. Happy birthday to Sum Ying Fung, who, at the age of 112 today, is likely the oldest living Canadian.

More.

In  a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege, Mexican smugglers tried to use  a hefty catapult to hurl drugs north over the U.S. Border, authorities said.Read more.

In a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege, Mexican smugglers tried to use a hefty catapult to hurl drugs north over the U.S. Border, authorities said.

Read more.

If he was a movie star and he did not get in, that person should be fired, whoever refused to see him. I would have seen him. I would have known who he was. [If not] I certainly would have asked somebody: ‘Who is that guy?’

—ArtsClub Theatre artistic director Bill Millerd reacts to hearing about how his company missed the chance to hire Oscar nominated actor Colin Firth in the 1990s. Read more about Firth’s Vancouver days here

Hunter S. Thompson: Letter to The Sun

In October 1958, famed journalist Hunter S. Thompson applied to work at our newspaper. Here is his complete letter:

To Jack Scott, Vancouver Sun

October 1, 1958

57 Perry Street

New York City

Sir,

I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley. By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand.

And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you. I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.) Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers. If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews. I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations. I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip. If you think you can use me, drop me a line. If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely,

Hunter S. Thompson


Here’s more on the story.  

How does one define ground beef?
Taco Bell does it in terms that has gotten the company sued for false advertising. 
Read the story here. 
[Illustration: Chris Parry/Vancouver Sun]

How does one define ground beef?

Taco Bell does it in terms that has gotten the company sued for false advertising. 

Read the story here. 

[Illustration: Chris Parry/Vancouver Sun]

Defining meat: Taco Bell hit with ground beef lawsuit

In Canada, the Food and Drugs Act in conjunction with the Meat Inspection Act defines ground meat as “boneless, skinless meat of the species indicated that has been ground” and specifies fat content at 10% (extra lean), 17% (lean), 23% (medium) and 30% (regular). The guidelines also specify that: “the standards provided above do not allow for the addition of: any species other than the species named; mechanically separated meat; any preservative (e.g. sulphites, sodium erythorbate, ascorbic acid, etc.); any other ingredient or additive (e.g. fillers, seasonings, phosphates, etc.)”.

Taco Bell describes it as:  ”Water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate.”

And now, a new class action lawsuit is looking for some clarity.

Egyptians take to the streets, demand Mubarak resignation

CAIRO - Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo on Tuesday, facing a massive police presence, to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in a protest inspired by Tunisia’s popular uprising.

Despite some 20,000 to 30,000 police being deployed in the centre of the capital, demonstrators broke police barriers to march towards central Tahrir Square, and police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse them.

Carrying Egyptian flags and chanting anti-government slogans, the protesters temporarily withdrew but quickly regrouped.

In a nearby road that leads to parliament, police sprayed water cannons as protesters threw stones.


Read more.


An Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldier looks on at Srinagar s central square Lal Chowk on January 25, 2011. The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised a rally of youth members to Srinagar, the main city of Muslim-majority Kashmir, where they want to raise the national flag on Republic Day.The world in pictures: January 25, 2011.

An Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldier looks on at Srinagar s central square Lal Chowk on January 25, 2011. The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised a rally of youth members to Srinagar, the main city of Muslim-majority Kashmir, where they want to raise the national flag on Republic Day.

The world in pictures: January 25, 2011.