Cheers: to movement on a case that has crystalized the problem of cyberbullying, not only in Nova Scotia and Canada, but around the world. Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old from Cole Harbour, hung herself April 4 after suffering months of bullying and harassment. Her parents allege four boys sexually assaulted Rehtaeh and that one of them distributed a photo of the assault online. On Thursday, police arrested two boys on charges of distributing child pornography. While no one has been found guilty of anything, the charges at least demonstrate police — and the government — are willing to take cyberbullying more seriously. Rehtaeh’s case is not the first such high-profile suicide in Canada. In B.C. last October, Amanda Todd killed herself after chronicling her turmoil using flash cards in a YouTube video. The power of social media combined with teenage cruelty and angst has created a toxic mix. Let’s hope this leads to stronger law enforcement and better long-term solutions.
Jeers: to more court losses. Rack up another one for this province with the Québec Superior Court’s decision Friday not to review the rulings of that province’s utilities regulator. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro requested the review after the Régie de l'énergie rejected all requested corridors for transmitting power through Québec. NL Hydro argued the Régie was slow acting on complaints, and even suggested there was collusion to allow Hydro-Québec to tie up any of the proposed routes. NL Hydro has said it didn’t really expect much to come of the appeal, and is focusing instead on a complaint to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Under FERC rules, any utility doing business south of the border must also provide fair access to competitors at home. That’s all fine, except Newfoundland no longer has its own hands clean on that front — having recently granted Nalcor a monopoly on all power sales in this province.
Cheers: — sort of: to blowing the whistle on hidden cash. Hervé Falciani is being touted as the Edward Snowden of banks. In 2008, Falciani began a cat-and-mouse espionage adventure after fleeing his post as a systems engineer with a prominent Swiss bank. He began releasing sensitive account-holder data to numerous contacts. When authorities in France, Spain and the U.K. got hold of it, they collected more than US$1.34 billion in back taxes. Falciani is not a hero to Swiss authorities, who’ve been on his tail since the adventure began. Criminal or not, however, he’s become something of a Robin Hood figure to those who deplore the secretive and often corrupt nature of international banking.
Cheers: to a little piece of history. MUN archeology student Alicia Morry was carefully sifting through centuries of history at the Colony of Avalon dig in Ferryland last week when she noticed a coin among the bits of ceramic, glass and broken clay pipes. It was a beautifully preserved Elizabethan silver sixpence dating from 1565. The dig has also produced other interesting artifacts this year, including a fragment from a decorated plate made in North Devon, England, dated 1667, as well as a bone needle, beads and several tortoiseshell lancet covers. Lancets were used for medical practices such as bleeding. Always an interesting place, Ferryland.