And Now, the Rest of the News …

Covid got you down? Too much of it on the news: every newscast; 24 hours a day: seven days a week? Depressing?

Take a break. Let me make you feel better about Covid in Canada …by bringing you up to day on what else has been going on in the world:

*Saudi Arabia executed 184 people in 2019, its highest number ever (up from 149 in 2018), including one man who was crucified; however AFTER he was beheaded … perhaps in the new spirit of humanity in the kingdom.

*But it’s China that had the most executions last year, according to Amnesty International … more than 1,000; followed by Iran, at least 251; and, Iraq, at least 100.

*Meanwhile, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have now spent more than 500 days in a Chinese prison … held hostage as Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is allowed to enjoy her luxury Shaughnessy home, as US extradition attempts crawl through the Courts.

*An estimated 1 Million Rohingya Muslims have now been stripped of their Myanmar citizenship, according to Time Magazine, and most are now living in modern “concentration camp” setups in Bangladesh.

*In Yemen, an estimated 100,000 have been killed and more than one million displaced in a civil war pitting the U.S. and Saudi-backed coalition government against rebels, backed by Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

*Afghanistan has recorded more than 550 people killed in conflict in just the first three months of 2020.

*Iraq has its THIRD Prime Minister/government in five months, as it tries to balance its relationship with both Iran and the United States.

* Israel finally has a government: a coalition of EIGHT parties, held together with 36 Cabinet Ministers, after THREE elections in a year.

*Russia now has 1,200 “mercenaries” fighting in Libya, supporting renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar (also backed by France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) against the UN-recognized government (backed by Qatar, Turkey and Italy).

*Around the world, more than 250 journalists are in jail … for trying to do their jobs. Among the worst countries for reporters trying to tell their stories are: China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Vietnam, Somalia and Iran.

*Al Jazeera journalist has now spent 1,241 days (as of Sunday) in an Egyptian jail … without any charges being filed against him.

*And, in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government two weeks ago shut down completely the country’s largest broadcast television and radio network, ABS-CBN.

“The Philippine government shutdown of ABS-CBN reeks of a political vendetta by President Duterte, who has repeatedly threatened the network for criticizing his abusive ‘war on drugs,’” explained Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Just imagine what Duterte would do to this blog/blogger and anyone whose comments on here he would not appreciate!

There’s the state of the world on this Victoria Day holiday weekend.

Now perhaps, Canada’s Covid fight, situation … and progress doesn’t seem so bad!

Always look on the bright side of life … (now whistle!)

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow me @harveyoberfeld on Twitter to get free First Alerts of all new postings on this blog. No spam, just First Alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

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20 Responses to And Now, the Rest of the News …

  1. Horace B says:

    The state of the world, as usual, leaves much to be desired, but there is little Canadians can do by chatting about it.
    However much closer to home, there is a possibility that power may be reverting to hereditary chiefs over the elected band councils in the case of the Wet’suwet’en. Many of us have observed for years the inequalities within our First Nations, for which Canada is blamed.
    We have seen the influence of your blog in Canada, Harvey, and in the case of the Wet’suwet’en, perhaps a little chatroom conversation might benefit the situation here.

    (Response: Well, I guess this is a sort of pot pourri blog topic day… so I’ll bite. I believe elders in every society, and their views and perspectives, should be listened to and respected. BUT decisions, commitments and agreements should be negotiated, reached, and signed with ELECTED or at least designated leaders and representatives … sometimes, if warranted in special cases, ratified by a referendum/vote of the membership. h.o)

  2. DonGar says:

    And in keeping things in perspective:

    Hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria.
    For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900.
    On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.
    Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
    On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
    When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath.
    On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII.
    Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40’s, as it killed 300 million people during your lifetime.
    At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. From your birth, until you are 55 you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed and/or die.
    At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation.
    On your 62nd birthday, you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended.
    When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that?
    When you were a kid in 1985 and didn’t think your 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived through everything listed above.
    Perspective is an amazing art. Refined and enlightening as time goes on. Let’s try and keep things in perspective.
    Your parents and/or grandparents were called to endure all of the above


    (Response: Yes…but THEY didn’t have to suffer through how little GOOD there is to watch on TV! h.o)

  3. BMCQ says:


    Absolutely amazing, now that is putting things into perspective better than we have heard from anyone during this so called pandemic, your post should be repeated in every form of media right around the Free World .

    People every where need to see exactly what you have said here, you have managed to capture and say what thousands of politicians and media types could only dream of putting together the way you have and even then it is doubtful many of them could then express it in the way you just have with such genuineness, authentic, historic, thoughtfulness, insight, and mastery .

    Very Very Impressive ! You deserve a big round of applause .

    I was going to attempt to say something similar to what you have put up today but after reading what you have so skillfully stated here I will simply re read what you have stated several more times .

  4. hawgwash says:

    Clear, unambiguous statement of facts.
    Very rare on this blog, thank you very much.

    Now let’s hope the three or six viral pontificators don’t finish us all off.

  5. D. M. Johnston says:

    It is, as it ever was a foul world made fouler by the odious manipulations of world politics.

    And don’t forget, armed terrorists shutting down Michigan’s legislature and modern day lynchings in the southern US.

    We get almost pure sanitized news from Canadian media, but our politicians are also using the covid-19 fiasco for their own political benefit.

    Horgan is keeping good union workers driving empty buses for fear they would go on EI and the 2020 grade 112 graduating class have been thrown under a bus by the NDP as they don’t seem to be important enough to bother about.

    Civic politicians, believing that money does indeed grow on trees, keep spending massive amounts of money on pet projects, too numerous to mention.

    Just wait till this fall because evidence is pointing to a nasty and vile election campaign which the outcome will be call fake by Trump if he loses and he will not leave office. It is ramping up to be a year of hell.

    One meme I like;” 2020 seems to have a virus, lets reboot and start again.”

    For Canada, keep the bloody boarder closed til 2021, vacation and travel in Canada and plant a small vegetable patch, just in case.

    We ain’t seen nothing yet.

  6. 13 says:

    DonGar …..
    The other day I opined that who would have ever thought we would be subjected to this pandemic. I further complained about economic chaos and how would we ever over come that
    My Grandfather fought in WW1 lost a leg in battle and died in the 70s
    I only wish I had more time to ask how he coped I remember him hitting balls to help me with my little league abilities. He never spoke of ANY of your history lessons low points. He enjoyed life and I never heard him complain.
    I suspect that he would be perplexed over the chaos caused by the Chinese Covid 19
    Don Gar thanks for the wake up call

  7. helena handcart says:

    Hi DonGar,
    You could at least attribute your comment to Pprune. (Unless you are also “Benttrees”)

  8. hawgwash says:

    Reading the hit list, I was reminded of Jamal Khashoggi, Harvey’s outrage and the world’s attention; for about a week.

    That thought and the DonGar post, demonstrate how we’re only concerned about things that affect us directly and as each generation comes along, it cares less about the plight of the previous generation.

  9. DBW says:

    Re: Keeping things in perspective.

    As I have noted before, I am always fascinated at how different people can come away from the same fact, article, event etc. with an entirely different perspective.

    Reading the “perspective” column, I wonder at the intent of the author. I thought the author was trying to say: This pandemic is bad but it is nothing worse than dozens of other historical events that our ancestors got through. There are going to be things we don’t like about how this is managed and some of us will be hit hard financially but if we all stay KIND CALM and SAFE; if we all look after one another as best we can, we will survive.

    When someone else reads the same article and then refers to a “so called pandemic”, I wonder if we are reading the same article. Is the author saying: This pandemic is nothing compared to dozens of other historical events. Get back to work and cut the hysteria?

    It is great to be told to keep things in perspective as long as we know what perspective we are expected to keep.

    Can I go back to e.a.f. who said this in your previous post.

    “What all this federal spending has demonstrated is, if the government wants to it can provide social programs. just hasn’t been a political will up to now.”

    This pandemic has exposed numerous flaws, weaknesses in our society. Care homes and care for seniors, families on the constant edge of survival even in the best of times.

    So what are we going to do after. I find it interesting that in your previous post that we were concerned about how seniors were suffering during the pandemic. But what is the underlying cause of so many seniors being in that situation. Where are the well paying jobs for people today so families can squirrel away savings for retirement. What do we do for all the minimum wage or poverty line workers who get no retirement benefits from work when they retire.

    Let’s keep things in perspective. A temporary increase in dispensing fees and even food SHOULD NOT be a disaster. What is a disaster is a society that accepts the fact that people live in those conditions all through their life not just during a pandemic.

    So what are we going to do when all this is in the past?

    (Response: Your first interpretation is correct: this virus, and the consequences for much of the world (health, social, economic) is the worst many of us have experienced in our lifetime. It has terribly disrupted my own life in several ways …none of them good. However, when I look at so much else that is going on in the world, I still feel rather fortunate and blessed. Even have to smile at the measurable degree of my own “suffering”. As the Monte Python theme song so aptly put it” “Always look at the bright side of life ….” h.o)

  10. DonGar says:

    I can not take credit for the history lesson it was passed on to me and I do not know who the original author is. Thought worth sharing as it does give one a chance to pause.

    (Response: I believe there have been several versions of this … each reflecting different events that have marked the passage of time in respective areas of the world. But they all help make the point: we’ve been there before; we will get through this’ and, likely there will be another highly consequential event somewhere down the road …hopefully, not for a very long time. h.o)

  11. hawgwash says:

    DBW, correct me if I am wrong; I thought your “this perspective vs that perspective” was referring to the DonGar post and how people read it and have a different take away.

    MY perspective was of, how so many people feel hard done by, because of loss of mundane daily events…the hairdresser comes to mind and “It has terribly disrupted my own life in several ways.”

    Then I read Harvey’s reply to you and take away his perspective that your post was in reference to his original blog; again there is “It has terribly disrupted my own life in several ways.

    I have heard people from Washington saying not being able to cruise in BC this summer “sucks” and people from Calgary being devastated, their Victoria Day Tofino trip, was cancelled.

    My life has barely been disrupted, the only down side was, not being one to one with my grandkids. Even as we come out of this, my life will have been shortened by 3-4 months or 0.32% of my time in this dimension.

    But then, that’s just my perspective isn’t it?

    Oh, and by the way, another of my perspectives is, this is the first blog since HO returned, that has been worth spending more than a second read. Too many long winds.

  12. BMCQ says:

    Whoever authored the “Perspective” piece, the one above or other similar they IMHO give almost all of us cause to reflect and indeed put things into perspective and I feel it is most important that as many of the world’s population see what the piece has to say .

    We/I can only guess but the conclusion I draw from the piece is somewhere in between “This pandemic is bad but…” and “Get back to work and cut the hysteria”.

    (Edited…Think you missed the point: THIS topic is specifically NOT about the pandemic …but to get a break away from it)

    BTW Harvey –

    Great update on “The Rest of the News” !

  13. G. Barry Stewart says:

    “Among the worst countries for reporters trying to tell their stories are: China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Vietnam, Somalia and Iran.”

    Don’t forget Mexico, thanks to drug cartels. Reporters there have a way on not even making it to jail…

    As far as the rest of your news list, Harvey: you must have done some real digging to find that. Well done!

    (Response: Actually, I noticed a few weeks ago that some local and national newscasts were all Covid, all the time … as if everything else in the world had stopped. I figured we were all missing out … so just started compiling a list as I saw things mentioned on the internet or covered on international newscasts I tune in. I was amazed at how much and how fast that list grew …lots I left out here. Puts the Coronavirus experience in Canada in perspective. h.o)

  14. nonconfidencevote says:

    If I want News…. I google Reuters and have a subscription to The Economist.
    If I want entertainment… I watch Global TV.
    If I want socialist propaganda…. I watch CBC TV

  15. e.a.f. says:

    yes, we can all stop bitching and that includes me. We do live in a wonderful country. What we frequently complain about are first world problems. Just look at what Durante did in the Philipines. but that is what trump threatened American news stations with a couple of months ago, revoking their licenses if they continued to “lie” about him. My opinion, the U.S.A. will join the list of countries you mentioned. the attacks on Obama are not going to get better and over at
    Rossk’s Pacific Gazetteer, he is reporting Carl Rove is back at it. with Manaford released to serve his sentence at home because of COIVD. nice to be white, rich, and part of the trump circle, Roger Stone still not really dealt with, we could see a resurgence of the original “rat fuckers”, with Carl Rove replacing the late Atwater. Of course with HuffPost reporting Trump says he’s taking the hydrowhaterposion, we can expect to see more deaths in the U.S.A. His base will follow suite and die. He as usual is lying so he won’t be dying, such a shame though.

    Some of the middle eastern wars, will continue until the U.S.A. and Europe back out of it all. That of course won’t happen because France like the U.S.A. loves to sell their weapons abroad. who cares how many people die.

    China’s human rights violations are going to continue because corporations will not permit governments to shut trade down with them. Too bad.

    the U.S.A. has a lot of people sitting on death row. I list the U.S.A. up there with the rest of the countries who “execute/murder” their citizens because in many cases those who are “executed” in the U.S.A. are black and in many cases are innocent of the crime they are convicted of. In this matter, in my opinion, the U.S.A. is no better than Saudi Arabia or any of the other countries.

    Latest stats out of Texas: 217 on death row. their death chamber is the most active in the U.S.A. Most people spend an average of 16 yrs on death row before they are murdered by the state. African Americans make up 12% of the population in Texas but make up 44% of those on death row. Just another “legal” way for the American government to reduce the number of African Americans one way or another. The Innocent Project has fortunately saved a number of people, but they haven’t saved all. As one of the American Supreme Court decisions said, just because you’re innocent, it doesn’t get you off of death row. Yes, that is an actual case. the state refused to deal with the new facts and fought it to the Supreme Court. Now when has that happened to a rich white person. We have to look no further than the latest murder of a young black man for running while black.

    Harvey, its a good post, but lets add the U.S.A. to it as a country which really isn’t much of a democracy anymore and deeply racist. Trump fired a couple more IGs this weekend. I’m waiting for Trump to have Obama arrested. it will happen if he is re elected.

    (Response: I tried to concentrate on countries/regions/issues that do not get much coverage these days. Surely you are not suggesting the “the U.S.A.” is one of those! h.o)

  16. e.a.f. says:

    DonGar, thank you for the post. Its a good reminder. Yes, we’re all hard done by, having to sit on the couch. At least most of us have t.v. and internet.

    G. Barry Stewart, yes its the cartels who do most of the killing, not the Mexican government. Now the fact the government lets it go on, that’s a whole other story. One of my friends who immigrated to Mexico wrote to say, they were doing fine except ready to kill each other being confined to their small apartment. (I’m not worried–they won’t, they love their dogs too much) She did however write the cartels are doing a fairly descent job in her area by handing out money to those who need it.

    When I read DonGar’s post, I had to laugh because no where does it have anything to say about enduring not going to the hair salon or the gym–people had to work too hard back then, etc. When you sit down and think about what our Grandparents went through and compare it to our problems, including my complaint of not having VIHA coming to refill my water bottles, yes I get dehydrated, but back in the early part of the 1900s many in North /America did not have running water in their houses, they had a well outside. True its tough getting to the kitchen sink, but I don’t have to go outside. Bonus!

    We still get to see Stephen Corbert, Seth Myers. People today complain they can’t go watch a hockey, football, basketball game, etc. Back then, people barely had enough money to feed themselves and their families let alone have enough money left for “luxuries”

  17. Gilbert says:

    President Duterte is an absolute disgrace. While he was the mayor of Davao, he killed journalists he didn’t like and ran a death squad. To pay for it all, he hired thousands of ghost workers to raise the funds.

    One of his main critics, a senator, has been in jail for years and has yet to have a trial. She was jailed on the testimony of convicted inmates, and will probably never have a trial as long as he is president.

    The Philippine president has a gangster style of leadership. Those are not just my words, but the words of the Straits Times. He is using the coronavirus to abuse his power. In order to convince people that the lockdown is working, hospitals are underreporting coronavirus deaths and far too little testing is taking place. It is truly a very sad situation.

    (Response: That’s why I thought we should pause in our depression, anxiety, fear about Covid-19 to realize we are still rather fortunate and even blessed. Imagine trying to deal with the pandemic, if you are not very wealthy, and lived in the Philippines or most of the other countries in my list. h.o)

  18. HARRY LAWSON says:


    what you and so many others has pointed out is tyranny is still still alive and well around the world, those of us who live in Canada are truly fortunate. We do not jail or torture our citizens for political reasons , we have decent social programs we have a democracy that is not perfect yet is the envy of many in the world.

    Don Gar you shared a poignant post about what our ancestors lived thru from 1900 forward, they knew hard times, many fought tyranny, fought for democracy and paid the ultimate price.
    i have to ask does today’s society for the most part even understand or care?

    we are indeed fortunate that Harvey can write his blog, we can post on his blog ,we can agree to disagree . in some countries we would be round up and jailed, tortured or executed.

    the thought of having to share a prison with some of my fellow posters is truly disturbing
    remember tyranny begins one act at a time

  19. e.a.f. says:

    Harry Lawson, thanks for the laugh. omg some of us in the same jail cell/prison, its more than I can contain. I can’t stop laughing, even if we were locked in the same board room, it might be too much. Just the though of it… on the other hand would we even recognize each other except of course for Harvey.

  20. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, yes, in some areas the U.S.A. is no better than some of the countries you mentioned. Look at Texas and their “murdering of citizens by the state”. Its no better than these other countries.

    Your friend’s letter, doesn’t make the U.S.A. look any better than other countries which are 2 or 3rd world. the American government doesn’t care about its citizens. they let them die. Not even their medical staff are provided with what they need and we all know how essential they are and how costly it is to train them.

    Durante has people shot and killed, same in Brazil. In the U.S.A. its just they let citizens do a lot of the killing–of people of colour. Not much difference in my opinion.

    (Edited…off topic)

    (Response: What I really like about the letter is that it is from someone on the inside. Until now, many of us had relied a lot on statements made by officials or politicians. To hear what’s it is really like inside right was a real eye-opener, a bit frightening, and certainly motivating when it comes to how important it really is to wear a mask when we’re out and about. h.o)

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