February 20th – 26th 2015

This week, Alaska joined Colorado and Washington to become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana. The new law took effect on February 24th, but consuming marijuana in public remains illegal, carrying a one-hundred dollar fine. Oregon is set implement a similar law in July. To read more about Alaska’s new policies on marijuana consumption, click here. Also this week, Oxfam published a report entitled “Are French Banks Still Profiting From Hunger?” The report criticizes French banks for failing to stop speculative agricultural commodity trading, which has increased food prices in developing countries as well as fostered food insecurity. To read the report, published in French, click here.

Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective:

Canada

Keystone XL bill vetoed by Barack Obama after approval by Congress – CBC News

U.S. President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline bill, which had already been approved by the U.S. Congress. The vetoing move does not signal the end of the pipeline debate because Obama, after reviewing State Department recommendations, will still have to decide whether or not the pipeline is in U.S. national interest. The 1,900-kilometre proposed pipeline is forecasted to bring 800,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil per daily to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast; Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the veto.

Gender identity bill sent back to the House of Commons – Mike Hager

If passed, Bill C-279 would add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination to both the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Senate has voted twice, in principle, in favour of the bill, but, on Wednesday, the Conservative-led Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee voted in favour of several amendments to the bill that send it back to the House of Commons for further approval. Although supporters of the bill say this move “does look like the death of the bill,” the public debate generated by the bill has positively impacted provincial policies, resulting six provinces adopting similar human-rights codes.

World

Argentina MPs vote to create new spy agency – Al Jazeera

The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Argentinian State investigator Alberto Nisman has led to Argentinian politicians voting to create a new national intelligence service. Nisman was found shot dead four days after accusing Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of trying to cover up her administration’s involvement in a criminal conspiracy with Iran related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires. Nisman died hours before he was scheduled to brief Congress on his findings. Fernandez’s administration has denied any involvement in Nisman’s death, blaming the death on a renegade spy – hence the justification for a new intelligence service.

South Korea Decriminalizes Adultery – Choe Sang-Hun

Citing the protection of individual rights and changing sexual norms, South Korea’s Constitutional Court struck down a sixty-two year-old law that made extramarital affairs a punishable offense of up to two years in prison. Since 1985, approximately 53, 000 South Koreans were indicted under the law. In recent years, defendants rarely went to prison: financial settlements replaced prison sentences.

Thought Provoking Read

Jordan’s 6,000 Mosques Will Soon All Have Rooftop Solar – Ari Phillips

With limited oil and gas resources, Jordan imports ninety-five percent of its fossil fuels, accounting for forty percent of the country’s budget. To counteract the instability of the oil market and regional unrest, Jordan is turning to renewable energy projects to answer its energy demands.  Starting with only one-hundred and twenty mosques, Jordan is set to install photovoltaic solar systems on all of the country’s six-thousand mosques.

Photo of the Week:

 

Anna Hazare, an Indian activist, launched a two-day protest rally against a controversial land acquisition ordinance. Pictured here, farmers wave flags in protest against the Narendra Modi-led government’s proposed amendments (Photo: Rajat Gupta/EPAvia the Guardian).

The Undercurrent Journal