January 16th – 22nd 2014

This week, Yik Yak, an anonymous social messaging service, took the spotlight as the latest app causing trouble among youth. Over a gun reference post, Yik Yak caused a lockdown at an Ottawa school early this week. In Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown police report that some students are not attending school because of the app. Across North American schools, the app has ties to threats, cyberbullying, and pranks. Read more about Yik Yak and the concern surrounding it here. Also this week, Vancouver, B.C. gained recognition for being the second most unaffordable housing market in the world, only overshadowed for first place by Hong Kong. Vancouver was the only Canadian city ranked in the top ten for unaffordability, but Toronto, O.N., Victoria, B.C., Kelowna, B.C., and the Fraser Valley region in southwestern British Columbia were also labelled unaffordable. On the east-coast side of housing markets, Moncton, N.B. earned Canada’s most affordable housing market label with Saint John, N.B., Fredericton, N.B., and Charlottetown, P.E. also earning favourable affordability mentions. Read more about Canadian cities’ affordability rankings here.

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


Canada fights back in Buy America feud – Barrie McKenna and Bertrand Marotte

The dispute over the use of American steel to rebuild a remote ferry terminal in British Columbia caused the federal government to invoke the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act (1985), a federal anti-sanctions law, which has only been used once, in 1992, since it was adopted.  By invoking this rarely used anti-sanctions law on Monday, a full-blown trade fight has sprung out of “Buy America” requirements spreading to the ferry terminal’s rebuild.

Software updates, installations now require consent – CBC News

The latest provision to Canada’s anti-spam law requires explicit consent before a website can install software onto a computer; this can no longer happen automatically. Consent is also now required for smartphone and tablet updates.  Although there are some exemptions – operating system cookies, HTML, and bug fixes – there is the possibility of a ten million dollar fine for those who fail to comply.


Taiwan lifts deportation requirement for foreigners with HIV/AIDS – Chen Wei-ting and Y.F. Low

Legislative amendments approved on Tuesday now allow foreign nationals in Taiwan diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to remain in the country. Prior to Tuesday, Taiwain’s HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act (1990) allowed the government to order HIV tests on foreign residents and short-term visitors staying in the country for three or more months, and the Act mandated the deportation of anyone whose test results came back positive.

UN lauds Somalia as country ratifies landmark children’s rights treaty – UN News Center

Somalia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) this week. The move is praised for prioritizing the livelihoods of the war-torn nation’s youngest citizens.  The CRC has been ratified by 195 countries, which makes it the most ratified human rights treaty in the world. South Sudan and the United States remain the only two states that have yet to ratify the CRC.

Thought Provoking Read

A New Antibiotic Found in Dirt Can Kill Drug-Resistant Bacteria – Brian Handwerk

Drug resistant bacteria is a major problem, but a team of scientists have unveiled a promising new antibiotic. Found in soil microorganisms, teixobactin is proving to be effective at treating bacterial infections in animal trials. Clinical tests on humans are at least two years away, but, so far, teixobactin has been able to knock out infections without any toxic side effects.

Photo of the Week

Have you seen the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s newest picture? The image above is just a tease of the telescopes’ full-size image of the Andromeda galaxy. The full image is 1.5 billion pixels (69,536 x 22,230) and requires about 4.3 GB disk space. To see the download the full image click here – we promise it is worth the download! To help you put the sharp quality of the image into perspective, watch this impressive Youtube video (Photo: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler via HubbleSite).

The Undercurrent Journal