Vancouver hookers get media training for Olympics

A magnifying class will be held over Vancouver from February 12 to February 28 for the Winter Olympics, and Vancouver’s prostitutes want to put their best feet forward. To prepare for the influx of business and – media onslaught – Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE) is helping the city’s sex worker population understand what to expect.

The Canadian agency is putting together a brochure that will help the local working girls understand how to handle requests for photos and interviews – and a general sense of what their rights are when dealing with society’s true vermin (the press). In addition to the pamphlet, PACE will hold a discussion session to bolster the printed lessons.

Congratulations, reporters: even hookers aren’t comfortable around you.

Want more Olympics coverage?

Update: new Canadian weighs 6 lbs and is Ugandan and (maybe) American

The Canadian born on Northwest Airlines Flight 59 yesterday is the daughter of a Ugandan … who is also a permanent resident of the United States. So, at least we know that the newly-minted citizen of our northern neighbor is not Dutch. Sasha, the newest NWA passenger, was delivered mid-flight by Dr. Natarajan Raman and Dr. Paresh Thakker. Raman is a radiation oncologist who hadn’t delivered a kid in 20 years (but remembered the steps. Thakker is a general practitioner.

Of course, there’s no such thing as unbiased news, right? The only way to get to the truth is to see what everyone is saying. There were two doctors involved in this effort: Raman and Thakker. But, there can only be one ego in charge. It can make parceling out props a nightmare, but sometimes a bit of investigation is necessary. After all, credit must be given where it is due. After the jump, see how the two hopeful heroes stack up against each other.

  • Star Tribune: Raman delivered; Thakker helped
  • Telegraph: Thakker delivered; Raman helped
  • KARE (Minnesota): Raman “assisted” … but is somehow called “heroic”
  • New England Cable News: both doctors “helped with the delivery”
  • BBC: both doctors chipped in, but Raman gets the quotes

Based on my math, and I do have the numeracy of a journalist, it’s close. The Star Tribune gives the nod to local boy Raman, while the Telegraph throws its vote to Thakker. NECN plays it down the middle, not giving either doc the lead role.

So far, it’s 1.5 to 1.5.

KARE and BBC are a bit tougher. The former says that Raman “assisted” but didn’t describe Thakker’s role. Also, Raman does get the moniker “heroic” and some loving quotes from colleagues. Thakker gets squat. So, we’ll toss Raman a half point for this one.

Raman 2, Thakker 1.5.

The BBC is a bit more even than KARE (which is another Minnesota news outlet). It doesn’t give either doctor the prominent role, but Raman gets all the quotes. That’s worth a quarter point.

And, we have a winner: Raman 2.25, Thakker 1.5. That being said, in whatever capacity each served, they did bring a new life into this world under circumstances that are far from idea.

Here, enjoy 25 seconds of coverage from NECN:

Woman gives birth over Atlantic on New Year’s Eve

On a flight from Amsterdam to Boston, USA Today reports that a woman of unknown nationality (though probably American or Dutch) gave birth to a Canadian while in flight. The miracle of international airspace is responsible for the citizenship, though it did not cause the underlying birth.

There is no word on whether Northwest Airlines charged for the extra carry-on that materialized while Flight 59 was in the air, but it’s likely they showed a bit of goodwill.

A doctor and paramedic helped deliver the baby girl in Canadian airspace over the Atlantic Ocean, which accounts for the extra dose of citizenship the new kid receives. When the plane touched down at 10:30 AM yesterday, mother and child were rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Update available! Learn more here.

[Via USA Today]

Canada Holds Elections, Conservatives Win but Not by Enough

While their neighbors to the south fret over their own upcoming trips to the polls, Canada got on with it and elected, or in many cases re-elected, its parliamentary leaders earlier this week. The results: the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper won 16 more seats while their Liberal peers dropped 18 seats. However, the results are not enough to give Harper’s party control of parliament. That means that they will have to form a minority parliament, relying on alliances with other, smaller parties to get things done.

Some of the other parliamentary players include the New Democratic Party (NDP), which earned 37 seats, and Bloc Québécois (BC), which now has 50 seats. The BC is a unique party because it seeks the Independence and sovereignty of Quebec Province and is not concerned very much with the rest of Canada. They gained two more seats in this election than they held beforehand. In the end, though, it seems that the elections did not alter the balance of power too much.

[Via CBC]

A Canadian In Beijing: Turn Up The Volume

Ember Swift is the newest member of Gadling. Over the next three months, this Canadian woman will be living in and exploring China. During her time there, she’ll be posting regularly about her adventures. Check in every Wednesday and Sunday to see what China is like from a Western perspective…

Beijing is less than one week away and my musician self can barely keep the volume down. My excitement is cranking and I haven’t even started packing yet. That’s tomorrow’s task and it brings me that much closer to eventually hearing the lilt of Mandarin spoken nearly everywhere I go for a solid three months.

I am a full-time musician who has logged a lot of travel miles. I’m onto my fifth touring van since 1997, for instance, and only two died of unnatural causes (one fire, one theft) while all the others were just driven to their graves after years of loyal service. But, to give you more résumé-like context, throughout the past eleven years there have been ten different independent releases (nine albums and one DVD), thousands of performances averaging approximately one hundred and fifty per year, eight tours to Australia (our most frequent overseas destination) and lots of changes to my band line-up which I must confess includes six different drummers – yikes! All in all, it makes my résumé sound heavily steeped in experience but lacking in flavour. Of course, résumé bullet points don’t include the stories. These stories weave in and out of the awards and accolades, times of struggle and periods of prosperity, debt and recovery. They are told in songs or between songs; they’re stage material that keeps this crazy journey full of life.

At the University of Toronto, I completed a degree in East Asian Studies and have four years of university Mandarin training lodged in loyal cavities in my brain. In between university and this nearly-in-China moment, I have pursued my music career full blast (as described above). What has been missing is the subtle connection between my education and my career. Now, nine years since graduation, it’s time to bring it all together.

My life seems to be playing out like a long-laboured-over song arrangement; this is the moment when all of the players are gathered in the same space and it’s time to hear if their parts fit together. There’s excitement and tension simultaneously, but all of the amplifiers are humming and ready.

China has always been my dream destination. . . . “when the music thing was over,” as if it really would be “over” one day. It only recently occurred to me that I am the agent in making any and all dreams come true, and that I didn’t have to wait for one part of my life to die in order to birth another. Besides, who says they aren’t related? It also occurred to me that going to Beijing for three months is very much a career decision. And, it will be. Now – well, now that I’ve listened to those occurrences — the potential seems obvious. It’s spinning before me.

Not only will three months in Beijing be a luxurious block of time and space to write more songs away from the rigorous tour schedule and constant business and band dynamics, but being surrounded by the tonal beauty of the Mandarin language will push my ear into new musical territories. For me, speaking or hearing Mandarin spoken is like singing or being sung to. Top that off with the opportunity to explore what is happening in the music scene of Beijing and we alight on the research portion of my trip: I can finally dust off some undergraduate research work that was an investigation of women and music in China and the growing audibility of women’s voices in the outpouring of Chinese music. My undergrad research was limited by my geography and I always envisioned the research continuing there.

Here is the door. This is me walking through it.

I’ll be starting off my trip as a tourist. Just a couple of days in a downtown hotel before moving to the University district and setting myself up in a dorm room. I’ve already scoped some sightseeing tours that will take me to some official tourist destinations and then spit me out into the registration line at the Beijing Language and Culture University. There, I’ll be refreshing my rusty Mandarin in a part-time morning course at twenty hours a week. The rest of my time will be spent opening many live music venue doors to listen, jam, meet people and cultivate the hope that I’ll eventually bring my band to China. We are an internationally touring act, but not yet in Asia, and I do believe that this journey will yield that opportunity.

Isn’t that all potential is? Finding the open doors? Being open to opening them?

Three months in one place is a radical choice for a gypsy. Keep in mind, however, that this is a city of fourteen million people to keep me occupied! I am looking forward to undressing the underbelly of the arts scene — particularly the music world — and I am sure that three months of networking, connecting, befriending and exploring will yield colorful stories.

So, I start as a tourist, morph into a student and then morph nightly into the artist that I am. Already I’m realizing that I’m really all these things all at once; this cacophony, or symphony, is me.

How will it sound?

I don’t know for sure, but I’m turning up the volume knob anyway.

Call it trust.