10 Posts in 10 Days: 10 Canadian NGOs to Follow in 2015

This year, countless Canadian NGOs led the way in the development sector, creating waves of change on an international level. This list, compiled by Devon Matthews, features 10 Canadian founded and operated NGOs. These organizations work on some of the world's most pressing issues, including women’s rights advocacy and medical services provision. Check out their 2015 campaigns and consider becoming involved or donating to some of these amazing organizations in the new year!  Engineers Without Borders (EWB) This group’s tagline -- “We are outraged and hopeful” -- speaks volumes to the passionate and pragmatic work this organization does. EWB works with engineers, major Canadian companies, university students and development workers from across Canada to innovately create meaningful change in communities across the African continent. In 2014, one project that EWB advanced was Mining Shared Value (MSV), which connects Canadian mining companies with the African communities they are working in to create an ethical and mutually beneficial business model.  Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) AWID is an “international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women's human rights” through innovative projects. AWID draws attention to gender inequality and women’s rights-related issues . Above and beyond AWID’s direct action, however, AWID’s website serves as an excellent source of information and publications. Check out their 2014 report on funding allocation to gender equality issues in development.  Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) CCR works to create policy changes concerning the rights of refugees in Canada as well as abroad, with a special focus on refugee family reunification. In 2014, CCR lobbied for changes in policy regarding refugee health care access, discrimination of refugee assistance based on religion in bill C-43 and issues of human trafficking to and within Canada. Additionally, CCR does excellent work in the infrequently-addressed area of LGBT refugee rights.  Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative Founded by the renowned LGen. Roméo Dallaire (ret’d), the Child Soldiers Initiative seeks to eradicate the use of child soldiers in armed conflict situations by providing training to international police, military, peacekeeping and security forces, In addition, the Child Soldiers Initiative conducts extensive research on this issue and advocates for the international conventions against the use of child soldiers. This organization is guided by Dallaire, whose extensive experience with child soldiers in both Rwanda and other countries has assisted this organization in its effective work.  Dignitas International Dignitas International, co-founded by Dr. James Orbinski and James Fraser, was created to provide medical care and access to those suffering from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) in Malawi. Today, Dignitas works in many countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including its original projects in Malawi. In addition, Dignitas has focused considerable energy on clinical research and policy advocacy regarding access to essential medicines for both HIV/AIDS and TB. In 2014, Dignitas trained health care workers to respond to the Ebola crisis in order to contain the spread of this deadly disease.  The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) HRNK has been working tirelessly over the last decade to bring global attention to the crimes of the North Korean government, specifically in relation to the estimated 200,000 North Koreas currently serving multi-generational sentences for political crimes in labour camps. HRNK has worked closely with Shin Dong-hyuk -- the only known North Korean that was born a political prisoner and successfully escaped the country -- in lobbying for greater action by international governments and the UN.  The Maria-Helena Foundation This Vancouver-based NGO works to provide education, skills training and health care for children in Pakistan. This foundation also gives scholarships to Pakistani women who are leaders in their communities in Pakistan.  Founder Dr. Muhammad Iqbal is from Pakistan, and thus has a lifetime of experience with Pakistani development issues that allow him to inform the organization's mandate.  Disabled People’s International (DPI) DPI provides much-needed support systems for those who identify as disabled and struggle with issues of access and equality worldwide. DPI works in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to ensure that the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities is upheld through lobbying and advocacy work.  DPI has been working on a two phase project that began in January of 2014 and will carry into 2015, which aims to integrate those suffering from leprosy into their disability advocacy movement in 18 countries in the Global South.  The Stephen Lewis Foundation The Stephen Lewis Foundation is world-renowned for its fantastic work fighting to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Over the past decade, the Stephen Lewis Foundation has funded over 1,100 initiatives run by 300+ community-based organizations across 15 countries in Africa. In addition to the provision of treatment for those who suffer from HIV/AIDS, the foundation also focuses on preventative community education and support networks to assist children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.  Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL-ACAADR) This group of Canadian lawyers and law students works on a non-profit basis, advocating for the rights of international refugees in Canada and providing free legal services for those who are unable to afford legal representation. In 2014, CARL did extensive lobbying work to attempt to change the Conservative Government’s stance on the rights of Syrian refugees. -Devon Matthews Read More

10 Posts in 10 Days: Comparing 2004 to 2014

We are 10 days away from the release of the 10th anniversary issue of the Undercurrent! To celebrate this milestone, we thought we’d do a blog series: 10 Posts in 10 Days. Today, we kick off the series by looking back at what was going on in the world when the Undercurrent was created! Comment below if you think of anything else that happened in 2004.

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Our World This Week: January 9th – 15th 2015

Our World This Week: January 9th – 15th 2015 This week, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada called for stricter air-taxi safety measures. This call for stricter measures – including more shoulder harnesses and alternate escape routes – came from a report released on Tuesday that cited poor weather and pilot error as reasons for a deadly plane crash on Vancouver Island in 2013. Read more about the safety factors outlined in the report here.  Also this week, the same day that U.S. President Barack Obama called for new federal laws to tighten personal data protection, hackers called the “CyberCaliphate” took over the Twitter and YouTube channels of the U.S.’s Middle Eastern operations military command. Read more about the hack here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Tory government will end funding of body that oversees Canada’s health accord – Steve Rennie The federal government announced that the Health Council of Canada, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the ten year, forty one billion dollar health accord struck in 2004, will no longer receive federal funding. The council relies solely on this federal funding.  The council will receive just over six million dollars to cover operations for the remainder of this fiscal year and another four million dollars to shut down. Harper postpones Three Amigos summit amid chilly relations with U.S. and Mexico – Campbell Clarke Prime Minister Stephen Harper postponed the North American leaders’ summit – dubbed the Three Amigos summit – with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. With the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at the top of U.S. political agendas, this move allows Harper to avoid a side-by-side news conference with Obama. Officially, the Harper government did not provide an explanation for the postponement.  World: Sri Lanka releases 572 prisoners to mark Pope's visit – Reuters via The Times of India Sri Lankan authorities released 572 prisoners and reduced jail terms of an unspecified number of other prisoners. Typically, on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, February 4th, authorities release prisoners convicted of minor offences; however, the release occurred early this year to mark Pope Francis’ visit to the country. Mozambique and Malawi floods cause havoc – BBC News Major flooding has left tens of thousands displaced in both Mozambique and Malawi. Hit by late summer storms, the bad weather is expected to continue for several days. Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika declared that a third of Malawi is in state of disaster, and, in neighbouring Mozambique, most of the northern region is without electricity. Thought Provoking Read: Low Oil Prices Could Shake up Africa’s Petro States – Jill Shankleman One in five African states is heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues. Yet, these revenues have not generated the forecasted economic and social growth. Shankleman outlines the political, social, and economic consequences of falling oil prices for African states dependent on oil and gas. Shankleman argues that, for these states, the decreasing price of oil may foreshadow that more instability is to come. Photo of the Week: OWTW Jan 9-15 Pictured here is the newest species and the only reptile in the world ever found from its time: 300 million years ago. The fossil was found on a beach in P.E.I by a young boy. The new ancient reptile has been named Erpetonyx arsenaultorum after the family of Michael Arsenault who found the fossil.  (Photo: Sean Modesto/Cape Breton University via CBC News). Read More

Our World This Week: January 2nd – 8th 2015

Our World This Week: January 2nd – 8th 2015 This week, masked gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper based in Paris. The attack left twelve dead and many injured. Investigators continue to unmask the truth behind exactly what happened and why. To read more about the lives that were tragically lost, click here. Also this week, the search for the missing AirAsia flight continues. Are you wondering why it is proving to be so difficult to find the missing flight? Click here to learn more about the intricacies of the search. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Ad costs for Canada's 150 birthday party rising but no plans in sight – Stephanie Levitz Although it has yet to be revealed what the actual events will be, advertisement alone for Canada’s one-hundred-and-fiftieth birthday is carrying a hefty price tag. With a cost of nearly twelve million dollars, so far, promotional advertisement is already five million dollars over the government’s estimation. Canada vows to accept 13,000 more refugees from Syria and Iraq – Steven Chase Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that Canada will accept another ten thousand Syrians over three years in addition to three thousand more Iraqis this year. Moreover, priority will be placed on persecuted groups. The United Nations Refugee Agency appealed to nations in efforts to resettle one-hundred thousand more Syrian refugees; Canada’s refugee commitment answers to ten percent of this need. World: The Master's Thesis That Just Delayed a Genocide Trial – Kathy Gilsinan In 2013, eighty-eight-year-old General Efraín Ríos Montt, former president of Guatemala, was convicted of acts of genocide; this ruling was overturned on a technicality shortly thereafter. This week, the Ríos Montt trial got underway again only to be delayed after the master’s thesis of the presiding judge, Irma Jeannette Valdéz Rodas, was deemed to interfere with the judge’s ability to be impartial. Sirisena sworn in as Sri Lanka president Al Jazeera After a decade of power, Mahinda Rajapakse, who re-wrote the Sri Lankan constitution upon his re-election in 2010 to increase his powers, was ousted to clear the way for Maithripala Sirisena to be sworn in as Sri Lanka's new president. Sirisena, a former health minister, won over fifty percent of the initial votes counted. The election was touted as one of the most peaceful in Sri Lanka’s history and hosted an impressive voter turnout.  Thought Provoking Read: Ocean Trash: 5.25 Trillion Pieces and Counting, but Big Questions Remain – Laura Parker The "wow factor" statistics on ocean trash are in: two-hundred and sixty nine thousand tons of plastic debris float on the surface and over four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. Parker explores how these statistics may help solve the problem and the kind of damage that over five trillion pieces of plastic debris causes. Photo of the Week: OWTW Jan 2-9 -2 In Kiev, Svoboda and Right Sector nationalist parties joined together to mark the 106th anniversary of Stepan Bandera’s birth. Bandera was a Ukrainian political activist and leader of the nationalist and independence movement. Pictured here, people march with torches and a poster that reads “Heroes do not die. Let's revenge our dead knights” (Photo: Volodymyr Petrov via KyivPost). Read More

Our World This Week: December 26th 2014 – January 1st 2015

Our World This Week: December 26th 2014 – January 1st 2015 This week, we welcomed in 2015. Happy New Year! Are you wondering what 2015 holds for Canada? Amnesty International’s Human Rights Agenda for Canada 2015 outlines some key areas in which Canada can improve.  The themes analyzed in this agenda will likely receive attention from all political parties during the 2015 federal election. Read the Human Rights Agenda for Canada 2015 here. Also this week, the ringing in of 2015 marks the commencement of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. This year’s theme focuses on light science and its applications to promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global energy challenges. Read more about the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Immigration express entry: 5 things you need to know – Susana Mas On January first, Citizenship and Immigration Canada launches Express Entry. This new electronic system manages applications for permanent residence under certain economic immigration programs. The new process will fast track permanent residency for skilled immigrants matched with jobs that can't be filled by Canadians. Steps on mental health help for youth surveyed by StatsCan – by CBC News Only half of Canadians aged fifteen to twenty-four seek professional services for mental health issues or substance use. Leanne Findlay, an analyst with Statistics Canada, stated a priority must be placed on better responding to youth’s mental health needs: "Youth are well known to have high rates of mental health problems, but are often faced with challenges in terms of getting help for these problems." World: Ukraine's Real Crisis: A Demographics and Health Time Bomb – Judy Twigg and E. Wayne Merry While the world focuses on Ukraine’s military confrontation with Russia, demographic trends are constraining the Ukrainian economy. The population pool for military conscription and participation in the labour force is shrinking. Ukraine has an ageing and unhealthy population, which is causing increasing burdens on public-sector budgets. Australia's indigenous incarceration crisis – Jarni Blakkarly The Law Council of Australia has declared Australia’s rate of indigenous imprisonment a “national emergency.” Over the last decade this rate has increased by fifty percent. The rate of indigenous Australian incarceration is eighteen times higher than that of non-indigenous Australians. Thought Provoking Read: Counter-Terrorism: Counter-Humanitarianism? – Chris Lockyear Lockyear explores American and British involvement in Afghanistan to conclude that neutral humanitarian agencies in the country continue to be manipulated in the name of counter-terrorism. Lockyear argues that “the lines between politico-military action and independent, needs-based humanitarian approaches continue to be blurred by a counter-terrorism strategy which employs altogether more subversive tactics.” Photo of the Week:  Oil spill in Bangladesh’s mangrove forest OWTW Dec 26-Jan 1 (2) An oil spill has created disaster in the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh, which consists of the world’s largest contiguous tidal mangrove forest. The waters are home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna including the Bengal tiger and Gangetic dolphins (Photo: Reza Shahriar Rhaman, Counter Foto via National Geographic).     Read More

Upcoming UOttawa Conference!

The University of Ottawa’s International Development Students Association has organized an International Development Week (IDW) conference, to take place from January 30-31, 2015 at the University of Ottawa. This annual conference aims to unite undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, development practitioners and members of the general public to share knowledge and fresh ideas pertaining to international development. It includes workshops, presentations and interactive networking events -- such as a wine and cheese and banquet dinner -- and is focused on engaging and informing students in international development, promoting global citizenship and increasing cultural awareness and understanding. This year’s theme, “A New Era: Changing the World of Development,” was chosen in conjunction with the upcoming release of a post-2015 development agenda. While the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) have been an influential framework in shaping global discourse and driving the allocation of resources towards key international development priorities and improving policy monitoring, they have also been criticized for presenting an agenda rather than a strategy. The discussion on the future of development is thriving, and many ideas have surfaced regarding sustainable and long term practices, participatory discourse and innovative measurement practices. IDW 2015 seeks to discuss the failures and successes of the MDGs, how development is practiced today, and most importantly, focus on the best ways to approach development post-2015 in order to see a world without poverty, inequality and injustice. It seeks to discuss the changes occurring around us, as well as how these changes will affect the practice of development. It seeks to answer questions that will contribute to the future of how we approach development. It seeks to bring together individuals with a drive for change and a willingness to learn. The theme of IDW 2015 acknowledges the changes needed in order for development to be successful and how these changes can become a reality. Register today! Early-bird prices end after December 31, so hurry! http://en.aedsa.ca/registration.html   -Zahura Ahmed Read More

Our World This Week: December 19th – 25th 2014

Our World This Week: December 19th – 25th 2014 This week, justice is still elusive in South Sudan; since the outbreak of violence in Juba last December, the hopes of accountability and justice remain far off. Read more about the South Sudan conflict here.  Also this week, Monday was International Human Solidarity Day. The theme for this year’s International Human Solidarity Day is to move together as one. Solidarity is also the foundation of the United Nations’ development agenda beyond 2015. Read more about the International Human Solidarity Day and the concept of solidarity here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: New Rules Could Make it Tougher for Canadian Expats to Vote – Jeremy Nuttall New voting regulations for expatriate Canadians may make it harder for these expats to participate in elections. Changes to the Citizen Voting Act will require Canadians living abroad to provide proof of their last place of residence in Canada. The federal government has introduced this legislation to end ''riding shopping'' in which expats can pick which riding they vote in. Canadian sailors have alcohol restricted after bad behaviour – Sarah Petrescu Effective immediately, a new policy has banned consuming alcohol aboard all Canadian Navy ships at sea. With permission, exceptions can be granted for special occasions such as Christmas. Sailors’ bad behaviour led to the ban. This policy change is seen as only moderately restrictive when compared to the US Navy’s complete ban on alcohol consumption. World: Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game – Sebastian Rosemont Students in Chile made headlines when they launched an eight-month long nationwide strike in 2011. The protests were multifaceted given trade unions joined forced with the students. Since then, this strike has changed the game in Chile: “It dramatically changed the political context in Chile and helped to place the issues of Chile’s extreme inequalities centrally on the national agenda.” Under Abbas, most Palestinians say they can’t speak freely, critics cite curbs on expression – Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh Recent polls show that two-thirds of Palestinians are afraid to criticize President Mahmoud Abbas. There is little room for dissent under the Abbas regime. Abbas supporters, on the other hand, claim that under Abbas Palestinians enjoy more freedoms than most others in the Arab world. Thought Provoking Read: International Justice: Nice idea, now make it work – The Economist Some African leaders say they have lost confidence in International Criminal Court (ICC); this loss of confidence stems from the fact that almost all of those currently being tried by the ICC are African. So far, the court has only convicted two individuals, both of whom were Congolese warlords. Critics are questioning whether the ICC has justified the effort it took to create it and the cost of running it. The Economist demonstrates that the ICC is working in the right direction, albeit very slowly; what the ICC needs are patience and more realistic expectations. Photo of the Week:  Maasai Olympics OWTW Dec 19-25 (2) In efforts to save endangered species, traditional lion hunters in Kenya tested their skills in a series of Olympic-like activities. These activities were organized as an alternative to lion hunting test of the warriors' strength. Traditionally, Maasai warriors proved their manhood by killing a lion, but the hope is that lion hunting will be swapped out with sport as the lion population continues to decrease.  (Photo: AFP Photo/Carl De Souza via Yahoo News).   Read More

Our World This Week: December 12th – 18th 2014

Our World This Week: December 12th – 18th 2014 This week, the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru ended.  The Lima Accord marks the first time all nations have agreed to cut back on carbon emissions. Countries have until next March to announce their emission reductions goals. Read more about the summit here. Also this week, in a display of solidarity, Australians came together to support Australian Muslims.  Using the #IllRideWithYou hashtag, Australians offered to accompany people wearing Muslim dress that were concerned about a potential backlash during the Sydney cafe siege. Read more about the display of solidarity here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Site C dam approved by B.C. government – CBC News BC Premier Christy Clark announced that the provincial government approved the construction of the Site C dam. The dam is a massive project with a price tag of nearly nine billion dollars. Flooding a large area of the Peace River Valley in northeastern BC, Clark stated the project will provide BC residents with a reliable source of energy for the next one hundred years. Dalhousie dentistry students to decide together justice for Facebook posts – CBC News Following sexually explicit Facebook posts, Dalhousie University President Richard Florizone announced a restorative justice process will be used to hold the thirteen male student offenders from the Faculty of Dentistry accountable. The victims of the case elected to proceed with this restorative justice process in lieu of formal proceedings. The two sides will come together to discuss what the appropriate punishment will be. World: Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations – Peter Baker On Wednesday, U.S. President Barak Obama announced that the US will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Moreover, in the coming months, U.S. will open an embassy in Havana, Cuba. Obama called the warmer relationship the birth of a new chapter among the nations of the Americas: “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.” Pakistan mourns after Taliban Peshawar school massacre – BBC News A Pakistani Taliban attack has left at least one hundred and thirty two children and nine staff dead at a school on Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared three days of mourning for the victims: mass funerals and vigils are currently underway. World leaders are disgusted with the horrific attack and even the Afghan Taliban has criticized it. Thought Provoking Read: Torture victims will bear psychological scars long after CIA report scandal fades – Spencer Ackerman This week, the release of the CIA torture report sent ripples through international discourse. But what does being a victim of these torture tactics mean for the victims? Ackerman explores the short and long term implications associated with recovering from a state of learned helplessness. Ackerman argues this recovery is an arduous process and is full of setback that can last a lifetime – that is if recovery succeeds at all. Photo of the Week:  Pilgrimage to Karbala OWTW Dec 12- 18th (2) This year, up to seventeen million Shia Muslims made the pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq for Arbaeen. Arbaeen commemorates the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. The ceremony in Karbala marks the death of Imam Hussain, who died in battle at Karbala (Photo:  BBC News). Read More

Our World This Week: December 5th – 11th 2014

Our World This Week: December 5th – 11th 2014 This week, twenty Cree youth arrived in Quebec City after walking nearly six-hundred kilometres to protest uranium extraction in Mistissini, QC. The walk took thirteen days. Over the last ten years, Strateco Resources has invested millions into developing a uranium mine in Mistissini. Read more about the potential uranium extraction in Mistissini here. Also this week, at least seven countries have banned British Columbia poultry following an outbreak of avian influenza.  So far, the Fraser Valley outbreak has put five farms under quarantine. It is estimated that over one-hundred thousand birds will be slaughtered in efforts to contain the outbreak. Read more about the bird flu outbreak here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Conservative MP’s private member’s bill could be used against pipeline protesters, critics say – Justin Ling Bill C-639 seeks to make obstructing, interrupting, or interfering with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of any critical infrastructure a punishable offence. The bill defines critical infrastructure as any “publicly or privately owned facility, network, service or asset,” including energy and telecommunication assets. Critics argue that the bill will be used to punish environmental protesters, especially pipeline protestors. Canada To Fall Way Short Of 2020 Climate Change Targets – Bruce Cheadle Environment Canada reported that Canada will be short of meeting its international 2020 climate change target. The Emissions Report suggested that Canada will get just over halfway to its goal. Canada’s goal is to cut greenhouse gases seventeen per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. World: Palestinian Authority gains observer status at the International Criminal Court – Robert Tait The International Criminal Court gave Palestine observer status at a summit meeting on Monday. This gives Palestine the legal possibility of requesting a war crimes investigation in its occupied territories. In the past, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to seek to press charges against Israel for alleged war crimes. Maldives Faces Drinking Water Crisis – Ankit Panda A fire at a water sewage treatment facility has left the Maldivian capital Male with no safe drinking water. Almost one third of the country’s residents live in Male. The Maldives has declared a state of crisis and has appealed to neighbouring countries for aid. The crisis could turn into a long term problem given the facility repairs are more complex than initially thought. Thought Provoking Read: Feeding Unrest: A Closer Look at the Relationship Between Food Prices and Sociopolitical Conflict - Todd G. Smith Smith explores the link between food and economic stability to debunk some the debate. Smith argues that the relationship between food prices and sociopolitical conflict isn’t causal. Smith points out that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a relationship between food prices and conflict, but, rather, that the link need more research. Photo of the Week:  Typhoon Hagupit A general view of damaged houses swept by Typhoon Hagupit in Eastern Samar, in central Philippines Although Typhoon Hagupit swept through the Philippines ruining houses and claiming lives, the extent of the damage would have been much worse if the government was less prepared. Pictured here, Hagupit’s wake leaves a path of ruined homes in Eastern Samar, in central Philippines (Photo:  Stringer via Reuters). Read More

Our World This Week: November 28th – December 4th 2014

Our World This Week: November 21st – 27th 2014 This week, former Governor General Michaëlle Jean was named head of la Francophonie. Jean is the first female leader of la Francophonie. While la Francophonie has largely focused on cultural issues over the years, Jean signalled that more emphasis will be put on economic matters.  Read more about Jean’s new role here. Also this week, there was a hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment's servers. This hack is one most debilitating hacks to ever target corporate servers. Sony’s entire network is frozen. Unreleased movies, private memos, employee salaries, and Social Security numbers are just some of the types of information being leaked. Read more about the Sony hack here. Our World This Weeks brings you this week’s list of trending food for thought from both a Canadian and international perspective: Canada: Canada lagging on animal protection: new global index – Colin Perkel According to a new global assessment, Canada has received a D rating on the animal protection index due to outdated anti-cruelty legislation and weak transportation laws. Canada’s anti-cruelty law remains largely unchanged since it was drafted more than a century ago.  In relation to farm animal transport, some farm animals go without food and water during transportation, which can be upwards of two days. Money Mart will buy your gift cards for half the price – by Kelly Bennett Money Mart is offering fast cash for gift cards: half the value of the card in cash. Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, called the rate of exchange "absolutely reprehensible” and stated that he does not believe that “the payday lending industry should be profiting off of people in crisis.” Consumer Affairs Minister David Orazietti said the government will be responding to Money Mart's new promotion. World: Russia's Supreme Court Declares Jehovah's Witnesses Website Extremist  - by the Moscow Times The Russian Supreme Court ruled that the website of religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses is extremist; the ideas promoted by Jehovah's Witnesses incite hatred and division. The court found three of the religious organization's main books to also be extremist. UK announces a 'Google tax' to stop companies diverting profits overseas – by Vlad Savov The United Kingdom announced plans for a new 25% tax, dubbed the “Google tax.” This tax is intended to close loopholes that currently allow multinational companies to extract their profits to lower-tax states. The measure will come into effect April 2015, and it is hoped the tax will make it uneconomical for companies to evade their rightful tax responsibilities.  Thought Provoking Read: Egypt's Revolution Comes Full Circle – by Oren Kessler From Mubarak to Al-Sisi, Kessler concludes that Egypt has come full circle, only that this time it is worse. Then as now, the general population wants the downfall of the regime. Although protests are smaller, Kessler points out that Egyptians may have more to protest about this time. Photo of the Week:   Mexico City Protests Protester pushing his bicycle yells slogans while walking underneath a red cloth during a protest in support of the 43 missing trainee teachers in Mexico City Pictured here, a protester pushes his bicycle underneath a red cloth during a protest in support of the 43 missing trainee teachers in Mexico City (Photo: Henry Romero via Reuters). Read More