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Inbox News in brief Toronto’s mayor remains Eagle inadvertently records bird’s-eye view An Australian eagle snatched a camera that was recording crocodiles, capturing fascinating footage of its journey across the outback. Wildlife rangers had set up the camera along the Margaret River in the Kimberley region. It was found near the Mary River, over 100 km away. Toilet nouveau Toilet experts have criticised the Gates Foundation’s competition to produce hi-tech toilets for the developing world as being too ‘sexy’. The 2012 Reinvent the Toilet Challenge winner was a solarpowered number that generates hydrogen and electricity, but critics argue that it is too expensive to help those most in need. Gay marriages annulled Twenty-seven married couples have had their marriages annulled after legislation allowing gay marriage within the Australian Capital Territory was revoked. The ruling centres on the Marriage Act 2004, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Marijuana to be legalised in Uruguay Uruguay is set to become the first country to legalise the production, consumption and sale of marijuana. It is hoped that the move will have positive repercussions for public health and security while spoiling the market for drug traffickers. Pasta publicity provokes progressives Italy’s gay and women’s rights activists are boycotting Guido Barilla, head of the topselling Barilla pasta company, following a statement that he would never feature a gay couple in adverts. Barilla went on to say that his company seeks to reinforce the role of women as caregivers and the traditional mother-father family. Italy’s rates of sexist advertising and homophobic hate crimes are among the highest in the world. high in polls, despite admitting cocaine use 6 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2014 global © West Annex News The antics of Toronto’s controversial mayor have divided the city, following calls for him to stand down after admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in office. Rob Ford’s uproariously inappropriate behaviour has included public inebriety; making racist and sexist remarks; talking on a mobile phone while driving and raising his middle finger to the motorist who reported him; and booting the only woman off his executive committee, among a plethora of increasingly dubious decisions. However, it seems that there remains a significant chance that he may be re-elected in 2014, with 42 per cent of Toronto’s voters polling in his favour. In May 2013, rumours of the existence of a video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine swam to the fore in Canada’s media. Ford’s initial reaction was to tell his aides not to worry about it, since he was well aware of where the videotape was located – before proceeding to blurt out the address of a known crack den. Eventually, Ford admitted to the media that he had used crack cocaine sometime in 2012. Why had he denied it before? “You didn’t ask the correct questions.” “Have you smoked crack cocaine?” reporters outside his office asked him in November. “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” he admitted. “Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably about a year ago.” Despite a long and eventful saga of headline antics on the part of Toronto’s mayor, a recent Forum Research survey of 1,049 of the city’s voters showed that 42 per cent of participants approve of the job that Ford has done so far. Ford has played the role of a comedian in office, making slapstick gestures, but somehow managing to retain a lot of the people’s support, despite calls for his resignation and a forced delegation of duties to deputy mayor Norm Kelly. “There are people in the city who identify with Rob Ford as an everyman, who think people are out to get him,” said Nelson Wiseman, politics professor at the University of Toronto. “Taxes aren’t going up and he cut spending by the city, so they cut him some slack on other things.” He adds: “I think he could easily get reelected.” Rob Ford regularly takes more questions about his behaviour than his policies


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