Boxing beauties

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“Protect yourself at all times.” It’s 11:33 pm on Saturday, January 18th at Montreal’s Bell Centre, but for competitors Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute, what matters in that day is the last half hour. Referee Michael Griffin reiterates boxing’s number one precept: protect yourself. For 12  three-minute rounds, with one-minute breaks in between , the two competitors will be throwing hooks, jabs, uppercuts, crosses. They will be inflicting as much distress upon one another as possible to score one point after another. And if it ends in a knock out, then the victory can’t be sweeter.

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Contagious “values” poisoning the air

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Something’s in the air. A layer of invisible dust has settled throughout our institutions, cafes, even the buses and métro. And with falling temperatures, its toxicity has only risen.

Since its springtime introduction, the Quebec Charter of Values has us all vigorously debating, disputing, protesting — and questioning its underlining motivations. But more profoundly, it has let loose a poison that lurks deep within our subconscious – fear.

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Them’s fighting words

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Charles Demers is not your ordinary warrior. His one-man militia encompasses multiple battlegrounds through his writings, stand-up comedy, activism, and regular performances on CBC’s The Debaters. Hailing from Vancouver, Demers’ recent insurgency at Just For Laughs was astutely funny, wielding wit as a key weapon for constructive social criticism. Demers was kind of enough to answer a few of my questions.

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Hitting the Note Divine

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The content of a Qawwali ballad can be seen like a drunken night out. And an understanding of lyrics is not an essential prerequisite in attaining the trance like state that Qawwali offers.

“The wine symbolizes the knowledge of the divine, the cupbearer the spiritual guide, the tavern the place where the soul may attain spiritual enlightenment and intoxication, the attaining of spiritual knowledge in the soul’s longing for union and love with the divine.” – Peter Manuel

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Veils of Grey

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Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel is neither a book on sexual pleasure nor a Middle Eastern Fifty Shades of Grey, unless of course, knowledge and awareness qualifies as a turn-on. In addition to being an academic, journalist and TED Global fellow, Shereen El Feki is the Vice-Chair and Commissioner of the UN’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Her research for Sex and the Citadel took her on a fascinating five-year journey through the Arab world with countless discussions on the one subject no one dares to discuss: sex.

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