Canadians fighting behind enemy lines – Remembrance Day

Secret agents Raymond LaBrosse and Lucien Dumais rescued hundreds of downed airmen from German-occupied France

Canadians fighting behind enemy lines – Remembrance DayIt was a moonless night on January 29, 1944. It was drizzling. Sixteen airmen and two M.I.9 secret agents cautiously descended the steep cliffs near the village of Plouha on the Brittany Coast of France in fear of being caught, executed, or worse, tortured. The enemy patrolled the beach below. Thanks to Canadian M.I.9 agents…

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’

Multiple nations are jockeying for power

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’International politics expert Andy Knight is working on a new book about the changing face of global governance and the transition to a new world order. Tentatively titled International Organization Today, the book will examine how the world has evolved from a simple system of international governance, driven mainly by the United Nations, to its current state of multilateral…

Guidelines help prevent unnecessary destruction of ancient remains

Human remains are considered sacred by many around the world and deserve respect and protection

Guidelines help prevent unnecessary destruction of ancient remainsWhen Elizabeth Sawchuk started getting involved in ancient DNA research as part of her archeological research in Africa, she turned to colleagues for advice on sampling DNA from ancient human remains. As a post-doctoral fellow at Stony Brook University, she felt it was crucial to get it right. “They’re extremely precious,” said Sawchuk, now a Banting post-doctoral…

100-million-year-old crab trapped in amber helps fill evolutionary gap

Oldest non-marine crab ever – and most complete crab fossil known – identified

100-million-year-old crab trapped in amber helps fill evolutionary gapA young crustacean locked in amber 100 million years ago is filling a crucial gap in the puzzle of crab evolution, according to a University of Alberta PhD graduate whose work adds to growing evidence that the crab form is an evolutionary darling. “This crab is telling us a very interesting story about the tree…

When Reagan fired the air traffic controllers

It was assumed that Reagan would cave to the aggressive labour action. He didn't

When Reagan fired the air traffic controllersSomething unusual happened in August 1981. Ronald Reagan, then president of the United States, fired the country’s illegally-striking air traffic controllers. Most observers were astonished. This wasn’t part of the normal political playbook. Increasing union militancy had become a prevalent feature of the economic landscape since the 1960s. And when faced with aggressive labour action…

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice age

U of A-led international team estimates the flood from Glacial Lake Agassiz may be largest known in Earth’s history

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice ageA flood of epic proportions drained at a rate of more than 800 Olympic swimming pools a second from a glacial lake that spanned the Prairie provinces more than 12,000 years ago, according to a University of Alberta-led study. The finding bolsters a theory that the event may have propelled the warming Earth back into…

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacy

Inspired the founding of the Orange Order

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacyAs the marching season in Northern Ireland rolls around again, William of Orange (1650-1702) comes to mind. The memory of William – or King Billy – inspired the founding of the Orange Order almost a century after his death. Steadfast and stubborn in its championing of Irish Protestant identity, the Order remains committed to maintaining…

Richard Nixon’s shocking summer and its big payoff

He wanted to be seen as a man of action, someone taking charge

Richard Nixon’s shocking summer and its big payoffIn the summer of 1971, Richard Nixon demonstrated how his charismatic deficiencies didn’t preclude daring moves. His detractors were taken by surprise. Nixon was in the third year of his first U.S. presidential term and he came into that summer on the back foot. The inherited Vietnam War was grinding on and the policy of…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armies

Author Steve Tibble’s message is that much of the crusader narrative is simplistic caricature. But it can’t erase facts

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armiesAs imperial enterprises went, it was a stunning performance. Coming from apparently nowhere, an extensive Islamic empire was born in the century following the Prophet Muhammad’s 632 death. Arab armies swept out of the remote Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East and North Africa, subsequently crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Spain and establishing…