Hawaii To Become The First US State To Ban Wild Animals From Performing

Absolutely astounded by these news. Lets hope this sets an example for all other states and Canada while were at it!

Animals SHOULD NOT be exploited for the use of entertainment or performance. They have a right to their own freedom, just like humans. Even though many humans are just as well stripped of these rights the same way. They have a right to live a long, fulfilling life, hunting for prey or running around in the African desserts.

I work towards a world where animals have these rights. Let’s help  them get their rights back, the rights they had before humans. Open your eyes..

I am hopeful. I pray for all species and take one step of action everyday to help preserve their lives, towards making the world a place where elephants will not get shot for roaming the streets and bears can accidentally walk into a residential area without being shot to death, and where rain forests are not being destroyed for non other than greedy reasons of human   The rights they deserve and should not have been stripped of in the first place.

We can help by changing the way the human race thinks, and certain lifestyles we adopt. What we have on our hands is a problem with the human race as a whole, but there is something we can do. Plant that tree, report about the destruction of the  rainforest, get involved in data journalism: give statistics about the deaths of exotic animals, household pets in China that are stolen from their homes, or performing animals who are stolen from their own NATURAL home (dessert, rainforest, jungle) to live a life of misery in a cage or stage.

There are some that care  but not enough of us. Please be one of them. Love exotic animals, they give us the non-physical resources we need to survive, and they are beautiful and complex creatures who are intelligent, mentally conscious and capable of feelings and emotions.

Connect with me, and maybe, we can make a difference.

Source: Hawaii To Become The First US State To Ban Wild Animals From Performing

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The Arts Flourish at Congress 2015

Culture Days and National Broadcast Partner CTV (Bell Media) invited Canadian journalism and media students to participate in a Student Reporter and Media Internship program during the Annual National Congress on Culture in Edmonton, Alberta on May 7 and 8, 2015. Five lucky students participated in this innovative program including a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the CTV Newsroom in Edmonton and a once-in-lifetime mentoring session with Marci Ien, co-host of CTV’s Canada AM.


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The 2015 National Congress on Culture brought many laughs, new connections, exciting and insightful new experiences, and most of all, the biggest collection of art in all its’ forms. The biggest take away from the Congress was learning that art does not just mean a painting on a canvas; but rather it can evolve into a dance, instrumental number, song, poetry, multimedia production, culinary arts, and just simply words in relation to media interviews; you’ll see this art get knocked out of the water by Marci Ien, Co-host of CTV’s Canada AM. Marci mentored the CTV/Culture Days Student Reporters on Saturday morning, sharing her profound and insightful stories that inspired the emerging reporters and taught them important tips about the journalism field.

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The Student Interns gathered together with Marci for a group photo

The first exhilarating experience involving art was the red carpet welcome by the improv team. They made “regular folks” feel like celebrities by asking to pose for photographs with delegates and requesting their autographs

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The fun improv team provided a grand welcome to delegates.

Their attempt to make everyone feel welcome succeeded through performance. This selfie-taking skits prompted a lot of conversation at the start of the event and set the tone for the rest of the day. We, as the CTV/Culture Days Student Reporters, were able to experience the making of a Culture Days video titled “What’s Your Story?” directed by Culture Days’ Communications Manager & Content Producer, Elvira Trugila, working with her camera man, Tom Gunia.

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“What is your story?” as taken from different perspectives of the Delegates

Each person took a turn speaking in front of the camera and holding up a sign that said “What’s Your Story?”; many delegates from different cultures participated in the video. It was a fun and educational experience for Student Reporters to be part of a professional artistic video.

During the break between events, the Student Reporters and Congress delegates enjoyed a unique performance by a contemporary dance group which took the hallways of the Citadel Theatre by storm. They presented a series of short dance sequences with an old fashioned record player as their musical source. The women flowed through each motion like a wave in the water, flawlessly and with grace.

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Contemporary Dancers took the hall by storm with their short but memorable routine.

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The art of journalism is often overlooked as it is considered abstract. People often do not consider someone who is using words or photographs, instead of a canvas and paintbrush to connect with audiences on an emotional level, as an artist. During Congress 2015, one talented individual managed to accomplish this through her attentive and careful journalistic skills. Marci Ien conducted an interview with facilitators, community organizers and award-winning interdisciplinary visual artists Eric & Mia. They spoke about their motivation to use performance and art as tools for social action. They are also driven to create a tightly knit community through participatory performance by citizens. These cutting-edge artists were able to answer a collection of focused questions about their emerging art, and struggles as artists. Here, they can be seen answering questions for Marci, while inspiring the entire auditorium.

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Marci sits down to talk with progressive visual artists, Eric & Mia.

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Marci asks focused questions about the emerging art of visual artists Eric & Mia.

On the topic of dance, there was more culture to absorb watching the talented Running Thunder Dancers perform a traditional Native American tribal dance at the Awards Cocktail & Dinner. The Running Thunder Dancers are an Edmonton-based First Nations dance group that promotes health and wellness through their talented routines. Wearing Jingle Dresses (also known as Regalia), dancers performed a healing dance featuring intricate, controlled footwork with poise, endurance and grace. The Running Thunder Dancers brought the entire dining room full of people to life; all eyes watched in amazement as one dancer held several hoops and executed various types of tricks and maneuvers. The dancers put an artistic twist to the start of the evening.

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The Running Thunder Dancers.

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Native American Dancer of the group Running Thunder Dancers

The delegates and the CTV/Culture Days student interns were able to enjoy a lovely Awards Dinner & Cocktail while being entertained by some of the most interesting and unique performers and artists among Canada’s cultural community. This included the Vancouver-based multi-instrumentalist Chloe Ernst performing songs from her debut album “Dedicated State”. The album grabbed the attention of the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008, where she won the ‘Emerging Artist of the Year Award’ sending her on tour across Canada playing at folk festivals, clubs, and coffee shops. She is building her career through a loyal fan base and getting to know them one song at a time.

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Chloe Ernst playing the guitar at the Awards Cocktail & Dinner.

Another talented performer during the Awards Cocktail & Dinner was Edmonton’s Lindsey Nagy. Renowned Canadian singer/songwriter Jully Black called Lindsey “the future of Canadian music” after hearing her play at a 2006 showcase. With fifteen years of performing under her belt, Lindsey has performed with the Red Piano Players, Gateway Big Band, Grant MacEwan Showcase Band and many other musicians. In a flourishing career, the singer/songwriter currently performs at the Red Piano and teaches voice and piano.

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Lindsey Nagy performing at the Awards Cocktail & Dinner

_MG_1474Award winners posing with Marci Ien

To top off an rewarding night, all these memories would not have been possible without the talented services of one particular artist and owner of Edge Photography, Paul Thurlin. His photographs did not miss one moment of the 2015 National Congress on Culture.

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Paul & Elvira posing together for the last time during the Congress.

A final thank you to the woman who made it possible for the CTV/Culture Days Student interns to be a part of such an incredible opportunity, Culture Days’ Communications Manager & Content Producer, Elvira Truglia.

All photos by Paul Thurlin, Edge Photography.

– See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2015/06/05/art-flourishes-congress-2015/#sthash.ZY3S6ZUQ.dpuf

“Gays are safe in 2014 Olympics” says Putin, activists disagree

A bill in Russia was passed banning “propaganda of non traditional sexual relations” can be a potential act of censorship for the LGBT community. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that gays are welcome in the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi as long as they don’t spread “gay propaganda” and “leave the children in peace.”

The law prohibits the spread of propaganda among minors; this means the law prohibits speaking to anyone under the age of 18 about homosexuality.

“We have the ban on homosexuality and pedophilia. I want to stress this: propaganda among minors.” Said Putin.  The spread of propaganda among minors and the ban on certain relations are not the same thing according to Putin.

Some activists disagree.

Zach Ruiter, a gay rights activist in Toronto, disagrees with Putin’s claim and says that this is his way of deflecting from the issue and condoning homophobia towards the rest of the community.

“It sends a message to people that they are allowed to do whatever they want, that the state will not protect their rights. “It‘s a lot like Nazism.” Said Ruiter.

The rally that surrounded the State Duma hours before the bill was passed called for much resistance by Orthodox-Christian activists and pro-kremlin youth groups. The young men threw eggs at the activists while shouting homophobic slurs.

According to Ruiter, the fight for gay rights should not be limited to people in Russia. He says that to reach and address the problem we must make changes in our own community.

“Now that we’ve won gay marriage, its almost like the struggle is over. This simulation of queer liberation struggle in gay marriage has weakened our capacity to respond in solidarity.” Said Ruiter.

He says that the LGBT community in Toronto can fight back with persuading large companies to boycott the Olympics thus reaching out to the LGBT community in Russia.

Aeryn Pfaff, a Humber Journalism student says that the real victims are Russian gay youth in the sense that if they come out to their peers, they can be prosecuted for speaking about homosexuality. Pfaff explained that this bill could be seen as an act of censorship.

“As a kid I knew I was gay. Many Russian LGBT youth are the same. All these laws are doing is barring them from being able to find like minded people so that they can be happy.” Said Pfaff.

The absence of some world leaders in the winter Olympics this year will not have an impact on the games according to Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov.

Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande and Stephen Harper announced their absence in the winter Olympics this year.

Brad Fraser, a Canadian Journalist, says that Obama’s absence is not a boycott of the Olympics, It is rather related to other issues the western parts of the world are having with Russia, according to him.

He says that the best way to send a message to Russia about their law is to remove our participation and support in the games.

“Why are we sending people to compete at all? Why does the world not turn their back on Russia?” Said Fraser.

Animal Welfare of performing animals has become a concern to pet trainer, Yvette Van Veen.

“Entertainment to me is one of the places you’d say is just for fun there shouldn’t be a downside but it’s an industry where there might be evil to true entertainment,” says Yvette Van Veen, a Certified Dog Behavior consultant.

Van Veen has spent 14 years training pets, she is known for training dogs who perform at dog shows. She is also a pets’ reporter for the Toronto Star mainly about animal behaviors and ways to improve relationships between pet owners and their pets.

In a recent article titled ‘Animals used for entertainment should also enjoy the show’  Van Veen mentioned an investigation in Marineland  by the OSPCA that called for accusations about Marineland, a themed amusement and exhibition park. It involved poor water conditions that caused aquatic mammals to suffer from blindness, redness in eyes, and damage to fins and body parts.

Performing animals and mammals struggle to stay alive due to the poor living conditions which results in force used by the trainer.

According to Veen, orders were made by the OSPCA (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  to examine several marine animals, build better shelters for deer and elk, and install a good water filtration system.

“In Ontario, there’s no where else you can go to see animals like that, but the fact that they treat them poorly compared to their natural habitat is  unacceptable.”  said Julia Vitale, a four year employee at Canada’s Wonderland.

She explained that the mistreatment of performing animals is now on a larger scale and people won’t turn a blind eye on these issues now.

OSPCA Agent Brad Deward, says that animal welfare laws Ontario currently has in place for wildlife such as raccoons, and coyotes.

He discourages citizens from causing any harm to the wildlife and emphasizes that we must learn to live with them.

“We also offer ways  for people to minimize the damage that wildlife might cause to their property.” He said.

The SPCA is an organization dedicated towards animal welfare from sheltering point of view as well as education and enforcement.

They investigate zoos and circuses that come into the city. An officer will be there to inspect how the animals are transported, how they are being kept, and that they are being provided for as required by law.

“It’s heart wrenching to see stories about neglect and no animal should ever have to suffer or be without the necessities of life. its rewarding to be able to help them.” said Deward

Marineland was issued six orders in 2012 by the OSPCA and the investigation is still on going.

CBC tour: October 25, 2012.

On Thursday, October 25th, My Production Techniques class went on a tour of the CBC studios with John Northcott. We got a chance to see how everything works, where the morning show is filmed, the radio shows and see everyone at work!

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As an introduction to the studios, this picture seemed appropriate. Seeing this sign made it sink in as to how real the experience was.  Continue reading →