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Canada: Proposed Iqaluit university would offer Inuit knowledge and language classes - report
22 May 2015 - A proposed Inuit university is getting a renewed push due to corporate money and a recent high-level report that sketches out what Canada's northernmost academic institution could look like. The institution would be located in Iqaluit and would need to be independent of both government and Inuit organizations, the report says. While it would be open to all, it would mostly serve Inuit students from across the North. (more)

National Geographic recommends the world make Edmonton, Canada a summer vacation stop
22 May 2015 - National Geographic magazine is recommending Edmonton as a top travel destination this summer. The magazine included the city on its list of Best Summer Trips 2015, portraying Edmonton as a destination for festivals, dining, and long days of sunshine. Along with Edmonton, the list recommends the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Magna Carta Trails in England, and Singapore's Jubilee weekend in August to mark that city's 50th anniversary of independence. (more)

Ontario diamonds make their way around the world
22 May 2015 - Ontario's only diamond mine is north of Attiwapiskat. The remote, fly-in-only Victor mine is in the James Bay lowlands, 1,100 km due north of Toronto. The mine is considered small, but it is a geological wonder, blessed with near-perfect gemstones. (more)

Whistler Blackcomb completely bans smoking on resort property
22 May 2015 - British Columbia's most well-known ski resort is taking drastic action to stamp out smoking in public. Beginning 31 May, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort will ban smoking on all of its property including chairlifts, gondolas, ski runs, hiking trails, parking lots, bike trails and all bars, restaurants, and patios. (more)

Canada: Vancouver high school student wins $75,000 US at international science fair
21 May 2015 - The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair was held in Pittsburgh this week. Vancouver high school student Raymond Wang, 17, was awarded first place in the engineering category for designing a new air inlet system for airplane cabins to improve air quality and curb disease transmission. And another Vancouver student, Nicole Ticea, takes home $50,000 US for for developing an inexpensive, easy-to-use testing device to combat the high rate of undiagnosed HIV infection in low-income communities. (more)

India continues to lead in global confidence index: Nielsen
21 May 2015 - For the sixth quarter in a row, India continued to lead the global confidence index in anticipation of improvement in the economy through reforms and stimulus announced by the central government, says a report. (more)

Solar energy's Canadian bright lights: 3 entrepreneurs helping the developing world
21 May 2015 - About 600 million people in Africa don't have access to electricity in their homes. Canadian entrepreneurs are helping bring solar power to a growing number of Africans living off the grid. The need for light in those communities forces people to turn to cheap, dangerous sources like kerosene lamps and candles. But some Canadians are stepping in to create affordable, clean energy alternatives: (more)

UK: 100 million pound boost to scientific heritage announced
21 May 2015 - Almost 100 million British pounds in funding has been announced for a series of heritage sites that include projects to preserve Britain's rich scientific and technological history. To read about the sites and projects receiving the funding see (more)

Japan economy gathers pace in 1Q as recovery takes hold
20 May 2015 - Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected 2.4 percent annual pace in the January-March quarter, suggesting a recovery is gaining traction despite persisting weakness in corporate and household spending. Overall trends for the economy are positive, said Masamichi Adachi, an economist with JPMorgan in Tokyo. 'People's confidence is getting a little better,' he said. (more)

Lotus on Mongolian state emblem delights Indian Prime Minister Modi
20 May 2015 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi discovered a 'special connection' with Mongolia when he entered the country's Parliament to deliver a speech, the first foreign leader to do so on Sunday. At the end of his address to lawmakers at the State Great Hural, the Parliament, Mr Modi turned around and pointed to state emblem, which had a lotus among other symbols. (more)

Scotland: Music project 'helping improve lives of impoverished children'
20 May 2015 - A long-term study of a pioneering music project in Stirling and Glasgow has found that it is improving the prospects of underprivileged children. The research looked at the economic, educational, and community impacts of the Big Noise projects and found that children taking part had higher school attendance, improved language, handwriting, and other skills, and improved confidence and pride. (more)

US: Surge in home construction is lifting hopes for economy
20 May 2015 - Builders broke ground on homes last month at the fastest pace in more than seven years. The stepped-up construction is helping boost sales at stores like Home Depot and Lowe's and improving the likelihood that the US. economy will accelerate after likely shrinking early this year. (more)

William Shakespeare: Newly-discovered image revealed
20 May 2015 - An image claimed to be the first and only contemporary portrait of William Shakespeare has been discovered in a 16th century book about plants. The bearded man in Roman dress does not instantly bring to mind the world's most famous playwright. Beneath it is an Elizabethan cipher which Mark Griffiths claims to have cracked -- and which he says translates as 'William Shakespeare'. Symbols included in the portrait, in the form of flowers and vegetables, are also said to be coded references to the playwright's identity. (more)

UK's Prince Charles meets Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams for first time
19 May 2015 - Britain's Prince Charles shook hands with Gerry Adams on Tuesday in his first meeting with the leader of the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that killed his great uncle in a bomb attack 36 years ago. The latest in a series of gestures of reconciliation between Britain and Sinn Fein, it was the first time Adams has met a senior member of the royal family. (more)

'True face of Shakespeare' appears in botany book (+ BBC video)
19 May 2015 - A 400-year-old botany book contains what could be the only known portrait of Shakespeare made in his lifetime, according to an academic expert. Botanist and historian Mark Griffiths cracked an 'ingenious cipher' to identify the playwright in an engraving in the 16th-Century work. The figure is holding a fritillary and an ear of sweetcorn -- plants which Griffiths says point to Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis and his play Titus Andronicus. (more)

British magazine publishes 'new portrait of Shakespeare'
19 May 2015 - A British magazine has published an image of a figure that it says is the first and only known demonstrably authentic portrait of William Shakespeare made in his lifetime. Botanist and historian Mark Griffiths said the discovery had come when he began researching the biography of pioneering botanist John Gerard (1545-1612), author of The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, published in 1598. 'I began to look at the title page engravings ... and realized it was full of allusions to people who had been involved in the creation of the book and that four of the figures on the title page were in fact real persons.' (more)

European shares return to near multi-year highs
19 May 2015 - European shares rose back to near multi-year highs on Tuesday after a European Central Bank policymaker said it would front-load an asset purchase scheme aimed at boosting the euro economy. The FTSEurofirst has now recovered its losses since the end of April, with some investors saying the past few weeks' volatility linked to a sell-off in bond markets had not altered their positive stance on equities. (more)

Photos of Prime Minister Modi's summit with China liked with enthusiasm
19 May 2015 - One of the most striking by-products of last week's grand summit between India and China: a torrent of astonishing images emanating from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's feed. The images were hits on social media, retweeted and liked with enthusiasm. Prime Minister Modi has now arrived in South Korea has arrived in South Korea to bolster investment opportunities. (more)

US and Cuban sailors in friendly race amid warming relations
19 May 2015 - Competitive sailors from the U.S. and Cuba have been showing off their skills in Havana Bay as the two countries work on restoring diplomatic relations after decades of hostility. Sailors from both countries said they were excited for the rare opportunity to race against each other. (more)

US: Warren Buffett impressed by children's money-making ideas
19 May 2015 - 'Grow Your Own Business Challenge' is a nationwide contest related to the animated 'Secret Millionaires Club', which teaches children about finance and where Warren Buffett voices his own character. The contest, in its fourth year, attracted entries from more than 4,000 boys and girls ages 7 to 14. The top entrants flew to Omaha, Nebraska to be judged and show Buffett their ideas. (more)

Wage growth may be on tap as more Americans quit jobs
19 May 2015 - Americans are becoming more apt to quit their jobs, a government report showed on 12 May, a sign that a stronger labour market and falling unemployment rate could result in healthier wage growth. One of the broadest measures of US wage growth, the Employment Cost Index, last quarter notched its largest gain since the fourth quarter of 2008. (more)

Image of Asia: A holy dip in the Ganges on auspicious day
18 May 2015 - Devotees believe the Somvati Amavasya, or no moon day that falls on a Monday, is more auspicious and that rites and rituals practiced on this day will bring more favor. Hindus fast and take holy dips in the sacred Ganges river to mark the occasion, and wives tie thread to trees and pray for their husbands' longevity. (more)

Ordinary people help migrants as Asia struggles with crisis
18 May 2015 - For hundreds of migrants stranded at sea in sinking boats, the first helping hand came not from governments but from fishermen who towed them to safety. The desperation of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh has inspired compassion from ordinary people across Southeast Asia. Sympathetic Malaysians have launched donation drives to help feed migrants who have flooded ashore in the past two weeks. In Indonesia, where fisherman rescued three boats last week and saved 900 lives, villagers have donated clothing and home-cooked meals. '. . . it's encouraging to see that the people in this region have responded very generously to these boat people,' said Vivian Tan, a Bangkok-based spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. (more)

US stocks close higher for a third day; Dow, S and P at records
18 May 2015 - The stock market crept to a record high in a quiet session on Monday. The Standard and Poor's 500 has notched record highs for three straight days. (more)

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