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Canadian official makes a point by eating seal heart


Move over Roquefort. The newest niche transatlantic trade dispute involves Canadian seal products, which the EU has banned because of Canada's commercial hunting practices. Inuit hunters are exempt from the ban, but fear that it will inevitably affect their livelihoods.

While touring Inuit Communities in Northern Canda, Governor General Michaelle Jean -- Queen Elizabeth's representative in the Canadian government -- butchered and ate raw seal heart in solidarity with the hunters:

Ms Jean used a traditional Inuit knife to help gut the animal then ate a slice of raw heart.

It came weeks after the EU voted to ban Canadian seal products, but Ms Jean did not say if her actions were in response to the EU proposals....

Asked later if her actions were a message to the EU, she said: "Take from it what you will." 

An EU spokesperson called Jean's actions "too bizarre to acknowledge," which the Inuit, who I presume have been eating seal heats for quite some time, would probably take umbrage at. And this from the continent where its a major media scandal when companies paint fake black hooves on ham legs.

Update: Video from the CBC if you really want it:

ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

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North Korea like you've never seen it before

Here's a bonus Tuesday Map for you cartophiles out there: a Google Earth file of North Korea pulled together by Curtis Melvin, a Ph.D. student at George Mason University. The Wall Street Journal explains:

Mr. Melvin is at the center of a dozen or so citizen snoops who have spent the past two years filling in the blanks on the map of one of the world's most secretive countries. Seeking clues in photos, news reports and eyewitness accounts, they affix labels to North Korean structures and landscapes captured by Google Earth, an online service that stitches satellite pictures into a virtual globe. The result is an annotated North Korea of rocket-launch sites, prison camps and elite palaces on white-sand beaches.

"It's democratized intelligence," says Mr. Melvin.

More than 35,000 people have downloaded Mr. Melvin's file, North Korea Uncovered. It has grown to include thousands of tags in categories such as "nuclear issues" (alleged reactors, missile storage), dams (more than 1,200 countrywide) and restaurants (47). Its Wikipedia approach to spying shows how Soviet-style secrecy is facing a new challenge from the Internet's power to unite a disparate community of busybodies.

 (Hat tip: Kottke)