Have U.S. border guards become meaner?

Many Canadians think so, according to the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, but it may be more than a matter of temperment:

The perception among many Canadians is that today's U.S. border officers are meaner. The reality is that they are likely to be younger, under more pressure and – should you give them a reason – yes, meaner....

The report notes that the U.S. border patrol has been on a massive recruiting drive, meaning more agents with less experience.

And of course there's that whole terrorism thing keeping everyone on edge. In an incident feeding the mean image, Canadian Desiderio Fortunato was pepper-sprayed by a U.S. border agent after refusing to turn off his car until the officer said "please." According to the Globe and Mail, Transport Canada puts the cost to the transportation industry of increased security at $550 million per year. 

Though the image of the brutish U.S. border guard may be easier for both countries to imagine, Canada has been cracking down too. As many Americans are discovering to their shock, old misdemeanors, especially DUIs are causing them to be turned away by Canada. Any conviction considered a crime in either country is grounds for denial of entry.

I knew I should have paid my old parking tickets.

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North Korea's first beer commercial

The choice of programming notwithstanding, the one thing North Korean couch potatoes have never had to complain about is a seemingly-endless stream of commercials. But seven years after the Taedong River Beer factory began production, its "pride of Pyongyang" is starring in the country's first television advertisement.

The brewery itself was originally a defunct Ushers plant in south-west England, purchased in 2000 as North Korea began recovering from a crippling famine.

Proving that false advertising knows no bounds, the Korean Central News Agency said:

The citizens call Taedonggang Beer 'cold yet warm beer' as it is associated with the warm care of General Secretary Kim Jong Il for the people.

Lasting almost two and a half minutes, the commercial says the beer relieves stress, improves health and encourages longevity, though it seems like the director might have been drinking something a bit stronger: