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Longevity

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Longevity

Karsh’s ‘Roaring Lion’ celebrates 80th anniversary

Today we live in yet another era of innocent people caught in the crosshairs. When I see heart-wrenching images of refugees caught between borders or in lands hostile to them, I sometimes despair. In contrast, some stories show the reverse – how a stranger travels to a strange land and rises to opportunity. These stories show how in essence people are much more similar than they are different. The question: do they get the opportunities needed to move ahead?  The story of Yousuf Karsh is truly inspiring. He came to Canada in 1923, alone, as a 15-year old, fleeing the Armenian genocide. His family had been living as refugees in Aleppo, Syria and sent him to live with a maternal uncle in Canada. He spoke little French, and less English.  As an adult, Karsh never brought up his childhood, which, by any standard, was horrifying. He was four years old

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Saved!

The big moment finally arrived when Fabienne’s plane landed at the Halifax Airport. Spriggs and I were escorted from the suite to meet the aircraft, which had taxied to the jet bridge. They had just attached the covered ramp to the airplane’s front side door as the airport manager escorted us down the covered hallway towards the plane entrance. I could feel my anticipation rising. Just outside the door of the plane, a rather distinguished-looking gentleman joined us. The airport manager introduced him as France’s representative: The Honourary French Vice-Consulate, Dominique Henry. This event was a huge deal. An international search had been underway for three years, and it had finally culminated in the best possible resolution. This is rare in police work and to be part of something so tremendously uplifting was overwhelmingly rewarding. We cordially exchanged handshakes, and he thanked us for having recovered Sara. He spoke to

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Longevity

The hottest erogenous zones

When most of us think of sex, we think of the physical part first. But sexual pleasure can be drawn from many sources and experiences. Physical touch feels good. We all know that. But did you know it is also essential to human growth and survival? Some of the potential benefits of affection include lower blood pressure, an increase in oxytocin, a reduction in stress hormones, pain alleviation, heightened immunity, and lower levels of anxiety. Physical touch activates regions of the brain associated with thought and emotion. It lowers both heart rate and blood pressure and increases levels of oxytocin, the feel-good chemical associated with bonding.   And the benefits of physical touch flow in both directions—to the giver and receiver. A study found that when women touch their partners as a sign of support, there is more activity in their own ventral striatum, a region associated with reward processing. As

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Part 4

With Sara at a safe house, I was finally able to leave work. It was late at night by the time I got home. My wife was waiting for me, and I told her the whole story. I mentioned that I would be reuniting Sara with her mother late tomorrow afternoon at the Halifax airport. As I talked to Marianne, I realized that there would probably be quite a bit of time before Sara’s mother arrived from Montreal. I then had a flash of brilliance and thought that perhaps bringing my daughter Abbie, who was four years old at the time, might be a good idea.  She could keep Sara company, and Sara would have a little friend her sister’s age to play with. I asked Marianne what she thought, and she immediately said she felt that this would be a splendid idea. Marianne gathered up some toys, colouring books

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Longevity

Canadian Fiction: Theo Waits

Unless you are talking about things I can plant in my stories like the wooden bridge that went sideways during winter storms or the sound of night hockey or the sharp rocks you placed in the corners of your tent so you wouldn’t fly away, I am not listening. I am making people up instead. I use my father’s blue eyes to feel a flash of him and for my mother it’s flowers, just a hint, and then somebody like Theo lands on the page and we’re off. He blew in over night. I saw the lights whir around my bedroom, just a second of a blueredbluered and then only whitefor a long time which was perfect because I had maybe four pages to go and my flashlight was barely a ghost. I heard car doors and voices, there was a final whir of colour, and if I thought about

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Part 3

Sara and her father had been living in Toronto under assumed names; Yones and Sara Kohan. Her father worked as a carpenter, and she was enrolled in grade one at a local school. Her father had filed a refugee claim with Canadian immigration, but they were not flagged because of the assumed names. They had managed to escape detection for three years. When we left the interview room, I locked the door behind me. I took Sara to a large meeting room and asked Marge, my secretary, to take her to the bathroom. I was extremely relieved that I had been able to separate Sara without a scene. I have been in many situations where children were wailing as their parents clung to them and refused to let go. It’s a situation you never want to happen, and it only occurs when the child’s safety is in imminent danger or

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Longevity

Learning from Old John

Growing up in Cape Breton, I found the rest of the world remote, strange, frightening. Then I met a man from Hungary who became a friend. The rest of world seemed closer then. It was only after he was gone that I discovered his last name. He was a European: Hungarian. And it was presumed his last name would be impossible to spell and easy to forget, so people didn’t ask while he was alive.  It was in the mid-fifties. It wasn’t unusual, so soon after the war, for people who were from Europe to be cautious about revealing their last names. A first name was usually enough for most. His first name was John. Or, as we all knew him, Old John.  When we finally discovered his last name, it was just as plain and easy to remember. Suto. He was John Suto. He showed up in my village

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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Part 2

“We’ve got something,” I said to Spriggs. I pulled back and filed in behind the vehicle. I grabbed the police radio, got a hold of the telecoms operator and requested a check on his Ontario licence plate. Within fifteen to twenty seconds, our telecommunications operator Eric Simms was on the other end. “Cst. Roy, are you 10-12?”  he asked. He was asking if there were any unauthorized listeners. “Negative,” I responded. Are you alone?” Simms asked. “No, Spriggs is with me,” I responded. Then telecoms operator Eric Simms advised me of a hit on the vehicle that we were following. He said the car was registered to a Marc Habib Eghbal and that there was an international fugitive arrest warrant out on Eghbal for kidnapping. He advised us to be on the lookout for a six-year-old child by the name of Sara Brin. Then I hear Simms giving me the

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