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Category: Journalism

The Killer Bear of Whiskey Creek

The Killer Bear of Whiskey Creek

It was the year of the bear. It seemed like there was a serious bear attack on a person in Alberta virtually every other week in the summer of 1980. It was so bad that it became a joke around the Edmonton Journal newsroom that the paper should establish a Bear Bureau, just to keep up. One enormous and ferocious grizzly bear deservedly drew most of the attention in the end with three savage attacks that severely injured four people,…

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Only in America

Only in America

There are many absolutely crazy events that only seem to happen in the United States of America. Where else could you find a grizzled father-and-son, self-styled mountain men living wild in the Montana back country, yearning for years for an attractive young ‘mountain bride’ to kidnap and share? What are the chances they would go hunting for her one day in 1984 and spot gorgeous, young, world-class biathlete Kari Swenson jogging in the woods, grab her by force and chain…

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Muammar and Me

Muammar and Me

I will never forget the day I set sail along the “line of death” with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to challenge the US Sixth Fleet. It was January 25, 1986, and it started out like any other day in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, where I was one of about 20 foreign journalists covering a worsening dispute between Colonel Gaddafi and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The Americans were making threatening noises about Gaddafi’s alleged role in a plane hijacking and two deadly…

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Aye, there goes Bobby Sands

Aye, there goes Bobby Sands

The body of Bobby Sands was moved to his family home in the Catholic Twinbrook neighbourhood of West Belfast on the day the 27-year-old hunger striker finally died of starvation. Thousands of friends, relatives and fellow paramilitary volunteers came to the wake to pay their respects, and two days later Sands was given a hero’s funeral by the Provisional IRA. It began with a mass at his local church, St. Luke’s Chapel, followed by a nearly three-hour-long, five-mile procession, led…

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Take Me to the Worst of It

Take Me to the Worst of It

When I arrived in Belfast on April 30, 1981, to cover the imminent death of 27-year-old Bobby Sands and the climax of the IRA hunger strikes in Long Kesh (or Maze) Prison, I had to really scramble to find accommodation of any kind. Every major British, Irish and American newspaper and every big English language television network seemed to have descended on Belfast and grabbed virtually all the available hotel rooms in the fractured city. I got one of the…

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The Boys of Belfast’s Ghettos

The Boys of Belfast’s Ghettos

Sometimes, just when an event you have been looking forward to for a very long time is near, a totally different and very enticing opportunity comes knocking at your door. You can simply ignore it, or offer to radically change your plans. About ten days before I was to fly to Shannon Airport, in the west of Ireland, in early May, 1981, and begin a bicycling trip around the country, I realized that a major political event in Northern Ireland…

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