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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, August 20




  Leah McLaren
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Generation Why



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Gender expectations and today's kids space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 30, 2017 – Page L1
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-- ''I was told that my behaviour was inappropriate, that it was unladylike to make so much noise and especially unforgivable to take off my shirt. I was confused and asked why my brother could do these things but I could not, and I was told, quite simply, ''You are a girl.' ''This from Yetide Badaki, the Nigerian-American actress, in a recent essay on gender expectations for the online magazine Lenny.  FULL STORY arrow
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Beware Gwyneth and the post-truth world of woo woo space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 23, 2017 – Page L1
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-- In a world in which ''wellness'' reigns over health and empirical facts are continually being dethroned, I am beginning to feel sick about the rise of all things woo woo.  FULL STORY arrow
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Does your child have bad eating habits? Blame dad space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 16, 2017 – Page L1
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-- To the University of Guelph this week, where just in time for Father's Day researchers have found that fathers are significantly more influential than mothers when it comes to determining the long-term eating habits of children.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mommy nearest: Why I deleted hot apps for finding a friend space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 2, 2017 – Page L1
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-- There's a turf war going on in my neighbourhood. It's a battle of the apps.Peanut and Mush are two new matchmaking apps out of London. Both are pitched as ''Tinder for Mums,'' designed to help lonely female parents hook up with attractive ''matches'' who live nearby.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fidget spinners: The latest craze is already almost over space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Last weekend, my four-year-old son, James, spent the morning running around the house collecting spare change. When he'd turned over every sofa cushion and scoured the dusty underside of all the beds, he sat on the kitchen floor painstakingly counting the contents of his pockets.  FULL STORY arrow
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How not to hate a working mom's lot in life space
Domestic dissonance on who does the chores makes great grist for books. Sadly, the intended audience - men - isn't reading
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Page L3
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-- There's this new book out called How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids, and I'm reading it, obviously. Not because I hate my husband but because, like many working mothers, I often feel as if I'm drowning in the quicksand of domestic life while my partner somehow manages to float above it all, Scotch glass and newspaper in hand - a dapper Cary Grant to my whinging Edith Bunker.  FULL STORY arrow
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Baby boomers are living in sin, happily space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 12, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Remember the generation gap?Perhaps you don't, so passe has the notion become. But allow me to refresh your memory. The generation gap is the idea that as one generation comes of age, shamelessly shimmying its miniskirt and breaking cultural taboos, it will naturally come into conflict with the generation that came before it, whose members are settling into the calm but turgid embrace of social conservatism, the logical conclusion of old age. In other words: Youth equals progress and old age demands adherence to social convention.  FULL STORY arrow
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No special day for stepmoms - just say hi space
As both parent of another woman's child and daughter of my dad's new wife, I know full well the 'very fine line' of that relationship
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 5, 2017 – Page L5
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-- Mother's Day is approaching, and with it my usual sense of unease.As a mother, I want to love this occasion (don't worry, you've still got time) of badly drawn cards and three-course brunch specials. But as a stepmother I just can't commit.  FULL STORY arrow
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The new - and violent - social media space
The Internet belongs to humans, so we must pressure providers to better police its content and keep it safe
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 28, 2017 – Page L7
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-- Do social-media providers bear a responsibility to police their own content? Or are their platforms just public spaces and, as such, as blameless as the air into which obscenities are shouted?  FULL STORY arrow
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As malls die, so does a way of life space
Not so long ago, hanging out at the galleria was frowned upon. In hindsight, it seems so positively quaint
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 21, 2017 – Page L3
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-- Canadians love malls. Of course we do. We've got a stable economy, a mostly miserable climate, an aversion to walking anywhere we could drive and an insatiable appetite for Cinnabon. It's a match made in an April blizzard.  FULL STORY arrow
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The march of the immortalists space
If the pursuit to overcome death seems unsettling, the kind of people driving this quest are even more so
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 14, 2017 – Page L3
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-- James, age 4, has started asking about death.''When am I going to die?'' he'll say, just as I'm creeping out of his room at night. ''Does everybody die?'' And, worst of all, because I can see how much it genuinely worries him, ''Are you and Daddy going to die?'' I know it's fashionable to be honest with your kids these days, to treat them as little adults capable of absorbing difficult information, but on this occasion, I've resorted to what I assumed was a convenient lie. ''Don't worry,'' I tell him. ''The scientists in America are working on a way to make us live forever.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Going grey, the modern way space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Last week, I strolled into the salon for my regular spring highlights and got to chatting with the receptionist, a stylish wisecracking young gal sporting a punky magenta rinse in her unstyled platinum-silver hair. I told her she looked like Debbie Harry circa 1984 and she smiled.  FULL STORY arrow
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Women's rights are human rights, and even men have noticed space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 10, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Last weekend, I hosted a table at a UN Women's breakfast in London to promote the launch of the 2017 HeForShe campaign in honour of International Women's Day. My hus...  FULL STORY arrow
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Neither true nor fake, but clicking makes it so space
Powerful interests can, and likely do, avail themselves of tools to manipulate cognitive bias on a mass scale through social media
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 3, 2017 – Page L3
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-- It has probably occurred to you by now that the truth as we believe it to be, is sometimes very different from the truth as it actually is.This idea - that human biases in perception can create an illogical and highly subjective state of ''reality'' - has been well explored in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics. Most recently, of course, there was Michael Lewis's fascinating new book The Undoing Project, about the long-time friendship of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.  FULL STORY arrow
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Peak Paleo, and the art of joyless living space
The science is in: utralow-carb diets and high-intensity exercise are the most efficient way to keep fit, but at what cost?
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Page L4
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-- There is a scene in Curtis Sittenfeld's last novel, Eligible (a modern update of Austen's Pride and Prejudice), in which our heroine Lizzy Bennet comes face to face with the insidious fitness trend that has come to dominate our age.  FULL STORY arrow
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While Trudeau was making nice in Washington, where were his political principles? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Page L1
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Dads aren't special snowflakes - they're just parents space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 27, 2017 – Page L1
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-- There's been a lot of talk recently about the dangers of overpraising children. Too much vague encouragement, many experts say, can give a child a surfeit of self-esteem and result in ''special snowflake syndrome'' (not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but give it a year or two).  FULL STORY arrow
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Women's March: This is what the child of a feminist looks like space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 20, 2017 – Page L1
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-- O n Saturday I'm taking my four-year-old son James to his first feminist march. It's the London version of the Women's March on Washington, in support of people marching on Capitol Hill to protest the inauguration of U.S president-elect Donald Trump.  FULL STORY arrow
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Defeating thoughtless meat consumption space
Swearing off the flesh is less an attempt to make a 'good' choice than a conscious rejection of the power of collective delusion
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 13, 2017 – Page L3
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-- It's January and as usual everyone is on some idiot regime.We're all going dry and getting rehydrated, resting our colons and manifesting our best intentions. We're upping the antioxidants and downing probiotics, meditating, masticating and engaging in empathetic mediation.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mommy, why does he look so happy? And why do you look so sad? space
Leah McLaren on how to talk to your children about president-elect Donald Trump
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 11, 2016 – Page L1
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-- ''How am I going to explain this to my kids?'' This was the question echoing in the annals of middle-class Western social media yesterday as politically minded parents the world over awoke to the news of a Trump victory. Our house was no exception.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fight for your right to work space
Leah McLaren on why Gretchen Carlson's $20million settlement from CNN for sexual harassment is hardly cause to celebrate ... Inequality in the workplace may be more subtle than in the Mad Men era, but women say it's just as pernicious as ever
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, September 9, 2016 – Page L1
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-- You'd be forgiven for thinking it's been a banner week in the fight against sexism in the workplace. On Tuesday, after all, it was announced that a U.S. court ordered Rupert Murdoch's Fox News to pay former anchor Gretchen Carlson $20-million (all figures U.S.) in a settlement after she sued the network for sexual harassment. For years, Carlson claimed, she was harassed and intimidated sexually and professionally by network chairman Roger Ailes, one of Murdoch's closest lieutenants.  FULL STORY arrow
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The return of my pint-sized Jekyll and Hyde space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, September 2, 2016 – Page L1
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-- The first day of school is fast approaching and I for one could not be more excited. With it comes the return of my other child, the child I reluctantly said goodbye to last June and whom I have missed dearly in the intervening weeks and months (has it actually been years?) since school ended. That child, whom my husband and I call School James, is the apple of my eye and the light of our lives - he is exactly the kid who, back in my delusional 20-something fantasies of motherhood, I imagined I'd have.  FULL STORY arrow
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No more birth shaming space
Why equating 'natural' with 'normal' is harmful, not helpful, to many women
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, August 26, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Last week, Jools Oliver, the designer and wife of celebrity chef Jamie, gave birth to the couple's fifth child. Shortly after, her husband tweeted what has now become goldstandard information in social-media birth announcements - not the name and weight of the baby (today, those are considered private information to be released later at the parents' discretion) but the method and process of birth, as performed by the mother in question. ''He arrived safely,'' Oliver tweeted.  FULL STORY arrow
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Summer camp wasn't meant to be live-tweeted space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, August 19, 2016 – Page L1
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-- This summer, our boys went to camp for the first time.When I say ''camp,'' what I mean is that they spent a week swimming, running, singing and carving sticks into spears in the Canadian wilderness from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thursday, when they had a onenight campfire and ''sleepover.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The battle for our names space
Forcing women to declare their marital status seems so 19th century
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 29, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Just as Queen Bey predicted, girls are now running the world. Or at least NATO and the G8. If and when (God willing) Hillary takes the White House, it will be official: Women leaders will be in control of the most powerful Western democracies on Earth. The flinty triumvirate of Merkel, May and Clinton will sweep us into a new frontier for equality - well beyond what many of us thought possible in this lifetime.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't let global tumult stop your kids from travelling space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 22, 2016 – Page L1
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-- There are three questions I constantly ask myself as a parent. 1) Why for the love of God is he not asleep? 2) Where is the lid for the stupid water bottle? and 3) What do I risk by not allowing my child to take this particular risk?  FULL STORY arrow
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Playing dirty space
Leah McLaren celebrates new research that shows filthy kids fare better on the allergy front. All the more reason, she writes, to avoid ever wiping them down
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 15, 2016 – Page L1
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-- There's lots of stuff I care about as a parent; some of it is genuinely important to my kids' survival (like nutrition, exercise and sleep), while the rest is decidedly not (table manners, cute pyjamas and grammar).  FULL STORY arrow
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RECIPE FOR A PERFECT SUMMER space
Unstructured time is overrated, writes Leah McLaren. Kids today can't wander around whiling away the hours like they used to
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 8, 2016 – Page L1
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-- With the end of the school year comes the flood of articles decrying the ''overstimulation'' of our children and imploring modern parents to embrace the joys of unstructured time for kids during the summer months.  FULL STORY arrow
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Friendships fuelled by wild nights are Absolutely Fabulous space
A trip back to a beloved British sitcom uncovers the life-affirming madness - and enduring sanity - of long-lasting female bonds
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 1, 2016 – Page L3
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-- A bsolutely Fabulous, the longawaited feature film, is finally out in London this week. (Canadians will have to wait until July 22.)This major cultural event for sybaritic fashion-hounds everywhere also comes just in time for the international season of gay pride, in which marvellous, drunken, gender-bending renditions of Patsy and Edina will take to the streets of cities across globe - man-size Louboutins staggering under the weight of diamante water pistols and magnums of Veuve.  FULL STORY arrow
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Kids of working parents: good luck with that sleep thing space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 24, 2016 – Page L1
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-- If shouting is the new spanking, then sleeping is the new exercising.  FULL STORY arrow
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A closet mentality is the real threat space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 17, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Was Omar Mateen a semicloseted, self-hating gay man?This is the troubling question at the heart of America's worst mass shooting in modern history and one currently under investigation by the FBI. Multiple witnesses have told the media that Mateen was a regular at Pulse, the Orlando gay nightclub in which the weekend shooting occurred. A former male friend from the police academy claims Mateen asked him on multiple dates. Mateen's ex-wife, who told reporters he was abusive and mentally ill, also said she believed he had ''homosexual tendencies.'' And it's been widely reported that he solicited dates on the gay dating apps Jack'd and Grindr.  FULL STORY arrow
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What not to say to parents who don't have 'one of each' space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 10, 2016 – Page L1
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-- According to most major economic and social indicators, we are soon to be living in a post-gender world. In the West, being born with a penis or a vagina is no longer a barrier to wearing certain clothes or doing certain jobs - at least not officially. It is not even a barrier to changing gender and the biological accoutrements to match. Obviously sexism and stereotypes still exist, but we agree that such things are retrograde. Like single-sex schools, men's only golf clubs and Femfresh Intimate hygiene wash, they're out there, but not for long.  FULL STORY arrow
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Puff Daddy space
Nobody blinks when moms joke about 'wine o'clock.' So why, Leah McLaren asks, do stay-at-home dads who light a doobie during playtime get accused of crossing the line?
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 3, 2016 – Page L1
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-- The first stoner dad I met was my neighbour, Joe.Joe is in his mid-30s, lives with his wife (a checkout clerk at our local grocery store), and is the primary carer for their two-year-old daughter.  FULL STORY arrow
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Overcoming the Expectations Gap space
Avoiding unrealistic ideas about the bliss of married life may lead to a happier - and healthier - relationship
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 27, 2016 – Page L8
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-- Another wedding season, another study showing that marriage is a raw deal for heterosexual women.Last month, University College London and the London School of Economics released a joint study that found men who married were far less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome - a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity - than their unmarried counterparts. For married women, the same health benefits simply did not exist.  FULL STORY arrow
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Cutting to the heart of Sophiegate space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 20, 2016 – Page L1
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-- The controversy swirling around Sophie Gregoire Trudeau's lifestyle choices reached a deliriously unhinged denouement this week. First, she was pilloried in Parliament and by the conservative press as being an ungrateful whiner with pathetically middle-class problems.  FULL STORY arrow
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A teachable moment from the Donald space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 13, 2016 – Page L1
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-- ''Look! It's the bad man who wants to keep the Muslims out of Europe. Why is his hair so weird?'' This from my seven-year-old stepson, Freddie, in response to the televised spectre of Donald Trump, bathing in shameless, spray-tanned glory after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee last week.  FULL STORY arrow
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Too much homework stifling your kids? Give them permission to just say no space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 6, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Homework is a bummer, almost everyone agrees, but most parents shoulder the burden without even thinking. We sit our kids down at the kitchen table and ''supervise'' as they writhe and moan, gnaw at pencils and eventually slide off their chairs like limp rag dolls who have been exorcised of all imagination, natural curiosity and will to live.  FULL STORY arrow
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Understanding 'helicopter parenting' space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 29, 2016 – Page L1
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-- This week, in the lead up to Mother's Day, I've been thinking a lot about Jacqui Kendrick, the Winnipeg stay-at-home mother of three who was recently in the news after Manitoba Child and Family Services paid her a visit following a complaint that her children were playing by themselves in the backyard.  FULL STORY arrow
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You can't just put it out there. Just saying space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 22, 2016 – Page L1
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-- ''Just saying'' has become the verbal tic of year. But the phrase is more than just a bit of soon-to-be-extinct vernacular flotsam. It's also a slogan for the strange times we live in - an era in which the transmission of information between humans has never been so efficient, lightning-fast and, because of this, more morally fraught. We share, we connect, we reveal. If other people don't like it, whevs. Just saying.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why I'm signing my son up for ballet space
There's something sexist, even covertly misogynist, in the way we only seem to discourage boys away from pretty things
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 15, 2016 – Page L5
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-- The other day I was sitting in the park with James, 3, when I picked a dandelion and handed it to him as a present.''No way, Mummy,'' he said, pushing away my gift. ''Flowers are pretty and I'm a boy.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Resentment in middle-class hoods is on the rise space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 8, 2016 – Page L1
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-- The most uplifting thing about the Panama Papers leak this week has been the media strategy taken up by Ramon Fonseca, one of the founding partners of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is now at the centre of what is being hailed as the biggest financial leak in the history of journalism.  FULL STORY arrow
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BEYOND THE VERDICT space
The Ghomeshi case shattered misconceptions about sexual assault and harassment. That's why, as Leah McLaren explains, the judge's decision may not be the most important outcome of the trial
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 25, 2016 – Page L1
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-- By the time you read this column, we will know whether Jian Ghomeshi has been found guilty - and while in many ways this should be the crux of the whole miserable business, in other ways it hardly seems to matter at all.  FULL STORY arrow
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Floating in a sea of vapid online trends space
Since most news in the post-website era comes from social media, is filtering Khloe Kardashian out too big a dream?
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 18, 2016 – Page L4
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-- I recently read an article on the death of news websites. Once a truly cutting-edge media format, they are now, apparently, outdated and verging on extinction like a modern woolly mammoth.  FULL STORY arrow
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Take a time out, breathe deep, and count to 10: The kids are going to be all right space
Experts say we're ruining our children with attention, validation - and too much rope. Leah McLaren says that's just not true
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Saturday, March 12, 2016 – Page F1
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The woman behind the man, still space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 11, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Earlier this week, Twitter exploded with the news that Kim Cattrall had been mistaken for Margaret Trudeau in a photograph with Trudeau's late ex-husband, featured on the news program 60 Minutes. The mix-up was immediately put down to the fact that Americans, even reasonably clever ones, seem to know squat about our country.  FULL STORY arrow
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Crave tidiness? Discard your offspring space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 4, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Marie Kondo, Japan's Queen of Clean, has almost nothing to say on the subject of children.It's spring-cleaning time and I've been re-reading her two bestselling books for inspiration: The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up and the sequel Spark Joy, in which she advocates that readers take each object in their house and hold it close to their body to feel whether it ''sparks joy'' or not. She is very keen on throwing things out but conspicuously circumspect on the topic of how to cope with the most disorganizing life experience of all: choosing to spend one's life with small irrational beings with zero respect for radical minimalism and Zen-like order.  FULL STORY arrow
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A new doc on young women and drinking gets it all wrong space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 26, 2016 – Page L1
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-- B inge drinking, you may have heard, is an epidemic among young Canadian women. According to a new CBC documentary, Girls' Night Out, women attending universities across the country are drinking more than ever before and suffering an alarming array of social, emotional and physical consequences because of it.  FULL STORY arrow
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The terrifying truth: Sometimes our children are unknowable space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 19, 2016 – Page L1
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-- Sue Klebold's son Dylan was one of two teenaged gunmen at Columbine High School in Colorado who, in 1999, killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 21 others before turning his gun on himself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Twitter is doomed by the yuck factor it failed to address space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 5, 2016 – Page L5
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-- As the dust settles in the aftermath of Canada's first high-profile digital-harassment case, one thing is obvious: The party is over for Twitter.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fine, I'll be a nagging piano mother space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 29, 2016 – Page L3
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-- My parenting style is a haphazard mixture of blind instinct and willful redress. I mostly just do what my parents did, except when I go out of my way not to repeat what I perceive as their mistakes. Signing my three-year-old son James up for Suzuki piano lessons was a mission born of the latter impulse rather than the former.  FULL STORY arrow
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A champion for redheads re-emerges space
Anne of Green Gables, she of fiery tresses, returns to TV and just in time - a whole bunch of carrot tops need acceptance
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 22, 2016 – Page L4
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-- Anne of Green Gables is back on the small screen - a madefor-TV movie will air on YTV in February and CBC has just announced a new miniseries to be shot later in the year. Both adaptations promise to provide a fresh take on the plucky, frecklefaced orphan and, judging by the creative choices, a darker one.  FULL STORY arrow
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A lament for the loss of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kids' lit characters space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 15, 2016 – Page L1
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-- If only children were as omnivorous in their literary consumption as they are voracious.At any given time, my son James only seems to want two or three books in rotation, ad nauseam, until we are both so sick of them mummy needs to bring her wine upstairs for bedtime.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should women be paid for emotional labour? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 8, 2016 – Page L5
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-- It's January, a dark, sluggish month I think of as ''thank you-card season'' - the time of year when emotional debts, avoided or accrued over the holidays, must be settled.  FULL STORY arrow
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Taking Santa out of the line of fire space
My holiday wish is for a world with fewer firearms, whether of the toy or automatic variety
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 18, 2015 – Page L4
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-- When my seven-year-old stepson Freddy presented me with his list for Santa Claus this year, I was relieved. Lately I've noticed a premature adolescent jadedness creeping into his mannerisms, and I'd been worried he might take it upon himself to disillusion his younger brother James who, at 31/2, is still a fervent believer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why the Donald is dangerous space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 11, 2015 – Page L4
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-- I interviewed Ivanka Trump a couple of years ago and she was clever and funny, and surprisingly human. The 34-year old has a degree in economics from Wharton, founded a successful jewellery and lifestyle business and is now executive director of the property side of her father's billion-dollar business empire, as well as a wife, mother and feminist campaigner.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are nudie pics the new first base? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 4, 2015 – Page L3
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-- I was at a dinner party recently and a man showed me a picture of his vagina. Okay, not his vagina, but a vagina with which he was intimately acquainted.  FULL STORY arrow
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Single brown man doesn't equal "terrorist" space
Trudeau's Syrian resettlement policy is cynical and discriminatory
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 27, 2015 – Page L5
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-- Of all the head-shaking stories of Islamophobic attacks in recent days, there was one that actually made me smile. That was the story of Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad, two Philadelphia residents of Palestinian descent who were stopped and questioned before boarding a Southwest flight in Chicago last week after some of the other passengers reportedly ''became nervous'' when they heard the men conversing in Arabic.  FULL STORY arrow
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Providing shelter, minus the dreaded Allen key space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Page L3
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-- There is no place more poignant than Ikea. It is the place - and brand - we find ourselves drawn to, inevitably, when our lives are in transition. From that first trip to furnish student digs with white laminate bookshelves to fulfilling the decor needs of cohabitation, marriage, pregnancy, breakup and empty-nest downsizing, middle-class Westerners return to the Swedish mecca of cheap, simple design when our lives are at their most liminal. Forget the old adage that Ikea is ''Swedish for divorce'' - Ikea is Swedish for life change.  FULL STORY arrow
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To breed or not to breed space
Once you've had a child, everyone around feels free to ask when you'll have another one
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 6, 2015 – Page L6
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-- The news last week that China will discontinue its one-child policy is a major victory for human rights in a totalitarian state, but it's also a pain in the behind for indecisive people everywhere. Just imagine how many of the 90 million eligible Chinese couples are, right at this moment, rolling over to each other in bed and asking with a sigh, ''So should we give the little blighter a sibling or just ... leave it at that?''  FULL STORY arrow
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Trudeau is 43. What did I do with my life? space
Canadians put our generation - sandwiched between Generation X and the millennials - in charge. What were they thinking?
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, October 30, 2015 – Page L5
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-- Currently topping my lengthy list of ''middle-class problems'' - right up there with ''depilate more assiduously'' and ''pay car insurance'' - is the issue of how best to deal with the fact that Justin Trudeau, a man only 31/2 years my senior, is about to become Prime Minister of Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Oprah weighs in on the diet industry space
Can the United States's most powerful media personality save Weight Watchers in the age of Fitbit and lifestyle zealots?
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, October 23, 2015 – Page L7
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-- This week, I was surprised and heartened to see that Oprah Winfrey, Empress of Everywoman, has purchased a 10-percent stake in Weight Watchers, the flailing U.S. weight-loss program. Remember Weight Watchers, the Alcoholics Anonymous of dieting? Flogged by both Sarah Ferguson and Jessica Simpson, the brand was the purveyor of processed foods and branded candy bars the size of your finger. It also worked - mostly by getting overweight people to commit to eating less and moving more.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's time to re-open the loop space
We've all been there: unable to admit that an idea, a partner, a political party or a way of doing things is, well, a failure
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, October 16, 2015 – Page L5
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-- For those of you still deciding how to vote, I urge you to read British journalist Matthew Syed's new book Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success. It presents itself as one of those thinky self-help manuals in the Gladwellian vein, but is in fact far more surprising and instructive than that. Black Box Thinking explores the reasons why people and organizations so often fail and fail repeatedly, only to turn around and fail in the same way again.  FULL STORY arrow
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Culture fights not worth social divisions space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, October 9, 2015 – Page L4
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-- Watching Canada's niqab debate from my current perch in London, I find myself alarmed at the way such an issue can hijack an election and divide a country. Alarmed - but not surprised.  FULL STORY arrow
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Thirtysomething parents face housing discrimination space
Bad enough that a cohort is caught in a bleak job market, worse still that landlords are passing over young families for 'mature couples'
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, October 2, 2015 – Page L6
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-- All my life, I've watched people get married, have children and, in most cases, buy a house. Breeding and acquiring real estate used to be what the majority of my peers did as they got older in politically stable, economically productive countries such as Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Moved by a crisis? Think before you donate space
Aid organizations working with refugees need money - not your old stuff
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, September 18, 2015 – Page L4
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-- Did you know the road to hell is paved with baby carriers?More specifically, it's paved with the good intentions of thousands of middle class Western parents, who have banded together online to donate their ring slings, Baby Bjorns, Bobas, Caboos and Pottery Barn kid carriers to the wave of mostly Syrian refugees moving across Europe.  FULL STORY arrow
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DEAD END space
More than a year ago, David Walker's body was found in the jungle at Angkor Wat, weeks after the Canadian expat mysteriously disappeared. Leah McLaren travels to Cambodia to find out what happened and why Ottawa allows so many deaths abroad to go unexplained
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Saturday, September 12, 2015 – Page F6
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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA -- On the morning of Feb. 14, 2014, a 58-year-old Canadian named Dave Walker rose late and left his room at the Green Village Angkor guest house in this city of 175,000 in northwestern Cambodia. After eating at his usual spot, the Five Sons noodle bar on Sok San Road, he walked back to the hotel, stopping to pick up his clothes from a laundromat, before returning to his room around 1 p.m. When one of the housekeepers knocked on Mr. Walker's door to clean the room, he grabbed his wallet, a bottle of water and his cellphone, and left to give her space, leaving his laptop, passport and other belongings behind. He then returned almost immediately, plugged his phone into a charger, and walked out for good.  FULL STORY arrow
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Holding children back is not the right start space
Studies show that children born late in the year don't benefit from delaying kindergarten
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, September 11, 2015 – Page L4
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-- Did your kindergarten-age child start kindergarten this week?That sounds like a trick question, but it's not. Currently in the United States, the answer for nearly one in 10 parents is - rather startlingly - no. They're holding their children back from school a year in the hope that the children will attain academic and physical advantages over their peers. The practice is known as ''redshirting,'' from the sports term that refers to benching freshmen players for a school year until they grow to their full athletic potential.  FULL STORY arrow
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For parents, daycare is the real money pit space
Move over Babar, there's a bigger elephant in the room - a long overdue need for a national, government-supported child care program
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, September 4, 2015 – Page L3
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-- Whenever a newly pregnant friend asks for advice on preparing for the arrival of her first baby, I say the same thing: Think about child care. Be realistic about what you will need and what you can afford. Sit down (with your partner if you have one) and draw up a budget. Do the math. Do not wait until you are exhausted, unshowered and three months into a maternity leave to start panicking about daycare waiting lists, government subsidies and nanny shares. Try to figure out a realistic solution as early as you can if you have any interest in protecting your career, autonomy and sanity as a new parent.  FULL STORY arrow
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The abortion drone is a victory for women's rights space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, July 3, 2015 – Page L5
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-- It's weird how creepy futuristic inventions can suddenly reveal themselves to be the new purveyors of hope and social change.That's how I felt this week when I read about the abortion drone - a mind-bending device that took flight in Germany last weekend to deliver free and safe pregnancy-terminating pills across the border to Poland, one of a handful of countries in Europe in which abortion is illegal (a list that includes Ireland and Malta).  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't give credit where crying is due space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 26, 2015 – Page L4
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-- Powerful men have been getting a lot of credit for acting emotional lately and I have mixed feelings about it. Of course I do - I'm a woman. I'm feeling stuff, actual ooey-gooey emotions, every waking minute of the day - unlike men, who apparently ''let their guard down'' only once in a while. We chicks are crazy that way.  FULL STORY arrow
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Child's play needs an element of risk space
Kids should be free to run, jump and tumble - for better health, not to win ribbons
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 19, 2015 – Page L5
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-- No one was surprised when the 2015 annual ParticipAction report card came out this month and the results were abysmal. No eyebrows were raised by the ''news'' that children in the five to seven age group scored a D-minus for overall activity, or that the vast majority failed to meet the recommendation of at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. Titled ''The Biggest Risk is Keeping Them Indoors,'' the report emphasized the need for parents to ''get out of the way and let them play,'' stating that the amount of outdoor play that children engage in has fallen dramatically in recent years, mostly on account of helicopter parenting.  FULL STORY arrow
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The perils of ambition space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 12, 2015 – Page L3
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-- I''ve known both the broadcaster Evan Solomon and the art dealer Bruce Bailey for many years and although they could not be more different, if I had to choose a single adjective to describe either of them it would be the same: Ambitious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Woman takes offence, makes world better space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, June 5, 2015 – Page L4
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-- The bearded hip-hop artist Action Bronson has officially been bumped as a headlining act at the NXNE festival in Toronto later this month. This came about because one lone Toronto music fan named Erica Shiner was offended by his song Consensual Rape, a paean to sexual assault and the degradation of females, and by his video Brunch, which features the artist verbally abusing and stabbing the body of dead woman.  FULL STORY arrow
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My son loves zombies, so we roll with it space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 29, 2015 – Page L9
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-- I wish I didn't know the precise moment when my 21/2-year-old son became obsessed with the undead, but I do. He'd been napping when his seven-year-old brother, Freddy, begged me to let him watch Shaun of the Dead, the 2004 British zombie parody filmed in North London, not too far from where we live. My husband looked at me skeptically as I pressed play, and I assured him it was a PG comedy, a contemporary classic. Where was the harm?  FULL STORY arrow
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Kim has won my respect space
The Kardashians' promotion of understanding for transgendered people has been inspiring
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 22, 2015 – Page L4
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-- I have long made a point of not keeping up with the Kardashians. It hasn't been easy. There were all those tabloids to avoid in the nail salon, all the entertainment shows to click past on TV. I had to swear off Perez Hilton, TMZ, Jezebel, Facebook, Twitter and even the whole Internet for hours, sometimes days, on end.  FULL STORY arrow
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Women ought to think more like men space
As the beach season approaches, and certain marketers call for six-pack abs, how about we all just chill out
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 15, 2015 – Page L3
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-- There has been outrage in Britain over an ad campaign for a weight-loss supplement that features a nearly naked, hard-bodied blonde model and the slogan, ''Are you beach body ready?'' The model looks gorgeous, of course - nothing wrong with that. But many have taken offence to the implication that a very slim and fashionable body like hers is the only sort of body a self-respecting woman ought to take to the beach.  FULL STORY arrow
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The parent question: What kind of a person are you going to be? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, May 8, 2015 – Page L1
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-- Mother's Day is upon us. Or as I like to think of it, the annual occasion in which we treat the woman who spent years in daily contact with our poop to brunch at a mid-priced restaurant.  FULL STORY arrow
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Our new, dysfunctional relationship with literature space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Page R14
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-- When I sat down a couple of years ago to write my second novel I was certain of only one thing: It was not going to end with a wedding.  FULL STORY arrow
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Clothes to survive and thrive in space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 24, 2015 – Page L4
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-- The announcement this week that COS, edgy sister brand to Swedish label HandM, will be opening stores in Toronto and Montreal was greeted from coast to coast with the sound of style-conscious women cheering as their male companions softly whimpered.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pregnant at 65? Unusual, but it's her right space
Annegret Raunigk's late-life pregnancy highlights society's discomfort with women exercising more control over their bodies
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 17, 2015 – Page L6
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-- The news this week that Annegret Raunigk, a teacher from Germany and mother of 13, is pregnant with quadruplets at the age of 65, set off hot debate in the German parliament and a great deal of gawking from the international press. Raunigk is an enigma wrapped in a maternity smock because, despite her desire to pop out pups like a Pez dispenser, she looks remarkably young for her age and strangely (there is no other way to say it) happy.  FULL STORY arrow
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A season of rebirth - and repainting space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, April 3, 2015 – Page L3
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-- It's springtime, the season of rebirth and restlessness. A time for moving furniture around and cleaning out eavestroughs while contemplating a bold new colour treatment for the living room - or as my parents might say, ''repainting.''  FULL STORY arrow
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BBC shows CBC how to handle scandal space
With previous warnings, a swift investigation and complete transparency, the British broadcaster dismissed its Top Gear star
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 27, 2015 – Page L6
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-- This column comes to you from London, England, a city amazed - though not entirely surprised - to have watched one of its most-lauded and highly paid TV hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, brought to his knees this week in an unexpected public beheading by the British Broadcasting Corporation.  FULL STORY arrow
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A (second) burial fit for a king - 500 years later space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Thursday, March 26, 2015 – Page A1
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LONDON -- Thursday in Leicester, a small city in England's East Midlands, a king will be laid to rest, for the second time in history.Richard III, last leader of the House of York, reigned over this windswept island for just two years: 1483-1485 to be exact. While his rule was short and brutal, his legacy has been long and vague.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are men really the victims? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 13, 2015 – Page L3
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-- During my pregnancy I had a little party joke. When people asked me, ''Do you know what you're having?'' I'd rub my belly and say, ''I'm having exactly what the world needs - a white male.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Confronted by my own prejudice space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, March 6, 2015 – Page L3
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-- The interesting thing about equality is that it goes in both directions. It's a wide-open, twoway thoroughfare. And if you're someone who's usually driving fast and furiously on the woman side, it's interesting to encounter an unexpected roadblock in the man lane - one that makes you question your own feminist ideals.  FULL STORY arrow
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Do we suffer from mourning sickness? space
The public response to Elijah Marsh's death was heartfelt, but tragedies can also play to less noble aspects of the human condition
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 27, 2015 – Page L6
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-- Tomorrow is the funeral for Elijah Marsh, the Toronto toddler who, in the middle of the night last week, wandered out into the snow and died of hypothermia while his family slept.  FULL STORY arrow
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A HOTEL TO GO space
The Mekong Delta is the home to the next generation of river cruises, Leah McLaren writes. It's luxe, gorgeous and exotic - ship included
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Saturday, February 21, 2015 – Page T1
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MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM -- It is impossible for me to hear the words ''Mekong Delta'' and not think of that famous scene in Apocalypse Now - the one in which Colonel Kilgore (played by a young, buff Robert Duvall) rips off his shirt during battle on a river bank as the sky explodes with shrapnel behind him. Kilgore has decided to take the beach for no other reason than because he intends to surf it. ''I love the smell of napalm in the morning,'' he says calmly as his soldiers dive for cover. And then, with obvious regret, ''Some day this war's gonna end.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The only thing more terrifying than money is talking about it with my sons space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 20, 2015 – Page L1
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-- A friend recently confided that she thought it might be time to have The Talk with her six-year-old daughter.But isn't six too young for that? Oh no, said my friend, Luella was definitely curious.  FULL STORY arrow
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The increasingly sensitive issue of circumcision space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 13, 2015 – Page L5
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-- A couple of weeks ago, I found myself wandering through a fascinating exhibition called Snip It! Stances on Ritual Circumcision in the Jewish Museum in Berlin.In addition to displaying a lot of terrifying-looking ceremonial scalpels and some rather gruesome wax penises, the exhibition invited attendees to weigh the moral pros and cons of this ancient ritual - something I've trained myself not to do as the mother of an uncut son.  FULL STORY arrow
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The darkly ironic vaccination debate is back and raging space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, February 6, 2015 – Page L3
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-- The other day I saw a cartoon that depicted a spotty little boy being checked over by a doctor as his mom and dad looked on anxiously. ''If you connect the measles,'' the doc is saying, ''it says ''My parents are idiots.' ''  FULL STORY arrow
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Swipe. Click. Meet. Repeat: How Tinder started a new sexual revolution space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 30, 2015 – Page L3
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-- Back in the 1990s when my mother was single, she and her girlfriends used to sit around our house in Toronto drinking wine and talking about all the dates they weren't going on.  FULL STORY arrow
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Whose rights are served when a girl dies? space
Refusing chemotherapy in favour of holistic treatment in the name of cultural sensitivity could be seen as a death sentence
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 23, 2015 – Page L3
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-- Earlier this week, 11-year-old Makayla Sault died. She was the twinkly-eyed New Credit First Nation girl who made headlines last spring by refusing further chemotherapy for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She underwent holistic treatment but suffered a relapse and succumbed to a stroke on Monday.  FULL STORY arrow
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How should we deal with celebrity felons? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 16, 2015 – Page L3
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-- In April, 2012, in the Welsh port town of Caernarfon, a professional soccer player named Ched Evans was convicted and sentenced to five years for rape. His victim, a local teenage girl, was deemed by the court to be too drunk to consent. Evans, a striker for Sheffield United who scored 35 goals in his last season, served roughly half his sentence and was released last October, a free man.  FULL STORY arrow
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Secrets of a cold-hearted 'sleep trainer' space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 9, 2015 – Page L6
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-- Just before my son was born, all anyone wanted to talk to me about was the sleep thing.My best girlfriend, an unrepentant hippie who breastfed her daughter until age three, told me it was ''impossible to sleep-train a baby,'' so I shouldn't even try.  FULL STORY arrow
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I resolve to like less in the new year space
It is so easy to hit that Facebook like button, but it's not a good substitute for actual human interaction
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, January 2, 2015 – Page L6
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-- Over the holidays, my mother and I tried to explain to a cousin who doesn't use social media why we were posting pictures of the Christmas tree, the kids and the turkey online.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it church if there's no god or dogma? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 19, 2014 – Page L3
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-- There's a popular Christian school in my London neighbourhood that parents are always trying to get their kids into. The only problem is you have to go the church. This doesn't seem to be a problem for my neighbours, many of whom pad down the sidewalk each Sunday morning in jeans and sneakers (the idea of ''Sunday best'' apparently having gone out with hot rollers and slips), but it's a problem for me since I don't actually believe in God.  FULL STORY arrow
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Poorly reported rape story may do more harm than good space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 12, 2014 – Page L4
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-- ''Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,'' goes the old newsroom joke. It's been on my mind this week as I watched the unravelling of Rolling Stone magazine's University of Virginia fraternity rape story. The original 9,000-word article, published last month, recounts a violent, three-hour gang rape from the point of view of the crime's alleged victim, ''Jackie,'' a UVA student who spoke to the magazine on condition of anonymity.  FULL STORY arrow
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What's perfectly fine for my husband is not fine for me space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, December 5, 2014 – Page L1
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-- A couple of years ago, a woman I knew died. She was in her late 30s, a stay-at-home mother of three small children who lived a nice house in an affluent area of Toronto, and kept herself busy with charity work. Her partner, who worked in finance, was devastated but - unlike everyone else - not entirely surprised.  FULL STORY arrow
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A question as old as Christmas: Do kids really need toys? space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 28, 2014 – Page L5
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-- One of the more dispiriting experiences of being a parent today is finding yourself, in moments of desperation, scanning anonymous message boards full of mothers (why is it always mothers?) offering highly subjective advice on how you - and everybody else in the world - really ought to be raising small children.  FULL STORY arrow
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Hardcore 'social experiment' is an issue for Gen-XXX space
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By LEAH MCLAREN
Friday, November 21, 2014 – Page L3
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-- When Gabe Deen was eight years old growing up in small-town Texas, he found a copy of a Playboy magazine and decided naked ladies were the best thing ever. Then, when he was 12, his family got high-speed Internet. Suddenly the naked ladies he craved weren't just intermittently available, they were infinite and on tap. And they were doing stuff he'd never even imagined. It was like he'd gone looking for his first sip of beer and found an unlimited stash of Jack Daniels and unfiltered Export A's.  FULL STORY arrow
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Complete Index of Today's Print Headlines
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