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It's been a Good Week for... It's been a Bad Week for.,,

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GOOD WEEK...

Sagkeeng's Finest

The tap-dancing, moon-walking teens put Sagkeeng First Nation on Canada's radar last week, using their charm and fast feet to win Canada's Got Talent. Brothers Dallas and Brandon Courchene and best friend Vince O'Laney won $100,000 in cash, a trip to Tobago, a sports car and more chances to perform. It's been a tough few months for First Nations people, between fraudulent flood claims, federal audits questioning spending and little progress improving conditions on remote reserves. Sagkeeng's Finest did more with a few dance moves to bridge the chasm between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people than any politician or chief.

Vince Li

The man found not criminally responsible for the murder and dismemberment of Tim McLean on board a Greyhound bus nearly four years ago will likely soon be allowed out of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre and into the community for short, supervised excursions. A review board heard last week that Li has made remarkable strides in dealing with a devastating mental illness, has shown genuine insight into his crime and would pose virtually no risk to the public if he were to take some tentative steps toward a more normal life. Despite being frequently vilified by the public -- condemnation that often includes calls to send him back to China even though he is a Canadian citizen -- Li has sparked a real discussion of mental illness, its toll, its treatment and its lingering stigma.

Columbia University

For years, he mopped floors and cleaned toilets at one of America's Ivy League universities. Last Sunday, Gac Filipaj earned an honours degree instead of a paycheque from New York's Columbia University and became a media sensation. An ethnic Albanian refugee from the former Yugoslavia, Filipaj learned English and then pulled years of all-nighters, studying to earn his degree in classics while working as a custodian at the school. His favourite subject? The Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca. "I love Seneca's letters, because they're written in the spirit in which I was educated," Filipaj told The Associated Press. "Not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honourable life."

BAD WEEK... By Mary Agnes Welch

Line Beauchamp

Amid months of violent student protests, Quebec's education minister suddenly resigned both her cabinet post and her Montreal seat Monday. She said she no longer believed herself to be part of the solution and hoped her departure might help break the impasse. It has not. Instead, some saw Beauchamp's resignation as a small victory for students, who continued to protest a proposed tuition hike, forcing Premier Jean Charest to announce he would legislate an end to the strike.

Greece...

...and by extension the eurozone. The beleaguered country cannot seem to extricate itself from the political and economic tailspin that began in 2009. Greece is going to the polls again next month after politicians failed Tuesday to form a unity government. There's talk of bank runs, fears the country could abandon a bailout deal and begin a domino-effect of debt defaults that could engulf other struggling European countries. Once again, the country could be on the brink of withdrawing from the eurozone, and some say that may be the best way to quarantine the country's financial chaos.

Stick-thin models

It turns out waif-like models aren't actually an effective advertising tactic. Canadian researcher and modelling agency owner Ben Barry surveyed 2,500 women and found they were twice as likely to buy when the models in mock ads were realistic weights instead of rail-thin. Writing for Elle Canada's website, Barry said the discovery could unleash huge growth potential for the fashion industry if companies started casting models that reflect a brand's target buyer instead of an unattainable ideal.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 19, 2012 J4

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