Irish veteran sensation U2 received a warm welcome as they played the first Montreal show of their worldwide tour, iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE, on June 12th at the Bell Centre. In support of their thirteenth studio album, Songs of Innocence, the band concertized on June 12th, June 13th, June 16th and June 17th.
However, U2 fans were not the only screaming people at the Bell Centre this week. On Tuesday, as the band was playing, the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, an advocacy group against circumcision, held a protest outside of the concert venue. They were denouncing lead singer Bono’s vocal support for mass male circumcision in Africa, where HIV incidence is high, stating that it is a barbaric practice that has no beneficial health effects whatsoever. This claim, however, is not supported by scientific evidence. A study published in mBio in 2013 found that, only one year after circumcision, bacterial load and microbiota diversity on the penis is “decreased significantly”. Researchers concluded that these findings could be used as a springboard for new intervention strategies in areas with high HIV prevalence.
It was apparently a very bad week for science in Montreal, as pseudo-science wasn’t the only STEM problem plaguing the city. A 600 pages report by Jacques Bergeron, tabled in the city council on Monday, thoroughly slammed its IT management. The auditor general gives the Quebec metropolis a rating of 1.5 on 5 for the way it manages its information technology. Administration strategy got blasted for being more reactive than strategic and possessed “embryonic management of competencies.” Montreal has also been found unable to take advantage of technological innovations to help improve its citizens’ lives. Overall, the city’s tech infrastructure was deemed incredibly lacking, a bleak picture for Coderre’s “Smart and Digital City” election platform.
Technoparc was an unintended victim of these poor practices. The non-profit corporation, which runs the high-tech companies park hub in St-Laurent, produced no regular assessments of its actions, lacked important documents and didn’t record the minutes of its meetings. All hope is not lost, however. Alan DeSousa, mayor of St-Laurent, said that the park now has a new president who has already put in place measures to improve the situation.
Speaking of mayors, Jean Doré has died last Monday after a battle against pancreatic cancer. The former mayor, leader of the now-defunct Montreal Citizens’ Movement, is remembered as someone who was passionate about his vision of building a modern city for the citizens. He governed with a focus on sustainable development, treating each borough with a highly customized approach that met their unique individual needs. Sometimes paralleled with the provincial Quiet Revolution, his often-overlooked legacy is nevertheless still strongly felt today. He was the man behind the renewal of the historic Old Port, the city’s introduction to recycling and its complex bicycle paths system: aspects of life Montrealers take for granted today. The city’s 39th mayor lied in state at Montreal City Hall on June 20th and June 21st. Members of the general public could pay their last respects from 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday. A civic funeral is scheduled for Monday.
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