Putin's power play: This week in Maclean's

    Russia's recent invasion of Georgia is part of a bigger fight that pits
    Moscow against the West.

    Also in this week's issue: Beware of social poachers, those friends
    who'll dump you when someone better comes along; we may not be as
    liberal-minded as we think when it comes to legalizing marijuana;
    China's golden Olympic image is backed by steely determination; and:
    inflation is crippling nations around the world-can Canada be far

    TORONTO, Aug. 14 /CNW/ - Russia's willingness to crush a small neighbour,
as it did recently in Georgia, has sent a shudder through countries along
Russia's border and may be a foreshadowing of other military initiatives as
president Vladmir Putin tries to re-establish dominion over former Soviet
    While Georgia aspires to become a Westernized nation, aligned with Europe
and part of NATO, a counter-movement, with Putin firmly at the helm, is
fighting to re-establish influence over independent regions such as Ukraine
and other Eastern European and Baltic states. These recent events are putting
pressure on the West-specifically NATO, the United States and the European
Union-to state what they are willing to do in the face of this growing threat
as Russia tries to reassert itself as a world power.

    Will Canada escape the inflation threat?

    All over the world, prices are soaring and currencies are crumbling. Can
Canada escape unscathed? Luckily, the Bank of Canada has learned from the
out-of-control inflation of the 1970s, and likely will do whatever it takes to
prevent it from skyrocketing. The problem, the experts say, is that the cure
for inflation isn't pretty-especially if you live in Ontario and Quebec.

    Is the smoke clearing on the legalization of pot?

    "It's just not accepted in our society on the same level as alcohol or
even tobacco," Ted Kindos, a bar owner in Burlington, Ont., says of marijuana.
He would know: when the story broke that a customer filed a complaint against
Kindos after he shooed him away from the front door of his restaurant for
smoking pot, Kindos received many calls and emails of support, confirming the
average Canadian is nowhere near accepting cannabis as a presence in their
daily lives. In fact, a recent survey shows seven out of 10 of us still
disapprove of it. Meanwhile, the fire behind the pro-legalization lobby
appears to be dying out.

    Beware of flighty friends and poisonous pals

    Long work hours, lengthy commutes and the time-consuming tasks of
answering emails and keeping our Facebook pages updated can make establishing
and keeping real-life friends anything but second nature. Enter the social
poacher: desperate to get ahead in a competitive world, be well-connected and
have a little human contact, these predators pursue a potential friend with
all the determination and vigour of a romantic mate-and then dump them
ruthlessly when someone better comes along. Ouch.

    Olympics: Breaking out the good China

    Special coaches were imported. The public, the police and taxi drivers
received etiquette lessons. Approximately $40 billion was spent on
infrastructure, with another $17 billion spent on environmental cleanup . . .
And then, a Chinese athlete (who would be lauded as a lifelong hero in Canada)
weeps inconsolably when he misses the gold and only gets a silver. The Chinese
are trying so hard to put on a perfect face for the world, it hurts. But so
far, despite some slip-ups and controversies, China is headed for a gold-place
finish in public relations.

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Louise Leger, Public Relations Consultant,
Rogers Consumer Publishing, (416) 764-4125, louiseleger@rogers.com

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