This week, U.S. gun control debates raged in the wake of the Connecticut school massacare, the plight of the Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario was highlighted by a Toronto engineer's relief work, and the British monarchy celebrated a year relatively light on royal scandals.

Here are five stories from you may have missed.

Teachers and the gun debate

The Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead has renewed gun control debates in the United States. The question many are now asking is whether teachers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on school property.

Some U.S. lawmakers have plans to push legislation that would let teachers, administrators and even janitors bring guns to school. But other groups — including the American Federation of Teachers — have slammed the idea, saying that such a move would only lead to more tragedy.

Providing relief to First Nations reserves


In 2011, the Ontario coroner released a report highlighting the high youth suicide rate on the Pikangikum First Nation reserve in northern Ontario. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

The growing Idle No More movement has brought attention not only to the conflicts over aboriginal treaty rights, but also to the inhuman conditions on many native reserves across Canada.

One such reserve is the Pikangikum First Nation, where there is 90 per cent unemployment, a severe housing shortage and an alarming youth suicide rate.

Spurred by a report revealing the plight of Pikangikum, Toronto engineer Bob White has brought together professionals offering skills and expertise to provide relief to the remote northwestern Ontario community.

Corruption in South Africa 

Eighteen years after Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa, some are now accusing the party’s leaders of corruption and of tarnishing Mandela’s legacy. Last week, a group of senior clerics wrote to Jacob Zuma, South African president and leader of the African National Council, accusing a "generation of leaders" of having lost their "moral compass."

One woman, Thuli Madonsela, the country’s recently appointed to battle corruption, with the title of "Public Protector," is now trying to set things right.

Defending Ebenezer Scrooge


Some observers think Ebenezer Scrooge has gotten a raw deal. (Disney/ImageMovers Digital LLC/Associated Press)

As U.S. politicians continue to debate the so-called fiscal cliff, one figure has emerged  as an unlikely economic hero:  Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly boss from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Some are defending the fictional character, arguing that through his business practices, he actually did a lot of good for the economy. "I think Scrooge is clearly misunderstood and used to vilify business," said Yaron Brook , president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Royals avoid major scandals

The Queen toasted her Diamond Jubilee this year, and unlike similar milestone celebrations in the past, managed to avoid any major scandals.

Royal watchers called this year an "immense success" with many stories — such as Prince William’s and Kate’s baby announcement — shining a positive light on the Royal Family. Even Prince Harry’s naked shenanigans in a Las Vegas hotel room earlier this year seemed to sail by with little public disapproval.