Killer snow trucks
A 58-year-old woman was killed Sunday evening when the car she was riding in collided with a snowplow. The driver of the car suffered minor injuries; the snowplow driver was not injured. Quebec’s head coroner ordered a public inquiry Friday into the four other deaths caused by snow removal equipment winter. Three pedestrians were killed by snow trucks in two separate incidents on Tuesday. An elderly couple was killed near Parc Lafontaine in the morning. A 76-year-old woman was killed in Ahuntsic later that day. Two private contractors own the trucks involved in the accidents. Both are paid according to the volume of snow transported and disposed of. The first incident occurred in December when a 49-year-old woman was hit by a snow truck in Cote-des-Neiges. The date and place for the public hearings is not yet known.
Lafleur’s son sentenced
The son of retired Montreal Canadiens great Guy Lafleur was sentenced to 15 months of community service plus three years of community service. Twenty-three-year-old Marc Lafleur pled guilty last June to 14 charges stemming from a relationship with a then-teenage girl. The charges included uttering death threats, forcible confinement and assault.
Villanueva family rallies
Fredy Villanueva’s family led a group of demonstrators through the streets of Montreal North Saturday, as they marched to the office of the local MNA. Villanueva was fatally shot last August after a police fired his weapon at the 18-year-old boy. The demonstrators are calling on the provincial government to cover the legal fees of witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the coroner’s inquiry, originally scheduled to begin Feb. 16. The coroner’s office announced Friday the start of the hearing would be postponed indefinitely, in order to allow more time for preparations.
Restaurants are gross
There were more than 6,000 food safety violations in Montreal grocery stores and restaurants in 2007, according to a report released by the city’s Food Inspection Division. Nine places were forced to shut down on account their violations posed a health risk to customers.
P.E.I., N.S snowed in
Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were buried under 20 centimetres of snow last Tuesday. Many schools and government offices were closed or forced to open late. An Acadians Lines bus crashed on the Trans-Canada near Baddeck, N.S. on Wednesday night, breaking through the guardrail and becoming partially submerged in a river. Firefighters helped all five passengers and the driver to safety. No one was seriously injured.
Long live in-vitro
A 60-year-old woman gave birth to twin boys in Calgary on Feb. 3. The boys were delivered, seven weeks prematurely, by C-section. She and her husband returned to their native India for in-vitro fertilization after being refused treatment in Canada, on account of her age. She became pregnant with triplets using donor eggs. Medical complications forced doctors to terminate one of the embryos. Doctors were forced to perform an emergency C-section when the mom-to-be began hemorrhaging last week. Her bleeding was so severe, they were forced to remove her uterus.
Massive job loses
Canada’s employment took a huge hit in January according to StatsCan. 129,000 jobs were lost in January, almost all in the fulltime sector, they repported Friday. The drop, said StatsCan, is more drastic than any monthly decline recorded during economic downturns in the 1980s and 1990s. The manufacturing sector accounted for over 100,000 of the jobs lost. Ontario had the largest loss, with 71,000 – the largest monthly decrease in over 30 years – pushing the province’s unemployment rate up to eight per cent, an increase of 0.8 percentage points. Quebecers lost 26,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent. B.C. lost 35,000 jobs, bringing its unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent.
Third time’s a charm
A man was wounded, but survived two separate drive-by shootings in Calgary last weekend. The man, in his 20s, walked into a hospital Friday night with gunshot wounds. Police linked the victim to the scene of a drive-by shooting in which an abandoned car was found, riddled with bullets. The same man reportedly walked into a 7-11 the next night, saying he had been shot. Police responded to the call and had the victim transported to hospital where he was treated for serious injuries.
TV: A basic human right
A Brazilian man who sued a store for moral damages after it refused to replace his damaged television was awarded USD $2,600. The Brazilian judge deemed television an “essential good,” saying, “without it, how can the owner watch the beautiful women on ‘Big Brother,’ the national news broadcast or a football game?” according to Reuters.
Australian fire claims over 100 lives
Several bushfires that ripped through southeastern Australia have destroyed entire towns, killed at least 108 people and decimated over 750 homes. Fires were still burning out of control on Sunday. Some people were burned to death in their homes, others died in their cars as they tried to escape the fires. Officials said it would take several more days before they would be able to get the fires under control. The death toll is expected to rise as firefighters extinguish the flames and are able to inspect homes. Wildfires are common during the Australian summer. Authorities suspect arsonists ignited or relit some of the fires.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency may have distributed salmonella-tainted peanut butter in disaster relief food kits sent to Kentucky and Arkansas. The agency announced Wednesday the kits may contain food connected to the American salmonella outbreak. Those who received the relief kits were asked to throw out any packets of peanut butter. The kits were sent out after President Obama declared the two states disaster zones after experiencing extreme rain, ice and snow conditions.
A Malaysian man (or his identical twin) escaped his death sentence for drug trafficking because the court couldn’t figure out which brother was the criminal. One of the brothers was arrested in 2003 when police found him transporting over 150 kg of cannabis and two kg of raw opium to a house. The second brother was arrested shortly after when he arrived at the same location. Neither police nor DNA tests were able to determine which brother was originally in possession of the narcotics.