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by Archives September 22, 2009

City in Brief

Mayor linked to FLQ

The mayor of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie has quite the rap sheet. It was reported Thursday that André Lavallée, who is currently a member of the city’s executive committee, has a history with the Front de liberation de Quebec. He was said to have had a hand in robbing a bingo hall in the basement of a church while he was with the FLQ in 1971. He was arrested and fined $25 for the robbery. After La Presse published a front page story about Lavallée’s ties to the radical Quebecois group, the borough mayor said he had never tried to hide his past, excusing his actions by saying he was young and having fun.

Bear, car kill woman

A Montreal woman died after being attacked by a bear last Wednesday in La Tuque, Que. She was with her husband who was able to pull her away from the bear and get her into his car. As he was driving to the nearest hospital, he lost control of his vehicle and drove into a ditch. An ambulance arrived at the scene and took the two to hospital where the woman was pronounced dead. Officials will perform an autopsy to determine whether the woman died from the bear mauling or from the car accident.

Metro-rific

Premier Jean Charest announced Wednesday the province is in favour of the $3 billion expansion proposal for the Montreal metro system. Charest said his government would spend $12-million on feasibility studies. The proposed expansion would see an additional 20 kilometres of tracks added to the current system over 10 years. According to the plan, tracks would be added to connect Cote-Vertu and Montmorency stations, turning the orange line into a loop. The blue line would extend to Saint-Leonard and Anjou. The yellow line would go further into Longueuil. No start date has been set, and no definite cost has been announced.

Bird? Plane?

Wait, no, it’s two Concordia students repelling down a building on Sherbrooke St. dressed as superheroes. The girls are raising money to benefit disabled children. Look out for the two girls on Tuesday as they make their way down the CIBC building downtown.

Taxis made-over

The Tremblay administration announced Sept. 15 a plan to make taxis in Montreal more easily identifiable. There are also plans to have ads on the vehicles and for the cars to be “green” by next fall. The identifying mark, to be applied to all taxis, will be chosen and implemented through a collaboration between the Bureau du taxi and the Bureau de design Montreal.

Drivers will have to slow down on residential streets in Montreal beginning in October, where the speed limit will drop from 50 kilometres per hour to 40 km/h. The new restrictions will be implemented first in two sectors of the downtown area, and the Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Saint-Laurent, Lachine and Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie boroughs. Speed limits will remain the same on highways and major streets in the city. The speed reduction will have to be approved by officials in the surrounding municipalities if it is to become an island-wide standard.

Nation in Brief

Ban the bottle

Halifax City Council voted to get rid of bottled water at city hall. Though city hall will no longer buy or provide bottled water, people will be free to bring and use their own. The argument for phasing out bottles was augmented by a municipal report that showed the building’s tap water is safe to drink. Bottled water will not be banned at other municipal buildings until testing on the city’s water system is completed. The ban joins Halifax with 69 municipalities from eight provinces and one territory, according to the Ecology Action Centre in Nova Scotia.

Harper goes to Washington

Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed trade, war and the economy while meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. Sept. 16. During the hour-long meeting, Harper asked the president to consider omitting Canada from the “Buy American” provision included in the stimulus package. The provision give priority to American-manufactured materials for state and municipal public works that use taxpayer money. This was Harper’s first trip to the White House since Obama took office in January. The president visited Ottawa in February.

Protesters crash House

Seal protesters caused a stir at question period last week before security removed them from the House of Commons. Three individuals dressed as nuns hoisted signs and chanted anti-seal hunt slogans Wednesday from the visitors’ gallery. On the same day, at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., three women dressed in seal costumes splattered with ‘blood’ were dragged off by police. Their demonstration coincided with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the White House.

Baby stabbed in face

A Winnipeg father was charged after he allegedly stabbed his eight-month-old son in the face on Saturday. The child was in hospital, listed as being in critical condition Sunday. Police said the boy was stabbed when a domestic dispute became violent. The 23-year-old father was charged with assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and two counts of failing to follow conditions of prior release from police custody. Earlier this month, and only about 100 metres away from where the boy was stabbed, a 14-month-old girl had her head smashed into the sidewalk.

Ex-pat murdered in Mexico

Mexican Police said they have in custody a man who said he murdered a Canadian ex-pat living in Mexico. Renée Wathelet, 60, was found in her apartment on an island off the coast of Cancun last Thursday. Police said Jose Palacios, 24, confessed to stabbing and killing the woman. The two are thought to have known each other for about one month, but investigators do not know what the nature of their relationship was.

Keno banned in N.S.

The Nova Scotia government decided to rid its province of the video lottery game Keno because it isn’t generating enough revenue. The game fell 80 per cent below the expected revenue, and the province is not willing to pump money into marketing. It will cost $3.4 million to exit the game, the government said. The game was introducedin about 180 bars in March 2009. It should be gone by Oct. 22.

World in Brief

Everyone loses

Both Israel and Palestine committed war crimes during the three-week war in Gaza last winter, according to the United Nations. The “fact finding mission” was not an exhaustive look at the war; it focused on 36 events as a sample. The report said Palestinian rockets aimed at, or poorly-aimed so as to hit, civilians constituted war crimes. Israel was said to have committed war crimes in 11 of the cases examined, when it carried out direct attacks against Palestinian civilians. The U.N. is calling for internal, independent investigations within the next six months.

Ninja what?

A medical student at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. used a samurai sword to kill an alleged robber. The student grabbed the sword after he heard noises in the home he shared with other students. This was only a few hours after the house was robbed of two laptops and a PlayStation. When police arrived at the house, the suspected burglar was nearly decapitated and had a severed hand. The suspect, a repeat offender who had been released from prison earlier that week, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Don’t cry

Belgian dairy farmers sprayed about 3 million litres of fresh milk onto fields last Wednesday. This was the latest in a string of pressure tactics the farmers have taken in protest of low dairy prices. The farmers previously blocked deliveries, held back some of their supply and threw away millions of litres of dairy. They say they are being forced to sell their produce at half the price of production.

“Drunk” mom cleared

While the flight captain told the court a female passenger was drunk to the point of almost being dangerous, the woman in question said she was only tipsy, because she had only had four or five glasses of wine on board. On a flight from Bangalore, India to London, Clare Irby, a descendant of the Guinness brewing dynasty, allegedly got so wasted, that she exposed her thong and let a passenger touch her breasts. She was travelling with her two-year-old child. Irby was arrested when the flight landed. A jury in an England court cleared Irby of all charges Wednesday.

Man charged in Yale killing

Police arrested a Yale lab technician for allegedly strangling a graduate student, then stuffing her body inside the wall of a lab. The alleged killer, Raymond Clark, was declared a person of interest in the case shortly after investigators found Annie Le’s body on the day she was supposed to be married, five days after she initially went missing. Clark was arrested last Thursday at a motel in Connecticut, and had his bail set at $3 million. A coroner confirmed Le died from strangulation.

Snake captured

A boa constrictor thought to be living in toilet pipes running under apartments in Manchester for three months was caught. The BBC reported that the three-metre snake supposedly belonged to a former resident who was evicted. The snake had been appearing and disappearing in toilet bowls since August.

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