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by admin December 8, 2009

Briefs

by admin December 8, 2009

Briefs

by admin December 1, 2009

City in Brief

Plethora of porn
Every boy watches porn. Or so it would seem after Université de Montreal researchers were unable to find a single male in his 20s who had never watched porn. The researchers were looking to conduct a survey on the differing views of men who had consumed porn and those who hadn’t. Unable to find anybody who fell into the latter group, the U de M professors decided to examine the habits of men who watched porn. After interviewing 20 heterosexual university students, researchers found that 10 was the average age at which the subjects had first viewed porn. Males in relationships watched an average of 20 minutes, 1.7 times per week. Single men watched an average of 40 minutes three times per week.

No Jan. fare hike
The Société de transport de Montréal missed the deadline to formally announce a fare increase for January. Delays in passing a budget and other administrative processes prevented the STM from releasing fee-increase schedules one month ahead of the anticipated changes, as is required by its own regulations. An STM spokesperson who spoke with La Presse said when the fees do change, they could be expected to increase between 1.75 per cent and 2.25 per cent. The Agence metropolitan de transport made a proposal in October to increase its fees by 1.75 per cent starting Jan. 1.

Debit Debacle
The Gazette reported that six people were arrested in Laval after being spotted with “cloned” debit cards Monday. A Laval cop was taking out money when he spotted two men at the machine next to him using “suspicious” looking debit cards. After an investigation, six men were arrested and charged. They might have gotten away with it too, had the fake debit cards not been a thoroughly unconvincing plain white colour with “debit” written on them. The thieves used a machine that looked like a regular debit keypad, but actually copied the information off the victim’s card and made a “clone” of it.

Baby on Bridge
A baby was born yesterday in rush hour on the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The father-to-be was driving his expectant wife to the hospital when she could no longer wait. They pulled over to the side of the road and called an ambulance, which arrived on the bridge. The baby was delivered inside the ambulance, and the birth was reported to be (otherwise) without incident.

Obligatory H1N1 Brief
Premier Jean Charest got his H1N1 shot, putting him in the group of 43.2 per cent of Quebecers who have bravely bared their forearms to be inoculated. Charest said the shot did not hurt, and is encouraging other Quebecers to follow his lead. Thus far, 97 people in Quebec have died from flu-related complications. Quebec is hoping to have 60 per cent of the population inoculated by the beginning of the holidays.

Nation in Brief

Maple Leaf Garden lives
The storied arena the Toronto Maple Leafs called home from 1931 to 1999 will be re-opened. Investments of $20 million from the federal government, $20 million from students at Ryerson University and another $20 million raised in partnership with Loblaw Cos. Ltd. will see the arena re-open as part supermarket, part athletic centre in spring 2011. Ryerson students voted earlier this year to increase their athletic fees by $126 in order to help fund the deal. The arena was purchased by Loblaws in 2004.

Oink oink, eh?
Canadian pork will flow freely through China, once again. Or, at least, be available. Ottawa announced Tuesday the China-imposed ban on Canadian imports of pork was lifted. The market, which was closed off in May amid fears of the swine flu outbreak, used to provide $50 million in annual revenue, the House of Commons was told. Prime Minster Stephen Harper flew to Beijing on business the same day the border reopening was announced.

Obama snubs Harper

President Barack Obama phoned state leaders to personally brief them on the United State’s revised plan of action in Afghanistan. On the list were: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and China. No Canada. Prime Minister Harper had to make do with a call from Vice President Joe Biden. Parliament has passed a motion to not extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan past 2011. Since Canada’s mission began in 2002, 133 soldiers, one diplomat and two aid workers have been killed. Obama’s new strategy involves deploying 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

For the love of dog
A man in eastern Ontario filed a human rights complaint, alleging he wasn’t allowed to bring his service dog into a bulk food store. The service animal in question is a three-kilogram chihuahua. He helps his owner with depression. Barring the dog from the store, the plaintiff said, constitutes discrimination against his mental illness. The couple who owned the store at the time of the alleged infraction in August 2008 said the issue at hand was not about the dog. They said the customer was yelling and swearing. The couple has since sold the store in order to get away from the man, they told CBC. The human rights tribunal may take up to six months to render a decision.

Pure(ll) waste of money
A CBC investigation found hand sanitizers don’t exactly get rid of 99.99 per cent of bacteria and germs on your hands. The test was conducted at a middle school in Hamilton, Ont., where children’s unwashed hands were contaminated from the stuff they had touched during their lunch break. A microbiologist swabbed their hands, then the students scrubbed with one of three sanitizer brands. A second swab showed that Purell killed just over 60 per cent of germs, President’s Choice got rid of a little more than 54 per cent, and Soapopular nixed 46 per cent. The microbiologist said the discrepancy can be attributed in part to more controlled test methods used by the sanitizer companies.

World in Brief

Elf arrested
A man dressed up as an elf was arrested at a mall in an Atlanta suburb last week after telling the mall Santa he was packing dynamite. Mall officials said the 45-year-old man dressed as Santa’s little helper was not an employee. The problems started when he got in line to have his photo taken with Santa. When it was his turn, instead of sitting on the fat man’s lap and talking about the big red firetruck he wanted for Christmas, he told Santa he had dynamite in his bag. Santa called mall security, the mall was evacuated, no explosives were found and the man was arrested and now faces several charges, including making terroristic threats. Way to make the naughty list.

Racism revisited
A black man in Florida said he became concerned after seeing a sign taped to the door of a bar that read, “Stop. Absolutely no color’s. You will not be served.” The sign was aimed at bikers, not dark-skinned people, according to the bar owner who was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times. He said he had been having trouble with bikers, who often identify themselves by flashing their gang colours or emblems. Police had been called to the bar on Nov. 15, on reports of battery. Soon after, deputies spent two days hanging out at the bar. And that is when the sign went up, the owner said. Some regulars (who were white) told the Times that some black people are regulars at the bar.

Woeful Watanabe
An American man is suing two casinos on allegations that they allowed him to continue gambling when he was drunk and supplied him pain pills and liquor to keep him at the tables. Terence Watanabe of Omaha, NE lost $127 million in one year at Caesar’s Palace and Rio Casino, the Wall Street Journal reported. Watanabe has filed a civil suit against the casinos’ owners, while the casinos allege he still hasn’t paid almost $15 million of his hefty tab. Harrah’s, the parent company of the casinos, contend Watanabe was not visibly drunk- just evidently a very poor gambler. Casinos routinely ply big spenders with free items, such as alcohol, free hotel suites, personal attendants, and apparently even served Watanabe seven-course meals at the tables, where he lost up to $5 million a day.

Edutainment!
A British teacher came up with an unusual way to catch the interest of his 14-year-old students: stripping off his shirt and dancing in front of the class, while being egged on by his students. Unfortunately for 57-year-old Martin Rouse, of Suffolk, England, one of his students uploaded a cellphone video to YouTube. The video resulted in this overenthusiastic teacher being fired and banned from all schools in the district. In his defence, the students seen in the 45-second video seem to genuinely enjoy the performance, complete with shirt twirling above his head. And Rouse did have a good defence: “I was just trying to be cool,” he told the Daily Mail. Though Rouse will be permitted to apply for future positions at other schools, he will have to disclose his reprimand.

City in Brief

Plethora of porn
Every boy watches porn. Or so it would seem after Université de Montreal researchers were unable to find a single male in his 20s who had never watched porn. The researchers were looking to conduct a survey on the differing views of men who had consumed porn and those who hadn’t. Unable to find anybody who fell into the latter group, the U de M professors decided to examine the habits of men who watched porn. After interviewing 20 heterosexual university students, researchers found that 10 was the average age at which the subjects had first viewed porn. Males in relationships watched an average of 20 minutes, 1.7 times per week. Single men watched an average of 40 minutes three times per week.

No Jan. fare hike
The Société de transport de Montréal missed the deadline to formally announce a fare increase for January. Delays in passing a budget and other administrative processes prevented the STM from releasing fee-increase schedules one month ahead of the anticipated changes, as is required by its own regulations. An STM spokesperson who spoke with La Presse said when the fees do change, they could be expected to increase between 1.75 per cent and 2.25 per cent. The Agence metropolitan de transport made a proposal in October to increase its fees by 1.75 per cent starting Jan. 1.

Debit Debacle
The Gazette reported that six people were arrested in Laval after being spotted with “cloned” debit cards Monday. A Laval cop was taking out money when he spotted two men at the machine next to him using “suspicious” looking debit cards. After an investigation, six men were arrested and charged. They might have gotten away with it too, had the fake debit cards not been a thoroughly unconvincing plain white colour with “debit” written on them. The thieves used a machine that looked like a regular debit keypad, but actually copied the information off the victim’s card and made a “clone” of it.

Baby on Bridge
A baby was born yesterday in rush hour on the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The father-to-be was driving his expectant wife to the hospital when she could no longer wait. They pulled over to the side of the road and called an ambulance, which arrived on the bridge. The baby was delivered inside the ambulance, and the birth was reported to be (otherwise) without incident.

Obligatory H1N1 Brief
Premier Jean Charest got his H1N1 shot, putting him in the group of 43.2 per cent of Quebecers who have bravely bared their forearms to be inoculated. Charest said the shot did not hurt, and is encouraging other Quebecers to follow his lead. Thus far, 97 people in Quebec have died from flu-related complications. Quebec is hoping to have 60 per cent of the population inoculated by the beginning of the holidays.

Nation in Brief

Maple Leaf Garden lives
The storied arena the Toronto Maple Leafs called home from 1931 to 1999 will be re-opened. Investments of $20 million from the federal government, $20 million from students at Ryerson University and another $20 million raised in partnership with Loblaw Cos. Ltd. will see the arena re-open as part supermarket, part athletic centre in spring 2011. Ryerson students voted earlier this year to increase their athletic fees by $126 in order to help fund the deal. The arena was purchased by Loblaws in 2004.

Oink oink, eh?
Canadian pork will flow freely through China, once again. Or, at least, be available. Ottawa announced Tuesday the China-imposed ban on Canadian imports of pork was lifted. The market, which was closed off in May amid fears of the swine flu outbreak, used to provide $50 million in annual revenue, the House of Commons was told. Prime Minster Stephen Harper flew to Beijing on business the same day the border reopening was announced.

Obama snubs Harper

President Barack Obama phoned state leaders to personally brief them on the United State’s revised plan of action in Afghanistan. On the list were: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and China. No Canada. Prime Minister Harper had to make do with a call from Vice President Joe Biden. Parliament has passed a motion to not extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan past 2011. Since Canada’s mission began in 2002, 133 soldiers, one diplomat and two aid workers have been killed. Obama’s new strategy involves deploying 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

For the love of dog
A man in eastern Ontario filed a human rights complaint, alleging he wasn’t allowed to bring his service dog into a bulk food store. The service animal in question is a three-kilogram chihuahua. He helps his owner with depression. Barring the dog from the store, the plaintiff said, constitutes discrimination against his mental illness. The couple who owned the store at the time of the alleged infraction in August 2008 said the issue at hand was not about the dog. They said the customer was yelling and swearing. The couple has since sold the store in order to get away from the man, they told CBC. The human rights tribunal may take up to six months to render a decision.

Pure(ll) waste of money
A CBC investigation found hand sanitizers don’t exactly get rid of 99.99 per cent of bacteria and germs on your hands. The test was conducted at a middle school in Hamilton, Ont., where children’s unwashed hands were contaminated from the stuff they had touched during their lunch break. A microbiologist swabbed their hands, then the students scrubbed with one of three sanitizer brands. A second swab showed that Purell killed just over 60 per cent of germs, President’s Choice got rid of a little more than 54 per cent, and Soapopular nixed 46 per cent. The microbiologist said the discrepancy can be attributed in part to more controlled test methods used by the sanitizer companies.

World in Brief

Elf arrested
A man dressed up as an elf was arrested at a mall in an Atlanta suburb last week after telling the mall Santa he was packing dynamite. Mall officials said the 45-year-old man dressed as Santa’s little helper was not an employee. The problems started when he got in line to have his photo taken with Santa. When it was his turn, instead of sitting on the fat man’s lap and talking about the big red firetruck he wanted for Christmas, he told Santa he had dynamite in his bag. Santa called mall security, the mall was evacuated, no explosives were found and the man was arrested and now faces several charges, including making terroristic threats. Way to make the naughty list.

Racism revisited
A black man in Florida said he became concerned after seeing a sign taped to the door of a bar that read, “Stop. Absolutely no color’s. You will not be served.” The sign was aimed at bikers, not dark-skinned people, according to the bar owner who was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times. He said he had been having trouble with bikers, who often identify themselves by flashing their gang colours or emblems. Police had been called to the bar on Nov. 15, on reports of battery. Soon after, deputies spent two days hanging out at the bar. And that is when the sign went up, the owner said. Some regulars (who were white) told the Times that some black people are regulars at the bar.

Woeful Watanabe
An American man is suing two casinos on allegations that they allowed him to continue gambling when he was drunk and supplied him pain pills and liquor to keep him at the tables. Terence Watanabe of Omaha, NE lost $127 million in one year at Caesar’s Palace and Rio Casino, the Wall Street Journal reported. Watanabe has filed a civil suit against the casinos’ owners, while the casinos allege he still hasn’t paid almost $15 million of his hefty tab. Harrah’s, the parent company of the casinos, contend Watanabe was not visibly drunk- just evidently a very poor gambler. Casinos routinely ply big spenders with free items, such as alcohol, free hotel suites, personal attendants, and apparently even served Watanabe seven-course meals at the tables, where he lost up to $5 million a day.

Edutainment!
A British teacher came up with an unusual way to catch the interest of his 14-year-old students: stripping off his shirt and dancing in front of the class, while being egged on by his students. Unfortunately for 57-year-old Martin Rouse, of Suffolk, England, one of his students uploaded a cellphone video to YouTube. The video resulted in this overenthusiastic teacher being fired and banned from all schools in the district. In his defence, the students seen in the 45-second video seem to genuinely enjoy the performance, complete with shirt twirling above his head. And Rouse did have a good defence: “I was just trying to be cool,” he told the Daily Mail. Though Rouse will be permitted to apply for future positions at other schools, he will have to disclose his reprimand.

City in Brief

And we’re back
After months of flip-flopping, Montrealers can breathe easier knowing the fate of the city’s Grand Prix Formula One race. Over $70 million in public money can be thanked for securing the annual race at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for five seasons, beginning in summer 2010. The deal reportedly includes annual contributions of $5 million from the federal government, $4 million from Quebec and $5 million from Tourism Montreal. The race was dropped form the 2009 F1 circuit after a contractual dispute could not be solved. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was said to be demanding $175 million to keep the race in Montreal. The province says the race rakes in about $89 million in revenue.

Showmanship gets noticed

A contingent of anti-nuclear protesters were thrown out of the Quebec legislature after throwing confetti around the chamber last week. The group dropped the confetti over where Minister of Natural Resources Nathalie Normandeau was speaking. Though the group had previously tabled a petition asking for the closure of Hydro-Quebec’s nuclear facility, it didn’t get much note in the media until Friday’s ticker tape parade. Members of the National Assembly took a break while custodial crews cleaned up the mess.

Habs win
The Montreal Canadiens is “Canada’s team,” according to the results of a survey released Monday. Of the 1,015 Canadians who answered the poll, one-third picked the Habs. Only one-quarter selected the Toronto Maple Leafs 8212; less than the 28 per cent who said no team should claim the title. The Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers each received between two and five per cent of votes.

Quebec joins Canada
Quebec drivers will be faced with a lower permissible blood-alcohol level, Transport Minister Julie Boulet announced Monday. The level will drop from 0.8 per cent to 0.5 per cent, a move which puts Quebec’s rules in line with those in the the rest of the country. Drivers younger than 22 will not be allowed to have any alcohol in their system. The new rules were based on recommendations from the Quebec Road Safety Task Force, also released Monday. Seven people, all under 25 years of age, died in road accidents in Quebec over the weekend. The new rules will see licences taken away for any driver whose blood-alcohol exceed 0.5 per cent, but the drivers will not be fined or lose any points.

Presidential power

Concordia University’s president and vice-chancellor Judith Woodsworth is one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada, according to the Women’s Executive Network. Her work in French literature translations, the International Women’s Forum, and in developing a five-year plan to make Concordia one of the top five comprehensive Canadian universities helped her win this recognition from the organization, which is dedicated to the advancement and recognition of executive-minded women. Woodsworth and the other award winners were recognized at a ceremony in Toronto Tuesday.

Nation in Brief

Fool’s gold
Following an investigation of $15.3 million in gold missing form the Royal Canadian Mint, RCMP determined no theft was involved. What happened to that gold is unknown. Officials from the mint have quietly been searching for the gold since October 2008. Police were called to look into the situation, by order of the federal government, in June. A junior minister responsible for the mint said they were very relieved to receive police confirmation that no theft was involved. “It validates what the mint already knew, that we have extremely vigorous measures in place which make us one of the most secure facilities in Canada.” So, the gold either went missing through magic or an incompetent accounting error? Cool.

Un-Happy Gilmour

The “Happy Gilmour” golf swing is officially illegal, according to a decision handed down in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. In his ruling, Justice Arthur J. LeBlanc said the swing “breached the standard of care owed to other players on the course.” The case stemmed from a pre-wedding game of golf between a Happy Gilmour wannabe, his fiancée and a couple of other friends, 28 cans of beer, a bottle of tequila and some marijuana. On his third attempt at a tee-off at the 16th hole, one member of the foursome tired to hit the ball a la Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmour. The ball flew down the fairway and hit one of his playmates in the wrist. “Gilmour” was ordered to pay $227,500 in lost income and damages.

Jesus goes to jail
Manitoba may become the first province to have a “faith-based” unit of their prisons, where criminals get to find out about their own spirituality, according to Canada.com. A new women’s prison would be have a separate unit, which would be run with the help of Prison Fellowship Canada. The group was reportedly founded after a meeting with federal Minister Stockwell Day, who firmly supported the measure. Prison-based faith-groups have found newfound popularity across the United States, which has the largest inmate population in the world.

Obligatory H1N1 brief
In November, CBC released poll results indicating that over half of all Canadians believed the H1N1 risk might be exaggerated. Turns out they might be right. The Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s H1N1 pandemic was considerably milder than expected and that well over half of all suspected cases were actually something else, such as the common cold. Still, experts are warning this might be bad news, because people might erroneously assume they have immunity to the virus.

Canada gets sexy
A service which provides instantaneous answers to questions about sex might soon be available in Canada, reports Canada.com. Seattle-based Scarleteen is run by a group of volunteers, who will respond to almost any sex-related query via text message. The service can provide an answer to almost anything, from everyday mundane relationship questions to more serious questions about emergency contraception or STDs. Over a thousand Canadians a day use the website, and Scarleteen plans to expand their texts to Canada.

World in Brief

Explosive argument
A lawyer in a Kansas courtroom may have gone too far to prove a point last week. A defence lawyer is being investigated for taking out a hand grenade, pulling the pin and placing the weapon on the prosecutor’s table. The attorney, Sam Kepfield, said the grenade was dead, and that while it didn’t pose a threat, it was there to illustrate the concept of an “imminent threat.” Kepfield was representing a woman accused of forgery and theft. The defendant said she committed forgery on stolen cheques because the co-defendant threatened to hurt her daughter and kill her dog if she didn’t. She was found guilty of forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, and misdemeanour theft.

Right to turkey
Since NASA didn’t have any Thanksgiving turkey plans for the astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, the space travellers took matters into their own hands.
Somehow, smoked and irradiated turkey, candied yams, freeze-dried cornbread stuffing and green beans were snuck into the space shuttle. A spokesperson for NASA, who said he was surprised to see mission commander Charles Hobaugh show off up the bag of Thanksgiving grub. Someone from the International Space Station, where the Atlantis was docked, must have snuck the food on, the spokesperson said.

Obvious, documented

A study published in the Journal of American College Health suggests that co-ed college dorms encourage students to drink heavily and sleep around. The study was based on a survey of 500 students from five American universities. Researchers said students living in co-ed residences were almost three times more likely to admit to weekly episodes of binge drinking, and more than twice as likely to admit they’d slept with three partners over the past year than single-sex dorm room-residents. Though this study didn’t necessarily account for religious beliefs and personal morals, researchers said the links are still apparent when those factors are taken into consideration.

Bad Santa

A Santa in England was fired after he made children cry during a recent appearance. Hired at the last minute, the Santa was supposed to sit in a sleigh, pulled by reindeer and wave to the children and families looking on. Instead, he sat in the sleigh, looking “sullen,” according to the Daily Mail. The man was also described as “inept and incommunicative.” The agent responsible for the Santa and reindeer gave the event organizers a full refund plus and extra bit of cash for charity. The man who played Santa excused his performance, saying he was hired on short notice and given little instruction.

Churches stripped down

The Vatican is warning Italian bishops to keep an eye on deserted churches. The warning comes in light of a dwindling number of church-goers and uncertainty of what may come of surplus places of worship. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican’s new culture commissar, was quoted by Agenece France-Presse giving an example of a church in Hungary that was reincarnated as a nightclub in which a striptease took place on the altar.