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by Robin Della Corte October 23, 2012
News Briefs

City in Brief
by Matthew Guité

→ Construction, collusion and city engineers
Gilles Surprenant, a former engineer for the City of Montreal, corroborated testimony by former construction boss Lino Zambito and admitted to accepting upwards of $600,000 in kickbacks throughout an almost 20-year period. About $130,000 was handed in to the Charbonneau Commission as evidence, and Suprenant admitted that he gambled away more than half the remaining amount during the years out of guilt. Zambito had previously testified that he, alone, had given upwards of $100,000 to Surprenant over the years from construction contracts.

→ Je n’en ai aucune idée
Contradictory statements have been made by the Parti Québécois’ cabinet ministers on whether or not Bill 101 is to be extended to cover daycare centres. Family Minister Nicole Léger originally told reporters that Bill 101 was going to change and that the extension would have plenty of support. However, Diane De Courcy, the provincial Minister of Language, Immigration and Cultural Communities rejected the idea the next day. De Courcy said there are currently no plans to extend Bill 101 to daycares as they are viewed as an extension of the home and a person’s mother tongue. According to De Courcy, while it is important that children are exposed to French, they should not be restricted from using their mother tongue.

→ Slapshot to the ego
Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.’s $3.4-billion deal was rejected by Canada’s federal broadcast regulator on the grounds that it is not beneficial to Canadians. Newly installed Commissioner Jean-Pierre Blais made clear his opinion of the deal, which would have transferred TSN 690, CHOM and other Astral Media radio and television stations into the hands of Bell. Blais also said that had the deal gone forward, BCE would have controlled 45 per cent of English television and 35 per cent of French programming, while becoming the largest radio operator in Canada. Another factor in the decision was that BCE provided no commitment to local programming or helping emerging local artists.

→ Bylaw bites back
The City of Montreal proposed a new bylaw that would grant owners of pets deemed dangerous 72 hours to contest the decision. Currently, pet owners are only allotted 24 hours to contest. An animal behaviour expert would need to examine and clear the animal within the 72 hours in order to avoid euthanizing the animal. The bylaw is one new measure in an attempt to reduce the number of euthanized animals, which is approximately 14,000 annually in Montreal. The city has also announced it will spend $23 million to build a new animal shelter in order to reduce the number of animals sent to the widely criticized Berger Blanc.

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Nation in Brief
by Robin Della Corte

→ Heeere’s Stephen!
High school students were shocked to see horror expert Stephen King in their school library last Friday for a pre-Halloween surprise in Sussex, N.B.. King’s visit followed after the students’ year-long campaign to have the novelist visit their school by Halloween 2012. King, the author of many horror novels such as The Shining and Carrie sat with 18 students in the school’s library and provided words of wisdom to aspiring writers. He later spoke to 80 students in the auditorium about his experience as a high school teacher and the inspirations behind his work.

→ Step up
Participants climbed 1,776 steps last Saturday for The 2012 Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way. The goal was to raise $2.5 million to improve social conditions and health agencies. In its 35th year, the unconventional fundraiser is the United Way’s biggest annual event. The entire event included 11,000 climbers for a trip that usually takes 58 seconds by elevator. “The money is all going back into the community,” United Way Toronto vice-president of marketing Louise Bellingham told the Toronto Star. “It funds a vital network of social services and community agencies.”

→ Fat and stupid!?
According to research done by University of California, sugar doesn’t just make you fat, but now may make you stupid. A high-fructose diet disrupts the brain’s cognitive abilities, which evidently leads to poor learning and memory retention. The study, done by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a neurosurgery professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Gomez-Pinilla said that “our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think.”

→ Give her a break
Hélène Campbell, an Ottawa woman known for her campaigns promoting organ donations now says she is experiencing complications while recovering from her double lung transplant. Campbell wrote in a blog post that although her lungs are working well, her blood “isn’t doing a good job of carrying the oxygen.” Campbell was diagnosed a year ago with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable and degenerative lung disease. She underwent transplant surgery last April and gained publicity with her campaign to raise awareness for the high need for organ donations in Canada. Campbell intends to continue with her organ advocacy work, which aided in the spike in organ donations.

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World in Brief
by Matthew Guité

→ No more bloody Sundays
Scotland and England agreed to the terms of a Scottish referendum on independence, including when the vote will be held. British Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond met in Edinburgh to hash out the details of the upcoming vote, which would see Scots heading to the polls in autumn 2014 to answer a simple yes or no question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” If a majority agree, it would mark the beginnings of independence for Scotland, and though negotiations with the British government would be necessary, it would be difficult for the Cameron to deny the Scottish people their demands for their own country.

→ It’s a sword, it’s a weapon…it’s a cane?
British police have been forced to apologize to a blind man for tasing him after they mistook his white cane for a samurai sword. Colin Farmer was walking around the northern English town of Chorley when he heard voices calling out for him to stop. Farmer continued walking, as he was worried that they may have been hooligans. It was then that police shot him with a 50,000 volt stun gun, held him down and handcuffed his hands behind his back. After doing so, the officers finally realized that Farmer was blind and he was not carrying a samurai sword as had been reported to them. Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment and the incident has been reported to a police watchdog organization for further investigation.

→ A slippery suspect
An Atlantic Spanish Mackerel was taken into custody by Florida police after it fell from the sky and hit a teacher on the head. Presumably dropped by a passing bird, the fish apparently hit the woman. The incident also prompted a humorous police report, titled “Fishy incident at Naples High School,” which was posted to Facebook. The report refers to the fish as “Mack” and includes such excerpts as “[Mack] was found lying on the ground possibly attempting to conceal himself out in the open. I took control of the suspect without incident and escorted him to the clinic where he was positively identified by the victim,” and “Suspect “Mack” was escorted back to my office, where I advised him of Miranda warning. He “clammed up” (being from the ocean) and refused to answer any questions or make any statements.” The report mentions that the suspect may be charged with battery on a school employee, and that officers will keep an eye out for flying pigs as well.

→ I bet it tastes like victory
Mort Bank, who used to own several McDonald’s restaurants in North Dakota, sold a 20-year-old Michael Jordan BBQ sauce container for $10,000 to a buyer.The promotional item was used on McJordan burgers, named for basketball icon, Michael Jordan. It was sold in limited markets in the 1990s due to Jordan’s six National Basketball Association championships with the Chicago Bulls.“It was in my basement and I would look at it occasionally,” Bank told The Bismarck Tribune. “I thought it would be worth something someday.” Bank advertised the item on eBay. The buyer of the item has not been revealed by Bank.

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