City in Brief
by Cynthia Dupuis
→ Innocent until proven guilty
West Island man Jacques Attalla and Toronto native Nader Fawzy spoke out against accusations of blasphemy against Islam, and against the Prophet Muhammad this week. The two Egyptian-born Canadians maintain they were wrongly accused of playing a role in the making of a 14-minute anti-Islam film which caused outrage in the Middle East earlier this month. Attalla is a Coptic Christian rights activist who says his name wrongly appeared in Egyptian media on a list of people who have helped in the making of this contentious video, and is now receiving death threats.
Quebecers had divided opinions about Premier Pauline Marois’ announcement that one of her government’s first moves will be to shut down Gentilly-2, Quebec’s only nuclear plant. For the anti-nuclear activists, this announcement was welcomed. The 750 people working at the plant were not as pleased. At a news conference on Friday morning, Canadian Union of Public Employees-Quebec President Lucie Levasseur said the announcement surprised them. Levasseur, quoted in the Montreal Gazette, explained that “during the election campaign, Marois promised to consult with the unions and all the economic stakeholders in the region before coming to a decision.”
→ Stuck in limbo
This week was a busy one for the newly-elected Parti Québécois government. In addition to canceling the tuition hike, it has also cancelled most of the sections of Bill 78 by decree. It is still unclear what will legally happen to the protesters arrested under the law. In all, Montreal Police arrested 30 people in late August at Université de Montréal in accordance with the controversial law. Last Friday, Quebec’s prosecutor’s office said it has yet to receive any files regarding the cases and, since the law no longer exists, the outcome for the protestors is unclear.
→ Deadly shooting in Beaconsfield
A 29-year-old man was found unconscious Sunday night in Beaconsfield at a train station parking lot on the corner of Beaurepaire Dr. and Woodland Ave. after a passerby found him around 9:30 p.m. The man was rushed to hospital with critical injuries and was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. Officials from the Montreal Police later confirmed he died from a gunshot wound. Police also said the man, whose identity has not been released yet, was a known member of a street gang. This brings the number of homicides to 23 this year, according to Montreal Police.
Nation in Brief
by Cynthia Dupuis
→ Cutting the cheese is prosperous
Niagara Regional Police officers have been visiting restaurants and pizzerias in the area in relation with a large internal investigation about cheese smuggling. Sources say people approached restaurant owners about supplying their establishments with numerous cases of contraband U.S. cheese. CBC news has learned from numerous police sources that charges are expected soon against a few officers who are alleged to have been involved in the movement of caseloads of cheese from the U.S. in their cars across the border.
→ Thanks for serving our country?
Documents tabled in Parliament last week by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson show that Harper’s Conservative government spent $750,462 in legal fees since 2007 fighting veterans over the recovery of military pensions. The Liberals demanded to see a breakdown of Ottawa’s legal costs in the class-action lawsuit launched by veterans advocate Dennis Manuge. Unable to release the detailed document, the Justice Minister released the total amount spent so far. The government appointed Stephen Toope, the president of the University of British Columbia, to lead the negotiations and arrive at a settlement, including retroactive payment, which could run as high as $600 million.
→ Canadians missing in avalanche
Officials have confirmed that at least nine people are dead while others remain missing after an avalanche smashed into a climbing expedition on a Himalayan peak in Nepal this past Sunday at 4 a.m.. The missing people include 48-year-old Quebec cardiologist Dominique Ouimet. Another Canadian, a well-known skier from British Columbia, Greg Hill survived the avalanche. Ottawa Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy said officials had been in contact with authorities in Nepal. Ouimet was using the Himalayan expedition to raise money for the St-Jérôme Regional Hospital.
→ The apple doesn’t fall from the mother country
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and British Foreign Secretary William Hague met Monday in Ottawa to sign an agreement to open joint Canada-U.K. diplomatic missions abroad in an effort to extend Canada and the United Kingdom’s diplomatic reach while cutting costs. CBC News reported that this agreement would include sharing embassies or high commissions in countries where one has a diplomatic presence while the other does not. New Democratic Party foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar expressed he had some issues with the agreement. For one, he raised that this deal will compromise Canada’s independence and its foreign policy.
World in Brief
by A.J. Cordeiro
→ A healthy dose of green
Uruguayans may see more green, both in cash and haze. The South American nation is moving forward with plans to create a state monopoly, which will manage the agriculture and distribution of marijuana. The move was spearheaded by the country’s coalition government The Broad Front. The hope is that it will weaken organized crime elements, thus reducing the violent crimes inherent with the trade. However, some marijuana activists have condemned the proposed policy, seeking rather further protection of home-cultivated plants. The policy is in stark contrast to the U.S’s. ‘war on drugs’ policy initiated by President Richard Nixon in the ‘70s.
→ Getting fresh with the fresco
You too can be a great artist! A Spanish woman took it upon herself to restore a fresco of Christ in her town’s church. Her result was what one BBC correspondent described as “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.” The botched job went viral in August, resulting in an estimated 30,000 visitors flocking to the church. According to Spanish newspaper El Correro, the church began charging a small fee to see the ‘oeuvre’, which provoked the artist’s family to sue for royalties.
→ Foxconn fight
A massive brawl broke out on Sept. 23 at a Foxconn plant in China, involving more than 2,000 employees. Some 5,000 police officers were called to the scene, and an estimated 40 people were taken to hospital. The actual cause of the fracas has not yet been determined. Work is expected to resume on Sept. 25. Foxconn is well known for producing mass electronics for several major technology companies including Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft. The company (and the companies which use their services) has been criticized for its labour practices in the past.
→ Synchronized toilet flush
The Bulawayo City Council, located in Zimbabwe, has asked residents for a synchronized toilet flush following water rationing. Homeowners are being asked to flush their toilets at 7:30 p.m. in order to unclog pipes and wash away any leftover sewage. The measures also stem from the drying up of the city’s main supply dams, following droughts in the southwestern part of the nation. The second-largest city in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo has more than 1 million residents.