City in Brief
by Kalina Laframboise
→ Rizzuto comes home
Notorious criminal and reputed Montreal Mafia head Vito Rizzuto was released from Florence Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colo. this Friday. Rizzuto was escorted back to Toronto and is believed to be residing in Montreal, where he has lived most of his life. In 2003, the alleged mobster was indicted by a Brooklyn federal grand jury due to racketeering conspiracy charges, including loansharking and murder. After his arrest in Montreal, Rizzuto was extradited to the United States. His father and son were both assassinated in Montreal in what is believed to be an attempt to bring down the crime family.
→ Laval mayor in trouble
Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was the target of a series of raids earlier this week by the Sûréte du Québec’s anti-corruption squad. Following the raid on Vaillancourt’s Laval office and home Thursday, officers investigated Vaillancourt’s luxury high-rise apartment in Chomedey Friday evening. In a press conference Friday, Vaillancourt said he would not step down from his position as mayor. Authorities also searched Laval City Hall and buildings where human resources and engineering departments are located. The raids are related to the awarding of municipal contracts and the provincial government’s crackdown on corruption and collusion in the construction industry. Vaillancourt has held his position since 1989.
→ Quebec murder suspect found
A man allegedly behind three deaths in Amos, Que. was arrested in Florida following a police chase Sunday morning. Justin Bresaw, 35, was sought in connection with a fire in Amos last month with Interpol issuing an alert and Canada announcing a nationwide arrest warrant for Bresaw. He was seen in Tallahassee charging a laptop behind a church at 1:30 a.m. by a police officer who asked why Bresaw was out so late. A fight ensued, leaving the police officer with a broken nose before Bresaw was found hiding underneath a house later that morning. Bresaw is now facing charges of resisting an officer with violence and battery on an officer in Florida. The triple murder suspect will be extradited to Canada but due to the fresh charges, it remains unknown as to when he will be returning to Quebec.
→ Trudeau in the house
Justin Trudeau officially announced his candidacy for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in Montreal, Tuesday. In front of a crowd of approximately 450 Liberal supporters in his riding of Papineau, the eldest son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau said he wanted to spend his life serving the nation he loves. In his speech, Trudeau emphasized his desire to reach out to youth and help revamp Canada’s economy. The leadership election set for April 2013 to replace interim-leader Bob Rae who took Michael Ignatieff’s place following the disastrous results for the Liberals in the 2011 federal election.
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Nation in Brief
by Cynthia Dupuis
→ Not everyone loves Marineland
A group of about 125 people rushed through the main entrance of Marineland this Sunday to protest the treatment of animals residing at the theme park. The protesters say they managed to interrupt a dolphin show taking place. Niagara Region Police were forced to bring in extra officers when about 800 people in total convened on the property. Constable Derek Watson said police were able to quickly regain control of the situation and that no arrests were made. The Marineland Animal Defence, the group which organized this weekend’s protest, is dedicated to ending animal captivity and ultimately closing down the famous park.
→ You’ve got mail, again
Canada Post and its largest group of unionized workers have reached a tentative agreement in a dispute that has lasted for more than a year. During the past year, the Harper government intervened in the dispute after Canada Post locked out its employees as a response to their rotating strikes. The federal government also imposed a back-to-work legislation that forced the workers to accept lower wages than Canada Post’s last offer leading to the union rejecting the arbitration imposed by the government. A spokesperson for Canada Post explained that both sides came to an agreement without the help of an arbitrator and it was not an imposed agreement.
→ Easy access
The Harper government is launching a pilot project in early 2013 allowing Canadian citizens to submit access-to-information requests via the Internet. The project will begin with three departments, but is scheduled to include most federal agencies and institutions during the next three to four years. The Access-to-Information act in Canada was established in 1983 and has since then required paper cheques and forms, envelopes and postage stamps. The new portal will include an online payment service.
→ Now’s a good time to eat salad
The number of E. coli illnesses linked to the beef products from the XL Foods Inc. plant in Brooks, Alta., has increased by three cases this week bringing the total to 10 people from three provinces. The Public Health Agency of Canada says seven of the 10 cases are from Alberta, two from Quebec and one from Newfoundland. The recall was expanded again this Saturday and includes hundreds of XL Foods beef products from across Canada and the United States.
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World in Brief
by Kalina Laframboise
→ Maybe she’s a witch
In a letter this week, the Maine Republican Party criticized Democrat Colleen Lachowicz for her comments posted in online forums for World of Warcraft, a popular online game. The Republicans slammed Lachowicz for making “crude, vicious and violent comments” and accused her of living in a fantasy world. Lachowicz, who is running against incumbent Tom Martin, responded to the letter by saying that the Republicans should focus on her policies and not her hobbies. “I think it’s weird that I’m being targeted for playing online games,” she said in a statement. “What’s next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words With Friends?”
→ A little bit of Kremlin love
The 60th birthday of Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday sparked nationwide celebrations in honour of the leader. A youth movement held a sports contest called “Do Your Best for Putin” in central Moscow square to show their gratitude for Putin’s love of sports. An art exhibition called “Putin: The Most Kind-Hearted Man in The World” debuted in Moscow featuring a dozen paintings by artist Alexis Sergiyenko depicting some of Putin’s most memorable moments. NTV showcased a documentary based on Putin’s career and his daily routine. In contrast, several protesters mocked the celebrations by presenting fake gifts outside the presidential administration.
→ Strip tease or strip scare?
Patrick Gallagher, a resident of Lansdale, PA. is suing a strip club after a pole dance ruptured his bladder. In November 2010, the bachelor was invited to lie on the stage of the Penthouse Club where a dancer launched herself from a pole with such force onto Gallagher’s abdomen that his bladder burst. The following morning, Gallagher was admitted to hospital with severe pain and had to undergo surgery. Gallagher is suing the strip club for $50,000 in medical costs, pain, humiliation and mental anguish.
→ Aren’t we supposed to praise good hygiene?
Four students from Pekin High School in Illinois were suspended for bringing caffeinated mints to lunch. The teenagers were suspended Thursday and Friday, and prohibited from attending the weekend’s homecoming activities. The school thought the mints were drugs and immediately took action. Once the school realized the drugs were in fact mints, they upheld the punishment for gross misconduct for taking an unknown product. In an interview, suspended student Eric McMichael said he felt the suspension was unjustified.