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by Kalina Laframboise October 16, 2012
News Briefs

City in Brief
by Kalina Laframboise

→ Ici, on parle en français
In a controversial move, the Parti Québécois aims to cut back English classes in elementary schools and provide a more developed curriculum on the province’s history, with a special focus on sovereignty. Education Minister Marie Malavoy wants to eliminate mandatory English courses for grades one and two, earning backlash from the opposition for trying to politicize the education system in Quebec. Malavoy argued that secondary students need a greater understanding of Quebec nationalism. Furthermore, the PQ government plans to delay intensive English courses in grade six implemented by the former Charest government.

→ What the hell was that?
A small earthquake hit the Montreal region just after midnight Wednesday, forcing residents awake and a mass influx of calls to local police. The tremor lasted a few seconds and while no damage was reported, a few sleepy civilians bolted from their dwellings. The earthquake was measured at 4.5 magnitude on the Richter scale and could even be felt as far as Ottawa. Surprisingly, no damage was done to Montreal’s crumbling infrastructures such as the Champlain Bridge, the Turcot Interchange and the Jacques Cartier Bridge according to The Gazette. No injuries were reported.

→ A different kind of protest
Approximately 80 people marched in support of privatized daycare following the announcement of additional funding promised by the Parti Québécois government to the public daycare system. Protesters said they wanted more funding for private childcare instead of the plan to open more public daycare centres. Premier Pauline Marois promised to provide 15,000 extra spots in the public system. Those in attendance, including parents and private daycare owners, said that the provincial government should help them fill space. The plan is expected to cost the PQ $177,000,000.

→ Mental health awareness
Thousands gathered at the Walk for Mental Health to raise awareness, funding for health services, and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. Supporters gathered at Phillips Square at 11 a.m. Sunday, to kick off the fourth annual event before heading west. The honorary president of the walk, Margaret Trudeau, the wife of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, encouraged those in attendance to seek help if they, or someone they knew, were battling mental illness. Trudeau suffered a long and widely publicized bout of depression. It’s estimated that 20 per cent of Canadians are afflicted with mental illness.

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Nation in Brief
by Kalina Laframboise

→ What’s in a name?
Ontario community colleges are hoping to rebrand three-year diplomas as degrees and create new three-year programs in order to attract more international students and provide more credibility for college graduates. The call for the name change was proposed by Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario, in response to Ontario’s discussion paper to potential provincial reforms to the post-secondary education system. Certain four-year programs completed at the college level are currently called degrees while two and three-year programs remain diplomas.

→ Make a decision already
XL Foods, Canada’s second largest meat processing plant, temporarily laid off 2,000 employees Saturday only to recall 800 the next day so that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency can continue its review. The largest beef recall in Canada has led to an estimated 15 cases of E.coli after approximately 1,800 products were recalled. The Alberta plant’s license was immediately suspended on Sept. 27 after several Canadians reported being ill from the tainted beef. CFIA announced that the plant could be fully functional in the upcoming week and shipping meat across North America in the next 10 days.

→ Don’t get any ideas, Mom
In a weird social experiment, a Calgary mom abandoned her household duties for six days to teach her children a lesson. Jessica Stilwell let the dishes pile up and the laundry go unwashed until her messy daughters accepted responsibility for their actions and apologized for being disorderly. The parenting experiment was documented on Stilwell’s blog, garnering national and international attention and kudos, in an effort to have her children clean up after themselves. Stilwell and her husband helped their daughters wash and scrub the house after they apologized for being messy.

→ Baiting the opposition
Alice Wong, a Conservative Party member of parliament, is facing scrutiny after throwing her support behind serving shark fin soup in Richmond, B.C.. Activists consider shark fin soup as an act of animal cruelty and a threat to the world’s shark population. They were upset following Wong’s decision to back restaurant owner David Chung for serving the delicacy. In a press conference with Asian media, Wong vowed to fight the ban of shark fin and went on to eat some of soup. Numerous cities in Vancouver have already banned the delicacy.
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World in Brief
by Kalina Laframboise

→ A bad judgment call
Following a national outbreak of meningitis, Florida Governor Rick Scott inadvertently provided the phone number for a sex hotline instead of the correct number for information on the disease. During a cabinet meeting last week, Scott announced the toll-free number that was later revealed to be the wrong number by a concerned caller. A woman’s voice on a message recording thanked callers for their thoughtfulness on her anniversary. The mix up led to several confused civilians reaching very different services. The phone number was quickly corrected.

→ I hope that squirrel was worth it
A Michigan resident allegedly using a propane torch to cook a squirrel on his balcony in Holland Township may be responsible for burning down eight units of an apartment complex. The individual was supposedly trying to remove the fur on the deck of his third-floor apartment when the entire deck caught fire. Flames spread to the roof, destroying eight units and damaging 24 additional units at the Clearview Apartments with smoke and water damage. Although the identity of the man remains unknown, the fire department believes he was preparing to eat the squirrel.

→ Good things come in small packages
A contest in Denmark is calling for men with small appendages to send their photos for an online competition to win a free iPhone. Men are asked to submit a photo of their erect penis with measuring tape beside it. The contest has already gathered six applicants and is slated to finish at the end of January 2013. The online contest is sponsored by erotica website Singlesex.dk in an effort to prove that men with small penises have nothing to be ashamed of. Members of the female sex will determine the winners and judge the photos. The second and third place winners will take home an iPad.

→ The trouble with quadrillions
A phone company issued a $15-quadrillion phone bill to a woman in the Bordeaux region of France following the cancellation of her contract in late September. Solenne San Jose was informed that what she owed would be automatically withdrawn from her account. Bouygues Telecom service representatives told San Jose there was nothing they could do, and one agent even told her to pay the amount in million-dollar installments. San Jose spent several hours on the phone trying to convince the representatives that there must be an error before her actual bill revealed that she owed $149.

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