Archive for May, 2009
Friday, May 29th, 2009
Well it had to happen sometime. Manitoba it appears is running out of phone numbers. Officials say the 204 area code will exhaust its supply of numbers by January 2011. So now a solution is being worked on, which could see us getting another new area code, on top of 204.
The province forgot to tell people about a major change they made to birth certificates. For security reasons, the province asked the Passport office last March to stop accepting birth certificates issued by the Manitoba registrar. Instead, only certificates issued by Manitoba Vital Statistics will work.
If you’re off down south to do a little shopping, you’ll like this news. Our dollar continues to pick up strength. The loonie is trading this morning at 90.70 cents U.S. Traders say our buck is being boosted in part by higher prices for oil and a weak U.S. economy.
If all goes according to plan, Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk will arrive at the International Space Station this morning. Thirsk, a Russian and a Belgian blasted off 2 days ago aboard a Russian spacecraft. Thirsk by the way will stay on the station for 6 months, which would make it the longest stay for a Canadian ever, in space.
Conrad Black has applied to be released on bail until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews his 2007 conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice. 15 months ago, the Canadian born media baron entered a Florida jail to start a prison term of 6 and a half years.
This is the last day on the job for what Jay Leno calls “the most wonderful job ever in show business.” Leno’s 17 year run as host of the “Tonight Show” ends tonight, saying he’ll miss the job terribly. But, it’s not like Leno will be gone for tooo long. This fall, Leno will host a one hour nightly prime time show for NBC.
Guy Lafleur is appealing his convinction. 4 weeks ago, the hockey legend was found guilty in Montreal of giving contradictory testimony in 2007 during a bail hearing for his son, Mark. The defence is asking for nothing more than a fine for Lafleur, who is set to be sentenced on June 18th.
Thursday, May 28th, 2009
New figures from the health department show there are now 11 cases of the swine flu in the province, up from 6. 3 of the new cases are mild, and the other 2 people have been hospitalized. Dr. Joel Kettner, Manitoba’s chief medical officer says, he expects more cases to show up but he thinks they’ll all be mild.
City police have smashed a counterfeiting ring. 2 people, a woman from Calgary and a Winnipeg man, face several charges. The hunt is also on for a 3rd suspect. Police say a number of 50 and 100 dollar bills had been passed in the city.
A social worker has made more claims about the mother at the center of a child custody trial here in Winnipeg. The worker says the mother didn’t see why her daughter should have to sit next to Muslims, or, understand why it was hateful to laugh if someone beat up a black child. All this, and the mother still denies she was raising her kids to be racists.
A tsunami watch is underway off Central America’s eastern coast, this after a large earthquake hit off the coast of Honduras. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake’s magnitude was 7.1. The tsunami watch is in effect for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala.
The feds say a bankruptcy filing by General Motors would certainly be sad, but, Ottawa is preparing for all scenarios…..including the total collapse of the North American auto sector. Industry Minister Tony Clement says they are still negotiating with the automaker about how and where it can help to save it. But he says the government also has to protect taxpayers and the industry itself.
Prime Minister Harper is rejecting calls by opposition MP’s to fire his finance minister. As we told you yesterday, Jim Flaherty is under fire for predicting our deficit will soar to more than 50 billion dollars this year….about 16 million more than he’d predicted back in January.
The family of Mike Tyson’s daughter says there are no words to describe the tragic loss of the 4 year old girl. Tyson’s daughter, Exodus died Tuesday after she was found with her head wrapped around a cord on a treadmill.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
City police are investigating the city’s 2nd homicide in 3 days. A 16 year old girl died of stab wounds early yesterday, in an attack that also wounded her 37 year old step father. Police have arrested an 18 year old man. The girl was Winnipeg’s 10th homicide victim of the year.
Some disturbing testimony at the start of the child custody battle that centers on suspected white supremacists. Manitoba child and family services is seeking permanent custody of 2 kids seized from their home last year. Yesterday, court heard from a social worker involved that the kids were raised to hate almost all minorities. The court hearing continues today.
Reports say North Korea has test launched 2 more short range missiles today, and may be preparing to fire off a third. The country continues to flip the bird so to speak, to the rest of the world, especially after yesterday’s nuclear testing. President Barack Obama says the world must stand up to North Korea. But the question is how. The U.N. Security Council will meet today to discuss just that.
Phoenix police call it a tragic accident. Boxer Mike Tyson’s 4 year old daughter is on life support after she was found yesterday with her neck caught in the cord of a treadmill machine. The child’s mother apparently removed the cord, called 9-1-1 and tried to revive her. Tyson left Las Vegas immediately to be with his family in Arizona.
The deal is done. Members of the Canadian Auto Workers Union have ratified a deep cost cutting deal with struggling General Motors. Union officials say the auto industry crisis meant workers had pretty much no choice but to agree to a deal that will see their wages and benefits trimmed by about 15 bucks an hour.
Mel Gibson shared some baby news on Jay Leno’s final week as host of “The Tonight Show.” The publicist for the 53 year old Gibson says the actor confirmed during the show’s taping yesterday that his girlfriend is indeed pregnant. The news comes only 6 weeks after Gibson’s wife of 28 years, filed for divorce.
Monday, May 25th, 2009
The city has its 9th murder of the year. Cops say a 23 year old man died after being attacked in broad daylight this weekend. So far, his name has not been released. Police aren’t saying how the man died but, witnesses say he was stabbed.
An out of control grass fire in southern Manitoba has destroyed a home in the village of Aubigny. Mounties say no one was in the house when the blaze ripped through the area yesterday. No injuries were reported.
A Winnipeg father says he and his wife are excellent parents. But given that they’re accused of teaching their 2 children, black people and other minorities deserve to die, Manitoba Child and Family Services…begs to differ. A custody battle over the kids starts today between the 2 sides.
Emotions are in overdrive this morning among G.M. workers in southern Ontario. They’re voting on a labour concession package that G.M. needs to secure billions of dollars in taxpayer aid. Results should be known by tomorrow.
World leaders are not impressed. North Korea claims it tested a nuclear device today. U.S. President Barack Obama says the nuclear test constitutes an act of blatant defiance of the U.N. Security Council and a violation of international law. Japan also condemned the test.
Need a passport? Well, you can’t apply for one online any more. An internal document says Passport Canada’s online application service, Passport On-Line, was shut down last month because of security concerns. But, that doesn’t quite jive with the public explanation that, the service was simply not convenient enough for Canadians.
The union representing federal food inspectors say there are just not enough meat inspectors. The union says 400 inspectors…up from the current 200, need to be devoted to monitoring processed meat plants to do a proper job. Union officials will appear today at parliamentary committee on food safety.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009
Public consultations have now begun on what’ll be exhibited at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights here in Winnipeg. The museum is looking for real stories on the controversial subjects it hopes to explore. Officials will now visit 16 cities over the next few months to get ideas about stories.
The loonie’s roll continues. So far this week, our dollar is up almost 3.5 cents. Right now its trading at 88.30 cents U.S. Traders say its partly because the U.S. dollar is weakening, making our loonie appear stronger.
The winners of the 3rd biggest lottery jackpot in Canadian history will get revealed today at an Edmonton news conference. And, it’ll obliterate the notion that 13 is unlucky. 13 payroll clerks who work in an Edmonton bank tower hold the ticket for the 50 million dollar jackpot from Wednesday’s 6-49 draw. Oh by the way…..the group all works on the 13th floor of the building.
The weather may delay plans to bring the space shuttle Atlantis home this morning. The forecast is calling for storms around the landing site at Cape Canaveral. There are only 2 chances for the bird to land in Florida this morning….9 a.m. and 10:30 Winnipeg time this morning.
In another sign of this global recession, British Airways is reporting its biggest loss since it was privatized some 22 years ago. The airline lost almost 600 million U.S. last year. That compares with a profit of 1.1 billion just two years ago.
Earlier this week, we told you how G.M. had planned to close some 245 dealerships across the country in a move to try and cut costs. Today? We now know that Manitoba will lose a half dozen dealers because of the move. G.M. has sent close shop notices to dealerships in Rosenort, Erickson, St. Adolph, and Elie. Here in Winnipeg, Birchwood Pontiac and Park Pontiac have also been told to shut down.
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Arson is being blamed for a fire that destroyed 2 Winnipeg businesses and damaged 5 others. The blaze broke out yesterday in a martial arts studio and spread to an antique shop next door. Someone had apparently called police about a break in, and when cops arrived the building was on fire. Both businesses had to be torn down after the fire was put out.
So, it looks like it could be months or even years before the fate of the old army barracks in town, could be decided. A judicial review to determine whether or not the feds properly consulted First Nations, before handing over the Kapyong barracks to a development firm, has been delayed. First Nations say they have a right to the area based on past treaties and land deals.
Well here’s a story you don’t hear everyday. 3 hospital chaplains have gone to the province’s labour board claiming their boss bullied them. The 3 say they were verbally abused and received threats to their careers by Father Gerry Ward, the spiritual care director of St. Boniface hospital.
The price of oil is down almost a buck this morning. But that being said, the price is still up more than 70 per cent in the last 2 months. GasBuddy.com says the average price of regular gas across the country has risen to 97.5 cents a litre. That’s up 7.5 cents from just a month ago.
Taking a page out of the Obama book….Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will announce new credit card rules this morning. It’s expected he’ll force companies to be more transparent, so customers will know what rates they’re charged and why.
Someone in the Edmonton area has good reason to quit their job and take it easy for the rest of their life. That’s where the only winning ticket was sold for the jackpot in last night’s 6/49 draw. The jackpot was worth 49.8 million dollars ! That’s only 5 million less than the biggest lottery prize ever won in the country…..which also happened in Alberta, to 17 oil workers back in 2005.
If you’re planning a trip south, you’re gonna like this news. The loonie is on a roll. It’s gained 3 cents alone so far this week. It’s now trading at 87.82 cents U.S.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
Winnipeg has been selected as the Canadian test site for a vaccine that protects trees from Dutch Elm disease. Manufacturers of the Dutch Trig vaccine, say injecting an Elm with the solution cuts its risk of developing the disease to one per cent. Winnipeg, has the biggest population of Elm’s in all of North America.
A city man, convicted of attempted murder after shooting at 3 cops, finds out today if the case will be thrown out of court. Daniell Anderson says police used excessive force while taking him into custody. Anderson shot at police who were trying to execute a search warrant in December of 06. He also alleges cops failed to get him prompt medical treatment for his own gunshot wounds.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal, is concerned judges are bowing to public pressure and imposing stiffer sentences rather than accepting plea bargains. And while the shift may be popular, some Justice’s worries that the rejection of plea bargains could undermine confidence in the justice system.
Reports this morning say letters bearing bad news will fan out across the country today and land at 264 General Motors dealerships. The letters will apparently inform those dealerships that they’re closing. The closures come as G.M. and the Canadian Auto Workers union try to hammer out concessions so G.M. can be eligible for billions of dollars in government aid.
Just 3 months ago, she walked the red carpet at the Oscar’s. Now, she says she doesn’t know where she’ll sleep. The Mumbai shanty home of 9 year old Rubina Ali, one of the child stars of “Slumdog Millionaire” was demolished today. Last week, bulldozers flattened the home of another one of the film’s child stars who lived in a different part of the same slum.
Well the calendar says its May, but try telling that to people living in the Prairies. After a miserable long weekend, Edmonton residents watched snow assault their flowers yesterday. As much as 20 centimeters of the white stuff fell in parts of the province. Here in Manitoba, no snow of course, but temps are forecast to stay below normal for at least the next 7 days.
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
The body of an 82 year old Birch River man, who drowned with his wife last month after they got caught up in rushing flood waters, has now been found. Searchers found the body this weekend.
Another day, another day of labor concession talks between G.M. and the Canadian Auto Workers union. Union boss Ken Lewenza says little progress has been made despite a full week of talks. He says the C.A.W. has already made numerous sacrifices, but the demands are now starting to spin out of control. Pensions, wages and benefits are the main sticking points.
Well it was a pretty good long weekend for Conrad Black. His lawyer is over the moon now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take a look at his fraud conviction. Black was convicted 2 years ago for his role in an alleged scheme to defraud shareholders of his company, Hollinger International. He’s currently serving a 6 and a half year prison sentence in Florida.
Why is it fewer Canadians are voting these days? Well, experts say it could be a number of factors, including bad attitudes towards politicians. Recent federal and provincial elections show that just over half of the eligible voters cast a ballot.
We may have turned a corner with the swine flu. The country’s chief public health officer says it appears the spread of the H1-N1 virus, is losing steam, but he does caution we’re still within the incubation period. That means more cases could pop up in the summer.
The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis is preparing to say buh-bye to the Hubble Space Telescope. The scope will get released today from the shuttle’s cargo bay, after undergoing a high tech repair job that should give us dazzling views of the universe for another 5 to 10 years.
A 4 year old California boy may be permanently blind after police say his father bit out one of his eyes, and mutilated the other. Cops say the father appeared to be under the influence of PCP when he attacked his son.
Friday, May 15th, 2009
The province is trying to buy out 42 cottage owners in Breezy Point, whose land regularly gets flooded. The province says the buyouts will be voluntary, and they’ll give owners the, pre-flood market value for their homes. If people don’t want to move however, their cottage leases will not be renewed when they expire.
A 3 month drug sweep targeting dial a dealers in Winnipeg, has taken 16 cocaine sellers off the streets. Cops hit the alleged street level dealers where it hurts by canceling the suspects cell numbers. Officers say the cell-phones, along with drivers’ licenses, are the most important tools of the dealers trade.
Getting bugged by panhandlers? Well, there’s now a number you can call about it. The city has set up the new line to report aggressive panhandling in the downtown area. The number is one of several measures that’ll be launched today by the Downtown Security Network. The network is made up of downtown businesses and is endorsed by city police.
A father accused of teaching his kids racist views says his constitutional rights are being violated. The Winnipeg man and his wife, who can’t be named to protect the identity of their kids, will be in court later this month to try and regain custody of their children. Child and Family services had seized the kids last spring over concerns about their emotional well being.
Prime Minister Harper says if it takes a bigger budget deficit to fight the recession…so be it. He says Ottawa can afford a bigger deficit because its balance sheet has been so strong over the past few years. Harper says as soon as the recession comes to an end, so will his government’s flurry of spending aimed at getting the economy going.
The 2nd spacewalk by astronauts aboard the shuttle Atlantis will go this morning. Plans call for them to install 6 gyroscopes that’ll keep the Hubble telescope pointing in the right direction. A total of 5 walks are planned during this mission, that’ll see the telescope getting updated equipment.
This is deadline day for G.M. and the Canadian Auto Workers. The government says the 2 must reach a deal today to cut costs. If there’s no deal, the feds will cut off financial support and G.M. Can. will be liquidated.
Thursday, May 14th, 2009
If you’re one of those people hopin to get a photo radar refund, sad news to tell ya this morning….YOU WON’T ! Attorney General Dave Chomiak says the province won’t be reimbursing anyone, since it would take too much time and work to sort through 60 thousand tickets. That being said though, there’s still a class action lawsuit on the matter, winding its way through the courts.
Good crowd turned out at the MTS last night, for the Red Cross Flood Relief concert. Just over 1800 came out to see artists like Tom Cochrane, and, raise money for victims hit hard by this spring’s flood waters. So far, no total yet on how much was raised as donation’s can still be made to the Red Cross.
Charges against the ex wife of former Manitoba pro wrestler, Ivan “the Croatian Giant,” Radocaj, have been upgraded. Melody Sanford is now charged with 1st degree murder in his death back in September of 2007. She had originally been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. So far, there’s been no explanation on the change in charges.
Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Lab is reviewing its security, after 22 vials containing safe traces of the Ebola gene were stolen….4 months ago. The review comes after the vials were found in the trunk of a car of a former scientist from the lab, who got busted crossing the border last week.
This weekend’s Lotto 6/49 jackpot will be a pretty hefty one, since no one won last night’s 26 million dollar prize. Lottery officials say that means the weekend jackpot will rise to an estimated 40 million dollars.
The Sony Corporation is reporting its first net loss in almost 15 years. The Japanese electronics giant has reported a 13 per cent drop in sales, and a one billion dollar loss last year. The company also says they plan to start closing some plants in the next couple of months.
Prime Minister Harper is hinting he’s willing to call an election over Liberal demands for changes to Employment Insurance. Liberal boss Michael Ignatieff wants Ottawa to trim the minimum standard for collecting E.I. to 360 hours, and to make that the standard nation wide. But, Harper rejects the idea and says if they want to push the matter, he’s ready to take them on.