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Issue 26 • Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Outrage in India over arrest of two women for Facebook post criticizing Mumbai shutdown NEW DELHI—As India’s financial capital shut down for the weekend funeral of a powerful politician linked to waves of mob violence, a woman posted on Facebook that the closures in Mumbai were “due to fear, not due to respect.” A friend of hers hit the “like” button. For that, both women were arrested. Analysts and the media are slamming the Maharashtra state government for what they said was a flagrant misuse of the law and an attempt to curb freedom of expression. The arrests were seen as a move by police to prevent any outbreak of violence by supporters of Bal Thackeray, a powerful Hindu

fundamentalist politician who died Saturday. “We are living in a democracy, not a fascist dictatorship,” Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court justice who now heads the Press Council of India, wrote in a protest letter to the chief minister of Maharashtra. Katju demanded that the state government suspend the police officers who had ordered the arrests and prosecute them. The women withdrew the comment and apologized, but angry Thackeray supporters ransacked an orthopedic clinic run by the uncle of one woman. A lawyer representing the women, Sudheer Gupta, said police arrested

(Cont. on Page 5.)

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SURREY (NEWS1130) - The Fraser Health Authority says a construction accident caused a water main break at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The emergency room is closed and will not reopen for several days. Surrey Memorial has the busiest ER in the province. For now, ambulances will continue to go elsewhere, and anyone seeking emergency care is asked to go to another hospital. Fraser Health’s Tasleem Juma says they’ve set up a system in case people still turn up at Surrey Memorial. “Patients who are arriving at Surrey Memorial with acute or urgent needs are being assessed at a temporary emergency triage in the parkade near the emergency ambulance bay.” More than 100 elective surgeries have been postponed so far. The health authority says the chief medical health officer has assessed the water; there is mud in the system but no sewage. Decontamination is not required Fraser Health asks you to stay away from Surrey Memorial

If you can make it to another hospital, Fraser Health is encouraging you to do so. Your options include Royal Columbian Hospital across the Pattullo bridge in New Westminster,

Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, or perhaps even hospitals in Langley or Delta. Roy Thorpe-Dorward with the health authority says they’ve also made plans to deal with those who show up at Surrey Memorial, unaware of what’s happening.

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“People showing up unaware of the situation will be redirected to Jim Pattison Centre a few blocks away,” he tells us, noting they normally would not handle ER-type cases. “We’re asking all visitors or anybody coming to Surrey Memorial Hospital who does not need to come here to go to other locations,” adds ThorpeDorward. BC ambulance is rerouting their calls to other hospitals. Fraser Health notes all non-essential surgeries are being postponed for the time being. At Royal Columbian Hospital, we spoke with Elizabeth, who is with her sick grandfather. Even with the transportation complications, she is thankful he is finally getting his pneumonia treated. “We just got transported from the care home, to Surrey Memorial, and then from Surrey to Royal Columbian. It’s okay, I mean as long you get cared for, that’s the number one things for the family.” Some of the Surrey patients are not taking the situation as well, saying it was an added stress having to drive to get help. -From News1130

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November 21, 2012

B.C. & Canada Tips to avoid heavy charges for car rentals Things to do before, during and after renting a car

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People looking to rent a car for their upcoming holiday travels may want to brush up on their rights when dealing with rental companies. Last week, CBC News reported on several Budget Rent a Car customers in B.C. who publicly accused the rental car giant of grossly overcharging them for minor “damage” to vehicles. On Monday, CBC News reported that three former Budget Rent a Car employees back up the claims, and Budget’s head office is investigating the allegations. The Better Business Bureau has a few suggestions for what you can do before and after your rental to avoid post-rental damage charges. Beforehand • Look up the rental company’s record with the BBB ahead of time, advises Jan Delaney, president of the bureau’s Western Ontario chapter. You can find out if they have had a lot of complaints filed against them and make a more informed decision. • Take advantage of price-shopping by checking out rates on the internet from different rental companies. But watch out for deals that look too good to be true, which are usually topped with taxes, surcharges and additional fees. • Before purchasing rental insurance from the car company, find out if you are covered for rental vehicles through your personal car insurance policy or a credit card. The Canadian Consumer Handbook, written by a joint federal and provincial committee, suggests that people call their existing car insurance or credit card company to find out. Frequent renters should ask their insurance or credit card company to add rental insurance to their existing policy. For credit cards, this only applies if the consumer uses the card to pay for the rental. At time of renting

• When you arrive at the lot, conduct a full inspection of the vehicle before driving away — even if the rental company has already inspected it. • Ideally, you want to conduct the inspection with an agent from the company, said Delaney — who said she would insist on this practice. The representative should have a sheet with a drawing of the car model on it. Make sure any damage is recorded on the sheet so you have that in writing before agreeing to rent the vehicle. • Take pictures of the vehicle’s condition, including pictures of any scratches or dents already on the car. Start the car to make sure it runs smoothly. • Ask lots of questions so you understand what you are paying for and read the rental contract. That way, you won’t be charged for insurance if you are already covered, or pay for add-ons you don’t need. After your rental • Try to bring the car back during the rental office’s open hours, said Delaney, rather than returning the vehicle and dropping off the keys after the office is closed. That way, an agent can inspect the vehicle for any damage with you. • If you can’t bring the vehicle back during open hours, Delaney suggests taking photos of the car’s condition when you drop it off to prove that you did not damage the vehicle. If you do see unnecessary charges after you return the vehicle, you can complain to the BBB, said Ric Borski, president of the bureau’s midwestern and central Ontario chapter. If the bureau receives a surge of complaints about a company, he said they would typically issue an alert to warn consumers about any potential scams and bring it to the attention of the company. -From CBC

More soggy days ahead for the Lower Mainland VANCOUVER - It’s soggy all over, and a lot more rain and wind is expected! With the last of the leaves coming down, storm drains have been backing up, there’s been flooding at intersections, and there have been service disruptions on the major ferry routes. Will we get any respite? “Not a lot of break,” says News1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate. “Today’s forecast features rain this afternoon, gusty winds, and 10 degrees. Tomorrow, it’s part showers and part sunny breaks and about 11. As far as the next storm goes, that’s showing up later Thursday and into Friday, with lots of heavy rain at the end of the week.” “I think you’ll see big changes for the end of November, as it dries out quite nicely, not only

on the weekend but well into next week,” adds Lacate. “Looking at the November stats, typically, we get a couple of stormy days during the month. So far, through the first 20 days, we’ve had two significant wind events, so pretty much right on normal. We’ve had 15 wet days out of 20, and 13 is the average.” “This is typically the wettest month of the calendar year; 181 millimetres of rainfall would be normal. We’ve got 102 and counting, so we are below-average for rainfall amounts [so far]. We’re 15 per cent below average.” Listen for traffic and weather together every ten minutes on the ones. Follow @News1130Weather for up to the minute information. -From News1130

TransLink shuffling service, “optimizing” routes VANCOUVER - Depending on where you live, you could end up waiting a lot longer for that next bus, or hopping on a lot quicker. TransLink has plans to shuffle service all over the Lower Mainland, “optimizing” some of its routes. Facing a continual cash-crunch, the transit authority is raising fares in January and also wants to move service from under-performing routes and put it where demand is higher. “We’re not actually looking to chop out resources. What we’re looking at is maybe moving routes that are duplicated by other routes and using those resources in other areas to attract new ridership in higher density areas,” says Derek Zabel with TransLink. “Almost every year, new areas start to develop. Higher-density areas pop up all over the place, and you want to try to take advantage of that; you

want to try to drive people onto the transit system. By taking a look at optimization, it allows us to make better use of all those different resources and hopefully attract new ridership,” explains Zabel. Last year, TransLink says it was able to find efficiencies in service and add 14 million more rides at no extra cost, generating five per cent more revenue for the transit authority. The public is getting an opportunity to make comments and suggestions on Translink’s latest service plans. Public consultation started online on November 19 and the the first public meeting is 4 p.m. on November 21 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in downtown Vancouver. Open houses continue in other cities through December 13th. -From News1130

November 21, 2012


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Canada RCMP culture needs to change to fight harassment, MPs told Commons committee studying ‘sexual harassment in the federal workplace’

The RCMP’s grievance process doesn’t line up with standard federal government procedures

legislative reform initiative, told MPs that the Treasury Board Secretariat process is set up to resolve problems early and rebuild relationships. The only recourse in the RCMP, however, is a disciplinary process that requires gathering evidence to prove a violation of the code of conduct. It echoes repeated comments by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson that the force needs an updated disciplinary process, something that’s up to Parliament to pass. That legislation, Bill C-42, has made it through committee stage in the

for dealing with harassment and the culture must change in order to fight the problem, MPs heard Tuesday morning. RCMP representatives appeared as witnesses at the House of Commons status of women committee this morning, providing testimony as part of the MPs’ study of sexual harassment issues in federal workplaces. Sharon Woodburn, the director general of the RCMP’s workforce programs and services, and Michael O’Rielly, the director of the RCMP’s

House. “C-42 will definitely help, because it will provide us the opportunity to overcome ... this structural challenge that we have right now,” O’Rielly said. Woodburn said she’s confident in the processes that the RCMP are putting in place and that a number of factors will help the culture at the RCMP, including recruiting and retaining more women. -From CBC News

WestJet regional carrier will lower airfares, CEO says WestJet’s new regional service will spur passenger demand by offering fares at up to half the amount charged on those routes by monopoly

operators such as Air Canada, chief executive Gregg Saretsky said Monday.

“Vive la competition (long live competition),” the head of the Calgary-based airline told the Canadian Club in Montreal. “WestJet Encore is out to liberate Canadians from the high cost of air travel in smaller communities as well as those not yet served by our jet aircraft and we think that Canadians are ready for that,” he said of the service set to launch next year. He said representatives from small towns, including Quebec’s Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Bagotville, asked WestJet to launch service in their communities because the airline has a history of driving down fares when it comes to town. -From CBC News

Secret document details new Canadian foreign policy

Draft policy calls for closer economic ties ‘even where political interests or values may not align’ A confidential government document obtained by CBC News warns the Harper government has been slow to open new markets in Asia, leaving Canada firmly tied to the troubled U.S. economy for a long time to come. The document prepared by Foreign Affairs and dated Sept. 6 is a draft of a highly classified new “Canadian foreign policy plan” the Conservative government has been preparing for more than a year. The draft briefing paper for the federal cabinet states: “We need to be frank with ourselves — our influence and credibility with some of these new and emerging powers is not as strong as it needs to be and could be. “Canada’s record over past decades has been to arrive late in some key emerging markets. We cannot do so in the future.” The Harper government itself took the slow road to China. Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn’t visit Beijing for almost four years after first being elected in 2006. Now the Harper government wants to focus Canada’s international efforts primarily on one goal: forging new trade deals and business opportunities in the rapidly expanding markets of Asia and South America. The draft plan for a new foreign policy states: “The situation is stark: Canada’s trade and investment relations with new economies, leading with Asia, must deepen, and as a country we must become more relevant to our new partners.” The document makes scant mention of Canada’s traditional roles as peacemakers in war zones like Afghanistan, foreign aid providers in disasters such as Haiti, and everywhere represented by a highly respected diplomatic corps.

are offside from leading economists around the world -- the IMF, the OECD, the Bank of Canada -- all of whom have expressed grave concerns about growing inequality.” Klein suggests there is a kernel of truth in the Fraser Institute’s report, but it doesn’t look at all the statistics. “There’s always some churn in terms of who stays poor and who moves up and who moves down, but that’s also not true for many people and, importantly, there’s less income mobility in Canada than there used to be,” he counters. The Fraser Institute suggests focusing on comparisons of high and low-income groups at specific points in time results in an incomplete analysis of income inequality. -From News1130

pursue political relationships in tandem with economic interests even where political interests or values may not align.” Instead, the draft doctrine is mainly about money, recasting Canada’s international role from aiding the world’s needy to reaping its riches. Immigration to address ‘economic’ needs For example: While the Harper government has never been a fan of the United Nations, the new foreign policy promotes the UN as a means to “provide Canada with vital opportunities” to engage with emerging economies. Similarly, “our effort to build a faster and more flexible economic immigration system (is) to address first and foremost our own economic and demographic needs.” That includes “attracting immigrants, students and temporary workers that can best contribute to economic opportunity in Canada.” -From CBC

s s e n Fresh always d! e e t n a r a gu

Critics blast report suggesting poverty is often temporary VANCOUVER - Does inequality really matter? Critics are blasting a report suggesting most low-income earners climb out of poverty quickly. The Fraser Institute’s Measuring Income Mobility in Canada report suggests four in five of Canada’s lowest earners moved up the income ladder over 10 years. The institute highlights rags to riches scenarios for some of the country’s poorest over a 19-year period. “It’s basically the Fraser Institute’s way of saying inequality doesn’t matter, that people don’t stay poor and people don’t stay rich and therefore we have nothing to be worried about,” says Seth Klein, BC Director for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “In saying that inequality isn’t a concern, they

It also drops any pretense of using trade deals to pressure countries such as China on human rights and other matters of democratic principle. On the contrary: “To succeed we will need to


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November 21, 2012

Editorial Older Indo-Canadians do not generally patronize restaurants. If at all they do, it is more likely to sample a dosa. Either that, or they will order “ delivery” pizza on Saturday night and surprise the pizza delivery boy with a one- dollar tip. Their mild obsession with eating dosas is quite inexplicable. They like the taste and especially the texture of the elaborate crepe that adorns a stainless “thali.” They even think it is a costly job. That is the reason why restaurants rip their clientele charging them upwards of $6.99 for a dosa in which the ingredients should not cost more than sixty cents. The older immigrants from rural areas of north India just cannot figure out how the dosa can have a crispy paper thin finish. Resultantly, anyone who can make a dosa is treated in high

esteem. She or he is buttered up with a view to extract the secret ingredient (almost on the level of the formula to make a nuclear warhead) that makes the dosa crepe so thin and crisp. Once having discovered the “secret” they proceed to make their very own dosa and make a right royal hash of it! That’s when they are back at square one and the nearest dosa restaurant like Inspector Clouseau of the “Pink Panther” to examine the dosa for some new feature that unravels. Nowadays, a lot of business class Indo-Canadians and their families surface in Indian Chinese restaurants after eight p.m. The restaurants owners of these establishments couldn’t have it better: Their white clients come for dinner between five thirty and seven thirty and South Asians come next and gorge themselves with Chinese food to the backdrop of sporadic bawdy orders. The people who own SEAFOOD & STEAK HOUSE Indian Chinese restaurants are Calcutta Chinese and they spin their charm on their customers who are zapped to hear them speak in Hindi. Sometimes, they address their male clients as “Babu” which reflects on the part of India they from. They say it Try Anastasia come affectionately and then Specials proceed to note down (For Dine-in) the order with a smile Lasagna $9.95 with a lot of Hindi inChicken Souvlaki terjections and expres$12.95 sions. 13486 - 72nd Ave, veal schnitzel $14.95 Second generation Prime Rib Newton, Surrey, BC Thein Best Indo-Canadians who Surrey from Fridays to Sundays speak and think like Canadians prefer a wider


selection: It is not uncommon to see them in sushi restaurants, Bistros and Grills. They have little in common with the older Indo-Canadians and are therefore something of a culture within a culture. Some of them spend money with butter fingers and drive flashy cars and say things like “ I was like…and then she goes…and I was like…” Of late, Greek restaurants have begun to take notice of cash rich Indo-Canadians who reek of confidence on Friday and Saturday night and place orders like the neighboring table had better take notice. It takes a while before the time a new immigrant ventures out to eat food in a restaurant. Cooking at home is at least seven to ten times cheaper and only in due course is he or she inclined to indulge in the luxury of eating out. If one is to order a meal for four consisting of a large soup, a chow mein, Manchurian or garlic prawns, two mixed fried rice dishes, the bill including tip is likely to be in the range of $60. That works out to Rupees Two thousand four hundred - which was not a small amount till recently. But the restaurant prices in India have skyrocketed of late. They are now on about the same level as in Canada.

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November 21, 2012

World (cont. from Front Page)

Outrage in India over Facebook post them Sunday, the day of the funeral, on charges of creating enmity and hatred. They were released on bail Monday. Shaheen Dhada, the 21-year-old who posted the comment appeared on television Tuesday, her face covered by a scarf so that only her eyes were visible. Clearly terrified by her arrest and the attack on her uncle’s clinic, Dhada told NDTV television she would never again make comments on a social networking site. Both women said they have deactivated their Facebook accounts. Dhada described her arrest as “unfair.” “It was not a crime,” Renu Srinivas, Dhada’s friend who also was arrested, told NDTV. India’s Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said he was “deeply saddened” by the arrests of the two women. “Freedom of speech is a very important right, and we need to protect it,” Sibal told reporters. He said the government would re-examine the laws governing information technology to prevent its misuse by the police. “We want to make sure that this law is not meant to prevent people from stating their point of view on any issue,” Sibal said Tuesday. Shops and offices were closed Sunday as more than 1.5 million people attended Thackeray’s funeral. He was never elected to office but was seen for decades as Mumbai’s most powerful man. He created an army of supporters by weaving

Germany extends benefits to more Nazi victims

Germany has extended the scope of Holocaust victims to all survivors who had never received Hindu fundamentalism with ardent defence of compensation, a sharp contrast against the issue Marathis, Mumbai’s dominant ethnic group. of the sex slavery by Japanese Royal Army during Thackeray founded his political party, the Shiv the colonial rule of Korea and World War II. Sena — which means Shiva’s Army — with the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble sole aim of keeping people who are not from and Julius Berman, chief of the Jewish Claims Maharashtra out of the state and stemming the Conference (JCC), signed the revision of the Luxembourg Agreement under which West Germaspread of Islam and Western values. Spurred by Thackeray’s rabble-rousing speech- ny assumed responsibility for the Nazis’ crimes es, his supporters routinely resorted to violence and paid reparations in Berlin, Nov. 15. against Muslims and migrant workers who The two sides agreed to widen the group of had come to Mumbai in search of work. He is people to receive payments, taking in survivors among those blamed for a wave of religious long ineligible because they lived behind the violence in 1992 that left nearly 1,000 people Iron Curtain, and tailoring compensation to ageing recipients’ needs, at a ceremony marking the dead in Mumbai alone. Analysts say it was as sense of fear that kept 60th anniversary of the agreement, the AFP remillions of people off the streets of the bustling ported. city on Sunday. Nearly 20,000 policemen pa- Under the agreement, an additional 80,000 Holtrolled the deserted streets, mainly because of ocaust survivors in eastern Europe will receive compensation of about 2,556 euros ($3,190) imthe violent history of the Shiv Sena. No violence occurred Sunday. A day later, a mediately and 300 euros a month. So far, there has been no compensation for surrelieved Mumbai police chief, Satyapal Singh, vivors in eastern Europe as they have not been praised the “unexpectedly orderly behaviour” qualified in the agreement between West Gerof Thackeray’s supporters. many and JCC. But the thuggish behaviour was in evidence Germany has also raise the monthly compensaMonday when a mob of Thackeray’s supporters tion for the existing 100,000 beneficiaries from stormed the orthopedic clinic, destroying its 200-260 euros to 300 euros. Germany also hiked operating rooms and much of its equipment. Nurses and patients fled but no one was hurt. On Tuesday, police said they had detained nine men for their involvement in the attack of the clinic. It was not immediately clear if the men belonged to the Shiv Sena. YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - The White House says President Barack Obama has again spoken to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as he seeks to end nearly a week of warfare between Israel and Hamas. Obama spoke to Morsi for the third time in 24 hours as he was returning home Tuesday from a diplomatic tour of Asia. Deputy National Security adviser Benjamin Rhodes said Obama wanted to talk to Morsi before Secretary of State Hillary

the monthly compensation 15 percent and also plans to increase next year. It also formalizes an entitlement for existing Jewish beneficiaries to home care services. “The crime of the Holocaust was so unimaginably huge that we don’t know the names of all of those killed, nor of all those who are entitled to make claims and that is why we have to keep making adjustments,” Schaeuble told Berlin public broadcaster rbb-inforadio earlier. Stuart E. Eizenstat, a former US ambassador to the European Union who now serves as a special negotiator for the JCC, said Germany was exemplary in living up to its historical crimes. “Never before or since has a defeated nation paid individuals for wartime injuries,” he said. “It’s a great contrast compared to the attitude of Japan for its responsibility for sex slaves it forced and war criminals during World War II.” To date, Germany has paid an estimated $70 billion to Holocaust survivors and programs that aid survivors since 1952, according to the JCC. There are about 500,000 Holocaust survivors throughout the world. Meanwhile, Japan has repeated its position that the sex slave issue was settled in the San Francisco Peace Treaty signed in August, 1951, and they were compensated by the private fund. -From Korea Times

prime minister have been charged with conspiring to pay public officials in exchange for stories and information — the latest development in the country’s establishment-shaking scandal over media malfeasance. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Services said Tuesday that former tabloid editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks were among five people being charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Prosecutors said that Brooks, a neighbour, close friend, and political ally of Prime Minister David Cameron, conspired with journalist John Kay to funnel as much as 100,000 pounds to Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber in return for a stream of stories that were published in Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper. In a statement, the prosecutors alleged that Coulson, who until last year served as Cameron’s top press aide, conspired with journalist Clive Goodman to pay officials for access to a royal phone directory known as the “Green Book.” The charges stem from the phone hacking scandal that erupted last year at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, which Brooks and Coulson used

embarrass Cameron, who hired Coulson as his chief communications adviser and once counted Brooks and her horse-trainer husband Charlie in his circle of friends. Cameron ignored persistent warnings about the pair’s ethics and promised to stand by Coulson even as an increasing number of reports implicated him in tabloid wrongdoing. The scandal shows little sign of winding down. London’s police force, chastened by its failure to uncover the scandal earlier, has kept up a steady drumbeat of arrests and American officials are still weighing whether Murdoch’s company violated U.S. anti-corruption laws. In Britain, the legal process is still grinding forward. Mark Lewis, a prominent victims’ lawyer, recently announced lawsuits against the Daily Mirror newspaper over allegations of phone hacking — further expanding the circle of tabloid suspects. The scandal is likely to be a watershed moment for Britain’s rambunctious press. A judge-led inquiry into the ethics and practices of the country’s media set up in the wake of the scandal is due to report shortly, and its recommendations could lead to sweeping changes in the way that the British media operates. -From AP

Obama again speaks to Egyptian president in bid to end Israeli-Palestinian violence

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Rodham Clinton’s expected arrival in Israel to underscore the importance of working to halt the violence. Rhodes said Obama commended Morsi’s efforts to ease tensions and stressed the important role Egypt can play in regional security. Rhodes said Obama believes a diplomatic solution is urgently needed, but he emphasized that Hamas must stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. -From AP

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to edit before she took a job as chief executive of News International and he went to work for the government. The scandal exploded after it was revealed that News of the World routinely journalists hacked phones and paid bribes to win scoops. The scale of wrongdoing was staggering; ruthless reporters violated the privacy of some 600 victims, from powerful ministers to well-known celebrities and even crime victims. Coulson and Brooks already face charges in relation to phone hacking; in July prosecutors charged the pair with conspiring to intercept the communications of hundreds of people between 2000 and 2006. Brooks faces separate charges of obstruction of justice relating to her alleged attempts to hide evidence from police. Coulson is charged with perjury in relation to evidence he gave at a 2010 trial in Scotland. The pair have in the past repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Coulson said Tuesday he would fight the charges, while a lawyer for Kay declined comment. A message left with Brooks’ law firm was not immediately returned. The gradual pile-up of charges could further

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November 21, 2012

Financial Bernanke warns Congress to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday urged Congress and the Obama administration to strike a budget deal to avert tax increases and spending cuts that could trigger a recession next year. Without a deal, the measures known as the “fiscal cliff” will take effect in January. Bernanke

also said Congress must raise the federal debt limit to prevent the government from defaulting on Treasurys debt. Failure to do so would impose heavy costs on the economy, he said. Bernanke said Congress also needs to reduce the federal debt over the long run to ensure economic growth and stability. Uncertainty about all these issues is likely holding back spending and investment and troubling investors, the Fed chairman said in a speech to the Economic Club of New York. Resolving the fiscal crisis would prevent a sudden and severe shock to the economy, help re-

duce unemployment and strengthen growth, he said. “A stronger economy will, in turn, reduce the deficit and contribute to achieving long-term fiscal sustainability,” Bernanke told the group. Bernanke also said the severity of the Great Recession may have reduced the U.S. economy’s potential growth rate. He didn’t say by how much or how long slowerthan-normal growth might persist. Over the long run, the U.S. economy has grown an average of about 2.5 per cent each year. Economists predict growth in the July-September quarter will be revised up to an annual rate of around three per cent, above the government’s initial two per cent estimate. Growth not enough to lower jobless rate But they think the economy is slowing to an annual growth rate below two per cent in the October-December quarter — too slow to make much of a dent in unemployment. Bernanke said several factors have weighed on growth: Long-term unemployment has eroded many workers’ skills and led some who have lost jobs to stop looking for one. Companies have spent less on machinery, computers and other goods, reducing their production capacity. Stricter lending rules and uncertainty about the economy may have discouraged would-be entrepreneurs from starting more companies, the Fed chairman said. Even assuming the economy’s potential growth has declined, Bernanke said that unemployment, now at 7.9 per cent, is abnormally high. He suggested, though, that the drags on economic growth should fade as the economy heals. By the end of December, just as the fiscal cliff nears, the federal government is expected to hit its borrowing limit. -From AP

French Downgrade No Bar to Hollande as Investors Weigh Cut

French President Francois Hollande’s government will probably be able to keep borrowing at record-low rates even after Moody’s Investors Service’s decision to downgrade the nation’s debt. The drop in French bonds today put only a small dent in the 9.4 percent rally since Standard & Poor’s stripped the country of its AAA status in January. The gains are more than double the rest of the global government bond market, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes, surpassing those of the U.S. and top-rated Germany, the U.K. and Australia. The gains underscore how downgrades by credit-ratings companies, far from being a signal that prices will fall, may offer investors buying opportunities. The U.S. has been deemed more creditworthy by investors since S&P removed the nation’s AAA grade in 2011, with 10-year note yields dropping to a record this year. For France, Europe’s second-biggest economy, further declines in borrowing costs would provide a spur to Hollande’s socialist government as it struggles with a record trade deficit and an unemployment rate at the highest in 13 years. “When ratings moves are announced there is often something of a headline shock but I don’t think the Moody’s downgrade is telling investors something they don’t already know,” said Mark Dowding, a senior fixed-income manager at BlueBay Asset Management in London, which oversees $47 billion. “I don’t think French bonds are going to be sold off considerably in the short term.” Bond Declines The yield on France’s 10-year bonds rose eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 2.15 percent today, the biggest jump since Oct. 5. That compares with the record low of 2.002 percent on Aug. 3 Moody’s yesterday removed the country’s top rating, cutting the debt one level to Aa1 and maintaining its negative outlook. S&P lowered the rating by one level to AA+ from AAA on Jan. 13. Since the January downgrade, global sovereign bonds have gained 4.1 percent through yesterday, according to the Bank of America indexes.

German bonds advanced 3.4 percent in the period, while U.K. gilts rose 2.8 percent. Australian debt returned 6.7 percent, while U.S. Treasuries handed investors 2.5 percent, the indexes show.

Moody’s cited the worsening growth outlook for the French economy in its downgrade. The nation’s debt burden will peak at 91 percent of gross domestic product next year, the 2013 budget estimates. German Burden “In some ways this was expected but it’s another sign that things continue to deteriorate in Europe,” said John Wraith, a fixed-income strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. “The downgrade raises concerns about the structure of the euro zone and adds more of a burden on to the shoulders of German sovereign creditworthiness.” Predicting the consequences of a rating change by S&P or Moody’s may be little better than flipping a coin, with yields moving in the opposite direction than suggested 47 percent of the time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg in June on 314 upgrades, downgrades and outlook changes going back to 1974. Yields were measured after a month relative to U.S. Treasury debt, the global benchmark. “Any over-reaction and selloff today in France is perhaps a buying signal because historically you get downgraded, you don’t widen, you tighten,” Bill Blain, a strategist at Mint Partners in London, said today in an interview with Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.” “I don’t think there’s any reason to think that fundamentally France should be widening dramatically yet.” -From Bloomberg

Banks Hiring for Home Loans as U.S. Rebounds

U.S. banks that have been earning record profits from home loans are adding or transferring thousands of staff to catch up with demand for refinancing after shortages blocked homeowners from getting lower rates. Employment tied to mortgages rose 9 percent this year through September to 285,000, the most since 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as lenders responded to Federal Reserve efforts to push down borrowing costs, President Barack Obama loosened requirements, and housing recovered from a six- year slump. Even as banks added staff, they failed to keep pace, and kept mortgage rates “much higher” than they should be to curb demand, said Vipul Jain, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. Those constraints are lifting after banks built up units to handle the highest level of refinancing since 2009. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, has transferred 3,500 people from servicing to mortgage originations and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) has expanded its opera-

tions staff by at least 25 percent this year. The hiring comes before a potential acceleration in volume after President Obama’s re-election saw debt yields tumble and increased the possibility of expanded programs to help homeowners improve rates. “The trend in headcount is upward,” Jain said in a telephone interview. “During the next three to six months, we’re expecting a 10 percent increase in capacity.” Record Income Banks are adding home loan staff after the top five companies reported a record $8.35 billion in income from mortgage banking during the third quarter, according to newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance. In contrast, the six largest U.S. banks have reduced headcount by more than 25,000 in the twelve months ended in September, as regulators demand more capital and global growth slows, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. -From Bloomberg

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November 21, 2012

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Newsmakers Elmo actor resigns from Sesame Street in wake of sex scandal Fresh lawsuit alleges underage relationship by Kevin Clash

Sesame Workshop says Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street in the

wake of allegations that he had sex with an under-aged youth. Last week a man accused Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy, a charge Clash denied. A day later, the man recanted his charge. Scientists who study genetic mutations and the body’s “circadian clock” say they have found a variant that determines the time of day a person is most likely to die. The findings, published in the November issue of Annals of Neurology, focus mainly on how gene mutations can account for differences in circadian rhythms — including entire families who wake up extremely early or can’t stay awake after 8 p.m. While the data from the longterm study may help with work scheduling and planning medical treatments, it is the time-of-death forecast that has captured most attention. “There’s even a circadian rhythm of death,” says Clifford Saper, chief of neurology at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston and

Lawyer Cecil Singleton says a lawsuit by a second accuser was filed today. Sesame Workshop called the controversy surrounding Clash’s personal life “a distraction that none of us want” and says it led to his decision to leave the show. Clash created the voice and persona for Elmo, who has become one of Sesame Street’s most popular characters. Other puppeteers are carrying on the Elmo character. Clash issued a statement saying he was “resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart.” “I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization,” the statement said. “Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.” -From CP

David Beckham will bow out with Galaxy at MLS Cup Championship game is Dec. 1

David Beckham will play his final game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup next month. Beckham and the Galaxy announced the English midfielder’s decision Monday, a day after the defending MLS champions advanced to their second straight league final. Los Angeles faces Houston for the MLS title on Dec. 1. The 37-year-old Beckham isn’t retiring, but the superstar he gave no hint of his next move. “I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the L.A. Galaxy,” Beckham said in a statement. “However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career. I don’t see this as the end of my relationship with the league, as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.”

Gene variant predicts time of death There’s a circadian rhythm of death: 11 a.m. is average time

co-author of the study, “so that in the general population, people tend on average to be most likely to die in the morning hours. “Sometime around 11 a.m. is the average time.” The researchers, led by first author Andrew Lim, assistant professor in neurology at the University of Toronto, were initially looking at how the circadian clock regulates the body in terms of preferred sleep times, times of peak cognitive performance and the timing of many physiological processes. But when investigators went back and looked at participants who had been in the longest —

some for more than 15 years starting at age 65 — and who had since died, they found a startling fact. The same genotype that governed people’s sleep-wake patterns predicted the time of death.

Paralyzed dogs walk again with cell injections

Cells grown from the nasal passages of healthy dogs restored injured pups

Paralyzed dogs in a U.K. study have been restored to mobility thanks to injected cells, letting Cambridge University scientists dare to hope that the technique could eventually aid the treatment of humans. In experiments done by the U.K. Medical Research Council’s Regenerative Medicine Centre and Cambridge University’s Veterinary School, 23 hobbled dogs who had suffered spinal injuries were injected with cells grown from the nasal passages of healthy dogs. The cells were injected into their spines. A neutral control substance was injected into 11 other injured dogs. No improvement occurred in the control group, but many of the 23 cell transplant dogs were able to walk again on a treadmill with the help of a harness. “Our findings are extremely exciting, because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement,” the BBC quoted Prof. Robin Franklin, a regeneration biologist at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute and report co-author, as saying.

“We’re confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients with spinal cord injuries, but that’s a long way from saying they might be able to regain all lost function.” The results were published in the November issue of the neurology journal Brain. According to the BBC, researchers say the transplanted cells regenerated nerve fibres across the damaged region of the spinal cord, allowing the dogs to regain use of their back legs and co-ordinate front-leg movement. However, the restored nerve fibres only stretched over short distances, which calls into question the applicability in humans. “This is not a cure for spinal cord injury in humans — that could still be a long way off,” Prof. Geoffrey Raisman, chair of Neural Regeneration at University College London, told the BBC. “But this is the most encouraging advance for some years and is a significant step on the road towards it.” -From CBC

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Beckham has played in Los Angeles for six seasons since his groundbreaking move from Real Madrid, reaching three league finals and winning one MLS title last year during his best stateside campaign. He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy in January after playing out his initial fiveyear deal, turning down potential moves to wealthy Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs — including at least one Premiership team, according to Beckham. Beckham hadn’t given any overt indications he was planning to leave the Galaxy after this season with a year left on his deal. Last week, the longtime England captain pointedly denied rumours linking him to a short-term stint in Australia. -From CP People with the AA or AG genotype died just before 11 a.m., like most of the population, but those with the GG genotype on average died at just before 6 p.m., said a release from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre. “So there is really a gene that predicts the time of day that you’ll die,” says Saper. “Not the date, fortunately, but the time of day.” -From CBC










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September 12, 2012

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World U.S. : About Half of Doctors Say They’re Burned Out by Workload About 1 in 2 doctors are burned out, showing signs of emotional exhaustion and little interest in work as patient loads increase, U.S. researchers found. Doctors working in emergency, family and internal medicine were the most likely to feel drained, accordiThe study found that 46 percent of doctors show at least one sign of being worn out. Shanafelt said the burnout was about 10 percent higher than in the population as a whole. Unlike with other professions, more education isn’t linked to a lo

California slaughterhouse shut down after abuse video War with Iran could cost Israel’s econo-

Undercover investigator films cows being suffocated and shot before slaughter. A slaughterhouse in central California has been shut down after receiving undercover video showing dairy cows — some unable to walk — being repeatedly shocked and shot before being slaughtered.

my $42 billion: report

Israel’s economy would incur damages of as much as US$42 billion should Israel attack Iran over its nuclear program, business information group BDI-Coface has projected. Direct economic damage would reach US$11.7 billion, BDI-Coface, a respected research group, said on Tuesday. That would be equivalent to 5.4% of Israel’s gross domestic product last year. Indirect damages would amount to US$5.9 billion a year for three to five years due to the collapse of businesses, it said. There has been an upsurge in rhetoric from Israeli politicians this month suggesting the country might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities ahead of U.S. p

Texas company pays up after prisoners served pet food A Texas meat company is being forced to pay up after U.S. federal inmates were unknowingly served pet food. John Soules Foods Inc., a company that specializes in fajita meat, has agreed to pay $392,000 to the U.S. government after a labelling mistake led to Texas inmates being fed meat meant for animals, according to a press release from the U.S. justice department.

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September 12, 2012

Newsmakers Syphilis probe halts L.A. porn filming A pornography trade group has called for a nationwide filming moratorium while performers are tested for syphilis and Los Angeles County public health officials investigate a possible outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease. One performer has tested positive, and the performer’s sexual partners are being notified, according to Joanne Cachapero, a spokeswoman for the Free Speech Coalition. The voluntary, te

Michael J. Fox’s new sitcom about dad with Parkinson’s

NBC has made it official: Michael J. Fox is coming back to series TV with a new comedy series, based loosely on his personal life. NBC announced Monday it has a 22-episode commitment for the series set to premiere in fall 2013. The single-camera comedy, thus far untitled, will feature Fox as a husband and father of three from New York City who is dealing with family, career and challenges that include Parkinson’s, the network said. No further c

Earliest modern human evidence found in Southeast Asia

Parts of a skull found in a cave in Laos are the earliest skeletal evidence for modern human occupation in Southeast Asia, report researchers. The findings, made by an international team, are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Despite abundant limestone caves, there has been uncertainty about the arrival of modern humans in Southeast Asia because of a lack of dateable e

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September 12, 2012


Newsmakers Mars rover Curiosity extends robot arm for first time More missions to Mars in 2016 as NASA plans to examine the planet’s core

NASA’s Mars rover has taken another small step for robot-kind. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California say the rover Curiosity flexed its robotic arm Monday for the first time since before its November launch.

They say they’ll now spend weeks testing and calibrating the 2.1-metre-long arm and its extensive tool kit — which includes a drill, a scoop, a spectrometer and a camera, in preparation for collecting its first soil samples and attempting to learn whether tof Purdue University, who said it was about time a project like this was approved. The mission will be run by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. The California lab is basking in the success of the $2.5 billion US Mars Curiosity rover, which is starting to explore the planet’s surface after a daring landing this month. Ear-

lier this year, NASA pulled out of two Mars missions with the European Space Agency because it didn’t have the $1.4 billion for the proposed 2016 and 2018 mission. NASA is still working on another possible Mars mission to replace the canceled ones with a decision later this month. That’s just “too much emphasis on Mars in our current plans for planetary exploration,” said Carolyn Porco, a prominent scientist who studies Saturn and its moons. “Most of the solar system resides beyond the orbits of the asteroids. There is more to learn there about general planetary processes than on Mars … Why more Mars?” Mars beat out missions to explore Saturn’s moon Titan and its odd methane oceans and a mission to land on a comet as it nears the sun. Opponents of more Mars msissions say that NASA hasn’t approved missions to the other outer planets or a comet since a Pluto mission was picked in 2001. -From AP

Body parts belong to missing Toronto single mom

Peel Regional Police say the remains found in Mississauga and Toronto in recent days belong to a single mother who went missing earlier this

during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Koekkoek said Liu was last seen alive on Aug. 10 and was reported missing by friends the following day. Liu, a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, was a single mother of three. Until recently, Liu was employed as “the owner of a now-defunct spa” on Eglinton Avenue in Scarborough, Koekkoek said. Koekkoek said police have executed search warrants in

month. Insp. George Koekkoek named the victim as 41-year-old Hua Guang Liu of Scarborough

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Nov 21, 2012

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