Four In The Afternoon: Missing Money.. Maybe It Is In Outer Space..

4 in the Afternoon1 JUST A MERE $3 BILLION…  The auditor general revealed today that the federal government misplaced 3 billion big ones set aside for anti-terrorism efforts. Michael Ferguson also suggested that the Harper government did not have a “clear handle” on whether the country’s anti-terrorism initiative had been successful in keeping terrorists outside of Canadian borders.

2 IT’S ABOUT TIME For the first time in history, an active American professional athlete has publicly announced his homosexuality. It seems sad and weird that it took this long – even weirder, maybe, that the media is making such a big deal of it. Weirder than that, I chose it as one of the top four news stories to profile on the blog today… so maybe I am just feeding in to the weirdness. Hmm…

3 SAYONARA ONLINE VOTING The feds cut it for the “long term”. Read on.

4 NEW BANK NOTE LAUNCHED FROM SPACE Yeah, that’s a thing. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is floating around in space as you read this, unveiled the new polymer five-dollar bill from, you guessed it, space. It features the Canadian Space Arm. Meanwhile, if the new ten-dollar bill, which was also unveiled today, had feelings it would likely be raging jealous. It was unveiled on land, in Ottawa, at a press conference by someone who is not an astronaut. Good thing the five-dollar bill is the last of the Canadian bank notes to be re-designed and revealed to the public… cause how do you top an unveiling event in space???

Six In The Morning: A Cruel, Cruel World

6-in-the-morning1 UNDER INVESTIGATION A home in Boston was searched after the deadly bombing attacks killed three people and injured more than 150 at the Boston Marathon. But there is still no suspect and no leading theory/motive. Apparently, there were some people from Saskatchewan who took part n the race and who are telling their stories.

2 MAJOR EARTHQUAKE 40 people are dead after a 7.8 magnitude quake struck along the Iran-Pakistan border. It is Iran’s largest earthquake in 40 years.

3 “OUTCOMES” A report on how to improve education and employment opportunities for First Nations-Métis people in Saskatchewan was released yesterday. The task force had a number of recommendations including, “proclaim First Nations and Metis languages as the original languages of Saskatchewan”. Well, they are…

4 WILL THE PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT THE PASQUA HOSPITAL BE MOVED TO THE GENERAL HOSPITAL? Parents and stakeholders do not want the small children’s cancer treatment centre to be moved to a larger pediatrics unit at the General. One reason is that they fear their children, who often have poor immune systems, could be exposed to other children with contagious illnesses. But the premier said he has not signed off on the proposal just yet.

5 BIEBER HEARTFELT OR JUST PLAIN STUPID? Over the weekend, the Biebes visited Ann Frank House in Amsterdam and left a comment in the guestbook that is sparking debate across the globe. “Hopefully she would have been a Belieber” was part of the Canadian pop singer’s entry. Now, the museum honouring the Jewish heroine is defending Bieber, in a round about way.

6 TRUDEAU ALREADY BEING SLAMMED Just a short time after the new Liberal leader was elected over the weekend, the Tories have already got their weapons out: attack ads. But Justin Trudeau doesn’t believe there is any sense in fighting dirty.

Six In The Morning: Do Not Panic, Cher Is Still Alive

6-in-the-morning1 DEBT CEILING HIGHER AND HIGHER The City is looking to increase it’s debt limit by $100-million, for the second time this year – TO BUILD THAT STADIUM.

2 IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT THAT NO-FAULT INSURANCE IN SASK IS BEING THREATENED SGI is fighting the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals, saying its ruling to torpedo the no-fault insurance plan “gravely impacts” its ability to administer coverage. The Supreme Court could potentially review the matter. Get details here.

3 DENY, DENY, DENY The head of the Royal Bank of Canada is denying those claims that the bank is replacing current employees with temporary workers. Surprise, surprise.

4 OUT OF (BIRTH) CONTROL Yikes!!! A Canadian Drug company, which distributes Alysena, a type of birth control, is issuing a recall. The botched batch has two weeks of placebo sugar pills instead of one. December is going to be a busy month in maternity wards across the country… except for Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the batch was not distributed.

5 NORTH KOREA IS WARNING FOREIGNERS IN SOUTH KOREA TO GET OUT Read on.

6 LESSONS IN HASHTAGS News that Margaret Thatcher died had Cher (and Teri Hatcher) fans in frenzy on Twitter. #NowThatchersdead started trending on the social media site and because spaces and apostrophes can’t be used in hashtags, it had some users thinking it read, “Now that Cher’s dead.” Don’t worry, Cher is still kicking.

Six In The Late Evening: Headlines Not Al-Qaeda Related

6 in the Evening1 POW WOW POSTPONED The 35th Annual FNUniv Pow-wow set for this weekend has been re-scheduled due to a potential labour disruption at Brandt Centre where the event was supposed to be held. It has been postponed to the weekend of May 11, 2013. FYI: God forbid, the Juno’s could also be affected.

2 WALLIN WOES Saskatchewan Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin is stepping down as chair of the Senate’s defence committee and from the subcommittee on veteran’s affairs for “personal reasons”. Wallin has been making headlines recently for her alleged over-zealous spending on travel between her homes in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

3 DILUTED DRUGS How would you like to find out that you are not getting the correct dose of medication you’ve been prescribed for a deadly illness? Hundreds of people in Ontario and New Brunswick got that shock today when they learned their chemo therapy drugs were being watered down anywhere from three to 20 percent.

4 CALLING OUT THE ROBO-CALLERS A former Conservative staffer was the first person charged in a probe into the 2011 robo-call controversy. Michael Sona has denied it, saying he didn’t have the technological intelligence to pull it off.

5 SELLING BABIES Wood Buffalo RCMP are investigating an advertisement placed by a pregnant 20 year-old Fort McMurray woman offering to sell one of her twin babies. The ad is just plain weird and unsettling.

6 EXCESS BAGGAGE A tiny Samoan airline is offering another reason to shed the extra pounds. Instead of charging by seat, it is charging passengers by weight. Is this discrimination or is this going to be the airline standard of the future? Hmmm…

Six In The Morning: Who’s Breaking The Rules Today?

6-in-the-morning1 POLICEBOOK We begin with a story about Facebook and the Regina Police Service. Our city’s law enforcement team has yanked its Facebook page because of an influx of abusive hate comments, in response to that pit bull shooting over the weekend.

2 HOUSING HULLABALOO Tomorrow city council is going to address our city’s housing crisis. Councilors will discuss the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, which will look at creating new strategies and revising old ones to spur rental housing starts. Then we can look forward to Mayor Fougere’s Housing Summit in May. Woo-hoo!

3 BREAKING BOUNDARIES Members of parliament will review changes to federal electoral boundaries in Saskatchewan today. The Saskatchewan Boundaries Commission is recommending that five new urban ridings be created. Conservative MP’s aren’t pleased with the recommendations because it could affect their stronghold in Saskatchewan come election time.

4 UNITED AND GAY Today the US Supreme Court will hear first arguments in the case to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Some are comparing it to Supreme Court cases in the past such as Loving vs. Virginia, in which the court lifted bans on inter-racial marriage.

5 FORD FIASCO It would seem he can’t go a day without the media spotlight shining down on him – good or most likely, bad. His escapades have become pure entertainment for the rest of Canada. It’s now being reported that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was kicked out of a gala for being intoxicated over the weekend.

6 BLAME GLOBAL WARMING! Scientists have linked this winter’s massive snowstorms and this freezing cold spring weather in North America, Europe and Britain to the dramatic loss of Arctic Sea ice – a symptom of Global Warming.

Six In The Morning: Snow, A New Subdivision and Saving the Small Savers

6-in-the-morning1 ‘INDUSTRIAL HEIGHTS’ Paul already mentioned this yesterday in his advancer to the city hall meeting last night, but this is crazy so it deserves an update. The City gave the ‘A-okay’ for developers to apply to build a new subdivision in the north end of Regina, between the refinery and the steel plant. Raising children there sounds like a dream.

2 WE SET A NEW SNOWFALL RECORD But none of us need a news outlet to tell us that. We face that cold harsh reality every day when we are forced to trudge to work knee deep in the white stuff or when we have to figure out which snow pile on the street is our parked car…

3 TRADES OVER DEGREES In the federal budget speech on Thursday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is expected to put a sharp focus on boosting skills training. In case you are wondering, he will be tweeting his budget day too.

4 DID THE ONION PREDICT CNN’s STEUBENVILLE RAPE COVERAGE? An Onion article from about two years back satirizes sympathy for rapists – and is seemingly all the more relevant in relation to a CNN reporter’s strange and disconcerting response to the trial.

5 I SEE LONDON, I SEE… LULU Lulu Lemon is recalling its line of Lula pants for being too sheer. God forbid anyone dies of embarrassment because their butt is visible while in downward dog pose.

6 SAVING SMALL SAVERS  Just before a vote on the seizure of bank deposits, Cyprian government officials are working on behalf of the ‘little guys’ – as they work to limit the impact the deposit raid would have on small savers.

BONUS: Sask. sweetheart and snowboarder extraordinaire, Mark McMorris, was on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos last night. McMorris talked about his so-called ‘beef ‘ with Shaun White and his expectations for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Six In The Morning: Citizens Arrest, See Ya Ceasefire and So Long Costa

6-in-the-morning1 PICKIN’ A POPE The papal conclave begins in Vatican City today. Few are expecting the white smoke to rise on the first day of “voting”. It’s not mandatory for cardinals to vote today. 

2 CITIZEN, GET HIM (OR HER)! It is now easier to make a citizen’s arrest.  Announced yesterday, the amendment to the Citizen’s Arrest and Self Defense Act allows an individual to arrest another within a “reasonable” amount of time after witnessing a crime. The culprit had to be caught red-handed under the previous law.

3 GOT THE POWER It is years in the making. Yesterday, the feds announced a devolution of power from Ottawa to Yellowknife. It means the Northwest Territories will be in control of its land, water and resources for the first time. But, the territory still does not have “province” status.

4 CEASEFIRE DISSOLVED North Korea has squashed its 1953 armistice with South Korea, which ended the Korean War. So, anyone can fire at anytime?!!!! South Korea is refuting the dissolution of the ceasefire agreement.

5 WHERE ARE THE FLOOD GATES?? Saskatchewan should expect above-normal run-off this spring, and Regina might just float away. Stupid snow.

6 BUT HE IS AN INSTITUTION! Farewell Costa! Your love for news and your smooth style will be missed, especially during the supper hour.

Six In The Morning: Drinking Laws, A Potential Canadian Pope And North Korea Continues To Make Headlines

Six!1 YOUNG WILD AND UNDERAGE Looks like the province won’t be lowering the drinking age, to many high school seniors’ disappointment.

2 THE BATTLE IS BREWING Over the weekend, parents and Cathedral area community activists formed the group, ‘Save Our Connaught’. They are fighting back against last week’s decision, handed down by the school board, to rebuild Connaught School.

3 THE CHOSEN ONE The next pope could be a Canadian. How about that? He has a long history of dealing with sexual assault issues in the Catholic Church and working with victims.

4 SAD TIMES IN JOURNALISM Canada’s largest daily newspaper is cutting 55 jobs and is considering outsourcing layout production work. Booooooo!

5 BRING ON THE POVERTY! That’s what the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food said Canada is doing by scrapping the long form census and negotiating a free trade deal with Europe. The diplomat released his report on Canada yesterday and it isn’t pretty.

6 PULLING OUT North Korea is vowing to cancel the 1953 Korean War armistice because it is still mad at the United States and South Korea.

Six In The Morning: Quotas, History On Repeat And The Haunting Of The Monster Icicle

Six!1 TARGET ON THEIR HEADS EI claimants should expect a cold, hard knock on their doors. The federal government has confirmed it has ‘performance objectives’ (aka quotas) for Service Canada employees to catch EI fraudsters. EI investigators are expected to find $485, 000 each in ineligible claims annually.

2 APPARENTLY IT’S NOT JUST THE ARTS… Canada’s military spending could take a massive nosedive in 2014, dropping from the current budget of $476 million to $5 million. It seems like a significant decrease, but it’s mostly because Canada will be ending its teardown and training missions in Afghanistan by early next year. Plus, there are no new operations planned after that.

3 HISTORY REPEATS ITSEF Ottawa was slammed at a human rights hearing yesterday for its refusal to provide equitable child-welfare on reserves. Sean Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, suggested that the foster care system and removal of aboriginal children from their homes is akin to the experiences felt by survivors of the Indian residential school system.

4 CRIME STATS ARE FRUSTRATING!! Just yesterday we found out Regina’s crime rates are continuing to drop. Now a new Statistics Canada study is saying violence against women in our lovely province is double the national rate. Ughhh.

5 NAYYYY TO MYSTERY MEAT Canadians with a dislike for horsemeat can breathe a sigh of relief – no mislabeled products containing the meat have been sold in Canada! Even if the products were sold in Canada, we Saskatchewanians would have little to worry about because we still don’t have an Ikea, which is where the Swedish horse-tainted meatballs were sold (in Europe).

6 THE HAUNTING OF THE MONSTER ICICLE Only in Saskatchewan could this story tread water. Granted, it is a pretty big icicle, and there’s no doubt it’s going to cause major problems, whether it be now, or when the spring melt arrives on our doorsteps…and in our basements.

 

Six In The Morning: A Miracle Baby, A Hamburglar and Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Six!1 RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT? The feds are launching the Religious Freedom Office today at a mosque in Ontario. It will be a branch within the Foreign Affairs Department designed to? Actually I have no idea what it is designed to do.  There is very little information about it, except that it has an extremely modest budget of $5 million and that human rights critics are slamming it for being an attempt to inject religion into foreign policy. I guess we will find out more this afternoon…

2 MORE TEARS, MORE TRAGEDY Yesterday a national report was released, which stated that at least 3,000 children died while attending Indian residential schools in Canada… a sad, sad part of Canadian history. And the number is likely to rise as more archived government documents are unearthed.

3 THRONE SPEECH CLEANS HOUSE Canada’s largest province will hear the first throne speech highlighting recently elected Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate. She has a big job ahead of her, cleaning up McGuinty’s mess and dealing with a minority government (which isn’t such a bad thing). Her policy announcements are expected to lean left-of-centre with more money for things like home care and making sure businesses pay a fair amount of taxes, which are promises geared at appeasing the NDP.

4 MIRACLE BABY!! A baby declared dead by medical staff at a Toronto hospital and left under a sheet to await the coroner is actually alive! Her mother gave birth to her outdoors in -16 degree weather Sunday morning. 90 minutes after she was declared dead, two police officers, who were guarding her body, noticed movement from under the sheet. Mom and baby are in stable condition. Meanwhile, the episode has sparked a review of procedures at the Humber River Regional Hospital.

5 PEE WHERE YOU WANT Well, sort of. There are now 10 gender-neutral washrooms on the University of Regina campus. How about that!

6 HAMBURGLAR Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked yesterday, making for a very interesting day in the Twitterverse. The company’s profile picture was changed to the McDonald’s logo and one tweet announced that Burger King had been sold to its fast-food rival.

Six In The Morning: A Llama Says Goodbye And Moose Have Satellite Phones

1 DELI LLAMA CLOSES DOORS  The downtown sandwich shop known for its celebrity-named sandwiches and extensive use of social media is closing up shop tomorrow (Wednesday). Rumours of a possible lunch truck are surfacing. Goodbye old friend, for now.

2 SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR PRETTY PENNIES Yesterday, the Canadian Mint stopped distributing the copper coin. Some are happy because charities have found ways to profit on the phasing out of the penny and others are looking at how it can save them a few cents at the checkout line.

3 MOOSE ONE THE LOOSE?  University of Saskatchewan researchers are looking into why moose feel moved to cross rural highways. The study will identify high-risk collision areas. Most importantly, the moose are happy because they finally get a satellite phone (it’s built into their collars so researchers can track them over a four-year period).

4 BLACKBERRY Z10 BURSTS ON CANADIAN SCENE  It’s make or break time for BlackBerry. BlackBerry Z10 is available in Canadian retail stores today, after being first released in the U.K last week. Some say it’s the company’s last chance to recover, but unlike product launches for competitor Apple, there were few reported lineups this morning outside of stores that are carrying the device.

5 SOCHI MAFIA WAR  The death of big-time Russian mobster, Aslan Usoyan, is sparking fears of a brewing mafia war in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Rival mobs are seeking control over Usoyan’s empire, which includes vast amounts of property and businesses in Sochi.

6 GAY MARRIAGE IN PARLIAMENT It has been legal in the UK since 2005, but today parliamentarians are debating the Marriage Bill, which would enable same-sex couples to be married in civil and religious ceremonies, if the religious institution consents. Prime Minister David Cameron is in favour, but more than a dozen of his fellow Conservatives are not, and it could pose some problems.

Six In The Morning: More Mali, You Can’t Be Half-Pregnant and Stadium Status

1 MONEY FOR MALI The feds announced Canada will send $13 million dollars in humanitarian aid to Mali. So far no “military mission” has been confirmed, but the feds are talking about it. Oh, and it should be noted that Canadian special-forces soldiers are on the ground in Mali as of yesterday, to protect diplomats and such.

2 STADIUM A-GO-GO But who is surprised? Regina city council approved the stadium funding agreements and conceptual design last night. Speakers, including Marc Spooner, Chad Novak and Jim Elliot spoke in opposition to it but still, it was a 10-1 vote, with Councilor Shawn Fraser the only one opposed.

3 YOU CAN’T BE HALF-PREGNANT ON NATIONAL UNITY!! Says Justin Trudeau. The Liberal leadership candidate slammed NDP Leader Tom Mulcair for his willingness to introduce a new bill that would accept a 50-per-cent-plus-one vote on Quebec sovereignty in a referendum. Can’t we just all get along?

4 EGYPTIAN UNREST The head of Egypt’s armed forces is warning there may be military intervention in that country in the near future. Just over two years after the Egyptian revolution, a civilian uprising against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood has turned violent. Once again, the military could intervene in the country’s day-to-day governance.

5 THE MINERS ARE OKAY All 318 people who were trapped underground for several hours at Mosaic’s K2 potash mine near Esterhazy are safe. The mine was shut down when a fire broke out yesterday morning.

6 IDLE KNOW MORE Yesterday the movement celebrated its World Day of Action. But it seemed to be under reported, at least on the web. Instead of flash mob round dances and marches, in Regina, people gathered to share personal stories at the Connexus Arts Centre.

BONUS: The prime minister documented his entire day yesterday on Twitter, including breakfast with his cat. Some are calling it “The Sweater Vest Diaries”.

Six In The Morning: Tasers, Mission Creep and Not A Single Weather Story

1 MORE MALI  Harper is extending the tour of the heavy-lift C-17 transport plane between France and Mali, after French President François Hollande made a personal request this morning. So much for avoiding “mission creep”.

2 TWO CANADIANS  Algeria’s president says two Canadians were involved in last week’s highly organized Islamist militant attack on a natural gas plant in the Sahara. Canadian officials have still not confirmed this.

3 ISRAEL VOTES  Israeli citizens are heading to the polls this morning and it is expected they will re-elect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a third term. However, Netanyahu has somewhat declined in popularity and it looks like he will likely have to approach centre-left parties for a coalition in order to stave off the surge of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home party.

4 I’VE KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN  So says Prince Harry. The prince’s four-year tour of Afghanistan has come to an end and yesterday he candidly admitted to killing insurgents while piloting his Apache helicopter there.

5 TASERS APPROVED  The Saskatchewan Police Commission has lifted a five-year moratorium on the use of Tasers for general policing. So, in a situation when pepper spray or a police baton would be ineffective, police are authorized to use a Taser, though, to be clear here, they are not to be mistaken for lethal force.

6 BALLIN’ WITH THE OBAMAS  In the extremely narrow chance you missed it, yesterday was President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Obama’s inaugural speech is being called “progressive” and “liberal”. In it, he called for gun control, equality rights for everyone and a sharp response to climate change. But even his bold speech couldn’t take the media spotlight off the First LadyShe got bangs don’t you know?!

BONUS: Check out the FLOTUS giving Speaker of the House John Boehner ‘the stink eye’ at the post-inaugural luncheon.

Six in The Morning: Planes, A Disgraced Cyclist and Human Heads

As we gear up for a day of manic-depressive weather (warming up, cooling down, warming up, cooling down), here are some news stories that probably won’t spark any extreme mood swings, unlike the weather might.

1 COMING IN FOR LANDING Canada is sending aid to Mali afterall. Well, sort of.  The feds are sending a military plane to help carry huge shipments. That’s if it ever gets off the ground.

2 COMING CLEAN Lance Armstrong bared all on Oprah’s famous ‘couch‘ on Monday. Word is the disgraced cyclist admitted to doping during his notorious career. For the most part, Oprah has kept mum but has said viewers will be satisfied with the two-part interview that airs on Thursday.

3 SICK LEAVE Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo is taking a doctor-ordered brief leave of absence. He had norovirus over the holidays and never fully recovered. Plus, he had a pretty tough few days of negotiations and media appearances last week, which some say is partly to blame for his condition.

4 HEAD CASE A research facility in Chicago is under investigation after staff at O’Hare airport intercepted a package containing 18 human heads, which was being shipped from Rome to a Chicago research facility. Oddly, this is a pretty standard form of medical shipment, but a top US official has said they still need to confirm the heads are being used for scientific research or medical purposes.

5 IT’S ALWAYS THE LITTLE GUY WHO SUFFERS The University of Saskatchewan is cutting dozens of jobs over the next few weeks in an effort to tackle its $44 million deficit.

6 HASHTAG OTTAWAPISKAT What if Canada’s capital was a First Nations reserve? That’s just one of the questions being asked as #Ottawapiskat heats up Twitter.

Four In The Afternoon: Aboriginal Rights and Bowie The Birthday Boy

4 in the Afternoon1 13 YEARS IN THE MAKING! Let this day go down in Canadian history. This morning the Federal Court ruled that the Canadian Government has new jurisdictional responsibilities for over half a million non-status Indians and Mètis people who were previously not recognized as ‘Indians’ under the Constitution Act.

2 TO COURT, TO COURT The ‘Idle No More’ movement is pushing forward in a new way; two First Nations in Alberta are taking the federal government to court. The Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Frog Lake First Nation filed documents in Federal Court today in an effort to overturn the prime minister’s two omnibus budget bills, which contain legislation that violates the government’s obligations to the treaties.

3 GUN CONTROL On the two-year anniversary of the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, and a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the former Arizona congresswoman has announced she is launching “Americans for Responsible Solutions.” The campaign will work to combat the National Rifle Association by raising money and pushing for stricter gun laws in America. To add to that, Giffords’ recent visit to Newtown, Connecticut has one Republican in particular foaming at the mouth.

4 IT’LL COST YOU Thanks to Ottawa’s effort to cut costs, the Canadian Forces will now charge provinces and municipalities for disaster relief (i.e. floods and wildfires).  In the past it has been the military’s duty to provide aid in these types of emergencies. Side Note:  Harper just announced Canada will not send military aid to Mali in light of reports of clashes between members of al-Qaeda and Mali’s army.

Bonus: Happy birthday David Bowie!  In honour of his birthday, Mr. Bowie has announced he will be releasing a new album and today, for the first time in 10 years, he shared a brand spanking new song for your listening delight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOyDTy9DtHQ&feature=player_embedded

Four In The Afternoon: Back To School, Cheap Flights And A Flash Mob

4 in the Afternoon1 BACK TO SCHOOL Newtown, Connecticut students headed back to the classroom today. It seems sort of ridiculous. I get the idea that the children and staff should be able to mourn together, but three days after the tragedy seems a little soon. At least the Sandy Hook students don’t have to go back to the building where it all went down.

2 ROUGE-Y ROUGE Air Canada announced today that its new low-budget airline, Rouge, would start flying in July. It means you can now fly to Edinburgh, Scotland and Venice, Italy (if it’s still worth flying there after all the flooding) for under $1,000 round trip for the first time with Air Canada. I am all for cheap flights; however, it means Rouge staff will receive lower wages and less benefits than Air Canada staff. An arbitration settlement back in July, which sent pilots back to work, is partly to blame for creating the wage divide.

3 INSTA-BOYCOTT!! Facebook, which recently bought photo-sharing site Instagram, is pissing a lot of users off. Instagram’s terms of service was updated yesterday and now demands users agree that their photos could be used “in connection with paid or sponsored content.” This means that even though the photographer “owns” the photo, Facebook can use your photos to market to your friends on its site. The changes go into effect on January 16, 2013. Many Instagram users have posted on Twitter that they will boycott the photo-sharing site and now “#Instagram” is trending on Twitter.

4 MERRY X-MAS Saskatoon Transit will continue to display a “Merry Christmas” message on busses. City councilors debated the issue yesterday, but ultimately settled on keeping the holiday greeting. They also decided to explore the possibility of adding greetings that reflect spiritual celebrations of other world religions. Yay for inclusivity!

BONUS: Last night, a group of Idle No More protestors rocked a flash mob Round Dance at the Cornwall Centre. Have a look-see.

Six In The Morning: A Hunger Strike, SWAT Team Santa and Saskatchewan Feeds The World

6-in-the-morning1 FIGHTING THE FIGHT WITH A HUNGER STRIKE In light of the Idle No More movement among aboriginal people across Canada, the chief of Attawapiskat has started a hunger strike. Chief Theresa Spence says she is protesting the Harper government’s unilateral decision-making and unfair treatment of aboriginal leaders and the treaties. She says she is willing to die for her people.

2 SANTA IS PACKING HEAT This holiday season Abbotsford police are taking a different approach to law enforcement. As part of an effort called ‘Operation Resolution’, the police are sending out Christmas cards that feature Santa dressed as a member of a SWAT team accompanied by a greeting that reads “Which list will you be on next year?” to repeat offenders. They’re hoping the card will inspire criminals to turn their lives around… because everyone loves a Christmas MIRACLE!!

3 CAN I GET A WITNESS? The feds are expanding Canada’s witness protection program. The changes will make it easier for people in the provincial program to change their identities. It will also mean federal agencies responsible for national security and public safety will be able to refer people to the program rather than just law enforcement agencies. This comes just a month after NDP MP Olivia Chow recommended that more support be given to the federal witness protection program in light of the shootings in Toronto this past summer.

4 PUBLIC SERVANTS COST A LOT Canada’s budget watchdog says the average federal public servant costs $114, 000 a year. That includes wages, pension and benefits. This amounts to about $43 billion in costs to the federal government and tax payers, yet even more fuel for the Conservative government to use when it needs to defend itself for reining in costs (i.e. cutting federal jobs).

5 SK TO FEED THE WORLD Potash Corp. and the provincial government have donated $50 million dollars to a new research institute at the University of Saskatchewan, which will look for new ways to feed the world (not a daunting task at all).  The news comes just as Saskatchewan universities face budget cuts, of which one of the most unpopular was the closure of the University of Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake campus.

6 GIVE ME BACK MY MONKEY!! As you can imagine, the owner of Darwin the “well-dressed” IKEA monkey wants him back. Surprise, surprise!

 

Four In The Afternoon: Deadly SK., Royal Babies and Dirty Phones

4 in the Afternoon1 KILLER STATS Saskatchewan continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the country. Statistics Canada is doing wonders for our reputation.

2 LABOUR OVERHAUL The Saskatchewan Party government is introducing new labour legislation today. It combines a whopping 15 pieces of employment legislation under one code. I wonder what union groups and the NDP will have to say…

3 THE CHOSEN ONE In case you missed it, Prince William and Princess Kate are expecting a baby. The new addition will be third in line to the throne. The Brits are ecstatic. Some are already predicting what the royal-commoner hybrid will look like.

4 NATO BACKS TURKEY? NATO is sending Patriot anti-missile systems  to Turkey’s border as a warning to Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad. The system is being used to intercept Syrian weapons and not as offensive weaponry.  Some are hoping it will decrease tensions along the Syria/Turkey border.

BONUS:  A study conducted by Nielsen and NM found that one in three people aged 18-24 engage in online social networking while in the BATHROOM. A proud moment for myself and my fellow young adults… yuck.

 

Six In The Morning: Protestors, Gravediggers And The “Sexiest Man Alive”

6-in-the-morning1 DEMOCRACY? Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said he will limit his absolute powers to “sovereign matters” to try to prevent a crisis. Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square and today they are staging a massive rally. The protestors are demanding the president, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, revoke his decrees that would expand his powers and protect him from judicial review. But Egyptians are not buying what he is selling.

2 GRAVEDIGGING Yassar Arafat’s body was exhumed this morning. Eight years after his death in France, a team of experts will test the Palestinian leader’s body to determine if he was poisoned.  Swiss experts found a radioactive chemical on his clothing earlier this year.

3 NOT SO SAFE The federal government had a major scare last night. Calgary Centre is a stronghold for the Conservative Party, but last night the seat was threatened in the federal by-election. Joan Crockatt, a Calgary media personality, won with just 4.2 percentage points ahead of her Liberal competitor. Some are blaming Liberal and Green Party vote-spliting for the narrow Conservative win.

4 SEXY AND HE KNOWS IT? The online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper apparently does not know that The Onion is a satirical news organization. A spoof report that crowned North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un the “Sexiest Man Alive” was re-published on the People’s Daily website with a lengthy photo essay. Oops!

5 PROVINCIAL APPEAL Today the provincial government is scheduled to appeal a court decision that prevented essential services legislation from passing. Public sector unions have said Bill 5 gives too much power to employers to determine who is an essential worker and who can strike.

6 TOOTH AND NAIL Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is calling his oust from office a left-wing conspiracy. It is always everyone’s fault but our own.

Four In The Afternoon: Cease And Desist?

4 in the Afternoon1 CEASEFIRE? After seven days of droning drones, constant missile attacks and a rising death toll, Egypt is close to brokering a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.  A Hamas official has said it is likely to take effect in a matter of hours but, Israel has yet to confirm the truce. Fingers are crossed that both parties agree to uphold the truce so Gaza residents will not have to deal with any more unneccessary deaths.

2 NO WOMEN ALLOWED The Church of England has ruled against legislation that would allow women to become bishops. Traditionalists and reformers have been debating the issue for over a decade. Countries like Canada and the United States allow women bishops so, it would seem England is still living in the Dark Ages… or to be historically accurate, the Tudor dynasty.

3 LIBERALIZING LIQUOR LEGISLATION Have you ever wanted to get drunk while getting your nails done? Or while at the movie theatre? Well, your wish is the province’s command. Crown Investments Minister Donna Harpauer announced changes to the province’s liquor legislation and regulations at a downtown spa today. How fitting. Also, partial stripping is now allowed too.

4 TRADE AT THE TOP A secret government document prepared by Foreign Affairs in September shows the Harper government’s willingness to build trade relationships with countries in Asia and Africa, despite having poor human rights records.

Check out this video of an Aljazeera reporter appearing almost unfazed as a missle reaches its target in the middle of her live hit from Gaza.