Overture The Week That Was

Overture The Week That Was

October 8 2001
Overture The Week That Was

Overture The Week That Was

October 8 2001

Overture The Week That Was

The Ontario government defeated a call for a federal public inquiry into what role Premier Mike Harris played in the police killing of a native demonstrator at Ipperwash provincial park in 1995. Militant natives from the Ipperwash reserve, 90 km southwest of London, Ont., had occupied the park for two days when they boarded a school bus and charged

police lines. An Ontario Provincial Police officer opened fire, killing protester Dudley George. Opposition leaders, citing cabinet documents, claim an order from Harris to clear the park led directly to Georges death.

No Ipperwash inquiry

Targeting drug costs

To reduce soaring drug prices, Canadas health ministers have agreed to establish a common process to review all new pharI maceuticals, thereby saving money by eliminating duplication of efforts. Currently, there is a patchwork of drug coverage across Canada, with each province and territory having a different method for deciding which drugs to include in its health-care plan. But after meeting for two days in St. John’s, Nfld., the 14 ministers, including federal Health Minister Allan Rock, agreed to work towards a national plan.

Anger in Cincinnati

Protesters set fires and pelted cars with botdes, and Cincinnati’s mayor declared an overnight curfew after a white police officer was acquitted in the killing of an unarmed black man. That shooting, on April 7, sparked three days of rioting that injured dozens. Officer Stephen Roach had been charged with negligent homicide and obstructing official business after he killed Timothy Thomas, 19, in a dark alley. But a trial judge cleared Roach, saying he made a “split-second decision in a very dangerous situation.”

Macedonian calm

A fragile peace appeared to be taking hold in Macedonia when ethnic-Albanian rebels formally disbanded their militia just hours after NATO officials said they had collected 3,875 weapons—rifles, mortars, howitzers and tanks —from the guerrillas in the troubled Balkan country. Macedonian and ethnicAlbanian leaders signed a peace deal on Aug. 13, suspending six months of warfare that left dozens dead and up to 50,000 displaced from their homes. Under the peace plan, the rebels were to hand over their weapons. In return, the Macedonian-dominated parliament is amending the country’s constitution to grant broader rights for the minority.

Electronic pawing

Former Canadian Alliance MP Deborah Grey lodged an official complaint with the House of Commons Speaker, claiming Alliance officials seized her computer files and “pawed through them.” Grey, one of eight dissidents who have left the Alliance caucus over Stockwell Day’s leader-


Pope John Paul II, looking weak and walking with more difficulty than usual, visited Armenia to celebrate the 1,700th anniversary of its proclamation as a Christian state-the first state to make such a declaration. At a mass in Etchmiadzin, the 81-yearold pontiff, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, spoke in a slurred voice before turning over the rest of the homily to an Armenian priest. The Pope also visited a memorial to the 1.5 million killed in a 1915 to 1923 campaign by the Turkish army that forced ethnic Armenians out of eastern Turkey. “We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people,” he said. “And dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity.”

ship, said she is concerned confidential data, including immigration and tax information given to her by constituents, will be compromised. But an Alliance spokesman said the party had the right to seize Greys files to ensure she had no confidential information belonging to it.

Riots in Belfast

Protestant militants rioted in Belfast, injuring about 45 officers during two days of violence described by authorities as the worst in years. Police believe the rioting was orches-

trated by the oudawed Ulster Defence Association, which opposes Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. The Protestants in turn said heavyhanded police tactics provoked the clashes.

Fiction, not reality

Charges against the teenage author of “Twisted,” a story of a tormented student who blew up his school, have been dropped. After the youth read the tale in a drama class at Tagwi Secondary School in the eastern Ontario community of Avonmore last November—a year and a half after the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.— police charged him with uttering threats. He spent the next 34 days in jail, triggering a national debate over freedom of speech. Last week, the court accepted a deal that referred to “Twisted” as a work of fiction and not a manifesto for violence, and commits its author, now being home-schooled, to stay away from the high school and undergo counselling.

Stay active for heath

Groundbreaking Canadian research has discovered that routine daily physical activity throughout a woman’s life can reduce her risk of breast cancer by a third or more. According to the findings of researchers at the Alberta Cancer Board and the University of Alberta, published in the American Journal of Epidemi-

ology and the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the key is moderate, regular activity. The researchers concluded that being more active—at least six hours a day of housework, walking at work, taking recreational exercise or other exertion—reduced the risk of breast cancer by 41 per cent for post-menopausal women.


housands of health officials launched a nationwide search for animals with mad-cow disease following the discovery of Japan’s first suspected case. About 5,800 officials were conducting inspections at 140,000 dairy farms after a five-year-old Holstein

milk cow on a farm in Chiba state, just east of Tokyo, tested positive for the disease. Mad-cow disease, the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is thought to cause the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans who eat infected beef.

Sour notes at two symphony orchestras

It’s fall tune-up for Canada’s symphony orchestras, but two of the more significant players appear to be drowning in a sea of red ink. Calgary’s Philharmonic Orchestra is embroiled in a testy labour dispute with its 65 full-time musicians, who earn a base salary of $40,000 a season each, but are being asked to swallow a 16-per-cent salary cut to stave off bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is also facing what some describe as the worst financial crisis in its 79-year history, a result of falling ticket sales and bitter internal problems.

The TSO is already looking for a replacement for popular conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who left earlier this year after seven years to return to Europe. Last week saw the surprise resignation of executive

director Edward Smith, who said that poisonous internal politics and crisis after crisis-including a musicians’ strike two years ago-has crippled the TSO’s ability to manage its financial affairs. Unlike Calgary, however, where the orchestra’s board of directors is threatening a lockout if musicians don’t follow the tune, Toronto is planning to move forward with its regular season-at least for the time being. To stay afloat, though, the TSO board has said it needs an increase of more than $1 million on its line of credit and $1.5 million in new operating funds by Nov. 30. The TSO does have its own foundation, with endowment funds that exceed $22 million, but it can only use interest income from the trusts to offset its costs.

Marking a year of bloodshed

The world was looking elsewhere last week as the Palestinian uprising against Israel passed its one-year anniversary with stonethrowing demonstrations and hardening attitudes on both sides. At least seven Palestinians died and dozens more were injured in two days of clashes with the Israeli military. By then, according to official accounts, 833 people had died over the past year, 656 of them Palestinians who have faced a much more heavily armed opponent. And while the fallout from the dramatic terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington last month overshadowed the conflict and produced a temporary lull-on Sept. 26, the two sides agreed to a tentative truce-the prospect of real peace in the Middle East still seemed decidedly remote.

On Friday, the actual anniversary of the uprising, thousands of Palestinians marked the occasion with marches, rock-throwing and three minutes of silence. Three Palestinians, including a 10-yearold boy, were killed by Israeli troops during confrontations on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A further 45 were wounded, as were six Israelis. Moderate Arab leaders, among them Jordan’s King Abdullah II, urged calm and pleaded with Washington to take a more active role in resolving the regional violence. Which it did, up to a point: the U.S. state department criticized Israel for what it called a “provocative” military strike on Sept. 27 in the Rafah refugee camp.

In a sign of hardening attitudes, pro-Palestinian rallies took place in several Arab nations to mark the anniversary and to urge that the uprising, or intefadeh, continue. And it’s not clear at this stage whom the key proponents of peace might be. Earlier in the week, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met with Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat to outline a truce. But Peres doesn’t have the full backing of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is distrusted in the Arab world and whose heavily guarded visit on Sept. 28,2000, to a shared Jerusalem holy site sparked the current intefadeh. In recent months, support for Arafat and his Fatah movement has plummeted, while that for his Hamas and Islamic Jihad opponents-who reject Israel’s very existence-is on the upswing.