The Week That Was

The Week That Was

December 24 2001
The Week That Was

The Week That Was

December 24 2001

The Week That Was

New proof in killings

Rumours about the massacre have haunted Mexican politics for decades. On Oct. 2,1968, just days before Mexico City was to host the Olympic Games, student protesters and soldiers clashed in a bloody melee in the city’s working-class Tlatelolco neighbourhood. According to official versions, 40 people were killed and hundreds injured. But human rights advocates have long argued that 300 people were massacred-and last week they claimed a series of black-and-white photographs

anonymously handed over to the Mexican magazine Proceso helps prove a government coverup. Among the 21 frames, taken by an official government photographer, are photos of bloodstained students guarded by soldiers-and white-gloved paramilitaries, which past governments had claimed were not involved.The pictures appeared just after Mexican President Vicente Fox said he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate abuses at the hands of the police and army.

Timely bonuses

Even though 1,600 CBC union workers are expected to be on the picket lines during the holiday season, they will still receive their Christmas bonuses. The members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, who handle the cameras, lights and audio for CBC radio and TV programs nationwide, will get $500 eacha total payout of $800,000. The workers went on strike on Dec. 7

Anti-Muslim bombs and `a nice Jewish boy' from Montreal

Growing up in Montreal’s Jewish community in the 1950s, Irving Rubin heard the nightmarish stories of the Nazi death camps. Those tales struck home, and stayed with him when he moved with his family to California at the age of 15. Then, in 1971, Rubin heard a speech by Jewish Defence League founder Rabbi Meir Kahane, who said “if you see a Nazi smash him.” He quickly joined the organization, becoming chairman in 1985. When Kahane was assassinated in New York City in 1990, Rubin kept the militant group alive, taking on neo-Nazis and Arab activists and, in the process, being arrested 40 times. And last week,

Rubin, 56, was picked up by the FBI at his Los Angeles home and charged with conspiring to set off three bombs, including one at the King Fahd Mosque in the suburb of Culver City, Calif.

Earl Krugel, 59, was arrested along with Rubin after explosive powder for a bomb the pair were allegedly making was delivered to his home by a fellow JDL member who was working undercover for the police. Authorities

said the two men also planned to bomb the city’s Muslim Public Affairs Council and the San Clemente office of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, who is of Lebanese descent. Police said they secretly taped Rubin saying the JDL needed to do something about their “filthy” mosques, and also found a large cache of weapons in his home.

If convicted, the pair would receive mandatory 30-year sentences, but Rubin’s attorney claimed his client was innocent and the charges were “an overreaction to the Sept. 11 events.”

The arrests did not surprise Jewish leaders in Montreal, where Rubin is remembered-and denounced-for his failed attempts in the 1980s to create a chapter of the JDL as “an insurance policy” against attacks by French separatists. “The Jewish community of Montreal completely rejects hate groups,” said David Birnbaum, head of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Quebec. But for Rubin, who once described himself as “a nice Jewish boy,” battling hate with hate was the only way to confront enemies.

to protest the CBC’s plan to cut $6 million in costs by reducing the amount of money It pays in overtime and shift premiums.

A belated apology

The federal government apologized for the executions of 23 Canadian soldiers during the First World War -all volunteers who were shot after being convicted of desertion or cowardice. Their names will be added to the Book of Remem-

brance which contains the list of the nation’s war dead and is located in the Peace Tower. The Canadians were among 306 Commonwealth soldiers shot for desertion between 1914 and 1918.The apology does not erase their convictions, but Veterans Affairs Minister Ron Duhamel told the House the apology was made because “they too lie in foreign fields.”

Suicide raid

In an unprecedented attack on the heart of the world’s largest democracy, five assailants armed with guns, grenades and bombs stormed the national parliament complex in New Delhi, killing seven people before they were killed themselves. While no group claimed responsibility for the attack, Foreign Minister Jaswant

Singh said the government has evidence the attack was carried out by the Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. The militant group has been leading a 12-year revolt against New Delhi’s rule in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state.

Squeeze play

For a while, it looked as though the Montreal Expos might be able to say “wait till next year." But after a deal between major-league baseball owners and the players’ union to delay contraction for a year fell through, owners are moving ahead to cut two franchises from the 30team league. The Expos and the Minnesota Twins are considered the most likely candidates because of poor revenue and stadium woes, but a Minnesota court issued an

The Week That Was

Washington bids farewell to the ABM treaty

For nearly 30 years, the AntiBallistic Missile Treaty stood as the cornerstone of nuclear arms control. Based on the theory of mutually assured destruction, or MAD-that one nuclear state is unlikely to attack another because it would face a devastating counterstrike-the 1972 treaty restricted nuclear missile defences. But in a historic break with Russia, George W. Bush, who called the ABM treaty one of the last vestiges of the Cold War, served Moscow with formal notice

that Washington was withdrawing from the pact. The move frees the U.S. to conduct tests outlawed by the treaty, including ones for the controversial missile defence shield. “The events of Sept. 11 made all too clear the greatest threats to both our countries come not from each other or other big powers,” Bush said, “but from terrorist attacks which strike without warning or rogue states who seek weapons of mass destruction.” Critics say the U.S. action undermines global strategic

balances, because deployment of an effective defence by one country effectively disarms other nuclear states, forcing them to take expensive countermeasures. China, for one, warned that a new arms race could ensue, as have some U.S. allies, including Britain, and Japan. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the treaty must be replaced, then added “by what I don’t know.” Russian President Vladimir Putin called the U.S. decision “a mistake.” But according to U.S. administration officials,Putin assured Bush during talks in October that U.S.-Russian relations would not suffer even if Bush pulled out of the treaty.

injunction on Nov. 16 that would force the Twins to play in their home stadium next season.The injunction is under appeal, and the players’ union has filed a grievance to block contraction outright.

Staying on the Rock

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland ruled that Dr. Shirley Turner, accused of killing her former lover in Pennsylvania, must remain in Newfoundland until the terms of her extradition to the United States are finalized. Turner, 40, originally from Daniel’s Harbour, Nfld., is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of her lover, 28-year-old Andrew Bagby, in Westmoreland County, Pa.

Bail was set at $75,000 and Turner was forced to turn over her pass-

port. The couple met in the late 1990s when they were studying medicine at Memorial University in St. John’s.

Scales of justice

A tribunal of the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled that obesity is not a disability per se, but also concluded there may be some exceptions. Individuals who claim they’re disabled because of their girth will be allowed to argue before a panel that they’ve been denied normal access to transportation. The agency’s ruling was prompted by a complaint from Calgary lawyer Linda McKay-Panos, who says she was humiliated and required to pay extra to fly Air Canada because of her weight. The airline charges customers 50 per

cent of a regular fare if they need a second seat. The airline argued that providing such seats free to those considered obese could cost the already fragile industry $25 million a year.

The comeback kid?

Stockwell Day’s tumultuous reign as leader of the official Opposition ended as he stepped down as head of the Canadian Alliance and moved out of Stornoway. Just hours after Day announced his resignation, Calgary MP Diane Ablonczy said she will seek the leadership, joining Stephen Harper, former head of the arch-conservative National Citizens’ Coalition, in vying for the post. Day, who is expected to announce his plans to run in January, is widely considered the

front-runner even though he was forced into calling the leadership review when 13 of 66 Alliance MPs defected from the party in August. John Reynolds is serving as interim leader until the election is held on March 8.

Milosevic ever defiant

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic refused to enter a plea on charges of genocide and launched into a verbal diatribe on the legitimacy of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. On Milosevic’s behalf, the UN tribunal entered a plea of not guilty on 29 charges of genocide, murder and torture during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, including the expulsion of more than 250,000 people, and the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslims at Srebrenica “I should be credited with peace in Bosnia, not for war,” declared Milosevic, who called the charges a “supreme absurdity.” The former Balkan strongman faces three separate indictments for crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia dating from his 13 years as Yugoslavia’s leader. The tribunal ordered Milosevic’s trial on alleged war crimes in Kosovo to begin on Feb. 12.

New cancer drugs

Results of two new studies presented at a breast cancer conference in San Antonio,Tex., suggest a new class of drug may be more effective than tamoxifen in fighting breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Women who had earlystage breast cancer and took the drug anastrozole had a 16-percent reduction in the recurrence of the disease compared with women who took tamoxifen. Results of the second study showed a drug called letrozole may improve survival rates for women with late-stage breast cancer. While tamoxifen blocks estrogen’s entry into cancer cells, anastrozole and letrozole, which belong to a class of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, stop the production of estrogen.

The Week That Was

£ co//takes a toll in New Brunswick

ust hours after family and friends buried Jeffrey Bates, a 23-month-old Saint John toddler who died from an E. co// infection, public-health officials in New Brunswick confirmed six other cases of the deadly bacteria in the province. One of those involved a 22-month-old Moncton girl who was taken to hospital in Halifax, where she was receiving kidney dialysis. She had been in a private babysitting facility, which public-health officers closed. Five other children, including the daycare owner’s three, will be tested for E. coli. The other confirmed cases involve toddlers who attended a YW-YMCA day care in Saint John, and the mother of one of the sick children. Health officials said they didn’t know whether there was any link between the Moncton and Saint John cases. They added that they didn’t think the Saint John day care was the source of the £. coli infection, but that the bacteria may have been taken into the facility by one of the sick children.

Drunk with advice

Saying he “wasn’t drunk,” but in “good spirits,” Alberta Premier Ralph Klein apologized to a homeless men’s shelter after arguing with residents during a midnight visit. Klein said he was headed home on Dec. 12 after a night out with friends and

ordered the driver of his governmentissue Buick Ultra to stop at the Herb Jamieson Centre in Edmonton’s inner city. Klein said he entered and began discussing the problem of homelessness with a group of men. But Mark Shea, 26, who had just finished the late shift at a gas station and wanted a warm bed for the night, tells a different story. “I thought, ‘What's Ralph Klein doing here?’ ” said Shea. “Lo and behold, there he was in the middle of six or seven guys, yelling at them at the top of his lungs.” Klein’s speech, according to Shea, was slurred and he was shouting at the men to get jobs. A worker at the

centre also said the shelter maintains a daily incident report and an entry says Klein was swearing and yelling at the men.

Last picture shows

Three landmark Toronto movie theatres, the Eglinton, Uptown and Backstage, will close their doors for good by September, 2003. Rather than comply with an Ontario Human Rights Commission order to make the theatres wheelchair accessible, Famous Players Inc. decided to accelerate the closings that were only a matter of time anyway. Famous Players spent eight years fighting the case launched by disabled-rights activist Barbara Turnbull.

Under investigation

The federal ethics commissioner will study whether International Co-operation Minister Maria Minna acted in good faith when she voted outside her ward in a Toronto byelection. Minna said she voted there because her constituency office makes her a tenant in the ward. However, the Municipal Elections Act of Ontario states residents can vote only in the municipal constituency they live in. Violating the act carries a fine of up to $5,000. Opposition MPs called for her resignation.

Big changes loom in Ontario power

In what will be the largest privatization in Canadian history, Ontario will sell Hydro One-formed in 1999 when Ontario Hydro was broken into five parts in anticipation of deregulation. The sale of the Crown corporation, which owns the province’s electricity transmission system, is expected to raise about $5 billion, which will be put towards paying down $21 billion in so-called “stranded” debt-public debt left over from the old Ontario Hydro.

At the same time, Mike Harris’s Conservatives announced that the long-delayed move to deregulate the province’s $ 10-billion electricity

market will start no later than May. But critics warn the plan s .:3ÈËÊ could be a disaster for % m consumers, pointing to JL California and Alberta as examples of what J M deregulation can bring. ¡ In those jurisdictions 1 dÉHÜ

rates skyrocketed, at least tripling.

The Hydro One announcement is a grand finale for Harris, who said in October he was stepping down as premier. After leading the Tories with their Common Sense Revolution to power in 1995, he presided over one of the most turbulent periods in Ontario

political history. But last week when the fall session ended, Harris was in the legislature for the last time as premier. The Tory leadership convention is set for March 23, before the legislature is scheduled to return.

Passages

Announced: Comedian Jim Carrey will seek U.S. citizenship. Carrey, 39, grew up in Toronto but says it was the U.S. that gave him a chance at success.

“This country defined me,” said the Dumb &

Dumber star, who would like to hold dual citizenship.

Won: Speedskater Catriona Le

May Doan, 30, broke her own 500-m world record at a World Cup race in Calgary-winning her fourth gold medal in the event this season. Saskatoon-born Le May Doan is the odds-on favourite for the Olympic gold in February.

Overturned: Dr.Allon Reddoch,

the former head of the Canadian Medical Association, has been cleared of unprofessional conduct. In 1996, the Yukon Medical Council found that the Whitehorse physician failed to meet certain standards of care in the case of a 16-year-old who died of undiagnosed botulism. Last week, the Yukon Court of Appeal overturned the previous decision. Reddoch retired in October.

Appointed: Peter Viner, a senior executive with CanWest Global Communications, has been made publisher of the National Post. Viner replaces veteran newspaperman Gordon Fisher who, in turn, becomes president of news and information for CanWest. The Post has recently suffered layoffs and the sale of Saturday Night magazine. Last week, Multi-Vision Publishing Inc., who bought Saturday Night, named Matthew Church, 42, of enRoute and Business Life, the magazine’s new editor-in-chief.

Dismissed: Michael Cowpland,

58, founder and former chief executive of Corel Corp., will not face one of the four Ontario Securities Commission charges laid against him in 1999. An Ontario court ordered the charge of tipping-passing on insider information-dropped.

The Week That Was

Intensifying the pressure on Arafat

Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat stood before the UN General Assembly in 1974 and said, “I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.” After more Palestinian attacks that killed another 10 people last week, the Israeli cabinet, clearly believing that Arafat was incapable of putting aside the gun, cut off all ties to the Palestinian leader. Arafat is “directly responsible” for the attacks, said a bluntly worded cabinet statement. “And therefore is no longer relevant to Israel, and Israel will no longer have any connection with him.”

The Israeli decision, according to an Arafat spokesman, amounted to

a “declaration of war.” And it seemed as if one was indeed under way when Israel, continuing the hard line it had adopted on Dec. 3, launched air strikes on Arafat’s West Bank headquarters and encircled it with tanks, making him a virtual prisoner. Seven Palestinian policemen were also killed by Israeli troops in the offensive against Arafat, who has been under intense U.S. pressure to stop the terrorist attacks. The Israeli assault came after gunmen from a militia closely linked to his Fatah organization killed 10 Israelis and injured 30 in a bus ambush. The crowded vehicle was destroyed by two bombs and its fleeing passengers raked by machine-

gun fire on a winding road near a Jewish settlement on the West Bank, 40 km north of Jerusalem.

At virtually the same moment on the Gaza Strip, two suicide bombers threw themselves on a car and blew themselves up, injuring three people.

The dramatic Israeli response, however, could wreck U.S. efforts to negotiate a truce between the two sides. Since the arrival of U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni on Nov. 26,

44 Israelis and 54 Arabs have been killed, including 19 armed Palestinians and 10 suicide bombers. In response to the continuing violence, Arafat promised to close all offices belonging to the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But when Israel continued its attacks, the Palestinians backed away from that pledge. “It’s impossible for the Palestinian leadership to implement its commitment under the shadow of this comprehensive war,” said Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. And the death toll will continue to rise.