Overture THE WEEK THAT WAS

June 4 2001

Overture THE WEEK THAT WAS

June 4 2001

Overture THE WEEK THAT WAS

‘CEASE AND DESIST’

Things just aren’t going Stockwell Day’s way. Canadian Alliance members have flooded the party’s offices with complaints—more than 1,300 of them—about an outside group soliciting support for Day. The Alliance caucus asked the beleaguered leader to personally contact the group, called Grassroots for Day, and ask them to “cease and desist” using the party’s membership lists to contact people. The Alliance’s governing body also met in Calgary to discuss ongoing concerns over Day’s leadership. Day did receive some relief when former Reform party leader Preston Manning said he will become a senior fellow at the conservative Fraser Institute in Vancouver when he leaves politics at the end of the year, ending speculation that he might challenge his leadership.

Test breakthrough?

Researchers at Hamilton’s McMaster University say they have developed a simple and inexpensive means of detecting lung cancer, the most common form of fatal cancer in men. The diagnostic test, known as LungAlert, requires only a sample of saliva and could be widely available in

three years for as little as $20 per test. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 18,000 people will die from lung cancer this year.

Oilfields up for grabs

Nova Scotia has lost the first round in an offshore bound-

ary dispute with Newfoundland. The stakes are huge: potentially vast reserves of oil and gas. The dispute centres on Nova Scotia’s claim that a boundary for the disputed territory was drawn in 1964, but Newfoundland says it never signed the deal and therefore

does not recognize the line. The squabbling has prevented either province from issuing exploration permits for the area.

Taliban’s ID decree

Afghanistan’s Taliban regime has once again drawn international condemnation after ordering Hindus and other religious minorities in the central Asian country to wear yellow pieces of cloth on their shirts identifying them as non-Muslims. The Taliban, which controls 95 per cent of the strifetorn country of 21 million, defended its ruling by insisting it is meant to protect the country’s 1,700 Hindus and Sikhs from religious police who patrol the streets enforcing Is-

A SHIFTING BALANCE

This week should have been a time of celebration for U.S. President George W. Bush as his $2-trillion tax cut passed the Senate. But then James Jeffords, a Republican senator from Vermont, announced he was leaving the party to sit as an independent. The 67-year-old moderate’s defection will give the Democrats control of the Senate for the first time since 1994,

when Bill Clinton was president. The change could possibly slow or derail some of Bush’s major initiatives, such as expanding Arctic oil and gas exploration. In a speech, Jeffords delivered a stinging indictment of Bush, claiming he had drifted too far to the right. "I disagree with the President on very fundamental issues,” said Jeffords. "The direction of the judiciary, tax and spending decisions, missile defence, energy and the environment.”

SIBERIAN CATASTROPHE: After more than a week of flooding in Siberia’s Yakutia region, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed that the state sell gold and high-quality diamonds from the mineral-rich northern area to help rebuild destroyed homes. Damage from the surging waters of the powerful Lena River was enormous, with some estimates ranging as high as $6 billion and more than 42,000 people affected.

BITTER BREAKUP

The divorce was not amicable. After a 95-year relationship, Ford Motor Co. announced it would no longer equip its vehicles with tires made by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. At the heart of the sour breakup was the controversy surrounding the Ford Explorer sports utility vehicle, which experts claim tends to roll over more often than other vehicles in the same class. But Ford blames the problem on defects in Firestone’s Wilderness AT tires, and last week issued a recall for 13 million tires in North America (6.5 million tires were recalled last August). “We lack confidence in the performance of any of those tires,” Ford chief executive Jacques Nasser declared.

Ford estimates that 94,000 vehicles in Canada will be affected by the replacement program. But Bridgestone/ Firestone said the company is being used as a scapegoat and that problems with the Explorer were due to vehicle design flaws. “We have compelling data,” said the tire maker, “that shows the Explorer is twice as likely to roll over in a tire-related accident as other vehicles.” A bitter separation indeed.

lamic law. Critics likened it to the Nazis forcing Jews to wear yellow Stars of David.

A day in court

About 75 people crowded into a Lethbridge, Alta., courtroom to glimpse Harold Anthony Gallup, the man accused of murdering fiveyear-old Jessica Koopmans. Gallup, 31, who was arrested on May 12, is the boyfriend of Roseanna Soenen, a friend of Jessica’s mother, Sylvia. Jessica vanished on May 4 after she went to play at a friend’s house. Her naked and bruised body was found a week later in a farmer’s field near Fort Macleod, Alta., about 50 km west of her home.

Spy games

China finally agreed to release to U.S. military officials the EP-3E Aries II spy plane that landed at an airbase on China’s Hainan Island after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet on April 1. But there’s a catch: Chinese officials, eager not to lose face, insisted that the $ 125-million aircraft be dismantled and sent home in pieces. China held the 24 American crew members hostage for 11 days until President George W. Bush apologized to the family of the Chinese pilot who died in the collision.

Toxic tar ponds

Residents living near a huge Sydney, N.S., tar pond had their worst fears confirmed last week. New environmental tests of the region found arsenic levels so high they pose a serious risk to children. Parents have been told not to let their children play outside in the dirt, and to wipe their shoes before going indoors. For years, residents have urged the federal government to help them relocate away

from the tar ponds, where 700,000 tonnes of toxic sludge have been stored for the past 100 years.

The high cost of flying

Air Canada is passing along rising fuel costs to its passengers. Starting on May 31, the company will impose a temporary surcharge on domestic ticket purchases, beginning at $15 per one-way ticket. Air Canada says the surcharge will fluctuate as fuel prices change. The company recendy reported a loss of $ 168 million for the first quarter of this year.

A royal rift

Prince Philip’s 80th birthday party on June 10 promises to be an icy affair. According to the picture of the Duke of Edinburgh presented in a se-

ries of Daily Telegraph articles by Graham Turner, Philip believes his eldest son, Prince Charles, is “precious, extravagant and lacking in the dedication and discipline to be a good king.” It is not the first report of a simmering feud between father and son. In a biography of Charles published seven years ago, the Prince of Wales described his father as a bully. Last week, Charles was said to be hurt by the reports—so hurt, in fact, that he put aside a birthday tribute he was writing for his father.

Not so upper crust

The cricket world, supposedly the domain of gentlemen, was rocked last week by allegations of kidnapping and murder stemming from match-fixing rackets that have been operating illegally since the 1970s. A report released by the International Cricket Council stated that the outcome of many of the sport’s biggest competitions may well have been predetermined by a murky underworld of corruption. Among the events cited in the report that could have been negatively affected were the Sahara Cup matches played between India and Pakistan in Toronto in 1998.