Wearing blue coveralls and a miner’s helmet, Health Minister Allan Rock travelled deep underground into an old copper mine in Hin Hon, Man., to tour Canada’s only legal potgrowing operation. Hundreds of plants—nicknamed the “Rock Garden”—are growing in a large chamber beneath powerful bulbs. Under a new policy, patients with serious diseases will be able to use the marijuana as a painkiller. Said Rock, as he officially opened the facility: “We have good growth. I’m impressed.”
Still locked up
One of the most notorious pedophiles in Canadian history was transferred to a secure Saskatchewan psychiatric facility in Saskatoon after being released from jail. Karl Toft, who was convicted of sexually abusing 18 boys while he was a guard at New Brunswick’s Kingsclear Youth Training School near Fredericton, was sentenced to 13 years in 1992. He was expected to be set free when released from the Bowden Institution in Alberta after serving two-thirds of a 13-year sentence, but after a last-minute review Corrections Canada decided to detain Toft indefinitely in the psychiatric facility.
Sex-club owner guilty
Steve Kaplan, owner of Atlanta’s infamous Gold Club, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, in a high-profile, 14week trial. Kaplan, who cheated customers and paid dancers to have sex with
celebrities and pro athletes, was fined $5 million and faces up to three years in prison. Kaplan and six others, who have still to be sentenced, were also charged with obstruction, credit-card fraud, loansharking and prostitution.
Turbulence in the air
Air Canada reported a second-quarter financial loss of $108 million, or 90 cents a share, on revenues of $2.2 bil-
lion. That’s almost double the 49-cent-a-share loss predicted by analysts. At the same time, the Montreal-based carrier announced that it plans to cut another 4,000 jobs, or 10 per cent of its workforce. That follows on the heels of cut of 3,500 announced at the end of last year. Airline CEO Robert Milton, who will reduce his own $1-million annual salary by 10 per cent, blamed the North
American economic slowdown and the slump in business travel revenues for the disappointing results.
Giant ad agency
The federal government plans to merge its advertising arms into one giant marketing operation with an annual budget topping $100 million. The Canada Information Office, which was set up after the 1995 Quebec referendum debacle to promote federal programs across the country, will also take charge of the government’s controversial $40-million program sponsoring cultural and sporting events. Among other things, it plans to deliver information through a central Web site.
After Ottawa dismissed their demands for a $7-billion increase in health-care funding, the country’s 13 provincial and territorial leaders threatened to radically alter the delivery of medical services across the country by creating their own national standards. Led by Ontario Premier Mike Harris, the premiers said they desperately need the extra money to repair their faltering services. But federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said the provinces should stop cutting taxes and put more of their own money into health care.
Arafat visits the Pope
Israeli rockets smashed into the headquarters of the militant Hamas movement in Nablus, killing eight Palestinians, including two children. As international criticism of the attack spread, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat travelled to Rome where he met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Pope John Paul II. While Arafat and the
Using genetically engineered pigs, researchers from the University of Guelph have discovered a way to drastically reduce the amount of phosphorous in pig manure. Scientists at the Ontario university combined an
e.coli gene with a mouse gene to create 100 "Enviropigs” that excrete 75 per cent less phosphorous than normal pigs. Phosphorous, which causes rapid plant growth in water, is a major source of pollution, and researchers believe the new pigs will soon be raised around the world, Sadly, despite the reduction in phosphorous, the pigs’ manure smells just as bad as always.
Pope called for an end to the violence, Israeli officials said it is up to Arafat to control his forces. They also said the Israeli army would continue to target suspected Palestinian terrorists.
In a decision affecting Canadas media giants, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled that journalists with Can West Global and Bell Globemedia can work in both their company’s respective print and broadcast operations. Can West has a majority stake in the Southam newspaper chain, half of the National Post and a network ofTV stations. CTV is a subsidiary of the Bell Globemedia group, which includes The Globe and Mail. Reporters are now permitted to share information and work
for any medium within their company. But the CRTC ruled that the management of print and television groups must remain separate.
Rage and the wheel
A passenger in an SUV was hospitalized after she was shot by another driver on a busy Toronto street. The drivers of the SUV and a car had cut each other off, and when
they reached a stoplight, the driver of the car opened fire hitting 46-year-old Lucia Laporta in the leg. Police are still looking for the suspect. In other bouts of road rage in Toronto, a Texas man was beaten on the side of a highway on July 28, after a driver was clubbed with a baseball bat near a downtown intersection a day earlier.
Return of the spuds
After a nasty nine-month dispute, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. department of agriculture reached an agreement that will allow potatoes from Prince Edward Island to cross the border. The deal requires Ottawa to temporarily inspect and declare fields and shipments to be free of the potato wart fungus before the spuds are shipped to American markets.
‘KRSTIC, YOU AGREED TO EVIL’
The six old Muslim women watching television in an office on the outskirts of Sarajevo finally saw the face of their tormentor. One spat at the screen; another screamed “Drop Dead” at hated Bosnian Serb Gen. Radislav Krstic. Then they saw justice done. “Gen. Krstic, you agreed to evil,” said Judge Almiro Rodrigues as he found Krstic guilty of genocide and sentenced him to 46 years in prison for his role in the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica in 1995, during the Bosnian war. His conviction before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague marked the first time since the Second World
War, when several Nazis were executed for their role in the murder of six million European Jews, that anyone has been convicted of the crime.
The killings occurred when the Serbs overran a UN-protected enclave in eastern Bosnia. The men and boys were captured, herded together and murdered by soldiers using grenades and machine-guns. The court rejected Krstic’s defence that the killings did not amount to genocide because females were allowed to go free. Analysts say Krstic’s conviction is an ominous sign for former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who is awaiting trial in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity over his role in the Kosovo conflict.
GUNS OF BELFAST
The Protestant extremists who gunned down 18-yearold Gavin Brett outside a Belfast club on July 29 thought they were murdering a Catholic. It turned out he was a Protestant, but the killers refused to apologize. And in a statement of their own, nearly 1,000 people of both faiths gathered at
his funeral. As they did, British and Irish negotiators unveiled a new plan they hope will finally bring peace by convincing the Irish Republican Army to disarm.
Under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement, Northern Ireland was placed under a joint Catholic-Protestant administration. The IRA was to disarm, but so far has refused to do so. And less than 48 hours after the proposals were unveiled, a bomb believed to have been planted by an IRA splinter group exploded in London, signalling that militants may refuse to buy the new plan. Both sides had until Aug. 6 to respond to the initiative, in which Britain gave into key IRA demands. Among them: closing specific army bases, accelerating its plans to bring more Catholics into Northern Ireland’s largely Protestant police force, and offering amnesties for IRA terrorists in hiding.
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