‘MASS MURDER’: Some of the Australian communities wiped out by the country’s worst wildfire disaster in history were declared crime scenes
after officials suspected arson in some of the 400 blazes tearing
across Victoria state. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, disgusted at learning
that arson may be to blame, nearly broke down during a live TV
interview and likened the arson to “mass murder.”
POLYGAMY PROSECUTION CHALLENGED: The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association called on the Crown to immediately drop polygamy charges against Winston Blackmore and James Oler, leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bountiful, B.C.
The group claimed the prosecution represented a violation of religious
freedom and the right for adults to “make relationship choices that
alarm or puzzle other Canadians.”
PLEADING KHADR’S CASE: Lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr planned to release a repatriation plan for the prisoner, hoping to borrow some of the spotlight that will shine on President Barack Obama’s pending visit to Ottawa.
MAKING THE CASE: After a very tough week, President Obama presented his case that immediate action was required to dodge economic calamity straight to the American people.
After spending considerable time wooing Congressional Republicans, a
stern and forceful Obama derided their accusations that he rode into
office on a mission to spend mammoth amounts of money.
The president also waded deeply into foreign policy territory, repeating a campaign pledge to rethink the country’s relationship with Iran. While avoiding specifics, Obama singled out the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as possible areas of co-operation.
ON A PRECIPICE: Such co-operation with Iran may be useful, as the situation in southern Afghanistan continued to look increasingly perilous.
Residents of Kandahar were on edge as the sense that Talibs were
ever-present and ever-watchful hung over the city like a cloud, and a
new poll found that a series of lethal airstrikes and a perceived lack
of progress had taken a serious toll on Afghan support for the NATO-led mission.
WOOING MAXIME: Controversial Conservative MP Maxime Bernier — who shot to national noteriety during the Julie Couillard affair — said he, although he was flattered by overtures to replace Mario Dumont
as the leader of Quebec’s right-wing Action democratique du Quebec, he
had no intention of leaving Ottawa anytime soon. Dumont announced that
he would resign his post after his party’s dismal showing in the recent