Seven stories in the news today:
NAVY LOOKS AT FEWER HANDS ON DECK
The Navy is experimenting with operating its warships with fewer crew members. The next generation of warships that will replace the current frigates that are the backbone of the fleet will be able to operate with fewer sailors thanks to a higher level of automation. But Vice-Admiral Mark Norman says it means assuming a level of risk and potentially reduces the flexibility of what the warship can do on operations.
PM WRAPS UP WASHINGTON VISIT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a busy final day in Washington today where he has been attending a two day conference on nuclear safety. He has meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on top of the discussions at the conference on protecting nuclear materials.
THIRD-PARTY SPENDING UP DRAMATICALLY
New figures show that advocacy groups are becoming much more active in trying to influence the outcome of elections. Financial reports filed with Elections Canada by so-called third parties show 104 groups, primarily labour unions, spent just over $6 million during last fall’s marathon campaign. That’s more than twice the number of groups that were involved in the 2011 federal election and almost five times more money.
BLACKBERRY RELEASES Q4 RESULTS
BlackBerry reported a US$238 million net loss in its fourth quarter, with much of the red ink attributed to costs related to restructuring and acquisitions. The loss amounted to 45 cents US per share for the Waterloo-based technology company (TSX:BB). More here.
DEBATE OVER POLICING COSTS INTENSIFIES
The debate over policing costs is picking up steam in the wake of comments last January by Toronto’s outgoing deputy police chief. Peter Sloly said his police service could cut hundreds of front-line jobs saying currently resources are used in a “most unfocused way.” The comments sparked outrage from the brass and police union but have put a spotlight on the cost of policing.
ONTARIO CONCERNED WITH PLAN TO DRAW GREAT LAKES WATER
The Ontario government is taking issue with a Wisconsin’s city’s plan to draw water from the Great Lakes. Waukesha’s own aquifer is running low and the water is contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring cancer-causing radium. Diversions of water from the Great Lakes basin are currently banned, but there are some exceptions. But the Ontario government says the proposed diversion has not been sufficiently assessed.
RANKIN AND RAPPER PUT TOGETHER ALBUM
A member of Cape Breton’s Rankin Family has teamed up with rapper Quake Matthews to do a single. It’s an unlikely pairing for Heather Rank. She’s a traditional singer from small time Nova Scotia, he’s a sneaker-clad emcee who dons backwards hats and spits rhymes about his gritty Halifax suburb. They got together to do a cover of the of the 1985 Tears for Fears anti-war hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.