Here are five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon:
Alison Redford resigns ahead of auditor general’s report. The former Alberta premier is calling it quits as an MLA. Redford announced she was giving up her Calgary seat in an editorial that ran in the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal Wednesday. “In hindsight, there were many things I would have done differently,” she wrote. Redford’s troubles are likely not be over, however. The Alberta auditor general is set to release a report into the former premier’s travel expenses and the contents—parts of which have already been leaked—don’t sound promising. Today, current Premier Dave Hancock said he would be asking RCMP to look into the former premier’s travel expenses.
Russia masses troops near Ukrainian border as Canadian adds new sanctions. Ukraine is warning of a build up of Russian troops along its border, a sign that Russia may step in to protect Russian rebels who are being pushed out by the Ukrainian military in the eastern part of the country. Canada upped its sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing conflict Wednesday, adding 19 people and 22 groups to its travel-ban and sanction list. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin added his own sanctions against Western nations, saying he would halt agricultural imports from countries that were placing sanctions against Russia.
European Space Agency spacecraft makes history by rendezvous with a comet. An ESA spacecraft, dubbed Rosetta, pull up alongside a comet between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars Wednesday, marking a first in space exploration. Rosetta has been chasing after the comet, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as its known, since 2004 and is now only 100km away from it. The goal is to study the comet, with an eventual landing planned for November. If successful, it will be the first time a spacecraft has landed on a comet.
First Nations fail to comply with new financial disclosure law. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian First Nations have missed the deadline for posting audited financial statements—including details of chief and councillor pay—as mandated under the 2013 First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which passed last year. Only about 37 per cent of the reports are in so far, a source told the Globe and Mail Wednesday. The low compliance rate so far sets the stage for a coming battle between the federal government and many First Nations. If the First Nations miss the filing date by 120 days, the law says the government can take action, which includes withholding funds.
Closing arguments in Oscar Pistorius trial begin tomorrow. Both the prosecution and the defence will present their final arguments to Justice Thokozile Masipa tomorrow and Friday, telling their versions of what happened the night former South African Olympian Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria home. Masipa will also have the opportunity to ask questions, perhaps giving the first indication so far during this five-month trial of which direction she is leaning. The defence says Pistorius shot Steenkamp by accident when he thought she was an intruder in the washroom of his home. However, the prosecution is seeking charges of premeditated murder and up to 25 years in prison. The final judgment could come a week, or even a month, after the final arguments.