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The latest on Rob Ford, a Marois surprise, Fort Hood shooter IDed, Middle East breakdown and Twitter returns to Turkey

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Wiretaps released in investigation into Rob Ford’s friend Alexander Lisi. The latest court documents released in the ongoing investigation involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his associate Alexander Lisi show that Lisi made death threats to those he thought to be in possession of the crack video. According to police wiretaps, which have not been proven in court, when news of the crack video first broke Lisi told the men with the video that members of the Toronto police would bring “heat” on the entire community and that “Rob Ford is going mad.” Meanwhile, CBC reports that the Ontario Provincial Police says, at this time, there is not enough evidence to lay changes against Ford in connection with the crack video. And it was business as [un]usual at Toronto City Hall Thursday, where Ford was able to reverse his votes from yesterday when he was the only member of council to vote against congratulating returning Olympians and Paralympians, and also against naming a street in honour of Nelson Mandela. After Ford’s Wednesday vote made international headlines (and grabbed the attention of former U.S. president Bill Clinton), the mayor says he made a mistake when voting. Let the record stand corrected: Ford is now a fan of Olympians, Paralympians and Nelson Mandela.

Fort Hood shooter saw no combat in Iraq, say authorities. More information is emerging about the soldier who opened fire on the base in Fort Hood, Texas, killing three others and himself and wounding 16. The soldier has been identified as Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34. Lopez was deployed to Iraq as a truck driver for four months in 2011. He had no direct involvement in combat and no record of injury, Army Secretary John McHugh said Thursday. Lopez enrolled in 2008 and had no record of bad behaviour, said McHugh. However, the commander of Fort Hood told the Washington Post that the shooter did have behaviour issues. Both men confirmed the shooter had mental-health issues and was being treated with medication for depression and anxiety. A psychiatrist saw Lopez a month before the shooting. At that time, there was no indication that he would harm himself, or others. In in 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at the same base, killing 13 people. The Los Angeles Times reports that both Hasan and Lopez purchased their weapons at the same store.

Surprise! Pauline Marois would cut income taxes. An entirely unexpected announcement from the PQ leader caught everyone off guard in the final days before Quebecers head to the polls. Marois said Thursday she would cut income taxes after the budget was balanced in 2016. This is the very first Marois has mentioned a tax cut since the election was called on March 5. Her reason for not mentioning a huge policy plank is right out of the Rob-Ford playbook: no one had asked her about it. For more on what might be the real reason for the promise of tax cuts, Quebec Bureau chief Martin Patriquin looks at how another key PQ policy, the charter of values, turned out to be a flop.

Israel won’t release a group of Palestinian prisoners, as planned. Middle East peace talks hit a snag Thursday when Israel announced it would no longer release Palestinian prisoners, as was previously agreed upon. The move is a reaction to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Tuesday announcement that Palestine would seek to join 15 different conventions and treaties, something that Israel views as hindering its own direct talks about statehood with Palestine.

Twitter gets back on track in Turkey. #TekrarHoşgeldinTwitter was trending on Twitter Thursday. In case your Turkish isn’t that good, that translates to #WelcomeBackTwitter. The social networking service is back online after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would “wipe out Twitter” two weeks ago. On Wednesday, a court overturned the block and the country’s telecommunications authority is instructing internet service providers to restore the service. The country also blocked YouTube last week. That block remains.




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