We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Donetsk separatists claim victory. Eighty-nine per cent of voters in the eastern Ukrainian region voted for greater autonomy, if you believe the pro-Russian organizers of a weekend referendum. BBC reporters on the ground “witnessed few checks on identity and multiple voting in places.” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird dismissed the vote as a “farce” that hoped to “incite violence and further divide the country.” Luhansk held a similar referendum with what’s expected to be a similar outcome. What this means for the regions’ governance remains unclear.
2. Boko Haram shoots a new video. Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian terrorist group, appears on tape with a group of abaya-clad girls he claims are among the larger group of girls abducted last months. Two girls who appear on screen say they’ve converted to Islam and have not been harmed by their captors. The date and location of the video are unclear, and the identities of the girls in the video are unconfirmed. A Nigerian state governor might have information about their whereabouts. Shekau says they’ll only release the abducted girls when authorities release imprisoned members of Boko Haram.
3. Dean Del Mastro takes on Elections Canada. The independent MP from Peterborough, Ont., is in the middle of a legal battle with the elections watchdog that alleged he broke the law during the 2008 federal election. Now, Del Mastro is accusing somebody at Elections Canada of leaking damaging court documents to the press, a “malicious and planned attack” that he says is “standard operating procedure.” The former Conservative MP’s proxy war with Elections Canada is officially unsupported by his former caucus, but the Tories have their own disputes with the people who run Canada’s elections.
4. India still votes. The month-long election in the world’s most populous democracy continues. Today, more than 66 million voters—nearly twice Canada’s population—are eligible to vote in three states on the final day of the staggered campaign. The opposition BJP could win the most seats in the 543-seat assembly, as Indians turn away from the long-ruling Congress party. A coalition government is likely. Votes are tallied, and results should be released, on May 16. More than 814 million people had the right to vote.
5. Lisa Raitt will refurbish maritime railways. The transport minister will apparently announce repairs to a stretch of New Brunswick track used by Via Rail. Nearby mayors celebrated the prospective announcement, and hoped it would mean Via could ramp up its passenger service in the region. East coast MPs have spent months urging Raitt to reverse service cuts in the region, and she always defers to Via’s judgment. The federal investment could amount to $10 million, said Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet. Meanwhile, Via now has a new CEO: Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.