We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Stephen Harper says abortion is divisive. The Prime Minister has taken heat for not funding safe abortions as part of his global child and maternal health initiative. Harper told CBC that he’s “trying to rally a broad public consensus,” and abortion is simply too controversial, both domestically and internationally. Harper and philanthropist Melinda Gates both pointed to contraceptives as an important tool that can prevent the need for abortions. NDP MP Hélène Laverdière insists that unsafe abortions kill 47,00 women around the world every year, and Canada should fund safe procedures.
2. Indian rapes infuriate villagers. Two teenage girls were raped and hanged earlier this month in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and villagers close to the victims claim police failed to act because the victims and their families are from a lower caste (or class). Police say they’ve arrested three men, including a police officer, in connection with the girls’ killings. The mother of one of the victims filed a complaint with police and was subsequently beaten up for making the complaint—an attack that left her in critical condition. Police have arrested three of the mother’s five alleged attackers.
3. Ukrainian rebels are divided. Al Jazeera reports that an armed group known as the Vostok Battalion has taken control of an administrative building in the eastern city of Donetsk, and is fortifying its perimeter in advance of an expected attack by Ukrainian troops. The battalion reportedly kicked out separatist administrators who acted improperly during a recent skirmish with Kyiv’s force. “While we were fighting at the airport, these guys were looting the Metro supermarket nearby,” said one soldier, named Sergey. “This is not what the Donetsk People’s Republic is about. This is a bad joke.”
4. Total steps back from a megaproject. The French energy giant will put its $11-billion Joslyn mine in Alberta’s oilsands on hold because the project is no longer economically viable. Rising labour costs make Joslyn’s development more expensive, and limited export options out of the mine—namely, few new pipelines—drives down the price of oil extracted from the ground. The math spells the end, for now, of the Joslyn project. Total holds the largest stake in the mine (38.25 per cent), but Suncor owns another 36.75 per cent. Sneh Seetal, a Suncor spokesperson, said the consortium could eventually revive the project.
5. Steve Ballmer could spend $2 billion on the Clippers. The former Microsoft CEO wants to buy the Los Angeles basketball team, and is willing to pay more than anyone would have guessed—even Oprah Winfrey, who led another bid to buy the team. The Clippers, owned by the Sterling Family trust, were unofficially put on the market after racism-laced private conversations involving 80-year-old Donald Sterling went public and he was banned from the NBA for the rest of his life. Sterling’s lawyers insist any sale of the team requires his approval, but his wife, Shelly Sterling, says she has the power to go it alone.