We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Park Geun-hye apologizes for a ferry disaster. The South Korean President knew she had to apologize, but wasn’t sure what to say. “I don’t know how to apologize for the failure to prevent this accident, and for the insufficient first response,” she said. “I am sorry to the people and heavy-hearted that many precious lives were lost.” Earlier this week, Prime Minister Chung Hong Won resigned as Park’s party has plummeted in the polls.
2. Jason Kenney can’t shake TFW controversy. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair opened yesterday’s Question Period by needling away at the employment minister’s handling of cross-country claims of illegally hired temporary foreign workers. Kenney defended the program’s broader goals and claimed the government will punish any wrongdoing. Today, Mulcair’s party will introduce a motion in the House of Commons that asks Auditor General Michael Ferguson to investigate. The motion is unlikely to pass, but it’s a dead giveaway of Mulcair’s lead question this afternoon.
3. Russia invokes the Iron Curtain. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his western allies don’t shy away from Cold War rhetoric when they reference the fragile peace in eastern Ukraine. Now, Russia’s playing along. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, dismissed U.S.-led sanctions as akin to the Iron Curtain imposed on the Soviet Union in 1949. These oddly nostalgic references to old-school tension are something of a race to the bottom. The countdown is on until somebody references a metaphorical Berlin Wall.
4. Iraqi militants hope to discourage Iraqi voters. Just weeks after the Taliban hoped consistent attacks on prospective Afghan voters would discourage them from voting in a presidential election (note: few were actually discouraged), an al-Qaeda splinter group is hoping for better luck. Yesterday, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants blew up a political rally and attacked polling stations where police and soldiers voted. Fifty people died. Today, eleven people died when a bomb exploded at an outdoor market in al-Saadiyah, 140 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.
5. Jim Prentice wants to be Alberta’s premier. He’s the darling of Canada’s Red Tories, a telegenic and compassionate conservative in a country headed by a guy who likes to divide and conquer. Prentice, a former federal cabinet minister and current bank executive on Bay Street, is putting together a team to deliver him the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives. The party is wallowing in the polls, of late. But the National Post‘s John Ivison rightly concludes that, hey, the premiership means power for a man whose ambition was often checked on Parliament Hill.