We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Ukraine’s eastern flank teeters. Pro-Russian occupiers took over the police station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka. The protesters defied a Ukrainian ultimatum directed at demonstrators elsewhere, including Slovyansk, that threatened to use military force to reclaim control of occupied administrative buildings. Whether or not Ukrainian forces have already clashed with pro-Russians, and how many casualties any fighting has claimed, remains unclear. How long that fragile peace survives after the ultimatum’s expiry also remains to be seen.
2. Conservatives want changes to election reform. If the House of Commons doesn’t amend the government’s fraught electoral reform bill, a Senate committee that completed a pre-study of the Fair Elections Act says senators won’t hesitate to amend the bill themselves. The Globe and Mail says the committee’s unanimous report calls for three significant amendments, including the restoration of the chief electoral officer’s existing powers. An apparent minority report calls for the reinstatement of vouching as a means of voter registration.
3. McDonald’s takes heat for foreign workers. A McDonald’s franchise in Victoria was the first to be publicly outed for hiring temporary foreign workers, but the west coast location is far from the only McDonald’s to do so. A former manager at six restaurants in Alberta quit because of the number of foreign workers hired at the expense of Canadians. CBC received similar reports from McDonald’s locations across Canada. Employment Minister Jason Kenney, who came down hard on the Victoria franchise, probably won’t order a free smile any time soon.
4. Troops absorb losses on military relocations. Marcus Brauer lost $88,000 on the sale of his home when he abruptly moved to Halifax in 2010. Brauer is a major in the Canadian Forces, and he received only $15,000 in federal compensation for a financial loss he blames on a poor housing market. The Halifax move was the fifth for Brauer, 42, who’s spent 24 years in the military. The Globe and Mail reports that, fed up, Brauer is suing the government. He might not be the only relocated soldier to take the feds to court.
5. Nigeria bus bomb kills 35. A rush-hour explosion in Abuja caused madness at Nyanya Motor Park, where 30 vehicles exploded as a consequence of the initial blast. Thirty-five is only a preliminary death toll. No terrorist group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the militant group Boko Haram is suspected. (Update, 8:38 am—the death count is now 71.)