We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Ukraine endures a fragile peace. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to send six CF-18 fighter jets to Poland was only a few hours old, and Russian President Vladimir Putin had just referred to eastern Ukraine as Novorossiya (“New Russia”), when high-level diplomatic talks in Geneva produced an apparent deal that, with promises of amnesty, forced pro-Russian occupiers of dozens of Ukrainian administrative buildings to give up their positions and disarm. The militants aren’t playing along. They’re still demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s interim government in Kyiv.
2. South Korea’s death toll rises. Twenty-eight passengers of a sunken ferry off the Korean coast were confirmed dead, with 268 still missing somewhere beneath the ocean’s surface. Prosecutors want an arrest warrant for the ship’s captain, who’d previously apologized to the families of those who lost loved ones, among other crew members. The cause of the Sewol’s demise remains unclear, but investigators are probing a sharp turn that caused the ship to list not long before it capsized and, not long after, sank.
3. The F-35 might be Canada’s next fighter jet. The Lightning II turned into a big, stubborn headache for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. The auditor general slammed the procurement process, and KPMG produced an eye-popping cost estimate for the purchase of the next-generation jets. The fracas cast doubt on the F-35, the government’s favoured replacement for the air force’s fleet of CF-18 fighter jets. But now, cabinet will consider a final report into all of the options to replace the current fleet. The Globe and Mail reports that the F-35 is, and remains, the “safest choice.”
4. John Baird wants a fair trial for Fahmy. Canada’s foreign affairs minister, on a visit to Egypt, wouldn’t say that Mohamed Fahmy, the Egyptian-Canadian journalist accused of terror-related crimes, should be released unconditionally. But he did insist that Fahmy receives proper medical care, which Fahmy says has been lacking. Baird explained his rationale for his measured position on Fahmy to the Toronto Star: “If I’m loud and vocal and use a bullhorn, I’m accused of bullhorn diplomacy,” he said. “If I try to work quietly and directly, it’s not enough.”
5. Métis and non-status Indians may earn more rights. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling that Canada’s Métis deserve all the same constitutional rights as status Indians. The court also ruled that the rights of non-status Indians ought to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The federal government, which appealed the original ruling, could appeal to the Supreme Court. The protracted legal battle stretches to 1999.