We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Crimea could join Russia. The Ukrainian peninsula’s Parliament, in Simferopol, voted to formally request that it join Vladimir Putin’s federation. The fledgling Kyiv government called the move unconstitutional, but Crimea’s legislators will let their residents decide in a referendum set for March 16. Ten days, what many countries would consider an unconscionably short campaign period for such a monumental vote, is all Crimeans have to work with as they decide their collective future.
2. CP defends its clogged railways. Grain farmers have had a tough time getting their product to market this winter. The opposition in Ottawa blames railways for not moving quickly enough. Today, Canadian Pacific bought full-page ads in The Globe and Mail and the National Post blaming a record deep freeze this winter and an unprecedented bumper crop last summer on the Canadian prairies for a “perfect storm” of a logjam on the rails. The company wants to “tone down the rhetoric” and get things moving, a statement that might have the opposite effect in Ottawa.
3. Mohamed Fahmy remains on trial. The Egyptian-Canadian journalist, on trial in Cairo for terrorism-related crimes, requested release from prison for the course of his trial if he promised not to leave the country. That request was denied. During Fahmy’s latest hearing, the prosecution questioned a witness that claimed Fahmy, Al-Jazeera’s acting bureau chief at the time of his arrest, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The defence was not allowed cross-examination. Canada’s federal government remains quiet.
4. NATO killed Afghan troops. Foreign troops might be preparing to leave Afghanistan for good, but testy relations between NATO and the domestic armed forces were further strained when a NATO airstrike killed five soldiers—the defence ministry declared them”martyred”—in an accidental attack in eastern Afghanistan apparently conducted using drones. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has requested that NATO airstrikes receive his government’s prior approval.
5. Who is responsible for credit card fraud? CIBC’s cardholder agreement says that clients are responsible for any transactions conducted using a personal identification number—even if, as in the apparent case of Ontario resident Jason Monaco, a client’s confidential PIN is somehow used without the knowledge or consent of that client. Canada’s biggest banks mostly refused to answer CBC’s questions about who’s liable for fraud according to existing cardholder agreements.