Good News, bad news

A weekly round-up from around the world

Good news

Good News

Hakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix/Reuters

Up to the task

Jim Flaherty’s decision to scold the Bank of Montreal for dropping its five-year mortgage rate to 2.99 per cent was seemingly out of character. But the pro-competition finance minister was left with little choice after BMO’s move threatened to undo Ottawa’s efforts to cool the housing market and rein in household debt. With England-bound Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney bizarrely declaring the country’s debt worries over, the task of saving Canadians from themselves has fallen to Flaherty. He deserves credit for taking on the unenviable task.

A basic right

A Quebec court judge rejected a preposterous bid by the lawyers of alleged killer Luka Magnotta to have parts of the trial conducted out of the public eye. Though the media is generally prohibited from reporting what happens during a preliminary hearing, at least until the trial is over, Magnotta’s lawyers were hoping to have the public barred from the courtroom entirely, arguing that the high profile nature of the case could jeopardize Magnotta’s right to a fair trial. But in an era when publication bans are increasingly commonplace, the ruling wisely upheld the public’s equally important right to see the wheels of justice in motion.

The people have spoken

It’s time for Argentina to reconsider its claims to the Falkland Islands. In a referendum this week, the 1,650 island residents voted almost unanimously to remain a British territory. (Only three people voted “no”.) While Britons have at times complained about the cost of defending the distant islands in the 30 years since the Falklands War, Prime Minister David Cameron urged other countries to respect the islanders’ decision: “People should know we will always be there to defend them.”

Tomb Stonehenge

The great mystery of Stonehenge appears to have been solved—and it is not an ancient astronomical tool. New research suggests Stonehenge marks a burial ground for elite families dating back to 3,000 BCE. Analysis of a nearby settlement also reveals that thousands of people, almost a tenth the entire population of Britain at the time, once descended on the site in southwestern England for communal celebrations.

Bad news

Good News

Adrees Hassain/Reuters

Neighbours like these

A crowd of enraged Muslims attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, Pakistan, last week, burning more than 150 homes and two churches. The root of the mob’s outrage? Claims that a Christian sanitation worker blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad. It’s not the first time accusations of blasphemy (punishable by death in Pakistan) have ignited violence. In 2009 in the city of Gojra, eight Christians were killed by an angry mob. Following the latest incident, Christians across Pakistan reacted with violent protests of their own. So much for loving thy neighbour.

Shame, meet shameless

The bottom-groping allegations lodged against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford by former rival Sarah Thomson may have cast the city in a bad light this week. But it’s Detroit that’s suffering the real civic embarrassment. So mired in financial trouble is the city that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state would take over its finances. Protesters took, fittingly, to the roads, jamming traffic with a slow-moving convoy of cars. Also this week, jurors convicted former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of corruption charges, concluding a five-month trial that painted him as a bribe-taking profligate with a taste for public funds.

Swing and a hit

Canada took on Mexico at the World Baseball Classic tournament and a hockey game broke out. In a game that Canada won 10-3, a bench-clearing brawl erupted in the ninth inning after a Canadian batter was hit by a pitch. Since neither team ultimately advanced in the tournament, organizers decided punishment would be pointless but said in a statement they hope the teams will “learn from this incident and set a better example.” Indeed.

Gorillas in the midst

In a scene reminiscent of Planet of the Apes, six gorillas at the Calgary Zoo escaped from their enclosure last week and invaded a kitchen stocked with their food. Zoo officials claimed to have the situation under control. But the incident comes after one of the gorillas was pictured in newspapers around the world holding a knife a zookeeper had left in the pen. Time to review security protocols, evidently. Or open negotiations with the primates before the revolution starts in earnest.

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