Good news, bad news

Canada aims for the moon, and more scandal in the Senate

Good news

Good news, bad news

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The Canadian Space Agency is plotting a course that may well lead to the moon. The new strategy, hatched with 13 other nations, calls for a return to near space in preparation for an eventual mission to Mars. A station will be put in orbit around the moon by 2025, and then a base will be built on its surface to stage for the push to the red planet that’s expected in 2030. It’s an ambitious and important step for the CSA, which lost its director last winter amid rumours of frustration over the federal government’s priorities. Chris Hadfield’s turn on the International Space Station has proven that Canadians do have a role to play in space. Now it’s time to push the boundaries.

Off the menu

Fed up with ingrained political corruption, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the Philippines this week. The protests, organized via social media, saw demonstrators dressed in pig masks to make the point that pork-barrelling is no longer acceptable. Public anger was piqued after a newspaper revealed a group of legislators had siphoned off more than $230 million from development funds for personal luxuries. The government is promising action.

A dry celebration

Grade 12 students in flood-ravaged High River, Alta., have finally had their day in the sun. Two months after graduation ceremonies were washed out, 99 teens from Highwood High received their diplomas last week. Many were kitted out in donated prom dresses and tuxedos that came from all over the country. A true high-water mark.

Flight risk

A determined Saskatchewan truck thief has established a new benchmark for police chases. After being spotted by the RCMP near Watrous, the man ditched his first pickup, and stole another from a farmer out in the field. Located from the air by the owner of the original stolen truck—also a pilot—he then rammed a cruiser to escape again. After three hours and hundreds of kilometres, police had OnStar remotely turn off the engine, only to see the suspect try to swim across a lake. The officers borrowed a boat and fished him out. Proof again that the Mounties always get their man.

Bad news

Good news, bad news

Jeff McIntosh/CP

Still on the payroll

While it’s nice that one of Canada’s shameful senators has had the decency to resign, forgive us if we don’t celebrate. Yes, Mac Harb has repaid $231,000 in housing and travel allowances that a Senate committee ruled he never should have received, and the RCMP continue to probe his expenses. But it was hardly a graceful exit, with Harb complaining he has been “unfairly” singled out. And despite his sudden “retirement” after 25 years in politics, Harb’s pension is worth $123,000 a year. A gold-plated payout under normal circumstances, which now simply seems absurd.

California burning

A huge California wildfire is scorching Yosemite Park and threatening the drinking water supply for more than 2.6 million people around San Francisco. Only 20 per cent contained, despite the efforts of 4,000 firefighters, the blaze has consumed more than 580 sq. km and even disrupted hydro power in the Bay area. More worrying still, this appears to be the new normal. With a drop in precipitation due to global warming, three of the state’s worst fire years ever have come in the last decade.

Not sporting

The former head of Jamaica’s anti-doping agency revealed that the undermanned and underfunded body conducted zero surprise drug tests in the months before the island nation’s gold rush at the London 2012 Olympics. And according to a U.K. paper, it now seems that millions of people possess a gene that defeats the standard test for steroids. But there’s also a reminder that not all cheaters turn to chemistry. The International Skating Union has suspended U.S. short-tracker Simon Cho for two years, for tampering with the skates of his Canadian rival, Oliver Jean, in 2011.

Pigs in a blanket

The average single young male washes his bedsheets just four times a year, according to a survey by a U.K. mattress maker. And 69 per cent of the 18- to 25-year-old men polled thought that was more than enough. But not so much those they bring home—17 per cent admitted that the state of their beds had brought an early end to an evening. Might we suggest at least opening a window?