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Stories we're watching: Former Alberta premier under fire for flights

Five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon

Alison Redford resigns on March 19, 2014. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Alison Redford resigns on March 19, 2014. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Here are five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon:

Alison Redford booked fake passengers on government airplane, says report. CBC Edmonton is reporting that staff for the former Alberta premier booked fake seats on a government airplane and then cancelled them, so that Redford would be able to travel alone. The move would have been at the expense of taxpayers and also prevented other government officials from travelling on the plane. The story comes after Redford was forced to resign as PC leader in March, partially over other travel-expense controversies. The Alberta Opposition Wildrose is calling for an RCMP investigation into these new allegations. Also, just yesterday, another unflattering report about the Alberta government: it gave all managers a 6.75 per cent pay hike after promising a wage freeze.

Top Ebola doctor dies from virus. Dr. Shek Umar, one of the top doctors in Sierra Leone who was treating patients infected with the Ebola virus, has died of the disease. The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is considered the worst in history and has already killed at least 670 people. Also Tuesday, airline ASKY said it was temporarily halting flights to Monrovia, Liberia and to Freetown, Sierra Leone, due to the Ebola outbreak.

EU and Canada announce further sanctions against Russia over Ukraine situation. The EU today announced even more sanctions against Russia over its aggression in eastern Ukraine, which will include measures against the country’s oil and defence sectors. More details on the exact sanctions will be available tomorrow. Also today, Canada announced it will also increase sanctions against Russia, in coordination with the EU and United States.

Israel shells Palestine’s only power plant. The Israeli military’s bombardment of Gaza reached new highs Tuesday, as the military hit strategic targets, including the region’s only power plant. By Tuesday, officials said the Palestinian death toll had exceeded 1,200, with another 7,000 wounded in the last three weeks. Ceasefire efforts appear to be at an impasse, with Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif making a broadcast audio address Tuesday evening to say Hamas would not agree to a ceasefire unless demands, including the end of an Israeli blockade, were met.

Breakthrough in battery technology could help batteries last up to three times longer. Researchers at Stanford University have made a breakthrough in battery technology and, by using an lithium anode, it could lead to batteries that last up to three times longer than those currently available. The technology could be commercially available within five years. Until then, pack your charger.