Here are five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon:
Ukraine’s ceasefire with Russian rebels appears to be holding. A ceasefire seems to be working in eastern Ukraine, at least for now, ending five months of fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in the region. President Petro Poroshenko announced the deal Friday, saying that fighting would stop at 6 p.m. local time, after an agreement was reached in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Part of the agreement is a prisoner exchange between the two sides, which could happen by Saturday. The deal could also allow Russia to avoid a new round of sanctions for its involvement in the region, but U.S. President Barack Obama said he skeptical about weather the ceasefire will hold.
Admissions continue with Tony Accurso on the stand at Charbonneau commission. Yesterday, the inquiry looking into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry was treated to a photo of construction magnate Accruso giving former Quebec Premier Jean Charest a big hug and the news that rocker Mick Jagger was a guest on Accruso’s luxury yacht. The revelations continued today, as Accruso said that he gave the former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau a whopping $250,000 to help cover his debts after Duchesneau’s failed bid for the Montreal mayor’s seat in 2008. The deal was brokered through a man named Richard, with the understanding that Duchesneau would repay the favour eventually. Duchesneau, who went on to run the province’s anti-collusion unit within the Transport Department, denied that he received cash from Accurso.
Rob Ford gets a subpoena to testify at trial of his friend Alexander (Sandro) Lisi. A story leaked by someone inside the Toronto police in August seems to be correct (one that lead to the Toronto Police Chief threatening the mayor’s brother with a libel lawsuit). The Toronto Mayor today confirmed that he had, indeed, received a subpoena to appear in court. Lisi, a friend of Ford’s who used to serve as his occasional driver, has been charged with extortion and fraud. Police allege Lisi used threats against two men to obtain a cell-phone video that showed the mayor smoking crack cocaine. The subpoena means Ford will have to testify at Lisi’s preliminary hearing, currently scheduled for March.
New jobs numbers are out and they’re not good. StatsCan released its August jobs numbers today and they show a loss of 112,000 private-sector jobs and a net loss of 11,000. That’s the biggest dip in jobs numbers since the recession in 2001. However, since Statistics Canada badly botched its jobs numbers in July, analysts are questioning how accurate these numbers actually are. Could it be possible that StatsCan messed up two months in a row? The answer to that question should come out in the next few days.
B.C. teachers want binding arbitration to end strike. As the B.C. teachers’ strike stretches into its third month, teachers are requesting binding arbitration as a last-ditch effort to make a deal. Union head Jim Iker says it’s the only route to an agreement after mediation failed last week. He says teachers will vote on ending the strike, should the province agree to the arbitration.