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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Two held for alleged Halifax massacre facing additional charges



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 22/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Two people arrested for allegedly planning a “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” at a Halifax shopping mall are facing additional charges.
   Mounties say that Randall Shepherd, 20, of Halifax and Lindsay Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Ill., were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder.
   At a court appearance when they were remanded in custody to March 6, additional counts were added for conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of weapons and making a threat through social media.
   It is believed the accused were planning to open fire on people at the Halifax Shopping Center on Feb. 14 and then kill themselves, police said.
   Halifax police Chief Jean-Michel Blais said the two had extensive plans and the means to carry them out.
   The investigation suggests those plans, which were thwarted in time after someone calling in a tip to the police, involved James Gamble, 19, who was found dead in his Halifax home.
   A social networking website believed linked to Gamble showed photos of weapons, Nazi symbols and images relating to the Columbine High School shooting.

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   So much for Freedom 55, an insurance company’s classic ad about an ideal retirement age, as more Canadians expect to be working past 65.
   A Sun Life Financial poll showed 60 percent of respondents believed they would still be working when they reach 65 while 27 percent plan to be fully retired by then.
   It’s the first time the annual poll launched seven years ago found the number of people expecting to be still working full-time past age 65, at 32 percent, surpassed the number expecting to be retired.

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   News in brief:
   - The Canadian government is increasing economic sanctions against Russia over the situation in eastern Ukraine. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this is in conjunction with the U.S. and partners in Europe in response to Russia’s support of rebel forces.
   - An agreement for Canada to pay additional costs will allow construction of a second bridge costing $4 billion between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit to proceed. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Canada will pay $250 million to build a U.S. Customs plaza as well as 95 percent of the bridge costs. The money will be recovered through tolls and a public-private partnership, she said.
   - A strike by 3,300 locomotive engineers and Canadian Pacific Railway workers lasted only a day after an agreement was reached to settle the contract by binding arbitration. The agreement came as the federal government was planning to order them back to work as a lengthy strike would harm the economy.

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   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is lower at 79.87 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.2519 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.85 percent.
   Stock markets are mixed with the Toronto exchange index down at 15,165 points and the TSX Venture index up at 695 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is higher at $1.005 or $3.82 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Feb. 18) 3, 6, 11, 15, 20 and 37; bonus 31. (Feb. 14) 9, 10, 15, 18, 21 and 37; bonus 20. Lotto Max: (Feb. 13) 6, 9, 18, 22, 25, 32 and 44; bonus 46.

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   Regional briefs:
   - Prince Edward Island is buried after a series of storms dumped foot-after-foot of snow across the Maritime provinces. Marcel Landry, of Summerside, said he dug a 25-foot tunnel to get to his car. Extreme, record-setting cold across Ontario and Quebec produced wind chills of -40 while on the west coast, Vancouver and Victoria have spring-like temperatures around 50F.
   - The governing Ontario Liberals are being accused by Greg Essensa, chief electoral officer, of bribery and the case has been referred for a police investigation. His office said there is evidence that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, and Gerry Lougheed, a local Liberal organizer, offered a would-be candidate a job or appointment to get him to step aside in a recent by-election won by the party in Sudbury.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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