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Sun, 19 Jan 2020
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Canada: Catholic Schools in Ontario Ban Rainbows

While most people may see rainbows as a good sign because the rain is ending, some Catholic schools in Ontario have banned visual references to the iconic colourful arch.

Leanne Iskander, 16, tells Xtra that the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board prevented her group from displaying any rainbows at their information booth during an anti-homophobia event last week.

Iskander is the founder of the unofficial gay-straight alliance at St. Joseph Catholic School in Mississauga.

"We brought signs and posters with rainbows, and we were told we can't put them up," says Iskander to Xtra. "They said rainbows are associated with Pride. There's so many other things that a rainbow could be. It's ridiculous."

But this did not stop the group from showing a rainbow. They baked cupcakes with different colour icing and displayed them on the table so it resembled a rainbow. Better yet, when people bit into the cupcake, there was a rainbow of colours inside.


18 Killed in Western India When Truck Plows into Pilgrims Asleep by Roadside

Police say a truck plowed into a group of pilgrims sleeping by the roadside in western India, killing 18 of them and injuring seven.

Senior police official Ashish Bhatia says the accident took place before dawn Thursday about 50 miles (80 kilometres) southwest of Ahmadabad after a burst tire made the truck driver lose control of his vehicle.

Police inspector K.V. Jhala says the pilgrims were on their way to a Sufi Muslim shrine in the town of Baliad. Many pilgrims walk to the shrine and often rest by the roadside.

Police figures show India has the world's highest road death toll, with more than 110,000 people dying each year in accidents commonly caused by speeding, overcrowding and poor vehicle and road maintenance.

Source: The Canadian Press


US: Rapper Lupe Fiasco Calls Obama a "Terrorist"

© Meredith Gregory
Lupe Fiasco doesn't have a lot of love for President Barack Obama.
Popular rapper criticizes fellow Chicagoan

We know of at least one Chicago rapper who won't be getting an invite to the White House anytime soon.

Lupe Fiasco called out President Barack Obama this week, calling his fellow Chicagoan "the biggest terrorist."

The comments came in an interview with CBS News Tuesday while discussing the political content of his music.

As political as the statement sounds, Fiasco, who grew up on the West Side, says he doesn't vote or get involved in politics.


Canada: Two Killed in Bizarre Motorway Accident as Airborne 21Stone Black Bear Smashes Through Car Windscreen

A man and woman were killed in a bizarre motorway accident when an airborne 21stone black bear smashed through their windscreen and exited through the back window.

Their car was travelling east on Highway 148 just outside Quebec, Canada, at around 10.30pm on Monday night.

A vehicle travelling in the opposite direction hit the bear, sending it flying into the air across the other lane.

Bizarre accident: Two people were killed when an airborne bear smashed through the windscreen of a car on a motorway near Quebec in Canada

The bear lies dead at the side of the road after being struck by two cars
It was then struck by the second car, killing the 25-year-old female driver and her friend Steven Leon, 40, who was sat in the back seat.

The driver, a student dietitian who was due to graduate in September, has not been named at the request of her family.

Alarm Clock

Measles epidemic spreads in Quebec

© David McNew/Getty Images
File photo: A child reacts to a Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination (MMR) as his father comforts him in 2002.
254 cases; disease leapfrogged from Europe

Montreal - Quebecers travelling to Europe this summer should make sure their immunizations are up to date, as France battles a measles epidemic, health officials warned Monday.

An outbreak of measles - a highly contagious respiratory disease that's jumped here from Europe - has affected 254 people in Quebec, and officials expect more as the virus spreads among people who have not been vaccinated.

Waves of the vaccine-preventable disease have been reported in the United States, England, Wales and France. The disease's rise is often cited as a legacy of a now-discredited study by a British autism guru who scared parents from immunization.

It's not known whether vaccine rates in Quebec are decreasing as the province does not keep a formal register. But increasingly, doctors are spending more time with parents answering questions about immunization fears, said Montreal pediatrician Richard Haber, director of the pediatric consultation centre of the Montreal Children's Hospital. Controversies over measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines have eroded public confidence in vaccination and threaten herd immunity, he said.


US: Casey Anthony trial continues: Cadaver dog handler tells court he was 'overwhelmed' by smell of death in trunk of Anthony's car

A sniffer dog trained to detect human corpses homed in on the boot of Casey Anthony's car and on a patch of grass in front of her dead daughter's playhouse, a court in Florida heard today.

Gerus, a German Shepherd dog working with Orange County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit during the search for missing toddler Caylee Anthony in July 2008, indicated that he could smell human death in the back of Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire car, and at a spot in the garden of her home in Orlando.

The canine detective, who is trained only to hunt for human remains and to ignore distractions such as food and other odours, twice gave his handler an indication known as a 'final trained alert' to indicate that it had pinpointed a scent source.

© Associated Press
On trial: Casey Anthony sits in the courtroom before the start of court on the 12th day of her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando today


US: Home owner shocked after FBI, sniffer dogs and a helicopter scour his property in pointless hunt for 30 dead children...all on a tip from one deluded psychic

The man whose property was at the centre of a massive - but utterly pointless - FBI and police hunt for 30 dead children has told reporters he is 'no killer'.

The home of Joe and Gena Bankson was raided by FBI agents, 15 car loads of local police, sniffer dogs and a helicopter last night - all acting on the tip of a local psychic the couple later referred to as 'mentally unstable'.

Earlier in the day, investigators had found blood and a 'foul odour' at the Hardin house where the 'psychic' woman claimed the dismembered remains of dozens of children were buried.

But while news teams gathered to report the shocking discovery, it emerged the 'odour' was rotting garbage, the blood belonged to a family friend's failed suicide attempt and the 'psychic' tipster was - unsurprisingly - wrong.

Fruitless: Quiet Liberty County became the scene of a huge search before officers abandoned their investigation


US: FBI Busts Man Duped In Facebook Ploy

© unknown
Former wife posed as 17-year-old in online scheme

Embroiled in a contentious child custody fight, an Indiana woman decided last month to pose on Facebook as a comely teenage girl in a bid to surreptitiously extract damaging information from her ex-husband.

The scheme proved so successful, in fact, that FBI agents last Friday arrested Angela Voelkert's former spouse on a felony charge for allegedly installing a listening device in her vehicle, according to court records.

Voelkert's Facebook plot--detailed by FBI Agent Robert Dane in a sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend--began in late-May when she opened a Facebook account in the name of "Jessica Studebaker."

The purported 17-year-old's profile--which remains online, but locked--includes the photo of "Studebaker" seen at right. The true identity of the girl seen in the photo is unknown, nor is it clear where Voelkert got the image.

Voelkert, 29, used the bogus Facebook profile to "friend" her former husband David, 38. Angela Voelkert then asked a pal to e-mail her former spouse through the Facebook account since she was concerned that he might recognize her "style of writing." Voelkert though, Dane noted, "monitored the emails on 'Jessica Studebaker's' Facebook account."

Cell Phone

US, Pittsburgh: Local High School Teacher Accused Of Sexting Students

A Steel Valley high school teacher is accused of sexting her male students.

Many of the messages 29-year-old Jennifer Smith is accused of sending to students are just too graphic to outline.

Police say she asked the five male students to erase the photos and the messages.

The evidence and accusations are substantial, but her attorney, David S. Shrager, shed no light on her side of the story.

"In terms of talking about what the potential defense is, is premature for me to talk about it," he told reporters. "At this point in time, we've just had an arraignment and a waiver of the preliminary hearing."

Bizarro Earth

Giant rats eat two babies in South Africa townships in separate attacks

Child attacked by Rat

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was the victim of a giant rat attack

'I can't forget how ugly my child looked after her eyes were ripped out' says dead baby's mother
The rats can grow up to three-foot long

Giant rats as big as cats have killed and eaten two babies in separate attacks in South Africa's squalid townships this week.

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was killed as she slept in her parent's shack in the Khayelitsha slum outside Cape Town and another girl was killed in Soweto township near Johannesburg the same day.

Little Lunathi was sleeping on a makeshift bed on the floor of her family's breeze block and corrugated iron home on Sunday night when she died. Her puzzled parents didn't even hear her scream.

When her mother discovered her lifeless body, she saw that her daughter's eyes had been gouged out.