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Canada Post Union Readies Members for Possible Strike

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© The Canadian Press
The postal union says several issues, including excessive workload, have not been addressed in seven months of negotiations.
The union representing Canada Post workers has told its members to prepare for a strike amid stalled negotiations with the Crown corporation.

However, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) says it did not plan to submit a 72-hour strike notice Sunday and said there will be no strike action on Wednesday.

The union's national committee said in a message on its website that it was meeting Sunday to "evaluate the situation" and to plan its next move.

USA

Army Chief Highlights Suicide Risk

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© msnbc.msn.com
Marking Memorial Day on Sunday, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli discussed the effect that 10 years of conflict in the Middle East has had on veterans of the armed forces, including the increased prevalence of suicide and post-conflict mental health disorders.

"We've been fighting for a decade, and I don't think we as a nation know the total effect of a decade of war," Chiarelli said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And I think that's what we're seeing."

Chiarelli said that the Army has seen 162 suicides in the last year out of a force of nearly three quarters of a million, but he declined to call it an "epidemic."

Comment: 'The total effect of a decade of war' has increased suicide among the armed forces, read the following articles for more information:

More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010
Record High Army Suicides Prompt Action
Female Soldiers Face Sharp Suicide Risk
Suicide Syndrome: Are VA Protocols Behind Iraq Soldier Suicides?
Army To Report Rise In National Guard, Reserve Suicides
Soldier Suicides - Tragedy strikes at home
US Soldier's Tragic Suicide Just One of Dozens
Fort Hood, Army suicides hit record mark
Veterans Affairs chief labels vet suicide 'chronic problem'
Marine suicide rate up, prompting more prevention training


Life Preserver

Hundreds of Palestinians cross reopened Gaza-Egypt border

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© Amr Nabil/AP
A Palestinian boy holds his father's passport at Egypt's Rafah crossing yesterday
Post-revolution move is hailed as 'first step towards breaking the siege', but Israel voices concerns

Egypt has opened its border with Gaza, letting Palestinians leave the blockaded territory, in a move seen as indicating a more supportive policy since February's revolution.

Hundreds of people laden with luggage gathered at the Rafah crossing in the south of Gaza before the border opened at 9am. Around 300 crossed in the first hours and officials said they expected up to 1,000 to leave Gaza by the end of the day. Women, children and men over the age of 40 will be permitted free travel from Gaza to Egypt, but men under 40 will be required to apply for and be granted a visa. A large proportion of Gaza's 1.5 million population is aged between 18 and 40.

The crossing will open for eight hours a day, six days a week. In the four years since Hamas took control of Gaza, 18 months after winning elections, and Israel imposed a stringent blockade, the Rafah border has opened intermittently and only students, businessmen and people needing medical treatment have been allowed through.

Camera

US: Unpublished Monroe Pics Found in Garage Sale

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© Agence France-Presse
Marilyn Monroe
Never seen before photos of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, found in a weekend garage sale about 30 years ago, have surfaced days before what would have been her 85th birthday.

Photographer Anton Fury found an envelope containing negatives of snaps of a young Monroe, while searching a weekend garage sale in Parsippany, New Jersey, in 1980.

They apparently were taken during a photo session sometime in 1950, before the Some Like It Hot star shot to fame, reported CNN. "I found an envelope of negatives, didn't know what they were, but I realized they were old," Fury said.

He paid USD 2 for the folder, which contained two envelopes of black-and-white negatives. "I took it home, put them on the lightboard with a loupe and, needless to say, these are Marilyn.

Dollar

Belarus on the verge of default: Belorussians find creative ways to survive

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© Reuters
Belarusian authorities have devaluated the Belarusian ruble by 55 percent. Some sources point to a panic in the capital city, with people frantically buying all kinds of goods. Negative political consequences are also possible.

I'm using my laptop, typing these lines while waiting in line in front of a filling station. Just about 300 meters to go, not much compared to what is happening elsewhere. Before midnight, unlike in the Cinderella story, our gas will turn not into pumpkin but into gold, as the filling prices will increase by 25 percent. In 90 minutes the dollar exchange rate will go up by 60 percent, and this considering that Petr Prokopovich, head of the National Bank of Belarus, swore on March 17 that there would be no devaluation for as long as he had his post.

My friends in Ukraine ask me how the Belarusians are feeling about Lukashenko's decision to trade Beltransgaz for a loan from Russia. I tell them there is no feeling, simply because the whole affair isn't public knowledge, save for a carefully edited news bulletin on Belarus' first government-run channel. We learned about the deal from Kudrin and Lazarev, with the hostess, sporting a pink blouse, happily announcing that Belarus would now receive a loan from Russia, that the end of the world had been postponed. The lady seemed to forget to inform that the privatization of Belarusian businesses, with Beltransgaz in the first place, cost three billion dollars. Now the only golden-egg-laying goose Belarus has is its potash company, along with less important businesses like refrigerator production, steelworks and a toy factory that specializes in orange crocodiles and pink elephants.

Pistol

Canada: Man apologizes for killing daughter's boyfriend; victim's brother won't forgive

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© Karl Kopan / The Canadian Press
Kim Walker is lead from court by RCMP officers in Yorkton, Sask. on Jan. 19, 2007.
A Saskatchewan man who said he wanted to save his daughter from a life of drugs apologized Friday for shooting her boyfriend, but the victim's family didn't accept Kim Walker's regrets.

"You will never fully understand what you have done and I will never forgive you for it," James Hayward's brother Dan said in a victim impact statement released outside court.

Portions of the statement were read at Walker's sentencing hearing. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn said she would decide his fate July 13.

Dan Hayward said his brother wasn't a monster or a saint.

"He was a 24-year-old man with problems, someone that made mistakes, just as many other people do in life," he said. "He never got the chance to straighten his life out because Kim Walker stole that chance from him."

Walker was convicted of manslaughter Thursday after being tried for a second time in Hayward's death. The 24-year-old was shot several times in his home in Yorkton, Sask., in March 2003.

Beaker

US: North Carolina Chemical Plant Fire Forces Evacuations

Hudson - A fire at a chemical manufacturer in western North Carolina has forced the evacuation of people living within two miles of the plant.

Authorities say the Chemical Coatings plant near Hudson in Caldwell County caught fire shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday.

Emergency officials say one person was taken to the hospital, but the extent of that person's injuries was not known.

Authorities have shut down U.S. 321 in front of the plant as firefighters battle the blaze. Evacuations were ordered as smoke filled the air.

Chemical Coatings makes dyes, lacquers and other coatings for furniture and other products. Hudson is located about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte.

Stop

Canada: City Mulls Kite-Flying Ban

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© The Associated Press
Toronto is considering banning some kite flying in city parks.
The city is considering a ban on dangerous kite flying from city parks.

A report going to the Parks and Environment Committee next week recommends a ban on kites with strings made of hazardous materials including fishing line or piano wire.

The report also recommends a permit process for competitive kite flying and a ban on kites in parks that have "significant bird activity."

City staff are calling for a $300 fine for any infraction.

Bizarro Earth

When Doomsday Prophets Had San Diego in Their Sights

The eccentric man on a mission declared the world would end on a specific date, and the saved would be raptured. An amused media paid close attention to the prediction, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief or had a good laugh when nothing happened.

Sound familiar? Add a couple twists: it was 1925, not 2011. And the raptured - 144,000 "brides of the lamb" to be exact - would make a pit stop in the woods outside San Diego before heading to the planet Jupiter and then to heaven.

Such was the prediction of a pair of renegade Seventh-day Adventists who turned themselves into a prophet and prophetess of doom. One was a wallpaper-hanger from New York and the other a Hollywood homemaker who liked to claim visions and later tried to kill one of her former supporters.

Blackbox

Air France Crash Sparks Pilot Mystery

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© Reuters / Charles Platiau
The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), one of two flight recorders from the Rio-Paris Air France flight which crashed in 2009, is carrying to be displayed for the media before a news conference at the BEA headquarters in Le Bourget, northern Paris, May 12, 2011.
A French airliner plunged out of control for four minutes before crashing into the Atlantic in 2009, investigators said, in a report raising questions about how crew handled a "stall alarm" blaring out in the cabin.

Information gleaned from black boxes, and recovered almost two years after the disaster killed 228 people, confirmed that speed readings in the Airbus cockpit had gone haywire, believed to be linked to the icing of speed sensors outside the jet.

As Air France pilots fought for control, the doomed A330 dropped 38,000 feet, rolling left to right, its engines flat out but its wings unable to grab enough air to keep flying.

The plane crashed on June 1, 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Black boxes stopped recording at 0214 GMT.

France's BEA crash investigation agency said in a detailed chronology of the crash that commands from the controls of the 32-year-old junior pilot on board had pulled the nose up as the aircraft became unstable and generated an audible stall warning.