Columbia University is seeking to change the terms of a 93-year-old trust earmarked for white students from Iowa.
The Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship stipulates that money be given only to "a person of the Caucasian race" from Iowa.
Ms. Roberts left Columbia most of her $509,000 estate when she died in 1920 and created the highly restrictive fellowship. It also stipulates that students must not study law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary surgery or theology. They also must move back to Iowa for a minimum of two years after graduating.
Lucy Drotning, the university's associate provost, filed an affidavit in Manhattan state Supreme Court last week in support of a legal action initiated by the fund's administrator, JPMorgan Chase Bank, seeking to change the terms of the trust. Columbia hasn't awarded the fellowship since 1997, but the school said it's impossible to know when exactly Columbia stopped adhering to the race-related terms of the gift.
"Columbia long ago ceased awarding the fellowships in question and does not follow gift conditions that violate anti-discrimination laws," the university said in a statement yesterday. "It should go without saying that a university rightly known for the great diversity of its student body is as offended as anyone by the requirements of these fellowships."
The court papers ask for the whites-only provision to be thrown out and suggest a modification to the Iowa-only rule.
The original trust is designated for graduate students who were born in Iowa and attended a college or university in Iowa. Columbia suggests in its affidavit that the stipulation could be modified so that fellowships could be awarded either to students who are residents of Iowa or to students who graduated from college there.
According to the affidavit, the current value of the trust is $840,000, and it earned $26,000 in income in 2011.
As this is now this blog's 10,000th post, this will be the last update this blog ever sees. As such, I'm glad that this is the story that became the blog's 10,000th post.
Thank you for your patronage over the last six (6) years!
More information regarding the future of this blog and this website will be forthcoming.
With his leg shackles rattling as he shuffled to the witness stand, a greyer, bulkier O.J. Simpson made his case for a new trial on armed robbery charges yesterday, saying he was relying on the advice of his trusted attorney when he tried to reclaim mementoes from his football glory days.
After more than four years in prison, Mr. Simpson seized the opportunity to recount how he and some friends confronted two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, and how he believed he had the right to take back what he claimed had been stolen from him, including photos and footballs.
"It was my stuff. I followed what I thought was the law. My lawyer told me I couldn't break into a guy's room. I didn't break into anybody's room. I didn't try to muscle the guys. The guys had my stuff, even though they claimed they didn't steal it," the 65-year-old former NFL star and actor said.
Mr. Simpson did not testify when he was tried and convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008. He was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.
His fall from long-ago fame and fortune was demonstrated as he made his way to the stand with shackles around his ankles for a hearing on his claim that he was poorly represented by his attorney during the trial.
As his new lawyer, Patricia Palm, questioned him, he provided details that seemed to encompass every minute of a weekend that began with plans for a friend's wedding and ended with him under arrest.
He said he knew the memorabilia dealers, had no fear of them and certainly didn't need guns.
"There was no talk of guns at all," he said. Mr. Simpson declared he never even saw guns during the confrontation. During the trial, two former co-defendants who testified for the prosecution said they had guns.
Mr. Simpson's bid for freedom hinges on showing his lawyer badly represented him. He mentioned the lawyer, Yale Galanter, from the outset.
"He was my guy," he said of his long friendship and professional relationship with Mr. Galanter. However, he blamed Mr. Galanter's advice for getting him in trouble.
TELUS has agreed to purchase wireless upstart and rival Mobilicity for $380 million.
Mobilicity launched in 2009 as an alternative to incumbent telecom players following a government auction of new spectrum, and had grown to more than 250,000 customers.
Another round of spectrum is set to be auctioned off, and new entrants such as Mobilicity have expressed concern about their ability to finance themselves to properly compete with their much larger rivals and buy a slice of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum.
Several weeks ago, Mobilicity and TELUS entered into high-level acquisition discussions.
"Mobilicity has been losing a significant amount of money every month," Mobilicity's chief restructuring officer, William Aziz, said in a release Thursday. "The financial strength of Telus will allow the business to be continued in a way that will benefit customers and employees. An acquisition by Telus is the best alternative for Mobilicity."
The agreement has numerous hurdles to overcome. It needs regulatory approval from at least three government bodies that include the Competition Bureau, Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
Mobilicity's debt-holders and TELUS shareholders must also sign off on the plan.
The news is likely to be a contentious file for government policymakers, who have repeatedly expressed a strong interest in seeing increased competition in Canada's wireless industry.
Google Inc. today unveiled a streaming music service called All Access that blends songs users have already uploaded to their online libraries with millions of other tracks for a monthly fee of $9.99 U.S.
The service puts the internet goliath in competition with popular paid subscription plans like Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody and free music services like Pandora.
The announcement at Google's annual developers conference in San Francisco kicks off a wave of developments in the digital music space that are expected to entice consumers with ways to listen to music on a range of devices.
Rival Apple Inc. is expected to debut a digital radio service later this year; Google-owned YouTube is also working on a paid subscription music plan; and Sweden's Spotify is exploring a way to make a version of its paid streaming plan free with ads on mobile devices, according to a person in the music industry familiar with the matter.
The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the developments because the deals and features on the services have not been finalized.
Google's announcement came just as its stock soared above $900 US on the NASDAQ for the first time, and its market value surpassed $300 billion for the first time. The stock closed at $915.89.
That's in stark contrast to Apple, whose shares have been on a downward streak for months and closed at $428.85.
Google is playing catch-up in the digital music space after launching its music store (now part of its Google Play app store) in November 2011. Apple's iTunes Store, which launched in 2003, is the leader in song downloads and Spotify claims about 6 million paying subscribers worldwide.
However, Google's massive reach on mobile devices that use its Android operating system means it could narrow the gap quickly. Some 44% of active smartphones in the U.S. are powered by the Android software, according to research firm eMarketer. Google said about 900 million Android devices have been activated worldwide.
All Access is available in the U.S. as of today and comes with a 30-day free trial. It is expected to roll out soon in 12 other countries where Google currently sells music, including 10 European countries, Australia and New Zealand, but not Canada. If you start the trial by June 30, the monthly fee drops to $7.99 for the foreseeable future.
Google's All Access allows users to search for songs, albums or artists directly, or peruse 22 different genres. Google curators also offer up recommendations based on your listening behaviour and your existing library of songs.
You can listen to any of millions of tracks right away, or switch to a "radio" format that creates a playlist of songs that you might like. Radio playlists can be adjusted on the fly by deleting or re-ordering upcoming songs.
"This is radio without rules," said Chris Yerga, engineering director of Android. "This is as lean-back as you want or as interactive as you want."
By combining an all-you-can-listen-to plan with music sold from its Google Play store, the service covers any gaps. Some artists, like Taylor Swift, keep recent releases off of streaming services for several months in order to boost download sales. The combination also means people can listen to their own specialized music or bootleg recordings alongside the millions of tracks available from Google.
All three major record labels (Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group Corp.) are part of the All Access service.
Listening to music streamed over cellphone networks has become extremely popular. According to research firm eMarketer, over 96 million Americans are expected to stream music on mobile devices at least once a week in 2013, up from 85 million a year ago. About 147 million Americans are expected to stream music on the go at least once a month this year.
On the game side, Google announced that it is adding leaderboards and the ability to match players in online games to its Android operating system for smartphones and tablet computers.
The new features match those available in Apple's Game Center for the iPhone and iPad. Google is also making it possible to save game progress online, so players can pick up games where they left off, even on other devices.
Three employees tried to demonstrate on stage how they could all join a racing game but failed to pull off the demo because of wireless connectivity issues in the conference centre.
The Google Play leaderboards will also be available through a browser, said Hugo Barra, vice-president of product management of Android.
The three-day developers' conference, dubbed Google I/O, provides Google with an opportunity to flex its technological muscle in front of a sold-out audience of engineers and entrepreneurs who develop applications and other features that can make smartphones and tablets more appealing.
Much of the speculation about this year's conference has centered on a possible upgrade to the Nexus 7, a mini-tablet that debuted at last year's event as an alternative to the similarly sized Kindle Fire made by Amazon.com Inc. and the larger iPad. A few months after the Nexus 7 came out, Apple released the iPad Mini to counter the threat posed by Google's entrance into the market.
So far, Google hasn't showed off new hardware at this year's conference. Instead, it announced that it will be selling a version of Samsung's new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, which runs a "clean" version of Android, without the modifications that Samsung applies to its phones.
Google will be selling a Galaxy S4 with 16 gigabytes of internal memory for $649 in the U.S.
How would you like to do a search without touching a computer or phone... or have your next question answered before you even ask it... or get a reminder to pick up a carton of milk when you drive by a grocery store?
These are some of the new upgrades to Google's search tools that the company announced today at Google I/O, its annual developers' conference. About two-thirds of Internet searches in the United States are done through Google, with Bing and Yahoo trailing far behind.
CNN spoke to Google Senior Vice President Amit Singhal last week about the new search changes and his excitement for a certain fictional starship computer.
Google is adding voice-activated search to its Chrome browser, allowing people in audible distance of a computer's microphone to start a search by saying, "OK Google," out loud followed by their terms.
Google's search team is obsessed with the Star Trek computer, the fictional, omnipresent and invisible voice-activated system that answered questions and obeyed orders when Enterprise crew members began a sentence with the word "computer."
Mr. Singhal called it the "ideal system."
Swap out "Computer" for "OK" and you get a clear picture of where the company is steering its search engine. To activate Google Glass, wearers say, "OK Glass," followed by a request such as "record a video" or "Google the life span of lemurs."
Now that voice-activated, natural-language interface is spreading across all devices.
"I can't wait to put my kitchen computer in this mode and settle all of our questions over dinner without having to pull our screens out," Mr. Singhal said.
The new feature will roll out to Chrome users across platforms over the next few weeks.
Google processes more than 1 billion searches every day, 85% of which have been Googled before. All that experience means the search engine knows more than just the answer; it knows what searches commonly happen next. Now the search engine is integrating that predictive content into the answer, potentially saving people a step.
"We would pretty much anticipate the next question you are going to ask," Mr. Singhal said.
Looking up the population of Canada? According to past searches, the most common follow-up search is for the population of California (if you're wondering, California has slightly more people than Canada). A population search could also show charts comparing similar locations and related statistics such as life expectancy and gross domestic product.
The new feature also taps into Google's Knowledge Graph to make the necessary connections. The Knowledge Graph is Google's growing database of things (you may have noticed its items showing up on the right-hand side of a common list of search results).
Where searches used to be largely based on the presence of keywords, the graph makes more concrete connections and detects relationships. For example, it knows "Warren Harding" isn't just two words. Google has associated the name with the 29th president and added it to a collection of U.S. presidents.
Google Now is Google's predictive search tool found in the Android and iOS Google search apps. The tool pulls information from your calendar, Gmail account, search history and phone's location to serve up relevant information before you can search for it. These bites of data, called cards, might show the traffic for the morning commute to work, Zagat reviews for a restaurant where you have reservations, and sports scores for the teams you look up the most.
This week, Google is adding reminders to the mix. Using your phone's location, the reminders will pop up when you need them. A reminder to pick up frozen peas could appear when you are near the local grocery store, while a reminder to put gym clothes in the car could show up on your phone before you leave the house in the morning.
These types of reminders are common in mobile apps. Apple, for example, has its own location-based reminders tool on the iPhone and iPad.
The new reminders feature will be available for Android first before eventually coming to iOS. Google also is rolling out a few more Google Now cards, including ones that provide updates on music and movies.
Taken alone, these new features might seem minor. But, together, they add up to a new era of intuitive and predictive Google search across devices, platforms and locations.
A number of bus routes are being moved around Saskatoon over the next several months.
Saskatoon Transit officials made the presentation at the City of Saskatoon's Administration and Finance committee yesterday.
Saskatoon Transit will be breaking out two new direct routes between three neighbourhoods in the city's southeast, the University of Saskatchewan and downtown.
Right now, bus ridership in Lakeview, Lakewood and Lakeridge is low because it takes too long for buses to get to their destination. Currently, it takes between 50 to 55 minutes to take a bus from Lakeview to the city's downtown. The change would drop that down to half an hour.
Furthermore, Saskatoon Transit has decided to stop bus shuttle service between hotels and the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport. Administration says the route was rarely used, and the Hotels Association of Saskatchewan has said it didn't want the service. Service to the airport will still be maintained, however.
Saskatoon Transit also reported back on an 'Intelligent Transportation System' that would give bus riders the chance to track city buses with GPS, finding out exactly where buses are in the city, and whether they're on schedule. If approved by council, the 1.7 million dollar program will start rolling out next year.
The construction of a six-lane parkway bridge in Saskatoon's north end will not delay plans for a north perimeter highway bridge that would carry heavy traffic around the city, according to Don McMorris, the minister responsible for highways and infrastructure.
"We are focusing on the north perimeter road," Mr. McMorris said yesterday.
The city is expected to approach the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to help fund the $190-million parkway project and the $35-million rebuild of the Traffic Bridge. At the same time, the Government of Saskatchewan will begin its plans for the perimeter highway, Mr. McMorris said.
Initial planning for that bridge will begin in June, he said.
"We know that the pressures for traffic trying to get around Saskatoon are very severe and hopefully the parkway bridge will help reduce some of that," he said. "Having said that, we know there has to be a long-term plan that will see a perimeter road developed."
The massive freeway would bypass the city completely, looping around three quarters of Saskatoon from Highway 11 (to Regina) in the south, curving around the city to Highway 14 (to Biggar) in the west. It includes 10 proposed overpasses or interchanges with other highways or major arteries, and several dozen kilometres of new highway.
The project would significantly reduce congestion on Circle Drive North and speed up the trucking routes to northern Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Mr. McMorris would not say if the two projects will be competing for provincial infrastructure dollars.
"It always comes to dollars and cents, and we have to make sure that we deal with all the needs right across the province," he said.
Keith Moen, executive director of the North Saskatoon Business Association, said he hopes both projects (the perimeter highway and the parkway bridge) will be completed quickly.
"The perimeter highway in our opinion is going to be better for the commuter traffic in the sense that it will take the highway traffic off of Circle Drive North," Mr. Moen said.
Some city councillors earlier this week expressed concern that the new parkway bridge (which was expanded to six lanes instead of its original four) would make a perimeter highway bridge redundant.
Mr. Moen said he did not expect heavy highway traffic to use the parkway bridge.
"We don't think that one should come at the expense of another. We think that both are needed," he said.
The NSBA is part of a group expected to release a study on financing options for the massive perimeter project. That study, which could be released later this summer, will also make a business case for moving traffic around the city and off of Circle Drive.
Massive lawsuits targeting people who illegally download copyrighted content are common in the U.S., where people have been stuck with hefty fines and out-of-court settlements. Now there's an attempt to bring that to Canada.
At the centre of the effort is Canipre, the only anti-piracy enforcement firm that provides forensic services to copyright-holders in Canada.
The Montréal-based firm has been monitoring Canadian users' downloading of pirated content for several months. It has now gathered more than one million different evidence files, according to its managing director Barry Logan.
One of its clients is now before the Federal Court of Canada in Toronto, requesting customer information for over 1,000 IP addresses (a user's unique Internet signature) collected by Canipre.
That client is the American studio Voltage Pictures, maker of hundreds of films including the Academy Award-winning Hurt Locker.
On the other side of the case is TekSavvy, an Ontario-based Internet provider. The IP addresses flagged by Canipre link back to its users.
The case is set to resume next month. If the court orders TekSavvy to hand over customer info, it could be the beginning of a new chapter in the anti-piracy battle in Canada.
"We have a long list of clients waiting to go to court," said Canipre's Mr. Logan, who estimates that about 100 different companies are paying close attention to the case.
These lawsuits have been common in the U.S. Between 200,000 and 250,000 people have been sued in the last two years, according to one Internet civil-liberties group.
"They send off threatening letters telling them, 'If you don't pay up we're going to name you in this lawsuit and you could be on the hook for up to $150,000 in damages,"' said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director of that group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Canadians don't risk such severe damages, because of a bill passed last year that modified the federal Copyright Act.
Bill C-11 imposed a limit of $5,000 on damages awarded for non-commercial copyright infringement, which applies to the average consumer who downloads films.
"The reason Parliament did that (is) they didn't want the courts to be used in this way," said David Fewer, director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.
The advocacy group is an intervener in the Toronto case.
"Copyright is supposed to be a framework legislation. It's not supposed to be used for building a compensation model." He says the phenomenon of file-sharing suits is relatively new in Canada.
He said there has only been a single file-sharing lawsuit in Canada, launched by the music industry. The case, BMG Canada Inc. vs. John Doe, was launched in 2004, and it failed.
For now, Canipre is the only Canadian firm providing this type of service, and it appears to be proud of what it's doing.
"We understand the culture of piracy," Mr. Logan said, adding that he has been involved in numerous IP-related litigation cases across Canada.
"We're bringing that model up here as a means to change social attitudes toward downloading," said the Canipre executive. "Many people know it is illegal but they continue to do it."
The company advertises its ability to conduct "aggressive takedown campaigns" for clients.
It monitors websites where pirated content is known to be available, and it searches for its clients' content. When it finds violations, Canipre asks the hosting website to remove the content (a process known as a takedown request.
"By aggressive, what we're saying is, 'We don't do one or two takedown (requests), we do 1,000-2,000 at a time,"' said Mr. Logan, who lives in Ontario. "We've managed to put a business process in place with a lot of the top-tier platforms that provide pirated content."
However, his company services don't just include suing people. He says there's an educational message, too.
"Our collective goal is not to sue everybody... but to change the sense of entitlement that people have, regarding Internet-based theft of property."
"File Saturation" is one example of an educational message.
The firm uploads a harmless file to sharing websites which closely resembles the content users are seeking. There is one key difference: this particular file is completely useless.
The goal of that effort? Make it harder and more time-consuming to download illegally.
Mr. Logan expects the Federal Court of Canada to order the Internet provider, TekSavvy, to hand over customer information.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Mr. Logan will keep fighting against piracy.
"Litigation is not the only tool that will change piracy -- it's simply a tool."
Mr. Logan wants piracy to become a taboo, much like drinking-and-driving is now.
"That's (not) the attitude here in Canada: It's a pervasive sense of entitlement," he said. "(Illegally) downloading content should also be socially unacceptable."
BitTorrent is a tool for sharing large amounts of data on the internet.
There were more than 370,000 BitTorrent transactions over a month (a transaction being each time a user opens a session to download a film) according to statistics gathered by Canipre for its clients.
Many file transfers using BitTorrent are perfectly legal. However, the peer-to-peer protocol is a particularly popular means of duplicating copyrighted material.
Those statistics only include Canipre's clients, so the actual Canadian number is far higher.
Work being done as part of the Circle Drive South project in Saskatoon will result in traffic restrictions on Circle Drive near the Clancy Drive intersection.
The City of Saskatoon says northbound lanes of Circle Drive will close for one week as crews install catch basins, curbs, and pave asphalt. Two-way traffic will be restricted to the southbound lanes, with right turns permitted onto and from Clancy Drive.
Once the first phase of work is complete, the median lanes on Circle Drive and the Clancy Drive merge lane will close to allow the installation of street lights and barriers. Work will take approximately four weeks to complete.
The Circle Drive South Project, which includes construction of a new south bridge, five interchanges, three railway grade separations, and 10 kilometres of freeway, is scheduled to open later this year.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark defied poll predictions and led the BC Liberals to victory last night, but she failed to keep her own seat.
The incumbent Liberals won a decisive majority throughout the province (the Liberals' fourth consecutive win and Ms. Clark's first as leader).
The victory came as a shock to many, as the Liberals were elected in 50 of British Columbia's 85 ridings, despite polls that suggested New Democrats held a steady nine-point lead on the eve of Election Day.
In the end, NDP candidates only secured 33 seats. Meanwhile, 43 seats are required to form a majority government.
But in an interesting twist, Ms. Clark herself was defeated in her riding of Vancouver-Point Grey by NDP candidate David Eby, who won by 785 votes.
If the results stand, the Liberals could be forced to ask one of the party's victorious MLAs to hand his or her spot over to the Premier.
Even as the votes were being tallied late Tuesday, a no-less-triumphant Christy Clark took the stage at Liberal campaign headquarters to cheers and chants of "four more years."
"Two years ago, I came back into public life because I wanted to rebuild public trust in government," Ms. Clark said in her victory speech. "British Columbians will always know what I stand for. In a democracy, this is what people want and it's what people deserve."
Ms. Clark called the 28-day campaign the hardest undertaking of her life, and offered praise to all her rival party leaders.
She then reiterated the Liberals' commitment to cash in on the province's liquefied natural gas industry and eventually decrease its $56-billion debt.
"Our work has just begun," Ms. Clark said. "With this strong new team, with a renewed party, a renewed mandate, and the confidence of British Columbians to build this economy, to make sure we live in the province we all dreamed of for our children and to make sure our children inherit a future we always dreamed for them. Thank you very much."
Not long before, New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix, once considered a near shoo-in for premier, gave his concession speech.
Mr. Dix maintained his seat in Vancouver-Kingsway, but his party still disappointed supporters who had high hopes they would uproot the Liberal government and deliver an NDP victory for the first time in 12 years.
"Never a dull moment in B.C. politics," Mr. Dix quipped as he took the stage to deliver his concession speech.
Mr. Dix congratulated his fellow NDP candidates, and promised supporters to continue fighting for his party's values of financial equality and environmental sustainability.
"If there's one disappointment I have in this election - other than the obvious - it's that we haven't managed to address issues of participation in our democracy yet," he added, alluding to yet-another low voter turnout.
Just over half of eligible voters casting their ballots yesterday, continuing a trend that has plagued British Columbia for every election in recent memory.
That number was slightly higher on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast with approximately 56% turning out to vote.
MR. Dix ran a largely positive campaign in the face of ongoing Liberal attack ads on TV and the Internet, but went into Tuesday's election confidently touting that there were no "safe" seats for the governing party.
"We're going to continue to be generous to everyone in our society, including our political opponents. I've always believed that's the only way through," Mr. Dix said.
The BC Conservatives, who were at one point last year tied with the Liberals in the polls, failed to gain a single seat. That included party leader John Cummins, who couldn't manage to snatch a spot away from incumbent Liberal Mary Polak in Langley.
Mr. Cummins and his party suffered several blows during the 2013 campaign, beginning with a series of scandals that forced the removal of four candidates.
He conceded the race and thanked the thousands of Conservative supporters who turned out to the polls Tuesday.
"I want to assure them that we will continue to fight for smarter spending, lower taxes and a better life for British Columbians," Mr. Cummins said. "Whether or not we win a seat tonight it doesn't matter, we will continue to organize and by 2017 we will be a much stronger party."
Green Party Leader Jane Sterk suffered a similar fate in Victoria-Beacon Hill, losing to incumbent MLA and former NDP head Carole James. She previously stated she would step down as party leader if not elected.
However, her party still made history as candidate Andrew Weaver was declared the Greens' first-ever B.C. MLA.
Mr. Weaver beat out Liberal incumbent Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations, in the Vancouver Island riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
"We didn't split the vote, we are the vote," Mr. Weaver told a cheering crowd, addressing pre-election fears that his campaign would merely tip the scales toward either the Liberals or NDP.
"What an incredible six months this has been for someone like me, taken way outside my comfort zone in the lab at the University of Victoria."
A noted expert on climate change, Mr. Weaver secured his party's nomination in September 2012 and became its deputy leader shortly after.
In its (almost) 30 years as a political organization, the Green Party has never held a seat in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia until now, but has seen support steadily increase as climate change and the environment have risen to the forefront of voters' concerns.
Vicki Huntington also made history becoming the first independent to be re-elected in the province. She will return to Victoria as the only Independent MLA, beating out Delta-South Liberal opponent Bruce McDonald by 2,505 votes.
Congratulations also came in from numerous different people. Among the first was Prime Minister Stephen Harper, followed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Conservative MP James Moore (Minister of Heritage and Minister Responsible for British Columbia).
Alberta Premier Alison Redford also issued a statement, but didn't mention Ms. Clark by name.
Saskatoon's first zipper merge implementation is closed and all lanes on Circle Drive are open after a road reconstruction project between Millar Avenue and the north bridge finished up 16 days early.
The road was closed for only six days (instead of a projected 24 days) as work crews took advantage of good weather and worked around the clock.
"Some finishing work will happen through the night from 6:30 pm to 6:30 am beginning Wednesday that will close one lane in each direction," the city said in a media release.
The reopening of all lanes on Circle Drive will ease rush hour commutes through the city as drivers were either caught in traffic on the freeway or surrounding the downtown.
The zipper merge experiment (where drivers keep to two lanes until the last moment, at which point both lanes alternate turns merging into one) was successful, the city said.
"A zipper merge was piloted for this project and many reports indicate it was successful and helped traffic move through the area," the city said in its release, adding that "future road closures along Circle Drive may again use the zipper merge."
The speed limit through the area remains at 60 km/h until work is complete.
Chris Hadfield is back safely on Earth after five months on the International Space Station, but it will take several months for the Canadian astronaut's body to return to its pre-flight condition.
Space wreaks its own form of havoc on virtually every aspect of the human body, particularly because gravity isn't around to create the conditions we live with on the ground.
After Mr. Hadfield landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan last night, he was flown first by helicopter and then put on a plane bound for Houston, where NASA medical staff and others will poke, prod, test and otherwise help the 53-year-old regain his physical form.
"He will do more medical testing than most people will ever do in their life, and then he has to build back up his muscle and his bone and his legs," says his son, Evan Hadfield, who acted as his father's social media manager during his time in space. "Everybody expects he's going to come back and immediately start going crazy doing stuff, but he's got to take some time for himself to get his body back in shape because you [lose] bone, so you need to build that back up. Without gravity, your body does not feel like wasting energy to build muscle and to build bone."
Human bones may feel and look hard, but they are in fact constantly growing.
"Your bones are being continually eaten away and replenished," says Bjarni Tryggvason, one of the first Canadian astronauts who had his own experiences with life in zero gravity during a 12-day flight on the space shuttle Discovery in 1997.
"The replenishment depends on the actual stresses in your bones and it's mainly ... bones in your legs where the stresses are all of a sudden reduced [in space] that you see the major bone loss. There's no significant loss in your arms and other bones."
Astronauts have typically lost from 0.4-1% of their bone density per month in space, the Canadian Space Agency says.
So astronauts on the space station 400 kilometres above Earth work out for a couple of hours each day to try to stave off the atrophy their muscles inevitably undergo. They also take nutritional supplements and medication prescribed to post-menopausal women to try to counter bone loss.
Still, there's work to be done once they're back on Earth.
Bob Thirsk, Canada's first astronaut to do a long-duration flight on the space station, remembers what it took to get his body back to normal after his six-month mission in 2009.
"In the same way that every organ system needs to adapt to weightlessness, every organ system needs to re-adapt after a long period of time back to an Earth environment," Mr. Thirsk said in an interview last fall, before Mr. Hadfield's launch.
For the first day or two after landing back on Earth, Mr. Thirsk's cardiovascular and vestibular balance systems were "pretty wonky," he said.
Movements and activities many earthlings take for granted (walking alone, driving a car) weren't in the cards right away.
"I had trouble maintaining blood pressure to my head and therefore I felt pretty faint and dizzy. In fact, I needed to have a transfusion of normal saline to get my blood pressure up shortly after I got back," said Mr. Thirsk, an engineer and physician who resigned as an astronaut in 2012 after nearly 29 years with the Canadian Space Agency.
Mr. Thirsk said it took about a day before he felt comfortable walking without someone supporting his elbow. Two weeks later, he was steady enough for his flight surgeon to return his car keys.
Mr. Thirsk remembers the "very intensive rehab program" that began as soon as he got back to help build up muscle mass and strength.
"I'd say within six weeks, my muscles were back to their pre-flight status."
Bones, however, take a little bit longer.
"It probably took about a year for my bone calcium level to return to pre-flight levels," says Mr. Thirsk. "The rule of thumb is for every month in space it takes two months for the bones to recover."
Most of the effects of weightless are reversible, Mr. Thirsk said in an interview Monday, but other potential effects of spaceflight on the human body are less certain.
"We are exposed to higher levels of radiation in space than we are on the surface of the planet so what that means is that potentially in the future we could suffer genetic mutations and cataracts of the lenses in the eye and also of course cancer," Mr. Thirsk said.
"We still haven't flown enough people in space to know precisely what are the types of radiation-related illnesses we should be watching out for, but with time we'll eventually be able to monitor that better."
As much as there are the physical effects of long-duration spaceflight, Mr. Thirsk also sees a need to consider the mental and emotional well-being of an astronaut after the return to Earth.
"I think it's important from a psychological point of view to try to acclimate back to Earth as quickly as possible.
"In addition to physiological changes in the body, there is psychological changes as well. [Hadfield] has just gone through a mountain-top experience for five months in space and now he has to revert back to functioning as a ground-based astronaut, as a husband, as a father, as a neighbour, and that will take a little bit of time to do."
Mr. Thirsk suggests Mr. Hadfield take time to relax and "start to establish those human relationships again and that will help the next year."
FOX executives said Monday that its drama 24 is returning next May for a limited run that will stretch into the summer. The adventure series with Kiefer Sutherland starring as Jack Bauer ended its original run in 2010.
Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly said creators had been thinking about doing a movie with the original cast. However, when Fox announced it was interested in doing a big event miniseries, they realized it was the perfect format.
"They always had this idea of maybe someday doing a feature film," he said. "I think they all agreed 24 being compressed into two hours is not 24."
Mr. Sutherland said he was excited to see his character return to TV.
"The response to '24' is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before," Sutherland said in a statement. "To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. The story ideas from [producer] Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint...Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off."
This is sweet, I guess. I lost that interest in that show years ago though.
Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party of Canada have won the federal by-election in Labrador, shutting down a Conservative cabinet minister's political comeback.
Liberal Yvonne Jones was on track for victory, capturing 51% of the vote with only seven polls left to report Monday night, denying Peter Penashue's bid to return to politics (and the cabinet table).
Mr. Penashue, who had served as Stephen Harper's minister of intergovernmental affairs, stepped aside in March after admitting he took illegal campaign donations in his narrow 2011 election win.
At the time, he said he wanted to clear the air and run in a by-election. Yet, Mr. Penashue, whom his colleagues said would be returned to cabinet if he won, finished a distant second, winning 29% of the votes.
Ms. Jones is a veteran of provincial politics who resigned her seat in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly to run in the by-election. NDP candidate Harry Borlase came in third with 19% of the vote.
The victory is a boost for the Liberals and Mr. Trudeau, who helped campaign in the remote riding soon after he won the party's leadership in April.
In a statement, Mr. Trudeau said this victory was the "beginning."
"Today we have demonstrated that the Liberal message of hope and hard work is resonating, and that Canadians are tired of the Conservatives' politics of cynicism, division and fear," Trudeau said.
While the Liberals are third in party standings in the Commons, they have managed to get to top of polls in recent weeks under Mr. Trudeau's leadership.
Mr. Penashue quit his cabinet post and his job as MP in March after it was revealed the Conservative Party had reimbursed the Government of Canada more than $40,000, the value of ineligible contributions accepted by his campaign in the 2011 election.
Mr. Penashue, then a political rookie, squeaked out a slim 79-vote victory over the Liberal incumbent in that election.
Mr. Penashue, who also served as president of the Queen's Privy Council, blamed a campaign volunteer for accepting the ineligible donations, which included $18,710 from Provincial Airlines.
After his resignation, fellow Conservative MPs declared he was a "great representative" that had delivered for his constituents.
Saskatoon's next bridge will have six lanes instead of the original four, bringing the cost of the bridge and the surrounding roadway network to $190 million. On Monday, city council's executive committee (made up of the mayor and all 10 city councillors), voted in favour of a plan that will see a new parkway bridge connecting the northeast and northwest ends of the city.
The committee approved a bigger and more expensive bridge intended to relieve traffic congestion on Circle Drive North, despite concerns from some councillors that the increased lanes could essentially turn the bridge into a freeway.
"Is this just going to become the perimeter highway?" Councillor Charlie Clark asked the committee.
Mr. Clark was referring to long-anticipated but still uncertain plans to build a perimeter highway bridge north of the city that would help carry heavy truck traffic around Saskatoon.
Plans for that bridge rest with the province, not the city, and there is still no word on when or even if it will be built.
Mr. Clark wasn't the only councillor concerned that expanding the bridge to six lanes would essentially make it redundant if the perimeter highway bridge is built.
"I don't know how we are going to get trucks off here," Councillor Pat Lorje said.
"The trucks are going to want to cross the river. They are not going to go around to Circle Drive."
"We don't want trucks going through residential neighbourhoods, and I don't see why we are building this bridge in the first place. Isn't the need for a north perimeter bridge, not a north commuter bridge?"
Councillors also expressed concerns that the new six-lane bridge (which could carry between 14,600 and 21,700 vehicles per day) would negatively affect plans to create a more pedestrian-, cyclist-and transit-friendly McOrmond Drive in new neighbourhoods like Aspen Ridge and Evergreen.
"I think we could quickly undo a lot of work we have done," Councillor Mairin Loewen said.
"We want to transform (McOrmond) into a complete street, but there is potential for this to act like a freeway."
McOrmond Drive would be the main road connecting to the bridge and would have four lanes, but some councillors said increased traffic volumes from the bridge threaten plans to turn McOrmond Drive into Saskatoon's newest "complete street" (roads that would more resemble Broadway Avenue than Boychuck Drive).
Councillor Randy Donauer supported the move to six lanes, but said the focus for this area should be on moving vehicle traffic, not creating a street for bikes, pedestrians and cars all at the same time.
"I like the idea of complete streets, but I'm not sure this is the place to start. This bridge is here to solve a traffic problem," he told the committee.
In the end, the desire to have a bridge to help with traffic congestion in the city's north end won out, and the committee approved the $190 million project including the $118.2 million six-lane bridge. Staff with the city's planning department said it was "unlucky timing" to have the bridge plans come up before comprehensive neighbourhoods plans for the whole area are released; however, they said the fact that McOrmond Drive will remain at four lanes should not hurt the complete street plans.
Mr. Clark, however, remained defiant that building more roads is not the solution to Saskatoon's traffic woes.
"Anyone who thinks we build ourselves out of traffic problems by throwing down more lanes is fooling themselves ... just look at Los Angeles," Mr. Clark said.
The other question looming over the committee was how the city is going to pay for the bridge and the adjoining roadways. The committee heard more than $60 million will be borrowed but eventually recouped in development fees once neighbourhoods like Aspen Ridge are developed.
The city will go to the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to get as much more money as it can to cover the remaining $130 million.
"For sure there is going to be debt," said Marlys Bilanski, the city's general manager of corporate services. "It is just a question of how much is our share?"
Civic administrators will now investigate the possibility of building the project using some combination of public and private partnership. However, the details of how the project will be financed are still not complete.
McDonald's is adding three new Quarter Pounders to its menu as the fast-food chain looks to offer cheaper premium burgers while capitalizing on one of its most popular brands.
The company, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, says that the new burgers will replace its meatier Angus Third Pounders, which were among the most expensive items on its menu at about $4 to $5. The Quarter Pounders will come in two of the same varieties as the Angus burgers (Bacon and Cheese, and Deluxe). The third option will be Habanero Ranch.
McDonald's Corp., which has about 14,000 U.S. locations, says the new burgers will roll out in the United States in mid-June. The new Quarter Pounder line will use a bun that has eight grams of whole grains, while the original Quarter Pounder will stay with its regular bun.
The swap for burgers with less meat comes as restaurant chains across the industry face rising beef prices. The higher costs are particularly problematic for fast-food chains, which are known for their cheap eats and limited in how much they can hike prices without scaring away customers.
McDonald's has also been going to greater lengths to emphasize the affordability of its food in a push to turn around slumping sales. That has forced Burger King and Wendy's to adjust their marketing and focus more heavily on deals as well.
Analysts worry that the escalating value wars will lead to shrinking profit margins. However, McDonald's executives say the strategy is necessary to steal away customers at a time when the restaurant industry is barely growing.
Greg Watson, senior vice-president of the menu innovation team at McDonald's USA, said the company started looking at revamping its burger portfolio about a year ago and realized it hadn't done much to tinker with the Quarter Pounder, which was introduced in 1971 and remains a bestseller.
A Palestinian terrorist who "made a mockery" of Canada's immigration system by avoiding deportation for 26 years has finally been expelled, the government said yesterday as it signaled that more such actions could be coming.
Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, who slipped into Canada in 1987 after attacking an El Al plane in Athens and killing an Israeli passenger, was escorted to Lebanon on Saturday by Canada Border Services Agency officers.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed that the 70-year-old former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member had been deported on a chartered flight, and said the government was reviewing similar cases.
"We should never allow a situation like this to happen again. Mr. Mohammad flagrantly violated Canada's fair immigration laws and this country's generosity. He made a mockery of our legal system," he said.
To that end, officials are currently examining the files of several Egyptian citizens implicated in terrorism. The minister said the review was looking at whether they could be sent home now that Egypt had undergone a change of government.
Immigration officials have not deported them yet because they could be at risk in Egypt, Mr. Kenney said. However, that concern was based on their links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, "and my view is that now that the Muslim Brotherhood is the government of Egypt, they should be delighted to go back," he said.
The case of "Triple M," as the Palestinian terrorist was known to some, had become symbolic of the flaws in Canada's immigration system (often cited as an example of the government's inability to control its borders). It had also angered many Canadians.
"It really was a thorn in our side, much like some of the known Nazi war criminals who were able to dodge the system," said Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. "There was just something glaringly unjust about his ability to take advantage of everything that Canada had to offer even though he had blood on his hands."
On Boxing Day 1968, Mr. Mohammad and another PFLP member stormed an Israeli passenger plane as it was preparing for takeoff in Athens. They fired 83 rounds and lobbed six grenades at the Boeing 707, killing a passenger.
A Greek court sentenced Mr. Mohammad to 17 years in prison, but the government released him in 1970 after Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Greek airliner and threatened to kill everyone on board unless he was set free.
Mr. Mohammad eventually made his way to Madrid, where he applied to immigrate to Canada with his wife and three children. He failed to disclose he had been convicted of a terrorist crime, and by the time Canadian authorities caught up with him, he was already in Canada.
In December 1987, he was told he would be deported (a decision later upheld by an immigration adjudicator). Mr. Mohammad then applied for refugee status. His claim was rejected, but he remained in Canada while his appeals were heard by the courts. He and his wife lived near Brantford, Ontario.
In an affidavit, he said he had abandoned his violent past and blamed Canada for the delays, saying he had tried to leave the country to resettle in Algeria and Cuba, but that government agents had leaked his plans. He said he did not want to return to Lebanon because he would be "vulnerable to assassination" there.
Mr. Kenney, however, said Mr. Mohammed had "spent an awful lot of time fighting his deportation." The cost of the legal process was "enormous," the minister said. "I could easily say it runs into the millions of dollars."
Some of Mr. Mohammad's more recent appeals argued he could not be deported because of his poor health (he had been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease and depression) and that the Lebanese medical system was inadequate to care for him.
"This case is almost a comedy of errors with delays, with a system that was so bogged down in redundant process and endless appeals that it seemed to some like we would never be able to enforce the integrity of Canada's immigration system and deport this terrorist killer," Mr. Kenney said.
He said the government had learned from the process, and that changes brought in by the Conservative government would prevent such delays. "I can tell you that a case like this could not happen under the laws that we've adopted."
Calls to reopen the debate about what a new Traffic Bridge will look like in Saskatoon fell mostly on deaf ears on Monday, as city council's executive committee approved the latest funding plan for a $35-million replica bridge.
The committee voted to finance the $35-million bridge alongside the $190 million north parkway project, hoping that the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan will have another look at funding the new bridge if it's paired with the massive parkway project.
"Being coupled with (the parkway project), it will survive," said Mike Gutek, the city's infrastructure manager. "Standing on its own for three years its viability was in question ... it's not about dollars, it's about viability."
Under the new plan, the Traffic Bridge would be built at the same time as the parkway project in the city's north end, and would be complete by 2017. It would be financed under the same scheme and built by the same company, which could save around $250,000 in costs, the committee heard. The real benefit of lumping the two projects together is simply a better chance at getting the bridge built, Mr. Gutek said.
By combining the projects, the committee effectively chose not to reopen the debate about what a new Traffic Bridge will look like. The city already has $10 million set aside to build the replica steel truss bridge, but so far the province has not expressed interest in funding the project. Not all councillors thought lumping the project in with the parkway project was a good thing.
"We can't get the bridge funded on its own," said Councillor Zach Jeffries, who has questioned the need to for a new Traffic Bridge at all. "I don't think attaching it to (the parkway project) is going to change that. I think that if that bridge is to be built it needs to stand on its own merit."
Mayor Don Atchison has been in favour of building a new Traffic Bridge since the old one was closed in 2010 because of safety concerns. He says combining the two bridge projects makes it more attractive for provincial and federal partners.
"That's what this is about is creating interest ... It's a novel idea. It's never been done before," Mr. Atchison said.
The city still has no firm financing plans for the combination bridge project.
Combined, the two bridges and adjoining roadways will cost $220 million.
City officials are looking at various funding models, including public-private partnerships.
The Calgary teen who allegedly went on a rush-hour driving rampage in a stolen truck has amassed a lengthy criminal record, including an armed robbery at age 12, court heard Monday.
In successfully seeking the 15-year-old's detention pending trial, Crown prosecutor Matthew Hinshaw said the boy can't be safely managed in the community.
"The young person is still quite young. However, he has amassed an extraordinarily concerning record," Mr. Hinshaw told youth court Judge Richard O'Gorman.
Judge O'Gorman agreed with the Crown's assessment that the teen had to be detained, denying a request by defence lawyer Kathleen Reyes to release him to his father.
The outraged father said outside court his son was beaten by cops and hasn't received proper medical attention while in custody.
"I'd run too if 20 guys were going to come after me," he said in reference to allegations the accused tried to escape police even after being cornered in an alley.
"He's a good kid who just made a mistake," he said.
That mistake, according to facts alleged by Mr. Hinshaw, included running numerous red lights in a stolen Ford F-350 pickup truck, driving the wrong way on city streets at more than double the speed limit and narrowly missing one pedestrian.
After about an hour of racing around the southern part of the city, colliding with two parked vehicles and driving as fast as 110 km/h, police managed to trap the truck in an alley, Mr. Hinshaw said.
But instead of surrendering himself, the accused backed into one cruiser, rammed a second and then collided head-on with a third, the prosecutor said.
"He was pulled out of the truck at gunpoint," Mr. Hinshaw said.
The boy's criminal record began just 15 days after he turned 12, the age at which charges can first be laid, and he had committed two robberies, including one with an imitation firearm, before his 13th birthday, he said.
The incident last Tuesday that led to eight criminal charges, including dangerous driving and hit and run, show he's a great risk to the community, the prosecutor said.
"Detention is ... necessary for the protection and safety of the public," Mr. Hinshaw told Judge O'Gorman, calling the teen a "substantial risk" to offend again.
He said the accused raced through city streets for an hour before police were able to arrest him.
"It's only by sheer luck that we don't have injuries."
Barbara Walters said today that retirement from her epochal television career is near, but it's not happening right away.
Ms. Walters, who began in television news as a Today girl in 1961, became the medium's best-known interviewer and invented a daytime talk show at an age many people would be going fishing, said on The View that she will step away from the camera next summer.
Before that, her retirement tour will include TV specials looking back at her work.
The announcement brought the 83-year-old Ms. Walters to tears. While not necessarily a surprise (reports about the plan leaked out about a month ago and it was confirmed by ABC on Sunday night), the discussion was alternately saucy and emotional.
"In the summer of 2014, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all," Ms. Walters said.
She preceded her announcement with a taped piece outlining career highlights, from her appearance in a Playboy bunny outfit on Today to her interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad last year. She mentioned her pride in rising to Today co-host and becoming the first woman on a network evening news program, co-anchoring with Harry Reasoner on ABC. Her interviews became her calling card, sitting across from actors and presidents. Her primetime talk with Monica Lewinsky set a ratings standard.
When she started The View with executive producer Bill Geddies 17 years ago, Ms. Walters said she thought it would last a year or two.
She's been through some health problems this year, being hospitalized after a fall taken while leaving a pre-inaugural party in Washington and developing chickenpox. She didn't cite that as a reason for leaving, saying she is in perfect health and isn't being pushed out.
"I want to leave while people are still saying, 'why is she leaving?' instead of 'why doesn't she leave?'" Ms. Walters said.
Joy Behar, her last remaining original co-host on The View, took issue with Ms. Walters saying in her taped intro that she wasn't as beautiful as other women on television. Men on TV don't talk about how handsome they are, she said.
Ms. Walters noted that she'd been asked whether she had "slept her way to the top."
"I wish I had, because I would have made it much faster," she said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stopped by to salute Ms. Walters on the live telecast. The audience was stocked with brass from ABC and parent company Disney, including Disney CEO Robert Iger. Ms. Walters joked with Mr. Iger about appearing on Dancing with the Stars together.
"You made a difference in how journalism, particularly television journalism, is done today," Mr. Bloomberg said. "You didn't make enemies. You were not nasty about it."
Besides continuing to appear on The View and reporting for ABC News in the next year, Ms. Walters will host a 20-year retrospective of her most fascinating people series in December, an Oscars special and a career retrospective next May.
"I've had an amazing career -- beyond anything I could have imagined," Ms. Walters said, "and I hope I have inspired some other women both in front of and behind the camera."
An on-duty police service from the Ottawa Police Service who "engaged in inappropriate personal interaction with an acquaintance" in a marked cruiser "parked in a secluded area" was demoted for four months this week.
Constable Michael Bond also used a police database to vet a potential daycare provider for his child, according to a sentencing decision released on Wednesday.
Constable Bond had pleaded guilty to one count each of discreditable conduct and insubordination under the Police Services Act.
Constable Bond's sentencing was based on an agreed statement of facts, which wasn't published with the sentencing.
Police have agreed to provide the document, but wasn't turned over by late Saturday afternoon.
The discreditable conduct charge says only that Constalbe Bond "while on duty, in a marked cruiser parked in a secluded area ... engaged in inappropriate personal interaction with an acquaintance."
"Const. Bond's action of inviting a civilian into his marked cruiser and then having inappropriate contact with that person will not be tolerated," the decision says. "His actions rendered him unavailable to respond to calls for service."
The insubordination charge said that Constable Bond "accessed the CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) system to research a potential daycare provider for his child."
"CPIC is private and confidential and only available to an officer in relation to their duties," the decision says.
The decision noted he pleaded guilty "at the first opportunity."
"By accepting responsibility and taking additional steps to receive counselling Constable Bond has acknowledged his error in judgment," the decision says.
The pilot and a passenger were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the RCMP told Global News.
The Maverick LSA Flying Car was made in the Florida by I-TEC and is certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
On its website, I-TEC says the powered parachute's "design has been developed as an easy-to-operate - air, land, and snow craft. It is intuitive and safe to fly, drive and maintain by people in frontier areas of the world enabling them to use this unique vehicle in missions and humanitarian applications."
Last week, EA, or Electronic Arts, announced that the next version of the popular series The Sims, is now under development and will be expected to be released in 2014.
The game began with its first game in 2000, simply titled The Sims. The series expanded with the release with numerous Expansion Packs. In 2004, The Sims 2 was launched with numerous Expansion Packs and Stuff Packs. The current game, The Sims 3, was launched in 2009 and has also seen numerous Expansion Packs and Stuff Packs.
As for myself, I have not purchased any of the Expansion Packs of Stuff Packs for The Sims 3. The first two games, however, are taking up space in my closest as I can't bring it upon myself to get rid of the games once and for all.
I may try The Sims 4 when it comes out in 2014.
As for The Sims 3, I have not played the game since 2011.
Doug Finley, the organizational "pit-bull" behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper's rise to power, built a reputation in conservative circles for mercurial temper, implacable calm, fierce loyalty and prodigious work ethic.
Mr. Finley, 66, died on Saturday after a battle with colorectal cancer that the media-shy campaign general had shared openly with the world in his last months.
He is survived by his wife Diane Finley, a senior federal Conservative cabinet minister, his daughter Siobhan by a previous marriage, and three grandchildren.
"Doug fought a hard and very public battle with cancer. His death is a loss to our family, our friends – and to the entire country," Diane Finley said in a statement. "Although further details will soon be announced, I do ask that our family have some privacy as we prepare to formally bid farewell to a great man."
Prime Minister Harper said in a statement that his government has lost a "trusted adviser and strategist" and he has lost a "dear and valued friend."
"A great Canadian has been taken from us, before his time," the statement added.
His legacy, Doug Finley told CBC's The Current in late December 2012, "will be my family."
But the gruff, Scots-raised campaigner allowed that, "If people think of me as part of a movement, part of an organization that perhaps shifted a little the political landscape in Canada, I think that's a fairly significant thing."
It was typically self-effacing Doug Finley understatement.
He was a critical cog at the top of the finely tuned political machine that propelled Prime Minister Stephen Harper into the party leadership and on to 24 Sussex Drive.
The former director of operations for the Canadian Alliance party, Mr. Finley helped Mr. Harper's Conservative party leadership bid and then the 2004, 2006 and 2008 federal Conservative election campaigns.
"We could never have won (power) in 2006 without Doug Finley's organizational ability," Tom Flanagan, Mr. Harper's former campaign strategist, wrote in his 2007 book Harper's Team.
"The transition from Tom to Doug as the campaign (management) guy was an essential turning point in many different ways," says Ian Brodie, Harper's former chief of staff and a close Finley friend.
"He took a load off of Stephen in terms of being ultimately the arbiter of disputes about how we were going to do things ... to run the machinery of the campaign."
Jim Armour, an early communications director with the Canadian Alliance and Conservative Party of Canada, said that Mr. Finley was often mischaracterized as the "architect" of their rise to power. Instead, Mr. Armour said Mr. Finley was the builder who paid attention to detail and ensured it was done properly.
"He actually built the majority mansion following on Harper's plans."
Mr. Finley was born in Exeter, England, on July 25, 1946, but was raised in Scotland and maintained his distinctive highland growl to the grave.
A huge soccer fan of Manchester United and Glasgow Celtic, Mr. Finley was steadfast in his defence of the Scots James Bond, Sean Connery, although his political allegiances changed significantly over the years.
He was an early supporter of the leftist Scottish National Party, worked for the Liberals in Québec in the 1970s and the Ontario Progressive Conservatives before finally finding his true political home with the Canadian Alliance and Conservative Party of Canada.
A heavy smoker who enjoyed whiskey, Mr. Finley did all this while building an executive career in the aerospace industry.
Described by friends as a classic Scot with a gruff exterior and warm heart, it was Mr. Finley's hot temper that defined what little public persona he had.
As the man in charge of Conservative candidate nominations and political training, Mr. Finley was the firefighter and enforcer when candidates went off script. The shell-shocked accounts of dumped candidates were one of the few public windows into Finley's working world, providing some hair-raising reading.
"It's better than being called Casanova or something," Mr. Finley growled to the CBC when asked in 2012 about his pit-bull label.
Senior executives, whether in business or political campaigns, must "wear many masks, many different personae," he told the public broadcaster. "Every now and again one has to adopt a sort of iron fist without the velvet glove."
Garth Turner, a short-lived, maverick MP under the current Conservative government, once described Finley this way: "He lives not just to kill the competition but, once he's killed them, he wants to stab and drown them. He is a master strategist and I have great respect for his political skills. He's ruthless."
On the other side of the ledger was the imperturbable Mr. Finley.
"I always found him extraordinarily patient with trying to bring people up to speed on the ropes, to show people the ropes," says Mr. Brodie.
It was Finley who engineered one of the party's single most successful fund-raising gambits by lodging a public complaint over "collusion" by CBC reporter Krista Erickson with a Liberal MP during 2007 hearings into Brian Mulroney's suspect business dealings.
Ms. Erickson's actions were portrayed in a Conservative fund-raising letter as evidence of bias by the public broadcaster.
The letter raked in donations and (no doubt) tickled Mr. Finley's funny bone.
Mr. Finley was also deeply implicated in a 2006 campaign financing scheme, known as the in-and-out affair, for which the Conservative Party of Canada eventually pleaded guilty and paid the maximum fine. In return, charges against Mr. Finley and Irving Gerstein, the party's chief fundraiser, along with two other individuals, were dropped.
When Mr. Harper appointed him to the Senate in 2009, the late NDP leader Jack Layton called the appointment "just odious."
However, Mr. Finley had other personas.
Fiercely loyal to his friends and engendering true fealty in return, Mr. Finley helped organize the Scottish Society of Ottawa in his spare time.
When his end-of-life media interviews in late 2012 attracted the usual bilious political Internet hate commenters, Mr. Finley's granddaughter took to the comment boards in fierce defence.
"My grandfather is a great man. Through his journey he kept his head held high, and can still make jokes about it ... I am Emma, 13 years old and I love my papa more than you will ever know," she wrote.
Friends also remark on Mr. Finley's enduring love for his wife of 30 years, Diane, whom he met when she was a summer hire at Rolls Royce, where he was an executive.
On Valentine's Day 2013, Doug and Diane Finley appeared together on Don Martin's CTV politics show Power Play.
In telling fashion, Doug fondly and humorously described the many kilts at their wedding: "Probably one of the few times in Ontario history, at least in those days, where the preacher, the bride and the groom all wore skirts.
"Quite common now, but at least we had two sexes involved, you know."
To see his interview with his wife Diane Finley, it's right below:
PepsiCo, the owner of many different brands, says it plans to start testing a new fountain machine at restaurants that lets people create a variety of flavour combinations, such as strawberry-flavoured Mountain Dew.
The test follows Coca-Cola's introduction in 2009 of its Freestyle machine, which also lets customers touch a screen to pick from a wide array of flavour combinations. PepsiCo's test is set to begin at five restaurants in Denver next week.
Fountain sodas at restaurants, movie theatres and other outlets are an important part of the broader industry, representing about a quarter of overall sales volume, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. Coca-Cola Co., which is served in chains including McDonald's and Wendy's, has about 70% of the fountain business.
My favourite NBA legend Dennis Rodman (mainly because of his antics) said that he's headed back to North Korea for another up-front-and-close meeting with dictator Kim Jong-un to talk about freeing a jailed American.
"I'll be back over there," Mr. Rodman said, in a Friday interview with TMZ. "I'm going to try to get the guy out."
Mr. Rodman was referring to jailed Kenneth Bae, a Washington-state resident who's been sentenced to 15 years of hard time by North Korea's highest court. The court on Friday said that Mr. Bae was guilty of posing as a missionary to "infiltrate 250 students" to "bring down [the] government while conducting a malignant smear campaign," earlier reports stated.
Mr. Rodman, who visited and became "BFFs" with the North Korean leader in February, admitted that it might be a challenge to win Mr. Bae's release. However, he's confident his friendship with the leader would prevail.
"It's going to be difficult because I think his nationality, because of his background, I think it's a whole different situation," Mr. Rodman said, speaking to Mr. Bae's Korean-American ethnic background, in the TMZ report. "[But] I don't do politics. Like I said, he's my friend, that's it."
In February, in fact, Mr. Rodman referred to the Korean leader as his "friend for life."
Four police officers caught on video kicking and punching a robbery suspect who appeared to be surrendering are now facing criminal charges.
The officers, from Trois-Rivières, Québec were suspended with pay after the video of the arrest was made public.
The clip, captured by a surveillance video at a nearby college, shows 19-year-old Alexis Vadeboncoeur putting down what appears to be a gun and lying face down in the snow, with his arms outstretched as four Trois-Rivières municipal police officers approach.
It then shows Alexis Vadeboncoeur, who doesn't appear to make any threatening movements, being kicked and punched by officers as he lies on the ground.
Police were chasing Mr. Vadeboncoeur after he was allegedly involved in an armed robbery at a nearby pharmacy.
The footage of the arrest was released in February following Mr. Vadeboncoeur's bail hearing.
In their police report, the officers said the teen had broken into a business. They reported they had to use force because their lives were in danger.
Québec provincial police were brought in to investigate and charges were officially laid this week.
Marc-André Saint-Amant, Barbara Provencher, Dominic Pronovost and Kaven Deslauriers were charged with several offenses including assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and obstructing justice by hiding the existence of the video.
They have not yet entered a plea
They are scheduled to appear in a Trois-Rivières court on May 31, 2013.
The Trois-Rivières police service is also conducting an internal investigation into the incident and is expected to present a report to city council.
The city has said it will not comment on the incident until that report is completed.
René Duval, Mr. Vadeboncoeur's lawyer, told Radio-Canada he was very satisfied with the provincial police investigation and the decision of the Crown to follow through with charges.
His client is scheduled to return to court in September.
The University of Saskatchewan's Board of Governors has approved a budget with a $3.3-million deficit.
Provost and vice-president academic Brett Fairbairn said he hopes the university's ongoing cost-saving steps will eliminate that deficit by the time the 2013-14 year is through.
"We still hope by the end of the year that the things that we're doing might bring that into balance," Dr. Fairbairn said yesterday.
The budget, which covers the university's operating expenses from this month until April 2014, includes a 4% increase in expenses compared to last year, while revenue is up 4.7%.
The university intends to bring in nearly $468 million next year (about two-thirds of which will come from the Government of Saskatchewan, and another quarter from tuition and fees). Expenses are pegged at $471 million, nearly three-quarters of which relates to salaries and benefits.
A year ago, the university announced that it would need to trim $44.5 million from its ongoing operating expenses over the next four years to avoid a large deficit. A major factor is that funding from the Government of Saskatchewan is increasing at a slower pace than in the past.
Job cuts began just before Christmas, and an estimated 150 positions have been eliminated so far at the province's largest university. Dr. Fairbairn said there will be more job cuts within colleges before the end of June, though he couldn't give a number.
Also underway is a project the university calls TransformUS, which is evaluating and prioritizing every program and service the university offers, with the aim of eliminating or altering some of them down the road.
The university's goal was to have permanently eliminated $16.1 million from its operating budget by 2013-14. It didn't reach that goal, trimming about $10 million in ongoing expenses thus far. The university also stumbled upon some extra revenue from higher enrolment and well-performing investments, Fairbairn said.
With nearly 21,200 students on campus last fall, the school has more people enrolled than ever, Dr. Fairbairn said.
The cost-cutting so far "has made a huge contribution to keeping our budget balanced, or at least close to balanced."
He said the school has done good, but difficult, work ensuring the budget is on track to avoid that massive projected deficit in 2016.
"We've had severances that (have) affected not only the people who lost jobs, but coworkers and the whole campus. It's been a very difficult process, and it's not something that anyone likes to go through."
Job cuts alone are not enough to make up the expenses the university must eliminate permanently, he cautioned. The program review, which is expected to be complete by November, will be one of those cost-saving measures, as will a lean pilot project that's steering the university toward more bulk purchasing with other colleges and universities.
The university is also using new electronic systems to help save money on purchases, travel expenses and long-distance charges, Dr. Fairbairn said. It has also deferred some spending on a backlog of building maintenance, pouring $3 million into that fund instead of the $5 million it wanted. The university hasn't yet finished crunching the numbers on its 2012-13 fiscal year, Dr. Fairbairn said. However, a budget report says it appears the university has dodged a projected $6-million deficit from last year with high-performing investments, increased enrolment and "heightened prudence over spending."