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VICTORIA - Now that contract negotiations with British Columbia teachers have reached the next phase with an 89 per strike mandate, the education minister says he's looking forward to seeing contract demands from the union. Peter Fassbender said Friday government negotiators have been essentially negotiating with themselves because their offer is the only one on the table. But B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said the union tabled its demands almost a year ago, asking for wage increases that include cost-of-living adjustments and salary catch-ups to other provinces. The contract demands also call for smaller class sizes and more specialist teachers.
PRETORIA, South Africa - In a day of potentially damaging testimony, a former girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius said at his murder trial Friday that he once shot his gun out of a car sunroof and later cheated on her with the woman he killed last year. And a security guard recalled the athlete telling him everything was "fine" after neighbours reported gunshots coming from Pistorius' house on the night of her death. Prosecutors say he intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp during an argument, but he insists it was a mistake, and that he fired through the locked toilet door in his bathroom believing an intruder was behind it. Moments later, Baba said, Pistorius phoned him back, started crying and didn't say anything and then the line went dead.
MOSCOW - Russia was swept up in patriotic fervour Friday in anticipation of bringing Crimea back into its territory, with tens of thousands of people thronging Red Square chanting "Crimea is Russia!" as a parliamentary leader declared the peninsula would be welcomed as an "equal subject" of Russia. Ignoring sanctions threats and warnings from the U.S., leaders of both houses of parliament said they would support a vote by Crimeans to split with Ukraine and join Russia â€” signalling for the first time that the Kremlin was prepared to annex the strategic region. Tensions in Crimea were heightened late Friday when pro-Russian forces tried to seize a Ukrainian military base in the port city of Sevastopol, the Ukrainian branch of the Interfax news agency reported. Crimea's pro-Moscow leader denied any incident at the base.
By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Friday that "hairline cracks" had been discovered in the wings of about 40 787 Dreamliners that are in production, marking another setback for the company's newest jet. The cracks have not been found on planes that are in use by airlines and therefore posed no safety risk, Boeing said, adding the problem also will not alter Boeing's plans to deliver 110 787s this year. However, Boeing said the cracks, which also occurred on the larger 787-9 model currently undergoing flight tests, could delay by a few weeks the date when airlines can take delivery of their new planes. The disclosure raised questions about repair costs and a possible minor increase in the weight of the plane, but did not seem to spell major trouble for Boeing, industry experts said.
TORONTO - At least five Canadian children have been treated with a drug regimen some researchers are suggesting may be a cure for HIV infection in infants, Canadian researchers revealed Friday. They said some of the children treated in this manner currently show no signs of infection, though they declined to provide specifics. "Some of the early treated children exhibited sustained virologic suppression, meaning that their HIV viral load continues to be undetectable," said microbiologist Hugo Soudeyns from Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal. Soudeyns is one of the investigators in a recently funded study which aims to see if starting at-risk infants on treatment-dose AIDS medications in the first 72 hours of life leads to better outcomes than starting the drugs after HIV infection has been confirmed.
It has been 10 years since Steve Moore's NHL career ended with an attack by former Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi. The 35-year-old Moore says he still suffers from headaches and low energy, even if he feels better overall and wants to get on with his life. But there has been no closure for the former Colorado Avalanche centre, whose $38-million dollar lawsuit against Bertuzzi and the Canucks is still in the courts after numerous delays. Moore, a rookie on a powerhouse Avalanche team, still remembers that game on March 8, 2004, and the devastating effect it had on his career.
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously upheld the sexual assault conviction of a Nova Scotia man who tried to trick his girlfriend into becoming pregnant by poking holes in her condoms. Craig Jaret Hutchinson was sentenced to 18 month in jail in December 2011 after he pierced his girlfriend's condoms with a pin in 2006 so she would get pregnant and not break up with him. In Friday's 7-0 ruling, the high court ruled that Hutchinson deprived the woman of her ability to consent to sex. "The accused's condom sabotage constituted fraud ... the result that no consent was obtained," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote on behalf of the court.
MONTREAL - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will suspend practically all its military relations with Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine. Baird also confirmed Friday that the federal government will expel nine Russian soldiers who are training in Canada "to let them know they are no longer welcome." The expulsions send the "powerful" message to Russia that it will not be business as usual when a sovereign country is invaded and occupied, he said. He also said Canada and other countries were working on imposing economic sanctions against Russia.
That bet has helped equities shrug off bearish data and geopolitical uncertainties in Ukraine, taking the S&P 500 to a series of record highs. "We're hoping the payroll report means we're on a stronger footing going ahead and that we can get more robust growth going forward," said Michael Mullaney, chief investment officer of Fiduciary Trust Co in Boston.
MONTREAL - Pauline Marois juggled sovereignty and the economy Friday as she reacted to major job losses in the province and a decision to allow Enbridge to boost the capacity of an Ontario-Montreal pipeline. While she played down the loss of 25,000 jobs in Quebec last month, the Parti Quebecois leader said sovereignty would help the province in dealing with situations such as the pipeline. The National Energy Board has required Enbridge to ensure the project is "safe and environmentally sensitive." "If we were independent, we could decide what Enbridge has to do with this project."
Greece and its international lenders will miss a self-imposed March 10 deadline to clinch a deal that will release the next tranche of the country's rescue loans, three senior Greek government sources said late on Friday. Greece and representatives of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had hoped to conclude the latest review of the country's reform progress under the terms of its international bailout by Monday, when euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels.