Afternoon Update February 20th, 2012 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Child, 7, overdoses on date rape drug

VANCOUVER – A seven-year-old Langley, B.C., girl was hospitalized Saturday night after drinking water suspected to have been laced with GHB — commonly known as a date rape drug.

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#2 — Globe | Ripping off grandma: How the elderly are vulnerable to fraud

A few years ago, Mabel Fielding received an unusual phone call.

A man purporting to be her grandson said he had ended up in jail after attending a wedding “down east somewhere” and needed her to send him money right away.

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#3 — MacLeans | Five seriously austere measures that aren’t in the Drummond report

Economists have long warned that current spending patterns have put Ontario on track for a fiscal doomsday. In an attempt to show Ontarians the way to economic salvation, Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed a commission on public-service reform last year, headed by former TD economist Don Drummond. His report, unveiled on Wednesday, is a 362-item long laundry list of cost-cutting (and a few revenue-boosting) measures the provincial government should consider to keep the public deficit from ballooning to $30.2 billion by 2017-18. The prescriptions go far beyond the usual calls for budget freezes and capping wage increases in the public sector; Drummond recommends scrapping all-day kindergarten, increasing class sizes, and shutting down casinos. To make Ontarians feel better about the coming age of austerity, we’ve put together a list of the five most unusual ideas other governments have considered or implemented to fix their own beleaguered finances.

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#4 — FP | Coping with OAS at 67

In spite of some vehement opposition, the government will probably announce in the next budget the raising of the retirement age for OAS pension to 67. We have already been assured it won’t happen at least until 2020 so it will not affect Canadians over 57. The big question is whether this change will increase poverty among seniors.  The answer depends largely on how the increase in retirement age is implemented.

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#5 — OC | Controversy remains about when we need time off — and how much

OTTAWA — As Ontario wakes up to its fifth Family Day, controversy continues to surround the province’s newest holiday.

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WORLD

#6 — BBC | Pakistanis hardline groups stage big Islamabad rally

Thousands of Pakistanis from religious and hardline groups have taken part in a rally in the capital, Islamabad.

Protesters at the Defence of Pakistan gathering chanted anti-American slogans.

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#7 — CNN | The other foreclosure settlement: Millions of homeowners eligible

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Millions of borrowers who suffered financial losses because their mortgage lenders played fast and loose while processing their foreclosures now have two ways of getting a payback.

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#8 — Fox | Domestic production eyed as gas prices head toward record-breaking height

President Obama’s re-elect team defended White House energy policy on Sunday as gas prices shoot toward the $4 mark and beyond, a level that could devastate voters’ pocketbooks as well as Obama’s chances for a second term.

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#9 — DM | Wild and woolly, the European bison thriving after being re-introduced to BRITAIN

Deep in the forest, the thunder of mighty hooves announced a momentous arrival. Woolly bison, the largest European land mammal, are back in Britain.

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#10 — Telegraph | Angela Merkel forced to back consensus candidate for German presidency

Chancellor Angela Merkel bowed to pressure and threw her weight behind a popular former East German rights activist for the German presidency, despite opposing him less than two years ago.

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