• President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised bipartisan efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration laws, welcoming "a genuine desire" to tackle a snarled system that has been stalled for almost two decades. (Jan. 29)They like him, they really like him. It seems the American public is more fond of President Barack Obama than the NRA would wish them to be.

    A new poll released by the Washington Post has found that Obama is riding a wave of popularity early in his second term.

    A full 60 per cent of Americans have a favourable opinion of Obama — the highest rating since his very first year in office.

    Keep in mind that the last time Obama won an election he reached 68 per cent popularity, so there is that.

    [ Related: Grieving Newtown father jeered by pro-gun activists ]

    Is this a sign that the U.S. is tilting liberal? After all, the rise in popularity comes as Obama chases more liberal-based goals, including gun control measures and immigration reform. He held the line against Republicans on the fiscal cliff.

    Maybe. After all, as Obama's numbers went up, ratings for Fox News went down.

    The Huffington Post points out that Fox News had in January its worst prime time rating since 2001.

    To be fair, the

    Read More »from U.S. President Barack Obama’s popularity hits three-year high
  • Canada's NEOSSat will be able to observe and anticipate threats to the Earth from space.

    It’s no bigger than a suitcase but it could save our lives some day.

    Canada’s Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, scheduled to launch from India next month, will hunt for asteroids that could strike Earth. NEOSSat will also act something like a traffic guard, monitoring the orbit of other satellites to prevent collisions with space junk and debris in an increasingly crowded sky.

    However, NEOSSat's launch has been delayed several times and the Canadian Space Agency has recently faced budget cuts to funding that was already limited.

    William Harvey, project manager with the Canadian Space Agency, spoke to Yahoo! Canada News about what NEOSSat means for Canadian space research and the challenges of developing groundbreaking technology on a tight budget. This is a condensed version of that conversation.

    Yahoo! Canada News: What is the benefit of being able to track asteroids and other space objects?

    William Harvey: The near-earth asteroids are ones that orbit around the sun much

    Read More »from Yahoo! Exclusive: CSA’s William Harvey outlines role of Canada’s asteroid-hunting satellite
  • Bodyguard ordered deported

    The former bodyguard of dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi's adult son has been ordered deported from Canada for alleged complicity in war crimes, but don't expect him to be on a plane any time soon.

    Australian Gary Peters promises to appeal an Immigration and Refugee Board decision Tuesday that implicated Peters in crimes against humanity, and that he helped Saadi Gaddafi get out of Libya in 2011 after his father was deposed and summarily executed by revolutionaries.

    "Everything I have is here and I still believe I’ve broken no laws at all," Peters said, according to the National Post.

    Peters, who runs a private security firm in Cambridge, Ont., said he believed authorities had targeted him simply because of his longtime association with Gadhafi.

    “That’s a pretty lame excuse to kick somebody out of the country," he said.

    Peters, 49, guarded Saadi Gadhafi for about a decade. After demonstrations against Gadhafi's father mushroomed into armed rebellion

    Read More »from Saadi Gadhafi’s bodyguard battling deportation CBSA ties him to fallen Libyan regime’s atrocities
  • An artist's rendition of the proposed GTA Centre in Markham, Ont.You would think a plan to build an NHL-ready arena in a Canadian city would have full backing from the public, but that does not seem to be the case in Markham, Ont., where a long list of residents wanting to discuss the matter stretched a meeting well past midnight.

    Markham, which sits just north of Toronto, is in the final stages of a plan that would build a 20,000-seat stadium that could, someday perhaps, house a premier hockey franchise.

    But questions over how that project will be paid for have divided city council and threw the arena’s fate into question.

    CBC News reports that Markham councillors voted early Wednesday morning to continue with the plan to build that arena using, in part, money collected through a controversial levy. The National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald wrote that council faced “several hours of often strenuous opposition from residents.”

    [ Related: Markham approves funding deal for NHL-size arena ]

    Here's the breakdown on this, admittedly beautiful,

    Read More »from Markham council votes to build NHL-style arena in epic public meeting
  • We had a term for it when I worked summer construction jobs while going to university; dogging it, though that's the printable version of what it actually was, involving sexual congress with said dog.

    It meant sneaking an extra five minutes on your lunch break or taking your time when bringing the truck back from a job site. It earned you a sharp rebuke from the foreman: "Hey, quit [doing something unspeakable to] the dog and go help unload that rebar!"

    But some Hamilton, Ont., municipal workers raised dogging it to a fine art until an elaborate spy operation uncovered it and got them fired.

    According to the National Post, 29 unionized employees involved in road patching work were dismissed and two more suspended without pay after private investigators exposed not just major-league slacking but possibly illegal use of city asphalt.

    The Post reported city crews would leave Hamilton's public works yard with a load of fresh hot asphalt and a list of potholes to be patched.


    Read More »from City of Hamilton fires workers who allegedly ran errands instead of fixing potholes
  • A powerful ally of U.S. President Barack Obama is pressuring a Canadian-owned bank to quit lending money to a leading gunmaker.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff for most of Obama's first term, wrote to the American subsidiary of TD Bank asking it cut off historic manufacturer Smith & Wesson because it doesn't back Obama Administration's gun-control push.

    Chicago mayor asks banks to pressure gun makersDid Rahm Emanuel cross legal line?

    “TD Bank currently aids the gun manufacturing industry through a $60-million revolving line of credit with Smith & Wesson, a gun manufacturer that produces the AR-15 — an assault weapon that was used by James Holmes to kill 12 people and wound 58 in a crowded movie theatre in Aurora [Colo.],” Emanuel’s letter to TD CEO Bharat Masrani states, according to Postmedia News.

    “I ask you to use your influence to push this company to find common ground with the vast majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban and

    Read More »from Chicago mayor urges TD Bank to stop funding gunmakers
  • Malian soldiers are stationed at the entrance of of Gao, Northern Mali, Monday Jan. 28, 2013. French and Malian troops held a strategic bridge and the airport in the northern town of Gao on Sunday as their force also pressed toward Timbuktu, another stronghold of Islamic extremists in northern Mali, officials said. The sign , a reminder of Islamic extremists, reads " Al Hesbah, together for the pleasure of God almighty and the struggle against sins."(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)When the Conservative government announced that it would lend a RCAF C-17 cargo jet to the battle against Islamic extremists in Mali, the immediate concern was that “mission creep” would end up dragging our military into the fight with both feet.

    Those fears were compounded when that aircraft’s mission was extended. It continues to provide the French military with non-combat support, such as transporting equipment. What will follow, critics asked? Some fear the answer will be soldiers.

    Boots on the ground.

    There are still no Canadian soldiers engaged in battle, but the Globe and Mail reports that a team of special forces soldiers has been deployed in the Malian capital of Bamako, where Canada has diplomats and business interests.

    [Pulse of Canada: Should Canada get involved in the Mali conflict? ]

    This isn’t an about-face for the government, which still won’t directly confirm the existence of the special forces troops. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he would support allies but

    Read More »from Do Canadian special forces soldiers in Mali mean we are going to war?
  • Premier Alison Redford says the province faces some 'significant deficit issues.' When it comes to government spending, there is no accounting for timing.

    An announcement that infrastructure spending will be cut could receive cheers or jeers, depending on how many highways collapsed that week.

    A decision to spend $275 million to renovate an office building could be met with a shrug in good times, or with outrage in bad.

    In oil-rich Alberta, the timing is bad.

    Postmedia News reports that tenders have gone out for the massive remodeling of an environmentally friendly office for MLAs and bureaucrats.

    [ Related: Redford vows no tax increase, hints at doctor pay cuts ]

    Critics are blasting Premier Alison Redford over the renovations, which come as she preaches the need for fiscal austerity. The province, which still doesn’t have a provincial sales tax, is facing its sixth consecutive deficit.

    Said Wildrose critic Rob Anderson:

    This is the type of complete fiscal ignorance that has got us into the hole that we’re in right now — this inability to put needs before wants.

    Read More »from Bad time for Alberta to spend $275 million on building renovation
  • Neil Heslin's six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was one of the victims of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Monday he asked Connecticut lawmakers for tougher restrictions on guns. (Jan. 28)A warning for gun advocates in the U.S.: the best way to show you are not a gang of bullies is not by heckling the grieving father of a dead six-year-old boy.

    Neil Heslin, whose son was shot dead in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, was among some 1,500 people who appeared at the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group to discuss his stance on gun control.

    Considering his son was gunned down by a man with a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle, he had some strong feelings on the topic.

    Heslin asked lawmakers to improve mental health regulations and ban assault weapons.

    [ Related: Biden's recent meetings stoke chatter on 2016 White House bid ]

    According to the Connecticut Post, a dozen gun enthusiasts jeered the father, shouting "Second Amendment" as he spoke.

    The Second Amendment is the “right to bear arms” section of the United States Bill of Rights that pro-gun activists claim lets them own killing machines capable of decimating a room full of children in a

    Read More »from Grieving Newtown father jeered by pro-gun activists
  • Nice hat, buddy. A bull elephant seal wears a tracking tag glued to its fur. (LiveScience)A Ukrainian teenager is the toast of marine researchers half a world away after apparently witnessing something scientists have never seen — an elephant seal devouring a slimy hagfish almost 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.

    Kirill Dudko, a 14-year-old deep-sea biology nut, lives in the city of Donetsk. He was monitoring a live stream of undersea cameras when he spotted the seal in Barkley Canyon, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, making a meal of the unappetizing hagfish. It's thought to be shunned by predators because of the slimy mucus they exude. The fish, sometimes called slime eels, have existed largely unchanged for 300 million years.

    But Dudko spotted the nose of an elephant seal slurping up the hagfish like a fugitive piece of fettuccine.

    In a YouTube video of the Jan. 12 incident, Steven Mihaly, a staff scientist with Ocean Networks Canada, said the images confirmed for the first time speculation on how deep an elephant seal could dive.

    Dudko emailed Neptune

    Read More »from Teen marine-biology buff makes discovery via undersea webcam off B.C. coast


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