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School security gets close look

Two of the 26 people killed in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting had links to Canada.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, lived most of her young life in Winnipeg, while the father of teacher Lauren Rousseau, 30, was born in Quebec.

"The thoughts and prayers of Canadians are with the students and families affected by this senseless violence," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

A candlelight vigil was held outside of the University of Winnipeg to honor Ana, who moved to Connecticut last summer.

"As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise," said her father, jazz musician Jimmy Greene.

He left his job at the Manitoba university to return to his home state to teach at Western Connecticut State University.

Rousseau's relatives in Quebec were grieving while denouncing U.S. gun laws.

"It's revolting how easy it is to obtain firearms — that's what's so infuriating," said the victim's uncle, Francois Rousseau.

Her father, Gilles Rousseau, said he was advised not to view his daughter's body and was told the gunshots were so powerful they blasted through a wall and into her car outside.

The incident has prompted a review of security at Canadian schools, with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty saying his government will spend $10 million to equip schools to begin a "locked-door" policy by next September.

It has been a hot year with flooding, too

While the weather outside might be getting frightful with the arrival of winter, Environment Canada says this year was a hot, hot, hot one.

"Winter was canceled and summer seemed to go on very long to be one of the hottest on record," said senior climatologist David Phillips.

January through November was the fourth warmest since 1948 and July through September was the hottest in 65 years.

Also noted was the highly active hurricane season with the remnants of Hurricane Sandy causing two deaths and $100 million in property damage.

There was also British Columbia's massive flooding that swept away bridges, damaged roads and triggered a landslide near Johnson's Landing, killing four people.

Other major weather events were a damaging hailstorm in Calgary and flooding caused by an ice jam on New Brunswick's St. John River.

News in brief

• A penny saved is a penny earned but Canada's move to end production of the lowly coin could cost $38.3 million, the Finance Department said. That is to cover the costs of redeeming existing pennies and operational costs to eliminate them. Canada will no longer distribute pennies after March 4 to save about $11 million annually in production costs.

• Canada will see job cuts as General Motors moves the production of its sporty Camaro to Lansing, Mich., from Oshawa, Ontario. GM said the move for the 2015 model year is due to "lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies." UAW officials said it could result in the loss of 2,000 jobs at the plant that also builds the Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar is lower at $1.0065 in U.S. funds while the U.S. dollar returns 99.35 cents Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,409 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,179 points on Friday.

Lotto 6-49: (Dec. 19) 1, 13, 16, 30, 33 and 48; bonus 49. (Dec. 15) 11, 22, 36, 37, 43 and 48; bonus 7. Lotto Max: (Dec. 14) 3, 6, 10, 33, 39, 48 and 49; bonus 18.

Regional briefs

• Officials of Cypress Mountain ski area in West Vancouver say they plan to bill a "reckless" snowboarder $10,000 to cover the cost of his rescue. "I feel so bad for the rescuers and the army risking their lives trying to save me," said Sebastien Boucher, 33. He was lost for three days after going in a dangerous out-of-bounds area.

• Power was cut to thousands of people by snowstorms and freezing rain. A storm on Wednesday blanketed parts of Quebec and southern New Brunswick with up to 20 inches of snow. On Monday, several people were injured in a 40-vehicle pileup on icy Highway 40, west of Quebec City.

• About 7 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in Vancouver and area on Wednesday, cutting power to 10,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island and snarling traffic.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

School security gets close look 12/22/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 22, 2012 3:31am]
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