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Canada news: Fatal bus-train wreck under investigation

Investigators are trying to determine why a packed Ottawa transit bus crashed into the side of a train, killing six people.

Passengers were yelling at bus driver Dave Woodard, 45, who was one of those killed, to stop when they saw a Via Rail passenger train approaching on Wednesday morning.

The double-decker OC Transpo bus smashed through the lowered crossing gates with its warning lights flashing and into the train.

The Via Rail passenger train en route to Toronto was approaching the Fallowfield station in Canada's capital city.

Along with those killed on the bus, 34 were injured when its front end was ripped off by the train. No one on the train was injured. Transportation Safety Board investigators recovered data recorders from the bus and locomotive but haven't commented on what might have happened.

Woodard had worked for the city's transit service for about 10 years and had a party the night before for his wife, Terry, on her 50th birthday.

Also killed were Michael Bleakney, 57; Connor Boyd, 21; Karen Krzyzewski, 53; Rob More, 35; and Kyle Nash, 21.

Senator repays travel expenses, keeps job

Sen. Pamela Wallin has repaid $100,600 plus interest to the federal government for what were called improper travel expense claims.

While objecting to the independent auditing process, Wallin paid back the money as ordered along with $38,369 paid earlier.

"I was not treated fairly … unfortunately the Senate committee succumbed to a lynch mob mentality," she said, adding that she will not resign.

Mac Harb quit the Senate and repaid $231,000 in living expenses; Sen. Mike Duffy repaid $90,000 in expenses; and Sen. Patrick Brazeau's wages are being garnisheed to recover $48,000 in expenses.

News in brief

• Kathy Wikkerink, co-owner of Gort's Gouda Cheese farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, made a tearful apology after bacteria contamination was linked to one death and the illness of 11 people. "We are so sorry and we are trying to get to the source of the E. coli," she said. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled raw milk cheese products made at the farm.

• Ford is investing $700 million at its Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant and increasing its spending on Canadian-made parts. The investment will secure more than 2,800 jobs at the Toronto-area plant that makes the Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT, with several new models to be added.

Facts and figures

Canada's annual inflation rate slowed to 1.1 percent last month as higher housing costs were offset by lower mortgage interest rates.

The Canadian dollar was higher Friday at 97.17 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar was valued at $1.0291 in Canadian funds, 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 have advanced, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,873 points and the TSX Venture index 951 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Sept. 18) 13, 22, 23, 31, 35 and 45; bonus 33. (Sept. 14) 6, 26, 41, 42, 47 and 48; bonus 31. Lotto Max: (Sept. 13) 6, 12, 15, 16, 22 and 49; bonus 46.

Regional briefs

• Nova Scotia residents will elect a new provincial government on Oct. 8 four years after voting for its first socialist New Democratic rule under Premier Darrell Dexter. Polls show the Liberals with a lead at 41 percent in popular support, followed by the New Democrats at 31 and the Conservatives with 25 percent.

• Allyson McConnell, convicted of drowning her two young sons in 2010 in Alberta over a custody dispute with her ex-husband, has been found dead in Australia. Authorities believe the woman, who was 35, jumped to her death from a bridge in Gosford. McConnell was deported to Australia, her home country, after 15 months in a Canadian psychiatric hospital.

• Dr. Donald Low, one of Canada's leading infectious disease experts who was a key figure in the battle against SARS, has died at age 68 of a brain tumor. Also a global expert on flesh-eating disease, the native of Winnipeg who lived in Toronto is credited with advancing microbiology and infectious disease research across Canada.

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

Canada news: Fatal bus-train wreck under investigation 09/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 6:11pm]

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