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Voting Day Signs in Ontario, 2011. Image: knehcsg.
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The Robo-Call Scandal Continues

The robo-call scandal is not going away. In fact, it’s getting bigger.

During the last federal election, many Canadian voters said they received automatic voice-mail messages (robo-calls) directing them to the wrong polling station.

CBC News is reporting that they have found voters across Canada who say they got misleading robo-call messages because they were not voting for the Conservative Party.

In other words, according to CBC News, people who weren’t voting Conservative were called and directed to the wrong polling station. (If people can’t find their polling station – the place where they vote – then they may not be able to vote, or they may decide it’s too much of a hassle to find the right polling station.)

This points the finger for the robo-calls at the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Bob Rae. Image taken on January 11, 2007 by Will Pate.
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Two Canadian Political Parties In Hot Water Over Use Of Technology

During elections, people often get a recorded message on their telephone that reminds them to vote and tells them where to go, to vote.

These messages, which use pre-recorded voices, are known as robo-calls.

Canada’s federal Conservative party is being accused of using robo-calls to mislead the public, during last year’s election.

The RCMP and Elections Canada (the group that makes the rules for elections), are looking into accusations that some robo-calls steered voters to the wrong polling station, or to polling stations that didn’t even exist, which would be illegal.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he doesn’t know anything about the illegal robo-calls.

The Flag of Scotland. Image: Kbolino
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Scotland May Hold Independence Referendum

For the first time in three centuries, the united part of the United Kingdom may be in trouble.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), the party that runs Scotland day-to-day, is urging the Scottish people to support independence from Britain. However it still wants to keep the Queen as official leader.

Last week, British Prime Minister Gordon Cameron went to Scotland to argue that Scotland should not separate from Great Britain.

Scotland and England have been together since 1707 when the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed under the rule of the British. Ireland and Wales were already under British rule at that time.

The Flag of Greece emblazoned across the nation.
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Greece To Get New €130B Bailout

Greece was in trouble because it took on too much debt.

But other countries have agreed to help Greece by lending the country more than 130-billion euros. Euros (€) are the units of money used in 17 countries in Europe including Greece, France and Germany.

The countries that have agreed to bail Greece out of its money problems are demanding something in return. They are insisting that the government of Greece spend less.

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Do You Want to Buy A Piece Of Facebook?

Facebook is the most popular “social networking” website in the world and it may be for sale soon. Or at least part of it.

A “social networking” website is one that lets people meet and chat with each other—not face-to-face, but over the Internet. Facebook and Twitter are two popular social networking websites.

Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook with some university friends in 2004. Recently, he decided to “go public” with Facebook. In this case, that means people he doesn’t even know will be allowed to buy a share (part) of the company.

Right now, Facebook is privately owned by some individuals and companies. Zuckerberg himself owns 24 per cent or almost one-quarter of Facebook–the largest portion.

When a company “goes public,” it is given a value (for instance, Facebook is said to be worth $100-billion) and that value is divided into “shares.” Those shares, which each represent a tiny piece of the value of the company, are then offered for sale.

A Map Showing the Location of Attawapiskat, a Community on Attawapiskat River in Northern Ontario, Canada. Image: NormanEinstein
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Attawapiskat Residents Getting Some New Homes

Some Attawapiskat residents will soon be moving into new “modular” homes.

Attawapiskat is a remote community in northern Ontario. Last year, the government there declared a state of emergency because residents were living in conditions that were very unsafe.

Canada’s government promised to help fix the housing problems in Attawapiskat.

The first modular home has reached the first nations community, and the second is on its way.

The cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, sinks after running aground: Image Rvongher
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Cruise Ship Runs Aground In Italy

It began like any other cruise, with more than 4,200 people aboard the Costa Concordia.

However, the scene became tragic on Saturday as the massive ship ran aground a few hundred metres off the tiny island of Giglio near Tuscany, Italy.

Rocks tore a 50-metre gash down one side of the hull and the ship took on water.

By Sunday morning five people were dead and 10 unaccounted for. Two of the victims were French and one was from Peru. Another 30 people were hurt; two people were seriously injured.

Others on board were from Italy, Germany, France and Britain. There were 1,000 crew members on board.

Xenia Benivolski (l) and Stephanie Guthrie help two kids who have come to make a donation to help Attawapiskat. Image: Joyce Grant
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From Our Homes To Theirs – Responding To Attawapiskat

When Xenia Benivolski heard about the problems in Attawapiskat, she wanted to do something to help.

The people in the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat are living in terrible housing conditions, often without heat or running water.

Temperatures there drop to -20C at night.

The community has declared a “state of emergency.”

Benivolski set up a Facebook page, asking people to donate items to help the community.

“Then people started Tweeting it… and it just kind of snowballed,” says Stephanie Guthrie, a friend who is helping with the drive. “You see something (like this) happening and you just can’t not do anything.”

Six people live in this shed in Attawapiskat.
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Attawapiskat: Canada’s “Fourth-World” Community

Nearly a month ago, the northern Canadian First Nations community Attawapiskat declared itself to be in a “state of emergency.”

This week, as winter sets in and snow is on the ground in the remote community, they are finally getting some attention–and some help.

In Canada, a state of emergency is normally declared when something terrible happens to a place, such as an earthquake, flood or large fire.

It’s a signal to the country’s government that “we need help, immediately.”

In this case, the state of emergency is that the people of Attawapiskat, in northern Ontario are living in conditions that are worse than those in many third-world countries.

One reporter described going to Attawapiskat as, “like stepping into the fourth world.”