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Separatists' fervor subsides in Quebec
Secure in its Frenchness, province more inclined to stay part of Canada

By Phil Couvrette / Associated Press

MONTREAL -- There was a time in the 1990s when Quebec's language war got so nasty that the anthem couldn't be sung at ball games, so loudly would the French-speaking fans boo the English-language version.
Nowadays, the fans just wait good-naturedly for the game to start.

The relaxed atmosphere is just one manifestation of what looks like a different Quebec, secure in its Frenchness and less anxious to break free of the Canadian embrace. The long struggle that at one point descended into terrorism, threatened to tear Canada apart and dragged Quebec through two divisive referendums on sovereignty, seems to have been put on the backburner.

One piece of evidence is the skyrocketing fortunes of a 32-year-old legislator named Mario Dumont. Preaching lower taxes, spending cuts and private health care, he is the very model of a modern mold-breaker. Most significant, however, is his insistence that Quebec sovereignty, while not a dead issue, is not a priority.

His party, Action Democratique du Quebec, started the year with one seat in the 125-member provincial legislature, and now has five, having unseated representatives of the ruling -- and separatist -- Parti Quebecois, in one special election after another. Dumont's party leads the opinion polls, and some analysts can imagine it being strong enough to take power by the time provincial elections roll around next year.

Sovereignty issue not dead

The reasons behind the truce over separatism are many: a feeling that the language battle has been largely won; the autonomous powers that give Quebec significant control of taxes, education and immigration policies; the sense that in a wired and globalizing world, issues of sovereignty suddenly seem narrower.

Indeed, some now worry that in a world that increasingly relies on English, Quebecois who don't speak the language will be at a disadvantage.

Premier Bernard Landry has insisted the next election will also be about sovereignty, that his Parti Quebecois will stick to its goal even if it loses votes, and that "there's no question of deviating from this objective for any short-term political rationale."

The Parti Quebecois has been in power for two terms, and that confronts it with another challenge: No party has won a Quebec provincial election three times in a row since the 1950s.

Another newly elected legislator for Action Democratique du Quebec is Francois Corriveau, who is the same age as Dumont. He voted for Quebec sovereignty in the last referendum, in 1995, but now calls for new thinking.
"People in their 30s have lived through all the disappointments of the last 20 years," he says. "We want an end to the quarrels with the federal government."

As a child, Louis Balthazar felt alienated as a French speaker. Store clerks served him in English, movies were in English, people on the streets spoke English.
Now, strolling down Boulevard Rene-Levesque (formerly Dorchester Street) one feels the changes of the past decades: people chatting mostly in French, ordering meals from French menus, renting the latest French movies from video stores.

The French language, cuisine and fashion feel as organic to Montreal as they do to Paris. The bars stay open later and the corner groceries sell wine, much to the delight of visiting teens from the more buttoned-up neighboring province, Ontario.

To Balthazar, a semi-retired political science professor at Laval University, the triumph of French has made the Parti Quebecois "a spent force." The 7.4 million people of Quebec "have a very strong identity and want to be respected," he said in an interview. "But they also want to be part of Canada."

Quebec always contentious

Quebec, well over twice the size of Texas with one-third of the population, has always been a contentious subject: in the 1760s, when the British completed their takeover of what was then called New France; in 1867, when the country of Canada was formed as a dominion under Queen Victoria, and a century later, when French President Charles de Gaulle visited Montreal and electrified the Quebecois with his cry of "Vive le Quebec libre!" -- long live free Quebec.

But try as they might, the separatists have failed in two referendums to muster a majority for independence, even though they have couched their goal in terms of remaining in some form of association with Canada's other nine provinces and three territories.

Quebec's separateness is reflected in many critical ways: Its legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code, while the rest of Canada follows English common law. It raises its own income tax. It sets its own immigration rules, geared to attract French-speakers. And it has a law favoring French over English.

Yet it remains sufficiently embedded in Canada to have produced the three dominant national figures of the past 30 years -- Prime Ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, and the present one, Jean Chretien.

Levesque's reign

The struggle over Quebec's future began to sharpen in the late 1960s, when the Parti Quebecois was formed under the leadership of a TV commentator-turned-politician named Rene Levesque, who would go on to rule the province for nine years.

Things reached their low point in 1970 when a shadowy militant group called the Quebec Liberation Front, demanding "total independence," kidnapped and killed Quebec's labor minister, and separately abducted but freed a British diplomat.

In 1977 came the Charter of the French Language, banning the display of signs in English, with language police to enforce the new rules. An exodus of English-speakers followed. The English-speaking population of Quebec, which had been 13.1 percent in 1971, would dwindle to 8.8 percent over the next 25 years.
In 1980, Levesque held the referendum he had promised, but didn't get what he hoped for; Quebec voted 3-2 to stay in Canada.

Fifteen years later, another referendum dealt the separatists a hair's-breadth defeat. Today, sensing that voters are tired of the subject, the up-and-coming Dumont scores points by promising no more referendums for at least five years.

Legal challenges to the constitutionality of the language laws have resulted in compromises whereby bilingual signs are permitted, as long as the French lettering is larger.

James Berlyn is a teacher of children with disabilities and a fourth-generation Scottish-Quebecois-Canadian. He says a half-dozen of his friends moved out in the early 1980s, but nowadays he feels no pressure. "I know just a little French, and it hasn't kept me from working here," he says.

Eardley Dowling is an English-speaking real estate agent living among French-speakers. He also sees a decline in separatist fervor, but still considers the subject too touchy to raise with his neighbors. "That would be explosive," he says. "That would mean the end of the friendship."

Language question persists

Indeed, the sovereignty issue may be on ice, but the language question still flares up regularly.

Three Montreal outlets of "Second Cup," a Canadian coffee shop chain, were fire-bombed in October 2000. A group calling itself the French Self-Defense Brigade claimed responsibility.

But as Lucien Bouchard, Quebec's premier at the time, explained, the law exempts trademarks. A company can't be forced to change its name in order to operate in Quebec, he said. "Wal-Marts exist, Toys R Us exist, and that has not provoked an outcry."

Still, the government remains vigilant. A new law is being enacted to impose more French in the workplace, and lately Quebec Web sites with insufficient French content have been getting warnings. But the number of complaints overall is falling, according to the government's French language office -- 1,686 complaints of non-compliance in 1998-99, but only 992 the following year. The office says this is mainly because companies have learned the signboarding rules.

Language spats still can quickly become causes celebres, as Formula One racer Jacques Villeneuve, a Quebec man, discovered last year when he opened a Montreal nightclub called Newtown, the English translation of his name.

Although the name is legally trademarked, it provoked a dozen complaints to the language office. "You have to see further than your nose," Villeneuve protested at a news conference. "It's a big world. I grew up a lot of the time in Switzerland, where people speak three or four languages and no one gets angry at each other."

Benoit Gignac, son of the beloved Quebec singer Fernand Gignac, told the Montreal Gazette last month that he no longer fears for the French language. "I think the battles we led in the 1960s and 1970s for the French language were extremely salutary," he said. "What has been accomplished is pretty irreversible in the end. The confidence we have gained, we will never lose."

But one campaigner for sovereignty says the battle isn't over. She fears Quebec's low birth rate threatens its culture. Young Quebecois are spoiled, she says; they have never known the humiliation of shopping at an English-owned department store and being snapped at by a sales clerk for speaking French.

In her 60s and doing charity work, she blames past referendum defeats on scare tactics by the federal government. She remembers being warned that if Quebec went independent, the Canadian dollar would weaken to 75 cents to the U.S. dollar. Quebec is still in Canada but the dollar today is down to 66 cents.
Balthazar, the political scientist, cautions against writing off the sovereignty issue.

Dumont, he says, is in tune with the current mood of putting the issue aside but not writing it off. "He keeps sovereignty in his pocket just in case. That's how we have accomplished things and won battles -- by keeping the threat of separation as an option."

Major events in Quebec history

1763: Britain completes its conquest of the French territories of Canada.
1867: British North America Act establishes Canada as a British dominion, gives French and English languages equal status in federal and Quebec parliaments.
1960: Jean Lesage is elected premier of Quebec and adopts a policy called "the Quiet Revolution," seeking cultural and social reform, and autonomy for the province.
1967: Quebec nationalists get a historic boost -- and federal government is infuriated -- when French President Charles de Gaulle, visiting Canada, declares to a crowd in Montreal: "Vive le Quebec libre!" -- long live free Quebec.
1968: Creation of the Parti Quebecois, which absorbs the small independence movements, setting the stage for concerted drive for sovereignty and Canada's prolonged constitutional crisis.
1969: French is made Canada's other official language.
1970: The militant Quebec Liberation Front kidnaps British diplomat James Cross and then Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte, demanding independence. Laporte is found dead; Cross is freed.
1976: Parti Quebecois led by Rene Levesque wins Quebec provincial election, promises to hold a referendum on a plan whereby Quebec would have sovereignty but remain associated with Canada.
1977: Bill 101, Charter of the French Language, becomes Quebec law, with sweeping bans on the use of English. The move triggers an exodus of English-speakers, mostly to neighboring Ontario.
1980: Separatists lose a referendum, with 60 percent voting to stay in Canada.
1990: The Meech Lake Accord, designed to regulate the relationship among the provinces and perhaps settle the Quebec issue for good, collapses after Manitoba and Newfoundland legislatures vote it down.
1995: Federalists again defeat separatists in a Quebec referendum, taking 51 percent of vote.
2001: Lucien Bouchard resigns as Quebec premier, acknowledging failure to rekindle Quebec people's passion for sovereignty.

Filed Sunday, July 21, 2002
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Long trial predicted for "Mafiaboy' hacker
By Phil Couvrette
The Associated Press
Dec. 8, 2000

MONTREAL (AP) _ The trial of a 16-year-old computer hacker accused of paralyzing major Web sites of CNN, Yahoo! and in February could last six months because of the technical evidence, his lawyer said Friday.

At a court hearing for the suspect, who cannot be named under Canadian law but is known by his computer nickname Mafiaboy, Judge Gilles Ouellette scheduled another hearing for Dec. 13 on whether a pre-conference meeting should take place to speed up the process.

The youth stood with his hands cuffed behind his back throughout Friday's 15-minute court appearance. He wore a black T-shirt adorned with a dragon draped in a U.S. flag and said nothing.

Police rearrested the youth on Dec. 1 for violating conditions of his release from custody after being charged in April with more than 60 counts of computer hacking and mischief. He has pleaded innocent to the charges, which involve the temporary disabling of Web sites by bombarding them with messages.

If convicted, he could spend up to two years in a juvenile detention center. An adult convicted of the same charges would face up to 10 years in prison.

After his initial arrest, the youth was allowed to live at home under strict conditions that included staying away from computers, attending school and keeping out of trouble.

He was taken back into custody for being suspended from school, cutting classes, arguing with teachers and other disciplinary problems.

His lawyer, Yan Romanowski, said Friday the stress of the criminal case was a factor in the youth's problems at school.

He said he would file an appeal to the youth's continued detention next week. The trial would last from three to six months, Romanowski said, because "it will be very technical, there will be many witnesses in a field which is very technical."

The hacking case in February raised concern worldwide about the vulnerability of major Web sites as dependence on the Internet for communication and commerce increases.

Police say Mafiaboy crippled the Web sites by bombarding them with thousands of simultaneous messages. Prosecutors also allege he broke into several computers, mostly at U.S. universities, and used them to launch the attack against the Web sites.

Proposed Montreal Merger Unites City
By Phil Couvrette
The Associated Press
Dec. 12, 2000

MONTREAL (AP) _ In the heart of an often uneasy bilingual city, French and English speakers are fighting fiercely for their turf - but not against each other

They are united against a plan to merge their 26 communities - which are in the middle of the city on Montreal Island but have their own governments - with the rest of Montreal.

An estimated 70,000 sign-waving, chanting people _ some bused in from other parts of Quebec and even Ontario _ clogged downtown streets on Sunday in a show of force against a proposed provincial law that would permit such municipal amalgamation.

``Hands off our city" read signs, in French and English in the world's second-largest French-speaking city, as whistles screeched and parka-clad protesters marched. Some carried upside down Quebec flags, a dig at the separatist provincial government that is pushing the plan.  

Demonstrators expressed a range of reasons for braving the freezing temperatures, all based on the same basic concern _ a loss of autonomy. Municipalities dating back more than a century would disappear administratively, making beloved town crests and flags obsolete, while local services such as trash collection would come under the bigger and presumably less efficient Montreal administration.

"I've never demonstrated about anything in my life, but I have a personal attachment to my city," said Annie Drolet of Outremont, considered the home of much of Montreal's French-speaking intelligentsia. "My parents have always lived here, and I know that if I want something done I can just walk up to town hall and be heard."

Other cited what they called a heavy-handed approach by the provincial government.

``I'm not here against forced mergers but in favor of democracy," said Jean-Francois Laforge of Sainte Foy, who accused authorities of acting without consulting the people. ``I would have preferred to have stayed at home playing with my kids than to come freeze myself here. But after awhile we have to stand up and say society exists for individuals and not vice versa."

It was the largest demonstration since a 1995 anti-separatist rally a few days before the last referendum on Quebec sovereignty.

Jean Charest, who heads the Liberal Party in Quebec's provincial politics, organized the 1995 federalist rally and also was present on Sunday. He hopes the issue can help his Liberals topple the Parti Quebecois in the next provincial election, expected in 2002 or 2003.

"The government has no mandate to do this," Charest said. ``Why didn't they mention this during the last election?"

The mega-merger issue was considered one of several reasons that the separatist cause fared poorly in last month's national election won by the federal Liberal Party. The province's separatist party at the national level, the Bloc Quebecois, lost the popular vote in Quebec to Prime Minister Jean Chretien's Liberal Party and barely managed to match the Liberals' 38 Parliament seats.  

Under the plan, the 26 boroughs on Montreal Island, the heart of the city, would be merged into one administration. A final decision by the provincial legislature on the law enabling the consolidation was expected next week.

Similar plans also have begun for Quebec City and Hull, across the Ottawa River from the federal capital in neighboring Ontario.

The reasons are the same for any municipal merger _ streamlining levels of government to reduce costs and consolidate power. In Montreal, the amalgamation would increase the city's population by 500,000 to 1.8 million.

Mayor Pierre Bourque, who spent Sunday collecting signatures at town hall for a pro-merger petition, said the public feared change.

"They have privileges they're afraid to lose," he said of the protesters. "People always resist change. This is good in a way, it is democracy. People have to express themselves in the debate, but the government is right to do what it is doing."

Mary Deros, a member of the Montreal city government, recalled the bureaucratic walls she faced when she lived in Outremont on a street that forms the border with Montreal proper.

``An invisible barrier was set up where I could go to the swimming pools in Outremont but could not bring somebody who lived on the other side of the street," Deros said. "It's the best thing that could happen to Montreal, to unify everybody."

Split Among Quebec Separatists
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Dec. 21, 2000

MONTREAL (AP) _ A hardline separatist's comments criticizing Jews has revealed a political split in Quebec's governing Parti Quebecois, which wants sovereignty for the province.

Yves Michaud, 70, who wants to run as the party's candidate in a by-election next year in a francophone district of Montreal, was condemned by the provincial legislature last week for his statement on a radio show perceived as trivializing the Holocaust.

Michaud said on the program that Jews seemed to believe they were "the only people in the world to have suffered in the history of humankind." He also described a major Jewish organization as "anti-Quebecois."

His comments rekindled a sensitive issue in Quebec _ alleged intolerance by Quebec separatists for minority populations that tend to oppose sovereignty.

After the last failed sovereignty referendum in 1995, former premier Jacques Parizeau blamed the loss on ``money and the ethnic vote," a statement considered a major reason for his failure to retain his position.

Michaud's comments drew a quick condemnation from Premier Lucien Bouchard, the Parti Quebecois leader, who engineered the condemnation by the legislature and also said he would oppose having Michaud run as a party candidate.

"I don't believe you can make these remarks in any democracy, when we know what a genocide was," Bouchard said.

Allies of Michaud responded that a legislative rebuke was improper, as Michaud lacked membership in the chamber. Parizeau and other prominent sovereigntists took out a full-page newspaper ad to support Michaud, calling the assembly's motion ``a serious attack on the rights and liberties of citizens."

The dispute follows a poor showing by separatists in last month's federal election. The Bloc Quebecois, the national party representing the interests of Quebec separatists, lost six seats in the federal Parliament and finished second to the governing Liberal Party in the popular vote.

Bouchard has said he intended to hold another referendum before his term as Quebec premier expires in 2003, but the decision against pushing for a vote next year angered hardline separatists in the Parti Quebecois.

Another measure opposed by some separatists _ allowing for separate boroughs or municipalities in Montreal, Quebec City and Hull to be amalgamated into a single city administration _ was pushed through the legislature on Wednesday by Bouchard, who cut off debate.

Now what is being called the "Michaud affair" has hardline separatists questioning if Bouchard is too soft on the separation issue.

"I am asking myself serious questions right now about (Bouchard's) leadership," said Andre Reny, president of the Parti Quebecois association in the district where Michaud wants to represent the party.

Bouchard remains unmoved about any threat to his leadership by the dispute.

"Actually, I think I'm now fulfilling my duty as leader of this party," he said Wednesday. "What would we tell the world if a political party that carries the torch of Quebec sovereignty - that wants to build a democratic nation has, in its discourse, intolerance and attacks on ethnic citizens of Quebec?"

Quebec Premier Resigns
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001

QUEBEC Lucien Bouchard announced his resignation as Quebec premier Thursday, citing his inability to gain independence for Canada's Francophone province and amid impatience by hard-liners at his cautious approach.

Bouchard said he would remain in his post until a successor could be chosen. That was expected to take several weeks.

He made the announcement after holding emergency meetings of his Cabinet and the Parti Quebecois caucus in the Quebec legislature.

In his resignation statement, Bouchard, speaking in French, said his role as premier and Parti Quebecois leader was to bring sovereignty to the province.

"The results of my work are not very convincing," he said, later adding: "I assume all of the responsibility which is mine because I did not manage to relight the flame and to sensitize our citizens to the gravity of the situation."

A champion of the Quebec sovereignty cause who led the campaign that barely failed to win a 1995 referendum on the matter, Bouchard, 62, has faced heavy criticism from Parti Quebecois hard-liners who wanted him to push more strongly for holding another sovereignty vote.

While saying he wanted another sovereignty referendum before his term as premier expired in 2003, Bouchard also has repeatedly insisted that "winning conditions" must exist, including a stable provincial economy and strong public support.

With opinion polls showing dwindling support for another referendum, Bouchard decided to get out of politics to work privately and be with his wife and two young sons.

Bouchard lost a leg to flesh-eating disease in 1994, but his health was not considered a factor in his resignation.

Brian Tobin, the industry minister in Prime Minister Jean Chretien's federal government, said reduced support for the separatist Bloc Quebecois in the November national election might have played a role.

"I don't think it is realistic to believe the goal of sovereignty can be achieved in the next few years," Tobin said. "Does Mr. Bouchard's leaving reflect that reality? Perhaps."

Bouchard's spokeswoman, Christiane Miville-Deschenes, called the announcement "an emotional moment for everyone."

"There comes a time when every politician has to reflect on his future and he did that during the holidays," she said, adding that Bouchard informed colleagues of his decision last week.

Bouchard took over leadership of the Parti Quebecois shortly after separatist forces barely lost the 1995 sovereignty referendum. In 1998 provincial elections, the party held onto power despite winning only 43 percent of the popular vote, giving Bouchard a five-year term as premier.

His resignation leaves the Parti Quebecois in disarray, with no clear candidate to succeed one of the province's most popular politicians. It was unclear what effect the resignation would have on the separatist cause. Hard-liners angered by Bouchard's caution could rally around it as a victory for a more aggressive policy on sovereignty and protecting the French language.

In the national election in November, the Bloc Quebecois the separatist party in the federal government lost six seats from the 44 it held in the previous Parliament and finished second to the Liberal Party in the popular vote.

Bouchard angered Parti Quebecois hard-liners in December by announcing his government would not allocate funds for the sovereignty cause in 2001. That deepened a split in the Parti Quebecois that was further exacerbated when hard-line separatists rallied behind a potential party candidate who made controversial comments about Jews.

Yves Michaud, 70, said on a radio show in December that Jews seemed to believe they were "the only people in the world to have suffered in the history of humankind." He also described a major Jewish organization as "anti-Quebecois."

His comments rekindled a sensitive issue in Quebec alleged intolerance by separatists for minority populations who tend to oppose sovereignty.

Bouchard engineered a condemnation of the comments by the Quebec legislature and said he would oppose Michaud's running as a party candidate. That brought complaints from some hard-liners who have taken out full-page ads in Quebec newspapers criticizing the legislative rebuke against someone outside the chamber.

Computer Hacker Enters Guilty Plea
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2001

MONTREAL A teen-age computer hacker accused of crippling several major Internet sites including CNN, Yahoo and, pleaded guilty on Thursday to 56 charges of mischief.

The trial of the 16-year-old Montrealer known as "Mafiaboy" had been set to begin Thursday on 66 charges relating to attacks last year on major Web sites as well as security breaches of sites at institutions such as Yale and Harvard universities.

The court had just convened when prosecutor Louis Miville-Deschenes announced that the youth had pleaded guilty to most of the charges.

The youth, who cannot be identified under Canadian law, sat in silence while his attorney, Yan Romanowski, changed his plea on most of the charges. The plea avoids a trial that was expected to last three to six months. The other charges were withdrawn.

The teen-ager, who dropped out of high school after he was charged, was freed pending sentencing. In the meantime, he must stay away from computers, observe a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily curfew, and show up at his restaurant job.

The judge of Quebec youth court set April 17 and 18 for pre-sentence arguments on the penalty. The youngster faces a possible sentence of up to two years in juvenile detention.

The prosecutor, Miville-Deschenes, told reporters that wiretapped phone conversations and computer intercepts proved Mafiaboy's role "beyond a reasonable doubt."

"He bragged that the FBI was not even closing in and would never arrest him. He made it clear through his own conversations that he was responsible for the attacks," the prosecutor said.

The teen-ager was first arrested on two mischief charges last April after someone calling himself Mafiaboy crippled CNN's Web site last February.

Ten counts of mischief related to "denial-of-service" attacks on the Web sites, including those run by Yahoo! Inc., Inc., eBay Inc., and Dell Computer Corp. The sites were bombarded with thousands of simultaneous messages, which prevented legitimate users from accessing them.

The remaining charges dealt with hacking into computers, many of them located at U.S. universities.

In comments in court documents, Canadian police investigator Marc Gosselin acknowledged U.S. help in tracking down the hacker.

"The attacks occurred between Feb. 6 and 14 2000. We were informed and received an assistance request by the FBI on the 14th. Two days later we identified the residence at the source of the attacks," said Canadian investigator Marc Gosselin.

After his arrest in April, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno praised the joint U.S.-Canadian investigation that led to the arrest and called it a signal for hackers to beware.

The FBI said field offices in five U.S. cities are participated in the search for the suspect, and the agecy also contacted several known computer hackers, known by their online nicknames, about the attacks.
Authors Support 16-Year-Old Writer  
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2001

OTTAWA A 16-year-old boy expelled from school after he read a threatening story he wrote in class has become a symbol of free expression among Canada's literary community.

The case has attracted national attention, with heavy media coverage focusing on the month the boy spent in jail after he read his story about a bullied teen-ager who plans to blow up his school to his 11th grade classmates.

The teen, who cannot be identified under Canadian law, was released on $6,775 bail on condition he stay off the Internet, only go out with adult supervision and stay at least three miles from his former school.

Of four charges against the youth, only one involves the story he read in class, entitled "Twisted." The other three concern alleged threats he uttered to schoolmates.

Top authors Margaret Atwood ("The Handmaid's Tale"), Michael Ondaatje ("The English Patient") and others have rallied around the youth, appearing Sunday at a forum called "Artists for Freedom of Speech," in a show of support.

Atwood, Ondaatje and others called for vigilance in preventing repression of free speech.

Atwood gave the teen "First Words," a book of childhood writings from authors including Michael Crichton, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and John Updike. Inside she wrote, "Good luck."

"One thing writers do feel they know how to do is ... they know how to read and they know how to read between the lines," she said. "And reading between the lines of this story is quite another story. I think that is why we are here."

Another student from the youth's school, however, criticized the forum.

"The whole case has been blown out of proportion," said George Bonkowsky, 16, who attended as part of a three-member group calling themselves Voice of Reason. "Everybody's concentrating on the monologue. It should be about the alleged threats he made. They have been misinformed."

Originally, the boy was supposed to read "Twisted" at the gathering, but said he decided not to because of fear "it would inflame the situation."

The teen, who has a minor speech impediment, says he was bullied because of the way he spoke. He was reportedly attacked by at least five students shortly before he read "Twisted" in class.

"There's this boy who's been harassed and tortured all his life until he was at the brink of insanity and sanity," the story says, describing how the boy straps explosives to his body.

After he read it at Tagwi Secondary high school in Cornwall, Ontario, students began asking if he intended to do the same as the boy in the story, the teen said.

His teacher notified school authorities, and police arrested him before Christmas. He remained in jail for a month until bail was posted. Since the arrest, his 14-year-old brother has also been arrested on a charge of making threats.

Writers organizations say the case raises freedom of expression issues, and a criminal lawyer has agreed to represent the boy for free.

"As concerns over violence in our schools grows, we need to offer creative, nonviolent alternatives," said Sean Wilson, the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, which organized the forum. "I can't think of a healthier response to bullying than a short story."
Ondaatje told the audience of about 250 people that writing enabled him to escape a troubled childhood.

"I see myself as someone who was saved by writing," he said.

Another author, Tim Wynne-Jones, decided against appearing at the rally, calling the case "a lot more complex" than a freedom of expression issue.

The Ontario Secondary High School Teacher's Federation also criticized the event, saying the youth's teacher recognized his story "might represent more than just the true creativity of a student, but might in fact be a hidden cry for help."

Sacre Bleu! Habs Sold to American
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Jan. 31, 2001

MONTREAL First there was the death of Maurice Richard, the revered Rocket who epitomized the Francophone flavor and flair of the Montreal Canadiens.

Then came a second straight season out of the Stanley Cup playoffs for a team that has won hockey's top prize a record 24 times.

Now Montrealers face perhaps the cruelest blow, symbolizing all they dislike about the direction in which the NHL has taken Canada's national game as the 21st century dawns.

The sport's most storied franchise now belongs Sacre bleu! to an American.

Molson Inc. sold 80 percent of the club and all of the Molson Centre on Wednesday to Colorado businessman George Gillett for $183 million.

Brewery president and chief executive officer Daniel O'Neill assured local fans the team will stay in Montreal. But he also said no offers came from any Canadian company or individual.

Still, the mere thought of an American owner vexes the Canadiens' faithful, who have seen Les Habs become the Hab-Nots.

After another recent loss that kept the Canadiens in last place in their division, with fewer points than even the expansion Minnesota Wild, fans departing the Molson Centre grumbled about the inevitability of change.

Jean Lapierre, walking with his wife beneath the enormous poster of Rocket Richard who died last year on the side of the arena, described the dilemma: He wanted owners with money to build a championship team, but he didn't want them to be American.

"We're talking about the Mecca of hockey," he said. "But the team needs new star players."
Without any immediate hope for improvement, he said, he would cancel the season tickets he's held for 15 years.

"I would prefer a Canadian owner but it's all about the money now," said Joey Romano, another fan who wore a winter hat with a Canadiens' emblem on the front.

Romano acknowledged that NHL franchises based in Canada need help to keep up with U.S. adversaries.

"It's a competitive game now. The team could really use a tax break and owners ready to spend money," he said, conceding that such a combination seemed unlikely in Montreal.

The difficulties facing NHL franchises in Canada are well known, starting with contracts that require payment to players in much stronger U.S. dollars. That means every dollar of income generated by Canadian franchises in ticket sales, television rights and other sources is worth only two-thirds of each dollar paid in salaries to players.

Last year, the Canadian government announced a tax-relief plan for Canadian-based NHL franchises that required provincial and local authorities to also help out.

The plan collapsed within days, partly due to public opposition over spending tax money on millionaire hockey players and club owners.

Molson announced last year it planned to sell controlling interest in the Canadiens. It said it would retain a minority interest and also signed a 20-year, $100 million agreement to remain as the principal sponsor.

Molson spokesman John Paul Macdonald said the sale was part of a broader strategy to unload non-brewing interests, and that the company "has not had any significant response (from the public), one way or another, during the sale process."

With this sale, all three of Montreal's major sports teams the Canadiens, baseball's Expos and the Alouettes of the Canadian Football League are owned by Americans.

The biggest fear the hockey club's move from Montreal was quickly addressed. Canadiens President Pierre Boivin spoke of the franchise being "part of the historical and social fabric of Montreal and the province of Quebec" when the team was put up for sale, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said: "The Canadians aren't going anywhere."

He called the possibility akin to an Ohio buyer moving the New York Yankees to Columbus.

Outside the arena bearing the Molson name, which replaced the fabled Forum as home of the Canadiens in 1996, Jim McLaren offered a broader view of the issue.

"It kind of bothers people they (new owners) have to be American. You have to be concerned about American culture taking over," said the Ottawa resident who drives 90 miles each way a half-dozen times a year to see the Canadiens play at home.

McLaren, though, knows that victories and championships on the ice mean more than nationality in the owner's office.

"The bottom line is nobody wants a losing team," he said.

Canadiens Sold to Colo. Businessman
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2001; 5:09 p.m. EST

MONTREAL Uh-oh, Canada. An American is the new owner of the Montreal Canadiens.
George Gillett signed the papers Wednesday to become majority owner of the most storied team in professional hockey.

Now he must convince Canadians that he's not their worst nightmare an American owner who will take the NHL's most successful franchise south of the border.

Gillett wore a Canadiens tie and pin at the center-ice news conference Wednesday announcing the $183 million deal to buy an 80.1 percent stake from Molson Inc. and the Molson Center arena where the team plays.

He then promised to return the "grandeur of this team" that has won 24 Stanley Cups and epitomized the French-Canadian pride and flair in hockey.

"Our vision is to restore the franchise as the greatest team in hockey," Gillett said, insisting that the agreement and the NHL served as significant safeguards against any possible move.

"We want to work with the fans and we want to work in harmony with the Montreal community," he said.

That was the small dose of good news in a story many Canadians awaited with dread. While other Canadian-based franchises have moved to the United States, the loss of the Canadiens would tear the social fabric of a nation that embraces hockey as the natural expression of its combination of grace, ruggedness and competitive spirit.

"The Canadiens will remain in Montreal," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "I could conceive of no condition under which a relocation of the franchise would even be considered."

Just having an American own the franchise, even with guarantees it won't move anywhere, rankles many Canadiens already distrustful of the direction the NHL has taken the sport.

They complain that only six of the 30 NHL teams are based in Canada, and at least two others besides the Canadiens have warned of a possible sale and move in recent years.

Canadian-based clubs pay higher local taxes than U.S.-based clubs, and players get paid in U.S. dollars, while revenue from ticket sales, broadcast rights and other sources comes in weaker Canadian dollars.

Sitting with former teammates Yvan Cournoyer and Guy Lafleur, Hall of Fame center Henri Richard said economic reality dictated the sale.

The Canadiens "will stay in Montreal forever. I'm sure of that. But the money is in the States. They're all paid in U.S. dollars," he said. "It's kind of sad, but there's not much you can do about that."

The City of Montreal provided a helping hand on Wednesday, cutting the $7.3 million annual local tax bill by more than $2.6 million.

Molson President Daniel O'Neill and Gillett called the reduction an important part of the deal, though O'Neill noted: "It's still one of, if not the highest tax bill in the country."

Asked why he would want such an investment, Gillett spoke of the chance to be part of a special franchise that has won a record two dozen Stanley Cups.

"Know that my family and I are assuming this responsibility with great seriousness, with great humility and with tremendous respect for the history and tradition that makes this perhaps the greatest sports franchise in history," he said.

The deal still requires NHL approval, which could take a month or longer to secure.

Molson Inc., the brewing giant that took over the franchise in 1978, made keeping the Canadiens in Montreal a requirement of any sale.

O'Neill said the company retained a special share with its 19.9 percent stake in the franchise to block any move. He also said Gillett showed him a genuine desire to rebuild the franchise, which has missed the Stanley Cup playoffs the past two seasons and is danger of doing so again this year.

"He recognizes this is not simply any team," O'Neill said of Gillett. "This is ... a very special organization, a great history and part of a great Canadian heritage. We are entrusting him with this treasure and I feel comfortable he will deliver."

O'Neill also noted that a lack of legitimate offers from any Canadian company or individual eliminated questions about selling to an American.

Gillett has an up-and-down career in business, at one point heading the fourth largest ski-resort operator in the United States and owning a major beef-processing company.

He also endured personal bankruptcy in 1992 after his holding company, Gillett Holdings Inc., defaulted on $983 million U.S. of junk bonds. Last year he led a failed attempt to buy the Colorado Avalanche.

A native of Racine, Wisconsin, he describes himself as "a sports fanatic since childhood."
He briefly held a 22 percent stake in the Miami Dolphins in 1966, and bought and operated the Harlem Globetrotters in 1967. He also launched a chain of TV stations through Gillett Communications Co.

Blair Defends Airstrikes Vs. Iraq
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2001; 8:34 p.m. EST

OTTAWA Heading to his first meeting with President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair used a stopover in Canada to defend his decision to join in U.S.-led airstrikes against Iraq.

The 24-hour visit Blair's first to Canada as prime minister gave him a chance to discuss the new U.S. president with Jean Chretien, the Canadian leader who met with Bush earlier this month.
Blair said last week's airstrikes were needed to prevent Baghdad from re-emerging as a threat to world peace.

"The reason why we have to act is to prevent him (Saddam Hussein) from developing the capability to threaten the world again," Blair said after a one-hour meeting with Chretien on Thursday.

Blair indicated there was sufficient provocation for the bombing raids, saying Iraqi forces launched more attacks on allied planes in January "than in all of the year 2000 put together."

Blair arrived here Wednesday, his first visit as prime minister. He was traveling to Washington Thursday night for meetings with Bush and talks on security and defense. Blair returns to London on Saturday.

Blair withheld comment on Thursday on Bush's goal of creating a missile defense shield for North America. Russia, China and some European countries have opposed the idea.

Chretien said Thursday he hoped Bush would heed the concerns of countries that the shield would cause a new arms race.

In a speech to Canada's Parliament, Blair called for better trade relations between his country and North America.

"Despite ever closer links, our trade relations have become bedeviled by disputes over issues like beef and bananas," Blair said.
Landry Sworn in As Quebec Premier

The Associated Press
Thursday, March 8, 2001; 5:03 p.m. EST

QUEBEC Outspoken separatist Bernard Landry became the new premier of Quebec on Thursday, and his leadership was expected to reinvigorate a sovereignty movement that has slid into apathy.

Landry was sworn in as premier in the same room in the provincial parliament in Quebec City where his predecessor, Lucien Bouchard, announced his surprise resignation in January.
Bouchard said then he was unable to spur support for the separatist movement and Quebec sovereignty.

Landry, who succeeded Bouchard as head of the Parti Quebecois that governs Quebec, has turned to bold rhetoric to try breathe new life into the movement.

"I want to be the last premier to devote so much energy to trying to resolve the national question," he said last week, hinting at intentions to call another referendum on sovereignty despite two defeats and opinion polls that show most people oppose a third vote.

Landry says Quebec seeks a "partnership" with Canada similar to that shared by members of the European Union.

"Quebec is a nation just like Sweden, or Denmark or Scotland," he said recently.

Still, analysts said his bold statements were attempts to galvanize the core party support in his bid to succeed Bouchard, rather than a certain signal of another referendum.

Speaking so much about sovereignty is "for internal (party) consumption," said veteran columnist and political analyst Michel Auger. "The (Parti Quebecois) is talking about sovereignty a lot under Landry, knowing it has little echo in the people."

Landry's aggressive style might be intended to provoke a confrontation with the federal government, headed by the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Last year, the governing Liberals forced through a bill that set tough conditions for holding a sovereignty referendum and negotiating separation from the rest of Canada.

"The sovereigntist dynamic today is missing the provocation, the issue it needs to help justify having a referendum," said Jean-Marc Leger, president of Leger Marketing. "Landry's real battle is ... against the apathy" of Quebec residents.

Landry was born in Joliette in Quebec, which was formerly Saint-Jacques, and studied law at the University of Montreal and economics and finance at the Institut d'etudes politiques in Paris.
A founder of the Parti Quebecois with Rene Levesque in 1968, Landry has held various top Cabinet posts. He was economic development minister from 1976-82, and was the finance minister when he lost a bid to succeed Levesque as party leader in 1985. Landry was appointed deputy premier in September 1994. Sixteen months later, he added on the finance minister portfolio.

Before taking office, Landry already was complaining that the federal government was trying to prevent him from addressing the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of 34 heads of state in Quebec City in April.

"Decisions are not being made in Quebec or in Ottawa but at the international level where the federal government represents us," he said. "Democracy is getting further away from us."

Boxer Convicted in Sex Abuse Case
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Friday, March 16, 2001; 12:27 p.m. EST

MONTREAL World champion boxer Dave Hilton Jr. was convicted Friday of charges he sexually abused two young sisters for three years.

Judge Rolande Matte, who made the ruling in the non-jury trial, said the girls' testimony was credible and called much of the defense's testimony confusing. She said Hilton had a "talent for improvisation."

"I disbelieve the testimony of the accused," Matte said.

There was no reaction from the 37-year-old Hilton when the verdict was read. He was denied bail and is to return April 19 for sentencing arguments. He could get up to 14 years in prison.

Hilton, the WBC super middleweight champion, was charged with nine sex-related counts after he was arrested in April 1999. The abuse was said to have begun when each of the girls was 12 and lasted from 1995 to 1998.

The charges included sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
Hilton had been forced by a court order to live in an alcohol detoxification center.

Defense lawyer Paul Skolnik had derided the accusations of the sisters as a "fantastic frame-up" to try to get money from Hilton.

Hilton testified that nothing sexual occurred over a period of several years when he was close to the girls and their mother.

Hilton, 39-2-3 in his pro career, won his championship in December in a split decision over South Africa's Dingaan Thobela in Montreal. The WBC has said it wouldn't strip Hilton's title until the appeals process has been exhausted.

The trial attracted large crowds every day, with fans clamoring for autographs and photos with the boxer, one of three brothers from a well-known Montreal boxing family.

Canada Cracks Down On Hell's Angels
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 28, 2001; 8:15 p.m. EST

MONTREAL Police raided Hells Angels hangouts across Quebec on Wednesday, arresting more than 100 suspects in a major crackdown on alleged organized crime by biker gangs.

The raids began around dawn, and a force of more than 2,000 police had taken 118 people into custody in Quebec by mid-afternoon, said provincial police spokesman Andre Durocher. Two other suspects were arrested as a result of three raids in Ontario and British Columbia, police said.

"We're talking about the most important operation of this kind that we've ever had," Durocher said.

One of the sites raided was the home of Maurice "Mom" Boucher, the Hells Angels leader in Quebec who is in custody awaiting trial on two first-degree murder charges involving the deaths of two prison guards.

Warrants issued in connection with the raids leveled 13 more murder charges against Boucher and three charges of attempted murder. Another warrant charged his son, Francois Boucher, with murder in eight of the same deaths. It was unclear whether Francois Boucher was in custody.

Quebec's public security minister, Serge Menard, said scores of the estimated 106 full members of the Hells Angels in the province were arrested. Police seized assets worth $5 million, including seven homes and $333,000 in cash, he said.

Durocher said suspects faced a range of charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism.

Cpl. Leo Monbourquette of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the operation would affect affiliated biker operations in Ontario and Western Canada.

"We've got charges pending against everyone from the top all the way down to the bottom," he said.

The raids were part of an escalating battle by Canadian police against biker gangs that police say have become networks involved in drug trafficking and other crime.

Police say drug-trade turf wars between the Hells Angels and a rival group, the Rock Machine, are blamed for at least 158 murders, 169 attempted murders and the disappearances of 16 other people.

Federal laws that make it illegal to belong to an organized crime gang have been used to convict four Rock Machine members, and 13 members of the Hells Angels are on trial in a similar case.

The Rock Machine recently joined the Texas-based Bandidos, expanding Canada's biker rivalry.
Police believe the Hells Angels have six Quebec chapters and the Bandidos two chapters. In addition, less powerful gangs working with the Hells Angels or Bandidos handle tasks such as collecting money from drug dealers, according to police.

Bikers from the puppet gangs become Angels or Bandidos only after several years of earning trust and building drug rings of their own, police say.
No Agreement on global warming among America's ministers
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Friday, March 30, 2001

MONTREAL - Environment ministers from 34 Western Hemisphere nations including the United States and Canada were unable to agree on a common stance regarding global warming, according to their statement Friday.

After two days of meetings that followed the U.S. government's rejection this week of the Kyoto Protocol, the statement said: ''There was not full consensus on this issue among ministers of the Hemisphere.''

Christine Whitman, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, attended Thursday's talks but left before the final session on Friday. Whitman said Thursday that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which requires nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, was ''deeply flawed.''

She said U.S. President George W. Bush remained committed to working with other nations to combat global warming, but refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Other ministers at the meeting said Friday there was debate on the matter, which involves a disagreement between the United States and European nations over how the Kyoto agreement would be implemented.

David Anderson, the Canadian environment minister, said European inflexibility caused the collapse of talks last November in The Hague on implementing the Kyoto Protocol.

Anderson said he would push for further discussion on the issue to try to preserve the treaty.

This week's meeting involved the environment ministers from every country of North, Central and South America except Cuba. It was considered a preparatory gathering for the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, when leaders of the same countries will discuss expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement to include Central and South America.
Veteran of IOC eyes top job
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, April 2, 2001

MONTREAL (AP) -- Dick Pound has done almost everything there is to do in the Olympic movement -- from swimming in the 1960 Rome Games to serving as a top official of the International Olympic Committee.

The only step left would be to succeed Juan Antonio Samaranch when the longtime IOC president steps down in July. Pound scheduled a news conference Monday in which he is considered certain to announce his candidacy.

The Montreal lawyer, who turned 59 last week, has an unmatched resume in IOC experience compared to his known and expected rivals. Some of that experience might have created enemies, though, and the race is considered tight less than four months before the IOC votes in Moscow.

Other announced contenders are Jacques Rogge of Belgium, Anita DeFrantz of the United States and Pal Schmitt of Hungary. Kim Un-yong of South Korea is expected to join the race Tuesday. The deadline to declare candidacies to succeed Samaranch, the IOC president for 21 years, is April 10.

Pound has become one of the most powerful figures in the Olympic movement as the man who negotiates the IOC's multimillion-dollar television and sponsorship deals. He was IOC vice president to Samaranch from 1996-2000, and became chairman of the new World Anti-Doping Agency.

Pound also headed the IOC investigation of the bribery scandal surrounding next year's Salt Lake City Games that resulted in 10 IOC members being expelled or resigning.

``Nothing I do on the IOC is done with a view of becoming president,'' he once told the Toronto Star. ``There are a load of things I wouldn't have done if that were the case.''

Pound's first Olympic experience was more than four decades ago when he swam on the Canadian team in Rome, finishing sixth in the 100-meter freestyle and fourth in the team relay.

He joined the Canadian Olympic Association in 1968 and became its president in 1977. He was on the IOC the next year, and five years later made the executive committee.

One of his first tasks was to negotiate the sale of television rights for the Olympics. The deals he arranged are considered crucial to the growth of the movement, with the rights to the 2004 Games in Athens selling for $1.6 billion.

A married father of three children and two stepchildren, Pound speaks French and English.

Rogge, an orthopedic surgeon and former sailor, is president of the European Olympic Committees. He was the IOC's point man for the 2000 Sydney Games and now oversees planning for Athens 2004.

DeFrantz, a former rower and the IOC's first vice president, is the highest-ranking American and woman in international sports. She would be the IOC's first female president.

Schmitt, a fencing gold medalist in 1968 and 1972, cites 18 years' experience on the IOC -- including eight years on the executive board -- and seven years as Hungary's ambassador to Spain and Switzerland.

Kim is a longtime IOC power broker who received a serious warning by Pound's investigation of the Salt Lake City scandal. Kim's son was indicted by U.S. authorities in the Salt Lake City case.

Dick Pound Seeks IOC Presidency
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, April 2, 2001; 3:54 p.m. EDT

MONTREAL Dick Pound entered the race Monday to be IOC president, saying he had unmatched credentials and urging colleagues to maintain the course that has brought the Olympics unparalleled success.

The long-expected announcement made the Montreal lawyer the fourth contender for the IOC vote. A final candidate is to enter the race Tuesday, one week before the deadline.

The International Olympic Committee votes July 16 in Moscow on a successor to Juan Antonio Samaranch, who is stepping down after 21 years in one of the most powerful jobs in sports.

Pound said his background as an Olympic athlete and key administrator were reasons IOC members should vote for him.

"In short, I believe my experience provides a unique background from which to move forward," he told a news conference attended by a dozen Canadian Olympic athletes.

The crowd stood and applauded when he concluded by speaking of the "great honor" and "great privilege" if elected by the IOC.

Other announced contenders are Jacques Rogge of Belgium, Anita DeFrantz of the United States and Pal Schmitt of Hungary. Kim Un-yong of South Korea is expected to join the race Tuesday.

With about 120 members eligible to vote, the candidate with the lowest support goes out after each ballot until one person achieves a majority.

Pound, who turned 59 last week, has a strong Olympic resume. Some of that experience might have created enemies, though, and the race is considered tight.

Pound negotiated the IOC's multimillion-dollar television and sponsorship deals that helped the IOC regain economic stability and the opportunity for growth.

He served as IOC vice president, the last term expiring last year, and became chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also led the IOC investigation of the bribery scandal surrounding next year's Salt Lake City Games that resulted in 10 IOC members being expelled or resigning.

In a document, "Vision for the Olympic Movement," released with his announcement, Pound outlined goals that included promoting the Olympics as the world's premier sporting event. He repeatedly mentioned the need to reach out to the world's youth throughout.

Pound also called for a "comprehensive assessment" of the Olympics, including their size and financial structure, and played to the voting IOC members by promising to enhance their "status, importance and role" in their home countries and internationally. That would include financial assistance "where required," the document said.

Pound praised Samaranch for transforming the Olympics from being "fragmented" and "chronically underfunded" to a "united, universal and well-funded movement."

Pound's first Olympic experience was more than four decades ago when he swam on the Canadian team in Rome, finishing sixth in the 100-meter freestyle and fourth in the team relay.

He joined the Canadian Olympic Association in 1968 and became its president in 1977. He was on the IOC the next year, and five years later made the executive committee.
Protest Planned at Canadian Summit
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, April 17, 2001; 2:10 a.m. EDT

QUEBEC Two lines of people square off, shoving and grunting in a human tug-of-war that turns faces red and sweaty. Expletives fill the hall, attracting a security guard holding a walkie-talkie up to his mouth.

This time, it's only a rehearsal. Activist Philippe Duhamel is showing about 40 people of all ages and backgrounds what to expect when they come to protest at the Summit of the Americas.

"If you can't deal with the possibility of getting arrested and the idea of a criminal record, don't join the movement," Duhamel told the workshop on protest methods, held by groups organizing demonstrations at the weekend gathering of 34 heads of state from Canada to Brazil.

Through e-mails, public pronouncements and the workshops held in Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto, the protest movement makes clear that it considers the summit a showdown over the momentum of globalization.

Leaders at the summit will be discussing the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement, which would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement to Central and South America.

Angered by what they call a lack of openness and public participation in the negotiations, the diverse groups opposing the process plan a range of demonstrations some peaceful, some confrontational.

The most radical elements hope to repeat the chaos that undermined World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999, considered a defining moment for the anti-globalization community.
Police are anticipating mayhem. Quebec's minister of public security has increased the police force comprising federal, provincial and local officers to 6,000.

"We have to prepare for a situation even more serious than the previous ones. We're getting set for the worst," said the minister, Serge Menard. "That doesn't mean we hope for the worst."

Mayor Jean-Paul L'Allier noted that President Bush's attendance at his first major international meeting gives demonstrators a rare opportunity to capture world attention. He fears that a 10-foot-tall fence being built around several acres of Old Quebec City as a security perimeter will become a flashpoint of confrontation.

"I'm worried a city like Quebec, which figures on UNESCO's world heritage list, could witness the kind of violent events like those seen in Seattle," he said. "At the same time, extreme (security) measures should not be used to deprive people of the right to demonstrate."

Groups organizing the protests plan three "levels" of demonstrations festive ones with giant puppets, songs and chants; civil disobedience such as blockades; and direct attempts to disrupt the summit itself.

The idea is to help the 10,000 or more protesters feel comfortable with whatever level of activism they choose to join, said Tania Halle of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, known by its French-language acronym, CLAC.

At his workshop at the University of Quebec campus in Montreal, Duhamel divided the participants in two groups that took turns playing police trying to remove protesters from a mock barricade.

As a veteran of the Seattle protests, he knows that lessons learned by both sides since then have hardened attitudes and strategies. Shutting down the summit is "not a realistic goal," Duhamel conceded, so his group provides training for defending against police batons, tear gas and police dogs, as well as gives information such as legal guidance on arrests.

Protest organizers include local groups like the CLAC and Duhamel's salAMI, and others from outside Canada such as the Black Bloc, considered the most violent.

At a workshop sponsored by Concordia University students in Montreal, former Black Panther Lorenzo Komboa Ervin summed up the attitude of the radical side.

"If we don't constitute a threat to the system, if we don't make them think that their precious lives or profits are in danger, they will not take us seriously at all," he said.

Excluded voices gather for people's version of Summit
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, April 17, 2001

QUEBEC Critics of the Summit of the Americas _ politicians, activists and others _ gathered Tuesday at a "people's summit" to demand a voice at the upcoming gathering of Western Hemisphere leaders.

More than 3,000 were registered for the five-day "people's summit" that will culminate in a march Saturday to express displeasure with the summit talks. Starting Friday, the leaders of 34 countries _ including President Bush _ are to discuss expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement to Central and South America.

Protesters, however, say the Summit of the Americas only seeks to extend harmful trade practices to already struggling economies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Critics also say the private atmosphere of the summit, with no copies of draft trade agreement documents available to the public and police erecting a 10-foot-tall security fence around acres of old Quebec City, prevents those most affected from being heard.

"There have been no elections on these issues. They haven't been debated in most parliaments," said organizer Monique Simard. "What is good for the business community isn't necessarily what's good for everyone."

In stark contrast to the glass-and-metal Quebec City Convention Center where the heads of state will gather, the people's summit began Tuesday at a covered market along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

There, delegates heard women from Latin America describe how free trade has brought them more harm than good.

Economic adjustments prescribed by foreigners only bring trouble, said Marie-France Joachim of Haiti, who urged her nation's government to reject any free-trade agreements reached during the summit.

She cited the 1985 slaughter of hog herds after the U.S. government warned of ailments with Haitian pigs. Four years later, Joachim said, U.S. pork products dominated the Haitian market.

Joachim also cited discrepancies between the treatment of men and women in Haiti. Women field workers earn about 33 cents for six hours of work _ but men make twice that, she noted.

"Free-trade doesn't mean freedom but just a means to bind our hands a little bit more," she said.

Speakers at the people's summit also included Quebec Premier Bernard Landry, who called the free trade process "incomplete" without dissenting opinion. Landry, whose Parti Quebecois seeks sovereignty for Quebec, was refused his request to address the Summit of the Americas.

Security was tight at the Canadian border ahead of the Summit of the Americas. Canadian officials said strict security measures were necessary to prevent the kind of violence that derailed World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in December 1999.

Six Arrested Ahead of Summit
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 18, 2001; 11:17 p.m. EDT

QUEBEC Police arrested six Canadians they said were planning violence at this weekend's Summit of the Americas, officials said Wednesday, displaying seized weapons that included small explosives and smoke grenades.

Inspector Robert Poeti of the Quebec Provincial Police said increased security for the Friday-Sunday summit, where 34 leaders of the Western Hemisphere will gather, led to the arrests of two 21-year-old men driving into Quebec City and four men in the Montreal area.

The arrests occurred Tuesday and Wednesday. Police recovered the explosives and grenades along with flammable liquid, baseball bats, gas masks and pointed sticks, Poeti said.

Poeti said a Canadian military reservist and a former member of the military were among the six arrested, and that some of the explosive materials seized were military-issue. The arrest of the two men in Quebec City on Tuesday led to the arrests Wednesday of the four in Montreal, he said.
Police would not identify the arrested men, who face charges including possession of explosives, stealing military supplies and conspiring to endanger public safety.

"We'll have no tolerance for people coming here to cause problems and criminal acts," Poeti said.
In a separate case, a 17-year-old youth from New York state was arrested for possessing knives and pepper spray in Quebec City. City police Inspector Gaetan Labbe said the youth was freed on $130 bail and ordered to stay away from the security area around the summit. The youth's name and hometown were not released.

Huge protests are planned around the summit by activists who are traveling from around the world. Shopkeepers have boarded up many stores, and Canadian authorities have erected a 2 1/2-mile concrete-and-wire fence to prevent the activists from getting near the summit site.

On Wednesday, a Quebec judge ruled that although the fence infringes on civil liberties, it is justified given the fears of unrest. The groups that filed the lawsuit said they would appeal, but the appeal will not be heard until after the summit.

Probably the most high-profile of the activists, French farmer Jose Bove, said Wednesday that he would participate in the demonstrations but didn't want to make trouble.

Bove, 47, is appealing a three-month prison sentence for the 1999 ransacking of a McDonald's restaurant in France.

"I have not come here to impose any mode of action, but will participate in whatever actions are being prepared by local groups," Bove said.

The Canadian government intervened to allow Bove to attend the Summit of the Americas, where the leaders will discuss expanding the North America Free Trade Agreement to include Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Immigration laws allow border officials to turn back anyone with a criminal record. Activists heading to Quebec City say they have been harassed and refused entrance at the Canadian border.

Police seal off Quebec City for summit
The Associated Press
Thursday, April 19, 2001; 09:43 P EDT  

QUEBEC (AP) Police sealed off the heart of old Quebec City on Thursday, creating a heavily guarded security zone to keep protesters and possible violence away from a summit of 34 leaders, including President Bush. Forklifts hoisted concrete blocks topped with wire mesh into busy intersections, and hundreds of police in bulletproof vests stood guard at spots along the 2.3-mile fence encircling meeting sites of the Summit of the Americas. More than 6,000 police officers will patrol the security zone Friday through Sunday to guard against incursion by the expected 10,000 or more protesters.
Quebec City residents and demonstrators from around the world watched as the final pieces were dropped into place. Police allowed through only residents with special passes and delegates, journalists and workers accredited for the meeting.

Protesters have dubbed the barrier the "Wall of Shame" and liken to it to the Berlin Wall as a symbol of oppression and division. Thousands of anti-globalization activists have come to this picturesque 17th-century city, and organizers fear the kind of violence that derailed trade talks in Seattle in December 1999.

But the first two demonstrations were peaceful. About 150 people marched outside the Quebec provincial agriculture ministry and presented a list of concerns about genetically modified food. Later, a few hundred women chanted, danced and sang outside the security fence. Dozens of police, some in riot gear, kept a close watch, but there were no confrontations.

A candlelight procession by about 300 people left a local university on Thursday night for the seven-mile walk into town. The planned route avoided the security zone set up by police.

The protesters represent a diverse range of activists organized labor, human rights organizations, environmental groups and other who say the talks on creating a Western Hemisphere free-trade zone should be in public instead of a locked-in conference center.

A people's summit of groups opposed to the free trade talks called for a hemispheric referendum on the proposal. In its final declaration after three days of meeting and seminars attended by activists from throughout the Americas, the group urged more attention to democracy, human rights, equality, solidarity and the environment.

"These free trade agreements prioritize exports at the expense of the needs of local communities," the declaration read. "We are witnessing the consolidation of economic and legal corporate power at the expense of popular sovereignty."

The security wall, intended to keep the protesters far from the summit venue, survived a lawsuit this week that challenged it on constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and movement. A judge agreed Wednesday that the wall restricts personal rights, but said it was justified because of the security risks.

Police cite concerns of Seattle-like violence to defend the fence, which surrounds several acres of landmarks like the Chateau Frontenac hotel that dominates the old city skyline and the provincial Parliament building.

Seven men have been arrested on charges of planning violence at the summit, and police seized military smoke grenades and small explosives.

The closest protesters can get to the convention center where the summit is being held is 100 yards across a cemetery, on Rue Saint-Jean.

Along the streets, shop windows were covered with plywood or metal screens Thursday in anticipation of unrest.

"The whole situation is deplorable. I'm going to keep my kids inside the whole time. I may even leave town," said Patricia Hamel, owner of the Collection Lazuli gift shop.

Local activists have made the wall a kind of bulletin board for anti-free-trade and anti-U.S. sentiments. Among the slogans spray painted throughout the city are "Bush Go Home," "Berlin" in reference to the wall that divided East and West Germany for decades, and "Viva Cuba" in support of the only hemispheric country barred from the summit for its lack of democratic elections.

Plastic flowers and colorful balloons are attached elsewhere.

Protests also are planned far from Quebec City, with marches or blockades threatened in other Canadian and U.S. cities and in Tijuana, Mexico, near the border with California. A caravan of several hundred protesters from the United States turned back at the Canadian border in upstate New York when some people were refused entry.

Cyberprotests also could occur. The Electrohippie Collective says it is targeting Web sites connected with the summit for protest activity most likely a flood of e-mail that would hamper operation of the sites.

Summit Balloon Protester Arrested
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Friday, April 20, 2001; 2:55 p.m. EDT

QUEBEC Security for the Summit of the Americas is tight on the ground and also in the air.

A police helicopter intercepted a hot-air balloon emblazoned with protest slogans above the summit site on Friday, and officers arrested the Greenpeace activist who piloted it.

Two other activists from the environmental group also were aboard the green-and-blue balloon with messages urging action on global warming, but they were not arrested, according to one of them, Jo Dufay.

She said the crew set off Friday morning and drifted over the summit site. When a police helicopter approached 20 minutes later, the activists set it down on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Pilot Franz Taucher was arrested, but Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Elaine Lavergne said police couldn't immediately say whether he would be charged with flying in prohibited airspace.

Police have built a 2.3-mile security wall around the heart of old Quebec City to prevent protesters from approaching the talks on creating a free-trade area from the Arctic to Argentina.

Montrealers Strip for NY Photographer
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, May 26, 2001; 3:50 p.m. EDT

MONTREAL Lying in the streets naked could get you in trouble in most places, but in Montreal Saturday some 2,000 people stripped with the blessing of authorities to pose for a New York photographer famed for juxtaposing flesh and concrete.

Spencer Tunick had asked Montrealers to strip for his latest "human sculpture" part of his Nude Adrift series that will take him to every continent, including Antarctica, to shoot group nudes.

The throngs began disrobing enthusiastically at 5:30 a.m. as the morning air hovered at 55 degrees. Two young women and a man apparently changed their minds and tried to make a run for it once the order to get naked was given but could not get into a nearby mall. Its doors had been locked to prevent photographers from entering to get good shots of the nudes.

"I want to thank the city of Montreal for recognizing this as art," Tunick told the crowd. "This is art. Not good art or bad art, but it's art."

Tunick first had his nude models lie down side by side in curled positions on the corner of St. Catherine and Jeanne Mance streets. Nearby, Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art ran an exhibit featuring his photos called Metamorphosis and Cloning.

He then had them lie face up for a second shot.

People were naked for about an hour. Tunick received a loud ovation when he told people they could put their clothes back on.

"I feel extremely energized," said Jean-Pierre Leclerq, 41, after taking part in the session, "It was a lot fun. Nobody was uncomfortable, we all seemed very at ease."

Tunick said he was impressed by the turnout, which topped all this previous nude shoots, and praised Montreal as a "very open-minded and progressive" city.

He's been arrested for some of his previous work including shots he did in his native New York City.

Tunick says he is attempting to show humanity's collective vulnerability in a cruel, harsh world.

"It's an abstraction, that seeps into and onto the pavement, that creates a sense of vulnerability to the body juxtaposed (against) a very harsh outside world with many things coming against us," Tunick said after the shoot. "Environmental issues, social issues, anything coming up against the body, which is pure. So this is where the body tries to overpower the street."

Seven Montreal McDonald's Vandalized
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, July 7, 2001; 5:44 p.m. EDT

MONTREAL (AP) -- Seven McDonald's restaurants in and around Montreal were vandalized Saturday in simultaneous attacks.

Also Saturday, police said a pepper spray-like chemical was released in the air near an underground shopping area, causing patrons' eyes to sting, police said.

No one was seriously injured in the chemical attack, but it forced the evacuation of some 500 people and the closure of three subway stations for almost an hour, said Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere.

A McDonald's was located near the site of the chemical release, but police said they did not know if the attack was targeted at the restaurant. Police could not say what exactly the chemical was or how it was released.

The attacks against the seven McDonald's restaurants in and around Montreal all took place around 8 a.m. In all incidents, trash cans were set on fire in the restaurant bathrooms, said Lafreniere.

Police are investigating whether the seven attacks were linked to a labor dispute between McDonald's and the union Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.

The union's spokesman Marc Laviolette on Saturday denied any connection to the vandalism, calling the damage ''regrettable.''

Last month, the sole McDonald's branch in Canada with union workers was closed. The union accuses the restaurant management of systematic union-busting.

A message left on the answering system at McDonald's regional headquarters in Montreal went unanswered Saturday.

Canadian Pilot Says He's No Hero
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2001; 6:20 a.m. EDT

MIRABEL, Quebec Call him well-trained, professional, even courageous, but Air Transat Capt. Robert Piche says he's no hero for gliding a jetliner carrying 304 people to safety on the Azores Islands after it lost engine power over the Atlantic Ocean.

"That's what we get trained for, that's what we get paid for, to be successful in a situation like that," the trim 49-year-old said at his first news conference since the landing Friday. "I'm not a hero."

But others say Piche's safe landing of the Lisbon-bound Airbus A330-200, despite no engine power, was nothing short of a miracle. The touchdown was so hard, the plane's tires burst into flames.

"This was a near tragedy. They were minutes away from the plane going into the ocean and so the effort to bring that plane down without engines is undoubtedly heroic," Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette said in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Eleven people nine passengers and two crew members required hospitalization, but their injuries were not considered serious.

While passengers have told of screaming panic inside the plane as it drifted down, Piche and other crew members described a tense, silent 81 minutes from when equipment indicated a fuel leak to the rough touchdown at Lajes airport on Terciera Island in the Azores, 900 miles from Portugal.

"Of course we had doubts. But we did what we had to do," Piche said of himself and the crew. "You do as you've been taught, as you've been trained, and that's about it."

A preliminary report issued Tuesday by Portuguese investigators said a malfunctioning fuel injection pump caused low fuel pressure in both Rolls-Royce engines of the jetliner with 291 passengers aboard.

It was unclear if the plane had any fuel left when it landed without power, and Piche and other Air Transat officials avoided commenting on technical issues Tuesday.

According to a timeline provided by the investigators, Piche's crew noticed what they called a fuel leak at 4:25 a.m. Friday (1:25 a.m. EDT), then issued a mayday call 23 minutes later. An hour later, the right engine lost power, and ten minutes after that the left engine went dead.

It took 18 more minutes for the plane to glide down and land, then 90 seconds to evacuate it, according to crew members.

Piche said when the second engine cut out, he was left with nothing but his control stick with minimum power from an emergency propeller to control the aircraft.

He provided few details of how he brought the plane down, saying he was working with co-pilot Dirk de Jager and flight director Meleni Tesic to try to avoid any harm to the passengers.

The incident showed that procedures set up for problems on international flights, such as alternate landing sites, could work.

"I've been flying for 30 years. I understand full well that on an international flight, nothing like this is supposed to happen," he said. "Now I understand that the system we have throughout the world, the system operates. It works."

Passengers described terrifying moments of chaos on the gliding plane, but Tesic praised all aboard for following procedures and instructions.

"I can tell you that it was an extremely silent cabin," she said. "There was absolutely no panic among all the passengers."

That differed from the account of passenger Joao Gaspar, who spoke of passengers screaming as the plane quickly lost altitude, then "depressurized and jerked about."

Airbus Industrie has sent a team of specialists to the Azores Islands to assist in the investigation by Portuguese authorities.

Spokesman David Velupillai said it was the first such incident involving an aircraft from the A330 family. Almost 200 of the model are in service worldwide, and another 200 are on order, he said.

Airbus launched the A330-200 in May 1998. It is a smaller version of the A330-300.

Canada accepts U.S. flights
The Associated Press
Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2001

OTTAWA (AP) - The Canadian government tightened security in major cities and along the American border after Tuesday's terrorist attacks, and dozens of intercontinental flights bound for the United States headed to Canada instead.

The Canadian military was put on alert and major government and tourist sites were closed, including Parliament Hill in the capital, Ottawa, and the tall CN Tower in Toronto. The U.S. Embassy was closed and under increased security.

Some border posts temporarily closed, but reports that the entire frontier would be sealed proved untrue.

The Peace Bridge at Buffalo was shut for about 20 minutes, the Canadian Broadcast Corp. reported, then reopened under increased security with a Royal Canadian Mounted Police checkpoint closely searching vehicles headed for the United States.

At the crossing between Lacolle, Quebec, and Champlain, N.Y., U.S. chief inspector Mike McMullen said traffic proceeded as usual under what he called ``heightened awareness.''

A few vehicles were searched, but the flow appeared normal for a Tuesday afternoon. In the area between the two sides, a Canadian flag hung at half-staff while the U.S. flag remained atop its pole.

Some travelers said they were told the border was closed, but decided to try it anyway. Erin Wayne and her parents were flying back from Scotland to New York on Tuesday when the flight was diverted to Montreal's Dorval airport because of what the pilot called ``a tragedy.''

The family took a taxi at a cost of $65 and walked across, luggage in hand, to search for a ride to Syracuse, N.Y.

Truck driver Everett Jackson, hauling a load of live chickens, was told by his company, Ross Breeders, that the border was closed and to go rest in a hotel.

``We decided to find out anyway,'' Jackson said before heading for South Carolina.

Airports in eastern Canada accepted U.S.-bound planes that were diverted when most U.S. airports were shut after highjacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington and apparently elsewhere.

Dozens of unscheduled landings were expected at the Canadian military base at Goose Bay in Labrador, a small community several hundred miles north of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with limited hotel space.

``We filled up two hours ago,'' said Sherry Beaucage, a reservations clerk at the Albatross Motel. ``There's nowhere near the hotel space needed to accommodate them. It's pretty devastating.''

Dozens more diverted flights were expected at the airports in St. John's, Newfoundland; Moncton, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Toronto; Montreal; Vancouver, British Columbia; and even Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, where Canadian jet fighters escorted two flights from Korea diverted from their scheduled landing in Alaska.
Canadian Border Remains Open
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001; 7:13 p.m. EDT

LACOLLE, Quebec Long lines and stringent searches slowed traffic along the U.S.-Canadian border Wednesday, but vehicles moved freely in both directions a day after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Officials warned the world's longest undefended border would be more tightly patrolled and travelers should expect to wait for hours. At some crossings, lines of vehicles stretched for miles. At others, traffic moved with minimal delays.

U.S. officials said Wednesday they were investigating whether one group of hijackers crossed the Canadian border at a checkpoint and made their way to Boston, where jetliners operated by American Airlines and United Airlines were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien said that Canadian security forces had no information about that.
The allegation raised concerns that liberal immigration and refugee policies in Canada enable terror groups to organize north of the border and infiltrate the United States.

U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci said the United States and Canada must work together to coordinate immigration policies and improve intelligence and security networks.

"We want to stop them before they get to the border and that requires resources for intelligence and law enforcement," he said.

Osama bin Laden, the Afghanistan-based Islamic militant, is considered the most likely figure behind a string of attacks against U.S. targets. Two former Montreal residents with alleged links to the Saudi exile have been convicted on U.S. terrorism charges.

Hundreds of thousands of people cross the U.S.-Canada border daily, reflecting the close ties between North American allies who share the world's largest trade relationships worth more than $1 billion a day.

While air travel across the border remained suspended, road traffic proceeded Wednesday under tighter security.

An Associated Press journalist encountered a line of six cars at the crossing at Lacolle, Quebec, about 40 miles south of Montreal, which was about normal for an early afternoon trip to Champlain, N.Y.

The cars moved past a much longer line of trucks being searched by U.S. customs officials and National Guard forces.

A customs officer asked the journalist for identification and how long he would stay in the United States. He produced his press pass and said he would only stay briefly before returning to write about the border crossing.

The official asked the journalist to turn off the vehicle and open the trunk, which was quickly searched and then closed.

The journalist faced similar questions by U.S. officials when heading back to Canada. Normally, each country only checks people entering its territory.

U.S. chief inspector Mike McMullen described Wednesday's traffic as normal and said searches caused some delays.

"It's taken more than an hour. Usually it's 15 minutes," said Terry Vachon, a Canadian driving a truck with Quebec license plates.

Dawneen MacKenzie, a spokeswoman for Livingston International Inc., which facilitates trade between the United States and Canada, said major slowdowns occurred along the border.

Trucks were waiting 12 hours at the Niagara Falls border point, and the line was 15 miles long in Sarnia, Ontario., she said. At the crossing from British Columbia into Blaine, Wash., the wait was six hours or more, she said.

Major Airlines Prepare to Take Off
The Associated Press
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001; 11:26 a.m. EDT

Federal aviation officials reopened the nation's skies for travel Thursday, warning that it could take days for schedules to return to normal and promising tough, new security measures.

Major airlines were expected to begin limited flight schedules Thursday, but things got off to a slow start.

At Montreal's Dorval Airport, all flights to the United States were still listed as canceled as the 11 a.m. EDT resumption time passed.

"We're being told that there are no flights on Northwest. Right now, they can't guarantee anything for a week," said Ana Belda of Alicante, Spain, who was waiting with her husband, two children and two friends for a flight to Detroit.

The U.S. aviation system was shut down Tuesday after hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said commercial and private planes were allowed to fly starting at 11 a.m. EDT. He said airports and flights would be resumed on a case-by-case basis and only after stringent security measures are in place.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered security increased to its highest level since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Mineta urged passengers to allow ample time to deal with the new procedures.

"There will be some inconveniences, but safety will be the first element of our system to be restored," Mineta said in a statement released by the White House.

Some of the planes that were diverted Tuesday were allowed to fly Wednesday, carrying only those passengers who had begun the journey. More were expected to leave Thursday.

At least some regularly scheduled United Airlines flights were expected to begin at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday, and some scheduled flights on American Airlines and TWA after 4 p.m. EDT.

"We expect the return of our full schedule of service to take several days," American said.

Delta Air Lines said "very limited operations" would start sometime after noon EDT Thursday.

Continental had canceled all regularly scheduled flights for the day, but planned to offer special service in cities such as San Francisco and Cleveland, "where we see demand," spokeswoman Erica Roy said.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, passengers awaited word of when they might reach their destinations.

"Considering this devastation, we have no complaints," said Louise Norton, 67, who was trying to get from Sea-Tac to Raleigh, N.C. "We would love to be home, but a lot of people would love to have their families."

Mineta made his decision after a series of meetings Wednesday with White House aides, Cabinet officials, the Federal Aviation Administration, industry and law enforcement. He called the decision "good news for travelers, for the airlines and for our economy."

Most of the nation's air fleet was grounded Tuesday morning following the hijackings of jets from Boston, Newark, N.J., and Washington's Dulles airport. Even as the FAA imposed new restrictions on passengers, airlines and airports, some members of Congress were pointing to security lapses.

Mineta has proposed a series of tough measures, including a ban on curbside check-ins and an increased police presence in airports. The Justice Department said one option is to put law enforcement personnel on planes, a practice that has been used in the past.

Regardless of whether that step is taken, U.S. marshals, the U.S. Customs Service and the Border Patrol will be part of increased security on the ground at airports, Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said.

The Air Transport Association said the FAA should consider taking over the passenger screening process rather than leaving it to the airlines.

"When we are dealing with terrorism, there are functions and responsibilities that are beyond our abilities and responsibilities," the airlines' trade group said in a statement.

FAA Administrator Jane Garvey was expected to brief the Massachusetts congressional delegation Thursday on security at Logan Airport in Boston, where two of the hijacked planes originated.

Despite deep history, Montreal may lose Expos
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2001; 4:45 p.m. EDT

MONTREAL (AP) -- This is where Jackie Robinson began his climb to the big leagues and history, where Pete Rose stroked his 4,000th hit, where the major leagues first put down roots outside the United States.
Now the rich baseball history of Montreal may become only that -- history.

Major league owners meet Tuesday near Chicago to discuss the possibility of folding the Expos, a team known more for the stars it has sent away than the championships it has brought to town.

Commissioner Bud Selig cites the circumstances -- annual losses, no local television contract, and average attendance last season of 7,648 per game -- as reasons for considering eliminating the franchise that produced stars such as Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Pedro Martinez.

"As the problems have exacerbated, it has become clearer to me that everything should be on the table," Selig said last week.

Majority owner Jeff Loria, a New York art dealer who bought the Expos in 1999, says he plans on another season in Montreal. But Loria also makes clear that huge losses of recent years cannot continue.

He blames the lack of a local TV contract in media-saturated Montreal, where hockey is king, for putting the Expos at a disadvantage compared to other clubs.

"Most teams have what we don't have, which is local television revenue," Loria said in a Montreal Gazette interview published Oct. 12. "Ours is nil, practically nil. It doesn't work. How do you run a team?"

The $34 million payroll is not much more than some players on other teams make in a season, showing the Expos' inability to sign major stars and compete on the field. Forbes magazine estimated in March that the Expos franchise was worth $92 million, last in the majors, compared to $635 million for the New York Yankees.

Loria says a $20 million loss is expected from this season. Failure to gain support for a new ballpark to replace the vast Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Games has hurt, along with the lack of ticket and TV revenue.

"It's hard to have an appetite to spend more money when two successive years you do that, and there isn't a great deal of enthusiasm for the sport," he said. "I'm not interested in losing a lot of money again next year. I'm just not going to do it."

Fans say they started losing interest after the 1994 season, when the strike shut down baseball as the Expos were having their best season.

Star players such as Martinez, Larry Walker, David Segui and Moises Alou were traded or allowed to leave in cost-cutting measures in the years following the strike, and winning ways went with them.

"That really did it for me," said Diane Emery, 46, who used to attend 20 games or more a season. "Montreal has really become sort of a farm-team with time. They develop new talents, they become good players producing exciting baseball and suddenly we don't have the money to keep them and they have to be dealt away."

A similar lament is heard from NHL franchises in Canada that pay their players in U.S. dollars while taking in Canadian dollars worth about two-thirds as much. Escalating salaries in both sports compound the problem, but it is felt more by the Expos.

"Montreal will pay the price for the lessons major league baseball is going to learn," said Tom Valcke, president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, who used to work in the commissioner's office. "For 100 years baseball players used to make seven times what the average Joe makes. Now it's 40 times."

Valcke said losing the Expos would be "significant."
"We would be deeply saddened," he said. "The city set so many standards and firsts, from the first games in Canada to Pete Rose's 4,000th hit. The country has its baseball roots in Montreal."

So why the endless empty seats in Olympic Stadium? Valcke blames several factors, including World Series games played at night, too late for young kids to watch the greatest moments.

"Not a lot of them saw the time Joe Carter hit the home run [that won the 1993 World Series for Toronto] because it was too late in the evening," he said. "This would have gripped their heart, they would have become fans forever."

The problem is not a lack of baseball fans, Valcke insists, citing the warm farewell given Robinson after his last game with the Royals of the International League before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 to break the major league racial barrier.

"Not only did he get two standing ovations, he was mobbed in the streets when he left the place," Valcke said. "Who at the time could have imagined a huge crowd of white people turning out to thank a black baseball player like that?"

That season, Montreal drew 412,744 spectators for minor-league ball. Last season, the National League Expos drew 619,451.

Carl McCoomb, the Hall of Fame curator, said the decline of the Expos has harmed baseball throughout Quebec. Last spring, the 49-year-old Lennoxville-Ascot Little League shut down.
"The lack of interest filters down to the youth," McCoomb said. "They don't see their friends and parents play baseball or wear a baseball cap and that has an impact."

Francis Briere, assistant editor of an online baseball magazine, said fans were too fickle, demanding victories without showing support in the tough times.

"If Montreal supported the team and its ownership, [major league baseball] would have no choice but to respect public opinion and back the team," he said. "It's not only a matter of money, it's a matter of the heart."

For Mario Pelletier, a 26-year-old fan, it all comes down to performance.
"They've got to win," he said. "Quebecers are a passionate people. They'll all hop aboard the bandwagon if it comes through town."

Malgré un riche passé, la ville de Montréal pourrait perdre les Expos
MONTREAL (PC) - C'est la ville où Jackie Robinson a amorcé sa poussée vers les ligues majeures, où Pete Rose a cogné son 4000e coup sûr et où le baseball majeur a, pour la première fois de son histoire, accordé une équipe à l'extérieur des États-Unis.

Mais le riche passé du baseball à Montréal s'apprête à devenir justement de l'histoire ancienne.

Dans une entrevue, le propriétaire Jeffrey Loria a dit qu'il envisageait de disputer une autre saison à Montréal.
Loria soutient que le manque de revenus émanant du contrat de télédiffusion locale, dans une ville où le hockey est roi, cause d'énormes torts aux Expos.

"La plupart des équipes ont ce que nous n'avons pas, c'est-à-dire des revenus de télévision adéquats, a affirmé Loria.
"Les nôtres sont, à toutes fins pratiques, inexistants. Ça ne fonctionne pas. Comment faire pour diriger une équipe?", a ajouté Loria, qui estime le déficit, en 2001, à 20 millions $ US.

La masse salariale des Expos, établie à 34 millions $ US, est à peine supérieure aux salaires que certains joueurs, ailleurs, reçoivent pour une seule année, ce qui tend à démontrer l'incapacité des Expos à faire signer des contrats à des joueurs vedettes.
Par ailleurs, l'équipe a été incapable d'obtenir l'appui recherché pour bâtir un nouveau stade au centre-ville, sans oublier les faibles assistances des dernières années.

"C'est difficile de vouloir dépenser des sommes d'argent additionnelles lorsque des investissements comme ceux que nous avons faits, ces deux dernières années, ne génèrent pas plus d'enthousiasme auprès du public, a poursuivi Loria. Je ne suis pas intéressé à perdre de l'argent encore la saison prochaine. Il n'en est pas question."

Plusieurs amateurs ont perdu intérêt pour le baseball après 1994, quand une grève a coupé court à une saison durant laquelle les Expos détenaient la meilleure fiche des ligues majeures.

Lors des années subséquentes, des vedettes telles Larry Walker, John Wetteland, Moises Alou et Pedro Martinez sont devenus joueurs autonomes ou ont été échangés lors de ventes de feu.

"Montréal va écoper pour les leçons que les dirigeants du baseball majeur vont tirer, prédit Tom Valcke, un ancien employé du bureau du Commissaire, maintenant président du Panthéon de la renommée du baseball canadien.
"Pendant 100 ans, a poursuivi Valcke, les joueurs de baseball touchaient sept fois plus d'argent que le citoyen ordinaire; aujourd'hui, leur salaire est 40 fois plus élevé."

Selon Valcke, la disparition des Expos serait déplorable.
"Nous serions tous très attristés, a-t-il confié. Montréal a établi tellement de standards et de précédents, du premier match disputé au Canada en passant par le 4000e coup sûr de Pete Rose. Les racines du baseball au Canada passent par Montréal."
Valcke est persuadé que les nombreux sièges vides des dernières années au Stade olympique n'ont rien à voir avec le manque d'intérêt des amateurs montréalais.

"Non seulement les spectateurs ont-ils réservé deux ovations à Jackie Robinson lors de son dernier match en 1947, a relaté Valcke, mais ils l'ont assailli dans les rues en quittant le stade. Qui, à cette époque, aurait pu imaginer une foule de gens de race blanche réserver un tel traitement à un joueur de race noire?"

Cette saison-là, les Royaux, le club-école des Dodgers de Brooklyn, avaient attiré 412 744 spectateurs au stade Delorimier. L'an dernier, les Expos ont enregistré une assistance totale de 619 451 amateurs au Stade olympique.
Shop Owner on Terror List Denies Link
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001; 11:58 a.m. EST

OTTAWA A man identified on a U.S. list as part of a financing network supporting Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization said that he and his brother, arrested outside Boston, have done nothing wrong.

Liban Hussein says his business Barakaat North American, Inc. helps Somalis send money to relatives back home through offices in Ottawa and Massachusetts.

"I hope people understand what is really going on. You can't just jump up and catch people and say they are terrorists, it's wrong," Hussein told the Toronto Star newspaper Thursday.

"This company has nothing to do with bin Laden," said Hussein, who came to Canada as a refugee from Somalia and obtained citizenship in 1995.

The U.S. list issued Wednesday accuses Hussein and his brother, Mohamed M. Hussein, of running an illegal money transfer operation. The brother was arrested at Barakaat North America's Dorchester, Mass., offices Wednesday morning and appeared at a preliminary hearing in federal court in Boston Thursday.

Federal authorities charged the brothers with illegally operating a money-transfer operation and Samantha Martin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said a warrant had been issued for Liban M. Hussein's arrest.

Canada has placed Hussein and his business on a list of companies and individuals whose assets can be frozen or seized because of suspected terrorist ties.

Customers showed up Wednesday at the Bashaal grocery store in suburban Ottawa where Hussein operates the money transferring service, but he said he's halted transactions for now.

President Bush identified Al-Barakaat was one of two underground currency exchanges that are funneling large amounts of cash to al-Qaida.

The organizations, Al Taqua and Al-Barakaat, operate in more than 40 countries, including the United States, and channel funds to al-Qaida through companies and nonprofit they run, the administration said.

Investigators believe tens of millions of dollars a year flow overseas through Al-Barakaat. Much of that was sent by Somali residents of the United States to relatives, with the networks skimming money off for al-Qaida through exchange fees.
"This is the only way that Somali people transfer money back home," Hussein told the Star. "There is no other way. There are no banks there, there's no Western Union there, this is the only way."

Across Europe and the United States on Wednesday, police conducted raids designed to unravel two Islamic financial networks accused of laundering and raising money and providing logistical support to bin Laden's al-Qaida organization.

Investigators said they believe tens of millions of dollars a year flowed overseas through the Al-Barakaat network of stores, groceries and money exchanges, much of it from funds that Somalis living in America send home to relatives. Some of that money was skimmed for use by al-Qaida and other terrorist networks, investigators said.

Hussein told the Star that he called the office of Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley for help. Manley is the elected member of Parliament from Hussein's district, and Hussein said Manley previously helped him with immigration questions.

"He knows me, I have a file down there, that's why I called him," Hussein said. Manley heads the Cabinet committee overseeing national security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
No money transfers at Somali shop after US names it on list
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001

OTTAWA  - A money-wiring service to Somalia was shut down after the United States listed the address as the site of a suspected terrorist organization.

The Bashaal food store, a  Somali-run shop on the ground floor of an apartment building in suburban Ottawa, is at the address cited by U.S. authorities for Barakaat North American, Inc.

No one who was at the store Wednesday said they knew that name or Liban Hussein, who is sought by U.S. authorities for alleged terrorist links and listed as having the same address. The telephone number of the only Liban Hussein in the telephone book was out of service.

Abdelrahman, who was managing the store Wednesday, said the owner was away until Thursday and that the service of sending money to Somalia was "frozen." He said he didn't know why the service _ known as hawala _ was shut down.

The hawala network generally involves brokers who accept the money and notify partners at the destination point to make the payment. Money never travels, and the transactions are settled up by the hawala brokers without any paper trail.

Across Europe and from coast to coast in America on Wednesday, police conducted raids designed to unravel two Islamic financial networks accused of laundering and raising money and providing logistical support to alleged terrorist leader Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization.

Investigators said they believe tens of millions of dollars a year flowed overseas through the Al-Barakaat network of stores, groceries and money exchanges, much of it from funds that Somalis living in America send home to relatives. Some of that money was skimmed for use by al-Qaida and other terrorist networks, investigators said.

The U.S. list included Barakaat North America Inc., with offices in Ottawa and Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Liban Hussein, who had addresses in Ottawa and Dorchester. U.S. authorities have asked that businesses and names on the list have their assets frozen or seized.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley said Canadian authorities were considering the U.S. request.

"We will deal with it once we have had our own verification of the identity and the nature of the persons on the list," Manley said in Parliament.
Editor: Taliban Jailed Canadian Reporter
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2001; 5:56 PM

MONTREAL A Canadian freelance reporter was detained Tuesday in Taliban-held territory of Afghanistan, according to the editor of the weekly newspaper for which he writes.

Alastair Sutherland, the Montreal Mirror editor, said reporter Ken Hechtman was taken prisoner near Kandahar, the last stronghold of the Islamic militia. Associated Editor Matthew Hays said correspondents from USA Today and the London-based Guardian newspaper informed the Mirror of Hechtman's detention.

Initial reports indicated Hechtman was held by the Taliban, but Sutherland said later the identity of his captors was unclear.

"Someone received a note from him in prison. He's being held in chains," said Hays. "We don't know if anyone else has been taken prisoner from the press but obviously we're very alarmed and very concerned about this."

Hechtman's father, Peter, said he knew little about his son's situation.
"We're dealing with a very difficult situation and we would appreciate if you respect our privacy," he said.

According to Hays, the 33-year-old Hechtman has been in the region since early October. His most recent report for the Mirror, from Peshawar, Pakistan, appeared in the Nov. 22 edition. A Nov. 15 article was from Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan.

Francois Bugingo of Journalists Without Borders told Canada's RDI French-language television news network that Hechtman was "tied down to the ground and apparently he's been brutalized at least a couple of times."
"We're looking for a contact in order to negotiate his release," Bugingo said.

The Guardian said its reporter, Jonathan Steele, said a witness, Mohammed Zai, told him Hechtman was kidnapped in the border town of Spinboldak, but it was not clear by whom.

The newspaper said Hechtman is believed held in a windowless room, chained hand and foot. According to Steele, Zai said Hechtman was guarded by about 11 armed men. They wanted money and threatened to kill him, Zai told Steele.

USA Today confirmed Tuesday that a correspondent in Pakistan contacted the Montreal Mirror after receiving a note from Hechtman in prison. The USA today correspondent did not know why Hechtman was detained or where he was being held, the newspaper said.

Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs department, said Tuesday the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, had been asked to check the unconfirmed reports of Hechtman's detention.

Doiron also said he called Canadian news organizations on Monday night, before reports of Hechtman's detention surfaced, to warn of a Taliban plot to lure western journalists to Kandahar in order to hold them as hostages.

According to Doiron, the Taliban intended to trade the hostages for Taliban and al-Qaida war prisoners or kill them if U.S. bombing of Taliban positions continued.
U.N. Hold Conference on Oceans
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Friday, November 30, 2001; 9:24 PM

MONTREAL Delegates to a U.N. conference on marine pollution endorsed a plan of action Friday aimed reducing the amount of pollutants reaching the world's oceans and coastal areas.

Concluding a week of talks, the officials approved new recommendations for a 1995 agreement to control land-based activities that produce sewage, heavy metals, radioactive substances, sediment and other waste materials harmful to the marine environment.

The conference was the first full review of a November 1995 pact signed by 108 governments and the European Union to protect and preserve the coastal and marine environment. The agreement is known as the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.

"We need the strong will to take action and leave a legacy to our children of clean oceans," said Herb Dhaliwal, the Canadian fisheries and oceans minister. "If we don't, 20 to 25 years from now we're going to see serious problems."

Dhaliwal, one of two dozen government ministers in attendance, called for immediate action on the dumping of sewage and other wastes into oceans, considered the major source of coastal pollution today.

More than 80 percent of marine environment pollution is caused by land-based activities, such as sewage, run-off from agricultural and industrial sites, and habitat destruction, according to a conference statement.

A declaration adopted Friday urges governments to "address those activities which affect the health and productivity of the world's oceans" and asks the "donor community and financial institutions" to support the program.

"If we're going to protect the marine environment, we have to do things differently," said Veerle Wanderweerd, a U.N. Environment Program coordinator. "The (program of action) is the first step."

Michael Meacher, the British environment minister, said the conference set up a "systematic" program each nation should pursue.

The conference declaration called for governments and international organizations to provide more funding and new ways to help financing of projects in developing countries.

Al-Qaida Suspects Said Out of Canada
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2002; 6:25 AM

MONTREAL A Canadian man identified as a potential al-Qaida suicide attacker was quiet and kept to himself before moving out of his apartment and reportedly leaving the country last year, a former neighbor said.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Al Rauf bin Al Habib Bin Yousef al-Jiddi was not in Canada, and little other information was available about the Tunisian-born man who obtained Canadian citizenship in 1995.

Al-Jiddi, 36, was identified Friday by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as the fifth man in videotapes found in the rubble of the residence of Mohammad Atef reportedly Osama bin Laden's military chief who U.S. officials say was killed in a November U.S. air strike.

The other four were identified when Ashcroft first made the videotapes public last week. In the tapes, all five were leaving suicide messages.

Ashcroft said a photograph of al-Jiddi also was recovered from the rubble, along with a suicide letter by al-Jiddi from August 1999. In the letter, al-Jiddi pledged to die in battle against infidels, according to information released by U.S. authorities.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported a second man named by Ashcroft as a possible accomplice another Tunisian-born Canadian named Faker Boussora left Canada with al-Jiddi on a flight to Europe in November. Boussora obtained his Canadian passport last October. No other information about him was available.

"Both individuals should be considered extremely dangerous," Ashcroft said, adding that he lacked any information on their whereabouts. "As a result, we are publicizing their photographs worldwide."
At a four-story apartment building on Montreal's east side listed as al-Jiddi's last known address in Canada, a woman living in a ground-floor unit identified his photograph as the "tall man" who lived upstairs until late last year.

The woman, who refused to give her name for security reasons, said the man rarely spoke and kept to himself. She said a second man living in the apartment remained after the "tall man" left.

No one answered the door at the unit where the man lived, though a pair of boots were lying outside. Knocks on other doors in the building also went unanswered Friday night.

Al-Jiddi arrived in Canada in April 1991 and obtained citizenship in October 1995. His passport bears the name Abderraouf Jdey, and he also is known as Farouq Al-Tunisi.

According to the CBC, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had al-Jiddi under surveillance before he left the country but lacked sufficient cause to detain him. Ashcroft credited Canadian authorities Friday for helping identify al-Jiddi.

A CSIS spokeswoman refused to comment on any details about al-Jiddi, only saying that the agency was cooperating fully with the FBI. Immigration officials and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police referred all inquiries to CSIS.

The announcement that suspected terrorists were living in Montreal evoked memories of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian convicted last year of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport. A Montreal resident, Ressam was arrested in December 1999 trying to enter the United States with bomb-making material in the trunk of his car.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States blamed on bin Laden, Canada and the United States have agreed to a series of joint measures intended to bolster security along their 4,000-mile border without harming trade between them worth more than $1 billion a day.

U.S. President Bush announced Friday he would seek about $11 billion in spending on border security next year, an increase of $2.1 billion over this year.


Path of Canadian Al-Qaida Suspects Familiar
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2002

MONTREAL Two Canadian men identified by the United States as a potential al-Qaida suicide attackers have expanded the list of suspected or known terrorists who lived in the North African immigrant communities of East Montreal.

Al Rauf bin Al Habib Bin Yousef al-Jiddi, 36, and Faker Boussora, 37, have similar histories to others now jailed in the United States and elsewhere after being convicted of charges in terrorism-related activity.

Born in a North African country_Tunisia_they came to Canada in the 1990s and obtained Canadian citizenship. They lived in an area dotted with mosques and full of North African immigrants, and where cells of extremist groups have operated.

Al-Jiddi had another similarity with other Montreal-based terrorists_multiple names on official identification. His passport bears the name Abderraouf Jdey, and he also is known as Farouq Al-Tunisi.

The two men reportedly left Canada on a flight to Europe last November, though Canadian and U.S. officials say their whereabouts are unknown.

Residents of the four-story apartment building cited by U.S. officials as al-Jiddi's last known address on Saturday described the Arab man who moved out of the unit last year as quiet and someone kept to himself.

Stephanie Babusiaux of France, who moved into her fiance's apartment one floor below last month, said her fiance told her of meetings by groups of men in the suspect's apartment.

A neighbor of the suspect told her he had been inside the unit once and "there was nothing there," he said.

Another resident, who refused to give her name for security reasons said he was the "tall man" in apartment No.6 moved out late last year. She identified him as al-Jiddi from a photo made public by U.S. officials.

Al-Jiddi was identified on Friday by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as the fifth man in videotapes found in the rubble of the residence of Mohammad Atef _reportedly Osama bin Laden's military chief who U.S. officials say was killed in a November U.S. air strike.

The other four were identified when Ashcroft first made the videotapes public last week. In the tapes, all five were leaving suicide messages.

Ashcroft said a photograph of al-Jiddi also was recovered from the rubble, along with a suicide letter by al-Jiddi from August 1999. In the letter, al-Jiddi pledged to die in battle against infidels, according to information released by U.S. authorities.

Al-Jiddi came to Canada in 1991 and obtained citizenship in 1995, according to U.S. and Canadian sources. His passport bears the name Abderraouf Jdey was issued in 1999.

Boussora came from France in 1992 on a student visa to attend a university in Quebec city, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported Saturday. He obtained his Canadian passport last October, but little information about him was available.

The apartment linked to al-Jiddi is in an area of the city used others related to terrorism, such as Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian convicted in the United States last year for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations.

Ressam's arrest in December of 1999 while trying to enter the United States with bomb-making materials in the trunk of his car focused attention on Montreal as the base of cells of radical Arab and North African groups.

Others known to have lived in Montreal include Mokhtar Haouari, convicted as an accomplice in the Ressam case; Adelmajid Dahoumane, an indicted co-conspirator with Ressam reportedly under arrest in Algeria; and Fateh Kamel, convicted in France on terrorism charges.

Allegations that lax immigration and refugee laws allow terrorist cells to operate in Canada have stung the government, which has passed more restrictive policies since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service warns that dozens of terrorist groups have a presence in Canada's large immigrant communities created under policies intended to boost the population of 30 million.


Abraham Lincoln Exhibit in Montreal
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Friday, February 15, 2002; 5:11 AM

MONTREAL It is a small notebook brown with age and its pages record the medical treatment given Abraham Lincoln the night the 16th president was assassinated.

"The surgical aid that could be rendered consisted of keeping the external orifice of the wound free from coagulation and promoting the discharge of blood and brain tissue," wrote Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, a 23-year-old military surgeon. He rushed to treat the president after Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 at Ford's Theater in Washington.

Taft's diary is the "most significant" item in a Lincoln collection that went on display Tuesday Lincoln's birthday at McGill University, said Irena Murray, curator of McGill's Rare Books Library.

The exhibition runs until April 12 and is the largest private collection of Lincoln artifacts outside the United States. It was given to McGill by Dr. Joseph Nathanson, a 1919 graduate who left it to the university in his will.

"On the day I graduated, I promised that if the fates were willing and I could afford it, I would repay the institution which had given me my life's work," Nathanson, a New York gynecologist who taught for more than 60 years at Cornell University, once said. "I love McGill more than anything else in the world except my wife."

Murray said giving the collection to a Canadian institution sets it apart.

"Bringing it here, it will shine in a different way than if it were one among the many interesting collections in the United States," Murray said.

The exhibit comprises 3,500 publications on Lincoln in dozens of languages, including books, pamphlets, images and letters.

While other Lincoln exhibits, such as one in the U.S. Library of Congress, take a historical perspective, the McGill exhibition offers "the different schools of thought that have popularly and scholarly imposed themselves on Lincoln," said presidential historian Gil Troy.

The materials cover various periods and themes of Lincoln's life, from his pre-presidential years through the Civil War and then his assassination. Some pamphlets attack the president credited with abolishing slavery.

One photographic portrait was the Matthew Brady picture adapted for the $5 bill, perhaps the best-known image of Lincoln.

The Nathanson Lincoln collection got its start with "Abe Lincoln Grows Up" by Carl Sandburg. He bought it for his daughter in 1937.

Murray said the surgeon's diary was "the most complete set of notes Taft made on the actual events" of Lincoln's assassination.

In it, Taft describes being at the theater, hearing a pistol shot and looking up to see Booth jumping down from Lincoln's box.

Taft wrote that Lincoln was given brandy, which he had trouble drinking. He told of holding Lincoln's head up to prevent the wound from touching the pillow.

The president's breathing "gradually increased in frequency and decreased in strength up to the last breath," Taft wrote.

"To have this kind of eyewitness account from beginning to end is extraordinary and very exciting," Troy said. The exhibit also includes a framed piece of towel stained with Lincoln's blood.

Nathanson said in his will the materials should be available for research. Tuesday's opening on Lincoln's 193rd birthday coincided with the launch of a digital library.

On the Net: Lincoln library:

U.S. Pushes for Air Security Audits
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2002; 4:35 PM

MONTREAL The United States pledged $1 million this year and more money over the next two years for a sweeping audit of aviation security worldwide, U.S. officials told an international conference Tuesday.

U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Michael Jackson said evaluating security at airports and airlines was a necessary part of new strategies required in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The United States is pushing the International Civil Aviation Organization a 187-nation U.N. body to approve an action plan that calls for a global audit and other steps.

ICAO President Assad Kotaite opened the group's two-day security conference by noting that terrorists introduced a new threat civil aircraft used as "weapons of mass destruction" and saying the world must act to prevent future tragedies.

"One fatal act of unlawful interference, one fatal accident is one too many," Kotaite told delegates from more than 140 countries and 22 international organizations. "We must do more, especially since today we are faced with a whole new dimension of threat."

The plan of action calls for "universal, regular, mandatory, systematic and harmonized" audits of security standards and practices recommended by the ICAO.

Kotaite said the audits would cost $17 million to conduct, and the ICAO had $2 million to contribute.
Federal Aviation Administrator Jane Garvey told a news conference that the ICAO security audits would be similar to safety audits already conducted to prevent technical failure.

Jackson said the United States would provide $1 million this fiscal year and a similar level of support in the two ensuing years. The United States already provides assistance to countries seeking to comply with ICAO standards, he said.

"The terrorists will look for the weakest link in the chain to access flights internationally," Jackson said. "It would be foolhardy to think only the United States is the target of terrorist ill will."

Jackson also called for stricter security measures aboard planes, including stronger cockpit doors and better training for flight staff to prevent attacks.

Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette announced a contribution of $220,000 for the audit program.

Malawi delegate Willie Konzakapansi, who oversees airports in the southern African country, said the audit would help nations learn what needed to be done to meet international standards.

"Looking at the scope, the extent of work which is required in this program, it is obvious we will need outside assistance to help us," he said.

Kotaite said it was in every nation's interest to take part, noting the economic devastation from the Sept. 11 attacks. He said 120,000 aviation jobs have been cut, with airlines losing $10 billion in 2001.

Another 170,000 aerospace industry jobs disappeared and the industry worldwide lost $7.5 billion in 2001, Kotaite said.

Nations Voice Concern Over Profiling
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, February 20, 2002; 8:50 PM

MONTREAL A bloc of nations including Saudi Arabia, China and India on Wednesday urged a halt to racial profiling as part of enhanced airport security measures.

"Such unacceptable practices ... only succeed in causing insult and injury," said a statement by 17 countries presented to a conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The U.N. body endorsed an action plan that includes mandatory audits of aviation security in member countries and other measures to combat terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Debate over the racial profiling issue delayed the closing news conference almost two hours. The final declaration included a paragraph in which members declared a commitment to implement security measures "in a manner which is objective and non-discriminatory on the basis of gender, race, religion or nationality."

The U.S. government uses a program called the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System to root out potential terror suspects. Program defenders say it avoids racial or ethnic profiling, though some Arab-Americans have complained.

ICAO President Assad Kotaite said the audits would cost $17 million to conduct, and the ICAO had $2 million to contribute. He told the final news conference the organization had received pledges for another $2.4 million so far for 2002.

On Tuesday, the United States pledged $1 million this year and more money in the next two years for the audit program.

Kotaite has repeatedly warned that failure to react strongly to the Sept. 11 attacks, in which hijacked commercial flights were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, would cause catastrophic harm to the global air travel industry with a ripple effect in other sectors.

"I'm convinced the results we have obtained will greatly contribute to protect human lives and restore the confidence of the public," Kotaite said of the conference attended by more than 700 delegates from 154 countries and 24 international organizations.

While the ICAO lacks enforcement power, Kotaite noted that countries failing to meet its recommendations risked a loss of international air travel.

Canadian Artist Riopelle Dies
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 13, 2002; 8:12 PM
MONTREAL Jean-Paul Riopelle, an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor who was the first Canadian to have a painting sell for more than $1 million, has died. He was 78.

Riopelle died Tuesday at his home on Ile-aux-Grues on the St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City, said Robert Tourigny, a nurse who cared for the painter. The cause of death was not disclosed.

"He died calm and serene," Tourigny told RDI, a French-language television news channel. "He always said he wanted to die at home, surrounded by his things, in his bed, just like a bird in its nest."

Riopelle spent most of his adult years in France, building an international reputation in the 1950s and mingling with the intellectual celebrities of the era.

He was a member of the informal group of expatriate artists known as the Ecole de Paris (School of Paris), which also included Marc Chagall, according to the Artcyclopedia Web site.

Riopelle's works were exhibited around the world. In 1989, one of his paintings sold for $1.4 million at a New York auction. It was the largest amount paid for a Canadian painting at the time and the first to exceed $1 million, according to media reports.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien called Riopelle one of Canada's greatest artists.

G-8 Leaders Talk About Terrorism
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, May 13, 2002; 11:02 PM

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec Ministers from the world's industrial powers began two days of talks Monday by looking at links between terrorist fund-raising and organized crime.

The meeting of the G-8 justice and interior ministers in this mountain resort an hour north of Montreal is a prelude to the G-8 summit in June involving leaders from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

With terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States an agenda item for the June summit, the justice ministers were focusing on efforts to dismantle terrorist funding and other anti-terrorist measures.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said after Monday's opening session that terrorist financing and international crime have become almost inseparable.

"We find that transnational criminal activity is associated with terrorism," such as drug trade money going to terrorist groups, Ashcroft said. "We need to expand and improve international cooperation to confront the internationalization of criminal and especially terrorist activity."

An international campaign to block terrorist funding has seized or frozen more than $100 million so far. Canadian Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay warned Sunday that such steps could cause terrorist groups to turn to organized crime to raise money.

"We have to look at it as a possibility that they will join forces," MacAulay said. "We are still dealing with them as two different issues."

Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said the Monday morning session also covered the threat from chemical, biological, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

Afternoon talks agreed on the need to set up an international databank to share information on child pornography, though Cauchon said issues such as privacy and enabling legislation remain unresolved.

"The way we think that a databank could work is that you will have in the databank some images of victims," Cauchon said. "You will have as well ... some names of criminals that have been involved in such a crime."

He and MacAulay also held bilateral talks with Ashcroft on tightening security along the 4,000-mile border between the world's largest trade partners.

Ashcroft called Canada and the United States "two great friends ... united to form a common defense against a common enemy."

Battling Cyber crime, terrorism focus of g-8 justice ministers
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, May 14, 2002

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec An international database on child pornography. Further steps to cut terrorist financing. Tracking crime through the Internet.

Justice ministers from the world's industrial powers concluded two days of talks Tuesday with an agreement to work together on major crime and security problems they face, including the fight against terrorism after Sept. 11.

A summary of the talks by the top justice officials from the Group of Eight countries - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States - called the convergence of criminality involving terrorism, organized crime and so-called cyber crime a growing threat.

The meeting was a prelude to the G-8 summit on June 26-27 in Kananaskis, Alberta, where terrorism will be one of the three agenda items, along with the state of the global economy and a new African development program.

While pledging greater international cooperation in battling crime and terrorism, the summary offered few details about specific programs or steps to come.

The participants, including U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, endorsed an international databank on child pornography, but privacy issues and the need for matching legislation in participating countries make setting a timetable impossible for now.

They also said they would work toward enacting the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime, considered a groundbreaking international treaty on combatting Internet crime.

"Criminals are using the Internet to plan and commit crimes and, in doing so, they leave an electronic trail behind," said Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon.

Questions about how to follow that trail need to be resolved, Cauchon said, noting that laws must be formulated for police to get access to Internet information and e-mail without violating privacy rights.

He said Canada intended to work with Internet service providers, the business community and others to work out a system for preserving computer data. New legislation would set rules for turning over information for police investigations, he said.

Canadian Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay said the meeting also agreed more could be done to cut terrorist funding, with more than dlrs 100 million U.S. seized or frozen so far due to efforts by 151 countries.

"Whether through judicial cooperation to deny support and sanctuary to terrorists, through tracing the actions and communications of terrorists and other criminals over the global Internet, or through coordination at the operational level - the G-8 has taken important steps to enhance their counter-terrorism strategy," said the summary of the talks.
Greenspan: Economic Prospects Brighter
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, June 4, 2002; 5:24 PM

MONTREAL Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday that America's economic prospects were looking brighter, but cautioned that economic growth in the coming months will slow from the January-March pace.

"I suspect the American economy is in an upswing it's not going to be a dramatic upswing ... but events look increasingly positive," Greenspan said in response to questions during a panel discussion with other central bankers.

The U.S. economy, which suffered its first recession in a decade last year, rebounded at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in this year's first quarter. But Greenspan, agreeing with the consensus of private forecasters, said that going forward, "We will not grow at the pace of the first quarter."

Many private forecasters say the economy will turn in growth rates of between 3 percent and 4 percent for the rest of the year. U.S. unemployment, currently at an eight-year high of 6 percent, is expected to peak around 6.5 percent later this summer before starting to decline.

The central bank, after pushing interest rates to a 40-year low of 1.75 percent last year to fight the recession and the shocks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has left rates unchanged so far this year.

Many analysts believe the Fed will remain on the sidelines until at least their August meeting, waiting for signs that the jobless rate has begun to fall.

The central bank has room to maneuver, because so far inflation outside of energy prices has remained moderate. In his remarks Tuesday, Greenspan said businesses still had very little power to raise prices because of the lingering effects from last year's recession. But he cautioned that it would be a mistake for central bankers to let down their guard against the threat of inflation.

Greenspan said last year's recession, the first in the United States since 1990-91, would turn out to be the shallowest of the past 50 years. For that reason, the rebound this year would be "pedestrian," he said, because the economy did not have to make up much lost ground.

He said the U.S. economy was able to bounce back so quickly from the recession and the terrorist attacks because of a "dramatic increase" in the use of information technology by companies, which allowed them to quickly adjust to changing circumstances.

He also credited the growing use of derivatives, financial instruments that are linked to the underlying value of a certain asset such as stocks or commodities. He said companies used derivatives to spread their risks.

These factors had allowed for a quick rebound from events such as the terrorist attacks that "would have upended the economy" in the past, Greenspan said.

His comments came at the International Monetary Conference, an annual event in which top officials at the world's largest banks meet with central bankers to discuss problems facing the international financial system.

Greenspan appeared on a panel with Wim Duisenberg, the head of the European Central Bank; Eddie George, governor of the Bank of England, and David Dodge, head of the Bank of Canada.
Some Scuffling in Anti-G-8 Protests
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 27, 2002; 2:22 AM

KANANASKIS, Alberta Kept far from their target, protesters opposed to capitalism and globalization used everything from naked dancers to marchers hurling paint-filled balloons to send their message to the summit of the world's industrial powers.

The demonstrations Wednesday in Calgary, about 85 miles east of the meeting venue, and in Ottawa, 2,000 miles further away, were mostly peaceful. During violent protests at last year's Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy, one person died.

Hoping to avoid major confrontations this year, the world leaders met in relative seclusion at the Kananaskis resort in the Canadian Rockies. The increased threat of terrorism after Sept. 11 brought intense security, with checkpoints, guarded by camouflage-clad, automatic weapon-toting soldiers, stationed every few hundred yards on the lone paved road to the remote retreat.

Some protesters angered by the lack of access to the leaders of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia tried to approach the site.

A busload of 15 postal service union members seeking to deliver a protest letter to the leaders was turned back at a police roadblock, with one man arrested for interfering with a peace officer. About 100 vehicles later formed a caravan from Calgary that police allowed through some of the initial roadblocks so they could stage a symbolic protest.

While no major violence occurred, incidents like the burning of a U.S. flag outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and a shoving match between scores of protesters and police at a McDonald's restaurant in Calgary underscored tensions surrounding the demonstrations.

The Ottawa protest ranged from the brazen, when a dozen people danced nude in front of Canada's Parliament, to the bellicose, with some black-clad demonstrators throwing golf balls and paint-filled balloons that damaged street lamps, a bank window and a police car.

Protesters blocked traffic, beat drums and shouted "Capitalism Kills," "The Enemy is Profit," and "Down with the G-8".

"It was a great success," said Lisa Freeman of the Anti-Capitalist Community Action. "People were marching for an end to this capitalist system and these elite G-8 leaders who are hiding out in Alberta."

One man was arrested when protesters stopped the police from apprehending another man. A police officer was seen bleeding from the nose after the scuffle.

In Calgary, a festival-like morning march by 1,000 people snarled traffic but remained peaceful. Afterward, a smaller group headed into the center of the city with dozens of police on bicycles keeping a close watch.

Outside a downtown McDonald's restaurant, the 150 protesters confronted a line of officers who pushed them back, resulting in a brief shoving match. Some protesters shouted "fascists" and "racists" at the police, while others tried to calm the situation.

The group eventually moved on.

Despite the relatively successful day of managing the protests, Calgary police spokesman Al Redford said officers are braced for things to change.

"Summit security remains at a high state of alert," he said, "and we are still ready to respond to any eventuality."
Fears of Violent Protest  Against G-8 Summit Prove Unfounded
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 27, 2002
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - More than 2,000 demonstrators marched in the rain shouting "Free the people, not the market" and "G-8, shut it down!" Thursday as the Group of Eight closed out a summit that was free of the kind of violence that left a protester dead last year.
The leaders at the secluded summit in western Canada never heard the protesters, who were half a continent away in the capital of Ottawa.

The summit was held in the Rocky Mountain resort of Kananaskis, about 65 miles west of Calgary, because its secluded setting made it impossible for protesters to get close, avoiding a repeat of violent protests at last year's meeting in Genoa, Italy.

"Each protest is becoming more and more impotent," grumbled a protester in Ottawa who gave only his first name, Dennis.

Nonetheless, under the close watch of police, the protesters took to the streets in Ottawa.

"It's a march of 1,000 flags of resistance against war, imperialism, capitalism, genocide, and racism," Lisa Freeman of protest coordinators Take the Capital said. "It's pro-indigenous, immigrant and refugee rights, and people's right for self-determination."

Police kept their distance; the protesters were less belligerent than a crowd the day before that hurled golf balls and paint-filled balloons at buildings.

In Calgary, dozens of protesters rolled in the mud at a downtown park and sang songs celebrating Mother Earth at a festival-like gathering.

"This has really been a lot of fun," said Terri Kirby, an anti-globalization activist who traveled from Vancouver to take part. "We got our messages across, hung out together, heard some decent music and we're free. No one I know has been thrown in jail."

The lack of violence had police claiming success for balancing their response.

"'We need to treat each and every summit on a case-by-case basis," said Staff Sgt. Mike Gaudet of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "We're very pleased that there's been this commitment obviously from the police, but also from those large numbers of protesters who came here to be heard and seen in a peaceful way."

On Wednesday, some protesters angered by the lack of access to the leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States tried to approach Kananaskis. They were turned back at a police roadblock, with one man arrested for interfering with a peace officer.


Quebec Celebrates Pope in Canada
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Wed Jul 24, 3:26 PM ET

MONTREAL (AP) - While some in Quebec are miffed that the Roman Catholic church is holding World Youth Day in Toronto instead of Canada's most Catholic province, celebrations still were held in Montreal and other cities for the visit of Pope John Paul ( news - web sites) II.

Thousands of young pilgrims stopped in Montreal en route to Toronto for the Youth Day festivities that culminate in a July 28 outdoor Mass expected to attract more than half a million people.

The scene in Montreal last weekend looked a lot like a World Youth Day, with youngsters gathered around St. Joseph's basilica or carrying musical instruments across nearby Cote-des-Neiges street. At St. Jean Baptiste church, pilgrims dressed in traditional French Polynesian garb broke into a chant and danced.

Hughette Bergeron-Fortin, a World Youth Day spokeswoman for Quebec, said 15,000 people were riding 250 buses for the trip to Toronto. She called the pope's visit to Canada this year "good news," but acknowledged that holding the event in predominantly Catholic Quebec "would certainly have pleased us."

Toronto, Canada's largest city, secured the right to host the event that traditionally attracts hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world because of its ability to handle such a major gathering.

In Francophone Quebec, more than 80 percent of the 7 million population identify themselves as Catholic. But the tenor of Catholicism here has drifted far from the conservative teachings espoused by the pope.

Introduced by French settlers and spread by Jesuit missionaries, Catholicism in Quebec grew into a dominating conservative force that once permeated almost every aspect of society. Today, though, Quebec's Roman Catholic church is considered liberal, with leaders acknowledging the need to revitalize by attracting young people.

In a column in Le Devoir newspaper, journalist Jean-Marc Leger argued that a World Youth Day outside Quebec ignored "the important role of New France and of French Canada in the teachings of the Christian faith, the spreading of Catholicism and the development of the church in North America."

"Most North American diocese originate, directly or indirectly, from those of Quebec and Montreal," Leger wrote.

From the days when discoverer Jacques Cartier planted his cross and settlers colonized New France in the 16th century, religion has been a cornerstone of Quebec culture and identity.

The Catholic church ran schools, hospitals and most social services in the province in the first half of the 20th century. Father Louis Cyr of the St. Francis Xavier Mission described it as "a dictator church which told you how to behave, what to do."

A period of political and social reform in the 1950s and '60s, known as the "Quiet Revolution," gave birth to Quebec's separatist movement while eroding the church's influence here. Within a decade, the province considered Canada's most church-bound and backward became one of the most forward-thinking and liberal in the country.

Today, churchgoing has dropped in Quebec, with only 20 percent saying they regularly attend Sunday Mass, and a 2001 Montreal city report warned 100 churches could be sold in the next five years.

"When the pendulum swings the other way, it compensates. It doesn't stop halfway," Cyr said.

Still, John Paul is wildly popular in Quebec as leader of the Catholic church, even though most people disagree with his conservative views. Although the Vatican ( news - web sites) says a 1984 youth rally in Rome inspired World Youth Day, some in Montreal believe a rally here when the pope visited that same year was the force beyond the annual celebration of young Catholics.

The 60,000 people in Olympic Stadium on Sept. 11, 1984, cheered the pope like a rock star and heard a 16-year-old Quebec girl named Celine Dion ( news - web sites) sing to him on a night that remains vivid in many memories.

"There is no doubt that rally was one for the history books, and it was just one year later that the World Youth Day started taking shape," noted Monsignor Robert Sansoucy, the main World Youth Day coordinator for Quebec.

Last Sunday night, about 30,000 people went to Olympic Stadium where once again, pop music mixed with religious themes at a rally honoring the pontiff, this time still back in the Vatican preparing to travel. The French-language RDI television channel rebroadcast the 1984 rally at the same time.

Pilgrims Ready for Pope's Mass
Associated Press
Saturday, July 27, 2002; 3:25 PM

TORONTO In a parade of faith stretching for miles, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims made their way to a former airfield to join Pope John Paul II for a nighttime vigil Saturday and Sunday Mass that concludes World Youth Day celebrations.

Waving flags and singing songs, the crowd jammed streets in north Toronto as the pontiff met briefly in separate audiences with Prime Minister Jean Chretien and other Canadian leaders.

"Go back in good health and pray for no rain tonight," Marilyn Lastman, wife of Mayor Mel Lastman, told the 82-year-old pope hours before the all-night vigil that was expected to draw at least 500,000 people.

The Mass on Sunday will conclude nearly a week of activities marking World Youth Day, an event inaugurated by John Paul in 1985. More than 200,000 young Catholics from 170 nations registered this year, a decline from previous years.

There was no lack of enthusiasm among the multitudes who walked in midday heat, huddling under overpasses and in the shade of trucks to avoid the sun. Some welcomed water sprayed on them by people on highway bridges, and paramedics on golf carts cruised alongside to assist those overcome by the high humidity and 86-degree temperature.

"You feel the world is coming all together for the same reason," said 14-year-old Annalynn David of Sacramento, Calif. "My heart is beating madly, and I'm sure it will beat even harder when I see the pope again."

Lisa Hieronynus, 27, of New York City said the huge numbers bolstered the faith of those gathering here as the Roman Catholic church tries to emerge from the sex-abuse scandals in the United States.

"It's not every day that you get to experience this kind of solidarity," she said. "A lot of people were shaken and a lot people woke up. This sort of event will help the pope in the long run."

In downtown Toronto on Friday night, pilgrims by the tens of thousands watched a somber re-enactment of the crucifixion as the pope watched on television from his Strawberry Island retreat north of the city, where he has rested since arriving Tuesday night.

John Paul was flown by helicopter to the city a few hours before Saturday's vigil for his visit with the political leaders. He was scheduled to spend two hours at the vigil on Saturday night, then return to the Downsview Park site on Sunday morning to celebrate Mass with a crowd that organizers say could reach 1 million worshippers.

The pope proceeds to Guatemala on Monday, then to Mexico to complete his 11-day trip, the 97th of his nearly quarter-century papacy. While aides had expressed concern the trip would be too much for his declining health, the pope has surprised all by looking stronger and speaking more clearly than in recent months.

Pope to Hold Mass at World Youth Day
Associated Press
Sunday, July 28, 2002; 7:41 AM

TORONTO A dawn storm drenched hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful sleeping outside at the World Youth Day vigil before Sunday's final Mass with Pope John Paul II.

Gray morning skies greeted the throng that stretched as far as the eye could see at a former airfield converted to a giant outdoor church, with a 160-foot cross towering above from the stage.

"When it stopped, we all woke up in puddles," said Cynthia Lashinski, 17, still in her sleeping bag with plastic on the bottom in a futile attempt to ward off the wet.

The Mass concludes a week of World Youth Day activities in which the frail, 82-year-old pontiff has preached a message of devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

During a 2½-hour prayer service at the vigil on Saturday night, John Paul urged young pilgrims to become builders of a new civilization of freedom, peace and love.

The crowd of more than 500,000 cheered him wildly, waving flags from every corner of the world and chanting his name in open affection.

Speaking in French and English, the pontiff said the new millennium opened with two contrasting scenarios: the sight of pilgrims in Rome for the Holy Year, and the "terrible terrorist attack on New York, an image that is sort of an icon of a world in which hostility and hatred seem to prevail."

"The question that arises is dramatic: On what foundation must we build the new historical era that is emerging from the great transformations of the 20th century?" he asked.

His voice strong despite symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other health problems, John Paul asked whether it was enough to rely on the technological revolution without referring to an individual's spiritual dimension.

The answer: "Christ alone is the cornerstone on which it is possible to build one's existence."

He urged young people to be the builders of a "civilization of love" and learn "to build brick by brick, the city of God within the city of man."

John Paul waved at the leaping, shouting young people along the route of his "popemobile" as it made its way to a giant stage adorned with the cross, which was visible for miles. Among those in the crowd was Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

For one of the few times so far on the trip that began Tuesday, John Paul used a cart pushed by aides to cross the stage, his normal practice in recent months. In Canada, he had made a point of walking with a cane, usually with an aide holding his arm.

Throughout Saturday, crowds of people singing songs and carrying what they needed to spend the night outdoors jammed streets in north Toronto to get to the concrete expanse at Downsview Park as big as 180 soccer fields.

John Paul met briefly in separate audiences with Chretien and other Canadian leaders before flying by helicopter to the park.

More than 200,000 young Catholics from 170 nations registered for this year' tion among the young.

There was no lack of enthusiasm among the multitudes who walked for miles to the vigil in midday summer heat Saturday. Some welcomed water sprayed on them by people on highway bridges, and paramedics on golf carts cruised alongside to assist those overcome by the high humidity and temperatures.

"You feel the world is coming all together for the same reason," said 14-year-old Annalynn David of Sacramento, Calif.

Lisa Hieronynus, 27, of New York City, said the huge numbers bolstered the faith of those gathering here as the Roman Catholic church tries to emerge from the sex-abuse scandals in the United States.

"It's not every day that you get to experience this kind of solidarity," she said. "A lot of people were shaken and a lot of people woke up. This sort of event will help the pope in the long run."

Many brought tents and others built improvised shelters of tarpaulins, plastic barricades and cardboard boxes. In one makeshift camp, Los Angeles youth minister Erick Rubalcava, 28, had a box with a mini-television and battery-powered fan.

"I'm all set," he said. "It's kind of skid row but it's kind of luxurious."

On Monday, the pope proceeds to Guatemala, then to Mexico to complete his 11-day trip, the 97th of his nearly quarter-century papacy. While aides had expressed concern that the trip would be too much for his declining health, the pope has surprised all by looking stronger and speaking more clearly than in recent months.

New England, Canada Leaders: Loosen Border
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, Aug 26,10:43 PM ET

QUEBEC (AP) - Governors from New England states and premiers of eastern Canadian provinces have called for a smoother flow of goods across the U.S.-Canadian border despite increased security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Competing for global markets must be a priority for the U.S.-Canada trade partnership, the world's largest at more than $1 billion a day, the governors and premiers said Monday, the first day of their annual two-day talks.

Despite the security concerns of the post-Sept. 11 era, they said, speeding up traffic across the border should be a priority.

A resolution they adopted reflected the thinking: While expressing sympathy to the victims of the attacks that killed and injured thousands in the United States, they called for further talks to "facilitate the smooth flow of peoples and goods avcross the border while at the same time contributing to a higher level of border security."

The 27th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, entiled "New Frontiers in Regional Cooperation," focused Monday on North American trade and the need to team up to compete with Europe.

Maine Gov. Angus S. King said "it makes no sense" that people can travel without a border check between France and Germany, who were war rivals this century, while the border between the United States and Canada requires check points.

"We can do more and better," said Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln C. Almond of the $21-billion trade relationship among the Northeast states and Canadian provinces.

Michael Gadbaw, a General electric executive invited as a panelist on the border trade issue, said everyone benefits from easing the ability to move goods and people across the border for trade.

"It is easy to see that unimpeded movement and rapid customs clearance of goods across the Canadian-U.S. border is absolutely critical to the success of operations," Gadbaw said, noting one GE plant in Quebec sends 80 percent of its business across the border. "Security enforcement and compliance are inseparable from trade facilitation."

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley have been working on a 30-point "smart border" agreement intended to speed traffic while raising security.

The agreement, which could be completed by the end of the year, is expected to include high-tech solutions such as cargo monitors for trucks and trains that would allow them to cross the border without stopping. Iris scanning devices and other technology also are coming to border points.

The Sept. 11 resolution reaffirmed the solidarity and friendship of people of the Northeast and called for expanding collaboration in emergency preparedness. After approving the resolution, the governors and premiers observed a moment of silence.

Other issues on the agenda include the development of energy markets, environmental cooperation and climate change.

Later Monday, energy officials from Canada and New England states praised a new power cable across Long Island Sound that can transport up to 380 megawatts in either direction during peak emergencies.

The Cross Sound Cable offers better management of assets and more control over costs, said Andre Caille, head of Hydro Quebec, the parent company for the project.

"The greatest challenge is to transport the energy to where it is needed, when it is needed," Caille said. While acknowledging opposition by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others, Caille said the cable had all the necessary permits to begin operating.

Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive officer of ISO New England Inc., thanked Canada for power that helped the region deal with what he called the hottest summer on record. He also thanked Caille for the Cross Sound Cable saying such projects offer more options for dealing with emergency conditions.


U.S. official heads to Canada to resume softwood lumber talks
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, Aug 26, 7:21 PM ET

QUEBEC - A senior U.S. official flew to Canada on Monday to resume talks on resolving the softwood lumber trade dispute, a U.S. consular official said.

Grant Aldonas, under secretary for international trade at the U.S. Commerce Department ( news - web sites), was due in Vancouver, British Columbia, later Monday, said Dominique Nadeau of the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.

The Bush administration slapped antidumping duties averaging 27 percent on softwood imports from four Canadian provinces in May, contending that Canadian lumber imports threatened the U.S. industry.

Canada challenged the duties at the World Trade Organization ( news - web sites), which ruled in Canada's favor last month on a preliminary issue.

Quebec Premier Bernard Landry said Monday that the talks would shift from seeking an overall solution to meetings between the United States and individual provinces, which have different interests in the softwood lumber dispute. He said the U.S. envoy would be in Quebec on Sept. 20.

Softwood lumber from pine, spruce, fir and hemlock trees is used to frame houses. Canada exports dlrs 6.2 billion U.S. in softwood lumber a year to the United States, supplying about one-third of the American market.

Most U.S. timber is harvested from private land at market prices, while in Canada, the government owns 90 percent of timberlands and charges fees, called stumpage, for logging. The fee is based on the cost of maintaining and restoring the forest.

U.S. timber companies contend that Canada's fees are artificially low, calling them subsidies that allow Canadian mills to sell wood below market value and avoid layoffs even during slow times.

Canadian mills employ more than 80,000 people, government figures show, and a prolonged battle over the U.S. duties could eliminate a quarter of those jobs or more, officials say. British Colombia, Quebec and Ontario would be among the hardest-hit areas.

Thousands of workers have lost their jobs since May and lumber exports have dropped, according to Canadian officials.

New England, Canada Discuss Ecology
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Aug 27, 5:06 PM ET

QUEBEC (AP) - Governors from New England states and premiers of eastern Canadian provinces agreed Tuesday to study greenhouse gas emissions to try to slow global warming ( news - web sites).

A resolution asking to "evaluate and recommend options for reducing greenhouse emissions" was one of nine approved at the two-day meeting involving six U.S. states and five Canadian provinces.

The U.S. government has rejected the Kyoto Protocol ( news - web sites), an international agreement that calls for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Canada's government says it intends to ratify the 1997 protocol but has come under pressure from the energy industry not to do so.

Gov. Jane Swift of Massachusetts told the closing news conference for the 27th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers that studying emissions limits did not contradict U.S. policy.

Having states set limits on emissions "is compatible with the Bush administration's perspective that we have to deal with this in a regional way," Swift said.

Premier Bernard Lord of New Brunswick said working together on greenhouse gas emissions could set an example for other regions.

Another resolution called on the U.S. and Canadian governments to increase funding for research on air pollution and take "economically feasible measures" to reduce air pollutants that cause health problems downwind.

An update to the group's climate plan signed last year reported stronger indications of global warming such as glacial retreat and longer ice-free periods on lakes and waterways.

The meeting stressed closer ties between the United States and Canada, with Monday's talks focusing on speeding the flow of people and goods across the border while maintaining tighter security in the post-Sept. 11 era.

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier Bernard Landry mentioned a common North American currency as a possible long-term goal, noting the strength of the euro showed the tendency toward a monetary union. Others also called for closer relations but said steps such as a common currency were far off.

Anti-doping agency approves second draft of global code
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 7:12 PM ET

MONTREAL - The World Anti-Doping Agency approved a second draft of its proposed universal anti-doping code Tuesday but complained that deadbeat nations including the United States were creating funding problems.

Dick Pound, the agency's president and a top International Olympic Committee official, said the WADA executive committee adopted the revised code that included changes suggested in 122 comments received from sports federations, governments, anti-doping agencies and others.

He said the biggest changes from the first draft circulated earlier this year were:
_ an expanded definition of doping to include genetic doping and oxygen transfer agents;
_ clarifying doping control responsibilities among various agencies in existence; and,
_ the possible disqualification of all results of an athlete who tests positive, instead of just the event in which the positive test occurred.

Pound said some questions remained open to discussion, such as whether a two-year ban would be automatic for first-time offenders. Consideration of the athlete's circumstances age, professional status, nature of the offense could factor in determining the length of a ban, he said.

Another question was whether the mere presence of a banned substance in an athlete's system constituted a violation, Pound said.

WADA hoped to have a final version ready for consideration and approval at a world anti-doping conference in March in Copenhagen, Pound said. On Monday, he said the goal is to get all Olympic sports federations and participating countries to sign memorandums of understanding on adopting the code before the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Meanwhile, WADA director general Harry Syvasalmi complained that the agency set up by the IOC after the doping scandal at the 1998 Tour de France cycling event had received less than half the US$8.5 million in funding for 2002 promised by countries around the world.

The funding formula calls for the IOC to match contributions by nations, and Syvasalmi appealed to governments to pay what they said they would. So far, the IOC had contributed just over US$5 million compared to the US$4.275 million given by countries, according to a list on the WADA Web site

The list showed the United States has failed to pay any of the US$800,000 pledged, with Germany, Italy and Russia failing to pay any of the US$504,978 they each owe.

Britain and France both had paid all of their US$504,978 obligation, and Japan paid its US$1.5 million commitment, the largest of any country, according to the list.

"The situation regarding our funding needs to be urgently addressed," Syvasalmi said. "Governments themselves agreed to the shares they will pay and they must adhere to the commitments they made. It is clear that they are expected to fulfill their obligations."

The anti-doping code would be the first set of universal doping rules for international sports. Among other things, it would establish a single list of banned substances, mandate rigorous out-of-competition testing, and set standard penalties and suspensions for drug cheats, including two-year bans for serious offenses.

It would cover Olympic sports, but professional leagues such as Major League Baseball would not necessarily come under the code except if its athletes compete in the Olympics or other international events.

For years, the IOC has held out the veiled threat that sports could be dropped from the Olympics if they fail to live up to anti-doping rules. No action has been taken.

IOC president Jacques Rogge recently said he would not hesitate to act against sports or national Olympic committees if, after having their views incorporated in the code, they fail to go along.
Global Fund to Fight AIDS to begin distributing aid soon
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, Oct. 6, 11:03 PM ET

MONTREAL - An independent group that has raised more than US$2 billion this year to fight AIDS and other diseases announced its first shipments of aid would reach 40 countries by the end of this year.
The Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria , an independent partnership between the private sector and governments, has collected US$2.1 billion in pledges by governments, corporations and individuals.

"A quarter of the money is in the bank and it's enough to cover the first round of handouts, which should be made in the weeks ahead," the Fund's executive director, Richard Feachem, said Sunday at the opening of a Montreal world conference on lung health.

Feachem said Haiti, Ghana, Tanzania and Sri Lanka would be among the first in a list of 40 countries to receive US$630 million worth of aid over the next two years.

Projects approved by the fund included a program of vouchers to help subsidize the sale of bed nets soaked in insecticide in Tanzania, to prevent mosquito bites that can lead to malaria.

The United States government was by far the largest donor with pledges of US$500 million, followed by the governments of Britain, Italy and Japan with US$200 million each.

Individual donors included the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a major proponent of the Fund, who pledged US$100,000.

Feachem said the Fund would work with auditing firms "to improve oversight of donated aid money and make sure that it gets where it's most needed in a rapid way."

WADA head to meet with U.S. drug czar on money owed
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Thu Nov 7, 3:09 PM ET

MONTREAL - The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency will travel to Washington next week to urge U.S. officials to pay what they owe for the agency's budget.
Richard Pound, the WADA president and a top International Olympic Committee (news - web sites) official, will meet Nov. 13 with U.S. anti-drug chief John Walters to discuss the $800,000 owed by the United States, WADA director general Harri Syvasalmi said Thursday.
The United States is the biggest deadbeat among countries that pledged $8.5 million for the WADA budget in 2002. The IOC is matching that amount, accounting for most of the money in the $18 million WADA budget.

So far, just over $10 million of the total has been paid, according to WADA.

Farnaz Khadem, the WADA communications director who will accompany Pound to Washington, said the purpose of the trip is to remind the U.S. government to include the money in the budget process.

Syvasalmi said he will be meeting with Russia's sports minister next week to urge Moscow to pay the $504,978 it pledged. Italy also owes that amount, while a number of smaller countries in Europe, Africa and Central and South America also have yet to fulfill their pledges.

Britain, France and Germany all have paid their $504,978 obligation, and Japan paid its $1.5 million commitment, the largest of any country.

WADA is working on a final draft of a world anti-doping code that would be the first set of universal doping rules for international sports. Among other things, it would establish a single list of banned substances, mandate rigorous out-of-competition testing, and set standard penalties and suspensions for drug cheats, including two-year bans for serious offenses.

The code would cover Olympic sports, but professional leagues such as Major League Baseball would not necessarily come under the code except if its athletes compete in the Olympics or other international events.

It is expected to be adopted at a world anti-doping conference in March in Copenhagen, and would be in effect for the Athens Olympics in 2004.

WADA was set up by the IOC after the doping scandal at the 1998 Tour de France cycling event. The agency is based in Montreal with a staff of 27 people.

Proposed Anti-Doping Code Debated
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Monday, November 25, 2002; 4:16 PM

MONTREAL Officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency argued Monday over penalties and deadlines for the proposed global anti-doping code for international sports.

The code, which would be the first set of universal doping rules, is scheduled to be completed at an international anti-doping conference in March in Copenhagen, Denmark.

WADA president Dick Pound, who also is a top International Olympic Committee official, wants the code in place for the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Pound also wants governments of all countries in the Olympic movement to adopt the code, which means professional leagues like the NFL, NBA and NHL would come under the regulation.

He said Monday the Copenhagen conference, expected to invite more than 1,000 delegates and journalists, should consider a final version of the code rather than hammer out details.

"I don't want Copenhagen to be the opening of a great debate. We're not going to start redrafting the code or standards," he said, adding the event "could be the most important meeting in the history of the fight against doping in sports."

The code would establish a single list of banned substances, mandate rigorous out-of-competition testing, and set standard penalties and suspensions for drug cheats, including two-year bans for serious offenses.

At Monday's meeting, board members focused on fundamental elements of the code, including the lengths of proposed bans and how an athlete would appeal their disqualification.

"Defining what is to be done to reduce the penalty is where the devils are in the details," said Richard Young, a WADA official working on the code project.

WADA communications officer Frederic Donze said the penalties would likely be the focus of major debate until the code is adopted. The deadline for responses to the second draft is Dec. 10.

N.Y. Police Say Model's Murder Solved
The Associated Press
Saturday, December 7, 2002; 3:41 AM

Twenty years after a rising French-Canadian fashion model was stabbed to death in her apartment, police have named her alleged killer: A top broadcaster known as the king of Montreal's high-flying early '80s disco scene.

Radio and television personality Alain Montpetit confessed to at least two women that he attacked Elite agency model Marie Josee St. Antoine in the foyer of her apartment, New York Police Detective Stefano Braccini said in an interview this week.

Montpetit died of a cocaine overdose in a Washington hotel five years after St. Antoine was killed.

His sister, Francine Montpetit, declined to comment on the allegation when reached at her home near Montreal.

"That's an old story," she said. "I'm not interested in commenting."

St. Antoine's body was discovered in her fourth-floor apartment near Gramercy Park early on the morning of June 18, 1982. The striking 24-year-old model, featured on fashion magazine covers and active in New York and Montreal nightlife, had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest, neck and torso.

"This was pure rage," Detective Stefano Braccini said of the attack, which his "cold case" squad began to investigate last year. "This is a tragedy. She could have been the next Cheryl Tiegs."

Cold case squad detectives interviewed approximately 40 people as they reconstructed the events surrounding the attack. Two women told investigators that Montpetit had confessed his guilt to them, investigators said. And one of Montpetit's former girlfriends recanted previous statements that he had been with her at the time of the killing.

Born into a wealthy Montreal family, Montpetit became one of the city's top broadcasters of the '70s and '80s, moving between Montreal's and New York's social scenes.

"Montreal was a major center of disco at the time, along with New York, and he was the king here," said Nathalie Petrowski, arts columnist for La Presse, a French-language daily newspaper.

Among the witnesses interviewed was former "NYPD Blue" actress Kim Delaney, a neighbor of St. Antoine, who saw her walking with a man hours before she was killed, Braccini said.

Delaney helped a police sketch artist produce a drawing that resembled Montpetit, investigators said. Through her agent, Delaney said her thoughts were with St. Antoine's family.

Investigators believe that, later that night, after a party attended by Grace Jones and John F. Kennedy Jr. at the trendy discotheque Xenon, St. Antoine rejected Montpetit's request to help him renew a relationship with a friend of hers. The rejection enraged Montpetit, investigators believe.

St. Antoine's white pumps were found at the bottom of the staircase leading to her apartment. Police believe she was chased up the stairs and left behind her shoes, which her killer then set side-by-side as he fled the building.

Sudden decision led to ride in plane's wheel bay by Cuban stowaway
By Phil Couvrette
Associated Press Writer
Fri Dec 13, 6:59 PM ET

MONTREAL - It was a sudden decision, made just a few hours before a Cubana airline flight departed for Canada.
That's why a Cuban man had only a light jacket and no strategy for warding off subfreezing temperatures and minimal oxygen in the wheel compartment of the DC-10 jetliner on the four-hour flight to Montreal last week.

The man, who cannot be identified under a publication ban imposed by the Immigration and Refugee Board considering his case, appeared at a hearing Friday, where the panel set conditions for his release from custody.

He is seeking refugee status, similar to political asylum in the United States, and must post a US$2,000 cash surety and keep authorities informed of his whereabouts in order to avoid continued detention.

Local Cuban groups were expected to help him meet the conditions for his release.
The publication ban is intended to prevent Cuban authorities from identifying the man, thereby preventing any harm to his family or to him if he is sent back to Cuba.

After Friday's hearing, the man told reporters he would endure the travel ordeal again despite conditions that resulted in hospital treatment for hypothermia and exhaustion.

"I had in mind that it was a democratic country and very beautiful," he said of Canada, speaking in Spanish with a translator at his side. He said life was hard in Cuba because of "political problems."

Canadian authorities have indicated the man also told them that economic opportunity was a lure. Under Canadian law, refugee status is granted to people escaping persecution in their homeland on the basis of race, nationality, religion, political belief or social affiliation.

The refugee hearing will likely take place in a few months, according to immigration officials.
The man said he went to work at the Havana airport on Dec. 6 without planning to hop a plane.

"It was a last-minute thing," he said. "It was so sudden I didn't have any time for anything."
He hid in the wheel bay of the Cubana DC-10 for three hours before it took off on a flight that stopped at a Cuban resort, then continued on the four-hour journey to Montreal.

"The voyage to Canada was very difficult because I was hanging from the landing gear of the plane," he said. Huddling close to hot air pipes for warmth, he wondered if he would survive.

"I was very scared because of the cold. It was very cold, but I had hope I would make it," he said.
Aviation experts say the temperature in the wheel compartment would be minus 40 Celsius or colder.