Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Strike deal on the table


Originally uploaded by VancouverGo.

Metroblogging Vancouver can exclusively reveal that there is a contract on the table between the city and the union that should end the strike. The CBC reported earlier today that the union had gone back to bargain with the city [cbc] and this is the fruits of their labour. Most of the hold up has centred around when the contract will end, with the union wanting it to end just before the Olympics (giving them the upper hand in the next round of bargaining) and the city wanting it to end after, and as such any compromise is going to centre around the period of the Olympics.

The Details of the New Contract

– the contract will extend beyond the Olympics, ending one month after the close of the 2010 Games

– all city employees will be given two extra paid days off during the Games in which they’ll have free admission to any of the events. Their shifts will be staffed by members of the Finnish Nordic Combined team [wp]

– the city of Vancouver promises to not allow live performances by Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk during a period running from one month before to one month after the Olympic Games

– The mayor promises to put the full weight of the city behind getting Skij├Âring [wp] another chance as an Olympic Demonstration Sport

– The Union agrees to trade their dental plan for a free keg of beer at all of their future meetings

– City Employees will no longer have to go through the yearly Blood Trials (or cha’Dich) in order to maintain their seniority

– The idea to house Olympic athletes in the homes of City Employees to save on the costs of building the Olympic Village has been nixed. Housing British Red Coats however is still mandatory

– City Employees will no longer have to refer to the city as “Vancouver the home of the Coca-Cola 2010 Winter Olympics” while on duty, they however still do have to refer to Mayor Sam Sullivan as “Smokey” [wp]

These are of course simply the highlights. In any negotiation such as this there is a lot of give and take, and by the time the ink is dry and the press are alerted some small details here may have been changed. Keeping checking back here for more updates as we have news.

Metroblogging Islamabad: they’re not blogging about Kwik-E-Marts

If you want to see the real realization of the Metroblogging dream I suggest going to Metroblogging Islamabad now [mbi]. They have on the ground coverage of the continuing siege of the city that no major news source has, and a locals perspective that just blows anything else I’ve seen from the net tubes out of the water.

A quote from the last post:

7th July 3:50 AM: As the rain silenced the muzzles, the sound of thunder, wind and a welcoming adaan take one over in moments of confusion and despair.

There has so far been no great development in the Operation Silence, ak since long as Operation Lal Deen. I am trying to get Google Earth so I can post some cool pics of the area we are talking about. Hopefully.

Reading the comments is also recommended as other citizens are chiming in with news and updates as the situation progresses.

I wish everyone there, bloggers and non-bloggers alike, well and hope things calm down soon for them.

Here’s a protest you don’t see every day Vancouver Art Gallery has been a staging ground for countless demonstrations against the evils of Western imperialism, US and Israeli militarism and Canadian participation in the the United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan.

But in all of these protests that I’ve wandered by on Robson Street, the demonstrators and their signs have always been (at best) silent on the issue of political Islam, anti-Western terrorism and the role of certain Middle Eastern states outside of Israel in promoting hatred and conflict. Meanwhile, much of the peace movement seem pretty well set in in its unspoken (well, unholy, anyway) alliance with militant Islamists. To protest our world’s most urgent conflicts in this way is akin to communicating the sound of one hand clapping – at best, nobody really knows what you’re trying to say.

Today’s protest was different.

Darfur crisis brought home

Vancouverites rallied for humanitarian intervention against the genocidal catastrophe of Sudan’s Darfur region today.

I was pleased to see such a high turnout behind the Vancouver Art Gallery – at least 150, possibly as high as 250, since some passersby came, stayed to hear a few of the speeches and left. Not exactly standing room only, but it was something. Rallies in support of Darfurians were held around the world.

Green Party Leader Adrianne Carr spoke there today, reminding Canadians that Canada has a responsbility to protect people in Darfur. “The humanitarian disaster in Darfur has its roots in the ecological disaster of climate change… The international community has an obligation to provide leadership and aid and to help find solutions.”

I also talked to some Darfurian refugees who had settled in Canada only recently. Most of their family members were not so lucky to escape the disaster. “We need aid,” one said. “People are dying. Soldiers would help. We need any help we can get.”

Act now.

Citizen Sam

Citizen Sam, the documentary of our own Mayor Sam Sullivan and his successful 2005 electoral run, is still getting a lot of attention, with a recent screening at the Toronto’s Hot Docs documentary film festival.

As a politically opinionated Vancouverite, I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t yet got around to watching it, but this trailer has certainly piqued my interest.

Director Joe Moulins: “He’s really an interesting character. What I like best about the film now when I watch it is how complicated everything is. Nothing is black and white in his life, even the love story between he and his wife.”

Stop! Thief! You forgot your change.

In another inspiring tale of Canadian justice, a shopflifter in Vancouver won $12,300 in damages for losing a tooth while he struggled with store security.

This story is making the rounds on the Odd News sections of online news daily roundups, so all the world gets to see what a civilized bunch of dorks we’ve become.

Shooting at Virginia Tech

Masacre at Virginia Tech

Originally uploaded by Sully Pixel.

The saying “be careful what you wish for” fits at the moment. Minutes after complaining that there was nothing to blog about I checked the news sites and my email and found out about the Virginia Tech school shooting. Metroblogging DC [mbdc] has a few posts up with a good deal of information to do with the shooting including an open thread. It’s worth looking at because they’ve got some good information from multiple sources.

I wish anyone who has friends or family at VT well.

Update, 4:45p, via CNN Newsfeed: Virginia is now in a State of Emergency, as ordered by Governor Kaine, who is on his way home from Tokyo. 33 dead. 15 more critically injured. A list of dead may be released as soon as tomorrow. The shooter in Norris Hall had no identification on his person, and has yet to be identified. “Why didn’t you shut down the campus at the first shooting?” “We concluded the first shooting was a domestic shooting, and we had reason to believe the shooter was leaving the state.” Police at this time have not connected the first shooting to the second.

Just $35 to make yourself into a target. Sweet deal

ICBC will evidently be charging willing customers $35 for the privelege of making themselves targets for thugs and vandals with new Olympic-brand license plates.

Of course it’s insane that there are people out there who would damage private property just because someone makes a statement in favor of the Olympics. It’s insane that there are people out there who actually believe that Olympics supporters are by default elitist jerks who hate poor people. But, that’s pretty much where Olympics protesters are at.

I heard one of the Olympics opponents today on the radio explaining how vandalism shouldn’t be acceptable, but that he understood where the motivation was coming from if such acts were to take place – TRANSLATION: “You will never have me on record encouraging criminal activity, but if self-righteous goons allied with my cause break someone’s windshield for displaying a little Olympic spirit, that’s what the victims get for being enemies of the people.”

Post office changing mailing address

The downtown Canada Post building on 349 West Georgia Street is up for sale.

I really hope they don’t just tear it down and then put up more condos and street-level boutique stores. So unimaginative.

So many possibilities: a new museum (Storyeum 2, anyone?), disco bowling lanes, a giant bronze statue of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with his mighty hand outstretched to show us the way forward to a new era of Conservative glory…

Dare to dream.

Vancouver: “We’re #3”

vancouver from false creek

Originally uploaded by jawcey.

We’re the third best city to live in in in the world, after two Swiss cities, according to an annual international survey published today by Mercer Human Resource Consulting [cbc]. Predictably we got good marks on lack of vampires, something that co-third place city Vienna lost marks on, but not so good on crime rates given that North America’s tends to be higher than Europe’s.

So yes, we’re number three and best of all we beat both of our rival cities, Toronto [mbt] and Seattle [mbs] which means we get to make up a little happy victory dance to do for them everytime they come to town.

5 Things Not Taken Into Consideration that Would Have Moved Us Up Even Higher

– performance of the Vancouver Canucks and Whitecaps
– sexiness of the Metroblogging Vancouver authors
– Battlestar Galactica is filmed here
– very few boats are attacked by giant squid off our shores
– sushi every two blocks
– Vancouver is “nerd friendly”
– Rick Hansen slept here

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