News breakdown: Dec. 30 – Jan. 5

Emergency workers and ruined carriages at the scene of the accident near Kroonstad, South Africa (courtesy AP)

Emergency workers and ruined carriages at the scene of the accident near Kroonstad, South Africa (courtesy AP)

International

– A passenger train collided with a truck in rural South Africa, killing 18 people and injuring approximately 260 people. Four hundred twenty nine passengers were headed home after the holidays aboard the state-owned train when the truck driver unsuccessfully tried to cross the track before the oncoming train.

– An anti-corruption rally last week in Mashad, Iran grew to protests in tens of Iranian cities expressing discontent with the regime, as well as for Iran’s current economic situation. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the armed forces, declared the protests over on the Dec. 4 with the final casualties coming to at least 22 dead, hundreds injured, and over 1,000 detained.

– North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, called for negotiations over participation in the upcoming Olympic Games and South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, quickly embraced the offer for high-level talks. Following these developments, the telephone hotline between North and South Korea has been reopened, US-SK military exercises have been postponed, and the country’s delegations are expected to meet in Switzerland for participation talks.

– Two serious computer security flaws, Meltdown and Spectre, have been found on processors designed by Intel, AMD, ARM affecting the vast majority of computers and smartphones worldwide. All Microsoft and Apple products are affected, with many companies rushing to put out security patches, however millions of processors will need manual replacement.

– California’s legalization of recreational marijuana came into effect on Jan. 1 making it the sixth U.S. state to do so and the biggest single market for recreational marijuana. Attorney General Sessions rescinded three Obama-era memos on state-legal marijuana, shifting federal policy from the Obama era hands-off approach to the Trump era of federal law enforcement’s oversight.

Canada forward Tyler Steenbergen (17) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Conor Timmins (3) in their 3-1 defeat of Sweden in the gold-medal game of the world junior championship Friday in Buffalo. (courtesy Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Canada forward Tyler Steenbergen (17) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Conor Timmins (3) in their 3-1 defeat of Sweden in the gold-medal game of the world junior championship Friday in Buffalo. (courtesy Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

National

– The Canadian men’s national juniors hockey team won the world juniors gold medal with a 3-1 victory over Sweden. Swedish team captain Lias Andersson threw his silver medal to a fan in the crowd, saying, “The guy in the stands wanted it more than me.”

– Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak has been booted from the Conservative caucus after refusing to remove racist comments that were published to her website. Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer says that her actions are unacceptable and intolerable, but has come under fire for not removing her sooner, due to earlier racist incidents.

– An empty Sunwing plane and a full Westjet plane collided on the Friday evening, with the Sunwing plane catching fire and the Westjet plane having to be evacuated onto the runway at Pearson International Airport. One firefighter was exposed to a chemical during the fire and sustained minor injures, but is expecting to make a full recovery.

– Following Ontario’s minimum wage hike to $14 from $11.60, two Tim Hortons franchise owners are being harshly criticized for a benefits cut to go along with the minimum wage hike. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the benefits cut a “clear act of bullying” while Tim Hortons is placing the blame on a “reckless few” franchise owners.

– Former Afghani Taliban hostage, Joshua Boyle, is currently being held in police custody for over 15 criminal charges that have been filed against him. The charges were filed on the Jan. 1, took place after his return in Canada in October to December, and consist of assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, uttering a death threat, and forcing an individual to ingest a noxious substance.

Bomb cyclone storm damage in Halifax’s South End (courtesy Jennifer Grudic/Global News)

Bomb cyclone storm damage in Halifax’s South End (courtesy Jennifer Grudic/Global News)

Local

– The intense winter weather that has been pummeling North America has left over 280,000 Nova Scotians in the dark as power was knocked out due to storms. The storm surge has caused flooding and damage along the Halifax boardwalk and in communities close to the sea across the province.

– All the Halifax area schools, and many schools the province across have closed. Additionally, Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office says that roads have been washed up and are littered with rocks and debris.

– Nova Scotia’s energy regulator has rejected a proposal by Nova Scotia Power to purchase and install twelve electric vehicle charging stations across the province. The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board ruled that the purchase was not in the best interest of utility’s ratepayers.

– Premier Stephen McNeil’s promised election tax cut takes effect this week, with approximately 500,000 Nova Scotians having their taxes lowered by an average of $160, by increasing the basic personal exemption on incomes up to $75,000. In an interview McNeil said, “What we have done here is actually ensure that those in our province who need the help the most get the largest benefit of this change.”

– A Toyota Corolla heading north crossed the centre median of Highway 102 near the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, crashing head-on into a Toyota Rav4, killing one with four injured. Three of the four injured were airlifted to the hospital, and the highway was closed for eight hours while analysts went over the scene.