From disasters to politics, here are the highlights of top stories from 2012 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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From disasters to politics, here are the highlights of top stories from 2012

From disasters to politics, here are the highlights of top stories from 2012

An in-brief look back at some of the most significant news events of the last 12 months, in chronological order:


4 - Disgraced Roman Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey was sentenced in Ottawa to 15 months in jail and two years probation for importing child pornography. He was released from custody after receiving credit for pre-sentencing time served.

4 - Defence Minister Peter MacKay married human rights activist and former Miss World Canada Nazanin Afshin-Jam at a private civil ceremony in Mexico.

6 - Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto was among 22 new cardinals named by Pope Benedict XVI. Collins was formally elevated on Feb. 18.

6 - Seven months after the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, Ryan Dickinson, 20, became the first person convicted in the rampage. Dickinson pleaded guilty to participating in a riot and was later sentenced to 17 months in jail.

6 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed seven new senators, including Betty Unger, the first woman electee to the upper chamber. Unger filled a vacancy in Alberta.

10 - Four of five people aboard a Keystone Air Service plane were killed in a fiery landing at the North Spirit Lake First Nation, about 400 km north of Dryden, Ont.

13 - For a limited time, the Bank of Montreal cut its five-year fixed mortgage rate to 2.99 per cent, the lowest rate from a major bank in Canadian history.

13 - The cruise ship Costa Concordia slammed into a reef off the coast of the tiny Italian island of Giglio after Capt. Francesco Schettino made an unauthorized diversion. More than 4,000 people were forced to evacuate and 32 were killed as the vessel listed and ended up half-submerged. Schettino was accused of causing the shipwreck, manslaughter and abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated.

16 - Canadian naval intelligence officer Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle was charged with two counts of breaching the Security of Information Act by allegedly passing secrets to a foreign entity. It was the first charge under that section of the act since it was passed after the 9-11 attacks in the U.S.

18 - Trapped by a Feb. 21 deadline imposed by Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s proposed $7-billion Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada was allowed to submit another plan with an alternate route around an environmentally sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.

19 - Pioneer Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died in a Utah hospital from injuries she sustained in a superpipe training run on Jan. 10. She was 29.

19 - Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper company agreed to pay damages of nearly $1 million to 36 high-profile victims of tabloid phone-hacking, including actor Jude Law, soccer player Ashley Cole and former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

20 - An explosion and fire tore through a sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C., killing two workers and sending 19 others to hospital.

20 - Legendary blues singer Etta James died from complications of leukemia. She was 73.

22 - Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, a sainted figure at the university for 46 years but scarred forever by a child sex abuse scandal, died of lung cancer. He was 85.

23 - BlackBerry maker Research in Motion’s co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, stepped down and were replaced by former chief operating officer Thorsten Heins in an attempt to pull the troubled company out of a years-long slump.

29 - Mohammad Shafia of Montreal, his second wife Tooba Yahya, and their son Hamed, 21, were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the so-called mass honour killing of Shafia sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, their father’s first wife in a polygamous marriage.


1 - Seventy-four people were killed and hundreds injured after soccer fans rushed the field in Port Said following an upset victory by the home team over Egypt’s top club, setting off clashes and a stampede as riot police largely failed to intervene.

4 - Florence Green, the last known surviving veteran of the First World War, died in Norfolk at age 110. She served with the Women’s Royal Air Force as a waitress at an air base in eastern England.

6 - Queen Elizabeth marked the 60th year to her ascension to the throne. Only Queen Victoria had a longer reign.

6 - Ten of 13 farm workers in a van and a truck driver died in a horrific collision in Hampstead, Ont.

7 - Two RCMP officers were shot and wounded at a rural residence in Killam, Alta., evoking painful memories of the 2005 massacre of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe. Sawyer Clarke Robison, 27, was arrested three days later.

11 - Onetime pop music queen Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub on the eve of the Grammy Awards. A coroner’s report concluded the 48-year-old died from drowning but that heart disease and chronic cocaine use were contributing factors.

13 - An Ontario Superior Court judge struck down a mandatory three-year minimum sentence for a first offence of possessing a loaded firearm.

13 - Quebec student action officially began over proposed hikes in tuition fees with the first groups voting in favour of a walkout. Over 100 days of protests followed with nearly 2,600 arrests.

14 - A fire started by an inmate at an overcrowded prison in Comayagua, Honduras killed 382 people, many of them trapped in their cells.

15 - The Harper government used its majority in the House of Commons to pass legislation to scrap the controversial long-gun registry by a vote of 159-130, with the support of two maverick New Democrats.

21 - Pierre Juneau, who had the Juno music awards named after him after a career spent championing Canadian performers as head of the CRTC and CBC, died at age 89.

21 - The countries that used the euro pulled Greece back from an imminent and potentially catastrophic default when they stitched together a US$170-billion rescue package.

21 - Copies of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, were burned in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base north of Kabul. More than 30 people were killed, including four U.S. soldiers, in the days of unrest following the incident.

26 - A Toronto-bound Via train derailed in Burlington, killing three engineers and injuring 32 passengers, three of them seriously.

26 - "The Artist" won five Academy Awards, including best picture, becoming the first silent film to win since "Wings" was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929. Canadian Christopher Plummer, 82, became the oldest acting winner ever for his supporting role in "Beginners."

26 - Neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla. As weeks followed without an arrest, protests were held across the U.S. over racial profiling and controversial self-defence laws in Florida.

27 - Liberal party researcher Adam Carroll resigned for creating the Vikileaks30 Twitter account that detailed salacious information about Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ divorce as a protest against the government’s online surveillance bill.

29 - James Murdoch, the executive at the epicentre of the phone-hacking scandal at his father’s British newspapers, stepped down as executive chairman of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper arm.

29 - A pre-dawn EF4 tornado flattened entire blocks of homes in Harrisburg, Ill., as violent storms ravaged the U.S. Midwest and South, killing at least 12 people in three states.

29 - Davy Jones of the made-for-TV rock band "The Monkees" died of a heart attack at age 66.


2 - Elections Canada announced it was reviewing more than 31,000 complaints about robocalls placed to voters during the May, 2011 federal election telling them to go to the wrong polls or polls that didn’t exist.

2 - BP agreed to pay $7.8 billion to settle lawsuits over the 2010 Gulf oil spill, making it one of the largest class-action settlements ever.

2 - A violent wave of U.S. Midwest and Southern storms flattened some rural communities, killing at least 37 people in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

4 - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election, a post he held from 2000-08. Independent observers said the election was marred by widespread violations.

6 - The Royal Bank of Canada announced that it reached a $17-million out-of-court settlement with victims of financial fraudster Earl Jones, who bilked them of $50 million in a Ponzi scheme.

7 - Clouds of tear gas wafted over downtown Montreal as police clashed with students protesting planned tuition-fee increases.

11 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, allegedly gunned down 17 Afghans civilians, including nine children, as they slept in their homes in two southern villages.

12 - Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government passed its omnibus tough on crime bill, which included nine separate bills, in a 154-129 vote in the House of Commons.

13 - Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. announced it would stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopedia for the first time since 1768.

14 - Back-to-work legislation was passed to send two Air Canada labour disputes to binding arbitration in order to keep the airline flying. Labour unrest continued with a wildcat strike by ground workers at Toronto’s Pearson International and dozens of pilots twice calling in sick, delaying or cancelling hundreds of flights.

14 - The International Criminal Court convicted Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga of using child soldiers, a verdict hailed as a legal landmark in the fight against impunity for the world’s most serious crimes.

17 - Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus leapt to her death from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, where she had been living and receiving treatment. She was 33.

19 - A gunman on a motorbike opened fire in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and the principal’s eight-year-old daughter. An Islamist extremist also wanted in the earlier killing of three French paratroopers was killed in a police raid on Mar. 22.

20 - Disgraced former junior hockey coach Graham James was sentenced to two years in prison following his second conviction for sexually abusing players.

24 - Thomas Mulcair, a combative former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, was chosen to succeed the late Jack Layton as leader of the federal NDP.

26 - The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled a ban on brothels put prostitutes at risk and was therefore unconstitutional. In October, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the federal government’s appeal.

27 - Former Mountie Janet Merlo launched a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP, alleging widespread sexual harassment.

28 - Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs died at a Nashville hospital. He was 88.

29 - Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled his first majority federal budget, scrapping the penny and raising the eligibility age for old age security to 67 from 65, starting in 2023.

31 - After spending more than a year in a Beirut jail on an arrest warrant alleging he exported rotten potatoes to Algeria in 2007, New Brunswick potato farmer Henk Tepper reunited with his family at the Ottawa airport.


1 - Nobel Peace prize winner and Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi won a parliamentary seat in the country’s byelection, where the military ruled almost exclusively for a half-century and where a new reform-minded government was seeking legitimacy and a lifting of Western sanctions.

2 - A 43-year-old nursing student expelled from a small Christian university in Oakland, Calif., and upset about being teased over his poor English skills, opened fire at the school, killing six students and a secretary.

3 - The Harper government froze spending on the multi-billion-dollar plan to buy 65 new F-35 stealth jet fighters after new auditor general Michael Ferguson concluded the Defence Department low-balled estimates and kept Parliament in the dark about spiralling problems with the project.

3 - James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, surrendering one of the biggest jobs in the Murdoch media empire as fallout continued from the telephone hacking scandal.

4 - Twenty-three-year-old transgender Vancouverite Jenna Talackova, originally barred from the Miss Universe Canada Pageant because she was born a male, won her fight to participate. At the competition on May 19, she made it into the Top 12.

5 - Legislation abolishing the federal long-gun registry was given royal assent. Quebec won a court injunction barring destruction of data from that province while it fought to preserve the information to start its own registry.

5 - Helene Campbell, 20, the Ottawa organ donation crusader whose campaign captured the attention of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber, underwent a successful double-lung transplant in Toronto.

7 - CBS newsman Mike Wallace, who helped make "60 Minutes" the most successful primetime television news program ever, died at age 93.

7 - An avalanche smashed into a Pakistani army base on a Himalayan glacier along the Indian border, burying 140 military and civilian personnel.

8 - Wiebo Ludwig, eco-warrior to some, terrorist to others, and was for decades a polarizing figure in the debate over northern Alberta’s oil and gas industry, died at age 70.

11 - George Zimmerman, 28, the Fla.-neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

17 - Ottawa outlined a major overhaul for environmental-assessment rules for big economic projects. The government would have 45 days to decide if an assessment was needed, and if so, the review would take a maximum of two years.

17 - Prominent Quebec construction magnate Tony Accurso was among 14 people arrested by the anti-corruption unit of the Quebec provincial police.

18 - Cora Hansen, believed to be Canada’s oldest woman, died at a Medicine Hat, Alta., care facility. She was 113.

18 - Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and tireless entrepreneur who helped bring rock ’n’ roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," died of a massive heart attack. He was 82.

19 - Ottawa announced it would close Kingston Penitentiary, the country’s oldest penal institution dating back to 1835, as well as the Leclerc prison near Montreal as part of a cost-cutting effort.

9 - Levon Helm, singer and drummer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group "The Band," died of throat cancer. He was 71.

20 - A Pakistani passenger jet with 127 people on board crashed into wheat fields as it was trying to land in a thunderstorm at an airport near the capital Islamabad. There were no survivors.

23 - Two workers died and 22 others were injured after a massive explosion rocked the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., setting off a massive fire that engulfed the facility.

23 - Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives under Alison Redford defied the pollsters, winning a 12th consecutive majority. The upstart Wildrose party became the Official Opposition for the first time.

24 - A new tax on the rich in exchange for NDP support allowed Ontario’s Liberal minority government to survive a confidence vote on its budget.

25 - Montreal police arrested 85 people as a student tuition protest turned violent.

27 - A pastor, his wife and youngest son were among seven people killed in a fiery head-on collision on Highway 63 between Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

28 - A 27-year-old woman who was hang gliding in tandem with a more experienced pilot over B.C.’s Fraser Valley somehow became detached from her harness and fell about 300 metres to her death. The pilot was later arrested on a charge of obstructing justice, accused of swallowing a memory card that may have contained evidence of the fatal flight.


1 - A Federal Court ruled that Ottawa must stop clawing back pensions from disabled veterans. The 2007 class-action lawsuit argued that payments were unfairly deemed as income. Ottawa did not appeal the decision.

2 - Edvard Munch’s 1895 "The Scream" _ one of the art world’s most recognizable images _ sold at auction for a record $119.9 million, including the buyer’s premium.

2 - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in to Myanmar’s military-backed parliament, taking public office for the first time since launching her struggle against authoritarian rule nearly a quarter century earlier.

4 - Former media baron Conrad Black was released from a Florida prison where he was completing a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice. U.S. immigration officials deported him to Canada where he earlier was granted a one-year temporary resident permit.

6 - France elected socialist Francois Hollande as president, narrowly defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

8 - Maurice Sendak, author of "Where the Wild Things Are, died in Danbury, Conn., at age 83.

9 - Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to throw his support behind same-sex marriage.

11 - A London, Ont., jury found Michael Rafferty guilty of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the killing of eight-year-old Victoria "Tori" Stafford of Woodstock in 2009.

12 - Two small planes collided in mid-air near St. Brieux, northeast of Saskatoon, killing all five people involved.

14 - Quebec’s education minister and deputy premier Line Beauchamp resigned from politics amid months of student-related unrest.

14 - B.C. introduced a new-and-improved provincial sales tax to replace the harmonized tax that was defeated in a fractious referendum a year earlier. It would be effective Apr. 1, 2013.

15 - Former U.K. tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and four aides were the first people charged after police reopened inquiries into wrongdoing in Britain’s tabloid phone hacking scandal.

16 - A report by Ontario’s independent police watchdog found Toronto police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force during the 2010 G20 summit. The report made 42 recommendations, including changes to the police code of conduct.

17 - "Queen of Disco" Donna Summer died after a battle with cancer. She was 63.

18 - The Quebec government passed Bill 78, a controversial emergency law aimed at restoring order amid student protests over tuition hikes. Instead it exacerbated the protests.

18 - One of the most anticipated IPOs in Wall Street history ended on a flat note, with Facebook’s stock closing at $38.23, up 23 cents. After a week, the stock price fell to $31. A lawsuit forced lead investment bank Morgan Stanley to compensate investors who overpaid.

19 - Nepal-born Canadian Shriya Shah-Klorfine was among four people who died from altitude sickness and exhaustion while descending from Mount Everest’s summit in an area known as the death zone.

20 - Robin Gibb, co-founder of the "Bee Gees," died after a battle with colon cancer and intestinal problems. He was 62.

20 - Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi died of cancer.

21 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan would come to a firm end in March 2014, although Canada would continue to financially support the Afghan army.

22 - Quebec Superior Court justice France Charbonneau officially launched the province’s inquiry into allegations of corruption involving construction firms, local and provincial governments, political parties, and even organized crime.

23 - More than 15 months after autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, Egyptians streamed to polling stations to freely choose a president for the first time in generations. Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood group was declared the winner on June 24.

25 - At least 108 people were killed, including 34 women and 49 children in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages in Syria’s central Homs province, by forces loyal to the Assad regime.

25 - Pope Benedict XVI’s butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested in the "Vatileaks" scandal for releasing confidential documents that shed light on power struggles and intrigue inside the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

29 - Jim Unger, the Canadian artist behind the syndicated cartoon strip "Herman," died at age 75.

29 - A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck northern Italy near Bologna, killing 17 people. It followed a 6.0-magnitude quake in the same area that had killed seven people on May 20.

30 - Montreal police named male escort and porn actor Luka Rocco Magnotta a suspect in connection with the slaying of 33-year-old foreign student Jun Lin. He was also a suspect in Lin’s dismemberment and the mailing of body parts to political parties in Ottawa. Magnotta was arrested in Berlin on June 4 and returned to Canada on June 18.

30 - Judges at an international war crimes court sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years imprisonment for arming and supporting murderous rebels in Sierra Leone in return for "blood diamonds."


1 - New duty-free limits for Canadian travellers to the U.S. took effect. An overnight trip jumped from $50 to $200 while two to seven days doubled to $400. A visit lasting more than a week increased $50 to $800.

2 - A shooting at Toronto’s Eaton Centre killed two gang members and injured six others and caused mass panic as shoppers scrambled to evacuate the busy downtown mall.

2 - Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that forced him from power.

3 - A Boeing MD-83 of Dana Air crashed into businesses and crowded apartment buildings near Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. All 153 aboard died, including one Canadian.

4 - A U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi.

5 - Ray Bradbury, the science fiction-fantasy master best known for the book-burning future of "Fahrenheit 451," died at age 91.

8 - Quebec became the sixth province to sue big tobacco companies, launching a $60 billion lawsuit in an attempt to recoup health costs.

13 - Ontario’s Human Rights Code was updated for the first time since the 1980s to extend protections to transgendered people. Manitoba followed suit the next day.

14 - The Conservative majority government’s omnibus budget bill survived a 22-hour marathon voting session on 871 opposition proposed amendments that were grouped into 159 voteable packages.

14 - Seventy-seven-year-old retired judge Jacques Delisle, believed to be the first Canadian judge to ever stand trial for murder, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his invalid wife.

15 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the construction of a new $1-billion bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.

15 - Three armoured car employees were shot dead and another was critically injured at the University of Alberta’s mall and residence complex. Trainee security guard Travis Baumgartner was arrested the next day at the Lynden, Wash., border crossing near Abbotsford, B.C.

15 - B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith declared the laws banning doctor-assisted suicide are unconstitutional, but also suspended her ruling for one year to give Parliament time to draft new legislation.

15 - Nik Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist to make history, becoming the first person to walk across the brink of Niagara Falls on a tightrope. A crowd of over 120,000, and millions more on TV worldwide.

17 - Rodney King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by L.A. police officers touched off one of the most destructive race riots in U.S. history, was found dead at his home. He was 47.

17 - Fears of an imminent Greek exit from Europe’s joint currency receded after the conservative New Democracy came first in critical elections and pro-bailout parties won enough Parliamentary seats to form a joint government.

21 - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened mortgage rules, cutting the maximum term of CHMC insured mortgages by five years to 25. The new rules went into effect on July 9.

22 - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 68, was found guilty on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

23 - Two women were killed and 20 others were hurt when part of the roof-top parking deck at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. collapsed into the shopping centre.

24 - Egypt’s election commission declared Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt’s first free elections.

28 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul aimed at covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

29 - The Canadian Pacific Railway named Hunter Harrison as its new president and CEO, after former head Fred Green resigned in a high-profile battle waged by William Ackman, head of a New York-based investment fund.<

30 - The National Historic Site of Grand Pre, situated in Nova Scotia’s picturesque Annapolis Valley, was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


3 - Embattled International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announced in a news release she was resigning from politics, effective July 31. Her spending habits, including paying $15 dollars for a glass of orange juice during a trip to London, sparked intense Opposition criticism earlier in the year and became national water-cooler talk.

3 - Actor Andy Griffith, best known as the wise sheriff in "The Andy Griffith Show" died at age 86.

4 - The Maple Group Acquisition Corp.’s bid for the TMX Group, owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, received approval from both the Competition Bureau and the Ontario Securities Commission. B.C. and Alberta securities regulators signed off on the deal a week later.

4 - Physicists at the world’s biggest atom smasher in Geneva hailed the apparent discovery of a new subatomic particle. Called the Higgs boson, or "God particle," it could help explain why all matter has mass and crack open a new realm of physics.

6 - Canadian celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak died in his North Vancouver apartment after collapsing from an undiagnosed medical condition. He was 29.

8 - Ernest Borgnine, known for his role in the TV comedy “McHale’s Navy” as well as his Academy Award-winning role in "Marty" died at age 95.

10 - U.S. investigators concluded Alberta-based Enbridge bungled its response when millions of litres of oil began to pour in and around the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in July 2010, comparing the company’s handling of the spill to the "Keystone Kops."

12 - Celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede were marred when three horses died during the chuckwagon races.

12 - A large landslide hit the tiny community of Johnson’s Landing, B.C., about 70 km north of Nelson, destroying three homes and killing a father and his two daughters and a German woman.

15 - The "Gangnam Style" video by Korean rapper PSY made its debut on YouTube. It became a worldwide sensation, with its dance moves inspiring online parodies and flash mobs.

16 - Gang-related gunfire erupted at a crowded Toronto community barbeque, killing a 14-year-old girl and 23-year-old man. Twenty-three others were wounded in what police called the worst mass shooting in Toronto history.

18 - Incumbent Shawn Atleo was re-elected as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

18 - A bomb ripped through a high-level security meeting in the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing three senior officials in President Bashar Assad’s regime, including his brother-in-law. It was the harshest blow to the ruling family dynasty and the rebels’ boldest attack to date in the country’s civil war.

20 - A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theatre in suburban Denver at a midnight premiere of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people were killed and 58 others were wounded.

23 - Canadian oil giant Nexen announced it was being acquired by CNOOC _ the China National Offshore Oil Co. _ in a US$15-billion cash deal.

23 - The NCAA fined Penn State University $60 million over the school’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. The NCAA also imposed a four-year bowl game ban and negated 14 years of coach Joe Paterno’s victories.

26 - Hudson’s Bay Co. announced it was closing most of its remaining 64 Zellers locations by March 2013, affecting up to 6,400 jobs.

30 - Prosecutors formally charged former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes in the July 20 Colorado theatre shooting that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.

30 - Irish author Maeve Binchy, whose novels included "Circle of Friends" and "Tara Road," died in Dublin. She was 72.

31 - Gore Vidal, the author, playwright, politician and commentator, died of complications from pneumonia. He was 86. ”Myra Brekinridge” was among his best-known works.


1 - New federal legislation kicked in to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s decades-long monopoly on western wheat and barley sales.

1 - Premier Jean Charest announced a Quebec election would be held Sept. 4. The call was made amidst student protests against his plan to raise tuition fees and an inquiry into corruption in the construction industry.

1 - The world’s biggest power outage occurred in India - 670 million people affected - one day after a similar outage left 370 million without power.

5 - A 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran and reported white supremacist opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee, killing six people. The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he was shot by police.

6 - Marvin Hamlisch, who composed or arranged the scores for dozens of movies including "The Sting" and the Broadway smash "A Chorus Line," died at age 68.

11 - Twin earthquakes in Iran claimed 306 lives and injured more than 3,000.

13 - Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine who invited millions of women to join the sexual revolution, died at age 90. She first won fame for her book "Sex and the Single Girl" in 1962.

16 - The CRTC approved the sale of the Ontario’s Teacher Pension Plan’s 80 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to BCE Inc., Rogers Communications, and minority MLSE owner Larry Tannenbaum.

16 - Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on humanitarian grounds two months after he took refuge in its London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning for alleged sexual misconduct.

17 - A Moscow judge sentenced three female members of the provocative punk band "Pussy Riot" to two years each in prison on hooliganism charges following a trial that drew international outrage as an emblem of Russia’s intolerance of dissent. In March, the five-piece band had given an impromptu "punk prayer" in Moscow’s main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against president Vladimir Putin.

19 - Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood hits as "Top Gun," ’’Days of Thunder" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died after jumping from a towering suspension bridge spanning Los Angeles harbour. He was 68.

20 - Phyllis Diller, the comedian known for her bizarre looks and husband she called “Fang,” died in her Los Angeles home at age 95. She was a staple of nightclubs and television from the 1950’s _ when female comics were rare _ until her retirement in 2002.

20 - Apple became the world’s most valuable company. Its surging stock propelled the company’s value to $623 billion, beating the record for market capitalization set by Microsoft Corp. in the heady days of the Internet boom.

30 - The Canada Border Services Agency ruled a female American soldier who sought refuge in Canada in 2007 to avoid further military duty in Iraq must return to the U.S. Kimberly Rivera complied with the deportation order and returned to the U.S. on Sept. 20, where she was immediately taken into military custody.


1 - Hal David, the lyricist who teamed with Burt Bacharach on dozens of timeless songs including "Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head" and "(They Long to Be) Close to You," died at age 91.

3 - Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in "The Green Mile," died at age 54.

4 - Quebec voters returned the separatist Parti Quebecois to power after nine years in opposition, albeit with a minority government. PQ leader Pauline Marois' victory speech was marred by an attack that saw two people shot, one fatally, outside the building where she was speaking. Police arrested a 62-year-old man at the scene.

5 - After a career that spanned nine federal and provincial elections and a stormy nine-year run as Quebec premier, Jean Charest announced he was stepping down. Charest lost his riding in the Sept. 4 Quebec election.

7 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced the Canadian embassy in Iran would close immediately and Canada was expelling Iranian diplomats in Ottawa. He cited safety concerns in Tehran and the longstanding view that Iran is a threat to global peace.

9 - More than 1,500 people were ordered to evacuate from the path of a wind-driven wildfire raging near Peachland, B.C.

10 - The Quebec Superior Court sided with the provincial government and ordered Ottawa to hand over the province’s data of the scrapped long-gun registry. Ottawa later announced it would appeal the decision.

10 - High winds fuelled a massive grass fire in southern Alberta, prompting precautionary evacuations in the communities of Coalhurst and Milk River, with populations of 2,200 and 800 respectively.

11 - Prime Minister Harper was named "World Statesman of the Year" by the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

11 - Ontario’s minority Liberals and Progressive Conservatives teamed up to pass a controversial anti-strike bill that cut benefits and reins in wages for thousands of Ontario teachers.

11 - A mob armed with guns and grenades launched a fiery attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, killing the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

13 - Peter Lougheed, who is widely credited as being one of the most influential leaders in Alberta’s history, died in Calgary at the age of 84. He led the Progressive Conservatives to victory in 1971 and remained premier until 1985.

16 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned against the consumption of several brands of ground beef from XL Foods of Brooks, Alta., because of possible E.coli contamination. The plant later had its operating licence suspended and the recall was increased to include 1,800 products sold across North America in one of the biggest beef recalls in Canadian history. Eighteen cases of E. coli illness were later reported in four provinces.

17 - U.S. home-improvement giant Lowe’s withdrew its controversial $1.8 billion proposal to buy Canada’s largest home-improvement retail chain Rona.

18 - A French court ordered the publisher of gossip magazine Closer to hand over topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge and blocked further publication of the images. The ruling only affected the French publisher as the images were already published in Ireland and Italy.

23 - Sam Sniderman, the charismatic founder of the legendary Sam the Record Man music store and whose unwavering support for Canadian performers helped shape the country’s musical landscape, died. He was 92.

23 - An avalanche hit a team of climbers on a high Himalayan peak in Nepal, leaving at least nine dead and six others missing, including a Quebec doctor.

25 - Singer Andy Williams died after a year-long battle with bladder cancer. He was 84.

26 - Tory MP Stephen Woodworth’s bid to examine the definition of human being was defeated in Parliament. The prime minister was among the majority of M-Ps to vote against it over concern it would re-open the debate on abortion.

27 - The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled a teenage girl allegedly defamed on a bogus Facebook page could proceed with a lawsuit without revealing her name.

29 - Toronto-born convicted terrorist Omar Khadr was returned to Canada from Guantanamo Bay to serve out the remaining six years of his sentence in the 2002 death of a U.S. special forces soldier in Afghanistan.

30 - Raylene Rankin of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group "The Rankin Family" died after losing her decade-long fight with cancer. She was 52.

30 - Barbara Ann Scott, the only Canadian to win the Olympic women’s figure skating gold medal, died at her Amelia Island, Fla. home. She was 84.


2 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper nominated Justice Richard Wagner of the Quebec Court of Appeal to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada.

2 - Montreal Papineau MP Justin Trudeau stepped out of his famous father’s shadow, launching his bid to lead the federal Liberal party.

9 - A Taliban gunman in Pakistan’s volatile Swat Valley shot and wounded 14-year-old activist Malala Yousufzai, known for championing the education of girls and publicizing atrocities committed by the Taliban.

10 - B.C. teen Amanda Todd, who posted a gut-wrenching video to YouTube describing how she had been sexually exploited by an online stalker and bullied by her peers, committed suicide. She was 15. Her story sparked more than 100 memorial pages on Facebook and renewed calls across the country to fight bullying.

10 - Former Halifax navy intelligence officer Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle pleaded guilty to all the espionage charges he was facing. In January, he was charged with breach of trust and two charges of passing information to a foreign entity that could harm Canada’s interests.

11 - Novelist Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first time the award was given to a Chinese who is not a critic of the authoritarian government.

12 - The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace and democracy in Europe, an honour that came as 27-nation bloc was struggling with an economic crisis.

15 - More than 90 per cent of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada members voted in favour of a merger with the Canadian Auto Workers union, a move that will create the country’s largest private sector union.

15 - Dalton McGuinty announced he had decided to quit after nine years as Ontario's Liberal premier. He also announced he was shutting down the legislature amid a rare contempt motion over the costs of cancelling two gas-fired generating plants in Liberal ridings.

18 - The CRTC rejected BCE Inc.’s controversial $3.4-billion takeover of specialty TV provider Astral Media, marking the first major ruling for newly installed commissioner Jean-Pierre Blais.

18 - Newsweek announced plans to end its print publication after 80 years and shift to an online-only format starting in early 2013.

19 - Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black MP, cabinet minister and lieutenant-governor of Ontario, died at the age of 90.

19 - The federal government rejected the Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas’ proposed $6 billion takeover bid for Calgary-based natural gas producer Progress Energy Resources.

21 - Kateri Tekakwitha became the first indigenous woman from North America to become a Catholic saint. She was born in New York state in 1656 before fleeing to a Mohawk reserve outside Montreal to escape opposition to her Christianity.

21 - George S. McGovern, the senator from South Dakota who suffered one of the most crushing defeats in presidential election history against Richard Nixon in 1972, died at age 90.

22 - Lance Armstrong was banned from cycling competition for life and officially stripped of his Tour de France titles. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had released a report in August detailing allegations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams when he won the race seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.

25 - Eight Grade 6 children were injured, three seriously, when a minivan crashed through an outside wall and into a classroom at Racette Junior High School in St. Paul, Alta. An 11-year-old succumbed to her injuries two days later.

25 - Microsoft unveiled its Windows 8, the most radical redesign of the operating system since 1995. It also marked the launch of the Surface tablet, its first venture into making computer devices.

26 - A Milan court convicted former Premier Silvio Berlusconi of tax fraud and sentenced the media mogul to four years in prison, his first prison sentence in years of criminal probes. Under Italian law, the case must pass two levels of appeal before the verdict is final.

27 - New Brunswick’s Liberals chose 30-year-old Moncton lawyer Brian Gallant to be their new leader and rebuild the party.

28 - A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the north-central coast of British Columbia in the Haida Gwaii area. Tsunami warnings were issued along the B.C. coast and as far away as Hawaii, though there were no reports of major damage.

29 - Superstorm Sandy, the downgraded hurricane that morphed with two wintry systems, made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J. The 1,600 km-wide hybrid of rain and high wind caused major flooding and killed more than 100 people in 10 states. New York City was among the hardest hit, with flooded streets and subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan.

29 - Gen. Tom Lawson was officially appointed as chief of the defence staff, taking over the country’s highest military post from Gen. Walt Natynczyk.

30 - Walt Disney Co. announced it was paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind "Star Wars," from its chairman and founder, George Lucas.


1 - The MP and Senate pension reform bill received royal assent. MPs would see their annual contributions to their pension plans rise from about $11,000 a year to just under $39,000 and extend the age participants can start cashing in on their plans without penalty to 65.

5 - Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay resigned in the midst of a construction corruption scandal, becoming the highest-profile political casualty of the controversies rocking Quebec.

5 - Robert Kaplan, a former veteran Liberal MP and cabinet minister who presided over the creation of CSIS, died at age 75 after losing a long battle with cancer.

6 - U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, blunting a mighty challenge by Republican Mitt Romney. Voters made history on two divisive social issues, with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote while Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana.

8 - An explosion and fire at the Neptune Technologies & Bioresources plant in Sherbrooke, Que., killed two people and sent 19 others to hospital. A third person died two days later in hospital.

8 - Jared Lee Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences plus 140 years in prison for killing six people and shooting 13 others, including grievously wounding former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a 2011 shooting rampage at a Tuscon shopping centre.

9 - Gilles Vaillancourt, the longtime mayor of Laval, Que., resigned amid a province-wide corruption scandal.

9 - David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned as CIA director after acknowledging an extra-marital affair with a woman identified as his biographer Paula Broadwell, a reserve Army officer.

14 - The Ontario Securities Commission reached a plea agreement with David Radler, the former long-time business partner of Conrad Black at the Hollinger newspaper group, that bars him from acting as a corporate director or officer of a public company based in Ontario.

14 - Israel carried out a blistering offensive of more than 50 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, assassinating Hamas’ military commander Ahmed Jabari and targeting the armed group’s training facilities and rocket launchers.

15 - Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as China’s leader, assuming the top posts in the Communist Party and the powerful military in a once-a-decade political transition.

15 - Oil giant BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion, including a record $1.3 billion in criminal fines, in a wide-ranging settlement with the U.S. government over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It also agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges including 11 felony counts of misconduct related to the deaths of 11 men in the rig explosion that triggered the oil spill.

16 - Michael Applebaum won a vote at city council to become Montreal’s first non-francophone mayor since just before the First World War, a stunning victory inside a city hall that was shaken by a corruption scandal.

17 - A speeding train crashed into a bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten in central Egypt, killing at least 48 along with three adults.

20 - Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" in the wake of a new allegation that he had sex with an under-aged youth.

20 - The Church of England’s governing body narrowly blocked a move to permit women to serve as bishops, falling short of the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod.

21 - Egypt helped broker a cease fire to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that saw 140 Palestinians and five Israelis killed.

23 - Clashes erupted between pro-democracy protesters and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a day after the Islamist leader gave himself sweeping new powers and effectively neutralized the judiciary by declaring that the courts are barred from challenging his decisions.

23 - Actor Larry Hagman died due to complications from his battle with cancer at age 81. He earned his greatest stardom as ruthless oil baron J.R Ewing on the serial drama "Dallas."

24 - At least 112 people were killed as a result of a fire that raced through an eight-storey garment factory just outside of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Police later arrested three factory officials suspected of locking in the workers.

26 - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was ordered out of office in 14 days after Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland ruled he broke conflict of interest rules. Hackland later ruled Ford could run if a byelection was ordered to fill his post. Ford was granted a stay on Dec. 5 until his appeal would be heard in early January.

26 - Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney was chosen to run the Bank of England, beginning July 1. It’s the first time a foreigner had been tabbed to run Britain’s venerable central bank, which dates to 1694.

28 - Quebec’s anti-corruption squad arrested former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime in connection with alleged fraud involving the McGill University Health Centre.

28 - Two tickets from Missouri and Arizona split the record $588 M Powerball jackpot, and the second largest jackpot in U.S. history. After taxes, each ticket was worth about $136 M.

29 - At the end of a year-long inquiry into newspaper wrongdoing, Lord Justice Brian Leveson issued a damning verdict on the British press, saying an independent media regulatory body should be established in law to prevent more people from being hurt.

29 - The U.N. voted overwhelmingly to approve a resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a non-member observer state. Canada, the U.S. and Israel were among the nine nations that voted "No."

30 - Another Quebec mayor who faced several corruption-related charges announced his resignation, although Mascouche mayor Richard Marcotte insisted family-related reasons prompted him to end his 22 years in power.

30 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed off on a $6.3 billion federal loan guarantee for the $7.4-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador, saving the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia more than $1 billion in borrowing costs.


1 - After an eight-and-a-half year hiatus from performing, country music superstar Shania Twain began her two-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

1 - Enrique Pena Nieto took the oath of office as Mexico's new president, bringing the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to power after a 12-year hiatus.

3 - St. James Palace announced that Prince William and his wife Catherine were expecting their first child after she was hospitalized with a severe form of morning sickness.

3 - Alberta Premier Alison Redford was cleared by the legislature's Speaker on allegations she deliberately misled the house about her role in awarding a government contract to her ex-husband's law firm.

4 - A military jury found Canadian reservist Maj. Darryl Watts guilty of unlawfully causing bodily harm and negligent performance of military duty, but not guilty of manslaughter in a 2010 Afghanistan training accident that killed Cpl. Josh Baker and injured four others.

4 - Typhoon Bopha killed over 700 people and nearly 900 others missing in the southern Philippines.

7 - King Edward VII hospital nurse Jacintha Saldana was found dead in London, two days after falling victim to a prank telephone call by two Australian DJs posing as the Queen and Prince Charles to elicit private information about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge.

7 - The federal government approved the foreign takeovers of Nexen Inc. and Progress Energy Resources Corp. by China's CNOOC and Malaysia's Petronas respectively. But Prime Minister Harper warned it would only consider future takeover deals in the oilsands by state-owned companies in exceptional circumstances.

10 - Christine Sinclair was named the winner of the 2012 Lou Marsh Award, becoming the first soccer player to take home the 76-year-old trophy named after the former Toronto Star sports editor.

11 - British banking giant HSBC agreed to a record $1.9 billion fine to settle a U.S. money-laundering probe. It faced accusations it transferred funds through the U.S. from Mexican drug cartels and on behalf of nations such as Iran that are under international sanctions.

11 - Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar died at age 92.

12 - Pope Benedict XVI began tweeting in eight languages from his personal Twitter account (at)Pontifex.

14 - A gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., including 20 young children, in one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. The assailant was found dead inside the school and his mother was found slain in another location.

17 - Commissioner Wally Oppal released his findings from Vancouver’s missing women inquiry, concluding systemic bias towards Downtown Eastside sex workers was a key factor that allowed Robert Pickton to spend years hunting his victims.

19 - Chris Hadfield blasted off aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule for a historic mission to the International Space Station. During his five month visit, Hadfield was to become the first Canadian commander of the station.

20 - The Supreme Court of Canada issued a rare 4-2-1 split decision that a witness at trial can cover their face in certain circumstances. The case involved a woman who said she should be allowed to wear a religious veil known as a niqab while testifying against two men she accused of sexual assault.

25 - After a month of violent turmoil, Egypt's election commission announced a new constitution, introduced by the country’s Islamist president, passed with a 63.8 per cent “yes'' vote in a referendum. Less than a third of voters participated.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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