Local News Briefs

Winnipeg lawyer earns Nobel Peace Prize nomination

Following Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize award in 2009, the nominations for this year’s prize have been announced – and on the list is David Matas, a Winnipeg lawyer and human rights advocate. Alongside former MP David Kilgour, Matas earned the nomination for his work in alerting the international community of the murdering and organ harvesting of Falun Gong followers in China, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s an honour to be nominated,” commented Matas. “Our goal is to stop the abuse. I can’t say it’s stopped yet.” Kilgour and Matas have written three reports on the Falun Gong organ harvesting, with one being released as a book.

Local fight club broken up by mom

In a frightening example of teens turning movies into reality, a group of Winnipeg boys aged 15 to 17 were found by police fighting in the basement of an East Kildonan house after a tip by one of the boys’ moms. They had been taking part in a fight club, a notion based on the 1999 movie Fight Club. Sonya Titanich, the mother, reported that her son and his friends had been recording the fights and uploading them to YouTube – and that he would often come home swollen and bloody on Thursday nights. According to CBC News, because the fighting was consensual, no criminal charges were laid. The police did, however, lecture the group on the inherent dangers of such activities.

Youth for Christ faces political criticism

It was recently reported that the faith-based organization Youth for Christ might be given $2.5 million in funding from the City towards a new recreational facility near Higgins Avenue and Main Street. According to CBC News, the political backlash has been fierce. The strongest voice has come from MP Pat Martin who commented that the youth group has a mandate to convert its members to Christianity and public office has no right funding such actions. While some councillors agree, mayor Sam Katz has pointed out the facility would be open to all youth, not just those of Christian faith.

Pet owners push for outlawing no-pet rules in rentals

After 2,500 pet lovers joined a Facebook group in support of Liberal leader Jon Gerrard’s proposed opposition bill, the talk has begun over whether landlords in Winnipeg should allow pets into their rented apartments. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the proposed bill would get rid of any no-pet rules in local apartments but would still allow landlords to set appropriate cleanliness and pet behaviour rules. Groups such as the Winnipeg Humane Society have also joined the battle to get the bill passed, since pets that are not allowed into apartments end up in shelters around the city.

Using the web to find new home for strays

In other pet news, it’s time for eHarmony to move over. Now Winnipeggers searching for that special furry friend need to look no further than Animal Services on Petfinder.com. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, since Animal Services of Winnipeg joined the popular pet-finding website last year, adoptions have been up 62 per cent. At Petfinder.com, adoptive owners have the opportunity to view pictures and watch videos of prospective pets without having to physically visit the facilities.

Published in Volume 64, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 25, 2010)

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