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Post-secondary schools receive operating boost

Alberta's 2009-10 budget has received much criticism for both funding cuts and deficit spending. Some Calgary city council members are concerned it will also lead to a delay in infrastructure funding.

On the other hand, university and college leaders are happy with the recent change since they will receive the six per cent operating boost they were promised. This will help increase enrolment and continue infrastructure expansion plans, even though the province is devoting less to the cause than in the past. The province will spend $485 million on higher-learning infrastructure this year, half of what it invested in 2008.

Italy's earthquake

Rescuers were forced to find survivors in the dark after a devastating earthquake hit the historical mountain city of L'Aquila, Italy last Monday. The quake happened at 3:30 a.m., claiming the lives of over 225 people and injuring over 1,500 others. Although firemen and emergency workers managed to safely pull 100 people from the wreckage, rain, aftershock and freezing temperatures made the search increasingly difficult. The quake left homes, ancient churches and other buildings completely destroyed in 26 other cities and towns.

Crown insists splitting Pickton case was a mistake

According to a Crown lawyer, a judge's decision to split the Robert Pickton case into two separate trials was a careless move. Not only did the split undermine the case for first-degree murder, but it prevented the Crown from proving the murders were intentional by not allowing similarities to be shown.

The Crown argued at the B.C. Court of Appeal on Monday that if a retrial takes place, there should be 26 counts of first-degree murder, instead of six second-degree murder charges separate from the 20 first-degree charges.

Campaign fights child exploitation

The Alberta government is trying to prevent children from entering the sex trade by launching a campaign this month to protect youth from trafficking in prostitution and pornography.

The government is pairing up with the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association to educate hospitality workers about the dangers and signs for minors who are being sexually exploited. As part of the campaign, posters and brochures will be distributed to motel and hotel owners, managers and employees.

$100 million program for tourism

The federal government will be establishing a variety of tourist-attracting events across Canada over the next two years. To achieve this during hard economic times, the Marquis Tourism Event Program will contribute $3 million to major annual events such as the Toronto International Film Festival and Caribana. The Calgary Stampede and Folk Music Festival are already preparing bids to be included.

Pet hotel attracts business despite economic recession

Although the economy has not been kind in recent months, pet owners are willing to pay a hefty price for their dogs and cats to spend the night in a new pet hotel. During the recent spring break, the luxurious Hotel Balto in Vaudreuil-Dorion, a suburb west of Montreal, had 80 per cent of its 36 rooms occupied.

Prices go as high as $99 per night for the dog Royal Suite and as low as $29 for cat lofts.

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