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Eugene Whelan is seen in a November 2006 file photo. (Ian Barrett/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Eugene Whelan is seen in a November 2006 file photo. (Ian Barrett/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Morning Briefing: Former cabinet minister Eugene Whelan dead at 88 Add to ...

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe’s news desk on Feb. 20, 2013.

Long-time politician Eugene Whelan dies

Eugene Whelan, one of Canada’s most colourful politicians, has died. The long-time Ontario MP, remembered for his trademark green Stetson, served as agriculture minister continuously from 1972 to 1984, except for Joe Clark’s brief tenure as prime minister in 1979-80. Whelan, 88, died from complications from a stroke. He was appointed to the Senate by then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1996.

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Bulgaria government latest victim of the Age of Austerity

Chalk up another political victim to Europe’s grinding austerity campaign. Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov announced today his government was stepping down as demonstrations over austerity measures and higher energy prices turned bloody. Clashes with police in the capital Sofia left 14 protesters injured.

“Non-stop fighting” heard before Steenkamp killing: witness

Detectives say they discovered testosterone and needles in the bedroom of Oscar Pistorius, charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The testimony, given at the Olympian’s bail hearing today, was refuted by defence lawyers who say the substance was a “herbal remedy” and not a banned substance. The court also heard that witnesses heard “non-stop shouting” at the house shortly before the shooting. Pistorius said he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, thinking she was a burglar.

Here is a personal take on the issue of violence in South Africa by The Globe’s Johannesburg correspondent Geoffrey York.

Vancouver woman’s body found in L.A. hotel water cooler

The search for a Vancouver woman missing for more than two weeks in Los Angeles ended tragically with the discovery of her body in a water tank on the roof of the hotel where she had been staying. Police confirmed late Tuesday that the body of Elisa Lam was found in the tank by a maintenance worker who was investigating complaints of low water pressure. Last week, police released a video of Lam acting strangely in the elevator of a hotel, pushing buttons repeatedly, walking in and out and waving her hands around.

Banker makes pitch for beefed up CPP

In a surprising plea from Bay Street, CIBC chief executive Gerry McCaughey is calling for an overhaul of the Canada Pension Plan to allow people to boost contributions in an effort to provide more financial security in their retirement years. The banker said that allowing Canadians to increase their CPP contributions beyond what they pay through salaries with a promise of a certain level of payout for their retirement years would encourage saving.

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