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A general view of the scene shortly after a helicopter crashed in the Vauxhall area of central London, Jan. 16, 2013. (Toby Scott/PA/AP)
A general view of the scene shortly after a helicopter crashed in the Vauxhall area of central London, Jan. 16, 2013. (Toby Scott/PA/AP)

Morning Briefing: Helicopter crash spooks London Add to ...

A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe’s news desk on Jan. 16, 2013

Londoners wondered if city attacked by terrorists

For a moment, Londoners wondered if the city was once again under attack: plumes of smoke rose over a crowded city street, sirens screamed as rescue workers and police raced to the scene. But officials were quick to dispel any fears that the incident – a helicopter slamming into a construction crane, killing two – was terror-related. The accident occurred at a construction site not far from the British spy agency, MI6.

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Canadians brace for possible day of protests

Will the Idle No More movement take to the streets today? It’s not yet clear how plans for a day of protest will translate into action for activists involved in swelling protests over aboriginal rights in Canada, writes The Globe’s Gloria Galloway. Possible targets for the protesters include blockading major transportation corridors in Ontario and Alberta.

Mali blowback?

Islamist militants raided a natural gas operation in Algeria, kidnapping eight foreigners in what could be a response to the intervention in Mali. The foreigners – identified as British, Japanese and Norwegian – were spirited away by kidnappers who came from Mali, an Algerian security official told the Associated Press. Algerian authorities are reported to have surrounded the militants are negotiating for their release. The al-Qaeda linked rebels in Mali have threatened to strike back at the West over the French-led intervention in the west African country’s civil war.

Baird to press for democracy in Mali

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will push today to keep the issue of democracy top of mind amidst the rush to war in Mali. Mr. Baird is meeting with envoys from Mali, France and the Ivory Coast to discuss events in the west African country, where French troops are battling an Islamist insurgency that threatens to topple the fragile government there. As African Union troops prepare to jump into the fray, Mr. Baird will press Mali’s government to restore democracy following last spring’s military-led coup. Today, French forces are continuing to advance into rebel territory.

Obama to launch gun control effort today

President Barack Obama will unveil his gun control plan today, taking the first official step in what will undoubtedly be a long, rancorous effort to tighten the rules around guns in America. The President is taking a two-pronged approach, by issuing a slew of executive orders that don’t require Congressional approval, in addition to more substantial proposals – like a ban on assault weapons – that are expected face stiff opposition from law makers. The President’s initiative comes a day after New York passed the strictest gun laws in the country.

Dreamliner encounters turbulence

In the latest mishap to befall Boeing’s Dreamliner passenger jets, Japan’s two leading airlines have grounded their fleets after one of the airplanes made an emergency landing today. “I think you’re nearing the tipping point where they need to regard this as a serious crisis,” Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia, told Reuters.

Toronto budget debate continues

Toronto city council continues its budget debate today. In an odd showing yesterday, Mayor Rob Ford broke ranks with his executive committee – and his own budget chair – by voting against his own budget by endorsing an unsuccessful attempt to freeze property tax rates, report The Globe’s Elizabeth Church and Sunny Dhillon.

 

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