News for Youse: A stand against DTES vandalism, the new VSO season unveiled, and B.C. drug prices slashed

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      A stand against DTES vandalism  Residents and businesses in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside are rallying around victims of vandalism. Representatives of the Downtown Eastside's Business Improvement Association, Hastings Crossing BIA, and the Inner City Safety Society, told media that recent pickets and violence against new businesses in the area do not represent the majority of the community’s views. They’ve scheduled a meeting on safety and crime prevention to take place tomorrow (April 3) at 5:30 p.m. at Lost and Found Cafe (33 West Hastings Street).

      Canada Line settlement  A settlement will finally be paid to temporary foreign workers who helped in the construction of the Canada Line ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The case concerns workers from Latin America who, according to a ruling by the B.C Human Rights Tribunal, were discriminated against by SELI Canada and SNC Lavalin. The sum to be awarded is $2.5 million.

      New VSO season unveiled  The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has announced three major new events in the unveiling of its lineup for the 2013-14 season. The arts community can look forward to a VSO Spring Festival, a Pacific Rim Celebration, and a New Music Festival scheduled for January 2014. The Straight’s Janet Smith provides more information on each of those events here.

      Harper’s handling of scientists  Canada’s information commissioner will launch an investigation into the Harper government’s alleged muzzling of federally funded scientists. A complaint lodged by Democracy Watch and the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Clinic claims that Conservative government policies are “forcing scientists to jump through hoops before speaking with the media,” which could amount to violations of the country’s Access to Information Act. You can read more about that story here.

      B.C. drug prices slashed  The provincial government has announced that starting today (April 2), pharmaceutical drugs will cost less in British Columbia. The prices of generics are being decreased from 35 percent that of brand name drugs to 20 percent. The move is expected to save the B.C. government $110 million over the course of the next two years.

      Canadians linked to Algeria attack  Two deceased Canadians have been implicated in a January 2013 terrorist attack at a gas plant in Algeria. Xristos Katsiroubas and Ali Medlej were reportedly from a small town in Ontario and both in their 20s when they were killed in a standoff with government authorities. The incident at the Tigantourine gas facility in eastern Algeria claimed the lives of 38 hostages as well as 29 of the attackers.

      Crude oil spill  Crews continue cleanup work after an oil spill in a residential neighbourhood in central Arkansas that occurred last Friday (March 29). The heavy crude oil—similar to what the proposed Keystole XL pipeline would carry from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico—spilled from the Pegasus pipeline, which is owned by Exxon Mobil and carries Canadian crude from Patoka, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas.

      Sharks beat Canucks  The Vancouver Canucks were defeated by the San Jose Sharks last night in a match that saw Vancouver noticeably struggling without Ryan Kesler and several other players out with injuries. The Canucks were down 3-0 at one point before crawling back for a final score of 3-2.

      Canucks purchase farm team  Canucks Sports and Entertainment Owner and Chairman Francesco Aquilini has announced the purchase of the Peoria Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues, pending approval by the American Hockey League. The acquisition calls into question the Canucks’ relationship with the Chicago Wolves, another AHL farm team affiliated with Vancouver. It will also likely breathe new life into rumours surrounding the future of the Abbotsford Heat, and the possibility of a Canucks farm team making Abbotsford its home.

      UN talks North Korea  The head of the United Nations has weighed in on the ongoing predicament surrounding North Korea, saying that the “crisis has gone too far.” UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for talks between North and South Korea, and said “things must begin to calm down.” You can read more about the potential for a conflict in this  informative article by international columnist Gwynne Dyer.

      Magic Johnson “proud”  The son of basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson has gone public with a new boyfriend. Twenty-year-old Earvin Johnson III—who goes by the name EJ—was photographed with his partner by paparazzi on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The young man’s famous father has expressed support for his son’s relationship. “I love EJ and support him in every way,” Johnson told TMZ. “We're very proud of him.”