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American soldier deported

A soldier that fled the United States to avoid fighting in Iraq has been deported from Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency confirmed to the Canadian Press on Tuesday that American Robin Long has been returned to the U.S. from British Columbia, where he sought refugee status three years ago. In a Federal Court of Canada ruling Monday, Justice Anne Mactavish ruled that Long could not prove he would suffer harm if returned to the U.S. Long will return to his unit in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where his company commander will determine his punishment.

Vancouverites in the dark

A blackout was expected to stretch into its third day Wednesday in parts of downtown Vancouver as BC Hydro officials continued to investigate its cause. A fire in an underground vault Monday shut off electricity for more than 2,000 people, approximately a quarter of Vancouver's downtown. BC Hydro spokesman Gary Rodford told the Canadian Press on Tuesday that an electrical splice failed and caused the fire, but noted that the cause of the power failure is still uncertain. Only about half of those affected had power back by Tuesday afternoon.

Canadians somewhat concerned, StatsCan

Their neighbourhoods are safe and pleasant, but one in five Canadians is concerned with "social incivility," according to a report released Tuesday by Statistics Canada. The agency reports Canadians across the board are worried about noisy neighbours, drunkenness and homelessness, while 16 per cent of those living in Canada's 12 largest cities find that physical aspects such as litter, abandoned buildings and vandalism are problems. The study was based upon data collected by Statistics Canada during their 2004 General Social Survey.

Bank holds rates steady

The Bank of Canada announced Tuesday it will keep its key interest rate steady at three per cent, despite fears of rising inflation. In an interview with Bloomberg, CIBC World Markets senior economist Meny Grauman explained inflation is a concern for the Bank of Canada and weak factory sales to the U.S. are expected to lead to the weakest economist growth since 1992. The Canadian dollar briefly rose above par with the American dollar Tuesday before closing at 99.85 cents U.S.

Text messaging becomes costly

Two of Canada's telecommunications giants have announced plans to begin charging customers for incoming text messages. Bell will begin charging 15 cents for incoming texts beginning Aug. 8, and Telus on Aug. 24. The new charges will only affect those customers without existing texting plans. The pending change has caused an upsurge of outrage on blogs and message boards, with many angry over the prospect of paying for "spam" texts sent to them. Rogers spokeswoman Elizabeth Hamilton told the National Post that her company has no plans to charge for text messaging.

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