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This Week's Top News Stories

OPP allege prosecutor had stolen handgun
An assistant Crown attorney in London has been charged with possessing a stolen handgun, Ontario Provincial Police announced.

Festival, weekend begin city summer
Sporting bare arms and clutching plastic beer cups, thousands of Londoners turned out to see Canadian rock legend David Wilcox.

Cops shoot deer injured after crashing into bank
A deer crashed through the window of a London bank near a busy intersection, startling staff and customers.

Water-testing lab closings an environmental concern
The Ontario government's fast-track approach to closing public-testing labs in 1996 raised serious concerns with the province's environmental watchdog, the inquiry probing last May's tainted-water tragedy was told.

Airport plans $18 million facelift
London International Airport was cleared for takeoff yesterday when its board of directors announced an

Accused ‘didn’t try to kill’ victim
Jimmy Begg passionately told a jury although he may be a hardened criminal with 101 convictions, he never intended to kill Henry Parisio when he shot him at a Vienna variety store.

No regrets, NDP leader says after rout in B.C.
B.C. New Democrat Leader Ujjal Dosanjh says he has no regrets about the political life he ended when he surprised colleagues and supporters with his resignation.

Slain girl’s funeral set tomorrow
As police appealed to the public for information in the murder of Jessica Koopmans, the little girl’s parents had their own request -- their daughter be buried tomorrow in a tiny white-cloth casket covered with lace and pink chiffon bows.

Boards struggle to meet pay hikes
The Thames Valley District school board is heading for a tough year of tangling with a budget deficit and teacher demands for pay hikes.

Controllers split on gateway to city
A $270,000 decorative "gateway" to the northeast corner of the city will be built despite concerns from two controllers that the design is a dud.

Insurance agent crashes through client's window
After watching a silver Honda bulldoze through the front of her Asian grocery store, Mina Wong knows one thing.

Prostitute pays price for money-back offer
A London prostitute snagged in a police crackdown on Dundas Street discovered it doesn't always pay to guarantee your services.

Clinic draws 'overwhelming' response
Parents anxiously lined up outside the first baby immunization clinic in reaction to the seventh case of meningococcal disease reported Monday.

Chretien defends planned MP pay hike
Prime Minister Jean Chretien secretly told his MPs yesterday not to apologize when hefty new pay raises are doled out next month.

George death inquest eyed
The regional coroner for Southwestern Ontario is considering calling an inquest into the 1995 shooting death of native protester Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

8 MPs revolt against Day
Eight Canadian Alliance MPs declared all-out mutiny on Stockwell Day, saying the party's future depends on the leader walking the plank.

Price hike creates gridlock at pumps
Some stations in London hiked the price of gas to 82 cents a litre, sending motorists to competitors looking for a bargain.

Son plans four-day walk to help mom battle MS
Justin Dowdell has transformed a Grade 11 English assignment into a four-day mission to raise money for multiple sclerosis.

City bids mystery tot final farewell
They didn't know the dead child's name.

New executives appointed as Free Press restructures
The Free Press announced a major restructuring as part of a larger reorganization and staff reduction by owner Sun Media.

Committee plans hearing on use of lawn chemicals
A city committee plans to explore the issue of lawn pesticides at a public participation meeting later in the year.

Streets under construction in London:

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CHIP MARTIN: Bedrock welcome not fit for London
“Welcome. You have landed at Stonehenge. Watch for Druid Crossings.”

BILL BRADY: Writer scripts successful career
He's a writer. Well, really, he's a producer. Actually, an executive producer, and he's a lawyer, or, rather...

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'We'll never drink the water again'
A nurse approaches with what looks like a rubber stamp, but underneath, a blade protrudes.

Shortage looms as teachers exit
At 50, teacher Chris McGann is tossing in the chalk.

'It's too late for Mistie'
Anne Murray may change the way Ontario police investigate missing children, but reform will come too late to save her daughter, Mistie.

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Raptors rebound to slam 76ers
The Toronto Raptors weren't going to let Allen Iverson put an end to their season.

CASCAR goes back to future
On the eve of the first the Castrol Super Series race, everyone now knows exactly who is running CASCAR.

Rosenberg sets own pace
Emily Rosenberg isn’t just one of the stars on the London Central track and field team.

Fired-up Devils burn cold Penguins
The Mellon Arena was transformed into the Melancholy Arena.

40 years in the dark
Pounding hooves at Western Fair Raceway have beaten out a 40-year history, scattering milestones along the way.

Sixers stick it to Raps
It was torture from the tip.

Avs snow better Blues
As they promised, the St. Louis Blues played much better than they did on Saturday.

Leaders of the pack
Jeff Martin deserved the applause of his fellow runners and Forest City Road Races organizers but he couldn't stick around for the awards ceremony.

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This Week's Top Lifestyle Stories

Oscar winners enjoy longer lives
When Julia Roberts yelped with joy and Cuba Gooding Jr. kicked up his heels, they thought they were merely rejoicing at winning an Academy Award.

Cottage chef needs plan
It's Friday before a long holiday weekend or any summer weekend and, after racing home from work, you are frantically packing to go to the cottage.

Made in the shades
You're staring at a case full of sunglasses and all those sunglasses are staring right back at you.

Fab abs
To twist a phrase from Tennyson, it's spring and fancy turns -- not so lightly -- to thoughts of flabby abdomens.

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This Week's Top Entertainment Stories

Once upon a holiday
It's the first long weekend of the summer. That means fireworks, a new heritage festival with lots of music and the animated movie Shrek

Prime minister out of prime time for talk-show debut
Last night, Mike Bullard welcomed the leader of “the 26th most powerful nation on Earth” to his CTV talk show, Open Mike With Mike Bullard.

Wilcox debut in London wasn't dull
When it comes to playing downtown London, David Wilcox has just about seen it all.

Country roots
It's large and contemporary, the kind of urban building where country boys like Jimmie Rodgers or Hank Williams might have hesitated to tread in their day.

Arrest not imminent in death of Blake's wife
An arrest in the slaying of actor Robert Blake's wife is not imminent, the detective heading the investigation said, and he asked the media to back off on reporting rumours about her death.

NBC cooking up new fall series
Chef Emeril Lagasse will star in an NBC comedy about his life and the network is counting on Weakest Link host Anne Robinson to abuse contestants twice a week.

Pacino strikes fear into werewolf
There's something more terrifying for a werewolf than the little purple-hooded flower known as wolf's bane.

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This Week's Top Business Stories

Dark economic news leaves Martin unfazed
Dark clouds on the economic horizon -- including the highest inflation rate in a decade -- will not rain on Canada’s prosperity parade, insists Finance Minister Paul Martin.

Inflation reaches 10-year high
Skyrocketing energy prices sent the annual inflation rate soaring to 3.6 per cent in April, its highest level in a decade, with little relief in sight.

Index points to recovery
An important gauge of future economic activity strengthened 0.1 per cent in April, gaining after two consecutive monthly declines and suggesting that the U.S. economy is starting to recover.

Markets showing bounce
Chairperson Alan Greenspan’s latest dose of economic medicine continued to be felt, with stock markets gaining ground for the second day since the Federal Reserve lowered U.S.interest rates for the fifth time this year.

Little-known company a software powerhouse
A quarter-century of refining software that turns raw data into usable information has made James Goodnight co-owner of one of the biggest companies no one knows.

Imports ruled damaging
A U.S. trade panel agreed unanimously in a preliminary ruling yesterday the American lumber industry has been threatened with injury by the import of Canadian softwood.

Rona nails down big-box deal
Two Quebec provincial funds are bankrolling Rona Inc. of Montreal to buy 50 home renovation stores form West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. of Vancouver to create the largest such chain in Canada.

Surprise frost hits berry crop
Just when it looked like it was going to be a fruitful spring, a frost killed several acres of locally produced strawberry blossoms.

Winning ways
West London is about to be transported into a new era.

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12-year-old Londoner youngster with a mission

London Web site whiz kid Keith Peiris's agenda for the next two weeks reads like that of any multi-media celebrity.

Everyone wants to know the 12 year old's business since he was named the youngest participant ever in a Team Canada trade mission to the Far East.

There have been calls from TV stations and major publications such as Time and the New York Times. He has been booked for an interview by CNN Asia and expects another request from Chinese TV.

There's a meeting today with London's mayor and city council and with the premier of Ontario on Wednesday.

Then Thursday, the young president and chief executive of Cyberteks Design flies out of Vancouver with business people, Canada's 10 premiers and trip leader Prime Minister Jean Chretien to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

He also can't forget the assignment he has been given by his Grade 7 teacher at St. Bernadette Catholic elementary school — bring back photos of things in China that aren't available in Canada.

"I also have to do a book report," Peiris said.

Keith and his father, Deepal, are ready for an international adventure that has put Keith in the centre of a media swirl caught in the allure of a boy doing grown-up things.

Keith won his spot on the trip through hard work and creativity. He has won numerous awards and accolades for his Web designs and his work with Flash, the latest Web technology. He taught himself to use the software that creates moving images that can be transmitted using narrow bandwidth.

His company receives more than 100 e-mails a day and has about 25 customers, mostly in the U.S. Other clients include Rogers Cable and Kewl Threads, a company owned by Toronto Maple Leafs Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker.

Keith's father said they have five part-time employees and seven sales offices in the United States and promises 15 more worldwide during the next two months.

One client, Interep, a New York sales and marketing company with $1.4 billion US in sales is picking up most of the tab — about $30,000 — to send Keith and his dad to China.

The computer kid says it's no big deal. He's going to the Far East to do what every other Canadian on the trip intends to do — business.

"I would like to meet some businesses, hopefully get some contracts and make some relationships with smaller businesses that look to prosper," he said. "China is currently not a big player in the multimedia industry, however, they have the people and they already have more Internet users than Canada" with more than 20 million people online.

He is looking forward to seeing the Great Wall, but is focusing on his speech to a group of Hong Kong youth Feb. 17.

"I'm not looking at this to be a national role model. I'd simply like to motivate the youth because they can make a difference."

Keith is smart enough to recognize his youth is a curiosity, adding the best Web site designer in the world "doesn't get this much recognition.

"I'm not using myself as a marketing tool or anything like that. It's simply because I like doing this," Keith said. "Of course, regardless of age, the work and quality level does play a significant role in it."


 * E-mail Jane Sims

by Jane Sims
The London Free Press
Keith Peiris, 12, of London, will be a member of Team Canada when it leaves on a trade mission to the Far East on Thursday. — -- Morris Lamont, LFP


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