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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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London boy star of trade mission

London's 12-year-old wonder boy of Web design returns to school today.

After travelling to China as the youngest member of the Team Canada trade mission, Keith Peiris will be back in his Grade 7 class at St. Bernadette's Catholic elementary school.

"I've got some catching up to do with both my school work and friends," he said yesterday after sleeping off a 24-hour return trip Sunday.

For 10 days, Keith was the only child in the company of politicians and Canadian business representatives -- and he dressed and acted the part.

"I wore a suit and tie most of the time and that's not the way I usually dress," said Keith. "It was different, but I got used to it."

Today, Keith gets to be a kid again, something that should help him keep his feet on the ground after an exciting trip that put his picture and story on the front pages of several leading Chinese daily newspapers and a Hong Kong business magazine.

"Keith knocked Jean Chretien off the front pages and one of the aides from his office joked that Canada should send him next time instead of the prime minister," said his father, Deepal.

The Chinese newspapers were as fascinated with the story of a Canadian boy whose Web design skills had vaulted him quickly to success as the president and chief executive of his own company as Canadian papers had been last year.

A CNN interview broadcast to millions of Chinese also raised Keith's profile.

"He was recognized everywhere we went," said Deepal. "Ordinary Chinese people were inviting him to their homes and taxi drivers asked him for his autograph."

"It was fun but I didn't let it go to my head," said Keith. "We weren't on vacation. We were there to grow the business."

Keith is president and chief executive of Cyberteks Design, a company he co-owns with his mother, Sriya, and runs from the basement of the family's Pond Mills-area townhouse.

He's a self-taught virtuoso in Macromedia Flash, the latest Web design software that creates moving images transmitted on narrow bandwidth.

The company has five part-time employees, seven sales representatives and 25 clients, mostly American.

Its Canadian clients include Rogers Cable and Kewl Threads, a company owned by Toronto Maple Leafs Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker.

Interep, a New York sales and marketing company with $1.4 billion U.S. in sales and 21 regional offices, picked up most of the $30,000 tab needed to send Keith and Deepal to China.

"Interep was one of Keith's first clients," said Deepal. "They believe in him and they want him to keep developing."

Father and son returned to Canada with a box full of business cards, "eight or nine good prospects" and a last-day deal.

Development officials in Zhangmuton, a contemporary city of 11 million near Hong Kong, have offered Cyberteks free space in an office building to be named after the company if it opens an Asian branch there.

"Keith and I will be going over there when school ends in June to get things rolling," said Deepal. "Cyberteks' profile has been raised and we see bigger things ahead."

* E-mail Joe Matyas


by Joe Matyas
The London Free Press
Keith Peiris holds up a Shanghai business magazine that features a prominent story on the young Londoner, who returned home Sunday night from the Team Canada trade mission to China.
-- Mike Hensen, LFP

"Keith knocked Jean Chretien off the front pages." -- Deepal Peiris


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