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News briefs: March 12, 2015

Ireland accidentally legalizes ecstasy, other drugs 

Ireland’s drug community caught a break this week when possession of drugs like ecstasy, ketamine and crystal meth were temporarily legalized.

A court ruling struck down parts of Ireland’s drug law determining that new drugs were being added to the list of prohibited substances in an unconstitutional manner.

The ruling forced the Irish parliament to rush through legislation to, once again, criminalize possession of the drugs. At the earliest, the loophole could close Wednesday at midnight.

Direct flights to Ireland run around eight hours from Calgary to Dublin at roughly $1,000 per person.

Club M off Dublin’s Temple Bar is a known hot spot.


U of C researchers say January’s tremors caused by fracking

According to University of Calgary researchers, earthquakes that hit the Alberta town of Fox Creek, a town three-hours north of Edmonton in January were caused by fracking.

Fracking is a controversial process that involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to extract oil and gas.

The largest quake measured 4.4 on the Richter scale and was felt by residents, though no one was injured.

The Alberta Energy Regulator implemented new fracking rules following the earthquakes.


Taber bans swear-words and spitting in public

The southern Alberta town of Taber has banned swearing and spitting in public.

Taber town council adopted the bylaw last month.

Swearing in public now carries a $150 fine for the first offence and $250 for the second. Spitting carries a fine of $75.

The bylaw also includes a provision that allows peace officers to break up assemblies of three or more people. That part of the bylaw has been widely condemned as unconstitutional, because it is.


Matthew de Grood to stand trial for five counts of first-degree murder in Brentwood stabbings 

Matthew de Grood, the man accused of killing five people at a Brentwood house party following Bermuda Shorts Day last April, will stand trial for five counts of first-degree murder.

The judge found that there was sufficient evidence after the preliminary hearing to move forward.

The Crown called 13 witnesses to the stand during the preliminary hearings. A publication ban was placed on those hearings.

It has yet to be determined whether de Grood is criminally responsible for his actions.

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