Two Canadians involved in Algerian hostage-taking identified

Tease the day: We learn that one terrorist, Xristos Katsiroubas, comes from a Greek Orthodox home

AP Photo

Xristos Katsiroubas was born in London, Ont., and grew up in a Greek Orthodox family in a middle-class neighbourhood. He’s now accused of blowing himself up during a hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant earlier this year. CBC News reporter Greg Weston broke the story yesterday, and everyone else found space for the news in print.

The CBC report told us a lot about Katsiroubas, including that his parents were divorced, he had a big family, and he converted to Islam. Not so much about his alleged partner-in-crime, Ali Medlej. All we learn is that he and Katsiroubas were friends throughout high school and that, apparently, he got married a few years ago. Weston reports that Medlej “appears to have gone through most of his schooling without even a mention in most of his school yearbooks.”

But there was one photo in at least one yearbook, and only Sun News Network posted that photo online. Ali Medlej is an Arabic name. Everyone shies away from pointing that out, even though we learn that Katsiroubas explicitly hails from a Greek Orthodox home. Ethnicity isn’t necessarily relevant, obviously. But it’s clearly a sensitive issue. How newsrooms report on these two individuals as this story unfolds, and we learn more about both of them, will be fascinating to watch.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s surprise visit to Iraq. The National Post fronts the Conservative government’s stalling on the climate change file. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with potential revenue-generating schemes to fix Toronto’s clogged transportation system. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the feds’ new guide for incoming immigrants. iPolitics fronts a map of MPs’ junkets all over the leads with the identity of two Canadians involved in a hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant. National Newswatch showcases Chantal Hebert’s column in the Toronto Star that wonders about the effect of an open leadership contest on the party’s future.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Education. Aboriginal leaders say that their next big fight with the federal government could revolve around education. They’re urging the feds to properly consult aboriginal communities. 2. Mine cleanup. The feds are spending so much money—nearly $1 billion—cleaning up a mine near Great Slave Lake that other toxic sites in Canada may go uncleaned longer than planned.
3. Federal paper. Public servants make use of millions of pieces of paper every year—thousands of pieces per employee. The government does intend to cut down on paper usage. 4. Arms treaty. The UN’s general assembly will vote on a treaty that would restrict the global arms trade. Syria, Iran and North Korea, as well as a few other nations, oppose the treaty.

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