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Burning ears 

Who in the world is talking about Halifax.

Murder most foul—from Los Angeles, Toronto, England and the blogosphere

The city has been on edge since last Friday, when local police drew a connection between the murders of Michael Knott and Trevor Brewster, and the news has reverberated widely. "The RCMP has issued a public advisory about gay cruising areas in the Halifax area after the bodies of two local men were discovered separately in the span of a single week," reports Toronto's Xtra. Los Angeles-based says "that despite the warning, police wouldn't speculate that a serial killer is targeting gay men." And from the branch of serving the UK and Ireland, "In addition to the public warning, there will be an increase of patrolling officers in the cruising areas."

As far as the public knows, the best lead for finding the killer is the victim's car. "Halifax Regional Police have launched a country-wide search for Brewster's black, two-door Honda Civic, after someone driving the car committed a minor traffic violation in Cole Harbour—hours after Brewster was last seen," CTV in Toronto reports. "Police took down the licence-plate number, but didn't stop the vehicle."

"Hate crimes come in all different shapes and sizes, but when it comes to anti-gay crimes, there seems to be one common size: young, white and male," writes a blogger at Queerty. The post, titled "Inside the mind of a homo-hating killer," draws heavily from a recent Herald article before reaching this conclusion, "Moral of the story: don't go cruising at night. There are people who want you dead. Or, if you do go cruising at night, tell a friend what you're doing. Or, at the very least, bring a "crazy homophobe maniac' whistle."

Patient zero—from southern Ontario

Upper Canada started casting worried looks at Halifax as soon as our rash of mumps was confirmed earlier in the year (check out past editions of Burning Ears at, and the Ontario press continues to watch developments. "Nova Scotia is starting a mumps immunization program for health-care workers as an outbreak of the virus in the province climbed in the last week by 19 confirmed cases," the London Free Press reported on Monday. Kitchener's 570 news radio follows the mumps like a hurricane. "Since the beginning of the outbreak in February, 222 cases of mumps have been reported across Nova Scotia—and the disease is continuing its track into other provinces. New Brunswick reported Friday that its case load had jumped to 40, up from 34 a week earlier. Prince Edward Island remained unchanged at one confirmed case."

The latest, from the Toronto bureau of ambitious online news service AHN, shows our neighbours have good reason to be nervous. "The first cases of mumps were recorded in Halifax in February," writes Valerie Chang. "Doctors there had cautioned the public that college students returning home from Halifax on break could spread the contagious disease across the country. They were correct." Chang's story is headlined "Mumps Outbreak Strikes Toronto."

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