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Five seek mayorship

MONTREAL -- There are five candidates for Montreal's mayoral hot seat.

A vote will be held Tuesday at city council to choose an interim mayor from among those candidates, who are all council members.

The winner will become Montreal's third mayor in a year, after the last two resigned in scandal.

The winner won't hold the job for long. A municipal election is scheduled for November and none of the likely front-runners has put forward a candidacy for the interim job.

Today was the deadline to enter the race, before Quebec's three-day holiday weekend.

The candidates are: Laurent Blanchard, Harout Chitilian, Jane Cowell-Poitras, Franßois Croteau and Alan DeSousa.

They would replace Michael Applebaum, who resigned this week after being arrested on 14 criminal charges.

Applebaum won a similar vote at council last year. He was the city's first Anglo mayor in 100 years.

Case tied to Ford delayed

TORONTO -- The case of a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of one of the people believed to be seen with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a controversial photo will be back in court next month.

Hanad Mohamed, 23, appeared via video link from a detention centre in a Toronto courtroom Friday and had his case put over until July 26,.

Mohamed was arrested in Fort McMurray, Alta., in May and is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Smith, who was shot to death outside a downtown Toronto nightclub March 28.

Smith's slaying received extra attention after an image of Ford with his arm around a man believed to be Smith circulated along with reports drug dealers were trying to sell an alleged video that appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Ford has denied his picture with Smith indicates he has ties to drug dealers, saying he takes pictures with everyone and has said he does not use crack cocaine nor does the alleged video exist.

Nisar Hashimi, 23, was arrested in April and also faces first-degree murder charges in Smith's death.

Two die in explosives fire

MONTREAL -- Quebec provincial police have released the names of two women who died in a massive explosion that flattened a fireworks plant in Coteau-du-Lac.

The dead were identified as Francine Lacroix, a 47-year-old resident of Rivi®re-Beaudette, and Nicole Brisson, 58, of Les Coteaux.

Both were employed at B.E.M. Fireworks, whose warehouse and factory buildings were destroyed by a powerful explosion and fire on Thursday.

Provincial police detectives were to meet with about a dozen employees of the company in the coming days for their investigation. Forensic technicians completed their examination of the rubble Thursday night.

Quebec's workplace health and safety board is also investigating.

B.E.M. Fireworks designed and manufactured pyrotechnics for more than 25 years.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2013 A23

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