Red Hat CEO: How Great Leaders Inspire Followers

After a while, even charisma and eloquence fade. What do you do then? Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst explains.

Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst

Flickr/Paul W. Frields

Here’s the second in my series where I choose a topic, pick someone smarter than me–which is a pretty easy task–and we trade emails.

The first was with Dave Lavinsky, the founder and CEO of Growthink, about the best way to learn to be an entrepreneur.

This time it’s Jim Whitehurst, the President and CEO of Red Hat, a $1.1 billion open source software and systems company. (If you’re running Linux, odds are good it’s Red Hat.)

Before joining Red Hat he was the COO of Delta Airlines; his job was to lead the company out of bankruptcy. Before that he was a director and vice president of Boston Consulting Group.

Yep. I’m screwed.

The premise: What companies project or “sell” to the outside isn’t always how they operate on the inside–especially where their employees are concerned.

Jeff:  Lots of companies say what they do best is listen to their customers… but if the owner doesn’t listen to his employees, I guarantee those employees aren’t listening to customers.

As an employee you act the way you’re treated, especially in a small business.

Jim: The nut of the problem, whether you run a huge company or a small company, is that you feel your job is to make decisions, move ahead, and get people to execute. Being decisive is positive. That’s what leaders do. So when someone questions your judgment, it’s painful.

Jeff: No doubt. I once moved 30 employees to a different shift. I thought it was a good business decision but of course it changed their personal lives completely.

So they complained. I thought I was right and didn’t really listen because I was caught up in the “I’m in charge” thing. A couple months later I realized they were right and I moved them back.

Jim: The most basic thing you do as a leader is get people to do what you want them to do. That’s an extremely limited view of leadership, though; if that’s all you accomplish, you’ll spend all your time supervising and directing.

Now if you can get people to think the way you think, then you can turn them loose. Certainly that’s better.

But when employees believe in what you’re doing, as a leader and as a business, they’ll walk through walls because now it’s no longer about you–it’s about them.

Jeff: That’s like the sports analogy, where belief and a sense of shared purpose often trump talent. But how do you get employees to believe? Billion dollar question.

Jim: There are incredibly inspiring leaders who are so eloquent and brilliant that people follow, but there are very few of those… and even fewer who can keep doing that.

Let’s be honest, after people work with you for a while, charisma fades. Even successful coaches eventually leave a team because they feel the players have stopped listening to the same message.

Jeff: And if you are incredibly charismatic, once the power of vision or inspiration fades, then what? If you’re a small business owner, you’re it: You can’t bring in Phil Jackson to take your team to the next level.

Jim: At Red Hat the employees are the inspiration. A key job of the leadership team is to support that inspiration.

Jeff: To some small business owners that sounds more like a democracy, and many started their own businesses just so they could make their own decisions.

Jim: It’s not a democracy. It’s a meritocracy. To engage people, you listen to them and make sure the best ideas win.

Take Memo List, Red Hat’s in-house communication tool. Basically it’s just a giant email list where every employee is subscribed. Everyone can give feedback, share ideas, criticize ideas… just like with open-source software, the best ideas rise to the top. Problems are brought to light and other people can jump in to make suggestions and add detail.

Jeff: That sounds good, but you’re left with the age-old management problem. Eventually, someone has to say yes or no, and if I’ve raised an idea I feel strongly about it doesn’t feel good when my idea gets shot down, especially by someone whose opinion is more “important” because they’re higher up the ladder.

Jim: Keep in mind the idea isn’t that people get to vote on decisions. Our social contract is that if you post a concern we will give you a thoughtful response: yes or no, and most importantly why. If you have a concern about something, it’s addressed.

Soliciting feedback is important, but responding to feedback is more important.

Again, a meritocracy isn’t a democracy. A meritocracy allows smart people to act on smart input from other smart people. That makes the business better and also generates a huge side benefit: Thoughtful people who like to be engaged want to work for companies who listen.

It’s like what pilots say to passengers: We know you have options, and if you’re smart and passionate and want to make things better, we’re glad you chose to work with us.

Jeff: I was on the wrong end of that once. There was a suggestion system and if your idea saved the company money you got 25% of the first-year savings. I turned in 20 pages of ideas including details for how to implement each one. After about three months my supervisor finally got back to me and said, “These are all great, but there’s no way we can pay you the $40,000 you would get. That would set a precedent we don’t want to set. So we’ll give you the maximum award for a non-tangible benefit: $300.”

Imagine my delight.

Even if money isn’t an issue, suggestions are still problematic. I was on a consulting gig in a manufacturing plant and an employee slipped me a list of ideas. I scanned it and said, “Hey, these are great–why don’t you give them to your supervisor and get the credit?” He said, “If it’s not his idea it must suck. Maybe they’ll listen to you.”

Jim: Sometimes as a leader your idea isn’t so great either. We changed our healthcare provider in Boston for what we thought were all the right reasons, but on Memo List we learned hundreds of things we hadn’t considered.

So we changed the decision.

Jeff: All that input is no doubt valuable, but when you really open things up it can be tough to find the time to deal thoughtfully with all the suggestions and input you can get. I put in a process improvement feedback system once and was absolutely flooded with ideas… it was great, but there were times I felt so overwhelmed I thought, “What the heck have I done?”

Jim: That’s true, but the coolest thing about a completely open feedback tool is the stuff you don’t have to do. For example, our Raleigh offices are at capacity so if someone parks across two parking spaces someone will take a picture, post it on Memo List, and say, “Come on.” Or if a conference room is left in a mess someone will take a picture, time stamp it, and post it.

That stuff really makes a difference. People much prefer to self-police than to be policed.

Jeff: I would think it could also get really out of hand. When I worked on the shop floor I can only imagine what some of my coworkers and I would have done with an open system like that. We weren’t exactly models of propriety.

Jim: Sure. At one point Memo List did start to get a little off track. There were hundreds of emails a day, some were just funny or conversational, others were a little rude… and I started to feel it was no longer serving its full purpose. So I said, “I think we need a set of rules.”

Immediately other people said, “No way. You can’t set the rules. If the CEO or an executive sets the rules for something intended to be open, no one will use it anymore.” So we gathered together the 10 people who tended to post the most and shared our concerns. They came back and said, “Let’s create a Friday List for fun stuff and for getting to know each other in a less formal way. And if someone gets too rude, we’ll self-police it.”

That was a good lesson. We knew we needed a solution but we let smart, engaged people actually solve it. We didn’t tell them how.

Jeff: The big challenge for some small business owners who want to implement a similar system would be dealing with some of the ideas–or criticism–that would naturally result… and being willing to let go of some of their control over how their company is run.

Plus it can be painful. I once asked a group of employees what they would do differently if they were me. I walked out an hour later feeling like the worst manager in the world.

Jim: You absolutely need a thick skin, but if you’re willing to take a little criticism–criticism that is being leveled at you anyway, just out of your earshot–all that dialogue makes your decisions better and makes execution a lot better. When employees are involved and feel they have been heard they are much more likely to execute well.

Take the big firms that bring in change management specialists. “Change management” is like advertising, and we’re so flooded with advertising we’re all great at tuning it out. But if you do your change management while you’re making the decision, by letting employees help create that decision, then you don’t need change management. You don’t need to convince people.

Change management is what you do to employees; when employees participate, change is what they do for the company and for themselves.

Jeff: An open culture was already in place when you got to Red Hat. You were at Delta Airlines, a company I imagine was fairly buttoned-up. I bet that was a culture shock.

Jim: I inherited a wonderful organization.

It sounds corny, but your mother is right: It’s better to share. If I have an apple and you have an apple and we exchange apples, we each still have an apple. If I have an idea and you have an idea and we exchange ideas, now we both have two ideas.

An open culture adds real value for customers and makes this a great place to work. We have fiercely loyal employees; some even have Red Hat tattoos.

Our people are passionate about what they do because there’s a fundamental good in open source–both outside the company and inside.

Does Your Rock Star Have a Bad Attitude?

If left unchecked, high-performing “bad apples” can destroy your team. Here’s how to handle the situation without losing a star performer.

Lebron James is renowned for both his star performance and his whiny attitude.

Flickr photo courtesy of Martin Fahsel

Lebron James is renowned for both his star performance and his whiny attitude.

Most business owners have encountered one of the most troublesome types of employee, the type I call the “high-performing bad apple.”

These are individuals who typically do great work–they’re sharp, knowledgeable, and influence others–but who have a pervasive bad attitude, challenge company policy or authority, and constantly grouse about work. They also tend to belittle the company–usually behind your back, but sometimes openly.

The problem with these high-performing bad apples (let’s call them HPBAs) is that their negativity is almost never contained solely to them; their insidious influence can quickly turn even otherwise happy colleagues against the company.

Effective leaders quickly identify an HPBA and take time to weigh how to handle the situation. And it’s a tricky one: You don’t want to lose a top performer, but you simply can’t allow one person to cripple the whole team’s morale.

Here are four steps to dealing with your star’s bad attitude.

1. Ask Yourself: Is His Complaint Legitimate?

First, you want to make sure that the bad attitude doesn’t stem from a real issue. Perhaps your bad apple has a real right to be angry. If you know you or the company has made some recent mistakes and you feel it’s understandable for employees to be temporarily upset, focus your attention on correcting that problem first and foremost.

But for most bad apples, you’ll need to deal with the negativity itself–which tends to be centered on that one person’s emotional reactions to authority and direction from management, rather than on an external situation.

2. Pinpoint Her Bad Behaviors

A clear sign that you’re dealing with an attitude problem is when you witness outbursts over the smallest of issues, even in situations where the majority of employees should have no objection. Sometimes you’ll see the negativity yourself; you may also hear about it through the grapevine. Keep an eye out for employees who seem to take personal offense in situations that most should not find offensive.

For example, a saleswoman with HPBA tendencies might blow up when her manager comes to town and doesn’t coordinate with her to see an important customer in her territory. It’s a minor error in business protocol, a small breach of courtesy–but the saleswoman overreacts due to her own insecurities.

3. Address the Behavioral Problem

You need to address the problem as soon as possible after you begin noticing bad behavior; even one employee’s defeatist and contrarian talk can have great influence with his colleagues. It may even affect people in upper management.

If you don’t address the problem promptly, you’ll likely be seen as weak or out of touch. So what do you say when you call him into your office? Here are the three main bases you need to cover.

  • Calmly explain that you’ve seen their discontent and are worried that it’s spreading to others.
  • Listen to their complaints, and respond with facts to set the record straight.
  • Make an emotional appeal: His behavior is probably driven by emotion, and emotion is neutralized with emotion, not with facts alone.

4. If You Don’t See a Change, Take Decisive Action

If you don’t see the problem improving but you need to keep the employee, consider restricting her exposure to others to contain her divisive message. And if the bad apple has blown a new situation out of proportion and has already hurt morale, address the situation directly with the other employees before isolating her.

Of course, if you don’t see a lasting change, there’s always a last resort. If your employee continues to disrupt morale, she usually must be terminated–you simply can’t afford the ongoing contamination.

If this path must be taken, be sure you’ve documented the bad behavior and are avoiding an improper termination. The best policy is always to have “no comment” concerning why an employee was terminated. In the case of the bad apple, most will intuitively understand.

If the situation necessitates a public statement, however, be sure to get legal or HR review to avoid slander. Communicate the approved statement first to the affected managers, then to their direct reports.

In the end, taking action will signal to everyone that you are engaged in the business, that you know what’s going on among employees, that you care about their well-being–and, above all, that you’re dedicated to maintaining a cohesive and successful organization.

Who’s an Entrepreneur Now?

A graphical breakdown shows how founder demographics have changed across the U.S. since 1996.

As U.S. entrepreneurship has grown over the last 15 years, entrepreneurs themselves have changed as well. Among the shifts: Entrepreneurs today tend to be more male, and more educated, than in the mid-1990s.

Rasmussen College has compiled data from Kauffman Foundation–an organization that studies entrepreneurship–and turned to Column Five to represent the information in the below graphic.

See how the demographics of American entrepreneurs have changed, as well as some notable trends among the country’s business owners.

Building the $700 Million Workout

When the infomercial company Beachbody introduced a set of fitness DVDs called P90X in 2005, the product bombed. Carl Daikeler explains how he turned it into $700m in sales.

P90X

Courtesy Company

When the infomercial company Beachbody introduced a $120 set of home fitness DVDs called P90X in 2005, the product bombed. Even Carl Daikeler knew it was a long shot–would home shoppers really sign up for six days a week of strenuous pushups, pull-ups, yoga, and weightlifting? Today, P90X has generated more than $700 million in sales. As told to Burt Helm.

The first infomercial was an absolute dud. One of our primary measures of success is media cost, and when it started, we paid the equivalent of $250 per order. That’s a tough way to make a business when you’re selling a $120 product.

2005 was our roughest year. The hot gadgets that year were weight-loss belts–you put them on and jiggle your way to fitness. They were difficult to sell against, because we always have been selling hard work. Our revenue sank to $83 million from over $100 million the year before.

We kept testing and changing the P90X infomercial. We’d do a focus group and find out people didn’t understand what equipment they’d need, so we’d add that. Or we’d add a new, better testimonial from a customer. We started adding people’s homemade YouTube videos. We got the cost from $250 to $225. Then $190.

Still, I literally was in shouting matches with marketing people here: “Can we please stop trying to make this work?” they’d say. But it wasn’t blind faith. It was just that we kept seeing progress in every test we’d do.

In 2007, our 22nd version of the infomercial clicked. It just took off. Eventually we would get the media cost, net-net, down to under $50 per new customer.

The first celebrity we heard about was Sheryl Crow. A reporter at the 2009 Grammys asked how she stayed in shape, and she did a commercial for P90X right there on the red carpet. I had no idea she was a customer. We never paid a celebrity.

Next we heard Jennifer Aniston was doing it. We heard the trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles was using it with some players. Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t stop talking about P90X on Twitter.

In 2010, we got invited to a fundraiser in Philadelphia, a chance to meet President Obama. The guy who facilitated it introduced us: “Mr. President, this is Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon. They run Beachbody, the company that created P90X.”

Now, you gotta remember, I’ve been an infomercial guy for the past 25 years. I’m used to being not the bottom of the barrel, but if you lift the barrel up and look underneath it–that’s where infomercials are. And here’s the leader of the free world, saying, “P90X? My wife does P90X! In fact, my Secret Service crew is doing P90X. They love it!”

It was like time stopped. Jon and I looked at each other like, Are you kidding me? Our little infomercial product with the silly name, the acronym we argued over for hours in the office, is being used by the First Lady.

Man shot after Canada Day fireworks show in Toronto

A 21-year-old man was shot and taken to hospital just moments after a Canada Day fireworks display wrapped up in the east end of Toronto.

Thousands of people were in the Woodbine Beach area Sunday around 10:30 p.m. ET on Sunday when shots were fired near Winner’s Circle and Lake Shore Boulevard.

Toronto police were at the scene Monday of the Canadian Day shooting to investigate. Toronto police were at the scene Monday of the Canadian Day shooting to investigate. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

The man’s injuries are non-life-threatening.

Toronto police are at the shooting scene Monday morning. They are looking for suspects, but haven’t released any descriptions.

The shooting is one of several in crowded public places in Toronto in recent weeks.

A month ago, a shooting inside a food court at the Eaton Centre left two men dead and five people injured.

Just over two weeks later, a man was killed in a shooting on a crowded patio in Little Italy, where patrons had gathered to watch a European Cup soccer match.

U.S. storms leave 2 million without power

Millions of people in a swath of states along the East Coast and farther west went into a third sweltering day without power today after a round of summer storms that killed more than a dozen people.

The outages left many to contend with stifling homes and spoiled food over the weekend as temperatures approached or exceeded 100 F.

Some two million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois were without power Monday morning. And utility officials said the power would likely be out for several more days. Since Friday, severe weather has been blamed for at least 18 deaths, most from trees falling on homes and cars.

‘If we don’t get power tonight, we’ll have to throw everything away.’—Susan Fritz, Maryland mother of three

The power outages had prompted concerns of traffic problems as commuters took to roads with darkened stoplights. But throughout northern Virginia, there was less traffic than normal in many places Monday as federal workers took advantage of liberal leave that was put in place for the day.

To alleviate traffic congestion around Baltimore and Washington, federal and state officials gave many workers the option of staying home Monday. Maryland’s governor also gave state workers wide leeway for staying out of the office.

“It was less traffic,” said D.C. resident Rob Lavender, who commuted to Arlington County from the district. “It’s more hectic on a regular day.”

There were more than 400 signal outages in Maryland on Monday, including more than 330 in hard-hit Montgomery County outside the nation’s capital, according to the State Highway Administration. There were 100 signal outages in northern Virginia late Sunday afternoon, and 65 roads were closed, although most were secondary roads.

“If you have to drive or need to drive, leave yourself a lot of extra time,” Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar said. “There’s going to be delays.”

Trees block roads

Some drivers resorted to ingenuity to get to work. On a residential street in suburban Falls Church, Va., just outside Washington, downed trees blocked the road on either side. Enterprising neighbours used chain saws to cut a makeshift path on one side, but the other remained completely blocked by a massive oak tree.

“They kind of forgot about us out here,” resident Eric Nesson said.

Still, residents took the aggravation with good humor. Posted on the oak tree was a sign saying: “Free firewood you haul.” The tree lay across a smashed Ford pickup truck, with a sign reading: “For SALE. Recently lowered.”

Meanwhile, coast guard officials say they have suspended the search for a man who disappeared early Saturday while boating during the storm off Maryland.A car sits, crushed by a fallen tree, on Carrington Road in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday.A car sits, crushed by a fallen tree, on Carrington Road in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday. (The News Advance, Parker Michels-Boyce/Associated Press)

On Sunday night in North Carolina, a 77-year-old man was killed when strong winds collapsed a Pitt County barn where he was parking an all-terrain vehicle, authorities said. In neighboring Beaufort County, a couple was killed when a tree fell on the golf cart they were driving. Officials said trees fell onto dozens of houses, and two hangars were destroyed at an airport in Beaufort County.

The damage was mostly blamed on straight-line winds, which are strong gusts pushed ahead of fast-moving thunderstorms like a wall of wind.

Elsewhere, at least six of the dead were killed in Virginia, including a 90-year-old woman asleep in her bed when a tree slammed into her home. Two young cousins in New Jersey were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping. Two were killed in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in Washington.

In West Virginia, authorities said one person died early Sunday when the all-terrain vehicle they were riding hit a tree that had fallen over a road.

Staying cool a challenge

For survivors, it was a challenge to stay cool over the weekend.

From Atlanta to Baltimore, temperatures approached or exceeded triple digits.

Atlanta set a record with a high of 105 F, while the temperature hit 99 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside the nation’s capital.

With no air conditioning, officials urged residents to check on their elderly relatives and neighbors. It was tough to find a free pump at gas stations that did have power, and lines of cars snaked around fast-food drive-thrus.

“If we don’t get power tonight, we’ll have to throw everything away,” Susan Fritz, a mother of three, said grimly of her refrigerator and freezer. Fritz came to a library in Bethesda, Md., so her son could do school work. She charged her phone and iPad at her local gym.

Power crews from as far away as Florida and Oklahoma were also on their way to the mid-Atlantic region to help get the power back on and the air conditioners running again. Even if people have generators, the gas-run devices often don’t have enough power to operate an air conditioner.

And power restoration was spotty: Several people interviewed by The Associated Press said they remained without power even though the lights were on at neighbors’ homes across the street. In Maryland, Gov. O’Malley promised he would push utility companies to get electricity restored as quickly as possible.

“No one will have his boot further up Pepco’s and BGE’s backsides than I will,” O’Malley said Sunday afternoon, referring to the two main utilities serving Maryland.

Ontario expected to help restore power

Aid from across the border was expected from Ontario’s Hydro One power utility, which has assisted in the past when natural disasters caused widespread blackouts in the U.S.

Hydro One announced Sunday that about 200 workers would be sent to the Baltimore, Virginia and Washington regions to assist in restoring electricity to affected areas.

The situation has been especially dire amid a record-breaking heat wave and no power to run air conditioners.

“Hydro One crews have a long-standing history of assisting neighbouring utilities when help is needed the most, and this time is no exception,” Len McMillan, Hydro One’s vice-president of lines and forestry, said in a statement.

“Our crews are ready and willing to do what they do best — help restore power quickly and safely to impacted customers.”

The Canadian crews are expected to get working in the affected areas as early as Tuesday.

Hydro One has a history of providing assistance to U.S. cities following significant power outages. For example, the power utility helped utilities in Vermont in February 2010 after a massive winter storm crippled power, and in 2008, crews helped out in Ohio after Hurricane Ike caused massive blackouts.

In Waldorf, Md., Charles County emergency officials handed out free 40-pound bags of ice to anyone who needed them. Among the takers was Ann Brown, 47, of Accokeek, Md., who had stayed in a hotel Saturday night because her house was without power.

She went to a cookout in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Saturday after family members decided to cook all the food in the freezer rather than let it go bad.

“Whatever they had, that’s what we ate, and it was great,” Brown said.

Whether she makes the commute to work Monday will depend entirely on how comfortable the office is.

“If they don’t have power, I’m not going. But if they have power, yeah, I’m going in, to be in the air conditioning all day,” she said.

With files from CBC News
© The Associated Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

Spanking may be linked to later mental disorders

Adults who were subjected to physical punishment such as spanking as children are more likely to experience mental disorders, say Canadian researchers who encourage other forms of discipline.

Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics includes a study on the proportion of illnesses such as depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse as well as personality disorders that may be attributable to physical punishment.

Positive reinforcement techniques have more evidence backing them than physical punishment.Positive reinforcement techniques have more evidence backing them than physical punishment. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Physical punishment was defined as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting in the absence of more severe maltreatment of a child through physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect or exposure to intimate partner violence.

“It definitely points to the direction that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and we need to be considering that when we’re thinking about policy and programs so we can protect children from potentially harmful outcomes,” said study author Tracie Afifi, who is in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba.

Afifi hopes the findings from the study that involved more than 34,000 U.S. adults will make parents think twice about spanking.

Afifi acknowledged it’s not a causal effect and the study design can’t prove the link, but she said the statistical association is clear.

“Parents need to be aware of this relationship,” Afifi said.

A surprising finding was that increases in education and income were associated with higher odds of harsh physical punishment, the researchers said.

Physical punishment opposed by pediatricians

“It is important for pediatricians and other health-care providers who work with children and parents to be aware of the link between physical punishment and mental disorders based on the study,” Afifi’s team concluded.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes striking a child for any reason and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that physicians strongly discourage the use of physical punishment.

The authors suggested a more explicit position that spanking, smacking and slapping should not be used with children of any age.

Spanking is outlawed more than 30 countries. It is legal for parents to use physical punishment on their children in Canada and the U.S.

“Everybody’s tempted when kids are bad, but there are other ways of teaching your kids the right behaviour,” said mother Nikki Quinn of Halifax.

Afifi recommends children be disciplined with positive reinforcement techniques, which have been reviewed and supported in medical literature.

With files from CBC’s Pauline Dakin

Luka Magnotta investigators follow tip to remains in park

A tip led police investigating the killing of Chinese student Jun Lin and the arrest of Luka Rocco Magnotta to a Montreal park Sunday, where remains were discovered near a small lake.

Montreal police have not publicly linked the remains, which have yet to be confirmed as coming from a human, to the case.

They have not given the source of the tip.

However, a police source told The Associated Press that the remains appear to be a human head.

Magnotta, 29, is accused of the murder and dismemberment of Lin, a Concordia University student from China, in May.

Jun Lin, a Chinese national, was studying computer engineering at Concordia. Jun Lin, a Chinese national, was studying computer engineering at Concordia. (CBC)Lin’s remains were mailed to locations in Ottawa and B.C., and were also discovered behind a Montreal apartment building where Magnotta had been renting a unit. Parts of his body have not yet been located.

Police have been in contact with Lin’s family and have said that finding the rest of his remains was a priority. His family held a private service for the 33-year-old last week at Concordia.

Following an international manhunt, Magnotta was arrested in Berlin after an employee at an internet café recognized him from the intense media coverage. He was returned to Canada in June and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Testing could take days

The latest discovery of remains, in Angrignon Park in southwest Montreal, happened Sunday afternoon.

Investigators set up a wide perimeter as they scoured an area into the evening.

Police are now waiting for further analysis of the remains, which could take several days, to determine if they are from a human and if they are linked to the case.

“For the time being, it is still too early to confirm anything,” Const. Anie Lemieux said.

Magnotta will face a preliminary hearing next March, where part of the evidence against him will be heard. He has chosen a trial by jury.

with files from Canadian Press and Associated Press

Canadians among abducted aid workers rescued in Somalia

A pro-government Somali militia group said today it rescued four aid workers — including two Canadians — who were abducted by gunmen from a refugee camp in Kenya last week.

The four workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) were flown to Nairobi on Monday afternoon.

“We are happy and relieved that our employees have been found and have been freed,” Elisabeth Rasmusson, the aid group’s secretary general, told a news conference in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. “What we know right now is that they have been released and are in good condition.”

The aid workers were abducted in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, 100 kilometres from the Somali border.The aid workers were abducted in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, 100 kilometres from the Somali border. (Google)

The NRC identified the four released hostages as:

  • Steven Dennis of Toronto, 37.
  • Canadian citizen Horat Sadosay, 38, who is of Pakistani origin.
  • Astrid Sehl of Norway, 33.
  • Glenn Costes of the Philippines, 40.

Abdinasir Serar, a representative with the Ras Kamboni militia in Somalia, said his group heard of Friday’s abductions in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp and pursued the abductors. Ras Kamboni fighters caught up with the abductors Monday morning about 60 kilometres inside Somalia.

Ras Kamboni’s leader, Ahmed Madobe, said his men killed one of the abductors but that the other three escaped. The rescue happened in the village of Alu Gulay.

The four rescued workers were taken to the Somali town of Dhobley and then flown to Nairobi. Ras Kamboni works alongside Somali government and Kenyan military forces. Kenya sent troops to Somalia last October to hunt al-Shabab militants.

Taken to Somali border on foot

Four gunmen attacked a two-vehicle convoy from the NRC on Friday, killing one Kenyan driver and wounding two other Kenyans. The gunmen took one of the two vehicles and the four workers. The group later abandoned the vehicle and began walking toward the Somali border.

A Somali driver is treated in the back of an ambulance following an attack on aid workers in Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya, on Friday. A Somali driver is treated in the back of an ambulance following an attack on aid workers in Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya, on Friday. (Associated Press)

Rasmusson was present during Friday’s attack but was not harmed or taken.

She said Friday that the attack happened on a main road toward the city of Dadaab in “what is recognized as the safe part of the camp.”

A Kenyan police commander said the aid group originally arranged to have armed security travel with it but that the group cancelled the security arrangements at the last minute.

After an attack on a Doctors Without Borders convoy last year in which two Spanish women were abducted, some aid groups began using security escorts in Dadaab, a series of sprawling camps connected by sandy roads.

© The Associated Press, 2012
The Canadian Press