Vancouver Island's American Idol releases her first original song

Vancouver Island’s Lauren Spencer-Smith, who wowed judges on American Idol last year, has released her first original song, called “Back to Friends.” (Artwork by Alex Forhan) Vancouver Island’s Lauren Spencer-Smith, who wowed judges on American Idol last year, has released her first original song, called “Back to Friends.” (Artwork by Alex Forhan)

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German election to set direction after 16 years under Merkel

Germany's closely fought election on Sunday will set the direction of the European Union's most populous country after 16 years under Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a rollercoaster campaign. The environmentalist Greens also are eyeing at least a share of power.