• 'Rope-a-dope': Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won't distract them
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'Rope-a-dope': Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won't distract them

    Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging off the new government's promised $30-million "war room" to fight criticisms of the province's energy industry. "The war room makes for good theatre, but the people who follow this closely are going to look at this as amateur hour," said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace. "Chasing environmentalists might play well politically, but it's not actually relevant to the discussion that Alberta and Canada need to be having," added Simon Dyer of the clean-energy think tank Pembina Institute.

  • 'It means a lot to me': Why Game of Thrones finale is hitting fans hard
    News
    CBC

    'It means a lot to me': Why Game of Thrones finale is hitting fans hard

    The hit fantasy series Game of Thrones has set such a high bar for cinematic storytelling and character development on television that it might have a tough time living up to expectations as the series draws to a close Sunday after eight seasons."It just was such an all-engrossing show," said Port Moody, B.C.-based superfan Nancie Green. "The characters were very well-defined, very, very personal ... Season eight has definitely taken that and thrown it in the garbage."Green isn't alone in her views. An online petition was started after episode four calling for HBO to "remake" season eight of its drama with "competent writers" but it didn't gain traction until episode five last week. The petition has now surpassed one million signatures.The series has raked in record numbers of viewers for its final season — an estimated 43 million on average per episode across all platforms — but it's also facing mounting criticism that goes beyond the Starbucks cup mistakenly left in a scene. The show's plot points, writing and character arcs in its final episodes are leaving many fans baffled."A lot of this final season has come off too jarring," said Shirley Li, a culture writer for the Atlantic. Character development 'disappointing'To non-watchers, episode five, entitled The Bells, might have looked like just another hour and twenty minutes of castles crumbling, dragons breathing fire and townspeople burning to death on the epic series originally based on George R.R. Martin's novels. But fans saw several major characters turn in arguably uncharacteristic ways.Perhaps most egregiously, the once noble and hopeful leader, Daenerys Targaryen, descended into madness and killed both the ruler and commoners of King's Landing even after they surrendered."It's all been plot, plot, plot," said Li. "It's just been plot first over character work and I think for a lot of fans and for a lot of critics, that's a disappointment. Especially for a season that's supposed to be wrapping up all of these threads."If some viewers come away dissatisfied with a conclusion they believe to be inauthentic, it's at least partly due to the show's own high bar set over the years.This is a series that became television's most expensive ever, according to Variety, reportedly costing $15 million US per episode this season. Its breath-taking cinematography included exotic locations from Iceland to Croatia (and even near Calgary). Showrunners postponed the penultimate season just to find a backdrop that was grim and cold enough. Series pushed the envelope for TVIt even created its own set of languages for complete credibility. With the sheer volume of players involved in the production and the potential for leaks, the show took extra precautions to maintain secrecy."Security was so tight ... that I only got the lines that I was supposed to translate this season, nothing else," said David Peterson, the Garden Grove, Calif.-based creator behind Game of Thrones' Valyrian and Dothraki languages."Not only that, I believe that they fed me fake lines to translate on occasion for this season and also mis-attributed some of the lines on purpose just so I wouldn't know, for example, which characters were going to be alive or dead by the time the finale rolls around."The series, Li said, has "pushed the envelope" for what TV can accomplish."I think in a lot of ways it opened the doors for writers and for networks to be a little bit more ambitious," said Li. "It introduced us to incredible actors ... I think the legacy of Game of Thrones is robust. There have been a lot of positive takeaways."Watching with half-covered eyesGreen said her takeaways from the drama go beyond basic fandom. Much of the trauma experienced by the regal characters draw a "parallel," she said, to what she's experienced in her own life. She said she grew up in a dysfunctional family, was involved in a fire at the age of 15 and after being given a poor prognosis from a cancer diagnosis over a year ago, isn't sure how long she has to live."One of the things that I said I really would like to live for — sounds silly — was to be able to see the last season of Game of Thrones. It means a lot to me."Despite her disappointment with the current season, Green said she'll be watching the final episode with millions of others around the world. But it won't be easy."It's one of those things where you put your hands over your eyes but you can't look at it. You kind of open your fingers because you sort of have to see it, but you don't really want to see it."

  • U.S. Ambassador to China visiting Tibet this week
    News
    Reuters

    U.S. Ambassador to China visiting Tibet this week

    U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was scheduled to visit Tibet this week, a U.S. embassy spokesperson said, the first visit to the region by a U.S. ambassador since 2015, amid escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. The visit follows passage of a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners, legislation that was denounced by China.

  • Privatizing LCBO's distribution business is on the table, Ford government adviser reveals
    News
    CBC

    Privatizing LCBO's distribution business is on the table, Ford government adviser reveals

    The Ford government's top adviser on reforming alcohol sales will soon hand over his recommendations, and CBC News obtained some insights into his thinking in an interview.Ken Hughes is a former Conservative MP who also served in the Alberta PC government as a cabinet minister. His mandate from Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli is to recommend ways to increase choice and convenience in alcohol sales."What we're looking at is ... how can we modernize the alcohol beverage sector in Ontario so that it is more reflective of people's preferences and choices," said Hughes in the interview.  Will the government privatize the LCBO?  The government has "no interest in selling the LCBO," said Hughes. He brushed off suggestions that he will recommend a full-scale privatization of alcohol sales, as happened under a PC government in his home province of Alberta. "British Columbia is perhaps closer to where Ontario could be, Quebec is an interesting comparable as well," Hughes said. In both those provinces, provincially owned liquor stores retain their roles as retailers, alongside sales from private stores. "The LCBO retail footprint is not going anywhere," said Hughes.What is ripe for privatization? Distribution is a hidden but potentially lucrative part of the alcohol sales system in Ontario. Right now, the LCBO and The Beer Store are the big players. When the Wynne government allowed some supermarkets to sell beer, wine and cider, those supermarkets were forbidden from using their own distribution system.Hughes indicated there's the potential for the private sector to get a piece of this action.  "I'm sure there will be players who can provide a very cost-effective distribution of products to retail outlets," said Hughes. "It doesn't have to be the LCBO and it doesn't have to be the Beer Store that's doing that distribution."Hughes said Ontario's distribution system is "much more restrictive" than in other provinces. "It is in the interests of everybody to have a highly efficient distribution system, so there's no reason that shouldn't involve private players," he said. However, sources connected to the LCBO and the beer industry say adding more players into the distribution business simply creates more parties looking for profit.Will corner stores be allowed to sell alcohol?The Ford government has repeatedly promised that it will expand the sale of beer and wine beyond the LCBO, the Beer Store, private wine shops, and the 450 supermarkets currently licensed to sell.  Figuring out how to do this is a key part of Hughes's mandate. He said one of the main questions he is pondering is: "How can we ensure that there is greater choice and convenience for consumers beyond the current footprint of the LCBO?" What will happen to booze prices? Given that you pay a premium to buy just about anything in a convenience store, it's no surprise that beer and wine sold there would be more expensive than at the Beer Store or LCBO. But there is some evidence that such an expansion would also drive up prices at the Beer Store and LCBO too, based on what happened after privatization in Alberta.  Hughes's perspective: "We're seeking to free up the forces of the marketplace to ensure that Ontarians have the choice and convenience that other Canadians do." What will happen to government revenues? Hughes said there is no intention that the provincial government's overall revenue from alcohol sales will drop. He spoke of "ensuring that the province remains financially whole through any changes that we do in the wholesale, distribution and retail parts of the sector." The changes, however, would likely result in a system that sees the government bring in revenue "more at the wholesale level than at the retail level," Hughes said.  The province currently expects to take in $2.3 billion this year from the LCBO's profits, plus $620 million from alcohol taxes. What will it cost to compensate The Beer Store?A contract between the province, The Beer Store and three big brewers, in place until the end of 2025, limits the number and type of retail outlets that can sell beer in Ontario. Allowing beer sales from convenience stores would breach the agreement, and the contract says the province would have to compensate The Beer Store for that. As previously reported by CBC News, industry sources say that compensation would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, paid for by taxpayers.Hughes rejects that claim. "I think it's preposterous to suggest numbers like have been suggested."Negotiations between the government and The Beer Store on changing the agreement continue.  When will Hughes make his recommendations?Hughes said he will submit a report to Fedeli "in the not-too-distant future," but declined to be any more specific than that."There are a lot of moving parts," Hughes added. "We're doing a lot of work to ensure you have as modern a retail presence in Ontario as in other provinces."

  • Mystery ramp must be removed from Auburn Bay park despite community protest
    News
    CBC

    Mystery ramp must be removed from Auburn Bay park despite community protest

    No one really knows how it got there, but now City of Calgary's parks officials have found the skateboard ramp — and as skateboard season approaches it has got to go. The tiny structure first appeared on the grass of a small park in Auburn Bay back in December. Duffield said the ramp is a place for her kids to play close to home.

  • What's open and closed on Victoria Day
    News
    CBC

    What's open and closed on Victoria Day

    May long weekend is finally upon us. 

  • Transcending the 'invisible wall': Artist invites people to explore Mile End and Outremont with new eyes
    News
    CBC

    Transcending the 'invisible wall': Artist invites people to explore Mile End and Outremont with new eyes

    Italian-born Montreal theatre artist Arianna Bardesono felt that there was "an invisible wall" between herself, as a Mile End resident, and the Hasidic community that shares her neighbourhood. This negotiation of co-existence sparked the inspiration for her new project, put on in association with the feminist Montreal theatre company, Imago. The performance takes the shape of an audio walking tour, which sends out people to wander, one at a time, through Mile End and Outremont, listening to an a recording of Bardesono's voice as she weaves a story about her own exploration of this shared space.

  • Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary aims for multicultural audience
    News
    CBC

    Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary aims for multicultural audience

    The organizers of the annual Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary are looking to build a relationship with people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. For the past eight years, there have been Indigenous-themed events in the week-long lead-up to National Indigenous Peoples Day, which acknowledges the culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Mé​​​​​tis people of Canada. It culminates with a large event at Fort Calgary on June 22, the day after National Indigenous Peoples Day.

  • Parks Canada asks for patience with 'aerial acrobats' barn swallows
    News
    CBC

    Parks Canada asks for patience with 'aerial acrobats' barn swallows

    While building their nests, these small birds make about 1,000 trips to the ground to add layer after layer. The birds try to use their nests for more than just one year, and this is why Parks Canada wants people to help them out by leaving the nests where they are. "They are a species at risk," resource conservation manager Norm Stolle told CBC's Saskatchewan Weekend.

  • At least 12 wounded in Egypt blast targeting tourist bus
    euronews Videos

    At least 12 wounded in Egypt blast targeting tourist bus

    At least 12 people were injured on Sunday in a blast targeting a tourist bus near the new Egyptian museum close to the Giza Pyramids, sources have told Reuters. The bus was carrying 28 passengers — including South African nationals, according to a security source— and most of the injuries were minor. Three passengers are, however, "being treated at the hospital as a precaution", the country's Tourism Minister Rania A. Al Mashat announced on Twitter. A witness, Mohamed el-Mandouh, told Reuters he heard a "very loud explosion" while sitting in traffic near the site of the blast. Pictures posted on social media showed a bus with some of its windows blown out or shattered, and debris in the road next to a low wall with a hole in it. The museum is due to open next year as the new home for some of the country's top antiquities on a site adjoining the world-famous Giza pyramids. It is part of an effort to boost tourism, a key source of foreign revenue for Egypt. The sector has been recovering after tourist numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger jet. There was no damage to the museum from the blast, which happened 50 metres from its outer fence and more than 400 metres from the museum building, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Egyptian security forces are waging a counterinsurgency campaign against Islamist militants, some with links to the so-called Islamic State, that is focussed in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. Attacks outside Sinai have been relatively rare. In December, three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb hit their tour bus less than 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from the Giza pyramids.

  • Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

    The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the government's troubled Phoenix pay system will present the Liberals with options within weeks that are expected to include "multiple pilot projects," government officials say. The plan could pit at least two of the three potential bidders on the projects against each other in a competition to see which system works better, either independently or in tandem with one another. "In the coming weeks, the next-generation team will present options to the government for next steps, which will likely include multiple pilot projects to test possible solutions beginning later this year," Treasury Board spokesman Farees Nathoo told The Canadian Press in an email.

  • Search for missing N.W.T. travellers suspended after body spotted
    News
    CBC

    Search for missing N.W.T. travellers suspended after body spotted

    Yellowknife RCMP say that they've suspended the search for three missing N.W.T. travellers after spotting a dead body in a large area of open water. In a news release Saturday evening, police say the body has not yet been identified.Samuel Boucher, 65, Cammy Boucher, 23, and an unknown male have been missing since the travellers left Detah, N.W.T., for Lutselk'e Monday on a 1990's Black Bombardier Scandic two-seater snowmobile, pulling two toboggans.The search and rescue began Tuesday evening.Helicopters, a Twin Otter and a C130 Hercules plane was deployed by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, according to the news release.Search efforts were mostly by air as police previously said ice conditions have been "treacherous." Police said deteriorating conditions complicated the search efforts.Police said searchers identified an area of interest on Thursday on Great Slave Lake after spotting debris.During a press conference Friday evening, police confirmed debris was located near a large area of open water, but that searchers were unable to land on the thin ice near the open water.The debris was located approximately halfway between Detah and Lutselk'e, police said at the time.During a patrol on Friday, police say they "observed a deceased person" in the open water near the debris. They collected evidence "through aerial photographs" to confirm the body was in the water and for further identification, states the release. "With the observation of the deceased person, no sightings of the missing travellers after multiple searches over the area over several days with clear visibility, and deteriorating ice conditions, experienced searchers determined that all viable search options have been exhausted," states the news release.Families were notified of this decision, say police Saturday.Strategy to 'extract' body"We understand the desire to bring these travellers home, but due to the deteriorating ice conditions, we stress that no one should venture out on the ice," said Sgt. Yannick Hamel in the news release.Police say they are developing a strategy to "extract the deceased person from the water." This plan will analyzed on a daily basis for risks.RCMP say the investigation will continue as an open missing persons file.Police are asking anyone with more information to contact their local detachment. "If further evidence comes to light, lifting the air search suspension may be reevaluated," states the news release.

  • 'Dream becoming true' as Fort McMurray breaks ground on Hindu temple
    News
    CBC

    'Dream becoming true' as Fort McMurray breaks ground on Hindu temple

    The society was formed in 2010 with the intent of opening a temple for the community. It had hoped to start building when it bought the property a few years ago, but the Fort McMurray wildfire and economic downturn made it difficult to raise the money. "We slowed because of oil, and a lot of people started moving out from Fort McMurray," said chairman Kalpesh Patel.

  • Is May 2-4 weather in N.L. actually the worst?
    News
    CBC

    Is May 2-4 weather in N.L. actually the worst?

    "It's the traditional May 2-4 weekend for sure in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Rodney Barney, a meteorologist at the weather office in Gander. Barney, along with everyone else in the area, began Day 2 of the Victoria Day long weekend by looking out to see sloppy wet snow soaking the ground. "Now that has since changed to drizzle and the temperature's risen to a balmy 1 C in Gander," he said.

  • Ice Pilots NWT star reflects on death of internet sensation Grumpy Cat
    News
    CBC

    Ice Pilots NWT star reflects on death of internet sensation Grumpy Cat

    N.W.T.'s Mikey McBryan once asked internet sensation Grumpy Cat if he could be her date on the red carpet. Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, ​​​​​​died Tuesday at the age of seven. "[She] was the Wayne Gretzky of memes," said McBryan.

  • Want to be happier? Focus on time, not money, says Harvard researcher
    News
    CBC

    Want to be happier? Focus on time, not money, says Harvard researcher

    In a large lecture hall at the University of British Columbia, a few dozen graduate students have gathered in a communal quest for happiness. The draw is Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor and social psychologist at Harvard Business School. Whillans is here to help them lead better, happier lives by helping them create more time. "It's a little bit to do with how much time we actually have and a lot to do with how much time we feel like we have," Whillans explained over the phone before her talk.

  • Boyle-McCauley community wants more action on problem properties
    News
    CBC

    Boyle-McCauley community wants more action on problem properties

    The number of inspections of problem properties in Edmonton has increased tenfold in the year since a new team, uniting specialists from the city, the police, Alberta Health Services and other agencies, was created. "We want to hear success stories," McCauley community league president Greg Lane said at a recent public meeting to hear from the committee. At the community meeting, the group explained its process, which includes weekly meetings as well as daily inspections on properties that have been flagged as being of concern.

  • 11-year-old environmentalist wants to stop cigarette butts from washing into the ocean
    News
    CBC

    11-year-old environmentalist wants to stop cigarette butts from washing into the ocean

    One cigarette butt can contaminate approximately 7.5 litres of water, says 11-year-old Aniela Guzikowski and she wants smokers to know that flicking a butt into the street can make fish sick. The Port Moody resident has been volunteering at the Mossom Creek Hatchery for over a year. During her hours spent volunteering, Guzikowski discovered the impact one discarded cigarette can have on fish and wants smokers to take notice and take action.

  • $6.85M community care facility proposed for St. Peters Bay
    News
    CBC

    $6.85M community care facility proposed for St. Peters Bay

    The St. Peters Area Development Corporation is proposing to build the facility as well as apartments for seniors in the area. "So the proposal is for a building that we are going to be putting on the south side of some community property," said Michael Cashin, president of the corporation. People in the St. Peters Bay area had a chance on Wednesday night to hear about the plans.

  • Businesses, workers hope for return to normal after U.S tariffs lifted
    News
    CBC

    Businesses, workers hope for return to normal after U.S tariffs lifted

    Last June, the United States imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on imports of steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, citing national security, which was followed by Canada imposing retaliatory tariffs on steel, aluminum and other consumer products. "I was surprised how much these products cross back and forth across the border.

  • Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett offers an intimate look behind the scenes of his presidency
    News
    CBC

    Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett offers an intimate look behind the scenes of his presidency

    In practically every photo, from every important moment through the course of his campaigning and presidency, Valerie Jarrett is not far from Obama's side. Jarrett's relationship with the Obamas goes back to 1991, when a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson approached her for a job. At the time, Jarrett was chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

  • Councillor wants signs to help curb the noise on municipal trails
    News
    CBC

    Councillor wants signs to help curb the noise on municipal trails

    A Halifax councillor wants municipal staff to come up with some signs to shush people who use trails that run along residential neighbourhoods. Shawn Cleary said he has had complaints for years from homeowners who live near the Chain of Lakes trail, which runs from Beechville to Fairview. Cleary thinks other pathways and trails across the municipality have similar problems.

  • Science fair phenom takes 1st place at national competition
    News
    CBC

    Science fair phenom takes 1st place at national competition

    In most ways, Bhavya Mohan is like any other 16-year-old high school kid. Last week, the Grade 10 student at Colonel By Secondary School won first place in the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), held at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. "It's the best from all over Canada, and it was just mind-boggling to me, just actually winning," Mohan told CBC News.

  • Give blind LRT riders enough time to prepare, advocates urge
    News
    CBC

    Give blind LRT riders enough time to prepare, advocates urge

    Advocates for people with vision loss want the city to make sure there's enough time for them to prepare to ride light rail safely. Lorne Neufeldt, who commutes on OC Transpo with his guide dog Herbie, said he's concerned the city hasn't yet announced specific days for accessibility professionals to become familiar with the stations and trains on Ottawa's forthcoming Confederation line. Neufeldt, who also works for the Canadian Council of the Blind, said guide dog trainers and other professionals need notice to come to Ottawa and assess the situation.

  • How safe are breast implants?
    Global News

    How safe are breast implants?

    There are many risks associated for women getting a breast implant. Some risks may include additional surgeries, capsular contracture, breast pain, rupture and may even lead to cancer.