Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is declining to comment on President Donald Trump's drive outside of Walter Reed to greet supporters. "I'm not going to comment on any of his conduct or his health," Biden told reporters. (Oct. 5)
Six suspected drug labs in Richmond were put out of commission Wednesday in simultaneous police raids carried out by Richmond RCMP and Delta police.Richmond Mounties hit three homes in western Richmond suspected of producing synthetic drugs.In a separate investigation, Delta police officers targeted three commercial properties in eastern Richmond under the Cannabis Act.Details about the types of drugs being produced have not been released — but in the case of the Richmond RCMP raids, volatile chemicals were seized."These types of investigations pose a significant danger to our officers and to our community as a whole," says Sgt. Gene Hsieh of the Richmond Organized Crime Unit. "Some of the chemicals are highly unstable, and it will take some time to render these sites safe before continuing our investigation."The Clandestine Laboratory Team of the RCMP was called in to assist with Wednesday's raids.At least two dozen officers were involved.Several investigators in hazmat suits could be seen entering one of the homes, located on Comstock Road.The other house, on Blundell Road, was sealed Wednesday and entered by investigators on Thursday. Richmond RCMP has asked that the addresses be withheld.'Major investigations' led to raidsThe Delta police operation hit two commercial properties on Westminster Highway and another on Sidaway Road, all three in rural areas of eastern Richmond.The Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit assisted the Delta police-led operation.Delta police spokesperson Cris Leykauf confirms a number of suspects were arrested, but charges have yet to be laid.Leykauf says warrants were executed at the three commercial locations after a "major investigation."Richmond RCMP state its raids on the three other locations "were part of an eight-month targeted investigation into suspected synthetic drug production across the city."6 drug labs discovered in Richmond since JulyThe six suspected drug production operations shut down Wednesday follow another drug lab discovery during the summer.A house on Calder Court in Richmond burst into flames in July. RCMP search warrant documents obtained by CBC News revealed a massive drug lab was uncovered and at least $1.1 million in "shatter," a potent marijuana derivative, was found. It was one of the biggest seizures of illicitly-produced shatter in Canadian history.The search documents stated the blast and fire were likely sparked by 15 illegally-wired ovens and cannisters of butane and propane used to produce shatter.Police officials refuse to say if the latest Richmond raids are related to the discovery of the shatter production facility.Both forces say their investigations are ongoing.CBC Vancouver's Impact Team investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community and strives to hold individuals, institutions and organizations to account. If you have a story for us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TORONTO — A year-long investigation that began as a probe into an alleged Toronto gang has led to more than 100 arrests across Ontario for crimes that include murder, drug trafficking and firearms offences, police said Thursday. Toronto police said the operation — dubbed Project Sunder — dismantled the Eglinton West Crips, which was allegedly involved in criminal activity as far as Thunder Bay, Ont. "The Eglinton West Crips were involved in extensive gun and drug trafficking networks that span the province of Ontario," said Toronto police Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw."These networks are alleged to have trafficked large quantities of narcotics, specifically cocaine and fentanyl, to many communities outside of the Greater Toronto Area."Police said they had made 114 arrests and expected about 800 criminal charges to be laid in the ongoing investigation that began in September 2019. While Toronto police led the probe, the investigation also involved forces in Waterloo, York Region, Peel Region, Durham Region, Thunder Bay, and the provincial police. Chief Supt. Paul Mackey of the Ontario Provincial Police said that collaboration between so many forces was necessary to combat a criminal organization of this size."This particular investigation clearly demonstrates how GTA-based street gangs have influence across Ontario, from Ottawa to Thunder Bay and many places in between," he said."No community is immune. Criminals do not respect jurisdictional boundaries."Police said that officers carried out 141 search warrants over several months. A total of 31 firearms were seized, along with seven kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of fentanyl, two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and other street drugs, as well as $300,000 in currency.Deputy Chief Brian Bigras of the York Regional Police said that the size of the seizures was indicative of how widespread and dangerous the alleged gang was."Project Sunder stopped a criminal group in their tracks, a criminal group that clearly had tentacles that spread across the province of Ontario," saidThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
A former U.S. embassy worker in Mexico is believed to have drugged and sexually assaulted as many as two dozen women, filming many of them while they were unconscious, according to federal prosecutors. Brian Jeffrey Raymond was arrested earlier this month in San Diego, where he had moved after leaving his job in June. The FBI started investigating after Mexican police responding to a call May 31 found a woman naked and screaming from the balcony of an embassy-leased apartment in Mexico City.
The Arizona Coyotes renounced their rights Thursday to their top 2020 draft pick after saying they learned more about his bullying of a Black classmate with developmental disabilities four years ago. The team parted ways with Mitchell Miller after taking criticism for selecting him in the fourth round earlier this month despite knowing of his 2016 assault conviction. Arizona acknowledged it knew about the incident when it selected Miller 111th overall.
EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from its COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18 that required mandatory isolation.Dr. Deena Hinshaw says they include runny nose and sore throat.She says starting Monday, if someone under the age of 18 has one of those symptoms they are encouraged to monitor themselves for 24 hours. If symptoms improve, they don't need to get tested and can return to normal activity, including attending school or participating in sport groups.Hinshaw says the change to the checklist follows similar ones made in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. She says more than 3,400 children and youth who were tested last week for COVID-19 reported having a sore throat, but more than 700 of them had a sore throat as their only symptom, and less than one per cent of their tests came back positive.Alberta reported 477 new COVID-19 cases in Thursday’s update and five new deaths.There are 4,921 active cases with 130 in hospital and 18 in intensive care.Hinshaw also reminded Albertans to practise cautious social distancing this Halloween weekend."Unfortunately, after every holiday during the pandemic, we have seen a rise in the number of cases one to two weeks later," she said."This weekend, I am asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and be safe."Hinshaw said this is not the year for large Halloween parties and noted that Calgary and Edmonton have social gatherings limited to 15 people."Eat candy, brush your teeth, watch your favourite scary movie, spend time with your household and your cohorts."This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
First lady Melania Trump made her first joint campaign appearance of the year with her husband, President Donald Trump, at a rally in Florida, a state all but essential to the Republican's pathway to another term. (Oct. 29)
As an intern at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Kate McGregor has been spending weeks sorting, labelling, and properly archiving the personal correspondence of former premier Richard Hatfield. It consists of around 150 boxes of documents, many about events a half-century ago. But on Thursday morning, McGregor came across a letter with a timely connection to world events today. "This morning I came across a letter, and Hatfield's response, from senator Joe Biden," said McGregor. Biden wrote his letter, dated July 10, 1973, after briefly meeting with Hatfield in Washington, where the premier took in some of the infamous Watergate hearings."Dear Premier Hatfield," the recently sworn in senator wrote. "Just a short note to let you know I very much enjoyed meeting you this morning and was sorry there wasn't more time to talk. I do hope I have the pleasure of seeing you again. I would very much like to have the opportunity to speak with you at greater length. I hope you enjoyed the hearings and your stay in Washington."With warm regards, Sincerely, Joe R. Biden, Jr. United States Senator." The letter took McGregor by surprise, especially since the Democrat and former vice-president has a chance of becoming the next U.S. president."I looked up the full name just to make sure it was him, because you wouldn't think that one of the current people running for president would write to the premier of New Brunswick." The 47-year-old letter would have been written by Biden when he was 30 years old, six months after he arrived in the U.S. Senate.Hatfield, who was in the third of his 17 years as premier, became known for his travels outside the province. He would have jumped at the chance to sit in on the hearings, which helped bring about the downfall of then-president Richard Nixon.McGregor found Hatfield's reply to Biden, written nine days later. "Dear Senator Biden: Thank you for your note. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how thoroughly I enjoyed the opportunity of being present for the Watergate hearing. I hope that we will have an opportunity to get together in the near future. Sincerely, Richard Hatfield." McGregor said the letters will be categorized, catalogued and archived for future reference and research. And with the U.S. election in just four days, it won't be long before we'll know whether Biden's letter is from a future failed presidential candidate or victor over President Donald Trump.
BOSTON — Travis Roy, the Boston University hockey player who was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first college shift and went on to become an advocate for spinal cord injury survivors both in and outside the sports world, has died. He was 45. His death was confirmed by the BU athletic department and the Travis Roy Foundation. “It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Travis Roy,” the school said in a statement. “His story is the epitome of inspiration and courage, and he was a role model and a hero to so many people. “Travis' work and dedication toward helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing. His legacy will last forever, not just within the Boston University community, but with the countless lives he has impacted across the country." Roy was a 20-year-old freshman making his debut for the reigning NCAA champions in the 1995-96 season opener when he crashed headfirst into the boards after checking a North Dakota opponent. The accident left him a quadriplegic. From his wheelchair, he gave as many as 40 motivational speeches a year. The message he shared: Do the best with what you have and don’t dwell on your misfortune. “I like to say the first 20 years I had a life that was full of passion and the last 20 I’ve had a life full of purpose,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press shortly after turning 40. “The dream is to have both at the same time, but I’m fortunate. I’ll take either one.” Since he created the Travis Roy Foundation in 1997, it has raised more than $9 million — half for research, and half to provide equipment for those with spinal cord injuries. Roy, who was able to control the joystick that manoeuvred his chair, regained little movement after the injury and had no feeling below the middle of his chest. “I just thought the research would move along and by the time I was 40 I might have a chance of some normalcy again,” Roy told the AP in 2015, “some kids and a wife and not living with 24-hour home care anymore.” The hockey world mourned his passing on Thursday, with the NHL calling Roy “a special man who responded to his devastating injury by dedicating himself to serving others.” Former Bruins star and current team president Cam Neely also shared his condolences. “Travis Roy was the ultimate symbol of determination and courage,” Neely said. “The impact that Travis had on the New England hockey community is immeasurable, and his relentless advocacy for spinal cord research was inspiring.” Ray Bourque, another ex-Bruin and Hockey Hall of Famer, said he and his wife were “honoured to have known such a great man who helped so many others.” “The warmth, strength, and resiliency he exhibited in the face of tragedy set him apart,” Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy said. “His mantra was never to take anything for granted, and his message resonates stronger than ever with all of us at the Red Sox.” Roy's work as a fundraiser and motivational speaker combined with his persistent optimism to make him a hero to other victims of spinal cord injuries. “Travis Roy, you were my friend, mentor, role model and the most positive person I knew,” Jack Jablonski, a Minnesota high school hockey star who was also left paralyzed after a hockey collision, said on Twitter. “You have forever changed the SCI and hockey community. Thank you for taking the time to get to know each other." Denna Laing, who was paralyzed during an exhibition before the 2016 NHL Winter Classic, also tweeted her thanks. “Travis did so many little things and big things for so many people,” she wrote. “This is gutting, really truly sad.” The son of a Maine hockey rink manager who began skating when he was 20 months old, Roy went to North Yarmouth Academy and Tabor Academy before enrolling at BU. Both high schools have named their rinks after him. BU retired Roy's No. 24 in 1999; he graduated from the school with a degree in communications the next spring. “I think all the time how grateful I am,” Roy told the AP on the 20th anniversary of the injury. “The thing that goes through my mind every once in a while is, ‘Thank God it wasn’t a brain injury.’ I don’t want any pity.” He said he occasionally thought about what might have happened if he hadn’t been injured. “There’s times when it’s kind of fun to think about it,” he said. “It’s also kind of sad to not know the answer.” Among the players on the 1995-96 BU Terriers team were future NHLers Chris Drury, Jay Pandolfo, Shawn Bates and Mike Grier. John Hynes is now the coach of the Nashville Predators. Coach Jack Parker is an inductee in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame; Olympic hero Mike Eruzione was an assistant coach. “It’s so sad for so many reasons — not just the athletic end of it, but what his life could have been,” Eruzione told the AP on Thursday night. “To see a life changed in such a direction because of 11 seconds. “But what he did with it afterward was incredible,” Eruzione added. "Such an inspiration. He could have folded the tent. He could have said, ‘This is it.’ But he chose another path in his life, and he raised millions of dollars. “It just sucks, that at 45, that it’s over.” ___ Former AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman contributed to this report. Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press
The era of the plastic shopping bag has come to a close in Nova Scotia.A provincewide ban that came into effect Friday means businesses can no longer provide single-use plastic bags at the checkout, so customers should get in the habit of carrying reusable bags.CBC Radio's Information Morning spoke with Kirk Symonds of the Halifax Regional Municipality's solid waste resources department about the change. Here's what you need to know: Q: Why is this ban happening now?Nova Scotia passed the Plastic Bags Reduction Act this time last year. Politicians said they wanted to give retailers and the public time to prepare.Grocery chains like Sobeys have already transitioned to paper and reusable bags, but the ban applies to all businesses — not just grocery stores.The province says the ban is to encourage waste reduction at the source, and help keep plastic out of the environment and landfills.Q: Will there be any plastic bags left anywhere?Yes. The province has outlined 13 examples of exemptions to the ban where plastic bags are still accepted. These include bags for loose bulk items like fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy, and food or baked goods that aren't prepackaged.Products that can't fit in a reusable bag are also on the list, as are bags used to transport dry cleaning, flyers and mail, and packaged liquids that might leak.Symonds says there will still be "lots of plastic bags" in people's lives, but the idea is to cut down as much as possible.For a full list of the exceptions click here.Q: What am I going to use instead?The easiest answer is to grab some reusable shopping bags, says Symonds.Some businesses might offer reusable or paper bags to their customers, but it is not a requirement. They can also decide whether to charge a fee for bags they provide and what they do with that money.The province says shoppers won't spot any bags made from biodegradable or compostable plastic. Businesses aren't allowed to offer these since they contaminate recycling streams and don't decompose properly in compost facilities.Q: What will I line my garbage cans with now?For years, many Nova Scotians have had a stash of plastic shopping bags used to line small garbage cans around the house.Although those plastic bags won't be around going forward, Symonds says some people might decide they don't need to line every bin. "I'm intimately familiar with what folks throw out. Garbage is not as messy as it used to be now that we compost most of our food," he says.For those who still want to use plastic bags, Symonds says they can always buy packages of bags designed to fit their garbage cans. Q: What if businesses still have plastic shopping bags they can't give out?The province says businesses can recycle the bags, sell them, or ship them to another business location in a province without a plastic bag ban. They can also donate them to a charity, like a food bank, that can still use plastic bags when serving clients.Q: What about household garbage bags? Are they still allowed?Yes. Symonds says Nova Scotians' plastic garbage and recycling bags have not changed.Q: What is the rest of the country doing?The federal government has said single-use plastic items like grocery bags, straws and cutlery will be covered by a national ban coming into effect next year. The regulations to introduce the ban will be finalized by the end of 2021.P.E.I. was the first in the country to ban plastic shopping bags last year. They were followed this month by Newfoundland and Labrador.MORE TOP STORIES
TAOYUAN, Taiwan — Two lesbian couples tied the knot in a mass wedding held by Taiwan's military on Friday in a historic celebration with their peers. Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage, with more than 4,000 such couples marrying since the legislation passed in May 2019. The mass wedding with 188 couples was the first time same-sex couples have been wed and celebrated at a military ceremony. Both couples viewed their ceremonies with a sense of responsibility towards representing the LGBT community. “We are hoping that more LGBT people in the military can bravely stand up, because our military is very open-minded. In matters of love, everyone will be treated equally,” said Chen Ying-hsuan, 27, an army lieutenant who married Li Li-chen, 26. Chen wore a rainbow wristband and said she has always been open about her sexual orientation while serving. The ceremony at an army base in the northern city of Taoyuan was brief. The couples took part in a parade and then exchanged rings in front of an audience of family members and their senior officers. Yumi Meng, 37, and her wife, army Maj. Wang Yi, 36, wiped back tears as they exchanged rings. Meng wore sneakers under her wedding dress, while Wang wore her officer's uniform. They each carried a pride flag throughout the ceremony. Meng's parents had not come to the celebration, but in support both of Wang's parents as well as her teacher came out to support the couple. “I really feel that this is a huge breakthrough for the military because before gay people really had to go through a lot,” said Amy Chao, mother to Wang. “Perhaps for heterosexual couples, it's just a paper, but it's very important for gay couples, if you're sick or have to have a major surgery, if you don't have this, then you are nothing, you can't make a decision.” Since same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan, 4,021 such couples have married, with 69% of them lesbian couples, according to the most recent government data. The military seemed an unlikely institution to be the site of a same-sex marriage, but in recent years has opened up, said Victoria Hsu, the Co-founder of Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights. “We hope this is a good sign to show that the armed forces’ attitude towards the LGBT community is becoming more supportive than before in Taiwan." That attitude was on full display Friday as it welcomed dozens of reporters to the wedding. “Our attitude is that everyone should be treated equally, and we congratulate each and every couple, and this shows that our military’s position is open-minded, progressive and with the times,” Lt. Gen. Yang An told reporters at the wedding. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan has hit a record of daily number of COVID-19 cases less than a week after it reported an all-time high. Health officials reported 82 new cases Thursday,, surpassing the previous high of 78 set on Saturday. Some 37 of the new cases are in the Saskatoon area, and the rest are spread around different regions of the province. Starting Friday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is imposing restrictions on Saskatoon nightclubs that include no alcohol service between 10 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. following multiple outbreaks linked to clubs. The health order does not apply to lounges, pubs, restaurants, or liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms. Health officials say of 2,990 reported cases in the province, 707 are considered active and 25 people have died. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec's police watchdog is investigating a police shooting Thursday that left a Black man dead in Montreal. The Bureau des enquetes independantes says in a news release that based on preliminary information from Montreal police, a man armed with a knife rushed the officers and they opened fire, killing him. Sue Montgomery, mayor of the Montreal borough of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, said the victim lived in the borough, and she offered her condolences to his family and friends. His identity has not been released. "Once again, my heart is aching and I, too, am angry," she said in a written statement. "This morning another Black man in our community was shot by police." She said the borough has a history of police shootings of Black men, including the fatal 2018 shooting of 23-year-old Nicholas Gibbs. "The senseless killing of people of colour needs to end," Montgomery said. "Systemic racism is undeniable. It is present in the (Montreal police) and in all facets of our society." Police had responded to a call made just before 6 a.m. about a man in crisis in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood. The watchdog, known as the BEI, said that when police arrived, officers stayed in their vehicle as the man allegedly walked towards their car armed with a knife. When he turned toward another vehicle with a driver inside, police left their car to intervene, and that's when they allege the man came at them. Steve Fiset of the local paramedic service Urgences-Sante said the victim was in his 30s. He said a police officer was also transported to hospital following the shooting but had no physical injuries. Montreal police declined to comment due to the BEI investigation. The BEI said it has assigned eight investigators to the case, who will be aided by two provincial police crime-scene technicians. The investigators left the scene at 5:20 p.m. Thursday and the investigation is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canadian Rangers were expected to arrive in Neskantaga First Nation on Friday to help the remote community in northern Ontario as it grapples with a water crisis. Much of the First Nation was evacuated earlier in the month after high levels of hydrocarbons -- chemical compounds found in crude oil and coal -- were discovered in the water supply, forcing officials to turn off the pipes. "The Canadian Rangers have also been deployed to support the community and should be on the ground as of today," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told reporters on Friday. "We're diligently working towards finding immediate and long-term solutions to this health emergency, and we will not stop until Neskantaga has access to clean, safe and reliable drinking water." The Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Army Reserve. Neskantaga has Canada's longest-standing on-reserve boil-water advisory, in place for 25 years. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backtracked on a longstanding promise to end all on-reserve boil-water advisories by March 2021, citing travel restrictions implemented because of the pandemic. Miller said the government continues to "work aggressively" to end boil-water advisories by next spring. "Canada won't stop until all First Nations on-reserve have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water," he said Friday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020. The Canadian Press
Over the objections of dozens of Conservatives, the House of Commons gave approval in principle Thursday to a bill that would make it easier for dying Canadians to get medical help to end their suffering. Conservatives, including Leader Erin O'Toole, were the only MPs to vote against the bill, which passed by a vote of 246-78. While some Conservatives supported the bill Thursday, nearly two-thirds of O'Toole's 121-person caucus did not.
Environment Canada has issued a frost advisory for Chatham-Kent.The advisory, issued around 3:20 p.m., states that temperatures are expected to dip near or below freezing that may allow for patches of frost in the early morning.This frost may damage some crops, so Environment Canada advises people take preventative measures to protect frost-sensitive plants and trees. Frost advisories are issued when temperatures are expected to reach the freezing mark during the growing season, which could potentially cause damage and destruction to plants and crops. More from CBC Windsor:
LONDON — The World Health Organization’s Europe director said Thursday that the 53-country region has again reached a new weekly record for confirmed cases, with more than 1.5 million confirmed last week and more than 10 million since the start of the pandemic. During a meeting with European health ministers, WHO European regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said, “hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring” and that deaths have risen by more than 30% in the last week. “Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” Kluge said. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.” Testing systems have been unable to keep up with widespread levels of transmission, and “test positivity levels have reached new highs,” with most European countries exceeding 5% and many cases spreading unchecked, he said. Along with the usual European countries, WHO includes includes Russia and some central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in its Europe region. In the wake of France and Germany approving new restrictions in hopes of reversing the trend, Kluge called national lockdowns a “last resort option,” citing the considerable damage the measures inflict on economies, people's mental health and the incidence of domestic violence. He said lockdowns should give countries the chance to “recoup and scale up” so they can theoretically strengthen their health systems and contact tracing programs to quickly identify and stamp out new clusters. But numerous countries across Europe such as Britain, failed to do so. Despite the U.K.'s nationwide lockdown earlier this year, the country's contact tracing system remains unable to track down a significant percentage of the contacts of infected individuals. Many contacts also have refused to quarantine. Kluge also urged politicians to be led by scientific data in their outbreak responses. The British government went against the advice of its scientific advisers to implement a nationwide lockdown in September, instead pursuing a strategy of localized restrictions which so far have had little impact on curbing the virus' resurgence. British scientists estimated Thursday that there are about 96,000 new infections every day and that the epidemic is doubling in size every nine days. In France, officials cut the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to seven after reasoning that most people were not complying anyway, although there was no scientific basis for the change in guidance. Kluge said if countries decide to impose new lockdowns, schools should be largely exempt. “We are also confident that children and adolescents are not considered primary drivers of COVID-19 transmission," he said. He said data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimated that a 95% compliance rate for mask-wearing could save more than 265,000 lives across Europe by February 1. He warned that countries' greatest concern at this point should be their health workers. “While in March, the critical limiting factors were intensive care units, ventilators and personal protective equipment, today the single issue of greatest concern is the health workforce,” he said, warning that doctors, nurses and other medical personnel were “burning out.” ___ This version has been corrected to show WHO's Europe region has 53 countries, not 54, ___ Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Maria Cheng, The Associated Press
After 23 years in business, Golestan Bakery, a fixture of central Lonsdale in North Vancouver, is being forced to close its doors for good after being served with eviction papers on Wednesday for non-payment of rent.Owner Jalal "Jay" Darvishi said he is heartbroken and out of options because his landlord refused to apply for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), and wouldn't cut him a break on his monthly rent of $7,200."After COVID happened, I told [my landlord] the government is helping small business with rent subsidies. But he said no, I need full rent, I don't care," he said. The ripple effects are devastating to Darvishi and the business he has poured his life into.He opened the bakery in 1997 with one employee, choosing the name Golestan — which means flower garden in Persian — to reflect the diversity of the neighbourhood.The eviction means 14 employees are out of work and his two other storefronts — on Marine Drive in West Vancouver and another downtown on Robson Street — will also be forced to close because most of the cooking and baking is done in his main kitchen at the Lonsdale location. 'Feel like a slave'"All these years I work, I save all my money to invest [in] and grow my business … and now I don't know what's going to happen in the future," said Darvishi."This situation makes you feel like a slave to the landlord, because you don't have any power — he has all the power."CECRA was rolled out by the federal government as a lifeline for small businesses during the early months of the pandemic, but it hinged on landlords applying, not the business owners themselves. From April to September 2020, the program handed out forgivable loans to landlords for up to 50 per cent of monthly rent. Tenants still had to chip in 25 per cent of their pre-pandemic rent, while landlords were expected to accept a 25 per cent loss.CERCA expired on Sept. 30, as did the provincial government's moratorium on business evictions.Darvishi said he had never missed a rent payment until April of this year when he was still reeling from losing all his business from Nowruz or Persian New Year, one of his busiest seasons. "I made too much stuff ... to make it good for New Year's. Then COVID happened and we shut down for two weeks, and after that, there is no sales. I threw [out] all the cooking and pastry because all of them expired ... and I couldn't donate because of COVID." Business down 70 per centAll told, Darvishi estimates business has dropped 70 per cent over the last six months."All the weddings, all the parties are all cancelled," he said. "I told my landlord I'm going to share with you money every day. Please look at my sales and take a percentage of sales. But he never accept it."CBC requested comment from the landlord over the phone and via email and text message but never heard back.According to Darvishi, landlords at his two other stores had no issues applying for CECRA or negotiating a break on his rent. A statement from the constituency office of North Vancouver MP Jonathon Wilkinson said the prime minister and privy council office of intergovernmental affairs were looking into how to best protect small businesses in this situation.
Feedback from teachers, students and parents navigating Nova Scotia's education system during the COVID-19 pandemic has been mostly positive, according to the province's education minister.Zach Churchill said he feels the school year is going well so far, despite the "very real" fatigue that many people, including teachers, are experiencing."I think everybody's a bit more tired at work nowadays," he said. "We have a pandemic hanging over us. We all have to be more vigilant and cautious with our behaviour, personally and at work."So far among the 372 schools in Nova Scotia, Churchill said more than 450 people have been hired for support staff positions to respond to the needs of students, such as custodial workers and lunch monitors.A recent CBC News questionnaire delivered around the province asked for opinions from classroom teachers about their experiences so far in the school year. About 700 teachers offered their thoughts. Many said they were struggling with much more exhaustion and burnout than in previous years. Retirements not increasingAbout one-third of the teachers who responded to the questionnaire said they were considering retirement or changing professions. The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Paul Wozney, said he thinks a variety of stressors has led to some people considering whether they want to continue being teachers. "People assume that teaching is the same. It's not," he said. "How you do your job with physical distancing, with public health protocols — it's not the same work, and that's been a huge adjustment."Churchill said there's no evidence right now that Nova Scotia's school system will be affected by more teachers retiring. "We heard this, I got our deputy [minister] to check in on it, and right now the number of retirees is down this year," he said."So I don't know if that number is going to change or not. But the evidence itself would suggest that that's not an issue at this point."Nearly $40M spentChurchill said most of the $40 million the government allocated for things like extra cleaning and more student monitors has been spent. In August, Churchill said the province would spend: * $29 million for more substitute teachers. * $8.7 million for more custodial staff. * $1.4 million to extend the hours of pre-primary teachers to allow time for cleaning. * $1.2 million for more lunch monitors. * $500,000 for school supplies including pencils, pens and erasers.Churchill said he thanked teachers, administrators, support staff, and bus drivers who are dealing with the additional pressures of working through the pandemic in a "higher risk environment." "They're doing a good job," he said. "The feedback we're getting is positive, generally speaking, from students, from parents and from teachers."I don't think we'd be where we're at if it wasn't for our staff going above and beyond and doing a good job for our kids."MORE TOP STORIES
Bombardier's refocusing on business jets has taken another step forward with Alstom shareholders giving the green light to its US$8.4-billion purchase of the Quebec company's railway division. Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge says the deal's closing, expected in the first quarter, will allow the French company to "accelerate its strategy." The combined company is expected to become the second-largest manufacturer of rolling stock with revenues of about US$18 billion, well behind industry leader China's CRRC at US$32 billion.
Oil and gas companies that use federal cash to help cut methane emissions from their operations won't have to repay every penny if they eliminate the methane emissions entirely. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan unveiled rules for the $750-million emissions reduction fund first announced by the federal government at the end of April. Canada has committed to cutting methane emissions between 40 and 45 per cent by 2025, but current regulations are only expected to cut 29 per cent by then.
An Iqaluit man was charged with attempted murder and forcible confinement following an investigation of an apparent stabbing at a residence in the 300-block area of the city early Tuesday evening, police said in a statement Thursday.Eliyah Jonah, 46, was arrested and appeared before a justice of the peace where he was remanded into custody until his scheduled appearance at the Nunavut Court of Justice Nov. 17.The victim, who was not identified by police, was transported to the Qikiqtani General Hospital and received medical care, according to Iqaluit RCMP."The victim was later medevac'd to the South to seek further treatment and is expected to make a full recovery," read the statement.Iqaluit RCMP is continuing to investigate the matter and is asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have information about it to contact them at 867-979-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Information can also be sent by text to Crime Stoppers by texting to NWTNUTIPS plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES).
The maker of Canada Dry ginger ale has agreed to pay more than $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. A B.C. Supreme Court decision on costs released Monday shows Victor Cardoso claimed he bought Canada Dry on the basis it was "made from real ginger" but the marketing was false and it contained none. The decision says Cardoso later conceded that the soda contains small amounts of ginger derivatives but he continued to allege that the company's representations of its product were false.
When Christa Wheeler-Thorne got a call saying she had won the bonus draw of the New Brunswick Hospital Home Lottery, she was so surprised she thought it was a prank. The administrative director for women and children’s health at The Moncton Hospital said bought three tickets this year through a payroll deduction option used by some who work at the hospitals. When she got the call from a foundation president, she said she thought it might have been about a work matter and had to wrap her head around the very different news. Proceeds from the annual Hospital Home Lottery support the CHU Dumont Foundation, Friends of The Moncton Hospital and Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. Wheeler-Thorne said she had seen the benefits of previous lotteries in her department’s work, such as helping to pay for a new newborn unit, and she bought tickets because she wanted to give back. As the winner of the bonus draw, Wheeler-Thorne had the option of $70,000 cash or a new Mercedez-Benz. She chose to take the cash. While many charities and non-profits have had trouble with fundraising in 2020, that was not the case for the hospital foundation fundraiser, whose grand prize is a 3,500-square-foot home in Rothesay and $50,000 cash. Tickets sold out earlier than ever before, said Jeff McAloon, president and CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. “We’ve never sold out by the bonus draw deadline,” he said. Some years, the lottery does not even sell out at all, he added, noting he is blown away by the generosity of New Brunswickers, especially during a difficult time for many in the province. The total raised has not yet been finalized, but it is expected to be over $1.5 million, he said. Funds raised have not been allocated and can be used where they are most needed whether that be for research, technology or education, he said. The next draw is Nov 19, said McAloon, and the complete list of winners will be shared on Nov 26. Prizes range from houses to trips to cars.Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Vancouver police are seeking more potential victims of sexual assault involving a man who they believe posed as an Uber driver.Langley, B.C., resident Hirdeypal Batth, 24, was charged on Oct. 22 with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to a file this past August, the Vancouver Police Department said in a written statement.The alleged offences happened near Oak Street and King Edward Avenue in Vancouver on Aug. 26.Police believe Batth, who drove a white 2020 Land Rover, had posed as the victim's Uber driver."We believe that Batth may have targeted other victims," said Const. Tania Visintin in the statement."Investigators are expanding their focus to look at crimes that occurred outside of Vancouver and are urging any other victims to please come forward."In 2017, Batth was convicted of sexually assaulting a victim, in a crime that has similarities to the allegations in current investigation.Batth remains in custody until his next court appearance.Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 604-717-0601 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
California Governor Gavin Newsom voted early on Thursday in Sacramento. The Democratic governor said he is "very enthusiastic about the total number of ballots that have been returned and about the eagerness" people have to vote. (Oct. 29)