• Photo: @VancouverPDPhoto: @VancouverPD
    It’s not often we hear of police officers facilitating an escape. But that’s just what happened last weekend.

    On Sunday afternoon, a concerned citizen spotted a family of ducks — a mother duck and her nine ducklings — on the ledge of the third floor patio of Vancouver Police Department headquarters.

    Police officers responded to the scene before wildlife rescue arrived, and quickly determined that the ducklings had recently hatched in the building’s rooftop vegetable garden. Their mother was trying, unsuccessfully, to help them escape the building. 

    “Police responded to the call and found the dabbling ducks attempting to break out of the secure building,” the news release said. “Officers determined that the eggs were likely laid in the area of the roof top vegetable garden and remained hidden under the watchful eye of their mother, until it was time for them to fly the coop.”

    According to the Vancouver Sun, three off-duty officers and a wildlife rescue volunteer then corralled and

    Read More »from Officers help nine ducklings escape Vancouver Police Department headquarters
  • ‘Mom of the year’ drags son away from Baltimore riots

    A Baltimore mother was not about to let her son participate in the city’s riots — and didn’t care about making a scene in front of his friends (or the entire nation), either.

    The woman, who is being called “mom of the year” by some media outlets, was caught on camera smacking her hooded son and chasing him away from the scene.

    According to ABC 2 News, she had recognized her son throwing rocks at police on television, and “that didn’t sit well with her.”

    In the video, she can be heard lecturing her son to “take that f****** mask off.”

    That video is now going viral. 

    Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts mentioned the mother in a press conference early this morning.

    “And if you saw in one scene, you had one a mother who grabbed their child who had a hood on his head and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed. I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight,” Batts told reporters.

    Monday afternoon’s riots didn’t appear to stem from any

    Read More »from ‘Mom of the year’ drags son away from Baltimore riots
  • A screengrab from the latest NDP ads, slamming the Conservatives and Liberals on spending.A screengrab from the latest NDP ads, slamming the Conservatives and Liberals on spending.

    The Liberal Party’s recent TV ad on the Conservative government’s use of taxpayer’s money for “partisan” advertising has raised the eyebrows of at least a few higher ups in the NDP, who’re retaliating with an ad of their own.

    The NDP ad uses the same music and visuals as the Liberal party’s effort, but points to both the Conservatives and Liberals as wasteful spenders, even doubling down on the LPC.

    The Canadian Press reported earlier this week that the Conservatives are dishing out $13.5 million from government coffers to advertise its “Economic Action Plan” — also known as the federal budget — on both TV and radio.

    The Liberals are trying to make the point that the Conservative government is using taxpayer-funded advertising to promote itself and its recently tabled budget. Alongside the ad, the party also used its opposition day motion on Monday to debate the government’s “wasteful spending on partisan ads.”

    Liberal MP David McGuinty’s private member’s bill, which would see

    Read More »from NDP spoof Liberal ad on wasteful government spending
  • Richard Fadden, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, appears at Senate national security and defence committee hearing witnesses on Bill C-51 in Ottawa on Monday, April 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickRichard Fadden, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, appears at Senate national security and defence committee hearing witnesses on Bill C-51 in Ottawa on Monday, April 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
    What keeps the prime minister’s national security advisor up at night? Well, when Richard Fadden was the director of CSIS, one thing in particular.

    “One of the things that, honestly — and perhaps figuratively sometimes, directly sometimes my wife would tell you — kept me awake at night, was the thought that if something terrible happened, and we found out two days later, that the government of Canada had information that could have prevented this,” Fadden said Monday afternoon.

    “I could not have explained that to my minister.”

    Fadden was appearing for the first time in front of a Senate committee Monday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security advisor, testifying before members about the Conservative government’s anti-terror legislation.

    “I don’t think I could have explained that to you,” he said to committee members.

    In an attempt to downplay and abate concerns over the bill — of which there are many — Fadden had laudable things to say about the legislation, including the

    Read More »from Harper’s national security advisor downplays C-51 concerns
  • Scientists have discovered a new, deeper reservoir of magma beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano (AP)Scientists have discovered a new, deeper reservoir of magma beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano (AP)

    One of the most dangerous volcanoes in South America blew its top for the first time in nearly half a century this week in Chile when Mount Calbuco began spewing a giant ash cloud more than 15 kilometres into the atmosphere, rattling the residents in the region.

    While Calbuco is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in South America, it is small potatoes compared to what a potential eruption might occur if Yellowstone Park’s super volcano in the western United States ever erupted.  

    And now, geologists have made an unsettling discovery of a giant reservoir of magma underneath the 40 mile-wide crater basin that covers most to he national park that no one new ever existed before.

    The discovery announced in the journal Science Express last week describes the newly imaged hidden chamber that has an unbelievable size of 46,000 cubic kilometers, containing enough hot lava to fill the Grand Canyon eleven times over and has the same volume as New York’s Long Island.

    The reservoir is

    Read More »from Yellowstone super volcano just got scary large, but what danger does it pose?
  • (Photo via Business Insider)(Photo via Business Insider)

    For Canadians suffering from long-term depression, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be an effective alternative to taking antidepressants.

    MBCT is a group-based approach that combines mindful meditation practice with cognitive therapy. A new study in The Lancet medical journal in the U.K. found that for people with a history of recurrent depression, MCBT was just as effective as taking maintenance antidepressants. And a 2010 study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health here in Canada also found meditation “provides equivalent protection against depressive relapse as traditional antidepressant medication.”

    “Depression is a recurrent disorder. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point,” Willem Kuyken, lead author of the U.K. study and professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford , said in a press release.

    MBCT was developed to help people who have experienced repeated bouts of depression by

    Read More »from Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as effective as antidepressants: Study
  • Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)

    As images of the devastation in Nepal become more prevalent in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, one brightly-coloured symbol flies in stark contrast to the rubble: Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags.

    According to a 2011 census, approximately 2.4 million people identify as Buddhist in Nepal. Despite only being about a tenth of the country’s population, the community has had an outsized impact on the world’s vision of Nepal, thanks in part to the prevalence of prayer flags at the base camp of Annapurna and Mount Everest, as many of the mountaining climbers' guides are Buddhist.

    Despite their ubiquity, they remain somewhat of a mystery to many who are not as familiar with Buddhism.

    “The parts of Buddhism that everyone knows about are mediation and karma, and trying to reach nirvana… through good karma,” says Todd Lewis, professor of world religions at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

    “What is less known are the Buddhist words that were taught by [Buddha] to make the world

    Read More »from Prayer flags a symbol of faith amidst Nepal earthquake's destruction
  • Vancouver's medical pot problem

    Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)


    A couple of years ago, there were a dozen marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. Today, there are more than 80.

    While the city of Vancouver and the federal health minister trade barbs over the laws and regulations that should or could reign in the city’s proliferating pot trade, Vancouver police say they don’t have the resources to deal with the burgeoning business.

    “With 80 stores, the capacity is to focus on those that are using violence to sell drugs in the city of Vancouver and that’s where we’re putting our resources and our finances – to protect people,” says Sgt. Randy Fincham, spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department.

    “Basically, what we have to do is take a priority based approach to them. Every other week a new one is popping up in Vancouver, so we then have to look at those.”

    On Tuesday, Vancouver city council is expected to discuss a report that recommends the city regulate the burgeoning industry, with a $30,000 fee for business licences and limits on where dispensaries

    Read More »from Vancouver's medical pot problem
  • North Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via ReutersNorth Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via Reuters


    In the 24 years since the videotape showing Rodney King’s vicious beating by police officers became public, the debate about the use of taped evidence seems to be far from resolved.

    There are unresolved questions about the value of videotaped evidence of police activities and also tapes taken by police themselves through dash and body cameras.

    King was an American taxi driver who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991.

    Polls at the time suggested 90 per cent of L.A. residents believed the tape showed police used excessive force, but a jury concluded the video alone wasn’t enough to convict the officers, resulting in rioting and dozens of deaths.  A second trial would see two officers convicted and sent to prison.

    Fast forward to present day and debates continue to rage about the use of video, especially with the volumes of materials on social media. One question is context – can you tell the

    Read More »from Caught on tape: Recent footage of police activities ignites debate over use of video
  • When it came to nominating their prom queen this year, graduating students at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London, Ont., stacked the vote in favour of one special student.

    Of the 250 votes, 230 were for 17-year-old Samantha Sands.

    Social butterfly” Sands has cerebral palsy. And while she has physical limitations — she requires a special wheelchair to get to class, uses a feeding tube and is unable to speak — she’s also one of the school’s most popular prom queens ever.

    “She’s beautiful inside and out,” educational assistant Diana Pageot told the London Free Press. ”We’ve watched her grow from a little girl into a lovely woman.“

    Last year, Sands was put in palliative care after experiencing some medical complications. Despite an initially bleak prognosis, she recovered and returned to school, inspiring her fellow students to celebrate her at this year’s prom.

    "I think when the students heard she was so close to death, it really affected them,” said teacher and prom staff

    Read More »from Student with cerebral palsy surprised with prom queen nod by London, Ont., high school

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