• If we're fair about this, most of us don't know all the facts behind the seemingly unending stream of allegations about the conduct of some individual RCMP officers.

    But the pattern of revelations about sexual harassment of female officers and one Mountie's alleged predilection for sado-masocistic sex play that degrades women suggests some personal character weaknesses in the ranks of Canada's Finest.

    The Canadian Press reports the Mounties have been hit with yet another lawsuit from a women officer.

    Const. Karen Katz's statement of claim filed in the B.C. Supreme Court alleges she was subjected to "offensive, humiliating and demeaning comments."

    The 20-year veteran Mountie said she was called fat, was asked to perform oral sex on male colleagues and was accused of being a security risk because of her research into biker gangs, which produced four books.

    Katz already has a lawsuit in the system, filed last January against fellow officer Baldev Singh Bamra and federal and provincial

    Read More »from B.C. Mountie Karen Katz launches new sexual harassment lawsuit against the RCMP
  • The science-fiction-predicted future is almost here, at least where light-speed travel is concerned.

    Two weeks ago, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the likely discovery of the elusive "God particle," the Higgs boson. The announcement was met with a standing ovation and tears of joy.

    "We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said CERN director General Rolf Heuer.

    Last December, Robert Orr, founder of the Higgs boson research team at the University of Toronto, explained the role of the particle to the Toronto Star:

    "If you go back to the very early universe, just before the Big Bang, particles didn't have any masses, according to our understanding. There was one very large force that all these particles interacted with. There was just a fireball," he said.

    "As the universe cooled down, particles gained mass (by) interacting with the Higgs boson. The reason you can't push a car…is because of the mass of the particles in the car

    Read More »from Scientists speculate Higgs boson discovery could make light-speed travel possible
  • Chef Anthony Sedlak, host of The Main on the Food Network.Food Network host and winner of the Superstar Chef Challenge Anthony Sedlak has been found dead, The Ottawa Citizen is reporting.

    Sedlak is said to have died suddenly of an undiagnosed medical condition and was found in his home in Vancouver on July 6. His body was found at approximately 7 p.m., but the exact time of death is still to be determined.

    The press release issued did not give a cause of death.

    "The Sedlak family thanks Anthony's fans and associates for all their love, devotion and condolences," the press release said.

    Sedlak is best known for hosting The Main on Food Network Canada, and released a cookbook with the same title. The young chef managed to change his earlier image in 2010 when he dropped 50 lbs. Earlier this year, Sedlak co-opened the American Cheesesteak Co. in Vancouver,The Toronto Sun reports.

    Sedlak was 29 at the time of his death.

    UPDATE: Food Network Canada has posted a blog on the news of Sedlak's death:

    "This morning we received tragic news that Anthony

    Read More »from Anthony Sedlak, Canadian superstar chef, found dead at 29
  • northwest-passage-handout_cropThe immortal Stan Rogers summed up the lure of the Northwest Passage best.

    "Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
    To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
    Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
    And make a Northwest Passage to the sea."

    For centuries, explorers from Martin Frobisher to the doomed expeditions of Henry Hudson and John Franklin sought an ice-free route across the top of the world to link Europe with Asia.

    Roald Amundsen finally made it in a three-year odyssey between 1903-06. But it wasn't until 1940 that the RCMP ship St. Roch made the first successful west-to-east transit through the Passage from Vancouver to Halifax.

    Now its magnetic attraction has drawn a group of modern adventurers with a unique objective — become the first to row the length of the Northwest Passage in a single season. They've dubbed it The Last First.

    A team of four to six, led by Vancouver architect Kevin Vallely and Irish trans-Atlantic rower

    Read More »from Vancouver-based adventurers plan to row small boat through Northwest Passage next summer
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2007. (AFP Photo/Gabriel Bouys)Observers of the Church of Scientology think the impending divorce of actors Tom Cruise, perhaps its most famous adherent, and Katie Holmes is part of a major crisis in the movement that's officially a religion but critics call a cult.

    The Village Voice, which has been probing Scientology for many years, reported Friday that Israel's Dror Center has announced it's rejecting the leadership of Scientology chairman David Miscavige.

    It's the latest in a stream of defections from the official church, the Voice said.

    Center founder Dani Lemberger said his group is not rejecting Scientology but becoming part of the growing "independent Scientology" movement.

    "Our mission is one of the few on the planet that's actually expanding," he said in an interview with the Voice. "We have left the church."

    The church, in turn, served Lemberger and his wife with papers declaring them "suppressive persons," the equivalent of excommunication.

    So Scientology is at least a church in one way; it's

    Read More »from What does the Tom Cruise – Katie Holmes split mean for Scientology?
  • Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo walks to the dressing room to talk to reporters and attend a team meeting in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday April 24, 2012. The Canucks, who finished in first place overall in the NHL this past season, were defeated by the Los Angeles Kings in their first round NHL hockey playoff series four games to one. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckThe B.C. Lottery Corp. is staking poker aficionado and noted puck-stopper Roberto Luongo to a seat in this Week's World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas, according to the Vancouver Sun.

    That news comes as Luongo confirms he's not expecting to play next season for the NHL Vancouver Canucks, where he's been averaging about $6 million a year as the perennial Stanley Cup contender's starting goalie.

    Trade speculation has swirled around Luongo ever since the Canucks signed backup Cory Schneider to a three-year deal worth $12 million after a stellar performance last season.

    Interviewed on Vancouver radio station CFOX's morning show, Luongo said he was resigned to the fact it's time to move on after six years with the Canucks, TSN reported.

    [ Related: Thousands expected for World Series of Poker main event ]

    So why does a guy whose remaining contract is worth $47 million need a poker grubstake from the the Crown-owned B.C. Lottery Corp?

    The corporation confirmed Thursday Luongo

    Read More »from B.C. Lottery Corp. stakes Roberto Luongo in Las Vegas poker tourney
  • A local property is flooded on the shores of the Fraser River in Langley, British Columbia east of Vancouver June 22, 2012.Improving weather conditions are helping crews draining an old mine-tailings pond near Nelson and Salmo, B.C., whose earthen walls began crumbling beneath heavy rain, The Canadian Press reported Thursday.

    The southern B.C. region has been hit by flash flooding and residents of Sicamous, where homes were damaged late last month, have been warned to brace for another possible food as it appeared Sicamous Creek was clogged with trees and debris.

    [ Related: Flooding easing across B.C. as weather dries up, waters recede ]

    But the potential for a flood of tailings-laced water from the defunct Hudson's Bay lead-zinc mine in the Kootenay region presents a different kind of threat.

    The Central Kootenay Regional District declared a state of emergency on Wednesday when the pond's retaining wall showed signs it could be washed away.

    But Bill Macpherson, a spokesman for the district's emergency operations centre, said Wednesday rumours the earthen dam could fail were exaggerated.

    "That's obviously

    Read More »from Drier weather eases flood threat on crumbling B.C. mine tailings pond
  • Call it a parting gift, or maybe a bribe. Refugees claimants who failed in their claims for asylum in Canada are being given up to $2,000 and a one-way plane ticket home if they leave voluntarily, the Toronto Star reports.

    A pilot program being run in the Greater Toronto area is being greeted with some approval by lawyers who work with refugee claimants but some say the money is little more than bribe, and a puny one at that, to get claimants to forego further appeals.

    The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration pilot program, launched last week, is run jointly by the Canada Border Services Agency and the International Organization for Migration.

    "Currently, many failed refugee claimants do not respect their obligation to leave Canada, which leads to deportation, costly enforced removals by the CBSA and a permanent bar on returning to Canada," the agency says on its web site.

    "Often this happens because people are unaware of the consequences of failing to comply with removal orders

    Read More »from Canada will pay failed refugee claimants up to $2,000 to go home
  • I dropped out of physics in Grade 12 (and had to take chemistry twice), so I have no idea how the possible discovery of the "God particle" will change our lives.

    But I do know a platoon of Canadian scientists was involved in the mammoth effort to find the subatomic particle that could be the theorized Higgs boson, one of the building blocks of the universe.

    "It's a huge Canadian success story," particle physicist Isabel Trigger, one of the team leaders with the Vancouver-based TRIUMF particle and nuclear physics lab told The Canadian Press.

    Canadian contribution to Higgs boson findingsCanadian scientists have played a role in the discovery of a particle consistent with a Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is the so-called "God particle," because its existence is fundamental to the creation of the universe.

    [ Related: 6 reasons why the 'God particle' matters ]

    "All of these people have spent 20 years of their lives building something which now has found the particle we were looking for... If

    Read More »from ‘God particle’ discovery helped by Canadian scientists’ key role
  • Pianos and the Pan Am Games. While the connection between the two isn't clear, organizers seem to have justified the $250,000 it's costing to bring 41 fully functional pianos to the streets of Toronto.

    "Everyone, whether you've had two lessons on a piano or whether you're a concert pianist, everyone at one point in their lives has encountered a piano in some form," Don Shipley, creative director of arts, culture and festivals for the Pan Am Games, told the National Post.

    To celebrate Toronto's winning bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games, Toronto-based artists from each of the 41 Pan Am countries will decorate each piano with a distinctive nod to their country of origin.

    The pianos, each eight with "Play Me, I'm Yours" written across the key cover, will be "placed in accessible spaces across the city core where the public is encouraged to spontaneously break out and play a tune," the Pan Am Toronto site announces. Organizers hope the pianos will encourage community interaction and start

    Read More »from ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’: Toronto brings pianos to city for Pan Am Games

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