The family of a man fatally shot at a Minneapolis pawn shop during protests over the death of George Floyd demanded charges in his death Tuesday. (July 21)
After receiving a tip that one of Mexico's top crime bosses never slept at the same place for two nights in a row, Mexican authorities cased four homes for 72 hours before launching a raid that led to the arrest of the capo known as "El Marro" and several of his associates, officials said on Tuesday. The capture on Sunday of alleged drug trafficker and fuel thief Jose Antonio Yepez, alias "El Marro," or "The Mallet," has removed one of the two bosses battling for control of Guanajuato state, an industrial powerhouse clouded by bloody gang wars. Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval on Tuesday said authorities were keeping an eye on four possible addresses when they got word that Yepez arrived at one of the homes in Guanajuato.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Moscow on Tuesday of lying in a row about the arrest of a group of Russian security contractors in Minsk, and said unnamed forces were plotting a revolution that would fail. In a fiery address to the nation as early voting began in an election in which he is seeking to extend his 26-year rule, Lukashenko said he would protect Belarus from opponents he portrayed as wreckers controlled by "puppet masters" abroad. Before the election there have been mass protests, some of Lukashenko's opponents have been arrested on what they call trumped-up charges and Minsk has said it suspects the security contractors arrested this month were preparing "terrorist acts".
Matthew Tkachuk is accustomed to the less-than-complimentary adjectives opposing players/coaches/fans use to describe his playing style.And his character.The Calgary Flames forward won't win any popularity contests in 30 NHL cities, but Calgarians adore the curly-haired sparkplug with the dangling mouthpiece.Certainly, the 22-year-old is the key player to watch for Calgary in Tuesday's Game 3 between the Flames and the Jets. Their Stanley Cup qualifying series is tied 1-1."He's dealt with it well up until this point in his career," Flames captain Mark Giordano said of the constant criticism directed at Tkachuk. "He's had some rivalries between him and other guys in the league, plays on the edge all the time and he's one of our best players who is clutch in the moment. So that's what we're expecting of Chucky."He plays on that line."In the eyes of the Winnipeg Jets, Tkachuk crossed the line Saturday in a collision that saw Winnipeg centre Mark Scheifele crumple to the ice.WATCH | Rob Pizzo's wrapup of Monday's games:"He went after the back of the leg," Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said. "He could have cut his Achilles. He could have ended the man's career.It's an absolutely filthy, disgusting hit."Tkachuk received no penalty on the play and no supplementary discipline. Still, Maurice reiterated his revulsion Sunday, perhaps in a bid to get the officials to keep a close eye on Tkachuk."If you sin once, are you a sinner? Sin 10 times?" Maurice said. "I don't think he came off the bench and said, 'Hey I'm going to see if I can go stab the back of Mark Scheifele's leg with my skate.' I think he got to that point, and I think that's exactly what he did."Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry simply labelled it "reckless" for Tkachuk to lift his skate while finishing his check, leaving Scheifele with a suspected leg laceration."It's such an accident,"Tkachuk said after the game. "I felt terrible."WATCH | Paul Maurice: 'Filthy, disgusting hit':Controversy is constant when it comes to Tkachuk, who grew up underfoot in the St. Louis Blues dressing room with his dad, NHL legend Keith Tkachuk.The elder Tkachuk collected 538 goals and 1,065 points in his 18-year-NHL career. Like his eldest son, Keith loved the rough stuff, registering 2,219 penalty minutes."The one thing I will say about Matthew Tkachuk and people have to remember is that he is an elite player in our league," Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. "And knowing him as a guy and knowing the family and the way that he was brought up in the game, there is no way that he was brought up to kick. Nobody is."Back in March 2019, Los Angeles defenceman Drew Doughty generated headlines by saying he had "no respect" for Tkachuk.Earlier this season, Edmonton forward Zack Kassian called Tkachuk a "young punk", and Oilers fans dressed up as turtles to make fun of the Calgary forward for refusing to fight in a Jan. 11 instalment of the Battle of Alberta."I think his game is best when he's playing on that edge — not unlike a lot of other top guys in the league," Giordano said in January. "One of his best qualities ever since he came into the league is that he's able to ramp it up in big games."The Flames need Tkachuk to ramp it up in the next big game. Somehow, with both Scheifele and star winger Patrik Laine out of the lineup, the Jets gutted out a 3-2 win Monday to tie the series.WATCH | Ehlers gets winner as Jets even series:Tkachuk gave the Flames a chance to score the winner by drawing an undisciplined penalty on Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers in the third period. But Calgary couldn't convert.Tkachuk led the Flames in scoring this season with 61 points in 69 games. Through the first two qualifying games, Tkachuk has failed to collect a point.He's done what the coaches wanted in terms of annoying and distracting the Jets. Now he needs to contribute on the scoreboard for Calgary to advance.
Between watching Apollo 13, Star Wars and Canadian astronaut Julie Payette's first trip into space, Farah Alibay says she always had the bug for space exploration.Now, the Montreal-born NASA aerospace engineer is waiting for the Perseverance rover — currently hurtling toward Mars at a speed of nearly 40,000 km/h — to land on the Red Planet."It's very strange to say: oh, my baby is gone now, it's on [its way to] another planet," said Alibay, who says she felt a mix of stress and anticipation watching the launch with colleagues over video chat, despite this being her second Mars mission.The rover, which started its voyage on a rocket that blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., last Thursday is scheduled to land in February on a mission to search for signs of past microbial life on Mars."There were a lot of hurdles along the way in building this rover, getting it out there, the biggest one being the COVID situation recently," Alibay said. "So making it to the pad, making it on time and being on our way to Mars is such a crazy feeling."Once the rover lands on in the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet, Alibay will be one of the people driving it remotely."We don't just use a joystick. It's not like a video game," she said.Instead, the team will be in Pasadena, Calif., operating the rover using ultra high frequency radio signals, Alibay explained. The signals will take between five and 20 minutes to reach Mars, depending on the two planets' positions.In the meantime, while they wait for it to finish its journey, she says, the team will be doing lots of little fixes and preparation. When the rover's work begins, Alibay will be working through the Martian night to explore the Red Planet daily for the first 90 days.Alibay said she's excited for the rover to record new images of Mars. The ground crew will ask the rover to drive a set amount of metres during the day and collect data."The images that it will send us back in the Martian night when we come in will be of a totally different place on Mars than it had been the day before.""I think that's going to be the most incredible feeling, sort of sending the rover off on its own," she said.Her advice? Take a leap of faithAlibay's advice to young people dreaming of a career in the space sector is to not let anyone tell them no, and to jump at any good opportunity.She grew up in Joliette, 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal.She said in high school, a career counsellor told her that she would not succeed in aerospace because it was a male-dominated field."Had I listened to her, I wouldn't be here today and, honestly, I probably wouldn't be enjoying going to work as much as I am today," Alibay, 32, said."The fact that I enjoy it and I'm so passionate about it and it's a pleasure to go to work — it's a quality of life and a privilege that I wish everyone could have by pursuing their dreams."
LOS ANGELES — Chip and Joanna Gaines are returning to “Fixer Upper" as they build their new network.The series, which made the couple do-it-yourself celebrities, will be part of their Magnolia Network set to launch next year. The series aired for five seasons, until April 2018, on HGTV.“These past few years, we’ve continued tackling renovations and projects, doing the work we’re passionate about, but I don’t think either of us anticipated how the show would become such a permanent fixture in our hearts," they said in a statement.Two others shows were announced Tuesday for the Magnolia lineup. One showcases interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, and the other features Texas entrepreneur Jonathan Morris telling the stories of “inspiring” small business owners nationwide, the network said.The Flynn project is untitled, with the working title “Self Employed” attached to Morris' show.Previously announced Magnolia series include “Bespoke Kitchens,” “Family Dinner” and “Restoration Road with Clint Harp."Magnolia Network, a joint venture between Chip and Joanna Gaines and Discovery Inc., will replace the DIY Network when it debuts in 2021. The launch date is dependent on the easing of a coronavius-forced production halt that has delayed most TV and film projects.The Associated Press
A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. More than 60 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.For the latest updates from the Associated Press, click here.
Canadians shouldn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be a "silver bullet" that will bring a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic and a return to normal, according to the country's chief public health officer.Dr. Theresa Tam used her briefing on Tuesday in Ottawa to temper expectations about the speed and effectiveness of a vaccine. She reiterated the importance of physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and mask-wearing, and attempted to dissuade any notion that a vaccine will make life go back to the way it was in a couple of months."We can't at this stage just put all of our focus [on a vaccine] in the hopes that this is the silver bullet solution," said Tam."We're going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly [we are] planning for the longer term of the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role but we don't know yet."Tam said it's unclear at this stage how effective a vaccine will be. She said key questions remain about the degree and duration of immunity a vaccine will provide, the dosage that will be needed and whether it will prevent people from getting infected altogether or simply prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization.More than 150 under developmentThere are more than 166 vaccines at various stages of preclinical and clinical (human) testing across the globe right now, the World Health Organization says. U.S. and European experts say under an optimistic scenario, the first of those vaccines could complete testing and get approval for distribution next year. Tam warned that even once a vaccine is tested and deemed to be both safe and effective, there will be challenges with distributing it widely to those who need it."It's likely that there won't be enough vaccines for the population," said Tam. "So there'll be prioritization and we're looking at that."Tam said she agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the U.S., who told Congress last week that he was "cautiously optimistic" that a safe and effective vaccine will be available by the end of the year.Despite that, she said public health officials are planning for a scenario in which measures that have been put in place thus far, including physical distancing to limiting crowd sizes, could be required for at least the next several years."[A vaccine] is one important layer of protection," said Tam. "It is a very important solution if we get a safe and effective vaccine, but I would say that the public health measures that we have in place — the sort of personal, daily measures that we take — is going to have to continue."WATCH: Tam on how Canadians should psychologically prepare for the future:Recommends masks for children over 10Tam said one of the busiest areas of planning for officials is the reopening of schools in September, for which, she said, the Public Health Agency of Canada will be publishing detailed guidelines later this week.The guidelines will include a recommendation that children over the age of 10 be required to wear masks, said Tam, in French. Extra consideration should be given for children under the age of 10, she said."The recommendations will undergo evolution as the evidence changes and we'll also have to see what happens as we understand transmission in different age groups and what happens in schools." said Tam. "We may have to adapt this recommendation as we go along."Tam also addressed criticism of another layer of protection the federal government rolled out last week — the COVID Alert exposure notification app — which is meant to tell users if their phones have recently been close to a phone registered to someone who volunteers that they've tested positive for the coronavirus.The app works only on phones released in the last five years or so because it needs a relatively recent operating system.Critics say that will leave out poorer and older Canadians, who are more likely to use older devices and suffer worse effects from the virus.Tam said the app is one of many tools available to fight the pandemic, and that people should use them even if they aren't perfect."Despite these gaps, we need to have a go at using it," said Tam. "As many people who can download it and use it as possible will make the app more successful."The government said Monday that more than 1.1 million people had downloaded the app.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Aug. 4.What we are watching in Canada ...A challenge of Newfoundland and Labrador's COVID-19 travel ban is scheduled to be heard before the province's supreme court beginning today.Halifax resident Kim Taylor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a claim in Newfoundland and Labrador's Supreme Court in May, claiming the restrictions violate the charter and fall outside provincial jurisdiction.The provincial government passed legislation banning anyone but permanent residents and asymptomatic workers in key sectors from entering the province.Taylor was denied the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland after her mother died suddenly.The association says it is also challenging changes to the province's Public Health Protection and Promotion Act which allows police officers to detain and remove individuals to "points of entry" to the province, and authorizes increased search powers.The case is scheduled to be heard through Friday.\---Also this ...Alberta has signed an agreement with the federal government that makes major cuts to environmental monitoring of the oilsands.The deal, a copy of which has been obtained by The Canadian Press, lays out research plans for this year's field season under a federal-provincial program that oversees all monitoring of the area outside of company leases.Signed July 7 by top bureaucrats in Ottawa and Edmonton, it cuts funding by at least 25 per cent. The budget has been cut to no more than $44 million this year. It was $58 million last year and $60 million in 2018.The deal says no fieldwork is to be done on the main branch of the Athabasca River. That means the program won't fund monitoring downstream of the oilsands even as the province considers proposals to allow the water from oilsands tailings ponds to be released into the river. The deal also says there'll be no field studies on wetlands, fish or insects.A pilot project gauging the risks posed by tailings ponds has been dropped. Water quality assessment in Wood Buffalo National Park — part of a response to international concerns about environmental degradation at the UNESCO World Heritage Site — is gone.\---ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...It's a diagnosis that took 75 million years.Canadian researchers who included specialists from surgeons to paleontologists have identified what they say is the first known cancer in a dinosaur. The conclusion not only sheds light on the history of what is still one of humanity's most feared diseases, but also hints at how the ancient lizards may have lived with — and protected — each other."Dinosaurs might seem like these mythical creatures, larger than life and powerful," said the Royal Ontario Museum's David Evans, one of the co-authors of a paper on the finding published in The Lancet."But they were living, breathing animals that were afflicted with some of the same injuries and diseases that we see in animals and humans today."The Centrosaur fossil was originally collected in the 1970s from a bone bed in Alberta's badlands. The area has provided hundreds of samples of the horned dinosaur.Paleontologists originally assumed a growth on a leg bone was evidence of a break. That's where it stayed until a chance conversation between Evans and Mark Crowther, chairman of McMaster University's medical faculty and a dinosaur enthusiast.The two got talking about evidence of dino diseases. That led to an expedition to Alberta's Royal Tyrrell Museum, which has hundreds of fossils that show signs of injury.The team eventually focused its attention on one fossilized leg bone.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...A New York City prosecutor fighting to get President Donald Trump's tax returns told a judge he was justified in demanding them because of public reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization."Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is seeking eight years of the Republican president's personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation related to payoffs to two women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Vance, a Democrat, said the president wasn't entitled to know the exact nature of the grand jury probe, which they called a "complex financial investigation."They noted, though, that at the time the subpoena for the tax filings was issued to Trump's accountants, "there were public allegations of possible criminal activity" at the president's company "dating back over a decade."They cited several newspaper articles, including one in which the Washington Post examined allegations that Trump had a practice of sending financial statements to potential business partners and banks that inflated the worth of his projects by claiming they were bigger or more potentially lucrative than they actually were.Another article described congressional testimony by Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said the president would overstate the value of his business interests to impress people or lenders, but then deflate the value of assets when trying to reduce his taxes.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...Authorities clamped a curfew in many parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, a day ahead of the first anniversary of India's controversial decision to revoke the disputed region's semi-autonomy.Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, a civil administrator, said the security lockdown was clamped in the region's main city of Srinagar in view of information about protests planned by anti-India groups to mark Aug. 5 as "black day."Police and paramilitary soldiers drove through neighbourhoods and went to people's homes warning them to stay indoors. Government forces erected steel barricades and laid razor wire across roads, bridges and intersections.The curfew will be enforced Tuesday and Wednesday, Choudhary said in a government order."A series of inputs have been received suggesting that separatist and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe August 5 as Black Day and violent action or protests are not ruled out," he said.Last year on Aug. 5, India's Hindu-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi downgraded Jammu-Kashmir state and divided it into two federally governed territories. Since then, New Delhi has brought in a slew of new laws which locals say are aimed at shifting the demographics in the Muslim-majority region, many of whom want independence from India or unification with Pakistan.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2020.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada and some of its closest allies have kicked off a three-week naval exercise in the Arctic that aims to send a message of unity against potential adversaries in the North without spreading COVID-19 to local communities.The training exercise known as Operation Nanook has been a mainstay for the Canadian Armed Forces since 2007 but this is the first year that the U.S., France and Denmark will all be participating as well.Canadian and U.S. naval officers told reporters during a briefing Tuesday that the involvement of those other nations reflected the importance of co-operation among allies when it comes to military operations in an increasingly important part of the world.Western countries as well as potential adversaries such as Russia and China have been steadily expanding their military footprints and activities in the region as climate change makes it easier to reach and operate in, raising concerns about the threat of a conflict."The message is the Arctic is strategically important, it's becoming increasingly important and it's important for our collective national security," said Vice-Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard's Atlantic area."And I think the participation is a reflection of a mutual commitment by the partners and allied nations to share goals to that end."Yet this year's iteration of Operation Nanook is also smaller than past versions, which have included personnel and equipment from across the Canadian military, particularly the Canadian Rangers, as well as other federal departments.Rear Admiral Brian Santarpia, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy's Maritime Forces Atlantic, said this year's exercise will not include any land-based forces and focus almost exclusively on naval operations because of concerns about spreading COVID-19."Much of Nanook we decided not to conduct this year because we didn't want to be a vector into our own remote populations, where they're quite protected from COVID now just by that very fact of being remote," Santarpia said. The three Canadian navy ships and four foreign vessels participating will not make any stops in Canada's Far North. Their only port call will be to Nuuk, Greenland, to refuel. Sailors will not be allowed off their ships.Canada's three territories have been largely spared from any COVID-19 outbreak, with only a handful of positive cases reported.The Canadian and allied warships will focus most of their activities in the Davis Strait between Baffin Island and Greenland, which is considered part of the Northwest Passage.Canada and the U.S. have been at odds for decades over whether the passage is Canadian or international waters, a question Santarpia, Poulin and Vice-Admiral Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, studiously avoided."It's a complex issue that involves more lawyers than naval officers and it has a lot to do with interpretations of international law," Santarpia said."This exercise is really designed to let us work better together than we already do and we'll let the lawyers worry about the rest of it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Parent advocates say the province hasn't gone far enough to ensure the safety of students by implementing mandatory masks for all school staff and students from Grades 4 through 12 — and that the true problem of overcrowding persists.The province initially announced their plan for school re-entry this fall in late July, but did not mandate the use of masks at that time.Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw announced on Tuesday that they would now be implementing a mandatory mask rule for all Alberta school staff and students from Grade 4 to 12."We do not expect boards, teachers, staff or parents to shoulder the financial burden associated with this new rule to assist with these new guidelines," said LaGrange.The minister said the province would be investing $10 million to provide every single Alberta kindergarten to Grade 12 student and all school staff with two reusable masks."This will ensure that students who are required to wear masks will have them, and will allow for kindergarten to Grade 3 students to have masks should they wish to wear them" she said. LaGrange said the money would also buy some disposable masks, contactless thermometers and 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer to be distributed at school districts based on population size.Dr. Hinshaw said students who are now mandated to wear masks won't have to have them on all day, though. "Masks are not required inside the classroom when students are seated and the teacher is distanced from the students," she said."They can still be worn if a student or teacher chooses. However, they are required in hallways and any shared places where students staff or teachers may not be able to maintain the recommended physical distancing requirements."Provincial plan not enough: parentsBut parent advocates said the province's plan isn't strong enough."Today was disappointing even for the low standards that I had set for today's announcement," said Carla Davidson, a parent and the founder of Project Safe September.She said the new group was born out of frustration over the province's re-entry plan."Fundamentally, this government doesn't want to put any money into schools to make them safer. When I talked to parents the number one concern is class size," she said."If you have kids squished in a class of 25 to 30 kids per class, physical distancing isn't happening. I don't know if this government is labouring under some misconception about what classrooms are like these days, but it's just not realistic."Barbara Silva is with advocacy group Support Our Students. She said supplying two reusable masks for staff and students is the "bare bones.""Mask use is important, but it has to happen in conjunction with a cap on class sizes. It has to happen in conjunction with a dedicated school nurse," she said. "We need to be cancelling all future standardized tests which congregate students and puts additional stresses [on them] during a time of increased stress as it is."Opposition says creative solutions neededAlberta NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman said it's time the province really considers creative solutions to capping classes at 15 students."The government regularly tries to say that we're discrediting Dr. Hinshaw. In no way am I discrediting her advice. I follow and respect her advice deeply," said Hoffman."And her advice has been that 15 is a reasonable cohort right now. So 15 students is a direct connection to the advice that she's been giving, and it's also direct connection to what's successfully working in other jurisdictions around the world."Hoffman said that in their alternative re-entry plan, the NDP recommended using province's vacant spaces (such as university campuses) to house schools and cap class sizes."We know that there are a lot of rec centres and libraries and community buildings in municipalities across our province, so reach out to those municipal leaders," she said."I am confident that our municipalities would step up and provide additional space to help reduce the overcrowding in existing schools."Hoffman said if more teachers aren't going to be hired to accommodate this, there are other solutions — including using education assistants to supervise a group while a teacher live-streams lessons to multiple classrooms.CBE 'pleased' with mask mandateThe Calgary Board of Education said they recommended the use of masks — but did not mandate them — in their initial re-entry plan, released last week."We are pleased the government has provided this clear direction and additional support," it said in an emailed statement."We will adjust our plans and protocols to align with the current advice provided by Alberta Education and Alberta Health. Our schools will work with students and staff to comply with the new mask requirements."The board said they are prepared to make changes to its plan again should that be necessary.Bryan Szumlas, chief superintendent of the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD), said the board was already planning on making masks mandatory for their staff this fall. "Last week we had rolled out communication to our staff based upon our summer school experience that we would be going forward with mandatory masks for all of our staff," he said. In late July, Alberta Health confirmed that three students tested positive for COVID-19 at a summer school hosted by the Calgary Catholic School District.Szumlas said the district had also been hosting an online forum for families regarding re-entry measures."Looking at the initial data that we've received ... it shows that parents are very much in support of the government's announcement this morning," he said.But, the superintendent said it wanted to acknowledge a continued message from Dr. Hinshaw."There is no risk-free approach for living with COVID-19," he said. "We need to prepare, and put in place as many of these measures as we can as we try to keep our students and staff safe in the world, to cope with COVID-19."The CCSD has not yet released their full re-entry plan, but plans to in the coming weeks.
The city will not be opening its new southeast cemetery this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Prairie Sky cemetery will be the city's first new cemetery in 80 years. However, the pandemic and the health restrictions it's caused have delayed the flow of supplies for the cemetery."Technically, the cemetery is ready to be open this year, but like so many others we too have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it certainly has delayed some of the critical infrastructure of this project," said Gary Daudlin with the City of Calgary.Daudlin said materials like copper and granite, needed for a new columbarium, were slowed. So rather than open without being able to offer full services, the cemetery opening has been pushed to next year."We've delayed the opening so we weren't necessarily dealing with the pandemic specifically and its restrictions, and we wanted to ensure that we had opportunity for those citizens that are most interested in the new cemetery to have an opportunity to come to the site."The delayed opening shouldn't be a problem as the city says it has adequate supply of burial plots at Queen's Park for a few more years."We still have a couple of years of inventory in our queen's park location," Daudlin said. "If we're in a position where we truly do need to or were forced to open the new cemetery because of the pandemic, we're in a position where we could do that."Plots will not be sold until the cemetery is ready, Daudlin said of the cemetery, which is located just east of Ralph Klein park on the city's southeast edge.Barring any more surprises, Prairie Sky cemetery will open early next year.
Scores are dead anad injured as Beirut, Lebanon is rocked by an explosion that flattened buildings, decimated the city's port and blew out building windows and balconies.
BEIRUT — A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the city's port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. More than 70 people were killed and 3,000 injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said.It was not clear what caused the blast, which struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, according to Germany’s geosciences centre GFZ, and was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus more than 200 kilometres (180 miles) across the Mediterranean. Lebanon's interior minister said it appeared that a large cache of ammonium nitrate in the port had detonated.The sudden devastation overwhelmed a country already struggling with both the coronavirus pandemic and a severe economic and financial crisis.For hours after the explosion, the most destructive in all of Lebanon’s troubled history, ambulances rushed in from around the country to carry away the wounded. Hospitals quickly filled beyond capacity, pleading for blood supplies, and generators to keep their lights on.For blocks around the port, bloodied residents staggered through streets lined with overturned cars and littered with rubble from shattered buildings. Windows and doors were blown out kilometres (miles) away, including at the city's only international airport. Army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port.Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. Witnesses reported seeing an orange cloud like that which appears when toxic nitrogen dioxide gas is released after an explosion involving nitrates.Videos showed what appeared to be a fire erupting nearby just before, and local TV stations reported that a fireworks warehouse was involved. The fire appeared to spread to a nearby building, triggering the more massive explosion, sending up a mushroom cloud and generating a shock wave.Charbel Haj, who works at the port, said the blast started as small explosions like firecrackers. Then, he said, he was thrown off his feet.The explosion came amid ongoing tensions between Israel and the Hezbollah military group on Lebanon's southern border. Many residents reported hearing planes overhead just before the blast, fueling rumours of an attack, though Israeli military overflights are common.An Israeli government official said Israel “had nothing to do” with the blast. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the news media. Israeli officials usually do not comment on “foreign reports.” The Israeli government offered emergency assistance through international intermediaries.President Donald Trump said the U.S. “stands ready to assist Lebanon," and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended his “deepest condolences.”“Our team in Beirut has reported to me the extensive damage to a city and a people that I hold dear, an additional challenge in a time of already deep crisis,” Pompeo said in a written statement.The blast was stunning even for a city that has seen a 15-year civil war, suicide bombings, bombardment by Israel and political assassinations.“It was a real horror show. I haven’t seen anything like that since the days of the (civil) war,” said Marwan Ramadan, who was about 500 metres (yards) from the port and was knocked off his feet by the force of the explosion.Health Minister Hassan Hamad said the preliminary toll was more than 70 dead and more than 3,000 wounded. He added that hospitals were barely coping and offers of aid were pouring in from Arab states and friends of Lebanon.Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, broke into tears as he toured the site, exclaiming, “Beirut is a devastated city.” Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed that “those responsible will pay.”At the start of a White House news conference on the coronavirus, Trump said the explosion “looks like a terrible attack.” When asked by a reporter if he was confident that it was an attack, Trump said: “I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was.”But one of Israel’s top bomb experts, Boaz Hayoun, said fireworks could have been a factor setting off the bigger blast. “Before the big explosion ... in the centre of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles,” said Hayoun, owner of the Tamar Group, which works closely with the Israeli government on safety and certification issues involving explosives. “This is very specific behaviour of fireworks.”Some of those injured lay on the ground at the port, Associated Press staff at the scene said. A civil defence official said there were still bodies inside the port, many under debris.Several of Beirut’s hospitals were damaged in the blast. Outside the St. George University Hospital in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighbourhood, people with various injuries arrived in ambulances, in cars and on foot. The explosion had caused major damage inside the building and knocked out the electricity. Dozens of injured were being treated on the spot on the street outside, on stretchers and wheelchairs.Outside one hospital, Omar Kinno sat on the pavement, holding back tears. Kinno, a Syrian, said one of his sisters was killed when the blast rocked their apartment near the port, and another sister’s neck was broken. His injured mother and father were taken to a hospital but he didn’t know which, and he was making calls trying to track them down.“I have no idea what happened to my parents. I am totally lost,” he said.The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, said one of its ships in the port was damaged and a number of its peacekeepers were injured, some seriously.Confusion reigned across the city, as people cleared out of damaged homes or tried to locate family. Motorcyclists picked their way through traffic, carrying the injured.One woman covered in blood from the waist up walked down a trashed street while talking furiously on her phone. On another street, a woman with a bloodied face looked distraught, staggering through traffic with two friends at her side.“This country is cursed,” a young man passing by muttered.The blast came at a time when Lebanon’s economy is facing collapse from the financial crisis and the coronavirus restrictions. Many have lost jobs, while the worth of their savings has evaporated as the currency has plunged in value against the dollar. The result has thrown many into poverty and has put thousands out of their homes.The explosion also raises concerns about how Lebanon will continue to import nearly all of its vital goods with its main port devastated.The explosion — reminiscent of the massive blasts that often erupted during Lebanon’s civil war — happened only three days before a U.N.-backed tribunal was set to give its verdict in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a truck bombing more than 15 years ago. That explosion, with a ton of explosives, was felt kilometres (miles) away, just as Tuesday’s was.French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet that his country was sending aid. Iran, Hezbollah’s patron, also said it was ready to help. “Stay strong, Lebanon,” its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said in a tweet.___Associated Press reporters Sarah El Deeb in Beirut; Josef Federman in Jerusalem; and Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report.Bassem Mroue And Zeina Karam, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A legal challenge of Newfoundland and Labrador's COVID-19 travel ban was before the courts Tuesday, with a supreme court judge asked to consider the intervention of a Canadian civil rights group in the case.Halifax resident Kim Taylor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a claim in May, claiming the restrictions violate the charter and fall outside provincial jurisdiction.The case is scheduled to be heard through Friday.A special measures order in May from the province's chief medical officer of health banned anyone but permanent residents and asymptomatic workers in key sectors from entering the province.The province has defended the measure, saying it was necessary to slow the spread and importation of COVID-19 cases. Since it was introduced, the Atlantic provinces have agreed to allow residents who live in the region to travel between provinces.Taylor was denied the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland after her mother died suddenly.Justice Donald Burrage was asked Tuesday to consider the scope of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's standing on the issue of the ban itself and enforcement measures introduced into law.Lawyer Rosellen Sullivan, representing the association, said the case touches on legal questions affecting all Canadians that have never been subject to a court hearing before, such as a citizen's ability to travel between provinces."It affects Newfoundlanders, yes, but it affects choices all Canadians could make," Sullivan said outside the supreme court building in St. John's.Representing the province, lawyer Justin Mellor argued that the group's mandate is too broad to justify allowing its involvement on litigation on any case involving a charter issue.The association is also challenging changes to the province's Public Health Protection and Promotion Act which allows police officers to detain and remove individuals to "points of entry" to the province, and authorizes increased search powers.On Tuesday, lawyers argued about whether the association should have standing to challenge the police powers, as no individual has yet been subjected to them, including Taylor."It's not being challenged because it's not being applied," Mellor said, arguing that there is no evidence filed on the issue of police powers.Sullivan responded the measures should still be challenged even if they have not been enforced, because citizens have to abide by them. "What we're suggesting is that you shouldn't wait for someone's rights to breached," Sullivan said outside the courtroom. "We would argue that they are unconstitutional on their face."Burrage said he would render a decision on whether the group has standing on Wednesday.Taylor has said she was denied her request for an exemption to be allowed to visit her home province following her mother's death, despite including a plan to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.While that decision was ultimately reversed and she was granted an exemption by provincial officials, Taylor said it came too late.The case is not seeking monetary damages, but a declaration that the measures are unconstitutional, Sullivan said. Taylor said the court challenge is about other people avoiding the same experience.Another ongoing case is seeking damages related to the travel ban.A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in June on behalf of non-residents who own property in the province, arguing the measure contravenes guaranteed charter mobility rights.It also argues that the government was negligent when introducing the ban because it ought to have known the law was unconstitutional and would cause damages to people in the suit.This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 4, 2020.Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Internal reviews of RCMP investigations across New Brunswick in recent years found illegal arrests, failures to offer support services to domestic violence victims, and a lack of supervision that affects the quality of policing in the province.RCMP reports called management reviews offer a previously undisclosed look at how the force itself viewed the quality of its criminal investigations over recent years across the province.A review of the Campbellton RCMP district in 2014 showed officers went into homes to arrest people six times without a required warrant to do so, making the arrest illegal. A 2017 Hampton review found police bringing cases to the Crown that couldn't be supported by the evidence. One stark report from 2012 of the policing district around Woodstock found: * 52 per cent of investigations reviewed met expectations, "well below" the average of 84 per cent across the province set in 2009; * 58 per cent of the investigations were considered complete or thorough; * 55 per cent of files showed suspects were arrested when they should've been; * 60 per cent of cases showed statements taken from victims when they could have been; and * Briefs prepared for the Crown prosecutor were "often incomplete" and returned for further work. A Woodstock-area review from 2017 doesn't offer similar percentages and is generally favourable. It describes the overall thoroughness of investigations as meeting expectations with six of 32 files reviewed not meeting standards (it describes an unwillingness to charge female suspects of domestic assault as part of the problem). While some of the findings are now several years old, they describe the quality of investigations ranging from property crimes to more serious assaults, crimes that involved victims seeking justice and suspects facing potential prosecution.Gilles Lemieux, a defence lawyer who has worked in the province for 30 years, said he applauds investigations properly carried out, but is concerned about the number of cases deemed not complete or thorough. "There's either a victim or a suspect who is not properly served by the system and that to me is serious stuff," Lemieux said. Assistant Commissioner Larry Tremblay, the commanding officer of New Brunswick RCMP, did not provide an interview when requested in June and July.Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh instead sent a written statement saying there has been "significant organizational changes" since some of the reviews were done. "Many of the issues raised in these documents were addressed through those changes, or specific action plans," Rogers-Marsh said, without referring to any specifics.Roger Brown held Tremblay's position when some of the reports were completed and is now Fredericton's police chief. Brown did not provide an interview.The issues are outlined in management reviews the force carries out every few years at divisions or detachments across the country. The reviews evaluate everything from officer morale, community satisfaction with the force, handling of evidence to the adequacy of investigations.The reviews see officers from one area, such as Moncton, evaluate the performance of their peers in another area like Campbellton. Copies of the reviews, which contain recommendations for improvement as well as good practices, are sent to commanding officers for the province and area reviewed.Reports released years after requestedCBC News obtained copies of reports completed between 2005 and late 2017 in New Brunswick through an access to information request filed in January 2018. The reports spanning 440 pages were released in late May 2020, making the 2017 reports the most recent ones available.While many of the reviews offer positive findings, common issues with investigations have been noted in various parts of the province. The documents don't say what changes occurred after they were completed.Some of the strongest comments are in a 2014 report of the Campbellton policing district, the most recent report for that region. The review looked at 12 cases involving RCMP officers entering homes with the intention of arresting someone. A landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1997 requires police obtain a warrant to enter a person's property, home or business with the intention of arresting a person. There are limited exceptions like imminent threats to safety.'No legal basis' to make arrestsIn six of the 12 Campbellton-area cases, "there was no legal basis to effect the arrest" because police lacked a required warrant, the review found.That and other issues relating to arrests were attributed to "a lack of policy knowledge, and resistance to required protocols, taking shortcuts when knowing better."Not correcting the problems, the report says, can lead to the loss of cases in court, risk to victims, limited knowledge growth among officers, civil litigation and loss of public confidence.The report doesn't say what happened in the cases with warrantless arrests.A poorly executed police investigation can affect the court process. During criminal proceedings, police cases are disclosed to a person facing charges. Charter violations can result in charges not being laid or being withdrawn.Lemieux said he's had clients facing charges where police haven't collected certain evidence or canvassed to find witnesses who may offer a different view of events. "It's hard to explain to a client that he has to go to trial and that the evidence doesn't support it," Lemieux said."He's acquitted, he or she is acquitted. They've gone through the system and come out the other end acquitted, but certainly not unscathed. And that's difficult."Judge's viewIrwin Lampert, a provincial court judge in Moncton who retired last year, said he would be surprised if some of the issues found in the older reports continued to this day. "I saw very very few examples of police officers who would obviously violate an accused's rights under the charter," Lampert said of his time on the bench, referring to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "Some were through inadvertence rather than malfeasance. In some cases they just didn't realize that they were doing something wrong and it would be pointed out to them and you would hope that it wouldn't happen again."New Brunswick is among three provinces where Crown prosecutors must approve charges before they are laid in court. Court issues A 2017 review of the Hampton detachment is generally favourable, but describes prosecutions abandoned or dropped. In three of 45 cases brought to the Crown by police, the evidence didn't support the charges. Issues with arrests in two of the 45 cases led to the Crown not prosecuting. The report pointed to a lack of supervision as a contributing factor. "When supervision is not taking place, solvable, prosecutable cases could result in acquittals or charges forwarded when not warranted, bringing liability to the organization and members," the report says. Rogers-Marsh, the RCMP spokesperson, said "in recent years" there's been a formalized training program for anyone in a supervisory or managerial role. The statement wasn't clear whether that deals with the issues identified in the reports.Several former Crown prosecutors approached for interviews declined to comment. The province's director of public prosecutions wouldn't provide an interview."The issue you have inquired about is a law enforcement matter, therefore it would be inappropriate for Public Prosecutions Services or the Department of Justice and Office of the Attorney General to comment," Paul Bradley, a spokesperson for the department, wrote in an email.Lampert said most cases he presided over were well prepared given screening provided by the Crown pre-charge approval process. "There are those checks and balances," Lampert said. "Most of the time we didn't have much problem with that."In Moncton, a file reader/case manager position cut seven years ago was reestablished because of issues with case files after it was eliminated. The position had been cut in 2013 and the work done by RCMP officers instead. "However, in the past 2 years, the CROWN has seen an increase in court files that lack the necessary investigational requirements (not court ready) and thus cannot proceed with charges," a 2020 budget says. "The CROWN indicated they can no longer provide operational guidance on files and that court files will only be approved if the files are court-ready from the outset."A 2015 review of Codiac, one of the largest RCMP detachments in the country, found that almost half of suspects, including some in custody, were not approached for an interview. Files, the reviewers noted, didn't say if a second attempt was made. When statements were taken, "almost all" complied with policy, the review found. It found that in cases where police deem there's little chance of conviction, statements weren't being taken.> The areas identified within the review of this activity, which are problematic, have the potential in some instances to jeopardize court proceedings and may call in to question statement validity. \- 2015 Codiac Regional RCMP management review In about 20 per cent of cases examined, a statement should have been taken in what the review describes as the first instance instead of passed along to someone else to take. The report points to a lack of supervisory oversight and policy awareness."The areas identified within the review of this activity, which are problematic, have the potential in some instances to jeopardize court proceedings and may call in to question statement validity."Charles Léger chairs the policing authority board and hadn't seen the reports before CBC News provided a copy of the 2015 report. Léger said reviewing it, he saw issues that later led to police implementing changes and making budget requests.Lampert, who retired from the bench in February last year, now serves on the Codiac Regional Policing Authority, which oversees Codiac RCMP. He said he hadn't heard of the management review reports before and would like to see them in his role on the board.
Ontario's premier stood by the province's back-to-school plans on Tuesday as federal officials offered up COVID-19-prevention guidelines that appeared to contradict those revealed by provincial officials last week. Doug Ford's comments came as Ontario's 72 publicly funded school boards worked on firming up their proposals to welcome students back to class. While most of those plans have yet to be finalized, a draft set of guidelines from the country's largest school board suggests sports won't be a part of the upcoming academic year.
OTTAWA — Two women who worked for former senator Don Meredith say the independent process established by the Senate to determine compensation for Meredith's harassment victims is "totally unacceptable" and is re-victimizing them.The two women spoke to The Canadian Press with their lawyer, Brian Mitchell. They have not been named publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to preserve their privacy as victims of harassment and abuse.They say they feel they're being bullied into taking part in a compensation process they believe is unfair and opaque."It's disgraceful to the Senate. They keep on calling themselves honourable members and, to me, this whole process is nothing but dishonourable," one of the women said."I will not engage in a process where I can harm myself more than I have been harmed by this institution."The second former Meredith staffer agreed, saying she took a job with the Senate because she believed in the importance of the work there."I think that's why it hurts so much that this institution that I did hold in very high regard seems more focused on protecting itself than doing the right thing."Former Quebec appeals court judge Louise Otis has been hired as an independent evaluator and has been tasked to speak with six former employees in Meredith's office and review all materials from a four-year investigation completed last year by the Senate ethics officer.That probe found Meredith repeatedly bullied, threatened and intimidated his staff and repeatedly touched, kissed and propositioned some of them.Meredith, who was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2010, resigned in 2017 after a separate investigation led to an internal recommendation that he be expelled over a sexual relationship he had with a teenage girl.He has not faced any criminal charges.The Senate's powerful internal economy committee launched the current evaluation process last month to determine "potential compensation" for Meredith's former employees.Those participating in Otis's evaluation are not allowed to use lawyers, their legal costs won't be covered and Otis's final decisions on compensation will not be binding on the Senate, according to letters sent to the former staffers by the Senate's legal counsel and by Otis.The correspondence was provided to The Canadian Press."If we have a videoconference meeting, you may be accompanied by a support person of your choice, provided the person is not a lawyer as this is neither a trial nor a judicial hearing," Otis's letter to the employees states.However, if they have any questions or concerns, the employees are encouraged to contact the Senate's legal counsel — a "David and Goliath" scenario their lawyer says is wholly unfair. "How can they defend themselves, how can they testify and how can they represent themselves when they don't have the same level playing field of the Senate as an institution?" Mitchell said.Sen. Sabi Marwah, the chair of the Senate’s committee on internal economy, declined to be interviewed for this story.In a statement, Senate spokeswoman Alison Korn said the committee unanimously decided on the current "impartial, independent and credible process," which will take all facts contained in the ethics officer's report as true and proven."(The committee) established its process after hearing directly from former impacted employees," Korn said in the statement."As the process is designed to be accessible, no participant is required to have a lawyer to participate. Out of respect for all participants and in order to not interfere in the ongoing process, we will not be commenting further.”Otis's determination on damages will be based on other three recent harassment settlements in the RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence.Mitchell, who said he will soon be representing two more of the six victims, says his clients are concerned that Otis is not being asked to consider the Senate's duty to protect them as employees."Without looking at the liability and accepting liability of the Senate for the acts that happened to these victims from the date of their employment with Sen. Meredith to the date hereof is, we suggest, an area that we hope the terms of reference will be amended so that it will be a full review of all damages that have been suffered," Mitchell said on behalf of his clients.Last week, Mitchell sent a letter to members of the internal economy committee outlining his clients' concerns and asking for the process to be changed.Senate lawyer Charles Feldman wrote back saying the process was established to provide redress to the employees affected by Meredith's conduct, and that the internal economy committee wasn't required to do anything to respond to the ethics officer's findings, but has done so "of its own volition."The two women say this makes them feel as though they should be happy the Senate is taking any action."You cannot put us through six years of waiting, keep us on tenterhooks for six years, and then suddenly say the time is now and also take it or leave it," one of the women said.In a statement of regret made last month in the Upper Chamber, Marwah said that Meredith’s actions warrant “an unequivocal condemnation from the Senate and from all senators.”The two former employees do not accept this as an apology, but rather as senators telling them they are merely sorry they feel badly about their experiences, the women said.Tuesday was the deadline for the employees to inform Otis if they planned to participate in the evaluation process, but Mitchell says his clients will not take part unless Otis's terms of reference are changed."I don't want them to pat themselves on the back and say, 'Look at what a great job we've done.' And I don't want this process to suddenly become a precedent for future victims of other offices," one of the women said."There is no way that this process can be accepted in 2020 and it is also a slap in the face to any future victims," the other said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2020.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
Numerous national and international podcasts are sharing an episode about Ashley Morin, a North Battleford, Sask. woman who disappeared two years ago, with their listeners.Their shared goal is to keep Morin's case in the public consciousness. Morin was reported missing on July 10, 2018. She was 31-years-old and is from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. Since then, her family has heard nothing from her. RCMP in 2019 said they believed Morin was the victim of a homicide. Occultae Veritatis Podcast, a Saskatoon-based podcast, got the ball rolling when they recorded an interview with a spokesperson for Morin's family and Morin's sister. The episode is titled 'Where is Ashley Morin?'"If one person out there hears that audio and is able to get a good tip into Crime Stoppers that might be able to bring Ashley home, then that's kind of the goal I'm working toward," said Brandon Gerbig, co-producer of Occultae Veritatis Podcast.Morin's family is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to finding her or to an arrest. "Not much police attention was paid toward her case. It's my opinion that the government and police have de-prioritized a lot of Indigenous missing people," said Gerbig. "It almost feels in some cases that these people have been swept under the rug and that's the story that happened with Ashley."After recording the interview, Gerbig reached out to as many podcasts as he could, asking them if they would upload the episode to their feeds. To date, 32 podcasts across Canada, the U.S. and abroad have released the episode to their listeners.Gerbig says that number is likely to grow. Some of the podcasts that shared Morin's story are Catastrophes Notwithstanding and The Blackbird Advocacy Podcast.'We're never, ever going to rest'Gerbig said he feels especially passionate about the case because he and Morin are both from North Battleford. He said Morin lived right next to John Paul II Collegiate, the high school he had gone to."It really hit home for me," Gerbig said. "The more questions I asked about this case the more haunting it became. I felt like a member of my community had gone missing. So I had to get involved."Krista Fox, who was interviewed for the podcast, is a spokesperson for Morin's family and a close friend of the family. She says they did not expect the podcast episode to get so much attention from other podcasts."It's a nice surprise," said Fox.She says getting the story beyond her community and to other provinces is beneficial to Morin's case."Somebody listening in B.C. might have a friend or a relative or somebody who came to visit them and had to get something off their mind or whatever the case may be."RCMP Major Crimes is investigating Morin's disappearance, but does not share with the family updates on the case. Whenever they feel that public attention on Morin is quieting down, Fox says the family tries to revive it."This year due to COVID we kind of felt nothing had been happening — 'We don't know what's happening, so let's just get out there and start making a move … shake the trees and see what falls out,'" said Fox. "We want to remind people that she's still missing. That she's loved. There are people out there looking for her and we're never, ever going to rest. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep looking. We'll keep raising money to up the reward."Gerbig is encouraging anyone with a podcast, YouTube channel or social media account to "steal" the MP3 from any of the podcasts that have played the Morin episode and upload it to their streams to get her story out. Morin's family has encouraged anyone with information about Morin's disappearance or where she might be to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
On a sweltering afternoon in one of Calgary's far northeast communities pummelled by the June 13 hailstorm, the silence is shattered by the rapid fire, rat-a-tat-tat from a pneumatic nail gun.Roofing crews have descended into the communities of Saddleridge, Taradale, Skyview and others to replace hundreds of roofs damaged in what's being called Canada's costliest hail storm.The sound from the nail guns echoes through the area, signalling that work is underway for some homeowners trying to piece their properties back together after hail — some tennis ball sized — triggered 70,000 insurance claims and an estimated $1.2 billion in damages. It's also resulted in disappointment, frustration and anxiety for homeowners who are still waiting to hear back from their insurance companies on a timeline for the work to get done.The Insurance Bureau of Canada is asking for even more patience — saying it will take a full year to fix all of the damage. While there is hope for some homeowners, others describe feeling helpless trying to deal with insurers that they say have been too slow to respond to the disaster.Driving through the hardest-hit areas, you can see piles of asphalt shingles that have been stacked on dozens of rooftops, revealing which houses are next in the queue for repairs.But Jason Fischer is still waiting.He has no idea when work will start on his two-storey home, which suffered extensive damage. The front windows were smashed and need replacing, vinyl siding was shredded and the roof will have to be re-shingled. His 12-year-old son's bedroom window was shattered and a laptop that was on his bed now resembles the surface of a golf ball.When he spoke to CBC News, Fischer noted it had been 47 days since the storm and he still hadn't heard anything from his insurance company about the remediation plan for the home he shares with his wife and son.It's now been 52 days. "The No. 1 thing that they've been telling us is to keep patient and, you know, they'll progress as quickly as possible, but patience has its limits," he said.A damage assessment has been completed, but it hasn't been approved. So, he's reluctant to hire a contractor for a job that he estimates will cost $35,000 to $40,000 for exterior and interior repairs.Fischer says trying to get straight answers and timelines from the company has been an "impossible task.""We've been loyal customers to our insurance company for over 20 years, as well, and that loyalty means nothing to them in regards to what's happening," he said. He's not ready to name his insurance company, fearing that it could jeopardize his claim.But Kelly MacAdam is.'Extremely frustrating as a customer'He's been with TD Insurance and wants to call out the company for the way he's been treated.MacAdam says he called the company the day after the storm but it took him four days to get through to initiate his claim. He says it then took a month for an adjuster to arrive and come up with a $42,000 damage estimate for all of his property.MacAdam, who also lives in Saddleridge, says his house, truck and travel trailer were all heavily damaged.The vents and skylight on his trailer were destroyed and he was worried about further damage if it wasn't fixed. He said he couldn't wait any longer and took it in for repairs, which cost $1,600. Now, he's been told the trailer will be written off and he'll be given $7,000, far less than what he thinks it's worth. And he doubts he'll get reimbursed for the repair work."They're trying to write things off after they're being repaired, so you know, it's extremely frustrating as a customer."Just like Fischer, he's reluctant to hire someone to repair his house until he has some certainty that the work will be covered. He worries the delay could cause further damage."The roof has been sitting for six weeks, open to the elements, so there's going to be roof rot and mould."MacAdam, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, is trying to stay focused on his health and prepare for upcoming chemotherapy treatments in the fall."This is the last thing I need to be dealing with, you know, fighting with an insurance company when I just need to be focused on my health, right?"No replies, no voicemailAnother TD Insurance customer is also speaking out.Vania MacKinnon lives in Redstone on the city's northeastern outskirts. Her house and vehicles were also damaged in the storm and she, too, is waiting for her claims to be approved and settled.An adjuster came out to the house in late June, she says, but an estimate hasn't been provided. The claim for one of the household vehicles has been settled, but she says they are still waiting to find out about their other car and their house, itself, which needs a new roof, some siding and two windows.MacKinnon says it's been almost impossible trying to communicate with the company.She says her adjuster's phone line doesn't accept voicemail and it can be days and even weeks before someone replies to their emails."We understand that they're busy, but even, like basic customer service, even if they acknowledged our email or contacted us to say, 'Hey listen, it's going be two to three months,' at least we would know what we're dealing with," she said."So just a lot of frustration. I think a lot of people in the community feel that way right now."'Surge' in property damage claimsA spokesperson for TD Insurance says the company is doing what it can to deal with a "surge in property damage claims" from a "series of summer storms" that have hit the area."In times like these, and as we've done in the past, we have redeployed further resources from across our business to ensure we're here for Albertans when they need us most and help them recover as quickly as possible," Jillian Tanouye said in an emailed statement."We are working around the clock to make sure we respond in a timely manner to all claim inquiries."The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the industry is taking extra steps to help respond to the disaster, including hiring more adjusters to assess the damage — some have even been brought in from the U.S. "We do know that some companies are utilising their staff adjusters, independent adjusters and contractors to help proceed with their claims," said Rob de Pruis, a spokesperson for the industry group. But those efforts appear to be falling short.Fischer received an email from the bureau that stated there aren't enough adjusters or contractors available to immediately inspect and repair every home that was damaged. The email was sent nearly four weeks after the disaster."We would suggest that some homes will not be repaired until next summer, with badly damaged homes getting priority," read the email.While homeowners may be eager to proceed with the repairs on their own, de Pruis advises against it until they have "proper authorization" from their insurance provider."Make sure that everyone is understanding and is agreeing on the approved costs for repairs," de Pruis said.Contractors busy, looking to hireRoofing and siding companies, meanwhile, are scrambling to keep up with the demand for work.Jag Sidhu with Maple Leaf Stucco believes there is enough work to keep them going well into next year, if not longer. He says they're looking to hire more people. "I can hire 20 people now," he said. "We have lots of work."The city is cautioning people to make sure contractors are licensed and carry the necessary insurance coverage. Inspections carried out since work started in the affected areas has uncovered 57 licensed contractors and 49 unlicensed operators — 37 of them have been ordered to cease operations immediately.Back in Saddleridge, Jason Fischer says he's been approached by a contractor he described as aggressive. He says he had to ask him to leave his property.At some point, he'll be ready to hire a proper company to start the repairs on his house, but until then he continues to wait for the official sign-off from his insurance company."It's really worrisome to us, because every day is getting closer to fall, every day is getting closer to winter. And we cannot go into winter with our house being in this condition." Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.
A well-known barber in downtown Moncton hung up his clippers and swept up his shop for the last time Friday. After 65 years as a barber, Donato di Donato, owner of Beausejour Hairstyling, just off the lobby of the Beausejour Hotel on Main Street, has decided to retire."I think it's time to take a break and do a little bit of travelling and try to be a full-time grandpa," said di Donato, who has nine grandchildren. "I want to enjoy every bit."Every customer is important The entrepreneur started out his career at the age of 15 in Italy. From there, his job led him to Switzerland for five years, and then to Moncton, given he knew how to speak French. He settled in the city in 1965."Every customer is important to me, whether a doctor or a housekeeper," said di Donato, who turned 80 in February.Di Donato's final haircuts were for his two grandsons, Dario and Nicco, and his youngest son, Roberto. The family will not be taking over the business. Greg Turner has been a client for more than 50 years. His first visit to di Donato was at the Capital Barber Shop, where the Capital Theatre lobby is located today."I was a teenager at the time and it seemed like a really cool place to get a haircut," he said. "It was a happening spot." Turner said he was a bit nervous at the time, but he was determined to go in. Then he stumbled into di Donato."The haircut's one thing but it's the relationship with the individual," Turner said. At home in a barbershop Turner described him as an old-style barber, who always paid a lot of attention to detail.His barbershop on Main Street, which he owned along with his wife Jeanne for 48 years, was always filled with people coming and going or reading a newspaper. "It was that old-style of feeling like you're at home, or at ease," Turner said. "People would just stop by to say 'Hi' to him."He said local businesses and people in the community have always gravitated toward di Donato and his shop over the years."It's been a real good experience over the years," Turner said. Di Donato was also a representative of the Italian consulate and headed the Italian Association of Moncton Inc., for a number of years.The Italian barber said he is going to miss his customers, who have become more like friends over the years."Thank you to the people of Moncton. Thank you very much. Thank you for everything," he said. "I love you."
The Nova Scotia Health Authority is adding more phone lines this week to help with the deluge of calls from people who are trying to book appointments for blood collection, as it promises a new booking system is in the works.The former walk–in services have been replaced by the phone booking system, but last week the lines received about 49,000 calls in the Central Zone alone.That number includes calls from people constantly redialing in an attempt to get through, including Don Welland of Halifax.He said he was shocked that the phone system seemed to get worse after the last set of upgrades were implemented. Those upgrades included extra lines and longer hours. "I put the number on auto-redial once a minute for two days and finally got through at the end of the second day," he said. "Things had just gone from bad to worse, way worse."The number of hits on the phone line is actually an improvement compared to a few weeks before, when there were 86,000 attempts to reach the employees booking blood work.Shauna Thompson, the Central Zone director of pathology and laboratory medicine, was quick to acknowledge that the current system is not up to par. She repeatedly apologized for the anxiety it is causing patients during an interview with CBC News."It's still a challenge for folks to get through the phone lines and I do apologize," she said.Thompson says four more lines will be operational this week, bringing the total in the zone to 18.Don't hit redialThompson is asking that those trying to get through don't continuously hit redial. She said that overloads the phone lines."That really drives up the number of hits to the system and it slows everything down."Her suggestion is to wait at least half an hour, or call in the evenings when there's less traffic.If someone is in urgent need of blood work, they can also go through their doctor, as physicians now have dedicated lines to make an appointment.Online booking in the worksWhile this has been a challenge in many parts of the province, Thompson said the Central and Western zones have had particular difficulty with volume.She said there will be an announcement soon about a permanent fix."Without question it won't be what people are experiencing now. That is not sustainable long term, that is far from ideal."She said the changes will likely include an online booking option. That system is currently in place at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro, and the Woodlawn clinic in Dartmouth."We know that works incredibly well," she said. "I'm sure if we tried to take that away there would be an outcry."For now, Thompson is asking for patience. She said the goal is soon to have a better system than the walk-in service that was in place before the pandemic."Please bear with us," she said.MORE TOP STORIES
When South Walkerville resident Rob Brown sees a discarded item, he doesn't see what it once was - he sees what it could be."I've made benches out of doors, chairs out of beds, tables out of old lamps, artwork out of cabinet doors," he says. "I mean the potential is there for anything."Examples of his work can be seen around his backyard. For example: a bench made from a discarded bed frame sits snug to a storage shed - a work he credits to his mother-in-law. "She said I got something in the car for you [and] I had to go out an lug this thing out of the back of the van and as soon as I saw it I said oh, this is going to look real nice once it's all cleaned up," Brown says. Brown says he is following a lead set by his father, one that caused groans in the family house growing up. "He would say 'can you believe someone threw this in the garbage' and we would all be like 'yeah, yeah we can'," he says. But Brown, now 47 years old, sees his father's ways as his own. "I think I've got that bug in me." Higher ValueWhile the term wasn't around when his father was practicing it - in more recent days it's been dubbed upcycling. Webster defines the practice as recycling something "in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item." "I doubt I've paid, if anything, maybe a couple of bucks for the stuff I've acquired, but it's a nice way for me to re-purpose something, save it from the landfill and put my spin on it and hopefully people will enjoy it." Brown has worked as a tattoo artist for the last 30 years. He says it was March 23rd when he got word from the health unit to shut the doors of Sanctuary Tattoos, the business that he owns."I've been blessed with a lot more time with my family," he said."Life's going to throw you curve balls but what you do with those curve balls becomes your destiny." New DirectionHe says while this is a new direction for him, it feels natural."Creating things, whether it be on skin or in material, it's just another venue for me to explore my creative process.""With COVID and all this stuff looming over us, it sort of made my decision for me to look for other ways to still make a living but do it in a manner that I'm a little bit more in control of."He's not ready to hang up his tattoo guns up just yet, he sees it as something he can fall back on as he gets older. Brown recently staked a spot in his backyard for his future workshop which has yet to be built - he's dubbed it "Shed Zepplin"."I don't have the ability to do it full time as of yet but... I'm just sort of planning for the future."He says the groaning that was reserved for his father growing up is now directed at him."There's a lot of questions as to when some of this stuff is going to get out of here."But Brown says he is proud to carry on the tradition and hopes for it to continue even further."[I can] hopefully impart that entrepreneurial outlook on my kids and I hope that not just my kids but kids of this generation are going to be real problem solvers and have the ability to look at things a little bit differently."
Kingsville gym owner Tony Smith hopes the premier will approve Windsor-Essex for Stage 3 Tuesday. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce whether Windsor-Essex will join the rest of the province in Stage 3 of reopening, after the region was held back last week due to its high COVID-19 case count. "I'm very much hoping to hear that we're moving into Stage 3," said Smith who runs Garage Gym. "It's been very frustrating to watch other businesses thrive while we sit here closed." High caseloads in the agri-farm industry meant Leamington and Kingsville were the last two regions in the province to enter Stage 2 on July 7 and now, they don't want to be left behind again. Among many things, Stage 3 would mean that gyms can open and restaurants can allow patrons to dine inside their facilities, rather than just on a patio. But not all business owners are ready for what Stage 3 entails. Heather Brown, co-owner of The Main Grill and Ale House in Kingsville, said that while she wants to see other companies open, she's not so sure her restaurant will be offering indoor dining anytime soon. "I'd really have to wrap my mind around having people inside," she said, adding that she understands how essential this step would be for businesses without patios. While Brown said she knows the case count is still high in the region, she thinks places that have been closed since March deserve the opportunity to start up again -- as long as it's done safely. "I'm hoping that we do move into Stage 3 so it can help businesses that are unable to open, my only concern is it's done in a safe way." Should the region be approved for Stage 3, Smith said he's already ready, with plenty of new safety measures in place such as increased sanitization, removal of water fountains and foam rollers and personalized sanitizer for each member. "Having 10 people in my 5,000 square feet, I think it's safer than stuffing people on a patio downtown," he said, adding that the longer this drags on, the harder it's become to keep his members. "I think at a certain point we need to start living our lives again and I'm not saying not to practice some good safe measures, I think we need to evaluate whether we're either...all open or we're not."
Two Newfoundland and Labrador swim clubs are finding it hard to stay afloat as provincially-operated pools haven't been open since March, when they were forced to close at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.The Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club and Gander Lakers Swim Club are still without pools to train in, while other municipal pools around the province were permitted to reopen on June 25 when Newfoundland and Labrador made the move to Alert Level 2 of its reopening plan. "We expected to just start again. We had a plan put in place that complied with Swimming Canada, their requirements. So we thought we were going to start right away," Rebecca Redmond-MacLean, president of the Gander Lakers swim club, told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning. The Gander swim club has 55 competitive and pre-competitive members. For this summer, 35 are on board to return to the pool. Redmond-MacLean said that group was then split into two separate groups to further comply with public health orders. In Corner Brook, about 70 swimmers are hoping to get their feet wet this season. Andrew Burke, president of the Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club, said his group is still waiting on the provincial government's regulations before the pool can open. What's more, Burke said the required personal protective equipment for staff had yet to arrive as of Thursday. "We started the conversation about Alert Level 2 back in June, and now we're at the beginning of August. It takes time to plan, I appreciate that, and I'm sure our executive appreciates that as well," Burke said."We expected a little delay, but we didn't expect a month or more."In a statement to CBC News on Friday, the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development said it has worked with the Department of Health and Community Services to develop guidelines for towns and pool operators to open indoor pools, but is still working toward reopening government-operated pools in August 2020. An exact date was not provided. "CSSD has been working to ensure that all required COVID-19 safety protocols and personal protective equipment (PPE) are in place. The specialized PPE has been purchased and it is anticipated it will be delivered next week. Upon delivery staff will undergo training in its use so the Gander and Corner Brook pools can then safely reopen," the government statement reads."CSSD ensured that the annual maintenance of the pools in Corner Brook and Gander was completed when the pools had to close due to the pandemic, to ensure this did not impede reopening."Some progressBurke said news of the arrival of the required PPE is encouraging, and will stop his club in Corner Brook from having to travel to Deer Lake — about 50 kilometres away — to rent the town's pool at an extra cost. "I certainly hope that that's the case. I've been back and forth for weeks with the pool trying to get the MHAs engaged with the issue," said Burke."I sent a letter July 22 to the department as well as our local MHAs here, and not until we started our Twitter campaign on Wednesday did we receive a response." Redmond-MacLean said she's happy to hear things are progressing toward a reopening of her club's pool. Her organization's athletes have had to get a little creative this season by staying in shape with dry-land training, open water swimming at various community ponds and resistance training in some backyard pools. "Our local pool and our facility manager has been phenomenal with us during this shut down. She's ensured that all of the maintenance that would normally cause the pool to shut down was actually done while the pool was closed due to COVID," she said."So that means when the PPE is available and the training is done then we'll be able to get smoothly back in the pool."Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Environment Canada has extended the heat warning for Prince Edward Island.When the heat warning was issued Sunday temperatures were expected to cool Tuesday, but they are now forecast to stay above heat warning guidelines — a high of 28 C and overnight low remaining above 18 C — through Thursday.A high of 28 C is forecast for Tuesday with a humidex of 35.CBC meteorologist Jim Abraham said Isaias, which was downgraded to a tropical storm after hitting North Carolina, is keeping temperatures higher as it approaches the Maritimes, but it won't bring much in the way of a storm."We'll get a little bit of a southeast to southwest gusty wind tomorrow but nothing really strong," said Abraham."I call it breezy. There may be some gusts to 40 to 50 kilometres per hour and a few showers, passing showers, during the day tomorrow, but nothing significant."During a heat warning Environment Canada recommends avoiding outside activity during the hottest part of the day, and drinking water even before you feel thirsty.More from CBC P.E.I.