NASA's Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Tuesday that the space agency will be formally working with U.S. Space Force in areas like human spaceflight, space policy and transportation and scientific research. (Sept. 22)
A Toronto fish store with four locations in the city has stopped buying lobster from Nova Scotia commercial fishers as a show of support for Indigenous fishing rights.Hooked Inc., which describes itself as "Toronto's knowledgeable fish store," took the stand this week in support of the Mi'kmaw people. Lobster harvested by N.S. commercial fishers used to be a primary source of fresh lobster for the store. Dan Donovan, co-owner of Hooked, said he was not surprised by the dispute but he is shocked at the violence and disappointed. He runs stores in Kensington Market, Leslieville, South Kingsway and on the Danforth. "We don't support people who behave that way," Donovan told CBC Toronto on Saturday.Donovan said the racism must stop, the violence must end and the federal government must ensure the safety of the Mi'kmaw people.The dispute between N.S. commercial fishermen and the Mi'kmaw people has led to violent clashes and a fire that destroyed a lobster pound used by Mi'kmaw fishers.Donovan said Hooked wrote on a position paper on the issue in response to questions from customers. He said customers have been largely supportive of the store's position."At the end of the day, our customers trust us to make good decisions for them," he said.Position paper says acts of violence 'inexcusable'In the paper, Hooked says: "We are saddened to see the eruption of racism and hatred that has occurred in recent days. The reported acts of violence, threats, intimidation and interfering with gear are inexcusable. We call on commercial fishermen and their leadership to publicly condemn all acts of violence and intimidation against Mi'kmaw fishers and their families."The store calls on federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan to ensure the safety of Mi'kmaw fishers, to respect treaty rights and Mik'maw law and to enter into "truly nation-to-nation" negotiations to find a solution to the management of shared resources."We hope Mi'kmaw and commercial inshore fishermen can find a way back into dialogue in good faith and based on common values, to work together and share their knowledge and expertise in community-based fisheries management."Tension ignited shortly after First Nation began fishingFive weeks ago, Mi'kmaw fishers in southwest Nova Scotia began harvesting lobster outside the federally regulated fishing season.They said they had the right to do so based on 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, known as the Marshall decision, which affirmed a treaty right to hunt, fish, and gather in pursuit of a "Moderate Livelihood" based on the 1760-61 peace and friendship treaties.When the First Nation began fishing in September, tensions between their boats and non-Indigenous fishers ignited almost immediately. A series of escalating events ensued, leading to the destruction of a lobster pound that had held the catch of the Indigenous fishers.Mi'kmaw lobster traps were cut, large crowds gathered at the wharfs and hurled racist insults at fishers, and vehicles were set on fire. A lobster pound handling Mi'kmaw catch was burned to the ground, and big crowds damaged another lobster pound in New Edinburgh, N.S.Donovan said the move to stop buying lobster is "good business" for his store but it is unlikely to have much of a financial impact on the N.S. commercial fishers. "We're a small player," he said.
Ontario Provincial Police cruisers watched from a distance Friday morning as a backhoe dug up a road in Caledonia, Ont., by the entrance to a First Nations land reclamation camp that has put a halt to a planned housing development.Members of Six Nations of the Grand River set up camp at the McKenzie Meadows housing development in July and renamed it 1492 Land Back Lane. It's now the centre of a land dispute that's over 200 years old. Six Nations of the Grand River, a Haudenosaunee community that has the largest on-reserve population in the country, neighbours Caledonia, which is about 22 kilometres south of Hamilton.A skirmish between some members of Six Nations and the OPP on Thursday afternoon by the back entrance to 1492 Land Back Lane led camp members to move to establish control over road and highway access points to the two site entrances. The back entrance to the camp links onto Argyle Street before connecting with Highway 6.McKenzie Road, which runs by the front entrance to the site, was dug up overnight on two sides.By Friday morning, on one side of Argyle Street, which runs by the back entrance to 1492 Land Back Lane, a crushed school bus lay on its side with the spray painted words, "Land Back Tours."Nearby, a hydro pole leaned precariously, its base chewed up by fire. Up the road on Argyle Street, a transformer station sat with its gates mangled.WATCH | New clashes in Caledonia land dispute in Ontario:Part of Highway 6 that connects to Argyle Street was also torn up overnight by heavy machinery that members of Six Nations said they commandeered from a road work site. Another part of the highway was blocked by dirt and concrete barriers. A set of CN railway tracks was also dug up, the warning lights knocked across the rails.Injunction granted ThursdayOn Thursday, Superior Court Justice R.J. Harper granted a permanent injunction against the 1492 Land Back Lane camp that had been requested by the developer, Foxgate Development. Haldimand County was also granted an injunction against road blockades.Six Nations members then confronted several OPP cruisers that were parked near the back entrance of 1492 Land Back Lane. Camp spokesperson Skyler Williams said the OPP used a Taser and fired rubber bullets.The OPP issued a statement on Twitter saying that its officers were confronted and police cruisers were heavily damaged in the confrontation and that in response, officers used "appropriate non-lethal force."The property is part of the Haldimand Tract granted to Six Nations of the Grand River in 1784 for allying with the British during the American Revolution.The granted land encompassed 10 kilometres on both sides of the 280-kilometre Grand River, which runs through southern Ontario and into Lake Erie. Six Nations now has less than five per cent of its original lands.Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett's office said in an emailed statement that it wants to meet with the community "at the earliest opportunity."The statement said "Canada deeply values its relationship with Six Nations" and wants to work "collaboratively" to deal with the "historical claims and land right issues."
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reminding the public about the most common scams to be on the lookout for.
Le Chateau is filing for CCAA protection and plans to shutter all 123 of its stores following lagging sales during COVID-19 pandemic. Minna Rhee reports.
There are growing concerns — and signs — that the idled North Atlantic refinery in Come By Chance could be reduced to a storage and distribution terminal for imported fuels, and that could mean a devastating economic blow to Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as to hundreds of workers connected to the industrial site.Silverpeak, the New York investment management firm that owns the refinery, its marketing division and a chain of North Atlantic service stations, has reserved the name NARL Terminal Inc. with the provincial government's Registry of Companies. The law firm that represents Silverpeak in this province, Stewart McKelvey, filed a request to reserve the name on Oct. 6. According to online records, that request was approved.Silverpeak has declined repeated interview requests from CBC News, with a representative writing in an email that "the company has no comment at this time."But industry sources say that unless a new buyer can be found, it's possible a scenario similar to one that played out in Dartmouth, N.S., seven years ago could be repeated in Come By Chance.And with Silverpeak taking steps to form a new company that could oversee such a facility, one of the companies interested in buying the refinery is speaking out.> 'The conversion of the facility into an import terminal could have unfavourable outcomes for the province and the local community, including permanent job losses, increased fuel prices, and potentially unresolved environmental liabilities.' \- Origin International"The conversion of the facility into an import terminal could have unfavourable outcomes for the province and the local community, including permanent job losses, increased fuel prices, and potentially unresolved environmental liabilities," a representative for Origin International, a U.S.-based private company that specializes in recycling used oil products, told CBC News. Worst-case scenarioThe Imperial Oil refinery in Nova Scotia was closed in 2013, and converted into a marine terminal, requiring only a small fraction of the roughly 400 workers with ties to the refinery.The union representing most of the workers at NARL Refining Inc., better known as North Atlantic, says outside of a complete shutdown, the downsizing to what's known as a "tank farm" would be a worst-case scenario."It would be a big loss of jobs. A huge impact on the economy and the price of fuels here," said Glenn Nolan, president of Local 9316 of the United Steelworkers.Energy Minister Andrew Parsons said he became aware of the the possible creation of a new company through the media on Thursday, when he was asked about the development by allNewfoundlandLabrador.com."The biggest thing I can say is I'm aware, the second thing I can say is it's not a part of any discussions I'm having, and the third thing I can say is obviously I'm not supportive of it," Parsons said during an interview Friday.The 135,000-barrel-a-day refinery was idled in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a global drop in demand for fuel.A proposed sale to Irving Oil collapsed in early October without either side offering an explanation, and now at least two companies have expressed interest in a possible acquisition.Origin International, based in Maryland, issued a statement to CBC News this week saying it plans to reopen the refinery in the second quarter of 2021, and that it will recall all the roughly 500 employees as soon as a deal is inked.A second company is also showing an interest, but has asked not to be identified, said Parsons.'Warm idle' modeWhile backroom discussions are underway, talk is intensifying about the need to keep the refinery in what's called "warm idle" mode as the winter approaches.Silverpeak has requested financial assistance from the provincial government to keep the refinery in what's known as a "steady state." When asked about this on Friday, Parsons said: "We have said at no point are there any options that are off the table."But he said the primary focus is to help steer the current owner and potential buyers toward a possible deal."Most hours of each day are spent with this process," said Parsons.While the province does not have an ownership in the refinery, it has more than passing interest in what's happening.The province is responsible for environmental liabilities that existed at the refinery prior to Silverpeak's purchase in November 2014.An assessment to determine the site's environmental conditions for indemnity coverage is currently ongoing, according to the energy department.In recent years, the refinery has represented as much as five per cent of the province's economy."We have a very significant vested interest in this," Parsons said.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Police in New Brunswick say missing writer Richard Vaughan has been found dead. The author and video artist, who wrote under the name RM Vaughan, was a revered figure in Canada's LGBTQ arts scene. Fredericton Police say his body was found on Friday, 10 days after he was reported missing, and that his death is not being treated as suspicious.
Voters in British Columbia are casting ballots today in an election campaign that was largely defined by the COVID-19 pandemic.NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date.He argued the province needs a majority government to deal with the uncertainty caused by the new coronavirus.Calling the election was a gamble for Horgan, who faced criticism from B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green Leader Sonia Furstenau for pulling the plug on his minority government.They called the move unnecessary at a time when people need stability, but Horgan said that's exactly what he is seeking.At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats, there were two Independents and one seat was vacant.In calling the election on Sept. 21, Horgan said the pandemic was a central factor in deciding to seek a new mandate, adding that he "grappled" with the decision."This pandemic will be with us for a year or more and that's why I believe we need to have an election now," he said."We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the next 12 months — more speculation, more talk about what might be — or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think."The campaign featured promises for more affordable daycare and improvements to long-term care, as well as different ideas on ways to spur the economy after the pandemic subsides.The pandemic meant the election was mostly fought online. Gone were rallies, replaced by virtual town halls. "The hardest part of the campaign for me has been the lack of the ability to connect with groups of people because of COVID," Wilkinson said in a recent interview. "We've successfully run a few of these car rallies where people stay in their vehicles and honk their horns in approval. But it's kind of a disconnected campaign for everybody."The NDP platform was largely built on the party's record and promises to continue what it started, including expanding $10-a-day child care and implementing a rent freeze until the end of next year. There was also a promise to provide a $1,000 recovery benefit for families with annual household incomes under $125,000. The Liberals want to cancel the provincial sales tax for one year at a cost of $7 billion and eliminate the small business income tax to help with the economic recovery from COVID-19.Furstenau argued for another minority government, telling voters not to give all the power to one party. She campaigned on the influence the Greens have had on policy, particularly on the government's plan to transition to renewable energy.With more than 720,000 mail-in ballots requested and about 478,000 returned as of late Thursday night, it's unclear whether a result will emerge right away. Officials with Elections BC say they hope to deliver the final results by Nov. 16, but the date isn't firm as it's unclear how much time will be needed to count the mail-in ballots.Vote-by-mail packages are collected centrally and cannot be counted for at least 13 days after the election, allowing time for the ballots to be sent back to voters' ridings for sorting and screening.Chief electoral officer Anton Boegman said that 13-day period may be extended depending on how quickly they can handle the vote-by-mail packages.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020. The Canadian Press
It was another day with double-digit cases of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan as there were 33 cases reported Friday. There are five new cases reported in the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert. In other zones there were nine in Regina, four in Saskatoon, South West and the North East, three in the Central East and North West and a single case reported in the Far North West. To date, 37 of Saskatoon’s confirmed cases have been linked to a single nightclub venue. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) would not confirm which venue. Publichealth investigations are underway to determine the source of transmission for all new cases. The Saskatoon zone leads the Active Case breakdown with 128 cases, the North Central zone is second with 118 active cases. North Central 2, which includes Prince Albert, has 61 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 51 active cases and North Central 3 has six active cases. In third place is Regina with 70 active cases. Of the 2,591 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 511 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 2,055 after 31 more recoveries were reported. The number of deaths from COVID-19 is currently 25. The number of people in hospital is 20 in total in the province. Sixteen people are currently receiving inpatient case; nine in the Saskatoon zone, five in the North Central zone and one each in the Regina zone and North West zone. Four people, three in Saskatoon and one in Regina, are in intensive care. The total number of cases is 2,591 Of those 563 cases are from the Saskatoon area, 480 cases are from the south area (228 south west, 211 south central and41 south east), 476 cases are from the north area (162 north west, 212 north central and 102 north east), 425 cases are from the far north area (375 far north west, zero in far north central and 50 far north east), 352 cases are from the central area (196 central west and156 central east) and 293 cases are from the Regina area. Two cases have pending residence location. There are currently 82 cases that are health care workers; however, the source of the infections is not related to their work environments in all instances. Of the 2,591 cases in the province: 338 cases are related to travel, 1,299 are community contacts, which includes mass gatherings, 690 have no known exposures and 264 are under investigation by local public health. The age breakdown shows 482 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, 912 cases are in the 20-39-age range,751 are in the 40-59-age range, 369 are in the 60-79-age range and 77 are in the 80-plus-age range. The gender breakdown shows 51 per cent of the cases being females and 49 per cent being males. Yesterday, 2,297 COVID-19 tests were performed in Saskatchewan, which was the highest number to date. As of today there have been 242,500 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
A Strathcona County RCMP officer charged in an off-duty assault last year is facing new criminal charges related to ongoing harassment of witnesses to the original 2019 incident, Alberta RCMP said Friday. Const. Matthew Howson was charged Wednesday with criminal harassment, intimidation of a Crown witness and breach of an undertaking. "These charges stem from allegations of ongoing harassment of witnesses to the original 2019 incident where Const. Howson entered into an altercation with another member of the public at his residence," RCMP said in a news release. Howson is due to appear in Sherwood Park provincial court Nov. 4. He remains suspended with pay while the criminal process proceeds, RCMP said. Once the charges have been resolved, his duty status will be reviewed. Howson was charged with assault on Sept. 6, 2019, after an investigation into an Aug. 31, 2019, incident at his home. CBC News confirmed at the time that the alleged victim was not a family member. In late September 2019, RCMP said Howson had been arrested and charged for coming within 20 metres of the victim's residence, breaching a condition of his previous arrest.
Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Friday he has had heart surgery but is feeling "fantastic." Schwarzenegger, 73, posted a picture of himself giving a thumbs up from his hospital bed at the Cleveland Clinic, and thanked medical staff there. The actor, who was born with a heart defect, underwent emergency open-heart surgery in 2018 to replace a pulmonary valve.
About 1,300 support workers at the University of Ottawa who walked off the job Monday morning say they're worried the strike comes at a time when no one is paying attention to their story. "It's extremely challenging," said Jonathan Degan, vice-president of the local bargaining unit of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF). It represents workers at the university ranging from mental health counsellors to lab technicians. "Apparently we are the first union in Canada to be on a physical strike during the pandemic," said Degan. He said the effort required a lot of thinking about how to picket with safety protocols and physical distancing.Workers who spoke to CBC News on the picket line Friday say other challenges are making them more anxious, including concerns they're being ignored by more than just the employer.> I don't want to be on strike. I want to be at work. \- Elizabeth Campbell Brown"Visibility is a big challenge for us," said Degan, a learning technologist who spent the last several months helping the school in the massive transition to switch to online learning.Both sides have been bargaining for the last 19 months, with a major disagreement over health benefits. The union has been trying to preserve those health benefits including full coverage of prescription drugs. Four-fifths of the membership rejected a tentative offer put forward in June, said Degan. Negotiations broke down, and a deadline came and went midnight Sunday. University of Ottawa spokesperson Patrick Charette wrote in a statement that the employer "has listened to [support staff] and has made significant improvements to its proposal.""We believe a negotiated agreement can be reached," Charette said. "We are available to discuss with the union to reach such agreement."But the union says efforts to get the employer back to the negotiating table have been in vain.With classes online, it became apparent that pressuring the employer the usual way — picketing entrances and disrupting the normal flow of campus life — was not going to have the same impact. "It's been a struggle. We're all very stressed about the pandemic," said Jany Cormier, who normally works at the Student Affairs Office."It was pouring rain. It was cold," Cormier said about Wednesday's particularly awful weather. "We were drenched through when we came back home."Union president Harvey Bischof came from the Toronto region that day for an organized media availability, and no media showed up, she said.WATCH | Staff say pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the strike:At the same time the University of Ottawa was in the middle of a national media storm over a teacher's use of the N-Word."We are definitely in the shadow of that story," said Cormier. Strike pay drops after 10 daysThe union offers strike pay that is equivalent to the amount people got for the Canada emergency response benefit, explained Degan, but that amount drops by half in 10 days."It's devastating," said Elizabeth Campbell Brown. She said she's really disappointed her employer is attacking health benefits in the middle of a pandemic."I don't want to be on strike. I want to be at work."
Democratic vice-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris made a direct appeal to Black men Friday, defending her record as a prosecutor, blasting President Donald Trump as “racist” and vouching for Joe Biden as a man capable of addressing systemic racism and leading a diverse country. The California senator warned that Trump wants to “turn 20% of Black men in favour of him,” a mark that could tilt a range of battleground states in the South and Upper Midwest to the president.
With the vision to build a better future for children, the Shuswap Indian Band (SIB) and the District of Invermere (DOI) have recently formalized a friendship agreement that celebrates the Columbia Valley environment and its ancestors. On Oct. 13, the SIB chief and council met with councillors from the DOI on the shores of the Columbia River for a physically-distanced ceremony to sign a friendship agreement to build upon the existing community-to-community relationship. “The Friendship Agreement between Shuswap Indian Band and the District of Invermere is what a friendship is, that is, built on trust, respect and recognition,” said SIB chief Barb Cote in a recent press release. “We have certainly achieved that. Working together on this initiative of the active transportation route is only the beginning of a long-term partnership that can only make, not only our two communities, but the valley at large become more accessible for locals and visitors. We as a community are very proud to be working alongside the District of Invermere and look forward to leaving a legacy that our children, grandchildren and those unborn can enjoy for many years to come.” Members of the SIB were invited to watch the ceremony through a Facebook Livestream. However, the community’s celebration will be temporarily postponed until the spring or summer of 2021 when the COVID-19 crisis is controlled, and it is safe to host an event. Since 2019, the SIB has been participating in the Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) facilitated by the Council for Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to strengthen community relationships. Through the support of this program, the SIB and the DOI have entered this agreement to increase collaboration for joint-planning and community economic development. As a result of the CEDI program, including third-party facilitation, monthly meetings, bi-annual workshops, joint strategic and work planning has successfully taken place and will continue to take place going forward with the elected officials of the DOI and the staff with SIB delegates. “In 2019, the Shuswap Indian Band and the District of Invermere started down a path of relationship building and shared education,” said DOI mayor Al Miller in a recent press release. “We were enabled with the help of a federally-funded program, the Community Economic Development Initiative, which (was) one of nine partnerships selected across Canada. With this help, we have gained a greater understanding, appreciation and respect of each other. We are neighbours working hard at creating a project that will connect our communities together with an active transportation route and more importantly a Friendship Agreement that will serve us well into the future. I am proud to be signing this agreement alongside chief Barb Cote for the future of our communities.”Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer
A 25-year-old man is dead after a transport truck struck him on Highway 401 Friday evening as he walked eastbound in the westbound lane, Ontario Provincial Police said.The victim was walking on the highway near Avenue Road following an alleged road rage incident, Const. Timothy Dunnah told CBC News.Police do not yet have details on that incident, Dunnah said.Emergency crews were called at 6:45 p.m. to the scene of the collision on Highway 401 west of Bathurst Street and east of Allen Road, Toronto paramedics said. They confirmed that a male pedestrian died after being struck on the highway.The OPP believe three vehicles were involved but do not have information on whether the drivers knew each other, said Dunnah. There are no further details on other injuries or how many people were involved. No one is in custody, the OPP told CBC News, after saying earlier that an individual may have been arrested The highway is closed from the Avenue Road transfer and is being held until the crime unit and coroner arrive, he said. The Special Investigations Unit has been notified as a police cruiser was in the area of the accident at the time, but was not in pursuit, the OPP said in an update.In an email Saturday, the SIU confirmed to CBC News that it is not investigating the incident.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there’s nothing the public needs to know about his health after photos taken earlier this week captured what appeared to be bruising on his hands and around his mouth. The Kentucky Republican, who is up for reelection this year, said “of course not” when asked by reporters Thursday if he has a health issue. In a brief exchange in a Senate hallway, McConnell at first declined to answer when asked about his health by a Politico reporter, joking instead that he was worried about the reporter’s health.
Half a dozen police officers in Prince Albert are now isolating after positive COVID-19 tests.The first case in the Saskatchewan city's police service was announced a week ago, followed by another three earlier this week and two more on Friday.They are all in isolation and will need to be cleared by a medical professional before being allowed back on the job.The front offices of both the city's main police station and the substation are closed. Sanitization of both police locations is ongoing, as is contact tracing.The main office does have an outside buzzer and telephone system if someone does need to go there in person.The police are also encouraging people to report crimes online if they are not emergencies.COVID-19 cases have spiked in the north central area of the province, including Prince Albert, after meetings at the city's Full Gospel Outreach Centre that have been described as a "superspreader" event.There were 118 active cases in that region as of Friday. The provincial total of active cases is 511.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration waded cautiously Friday into international efforts to halt fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are engaged in their worst conflict in more than 25 years. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately in Washington with the foreign ministers of both countries in a bid to promote a cease-fire in hostilities over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The State Department said Pompeo had emphasized to Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov the need “to end the violence and protect civilians.” “Both must implement a ceasefire and return to substantive negotiations,” Pompeo said in a tweet after his talks. Friday's meetings followed failed Russian-led attempts to broker a truce and lower-profile U.S. intervention to promote an end to the fighting. U.S. officials, including Pompeo's deputy, Stephen Biegun, have appealed for the countries to return to a dialogue over the territory. Meanwhile, heavy fighting raged over Nagorno-Karabakh even as the discussions in Washington were taking place. The two sides traded accusations involving the shelling of residential areas, and authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said the town of Martakert and several villages in the Martuni region were struck by Azerbaijani rockets. The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry denied the claim and accused Armenian forces of targeting the Terter, Agdam and Agjabedi regions of Azerbaijan overnight. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The fighting that started Sept. 27 marks the worst escalation in the conflict since the war’s end. According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 927 of their troops have been killed and more than 30 civilians also have died. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but says 63 civilians have been killed and 292 have been wounded. Armenia officially isn’t engaged in the fighting. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of targeting its towns and villages with artillery and missiles, which Armenian authorities have denied. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow’s information indicated that the combined death toll from the nearly four weeks of fighting was approaching 5,000, a significantly higher number than officially reported by the warring parties. Russia, along with the United States, has co-chaired the so-called Minsk Group set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate in the conflict. In his meetings, Pompeo “also stressed the importance of the sides entering substantive negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to resolve the conflict based on the Helsinki Final Act principles of the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples,” the State Department said. Putin said Russia is doing its best to negotiate a lasting truce. He voiced hope that the United States would work co-operatively to help end hostilities and mediate a political settlement. Turkey has thrown its weight behind Azerbaijan, vowing to support its longtime ally “on the battlefield or the negotiating table.” It has trained Azerbaijani military and provided it with strike drones and long-range rocket systems that gave Azerbaijan a strong edge on the battlefield. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Students from Edmonton's public and Catholic schools won't be required to write provincial achievement tests this school year. Both school divisions have opted out of PATs for Grades 6 and 9 for the 2020-21 school year. "This is not a standard year by any stretch of the imagination," Tricia Estabrooks, chair of the Edmonton public school board, said Friday. Students are learning in stressful conditions and don't need the added burden of PATs, Estabrooks said. "This is a year where students are experiencing perhaps some challenges and some additional stressors in their life that typically they wouldn't be experiencing." Edmonton Catholic Schools highlighted the same concerns in a letter sent to students and parents Thursday. "As we continue to navigate the educational impacts of COVID-19, we recognize that the added stress of PATs for our students needs to be avoided," wrote superintendent Robert Martin. Both school boards said PATs are one of many tools used to assess how a student is learning. "Student learning will continue to be assessed in many other ways to ensure that curricular outcomes are being met," said a statement from Edmonton Catholic Schools. Edmonton Public Schools is asking the province to cancel Grade 12 diploma exams as well. "It would really lend itself to all students being on the same playing field," Estabrooks said. "Grades and different ways of measuring student success can be done through teacher awarded marks." Cancelling the exams would also ensure that students who are learning online don't have to attend exams in person, she said. "All of a sudden, we're asking online students to come to an in-person exam and that didn't feel like it was really honouring the choice to allow students to stay home." Alberta Education announced earlier this month that Grade 12 diploma exams would be optional for the fall semester. Diploma exams scheduled for January, April or June continue to be mandatory. "We will of course continue to monitor how the school year progresses, and make decisions on the remaining exams prior to them being written," said a statement from Alberta Education.
Development delays for a mobile phone app geared to land owners is causing a legislative delay for a controversial Saskatchewan law regulating how people can access farmers’ privately-owned lands. Almost two years after it received first reading in the legislature, the Trespass to Property Act has yet to be enforced as law. First sponsored by Justice Minister Don Morgan in November 2018, the act’s intent was to slow or stop rural crime on farmers’ lands. It requires anyone wanting to go on a farmer’s land to first get permission from the owner. “A reasonable delay” is what Ray Orb, the president of the Saskatchewan Association Rural Municipalities (SARM), calls it. “We would have hoped it would have been in place for this hunting season, 2020, … (but) we need to get this right,” he said, referencing the app's current development stage. Western Heritage, a data and geotechnical company with offices from Alberta to Ontario and one in Chile, first pitched the app to Innovation Saskatchewan in June last year. Now its start-up company, SaskLander, is piloting the app (with the same name) in the RM of Shellbrook, west of Prince Albert. SaskLander co-founders Aldo Scribante and Sauvelm McClean said they aim to introduce a live version, province-wide in the spring. Right now, the pilot version allows owners to identify their land in the app, “and put and specify your access permissions,” they said. The pair is now building the request side of the app for “recreational land access and we intend to expand to more RMs." The proposed law change emerged out of the the shooting death of Colten Boushie in 2016. Farmer Gerald Stanley was charged and acquitted at a jury trial. The case also sparked a discussion around rural crime and small-town RCMP detachments' response times. As the government took the law through its paces in the legislature, hunters, lobby groups and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) said they disagreed with or had concerns about it. Arcola-area farmer Clint Brownridge has his feet in both worlds, hunting and allowing hunters onto his farmland. “I’m still for the old-school way, that if you really don’t want people on your land, you should post it as No Trespassing,” he said. “I’m a hunter; I phone lots of people for permission, I get phoned for permission.” Once enacted, the law would remove the requirement for a property owner to post signs indicating if their land is open or closed. Brownridge said he does understand the need to protect land from potential damage caused by vehicles. Blair Mitchell, who farms north of Yorkton and works as an outfitter guide for hunters near Hudson Bay, says online discussion forums show people are confused about the law change. “(They) still think it went through, but it actually hasn’t so it’s not enforceable … It’s kind of not a good thing, because a lot of land owners think they don’t have to post their land anymore (as No Trespassing),” he said. He and Brownridge questioned the need for the SaskLander app, when hunters already use the iHunter app, available on Apple devices. It’s free to use, but its developer charges users for downloading maps and landowners’ contact info in each wildlife management zone (WMZ). Scribante and McClean said their app is owner-focused and hence more applicable to a wider range of recreational uses beyond hunting, like snowmobiling, hiking and ATV-driving. email@example.comEvan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
Nearly 20 years after Calgary musician Paul Hepher was shot in the head in his basement apartment, his killer has been convicted.On Friday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Blair Nixon found Terrance Wardale guilty of second-degree murder following a trial in March.Hepher, 50, was fatally shot in the head sometime between Feb. 28 and March 4, 2001.During the trial in March, Wardale, 64, admitted he'd killed Hepher during a "botched robbery," but defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli argued his client should be found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter. "I find Mr. Wardale neither credible nor reliable," said Nixon. "I do not believe Mr. Wardale."Wardale hung his head as the decision was read aloud.In 2001, investigators found "numerous pieces of forensic evidence" in the basement suite but did not identify any suspects in the initial investigation.The case went cold, but more than 10 years later, police re-launched the investigation.On top of securing DNA evidence linking Wardale to the scene, he also confessed to undercover police officers.Undercover confessionsWardale told undercover police that he took a Halloween mask and a loaded handgun and biked over to Hepher's northwest apartment with the intent to rob the victim. Wardale had bought marijuana from Hepher before.The killer, whose home was about to be foreclosed on, told police he thought Hepher would make an easy robbery target, believing he might keep cash in his apartment. But Hepher was not compliant and fought back.After the mask was ripped off and his identity was revealed, Wardale shot Hepher.Wardale told three different undercover officers that he had shot Hepher."He said you 'don't have the f--kin' balls to shoot me,'" Wardale said during the undercover operation."I says 'I'm sorry Paul,' f--kin pulled the trigger," he admitted.Nixon will hear sentencing arguments later this year from Iovinelli and prosecutors Gord Haight and Tara Wells.A second-degree murder conviction comes with a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.
Danish aid workers stationed in the Balkans say dozens of migrants have alleged they were brutalized by Croatian law-enforcement officers when they tried to cross into the European Union nation, before being summarily expelled back to Bosnia. Nicola Bay, the head of the Danish Refugee Council in Bosnia, told The Associated Press Friday that 149 migrants of varying nationalities, independently interviewed by his staff in the country over the past 10 days, reported being exposed to “extremely abusive” treatment by Croatian police. The testimonies include allegations of brutal and prolonged beatings, of people being stripped naked and being forced to lie like logs stacked on top of each other, Bay said, adding: “In two cases, we have reports of severe sexual abuse.”
LAGOS, Nigeria — At least 51 civilians have been killed in Nigeria's unrest following days of peaceful protests over police abuses, the president said Friday, blaming “hooliganism” for the violence while asserting that security forces have used “extreme restraint.” President Muhammadu Buhari's comments are expected to further inflame tensions in Africa's most populous country after Amnesty International reported that soldiers shot and killed at least 12 demonstrators Tuesday night as a large crowd sang the national anthem. The deaths sparked international condemnation. In a statement, Buhari also said 11 policemen and seven soldiers had been killed by “rioters” as of Thursday, and “the mayhem has not stopped.” He said another 37 civilians were injured in some of Nigeria's worst turmoil in years. The president said the well-intentioned protests were hijacked by thugs. But many Nigerians are upset by what the president hasn't said. Buhari in a national address Thursday night didn't mention the shootings, instead warning protesters against “undermining national security and law and order.” On Friday he said the government “will not fold its arms and allow miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism." Resentment lingered with the smell of charred tires Friday in Nigeria's relatively calm streets. Soldiers remained in parts of Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, as a 24-hour curfew remained in place. A witness of Tuesday night's shooting, 33-year-old Isaiah Abor, ventured out anyway to visit the scene where solders had opened fire. He managed to escape the chaos. “When (the soldiers) were making comments that the flag is not bulletproof, that’s when I knew this was going to go out of hand,” Abor said. Empty ammunition shells still littered the ground. The president's speech annoyed him. “The blood that stained a whole Nigerian flag, those youths were not even mentioned,” Abor said. He added: “We are not cowards. We will always come to this ground, and we will always feel for those that are gone.” Another protester, Olatunde Joshua Oluwanifemi, said simply: “The speech killed our spirit.” The president's comments, “devoid of sympathy,” were worrying, said Okechukwu Nwanguma with the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center. Shielding those behind the shootings will only lead to abuses by the police and military, he said: “If those who carried out the killings did so and nothing happens, it will encourage them and others to do the same thing next time.” But citing the president’s comments, one influential group behind the protests, the Feminist Coalition, urged youth to stay at home, saying that “we need to stay alive to pursue our dreams to build the future.” Others disagreed. If the protests have been hijacked, then Nigerian youth should not give up the struggle and instead should “go back and re-strategize,” said Seriki Muritala with the National Youth Parliament. This week’s scenes have touched a chord with Black Lives Matter supporters in the United States, while the U.S. government has strongly condemned the “use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury.” The protests turned violent Wednesday after the military's shooting as mobs vandalized and burned police stations, courthouses, TV stations and a hotel. Police battled angry crowds with tear gas and gunfire. The looting and gunfire continued Thursday. The demonstrations began early this month with calls for Nigeria’s government to shut down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit known as SARS. The squad was launched to fight crime, but it carried out torture and killings, according to Amnesty International. The #EndSARS campaign spread across the country and Buhari’s government announced that it would disband the SARS unit. The protest persisted with demonstrators calling for more widespread reforms of the police and an end to corruption. In one attempt at calming tensions, the Lagos state government on Friday shared a list of ongoing prosecution against police officers accused of human rights abuses. “Today seems like a good day to get on to the work of rebuilding Lagos and ending police brutality,” Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said. But an angry crowd shouted at him over the unrest as officials toured burned-out vehicles and the sacked palace of a Lagos ceremonial leader. The leader, or oba, isn’t popular with some Nigerians who see him as a product of the country’s often corrupt politics. Opulence and grinding poverty are in close contact in Lagos, a city of some 20 million, and the inequality sharpens Nigerians' grievances. After touring the battered city, the governor told reporters he was “very traumatized” and that “we lost people in several parts of the city.” He didn't give details. “Enough is enough,” he said. “We need to heal ourselves.” He said the curfew would begin easing Saturday morning and a panel looking into the unrest would begin receiving petitions on Monday. And yet nerves were frayed. Near the scene of Tuesday's shooting, police shouted, then fired into the air, to stop a convoy carrying the body of a Muslim who had died overnight; the cause of death was not clear. After questioning by police, the mourners were allowed to continue, to go on and bury the dead. ___ Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed. Sam Olukoya And Lekan Oyekanmi, The Associated Press
China has vowed to retaliate if the U.S. proceeds with the sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan worth more than a billion dollars. The statement from China’s defence ministry gave no specifics, but the development marks a further deterioration in ties between Beijing and Washington that have hit their lowest ebb in decades. The statement issued late Thursday night demanded the cancellation of the sale and an end to all interactions between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries in order to “avoid serious repercussions for relations between China and the U.S. and their armed forces and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged many long-term care homes across Ontario. Now a set of urgent recommendations has been released early by the province's independent commission into long-term care. Shallima Maharaj reports.