N Korea names sharp-tongued army figure as foreign minister

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — North Korea has named a sharp-tongued former army officer with little foreign policy experience as its top diplomat, in a possible indication it will take a harder line with Washington in stalled nuclear negotiations.

Ri Son Gwon's new title as foreign minister was disclosed Friday in a Korean Central News Agency dispatch that said he attended a reception for foreign diplomats in Pyongyang the previous day. South Korean and other outside media outlets have recently reported North Korea informed foreign diplomats in Pyongyang of Ri's job last week.

In his speech at the banquet, “Comrade Ri Son Gwon said that the Korean people have turned out in the general offensive to break through head-on the barriers to the advance of socialist construction by dint of self-reliance ... and made public the foreign policy stand of the (North Korean) government," KCNA said.

Ri, an outspoken retired army colonel who previously headed a government body responsible for relations with South Korea, has taken part in numerous inter-Korean military talks over the past 15 years. But Ri, who is also an alternate member of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, lacks experience in negotiations with the United States and other countries.

In South Korea, he is most known for what were seen as rude remarks to South Korean businessmen visiting Pyongyang in September 2018. While they were eating naengmyeon, Korean traditional cold noodles, Ri asked them: “Are naengmyeon going down your throats?” in apparent dissatisfaction with a lack of progress in efforts to promote inter-Korean economic projects, according to South Korean officials and lawmakers. Many conservatives in South Korea strongly criticized him.

Ri replaced Ri Yong Ho, a career diplomat with broad experiences who had taken part in nuclear negotiations with the United States since early 2018. It wasn’t immediately known what happened to Ri Yong Ho, whose name was last mentioned in KCNA last August.

Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea's private Sejong Institute said Ri Son Gwon’s appointment signalled North Korea would further harden its stance toward the U.S. and bolster a push to cement its position as a nuclear state.

“From now on, it’s difficult to expect meaningful progress in North Korea-U.S. diplomacy,” Cheong said.

Nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea have progressed little since the breakdown of the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February 2019. Kim recently said North Korea would strengthen its nuclear arsenal and unveil a new “strategic weapon” after the U.S. failed to meet a year-end deadline set by him to make concessions.

A senior State Department official told reporters Wednesday that Washington was aware of Ri Son Gwon’s reported appointment and hopes North Korea will understand the importance of resuming diplomacy.

“There’s nothing to be gained by not talking. It’s only to their benefit, so we encourage them to talk,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly to the matter. “It is slow, patient, steady diplomacy. We’re going to stick with that plan.”

___

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

  • School bus draped with message targets UK's Prince Andrew
    News
    The Canadian Press

    School bus draped with message targets UK's Prince Andrew

    LONDON — A yellow school bus with a banner depicting the face of Britain's Prince Andrew drove past Buckingham Palace on Friday, urging him to testify in the investigation of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.The stunt organized by American lawyer Gloria Allred sought to pressure Queen Elizabeth II's son to reveal what he might know about the disgraced financier. Allred represents some of Epstein's victims and has demanded that Andrew co-operates.The message, featuring pictures of Andrew, said: "If you see this man please ask him to call the FBI to answer their questions."Andrew has stepped back from royal duties following a catastrophic BBC interview in which he categorically denied having sex with a teenager who says she was trafficked by Epstein. Britain’s newspapers and social media commentators slammed the royal for defending his friendship with Epstein and for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex-offender’s victims.U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters in January that Andrew has provided “zero co-operation” to the FBI and U.S. prosecutors seeking to speak with him about Epstein.The statement by Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, was the first official confirmation that the leading U.S. law enforcement agency had sought — and failed — to obtain evidence from Andrew, third child of the monarch, despite his pledge to co-operate with legitimate law enforcement agencies.Andrew was reported to be "angry and bewildered" at the comments by American authorities, with the Telegraph quoting a source as saying: "The duke is more than happy to talk to the FBI but he hasn't been approached by them yet."The American prosecutors have since stood by their statements.The FBI declined to comment.The Associated Press

  • Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal

    EDMONTON — The head of the Alberta Medical Association says it's preparing for a court fight after the province cancelled its master agreement this week and announced a new pay and benefits deal."Absolutely we are taking legal action," Dr. Christine Molnar said Friday in an interview. "I see this as a fundamental violation of our right for representation."She said that denying doctors binding arbitration is violating their rights under the Canada Health Act and the charter."This is not the environment that we wanted," Molnar said. "We wanted to work collaboratively with the government to get sustainable health care for Albertans."Molnar said different legal firms are exploring a possible challenge, but it may be difficult. While the AMA bargains for doctors, it is not a union."We are not protected under labour legislation. And so nothing we do legally is going to be easy, that's for sure," she said.Molnar made the comments a day after Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Alberta was terminating the master agreement, even though the current deal doesn't end until March 31.Shandro said the current $5.4-billion yearly compensation for doctors won't change. But he said new fee and billing rules will be put in place April 1 to prevent an estimated extra $2 billion being added in the next three years to the physician budget.The United Conservative government had said the changes are manageable because Alberta doctors make more than physicians in other provinces, taking in almost $390,000 in gross clinical earnings in 2018-19 — $90,000 more than doctors in Ontario.The AMA disputes those numbers, saying they are based on faulty comparisons.It said it commissioned its own study that found Alberta doctors get $386,000 a year on average, which is more than the national average of $346,000, but reflects the reality that wages across Alberta's job spectrum are higher."We are not out of line (on wages)," Molnar said.She said there is a shortage of physicians in Canada and Shandro's plan risks seeing doctors leaving Alberta.She also said she is hearing from family practitioners who are crunching the numbers. They say the new changes, including fee reductions for extra-long visits by complex-needs patients, mean they will lose money.Dr. Bailey Adams told reporters she is looking at having to cut office expenses and change patient visit rules to keep the doors of her family practice open under the new fee rules."I'm drafting letters to my patients today that say, 'I'm sorry. From now on, you get to discuss one concern per visit.' And on average right now, I'm discussing three to seven concerns per visit," said Adams, who spoke at an Opposition NDP news conference.The province cancelled the master agreement using powers it granted itself in legislation passed last fall. The move followed failed negotiations with the AMA.Molnar said the association had offered savings of $150 million a year and was preparing to ask for arbitration when Shandro cancelled the agreement.Premier Jason Kenney, speaking to reporters in Calgary, said even with looming changes to physician pay in the province, Alberta's doctors will still be the best compensated in Canada."If (doctors) want to leave the province with the best compensation and the lowest taxes, I hope they wouldn't do so, but it wouldn't be very sensible," Kenney said. "It wouldn't be a very logical decision to make."Alberta has more than 10,800 doctors split evenly between general practitioners and specialists. Most work in urban areas.— With files from Bill Graveland in CalgaryThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

  • Ottawa, province, First Nations sign deal to protect southern mountain caribou
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ottawa, province, First Nations sign deal to protect southern mountain caribou

    VANCOUVER — A historic agreement to save endangered southern mountain caribou in northeast British Columbia has been recognized as reconciliation in action, coming on the same day tensions peaked in Canada over Indigenous land rights and resource developments that have resulted in blockades and arrests.Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Friday the agreement represents bold action to support the survival and recovery of an iconic caribou population, which is down to 230 animals, but he also said the deal represents successful co-operation on a challenging issue."This is a very good day," he said during a news conference. "This agreement is a model for caribou recovery efforts across this country. By entering into this partnership agreement, we are supporting reconciliation as well as environmental stewardship."The federal and B.C. governments along with the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations signed the long-awaited agreement to protect the endangered herd in the Dawson Creek area of B.C.Wilkinson said the 30-year partnership agreement includes habitat recovery measures, maternal penning to protect young caribou from predators and a commitment to protect 700,000 hectares of critical habitat.Saulteau Chief Ken Cameron said the agreement sends a message that goes beyond the caribou habitat and should be viewed as a signal that respectful negotiation and co-operation produces results."Most Canadians, and myself included, are starting to wonder if there was anything real to the word reconciliation," said Cameron. "Today is an example that we can achieve reconciliation."In Ottawa on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the rail barricades — erected in support of Wet'suwet'in hereditary chiefs' opposition to a natural gas pipeline in their territory — had to come down and the onus was on the chiefs to come to the table.Wet'suwet'in Nation Chief Woos responded, saying they agree to negotiate, as long as the RCMP leaves their territory in northern B.C. and the pipeline builder, Coastal Gas Link, stops its work.Chief Roland Willson, of the West Moberly First Nations, said his people have deep spiritual and survival links to the caribou and now that the species is struggling to survive, the time has come to help the threatened animals."We are interconnected with them," he said. "They are a part of our lives. They were there for us when we needed them. We have to be there for them now."Local residents have voiced concern about the impact the caribou recovery plan may have on their communities.A West Moberly issued a statement saying "the partnership agreement will not close hiking, fishing or camping sites in the back country, and will not shut down mills, mines, or pipelines."B.C. Forests Ministry statistics estimate the province's caribou numbers have dropped from about 40,000 animals over the last century to about 15,000. Southern mountain caribou populations now total fewer than 3,100. The central group of southern mountain caribou has about 230 animals.The partnership deal focuses on saving the central herd, but the federal and B.C. government reached a bilateral agreement to work towards protecting the remaining herds, said Wilkinson.The minister acknowledged the negotiation process to reach the deal created issues among communities and industries in the northeast over concerns the protection plan would hurt business and restrict recreational land access."We certainly recognize the challenges and some of the legitimate concerns raised on this issue over the past year by local communities and industry and that is why we are working together to directly support affected communities and industries through a range of measures," said Wilkinson.B.C.'s forest industry said it supports caribou recovery efforts, but the agreement will result in fewer areas to work and could hurt local economies."We are deeply disappointed that the separate partnership agreement signed today permanently removes a significant amount of fibre from the timber harvesting land base and creates additional operational uncertainty," said a joint statement from the BC Council of Forest Industries and the Forest Products Association of Canada.B.C.'s Opposition Liberals said the plan ignores residents of rural B.C. who believe protecting caribou was placed ahead of their livelihoods and recreational interests. The Liberals say the deal was largely negotiated without input from local governments and industry officials."Moving ahead without any meaningful input from the general public shows (Premier) John Horgan's disregard for this entire region of B.C.," said the area's Liberal MLA Mike Bernier in a statement.Horgan appointed former Liberal cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom last year to review those concerns and make recommendations to the government, but Lekstrom recently quit, saying the New Democrats were not prepared to reopen the deal to allow more local participation.The agreement was praised by environmental groups who say habitat destruction has put caribou on the brink of extinction.Wilderness Committee caribou campaigner Charlotte Dawe said the plan makes caribou recovery its top priority."I look forward to the day when Chief Ken Cameron and Chief Roland Willson can watch as caribou migrate over hilltops in the high hundreds, a sight that hasn't been seen in the Peace region for decades," she said in a statement.B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson called the deal historic."The caribou is a keystone species, an indicator of the health of the land," he said.— By Dirk Meissner in Victoria.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 21, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    It shouldn't be a crime to raise funeral money through lotteries, raffles, MLA says

    Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak is asking the government of Nunavut to check itself on how it regulates legal, or illegal, fundraisers done through lotteries and raffles.  Earlier this week the Department of Community and Government Services issued a public service announcement to warn Nunavummiut that lotteries and raffles held without a government- or municipality-issued license are illegal. Under the Nunavut Lotteries Act only charitable organizations, non-profits and religious groups are allowed to run lotteries. That means people who hold 50/50s, bingos or the like without a licence can be prosecuted. "Individuals who wish to fundraise for personal reasons through raffles are not eligible for a lottery licence," the announcement reads. "If you are concerned of possible fraud from an unlicensed lottery, please contact your local RCMP detachment."Angnakak said fraudsters and scammers should be prosecuted, and lotteries shouldn't be used to pay for "Vegas vacations" or "buying a new truck." But, given the high crime rates and serious violence seen in the territory, Angnakak questioned the wisdom of having law enforcement penalize people who are raising money for a good cause. "When it comes to desperate people who are looking to raise a few dollars to help with funeral-related expenses or travelling to be with a dying relative we need to take a more humane approach," she said. "Prosecuting someone in these circumstances is not the best use of our governments time and resources."When Angnakak asked Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak for his opinion on the regulation of unlicensed lottery and raffles in communities, he said, "I believe it's my right not to state an opinion on this issue." Kusugak was also unaware of any prosecuted offences related to unlicensed lotteries within the last year.  Angnakak called the current Lotteries Act out of date, it having been brought in from the Northwest Territories and only updated a few times. She asked to see an overhaul of the act, and for lottery games and fundraisers that are common in Nunavut, like Chase the Ace, to be reflected in those changes.

  • Places for pot: Edmonton to look at options for cannabis cafes
    News
    CBC

    Places for pot: Edmonton to look at options for cannabis cafes

    Edmonton will take its first real look at licensing cannabis cafes next week, though currently such establishments are not legal in Alberta nor anywhere in Canada. The provincial Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act would have to be revised before municipalities can approve business licences. The city released a report Thursday presenting three models, when or if the rules are relaxed. The first scenario would allow patrons to consume cannabis edibles in a stand-alone facility, another would allow both cannabis edibles and alcohol in the same location and a third option would allow patrons to consume cannabis in the same venue, but in a separate room from alcohol. Smoking or vaping cannabis inside would not be allowed. Edmonton city councillor Mike Nickel asked administration last November to look at other jurisdictions that allow cafes, to outline the economic benefits of such a business and present the regulations needed to put them in place. Nickel sees the potential for new business and jobs in Edmonton.  "There's value-added manufacturing because I'm also interested in people actually making product, you know, to be consumed be it drinks or cakes or whatever — brownies whatever — but they have to have a safe place for them to actually consume."The city report notes that a stand-alone cannabis cafe with no alcohol would likely result in the most economic benefit, as new sites would require construction and specialized service. Several U.S. states have cannabis lounges, including California, Alaska and Michigan. The states listed in the report separate cannabis consumption from alcohol. They have other regulations, such as requiring lounges to be 600 feet from a daycare, school or youth centre. Health Canada said the federal government is required to review the Cannabis Act by Oct. 17, 2021 — three years after went into effect.  A report outlining the results of the review must be tabled in Parliament within 18 months, no later than Apr. 17, 2023.But allowing lounges is really up to the provinces."While a personal chef, restaurant or commercial kitchen could seek a federal licence to produce edible cannabis products for commercial purposes, they would not be able to sell those products to the public without a provincial or territorial licence," Health Canada said. A spokesperson for the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance Ministry, which oversees cannabis legislation, told CBC News that the minister has no plans to review the act. John Carle, executive director of the Alberta Cannabis Council, a non-profit working to raise awareness on the industry, said it's not clear yet if there's strong interest in starting such lounges."I don't know who's going to be that first company to take that first step because someone's got to break the mould here and it just seems like everyone's waiting for everyone else to do it."Nickel said the hospitality industry will be a key player in paving the way for legal cannabis cafes and that someone from industry needs to present a business case to the city.In turn, the city can lobby the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, which enforces the provincial legislation and can suggest changing the rules. Council's community and public services committee is scheduled to review the city report at a meeting Feb. 26.    @natashariebe

  • 'Like losing a family member': Community mourns loss of Jane and Finch rec centre to fire
    News
    CBC

    'Like losing a family member': Community mourns loss of Jane and Finch rec centre to fire

    Residents in the Jane and Finch area say their community has lost its heart.A fire ripped through Firgrove Learning and Innovation Community Centre (FLICC) last week, leaving kids without a place to gather and organizers scrambling to keep programs running.The space is a non-profit community centre that opened in 2008.Now, those who loved the facility are wondering what will be done with the building."To see this gone, its very hard," said 13-year-old Tahmya Anderson as she fought back tears. Anderson says she's been going to the recreation centre with her mom since the building opened."Now she picks me up from school and we go home and there's nothing really to do," she said. Watch: Jane and Finch community mourns the loss of their recreation centre to a devastating fireThe space was home to after school programs for children, community sewing circles for adults, computer literacy classes, virtual learning and food banks.Janessa Dacosta, 9, is one of the many children who say they've benefited from those after school programs. Dacosta has been going to FLICC since she was five years old."It was fun for me and I could do a lot of stuff. I loved drawing but now I have to find somewhere else to do that," she said. Dacosta says she cried when she saw the building burning because it reminded her of the drawings she had posted on walls inside.Many of the people who frequented the rec centre consider themselves part of an extended family, said Christine Prevedel, an after-school program co-ordinator. "As soon as the school bell rang, this is where everybody was going to be," she said.Vanesha Cardwell has spent 17 years in the neighbourhood and says it was a safe space for many youth.  "Many young people that were affected by gang violence or problems at home, they would come to the rec centre to talk to someone about it, they were heard," she said.'It's like losing someone'Executive Director Lorraine Anderson, who is also Tahmya Anderson's mother, is still coming to terms with what happened.She hasn't been back to the building since it burned through the night on Feb. 12."It's like losing someone. It's like losing a family member, what this centre has inside is a lot of memories, a lot of love, a lot of care," she said. It took just two hours for the blaze to burn through 12 years of work. Everything from the children's artwork to newly donated soccer equipment to computers were lost, says Anderson. Now staff faces a tough logistical challenge."Finding new spaces to hold homework help, family barbecues, summer camps and food banks are going to be really hard but we just go day-by-day," she said.  An uncertain futureFor now, programs like the women's exercise group are running in an adjacent building, while kids do school work in the next room.Meanwhile, the blaze is still under investigation by Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal and Toronto fire services.It is believed it began in a computer room, firefighters said, though it remains unclear how it may have started.Anderson says the building is likely going to be demolished as a result of the city's Jane Finch revitalization project. Toronto Community Housing says it's assessing the damage to see just how bad it is before deciding on what to do next."We do know it's an important part of the community so we're going to be looking at things with that in mind" said Bruce Malloch, TCH's director of strategic communications.

  • Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' readies for Garden visit
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' readies for Garden visit

    NEW YORK — Actor Kyle Scatliffe has gone to Madison Square Garden plenty of times — for a Rangers game, a Muse concert and a WWE event. Next week, he's going back again, but this time he won't be in the seats.Scatliffe on Wednesday will be starring in the hit Broadway play “To Kill a Mockingbird” when it relocates to the Garden for an exclusive, one-time-only performance in front of 18,000 public school children.It will mark the first time a Broadway play has been performed at the venue nicknamed “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” which is home to the New York Knicks and Rangers and has hosted concerts by members of the Beatles, boxing bouts between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali and “The Concert for Bangladesh” benefit show in 1971.“This building means a lot to me,” said Scatliffe, whose dad is a huge Knicks fan. “It's really incredible to be the first play to ever do a show here. It's lights out. I'm very excited.”The play's usual Broadway home is the 1,435-seat Shubert Theatre, where it is routinely sold out. But on Wednesday, thousands of middle and high school students from all five boroughs will get to see it for free, courtesy of the Scott Rudin-led production and James L. Dolan, executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company. The tickets are being distributed by the city's education department."To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and has been widely praised as a sensitive portrait of racial tension in 1930s Alabama. At its core is Atticus Finch, a lawyer called upon to defend a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.Scatliffe said the story has stood the test of time and hopes it will inspire the students. “I'm hoping they get something out of this that they never thought they would. Theater is a transformative art. You can transform people's minds, you can transform hearts. You can bring them into a world they've never seen before and never thought they would see.”The entire current Broadway cast will be present, led by Ed Harris as Finch. They've been performing the show on Broadway regularly while also practicing for the Garden show in a warehouse in Long Island City. They've worked on the special show two days a week for the past five weeks.Lee's iconic book has been adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin, who cut the undergrowth of minor characters and enhanced others, particularly the maid Calpurnia and Tom Robinson, the man falsely accused of rape, played by Scatliffe.Sorkin is a New Yorker who has been to Knicks and Rangers games as well as concerts at the Garden. “My first play was done in a 99-seat church basement. And I was thrilled. I'd made it," he said. “So this is beyond my wildest dreams.”While Sorkin's script hasn't been altered, the staging has had to adapt to the cavernous space. Eight cameras will capture the action and beam it onto the Garden's curved scoreboard so everyone can see the action.For many in the audience, “To Kill a Mockingbird” may be their first live play and their first encounter with the story. ”I hope that this is the first of many, many plays that they see," said Sorkin.Russell Harvard, a deaf actor who plays two characters in the production, called it a huge milestone. “For the students to be able to witness this and have that experience and leave with maybe aspirations of becoming an actor someday in the future, I really couldn't ask for anything more.”___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press

  • Tragedy stole Aly Jenkins from her family, the sport she loved is helping them heal
    News
    CBC

    Tragedy stole Aly Jenkins from her family, the sport she loved is helping them heal

    MOOSE JAW, Sask. — It was supposed to be Aly Jenkins's moment.The promising Saskatchewan curler so badly wanted to wear her provincial colours one day and play in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada's crown jewel for women's curling.But on that first Sunday of competition at this year's tournament it was Jenkins's husband, Scott, and their three children who stood at ice level inside Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Sask. Aly Jenkins wasn't there. But her presence could be felt by everyone inside the arena."It was a tough decision to come," Scott said this week. "I think she'd be proud. I think she might think I would just fold maybe and not come. But she always pushed me to do these things so that's why I'm doing it."It had been just four months since Aly had died giving birth to the couple's third child. She had suffered an amniotic embolism, a rare complication during childbirth and almost unthinkable for a healthy 30-year-old.It sent a chill through the curling community.WATCH | Devin Heroux reports on Aly Jenkins' story for The National:In the days that followed, people from across Saskatchewan, Canada and around the world rallied around Scott and his family, doing whatever they could to help him make it to the next day."I can't thank them enough," Scott said. "I wish there was a way I could thank every single one, and help them with something they're struggling with."This past Sunday, at the opening weekend of this year's Scotties, Curling Canada honoured Aly.WATCH | Tribute for Aly Jenkins:In front of a capacity crowd, Scott, his four-year-old son Brady, one-year-old daughter Avery, and new baby Sydney courageously walked out onto the ice surface area in front of a crowd of thousands.  Scott held Brady, with Aly's former curling teammates holding Sydney and Avery nearby. They played a video tribute honouring her, highlighting Aly's love of curling, zest for life and infectious smile. Tears streamed down their faces as photos of Aly flashed across the screen inside the arena.It was devastating and beautiful.Scott had to be there. For Aly. For his healing process. And to help his kids know their mom."Just trying not to let them forget. That's my biggest worry right now is them forgetting her," Scott said. "They ask about mom. Not as much lately which scares me."The 'miracle' babyOctober 20 was supposed to be the perfect day.It was Scott's birthday. It was also the day Aly, a physiotherapist, went into labour.Scott doesn't want to revisit it. But all he does is revisit it, over and over in his mind — their drive to the hospital, being in the delivery room and then the chaos that followed."We were joking and laughing when we arrived. It was my birthday. So we were talking about having the same birthday and all the stuff and trying to have this baby on the same day. She was all excited for that," Scott said."Everything switched in a hurry."Aly was in a lot of pain. She quickly got an epidural. But nothing was getting rid of her severe pain. Her heart rate started dropping. Aly was having trouble breathing."All of a sudden in the blink of an eye everything just dropped," Scott said. "She had a seizure and all the machines were dinging and ringing. They grabbed me and I went out to the hallway and I collapsed. They had nurses on me and then I saw them take her away.""It was the last time I saw her," Scott said. One doctor came in and told me when Aly passed away, for some reason, everything started to change with Sydney. \- Scott JenkinsFor hours doctors tried everything to save Aly, pumping litre after litre of blood into her. Nothing worked. While that horrifying situation was unfolding doctors were also trying to save the baby."Sydney wasn't breathing for the first two minutes or three minutes," Scott recalled.Sydney had no brain function. Her lungs weren't working. It wasn't looking good."I was running up and down floors to try to meet doctors," Scott said. "I remember every second of it. It's crazy."And then a miracle moment."One doctor came in and told me when Aly passed away, for some reason, everything started to change with Sydney," Scott said.Sydney started breathing.WATCH | Curling helping Aly Jenkins's family ease the pain:Doctors thought Sydney would be in the hospital for at least 30 days recovering, hooked up to machines. Scott left the hospital nine days later with a healthy "miracle baby.""She's the last person that was with Aly. I see so much of her in Sydney. She's a fighter like her mom," he said.Picking up the piecesScott, 31, is now adjusting to life as a single father, on leave from his sales job with a construction company.In his Warman, Sask., home he's filling bottles, changing diapers, playing mini sticks, trying to maintain normalcy for kids who need love and fun. The routine of parenthood, but underlying it all, his grief. There are two TVs, one for Avery's cartoons and one for Brady's shows. Sometimes Scott is able to watch sports late at night if he doesn't fall asleep on the couch after another exhausting day.He's finally getting a routine down, but wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of his parents and Aly's parents who drop by the house on a daily basis."They've been amazing. I couldn't have done without them. Just the daily challenges," Scott said. "I can't just curl up in bed and sulk. We have three kids so I keep pushing."But he has his moments. When all he wants to do is cry. Avery is too young to know what's happening right now. But Brady is acutely aware of his dad's feelings, stepping up to help as much as he can."He's an eight-year-old in a four-year-old body. He doesn't complain about anything. He'll help me with the bottles and diapers. He cleans up. Avery is my little Aly. She's feisty just like her mom," Scott said.   "We have our moments. I try to keep it away from them as much as possible when I'm upset."Brady knows. He always says we're okay, and gives a hug. It's special."Back to the ScottiesEverywhere Scott turns he's reminded of his high school sweetheart.The two met when they were in Grade 11 during a golf tournament in Waskesiu, Sask. They immediately fell in love.For the next number of years, Scott would drive four hours almost every week from Prince Albert, Sask. to Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., where Aly grew up, to spend the weekend with her. They had been inseparable ever since."We were drawing up something pretty perfect," Scott said.Five years ago, in February 2015, the two made the drive together from Warman to Moose Jaw and dreamed of their future.It was the previous time the Scotties was held in Saskatchewan. Scott remembers the drive along the expansive prairie landscape with Aly like it was yesterday."She was so excited. Her dream was to make it and I knew she would have one day for sure," he said.They spent that week in the Mosaic Place stands together, laughing, cheering, and imagining Aly being on the ice one day."I know exactly where we were sitting," Scott said, pointing to the spot. "Across the rink. Right over there."This week, Scott had to make the drive without her. As he walked up to the arena with Avery in his arms and Brady walking beside him holding his hand, Scott shared memories with them of that time with Aly."That connection to curling is going to keep it together for sure," Scott said. "It's forever going to be attached with mom and curling,"Not long after Scott and his family arrived, he was met by Rachel Homan, the three-time Scotties champion from Ottawa.She gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, this past summer, and news of Aly's death hit her in a visceral way. She immediately reached out to Scott and the pair had remained in contact, Homan offering whatever support she could.On this day, the two hugged each other on the Mosaic Place concourse with their two babies in their arms."It's devastating and emotional so I just wanted to reach out to see if there was anything I could do to support or help," Homan said.  "Being through a similar experience but obviously a different ending.  I just can't even imagine going through that."Homan is the skip of Team Ontario. They decided to put stickers with Aly's name on their brooms to honour her throughout this year's tournament.It's little things like this that keeps Scott going."The curling community is quite amazing and I'm so grateful to be a part of it," Scott said. "We're all a big family."Aly's teammates were her second family.Nancy Martin and Sherry Anderson were two of the last curlers to be on the ice with her. They came within a shot of making it to the Scotties in 2019 — they so badly wanted to play a role in helping Aly achieve her dream."I think you saw probably on our faces when we lost last year she was down and beside me and the tears were rolling," Martin said. "It was heartbreaking to lose that game. You always think there's another year." You wanted her to experience the joy of the win and getting to go and play in the Scotties. \- Sherry Anderson, Jenkins's former teammateAnderson has been to the Scotties a number of times; she knows what it takes to win at that level. And she knew Aly was good enough to one day be there."You wanted her to experience the joy of the win and getting to go and play in the Scotties because that is every female's dream in Canada, to go to the Scotties and perform. So, it was hard."The two have kept in touch with Scott and the kids, helping out as much as they can. And like Scott, Martin and Anderson have been overwhelmed by how the curling community has rallied together in the wake of this tragedy."I think the one thing that blew me away was it was curlers. Friends of friends of friends curlers who didn't know Aly that reached out to us and it really made me realize what a small community we have really," Martin said.  "We all have each other's back."Keeping Aly's memory aliveIn Scott's bedroom, in the corner beside the bed, sits a duffel bag.Scott points to it, the emotions beginning to bubble up inside him."She packed that before going to the hospital," he says.Aly's previous two deliveries were lengthy and so she wanted to be prepared for her third.Scott can't bring himself to open the bag to see what's inside.Some days are better than others. But there are these daily moments, out of nowhere, where he's hit by the reality that Aly isn't there to watch their three beautiful children grow up."Every day it's something. And that's what hurts. Avery started to talk a lot more and little things like that set me off because it's just stuff that I wish Aly could have witnessed."I see them growing up and doing things their mom would've been so proud of."He has her phone. Aly recorded moments together with Brady and Avery — at the park, at the curling rink, in the kitchen with the kids. Scott will watch those videos from time to time to remind him of her.Aly loved being a mom."She kept the family together. I have to learn so many new things now. She took care of everything around this family."And in some ways she's still taking care of them, through the community she leaves behind, and the rinks that were her second home.

  • Roman Forum find could be shrine to Rome's founder, Romulus
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Roman Forum find could be shrine to Rome's founder, Romulus

    ROME — Italian archaeologists unveiled to the press Friday an exciting new find from the Roman Forum, which they say could be the lost shrine dedicated some 2,600 years ago to Romulus, Rome's legendary founder and first king.Visually, the discovery first announced Tuesday is not very remarkable: Peering down in an excavated space beneath the Curia Julia, or ancient senate house, one sees something resembling a stone washtub that archaeologists say is a sarcophagus, or stone coffin. There's also a cylindrical stone block, possibly an altar.Both items are made of tuff, carved from the Capitoline Hill that overlooks the Forum, and which is home to today's City Hall.The recently excavated area “represents a place, which in history and in the Roman imagination, speaks about the cult of Romulus.” said archaeologist Patrizia Fortini.Fortini says no one's hypothesizing the sarcophagus actually ever contained the bones of Romulus who, with his twin Remus, established the city near the Tiber River around 753 B.C. and founded the kingdom of Rome. It likely dates to the 6th Century BC, some 200 years after Romulus' time.“We don't know whether Romulus physically existed" the way he was described in legends, Fortini said.But some ancient sources claimed that Romulus was buried in the area of the find, and the sarcophagus could have served as a memorial.Alfonsina Russo, the archaeologist in charge of the site, noted that according to some ancient traditions Romulus was killed and chopped to pieces, or ascended into heaven.“Therefor this cannot be his tomb, but it is very likely, we believe, that this is a memorial site, a cenotaph,” Russo added.While excavations continue, authorities hope the public will be able to stroll underground to view the find in about two years.Legends hold that Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf as babies, but later Romulus killed his twin brother in a dispute over the founding of Rome.Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press

  • New project aims to inform Islanders on legal consequences of cyberbullying and sexting
    News
    CBC

    New project aims to inform Islanders on legal consequences of cyberbullying and sexting

    A new project aiming to better inform youth and caregivers on the legal elements of cyberbullying and sexting is seeking public input. Community Legal Information is behind the project called Sexting, Cyberbullying and the Criminal Code.The project will also include information about forming healthy relationships and decision-making skills.Sarah Dennis, a project manager with the organization, said the group has already conducted one focus group with youth. Now, the organization is looking to conduct focus groups with caregivers, she said.Dennis said the hope is to get a sense of what the landscape of cyberbullying and sexting looks like on the Island from different perspectives.Videos and other resourcesOnce the information is gathered, the organization plans to rollout three videos and a workshop geared toward youth in Grades 7 to 9,  she said.  Social media has been so integrated into our daily lives that maybe we don't think about the consequences of a simple post before we make it. — Sarah Dennis"It's been identified that sexting and cyberbullying is a reality for youth on P.E.I., and this project will deliver, you know, tangible resources that people can go to and reference to be able to get the facts in a plain language way," she said. Dennis said the plan also includes a youth advisory committee which will oversee the project. "The role there is to ensure that the information that we put out into the community is vetted through a youth lens so that it has more impact on the community."'We don't think about the consequences'Youth who want to get involved must be between 12 and 18 years of age and should expect to commit to about six hours of their time to meet with organizers. The caregiver focus group is expected to take about two hours and involve one session. "Social media has been so integrated into our daily lives that maybe we don't think about the consequences of a simple post before we make it. Maybe with these resources it'll give people pause to think about what they're posting before they do." Resources from the project will be rolled out over the next two years, Dennis said. More from CBC P.E.I.

  • 'I started crying, I started dancing': Rencontre student wins $100K scholarship
    News
    CBC

    'I started crying, I started dancing': Rencontre student wins $100K scholarship

    Lydia Hardy of Rencontre East, roughly 200 kilometres south of Grand Falls-Windsor, won a scholarship valued at $100,000 — now she's ready to do for the world what she did for small-town Newfoundland.Rencontre East has a population of less than 150, but now can boast that one of their own is among the most recent Loran Scholar recipients, a four-year award for undergraduates who show character, service and leadership.When it comes to living in a tiny community, Hardy said people don't often speak about their struggles in rural communities where everybody knows everybody. She was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 11 years old. That same year she came out as bi-sexual."Right now I'm still the only openly gay person living in my community," she said."A lot of people haven't had exposure to the LGBT community, but I found them generally accepting and supportive of me."Hardy took things in stride, opting to take the reins and lead the charge in breaking the stigma within her community. She successfully obtained a government grant to renovate her school's bathrooms to double as safe spaces. Hardy has worked summer jobs with MOWI, a Norwegian-based seafood company, her local town council and is an advocate for human rights.But, now it's time for Hardy to leave behind her tightknit community, at least for the time being, but the dedicated student says she's ready to go, albeit with fond memories."Growing up as a kid in Rencontre, we just had all the freedom in the world. There was never any safety issues. Everyone was family," Hardy, a student of St. Stephen's All Grade, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show."I've learned the most valuable life lessons here ... but I'm ready to move on now to bigger things."  Almost 5,200 applicantsThe award gives Hardy an annual living stipend and matching tuition from one of Loran Scholar's 25 partner universities, plus summer internship funding, one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to connect with other "high-potential" youth through the foundation's gatherings.She was flying home from Toronto — where the 88 finalists had travelled for the last part of the scholarship's selection process — and she got stuck in Montreal due to flight cancellations. It was then she got the call that was one of the winners. "I dropped to the floor, I started crying, I started dancing," Hardy said.Loran Scholar's Foundation said 5,194 students applied for the 2020 scholarship — only 36 were chosen overall. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • China's leaders say nation yet to turn corner in virus fight
    News
    The Canadian Press

    China's leaders say nation yet to turn corner in virus fight

    BEIJING — China's leadership sounded a cautious note Friday about the country's progress in halting the spread of the new virus that has now killed more than 2,200 people, after several days of upbeat messages.The Politburo, made up of the senior officials of the ruling Communist Party, said the situation in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, remains grave.“We should clearly see that the turning point of the development of the epidemic across the country hasn't arrived yet," the Politburo said at a meeting led by President Xi Jinping and reported by state broadcaster CCTV.The 25-member body said the outbreak has been “preliminarily contained" and urged party committees and governments at all levels to carry out prevention and control work without any relaxation to “win the people's war against the epidemic.”The National Heath Commission earlier reported 889 newly confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total in mainland China to 75,465. The death toll rose by 118 to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 14 deaths have been confirmed elsewhere, from Japan to France.Newly reported infections in China have trended downward in recent days, though changes in how health authorities have counted cases have muddied the true trajectory of the epidemic.“The overall situation is trending towards the better, and the outbreak is under control with zero increase in some provinces," said Zeng Yixin, vice director of National Health Commission. “In Hubei and Wuhan, however, newly reported deaths remain at a high level. We need to take that seriously.”The outbreak began in Wuhan and has hit the city and the rest of Hubei province the hardest.Officials have been sacked in Hubei and other areas after more than 500 cases were diagnosed in prisons, Justice Ministry official He Ping told reporters at a daily briefing.He and other public security officials reiterated that legal measures would be brought against those defying demands to wear masks and take other containment measures.People in China mourned the death of another doctor who had succumbed to the disease Thursday, according to an announcement from the district in which he worked in Wuhan. Peng Yinhua, a respiratory and intensive care physician, was infected last month while treating patients with the illness.Chinese media reported that Peng was 29 years old, which would place him among the youngest to die from COVID-19, the name of the new illness. Most of the fatalities have been people aged 60 and over with underlying medical conditions, according to a report from China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.A newspaper profile of Peng last month said he had postponed his wedding to help fight the epidemic, working day and night to accommodate the influx of patients.He is at least the third doctor to die in China from the illness.Hong Kong reported the first infection of a police officer in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The city has confirmed 69 cases of the virus, with two deaths.The 48-year-old officer had been at a dinner Tuesday with 59 other police officers, who have been placed in quarantine, the force said on its Facebook page. It urged officers to pay attention to hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission.___Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Yanan Wang in Beijing contributed to this report.Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press

  • Survivor: German shooter emptied magazine, calmly walked out
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Survivor: German shooter emptied magazine, calmly walked out

    HANAU, Germany — Piter Minnemann and his friends were eating when they heard shots fired outside the door of the snack bar in Hanau where they had gathered.Minnemann, 18, recalled that he had just got his pizza when the first shots were heard at the Arena Bar. It was the second site targeted in Wednesday night's shooting of nine people by a German man who had posted an online rant calling for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst."“We thought it was a blank gun or something. We thought nothing of it,” he said. “Then the man came in, he fired.”The gunman shot two people before coming into the bar, where “he aimed right at us — he shot the first one in the head,” Minnemann said.A pregnant woman jumped out of the window, he said.“He came, fired, emptied his magazine, then everything was quiet, then he walked out normally," he recalled. “I opened my eyes, I saw that I was alive, I was happy. I asked if people were OK but Edris — I don't know if he's still alive but I think he survived — he had a hole in his throat and he said, ‘I’ve been hit, I’ve been hit,' my other friend Momo was hit in the shoulder.”In all, Hanau native Minnemann said he lost four or five “friends I have known for years.”He spoke to The Associated Press next to a statue of the Brothers Grimm, the collectors of folk and fairy-tales who hailed from Hanau, in the town's main square. That memorial is now festooned with flowers and candles in memory of Wednesday night's victims.“I still can't believe it, in some situations it's as if nothing happened, but when I see the people crying, when I see this, then it becomes true again, ... then you see that it is real," he said. “But otherwise, I can't believe that this happened to us, us of all people, in the very place where we are every day, where we chill out every day.”“I thought it was some kind of gang stuff at first,” Minnemann said. He recalled that there were 12 or 13 people at the scene at the time of the shooting. Many others died, he said — “I was very lucky.”Another witness of the shooting at the Arena Bar told Turkey's Haber television that he and his friends heard five or six shots outside before the gunman entered.“He shot the first people he saw in the head. A man fell to the floor,”Muhammed Beyazkender, who was lying in his hospital bed with a bandaged shoulder, said on Thursday. “Then he fired at all of us. I got shot in the arm while I tried to hide behind the wall.”Beyazkendersaid he lay on the floor on top of someone, and someone then lay on top of him, and someone else then on top of him.“There was a kid underneath me with a hole in his throat,” he said. “The kid said to me: ‘my brother, I cannot feel my tongue; I cannot breathe.’ I said to him, recite the Kalima Shahadat prayer (from the Qur’an). He recited the Kalima Shahadat, he called on everyone to recite it. There was no other sound, just the two of us. I didn’t see him escape or anything.”—-This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of the hospitalized survivor's name. It is Muhammed Beyazkender, not Beyazkender Muhammed.Christoph Noelting, The Associated Press

  • OSSTF president says Ontario protest a 'demonstration of unity'
    Global News

    OSSTF president says Ontario protest a 'demonstration of unity'

    Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation President Harvey Bischof said on Friday that the mass protests happening across Ontario and at Queen's Park in Toronto was a "demonstration of unity" by unions with their membership, as well as the parents and students who support them. The protests are being held the same day all four major school unions are holding a provincewide strike.

  • News
    CBC

    Edmontonians frustrated with cul-de-sac snow clearing

    Winter's end can't come soon enough for some Edmontonians. More people have called 311 to complain about snow removal this winter compared to last, according to city officials who spoke at Wednesday's council meeting. Specific numbers were not provided.Several councillors said they, too, have been getting more complaints about snow removal operations.Of those complaints, many have been from residents who live on a cul-de-sac and are waiting for bladers to come through, said Coun. Andrew Knack."It was about four weeks ago that I started to see a pretty substantial pick up, to the point where I think it's far more than I've seen in any year that I've been on council," said Knack.The cul-de-sac conundrumThe city's approach to snow removal on cul-de-sac streets differs from other roads in the city.Crews clear roads based on the city's snow and ice clearing policy, which is currently a priority-clearing system. But culs-de-sac are not actually part of the policy, according to parks and roads spokesperson Zak Fairbrother.Culs-de-sac are bladed after residential streets, he said. In part, that's because they require special blading equipment.In an emailed statement, Fairbrother said the city currently doesn't have the equipment to blade culs-de-sac "due to the tight-turning radiuses," so a contractor takes on the job. The city did not specify how many culs-de-sac exist in Edmonton; cul-de-sac blading will start next week. We essentially have two standards of treatment. \- Ward 9 Coun. Tim CartmellWard 9 Coun. Tim Cartmell, who has also received numerous complaints, said it's unacceptable for the city to offer substandard snow clearing for residents who live in a cul-de-sac."I do have a concern about where this leads," said Cartmell.  "We essentially have two standards of treatment. One for residential streets and another for residential streets that are cul-de-sacs. It's an equity piece there. It's not clear and at the very least we need to clear that up and clearly communicate to people what they can expect."Cartmell said any future discussions should be about making the city's snow removal policy work for all residents. "Clearly our constituents are not happy with the level of service that is being provided. I think we need to analyze that and examine why our constituents might be feeling that way and how to improve the situation for them," Cartmell said Thursday.Councillors will resume their snow removal discussions Friday morning. City administration will bring any proposed changes to the snow removal policy to council in June.

  • MLA Natalie Jameson hopes to bring 'new perspective' to PC cabinet
    News
    CBC

    MLA Natalie Jameson hopes to bring 'new perspective' to PC cabinet

    Natalie Jameson, MLA for Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, has become the most recent addition to Premier Dennis King's cabinet, being sworn in Friday morning.Jameson was named minister of environment, water and climate change — a portfolio previously held by Brad Trivers, who will stay in cabinet as minister of education and lifelong learning. Jameson was also named as the minister responsible for Charlottetown and for the status of women, absorbing those files from ministers James Aylward and Darlene Compton respectively.She is one of only two women in the PC caucus, and becomes only the second woman in the King cabinet. She's also the only MLA the current PCs have elected in Charlottetown.Oil and gas industry experienceSpeaking immediately after her swearing-in, Jameson said she brings a "new perspective" to cabinet."I have small children, I have renewed energy. I certainly feel that I'm going to add another voice to the table in terms of representing women and of course the residents of Charlottetown," she said.Jameson also brings a decade of experience working in the oil and gas sector in Alberta, work which continued right up until she was elected in July 2019.Now she will take charge of efforts to reduce P.E.I.'s carbon emissions to meet an ambitious new target written into law through a bill passed by the Green Party."I think we all bring a variety of experience and expertise to anything that we do," Jameson said of her work as a recruiter and marketing representative for Obsidian Energy."That to me was 10 years of extremely professional experience where I gained a lot of skills and expertise and I think that fundamentally it'll just help me." Finding 'economic opportunities' in changing environmentAfter reiterating his government's commitment to act on climate change, King outlined the credentials of his new climate change minister. We'll be holding her to account to make sure that she is fulfilling the role. — Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker"The Natalie Jameson that I've come to know in the last year is a passionate Islander," he said. "She is very, very aware, having two young children, the importance of having a healthy environment.… I think her background gives her a unique look at many, many things of course, like all of us. But I'm probably more focused and excited about what she will do moving forward."King said he expects Jameson not just to lead the province in meeting its emission reduction target, but also to help "find the economic opportunities that are wrapped up inside of a changing environment. I want Prince Edward Island to be innovative in leading that charge."For his part, Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker welcomed the news of Jameson's appointment."That work of hers is in the past," said Bevan-Baker. "And I would hope actually that from that part of her life she could bring forward some knowledge of how that sector actually works and to use that effectively and positively in her new role."If the Greens don't feel the new minister is committed to bold action on the environment, Bevan-Baker said the party's reaction would be the same regardless of who the minister is or what's in their work history."We'll be holding her to account to make sure that she is fulfilling the role that she is mandated to do as minister of climate change," he said.Water Act, one of first prioritiesThis has brought King's cabinet to 10 members. That means only three MLAs from his caucus are not cabinet ministers.Jameson was elected in the deferred election held on July 15, 2019. She currently serves on the special committee on poverty.One of Jameson's first tasks will be the proclamation of the Water Act.Last month, then Environment Minister Brad Trivers said when the act is proclaimed it will likely include a continued moratorium on high-capacity wells. That is expected this spring. King introduced his first cabinet less than a year ago, during a ceremony in Georgetown, P.E.I., on May 9, 2019. Shortly after last year's election, the incoming premier suggested a mixed-party cabinet was possible, but in the end he opted for an all-PC cabinet.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • News
    CBC

    Work 'paused' at mine near Yukon-B.C. border, company says

    The owners of the Silvertip mine on the B.C.-Yukon border have suspended operations, citing low prices for lead and zinc.The mine is located 90 kilometres southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, and is owned by Chicago-based Coeur Mining. The company bought it in 2017, a year after the underground mine had gone into production.The company's website says there are 167 employees at Silvertip.A news release from Coeur on Wednesday blames deteriorating zinc and lead markets for the "paused" operations.The market slump "represents significant headwinds to our ability to generate positive cash flow," according to a written statement from company CEO Mitchell Krebs.The release says the company will continue to drill for new deposits at the site, in hopes of extending the mine's life.It does not say when mining and processing activities might resume.According to the release, Coeur will also look into expanding the Silvertip mill to increase production when the mine reopens.The company owns four other mines in North America, including the Kensington gold mine near Juneau, Alaska.

  • News
    CBC

    Alberta family lawyers puzzled by suspension of unified family court project

    The launch of a new unified family court, an initiative to streamline the duplication and complexity of family law cases, has been put on hold indefinitely by the Alberta government. Family lawyers were told about the suspension at Court of Queen's Bench town halls in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday. The project — which would set up a centralized access point for families — was supposed to start in September. Wayne Barkauskas, a family lawyer from Calgary who is a past national family law chair for the Canadian Bar Association, said people were shocked by the news, particularly since they were expecting to hear about a launch date. Instead, they were told how Alberta Justice alerted the Court of Queen's Bench about the suspension on Feb. 14.The reason wasn't immediately clear, but Barkauskas has heard that the province was concerned about a small increase in the costs of support staff. "It doesn't make any sense that the province would delay this as a result of cost implications," Barkauskas said in an interview with CBC News on Thursday. "Actually, it seems counterintuitive."A unified family court would eliminate duplication of resources and judges would be paid by the federal government, which has already committed funding, he said. Clients would also save money on legal costs. Barkauskas said the unified family court was supported by both judges and Alberta family lawyers. He said the current system is in crisis with some cases taking three years to get to court. He said a family could appear before as many as four judges. "So you're trying to explain to four different judges, none of whom talk to each other, about what's going on with the file," Barkauskas said. "Each of these judges play a different part or piece in this puzzle."Suspension a mysteryJonah Mozeson, press secretary for Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, confirmed there were no immediate plans to set up the Alberta Family Court. In an email, he said the federal government had committed to appointing 17 justices, but would not commit to funding support positions. "The idea of a Unified Family Court would have been intended to save taxpayer money and cut red tape. However, these and other ongoing expenditures would have cost Alberta taxpayers millions of dollars a year," Mosezon said. "This would be in addition to the tens of millions of dollars in capital and infrastructure changes in Edmonton and Calgary that would have been required during a time of fiscal restraint."In Canada, federally-appointed judges that sit on provincial superior courts — like Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta — hear matters relating to the Divorce Act. Provincial court judges deal with issues like the separation of common-law couples and child support and custody. Under a unified family court, a judge who specializes in family law would hear everything related to a case. The matter could also go to mediation prior to ending up in the courtroom. The idea of a single court for family matters has been around since the 1970s. Alberta is one of the last Canadian provinces to put the system in place. Calgary-Mountain View MLA Kathleen Ganley, the NDP opposition critic for justice, said most of the work for the unified family court was complete when she was justice minister in the previous government. Like Barkauskas, Ganley says she is confused by the government's decision. "There shouldn't be additional cost to the province," Ganley said in an interview. "In fact, the province should be able to hire more folks because they get back the money from the judges' salaries."Families in distressPatricia Hebert, a family lawyer and mediator in Edmonton, said the suspension was a disappointment. She calls the move a disservice to families trying to navigate a complicated system while they are in personal distress. Many represent themselves at court, she said. "The last thing they need is more confusion trying to determine which level of court is best for them to go to," Hebert said. Streamlining the system means people won't have to go to court as often, she added. "That reduces costs to the court and the court system but that also reduces cost, stress to the family members involved. And that's really who we all are here to serve."Barkauskas is unhappy the suspension appears to have occurred without any consultation. He says the government is disregarding the extent of the crisis in family law. "All of the available resources are being put toward criminal law matters which are also critically important," he said. "But as a result of that, everything in family law is getting pushed back further and further and further and nobody's talking about that. And it's causing some real problems."

  • Armani rails against baring trends by fellow designers
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Armani rails against baring trends by fellow designers

    MILAN — How much to show and how much not to show, that is the fashion question this season.It may be reductive to say that runway shows are about how women dress. But the conversation has sharpened in the MeToo era. Is a sheer dress that reveals the undergarments beneath, however prettily prepared, empowering or exploitative? What about conspicuous displays of skin?Giorgio Armani responded to the question elegantly in the latest collection for his youthful Emporio Armani line, offering women a range of options that are appropriate for their age and shape. The 85-year-old designer also gave a passionate backstage discourse about the body-baring collections of fellow designers, saying he thinks they reveal too much at the expense of women.Some highlights from Friday’s womenswear trends for next fall and winter:EMPORIO ARMANI RAILS AGAINST TRENDSGiorgio Armani railed against colleagues who, in the name of trends, push the limit on revealing garments, enticing women to make choices that might be inappropriate for their age, shape or occasion.‘’We say that women are being raped in a corner. Women continue to be raped by designers,’’ Armani said Friday during a backstage news conference in Milan. Pressed to clarify, he said: ‘’Women can be raped in various ways. Throwing her under a stairwell or suggesting she dresses in a certain way:. For me, that is raping a woman.’’The words were strong, and Armani's press office said later that the 85-year-old designer was speaking metaphorically and passionately about a direction in luxury fashion that he sees as damaging to women’s images.Armani has been dressing women for 45 years. One of his first design successes was a softened suit jacket, a creation that women of that time say was immensely liberating in a way that is difficult to comprehend in the spandex era. He is one of the few designers who, when discussing his collections, makes clear he takes different body shapes into consideration.In that vein, the Emporio Armani line took a stand against trends, targeting youthful dressers who are not necessarily that young. For next fall and winter, he crafted a range of jackets, from long and flowing to short and pleated. Trousers were dressed up with silk draping.The show closed with shimmering cocktail dresses that turned on elegant ruffles and floral constructions. The palette was dark blue and black, as well as deeper shades of peacock blue and emerald green.‘’Trends are nothing,’’ Armani said. ‘’I am trying to improve the woman who is living now.’’His recipe is simple: black works for everyone. ‘’It helps women to acquire allure,’’ he explained. Great legs can carry short skirts. Not so great legs, ‘’a longer skirt with a little movement helps.’’ Leggings are to be avoided for anyone with ‘’a slightly accentuated behind.’’These pearls of wisdom might seem like common sense to people who aren't in the throes of runway trends. But Armani knows their power.‘’I want to give full freedom to women,’’ Armani said. ‘’If they have some common sense, and they do, they know how to manage these possibilities.’’____VERSACE FLUIDITYDonatella Versace is and always has been about the power woman.For the next cold weather season she presented black power suits with sensuous cut-out slashes across the neckline and mini hemlines. Jackets were made from double-bonded textiles, which gave a defined shape: tucked on the waist and bell-shaped over the hips.Evening wear featured looks -- a tuxedo jacket, an evening gown, a rocker satin skirt and bomber jacket -- fastened together not with the Versace safety pins of yore, but with clasps that the press notes said were jewelry-style rings. The effect was sophisticated and sleek. And she got her punk-rocker across in a series of looks in black and red houndstooth.This season was also about menswear, as Versace presented her first-ever co-ed show. Menswear and womenswear were perfectly mirrored, from black business suits to casual sports and knitwear to funky evening wear.The collection was presented against a liquid background of melting Medusas, and that movement was reflected in distorted Barocco prints and geode patterns.The collection had a slightly disorienting touch, due largely to the visual distortions cast on the runway screens. The final message was one of fluidity._____MARNI THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASSMarni designer Francesco Risso appeared to make his collection from scraps -- luxe scraps of leather, brocade and metallic finishes. The looks were a study in patchwork, as if made by a survivor civilization, with matted hair and glitter face paint.The combinations ranged from mini dresses to long Crombie coats. Knitwear panels were stitched together Frankenstein-style. And pretty velvet mini-dresses had long satin panels, while long satin dresses had velvet panel overlays. The final looks of patchwork florals included metallic framed inserts. The art was in the materials and their reconstruction.As if to underline that the collection was a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole, Risso took his bows in a furry rabbit head.Colleen Barry, The Associated Press

  • Avalanche techs say 'rein it in' this weekend in White Pass
    News
    CBC

    Avalanche techs say 'rein it in' this weekend in White Pass

    Avalanche technicians have a message for any Yukoners heading to the White Pass this long Heritage Day weekend: play it extra safe."We're at high avalanche danger at treeline, and also at high avalanche danger in the alpine," said James Minifie, lead avalanche field technician for Avalanche Canada, on Friday morning.Minifie said the area got a big dump of snow on Thursday night, and it was continuing into Friday. It's also been extremely windy, he said. The temperature has also risen in the last few days.He said the team of avalanche technicians is eager to get out in the back country, but it's risky. They've been keeping to more sheltered, "low-angle" places.  "We're chomping at the bit, but this is the time to kind of really kind of rein it in," Minifie said."We really have our guard up at this time, with these with these elevated conditions."The White Pass is a popular weekend destination for many Yukoners who want to ski or snowmobile in the backcountry.

  • Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period
    News
    CBC

    Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period

    Saskatchewan Penitentiary will be back in the spotlight next week as a coroner's inquest probes the circumstances in the death of Curtis Cozart — one of three inmates to die at the Prince Albert-area federal prison in a two-week period in 2017.Little is known about how Cozart, 30, died on May 23, 2017.According to Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice, he was found unresponsive in his cell. Paramedics tried to revive him. He died later in hospital. Shortly after his death, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) said it did not suspect foul play.But the inquest into Cozart's death promises to return the focus to an institution plagued by a series of inmate deaths in one very short period. Two deaths in one dayOnly two weeks after Cozart's death, two other Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmates died on the same day.In the early morning hours of June 7, 2017, Daniel Tokarchuk, 40, was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m., according to Correctional Service Canada. CSC has declined to confirm whether Tokarchuk died of natural causes.Several hours later on the same morning, guards found the body of another inmate, Chris Van Camp, in his cell bed on the prison's maximum security ward.Van Camp's cellmate, Tyler Vandewater, now 31, was recently on trial for second degree murder. He testified he stabbed Van Camp, 37, dozens of times in self defence shortly after midnight.The court heard that guards doing hourly checks thought Van Camp was asleep in his bed.The judge will give his decision in the Vandewater case next monthPreventing future deathsThe inquest into Cozart's death begins Monday morning in Prince Albert. Jurors will be tasked with making recommendations on how to prevent other inmate deaths. It's not a criminal proceeding. Cozart, Tokarchuk and Van Camp's deaths all came only months after a December 2016 Saskatchewan Penitentiary riot that left one inmate dead.Correctional service respondsCBC News reached out to CSC for comment on the fatalities at the prison. "[We take] the death of an inmate very seriously," a spokesperson for the service said. The loss of life is always a tragedy."For all cases of non-natural inmate deaths, CSC convenes an internal board of investigation (BOI). BOIs allow the CSC to examine circumstances of incidents and to present findings and recommendations that may prevent similar occurrences in the future. Any actions that address any areas of concern are considered and implemented accordingly."

  • Former Ontario medical officer of health says it's not surprising to see new outbreaks of COVID-19
    CBC

    Former Ontario medical officer of health says it's not surprising to see new outbreaks of COVID-19

    'We shouldn't panic,' says Dr. Richard Schabas, noting the virus appears to spread slowly and there are ways to defend against it.

  • Housing affordability challenges have NDP calling for swift action
    News
    CBC

    Housing affordability challenges have NDP calling for swift action

    With little notice, Rebecca Sparks and her family found themselves confronted with the growing housing challenge in Halifax Regional Municipality.Sparks, her two teenage children and their dog, were one of seven families that came home this week to the Travelodge in Dartmouth to learn that they had to leave within 48 hours. The message was posted on their door."No letterhead, no signatures, just, 'Unfortunately, your time is up at the Travelodge," she said. "You have until Feb. 21 at noon to be gone.'"It's part of a larger situation members of the NDP caucus have been highlighting in the first two days of the spring sitting at Province House.On Friday, the party introduced legislation for short-term rentals that would require anyone running an Airbnb-style service, regardless of size, to register with the province.The bill, which is unlikely to pass in the Liberal majority legislature, would also require rental platforms to provide information about the obligation of hosts to collect and remit HST.A sliding scale of fees, ranging from $20 per year for someone who rents a room in their own home up to $5,000 a year for platforms such as Airbnb, plus $1 per night per rented room, would be collected and paid to municipalities.The bill also includes fines for people who operate without registering.New Democrat Lisa Roberts, the Halifax-Needham MLA, said the bill has more teeth than legislation from the government that will not require all short-term rentals to register. It also comes with lower fees.Roberts said she wants to see the government be more responsive to a growing problem that's seeing more people challenged to find an affordable place to live, or to stay in their existing situation as landlords look to renovate or rebuild to try to capitalize on a booming housing market with razor-thin vacancy rates.For the NDP, that would include some kind of rent control. Although Roberts conceded there is "mixed evidence" when it comes to rent control, she said there needs to be some level of protection for renters while also allowing property owners to make reasonable rent increases as necessary."We are getting contacted by constituents who have seen rent increases in hundreds of dollars per month," she told reporters at Province House."We're saying that where there isn't major capital improvements that there should be some connection between the amount that rent can go up and the general CPI, the general inflation and cost pressures."Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters that his government has "a number of announcements that will come out over the next period of time" related to housing.He said the government is reassessing some investments already made to determine if the effect has achieved the desired outcomes.Meetings are also planned with the municipality and the private sector to see what partnerships are possible to provide more options for people looking for housing, he said.The government has a first-time home buyer program for families, but McNeil said he also realizes some people are just trying to find shelter overnight while confronting other issues."We need to wrap services around them, whether it's addictions services or mental health. So those are the kinds of investments we would work with our partners to do."There are other factors at play, too, said McNeil. The growth and development in the Halifax area has resulted in people who once had what they thought was an affordable place to live in the downtown being pushed to outlying communities.Rent creep is now making its way to those areas, too, said the premier."And that's been the real domino effect that we're trying to put some support around and trying to work with the private sector to make sure that we provide some options," he said.'It's breaking my heart'The premier said no single policy approach or partnership will fix the situation."This will require a multifaceted approach because everyone who finds themselves under-housed has a different reason, and that's why we need to continue to [work] on this."Sparks, whose family is preparing to move to another hotel, said it's been difficult finding a new place to live, with landlords being very specific about prospective tenants and rents that far exceed the amount of money she has for housing.She said she's planning to file a human rights complaint on the basis that she believes she's being discriminated against because she receives social assistance.It would be one thing to deal with the situation if she were on her own, said Sparks, but knowing how it's affecting her kids has made it difficult."Seeing my kids' faces, and knowing how disgusted they seem like they're feeling with me because of the situation that we're in, is just crushing my spirits right now. It's breaking my heart."MORE TOP STORIES

  • Watershed group helps residents prepare for possible spring flooding
    News
    CBC

    Watershed group helps residents prepare for possible spring flooding

    The Jemseg Grand Lake Watershed Association is hosting two workshops to help people better understand how to protect their property from flooding. Back-to-back flooding has devastated communities surrounding Grand Lake, causing thousands of dollars in damage and forcing people from their homes. Before winter even started, Lisa Joudrey, a member of the newly-formed watershed association, said water levels were already higher than normal.Now what?"What's going to happen when we have our thaw?" Joudrey said. "Luckily we haven't had as much snow as we normally do, but that doesn't mean it's not going to affect everybody's property."Grand Lake surpassed its five-metre flood stage in the last two years, as homes and cottages were battered by waves that were more than a metre high.Joudrey's house wasn't affected by last year's flood, but 10 cottages nearby were inundated with water. So she spent the past two springs helping neighbours sandbag. "The damage done over the last few years has been insurmountable." The Grand Lake watershed is the largest watershed in New Brunswick, covering five per cent of the province, Joudrey said.The association has lined up several speakers, including homeowners and companies, who will offer advice on protecting your home from high and heavy waves.The workshop, Stories from the Trenches, will be held at Mill Cove Nursing Home from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday. Another session will take place next Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Minto Seniors Citizens Club.

  • Finding a purpose: Johnny Depp plays a troubled genius in "Minamata"
    News
    Reuters

    Finding a purpose: Johnny Depp plays a troubled genius in "Minamata"

    A broken, washed-up genius is roused from drink-sodden seclusion for one last flaring of creative brilliance: actor Johnny Depp hinted that at some level he was able to identify with legendary photographer W Eugene Smith, whom he plays in his latest film. Speaking before Friday's premiere of "Minamata", Depp, who has talked frankly of his own struggles with drink and drugs through successive marriages, described his admiration for a man who had to conquer his own demons in order to create his art. Smith, who made his name as a World War Two photographer for "Life" magazine, was in decline and on the brink of suicide when activists enticed him to go to southern Japan to document the sufferings of the people of Minamata, who had been poisoned by emissions from the town's chemical plant.