San Francisco combats the stench of urine with pee-repellant paint

(Reuters) - Don't get into a pissing match with walls in San Francisco.

The city's Public Works agency is testing a pee-repellant paint on walls in areas that have been saturated with urine. Anyone urinating on the specially treated walls will get the spray splashed back onto them.

San Francisco's director of public works, Mohammed Nuru - whose Twitter handle is @MrCleanSF - got the idea when he read on social media about the use of the paint in Hamburg, Germany's nightclub district to stop beer drinkers from relieving themselves in the street.

The paint, called Ultra-Ever Dry, is sold by Ultratech International Inc and is billed as a superhydrophobic coating that will repel most liquids.

"The urine will bounce back on the guys pants and shoes. The idea is they will think twice next time about urinating in public," said Rachel Gordon, a Public Works Department spokeswoman. She said the super-hard coating made the "bounce back" effect much stronger than when peeing on a regular wall.

In a pilot program, San Francisco last week painted nine walls in areas around bars and other areas with big homeless populations.

"Hold it! ... seek relief in an appropriate place," say signs posted near the paint. The signs are in English, Chinese and Spanish.

The paint went up just last week, but the city is already getting requests for more.

"We've gotten many, many calls from people who wanted it done in their alley or on their buildings," Gordon said. "Some people are saying it's just a gimmick, but other people hope it will combat some of the smelly areas of San Francisco that have been saturated with urine."

The cost of painting the walls is much lower than sending out workers to steam clean areas, she said. The city gets hundreds of requests a year to clean up urine.

The city has also added public toilets to reduce the urine problem, Gordon said.


(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

  • COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario's Stage 3 of reopening could mean bigger gatherings, more testing as fall comes
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario's Stage 3 of reopening could mean bigger gatherings, more testing as fall comes

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • Coronavirus survivor Tom Hanks does not 'have much respect' for people who shun basic precautions
    Celebrity
    Reuters

    Coronavirus survivor Tom Hanks does not 'have much respect' for people who shun basic precautions

    Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, who recovered after being infected with the novel coronavirus earlier this year, said he does not hold much respect for people who decline to practice precautions such as wearing a mask in public. Hanks and his wife, actress and singer Rita Wilson, disclosed in March that they had tested positive for the coronavirus while in Australia for a film shoot. "At the very least, three tiny things (are) in everybody's wheelhouse, if you choose to do them," Hanks, 63, said in a recent interview with Reuters Television.

  • Hundreds protest Ontario bill they say gives landlords more ways to evict tenants
    News
    CBC

    Hundreds protest Ontario bill they say gives landlords more ways to evict tenants

    Hundreds of people gathered at the Ontario legislature on Monday to protest a new bill they say would make it easier for landlords to evict tenants when COVID-19 restrictions ease.Protesters held placards, listened to speakers and chanted slogans at Queen's Park before they marched north and west to the condo of Toronto Mayor John Tory near Bloor Street West and Bedford Road.Once there, demonstrators pulled out a notice that indicated Tory could be evicted from his home under the new legislation. The protesters clashed with Toronto police at the entrance to the building.Const. Alex Li, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said there were no arrests, no injuries, no pepper spray and no tear gas used, contrary to some claims on social media."They were pushing our officers. They tried to gain access into the building. They didn't succeed," Li said on Monday night.Earlier in the evening at Queen's Park, Hanna Mughal, an organizer of the protest, said the bill would likely increase homelessness in Toronto. "People will be losing their homes. Where will they end up? Will they be able to afford rent elsewhere? They'll probably be moving away from their communities if they can't afford rent. If not, they'll end up on the street," Mughal said.Mughal said the bill would enable landlords to evict tenants who have been unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.It would give landlords the power to create their own repayment plans without having to go to a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board, she added.The bill would also allow the Landlord and Tenant Board to issue quick eviction orders against tenants who were pressured by landlords to sign unreasonable rent repayment agreements and who cannot afford to follow through on those agreements, she said.Carly Tisdall, a tenant, said the bill is in favour of landlords and robs her of any legal defence. She said her landlord has not taken into account any economic realities faced by his tenants."I am afraid they'll evict me and I'm afraid that I will not be able to legally oppose it, that if I don't have the money, I won't be able to fight it at all," Tisdall said.Advocates for tenants say Bill 184, known as the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, would provide a number of new ways for landlords to evict and collect unpaid rent from current and past tenants.The bill would apply retroactively to March 17, when the provincial government declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic. It moved to third reading on Monday.Bryan Doherty, a tenant, said the bill paves the way for quick evictions."Once that tribunal opens, once those hearings go through, we are potentially looking at hundreds, if not thousands of families that will be faced with speedy, brutal evictions," he said.Bill to allow landlords to bypass Landlord and Tenant BoardUnder current law, all disputes over evictions and rent in arrears must be heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board, some of which result in rent repayment plans. Bill 184 would allow landlords to cut the board out of the equation and offer tenants their own repayment plan.If a tenant refuses the landlord's offer, they can still take their matter before the board, but some critics and legal analysts say it's more likely that vulnerable tenants will sign onto shady repayment plans because they don't know how to navigate the system.The Ontario municipal affairs and housing ministry said in an email on Monday that the changes would better protect renters and make it easier to resolve disputes with their landlords."The proposed Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act would strengthen protections for tenants and make it easier to resolve landlord and tenant disputes," the ministry said.The bill also increases maximum fines to discourage unlawful evictions, and allows the Landlord and Tenant Board to order up to a year's rent in compensation to tenants for eviction notices issued in bad faith, the ministry said."When rent is overdue, we want to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to come up with repayment agreements — rather than resorting to evictions," the ministry added.

  • New studies confirm bizarre COVID-19 symptoms
    Health
    Yahoo News Canada

    New studies confirm bizarre COVID-19 symptoms

    The Italian-lead study relied on data from 187 COVID-19 patients who were being treated at Treviso Regional Hospital in Italy in March. "Furthermore, vascular damage could also explain some clinical features seen in patients with severe COVID-19."

  • Couple planned for new life in Mexico, but has now spent months stranded in Windsor
    News
    CBC

    Couple planned for new life in Mexico, but has now spent months stranded in Windsor

    Alex and Alejandra Grecu were supposed to be enjoying their new life in Cancun, Mexico, instead they've spent months stranded in a Windsor Airbnb after they were prevented from crossing the border. The couple, who has been married for four years, bought a house in Cancun earlier this year and sold their home in Kawartha Lakes in March. At the end of April, they came to Windsor with all their belongings to drive across the border. Alex is Canadian, while Alejandra is a permanent resident and Mexican citizen. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection refused them entry. "We decided to stay [in Windsor], we had no place to go back to," said Alex, a retired bus driver for Toronto Transit Commission. "We rented this Airbnb on May 1 and we've been here ever since and we're waiting." But, they said the wait has been draining their savings. In total, the couple said they have spent $7,000 and can't afford to stay longer than two more months. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said via email that travel restrictions remain in place until July 21. But, the spokesperson added that CBP officers make the final determination of whether travellers are admissible and that they take into account the totality of each traveller's circumstances."I'm very sad because we planned and we [were] expecting to stay in Mexico right now," said Alejandra, who is a dentist and was hoping to start a dental office in Mexico. While Alejandra is a Mexican citizen and could go back, she can't drive there as she doesn't have a license. The couple also said that flying and shipping all their belongings would be too expensive. "Right now I feel a little bit let down as a Canadian citizen," Alex said. "We consider Mexico the third North American country and we should have free access." Alex said he emailed NDP Windsor West MP Brian Masse's office last week and received a note that said they are working on the issue.

  • Man, 51, charged after multiple firearms, drugs found during Mississauga traffic stop
    News
    CBC

    Man, 51, charged after multiple firearms, drugs found during Mississauga traffic stop

    A 51-year-old man is facing multiple charges after police officers allegedly found numerous firearms, ammunition and drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop in Mississauga in June.In a news release issued Tuesday, Peel police said officers pulled over a Collingwood man in the afternoon of June 25 in the area of City Centre Drive and Robert Speck Parkway and seized two firearms, two airsoft imitation firearms, ammunition and Fentanyl.The next day, police executed search warrants at a residence in Toronto and at a home in Collingwood. They found one pistol and four long guns at the Toronto residence, according to the news release.Eighteen pistols and 11 long guns were found at the home in Collingwood, along with a "suspicious package," police say.The OPP Emergency Response Unit and the OPP Explosives Disposal Unit attended the scene and evacuated several homes in the area for safety concerns. The package was later deemed not to be a threat. A 51-year-old man has been charged with multiple firearm and drug offences, including possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, and possession of an opioid. Peel police are asking anyone with information to contact their 11 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau or anonymously through Peel Crime Stoppers.

  • Pompeo says U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok
    News
    Reuters

    Pompeo says U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok

    "I don't want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it's something we're looking at," Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News. U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok's handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies "to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." Pompeo said Americans should be cautious in using the short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance.

  • B.C. couple escapes from 'debris flood' that filled home with mud, logs, rocks
    News
    CBC

    B.C. couple escapes from 'debris flood' that filled home with mud, logs, rocks

    A B.C. couple escaped from waist-deep water and mud in their home after it was hit by a dramatic slide called a "debris flood" in the middle of the night.It happened early Saturday morning in their home of 37 years, near the Willox Creek, on a rural road near McBride, more than 200 kilometres east of Prince George. At about 1:30 a.m., Garry and Mabel Moore were startled awake by a noise that sounded like a freight train barrelling through the house.Then a flood of debris smashed through their bedroom wall."It took literally 35 seconds to have our house full of mud and dirt and gravel and rock," said Garry, 70. "We're both just shouting, 'Get out! Get out! Get out!' " said Mabel, 67.'You do what you have to do'As the debris reached their knees, Garry grabbed a floating log to break the kitchen window — which he said was difficult as it was new."You do what you have to do when the adrenalin's running and the flood's chasing you," he said.Mabel climbed up on the kitchen table to escape through the window."The table was bobbing in the water when I stood on it," she said. The couple managed to squeeze out through the window, bringing with them their granddaughter's small dog, Bean, a shih tzu-bichon frise that was staying with them. Once they'd escaped the house, the Moores still had to cross a long stretch of mud and slide down a steep embankment to alert their 81-year-old neighbour, Joyce Godfrey. "I was in bed sound asleep and Mabel came to the side of my bed and said 'Get up … we gotta go' and out of a dead sleep I got up and put my housecoat on and I followed her out through my kitchen," Godfrey said."I just thought, 'Please Lord, don't let another slide come down until we can get where we'll be safe,' " said Mabel.A helicopter later rescued Godfrey, the Moores and Bean and flew them to an ambulance just past the slide.Garry needed surgery for a deep cut to his arm that he received while escaping out the window. Mabel broke a toe and is covered in bruises."You had logs floating around [in the house] banging in to your legs and your back and [you're] tripping and stumbling," she said.Couple lost 'absolutely everything'Their house is now completely surrounded by mud and debris."It looks like a roof sitting on top of a mud pile," said Garry, who has only seen photos of the damage. No one is allowed in the area.The couple said they have lost everything — including Mabel's new false teeth — in the house where they raised their family. "Absolutely everything," said Mabel. "We have nothing."But they said they're grateful for the support of family, and from the McBride community, where they are staying with family for now.Godfrey, who has lived in her home for 50 years, said she's since been able to access the house by ATV to grab some essentials, but the yard was completely full of mud and debris."I won't be going home," she said. "It's really hard to believe what happened."Homes under evacuation orderThe Moores said they are amazed they managed to escape. "I always didn't think I was very tough, but I'm beginning to think I must be tough," said Mabel, who recently completed treatment for ovarian cancer."We're together, and we're still here, so that's the main thing."The Moores' house and several homes nearby are under an evacuation order.In addition, about 30 people were told to shelter in place Saturday, as the debris flood blocked the only access road when it swept past the Moores' home.But that wasn't the end of things for nearby residents. A second slide that day brought down 25,000 cubic metres of debris, according to emergency officials.The provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is monitoring the slide area daily to determine its stability and said they anticipate more slide events.The ministry said debris can accumulate in the channel as sloughing occurs very high up in the creek, which can be common throughout B.C. creek channels. Willox Creek has seen higher than normal water flows, which broke loose a significant amount of debris. Hilary Erasmus, public information officer with the regional district of Fraser Fort George, said the debris flood was caused by long periods of excessive rain combined with seasonal snowmelt from the mountains. Listen to the full interview with the Moores by clicking the play button below.

  • Haskap 'super fruit' taking root in New Brunswick
    Lifestyle
    CBC

    Haskap 'super fruit' taking root in New Brunswick

    A new and little-known berry is gaining recognition for its health value as production grows in northwestern New Brunswick.The haskap berry — which looks like a long blueberry — is packed with antioxidants and grows on more than 50 acres (about 20 hectares) of fields in the Haut-Madawaska region. It was first planted in the area five years ago by the Coopérative forestière du Nord-Ouest, a local co-operative of farmers and foresters. Michel Hédou, a director of the organization's council, said the group began planting haskap five years ago after sending a delegation to the Lac Saint-Jean region of Quebec to meet producers. "It's a fruit that can replace strawberries, raspberries or blueberries in any recipe," he said. "You just need to add a little more sugar because it's not as sweet as the other fruits."The co-operative opened a U-pick in Saint-Hilaire, near Edmundston, for the first time this season. About 20 people have come each day to pick a few pounds of fresh berries.Haskap berries can also be found in other parts of the province, including the Acadian Peninsula, where they're grown as small crops by blueberry producers. There are also growers in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.Roots in Siberia and JapanHaskap is gaining recognition for its health benefits and marketed as a "super food." The berries contain a high amount of Vitamin C and more antioxidants than blueberries."Haskap is a mix of a sweet blueberry with a touch of tartness of the raspberry," Hédou said. "And some people even find there is a kiwi taste."The plant is found naturally in Siberia and Northern Japan, where the waxy, green bushes have grown without cultivation for centuries. The plant came to Canada with the efforts of Bob Bors, head of the berry program at the University of Saskatchewan.Bors has been breeding the plant for more than 15 years to produce bigger, more flavourful berries that are suitable to harsh growing conditions in the Prairies and other parts of the continent.Hédou said haskap is proving to be a good addition for farmers, as its harvest fits between current berry crops, such as blueberries and raspberries, while allowing for efficient land use. "The fields that are not producing good hay or are let go because they are not farming anymore, they prepare the soil, and they plant haskap plants there," he said. The seedlings begin to produce fruit after just one year, but take two to three years before the plant is ready for harvesting. Emerging market for haskap productsWhen the berries are harvested with a machine, some fall to the ground and become slightly damaged. The co-operative uses that fruit to make two varieties of a haskap drink at its production plant in Clair, N.B. One kind is mixed with water and maple sugar to sweeten it, while the other is a mix with blueberry juice.The Coopérative forestière du Nord-Ouest also makes a syrup made with haskap concentrate and maple.After being harvested in late June or early July, haskap can be used for baking, served with cereal, or even added into liqueurs, beer and wine.Growing challenges The berries are generally suitable to New Brunswick's climate but growers have run into a few obstacles since starting to plant them. Haskap begins producing flowers early in the season, which requires a mild spring, so bees are able to pollinate all of them. The plants also require a moderate amount of heat and rain. High temperatures in late June matured the fruits 10 days earlier than last season. Hédou said the biggest threat to his haskap crops are birds that love eating the berries. His fields are covered in protective nets while growing and decoys are used to scare birds away. "The birds will empty our trees in a couple of hours," he said. The Coopérative forestière plans to open the U-pick one final time on Tuesday before closing to mechanically harvest the rest. Hédou said he expects the fruit to continue to grow in popularity and a larger turnout next year. "If you haven't had haskap before, you need to try them. You will probably like and love them."

  • Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Appeals court deals 2nd blow to Trump asylum policy

    A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a key U.S. policy to deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country without first seeking protection there, dealing it a second blow in less than a week. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling has no immediate impact because a judge appointed by President Donald Trump in Washington last week knocked down the policy on procedural grounds. The three-judge appeals panel in San Francisco found procedural errors as well as substantive reasons to block the policy while litigation continues.

  • Alberta to streamline approvals for new private clinics to boost surgeries
    Health
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta to streamline approvals for new private clinics to boost surgeries

    EDMONTON — The Alberta government is proposing legislation that would accelerate approval of private clinics to get more surgeries done.A bill introduced Monday also says the province should have more latitude to pay doctors in other ways, such as salaries, rather than just the current fee-for-service model."Our proposed changes will provide more voice and choice to Albertans and physicians," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said prior to introducing the bill in the house."They will strengthen the roles, responsibilities and accountability of our health partners, and this modernization sets us on the path to meet our commitment to build a sustainable, accessible public health system."The proposed legislation gives legal teeth to commitments previously announced by Shandro, including a promise made late last year to have more private clinics carry out surgeries to reduce backlogs and long wait lists.There are 43 such private clinics — most of them in Edmonton and Calgary — performing 15 per cent of surgeries, mainly knee and hip replacements, and cataract removals. The bill is paid by the provincial government under medicare.Many of those surgeries are recommended to be done within four months, but too many are taking longer, Shandro has said.The United Conservative government aims to have 80,000 more surgeries done over the next three years. Some 300,000 surgeries are performed in Alberta each year.The legislation would reduce what Shandro calls needless administrative duplication to get the private clinics approved.When the clinics were created two decades ago, he said, the government was dealing with 17 different health authorities, which meant another level of oversight was needed to co-ordinate them.Since then, noted Shandro, the authorities have been collapsed into one, Alberta Health Services, so "a lot of the vestigial requirements aren't needed."Opposition NDP health critic David Shepherd said direct publicly funded is the best value for money and that Shandro's plan will erode it."Bill 30 is another step in (Premier) Jason Kenney's rush to bring (a) failed American-style model of increased private profit into our public health-care system," said Shepherd."This is not patient-centred or person-centred care. This is profit-centred care."Shandro has also promised to explore different ways to pay doctors in keeping with a commitment to keep funding for physician compensation around the current $5.4-billion level. That represents one-quarter of all health operational spending.The bill would give the government authority to use contracts instead of ministerial orders for alternative pay agreements, which could include salaries rather than fees for service.The bill also calls for the number of public members on health professional college committees to increase to 50 per cent from 25 per cent.The 50-50 split would apply to college councils, tribunals and complaints committees.The Health Quality Council of Alberta, which monitors the health system and makes recommendations for improvements, would be expanded beyond its mandate of patient safety to include broader health service quality.The proposed changes for physicians are set against a backdrop of acrimonious relations between Shandro and the doctors' representative, the Alberta Medical Association.The two sides locked horns after Shandro cancelled a master agreement with doctors earlier this year and unilaterally imposed changes to fees and billing.The association, alleging breaches of charter rights because it was not given the option of third-party arbitration, is taking the province to court.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

  • Former WE Charity employee says staff tried to silence her by rewriting anti-racism speech
    News
    CBC

    Former WE Charity employee says staff tried to silence her by rewriting anti-racism speech

    A former employee of WE Charity says a speech she wrote for a WE Schools tour about her experiences as a Black woman was changed without her consent by a mostly white group of staff members.Amanda Maitland told CBC News that the speech was supposed to be delivered on an anti-racism tour of schools in Alberta in February and March 2019. She said WE staff initially made minor changes but later told her to deliver a different speech altogether, largely written by them."I felt like I was sinking in sand. I felt anger," said Maitland."They took my story, and they wanted me to elaborate on things that were just, I guess, more socially accepted."Maitland told CBC News that when she tried to speak up about some of the problems within the organization at a WE town hall a few months after her tour, she was "aggressively" shut down by WE co-founder Marc Kielburger in front of a room full of her peers.WE is an international organization that operates educational and social justice programs in Canada and internationally. WE Charity is the non-profit arm of the organization, with programs like WE Schools. Me to We is its for-profit social enterprise. Last week, WE Charity stepped back from a $19.5-million contract to administer a federal government student grant program amid criticism of the sole-source nature of the contract and WE's ability to carry it out.WE said in a statement to CBC News, it "stands firmly for inclusion, diversity and the equitable, open treatment of all.""We have directly and publicly apologized to Amanda and to all current and former BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, people of colour] employees for past instances involving unconscious bias," the statement said.But Maitland's story — which she first shared on Instagram — has sparked widespread discussion on social media about WE. Some have begun sharing their own experiences while working at the organization, and a petition signed by 150 current and former employees is circulating, calling on WE to take specific anti-racist measures. CBC News has spoken to 15 former WE employees, some of whom confirm Maitland's speech was changed, and some who were at the town hall where Maitland spoke out publicly. Most described a "culture of fear" within the charity when it came to challenging or criticizing decisions.Speech changeMaitland said she was hired by WE as a motivational speaker and leadership facilitator in the fall of 2018. She was asked to deliver a speech about her personal experience with racism on an anti-racism tour in Alberta in early 2019."I have a lot of experiences when it comes to racial injustice. So, I was excited — I was over the moon," said Maitland.She began writing the speech, initially going back and forth with a WE Charity team who made minor edits, she said.She said she delivered her speech several times on the tour, but on a brief return trip to Toronto, WE Charity staff gave her a different speech to deliver."I was literally ... told that there had to be changes made," said Maitland, who said it was the first she'd heard of any issues with her speech."I had no emails while travelling. I had no phone calls. No messages of anything within, like, an update that a speech may have to get changed."Maitland claims her personal experiences with racism as a Black woman were largely erased and watered down with subjects she hadn't written about."It wanted me to talk about cornrows, and it wanted me to talk about the Oscars, and the language was just completely different. I pride myself on being someone who's very raw with how I speak. So, they completely shredded that."Most of the former WE employees who CBC News spoke with asked not to be identified over fear of backlash from the organization. Most have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that precludes them from speaking. Four former employees told CBC News they were aware of the speech change, including Brianna Polden, who was in Alberta at the same time as Maitland, on a parallel but separate speaking tour for WE Schools. "It became really obvious to me that this was done without her consent and also without her knowledge, and that it had kind of been forced on her," said Polden.She said Maitland told her about the changes to her speech made by the leadership team, "who I knew to be primarily white."Raia Carey, who was on a different speaking tour in Alberta at the same time as Maitland, was also aware of the speech change."I said, 'Do not read that speech,'" said Carey, who resigned from the organization a few months later. "That was the final straw for me. Especially because it goes against our standard protocol that our speeches are supposed to be collaborative."Maitland said she tried to amalgamate the WE team's version and her version, but ultimately decided to deliver the speech she'd written."I wasn't willing to shut down my story for anybody — definitely not WE," she said.Town hallMaitland also resigned, a few months after the anti-racism speaking tour, but not before attending a staff town hall with Kielburger to talk about issues related to workplace culture. Maitland said she was one of the first to speak."I began to speak about the culture of fear. I began to share that what is happening in this organization is that employees are having siloed conversations," said Maitland."There were a lot of people nodding their heads, and Marc Kielburger immediately … kind of stepped forward and shut me down."CBC News spoke to four former WE employees who were at that town hall. They all confirmed Maitland spoke up, and that Kielberger tried to quickly end the conversation. "The automatic response was her being shut down by Marc Kielberger, and him being visibly angry," said one former employee."Sitting in that room during the town hall, you could feel it," she said."Most staff — at least my group of peers — have talked about the things that we're uncomfortable with and don't feel we can bring up, or have brought up and have felt silenced." 'People were afraid'Maitland said she decided to post a video account of her experience on social media more than one year later because of the discussions about race following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. She said she wanted to highlight that Canada is not immune to racism. "[Racism] happens within the charitable spaces. I felt like I need to share, as a Black woman that was hired to go on an anti-racism speech, why it is not OK for a panel of white women and men to rewrite a Black woman's story.""I didn't want to just be another person that was OK with being silenced."Most of the former employees CBC News spoke to said there was a "culture of fear" within the organization.Carey said she was felt she was penalized when she tried to speak up and push back on decisions by management. "Never in my life before had I felt unsure about my opinion, my values and where I stand because of how they made it seem like I was negative or bad," said Carey.A former manager of the WE Schools team told CBC News: "People were afraid to speak out because they didn't want to lose their jobs."Another former employee of colour on the WE Day team said: "I was so scared to speak up. If you ever said anything that's out of line, or questioned anything [which they didn't like], you would end up not being in [my former supervisor's] good books. She would find any way to get you kicked off her team or fired."The explanation to the wider team would always be: They weren't a 'good culture fit,' a 'positive team player,' or 'It just didn't work out.'" WE Day is a recurring celebration of youth empowerment, hosted by the organization. In response to such allegations, WE Charity said in a statement to CBC News: "WE members can anonymously submit on a 'feedback portal' any concerns or issues they have. They can also request a phone call or in-person meeting with any of the human resources or leadership team."WE's apologyWE Charity did not respond to a request for an interview from CBC News. However, about 12 hours after CBC News submitted its request, Kielburger and his brother, Craig, the founders of the WE organization, apologized publicly on their personal Instagram pages."We want to start by unreservedly apologizing to you," the apology said in part."You shared in your video that the words of your speech were altered. It simply should not have happened."An apology was also posted on the WE website.In the statement to CBC News, WE Charity said it has publicly released a list of actions on how it can "do better" and has launched what it described as a listening tour to hear the experiences of its current and former BIPOC employees.Maitland confirmed WE also reached out to her personally last week — prior to CBC News contacting the organization — and said she's taking time to process the apology."I need to know that it's coming from a genuine place," she said. "I need to understand that it's not coming because there's havoc on social media."

  • What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7
    Health
    CBC

    What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7

    Recent developments * No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ottawa on Tuesday, but two new cases were reported in Gatineau. * Masks are now mandatory at public, indoor settings in Ottawa and the surrounding region in Ontario. * Ottawa businesses are uncertain how the mandatory mask policy will be enforced. What's the latest?Residents of eastern Ontario, including the City of Ottawa, are now required to wear masks inside public places like grocery stores and coffee shops. There will be exemptions for people who cannot wear masks, such as those who have trouble breathing, those who can't take their masks off safely on their own, and children under two. Businesses won't be expected to challenge customers who aren't wearing masks.Still, some businesses wonder how to approach customers who aren't wearing masks and are concerned about potential fines they could face — ranging from $500 to $800 — if their customers don't comply with the rules. How many cases are there?There have been 2,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 263 deaths, as of Tuesday. The vast majority of cases in the city, 1,808, are classified as resolved. On Tuesday, two more cases of COVID-19 were reported in Gatineau, increasing its total to 525 cases.Public health officials have reported more than 3,400 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, of which nearly 2,900 are resolved.Kingston now has 37 active cases of COVID-19. Most are linked to three nail salons: Binh's Nails and Spa, where the recent outbreak started, Kingdom Nails and Georgia Nail Salon. The Amherstview Golf Club has also seen new cases. Clients at all four businesses are being asked to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.COVID-19 has killed 102 people outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.What's open and closed?Eastern Ontario is in "Stage 2" of the province's recovery plan, allowing more activities and "circles" of up to 10 people that don't have to distance.Some streets in Ottawa's ByWard Market have now turned into patio space, including parts of Clarence Street, William Street and a section of the north side of York Street.Ottawa's pools will start to reopen Monday, as will five city rinks.As of Monday, drivers are once again subject to tickets if they violate posted time limits at on-street parking spaces.The National Gallery of Canada reopens Thursdays to Sundays starting July 18. Quebec now allows indoor, distanced gatherings of up to 50 people, including in places of worship and indoor sports venues, and has relaxed rules at daycares.The province has also allowed bars, spas, water parks and casinos to reopen.Quebec's back-to-school plans bring older students to classrooms again. Ontario has put three options for next school year on the table, while post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes in September.Distancing and isolatingThe coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and in Ontario, staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle.The City of Ottawa has made cloth face masks mandatory in indoor public settings. Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for individuals who have weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.A COVID-19 assessment centre will open in Alexandria next week, running Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, replacing the previous location at the Kingston Memorial Centre. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting or calling 613-813-6864.Renfrew County is also providing pop-up and home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.If you're concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents should call 1-877-644-4545 if they have symptoms for further assistance.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. The community's reopening plan that's now underway.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time.For more information

  • The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, July 6
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, July 6

    The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 6:32 p.m. ET on July 6, 2020:There are 105,935 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 55,937 confirmed (including 5,577 deaths, 25,378 resolved)_ Ontario: 35,948 confirmed (including 2,689 deaths, 31,426 resolved)_ Alberta: 8,389 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,627 resolved)_ British Columbia: 2,978 confirmed (including 183 deaths, 2,629 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,065 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 805 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 732 resolved)_ Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 304 resolved), 11 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 162 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 32 confirmed (including 27 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive_ Total: 105,935 (12 presumptive, 105,923 confirmed including 8,693 deaths, 69,570 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Persian cat howls in delight while eating tasty treat
    News
    Rumble

    Persian cat howls in delight while eating tasty treat

    How do we know if Oskar liked her food? It's because she is one talkative cat and is not afraid to say it out loud! Listen closely because the sound you are about to hear sounds nothing like a cat. We only know that she makes this sound when the food was very delicious and when there is no one around, hence the sneaky camera position. Hilarious!

  • Boy lands summer 'dream' job, starts giving back
    Business
    CBC

    Boy lands summer 'dream' job, starts giving back

    It's a summertime chore most teens and tweens dread: mowing the lawn.Not 12-year-old Shan Gauthier, who lives in Alfred Plantagenet.For his birthday this year, Gauthier, who has autism, received a lawn mower. Now he's in business"Finally, a dream comes true. I am starting my small grass-cutting business," reads a Facebook message, posted by Gauthier's parents on his behalf, in French.That original post, meant to drum up a bit of business for the young entrepreneur, was shared more than 5,300 times.Gauthier's parents have now launched a separate Facebook page for their son's business, called Terra Shan, and said they've been overwhelmed by requests for his landscaping services.He recently cut grass for his first customer, and is now up to six or seven jobs per week."I earn money by cutting grass," Gauthier explained in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada. "This is my job."A job well doneHis mother, Martine Gauthier, said for her son, this is about far more than earning a bit of pocket money."The goal of the exercise is not just to cut the grass — it's the whole social side. We ask him to introduce himself, to say what he's doing," she said, also in French, adding the physical activity also helps to quell some of her son's anxiety.The Terra Shan Facebook page lets potential customers know that Gauthier can sometimes feel anxious and "always [has] a thousand and one questions," but also ensures a job well done.Martine Gauthier said several landscaping companies have even offered to help."There have been companies … who have offered him an edging cutter," she said. "I have one gentleman from Sherbrooke who gave us a small trailer to put the mower in."Paying it forwardShan Gauthier is already paying it forward, donating $50 to a local organization that offers programs for people with autism.Martine Gauthier said she's noticed her son has more confidence since going into business, and said he's proud of what he's accomplished."I don't know if he realizes how his story will be a ray of hope for other families and other autistic children," she said.

  • 8-year-old boy reunites with man who rescued him from roaring Manuels River
    News
    CBC

    8-year-old boy reunites with man who rescued him from roaring Manuels River

    Moments before he jumped in the Manuels River and saved a young boy from peril last month, Darren Colombe had a feeling that something wasn't right."The water down by the bridge, it was quite treacherous," he said during an interview with CBC News at the river with his twin daughters. "The girls told me this is not normal, and that kept me on alert."The three were cooling off in a popular area near a gazebo on the river on a sunny Friday afternoon, but the calm mood ended abruptly when they saw someone was in trouble. "We were over by the river and then we were like, 'Dad! Dad! There's someone drifting down the river,'" said Colombe's 10-year-old daughter, Ava-Kate.Twin sister Lilly-Beth saw it too. "I see a head in the water," she said. "It was scary because he went under the water and then came back up."The boy was eight-year-old Franke Kelly, who was wading in the water with his mother when fast-moving water swept him away. "He got away from me really fast," said his mother, Gina Kelly. "I still close my eyes and I see him floating away from me."She ran along the shoreline looking for a spot to jump in and saw a man in pursuit of her son.> I could hear the panic in Franke's voice and he was screaming for me. \- Gina KellyThat man was Colombe, and he was in the right place at the right time.Colombe, a physical education teacher at Leary's Brook Junior High, said while his daughters sounded the alarm, he stayed calm."I heard other people screaming and when I looked over I saw Franke floating down. I kind of had no choice. I didn't hesitate. I ran along the rocks, I flicked my phone down and jumped in."Suspecting his leg hit a rock, he did not kick his feet.  "I was just using my arms only. Both of us were floating, and I was getting closer."'You're not going anywhere this time'He caught up with the boy and grabbed him underneath the Manuels River Bridge. But his work wasn't over."I had him and then he got sucked under for a few seconds. It was a small little panic and he popped right back up again," said Colombe.A few strokes more and Colombe had him again. He held the boy over his head."It was a little worrisome for a second. When I got him the second time I knew, OK, you're not going anywhere this time."Watching in horror, Gina Kelly was beyond relieved to see a stranger save her son."I saw them both slow down and I knew they were OK," she said. "I could hear the panic in Franke's voice and he was screaming for me and at that point I just jumped in.""It was a beautiful ending to a scary little day," Columbe said.A time to reflect, in safetyColumbe, Kelly and their kids went back to Manuels River this week to speak with CBC News."This is the first time back here since it happened and it's just flashback after flashback," Columbe said. "The river now is nothing like it was that day. None of these rocks were visible. The river was raging, it was slippery."Colombe said once he was in the water, he was confident he would get to Franke before the boy reached the steep rapids further downstream, beneath the bridge."When I [saw] him jump in the water, I was scared," Ava-Kate said of her father. "My heart was beating super fast. I didn't know what was going to happen."While Colombe downplays his bravery that day, the children don't let him off that easy. "I was really happy for him," said Lily-Beth. "It's like he was like a hero."The Kelly family also call Colombe their hero. The rescuer is simply glad no one got hurt."[Franke] doesn't have a scratch on him — he's able to enjoy his summer, we're all able to enjoy our summer," Columbe said.In an interview with CBC soon after the incident last month, Kelly said she wanted parents to know the dangers of not knowing or underestimating fast-flowing rivers this time of year.Colombe agreed. He wasn't familiar with Manuels River either, until he found himself being carried downstream after Franke."The river is beautiful but can be dangerous if you're not careful," he said. "The rapids down below, if you end up in that, you're in a bit of trouble. Visit but be careful."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Maxwell moved to NY for Epstein-related sex abuse charges
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Maxwell moved to NY for Epstein-related sex abuse charges

    NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein's longtime confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was transferred Monday to a New York City jail plagued by coronavirus concerns and other problems as she faces charges that she recruited girls, one as young as 14, for him to sexually abuse.Maxwell, 58, was moved to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she will await a July 14 remote appearance in Manhattan federal court, her lawyer told a judge. She had been locked up at a New Hampshire jail since authorities arrested her last week at a $1 million estate she purchased there.Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and longtime close associate of Epstein, who killed himself at a federal jail in Manhattan last August while he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges.“Somebody made the conscious decision, ‘let’s not house her where Epstein was housed,’” said Jack Donson, a former prison official who worked for the Bureau of Prisons for more than two decades.Maxwell has been indicted on multiple charges, including that she conspired to entice girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein from 1994 through 1997.Several Epstein victims have described Maxwell as his chief enabler, recruiting and grooming young girls for abuse. She has denied wrongdoing and called claims against her “absolute rubbish.”Late Monday, a judge said Maxwell could appear at her arraignment and bail hearing by video because of the pandemic, but those scheduling limitations require it be held Thursday or next week — not Friday as her lawyer requested.Defence attorneys Mark S. Cohen and Christian Everdell told Judge Alison J. Nathan in a letter Monday evening that they were finally able to speak with their client at the Brooklyn lockup shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, when she agreed to waive her right to appear in person in court for arraignment and a bail hearing.The lawyers said they wanted the hearing to occur the morning of July 14. She will appear by video remotely from the federal jail.A message seeking comment was left with Everdell. The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment further on Maxwell’s confinement.Prosecutors have said Maxwell “poses an extreme risk of flight.” She has three passports, is wealthy with lots of international connections, and has “absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence,” they wrote in a memo.Maxwell is being prosecuted in Manhattan but jailed in Brooklyn — the opposite of what happened with Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while on trial in Brooklyn last year, prompting closures of the Brooklyn Bridge each day as he was taken to and from court.Donson, who advises white-collar criminals on what to expect in prison, said the lockup on the Brooklyn waterfront is akin to the federal prison system’s version of a high-rise apartment building — highly secure, with elevators to move inmates from floor-to-floor, air-conditioned cells and limited room for recreation or other activities.The facility, opened as a federal jail in the early 1990s, houses about 1,600 inmates. One of its two main buildings is a century-old former Navy warehouse.Donson said he's made frequent visits to the jail and observed staff acting “downright unprofessional" yelling and cursing at inmates. The jail's former warden, Cameron Lindsay, said it is “one of the most troubled" facilities in the federal prison system and had a “unique history of staff misconduct."A week-long power failure at the Brooklyn jail in January 2019 sparked unrest among shivering inmates and drew concerns from a federal watchdog about the government's bungled response. In March, the jail had the federal prison system’s first inmate to test positive for coronavirus, and the facility's response to the disease led to an ongoing court battle over allegations that inmates were being put at serious risk.Last month, an inmate died after correctional officers sprayed him with pepper spray, which has led to an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general. In May, another inmate at the facility died.The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Epstein took his own life while in custody in August, which Attorney General William Barr said was the result of the "perfect storm of screw ups.”The agency has been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts and has struggled recently with an exploding number of coronavirus cases in prisons across the U.S.The Justice Department launched a special task force earlier this year to address criminal misconduct by Bureau of Prisons officers following several scandals, including the discovery of a smuggled gun found at the same Manhattan jail where Epstein took his own life.On its website Monday, the Bureau of Prisons listed five inmates and six staff members at the Brooklyn jail currently testing positive, while another eight inmates and 35 staff members previously recovered from the disease.Donson said he expects Maxwell will be closely watched while she’s in jail, possibly even with a working camera fixed on her cell, to avoid a repeat of the errors that authorities said led to Epstein’s demise. Under the prison system's coronavirus protocols, Maxwell faces an immediate 14-day quarantine and testing for the virus.“Especially for a socialite living in a mansion in New Hampshire, it’s quite a difference,” Donson said.___Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.___On Twitter, follow Michael Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisakMichael Balsamo And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press

  • Lumber shortage raises big issues for construction industry
    Business
    CBC

    Lumber shortage raises big issues for construction industry

    There's a lumber shortage in Nova Scotia and it's forcing big and small construction companies to make some tough decisions on what jobs they can complete.Some big construction companies are going to feel a lumber crunch this summer — the busiest time of year for their industry.One of the reasons for the shortage is the industry has been overwhelmed with people doing projects during COVID-19."Like everything else with COVID, the plants were brought down to about 50 per cent efficiency and it takes a couple months for that to trickle on down," said Scott Smith, president of the Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association and the president of Rooftight Construction Ltd. "So when the production slows down but the demand for it speeds up, you're going to run into these bottlenecks."Smith's company has been extremely busy over the last three months and currently have 34 new homes under construction in the Halifax area.Pressure-treated lumber is especially hard to come by."In talking with my supplier about it this morning, they sold five months worth of pressure treated inventory in one month," said Smith. "It's everybody who has been home due to COVID and they're all fixing up their back deck and other projects and it's really hard to keep up with that demand."Already some smaller contractors are feeling the effects of the lumber shortage.Mark Wartak mainly does roofing and construction jobs in the New Glasgow area. He says the lumber shortage is coming at a bad time."Any contractor you talk to right now would tell you the same thing: it is way busier now than it ever has been," said Wartak. "I was just trying to think about what kind of jobs I could do that don't require timber."Wartak said he had been planning to build a small barn but that's now on hold.He said he knows other contractors who are turning down jobs because supplies aren't available.Kent running low on suppliesAn email was sent to Kent Building Supplies sales associates last week."I just want to make sure everyone is aware of the current lumber and plywood market," stated Tim Liengme, district sales manager of Kent Building Supplies.The notice made it clear there is a lack of wood products available."The huge sales increase has completely stripped the supply chain," the email stated.Plywood has also been in high demand over the last two months."There is no supply left in Atlantic Canada. Replacement from Western Canada is 5-6 weeks away ... Costs are through the roof."Mary Keith, spokesperson for J.D. Irving Ltd., which owns Kent stores, said the email applies to most of the 49 stores in Atlantic Canada. She said the message was intended to support staff in their relationships with customers."It highlights challenges facing most home improvement stores right now — delays in securing supplies of plywood and pressure treated lumber," Keith wrote in an email."We are working to resolve the supply issue of plywood and pressure treated lumber as soon as possible and appreciate the patience of our local consumers and contractors."MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    Reuters

    Explosion near Iran’s capital kills two, damages factory: IRNA

    Two people were killed in an explosion at a factory in the south of Tehran, state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday, in the latest in a series of fires and explosions, some of which have hit sensitive sites. "Human error was the cause of the blast in a factory ... Two people were killed and three others were injured," said local official Amin Babai, adding that the explosion happened in "an industrial zone" at Baqershahr near Tehran. "The explosion that was caused by some workers' negligent handling of oxygen tanks.... was so powerful that the walls of a factory nearby were also totally destroyed."

  • Black parents call on francophone board to address systemic racism
    News
    CBC

    Black parents call on francophone board to address systemic racism

    Parents and students at a demonstration on Monday called on Edmonton's francophone school board to take immediate steps to address systemic racism in schools by hiring more Black teachers and issuing a formal apology.Roughly 35 people protested outside the Greater North Central Francophone Education School Board Monday afternoon. "We want the school board to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in the schools," said Dieudonne Bessasse, a coordinator for the Black Parents Association of Alberta (BPAA).They're also demanding an official apology from the board for racism experienced in francophone schools as well as the implementation of new policies, made in consultation with parents, to adequately address racism.Calls for change come as institutions across North America struggle to address anti-Black racism. The BPAA canvassed families about their own children's experiences at francophone schools in Edmonton."We discovered that our kids are literally living systemic racism that has been taking place at the French school board," Bessasse said.Black parents have long raised concern about the lack of Black teachers and administrators at Edmonton's francophone schools. But they're also worried that Black students are not receiving the support and services they are entitled to.Bessasse said schools with a majority of racialized students tend to be overlooked for renovations even though they are the ones most in need. Some parents are also concerned that Black students are not treated equally in disputes involving white students.Attempts by parents to work with the board to address racism in meaningful ways have been dismissed while policies implemented unilaterally haven't worked, Bessasse said."Systemic racism still exists within their own boundaries and we are fed up," he said.'Why daddy?'In 2014 hundreds of people signed a petition urging the board to hire more teachers of African descent. At the time one parent told CBC no teachers at his daughter's school, École Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc, shared her ethnic background.Six years later Bessasse said he struggles to explain to his tearful seven-year-old son — who also attends École Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc — why none of the teachers or administrators look like them."He cried asking me 'why daddy why?'" Bessasse recalled.In an email to CBC, a spokesperson with the board said senior staff attended the rally to listen to concerns being raised.Superintendent Robert Lessard acknowledged in a news conference that schools have not always done what they should to address racism but pledged to work collaboratively on solutions, the spokesperson wrote.The school authority has launched an anti-racism working group in collaboration with three community organizations. The group will engage the community through forums and consultations to develop a plan to address racism in schools, the email said.Actions taken by the board in the last six years have increased diversity at all levels of the organisation, the email added.

  • Deadly Syrian, Russian air strikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, U.N. says
    News
    Reuters

    Deadly Syrian, Russian air strikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, U.N. says

    Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province that amount to war crimes, U.N. investigators said on Tuesday in a report that also condemned attacks by Islamist militants. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria also accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a jihadist group that controls part of northwest Syria, of firing artillery into civilian areas "with no apparent legitimate military objective".

  • News
    CBC

    Charges dropped against Halifax woman injured in Walmart arrest

    All charges laid against a Halifax woman who says she was racially profiled during a controversial arrest at a local Walmart earlier this year were dropped Tuesday morning.Crown attorney Jane McDonald-Mills told a provincial court judge there were "concerns about a realistic prospect of conviction at this time.""Even if those concerns could be addressed, we have assessed the public interest factors and concluded the matter should not proceed any further. Accordingly the charges are withdrawn," she said.Santina Rao suffered a broken wrist, concussion and bruising in the encounter with police on January 15 at the Mumford Road store. Two days later, video showing parts of the confrontation and arrest started circulating online. Halifax Regional Police originally charged her with causing a disturbance, assaulting a peace officer, and resisting arrest.When Rao was stopped and arrested she was shopping with her baby and toddler. She has said she was approached by police officers inside the store who accused her of trying to steal a head of lettuce, two lemons and a grapefruit that were in the bottom of her stroller.Speaking to supporters outside the provincial court house in Halifax Tuesday morning, Rao said she broke into tears when learned about the Crown's plan to drop her charges.Gordon Allen, Rao's lawyer has previously told CBC that Rao was asked for identification at the Walmart, which she showed to the officers. But then things escalated when the officers questioned Rao about her identification and one of them stood between Rao and her three-year-old daughter. The video of the encounter shows Rao swearing at a police officer to get off her before one officer physically brought her to the ground as she struggled against him.Two factors in Crown's decisionBefore the Tuesday morning court appearance, Allen told CBC's Information Morning that he was expecting the two points of justification that the Crown delivered.Allen said he, too, did not think there was a reasonable prospect of a conviction. "We felt she was stopped without reason and in fact she was stopped contrary to what the Wortley report said and Justice Minister Furey said that there would be no more street checks."Street checks, in which police collect and record citizens' identifying information, were deemed illegal in Nova Scotia last year after a landmark report by criminologist Scot Wortley confirmed that police officers in Halifax were conducting street checks on Black people at a rate six times higher than white people. Last October, about seven months after the report came out, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey ordered police officers across the province to stop the practice.Chief Dan Kinsella with the Halifax Regional Police has said he could not speak specifically to Rao's case, or whether she was being street checked when officers asked to see her ID, while the case is being investigated.But he told CBC in June that those details will certainly come out, and "we'll make whatever steps we need to take, correction or otherwise when we move forward."Allen said he believed "a lot of weight" would have been given to public interest in this case. Rao's supporters have been lobbying the Public Prosecution Service to drop the charges. The case has also sparked renewed calls for an end to racial profiling by Halifax Regional Police.More than 53,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Rao's charges to be dropped and for charges to be brought against the officers involved in her arrest. Rao's case has been referred to the Serious Incident Response Team police watchdog. Allen said the SIRT investigation is complete, but the results have yet to be released.Allen and Rao are planning to launch formal complaints against the three police officers involved, and civil action against Walmart and the city over Rao's injuries. Allen said Rao "suffered some real injuries," and is still in treatment.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Justice minister treads carefully, as RNC officers revolt against their chief
    Politics
    CBC

    Justice minister treads carefully, as RNC officers revolt against their chief

    Justice Minister Andrew Parsons did a delicate diplomatic dance Monday as a feud continues to grow between the association representing most frontline officers with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and its chief of police, Joe Boland.In a series of interviews with the media on Monday morning, Parsons expressed complete confidence in both the RNC Association, which represents some 380 non-commissioned officers, and the man he hand-picked to lead the force three years ago.Parsons said the RNCA has brought forward "significant concerns" about Boland's leadership, and pledged to work with the association to address those concerns.But in almost the same breath, Parsons expressed "100 per cent confidence" in the chief, saying "I still think he is the right person for the job."Boland, a 37-year veteran of the RNC who made police accountability one of his top priorities from Day 1, is at the centre of a revolt among officers.Membership voteIn a rare move, the RNCA organized a membership vote on the chief's leadership last month. The results — posted to social media on Friday by retired Sgt. Tim Buckle — showed 76 per cent of members voted, and 90 per cent of them expressed a lack of support for the chief.It prompted Boland to issue a defiant statement, saying he planned to continue on as chief in the face of what he called a "scheme" to discredit and intimidate him by a "noisy minority." Boland also said it was orchestrated by officers who seek to avoid accountability and oppose progressive changes.In a press release sent to CBC, RNCA president Sgt. Mike Summers said that was not the case."We understand that this vote, by its very nature, is a divisive process, but we in no way seek to intimidate or coerce the chief from fulfilling his mandate, as we work to represent the women and men of the RNCA," Summers wrote."We agree, and believe, that all officers of the RNC should be held accountable and meet the high standards that are represented by the RNC core values. The issues at hand for the association extend beyond the imposition of discipline by the chief of police."Before releasing the voting results, Buckle also released the results of a 2019 job satisfaction survey that found most officers feared retribution if they filed a grievance, complaint or appeal.Buckle has waged a stinging campaign against Boland's character and leadership on social media, writing that Boland "failed to hold himself to the high standard he set for everybody else."Summers said the RNCA brass was disappointed in Boland's response to the vote."Unfortunately, rather than recognize the results of this vote, and begin a process to rebuild the relationship between the executive and the front-line members, Chief Boland has chosen to question the legitimacy of the process," he wrote.Relationships 'take work'Parsons confirmed Monday he has held several meetings with the association in recent days.Parsons said he wants to work with both sides to find a resolution, but in the meantime, he's not concerned that the friction is interfering with the RNC's duty to the public."There's nothing ever easy about these types of relationships or about this job. But these things take time. It's like any relationship that's out there. They take work. They take understanding. They take clear communication. And they take trust. I have that in both of these entities. I have that in the men and women of the RNCA. I have that in Chief Joe Boland. I'll continue to have that. And I hope they have that in me," said Parsons.And just how long is Parsons willing to tolerate the internal bickering?"I'll tolerate it as long as I have to, as long as there is a clear chain of communication or it doesn't impact the work that's being done. I've seen no indication that the work has been impacted. I think that public confidence in the RNC has risen each and every year since I've been here," he said.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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