The City of Toronto is seeking an injunction to stop a man from building tiny shelters for homeless people in Toronto. Erica Vella has details.
The City of Toronto is seeking an injunction to stop a man from building tiny shelters for homeless people in Toronto. Erica Vella has details.
(Leah Mills/Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters - image credit) Donald Trump's actions will take centre stage in a Vancouver courtroom this week as Meng Wanzhou's lawyers try to prove the former U.S. president poisoned extradition proceedings against the Huawei executive. The case should be tossed out because of alleged political interference, Meng's lawyers are expected to argue at the first of three sets of B.C. Supreme Court hearings scheduled to stretch into mid-May. A decision on the extradition request isn't expected until much later this year. The 49-year-old, who is Huawei's chief financial officer, is charged with fraud and conspiracy in New York in relation to allegations she lied to an HSBC banker in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The arguments related to the former president concern a statement he made to a Reuters reporter in the weeks after Meng's arrest at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018. At the time, Trump said he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary to help the U.S. reach a trade deal with China. Charter rights argument could be 'decider' The Crown — which represents the U.S. in the proceeding — contends there's no evidence Trump made good on his words and that any possible influence he could have had on the case ended along with his term in office. University of B.C. professor Michael Byers, an expert on international law, says he doubts the defence team will have much success convincing Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes the U.S. Department of Justice has been swayed by political considerations. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of the telecommunications giant. She is accused of fraud and conspiracy. But he does think they'll have a better shot in the coming weeks with claims Meng's rights were breached on her arrival when Canada Border Services Agency officers questioned her for three hours before RCMP executed a warrant calling for her "immediate arrest." "That three-hour period could well have constituted a violation of her Section 7 rights to security of the person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "And so if the extradition judge is to rule that Ms. Meng should be set free, my expectation is that it's that particular element of the case that will be the decider." Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, the man who became a billionaire by turning his global communications giant into a flagship business prized by the Chinese state. Meng's legal team includes lawyers from firms across Canada. And her case is being spearheaded by Vancouver's Richard Peck, of Peck and Company. Strategy to have case thrown out Along with arguments about Trump's role, the allegations related to Meng's treatment by the CBSA are part of a multi-pronged defence strategy to have the proceedings stayed. Meng's lawyers also claim the U.S. misled Canada about the strength of its case and that American prosecutors are reaching far beyond their jurisdiction by trying a Chinese citizen for a conversation that took place in Hong Kong with an executive for an English bank. Meng Wanzhou's lawyers are expected to claim her charter rights were violated during her first few hours in CBSA custody. Holmes will hear submissions about the events surrounding Meng's arrest during the second stretch of hearings, scheduled to begin in mid-March. The defence claims the CBSA conspired with the RCMP and CBSA to have border agents question Meng without a lawyer. They also seized her cellphones and later gave the passcodes to police, in contravention of policy. The defence has accused the RCMP of sending technical information from Meng's electronic devices to the Americans. A senior officer who was in touch with a legal attache for the FBI has refused to testify — and last month, Meng's lawyers announced their intention to try to force the Crown to disclose their communication with him about that decision. 'An irritant' in U.S.-China relationship In court documents filed in advance of this week's hearing, Meng's lawyers cited comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about a need to tie a trade deal between the U.S and China to the resolution of Meng's situation and the fate of two Canadians imprisoned in China. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been accused of spying by the Chinese government in what most observers believe is retaliation for Meng's arrest. Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, right, were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. U.S. President Joe Biden has called for their release. The Crown doesn't make any mention of the so-called "two Michaels" in its submissions, but the defence claims the constellation of factors riding on the case has made it extremely difficult for Meng to defend herself without worrying about the impact on others. U.S. President Joe Biden called on China to release Kovrig and Spavor last week following a bilateral meeting with Trudeau, saying "human beings are not bartering chips." Byers believes Biden may decide to bring an end to efforts to extradite Meng in the coming months as he looks to improve the U.S. relationship with China. "It is in the hands of the Biden administration to end this case. And the Biden administration will be in the process now of resetting the relationship between the United States and China. That is a hugely important relationship, for economic reasons, for security reasons. "Those two superpowers need to get along. They need to get things done. And Ms. Meng's presence in Vancouver is an irritant in that relationship." To that end, reports by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters last December claimed Meng was in discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring an end to the case through a deal that would see her admit to some wrongdoing in exchange for a deferred prosecution agreement. In an exclusive interview with CBC's chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton, newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said any deal would have to be made free of geopolitical considerations. "We follow the law. We follow the facts. "And one of the things that we don't do is have politics or foreign policy interfere in the workings of the Justice Department."
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar’s biggest city fired tear gas Monday at defiant crowds who returned to the streets to protest last month's coup, despite reports that security forces had killed at least 18 people a day earlier. The protesters in Yangon were chased as they tried to gather at their usual meeting spot at the Hledan Center intersection. Demonstrators scattered and sought in vain to rinse the irritating gas from their eyes, but later regrouped. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came Feb. 1, the same day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party would have led that government, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The army has levelled several charges against Suu Kyi — an apparent effort by the military to provide a legal veneer for her detention and potentially to bar her from running in the election the junta has promised to hold in one year. On Monday, Suu Kyi made a court appearance via videoconference and was charged with two more offences, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters. Accused of inciting unrest, she was charged under a law that dates from British colonial days and has long been criticized as a vaguely defined catch-all law that inhibits freedom of expression. That charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The other charge from Monday carries a one-year sentence. Following her detention on the day of the coup, the 75-year-old Suu Kyi was initially held at her residence in the capital of Naypyitaw, but members of her National League for Democracy party now say they don't know where she is. Since the takeover, a movement of protests in cities across the country has been growing — and the junta's response has become increasingly violent. The U.N. said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded across Myanmar on Sunday. Counts from other sources, such the Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent television and online news outlet, put the death toll in the 20s. Any of the reports would make it the highest single-day death toll since the military takeover. The junta has also made mass arrests, and the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported that as many as 1,000 people were detained Sunday, though it has only confirmed 270 of those. Several journalists have been among those detained, including one for The Associated Press. At least five people are believed to have been killed Sunday in Yangon when police shot at protesters, who have remained non-violent despite provocation from the security forces and pro-military counter-demonstrators. People erected makeshift sidewalk shrines Monday at the spots where several of the victims were shot and also paid their respects by standing outside the hospitals where the bodies were being released to families. In Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar where an estimated five people were killed Sunday, the number of protesters on the streets Monday was lower than usual. Marchers there split into smaller groups, parading through the city to the applause of bystanders who also made the three-finger salutes adopted by the resistance movement to show their support. Confirming the deaths of protesters has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of news from official sources, especially in areas outside Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. But in many cases, there was evidence posted online such as videos of shootings, photos of bullet casings collected afterwards and gruesome pictures of bodies. In a statement published Monday in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry declared that the junta “is exercising utmost restraint to avoid the use of force in managing the violent protests systematically, in accordance with domestic and international laws in order to keep minimum casualties.” But U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the crackdown, calling the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” and expressed serious concern at the increase in deaths and serious injuries, said U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. “What the world is watching in Myanmar is outrageous and unacceptable,” the U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said in a separate statement. “Words of condemnation are necessary and welcome but insufficient. The world must act. We must all act.” He proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar, “tough targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses, and sanctions against the business interests of the military. Social media posts from Myanmar have increasingly urged the international community to invoke the doctrine of the “responsibility to protect” to intervene directly to restrain the junta. Any kind of co-ordinated measures, however, would be difficult to implement as two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto them on the basis of being opposed to interference in the internal affairs of other countries. In Washington, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying the U.S. is “alarmed” by the violence and stands in solidarity with Myanmar's people, “who continue to bravely voice their aspirations for democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.” Washington has imposed sanctions on Myanmar because of the coup, and Sullivan said it would “impose further costs on those responsible,” promising details “in the coming days.” Security forces began employing rougher tactics on Saturday, taking preemptive action to break up protests and make mass arrests. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners. Among the arrests made Sunday, the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners was able to identify about 270 people, bringing to 1,132 the total number of people the group has confirmed being arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup. An AP journalist was taken into police custody on Saturday morning while providing news coverage of the protests. The journalist, Thein Zaw, remains in police custody. The AP called for his immediate release. “Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution. AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw,” said Ian Phillips, the AP's vice-president for international news. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Myanmar also condemned the arrest. The Associated Press
Le Moulin Michel de Gentilly est le tout premier commerce des MRC de Bécancour et de Nicolet-Yamaska à adhérer au réseau La Tasse. Le concept de La Tasse permet aux clients de différents commerces participants d’acheter une tasse consignée et réutilisable au coût de 5$ et de la rapporter par la suite dans une des antennes du réseau. Ces tasses seront sous peu mises à disposition de la clientèle du Moulin Michel qui compte rouvrir son comptoir de commandes pour emporter au cours des prochaines semaines. L’effort n’est pas inutile. Le Réseau affirme que « plus d’un million de gobelets à usage unique sont jetés chaque minute dans le monde » et la tasse réutilisable consignée offre « une alternative sanitaire, simple et abordable. Elle permet de réduire l’impact de notre consommation quotidienne sur l’environnement ». « Le meilleur déchet est celui qu’on ne produit pas », affirme Philippe Dumas, directeur général du Moulin Michel. « C’est quelque chose qu’on voulait mettre en place. Le réseau La Tasse prend de l’expansion. C’est un geste responsable pour la planète. C’est tellement simple d’y adhérer. Tu te présentes au Moulin Michel, tu as oublié ta tasse réutilisable? Le client peut ainsi en emprunter une et la ramener une autre fois pour récupérer son dépôt de 5$.» Le Moulin Michel avait déjà pris un virage plus vert. Tous les gobelets des commandes pour emporter du Moulin Michel sont aussi compostables. M. Dumas est convaincu que la meilleure tasse réutilisable est celle que l’on conserve avec soi. « La Tasse permet de combler - l’oubli de - et chez nous, à Bécancour-Gentilly » de conscientiser la population au gaspillage croissant des gobelets jetables non réutilisables. Philippe Dumas a déjà mis La Tasse consignée à l’épreuve au café La Distributrice de Montréal dont il est aussi copropriétaire. Ce café est depuis près d’un an membre du réseau. « Le seul enjeu, c’est la gestion des consignes et le côté sanitaire. Toutes les tasses qu’on remet en circulation doivent évidemment être lavées correctement », comme toutes les autres d’ailleurs. Le projet La Tasse est né en 2019 dans la métropole et a rapidement fait des petits. Une campagne de sociofinancement de La Tasse lancée en 2019 a récolté près de 60 000$. Le réseau est aujourd’hui présent dans près de 350 commerces des différentes régions du Québec. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
LEVERKUSEN, Germany — Bayer Leverkusen right back Timothy Fosu-Mensah will be out for several months with a cruciate ligament tear in his right knee, the German club said Monday. Fosu-Mensah was injured just before halftime in Leverkusen's 2-1 loss to Freiburg on Sunday. The club said he will need an operation and is expected to spend “the coming months” on the sidelines. It’s the second serious knee injury of the Dutch defender's career. He also needed ligament surgery while on loan at Fulham in April 2019 and missed most of Manchester United's 2019-20 season. “It is a hard blow for Timothy,” Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes said. “We will do everything we can to support him, so that he can come back stronger from this difficult situation.” Fosu-Mensah, who signed from Manchester United less than two months ago, has played every minute of Leverkusen's last six Bundesliga games. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
An Indian trade group representing 150,000 mobile phone stores on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to investigate Amazon's business practices in the country and impose a daily cap on a single seller's online smartphone sales. In a letter sent to Modi, the group cited a Reuters special report published last month that revealed Amazon has for years given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its Indian platform, using them to circumvent the country's strict foreign investment regulations. The report was based on internal Amazon documents dated between 2012 and 2019.
Britain's Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, was transferred to a different hospital in central London on Monday to have tests for a pre-existing heart condition and receive treatment for an infection. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was admitted to London's private King Edward VII hospital two weeks ago for treatment for an unspecified infection that is not related to COVID-19. On Monday, Buckingham Palace said he had been moved to St Bartholomew's Hospital, which is a centre of excellence for cardiac care, for further treatment and observation.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary's right-wing prime minister has threatened to pull his party out of its group in the European Union's legislature as the conservative group edges closer to excluding its largest Hungarian delegation. In a letter on Sunday to chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament Manfred Weber, Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemned a group proposal agreed to on Friday that would allow for entire parties to be excluded from the centre-right EPP, rather than just individual MEPs as currently allowed. Orban wrote that the proposed rules, which are expected to pass with a two-thirds vote at an EPP group meeting on Wednesday, were “tailor-made" to sanction his Fidesz party, and that “if Fidesz is not welcome, we do not feel compelled to stay in the Group.” It is the latest in a series of ongoing clashes between the right-wing Fidesz and the EPP, the largest political family in Europe, and marks the closest Orban's party has come to losing its place in the group's ranks. The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership. The EPP's new rules would allow for suspended member parties to be expelled with a simple majority rather than a two-thirds vote, opening the way for Fidesz's 11 delegates to lose their place in the group. Some of the EPP's more moderate national delegations have pushed for Fidesz's expulsion, arguing it no longer represents the group's values. In a statement in December, the EPP Group wrote that “the frequent attacks by Fidesz’ representatives towards the European Union and its values are not in line with the core beliefs of the EPP.” Also in December, the EPP voted to suspend Tamas Deutsch, the head of Fidesz’s delegation, stripping him of his rights to speaking time in plenary sessions and removing him from his positions in the Group. The decision, which allowed Deutsch to remain an EPP member, came after the lawmaker compared EPP Group leader Weber to the Gestapo and Hungary's communist-era secret police. In his letter, Orban wrote that he would pull his party out of the EPP Group if the new rules are adopted, signalling he will not wait to see whether the EPP votes his party out at a later time. A spokesman for the EPP Group in the European Parliament said that the changes to the rules “have nothing to do with the situation of Fidesz,” and that the vote will go forward as planned on Wednesday despite Orban's letter. “There is a broad majority support for the new rules,” Pedro Lopez de Pablo told The Associated Press in an email. “If once they are approved, some MEPs would like to initiate the procedure of suspending or expelling Fidesz, they will need to do it following the new rules. ... We are not changing the rules of procedure of the EPP Group because of Fidesz.” Othmar Karas, an Austrian EPP lawmaker and vice-president of the European Parliament, tweeted Monday that the vote on the procedural changes would go forward as planned. “I am not going to let Orban succeed with blackmail again,” Karas wrote. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Cape Breton Regional Police - image credit) Theft of catalytic converters from the exhaust system of vehicles has become a growing problem in Canada. It's not a new issue, says Bryan Gast, the national director of investigative services at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, but as the price of certain metals has risen, so have thefts. "Catalytic converters have been stolen for years," he said. "The difference lately is the price of precious metals, and obviously it's the precious metals inside those catalytic converters that they're looking to steal and then sell on the black market," he said. A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system. It converts pollutants to less toxic material. New cars, used cars — nearly any vehicle with a catalytic converter can be a target, Gast says. The exception is electric vehicles, which don't have them, because they don't produce any emissions. Metals precious The thefts have been happening across the country for the last year and thieves appear to be after three precious metals inside the converter: platinum, rhodium and palladium. "That's really what the rise is about," said Gast. Those metals are "more valuable than gold right now." According to the website for Montreal-based Kitco Metals, which buys and sells metals and also reports on market trends, palladium is currently selling for just over $2,800 Cdn an ounce, although the Kitco 2021 outlook says it could rise to $3,000 by the end of the year. Platinum was selling for $1,500 an ounce on Monday, while rhodium was going for about $30,000 US an ounce at the end of February. An example of a catalytic converter. Thieves typically crawl under vehicles to cut them out. By comparison, an ounce of gold is currently selling for about $2,200. One reason for the rising value of platinum, rhodium and palladium is that as automakers make vehicles to meet tightening emission standards, manufacturers need more of those metals inside the new catalytic converter to do that work. In the Waterloo region, police say there were 81 reports of catalytic converter thefts between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12 of this year, most of them happening in Kitchener, Ont. "We are asking the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police immediately," Const. Andre Johnson of the Waterloo Regional Police Service told CBC. "We are also asking anyone who may have been a victim of a converter theft, who has not yet reported it to police, to please do so," he said. Stolen from mechanic shops, dealerships Nearby in Guelph, Ont., there have been at least 20 reports of catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles since Christmas. Scott Tracey, a spokesperson for the Guelph Police Service, says thieves will crawl under a vehicle and cut out the tubular catalytic converter at both ends, leaving a missing section of the exhaust pipe. The most recent theft in that city was from a group of vans parked together, but Tracey says they've seen thefts reported from vehicles parked overnight at mechanic shops, sometimes at private residences and also at vehicle dealerships. Tracey says after the catalytic converter has been stolen, "[drivers] come in the morning and start warming the vehicles up and it makes a terrible noise because there's essentially no exhaust system on the vehicle." National rash of thefts RCMP in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have warned people this year about a rash of thefts. In P.E.I. last month, five people were charged in a string of thefts that police estimate caused damages of more than $100,000. Last June, 20 Canada Post vehicles were targeted by thieves in Ottawa. In July, 27 people were arrested and 68 criminal charges were laid in Hamilton following a two-week project by police targeting catalytic converter thefts. Police in Sudbury reported 52 thefts of catalytic converters between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. This photo shows some of the catalytic converters police in Edmonton have seized as evidence following an investigation that led to charges against a 24-year-old man. "This is a substantial increase in comparison to the 12 reports of thefts of catalytic converters reported in the same time period in 2019," Sudbury police said in a release. Thieves have cut converters out of school buses in Winnipeg, hundreds have been stolen in Edmonton and in Calgary, a man died in Feb. 2020 after it appeared he was trying to steal a catalytic converter and the vehicle fell on top of him. Tips to avoid theft Gast says thefts from vehicles that are higher off the ground appear to happen more frequently, but even so, it doesn't take much for a thief to jack up a car and remove the converter "in just minutes." He says there are some measures drivers can take to protect their vehicles. The two cheapest and most cost-effective ways are: Park in a garage when possible. If you can't park in a garage, park in a well-lit area. He says there are third-party companies that can etch an ID number onto a vehicle's catalytic converter and enter that information into a database. The database is available for concerned salvage operators to check. Gast said while black-market scrap metal dealers would likely still take an engraved converter, "it really helps with minimizing the ability for [thieves] to get rid of their product." He said he has also heard of people going to their local garage to have the converter welded to the vehicle frame or have mechanics put a screen over it. That may be a bit extreme, he says, but anything that makes it more difficult to cut out the converter can help deter a would-be thief.
(Helen Pike/CBC - image credit) The union representing Calgary's transit workers says despite an overall drop in ridership, a steady number of operational issues indicate a need to bring back some of the transit workers laid off last spring. Mike Mahar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, says staff are complaining about too much overtime, too many overloaded buses and sporadic bus breakdowns that lead to "no shows" because there's no one to backfill. Mahar said within the last week, a charter transit bus ran into problems and left students at a high school scrambling to find another way home. "Normally Calgary Transit will have, you know, five or six or seven people on what they call standby, and as soon as the bus breaks down, they dispatch another bus with another driver," he said. "They can't do that when they've maxed themselves out, there's just no resources left." Approximately 450 workers were laid off last spring and routes were scaled back or temporarily suspended after revenues and ridership plunged due to COVID-19. Mahar said some of the laid off workers have already been brought back, but he believes more need to return — especially considering concerns around health and safety with respect to the pandemic. Stephen Tauro, a spokesperson with the city, said Calgary Transit is monitoring the situation and called the "no show" incident involving a high school charter bus a one-off. Tauro said ridership is only 25 per cent of what it was pre-pandemic, yet service levels are at 82 per cent. He said if they see a significant increase in ridership, they'll boost service levels. Approximately 450 workers were laid off last spring and routes were scaled back or temporarily suspended after revenues and ridership plunged due to COVID-19. Tauro added that according to the city's ongoing citizen satisfaction surveys, 85 per cent of riders say the service is meeting their needs. "So it's really a balancing act and being responsible with the tax dollars and ensuring that we can use those dollars to the best of our ability to meet the customer needs," he said. Transit overloads Mahar said the city sends him copies of the daily overload reports and lately he said he's been noticing reports of 50 or more overloads every day. Mahar shared a week's worth of the overload reports with CBC News which support that assessment. Pre-pandemic, a bus was considered overloaded if it reached 100 per cent capacity. During the pandemic, it has been lowered to 75 per cent capacity. When a bus is considered overloaded, the driver feels it's too full to pick up additional riders, so the length of time can vary depending on when people exit the bus. Mahar said there were reports of bus overloads pre-pandemic but he alleged the numbers are consistently up right now on some routes, especially during peak periods. He said drivers have a plastic shield and passengers must wear a mask, but said not everyone feels safe behind those barriers, nor always wears a mask. One rider who spoke to CBC News through social media said the bus she takes is usually packed, which she said doesn't make sense. "Calgary Transit still thinks it's okay to allow 70 people on the bus when there's only 36 seats [on a regular bus] and most people are not wearing masks," said Megan Mary, who is a regular transit rider. "If my place of work did that, or if I gather in my home or outside with 70 [or more] people, we'd be fined and closed down for not following public health regulations." Stephen Tauro, a spokesperson with the city, said Calgary Transit ridership is only 25 per cent of what it was pre-pandemic, yet service levels are at 82 per cent. Tauro said the reports shared with CBC News are raw data that require further investigation to see if they represent consistent issues that require a service change. He said if overloads happen on a consistent basis, then they will respond by adding another bus, increasing the frequency of the service or adjusting the size of the bus. In that case, he urged drivers and passengers to notify Calgary Transit every time a bus is too full so the city can see if any patterns emerge. Increased overtime Mahar said he's been tracking the overtime and double time logged by his members after drivers started complaining about their workload over the last three or four months. He said overtime is an acceptable solution when it's used correctly, but said drivers are asked to do overtime too often to cover staffing shortages, which he said leads to burnout. "There's a lot of them that don't want to work overtime and they certainly don't want to work 10- and 12-hour days," Mahar said. But despite the complaints, Tauro said his records show overtime hasn't gone up in recent months. CBC News tried to compare the total number of overtime and double time hours sent by Tauro, which compared January 2020 to January 2021, with several overtime sheets sent by Mahar. However at the time of publication, CBC News couldn't confirm whether drivers are being asked to do more overtime at this time. Tauro said there are a number of factors that go into the decision to use overtime — like budget, operator availability, the "sick" list and the schedules. "It's really hard to just pinpoint one consistent issue and I think we are using some operators in overtime. Is it excessive?" Tauro said. "No, but we're just trying to ensure we're meeting the service that customers expect." But Tauro said the bottom line is Calgary Transit is about customer service, and so far, he said, it seems customers are satisfied. Mahar said he realizes there are budget constraints and that ridership is down, but he said those who are still using it and providing it should be better supported. "During a pandemic I think they need to promise a safe ride that is as safe as it can possibly be while still providing service," he said. He said the buses should be better spaced out, as they were when the pandemic first hit. Calgary Transit initially blocked off every second seat due to COVID-19. Last August, it removed the seating restrictions because it said the mandatory face covering bylaw would keep riders safe when they couldn't distance.
ZAGREB, Croatia — Zlatko Kranjcar, a former Croatia national team coach who led his team to the 2006 World Cup and also played internationally for Yugoslavia before the country's breakup, has died. He was 64. The Croatian soccer association said Monday that Kranjcar died in a Zagreb hospital after a short and serious illness. Croatian media reported that Kranjcar died early Monday after he was hospitalized last month. Kranjcar launched his career at Dinamo Zagreb in the 1970s, playing as a centre forward. He later moved to Austrian club Rapid Vienna, where his career peaked. Kranjcar also played for the Yugoslav national team and later served as the first captain for an unofficial Croatian national team in 1990. Croatia became independent in 1991 and played its first official match since the breakup in 1992. Kranjcar coached the Croatian team from 2004-06, leading his country to the World Cup in Germany. Croatia finished third in its group behind Brazil and Australia and was eliminated. Croatia's state HRT television described Kranjcar as “one of the best players in the history of Dinamo.” “Thank you for everything, for the memories, trophies, for creating Dinamo's great history, for soccer romance and most of all friendship and good spirit and warmth that you spread among all of us," Dinamo Zagreb wrote on its website. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in a message of condolences to the family that Kranjcar was “one of true greats of the Croatian soccer.” “The Croatian sports family has lost a true soccer icon,” Plenkovic said. Kranjcar has also coached a number of international clubs and foreign national teams. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
(Submitted by Jeff Reeder - image credit) A Saskatchewan non-profit is fundraising to build a permanent retreat where first responders and their families can rest and focus on their mental well-being. River Valley Resilience Retreat owns property outside of Prince Albert and hopes to soon have a lodge on the land. The non-profit is working to raise $350,000 to make the retreat a reality. They're working to raise the money through private community donors, and a campaign for River Valley Resilience Retreat recently launched on GoFundMe. "We're just really looking for people to show us that they understand our need to stop suicides amongst first responders and create this place," co-founder Michelle McKeaveney told Saskatchewan Weekend. "It shouldn't be so difficult to raise funds for people who truly are depended on and counted on." McKeaveney and co-founder Jeff Reeder are working to create the retreat. McKeaveney works in corrections and Reeder first had to leave his job as a firefighter due to post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011. That's when Reeder started working toward a place like this. He's since been able to return and currently does in Prince Albert. "We're so close," he said. Their aim is to open the lodge by 2022, which would be "an absolute dream come true and relief for sure," said Reeder. McKeaveney said the retreat was born out of necessity. Through the years, she's seen colleagues struggling with mental well-being in need of a place to go other than the Prince Albert Mental Health Centre — an experience she's had herself. She said the centre serves its purpose, but first responders and front-line workers sometimes need a dedicated space. The non-profit was given 10 acres of land for its planned retreat near Prince Albert. Both McKeaveney and Reeder are involved with a local support network for first responders and veterans in Prince Albert called What's Important Now. The group offers text and online support, and also meets in person at the Cornerstone Methodist Church, while following COVID-19 protocols, McKeaveney said. "The common theme is people don't feel like they're normal," she said. "So the first thing when they walk into the peer-support group is creating a sense of normality, that the things that they're feeling and responding to … they start to feel like this is normal." The group's members help each other and make sure people have doctors or other professionals in their lives they can rely on. Reeder said including families, not just workers, in the planned retreat is extremely important, because families can be also be affected by a loved one's struggle with PTSD. Horse therapy offered relief from PTSD Reeder said in his experience with PTSD, being in nature worked best in his healing, and especially therapy involving working with horses. "I went through the conventional modalities and counselling for nine months," he said. "I felt after that I was supposed to be by the book healed by that point, and I was honestly no further ahead." That's when he discovered horse therapy. "I just kind of ended up … having some horses at the farm and just started working with them. And that was ultimately the only time I had any relief from any symptoms." McKeaveney said other members of their peer support group have since tried it and had profound changes as well. She said it will be a large component at the lodge. Reeder and McKeaveney have been given 10 acres of land for their retreat as a gift from the property owners, but people using the retreat will have access to the 100 acres around the property. Michelle McKeaveney poses with one of the horses currently being used in equine-assisted therapy, which will be a part of the retreat. "We have access to amazing river trails. They have trails to their pasture. They have trails through the valleys," McKeaveney said. "It's a remarkable green, open space." It's a peaceful setting, says Reeder. "When you're on top of the hill, you can see the horizon and all you see is forest," he said. "Being in that nature setting, it just takes your breath away." Reeder hopes they can build the main lodge to house a few people, rooms for clinics or therapy, and a main gathering space. Outdoors, the plans include a riding area for equine therapy and a classroom for workshop sessions. In the long term, he said they may expand to have cabins for family accommodation. If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, help is available. For an emergency or crisis situation, call 911. You can also contact the Saskatchewan suicide prevention line toll-free, 24/7 by calling 1-833-456-4566, texting 45645, or chatting online. You can contact the Regina mobile crisis services suicide line at 306-525-5333 or Saskatoon mobile crisis line at 306-933-6200.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's U.S. extradition hearing resumed in a Canadian court on Monday with defence countering prosecutors' claims that Meng misled HSBC about the Chinese telecom company's relationship with its affiliate while doing business in Iran. As five days of hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court started, the defence drilled into the alleged sanction violations that led to Meng's arrest. The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is accused by the United States of misleading HSBC about her company's business arrangements in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.
Britain on Monday appealed for a mystery individual infected with a highly transmissible Brazilian variant of the novel coronavirus to come forward, more than two weeks after they tested positive but failed to give proper contact details. Britain said six cases had been detected of the "P.1" variant identified in the Brazilian city of Manaus, against which current vaccines appear to be less effective. Two were in South Gloucestershire in England and three in Scotland.
Welcome to the Berkeley Chefs channel! Join the Berkeley Chef (Jenny) as she make a yummy plant-based potato salad. Enjoy!
(Dan Taekema/CBC - image credit) Windsor police say officers made an arrest Friday in the killing of a 55-year-old man. Police said a 33-year-old Windsor man was arrested without incident at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday in the area of Erie Street West and Ouellette Avenue. He has been charged with first-degree murder and possession of fentanyl, police said in a news release on Saturday. The investigation into the death of Lamont Rhue, 55, is ongoing and police are seeking tips from the public. He was found dead in a home in the area of Louis Avenue and Cataraqui Street on Tuesday afternoon. Officers are looking to speak with anyone who had contact with the victim on or before Tuesday, Feb. 23. Those in the area who have surveillance cameras are being asked to check their footage from 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, to 2 p.m. the following day. More from CBC Windsor
NEW DELHI — India is expanding its coronavirus vaccination drive beyond health care and front-line workers, offering the shots to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk. Among the first to receive a vaccine on Monday was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Those now eligible include anyone older than 60, as well as those over 45 who have ailments such as heart disease or diabetes that make them vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness. The shots will be given for free at government hospitals and will also be sold at over 10,000 private hospitals at a fixed price of 250 rupees, or $3.40, per shot. But the rollout of one of the world's largest vaccination drives has been sluggish. Amid signs of hesitancy among the first groups offered the vaccine, Modi, who is 70, got a shot at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science. He received the vaccine produced by Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech — which has been met with particular skepticism. He appealed for all to get vaccinated, tweeting afterward, “together, let us make India COVID-19 free!” The drive, which began in January in the country of 1.4 billion people, has recently taken on even more urgency, since new infections have begun to increase again after months of consistent decline, and scientists have detected worrisome variants of the virus that they fear could hasten infections or render vaccines or treatments less useful. Scores of elderly people started lining up outside private hospitals on Monday morning. Sunita Kapoor was among them, waiting for a vaccine with her husband. She said that they had been staying at home and not meeting people for months to stay safe from the virus — and were looking forward to being able to socialize a bit more. “We are excited,” said Kapoor, 63. Many said that they had struggled with the online system for registering and then waited in line for hours before receiving the vaccine — problems that other countries have also experienced. Dr. Giridhar R. Babu, who studies epidemics at the Public Health Foundation of India, said that long waits for the elderly were a concern since they could pick up infections, including COVID-19, at hospitals. “The unintended effect might be that they get COVID when they go to get the vaccine,” he said. Even though India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs, things haven't gone according to plan. Of the 10 million health care workers that the government had initially wanted to immunize, only 6.6 million have gotten the first shot of the two-dose vaccines and 2.4 million have gotten both. Of its estimated 20 million front-line workers, such as police or sanitation workers, only 5.1 million have been vaccinated so far. Dr. Gagangdeep Kang, an infectious diseases expert at Christian Medical College Vellore in southern India, said the hesitancy by health workers highlights the paucity of information available about the vaccines. If health workers are reticent, “you seriously think that the common public is going to walk up for the vaccine?” she said. Vaccinating more people quickly is a major priority for India, especially now that infections are rising again. The country has recorded more than 11 million cases, second in the world behind the United States, and over 157,000 deaths. The government had set a target of immunizing 300 million people, nearly the total U.S. population, by August. The spike in infections in India is most pronounced in the western state of Maharashtra, where the number of active cases has nearly doubled to over 68,000 in the past two weeks. Lockdowns and other restrictions have been reimposed in some areas, and the state's chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, has warned that another wave of cases is “knocking on our door.” Similar surges have been reported from states in all corners of the massive country: Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Gujarat in the west, West Bengal in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in central India, and Telangana in the south. Top federal officials have asked authorities in those states to increase the speed of vaccinations in districts where cases are surging, and to track clusters of infections and monitor variants. “There is a sense of urgency because of the mutants and because cases are going up,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. He said that the consistent dip in cases over months resulted in a “reduced threat perception,” leading to vaccine hesitancy. “The (vaccination) drive began when perception was that the worst was over, so people were more hesitant,” Reddy said. Others have also pointed out that the reticence to get vaccinated was amplified, at least in part, by the government's opaque decision making while greenlighting vaccines. But experts say that allowing private hospitals to administer the shots — which began with this new phase of the campaign — should improve access. India's health care system is patchy, and in many small cities people depend on private hospitals for their medical needs. Still, problems remain. India had rolled out online software to keep track of the shots and recipients, but the system was prone to glitches and delays. The federal government will decide which hospitals get which vaccine and people will not have a choice between the AstraZeneca vaccine or the Bharat Biotech one, confirmed Dr. Amar Fettle, the nodal COVID-19 officer for southern Indian state Kerala. The latter got the go-ahead by Indian regulators in January before trials testing the shot's effectiveness at preventing illness were completed. But opening up the campaign to private hospitals may allow the rich to “shop” around for places that are providing the AstraZeneca vaccine — an option that poorer people wouldn't have, said Dr. Anant Bhan, who studies medical ethics. India now hopes to quickly ramp up vaccinations. But the country will likely continue to see troughs and peaks of infections, and the key lesson is that the pandemic won't end until enough people have been vaccinated for the spread of the virus to slow, said Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University who advises West Bengal state on the virus response. “Don’t use a trough to declare success and say it's over,” he said. ___ Associated Press journalists Krutika Pathi and Rishabh Jain contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Aniruddha Ghosal, The Associated Press
Top U.N. human rights experts said on Monday that Russia was to blame for attempting to kill Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and called for an international investigation into his poisoning with a "signature compound" last year. The attempt to kill Navalny was part of a pattern of attacks on critics at home and abroad, and intended to send a "sinister warning" to quash dissent, Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on summary killings, and Irene Khan, U.N. expert on freedom of opinion and expression, said in a statement.
La MRC de Nicolet-Yamaska doit au cours des prochains mois cartographier sa résilience face aux changements climatiques. Les inondations, canicules, sécheresses et grands vents observés ces dernières années laissent des traces. Et la MRC cherche à les recenser. La MRC va faire le diagnostic de l’impact qu’a le climat sur l’ensemble de ses équipements, services et infrastructures. «On veut évaluer la vulnérabilité de notre territoire, voir en quoi elles sont impactées par ces différents événements climatiques. La MRC va tenter de classifier les risques et tenir compte de cette vulnérabilité dans la gestion future de ses actifs», explique Michel Côté, directeur général de la MRC. «Les changements climatiques constituent l’un des enjeux majeurs auxquels les municipalités sont confrontées. Leurs effets exigent des mesures d’adaptation fortes et innovantes. Cela nous conduira très certainement à revoir certaines de ces manières de faire, et à penser différemment nos modes de développement», soutient Geneviève Dubois, préfète de la MRC de Nicolet-Yamaska. L’ensemble des professionnels des différentes municipalités de la MRC de Nicolet-Yamaska sera mobilisé. Une conseillère en environnement a été embauchée par la MRC pour travailler le dossier. Le bureau de génie de la Fédération québécoise des municipalités va lui donner un coup de main avec le concours des différents départements de Travaux publics et d’urbanisme du territoire. Le gouvernement du Québec finance le projet à hauteur de 64 500$. La MRC assume quant à elle 35% de la facture. Ce diagnostic de vulnérabilité doit être complété d’ici 12 mois. Des sommes additionnelles seront requises lors de la phase de mise en oeuvre du Plan d’action qui en découlera. La MRC affirme rester à l’affût de nouvelles possibilités de financement. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Bitcoin rose nearly 7% on Monday as risk assets rallied after last week's bond rout cooled, with Citi saying the most popular cryptocurrency was at a "tipping point" and could become the preferred currency for international trade. With the recent embrace of the likes of Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc, bitcoin could be at the start of a "massive transformation" into the mainstream, the investment bank said. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, has restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk and will begin dealing bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients next week, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.