A memorial service has been held in Troy, Alabama for the famed civil rights icon John Lewis. The service celebrating “The Boy from Troy” was held on the campus of Troy University on Saturday. (July 25)
Mike Bryant spends the days since his children were killed trying to keep busy. Officers who did more than 30 interviews during the investigation later told Bryant it was a murder-suicide. Experts, citing how often risk factors are present, feel child and domestic homicides should be reviewed to understand what happened in the hope of preventing similar deaths.
For the past several years Waseem Ashtikar, a kitchen manager at Boston Pizza in Edmonton has been saving money for he and his wife to fulfil their final religious duty as Muslims, to perform Hajj. The annual pilgrimage — a mandatory duty for all those physically and financially able — is set to begin on July 28 this year and ends on Aug. 2. For the past several years millions of Muslims, from all walks of life save up to go for Hajj in Saudi Arabia. According to the General Authority of Statistics for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, more than two million people attended Hajj in 2017. That number only grows each year. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 1000 Saudi citizens will be performing Hajj. Everybody else had to cancel their plans, including Ashtikar. He was devastated when he realized Hajj would not be a reality this year. He said he had been saving money for the past three to four years. "It's a big savings from this country like if we are going from some other country like back home (India) or somewhere else, it's cheaper," he said. "Here like it's minimum you need at least $25,000 to $30,000 to save for the Hajj."In Canada and the U.S, Muslims interested in going for Hajj often purchase all-inclusive travel packages from companies that exclusively take people on the pilgrimage. The packages offer hotel stays, transport, food and sometimes will include flights too. They vary in price, depending on the proximity of hotels to the mosques, the amount of transportation required and food choices but are usually in the tens of thousands of dollars per person. Ashtikar was set to fly to Saudi Arabia on July 12, but in February Saudi Arabia moved to temporarily halt entry into the kingdom. He waited for the next few months hoping that COVID-19 cases might drop and Hajj could be a possibility, but they didn't.Another traveller, Khadija Farooq was lucky enough not to invest all her money right away. The speech pathologist from Edmonton had also been saving for two years to go to Hajj with her husband. Their Hajj package which included the cheapest hotels farther away from the mosque and least amount of transport hence requiring them to walk everywhere, cost $22,000 in total — not including flights. "It's quite a pricey and financial commitment, right, that you are making," she said.Farooq had only given in a $200 deposit and had not paid the full fee yet."We were some of the lucky ones who didn't end up paying the full $22,000, but I know that a lot of people weren't fortunate as we were," she said.Travel companies are also struggling as they face mass cancellations from clients.Tamir Ali, owner of ECO Travels in Edmonton, said after Hajj got cancelled his clients expected their money back right away. "Most of the money is already split between airline deposits and hotel deposits and some of these deposits are not refundable and you will just get it as credit," he said. "They think it can happen right away, a refund. So we are in a very tough situation."Ali said to keep the lights on he took a loan from the federal government, however he does not believe it will sustain him in the long term. "We are looking for a more comprehensive strategy to help us businesses that are affected harshly in this crisis."Where some like Farooq are waiting until the pandemic is over to reconsider their Hajj plans, Ashtikar is holding out hope for next year. "This year Almighty didn't plan for us (to go), but next year we are planning to go again," he said.
Canada's first Black national news anchor, George Elroy Boyd, has died at age 68 at a hospice in Montreal.Boyd, who was born in Halifax, was one of the original anchors on CBC Newsworld, a 24-hour news channel that launched in 1989."We've got it, it's there. The product is there and all we have to do now is work harder to better what we have now," Boyd said in a news piece on the glitchy launch of the channel that originally aired July 31, 1989.His obituary, published in the Halifax Chronicle Herald on Saturday, says he enrolled in the broadcasting program at the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology after studying at Saint Mary's University.After Boyd left broadcasting in the 1990s, he turned his attention to writing, about which he was passionate."George has written for radio, television, motion pictures, and also became a songwriter for his radio play, God is My Warden [title song]," his obituary said. "With his debut play, Shine Boy (1988), George became the first Indigenous African-Nova Scotian to have a play professionally produced on the main stage of Halifax's Neptune Theatre."The obituary noted Boyd was appointed writer-in association with Neptune Theatre in 1995. His play, Consecrated Ground, was nominated for a Governor General's Award for drama in 2000. Another of his plays, Wade in the Water, was nominated for a Montreal English Critics Circle Award in 2005.His play, Gideon's Blues, was adapted into an hour-long TV drama, The Gospel According to the Blues, in 2010 by Thom Fitzgerald, American-Canadian film director."George was a brilliant writer, a very intelligent man and a very passionate artist with a vision and I felt like his play was unique and bold with a valuable perspective," Fitzgerald said.Fitzgerald said he and Boyd worked closely together while adapting the play."George was very effusive and opinionated and he had a real passion for telling stories of his community," he said.Fitzgerald said he and Boyd stayed in touch for many years and his death is a big loss to the Montreal and Halifax communities."He'll be missed," he said. "I'm happy that his voice lives on through is work."Boyd was also invited to be a writer-in residence at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ont. He represented Canada at the Rafi Peer Theatre Festival in Lahore, Pakistan.Boyd has received an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College in 1998 and an Atlantic Journalism Award in 1988.Boyd died on July 7 at the Mont Sinai Hospice in Montreal. A graveside service is scheduled for Boyd on Monday. There will be no reception because of COVID-19.MORE TOP STORIES
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and a lockdown in a border town after a person suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus returned from South Korea after illegally crossing the border, state media said on Sunday. If confirmed, it would be the first case officially acknowledged by North Korean authorities. Kim convened an emergency politburo meeting in response to what he called a "critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country", the North's KCNA state news reported.
Three teens are recovering from injuries after an intense storm tore through a campground northwest of Calgary and knocked a tree onto their tent. EMS spokesman Adam Loria says four ambulances were dispatched to the campground in the hamlet of Bottrel on Friday afternoon. Duane Needham, owner of the Bottrel General Store, which operates the campground for Rocky View County, says hail was so intense he couldn't even see the campground from the store and dozens of trees were toppled.
Peel police have released images of two suspects who are still at large after a shoot out and carjacking in Mississauga on Friday evening.Officers say they located a suspect vehicle with another car in the underground parking garage of an apartment building near Burnhamthorpe Road and Confederation Parkway.The suspect vehicle, a white Nissan Altima, was used earlier in the day by two suspects fleeing the scene after robbing a pharmacy near Credit Woodlands and McBride Avenue around 6:45 p.m., police said.Police said a total of four suspects were in the garage. All of them are wanted in connection to a series of violent armed robberies in cities across the GTA in July. In a news release on Saturday, police said officers from the tactical unit tried to stop the two cars from fleeing but one of the suspects fired a round of bullets at police."The suspect vehicle was then also driven at officers who then returned fire to prevent them from being seriously injured or killed," police said.Officers were able to stop the two vehicles and arrested the man and another suspect.A loaded handgun with an extended magazine holding 31 rounds of ammunition was found in one of the vehicles as well as the stolen property from the pharmacy, according to police. Ridwan Dalmar, 20, of Toronto faces six charges, including knowledge of unauthorized possession of a firearm and discharge firearm with intent.The other suspect arrested was identified as 23-year-old Zakariya Dalmar, of Toronto. He is facing five charges including, knowledge of unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm.Child thrown from vehicle that was carjackedMeanwhile, police said two other suspects who were involved in the pharmacy robbery managed to escape on foot.While they ran away one of the suspects approached a pickup truck that was occupied by a family with children who had just picked up dinner, police said.The suspect entered the back side of the vehicle and ordered the family to drive.Officers said the family was in fear and attempted to flee from the car. However, before they could escape, the suspect entered the driver's seat and started to drive away with an 8-year-old girl.She was was thrown from the vehicle and located a short time later, uninjured on a side street. The pickup truck was later recovered unoccupied, police said.Officers are asking that both outstanding suspects seek legal counsel and turn themselves in.
Mara Soriano doesn't care if she gets her iPad or her Nintendo Switch back. She just wants to recover a precious recording of her mother's voice.Soriano, 28, said her mother's voice was recorded and put in a custom-made Build-a-Bear teddy bear, which was stolen from her Friday. The audio recording is a final message from her mother, Marilyn Soriano, who died of cancer in June 2019 at age 53.The bear's disappearance came as Soriano was distracted while moving into a new apartment in Vancouver's West End on Friday.While she and her fiancé were unloading their U-Haul van, she got a call from a friend who was biking over to help them who said they had been hit by a work van a short distance away.Soriano immediately put down the bag she was carrying up to the apartment and leaned it against the van. She drove over to her friend in a different vehicle to bring him to his home.But in her "frazzled state," she said she forgot to tell her fiancé where the bag was. After being unattended for just a few minutes, she said, it went missing. She says someone stole the bag."It just makes me feel devastated," Soriano said. "I'm absolutely crushed."Soriano said her mother recorded a message for her and had the audio put it in the bear shortly before going into hospice."At hospice her voice was different. Much softer. Not the mom I grew up with," she said. "That bear is the last memory I have of her speaking in her normal voice. "She said that she loved me and she was proud of me and that she'll always be with me."Also in the bag, Soriano said, were important documents — a book of blank cheques, her citizenship card, her and her fiance's passports and social insurance cards — and valuable electronics — an iPad and a Nintendo Switch.But she said she doesn't care about getting those items back. She just wants her bear.'It's a reminder of home'Soriano said after looking through all their boxes and calling U-Haul to see if it was left in the van, she asked her building concierge to check the security footage."Lo and behold on the security footage, this guy was seen looking around, making sure nobody was looking first," she described. "And he just took the bag and ran."She said the concierge wouldn't let her have the footage or take photos of the screen without the building manager's permission and the manager won't be able to do that until Monday.Soriano said she has filed a police report and is asking anyone who has it or sees it to bring it back.It's a message that is being amplified by some powerful voices on social media, including Vancouver-born Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds who offered a $5,000 reward on Twitter for the bear's return."It was just absolutely crushing to me that that was the one thing that was stolen from us," Soriano said.Along with having the voice of her mother in it, Soriano said the bear is a reminder of home and helps her feel connected to her family.She was born in the Philippines and moved to Toronto when she was nine. She moved to Vancouver five years ago."It's a reminder of home," she said. "The bear has a message in it in Filipino. It says 'I love you,' but in our language. So it's very specific and very unique."I just really want to find my bear. That's all that I care about."
A very lucky cat from Redvers, Sask., took an unexpected trip to the United States this week — and made it back home thanks to the help of truck driver Jack Shao.Chylisse Marchand said she had let Spooky the cat outside along with her two other cats Wednesday night. "I just kind of assumed that in the morning … they would all three come running the way they normally do," she said. "And my other two cats did but Spooky did not." As the day progressed and Spooky had not returned, she started to grow nervous. She posted on social media that the cat was missing but no one in the community of about 1,000 had seen a black cat wandering around.Then, at about 11:30 p.m., her phone rang. It was the cat's veterinarian."And she said, 'Chylisse, this is Christine Hill, here. I have a Jack Shao, he's a trucker, he's in the U.S. right now, but he has your cat."Sometime during the night, Spooky had managed to crawl into the engine bay of the blue Peterbilt semi. Luckily, he found a safe spot to sit while the truck travelled about 790 kilometres — first to Tioga, North Dakota, then to Cromer, Manitoba, then back to North Dakota.Shao was doing a routine check at the Robinson Lake Gas Plant when he found the cat."I was scared," Shao said. "At that time, it was dark, his eyes were really bright; I thought, 'What is that? It kind of scared me and I was afraid to see anything hurt. I thought, he's hurt because there's not much room underneath the hood."He asked another truck driver to help and that driver pulled Spooky out — and surprisingly, the cat was fine.Shao called the number on the cat's collar — the number for the vet clinic. After he connected with Marchand, he made the cat as comfortable as he could and gave him water.'Jack's got a big heart'As it turned out, he was coming back through Redvers the next day via North Portal. Shao said he was a bit worried about crossing the border with a cat but Marchand had called ahead to the border office to explain the situation.Shao and Marchand arranged to meet at the Co-op in Redvers.Marchand brought her daughters Alli Urschel, 11, and Shay Urschel, 14, along with her."We all pretty much had some tears in our eyes as we were, kind of, approaching the truck," Marchand said.Alli said when they got Spooky home, he went straight to his food and water."I'm just so grateful that Jack found him and not somebody that would just throw him on the side of the road and keep going," Urschel said. "I'm really happy that … he jumped onto that truck.""Jack's got a big heart," Marchand said.Marchand is an artist, so she gave Shao one of her paintings — of a truck — and a thank-you card."I think he realized that he made three three ladies pretty happy that day," Marchand said.1,000 kilometre tripMarchand and her daughters said they're going to continue to let the cats outside, but not without supervision."If Spooky is going to be outside, I'm going to be outside with him, watching him to make sure that he's not jumping over the fence at all," Urschel said. "Because now I'm very anxious that he will get over the fence and hop on another semi. Hop on a semi, travel the U.S., and that semi will not call the number and just leave him."All told, Spooky the cat took a 1,000 kilometre round trip with the driver."It's amazing that he was able to ... survive," Marchand said.
Some provinces, including Alberta, have announced back-to-school plans to mixed response, while in Ontario, many parents and teachers are concerned about the lack of clear guidance from their provincial government for September.
Two years after her son's killing by police, Tracy Wing says police accountability and deescalation training are more important than ever. Seventeen-year-old Riley Fairholm was fatally shot by Sûreté du Québec police 61 seconds after officers arrived on July 25, 2018, Wing said. "It's too easy to shoot someone who's in crisis rather than trying to negotiate — a 17-year-old boy, who everyone loved," Wing said. Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), investigated the shooting, but a Crown prosecutor ultimately decided last year not to charge the officers involved in the shooting of Fairholm. According to the BEI, Fairholm was waving a gun while he was walking along a highway near his home in Lac-Brome. Wing says it was a BB gun. Fairholm had been struggling with depression.Despite the closing of the investigation, Wing says she still has very little information about what happened that day."I want more accountability," she said."It was very clear Riley was a danger only to himself. There's a lot of things that we could learn from this intervention. Nothing's going to bring Riley back, but we could maybe prevent some of these things from happening."Wing is holding a vigil Saturday evening in front of the SQ station where the officers involved in the shooting work. She wants them to know she hasn't forgotten what happened, and to send the message that she doesn't want her son to have died in vain. She notes that just this year three people in crisis died during interactions with Quebec provincial police.Wing says police need better training to respond to calls involving people in mental distress, like her son. She has filed complaints with Quebec's police ethics commissioner against both the BEI and provincial police, and is considering filing a civil suit agains the officers involved.
A 33-year-old man has died after Sherbrooke police arrested and pepper-sprayed him early Saturday morning while they were responding to a call for an altercation in front of a business. Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), is investigating the circumstances surrounding the man's death and the police interaction. According to the account provided by Sherbrooke police to the BEI, officers were called at around 6:15 a.m. for a fight that was happening outside a local business, though it did not specify the location. When officers arrived, the BEI said in a statement, one of the two men in the alleged altercation ran away.According to the statement, one of the officers ran after the man and caught up to him. The officer used pepper spray "in order to subdue him," the statement says. Once "subdued," he lost consciousness, the statement reads.The man was taken to hospital, where he died a few hours later. Eight BEI investigators are in charge of the probe. The watchdog is also seeking assistance from Quebec provincial police, which will provide a forensics specialist to help out.The first step of any BEI investigation is to determine if the preliminary information is accurate. The BEI steps in whenever someone is killed or injured during a police operation. Anyone who witnessed the event is being asked to contact the BEI.
It was an unusual sight: a barking police dog in northern Manitoba's remote dense brush and heavily armed tactical officers in camouflage as a drone flew overhead. The officers were draped in head net mesh to keep thousands of swarming bugs away. This scene that played out a year ago this week near Gillam, Man., would mark the start of a nationwide hunt for Canada's two most wanted men — B.C. teenagers Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19.The RCMP say the teens, who were first reported as missing, murdered Chynna Deese, an American, her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, and University of British Columbia botany lecturer Leonard Dyck before going on the run — triggering what may be the largest manhunt in Canadian history.Hundreds of RCMP officers worked on the case in Manitoba and B.C., the FBI and Australian police were involved and military aircraft were brought in.Gillam, which has an airport, served as the base for the RCMP during the search. It's where the Mounties' detachment is located and where many officers slept. But most of the ground search took place away from the town in areas closer to the Fox Lake Cree Nation. Mayor Dwayne Forman said for the most part, his town, located about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg, has gone back to a sense of normalcy, but "there are a few people that are still negatively affected and will always be affected by this."Even after the teens' bodies were found last August less than an hour's drive from the town, he said, some in the community were still scared. As an example, he pointed to a father who had never slept apart from his wife for 20 years. But once the manhunt began and the military was called in, he started sleeping in the living room with a gun.Forman said when he talked to the man about six months after the ordeal, he was still sleeping in the living room."Obviously it's still in his mind and he's still under the protection mode."Story gripped the worldThe discovery of the fugitives' bodies along the Nelson River, near the Fox Lake Cree Nation, provided a sense of relief for residents who had been looking over their shoulders for weeks. It calmed Canadians who thought they spotted the teens in other provinces and marked the end to a story that gripped the world."I think it would've been a totally different scenario if they were never found. Them being found, I think, put a lot of people's minds at ease that this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime situation that happened up here, worldwide manhunt, ended with closure," Forman said.But the discovery, which happened with the help of Fox Lake resident Billy Beardy, didn't provide answers to the big question: Why?Why gun down a loving couple — who were on vacation travelling to the Canadian Rockies in a van — in cold blood? A pathologist determined that Deese, 24, and Fowler, 23, were shot multiple times and said it appeared the shooter(s) stood behind the victims for at least some of the shots.Why drive another seven and a half hours and shoot a third person, 64-year-old Dyck, and leave him with injuries the RCMP wouldn't release? And why go to northern Manitoba, of all places?The bodies of Fowler and Deese were found on July 15 at the side of the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs in northern B.C. Dyck's body was found four days later in a highway pullout near Dease Lake, about 500 kilometres to the southwest."It dumbfounds me," Forman said.Finally, who was the tipster who knew the teens and alerted the RCMP in B.C. two days after they were reported missing, saying they may actually have been involved in the murders? 'It does give me chills sometimes'Sandra Broughton, a resident of Fort Nelson, B.C., said she still wonders what would have happened if Fowler and Deese took her and her husband up on an offer of help while their van was broken down on the Alaska Highway."You always have the what ifs in the back of your head," she said.Broughton and her husband, Curtis, who is a mechanic, were among the last people to see Deese and Fowler alive before they were gunned down. They had pulled over after spotting the young couple's van, with the hood up, on the side of the road in a remote area without cellphone service."It's surreal, like a weird dream in a way. You know in that moment that destiny could have been changed," Broughton said."We were there offering help and to be helpful, like being the good in the world, and yet the same day they met the worst out there in the world." Broughton recalls Fowler's Aussie accent while he politely turned down the couple's offer of help."I just remember him explaining what was wrong, like really well," she said, adding it later made sense when she learned he had completed a mechanic apprenticeship in high school.A year later, Broughton said, her husband still pulls over to offer others help, and she still thinks about their interaction last summer."It does give me chills sometimes," she said."When I found out what happened, I knew right away that it was them. Because I had this bad feeling that as we came up to help them, somebody could pull up and harm them just as easy as somebody could help them — and that's what happened, unfortunately." Close-knit community has changedIn Gillam, Suman Adhikari had come up with a plan for what he would do if the murder suspects walked into the town's bar.The bartender, who is from Nepal and is used to a military presence, recalls being surprised when police stormed into Gillam and said he was "scared all the time."Officers and reporters from around the world filled the Kettle River Inn & Suites, which has a bar and beer vendor that Adhikari operates. He said he told himself that if the teens walked in, he'd try to act normal and give them a beer while he quietly called the RCMP. While many residents of Gillam and Fox Lake Cree Nation were staying in their homes during the manhunt, some still ventured to the bar. Adhikari said he remembers a request from one woman."Can you watch me, please. I don't want to walk along this road. I feel very bad. Maybe these murdering guys can do something wrong to me. Please, can you drop [me at my] house," he said, quoting the woman.The request was unusual, since people in the town didn't lock their doors and were never scared to walk home from the bar. "Gillam is like a small town, zero crime, and we know each other, and [it has a] strong community and we love each other," Adhikari said.The manhunt changed that, Forman said. "In that aspect, there are some people that have changed, that have gotten to a locking system — and that's unfortunate because being a close-knit community, we've always had that open-door policy."'We found them. Thank goodness'At the time of the manhunt last year, Jane MacLatchy, the RCMP's assistant commissioner for D Division in Manitoba, had been on the job for only about six months, and it was her first major public case.In an interview with CBC's Karen Pauls this week, the veteran officer — who joined the Mounties in 1988 in B.C. — spoke about the immense challenges posed by the search."There's muskeg, there's dense forests, there's swamps, there's wildlife. It was a very challenging place," MacLatchy said. "And we also had people looking for these two suspects and knowing they were going into harm's way every day. So they had to take the tactical approach as well, just in case they were confronted by an armed suspect."When she could finally announce that the bodies of the two suspects had been found, "it was mixed feelings really for sure," the officer said."We found them. Thank goodness. We knew there was a likelihood that they were deceased.... And if we hadn't found them ... the communities [would] be living in fear — serious, serious fear in their own homes — for who knows how long," she said. "So I was really relieved that we'd found them.As for why the murders happened, MacLatchy said, "I'll be honest, I would like to know why those two young men decided to take the steps they took, but I don't think we ever will."Teens had plans to kill more peopleIn videos the teens made on a digital camera belonging to Dyck that the RCMP found with their bodies, they took credit for the killings and showed no remorse.They also talked about going to Hudson Bay, where they would "hijack" a boat and travel to Europe or Africa. During the start of the manhunt, it was thought Schmegelsky and McLeod might try to get on a train from Gillam to Churchill, Man., but that never happened. Instead, they went to the fast-moving Nelson River, about eight kilometres northeast of where they burnt Dyck's Toyota RAV4. They shaved while preparing for their own deaths and talked about their plan to kill more people. The RCMP found a full box of ammunition in a backpack belonging to McLeod six days before the suspects' bodies and two rifles were found on Aug. 7 near the Nelson River.Internal RCMP documents obtained by CBC News list the contents of Dyck's Nikon COOLPIX camera.The documents, obtained through an access to information request, reveal that in one video, Schmegelsky — who would have turned 19 on Aug. 4 — "advises they have found a nice little spot by the river where they are going to shoot themselves."But the list of contents on the camera is heavily redacted and doesn't provide a full picture of what the RCMP found. The fact that the suspects were armed and said they planned to kill more people is still unsettling for Forman, who gets emotional while talking about the discovery of the teens' bodies."I'm just thankful that no one else was hurt," he said. "That was scary for me knowing how close they were to Fox Lake."WATCH | Manhunt leaves lasting impact on Gillam, woman among last to see couple alive:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday the Russian Navy would be armed with hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones, which the defence ministry said were in their final phase of testing. Putin, who says he does not want an arms race, has often spoken of a new generation of Russian nuclear weapons that he says are unequalled and can hit almost anywhere in the world. The weapons, some of which have yet to be deployed, include the Poseidon underwater nuclear drone, designed to be carried by submarines, and the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile, which can be deployed on surface ships.
A homeowner has been fined after two small kittens found in a trap on their property in early July had to be euthanized. The sound of faint meows caught the attention of Joe Ferenac's wife as she was on a walk in the north Edmonton neighborhood of Glengarry. At first she dismissed the sound as a stray litter, but later she decided to take Ferenac and a neighbour back to the area."Once we got closer and deeper into the grass we noticed that the two cats were trapped," Ferenac said. "[It] was almost like [a trap] you would get for a bear. A snare is basically what it's called … both kittens, they must have only been a month old, had a paw each caught in the snare."Ferenac said once they realized the situation they knocked on doors in the area looking for tools to try to pry open the trap. When that failed, he reached out to the city. Animal control officers arrived at the scene and took the cats to the city's Animal Care & Control Centre."It's very scary to find a trap like that in your neighborhood."Ferenac said the trap was found in a yard with tall grass that was not fully fenced in, which could also have been a danger to kids or other neighbours as well as animals."I think it was planted there because the grass was so high," he said. "It wasn't maintained for a long time and I think that gave somebody the opportunity to do this."He called the person responsible a "sick individual.""There's better ways to trap animals, more humane ways to trap animals. To set a trap like this — it's gross. I can't believe I saw it."Ferenac and his family moved to the area about a year ago but he says many of his neighbours have lived in the area for decades. He also said despite a number of cameras in the alley, no one seems to have caught anything. Chrystal Coleman, a city spokesperson, confirmed the cats were humanely euthanized due to the severity of their injuries.According to Coleman, leg traps are not permitted to be used in the city. Coleman also confirmed that the owner of the home where the kittens were found has been issued a provincial violation ticket that carries with it a fine of $500. Initially, Ferenac did not believe the homeowners were responsible and he still doesn't believe they laid the trap."They are cat owners themselves and they were feeding these little kittens, apparently they were living under their shed," he said. "So, I highly doubt they would be the ones trying to trap them."However, Ferenac doesn't oppose the fine laid against the homeowner."Anything that's on your property is technically under your jurisdiction," he said. "The way I look at it, if it's on your property then you should be charged for it."
Summer in the south of France. The sun is shining, the cicadas are sawing their song of love, men and women are bent over in the fields picking fruit and preparing vines, middle-aged cyclists in gaudy spandex costumes covering lumpy bodies labour up and down hills and dream of the Tour de France, the world's most famous and gruelling professional bicycle race.But there was no Tour de France this July. It might take place starting at the end of August.Instead, on July 20, the day after the Tour was supposed to finish, the French were ordered to wear masks in shops and offices and in any indoor public space. Someone caught by police not wearing a mask will be fined the equivalent of $200 Cdn.COVID-19 has comparatively lightly brushed the départements of the south. While Paris remained a government-declared "red" zone until the beginning of June, the south had been "green" for weeks. It still is, despite a slight rise in cases.There have been just over 30,000 COVID-19 deaths in France. In the southern Provence Côte d'Azur region, with five million residents, there have been just under 1,500 — and just 12 deaths in July.But the economic impact of the novel coronavirus has been devastating.For weeks the region's beaches, towns and cafés were eerily quiet. The virus has exposed its vulnerability when tourism dries up.Last year, the Côte d'Azur region boasted of receiving 20 million tourists, half of them foreigners. This winter and spring, the visitors disappeared, hotels were shuttered, beaches were empty and the Cannes Film festival was cancelled along with the Monaco Formula 1 race.That amounted to a loss of $1.95 billion to the region, according to Claire Behar, director of the Côte d'Azur tourism committee."We've had tough moments in the past," said Rudy Salles, the deputy mayor of Nice, including a terror attack by a man driving a truck into a Bastille Day crowd on July 14, 2016 that killed 86 people."The difference now is the lack of visibility in which to launch a tourism comeback plan.Foreign workers vulnerable to virusWhile officials worry about lost tourists and lost revenue, work goes on in the fruit fields. But the virus has also exposed the potentially illegal exploitation of foreign workers — many from South America — brought to France each year to pick fruit and tend wine-producing vines.Their situation became front-page local news when a cluster of 258 workers living in a camp near the city of Arles tested positive for COVID-19 in June. None died, but all were quarantined without work for weeks.Then it turned out that French magistrates were investigating the Spanish company, Terra Fecundis, that hired them and brought them to France. It faces charges of fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable workforce.This is big business. There are several such companies, but Terra Fecundis is the biggest. It had annual revenue of $90 million in 2018 and more than 6,700 workers. It buses them — many from Ecuador, El Salvador and Colombia, but all living in Spain with immigrant status — to France to work for more than 50 agricultural concerns. Most workers speak no French.In the village down the road from our house, a bus from another company pulls up at noon each day, and half a dozen exhausted and sweaty Ecuadoran workers climb out. They will be picked up later from rented rooms to work the afternoon shift in the fields.The European Union's technical term for them is "posted workers." The EU allows men and women from poorer countries such as Bulgaria to Spain to be posted temporarily in richer countries like France, which need cheap labour.According to a thick file drawn up by French police and prosecutors in Marseille, Terra Fecundis has systematically abused the system for years. Although it is based in Spain, 99 per cent of its revenue comes from France.Because employer medicare, pension and unemployment contributions are lower in Spain than in France, it makes money on the state minimum wage (approximately $15 an hour) it collects in France for each worker. The pay is low but more than the South Americans would get in Spain.Company that hires workers faces chargesProsecutors allege the company has also cheated its workers out of some of their wages, not paid overtime hours and falsified worksheets to further cheat them.Terra Fecundis also houses its workers. Conditions in some of these camps are said to be atrocious. One was baptized by its inmates "el Carcel — the prison.""I was treated like a dog," one Ecuadoran worker there told the police. "We had no blanket, no mattress. We had to sleep on the floor in the dining area."El Carcel was closed by French police at the end of 2017, but the abusive conditions continued. One investigator described conditions for the workers as "equivalent to human trafficking."The company has been charged with massive fraud — more than $150 million over several years — and brutal exploitation of its workforce. The trial was scheduled for May, but COVID-19 shut down the courts. It may take place in the fall.What is notable is that none of the French agricultural operations where the South Americans work have ever voiced public concern about their conditions. It is akin to a conspiracy of silence.So work in the fields goes on while the trial awaits.Full beaches raise COVID-19 concernsAnd the beaches of the Mediterranean are filling up. Those frolicking in the waves are almost all French, released from confinement but reluctant to go abroad.There are so many already that the French authorities, seeing the incidence of COVID-19 beginning to rise again slowly across the country, worry about the lack of physical distancing."This is the unbearable lightness of the crowd," one angry doctor on the coast sniffed anonymously to the newspaper Le Monde.Hotels bewail the fact that the French are much more frugal than foreign visitors. They spend half of what Germans do and less than a third of the real big spenders — Russians, Americans and people from the Middle East.None of those big spenders will be seen this summer.So luxury hotels like Hôtel Belles Rives in Antibes are scrambling."We must try to come up with new ways of doing things," director Stéphane Vuillaume told the public television channel France 3. "We've got to start selling takeout meals to clients."And also do the unthinkable: lower room prices.Tourism accounts for 13 per cent of the region's economy. Much of that will be lost this year. Cafés will close for good. More than 15 per cent of cafés in the country will die, according to the French association of cafés and restaurants.And fear will keep people away."We get calls all the time with questions like: 'Can you guarantee that this hotel or that campsite follows all the virus rules?'" Jerome Arnaud, a tourism office director in the south, said."We tell them our professionals are good, but we can't guarantee everything. This year is basically impossible."The cicadas are still singing. The humans in the tourism industry are not.In the south of France, this will be known as the lost year.
Britain's Prince Harry took offence at what he thought was Prince William's "snobbishness" when he advised his brother to "take as much time as you need to get to know this girl" when he was dating Meghan Markle, a new book says. Harry and his wife, Meghan, have distanced themselves from the book called "Finding Freedom", saying they were not interviewed for the biography being serialised by The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers and made no contributions to it. The book documents, citing sources, a time when Harry and Meghan were dating and William wanted to make sure the American actress had the right intentions, The Sunday Times said.
Mounties in Morinville, Alta., say they have arrested one suspect and are looking for another after busting a major theft operation. The loot included a stolen Kenworth semi truck and trailer, two shipping containers, some industrial chemicals and a Bobcat Skid Steer.
Joan Dow remembers walking into St. Mary Magdalene church for the first time, after her family moved to New Richmond, Que., and helped build the small Anglican church in 1966. ''It was the greatest thrill of my life I think," said Dow, 90.Now, with only four members left in the congregation, the parishioners had to make the wrenching decision to sell the building to a neighbouring farmer.For Dow, it is hard to accept."Nothing meant as much to me as St. Mary Magdalene's. It was the love of my life."Dow's daughter Cynthia, would have liked a nice reception in the yard of the church to mark its final service.But with public gatherings off the table this summer, the deconsecration ceremony will be attended by the last handful of parishioners."It will only be us — and that's OK — that's the way it has to be," said Cynthia Dow, sitting in one of the pews of the church.Driving into New Richmond, on the Gaspé's Chaleur Bay, the church's rust-coloured wooden exterior is hidden behind the trees on Campbell Road, named after Harry Campbell who donated the land in the 1960s.After the Second World War, the Dow family was among several that moved to New Richmond from nearby Port-Daniel for work.There was no Anglican church at the time, so services were held in the town hall or beside Joan's brother's store, sometimes even in the Dow family's basement.But the opening of the Consolidated Bathurst pulp and paper mill in 1965 brought people "from around the world" to New Richmond, Dow says, and with them, the resources needed to build an actual church.Dow remembers walking through the front door for the first service on Dec. 18, 1966, a few days before Christmas.That day, 56 people filled the wooden pews donated from a torn-down church in the Saguenay, Dow said, reading from her copious notes."I'll never forget it. People were very happy about the whole thing. It was a wonderful feeling."Slow declineSt. Mary Magdalene, although somewhat removed from the town centre, was central to the community, Dow says, with a lively Sunday school and full pews most Sundays."The people here — even when they left, when the mill closed in 2005 — they hated leaving St. Mary Magdalene's."The closure of the mill that year accelerated the exodus of the town's English-speaking population.In the 2001 census, 480 people in the town of nearly 4,000 recorded English as their mother tongue. Fifteen years later, that number was less than half of that, only 180. Paired with the slow decline of religion in Quebec, the shrinking English community meant St. Mary Magdalene saw fewer and fewer members showing up over the years, making it impossible to pay for its upkeep."In those days people went to church. It's not like nowadays," said Joan Dow. "People were very faithful." Marking the endIn the three years he's spent as priest for the ministry of New Carlisle and Chaleur Bay, the Reverend Joshua Paetkau has learned to say he is driving "up the coast" to New Richmond, when driving upstream along the bay.He's also observed how the closure of the mill defined the community."There's such a strong sense of history and place here on the coast, there's a pride to being from the Gaspé," said Paetkau.That connection the rivers and to the land "makes the closure of a church really hard because there's memory here," Paetkau said. "And it connects the community that started this church."As a priest, Paetkau would not normally be the one presiding over the upcoming deconsecration ceremony. That service is usually reserved for the bishop or the vicar general.But like so many other things, COVID-19 has made that impossible — and Paetkau has been authorized to perform the service, one he's given a lot of thought to."In a way it's like a funeral," Paetkau said. "There's a sadness, of putting to rest. This is the end of something."For Joan Dow, thinking of that last service which will happen over the course of the summer seems too surreal to put into words."I don't know," Dow said, her voice trailing off. "I live for the church."It's where she taught Sunday school, where her children were confirmed, some married, and younger generations were baptized.While raising her four children, Dow also worked with the local school board. "But nothing meant as much to me as St-Mary Magdalene's. It was the love of my life."For her daughter Cynthia, those family memories are also intertwined within the walls of the modest, simple building.She'll likely attend mass in New Carlisle from time to time, but is also counting on Father Paetkau to drive up to New Richmond, given her mother's age, even if it means going back to holding the service in a home basement."A church is not a building, a church is a collection of people who want to worship together, and we'll still be doing that," Cynthia said. She and her mother find some comfort knowing the church won't be torn down and will be sold to a neighbouring farm owner."The lord makes apples, I guess," said Joan smiling."But it's a heartbreaking affair, and at my age, it's easy to break my heart."
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. — Nova Scotia police say a call about an attempted stolen vehicle Saturday night helped locate a man who had been on the lam for nearly a week after he allegedly tried to kill a police officer.In a statement Sunday morning, Bridgewater police said they found Tobias Charles Doucette after searching a wooded area in the village of Hebbville.Doucette was wearing shorts but no shirt or shoes when he was arrested, police said."Police were prepared for a safe resolution and are pleased that no one else was hurt during this event," the statement read.Doucette had been the subject of a days-long manhunt since the incident at a hotel in Bridgewater on Monday night,The 31-year-old was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly struck an officer in the neck with an edged weapon as police responded to a domestic violence call at the hotel on Monday. He was also charged with assault on his common-law partner.Doucette is expected to appear in court on Monday to respond to the charges against him.The RCMP had been focusing their search for Doucette in Conquerall Bank, N.S. where he was believed to be on Tuesday.He was spotted by an RCMP dog and handler, but police say he escaped into nearby woods after allegedly stabbing the dog with a stick.After going several days without finding any trace of him, police responded to two possible sightings of him in Bridgewater on Friday.That evening they set up a perimeter after spotting bare footprints that Bridgewater deputy chief Danny MacPhee said were suspected to be Doucette's, but they didn't find the fugitive.On Saturday night, they reported another possible sighting — this time in Lunenburg County. RCMP urged people in the area of Conquerall Mills Road and Highway 3 to stay inside and keep their doors locked.Wilbert Marshall, the chief of Potlotek First Nation where Doucette is from, had pleaded on Thursday for the 31-year-old to turn himself in to the authorities."Please surrender yourself. Nothing's going to happen to you. I promise that," Marshall told reporters during a news conference alongside the RCMP.Bridgewater police Sgt. Matthew Bennett, who was injured in Monday's incident, is recovering following surgery.Doucette's common-law partner was treated for minor injuries sustained in the same incident, while the injured police dog was reported to be in stable condition.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2020.The Canadian Press
A memorial service has been held in Troy, Alabama for the famed civil rights icon John Lewis. The service celebrating “The Boy from Troy” was held on the campus of Troy University on Saturday. (July 25)