Huge python caught outside woman's home in Thailand

A woman was shocked after being woken up by a 20ft long python outside her house.

Anucha Rattanasurang went to bed last night but was disturbed just before midnight by dogs' barking at the killer reptile.

She noticed the giant reptile on the patio outside her back door in Sukhothai, central Thailand on Thursday (November 7) night.

Anucha contacted the rescue team who sent two volunteers. However, they needed reinforcements, with eight more volunteers arriving because the python was so big.

The python slithered away and hid in the dense grass. They spent an hour trying to catch the python, which made several attempts at biting them.

Snake catcher Pongthep Sakhon said it was difficult to trap the python because of its size and ferocity.

He said: "The snake was hiding silently in the dense grass and when we found it, we were attacked instantly."

"Fortunately, no one of our team was hurt by the snake and we could catch it eventually."

The huge python was stretched out and estimated to be 20ft long. It was then put in a bucket and covered before being released back to the wild.

  • Health officials worry as untraceable virus clusters emerge
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Health officials worry as untraceable virus clusters emerge

    In South Korea, Singapore and Iran, clusters of infections are leading to a jump in cases of the new viral illness outside China. But it’s not the numbers that are worrying experts: It's that increasingly they can't trace where the clusters started.World Health Organization officials said China's crackdown on parts of the country bought time for the rest of the world to prepare for the new virus. But as hot spots emerge around the globe, trouble finding each source — the first patient who sparks every new cluster — might signal the disease has begun spreading too widely for tried-and-true public health steps to stamp it out.“A number of spot fires, occurring around the world is a sign that things are ticking along, and what we are going to have here is probably a pandemic,” said Ian Mackay, who studies viruses at Australia's University of Queensland.That worst-case isn't here yet, the WHO insists. It isn't convinced that countries outside China need more draconian measures, but it pointed to spikes in cases in Iran and South Korea to warn that time may be running out to contain the virus.“What we see is a very different phase of this outbreak depending where you look,” said WHO's Dr. Sylvie Briand. “We see different patterns of transmission in different places.”The World Health Organization defines a “global pandemic” as a disease spreading on two continents, though some public health experts would call an outbreak a pandemic if the spread is over a wide area or across many international borders.The newest red flag: Iran has reported 28 cases, including five deaths, in just days. The cluster began in the city of Qom, a popular religious destination, but it's not clear how. Worse, infected travellers from Iran already have been discovered in Lebanon and Canada.In South Korea, most of the hundreds of new cases detected since Wednesday are linked to a church in the city of Daegu and a nearby hospital. But health authorities have not yet found the “index case,” the person among the church’s 9,000 followers who set off the chain of infections.There also have been several cases in the capital, Seoul, where the infection routes have not yet been traced. In Europe, Italy saw cases of the new virus more than quadruple in a day as it grapples with infections in a northern region that apparently have spread through a hospital and a cafe.A cluster of cases isn't inherently worrying — in fact, it's expected as an infection that's easy to spread is carried around the world by travellers. The first line of defence: Isolate the sick to treat them and prevent further spread, and quarantine people who came in contact with them until the incubation period is over.But as the virus becomes more widespread, trying to trace every contact would be futile, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged earlier this month.“If we still hospitalize and isolate every suspect case, our hospitals will be overwhelmed,” he said. So far, the city-state has identified five clusters of transmission, including two churches. But there remain eight locally transmitted cases with no links to earlier cases, or to China.Viruses vary in how they infect. The new coronavirus — unlike its cousins SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome — spreads as easily as a common cold.And it's almost certainly being spread by people who show such mild symptoms that no one can tell, said Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.“If that's the case, all of these containment methods are not going to work,” Adalja said. “It's likely mixed in the cold and flu season all over the place, in multiple countries” and gone unnoticed until someone gets severely ill.These milder symptoms are good news “in terms of not as many people dying,” said Mackay, of Australia. “But it’s really bad news if you are trying to stop a pandemic,” he added.When Hong Kong reported it first death from the virus earlier this month, it also confirmed three locally transmitted cases with no known link to any previous cases or any travel history to China. Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Center for Health Protection warned then that "there could be invisible chains of infection happening within communities."Officials in both South Korea and Japan have signalled in the past week that the spread is entering a new phase in their countries.On Friday, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun said the government would have to shift its focus from quarantine and border control to slowing the spread of the virus. Schools and churches were closed and some mass gatherings banned.Takaji Wakita, head of Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, earlier urged people to work at home or in shifts to avoid being in a crowd, and refrain from holding non-essential and non-urgent meetings.But Adalja cautioned that far-reaching measures like China instituted in the outbreak's epicenter of Wuhan — where citizens have been ordered to stay in their homes for weeks — can backfire. While it remains to be seen if the new virus is waning, that kind of lockdown makes it hard for people to get other critically important care, like fast treatment for a heart attack.There's no way to predict if the recent clusters will burn out or trigger widespread transmission.For now, health officials should try and contain the infection for as long as possible while preparing for a change in strategy by preparing hospitals, readying protective equipment and bolstering laboratory capacity, said Gagandeep Kang, a microbiologist who leads India’s Translational Health Science and Technology Institute.“Although the window of opportunity is narrowing to contain the outbreak, we still have a chance to contain it," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But while doing that, we have to prepare at the same time for any eventualities, because this outbreak could go any direction – it could even be messy.”___Ghosal reported from New Delhi. Neergaard reported from Washington, D.C. Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this story.___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 And Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press

  • Protesters abandon Quebec rail blockade after show of force by police
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Protesters abandon Quebec rail blockade after show of force by police

    ST-LAMBERT, Que. — A blockade south of Montreal that halted rail traffic and frayed nerves since Wednesday was abandoned late Friday after riot police arrived to enforce a court injunction.The roughly two dozen protesters, acting in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs contesting a British Columbia natural gas pipeline, had begun dismantling the encampment earlier in the evening following discussions with police.They took downs tents and carried items such as sleeping bags, pots, propane tanks and a wood stove to the edge of a security perimeter established earlier in the day by Longueuil municipal police.Then at around 10 p.m., a spokesman wearing a ski mask and sunglasses announced the rail blockade in St-Lambert, Que., was ending but said the fight was not over."Even though the colonial police is removing this barricade with violence and contempt, others will emerge," he said. He added that until the federal government listens to the hereditary chiefs, the RCMP leaves Wet'suwet'en territory and Coastal GasLink scraps the contentious pipeline, "the colonial Canadian state will be totally paralyzed."Emotions flared earlier in the day as the protesters dug in next to Canadian National Railway tracks despite being served with an injunction Thursday that ordered that the site be cleared. Quebec Premier Francois Legault called for the injunction to be enforced "rapidly."Police arrived in large numbers Friday afternoon near the encampment. There were several rounds of talks between police and the masked protesters, and as the impasse continued, some people chose to leave.The blockade interrupted freight traffic as well as passenger service for suburban commuters and Via Rail travellers.Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast, though others in the community support the pipeline.Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the blockades around the country unacceptable and said they have to come down."Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can't get to work, others have lost their jobs," Trudeau said. "Essential goods ... cannot get where they need to go."Jean-Yves Lessard, who joined the St-Lambert protesters on Friday morning, said Trudeau's government was to blame."If they had done what they needed to at the beginning, people wouldn't be here," he said."Sadly, it's bad for the economy and business, but it's not them you should be angry with. Tell Trudeau to go and sit down with the hereditary chiefs."Legault said he would leave it to police to enforce the injunction."We need these tracks for transporting cargo, to avoid job losses, to avoid losses for companies," he said. "The law has to be respected, and obviously I hope it is done in an orderly fashion."The premier estimated losses to the provincial economy due to the rail blockades at up to $100 million a day.Denis Bisson, who owns a company north of Montreal that sells slate flooring and countertops, stopped by the blockade Friday. He said he depends on the rail line to supply his business with raw materials from a quarry in Nova Scotia. Switching to flatbed trucks would quadruple the cost per load, he said."I'm afraid it's going to last two or three weeks, and I'm beginning to be out of stock in my yard," he said, holding a sign that read in French "hostage for one day or every day?!"A protester told him they were standing up for Indigenous rights and the environment."But they are hitting people that have nothing to do with that," Bisson said. "They're making people pay for something that we're not involved in."The injunction granted to CN Thursday by Superior Court Justice France Dulude authorized "any police services or peace officers" to assist the company in executing the order in St-Lambert.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee and Stephane Blais, The Canadian Press

  • Can anyone catch up to Bernie Sanders now?
    News
    CBC

    Can anyone catch up to Bernie Sanders now?

    Sen. Bernie Sanders has solidified his position as the front runner in the Democratic primaries and will face his next test today in the Nevada caucuses — as rivals like former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren hope for a much-needed boost to their troubled campaigns.Sanders goes into Nevada after tying former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses and narrowly winning the New Hampshire primary. He's also experiencing an uptick in the polls that has separated him from the rest of the field.In surveys conducted since New Hampshire voted, Sanders is averaging about 27 per cent support among Democratic primary voters. That puts him well ahead of Biden, who is at 17 per cent support, and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, at 16 per cent support.That's a big shift in just the last 11 days: Sanders has averaged a four-point increase among pollsters who were in the field before and after the New Hampshire primary. Bloomberg has picked up one point and Biden has dropped three.But that is only part of a broader trend that has hurt Biden since his disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses. Since then, Biden has averaged an 11-point drop in support. That cost him the lead in the polls he enjoyed in January. Bloomberg, up seven points since pre-Iowa polling, has been the biggest beneficiary but both Sanders and Buttigieg have also seen gains, picking up four points each.Warren hopes for a post-debate boostThere is a chance, though, that the trend line could stabilize after Nevada. Bloomberg was generally seen to have delivered a very poor performance in Wednesday's debate, while Biden was largely given a passing grade.With her direct and pointed attacks on Bloomberg, Warren stood out and has reportedly seen a surge in fundraising.Her campaign desperately needs a shot in the arm after failing to make much of an impact in either Iowa or New Hampshire. She is averaging just 12 per cent in the polls nationwide, putting her only narrowly ahead of Buttigieg's 10 per cent.Rounding out the field are Sen. Amy Klobuchar (at six per cent), billionaire Tom Steyer (three per cent) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (one per cent).With 23 delegates, Buttigieg currently has two more than Sanders. But only 65 pledged delegates have allocated so far; Nevada's 36 delegates are only a tiny next step toward the final tally of 3,979.Polls favour Sanders in NevadaAs with Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada's importance is not in the number of delegates at stake, but in what the results say about the broader race. The two first states put serious question marks on the Biden and Warren campaigns. Nevada could provide some answers.The third state to vote in the race for the Democratic nomination, Nevada has a demographic profile that makes it look a lot more like the rest of the United States than either Iowa or New Hampshire, two overwhelmingly white states. It is the first diverse state to cast a ballot — and the impact of the Latino vote in particular could prove decisive.The polls suggest Nevada could give Sanders his first outright victory of the primaries. He is averaging about 31 per cent support in the state, putting him well ahead of Biden's 15 per cent. The rest of the field is not far behind, with Buttigieg at 14 per cent, Warren at 13 per cent, Steyer at 12 per cent (he has outspent his rivals on advertising by a wide margin) and Klobuchar at eight per cent.A few caveats on these numbers follow. While all the more reputable surveys have put Sanders in first place, second place has been awarded to Biden, Buttigieg or Warren, depending on the poll. Nearly all of these surveys were conducted before Wednesday's debate — an event which may have had an impact on voting intentions.Why Nevada could matterNevada is also a caucus state, which means its voting method is far more complicated than a primary (see: Iowa) and harder to poll. Any candidate that is unable to earn 15 per cent support in a given precinct will see their voters redistributed to other candidates. That threshold could prove problematic for every candidate other than Sanders, since he's the only one polling comfortably above that level.Biden, whose decline in support coincided with a rise in Bloomberg's, could benefit from the fact that Bloomberg is not contesting the state. He also could receive a boost from the local unions, which hold a lot of sway in the Nevada caucuses. If he manages it, a second-place showing could revive his flatlining third bid for the presidency.For Warren, a bump from the debate to over 15 per cent could help keep her campaign alive. Warren has been squeezed out by Sanders; both candidates have been targeting the same progressive slice of the Democratic electorate, and Sanders has been winning it so far.If Warren falls below the threshold in precincts across Nevada, however, Sanders could benefit most from the re-allocation — a recent poll found Sanders was the second choice among Warren voters over Biden by a margin of nearly three-to-one nationwide.The possibility of an upset of some kind shouldn't be discounted (they're not infrequent in U.S. primaries). Surprising results are the kind of thing that can shift the narrative in an important way, as they did for Buttigieg after Iowa. A third surprise could finally put him among the front runners.If Sanders fails to score a decisive win in Nevada, the more moderate candidates can continue hoping they can catch up. An unexpectedly strong showing by any of them could pay dividends in next Saturday's South Carolina primary and the Super Tuesday round of voting on Mar. 3.Increasingly, though, Sanders' odds of winning the most delegates (if not necessarily the majority) are looking better and better. Nevada could be the latest sign of that, with implications that could cascade into votes further down in the calendar.Whatever the results are, what happens in Nevada probably won't stay in Nevada.

  • Weinstein jury indicates it is split on most serious counts
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Weinstein jury indicates it is split on most serious counts

    NEW YORK — The jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial indicated Friday that it is deadlocked on the most serious charges against the once powerful Hollywood mogul, but the judge told the panel it must keep working.In a note to the judge late in the fourth day of deliberations, jurors asked if it was permissible for them to be hung on one or both counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on the other charges.Weinstein’s lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict, but prosecutors said no and Judge James Burke refused to allow it. He sent jurors back to deliberate for a few more minutes before letting them go home for the weekend. They'll resume Monday morning.“It is not uncommon for a jury to have difficulty initially in reaching a unanimous verdict, and it is not uncommon for a jury to believe that they will never be able to reach a unanimous verdict," Burke said, reading instructions to the jurors. “But after further deliberations, most jurors are able to reach a unanimous verdict.”The jury posed its deadlock question in hypothetical fashion, writing: “We the jury request to understand if we can be hung on (Count) 1 and/or (Count) 3 and unanimous on the other charges? Thank you.”One reason for that phrasing could be that the verdict sheet — which lays out the charges — doesn't include instructions for what to do if they can't agree on a particular count, only how they're supposed to proceed once they've reached a verdict of guilty or not guilty.The way the sheet is designed, jurors are supposed to first reach a unanimous verdict on the predatory sexual assault counts, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, before they can even consider the other three counts.Law professor Cheryl Bader said the note suggests the jury is split on a key aspect of both predatory sexual assault counts — “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra's allegations that Weinstein attacked her in the mid-1990s — and that it is in unanimous agreement on the allegations by two other women — an aspiring actress who says he raped her in March 2013 and a former film and TV production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, who says he forcibly performed oral sex on her in March 2006.Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding the name of the 2013 rape accuser because it isn’t clear whether she wishes to be identified publicly."It's not unusual for the judge to have them keep deliberating and not just give them a pass at the first sign of trouble," said Bader, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Fordham University School of Law.The defence said speculating on the verdict at this point “would be premature and a mistake.”In all, Weinstein, 67, is charged with five counts stemming from the allegations of Sciorra, the aspiring actress and Haleyi.To convict Weinstein of a predatory sexual assault charge, jurors must agree on two things: that Weinstein raped or forcibly performed oral sex on Sciorra, as she alleges, and that he committed one of the other charged offences.The predatory sexual assault charge requires prosecutors to show that a defendant committed a prior rape or other sex crime, but doesn't have the statue of limitation constraints that would bar Sciorra's allegations from consideration on their own.Since getting the case Tuesday, jurors have been focusing a lot of attention on Sciorra, who testified nearly a month ago and was the first accuser to do so in the closely watched MeToo trial.They started the day Friday by listening to a reading of her cross-examination and follow-up questioning by prosecutors. About 90 minutes into the reading, the jurors notified the judge they had “heard enough” and resumed their deliberations.Earlier in their deliberations, jurors looked at emails that Weinstein sent regarding Sciorra, including ones to the private Israeli spy agency he allegedly enlisted to dig up dirt on would-be accusers as reporters were working on stories about allegations against him in 2017.Sciorra, now 59, told jurors how Weinstein showed up unexpectedly at the door of her Manhattan apartment before in late 1993 or early 1994 before forcing her onto a bed and assaulting her.Bader said she was surprised the jury appears to be struggling with Sciorra, "because she was a much cleaner witness" than the other alleged victims, who admitted to having non-forced sex with Weinstein and staying in touch with him after their alleged assaults.Sciorra went public in a story in The New Yorker in October 2017 after one of the few people she says she told about the incident, actress Rosie Perez, got word to reporter Ronan Farrow that he should call her.Sciorra's allegations weren’t part of the original indictment when Weinstein was arrested in May 2018, but after some legal shuffling they were included in an updated one last August.“Annabella was brought into this case for one reason and one reason only,” Rotunno said in her closing argument last week. “She was brought in so there would be one witness who had some star power, one witness you may recognize and one witness whose name may mean something.”___On Twitter, follow Tom Hays at twitter.com/aptomhays and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak___For more coverage of the Harvey Weinstein case, visit: https://apnews.com/HarveyWeinsteinTom Hays And Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press

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

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

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

  • The Buffalo Declaration: Fact-Checking Four Alberta MPs’ Demands
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    The Buffalo Declaration: Fact-Checking Four Alberta MPs’ Demands

    Is any of what they’re asking for even possible?

  • 10 years later, Indigenous tourism still reaps the benefits of the 2010 Olympics
    News
    CBC

    10 years later, Indigenous tourism still reaps the benefits of the 2010 Olympics

    Steam comes off Lost Lagoon as the morning sun wakes Stanley Park from its cold winter slumber.Along the path that circles the water, tour operator Candace Campo stands beside the sacred tree of her Squamish people. "The cedar tree has an oil that is mould resistant, bug resistant," Campo explains, her voice steady and soft. "So we were able to make clothing that was rain resistant. We refer to it as our Gortex back in the day."This is the type of history that Campo, owner and operator of Talaysay Tours, typically shares with tourists from around the world during her Talking Trees tours.Watch Campo explain the significance of some of the vegetation in Stanley Park:Business has grown steadily for years, Campo says. But it was leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games that she really started to notice a rise in demand. "The promotion of our Indigenous communities for the Olympics was really strong and as a small tour company it really did benefit us," she said. Keith Henry, president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, says the 2010 Games were "truly life-changing" for many of the association's members — and many of them are still reaping those benefits today."It was the biggest single event in Canada's history for our Indigenous tourism sector that put us on the map globally," Henry said, sitting in his office in downtown Vancouver.Many acknowledge that the Vancouver Olympics were unprecedented in their inclusivity and representation of Indigenous cultures at an Olympic event.John Furlong, former CEO of VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee, says establishing a strong partnership with local First Nations was important to Olympic leaders."We did something that was not easy to do but really enhanced the look and feel and made us all feel quite a bit more proud," Furlong said.One of the key outcomes of VANOC's partnership with the Four Host First Nations — Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — was high visibility.Indigenous participation was incorporated into the torch relay and opening ceremonies, and was on daily display at the First Nations Pavilion and other programming throughout the Games.Even Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, leader of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs and staunch critic of the Games, admits that 2010 promoted First Nations to the world. "I don't think there's any question that the 2010 Olympics showcased the diversity, beauty and strength of Indigenous culture here in B.C.," Phillip said. Demand brings challengesHenry says that representation awakened tourist demand in a way that's never been seen before. But he also admits that spike in demand has come with challenges. There are also ongoing problems with authenticity and representation, he says. Issues like chintzy made-in-China totem poles were brought to light during the Games, Henry says, but the problem remains today."Indigenous artwork, whether it's owned by indigenous people or not, is worth billions of dollars in Canada right now," he said. "And most of it, unfortunately, has zero connection with the local Indigenous community."The issue of representation extends to tour operators keen to capitalize on demand for Indigenous programming but who don't provide an authentic product. For example, Henry says, he regularly comes across companies offering trips like teepee tours on the West Coast, even though teepees were mostly used by Indigenous groups from the Plains. Indigenous tourism providers say they also encounter stereotypes from their customers, some who don't understand that Indigenous cultures aren't stuck in the past. 'It feeds the soul'Alison Pascal, programmer at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in the Sea-to-Sky region, says people are often shocked to see artisans in the building using power tools."They're really shocked to see that we can make use of this modern technology," Pascal said. "They really question whether or not we could still be authentic while we're using power tools."But many Indigenous tour operators also see those encounters as an opportunity to address misconceptions and share more accurate information.  Campo, a former teacher, says educating her clients also comes with personal benefits for her. "When you get to share your culture and your history, it's healing," she said. "I talk about my ancestors and I come from an exceptional people, and it just it feeds the soul."

  • New coronavirus cases fall in China, but WHO concerned by global spread
    News
    Reuters

    New coronavirus cases fall in China, but WHO concerned by global spread

    China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries. Chinese authorities said the mainland had 397 new confirmed cases on Friday, down from 889 a day earlier. The numbers surged elsewhere, though, with outbreaks worsening in South Korea, Iran, Italy and Lebanon.

  • CBC

    'I was abused at 14 by my violin teacher' | #MeToo 2020

    London, Ont.-born Lara St. John is a classical violinist who says she was abused and raped by her violin teacher when she was 14 years old. He was never charged.

  • Former Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch has book deal
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Former Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch has book deal

    NEW YORK — Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat who during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that it had acquired Yovanovitch's planned memoir, currently untitled. According to the publisher, the book will trace her long career, from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Kyiv and “finally back to Washington, D.C. — where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas."“Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an announcement.Financial terms were not disclosed, but two people familiar with the deal told the AP that the agreement was worth seven figures, even though the book is not expected until Spring 2021, months after this fall's election. They were not authorized to discuss negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial terms. Yovanovitch was represented by the Javelin literary agency, where other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton.“Ambassador Yovanovitch has had a 30-year career of public service in many locations, with many lessons to be drawn. This is about much more than just the recent controversy," said Houghton Mifflin Senior Vice-President and Publisher Bruce Nichols, in response to a question about why her book wasn't coming out this year.Yovanovitch told House investigators last year that Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other Trump insiders were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her. Pushed out of her job earlier in 2019 on Trump’s orders, she testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.”Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with Burisma, a gas company there. Biden, the former vice-president, is a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.According to a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy last summer that Yovanovitch “was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news."The allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political opponent led to his impeachment in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House. Earlier this month, the Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts.Yovanovitch, 61, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in 2016 by President Barack Obama. She recently was given the Trainor Award, an honour for international diplomacy presented by Georgetown University, and currently is a non-resident fellow at Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press

  • Ontario teacher unions hope massive protest sends message of unity to government
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ontario teacher unions hope massive protest sends message of unity to government

    TORONTO — Thousands of teachers and supporters marched along the streets surrounding the Ontario legislature Friday during a provincewide strike to put bargaining pressure on the government, sending what union leaders hoped was a message of strength and unity.The joint walkout by all four major teachers' unions marked the first time since 1997 that educators from all the labour groups were on strike on the same day, they said.Teachers and education workers picketed at schools and other sites across the province, but the largest demonstration by far took place at the provincial legislature in Toronto.The road encircling the building was shut down to accommodate the massive protest. Teachers slowly walked nearly shoulder to shoulder around the roughly one to 1 1/2-kilometre loop surrounding the building, carrying signs decrying the Doug Ford government's education agenda."It's a demonstration that we're not divided from our members or from the public in this province," said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation."It's time the government listened to front-line educators and to parents because they are speaking with largely one voice about what they want."Gus Ritacca, a father of two kids in elementary school, walked slowly against the flow of the picket line so marching teachers could see a sign of support he was holding.He's seen firsthand the dedication of teachers in the school system and he supports them in this contract dispute with the government, he said."I think this is truly about the level of education and the quality of education our kids are going to receive," Ritacca said. "I do believe that if push came to shove on the salary issue, a deal could be had there. I don't believe that's the core issue."The teachers, particularly those at the secondary level, have repeatedly spoken out against government education plans unveiled last March. The Progressive Conservatives announced they would increase average high school class sizes from 22 to 28 — which would lead to thousands of fewer teachers in the system — and require students to take four e-learning courses to graduate.The government has partly backed off on both issues, offering to instead increase average high school class sizes to 25 and require two online learning courses, but the unions say that doesn't go far enough.All of the teachers' unions are asking for around two per cent in annual salary increases, while the government won't budge beyond offering one per cent. It passed legislation last year capping wage hikes for all public sector workers at one per cent for three years, which the unions are challenging in court.Elementary teachers say their key issues include guaranteeing the future of full-day kindergarten, securing more funding to hire special education teachers, and maintaining seniority hiring rules.Premier Doug Ford has suggested, without providing evidence, that front-line teachers don't support the union leaders.Sam Hammond, the president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, issued a challenge Friday to Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce."Come out of this building today and talk to the 30,000 people, our members who will be here," he said. "If you think the four of us are orchestrating what's happening today, come and talk to them and they'll tell you exactly what's happening."Speaking from inside the legislature, Lecce noted that some progress had been made this week at the bargaining table with some unions and said it was unfortunate the strike went ahead."The fact that they opted to pause that momentum, in effect, to strike today I think is really unfair to kids," he said. "We should have been negotiating today."The province held talks this week with both the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association and the union representing French-language teachers. OECTA President Liz Stuart said there were "meaningful" conversations with the Catholic teachers, but big stumbling blocks remain.OECTA announced late Friday that their talks with the government will resume Monday, and they are therefore suspending rotating strikes they had planned for next week. The French teachers also have bargaining dates next week.Bargaining with high school teachers has been stalled for two months. The elementary teachers have said they were close to agreements on key issues in late January, but the government negotiators changed positions at the last minute.Teachers from all four unions not only oppose the higher class sizes and mandatory e-learning courses, but are angered that those proposals came outside the bargaining process. The labour groups contend those are issues that should have been presented and negotiated at the table.Lecce would not say Friday if he thought that approach — announced by the former education minister — was a mistake."Right now my focus is to get a deal that keeps kids in class and I'm happy to provide an element of punditry when this is done," he said.OSSTF announced Friday that it would resume its weekly, rotating strikes next week by walking out at several boards, including Ottawa-Carleton, Durham, Hamilton-Wentworth, Upper Grand, Upper Canada, Bluewater and several northern boards.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.Allison Jones and Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

  • Politicians gather at Burnaby's Crystal Mall in effort to dispel coronavirus rumours
    News
    CBC

    Politicians gather at Burnaby's Crystal Mall in effort to dispel coronavirus rumours

    Politicians from three levels of government came together in Burnaby Friday in an attempt to regenerate business and dispel rumours that victims of the coronavirus are working in the once vibrant Crystal Mall.Lineups that would normally snake around the food court at lunchtime have virtually been non-existant since rumours that a worker at the mall had contracted coronavirus spread on the Chinese social media app WeChat.  Business is down 90 per cent, according to the mall's president.Members of the federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as concerned citizens and business owners gathered at the mall Friday in an effort to dispel fears."Since this matter began, I have eaten here. And I'm the minister of health of British Columbia," said Adrian Dix. "I think that tells you what you need to know," he said.Lily Yung, owner of the Grand Crystal Seafood Restaurant in the Crystal Mall, says the 36-character WeChat message tanked her family's business in less than a day. The message claimed that one of the restaurant's employees was hit by the coronavirus, also known as the COVID-19 virus, and that officials had shut down the restaurant for 14 days.Neither of the claims are true according to Yung."Vancouverites are already scared. Then you send out useless rumours and lies like this?" Yung told CBC News in Cantonese.On Monday, Canada's health minister said misinformation around the novel coronavirus is stigmatizing Chinese-Canadians and having negative consequences on their Vancouver businesses. Patty Hajdu said one of the challenges of countering misinformation around coronavirus is how prevalent it is and how quickly it spreads on social media. "We just need to continue to remind Canadians to go to the sources where there is credible information," she said.As of Feb. 21, the National Microbiology Laboratory has confirmed 455 negative cases and 9 positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in Canada.The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to say the risk to public health associated with the virus is low.Despite that, the toll from online rumours continue to affect businesses at the mall."We are suffering because a lot of patrons ... are scared they will contract the virus," said Alvis Tsui, president of the Crystal Mall strata council.New Westminster NDP MP Peter Julian said he typically visits Crystal Mall once a month but because of the recent downturn in business, he and his wife plan to visit more frequently."We need to push back against the rumours and we need to push back against what is, in some people's case, blatant racism," said Julian.Six people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. There have been no deaths from the virus in Canada.

  • What does a smaller Bombardier mean for aspiring aerospace engineers?
    News
    CBC

    What does a smaller Bombardier mean for aspiring aerospace engineers?

    With Bombardier selling its commercial aviation division and holding onto its business jet unit, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) students studying aerospace engineering say they remain hopeful about their future in the industry."It is not a fear for me, [whether] there are more or less internships for us," says Mathieu Lavoie, a graduate student in aerospace engineering.Last year, more than 700 ÉTS undergraduate and master's students completed internships in the aerospace industry."We're in a nice aerospace ecosystem. It's evolving, it's natural," says Lavoie, who expects to obtain his degree in about a year-and-a-half.Montreal one of three aerospace capitals worldwideMontreal is a big aerospace hub, competing with Toulouse, France (where Airbus is based) and Seattle (where Boeing has roots).More than 40,000 people worked in aerospace in Quebec last year, according to Aéro Montréal, an association representing Quebec's aerospace industry.Bombardier developed the industry and has been a key player for years.That helped usher in other companies and diversify the industry, which means master's students like Paul Meyran have options once they graduate."There are a lot. There could be big companies like Airbus, Safran and CAE. It could be in aeronautics, aerospace, it's a very diverse domain," he said.Meyran says there could even be opportunities to work for small or medium-sized businesses.Plus Bombardier is still building business jets.According to the Quebec corporation, after the sale of its rail division is finalized in summer 2021, it will have about 18,000 employees, approximately 10,000 of which are in Quebec.Airbus says A220 jobs to stay in QuebecFor now, Airbus says it will keep all 3,300 A220 jobs in Quebec.Aéro Montréal says that commitment to grow the program in the province shows Quebec aerospace is and can remain competitive.For students like Lavoie, that reinforces the idea that the industry has a promising future.He also points out there are several aerospace programs in Montreal universities that allow students to work in the field, and perhaps improve the industry."We have the expertise here.… In Quebec, it's a big part of what we do best," he said.

  • Calgary family finally heads home after weeks in quarantine — and knows exactly what they'll do first
    News
    CBC

    Calgary family finally heads home after weeks in quarantine — and knows exactly what they'll do first

    A Calgary man who spent nearly a month under quarantine with his wife and two young children due to the coronavirus outbreaks is finally on his way home — and knows exactly what he's going to do when he gets there."I definitely need a haircut!" said Rocky Bin Zhang, 33, who was born in China but moved to Calgary in 2005 and is a permanent resident in Canada."And my wife has been telling me that the next morning, we're going to have some dim sum at a Chinese restaurant, because she misses some traditional Chinese food."Zhang, wife Emiley and their two young children — eight-month-old Owen and three-year-old Aria — arrived in Wuhan, the city where he was born, on Dec. 13 to visit relatives.They were trapped in Wuhan when the coronavirus outbreak led to the city's lockdown, but were among the first Canadians to be airlifted out of the city, on Feb. 6.The family spent 14 days under a second quarantine at a Canadian Forces base in Trenton, Ont., where the returning passengers underwent daily medical assessments. All of the Canadians who were aboard the first airlift were to be released on Friday. Calling from a bus on its way to the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Zhang told the Calgary Eyeopener his family was excited to be finally heading home.Quarantine was 'really difficult' for young daughterZhang said parenting during the quarantine presented challenges.The markedly slower lifestyle was a difficult adjustment for Aria, he said."She typically has a lot of activities going on while we were in Calgary. She had gymnastics, she has dance and music lessons and ski and skating lessons. So, she spends a lot of her energy outside," Zhang said."This past month has been really difficult for her, for sure."While at CFB Trenton, Zhang said the family was fortunate to discover a playground within their housing complex during their second week."We took her there pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day, just so that she can run around a little bit," Zhang said.Though there was a two-metre rule in place at CFB Trenton, Zhang said it wasn't strictly enforced, and kids were able to interact on the playground. However, he said everyone wore a mask — including babies.Quarantine was 'bonding time' for familyBut Zhang also said that time spent in isolation wasn't all bad. His family enjoyed spending time together while sequestered — though their activities were limited."It's a lot of bonding time with family members, that's for sure. But on the other hand, you know, we did lose a bit of our freedom, because we couldn't go out to enjoy our lives," Zhang said."On the bright side, I think we were also keeping ourselves away from the virus, and we're just very happy that we are all healthy in the end."Through the journey, they also realized how fortunate they are."There's so many people who love us, who care about us and has shown their love towards us, and [we're] just really happy that there's so much support to my family and to all the people under quarantine … at CFB Trenton," Zhang said.Zhang offers advice for the newly quarantined — relaxAs the Zhangs left CFB Trenton, more Canadians arrived Friday for medical assessments before they were to be moved to the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ont., for a 14-day quarantine. They had been airlifted from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been docked in Japan since Feb. 3 over concerns about coronavirus.When asked what advice he would give other Canadians who will be living under quarantine, Zhang suggested that people try to relax; having a bit of free time is a luxury, he said."Don't see it as a quarantine, because, I mean, it's not as bad as people make it," Zhang said."There's a lot of good people there helping you, supporting you, and you know they will be in good hands."No Alberta cases yetAlberta Health Services announced on Friday that Alberta continues to have no outbreaks of coronavirus. So far, 117 people have been tested, and all results were negative.Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw said in a statement on Friday that though the provincial risk for an outbreak is low, Albertans should still maintain good hygiene.Hinshaw also addressed the potential for social isolation and racism."I would ask that you don't make assumptions about a person's risk based on their ethnicity or country of origin, and by reminding others of this as well," she said. "We are stronger together."Asian communities in Canada reported a rise in racist incidents linked to the SARS outbreak in 2003.

  • News
    CBC

    Snow-clearing policy to review bike lanes, cul-de-sacs, intersections

    City councillors say they share Edmontonians' frustration with the way the city is clearing snow and ice from roads, cul-de-sacs and bike lanes this winter.Council agreed Friday that the operations branch should re-evaluate its clearing policy and report back next week with a checklist of the areas they intend to tackle. A full report will be brought to council in June. Coun. Jon Dziadyk said he wants the review to assess why bike lanes seem to be cleared in a timely manner when some roads are not."I'm hearing from a lot of people that they think it's unfair when they see a pristine bike lane — rarely being used, in their observations — cleared down to pavement, when they're driving a vehicle that maybe isn't four-wheel drive and maybe has plenty of challenges navigating the roadways," Dziadyk said.Coun. Ben Henderson dismissed Dziadyk's assertion. "I did want to challenge the kind of myth that's out there that somehow or other we're making the roads wait until we've done the bike lanes," he said. "The two things are unrelated."Plowing cul-de-sacs is costlyDeputy manager of operations, Gord Cebryk, said clearing bike lanes is an entirely different process from roads and uses different equipment.Cebryk acknowledged however the city could redirect some staff to focus on roads. Henderson asked Cebryk why the city is slow — according to public complaints — to clear snow from cul-de-sacs.Cebryk said cul-de-sacs require crews to haul snow away, a much more expensive process requiring different equipment and personnel. "I understand what the nightmare is," Henderson replied. "But we're going to have to deal with that nightmare one of these weeks, right? Why we have to wait to deal with the nightmare is what I'm missing."Cebryk said the issue will be added to administration's policy review. The most frequent complaint this year is icy intersections, Cebryk said. The freeze-thaw cycle and extreme changes in temperature are to blame, not council's decision last fall to discontinue using calcium chloride, he said. "We are delivering the best service we can so any changes in the service levels are due to basically the weather changes and that's what we've been adapting to," Cebryk told council.Coun. Mike Nickel said he wants snow-and-ice clearing added to the city auditor's work plan for 2020, a necessary step toward a full audit on a city operations area. "If we're going to actually try to deliver the service in the most cost-effective and responsible fashion, the employees and management really need to get this fixed," Nickel said. A full report on revisions to the city's snow and ice policy is expected in June. @natashariebe

  • Fort McMurray residents rally in support of Teck Frontier mine
    News
    CBC

    Fort McMurray residents rally in support of Teck Frontier mine

    About 40 people attended a rally in Fort McMurray on Friday in support proposed Teck Frontier mine, with many saying the mine would provide much-needed jobs for the region. Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. aims to build the Frontier mine about 100 kilometres north of Fort McMurray near Wood Buffalo National Park. The mine's total capacity would be 260,000 barrels of oil a day and Teck has said it aims to start producing oil in 2026.The $20.6-billion mine promises about 7,000 jobs during construction and 2,500 during operation. John Parsons, 60,  was among those at Friday's rally. He moved to Fort McMurray in the 70s for work but said there are far fewer job opportunities in the region today. "We went through nothing but hardship in the last five years," said Parsons. "I worry about my children. I have six daughters and eight grandkids right now, and their future is looking pretty bleak."Parsons, a crane operator, said it's been hard to find steady work.. He spent last year working in Cold Lake on a contract, but he would've rather been in his own home in Fort McMurray. He thinks the mine would help people working in the trades. The mine has been controversial, with a provincial-federal panel saying it would be in the public interest, even though it's likely to significantly harm the environment and Indigenous people. Environmentalists have also expressed concerns about the impact on the nearby national park and some Indigenous leaders in the Northwest Territories have been fighting against the project. Teck Resources  has signed agreements with 14 Indigenous communities in the region. On Friday the Mikisew Cree First Nation released a statement offering its support for the project. The International Union of Operating Engineers and Canada Action, a federally registered non-profit that promotes the oilsands and natural resources sector, organized the rally in Fort McMurray.Lynn Nellis, Canada Action's chief operating officer, spoke at the event."You have the support of your fellow Canadians, for the most part. I know it doesn't look like it and it doesn't feel like it. But when I travel they want to know what you guys are thinking."Nellis said all Canadians are responsible for lowering emissions in Canada, and said the onus shouldn't just fall on industry. "We all use energy all the time. We're all responsible for making these changes," said Nellis in an interview with CBC.'Swift and serious'On Friday, Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon told Power & Politics the premier has been clear that "if the Frontier mine is rejected from the federal cabinet, the reaction from Alberta will be swift and serious."Nixon said he wouldn't go into details, but that Alberta would "take steps to defend our province," and that the rejection of the mine would be viewed as a "significant step back between Alberta's relationship with the federal government."Nixon added  that the provincial government is prepared to do "everything that needs to happen" to make sure Alberta's energy industry has a strong future. "That's the lifeblood of this province and we're not going to accept the federal government indicating to investment that there's no future for the oilsands or for energy industry in this province. And from our perspective their decision around Frontier project could do just that."The federal cabinet is expected to give a decision next week.

  • Calgarians get more time for input on Green Line route changes
    News
    CBC

    Calgarians get more time for input on Green Line route changes

    One city councillor has convinced her colleagues to give Calgarians more time to have their say on proposed changes to the Green Line.In January, the city revealed plans to shorten the LRT tunnel through the core to help the project stay on budget.As a result, the revised plan for the first stage of the Green Line calls for a bridge over the Bow River between downtown and Crescent Heights. The CTrain would also have to run on the surface of Centre Street, north to 16th Avenue.Coun. Druh Farrell says the plan had caused huge anxiety in her ward, and she wants more public engagement as another month isn't enough time. Farrell says Centre Street is a constrained space and the city has to get the design right."Some of the early drawings that I've seen are more promising, but initially, they were really frightening," Farrell said. "I can't possibly support something that will kill a neighbourhood."Friday's committee meeting was supposed to be a regular quarterly update on the $4.9-billion megaproject.Despite the delay, the project's director, Michael Thompson, says adding a month to the engagement won't add to the time crunch."We'll actually stay on the schedule that we had coming into this meeting as what we have coming out of this meeting," Thompson said. "So I think it was a great compromise to add more time for additional engagement with the communities."Preparation workThe committee did hear that $209 million has now been spent on land acquisition. Almost all of the land that's needed in the southeast is now owned by the city.Including preparation work like utilities realignment along the southeast portion of the line, a total of $524 million has been spent on the Green Line.The committee also heard that the entire project is six to seven months behind schedule.However, a technical and risk committee that was set up to advise the Green Line team says that with changes, the project can get back on track.There have been months of wrangling over the route and financing of the LRT project.At one point in the meeting, Coun. Jeff Davison asked Thompson if he feels he has a clear definition from council on what success will look like for the Green Line."The answer is no," he replied. "We don't have clearly defined success criteria from this committee or from council."  With the additional engagement time, Thompson says the results of the consultation will go to council's Green Line committee in April instead of late March.However, council will vote on the final revised alignment in April as previously scheduled.The plan remains to start construction in spring 2021 on the segment between Victoria Park and the Shepard station in the southeast.Construction on the downtown portion of the Green Line would start sometime after that, depending on the design and procurement processes.

  • How A Yellowknife Resident Keeps The Winter Blues At Bay: Navigating
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    How A Yellowknife Resident Keeps The Winter Blues At Bay: Navigating

    The winter brings long nights and darker moods.

  • Mayor and council 'disappointed' with central library being put into private developer's hands
    News
    CBC

    Mayor and council 'disappointed' with central library being put into private developer's hands

    The Downtown Mission's move to transfer the sale of the old central library branch to a private developer is "sitting raw" with many around the city council table, according to Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens."This was never intended to be a city property that would be quickly flipped by the potential purchaser to do another deal," Dilkens said.The Downtown Mission was expected to take possession of the central library from the city following a $3.6 million sale announced in March 2018. But Thursday, executive director Ron Dunn announced the move was scrapped, citing a failure to secure a mortgage due to a funding deficit over a two-year period.The move was a disappointing one, Dilkens said, since the city will not have control over how the old central branch will be developed. He insists an official offer was made, allowing Dunn to get his deposit back."Frankly, it was never contemplated that the Mission would flip the property to make a quick buck and then move across the street closer to the downtown," said Dilkens, adding the Mission will make a "quick profit" on its newly-announced sale, but it's left a sour taste."Certainly, we would have preferred to be able to work with a developer in a meaningful way to try and make sure that the right development happens on that property in our main street," he said.With the Mission "assigning" the old central library to a new developer, Dunn and his team will look to build something more modest on 819 Ouellette Avenue. Part of the deal will see the developer donate an undisclosed amount of money. Certainly, we would have preferred to be able to work with a developer in a meaningful way to try and make sure that the right development happens on that property in our main street. \- Windsor Mayor Drew DilkensDunn admits he knew the city wanted the building back, but adds he never received anything official to show he would get the Mission's deposit returned."Drew had told me that — that they wanted the property back," said Dunn. "But my first concern is never the politicians, quite frankly. While we want to have an amicable relationship, my first thought process has to be to those that we serve.""The people that don't want us on Ouellette at the library still don't want us across the street. I understand that. We're going where the people are, not the other way around," Dunn said.Dunn asked for more time to secure a mortgage for the old central library before the deal officially closed — but that request was turned down by council during a recent in-camera meeting.The central library was never put out on the open market and was sold to the Downtown Mission in 2018 without public consultation — a move which both Dilkens and library board chair Rino Bortolin agree was not a mistake."There was extensive public consultation for the year and a half beforehand that dealt with the library plan. It wasn't specifically asking if we should we sell it to the Downtown Mission," Bortolin said. "Real estate acquisitions and sales happen weekly at the city — and so those are private matters." The people that don't want us on Ouellette at the library still don't want us across the street. I understand that. We're going where the people are, not the other way around. \- Ron Dunn, Executive director of the Downtown Mission"That's exactly why you elect your officials. It was a unanimous decision on behalf of the board of the Windsor Public Library. It was a unanimous decision at council, I believe," Bortolin said.Bortolin said working with the Downtown Mission was always done "in good faith because of their need for a new location." He added the city understood the importance for the Mission to be based in close proximity to its clients."We feel that they should have come back to us and, quite frankly, I'm hoping that the board of the Downtown Mission would reconsider and maybe even call an emergency meeting between now and the end of the month and actually reconsider this decision," said Bortolin.While some say the Mission's failure to move into the old central branch is unfortunate, others have mixed feelings about the Mission being located on a main street like Ouellette."Windsor isn't perfect. You walk around and see a homeless person almost on every corner ... They deserve a home" said downtown resident Bela Antonio."The city didn't really talk to the Windsor folks about this, but what can we do?""I know the downtown area has a bad reputation, but it'd be nice to see something good go in," said Lynn Johnson who also lives in downtown Windsor.Lyn Caine, who works downtown, said there's "lots of risks" with the Downtown Mission setting up shop downtown, but doesn't believe it will create problems in the future."I'm thinking about the poor and not having access to vehicles to bring them down, so it's just an ideal location."

  • Racism in Canada thrives and pretending otherwise nourishes it, say people who live it
    News
    CBC

    Racism in Canada thrives and pretending otherwise nourishes it, say people who live it

    A Toronto-based journalist who walked away from a columnist gig at a major newspaper after protesting the controversial practice of police carding has written a book on anti-black racism.It pulls no punches and will likely not ingratiate him with Canadians who deny the problem exists in the first place."We are terrified to acknowledge what this country's history actually is and how that relates to the present," Desmond Cole told CBC News.Cole wrote columns for the Toronto Star until he took a stand at a police board meeting on April 20, 2017, demanding police destroy data collected arbitrarily or using race as a reason to question someone.That meeting was adjourned, the paper told Cole his actions were against its policies and he walked.But the writer from Red Deer, Alta., decided that a daily news cycle didn't give readers enough context to understand issues as complex as racism. So he set out to fill that gap.The result is Cole's new book, The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power."I wanted to step back from a lot of the stories I get to tell a little piece of, and give people a fuller context," Cole said.Every chapter represents one month in 2017 and a story that happened, he says."While I am telling that story for each month, I am also saying, here is something that happened to a black person in the education system but here is what has been happening over decades and centuries in our education system. Here is something that happened to a black child in the child welfare system, but here is the history in terms of policing, immigration. Helping my readers who might hear these stories as one-offs to get a much broader picture of black life and struggle in this country."Cole says the topic makes a lot of Canadians squirm, so we tend to look south to the U.S. to shift the conversation."It is more important for us to focus on what is happening here and to get over the shame and fear that maybe things are actually quite troublesome here," he said."We can't address problems if we don't name them."A Calgary-based public speaker, social activist and comedian says Cole's book is a much needed breath of air, fresh or somewhat less than."I am thankful Desmond has written this and put himself in a place that allows for this conversation to expand," Adora Nwofor said."It is across Canada. It is not just in one place. If you are not naming it, we will never be able to fix it."Nwofor says even the term "person of colour" has evolved because some don't want to have the toxicity of anti-black racism applied to them.For some people, BIPOC is a more comfortable self-identification. That stands for black, Indigenous and people of colour."People of colour will separate from that terminology: Asian people, Aboriginal and Indigenous people. Because they don't want to be in anti-blackness, because it is insipid, it is the gauge for oppression."An Edmonton-based activist and historian says taking an honest, ugly look at the past is the best place to start in the present.Bashir Mohamed says many Canadians could be forgiven for knowing more about U.S. civil rights struggles than our own.In Alberta, there are three civil rights cases that are not well known but on the same scale as incidents we learn about in the United States. "There was Charles Daniels in 1914 Calgary, sued the Sherman Grand Theatre for trying to change his ticket and put him in the blacks only section. In 1922, there is Lulu Anderson, who did the same thing in Edmonton. Unfortunately she lost her case. In 1959, Ted King fought against a Calgary motel's racist policies," Mohamed said."So we have that history here. I think the side-effects of not knowing about it does two things. We deny that we have even had this history, which makes it hard to grapple with the fact that we still have problems now."Mohamed says there's a recent case involving the Edmonton Catholic School District that illustrates what he's talking about.The mother of an 11-year-old boy who was accused of gang affiliation for wearing a do-rag to his school says the incident was race-related.The board denied the racial element but apologized for confusion and lifted a ban against the mother after police were called to a school board meeting last September."That case took months and months and months and months of protesting just for there to be any movement," Mohamed said."A lot of the public comments were dismissive, saying we don't have these problems."Cole agrees that some people outright deny racism exists."People are defensive, they think I am pointing a finger at them personally," he said."If you live in a country where being white privileges you over others, you don't have to like that. I don't like it, as a black person."But there are differences, including how people are treated in media reports, he says."Every time something bad happens to a black person, we are told it is our fault, we are not trying hard enough, we are more deviant or criminal than other people. I don't like that reality."Meanwhile, Nwofor says she's done waiting for other people to step up."The place to start is by naming it and humility. If you can't be humble in hearing what this is and accepting that it is a thing, it's going to be a fight," Nwofor said."My life is just as important as yours. If your life is important and my life is important, it is up to us to work together. I am unapologetic in my humanity. I am going to do all of it. It is going to make you uncomfortable," she said, of calling out racism.But maybe discomfort is what's needed, Cole adds."People have to show and acknowledge what this country really looks like before we can change it. Read about what we are doing and then get behind us. Find the ways you can support these struggles in your own communities. Struggles around police brutality are in every community. You don't have to go somewhere else to make a change." * Watch as author and journalist Desmond Cole describes a year of experiences in anti-black racism and some of the much needed context that is often missing, in the video below.

  • News
    CBC

    Stratford, P.E.I., considers raising taxes

    The mayor of Stratford, P.E.I., says the town is considering raising residential tax rates for the first time since 2003. The increase is needed to accommodate the increased cost of fire protection, resulting from the construction of the new emergency services facility built in conjunction with the new roundabout. "That mitigated against keeping the taxes as they were, which we all tried to do, we really made every effort," said Steve Ogden.The mayor said the proposed increase adds up to roughly $10 per year more for an average-sized house in the town."We changed things up a little this year where we presented a draft budget and asked for input," Ogden said. "We had a lot of input early by email and letters, people looking for initiatives and spending priorities." The town is also considering raising the commercial rate for businesses to bring it in line with other municipalities in P.E.I.Ogden says the town is still seeking input and the budget will not be finalized until mid-March. More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Helicopter pilot in Bryant crash had FAA violation in 2015
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Helicopter pilot in Bryant crash had FAA violation in 2015

    LOS ANGELES — The pilot of a helicopter that crashed into a Southern California hillside, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, was reprimanded five years ago for flying without permission into airspace while he had reduced visibility, according to a Federal Aviation Administration enforcement record.Ara Zobayan was counselled by an FAA investigator after he violated FAA rules by crossing into busy airspace near Los Angeles International Airport on May 11, 2015, according to the record, which was first reported Friday by the Los Angeles Times.The record doesn't indicate whether Zobayan was carrying any passengers at the time.Zobayan, 50, died Jan. 26 when his helicopter plunged at high speed into a hillside in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles. Zobayan had been trying to climb above a cloud layer when the aircraft banked left and plunged 1,200 feet (366 metres) at high speed. There has been speculation that the pilot became disoriented in the foggy weather. The crash remains under investigation.The crash also killed Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with six others. The victims will be honoured at a Feb. 24 public memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles.At the time, Zaboyan was chief pilot for the charter service Island Express Helicopters Inc.He was flying for the same company during the 2015 incident.According to the FAA report, Zobayan's helicopter was near the Hawthorne, California, airport and heading north when he asked the LAX tower for permission to cross LAX airspace. Zobayan was told that weather conditions didn't meet the minimum for pilots using visual flight rules — that is, flying by sight.Zaboyan was asked whether he could maintain “VFR conditions.”Zaboyan replied that he could “maintain special VFR” — meaning he sought permission to fly by sight in less-than-optimal visibility.When air traffic control denied the request and told him to stay clear of the area, Zobayan replied that he could “maintain VRF" but during the conversation, the helicopter entered the airspace, according to the record.Zobayan contacted authorities and his company after the incident and was co-operative. But an FAA investigator faulted him for failing to properly plan and review current weather at LAX, which would have allowed him time to communicate earlier with the tower in order to receive clearance, according to the record.The report said Zobayan “admitted his error, took responsibility for his action, and was willing to take any other necessary steps toward compliance.”“There are no indications that this is a repeated incident and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan," the report said.Zobayan was counselled “on operating in Class B airspace, special VFR weather minimums, proper planning, reviewing weather, and anticipating required action,” the report said. “He was co-operative and receptive to the counselling."Island Express Helicopters Inc, reported that it conducted additional ground and flight training with Zaboyan.Veteran helicopter pilots were divided over the severity of the FAA violation, the Times reported.“I don’t know a single pilot out there who hasn’t violated a rule,” Shawn Coyle said. “If that’s the only violation he’s ever had then I would say he’s pretty safe.”But former Island Express pilot Kurt Deetz said entering LAX airspace without approval can be dangerous because of the possible presence of commercial jets. He also questioned Zaboyan's communication with air traffic controllers.“You can’t request special VFR and then they deny you and you say, ‘Oh wait a minute, actually I’m VFR’, ” he told the Times. “That’s not how it works. It shows that perhaps his understanding of special VFR as opposed to VFR was cloudy.”The Associated Press

  • Family displays Carson Crimeni's jersey at the hockey rink where he used to play
    News
    CBC

    Family displays Carson Crimeni's jersey at the hockey rink where he used to play

    The family and friends of Carson Crimeni gathered on Friday to hang the late 14-year-old's jersey in the halls of the Langley, B.C., hockey rink where he once played. The memorial display at Langley Sportsplex features a blue and yellow hockey jersey encased in a frame and an image of Crimeni as a young boy with the words "Play and Be Kind" written below. "Hanging this up is not necessarily to remember Carson," said Darrell Crimeni, Carson's grandfather. "I think it's just part of a bigger awareness campaign.""If we could increase awareness to the dangers [of bullying and substance use], that might help save a family." Crimeni died last August from an overdose he suffered at a skate park in Walnut Grove. His death caused a widespread uproar after the public learned that witnesses stood by and captured video of the boy overdosing, later posting the footage on social media. Watch the emotional hanging of Crimeni's jersey as the community and Carson's close friends look on:"They left him to die," his grandfather said in the days following Crimeni's death. Wearing a bright pink shirt with the words "Play & Be Kind 4 Carson" etched on it, his grandfather remarked on the turnout at Friday's event and tearfully thanked those in the community who made the memorial possible, including Chris and Chantal Crowell, whose son played hockey with Crimeni. "There's thousands of people that every day are going to walk by this," said Mr. Crowell. He expects they'll have a variety of reactions to the jersey, from drawing motivation from it or even fist-pumping the display on the way out. He hopes it stays up forever. "It's about keeping his voice alive because he didn't have a voice when he needed it most."Aron Crimeni, Carson's father, echoed this sentiment."If this reminds one person who sees bullying even to speak out about it, or to stop it if they're an adult, then it's done its job."

  • Pandemic bonds were supposed to fund the cost of fighting the coronavirus — so why aren't they paying off?
    News
    CBC

    Pandemic bonds were supposed to fund the cost of fighting the coronavirus — so why aren't they paying off?

    A fund set up by the World Bank three years ago to help fight infectious diseases has done more to rack up fees for bankers and investors than it has to help doctors battle outbreaks, which is why some critics call it an expensive waste of money.Between 2013 and 2016, an Ebola outbreak in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, a tragic reminder of just how quickly deadly diseases can spiral out of control.While there's still no cure for the disease, public health experts know that having adequate health care infrastructure can go a long way in keeping a lid on the spread of disease. But the cost of even basic medical equipment such as surgical masks or gloves can be prohibitively expensive for developing countries. Which is why policymakers at the World Bank came up with what sounded like novel idea at the time: what if there was a way to use investors in market economics to help countries access cash to fight disease in a hurry in exchange for a reasonable return for taking on that risk?Generous interest paymentsWith that, the pandemic bond was born. In 2017, the World Bank created what's officially known as the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, or PEF. The idea was simple: The fund would raise hundreds of millions of dollars from investors willing to contribute to a pool of money that developing countries could tap into as needed to help fight the next pandemic.Outbreaks in rich countries aren't covered. The bond's payout was targeted toward the 76 poorest countries in the world, which are members of the World Banks's International Development Association, or IDA.The benefit to global health seems obvious, but investors got a nice return out of the deal, too. Launched in the summer of 2017 and set to expire in July of this year, one tranche of the fund would pay out an annual interest of 6.9 per cent above the LIBOR rate, a benchmark interest rate set in the financial capital of London. The other tranche was even more generous — 11.5 per cent above LIBOR every year for three years. At the current LIBOR rate, that means investors get a payout of more than eight and 13 per cent, respectively, if they own each tranche.But there's a catch, of course. Investors get those interest payments annually, but if a pandemic breaks out and countries need the cash to fight disease, investors lose the principal they put in.Despite the realistic risk of losing everything, there were twice as many people wanting to buy into the offering than there was space available. Demand like that suggests the market thinks the bond was a win-win. "We expect this concept of fighting disease and providing disaster relief to be replicated in the future," analysts at the Man Institute said this week, and the World Bank confirms it is working on another version of it. No funds for coronavirus as yetInvestors gobbled up the fund at the time, but the coronavirus outbreak has caused the value of those bonds to plunge as low as 45 cents on the dollar this month, as some investors think the fund might soon be wiped out by expensive efforts to keep a lid on COVID-19.Despite those fears, the fund has yet to actually kick in any money for the fight against the coronavirus — and that's what critics of the PEF say is its biggest weakness: it was set up to fail from the start.Olga Jonas is among the system's harshest critics. She's currently a senior fellow at the Global Health Institute at Harvard University, but more than a decade ago, she was an economist at the World Bank at a time when avian flu was the disease keeping policymakers like her up at night.Jonas says while the idea of a pandemic bond sounds good on paper, in practice, it is just an expensive waste of money."It's good for investors but useless as a funding mechanism for disease," she said in an interview. "From a public health perspective, they'd be better off just giving the money to me."Her main criticism is that the triggers that must be met in order for it to pay out are far too onerous and complicated to make it useful. The fund's 386-page prospectus lays out the Byzantine series of requirements that have to be met before any money gets released. The stipulations are dizzying and change depending on the speed, virulence and scope of any given outbreak.An outbreak of a filovirus (Ebola is one type of filovirus) can pay out up to $250 million US, but only if there are at least 250 deaths. If the outbreak is considered "regional" — meaning there are cases in more than one country but fewer than eight — it will pay out $75 million. If it spreads to more than eight countries, the payout jumps to $87.5 million. If it's lassa fever, however, the payout would be $35 million if the outbreak goes global. For Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever, it bumps up to $40 million, but only if the death toll hits 2,500 people.There are other problems. One of the stipulations is that the fund won't pay out until at least 12 weeks after the World Health Organization publishes its first "situation report" on any outbreak. For the coronavirus, which started in China, the WHO's first situation report on the coronavirus came on Jan. 21, which means the earliest a payout would be made is late April.It's not hard to see why that's problematic:  In just six weeks, the virus has gone from a handful of cases in central China to more than 75,000 in two dozen countries and more than 2,200 deaths.Now imagine the toll after waiting the requisite 12 weeks, and it's not hard to see why people are critical of the PEF."The money for these bonds could have been better spent in providing the WHO with funds or help strengthen health care provisions in poor countries at risk," said Bodo Ellmers, director of sustainable development finance at Global Policy Forum, an independent policy watchdog."It was an ideology-driven idea to get the private sector involved in humanitarian and emergency finance — and I think we have to say this has failed."Perhaps the biggest reason the fund has failed to be of any use in the fight against COVID-19 is because China is home to the vast majority of cases — and almost all the fatalities — but the country isn't on the World Bank's IDA list of developing economies that the fund covers.Any amount of money to fight disease in the world's poorest countries would no doubt be welcomed, but the scale of the coronavirus's damage so far illustrates another failure of the bond.By conservative estimates, China has spent at least $10 billion trying to contain the coronavirus so far. By comparison, if the PEF were to fully pay out all available funds to the 75 eligible countries, it would amount to about $196 million, or eight cents per person — hardly enough to make a dent, Jonas estimates.That's not to suggest the fund is entirely useless. Roughly $20 million US was put to work against an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in February of last year, followed by another $30 million in August.That money certainly helped limit the damage, but since its inception, the fund has done more to help bankers and investors rake in fees and returns than it has helped doctors access resources on the ground.Jonas calculates that since it was created, the fund has doled out just over $115 million US in fees and payouts to investors, versus a little more than $60 million to battle outbreaks."That's $2 in fees for every $1 it has paid out to actually fight disease," she said."It doesn't work."

  • A chance to star in the next Spider-Man film? Not so fast
    News
    CBC

    A chance to star in the next Spider-Man film? Not so fast

    A local talent agency is warning aspiring actors that an offer to audition for a pair of upcoming blockbusters is a scam.The Mensour Agency recently discovered a fake Instagram account claiming the Ottawa company was recruiting actors for two Hollywood movies — but that big break would come with a price.Catherine Mensour said she was settling in to watch the Oscars on Feb. 9 when another agency contacted her about the announcement, which appeared to have been posted by Xavier Sotelo, an actor she represents.The announcement said the agency "has been tasked with bringing in fresh actors for new roles in the upcoming SpiderMan 3 and Tomb Raider 2," with auditions slated for next month.Mensour knew the post was a lie because her agency doesn't cast movies. She soon learned from Sotelo that someone had copied his Instagram account and was impersonating him online.The audition offer was the first step in a scam designed to draw personal and financial information — along with cold hard cash — from actors with stars in their eyes.Some took the bait and responded to the fake account's pitch, receiving public replies first asking them to fill out detailed background forms and then shell out $500 US for the fictional audition. Mensour said a legitimate agency will never ask for money from any actor."It's terrifying, because people want to be in the business, " said Mensour.  "People want to get a big break, and [they'll] think this is it."Sotelo said at first he was stunned someone had used his identity to set up a scam.But then he got mad."I was angry that this was happening, and especially with the younger talent," said Sotelo. "It's taking advantage of of people's dreams."Sotelo said he's contacted Instagram about the fake account and has posted warnings on social media.   Mensour said she's filed a complaint with Ottawa police and alerted TAMAC, the association overseeing Canadian talent agencies.