Rahul says will visit JK dont need Guvs aircraft

first_imgNew Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accepted Governor Satya Pal Malik’s ‘invitation’ to visit Jammu and Kashmir but said he did not need an aircraft. Gandhi said he and other opposition leaders would visit Jammu and Kashmir and urged Malik to allow them the freedom to meet people, and soldiers. On Monday, Governor Malik invited Gandhi to visit Jammu and Kashmir, saying he would send an aircraft for him, after the Congress leader said, “People were dying in the state and the situation was not normal as claimed by the government.”last_img read more

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Mahindra inaugurates its first automotive assembly plant in Sri Lanka

first_imgNew Delhi: Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Saturday announced the inauguration of its local automotive assembly plant near Colombo, Sri Lanka . “Christened Mahindra Ideal Lanka Pvt. Ltd. this assembly plant is in collaboration with Ideal Motors of Sri Lanka. The assembly plant today rolled out its first product, the compact SUV, KUV100 and will roll out a slew of products over the next 3 years,” the company said in a statement. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal “Inauguration of this automotive assembly plant is a significant milestone for Mahindra’s foray into the Sri Lanka market. Sri Lanka is a key strategic market for us and we are now fully equipped to deliver products customised to local needs, on time,” Mahindra & Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka said. Mahindra Ideal Lanka will assemble KUV100, with a production capacity of 5,000 units per annum. The company will localise four components — battery, tyres, seats and exhaust. The plant is expected to provide employment to 200 people directly and indirectly over the next two years, the statement added.last_img read more

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Toddler 3 found unconscious in swimming pool in Drummondville Que

first_imgDRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – A three-year-old boy is fighting for his life after being found unconscious at the bottom of a pool in Drummondville, Que.Provincial police say family members lost sight of the child during a family gathering on Saturday evening.A young girl found the boy at the bottom of the pool and informed nearby adults, who tried to revive him.The boy was taken to a hospital where his condition was described as very serious.Provincial police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the event.Drummondville is located halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.last_img read more

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Canadian US mayors end objection to Lake Michigan water diversion

first_imgA group of mayors from Canada and the U.S. has dropped its challenge to a decision allowing an American city to draw water from the Great Lakes, saying it has secured an agreement to improve the review of similar applications in the future.The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative said it reached a settlement with the council representing eight states that gave the Wisconsin city of Waukesha the green light last year to divert water from Lake Michigan.The decision from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Compact Council made Waukesha the first exception to an agreement banning diversions of water away from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin.The city of 70,000 had requested the water diversion because its groundwater is contaminated with naturally-occurring radium, a cancer-causing substance. It argued that the decision allowing it to pipe water from Lake Michigan was error-free and protects the environment.Waukesha’s request had created significant concern on both sides of the border, with critics arguing its plan could open the floodgates to other communities seeking Great Lakes access when they face water shortages.The Cities Initiative, which represents more than 100 local governments on both sides of the border, had challenged the approval but said this week that their fight had been settled with an agreement that includes a review of how regulators consider water diversions in future.“It now puts our voice a little bit better heard when it comes to dealing with other applications,” said Randy Hope, the mayor of Chatham-Kent, Ont., who is on the Cities Initiative’s board of directors.Hope noted, however, that Great Lakes communities like his had felt they had been left out of the decision-making process in the Waukesha case.“It just didn’t seem like it consulted wide enough or broad enough,” he said, noting that concerns over the American city’s request included worries that other communities outside the Great Lakes Basin from as far as California could make similar applications in the future.“Once you start drawing too much water out of the system, and it doesn’t have its natural replenishment going on, you’re going to run into problems,” he said.According to Hope, the council is committing to gather opinions from communities both near a diversion and in other parts of the Great Lakes Basin for future requests.John Dickbert, the CEO of Cities Initiative, said regulators would be looking for more input from three broad groups — Great Lakes communities affected by water diversions, the scientific community, and organizations like his own group.“You need to make sure that the communities are part of the conversation from day one,” he said.The Great Lakes support 33 million people, including nine million Canadians and eight of Canada’s 20 largest cities, according to the federal government.last_img read more

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Stolen hoses pump frustrate crews fighting wildfires across BC

first_imgVICTORIA – Crews battling aggressive wildfires across British Columbia have been faced with hot weather and difficult conditions, but officials say the theft and damage of equipment is the most frustrating challenge yet.RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts said the force is investigating a number of thefts and acts of mischief related to fire suppression, including incidents targeting local fire stations and trucks used in fighting the wildfires.“These are criminal acts and they’re seriously impacting the safety of others, including our emergency personnel and the public,” she said in a conference call on Friday. “We’re asking people if they come across firefighting equipment to do the right thing and leave it alone.”The BC Wildfire Service has said a water pump and 10 hoses were stolen from crews fighting a wildfire northeast of Nelson late Monday or early Tuesday.With so many fires burning across the province, equipment has been spread thin and the wildfire service has had to bring in more from partner agencies, said chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.“Obviously in any situation the theft of equipment is reprehensible, but especially with what we’re dealing with right now,” he said.“We’ll make up for the equipment and we’ll get it into the hands that need it, but it’s definitely frustrating.”About 3,800 people were fighting more than 120 fires across the province on Friday. Flames threatened a number of communities, prompting 27 evacuation orders and 41 evacuation alerts, where residents have to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.Provincial officials banned off-road vehicles from three regions Friday in an attempt to prevent a spark, or hot tailpipe, from igniting extremely dry fuel in the forests and grasslands.ATVs, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles are prohibited from Crown land in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres and all on-highway vehicles have been directed to stay on the defined road surfaces.The new restrictions come as the provincial government extended the state of emergency declared in response to wildfires.It’s the second time Premier John Horgan’s government has rolled over the declaration and this extension will run until Aug. 18.“This is, by everyone’s measure, the worst fire season since the 1950s,” Horgan said at a news conference.“We need to make sure we keep people safe, we keep property safe. And then we’ll address the long-term consequences when we have the opportunity.”The declaration ensures the delivery of federal, provincial and local resources is co-ordinated and public safety is maintained.It also means the more than 7,000 people still displaced due to evacuation orders will continue to receive $600 per household in funding for every 14 days they’re out of their homes.The state of emergency was first issued on July 7.More than 870 fires have been sparked across B.C. since April 1, scorching an estimated 5,090 square kilometres and costing the province $211.7 million in fire suppression efforts.The Metro Vancouver regional district also issued a warning Friday to its residents that an extreme fire danger rating has been put in place for all parks in the region.All but two of the district’s parks will remain open.“We encourage residents to head out and have a fun B.C. Day long weekend but to be mindful of the effects this heat is having on our region,” said Greg Moore, chairman of the regional district in a news release. “We now have an extreme risk of fires, and an ongoing air quality advisory in place, so please be vigilant and take the necessary steps to stay safe.”Smoke from the fires has lowered the air quality in much of southern B.C.Environment Canada has issued air quality advisories from Crowsnest Pass, Alta., to the east coast of Vancouver Island and from Prince George south to the Canada-U.S. border.The agency said smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change, but strenuous outdoor activities should be avoided.last_img read more

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More than 100 patients transferred to newly opened Montreal superhospital

first_imgMONTREAL – Montreal’s new French-language superhospital opened its emergency room at exactly 5 a.m. Sunday, at the very same moment that a 109-year-old hospital down the street was closing its doors for good.At 7 a.m., Fatima Radics and her two-day-old baby Ophelia became the first patients to arrive at the hospital as part of a major operation to transfer patients to the newly-built Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal, or CHUM.On Sunday, it took just over three hours to transfer 113 patients from the aging Saint-Luc Hospital.They included five babies, four intensive care patients, and a pregnant woman in labour, according to the hospital’s president.Danielle Fleury said the historic move was made quietly and without celebration.“When we do a transfer it has to be calm, no nervousness, to reassure everyone that (the process) can be trusted,” she told reporters outside.At 12:30 p.m., the first baby was born at the new facility, the hospital announced early Sunday afternoon.Over 600 volunteers and medical professionals were on hand to help with the move. A special passageway was erected between the two institutions to help with the transfer.The effort was co-ordinated by Health Care Relocation, a company that specializes in hospital moves.President Patrick Moriarty said his company has spent about two years preparing the operation, which he said was planned “down to the minute” to ensure it took place with no interruption to patient services.“It was a funny thing, but (the move) was really quiet,” he said. “It’s amazing to see one facility go to sleep and another come awake at the same instant.”Sunday also marked the official closure of Saint-Luc, which was founded in 1908 by a doctor who wanted to treat children in need.It was the first in the city to offer 24-hour emergency services regardless of race, language or religion, according to the CHUM.“I’m sure some people felt a pang (as they left),” Fleury said, adding that some staff members wrote farewell messages on the old hospital’s walls.Saint-Luc is the first of three hospitals to be incorporated into the new hospital.Hotel-Dieu’s transfer is scheduled for Nov. 5 and Notre-Dame’s for Nov. 26.last_img read more

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Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he wont follow Ontario cannabis model

first_imgWINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister signalled Monday that the province’s private sector will be involved in the distribution of marijuana when recreational use is legalized next July.Pallister said details of the provincial plan to govern cannabis would be released Tuesday. He rejected earlier statements from the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union that sales should be done exclusively through government-run stores.Pallister said there will be some sort of a “hybrid option” — public-sector regulation and distribution combined with private-sector delivery — that could take business away from the existing black market.“People want to have access and selection and customer service, and these are things the private sector has developed a reputation for,” Pallister said.“Our plan … will protect Manitobans and also help us to make sure that we’re getting the gangs out of this business as fast as we can.”The premier said Manitoba will not follow Ontario’s plan to establish stand-alone government-run stores offering a set price.Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government asked for expressions of interest in July from potential cannabis producers and vendors. Tuesday’s announcement is expected to reveal the overall structure of sales and regulation. Some of the finer details are to be worked out later.The Opposition New Democrats have called on the government to ban private cannabis retailers in Winnipeg and other communities large enough to have government-run liquor stores, at least initially.The NDP, as well as public-sector union leaders, says workers in government-run stores are best qualified to ensure pot is sold responsibly and according to whatever rules are laid out.Manitoba’s alcohol sales are already mixed. Government-run stores in cities offer the full range of beer, wine and hard liquor. There are many private beer vendors, usually in hotels, and a small number of private wine stores. In some small rural communities, private vendors sell the full range of alcohol.Pallister has said the provinces are being rushed to come up with rules for marijuana sales in time for the federal government’s July 1 deadline.Like Ontario, New Brunswick has said it will use a Crown corporation model, and a legislature committee has recommended the minimum age at 19.Alberta is setting the minimum age at 18 to align with the legal age for drinking in that province. It has not decided if it will allow marijuana to be sold through government-run or private outlets.last_img read more

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Wettlaufer killing inquiry 17 groups can take part commissioner rules

first_imgTORONTO – A surviving victim, relatives of murdered seniors, and advocacy and health-care groups are among 17 groups and entities granted permission to take part in a public inquiry sparked by nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who is serving life for killing eight elderly long-term-care residents in Ontario.In her decision released Thursday, Commissioner Eileen Gillese said survivor Beverly Bertram along with victims’ family members and close friends — organized into three separate groups — will have the right to call and question witnesses.“It is self-evident that each of these applicants has a substantial and direct interest in the subject matter of the inquiry,” Gillese wrote in her decision. “Each has suffered, and indeed continues to suffer, as a direct result of the offences.”Given their direct knowledge of the offences and surrounding circumstances, their participation will “further the conduct” of the hearings and contribute to their openness and fairness, Gillese said. To facilitate participation, the commissioner also recommended the government provide them financial aid.The Ontario government set up the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry in August after Wettlaufer, 50, was convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Wettlaufer had pleaded guilty in June and was jailed for life without parole eligibility for 25 years.The province, the regulatory body for nurses, and the facilities where Wettlaufer killed her victims all have a strong and direct interest in the proceedings and were also granted full standing, Gillese decided. Most of the killings took place at Caressant Care in Woodstock and one in Meadow Park in London.Also recognized were several organizations that work in the system of Ontario’s long-term-care homes. Among them are the Ontario Long Term Care Association, the largest group of long-term-care home providers in Canada; the non-profit advocacy group AdvantAge Ontario; and the Ontario Association of Residents Councils.Other organizations representing doctors, nurses, registered practical nurses and other clinicians who work in nursing homes will also be allowed to participate fully.“Although these organizations were not directly involved with Elizabeth Wettlaufer or the events in question, each offers a unique, representative perspective,” Gillese wrote. “Each has played, and continues to play, an active role in shaping the policies, procedures and practices.”Three of those entities should receive government funding to defray their legal costs, Gillese ruled.In all, 50 applicants applied for standing. Gillese rejected requests from seven individuals with friends or relatives in nursing homes, and another 10 who have worked in the facilities. Those people are either not closely enough connected to what happened or will see their viewpoints reflected by those who were granted standing, Gillese said, adding they can still make written submissions.The third-party New Democrats said the exclusion of some families and care workers who wanted to testify in person shows the need for a second-phase, broader-based hearing into long-term care in Ontario.“It’s now clearer than ever that families are being let down and the Wettlaufer inquiry alone is inadequate,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said.Wettlaufer injected her victims with insulin at three long-term care facilities and a private home between 2007 and 2016. She was fired twice during her career – the first time in 1995 – but kept her licence as a registered nurse. She confessed to police to feeling a “red surge” that made her think God was directing her murderous actions.Bertram, who was 68 at the time, has previously described the pain she felt after Wettlaufer gave her a massive overdose of insulin in a failed effort to kill her.“I knew I was dying,” Bertram said. “I was doubled over in pain.”Gillese, a justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, is expected begin hearing from witnesses in June and report by July 31, 2019.last_img read more

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TSB calls for improved safety at rail crossings after death of man

first_imgMONCTON, N.B. – In the early morning darkness of July 27, 2016, a CN freight train with three locomotives, 169 loaded freight cars, and 18 empty freight cars was travelling through Moncton, N.B., when the crew spotted a dull light and the silhouette of someone in a wheelchair on the tracks – but there was no stopping in time.Steven Harel, whose wheelchair had become stuck and immobilized at the Robinson Street railway crossing was struck and killed by the 12,200 tonne train.The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its report on the accident Thursday — calling on federal and local authorities across the country to improve safety at railway crossings designated for people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices.The TSB says its investigation found that several crossing conditions contributed to the accident, including a void in the asphalt and the lack of visual clues to navigate safely.Investigator Don Ross said there had been repairs made at the crossing not long before the accident.“Reflective lines markings the sidewalk’s edge were not repainted after the new asphalt was applied, nor were there any requirements to do so. Moreover, while the new asphalt covered most of the crossing, it did not cover the entire east sidewalk area. This left a small void or hole near the north rail,” he said.He said investigators ran numerous simulations using similar wheelchairs.“An identical motorized wheelchair would proceed forward, following the white line up to the new pavement and then along the paved right edge of the sidewalk. In each case the chair’s right front wheel dropped into the void, causing the chair to turn right into the gravel.”He said the height difference to the gravel would leave the wheelchair unable to reverse.Ross said since 1990 there have been seven occurrences in Canada of wheelchairs caught at rail crossings reported to the TSB. Five, including the Moncton incident, were fatal.TSB board member Faye Ackermans said despite new standards introduced in 2014, there remains a clear need for additional improvements.She said federal regulations required railway companies and road authorities to share information on certain crossings by November 2016, but many have yet to comply.“This needs to happen, because until such crossings are designated and the information is shared, Canadians — particularly those using assistive devices — will continue to be at an elevated risk at public crossings,” Ackermans said Thursday.More than two million Canadian adults identify as having a mobility disability, including 300,000 wheelchair users.Ackermans said upgrades at crossings need to go beyond surface improvements and the board is recommending that the Department of Transport work with stakeholders to identify options and then upgrade the regulations.She said there are many options to be considered.“Adding extra lights or auditory cues, changing the width or texture of the walking surface, filling the gaps along the rail with displaceable material, or even changing the angle of the sidewalk so that it is more perpendicular to the rail thereby reducing the risk of a wheel getting stuck,” she said.Since the accident, CN has made several repairs to the Robinson Street crossing, including widening the paved area and repainting the lines, and the city has designated it as a crossing for persons with assistive devices.Harel’s parents are suing CN Rail, the City of Moncton, a wheelchair manufacturer and a medical equipment supplier in New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench for unspecified damages related to his death.The lawsuit alleges that CN Rail and the City of Moncton neglected their “duty of care” to inspect, maintain and fix the railway tracks, crossings and city streets and sidewalks, and also failed to facilitate safe public transportation and prevent accidents, particularly with regard to wheelchair-specific hazards.Among the claims detailed in the lawsuit, none of which have been proven in court, it’s alleged the city and the railway company were both aware that the railway track was a source of accidents for wheelchair users, and failed to take corrective measures.Brian Murphy, the lawyer for the parents, said Thursday that the family was given an advance copy of the report.“There are some pretty solid recommendations there,” he said.“We stand by our suit. This could have, and should have been avoided.”Murphy said the parents aren’t looking for financial gain, but want things improved for people like their son.last_img read more

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Newfoundland and Labrador police officer charged with obstruction of justice

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A police officer who was at the centre of a judicial inquiry into his fatal shooting of an injured Newfoundland worker has been charged with obstructing justice over his handling of an unrelated traffic stop last year.A news release from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team issued Wednesday said Const. Joe Smyth was charged in relation to an incident on May 12 in St. John’s “that resulted in a traffic violation ticket being issued for an offence that did not occur.”The statement by the Alberta investigators, who were called in at the request of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, does not provide further details on the incident.Chief Joe Boland of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said at a news conference that Smyth has been suspended from the force without pay until further notice.Smyth shot and killed Don Dunphy on Easter Sunday 2015 after Dunphy suddenly aimed a rifle at him at his home in Mitchell’s Brook. The officer was cleared of wrongdoing in the incident.Public inquiry Commissioner Leo Barry said Smyth showed “certain errors of judgment,” but also found there was no evidence to disprove Smyth’s claim he acted in self defence.Smyth was a member of then-premier Paul Davis’s security team, and had visited Dunphy alone and unannounced after Davis’s staff flagged a single post on Twitter as being “of concern.”Smyth is scheduled to appear in provincial court in St. John’s on Aug. 23.last_img read more

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Helicopters holding fire thats crossed into Canada at avalanche path

first_imgWATERTON, Alta. – Crews battling a wildfire near the U.S. border in Alberta are hoping an avalanche path will prevent the flames from spreading further into a national park that was badly burned last year.Dry and windy conditions Friday afternoon pushed the Boundary Wildfire north across the border for the first time into Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta.Parks Canada says in a news release the area received a small amount of rain overnight, but it was so small that it couldn’t be measured, and Saturday’s forecast called for strong winds and sun.John Stoesser, a spokesman for Parks Canada, says the flames have reached a stretch of mountainside that has been swept mostly bare of trees by winter avalanches.Stoesser says sparks have crossed the avalanche zone and ignited spot fires on the eastern side.He says helicopters are dumping water on those spot fires to keep them from growing and burning further through the Boundary Valley towards the Waterton Valley.“When the fire burns through those coniferous trees leading towards the avalanche path, those are a little bit more flammable. But then when it reaches that avalanche path, there’s not as much trees there, there’s not as much vegetation there so the fire activity slows right down when it gets to that line,” Stoesser said in an interview Saturday.“So that’s why it’s a good place to drop water from the helicopters.”Parks Canada said two helicopters were on the job at the avalanche boundary on Saturday and that a third chopper was on its way.Stoesser said it’s an aerial effort at this point, since it’s steep, rocky terrain. Once the flames are knocked down a bit, he said firefighters can go into the area and do what they can from the ground.Waterton was devastated a year ago by a wildfire which consumed more than 190-square kilometres within the park and led to a two-week mandatory evacuation.An evacuation alert was issued last month for Waterton Lakes National Park due to the fire that’s been burning on the U.S side in Glacier National Park, but the alert was later lifted when the area got rain.A Parks Canada news release on Saturday said the agency and U.S. fire managers are working together and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.The fire is estimated to be about 11-square kilometres in size.last_img read more

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After 7 years as a blight rusting ship removed from Beauharnois waterfront

first_imgBEAUHARNOIS, Qc – For seven years, the Kathryn Spirit loomed over the waterfront in Beauharnois, a rusting, abandoned cargo ship that to the town’s dismay became one of its most identifiable features.On Friday, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that after a number of false starts, the ship has finally been dismantled and hauled away.“Beauharnois will once again have a magnificent view on the St. Lawrence,” Garneau told reporters gathered next to the ship’s former resting place.The only remaining sign of the Kathryn Spirit is the earth-and-rock bank built to support the ship’s shaky hull and prevent it from drifting into the river. Garneau said the bank will be gone before winter.Built in 1967, the 150-metre-long ship was used to haul cargo. In 2011, a local company bought it with the idea of stripping it for scrap, but those plans met opposition from the province and local residents worried about the resulting pollution.A Mexican company subsequently bought the ship, so damaged it could not sail on its own, with the intention of towing it to Mexico. But the tugboat hired to do the job was impounded in Halifax, and the company went bankrupt in 2015.Last April, fire broke out in the engine room of the corroding ship.Garneau said the saga of the Kathryn Spirit will not be repeated because of new legislation prohibiting owners from abandoning ships and holding them responsible for any cleanup costs. Ottawa spent $11 million to remove the ship from Beauharnois.Beauharnois Mayor Bruno Tremblay said he is relieved the ship is finally gone, though he blamed a long back-and-forth between Ottawa and the province for delaying the removal.Anne Minh-Thu Quach, the local NDP MP, said the episode has left “a sour taste,” and she questioned why the company that initially brought the Kathryn Spirit to Beauharnois for scrap — Groupe St-Pierre —was hired to dismantle it. It is “an insult to intelligence to reward polluters,” she said.last_img read more

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Woman had assisteddeath assessment on sidewalk outside Catholic hospital

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta’s health minister says it’s unacceptable that a terminally ill patient at a Catholic care centre was wheeled off the property near a busy street to have an assessment for a doctor-assisted death.Sarah Hoffman says everyone deserves dignified and compassionate care, no matter the facility.She says Covenant Health has assured her that the heart-breaking case is an isolated one and steps have been taken to prevent it from happening again.Doreen Nowicki was suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, when she was admitted last year to the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre run by Covenant Health.Terry Nowicki says his wife wasn’t Catholic but his family was unable to find the 66-year-old a bed at another hospital.He says an exception had been made for the assessment to be done in her room but it was cancelled an hour before, so she was taken outside to answer a doctor’s questions near a busy road with people walking by.last_img read more

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CUPW health and safety key factors to reaching agreement in ongoing postal

first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS)- Rotating strikes continue for Canada Post workers as the union rejects the latest contract offer.The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) did suggest a counter offer, that they haven’t heard a response about yet.They are also requesting the federal government appoint a mediator to aid the organizations in reaching an agreement.Gord Fischer, National Union Director for the prairie region said Canada Post needs to create better work environment.“We are seeing an increase in parcels year over year, that is just burying our workers on the deliver end with parcels and they’re doing nothing to address that. We end up with workers that are working 12-13 hours a day.”Fischer adds that they know the holidays are coming up and it’s their busiest time.“I’m hoping that Canada Post starts finally taking us seriously and the government finally starts taking us seriously and realize that our problems are real and these are working conditions that can no longer be tolerated,” said Fischer.Trudeau said last week that “all options” would be on the table to end postal disruptions if there was no progress in bargaining.last_img read more

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Tunisian billionaire who fled Canada ahead of 2016 deportation arrested in France

first_imgMONTREAL — An elusive Tunisian billionaire who disappeared from Canada as he was set to be deported to his homeland in 2016 has resurfaced and is under arrest in France.Belhassen Trabelsi fell off the radar of Canadian authorities three years ago as he was to be returned to Tunisia to face justice.The Tunisian government says after being informed of Trabelsi’s arrest last week, it made clear to French officials that it wants Trabelsi returned home.A short statement provided by the Tunisian Embassy in Canada says a letter to that effect was sent to France last week through diplomatic channels.Trabelsi arrived in Canada with his wife and children in 2011 as his brother-in-law, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was being deposed as president by the Tunisian people.Trabelsi had previously been granted permanent resident status in Canada, but that was stripped, and in 2015 his request for refugee status was rejected. He vanished while challenging an order sending him back to Tunisia.Reports from France say Trabelsi, 56, is currently in a jail in Marseille.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Canadas information czar says lack of stable funding ties her hands

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal information czar says her effort to clear a backlog of complaints from dissatisfied Canadian file-seekers is threatened by the government’s “stopgap approach” to funding her office.In her latest annual plan, information commissioner Caroline Maynard says it is impossible to set goals and maintain momentum due to the financial instability faced by her office.The information commissioner is responsible for handling complaints from Canadians having difficulty obtaining government records under the Access to Information Act.Maynard’s office is grappling with about 3,000 outstanding complaints.Maynard says she goes from year to year preparing time-consuming requests for temporary funds just to have enough staff to keep up with demand.The government has earmarked additional money through this fiscal year to deal with the backlog, but has made no long-term commitments.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Canadian military unfazed by fishy beluga whale suspected of spying for Russia

first_imgOTTAWA — Norway may be wondering about the porpoise of a beluga whale found in its waters sporting a Russian harness, but Canadian defence officials say they are dolphinately not worried about militarized cetaceans being used here.The beluga in question was discovered by Norwegian fishermen last week wearing a harness bearing the words “Equipment St. Petersburg” and featuring a mount for an action camera. It is also apparently unafraid of people.The white whale has alarmed Norwegian officials prompted speculation it might have come from a Russian military facility and been trained as a spy. The animal has refused to leave and appears to enjoy interacting with its new hosts.While Canada might seem a prime country to train belugas — about two-thirds of the global population of the small-by-whale standards creatures regularly summer in Canadian waters — the Department of National Defence said that is not the case.“We do not train sea or marine animals, nor have we discovered any,” National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email, adding: “While we find the situation a bit fishy, we are not concerned at this time.”Norwegian experts appear convinced that the beluga found in their country’s waters was being trained by the Russian military for some purpose, though exactly what isn’t clear.Russia does not have a history of using whales for military purposes but the Soviet Union had a full-fledged training program for dolphins.The Soviet Union used a base in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula during the Cold War to train the mammals for military purposes such as searching for mines or other objects and planting explosives.The facility in Crimea was closed following the collapse of the Soviet Union, though reports shortly after the Russian annexation of Crimea indicated that it had reopened.The Russian Defence Ministry published a public tender in 2016 to purchase five dolphins for a training program.The tender did not explain what tasks the dolphins were supposed to perform, but indicated they were supposed to have good teeth. It was taken offline shortly after publication.—With files from The Associated PressThe Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Edmonton doesnt want to be Oil Town anymore

first_imgIn today’s Big Story podcast, can a city change its fortunes by changing the industry its known for? Edmonton, Alberta is trying. Over the past two years, the city has launched a comprehensive strategy to attract medical research talent from around the world, by offering researchers access to data, artificial intelligence and industrial design resources that aim to make breakthroughs faster. It’s called Health City—and every couple months, we hear a new story of one of those breakthroughs, or about an adaptation of existing technology.But can a smallish city in Alberta really transform itself into an international medical research hub? What kinds of headline-grabbing announcements will it take? What can the city expect in terms of cooperation from the provincial and federal governments? And…what’s coming out of these labs next?GUEST: Steven Sandor, editor of Avenue EdmontonAudio Playerhttps://rogers-aod.leanstream.co/rogers/thebigstory_dai/tbs_06112019_dai.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and SpotifyYou can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.last_img read more

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Canadian so grateful to be back in BC after eightmonth detention in

first_imgVANCOUVER — A Canadian man says he wrote a diary on the walls of his cell in Syria every day to keep his mind busy as he wondered whether anyone knew where he was.Kristian Baxter of Nanaimo, B.C., was held in Syrian prisons for eight months after visiting the war-ravaged country as a tourist last December.The 45-year-old landed in Vancouver today after being released earlier this week due in part to Lebanese mediation.Baxter says in an interview that he hasn’t slept for three days but is thrilled to be home and “so grateful” for every government official, diplomat, negotiator and lawyer who helped get him back to Canada.He declined to speak about details of his arrest or conditions of detention.A warning against travel to Syria has been in place since the war broke out in the Middle Eastern country in 2011 and Canada does not have an embassy in the country.Lebanon’s General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim said at a news conference in Beirut yesterday that Baxter was detained for what Syrian authorities considered a “major violation” of local laws, adding that authorities there may have considered the incident security related.Amy Smart, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Halifax after Dorian Did the city dodge a bullet

first_imgIn today’s Big Story podcast, the last time a Category 2 storm blew through Nova Scotia, eight people died. In the wake of Hurricane Dorian this weekend, east coasters were counting their blessings and cleaning up the mess. But none of that was guaranteed on Saturday afternoon, when evacuation warnings were issued and residents were wondering if they should flee.And that Saturday, a local radio host was sitting down in his chair for what he thought would be a few hours on the air. It was a lot longer than that …GUEST: Sheldon MacLeod, News 95.7, HalifaxYou can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.last_img read more

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