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Icy season So far 673 icebergs counted in shipping lanes off Newfoundland

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first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Newfoundland’s spectacular iceberg-viewing season continues to mean major hazards in North Atlantic shipping lanes.About 673 icebergs have drifted into North Atlantic shipping lanes off the island’s east coast so far this year, said Gabrielle McGrath, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard International Ice Patrol.That’s almost as many as the 687 counted during the whole ice season last year, ending in late September.“There’s definitely quite a lot of icebergs still up to the north,” McGrath said Friday from her home base in New London, Conn., after surveillance flights this week over the stretch known as Iceberg Alley.McGrath said it could still be a record season, but numbers are starting to come down and many bergs have melted.She says a big question is whether winds will bring several more of the floating sculptures farther south from where they were seen earlier this week off northeastern Newfoundland.Thick sea ice in the region and in the Strait of Belle Isle is affecting ferry travel and nearby fisheries.One thing is certain: the mammoth slabs that originate from glaciers in Greenland still pose a serious danger for mariners, McGrath said.“Even the smallest iceberg can do great damage to a vessel. I would recommend that the captains still heed our warnings as they transit across the Atlantic to ensure their safety from iceberg collision.”McGrath said she knows of no incidents involving vessels that have followed the patrol’s advice.“We’ve still maintained our perfect safety record through the season.”Regularly updated reports show how ships can detour farther south to avoid icebergs, often adding hundreds of kilometres to a trip.The International Ice Patrol was formed after the Titanic sank off southeastern Newfoundland in 1912. It works with Canadian partners to track icebergs and warn captains at sea.McGrath said the height of the icy season is typically around late May to early June.The last year the number of icebergs in shipping lanes approached previous records was 2014, with a total of 1,546 — the sixth most severe season since records began in 1900.Weather conditions can quickly move them.There were just 37 icebergs observed in shipping lanes on March 27, but the number soared to 272 a few days later as a low-pressure system of strong counter-clockwise winds dramatically shifted hundreds of them farther south.last_img read more

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Coming Liberal bills to reform Access to Information national security measures

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first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau government plans to cap the spring sitting of Parliament with long-awaited legislation on Access to Information and national security — bills unlikely to be debated by MPs in a serious way until the fall.With just days left before MPs are slated to retreat to their ridings for the summer, the bills will — at the very least — signal the government’s intention to fulfil key promises.The government had promised an initial wave of changes to the Access to Information Act by the end of winter — what Treasury Board President Scott Brison called “early wins” on overhauling the antiquated law intended to give Canadians access to federal files.The planned amendments included giving the information commissioner the power to order release of government records and ensuring the access law applies to the offices of the prime minister, cabinet members and administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.The pledge was considered an essential plank of the government platform on transparency designed to differentiate the Trudeau Liberals from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who broke 2006 campaign promises to modernize the access law.In March, Brison’s office cited the complex nature of the task in delaying the Liberal plans.The bill to be introduced Monday by Brison, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould could be the first substantial set of amendments to the access law in 34 years. The government has also promised a full review of the law by 2018, and mandatory reviews every five years thereafter.The Access to Information Act allows people who pay $5 to ask for everything from internal federal audits and meeting minutes to correspondence and studies. Departments are supposed to answer within 30 days or provide valid reasons why they need more time.However, the system has been almost universally criticized as slow, out of date and beset by loopholes that allow agencies to cling to information, including files more than half-a-century old.In her recent annual report, information commissioner Suzanne Legault said the law was being used as a shield against transparency.On Tuesday, the government plans to remodel several Conservative anti-terrorism measures and introduce new provisions with a bill from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale plainly titled “An Act respecting national security measures.”The extensive package of legislation will include more robust oversight of Canada’s border agency, which has faced some pointed questions over issues including in-custody deaths.In addition to new scrutiny for the Canada Border Services Agency, the bill will propose changes to ensure existing security watchdogs can exchange information and collaborate more easily on reviews.The legislation will also follow through on Liberal promises during the last election to repeal “problematic elements” of omnibus security legislation ushered in by the Conservatives after a gunman stormed Parliament Hill.The Trudeau government has committed to ensuring all CSIS warrants respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to preserving legitimate protest and advocacy, and to defining terrorist propaganda more clearly.It has also pledged that appeals by Canadians on the no-fly list will be subject to mandatory review.The Liberals say the overall idea is to strike a balance that ensures security agencies have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, while respecting the rights and freedoms of a democratic society.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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The Thursday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

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first_imgHighlights from the news file for Thursday, July 6———TRUDEAU TO APPEAL TO PROTESTERS ON EVE OF G20: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways will be tested over the next few days amid tensions both inside and outside the gates of the G20 summit in Germany. Trudeau arrived in the northern port city of Hamburg just hours before U.S. President Donald Trump, whose protectionist rhetoric and stance against climate change action pose a threat to much of the G20’s recent progress. Tens of thousands of anti-globalization protesters have descended on the city to disrupt the meetings, and have already set fire to a Porsche dealership. Trudeau has been called on to appeal to the protesters at Thursday night’s rock concert in Hamburg, where he will give a short speech promoting the benefits of global co-operation beyond corporations and the world’s richest citizens. Inside the meetings, tensions will flare around everything from climate change to free trade deals, but much of the action is expected in one-on-one meetings between various leaders — to say nothing of the much-anticipated Friday head-to-head between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.———LAC-MEGANTIC MARKS FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF RAIL TRAGEDY: Four years after the rail disaster that killed 47 people in their town, a group of Lac-Megantic citizens renewed the call for the construction of a bypass that would steer trains away from the core of the community. Robert Bellefleur, spokesman for a rail-safety group in the town, said Thursday his group is outraged that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other politicians seem to accept that a bypass might not be ready for years. The Quebec and federal governments have financed a feasibility study on the matter, and the province’s environmental review agency began public hearings on the issue in May. But Bellefleur said dangerous goods continue to be transported through the town on a section of rail track that has been rebuilt with an even steeper curve than before. On July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying crude oil from the United States derailed in downtown Lac-Megantic and exploded, killing 47 people and destroying much of the city’s core. To mark the anniversary, the town planned a series of low-key activities including a church service, an outdoor vigil and an activity at the town’s train station.———TORONTO AREA HOME SALES PLUNGE 37 PER CENT LAST MONTH: Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area plunged 37.3 per cent last month compared with a year ago, the city’s real estate board said Thursday as buyers moved to the sidelines following the introduction of rules aimed at cooling one of the hottest housing markets in North America. The Toronto Real Estate Board said 7,974 homes changed hands in June while the number of new properties on the market climbed 15.9 per cent year-over-year to 19,614. The average price for all properties was $793,915, up 6.3 per cent from the same month last year, but down 8.1 per cent from May. The data comes after the Ontario government implemented rules intended to dampen Toronto’s real estate market, where escalating prices have concerned policy-makers at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Ontario’s measures, which were retroactive to April 21, include a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, expanded rent controls and legislation allowing Toronto and other cities to tax vacant homes.———HEAD OF INQUIRY SAYS PROCESS MOVING QUICKLY: The head of an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women denies the process is drifting, saying in Vancouver that she believes it’s moving at “lightning speed.” Marion Buller says that in the first eight months, staff have been hired, offices have opened and a first hearing has been held. The inquiry has faced controversy over the resignation of its executive director and complaints from families that the process is not moving fast enough. Buller says community hearings will be held beginning Sept. 10 in Thunder Bay, Ont., before moving on to Smithers, B.C., Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Halifax, Edmonton, Yellowknife and closing in mid-December in Maliotenam, Que. She also says two expert panels will speak to the inquiry this year on the topics of Indigenous laws and decolonization and human rights. Executive director Michele Moreau resigned last week, citing personal reasons, prompting the Native Women’s Association of Canada to urge the inquiry to be more transparent and reassuring to families.———COURT UPHOLDS BREATHALYZER EVIDENCE RULES: The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding procedures that permit shortcuts in allowing a motorist’s breathalyzer sample into evidence — even in cases where taking the sample may have been unlawful. In a decision Thursday, the court is affirming the existing charter process for challenging police actions in obtaining a sample. The high court’s 5-4 ruling comes in the case of Dion Henry Alex, who was stopped by police in Penticton, B.C., in April 2012. Alex failed a roadside test and was taken to the police detachment, where he blew above the legal blood alcohol limit in two subsequent tests. At issue was the continuing relevance of a 1976 Supreme Court decision that said the Crown did not need to prove the demand for a breath test was lawful in order to rely on evidentiary shortcuts about the accuracy of test readings. Following introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the 1980s, the courts said that an argument a breath sample was obtained unlawfully must come in the form of a charter challenge against unreasonable search and seizure.———ISOLATION HEARING TO GO AHEAD, JUDGE RULES: A constitutional challenge to Canada’s segregation laws should go ahead in September as scheduled despite objections from the federal government, an Ontario court ruled Thursday. In rejecting Ottawa’s adjournment request, Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco said the hearing would not get in the way of Parliament, which is dealing with pending legislation that aims to put limits on solitary confinement. Even if the relevant bill were enacted, Marrocco said, the constitutional challenge would proceed anyway, so there would be no advantage to delaying a hearing. At issue is the practice known as administrative segregation that civil liberties groups argue can amount to indefinite solitary confinement. Such isolation is frequently used to manage difficult inmates, especially those whose safety may be at risk in the general population. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies maintain the current system subjects affected inmates to cruel and unusual punishment and violates their rights in several ways.———PETER JULIAN DROPS OUT OF NDP LEADERSHIP RACE: B.C. NDP MP Peter Julian is dropping out of the race to lead the federal New Democrats. Julian — the first contender to enter the race — made the announcement at a news conference today in Ottawa. The veteran MP was one of five candidates so far to join the race to replace Tom Mulcair at the helm of the party. Other current contenders include MPs Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron and Ontario legislator Jagmeet Singh. The next leadership debate is scheduled to take place in Saskatoon on July 11, followed by events in Victoria and Montreal in August and one in Vancouver in September. Online voting in the leadership race will begin Sept. 18 and results will be announced in October after each round of balloting.———NEW DEMOCRATS TAKE POWER IN BRITISH COLUMBIA ON JULY 18: British Columbia premier-designate John Horgan and his cabinet will be officially sworn in on July 18. The ceremony in Victoria will come almost three weeks after Horgan’s New Democrats and three members of the Green party ousted Christy Clark’s Liberals following 16 years in office. The NDP and Greens defeated the Liberals in a confidence vote in the legislature. May’s election saw the Liberals win 43 seats in the 87-seat legislature, but the NDP with 41 seats and the Greens with three seats reached an agreement to push the Liberals from office and form a minority NDP government. Earlier this week, Horgan appointed three political veterans to head his inner circle of advisers, including well-known bureaucrat Don Wright and former Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs.———QUEBEC HOPING TO OFFER FREE ABORTION PILL: The Quebec government is hoping to offer free abortion pills later this year. Mifegymiso, a two-drug combination also known as RU-486, was authorized by Health Canada in July 2015 and entered the market in January. It costs about $300. The drug isn’t currently available in Quebec, but Barrette says he’s hopeful advanced discussions with groups representing the province’s doctors and pharmacists will make access a reality by this fall. Barrette said the abortion pill shouldn’t be confused with the morning-after pill. Alongside the surgical option, the abortion pill gives women another option, albeit under very strict guidelines. It will be accessible for those with a doctor’s prescription, while women taking it will need to have a medical follow-up. In April, New Brunswick was the first province to announce it would make the abortion pill available free of charge. Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta have also said they intend to offer the pill free of charge.———ANOTHER RIGHT WHALE ENTAGLES IN FISHING GEAR: An endangered North Atlantic right whale has been freed after getting entangled in fishing gear near the area where six other whales were found dead. Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society said the large whale was cut free of the fishing line in its mouth after it was spotted by an aerial surveillance plane in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Wednesday afternoon. The whale didn’t appear to have been snarled in the mess of gear for very long, and appeared to not have suffered serious injuries, said Kim Davies of Dalhousie University’s Department of Oceanography. A research ship was nearby and marine mammal experts were able to free the whale within six hours of it being spotted. The discovery comes after six of the massive animals were found floating in the gulf, with two suffering injuries consistent with ship strikes and a third dying from an entanglement in fishing gear. One of the six dead whales has now drifted close to shore on the Magdalen Islands. Wimmer said they are discussing sending a team to do an animal autopsy to determine its cause of death, as had been done in three others.last_img read more

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Single Atlantic police watchdog proposed though questions raised on mandate

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first_imgHALIFAX – Plans are in the works to create a single, civilian-led agency to police the police in Atlantic Canada, though a debate is brewing on whether bigger changes are needed to build trust in the region’s law officers.Senior government officials in the four provinces have confirmed the plan is to expand Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team into a region-wide investigator.“We definitely agreed this is a concept worth recommending to our respective governments,” said Michael Comeau, deputy minister of justice in New Brunswick.He said four deputy ministers of justice met in early June and came to an agreement in principle, though cabinet ministers and premiers have yet to sign off on the plan.In Newfoundland and Labrador, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons described the idea as the one his government is leaning towards, noting his province is looking for ways to save money.“One of the big drawing points of an Atlantic SIRT team is that there are economies of scale that could be achieved there,” he said.In Nova Scotia, Justice Minister Mark Furey said the idea is a way to use expertise his province has developed. In Prince Edward Island, Justice Department official Gordon Garrison said his government already uses the Nova Scotia-based agency and he said he favours the creation of a regional body.However, some observers say the four provinces should go beyond cost considerations and make bigger changes to strengthen civilian oversight of the police.The existing watchdog in Nova Scotia has a mandate to investigate cases that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault, domestic violence or other matters of “significant public interest” that may have resulted from the actions of a police officer, and to decide if charges should be laid.John Sewell, a former mayor of Toronto and an author on police issues, said if the Atlantic provinces want to expand SIRT, they should also give it the ability to make recommendations on how police can improve their performance.He says that even if SIRT investigators conclude no criminal wrongdoing occurred, they should have the ability to state if police conduct was “reasonable,” and make recommendations for changes. The existing SIRT model doesn’t have that option.“I think the agency should be looking at what happened and make some proposals in regards to what happened, so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Sewell.Other observers say there’s a need for a wider reform of the powers and transparency of each province’s police commissions, which look into questions of misconduct or poor performance by police.“We should look at the special investigations unit in the wider context of police complaints, discipline and education,” said Kent Roach, a law professor at the University in Toronto.A recent review of Ontario’s police oversight system by Justice Michael Tulloch made 129 recommendations, including a suggestion to hire more investigators without police backgrounds and ensuring investigations occur in a timely fashion.However, the head of Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team, Ron MacDonald, said he believes that if a single SIRT agency is created in the region, it should continue to focus solely on criminal wrongdoing.The investigation of criminal matters implies a particular way of handling evidence, including the constitutional right of officers not to speak about the allegations.“When you start to talk about what should be a policy, what shouldn’t be a policy … and how should police conduct themselves, these are much more complex questions,” he said in an interview.However, MacDonald said some of his reports’ findings in areas such as high-speed chases have resulted in police forces altering their behaviour in Nova Scotia.“They seem to discontinue them more quickly and more often,” he said.Meanwhile, Parsons said he’s optimistic that in his province a unified Atlantic SIRT could make a difference in the perception of police investigations of police conduct.“People look on ‘blue on blue’ or police investigating their own as perhaps not being the right model … Police themselves have called for this,” he said.MacDonald estimates that the annual cost of operating SIRT in Nova Scotia is about $850,000, if you include the salaries of two officers seconded to his team from outside police forces.He said it’s likely that the agency would be based in Halifax, with an office in Newfoundland and Labrador to allow for quicker response in that jurisdiction.There were no precise annual costs available for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador or P.E.I.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

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Calgary urged to wait for more details before deciding on 2026 Olympic

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first_imgCALGARY – The City of Calgary is being urged to wait for more details from the International Olympic Committee before deciding whether to bid for the 2026 Games.The 17-member Calgary Bid Exploration Committee has concluded that it’s feasible for the host of the 1988 Winter Games to have another turn, but recommends Calgary take more time to determine whether it’s a good idea.In a presentation to city council on Monday, CBEC chairman Rick Hanson said the details of how the IOC may help Calgary reduce its costs — as well as what will be in the host city agreement — need to be fleshed out.When the committee was formed, it was expecting a September deadline for Calgary to decide on a bid.But the IOC has extended the invitation phase for 2026 bids, so the city has another year to mull it over.“We didn’t feel that we should rush to a conclusion or any kind of recommendation without considering all current and relevant facts,” Hanson told councillors.“And sometimes these current and relevant facts arrived very late in the game.”He said it’s reasonable to expect the city will have the information it needs by early next year.So far IOC officials have been accommodating and have shown interest in the debate underway in Calgary, he said.“At the end of the day you need to start negotiations and conversations from the position of respect and good faith and right now we’ve got good faith,” Hanson told reporters.“We’ve got the belief that they want to see successful bids come forward.”The bid exploration committee told city council last month that the price tag to hold the 2026 Games would be about $4.6 billion. It said the Games would generate almost half that in revenue, but another $2.4 billion would be needed.Hanson said Ottawa could fund up to half the shortfall if certain criteria are met. Without the support of the federal and provincial governments, a bid would be a no-go, he added.The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 billion.Calgary’s estimate is lower in part because the city could reuse venues from 1988.Sion, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, are among Calgary’s potential rivals for a 2026 bid.Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s not expecting to see a draft host city contract until after next year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea“So it’s a bit anticlimactic, really. We’ve done all this work to get to this point, but it’s a bit hurry up and wait,” he said.“I suspect that council will probably make the decision to say, ‘We’ve done this great work. Let’s put it on the shelf, pens down for a little while. Let’s see what the IOC comes up with.’”The city’s administration is to make its recommendation at council next week, and Nenshi is expecting they, too, will call for a pause.The committee says it has produced 5,400 pages of analysis. The work came in about $2 million under its $5-million budget.A motion put forward by Coun. Sean Chu to have a plebiscite on the Olympic bid was defeated 13-2 on Monday, with many councillors saying there is not enough information to even know what question to ask.Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith, who was recently appointed to the IOC, was in Calgary to observe Monday’s session and said she thinks Calgary would do a terrific job hosting.“I think Calgary has shown what it can do in the past, with the Games in 1988, how they pulled everything together with the floods, how they really have a can-do attitude.”last_img read more

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New Brunswick committee on recreational marijuana finding no consensus chairman

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first_imgFREDERICTON – A committee of the New Brunswick legislature studying marijuana legalization wrapped up a week of public hearings Friday with lots of unanswered questions and little consensus.Committee chairman Benoit Bourque said presenters were split on whether the minimum age should be 19 or 21, and whether cannabis should be sold at government-run stores or by the private sector.There are also no clear answers on how to deal with enforcement for impaired drivers or employees on the job, he said.“I consider it normal that we still have unanswered questions. All of these questions will be submitted to government and will be very seriously considered to see how we can best answer and tackle these questions,” Bourque said.All 10 provinces are trying to be ready with regulations by July 2018, when the federal government plans to legalize recreational marijuana possession and use.While the New Brunswick Medical Society said Friday it would like to see the minimum age for marijuana use set at 25, it’s willing to settle for 21.When asked why not have it at 19 — consistent with smoking and alcohol — society president, Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, said it might make sense to make 21 the common age for all three.“I think we’re all very well aware of the health detriments and consequences that come with smoking, there’s no question to that,” she told the committee. “I think there is a strong argument probably to move alcohol to 21 as well.”But others, like the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers, say 19 is the appropriate age for marijuana use.Miguel LeBlanc, the association’s executive director, said younger people are already using it.“If youth go in the black market on the streets to get cannabis you don’t know what you’re smoking. It could actually be more harmful. We’re saying that it should be 19,” he said.Emily Leaman, of the Public Health Association of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, agreed 19 should be the legal age. She said strict regulations are needed if weed is to be sold in stores.“We recommend they not be co-located with pharmacies or in locations that currently sell alcohol or tobacco, and that they not be located near where children and minors may be,” Leaman told the committee.Moe Sihota, a consultant for cannabis producer Zenabis LP, said his company would like to see medical marijuana sold through pharmacies, with recreational cannabis sold by the private sector.Last month, a working group appointed by the provincial government presented a report recommending sales be handled by something similar to a Crown corporation.Laurie Manzer, a veteran who uses medicinal marijuana, said he would not want to see cannabis distributed through government-run liquor stores.“I know a lot of my friends do have addiction problems with alcohol and other drugs and are using a cannabis therapy to quell that addiction. It’s not good for these people to go into a liquor store and have to purchase their medicine,” he said.Manzer stressed medical and recreational marijuana should be regulated separately.“If a 12-year-old dying of cancer requires cannabis by a doctor’s recommendation, we don’t want something to happen like this — a recreational law applied inherently setting usage at 18 years old regardless of medical need,” he said.Manzer also said he’s worried the demand for recreational cannabis could limit the supply for medicinal users.Sihota acknowledged that could be an issue, but said he believes the federal government will ensure medicinal needs are met.Tim Petersen, president of WorkSafeNB, said on-the-job impairment is going to be a difficult issue. He said employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment, and employees have a responsibility to say if they are impaired and can’t do the job.He said there are many unanswered questions about how to test for impairment.“All the people who are working on this have found that trying to figure out levels of impairment through testing is quite challenging. That may be the biggest challenge that we may face,” he said.Meanwhile Fredericton city officials told the committee they were concerned municipalities will be stuck with the bill for the detection of impaired drivers.The committee won’t be making any recommendations, but will summarize all the presentations in a report for the provincial government by Sept. 1.last_img read more

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Man charged after accidentally shooting girlfriend in abdomen police

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first_imgHARTLAND, N.B. – Police say a New Brunswick man accidentally shot his girlfriend in the abdomen Sunday afternoon.RCMP Sgt. Marc Fortin says police were called to a home in Cloverdale, near Hartland, around 2 p.m. Sunday where they discovered a 19-year-old woman had been shot.He says the Moncton woman underwent surgery in Fredericton and will make a full recovery.Fortin says he cannot elaborate on what happened, but investigators have determined the firearm was discharged accidentally inside the home.Her 27-year-old boyfriend is in custody facing two firearms-related charges.He says the man is being held until a court appearance Wednesday to face charges of careless use of a firearm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.last_img

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Father charged with seconddegree murder in BC sisters deaths

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first_imgOAK BAY, B.C. – The father of two girls who were found dead in a Victoria-area home on Christmas Day has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.Andrew Berry, 43, was arrested and charged after he was released from hospital, RCMP said in a release on Wednesday.Police have said they were called to a residence in Oak Bay on the evening of Dec. 25 where officers discovered the bodies of two children inside.They also said an injured man, whose condition was not disclosed, was found inside the home and taken to hospital.A friend and a family member have identified the girls as Chloe Berry, 6, and her sister Aubrey Berry, 4.Trisha Lees, who was acting as a spokeswoman for the family, has said the children’s mother notified police when her former common-law spouse hadn’t returned the girls as scheduled.Lees declined to comment on the charges.At a candle-light vigil for the girls on Saturday, Ricky de Souza, the principal of St. Christopher’s Montessori School where Aubrey attended, said the girl’s death leaves a hole in the schoolHe said the four-year-old was a kind and gentle person who was the angel Gabriel in the School’s recent Christmas nativity performance.Stuart Hall, Christ Church Cathedral School principal, said Chloe was a peacemaker at their school and was always the first person to offer help to her classmates.“Chloe has left us all wounded,” he said of her death.Oak Bay’s acting mayor, Hazel Braithwaite, told the ceremony that the deaths have taken a toll on the entire community.“We have all been shaken by this tragic event,” she said.A decision from the B.C. Supreme Court shows Berry and his estranged common-law wife had a dispute over custody of the girls.Court documents show the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, was concerned about their father’s parenting abilities.The documents say Berry wanted to split custody of the girls evenly with their mother.Instead, in a decision last May, the court granted Cotton more parenting time because of her flexible work schedule and because she had been the girls’ primary caregiver for most of their lives.Bernard Richard, British Columbia’s child and youth representative, said last week that his office has started gathering documents, but it’s too early to say whether they will launch a formal investigation into the case.Police said on Wednesday the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit continues to investigate the deaths.last_img read more

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Albertan who posed as US veteran on Nov 11 guilty of unlawful

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first_imgRED DEER, Alta. – A man who posed as a U.S. Marine veteran during Remembrance Day ceremonies in central Alberta has pleaded guilty to unlawful use of military uniforms and medals.A third charge against Peter Toth, 59, was dropped.Toth was sentenced Wednesday in Red Deer to 18 months of probation and 200 hours of community service.Court heard that he has since destroyed the uniform and military decorations.His lawyer said Toth has struggled with depression, understands that what he did was wrong and feels remorse.Last November a group called Stolen Valour Canada began looking into a report of a man claiming to be a former U.S. Marine who attended ceremonies on Nov. 11 at schools in Red Deer.A picture taken at one event shows Toth dressed in a desert camouflage uniform festooned with military medals and ribbons.Stolen Valour officials said he was wearing rank badges in the wrong place, incorrect insignia and claimed to have been wounded in Afghanistan in 2005 despite saying he had retired from the military in 1985.Outside court, Gord Swaitkewich, a former soldier who is a spokesman for Stolen Valour Canada, said justice has been served.“It was a little bit of a process but any win is a win,” Swaitkewich said.Swaitkewich said his next order of business is to get the veterans license plate from Toth’s vehicle removed.“He is not a veteran, he has no legal right to have that plate.”Robert Dale, a retired sergeant, said he was also gratified with how the case turned out.“We’re not going to stand by for somebody stealing valour from our fallen,” Dale said.“He claimed he was in Afghanistan? We lost 185 people in Afghanistan and for him to do what he did is like him desecrating their graves and we’re not going to stand for it.”Dale said they hope the publicity of Toth’s case will send a message to the public that soldiers deserve respect. (RD News Now)last_img read more

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Northcentral BC communities under expanded evacuation orders and alerts

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first_imgThe board chair of the Bulkley-Nechako region has had a long week and expects the next one will not be any better, as more evacuation orders and alerts are in effect for an area of north-central British Columbia nearly surrounded by forest fires.“I’ve had better weeks,” said Bill Miller in a phone interview from Burns Lake, B.C., a community 1,000 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.The 35-kilometre stretch of land under evacuation order is west of the community of Fort St. James, in a mostly rural area, while an expanded evacuation alert includes several properties near the district municipality’s western edge.Miller said they have been lucky with the most recent evacuation area expansion, as no properties or families in the area have been forced out in a zone mostly made up of camping and recreational sites.However, he said if the fires continue to burn eastward, it will begin to affect residents in Fort St. James, and they need to be prepared to leave immediately if the alert is upgraded to an order in the next three to five days.“The alert has expanded significantly to cover the community of Fort St. James and some other First Nations communities as well,” said Miller.The wildfire burning near Shovel Lake that prompted the evacuation orders has grown to roughly 300 square kilometres and is one of the largest in the province, though Fire Information Officer Marg Drysdale of the BC Wildfire Service said the 2017 fire season had some much larger blazes.“We had fires last season which were well over 100,000 hectares (1,000 square kilometres),” said Drysdale from the scene of the fire.Drysdale is part of an incident management team dealing with several fires in the area she called the VanJam complex due to its proximity to the town of Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.She said they have 73 firefighters and 53 pieces of heavy equipment, including bulldozers and water tankers, split into two flanks to keep the fire from spreading toward the communities.She added the lack of rain and continual hot, dry weather with gusting winds have challenged crews, though the fire did not grow overnight.“It’s a bad fire season, there’s really no other way to put it,” she said.She said two other incident management teams from Australia and New Zealand were also working in the area, supporting the BC Wildfire Service crews.BC Wildfire Service chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said there were nearly 600 blazes burning across the province, though the southern portion of the province did receive some rain over the weekend.The northern part of the province was not so lucky.“Unfortunately, we are not seeing a lot of relief in sight from the weather,” Skrepnek said.Miller said he expects residents and communities living along the Cunningham forest service road to evacuate the area if access along the road is cut off or restricted.He said when he left work in Burns Lake on Saturday afternoon, the smoke from the fires had darkened the skies so much that it seemed as if the sun had already set.last_img read more

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Ontario wont push through new councilcutting bill if granted stay court hears

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first_imgTORONTO – The next twist in the convoluted battle over the Ontario government’s plan to cut the size of Toronto city council is expected Wednesday.Three judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario will decide whether to grant the province’s request to stay an earlier court decision that ruled the government’s attempt to drastically reduce the size of council in the middle of an election campaign unconstitutional.After that ruling, Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government said it would invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to overrule the court’s decision in a new piece of legislation.In a hearing before the Appeal Court Tuesday, government lawyer Robin Basu said legislators would hold off voting on the new bill if the judges decide to stay the lower court ruling until after the October election.That ruling reinstated the city’s 47 wards, which the legislation had cut to 25.“There is only one path available to assure the (Toronto city) clerk that she is in a position to proceed with an election with integrity and fairness on Oct. 22,” Basu told the court. “It is simply not feasible to prepare for two elections at the same time.”Lawyers representing the City of Toronto, some municipal candidates and other parties argued the province is responsible for the chaos surrounding the election and therefore cannot seek legal relief for the problems it has caused.They also said the government’s proposal to stall the new bill if the court rules in its favour is almost akin to a threat.“It’s not your job to save them from themselves, to take the political heat off,” lawyer Donald Eady, who represents a group that includes candidates, told the panel of three judges.Last week Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that Bill 5, which slashed Toronto’s council to 25 seats from 47 in the middle of an election campaign, violated freedom of expression rights for candidates and voters.Ford has since reintroduced the bill, now known as Bill 31, and invoked the notwithstanding clause to forge ahead with the council-cutting plan.The move has been condemned by the opposition parties, prominent politicians and hundreds of legal professionals, and has also sparked multiple protests, including a rally outside the legislature this week while politicians held a rare overnight debate on the bill.The new bill won’t be up for a final vote until Thursday at the earliest, and city staff have said the chances of running a fair election on Oct. 22 shrink with every day of uncertainty that goes by.If the province is successful in securing a stay, city staff would then immediately start planning for an election based on the 25-ward model rather than the 47-ward approach that went back into effect with Belobaba’s decision.Granting the stay would eliminate any uncertainty, and the province’s appeal of Belobaba’s decision could be heard on an expedited timeline after the election and resolved before a new Toronto council is sworn in on Dec. 1, the province’s lawyers said.Howard Goldblatt, who represents a group that includes a candidate in the election, argued that if the province wants to restore stability, it can simply stop fighting Belobaba’s ruling and allow the election to proceed with 47 wards.“They can resolve the uncertainty,” he said.Lawyers for those opposing the stay argued the province has not presented any evidence to support its claims that allowing the judgment to stand would cause irreparable harm.The city’s clerk has said she could carry out an election with 47 wards, and the preparation process for that is “much further along” than for a 25-ward election, said Diana Dimmer, who represents the city.What’s more, Eady added, granting the stay “exacerbates and continues” the charter rights violations denounced in the lower court’s ruling.Ford, a former Toronto councillor and failed mayoral candidate, made no mention of his council-cutting plan during the province’s spring election campaign. He has since argued that the move will make council more efficient and save taxpayers $25 million over four years.last_img read more

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Colonial model of policing fails many Indigenous communities study finds

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first_imgOTTAWA — A federally commissioned report says many Indigenous communities lack policing services that meet their safety and security needs despite long efforts to improve.It says numerous communities are stuck with a colonial policing model that overlooks Indigenous cultural traditions and fails to create the bonds of trust needed for successful police work.Public Safety Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess the role of police services in First Nations and Inuit communities.The council’s report says the federal First Nations Policing Program has been a source of frustration for many Indigenous communities, partly due to inadequate funding.The report says the most promising ways to promote safety and well-being involve building relationships among police, other service providers and community members.It comes as the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women prepares to release its own findings in early June.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Senators reject chance to immediately kill tanker ban but bill not safe

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first_imgOTTAWA — The Senate has rejected a committee report that recommended scrapping the Trudeau government’s bill to ban oil tanker traffic in the environmentally sensitive waters off northern British Columbia.But that’s not a guarantee the bill will survive.A number of Independent senators are opposed to the bill but nevertheless voted against the Conservative-written report of the Senate’s transportation and communications committee because they felt it was too partisan and inflammatory.They also want a chance to propose amendments to the bill.Very disappointed that the Senate has just voted to reject the recommendation of the Transport Committee to kill Bill C-48, the ban on Alberta oil exports from the NW Coast. I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision at third reading. https://t.co/y0grsjhj22— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) June 6, 2019The report asserted that the bill is politically motivated and will divide the country, inflame separatist sentiment in Alberta and stoke resentment of Indigenous Peoples; it also accused the Trudeau government of intentionally setting out to destroy the economy of Alberta, where the Liberals have little hope of winning seats in this fall’s federal election.The #SenCA has rejected its #TRCM Committee’s report urging the defeat of the Tanker Ban bill. After hearing from concerned Canadians, the Transport Committee recommended that the atrocious Bill #C48 not proceed any further. /1 pic.twitter.com/3rGSNu8G3G— Senator Doug Black (@DougBlackAB) June 6, 2019Paula Simmons, an independent Senator from Alberta voted in favour of that report but says some other senators didn’t feel it was the role of the committee, made up of only six people, to kill a piece of government legislation.“Even some of my colleagues who don’t like C-48, who have serious questions about it wanted the chance for it to come back for third reading debate on the full floor of the Senate. I don’t agree with them necessarily, but I respect their decision.”Simmons said it’s now her job to try and move amendments such as exempting the Niska First Nations territory, located at the very northern edge of the tanker ban area.“Because it would give them the opportunity to decide for themselves how they want to develop economically on their own reserve, and it would create a potential route for a pipeline, not a guaranteed route, but at least it would keep the potential for a pipeline alive while respecting the Niska’s treaty rights.”The government now has to decide which of those amendments it will accept as it tries to fulfill a 2015 campaign promise to fix Conservative-era assessment legislation the Liberals say created a broken system that blocked public participation and negated environmental concerns.Had senators voted to accept the committee report, the bill would have been killed immediately; rejecting the report means the bill will proceed to third reading in the Senate, during which amendments can be proposed.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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English Montreal School Board votes to launch Bill 21 court challenge

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first_imgMONTREAL — The English Montreal School Board has voted in favour of challenging Quebec’s religious symbols legislation in court.The board’s commissioners voted Wednesday evening to hire a law firm to determine the “appropriate legal recourse” against the provincial government over the validity of the law known as Bill 21.It will seek to mount a case invoking Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees minority language educational rights to English-speaking minorities in Quebec.Despite the planned legal action, the board will continue to apply the law, as all other school boards across the province have done.Bill 21, which came into effect in June, prohibits public servants deemed to be in positions of authority, including teachers, judges and police officers, from wearing religious symbols, such as turbans, kippas and hijabs.There is a grandfather clause exempting those who were employed before the bill was tabled in the spring — as long as they stay in their current jobs.The province’s largest French-language school board, the Commission scolaire de Montreal, has said it has dealt with five teachers affected by the law this year, four of whom agreed to remove their symbols while one did not.The Coalition Avenir Quebec government has defended the secularism law, saying it enjoys strong support among Quebecers.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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The Blue Card Annual Benefit Raises 800000 For Needy Holocaust Survivors

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first_imgThe Blue Card, a national non-profit organization dedicated to aiding over 2,000 Holocaust survivors, held its 79th Anniversary Benefit and auction at the Powerhouse at The American Museum of Natural History on Monday, October 21, 2013.The benefit, hosted by Emmy-award winning TV and radio Host and best-selling author Rita Cosby, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by paying tribute to several survivors and the Blue Card’s humanitarians for their dedication to this cause. The event raised over $800,000 to provide direct financial assistance to Holocaust survivors in need.“The needs for dental care, medical care and housing assistance for Holocaust survivors are at their highest. Funds raised from the gala will allow us to continue expanding the support we provide nationwide,” said Executive Director Masha Pearl. “We are truly grateful to the remarkable honorees, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation and Sara Greenberg.”Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow received the annual Richard Holbrooke Award for Social Justice, which was presented by author and journalist, Kati Marton. The award pays tribute to Ms. Marton’s late husband, a highly accomplished diplomat and with whom Ronan Farrow attributes as his mentor and whom Ms. Marton shared a profound commitment to humanity with.“It is of utmost importance that we do our part in aiding survivors of the Holocaust so as to ensure that something this tragic will never happen again,” said Mia Farrow of the night.The honorees each received a personalized plaque designed by Irene Hizme, a child Holocaust survivor and Mengele twin recognized at Monday’s Benefit. Hizme, who has both Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis and is wheel chair bound, painted each award with a calligraphy pen using her mouth.The Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation received the Max. L. Heine Humanitarian Award which was presented by Heine’s daughter, Peggy Heine. The evening featured cocktails, a seated dinner, a silent auction and a special performance by singer, songwriter and pianist, Regina Spektor. Other notable guests included poet Rose Styron, fashion designer, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, and philanthropists, Dr. Robert Shillman, Jack and Gail Bratman, Sherry Wilzig Izak and Larry and Jane Scheinfeld.last_img read more

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Eminems Marshall Mathers Foundation And Carhartt Partner To Offer Charity Hoodie

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first_imgThe Marshall Mathers Foundation, which provides funds for organizations working with at-risk youth in Michigan and throughout the U.S, partnered with Carhartt, America’s premium work wear brand since 1889, to design a limited edition Carhartt Force zip-front hoodie with all proceeds benefitting the Foundation.The hoodie is available for purchase at www.eminem.com.“This collaboration is all about two Detroit icons working together to support kids in Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond,” said Tony Ambroza, senior vice president of marketing for Carhartt. “We have been a part of the Detroit area for 125 years and are proud to partner with organizations like The Marshall Mathers Foundation that shine a positive light on the city.”The limited edition, heather gray zip –front hoodie is lightweight and made of a 65% cotton/35% polyester blend. It has a screen-printed Eminem logo on the left chest and the back is printed with an anvil graphic with a “313” at its center. It’s encircled by the words “Detroit, Michigan. 1889. 1999.”“We chose this particular sweatshirt because it is similar to a Carhartt hoodie that Marshall often wears on-stage,” Ambroza said. “Since it’s part of our Force line of knits, the hoodie includes our FastDry technology to wick away sweat and our StainBreaker technology to release stains; plus it’s a relaxed fit, which is always popular with customers.”The Marshall Mathers Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing assistance to disadvantaged and at-risk youth primarily in Detroit, Michigan and it’s surrounding communities.last_img read more

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NYC Mental Health Film Festival Fights Stigma

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first_imgOn September 26, 2015, the 11th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival (#MHFF) will present six inspiring films about life with mental illness, including the U.S. premiere of the feature film No Letting Go, and the NYC premiere of the Voice Award-winning documentary Cracking Up.NYC Mental Health Film FestivalFilmmakers and cast members will be in attendance for an audience Q&A.Hosted by Community Access, #MHFF is the oldest and largest mental health film festival in the United States. The festival has screened more than 50 films, attracted over 5,000 audience members, and served as a positive voice promoting social justice and human rights for people with mental health concerns.Says Carla Rabinowitz, festival organizer at Community Access, “One in four people in the United States lives with mental illness, yet society continues to stigmatize mental health recipients as violent, weak or incapable, and in need of constant medication. This film festival shines a light on how mental health consumers and their families employ humor, courage, and their natural gifts to make positive contributions, earn respect, and counter preconceived ideas about mental illness.”No Letting Go is among this year’s official #MHFF selections. Based on the award-winning short Illness, this thought-provoking film by directed by Jonathan Bucari, is based on a true story and follows the journey of an American family faced with the daunting challenge of finding answers and help for their middle child, who is eventually diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. Starring: Cheryl Allison, Richard Burgi (Desperate Housewives), and Noah Silverman, and featuring Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black), Kathy Najimy (Sister Act), and Janet Hubert (Fresh Prince of Bel Air).Say producers Carina Rush and Randi Silverman: “We can’t think of a more perfect way to premier No Letting Go than in our home state with the NYC #MHFF. We are thrilled to be part of such a worthwhile and amazing event.”WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 2015WHERE: Village East CinemaTICKETS: $25 to $60 (A limited number of $100 VIP passes are available, and include a private reception with cast and producers of No Letting Go & Cracking Up)WEBSITE: www.MentalHealthFilmFest.nyclast_img read more

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Sharon Osbourne Asks Croatia To Prevent Chinchilla Torture On Fur Farms

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first_imgThis week, X Factor judge and animal advocate Sharon Osbourne wrote to Croatia’s minister of agriculture, Davor Romić, asking him to preserve a complete ban on fur farming – which is scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2017 but is currently threatened because of a proposed exception for fur taken from chinchillas.After banning fur from her own closet, Osbourne teamed up with PETA US to narrate a video revealing how chinchillas suffer and die on fur farms and urging everyone to refuse to wear fur coats or trim.“I applaud Croatia’s decision to ban fur farming, as many other European countries have done, but I was shocked and disappointed to learn of a proposed exception to the ban that would allow the breeding and slaughter of chinchillas for their fur,” she wrote. “On behalf of kind people everywhere, I urge you to consider the following information and then make the decision to preserve a complete ban on fur farming.

“I used to wear fur but had a change of heart after learning about how terribly animals suffer in the fur industry. As you can see in this exposé that I recently narrated for PETA, chinchillas are often confined to tiny, filthy cages before workers snap their necks or electrocute them. “Toe-to-ear” electrocution immobilises chinchillas but leaves them conscious as they experience all the pain and agony of a full-blown heart attack. As on most fur farms, the animals seen in this exposé were denied veterinary care, and the owner of the farm even splinted broken bones and amputated limbs without anaesthetics.“There is so much suffering inherent in the fur industry – and all just for a silly fashion statement. Fur farmers have had 10 years to make the transition out of this cruel trade, and 1 January 2017 is a date to look forward to. Please take a stand against horrific cruelty to animals and use your influence to spread a message of compassion. You’d gain the respect of many animal lovers all over the world, like my family and me.”last_img read more

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Prince Harry Joins Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge At Charity Christmas Party

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first_imgIt was bauble and gingerbread decorating at the ready as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry attended a special charity Christmas party.Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Attend Heads Together Christmas partyCredit/Copyright: Royal.UKThe annual Heads Together Christmas party was hosted on Monday 19 December by youth support service The Mix, to celebrate the volunteers and counsellors who support people through tough times in their lives.First, The Duke and Prince Harry joined a group session where counsellors and volunteers shared knowledge and had training on dealing with a range of issues, with a focus on supporting people who are suicidal and helping young people coping with homelessness.The Duchess then joined a live online chat about counselling with volunteers and young people from around the UK.Their Royal Highnesses were then given the chance to speak to volunteers and service users from The Mix, to hear about their personal experience of online and telephone counselling support.The Mix gives young people aged 13-25 a helping hand to find their way through any challenge, from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from break-ups to drugs.Their Royal Highnesses then all joined a celebration Christmas Party reception where they decorated baubles, made paper-chains and helped out with the gingerbread decorating.They also chatted to the exceptional volunteers who support people through tough times in their lives.At the end of their visit they kicked off The Mix Annual Awards by presenting the Volunteer of the Year Award to George Yeorghaki.Heads Together brings together The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess, and Prince Harry in partnership with other charities to tackle stigma, raise awareness and provide vital help for people with mental health challenges.Source:Royal.UKlast_img read more

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Dikembe Mutombo To Receive Sager Strong Award At NBA Awards

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first_imgTurner and the NBA today announced that Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo will be the recipient of this year’s Sager Strong Award at the NBA Awards on TNT, presented by Kia, to be held Monday, June 25, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET.The Sager Strong Award, named for iconic Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager, is presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace. The award is bestowed upon the recipient in the form of a colorful suit jacket, a replica of the one worn by Sager during his unforgettable “Time is simply how you live your life” speech in 2016.One of basketball’s most respected defensive players and rebounders, Mutombo is also well regarded beyond the game for his humanitarian work around the world. Two decades ago he created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of his native Democratic Republic of the Congo. Among the many achievements for DMF, the organization opened the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in 2007, and since, the facility has treated nearly a quarter million patients.In 2009, Mutombo was named a global ambassador for the NBA by NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern.The basketball Hall of Famer originally came to the United States in 1987 on an academic scholarship to Georgetown. Later, the school’s legendary coach John Thompson invited him to try out for the basketball team. Eventually, he would be a first round NBA Draft pick in 1991, and go on to play 19 years in the NBA before retiring in 2009.The 2018 NBA Awards on TNT – presented live from historic Barker Hangar in Los Angeles – will honor all of the league’s top performers from the 2017-18 NBA season, including the exclusive unveiling of the Kia NBA MVP, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, among others.The second annual NBA Awards on TNT will once again feature current and former NBA players, coaches, musical performances and celebrity presenters throughout the evening. Additionally, the Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will be integrated throughout the show. Additional details will be announced at a later date.Last year’s first-ever Sager Strong recipient was Monty Williams, who has spent more than two decades as a player, coach and executive with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans (as head coach), Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. His legacy throughout the basketball community extends beyond the court, as someone who has repeatedly faced adversity while remaining a beacon of compassion, loyalty, faith and family.The NBA Awards on TNT, created by Turner Sports and the NBA, is produced by dick clark productions.last_img read more

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