RCMP found Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA on beer can found in missing couple’s SUV

Written by admin on 15/11/2018 Categories: 长沙夜网

EDMONTON — Accused killer Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA were on a beer can found in Lyle and Marie McCann’s SUV, RCMP say in newly released court documents.

Two dozen RCMP officers posed as criminals to build the case against Vader, who’s accused of the murders of the St. Albert couple, missing since 2010.

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  • RCMP paid informant for Travis Vader information: court documents

  • Vader’s lawyer alleges Crown stayed charges to buy time to build ‘circumstantial case’

  • Crown calls Vader case a ‘disclosure fiasco’; Defence seeks to have murder charges dropped

  • Charges stayed against Travis Vader in McCann murders

    Three played major roles in the fabricated plot designed to draw in the prime suspect and coax damning evidence from him; 20 more made cameo appearances. All pretended to be part of a criminal organization looking to recruit Vader, according to documents that became public Monday when a judge granted a request from several local news organizations, including Global Edmonton, to lift a publication ban. The documents have not been presented or proven in court.

    In part, the documents read like a sort of laundry list of leads and theories to tie Vader to the 2010 crime.

    A paralegal working with the lead prosecutor even made a “things to do” list. On it was a note about Sheri Lynn Campbell, who used to share a home with Vader and whom he described to RCMP as his alibi.

    Text messages between the pair indicate that Campbell told police Vader was at the home from 2 a.m. on July 2, 2010, to 2 a.m. July 3, the day the McCanns were last seen as they gassed up their motorhome in preparation for a trip to B.C.

    READ MORE: The disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann

    Two days later, the burned-out motorhome was found at a campground near Edson. Then, on July 16, the Hyundai Tucson SUV the couple had been pulling was found concealed about 25 kilometres east of the town. Inside, RCMP found the beer can, Marie McCann’s blood and Lyle McCann’s hat with a bullet hole in it. They say Vader used the couple’s cellphone at about 2 p.m. that day.

    READ MORE: Evidence ties Travis Vader to missing St. Albert couple’s SUV: Crown summary

    Vader was arrested on July 19, but he wasn’t charged with the murders until April 2012. The bodies of the McCanns have never been found.

    In March 2014, a month before his trial was to begin, Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle stayed the charges, citing a huge gap in disclosure provided by the RCMP to the defence. Doyle said she was confident Vader would be convicted, but was concerned he may not receive a fair trial. Nine months later, the stay was lifted and the first-degree murder charges applied again.

    Vader is fighting to have the case thrown out, accusing the Crown of trying to buy more time to collect evidence. A judge is expected to rule on the abuse-of-process claim at the end of the month. If Vader’s trial goes ahead, it is scheduled to start March 7.

    READ MORE: ‘It appears that the police rushed to a judgement’: Vader’s lawyer 

    The paralegal jotted notes about the disclosure set-back, writing “2 years fought to keep in Vader. MD feels betrayed.”

    The documents released Monday also recount evidence from a man who said Vader gave him a “gold ruby ring” that belonged to the McCanns. The man said Vader took it from the motorhome and kept it at a cabin near his father’s place, along with “a lot more stuff.”

    The documents reveal that, as well as mounting the sizable undercover case, RCMP paid a jailhouse informant for information against Vader.

    In a sworn affidavit among the documents, an RCMP sergeant said as many as 10 undercover operations are going on in Alberta at any given time, lasting from several weeks to several years, with some remaining open indefinitely.

    It’s a dangerous job, said the sergeant, who coordinates undercover operations in Alberta.

    “I am aware of situations where suspects or targets have clearly indicated the intention to kill an officer upon discovery of an undercover operator’s true identity.”

    In one case, an operation was terminated because the suspect became suspicious, the sergeant said. RCMP intercepted audio of the suspect’s girlfriend reading newspaper coverage of the Jason Dix murder trial, when he realized he was the target of the same strategy used against Dix.

    RCMP spent months on an elaborate, undercover “Mr. Big” operation to gather evidence against Dix for the 1994 deaths of Tim Ordzyk, 33, and James Deiter, 24, whose bodies were discovered at a paper recycling plant in Sherwood Park. RCMP first thought they had been electrocuted, but both had been shot in the head three times.

    Dix spent nearly two years in jail and the case was eventually thrown out because of lack of evidence. He sued the Crown and RCMP for malicious prosecution and was awarded $765,000 in 2002. The case remains unsolved.

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Manitoba Ombudsman report leaves questions unanswered in dam purchase

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WINNIPEG —; The Manitoba government was not justified in an initial attempt to buy $5 million in flood-fighting equipment from a specific contractor without bids from others, the province’s ombudsman said Thursday.

But the 35-page report from Charlene Paquin also says that, in the end, the NDP government followed the rules.

The report neither completely clears nor condemns the government in a controversy it has faced since 2014.

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RELATED: Report raises questions over provincial spending on flood fighting equipment

The issue flared when Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton tried to get approval for water-filled barrier tubes called Tiger Dams for flood-prone First Nations communities in the Interlake region north of Winnipeg.

An anonymous whistleblower complained to the ombudsman that Ashton pushed to have the contract awarded to a company run by a friend, who has contributed money to both Ashton’s and the NDP’s election campaigns.

In the end, the contract was put up for open bidding, but was never awarded. The First Nations communities went to the federal government to get the equipment.

RELATED: Manitoba premier welcomes probe into contract

The ombudsman’s report says senior public servants were concerned with Ashton’s attempt to sole-source the contract and pushed to have other equipment considered.

“Individuals we spoke with … indicated that departmental staff did not agree with waiving a competitive procurement process,” the report reads.

“However, as noted previously, the department was directed by the minister … to draft a submission that proposed an untendered contract for Tiger Dams.”

Government rules allow for contracts to be awarded without open bidding in sudden emergencies or when a specific product is needed and there is only one supplier.

“In this case, we did not review any evidence that the … requirements for ‘sole-source’ procurement were met,” Paquin wrote.

The report leaves questions about the actions of Ashton and other politicians largely unanswered, because the ombudsman does not have the power to investigate members of the legislature.

RELATED: Manitoba ombudsman to look at First Nations flood-fight purchasing

A government source, with first-hand knowledge of the discussions, told last year that Ashton made the request to the provincial Treasury Board, which insisted on open bidding.

The matter went to cabinet and Premier Greg Selinger initially backed Ashton’s request, said the source, who would only speak on condition of anonymity.

Selinger said last year he insisted on a full discussion by cabinet and Treasury Board, and then directed the contract be put up for bidding.

Ashton said First Nations communities asked specifically for Tiger Dams, which are distributed by only one company in Manitoba.

“They put forward what they wanted and needed,” Ashton said Thursday.

The ombudsman’s report does not delve into cabinet discussions at the time, but notes that some five weeks passed between when Treasury Board called for open contract bidding and when Ashton’s deputy minister agreed.

“We’ve all learned … we probably should have gone to tender right away. But I want to stress that our government makes no apologies for the intent of what we were doing,” Ashton said, referring to the need to help flood-prone communities.

Kelvin Goertzen, house leader for the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, said the premier should remove Ashton from cabinet.

“The NDP tried to override the civil service,” he said.

“The premier has to decide whether or not this is the kind of direction he wants within his government.”

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Iran sanctions and others a burden for Canada

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OTTAWA – Canada’s pending decision to lift sanctions on Iran will likely spark cheers at the country’s foreign ministry because the ever-expanding program has posed legal and staffing burdens.

A briefing note prepared for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describes internal problems associated with one of Canada’s few foreign policy sticks — the sanctions imposed on nine countries, including Iran, North Korea and Russia.

The note was obtained by under the Access to Information Act.

Canada is expected to follow the world in lifting sanctions on Iran because it has complied with a landmark deal with six leading world powers that is aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear bomb.

WATCH: Trudeau says he’s ‘pleased’ with Iran nuclear deal

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Canadian sanctions are imposed under two separate regimes: the United Nations and its own Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA.

SEMA has proven problematic for officials at Global Affairs Canada because the number of countries facing sanctions under it has jumped to nine from two since 2010, the memo says, creating a heavy workload and legal headaches.

This has resulted in “greatly increasing the compliance burden for the private sector and creating resource and potential litigation challenges” for the department.

“As these procedural regimes have started to mature, foreign courts have begun to demand that increased procedural fairness be present in the listing and delisting of persons under such sanctions,” it says.

“It is likely that Canadian courts will demand the same procedural fairness in the event that any of Canada’s sanctions are challenged in court.”

A separate briefing note, also written for Trudeau last fall, says it is likely that Canada will be in a position to lift its Iranian sanctions “as early as winter 2016 and as late as summer 2016.”

READ MORE: U.S. imposing new sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile test: Obama

With Iran found to be in compliance with the nuclear deal as of last weekend, it would appear that the lifting of sanctions is imminent.

Trudeau has said Canada will also restore diplomatic relations with Iran, but the prime minister indicated Monday his cabinet will set the timing of that decision during an upcoming meeting.

Trudeau said he was pleased that “quiet diplomacy” led to successful negotiation of the Iran deal and would move it “towards respecting international expectations.”

Speaking to reporters at a cabinet retreat in New Brunswick, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said his fellow ministers would soon decide whether and how to lift the economic sanctions still in place.

Canadian companies won’t be able to compete for Iranian contracts until the sanctions are lifted, giving a leg up to their American counterparts. Dion suggested cabinet would make a decision quickly so as not to disadvantage Canadian companies.

WATCH: Lifting of Iran sanctions could further fuel oil’s slide, loonie drop

It may take longer, he said, to reopen the embassy in Iran.

“That’s something also that we’ll have to do step by step, how to re-engage with Iran when all the links have been cut,” Dion said.

“It cannot be done overnight, but the prime minister said very clearly during the campaign that this is something that we want to do properly in a timely fashion.”

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the government should be wary about lifting sanctions on Iran, because it has not been trustworthy in the past.

“Let’s remember that once those sanctions are removed that Iran is going to flood the market with cheap oil, which has a huge effect on the Canadian economy as well,” she said.

The deal that Iran forged with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany, is expected to provide it an estimated $100 billion in sanctions relief.

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Facebook post saluting struggling moms goes viral

Written by admin on 15/10/2019 Categories: 长沙夜网

Australian “mommy blogger” Constance Hall has yet another inspiring message for mothers everywhere – don’t give up on yourself.

In a Facebook post, the blogger saluted moms for taking time for themselves while juggling motherhood. The message has since gone viral, resonating with thousands of users around the world.

“To the woman at the park, looking at her phone, ignoring her children, I salute you. For not giving into the public perception that you should be switched on, 24 hours a day,” she wrote.

“To the woman with piles of dishes and washing who walks straight out the door for a coffee at her friends, I salute you. Being a good mum or wife or human does NOT mean spending eternity cleaning your house.”

Warning: This post contains strong language

The post – which has been shared over 120,000 times – discusses a wide range of issues mothers deal with on a daily basis – from balancing a social life to postpartum depression.

“As a mother of 8, I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read your words and think… hey, I’m not a failure,” said one Facebook commenter.

Even those without children are celebrating the blogger’s point of view.

READ MORE: Mom’s emotional Facebook post about daughter with Down syndrome goes viral

“I am not a mum, but I stumbled across your page [and] it was pure joy. A refreshing change from the “show house” handmade mum! The mum i want to be.”

This isn’t the first time one of Hall’s posts has gone viral.

Earlier this month, a post she crafted on so-called “parent sex” went viral because of its honest take on how romance can sometimes be hampered by busy lives.

“You know what parent sex is, it’s that 3.5 minutes you get in between changing nappies and making food,” she wrote.

On Tuesday, the blogger also shared an image of herself in her underwear, proudly showing off her post-baby body and encouraging other women to celebrate theirs using the hashtag #likeaqueen.

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Canadian bitcoin exchange bought out by Kraken

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TORONTO – A Canadian bitcoin exchange will be acquired by a San Francisco-based exchange, a move that signals consolidation may be afoot in the so-called cryptocurrency world.

Bitcoin exchanges are described as the on-ramps and off-ramps of the bitcoin world, allowing users to trade their cash for the digital currency, or vice versa.

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Cavirtex, a Canadian exchange, was originally launched in 2011. In April 2015 it was acquired by Coinsetter, a New York-based exchange that targets Wall Street traders.

Following the deal, both exchanges continued to operate as separate entities.

Kraken, a global bitcoin exchange headquartered in San Francisco, says it will acquire both Cavirtex and Coinsetter for an undisclosed amount, and will consolidate the two exchanges under its own brand. Client accounts will be transferred to the new platform on Jan. 26.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is not controlled by an authority such as a central bank, and is exchanged through peer-to-peer computer networks.

Kyle Kemper, senior vice-president of global business development at Coinsetter, says the deal will provide Canadians using the Cavirtex exchange with more liquidity and the ability to swap their bitcoins for a broader array of foreign currencies.

READ MORE: Senate recommends Ottawa use a ‘light touch’ when regulating Bitcoin

“Before with Cavirtex you were only able to trade the Bitcoin-Canadian dollar pair,” says Kemper.

“Now Canadians will also be able to trade Bitcoin-U.S. dollar, Bitcoin-euro, Bitcoin-Great British pound, Bitcoin-Japanese yen.”

Kemper says the dramatic spike in the value of bitcoin in 2013 – which skyrocketed to more than US$1,000 before subsequently falling lower – caused a slew of new exchanges to open up shop.

Now the exchanges are beginning to consolidate, a sign that Kemper says indicates the cryptocurrency industry is starting to mature.

“The industry is definitely maturing,” said Kemper. “The central banks are talking about it. The regular banks are talking about. The technology behind it is getting all sorts of play.”

The deal will also see Kraken launch an advertising campaign for Bitcoin in Toronto, encouraging Canadians to purchase the cryptocurrency.

“We’ve been servicing the bitcoin community, but now it’s about reaching out to the larger community as well,” said Kemper.

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Mayor agrees with deputy police chief that changes needed for police force

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TORONTO —; Controversial comments made by Deputy Chief Peter Sloly on cost-cutting measures to stream-line an “unfocused” Toronto police force has at least some support from Mayor John Tory.

“I actually agree and so does the KPMG study with a lot of the things that have been put forward, as changes are needed to be examined on the context on how we do policing,” Tory told reporters at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday.

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“That is why this task force has been set up … It’s a serious exercise. It’s an exercise that has to happen. It’s an exercise that will happen.  Decisions will be taken as a result of those deliberations and changes will be made.”

READ MORE: Deputy chief faces possible disciplinary action after blasting police budget

Sloly hosted a 70-minute online Q&A session last Friday, where he delivered candid criticisms of the Toronto Police Service’s policing model, spending and what he called its slow embrace of technology and social media.

“We run around all over the city in the most unfocused way, reacting to what you call us for, as opposed to trying to understand what’s going on and … putting our most important resources in the best place,” Sloly said.

The KPMG report released last month issued a series of recommendations to ring in spending such as reducing premium pay, outsourcing parking enforcement, HR, IT and finance positions.

“A lot of the substance on what Deputy Chief Sloly had to say were things that were in the KMPG report,” Tory said. “Things that have been discussed on a preliminary basis by the Police Services Board.”

City Councillor Shelley Carroll said Sloly shouldn’t be considered “insubordinate” for saying the changes should be made sooner rather than later.

“Here’s someone saying, ‘I’m willing to say the unpopular thing about change,’ and the board has tasked the chief with change —; maybe this is your agent, maybe this is the guy who goes out and makes those changes for you,” said Carroll, who is also a Toronto Police Services Board member.

“Since he really just talked about all of the changes that are clearly outlined in the KPMG report that the board has already made public and endorsed, why would we be dismissing someone who echoes our words?”

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack has disputed the KPMG report as laden with inaccuracies and bloated with concepts that are not substantiated by numbers.

The union representing frontline Toronto police officers has since asked the police chief, police board and an independent watchdog to investigate Deputy Chief Peter Sloly for his comments.

“The thing about Peter Sloly is he’s progressive and willing to think of different kinds of ways,” Toronto Police Accountability Coalition member John Sewell said.

“There’s no question some staff people don’t like that, they find that threatening.”

The police services board recently green-lit a 2.76 per cent budget increase for 2016, which pushes the overall budget north of $1 billion for the first time with nearly 90 per cent of the budget going towards salaries and benefits.

Mayor Tory said the task force looking into budgetary changes to the Toronto Police Service will issue its final report by June of next year.

READ MORE: Toronto police union president cites inaccuracies in KPMG report

“I will say finally, move ahead with actually making some of the changes that have to be made in policing,” Tory said.

“Not even so much as budget pressures on their own but because it’s 2016. And 2016 is a time when policing needs and policing methods are going to be different than they were in 1986 or 1966.”

With files from Caryn Lieberman, Steve Morales and Erica Vella

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Caught on camera: hockey ref punches player, gets tackled by trainer

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Video from a junior hockey league game in southwestern Ontario has gone viral after appearing to show a linesman punch a player and then get violently tackled by a team trainer charging across the ice.

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The London Free Press reports that the incident occurred Nov. 20 during a south division tilt between the London Lakers and Kingsville Kings of the Greater Metro Hockey League. The GMHL is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada.

Multiple fights broke out during the second period after the Kings goalie was knocked over by Lakers captain Michael Wooley, a St. Thomas native. Moments later Wooley could be seen grappling with a linesman before the official motioned with his right arm towards Wooley’s face — knocking the 21-year-old player over.

Seconds later a team trainer could be seen running across the ice before knocking over the official.

A total of 12 penalties were handed out to 10 players, according to the league’s official game summary. Eight players were ejected from the game. Wooley, the player knocked down by the official, remained.

Video of the event has been watched on YouTube nearly 700,000 times. However, this is not the first time the footage has surfaced. Lakers head coach and general manager Jeff Zehr told The London Free Press that a previously uploaded copy was taken down due to the league’s social media policy.

How the footage resurfaced is anyone’s guess, Zehr says.

“It (the posting) has nothing to do with London Lakers or me. I have no idea how it got out there this time,” he said

Zehr explained that trainer Dan Martin was suspended and later resigned. He added the linesman was also suspended. The incident occurred at London Sports Park.

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Patient steals ambulance, crashes through doors of Edmonton hospital to flee police

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EDMONTON – A patient led police and RCMP on a chase Tuesday morning after stealing an ambulance from an Edmonton hospital.

A woman stole the vehicle from inside the Royal Alexandra Hospital ambulance bay. She crashed through the bay doors before making her way through the city and heading west on Highway 16.

A police pursuit lasted between 30 to 45 minutes. When the ambulance drove out of the city, Edmonton police contacted RCMP to help.

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  • UPDATE: Stolen ambulance stopped by police, woman in custody

    At approximately 6:40 a.m., the ambulance was stopped at a gas station in Duffield, Alta. near Range Road 32 and Highway 16, where the driver was arrested without incident.

    The gas station manager said she saw the ambulance speeding down the highway heading west with the lights flashing before it returned.

    “Shortly after that I see the ambulance pulling in, no lights, with a police vehicle behind it, basically herding it in, and then a bunch of other RCMP and Edmonton services came flying in from the east and surrounded the ambulance,” Betty Peters, gas station manager, said.

    “I seen them open the door of the ambulance and a woman stepped out.”

    The 21-year-old woman has since been charged with dangerous driving, theft over $5,000, failing to remain at the scene of a collision, and driving an uninsured vehicle.

    She was later returned into the care of the hospital.

    READ MORE: Ambulance stolen from northwest Calgary hospital 

    It is the first time an ambulance has been stolen from inside the hospital’s ambulance bay, Dale Weiss, executive director of Alberta Health Services EMS North Zone, said.

    The ambulance, which costs more than $100,000, was damaged. An inspection will be conducted before it’s back in service.

    Ambulances are equipped with GPS systems, so officials knew right away the vehicle was stolen and on the move.

    “Nobody would be calm around this,” Weiss said.

    “This would certainly be very offsetting for all the staff as well as other people that were involved. It’s highly unusual and very much a concern.”

    Keys are left inside ambulances that are parked inside the hospital’s bay because the area is considered a secure site, so a review on security will be conducted, Weiss said.

    “These incidents are very serious for us and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that patients, staff and public secure as can be.”

    The Edmonton Police Service is investigating the incident as well.

    An Alberta Health Services ambulance was found at a Shell gas station at Range Road 33 near Wabamun, Alta. after it was stolen from an Edmonton hospital. 

    Dean Twardzik, Global News

    An Alberta Health Services ambulance was found at a Shell gas station at Range Road 33 near Wabamun, Alta. after it was stolen from an Edmonton hospital. 

    Dean Twardzik, Global News

    An Alberta Health Services ambulance was found at a Shell gas station at Range Road 33 near Wabamun, Alta. after it was stolen from an Edmonton hospital. 

    Dean Twardzik, Global News

    A patient stole an ambulance from Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital by crashing through the bay doors, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

    Kendra Slugoski, Global News

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Feds may consider forgiving flight costs for all Syrian refugees

Written by admin on 15/09/2019 Categories: 长沙夜网

SAINT ANDREWS, N.B. – The federal government may consider forgiving the flight costs for Syrian refugees who came to Canada before the Liberals came to power, the federal immigration minister said Tuesday.

Until Nov. 4, all refugees arriving under the government’s resettlement programs were required to cover their own airfare, a long-standing policy dating back decades.

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But the Liberals decided to waive that requirement for Syrian refugees it was bringing to Canada as part of its program to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of February and a further 10,000 by the end of 2016.

“We only came to power on Nov. 4, so our policy affects post-Nov. 4 refugees,” Immigration Minister John McCallum said outside a Liberal cabinet meeting taking place in New Brunswick.

READ MORE: Immigration minister in favour of refugees settling in French-speaking areas

“But we will consider whether we should make a special case for the pre-Nov. 4 refugees. That is one of the things that we will be considering very soon.”

All other refugees who arrived in Canada after Nov. 4 are still required to cover their travel costs; most do so by way of a loan. A recent internal government evaluation found the loan program often ends up having a negative impact on the lives of refugees in Canada as they struggle to pay it back.

The evaluation – which was carried out under the previous Conservative government – had recommended the policy be overhauled and the Immigration Department had already been reviewing it.

McCallum had also already committed to taking a second look at the system.

“Except for the Syrian refugees, they all receive loans and are expected to pay back the loans over time,” he said.

“And as I said, one of the things that I am about to be briefed on soon after our return is this very issue and we will be considering whether to change that policy.”

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Aunt Viv from ‘Fresh Prince’ bashes Jada Pinkett Smith over Oscar ban

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(Warning: there is some foul language in the video.)

Janet Hubert (better known as Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) has spoken out against Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Smith, wife of Will Smith, created a short video rallying against the lack of black Oscar nominees and posted it to her Facebook page.

In rebuttal, self-proclaimed “blacktress” Hubert released a video to YouTube  in which she shared her opinion of Smith (and her husband).

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READ MORE: Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting this year’s Oscars ceremony

During the short video, Hubert blasts the actress for even suggesting an Oscars boycott. “And here’s the other thing, for you to ask other actors, and other black actresses and actors, too, to jeopardize their career and their standing in a town that you know damn well you don’t do that [in],” she said.

“And here’s the other thing — they don’t care. They don’t care! And I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win.”

Hubert played Aunt Viv on the ’90s sitcom from 1990 to 1993, after which she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell-Reid. Hubert revealed that she had an on-show feud with Will Smith in 2011.

READ MORE: 2016 Oscar nominations: full list of 88th Academy Awards nominees

On Monday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released an official statement addressing black actors getting shut out of the Oscar nominations. Isaacs says she’s going to “conduct a review of [the board]’s membership recruitment” — referring to the 90+ per cent white voting body of the Academy:

The Oscars ceremony, hosted by Chris Rock, will take place on Feb. 28.

Follow @CJancelewicz

Janet Hubert | PrettyFamous

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VSB report recommends up to 21 Vancouver school closures

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A new Vancouver School Board report is recommending up to 21 schools be closed or re-purposed in order to meet the provincial government’s targets for funding seismic upgrades.

The report, which was released last night and calls for 11 or 12 elementary schools and one secondary school in Vancouver to be shut down, has yet to be approved by trustees.

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Also included in the report is the repurposing of another eight schools. Repurposing a school would mean local enrolment would be closed and it would be used by students whose original school is being seismically upgraded.

In Vancouver school enrolment continues to slide as the high cost of living drives families away to places like Surrey, which is struggling to handle the influx of students.

Currently, Vancouver schools are sitting at a little over 84 per cent utilization. In June 2015, an independent review of the Vancouver Board of Education’s (VBE) finances found there was no reason for them to be in debt. And it also pointed to the fact that there are more than 10,000 empty seats in the district and recommended an “aggressive asset rationalization approach” that recommended up to 19 schools closed.

WATCH: Vancouver School Board Chair Mike Lombardi talks about the report 

“What we want to do is get our schools upgraded so that we can provide safe environments for our kids,” said VSB chair Mike Lombardi.

“The minister asked for the report. He wanted a report that showed how we can get to 95 per cent capacity utilization in our schools.”

Lombardi says there will be lots of dialogue and input from parents along the way.

“This is a living plan,” he says. “It will be updated on an annual basis, taking into account new developments, zoning and enrollment projections, so we will be able to fine-tune it to actually move forward towards getting our schools upgraded.”

The VSB report does not have a timeline and has not indicated which schools should be closed or repurposed but it does outline the criteria.

WATCH: Vancouver School Board trustee Patti Bacchus explains the repercussions of the report 

The criteria will include low enrolment and projected growth; proximity to and space in nearby schools, seismic risk, high deferred maintenance and the potential for the site to generate income.

The trustees are set to vote on the report on Jan. 25.

The report has to be submitted to the ministry of education by the end of the month.

Read the full report here:

– with files from Amy Judd

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Travis Vader will go to trial for murder of Lyle and Marie McCann

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EDMONTON – An Edmonton judge ruled on Tuesday a trial will go ahead for a man charged with murder after the mysterious disappearance of two Alberta seniors.

Travis Vader is charged with first-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann. The trial will begin March 8. Five weeks have been set aside for the trial.

“Me and my whole family are very pleased this whole process is proceeding,” Lyle and Marie’s son Bret said. “We are keenly looking forward to finding out what happened to my parents back in July 2010.”

“To have it come down to this kind of singularity, where it could go this way or that way based on a judge’s decision, that was a  lot of stress,” he said. Bret added family members plan to be in court for the duration of the trial.

Watch below: Bret McCann speaks the media following Tuesday’s decision

Lawyers for Vader had argued the case should be dropped over alleged abuse of process. Vader was initially charged in 2012 with first-degree murder in the deaths.

The couple, in their late 70s, was last seen two years earlier fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown of St. Albert, a bedroom community north of Edmonton.

Lyle and Marie McCann are shown in an undated handout photo.


The Crown stayed the charges against Vader in 2014, days before his trial was to begin, after discovering the RCMP had failed to disclose some evidence.

Charges were re-laid nine months later and Vader is scheduled to go to trial before a judge alone in March.

His lawyers had argued the case should be thrown out because the disclosure problem resulted in an extra two years getting it to trial.

“We’re disappointed,” defence lawyer Brian Beresh said, “but we respect the decision. It’s well considered. This was a difficult application.

“Despite the fact that we accept it, we still take the position that this was a tactic used by the prosecution to buy more time. It was effective; it bought more time, but it was ineffective because nothing new was revealed. So we look forward to a trial and Mr. Vader does too.”

In his decision, Justice Denny Thomas said Vader came “very close” to making his case for staying the charges, but in the end, Thomas ruled there was no unreasonable delay.

“We knew we were close,” Beresh said. “I think that’s a very accurate call. These are difficult decisions to make when you balance all the factors. We thought we were closer than very close.”

READ MORE: ‘It appears that the police rushed to a judgement’: Vader’s lawyer 

Following the decision, Vader’s lawyers reiterated they want all evidence collected after the charges were stayed in 2014 to be excluded.

“He’s always, throughout this, denied any involvement, despite being targeting and tarred by the police who used that as an investigative process,” Beresh said, “which will be discussed during the trial. He’s always maintained his innocence.”

The Crown has admitted Vader’s charter rights were breached by the “egregious disclosure mess” and says Mounties have since made changes to the way they handle disclosure in major investigations.

“I think they made mistakes and I think they owned up to up them,” Bret said, referring to the RCMP. “At the end of the day, they did an enormous and effective job. Mistakes happen, and what’s crucial is that they realize them and they address them.”

“They’ve taken significant steps to try to ensure something like this does not happen again,” Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson added.

Watch below: Newly released court documents reveal the RCMP might have evidence linking Travis Vader to the McCann’s SUV. Kendra Slugoski reports. (Jan. 16, 2016.)

Prosecutors argued that the trial should proceed because of the serious nature of the charges and in the interest of society.

The McCanns, whose bodies have never been found, had been on their way to a family camping trip in British Columbia.

READ MORE: The disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann

Their burned-out motorhome was discovered in a wooded area near Edson, west of Edmonton, two days after they were last seen at the gas station. The SUV they had been towing was also found concealed in another location.

RCMP have said they believe the seniors were killed in the area, near the hamlet of Peers.

Bret McCann, son of Lyle and Marie McCann, speaking to the media outside the Edmonton courthouse on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Cliff Harris, Global News

Crown Prosecutor Ashley Finlayson speaking to the media outside the Edmonton courthouse on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Cliff Harris, Global News

Crown Prosecutor Ashley Finlayson speaking to the media outside the Edmonton courthouse on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Kendra Slugoski, Global News

Travis Vader’s defence lawyer Brian Beresh speaking to the media outside the Edmonton courthouse on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Cliff Harris, Global News

Travis Vader’s defence lawyer Brian Beresh speaking to the media outside the Edmonton courthouse on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Kendra Slugoski, Global News

Court documents were made public in recent weeks and revealed that RCMP believe forensic evidence, an undercover sting and some of the couple’s personal belongings tie Vader to the crime.

READ MORE: RCMP found Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA on beer can found in missing couple’s SUV

The documents have not been tested in court.

In a pretrial conference memorandum on Dec. 2, 2013, the Crown alleges Vader used the couple’s cellphone on the last day they were seen alive.

It says Lyle McCann’s hat with a bullet hole in it was found in the SUV, along with Marie McCann’s blood.

Other documents say a beer can in the vehicle had Vader’s DNA and fingerprint on it and that a man told police Vader had given him a ruby ring that belonged to the McCanns.

About two dozen officers posed as members of a criminal organization looking to recruit Vader, the documents say. His sister was also involved in a scenario with officers.

Documents further suggest an RCMP witness who was paid $22,000 offered to tell officers where the couple’s bodies are if he got more money.

Watch below: Travis Vader, the man accused in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann, is released on bail from the Edmonton Remand Centre Tuesday night. (Dec 24, 2014 )

With files from Kendra Slugoski, Karen Bartko and Emily Mertz, Global News

ChangSha Night Net


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From Paris suburb to bloody attack, portrait of IS jihadis

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙夜网

DRANCY, France — Even under extended police questioning, Samy Amimour never hid his disdain for France, his desire to leave, or his belief that the apocalypse was near. But he told investigators he would not kill: “I am against the murder of innocents, no matter where they are.”

Three years later, Amimour returned from Syria, gunned down dozens of innocents at a rock show, and died inside the Bataclan with a suicide belt strapped to his body.

Court documents, transcripts of hours of investigator interviews, and phone and bank records seen by The Associated Press trace the path of Amimour and two of his closest friends from the Paris suburb of Drancy to Syria’s war zone.

Amimour and Charaffe El Mouadan, the trio’s charismatic leader who would take the nom de guerre Souleymane, would end up dead. The third, Samir Bouabout, is believed to be in Syria still.

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    Drancy is a short ride from Paris on one of the unreliable suburban trains that feed into the city. Ethnically mixed, solidly middle class, the town has a mix of single-family homes and unlovely but serviceable apartment complexes. Amimour grew up on the third floor of a small building; the tidy houses of his two friends are a short walk away.

    A shared love of soccer drew them together as young adolescents, with Islam serving as the glue that held them in the same orbit over the years to come. By 2012, they were in their mid-20s, each living with his parents. El Mouadan told investigators joblessness suited him, by allowing him to perform his daily prayers.

    “The time when I was working for a company I couldn’t practice my religion correctly. That’s why I want to leave and live in a Muslim country,” he said.

    Amimour was the only one with steady work — after a stint as a mail sorter, and brief jobs at H&M and the Carrefour grocery chain, he was hired as a bus driver in 2011. His routes took him through the neighborhoods of his childhood, with of the stops just outside his apartment complex. By most measures, it was a good job.

    He hated it.

    On Oct 5, 2012, Amimour handed in his resignation letter in person. Ten days later, after his arrest on charges of trying to join a foreign terrorist organization, a seemingly astonished officer asked him why he had quit his job.

    “There are a lot of things in the job that don’t mesh with my personality,” he said. “”I was often pushed to the edge by frequent aggressions and provocations by passengers. Physically also. Since I stopped I have far less back pain and I didn’t want to be destroyed by the age of 35.”

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    But his resignation was prompted as well by plans he and his two friends had hatched to leave France. El Mouadan did most of the legwork, making inquiries about Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and making Facebook contact with another French speaker who encouraged him to go to Mali.

    It was El Mouadan who first signed up for a shooting class in early 2012 at a gun club with ties to the police. He told his friends to sign up as well, suggesting they first shave their beards in order to get the required doctor’s certificate. Both signed up for a class in April.

    For reasons unexplained, El Mouadan and Amimour each took out loans of 20,000 euros ($21,700) loans, parking the money in their accounts.

    Traveling to North Africa in late spring of 2012, El Mouadan sent his new wife links to jihadi videos to watch while he was gone: “Once we get things clear and you’ve seen the videos and you understand everything, you will change how you think.” In May, he promised to take her to live in the mountains and “go to war.”

    That summer, French investigators took notice of the three, carrying out surveillance operations that included posting officers at their homes and even snapping high definition photos of El Mouadan at the Paris airport. In early October, the inquiry shifted to high gear, with increasingly frantic requests for GPS tracking, phone and bank records and, in the case of Amimour, work and vacation schedule.

    They were arrested at dawn on Oct. 15, undergoing days of questioning in custody about their planned trip before they were finally released.

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    Amimour was unambiguous about France: “There is a sense of oppression toward the Muslim community, of stigmatization by the media, that weighs on everybody. For example at work you cannot do prayers at the moment they need to be done. If a woman wants to wear a veil, it’s a problem. If you want to grow a beard, that also. And then there is an environment that doesn’t conform to Islam. Which is normal in a non-Muslim country, but difficult to live for a Muslim.”

    He talked about the apocalypse, which he said he sensed was near, echoing a central tenet of the Islamic State group that he would ultimately join, and he said he wanted to prepare by “becoming more religious and protecting myself geographically. To distance myself from major cities and their evils.”

    All three young men denied they meant any harm. All three left for Syria less than a year later.

    Investigators have not publicly pinpointed when Amimour returned to France. His family apparently learned he had returned only after he was identified as one of the suicide attackers inside the Bataclan on Nov. 13, 2015.

    Survivors of that terrifying night said two of the gunmen — one of them possibly Amimour — surveyed their bloody work and debated what to do next.

    “Should we call Souleymane?” one asked, according to French media. “We will deal with this our own way,” came the response.

    A total of 130 people died that night, most of them at the rock concert.

    U.S. airstrikes killed El Mouadan on Dec. 24, the military said, describing him as an Islamic State leader with direct links to the Nov. 13 bloodshed who “was actively planning attacks against the West.”

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