15. 11. 2018
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RCMP found Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA on beer can found in missing couple’s SUV

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

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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Related

  • 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.

15. 11. 2018
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Manitoba Ombudsman report leaves questions unanswered in dam purchase

Manitoba Ombudsman report leaves questions unanswered in dam purchase

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.”

15. 11. 2018
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Iran sanctions and others a burden for Canada

Iran sanctions and others a burden for Canada

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.

15. 08. 2019
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Sen. Patrick Brazeau hospitalized with serious injuries

Sen. Patrick Brazeau hospitalized with serious injuries

OTTAWA – Sen. Patrick Brazeau was being treated in hospital Tuesday after being found seriously injured in his Mayo, Quebec home.

The Quebec provincial police confirmed early Tuesday that they attended a scene in Mayo, northeast of Gatineau, on Monday night to assist paramedics who had been called to a home.

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  • Patrick Brazeau gets absolute discharge on assault, cocaine charges

    Hull Hospital spokeswoman Geneviève Côté said Brazeau had been admitted at around 1 a.m. and underwent successful surgery, but wouldn’t comment on his injuries. He is still in hospital, she said, and in critical but stable condition. The family has asked that their privacy be respected during his treatment.

    “We’re not worried for his life at this time,” Côté noted.

    Brazeau’s lawyer, Christian Deslauriers, also confirmed to Global News that Brazeau is in hospital. But he said he’s not sure what condition his client is in.

    “What happened or what state he’s in, I can’t confirm,” Deslauriers said. “I was told he cannot talk.”

    Deslauriers said he was supposed to talk to Brazeau today about his upcoming fraud trial. He said Brazeau seemed in good spirits lately, having just had a sexual assault charge dropped.

    “I had no reason to believe anything was wrong,” he said.

    Police have said they don’t believe there was any criminal activity linked to the incident at Brazeau’s home.

    Last year, Brazeau was granted an unconditional discharge after pleading guilty to assault and cocaine charges in September.

    Brazeau’s suspension from the Senate was lifted when Parliament was dissolved for the federal election last summer. He has previously said he wished to return to the Senate.

15. 08. 2019
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Consultant report derails major portion of Tory’s SmartTrack plan

Consultant report derails major portion of Tory’s SmartTrack plan

TORONTO – Mayor John Tory is conceding that a major part of his proposed SmartTrack transit plan could be unworkable after a report found flaws with the plan to use heavy rail along the western portion.

The original SmartTrack plan would have seen new heavy rail infrastructure that would span across Mount Dennis west to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre.

The report, prepared by an engineering consultancy firm HDR, Inc., concludes light rail transit (LRT) would be more feasible than adding tracks to existing Kitchener GO corridor.

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READ MORE: John Tory defends SmartTrack plan as campaign to woo voters released

It suggests that the addition of a heavy rail line would also have significantly higher costs that would not have the ridership to support it.

SmartTrack was the golden nugget for Tory’s campaign platform in 2014, promising better transit for Toronto residents.

But despite campaign promises, Tory admitted Tuesday that the original plan to have trains travel through the same corridor and GO trains is not the route SmartTrack will take.

“I accept that heavy rail is not the best option for the western leg of SmartTrack,” said Tory.

The mayor added SmartTrack plans will proceed with a new reconfiguration that will link Mississauga and Markham to the downtown core “within the context of the budget and the timelines that we talked about.”

Transit advocate Steve Munro said the western portion was the biggest flaw in Tory’s original SmartTrack plan, adding the Eglinton branch undermined the credibility of the entire transit line proposal

“He hung on like grim death to that scheme saying ‘oh no it can be built, we don’t have to tunnel it will be cheap,'” Munro said. “Now finally he’s saying ‘I’ve talked to the experts.’”

WATCH: A new study says Toronto Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan could carry more than 300,000 commuters through the G.T.A. every day —; more than the current go transit system. Erica Vella reports.

A preliminary report on SmartTrack ridership predicted daily rider numbers could be north of 300,000, approximately 70 per cent more than their provincial counterpart, GO Transit, by 2031.

The report, prepared by University of Toronto, says if SmartTrack could accommodate five-minute all-day service, the transit line could bring just under 315,000 riders and the service would also reduce congestion on the Yonge subway line by up to 17 per cent.

But if service times were to increase to every 15 minutes, the report shows SmartTrack ridership would drop significantly to just over 76,000.

“There is a huge case being made here to need of precisely this kind of transit,” Tory said.

“No one can point out to me any project of this scale and magnitude that can attract this ridership and can be done any faster than this.”

The studies are also based on the service being available for fares at the same rate as the TTC, however fare integration has yet to be determined.

“I’ve used the expression ‘TTC fare’ and I think that’s the expression I have always used and we are working right now on a much broader issue with respect to fare integration that’s going to happen in one form or another,” the mayor said.

TTC chair Josh Colle issued at statement shortly after the reports were released on Tuesday saying “the addition of SmartTrack is a positive development for Toronto’s transit and transportation network.”

The project is estimated to cost $8 billion and be ready in seven years.

15. 08. 2019
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Over 400 jobs lost as PotashCorp suspends New Brunswick potash operation

Over 400 jobs lost as PotashCorp suspends New Brunswick potash operation

Calling it a difficult but necessary step, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp) announced Tuesday it will be suspending potash operations in New Brunswick.

The move, effective immediately, will result in a workforce reduction of 420 to 430 at the Saskatoon-based company’s operation at Picadilly, N.B.

“This is a very difficult day for our employees and our company,” said PotashCorp president and CEO Jochen Tilk.

“We understand the significant impact to our people in New Brunswick and the surrounding communities, and are committed to helping those affected through this challenging time.”

PotashCorp President Mark Fracchia said Tuesday the price of operations at the Picadilly site was “significantly higher than western operations.”

Company officials said more than 100 jobs in Saskatchewan will be made available to those affected by the shutdown. About 35 core employees will stay on at the Picadilly location in Sussex.

WATCH BELOW: N.B. mayor says the closure of the Potash operation is “devastating” and “heartbreaking”


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    The mine only opened in October, after PotashCorp permanently closed the Penobsquis mine.

    Just one month later in November, the CEO of Potash said there would be no job cuts despite the worsening economy.

    “It’s terrible for the town and devastating for the province,” said Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne.

    PotashCorp said it will also establish a $5-million community investment fund for job transition assistance, to help local businesses and support charities.

    WATCH BELOW: PotashCorp spokesperson Randy Burton on job cuts in New Brunswick

    The rationale for the move, said company officials, is to optimize production to lower-cost potash operations and preserve jobs across the company in the long term.

    The company expects that by optimizing production, they will increase their competiveness and reduce the costs of goods sold this year by $40- to $50-million, which will be offset by severance and transition costs.

    READ MORE: PotashCorp fined $280K after worker killed at Cory mine

    Customers who were served by the New Brunswick operation will now get the potash from the company’s Saskatchewan operations.

    WATCH BELOW: Federal ministers address 400 jobs lost as PotashCorp suspends New Brunswick potash operation.

15. 08. 2019
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Afghan woman has nose cut off by husband

Afghan woman has nose cut off by husband

KABUL – A young woman in a remote northern region of Afghanistan had her nose cut off by her husband, officials in the region said on Tuesday.

Fawzia Salimi, a hospital director in Maymana, capital of Faryab province, said 22-year-old Reza Gul was brought in early Monday having lost a great deal of blood.

Gul’s husband, 25-year-old Mohammad Khan, has since fled their village. Salimi said the Afghan-Turk Hospital in Maymana was trying to arrange transport for Gul to Turkey for further treatment.

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Domestic violence is widespread in Afghanistan, where women are often denied constitutional rights designed to protect them.

Violence has also become somewhat entrenched in Afghan society after 40 years of war, with nearly non-existent mental health care and few options or outlets for a traumatized population.

Hafizullah Fetrat, the head of Fayrab’s provincial human rights commission, said violence in the area had risen by at least 30 per cent in the past year.

“It’s not just in Faryab, it is across the entire north of the country – poverty, high unemployment, ignorance about marriage,” he said.

Faryab borders Turkmenistan and is among the poorest regions of Afghanistan, with many people relying on government food handouts. Corruption is also rife, and many residents complaining that officials pilfer the aid.

Over the past year, the Taliban’s presence in the region has grown. The militant group has intensified its campaign following the drawdown of the international combat mission in 2014.

The district where Gul’s family lives is under Taliban control, said Rahmatullah Turkistani, a member of Fayab’s provincial council.

Salimi said Khan had returned from Iran three months ago, and since then had repeatedly beaten and tortured his wife. He had also taken another wife who is just seven years old, she said.

Community elders and Taliban representatives in their village had tried mediating with the family to help sort out their problems, a traditional method of dealing with marital issues, Salimi said.

Khan had disappeared from the village, and local security forces including the intelligence agency and police were searching for him, said the provincial governor’s spokesman Ahmad Jawed Dedar.

The Taliban is also looking for him. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that the group’s gunmen were “seriously searching the area to find” Khan. If and when he was found, “then he will be dealt with according to Shariah law,” Mujahid said, referring to the Islamic legal system.

Before cutting off his wife’s nose, Khan had promised Taliban leaders in the village that he would stop harming Gul. As the village was under their control, the Taliban would likely find him first, Dedar said.

Severing women’s noses is not unheard of in Afghanistan and like most abuse probably happens more often than is publicly acknowledged.

The case of Aisha Mohammadzai shocked the world in 2010 when she appeared on the cover of Time magazine with her nose cut off.

—;

Associated Press writer Lynne O’Donnell contributed to this story.

16. 07. 2019
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Texas-based Waste Connections to buy Progressive Waste

Texas-based Waste Connections to buy Progressive Waste

TORONTO – Progressive Waste Solutions has agreed to a friendly deal that will see the Canadian company merged into a new business that’s controlled by shareholders and management of Texas-based Waste Connections.

The deal will merge two of North America’s biggest solid-waste operations and create a new Canadian corporate entity that’s 70 per cent owned by shareholders of Waste Connections and 30 per cent by shareholders of Progressive Waste.

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The announcement comes two weeks after Progressive confirmed it was reviewing its strategic options.

Based on Monday’s closing stock price of $33.82 per share, Progressive (TSX:BIN) was worth nearly C$4 billion and Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) was worth about US$6.24 billion as stand-alone companies.

Waste Connections is based in Woodlands, Texas – north of Houston – and it operates in 32 states.

The companies say the current management of Waste Connections will lead the combined company, which will maintain a Canadian headquarters in the Toronto area.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Progressive Waste into the Waste Connections family and believe the combination will be quite compelling to our collective employees, shareholders and other stakeholders,” said Ronald Mittelstaedt, the chief executive officer and chairman of Waste Connections.

“Under our leadership, we believe we can instill the corporate culture, safety focus, operational excellence and accountability that have served us so well and which we believe are necessary for long-term success within Progressive Waste’s complementary markets.

Progressive announced separately that it has appointed executive vice-president Dan Pio to head the integration efforts. Several other Progressive executives will remain but chief operating officer, Kevin Walbridge, and chief financial officer Ian Kidson are leaving the company.

Progressive said it expects president and chief executive Joseph Quarin will also leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

“Combining Progressive Waste and Waste Connections makes compelling strategic and financial sense, and the all-stock nature of the transaction provides Progressive Waste shareholders with the opportunity to participate in the significant near- and long-term upside potential of the combination,” Quarin said in the joint statement issued by Waste Connections.

16. 07. 2019
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Despite cold, migrants arrive on Greek islands

Despite cold, migrants arrive on Greek islands

Half-buried in the sand of Karfas village’s broad, popular beach lies one of the few visible signs of the drama that has played out on the eastern Aegean island of Chios over the past year: the remains of two torn and deflated dinghies by the water’s edge.

Far from the spotlight of publicity, locals, authorities and aid groups have been dealing with an unprecedented wave of refugees and migrants reaching the island’s shores from Turkey, which lies less than four miles away at its closest point.

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    6 killed after bus carrying migrants collides with car in Turkey

  • Turkey seizes defective lifejackets intended for sale to migrants

    And with few signs of a let-up in the flow, authorities are bracing for another potentially brutal year.

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

    Even during the winter, overloaded dinghies have continued to reach Greek islands in droves, halting only when the sea is too rough.

    The crossing is brief but perilous, and hundreds have died.

    Chios is one of the most-used points of entry for migrants and refugees entering Greece, behind Lesbos, the most commonly used.

    Last year, the number of people arriving on Chios skyrocketed to nearly 120,000, with the largest numbers in September and October.

    Chios’ Mayor Manolis Vournous said the huge spike in numbers is something islanders mustn’t have to face becoming accustomed to.

    Last year’s late surge left authorities scrambling to house, feed and provide basic care for thousands of men, women and children who had just survived dangerous sea journey and were anxious to move on northwards through the Balkans to more prosperous European countries.

    WATCH: McCallum ‘very confident’ of hitting 25,000 refugee goal by end of February

    Following an initial struggle, Chios has weathered the storm remarkably well, emerging as somewhat of a success story.

    The island now has a functioning system which aims to process new arrivals through registration as fast and as painlessly as possible, provide safe and clean temporary shelter and allow them to quickly move on.

    This is primarily a result of the close relationship that has emerged between local civil authorities, the police, coastguard, local and foreign volunteers and non-governmental organisations operating on Chios, members of all say.

    One volunteer, Despina Kalaitzidaki, who helps at a makeshift clothes distribution centre, said she was compelled to help after seeing the anxious and desperate state the migrants and refugees were arriving in.

    READ MORE: Caught on camera: Documentary crew attacked with knife at refugee camp in France

    As winter set in, the island’s temporary tent camp for new arrivals in a park seemed wholly inadequate.

    So authorities decided to build the Souda camp in the dry moat of Chios town’s medieval castle.

    The space was free and the moat allowed easy access for refugees and migrants to the nearby port for ferries.

    The 800-person camp began operating in early November, complete with prefabricated houses reserved for the most vulnerable such as unaccompanied children, the disabled, women alone or with young children.

    One of the camp’s residents is Isam Bukamer, a 22-year-old from Libya.

    He’s hopeful that Chios, and the Souda camp, will be only the first part of his journey.

    Nothing is impossible, he says.

    “I can pass to Germany. I have a go.”

16. 07. 2019
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Canada’s Milos Raonic advances at Australian Open

Canada’s Milos Raonic advances at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia – Canadian Milos Raonic is all about quick starts.

Raonic earned a clinical, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 first-round win over Lucas Pouille on Monday at the Australian Open. The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., has learned that his greatest strength is when he breaks out in an early lead.

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    “Playing ahead is always a little bit easier,” said Raonic. “The main thing you have to be on top of yourself for at that point is not have any letups. I think I stayed ahead pretty much on my service games. Other than maybe a Love-15 once, I think I was ahead the whole time.

    “I don’t think it got to deuce ever. I was putting myself in good spots.”

    The win over Pouille followed up Raonic’s victory at the Brisbane International.

    Raonic, who at No. 13 has his lowest seeding at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2013, is aiming to improve on his run to the quarter-finals here last year, when he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

    “In Brisbane I also had quite a few opportunities. Maybe today, just having a bit more comfort and understanding of where I was playing, maybe I let down on a few games when it came to returning,” said Raonic. “But I did a good job taking care of my serve and I was proficient on the return games when I needed to be.

    Raonic, who recently started working with former No. 1-ranked Carlos Moya as a coach, didn’t face a breakpoint on his serve and had little difficulty in winning 89 per cent of points on successful first serves.

    He also won points on 22 of his 30 trips to the net. Pouille, a 21-year-old Frenchman, entered the match with a 1-7 record in Grand Slam matches and with a No. 90 ranking.

16. 07. 2019
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Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in under 2 years in Iraq: UN report

Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in under 2 years in Iraq: UN report

BAGHDAD – At least 18,802 civilians were killed and another 36,245 were wounded in Iraq between the start of 2014 and Oct. 31 of last year as Iraqi forces battled the Islamic State group, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

The report documented a wide range of human rights abuses, including the IS group’s conscription of some 3,500 people into slavery, mainly women and children from the Yazidi religious minority captured in the summer of 2014 and forced into sexual slavery.

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  • Female refugees endure sexual violence, exploitation as they escape war-torn Syria, Iraq: Amnesty

  • Iraq PM in Ramadi hails city’s liberation from ISIS after months-long siege

    It said another 800 to 900 children were abducted from Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, for religious and military training. It said a number of IS child soldiers were killed by the extremists when they tried to flee fighting in the western Anbar province.

    The reports called the civilian death toll in Iraq “staggering.” It also detailed the various methods the IS group has employed to kill its enemies, including public beheadings, running people over with bulldozers, burning them alive and throwing them off buildings.

    Such acts are “systematic and widespread… abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law,” the report said. “These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

    Iraqi forces have advanced against the IS group on a number of fronts in recent months and driven them out of the western city of Ramadi.

    But U.N. envoy Jan Kubis said in a statement that “despite their steady losses to pro-government forces, the scourge of ISIL continues to kill, maim and displace Iraqi civilians in the thousands and to cause untold suffering.”

    U.N. human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said the civilian death toll may be considerably higher.

    “Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq,” he said in a statement.

    IS swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014 and still controls much of Iraq and neighbouring Syria. It has set up a self-styled caliphate in the territories under its control, which it governs with a harsh and violent interpretation of Islamic law.

16. 07. 2019
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Barn fire in southwestern Ontario kills more than 2,000 pigs

Barn fire in southwestern Ontario kills more than 2,000 pigs

TORONTO —; Approximately 2,000 pigs have been killed following a barn fire in North Middlesex, north of London, Ont., early Tuesday morning.

Ontario Provincial Police say emergency crews responded to the call just after 2 a.m. ET. on Parkhill Drive in Parkhill.

There’s no word yet on what caused the blaze and the Ontario Fire Marshal has been brought in to investigate.

Meanwhile, local officials are urging farm owners and operators to check their barns for fire safety hazards in light of the most recent incident.

This latest incident has prompted calls to upgrade the National Farm building code to include the protection of animals.

“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of animals perish in barn fires,” Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Canadian Federation of Humane Societies told Global News.

ChangSha Night Net

“We see it happen all too often unfortunately and it should be something that happens once in a while and not a regular occurrence.”

Barns in Ontario are mandated by the Ontario Fire Code. Cartwright says farmers need to be trained in fire safety to maintain the safety of their animals and livestock.

“They know where to go and they know why they don’t go back in,” Cartwright said. “They can train just like we do fire drills for humans.”

But National Research Council Canada said the code primarily focuses on the protection of human life —; not animals.

“That deals with the protection of the occupants within that building,” said Philip Rizcallah, a senior technical advisor for NRCC.

“So it is the safety of occupants from fire, or snow collapse, or other hazards in that building.”

One of the aspects that needs to be completed is conducting a fire drill with the horses so that they know what happens when this systems goes off.

Around 500 goats and more than two dozen cattle died after fire broke out on a farm in Delaware outside of London in the early morning hours of Jan. 17.

The fire comes days after thirteen horses died in a barn fire in Mount Forest, Ont., northwest of Guelph on Jan. 15.

That fire was preceded by a devastating blaze in Puslinch, Ont., in which 43 standardbred horses also died.

With files from Angie Seth

16. 07. 2019
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Connacher further cuts Alberta oilsands output

Connacher further cuts Alberta oilsands output

CALGARY – Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. is responding to low commodity prices by slashing its Great Divide oilsands output, which will fall by 70 to 80 per cent compared with fourth-quarter levels.

The Calgary-based company (TSX:CLC) says output from Great Divide in February and March will be in a range of 3,000 to 4,000 barrels per day — down from 13.900 bpd in the fourth quarter.

ChangSha Night Net

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    Connacher previously said on Jan. 8 that output would be cut by about 3,000 bpd and revealed late Monday that January production will be 7,000 to 8,000 barrels per day, at least 6,900 bpd below fourth-quarter levels.

    The company has accelerated planned maintenance at the operation, near Fort McMurray, Alta., but says both plants at Great Divide will remain operating for a majority of the time.

    Crude oil prices have fallen to lows that haven’t been seen in about 13 years, continuing a downward trend that began in late 2014 because of an oversupply and slowing growth in demand.

    READ MORE: Oil briefly slips below $29 as Iran vows to pump more into market

    West Texas Intermediate — a type of crude used as the North American benchmark for oil prices — has recently traded below US$30 a barrel for the first time since the spring of 2003. Oilsands crude usually trades at a discount to WTI.

    WTI Crude Oil Spot Price | FindTheData
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