Kabul: An Afghan official said Sunday that the government would hold its first-ever direct talks with the Taliban within two weeks, but the insurgents quickly denied any such meeting was planned and reiterated their opposition to negotiating with government representatives in their official capacity. The Taliban have been holding peace talks with the United States for nearly a year but have refused to recognize the Kabul government, viewing it as an American puppet. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAbdul Salam Rahimi, Afghanistan’s state minister for peace affairs, said that a 15-member government delegation will meet with the Taliban in Europe, without elaborating. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said “there has been no agreement on such a meeting and that has not been coordinated with Taliban.” He said that once the insurgents reach an agreement with the US, they would be open to intra-Afghan talks, but any government representatives would have to participate in a personal capacity. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsUS envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently visiting Kabul, appears to share that position. He tweeted that another round of “intra-Afghan” talks would occur “after we conclude our own agreements.” He said it would include the Taliban and “an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women.” Sunday marked the first day of campaigning for presidential elections scheduled for September 28. President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term on promises of ending the 18-year war but has been largely sidelined over the past year as the US has negotiated directly with the Taliban. The two sides are aiming for an agreement in which American forces would withdraw in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launch-pad for international terror attacks. The Taliban, who effectively control around half the country, have continued to carry out daily attacks on Afghan security forces. A Taliban suicide bomber killed four police early Sunday in an attack on a police station in the eastern Ghazni province, according to Ahmad Khan Serat, a spokesman for the provincial police. He said 10 other police were wounded. Elsewhere in Ghazni, a roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded three others, Serat said. No one claimed the attack, and civilians are often killed or maimed by bombs targeting security forces.
Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday announced to raise existing and planned tariffs on Chinese products in retaliation for Beijing’s announcement earlier in the day of new duties on American goods. “Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION (US) DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25 per cent, will be taxed at 30 per cent, Trump said in a statement to the White House press corp. Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION (US) DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10 per cent, will now be taxed at 15 per cent. Thank you for your attention to this matter! said the US president in his unusual statement, portions of which were in capital letters. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details In his statement, which was mainly against China, Trump also issued a warning to other countries as well. “For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more, he said. Our Country has been losing HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year to China, with no end in sight. Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer, Trump said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very unfair Trading Relationship. China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!), he said. The Trump’s announcement came after China on Friday said it will impose additional 10 per cent tariffs on USD 75 billion worth of US exports in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on USD 300 billion worth of Chinese imports as trade war between the top two economies continues to intensify. Since the commencement of trade war last year China and US have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering billions of dollars in two-way trade. Trump’s statement came hours before he was scheduled to leave for France to attend the G7 Summit. Other members of grouping are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and United Kingdom. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending the G7 summit as a special guest at the invitation of the French President Emanuel Macron. Trump and Modi are scheduled to hold meetings on the sidelines of the G-7 summit. They (Modi and Trump) will look for solutions on the trade front. The US is looking to India to reduce tariffs and open its markets, a senior administration official told reporters on the eve of his departure.
TORONTO – Canadian researchers say they’ve found evidence that the ancient ancestors of modern-day frogs were once keen predators with thousands of teeth to help devour their prey.The team from the University of Toronto examined fossils of animals believed to have evolved into the amphibians people are familiar with today.The fossils, believed to be 289 million years old, show that frogs, salamanders and other amphibians have evolved significantly over time.While modern frogs have several small teeth lining the edges of their mouths, their predecessors’ jaws were much more menacing.The ancient ancestors, known as dissorophoids, boasted thousands of tiny hooked teeth throughout the roof of their mouths, as well as large fangs meant to sink into their prey.Senior researcher Robert Reisz says the findings raise intriguing questions about the way the species has evolved over the millennia.“It’s an interesting mystery,” Reisz said in an interview. “It takes a lot of energy to make these teeth, and it may have been that they were not needed in the changeover from these ancient terrestrial predators to frogs and salamanders.”Reisz said the perfectly preserved fossils were discovered in caves located in Oklahoma alongside thousands of other bones.He said the caves acted as natural traps for animals of the period and helped maintain their remains in excellent condition over the centuries.Reisz said the preserved skull of a dissorophoid gave researchers a detailed look at the inside of the mouth.The teeth that prevail in present-day frogs were still in evidence, but Reisz said the rest of the mouth bore little resemblance to today’s amphibians.They found thousands of tiny teeth not only embedded in the bone on the roof of the mouth, but also in the soft tissue that covers the palate.“They’re very cool and very interesting because they all point backwards,” he said. “They’re hooked … and they would have probably just stuck out of the skin of the roof of the mouth, so they would be like tiny, tiny little grappling hooks that would allow for the food to go down the gullet, but would prevent it from moving out of the mouth.”Researchers initially speculated that the hooked objects were denticles, which are tooth-like projections that don’t have characteristics of real teeth.But Reisz and his team analyzed the projections and found that they matched the definition of actual teeth. They all featured pulp cavities, an enamel covering, and the hard, calcium-heavy material known as dentine that comprises the main part of proper teeth.Reisz said the animals would have been replacing these teeth every few months.Modern-day amphibians are carnivores that primarily survive on insects and other animals, but Reisz said the findings suggest their ancestors were “pretty effective little predators” in a different class from the creatures that succeeded them. The power of the small teeth would have been enhanced by larger fangs ideal for sinking into unsuspecting prey, he added.Reisz said the next step of the research is to investigate how the process of replacing the teeth took place in the ancient dissorophoids, as well as to probe reasons why the teeth in the roof of the mouth are nowhere to be found in today’s amphibians.Follow @mich_mcq on Twitter
OTTAWA – A legal dispute about secret information is delaying the trial of a man accused of taking journalist Amanda Lindhout hostage in Somalia nine years ago.An Ontario Superior Court judge is slated to rule Tuesday whether the criminal trial will begin Thursday or remain on hold — possibly for months — while the wrangling over classified files play out.Defence counsel told Justice Robert Smith on Monday that Ali Omar Ader cannot get a fair trial at this point because of side proceedings over how much sensitive information can be admitted.The Federal Court of Canada ruled last week that several classified records related to the case must remain under wraps — a decision Ader’s lawyers are challenging in the Federal Court of Appeal.The Crown, meanwhile, is opposing the defence request for a delay in the criminal trial, which was set to begin Monday.Lindhout and photographer Nigel Brennan were seized by masked gunmen near Mogadishu in August 2008. Both were released on Nov. 25, 2009.Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national, faces a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his alleged role as a negotiator. He was arrested by the RCMP in Ottawa in June 2015.It emerged during pre-trial motions last spring that the Mounties had lured Ader to Canada through an elaborate scheme to sign a purported book-publishing deal.Behind the scenes, proceedings have played out in Federal Court over prosecution service concerns about sensitive information that, if disclosed during the trial, could harm international relations, security or defence.In addition to the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the cyberspies at the Communications Security Establishment, Global Affairs Canada and National Defence were involved in the Canadian response to the kidnapping. Each identified information to be shielded from disclosure.For instance, the information Global Affairs sought to keep confidential related to the federal government’s policy of not paying ransom to terrorists, the identity of third parties that provided information to the department, and Canadian assessments of foreign officials, operations and policies, says the Federal Court ruling handed down last week.The ruling confirmed that dozens of documents must remain confidential because the competing interests weigh in favour of protecting the information.Trevor Brown, an Ottawa lawyer representing Ader, told Smith on Monday that an appeal of that ruling should be allowed to fully unfold before a criminal trial begins, since it might dislodge information relevant to Ader’s defence.“The best chance of getting a fair trial is doing it right the first time,” Brown said.Federal lawyer Croft Michaelson told the judge that waiting for the Federal Court of Appeal process to finish could put the criminal proceedings in jeopardy due to unwarranted delay.Under new rules issued by the Supreme Court, an unreasonable delay is presumed should proceedings — from the criminal charge to conclusion of a trial — exceed 30 months in Superior Court.The Ader proceedings are now at the 27-month mark.Michaelson said the appeal over the confidential information has only a “faint hope of success” and, in any event, there is no reason to believe the information in dispute would affect the fairness of a trial.Trial witnesses are expected from Alberta, the United States, Europe and Australia.Ader sat expressionless as he listened to a translation of the arguments Monday on a headset in the prisoner’s box.Lindhout, 36, has published a best-selling memoir of her 460 days as a prisoner in which she discusses being sexually assaulted in captivity.In 2009, the native of Red Deer, Alta., established The Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering leadership in Somalia through educational and community-based programs.In recent years she has also written articles and given speeches focusing on forgiveness, compassion, social responsibility and determination.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited a disinformation campaign against his foreign affairs minister as he responded Wednesday to lingering questions about the government’s assertion that Russia had undermined Canada’s democratic system.The idea that Moscow had interfered in Canada’s political system arose last week when Global Affairs said it was expelling four Russian diplomats who were intelligence officers or had used their special status “to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”While the move was part of a co-ordinated effort to punish the Kremlin for its alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, the reference to an apparent plot against Canada has sparked calls for details.Trudeau refused to delve into specifics during a news conference Wednesday on Parliament Hill, and instead accused “Russian propagandists” of trying to discredit Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.Pro-Russian websites have repeatedly targeted Freeland, one of the government’s strongest critics of Russia, as well as her family. Among the allegations is that her Ukrainian-born grandfather helped the Nazis during the Second World War.“We all can remember the efforts by Russian propagandists to discredit our minister of foreign affairs in various ways through social media and by sharing scurrilous stories about her,” Trudeau said when asked about the expelled diplomats.“There are multiple ways in which Russia uses cyber, social media, propaganda to sway public opinion, to try and push a pro-Russia narrative. … This is a pattern we have seen regularly.”Trudeau’s comments followed a meeting with the head of the NATO military alliance, who also delivered some tough words for Moscow, saying it had “underestimated NATO’s resolve and unity.”The alliance has deployed four battlegroups into the Baltics, including one led by Canada in Latvia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, and member states — including Canada — have started to increase their defence spending.“Let me commend Canada for investing more in defence,” he said while Trudeau looked on. “After years of decline, defence spending now is increasing and I welcome your government’s commitment to make further increases.”The Liberals promised last year to increase spending on the military by 70 per cent over the next 10 years — though even with the increase, Canada will fall short of NATO’s target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.Yet Stoltenberg, whose organization was founded 69 years ago Wednesday to protect Western Europe from a Soviet invasion, added that NATO does not want a new Cold War, as he held out hope for a political resolution to the standoff with Russia.Such hopes appeared to take a hit, however, following reports Wednesday that Russia test fired several live missiles into the Baltic Sea.The tests appeared to be in response to a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis on Tuesday and forced Latvia, where Canada has 450 soldiers, to close part of its airspace.NATO troops in the area have been put on alert, Stoltenberg said, even as he described the tests as part of the broader pattern of Russian aggression that is exactly why the military alliance has had to step up its game.Earlier in the day, Freeland told an audience in Winnipeg that the upcoming G7 foreign ministers meeting in Toronto would be focused on sending a strong signal of disapproval to Russia for its recent actions in the world.The ministers will be targeting Russia’s ongoing annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and the recent nerve gas attack in Salisbury, England, which has been blamed on the Kremlin, Freeland said.The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.“One of the biggest challenges to that rules based international order is Russia and the Putin regime and the actions they are taking,” Freeland said during a question and answer session.Freeland has been meeting or speaking by phone with her G7 counterparts ahead of the April 22 meeting in Toronto.
QUEBEC – The mother and grandmother of two toddlers have been arrested after the kids were discovered alone in a Quebec City residence police described as unsanitary.Neighbours called police on Monday after they saw two two-year-olds alone in the home and were worried they would fall out of an open third-floor window.Quebec City police spokesman David Poitras said when officers arrived they discovered the kids were locked inside a room with no adults in the home.“The window screen was on the floor,” Poitras told Cogeco Nouvelles. “The children were on the window frame and there was nothing holding them back (from falling).”Police also noted the home was unsanitary, he said.“There was waste and feces inside the house, and there was nothing to eat inside the fridge,” Poitras said.The women, 18 and 38 years old, were located by police and arrested for allegedly abandoning the children, who have since been taken into protective custody.(Cogeco Nouvelles)
Retired bus driver Iain Gray ambled through Calgary’s cavernous Greyhound depot on its last day in operation, a gold pin with the bus company’s logo on his jacket.Gray dropped by the station on Wednesday — the last day for must Greyhound routes in Western Canada — in the hopes of visiting a former colleague after his final run from Revelstoke, B.C.Schedules were changed and it turns out the two friends missed each other.“It’s just a blooming shame,” Gray, who is 77 and drove buses for 30 years until 2003, said of Greyhound’s exit.“It’s the best place to work at. You couldn’t imagine how good it was.”Greyhound announced in July that it would wind down all but one of its routes in Western Canada and northern Ontario. A U.S.-run route from Seattle to Vancouver is the only one that remains.Gray said he loved doing local runs, particularly through the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta and into the British Columbia Interior.“I liked going through the little towns and the people,” he said. “You get to know the agents and all that kind of stuff.”Two weeks ago, he flew to Salmon Arm, B.C., to go fishing with his brother and decided to take the Greyhound back to Calgary.“The bus was full, believe it or not,” said Gray, who noted that service had been reduced to two trips a day from five or six.“If you talk to the driver, those trips are full, but that’s not enough to keep the company running.”Ottawa announced Wednesday that Canadians left isolated will have to wait two years for potential permanent replacements. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the government is open to helping affected provinces pay for bus service in communities where other companies have not taken over.As well, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said her department will subsidize bus services to remote Indigenous communities where needed.Greyhound’s decision ends service in some 400 communities and leaves about 420 people out of work, said senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick, who was at the Calgary depot to oversee its closure.The carrier has been active in Canada for about 85 years, but has seen a 40 per cent decline in rural ridership over the last decade, he said. A rural population drop, competition from low-cost airlines and greater car use have all taken a toll, he said.Some routes had just one bus running a day, with single-digit ridership, Kendrick added.“You need a lot more than that to pay the bills and keep the lights on and to be viable,” he said.“There’s a lot of mixed emotions. Obviously since the July 9 announcement, there’s a lot of sadness around by everybody.”Several regional companies have come forward to offer bus services and have taken over 87 per cent of the abandoned Greyhound routes, Garneau said. Some of those companies have already begun operating while others are set to roll in the next few weeks.For the remaining 13 per cent, Ottawa will work with the provinces to come up with alternatives, Garneau said.In the meantime, German backpacker Femke Bernds said she’ll have to find a cost-effective alternative as she works her way to Vancouver from Calgary.The 28-year-old said it was a shock to learn of Greyhound’s route closures shortly after her August arrival in Canada.“It was not so nice. It’s a good bus to travel with and it’s not so expensive,” she said, a red rucksack slung over her shoulder.“When you are travelling through a big country it’s good to have an option where you can travel cheaper and … that’s not so possible now.”
TORONTO — Before the arrest of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last weekend, the Chinese company wasn’t a household name in Canada — certainly not in the league of an Apple, Samsung or BlackBerry.However, the Chinese tech giant considered by several of Canada’s allies as a security threat has quietly established itself as an important provider of technology essential to Canada’s telecom infrastructure, a situation that is not likely to change any time soon. Huawei’s share of the Canadian smartphone market has been tiny — about 3.8 per cent, according to market research from IDC Canada — but outside of Canada the company is a juggernaut, overtaking Apple earlier this year in smartphone sales and employing more than 170,000 people around the world.Founded in 1987 by a former officer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the company has grown at an explosive rate over the past ten years and is projected to post sales of more than US$102 billion in 2018.For Canada’s telecom industry and the federal government in Ottawa, Huawei has long been known as an important equipment supplier — one that U.S. officials consider a significant threat to national security.That’s largely because Huawei is a major supplier of the equipment needed for wireless networks that could potentially be used to gather sensitive information for the Chinese government.“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion’ is no exception,” U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio wrote in October in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.However, Canadian officials and representatives of major telecom companies have maintained that they have put safeguards in place — long ago, and before the American alarm — to ensure Huawei isn’t a security or privacy threat.Like Canada, the United Kingdom hasn’t moved to ban Huawei from doing business with their networks — despite U.S. warnings that they may be jeopardizing the “Five Eyes” intelligence gathering partnership. Lawrence Surtees, vice-president for communications research at IDC Canada, says Britain and Canada are the second and third most important Five Eyes partners after the United States and ahead of Australia and New Zealand.“My take is, both Ottawa and London are in a position to say … we do lots with you in the intelligence sharing and we’re not going to jeopardize our networks. We know what to do.”Surtees says Huawei equipment has already been used in at least five Canadian wireless networks that use fourth-generation LTE technology, and it would be expensive to replace.Huawei is also working with Bell and Telus to develop equipment for 5G wireless networks that are expected to become increasingly vital to carriers and their customers over the next decade.“The magnitude of the contracts that Huawei has here would be a factor, with the Canadian carriers saying to Ottawa that it’s kind of too late now,” Surtees says.There are very few alternative suppliers of 5G network equipment to chose from, he adds.Ericsson of Sweden, the main equipment supplier for the Rogers wireless networks, and Nokia of Finland are also global players in Canada but Surtees considers Huawei to be the market leader.It has been in operation in Canada since 2008, and currently employs about 960 people in this country — about 600 in research and development.Huawei’s Canadian head office is in the Toronto area in Markham, Ont. while its Canada Research Centre is based in Ottawa. The company also has research facilities in Markham, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton.Huawei also makes smartphones for current wireless networks, sold in Canada by Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Videotron under their main brands as well as some secondary brands such as Virgin Mobile, Fido and Koodo.David Paddon, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Students at the University of British Columbia are hoping to build bus shelters with environmental benefits.Tabinda Shah, a final-year urban forestry student, said she and several other students are working to build a “tree canopy bus shelter,” which would not only shelter people from the rain as they wait for their ride, but also help the environment.“The aim of the project is to bring ecologically conscious infrastructure into dense urban areas by maximizing opportunities for green infrastructure in small spaces,” she said in an email.The roof or shelter would be made of treated wood that can withstand the elements and host a layer of plants that are hardy and succulent, and can thrive in not just the rain but the dry months too. The excess water from the roof would run off into the ground to recharge the water table.The students are crowdfunding the project and want to build at least three bus shelters to measure their effectiveness. Shah said each shelter costs about $50,000, and the team is hoping to have a prototype shelter built by sometime next year.Daniel Roehr, associate professor at UBC, said while the team does not have any arrangement with the City of Vancouver or the transit agency, they do have permits to build three structures on the University of British Columbia campus.Shah said Vancouver is a very walkable city, but that hardly anyone wants to walk in it during the winter because of a lack of pedestrian shelter from the rain.“Being an urban forestry student, I wanted to bring a multifaceted solution to the table that would not only increase walkability in the city, but also create habitat space, more sustainable stormwater management and a biophilic city,” she said.Roehr said Vancouver has a number of green roofs but most of them need to be irrigated, so one of the main design aims of these tree canopy bus shelters was that they would be self-sufficient.Roehr and Shah are working with a team of other students from different disciplines on the shelters.“We have flow devices to measure rainwater runoff from these roofs and how effective they are,” Roehr said. “We want to monitor it. And if it is effective we can use it all over the city — we could use it on all bus shelters.”Shah said this will be the first type of bus shelter to measure how much rainwater is runoff. She added that such bus shelters are important because they are one more step towards tackling climate change.The prototype and research will help justify whether a larger investment into such an idea would be worth it, she said.“We’re hoping to have the prototype constructed along Wesbrook Mall at the University of British Columbia, but in an ideal world, we would want these all over the city street networks of Vancouver,” Shah said.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to spend $638 million on housing for Indigenous people in cities and urban centres.The money is part of the Liberals’ $40-billion housing plan, which is spread over 10 years and aims to reduce homelessness by half.Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan are making the announcement this afternoon.About two-thirds of the money is to address Indigenous homelessness and one-third is to improve existing social housing for Indigenous families in urban centres.Duclos says this is a “priority” for the government and that affordable housing is key to building strong communities.Determining exactly how and when the money is spent will depend on partnerships and agreements with provincial governments and local housing providers.The Canadian Press
GILLAM, Mb. (NEWS 1130) – As the manhunt continues for two B.C. murder suspects across Canada, the people living around Gillam, Manitoba — where much of the search has been focused — are expected to gather at a town hall.Mounties, the community’s mayor and council, as well as the chief and council of the Fox Lake Cree Nation, will answer any questions they can about the recent police activity and search for Kam McLeod, 19 and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18.The town hall comes just days after the RCMP announced search efforts were being scaled back in Manitoba. The pair — accused of second-degree murder and considered suspects in two other deaths in northern B.C. — have managed to evade capture for nearly two weeks.BC RCMP say McLeod and Schmegelsky are considered dangerous. (RCMP handout)Meantime, as the community of Gillam prepares to gather, it was a day of mourning in Australia as the funeral for one of the three people killed in northern B.C. was held.Lucas Fowler, 23, was found dead with his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, 24, along the Alaska Highway on July 15.At the memorial service, his father said he was happy Fowler and Deese had found each other, and recalled all the moments the pair spent travelling and living life to the fullest with one another.Stephen Fowler said Lucas didn’t just dream, but worked hard to make those dreams a reality.Search continuesSchmegelsky and McLeod are charged with second-degree murder in the death of UBC sessional lecturer Leonard Dyck near Dease Lake, B.C. Dyck’s body was found just days after Mounties reported the deaths of Fowler and Deese, about 470 kilometres away.Police now confirm Leonard Dyck was found deceased on July 19, 2019 at a Highway pullout about 2 kilometres south of the vehicle fire south of Stikine River Bridge on Highway 37. pic.twitter.com/2AHNxZzKPL— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel1130) July 25, 2019While much of the search had been focused on northern Manitoba, the manhunt appeared to have moved east, with possible sightings reported in parts of northern Ontario.However, the Ontario Provincial Police service said on Thursday that despite dozens of calls, investigators have not been able to confirm any of the sightings.“The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating numerous reports from across the province of suspicious vehicles and or young males believed to be the British Columbia homicide suspects,” the OPP reiterated on Friday. “Members of the public should be vigilant of their personal safety at all time. These two suspects are considered dangerous. If observed, do not approach them and call police immediately.”With the search scaled back in Manitoba and Ontario police turning up no leads — yet — police are encouraging all Canadians to be on the lookout.Police and the military combed more than 11,000 square kilometres of marshy wilderness near the community of Gillam, but turned up nothing.A number of officers remain in the rural community.-With files from Dean Recksiedler
Actress and lung cancer advocate Valerie Harper and her husband Tony Cacciotti will join with other lung cancer advocates and supporters at the Lung Cancer Foundation of America’s “Day at the Races” event, the only event of its kind in the USA to support lung cancer research, at Del Mar Race Track, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014 on Sunday, July 28, 2013 from 2 PM – 6 PM.Ms. Harper, who is currently fighting lung cancer that has occurred in the lining of her brain, is helping to bring attention to lung cancer, the USA’s number one cancer killer for both men and women, accounting for nearly 30% of all cancer deaths.“Val and Tony’s participation in the fight against lung cancer means so much to LCFA and, especially, to the millions of people who have been deeply affected by this awful disease. Lung cancer is the forgotten cancer. Because of an overall 5-year survival rate of only 15%, there are few survivors to stand up and speak out in support of research funding for the disease, which is why Val’s role is so very important, and why we hope she will inspire others,” said Kim Norris, a lung cancer widow and the president and co-founder of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA).Racing fans will learn that lung cancer is the USA’s number one cause of cancer death, killing almost twice as many women as breast cancer and three times as many men as prostate cancer. The poor survival rate for lung cancer is a direct result of the lack of funding for lung cancer research. It is estimated that 60% of new lung cancer diagnoses will be in non-smokers – a combination of 45-50% former smokers (many who quit 10, 20, even 30 years prior to the onset of lung cancer) and 15% of people who have never smoked. Lung cancer is the only cancer that stigmatizes its victims – somehow society believes that lung cancer victims bring it upon themselves. Lung cancer is therefore enshrouded in guilt, both for the victims and family members. Fans will be introduced to lung cancer advocates like Val and Tony and to LCFA — an organization that exists to advocate for research funding.LCFA’s “Day at the Races” will feature a special “Breath Of Life” race to support lung cancer research and help educate the public about this disease. Visit the LCFA Day at the Races website for all-inclusive tax deductible tickets and details.LCFA’s “Day at the Races” event is the brainchild of lung cancer survivor and LCFA advocate Paula Friendly. Paula’s late husband, Hollywood producer Ed Friendly (co-producer of “Laugh-In,” “Little House on the Prairie” among others) was introduced to thoroughbred horse racing ownership in 1970 when he and close friend and actor Lorne Greene bought a racehorse in partnership. A founding member of the National Thoroughbred Association, Friendly established the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 1993. He also served as president of the California’s Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. After Ed’s passing several years ago, Paula remains involved with the Del Mar Race Track and maintains her friendship with the President of the track, Joe Harper, and his wife Barbara.Source:PR Newswire
On January 13-15, the Clinton Foundation will host its third annual Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation Conference at the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, California.This conference will showcase what leaders from across sectors – business, technology, sports and philanthropy – are doing to contribute to the health and wellness of people throughout the United States, and is held in conjunction with the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation PGA TOUR event January 10-19 in the Coachella Valley. Tenet Healthcare Corporation is the title sponsor for this event.Following the success of 2013’s conference, which facilitated $100 million in strategic investments to promote health and wellness, this year’s conference will feature a panel on health transformation moderated by President Bill Clinton; a panel on mental health and prescription drug abuse prevention moderated by Dr. Travis Stork, Emergency Room Physician & Co-Host of The Doctors; a panel on leveraging digital platforms to promote health moderated by Chelsea Clinton; and a panel on strategies to close the great health divide in the United States moderated by Jenna Wolfe of the Today Show. Montel Williams will also take part.This year’s conference will debut more than 30 new strategic partnerships as well as highlights of the progress of strategic partners and commitment makers featured in 2013. There will be several major announcements in the health and wellness space from Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) strategic partners, including a commitment to help prevent prescription drug misuse by young people from the Jed Foundation, MTV, and Facebook, as well as an announcement from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.CHMI works to improve the health and wellbeing of people throughout the United States across all generations. CHMI builds strategic partnerships to implement evidence-based systems, environmental and investment strategies, with the goals of ultimately reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases, reducing health care costs associated with preventable diseases, and reducing health disparity and inequity gaps. CHMI builds scalable solutions to address the drivers of health and wellness, serves as a catalyst for community health transformation by convening local partners and commitment-makers, and leverages the digital platform to innovate and disseminate best practices.The conference will be webcast live here. Viewers can join the discussion and submit questions to @ClintonFdn by using the hashtag #HealthMatters2014.
In support of a national ban on cosmetics animal testing in Canada, film and TV star Laura Vandervoort is backing #BeCrueltyFree Canada with the release of an exclusive photo in which she and her dog Frankie say “no” to cosmetics cruelty. Laura & her dog Frankie say NO to cruel cosmeticsCredit/Copyright: Robert SebreeOn screen, Vandervoort returns this month to play werewolf Elena Michaels in hit TV series Bitten, but off screen she’s a compassionate animal advocate who wants cosmetics cruelty to end. #BeCrueltyFree Canada is part of the global #BeCrueltyFree campaign, and a partnership between Humane Society International and Animal Alliance of Canada.Though banned in the European Union, Norway, Israel and India, animal testing for cosmetics still happens here – even though it’s not required by law. Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs endure chemicals being forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or smeared onto their skin – all without any pain relief.Asked about her support, Vandervoort said: “I think in our hearts, all of us know instinctively that causing animals pain and even death simply to test a new vanity product like a lipstick or anti-wrinkle cream is just wrong. I’m proud to support the #BeCrueltyFree Canada campaign for a kinder world without cosmetics cruelty. I want Canada to join the likes of the European Union, Israel and India by banning animal testing for cosmetics. A rabbit’s life is worth more than mascara. Let’s #BeCrueltyFree Canada!”Aviva Vetter, campaigner for #BeCrueltyFree Canada said: “It’s an honor to welcome Laura Vandervoort to the #BeCrueltyFree Canada campaign. Laura, beloved not only in Canada but around the world, has chosen to stand up for animals, sending a clear message that the ugliness of animal testing has no place in the beauty industry.”Vandervoort joins actresses Tricia Helfer (Ascension, Battlestar Galactica), Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Emmanuelle Vaugier (Lost Girl), and TV’s Phoebe Dykstra in support of #BeCrueltyFree Canada, while globally stars like Sir Paul McCartney, Leona Lewis and Owain Yeoman also count themselves as proud #BeCrueltyFree advocates.More than 80,000 people say “no” to cruel cosmetics in Canada – add your name by signing the #BeCrueltyFree Canada petition at BeCrueltyFree.ca.Source:Humane Society International
For three years model Helena Christensen has been donating her shoes for auction to support Small Steps Project in supplying children with shoes and school uniforms, but now she is taking it a step further – she is raising awareness about the charity through her own photography.On the Small Steps website, Christensen says, “I am very honoured to be joining the organization, in their tireless efforts of supporting children and their families living on rubbish dumps around the world. I am in awe of these hard-working women, who so selflessly help out in so much work and time to make the living conditions acceptable for thousands of kids growing up in filth.”Beyond shoes, boots and school uniforms, Small Steps also provides supplies and school buses, hygiene education, protective clothing and mosquito nets, food, water and first aid to the children who work through the night scavenging dumps and sorting through trash for reusable products, such as plastic bottles, to sell.At the 2014 Celebrity Shoe Auction, Small Steps raised over £43 thousand, but Christensen says she wants to support the organisation in more ways than just by donating her shoes. She wants to put her photography skills to work: “I’m excited to start this venture with the organization and the kids.”Copyright ©2015Look to the Stars
Supernatural star Jared Padalecki has lost his shirt – and he wants you to buy a new one!Jared Padalecki and Stephen Amell Go ShirtlessCredit/Copyright: FacebookThe actor joined his pal Stephen Amell to relaunch Represent.com/Jared for just two days. The massively popular campaign has raised money for Padalecki’s Always Keep Fighting cause, which promotes mental health awareness.Jared Padalecki’s AKF – Part IIIYou’d better be quick to get your hands on this shirt – grab one here.Copyright ©2015Look to the Stars
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Neptune Theatre director Jeremy Webb is calling for actors to stop putting their height, weight and other measurements on their resumes. (CBC) “I need to know that they are engaged, talented, motivated, that they have the skills, the singing range, the dancing ability, the acting ability, to do the job.”Start of broader discussionWebb said the stories of sexual harassment emerging from the industry against director Harvey Weinstein and others are starting a more serious conversation about what’s acceptable.Jeremy Webb looks at his Facebook post from Nov. 16. (CBC)“To get into that unnecessary private information about a person’s body type should not have a bearing on whether or not you get a role,” Webb said.“In the same way that accepting a Hollywood movie executive’s invitation to go to a hotel room late at night should not have a bearing on whether you get a role … that kind of stuff just cannot happen.”READ MORE Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Neptune Theatre’s new artistic director is pushing for an end to the “archaic” practice of listing an actor’s height, weight and other measurements on resumes.Jeremy Webb posted to Facebook on Thursday about the issue, asking actors and agents to remove the numbers.“It’s 2017 and I do not need to know an actor’s chest size when casting them for a role. I don’t need to know their waist size,” Webb told the CBC’s Maritime Noon on Friday. Advertisement Twitter
I leave the answer to the audience. We can learn from the masters, but can we become one?DIRECTOR’S BIO: Neal Thibedeau is a Southern California Native, educated at Chapman University and the American Film Institute, where he fostered his love of storytelling. He now lives in the South Bay with his wife/muse and his two rowdy dogs, while writing, directing, editing, and sometimes shooting projects. This past year he had INTERSECTION (edited by) at over a hundred film festivals, a number of produced projects for El Rey Network, and he just directed his first TV pilot ‘Homeroom’, about an alcoholic Special Ed Teacher.BECOMING ICONIC represents his first foray into directing documentary.FILM: BECOMING ICONICWHAT WERE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES YOU FACED DURING THE FILM?The crew didn’t want us to feature them in the documentary. So every shot had to be done from the shadows (figuratively and sometimes literally).WHAT APPEAL DO YOU THINK YOUR FILM WILL HAVE FOR AUDIENCESIt asks the universal question:Can you manifest your own heightened destiny?andWhat role does fate have in Becoming Iconic?WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CREATOR?I don’t have a choice. Either I get these things out of me in a creative way or they will tear me apart from the inside. It’s my therapy and my connection to the people around me.WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT?I just finished a Pilot for my Television show ‘Homeroom’ about an alcoholic Special Education teacher. It’s a comedy. (http://nthibedeau.wixsite.com/homeroom)WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING FILMMAKERS?You better love it. There are a lot easier ways to make money, so if this is the ONLY thing you can picture yourself doing, then keep at it. It can feel like a Sisyphean occupation, but the rewards are worth what it takes to achieve something. I had one teacher in film school who was honest about how hard it is. I think you have to go into it with eyes open.WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 FAVOURITE FILMS OF ALL TIME?Trainspotting. Requiem for a Dream. Cool Hand Luke.IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR FILM IN THREE WORDS … WHAT WOULD THEY BE?You Become IconicIF YOU COULD RESHOOT ANY FILM MADE IN THE PAST 20 YEARS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE IT?Never never. I can’t insult any of the films i love by remaking them.WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS? (AND WHY)Several Film School teachers changed the way I viewed storytelling, and made me serious about my craft. Both were teachers at Chapman University, Everett Lewis, and Joel Moffett.WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL SHOWTIMES:DECEMBER 1, 2017, 5:30 PM – SLCCDECEMBER 2, 2017, 12:30 PM – SLCCGET YOUR TICKETS AT: https://whistlerfilmfestival.com/film/becoming-iconic/SYNOPSIS: This feature length documentary that contains interviews with some of Hollywood’s most iconic directors talk about and with Jonathan Baker . The film explores the process of filmmaking from the ground up through the eyes of top directors as they tell their story of their first time making a feature film in the director’s chair. Then Jonathan takes the chair after listening to their advice and gives his advice though making his film INCONCEIVABLE. Nicolas Cage Jodie Foster Faye Dunaway Warren Beatty Taylor Hackford Adrian Lyne John Badham Jonathan Baker Becoming Iconic GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL TODAY NEAL THIBEDEAU, DIRECTORDIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: Just over a year ago, I set off to Cincinnati on an adventure; to follow a director making his first feature, with A-list talent – INCONCEIVABLE.I found so much more than a movie in Ohio. I found an existential question: what does it mean to be an icon, and what would it take for someone to manifest their own iconic destiny? Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitter
APTN National News“Celebrating our Peoples.”This is the name of APTN’s tour event.APTN has been touring Canada with that message to celebrate 11 years of being on air.British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor hosted a reception for APTN in Victoria.APTN National News reporter Wayne Roberts was there to get in on the celebration.
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The federal Conservative government has a weak grasp of the tar sands’ environmental impact, according to the federal environmental watchdog.Scott Vaughan, the commissioner on the environment and sustainable development, says the government’s management of the Alberta tar sands ranges from poor to non-existent.“They don’t know the effects on water quality, they don’t know the impact on ground water, they don’t know the impacts of contaminants downwind or downstream,” said Vaughan, during a press conference Tuesday. “There (are) questions about the impact on wild species such as caribou, the impact of forest fragmentation, so the list of what they don’t know goes on and on.”Vaughan says the existing tar sands monitoring system is not credible, but his report issued no recommendations because the government already has a plan in place to fix these problems.Nova Scotia NDP MP Megan Leslie said further tar sands development should be put on hold until the government puts an adequate management regime in place.“We can look at how to develop tar sands sustainably,” said Leslie. “It is possible, but we need to take a step back, think about it, figure out where we’re going with it, because right now failure to manage the oil sands in a sustainable way has given us an international black eye.”Vaughan’s 80 page report is also critical of Canada’s climate change goals.The environmental audit found Canada is failing to meet greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.Canada’s emissions in 2008 were 31 per cent higher than the Kyoto target, according to the report.Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is also a B.C. MP, says it’s hypocritical for the Conservative government to claim to be tough on crime to flaunt Kyoto’s targets.“This is where I would like someone to demand they get tough on crime,” said May. “It’s time for Canadians to say to their government, ‘if you want to see where we want to get tough on crime, it’s when you break your own laws to protect our children’s futures.”