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Seven people die in airambulance crash in Philippines

first_imgManila: Seven people were killed when an air-ambulance plane crashed into a resort area near the Philippine capital on Sunday, sparking a fierce blaze and sending terrified locals fleeing, authorities said. Seven bodies have been found and it is believed all eight people aboard the light aircraft died in the disaster in Calamba City, local emergency official Jeffrey Rodriguez told AFP. Footage on social media showed the chaotic scene as an ambulance drove towards a building that was engulfed in flames and witnesses shouted for help in the street. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”No one will survive this crash. We assume that all confirmed passengers of this plane are dead,” said Rodriguez, confirming seven bodies had been discovered in the smoking ruins. Police said two people were injured in the crash and rushed to hospital, but have not reported any fatalities from those who were in the resort area when the plane went down. Philippine aviation authorities said six passengers and two pilots were aboard the craft when it disappeared from radar about 25 nautical miles from the capital Manila.last_img read more

Pilot barred for life after found cheating during licence exam

first_imgNew Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday barred a Mumbai-based pilot for life after he was found cheating in an exam, which is required to get Indian commercial pilot’s licence (CPL), using electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and smart watch, an official order stated.In a separate order, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday also barred a Guntur-based pilot for a period of two years from appearing for the exam after he was found to be in the possession of a mobile Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’phone during the test on July 24. In the order issued to the Mumbai-based pilot Mehboob Samdani Mohd Momtaz Khan, the regulator said, “During examination, you used unfair means and were in possession of two smartphones (one I-phone and one small smart phone), one smart watch and one connecting device.” Khan, who has foreign CPL, was appearing for the paper called “Air Regulation” under CPLCG (CPL conversion) category on July 26 at 9.30 am to 12.30 am in Mumbai. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KTo get an Indian CPL, it is necessary for the pilot holding the foreign CPL to pass the DGCA-approved exam of CPLCG category. Under CPLCG category, the pilot has to appear for an air navigation composite paper and an air regulation paper. As per the rules, the pilot must not have any electronic items such as mobile phones or smart watch during these tests. To Khan, the DGCA said in its order, “Such conduct of an individual aspiring to become a commercial pilot is considered highly detrimental to the safety of aircraft operations and also to the safety of life and material in air as well as on ground and therefore the violation committed is considered very grave.” “In view of such grave violations, the competent authority….hereby permanently (for life term) debars you…from appearing in Pilot’s Licence Examination from the date of issue of this order,” it added. The DGCA also stated that the results of his first paper (the composite paper) is also “declared null and void”. On the Guntur-based pilot Chadharajupalli Siva Nageswara Rao, the DGCA said in its other order,”During examination, you were found in possession of mobile phone.” Rao, who has foreign CPL, was giving the air navigation composite paper under the CPLCG category on July 24 from 9.30 am to 12.30 am. “Now, therefore, in view of the above violation, the competent authority…hereby temporarily debars you (Rao)…from appearing in Pilot’s Licence Examination, for a period of two years from date of issue of this order,” the regulator noted in its order.last_img read more

WestJet plane hit by green laser on approach to airport in Charlottetown

first_imgCHARLOTTETOWN – RCMP are investigating a report of a green laser being directed into the cockpit of a commercial aircraft as it approached the airport in Charlottetown.Police said the WestJet passenger aircraft encountered the beam of light at around 11 p.m. Sunday as it flew over the Brackley Beach area of P.E.I.The laser, which could temporarily blind pilots, shone in the cockpit for about five to 10 seconds. The pilot landed the plane without incident a few minutes later.RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Leanne Butler said police are appealing to the public for help after they patrolled the area, but did not find anything.“We did not find a person last night,” said Butler. “If anyone knows who did it, was a witness to it or can point us in the right direction we’ll certainly follow up.”Butler said the act of shining a laser at an aircraft is a serious federal offence and could carry fines of up to $100,000 and five years in prison.“We take it as a very serious matter because it could have dire consequences,” she said.A spokesman for WestJet confirmed the incident took place, but said it didn’t interfere with the landing of the plane.“Neither pilot looked at the laser and were not affected,” Robert Palmer said in an email, adding that the matter was reported to air traffic control.last_img read more

The Rebel up for a bit of reboot says outlet founder Ezra

first_imgOTTAWA – The founder of the online news site The Rebel admits its content and management need more oversight in the wake of a string of controversies.One reporter was fired, another founder quit and two other contributors resigned last week after the outlet came under intense criticism for its coverage of deadly protests in Virginia.While some believed the outlet to be on its last legs, Rebel founder Ezra Levant said late Tuesday that’s not the plan.“I’m a flawed leader who has made mistakes,” he wrote in a post on the conservative news site late Tuesday.“But as long as you stand with me, I will still stand.”Levant said he’s going to bring in better management of both the business and editorial side of the operation and hire new journalists.Levant said he is partially to blame, and can no longer run the whole company.“Maybe I could when we were just eight people in my living room. But not now, with 45 people in four countries, I can’t do my show, and all our campaigns, and also run the company,” he said.“I need help.”Levant said while he thinks The Rebel’s coverage has been great, if even one per cent were “wrong editorially,” it could, and has, embarrassed them.“I think we need more oversight — not more censorship — just to make sure we’re really being on brand with what we believe, what we stand for,” he wrote.The Rebel has long found itself on the defensive about its coverage, but criticism soared to new heights last week after reporter Faith Goldy travelled to cover protests by white nationalists in Virginia who went on to clash with counter protesters.Her coverage was seen as being sympathetic to the causes of the nationalists who were chanting anti-Semitic slurs at the event, drawing condemnation from a host of politicians.Among them — after several days of questions — was Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who suggested Goldy had crossed the line between reporting the facts and giving those groups a platform.He pledged no further interviews with the Rebel until it changed its editorial direction.Levant had sent out a memo in the aftermath of the Virginia protests seeking to distance The Rebel from the so-called “alt-right,” the name adopted by white nationalist and supremacist groups.But when it emerged, Goldy had also appeared on a podcast affiliated with white supremacist group The Daily Stormer, Levant fired her.Goldy has since called that a “poor decision.”Levant also confirmed Tuesday that contributor Gavin McInnes is leaving the outlet, a move he said has been in the works for awhile.Among his controversial contributions had been a post about a trip to Israel originally titled “10 things I hate about Jews,” though that was changed after an outcry.That trip was among those The Rebel paid for by crowdfunding, and Levant is now pledging greater transparency over how much money the Rebel raises and how it gets spent.That promise comes after two other former contributors levied a string of allegations last week about misuse of donations.On Tuesday, Levant said in the past fiscal year, The Rebel raised $1.54 million via crowdfunding, with the average gift being $78.He said that nearly covers the $1.67 million in the outlet’s expenses.He said charity campaigns run by The Rebel have netted upward of $853,000 for causes including the Fort McMurray wildfires and saving Christians in the Middle East.In addition to donations, The Rebel asks people to subscribe to their premium online content for $8 a month. Levant did not release figures Tuesday on the number of paid subscribers.There are currently about 855,000 subscribers to the site’s YouTube channel, down more than 15,000 since last week.The Rebel was launched in 2015 following the demise of the conservative Sun News Network.last_img read more

Trudeau honours Allan MacEachen as peerless parliamentarian at NS service

first_imgANTIGONISH, N.S. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a moving tribute to the late Allan J. MacEachen on Sunday, saying the former Liberal cabinet minister should be remembered as a key architect who shaped some of Canada’s most cherished institutions.“I bring the thanks of a grateful country,” he told about 400 people gathered for a public memorial service at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., the institution where MacEachen served as an economics professor before entering politics in the early 1950s.“Whether they credit him or not, Canadians are living in the country that Allan J. built, and they like it,” Trudeau said, referring to MacEachen’s nickname. “Let us honour him by recommitting ourselves as Canadians to continuing his life’s work of hard things done well.”MacEachen died last Tuesday. He was 96.As his memorial service began, the skirl of the bagpipes filled the auditorium, and MacEachen’s flagged-draped coffin was carried in by six Mounties in red serge. The ceremony also featured a Mi’kmaq smudging ceremony, a Gaelic prayer and traditional Celtic music, performed by fiddler Ashley MacIsaac.The prime minister bowed his head before MacEachen’s coffin as he took to the stage in a tartan tie honouring his own Scottish heritage.Like so many others who have recounted MacEachen’s many accomplishments during his 40-year political career, Trudeau made it clear that Canadians have the wily Cape Bretoner to thank for universal health care.“We all enjoy health care because of our needs instead of our ability to pay because of medicare,” Trudeau said, noting that it was MacEachen who, as health minister in 1966, used his “peerless parliamentary instincts” to get the Medical Care Act through Parliament.The prime minister said MacEachen also helped bring in the guaranteed income supplement for vulnerable seniors, the Canada Pension Plan and key reforms to the country’s labour laws.Trudeau said MacEachen and his father, Pierre, were “a match made in heaven,” because they shared the same core values.Both men believed that all people are equal, “deserving of equal treatment under the law, equal opportunity to be whom we are, and to do with our lives what we choose,” he said.“They believed in their bones that freedom and equality of opportunity ought to be every Canadian’s birthright.”Former Ontario premier Bob Rae, who ran for the federal Liberal leadership in 2006, said MacEachen was a funny, loyal and warm man with an incredible talent for delivering speeches.“He loved politics,” Rae said. “He loved the battles. He loved the jokes. He loved the stories … All of us who had a chance to work with him … understood that while there was always an elusive, private quality to his personality, there was also a very deep love of what politics brought to his life.”Rae said MacEachen’s life was an “eloquent testimony” to the trials and rewards of public service, describing his former parliamentary colleague — and sometimes adversary — as a “gladiator” with a flare for the political stage, but a reserved private temperament.Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said MacEachen, the son of a coal miner, was a “champion of social justice” who never forgot where he came from.“He was the son of Inverness, Cape Breton,” the premier said. “He was focused and dedicated to his community, his province, he country and its people. He had his fingerprints on some of the most progressive social policies of our time.”Amid the many laudatory tributes, however, there was also plenty of humour.Trudeau recalled how his father once wore a kilt when he attended a Cape Breton community event with MacEachen in the early 1970s. But the elder Trudeau forgot to bring his sporran, the small pouch that is typically worn around the waste and hangs in front of the kilt.“But as many of you know, the sporran serves a practical purpose, beyond the carrying of coins,” Trudeau said. “As Allan J. recounted many years later … the absence of the sporran may have resulted in more exposure than my father’s communications staff had counted on.”Former prime minister Jean Chretien was among the honorary pallbearers, as was federal cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc and former Nova Scotia premiers Rodney MacDonald, Russel MacLellan and Gerald Regan.MacEachen is to be buried in Inverness on Tuesday following a funeral service in the church in which he was baptized.— With files from Adina Besge in Halifax.last_img read more

BC school trustee criticizes gender policy links it to child abuse

first_imgCHILLIWACK, B.C. – A British Columbia school trustee says an educational resource aimed at creating inclusive public schools by supporting LGBTQ students has become a “weapon of propaganda” and is “nothing short of child abuse.”Chilliwack School District trustee Barry Neufeld made the comments in a recent Facebook post about provincial education policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues.“The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program instructs children that gender is not biologically determined, but is a social construct,” he wrote.“At the risk of being labelled a bigoted homophobe, I have to say that I support traditional family values and I agree with the College of Pediatricians that allowing little children (to) choose to change gender is nothing short of child abuse.”The American College of Pediatricians is a Florida-based organization that promotes heterosexual marriage, opposes abortion and is not associated with the American Academy of Pediatrics.Neufeld wrote the sexual orientation and gender identity program was “instigated” by the former B.C. Liberal government to combat bullying but has become an initiative that infuses every subject from Kindergarten to Grade 12.The elected trustee, who has served for two decades, said he believes the program encourages children to question their biological gender and consider gender transition.“Throwing that out there for Grade 4 children to consider, to me, that is not wise and it infringes on the rights of parents to make these decisions,” Neufeld said in an interview on Tuesday.He said the program would destroy the innocence of children.The website for the initiative says it was created by educators and leaders from across Western Canada and “equips educators of all backgrounds and experiences with tools and resources for supporting marginalized LGBTQ students.”The program already has provincewide participation in British Columbia and the website said a new partnership was recently reached with Alberta and national expansion is the next goal.Neufeld said parts of the initiative are good and should be implemented but he wondered why it couldn’t be included in an after school program so interested students could join if they wished.He also said it could create a new class of bullied youngster.“These kids are going to be targeted. They are going to be the targets of bullies when they don’t immediately embrace this new philosophy that the provincial government is teaching.”Education Minister Rob Fleming said it’s important to have the initiative in every school district and he said he hoped Neufeld would familiarize himself with its concept of respect for diversity.“It’s part of our charter rights that every Canadian has, no matter what their age, and it’s something that the school system needs to teach at the earliest age so that students come out of high school understanding what it is to be Canadian, which is respecting each other’s differences and diversity,” Fleming said Monday in Victoria.Chilliwack School Board chairman Paul McManus said Tuesday that Neufeld’s comments are his own opinions and don’t reflect the direction of the board.“We, as a board, have to determine next steps on how we deal with it, because it’s a conversation we have to have,” McManus said, adding the discussion would likely take place in the next day or so.Neufeld said he stands by his remarks and speaks for a silent majority of parents. Neufeld said he doubts he’ll seek re-election next year because he feels he doesn’t belong in an organization that promotes something he opposes.“If this is what Canadian values are all about, I just don’t fit into it, anymore,” he said.last_img read more

Frenzy of violence Alberta man avoids trial pleads guilty to triple murder

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Family members of three murder victims stabbed a total of 244 times in a “frenzy of violence” at a townhouse say they will never fully recover from the senseless attack.Five knives and a meat cleaver were found at the crime scene.“It’s like a wicked nightmare. I cannot erase it from my mind. They were brutally stabbed to death,” Wendy English told court after Austin Vielle pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Monday on what was supposed to be the first day of his first-degree murder trial in Lethbridge, Alta.Vielle, 24, answered Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rodney Jerke with a “yes” when asked if he understood that he was admitting to the crimes.Vielle was charged after Kyle Devine, 27, Clarissa English, 24, and her 18-year-old brother Dakota were found stabbed to death in a Lethbridge townhome in April 2015.English and her brother were Wendy English’s grandchildren.“We all want justice,” she said.Laurie English, mother of Clarissa and Dakota English, is now raising her two grandchildren. She spoke directly to Vielle.“You have brought complete tragedy to our lives,” she said. “I now know what hate means. I feel no compassion for you at all. You’ve destroyed more than half of my heart and my soul.”Crown prosecutor Vaughan Hartigan told court the number of wounds can “only be described as a frenzy of violence” and the victims’ families are left to struggle with the “sheer senselessness of the attacks”.“We’re simply left with a why.”Chantelle English, sobbing throughout her victim impact statement, said she found it hard to believe when she heard her siblings were dead. She said she saw photos in which her brother’s face was “squished in.”“Did they feel pain? What really happened? We’ll never know. Only the Creator will know,” she cried.Allen Devine said the day he found out he had lost his son was the worst day of his life.“His life was cut short,” Devine said. “My pain remains insufferable.”He addressed Vielle directly.“I suggest you pray and ask the Creator for forgiveness.”Judge Jerke delayed sentencing until Tuesday afternoon to mull over a joint submission from the Crown and defence that Vielle receive a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.Vielle declined to address the court and the families of his victim directly but opted instead to have his lawyer Tonii Roulston read a statement.“I’m sorry this happened. I don’t remember what happened. I’m sorry for bringing this pain on you and your family,” the statement read.“They were my friends. I wish this didn’t happen. I hope in the future there can be some kind of reconciliation but I know this will be very difficult.”An agreed statement of facts said all three victims were heavily intoxicated at the time.The statement said Dakota English was stabbed 57 times, Devine had 84 cuts and stab wounds and Clarissa English was stabbed 103 times. Many of the wounds were to the faces, necks and upper bodies of all three.Court heard Vielle was intoxicated when he committed the murders and has no recollection of what happened.He was arrested nearly two weeks after the bodies were found. He was described as a friend to all three.Police said at the time that they believed Vielle had spent time with them in the hours prior to their deaths and that the attacks were targeted.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. Previous versions misspelled Allen Devine’s first name.last_img read more

Neighbours take BC condo owner to court over allegations of prostitution

first_imgVANCOUVER – A condo owner has been ordered to stop using his property for business purposes — including alleged “prostitution related activities” — after his neighbours went to court armed with evidence they put together through dedicated sleuthing.Court documents say residents of the building in Burnaby, B.C., started raising concerns in August 2015 about visitors and disturbances at a unit owned by Christopher Nino Diopita.In a petition filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, neighbours reported hearing sounds of alleged physical violence and “hysterical screaming” coming from the unit as well as seeing women letting men into the building.Affidavits filed in the case say residents referred to the unit as a “brothel.”In a lengthy affidavit, one resident said the activity in Diopita’s unit made him feel uneasy, so he started investigating.He did online research, saying he compared a real estate listing for the condo to ads for escort services in Burnaby and found several similarities, including unique carvings on the bed posts.He also contacted several sex workers pretending to be a potential client.“I created a fake online account and contacted women who posted prostitution-related advertisements relating to (Diopita’s unit) for the purpose of obtaining evidence that prostitution is taking place,” the affidavit says.When asked for a rendezvous spot, some of the women gave the address of the unit, it says.The condo board’s petition says the property manager spoke with Diopita about the neighbours’ concerns. It says Diopita replied that his girlfriend was operating a tattoo business.The board’s bylaws prohibit tenants and owners from using the property to operate a business, and the board sent Diopita letters asking him to stop the alleged commercial activities. He was also issued $8,000 in fines.Diopita, who could not be reached for comment, did not reply to the petition in any court filings.In an 2015 email filed as evidence in the case, Diopita wrote to the building’s manager, saying he had moved to Ohio. He described his financial situation as “basically pitiful” and said he was planning to sell the unit.Court documents say he did not respond to the letters or fines, so in November the condo board asked a judge for an order banning him from the property and forcing him to sell his unit.The judge issued an order Tuesday that says Diopita cannot use his condo for any kind of business, including “prostitution related activities,” and bans him from causing or allowing unreasonable noise in the unit.He has not been banned from the property or forced to sell the unit.— Follow @gkarstenssmith on Twitterlast_img read more

Body mixup at Nova Scotia funeral home unacceptable minister says

first_imgHALIFAX – The recent mix-up of bodies at a Nova Scotia funeral home is unacceptable and should never happen again, a provincial cabinet minister said Thursday.Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan said the tragic mistake is being investigated by the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, which regulates funeral homes and includes one of his staff members.“This can’t happen again,” MacLellan, whose department issues licences for funeral homes, said following a cabinet meeting.“As a government, and a regulatory body for this board, we’ve got to instill the confidence of Nova Scotians that we’re handling these matters properly.”The family of Sandra Bennett have said they were stunned when they went to Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick on Dec. 27 for a visitation following her death a week earlier, only to be presented with the bodies of two other women — and then told their loved one had accidentally been cremated.MacLellan said it’s believed the situation is a one-off, but he’s open to recommendations from the board following its investigation. He said he would be open to policy changes if required.Serenity Funeral Home did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.Bennett’s sister, Carolyn Dominey, has said the family planned to have an open casket service, but when they looked inside, they saw the body of another woman dressed in Bennett’s clothing.“I was shocked,” Dominey said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s like they degraded my sister’s body against her wishes.”Dominey and her daughter, JoAnne, said staff at the funeral home insisted the woman in the casket was in fact Bennett. When they realized it wasn’t, the family says they were presented with another body in the casket purchased by Bennett’s husband, Gary.Again, it was not Bennett.JoAnne Dominey said the family was then told Bennett was mistakenly cremated. But she said it’s not clear that the ashes they were given were actually those of Bennett, who died after a prolonged illness.MacLellan offered his condolences to the family on Thursday.“Losing somebody and a death in the family is the hardest thing you’ll go through. It takes every bit of your strength mentally, emotionally and physically just to deal with the process,” he said.“To have this happen and impact these families in this way is tragic, it’s devastating, and quite frankly from the government’s perspective, it’s unacceptable.”The provincial funeral directors board said Wednesday it is likely the first time it has looked into such a case.Board chairman Adam Tipert said they are examining how the home handled Bennett’s remains and ultimately how the 65-year-old woman was cremated, despite wishes from her family that she not be cremated.Tipert said the board was in the preliminary stages of gathering information on the chain of custody for her body, what discussions were held with the family and what documentation was in place.last_img read more

Its not the smoke its the humidity Fire crews dealing with false

first_imgHALIFAX – Fire officials are shedding light on a little-known phenomenon that can cause the number of false alarms to soar in the muggy summer months: Some smoke detectors can be accidentally set off by high humidity.It’s a problem smoke detectors with ionization sensors appear particularly susceptible to, as hot, humid air can be mistaken for smoke.Halifax Fire and Emergency Services said Tuesday crews have responded to a spike in false alarms as a blanket of extreme humidity settles over the region.“We’ve had days where it’s three times the regular false alarm calls,” said Matt Covey, division chief for fire prevention.“Our field people are telling us it’s humidity that is setting off these alarms … it’s definitely a contributing factor.”Fire officials in Toronto and Victoria said they haven’t experienced a similar uptick in false alarms during humid weather.However, they said ionization detectors are more sensitive to steam, and photoelectric smoke alarms are generally preferred close to bathrooms or kitchens.“What we see here when humidity sets off an alarm is, it’s placed too close to the kitchen area or too close to the bathroom door,” said Capt. Adrian Ratushniak with Toronto Fire Services.“That’s the circumstances we’ve seen, not a general ‘We’re having a humid day here in the city and it’s setting off smoke alarms.’”Brad Sifert, assistant chief of fire prevention with the Victoria Fire Department, said he hasn’t seen weather trigger smoke alarms but it sounds “reasonable” that it could occur in cases of intense humidity.The Maritime provinces have been under a heat warning this week, as temperatures reached 36 degrees with the humidex.Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said humidity in the region has been higher than normal over the last few days.Although showers are expected to cool temperatures later this week, he said the humidity will stick around.“We’ve got a lot of moist air, a lot of southwesterly flow, and we’re not seeing dry air push in from the west or the north at any point in the next several days,” Hubbard said.“It’s going to stay humid and sticky for most of the week — maybe not as hot but certainly as humid.”A spokeswoman with the Office of the Fire Marshal in New Brunswick said she was not aware of any specific cases involving smoke alarms being set off accidentally due to humidity so far this year.Alexandra Davis said in an email that photoelectric alarms are generally superior to ionizing alarms, which can be set off by humidity and cooking.Meanwhile, Halifax Fire’s Covey said regular maintenance and cleaning of smoke alarms could help prevent false alarms.When an ionization detector is dusty, he said it makes the humidity more likely to contribute to setting off the alarm.Covey recommended following the manufacturer’s instructions, but said that generally a soft bristle brush head on a vacuum or a damp cloth would effectively remove the dust.last_img read more

Millions on the line at professional video game competition in Vancouver

first_imgVANCOUVER – When thousands of fans pack Vancouver’s Rogers Arena this weekend, it won’t be a hockey player or a musical superstar they’re screaming to see.Instead, the deafening crowd will cheer on professional video gamers as they battle for the more than US$25 million up for grabs in what’s being described as the esports Super Bowl.This week marks the first time the International Dota 2 Championships are being held in Canada, and fans and organizers say the tournament’s success shows esports has exploded from a niche hobby to a booming industry.About 15,000 tickets for Saturday’s finals sold out almost immediately and at least 10 million others are expected to stream the action live online, said Erik Johnson of Valve, the company that created “Dota 2” — a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game — and runs the tournament.“It’ll be a packed house. It’ll be loud,” he said. “Everyone in the audience plays this game. They all have their favourite teams but they’re also cheering for the game and just want to see great play.”It’s the eighth year Valve has put on the tournament and every year, competition gets more difficult and the prize pool grows, Johnson said. The winnings come from in-game purchases and this year’s purse — including more than US$11 million for the first place team — is the biggest in esports history, he added.For gamers, making it to the big stage requires an incredible amount of focus, Johnson said.“It’s their job,” he said. “They’re not playing games for fun in their basement. They’re all super competitive people who have that competitive drive that most high-end athletes have and their outlet for that happens to be our game.”In “Dota 2,” a player controls one of 10 characters, split into two teams of five. A team wins by destroying a large structure in the opposing side’s base. There are dozens of unique characters available to play in the game, each bringing its own strengths to the battle.Last year’s victors, Team Liquid, have spent months preparing for the championships, said the team’s co-CEO, Victor Goossens. They even formed a partnership with technology giant SAP to develop software that uses analytics to improve their training and in-game performance.The team’s players and coach — who are from Germany, Bulgaria, Finland, Jordan, Lebanon and South Korea — have been on the road for weeks, flying first to the Netherlands for three and a half weeks of intense practice, then to Vancouver 10 days before the competition began.“You cannot do this if it’s not the sole focus and priority of your life. And the degree of dedication that you need to be playing at this level, it’s really intense,” Goossens said.The Vancouver Canucks’ home stadium was transformed for the event, with the arena darkened, save for green and purple lights that gave it an eerie feel. Smoke emanated from the floor and a mossy-looking fabric hung from the rafters, while a soundtrack of ominous rumbles and drips played ahead of the competition.Two large glass structures were erected at centre ice, each outfitted with computers and gaming chairs, ready for competitors from 64 different countries to climb in and log on.When they did, four massive screens suspended from the ceiling broadcast every animated move the gamers made. A smaller inset screen flashed close ups of the players’ faces, contorted in concentration or excitedly chattering with teammates via headset.Even at midday in the middle of the week, spectators sat rapt in the stands, gasping and cheering as battles brewed.The complexity of the game is what intrigues Gwen Rickerby, who watched Wednesday’s action live, wearing the helmet of a legion commander, one of the game’s characters.“It’s like chess with lots of different heroes and items and all sorts of different possibilities,” she said.The esports community is similar to fans of traditional sports, Rickerby added.“It’s just like people following their favourite football or hockey (team). It’s just the same, you’re just watching a different game,” she said.Justin Simpao of the University of British Columbia’s esports association equates his own emotional investment in esports to how he felt when the Canucks made a run for the Stanley Cup in 2011.“People experience that ecstasy of victory or that really, really, really tearing emotion of defeat. People find that in the teams and players they fall in love with when watching them play,” he said.That passion has turned competitive video gaming into a big-money business, Simtao said.“If anybody asked me five years ago what is esports, I would say it’s just sort of the top percentage of gamers playing a specific game, who are really the best at what they do,” he said. “And now, not only can you say that, you can also say it’s a billion-dollar industry.”In Vancouver, one group is looking to capitalize on the growing popularity by building a esports stadium where players of all levels can train or play for fun.The Gaming Station wants to have five purpose-built gaming facilities across the country in the next nine years, said CEO Dan Cybak.Young people have grown up with video games and their desire to play competitively — or even professionally — isn’t going to wane, he said.“It’s not a fad, it’s not going away. You’ve got a generation that’s grown up with these games … and now they’re completely invested in it.”last_img read more

Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade board less than jolly about events future

first_imgWINNIPEG – The board of Winnipeg’s Santa Claus Parade suggests there will be no clatter of reindeer hooves on downtown streets this year unless funding can be found in time to save the more than century old event.The board’s directors say in a statement released Monday that they need about $68,000 by Oct. 5 in order to move forward with the Nov. 17 parade.The statement says the old Santa Claus float was deemed unsafe after more than 65 years in operation, and plans for a replacement were put into action after securing a new sponsorship.That sponsorship was confirmed last year and work began on the float.It’s on schedule for completion in time for this year’s parade but the board says the sponsor withdrew last April, leaving a funding gap.The parade was first launched in 1909.“We are so passionate about this storied and historic Winnipeg event and we sincerely hope we see this tradition continue,” said board chair Rennie Zegalski.“Sadly, as time is ticking, without the necessary funding, the parade simply will not be able to operate.” (CTV Winnipeg)last_img read more

Everybodys going to feel it Broncos families prepare for sentencing hearing

first_imgChris Purdy, The Canadian Press The hardest thing Chris Joseph ever had to do was get through the first 48 hours after his son died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.The second hardest, he says, happens this week when he and his wife attend a sentencing hearing for the truck driver who caused the Saskatchewan crash last year that killed 16 people and injured 13 others on the junior hockey team’s bus.“I think this will be harder than the funeral,” said Joseph, a former NHL player who lives in St. Albert, Alta.“I think everybody’s going to feel it.”Joseph plans to stand in court and read his victim impact statement, full of stories about his 20-year-old son Jaxon. He wants the truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary, to hear what he took away from the world.“(Jaxon) was more than just a hockey player on a bus. He was a person that had a lot of love for his family and had a lot of goals and dreams.”His family is submitting about a dozen statements at the hearing which, with 29 victims, could see a few hundred statements entered as exhibits. A makeshift courtroom has been set up in a community event centre in Melfort, Sask., to accommodate all the families, the survivors and the media.Some of the Humboldt players had been changing into suits and others were texting girlfriends as the team’s bus headed to Nipawin, Sask., for a playoff game on April 6. The bus and truck, which was carrying a load of peat moss, collided at a rural intersection.Motorists who stopped to help, as well as some parents who were on their way to the game, came across the carnage.News of the crash made headlines around the world and hockey-loving Canadians responded with an outpouring of support. They pulled on sports jerseys, left hockey sticks on porches and donated millions of dollars.Sidhu pleaded guilty earlier this month to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years each, as well as 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, which carries a maximum 10 years.Lawyer Mark Brayford said after the guilty plea that Sidhu, 30, wanted to take responsibility to avoid a trial and more hurt for the families.Joseph said he wants the Crown to ask for the highest sentence possible, although he also believes the trucker isn’t totally at fault. “He might be a bit of a victim in this whole thing too, because he never should have been behind the wheel.”The facts have yet to be submitted in court, but a lawsuit filed by the family of another player killed in the crash alleges any training Sidhu had was inadequate.The owner of the Calgary trucking company that hired Sidhu also faces eight charges that relate to non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations in the months before the crash. He has yet to go to trial.Toby Boulet of Lethbridge, Alta., will set eyes on Sidhu for the first time since he saw him at the crash that killed Boulet’s 21-year-old son Logan. Boulet remembers Sidhu was agitated and talking to someone in uniform.Boulet is also delivering a victim impact statement, but he said the most important thing for him will be to learn what happened. All that’s now known is that the semi was on a secondary road with a stop sign. The bus had the right of way. RCMP have only said publicly that the truck was in the intersection when the collision occurred.“I want to know what he did or didn’t do,” said Boulet, who added that it doesn’t matter to him what sentence Sidhu gets.“I’d like to see him serve more than a day in jail, but ultimately he did not get up that morning … and say, ‘I’m going to run into a bus and have a crash and kill 16 people and injure 13 for life.’”Ryan Straschnitzki, 19, of Airdrie, Alta., is one of two players paralyzed in the crash. He has been busy with rehabilitation, didn’t want to write a victim impact statement and says he and his parents aren’t going to the hearing.“That’s none of our business anymore. It’s the judge, it’s the police, and I don’t really see any point in going,” he said.“It’s in the past and I’m here now and I’m lucky.”His mother, Michelle Straschnitzki, said it’s been devastating watching her son have to lift his own legs. And she can’t forgive the truck driver, even though she’s sure his own family is also suffering.“You destroyed 30 families that day. We’re all going to be living with this for the rest of our lives.”— With files from Bill Graveland in Airdrie, Alta.last_img read more

Police investigating after potlaced brownies served at community lunch

first_imgPARRY SOUND, Ont. — Ontario’s provincial police say they’re investigating after several people appeared to “overdose” on cannabis after eating brownies served at a community lunch.Police did not provide details about the event in Whitestone, Ont., including when it took place.But they say several attendees required medical attention after eating the brownies.Police say they experienced symptoms such as dry mouth, disorientation and occasional nausea.Police say no one suffered lasting effects from the spiked dessert.No suspects are in custody and the investigation is ongoing. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Trudeau Sohi meeting with workers at TMXs Edmonton terminal this morning

first_imgOTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is paying a visit to the Trans Mountain pipeline terminal in Edmonton this morning.It has been almost a month since Trudeau gave a second go-ahead to expanding the pipeline, after the courts overturned his government’s original approval.Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi —  who represents a nearby Edmonton riding — will meet with workers at the terminal, which is the start of the pipeline that carries Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.The Liberal government spent $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada in 2018 in a bid to get the existing pipeline expanded despite significant political opposition in British Columbia.That plan hit the rocks in August 2018 when the Federal Court of Appeal said the government had not done a good enough job with either consultations with Indigenous communities or environmental reviews.Six British Columbia First Nations and at least two environment groups have filed new court challenges to the approval.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

900million settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in military

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government is paying $900 million to settle multiple class-action lawsuits lodged on behalf of survivors of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and sexual assault in the military.The settlement provides $800 million for members of the Canadian Armed Forces and $100 million in compensation for another class of employees of the Department of National Defence.Over the past few years, participants in several lawsuits alleging similar misconduct and systemic problems in the military agreed to co-operate in their legal actions against the government.The government had originally sought to defend itself in court against the lawsuits, filing documents in December 2017 in an attempt to quash them.But after facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018.In Thursday’s settlement, the government also promises an external review of existing anti-harassment programs and revisions to how it deals with disability benefits for survivors of sexual assault or harassment.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Kenney says Legault has shaky grasp of history when it comes to

first_imgQUEBEC — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shot back at his Quebec counterpart Monday, saying Francois Legault does not understand the history of equalization.On Sunday, Legault defended equalization against criticism from Alberta, saying the program was part of the “original deal” when Quebec entered Confederation in 1867.Kenney pointed out that the first equalization system was introduced in 1957, and the principle of equalization was included in the Constitution in 1982.Legault had said Quebec, which received $13.1 billion in equalization payments in 2019, has a right to equalization, and no province can unilaterally change the formula under which Ottawa distributes the money.He acknowledged that other premiers, whose provinces are running budget deficits, expressed unhappiness at last month’s premiers’ conference in Saskatoon. Would a referendum on equalization payments be worth it for Alberta?YesNoVoteView Results Take Our Poll“There is something I don’t like,” Legault said. “There are premiers of rich provinces who look at Quebec and say: ‘We are sending you a big cheque. We’d rather keep the money here.’ ”In a Facebook post Monday, Kenney corrected Legault on his history and took him to task for opposing new pipelines while his province benefits from Alberta’s oil and gas wealth.“If Ottawa and other provinces want to benefit from Alberta’s resources, then they must not oppose the transport and sale of those resources,” he wrote.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Cindi Lauper And Gavin DeGraw Headline America Salutes You Concert

first_imgActive members of the military, veterans and their families will be honored over Thanksgiving weekend during America Salutes You, a star-studded musical spectacular asking viewers for their financial support of programs that assist military communities across the country.Concert performers include pop legend Cyndi Lauper, multi -platinum selling singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw, country music legend Wanda Jackson, rapper Hoodie Allen, Gospel Grammy winner CeCe Winans, world-renowned tenor Anthony Kearns, and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs.Less than 1% of our population serves to make the world safe for the rest of us. We owe them a huge debt, and they have many needs when they return including: healthcare, mental health services, housing, education, jobs and finding a career to support their families, legal services, financial readiness and much more.The concert will air nationally on Tribune Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Graham Media Group Nexstar and Ion stations. Visit americasalutesyou.org for local listings.To help support our veterans, service members and their families, donations will be raised during the multi-platform broadcast special. All donations will go to the America Salutes You Campaign, a McCormick Foundation Fund. All fundraising costs are covered by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. America Salutes You and sponsors covered production expenses. For a full list of sponsors, visit americasalutesyou.org.All funds raised will be granted to non-profit organizations helping veterans, service members and their families across the country including: Give An Hour, ThanksUSA, Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, TAPS, Snowball Express, Illinois Joining Forces and the Honor Flight Network.Donation Information:
ONLINE: mccormickfoundation.org/americasalutesTEXT: Text FREEDOM to 80077 to donate $10 (messaging fees may apply)MAIL: America Salutes You Campaign23912 Network PlaceChicago, IL 60673-1239last_img read more

Stars To Attend Tower Cancer Research Foundation Cancer Free Generation Poker Tournament

first_imgDozens of stars from TV, sports, music and film will ante up and bet big to support talented young cancer researchers and change the future of cancer at Tower Cancer Research Foundation’s (Tower) 4th Annual Ante Up for a Cancer Free Generation Poker Tournament and Casino Night on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the Sofitel Hotel, Riviera 31, 8555 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048.Red carpet arrivals begin at 6:00 PM PDT.The event has attracted the support of numerous celebrities who are expected to attend including (in alphabetical order by first name): AJ Buckley (CSI: NY, Seal Team); Angel Parker (Lab Rats, American Crime Story); Baron Davis (former NBA player); Beau Casper Smart (Dirty Dancing, The Perfect Match); Chuck Liddell (UFC Champion); Corey Maggette (former NBA player); David Allen Grier (Comedian); Erin Cummings (Feed the Beast, Madoff); Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, Switched at Birth); Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley (Real Housewives of OC); Hector David Jr. (Power Rangers); James Lesure (Las Vegas, Men at Work); Jamie Gold (Professional Poker Player); Jason Collins (retired NBA player); Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills 90210); Joanna Krupa (Super Model, Actress); Joshua Bowman (Revenge); Katie Cleary (Model, Activist); Kim Glass (Olympic Gold Medalist); Nyambi Nyambi (Mike and Molly); Phillip Keene (Major Crimes); Shanna Moakler (VH1 Hollywood Exes); Steve Howey (Shameless); Tiffany Michelle (Celebrity Poker Professional, Amazing Race); Tito Ortiz (MMA/UFC Champion); Tommy Lasorda (MLB Legend); Tony Denison (Major Crimes); Torrie Wilson (WWE Raw/ WWE Smackdown!); Vanessa Marcil (Las Vegas, General Hospital).Cancer Free Generation (CFG) is the young leadership division of Tower. CFG seeks to identify, among their peers in the Southern California region, visionary and innovative doctors, medical professionals and researchers and enable them to discover and implement new ideas and techniques to conquer cancer.Additionally, CFG’s efforts support young people and their families who have been impacted by cancer, so that they may approach life with renewed strength and optimism. With this dual approach, CFG’s goal is to help ensure that the next generation becomes the first cancer free generation. CFG’s executive committee consists of young professionals working in a variety of fields including finance, law, real estate, entertainment, and medicine. Many members of CFG’s leadership are, themselves, young cancer survivors. Their common vision is the desire to build a more inspired community via connecting interesting and passionate young people who make a difference in the world.PokerStars is generously sponsoring the tournament again this year, along with several other gracious sponsors, including Janis Horn and Roger Ehrlich; Tanner Mainstain Glynn & Johnson, LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates; Herzog, Yuhas, Ehrlich & Ardell, APC; FusionStorm; and Bank of America. Among the top prizes are: A seat in the PokerStars Championship in the Bahamas; A Four-Night Stay at the Ritz Carlton Waikiki; and A Three-Night Stay at the Hilton Los Cabos.Tickets may be purchased at the Tower website or by calling 310.299.8477.last_img read more

Gigi Hadid Visits UNICEF Programming In Bangladesh

first_imgInternational supermodel and UNICEF Supporter Gigi Hadid traveled with UNICEF USA to Bangladesh last week, promoting the rights and well-being of every child.Gigi Hadid Visits UNICEF Programming in BangladeshDuring her visit, Hadid saw first-hand the impact of UNICEF programming, including education, child-friendly spaces, health support and more. The trip fell on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Rohingya refugee crisis, which began on August 25, 2017.There are 1.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the region since the mass influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh from Myanmar last year, and more than half are children. On a visit to the Sabrang river border area, Hadid saw the route that so many children and families took in hopes of a safer life.At a Learning Center in Shamlapur Camp, Hadid met students and joined in educational games and activities. At an Information Feedback Center, she met with inspirational young people, mothers and community mobilizers who are engaging their communities in response efforts.At a Women-Friendly Space in Jamtoli Camp, Hadid met women who are leading their households with support from UNICEF and partners. In the Kutupalong camp, Hadid saw the lifesaving impact of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Packets for malnourished children at an Outpatient Therapeutic Feeding Center and saw the power of play at a Child-Friendly Space, where kids receive support and recover from trauma.“Visiting the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh with Gigi Hadid ahead of the one-year mark of the crisis was a hugely impactful experience. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose to make sure that these bright, dynamic children have everything they need to grow and thrive,” said Caryl M. Stern President and CEO of UNICEF USA. “We are so thankful that Gigi gave her time, voice and platforms to this mission. She is a living example of what it means to put ‘children first’ and was a natural in the environment – warm and engaging with everyone she met. We are thrilled to have her as a UNICEF USA Supporter.”Upon her return, Hadid and UNICEF Ambassador Halima Aden started a CrowdRise page to support UNICEF’s work to protect children on the move around the world and celebrate their September cover of CR Fashion Book. Both Hadid and Aden are represented by IMG Models, whose parent company Endeavor helped introduce them to UNICEF USA.“We were so proud to connect Gigi with Endeavor’s social impact partner, UNICEF, and watch her mobilize immediately through her first field visit to Bangladesh. Gigi was able to witness firsthand the incredible work UNICEF is doing with the Rohingya refugees in helping them not only survive, but thrive. The impassioned support from Gigi, Halima and their teams at IMG Models will continue to raise awareness for and have a direct impact on the communities UNICEF serves around the world,” stated Tascha Rudder, Executive Director of the Endeavor Foundation.Join Hadid and Aden in their initiative to support uprooted children around the world by visiting www.crowdrise.com/UNICEFuprooted.last_img read more