TORONTO – A new study by Canadian researchers has found that honeybees have been exposed to a controversial pesticide for much longer than previously thought at levels that have led to higher mortality and overall weakened health.The research, conducted in Ontario and Quebec, found virtually all pollen studied — 99.5 per cent — contained neonicotinoids that spilled over from corn and soy crops into plants and wildflowers such as maple trees, dandelions and clover.“At the current level of agricultural practices, what we’re doing now generates a byproduct of neonicotinoids in environments around corn fields that is most likely going to cause reduction of honeybee health and the health of other pollinators,” said Amro Zayed, the lead author of the study published Thursday in Science.Neonicotinoids are an insecticide that coats seeds for crops like corn and soy to protect it against insect pests, but since it is water soluble, it is mobile, said Zayed, a York University associate professor of biology. At large doses it’s been shown in the lab to cause paralysis and death by blocking signal transmission between neurons in the brain, he explained.Zayed said once his team established the real-world levels of neonicotinoids found in the field, he replicated that in a research apiary at York, treating some “pollen patties” with neonicotinoids and tracking the comings and goings of honeybees.“Honeybees treated with neonicotinoids suffered a range of negative effects including a 23-per-cent shorter lifespan and differences in behaviour,” he said.“Those bees also took progressively longer foraging trips as they aged, suggesting they are either unhealthy, can’t fly as fast or are having a hard time remembering how to fly back to their colony.”The treated colonies also tended to lose their queens and were unable to replace their queens, meaning certain death for the hives, unlike the untreated colonies in the study, he said.A similar study in Europe found neonicotinoids dramatically weaken vulnerable honeybee hives.Researchers in Britain, Hungary and Germany planted about 2,000 hectares of fields of rapeseed, which is made into cooking oil, called canola in America. Some of the fields were planted with seeds treated with the insecticide, others with untreated seeds. The researchers followed bees from the spring of 2015 when the seeds flowered to the following spring when new bees were born.The bee hives in the Hungarian and British fields that used pesticide-treated seeds did worse surviving through the next winter, the researchers found. In Hungary, the honeybee colonies near treated fields had 24 per cent fewer worker bees the next spring when compared to those near untreated crops.But in Germany, the bees didn’t seem harmed. Hives there were generally healthier to start and when scientists analyzed the pollen brought back to the hives, they determined that the German bees ate a far broader diet with much less of their nutrition coming from the pesticide-treated rapeseed plants, said study director Richard Pywell. Only about 10 per cent of the German bee diet was from neonicotinoid-treated plants, compared to more than 50 per cent in Hungary and England, he said.When hives are weakened by disease, parasites or bad diet — as many hives are worldwide — then the neonicotinoids “pushes them over the edge,” said Pywell, a scientist at the Center for Ecology and Hydrology in England. So many of the British hives died, in both treated and untreated fields, that scientists couldn’t calculate the specific effect of the insecticide, he said.For more than a decade, the populations of honeybees and other key pollinators have been on the decline, and scientists have been trying to figure out what’s behind the drop, mostly looking at a combination of factors that include disease, parasites, poor diet and pesticides.Europe banned neonicotinoids, or neonics, in 2013 and researchers needed a special exemption to do their study.The European and Canadian studies show that neonicotinoids harm bees, but still may not quite be the leading cause of bee losses, said University of Maryland entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who wasn’t part of the study.“The problem remains complex, like cancer,” he said.Neonicotinoids makers Bayer and Syngenta paid for the European study but had no control over the results or the published paper, Pywell said.Company officials pointed to the results in Germany and the lack of harm to hives there.“The study shows that when hives are healthy and relatively disease free and when bees have access to diverse forage, neonics do not pose a danger to colony health,” Bayer spokesman Jeffrey Donald wrote in an email.In a statement, Syngenta’s Peter Campbell, head of research collaborations, said the study “strongly suggests the effects of neonicotinoids are a product of interacting factors.”— With files from The Associated Press
TORONTO – North Korea’s latest missile test has sparked mixed emotions among Canada’s Korean community, with some expressing alarm at what they deem an escalation of the country’s military efforts while others remain unfazed.Lisa Pak, who lives in west Toronto, said this week’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile — North Korea’s first — has left her on edge.“They may be tremors before an explosion,” said Pak, who is helping lead an effort to free a Mississauga, Ont. pastor detained in North Korea.“At one point, it might not just be threats.”The test, which took place Tuesday as the United States celebrated Independence Day, marked a major step forward in North Korea’s plan to develop a nuclear missile capable of reaching any location in the U.S.It has drawn the censure of both American and Canadian officials, who have called it a threat to international peace and security, and led both the U.S. and South Korea to stage ballistic missile firing drills in response.Still, some Korean-Canadians say they aren’t rattled by North Korea’s recent show of force, which they consider business as usual.Haeyeon Joo, 27, said she has become “desensitized” after years of missile tests.“North Korea has been doing missile tests for years,” said Yoo, who immigrated to Toronto from South Korea in 1999 and now lives in New York City.“It’s not new, sadly. It’s just that this time they were successful.”Choo Yosep, a 30-year-old Toronto-born realtor who visits relatives back home every so often, echoed that sentiment, suggesting the threat posed by this week’s test has been overblown.“Yes, [North Korea] has had their first long-range missile test, but there’s still a lot of engineering and science that they have to get through to execute what I would consider to be a serious threat,” Yosep said.“My parents are in regular contact with family back home. They are not panicking.”Pak said she fears tensions will continue to rise as long as the North Korean regime feels its power is being threatened.“How do we change the rhetoric so that North Korea doesn’t feel like they need to have nuclear weapons to survive? I think that is very much their thinking pattern, and we can’t change that,” Pak said.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has said Canada will continue its international efforts to resolve the rapid growth of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.— With files from The Associated Press
REGINA – An HIV-positive Regina man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for choking a woman until she was unconscious and then sexually assaulting her.Kenton Desjarlais, who is 26, had earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault. He will also get 334 days credit for time spent in jail before he was sentenced.But prosecutor Chris White had wanted a 12-year sentence “because it was a brutal offence.”“It was committed against an unsuspecting, innocent stranger minding her own business. That victim could have been anyone,” White said Monday after the sentence was delivered in court.“It’s the sort of offence that hits really close to home, no matter who you are frankly or where you live. Not to mention the fact that there were those aggravating factors vis-a-vis the HIV, the choking and the fact that he has a significant record. These are all things that I think pushed it towards 12.”Court was told the woman walking home from a pub in downtown Regina in May 2015 when Desjarlais approached her on a bicycle.Justice Brian Barrington-Foote said in his sentencing decision that the woman “nicely, and then bluntly” rejected Desjarlais’ verbal advances. She pushed Desjarlais away when he touched her bottom, but Desjarlais would not be deterred.Court heard the woman fought back when he dragged her to the ground, scratching at his face.He put his hands around her neck and choked her until she lost consciousness, then pulled down her pants.The assault was initially considered to have been aggravated because Desjarlais is HIV positive. But that was changed after an expert gave evidence at a preliminary hearing that levels of the virus were so low there was a minimal chance of transmission.The choking became the aggravating factor.The defence suggested a sentence of between five and 12 years.In making a sentencing decision, Barrington-Foote acknowledged that Desjarlais had a difficult childhood which included abuse and drug use.“It was his mother who introduced him to a criminal lifestyle,” said Barrington-Foote. “She stole to support her drug habit, and recruited him as a helper.”At the time of the attack, Desjarlais was under the influence of cocaine, morphine, crystal meth and alcohol.However, the judge also noted that Desjarlais has been convicted of 60 previous offences, including assault.Desjarlais was also assessed as having a high risk to reoffend generally and sexually.Barrington-Foote said in his sentencing decision that the woman “gave an eloquent and powerful victim impact statement.” She described the psychological and emotional impact of an attack that has changed her life to the point where she finds it hard to leave her home.“She painted a vivid picture of what was, for her, an incomprehensible event,” said Barrington-Foote.The woman had to take powerful drug cocktails and spent months not knowing whether she was infected with HIV. She tested negative.Despite her fears, Barrington-Foote said the woman wanted her story to be heard and is comforted by the fact that she may have saved another woman by speaking out.“We owe her a debt of gratitude for stepping forward, then and now, to report and help us better understand the impact of this despicable crime,” he said.“I am hopeful that the fact that justice will be done — difficult though the process must have been — will not only help others, but will help her find peace.”
Six young Nova Scotia men treated the sexual integrity of girls as young as 13 like “bartering chips or baseball cards” when they shared intimate images of them without their consent, the Crown argued in its sentencing recommendations.The boys, who are all from the Bridgewater area, have admitted to forming a private Facebook group where they decided to exchange photos of at least 20 girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17, without their consent.They were scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but the case was adjourned until Sept. 6, due in part to the fact that one of the accused did not comply with the requirements of a pre-sentence report.Defence lawyers had also asked for more time after the Crown submitted a brief outlining proposed penalties.The 21-page document, submitted in Bridgewater provincial court, says the young men should be prohibited from using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.“They treated the victims’ sexual integrity as bartering chips or baseball cards that could then be traded and circulated amongst friends,” the Crown brief states.“This objectifies the female victims and undermines their autonomy.”It recommends against jail time, but says the six young men should be on probation for two years, with the possibility of reducing that.“We’re expecting that the sentencing hearing is going to be in dispute – what the proper penalty is definitely not agreed upon by the defence,” Crown attorney Peter Dostal said outside court.“This isn’t a prosecution of just people sexting. This is a prosecution of people misusing these materials, disseminating them and potentially putting them out there for the whole world and that is the real evil that the criminal law has been attempting to stop.”The Crown brief also said the boys should be barred from contacting the victims, undergo counselling, try to find work or attend educational programming and complete community service.The defence lawyers declined to comment as they left court.Related stories:‘Experts say N.S. intimate photos case unlikely to deter teensYoung girls pressured to send nudes, unaware boys were sharing them, court toldLawyers near agreement in Nova Scotia intimate images case involving young girlsWhen the six were charged in July 2016, four of the accused were 15 years old and the other two were 18. However, all were under 18 when the offences were committed, which means their identities are protected from publication under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The victims’ identities are also protected.The case is one of Canada’s largest involving a relatively untested law introduced in 2015 to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. It came after the suicide of Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons, whose family says a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted was circulated among students at her school in Cole Harbour.Court documents said two Dropbox accounts were created for the purpose of sharing dozens of intimate images of girls in various states of undress or naked. An agreed statement of facts said everyone who uploaded photos either knew outright or were “wilfully blind” to the fact that the subjects didn’t consent to their distribution.In the agreed statement, the photos’ subjects cited a variety of motivations for sending the images.Some said they felt pressured by what they described as persistent requests for intimate images, while others said they were vying for boys’ affections or just joking around, the statement said.The document said one 13-year-old girl was repeatedly asked for sexual photos by one of the accused over the course of several days, despite persistent rejection. Another girl who was 14 at the time said the boy would talk about how they could trust each other, then asked her for naked photos.In the sentencing document, the Crown dismisses the argument that some of the young men allegedly provided unsolicited intimate images of themselves to the girls.“Any reliance upon the accused as being victims of the female’s actions further perpetuates the trend of victim blaming,” it states.
VANCOUVER – The fire in Logan Lake started like so many others in British Columbia’s worst wildfire season on record — a smouldering campfire, not fully extinguished, sparked flames that spread across the forest floor.But unlike other blazes that have grown catastrophically, engulfing homes, forests and farmland, the Logan Lake fire in June was kept to a half-hectare. The reason, a local official says, is because the town has conducted extensive wildfire mitigation, in spite of a provincial system he describes as under-funded, burdensome and unfair.“Had (the fire) been in that area when we did not mitigate that area, we would’ve had a severe fire on our hands,” said Fire Chief Dan Leighton. “That’s proof that the work we’re doing will work.”In the wake of the 2003 wildfire crisis, which destroyed more than 300 homes and businesses, the British Columbia government asked former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon to conduct a thorough review. In his report, Firestorm 2003, he warned that unless action was taken to reduce fuels such as seedlings, shrubs and wood debris in forests near communities, there would be more severe wildfires.The province launched the strategic wildfire prevention initiative, a program that provides funding to communities for fuel treatment. To date, the province has provided $78 million to the initiative, a fraction of the amount spent battling blazes or preparing for earthquakes, and less than seven per cent of high-risk land has been treated.This summer, the wildfire season surpassed 2003, burning 10,600 square kilometres of land and forcing 45,000 people from their homes. The bill is $400 million and rising. The devastation has left community leaders and experts saying the province could have done more to reduce the risk.“The amount of fuel management to protect communities was minuscule relative to the scale of the challenge,” said Bob Simpson, Quesnel mayor and a former NDP forestry critic in the legislature.The province estimates about 13,470 square kilometres of forest are at high risk of wildfires spreading into communities. The figure is considered rough, provincial-level data and must be verified on the ground, but it’s the best estimate available. Some 923 square kilometres have undergone fuel treatment — or just under seven per cent.John Rustad, the forests minister prior to the B.C. Liberal government’s defeat in July after 16 years in power, said the government worked seriously with communities to reduce fuel loads. The province expanded the community forest program, which allows towns to harvest nearby timberlands and make them more fire-resistant, he said.Unfortunately, the mountain pine beetle epidemic has led to fuel buildup even in places where work was done a decade ago, he said, adding treatment is costly and must be done continuously.“Could we have spent more? Obviously, hindsight is 20/20,” he said. “But when you look at the fires that came in toward Cache Creek or Ashcroft, I don’t think there would have been any strategy possible to prevent that kind of an interface (fire) and those kinds of damages.”Madeline Maley, executive director of the B.C. Wildfire Service, said managing wildfire risk is a shared responsibility and the province counts on local governments and homeowners to meet the standards of a program called FireSmart.The Forest Practices Board estimated in 2015 that the average cost of treating a hectare of land was $10,000, although some experts put the figure at $5,000. That means the lowest cost of treating 13,470 square kilometres would be $6.7 billion. The board said the cost per hectare could be reduced through increased competition and incentives.In Logan Lake, careful removal of so-called ladder fuels, including tall grasses, shrubs and branches, is what kept the wildfire in June from growing upward and becoming what’s known as a crown fire, which leaps from treetop to treetop and is much harder to contain.But Leighton, the fire chief, said his frustrations with the strategic wildfire initiative are growing. Communities are required to do the work at considerable cost before being reimbursed, he said, adding it can take up to a year to receive funds.Then there’s the fact that the land they are treating is Crown land surrounding the municipality, but the province only pays for 75 per cent of the planning and 90 per cent of the treatment, he said.“The province should be paying 100 per cent,” said Leighton.Paul Taylor, a spokesman for the Union of B.C. Municipalities, said if the up-front cost is prohibitive for communities, they can ask to submit regular claims to receive payments throughout the process.The B.C. government created a forest enhancement society last year that has received $235 million for activities including wildfire risk reduction, bringing the total spent on mitigation, when combined with the strategic wildfire initiative, to $313 million.In contrast, it has spent billions preparing for a major earthquake — a worthy use of funds, but one expert wonders why wildfires have not been made an equal priority.“Here we are with wildfires with severe consequences,” said Lori Daniels, an associate professor of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia.And unlike a major earthquake, she said, “It’s not if it’s going to happen in our lifetime. It happens every summer in our lifetime.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.
TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the founder of the Invictus Games hours before the competition for wounded veterans was set to get underway.Prince Harry and the Prime Minister exchanged laughs and pleasantries at a downtown Toronto hotel shortly before both were expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Games.Harry told Trudeau that the event had created “a real buzz around Toronto,” which will play host to the Games for the next week.Trudeau, in turn, thanked Harry for founding the Games and creating opportunities for veterans.Harry will meet with Gov. Gen. David Johnston before attending the star-studded opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre, which will feature performers such as Sarah McLachlan and Alessia Cara.A few well-wishers gathered outside the room where Harry and Trudeau were meeting, though the crowd paled in comparison to the one assembled to greet the prince earlier in the day when he touredone of Canada’s premier mental health facilities.
VANCOUVER – British Columbia parents who have lost the chance to get their children into French immersion through a lottery system are hoping the education minister’s teacher-recruitment trip to Europe will create more opportunities for early bilingualism.Rahel Staeheli said she registered her daughter Milani for French immersion at two schools but learned in February that she didn’t get a kindergarten spot for September, landing her at 53rd and 57th place on wait lists.Staeheli has since registered Milani at a third school further from their home in Surrey, only to see her at the bottom of another wait list.“We contacted the school board after we found out our wait-list numbers and they basically said, ‘You’re never getting in,’ ” she said.“We’re really disappointed to learn that there isn’t necessarily an equal opportunity for all children to learn our second national language,” said Staeheli, adding her father speaks English, French, Swiss, Spanish and Swiss German, and she wants her children to at least be conversant in Canada’s two official languages.She said her daughter may have to wait to get into early French immersion in Grade 1, but fears she may again lose out on a spot because children with siblings already in the program are given priority.That would have Milani and students in a similar situation waiting to enter “late” French immersion in Grade 6, when they would have to change schools if the program isn’t offered at their school. Forty-eight of 60 school districts offer the program.Parents in various provinces share Staeheli’s frustration, but advocates in B.C. say demand for French immersion enrolment is particularly strong in their province, where a Supreme Court of Canada decision in November 2016 restored small class sizes, requiring more teachers in all subjects.Education Minister Rob Fleming said nearly 3,700 teachers overall have been hired in the last year and the hiring process continues, but demand for French immersion far outstrips the number of available teachers, leaving the province competing for educators with other jurisdictions in Canada.Fleming said 37 of 100 new seats added to education faculties at British Columbia universities are specifically for those intending to teach French immersion, which is taught to almost 10 per cent of B.C.’s public school population.His trip to France and Belgium earlier this month was an “aggressive” effort to recruit French teachers, he said, adding the province made assurances about removing barriers to temporary work permits and citizenship, along with faster accreditation of education degrees and teacher licensing.“I think what this trip was really about was opening doors of recruitment, to let the governments of France and Belgium know that we’re serious about the teaching opportunities that exist here in B.C., which means promoting B.C. as a vibrant, dynamic part of Canada that is not Ontario and Quebec, which they’re most familiar with,” Fleming said.“Ninety-five per cent of the business they currently do is with Quebec. They are not aware that the anglophone provinces have a significant and growing interest in French-language education,” he said, adding B.C. would pay for teachers’ relocation costs and provide scholarships for those wanting to complete their training at the province’s French-teacher education institutions.Glyn Lewis, executive director of the B.C. and Yukon chapter of Canadian Parents for French, said the organization noted a worsening teacher-supply problem four years ago and issued a report, but received little response from either provincial or federal governments.“Last spring when the Vancouver School Board cut a quarter of its program and turned all those families away because they couldn’t find teachers I went to the (provincial) government and said, ‘We told you this was going to happen.’ “A lottery system for French-immersion registration was introduced by some school districts to replace long pre-registration lineups outside schools, where parents often camped out over several days.“Families are still being turned away, whether through a lottery system, a campout or a wait-list system at 20 of 48 school districts,” Lewis said.Heritage Canada spokesman Simon Ross said the department has hiked funding for various French-language programs, including $31 million to recruit more immersion and French-as-a–second-language teachers as part of a plan to increase the bilingualism rate of English speakers outside Quebec.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
OTTAWA – Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio says he’s resigning his seat on Jan. 22 after weeks of speculation around whether he would ever return to work.The Montreal MP has not been seen in Ottawa since Parliament resumed sitting Sept. 17.Di Iorio wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday that to finalize “certain projects” he will hold his job until a few days before the House of Commons returns after a Christmas break.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer raised the issue in question period shortly afterward, asking if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks it’s fair for Di Iorio to remain a member of Parliament and take a paycheque from a private firm while still collecting his salary as an MP. Di Iorio has an active law practice in Montreal.Trudeau said Di Iorio has indicated his intention to leave and has shared the issues he will be working on for his constituents until then.“We expect every member in this House to work in the best interest of his constituents,” Trudeau said.Di Iorio wrote in French on Facebook that he will serve his riding, will work on matters such as road safety and impaired driving, and will be in the House of Commons when it’s required by the Liberal whip or the prime minister and will carry out his duties as a member of Parliament.He says even after he resigns he will be available to his constituents until the general election due next fall, saying he will be alert to their concerns and will volunteer to help.Last week, Di Iorio posted a short message on Facebook saying that Trudeau had assigned him responsibilities that required him to be away from the House of Commons.But Trudeau dodged reporters’ questions about the MP’s absence on Monday, suggesting reporters ask Di Iorio about it.First elected to represent St. Leonard-St. Michel in 2015, Di Iorio has been sending mixed messages about his future in politics since April, when he announced he was leaving but without giving a timeline. In September he said he was still reflecting on the future.
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s Green party will not support the return to the legislature of the suspended clerk and sergeant-at-arms in the wake of a report by Speaker Darryl Plecas alleging spending misconduct.Andrew Weaver says the legislature’s house leaders for the NDP, Liberals and Greens will consider their options for the futures of clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz, but their return to work will not receive his support.Lenz and James were suspended and escorted out of the legislature last November amid an ongoing RCMP investigation.A 76-page report alleges spending by the two men on luxurious overseas trips, payout packages and personal purchases totalling millions of dollars.James and Lenz were not immediately available for comment Tuesday, but in a statement Monday they said they only just learned of the claims by looking at the report and time will show the allegations are completely false and untrue.The RCMP says it is aware of the release of the Plecas report and its investigation is active and ongoing. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Mazda is recalling more than 200,000 Mazda 3 compact cars in the U.S. and Canada because the windshield wipers can fail.The company says in documents posted Saturday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the recall covers cars from the 2016 through 2018 model years.The Japanese automaker traced the problem to metal deposits that can cause a wiper relay to stick, knocking out the wipers and limiting driver visibility.It says it has no reports of crashes or injuries due to the problem.Transport Canada says the recall affects more than 51,000 units in Canada.It says owners can take their vehicle to a dealer to have the front body control module replaced.— with files from The Associated PressThe Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Supreme Court is expected to set key court dates today for the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.The Department of Justice says in a statement the appearance is also an opportunity for Meng’s lawyers to discuss the scheduling of any pre-hearing applications they want to bring forward.It says they may also review administrative matters like Meng’s bail conditions.Meng was arrested in December at Vancouver’s airport at the request of the United States, which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges.She has been free on bail and is living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver while wearing an electronic tracking device and being monitored by a security company.Meng and Huawei have denied any wrongdoing.Tensions between China and Canada have escalated and just days after Meng was arrested China imprisoned two Canadians.China has also banned shipments of canola and some pork imports in what is widely seen as economic retaliation for the arrest.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Twitter is creating a registry of all online political ads posted on its platform during this fall’s federal election campaign.But the social media giant will ban political advertisements during the two-month run-up to the official campaign, known as the pre-writ period, that starts June 30.Twitter Canada announced its ad-transparency policy this morning, several weeks after being called out by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould for not committing to help ensure the integrity of the federal electoral process.A new law requires platforms to keep a publicly accessible registry of political ads during both the pre-writ and writ periods, where Canadians can easily find out who is posting online ads.Facebook rolled out its own ad-transparency policy two weeks ago and, starting this week, is systematically detecting and reviewing ads on social issues, elections and politics in Canada, and requiring that they include a “paid for by” disclosure.Google has decided to ban political ads on its platform altogether rather than try to set up a registry, which it argued would be technologically difficult to develop in the limited time available before the campaign.Twitter is taking a middle road between the two other tech titans, banning ads during the pre-writ period as it fine-tunes its transparency tool in time for the start of the official campaign period in September.Earlier this month, Gould scolded Twitter for failing say whether it would comply with the law on ad transparency and for not signing onto a “declaration of electoral integrity.” That commits Internet companies to work with the government to help prevent malicious foreign or domestic actors from using social media to peddle disinformation, exacerbate societal divisions and undermine trust in the electoral process. Facebook, Google and Microsoft have signed on.“We haven’t heard from Twitter on the declaration. We haven’t heard from Twitter in terms of what they’re planning on doing for the upcoming election,” Gould said.“I think it’s important for Canadians to be aware that Twitter has essentially decided not to take responsibility for these activities, that Twitter is not committing to what they’ll do here in Canada.”Michele Austin, head of government public policy at Twitter Canada, said the company has an “excellent working relationship” with Gould’s department, Elections Canada, the commissioner of elections and cybersecurity authorities.“Minister Gould is asking the right questions for Canadians, she’s expressing concerns which we’re happy to meet,” Austin said in an interview. “So I welcome those questions and welcome the criticism but also would like to continue to work together with them and make sure that she takes the time to experience the efforts that we’ve taken.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Nearly three dozen passengers sustained minor injuries Thursday when an Air Canada flight travelling from Toronto to Sydney, Australia, ran into severe turbulence, prompting an emergency landing in Honolulu.The airline says Flight AC33, which made a scheduled stopover in Vancouver Wednesday night, was about two hours past Hawaii over the Pacific Ocean when the conditions triggered a turnaround, resulting in 35 injuries.The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, had 269 passengers on board, some of whom received medical assistance on arrival at Honolulu airport.More coming.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is sending a team of investigators to the scene of a seaplane accident that killed four people and left five injured on a remote, uninhabited island in British Columbia.The TSB says investigators will gather information and assess the crash, which took place on Addenbroke Island around 100 kilometres off the northern tip of Vancouver Island on Friday.Lt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says they received word at around 11 a.m. on Friday that a Cessna 208 float plane operated by Seair Seaplanes had crashed.The centre says the chartered plane had nine people aboard and was headed to neighbouring Calvert Island, the location of the Hakai Land and Sea fishing lodge and a Hakai Institute research station.Hakai Institute founder Eric Peterson says the flight was not bound for the research station and no one affiliated with the institute was on the plane. According to weather data from Hakai’s Calvert Island station, there was intense rain between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Friday, around the time the crash was reported.Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
With files from CityNews CALGARY (CITYNEWS) – Canada’s Police Chiefs wrapped up a four-day conference in Calgary Wednesday where they focused on several issues.The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is adopting six new resolutions, to deal with issues of organized crime and cybersecurity.Other key issues were reportedly left out of the conference according to Calgary Police Service member Kim Prodaniuk.On a post shared on LinkedIn, Prodaniuk called out the CACP Board over a lack of diversity.“We have 16 out of 17 positions that are male and one female. They’re all white and also, five out of five executive positions are male.”Prodaniuk, who represents the National Women in Law Enforcement Association, is calling for a change in the board which is holding elections soon.She said the prerequisites for becoming an officer have drastically changed.“The old days of a police officer needing to be a 6’4 white male who is heavy-handed and can defend himself and members of the public, those days have long passed. I think now, modern prerequisites for police officers should be diversity.”In March, Prodaniuk filed a lawsuit against the Calgary Police Service citing ongoing sexism, sexual harassment, and bullying.READ MORE: Lawsuit filed against Calgary Police and Police AssociationShe said that’s another issue the failed to address at the conference.“Employers have a responsibility to their employees to provide safe workplaces. This conference evidences (that) police employers in Canada have been negligent in their responsibilities to employees.”In a statement emailed to 660NEWS, the CACP says “We respect Ms. Prodaniuk’s rights to express her opinions and wish to have the opportunity to discuss her concerns with her in a personal and constructive way before addressing any inquiries from the media on this topic.”
Sir Terry Pratchett will lead an evening of literature, poetry and spoken word on Tuesday 30th April at the Union Chapel, Islington, UK in support of Dignity in Dying.Voices For ChoiceThe event features Sir Terry Pratchett & Rob Wilkins, Andrew Motion, Joe Dunthorne (Submarine), Luke Wright (Saturday Live), Deborah Moggach (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Janet Suzman DBE, John Osborne (Radio Head), Susan Hampshire OBE and is being hosted by Yanny Mac. The event will also include readings of poems by Carol Ann Duffy and George Szirtes (T.S Eliot Prize) and will finish with a Sir Terry Pratchett Q&A.All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards Dignity in Dying’s campaign to change the law on assisted dying.Dignity in dying campaigns to give people greater choice and control at the end of life. Through lobbying, informing and educating people on rights at the end of life, they encouage people to have what they consider to be a good death, including the option of an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.Find out more about the event here.
The Global Citizen movement continues its efforts to motivate and educate socially-active youth about the causes and consequences of extreme poverty with a newly announced DC-area concert featuring Tiesto, Above & Beyond, Krewella, Alvin Risk, and more.Presented in partnership with World Childhood Foundation, the multi-act ‘Thank You Festival’ will take place June 26, 2014 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The event will recognize the pivotal role of U.S. foreign aid in helping to cut global child deaths by nearly one-half since 1990, and will emphasize the topic of child survival and protection.The ‘Thank You Festival’ will focus attention on the world’s children, asking leaders to not only ensure children survive beyond their first years, but also that they have an opportunity to thrive throughout their childhood to reach their development potential. The concert will also underscore the fact that today’s youth considers the wellbeing of children across the world to be a human rights imperative.“To become a global citizen, we must extend our compassion beyond our borders. The United States has played a pivotal role in leading child survival and protection efforts worldwide and this event celebrates that,” said Hugh Evans, CEO of The Global Poverty Project. “But this is also a chance to educate the younger generation and motivate our leaders to act. The bottom line is increased investment in child survival initiatives could ensure that no child dies for the lack of a 30 cent vaccine.”Globally renowned headliner Tiesto stated, “Through my work with the World Childhood Foundation, I’ve learned about the millions of kids who are battling abuse and even dying from diseases that have known cures. I hope all my fans will join me in working with these amazing organizations to help these children all around the world live and become healthy and strong so they can enjoy their childhoods.”Princess Madeleine of Sweden, an Ambassador for World Childhood Foundation stated, “Every child deserves a happy childhood. Yet, children around the world still face insecurity in the form of abuse and sexual exploitation. Together we can help children live a childhood free from disease, violence and abuse on the path to a sustainable world without extreme poverty by 2030.”Since 1990, U.S. aid dollars have helped to significantly reduce the number of children who die before their fifth birthday. U.S. aid funding has also helped to cut new polio cases from 1000 a day in 1990, to just 1 a day in 2013, preventing millions of children from becoming disabled. Despite the encouraging statistics, 6.6 million children under five still die each year, most from preventable causes. Children from all socioeconomic backgrounds continue to face challenges of exploitation and abuse, preventing them from having a happy and healthy childhood. Concertgoers can learn about the role the U.S. has played in helping to ensure children everywhere can live a healthy, full life by visiting globalcitizen.org.Tickets to the ‘Thank You Festival’ go on sale to the public on Friday, April 11 at www.ticketfly.com. One hundred free tickets will be given away through globalcitizen.org, where fans can take “action” to encourage the United States government to continue its efforts to keep millions of children alive.The ‘Thank You Festival,’ is named after World Childhood Foundation’s global initiative, Thank You by Childhood. The event builds on the success of the 2012 and 2013 Global Citizen Festivals on the Great Lawn in Central Park in New York City, and the Global Citizen Nights concert series, which launched in March 2013 with a concert by The Fray in Austin, TX.This event is produced by AEG Live in partnership with Global Citizen and World Childhood Foundation. It is generously supported by the United Postcode Lotteries and Clear Channel, and is promoted in association with Glow Washington, DC.For more information and a chance to win free tickets visit, visit www.globalcitizen.org/thankyou.
Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, are co-chairing the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10-13 June 2014 at ExCel London.This is the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject with over 100 NGO’s and international partners taking part alongside 48 Foreign Ministers and over 600 government delegates from 113 countries.“I have heard it asked this week, why this issue, why now?” said Angelina during the Summit’s second day. “Why, in a world of so many problems, are we all focussing on this one? Why does it matter?“Anyone who has met survivors and heard their stories knows that answer: We are here for the nine-year old girl in Uganda, kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. We are here for the man in Bosnia, years after rape still stigmatised, unable to earn enough money to buy bread for his family. We are here for all the forgotten, hidden survivors who have been made to feel ashamed, or been abandoned, and for the children of rape.“We want the whole world to hear their stories, and understand that this injustice cannot be tolerated, and that sorrow and compassion are not enough.“As one woman told me yesterday – we’ve had enough of words. We want action.“Many brave men and women have been fighting to protect victims of warzone rape for years, and many are with us today. But we as an international community have never done enough to stop this abuse.“And we do survivors a disservice when they know we are aware but do nothing to hold perpetrators accountable.“Our outrage does not help the woman who walks into her attacker on the street – free as a bird, free to abuse others, because of this global culture of impunity.“And today, we have an opportunity to begin to change that.“My plea to you today, is to see both the individuals who have suffered, and the bigger picture: To think what we would each be prepared to do, as individuals, to prevent those we love from suffering – and apply that protective instinct to the world’s most vulnerable people. And to remember, looking at the sweep of history, that we do have the power to eradicate injustice, with political will and determination.“These crimes of sexual violence are bigger than any one conflict or national interest.“And for all the things we struggle to agree upon as nations, the abhorrence of rape cannot be one of them.“So I ask all the governments here today, to move from condemnation to action: To be ready to change and improve your laws so they offer proper protections; To write the prevention of sexual violence into the training of your militaries and police forces; To support and implement the new International Protocol, to drive up the number of prosecutions; And to fund the UN efforts and NGO projects that work with survivors to heal them emotionally and help them, help them to gain support and justice.“Warzone rape is a preventable crime. So our response must never again be that these things simply happen. It can never be, that peace is more important than justice – or that money is in short supply – or that there are other priorities.“I have heard some people say that we have set ourselves an impossible task. But the greater the problem the greater our determination should be.“Look around you, look at how many of us are here, at all the countries represented, and think of what we could accomplish together. Think of what difference we will make if we apply all the lessons learned at this summit, and bring to bear all your influence and expertise. Think of what that would mean for millions of people.“I am hopeful that we can unite on this issue – and I thank all the governments that have taken a stand by supporting our declaration and coming to London.“This Summit is a model for a new way of working together. And this single issue is now a centre point.“It is just the beginning. There are many crimes, abuses in all forms, that we must confront together.“But let us begin here – and let us expand from here.”
Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson swapped out his racing helmet for a hard hat this past weekend and teamed up with longtime partner Lowe’s and Habitat For Humanity Las Vegas to raise the walls of a new home at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Nearly 100 Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers joined Johnson and his pit crew to frame a four-bedroom Habitat home that will be transferred to Henderson, Nevada, and completed in partnership with a local family. Throughout the weekend, Lowe’s and Habitat gave race fans at the track the chance to sign up for a future Habitat build and encouraged them to enlist the help of a friend or family member to multiply their impact.Before stepping into his No. 48 Kobalt Chevrolet SS for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, Johnson presented the family with the key to their new home.“I can’t think of a better way to have kicked off race weekend than raising the walls on Friday and celebrating with the family today,” Johnson said on Sunday. “It’s just amazing to see what happens when Lowe’s and Habitat team up.”“There’s a great need for affordable housing in Las Vegas, across the country and around the world,” said Colleen Finn Ridenhour, deputy director for Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re grateful to have the support of Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson to help us build a home and raise awareness of the need for volunteers to help us in our mission. As we ramp up construction activity this spring, volunteers will be critical to our success in revitalizing communities and helping families obtain the dream of homeownership.”Lowe’s has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for more than a decade to build homes and revitalize communities around the country. Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat and helped nearly 4,000 families improve their living conditions. Anyone interested in volunteering can learn more at Habitat.org/Lowes. ”We’re proud to help Habitat Las Vegas continue its transformational work in Southern Nevada,” said Larry Edens, market director for Lowe’s Las Vegas stores. “We hope this extraordinary build inspires race fans to support Habitat projects in their own communities.”
Mediaplanet has announced the multiplatform distribution of “Water & Sustainability,” encouraging readers to take initiative in their homes, local communities and support technological advancements working to solve our international issue with water and sustainability.Innovations in technology have pushed the industry towards the greatest advancements of our time: but we still have work to be done.The print component of “Water & Sustainability” is distributed within this Wednesday’s edition of USA Today in New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and an estimated readership of 750,000. The digital component is distributed nationally through a vast social media strategy and across a network of top news sites and partner outlets. To explore the digital version of the campaign, click here.Jason Momoa, warrior on and off screen, shines on the front cover of the print publication. Through an in-depth and exclusive interview, he urges readers to become involved in their own local water projects. Atlanta rap native Michael Render aka “Killer Mike” drills deep into his passion for Atlanta’s 300 million dollar quarry endeavor. “It’s been the highlight of my year,” explains Render, an Atlanta native and philanthropist. “I strut with a different step, knowing there’s a drill named for me.”This campaign was made possible with the support of Viqua, charity:water, Pentair, Jason Momoa, 3M, Speakman, the U.S. Water Alliance and many more.