Situation remains volatile for residents first responders in Fort McMurray

first_imgThe Canadian PressFORT MCMURRAY, Alta.—An ever-changing, volatile situation is fraying the nerves of residents and officials alike as a massive wildfire continues to bear down on the Fort McMurray area of northern Alberta.In the wee hours this morning, weary evacuees from Fort McMurray were sitting on buses headed for Edmonton after being forced out of their temporary shelter in nearby Anzac.They had arrived there late Tuesday after being evacuated from their homes in Fort McMurray. By Wednesday morning, the Anzac recreational centre was a bustling hub filled with people, tables of food and rows of cots.By that evening, it was eerily silent and empty.Officials with the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo had been notified of changing weather patterns and weren’t taking chances, ordering the evacuation of Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation.Anzac resident Bree Baumberger said her family was surprised when RCMP told them of the evacuation order Wednesday night.“They told us to get out—It is a safety issue,” she said. “They just want people to have enough time and not be like Fort McMurray where all of a sudden the fire is on you.”In another part of the community an RCMP cruiser rolled into Travis Vickrey’s yard.“Aren’t you aware of the evacuation order? It’s mandatory right now,” the Mountie said. “The fire is coming south.”Vickrey was annoyed at the short notice as he quickly packed three cats and other belongings into the family’s vehicle. They were heading to nearby Lac la Biche.Regional Mayor Melissa Blake urged “more patience in northern camps” as the move became a necessity. “No need for panic, just steady progress.”But as the province declared a state of emergency Wednesday, it was clear the situation that had forced the evacuation of 80,000 people was “unstable,” as Scott Long of Alberta Emergency Management told reporters.The wildfires that had already torched 1,600 homes and other buildings in Fort McMurray continued to do damage throughout the day. Reports of homes being burned mounted, while officials advised a new school being built in one neighbourhood had been destroyed.Residents anxious for updates on their own neighbourhoods turned to social media, prompting the writer of the municipality’s official Twitter feed to issue a plea: “I’m providing as much details as I can re: fire/neighbourhood/street … please be patient, we’re doing our absolute best.”There was good news—the water treatment plant was saved, and Long said the downtown core was being held “through some Herculean efforts” of firefighters. Most importantly, there was still no indication of injury or death.But the images being seen around the world were largely ones of devastation—scorched trucks, charred homes and telephone poles, burned out from the bottom up, hanging in the wires like little wooden crosses.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley flew up to survey the situation first-hand, and tweeted “heartbreaking” pictures of the fire from above. As high as her helicopter was, she said the plumes of smoke reached even higher.“So far, I’d have to say people have been amazing,” she said in the evening, after a visit with evacuees at a giant Edmonton sports arena.“They’ve been incredibly patient. They’ve followed what they’ve been asked to do. They’re focusing on taking care of each other, their families, their neighbours.”Blake agreed her city is strong and gave a shout-out to Slave Lake, another northern Alberta community devastated by wildfires in 2011.“We will hope to follow in the shadow of Slave Lake in our perseverance and resolve,” declared the mayor. “And as we look to the future, this is still a place of incredible strength, resiliency and vibrancy.”last_img read more

Attack on Standing Rock protestors cold blooded

first_imgDennis Ward APTN National NewsCold blooded. That’s what some people are calling the attack on protestors near Standing Rock, North Dakota.On the weekend, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe along with hundreds of supporters trying to stop construction of a pipeline were attacked by security forces with dogs and pepper spray.Despite the violence, people who say the Dakota Access pipeline must not go ahead are not deterred.dward@aptn.calast_img

RCMP reviewing alleged questionable payments on Peters First Nation

first_imgKenneth Jackson APTN National NewsThe RCMP is reviewing a large volume of confidential financial documents belonging to Peters First Nation after several members of the British Columbia reserve filed a complaint against the band council, APTN National News has learned.Two officers have been assigned to the file, including an officer that has worked on financial crimes investigations, out of Chilliwack, B.C.APTN was told the complaint was made in March against the chief, a current councillor and a former councillor after APTN’s first story in February on Peters regarding membership issues.Related: Promise to dying mother sees daughter take on ‘rigged’ band council to bring her family homeThe Mounties received more information after an APTN investigation into finances of the reserve last month.That story focused on a two-year period from 2013-15 based on court documents, audits, emails and financial ledgers for those years.The Mounties have been given ledgers dating back to 2011 and other documents, like band council resolutions, dating back a decade.APTN’s investigation uncovered questionable payments and outlined how Peters First Nation’s three-member band council were allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two-year period to operate a band with 12 homes on 131 hectares and little infrastructure located between Hope and Chilliwack.The money was much more than what band council claimed to Indigenous Affairs from 2013 to 2015 according to the First Nations Transparency Act.The story also showed how money was allocated to members who are known to vote for council every two years. A closer look at the finances over those years indicated that over 90 per cent of all expenditures to band members went to those who voted for council.Graph is based on the 2014/15 ledger belonging to Peters First Nation.Documents show questionable payments not only to the children of council but one of their mothers received tens of thousands in social assistance and allegedly didn’t qualify, while one councillor had over 10 jobs.A 2015 audit uncovered that the band kept little paper trail of supporting documents for social assistance, and council members were signing cheques over to themselves, all of which the auditor said opened the band to the potential for “inappropriate payments”.Indigenous Affairs approved the audit without question and also released funding for one program without any details on how it would be spent.APTN has asked the RCMP for comment, as well as Peters band council but has not received a response from either.APTN’s full investigation can be found here.kjackson@aptn.calast_img read more

Conflict mars first day of Trudeau government consultations on Trans Mountain pipeline

first_imgRCMP say anti-pipeline demonstrators used red paint to damage property.Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new round of consultations with First Nation communities over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project got off to a rocky start Monday.Outside the hearing in Kamloops organized by Natural Resources Canada (NRC), three members of Tiny House Warriors – an Indigenous anti-pipeline group – were arrested after a noisy demonstration.APTN News has confirmed Justice Frank Iacobucci chaired the meeting at Thompson Rivers University.Representatives from Trans Mountain were also at the Phase 3 hearing formed to meet with 117 Indigenous groups impacted by the proposed pipeline expansion project.“These roundtables are a space for potentially impacted communities with varying views on the project to come together and help shape this process,” said Catherine Leroux of NRC.“We stand firmly behind the right to peaceful protest. However, actions that could interfere with any groups ability to safely participate in this process raises serious concerns.”The consultations come after the Federal Court of Appeal said the government failed in its constitutional duty to consult properly with Indigenous groups.It refused to approve an application from the National Energy Board in October.A spokesperson said the university was still tallying up damage it says demonstrators caused.“I checked and we won’t have an estimate for a few days,” said Darshan Lindsay.Cpl. Jodi Shelkie of Kamloops RCMP believes the call for police came from campus security after demonstrators took up positions outside the meeting room.“We had been advised that there were eight protestors at Thompson Rivers University,” Shelkie said.“Five officers from Kamloops RCMP attended the scene.”Shelkie said three people – a male and two females – were arrested and released Tuesday night and charges were pending.She said the “protesters” smeared red paint on walls and allegedly assaulted a security guard.The Tiny House Warriors confirmed three of its members were taken into custody. It posted video of the incident on its Facebook page.“The land defenders arrested were Mayuk Manuel, Snutetkwe Manuel, and Isha Jules,” the group said in a release.“Mayuk Manuel and Snutetkwe Manuel are daughters of the late Arthur Manuel, a renowned Secwepemc Indigenous leader on the world stage and a strong advocate for self-determination.”Spokesperson Kanahus Manuel said her group opposes the “closed-door meetings by federal bands that turn away proper and rightful title holders.“Just because the government talks to a few bands recognized by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, that doesn’t amount to meaningful consultation.”Tiny House Warriors say their mission is to stop the TransMountain Pipeline from crossing Secwepemc nation’s unceded territory.Their strategy is to place tiny houses along the 518-kilometre route. read more

Canadas supply management a flashpoint in NAFTA talks Heres why

first_imgSupply management: economists love to hate it, and Canadian farmers are loathe to give it up.The politically explosive issue emerged yet again Monday as a flashpoint in increasingly heated NAFTA renegotiation talks after the United States asked for an end to the system within the next decade.So what, exactly is supply management, and why does it stir up so much controversy?The debate has been going on since the federal government created the system in the early 1970s in response to wide swings in prices and interprovincial trade disputes as technology and other developments disrupted the agricultural markets.The complicated system sets prices and protects Canadian farmers from competition, creating stability for dairy, egg, chicken and turkey producers. But it is seen as a symbol of government overreach and distortion of the market by those opposed.Because the system blocks out foreign production from the Canadian market, it is a thorn in the side of trade negotiators as other countries look for freer access to Canada’s food markets, while Canadian politicians have shied away from any drastic changes.The federal and provincial governments use a few ways to control the market.They keep out foreign competition with high tariffs on imports, which vary by product but run as high as 300 per cent for butter.To avoid oversupply, provincial boards regulate how much farmers are allowed to produce.For example, any farmer, except very small producers, that wants to produce eggs, milk, or poultry needs to secure a government “quota,” or production allotment. Much like the medallion system that regulates the number of taxi drivers, quotas mean a farmer has the right to produce a certain amount of the product.Any new farmer has to buy in, and the rights don’t come cheap. The prices vary significantly by category and by province, some of which have capped how high the quota price can go.In 2015, the right to produce a kilogram of butterfat a day — the standard measurement for dairy quotas — sold for $42,500 in British Columbia, but for $23,000 in New Brunswick. Overall, the government says the value of all the supply management quotas issued stood at about $35 billion last year.Finally, with both foreign and domestic competition limited by the system, the government boards need to decide how much farmers will be paid for their production, since standard market forces that are supposed to set prices aren’t at work.The government sets a minimum price that processors have to pay the farmers, or a “price floor.” Critics have argued that floor is artificially high, meaning dairy and other products cost more for Canadian consumers that they might otherwise.To help determine the price, provincial boards canvas producers to figure out the costs of production and then add a margin of profit to determine how much they’re guaranteed to be paid, explained Alfons Weersink, a professor of food and agriculture economics at the University of Guelph.“The system provides a stable return, and a decent return. And that’s the hallmarks of the system,” said Weersink. “It’s not subject to volatility of other agricultural sectors, which are inherently variable; ups and downs in prices constantly.”But that artificial, government-controlled price stability goes against the basic tenants of free-market thinking, according to economists like Herbert Grubel.The senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, says the system inflates prices, with several studies showing the average household pays hundreds of dollars more because of it, and that it would be better for the market to set prices and adjust for risks.“The free market adjusts the returns that people get from certain activities by taking account of the amount of risk they take,” said Grubel.He believes the quota system adds significant costs to farmers (and therefore consumers) because they have to buy the right to produce, and take on significant debt to do so.The industry, however, disputes that there would be any savings from dismantling the system, and that other countries provide more indirect subsidies to their agriculture industries.The issue came up in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, while U.S. negotiators have demanded an end to the system as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations.Canada did make concessions in the recently enacted Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, allowing 16,000 tonnes of duty-free cheese plus another 1,700 tonnes for use in food processing, while leaving the system as a whole largely unchanged.There have been various proposals on how to dismantle the system, either by adding a surcharge to products to compensate farmers for their quota investments, or to gradually keep increasing the number of quotas allotted, but it won’t be a simple affair to dismantle such an entrenched program.last_img read more

Air Canada says increased demand could prompt more airplane orders

first_imgMONTREAL – Growth in the number of passengers Air Canada carries could prompt it to order more narrow-body aircraft from Boeing and Bombardier, the airline said.The country’s largest carrier has placed firm orders for 61 Boeing 737 Max and 45 Bombardier C Series jets, but the number of aircraft was based on its requirements in 2013.Air Canada also has options and rights to purchase 48 more Boeing planes and an additional 30 CS300 aircraft to give it more flexibility to meet increased demand.“So obviously there is some pretty great opportunities there to expand that and exercise more, but obviously it won’t affect 2018 in any fashion,” CEO Calin Rovinescu said Wednesday as the airline posted record quarterly revenue and profits.The first two Boeing 737 Max planes will arrive this year and 16 more by next June. The remaining aircraft are scheduled to be delivered through 2021.Delivery of the first C Series jets are slated to be added for late 2019, through 2022.The comments came as Air Canada (TSX:AC) reported a third-quarter profit of $1.79 billion or $6.44 per diluted share, boosted by a one-time $793-million tax recovery. That compared with a profit of $768 million or $2.74 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.On an adjusted basis, Air Canada earned $950 million or $3.43 per diluted share in the quarter, up from $821 million or $2.93 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2016.Meanwhile, revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 totalled $4.88 billion, up from $4.45 billion on a large growth in business cabin revenues and the carrying of a record 14 million passengers.Passenger traffic was up 8.8 per cent compared with the same quarter last year, while passenger revenue per available seat mile increased 0.4 per cent.Rovinescu said that expressions of interest from bank and non-bank financial institutions wanting to become a credit card partner for its new loyalty program will be submitted by year-end with a request for proposals coming in early 2018.“There has been a tremendous amount of interest from the financial community,” he said.The airline served notice in May that it does not plan to renew its partnership with Aeroplan parent Aimia (TSX:AIM) when the current contract ends. Aeroplan used to be a division of Air Canada before it was spun off as part of its restructuring.Air Canada has invited key financial institutions to participate in bids to join the launch of the program on July 1, 2020.Rovinescu added that Air Canada has also been approached by several technology companies interested in a separate request for proposal, or RFP, that will also be issued early next year.last_img read more

Kennedy seems conflicted in Supreme Court wedding cake case

first_imgWASHINGTON – On a sharply divided Supreme Court, the justice in the middle seemed conflicted Tuesday in the court’s high-stakes consideration of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012.The court’s fault lines were laid bare in a riveting argument that focused equally on baker Jack Phillips’ right to refuse to put his artistic talents to use in support of something in which he disagrees and the Colorado couple’s right to be treated like any other two people who wanted a cake to celebrate their marriage.Both views were reflected in the questions and comments of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights decisions and a fierce defender of free speech. The outcome of the case seemed to rest with the 81-year-old justice, who often finds himself with the decisive vote in cases that otherwise divide the court’s conservatives and liberals.Phillips and the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, were in the courtroom for arguments in the closely watched case that could affect other situations where there’s a clash between social conservatives’ claim of religious freedom and the LGBT community’s fight to preserve hard-won rights.President Donald Trump’s administration is supporting Phillips in his argument that he can’t be forced to create a cake that violates his religious beliefs. It appears to be the first time the federal government has asked the justices to carve out an exception from an anti-discrimination law.On the one hand, Kennedy pointed to photographers, florists, graphic designers and even jewelers who might likewise be able to refuse working on a same-sex wedding if the court rules for Phillips.“It means that there’s basically an ability to boycott gay marriages,” said the author of the 2015 opinion extending same-sex marriage nationwide.If you win, Kennedy asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco, could the baker put a sign in his window: “We do not bake cakes for gay weddings?”When Francisco said that would be permissible, Kennedy said, “And you would not think that an affront to the gay community?”Francisco replied that there “are dignity interests on the other side here, too.”On the other hand, Kennedy criticized the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that found Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.“It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs,” Kennedy said. Craig and Mullins, he noted, could have been served by “other good bakery shops that were available” in the Denver suburbs.Protesters on both sides filled the sidewalk in front of the court shortly before the start of the argument.“We got Jack’s back,” Phillips’ supporters said. Backers of Craig and Mullins countered: “Love wins.”Inside the packed courtroom, the liberal justices peppered Kristen Waggoner, Phillips’ lawyer, and Francisco with questions about how to draw a line to accommodate Phillips without eviscerating laws that require businesses that are open to the public to serve all customers.Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan ticked off other categories of people who are involved in weddings to ask if they, too, might be able to refuse a same-sex couple.A hair stylist? A makeup artist?No, Waggoner said, “because it is not speech.”Kagan replied: “Some people might say that about cakes, you know?”More generally, Justice Stephen Breyer said, “What is the line? That’s what everybody is trying to get to.”When Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger and the American Civil Liberties Union’s David Cole stood up to defend the commission’s ruling against Phillips, the conservative justices pounced.Because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado in 2012, Justice Samuel Alito noted, Craig and Mullins could not have obtained a marriage license where they lived or gotten a local official to marry them. Yet Phillips supposedly “committed a grave wrong” when he refused to make them a cake, Alito said. That struck him as unfair, he said.Chief Justice John Roberts pressed both Cole and Yarger on whether a Roman Catholic legal services agency that provides free aid would have to take up a case involving a same-sex couple despite the religious opposition to gay marriage.Yes, Cole said, “if they’ve provided the same services to couples who are straight.”Colorado native Neil Gorsuch, taking part in the most important gay rights case since he joined the Supreme Court in April, asked Cole whether a baker who made a cake shaped like a red cross to celebrate relief efforts would have to make the same cake for the Ku Klux Klan.Cole said no because Colorado’s anti-discrimination law refers to race, sex and sexual orientation, among other categories, but does not protect KKK members.One other possible result that emerged from the argument is that the justices could return the case to the Colorado commission for reconsideration if the court finds its first decision was tainted by the religious bias of a commissioner. Kennedy described comments made by one of the seven Colorado commissioners in the case as hostile to religion.Colorado is among only 21 states with statewide laws barring discrimination against gays in public accommodations.The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 16-111, will be decided by late June.last_img read more

BlackBerry Qualcomm to expand collaboration in connectedcar technology

first_imgWATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) has formed a strategic collaboration to develop technology for the next generation of connected vehicles with a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., a major semiconductor company.The Waterloo, Ont.-based company says it has agreed to help optimize select Qualcomm hardware platforms to work with BlackBerry’s QNX software, which is used to manage features of wirelessly connected cars such as infotainment systems.They have also agreed to optimize other BlackBerry software for use with select Qualcomm Snapdragon modems.Qualcomm and BlackBerry, which have a long-standing technology collaboration, didn’t release financial details of their new collaboration.Earlier this year, San Diego-based Qualcomm agreed to pay a US$940 million rebate to BlackBerry to settle a dispute over royalty payments.The automotive industry has been one of BlackBerry’s main opportunities for growth since it largely withdrew from the smartphone business and turned increasingly to secure wireless software and services.last_img read more

Flair Airlines moving headquarters from Kelowna BC to Edmonton

first_imgEDMONTON – Flair Airlines Ltd. has found a new place to roost.The low-cost carrier says it is moving its headquarters from Kelowna, British Columbia, to Edmonton.Flair CEO David Tait say the change makes sense because most of the company’s flights already go through Edmonton International Airport.Tait says the move would bring 75 jobs to Edmonton.He says that number is expected to increase to 300 in the coming years.The announcement Tuesday came a day before Calgary-based WestJet’s low-cost carrier Swoop was set to make its maiden flight from Hamilton, Ont., to Abbotsford, B.C.“As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, the community (Edmonton) and the airport are uniquely positioned to support our ongoing growth,” Tait said in a release Tuesday.Flair has been operating since 2005, acting as a charter airline mainly used by energy companies.In 2016, the company began operating flights for NewLeaf. It bought out NewLeaf last year. (CTV Edmonton, Canadian Press)last_img read more

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee matcha

first_imgTORONTO – The president of Tim Hortons says a plan to conquer a crowded Chinese coffee market hinges on tailoring its menu to local habits and tastes — including offering congee and matcha alongside signature items like double doubles.Alex Macedo believes the coffee chain’s plan to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade will face lofty competition from a slew of companies who have dominated the market as the continent warms to drinking coffee.“We are late to the game for sure,” Macedo said in an interview with The Canadian Press.He’s made regular trips to Asia to observe the operations of rival coffee purveyors, including U.S. heavyweights Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts; Beijing-based start-up Luckin Coffee; and U.K. chain Costa Coffee.“They created an atmosphere that is almost get in and get out, and it is very fast paced,” he said, noting the tables and ambience differ from that in Canadian and U.S. cafes, where patrons tend to sit and linger with their cup of java.China’s coffeehouse atmosphere contrasts against the “home-y” feeling that Macedo wants to build to encourage customers to spend as much as time as they’d like at Tim Hortons Asian locations, a custom popular with many Canadian Tims regulars.“We want our team members to be the most welcoming staff in China,” said Macedo. “We want people to be able to sit in our restaurants for 10 hours if they want to with only one cup of coffee if they want to or not ordering a cup of coffee at all.”The company’s coffee has already proven popular in early overseas testing, he said, as have the brand’s iced cappuccino drinks.They will be featured on the menu alongside products featuring matcha — a tea-based powder that comes in a bright green hue and is a perennial favourite in Asia.The food selection will reflect local taste preferences, he said, adding the company has noticed Chinese consumers don’t eat baked goods or doughnuts as frequently as Canadians.A completely local breakfast and lunch menu will feature Asian-style rice porridge called congee.“A lot of (Asian) coffee shops will sell a piece of cake or whatever, but they don’t have a kitchen like we do, so that is where we are spending most of our time, trying to figure out what to serve for breakfast and lunch,” he said.Despite some of the adjustments the brand will have to make, food industry expert Robert Carter thinks the expansion makes sense because China’s growing middle class is willing to spend their increased wealth on eating out, and more people are starting to drink coffee over tea.However, Carter believes Tim Hortons needs to find a balance between serving local cuisine and signature Tim Hortons treats in order to succeed in China.He pointed to one menu item in particular: iced coffees.Research, he said, indicates it is the fastest-growing area for coffee, particularly with younger consumers.“They will try traditional brewed coffees, but it is really those coffee-based, sugary beverages that are driving them into coffee shops, not only in China, but in North America,” he said.“I would expect Tims to have a pretty aggressive portfolio with those types of beverages.”Tims announced an agreement last month with private equity firm Cartesian Capital to bring thousands of restaurants to China, with plans to open the first location in 2019.Tim Hortons has previously announced plans to expand to Spain, Mexico, Great Britain and the Philippines.Its U.S. expansion, however, appears to be faltering. Last month it closed four locations in Ohio, the latest in a string of closures south of the border in the past several years.In June, after reports parent company Restaurant Brands International was scaling back on its U.S. expansion plans, Macedo said in a statement that the company has seen softer comparable sales growth in the U.S. in more recent quarters amid a very competitive environment.Follow @Tara_Deschamps on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:QSR)last_img read more

New CEO for Quebecors Videotron cable and wireless unit gets analysts approval

first_imgMONTREAL — Quebecor Inc.’s chief financial officer has been appointed to head the company’s Videotron business after the departure of its previous CEO.The appointment of Jean-Francois Pruneau to president and CEO of Videotron, which is mostly active in Quebec, fills a vacancy left by outgoing CEO Manon Brouillette.Brouillette headed Videotron for five years during a period of rapid growth as it solidified its position as a major regional competitor to Canada’s national wireless carriers.Pierre Karl Peladeau, chief executive of Quebecor as well as its leading shareholder, announced Pruneau’s appointment Monday before stock markets opened.He also announced that Quebecor’s new chief financial officer is Hugues Simard, who had been with the company from 1998 to 2017, and that Marc Tremblay has been promoted to Quebecor’s chief operating officer. Analysts said Pruneau was a good pick to lead Videotron, saying he had been very involved with the telecommunications unit while he was chief financial officer“Over the past two decades, we believe Mr. Pruneau has established strong credibility with investors and has been an important piece of the Videotron growth story over this period,” McReynolds wrote in a research note.Barclays analyst Phillip Huang had a similar positive view of the appointment.“While the promotion of CFOs to the CEO role is rare in the industry, Mr. Pruneau has been very hands-on in every key aspect of QBR’s operations,” Huang wrote. The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B)last_img read more

Hot and dry weather making way for possible thunderstorms later this week

first_imgThe BC Wildfire Service says that says that while no new human-caused wildfires were started in this corner of the province over the Victoria Day long weekend, a number of lightning-caused fires were started north of Fort St. John after a band of thunderstorms erupted on Sunday evening. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Environment Canada forecasters say that the Peace Region won’t be getting a much-needed dump of precipitation anytime soon, and an unstable airmass could exacerbate the current dry conditions later this week.Meteorologist Cindy Yu says that a ridge of high pressure will be bringing sunny skies and temperatures into the high-20’s or even low 30’s to Fort St. John during the first half of the week. Yu said however that temperatures will start to return to the low- to mid-20’s in the latter half of the week, as a low pressure trough moves across B.C. from the Alaska Panhandle.She said however that the passing front will be followed by an unstable airmass that could result in thunderstorms across Northeast B.C. Yu said that while those possible storms would cause localized precipitation, the region isn’t forecast to see any significant, steady rainfall that would help lower the current fire danger rating, which is sitting at between high and extreme in much of the northeast.last_img read more

Taylor firefighters battle early morning semitruck fire

first_imgTAYLOR, B.C. – Motorists were delayed and firefighters were busy in Taylor early Thursday morning after a truck caught fire at the top of the South Taylor Hill.Taylor Fire Chief Edward Albury said that fire crews were called out the vehicle fire on Highway 97 near the 249 Road just before 1:10 a.m. Thursday.Albury said that a semi-truck carrying two trailers loaded with sand had suffered a mechanical issue while travelling southbound up the hill. Taylor fire crews battling a truck fire Thursday morning. Photo by Edward Albury. Taylor fire crews battling a truck fire Thursday morning. Photo by Edward Albury. Taylor fire crews battling a truck fire Thursday morning. Photo by Edward Albury. Taylor fire crews battling a truck fire Thursday morning. Photo by Edward Albury. Motorists lined up while firefighters extinguish a truck fire early Thursday morning. Photo submitted by Rachael Passey. Motorists lined up while firefighters extinguish a truck fire early Thursday morning. Photo submitted by Rachael Passey. The driver of the semi told him that while driving he heard a loud bang and experienced a sudden loss of power.Moments later, the driver said that flames were visible coming from inside the front right wheel well, which was when they pulled the truck over and exited the vehicle.Albury said that upon arrival, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. No one was injured in the fire, but despite the efforts of fire crews, the semi-truck was a total loss.last_img read more

Alberta plans to buy 7000 railcars to ease crisis in oil price

first_imgTORONTO, O.N. – Alberta needs to buy as many as 7,000 railcars if it wants to be able to meet its goal of shipping an additional 120,000 barrels of oil a day, says Premier Rachel Notley.In a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade, Notley says her province is prepared to buy roughly 80 locomotives, with each train pulling 100 to 120 cars.This extra capacity will allow the province to transport 30 percent more crude-by-rail than current levels and would help narrow the price gap by $4 a barrel and generate an additional $1 million a day for Ottawa. She says the plunging price of oil has reached a “crisis” point for her province and her government is prepared to make the purchase on its own, with or without the federal government’s help.This is the first time she has specified how many railcars will need to be purchased. She did not give estimates on the cost of the cars but industry experts suggest that one rail car can cost between $120,000 and $150,000 to buy or about $1,200 per month to rent, putting Alberta’s plan at upwards of $1.05 billion.The price of Alberta crude is currently sitting around $10 a barrel, which Notley says is $40 less compared to the price of oil from other world producers.A year ago, Notley said Alberta was losing about $40 million a day because of that difference. Today, that differential has grown to $80 million a day.last_img read more

Ronaldo lauded in Spanish media after Juve give Atletico ‘momentous beating’

first_imgMADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo was lauded in the Spanish press after his stunning hat-trick in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid sent Juventus into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Ronaldo’s record-equalling eighth treble in Europe’s elite competition hauled Juventus back from a 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Madrid and sent the Serie A leaders through 3-2 on aggregate. It was the fifth time the Portuguese forward had helped to knock Atletico out of the Champions League, having won the 2014 and 2016 finals against them and beating them in the quarter-finals in 2015 and semi-finals in 2017 with Real Madrid. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”Cristiano imposes his law,” said the front cover of Spanish newspaper Marca, while daily AS hailed Ronaldo, who is the leading goalscorer in the competition, as “the king of the Champions League.” There was also a sense of regret that Real, who had a humiliating exit at the hands of Ajax Amsterdam last week, had allowed their all-time top scorer to leave for 103 million euros ($116.3 million) last July. “Madrid should never have let a player like this escape, when he had a contract, was the all-time top scorer and one of the patrons of the four Champions League wins,” added Marca. “They gave away a legend for 100 million euros. We just saw that Ronaldo is priceless. Letting him go was a historic error. Cristiano wasn’t worth 100 million euros, he was worth a billion.” There was also criticism for Atletico’s negative tactics and their attempt to merely defend their lead. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenDiego Simeone’s side did not manage to have one shot on target in the 90 minutes. “With Cristiano in the mood for a demolition and on one of those nights which make him the most ravenous and lethal striker in history, Juventus walked all over Atletico,” said El Pais. “Simeone’s team fell the Italian way. They only wanted to defend, and they received a momentous beating.” Atletico, who have lost three European Cup finals, had targeted reaching this year’s showpiece in their Wanda Metropolitano stadium. Now, their only focus is chasing down La Liga leaders Barcelona, who have a seven-point advantage at the top of the Spanish top flight.last_img read more

Saradha Chit Fund: “Very very serious” revelations made by CBI in status report, says SC

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday termed as “very very serious” the revelations made by CBI in its fresh status report relating to the recent interrogation of the then Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it cannot “close its eyes” if some “very very serious facts” are disclosed to it and directed CBI to file an application seeking appropriate relief against Kumar, who had earlier headed the state SIT on the chit fund scam. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, granted 10 days to the probe agency for filing the application. Kumar and others can respond to the plea seven days thereafter. Supreme Court said that as the CBI’s status report was filed in a sealed cover, it cannot pass any order at the moment without hearing the other side. The apex court was hearing the CBI’ contempt application against various senior officials of the West Bengal government including state’s DGP and then Kolkata police chief on the ground of non-cooperation in its probe and alleged destruction of evidence.last_img read more

More women …better conservation

first_imgHaving more women involved in governing bodies that make decisions about land management can help boost conservation, as well as help reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, a study has found. The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed that when more women are involved in decision making, the group conserves more – particularly when offered financial incentives to do so. The study, involving 440 forest users from three developing countries, sheds new light on the role gender quotas for local governing bodies could play in reducing global deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions while also curbing local inequalities. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”When policymakers think about what to do to increase conservation around the world, gender quotas don’t even come up as a viable policy instrument,” said Krister Andersson, a professor at University of Colorado Boulder in the US. Previous research has shown, women tend to have a greater affinity for environment, support conservation measures more and are more concerned than men are about problems of inequality. However, because women often are at a financial disadvantage or are underrepresented in decision-making bodies, they may not have the opportunity to put those preferences into action. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardMembers of the research team traveled to 31 villages near collectively-managed forests in Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania. They staged a day-long tabletop simulation game in which local forest users were divided into groups of eight and asked to make decisions about how many trees they would harvest from a shared forest. Half the groups had gender quotas requiring that 50 per cent of members were women. Half had no quotas. In the first stage of the game, all participants anonymously chose how many trees they would cut down, knowing that they would receive a small payment (5 tokens) for each tree. In the second stage, the participants were told that an external organisation would pay them 160 tokens as a group if they did not cut any trees down and the elected leader would decide how to distribute those tokens. “We found that the groups with the gender quota reduced their harvesting rate far more when the incentive was introduced and also distributed the payments for conserving more equally,” said Nathan Cook, a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Colorado Boulder. Notably, there was no difference between the groups when there was no financial incentive. However, once cash was offered, the groups with a quota reduced their harvesting by 51 per cent while the control group cut its harvesting by 39 per cent. “It appears that it is not the gender quota by itself that is making a difference, but rather the combination with the conservation incentive,” said Andersson.last_img read more

#MeToo: M J Akbar records statement before Delhi court, gets cross examined by Ramani’s counsel

first_imgNew Delhi: In a heated courtroom drama that lasted for almost two hours, former Union minister M J Akbar Saturday recorded his statement and was cross examined in a defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani. Akbar, who appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, said the allegations made by Ramani were “malafide” and “defamatory”. Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Ramani, cross examined Akbar on details regarding Ramani joining The Asian Age, among others. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework However, Akbar responded to most of the questions as ” I do not remember”. Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, had filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India. Ramani has accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. Akbar has denied the accusations. The court has posted the matter for the next hearing on May 20.last_img read more

Does antibiotic use raise risk of nerve damage?

first_imgLondon: A common class of antibiotics — used to treat respiratory and urinary tract infections — may increase a patient’s risk of suffering a serious and potentially permanent form of nerve damage by almost 50 per cent. Scientists from the University of Dundee in the UK looked at a database of 1.3 million adults issued one or more prescriptions of fluoroquinolone or amoxicillin-clavulanate antibiotics with no diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy at the outset of treatment. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportPeripheral neuropathy has long been recognised as a potential side effect of fluoroquinolone antibiotics — that are commonly used to treat a variety of illnesses such as respiratory and urinary tract infections. The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, found that current use of systemic fluoroquinolone antibiotics appeared to increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy by 47 per cent, causing an additional 2.4 cases per 10,000 patients per year of treatment. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsA person prescribed with amoxicillin-clavulanate were not significantly more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy. The risk was higher for men and rose with age and with the length of fluoroquinolone treatment. A peripheral neuropathy diagnosis remained more likely to be diagnosed for up to six months after the fluoroquinolone prescription. Older men, the group most likely to experience the condition after taking a 28-day course of fluoroquinolones, were said to have a one in 34,000 chance of doing so.last_img read more

Egyptian Media to Cover 15th Anniversary of Moroccan King’s Coronation

Fez – The head of the state Radio and Television Union of Egypt (ERTU) Essam El-Amir has called upon Egyptian TV channels to cover the ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of King Mohamed VI’s coronation.Amid the controversy stirred up in Morocco following Egyptian anchor, Amany El Khayat‘s anti-Moroccan remarks, Egyptian state television is to provide broad coverage of the upcoming celebrations scheduled for July 30 marking the 15th anniversary of the coronation of King Mohamed VI of Morocco.According to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Essam Al Amir, Egypt’s head of the State Radio and Television “has asked his TV channels to give decent coverage to the royal Moroccan celebrations, in order to mark the excellent ties between the two states.” The call for Egyptian media’s coverage of the national Moroccan celebration comes after the Egyptian TV presenter’s disparaging remarks regarding Morocco’s King and the ruling Islamist party, claiming that the Moroccan economy is based on “prostitution.”Essam Al Amir called on Moroccan and Egyptian media outlets to close the book on the recent incident, and move forward.Edited by Elisabeth Myers© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more