Searchers find baby’s body in South Carolina creek, mother said she put girl in water

Written by admin on 14/11/2018 Categories: 长沙桑拿

SOCASTEE, S.C. – Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Divers found the body about 3:45 p.m., Horry County police Chief Saundra Rhodes said at a news conference. Later, more than a dozen rescuers gathered in a circle, praying. Some of them wiped their eyes.

“All of us have a sense of peace knowing we can lay her to rest properly,” Rhodes said.

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On Tuesday, the girl’s mother, Sarah Lane Toney, went to a home about 500 yards across the creek and swamp from her house near Myrtle Beach and told a woman she had put her baby into the creek, police said.

Toney was taken into custody and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. A judge denied bond Thursday before the body was found.

Toney asked officers at her bond hearing whether her baby had been found, then told the judge she should be released from jail because she didn’t plan to leave the area and needed to take care of her older daughter, who was turned over to her father after she reported her baby disappeared in the water.

“I went into the water with her, and I was unable to hold on to her,” Toney said at her bond hearing. “I didn’t intentionally put her in any danger. I was going with her, and I wasn’t able to hold on to her when the water sucked me in.”

The baby was found less than 75 yards from her home, Rhodes said. The removal of a large tree helped divers find the body, the police chief said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine how the girl died.

WATCH ABOVE: Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Rhodes said her officers will consult with prosecutors, but she expects Toney to face charges in her daughter’s death.

Toney, who also has gone by the last name of Carlson, has an arrest record in South Carolina that dates back to 2008, according to records obtained Wednesday from the State Law Enforcement Division. They included two arrests on criminal domestic violence charges.

The search for the baby, named Grace, could only go on in daylight because the current is so swift and the murky, brown water in the swamp and creek are full of reeds, trees and other vegetation, Horry County Police spokesman Lt. Raul Denis said. Searchers used special sonar equipment, along with boats, canoes and personal watercraft to look in the 6- to 8-foot depths.

Neighbours said Toney kept mostly to herself. Kayle White said she saw Toney pushing the baby around the neighbourhood in a stroller, but they never spoke.

“She’d walk up and down the street, but I’ve never seen that baby up close,” White said.

©2015

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Alberta government moves to expand sunshine list

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

EDMONTON — Doctors and university professors are on the newest list of people who could find their salaries are public knowledge.

The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act, introduced on Thursday, expands the province’s sunshine list, to require disclosure of salaries for all employees of public sector bodies, including Alberta Health Services and post-secondary institutions.

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Bill 5 also requires disclosure of payments to doctors and other health service providers.

Board members of the province’s agencies, board, and commissions will also see their compensation made public, no how matter how much or how little they are paid.

The information will be made public once a year, with the first disclosure scheduled to happen on or before June 30, 2016.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says the government has not heard any objections so far to the expanded disclosure rules.

“Public sector workers, they don’t want their privacy unfairly invaded, but they also understand that this government has a commitment to transparency, particularly when we’re dealing with…over $125,000, so it’s, sort of, higher salary range people.”

Here’s how the new legislation affects each group:

Employees of Public Sector Bodies

Who: Everyone who works for an agency, board or commission governed by the Alberta Public Agencies Act. This includes, but is not limited to, Alberta Health Services, post-secondary institutions, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, and Alberta Treasury Branches. Covenant Health will also be included, as well as independent offices of the Legislature, like the Ombudsman and Auditor General.

Threshold: Anyone who makes more than $125,000 per year. That includes base salary, overtime pay, and any other remuneration, with the exception of pension contributions.

What: If the threshold is met, the employee’s full compensation will be released, including pay, employer pension contributions, and any severance paid.

Board members

Who: Members of governing boards of agencies, boards and commissions, as well as board members of Alberta Health Services, Convenant Health, and post-secondary institutions.

Threshold: None. All names and compensation will be disclosed, regardless of the amount.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

Physicians and other health service providers

Who: Anyone who is paid by the province on a fee-for-service basis, including doctors, optometrists, and dentists.

Threshold: Undecided. If a threshold is set, it will be done as a regulation and not included in the Act itself.

What: Fee-for-service payments, and any other payments made to health service providers by the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, and the Alberta Medical Association.

Government of Alberta employees

Who: All employees of the provincial government, who are currently covered by disclosure rules introduced by the previous PC government in 2013.

What’s new: Disclosure for government employees is currently required by a Treasury Board Directive. The same employees, and the same rules, will now be part of the new Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act.

Threshold: Originally introduced at $100,000 base salary or severance, the amount increases each year based on inflation. The current threshold is $104,754.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

The number of people affected is difficult to determine. More than 150,000 people work for government sector agencies, and the government expects several thousand of them will see their salaries disclosed. Figures obtained by the Wildrose party last December showed 9,786 employees of Alberta Health Services alone made more than $100,000 a year in 2013.

Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon says his party is still studying the bill, but he suggests all publicly-paid workers should meet the same standard.

“To us, $104,000 is already a pretty high salary, period. And I think anybody making above $100,000 in the public sector, it’s reasonable for Albertans to know where those salaries are happening.”

The Minister of Justice could also allow some exemptions. The salaries of crown prosecutors, for example, are not released because of concerns about their safety.

Under the existing rules, 3,556 provincial employees saw their pay information released last year. The full list can be found on the Alberta Government website here.

©2015

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Sask. gov’t defends carbon capture sales pitch

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

REGINA – More questions are being raised about the economic case for SaskPower’s $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility.

On Thursday, the Opposition NDP cited an internal SaskPower memo leaked to the party, which suggested the project would be experimental.

Dated May 24, 2012, the briefing note said offsetting environmental impacts of coal power would require “vast advancement of existing CCS technology, the economics of which are unclear.”

The CCS plant near Estevan has been criticized in recent weeks because of poor performance and statements from the Sask. Party government and SaskPower officials that led people to believe the CCS project was “exceeding expectations.”

READ MORE: Chart shows capture performance not improving

Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, says despite the early challenges, he expects the project to pay off through sales of carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing CO2 emissions from the coal-fired power plant the facility is attached to.

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“Do we proceed with coal, which we have some approximately 200 to 300 year supply of coal in Saskatchewan, or do we shut it down? We made the decision to go forward.”

Tougher federal standards for emissions would have forced Saskatchewan to make changes to coal power generation by 2019.

On Tuesday, University of Regina environmental economist Samuel Gamtessa told Global News it may be difficult to sell the world on the expertise being gained at Boundary Dam, because other countries and power utilities would simply “learn from our failures.”

“You wouldn’t consider this technology because it’s profitable,” he said. “The consideration is an environmental requirement.”

“If by accident or by luck, we make profit, that’s good.”

Boyd argued that more than 200 companies and organizations have come forward, expressing interest in what SaskPower has learned so far – including the flaws.

“These are experiences SaskPower has now that they didn’t have before,” he said. “That’s very valuable information and I think companies would agree.”

Follow @mikemckinnon

©2015

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Global survey shows majority want governments to do more to fight climate change

Written by admin on 15/10/2019 Categories: 长沙桑拿

PARIS – A survey across 40 countries around the world found most people see global warming as a serious problem, and most of them want their governments to limit emissions as part of a global agreement being negotiated in Paris in a month.

Respondents in the United States and China – the two biggest emitters of the gases that heat the planet – were least likely to be worried about climate change, according to the study by the Washington-based Pew Research Center released Thursday.

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Those in Latin American and African countries – places severely affected by rising seas and encroaching deserts linked to climate change – were most concerned.

A majority of respondents across regions said they would support cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by their governments as part of a global accord being negotiated at U.N. talks in Paris Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

Most people in all countries surveyed said they believe they will have to make changes in their lifestyles to adapt to climate change. Pew also found majority support for the idea that rich countries should make a greater effort than poor ones to reduce emissions to slow global warming. That rich-poor divide will be a key tension point at the Paris talks.

Amid a rise in extreme weather around the world in recent years, drought is by far the largest climate-related concern among those surveyed, followed by severe events such as floods and intense storms.

Overall, the survey found that concern about global warming has stayed relatively stable in recent years overall.

Other findings:

-Women are more concerned than men and more likely to expect their own lifestyles to change as a result of global warming.

-Younger generations are more worried than their parents and grandparents.

-Catholics and people with no religious affiliation are generally more concerned than Protestants about climate change, especially in the United States.

The survey found partisan differences between conservative and left-wing views of climate change in several countries – and the starkest differences in the United States.

The poll was conducted in person and by telephone with 45,435 people from March through May. The margin of error is 2.8 to 4.3 per cent.

The results of the polling in the U.S. echoed those of an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll this week, which found two out of three Americans accept global warming and the vast majority of those say human activities are at least part of the cause. However, fewer than one in four Americans are extremely or very worried about it, according the poll of 1,058 people in mid-October.

Climate scientists and social scientists say that relative indifference is keeping the American public from demanding and getting the changes that are necessary to prevent global warming from reaching a crisis.

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Prosecutors question owner of Romanian nightclub where 32 died in deadly blaze

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BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian prosecutors on Friday questioned an owner of the nightclub where a fire killed more than 30 people and injured 180.

Anti-corruption prosecutors questioned Paul Gancea, one of the three owners of the Colectiv nightclub, where the fire broke out Friday night, the deadliest of its kind in Romania.

Gancea was responsible for securing permits for the club. He was detained Tuesday with the other two owners for “grave negligence and irresponsibility” and a “high level of social danger.”

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Agerpres news agency reported that prosecutors on Friday were taking documents from the district town hall where the club was located and the financial administration authorities.

The fire sparked mass protests and led to the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Cabinet on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea announced Friday he would not stay on under an interim government and was immediately handing over his ministerial duties to Ilie Botos, a state secretary in the ministry who was Romania’s general prosecutor from 2003 to 2006. Oprea had been under pressure to resign even before the fire, after a policeman died when his motorbike hit a hole on Oct. 20 while escorting Oprea’s motorcade.

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Date night dinner ideas for this winter: recipes included

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

WINNIPEG – With the weather getting cooler, you may want to start limiting your time outside.

The Morning News joined executive chef Eraj Jayawickreme to give you date night dinner ideas to make from the comfort of your own home this winter.

This meal includes a roasted beet and blackberry salad paired with bison tenderloin and roasted garlic potatoes.

For dessert, Jayawickreme suggests a homemade chocolate mousse cake with fresh berries soaked in champagne.

Roasted beet and blackberry salad with blue cheese and blackberry vinaigrette

Ingredients:
¾ cup Olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 loose cup blackberries, plus extra to garnish
5 ounces baby arugula leaves, washed and dried (about 1 cup per person)
12 small beets, assorted colors, washed and dried (2 beets per person)
½ cup walnuts pieces
5 – 6 ounce wedge of Stilton cheese
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

    Roast the beets by wrapping them in foil (wrap the lighter beets in a separate packets than the dark so the colors don’t bleed onto each other).Place the wrapped beets into a 425 degrees F. oven for 30 – 45 minutes, until they are tenderRemove beets from oven, and allow to cool.Run the beets under cold water and slip off the skins, using a small paring knife to remove the tough bits, if necessary.While the beets are roasting, place the vinegar and blackberries in a bowl and mash the berries thoroughly using the back of a fork or potato masher.Strain the mixture through a fine wire sieve.Press all of the liquid out into a large cup or small mixing bowl.Add the olive oil and honey to the vinegar mixture and give it a good whisk.Add salt and pepper to taste.Place approximately 1 cup of greens on the center of each plate.Arrange 4 of the quartered beets around the greens, using two different colors of beets if you have them.Then place few blackberries on each plate.Cut small pieces of the Stilton off the wedge and scatter chunks of the cheese over the greens and you may even want to place a small wedge of the cheese on the side of the salad.Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad and drizzle with the dressing.

Pan-Seared Bison Tenderloin

Ingredients:
2 (6 ounce) bison fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter

    Remove the fillets from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking, allowing them to come to room temperature.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel (this helps them get a good sear) and season amply with salt and pepper. Proteins absorb a lot of salt, so don’t be shy, give them a good coating.Heat enough canola oil to coat the bottom of a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Since the steaks are lean, you will need the help of fat to ensure they don’t stick to the pan. You could use a nonstick if that is your only option, but you can get a hotter surface by using stainless steel.Once you see light wisps of smoke rise from the pan, place the fillets in the pan and sear 1 minute on all sides, making sure not to move the meat around too much, which prevents that delicious crust from forming.Once seared on all sides, remove pan from heat, place the butter and thyme along the edge of the pan and tilt back until the butter is melted. Using a large spoon, baste the tops of the fillets with butter. Place pan directly into the oven and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes for medium-rare, or until the internal temperature reads 120 degrees F.

Let the bison rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing to ensure all the juices redistribute and you have a tender, juicy steak.

Pan-Seared Bison Tenderloin

Global News

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium size Potatoes unpeeled
8 Cloves of Garlic whole unpeeled
½ cup butter
¾ cup whole Milk, warm

    Toss the garlic cloves in olive oil and salt and pepperWrap in foil and roast in a 350 degreeF oven for about 45 mins or until completely tenderBoil the potatoes in salted water until cooked completelyDrain and peelThen pass through a food mill along with the garlic and butter, into a clean potSlowly add the warm milk until you have the desired consistencySeason with salt and pepper

Dill Chimichurri

Ingredients:
1 tbsp caraway seeds, toasted
1 tbsp celery seeds, toasted
1 tbsp dill seeds, toasted
1 tbsp anise seeds, toasted
½ c white vinegar
4 cloves garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
½ c dill leaves, chopped
½ c parsley, washed and chopped
½ c extra vergin olive oil
2 tbsp pernod

    Roughly grind all of the seeds, blend with the vinegar, garlic and chiles.Purée.Gently fold in the dill, parsley, oil and pernod.

Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon

Ingredients:
1 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons
Parmigiano-reggiano, for topping

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, from top to bottom.Toss the sprouts with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes on a baking sheet.Put in the oven and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.Toast the pine nuts on a separate baking sheet in the oven for the last 5 minutes of roasting the sprouts.While the sprouts are roasting, put the bacon in a small saute pan with a splash of olive oil and bring the pan to medium heat.Cook the bacon until crispy, 7 to 8 minutes.Remove from the pan.
    Using a peeler, shave a few slices of parmigiano on top.Toss the roasted Brussels sprouts with the crispy bacon and toasted pine nuts.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Cake
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Mousse
200 grams of of dark chocolate
4 eggs
150 ml whipping cream (very cold)
4 tablespoons espresso
2 tablespoons rum
2 teaspoons sugar

    Preheat oven to 350F.To prepare cake, grease an 8-inch springform pan, line bottom and side with parchment paper. Set aside.Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue mixing. Add eggs, one at a time. Continue beating for around 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternate to butter mixture.Pour the batter into the prepared pan.Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.Let cool completely.To prepare mousse, make a double boiler and bring the water to a soft simmer. Put the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl and leave to melt. Put a mixing bowl in the freezer.Split the eggs and whip the egg yolks with the sugar till it becomes light and creamy. Add the melted chocolate, rum and espresso.Put the cream in the bowl that came out of the freezer and whip until it becomes stiff. Add the cream to the chocolate mixture and combine with a spatula until it becomes one liquid.Beat the egg whites until it becomes stiff and forms peak and add that to the chocolate mixture.Pour the chocolate mixture onto the cool cake. Juggle the pan lightly to level the top.Keep in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Sprinkle chocolate shaves on top if wanted.

Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Global News

Champagne-Soaked Berries

Ingredients:
½ cup Champagne or other sparkling wine
¼ cup agave nectar, divided
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 (16-ounce) package fresh strawberries, halved
2 (6-ounce) packages fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons of finely sliced fresh mint

    Combine Champagne, 3 tablespoons agave, mint and rind in a large bowl.Add berries; toss gently to combine.Cover and chill 30 minutes.

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Questions raised whether Trudeau’s middle class tax cut will help economy

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

OTTAWA – As the Liberals rush to fulfil their headline election vow to siphon more from the rich to give to the middle class, it remains up for debate just how much the plan will help Canada’s limping economy.

Experts say the Trudeau government should have little trouble meeting its self-imposed Jan. 1 deadline to rejig tax brackets as a way to ease the load on middle-income earners.

On the campaign trail, the party worked hard to sell the plan to voters by stating the economy would grow if middle-class Canadians had more cash in their pockets.

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The change, however, has raised questions whether the tax increase would produce as much additional revenue as the Liberals expect, or if it would address income inequality.

It would also make Canada’s highest income bracket one of the most heavily taxed in the industrialized world.

The Liberal plan calls for a new 33 per cent rate on Canadians who earn more than $200,000 per year. The existing top bracket of 29 per cent would continue to apply to those earning between $138,586 and $200,000, and 26 per cent for those between $89,401 and $138,586.

The party also promises to cut the rate to 20.5 per cent from 22 per cent for those with a taxable annual income between $44,700 and $89,401. The maximum annual benefit, it says, would be $670 per person for those with earnings at the top of that middle bracket.

Liberal estimates say the change would lift $3 billion worth of tax burden per year off the backs of middle-income earners. That would be counterbalanced by heaping another $3 billion in taxes on those in the highest income bracket.

Looking at the big picture, the overall economic impact remains less than clear.

Experts say the government would likely rake in less revenue by jacking up taxes on the rich, particularly from financially savvy Canadians whose incomes barely qualify for the top bracket.

Rhys Kesselman of Simon Fraser University said earners near that margin would likely become a little more aggressive on tax planning and with their investment arrangements.

“It is more elastic in both tax planning and tax advising, and legal tax avoidance,” Kesselman said of the highest bracket.

Others believe the Liberal plan would only have a limited effect on the economy.

BMO chief economist Doug Porter said slashing the rate would likely be a positive for the economy because people might work more when they can keep a bigger portion of their earnings. It could also encourage a small uptick in consumer spending, he added.

But Porter noted there are concerns a higher marginal rate, which would creep above 50 per cent when combined with a provincial rate, could discourage foreign investors from coming to Canada as they look to avoid exposing employees to heftier personal taxes.

In 2014, Canada’s top marginal personal income tax rate of 49.5 per cent – combined with provincial taxes – ranked No. 10 among the world’s industrialized countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Comparing to those same 2014 rates, the Liberals’ proposed change could push Canada into the top five.

“My concern would be more (that) it’s not going to be much of a calling card for Canada in terms of attracting investment,” Porter said.

For his part, Kesselman said the argument that raising taxes on top earners is a deterrent is “largely overblown.”

Porter also questioned whether it would address income inequality, an issue that he said some argue is not a major problem in Canada.

On Wednesday, government House leader Dominic LeBlanc promised the measures would be in place by the start of the new year.

“Absolutely, no problem – that’s a piece of cake,” Don Drummond, a former senior Finance Department official, said when asked whether it was possible for the Liberals to meet the deadline.

The majority government could enact the changes by introducing a motion in Parliament.

Drummond said the biggest challenge could be getting the new numbers to employers in time for them to deduct the right tax amounts from the first January paycheques.

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France shores up security ahead of major UN climate conference

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PARIS – France will reinstate controls on its borders – normally open to other countries in Europe’s free-travel zone – for the period around a major U.N. climate conference in Paris, the interior minister said Friday.

Authorities are on alert for violent protesters as well as potential terror attacks around the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference. Some 80 heads of state including President Barack Obama, and tens of thousands of other people, are expected in Paris for the conference opening.

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Bernard Cazeneuve said on BFM television Friday that the controls will be in place for a month “in the context of terrorist threats that could come and stain this large international gathering that is carrying a grand message for humanity.”

Europe’s so-called Schengen zone of countries with open borders allows for occasional reintroduction of internal border checks, which some countries have done amid this year’s migrant crisis.

France submitted a note to European Union authorities last month announcing border checks at all airports with international flights and at 131 land crossings with Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg, according to an EU document. The French note cites Schengen rules allowing controls “when there is a serious threat to public policy.”

France is still reeling from deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in January on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery. Since then, the country has seen several other smaller attacks or attempts, including when a heavily armed Islamic radical was prevented by young American passengers from attacking a high-speed train in August. France is also bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq as part of a U.S.-led coalition, and has troops fighting extremists in Africa.

The climate conference is aimed at reaching the most ambitious accord to date for world governments to reduce emissions that cause global warming.

Organizers expect at least 40,000 people in addition to tens of thousands of activists from environmental, human rights and other groups from around the world. A big march is planned through Paris Nov. 29, and protest groups plan to try to blockade the conference site Dec. 11 and 12, as well as several other smaller-scale actions.

France faces routine protests that are largely peaceful but sometimes degenerate into violence by an extremist fringe. The country saw particularly violent protests during a NATO summit in Strasbourg in 2009, when members of the violence-prone “black bloc” attacked police and set a hotel and customs station ablaze, leaving many injured and disrupting official meetings.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris has warned American citizens to be particularly vigilant around the climate conference.

The last time France reinstated national border controls was for a Group of 20 summit in Cannes in 2011.

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Cost of bridge to replace Massey Tunnel estimated at $3 billion

Written by admin on 15/09/2019 Categories: 长沙桑拿

The bridge that will replace the George Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond will be longer than the new Port Mann Bridge. Higher than the new Port Mann Bridge.

And more expensive too.

“It’s a much more complex technical project than even the Port Mann Bridge was,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone today, explaining the estimated $3 billion pricetag for the project.

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“The bridge will actually be a bit longer and at a bit higher. It will be a larger bridge overall than what the Port Mann is, mainly because of the soil conditions that have been encountered. As well as you’re crossing two sections, two different channels of the river at this particular location.”

Stone spoke to reporters on Thursday, a day after Independent MLA Vicki Huntington released a Freedom of Information request revealing a lack of public records surrounding the proposed-mega project, first announced in 2013.

READ MORE: Congested George Massey Tunnel to be replaced by bridge in 2017

Stone says the government is committed to making documents public to the project – including a business plan, which was originally promised for 2014 – but Huntington is skeptical, given the lack of records so far.

“No business case, no cost benefit analysis, no correspondence. Nothing,” she said.

“Going forward, be as transparent as you like, but we want the supporting documentation.”

The province hopes to begin construction in 2017, with a 2022 completion date. But Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says there are plenty of questions that need to be answered first.

“Exactly how is this bridge going to be financed? And is it going to be tolled – I’m sure it will be – and what are the levels of the tolls? And is it going to be a P3?” he asks.

“We need more information, we need it as soon as possible, so we as a city can respond to this project and really say what we think about it after full analysis.”

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Road pricing for Metro Vancouver discussed at Surrey forum

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The subject of road pricing was on the agenda Thursday night at a public forum in Surrey, where people were divided on whether that approach is the solution to their congestion woes.

On Monday, the Canadian Ecofiscal Commision released a report calling for a conversation surrounding tolls on bridges and busy routes across the lower mainland and other major Canadian cities.

“Our idea is that you might try tolls on the bridges that get you into the central core,” said Chris Ragan, the commission’s chair and lead on the report.

Ragan says local and provincial governments could consider a pilot project to test the idea.

WATCH: Traffic congestion is a problem in cities across Canada. But a new report says we’re not tackling it the right way. Mike Armstrong looks at whether it’s time to put an economic value on our roads, especially during peak times.

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“Well it’s certainly something that is worth studying,” said Bruce Hayne, a councillor with the city of Surrey.

“Congestion pricing pricing is something that our former mayor [Dianne] Watts was advocating years ago and continues to.”

About 60 people attended the forum, held at SFU Surrey. Some said the idea of tolling all the bridges is a good one. Others aren’t quite convinced yet.

“The new bridges I understand, but to toll all the bridges, I think they’re just trying to create revenue,” said Ken Hunter, a commuter who’s often found himself stuck in traffic.

However, Ragan points to other cities across North America, such as Minneapolis, where drivers have the choice of paying to use high occupancy toll [HOT] lanes.

“What they found there is that it reduces traffic congestion. The HOT lanes travel quickly but the non HOT lanes – let’s call them the cold lanes – they travel faster too,” he said.

“Let’s start a conversation about policies that work elsewhere and probably would work here if we gave it the good old college try.”

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Brazen drive-by shooting on Stephen Avenue tied to abduction: Calgary police

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CALGARY – Police investigating a brazen drive-by shooting on a busy downtown Calgary street believe it is connected to an abduction that happened the night before.

Gunfire erupted in the 200 block of Stephen Avenue S.W. just after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday while the popular entertainment district was packed with people.

Police said a man and a woman, both in their 20s, were standing on the sidewalk when a vehicle approached and someone inside opened fire.

The victims were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds. Both are listed in serious but non-life-threatening condition.

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The violent attack took place in front of a McDonald’s in the Scotia Centre, leaving two large panes of glass shattered. A stray bullet entered the fast food eatery and struck the back wall.

Police said the restaurant was closed at the time, but workers were still inside cleaning up and were quite shaken.

A bullet hole is seen in the wall of a McDonald’s located in the 200 block of Stephen Avenue S.W.

Global News

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The Calgary Police Service Guns and Gangs Unit rushed to the scene of the attack.

A vehicle believed to be connected to the shooting was later found at a gas station in the 2000 block of 16 Avenue N.W. Police took two people who were in the vehicle in for questioning.

Inspector Rob Davidson said that vehicle was believed to be the one involved in an abduction that occurred in the same location on Wednesday night.

“We are not looking at random isolated events,” he said. “This appears to be much more targeted.”

READ MORE: Possible kidnapping caught on camera in downtown Calgary

Davidson said the Stephen Avenue shooting was not connected to gangs or two shootings that happened earlier this week, however, he suggested the abduction and Stephen Avenue shooting were connected to drugs.

“We believe that the persons of interest in custody are also likely involved in other crime, violent crime that has occurred in the city, and those are also ongoing investigations,” he said.

– With files from Bindu Suri and Tony Tighe

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Toyota invests $1 billion in artificial intelligence research

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TOKYO (AP) — Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it’s setting up in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, underlining the Japanese automaker’s determination to lead in futuristic cars that drive themselves and apply the technology to other areas of daily life.

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Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said Friday the company will start operating from January 2016, with 200 employees at a Silicon Valley facility near Stanford University. A second facility will be established near Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The investment, which will be spread over five years, comes on top of $50 million Toyota announced earlier for artificial intelligence research at Stanford and MIT.

READ MORE: Google’s drivers of driverless cars do a job that may soon be obsolete

Toyota said its interest extended beyond autonomous driving, which is starting to be offered by some automakers and being promised by almost all of them. The technology was pointing to a new industry for everyday use, delivering a safer lifestyle overall, it said.

Toyota has already shown an R2-D2-like robot designed to help the elderly, the sick and people in wheelchairs by picking up and carrying objects. The automaker has also shown human-shaped entertainment robots that can carry on conversations and play musical instruments. As the world’s top auto manufacturer, Toyota already uses sophisticated robotic arms and computers in auto production, including doing paint jobs and screwing in parts.

To drive home the message that the automaker’s vision was more than about just cars, Toyoda appeared at a Tokyo hotel with high profile robotics expert Gill Pratt, who will head the new organization called Toyota Research Institute Inc.

Pratt was formerly a program manager at the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He joined Toyota as a technical adviser when it set up its AI research effort at Stanford and MIT.

WATCH: The U.K. government believes driverless cars could save motorists six working weeks a year in driving time, reduce congestion, cut emissions and improve safety. Emily Elias reports.

Pratt said the company’s goals are to support older people in their homes with robotics, make cars free of accidents and use AI to allow all people to drive regardless of ability.

He gave three examples from his personal life that motivate him to develop robotics and related technology: when he was a child, seeing a boy on a bicycle killed by a car; telling his 83-year-old father he could no longer drive; and sending his father to a nursing home when he was 84.

Pratt, who grew up on Japanese robot animation and dreamed of one day building such robots, said he chose Toyota over other jobs because it was “so focused on social good.”

He said coming up with a car as smart as a human being will take a long time. But that also meant the competition had just begun and no one was ahead significantly, he said.

The new company will be hiring researchers and engineers, according to Toyota. Wooing talent is crucial because not only are automakers such as General Motors, Tesla and Nissan competing on autonomous driving but outsiders are as well, including Google, Apple and Uber.

Toyota, which has gone through troubled times with massive recalls and the 2011 tsunami in northeastern Japan, has the cash these days to invest in the future.

On Thursday, it kept its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March 2016 unchanged at 2.25 trillion yen ($18.5 billion), as profit rose on cost cuts and the benefits of a weak yen. The maker of the Prius hybrid and Camry sedan is on track to sell about 10 million vehicles around the world this year.

Toyoda, ranked by Forbes in this year’s “powerful people” list as the most powerful Japanese, said he looks forward to working with Pratt because they share a vision.

“The goal is to do away with the tragedy of car accidents,” he told reporters.

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‘I trusted what they were telling me’: a student’s frustration with Direct Energy

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LETHBRIDGE – Fighting to get her Direct Energy refund has been a seven month battle for Ashleigh Ahlstrom.

The 20-year-old claims she has yet to receive the $121 refund promised after cancelling her services in April.

The energy giant was charged on Wednesday by the Alberta government for violating fair business practices for its customers. One of those charges was failing to refund a deposit within 15 days after cancellation.

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READ MORE: Alberta charges Direct Energy with failing to cancel contract, give refund

“It is really frustrating, I trusted what they were telling me and nothing ever happened,” said Ahlstrom.

The third-year University of Lethbridge student had registered with Direct Energy after deciding to rent her own home for the first time. When the school year was coming to an end, she gave one months notice to cut her utility services, because she was moving back home to Calgary for the summer. She then received a note on her last bill telling her she would be getting a $121 refund.

In June, she called the company after no cheque ever showed up in the mail, and was told she would have the money soon. After a couple months went by and still no refund, she contacted them again, and was told they would not resend the cheque because it was already in the mail.

Ashleigh Ahlstrom with letter from Direct Energy after she filed complaint about not receiving her refund.

She sent a detailed email to their complaints department and received a letter thanking her for the feedback and asking for additional information in order to make changes to her account.

“I trusted them since April, so I just gave up, because it is just defeating when no one listens to you,” added Ahlstrom.

In a statement Direct Energy said:

After an internal investigation it was discovered that the cheque was sent to the customer’s previous address. We will correct this situation with Ms. Ahlstrom as soon as possible, and the agent has been retrained on this procedure. Direct Energy apologizes to Ms. Ahlstrom for her inconvenience.

After Global News contacted the company on Thursday afternoon, Ahlstrom said they called her twice to try and rectify the issue.

“I think having them call me twice because they knew I was going to speak to the media, really shows how they are conducting their company,” she said.

She says the address she listed for a refund is the same address Direct Energy mailed their response to her emailed complaint, which she received promptly.

“If it was an address issue, why did they not contact me when they realized it was an address issue,” she said.

As she waits for the new refund, she is concerned others are still waiting on their repayment cheques, and encourages them to also speak out.

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