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March 15th, 2019 by admin

Dam bursts in southeastern Brazil; unknown number dead, missing

RIO DE JANEIRO – A dam burst at a mining operation in southeastern Brazil on Thursday, submerging nearby homes and vehicles. Authorities said there are dead and missing but have not yet given any figures.

Rescue teams were searching for survivors or bodies, and residents living in an area downhill from the dam were told to evacuate to higher ground.

The Civil Defence agency of Minas Gerais state confirmed there were dead and missing from the dam burst – but said it could not yet give a number.

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Images from Globo TV showed the area of the operation overrun with water and clay-red mud, and large vehicles tossed on their sides.

A small cluster of homes and about 400 people live in the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7 kilometres (just over 4 miles) beneath the dam that burst. Images showed the town overrun with mud and water.

Authorities said the dam was built to hold back water and residue from mining operations, a mixture that can often be toxic.

The Samarco mining company said in a statement on its website that it was making “every effort to prioritize care to people and mitigate damage to the environment.”

“It is not possible at this moment to confirm a cause … nor if there are victims,” it added.

Police, firefighters and city officials also said they could not confirm any victims.

A statement from the city hall of Mariana, a city of about 40,000 people 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro, said the dam ruptured at 4:20 p.m. in an area roughly 20 kilometres (over 12 miles) from the city centre.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Men’s homeless shelter in Scarborough could move to a renovated hotel

TORONTO —; As many as 60 homeless men over the age of 55 currently living at the Birchmount Residence in Scarborough may soon find a new place to stay.

The City of Toronto has plans to buy the Comfort Inn along the motel strip on Kingston Road and renovate it. It would then be able to house and support as many as 120 seniors.

“We have been looking at the last few years on different opportunities,” City Councillor Gary Crawford said.

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“The opportunity to purchase this particular hotel came up and we think it’s going to be a good fit for the men, for the staff and for the community as well.”

According to the local councillor, the property next door would be part of any deal. The unsightly East Side motel is still open for business but a “source of contention” for those living in the near community.

“It’s the right move. However, a comprehensive plan also needs to be in place,” Scarborough Community Renewal Campaign spokesman Dave Hardey said. “Kingston Road needs to be thought of as a living space.”

Residents in the neighbourhood looking for renewal welcome re purposing the properties that exist there now, but aren’t sure about a shelter moving in.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Devi Palaniappan said. “It’s not fair already. We have three motels and we have a lot of trouble at night.”

Alwan Ibrhaim owns a townhouse backing onto another hotel along the same stretch of road.

“When you were talking with the private residents in here they don’t want to live in a place where there is social housing,” he said.

The Birchmount Residence where the seniors now stay is a site that the city leases and has slowly been falling into disrepair since it opened in 1999.

A community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 to provide more information to those in the area.

More details, including a proposed budget for the purchase, will be discussed by City Hall’s Executive Committee on Dec. 1.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Family fights back against OHIP’s refusal to pay for son’s surgery in the U.S.

TORONTO —; An Ontario family is standing up to OHIP in the first day of their appeal, after it denied funding for their seven-year-old son to get a surgery in the U.S. they say could be life changing.

Alesandro Ciampa has cerebral palsy and is scheduled for Selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery in St. Louis, surgery that’s expected to allow him to walk without a walker.

“I want to get stronger and I want to walk by myself,” he said.

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OHIP is refusing to pay for the costly surgery because an Ontario specialist hasn’t signed off on it.

READ MORE: Families fighting for OHIP funding for U.S. surgery redouble their efforts

“I’m feeling nervous,” said Alesandro’s mother, Shana Ciampa, before the hearing in which she represented herself.

Ciampa argued that they, and at least a half dozen other parents, can’t get a specialist to even see their children, let alone sign the forms.

OHIP denies that and their witness said they’ve just changed the process for patients.

“We have to streamline procedures so we can see them effectively,” testified Dr. Sheila Singh, a pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

That contradicted what she sent in an email to Ciampa in July.

READ MORE: Families fighting for childrens’ surgery rejected by OHIP

Singh wrote that they no longer feel SDR is a “reasonable option” and that families should “seek other available treatment options.”

“I absolutely do not think I would have an objective assessment of my child,” said Ciampa.

Another parent appealing OHIP testified they are in the same situation.

“You are caught in this perpetual loop, OHIP needs a specialist but no specialist will sign off on it, and they all seem to be working together,” said Chad Mitchell.

READ MORE: Outpouring of support after Global News story about boy who needs surgery

The Health Services and Appeal Review Board also heard that just last week OHIP approved a child for SDR without a specialist’s signature.

In that case, the parents provided physician notes indicating their son was a good candidate.

The notes were written by one of the doctors who refused to sign the OHIP form and odds are against winning an appeal.

Global News researched decisions of the Health Services and Appeal Review Board over the last five years.

READ MORE: Doctors and health minister at odds over cerebral palsy surgery, families not getting funding

On average 87 per cent of appeals were denied. To date in 2015, 90 per cent have been denied.

“It’s unfair, inequitable. The appellants are self represented, not represented by lawyers, OHIP is represented by lawyers,” said Perry Brodkin, a former OHIP lawyer.

Ciampa said she’s fighting OHIP on principal.

“I’m doing it because its unfair and it’s unfair to other kids in the same situation,” she said.

READ MORE: Ontario family raising $100,000 for surgery so 3-year-old boy can walk

The family has fundraised tens of thousands of dollars but needs well over $100,000 to cover everything.

It could take weeks for the family to get a decision.

The surgery is scheduled for Dec. 2 and Alesandro said he doesn’t want to wait any longer.

“I want to be like the other kids on the climbers, stuff like that,” he said.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Kapyong the perfect temporary home for refugees: Military expert

WINNIPEG —; The Kapyong Barracks is the perfect place to house up to 2,000 Syrian refugees according to a Winnipeg military expert.

Gary Solar is a retired Colonel and chief of operations at the Centre for Crime and Terrorism Studies in the United States.

He says the Barracks is a self-contained “village” with the buildings, living quarters and security measures already in place to make it an ideal temporary home for refugees.

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RELATED: Tuxedo residents, First Nations leader discuss Kapyong Barracks

However the structures have sat vacant for 11 years, meaning they’d be in need of major restorative work before they’d be suitable to live in.

But Solar still thinks the plan could work, “In some of the halls they could put people up in temporary accommodation while they worked to make the other buildings safe.”

Complicating things is the status of the Kapyong Barracks lands, with a potential deal for the property between Treaty 1 First Nations and the federal government on the horizon.

RELATED: Kapyong Barracks case sees Federal Court of Appeal siding with First Nations

Regardless of whether or not Kapyong ultimately works as a temporary home for refugees Winnipeg could soon be looking for places to house hundreds or possibly thousands from Syria.

The Canadian government has promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before next year.

“We will work with whatever administration is necessary, whether it’s opening up local gyms, whether it’s Kapyong Barracks or whether it’s private accommodation,” says executive director of Welcome Place Rita Chahal.

She says they will be ready for the challenge of welcoming the potential surge of people coming Winnipeg. She has even issued a no time-off rule for her employees over the holidays in case they need to help people as they arrive.

©2015

February 15th, 2019 by admin

Caught on camera: Wisconsin man shows off to officer on being fraudulent panhandler

The Grand Chute police department in Wisconsin released footage of an officer speaking with a man who admits to being a fraudulent panhandler.

The body cam video shows the unidentified man being approached by an officer and asking if he needs any assistance, which the man declines.

“Yesterday I made $250 with the ‘hopeless dad’ sign. Honestly, I don’t have a kid, but people do like to help out,” the panhandler admits in the video.

He then reaches into his car for another sign to show the official. This one reads: “Broken & Hungry.”

“This one … I made $197,” the man claims.

“Oh, wow. All in one day, huh?” the officers asks.

“All in two-and-a-half hours,” the panhandler replies.

It’s  scamming panhandlers such as the man in the video that make the town’s chairman, David Schowalter, warn residents of who they are giving their money to.

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“I just want to make [people] aware that there are panhandlers that are fraudulent and that’s exactly what my sign says,” Schowalter told WFRV News as he stood on a street corner with a sign reading: “Beware some panhandlers are fraudulent.”

In the town of Grand Chute, panhandling is legal and people who engage in the act are allowed to advertise themselves in any way they choose. Therefore, all Schowalter can do for now is warn residents with good hearts that some people may be taking advantage, which can be hard for some who are truly on the streets everyday trying to earn a little extra cash for their family.

“I would say I’m doing this to benefit my family,” an anonymous panhandler told WFRV. “The only reason I’m doing this is because I do have kids at home.”

The anonymous man said he makes about $40 dollars a day, while trying to look for work.

“It’s definitely a stab in your pride when you have to stand on the side of the road as a grown man and ask people for money,” he admitted.

As for the fraudulent panhandler, he sees his actions as a benefit to society.

“Yes, it’s morally questionable that I am preying upon people’s good hearts and good intentions. But I’m also selling people self-importance for being a good person.”

©2015

February 15th, 2019 by admin

Fleet improvements highlight Saskatoon’s snow plans

SASKATOON – The City of Saskatoon laid out its plans for the upcoming snow removal season, including technological advances planned for its fleet of sanding trucks. The city has equipped three more sanding trucks with a “pre-wetting” solution that debuted on Saskatoon streets last year.

The pilot project involved setting up a sanding truck with a magnesium-chloride brine. The mixture makes sand stick to the ground, while helping salt melt ice at lower temperatures.

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“We found through the results of last year’s experiment that the pre-wetting is a very good solution. It works optimally well,” said Pat Hyde, director of public works with the City of Saskatoon.

The city is also in the process of equipping its sanders with GPS. The goal is to track the vehicles and the amount of product and fuel used, in order to create more efficient routes and processes in the future.

READ MORE: 2015-16 winter weather forecast

While the weather has been unseasonably warm so far, the public works department is proceeding as usual.

“We’re prepared for it, but we’re always hoping for the best,” Hyde said. “We’re also prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.”

Crews will be out during and immediately after the first snowfall of the season. The snow clearing budget has $3.2 million remaining in 2015, while $1.1 million is left in the sanding budget.

©2015

February 15th, 2019 by admin

Election’s over, but most poll workers still haven’t been paid

It was a long day for everyone.

Sixteen hours and 30 minutes of checking IDs, crossing out names, hand-counting ballots. No breaks.

Chantara Blair says she got more —; and less —; than she bargained for.

Blair, who worked at a Red Deer-Lacombe polling station on election day, claims she’s been given the runaround, forced to fight for overtime and wait weeks longer than she expected to get paid.

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On the heels of Canada’s longest federal campaign in 140 years, Elections Canada is scrambling to meet its swollen payroll amid a flood of employee complaints.

But despite the increased financial and logistical Elections Canada says it’s meeting its obligations and that any complaints around payment or delays are the result of confusion.

Total employee costs this year are an estimated $153 million —; 66 per cent higher than the $92 million in 2011.

As of Nov. 5, about 47 per cent of the 215,877 poll workers had been paid.

“Elections Canada is taking every measure to issue payments as quickly as possible.  Every worker will be paid,” spokesperson Diane Benson said in an email.

“Elections Canada is meeting its service standards with regard to paying election workers. We surpassed these standards at previous elections; however, given the larger workforce and longer election period in 2015, we are meeting but not surpassing these service standards.”

Blair isn’t so sure.

“There was minimal training,” she says.

Overstretched supervisors bounced between ballot boxes, trying to answer questions and put out fires.

Blair said she didn’t know how to deal with people who came in ready to vote, only to be turned away because their names had been crossed off the list —; they’d voted already in advanced polls.

We dealt with a lot of angry people,” she said.

“There should’ve been some sort of process in place.”

Most of the day went smoothly, albeit hectically. There were no organized breaks so they ate at their tables and spelled each other off for bathroom breaks.

When it came time to count the ballots … we were missing a ballot,” she said. Her station had given out 230 ballots that day, but there were only 229 in her box after polls closed.

And they didn’t know what to do.

“We didn’t know if you can just write down that there’s one missing,” she said.

We ended up putting the one that was missing under the ‘spoiled’” column on the tallying sheet.

MORE: Employment surges by 44,000, aided by federal election hiring

Blair would be fine with that, for the most part, if she didn’t feel she was being shortchanged. She doesn’t know why she isn’t getting paid for the extra two and a half hours she put in during what was supposed to be $210 for a 14-hour workday.

They’re claiming they’re not paying overtime,” she said.

“I’m still fighting with them for that.”

She also claims she and her colleagues got a pamphlet saying they’d be paid within two weeks of the election —; not four to six weeks as they’re now being told.

But Elections Canada says she’s reading the pamphlet wrong.

The two-week window is for returning office workers, Benson said: Polling station workers should expect to get paid within six weeks of the election.

A “small percentage” of workers (less than five per cent, Benson said) may have to wait eight weeks before they’re paid.

“These standards are the same as for the 2011 general election,” she wrote.

And, Benson said, people who work election day are paid a daily, not hourly rate.

“Some positions are hourly rates but others are set rates for election day or advance polling days.  Elections Canada must follow these set rates.”

Blair isn’t appeased.

The Wal-Mart employee took on the election day gig as a way to get extra cash for herself and her 18-month-old, Adalyn.

“People are just so frustrated with them,” she said.

“I think there’s a lot of people who really did this for the extra money. … Who wants to work a 16-and-a-half hour day to be paid two months later?”

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February 15th, 2019 by admin

Marlborough Park shooting a dispute over drugs: Calgary police

CALGARY – Police said Thursday a shooting in Calgary’s Marlborough Park community was a targeted attack because of a dispute over drugs. The guns and gangs unit is investigating.

Police said just before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to a home in the 100 block of Madeira Road N.E. for reports of gunshots. One man was found injured and was transported to hospital with minor injuries.

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Related

  • Man rushed to hospital after Marlborough Park shooting

READ MORE: Man rushed to hospital after Marlborough Park shooting

Investigators said Thursday they believe the victim was sitting in a parked vehicle on a driveway when he was shot at by a man who got out of an SUV. The victim is not cooperating with police.

Police said the vehicle carrying the suspect was a blue BMW X5, which fled the scene after multiple shots were fired.

Two vehicles were struck by bullets and police are asking neighbours to check their cars and homes for any other traces from the gunshots.

Anyone who may have information related to the incident is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

READ MORE: Calgary police chief warns of ‘fluid’ gangs, more weapons on city streets

Watch below: Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques of the Guns and Gangs Unit talks to the media Thursday regarding recent violence in Calgary.

©2015

February 15th, 2019 by admin

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema charged over sex tape blackmail case

PARIS – Five years after missing the World Cup amid his involvement in a prostitution probe, Karim Benzema was charged Thursday with conspiracy to blackmail as part of an investigation over a sex tape involving France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema, widely considered one of the most talented strikers in the world, also faced preliminary charges of participating in a criminal group in a scandal that has monopolized the national media’s attention.

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Few details of the case have been released, but investigators said they are trying to find out if Benzema played a role in an extortion attempt targeting Valbuena, and if he actually tried to blackmail the Lyon midfielder.

READ MORE: Syrian tripped by Hungarian journalist arrives in Madrid

Benzema was handed the preliminary charges Thursday after being brought before a judge at a Versailles court following a night spent in custody. The Real Madrid forward, who has been freed pending further investigation, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years, the prosecutor’s office said.

Benzema and another teammate on France’s national team, Franck Ribery, were handed preliminary charges in 2010 for soliciting an underage prostitute. Both were questioned and, three years later, acquitted.

Benzema’s involvement in the sex tape case has yet to be determined, but investigators believe he was approached by a childhood friend to act as an intermediary between the blackmailers and Valbuena.

“Karim Benzema will show his good faith in this matter as soon as possible,” said Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, adding that the charges arose from a question of interpretation. “He was charged by the judge who notified him that he was a suspect … It is not a declaration of guilt.”

Preliminary charges under French law mean magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow time for further investigation. The charges may later be dropped.

Benzema was also placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot meet with the victim – Valbuena – or other people charged in the case. He can, however, continue to live abroad and travel freely, so Real Madrid should not be affected by the charges.

Benzema resumed light training with Real Madrid later Thursday, with the Spanish giants publishing a picture of the striker doing some ball work on its 桑拿会所 feed.

Madrid said in a statement that club president Florentino Perez met with Benzema and showed his “full support” for the player and expressed his belief in the Frenchman’s “innocence.”

At least four other people have been handed preliminary charges in the case since October. The fourth was added Thursday evening, with the Versailles state prosecutor saying in a statement that the individual had also been placed in custody.

The investigation, which includes wiretap evidence, started this year when Valbuena decided to take legal action after being contacted by a man claiming to be in possession of an incriminating sex tape.

READ MORE: At 40, David Beckham’s influence continues to grow off the field

In the same case, former France international Djibril Cisse was briefly detained last month but released without seeing a judge.

Both Benzema and Valbuena play for France’s national team. But because of the case, France coach Didier Deschamps won’t be able to use both players at the same time while the investigation goes on.

With both men being key members of the national team, Benzema’s judicial issues could also have an impact on France’s performance at next year’s European Championship, which France will host.

Deschamps left both players out of his squad for upcoming friendly games against Germany and England. Benzema is currently sidelined with an injury but Valbuena’s omission was unexpected. Deschamps said the Lyon midfielder isn’t in an emotional state to play in either game.

Deschamps was bombarded with questions related to the case at the start of his news conference but refused to take most of them.

“The best thing is to let the justice system do its job,” Deschamps said.

Ahead of the 2010 World Cup, Benzema was left out of France’s squad with then-coach Raymond Domenech saying it was because of the striker’s unimpressive season rather than any involvement in the prostitution scandal.

©2015

January 15th, 2019 by admin

Eberle returns from injury, joins shaken-up Oilers lineup

EDMONTON – One of the Edmonton Oilers’ key pieces will be back on the ice Friday night.

Jordan Eberle, who’s been out of the lineup since injuring his shoulder during preseason, is back at full health.

Eberle will start Friday’s game against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on the first line.

“I’m excited, even a little nervous for the first game, which is funny,” said Eberle. “But I’m excited to finally get my season going.”

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Related

  • Oilers forward Jordan Eberle out 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury

  • Connor McDavid out for ‘months’ due to broken left clavicle

Eberle was hurt in the Sept. 29 game against the Arizona Coyotes, and has missed all of the team’s 13 games.

READ MORE: Oilers forward Jordan Eberle out 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury

While every player wants to be 100 per cent effective after coming back from injury, Eberle is keeping his expectations realistic.

“It’s tough. I’d like to think I can jump in and be at the top of my game, but it’s probably gonna take a bit,” he said after practice on Thursday.

“I think with the tempo of practices we have and the kind of staff we have, they’ve made it a lot easier to get as ready as I can be.”

READ MORE: Connor McDavid out for months due to broken left clavicle 

Eberle’s return, along with the recent injury to Connor McDavid, means that the Oilers’ first two lines will see a few changes for Friday’s game. Eberle will take the wing on the team’s first line, along with team scoring leader Taylor Hall.

Recent AHL call-up Leon Draisaitl will take the first line centre position. Since being called up from Bakersfield, the 20-year-old Draisaitl has seven points in three games.

READ MORE: Leon Draisaitl scores twice, Oilers come from behind to beat Habs 4-3

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will centre the second line, along with Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov.

Oiler coach Todd McLellan is looking forward to having Eberle back on the ice.

“He’s gonna bring some experience back in.

“When players return, they have an energy level that’s maybe a little bit higher than the others who have been grinding it out, so he’s going to have that little spark in him, that energy.”

Eberle will put in time on the team’s power play, which coach McLellan says will benefit from having an experienced player with good positional skill.

“We have ‘long’ skill right now; we have lots of speed through the neutral zone, rush-type skill. Jordan’s very good in tight areas, cycling, handling pucks, making little plays.”

©2015