Support grows for Newfoundland students in town that nixed a rainbow crosswalk

first_imgSPRINGDALE, N.L. – There’s growing support for students who made another pitch to town councillors after they voted down a rainbow crosswalk in Springdale, N.L., unleashing fierce debate.But there was no hint Tuesday if or when the request for a widely embraced symbol of inclusion will be reconsidered.Three teenagers from Indian River High School’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance spoke at Monday night’s council meeting. They hoped to convince local politicians to reverse their decision.Christina Pelley, one of the group’s teacher sponsors, said the three girls discussed everything from statistics on mental health and LGBTQ youth, to what a rainbow crosswalk represents.“They did a fantastic job and whatever happens, it’s a positive for those girls and for the entire group,” she said Tuesday. “There are a lot of conversations that have been started — important conversations that will keep going no matter what the result is, whether we get our rainbow crosswalk or not.”Councillors didn’t vote on the presentation.Lorinda Goudie, administrative assistant for the Town of Springdale, said Tuesday there is no follow-up meeting planned.She said it’s not known if or when there will be another vote on the crosswalk. No one from the council was immediately available to comment.Earlier this month, the council voted four to three against painting the crosswalk — something that has been done across the country as a symbol of welcome and support for the LGBTQ community.Mayor Dave Edison, who cast the deciding vote, told a local Nor’Wester reporter he does not discriminate against anyone.“I am just worried that, while they are asking for this to show inclusion, I think it is actually going to create a division,” he said. “I have had people speak to me already about not wanting to see it there. I don’t want to create that (animosity) in town.”Prominent Newfoundlanders ridiculed the rejection on social media.“If you’re a LGBTQ kid in Springdale, please know that there are a whole lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador that support you,” tweeted comedian Mark Critch, anchor of CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”“Inclusion never divides. Your mayor is being a tool. You’re awesome.”The crosswalk cause is taking on a life of its own online. A Go Fund Me page dubbed “Paint the Town Gay!” had raised more than double its $500 goal by Tuesday afternoon.“Monies raised will cover the cost of paint supplies so the town doesn’t have to worry about taxpayer dollars,” said Adam Elliott, who created the account Friday. He posted that he’s from rural Newfoundland and Labrador but now lives in Sydney, N.S.Adrian Brett, who grew up in Springdale, has so far collected more than 3,000 signatures on an online petition he launched Friday, urging his hometown to approve the rainbow.“I was really taken aback when I heard about their decision because I don’t feel that reflects the majority of the people who actually live in Springdale.”Brett said the town of about 3,000 people includes a mix of Pentecostal and more “liberal Christian” groups.“Acceptance and tolerance and a willingness to include others was a good thing,” he said of his upbringing. “It was something to be celebrated and encouraged.”Brett said if council is stalling, hoping the issue will go away, it won’t.“They need to realize that they’re now under a bit of a national microscope,” he said from Victoria, B.C., where he works as an urban planner.“It’s time that council wake up and realize it’s 2018, and they have a decision to make. I hope they make the right one.”—By Sue Bailey in St. John’s and Alison Auld in Halifax.Follow @suebailey and @alison_auld on Twitter.last_img read more

A warrior by heart Indigenous people enlisted to monitor pipelines

first_imgCALGARY – Gerald Scott’s perspective has shifted since he spent 10 days on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota which — until early last year — was the site of months of high-profile protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.Scott, who is from the Swan Lake First Nation in Manitoba, wanted to take a stand against what he saw as trampling of Indigenous rights.“I’m a warrior by nature. I’m a warrior by heart.”Scott has since focused his fight on making pipelines safer. More than a year after Standing Rock, he was one of 60 Indigenous people from Western Canada to complete a three-week pipeline monitoring program at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary.The course, a pilot project, delved into inspection techniques, pipeline operations and safety — all through an Indigenous lens. With the classroom portion complete, trainees will embark on either a research project with an industry mentor or a work placement. Some students will train this summer with a dog handler to learn how potential leaks can be sniffed out.Armed with his new knowledge, Scott says he can better represent his First Nation’s interests in talks with his employer, Calgary-based pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. The company’s extensive Line 3 project crosses Swan Lake land, and knowing what specific inspections and maintenance work to demand could be helpful.“Now I’m still a warrior, but I just want the best deal for people.”Scott started working for Enbridge as a digger, but has more recently acted as a community liaison. The company encouraged him to take the monitoring course and he’s hoping for a pipeline safety career that will allow him to stay close to home.Fellow trainee Kelsey Jacko from Cold Lake First Nations says he’d like to use his training to work with an Indigenous organization monitoring pipelines.“My dream job is looking after my people, make sure their livelihood is looked after, their health and well-being for the future, for the kids yet to come.”Heavy oil is big business around Cold Lake in eastern Alberta and Jacko is concerned about its effect on the environment, particularly on caribou.He says the industry’s presence is a reality.“We can’t turn back time, but it’s a struggle. Where’s the balance between economics and the environment?” Jacko says. “Our First Nations have to get out of poverty. A lot of our First Nations are living in Third World living conditions.”Engineer Deanna Burgart, a member of the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation in Saskatchewan, was a program instructor and helped develop its curriculum.She says it was important that Indigenous students could see themselves reflected in the course material — by drawing on case studies relevant to their experiences, for instance.“I just firmly believe that the improvement of the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and industry and government will happen when we are all more engaged and we’re all more informed and we’re all empowered.”The program was conceived through InnoTech Alberta, a subsidiary of provincial research and development agency Alberta Innovates. Its $566,000 budget came from provincial and federal grants.Shauna-Lee Chai, an InnoTech scientist who managed the pilot, says the course was in high demand with 200 applicants for the 60 available spots.She says she believes Indigenous people are uniquely positioned to watch for problems along pipelines that often cross through remote areas.“The traditional way of life that many Indigenous people still practice have them out on the landscape. They’re living in remote communities. They’re hunting, fishing, trapping, collecting berries and medicines,” Chai says.“They have that vested interest. The lands that they are monitoring are their backyards, and so it’s in their interest to keep it healthy.”last_img read more

Nova Scotia election roundup

first_imgHALIFAX – (NSElxn)Nova Scotia New Democrats are promising to bring in $15-a-day child care beginning next year if they win the May 30 provincial election.Party leader Gary Burrill also said his party would provide free child care to families whose net income is less than $30,000 annually and create 400 new spaces across the province.Burrill says average monthly fees for licenced care currently are in the range of $825 for a toddler and $781 for a pre-schooler, and parents need more assistance.He says the program would lead to the creation of about 800 jobs either as a result of the direct hiring of child care workers or as a result of parents being able to work.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-NDP-Candidate)Inappropriate, sexist and homophobic language left lingering on the Internet is exacting a toll on the list of political hopefuls in Nova Scotia’s election, with a third candidate forced to withdraw Tuesday.The Tories sent out a terse news release noting that its candidate for Dartmouth South, Jad Cmogorac, was being dropped because of her social media postings.Her postings included an off-colour date rape joke.The withdrawal came a day after CTV News published excerpts from the Bullpen website of Dartmouth East candidate Bill McEwen, a youthful prospect for the NDP in a riding that appeared to be a hard-fought contest.(The Canadian Press)—(Tories-Nurses)Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives are promising to hire 22 new nurse practitioners.They say the new hires will give 13,000 Nova Scotians access to the highly trained medical professionalsTory Leader Jamie Baillie says the nurse practioners will cost $3 million over four years, and the promise comes on top of the $6 million the Liberals announced for new collaborative care teams.Baillie says he is dedicated to improving access to health care services in the province.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Bears)The Tory candidate for Inverness is calling on the Department of Natural Resources to protect two orphaned bear cubs from being euthanized.Allan MacMaster says the bear cubs were found Monday trying to hide in a wooded area in Inverness County after the mother bear died.He says in an open letter to the department’s deputy minister that there is overwhelming support to change the province’s current policy on rehabilitation for bears in this type of situation.Later Tuesday, the department said both cubs have been placed in wildlife parks and will not be euthanized.(The Canadian Press)—(N.S. Election Roundup by The Canadian Press)last_img read more

Body of missing Cache Creek BC fire chief Clayton Cassidy found

first_imgCACHE CREEK, B.C. – The body of a fire chief believed to have been swept away by high flood waters in British Columbia’s Interior has been found.RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the Ashcroft fire department found Clayton Cassidy’s body in the water at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, during its daily patrol of Cache Creek.Cassidy had been missing since May 5, following heavy rainfall and intense flooding. He was last known to be checking water levels in Cache Creek, and his vehicle was later found at the site.He was thought to have been swept away by the flood water, and was presumed dead after several days.Moskaluk said the discovery appears to confirm that theory.“It’s thought that Mr. Cassidy had fallen in the creek several weeks ago when we had torrential downpours in the area,” he said.Moskaluk says recovery efforts are still ongoing. “We’re confident that we should be able to complete a safe recovery today,” he said.Cache Creek mayor John Ranta said Cassidy was “highly respected” in the community.After floods hit the area in May of 2015, Cassidy worked hard to help residents whose homes were damaged. He was given a Medal of Good Citizenship by the provincial government for his service.“He worked day after day after day after day, 14-hour days, helping people that had debris in their yards or sand and gravel or whatnot,” Ranta said. “He just worked tirelessly until the whole community was cleaned up.”Ranta said Cassidy’s death will be deeply felt in Cache Creek.“While flood damage can be repaired and we can take measures to prevent further flooding, the thing that can’t be replaced is the life of Clayton Cassidy. That will be a tragedy that lives with us for years to come,” he said.last_img read more

Order of Canada marks 50 years with quintessential Canadian additions

first_imgOTTAWA – Peter McAuslan was 21 in 1967 when he took three weeks to hitchhike from Vancouver to Montreal, stopping in local pubs to watch the Stanley Cup final along the way.The trip across the country tied together hockey, beer and Canada’s centennial.Five decades later, McAuslan will be recognized for his efforts to grow the Canadian beer industry as his name is added to the cornerstone of the Canadian honours system, one that’s celebrating a milestone anniversary of its own on Saturday.It was on July 1, 1967, that the Order of Canada received its first members.This Canada Day, the list of appointees will grow by 99, including the Prince of Wales, soccer star Christine Sinclair, hockey legend Mark Messier, actor Mike Myers, actress Catherine O’Hara, musician Alan Doyle, and TV host Alex Trebek, making some 7,000 people who will have their names on the rolls of the decades-old honours program.There are actors and athletes, community and business leaders, and innovators and entrepreneurs, including the beer man McAuslan.“The whole Canadian-and-beer thing, it’s a romance that goes back a really long way,” the 71-year-old founder of McAuslan Brewery said in an interview.“They are a reflection of not only who we are, but where we’ve come from.”While the Order of Canada turns 50 this year, it could have easily been turning 150 if not for decades of political unease about creating a distinctly Canadian honours system, worried it would be seen as another symbol of political patronage.A royal commission headed by former Governor General Vincent Massey, which provided the foundation for modern arts and culture funding, recommended creating a Canadian honours system like the Order of Canada.Louis St-Laurent, the prime minister at the time, was adamantly opposed. That portion of the commission’s report was suppressed — technically a violation of parliamentary rules, said Christopher McCreery, who has studied the history of the Order of Canada.In the lead-up to Canada’s centennial in 1967, Lester Pearson’s government decided to move on the idea and quickly cobbled together everything needed to create the Order of Canada, including an insignia.Over the past half-century, Canada has gone from having no honours system to having one of the largest and most complicated in the world, McCreery said. Countries like New Zealand and Australia have tried to replicate the Canadian model in their own systems, he said.“That speaks to the success of the present system.”The list released Friday by Rideau Hall bears some similarities to the one from 50 years ago.In place of international renowned soprano Pierette Alaire, today there is opera star Tracy Dahl.In place of Massey and Laurent are former Supreme Court justice Marshall Rothstein, former Liberal heritage minister Liza Frulla and the country’s top bureaucrat, Wayne Wouters.Street nurse Catherine Crowe, Me to We founder Roxanne Joyal and Catherine Latimer, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, are being honoured, much as social advocates were in the first list released in 1967.And in place of David Bauer — instrumental in Canada’s national hockey program — and Montreal Canadiens great Maurice Richard, there is Messier, the ex-Edmonton Oiler forward with the quintessentially Canadian nickname, “Moose.”“I’ve always felt being a Canadian really meant something to me, and being able to represent Canada in the international competitions like I did was something that I’ll never forget,” Messier said in an interview.“This takes it to another level where it goes beyond the game of hockey, because (of what) the players that have been elected to this honour have done outside the game of hockey as well, which I think was a huge responsibility for all us and one not to be taken lightly.”“Humbling” is how recipients describe being named to the order. Just ask Alan Doyle, best known as the former lead singer of Newfoundland and Labrador folk-rock stalwarts Great Big Sea.“If you look into the list of people who get this award, are all exceptional people in their own work life and in their own artistic life or political life or business life or whatever, but then they’re almost always very community-minded people and people who have tried to give back to the place, their town, their city, their province, their country,” Doyle said.“It’s humbling to be in that company, in all honesty.“It’s also quite motivational. It makes me want to do more stuff becuase I feel like it’s important.”last_img read more

Battle to become one of 5 federal superclusters attracts 50 competitors

first_imgOTTAWA – The competition to become one of up to five government-designated technology “superclusters” and draw from a federal funding purse of $950 million has attracted more than 50 proposals.The contest, a cornerstone of Ottawa’s so-called innovation agenda, is designed to encourage academia and businesses to work together on strategies to boost fast-growing sectors — everything from advanced manufacturing to clean technology.The number of bids generated during the competition’s first phase, which ended late last month, exceeded federal expectations, said a senior government official who spoke on condition on anonymity because the information was not yet public.The 50 letters of intent came from consortia representing a total of more than 200 companies and 20 post-secondary institutions, the official said.The contest, overseen by Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, aims to lift the economy, promote research and create high-quality jobs. Bains has said he’s looking for ambitious bids that also feature intellectual property strategies designed to keep benefits for Canada.The plan includes a federal funding commitment of up to $950 million over five years to support the development of between three and five superclusters.As examples, the government listed six innovative industries in its spring budget that could anchor superclusters: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health and bio-sciences and clean resources.The submissions represent each of these sectors and more, said the official, who declined to elaborate on the other industries.The government is also hoping the leverage from its $950-million commitment will lure even more private investment cash into the economy.To qualify, supercluster bids must show private-sector investment commitments of at least a dollar for every government dollar requested.Combined, the submitted proposals say they can bring in a total of $17 billion in private investment, even though they are asking for $10 billion in federal funding, the official added.“The policy imperative for this program was trying to unlock business investment in (research and development), which has been this perpetual issue in Canada” said the official.“This isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s a model to tackle that issue.”A short list of about a dozen applicants will be released in the coming weeks based on assessments by experts from across different government departments and agencies.Each submission will be evaluated on criteria such as job creation, how likely the new jobs will avoid becoming automated in the future and the proposal’s overall impact on the economy.The winners will be announced by early 2018.The program director for the Blockchain Research Institute, an organization that is participating in a supercluster proposal, said the bid received a total of $50 million in funding commitments from about 50 groups, including universities, private firms and non-governmental organizations.The submission is focused on making Canada a world leader in the development of the emerging digital platform known as “blockchain.” Blockchain is the underlying technology behind digital currencies like bitcoin and it has the potential to change everything from how financial transactions are conducted to how democracies vote.Jenna Pilgrim said Thursday that the goal of her group’s bid is to house the world’s best blockchain expertise in the Toronto-Waterloo region rather than watch it set up shop in Silicon Valley.She noted that $50 million in commitments is likely lower than other submissions, but adds it makes sense because the technology is still young. She also argues blockchain has more potential to become self supporting.There are also expectations that some groups jockeying for the limited number of supercluster spots might join forces as the process evolves and the list shortens.“We have been approached by several other organizations creating bids as well,” said Pilgrim, who believes blockchain will help enable other new “transformational” technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.“We just want a seat at the table and then we are definitely open to collaborating with other groups.”Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

Court authorizes new class action against Catholic congregation in Quebec

first_imgMONTREAL – The Quebec Court of Appeal has authorized a new class action lawsuit against a major Roman Catholic organization for alleged sexual abuse committed by some of its members.The decision overturns a 2015 Superior Court of Quebec ruling rejecting the class action request.The Congregation of Holy Cross apologized and paid up to $18 million in 2013 to compensate victims for abuse that occurred at three Quebec institutions over a five-decade span.That agreement stemmed from an out-of-court mediated settlement, spurred by the threat of a class-action lawsuit.A spokesman for a victims’ rights group says the landmark settlement prompted about 40 new alleged victims to come forward.Sebastien Richard says the current class-action names more institutions, including Montreal’s iconic Saint Joseph’s Oratory.In a phone interview, Richard pointed out that the oratory is Canada’s largest church and reports directly to the Vatican, which could lead to embarrassment on the church’s part if the class-action is successful.He also accused the religious order of doing what it could to “drag out” the process, noting that time is running out for many of the alleged victims, many of whom are elderly.“They’re also people who have kept silent for a long time — too long,” he said Wednesday.The Congregation of Holy Cross did not respond to a request for comment.last_img read more

Police say BC farm search continues despite removal of shelters equipment

first_imgSALMON ARM, B.C. – Temporary shelters and heavy equipment have been removed from a British Columbia farm where the remains of an 18-year-old woman were found.But RCMP say the search of the site is active and ongoing and the investigation into Traci Genereaux’s death continues.Genereaux’s death is being treated as suspicious by police.Mounties began searching the rural property near Salmon Arm on Oct. 19 and last week confirmed Genereaux’s remains were found.Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says resource requirements are continually being assessed and as a result some resources are no longer required.He says a dedicated tip line remains in place and anyone who may have seen Genereaux or have any information is asked to call police.RCMP say they are working to establish a timeline of her whereabouts on the days leading up to May 29 when she was last heard from in Vernon, B.C.last_img read more

One teen dead one facing charges after truck crash in southern Manitoba

first_imgA 15-year-old boy is dead and an 18-year-old is facing multiple charges following a car crash in southern Manitoba.Manitou RCMP say both teens were in a pickup truck that flipped over in a field in the municipality of Lorne shortly after 1 a.m. on Saturday.The 15-year-old passenger was declared dead at the scene.The driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was not injured.Police have charged 18-year-old Kyle Nolan Devos with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and several other driving charges.The cause of the crash is under investigation.last_img

How weekendonly jail sentences can cause security risks overcrowding

first_imgEvery Friday, large numbers of people across Canada are obligated to report to the same place for the weekend: jail.But the number of these weekend jail terms is increasing in some provinces — and critics are warning about overcrowding, and security stretched to the limits.Quebec’s ombudsman and Nova Scotia’s auditor general both drew attention to the issue in recent reports, which advocates say are a by-product of Harper government sentencing reforms.Canadian judges can impose intermittent terms when sentences are 90 days or less, involving people assessed as a low risk to society.Michael Pickup, the Nova Scotia auditor general, used the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, the province’s largest, as an example of what those working in the system complain about.“You might have 50 people who are there for processing, who are there for the weekend,” Pickup told a legislature committee last month.“That poses significant challenges to the staff in terms of doing assessments, getting them checked in, and at looking at the security.”Pickup’s report noted that staff, rushing to process dozens of people, were found to have skipped steps in the admission process that could impact the safety of offenders and staff.“The assessment involves considering factors … such as age, previous crimes, and types of crimes committed to enable staff to assign a level of risk to the offender while in custody,” Pickup wrote in his report.In her special report on the issue in March, Quebec Ombudsman Marie Rinfret said the increase in weekend sentences had led to overcrowded jails, resulting in “difficult detention conditions and security problems.”Her report said that in 2016-17 the number of weekend jail terms had increased 91.5 per cent in six years in the province. Fully 14 per cent of admissions involved weekend-only prisoners in 2015-16.Pickup’s report cited a 2015 Justice Department analysis that found about 16 per cent of Nova Scotia offenders were serving weekend time.That analysis noted that in much larger provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, the use of intermittent sentences were much lower — ranging from two to eight per cent of the offender population.Rinfret pointed directly to “certain amendments to the Criminal Code in the last 10 years.”“Everything points to the fact that the combination of several amendments to the Criminal Code by the federal government between 2008 and 2012 has contributed to the increase in intermittent sentences,” Rinfret wrote in her report.Jennifer Quaid, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, called that “a very plausible and probably very likely thesis.”Quaid said federal measures such as the 2012 Safe Streets and Communities Act had removed judicial discretion in certain serious crimes in favour of mandatory minimum sentences.Previously, the ability to tailor a sentence to individual offenders was “to some extent” a defining feature of the Canadian legal system, she said.“Removing that option means you do have people that do have to have time in prison,” she said. “One way you can try to attenuate that is to have it (a sentence) served intermittently.”Quaid said without data, she can’t say why the use of intermittent sentences is higher in provinces like Nova Scotia and Quebec, but she thinks “there are attitudinal differences across the country.”Emma Halpern, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society Mainland Nova Scotia, said intermittent sentences are useful because they allow offenders to work and to have access to their families.But she said they also come with “specific gender issues.”Women in Nova Scotia have to travel at their own expense every weekend to Halifax, where the sentences are served, she said.They are also subjected to strip searches on arrival, which can prove traumatic for sexual abuse survivors. Halpern said women serving intermittent terms are also primarily held in isolation.Sean Kelly, Nova Scotia’s director of correctional services, said new security measures are on the way, including the installation of body scan units to help look for illicit drugs.Kelly said alternatives to jail time are also being discussed through the province’s Criminal Justice Transformation Group.“Obviously we’d like to see lower numbers and we’re hopeful the transformation group can assist in coming up with strategies that will reduce the population of intermittent offenders overall,” Kelly said.“I think the more we can do to reduce that population, the better it will be for correctional facilities.”Rinfret’s report recommended fostering social integration programs, and pointed to supervised community-based work programs in Alberta and Ontario as examples of what can be done. Both programs have strict eligibility requirements.Quaid said the reports contain food for thought for the wider justice system.“I’m not sure the solution is obvious, but we can’t just sit back and say yeah, this is fine,” she said.last_img read more

Will the Carbon Tax actually help the environment

first_imgDepends on who you ask. Either way, the fight around the federal Liberals’ climate change policy is shaping up to be the key battle of the 2019 election. Here’s the thing, though: Chances are you don’t actually know how you’ll be hit with it when it lands on Jan. 1. And on Tuesday, despite also not really knowing how much their plan will impact you, the Liberals announced rebates for Canadian families in certain provinces.It’s the most convoluted federal-provincial policy we’ve encountered since…marijuana legalization, just last week. And that doesn’t even take into account the branding war over what we’ll actually call this thing. Is it a tax on everything or a price on pollution? Whichever side you land on, be prepared to hear both those phrases a lot. We’ll take you inside the climate change debate, and try to figure out how and if you’ll end up paying for it.Parliament Hill Reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney joins Jordan Heath-Rawlings to break it down.Audio Playerhttp://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/radio.pmd.rogersdigitalmedia.com/podcasts/thebigstory/tbs_1024.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img read more

Whitey Bulgers death being investigated as homicide

first_imgJames “Whitey” Bulger, the murderous Boston gangster who benefited from a corrupt relationship with the FBI before spending 16 years as one of America’s most wanted men, died in federal prison. He was 89.Bulger was found unresponsive Tuesday morning at the U.S. penitentiary in West Virginia where he’d just been transferred, and a medical examiner declared him dead shortly afterward, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.A prison union official says is being investigated as a homicide. Justin Tarovisky is the executive vice-president of The American Federation of Government Employees Local 420. He tells The Associated Press that Bulger would be the prison’s third homicide this year.Authorities did not immediately release a cause of death. The FBI earlier said they were investigating.A lawyer who represented James “Whitey” Bulger is blaming his death on decisions made by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that Bulger “was sentenced to life in prison, but as a result of decisions by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that sentence has been changed to the death penalty.”Carney said he had no further comment.The prison bureau declined to comment on Carney’s statement.Bulger, the model for Jack Nicholson’s ruthless crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie, “The Departed,” led a largely Irish mob that ran loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets. He also was an FBI informant who ratted on the New England mob, his gang’s main rival, in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a top national priority for the FBI.Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after his FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., warned him he was about to be indicted. With a $2 million reward on his head, Bulger became one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” criminals, with a place just below Osama bin Laden.When the extent of his crimes and the FBI’s role in overlooking them became public in the late 1990s, Bulger became a source of embarrassment for the FBI. During the years he was a fugitive, the FBI battled a public perception that it had not tried very hard to find him.After more than 16 years on the run, Bulger was captured at age 81 in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.In 2013, he was convicted in the slayings, as well as extortion, and money-laundering after a sensational racketeering trial that included graphic testimony from three former Bulger cohorts: a hit man, a protege and a partner. He was sentenced nearly five years ago to two consecutive life sentences plus five years.Bulger had just been moved to USP Hazelton, a high-security prison with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. He had been in a prison in Florida before a stopover at a transfer facility in Oklahoma City. Federal Bureau of Prisons officials and his attorney had declined to comment on why he was being moved.Bulger, nicknamed “Whitey” for his bright platinum hair, grew up in a gritty South Boston housing project and became known as one of the most ruthless gangsters in Boston. His younger brother, William Bulger, became one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts, leading the state Senate for 17 years.In working-class “Southie,” Jim Bulger was known for helping old ladies across the street and giving turkey dinners to his neighbours at Thanksgiving. He had a kind of Robin Hood-like image among some locals, but authorities said he would put a bullet in the brain of anyone who he even suspected of double-crossing him.“You could go back in the annals of criminal history and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as diabolical as Bulger,” said Tom Duffy, a retired state police major who investigated Bulger.“Killing people was his first option. They don’t get any colder than him,” Duffy said after Bulger was finally captured in June 2011.Bulger was accused of strangling Debra Davis, the 26-year-old girlfriend of his partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and Deborah Hussey, also 26, the daughter of Flemmi’s common-law wife. In both cases, Bulger insisted on pulling out the women’s teeth so they would be difficult to identify, Flemmi testified.During a search of his Santa Monica apartment, agents found over $800,000 in cash and more than 30 guns, many hidden in holes in the walls. A property manager at the building said Bulger and Greig, who used the names Charles and Carol Gasko, had lived there for 15 years and always paid the rent-controlled rate of $1,145 a month in cash.They were caught days after the FBI began a new publicity campaign focusing on Greig. The daytime TV announcements showed photos of Greig and noted that she was known to frequent beauty salons and have her teeth cleaned once a month.A woman from Iceland who knew Bulger and Greig in Santa Monica saw a report on CNN about the latest publicity campaign and called in the tip that led agents to them. The Boston Globe identified the tipster as a former Miss Iceland, a former actress who starred in Noxzema shaving cream commercials in the 1970s.Bulger, a physical fitness buff, had been taken to a Boston hospital from his jail cell at least three times, complaining of chest pains, since being brought back to Boston to stand trial.———Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.last_img read more

Global Affairs says another Canadian diplomat in Cuba has fallen ill

first_imgOTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada says another Canadian diplomat in Cuba has fallen ill, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 13.That includes diplomats posted to the Canadian embassy in Havana, as well as their dependants, who have come down with a mysterious illness that causes dizziness, headaches and trouble concentrating.Global Affairs says the government continues to investigate the cause of the unknown illness, adding in a statement that the health and safety of diplomatic staff and their families is a top priority.The department says the person who fell ill most recently “is receiving the necessary medical attention.”It says it’s allowing Canadian diplomatic personnel to return to Canada if they wish.The government is also planning to hold a teleconference on Thursday to provide more detail about the investigation.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Health Canada dead wrong to OK weedkiller glyphosate American lawyers say

first_imgOTTAWA — American lawyers who successfully sued the makers of the glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup on behalf of a man dying of cancer say Canada is “dead wrong” to allow it to be widely used here.Los Angeles-based lawyers Michael Baum and Brent Wisner were part of the team that secured a multi-million-dollar verdict against Bayer AG on behalf of a former groundskeeper who believes his terminal cancer is a result of years of exposure to the herbicide glyphosate in Roundup. The two are in Canada meeting with environment groups and scientists to assess whether legal action is warranted and possible in this country.Health Canada and Bayer AG say no pest management regulators anywhere in the world believe glyphosate causes cancer at the levels Canadians are exposed to it.Wisner says independent science proves the chemical causes cancer and says governments are turning a blind eye to it much like they did for years to concerns about tobacco and asbestos.Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently approved use of glyphosate for another 15 years after despite concerns that Monsanto influenced the scientific studies used to make the decision.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Stars Raise Money For Their Favorite Charities Through Celebrity Auction Doctors‏

first_imgStars from television and music will auction personal items on the groundbreaking new interview-and-auction show Celebrity Auction Doctors, which premieres on April 10, 2014 at CelebrityAuctionDoctors.com and on YouTube.com.The celebrities’ historic items will be auctioned live worldwide in partnership with eBay’s official charity division Giving Works. Each star featured on Celebrity Auction Doctors participates in a candid, exclusive interview where they introduce a personal item for auction to benefit their charity of choice.American Idol Season 11 Top 4 finalist Hollie Cavanagh, fashion designer and winner of the seventh season of Project Runway and Project Runway: All-Stars (season 3) Seth Aaron, and famed 80’s rock band Twisted Sister are all featured in the inaugural episode. Hollie Cavanagh donated a necklace she wore on American Idol, Seth Aaron donated the scissors he used to win Project Runway, and Dee Snider’s personal jacket from the popular Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp.Proceeds from episode 1 will benefit The Humane Society of the United States (Hollie Cavanagh), Polaris Project (Seth Aaron), and March Of Dimes (Twisted Sister).Celebrity Auction Doctors was created by entrepreneur Todd Olster, whose company Auction Doctors, Inc. has organized global charity auctions for more than ten years for national organizations including: ESPN, City of Hope, and Women’s Sports Foundation. Olster founded Celebrity Auction Doctors knowing that it would be an outstanding promotional vehicle for charities and celebrities. The highly effective marketing power of Celebrity Auction Doctors is found in the combined social media presence of the celebrities and the charities.Celebrity Auction Doctors will present regular episodes this year following its launch. Stars from many different worlds – including: film, television, music, art, politics, sports, and more – become special guests on Celebrity Auction Doctors so they can raise money and awareness for their charities of choice. Celebrity Auction Doctors only supports 501C3 charities that have proven integrity.last_img read more

FIFA Brings Top Players Together To Fight Ebola

first_imgTop international football players are joining forces with world football’s governing body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football and health experts to raise global awareness and promote simple preventative measures in the fight against Ebola.Video: 11 players, 11 messages, 1 goal – Together, we can beat Ebola.The “11 against Ebola” campaign, featuring Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Barcelona’s Neymar Jr, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm among others, promotes 11 simple health messages selected with the help of doctors and health experts from Africa, the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization who are tackling the outbreak in West Africa.Underneath the slogan “Together, we can beat Ebola” and the hashtag #wecanbeatebola, players share each message with the help of animated films, radio content, banners, posters and pictures in a multimedia campaign launched on Monday, 17 November.Each health message, such as “Report unusual illnesses” and “Cook meat properly”, has been chosen to improve public understanding about how the virus spreads, and to provide clear information that can be used to reduce the chances of the virus spreading in affected communities.FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof. Jiří Dvořák, MD said: “We doctors have experienced the power of football when it comes to prevention and health, while successfully implementing the ‘FIFA 11 for Health’ programme in 15 African countries as part of the medical legacy of 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Now we are using the same system to tackle Ebola, by presenting simple educational messages to prevent the spread of the disease through the voices of football stars – ‘When football talks, everybody listens’.”The popularity of football and its top players has proven to be a powerful way to connect with a wide audience and to transmit public health messages. This is the first emergency health campaign of its kind implemented by FIFA. The world governing body of football has achieved positive results with previous public health awareness campaigns such as the FIFA 11 for Health, which recruited top players to promote simple health messages for children around the world.Neymar Jr said: “It is so important that we get the right information to those affected by the Ebola outbreak. We all hope this positive campaign will improve people’s understanding of the Ebola virus and help us to reduce the chances of it spreading. Let’s all get behind this campaign to help our brothers and sisters in the worst-hit regions. Together, we can beat Ebola.”FIFA President Blatter said: “The popularity of football gives us a unique platform to reach all communities. We hope that football can play its part and that this campaign against Ebola can make a real difference on the ground as the world comes together to fight the virus and to help those living in affected communities.”According to the World Health Organization, as of 9 November, a total of 14,098 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported in six countries. There have been 5,160 deaths. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have seen the highest number of cases.Download posters, pictures and banners featuring the players and their messages at www.fifa.com and share them in your community with the hashtag #wecanbeatebolaThe 11 against Ebola messages1. Report unusual illnesses: please report any unusual illnesses or deaths in your community. 2. Know the symptoms: do you have a fever with a loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, pain, vomiting, bleeding or diarrhoea? Know the symptoms of Ebola. 3. Seek immediate medical help: please seek urgent medical help if you have a fever with additional symptoms. 4. Avoid body contact: avoid direct, skin and body contact with anyone suffering from Ebola. 5. Wash your hands and disinfect: wash your hands regularly and disinfect anything touched by suspected or confirmed Ebola sufferers. 6. Wear proper protection: wear gloves and proper protective clothing if you are caring for an Ebola sufferer, and get the right instruction for the use of protective clothing. 7. Cook meat properly: cook all meat and animal products thoroughly before consumption. 8. Always practise safe sex: use protection if you are having sex with anyone recovering from Ebola. 9. Avoid contact with wild animals and bats: wild animals and bats can carry the Ebola virus. Avoid them. 10. Do not touch the dead: avoid direct contact with dead Ebola victims or anyone who has died from a strange disease. 11. Seek help for safe burials: please seek help from local authorities to bury any victims of Ebola or strange diseases.Source:FIFAlast_img read more

Your Chance To Attend The Comedy Central Roast Of Justin Bieber

first_imgAre you a big Justin Bieber fan? MTV Staying Alive Foundation is giving you the chance to bid now on 2 table seats to the highly anticipated Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber, taped on March 14, 2015 at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, CA.Hosted by Roast Master Kevin Hart, the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber assembles today’s most relevant voices in pop culture. The occasion? To hold one of the world’s biggest teen idols over an open flame.This auction is open until February 26, and can be accessed here.last_img

Kelly Osbourne Fashions A Benefit For Race To Erase MS

first_imgAs a fashion designer of her own line, Stories… by Kelly Osbourne, and a guest judge on “Project Runway,” Kelly Osbourne certainly understands the value of dressing well. Now the television star is leveraging the value of designer fashion to benefit a charity near and dear to her, Race to Erase MS.Kelly Osbourne Fashions a Benefit for Race to Erase MSThrough the nonprofit designer apparel resale website Union & Fifth, Osbourne has donated an eclectic mix of young, fun clothes featuring Rebecca Minkoff, new-with-tags British Topshop, Asos, and Issa. Highlights include a fuzzy pink skirt, a pin-up girl circle skirt, and a moto-jacket. 75% of the proceeds from the sale will directly benefit Race to Erase MS, which held its 22nd annual Gala in April and its annual Orange You Happy to Erase MS campaign throughout May.Osbourne has donated an eclectic mix of young, fun clothesOsbourne has been involved in the fight against MS since her brother Jack was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 2012. A year later, Sharon and Jack Osbourne were both honored with the “Medal of Hope” award at the 20th annual Race to Erase MS Gala.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

At Summit Global Leaders Recommit To Family Planning

first_imgAt least 37 country governments, 16 private companies and 11 partner organizations, including civil society and private foundations, will announce commitments to accelerate progress on rights-based family planning programmes today at the Family Planning Summit.The Family Planning Summit is co-hosted by the UK Government, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in close partnership with the Family Planning 2020 Secretariat (FP2020). In parallel with the Summit in London, more than 2500 people will gather at 21 satellite events across Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uganda, demonstrating growing country leadership and support for family planning.The Summit will build on progress made since the Family Planning Summit in 2012 and will reaffirm international political support for women and girls to be able to decide for themselves whether, when and how many children to have. It will address barriers to progress that are common across many countries, with a wide range of policy and programme commitments to ensure the money invested in family planning goes further.Financial commitments to be announced at the Summit are expected to total at least $2.5billion USD (£1.9billion GBP) by 2020. The majority of the funding – $1.5billion USD (£1.16billion GBP) – has been committed by countries in Asia and Africa. Many of FP2020’s 38 partner countries, ranging from Bangladesh and Burkina Faso to India, Indonesia and Uganda, will make renewed commitments to accelerate family planning progress, and four new countries will join the FP2020 partnership.The full breadth of expected Summit commitments from country governments, donors, private sector, civil society and foundations can be found here.Commitments will seek to deliver family planning to all who need it, especially adolescents, women and girls in humanitarian crises and the hard to reach. Highlights of the commitments made include: • A Bridge Funding Mechanism to enable UNFPA Supplies, the world’s largest provider of contraceptives, to provide countries with the family planning commodities they need as efficiently as possible. The Funding Mechanism is expected to speed up the procurement process, lower the cost of contraceptives, and ultimately reduce up to 50 per cent of UNFPA-related contraceptive stock-outs-delivering better results for countries, donors, and the women and families they serve. • A supply chain Visibility Analytics Network (VAN), a global platform to capture and use data from multiple sources to provide enhanced visibility into contraceptive supply chains. By partnering with private sector logistics experts and using smart-phone technology, the network will improve countries’ ability to know what contraceptives are in stock, where and how much – and to respond to stock-outs more efficiently. In two years’ time, we anticipate that this Network will be up and running in at least 12 countries. • Countries, donors, civil society and private foundations will pledge to collect, use, and disseminate age- and sex-disaggregated data. With improved data, governments, charities and others will be better able to design and assess programmes that more effectively meet the needs of adolescents. • Ten private sector organisations from outside the health and pharmaceutical sector, including the Chaudhary Foundation, Twinings, Tata Trusts, Spark Minda, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Lindex, Vodafone, CARD MRI, NST and Reckitt Benckiser, will make commitments that expand access to contraceptives, improve supply chains, or market and deliver family planning services to their employees. These will include commitments to reach more women and girls, including through their networks, assets, and expertise-from supply chains to microfinance networks to media channels.The Family Planning Summit takes place on the five-year anniversary of the inaugural London Summit on Family Planning when world leaders set a goal to empower 120 million additional women and girls in the 69 lowest income countries to use modern contraception by 2020, and a new partnership was launched: Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). Since then, 30 million additional women and girls have begun using modern contraceptives – bringing the total to a record 300 million users across the 69 countries. As a result, last year more than 82 million pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions, and 125,000 maternal deaths were averted.The Summit will feature commentary by government representatives from around the world, the United Nations, foundations, the private sector, civil society and youth advocates from eight countries.Priti Patel, UK International Development Secretary, said: “Family planning has the power to change a whole country’s trajectory and help lift people out of grinding poverty. It gives women choice over if, and when, to have a family and makes real economic sense. Britain is leading the world on sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights, and we have helped 8.5 million more women make an informed choice about using desperately-needed family planning services since 2012. Today’s Summit with our international partners is an exciting and important opportunity to work together to empower millions more women and girls to take control of their own lives, address unsustainable population growth and boost global prosperity.”Dr Natalia Kanem, Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said: “Together we must keep our promise to leave no woman behind. Even though family planning is one of the best investments for development and women’s empowerment, 214 million women in developing countries who want family planning still lack access to modern contraception. To meet our common goal of reaching 120 million more women and girls by 2020, we must strengthen partnerships and mobilize more funding. As we strive to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, we are committed to getting to zero unmet need for family planning by 2030 to ensure a better future for all.”Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Access to contraceptives changes everything. Women are freer to work outside the home, earn an income, and contribute to the economy. Mothers and fathers can devote more resources to their kids’ health and education-setting them up for a more productive future. Multiply that by millions of families, and you see why contraceptives are one of the greatest antipoverty innovations the world has ever known-and one of the smartest investments countries can make. Through the new commitments expected today at the Family Planning Summit, we have made a bold statement that investing in family planning is crucial to building the healthier and more prosperous future we’re all working towards.”Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020, said: “We are guided by the urgency of knowing that our work affects the lives and futures of women every day. The Summit is a chance to evaluate our progress on family planning, and re-dedicate ourselves to bringing this life-saving intervention to all that need and want it.”last_img read more

Pathway To Paris Concert To Fight Climate Change

first_imgPathway to Paris, a climate change initiative focused on turning the Paris Agreement into reality, will partner with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and 350.org for a concert on climate action, to be held at Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 5, 2017.Pathway to Paris promises to be a night of incredible musical performances and rousing speeches aimed at advancing the important work of fighting climate change while offering innovative solutions.Set to take place on the eve of COP 23 – the United Nations conference on climate change that kicks off in Bonn, Germany – the evening will feature internationally recognized musicians and speakers, including Patti Smith, Bill McKibben, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Tanya Tagaq, Flea, Talib Kweli, Cat Power, Michael Stipe, Tenzin Choegyal, and Pathway to Paris founders Rebecca Foon and Jesse Paris Smith.Tickets for the concert are on sale now and can be purchased by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website.Pathway to Paris will also be celebrating the launch of its latest project. The bold new initiative, to be unveiled next month, will encourage the world to go above and beyond the targets of the Paris Agreement.“This is our moment to move towards a renewable, resilient future as we are running out of time,” Rebecca Foon said. “We can achieve this by working together to create resilient cities that are no longer dependent on fossil fuels and create a world we want to live in.”“We believe in the power of music and its ability to heal and unify citizens in a time of crisis. We must make this fight our biggest most ambitious collaboration of all time. The world must work as a team, and the cities of our planet must join together to lead the way,” added Jesse Paris Smith.Since its inception, Pathway to Paris has partnered with UNDP and 350.org, leaders in environmental action. This alliance has created an unstoppable force in the effort to slow climate change by contributing to a multitude of initiatives globally; from benefit farmers in the Sahel, to preparing for rising sea-levels and expanding the use of renewable energy.last_img read more