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first_imgNew Delhi: The ongoing ‘Delhi Bachao Parivartan Yatra’ will help the BJP galvanise its cadre and assess the organisational preparedness for the Assembly election due early next year, a party leader said on Saturday. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari launched the outreach campaign on Thursday. The stated goal of the campaign is to “expose” the alleged failures of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government led by Arvind Kejriwal and seek public support to install a BJP dispensation in the national capital. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder However, BJP leaders said that through the campaign, the party is focussing on strengthening ties with workers in every corner of the city. Tiwari said besides “exposing” the “poor show” of the AAP government in past five years, the campaign would pay attention to BJP workers and their preparedness for the Assembly election. The party is aiming to mobilise all workers in a particular area so that it can be verified if they have renewed their membership in the latest drive, said Delhi BJP media relationship head Neelkant Bakshi. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings In its membership drive that concluded earlier this month, the Delhi unit claimed to have added over 17 lakh people to the party-fold. The Delhi BJP president and other senior leaders are scheduled to visit all the 14 districts and 70 Assembly constituencies during the drive that will conclude by September-end. Bakshi said that in order to ensure quick galvanisation of party leaders and workers in the districts, the schedule of the yatra has not been announced beforehand. “Thus, its easy to check how quickly and in what numbers party leaders and workers can assemble in an area after the yatra reaches there. This is a crucial element of the campaign to ascertain preparedness and efficiency of the organisation to be mobilised for big events like Assembly polls,” Bakshi said. Launching the campaign from outer Delhi’s Bhalaswa Dairy area, the Delhi BJP president had attacked the Kejriwal government over a host of issues, including regularisation of unauthorised colonies and non-implementation of Ayushman Bharat health scheme of the Modi government. Besides these issues, it is being ensured that local issues such as lack of civic amenities, inadequate water and electricity supply, waterlogging, poor roads and streets are also prominently taken up, Bakshi said. Tiwari asserted people are eager to go with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ensure victory of the the party in Delhi because it has suffered during the five years of the Kejriwal government. The BJP was vanquished by the AAP which won 67 of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi in 2015 elections. The BJP managed to win just three seats, and Congress drew a blank. The Aam Aadmi Party has hit back at the BJP, saying its three leaders, including Tiwari, were involved in a race to become the next chief minister of Delhi and were “obstructing” pro-people schemes of the Kejriwal government.last_img read more


first_imgOttawa: Justin Trudeau on Wednesday kicked off the campaign for next month’s Canadian general election, gunning to hold onto his liberal majority in a tight race against newcomers on both flanks. The parties have already been wooing voters with pre-election ads, announcements and whistle stops in key battlegrounds across the country. But Governor General Julie Payette’s dissolution of parliament, at Trudeau’s behest, marked the official start of the race to the October 21 ballot.last_img


first_imgTORONTO – The Toronto and Peel regional police services say they are investigating two incidents Ontario’s privacy commissioner has called potential privacy breaches involving police.Toronto police spokeswoman Caroline de Kloet says the force’s professional standards unit is investigating what the privacy commissioner’s office called the “alleged unauthorized disclosure” of a closed-circuit TV image of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna.The Blue Jays relief pitcher was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball on Tuesday after being charged with assault.A privacy commission spokeswoman said Wednesday it was also looking into the “alleged unauthorized disclosure of police documents obtained from the Police Information Portal” involving Peel police.A Peel police spokesman said Thursday that its 22 Division criminal investigation bureau was looking into the matter, including the source of the documents.Sgt. Matt Bertram said in an email it has confirmed that the documents — which concern three people arrested for cocaine possession in 2016 — were not accessed or provided by any Peel police employee.last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA – Leading HIV/AIDS researcher Julio Montaner is among a group of scientists, writers, doctors and researchers receiving a prestigious prize for brilliant work in fields including health sciences, engineering and humanities.The Argentine-Canadian is among five scholars awarded this year’s Killam Prize, which honours Canadian researchers and scientists whose lifetime of work has impacted Canadians and citizens around the world.Each receives $100,000 and will be honoured at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on May 30.The groundbreaking Vancouver doctor, who heads the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, pioneered the highly active antiretroviral therapy and championed the “Treatment as Prevention” strategy.Montaner is currently working with the World Health Organization on prevention strategies for viral hepatitis.Other winners include University of Victoria scholar and lawyer John Borrows for his work to incorporate indigenous legal concepts into the practice of Canadian law, and University of Toronto philosopher Tom Hurka for his work on moral and political philosophy.Then there’s evolutionary and molecular biologist W. Ford Doolittle of Dalhousie University, recognized for integrating the philosophy of biology and genomic research on notions of the “tree of life” and Gaia Theory; and University of Toronto researcher Molly Shoichet for her work on tissue and polymer engineering, focusing on targeted drug delivery, tissue regeneration and stem cell research.Winners are chosen by a committee of their peers. Previous winners include Victoria Kaspi, the late Mark Wainberg, and Nobel Prize winner Arthur McDonald.The Killam program also announced recipients of its research fellowships, which dole out $840,000 over two years to six scholars for independent research projects.This year’s group includes: Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto for a project called “Probing the Low Surface Universe with Dragonfly”; Deborah J. Cook of McMaster University for “Modifying the Microbiome in Critical Illness: The Potential of Probiotics”; Eric Helleiner of University of Waterloo for “Globalizing the Classical Foundations of International Political Economy”; Dominic McIver Lopes of University of British Columbia for “Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value”; Louis Taillefer of Universite de Sherbrooke for “High-temperature Superconductivity”; and Christine Wilson of McMaster University for “Dense Gas and Star Formation in Galaxies: An ALMA Archival Project.”last_img read more


first_imgAKULIVIK, Que. – A woman who saw police fatally shoot a man suspected of killing three people in this northern Quebec village says she hasn’t been able to sleep since Saturday’s incident.Meeko Aliqu said she ran outside of her home after her 17-year-old son told her there had been a stabbing, and witnessed the confrontation between the police officers and the 19-year-old suspect.“The police officer said ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ in Inuktitut,” she told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.She said officers with Kativik Regional Police fired when the suspect did not drop his knife.“The police officer he shot him — maybe eight shots, I don’t know,” she said. She said the suspect got up and tried to enter a residence before being shot again.“He’s going inside the house but the police officer, he shot again one more time inside the house,” said Aliqu.Quebec’s police watchdog the independent investigations unit said it’s alleged the suspect broke into three homes and stabbed five people. Three of the victims, including a 10-year-old boy, died. Two others suffered serious injuries and were taken to hospital Saturday.The agency issued a statement Sunday saying the two wounded were “now considered out of danger.”Residents say the tragedy has shaken Akulivik, a remote village located on a peninsula jutting into Hudson Bay, some 1,700 km north of Montreal.“The whole region is in shock and is devastated. We’re receiving messages from all over the world sending us support,” said David Qaqutuk, a manager with the regional landholding corporation.He says everyone knows everyone in the close-knit town, where residents are known to share food and take care of each other.“All of the victims were the quiet kind. I never noticed the suspect being angry or anything,” he said.While he won’t speculate on the causes of the tragedy, he said the small towns lacks resources to help people who are struggling.“We don’t have any AA meetings or healing facilities,” he said. “The only thing that can help is in Kuujjuaq (600 km away), when not everyone wants to be there.”In a statement released Saturday, the investigations unit said police intercepted the suspect as he was preparing to enter a fourth residence while armed with a knife.According to preliminary information, police fired to stop the suspect from entering, then fired a second fatal shot when he began to move toward the officers.The investigations unit sent a team to the village to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting.Quebec provincial police, who are investigating the stabbings, said their officers were at the scene but did not provide any other updates as of early Sunday afternoon.———By Morgan Lowrie in Montreallast_img read more


first_imgDETROIT – Toyota Motor Co. is recalling 347,120 Sienna minivans worldwide — including 24,000 in Canada — because they can shift out of the “park” position and roll away.The recall involves Siennas from the 2005-2007 and 2009-2010 model years. Most are in the U.S. In addition to the models in Canada, Toyota also is recalling 13,000 in Mexico, 100 in Europe and 20 elsewhere.Toyota says the grease used in the shift lever assembly could transfer to other components, causing them to work improperly. In particular, the shifter can move out of “park” even if the driver isn’t pressing the brake pedal. It won’t move out of position if the parking brake is activated.Toyota won’t say if it knows of any accidents related to the defect.The company will notify owners by mid-December. Dealers will repair the vehicles for free.last_img read more


first_imgCALGARY – A former official in the Obama White House says she has seen glimmers of optimism even as U.S. President Donald Trump dismantles much of his predecessor’s legacy.Tina Tchen was special assistant to former president Barack Obama, chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama and the executive director of the former administration’s Council on Women and Girls.She says she believes cultural shifts that took place during the Obama years can withstand the current political climate.In a speech to a Canadian Women’s Foundation breakfast in Calgary, Tchen likened it to climbing a mountain in left-to-right switchbacks rather than straight up.“We are perhaps in one of those moments, certainly in my country, where this switchback is taking us backward, at a time when there’s no one at the top driving change forward, and it’s certainly a time of struggle,” she said Thursday.In an interview, Tchen admitted to feeling discouraged at times as she watches policies that took years of work disappear in a matter of months. She cited as examples rollbacks of Obama-era guidelines on campus sexual assault as well as on rules meant to address pay inequality.“I know that there are real people who are going to be harmed,” she said.“We can’t be exhausted because there’s too much at stake. We can’t let down our guard. We can’t give up.”But while top-down policies from Washingon can sometimes nudge things along, real long-term progress happens at the community level, she suggested.“We think about LGBT issues entirely differently and we’re not going back. We think about women in the workplace entirely differently and we’re not going back,” Tchen said.“The genie’s out of the bottle and those progressive issues aren’t going to change.”Tchen has returned to her work as a lawyer in a private practice, where she is devoting much of her attention to fostering change in the corporate world.Gender discrimination, sexual harassment and diversity in the workplace have been seen as only human resources issues for too long, she said.The scandal surrounding disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour toward women has brought those issues to the fore, as have the many women coming forward to share their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault using the #metoo hashtag.Tchen said more and more business leaders are realizing that neglecting to properly handle cases of misconduct can destroy their business.“If you don’t have a culture of compliance and respect for your workers across the board, then that can lead to workers cheating your customers or defrauding the government,” she said.“Because if company management tolerates or even engages in unlawful acts of sexual harassment or worse, then why would employees expect management to do business honestly or respect consumer protection laws?”last_img read more


first_imgBOSTON – Retired Canadian women’s hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser will donate her brain to concussion research after her death.The Concussion Legacy Foundation says the four-time Olympic gold medallist and seven-time world champion is one of three female Olympians to commit her brain to the Boston-based organization.American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela Ruggiero of the U.S., were also listed in Tuesday’s announcement.Wickenheiser has been involved with concussion-related causes in the past, including helping develop video game technology to treat concussions last summer.She co-chairs the advisory board of Highmark Interactive, a Toronto digital therapeutics company developing video games to diagnose and treat concussion and brain injuries.Wickenheiser, 39, said she suffered dizziness and nausea after taking a hit in a Swedish men’s pro league in 2008 and witnessed the deterioration of friend and former NHL player Steve Montador, who was diagnosed after his death in 2015 with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.“As I transition to being an ambassador for hockey in my retirement, I am determined to leave hockey better and safer,” Wickenheiser said in a release. “Steve Montador was a friend, and when he was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2015, I became inspired to do my part to fight this disease.”CTE is a degenerative brain condition that doctors believe is caused by concussions.The Concussion Legacy Foundation, which supports CTE and concussion research, says more than 2,800 former athletes and military veterans have promised to donate their brains to their organization since 2008. More than 560 of those pledges are from women.“By pledging my brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, I hope to support the best science and accelerate the development of ways to prevent and treat CTE,” said Wickenheiser.last_img read more


first_imgPOINTE-DU-CHENE, N.B. – A conservation group is urging people not to interact with belugas after a wayward whale was spotted in southeastern New Brunswick.A photo of a beluga was taken this month near Pointe-du-Chene, a small community on Shediac Bay, an inlet of the Northumberland Strait, and shared with the Marine Animal Response Society.The group’s co-ordinator, Andrew Reid, said beluga whales usually reside in the St. Lawrence Estuary or further north in the Arctic.He said the region doesn’t have a resident population, but single or multiple animals travelling together have been spotted over the last few years.Reid said the animal isn’t necessarily in distress, but warned onlookers to keep their distance.“They’re an extremely curious animal, so they like interacting with other animals and people,” he said. “That leads them to be less fearful of people and boats and that often leads them to being hit.”He said there are a handful of sightings in the area each year, and the society doesn’t typically interfere. But in some cases, rescuers do have to step in.Last June, a beluga lost its way in a northern New Brunswick river and had to be rescued by land, air and sea before being reunited with its pod.The two-metre long beluga was captured in the Nepisiquit River on June 15, where it was alone. It’s unknown why the whale went off on its own and decided to stay in the fresh water river.It was transported to Quebec, where it was released near Cacouna after being outfitted with a satellite tracking device so officials could monitor its movements.The population of the St. Lawrence belugas has been declining since the early 2000s and it’s believed there are fewer than 900 of them still in existence.They were placed on the endangered species list last fall.(Global News)last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau Liberals are offering Indigenous communities $30 million in prize money as part of a contest that could end up rewriting the rules about how the federal government funds badly needed housing on-reserve.Key to the contest is to draw in private sector builders to help finance the construction and repairing of homes in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.The Liberals have made overtures to the private sector to help cover the cost for on-reserve infrastructure to close the estimated $30 billion needed to repair and upgrade homes, roads, and water systems.Now they’re looking for new ideas to test.Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said government funding alone can’t surmount the scale of the housing problem, and suggested federal spending rules can get in the way.She said the contest will help suss out needed policy changes for projects and ideas that aren’t easily permitted under existing funding rules, such as mixed-used projects that combine residential and commercial space.“Going along with business as usual is not going to close that (housing) gap quickly,” she said in an interview ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled announcement.“This is an opportunity to say, perhaps we need to change some of the approach — how can we, in fact, be smarter about the money that we’re spending.”More details about the program will be announced this fall at the open of applications for the prize money. The winnings will be awarded over three rounds starting in spring 2019.The contest is the latest in a string of challenges the Liberals have launched since coming to office in November 2015, aiming to reshape how funding recipients think about projects and how the government spends money.What the government is looking for out of the contest is to fund projects that can be replicated in other communities, bring back traditional Indigenous building styles and techniques, and create an economic boost for communities that could include sourcing materials locally or providing job training to young people.“This is an opportunity to say ‘if you have an idea of how you can actually address the social problem and at the same time provide housing space’ then these are the kinds of things we would like to support,” Philpott said.“Once you can demonstrate proof of concept, often that will be the trigger that it will take for others to be able to scale up those examples.”A report in May from the Indigenous caucus of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association said that some 118,500 Indigenous households, or 18.3 per cent, lived in “core housing need,” meaning they lived in homes that stretched them financially, required hefty repairs, or were too small for their families.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported in late June that some 1.6 million homes, or 13.6 per cent of all urban households, were in core housing need in 2016, a figure relatively unchanged from 2015.Spending from the Liberals’ first budget in 2016 has, as of the end of March, paid for the construction and renovation of 8,786 homes, the government said, with work underway on 5,178 units.The Liberals’ 2018 budget set aside a combined $900 million over the next decade for housing in Metis and Inuit communities, and a further $600 million over three years for work in First Nations communities.— Follow @jpress on Twitter.last_img read more


first_imgQuebec Premier Francois Legault says his government will move quickly to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols by teachers and other public-sector workers in positions of authority.Addressing the legislature for the first time since his Coalition Avenir Quebec was elected Oct. 1, Legault said Quebecers have had enough of the debate over secularism.The plan to restrict religious symbols such as hijabs and kippas has been denounced by some rights advocates, but Legault said the government remains “very firm” in its intentions.He reiterated that the ban will apply to primary and secondary school teachers as well as police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison guards.The Premier said his government’s top priority will be education, and he promised steady funding increases to stop Quebec from lagging behind in academic success.Legault invoked the daring of early settlers as he called on Quebecers to overcome the fear of change and the fear of making mistakes.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA — A Chinese telecommunication company secretly diverted Canadian internet traffic to China, particularly from Rogers subscribers in the Ottawa area, says an Israeli cybersecurity specialist.The 2016 incident involved the surreptitious rerouting of the internet data of Rogers customers in and around Canada’s capital by China Telecom, a state-owned internet service provider that has two legally operating “points of presence” on Canadian soil, said Yuval Shavitt, an electrical-engineering expert at Tel Aviv University.Shavitt told The Canadian Press that the China Telecom example should serve as a caution to the Canadian government not to do business with another Chinese telecommunications giant: Huawei Technologies, which is vying to build Canada’s next-generation 5G wireless communications networks.“It’s too dangerous to let them in,” Shavitt said. “You can just imagine how Chinese companies are co-operating with the Chinese government.”The Trudeau government is still deciding whether Huawei will be permitted to supply equipment and services to Canadian companies seeking to build the networks expected to serve everything from smartphones to autonomous cars.That has become a politically charged decision with massive geopolitical implications since Canada arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer last month at the request of the U.S. It sparked a diplomatic crisis with the People’s Republic that has seen the jailing of two Canadian men working in China, and a death sentence imposed on a third man previously convicted of drug charges.Shavitt’s warning comes as the U.S. Justice Department this week revealed the scope of its fraud and theft case against Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou. On Monday, the department unsealed 13 criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction against Meng, while her company’s U.S. branch was accused of stealing trade secrets and equipment from cellphone provider T-Mobile USA.Huawei has denied that it co-operates with Chinese intelligence or ever would, saying that could be fatal to the company.The 2016 Ottawa area incident that included Rogers was part of an attack in which Canadian internet data bound for South Korea was rerouted to China over a six-month period. The diversion of the South Korean data was first documented in a report last fall co-authored by Shavitt and Chris C. Demchak of the U.S. Naval War College.The report described how China Telecom uses two points of presence in Canada and eight in the United States to take “information-rich” internet traffic crossing its network — part of the ordinary working of the internet, in which packets of data pass through numerous servers on the way to their destinations — and reroute it through China with no noticeable effect on customers.China Telecom did not respond to a request for comment.Rogers declined comment and referred the matter to the Public Safety Department.Public Safety and Global Affairs Canada did not respond to requests for comment.The Shavitt-Demchak report called internet points of presence the “perfect scenario for long-term espionage” because local alarm bells won’t be raised “about the long-term traffic detours.”The Canada-South Korea diversion was discovered by a company Shavitt co-founded called BGProtect that monitors internet routing infrastructure and sells services to protect countries and corporations from internet hacks. He said he used some of his company’s data to write the academic paper with Demchak.Shavitt described how hundreds of his company’s agents around the world monitor movements in the digital world. He said that could involve focusing on “a certain installation, an IP or server. We pick up locations around the world, and monitor the traffic and look for anomalies.“In this case the anomaly was from Canada.”In a followup email, Shavitt provided further details: “Our software agent was indeed at Ottawa, but the attack had affected the entire Rogers network (at least) and its customers in the entire region.”Shavitt said his company’s monitoring of Canada “was not dense enough” at the time of the attack to assess its full scope.In the case of national network like Rogers’ in a large country such as Canada, the attack might affect only a “portion of the network, (but) usually still quite large ones — it depends how routing is configured. For example in our case, it may affect only Ontario and Quebec, but not the western regions of Canada,” Shavitt explained.“I should say that the effect of the hijack is not only on Rogers’s direct customers (home and businesses) but also smaller networks in the affected regions that depend on Rogers for transit.”A hijack attack can be used in many ways, including for espionage by “extracting important information from communication,” said Shavitt.The attack can also be part of what is known as man-in-the-middle attacks, he said.A man-in-the-middle attack can neutralize an organization’s internet security measures because it involves the insertion of a “bad actor” between a sender and the desired recipient, says the Shavitt-Demchak report.When the internet traffic is rerouted into an adversary’s hands, “the attacker can learn enough to impersonate trusted sources” and “can allow the malicious attacker to harvest passwords,” the report says.“With those keys to the victim’s network in hand, attackers can distort, disconnect or destroy any part of the company’s network accessible from the internet, increasingly to include critical financial and physical systems and their backups.”The Chinese government steadfastly denies engaging in cyberattacks.In 2014, the federal government blamed a sophisticated state-sponsored Chinese entity for a breach that caused a shutdown of the National Research Council’s systems in Ottawa. China called that accusation reckless.In 2016, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, warned that China and Russia were targeting Canadian government officials and information systems as well as classified information and advanced technology.Without naming any countries, David Vigneault, CSIS’s new director, said in a December speech that “hostile foreign intelligence services” were targeting the “corporate secrets” and “intellectual property” of Canadian companies.Vigneault said those state actors posed a greater threat to national security than terrorists do.“It’s not that the Chinese are bad, or doing bad things in the U.S.,” Shavitt noted. “I’m sure that the U.S. and Canada are trying to do the same also to China. It’s a spying game that everybody’s trying to play.”Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec municipal councillor who was already under fire for denying the existence of Islamophobia is drawing new scrutiny for recent comments questioning whether the Earth is round.Nathalie Lemieux of Gatineau, Que. created a controversy last week after she told a reporter the word “Islamophobia” doesn’t exist for her.She was stripped of her title as deputy mayor but will be staying on as councillor of Quebec’s fourth largest city.Le Droit newspaper reports that in an online comment two weeks ago, Lemieux suggested there is a conspiracy to eliminate evidence that the Earth is flat. She asked who decided the Earth was round and why should that be believed.An aide confirmed Tuesday that Lemieux made the comments.The councillor first entered the spotlight last week when she told Le Droit that Islamophobia is a problem invented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.She applauded Quebec Premier Francois Legault for his statement that there is no Islamophobia in Quebec. After Muslim groups denounced Legault’s comments, the premier’s office clarified to say Islamophobia exists but there is no culture or current of it in Quebec.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgCALGARY — A hockey player paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is planning to head to Thailand in his quest to get better.Ryan Straschnitzki of Airdrie, Alta. plans to undergo an experimental surgical procedure on his spine that he hopes can restore some movement below the level of his injury.“It’s kind of cool. Turning humans into robots,” the 19-year-old said with a laugh in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.Straschnitzki and 12 others on the Saskatchewan junior hockey team were injured when a semi truck blew through a stop sign and into the path of the team’s bus last April.Sixteen people died.Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down. He hopes the surgery might help him improve his daily life.An epidural stimulation implant would be placed in his back. With the use of a small device like a remote control, the implant sends electrical currents to the spinal cord to stimulate nerves and move his limbs, bypassing traditional pathways.The implant can be programmed to stimulate certain nerves mapped out by surgeons and therapists.“It works and it’s safe and I can’t wait,” Straschnitzki said. “In the end, I think it will be worth it so I can have control over things that I didn’t have control over before and things that are out of my power.“Just getting some core muscles back would be awesome.”Straschnitzki was inspired to try the procedure by Calgary surgeon Dr. Richi Gill, who had the operation last year after he was paralyzed in an accident.Only a half dozen people in Canada have had it done abroad and only about 30 worldwide.The executive director of the Synaptic Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary said Straschnitzki could be in Thailand in April or May. He would stay there between four and six weeks.“Ryan is certainly a prime candidate for a procedure like this. So once we finish communicating with Thailand, Ryan should be approved to go ahead with the procedure,” Uyen Nguyen said.“The sooner this could happen the better.”Nguyen cautioned it isn’t a cure, but it is new therapy that’s growing in popularity. The surgery is relatively straight forward.“It is a device that goes over the spinal cord and sends messages out to the rest of the body,” she said. “It is the rehab afterwards that is arduous and tedious and that’s where Ryan’s strength and fortitude comes in. You have to commit.”The surgery can cost up to $100,000 and isn’t covered by health care or insurance. It is also performed in countries such as the United States and Switzerland, but it’s much cheaper in Thailand.Straschnitzki’s parents say it’s worth it.“The possibility is he could walk and get out of that wheelchair. That’s the main thing right there,” said Tom Straschnitzki.Michelle Straschnitzki is a little more cautious.“I just don’t want to get up any false hopes,” she said. “I think he’s going in with a very strong attitude and, provided everything goes well, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”Ryan Straschnitzki said he is a bit nervous but will cope with his jitters.“I mean there’s always going to be nerves with everything you do and I think I just have to overcome that — keeping that positive mind set, pushing myself every day and having the hope that I can walk again.”Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgCALGARY — Snow-covered highways in southern Alberta reopened Sunday as stuck or smashed vehicles were removed, but snowfall advisories and even a blizzard warning remained in effect in some areas as the storm tracked into Saskatchewan.Environment Canada says a strong low-pressure system brought heavy snow and strong winds to much of central and southern Alberta on Saturday into Sunday morning.It says the system even produced a few short-lived severe thunderstorms in the southeast corner of Alberta before blizzard conditions descended on the area Saturday evening.The Trans-Canada Highway east of Calgary was closed in both directions on Saturday, while police said travel was restricted on the highway west of the city as crews responded to a crash involving four semis and 11 other vehicles. No serious injuries were reported.Calgary received between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow, while Cochrane west of the city got 30 centimetres. A blizzard warning remained in effect Sunday for Cypress Hill Provincial Park and Foremost in the province’s southeast.Calgary International Airport reported 49 cancellations of arriving or departing flights on Saturday, and five flights that were diverted.Electric utility Fortis reported that snow and wind caused power outages south of Calgary and that weather conditions and road closures slowed repairs.“We’re mobilizing our crews from across the province to help with the continued storm restoration,” Fortis tweeted on Sunday.Police in Calgary cautioned against travelling on Sunday and had to cancel their annual half-marathon.“Committee members assessed the course and found snow drifts in place of more than two feet. This course is a challenging one at the best of times, and while there are those who will have trained well, today’s race conditions are even more difficult,” the department said in a news release.Forecasters said the blizzard was expected to leave the province Sunday afternoon, which meant a blizzard warning was issued next door in southwestern Saskatchewan.The Saskatchewan government’s Highway Hotline reported Sunday that the Trans-Canada Highway was closed from the Alberta boundary to Swift Current, a stretch that’s close to 170 kilometres long.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government has moved forward in Parliament with the ratification of the new North American free-trade agreement as the legislative clock ticks towards a summer adjournment and fall election.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a Ways and Means motion in the House of Commons Monday afternoon to lay the groundwork for ratifying the new pact.Freeland says the full lifting of the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian imports has paved the way for formal approval of the new deal.She says Canada will move forward in tandem with the U.S. in ratifying the deal, as much as that is possible.Freeland says she will meet soon with her cabinet colleagues to update them on plans to table the necessary legislation to ratify the updated continental trade pact that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico signed last November.On Thursday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will be in Ottawa, where he is expected to exchange views with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland on the legislative way forward in their two countries.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgThe entertainment industry turned out in force during the weekend in support of Motion Picture & Television Fund’s (MPTF) third annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event, a unique evening of powerful readings which told the stories of industry members and their families who have benefitted from MPTF’s services in recent years.The event, held at Milk Studios, was hosted by Will Arnett and featured video remarks from Mark Wahlberg and readings by renowned Hollywood actors including Casey Affleck, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Andy Samberg, and Taylor Schilling.Each story was written by some of Hollywood’s leading feature and television writers including Scott Cooper, M.A. Fortin & Joshua Miller, Michael Green, Karey Kirkpatrick & Steve Hickner & Billy Ray, and John Krasinski. This year’s show also included a special tribute to volunteering at MPTF by the very creative Funny or Die production team starring Beth Grant and Frances Fisher.MPTF President and CEO Bob Beitcher said, “My love affair with MPTF began 12 years ago at an event just like tonight’s ‘Reel Stories’ hosted by Kevin Spacey. Witnessing Hollywood’s finest tell the amazing stories of how MPTF takes care of industry members in their time of need made me proud to be part of the entertainment community, led me to step up my financial contributions to MPTF, and screamed to me ‘get involved.’ And thankfully I did!”The evening drew approximately 450 industry leaders, and celebrity guests including Casey Affleck, Will Arnett, Frances Fischer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Beth Grant, Anne Hathaway, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brie Larson, Samantha Mathis, Dawn Olivieri, Sasha Pieterse, Andy Samberg, Taylor Schilling and more.The event, which was produced by Guymon Casady, Bill Gerber, Kevin McCormick, Karen Rosenfelt, Greg Sills, Courtenay Valenti, and Warren Zavala also featured a special exhibit, The Music Within: Celebrating the Wonderful World of Album Art Cover Design, including works by John Cage, Jo Ann Callis, Bruce Davidson, Henry Kiltz, William Eggleston, Raymond Pettibon, Norman Seeff, Alex Steinweiss, Andy Warhol, Hipgnosis, and more.“There is no better way to introduce the next generation of Hollywood to the importance of MPTF to this industry than the creative talent brought together to tell the stories of the people helped by this charity,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of the MPTF Foundation. “My thanks to Will Arnett for hosting and to the talented actors and writers who are giving so generously of their talent to bring to life the mission of caring for our own in these compassionate real-life stories.”CEO of MPTF Foundation Ken Scherer said, “MPTF Foundation is truly fortunate to have the force of nature that has become what we affectionately call Team Valenti – my thanks to Guymon Casady, Bill Gerber, Karen Rosenfelt, Kevin McCormick, Greg Sills, Courtenay Valenti, and Warren Zavala – for channeling their individual passion into creating this event that has built awareness and motivated engagement with the next generation of Hollywood. And out of this event has emerged a new Next Gen group under the leadership of Natalie Bruss and Zachary Browning,” Scherer concluded.The evening was generously sponsored by UCLA Health, Delta Air Lines, and The Hollywood Reporter.last_img read more


first_imgOn October 29th at 2 PM ET, Chelsea Clinton and Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, will host a Twitter Q&A via @ClintonFDN on the state of maternal health around the globe.This Q&A is part of a series of live and virtual conversations hosted by No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, a Clinton Foundation initiative led by Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to advance full participation for women and girls around the world.Your voice is critical to these conversations. Please join this Twitter Q&A and tweet your questions to @ClintonFDN using #MaternalHealth.last_img


first_imgCelebrity models Abbey Clancy and Danielle Lloyd as well as former Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage over what an RSPCA officer described as the worst case of cruelty to animals he’s ever dealt with.The beauties have also alerted their nearly 1 million combined Twitter followers to PETA’s £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.A small dog was reportedly left to die in Birkenhead cemetery after what appeared to be a lifetime of abuse that left virtually every bone in his body broken. Fondly named Elmo by veterinary staff, he was humanely euthanised because of the severity of his injuries.“Someone in Merseyside must know something about the cruel individual who committed this atrocious act, and we’re calling on anyone with information to come forward”, says PETA Associate Director Elisa Allen. “A person capable of deliberately causing this kind of suffering to a helpless animal demonstrates a very worrying psychological state and must be found.”Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.last_img read more


first_imgX-Files star Gillian Anderson spoke up for orcas during SeaWorld’s online annual meeting this week.She will submited a question on behalf of PETA — which owns stock in the company in order to educate stakeholders and propose policy changes — asking SeaWorld to build coastal sanctuaries for the long-suffering captive orcas. Her question follows the National Aquarium’s announcement that it will be sending the eight dolphins there — one of whom was born at SeaWorld — to a seaside sanctuary.The full text of Anderson’s question for SeaWorld on behalf of PETA follows:“My name is Gillian Anderson, and I have a question on behalf of PETA. We thank SeaWorld for ending its orca-breeding program. This decision is a blessing for future generations of orcas, who will never endure the misery of life in a concrete tank. But for the 23 orcas who are still languishing at SeaWorld, it’s not enough.“Esteemed scientists and orca researchers have endorsed seaside sanctuaries in ocean coves, where orcas who have suffered for years at SeaWorld would be able to enjoy some semblance of a natural life and finally feel the ocean currents. In SeaWorld’s tanks, orcas break their teeth gnawing on bars and concrete, and they go insane from the reverberations of their sophisticated sonar off the tank walls. They’re separated from their families and forced to live in incompatible groups. Captivity is slowly killing them—and quickly killing Sea World’s profits. SeaWorld stock continues to plunge, earnings remain down, and visitors aren’t coming back.“SeaWorld must follow the lead of the National Aquarium, which is moving all eight of its dolphins — including 17-year-old Jade, who was born at SeaWorld Orlando — to a seaside sanctuary, a decision that has met with overwhelming public support.“Given the tide of public opinion against orca captivity, my question is: When will SeaWorld retire the orcas to protected sea sanctuaries and reinvent the park with attractions glorifying the ocean, rather than traumatizing its most intelligent inhabitants? Thank you.”PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” — has owned stock in SeaWorld since the company went public in 2013 and asked questions at its annual meetings in 2014 and 2015. PETA withdrew this year’s shareholder resolution, submitted in December 2015, asking for an end to SeaWorld’s orca-breeding program after the company’s March 2016 announcement that it would do exactly that.last_img read more