Month: April 2019

24 Apr -

Tweets predicted someone would overdose at Toronto nightclub’s all ages concert

Hours before the Friday night “all ages” concert at REBEL nightclub, chilling tweets foretelling the night circulated.

“Five dollars says one person who’s going to dvbbs overdoses on molly,” said one 桑拿会所 user.

“More than one” chimed in someone else.

“Maybe five,” said another.

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READ MORE: 6 hospitalized in addition to woman who died after overdosing at Toronto nightclub: councillor

That night, a 19-year-old woman died of an apparent overdose.

Friends have identified her as Violet Davidson.

A person describing herself as Violet’s sister posted on Facebook, “Today brings much heartbreak and sorrow,” adding that the Durham College student was “an amazing artist.”

It’s believed six other young people were hospitalized for suspected overdoses after partying at REBEL.

Toronto Board of Health chair and Councillor Joe Mihevc said Toronto has a drug prevention and harm reduction programs in place.

“We need to obviously intensify our efforts. We need to make sure that when these big parties, these big raves occur, that they have appropriate security guards (and) appropriate police presence to deter the activity as much as possible,” said Mihevc.

The dad of a 16-year-old girl rushed to hospital from the concert said she claimed she bought the drugs from someone inside REBEL.

“He was sort of working the floor,” the father said, who has asked to be unidentified to protect his daughter.

REBEL did not respond to specific questions from Global News, but a representative emailed a statement.

“REBEL has a zero tolerance drug policy and also subjects every patron entering the venue to a full search. Anyone who is caught with an illegal substance is immediately denied entry,” the statement read in part.

At the VELD Music Festival in 2014, two young people died after over dosing.

VELD is run by the same company as REBEL, INK Entertainment.

The company did not reply to questions about the deaths at VELD.

READ MORE: Woman dead, 16-year-old girl hospitalized after overdosing at popular Toronto nightclub

One city councillor, who is also on the Board of Health, said she wants private venues holding such events to be required to have an ambulance on site.

“Right now it’s not structured at this location where you have Toronto Paramedics on scene to intervene,” said Paula Fletcher.

However, such venues hire private paramedics for events.

24 Apr -

Convictions for killers of Meika Jordan, 6, upgraded to first-degree murder

The Alberta Court of Appeal has upgraded convictions for the killers of six-year-old Meika Jordan, a Calgary girl who was brutally tortured and murdered in November 2011.

Meika’s father, Spencer Jordan, and stepmother, Marie Magoon, are now both convicted of first-degree murder.

The ruling came down Thursday morning from a panel of three justices.

“We agree with the Crown that constructive first-degree murder was created for cases like this one,” the ruling reads. “We have concluded the appellants should be convicted of first-degree murder.”

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Related

  • Stepmother appeals conviction in murder of 6-year-old Meika Jordan

  • Parents relive details of 6-year-old Meika Jordan’s torture during killers’ appeal

  • Parents of slain Calgary 6-year-old Meika Jordan anxious before killers’ appeal

    Meika’s mother and stepfather, Kyla and Brian Woodhouse, were in tears as they received news of the decision from the Crown prosecutor.

    “There isn’t a word for what I’m feeling,” Brian Woodhouse told Global News minutes after the decision was handed down.

    “It’s justice,” he said.

    “Six years we have been fighting to get here.”

    READ MORE: Parents relive details of 6-year-old Meika Jordan’s torture during killers’ appeal

    Kyla said she was ecstatic.

    “It’s hard to actually find the words,” she said. “I’m completely over the moon. Finally, justice has been served.”

    The convictions mean Magoon and Jordan will receive automatic life sentences with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.

    The two Crowns who prosecuted the case said the decision is the result of “the hard work of so many.”

    “We are very pleased with the court’s decision and we are encouraged by the potential legal implications ‎for cases involving child homicides,” Hyatt Mograbee and Susan Pepper wrote in a statement to Global News. “We sincerely hope that Meika Jordan’s family gains some comfort from this decision.”

    The pair had first been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years after originally being convicted of second-degree murder.

    A year later in September 2016, both defence and Alberta Justice argued grounds for appeal.

    Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the case

    Parents of Meika Jordan look toward uncertain new year

    02:19

    Parents of Meika Jordan look toward uncertain new year

01:53

Parents relive details of 6-year-old Meika Jordan’s torture during killers’ appeal

01:41

Couple convicted of killing Meika Jordan get no parole for 17-years

02:02

Family of Meika Jordan hopeful of appeal

04:09

Calgary couple found guilty in the murder of Meika Jordan



The Crown had asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to find Meika’s killers guilty of first-degree murder instead of the original trial judge’s finding of second-degree murder. Jordan and Magoon’s hope was to be acquitted or face new trials.

The panel’s ruling states “appeals by both Magoon and Jordan from their convictions are dismissed.”

“I knew it was a possibility, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen,” Brian said, referring to the upgraded conviction.

“This is what winning a lottery must feel like.”

READ MORE: Crown appeals second-degree murder conviction in Meika Jordan case

During the trial and the appeal, court heard Meika was forced to run stairs, was repeatedly hit and was burned. Jordan also dragged her up and down the stairs by her ankles.

24 Apr -

Canada tops Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2017’ list

With Canada set to mark its 150th birthday, Lonely Planet marked the world’s second largest country as its number one choice for travellers in 2017.

The respected travel guide recently issued their choices of “Best in Travel 2017” including the top 10 countries, cities, regions and travel bargains.  Canada came out atop the list of countries ahead of Colombia, Finland, Dominica, and Nepal.

Lonely Planet praised Canada for its “inclusiveness and impeccable politeness” as well as “positivity unleashed by its energetic new leader Justin Trudeau,” before talking about the nation’s impending birthday bash.

The guide also pointed to our weak dollar as a positive for travellers looking to taste “Canada’s exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine.”

Lonely Planet also released a list of the best places to be in Canada for its 150th birthday.

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It should come as no surprise that the nation’s capital topped the list as the guide states Ottawa will have “the nation’s biggest birthday bash, with flyovers by the Snowbirds, Canada’s air demonstration squad, a giant street party and free concerts and events, many to be held in the new cultural village being built out of sea containers on York Street.”

While Ottawa seems like an obvious place to be, the second choice might raise an eyebrow or two.

The article’s author, Korina Miller, says that if you can’t make it to Parliament Hill, the next best option would be Charlottetown.

“As the birthplace of Confederation, Charlottetown always celebrates Canada Day in a big way, and for 2017 they’ll be cranking it up a notch,” the article states.

The rest of the top six includes Canada’s National Parks, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Number 7 on the list is SESQUI, a multimedia dome village which will travel across Canada in 2017.

The top 10 list concludes with Calgary, Dawson City and Regina.

24 Apr -

WestJet says passengers upset with Calgary airport connection travel times

WestJet says passengers are unhappy with the distance between the airline’s international and domestic connections from the Calgary airport’s new international terminal.

“I got in at 9:30 last night, was supposed to be flying out at 9:30,” traveller Cam Lainchbury said. “I ran from one end of the airport to the other, made it to watch my plane fly away.”

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Related

  • Airplane noise complaints a growing concern at YYC Calgary International Airport

    On Wednesday, Lainchbury was still waiting to catch a flight he says he should have been on Tuesday night. He flew into Calgary on a WestJet flight, but missed his connecting flight at the other end of the airport in the international terminal.

    READ MORE: Top 5 things to do while stuck at YYC Calgary International Airport during the holidays

    WestJet officials suggest it’s happening too often.

    “Some of our guests connecting—say from Kelowna through Calgary—and taking off for Los Angeles, are experiencing up to a two-kilometre walk or essentially 25 minutes depending on exactly where their gates are,” WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer said.

    WestJet says the problem is where its international gates are located in the new terminal: the furthest point away from the domestic wing.

    “This is our home, this is our hub and yet we have a configuration that’s not working for us,” Palmer said.

    WestJet said it’s added more time to its schedules to allow for the connections, which costs more money. The company says it plans to raise the issue with YYC Calgary International Airport’s new CEO, Bob Sartor, in January.

    READ MORE: A first look at the Calgary airport’s new terminal

    The Calgary airport said its partners are an “important part of growth and development plans” and it looks forward to “further collaboration” in 2017.

    “The new international terminal opened successfully Oct. 31, 2016 and was designed and planned in collaboration with, and with input from, our airline partners,” reads the statement to Global News.

    “The design was endorsed prior to the start of construction in 2011 by all major airlines operating at YYC Calgary International Airport.”

    While there is a shuttle to the new terminal, WestJet says the frequency and seating are limited and suggests it can’t handle large groups of connecting travellers.

    But the airport said airlines were also consulted on the shuttle system and moving walkways.

    “The YYC LINK [shuttle] design, schedule and operations were developed in collaboration with our airline partners,” the airport statement said. “The shuttle is a first in Canada and these 20 vehicles run on a scheduled service that moves YYC passengers from end to end in six minutes.”

    With files from Erika Tucker

24 Apr -

Colorado inmate mistakenly released early, jailed again asks judge to remain free

A convicted Colorado robber who was sent back to prison after being mistakenly released decades before serving his 98-year sentence asked a judge Wednesday to set him free again, arguing it would be unfair for him to remain imprisoned after he started a family, got a steady job and reformed himself.

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Rene Lima-Marin, 38, was convicted in 2000 on multiple counts of robbery, kidnapping and burglary after he and another man robbed two suburban Denver video stores at gunpoint. A judge issued him back-to-back sentences for a total of 98 years.

But a court clerk mistakenly wrote in Lima-Marin’s file that the sentences were to run at the same time. Corrections officials depend on that file to determine how much time an inmate should serve.

READ MORE: Inmate surrenders after being accidentally released from Vancouver Island prison

Lima-Marin was released on parole in 2008. He held a steady job as a window glazer, got married and had a son before authorities realized the mistake in January 2014, when a team of police officers returned him to prison to complete his sentence.

First Assistant Attorney General James Quinn said the case was an unfortunate mistake but not official misconduct, as Lima-Marin’s attorneys allege.

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. did not immediately decide whether Lima-Marin should be released, saying he needed time to do more legal research. He got the case after Colorado’s highest court refused to free Lima-Marin earlier this year, saying he should ask a lower court to consider his release instead.

Lima-Marin fought back tears as he told the judge he’s experiencing severe emotional pain because of his separation from his wife, her son who he adopted and another son they had together during his freedom.

“I’m supposed to be the head of the household, the person who’s supposed to guide and lead them … and I’ve been taken away from them,” he said. “I was stupid, and a dumb kid who made a mistake.”

READ MORE: 2 California inmates at large after rappelling out of jail, 2 others apprehended

But prosecutors said Lima-Marin should not be freed because he knew about the clerk’s error and never notified authorities as he set about rebuilding his life.

Lima-Marin’s co-defendant, Michael Clifton, also would have been mistakenly released early, but the error in his file was uncovered after he filed an appeal in his case. Clifton is serving 98 years in prison.

Lima-Marin filed his own appeal of his sentence in 2000 but, in a rare move, asked that it be dismissed less than a year later. Prosecutors said that showed he learned of the clerical error while in prison, and feared further court action on his appeal would call attention to the clerk’s mistake.

Lima-Marin said he asked few questions when his public defender told him he would serve much less than 98 years and urged him to withdraw the appeal.

“All I knew was, my prayers had been answered,” Lima-Marin said of his early release from prison.

24 Apr -

Syrian refugees reflect on one year in Regina

This is a much different December for Chairin Ghanam and her husband Oamr Ezzeddin.

The couple are among the hundreds of Syrian refugees who are now calling Regina their new home, after fleeing Syria and landing in Jordan.

“It’s so special coming to Canada because it’s safe and life is good,” Ghanam said.

“Every day [there is] a bomb. Every day children are killed… I don’t know what’s happening in my country,” she added.

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  • Syrian refugee family celebrate 1 year anniversary of being welcomed to Winnipeg

  • Bana Alabed, Syrian girl with viral 桑拿会所 account, safely evacuated from Aleppo

  • Syrian refugees in Saskatoon fear for family still living in Aleppo

    Ghanam’s husband, Oamr Ezzeddin, echoed those sentiments. The couple has been watching the situation unfold in Aleppo, Syria and said the contrast to Canada is immeasurable. Esseddin said in Canada, he feels safe.

    “My country is not safe because of the war… Canada is very wonderful. Very peaceful,” he said.

    Ezzeddin said him and his wife now face a new challenge —; adjusting to life in Canada. He said the frigid Saskatchewan temperatures were a shock, but he is getting used to the winter.

    The Regina Open Door Society (RODS) has been helping the family integrate into Canadian society. Ghanam and Ezzeddin are taught English and other critical life skills

    “Everything from catching a bus to how to manage their household, how to dress for winter… Language is very important but we have done life skills [to help] introduce them to the community,” RODS settlement and family services manager Getachew Woldyesus said.

    RODS is also helping Syrian newcomers find work in Canada. According to language and employment services manager Tatiana Zotova, the biggest challenge facing newcomers are the language skills needed to be employed. Zotova said the group remains highly motivated.

    The Ezzeddins are marking their first-year in Canada from Syria.

    Taryn Snell / Global News

    “It takes time, it takes effort. You need to be motivated. But I think our clients are doing really well because they see language as a really important part of the integration,” Zotova said.

    In Syria, Ezzeddin repaired sewing machines for over 25 years. He has been learning English at RODS and said he is making progress.

    “I’m learning English at Open Doors. I think after my English is better, I will find a job,” he said.

    His daughters are also quickly integrating into Canadian life – they even like music idol Justin Bieber.

    “His songs, I like his songs. He’s a Canadian,” Lana said.

    “I like his hair,” she added with a laugh.

    Follow @ChristaDao

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