24 Nov -

Toronto panda wrestles snowman during winter frolic

Toronto’s pandas continue to prove why they’re so cute.

For the second time in less than two weeks, the Toronto Zoo has released video of their giant pandas frolicking in the snow.

READ MORE: Toronto Zoo pandas joyfully frolic in the snow after storm

Video posted to YouTube shows Da Mao playing with a snowman that was built Tuesday inside the panda’s enclosure for “enrichment.”

Da Mao is seen scratching and climbing on top of the frozen figure.

At one point the snowman’s head breaks off, sending the adult panda tumbling.

WATCH: Toronto Zoo panda bear enjoys the winter weather

Another video recorded on the zoo’s security camera on Dec. 12 showed Da Mao somersaulting down a snowy slope.

Da Mao was joined by the zoo’s twin panda cubs Jian Panpan — meaning “Canadian Hope” — and Jia Yueyue — “Canadian Joy” — pouncing and tumbling in the snow together.

The playful twins, both of whom celebrated their first birthday in October, have been a major attraction for the city.

Da Mao, who arrived on loan with partner Er Shun from China in 2013, gave birth to Jian Panpan and Jia Yueyue last year.

Da Mao and Er Shun are scheduled to move to the Calgary Zoo in the spring of 2018.

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Related

  • WATCH: Toronto Zoo pandas joyfully frolic in the snow after storm

  • Giant panda cub Bei Bei has surgery to remove bamboo mass from intestine

  • U.S. zoo-born pandas shipped to China prefer American food, only understand English

24 Nov -

Elderly woman punched, pulled from home during scary Halifax home invasion

An elderly woman was punched in the face and dragged from her Halifax home during an attempted robbery Tuesday night, police say.

Officers were called to a home on Pennington Street at 10:45 p.m.

Eighty-five-year-old Jeanette MacDonald says she was home alone when she answered a knock at her door to find a man, who police say punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground.

The suspect then punched the widow again and dragged her out of her home by her arm. She said the man had a gun and knife in his pockets, and demanded money.

“I said ‘give you my money? I got no money,” MacDonald said from her home Tuesday.

“Just a punk that’s all he was.”

MacDonald has significant bruising on her face under her eyes, as well as on her chest.

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MacDonald said the man pushed her onto the floor and knocked her large china cabinet down over her. She said she tried to push him away, but he pushed her outside of her home. Neighbours came to help after they heard her screaming.

“Oh god man I was petrified,” MacDonald said.

The woman was treated for minor cuts and bruises. She told Global News she’s feeling sore after the attack.

The suspect —; described as a 5’5″ man with a slim build and no facial hair —; fled the scene, and despite the efforts of several officers and a K-9 unit, police couldn’t find him. The suspect was wearing a red sweater and toque at the time.

“We want to emphasize that the victim did nothing wrong. However, if you’re not expecting somebody, especially later at night, to be coming to your residence, err on the side of caution,” said Halifax Regional Police Const. Dianne Penfound.

—; With files from Steve Silva, Global News. 

24 Nov -

Aleppo evacuations resume as Syrian government regains control of city

BEIRUT – Syrian rebels resumed their evacuation from Aleppo on Wednesday, paving the way for the government to reassume control of the war-torn city.

The Syrian opposition agreed to surrender their last foothold in the city last week, marking the most significant victory for President Bashar Assad since an uprising against his family’s four-decade rule swept the country in 2011.

READ MORE: Russia drafts ‘Moscow Declaration’ to resolve Syrian conflict with Turkey, Iran

It followed a punishing offensive by the government and its regional allies that drove out tens of thousands of civilians from the east of the city.

The government agreed to allow the remaining residents — fighters and civilians — to leave as part of the agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey in Ankara last week.

WATCH: EU’s top diplomat urges international co-operation to prevent Syria turning into ‘black hole’

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An Associated Press TV crew said four buses from the opposition’s last foothold in the city arrived to the western Aleppo countryside Wednesday, marking the first successful evacuation in over 24 hours.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 60 buses are expected to evacuate some 3,000 fighters and civilians from the opposition’s last foothold in the city. It is the last convoy set to leave Aleppo before the government is expected to declare it has reassumed full control of the city for the first time since rebels carved out an enclave for the opposition in 2012.

READ MORE: Buses headed to Aleppo for evacuation attacked, burned

Syrian state TV said the evacuations resumed after rebels handed over prisoners taken in previous rounds of fighting.

A dispute delayed the final round of evacuations for over 24 hours after some 20,000 civilians and fighters were bused out of the city.

Some 3,000 rebel fighters and civilians endured harsh wintry conditions overnight, waiting to board what may be the last convoy out of the east. Activists circulated photos on social media of families huddled around fires amid the sleet and snow. By midday, temperatures in the city hovered around freezing.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict through a network of activists on the ground, said 60 buses were waiting to leave.

Rebels and the government traded blame for the delay.

READ MORE: Turkey ambassador killing a ploy to wreck Syrian peace process, says Vladimir Putin

Syrian state media said on Tuesday evening that “differences among terrorist groups” were holding up the evacuations from Aleppo and from two rebel-besieged Shiite villages in the country’s north, Foua and Kfarya. The government calls all armed opposition fighters terrorists.

The rebels are supposed to allow the evacuation of the sick and wounded from the two villages as part of a cease-fire deal reached last week to ensure the evacuation of eastern, rebel-held part of the city of Aleppo.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was prepared to facilitate the evacuations when they resume.

WATCH: Aleppo girl, Bana Alabed, meets Turkish President Erdogan

Spokeswoman Ingy Sedky said the ICRC had already evacuated 750 people from the twin villages. This would leave some 1,500 more requiring evacuation, according to the deal reached by rebels and the government Monday.

On Tuesday, the ICRC said it has evacuated 25,000 people from the city since operations began last week, but the Observatory says the tally is closer to 17,000.

The Observatory also said 21 buses are still waiting to evacuate the sick and wounded from the rebel-besieged Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya.

Also Tuesday, the U.N. humanitarian aid agency said Syria’s government authorized U.N. plans to send about 20 staffers to monitor evacuations from eastern Aleppo. It was not clear if the U.N. monitors would arrive before the operations were complete.

Elsewhere in northern Syria, fighting between the Islamic State group on one side, and Turkish forces and Syrian opposition forces on the other, killed four Turkish soldiers, according to the state Anadolu news agency.

WATCH: Ban Ki-moon says United Nations has failed the people of Syria 

The report cited unnamed military sources as saying that 11 Turkish soldiers were also wounded in the fighting for the IS-held town of al-Bab on Wednesday, including one who was reported to be in critical condition. The agency reported intense clashes near a hospital in the town, saying the militants were using it as a shelter and to store arms and ammunition.

Turkey sent ground troops into northern Syria in August to support Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces in clearing a border area of Islamic State group militants and to curb Kurdish territorial expansion.

At least 24 Turkish soldiers have been killed so far in the operation, called Euphrates Shield.

Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

24 Nov -

Canadian man with family caught in Libyan conflict calls on Ottawa for help

TORONTO – A Canadian man whose family is trapped in a militant-controlled area in the Libyan city of Benghazi is calling on Ottawa to help broker a ceasefire so innocent civilians can flee the fighting.

Ali Hamza, of Mississauga, Ont., says his 75-year-old mother, five siblings, sister-in-law and six young nieces are among about 130 families still living in the neighbourhood of Ganfouda, which is besieged by Libyan army troops that answer to a powerful military commander.

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The North African nation has been plagued by violence and chaos since the ouster and death of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 civil war.

Since September, Hamza says his family and friends in Ganfouda have told him that homes have been destroyed, people have been killed and residents are running out of food, water, medication and other basic necessities.

READ MORE: Kidnapped Canadian who returned from Libya recounts ordeal

The 50-year-old is urging Ottawa to issue a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in Ganfouda until families in the area can be evacuated.

A spokeswoman with Global Affairs Canada says the federal government is “deeply concerned” about the ongoing armed conflict in Libya, including the district of Ganfouda.

“Canada supports the work of humanitarian partners to facilitate free and unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and to permit civilians who wish to leave to do so in safety and with dignity,” said Jocelyn Sweet.

But Hamza says that’s not enough. He believes a strong public stance from Canada on the situation in Ganfouda would have an impact.

“Canada is a humble country but its weight is known,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking Canada…do a statement to protect the civilians who have been entrapped there.”

READ MORE: Canadian hostage, 2 others released in Libya

Hamza said the civilians in Ganfouda, including his family, have not been able to leave the area because they have not been guaranteed safe passage.

“Canada and the international community’s silence on Ganfouda has allowed armed groups to commit gross human rights violations without accountability,” he said. “It sends the message to Canadians that the life of my mother and my family is worthless. While they are not Canadian citizens, they are still my family.”

Hamza is also part of an informal group of activists who are trying to get a shipment of aid to Ganfouda, but those efforts have been put on hold due to the precarious security situation, he said.

Amnesty International has raised the alarm over the situation in Ganfouda, saying hundreds of Libyan and foreign nationals have been trapped in the neighbourhood for months, with dwindling food and fuel supplies. The group has also expressed concern about people in the area facing possible mass punishment under the pretext that they are supporters or sympathizers of the Islamic State group.

READ MORE: 240 migrants feared dead in 2 shipwrecks off Libya

Despite a UN-brokered peace deal reached a year ago, Libya remains divided between east and west, with no effective government and rival factions and militias – each side with backing from different foreign countries.

– with files from the Associated Press

24 Nov -

From Drake to Justin Bieber, 2016 was the year of Canadian music

It’s not a new phenomenon. Canadians have been dominating the music charts for decades, but rarely do we witness what happened in 2016: multiple Canadian artists practically owned the scene, taking up prime real estate on the charts and racking up nominations and awards across multiple genres.

This year, it wasn’t just about accolades either; Canadian musicians like Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber were fully ingrained in pop culture, setting the tone rather than following it.

Drake

It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to remember when Drake (a.k.a Aubrey Graham) “started at the bottom.” He’s so entrenched at the top we all must look like specks down here.

This has been a banner year for Drake, and he’s catapulted to fame on the world stage, bringing his hometown of Toronto along with him.

Big wins in 2016:

In February, Toronto Mayor John Tory gave Drake a key to the city.

He may already serve as the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, but he was also appointed coach of Canada’s team at the 2016 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.Along with Bieber, Drake received five Juno Award nominations for Juno Fan Choice, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Rap Recording of the Year; he lost four of five to Bieber and The Weeknd, but won Rap Recording of the Year for If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.In addition to debuting at No. 1 on Billboard and selling more than 600,000 copies on its first day, Views became the first album ever to achieve one billion streams on Apple Music.He’s the most-streamed artist of 2016 on Spotify with a whopping 4.7 billion individual plays.Breaking a Michael Jackson record should be regarded as the gold standard, and Drake did that with his 13 American Music Award nominations, two more than Jackson’s 11 nominations in 1984; he won four of those awards.He received the most BET Award nominations in 2016 with 14, and he took home the trophies for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and Best Collaboration (with Rihanna, see below).Drake’s single with Rihanna (who he dated for a brief period in 2016), Work, was the #1 song in over a dozen countries at the time of its release, and has been nominated for multiple awards.Alongside singer Céline Dion, he topped Google’s list of the Top Trending Canadians for the year.

READ MORE: Drake cancels remaining Summer Sixteen Tour dates due to ankle injury

Justin Bieber

A year packed with success isn’t really anything new for Justin Bieber, who virtually took over the world in 2016 with the release of his latest album, Purpose, in November of 2015. He toured the globe, made headlines, found a new girlfriend (at least temporarily) and absolutely dominated music award shows across the board.

Big wins in 2016:

Bieber was the first male artist in almost 10 years to have three #1 hits (Sorry, What Do You Mean?, Love Yourself) from one album — the last artist to achieve that goal was Justin Timberlake with 2005’s Future Sex/Love Sounds.Hard to believe, but Biebs won his first Grammy in 2016 for Where Are U Now, his collaboration with Diplo and Skrillex, and celebrated with a Carpool Karaoke session.

While his series of outbursts at concerts made headlines, his Purpose tour continued across the world, earning him millions of dollars and tons of attention.He became the first artist — ever — to reach 10 billion views on YouTube.The Canadian crooner broke eight Guinness World Records, including most 桑拿会所 followers (as of this writing, 90.5 million) and most-streamed track on Spotify in one week (What Do You Mean?, 30,723,708 times).In his home country, he was nominated for five Juno Awards, winning the Juno Fan Choice Award and Pop Album of the Year.He’s slated to win a boatload of Grammys at the 2017 ceremony, and he’s closing out this year with four nominations: Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Performance, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

READ MORE: Justin Bieber croons Toronto pub crowd with surprise performance

The Weeknd

The Weeknd‘s rise over the past couple of years has been nothing short of amazing. Ever since late 2010, it has been a meteoric ascent into fame for the Scarborough, Ont. native. His latest release, Starboy, is both a critical and fan favourite, and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.

Big wins in 2016:

A generous soul, he donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto for an Ethiopic Studies program and $250,000 to Black Lives Matter.He was featured on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo (FML) and Beyoncé’s Lemonade (6 Inch).The Weeknd cleaned up at this year’s Juno Awards, taking home five awards: Album of the Year for Beauty Behind the Madness, Single of the Year (Can’t Feel My Face), Songwriter of the Year, R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, and the big prize, Artist of the Year.Being nominated for an Academy Award isn’t something many musicians can claim, especially so early into a career, but The Weeknd can; his song from Fifty Shades of Grey, Earned It, was nominated, but unfortunately he lost to Sam Smith.At the 2016 MTV European Music Awards, he beat out Beyoncé for Best Video for Starboy.Lest we forget his performance of Starboy at this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, debuting his newly shorn locks.

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara has emerged in 2016 as a force to be reckoned with. A former YouTube star, Cara released her debut album, Know-It-All, in mid-2015, and the first single, Here, became a sleeper hit both in Canada and in the U.S. At only 20 years old, her career is just starting.

Big wins in 2016:

She won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards, defeating the other four nominees.Cara was selected as one of the opening acts for the European and North American legs of Coldplay’s current tour, which runs through almost all of 2017.Disney’s animated film Moana used Cara’s How Far I’ll Go as one of its marquee songs (and it’s arguably the most catchy of the movie’s soundtrack).At the 2016 iHeart Radio Much Music Video Awards, she took home the Best New Canadian Artist award, quite a feat considering she started out a mere year ago.

Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes is another example of Canadian ingenuity, his career started on the video app Vine in 2013. Over the past three years, he’s become one of the top-performing pop-rock acts, and his name frequently appears on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 40 lists. In 2016 he released his sophomore album, Illuminate, and went on his second world tour.

Big wins in 2016:

Not just a pretty voice, Mendes was signed to Wilhelmina Models earlier in the year.For the first time, he was selected by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 30 under 30.

His debut single from Illuminate, Treat You Better, easily reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200.He’s racked up the awards this year too, receiving the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Breakout Artist, the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Male (an honour bestowed on Bieber in 2015), the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Worldwide Act and the MuchMusic Video Award for Pop Video of the Year (I Know What You Did Last Summer).

WATCH: Shawn Mendes talks Illuminate

The Tragically Hip

By far the band with the most experience on this list, The Tragically Hip roared back into the public consciousness in 2016 (though some would argue they never left). After lead singer Gord Downie announced that he has terminal cancer, the band embarked on a Canada-only tour to coincide with the release of their latest album, Man Machine Poem.

Big wins in 2016:

The band’s final tour triggered a nostalgic wave, and their 15 sold-out concerts were raved about by fans and newbies alike.

The Tragically Hip in Kingston

03:36

The Tragically Hip in Kingston

03:00

The Tragically Hip end tour and possibly their career with a bang

02:20

The Tragically Hip’s last concert cements bands legacy as Canadian music legends

00:40

A walkthrough at The Tragically Hip’s final show of their Man Machine Poem tour.

00:29

The Tragically Hip kick off final show of Man Machine Poem tour with “50 Mission Cap”

00:28

The Tragically Hip play “Courage” as 2nd song of night

02:05

Fans say goodbye to Tragically Hip

01:04

The Tragically Hip’s fans sing ‘O Canada’ before historic concert

02:14

Springer Market Square the place to be if you don’t have tickets to The Tragically Hip

02:29

The Tragically Hip get set to play historic show in Kingston, Ont

01:46

Justin Trudeau wades through crowd before historic Tragically Hip concert in Kingston



A week after the final show in Kingston, Ont., all 17 of The Hip’s albums were on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart, quite a feat considering the band formed in 1983.The Hip’s tour phenomenon raised awareness of Canadian music around the world, and Downie shone a spotlight on his particular form of cancer.Although it appears like the band as it’s known has now disbanded, Downie announced his own solo album, Secret Path, released in October.Follow @CJancelewicz ChangSha Night Net

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24 Nov -

North Carolina set to repeal anti-LGBT ‘bathroom bill’

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina’s legislature is reconvening to see if enough lawmakers are willing to repeal a 9-month-old law that limited LGBT rights, including which bathrooms transgender people can use in public schools and government buildings.

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House and Senate members planned to meet in the capital Wednesday for a special session two days after the Charlotte City Council gutted an ordinance that in March led the Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass House Bill 2, known by some as the “bathroom bill.”

READ MORE: Transgender woman takes selfie in North Carolina bathroom to protest anti-LGBT law

For months, the state’s Republican leaders had said they were willing to consider repealing the law if Charlotte acted first to undo its expanded antidiscrimination ordinance. But the mayor and most council members, with the support of gay rights groups, had been unwilling to do so in the name of equality.

The Democrat-controlled council didn’t act until Monday, two weeks after GOP Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial race to Democrat Roy Cooper.

WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds of LGBT supporters rally against North Carolina’s ‘Bathroom Bill’

During the race, Cooper blasted McCrory over the law he signed and its fallout – job losses, cancelled concerts and sporting events – contributed to McCrory’s narrow defeat. Cooper, the attorney general for the past 16 years, helped broker Charlotte’s co-operation in the deal and said during the campaign he wanted HB2 repealed.

Although House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said earlier this week that they “would take up the repeal of HB2” in a special session, uncertainty over exactly what lawmakers will do remains. The legislature has shown a willingness to go its own way, despite intense outside pressure to scrap the law.

READ MORE: North Carolina bathroom bill makes pepper spray ‘valuable tool’ for students: school board member

Over the past year, there has been bitter fighting between Democrats and Republicans. Just last week, Republican leaders convened a surprise legislative session and passed two laws designed to bring Cooper’s powers in check when he becomes governor Jan. 1.

Cooper expects a full repeal of HB2, his spokeswoman said.

A few lawmakers from both parties interviewed Tuesday said they anticipated a simple measure they would support to repeal the entire bill.

“My hope for the session is that we have a one-day session with one bill and we go home,” GOP Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville said. But McGrady said any lawmaker could offer amendments to retain parts of the law, which could complicate matters.

READ MORE: Debate over transgender bathroom law spreads across U.S.

Some conservative lawmakers – urged on by conservative Christians groups that supported HB2 – are likely to want to keep the law in place.

“I’m not interested in repealing anything,” GOP Rep. Jeff Collins of Rocky Mount told The Wilson Times. “I think we did the right thing the first time.”

The Charlotte measure approved Monday notes that it won’t take effect unless HB2 is repealed in its entirety by Dec. 31. And some sections of the city’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance for LGBT people approved earlier this year that weren’t invalidated by HB2 were left intact. Both details could give some lawmakers justification not to repeal the state law Wednesday.

But repealing the bill would require only a handful of GOP support – perhaps 10 members in the Senate or 15 in the House – if all Democrats voted for it. The session that McCrory called is scheduled several days before Christmas, with some legislators out of town.

HB2 is best known for requiring transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

READ MORE: US Attorney General says transgender bathroom law is part of civil rights struggle

It also limits statewide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public accommodations and employment, and it reinforced a prohibition on local governments from raising minimum wage. Local governments are also prevented from enacting nondiscrimination measures that would go further than state law.

Discussions about repealing the law increased after decisions by the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference to move their championship events out of North Carolina this academic year. The NBA also moved an All-Star Game out of Charlotte.

LGBT groups, which had fought any deal with legislators earlier this year to do away with the Charlotte ordinance, are now on board if the result is the end of HB2.

“Full and complete repeal of HB2 is the only acceptable outcome,” Stephen Peters of Human Rights Campaign said Tuesday in an email.

24 Nov -

Year in review 2016: political moments that caught us off guard (not involving Donald Trump)

The biggest political story of the year undoubtedly was Donald Trump‘s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election.

Trump provided soundbites that both excited and frustrated voters, and was at the centre of what may have been the biggest political video of 2016 — the leaked Access Hollywood tapes.

Trump may have grabbed most of the headlines this year, but there were still plenty of other amazing “caught-on-camera” moments involving politicians.

#BirdieSanders

When a small bird landed on Bernie Sanders podium during a Portland rally in March, it was a moment that galvanized his supporters and symbolized the positive campaign he preached.

Excited supporters erupted into thunderous applause as Sanders looked curiously at the bird.

“I know it doesn’t look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars,” he said after it flew away.

The incident inspired #BirdieSanders and provided levity during a long Democratic nomination process that can often be overtaken by negativity.

‘What is Aleppo?’

No, that’s not a Jeopardy answer to, “What is Syria’s largest city?”

That was the cringe-worthy response Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson gave during a live interview with MSNBC in September, when he was asked how he would handle the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian city if he were elected president.

READ MORE: Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson baffled by question on Syrian conflict

“You’re kidding?” the MSNBC interviewer responded.

Eastern Aleppo became a war zone over the past five years, as rebel fighters fought with government forces and Russian airstrikes. The besieged portion of the city was retaken by the government in recent weeks and the ruined neighbourhoods were evacuated of any remaining residents.

Johnson followed up that gaffe with another equally embarrassing moment in front of the camera just weeks later. During another televised interview, Johnson drew a blank when he was asked to name a political figure he respected. He called that gaffe another “Aleppo moment.”

Libertarian Party candidate dances, strips on live television

Johnson may have provided enough embarrassment for his party during the presidential campaign, but he wasn’t the only Libertarian who left supporters cringing this year.

A candidate running for the chairman of the Libertarian Party chose an odd way to drop out of the race in March.

James Weeks dropped his pants live on C-Span in a “dare” he said was intended to inject a “little bit of fun” into the party’s national convention.

Reaction was mixed, with some people calling the display a “mockery” to the democratic electoral process.

‘Fart’ comment by Conservative MP doesn’t blow over well with Elizabeth May

But it wasn’t just the U.S. that experienced its share of foul behaviour from politicians.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May refused to let a comment from Conservative MP Michelle Rempel blow over, so to speak, in November.

While speaking about the plight of unemployed Albertans, Rempel accused the Liberal government of treating the province “like a fart in the room that nobody wants to talk about or acknowledge.”

<strong:READ MORE: Elizabeth May creates stink over Conservative MP’s ‘Fart’ comment

This prompted May to chide her colleague over what she characterized as “distinctly unparliamentary” language, even spelling out f-a-r-t rather than say the word.

“Is my colleague actually serious?” Rempel replied, during what has to stand as one of the more remarkable points of order in the history of the House of Commons.

May has hailed herself as a champion of professional decorum in the House of Commons – perhaps she’s taking her crusade for clean behaviour a little too far.

Icelandic politician breastfeeds baby during televised parliamentary speech

The debate over breastfeeding in public was taken to another level during a session in Iceland’s parliament this past fall.

Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, an MP for Iceland’s Independence Party, breastfed her six-month-old daughter while addressing her colleagues on an immigration project during an October parliamentary session.

“She was hungry and I had not expected to go to the pulpit,” Konradsdottir explained.

The public display was another feminist achievement for Iceland, which has often led the way on women’s issues. The island nation has regularly been named the best place in the world for women to live.

Philippine president likens himself to Adolf Hitler

President-elect Donald Trump has been criticized for controversial comments he’s made over the last year, but so too has tthe “Filipino Donald Trump.”

Since his election in May, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has arguably made more outlandish statements than Trump has.

Duterte has offered “medals” to citizens who kill drug dealers, called the UN “stupid,” claimed the U.S. were “fools” and “monkeys,” and claimed the U.S. “had lost” after announcing he would build closer ties with China.

Duterte admitted to personally patrolling streets on a motorcycle looking for criminals to kill while he was mayor of Davao City. He also called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” and threatened to “swear” at him if he asked about the extrajudicial killings, but later said he would stop cursing as a promise to God.

But the Duterte comment that garnered the most attention was when he raised the rhetoric over his bloody anti-crime war in September by comparing it to the Holocaust and himself to Adolf Hitler.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews,” he said. “There’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and Global News

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Related

  • Philippines’ President Duterte labels Americans ‘sons of bitches’ over aid review

  • Presidential nominee Gary Johnson: you can’t go to war with places you don’t know exist

  • Irish MP’s musical Christmas tie interrupts parliament

24 Nov -

Young Canadians most wary of new pot laws, research finds

OTTAWA – Young Canadians are skeptical of marijuana legalization, new research shows.

A series of 24 focus groups on perceptions of new pot laws commissioned by the federal Liberal government found that the youngest teenaged participants were the most cautious about the policy shift.

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Related

  • Why marijuana laws still apply as Ottawa moves to legalization

  • Pot shops could be as plentiful as liquor stores in Alberta: medical marijuana retailer

    READ MORE: How will legal marijuana be taxed? The black market may play a role

    The government has been laying the groundwork for months on a major public education and awareness campaign that will accompany the looming legalization of recreational marijuana.

    Health Canada commissioned a series of focus group surveys last June to plumb public perceptions around legalized cannabis, including the health impacts and attitudes to drug-impaired driving.

    According to Earnscliffe Strategy Group, which won the $136,000 research contract in March, an “overwhelming majority” of focus group participants in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax were aware of the promised end to pot prohibition and that “most, particularly those over the age of 18, were generally comfortable with the idea.”

    WATCH: The road to legalized pot in Canada, and the potential speed bumps

    The notable outliers among the focus groups were 13- to 15-year-olds – and in some cases their parents.

    “The one audience that held slightly less positive views about the legalization of marijuana were youths 13-15,” says the report, noting some were “not at all familiar with marijuana.”

    The focus groups were heavily weighted toward younger Canadians, using six distinct cohorts. Three cohorts covered ages 13-15, 16-18 and 19-24, while another two involved parents of younger and older teenagers. Only one group in each city included general participants aged 25 and up.

    READ MORE: Pot at the pharmacy? Here are some ways marijuana could be sold in Canada

    The youngest participants struggled to identify advantages perceived by older participants – perceptions that included economic benefits from taxing the product, standardized and reliable marijuana quality, an end to black-market activity and reduced strain on police and the court system from marijuana possession charges.

    The 13-to-15 year olds – and some of their parents – were also the most skeptical about perceptions on limiting marijuana accessibility. By contrast, most participants felt legalized pot would not increase either cannabis usage or accessibility for youngsters.

    WATCH: Federal task force explains logic behind age limit of 18 for cannabis 

    Marijuana use and teenage rebellion pre-date the 1965 hit by The Who, The Kids Are Alright, but some older focus group participants felt legalization might kill the buzz.

    “In fact, some argued that teens’ access to and use of marijuana may decline with legalization because the stigma of doing something rebellious would be eliminated …,” the report said.

    The focus groups also provided sobering perceptions of cannabis-impaired driving, with most saying it was less dangerous than drunk driving and a few suggesting marijuana use can improve driving skills.

    “Marijuana-impaired drivers were often described as more relaxed, calm and cautious,” said the report.

    “In fact, a few participants felt that some people they knew were better drivers under the influence of marijuana than they were sober.”

    However mixing alcohol, cannabis and driving was universally rejected.

    WATCH: Task force recommends similar punishments for cannabis as alcohol 

    Health risks associated with marijuana mostly centred around smoking issues, although an “overwhelming majority, across all audiences” felt health risks varied by age, with the developing brains of younger users most at risk.

    The focus groups also assessed a number of existing public awareness advertisements for drugs and alcohol and how they might apply to marijuana. Some age-specific differences in perception emerged.

    READ MORE: Canada’s pot laws must consider risks to mental health: expert

    Ads using humour, for example, were well received by older audiences but were particularly frowned upon by the 13-to-15-year-olds, who “did not feel it would be appropriate to make light of marijuana use.”

    Scare tactics were widely considered ineffective, especially by those older than 15, while there was generally a positive reaction to “friendly, non-judgmental, informative” advertising.

    “All this suggests that a layered, multi-phased campaign will be required to reach the various audiences with targeted communications and messaging about marijuana,” said the report.

    A spokesman for Health Minister Jane Philpott said Tuesday the government has been clear that a public education campaign will accompany legalization.

    “Certainly as part of the introduction of legislation, there will be a key component related to public awareness,” said Andrew MacKendrick.

    The Liberal government has promised a bill legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana production and sale next spring.

24 Nov -

San Jose Shark beat Calgary Flames 4-1 for 5th win in 6 games

Joonas Donskoi forgot the feeling of scoring and once he got it back, he wanted to continue it.

Donskoi scored twice and the San Jose Sharks beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 Tuesday night for their fifth win in six games.

“You get the one goal and it kind of gets you going a little bit,” Donskoi said. “Everything feels easier. I don’t know why but something opens up mentally maybe. I hope I’ll get more.”

ChangSha Night Net

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    Patrick Marleau and Paul Martin also scored for the Sharks, who are 7-2 at home since dropping two in a row in early November. Martin Jones stopped 20 of 21 shots for his fourth victory in five starts.

    “He’s such a good player. It’s only a matter of time he gets his opportunity, he works so hard,” Martin said of Donskoi. “Sometimes he just has to put it to the net and good things happen. I was happy for him.”

    Sam Bennett scored for the Flames, who lost for just the third time in 10 games. Chad Johnson recorded 30 saves in 34 chances.

    “It was a tough game all the way around,” Johnson said. “We didn’t start the way we wanted to and we took some penalties. In the second period, they came at us and they made plays, got deflections. They’re tenacious around the net.”

    READ MORE: Calgary Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie’s fiancée is putting MS on ice

    The Sharks muscled up to score four times within an 11-minute span in the second period, which included Donskoi’s first career multi-goal contest.

    “We kind of broke through in the second period,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. “Each line fed off each other.”

    Marleau was in front of the net when Marc-Edouad Vlasic’s shot bounced off Johnson’s pads and to his stick, from where he nailed the easy shot.

    Less than four minutes later, Martin took an awkward shot from about 15 feet away that appeared to knuckle and bounce over a couple of sticks and gloves into the net.

    Donskoi’s first goal was set up when Tommy Wingels kicked the puck away from Johnson, took it behind the net and passed to an open Donskoi.

    The second goal came when Donskoi picked off an attempted clearing shot just in front of the net.

    Sam Bennett got the Flames on the scoreboard early in the third period after taking a nice pass from Matthew Tkachuk, who has six assists over the last five games.

    “Our start wasn’t good. They were all over us,” Bennett said. “In the second, we came out flat again. They were doing everything we should have been doing. They were getting pucks deep, they were not turning it over and we really didn’t do any of that tonight.”

    NOTES:

    Sharks C Joe Thornton became the 37th NHL player to appear in 1,400 games. With Patrick Marleau, whose played in 1,444 games, it becomes the third occurrence of teammates with 1,400 games played each and the first since Mike Modano and Niklas Lindstrom with the Detroit Red Wings in 2010-11. … Martin recorded points in back-to-back games for the first time this year. … Sharks’ Timo Meier appeared in his first NHL home game. … The Flames recorded points in each of their previous four road games and six of seven overall. … Johnson entered the game with a 2-0-1 mark and a 1.64 GAA against the Sharks.

    UP NEXT:

    Flames: Host Vancouver on Friday night to start a stretch of four of five at home.

    Sharks: Host Edmonton on Friday night.

24 Nov -

West Kelowna family of 3 flees home after chimney fire

A family of three was forced to flee their home Tuesday night after the fire burning in their chimney grew out of control. 

West Kelowna firefighters were called to the home on Vector Drive in Lakeview Heights neighbourhood just before 9 p.m. 

ChangSha Night Net

Everyone inside was able to escape the home safely and no one was hurt in the small blaze.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames to the chimney and extinguish the fire quickly before it spread anywhere else in the home.

West Kelowna fire chief Brolund said the fire was caused by a creosote buildup inside the chimney. 

“Our reminder to the public is they should have a proper technician to check their chimney and clean it if required,” Brolund said. “In these cases, a small amount of preventative maintenance can prevent a devastating event.”

“It can lead to a much bigger fire.”

This is the second chimney fire West Kelowna firefighters have been called to in a week and at least the fourth in the central Okanagan in the past two weeks.

READ MORE: Chimney fire forces Kelowna family of 5 from their home

READ MORE: Chimney fire in West Kelowna prompts safety reminder

West Kelowna fire chief Brolund said The fire was caused by a creosote buildup inside the chimney.

“Our reminder to the public is they should have a proper technician to check their chimney and clean it if required,” Brolund said.

“It can lead to a much bigger fire.”

The family was able to go back inside once firefighters finished their work.

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