24. 09. 2018
A nurse’s view: Fighting Ebola one day at a time in Sierra Leone – National

A nurse’s view: Fighting Ebola one day at a time in Sierra Leone – National

It’s the children who distress me most.” — MSF nurse Anja Wolz

Today the Ebola story appears to be all about numbers – big numbers. The World Health Organization released a plan for bringing the seemingly unstoppable Ebola outbreak in West Africa to an end.

It estimates the work will cost US$490 million.It suggests by the time the outbreak is over, more than 20,000 people may have contracted the virus.  For context, the largest previous outbreak occurred in 2000 in Uganda, when 425 people were infected.It sets a goal of stopping the outbreak in six to nine months. It’s not a projection or a promise — the WHO is calling it a goal. It’s a telling word choice.It estimates 3,580 international and national personnel will be needed to make this all work.

These are numbers unlike anything the world has ever seen before in relation to Ebola, and frankly few in public health would have ever dreamed — nightmared  —  of a scenario like what the world faces now with the outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

(Fingers are still crossed that Nigeria has contained the spread there, sparked by an infected government official from Liberia who travelled to Nigeria. So far Nigeria has recorded 17 cases, including the Liberian man, and six deaths — all from that one importation.)

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The plan, which the WHO calls a roadmap, is critically important work. But it’s hard to take in and it tells a story in numbers.

Ultimately, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a story about people. The people whose families and communities are being wiped out and the hugely courageous people who are trying to save lives and stop the spread of this hellish virus.

Anja Wolz is in the latter group of people. A nurse with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Wolz is working at Kailahun, Sierra Leone. She has written a first-person account of the gruelling and relentless work the national and international health-care workers fighting the outbreak face day after day after day.

She says the worst thing about the work is dealing with the children — orphaned, confused, sick and a heartbreak to caregivers whose instincts are to offer consoling hugs. The PPE — personal protective equipment, a.k.a. layers of head-to-toe coverings — the health workers must wear make hugging and even talking to the children difficult.

Wolz’s account can be read on the website of The New England Journal of Medicine, which was published Wednesday along with a slide show of photos that show the rudimentary facilities where these health-care heroes are trying to save lives. People who want to know the story behind the large numbers in the WHO’s containment plan can find it in Wolz’s words.

Today the WHO said to date at least 3,069 people in these West African countries have been infected with Ebola, and 1,552 have died.

©2014The Canadian Press

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24. 09. 2018
Rob Ford apologizes for ‘embarrassing’ council – Toronto

Rob Ford apologizes for ‘embarrassing’ council – Toronto

TORONTO – Rob Ford is sorry.

The mayor began what could be his last council session with a speech thanking his fellow councillors and apologizing for “embarrassing” council.

“I know I put this council through some challenges, I know I embarrassed council and I want to thank sincerely the deputy mayor for taking on the reins and I can’t thank you enough for taking the job on,” the mayor told said during a five-minute speech in council chambers Thursday morning.

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The deputy mayor assumed many of the mayor’s responsibilities in November amid an ongoing police investigation into the mayor and Ford’s admission he smoked crack cocaine despite several months of denial. The police investigation is ongoing.

Thursday’s council meeting is the last before October’s election, which could end the Ford’s mayoral tenure (though a new Forum Research poll indicated he could be gaining popularity, placing him in second place behind John Tory). Ford remains popular with many city constituencies despite lying about everything from his substance use to city finances and policies.

The mayor mentioned several councillors by name and thanked some regular opponents like Gloria Lindsay-Luby, and Karen Stintz.

Councillor Peter Leon, who was selected for Ward 3 after councillor Doug Holyday was elected MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore (a seat Holyday lost just months later), is “the nicest guy” Ford said he’s ever met.

The mayor sounded like he was choking back tears when in a trembling voice he thanked his brother, campaign manager and most strident advocate, Councillor Doug Ford.

“I did mislead you, I did coerce you, I had to do something to get you into the seat,” he said.  “I appreciate you having my back 24/7 and it’s been a challenge and I really want to thank you for being my best friend and all I can say is, Queen’s Park, you have no idea what’s coming up to you next.”

The mayor appeared to be alluding to his brother’s MPP ambitions – ambitions Doug Ford has recently downplayed even after announcing he won’t run again for council.

Torontonians go to the polls on October 27.

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24. 09. 2018
Canada ranked one of top countries for scientific literacy – National

Canada ranked one of top countries for scientific literacy – National

TORONTO – Canada ranks higher than 10 other developed nations in scientific literacy, or the ability of citizens to read and fully comprehend a lengthy article about science in a newspaper, according to a report released Thursday by the Council of Canadian Academies.

The report said 42 per cent of Canadians “grasp basic concepts and understand general media coverage of scientific issues.”

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That is higher than Sweden at 35 per cent and the U.S. at just under 30 per cent. Japan was last at about five per cent, it said.

The findings are based on a 2013 survey of 2,000 Canadians and an assessment of relevant international data, according to the authors.

The data was not all conducted at the same time. The data on Japan was collected in 2001, the European data in 2005, and as science literacy has been increasing generally all over the world in the past decade, these rankings may not be perfect, said Arthur Carty, chair of an expert panel involved in the report and executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

The survey measured Canadians’ attitudes towards science and tested their knowledge with simple true-or-false questions, such as “electrons are smaller than atoms” (answer: true).

The report – Science Culture: Where Canada Stands – is the most comprehensive look at public scientific engagement, attitudes and knowledge since 1989, its authors said.

In the past 25 years, Canadians have become more knowledgeable and engaged on scientific issues, though fewer people believe science holds the key to radically solving social problems, the report said.

Ninety-three per cent of Canadians polled said they have an interest in “new scientific discoveries,” ranking first among 35 nations, it said.

A third of respondents reported visiting a science or technology museum in the past year, and almost a quarter said they had signed petitions or joined street demonstrations on scientific issues such as oil pipelines, nuclear power or biotechnology.

The survey also found interest in science was more prevalent among younger, wealthier and well-educated respondents, and higher among men than women.

Scientist and broadcaster Jay Ingram said that while he’s heartened that Canadians do relatively well on measures of scientific literacy, it’s also important to remember that 58 per cent of Canadians do not have basic scientific knowledge.

“While 87 per cent of survey respondents [know] that the . . . earth goes around the sun is pretty good, that still leaves 13 per cent of Canadians who haven’t absorbed the astronomical knowledge of several centuries ago,” said Ingram, who was among 14 experts who compiled the report.

The panellists also examined the results of standardized science test scores of 15-year-olds, administered worldwide by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Canada ranked 10th out of 265 countries in 2012.

These scores have declined since 2006, said Carty, the panel chair.

“That raises some concerns about future performance and particularly our competitiveness vis-a-vis the science and technology giants of Asia,” said Carty.

It is important that Canada create and maintain a “science culture,” defined by the panellists as a society that “embraces discovery and supports the use of scientific knowledge and methodology,” the report said.

Leadership and vision are important in supporting science in Canada, but Ingram said the ultimate goal should be the fostering of a science culture that endures regardless of political leadership or policy.

The report also suggests targeting inequalities in access to science resources, in order to make the discipline inclusive and accessible to all Canadians.

“It’s all about ensuring that individuals in all segments of society have the opportunity to share in the wonder and excitement of science,” said Marc LePage, panellist and president of Genome Quebec.

“Perhaps the hockey analogy is that now we’re in the quarter finals,” said LePage. “The next step for us is to shoot for the Stanley Cup.”

The Council of Canadian Academies describes itself as a non-profit organization that “supports evidence-based, expert assessments to inform public policy development in Canada.”

In the survey conducted for the group, EKOS Research polled 2,000 Canadians via landline, mobile or online response. EKOS says it has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points 19 times in 20.

©2014The Canadian Press

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23. 02. 2019
As downtown booms, will Edmonton have too much office space? – Edmonton

As downtown booms, will Edmonton have too much office space? – Edmonton

Watch above: With three major office towers under development for downtown Edmonton, are there concerns about oversaturating the market? Vinesh Pratap gets the answer.

EDMONTON – The 62-storey Stantec tower is the latest in a number of major commercial developments in downtown Edmonton. So, with the construction boom, is there any concern of too much supply and not enough demand?

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“Thinking about the market today and worrying about trying to keep it exactly the same is not a great city-building strategy,” said Mayor Don Iveson on Tuesday.

“You have to make some bold plays. This is one.”

The Stantec tower will boast 26 office floors as well as 320 residential suites.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a ton of extra space,” Iveson said.

“There is some vacancy downtown, but I think that’s going to keep the price competitive and I think that is our opportunity to attract business from the suburbs so we have more jobs downtown, and it’s also our opportunity to start to – potentially, competitively – make a good proposition to companies in other jurisdictions who want to take advantage of Alberta’s low taxes and the business friendly environment and the great quality of life.”

READ MORE: Development around the arena district gets going 

Cory Wosnack, principal with Avison Young, doesn’t believe the new Stantec tower will lead to much vacancy.

“The space that Stantec is vacating is in a part of the downtown area that appeals to a slightly different marketplace than what the new tower will be sourcing for new tenants,” he explained.

There are three new office towers planned for the downtown core. The Kelly Ramsey Building – that will add nearly 600,000 square feet of office space when it’s completed in 2016 – and the 27-storey City of Edmonton building are currently under construction. The new Stantec tower is scheduled to be finished in 2018.

The EPCOR tower, which opened several years ago, was the first new office tower downtown in some time. It currently has a vacancy rate of about 25 per cent.

Qualico’s Ken Cantor – whose company is behind the EPCOR building – is not worried about a glut of office space.

“I’m not. I’m excited about all three of them. All three of them are quality projects with quality tenants.

“But there’s not an awful lot of space that’s going to be delivered to the market in the near future.”

“I don’t have great qualms about it,” echoed Iveson. “There are different views in the market. Some people think we’re going to be way over supplied. Those are people who have space they need to lease and they’re nervous and I get that, but they need to make some reinvestments and they need to compete for that space.

“There are those who are complaining about it and those who are adapting to the market.”

Cantor believes employee retention will play a big role in tenants looking at the new commercial space.

“It’s going to become a more and more competitive environment and one of the ways to compete with that is A) to be downtown and B) to be occupying the kind of space that has the amenities and features that are important to the workforce.”

READ MORE: Arena district sparking historic development in Edmonton core 

Wosnack says the next few years will be exciting times, especially for tenants, who he says are the ones driving the market.

“It’s the users of the marketplace that are demanding for new inventory, better office space, and tenants now have a choice,” he said.

“The changes that are happening, led by EAD, is a significant indicator that Edmonton is growing up,” said Wosnack.

“Edmonton is now a progressive city that has a fresh, new appeal to a younger generation of workers.”

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23. 02. 2019
Instagram service restored after two hour outage – National

Instagram service restored after two hour outage – National

UPDATE: Instagram service was restored to users after a two hour outage. The company did not specify what caused the widespread outage.

TORONTO – Photo sharing app Instagram is down, much to the disappointment of users trying to share their #TBT (throw back Thursday) photos.

Users’ feeds are not refreshing and some are reporting a “503 Service Unavailable” error message on the mobile app.

“Instagram is experiencing some technical issues. We’re aware and working on a fix,” read a tweet from the company at 4 p.m. Thursday.


The outage appears to be affecting both iOS and Android users.

HangZhou Night Net

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23. 02. 2019
Quiet Outremont pool becomes site of swimsuit fight between mother and lifeguard – Montreal

Quiet Outremont pool becomes site of swimsuit fight between mother and lifeguard – Montreal

OUTREMONT – A bizarre altercation at a quiet neighbourhood pool involving two lifeguards and the mother of a toddler has triggered a police investigation.

As a result a three-year-old girl ended up with abrasions on her forehead.

Wednesday afternoon, a lifeguard at the children’s pool at the Piscine John F. Kennedy told Vero Shapiro that her daughter needed to wear a bikini top at the pool but she refused.

“And from there, there was an escalation of violence,” said Marie Cinq-Mars, the borough mayor.

The altercation turned physical enough that the two lifeguards involved called the police, who arrived and took statements, and ended up with Shapiro’s daughter somehow suffering from abrasions to her forehead.

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Montreal police characterized the two lifeguards as “victims” and the mother as a “suspect.” No charges have been laid.

Shapiro was so angered by the incident that she wrote on her Facebook page in French that,

“I naively believed that lifeguards were there to save lives, not to send kids to the hospital.”

She did not respond to comment requests left by Global News.

Cinq-Mars said it was the first time in her seven-year tenure as borough mayor that an incident like this has happened, and it is made even stranger by the fact that there isn’t a rule on the books prohibiting juveniles from going topless.

“It should be the parent’s choice, whether the parent was to have his kid with a top or without a top,” she said.

Residents are split on the issue.

One mother, Pascale Navert, described it as “deplorable” but added that it was likely a he-said-she-said situation.

Another passerby who talked to Global News said the fact that the lifeguard stepped in at all “is so ridiculous I can’t even believe I’m speaking about it.”

An internal investigation at the borough level is also underway, Cinq-Mars said.

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23. 02. 2019
Ashley Madison sues South Korea over allegations of illegal activity

Ashley Madison sues South Korea over allegations of illegal activity

TORONTO – A dating website for married people seeking affairs is suing the government of South Korea after being blocked in that country over what it says are false allegations of illegal activity.

Ashley Madison’s Korean site was shut down this spring shortly after its launch, with authorities there alleging it incited immorality, according to media reports at the time. Adultery is illegal in South Korea.

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In a statement of claim filed in federal court Wednesday, Ashley Madison denies the accusations, describing itself as “a social networking website facilitating communication between like-minded adults.”

READ MORE: Ashley Madison sues employee claiming she wrote fake sexy profiles

The company accuses the South Korean government of engaging in “uncompetitive acts” by unfairly banning the website while allowing local businesses to operate similar ones.

It alleges the effects of that decision trickle down to Canada, limiting Ashley Madison’s success among Korean-Canadians and other Asian-Canadians and reducing overall competition in the social media market.

“There’s no adultery that happens on Ashley Madison, it’s just a publication,” the company’s CEO and founder, Noel Biderman, told The Canadian Press.

“We write very little, our users write everything. So therefore Facebook would have to be shut down, any place where somebody wrote about, or any phone call anybody made – holding all those devices, all those platforms responsible, that’s where you have to start that conversation.

“You can’t selectively pick us to try to make an example out of us,” he said.

READ MORE: Singapore blocks adultery website Ashley Madison amid public outcry

The Toronto-based company is seeking an unspecified amount for loss of revenue and lost profits, as well as general damages for uncompetitive conduct.

It also wants the court to order South Korea to stop blocking the website.

None of the claims have been proven in court and Korean authorities have yet to file a statement of defence.

Ashley Madison has also been banned in Singapore, but Biderman said the situation in South Korea is different because the site had already been operating for weeks when it was shut down.

The site, which uses the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” launched there on April 1, the claim says. It has already expanded to more than 30 countries, it says.

In just over two weeks, the new site drew nearly 50,500 members, the document says.

Soon after, Korea Communications Standards Commission – a government agency also targeted by the suit – blocked the site, alleging that it “contained illegal information,” it reads.

The company says it was never told what the commission’s concerns were, and that its appeal of the decision was dismissed within days “without further explanation.”

READ MORE: The business of cheating has never been better

Ashley Madison says the website “neither contains illegal information, nor does it aid or abet any illegal activity.”

The suit alleges South Korea is trying to give its own companies a leg up when it comes to breaking into the Canadian market.

“The defendants’ anti-competitive practices in South Korea have a direct impact in Canada on communications and social networking businesses and websites competing for the Korean-Canadian and Asian-Canadian market for such websites,” it claims.

“Given the global reach of the Internet, a social networking service that meets with success among any particular group of people in one country has or will have a significant competitive advantage among people of that same group or related groups in other countries.”

Ashley Madison – which filed the suit through its parent company, Avid Life Media – says it will lay out its financial losses during trial, which it suggests be held in Vancouver.

©2014The Canadian Press

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23. 02. 2019
Vernon School District pushes for end to teachers strike – Okanagan

Vernon School District pushes for end to teachers strike – Okanagan

VERNON — In a strongly worded letter to Education Minister Peter Fassbender, the Vernon School District’s (SD 22) Board of Education made its stance on the teachers strike clear.

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“We strongly urge the parties to enter mediation without any preconditions and conclude a settlement this weekend,” writes Board of Education chair, Bill Turanski. “We are very concerned that a continuing strike will serious effect our students learning, particularly our secondary school students on quartered and semestered timetables. Every week of a strike reduces the quartered students learning time by 10 per cent.”

The board is also questioning the $40 per day pay out to parents from the province.

“We recognize that there are families that require support,” continues Turanski, “we feel, however, that these funds should not come from funding allocated to education.”

In the meantime, the Vernon school district is ready should the strike be resolved in time for the beginning of school next week.

In a letter sent out to parents, Superintendent Joe Rogers says “if a settlement is reached this weekend, the expectation is that all public schools in the Vernon School District will open Wednesday, September 3.”

Rogers says the schools will require one day to complete all the preparations for the first day of classes, but “schools will be open for students the second day following whenever an agreement is reached.”

The superintendent echoes the education board’s sentiments, hoping schools will re-open for the first week of classes.

“It is my hope that our labour impasse is resolved quickly,” says Rogers, “so that our school district can soon return to normal operations and begin the school year on a positive note.”

Both sides are set to meet with mediator Vince Ready again Thursday afternoon.

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23. 01. 2019
Why there’s no need to pick a career in the first week of university

Why there’s no need to pick a career in the first week of university

TORONTO – Students who worry too much about picking the “perfect” major as they enter university aren’t necessarily setting themselves up for success, say experts who caution that school should be seen as time to learn, network and explore different career paths.

“Sometimes university is about more than getting it perfectly, it’s often about the journey,” said Eileen Chadnick, a career coach with Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto.

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“You may start in a career and you may, through trial and error, change it, so don’t worry about having all the answers before the first semester of university. Go in with an open, curious mind.”

Students today have access to an unprecedented amount of information over the Internet, so focusing on something they are passionate about and using their time at university to learn how to think and to meet people is as important than any particular content expertise they may gain, said Sharon Irwin-Foulon, executive director of Career Management and Corporate Recruiting at the Ivey Business School at Western University.

“Often you want to stay in your dorm room and study and get 90s, but I’m not sure that that’s actually going to impact your career and the satisfaction you get out of your career,” said Irwin-Foulon.

“Being able to interact with different personalities, getting a network of like-minded people who have had this shared experience, I would argue is just as important as the degree content itself.”

The way the job market is evolving is another reason why getting set on one track too early can be a mistake.

“You’ve got jobs that are being created that didn’t exist five years ago,” Irwin-Foulon. said. “Being too rigid is the tricky part, or doing a degree because you think it will get you a job.”

Abdallah Al-Hakim, 36, has a PhD in science but works for a California-based technology company, and says he would encourage students to look at their options early and often.

“Educationally, I was definitely in one track; I was following the path you would follow to become a professor at a university,” said Al-Hakim, from Hamilton, Ont., who earned a PhD in science and did a post-doctorate focusing on biochemistry before deciding a life in science wasn’t for him.

“The issue with science is that there are a lot of PhDs that are graduating every year and there just aren’t enough faculty positions.”

Al-Hakim set out to explore alternatives and spent a year of his post-doctoral talking to as many people as he could, including those who had left a career in science.

After meeting with several players in Toronto’s start-up scene, he realized he would enjoy working for a small, fast-paced company where he could immediately see the results of his work and, nine months later, landed a contract in a small Toronto company. He was eventually hired by a bigger startup, and recently became a marketing automation consultant with Blue Jeans Network, a U.S. technology company focused on video communications.

“I wish that after high school or maybe before my master’s (degree) I’d stopped and looked at my options and maybe even worked,” Al-Hakim said.

“Working is really the best thing to figure out what you want to do.”

Nathan Laurie, president of online student job board Jobpostings桑拿按摩, says it’s never too early to start thinking about a career.

“I would talk to as many people as possible about what they’re considering doing,” said Laurie.

Speaking with parents’ friends, looking up industry organizations or following people who work in a field you’re interested in are all good ways to learn more about it.

“I also think you’re allowed to change your mind as many times as you want through your career, and many people do.”

Given the cost of education, “it’s a good idea, if you’re not feeling good about what you’re taking, to stop, re-evaluate and reconsider what you want to do, and then move forward when you have a new plan,” Laurie said.

Whatever you choose to do, Irwin-Foulon urges all first-time students to make sure they are choosing their career for the right reasons.

“Do it because it legitimately interests you and you are in the zone and you’re engaged with it,” she said.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, so go and be open to learning things about yourself, things about the world and don’t do it because your parents told you to, don’t do it because you’re supposed to, don’t do it because it’s going to get you a job.”

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23. 01. 2019
Father of Magnotta’s alleged victim wants ‘obscene’ evidence kept under wraps

Father of Magnotta’s alleged victim wants ‘obscene’ evidence kept under wraps

MONTREAL — The father of murder victim Lin Jun is having a difficult time dealing with the death of his son.

Twice last year, he broke down in court when gruesome evidence was played during Luka Magnotta’s preliminary inquiry.

Lin Diran does not want a repeat.

READ MORE: Grieving father breaks down, leaves court, at Luka Magnotta hearing

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With the trial a week away, lawyers for the grieving father are requesting that certain exhibits be played in court once to the jury – but they should never be made public.

“Those exhibits should not be distributed, or published, or reproduced,” says Benoit Lapointe, Lin Diran’s attorney.

“In our view it represents obscene material.”

READ MORE: Letters from Luka Magnotta: accused killer thanks “fans” for numerous gifts sent to prison

Luka Magnotta is charged with murdering and then dismembering Concordia University student in May 2012.

The alleged crime was videotaped.

Justice Guy Cournoyer appeared sensitive to the father’s request.

He didn’t render a final decision, but he suggested only a portion of the police evidence should remain sealed.

Media lawyer Mark Bantey agrees with the judge’s reasoning.

TIMELINE: The Luka Rocco Magnotta case

“The position of the media I represent is that other exhibits are not obscene,” says attorney Mark Bantey, who represents Global News.

“They are shocking, not obscene.  They should be made public.”

The 32-year-old suspect sat in the prisoner’s box as lawyers debated the delicate topic Thursday.

Magnotta’s appearance has changed – his weight gain is noticeable.

Some say he’s put on about 40 pounds.

Gallery: Jun Lin’s life in photos

Pretrial hearings continue Friday and next Wednesday at the Montreal Courthouse.

Next week, defence lawyer Luc Leclair is expected to file a motion on behalf of Magnotta’s family.

Some of his relatives could be called as witnesses and Leclair is asking the court to conceal their identities.

Justice Cournoyer denied a similar request this week.

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23. 01. 2019
What happens to unruly passengers who divert your flight?

What happens to unruly passengers who divert your flight?

WATCH: Two Toronto-area women face multiple charges, after a ruckus on a Sunwing flight bound for Cuba, that had to turn back with a military escort. Vassy Kapelos reports.

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TORONTO –Flight diversions have made headlines for a number of reasons as of late: From smoking in the bathroom, to fighting caused by a gadget that prevents the person in front of you from reclining, to intoxicated rants involving pelvis thrusting and/or chewing through restraints.

The latest incident started with two twentysomethings en route to Cuba drunkenly smoking in the bathroom, and escalated to a physical altercation and “non-credible” threat; it ended in a diversion back to Toronto flanked by two CF-18 fighter jets. National Defence estimated the total operating cost of one CF-18 at $16,750 per hour, which means at least $33,500 of taxpayer money was spent Wednesday evening.

Unruly passenger incidents are an “escalating problem,” occurring over 28,000 times between 2007-2013, according to the  International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“Due to loopholes in existing laws, there are many cases where those who commit serious offenses are not punished,” said the IATA website section on unruly passengers.

The organization cautioned that current regulations are “inadequate to deal with the scale of today’s problems,” and said flight diversions could cost airlines up to US$200,000.

But IATA is working with the International Civial Aviation Organization (ICAO) to improve regulations, and build upon the 50-year-old Tokyo Convention that currently governs offences that happen during flights.

Adopted on April 4, 2014, the Montreal Protocol will impact two main areas: jurisdiction—making it possible to extend the jurisdiction over offence to the destination country of the flight as well as the country of aircraft registration—and right of recourse—providing more clarity on the airline’s right to reclaim the costs incurred.

“This closes a loophole which allowed many serious offences to escape legal action,” said IATA.

But the protocol has not yet been ratified by any States, and needs 22 States’ approval before it comes into force.

Currently, the worst consequences for a flight passenger so unruly the plane must be diverted off its path is a fine of $100,000 or five years of jail time under the Aeronautics Act.

But looking back at similar incidents, it appears unlikely that anyone pays the maximum price.

Flights can be stressful enough without the threat of an unruly passenger.

AP Photo/Gail Burton

I’ll “send your genitals to your mother”

An Air Transat flight from Vancouver to the United Kingdom on March 27, 2013 had to make an emergency landing in Iqaluit, Nunvaut after a 39-year-old man had to be restrained by flight crew and passengers.

Drunk and unruly, Darren Cosby punched a coffee maker, “jokingly” grabbed a flight attendant by the throat, and spit on those trying to restrain him, according to Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous. He was able to get out of plastic wrist restraints twice, bent back the thumb of someone trying to restrain him and tried to bite those holding him back.

He said he would “slit their throats,” and “send their genitals to their mothers,” and thrust his pelvis at flight attendants, according to courtroom proceedings reported by the Nunavut’s Nunatsiaq Online.

Cosby was arrested when the flight landed, and the plane continued to the U.K.

Charges of uttering threats, causing a disturbance and mischief, were stayed April 4. He pleaded guilty to one count of unruly behaviour under the Aeronautics Act and was given credit for nine days spent in jail. Cosby was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and reimburse Air Transat for approximately $13,875, according to the report.

Smoking charges dropped, $500 for other offences

A flight diversion to Bermuda that cost Sunwing approximately $40,000 in February 2013 was caused by a Cape Breton, N.S. family who allegedly smoked in the bathroom and became unruly.

Daryl McWilliams of the Sunwing Travel Group says the plane was flying from Halifax to the Dominican Republic and was forced to make an emergency landing, then put up 180 passengers overnight and bring in a mechanic. The plane resumed its flight the next morning.

Three members of a four-person family were arrested by the Bermuda police and appeared in Magistrates’ Court in Hamilton, Bermuda. The father pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner by using abusive and offensive language, and the mother pleaded guilty to disobeying a lawful order by a flight attendant.

The Crown elected to offer no evidence on the smoking (which the defendants denied), and the smoking charges were dropped. Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner fined David MacNeil Sr. and Donna MacNeil $500 each for their offences, ordering that the fines be paid immediately or they would spend up to 10 days in prison.

When asked if Sunwing was suing the family for a reported $50,000 in lost costs, the airline confirmed Thursday it has served a Statement of Claim against the MacNeil family in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Spokesperson Rachel Goldrick said the “matter is proceeding through the normal court process.”

Not everyone wants to party in the lavatory with an unruly flyer.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Party in the lavatory with a grinding pelvis?

An intoxicated Calgary man caused an emergency landing in Edmonton on a flight from London to Calgary in August 2012. For what? It started with pelvis grinding.

Thirty-six-year-old Justin Frank was grinding his pelvis two inches from a flight attendant’s face, asking if she wanted to “party in the lavatory” before grazing her breast in an attempt to grab her buttocks.

Frank also punched a TV screen before being wrestled to the ground by crew and passengers, then restrained until the emergency landing.

He pleaded guilty to assault, mischief and failing to follow directions of a flight crew. In February 2014, he received a one-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $15,200 in restitution to Air Canada as well as a $4,000 fine. Frank was also ordered to participate in any alcohol counselling that his probation officer ordered.

BlackBerry execs fired, fined after chewing through restraints

Two vice-presidents at Research in Motion caused an entire plane of Air Canada passengers to go into lockdown for the final hour of their trip because of their unruly and belligerent behaviour.

George Campbell, 45 of Conestogo, Ontario, and Paul Alexander Wilson, 38, of Kitchener, Ontario, were charged and pleaded guilty to mischief after kicking seats, yelling and swearing at flight staff and passengers. They reportedly mixed sleeping pills with alcohol on a flight from Toronto to Beijing that had to make a landing at Vancouver International Airport.

Crown counsel Gerri-Lyn Nelson said Wilson tried to break plastic restraints with his mouth and “ultimately chewed through the restraints,” according to the Toronto Star.

Both men were fired after the incident, and spent two nights in police custody.

The breakdown of the costs of the incident, which included $75,475 in extra fuel, $42,200 in pay for the crew and $2,560 in navigation service was given to court, according to the Globe and Mail.

The men were initially ordered to pay $35,878 each, but a court of appeal reduced each to about $10,528, reported the Globe. They each received a suspended sentence and probation for one year, and were banned from flying with Air Canada.

Air Canada occasionally bans troublesome passengers from booking tickets with their airline.

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23. 01. 2019
Sim Bhullar looking to leave his mark on the NBA – Toronto

Sim Bhullar looking to leave his mark on the NBA – Toronto

TORONTO – Sim Bhullar is making a name for himself by becoming the first player of Indian descent to sign a contract with an NBA team.

The seven foot five inches tall, 360 pounds centre recently signed an undisclosed contract with the Sacramento Kings and says the accomplishment has already garnered a lot attention for the sport of basketball in India, a country where cricket is king.

Story continues below HangZhou Night Net

“I think, probably close to a million kids already started playing basketball because of that, I got messages on Facebook saying kids, just all over India have started picking up basketball and stuff so that’s pretty crazy.”

Bhullar played two seasons for New Mexico State, where he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. He twice earned Western Athletic Conference tournament MVP honours and led the Aggies to back-to-back NCAA tournaments. He went undrafted in June and helped the Kings win the NBA’s Summer League tournament in Las Vegas in July. He will be competing for a spot behind starting centre DeMarcus Cousins who has already given him some tips.

“He told me the adjustment period takes a little bit, but when you get used to it, the speed of the game and stuff you should be good. He told me to work out, work hard every day and just keep pushing yourself and you’ll be great one day.”

Bhullar’s former high school coach Paul Melnik believes that he has what it takes to make it in the NBA.

“I think with proper training, guidance, diet and his work ethic, I think the sky is the limit. I think he can progress to be possibly an NBA all-star at some point,” says Melnik.

As for the possibility of playing for the Toronto Raptors one day, Bhullar says a close family friend is trying to make that happen.

– With files from The Associated Press

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23. 01. 2019
Edmonton arena a top project on continent: Oilers owner – Edmonton

Edmonton arena a top project on continent: Oilers owner – Edmonton

EDMONTON – The owner of the Edmonton Oilers says the booming, oilsands-driven economy of northern Alberta is behind the early success of the city’s downtown makeover featuring a new arena for his team.

“I don’t think there’s a better market anywhere to do what we’re doing,” Katz said Thursday as he unveiled a new website on the billions of dollars on construction planned for the Alberta capital’s core.

Story continues below HangZhou Night Net


  • Design unveiled for record setting 62-storey Edmonton tower

  • Stakeholders show off progress on Edmonton’s downtown arena

  • More details emerge about Edmonton’s downtown arena

“From an investment point of view, this is as much a play on Alberta and where Alberta’s going – and particularly northern Alberta – as anything.”

Katz pointed to $284 billion in investment planned for the oilsands by 2035. Six million people are expected call the province home by then, two-thirds of them in northern Alberta.

“That’s our market.”

Phase 1 of the Arena District plans include more than 1,000 residential units, 1.3 million square feet of office space, more than 215,000 square feet of retail, a public square, a community ice rink, and an “upper scale hotel” – all linked by walkways and designed to be used winter and summer.

Katz said a new arena for his NHL team and flush times in his hometown have combined for a “once in a generation” chance to revitalize a downtown that has often been called dowdy, or worse.

“This was the vision from the beginning,” he said.

“We planned this before we bought the team. It’s very satisfying to see it come out of the ground.”

Those plans haven’t been without controversy.

It took years for city council to come to a funding agreement with Katz, who owns the Rexall pharmacy chain. Councillors wrestled with the issue of putting up hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for an arena to house a hockey team owned by a billionaire.

The total tab for 18,559-seat facility is $480 million. Edmonton taxpayers are to pay $219 million, Katz’s share is $143 million. Another $125 million will come from a ticket tax.

Work on the arena is now underway.

More than $2.5 billion in construction has already started or is expected to start in the area district in the next six months. More than 9,000 square metres of retail space has already been spoken for.

Earlier this week, engineering firm Stantec signed a lease on space in a 62-storey office tower to be built in the arena district.

READ MORE: Design unveiled for record setting 62-storey Edmonton tower  

Katz said there may not be a development anywhere in the continent that can match the scale of what’s happening in downtown Edmonton.

Construction is expected to extend into the next decade.

“This isn’t just an Edmonton story. This is a Canadian story.”

(Watch below: a fly-through of the arena district. Supplied by the Edmonton Arena District)

With files from Global News

©2014The Canadian Press

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