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. 07. 2019
Bernhard Langer searches for fountain of youth, Shaw Charity title

Bernhard Langer searches for fountain of youth, Shaw Charity title

He’s just turned 57 and there’s nothing better that Bernhard Langer would like as a birthday present than to be picked for the European Ryder Cup team.

Langer, who turned 57 on Wednesday, has won five of 17 Champions Tour starts this year, and finished in the Top 10 at the Masters, which he has won twice.

He comes into Calgary for the Shaw Charity Classic with 23 wins on the Champions Tour, the circuit for the over 50 set. With 42 wins on the European Tour, and three additional PGA Tour victories, Langer is one of the game’s greats.

Story continues below HangZhou Night Net


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  • LIVE BLOG: Shaw Charity Classic

And given his strong play there’s been a push to make him a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup. It is something Langer would welcome.

“It’s a great honor to represent your country and your tour any time in your career and it would be a thrill for me to be part of that,” says Langer.

European team captain Paul McGinley has all but squashed the notion that Langer could get picked for the team, but others in the Shaw Charity Classic field, including Fred Couples and Rocco Mediate, gave Langer their support.

Mediate, the winner of last year’s Shaw tournament, said he’d draft Langer for the European team without question.

“He would be my first pick—period,” said Mediate. “There wouldn’t even be a thought about it. I wouldn’t think about it twice. What Bernhard does is remarkable. He’s always been that kind of guy though. He’s got it all firing and it’s fun to watch.”

There’s a notion that a golfer’s skills deteriorate after the age of 40, but that’s been increasingly dispelled in recent years with the success of Langer, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Kenny Perry and others who have played well on both the Champions Tour and PGA Tour well into their fifties. And at the age of 59, Tom Watson came within one shot of winning the British Open at Turnberry in 2009.

Langer railed against the notion that age defines a golfer. Fit and slim, the German has made more than $2-million every year except once since joining the Champions Tour in 2007 when he turned 50. The golf ball, it would seem, doesn’t know the age of the player hitting it when it comes to Langer.

“Just because we are 51 or 52 or whatever age we might be, why does that make us worse than when we were 44 or 42?” he questioned. “It really doesn’t. It makes no sense. As I said, we have more experience, we have a better understanding of what we can do and how the game works and why certain things are happening because I’ve had more time grooving my swing.”

That doesn’t mean he’s found the eternal fountain of youth. Langer admits that there will come a time when he slows down and isn’t as competitive, but that time isn’t coming any time soon.

“I’ve been aching and hurting for many years,” he said. “It seems more and more, but I’m trying to ignore it and make the best of it.”

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23. 07. 2019
Concussion test draws praise from parents, mixed reviews from doctors

Concussion test draws praise from parents, mixed reviews from doctors

HALIFAX – Brock Saumure, 17, still isn’t sure what happened that fateful day in May of this year, but one thing is clear – that’s the day the high school student got a concussion.

“I was told I had hit somebody the wrong way in rugby. The next day, I wasn’t right. I wasn’t finishing my sentences. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion,” the athlete said.

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The teen from Timberlea said his condition was upgraded to a severe concussion a few weeks later. He describes the next few months as full of sensitivity to light and noise and full of headaches.

“It’s awful to be perfectly blunt with it,” he said.

“It’s nerve-wracking to think your child has had something like that happen to him,” said mother Deidra Saumure.

“Watching your child have no control over certain things is a sickly feeling.”

The teen abstained from sports during his recovery but now, he is strapping on his shoes and buckling up his helmet as he prepares to join the football team at Sir John A. MacDonald High School this fall.

And the first thing on his list is a baseline test.

Baseline testing is a series of tests designed to get a reading on an athlete. It can consist of strength, balance, visual tracking, memory and reaction tests.

It is meant to give doctors a reading of what an athlete’s ‘baseline’ is that way if he or she gets a concussion, the athlete can be monitored to see when he or she gets back to ‘normal’.

Robbie MacDonald, the co-owner of Nova Physiotherapy, said there is a difference between when an athlete feels 100 per cent better and when he or she is symptom free, which is where baseline testing comes in handy.

“What we’re able to do is have all these things assessed and establish what the individual normals are for that particular athlete. Then we’ll be able to better decide when safe return to play is for that athlete,” he said.

“We can actually say what the person was like before the concussion was received, and we can determine whether or not they’ve actually reached pre-concussion status.”

The company was approached by Complete Concussion Management to implement baseline testing.

MacDonald is proposing athletes of all ages get tested, particularly young athletes.

“That’s where the brain is still developing. People are more susceptible and more vulnerable to trauma to the brain,” he said.

“We would propose they do baseline testing every year, pre-season. Their baseline could certainly change from year to year, things like memory and recall visual tracking, as somebody grows and matures, sometimes these things could definitely be different.”

However, not everyone is on board with that idea.

Dr. Kevin Gordon, a pediatric neurologist at the IWK and a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University, said baseline testing can be both a good and bad tool.

Gordon said he recommends baseline testing for athletes who play high-risk sports, such as football, and those who are considering turning professional.

“Should it be incorporated into children’s sports? I’m not sure because I’m talking about a high cost with a low probability of something happening. Generally, 85 per cent of concussions recover within one to two weeks,” he said.

Gordon also shares concerns about baseline testing for children, whose results could be non-existent or change dramatically since they are still developing.

“It’s going to have to be done again next year because children change on an annual basis. Once you commit to a pre-testing environment, you are committing to annual re-checks to update your data,” he said.

“There may be many reasons why you can’t get a baseline on a kid. Someone who is inattentive, who can’t focus on the test well enough to actually get a reliable score.”

He also said the ‘normal’ gathered on an athlete is relative, saying what is normal pre-concussion may not be what is normal post-concussion.

“If you have a migraine and you tell on a scale of zero to 10, it’s an eight. If then you encounter a kidney stone after that, you’ll tell me your migraine is a two,” he said.

“If I had allowed them to return to play at their so-called baseline, I would have allowed them back in the game and I think that’s just a little too liberal an interpretation of a baseline test.”

The neurologist also reminds parents that baseline testing is just that – a test.

“The testing doesn’t prevent the concussion from happening. The testing just tells you where you were before the concussion happened,” he said.

Gordon said he would rather educate parents better on the signs and symptoms of concussions and what they can do in the event their children sustains one.

But for parents of athletes, like Deidra Saumure, baseline testing is a security blanket.

“He’s young. He has a whole life ahead of him,” she said of her son. “It’s important to me to make sure everything is fine up there.”

As for Brock, he admits he often wonders not if, but when, his next concussion will be.

“All the time. I worry I’m going to fall. I worry I’m going to hit somebody the wrong way. [That] Something’s going to happen,” he said.

The teen admits that besides buckling up his helmet, he isn’t taking many other precautions to ensure he does not get another concussion. But he is confident about getting baseline testing.

“I can see what I’m like before a concussion. I can see what I’m normally like and afterward I can see how far my brain has been damaged or altered to see what kind of issue we’re dealing with.”

“This is my precaution.”

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23. 07. 2019
5 players to watch at Shaw Charity Classic

5 players to watch at Shaw Charity Classic

Rocco Mediate’s record-tying win at the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic overshadowed many of the other stars in the field at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club. That was understandable—Mediate shot 22-under to win last year, including tying the course record of 63—and there were few challengers for the title.

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  • LIVE BLOG: Shaw Charity Classic

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  • Couples, Ames and Langer headline Shaw Charity Classic field

  • Hall of Fame induction kicks off career back nine for Calgary’s Stephen Ames

This year the course is slightly different—the par five 15th hole has been turned into a monstrous 492-yard par four—meaning scoring will likely not be as low. That factor, and a rain that softened the course on Thursday, certainly brings a couple of the tour’s longer hitters, names like Fred Couples or John Riegger, into the mix.

The tournament kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday. Here’s five players to watch at the Champions Tour event, which features golf’s biggest names over the age of 50.

Where: Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club
When: Friday to Sunday
What: Shaw Charity Classic—a Champions Tour event for golfers over the age of 50

Rocco Mediate

It is impossible to count out the effervescent Mediate, who clearly has great affection for Calgary and its fans. He recorded three incredible rounds last year—63, 64, 64—to win the tournament with some ease. Mediate has five Top 10 finishes this year on the Champions Tour, but his season hasn’t rivaled his 2013 campaign where he recorded two wins.

Fred Couples

The coolest man in golf, Masters winner Couples is always a fan favorite wherever he plays. Now 55, Couples is still among the longest hitters on the Champions Tour and despite playing a limited schedule this year—he’s only appeared in eight tournaments on the senior circuit—the golfer with the silky smooth swing has a win and five Top 10 finishes. He finished T10 at last year’s Shaw Charity Classic.

Shaw Charity Classic Pro-Am

Shaw Charity Classic Pro-Am
Pro-am kicks off for the Shaw Charity Classic
Shaw Charity Classic volunteers

Bernhard Langer

With five wins on the Champions Tour this year, Langer comes to the Shaw Charity Classic having apparently located the fountain of youth. Langer, 57, who didn’t play the Shaw Charity Classic last year, enters this week having won two of his last four events.

“Being able to win two majors and five tournaments is a real blessing,” said Langer. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

He’s right—and Langer is easily one of field’s top picks.

Kirk Triplett

After finishing in a tie for third at last year’s Shaw Charity Classic, Triplett comes to this year’s tournament having recorded a Top 10 finish in half of the events he’s played. Triplett, who once played on the Canadian Tour (now PGA Tour Canada) before moving to the PGA Tour, where he played on the Presidents Cup team in 2000. With three wins on the Champions Tour, Triplett, who is 52, has become one of the tour’s most consistent players.

Stephen Ames

The Calgary resident has only played in one Champions Tour event since turning pro, and this is his debut in front of a hometown crowd. The four-time PGA Tour winner, including the 2006 Players Championship, was one of the founders of the Shaw Charity Classic and has been a big supporter of trying to bring the RBC Canadian Open to Calgary. Ames, who was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week, has struggled on the PGA Tour this year, and says he intends to play a split between Champions Tour and PGA Tour tournaments next year.

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23. 07. 2019
Woman’s survival highlights importance of emergency preparedness

Woman’s survival highlights importance of emergency preparedness

Watch above: surviving eight days in the wilderness

SASKATOON –  After a 62-year-old woman spent eight days in the wilderness, RCMP say her outdoor survival skills and experience saved her.

Paddle Canada, a national standards and accreditation organization for recreational paddle sports, said the story highlights the importance of being prepared.

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Bryan Sarauer is one of the organization’s board members. He has been canoeing for 30 years, and he’s taking advantage of the final days of summer to go on a trip with friends; however, before he heads out on the water he runs through a checklist.

“An emergency blanket, string, fishing line, fishing hooks, flagging tape to make it easier for someone to find me,” he explained.

Sarauer is also bringing a device he hopes he won’t have to use.

“An emergency communicator that uses satellite, and that would allow me to send and receive messages in the wilderness,” he said.

Sarauer explained he brings a signal mirror, whistle, extra food and matches inside his life jacket, so if he gets separated from his boat, he’ll be ok.

He said the signal mirror can be purchased at a local outdoors store for a couple of dollars.

“{It’s about} making yourself large. Making yourself as visible as possible, so that if someone does come looking for you, that they can see you,” Sarauer said.

The 62-year-old woman was rescued after spending eight days in northern Saskatchewan.

She was on a canoe trip with her husband when they capsized in rapids on Kinosaskaw Lake.

Tragically, her husband’s body was found near the canoe Tuesday morning.

A search plane found the woman on the shoreline, where she had a fire burning and was waving at the aircraft.

“At that point they were called to the scene and chartered an aircraft to the area that could land on the water, and the members hiked into the area where the woman was located and brought her out to the plane,” said RCMP spokesperson Mandy Maier.

The woman was taken to hospital in La Ronge and released in good health.

Friends of the couple have identified the pair as Enid and David Dice of Prince Albert.

Fellow outdoor enthusiasts and friends hope for more answers about what happened to the couple in the coming weeks.

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23. 07. 2019
Fatal slough car crash points to need for life-saving equipment – Saskatoon

Fatal slough car crash points to need for life-saving equipment – Saskatoon

Watch above: there are tools that can help you escape a vehicle in a life-threatening situation

SASKATOON – A tragic incident Tuesday near St. Denis resulted in the death of three seniors and a fourth person who’s age is still unknown.

The investigation is ongoing and it hasn’t been determined if the victims died during the roll-over or if they drowned when the vehicle came to rest in a deep slough.

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Nonetheless, it has many thinking about what can be done if you find yourself in a similar situation. With recent incidents fresh in her mind, it’s a thought that prompted Joan Nutall into action Thursday morning.

“It’s a wake up call and everybody should have something to be able to break the window and get out. It’s a dangerous thing,” said Nutall.

On Dec. 30, 2013, a 23-year-old woman’s car ramped the Circle Drive North bridge and plunged into the river below. The woman escaped but Nutall says that combined with several motor vehicle incidents this summer resulting in vehicles submerged in sloughs, led her to Home Hardware where she purchased the eight remaining, and potentially life saving tools appropriately named ResQMe.

Priced at $14.99, store owner Fred Kwan said a new shipment is on the way.

“We bought 144 just last week and sold them out in about three or four days” said Kwan.

The tool hooks to your key-chain and has a quick release for emergency situations. Global News tested the product at Amigo’s Auto Wrecking yard in Clavet.

Owner Blair Bentley says the caravan is a common vehicle and leads us to one in his lot of 6,000 vehicles. The ResQMe is designed for tempered glass only.

“The wind-shield glass is two panes of glass with a plastic laminate that sticks the two panes together,” preventing the wind-shield from breaking open.

Bentley recommends a side or rear window for the experiment. With a quick press and minimal pressure the driver side window shatters.

RCMP recommend using any hard object you may find in your vehicle. Bentley tests a hammer on the wind-shield of a different van which takes several hard blows before breaking.

The first tip if entrapped in a submerged vehicle is to stay calm. According to RCMP staff Sgt. Stephane Caron, if you don’t have any escape tools, be patient.

“Stay in the vehicle and wait for it to fill with water. It equalizes the pressure between the outside and inside and at that point the door becomes easier to open,” said Caron.

Most escape tools also have a blade which can be used to cut through seat belts which Caron said is useful especially if you’re suspended upside down in a vehicle.

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23. 06. 2019
Google is building a fleet of package-delivering drones – National

Google is building a fleet of package-delivering drones – National

WATCH: Tech giant Google is developing airborne drones capable of flying on their own, able to deliver anything from candy to medicine. Mike Le Couteur reports.

SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.

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The ambitious program announced Thursday escalates Google’s technological arms race with rival Amazon杭州夜网 Inc., which also is experimenting with self-flying vehicles to carry merchandise bought by customers of its online store.

Amazon is mounting its own challenges to Google in online video, digital advertising and mobile computing in a battle that also involves Apple Inc.

Google Inc. calls its foray into drones “Project Wing.”

READ MORE: Amazon’s delivery drones are an idea that may not fly

Although Google expects it to take several more years before its fleet of drones is fully operational, the company says test flights in Australia delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats and water to two farmers after travelling a distance of roughly one kilometre, or just over a half mile, two weeks ago.

Besides perfecting their aerial technology, Google and Amazon still need to gain government approval to fly commercial drones in many countries, including the U.S. Amazon last month asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to expand its drone testing. The FAA currently allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned.

Project Wing is the latest venture to emerge from Google’s “X” lab, which has also been working on self-driving cars as well as other far-flung innovations that company CEO Larry Page likens to “moonshots” that push the technological envelope. The lab’s other handiwork includes Internet-connected eyewear called Google Glass, Internet-beaming balloons called Project Loon and a high-tech contact lens that monitors glucose levels in diabetics.

Google says it is striving to improve society through the X’s lab’s research, but the Glass device has faced criticism from privacy watchdogs leery of the product’s ability to secretly record video and take pictures. Investors also have periodically expressed frustration with the amount of money that Google has been pouring into the X lab without any guarantee the products will ever pay off.

A team led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautics professor Nick Roy already has been working on Project Wing for two years, according to Google. The Mountain View, California, company didn’t disclose how much the project has cost.

READ MORE: Drones: The Good, the bad and the ugly

Drones clearly could help Google expand an existing service that delivers goods purchased online on the day that they were ordered. Google so far is offering the same-day delivery service by automobiles in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York.

“Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods, including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today,” Google said in a pamphlet outlining Project Wing.

Google, though, seems to see its drones as something more than another step in e-commerce delivery. The aerial vehicles also could make it easier for people to share certain items, such as a power drill, that they may only need periodically and carry emergency supplies to areas damaged by earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural catastrophes, according to Google’s Project Wing pamphlet.

©2014The Canadian Press

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23. 06. 2019
101-year-old Alberta athlete takes home silver in javelin at Canada 55+ Games

101-year-old Alberta athlete takes home silver in javelin at Canada 55+ Games

Watch above: At 101 years old, Florence Storch is competing in the Canada 55+ Games against women nearly half her age. Fletcher Kent has her inspirational story.

EDMONTON – It’s proof that age is just a number. Florence Storch, who is 101 years old, has claimed a silver medal in javelin at the Canada 55+ Games.

“I’m quite excited. I’ve got family around me – grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Storch said prior to her event.

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Four generations of Storchs surrounded the Hanna, Alberta woman as she competed in the games Thursday afternoon in Sherwood Park.

The 101-year-old is the oldest athlete in this year’s games. In the 85+ javelin category, Storch was up against a woman more than a decade her junior: 87-year-old Doreen Erskine of Moose Jaw.

“Quite often I don’t have too much competition, but I’m sure I’ve got competition today,” said Erskine. “I think it’ll be pretty tough because I think she can really throw the javelin.”

Storch, who grew up with three brothers, says athletics have long been a passion of hers, although she didn’t take up the javelin until she was in her 80s.

“I’ve been with it ever since, but I had to take training,” she explained.

“I have genes that have been responsible for longevity and I put it down to my genes and practicing.”

Her drive to stay active as she gets older inspires many, including her family who came from all across the province to cheer her on.

“She was always active, she used to take us on nature walks. She was riding a horse at my place when she was, I believe it was 85, so she’s certainly kept active,” said Storch’s son Ed Storch.

“It’s extremely inspiring. Some of her grandkids kind of snuck out of school, people took days off jobs to be here, great support.”

Margaret Marciak, chair of the Canada 55+ Games, says Storch’s drive and passion are exactly what the games are all about.

“It gives us the thought that we can all do this and there’s nothing holding us back.”

“Our motto is ‘happiness is health.’ And when you think of health you think of mental, physical, emotional well being and these games truly, truly embody all of that,” Marciak added.

At the end of the event, Storch came in second, throwing the javelin just over three metres.

“It felt good,” she said, “really, really good, especially since I had family here to watch me.”

And at 101 years old, Storch says she’ll continue to throw the javelin as long as she can.

“When people say they’re too old to do this and that, I demonstrate the fact that you’re not too old – even when you’re 101, coming 102.”

There are 17 athletes over the age of 90 competing in this year’s games, and 60 in the 85 to 90 age group. For more information on the games, visit the Canada 55+ Games website.

Florence Storch, 101, throws the javelin at the Canada 55+ Games in Sherwood Park, Alberta Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

Florence Storch, 101, throws the javelin at the Canada 55+ Games in Sherwood Park, Alberta Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

Florence Storch, 101, throws the javelin at the Canada 55+ Games in Sherwood Park, Alberta Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

Follow @CaleyRamsay

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News. 

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23. 06. 2019
Saskatoon police release dramatic rescue video from standoff

Saskatoon police release dramatic rescue video from standoff

Watch above: police release dramatic rescue video and tools used to diffuse tense standoff

SASKATOON – Tense moments from last Friday’s stand-off including police rescuing five people who had to take cover from an armed gunman are now being released to the public.

On Thursday, the Saskatoon Police Service released two videos, portions of footage taken on Aug. 22 of a stand-off on Coppermine Crescent after police responded to a domestic dispute call.

“He just fired shots in the back here again.”

Minute by minute aerial footage is captured by the Air Support Unit (ASU) flying in a Cessna 182 above, as police respond to a barricaded man armed with a rifle.

Story continues below HangZhou Night Net

The one video, less than two-and-a-half minutes long shows breath-taking moments as police heroically rescue three adults and two children under the age of 10 from behind a vehicle as the man fires shots from inside.

“What sticks with me from that call that day was seeing the absolute sheer terror on the faces of the kids and the female especially and the relief on that I felt when we could safely use the Bearcat to get them out of  harms way,” said Saskatoon police Sgt. Ken Kane, a member of the tactical support unit.

Shots were fired at responding police officers who could have lawfully used deadly force at the time.

“In this particular situation based on how he was set up in the residence we weren’t able to,” said Kane.

Continuing into night fall, those on the ground during the stand-off would utilize their ‘eye in the sky’, retrieving information even visuals from the pilot and spotter.

The ASU would be instrumental in this case since officers on the ground could not see three sides of the home including the back door.

“Any of the officers you could see little heat signatures around the property, had that individual come out we didn’t really have a good opportunity to have eyes on him and the aircraft is able to do that so it protects the city and the tactical support unit deployed to circumstances like this,” said Saskatoon police Sgt. Wade Bourassa, a member of the air support unit.

At 10 p.m., approximately three hours after the stand-off began, the negotiator successfully talked the active shooter out of the house.

“No one got hurt, civilians or police including the suspect,” said Kane.

Police credit the officers, the Air Support Unit for the peaceful conclusion as well as the $350,000 armoured rescue vehicle saying they want the public to know that it did what it was designed to do.

“This vehicle saved lives and that they can physically see it, what this vehicle is capable of so that they understand why the expenditure went there and it’s not just something that we want out of interest it’s something that has a very vital role in the job that we do,” stated Kane.

This isn’t the first time the Bearcat has been used. The week before the armoured rescue vehicle was used during a 13 hour stand-off on Avenue O South.

Police say prior to purchasing the Bearcat there was increased exposure of risk to officers.

“We would try and hide behind vehicles and trees or we had shields but this vehicle has drastically changed how we can conduct business to make it so much safer when we go to these calls that it’s hard to fathom how we used to do it.”

The suspect in this latest stand-off, 37-year old Kevin Levandoski now faces the following charges:

three counts of attempted murder (female victim and 2 officers)assaulting a police officertwo counts of assault with a weaponuse of a firearm in the commission of a criminal offensepointing a firearmcareless use of a firearm

Police say the surveillance videos will be submitted in a court of law as evidence.

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23. 06. 2019
Investigation continues after nine-year-old Surrey girl sexually assaulted – BC

Investigation continues after nine-year-old Surrey girl sexually assaulted – BC

WATCH: Surrey RCMP issue a warning after a 9 year old girl is abducted from her bedroom and sexually assaulted by a stranger. Jeremy Hunka reports.

Surrey RCMP are looking for the suspect after a nine-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted Wednesday.

The girl’s mother called police at approximately 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, saying her young daughter had been abducted from her bedroom in the family home where she was sleeping, sexually assaulted and left alone in a nearby yard.

Story continues below HangZhou Night Net

Investigators say it appears the girl was lured out of her open bedroom window by an unknown man, who took her to a park near 126th Street where it is alleged that she was sexually assaulted.

She was then taken to a nearby yard of a neighbourhood home and told by the suspect to remain there as he left.

The girl managed to run back to her home and talk to her mother. She was taken to hospital and is doing well.

Investigators have spoken to the victim, and it does not appear she knew her attacker.

“You can only imagine it is very traumatic and confusing for a 9-year-old,” says Sgt. Dale Carr with Surrey RCMP.

Meanwhile, police are scouring the neighbourhood looking for clues and knocking on doors looking to speak to anyone who may have seen something out of the ordinary overnight.

RCMP say the case is a “high priority” for the detachment, and they have deployed additional officers to solve the case.

“This incident continues to be a high priority for Surrey detachment as officers from additional units have been re-deployed to assist the Surrey RCMP’s Special Victims Unit. Further interviews are being conducted with area residents along with canvassing for any video surveillance and physical evidence,” reads a statement from the Surrey RCMP issued Friday.

The assault comes on the heels of the incident in South Surrey, where a 38-year-old woman was sexually assaulted on Aug.18, or the White Rock incident 11 days prior to that. 

Surrey RCMP say it is still very early in the investigation to conclusively say there are no links between the three incidents.

“We are appealing to the community if they saw anything in this park or area between 9:30 and 10:30 last night to give the Surrey RCMP Special Victims unit a call,” says Carr. “Do not discount anything. It is often those small details that help us get to the bottom of the case.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Surrey RCMP Special Victims Unit at 604-599-0502  or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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23. 06. 2019
CETA today, energy partners tomorrow: A chat with Germany’s ambassador – National

CETA today, energy partners tomorrow: A chat with Germany’s ambassador – National

Germany’s foreign representatives have gathered in Berlin to discuss the future of Germany’s foreign policy. High on the agenda was Germany’s place in such ongoing global crises as Ukraine and Iraq. Not unlike Canada, Germany wants to be active and vocal without being directly embroiled in foreign conflict – certainly not on its own.

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    Energy East pipeline moves forward, questions remain

  • Europe exporters will save more on duty than Canadians in free-trade pact

I met up with Germany’s ambassador to Canada, Werner Wnendt, on Tuesday. Wnendt has been stationed in Canada since 2012. Before that, he served as head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe mission in Kosovo and assistant deputy minister for culture and communication in Germany’s foreign ministry.

After he fetched me from the overzealous security guards at the door of the foreign ministry, I joined him at the “Kanada” table for a chat about the Canada-Germany relationship.

So what does Canada bring to the [foreign affairs] table?

We have seen in 2014 many crises which took us by surprise. The Ukraine is an example, but we have also seen the ongoing crisis in Syria, the explosion of the conflict in the Middle East, and what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

There are so many countries and regions in the world where it is absolutely necessary that countries like Canada and Germany, North America and Europe work together to provide humanitarian aid and other kinds of assistance. And to get ready to get politically involved, if necessary. As we’ve seen now in the case of Iraq, we will have to consider getting involved militarily, at least in the sense that there should be arms delivered to the participating forces there in Iraq.

Why try to push forward with delivering arms to the Kurds?

This is something that is in our interest right away because what is happening in Iraq, these Islamic State terrorists, it’s not just threatening Iraq and the people of Iraq, but it is a threat to the region and it is a threat to our countries because some of these terrorists that originally come from Europe and Canada and other countries, they come back. They bring the terrorism back. This is a particularly bloody and cruel terrorist movement, so I think that can justify even the deliverance of arms to the opponents who fight against these terrorists.

What are Germany’s specific interests in Canada, economically?

They are manifold. We have a partnership and many German companies are involved in the field of trade. Germany is among European states [except for the UK] the leading partner of Canada when it comes to exports from Europe to Canada and I think we are number two when it comes to Canadian supplies to Europe. …

We have a strong relationship when it comes to science and technology, and research. I think there are more than 400 MOUs being signed between universities on both sides of the Atlantic.

And people of course. We have many tourists from Germany coming to Canada. We hope that more people from Canada will come to Europe and come to Germany. We have millions of Canadians who have some roots in Germany who have either come themselves as immigrants to Canada or their families a long time ago somehow arrived there.

We have tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers that served after the Second World War in Germany. Some of them brought also a wife from Germany.

And of course our cooperation in the G7 group of states, and G20 and the NATO alliance. There is a lot.

Can you give me some examples of German companies which do significant business in Canada?

Well, just a few: We have Mercedes-Benz that is doing a very important research project. They’re doing this in British Columbia. They’re doing a fuel cell project. This is their world-wide centre for research.

We have recently opened a factory of the leading producer of pizza in Germany. This is Dr. Oetker. They are producing in Canada for North America. Much of what they produce goes to the United States. They opened only a few weeks ago. That was a hundred million dollar investment in Southern Ontario, in a brand new factory which will deliver pizza all over Canada and in the United States.

Or we have the biggest world leader in producing fertilizer, K+S, a German company, which has its headquarters not so far from Berlin. They invest in the potash deposits in Saskatchewan. This is a multimillion dollar investment. When they start producing, they will produce fertilizer for much of South America, for Asia.

How will some of the provisions in [the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union] change the economic relationship?

I think CETA is a very comprehensive agreement. Once it comes into force, it will bring all tariffs and custom duties almost to a zero level. For 99 per cent of all products, there will be no custom duties anymore. It gets rid of non-tariff barriers.

… It is also about procurement at a regional and local level. In the future procurement contracts will be open to European companies and to big Canadian companies in Europe. If ever there is a project in Finland or Italy, Canadian companies could take part in this competition.

All in all, for both sides, it’s a very advantageous agreement which will create economic growth and jobs on both sides.

You will always have some people who fear competition more than others. Because they are well-protected, they have their own habitat to work and live in, but this is not sustainable in the long run.

If one of [Canada’s] pipelines to the Atlantic does get built, is this something Europe will be interested in?

I think Europe in the long run will depend on imports of oil and gas for some time. Germany and other countries do invest a lot in renewable energy, in environmentally safe energy. But this is a long-term effort. We cannot change overnight. And of course Canada is an important producer of oil and gas. It is a reliable partner. It is a politically and economically stable partner. It has a legal system which is similar to our own system.

I think it would be very wise if with a long term perspective Canada and Europe would look at a partnership. I think Canada has a lot to offer and I think Europe has a lot of interest to diversify. Also against the debate on Ukraine and the situation in Ukraine, and the discussion about whether Russia is a reliable supplier of gas and oil, we should do this partnership, develop a partnership with Canada in any case.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Leslie Young is doing a two-month Arthur F Burns fellowship based in Berlin, Germany. Follow her observations here. 

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