Seven stories in the news for Thursday June 1

first_imgSeven stories in the news for Thursday, June 1———WETTLAUFER EXPECTED TO PLEAD GUILTY TODAYA former Ontario nurse accused of killing eight seniors in her care is expected to plead guilty to first-degree murder at a court appearance today. Elizabeth Wettlaufer faces a total of 14 charges, including eight of first-degree murder, four of attempted murder and two of aggravated assault. Police have alleged her crimes involved the use of certain drugs and took place over the last decade in three Ontario long-term care facilities and a private home.———BACKLOG THREATENS SEX TOURISM CRACKDOWNInternal government notes warn that a file-processing backlog at the RCMP could significantly limit the effectiveness of new measures to track Canadians who travel abroad to sexually abuse children. Amendments that took effect Dec. 1 authorize the Mounties to share information about high-risk child sex offenders with the Canada Border Services Agency, but police must first assess thousands of files in the national sex offender registry to determine which ones fall into the high-risk category. Public Safety notes obtained under the Access to Information Act say it’s a task that’s far from done.———AIR POLLUTION COSTS CANADA BILLIONSA new research report says air pollution cost Canadian families an estimated $36 billion in 2015 due to premature death and illness. The report is a compilation of scientific data on all aspects of pollution, from smog to oil spills and fertilizer use. It is being released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.———PARENTS URGED TO LIMIT SCREEN TIME FOR YOUNG KIDSThe Canadian Paediatric Society has released its first stand-alone recommendations for how much time children aged five and under should spend in front of a screen. The society is standing by its past statement that kids younger than two years old should completely avoid screen time, and recommending those between two and five should have no more than an hour of screen time per day.———SOFTWOOD AID PACKAGE EXPECTED TODAYNatural Resources Minister Jim Carr is set to unveil about $1 billion in financial supports for softwood lumber producers and their employees. Cabinet discussed the options for a package May 9, but the federal government wanted more input from the provinces via the special working group Carr established in February. A government source confirms Carr will unveil the details today in Ottawa, along with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.———VERDICT TODAY IN ONTARIO MALL COLLAPSE CASEA discredited former engineer who signed off on the health of a northern Ontario mall just weeks before it collapsed in June 2012 finds out today if he bears any criminal responsibility for the two women who died in the disaster. Robert Wood of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and a third count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The maximum sentence for criminal negligence causing death is life in prison.———STARBUCKS LAUNCHES ALCOHOL MENU IN VANCOUVERStarbucks Canada will begin serving beer and wine today in Vancouver, a year after launching its bar menu at a few locations in Toronto and Ottawa. It’s part of a push by the coffee giant to attract more customers in the late afternoon and evening, rather than just be a stopover for a morning coffee. The company says customers at its newly opened store in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood will be able to choose from six types of wine, two brands of beer and a cider.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls wraps up its first community hearings in Whitehorse.— The Bank of Canada holds events across the country to mark the entry into circulation of the Canada 150 commemorative $10 bank note— Mayors from 22 of Canada’s biggest cities gather in Ottawa.— Derek Hurrell appears in court in Saskatoon on a charge of uttering online threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau— Statistics Canada releases figures on changes in parents’ participation in domestic tasks and care for children from 1986 to 2015.— Heritage Minister Melanie Joly unveils Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.— A provincial byelection is held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for a seat left empty when former Liberal cabinet minister David Orazietti stepped down on Dec. 31.— Grammy- and Juno Award-winning singer k.d. lang helps announce details in Calgary of a musical instrument lending library program in celebration of Canada 150.last_img read more

BC judge to deliver verdict for two men in polygamy case dating

first_imgCRANBROOK, B.C. – A verdict is expected Monday in a trial of two former leaders of a British Columbia fundamentalist church who are charged with polygamy.B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan has been presiding over the trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler, who are accused of having multiple wives.Both men were at one time bishops of separate sects in the isolated community of Bountiful in southeastern B.C.The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is based in Utah, officially renounced polygamy in the late 19th century and disputes the fundamentalist group’s connection to Mormonism.Blackmore is accused of having two dozen wives, while Oler is alleged to have married five women. Each man is charged with one count of polygamy.The legal fight dates back to the early 1990s when police first investigated allegations that residents of an isolated religious community were practising the “celestial” marriages.A lack of clarity around Canada’s polygamy laws led to failed attempts at prosecuting Blackmore, followed by several efforts to clarify the legislation, including a constitutional reference question to the B.C. Supreme Court.The court ruled in 2011 that laws banning polygamy were valid and did not violate religious freedoms guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Blair Suffredine, Blackmore’s lawyer, says he will apply for a stay of the decision because of its reliance on evidence that was gathered while there was confusion around the legality of Canada’s polygamy laws.Oler was appointed to lead community members in Bountiful following Blackmore’s excommunication from the sect in 2002 by Warren Jeffs, head prophet of the U.S.-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting two of his child brides.Much of the evidence in the 12-day trial came from marriage and personal records seized in 2008 by law enforcement officials from the Yearning for Zion Ranch, an FLDS church compound in Texas.Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

Alleged victims sue man awarded millions after acquittal in sexassault case

first_imgVANCOUVER – A British Columbia man who spent 27 years wrongfully imprisoned for sexual assault is being sued by five alleged victims who say he doesn’t deserve the millions of dollars he was awarded as compensation.The five unnamed women filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday alleging that Ivan Henry broke into their homes in the 1980s and sexually assaulted them.He was convicted in 1983 on 10 counts of sexual assault but those convictions were overturned seven years ago.The civil lawsuit alleges that in most of the five cases Henry told the women he was looking for someone who had ripped him off, he asked about a boyfriend and then sexually assaulted them.“The conduct of the defendant was calculated to inflict emotional suffering and psychological damage upon the plaintiffs,” the document says.The allegations have not been proven in court and Henry has not filed a statement of defence with the court.Marilyn Sandford, Henry’s lawyer, said it is sad her client is being asked to defend himself again, adding the evidence has not changed and Henry is confident the court will side with him again.“The fact that Mr. Ivan Henry is innocent can’t be changed,” she said in an interview. “That’s the reality. We appreciate it may be difficult for some to accept.”Sandford said Henry wouldn’t be available for an interview.“He understands not everybody sees things the same way, particularly women who have been through such a traumatic incident and have believed for so many decades that he is the perpetrator,” Sandford said. “Those are difficult ideas to dislodge from them, and he understands that.”Henry’s conviction was overturned in the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2010 because of flaws the judge found in both the trial and the police investigation, including a lineup photo that showed plain-clothed officers holding Henry in a headlock.Henry, who is now in his 70s, sued and was awarded $8 million in damages from the provincial government in 2016. He was also awarded an undisclosed amount of compensation from the City of Vancouver and the federal government.Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B.C. Supreme Court said in the settlement decision that Henry would likely have been acquitted during his 1983 trial had Crown prosecutors disclosed the evidence to him. He said the Crown’s decision to withhold information from Henry, who acted as his own lawyer, demonstrated a “shocking disregard” for his rights and “seriously infringed” on his right to a fair trial.The notice of civil claim filed by the five women seeks damages and asks that Henry be denied the money he was awarded for wrongful imprisonment.Scott Stanley, who represents the five women, said the civil lawsuit is intended to give his clients a voice.— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

Ottawa details list of US tariff targets offers up to 2B in

first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau government intensified Friday its trade fight with U.S. President Donald Trump, posting an extensive final hit list of $16.6-billion worth of American imports that will be slapped with retaliatory tariffs this weekend.The federal government also released specifics of a financial aid package for industries caught in the crossfire, including up to $2 billion in fresh funding and support for workers in Canada’s steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.Ottawa’s unprecedented reprisal against its closest ally comes in response to the Trump administration’s punishing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.It begs the question: what comes next? There are preparations for the possibility of a drawn-out and escalating dispute.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the details — including a finished list of the targeted U.S. products — during a news conference at a steel factory in Hamilton.“Canada has no choice but to retaliate with a measured, perfectly reciprocal dollar-for-dollar response — and that is what we are doing,” Freeland said.“They will take effect on July 1 and will remain in place until the United States eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apparently reiterated that position to the president himself in a phone call on Friday.A readout of the call released by the prime minister’s office says Trudeau called Trump to express his condolences on a deadly shooting at a newspaper in Maryland this week — but the two leaders also discussed trade.“As he has said in past conversations and in public, the prime minister conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018,” the readout stated.“The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward.”Aside from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the U.S., dozens of additional consumer goods will be subject to 10 per cent duties — from ketchup, to lawn mowers, to playing cards.It’s all part of Ottawa’s plan to strike back at the U.S. in response to hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum, 25 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, imposed last month by Trump.Freeland called the legal pretext used by the U.S. to impose the duties — that Canada poses a national security threat — “not only absurd, it’s hurtful.”“We are perfectly within our rights to respond,” said Freeland, who was joined at the announcement by Trudeau cabinet colleagues Patty Hajdu and Navdeep Bains.There are fears, however, that Canadian tariffs — some of which target businesses in states that are important to Trump and his supporters — could lead to fresh trade action from the U.S.Trump himself has already threatened to put tariffs on the automotive sector, which could prove far worse for the Canadian economy than the steel and aluminum duties.Peter Clark, an Ottawa trade consultant, said U.S. automotive tariffs would be a “disaster — pure, unmitigated disaster” for Canada.Freeland, asked whether she feared the U.S. would escalate matters, recalled a public comment she made right before the start of NAFTA negotiations — another tough Canada-U.S. trade file. At the time, she said she told Canadians the federal government expected “moments of drama in this process.”“I think that prediction has been borne out,” she said. “I think all of us, at this point, fully anticipate there will be some moments of drama in the future.”Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he believes there’s a significant chance Trump will introduce auto tariffs to some degree, although he predicted they could target the European Union rather than Canada.Overall, Ujczo said Canada’s retaliatory tariffs have been baked into the White House’s calculus for months. The situation means it’s now a top priority for stalled NAFTA talks to get moving as soon as possible, he said.The U.S. tariffs, he insisted, are inextricably intertwined with the NAFTA negotiations. And at the end of the day, Ujczo added the Trump administration’s overarching objective of the talks has been to stop Canada and Mexico from being the back door to North America for Chinese goods, like steel.“What we’ve seen over the last six months or so is Canada take measures to stop that,” he said. “But from the U.S. perspective, it took the threat of tariffs to do that, to prod Canada toward that goal.”Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies were designed to force them into action to address the world’s overproduction and overcapacity of steel.Freeland has insisted that Canada introduced stronger safeguards on steel well before the U.S. imposed the tariffs.On this front, Ottawa feels it has more work to do. Bains, the economic development minister, said Friday that the feds are consulting with industry so even more can be done to address the diversion and dumping of aluminum and steel in the Canadian market.The Trudeau government’s decision to stand up to Trump with countermeasures has attracted wide support in Canada. But domestic businesses, particularly those in the steel sector, have expressed deep concerns about any escalation in the trade battle.More broadly, the effects of the trade fight are expected to hurt both economies — putting jobs at risk and potentially raising consumer prices.For example, Clark said as the price of products like steel rise, the increases will move through the system and hit the consumer in the wallet.On support for businesses and workers, Friday’s federal package includes similar measures to those offered by Ottawa last year in response U.S. duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.For the latest dispute, the government intends to help affected workers by doubling the duration of work-sharing agreements under the employment insurance program to 76 weeks from 38 weeks. The aim is to help businesses retain skilled workers and avoid layoffs during any rough patches ahead.Ottawa is also vowing to boost funding for the provinces and territories to increase job and training programs.For companies, Ottawa is promising up to $1.7 billion worth of financing and services for steel and aluminum industries through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.Through its strategic innovation fund, Ottawa is also offering up to $250 million in support to reinforce the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and strengthen the integration of Canada’s steel and aluminum supply chain.Bains said the support is aimed at helping firms adjust to the difficult circumstances while enabling them to continue to innovate along the way.The government also plans to invest $50 million over five years to help firms take full advantage of recent trade agreements, including Canada’s deal with the European Union and its membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.— With files from Armina Ligaya in Hamiltonlast_img read more

Study finds Vancouverarea laundry microplastics are filtering into ocean

first_imgVANCOUVER – Microplastics from Metro Vancouver’s laundered clothes are ending up in water treatment plants and filtering into the ocean, says a study published in the science journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.The study by the ocean-protection group Ocean Wise and the Metro Vancouver regional district found that while up to 99 per cent of the particles were filtered out, a significant amount still made it into the ocean.The study, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada, found Vancouver-area treatment plants remove about 1.8 trillion plastic particles in waste water each year, but 30 billion particles are still released into the ocean.Peter Ross, the study’s principal investigator and vice-president of research at Ocean Wise, said many of the microplastics are in the form of fibres from polyester and rayon clothing.“Both those numbers are high and really point to the need for us to track these particles back to their sources more coherently,” he said in an interview on Thursday.“But that doesn’t give us an excuse to ignore the evidence that we have thus far. The evidence is that a large number of microplastic particles are heading into waste-water treatment plants in Vancouver.“Most of those, 71 per cent are fibres, 29 per cent are other things like polystyrene beads or microbeads from toothpaste and facial scrubs or little fragments of mystery particles.”Ross said microplastics are also coming from light industry, small business and other sources. He pointed out one study in Europe that found tire wear from vehicles was producing tiny beads of plastic that were going into the ocean.Other research has shown that microplastics in the ocean are being mistaken for food by zooplankton and fish, which raises concerns about the impact on their health, he said.The consequences for animal life are unclear, but the microplastics being ingested “underscores the potential for serious impacts at the bottom of the food chain,” the study concludes.Consumers can play a role in their purchases and by using cold water, less soap and washing clothes less often.“Be smart shoppers. Consider the material that one is buying and look at alternatives,” Ross said.Ross said Ocean Wise isn’t suggesting that people stop buying synthetic clothing, but it does want consumers to be more conscious about what they’re buying and where it’s coming from.“We can all step up and basically devise ways to reduce our release of, or shedding of, fibres into the waste-water stream.”last_img read more

Tweet about former teachers hotness leads to heat for Manitoba politician

first_imgWINNIPEG – A Manitoba politician is facing some heat after tweeting about the “hotness” of his former homeroom teacher.Steven Fletcher, an Independent member of the legislature, posted a message on Twitter in reply to a woman who taught him in Grades 7 and 8.The message thanks her for commenting on an article Fletcher had published and also revealed that he was attracted to her 35 years ago.The tweet says: “You were always the hottest teacher. All the boys loved you in inappropriate ways.”Many people — including Rochelle Squires, Manitoba’s minister for the status of women — have replied, telling Fletcher his remarks were inappropriate and offensive.Fletcher says he meant no offence — many boys have crushes on their teachers — and people are reacting too harshly.“It looks like we’re living in a society where it is becoming increasingly difficult to be human,” Fletcher said Friday.“Yes, I had a crush on my Grade 7 teacher, and, yes, she was photogenic and very smart.”Squires tweeted that she was at a loss for words.“I don’t even know what to say — so, so insulting, demeaning, inappropriate.”Fletcher served as a minister of state in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet between 2008 and 2013 before being shuffled out.In 2016, Fletcher ran for the Manitoba Tories after losing his federal seat and won. But a year later he was booted out of that caucus for publicly breaking with the party on a number of policies.He stood by his tweet Friday.“They’re not bad words. They’re not profanity or anything,” he said.“I would hazard a guess that virtually every single person who has made a comment on this has used the word ‘hottest’ in describing someone sometime in their life.”last_img read more

James says BC budget puts priorities on NDPs poverty environment plans

first_imgVICTORIA — British Columbia’s finance minister says the budget she tables Tuesday undertakes development of social, environmental and economic initiatives as other provinces across Canada implement cuts to programs and shifts to the right.Carole James says her budget builds on the minority New Democrat government’s goals of making life more affordable, improving services and ensuring a sustainable economy.“I see them as hand in hand,” said James in an interview. “The investments we make in people and the investments we make in environment are investments in a sustainable, strong economy.”Prof. David Black said he expects the social and economic agenda laid out in James’s budget to contrast sharply with the right-leaning policies in some other provinces.Manitoba and Ontario have Conservative governments. The Coalition Avenir Quebec government, is essentially conservative, and the Saskatchewan party is right-leaning. Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in Alberta, meanwhile, is considered the front-runner in this year’s Alberta election, said Black, a political communications expert at Royal Roads University in the Victoria area.“If the Alberta NDP lose in the spring election that leaves six out of 10 provinces with right-of-centre control,” he said. “It puts a powerful spotlight on B.C. as a place of social democratic governance.”Black said while many province’s fight the federal carbon tax and cut education and child care, B.C. is spending billions on affordable housing, promising 22,000 child-care places and hiring teachers.James’s budget is expected to include new funding for the government’s poverty reduction strategy and its Clean BC plan to fight climate change.Black said the B.C. New Democrats led by Premier John Horgan are on a social building agenda that he labelled “radical pragmatism.”Rather focusing attention on one issue — the environment, economy, education — the New Democrats are touching numerous social concerns that are building large-scale changes, he said.“It is a much more humble, circumspect, careful, but nonetheless ambitious program of change,” said Black. “It’s not legislation by thunderbolt. It’s a kind of radical pragmatism.”James said B.C.’s growing economy allows the government to pursue social, environmental and economic initiatives.“Certainly all of our economic indicators are very positive,” James said, citing record low jobless rates and solid growth projections. “We’re in a strong economic position. It certainly is my plan to go forward with a balanced budget.” She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget.The government passed legislation last year to cut B.C.’s overall poverty rate by 25 per cent and the child poverty rate by 50 per cent over the first five years of the plan.The government’s Clean BC climate plan, introduced last December, is slated to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, 60 per cent by 2040 and 80 per cent by 2050. By 2040, all new cars and trucks sold in B.C. will be zero emission and new buildings will be 80 per cent more efficient than now.“The poverty strategy will be a priority in this upcoming budget along with Clean BC,” said James. “Both of those will certainly have a priority when it comes to budget 2019.”She said the dollar amounts designated to the poverty and environment plans will be revealed in the budget.“The comprehensive poverty strategy will look across ministries, across government and at what kind of investments and supports we need to put in place to help people get ahead,” James said.Iglika Ivanova, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said the poverty strategy needs to address homelessness, income, transit and child care.“I’m a numbers person,” she said. “Until I see the numbers in the budget and see exactly how much is allocated to each priority, I don’t want to make too much out of promises and rhetoric. I want to see action in a number of different areas. The strategy needs to be comprehensive to be successful.”The government said in its throne speech on Tuesday that making life more affordable will be the hallmark of its initiatives in the coming months. It promised to tackle cellphone costs, ticket scalpers, money laundering loopholes and poverty.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

BC money laundering report finds no federal officers dedicated to case

first_imgVICTORIA — British Columbia’s attorney general says he’s troubled by a report that finds there are no federal Mounties dedicated to money laundering investigations in the province.David Eby says despite two years of headlines that organized crime is laundering billions in illegal cash in B.C., the only dedicated RCMP presence is a provincially funded team fighting the crime in casinos.The information comes in the partial release of a money laundering report conducted by former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, who was appointed by Eby last fall to review the use of illicit money in B.C. real estate, horse racing and luxury vehicle sales.German says his review found 26 federally funded positions on the RCMP’s money laundering team in B.C., but not one of those was dedicated to money laundering investigations.Eby says he is calling on the federal government devote more officers and resources to fighting the problem.Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair, who has said previously that the federal government is committed to combating money laundering, was not immediately available for comment. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano captures Norris Trophy

first_imgLAS VEGAS (660 NEWS) — Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano has won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman at the league’s awards ceremony.The Toronto native becomes the first player in Flames history to win the award.Giordano, 35, is just the fourth player aged 35 or older to win the award. He finished second among all defencemen in scoring with74 points last season.Giordano was an absolute runaway for the Norris. It wasn’t close; Giordano picked up 165 first place votes. #Flames— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) June 20, 2019 Giordano beat out Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the award.Earlier, Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.More coming.last_img read more

Bob Barker And Jorja Fox To Be Honored By Animal Defenders International

first_imgBob Barker (Emmy award-winning host of ‘The Price is Right’ and philanthropist) and Jorja Fox (’CSI’s’ Sarah Sidle) will be honored at a special lion-themed night in the Hollywood Hills on Saturday October 13th by Animal Defenders International (ADI).The celebrity-studded event is ticket only. Tickets are $150 and VIP tickets are $500 (which includes a VIP champagne reception) and are available here.Lion Ark Night will be themed around last year’s huge ADI Operation Lion Ark rescue mission of 29 circus lions from Bolivia to the U.S, which is currently being made into a feature length documentary.After ADI undercover investigations secured a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia, the ADI team returned to track down and raid the remaining circuses defying the law. Every animal was rescued, with 29 lions airlifted by ADI to safety in the USA.The gala evening, at a private home in the Hollywood Hills, will feature a preview of scenes from the forthcoming movie Lion Ark introduced by ADI founders Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, who led the dramatic rescue mission in Bolivia.During the evening’s award ceremony, a lifetime achievement award will be presented to TV host and philanthropist Bob Barker – the 2012 recipient of the international Lord Houghton Award for Services to Animal Welfare. ADI nominates a single recipient every four years.Jorja Fox will receive the ADI Animal Champion Award for her work to protect animals used in entertainment.ADI promises exhilarating evening with music, vegan hors d’oeuvres, desserts, wine, spirits, art, speakers, and a glimpse of Lion Ark the movie.The event is sponsored by Alternative Outfitters, ecoVegan, Frey Vineyards, Mt Beautiful Vineyards, Native Foods Café, Paul Mitchell, Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies, Veggie Grill and Vegin’ Out Vegan Meal Home Delivery Service.The VIP reception is at 6 pm; vegan hors d’oeuvres, desserts, wine and spirits will be served from 7-10 pm; and the program begins at 8:30 pm.Find out more here and at ADI on Facebook.last_img read more

Meg Mathews Donates Jewellery Profits To PETA UK

first_imgWhen rock-and-roll socialite and jewellery designer Meg Mathews decided to go vegan at the start of 2013, she didn’t just dump meat, eggs and dairy products from her diet – she also shed all the exotic-skins handbags and shoes from her wardrobe.Meg Mathews Venom NecklaceCredit/Copyright: PETA UKNow, Mathews is going a step further: she is donating all the proceeds from her snake-themed collection of jewellery, Venom, to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). And from now through the end of the month, visitors to the PETA competition webpage can enter to win a Venom necklace worth £449.“I have always been inspired by the beauty and exotic nature of snakes, but when I learned how these animals suffer when they are skinned for nothing more than a bag or belt, it gave me the creeps and I could never wear them again”, says Mathews. “I am proud that every purchase of a Venom item will help PETA fight the abuse of snakes and other animals, people often do not understand and so misuse.”As explained in PETA US’s video exposé of the exotic-skins industry, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, exotic animals such as snakes, alligators and crocodiles are skinned alive, beaten to death or killed for their skins in other cruel ways. Snakes, for example, are often nailed to trees, and workers may ram hoses into their mouths and pump them full of water so that they can more easily cut off their tightened skin while they are still alive.For more information and to enter the contest, please visit or click here.last_img read more

Blake Shelton And Pepsi Want You To Have An Iconic Summer

first_imgPepsi is partnering with reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and Grammy nominated artist Blake Shelton to kick-off summer 2013 by inviting fans to join Pepsi for an “Iconic Summer” to remember.With the launch of, Pepsi will offer consumers fun summer rewards and unparalleled access to great music and great summer events, including: Beyonce’s The Mrs. Carter World Tour, the MTV Video Music Awards, the MLB All Star Game in NYC, the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Florida, and many more.“I am excited to be part of Pepsi’s Iconic Summer,” said Blake Shelton. “Music fans are the absolute best and I am looking forward to offering up some memorable opportunities to them during CMA’s Music Fest next month and throughout other events coming up. It truly will be an iconic summer.”Shelton will help the brand illustrate the program experience and encourage fans to participate for giveaways and prizes through his digital platforms and select in-person appearances.“This summer, Pepsi will invite consumers to make the most of the season,” said Angelique Krembs, Vice President, Marketing, Trademark Pepsi. “We’re excited to offer our fans so many opportunities to enhance their iconic summer experience.”As part of this campaign, Pepsi unveiled plans to bring fans closer to their favorite country artists at this year’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Making the country fan experience truly iconic, Pepsi will invite consumers to experience the CMT Music Awards on June 5 and the CMA Music Festival from June 6-9 in Nashville, TN. The week will include an appearance by Blake Shelton at the newly debuted Pepsi Fan Engagement Bus, artist meet-n-greets, and opportunities to win prizes and rewards.To show off the spirit of red, white and blue, this summer Pepsi will encourage fans to share their iconic summer photos by uploading to These images will be curated by Pepsi to create unique content featured on its multi-media channels. For every photo that is submitted to from May 26 to August 31, Pepsi will donate $1 to several charitable organizations, including a nonprofit dedicated to providing relief and aid to the victims of the recent tornado impacting the Oklahoma City area, as well as a select group of exceptional military affiliated charities. Consumers who submit photos will automatically be entered into a contest for a chance to win amazing summertime experiences – which only Pepsi can provide.Additionally, as part of the “Iconic Summer” rewards program, consumers will have an opportunity to make their summertime experiences iconic with a chance to win everyday rewards when they purchase specially marked 20oz, 2-Liter and multi-pack plastic bottles of Pepsi or Mountain Dew through an “Under the Cap” promotion that will unlock prizes. Fans can visit to view available prizes and redeem codes for special merchandise and experiences ranging from VIP concert tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl in New York.last_img read more

Tyson Chandler Named As UNICEF Ambassador

first_imgThe U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announced that NY Knicks’ Tyson Chandler is the newest UNICEF Ambassador.Chandler — the first American NBA player to be named a UNICEF Ambassador — will fundraise, educate and advocate on behalf of vulnerable children around the world.In his first role as UNICEF Ambassador, Chandler will light the UNICEF Snowflake this Friday on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. The lighting ceremony will help raise awareness of areas of the Philippines ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan. The latest estimates indicate that as many as four million children could now be affected by the disaster. UNICEF is providing children and families with immediate necessities including food, water, and medicine. Designed by Ingo Maurer and dedicated to UNICEF by The Stonbely Family Foundation in 2002, the Snowflake serves as a beacon of hope and compassion.Following his gold medal win with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team at the London Olympics, Chandler travelled to Tanzania with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. While in Tanzania, Chandler visited UNICEF-supported programs that provide children with life and vocational skills training and health centers for mothers of children with HIV/AIDS.“Traveling to Africa with UNICEF and seeing kids who don’t have access to an education, or who are living on the streets was a life-changing experience for me,” said Chandler. “I’m incredibly honored to help raise awareness of UNICEF’s work that’s truly making a difference for the lives of children.”In the U.S., Chandler has served as a strong advocate for the organization, raising awareness of emergency relief efforts and campaigns such as the UNICEF Tap Project to millions of basketball fans. An aspiring photographer, Chandler hosted a photo gallery exhibit in October 2012. Featuring powerful images from his trip to Tanzania, the exhibit generated thousands of dollars for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Additionally, Chandler donated the exclusive opportunity to spend a day with him during NY Knicks practice as part of the 2012 UNICEF Snowflake Ball live auction.“Tyson’s deep commitment to saving and improving the lives of children is evident to those around him,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We’re excited that he’s using his voice to help shine a light on the issues that children around the world face every day, such as lack of access to clean water or medicine.”Chandler – who is in his third season with the Knicks after joining the team in 2011 – has quite a few career accomplishments. In 2012 he was selected for the NBA All-Star team and named the Defensive Player of the Year. In 2011 he helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to their NBA championship. Off the court, Chandler, with his wife Kimberly, is devoted to philanthropic efforts. In addition to their work with UNICEF, they launched ‘Rebound 4 Rockaway’ to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy in Far Rockaway, New York.Chandler joins a roster of celebrities who have supported UNICEF over the years, from Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn, to Laurence Fishburne, Selena Gomez, Angie Harmon, Tea Leoni, Lucy Liu, Alyssa Milano, and Sarah Jessica Parker, among others.last_img read more

Angelina Jolie Visits Iraq Calls For International Leadership To End Suffering

first_imgThe UN refugee agency’s Special Envoy Angelina Jolie is in Dohuk, Iraq, visiting Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to offer support to 3.3 million displaced people in the country and highlight their dire needs.In Baghdad, Angelina Jolie visits with displaced Iraqi familiesCredit/Copyright: UNHCR/J. TannerSince Jolie’s last visit to Iraq in September 2012, the scale and gravity of the humanitarian situation have increased dramatically, as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq intensify and become intertwined.“It is shocking to see how the humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated since my last visit. On top of large numbers of Syrian refugees, two million Iraqis were displaced by violence in 2014 alone. Many of these innocent people have been uprooted multiple times as they seek safety amidst shifting frontlines.”While a massive aid response has been launched by UNHCR and partners, an estimated 330,000 people across the country still live in sub-standard shelters as they face their first winter away from home.On Sunday, Jolie visited internally displaced Iraqis living in an informal settlement and a formal camp at Khanke, a 40 minute drive from Dohuk city. Together, the sites now accommodate more than 20,000 people from the Yazidi minority who fled Sinjar and surrounding areas in early August. Jolie spoke to people with dramatic stories of escape, including people who managed to flee their imprisonment by walking through the night and hiding by day. She also met elderly women who were among the 196 Yazidis recently released by insurgents and now staying in the informal settlement at Khanke.The women recounted their ordeal of kidnap, detention, escape, and release. Jolie listened to the stories of extreme hardship and loss, including from people who still have sons, husbands and daughters detained, and others who had heard their daughters were moved to Syria. Others had lost all contact with their loved ones and had no idea of their fate.“Nothing can prepare you for the horrific stories of these survivors of kidnap, abuse and exploitation and to see how they cannot all get the urgent help they need and deserve,” Jolie said. “The needs so dramatically outstrip the resources available in this vast crisis. Much more international assistance is needed,” the Special Envoy added.Funding shortfalls have affected the scale and type of programmes to help survivors of violence and human rights abuses alongside the provision of shelter and other assistance. While much aid has been provided by the government, UNHCR and partners over the last six months — including 34 new camps built or under construction — aid operations are hampered by lack of funding alongside security constraints. UNHCR, for example, has received only 53 per cent of its required USD 337 million for its response to internal displacement in Iraq during 2014 and has received the go-ahead to proceed on projected funding for only 31 per cent of its required USD 556 for 2015.The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is hosting some 900,000 displaced people, placing an enormous strain on hosting communities, authorities and infrastructure. The huge influx of people from Mosul and Sinjar between June and August 2014 caused a three-month delay in the start of the school year, as over 700 public schools in Dohuk were occupied by uprooted people. An estimated 20 per cent of the five million people in the KRI are either displaced Iraqis from elsewhere or refugees.“I am very thankful to the Kurdish authorities for hosting so many displaced Iraqis alongside Syrian refugees at a time when they are facing so many challenges,” the Special Envoy said.On Sunday morning, Jolie made a return visit to the sprawling Domiz camp which now hosts more than 50,000 Syrian refugees – more than a 5th of the entire population of Syrian refugees in Iraq, which currently stands at 233,000. She last visited Domiz, now the largest Syrian refugee camp in Iraq, on 16 September 2012 when it hosted some 8,500 people.As the conflict in Syria approaches its fifth year, Ms Jolie said: “The war in Syria is at the root of so many of the problems faced here in Iraq and across the region. There is an urgent need for international leadership to break the cycle of violence in Syria, and to find a way forward towards a just and sustainable peace agreement.”Jolie is on her fifth visit to Iraq and her sixth visit to Syrian refugees in the region.“Too many innocent people are paying the price of the conflict in Syria and spread of extremism,” Jolie said wrapping up the first day of her two-day visit to Iraq. “I express my deepest sympathy to the family of Haruna Yukawa the Japanese hostage reportedly murdered in Syria on Saturday, and to all the families and victims of these vile and extreme acts.”More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled to the neighboring states of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Another 7.6 million Syrians are displaced inside the country.There are some 3.1 million internally displaced Iraqis throughout the country, including a million who had been displaced between 2003 and 2013 and 2.1 million who were displaced in 2014.Source:UNHCRlast_img read more

Chris Daughtry And Internet Dance Sensation Big Bang Balang Help Launch Operation

first_imgHundreds of Operation Smile student volunteers from around the world will come together at San Diego State University to launch the UNTIL WE HEAL campaign globally.UNTIL WE HEAL engages young people in advocating for the 5 billion people – two thirds of the world’s population – who do not have access to life-saving surgical care.Students are traveling from 29 countries including Africa, South America, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Canada to attend the 25th annual Operation Smile International Student Leadership Conference to begin July 18th. Students will participate in training workshops for upcoming medical missions, host a “hackathon” on ways the global health community can address barriers to medical care in low- and middle-income countries, and conduct a walk to a local hospital to raise awareness for the distances patients must travel to receive medical care.The weeklong conference will culminate in a concert featuring Grammy-nominated musician, Chris Daughtry and internet dance sensation John Philip “Big Bang Balang” Bughaw, whose dance videos have received millions of views resulting in several appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. At age seven, Big Bang Balang became Operation Smile’s youngest ambassador after learning about the organization’s work. This year, Big Bang Balang found a young girl in his village in the Philippines, Aliyah, who was unable to afford surgery to repair her cleft lip and cleft palate. Big Bang Balang introduced her family to Operation Smile and this fall she will receive free life-saving surgery.At the concert on July 22nd, Big Bang Balang will debut a new song, Big Bang Bounce, as well as new dance. He will challenge students to recreate his dance moves, and share their own #BigBangBounce videos on social media. At the end of August, Big Bang Balang will select winning videos to be featured in his premier music video for the song, which will debut in September. He hopes the dance will help raise awareness for the UNTIL WE HEAL campaign and inspire others to get involved in addressing the lack of access to safe surgery, which is why so many children in low- and middle-income countries continue to suffer from treatable conditions like cleft.“I am happy I found Operation Smile, because now I can help people in my village like Aliyah,” said Big Bang Balang. “I want to keep helping people and make them smile.” On a similar note, Chris Daughtry, who is performing at the concert, said, “I am thrilled to be working with Operation Smile to be able to give every child the smile they deserve.”Travel to the U.S. for Big Bang Balang and his family to attend the Operation Smile event was made possible by a generous donation of the flights from Philippine Airlines.In addition to the concert, throughout the conference, students will also utilize Johnson & Johnson’s Donate a Photo mobile app to help fundraise for Operation Smile and highlight the inequity in surgical access. For every photo uploaded through the Donate a Photo app, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to the organization to conduct free surgeries and medical training programs.At the same time, also in San Diego, Actor and Operation Smile Ambassador Zachary Levi will host his signature Comic-Con event, Nerd HQ. The fan favorite philanthropic panel series “Conversations for a Cause” will once again take place, with all proceeds benefitting Operation Smile.Elementary, middle and high school students have formed more than 900 Operation Smile student clubs in the United States, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Operation Smile student activities aim to empower youth globally through advocacy, education, leadership and service. Student volunteers also attend Operation Smile medical missions to educate local communities about basic first aid, dental hygiene and nutrition.“It is heartbreaking to know how many children around the world cannot receive access to safe surgical care and have to suffer in pain because of it,” said Kathy Magee, President and Co-Founder of Operation Smile. “Access to safe surgery is not a problem on many people’s minds and we are so proud of our student volunteers and young leaders, who are taking on the challenge to bring this issue to the forefront and be advocates for those in need.”To learn more, make a donation or find out how to get involved, visit read more

Frontier women Badass tough cookie survivor

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment They’re women who play very different roles, from a prostitute to an Ojibwa warrior to an ambitious businesswoman, in the male-dominated and cutthroat world of 18th century fur trading.“It is a male world, but it was a male world,” said Frontier actress Diana Bentley as she walked the red carpet Saturday night in St. John’s ahead of the Discovery Canada series premiere.“They are being true to what the period was … and feeling in my own body as an actress what it would have been like to actually have to fight so hard to have to be heard and to rise to power and to be intimidating against male strength, it’s a really fun thing.” Advertisement Twitter Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Bentley plays Imogen, a prostitute who travels to Canada — then British North America — with a military commander, Lord Benton.“She’s a rather downtrodden character to begin with, but she’s really strong and she’s really fierce. And she’s a survivor and so she comes to the frontier to really break free out of this relationship, this horrible relationship that she has with the villain on the show,” Bentley said.last_img read more

Hightech production Frame by Frame lights up National Ballet

first_imgDancers appear in silhouette during rehearsal for the National Ballet of Canada’s multimedia production Frame by Frame. (David Leclerc/National Ballet of Canada) Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Login/Register With: Twitter Lepage has returned to McLaren for his latest project Frame by Frame, teaming up with the National Ballet of Canada and the National Film Board to create a multimedia dance production that marries ballet and abstract film animation in hopes of pushing the boundaries of ballet for our technological era. Director Robert Lepage first saw Norman McLaren’s short animated films as a child, when they aired as part of Hockey Night in Canada. He was moved by their simplicity and emotional impact.“There is something very pure about his vocabulary and very accessible and very universal,” says Lepage.“I’ve always related to that because I am desperately looking for simple things, resources, ideas that can speak to a universal or international audience.”last_img read more


first_imgBack in January, UP Cannabis, one of the country’s budding (sorry) legal marijuana producers, nailed down an agreement with The Feldman Agency, a major talent booking organization whose roster includes everyone from Alessia Cara and the Barenaked Ladies to Our Lady Peace and Michael Bublé.In addition to getting gigs for its clients, Feldman also specializes in brand integration projects. So, could Feldman help UP get deeper into the music space? Absolutely.As with alcohol, music and marijuana have always gone together. If Molson can sponsor a tour and Budweiser can have a venue named after it, why couldn’t another legal, government-regulated recreational ingestible product do the same? Jean Richer, senior vice president of sales and marketing, wants UP to head in this direction. After all, this was part of his job when he worked as a market manager for AB InBev, the massive Belgian-Brazilian beer consortium. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement TORONTO, July 24, 2018 – THE 2018 IHEARTRADIO MMVAS announced today that multi-platinum singer-songwriter and four-time MMVA winner Shawn Mendes is set to return to the iHeartRadio MMVA stage Sunday, Aug. 26at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, MTV, and Much. Mendes joins an all-star lineup of recently announced performers including 5 Seconds of Summer, Alessia Cara, Halsey, Kris Wu, Marshmello ft. Anne-Marie, and Meghan Trainor. Advertisement Facebook Toronto-born Mendes has achieved international success with his three, #1 studio albums, Handwritten (2015), Illuminate (2016), and Shawn Mendes (2018), which reached #1 on iTunes in over 80 countries worldwide upon its release this May. With the release of Shawn Mendes, Mendes became the third-youngest solo artist of all time to achieve three #1 albums on the Billboard Top 200. Along with the success of each album, he has released several hit singles, including “Stitches”, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” “Treat You Better,” “Mercy,”  and, most recently, “In My Blood” and “Lost in Japan“, which soared to the #1 and #2 spots on iTunes. Worldwide, he has sold more than 11 million albums, 100 million singles, and has amassed more than 15 billion song streams and four billion YouTube views. Shawn has completed two, sold-out world tours and will head out in 2019 on his third international area tour. Tickets are on sale now.THE 2018 IHEARTRADIO MMVAS airs live on Sunday, August 26 at 9 p.m. ET on:CTV,, CTV GOMuch, and the iHeartRadio appVirgin Radio in Toronto, Kitchen, London, Halifax, Montréal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and VancouverTwitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Login/Register With: Viewers looking for a pre-party can catch THE IHEARTRADIO MMVA RED CARPET pre-show at 8 p.m. ET on MTV, Much, and Twitter. Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more