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New Ukraine president, and former actor, to meet Trudeau in Toronto

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:31
OTTAWA - Ukraine’s new president will visit Toronto next week for a major international conference on his country’s future that Canada is hosting, and where he will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau’s office said he and Volodymyr Zelenskiy will discuss Ukraine’s reform efforts and its path toward integration with Europe. Zelenskiy, a popular actor and comedian, but a political neophyte, ran away with this spring’s presidential election, unseating Petro Poroshenko. He is now tasked with guiding his country through its ongoing conflict with Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and fomented a pro-Kremlin insurgency in the country’s east that has left more than 13,000 dead. The Ukraine Reform Conference is a three-day gathering that begins Tuesday, which the government said will include key international friends and partners to support Ukraine. Trudeau said in a statement that he wants to use the meeting with Zelenskiy to reaffirm Canada’s deep commitment to the Ukrainian people. “Canada and Ukraine share a deep and historic friendship built on shared values and strong people-to-people bonds,” said Trudeau. Ben Rowswell, the president of the Canadian International Council, said the conference will underscore the West’s and Canada’s commitment to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. “Canada has been a real stalwart defender of democracy in Ukraine, part of a broader approach we have to the international order to ensure that countries, even if they’re very close to Russia are able maintain their sovereignty and to operate as democracies free from the interference of hostile foreign powers like Russia,” said Rowswell, who most recently served as Canada’s last ambassador to Venezuela. Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. Canada has supplied it with $785 million worth of military, legal, financial, development and political assistance since 2014 when President Vladimir Putin tried to bring the country back into Russia’s sphere of influence as Ukraine was poised to deepen its integration with the European Union. With the federal election set for October, Ukraine’s turmoil has implications for Canada’s domestic politics: the 1.3 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent comprise one of the country’s most influential diaspora communities. That reality was not lost of on the Conservatives under former prime minister Stephen Harper, who visited Kyiv repeatedly and sent special teams of Canadian election monitors to support Ukraine’s various ballots over the years. The Trudeau government has followed suit. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s own Ukrainian heritage has helped keep the country near the top of her agenda. Freeland was one of the first Western politicians to visit Zelenskiy in Kyiv after he was declared the victor last month. A senior Canadian official who was in the room for their meeting, but was not authorized to speak for attribution, said that while the new president and his entourage have little political experience, Canada isn’t worried he will shift Ukraine back towards the Kremlin and away from Canada and its western allies. Zelenskiy is frequently compared with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who went from being a Hollywood actor to the California governorship before winning the Oval Office. Though Zelenskiy lacks political experience, the long-running political satire in which he portrayed a fictional Ukraine president demonstrated a well-researched and sophisticated understanding of politics and corruption, the Canadian official said, comparing him to Canada’s Rick Mercer. Canada has offered Zelenskiy’s officials training on how to actually run a government because they lack experience and are running a country whose institutions are not as strong as those in the West. Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Plastics forks at Trudeau lunch a sign of hypocrisy: Conservatives

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:12
OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives are calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a hypocrite over plastic cutlery that was available at a lunch meeting he held with youth activists in his Montreal riding. Trudeau tweeted a picture of himself having lunch on Monday with about half a dozen members of the Papineau Youth Council, including pizzas in cardboard boxes, paper plates, a pitcher of water with glasses, and a handful of plastic forks. The Liberals have started a regulatory review that’s expected to end with severe restrictions on single-use plastics as soon as 2021. The most wasteful products, including things like straws and plastic cutlery, could be banned outright. The Tories say the picture shows Trudeau is a phoney environmentalist. In the photo, nobody is visibly using a fork but they also appear to have barely started lunch. The Canadian Press

Blues sign coach Craig Berube to 3-year contract extension

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:11
ST. LOUIS - The Blues signed coach Craig Berube to a three-year contract extension Tuesday after he led St. Louis to its first Stanley Cup championship in his first season in charge. The Blues were in last place at the start of the year, but Berube led them on an 11-game win streak in January and February to position them for the playoffs. They wound up going 38-19-6 in the regular season, then beat the Jets, Stars and Sharks in the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues beat the Bruins in seven games to win the first championship in their 52-year history. Berube, who also spent two seasons coaching the Flyers, joined the franchise as an associate coach in 2017. His new deal will be formally announced at a news conference Wednesday. The Associated Press

Vancouver police ask for help over theft of high-end snake chairs

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:05
VANCOUVER - A pair of unusual armchairs valued at about $40,000 each were taken from a high-end furniture store and Vancouver police are asking for the public’s help in finding them. Police say the chairs were taken during a 3 a.m. break-in at the Lloyd Bruce Home Collections store on May 13. The deco-style, off-white chairs designed by Roberto Cavalli have gold coloured metal arms shaped like snakes. Two male thieves were involved and police say they left in a white, Ford F-150 pickup. Investigators say it’s clear the suspects targeted that particular store specifically to take the chairs. Sgt. Jason Robillard says they hope someone will recognize the unique furniture and call police.   The Canadian Press

Fertility doc used own sperm to inseminate patients: medical regulator

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:58
TORONTO - An Ottawa fertility doctor irreversibly violated vulnerable patients by using his own sperm, or that of the wrong donor, to artificially inseminate several women over three decades, a discipline committee heard Tuesday. Lawyers for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario are asking the regulator’s discipline committee to revoke Dr. Bernard Norman Barwin’s medical licence, saying it is the only appropriate penalty for such a shocking abuse of trust. “There is no precedent for the case you have before you at this college,” Carolyn Silver, a lawyer for the regulator, told the committee. “Dr. Barwin’s patients and their families were the unsuspecting victims of his incomprehensible deception,” which saw him contradict their specific instructions without their knowledge or consent, she said. His actions have traumatized entire families and left them forever altered, she said. The committee ruled earlier Tuesday that Barwin, formerly a trusted infertility doctor who began working in the field in the 1970s, committed professional misconduct and failed to maintain the standards of the profession. An uncontested statement of facts read before the committee laid out the cases of more than a dozen patients who say they suffered irreparable harm as a result of Barwin’s actions. Some patients discovered their children were half-siblings, even though they had requested the same donor be used for both, the document said. Several men learned the children they had raised were not biologically theirs. Rebecca Dixon, who waived a publication ban protecting her identity, said she discovered three years ago that Barwin - and not the man who raised her - was her biological father. “In that moment, my life changed forever,” she told the committee, adding she felt her entire identity was thrown into question. The news made her feel ashamed and “contaminated,” and strained her family, she said. Even now, Dixon said she continues to scan the crowds in Ottawa, looking for people who look like her and who may be her half-siblings. A woman who can only be identified as Patient M said she learned recently that her teenage daughter was conceived using an unknown donor’s sperm rather than her husband’s. She has not yet broken the news to her daughter, worried the shock would be debilitating at such a “fragile” age, she said. Patient M said Barwin went out of his way during the procedure to show her the vial of sperm with her husband’s name on it, knowing it contained material from another man. “I still felt so violated, I felt dirty, almost as if I’d been raped,” she told the committee. Barwin, 80, who did not attend the hearing, pleaded no contest to the allegations through his lawyer. According to the statement of facts, an expert retained by the college to review Barwin’s case found it was unlikely the doctor’s use of his own sperm was accidental. Barwin’s explanation that contamination must have occurred when he used his own sperm to calibrate a sperm counter is neither plausible nor believable, the expert said in the statement. “This is a tragic situation in which a sea of avoidable harm was done,” the expert said. Barwin had previously been disciplined for artificially inseminating several women with the wrong sperm, admitting to professional misconduct when he appeared before committee in 2013. At the time, Barwin said errors in his practice had left three patients with children whose biological fathers were not the ones they intended. The committee then suspended him from practising medicine for two months, but Barwin gave up his licence the following year. There was no evidence in that case that Barwin was the biological father of any of his patients’ children, said Silver, the college’s lawyer. Barwin intentionally concealed what he was doing, she said. Barwin faced fresh allegations Tuesday of incompetence, failing to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and of engaging in dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. If the committee decides to revoke Barwin’s licence, other medical regulators would be alerted should he apply to practise medicine elsewhere. Barwin is also facing a proposed class-action lawsuit launched by several of his patients. The lawsuit alleges more than 50 children were conceived after their mothers were inseminated with the wrong sperm, including 11 with Barwin’s. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

New Ukraine president, and former actor, to meet Trudeau in Toronto

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:40
OTTAWA - Ukraine’s new president will visit Toronto next week for a major international conference on his country’s future that Canada is hosting, and where he will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau’s office says he and Volodymyr Zelenskiy will discuss Ukraine’s reform efforts and its path toward integration with Europe. Zelenskiy, a popular actor and comedian but a political neophyte, ran away with this spring’s presidential election, unseating Petro Poroshenko. He is now tasked with guiding his country through its ongoing conflict with Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and fomented a pro-Kremlin insurgency in the country’s east that has left more than 13,000 dead. The Ukraine Reform Conference is a three-day gathering that begins Tuesday in Toronto, which the government says will include key international friends and partners to support Ukraine. Trudeau says in a statement that he wants to use the meeting with Zelenskiy to reaffirm Canada’s deep commitment to the Ukrainian people. The Canadian Press

‘Wasn’t on the radar:’ Parents accused in son’s death unaware he had meningitis

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:37
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The father of a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis says he and his wife didn’t realize their son had contracted the potentially deadly disease. David Stephan told a court in Lethbridge, Alta., today that the couple did not think Ezekiel had the more serious form of the inflammatory brain condition. The Stephans are accused of failing to provide the necessaries of life to the 19-month-old, who died in March 2012. They treated the boy with natural remedies instead of taking him to a doctor. Stephan testified he and his wife, Collet, thought it was possible Ezekiel had contacted viral meningitis. Viral meningitis is less serious and usually clears up on its own, but the bacterial form can be fatal if not treated quickly with antibiotics. “I recall distinctly that bacterial meningitis wasn’t on the radar,” Stephan told Crown prosecutor Britta Kristen during her cross-examination Tuesday. “If we thought he had a fatal infection, we would have been to the doctor right away.” On Monday, Stephan testified that his wife did call a friend at one point who was a nurse and a midwife. The friend mentioned the possibility Ezekiel might have meningitis but she wasn’t sure. Stephan told court that he was “100 per cent convinced” later that Ezekiel had recovered, but that was before he noticed the child had an odd breathing pattern.  Stephan said he and his wife continued to treat their son with natural remedies, even after he was declared brain dead at the children’s hospital in Calgary. “We weren’t willing to let go,” he said. “We would cling on to anything.” Kristensen suggested that the Stephans would have known natural remedies wouldn’t cure bacterial meningitis. Court heard earlier that the Stephans initially believed their son had the croup. It wasn’t until he took a turn for the worse and stopped breathing that they called 911. A jury convicted the couple on the charge in 2016, but the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a second trial last year. It is being heard by a judge without a jury, and David Stephan is acting as his own lawyer. - Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Infrastructure bank gives Via $55M for work on multibillion-dollar project

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:32
OTTAWA - Via Rail is getting $71 million in federal cash - some through Transport Canada and some from an infrastructure financing agency - to help its plan to build dedicated tracks for faster, more frequent service in Ontario and Quebec. The details unveiled today show that some of the money will fund work to make sure that Via trains can seamlessly move between any new dedicated tracks and local transit systems in Montreal and Toronto. For Montreal, that includes running Via trains along the electric-rail system under construction, known best by its French acronym R.E.M., which the Canada Infrastructure Bank is also financing. The rail company wants to build a multibillion-dollar new network of dedicated passenger-rail lines so its trains will no longer have to yield to freight trains on borrowed tracks. The infrastructure-bank money, totalling $55 million, will be largely used for environmental assessment, consultations with Indigenous communities, and a technical and financial review to help the government make a final funding decision. The rest of the money, $16 million, is coming from Transport Canada. The high-frequency rail project is expected to cost $4 billion and Via Rail is exploring ways to have a private investor pick up some of the costs of building dedicated passenger-rail tracks connecting Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City and buying new trains. The money from the infrastructure agency is part of its mandate to “de-risk” projects at an early stage in order to draw in private backers when real construction work gets underway. Via Rail is looking to create routes along discontinued and lesser-used tracks that would also connect to Peterborough, Ont., and Dorion and Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. A transportation advocacy group said the risks for the project are lower now that Via Rail has focused on existing corridors and rights-of-way, meaning work could be done by 2022. “The largest risk, which we feel the government needs to pay more attention to, is the escalating opportunity cost to Canada of falling further behind the rest of the world on this vital aspect of our transportation infrastructure,” the group Transport Action Canada said in a statement. “Infrequent and inadequate inter-city rail service both is a constraint on our domestic economic growth and a deterrent to international investors.” The Liberals created the Canada Infrastructure Bank in 2017, aiming for it to use $35 billion in federal funding as a carrot to entice the private sector to get involved in paying for new, large-scale projects that are in the public interest, and can also provide a profit for investors. So far, the agency has gotten involved in two projects, first with a $1.28-billion loan to the electric-rail project in Montreal, and last month with up to $2 billion in debt to expand GO Transit’s rail network around Toronto. The money unveiled Tuesday is the first time the agency has handed out money without an expectation of repayment. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the Canada Infrastructure Bank was providing Via Rail with $71 million.

David Saint-Jacques doing well after space flight: Canadian Space Agency

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:26
MONTREAL - The Canadian Space Agency says astronaut David Saint-Jacques is doing well as he continues his long journey home after a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station. The 49-year-old Quebec native boarded a NASA plane during the night and is expect to arrive in Houston later today after a brief stopover in Scotland. The agency says Saint-Jacques is in good health despite experiencing typical post-flight symptoms, including nausea. He was able to speak with his wife and parents after landing. Saint-Jacques, along with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, returned to Earth Monday night aboard a Soyuz capsule that landed in Kazakhstan. During a mission that began in December, Saint-Jacques took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk and set a record for the longest single space flight by a Canadian at 204 days. His next few weeks will be spent recovering from the physical challenges of the flight, which could include blood circulation problems, muscle pains and trouble walking after months of weightlessness. The Canadian Press

Eskimos receiver, Redblacks QB, Ticats running back named top performers

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:21
TORONTO - Edmonton Eskimos receiver Greg Ellingson, Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Dominique Davis and Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back Sean Thomas Erlington have been named the CFL’s top performers of the week for Week 2. Ellingson, who signed with the Eskimos this off-season after four years with the Redblacks, had nine receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns in Edmonton’s 39-23 win over the B.C. Lions on Friday. Davis, the backup to current Eskimos QB Trevor Harris in Ottawa last season, completed 30-of-39 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns as the Redblacks improved to 2-0 with a 44-41 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday. Harris was top performer of the week in the opening week of the season. Thomas Erlington, a Montreal native, had 12 carries for 109 yards and three catches for 56 yards in Hamilton’s 64-14 win against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday. The Canadian Press

US home price growth slows for 13th straight month in April

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:05
WASHINGTON - U.S. home price gains slowed for the 13th straight month in April, evidence that weaker demand is keeping prices in check even as mortgage rates fall. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 2.5% in April from a year earlier, down slightly from an annual gain of 2.6% in March. That’s the smallest increase in nearly seven years. Sales of existing homes fell last year as mortgage rates climbed to 5%, but sales appear to have levelled off this spring. Borrowing costs have fallen back below 4%, which has enabled more would-be buyers to afford homes. Prices are now increasing more slowly than wages, which also helps affordability. Price increases have also cooled in several formerly hot markets, including Seattle, where prices were unchanged from a year ago. Home prices rose just 1.8% in San Francisco and 0.8% in San Diego. The largest gains were in Las Vegas, with a 7.1% increase, followed by Phoenix with 6%, and Tampa with 5.6%. Most economists see the current pace of price increases as more consistent with longer-run trends. Historically, home values have risen about 1% a year, after inflation. Many home buyers are still struggling with higher housing costs, which increased more quickly than wages for seven years and jumped by double-digits in 2013. Sales of existing homes increased at a healthy pace in May, after falling in April, a sign that lower mortgage rates may be starting to lift demand. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 3.8% last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Still, sales of existing homes remained 1.1% lower than a year earlier. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

Ottawa sets up secretariat to root out racism in federal institutions, programs

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:00
OTTAWA - The federal government is setting up a secretariat to root out systemic racism and discrimination within federal institutions, programs and services. The secretariat is part of a $45-million federal anti-racism effort, which also includes funding for programs run by community groups on things like job-skills training, youth mentorships, legal services and protections against hate speech. The effort will also include a national public awareness and education campaign. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says every day in this country, people still face racism, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-black racism. He says deeply embedded inequalities are often subtle, reflected in who gets called for a job interview or who is encouraged to attend university or who gets carded by police on their way home from school. Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes has argued that black Canadians are passed over for senior jobs in the federal civil service, noting that a black person has never achieved the rank of deputy minister. The Canadian Press

NHL’s 2019-20 schedule includes outdoor game in Regina, Hockey Day in Canada

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:58
NEW YORK - A Vancouver Canucks 50th anniversary celebration, the annual Hockey Day in Canada and an outdoor game in Regina mark Canadian highlights on the 2019-20 NHL schedule. The 1,271-game schedule, released Tuesday, includes the Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 26 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. It marks the first Heritage Classic - a series of outdoor games held in Canada introduced in 2003 -  that will be played in a Canadian city without an NHL team. The Canucks will play their home opener against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 9, exactly 49 years after the franchise’s first NHL regular-season game, also versus L.A. Hockey Day in Canada on Feb. 8 features all seven Canadian teams in action. The Rogers television broadcast will be based out of Yellowknife. The Jets host the Ottawa Senators in an afternoon game to kick off the day. The Montreal Canadiens entertain the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers host the Nashville Predators in early evening games. The final game features the Canucks home to the Flames. The season begins Oct. 2 with four games, including the Maple Leafs home to the Senators and the Canucks facing the visiting Oilers. Other special events include: - The Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers squaring off Oct. 4 in Prague, Czech Republic. - The Buffalo Sabres facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in two games on Nov. 8 and 9 in Stockholm, Sweden. - The Winter Classic between the host Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators on Jan. 1 at the Cotton Bowl. - The all-star game on Jan. 26 in St. Louis. - An outdoor game between the Colorado Avalanche and Kings on Feb. 15 at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. The season concludes April 4 with 15 games, including a Leafs-Canadiens game in Toronto and a Battle of Alberta between the Oilers and Flames in Calgary. The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan says Supreme Court could hear carbon tax challenge in December

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:57
REGINA - The Saskatchewan government says its arguments against the federal carbon tax could be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada before the end of the year, but after the federal election. The province says it has been notified that the reference case has been tentatively set for Dec. 5. Saskatchewan appealed to the country’s highest court after losing its constitutional challenge against the federal tax in its own Appeal Court last month in a 3-2 split decision. Attorney General Don Morgan says Ottawa violated Saskatchewan’s constitutional jurisdiction when it started charging the federal levy April 1 because the province did not implement a tax of its own. The province’s lawyers are preparing to submit a factum which is due near the end of July. Morgan said Tuesday it would have been beneficial for the Supreme Court to hear the case before the federal election in October, but added the government plans to forge ahead with its challenge no matter which party wins. Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has promised to scrap the carbon tax if he is elected as the next prime minister. “Our expectation is that we would want to go ahead. We think it’s worthwhile to have better clarity as to the role of the federal government and the provinces with regard to environment or the right to levy that kind of a tax,” said Morgan. The Supreme Court’s decision could be used if other questions arise between the provinces and federal government when it comes to jurisdiction, he said.  The federal government announced Tuesday that it plans to spend $60 million of the money from the carbon tax to fund green projects at schools in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four provinces are subject to the national carbon price because they do not have their own carbon pricing that meets federal standards. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has sent a letter to her Saskatchewan counterpart, Dustin Duncan, that says the Ottawa has set aside $12 million for “energy efficiency investments” in the province’s schools. It says the funding will be allocated to school boards through a per-student formula. “In order to get those investments to Saskatchewan’s schools, our respective governments need to work together,” McKenna’s letter reads. “Specifically, I am asking the government of Saskatchewan to sign an agreement where it will commit, along with the government of Canada, to flow those dollars to Saskatchewan’s school boards to improve energy efficiency in schools across the province.” Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

$60 million from federal carbon tax to go to green projects in schools

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:57
OTTAWA - A portion of the proceeds of the federal carbon tax will go to fund green projects at schools in four provinces, but the fate of the program depends on the co-operation of those provinces’ conservative premiers. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced Tuesday $60 million of the revenue from the federal price on carbon will be spent on elementary and secondary schools in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Those four provinces are subject to the national carbon price because they do not have their own carbon-pricing systems that meet federal standards. The Liberals previously promised 90 per cent of the revenue from the carbon tax is going back to individuals through rebates on their income taxes. The money announced Tuesday is part of the remaining 10 per cent, which is to go to schools, hospitals, small businesses and other institutions - which can’t pass on their own carbon-tax expenses through higher prices - to help develop green projects. “This will improve the learning environment for students, it does right by the planet, and it also helps schools save money that they can reinvest in students,” said McKenna, outside a school in her Ottawa Centre riding. McKenna said replacing old windows and installing solar panels are possible projects for the roughly 6,000 schools that are eligible for a cut of the $60 million, $41 million of which will go to Ontario. Schools in Saskatchewan are set to receive $12 million, Manitoba schools $5 million, and New Brunswick schools $2 million. But whether the money will be spent as promised depends on the goodwill of conservative premiers in the four provinces affected. Education spending is part of provincial jurisdiction. McKenna said she had sent a letter to those provincial governments informing them of the decision, and emphasized that the federal government doesn’t expect matching funds from the provinces. Federal infrastructure programs usually require provinces to put up a share of projects’ costs. “What we need is an agreement that the provinces will work with the school boards so that we can flow this money,” McKenna said. “We’re hopeful that provinces will recognize this is a good thing.” The environment minister noted the program resembled one cut by the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario when Premier Doug Ford scrapped its cap-and-trade policy. Other conservative governments have challenged the constitutionality of the federal carbon price, and Saskatchewan’s case is set to be heard at the Supreme Court late this year. Last week, the government of Alberta also launched a court challenge. Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press

Driver pleads not guilty in motorcycle crash that killed 7

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:56
CONCORD, N.H. - A pickup truck driver accused of colliding with a group of motorcyclists, killing seven of them, pleaded not guilty through his lawyer Tuesday to negligent homicide. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was ordered to remain in prevention detention, with a judge citing his past driving record, saying it poses a potential danger to the public and himself. Zhukovskyy earlier waived his right to arraignment, authorities said. The plea was entered by his attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. A jury trial has been scheduled to begin in November. The truck Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Records show Zhukovskyy, who was working for a Massachusetts transport company at the time of the crash, has been stopped twice on suspicion of drunken driving in the past seven years. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor Walmart after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses, and ranged in age from 42 to 62. Four were from New Hampshire, two from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island. Members of the group and relatives of the victims have welcomed the charges against Zhukovskyy but said it would do little to easier their pain. Relatives of Zhukovskyy said they were also suffering and defended him as a good person who didn’t intentionally kill the motorcyclists. They said he was on his way back to Massachusetts from dropping of a shipment of cars and appeared happy to be heading home. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

UN says thousands flee Congo violence, seek asylum in Uganda

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:43
KAMPALA, Uganda - About 7,500 Congolese fleeing violence have arrived in Uganda since the beginning of June, the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday, urging the international community to give more toward humanitarian efforts. People are leaving Congo at a rate of 311 a day, adding pressure on Uganda’s already overstretched facilities, said UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic in Geneva. The situation is made worse because Congo is battling an outbreak of Ebola and there are fears the refugees could be carrying the deadly virus. The refugees are running away from clashes between two ethnic groups - the Hema and the Lendu - in Congo’s northeast Ituri province, an area long plagued by violence and lawlessness. More than 160 people have been killed in two weeks of the violence in several villages of Ituri, according to the local governor. Recent arrivals from Congo “speak of extreme brutality. Armed groups are said to be attacking villages, torching and looting houses, and killing men, women and children,” Mahecic said in a statement. Uganda has long said it keeps its doors open to all refugees. Most Congolese are fleeing via Lake Albert from Ituri, where an estimated 300,000 people have been displaced since early June, according to Mahecic. A refugee reception centre in Uganda is currently home to 4,600 new arrivals, 1,600 more than its maximum intended capacity, he said, noting that “the pace of new arrivals means needs far outstrip what humanitarians are able to deliver.” The violence has been taking place in a remote area of Congo near South Sudan and Uganda where the U.N. says there is limited access for humanitarians. Thousands of people are said to be sleeping in the open and without any kind of food aid. Authorities believe the perpetrators were militia fighters from the Lendu community. Congo’s military believes they are linked to Mathieu Ngudjolo, who was acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in 2012. Untold thousands of people lost their lives in conflicts between Lendu and Hema communities between 1999 and 2004, according to experts. U.N. peacekeepers were dispatched to Congo to try to maintain order and remain in the region combatting various rebel groups. New unrest was seen in 2017 and 2018. Congo has one of the world’s largest numbers of displaced people, with some 4.5 million having fled various conflicts across the vast central African nation. Another part of eastern Congo, North Kivu, faces a stubborn Ebola epidemic. Health workers there have been repeatedly attacked, hampering efforts to contain the spread of the viral disease that has killed over 1,400 people since August. Earlier this month a family crossed the border to Uganda and two subsequently died of Ebola. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa Rodney Muhumuza, The Associated Press

Bulgari exhibit in Rome features “La Dolce Vita”-era jewels

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:39
ROME - Glamorous jewelry and vintage fashion from the “La Dolce Vita” era are the star attractions of Bulgari’s new exhibition in Rome. The exhibition “Bvlgari, the story, the dream” includes the diamond-and-sapphire sautoir necklace that Hollywood star Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor during their stormy love affair. The exhibition is hosted in two historical palazzos, Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo. Palazzo Venezia tells the brand’s history, beginning with its founding by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari. The glamour comes in at Castel Sant’Angelo, where the “Hollywood and the Tiber” section features jewels owned or worn by legendary actresses including Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Audrey Hepburn. The installations also feature vintage haute couture pieces from the collection of Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini, with items from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Schiaparelli. The show runs until Nov. 3. The Associated Press

Driver pleads not guilty in motorcycle crash that killed 7

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:33
CONCORD, N.H. - A pickup truck driver accused of colliding with a group of motorcyclists, killing seven of them, pleaded not guilty through his lawyer Tuesday to negligent homicide. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was ordered to remain in prevention detention, with a judge citing his past driving record, saying it poses a potential danger to the public and himself. Zhukovskyy earlier waived his right to arraignment, authorities said. The plea was entered by his attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. The truck Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Records show Zhukovskyy, who was working for a Massachusetts transport company at the time of the crash, has been stopped twice on suspicion of drunken driving in the past seven years. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor Walmart after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses, and ranged in age from 42 to 62. Four were from New Hampshire, two from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island. Members of the group and relatives of the victims have welcomed the charges against Zhukovskyy but said it would do little to easier their pain. Relatives of Zhukovskyy said they were also suffering and defended him as a good person who didn’t intentionally kill the motorcyclists. They said he was on his way back to Massachusetts from dropping of a shipment of cars and appeared happy to be heading home. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

Fertility doc used own sperm to inseminate patients: medical regulator

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:09
TORONTO - Ontario’s medical regulator says a fertility doctor used his own sperm to inseminate several patients as well as the wrong sperm with several others, finding that he committed professional misconduct. A discipline committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is now being asked to revoke Dr. Bernard Norman Barwin’s medical licence. An uncontested statement of facts read before the committee lays out the cases of more than a dozen patients who say they suffered irreparable harm as a result of Barwin’s actions. The 80-year-old, who did not attend the hearing, pleaded no contest to the allegations through his lawyer. According to the statement of facts, an expert retained by the college to review Barwin’s case found it was unlikely the doctor’s use of his own sperm was accidental. Barwin had previously been disciplined for artificially inseminating several women with the wrong sperm, admitting to professional misconduct when he appeared before committee in 2013. At the time, Barwin said errors in his practice had left three patients with children whose biological fathers were not the ones they intended. The committee then suspended him from practising medicine for two months, but Barwin gave up his licence the following year. Barwin faced fresh allegations today of incompetence, failing to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and of engaging in dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. If the committee decides to revoke Barwin’s licence, other medical regulators would be alerted should he apply to practise medicine elsewhere. Barwin is also facing a proposed class-action lawsuit launched by several of his patients. The lawsuit alleges more than 50 children were conceived after their mothers were inseminated with the wrong sperm, including 11 with Barwin’s. The Canadian Press

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