News Talk 650 CKOM

Subscribe to News Talk 650 CKOM feed
Saskatoon's Number One News and Information Station - News, Talk, Sports, Traffic, and Weather
Updated: 33 min 24 sec ago

Iran slams new US sanctions, says they mean end of diplomacy

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 23:47
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration over new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and other top officials, with the Foreign Ministry saying the measures spell “permanent closure” of diplomacy between Tehran and Washington. President Donald Trump enacted the new sanctions on Monday against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates. U.S. officials also said they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency on Tuesday quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying that Trump’s move means the end of diplomacy between the two countries. “The fruitless sanctions on Iran’s leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration,” Mousavi said. Washington says the measures were taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups. This comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. Mousavi’s statement echoed that of Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, who warned on Monday that the situation in the Persian Gulf is “very dangerous” and said any talks with the U.S. are impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation. Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy at the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, said the Trump administration’s aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations. The sanctions follow Iran’s downing last week of a U.S. surveillance drone, worth over $100 million, over the Strait of Hormuz, an attack that sharply escalated the crisis in the Persian Gulf. After the downing of the drone, Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes but continued his pressure campaign against Iran. Trump last year re-imposed sanction on Iran after pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear pact that world powers made with Tehran in 2015. Other nations stayed in the deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The latest round of sanctions denies Khamenei and senior Iranian military figures access to financial resources and blocks their access to any financial assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction. Trump said the new sanctions are not only in response to the downing of the American drone. The U.S. has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers this month near the Strait of Hormuz. Citing those episodes and intelligence about other Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. The sanctions were announced as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was holding talks in the Middle East with officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia about building a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries to counter Iran. Pompeo is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal. Nasser Karimi, The Associated Press

Iran: New US sanctions permanently close road for diplomacy

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 23:14
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says the new U.S. sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and other top officials mean the “permanent closure” of diplomacy between Tehran and Washington. That’s according to a report carried by the state-run IRNA news agency on Tuesday, quoting the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi. Mousavi says the “fruitless sanction on Iran’s leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration.” Trump enacted new sanctions Monday targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. U.S. officials also say they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. This comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over its unraveling nuclear deal and as Iran last week shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. The Associated Press

Puppy who disappeared after crash found 13 days later

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 22:21
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A recently adopted puppy that disappeared after her owner crashed in Arizona survived 13 days in the mountains and has been reunited with her owner. The Arizona Daily Sun reports volunteers found Bella, a 4-month-old mixed yellow lab, almost two weeks after driver Michael Crocker rolled over his SUV off the historic Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Crocker was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix after crashing his GMC Yukon Denali on May 14 but Bella was nowhere to be found. Cocker and Bella were on a cross-country trip from Alabama to Southern California. A Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team member found the whimpering pup not too far from the crash site of broken glass and car parts. Officials say Crocker and Bella are recovering together in Southern California. ___ Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/ The Associated Press

Yanks HR in 27th straight to match record, beat Jays 10-8

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 22:05
NEW YORK - The Yankees’ most recent power feat qualifies as “obscure” to manager Aaron Boone. Just not unexpected. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton stretched New York’s home run streak to a record-tying 27 games, and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-8 Monday night. Hicks and Stanton each hit three-run drives, and New York matched the mark set by Alex Rodriguez and the 2002 Texas Rangers. “Nothing surprises me that they do,” Boone said about his club, which set a major league record last year with 267 homers. “I wouldn’t set out to predict they’re going to break that one. That’s kind of an obscure one. But now that it’s happened, with our group, does it surprise me? No.” “It’s kind of what we do,” Hicks added. CC Sabathia (5-4) pitched six innings of two-run ball for his 251st career victory. He threw 104 pitches, his most in a game since 2016, and struck out a season-high nine. The 38-year-old left-hander whiffed Billy McKinney with his final pitch, earning a big roar from the Bronx crowd. Stanton hit his shot during a seven-run sixth inning for his first homer in a season spoiled by various injuries. The Yankees batted around during that inning, their fourth time turning over the order in the past week. The blowout came a night after New York ended its eight-game winning streak. Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez (3-10) allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. Toronto had won three of four. Hicks turned on Sanchez’s fastball in the fifth inning to make it 3-2 with his fifth homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres led off the next inning with consecutive singles, and then the Yankees were off. DJ LeMahieu - who matched a career high with four hits - had a single, Luke Voit had an RBI double and Gregorius singled again before reliever Sean Reid-Foley finally ended the frame with New York up 10-3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit his 10th homer for Toronto leading off the eighth. Nine of those have come in 29 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on May 24. Gurriel’s shot was the first of five straight hits allowed by Jonathan Holder - the last was a grand slam by Freddy Galvis. The right-hander was pulled after that without getting an out. Gurriel batted again during the five-run inning and struck out on three pitches against Adam Ottavino. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman allowed an unearned run during the ninth but got his 22nd save. “We don’t quit,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We made them use their setup man, their closer. So outstanding. I love this team.” Sanchez looked sharp early, especially when he back-doored running fastballs to Voit and Hicks for consecutive looking strikeouts in the third. “He pitched better than what his numbers show for sure,” Montoyo said. “He had his good stuff.” JUNIOR JAYS Sabathia struck out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the second inning. He also struck out Guerrero’s Hall of Fame father 10 times, last in 2011. “When I’m facing Cavan Biggio and Vlad Jr., it’s time for me to go home,” Sabathia said. ROUGHED UP Holder has allowed 11 runs in his past six outings. He was optioned to Triple-A after the game. “Something has to change,” Holder said. “I have to make a change.” SAY EH? Toronto centre fielder Randal Grichuk tracked Gary Snchez’s 114 mph line drive over his head and made an impressive catch with his back facing home plate to end the third inning. HAPPY HUGHES, HAPPY GILMORE Jack Hughes attended the game three days after being selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils in the NHL draft. The American hockey player even posed for a photo with comedian Adam Sandler. LONDON LOOKAHEAD Boone announced RHP Masahiro Tanaka will start the first of New York’s two games this weekend in London against the Boston Red Sox. The team has not decided on a starter for the second game. DEIVI DOUBLE Top Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia had a second straight electric start with Double-A Trenton. After striking out 15 over six innings of scoreless, one-hit ball last week, he struck out nine over five innings during a combined no-hitter Monday. UP NEXT The Yankees may use an opener against Toronto LHP Clayton Richard (0-3, 7.46), but Boone wasn’t sure yet who would pitch. ___ Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jake Seiner, The Associated Press

Police release more than 1,000 files from Smollett probe

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 21:57
Chicago police on Monday released more than 1,000 files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including video footage that for the first time shows the “Empire” actor with a thin, white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose. The footage from body cameras worn by police officers who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has Smollett’s face blurred out because, as police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. The footage shows officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asks him, “Do you want to take it off or anything?” “Yeah, I do. I just wanted you all to see it,” Smollett says before unwinding the rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter. Police have said he told them the attackers wrapped the rope around his neck. In the video, he tells officers that the attackers poured bleach on him. After he is informed about the recording Smollett says he doesn’t want to be filmed and the camera is turned off. In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets. As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents. On Feb. 1, Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki urged investigators to confirm key information given by Smollett about the night in question: “Verify and I mean verify that the victim got off a plane at O’Hare. Big issue if that was a lie. CALL me as soon as this is completed.” It was, in fact, confirmed. Then on Feb. 25, a sergeant sent an email saying that she’d received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. “He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject,” the email reads. “The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted).” The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the Chicago Police Department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras. Police collected the footage as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor. The department released footage that shows the two brothers, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, in a cab the night of the incident. Both are wearing what appear to be light-colored hazmat suits and gloves, with one of the brothers tightening his around his face. There is also footage of officers handcuffing the brothers - who have acknowledged participating in a staged attack - on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained. Monday’s release of documents and video files was not expected to shed much new light on what happened - largely because so much information has already been made public in the case. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career. Also, in the wake of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office’s stunning announcement in March that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the Police Department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx’s office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications. Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working. Among the footage released Monday is that of Smollett’s creative director Frank Gatson meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high-rise apartment building and giving them a summary of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett’s apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional. “They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck,” he tells officers. On Monday, Smollett’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in the sixth and final season of “Empire.” ___ Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit. ___ Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case. Don Babwin And Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 21:53
LONGUEUIL, Que. - David Saint-Jacques returned to Earth on Monday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station. The native of Saint-Lambert, Que., has set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days. The Canadian astronaut was joined by NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko aboard a Soyuz capsule that landed in Kazakhstan. Saint-Jacques’ mission began ahead of schedule on Dec. 3, when he was part of the first crewed Soyuz mission following a rocket mishap in October that forced a spacecraft carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing. Saint-Jacques, 49, took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk in April and a “cosmic catch” of SpaceX Dragon cargo using Canadarm2 - the first time a Canadian astronaut has operated the robotic arm to perform the feat. The engineer, astrophysicist and family doctor also oversaw science experiments and had numerous discussions with kids across the country during his mission. In his final days of the flight, Saint-Jacques said he was refamiliarizing himself with the Soyuz craft that had been parked for the duration of their stay and took them home starting Monday afternoon. He tweeted over the weekend the craft was in fine form despite being parked for six months. “It will take a few hours but we’ll fall back to Earth - literally,” Saint-Jacques explained to reporters last week. “After crossing into Earth’s atmosphere, the parachutes will open, we’ll land in Kazakhstan and be picked up by Russian team and taken to the airport where we’ll return to Houston to be reunited with our families.” When the crew established contact with the search-and-recovery forces right before landing they said they were doing well. NASA described the landing as “picture perfect” as the capsule descended in Kazakhstan at 10:47 p.m. ET. Saint-Jacques was the last to be carried out of the capsule and he gave a thumbs-up as he emerged. The crew were offered water and fresh fruit as they sat in chairs about four metres away from the capsule before being taken away for initial medical checks.  Saint-Jacques, who is married and has three young children, earlier said he was looking forward to seeing his family again. He’d told reporters he was aware of the physical challenges that await him after six months in zero gravity, which include blood circulation problems, muscle pains and an elongated spine that will return to normal. It could mean trouble walking and moving around for a while. Saint-Jacques’ recovery is first and foremost on the minds of Canadian Space Agency officials. “A big aspect for us here at the agency is to prepare his return in the next few weeks - rehabilitation, physical reconditioning, adapting back to life at 1G,” said Gilles Leclerc, the agency’s director of space exploration. Saint-Jacques is expected to take part in a news conference on Friday from Houston and will return to Canada in mid-July to visit the agency, just south of Montreal. As for the next mission, Leclerc said negotiations are underway to have another member of the corps serve aboard the International Space Station before 2024. - By Hina Alam in Vancouver and Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal The Canadian Press

Police release more than 1,000 files from Smollett probe

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 21:28
Chicago police on Monday released more than 1,000 files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including video footage that for the first time shows the “Empire” actor with a thin, white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose. The footage from body cameras worn by police officers who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has Smollett’s face blurred out because, as police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. The footage shows officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asks him, “Do you want to take it off or anything?” “Yeah, I do. I just wanted you all to see it,” Smollett says before unwinding the rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter. Police have said he told them the attackers wrapped the rope around his neck. In the video, he tells officers that the attackers poured bleach on him. After he is informed about the recording Smollett says he doesn’t want to be filmed and the camera is turned off. In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets. As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents. On Feb. 1, Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki urged investigators to confirm key information given by Smollett about the night in question: “Verify and I mean verify that the victim got off a plane at O’Hare. Big issue if that was a lie. CALL me as soon as this is completed.” It was, in fact, confirmed. Then on Feb. 25, a sergeant sent an email saying that she’d received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. “He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject,” the email reads. “The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted).” The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the Chicago Police Department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras. Police collected the footage as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor. The department released footage that shows the two brothers, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, in a cab the night of the incident. Both are wearing what appear to be light-colored hazmat suits and gloves, with one of the brothers tightening his around his face. There is also footage of officers handcuffing the brothers - who have acknowledged participating in a staged attack - on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained. Monday’s release of documents and video files was not expected to shed much new light on what happened - largely because so much information has already been made public in the case. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career. Also, in the wake of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office’s stunning announcement in March that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the Police Department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx’s office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications. Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working. Among the footage released Monday is that of Smollett’s creative director Frank Gatson meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high-rise apartment building and giving them a summary of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett’s apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional. “They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck,” he tells officers. On Monday, Smollett’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in the sixth and final season of “Empire.” ___ Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit. ___ Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case. Don Babwin And Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

CP NewsAlert: Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 21:04
LONGUEUIL, Que. - David Saint-Jacques returned to Earth on Monday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station. The native of Saint-Lambert, Que., has set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days.   The Canadian Press

Lithgow, Bening and more stars perform Mueller report

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 20:35
LOS ANGELES - John Lithgow joined the growing list of actors who have taken on the role of President Donald Trump, portraying the world leader in a live reading of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Against the backdrop of the ornate altar of New York City’s Riverside Church, a cast of Hollywood A-listers participated in a live reading of portions of the Mueller report Monday night called “The Investigation: A Search for Truth in Ten Acts.” The reading was streamed on the Law Works website . The reading also featured Kevin Kline as Mueller, Joel Grey as Jeff Sessions, Jason Alexander as Chris Christie, and Alfre Woodard as Hope Hicks. Annette Bening narrated, and Mark Hamill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Sigourney Weaver made recorded video appearances. Others who joined the cast included Alyssa Milano, Zachary Quinto, Ben McKenzie, Michael Shannon, Justin Long, Piper Perabo, and more. Lacking a set, the reading rested on the chops of the veteran actors, who sat behind music stands wrapped in patriotic bunting and stood when it was their turn to speak. The actors’ charismatic rendering of the lengthy report garnered bursts of laughter and buzz from the audience. “The Investigation” was created by Emmy-nominated playwright, screenwriter and actor Robert Schenkkan. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his play “The Kentucky Cycle,” and his play “All the Way” won a Tony award in 2014. The Law Works is an organization that advocates for bipartisan legislation and educates the public on the workings of the United States judicial system, including the role of the special counsel. Mueller wrote in his report released in April that there was not enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, but said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report examined several situations in which Trump attempted to influence or curtail Mueller’s investigation. Katie Campione, The Associated Press

Police release more than 1,000 files from Smollett probe

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 20:27
Chicago police on Monday released more than 1,000 files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including video footage that for the first time shows the “Empire” actor with a thin, white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose. The footage from body cameras worn by police officers who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has Smollett’s face blurred out because, as police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. The footage shows officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asks him, “Do you want to take it off or anything?” “Yeah,” says Smollett, before unwinding the rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter. Police have said he told them the attackers wrapped the rope around his neck. In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets. As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents. On Feb. 1, Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki urged investigators to confirm key information given by Smollett about the night in question: “Verify and I mean verify that the victim got off a plane at O’Hare. Big issue if that was a lie. CALL me as soon as this is completed.” It was, in fact, confirmed. Then on Feb. 25, a sergeant sent an email saying that she’d received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. “He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject,” the email reads. “The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted).” The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the Chicago Police Department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras. Police collected the footage as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor. The department released footage that shows the two brothers, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, in a cab the night of the incident. Both are wearing what appear to be light-colored hazmat suits and gloves, with one of the brothers tightening his around his face. There is also footage of officers handcuffing the brothers - who have acknowledged participating in a staged attack - on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained. Monday’s release of documents and video files was not expected to shed much new light on what happened - largely because so much information has already been made public in the case. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career. Also, in the wake of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office’s stunning announcement in March that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the Police Department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx’s office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications. Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working. Among the footage released Monday is that of Smollett’s creative director Frank Gatson meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high-rise apartment building and giving them a summary of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett’s apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional. “They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck,” he tells officers. On Monday, Smollett’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in the sixth and final season of “Empire.” ___ Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit. ___ Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case. Don Babwin And Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

Canadian David Saint-Jacques on his way back to Earth after space mission

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 19:57
LONGUEUIL, Que. - David Saint-Jacques was on his way back to Earth on Monday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station. The Canadian astronaut was joined by NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko aboard a Soyuz capsule that was expected to land Monday night. Saint-Jacques’ mission began ahead of schedule on Dec. 3, when he was part of the first crewed Soyuz mission following a rocket mishap last October that forced a spacecraft carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing. The native of Saint-Lambert, Que., will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the three astronauts undocked from the space station without incident from the orbiting laboratory at 7:25 p.m. EDT Monday. It was scheduled to land in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Saint-Jacques, 49, took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk in April and a “cosmic catch” of SpaceX Dragon cargo using Canadarm2 - the first time a Canadian astronaut has operated the robotic arm to perform the feat. The engineer, astrophysicist and family doctor also oversaw science experiments and had numerous discussions with kids across the country during his mission. In his final days, Saint-Jacques said he was refamiliarizing himself with the Soyuz craft that has been parked for the duration of their stay and was to take them home starting Monday afternoon. He tweeted over the weekend the craft was in fine form despite being parked for six months. “It will take a few hours but we’ll fall back to Earth - literally,” Saint-Jacques explained to reporters last week. “After crossing into Earth’s atmosphere, the parachutes will open, we’ll land in Kazhakstan and be picked up by Russian team and taken to the airport where we’ll return to Houston to be reunited with our families.” The married father of three young children said he was looking forward to seeing his family again. Saint-Jacques told reporters he’s aware of the physical challenges that await after six months in zero gravity, including blood circulation problems, muscle pains and an elongated spine that will return to normal. It could mean trouble walking and moving around for a while. Saint-Jacques’ recovery is first and foremost on the minds of Canadian Space Agency officials. “A big aspect for us here at the agency is to prepare his return in the next few weeks - rehabilitation, physical reconditioning, adapting back to life at 1G,” said Gilles Leclerc, the agency’s director of space exploration. Saint-Jacques is expected to take part in a news conference on Friday from Houston and will return to Canada in mid-July to visit the agency, just south of Montreal. As for the next mission, Leclerc said negotiations are underway to have another member of the corps serve aboard the International Space Station before 2024. The Canadian Press

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam captures most improved player award

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 19:54
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has won the NBA’s most improved player award. Siakam, who helped the Raptors win their first NBA championship this month, beat out D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings for the honour at the NBA Awards show Monday night. He is the first Raptor to earn the honour. Siakam averaged 16.9 points per game in his third year in the NBA this past season, up from 7.3 last year. The native of Cameroon was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup after coming off the bench most of last year. “I want to thank the Toronto Raptors for believing in me - a little scrawny kid from Cameroon,” said Siakam when he recieved the award. Siakam also thanked his family, who was in the audience, for their support. He said he gets his work ethic from his mom, who he called “superwoman.” “For the people who know my story, also know how important my dad is and him not being able to be here today,” said Siakam, whose father was killed in a car accident in 2014. “He had this crazy dream … that this would be possible and me being here,” said Siakam. “I’m just blessed to be able to make his dream a reality.” While the awards are given for regular-season performances, Siakam also made a big leap in the playoffs. He average 19 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 2019 playoffs, up from 6.6 and 3.6 last year. Siakam, 25, was picked 27th overall out of New Mexico State in 2016. Raptors president Masai Ujiri said the award recognizes the countless hours Pascal spent in the gym working on his game and his contributions to the team. “We are so proud of Pascal,” Ujiri said. “His story is amazing and it shows what hard work and belief in yourself can do. We first met him at Basketball Without Borders in 2012, and seven years later, he is an NBA champion.” The Canadian Press

NewsAlert: Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam captures most improved player award

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 19:25
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has won the NBA’s most improved player award. Siakam, who helped the Raptors win their first NBA championship this month, beat out D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings for the honour on Monday night. He is the first Raptor to earn the honour. Siakam averaged 16.9 points per game in his third year in the NBA this past season, up from 7.3 last year. The native of Cameroon was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup after coming off the bench most of last year. While the awards are given for regular-season performances, Siakam also made a big leap in the playoffs. He average 19 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 2019 playoffs, up from 6.6 and 3.6 last year. Siakam, 25, was picked 27th overall out of New Mexico State in 2016. The Canadian Press

Liberals promise $13M for missing, murdered Indigenous women commemorations

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 18:33
OTTAWA - The federal government will fund more than 100 projects to “honour the lives and legacies” of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef announced Monday. Funding for the commemorations will come from a $13-million fund Monsef unveiled in Winnipeg, though the limited range of recipients concerned the commissioners of the national inquiry who reported on the subject at the beginning of June. “Our government is listening to survivors and families who have told us that in order to move forward meaningfully, we must also pause to remember and honour those who are missing and whose lives have been lost,” Monsef said in a statement.  “That is what we are doing by supporting these commemorative projects across Canada - ensuring that we will never forget our sisters in spirit and that we can prevent such tragedies in the future.” Monsef said the approved projects include events, activities and creative works organized by First Nations, friendship centres and social-service agencies that help Indigenous people. Besides women and girls, they’re supposed to honour the lives of LGBT and two-spirit people who’ve suffered similarly. Some examples: - One $493,000 project is to bring families together in 13 Inuit communities in Manitoba, Nunavut and Labrador to hold healing sewing circles and make red parkas to commemorate loved ones who are missing or known to have been murdered. - A $150,000 grant to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre will support performances in three cities of an opera, “Missing,” by Metis-Dene playwright Marie Clements. - A $200,000 project led by the Ontario Native Women’s Association will see art exhibitions in four cities to honour the lives of the missing and murdered in Ontario. Last winter, the government asked for proposals for commemorations. The inquiry’s interim report in 2017 called on the federal government to establish such a fund in co-operation with Indigenous organizations, “family coalitions, Indigenous artists, and grassroots advocates.” Approvals were underway when the national inquiry issued its final report in early June. In that report, the inquiry commissioners said they were glad to see the government funding these projects, but weren’t pleased that only “legally constituted organizations” would receive money, leaving out informal and grassroots groups. “This excludes these very same family coalitions and grassroots organizations we wanted to include, who have been organizing around missing and murdered women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people for decades with very little support,” the report said, using an acronym for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual. “It can be a long and onerous process to legally incorporate as an organization; coupled with the very short time frame organizations were given to apply, this almost certainly excludes the very groups we intended this recommendation to reach.” Monsef spokeswoman Justine Villeneuve said the call for projects required that applicants work with communities, survivors and families in conceiving their proposals so they “could define how to help honour the lives and legacies of their loved ones,” and applications also had to explain how survivors and families will be involved in the final work. Also, she said, Indigenous external review committees examined the applications. The government had planned to spend $10 million on the projects but upped the amount to $13 million because of the high demand, she said. David Reevely, The Canadian Press

Tiger Woods removed from for wrongful death lawsuit

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 18:03
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tiger Woods is no longer a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a drunken driver who died in a car crash. Attorneys for the parents of Nicholas Immesberger filed an amended complaint Friday in Palm Beach County court dropping Woods from the suit. The complaint still targets The Woods restaurant in Jupiter, in which the pro golfer is an investor, and restaurant general manager Erica Herman, who is in a relationship with Woods. The lawsuit filed in May says Immesberger, who worked at The Woods, was served excessive amounts of alcohol before the Dec. 10 crash. It says Herman recruited Immesberger as a bartender there despite knowing he was an alcoholic. It alleges restaurant employees, managers and owners let Immesberger drive after being over-served alcohol. The Associated Press

Stroman on Yanks trade speculation: ‘I love bright lights’

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 18:01
NEW YORK - Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman likes pitching in the Bronx, and he’d love it even more if he wasn’t facing the Bombers. Asked Monday at Yankee Stadium about trade speculation connecting him and New York, Stroman stopped short of saying he was hopeful for a deal but insisted he could handle the city’s notoriously tough stage. “I love it, New York’s like the Mecca of the world,” Stroman said. “I love excitement. I love bright lights. I love competition. I love pressure. “I’ve always loved pitching here, even though I haven’t always pitched fairly well here, I’ve always enjoyed it. Yankee lineups are brutal. They’re hard to kind of navigate. But yeah, I love the spotlight. The bigger the moment, that’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” he said. The 28-year-old Stroman is from Long Island and still has family in the area. He was expecting about 40 family and friends for Monday night’s series opener between Toronto and New York, including his brother’s youth baseball team, which came early to watch batting practice. Stroman pitched six scoreless innings against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday and won’t throw during this three-game series. With the AL East-leading Yankees on the prowl for starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline, Stroman is a sensible target. He’s set to become a free agent after next season and is off to a strong start with a 3.04 ERA. He’s just 5-9, but that reflects more on the rebuilding Blue Jays, who came into the day at 31-47. Stroman is 2-5 with a 6.37 ERA in nine career starts at Yankee Stadium. The right-hander said the trade talks have been “hard to kind of grasp,” but he’s had time to let it set in. “Obviously, it’s hard to ignore all the rumours,” he said. “I don’t think I’m at a point where they’re going to sign me long-term. I’ve kind of come to terms with it, but it’s not something I’m thinking about daily.” Asked if he would prefer a trade to New York, Stroman laughed, said “no comment,” then elaborated carefully. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t really want to think about it like that just because I have no idea how it’s going to play out or where it’s going to go. I don’t want to get all my eggs in one basket.” He’s certain he could handle the Bronx, though. “I’m built for this,” he said. “Anybody can say whatever, but I’m built for the bright lights and the moment. I’m not scared of it. I’ve never been. I’ll take that ball each and every time you put pressure on. I love it.” ___ A previous version of this story incorrectly said Stroman was eligible for free agency after this season. He’s not eligible until after next season. ___ Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jake Seiner, The Associated Press

Police release hundreds of files from Smollett investigation

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:41
Chicago police on Monday released hundreds of files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including releasing video footage for the first time of the “Empire” actor wearing a thin white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose. The footage from a body camera worn by a police officer who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has blurred out Smollett’s face because, police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. But footage shows the officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asked him, “Do you want to take it off or anything?” “Yeah,” said Smollett, before unwinding the white rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter. In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets. As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents, with a Feb. 25 email from a sergeant saying that she’d received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. “He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject. The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted).” The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the police department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras that police collected as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor. There is also footage of officers handcuffing the two brothers - who have admitted to their role in the staged attack -on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained. The release of documents and video was not expected to shed much new light on what happened - largely because so much information has already been made public. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career. Also, in the wake of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office’s stunning announcement that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the police department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx’s office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications. Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working. Among the footage released is that of Smollett’s creative director Frank Gaston meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high rise apartment building and giving them a short synopsis of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett’s apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional. “They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck,” he tells officers. ___ Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit. Don Babwin And Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

‘Nothing apparent:’ Dad accused in son’s meningitis death says no obvious signs

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:40
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - A father accused in his son’s death testified Monday that the sick boy’s condition worsened after he had appeared to be doing better, but not to the point where his parents were worried. David Stephan took the stand in a southern Alberta courtroom where he and his wife, Collet, are accused of failing to get medical attention for the toddler. The couple are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died of bacterial meningitis in 2012. The Stephans treated their son with herbal remedies and called an ambulance when he stopped breathing. A jury convicted the couple in 2016, but the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a second trial last year. Stephan, who is acting as his own lawyer, spent more than three hours giving what amounted to a monologue before a Lethbridge judge, who is hearing the case without a jury. Stephan testified that he and his wife thought Ezekiel had croup and appeared to be recovering at their home near Glenwood, Alta. Two weeks before he was rushed to hospital, the toddler’s condition had worsened to the point that they discussed whether their son should get medical attention, Stephan said. But they didn’t think it was serious enough. “I didn’t see a need. The idea was there on the back burner. There was nothing that was concerning or alarming as a parent,” he said. “There was nothing apparent.” Stephan said his wife did call a friend who was a nurse and a midwife. The friend mentioned the possibility Ezekiel might have meningitis but she wasn’t sure. And with a lack of symptoms, Ezekiel probably “would be turned away” if he sought medical attention. Stephan said he was “100 per cent convinced” that Ezekiel had later recovered, but he soon noticed the child had an odd breathing pattern. Then he stopped breathing. “He went down for his nap and he woke up in crisis. His breathing started to get worse,” said Stephan. “I was shocked and confused. He became very tired right before he stopped breathing.” Stephan called 911, but when Ezekiel started breathing again, the father declined an ambulance. About a half hour later, Stephan again called 911 as the family was driving to a hospital. They were met on the highway by an ambulance. Ezekiel was eventually airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Stephan testified he and his wife remained hopeful. “We hoped he’d be leaving hospital in just a couple of days.” Stephan said while they were in Calgary, they were told children’s services believed there might be neglect and there would be an investigation. “We were dumbfounded.” Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Britta Kristensen, Stephan said he had learned from his wife that her friend suggested Ezekiel might have meningitis. “You were made aware that bacterial meningitis was quite serious?” she asked. “Yes I was made aware that with bacterial meningitis you generally have 24 hours before it became a crisis,” Stephan replied. “Do you recall being told that it was a potentially, deadly condition?” Kristensen continued. “That would have been communicated to me.” Stephan also told court that Ezekiel and his older brother didn’t have routine visits with a pediatrician or family doctor, and they didn’t get standard vaccinations. Kristensen asked Stephan if he was aware that the vaccinations would have protected against meningitis. “No,” said Stephan. “I wasn’t really aware of what meningitis was.” Defence lawyer Jason Demers said in a brief opening statement that the Stephans didn’t do anything wrong. “Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Parenting is not like looking into a crystal ball,” Demers said. “Taking Ezekiel to hospital any sooner than the Stephans did may not have made a difference.” - Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Alberta government, Opposition swap accusations, attacks in earplug debate

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:24
EDMONTON - Alberta’s earplug debate got louder Monday as the Opposition NDP accused Premier Jason Kenney of lying and sought to have Government House Leader Jason Nixon found in contempt of the legislature. “The premier is lying and his house leader was lying. And they’re too comfortable with that,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told reporters prior to question period. In question period, Notley demanded Kenney apologize for handing out earplugs last week as the Opposition criticized a bill that cancels some bargaining rights for 180,000 public sector workers. Notley called the move disrespectful to the legislature and to the workers affected by the bill, and said it was compounded by Kenney and his United Conservatives later offering up three contradictory explanations for it. “This premier lowered the bar once again in his display of disrespect for the people of Alberta,” said Notley. “They literally plugged their ears when Opposition members raised the concerns of these 180,000 Albertans. “Then they changed their story about it repeatedly.” Kenney responded, “The only apology in this place should be coming from the NDP for their constant, vicious harassment of ministers verbally, their bullying tactics (and) their name calling.” Kenney’s office declined to respond to Notley’s accusation of lying. The earplug imbroglio took place close to midnight last Wednesday during what became an all-night debate to push through passage of the bill. NDP member Thomas Dang said that as he stood in the house to criticize the bill, he watched Kenney walk up and down the aisles gleefully handing out neon earplugs to caucus members. About six members wore the earplugs, Dang said, including Nixon. The next day, Kenney’s office admitted in a statement to distributing the earplugs, but said it was done in lighthearted fun to boost morale. In the house, Nixon also issued a blanket denial: “Nobody from the government plugged their ears during debate.” A day later, Kenney offered up a medical reason. He told CBC that he handed out earplugs to one backbench legislature member who suffers from tinnitus because he may have been suffering in the loud debate. Later Monday, the NDP made the rare move of asking Speaker Nathan Cooper to find Nixon in contempt of the legislature for deliberately misleading the house in what is known as a point of privilege. NDP house leader Deron Bilous said Nixon misled the house last Thursday when he said nobody from the government plugged their ears. Nixon responded that the only one given earplugs was a backbench UCP member, who is not technically part of government. However, Nixon did not address the fact that he, as a cabinet minister, is part of the government and that both Dang and NDP whip David Eggen said they saw him during debate wearing earplugs. Cooper is expected to rule on the issue Tuesday. Also Monday, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees filed a lawsuit against the bill. The legislation defers mandated wage arbitration for the AUPE until November, and the union argues that violates constitutionally guaranteed bargaining rights. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Second Banff grizzly dies after being struck by vehicle: Parks Canada

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:15
BANFF, Alta. - Motorists in Banff National Park are being urged to heed speed limits and report wildlife sightings after the second grizzly bear in three weeks died from a vehicle strike. A female yearling was found Saturday limping on the road leading to the Sunshine Village ski resort, Banff resource conservation manager Bill Hunt told reporters Monday.   The animal had an open compound fracture on her right hind leg, an injury to her right front paw and was severely emaciated. Parks Canada staff euthanized her the next day. Ten days earlier, someone reported a family of grizzlies around where the Trans-Canada Highway meets the Sunshine access road. They were on the wrong side of a fence meant to keep wildlife from the highway. “The fence along the TransCanada highway through Banff helps deter wildlife from accessing the highway. But it is not impermeable,” Hunt said. “Motorists still need to respect speed limits and be extremely cautious on all roadways. Together we can contribute to the successful co-existence of people and wildlife.” Parks Canada investigators found blood on the highway near where the bears were spotted, leading them to conclude there had been a vehicle strike. No one reported the collision itself to Parks Canada. Hunt said if motorists see animals on the highway or hit one, they should report it quickly. “In a case like this, even if it didn’t change the outcome, it would have prevented 10 days of suffering for this animal.” It’s believed the bear that died was with a grown female and another yearling. Video images suggest the other two bears survived and are in good health, Hunt said. Hunt said there are more bears in the valley around this time of year because it’s still snowy at high elevations. He said there have not been an abnormal number of deaths this year of other animals along the highway, such as elk or sheep. On June 4, a male grizzly was hit by a semi-truck on Highway 93 South near the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff. That was the first human-caused grizzly death in the national park in five years. “I’m hopeful that this is more of a coincidence than a pattern,” Hunt said of the two recent deaths. “Certainly when we look over the longer-term data, we’ve had quite good luck in recent years.” - By Lauren Krugel in Calgary The Canadian Press

Pages