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: 6 min 44 sec ago

Lawyer: Gooding Jr.’s accuser ‘troubled,’ groping case bogus

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:12
NEW YORK - Cuba Gooding Jr.’s lawyer is urging a judge to dismiss the forcible touching case that landed the actor in handcuffs two weeks ago, arguing that witnesses and security video contradict a woman’s allegations that he groped her at a New York City night spot. Lawyer Mark Heller is also taking aim at the 29-year-old accuser’s credibility, filling court papers filed ahead of a Wednesday hearing with quotes from what he said are blog posts that portray a woman with a “troubled mentality,” the lawyer said. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined comment. Gooding, 51, is accused of placing his hand on the woman’s breast and squeezing it without her consent June 9 at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square. She told police she believed that Gooding, the Oscar-winning star of “Jerry Maguire,” was intoxicated at the time. Gooding was arrested four days later after turning himself in to police. He pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges at a night court arraignment and was released on his own recognizance after about six hours in police custody. A conviction in the New York case could put Gooding behind bars for up to a year. Heller contends the woman, who has not been identified by police or prosecutors, wanted revenge against Gooding after feeling rejected and rebuffed by him and his girlfriend, who asked her to leave them alone after spotting her following them around. Video obtained by TMZ that the website says is from inside the bar on the night in question appears to show Gooding putting his hand on or near a woman’s leg and breast as they sit on a couch with his girlfriend between them. Gooding is then seen pulling the woman’s hand to his lips, as if to kiss it, and leaning toward her before another man steps up and talks with them. Gooding’s girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, and a man seen approaching Gooding after the alleged incident said in affidavits filed with Heller’s dismissal motion that they did not see Gooding touch the woman’s breast. John Baeza, a retired NYPD sex crimes detective hired by Heller to analyze security video of the alleged incident, said in an affidavit accompanying the court papers that he studied the footage frame-by-frame and concluded that it does not show Gooding putting his hand on the accuser’s breast. Heller said the accuser initially told police she was “partying with Cuba Gooding Jr.” and claimed that Gooding groped her while she was handing him a glass of water, leading to a verbal dispute. None of that was true, Heller said, and the woman ended up revising her story. He said witnesses who disputed the groping allegations weren’t interviewed by police before Gooding’s arrest. Summarizing his argument, Heller wrote: “The interests of justice are SCREAMING OUT” for Gooding’s exoneration. __ Follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press

Monarchy cost British taxpayers $85.2 million last year

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 17:11
LONDON - Buckingham Palace says the monarchy cost British taxpayers 67 million pounds ($85.2 million) during 2018-19, a 41% increase on the previous financial year. The number rose primarily because of higher levels of spending devoted to critical renovations for Buckingham Palace in London. The iconic structure is in the second year of a 10-year project after a Treasury report concluded the building’s infrastructure was in danger of a catastrophic failure. The total Sovereign Grant, which funds Queen Elizabeth II and her household’s official expenses, was 82.2 million pounds, or 1.24 pounds per person in the U.K. That figure includes 15.2 million pounds ($19.3 million) set aside for future phases of the palace renovation. The palace says the royal family took on 3,200 official engagements during 2018-19 and welcomed 160,000 guests to royal palaces and events. The Associated Press

Police release hundreds of files from Smollett investigation

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:52
Chicago police have released hundreds of files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including footage that shows the actor with his face blurred and wearing a white rope he told detectives his attackers looped around his neck. Many files contain surveillance camera footage that police collected as they launched what was initially a hate crime investigation, as well as footage from what appears to be the route police have said the two brothers who participated in the staged January attack took to and from the scene. The release is the latest chapter in a story that began with Smollett’s allegations that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He was eventually arrested on charges that he lied to police, and prosecutors later dismissed the charges. The Associated Press

Top B.C. court upholds ruling that struck down Canada’s solitary confinement law

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:42
VANCOUVER - British Columbia’s top court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Canada’s solitary confinement law as unconstitutional. The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled unanimously Monday that prolonged, indefinite segregation deprives inmates of life, liberty and security of the person in a way that is “grossly disproportionate” to the objectives of the law. “The draconian impact of the law on segregated inmates, as reflected in Canada’s historical experience with administrative segregation and in the judge’s detailed factual findings, is so grossly disproportionate to the objectives of the provision that it offends the fundamental norms of a free and democratic society,” Justice Gregory Fitch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. The panel rejected the federal government’s attempt to overturn the B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling from January 2018 in a challenge brought by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada. Parliament passed a new law on Friday that the government said eliminates segregation, increases mental-health services and Indigenous supports and bolsters independent oversight. The law means prisoners who pose risks to themselves or others will instead be moved to new “structured intervention units” and offered to spend four hours a day outside their cells, with a minimum of two hours to interact with others. It requires regular review of the necessity of each inmate’s continuing confinement. However, B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director Josh Paterson said the new law does not eliminate the possibility of prolonged solitary confinement. “The bill that they passed continues under certain circumstances to allow guards and prison wardens to place prisoners in the very same conditions that gave rise to our win in this case - 22 hours or more a day in a cell the size of a parking spot at a grocery store,” he said. The association’s litigation director Grace Pastine said they believe the new law is unconstitutional and they’re exploring all legal avenues to fight it. The federal government has 30 days to decide whether to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said in a statement that the new law is backed by $448 million in new investments. Inmates in structured intervention units will be entitled to at least two hours daily of meaningful human contact with staff, visitors, elders, chaplains, or other compatible inmates and have access to rehabilitative programming and mental health care, he said. He added that while there are a few limited exceptions in the legislation, such as during a riot or natural disaster, those are exceptional situations, and independent external decision-makers can intervene if a placement is not being managed as the law intends. The challenge in B.C. has been unfolding at the same time as a similar case in Ontario brought by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Ontario’s Court of Appeal placed a hard cap on solitary confinement in prisons, saying inmates can no longer be isolated for more than 15 days. The decision was stayed while Canada worked on passing its replacement law. B.C.’s Appeal Court allowed the government’s appeal in part, saying that while the law should be struck down under the section of the charter that relates to the right to life, liberty and security of the person, it should not be struck down under the section that protects equality rights, in this case of mentally ill and Indigenous inmates, although discrimination had occurred under that section. The court declared that Correctional Services Canada had breached its obligations. The groups brought the original lawsuit to prevent tragic deaths such as the suicide of 19-year-old Ashley Smith after more than a year of continuous solitary confinement in an Ontario prison, Pastine said. “This decision calls out Canada’s long-standing practice of isolating prisoners for weeks, months and even years at a time with no end in sight, a practice that has been condemned around the world as a form of torture,” she said. Former prisoners in this case bravely stepped forward to testify about spending 22 hours or more alone in their cells, she said, adding sometimes their only human contact was when a meal arrived through a slot in the door. “They described feeling depression, panic, difficulties with memory, anxiety, hopelessness, suicidal thought and overall a feeling of being broken,” she said. “They explained to the court how hard it was to adjust to life after prison and after those conditions. They couldn’t leave their room or join their family for a meal. For some, it destroyed their ability to function normally in a free society.” - Follow @ellekane on Twitter. Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Trudeau, other party leaders in Quebec for Fete Nationale celebrations

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:41
MONTREAL - The main federal party leaders spent Monday in Quebec to celebrate the Fete Nationale holiday, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to services for francophones. In his home riding of Papineau, Trudeau was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters - and one loud heckler who criticized his government’s policy in Venezuela - as he attended a street celebration in honour of the June 24 holiday. In a brief statement to reporters, Trudeau said the event was mainly a family celebration, but also a chance to remember the challenges faced by French-speakers across Canada. “One of the themes this year is recognizing francophones who don’t live in Quebec who need support as well, with Conservatives cutting them as well,” he said. The rights of French-speaking minorities are a theme of this year’s celebrations, with some 200 Franco-Ontarians being given the place of honour at the head of this year’s parade. Many francophones were outraged with Ford’s decision last year to roll back some services to French-speakers and cancel plans for a French-language university. Trudeau began his day in east-end Montreal, where he attended a local celebration with his wife and children. He posed for photos and plunked down at picnic tables, and shook hands with Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, who was at the same gathering. The other main federal party leaders were also in Quebec to celebrate Fete Nationale, which is also known as St-Jean-Baptiste Day. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was also in Montreal, where he was expected to attend several neighbourhood celebrations and the main parade. In a statement, he said the day was a chance to “celebrate the continued vibrancy of Quebec’s culture, and pay tribute to its distinctive language, history and traditions.” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in a video message that he was also spending the weekend in the province. His agenda included stops in Quebec City and Sherbrooke, where he delivered a speech to supporters and announced businessman Dany Sevigny as his party’s candidate in the Sherbrooke riding for the fall election. The Canadian Press

Trump signs order that aims to reveal real health care costs

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:40
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that calls for upfront disclosure by hospitals of actual prices for common tests and procedures to help keep costs down . The idea is to give patients practical information that they can use to save money. For example, if a hospital charges your insurer $3,500 for a type of echocardiogram and the same test costs $550 in a doctor’s office, you might go for the lower-price procedure to save on copays. But insurers said the idea could backfire, prompting hospitals that now give deeper discounts to try to raise their own negotiated prices to match what high earners are getting. Hospitals were skeptical of the move. Trump’s order also requires that patients be told ahead of time what their out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copays will be for many procedures. Little will change right away. The executive order calls for a rule-making process by federal agencies, which typically takes months or even years. The details of what information will have to be disclosed and how it will be made available to patients must be worked out as part of writing the regulations. That will involve a complex give-and-take with hospitals, insurers and others affected. Consumers will have to wait to see whether the results live up to the administration’s promises. “For too long it’s been virtually impossible for Americans to know the real price and quality of health care services and the services they receive,” Trump said at the White House. “As a result, patients face significant obstacles shopping for the best care at the best price, driving up health care costs for everyone.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters earlier that the order “will put patients in control by increasing choice and competition.” Lack of information on health care prices is a widespread problem . It’s confusing for patients, and experts say it’s also one of the major factors that push up U.S. costs. The same test or procedure, in the same city, can cost widely different amounts depending on who is performing it and who is paying the bill. Hospital list prices, which are available, don’t reflect what they are paid by insurers and government programs. The health insurance industry said disclosing negotiated prices will only encourage hospitals that are now providing deeper discounts to try to raise their rates to match the top-tier facilities. “Publicly disclosing competitively negotiated proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher - not lower - for consumers, patients, and taxpayers,” Matt Eyles, head of the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement. The Federation of American Hospitals, representing for-profit facilities, warned that if the Trump administration regulations take the “wrong course,” they may “undercut the way insurers pay for hospital services, resulting in higher spending.” While the prices Medicare pays are publicly available, private insurers’ negotiated rates generally are not. Industry officials say such contractual information is tantamount to trade secrets and should remain private. Azar pushed back against that argument, saying insurers do ultimately disclose their payment rates when they send individual patients an “explanation of benefits.” That’s the technical term for the form that patients get after they’ve had a procedure or seen the doctor. “Every time any one of us goes to a doctor or a hospital, within a couple of weeks in our mailbox arrives an explanation of benefits. (It) contains the list price … the negotiated rate … and what your out-of-pocket is,” Azar said. “This is not some great state secret out there.” Patients should have that information ahead of time to help them make decisions, he added. Trump’s executive order also calls for: -expanded uses for health savings accounts, a tax-advantaged way to pay health care bills that has long been favoured by Republicans. Coupled with a lower-premium, high-deductible insurance plan, the accounts can be used to pay out-of-pocket costs for routine medical exams and procedures. -a plan to improve the government’s various health care quality rating systems for hospitals, nursing homes and Medicare Advantage plans. - more access by researchers to health care information, such as claims for services covered by government programs like Medicare. The data would be stripped of details that could identify individual patients. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press

Slurpees incoming! 7-Eleven begins delivery in public spaces

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:40
NEW YORK - Craving a Slurpee but lacking the motivation to get off a park bench? No worries. 7-Eleven launched a delivery service Monday that will send a Slurpee or almost anything else carried by the chain to public places ranging from parks to beaches. The company told The Associated Press that more than 2,000 7-Eleven “hot spots” including New York’s Central Park and Venice Beach in Los Angeles will be activated Monday. Customers need to download 7-Eleven’s 7NOW app and select “Show 7NOW Pins” to find a hot spot close by. 7-Eleven believes it will eventually be able to deliver to 200,000 hot spot locations, said Gurmeet Singh, the company’s chief digital information and marketing officer. Dominos launched a similar service last year, delivering pizzas and more to over 200,000 public locations. 7-Eleven had begun delivering to homes last year when it started getting delivery requests to places away from home where getting a bottle of water may be more tricky, Singh said. “We’ve been on this journey to redefine convenience,” said Singh. “This makes it easy for people to stay in the moment.” The jury is still out on how successful public delivery will be. Jon Reily, vice-president and global commerce strategy lead at Publicis Sapient, says he thinks Domino’s pizza delivery hasn’t created much of a buzz. “It’s a neat idea on paper, sort of Ubering pizza to your location, but I suspect that the logistics of the process is pretty complicated in the real world,” Reily said. The use of drones, however, might be a game changer, Reily said. There’s no minimum order required for a delivery from 7-Eleven. The chain charges a flat delivery fee of $3.99. And for orders under $15, customers pay an extra $1.99. For all orders, it promises average wait time of 30 minutes. 7-Eleven is partnering with Postmates for delivery to public areas. ____ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press

Suit: Generic drug makers used code to fix price increases

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:38
BOSTON - Representatives of some of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers used code words to collude with competitors to divvy up market share and co-ordinate price increases according to a federal lawsuit. The code words were used in internal emails highlighted in the lawsuit filed last month by attorneys general from 43 states and Puerto Rico. The 510-page federal lawsuit was released in full Monday. The lawsuit says the representatives used phrases like “playing nice in the sandbox” and “fluff pricing” in emails to one another. Fluff pricing refers to the practice of offering an inflated price for a drug to create the appearance of competition. The suit alleges that for many years the generic drug makers operated under an agreement not to compete with each other and to settle instead for what these companies referred to as a “fair share” of the market to avoid pushing prices down through competition. Investigators said those involved in the alleged conspiracy tried to cover their tracks. At one point one of the company representatives urged others to talk on the phone, writing “No emails please” in one of the internal emails included in the lawsuit. In another email, representatives from three companies talk about co-ordinating “polite f-u” letters in 2014 in response to a congressional probe into price increases in the generic drug industry. Democratic Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Monday that the companies were engaged in “a brazen, industrywide conspiracy” to artificially inflate prices, hinder competition and unreasonably restrain trade across the industry. About 20 firms were implicated in the conspiracy, investigators said. The alleged conspiracy targeted more than 100 different generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions, according to investigators. Investigators also discovered what they said was an effort by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. to create a ratings system of which companies would be most willing to conspire with Teva. The complaint alleges that an official at Teva did this by systematically conspiring with competitors and maintained a ranking system based on their collusive relationships, with +3 assigned to the most collusive and -3 assigned to the least. A spokeswoman for Teva did not immediately return an email Monday seeking comment. Last month when the filing of the lawsuit was first announced, a representative of Teva said the company hasn’t engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability. The suit says the companies sought not only to maintain their “fair share” of the generic drug market but also to “significantly raise prices on as many drugs as possible.” During a 19-month period beginning in July 2013, the suit says Teva significantly raised prices on approximately 112 different generic drugs and on at least 86 of those drugs colluded with a group it referred to as “high quality” competitors. The suit says that the size of the price increases varied but was over 1,000% for a number of the drugs. The scale of the generic drug market is huge. In 2015, according to the lawsuit, sales of generic drugs in the United States were estimated at $74.5 billion dollars. The generic pharmaceutical industry accounts for nearly 90% of all prescriptions written in the United States. Steve Leblanc, The Associated Press

Driver with record charged with 7 homicides in biker crash

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:23
CONCORD, N.H. - The driver of a pickup truck in a fiery collision on a rural New Hampshire highway that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, and records show he was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving last month and in 2013. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Lancaster, New Hampshire, authorities said. He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a brief court appearance Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts. Zhukovskyy looked down at his feet as he was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in an East Windsor Walmart parking lot after failing a sobriety test. Officers had responded to a complaint about a man who was revving his truck engine and jumping up and down outside the vehicle. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy refused to submit to a blood test, prosecutors said. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle 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, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the last two years, MassLive.com reported . There were two instances where drivers were in possession of narcotic drugs. Other violations including a driver without a commercial driver’s license, one for speeding and another for defective brakes. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment. A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong. Since the accident, the brother-in-law said, Zhukovskyy had remained in his room, not eaten and talked to no one. Defence attorney Donald Frank called Friday’s crash a “tragedy” but said it’s important to let the criminal justice system play out. Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said. The truck was travelling west when it struck the eastbound group of motorcycles. 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. George Loring, a JarHeads member who lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, and was a few hundred yards from the crash, said Zhukovskyy has “got to live with it for the rest of his life.” “Everyone’s suffering so much,” Loring said. “It’s so sad for the brothers and sisters who died. You can be angry at him, you can be whatever. I don’t know. I’m glad he’s been arrested.” Joseph Mazza, whose nephew Albert Mazza Jr. was killed in the crash, welcomed the arrest but called it a poor consolation for the loss of a loved one. “As long as he pays a price. He has caused lot of harm to a lot of families,” Mazza said from his Haverhill home. “If he has a problem, he shouldn’t be on the road. If he is a bad actor, he doesn’t belong on the street. He caused enough of a tragedy. Enough is enough.” Authorities have only said they are investigating the cause of the collision. JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the group had just finished dinner and was heading to a fundraiser at an American Legion post in nearby Gorham. A total of 21 riders and 15 motorcycles were in the group. Mazza, who was riding next to Ribeiro, was among those hit by the truck. “It was just an explosion … with parts and Al and everything flying through the air,” he said. “He turned hard left into us and took out pretty much everyone behind me. The truck and trailer stayed attached and that is why it was so devastating … because the trailer was attached and it was such a big trailer, it was like a whip. It just cleaned us out.” After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the middle of the road before he was taken away by authorities. Motorcycles and bodies were everywhere, he said, and several people were yelling at Zhukovskyy, demanding to know what he had just done. “It was very surreal,” he said, adding that he had put a tourniquet on the leg of one rider who remains hospitalized in Maine. “I saw Al. I knew he was gone right away,” he continued. “At that point, we just tried to figure out who needed help and got to work. There was debris everywhere and the truck was on fire. I was just looking for survivors, familiar faces and trying to find out who I had lost and … trying to help the living.” Zhukovskyy was questioned at the scene of Friday’s crash and allowed to return to Massachusetts, the National Transportation Safety Board has said. Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Mazza, 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts. ___ This story has been updated to correct Zhukovskyy’s hometown to West Springfield, instead of Springfield, and corrects the spelling of his first name to Volodymyr, instead of Volodoymyr, per the attorney general’s office. ___ Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

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

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:14
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 Monself announced Wednesday. 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

Canucks an ‘awesome’ opportunity to provide physicality, leadership: J.T. Miller

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 16:03
VANCOUVER - J.T. Miller wasn’t planning to move across the continent this summer, but he knew a new home was a possibility. Though the 26-year-old forward had a solid outing with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, he was well aware that the franchise had changes to make after the Stanley Cup-favourites were unexpectedly bounced from the first round of the playoffs. So when Miller received a call on Saturday saying he’d been dealt to the Vancouver Canucks, the news wasn’t entirely unexpected. “I understand that the (Lightning’s) season didn’t end up the way anyone wanted it to and with just how tight the cap was, I knew that if the right deal game along that made sense for both teams, I could have been the guy. And obviously that’s what happened,” he said Monday on a conference call. Not only will he be moving more than 5,000 kilometres, Miller and his wife, Natalie, will be doing so with two young kids. Their daughter Scottlynn is just over a year old, while Scarlett was born just six weeks ago.   Still, Miller’s looking forward to playing in Vancouver, saying it’s always been one of his favourite stops on the road because of the beautiful scenery and excellent food. It’s also an “awesome” opportunity to play with a crew of talented young stars, he said. “There’s tons of potential on this team and obviously I’m going to do whatever I can to help push for the playoffs and hopefully get in there,” Miller said. Canucks general manager Jim Benning has long been on the hunt for a top-six forward to bolster the team’s young stars. As a proven veteran who can play all three positions, Miller - a six-foot-one, 218-pound native of East Palestine, Ohio - fit the bill. “He’s a good skater, he can get in on the forecheck. He’s got enough size and strength that he can come up with pucks. He’s got good hands, smart,” Benning said after round two of the NHL draft on Saturday. The trade saw the Canucks send goalie Marek Mazanec to Tampa with a 2019 third-round draft pick and a conditional first-round selection in 2020. If Vancouver doesn’t make the playoffs next season, the pick will become a first-rounder for 2021. Originally selected 15th overall by the Rangers in 2011, Miller spent six seasons in New York before he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2018. Last season he posted 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning. He put up 50-plus point seasons the previous two years in a row. Despite having a down-year points-wise, Miller felt like he played a more complete game in Tampa Bay. He believes he can bring both points and intangibles to Vancouver. “I do think playing consistent hockey goes a long way and it’s not always on the score sheet,” Miller said, adding that he’ll still be pushing to produce offensively. “I never really want to be satisfied with where I’m at.” Where, exactly, Miller will slot into the Canucks lineup remains to be seen, but Benning said he could compliment the NHL’s reigning rookie of the year Elias Pettersson and star right-winger Brock Boeser.   “I think (the trade is) going to help with the development of our kids and help them get to where they need to be and it’s going to improve our team for next season,” Benning said. Though he has yet to hit 30, Miller also thinks he could share some wisdom with the franchise’s up-an-coming crop of stars. “Something that I still want to work at and be better at is being a leader and being that guy that young guys can look up to,” he said. “A lot of these young guys have all the tools for being awesome hockey players and I think that there probably great leaders there already, but (I just want to help) them be able to get the most out of what they bring to the table. There are so many little things that you can pick up here and there that I think I can definitely help with.” Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Driver with record charged with 7 homicides in biker crash

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:55
CONCORD, N.H. - The driver of a pickup truck in a fiery collision on a rural New Hampshire highway that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, and records show he was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving last month and in 2013. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Lancaster, New Hampshire, authorities said. He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a brief court appearance Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts. Zhukovskyy looked down at his feet as he was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in an East Windsor Walmart parking lot after failing a sobriety test. Officers had responded to a complaint about a man who was revving his truck engine and jumping up and down outside the vehicle. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy refused to submit to a blood test, prosecutors said. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle 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, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the last two years, MassLive.com reported . There were two instances where drivers were in possession of narcotic drugs. Other violations including a driver without a commercial driver’s license, one for speeding and another for defective brakes. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment. A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong. Since the accident, the brother-in-law said, Zhukovskyy had remained in his room, not eaten and talked to no one. Defence attorney Donald Frank called Friday’s crash a “tragedy” but said it’s important to let the criminal justice system play out. Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said. The truck was travelling west when it struck the eastbound group of motorcycles. 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. George Loring, a JarHeads member who lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, and was a few hundred yards from the crash, said Zhukovskyy has “got to live with it for the rest of his life.” “Everyone’s suffering so much,” Loring said. “It’s so sad for the brothers and sisters who died. You can be angry at him, you can be whatever. I don’t know. I’m glad he’s been arrested.” Joseph Mazza, whose nephew Albert Mazza Jr. was killed in the crash, welcomed the arrest but called it a poor consolation for the loss of a loved one. “As long as he pays a price. He has caused lot of harm to a lot of families,” Mazza said from his Haverhill home. “If he has a problem, he shouldn’t be on the road. If he is a bad actor, he doesn’t belong on the street. He caused enough of a tragedy. Enough is enough.” Authorities have only said they are investigating the cause of the collision. JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the group had just finished dinner and was heading to a fundraiser at American Legion post in nearby Gorham. A total of 21 riders and 15 motorcycles were in the group. Ten motorcycles, including Mazza, who was riding next to Ribeiro, were hit. “It was just an explosion … with parts and Al and everything flying through the air,” he said. “He turned hard left into us and took out pretty much everyone behind me. The truck and trailer stayed attached and that is why it was so devastating … because the trailer was attached and it was such a big trailer, it was like a whip. It just cleaned us out.” After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the middle of the road before he was taken away by authorities. Motorcycles and bodies were everywhere, he said, and several people were yelling at Zhukovskyy, demanding to know what he had just done. “It was very surreal,” he said, adding that he had put a tourniquet on the leg of one rider who remains hospitalized in Maine. “I saw Al. I knew he was gone right away,” he continued. “At that point, we just tried to figure out who needed help and got to work. There was debris everywhere and the truck was on fire. I was just looking for survivors, familiar faces and trying to find out who I had lost and … trying to help the living.” Zhukovskyy was questioned at the scene of Friday’s crash and allowed to return to Massachusetts, the National Transportation Safety Board has said. Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Mazza, 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts. ___ This story has been updated to correct Zhukovskyy’s hometown to West Springfield, instead of Springfield, and corrects the spelling of his first name to Volodymyr, instead of Volodoymyr, per the attorney general’s office. ___ Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

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

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:53
BANFF, Alta. - The second grizzly bear in three weeks has died after being struck by a vehicle in Banff National Park. Resource conservation manager Bill Hunt says a female yearling was found severely injured Saturday on the road leading to the Sunshine Village ski resort. The animal was euthanized the next day. Hunt says 10 days earlier someone had reported bears by the interchange between the Sunshine road and the Trans-Canada Highway and blood was later seen on the pavement. On June 4, a male grizzly was hit by a semi-truck on Highway 93 South near the Trans-Canada Highway. Hunt is urging motorists passing through the park to obey the speed limit of 90 km/h and report any wildlife strikes to Parks Canada.     The Canadian Press

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in round-of-16 loss to Sweden

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:46
PARIS - Canada’s World Cup campaign ended in the round-of-16 Monday with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sweden that saw the Canadians miss a chance to tie the game from the penalty spot. Fifth-ranked Canada, which came to the tournament with hopes of going far deeper, could not break down the ninth-ranked Swedes as its offence lacked clinical finishing again. The tournament lasted just four games for the Canadian women, with two losses to lower-ranked sides.  The game started as advertised with two disciplined teams cancelling each other out before 38,078 at Parc des Princes. But Stina Blackstenius broke the deadlock in the 55th minute on a Swedish counterattack from a Janine Beckie giveaway. Kosovare Asllanni drove up the field and sent in a cross that defender Shelina Zadorsky couldn’t get to. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe came out but the Swede got a foot to the ball first for the all-important goal. After the Swedish goal, Adriana Leon replaced Nichelle Prince in a bid for more offence. A Sophie Schmidt header went wide but the play went to video review for a Swedish handball from an earlier Desiree Scott shot and Australian referee Kate Jacewicz correctly pointed to the penalty spot. Beckie stepped up, only to have Hedvig Lindahl make a marvellous diving save. While Beckie’s shot was well-aimed, many wondered why captain Christine Sinclair did not take the spot kick. The Swedes offered more offence after their goal and thought they had a penalty in the 81st minute after Ashley Lawrence took down Blackstenius. But the penalty call was reversed on video review thanks to an offside call. Scott cleared a Swedish shot off the line in the dying minutes. Eight-plus minutes of stoppage time went without a goal, giving Sweden the win. Sinclair was on her knees with her face down after the final whistle. After the game, Beckie said Sinclair asked her if she wanted to take the penalty. It was a matchup of the Rio Olympic silver (Sweden) and bronze medallists (Canada) with the gold medallist Germans awaiting the winner on Saturday in Rennes. Second-ranked Germany blanked No. 38 Nigeria 3-0 in Saturday in the first game of the knockout phase. Prince returned to the lineup after sitting out the last group game in the only chance for Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. While the speed of Prince and Beckie offered some Canadian promise early on, chances were few and far between. The Swedes offered little other than the occasional counterattack from a Canadian turnover. At the other end, they sometimes had six defenders in a line. Canada looked for ways to break the Swedes down. A chance for Jessie Fleming some 20 minutes in was wasted with the ball well off-target. Labbe took care of business in the 36th minute, rising high in a crowded six-yard box to punch away a Swedish corner with authority. While Canada had 61 per cent of possession in the first half, it failed to register a shot. Sweden had three shots, none on target. It was the third game of the tournament without a shot in target in the first half. Sinclair was wide on a free kick from distance in the 53rd minute. Canada came into the game with a 5-13-4 record against Sweden, having been outscored 42-24. But the Canadians had won last time out in a 6-5 penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in March in the third-place game at the Algarve Cup. Sinclair was the lone Canadian to miss in the penalty shootout win against Sweden. The Swedes were well-rested, having made seven changes for the final group game against the U.S. Coach Peter Gerhardsson retained just six starters from that game. After the game, an emotional Schmidt was asked how she felt. She replied: “Gutted.” There were several loud pockets of yellow-clad flag-waving Swedes in the 45,600-capacity Parc des Princes. Canadian fans were there in smaller numbers but a solid Maple Leaf contingent was present in one corner and a Canada chant was heard soon after kickoff. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was expected at the game on a hot 29-degree Celsius evening. Canada opened group play by beating No. 46 Cameroon 1-0 and No. 19 New Zealand 2-0 before losing 2-1 to the eighth-ranked Dutch. The Swedes downed No. 39 Chile 2-0 and No. 34 Thailand 5-1 and lost 2-0 to the top-ranked U.S. Sweden came into the game never having lost to Canada at the World Cup or Olympics (2-0-1). The Canadian women made it to the quarterfinals at the 2015 World Cup on home soil, losing 2-1 to England. Canada’s best showing was in 2003 when it finished fourth (after a 2-1 loss to Sweden in the semifinals). Canada has failed to make it out of the preliminary round in four of its seven trips to the tournament. Sweden reached the knockout stage for the seventh time in eight attempts. The Scandinavians had never won a Women's World Cup match that went beyond regular time, losing on penalties to China in the 1995 quarterfinals and after extra time to Germany in the 2003 final. Canada had not experienced extra time at the tournament. Parc des Princes is home to the Paris Saint-Germain men’s team. First opened in 1897, the current stadium dates back to 1972 and has been refurbished twice since, first for the 1998 World Cup and then for Euro 2016. The PSG women, whose roster includes Canadians Lawrence and the newly signed Jordyn Huitema as well as Sweden’s Hanna Glas, play at the nearby Stade Jean-Bouin. Sinclair and Swedish captain Caroline Seger played and roomed together in 2011 while with the Western New York Flash.   Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter   Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Andreescu withdraws from Wimbledon

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:28
LONDON - Bianca Andreescu won’t play at Wimbledon because she needs more time to recover from a shoulder injury. In a Twitter post Monday, Tennis Canada said “Unfortunately due to ongoing shoulder rehab and recovery, Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from Wimbledon.” The 19-year-old Andreescu is Canada’s highest-ranked player at No. 25. Andreescu was seeded 22nd when she withdrew from the French Open ahead of her second-round match against Sofia Kenin because of the right shoulder problem. She won the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March, becoming the first wild-card winner and second-youngest to claim the title in tournament history. Andreescu started the year by reaching the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand following upset wins over Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and Hsieh Su-wei. She then raced from New Zealand to Melbourne to play qualifying for the Australian Open, and made the main draw of the season’s first major. Wimbledon starts next Monday. ___ More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

Celina Caesar-Chavannes says black civil servants passed over for promotions

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:26
OTTAWA - Qualified black Canadians are being passed over for promotions to senior positions in the federal government due to systemic racial barriers, says Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes. Caesar-Chavannes, who is not running for re-election in October, used her final act in the House of Commons last week to shine a light on what she says is discrimination in the civil service. She says in all of Canada’s history, no black person has been appointed as a federal deputy minister, the bureaucratic head of a department. There has also been a “thinning out” of visible minorities at the assistant-deputy-minister level, she said. That’s why she tabled a private member’s bill that would require the Canadian Human Rights Commission to more specifically report annually on the progress - or lack thereof - of government’s efforts to promote black Canadians and other visible minorities to more senior positions within the federal ranks. “It saddens me to know that this is the current state of our federal system,” she said in an interview. She has heard from current and former civil servants who say they have the qualifications to be promoted, but report being passed over for more senior jobs in favour of candidates they say were sometimes less qualified. One man she spoke with had a master’s degree, a chartered professional accountant certification and spoke French, English and German - and yet he couldn’t get promoted to a managerial position.  “They present their credentials to me and they’re frustrated,” Caesar-Chavannes said. “A lot of others have multiple degrees, speak French and English, are dedicated public servants and they’re not able to get ahead. And I think there’s a general sense of frustration.” Caesar-Chavannes had previously tried to get the House of Commons to unanimously adopt a motion asking the government to study barriers facing black federal employees  and to seek to understand their lived experiences. The motion also called on the government to consider implementing equity and anti-racism training for all federal employees. The motion did not receive the necessary support and it was not adopted. Her subsequent private member’s bill, which was seconded by Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould - like Caesar-Chavannes, a former Liberal - streamlined the request to simply call for the Human Rights Commission to provide an annual report to the minister on the progress made in “dismantling systemic barriers that prevent members of visible minorities from being promoted within the federal government.”   The bill will die on the order paper once the election writ is dropped, as will any other bills left unpassed. But she hopes another MP will take up the cause and reintroduce it when Parliament convenes after the election. “Let’s ensure that the largest employer in the country leads by example and sets the tone for other organizations to follow suit,” she said. “Let’s establish some metrics, some criteria by which we can measure ourselves such that our federal public system is reflected, at all levels of management, of the population we serve.” The Human Rights Commission is mandated to look broadly at the representation of visible minorities in federally regulated workplaces, but said in its recent annual report it finds this term in the Employment Equity Act antiquated. It has recently employed new auditing tools to better understand why women, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and racialized groups still face barriers to achieving equal representation in the federal workforce. Caesar-Chavannes says more data should be gathered to get a clearer picture of the different experiences of marginalized groups. Farees Nathoo, a spokesperson for Treasury Board President Joyce Murray, said the government believes Canadians are best served by a public service that reflects the country’s diversity, which is why a “centre for diversity and inclusion” within the public service was created, as was a joint union-management task force on diversity and inclusion. The Treasury Board oversees the federal public service as a workforce. “As Minister Murray noted in her recent meeting with the federal black employees caucus, more work needs to be done to have a public service that looks like Canada,” Nathoo said. Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s spokesman Simon Ross acknowledged that many Canadians still face racism and discrimination, including anti-black racism. Rodriguez is to launch a new national anti-racism strategy on Tuesday “because we refuse to turn a blind eye and pretend that racism and discrimination do not exist in Canada,” Ross said.  Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Driver with record charged with 7 homicides in biker crash

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:21
CONCORD, N.H. - The driver of a pickup truck in a fiery collision on a rural New Hampshire highway that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, and records show he was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving last month and in 2013. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Lancaster, New Hampshire, authorities said. He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a brief court appearance Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts. Zhukovskyy looked down at his feet as he was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in an East Windsor Walmart parking lot after failing a sobriety test. Officers had responded to a complaint about a man who was revving his truck engine and jumping up and down outside the vehicle. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy refused to submit to a blood test, prosecutors said. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong. Since the accident, the brother-in-law said, Zhukovskyy had remained in his room, not eaten and talked to no one. Defence attorney Donald Frank called Friday’s crash a “tragedy” but said it’s important to let the criminal justice system play out. Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said. The truck was travelling west when it struck the eastbound group of motorcycles. 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. George Loring, a JarHeads member who lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, and was a few hundred yards from the crash, said Zhukovskyy has “got to live with it for the rest of his life.” “Everyone’s suffering so much,” Loring said. “It’s so sad for the brothers and sisters who died. You can be angry at him, you can be whatever. I don’t know. I’m glad he’s been arrested.” Joseph Mazza, whose nephew Albert Mazza Jr. was killed in the crash, welcomed the arrest but called it a poor consolation for the loss of a loved one. “As long as he pays a price. He has caused lot of harm to a lot of families,” Mazza said from his Haverhill home. “If has a problem, he shouldn’t be on the road. If he is a bad actor, he doesn’t belong on the street. He caused enough of a tragedy. Enough is enough.” Authorities have only said they are investigating the cause of the collision. JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the group had just finished dinner and was heading to a fundraiser at American Legion post in nearby Gorham. A total of 21 riders and 15 motorcycles were in the group. Ten motorcycles, including Mazza, who was riding next to Ribeiro, were hit. “It was just an explosion … with parts and Al and everything flying through the air,” he said. “He turned hard left into us and took out pretty much everyone behind me. The truck and trailer stayed attached and that is why it was so devastating … because the trailer was attached and it was such a big trailer, it was like a whip. It just cleaned us out.” After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the middle of the road before he was taken away by authorities. Motorcycles and bodies were everywhere, he said, and several people were yelling at Zhukovskyy, demanding to know what he had just done. “It was very surreal,” he said, adding that he had put a tourniquet on the leg of one rider who remains hospitalized in Maine. “I saw Al. I knew he was gone right away,” he continued. “At that point, we just tried to figure out who needed help and got to work. There was debris everywhere and the truck was on fire. I was just looking for survivors, familiar faces and trying to find out who I had lost and … trying to help the living.” Zhukovskyy was questioned at the scene of Friday’s crash and allowed to return to Massachusetts, the National Transportation Safety Board has said. Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Mazza, 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts. ___ This story has been updated to correct Zhukovskyy’s hometown to West Springfield, instead of Springfield, and corrects the spelling of his first name to Volodymyr, instead of Volodoymyr, per the attorney general’s office. ___ Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in round-of-16 loss to Sweden

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:58
PARIS - Canada’s World Cup campaign ended in the round-of-16 Monday with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sweden that saw the Canadians miss a chance to tie the game from the penalty spot. Fifth-ranked Canada, which came to the tournament with hopes of going far deeper, could not break down the ninth-ranked Swedes as its offence lacked clinical finishing again. The tournament lasted just four games for the Canadian women, with two losses to lower-ranked sides.  The game started as advertised with two disciplined teams cancelling each other out before 38,078 at Parc des Princes. But Stina Blackstenius broke the deadlock in the 55th minute on a Swedish counterattack from a Janine Beckie giveaway. Kosovare Asllanni drove up the field and sent in a cross that defender Shelina Zadorsky couldn’t get to. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe came out but the Swede got a foot to the ball first for the all-important goal. After the Swedish goal, Adriana Leon replaced Nichelle Prince in a bid for more offence. A Sophie Schmidt header went wide but the play went to video review for a Swedish handball from an earlier Desiree Scott shot and Australian referee Kate Jacewicz correctly pointed to the penalty spot. Beckie stepped up, only to have Hedvig Lindahl make a marvellous diving save. While Beckie’s shot was well-aimed, many will wonder why captain Christine Sinclair did not take the spot kick. The Swedes offered more offence after their goal and thought they had a penalty in the 81st minute after Ashley Lawrence took down Blackstenius. But the penalty call was reversed on video review thanks to an offside call. Scott cleared a Swedish shot off the line in the dying minutes. Eight-plus minutes of stoppage time went without a goal, giving Sweden the win. Sinclair was on her knees with her face down after the final whistle. It was a matchup of the Rio Olympic silver (Sweden) and bronze medallists (Canada) with the gold medallist Germans awaiting the winner on Saturday in Rennes. Second-ranked Germany blanked No. 38 Nigeria 3-0 in Saturday in the first game of the knockout phase. Prince returned to the lineup after sitting out the last group game in the only chance for Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. While the speed of Prince and Beckie offered some Canadian promise early on, chances were few and far between. The Swedes offered little other than the occasional counterattack from a Canadian turnover. At the other end, they sometimes had six defenders in a line. Canada looked for ways to break the Swedes down. A chance for Jessie Fleming some 20 minutes in was wasted with the ball well off-target. Labbe took care of business in the 36th minute, rising high in a crowded six-yard box to punch away a Swedish corner with authority. While Canada had 61 per cent of possession in the first half, it failed to register a shot. Sweden had three shots, none on target. It was the third game of the tournament without a shot in target in the first half. Sinclair was wide on a free kick from distance in the 53rd minute. Canada came into the game with a 5-13-4 record against Sweden, having been outscored 42-24. But the Canadians had won last time out in a 6-5 penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in March in the third-place game at the Algarve Cup. The Swedes were well-rested, having made seven changes for the final group game against the U.S. Coach Peter Gerhardsson retained just six starters from that game. There were several loud pockets of yellow-clad flag-waving Swedes in the 45,600-capacity Parc des Princes. Canadian fans were there in smaller numbers but a solid Maple Leaf contingent was present in one corner and a Canada chant was heard soon after kickoff. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was expected at the game on a hot 29-degree Celsius evening. Canada opened group play by beating No. 46 Cameroon 1-0 and No. 19 New Zealand 2-0 before losing 2-1 to the eighth-ranked Dutch. The Swedes downed No. 39 Chile 2-0 and No. 34 Thailand 5-1 and lost 2-0 to the top-ranked U.S. Sweden came into the game never having lost to Canada at the World Cup or Olympics (2-0-1). The Canadian women made it to the quarterfinals at the 2015 World Cup on home soil, losing 2-1 to England. Canada’s best showing was in 2003 when it finished fourth (after a 2-1 loss to Sweden in the semifinals). Canada has failed to make it out of the preliminary round in four of its seven trips to the tournament. Sweden reached the knockout stage for the seventh time in eight attempts. The Scandinavians had never won a Women's World Cup match that went beyond regular time, losing on penalties to China in the 1995 quarterfinals and after extra time to Germany in the 2003 final. Canada had not experienced extra time at the tournament. Parc des Princes is home to the Paris Saint-Germain men’s team. First opened in 1897, the current stadium dates back to 1972 and has been refurbished twice since, first for the 1998 World Cup and then for Euro 2016. The PSG women, whose roster includes Canadians Lawrence and the newly signed Jordyn Huitema as well as Sweden’s Hanna Glas, play at the nearby Stade Jean-Bouin. Sinclair and Swedish captain Caroline Seger played and roomed together in 2011 while with the Western New York Flash.   Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter   Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Six-year-old girl injured after falling off float in Alberta parade

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:35
WAINWRIGHT, Alta. - A six-year-old girl was seriously injured after falling off a parade float on the weekend, the mayor of a town in east-central Alberta said Monday. Wainwright Mayor Brian Bethune said the child fell from the 4-H Alberta float Saturday afternoon in the town’s stampede parade. “It happened right as the parade was going past the Wainwright hospital,” Bethune said. “A fellow who was watching the parade quickly picked her up and took her to the hospital.” The girl was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital because there was a worry she might have brain damage, he said. Brain damage is no longer a concern, Bethune said, but the girl is recovering from some broken bones. He said he doesn’t know details about the fall. “We’ll get a hold of the family later this week when things calm down a bit and talk about what happened,” he said. “I know there is some video out there that people along the parade route have taken and we’re trying to get a copy of that.” The town’s stampede association is to decide if there are any further safety precautions needed before next year’s parade. “We have lots of time for the review,” Bethune said. “Right now we just want to make sure she’s OK and support the family until they get back home.” A statement from 4-H Alberta, an agricultural youth group, confirmed one of its members was injured while taking part in the parade. “While we cannot comment on the member’s condition, we know they are receiving excellent medical care and are in good hands,” the statement said. “On behalf of those involved in 4-H, our thoughts are with the family and we wish the member a speedy recovery.” Bethune said the girl’s injury is the first he’s heard of in the 66 years since Wainwright’s parade started. There have been other parade accidents elsewhere, including fatalities. Last year in Yarmouth, N.S., a four-year-old girl died after falling underneath a moving parade float during the Santa Claus parade procession. The province’s transportation minister said at the time that his department was undertaking a review and considering whether safety conditions could be improved. In 2012, an eight-year-old boy died after he jumped from a Ukrainian dance float and was run over in a parade in Preeceville, Sask. In 1990, an eight-year-old girl was killed after she fell under the wheels of a hay wagon she was riding on during the Calgary Stampede parade. - By Daniela Germano in Edmonton The Canadian Press

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

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:28
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 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 over 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 they should take him to a hospital, 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 of hers 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. “Before we had a chance to assess it … 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.” 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

Pages