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Assault charge from alleged fight withdrawn against university football player

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:08
REGINA - An assault charge has been withdrawn against a University of Regina Rams football player that stemmed from an alleged fight outside a campus bar last fall. Takudzwa Timothy Brandon Gandire - a defensive back with the team - was charged with assault causing bodily harm and failure to comply with undertaking after an altercation outside the campus bar, The Owl, in October. Some people were treated for minor injuries at the scene, while another person was taken to hospital the next morning. Gandire’s trial was supposed to start on Monday morning, but according to Crown prosecutor Catherine Gagnon, a number of witnesses who were friends of the complainant didn’t show up. Gandire was suspended from the Rams until the court case was concluded. A university spokesperson was unable to say whether Gandire is still a student at the university, due to privacy issues. The spokesperson says any possible future Gandire might have with the Rams will have to be assessed. (CJME) The Canadian Press

Hurricanes rally past Capitals 5-2, force Game 7

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:05
RALEIGH, N.C. - Jordan Staal scored the go-ahead goal and added an assist in the third period, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Monday night to force Game 7 in their first-round playoff series. Justin Williams scored an insurance goal seconds after the Capitals had the tying goal disallowed, Warren Foegele and Teuvo Teravainen also scored, Dougie Hamilton added an empty-netter and Petr Mrazek made 23 saves. The Hurricanes scored three third-period goals in bouncing back from a 6-0 beatdown in Game 5 and prolonging their first playoff appearance in a decade by one game at least. Game 7 is Wednesday night in Washington. The winner will play the New York Islanders in the second round. Alex Ovechkin scored for the third straight game, Brett Connolly also scored and Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots. Washington - which won 10 road games a year ago on its run to the first Stanley Cup title in club history - went 0-3 on the road in this series after winning both regular-season meetings in Raleigh. Staal gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the game at 3:51 of the third period, following a scramble in front of Holtby. Justin Faulk uncorked a shot from the point and Brock McGinn and Staal both poked at it, with Staal ultimately slipping it past the Capitals goalie to make it 3-2. Then came the key momentum swing of this one - the waved-off goal that Washington thought should have counted. As Evgeny Kuznetsov tried to tuck the puck under Mrazek’s pads with 9:26 remaining, Ovechkin crashed into the goalie. The officials waved it off, ruling that the Capitals’ captain interfered with Mrazek by pushing his pad. Williams then put Carolina up by two goals 84 seconds later by tipping Brett Pesce’s shot past Holtby and Hamilton extended the lead with his empty-netter with 3:06 left. By that point, the Capitals’ frustrations hit their breaking point, with Ovechkin receiving a slashing penalty and a game misconduct with 1:08 remaining. It helped the Hurricanes that they got a bit healthier, with one of the three forwards injured during this series returning to the lineup. Jordan Martinook was back after a lower body injury kept him out of Game 5. Martinook left Game 4 early after his right heel slammed into the boards as he attempted a hit on Dmitry Orlov. Another theme of the series was upended: At no point during the first five games of this series did the road team ever lead. Connolly ended that pesky bit of trivia early in this one by scoring at 5:06 of the first. And Ovechkin’s fourth goal of the series - and his third in three games - put the Capitals up 2-1 with 4:48 left in the first when he waited for Jaccob Slavin to slide past him, then beat Mrazek from a tough stick-side angle. But they didn’t score again - and the Hurricanes kept pushing back. First, Foegele made it 1-all when he beat Holtby with a spinning shot from the slot with 9:25 left in the first, giving him four goals in three home games in the series. He’s the second player in club history with four home goals in a series, joining Mark Hunter - who did it with the Whalers against Boston in 1991. And Teravainen pulled Carolina to 2-2 at 1:56 of the second. Sebastian Aho swiped the puck from Jonas Siegenthaler behind the net and passed to Teravainen in the slot. NOTES: This was the first game in the series in which the team scoring first lost. … Ovechkin has 65 playoff goals and moved into sole possession of 22nd place on the NHL’s career list. … Former Carolina F Erik Cole cranked the ceremonial siren that sounds before the Hurricanes take the ice. Cole sustained a broken neck during Carolina’s Stanley Cup-winning season in 2006 when he was hit by Brooks Orpik - who’s now a defenceman with Washington. … Carolina RW Andrei Svechnikov (concussion) skated earlier in the day but was scratched. … Hurricanes LW Micheal Ferland (upper body) missed his third straight game. UP NEXT The series concludes Wednesday night in Washington in Game 7. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joedy McCreary, The Associated Press

MLB panel issues sealed decision in Orioles-Nats TV dispute

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:43
NEW YORK - A Major League Baseball panel has issued a new sealed decision in the long-running dispute between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles over television rights fees. Stephen R. Neuwirth, a lawyer for the Nationals, filed a motion in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on April 15 asking the court to confirm the arbitration decision issued by baseball’s Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee. While the decision is known to the parties, Neuwirth asked for the court to allow the decision to be submitted under seal. In 2012, an RSDC that included Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon ruled the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which is controlled by the Orioles, owed the Nationals $298 million for the team’s 2012-16 television rights. The Orioles sued, and the RSDC decision was thrown out by a New York Supreme Court justice in 2015. The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division voted 3-2 in 2017 to send the decision back to the RSDC, which reheard the case last November with a reconstituted panel that included Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio, Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather and Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro. MASN was established in March 2005 after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore’s exclusive broadcast territory since 1972. The Orioles were given a supermajority partnership interest in MASN, starting at 90 per cent, and Washington made a $75 million payment to the network for an initial 10 per cent stake. The agreement called for the Nationals’ equity to increase 1 per cent annually, starting after the 2009 season, with a cap of 33 per cent. The network’s rights payments to each team were set at $20 million apiece in 2005 and 2006, rising to $25 million in 2007, with $1 million annual increases through 2011. Separately, a different New York judge ruled this month that the American Arbitration Association should rule whether Commissioner Rob Manfred can decide the Nationals’ claim that MASN failed to distribute cash to Washington last year. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

Avianca Brasil gives up 18 planes, cancels 1,045 flights

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:16
RIO DE JANEIRO - Avianca Brasil cancelled more than 1,045 domestic flights this week because it has to return 18 aircraft to leasing agencies. Brazil’s National Aviation Agency said the planes needed to be returned Monday to avoid affecting Holy Week holiday passengers. Customers can either get refunds for cancelled flights or rebook through partner airlines. Avianca Brasil declined to say how many planes it has left. But the G1 news portal reports that the airline has just seven planes still in its fleet. On April 1, the airline cancelled several international routes from Sao Paulo to New York, Miami and Santiago, Chile. Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy in December after failing to pay leases on its aircraft. The airline, formerly known as Ocean Air, has licensed the name Avianca since 2010 from Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings SA. They are separate companies with the same owners: brothers German and Jose Efromovich. The latter is being investigated for allegedly failing to pay airport fees in Salvador airport in northeastern Brazil. A company representative from Avianca’s headquarters in Colombia stressed that the Brazilian company is independent from Avianca Holdings group, both operationally and financially. The company said in a statement that flights operated by Avianca Holdings SA from hubs in Bogota and Lima, Peru, to destinations in Brazil will not be affected by the Avianca Brasil cancellations. The Associated Press

Officials say 6 people died in Texas small plane crash

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:12
DALLAS - A man who was part-owner of a plane that crashed Monday in Texas, killing all six people aboard, said he and his friend who owned the plane regularly volunteered to fly sick people in remote parts of the country to hospitals in Houston and Dallas. Officials have not yet released the identities of the six aboard the aircraft when it crashed into the rocky hills of a central Texas ranch, according to authorities, while preparing to land. Charles Morina of Dallas told The Associated Press that he did not know if his partner was among those aboard, nor did he know what caused the crash. The twin-engine aircraft went down just before 9 a.m. as it approached an airport in Kerrville, a city about 70 miles (110 kilometres) northwest of San Antonio, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford. The pilot and the five other people aboard the plane were all killed, said Sgt. Orlando Moreno, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. State law enforcement officials secured the crash site ahead of FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators’ arrival Monday. The Beechcraft BE58 took off from an airport outside Houston earlier Monday and crashed about 6 miles (10 kilometres) northwest of Kerrville Municipal Airport, Lunsford said. The flight was not a scheduled commercial route, he said. The downed plane was a manufactured by Raytheon Aircraft in 1999 and was co-owned by two people, according to FAA records. The cause of the crash hasn’t been determined. There was a low layer of broken clouds but no rain in the area around the airport at the time of the crash, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Cory Van Pelt. The Associated Press

Stellar season, early playoff exit; Calgary Flames face a long summer

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:10
CALGARY - The shock was fading, but the sting wasn’t for the Calgary Flames. The top seed in the NHL’s Western Conference was still coming to grips Monday with exiting the first round of playoffs in five games at the hands of the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche. The Flames were an offensive juggernaut that gave up the fewest shots against per game in a 107-point season, which was their best since winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. But Calgary was the opposite in a quick post-season elimination. “We did a lot of good things to put ourselves in a position to play longer than we did,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “We didn’t look like the team we looked like for 82 games.” “To have the type of regular season that we had, second overall in the league, 107 points, 50 wins and for it to end as quickly as it does, it seems like you wasted a lot of things and there’s a lot of irrelevance of the regular season. “That’s part of becoming a good team. You raise your own expectations.” The Avalanche hit the playoffs at full gallop, going 8-0-2 to clinch a playoff spot in their second-last game of the regular season. The Flames didn’t feel the same urgency down the stretch. Calgary went 6-4 after bagging a playoff spot March 17, but still locked down top spot in the conference with three games remaining. That may account for Avalanche’s higher gear and Calgary’s inability to counter it in the playoffs “Colorado was a team that was coming in with a lot of momentum,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano, a Norris-Trophy nominee. “For me, it was their ability to get momentum and keep going throughout the game. We couldn’t find a way to get that momentum back.” Calgary head coach Bill Peters, hired one year ago, indicated he’d do things differently in those “meaningless” Games 80, 81, 82 of the regular season, but wouldn’t expand on that. “That was a unique set of circumstances,” he said. “That’s something we’ll definitely talk about.” Calgary’s 289 goals was second only to the Tampa Bay Lightning and tied with the San Jose Sharks. But the Flames didn’t produce more than two goals per game in four straight losses to bow out. Two of those games they led in the third period only to lose in overtime. Leading goalscorer Johnny Gaudreau had one assist in the series. Top-line centre Sean Monahan had one goal. “Playoff time came and I didn’t find the net there a couple of times when I should have,” Gaudreau said. “It’s not what you hope for, but something to learn from.” If not for goaltender Mike Smith’s 188 saves in the series, Calgary would have been dispatched even more decisively. “We blew some ‘A’ goaltending performances,” Treliving stated. Injuries were not a large factor in Calgary’s swoon.  Monahan played with a “cracked thumb” at season’s end. The malady was minor enough that Monahan was considering playing for Canada at the upcoming world championship. Peters was against it. “I don’t think Monny is healthy enough to go in my opinion,” the coach said. “He’s got to make a decision here whether he wants to continue to play or take the time to heal to get to 100 per cent and then take advantage of his summer.” Calgary’s best playoff performers - goaltender Mike Smith and forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett - are among Treliving’s biggest decisions in the off-season. Smith, 37, and fourth-line forward Garnet Hathaway will enter unrestricted free agency. Tkachuk, Bennett and Andrew Mangiapane, ranging from 21 to 23 respectively, are scheduled for restricted free agency. Defencemen T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic and Mike Stone are all entering the last year of their contracts. The Flames also have a relationship to mend with winger James Neal, a 31-year-old playoff veteran who was a healthy scratch in Game 5 because of lack of production. “Our team underachieved, and I think from top to bottom, at the most critical time of the year,” Treliving said. “We’ve got to figure out why. Right now, I don’t have the why for you, but we’ll get to that in time. “I tell our guys all the time ‘the regular season is where you make your money. The playoffs is where you make your legacy.'” Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

Sri Lanka military gets special powers after deadly bombings

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:06
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka’s president gave the military sweeping police powers starting Tuesday in the wake of the Easter bombings that killed nearly 300 people, while officials disclosed that intelligence agencies had warned weeks ago of the possibility of an attack by the radical Muslim group blamed for the bloodshed. The suicide bombings struck three churches and three luxury hotels Sunday in the island nation’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended in 2009. The government shut down some social media, armed security forces patrolled the largely deserted, central streets in the capital of Colombo, and a curfew went into effect. The military was given a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects - powers that were used during the civil war but withdrawn when it ended. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre could unleash instability and he vowed to “vest all necessary powers with the defence forces” to act against those responsible. Adding to the tension, three unexploded bombs blew up Monday inside a van parked near one of the stricken churches as police were trying to defuse them, sending pedestrians fleeing in panic. No injuries were reported. Dozens of detonators were discovered near Colombo’s main bus depot, but officials declined to say whether they were linked to the attacks. The government blocked access to Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram after the blasts, creating confusion and doing little to reassure residents and visitors that the danger had passed. A nationwide state of emergency was scheduled to begin at midnight Monday (0630 GMT; 2:30 p.m. EDT) the president’s office said, following the attacks that killed at least 290 people, with more than 500 wounded, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. The three stricken hotels and one of the churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine, are frequented by tourists, and dozens of foreigners were among the dead. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said 39 foreigners were killed, although the foreign ministry put out a different figure, saying the number of dead was 31. The U.S. State Department confirmed that at least four Americans were among the dead and several others were seriously wounded, but it did not release any identities. The Sri Lankan government said other foreigners killed were from the U.K., Bangladesh, China, India, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and Australia. A national day of mourning was declared for Tuesday. International intelligence agencies had warned that the little-known group, National Thowfeek Jamaath, was planning attacks, but word apparently didn’t reach the prime minister’s office until after the massacre, exposing the continuing political turmoil in the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the intelligence agencies began issuing the warnings on April 4; the defence ministry wrote to the police chief with information that included the group’s name; and police wrote April 11 to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division. President Maithripala Sirisena, who was out of the country Sunday, had ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October and dissolved the Cabinet. The Supreme Court later reversed his actions, but the prime minister has not been allowed into meetings of the Security Council since October, which meant he and his government were in the dark about the intelligence. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken after the threats. Authorities said they knew where the group trained and had safe houses, but did not identify any of the suicide bombers, whose bodies were recovered, or the two dozen other suspects taken into custody. All the bombers were Sri Lankans, but authorities said they strongly suspected foreign links, Senaratne said. Also unclear was a motive. The history of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, a country of 21 million including large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities, is rife with ethnic and sectarian conflict. In the civil war, the Tamil Tigers, a powerful rebel army known for using suicide bombers, was crushed by the government and had little history of targeting Christians. While anti-Muslim bigotry fed by Buddhist nationalists has swept the country recently, there is no history of Islamic militancy. Its small Christian community has seen only scattered incidents of harassment. Two other government ministers also alluded to advance knowledge. Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted: “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.” He said his father had heard of a possible attack as well and had warned him not to enter popular churches. Mano Ganeshan, the minister for national integration, said his security officers had been warned by their division about the possibility that two suicide bombers would target politicians. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said the attacks could have been thwarted. “We placed our hands on our heads when we came to know that these deaths could have been avoided. Why this was not prevented?” he said. The co-ordinated blasts took place in the morning at St. Anthony’s and the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, as well as the two churches outside Colombo. They collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests, and leaving behind scenes of smoke, soot, blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms. A few hours later, two more blasts occurred just outside Colombo, one at a guesthouse where two people were killed, the other near an overpass, said Brig. Sumith Atapattu, a military spokesman. Also, three police officers were killed while searching a suspected safe house on the outskirts of Colombo when its occupants apparently detonated explosives to prevent arrest, authorities said. A pipe bomb with 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives was found and defused late Sunday on a road to the international airport, said air force Group Capt. Gihan Seneviratne. It was powerful enough to have caused damage in a 400-meter (400-yard) radius, he said. A morgue worker in Negombo, outside Colombo, where St. Sebastian’s Church was targeted, said many bodies were hard to identify because of the blasts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Nilantha Lakmal, a 41-year-old businessman who took his family to St. Sebastian’s for Mass, said they all escaped unharmed, but he remained haunted by images of bodies being taken from the sanctuary. At the Shangri-La Hotel, one witness said “people were being dragged out” after the blast. “There was blood everywhere,” said Bhanuka Harischandra, 24, of Colombo, a founder of a tech marketing company who was going to the hotel for a meeting. “People didn’t know what was going on. It was panic mode.” The scale of the violence recalled the worst days of the civil war, when the Tamil Tigers, from the ethnic Tamil minority, sought independence from the Sinhalese-dominated country. The Sinhalese are largely Buddhist. The Tamils are Hindu, Muslim and Christian. Sri Lanka, off the southern tip of India, is about 70% Buddhist. In recent years, tensions have soared between hard-line Buddhist monks and Muslims. Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka condemned the church attacks, and Pope Francis expressed condolences at the end of his traditional Easter blessing in Rome. The United Nations’ most powerful body, the Security Council, also denounced the “heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks.” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Washington that he spoke to the prime minister and offered assistance. Later, the FBI said it was helping with the investigation. “This is America’s fight, too,” he said. “We also stand with millions of Sri Lankans who support the freedom of their fellow citizens to worship as they please. We take confidence in knowing that not even atrocities like this one will deter them from respecting religious freedom.” ___ Associated Press writers Gemunu Amarasinghe in Negombo, Sri Lanka, Rishabh Jain in Colombo and Sheila Norman-Culp in London and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed. Bharatha Mallawarachi And Krishan Francis, The Associated Press

GM Cheveldayoff says Jets will have to make ‘tough decisions’ this summer

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:01
WINNIPEG - General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff says an upcoming summer of “tough decisions” means changes are on the way for the Winnipeg Jets. Young stars such as Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor are due hefty raises now that their entry-level contracts are coming to an end, but the team was already near the US$79.5-million salary cap so some familiar faces may be gone to free up cash. “We have some tough decisions to make this summer, a lot of them,” Cheveldayoff said Monday after exit meetings with players following the team’s elimination from the playoffs last Saturday. “Is the team going to be the same? I could stand here last year with greater certainty that there was going to be a lot of pieces that we’re going to do our darnedest to keep and come back, and even then we couldn’t do it all then. This year, there’s certainly going to be some changes.” The Jets went into the campaign with expectations they could contend for the Stanley Cup after reaching the Western Conference final last season before losing in five games to Vegas. Instead, Winnipeg (47-30-5) couldn’t get on a roll to end the regular season and was unable to flip the switch in the playoffs. The St. Louis Blues (45-28-9) knocked them out of their first-round matchup in six games, four decided by one goal. “Not worried about that right now,” Laine said of a new contract. “Right now, I want to forget everything that is involved with hockey.” Laine, who scored three goals in the playoffs, revealed he suffered a “small” groin injury in Game 5, but could handle it. He’d also dealt with ongoing back problems during the season, but “I was able to play good.” He went through a number of dry scoring spells after scoring 18 goals in November, but finished with 30 and 50 points. That was down from 44 goals and 70 points last season. Laine said he’s not playing in the world championship and will go home to Finland to golf and spend time with family and friends. The Jets have 15 pending free agents. Laine and Connor, who scored 34 goals, are among eight restricted free agents, which also includes defenceman Jacob Trouba. He went through arbitration last summer and signed a one-year, $5.5-million contract. There are seven unrestricted free agents, most notably defencemen Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot and forward Brandon Tanev, who had surgery for a broken finger days before the playoffs. Myers had a $5.5-million contract and the team may not be able to afford to keep him. Head coach Paul Maurice is well aware he’ll be icing a different group next season, but he doesn’t think the window of opportunity for success is beginning to close. “There are too many guys between the 20- and 26-(year-old) range that aren’t at their peak or at their best,” Maurice said. “So, no I don’t feel that. “Our team is going to change clearly, and the cap is going to affect that, but those players that are coming back have lots of room to improve.” One area he’s tagged for improvement is team defence. “At the end of it, if you look at it we weren’t quite a good enough defensive group this year. It wasn’t a strength,” Maurice said. “And I felt like last year it was the quiet strength of our team nobody talked about because lots of people were scoring goals and were feeling good about it.” Winnipeg’s defence was hit by lengthy injuries in the new year to Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey, but both were back for the playoffs. Forward Nikolaj Ehlers revealed he suffered a fracture in his right leg while blocking a shot in Game 5, but treatment helped enough that he got the go-ahead to play. He won’t need surgery, he added. While fingers are always pointed at a coach when a team doesn’t get close to expectations, Cheveldayoff said the coaching staff “did what they could to get every ounce of this team.” Captain Blake Wheeler threw his support behind Maurice, then took some of the blame. “I would say you point the first one at me, ” Wheeler said. “It’s my job to get this team kind of to that next level. The coach isn’t on the ice, the players are on the ice. We’re the ones that are accountable. “One of the most winningest coaches of all time in the history of this game. So, I think his record speaks for itself. Obviously I’d go through a brick wall for the guy. I don’t want to play for anyone else. That’s where I stand.” Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Parks Canada releases details of search for climbers killed in Banff avalanche

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:57
The treacherous recovery of three world-class climbers in Alberta’s Banff National Park involved a helicopter, a search dog and 28 people, Parks Canada said Monday as it released details of its rescue efforts. American Jess Roskelley and Austrians David Lama and Hansjorg Auer disappeared last week while attempting to descend the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway. The men’s bodies were recovered Sunday. Brian Webster, visitor safety manager at the park, said the men began their climb Tuesday morning and summitted the 2,300-metre mountain by noon. The avalanche hit while the climbers were making their 1,000-metre descent that afternoon, he said. Their bodies were found at the bottom of the mountain’s east face. “Anybody involved in an avalanche of that magnitude - it’s going to be a bad outcome,” Webster told reporters. “There is no amount of skill set that is going to increase your ability to survive an avalanche like that.” Roskelley climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20. At the time, he was the youngest American to climb the world’s highest peak. Lama, 28, was feted for achieving the first free ascent in 2012 of the Compressor Route of the Cerro Torre, one of the most striking peaks in the Andes. The feat was captured in the 2013 documentary “Cerro Torre - A Snowball’s Chance in Hell.” And the 35-year-old Auer became the first person to free solo climb Italy’s Marmolada peak via the south face in 2007. Incident commander Shelley Humphries said visitor safety specialists responded immediately Wednesday when the trio was reported overdue, and climbing equipment and evidence of multiple avalanches was found in the area. Although the three climbers were not wearing avalanche beacons, Humphries said a transceiver was dropped so crews could later locate the site. Further search efforts were put on hold for three days because of bad weather and avalanche conditions. The bodies were found after an avalanche dog and its handler were deployed to the area by helicopter, said Humphries. Howse Peak, located in the northernmost corner of Banff, is remote and can only be accessed by skiing in. Parks Canada said its mixed rock and ice routes make it an exceptionally difficult climb. Webster called the recovery of the men’s bodies complex because of the strong winds, snow and high avalanche conditions. “(Another) factor that made this particular search more challenging is that the climbers were not wearing avalanche transceivers,” he said. “So, when we got on site to do the search, we weren’t able to hone in on them directly and we had to utilize random probing and the search dog.” Humphries said while she understands it’s common for professional climbers not to wear beacons, Parks Canada strongly recommends carrying the equipment. “In this particular case, the outcome would not have changed, but it would have expedited the search and recovery,” she said. So far this winter, Webster said there have been six avalanche fatalities in Banff and Yoho national parks. He said that figure includes a death in Yoho over the weekend. Parks Canada has said a man, who was among a party of three backcountry skiers, was involved in an avalanche Saturday afternoon on Des Poilus Glacier and died Sunday in hospital. Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

MLB panel issues sealed decision in Orioles-Nats TV dispute

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:35
NEW YORK - A Major League Baseball panel has issued a new sealed decision in the long-running dispute between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles over television rights fees. Stephen R. Neuwirth, a lawyer for the Nationals, filed a motion in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on April 15 asking the court to confirm the arbitration decision issued by baseball’s Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee. Neuwirth asked for the court to allow the decision to be submitted under seal. In 2012, an RSDC that included Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon ruled the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which is controlled by the Orioles, owed the Nationals $298 million for the team’s 2012-16 television rights. The Orioles sued, and the RSDC decision was thrown out by a New York Supreme Court justice in 2015. The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division voted 3-2 in 2017 to send the decision back to the RSDC, which reheard the case last November with a reconstituted panel that included Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio, Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather and Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro. MASN was established in March 2005 after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore’s exclusive broadcast territory since 1972. The Orioles were given a supermajority partnership interest in MASN, starting at 90 per cent, and Washington made a $75 million payment to the network for an initial 10 per cent stake. The agreement called for the Nationals’ equity to increase 1 per cent annually, starting after the 2009 season, with a cap of 33 per cent. The network’s rights payments to each team were set at $20 million apiece in 2005 and 2006, rising to $25 million in 2007, with $1 million annual increases through 2011. Separately, a different New York judge ruled this month that the American Arbitration Association should rule whether Commissioner Rob Manfred can decide the Nationals’ claim that MASN failed to distribute cash to Washington last year. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

The Latest: Tesla to introduce new ride-hailing service

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:28
SAN FRANCISCO - The Latest on Tesla’s plans for fully-autonomous vehicles (all times local): ___ 1:50 p.m. Tesla says it will introduce a ride-hailing service with no humans driving the vehicles. CEO Elon Musk and others detailed the company’s plans to have self-driving vehicles operational by next year at an event for investors Monday. Musk says Tesla’s self-driving software is storing images and learning at an exponential rate. He’s confident Tesla will get regulatory approval for the service sometime next year as well. Tesla would allow owners to use their smart phones to put their cars into the ride-hailing service while they’re not being used. The company would take 25% to 30% of the fare. Musk says Tesla would provide vehicles in areas where not enough people share their cars. ___ 1:30 p.m. Tesla expects to have full self-driving cars in which humans won’t have to touch the steering wheel around the second quarter of next year. CEO Elon Musk tells investors that the company’s system of high speed computers, software and neural network object detection and depth recognition will allow human drivers to check out. He expects to get regulatory approval for the system toward the end of 2020. Currently, approval would be required only in California, experts say. Musk also says Tesla’s neural network is learning how to deal with close lane changes on crowded freeways such as those in Los Angeles. Eventually drivers will be able to choose more aggressive behaviour that could run a slight risk of a fender-bender, he says. Musk’s comments came Monday during an event that Tesla is hosting in Silicon Valley to show off its plans for fully autonomous vehicles. ____ 12:45 p.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says laser imaging sensors used by nearly all other autonomous vehicle developers are not needed. The sensors called Lidar send out light beams that detect objects in the dark and other poor conditions. Many experts consider them essential, including those at Google spinoff Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise Automation. “Lidar is a fool’s errand,” Musk. “They’re expensive sensors that are unnecessary. It’s like having a whole bunch of appendixes.” He also says Tesla has a huge advantage over autonomous vehicle competitors because it gathers a massive amount of data in the real world. He says this quarter Tesla will have 500,000 vehicles on the road, each equipped with eight cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar gathering data to help build the company’s neural network. The network allows vehicles to recognize images, determine what objects are and figure out how to deal with them. ___ 12:30 p.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has told investors that the company’s computer to enable its electric cars to become self–driving vehicles is powered by the best processing chip in the world. Musk made the bold declaration Monday during an event that Tesla is hosting in Silicon Valley to show off its plans to give the owners of its cars the option to turn all the driving over to a robot. Tesla had never made its own computer chip before it hired an ex-Apple engineer three years ago to design it. Now, Musk boasts the chip is better than any other on the market “by a huge margin.” Many self-driving car experts believe Tesla’s cars still aren’t close to become fully autonomous. Tesla is holding the event two days before it is scheduled to report a first-quarter loss after production and sales of its cars fell below expectations. ___ 11:30 a.m. A webcast showing Tesla’s presentation to investors on “full self-driving” vehicles has yet to begin more than 30 minutes after its scheduled start. More than 40,000 viewers instead are watching a continuous loop of Teslas driving on bridges, highways and snow covered roads. There also are some factory scenes and horses galloping in the snow. CEO Elon Musk was scheduled to detail his self-driving vehicle plans at the event for investors Monday. Reporters were not allowed to attend. Some experts are skeptical that Musk has the technology to deliver fully self-driving vehicles safely. ___ 6 a.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears ready to transform the company’s electric cars into driverless vehicles in a risky bid to realize a bold vision he has been floating for years. The technology required to make that leap is scheduled to be shown to Tesla investors Monday at the company’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters. Musk is so certain that Tesla will win the race toward full autonomy that he indicated in an interview that his company’s cars should be able to navigate congested highways and city streets without a human behind the wheel by no later than next year. But experts say they’re skeptical whether Tesla’s technology has advanced to where its cars can be driven solely by a robot, without a human to take control if something goes awry. The Associated Press

Avianca Brasil cancels 1,045 flights after losing 18 planes

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:26
RIO DE JANEIRO - Avianca Brasil cancelled more than 1,045 domestic flights this week because it has to return 18 aircraft to leasing agencies. Brazil’s National Aviation Agency said the planes needed to be returned Monday to avoid affecting Holy Week holiday passengers. Customers can either get refunds for cancelled flights or rebook through partner airlines. Avianca Brasil declined to say how many planes it has left. But the G1 news portal reports that the airline has just seven planes still in its fleet. On April 1, the airline cancelled several international routes from Sao Paulo to New York, Miami and Santiago, Chile. Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy in December after failing to pay leases on its aircraft. The airline, formerly known as Ocean Air, has licensed the name Avianca since 2010 from Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings SA. They are separate companies with the same owners: brothers German and Jose Efromovich. The latter is being investigated for allegedly failing to pay airport fees in Salvador airport in northeastern Brazil. A company representative from Avianca’s headquarters in Colombia stressed that the Brazilian company is independent from Avianca Holdings group, both operationally and financially. The company said in a statement that flights operated by Avianca Holdings SA from hubs in Bogota and Lima, Peru, to destinations in Brazil will not be affected by the Avianca Brasil cancellations. The Associated Press

Iran sanctions send oil prices, supply concerns higher

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:25
NEW YORK - The Trump administration’s decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil is raising concerns about global crude supply and sending oil prices to their highest levels since October. Industry experts said Monday that the sanctions could potentially remove up to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from international markets. But that number will likely be lower, depending on how countries respond and just how much oil Iran continues to export. President Donald Trump wants to eliminate all of Iran’s revenue from oil exports, money he says funds destabilizing activity in the Middle East and elsewhere. The announcement primarily impacts Iranian oil importers including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. “It’s difficult to imagine all exports being cut off, especially since China is still a major buyer of Iranian crude oil,” said Jim Burkhard, vice-president for oil markets at IHS Markit. “How China responds will go a long way to shape just how much Iranian exports are cut or not.” To make up for the Iranian losses, Saudi Arabia may increase production that the country had recently trimmed, but it “is going to use up all the spare capacity that they have, or pretty darn close to it, and that is going to leave markets feeling tight,” said Shin Kim, head of supply and production analytics at S&P Global Platts. Oil prices rose more than 2% Monday, helping to lift some energy stocks. The price of gasoline in the U.S. was already rising and the development could raise prices further. “We’ve seen that market tighten up considerably even before the Iranian news, and we’re also seeing a number of refining issues in the U.S.,” said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. Rising oil - and gasoline - prices can squeeze consumers, whose spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic output. “They can take a bite out of consumers’ purchasing power,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director at Moody’s Analytics, where he follows consumer economics. But unless energy prices surge considerably higher, a lot faster, Hoyt said he doesn’t expect them to do much damage to the American economy. Employers are hiring, and the unemployment rate is near a five-decade low of 3.8%. Rising prices are “coming at a time when consumers are relatively well positioned to handle it,” he said. “Job growth is strong. Wage growth is healthy.” And prices at the pump aren’t even up much over the past year: The AAA reports that U.S. gasoline prices average $2.84 a gallon, compared to $2.76 a gallon a year ago. ___ Paul Wiseman in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report. Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press

A Trump Fed choice steps aside, and another faces new doubts

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:25
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s efforts to reshape the Federal Reserve stumbled on Monday, with one of his potential nominees for the Fed’s board withdrawing from consideration and another being enveloped by fresh doubts. Herman Cain, a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, asked to be taken out of the running for an influential post at the U.S. central bank, Trump tweeted. Cain had dropped out of the 2012 presidential race after facing allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity - issues that resurfaced after Trump said earlier this month that he planned to nominate Cain for the Fed. Trump tweeted that “My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes.” Separately, CNN on Monday unearthed opinion columns that Trump’s other pick for a Fed board vacancy, conservative commentator Stephen Moore, wrote in the early 2000s. Among the opinions Moore asserted in those columns was that women should be barred from refereeing, announcing or even selling beer at men’s college basketball games. Those writings appeared on the conservative National Review website. Moore told CNN that the articles were “a spoof.” “I have a sense of humour,” he added. Cain’s nomination had already appeared doomed after four Republican senators said earlier this month that they wouldn’t vote to confirm him if he were nominated. Republicans hold just a three-seat majority in the Senate, so the opposition of those senators, on top of unified Democratic opposition, made Cain’s prospects appear impossible. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to say two weeks ago whether the chamber would confirm Cain. Several other controversies have also dogged Moore. A lien of more than $75,000 was filed against him in January 2018 for unpaid taxes. Reports have also indicated that he has fallen behind on alimony and child support payments to his ex-wife. The CNN report Monday also noted that Moore once wrote, “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?” On top of that, both Cain and Moore have faced widespread criticism that they are unqualified for a critically important role on the world’s most influential central bank and that Trump chose them mainly for their allegiance to him and his priorities. On Monday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer warned the Republicans against using Cain’s withdrawal as a “pathway” to approval of Moore, calling him “equally unqualified and perhaps more political.” “Mr. Moore, like Mr. Cain, poses a danger to the economic stability of our country,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “Mr. Cain clearly saw the writing on the wall and withdrew his name from consideration; hopefully Senate Republicans will again voice their deep concerns and force Mr. Moore to do the same.” Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust and a former Fed official, said Moore “has been overly partisan” in his comments about the Fed. Moore has lavished praise on Trump’s tax cut policies and has accused Chairman Jerome Powell of undercutting the economy with interest rate hikes. Those criticisms “don’t sit well, certainly with people inside the Fed, and with the financial markets,” Tannenbaum said. “The Fed’s culture is consensus-driven and apolitical.” Indeed, Trump’s picks of Cain and Moore have sparked worries about the Fed’s ability to remain politically independent. Last fall, Cain co-founded a pro-Trump super political action committee, America Fighting Back PAC. It features a photo of the president on its website and says, “We must protect Donald Trump and his agenda from impeachment.” “There were so many things about (Cain) that were red flags,” including his lack of understanding of monetary policy, said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton and longtime Fed watcher. Cain has served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City but didn’t participate in any interest rate decisions in that position. The potential nominations surfaced after Trump spent months attacking Powell, his own pick to lead the Fed, and other Fed officials for raising rates four times last year. Trump has contended that those rate hikes hurt the stock market and were unnecessary because there was no inflation threat. At a meeting in March, Fed policymakers indicated that they expected to keep rates unchanged this year, a sharp change from December, when they suggested that they would lift short-term rates twice more this year. The Fed board, along with presidents of the Fed’s regional banks, plays a critical role in the U.S. economy, holding meetings to debate and vote on whether to raise their benchmark interest rate. That rate, in turn, affects everything from mortgage rates to the interest rate on auto loans and the interest paid on savings accounts. The Fed typically increases its benchmark rate when it worries inflation is about to accelerate, or cuts it to accelerate growth. Like Moore and Trump himself, Cain has criticized the central bank’s policies. In a 2012 Wall Street Journal column, Cain argued that the Fed’s low rate policies had distorted the value of the dollar. He advocated a return to the gold standard as a way to control inflation, a position that most economists disagree with. Many economic historians argue that the gold standard, which fixes the dollar’s value to a specific amount of gold, worsened the Great Depression. Before leaving the presidential race, Cain had proposed a “9-9-9” tax plan that called for replacing the current tax system with a flat 9 per cent business and individual income tax, and a 9 per cent sales tax. __ AP Writers Martin Crutsinger and Marcy Gordon contributed to this report. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

Residents eye rising waters as Legault says new approach needed to flood relief

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:18
MONTREAL - Some 800 Canadian military personnel fanned out across Quebec on Monday, filling sandbags and aiding evacuations as Premier Francois Legault warned that climate change will increase the frequency of serious flooding. In Rigaud, about 70 kilometres west of Montreal, naval reservists used flat-bottomed Zodiac boats to survey the situation in low-lying areas, where the river had spilled across roads and blocked access to all but the largest of Canadian Forces vehicles. As one boat motored on the Rigaud River past chunks of ice and floating debris off the shores of what is usually a scenic neighbourhood, the reservists waved to people sitting on the porches of their now-isolated homes. Sub-Lt. Francois Marquette said the naval reserves were called in on Sunday and are carrying out reconnaissance activities until they’re asked to take a more active role. “We’re looking at how the situation evolves, and if civil society need support in terms of evacuations, we’ll see how we can support them,” he said. While the river appeared to have risen by about 15 centimetres in the last 24 hours, he said most people didn’t appear panicked, and the situation remained under control. Legault spoke to reporters Monday after visiting a Gatineau, Que., neighbourhood that has been flooded for the second time in three years. He said Quebec cannot “waste the money of Quebec taxpayers” on compensating people for flood damage, only to see the same properties flooded again two or three years later. That is why beginning this year, flooding compensation will be capped by the province at a cumulative total of $100,000, after which the only aid available will be to help people move out of the flood zone. They will be eligible for up to $200,000 for a new home. “We have to accept the evidence,” Legault said. “With the warming of the climate, there are events that are repeated more often than in the past, so we have to be able to adjust our programs, which is what we are doing.” Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said some neighbourhoods might merit the investment to protect them from the increased risk of flooding. In cases where that is not possible, he questioned whether the current compensation offer would be enough to incite people to move. “If we ask people to leave, they must leave with dignity, and that means with enough financial means to have a quality of life that would be equivalent elsewhere,” Pedneaud-Jobin said. “And for many people, $200,000 for a house is very limited.” Back in Rigaud, the residents who remained in their homes seemed to be in good spirits, even as they used kayaks and small power boats to reach houses that had turned into islands. Luc Laperriere, a homeowner, said the last major flood, in 2017, is still on his mind. The damage his home sustained meant he had to move out for five months and contend with a nightmare of government bureaucracy for permits and compensation. This time, he said he felt more mentally prepared after having sent his three large dogs away and moved his valuable equipment to higher ground. He said his home would be safe from flooding this year as long as the water doesn’t rise more than another foot. While he can see himself moving eventually, he thinks it would be wrong to force his neighbours out. “People who have been here 30 or 40 years can’t leave. It’s their home,” he said. He said people are getting better at protecting themselves from flooding and are attached to their homes. “Relocating people like that, forcing them to lose the value in their homes, it’s unacceptable.” The next street over, longtime area resident Louis Ouellette said having two major floods in three years is hard on residents. He said that before 2017, there hadn’t been a flood of this magnitude since 1974. He had come to help his cousin and their neighbours, but he acknowledged that moral support might be all he could provide. “What can you do?” he asked, as he stood in ankle-deep water in front of his cousin’s house. “You can’t stop the river.” Urgence Quebec said Monday that six major floods were threatening Quebecers, with 2,549 residences across the province flooded and more than 1,600 people forced from their homes. “There will doubtless be more flooding to come,” Quebec Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault told reporters in Yamachiche, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal. “The weather, the temperature, the melting snow - and with a water level that is already high - what we can do is prepare the best we can.” She thanked Canadian Forces members, who on Sunday had helped fill 4,000 sandbags and continued to provide help Monday. Joining Guilbault in Yamachiche, Brig.-Gen. Jennie Carignan said there are now 800 military members on the job throughout Quebec. She said the soldiers are well-trained for the work and are “very proud to be able to provide our support.” Rigaud fire chief Daniel Boyer said a light armoured vehicle was called in to help with the evacuation of a couple who required medical attention. He said the Army vehicle was able to transport paramedics to the couple’s home and get them to safety. Meanwhile, New Brunswick officials said Monday they are encouraged by the latest flood forecast, which has water levels stabilizing in the Fredericton area and on the upper reaches of the Saint John River. Emergency Measures Organization director Greg MacCallum said that while the water remains above the flood stage of eight metres, levels are expected to “abate somewhat” over the next couple of days, barring any additional rain. Still, MacCallum warned it’s not the time for people to let down their guard, as water levels continue to rise in areas south of Fredericton. — With files from Terry Pedwell and Keith Doucette Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:16
VICTORIA - Instead of marching for Earth Day, Green party Leader Elizabeth May marched down the aisle in Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral on Monday. May married John Kidder, a retired technology entrepreneur and long-time Green party member, in a ceremony attended by about 500 guests. As church bells tolled, May and Kidder emerged smiling from the church, kissing for the crowd and greeting onlookers before getting into the back of a Tesla where they were shuttled to a reception. May said in a statement that she and Kidder “intend to be gloriously happy - and very Green.” Kidder will be the federal Green party candidate in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Valley in the October general election. May said she hopes that during next year’s 50th celebration of Earth Day, they can celebrate by turning away from catastrophic climate breakdown and taking the path to a safer and more loving world. The Green leader wore a cropped white jacket and long matching gown adorned with greenery, while Kidder work a bone-coloured suit without a tie. Sue Earle of Salt Spring Island designed the dress after May sketched out the idea for her. “She wanted it to feel like spring. She said she would like to have some greenery on the bottom of it so it looked like she just walked through a garden,” Earle said in an interview. Earle said she got to work on the dress over the winter, using old bed sheets for a pattern for a fitting. The dress was also appliqued with tulips, peonies and ferns along the hemline.  Earle, a long-time Green party supporter, said May was pleased with her seasonally-themed wedding dress. “She was very happy with it, which made me very happy with it,” said Earle. “You want the person to feel like a million bucks, and that it embodies everything she is in terms of a goddess in the spring, celebrating love. That’s what I was aiming for.” She said the dress received a pre-wedding blessing on a recent ferry voyage from Salt Spring Island to Sidney as Earle delivered the dress to May. Earle said she and a few others held a moment of silence to bless the dress and ensure May has a full day of happiness. May announced her engagement to Kidder last November. She said she knew Kidder for about five years, but sparks flew at a Green party convention last September. Kidder, 71, who is from Ashcroft, B.C., popped the question about a month later, May has said. Kidder has deep roots in the Green party, having run previously for a seat in B.C., and is a founder of the provincial party. May said he is a retired technology entrepreneur who operates a hops farm in Ashcroft, but also spends time in Vancouver. Kidder is the brother of the late actress Margot Kidder and has three children and four grandchildren. May has a daughter, three stepchildren and seven grandchildren. Wedding guests were encouraged to arrive by bicycle, bus, train or ferry to minimize their carbon footprint. The newlyweds will then spend their honeymoon on the train from Vancouver to Ottawa. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

‘Colonial model of policing’ fails many Indigenous communities, study finds

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:38
OTTAWA - Many Indigenous communities lack policing services that meet their safety and security needs despite long-standing efforts to remedy the shortcomings, a federally commissioned report says. Instead, they’re stuck with a colonial policing model that overlooks Indigenous cultural traditions and fails to create the bonds of trust needed for successful police work, the report concludes. Public Safety Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess the role of police services in First Nations and Inuit communities with the aim of identifying promising approaches. The non-profit council assembled a panel of 11 experts from disciplines including law, criminology, mental health and policing, and headed by Kimberly Murray, the former executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Their report notes that crime rates in First Nations communities often exceed those elsewhere in Canada, and Indigenous people are overrepresented in Canada’s courts and jails. It also stresses that Indigenous people are also more likely to be victims of crime and face health and social inequalities that hamper policing efforts where they live. The report comes as the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women prepares to release its own findings in early June, including insights into the often fraught relationship between police and Indigenous people. The federal First Nations Policing Program is intended to help communities either administer their own culturally attuned police services or help them work with forces such as the RCMP or provincial police to design and run police services keyed to their particular needs. The federal government is spending an average of about $160 million a year on it, counting several years of increases starting in 2017. The council found the program has been a source of frustration for many Indigenous communities, partly due to inadequate resources and support. Almost one-third of eligible First Nations and Inuit communities do not have program agreements, instead relying entirely on whatever the Mounties or provincial police are able to provide, the report says. In addition, more than half of First Nations and two-thirds of Metis people live in urban areas. Municipal and regional police services might adopt culturally appropriate practices, but systemic racism and discrimination against Indigenous people “remains a serious issue” that has contributed to a lack of trust, the report says. In both Indigenous and non-Indigenous settings, the most promising ways to promote safety and well-being involve building relationships among police, other service providers and community members - effectively addressing people’s problems “before they become policing problems,” the report says. It underscores examples that seem to be working. For instance: - The Tsuu’tina Nation Police Service near Calgary has a dedicated response unit that works with community members to identify their needs and concerns with the aim of addressing them through programs and partnerships; - In Prince Albert, Sask., representatives from a range of agencies, including police and First Nations, meet twice weekly to discuss community members who need help. Addressing safety through social connections recognizes the importance of healthy relationships and knowledge-sharing, which have always been valued in Indigenous communities, the council says. “A relationship-based approach is important regardless of whether the community in question is a small reserve community or a dispersed urban Indigenous population.” However, police must have the training needed to understand and engage with the communities they serve, the report emphasizes. “This includes the opportunity to learn about the community’s history, laws, local organizations, cultural and spiritual practices, and unique challenges, as well as the realities of working in a specific geographic region or setting.”  - Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Kansas’ new governor vetoes mandate on abortion ‘reversal’

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:20
TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas’ new Democratic governor on Monday vetoed a measure that would require clinics and doctors to tell their patients about a disputed treatment to stop a medication abortion after a woman has taken the first of two pills. The action by Gov. Laura Kelly, an abortion-rights supporter, sets up a confrontation with a Republican-controlled Legislature that has had solid anti-abortion majorities for more than two decades. Supporters of the abortion “reversal” bill appeared to have the two-thirds majorities needed in both chambers to override Kelly’s veto once lawmakers return on May 1 from a weekslong break. Abortion opponents contend the bill ensures that women who harbour doubts about ending their pregnancies will learn that they can stop a medication abortion by taking the hormone progesterone. Abortion-rights supporters say the proposal would force doctors to provide dubious information to their patients. Kelly said such a requirement would interfere with the relationship between patients and their physicians. “This unwarranted legislation will create confusion and could be harmful to women’s health,” Kelly said. “The practice of medicine should be left to licensed health professionals, not elected officials.” Kansans for Life, the state’s most influential anti-abortion group, immediately promised an attempt to override the veto. Senate President Susan Wagle, a conservative Wichita Republican, tweeted that the bill would allow women “to make an informed decision about their pregnancy.” “Women seeking abortion must not be denied current medical information that can save their babies,” said Mary Kay Culp, Kansans for Life’s executive director. Seven states with Republican governors have enacted such laws, starting with Arkansas in 2015, and Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled Legislature recently approved a measure. Kelly was elected last year and took office in January after the state imposed a raft of new abortion restrictions under her Republican predecessors. Kelly’s veto came after other states, including Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio, have moved to ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. But Kansans for Life has long favoured an incremental approach and restrictions that it believes will survive court challenges. Medication abortions using Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, are the most common way of terminating a pregnancy in Kansas, accounting for 61% of the total last year, according to statistics from the state health department. Supporters of “reversal” laws cite a 2018 study led by an anti-abortion doctor and medical school professor in California and note that progesterone has been used for decades to prevent miscarriages. “If they didn’t know they could change their mind and all of a sudden they had a change of heart and they wanted to, we would want them to know that, that’s available to them,” said House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, another GOP conservative from Wichita. “It absolutely saves a life, and that’s important to us.” Abortion-rights supporters have said that study is flawed and that progesterone’s use for reversing a medical abortion hasn’t been adequately tested. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has disputed the usefulness of the procedure. Kelly said in her veto message that the bill would create a mandate “that is not adequately supported by medical science.” “Requiring doctors to provide unscientific and unproven information violates the private relationship between women and their medical providers,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of the Trust Women Foundation, which operates a clinic providing abortions in Wichita. Under the Kansas legislation, an abortion clinic would have to display a sign with the abortion reversal notice, and the physician would have to tell a patient in writing that a medication abortion can be reversed. A clinic that failed to post a sign could be fined $10,000, and a doctor who failed to notify a patient could be charged with a misdemeanour for a first offence and a felony for a second. ___ Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna John Hanna, The Associated Press

Quake sways buildings in Mexico City; some evacuations

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:15
MEXICO CITY - A magnitude 5.4 earthquake in southern Mexico caused tall buildings to sway in the Mexican capital Monday, prompting hundreds of office workers to briefly evacuate along a central avenue. There were no initial reports of damage or injury. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was in southern Mexico near the border between Oaxaca and Guerrero states, more than 250 miles (400 kilometres) from the capital. It struck at a depth of about 11 miles (18 kilometres). Mexico City is built on a former lakebed, meaning earthquakes even far away are often felt strongly in the capital. City authorities said Monday’s quake was not severe enough to merit activation of emergency loudspeakers and cellphone alerts. ___ This story corrects location of epicenter. The Associated Press

Quake sways buildings in Mexico City; some evacuations

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 14:50
MEXICO CITY - An earthquake in southern Mexico caused tall buildings to sway in the Mexican capital Monday, prompting hundreds of office workers to evacuate along a central avenue temporarily. There were no initial reports of damage or injury. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 and its epicenter was in southern Mexico near the border between Chiapas and Guerrero states. It struck at a depth of about 11 miles (18 kilometres). Mexico City is built on a former lakebed, meaning earthquakes even far away are often felt strongly in the capital. City authorities said Monday’s quake was not severe enough to merit activation of emergency loudspeakers and cellphone alerts. The Associated Press

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