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US military says 2 service members killed in Afghanistan

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 23:21
KABUL - The U.S. military said two of its service members were killed on Wednesday in Afghanistan, but did not offer any details surrounding the circumstances of their deaths. The killings occurred a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a quick visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul where he said Washington was hopeful of a peace deal before Sept. 1. It’s not clear if the deaths were the result of the war, which at nearly 18 years is America’s longest running. More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led coalition invaded in October 2001 to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Efforts to find a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s protracted war accelerated last year with the appointment of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who will begin a fresh round of direct talks with the Taliban on Saturday in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where the insurgents maintain a political office. Khalilzad has held a series of meetings in Kabul as well, in an effort to restart Afghan-to-Afghan of talks that would also include the Taliban. Such a planned meeting was scuttled earlier this year because neither side could agree on participants. The Taliban have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, calling it a U.S. puppet, but have said they would talk with government officials if they arrive at the meeting as ordinary Afghans. Before leaving Afghanistan for India, Pompeo on Tuesday underscored Khalilzad’s strategy in the talks, which involves four interconnected issues: counterterrorism, foreign troop presence, inter-Afghan dialogue and a permanent cease-fire. Wednesday’s U.S. military statement announcing the killings of the U.S. service members was a terse, two-paragraph announcement. The statement also said the identities of the soldiers would not be released until their families had been notified. Talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban have focused on U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal and guarantees from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again become a safe haven for terrorists to plan global attack like 9-11. Pompeo said the United States and the Taliban were close to a deal on countering terrorism. Pompeo added that discussions with the Taliban have also begun on U.S. troop withdrawal. “While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that were prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” Pompeo said. ___ Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report. Rahim Faiez, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

US military says 2 service personnel killed in Afghanistan

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:28
KABUL - The U.S. military said two service members were killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, but did not offer any details surrounding the circumstances of their deaths. The killings occurred a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a quick visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul where he said Washington was hopeful of a peace deal before Sept. 1. It’s not clear if the deaths were the result of the war, which at nearly 18 years is America’s longest running. More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led coalition invaded in October 2001 to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Efforts to find a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s protracted war accelerated last year with the appointment of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who will begin a fresh round of direct talks with the Taliban on Saturday in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, where the religious movement maintains a political office. Khalilzad has held a series of meetings in Kabul as well in an effort to reschedule an Afghan-to-Afghan round of talks, which were scuttled earlier this year because neither side could agree on participants. The Taliban have refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government calling them U.S. puppets, but have said they would talk with members of the government if they arrive at the meeting as ordinary Afghans. Before leaving Afghanistan for India, Pompeo on Tuesday underscored Khalilzad’s strategy in the talks, which involves four interconnected issues: counterterrorism, foreign troop presence, inter-Afghan dialogue and a permanent cease-fire. The U.S. military statement announcing the killings of the U.S. personnel was a terse two paragraph announcement. It also said the identities of the soldiers would not be released until their families had been notified. The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Mueller to testify publicly before House committees July 17

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:18
WASHINGTON - Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before Congress on July 17 after Democrats issued subpoenas to compel him to appear, the chairmen of two House committees announced Tuesday. Mueller’s unusual back-to-back testimony in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees is likely to be the most highly anticipated congressional hearing in years, particularly given Mueller’s resolute silence throughout his two-year investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump’s campaign. Mueller never responded to angry, public attacks from Trump, nor did he ever personally join his prosecutors in court or make announcements of criminal charges from the team. His sole public statement came from the Justice Department podium last month as he announced his departure, when he sought to explain his decision to not indict Trump or to accuse him of criminal conduct. He also put lawmakers on notice that he did not ever intend to say more than what he put in the 448-page report. “We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller said May 29. “I would not provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress.” Those remarks did little to settle the demands for his testimony. The two committees continued negotiations that had already been going on for weeks, saying they still wanted to hear from Mueller no matter how reluctant he was. “When you accept the role of special counsel in one of the most significant investigations in modern history you’re going to have to expect that you’re going to be asked to come and testify before Congress,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters shortly after the announcement. Trump himself simply tweeted, “Presidential Harassment!” In the report issued in April, Mueller concluded there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, which was the original question that started the investigation. But he also said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report examined several episodes in which Trump attempted to influence the investigation. Democrats say it is now the job of Congress to assess the report’s findings. Lawmakers are likely to confront Mueller on why he did not come to a firm conclusion on obstruction of justice. They are also likely to seek his reaction to a drumbeat of incessant criticism from the president and ask for his personal opinion about whether Trump would have been charged were he not the commander-in-chief. Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said they issued the subpoenas Tuesday, and Mueller agreed to testify pursuant to those subpoenas. In a letter to Mueller accompanying the subpoenas, the committee chairmen said “the American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions.” Schiff said there will be two hearings “back to back,” one for each committee, and they will also meet with Mueller’s staff in closed session afterward. The Justice Department declined to comment. Republicans have criticized Democrats for their continuing investigations of the president. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., questioned why they would still want to hear from Mueller after the lengthy report was issued. “He said he didn’t want to talk to us anymore, didn’t he?” But Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, has said he has no objections to Mueller’s testimony. “May this testimony bring to House Democrats the closure that the rest of America has enjoyed for months, and may it enable them to return to the business of legislating,” Collins said. ____ Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Yanks open with 2 HR, set MLB mark in 4-3 win over Blue Jays

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:16
NEW YORK - Aaron Judge and his teammates were joking about which one of them would hit the home run that gave the New York Yankees a major league-record 28 straight games with a long ball. The 6-foot-7 slugger, batting second in the lineup, predicted the mark might fall in the first inning. Judge was right, even though he never had a crack at it. The first chance went to leadoff man DJ LeMahieu - and nobody else got one. LeMahieu and Judge hit back-to-back homers to begin the bottom of the first inning, and New York held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Tuesday night. “I was just trying to do what he did. He’s been our MVP,” Judge said. “DJ stole the show. We’re happy for him. No better person I want breaking that record.” Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnacin each poked a solo shot over the short right field porch for the Yankees, who shook off another injury to Giancarlo Stanton and won for the 10th time in 11 games. The AL East leaders are 8-1 on a 10-game homestand that wraps up Wednesday. Aroldis Chapman allowed a run in the ninth before retiring Freddy Galvis on an easy grounder with two aboard for his 23rd save in 25 tries. “It certainly wasn’t perfect tonight, but the long ball obviously played a huge role,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. Stanton exited in the fourth with a bruised right knee and was scheduled for an MRI. He got tangled up with Toronto pitcher Clayton Richard (0-4) in the first while getting thrown out on a headfirst slide into third base. The 2017 NL MVP just returned last Tuesday from injuries to his biceps, shoulder and calf that had sidelined him since March 31. Nonetheless, the Yankees wasted no time rewriting the record book on this night. LeMahieu hit his fourth career leadoff shot into the second deck down the left field line, breaking a mark New York shared for one day with the 2002 Texas Rangers, who homered in 27 consecutive games. “We’ve got something special,” Judge said. The Yankees quickly added another one, too, when Judge followed with an opposite-field drive into the right field stands. It was the first home run since April 20 for Judge, who returned Friday from an oblique injury that sidelined him for two months. It was the second time this season and 11th in franchise history the Yankees started a game with consecutive home runs. Bronx Bombers, indeed. Rookie left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. (3-0) struck out five over 4 1/3 solid innings in relief of opener Chad Green. They combined to retire the first 12 Blue Jays batters before Cavan Biggio doubled leading off the fifth. Danny Jansen’s double in the sixth set up Eric Sogard’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that chased Cortes and cut it to 3-2. Tommy Kahnle escaped trouble with two strikeouts and Stephen Tarpley, recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, tossed a perfect seventh. Zack Britton worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Chapman got three outs. Randal Grichuk’s run-scoring single with two down trimmed it to 4-3 for the young Blue Jays. “A lot of progress. We’re playing good baseball,” rookie manager Charlie Montoyo said. Torres went deep in the second and Encarnacin hit his AL-high 24th homer - third with the Yankees - off reliever Tim Mayza in the eighth. Tagged right off the bat, Richard settled down and lasted six innings. The former backup quarterback at Michigan, pitching on a night when his alma mater was playing for the NCAA baseball championship in the College World Series, allowed three runs and eight hits. The Wolverines lost 4-1 to Vanderbilt, setting up a winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday night. “I follow from afar. It’s definitely cool to see,” Richard said. NEW YORK CITY BALLET Cortes kept the Blue Jays off balance with an array of funky windups. He dropped down, hesitated and even paused for a long beat with his stiff right leg pointed straight toward first base. “He’s really good at his craft,” Boone said. On the bench, Boone said the Yankees began calling one of Cortes’ unorthodox deliveries “The Nutcracker.” “I try to stay loose out there,” Cortes explained. “I try to mess up the timing.” He said he can’t keep count of all his contortions and they just come to him. He said he’s been doing it since 2015 in the minors - and it’s been working. “I mess around with it in the bullpens,” Cortes said. “Not too much, though.” LONDON BRIDGE When the Yankees play the rival Red Sox in London this weekend, fans on the other side of the pond will get a firsthand look at new-age baseball: New York, which is 7-0 when starting an opener, plans to do it again in the series finale Sunday. “It’s working right now,” said Green, giving credit to Cortes and David Hale for their effective relief outings behind him. “Definitely looking forward to it.” TRAINER’S ROOM Blue Jays: CF Teoscar Hernndez returned to the lineup after missing two starts with a sprained left wrist. He struck out all four times up. … 1B-DH Justin Smoak (strained left quadriceps) is expected back Friday at home against Kansas City. Yankees: RHP Domingo Germn (left hip flexor strain) is scheduled to make a Triple-A rehab start Thursday. If all goes well, he’ll likely rejoin the big league rotation next week. … SS Didi Gregorius was rested against the lefty. UP NEXT Blue Jays RHP Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.25 ERA) starts the series finale Wednesday afternoon against LHP James Paxton (5-3, 3.75), who pitched a no-hitter in Toronto for Seattle last year. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Motor vehicle head resigns over fatal crash that killed 7

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 20:37
CONCORD, N.H. - The head of the Massachusetts motor vehicle division has resigned after her agency failed to terminate the commercial driving license of a man whose collision with a group of motorcyclists on a rural New Hampshire road left seven bikers dead. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven counts of negligent homicide. Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement that the state Registry of Motor Vehicles failed to act on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a drunken driving arrest involving Zhukovskyy. Pollack said the arrest should have cost him his commercial driving license. As a result, she accepted the resignation of Erin Deveney. Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the resignation was just one of many revelations about the driver that indicated the crash could have been prevented. But Ribeiro said it also felt “like someone was running around from the problem.” “We just get to quit and walk away and that’s it,” Ribeiro said. “Story over. See you later until the next time it happens and then the next person steps down. This is what happens every single time.” Connecticut prosecutors said Zhukovskyy was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy, a driver for a transport company who has a history of traffic arrests, was ordered Tuesday to remain in preventive detention, with a judge saying his driving record poses a potential danger to the public and himself. The plea was entered by Zhukovskyy’s attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. Davis didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. The Dodge pickup Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph early Friday evening, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. A survivor of the crash said the trailer wiped out most of the bikers behind him. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 8, with the trial running through December. Police in Texas told several media outlets that Zhukovskyy also crashed a tractor trailer in suburban Houston earlier this month. Zhukovskyy told police that he had been cut off, causing him to lose control of the truck. He was not charged. Zhukovskyy was also arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Zhukovskyy’s father, who goes by the same name, told the Boston Herald that his son is a Ukrainian national and has permanent resident status in the U.S. The younger Zhukovskyy’s court file includes a letter dated Sunday from a deportation officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting details on his 2017 heroin and cocaine convictions. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The owner has previously said he was co-operating with the investigation. The crash 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. Ribeiro said he just remembers an “explosion” and the trailer from the truck wiping out most of the bikers behind him. The crash would not have been so deadly, he said, if not for the trailer. After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the road before authorities arrived and took him away. The dead were identified as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 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. The first three funerals are schedule to be held on Friday with services for Ferazzi in Massachusetts, Pereira in Rhode Island and Oakes in New Hampshire. Michael Casey, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Mueller to testify publicly before House committees July 17

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 20:24
WASHINGTON - Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before two House committees after Democrats issued subpoenas to compel him to appear, the chairmen of the two committees announced Tuesday. The testimony from the former FBI director before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees is likely to be the most highly anticipated congressional hearing in years, particularly given Mueller’s resolute silence throughout his two-year investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump’s campaign. Mueller never responded to angry, public attacks from Trump, nor did he ever personally join his prosecutors in court or make announcements of criminal charges from the team. His sole public statement came from the Justice Department podium last month as he announced his departure, when he sought to explain his decision to not indict Trump or to accuse him of criminal conduct. He also put lawmakers on notice that he did not ever intend to say more than what he put in the 448-page report. “We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller said May 29. “I would not provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress.” Those remarks did little to settle the demands for his testimony. The two committees continued negotiations that had already been going on for weeks, saying they still wanted to hear from Mueller no matter how reluctant he was. “When you accept the role of special counsel in one of the most significant investigations in modern history you’re going to have to expect that you’re going to be asked to come and testify before Congress,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters shortly after the announcement. In the report issued in April, Mueller concluded there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, which was the original question that started the investigation. But he also said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report examined several episodes in which Trump attempted to influence the investigation. Democrats say it is now the job of Congress to assess the report’s findings. Lawmakers are likely to confront Mueller on why he did not come to a firm conclusion on obstruction of justice. They are also likely to seek his reaction to a drumbeat of incessant criticism from the president and ask for his personal opinion about whether Trump would have been charged were he not the commander-in-chief. Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said they issued the subpoenas Tuesday, and Mueller agreed to testify pursuant to those subpoenas. In a letter to Mueller accompanying the subpoenas, the committee chairmen said “the American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions.” Schiff said there will be two hearings “back to back,” one for each committee, and they will also meet with Mueller’s staff in closed session afterward. The Justice Department declined to comment. Republicans have criticized Democrats for their robust investigations of the president. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., questioned why they would still want to hear from Mueller after the lengthy report was issued. “He said he didn’t want to talk to us anymore, didn’t he?” But Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, has said he has no objections to Mueller’s testimony. “May this testimony bring to House Democrats the closure that the rest of America has enjoyed for months, and may it enable them to return to the business of legislating,” Collins said. ____ Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Motor vehicle head resigns over fatal crash that killed 7

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 20:06
CONCORD, N.H. - The head of the Massachusetts motor vehicle division has resigned for failing to terminate the commercial driving license of a man whose collision with a group of motorcyclists on a rural New Hampshire road left seven bikers dead. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven counts of negligent homicide. Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement that the state Registry of Motor Vehicles failed to act on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a drunken driving arrest involving Zhukovskyy. Pollack said the arrest should have cost him his commercial driving license. As a result, she accepted the resignation of Erin Deveney. Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the resignation was just one of many revelations about the driver that indicated the crash could have been prevented. But Ribeiro said it also felt “like someone was running around from the problem.” “We just get to quit and walk away and that’s it,” Ribeiro said. “Story over. See you later until the next time it happens and then the next person steps down. This is what happens every single time.” Connecticut prosecutors said Zhukovskyy was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy, a driver for a transport company who has a history of traffic arrests, was ordered Tuesday to remain in preventive detention, with a judge saying his driving record poses a potential danger to the public and himself. The plea was entered by Zhukovskyy’s attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. Davis didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. The Dodge pickup Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph early Friday evening, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. A survivor of the crash said the trailer wiped out most of the bikers behind him. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 8, with the trial running through December. Police in Texas told several media outlets that Zhukovskyy also crashed a tractor trailer in suburban Houston earlier this month. Zhukovskyy told police that he had been cut off, causing him to lose control of the truck. He was not charged. Zhukovskyy was also arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Zhukovskyy’s father, who goes by the same name, told the Boston Herald that his son is a Ukrainian national and has permanent resident status in the U.S. The younger Zhukovskyy’s court file includes a letter dated Sunday from a deportation officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting details on his 2017 heroin and cocaine convictions. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The owner has previously said he was co-operating with the investigation. The crash 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. Ribeiro said he just remembers an “explosion” and the trailer from the truck wiping out most of the bikers behind him. The crash would not have been so deadly, he said, if not for the trailer. After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the road before authorities arrived and took him away. The dead were identified as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 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. The first three funerals are schedule to be held on Friday with services for Ferazzi in Massachusetts, Pereira in Rhode Island and Oakes in New Hampshire. Michael Casey, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Mueller agrees to testify before 2 House panels next month

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 19:26
WASHINGTON - Democrats say Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly July 17 before the House Judiciary and intelligence committees after both panels issued subpoenas to him Tuesday evening. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff say in a joint statement that the special counsel has agreed to testify about the Trump-Russia report he issued in April. The Justice Department declined to comment. The committees have been in negotiations with Mueller for more than two months about his testimony. But he has been hesitant to testify and speak about the investigation beyond a public statement he issued last month. In a letter to Mueller accompanying the subpoenas, the committee chairmen said “the American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Official: Driver in motorcycle wreck should’ve lost license

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 19:07
CONCORD, N.H. - The head of the Massachusetts motor vehicle division has resigned for failing to terminate the commercial driving license of man whose collision with a group of motorcyclists in New Hampshire left seven dead. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide. Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement that the RMV failed to act on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about an incident involving Zhukovskyy that should have cost him his license. As a result, she accepted the resignation of Erin Deveney. Connecticut prosecutors said Zhukovskyy was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Zhukovskyy, a driver for a transport company who has a history of traffic arrests, was ordered Tuesday to remain in preventive detention, with a judge saying his driving record poses a potential danger to the public and himself. The plea was entered by Zhukovskyy’s attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. Davis didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. The Dodge pickup Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph early Friday evening, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. A survivor of the crash said the trailer wiped out most of the bikers behind him. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 8, with the trial running through December. Zhukovskyy was also arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Zhukovskyy’s father, who goes by the same name, told the Boston Herald that his son is a Ukrainian national and has permanent resident status in the U.S. The younger Zhukovskyy’s court file includes a letter dated Sunday from a deportation officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting details on his 2017 heroin and cocaine convictions. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The owner has previously said he was co-operating with the investigation. The crash 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. JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said he just remembers an “explosion” and the trailer from the truck wiping out most of the bikers behind him. The crash would not have been so deadly, he said, if not for the trailer. After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the road before authorities arrived and took him away. The dead were identified as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 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. Michael Casey, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Hayley Wickenheiser among six to enter Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 18:56
Hayley Wickenheiser’s accolades have a hard time keeping up with her. The Hockey Hall of Fame wasted no time hustling Wickenheiser into its gallery of heroes in her first year of eligibility. But when board chairman Lanny McDonald phoned her Tuesday to relay the joyful news, Wickenheiser was sequestered doing mandatory medical school course work at the University of Calgary. “I knew my phone was blowing up. I couldn’t answer it,” Wickenheiser said. “My first call was back to Lanny.” The 40-year-old from Shaunavon, Sask., joins players Guy Carbonneau, Vaclav Nedomansky and Sergei Zubov and builders Jim Rutherford and Jerry York in the 2019 class of inductees. The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto. “Outside of winning an Olympic gold medal, for a personal accomplishment, this is probably the holy grail,” Wickenheiser said. “You’re with the best players to have ever played the game, male and female. It’s pretty cool. “Today I had just so many different people reaching out from both the male and female side. It brought back a lot of memories from the different eras of my hockey career.” Wickenheiser was the only first-year eligible player to be selected. The all-time leading scorer on the Canadian women’s hockey team was similarly accelerated into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame last month. There were no girls’ teams for her to play for in Calgary over three decades ago. Wickenheiser tucked her hair up under her helmet and played on boys’ teams. She wasn’t always welcomed by players or their parents. “I think it symbolizes where the women’s game has come and also the struggles too,” she said. “Today, I was thinking about all the tough times I had in hockey. “Nobody will really talk about those things when you go into the Hall of Fame, but those are the things you think about as a player with your family and all the people that helped you through the years.” During her 23 years playing for Canada, Wickenheiser scored 168 goals and assisted on 211 more in 276 games while winning four Olympic gold medals and seven world championships. She was captain of national teams that won Olympic gold in 2010, as well as world titles in 2007 and 2012. She announced her retirement in January, 2017, after playing her last game April 4, 2016, at the women’s world championship. Wickenheiser was a star of female hockey when the emerging game desperately needed one. She pushed the envelope of what was possible for a female athlete twice playing men’s professional hockey in Europe. Wickenheiser is currently an assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs, in addition to her medical studies. She’s the seventh woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Wickenheiser joins former Canadian teammates Angela James, Geraldine Heaney, Danielle Goyette and Jayna Hefford as well as Americans Cammi Granato and Angela Ruggiero. Carbonneau, a native of Sept-Iles, Que., was the last captain of a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. He won three Selke Awards as the NHL’s top defensive forward and three Stanley Cups - two with Montreal, one with the Dallas Stars. “Just to be on the same list as guys like Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky, it’s unbelievable,” Carbonneau said. “People thought when I did become a defensive player that I sacrificed a lot of offence. I see it the other. It gave me chances.” Rutherford, from Beeton, Ont., began his management career with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in 1984. He then became general manager of the Hartford Whalers for 20 years and won a Stanley Cup in Carolina in 2006 after the franchise moved to Raleigh. Rutherford has since won two more Stanley Cups as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “One of the advantages I think for me when I retired as a player, I didn’t try to stay in the NHL,” Rutherford said. “I went back to the grassroots. I went all the way back to youth hockey for a couple of years and then got the opportunity to manage in the Ontario Hockey League and kind of worked my way up. “We won the Stanley Cup in Carolina against the odds. We certainly weren’t the odds-on favourite to win it that year. “And then I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be hired by Pittsburgh and I already had a great advantage when you come into a team with (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin and (Kris) Letang.” Nedomansky played 12 seasons in Bratislava before becoming the first athlete from an Eastern European communist country to defect to North America to pursue a pro hockey career. The Czech played 252 career NHL games with Detroit, the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. He played in the WHA with Toronto and Birmingham before joining the Detroit Red Wings as a 33-year-old rookie in 1977. “I’m proud to be the first player from a communist country to come and play in North America,” Nedomansky said. Russia’s Zubov joined the Rangers in 1992 after playing four seasons with the Moscow Red Army. He won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994 and another with Dallas in 1999. “I was eight years old when I travelled with the national team to a tournament in Canada,” Zubov said. “I had a chance to walk into the Hall of Fame. Back then, I couldn’t even think of, dream of, that one day I would have a chance to be part of it. “It’s truly special. You realize you’ve done something in your life that you can be proud of.” York is the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey with over 1,000 victories. He’s navigated Boston College to four national titles in 26 seasons there. York coached current and former NHL players such as Johnny Gaudreau, Brooks Orpik, Brian Gionta and Patrick Eaves. “They seem to make you a better coach when you have those players,” York said. “Never once did I think I’d go in (the Hall) in any category whatsoever. Just really surprised.” Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An incorrect nationality for Vaclav Nedomansky was published in a previous version.
Categories: Regina News

China asks for suspension of Canadian meat, citing forged certificates

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 18:47
OTTAWA - The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspend all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. The latest Chinese move comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that this latest move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China. “The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188. The Canadian side believes that this incident is criminal offence,” said the embassy statement. “These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes.” China is therefore taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates, the embassy said. “We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency “identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates” and “has informed appropriate law enforcement agencies.” Bibeau said the agency was investigating a “technical issue” and was working with industry partners and Chinese officials. A report in the newspaper Journal de Quebec, which first reported the story, quotes a Montreal-based diplomat with the Chinese consulate-general as saying the ban is temporary. China detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release. China has also stopped imports of Canadian canola and has suspended import permits for three pork producers. Bibeau defended the quality of the Canadian meat industry. “Our government will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our producers and workers, who export the finest products around the world,” she said. “The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports.” The Conservatives blamed Trudeau. “Conservatives know that Canadian farmers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the world. Any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless,” said a statement from Tory agriculture critic Luc Berthold. “It is clear that this is not an issue of food safety, but a political issue caused by Justin Trudeau’s incompetence and weakness on the world stage.” Berthold said Trudeau has to “personally raise this issue” with Xi in at the G20 meeting and demand the trade barriers be lifted. Livestock producers are worried. Chad MacPherson, general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, said China’s action will affect producers across the country. “This is very disappointing news to hear, that the government of China would be taking these measures,” he said in Regina. “We feel that we produce some of the safest food in the world. We have very rigorous health inspections and protocols and all the scientific measures that we can to ensure that we produce safe food.” MacPherson said China’s concerns are unfounded.  “This is just more punitive actions from the government of China in reaction to the arrest of the Huawei executive,” he said.  “We can work with our federal government to try to get the consulate back on the ground in China and try to get this issue resolved. It is going to impact the bottom line of all livestock producers in Canada.” - With file from CKRM Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

China asks for suspension of Canadian meat, citing forged certificates

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 18:27
OTTAWA - The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspend all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. The latest Chinese move comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that this latest move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China. “The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188. The Canadian side believes that this incident is criminal offence,” said the embassy statement. “These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes.” China is therefore taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates, the embassy said. “We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.” A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau did not immediately comment on the report. A report in the newspaper Journal de Quebec, which first reported the story, quotes a Montreal-based diplomat with the Chinese consulate-general as saying the ban is temporary. China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release. China has also stopped imports of Canadian canola and has suspended import permits for three pork producers. A senior Canadian government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the dispute, described the matter as a “technical issue.” The official said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is “seized with the issue and looking into the matter to ensure that all the rules are being followed.” The CFIA is working with Chinese officials to resolve the matter. “This is a technical issue related to potentially fraudulent permits,” said the official. “We stand by the quality of Canadian products.” The Conservatives blamed Trudeau. “Conservatives know that Canadian farmers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the world. Any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless,” said a statement from Tory agriculture critic Luc Berthold. “It is clear that this is not an issue of food safety, but a political issue caused by Justin Trudeau’s incompetence and weakness on the world stage.” Berthold said Trudeau has to “personally raise this issue” with Xi in at the G20 meeting and demand the trade barriers be lifted. Livestock producers are worried. Chad MacPherson, general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, said China’s action will affect producers across the country. “This is very disappointing news to hear, that the government of China would be taking these measures,” he said in Regina. “We feel that we produce some of the safest food in the world. We have very rigorous health inspections and protocols and all the scientific measures that we can to ensure that we produce safe food.” MacPherson said China’s concerns are unfounded.  “This is just more punitive actions from the government of China in reaction to the arrest of the Huawei executive,” he said.  “We can work with our federal government to try to get the consulate back on the ground in China and try to get this issue resolved. It is going to impact the bottom line of all livestock producers in Canada.” - With file from CKRM Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

Development camp competitive, physical for Vancouver Canucks prospects

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:38
VANCOUVER - With a year’s experience, Tyler Madden knew what to expect coming into the Vancouver Canucks development camp this week. But the knowledge didn’t make fitness testing any easier. “You can prepare for that thing as much as you want but that bike will kick the crap out of you,” the 19-year-old centre said with a smile Tuesday. Madden is one of 26 Canucks prospects at this year’s camp in Vancouver, where each athlete is looking to leave an impression on coaches before a roster is set for September’s formal training camps. He attended last year’s camp and a lot has changed since. Madden, drafted 68th overall by Vancouver in 2018, started college at Northeastern University, where he put up 12 goals and 16 assists last season, and played for Team USA at the world junior hockey championships last winter. While it’s been a special year, it’s been challenging, too. “I knew going there that (NCAA hockey) would be a tougher game and stuff,” Madden said. “But it was a lot harder than people may think and the transition is big. But I was able to do that and kind of conquer that.” Will Lockwood had to conquer an injury in order to get to camp. Surgery on a separated shoulder kept the right-winger from participating last year. The injury has been “a little frustrating,” the 21-year-old admitted. “I try to make the most out of it, take it day by day,” he said. “Doing therapy for your shoulder isn’t the most fun thing in the world. But I had a great support system with me and made the most out of it.” Lockwood came into development camp in great shape both physically and mentally, said Ryan Johnson, the Canucks senior director of player development. “Obviously it’s been an arduous time over a couple year period there with the shoulder injury and the recovery time. But it says so much about the kid that he’s stuck with it,” he said. “You can tell there’s a maturity not just physically, he’s come a long way.” Lockwood spent last season playing at the University of Michigan, where he tallied 31 points in 26 games. He’s committed to going back to school this fall and said playing a senior year for the Wolverines is best for his future. “I think it will give me a chance to develop a little bit more, develop into the player I want to become. And Vancouver fully supports that. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that,” said Lockwood, who’s been named captain of next year’s Michigan team. Still, the 64th overall pick from the 2016 draft said he’s dedicated to playing for the Canucks once his collegiate career is done. “It’s kind of come to a point where I owe them a little bit. So I’m working on developing my game and the end plan is coming to Vancouver,” he said. When Lockwood does make it to Vancouver, he’ll be in good company. His former teammate, defenceman Quinn Hughes, officially joining the team in March after the NCAA season ended. “Quinn’s kind of paved the way a little bit, coming from U of M as well,” Lockwood said. “There’s no question that he’s going to do great, he’s such a great talent. But he’s been a good friend of mine when we were playing together and to see him do it is amazing.” Other prospects at this year’s camp are more recent additions to the Canucks franchise. Vancouver picked Swedish forward Nils Hoglander 40th overall in Saturday’s draft. On Tuesday, the 18-year-old was grinding his way through drills in a Canucks jersey. Johnson said Vancouver’s scouts had been hoping they’d be able to scoop up Hoglander, who had 14 points in the Swedish hockey league last season. “Everything he does with pace and jump and excitement. He’s always got a smile on his face. You can tell he loves the game and he’s got a special skill set,” Johnson said. The teen’s explosiveness and great hands don’t hurt either, he added. “For me, he’s got a good mix of the speed and the compete and the skill level, and that’s something we really need here in Vancouver,” Johnson said. After the draft, the Canucks posted a video of some of Hoglander’s intense workout regimes. But the teen said his training isn’t all serious. “Of course I work hard in the summer but I also do the fun things with the stick and with the unicycle and that stuff,” he said. Hoglander said he learned to ride a one-wheeled vehicle as a kid. “It’s fun to do and also good for hockey,” he said. One prospect who isn’t at this week’s camp is Vasily Podkolzin, who the Canucks picked 10th overall at last week’s draft. The 18-year-old Russian forward couldn’t partake because he has two years left on his KHL contract. Hockey coaches always want to work with their players right after the draft, but the staff in Vancouver know Podkolzin will be well taken care of overseas, Johnson said. “Obviously he’s an elite player and someone we just have to monitor from afar and watch his development,” he said. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

Cardi B pleads not guilty to new charges in strip club brawl

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:24
NEW YORK - Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B was arraigned Tuesday on new felony charges in connection with a fight last year at a New York City strip club. “Not guilty, sir, honour,” said the rapper dressed in a dark blue and light pink pantsuit with her hair tinted blue as she pleaded in state court to two counts of attempted assault and various misdemeanour charges, including harassment, criminal solicitation, conspiracy and reckless endangerment. The rap star, whose chart-topping hits include “I Like It” and “Bodak Yellow,” has showcased her fashion style at each of her court appearances. She didn’t speak to reporters as she entered and left the courthouse, but waved at a small crowd of fans who shouted her name and took video on their cellphones. The 26-year-old Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, and her entourage argued with a bartender at Angels Strip Club, police have said. They say a fight broke out in which chairs, bottles and hookah pipes were thrown, causing minor injuries to the woman and another employee. Cardi B had originally only been charged with misdemeanours. Prosecutors presented the case to a grand jury after she rejected a plea deal that would have given her a conditional discharge. Two other defendants in the case who allegedly participated in the brawl also pleaded not guilty Tuesday to similar charges. The judge set Sept. 9 as the next court date, but the rapper does not have to appear. Verena Dobnik, The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

Wisconsin coroner: 6 killed in rural house fire

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:10
PICKEREL, Wis. - Authorities say six people, including four children, have died in a house fire in a small Wisconsin town. The Langlade County Sheriff’s Office says the fire was reported about 6:23 a.m. Tuesday in a multifamily home in Pickerel. Langlade County Coroner Larry Shadlick says the victims were a 34-year-old woman, a 32-year-old man, a 10-month-old girl, a 1 1/2-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy. Shadlick says two other people escaped. Shadlick says it’s not clear if the victims were all from the same family. The fire is being investigated by the county and state fire investigation teams. Pickerel is an unincorporated area about 200 miles (about 321 kilometres) northwest of Milwaukee. The Associated Press
Categories: Regina News

China asks for suspension of Canadian meat, citing forged certificates

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:54
OTTAWA - The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspended all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. The latest Chinese move comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that this latest move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China. “The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188. The Canadian side believes that this incident is criminal offence,” said the embassy statement. “These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes.” China is therefore taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates, the embassy said. “We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.” A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau did not immediately comment on the report. A report in the newspaper Journal de Quebec, which first reported the story, quotes a Montreal-based diplomat with the Chinese consulate-general as saying the ban is temporary. China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release. China has also stopped imports of Canadian canola and has suspended import permits for three pork producers. A senior Canadian government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the dispute, described the matter as a “technical issue.” The official said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is “seized with the issue and looking into the matter to ensure that all the rules are being followed.” The CFIA is working with Chinese officials to resolve the matter. “This is a technical issue related to potentially fraudulent permits,” said the official. “We stand by the quality of Canadian products.” The Conservatives blamed Trudeau. “Conservatives know that Canadian farmers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the world. Any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless,” said a statement from Tory agriculture critic Luc Berthold. “It is clear that this is not an issue of food safety, but a political issue caused by Justin Trudeau’s incompetence and weakness on the world stage.” Berthold said Trudeau has to “personally raise this issue” with Xi in at the G20 meeting and demand the trade barriers be lifted. Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

Maple Leafs extend qualifying offers to Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:42
TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs have extended qualifying offers to four restricted free agents, including star winger Mitch Marner. Forwards Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen and Michael Carcone were also extended offers. Extending the offers is essentially a formality that allows the Maple Leafs to retain negotiating rights with the players. Marner, Johnsson and Kapanen are certain to turn the offers down. Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has said he is close to getting new deals done with Johnsson and Kapanen. Progress seems to be slower with Marner, who had a career-high 94 points (26 goals, 68 assists) in 82 games last season and will command a significant raise.   The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

China asks for suspension of Canadian meat, citing forged certificates

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:38
OTTAWA - The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday it has asked Canada to suspended all meat exports, a surprise move that comes amid the diplomatic dispute over the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. The latest Chinese move comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to depart Wednesday for a G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, where he is expected to rely on U.S. President Donald Trump to raise the plight of two detained Canadians during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The embassy said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that this latest move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. The additive has permitted uses in Canada but is banned in China. “The subsequent investigation revealed that the official veterinary health certificates attached to the batch of pork exported to China were counterfeit and the number of those forgery certificates was up to 188. The Canadian side believes that this incident is criminal offence,” said the embassy statement. “These forged certificates were sent to the Chinese regulatory authorities through Canadian official certificate notification channel, which reflects that the Canadian meat export supervision system exists obvious safety loopholes.” China is therefore taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked the Canadian government to suspend all meat-export certificates, the embassy said. “We hope the Canadian side would attach great importance to this incident, complete the investigation as soon as possible and take effective measures to ensure the safety of food exported to China in a more responsible manner.” A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau did not immediately comment on the report. A report in the newspaper Journal de Quebec, which first reported the story, quotes a Montreal-based diplomat with the Chinese consulate-general as saying the ban is temporary. China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for Meng’s release. China has also stopped imports of Canadian canola and has suspended import permits for three pork producers. A senior Canadian government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the dispute, described the matter as a “technical issue.” The official said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is “seized with the issue and looking into the matter to ensure that all the rules are being followed.” The CFIA is working with Chinese officials to resolve the matter. “This is a technical issue related to potentially fraudulent permits,” said the official. “We stand by the quality of Canadian products.” Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

Mountie charged with manslaughter made tactically disastrous decision: trial

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:37
THOMPSON, Man. - An RCMP officer in northern Manitoba made a disastrous tactical decision to step in front a vehicle before he shot the driver, an expert in police use of force testified at the officer’s trial Tuesday. Const. Abram Letkeman is charged with manslaughter in the November 2015 death of Steven Campbell, who was behind the wheel of a Jeep that the Mountie had tried to pull over for erratic driving. Letkeman shot Campbell at least nine times. There were two bullets lodged in the man’s body - one in his jaw and another in his shoulder. Another bullet went through his open mouth. The Court of Queen’s Bench trial has heard that Letkeman attempted to pull over the vehicle shortly after bars had closed in Thompson, Man., on suspicion the driver was impaired. Campbell and four passengers were inside, including the driver’s longtime girlfriend Lori Flett. Christopher Butler, a retired Calgary police inspector, was brought in by the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba to review what happened. The unit investigates serious actions involving police. Court heard Tuesday that there was a collision between the police car and the Jeep on a road which caused the Jeep to spin out. The Jeep then travelled down a trail for all-terrain vehicles and Letkeman continued to follow. At some point, the police car T-boned the Jeep. Butler told court that when the officer continued pursuing the vehicle it was unjustified. He also said if Letkeman intentionally rammed the jeep that would be against protocol and extremely dangerous. Once the jeep was stopped, the tactical decision for the officer, Butler suggested, would have been for him to stay in his car and wait for backup after the collision. But Letkeman got out and walked in front of the Jeep. “That is tactically disastrous,” Butler said. “You don’t put yourself in front of the vehicle.” Police at the time of the shooting said the Jeep accelerated towards Letkeman, prompting him to start shooting. Butler did say that if the Jeep moved toward the officer and he believed he could die, firing his gun would be consistent with RCMP policy. The Crown prosecutor asked if the officer put himself in jeopardy. Butler responded, “Yes.” Court has heard that 12 shell casings were found at the scene. The Crown prosecutor asked whether Letkeman needed to continue firing his gun, even when he had moved away from the front of the Jeep and could no longer be run over. Butler responded that Letkeman would have been clear from danger and could have stopped shooting. When cross-examined by the defence, however, Butler said it is common for police officers to continue firing their gun until it is empty. Letkeman is expected to testify in his own defence on Thursday. - By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

Words of wisdom: Some of the top quotes from Raptors president Masai Ujiri

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:36
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri touched on numerous on- and off-court topics during a nearly hour-long session with reporters on Tuesday. Here’s a look at some of the notable quotes from Ujiri in the aftermath of the Raptors’ run to their first NBA title:   On reports of other teams having interest in Ujiri: “For me, the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person. I identify with this place and I love it. In my mind, I’m here.” --- On another idea he had for the news conference after noticing the Larry O’Brien Trophy was missing: “I was just going to come out and put it down and walk off … and walk back to Africa.” --- On fellow African Pascal Siakam of the Raptors winning the NBA’s most improved player award: “We represent an unbelievable continent in Africa and it says a lot for the youth we represent. When we go back this summer, you can actually look at this youth and say this is where we are, this is the opportunity we’re getting and by the way, we are champions. You can actually do it and you can go and win.” --- On if Canadians are bothering pending free agent Kawhi Leonard too much when he goes out in public: “Yesterday I found myself putting on a hoodie in an airport. There’s sometimes you want your private space and that’s understandable with everybody in life. I know he does understand. he doesn’t complain. I do think people should respect a person’s space and the person he is. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal like we make it (out to be).” --- On if basketball can be bigger than hockey in Toronto: “That’s a touchy subject here. Where’s my handkerchief on that one,” Ujiri said with a smile, wiping his face. “Shanny’s (Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan) my boy. So is (Leafs GM) Kyle (Dubas). But I really do think so. That’s the way basketball is growing around the world. We saw the following. I do think we’re lucky in a place like Canada. There’s room for baseball, room for basketball, room for hockey, room for soccer.” --- On if the Leafs will ever win another championship: “I remember here six years ago, five years ago, we were talking about can any team here ever win a championship again. The soccer team does, the basketball team has and I guarantee you the hockey team will. That’s just how sports is. Sports comes around. Everybody thinks it’s doomsday and it’s not going to happen. It all comes around. It came around for the Raptors and it’s going to stay around.” --- On the global makeup of the Raptors and their fanbase: “That’s something we’re really proud of. It identifies with what Toronto is, diversity. That’s what 44 (44th U.S. President Barack Obama) said to me when he came to games. ‘Wow look at the people, look at the different types of people.’ It’s unique.” --- On the team’s future: “I truly believe we will win some more. I have no doubt in my mind.” The Canadian Press
Categories: Regina News

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