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Belarus convicts a famous dissident rock band and sentences its members to correctional labor

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Belarusian authorities on Friday convicted a famous dissident rock band, designating the band and its three members as extremist and sentencing them to two years of correctio ...
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TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Belarusian authorities on Friday convicted a famous dissident rock band, designating the band and its three members as extremist and sentencing them to two years of correctional labor. It was the latest in a yearslong crackdown on dissent that has engulfed this country of 9.5 million people.

Nizkiz band members — Alyaksandr Ilyin, Siarhei Kulsha and Dzmitry Khalyaukin — were charged with “organizing and plotting actions grossly violating public order.”

In 2020, when Belarus was rocked by mass protests that erupted after President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term in office in a disputed election, the band released “Rules,” a song that became the protests’ anthem. A music video for the song was filmed at one of the demonstrations against the country’s authoritarian leader.

Lukashenko’s government unleashed a brutal crackdown in response to the protests, arresting more than 35,000 people and violently beating thousands. Many have been labeled as “extremists,” a designation frequently used against critics. The repressions have continued to this day.

In addition to the sentencing, the band and the musicians were also added to the state registry of extremists, which effectively means a ban on its songs and exposes Nizkiz’s fans to prosecution.

The band was founded in 2008 in the city of Mogilev in the east of the country. In January 2024, Ilyin, Kulsha and Khalyaukin were arrested and initially faced petty charges, but then authorities opened a criminal case against them. They have been behind bars since then.

In February, the Viasna human rights center declared them political prisoners. According to the group, which is the oldest and the most prominent in the country, there are currently 1,387 political prisoners in Belarus, including Viasna’s founder Ales Bialiatsky, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

Belarus’ opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Friday urged musicians around the world “to express solidarity with their Belarusian colleagues, who were convicted over the songs of freedom.”

“The Belarusian regime continues a ruthless attack on our culture,” Tsikhanouskaya said in written comments sent to The Associated Press.

“Nizkiz’s songs sounded during the 2020 protests,” she said. “That’s why the members of this popular band were brutally detained in their apartments and then convicted. It is yet another shameful act of the regime’s revenge.”

Yuras Karmanau, The Associated Press

8 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Jill Biden calls Trump a ‘bully’ who is ‘dangerous’ to LGBTQ people

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden rallied LGBTQ voters for President Joe Biden ‘s reelection campaign on Friday, calling likely rival Donald Trump a “bully” who is “dangerous” to their comm ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden rallied LGBTQ voters for President Joe Biden ‘s reelection campaign on Friday, calling likely rival Donald Trump a “bully” who is “dangerous” to their community and urging its members to “fight like hell” to keep the Republican from defeating her husband in November.

She said outside forces are working to undo the community’s “hard-won gains” by stripping away rights and freedoms and states are passing laws “targeting this community.” She encouraged members to spend every day until the Nov. 5 election working to gin up support for the Democratic ticket of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Voters in this demographic overwhelmingly supported Biden in 2020. The president, who is struggling with a low public approval rating as well as softening support among other key groups that backed him in 2020, needs the LGBTQ community’s support.

“Donald Trump is a bully. He is dangerous to the LGBTQ community, to our families, to our country, and we cannot let him win,” the first lady said at the event held by the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

“We have to fight like hell. Today, tomorrow and all the days after. Until the polls close on Nov 5. Until Joe and Kamala have won another term. Until all the people in all the places can live freely surrounded by love,” she said.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Human Rights Campaign event followed the launch this week of “Out for Biden-Harris,” which the president’s reelection campaign created to mobilize LGBTQ voters.

In her speech, Jill Biden said the president has advocated for LGBTQ people by signing the Respect for Marriage Act, ending a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military and opposing conversion therapy.

She said outside forces are trying to “erase these hard-won gains.”

“They want to take our victories away but we won’t let them,” Biden said. “Your president will not let them. I will not let them.”

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

11 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

A Trump campaign stop at an Atlanta Chick-fil-A offers a window into his outreach to Black voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — The scenes of Donald Trump being warmly greeted on Wednesday by a Black audience at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta electrified conservative political media at a moment when Re ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The scenes of Donald Trump being warmly greeted on Wednesday by a Black audience at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta electrified conservative political media at a moment when Republicans hope to make inroads with Democrats’ most committed voting bloc.

Those widely shared moments were days in the making, an alliance between the Trump campaign, local activists, and students at some of the nation’s most iconic historically Black colleges.

Trump and his allies have argued he can win greater Black support due to his messages on the economy and immigration, a notion President Joe Biden’s campaign rejects. Some of his outreach to African Americans has played on racial stereotypes — promoting $399 branded sneakers or suggesting that Black people would empathize with his dozens of felony charges — and has offended longtime critics and some potential allies.

But the campaign considered Wednesday’s photo opportunity at Chick-fil-A, a stop he made on the way to a fundraiser in Atlanta, a win that produced viral videos shared by his allies and widely discussed by supporters and opponents alike.

“People find it so hard to believe that there are young Black people who would have loved the opportunity to meet Trump,” said Michaelah Montgomery, a conservative activist and founder of Conserve the Culture, which recruits and educates college students and young alumni at Atlanta’s historically Black colleges and universities.

Montgomery, a former Georgia Republican Party staffer who regularly coordinates events for HBCU students open to conservative ideas to meet with politicians and activists, said she was notified earlier in the week that Trump would visit Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood during his trip to host a high-dollar fundraiser in the city. She notified a private group chat of students she uses to coordinate events and job opportunities about the president’s visit. She received immediate interest in appearing alongside him from around a dozen students.

“Everybody got together at around 9:30 in the morning and walked on over to the Chick-fil-A and then we sat there and waited until the president showed up,” said Montgomery, who can be seen embracing the former president in multiple viral videos. “It’s really disheartening to see that the media makes it seem like we just stumbled into a Chick-fil-A and he bought us milkshakes.”

Morehouse and Spelman Colleges are some of the foremost historically Black colleges in the nation, with long legacies of influential Black alumni in politics, business, religion and medicine. Martin Luther King Jr. and Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who pastors King’s former church, are both Morehouse alumni. Stacey Abrams, the influential Georgia Democrat, attended Spelman. Alongside neighboring Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown College, the academic collective on Atlanta’s West Side has served as a bastion of African American politics and culture since before the Civil Rights movement.

Trump’s overture to students at the iconic Black institutions both underscored his eagerness to show any potential inroads with Black voters as well as the campaign’s strategy of partnering with local conservative groups to marshal a crowd in communities outside the GOP base, a common political tactic with a slight twist.

“The location was beautifully selected and I think it had an incredible impact,” said Bill White, a businessman and longtime friend of the former president who organized the high-dollar luncheon for the Trump campaign in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood the same day. “I just thought the day was a resounding success for him and for the people in Georgia who loved him and wanted to come out and show their support.”

White added that Donald Trump “is very relatable to anyone, really. Atlantans got a chance to see that and show their love back” and he anticipates Trump will make major inroads with Black voters in Atlanta and across the country due to events like his Wednesday visit.

In March, 55 percent of Black Americans said they approved of Biden’s handling his job as president while 45 percent disapproved, according to a poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Research. But a February poll found only a 25 percent favorability rating for Trump among Black Americans.

The visit was not met with fanfare by some on campus or the local community. Montgomery denounced the criticism some students who appeared in the viral videos alongside Trump have received both on campus and online.

“They are claiming that the students made a mockery of their institutions and saying that they are disrespecting their ancestors. It is really, really bad,” said Montgomery.

Matt Brown, The Associated Press

15 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Ottawa to provide $132 million to help people fleeing civil war in Sudan

OTTAWA — International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen is announcing $132 million in aid for people fleeing Sudan’s yearlong civil war. The funding includes $100 million in humanitarian aid ...
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OTTAWA — International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen is announcing $132 million in aid for people fleeing Sudan’s yearlong civil war.

The funding includes $100 million in humanitarian aid for Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring countries as well as those stuck in Sudan amid widescale violence.

That aid includes housing, shelter and sanitation services for the more than 8.5 million people displaced since duelling factions of Sudan’s military wings started fighting in the streets of Khartoum.

Hussen says the rest of the funding will go toward development projects, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health for women in Sudan and South Sudan, and other projects in the Central African Republic, Chad and Ethiopia.

The Liberals insist they are deeply concerned about the crisis in Sudan, but have faced mounting criticism for not following peers in issuing sanctions on those supporting warlords.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of a conference in Paris on Monday — the one-year anniversary of the conflict — aimed at getting the world closer to meeting the humanitarian needs created by the Sudan crisis.

The United Nations says Sudan needs US$2.7 billion to deal with humanitarian needs but has received just 6 per cent of that target.

Hussen’s office says Canada plans to participate in the conference in Paris, but has not said who will attend the event, which occurs on the eve of the federal budget.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

21 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Jury visits a ranch near US-Mexico border where an Arizona man is charged with killing a migrant

PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors in the case of an Arizona rancher charged with fatally shooting a migrant on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border visited the scene of the killing as the third week of the ...
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PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors in the case of an Arizona rancher charged with fatally shooting a migrant on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border visited the scene of the killing as the third week of the trial wrapped up.

Court officials on Thursday took jurors in a van to view various locations at George Alan Kelly’s ranch, as well as a section of the border. Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink denied news media requests to tag along.

The case in Nogales, Arizona, has attracted national attention as border security becomes an increasingly important issue in this year’s presidential contest.

Fink said this week that the case was taking longer than he hoped and he would start imposing time limits on testimony to ensure that the case goes to the jury next Thursday.

Kelly, 75, is charged with the second-degree murder of 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a Mexican citizen. Kelly has said he fired warning shots in the air, but didn’t shoot directly at anyone.

Cuen-Buitimea was in a group of migrants Kelly encountered on his nearly 170-acre (69-hectare) cattle ranch. Prosecutors have said Kelly recklessly fired an AK-47 rifle toward the migrants, who were about 100 yards (90 meters) away, but Kelly and his defense team reject that narrative.

Jury visits to crime scenes are relatively rare, but Fink has suggested that the jurors in this case would get a better sense of how events were seen on the day of the shooting by various people who have testified.

In 2018, federal jurors in the trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged in the fatal shooting of a teen across the Mexican border also in the Nogales, Arizona, area were taken to the scene of the shooting after dark to observe conditions as they may have been at the time. Former agent Lonnie Schwartz was acquitted in the killing of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez when jurors failed to reach a verdict on a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Kelly was arrested and charged last year in the Jan. 30, 2023, fatal shooting of Cuen-Buitimea, who lived in Nogales, Mexico, just south of the border.

The bullet that killed Cuen-Buitimea was not found in the body or at the scene.

Anita Snow, The Associated Press

26 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

A state trooper pleaded guilty to assaulting teens over a doorbell prank. He could face prison time

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A suspended Delaware state trooper is facing prison time after pleading guilty to criminal charges involving a brutal assault on a teenager who targeted the trooper’s house in a ...
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DOVER, Del. (AP) — A suspended Delaware state trooper is facing prison time after pleading guilty to criminal charges involving a brutal assault on a teenager who targeted the trooper’s house in a prank.

Dempsey Walters, 30, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree assault and deprivation of civil rights, both felonies, authorities said. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault and two counts of official misconduct. Prosecutors plan to recommend that Walters be sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison.

“We do not recommend prison sentences lightly, but there is no question that justice demands it here,” Attorney General Kathleen Jennings said in a prepared statement. “The defendant’s rampage against two kids, and his subsequent attempt to conceal his misconduct, was brutal, dishonest, and unacceptable.”

The case marked the first use of a state civil rights law that lawmakers passed unanimously in 2022.

Walters was indicted in September 2023 for assaulting a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, whose eye socket was fractured. Authorities said Walters was off duty and returning to his home in Elsmere last August when he and the 17-year-old got into an argument. Walters contacted Elsmere police, who took the teenager to his home and turned him over to his mother. The following day, authorities said, Walters looked him up on Delaware’s state law enforcement database.

Three days later, Walters was on duty when the 15-year-old and three friends, who were walking past Walters’ home, decided to play a doorbell prank. The teen ran up to Walters’ house and kicked the door before running off. In home security camera footage, the teen’s face appears to be covered. Walters’ girlfriend called him and gave him a description of the teen. Walters drove to the neighborhood and called other troopers and police departments for help.

While searching for the person who came to his doorstep, Walters was told by a witness that several juveniles had just run down the street where the 17-year-old lived. Walters drove to the area, looked up the 17-year-old again on the state database, and went to his house with two Newport police officers.

When the officers arrived at the teen’s house, he and a friend came to the front door. Walters grabbed the 17-year-old and forced him to the ground, injuring him, authorities said. The teen, who was not part of the group that played the doorbell prank, was handcuffed and detained but never formally arrested during the encounter, which was captured on Newport police body cameras and Walters’ body camera.

Walters then heard that the group involved in ringing his doorbell had been found and detained. When he arrived at their location, the 15-year-old was face-down on the ground with a trooper attempting to handcuff him. Almost immediately upon arriving, according to investigators, Walters dropped his knee onto the back of the teen’s head and neck area, which can be seen on a police vehicle camera and Walters’ body camera.

As the 15-year-old was arrested and put in a police vehicle, Walters confirmed with another trooper that the person in custody was the same person who had kicked his door. He then turned off his body camera and walked to the police vehicle. While the teen was handcuffed in the back of the vehicle, Walters punched him in the face, fracturing his right eye socket. Walters then walked around the vehicle and turned his body camera back on.

Randall Chase, The Associated Press

36 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Wild prints, trendy wear are making the Masters the center of the golf fashion universe

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — At a place where green jackets never go out of style, the sometimes-wild, often-trendy and always-interesting fashion sense of those playing Augusta National has become a viral s ...
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — At a place where green jackets never go out of style, the sometimes-wild, often-trendy and always-interesting fashion sense of those playing Augusta National has become a viral subplot to the competition at the Masters this week.

Start with Jason Day, marching alongside Tiger Woods in the opening round, wearing some loose-looking slacks from Malbon that harkened back to the baggy shorts from the Fab Five era of Michigan basketball. Then, on Friday, the former PGA champion slipped into a white vest from the fashion house that read in bold letters across the belly, “Malbon Golf Championship.”

“It looks like he’s wearing a billboard,” one patron quipped while watching from the shade.

More than any place in golf, the Masters is the place to see and be seen, and that goes for players and their sponsors. So in the last few years, the companies that provide their gear have started going all out the first full week of April.

Justin Thomas, Erik van Rooyen and Akshay Bhatia are ambassadors for Greyson Clothiers, which bills itself as a full lifestyle brand complete with membership options. Greyson is the brainchild of Charlie Schaefer, who once served as senior vice president of design for Ralph Lauren, and who launched the brand in 2015 at the Masters.

Viktor Hovland, who is contending again this year, has an apparel deal with J. Lindberg. And when it comes to Masters wear, the Swedish clothing company has put him in some bold prints that often pay homage to the home of the year’s first major.

That includes the black shirt with the giant azalea across the front that Hovland wore this week. The azalea, a particular species of Rhododendron, is almost synonymous with Augusta National and can be found throughout the course.

Hovland said during last year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill that he usually wears more muted colors.

“I wear a lot of gray, black, and that’s about it,” he said. So when asked about the attire on the course, he replied quite simply: “Well, J. Lindeberg, they give me this stuff and pay me money to do so, so I just show up and wear what they want me to wear.”

In other words: They put it out, he puts it on.

Of course, there are still plenty of players sponsored by mainstream sports apparel companies.

Rory McIlroy still wears Nike, just like Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked player, and Brooks Koepka, the reigning PGA champion. Rising star Ludvig Aberg is among those wearing Adidas gear, and former Masters champion Jordan Spieth is the most well-known ambassador for Under Armour, reportedly making eight figures annually on a deal through the 2029 season.

As part of the contract, Under Armour also donates $1 million annually to the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation.

But perhaps the biggest fashion icon in golf has been Tiger Woods, who made wearing Sunday red popular everywhere from exclusive private clubs to small-town munis. Woods began doing it when he was a junior because his mom, Kultida, said it was his “power color.” He played well his first time in red and stuck with it out of superstition.

For 27 years, Woods’ Sunday red came from Nike in one of the most successful partnerships in sports. But late last year, the sides announced they had split up, and Woods revealed in February that he would be unveiling his own brand called Sun Day Red in a partnership with his golf equipment provider, TaylorMade.

“Sun Day Red will embody a love of playing and competing, and we are for people that share those values, whether it’s on the course or in life,” Woods said in February. “We will be anchored to putting the athlete first in the product decisions we make.”

The first good look the public has had of it has been at Augusta National this week. Woods wore a salmon-colored polo for the opening round Thursday that featured the brand’s logo, a tiger with 15 stripes in a nod to his 15 major wins. Woods then slipped into a gray-and-white ensemble Friday, when he returned early to finish his first round and then played his second.

It was perfect timing — or genius marketing — because Sun Day Red will officially launch on May 1.

___

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press












39 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to “remedy” Arizona abortion ruling that he says “went too far”

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state Supreme Court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce a near—total abortion ba ...
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state Supreme Court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce a near—total abortion ban that he declared anew “went too far.”

Trump has repeatedly expressed pride in his role in overturning the national constitutional right to an abortion by appointing three conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court during his one term as president. However, his messaging in the aftermath of the Arizona ruling that a ban on the books since 1864 is constitutional illustrates his struggle to neutralize what has become a potent political weapon for Democrats.

His comments Friday came hours before Vice President Kamala Harris was to speak about abortion rights in Tucson. President Joe Biden and his allies blame Trump for sharply curtailing abortion access, and the issue has become a major liability for the former president in one of the handful of swing states that could decide the November election.

Trump’s demand for the state to ease its abortion law came just days after he said abortion rights should be left to the states to decide. At the time he added: “and whatever they decide must be the law of the land — in this case, the law of the state.”

On Friday, he struck a firm note on what the state must decide.

“The Governor and the Arizona Legislature must use HEART, COMMON SENSE, and ACT IMMEDIATELY, to remedy what has happened,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform. “Remember, it is now up to the States and the Good Will of those that represent THE PEOPLE.”

He did not call for a specific course of action, such as repealing or watering down the law. He did say that “ideally” abortion restrictions should include exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

“Arizona Legislature, please act as fast as possible!” Trump wrote.

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has called for the repeal of the abortion ban, and a handful of Republican legislators from battleground districts have supported that move. But the Republican majority shut down an attempted repeal on Monday amid shouts from Democrats of “Shame! Shame!”

The Legislature’s most vocal critics of repealing the law are among the body’s most devoted Trump supporters.

The shifting message illustrates Trump’s struggle to neutralize the political weapon that abortion has become for Democrats since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 ended the constitutional right to an abortion.

He tried to chart a middle course on Monday, releasing a video in which he said he proudly paved the way for the court’s decision and that the matter should be left to states. He declined to endorse a national ban.

But the Arizona Supreme Court ruling the next day showed what can happen when the issue is left to states. The Arizona ruling paves the way for enforcement of a law first passed in 1864, which allows for the imprisonment of abortion providers at any stage of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is at risk. It does not include exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

Arizona voters backed Biden in 2020 by fewer than 11,000 votes, just the second time in seven decades that the state voted for a Democrat, and both Trump and Biden see the state as a crucial battleground again this year.

According to AP VoteCast, a broad survey of the electorate, 61% of Arizona voters in the 2022 midterm elections said abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Just 6% said it should be illegal in all cases.

Two-thirds of midterm voters in Arizona said the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade was an important factor for their vote in that election.

About 6 in 10 Arizona voters in that election said they would favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

Jonathan J. Cooper, The Associated Press

42 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Sidney Crosby records 1,000th assist, moves into 10th on all-time scoring list

Sidney Crosby is willing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the playoffs, and he’s setting all kinds of milestones as he does. With his assist on the Penguins’ overtime winner over the Detr ...
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Sidney Crosby is willing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the playoffs, and he’s setting all kinds of milestones as he does.

With his assist on the Penguins’ overtime winner over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, he recorded his 1,000th career assist and moved into solo 10th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.

Oh, did we mention the game-winning goal also moved the Penguins into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference?

Not a bad night for No. 87.

Crosby became the 14th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career assists.

The assist on Erik Karlsson’s winner was also Crosby’s 1,591th career point, helping him pass Phil Esposito on the NHL’s all-time scoring list. Crosby tied Esposito’s mark with a goal earlier in the game.

We’ve seen Crosby do some incredible things over his NHL career, but what he’s doing to end this season is truly a sight to behold.

And with the rate he’s going, his season could be far from over.

44 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has died at age 83, his company says

ROME (AP) — Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, known for a flamboyant and glamorous style, has died at age 83, his company said Friday on Instagram. “Dear Roberto, you may not be physically ...
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ROME (AP) — Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, known for a flamboyant and glamorous style, has died at age 83, his company said Friday on Instagram.

“Dear Roberto, you may not be physically here with us anymore but I know I will feel your spirit with me always,” Fausto Puglisi, creative director at Roberto Cavalli since October 2020, wrote in the social media post.

The Italian-born designer became renowned in the early 1970s for his animal prints and for a sexy style that remained his trademark throughout his long career.

The Associated Press

53 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Sawfish rescued in Florida as biologists try to determine why the ancient fish are dying

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A large sawfish that showed signs of distress was rescued by wildlife officials in the Florida Keys, where more than three dozen of the ancient and endangered fish have d ...
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A large sawfish that showed signs of distress was rescued by wildlife officials in the Florida Keys, where more than three dozen of the ancient and endangered fish have died for unexplained reasons in recent months.

The 11-foot (3.3-meter) smalltooth sawfish was seen swimming in circles near Cudjoe Key and reported by a member of the public to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, officials said Friday. It was loaded onto a specially designed transport trailer and taken to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, where it is being rehabilitated.

The unprecedented rescue of an animal like this is part of an “emergency response” led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida wildlife officials to address an unprecedented die-off of sawfish, a species related to sharks and rays that has lived virtually unchanged for millions of years.

“It’s important to note that active rescue and rehabilitation are not always effective in saving stranded animals,” said Adam Brame, sawfish recovery coordinator for NOAA. “However, it can still give us critical information to learn about the nature of the distress.”

Sawfish, named for their long snout with rows of teeth on each side, were once found all along the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic coasts in the U.S., but now are mainly confined to southwestern Florida and the Keys island chain as their habitats shrink. A related species is found off Australia.

In Florida, there have been reports of abnormal behavior, such as the fish seen spinning or whirling in the water. Other species of fish also appear to have been affected but officials haven’t determined a cause. Sawfish necropsies have not revealed any pathogen or bacterial infections, nor problems with low water oxygen levels or contaminants such as chemicals, or toxic red tide. Water testing is continuing.

Another potential factor is climate change, which superheated Florida waters last summer, causing other marine damage, such as coral bleaching and the deaths of other marine species. The waters are unusually warm already this year as well.

It’s more difficult to rehabilitate an animal like a sawfish than it is for an air-breathing marine creature, such as a dolphin or manatee, officials say.

“This has not been attempted before, but this unusual mortality event made this necessary,” said Gil McRae, Director of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “We are hopeful this rescue and rehabilitation of an adult smalltooth sawfish will bring us one step closer to understanding the cause of this event.”

Curt Anderson, The Associated Press

53 minutes ago

CBC Nova Scotia

Goldboro LNG plant proponent wants to sell permits to Irish ocean energy company

The Alberta-based energy company that abandoned plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is looking to sell its permits, potentially bringing an end to a 12-yea ...
More ...A sign in a field. It says "Future site of Goldboro LNG facility."

The Alberta-based energy company that abandoned plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is looking to sell its permits, potentially bringing an end to a 12-year saga in Goldboro, N.S.

54 minutes ago

CityNews Halifax

Vermont town removes unpermitted structures from defunct firearms training center while owner jailed

An arrest warrant has been rescinded for the Vermont owner of a controversial firearms training center involved in a long-running legal dispute over unpermitted structures after the town says it has r ...
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An arrest warrant has been rescinded for the Vermont owner of a controversial firearms training center involved in a long-running legal dispute over unpermitted structures after the town says it has removed them while he remains jailed on other charges.

An environmental court judge ordered Daniel Banyai’s arrest in December, finding him in contempt of court for not bringing the property into compliance. Banyai was taken into custody last month and charged with aggravated assault on the constable who arrested him. He has pleaded not guilty.

The property in Pawlet, Vermont, known as Slate Ridge, included multiple buildings and two firing ranges on land about the size of 30 football fields (12 hectares). In 2019, the town first issued a violation notice to Banyai for building structures on the property without town approval. Slate Ridge neighbors complained about the gunfire and what they said were threats and intimidation by Banyai and his supporters. Many neighbors said they were afraid to talk publicly because they feared for their safety.

In March 2021, the Environmental Court ordered Banyai to end any firearms training at the center and remove unpermitted structures. The Vermont Supreme Court rejected Banyai’s appeal in January 2022.

A judge ordered him arrested in July of 2022 after issuing a scathing order months before that Banyai was in contempt of court for deliberately flouting a series of court orders issued since the legal case began. At the time, he faced jail and fines that could have exceeded $100,000 if he failed to comply by June 23, 2022.

The warrant expired after 60 days without an arrest.

The judge again ordered him arrested in December of last year after an inspection found he had not removed all the unpermitted structures.

According to a Thursday court filing signed by the judge, the town of Pawlet has finished the work to bring the property into compliance except for the removal of the deconstructed school. “Banyai’s agents” have agreed to complete that within 60 days of the filing, the document says.

Once that’s done, the town will provide an affidavit of the costs to complete the work with a motion for compensatory damages, the court filing says.

Banyai was still being held at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland early Friday afternoon, according to the state’s inmate locator. A phone message was left with his attorney seeking comment.

In response to Slate Ridge, Vermont last year enacted a law to ban paramilitary training centers in the state.

Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press

1 hour ago

CityNews Halifax

Rowan football coach Jay Accorsi retires after 22 seasons, 4 trips to NCAA Division III Final Four

GLASSBORO, N.J. (AP) — Jay Accorsi, the Rowan University football program’s all-time leader in victories, has announced his retirement as head football coach after 22 seasons. The Division III sch ...
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GLASSBORO, N.J. (AP) — Jay Accorsi, the Rowan University football program’s all-time leader in victories, has announced his retirement as head football coach after 22 seasons.

The Division III school in south New Jersey announced the retirement of the longest-tenured head coach in the program’s history on Friday. There was no mention of who would replace him.

Accorsi posted a 143-78 record with seven shared or outright New Jersey Athletic Conference titles and seven appearances in the NCAA Division III Championships. The Profs advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2004-05. His teams had a .500 or better record 17 times, including the past two seasons, and an overall record of 103-54 in NJAC games.

A native of Somers, Connecticut, and an alumnus of Nichols College in Massachusetts, Accorsi received NJAC Coach of the Year honors five times — 2014, 2013, 2005, 2004, and 2002 — and earned the Maxwell Football Club Tri-State Coach of the Year award in 2005.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

The Associated Press

1 hour ago

CityNews Halifax

Trump will be first ex-president on criminal trial. Here’s what to know about the hush money case

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump will make history as the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges when his hush money case opens Monday with jury selection. The case will force the pr ...
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NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump will make history as the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges when his hush money case opens Monday with jury selection.

The case will force the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to juggle campaigning with sitting in a Manhattan courtroom for weeks to defend himself against charges involving a scheme to bury allegations of marital infidelity that arose during his first White House campaign in 2016.

It carries enormous political ramifications as potentially the only one of four criminal cases against Trump that could reach a verdict before voters decide in November whether to send him back to the White House.

Here’s what to know about the hush money case and the charges against Trump:

WHAT’S THIS CASE ABOUT?

The former president is accused of falsifying internal Trump Organization records as part of a scheme to bury damaging stories that he feared could hurt his 2016 campaign, particularly as Trump’s reputation was suffering at the time from comments he had made about women.

The allegations focus on payoffs to two women, porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had extramarital sexual encounters with Trump years earlier, as well as to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child he alleged Trump had out of wedlock. Trump says none of these supposed sexual encounters occurred.

Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a journalistically dubious practice known as “catch-and-kill” in which a publication pays for exclusive rights to someone’s story with no intention of publishing it, either as a favor to a celebrity subject or to gain leverage over the person.

Prosecutors say Trump’s company reimbursed Cohen and paid him bonuses and extra payments, all of which were falsely logged in Trump Organization records as legal expenses. Cohen has separately pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance law in connection with the payments.

WHAT ARE THE CHARGES?

Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charge carries up to four years in prison, though whether he will spend time behind bars if convicted would ultimately be up to the judge.

The counts are linked to a series of checks written to Cohen to reimburse him for his role in paying off Daniels. Those payments, made over 12 months, were recorded as legal expenses in various internal company records.

To win on the felony charge, prosecutors must show that Trump not only falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely — which would be a misdemeanor — but that he did so with intent to commit or conceal a second crime. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has said that Trump was trying to conceal violations of federal campaign finance laws — an unusual legal strategy some experts argue could backfire.

HOW WILL JURY SELECTION WORK?

The process to choose 12 jurors, plus six alternates, will begin with Judge Juan M. Merchan bringing scores of people into his courtroom to begin weeding out people for potential biases or other reasons they cannot serve. The judge has said he will excuse anyone who indicates by a show of hands that they can’t serve or can’t be fair and impartial before calling groups of those who remain into the jury box to answer 42 questions. Potential jurors will be known only by number, as the judge has ordered their names to be kept secret from everyone except prosecutors, Trump and their legal teams.

Among the questions potential jurors will be asked: Whether they follow the former president on social media, have ever worked for a Trump organization and have ever attended a Trump rally — or anti-Trump organizations or rallies and whether potential jurors are supporters or followers of far-right groups, such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, whose members were among the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or of the far-left-leaning collective known as antifa, which resists fascists and neo-Nazis, especially at demonstrations.

WHO’S EXPECTED TO TESTIFY?

Cohen, a Trump loyalist turned critic, is expected to be a key prosecution witness, as he was the one who orchestrated the payoffs. Before testifying in front of the grand jury that brought the indictment last year, Cohen said his goal was “to tell the truth” and insisted he is not seeking revenge but said Trump “needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds.” Cohen served prison time after pleading guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including campaign finance violations, for arranging the payouts to Daniels and McDougal.

Other expected witnesses include Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels alleges that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 that she didn’t want, but didn’t say no to. Trump says it never happened.

WHAT WILL TRUMP’S DEFENSE BE?

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has slammed the case as an effort to hurt his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment and that it was designed to stop Daniels from going public about the alleged encounter. But Trump said in 2018 it had nothing to do with the campaign.

Trump’s lawyers will likely attack the case by trying to undermine the credibility of prosecution witnesses like Cohen and Daniels. Trump has described the two as liars, testing the limits of a gag order that the judge imposed. It seeks to curtail the president’s inflammatory rhetoric about the case. Trump’s lawyers are expected to paint Cohen as a con man and point to his conviction on multiple federal crimes as well as his disbarment to try to persuade jurors that he can’t be believed.

Trump recently posted on social media a picture of a 2018 written statement from Daniels, in which she denied they had a sexual relationship. Not long after, Daniels recanted the statement and said that a sexual encounter had occurred. She said her denials were due to a non-disclosure agreement and that she signed the statement because the parties involved “made it sound like I had no choice.”

WHAT ABOUT TRUMP’S OTHER CASES?

Trump’s three other criminal cases have gotten bogged down in legal fights and appeals, which may mean jurors won’t hear about them before the November election.

The 2020 election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith remains on hold while Trump pursues his claim that he is immune from prosecution for actions he took while in the White House. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the matter in late April.

The other case brought by Smith accuses Trump of illegally retaining classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. The trial had been scheduled to begin in May, but the judge heard arguments last month to set a new trial date and has yet to do so.

No trial date has been set in the Georgia case accusing Trump and his allies of conspiring to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. Prosecutors have suggested a trial date of August, but defense attorneys are now urging an appeals court to consider whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from the prosecution over a romantic relationship she had with a former top prosecutor who recently withdrew from the case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all three cases and says he did nothing wrong.

Associated Press, The Associated Press

1 hour ago

CityNews Halifax

Cable car accident in Turkey sends 1 passenger plummeting to his death and injures 7

ISTANBUL (AP) — One person was killed and seven injured Friday when a cable car in southern Turkey hit a pole and burst open, sending the passengers plummeting to the mountainside below, local media ...
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ISTANBUL (AP) — One person was killed and seven injured Friday when a cable car in southern Turkey hit a pole and burst open, sending the passengers plummeting to the mountainside below, local media reported.

Two children were among the injured in the accident at the Tunektepe cable car just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya at about 6 p.m. during the busy Eid al-Fitr holiday, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Anadolu identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. The other casualties were all Turkish citizens apart from one Kyrgyz national.

Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which sees families flock to coastal resorts.

The cable car carries tourists from Konyaalti beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-meter (2,010-feet) Tunektepe peak. It is run by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.

Emergency teams rushed to the area following the crash to treat and evacuate the injured. Images showed the battered car swaying from dislodged cables on the side of the rocky mountain as medics tended the wounded.

Passengers in some of the facility’s 35 other cable car pods were left stranded in mid-air as engineers battled to restart the system

The Associated Press

1 hour ago

CityNews Halifax

US intelligence finding shows China surging equipment sales to Russia to help war effort in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — China has surged sales to Russia of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Moscow in turn is using to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry for us ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — China has surged sales to Russia of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Moscow in turn is using to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry for use in its war against Ukraine, according to a U.S. assessment.

Two senior Biden administration officials, who discussed the sensitive findings Friday on the condition of anonymity, said that in 2023 about 90% of Russia’s microelectronics came from China, which Russia has used to make missiles, tanks and aircraft. Nearly 70% of Russia’s approximately $900 million in machine tool imports in the last quarter of 2023 came from China.

Chinese and Russian entities have also been working to jointly produce unmanned aerial vehicles inside Russia, and Chinse companies are likely providing Russia with nitrocellulose needed to make propellants weapons, the officials said.

Beijing is also working with Russia to improve its satellite and other space-based capabilities for use in Ukraine, a development the officials say could in the longer term increase the threat Russia poses across Europe. The officials, citing downgraded intelligence findings, said the U.S. has also determined that China is providing imagery to Russia for its war on Ukraine.

The officials discussed the findings as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to China this month for talks. President Joe Biden has previously raised his concerns directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Beijing indirectly supporting Russia’s war effort.

While China has not provided direct lethal military support for Russia, it has backed it diplomatically in blaming the West for provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch the war and refrained from calling it an invasion in deference to the Kremlin.

China has also said it isn’t providing Russia with arms or military assistance, although it has maintained robust economic connections with Moscow, alongside India and other countries, amid sanctions from Washington and its allies.

Xi met in Beijing on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who heaped praise on Xi’s leadership.

Russia’s growing economic and diplomatic isolation has made it increasingly reliant on China, its former rival for leadership of the Communist bloc during the Cold War.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who returned to Washington this week from a visit to Beijing, said she warned Chinese officials that the Biden administration was prepared to sanction Chinese banks, companies and Beijing’s leadership, if they assist Russia’s armed forces with its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The Democratic president issued an executive order in December giving Yellen the authority to sanction financial institutions that aided Russia’s military-industrial complex.

“We continue to be concerned about the role that any firms, including those in the PRC, are playing in Russia’s military procurement,” Yellen told reporters, using the initials for the Peoples Republic of China. “I stressed that companies, including those in the PRC, must not provide material support for Russia’s war and that they will face significant consequences if they do. And I reinforced that any banks that facilitate significant transactions that channel military or dual-use goods to Russia’s defense industrial base expose themselves to the risk of U.S. sanctions.”

Meanwhile, China on Thursday announced rare sanctions against two U.S. defense companies over what it called their support for arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory to be recovered by force if necessary.

The announcement freezes the assets of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems held within China. It also bars the companies’ management from entering the country.

Filings show General Dynamics operates a half-dozen Gulfstream and jet aviation services operations in China, which remains heavily reliant on foreign aerospace technology even as it attempts to build its own presence in the field.

The company also helps make the Abrams tank being purchased by Taiwan to replace outdated armor intended to deter or resist an invasion from China.

General Atomics produces the Predator and Reaper drones used by the U.S. military.

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AP writer Fatima Hussein contributed reporting.

Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press

1 hour ago

CBC Nova Scotia

Man, 48, dies in crash near Kentville

A 48-year-old man has died in a crash involving a tractor-trailer near Kentville, N.S., RCMP say. ...
More ...A closeup of the side of an SUV shows the RCMP crest and the words "RCMP GRC," "Police" and "Canada."

A 48-year-old man has died in a crash involving a tractor-trailer near Kentville, N.S., RCMP say.

1 hour ago

CityNews Halifax

Israeli settlers rampage through a West Bank village, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 25

JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of angry Israeli settlers stormed into a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, shooting and setting houses and cars on fire. The rampage killed a P ...
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of angry Israeli settlers stormed into a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, shooting and setting houses and cars on fire. The rampage killed a Palestinian man and wounded 25 others, Palestinian health officials said.

The violence was the latest in an escalation in the West Bank that has accompanied the war in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli rights group said the settlers were searching for a missing 14-year-old boy from their settlement. After the rampage, Israeli troops said they were still searching for the teen.

The killing came after an Israeli raid overnight killed two Palestinians, including a Hamas militant in confrontations with Israeli forces.

Palestinian health officials say over 460 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces since the war erupted in October.

The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said that settlers stormed into the village of al-Mughayyir late Friday, searching for the Israeli boy. The group said that settlers were shooting and setting houses on fire in the village.

Videos posted to X by the rights group showed dark clouds of smoke billowing from burning cars as gunshots rang out. A photo posted by the group showed what appeared to be a crowd of masked settlers.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that one man was brought dead to the hospital and 25 were treated for wounds. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said eight of the injured were hit by live fire from settlers.

The Israeli army said it was searching for the 14-year-old boy, and that forces had opened fire when stones were hurled at soldiers by Palestinians. It said soldiers also cleared out Israeli settlers from the village.

“As of this moment, the violent riots have been dispersed and there are no Israeli civilians present within the town,” it said.

U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden, have repeatedly raised concerns about a surge in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank since Israel’s war with the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip began. Rights groups have long accused the military of failing to halt settler violence or punish soldiers for wrongdoing.

Earlier Friday, two Palestinians were killed in confrontations with Israeli forces in the northern West Bank, Palestinian medics and the military said. Hamas said one of those killed was a local commander.

The military said the target of the soldiers’ raid was Mohammed Daraghmeh, a local Hamas commander. It said Daraghmeh was killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers who discovered weapons in his car. The army alleged that Daraghmeh had been planning attacks on Israeli targets but provided no evidence. It also said assailants also hurled explosives at soldiers.

The Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7, when Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, in a surprise attack and incursion into southern Israel. Around 250 people were seized as hostages by the militants and taken to Gaza.

Israel said Friday it had opened a new crossing for aid trucks into hard-hit northern Gaza as ramps up aid deliveries to the besieged enclave. However, the United Nations says the surge of aid is not being felt in Gaza because of persistent distribution difficulties.

Six months of fighting in Gaza have pushed the tiny Palestinian territory into a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 33,600 Palestinians and wounded over 76,200, the Health Ministry says. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

Israel says it has killed over 12,000 militants during the war, but it has not provided evidence to back up the claim.

Jack Jeffrey And Julia Frankel, The Associated Press





2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Russia test-launches an intercontinental ballistic missile

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military on Friday reported a successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the launch took pla ...
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MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military on Friday reported a successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the launch took place at the Kapustin Yar testing range in the south of the country as part of “state testing of prospective missile systems, as well as confirmation of the stability of missiles in service.”

The test launched achieved its results “in full,” the ministry added, and confirmed “high reliability of Russian missiles to ensure (Russia’s) strategic security.” The ministry didn’t name the type of the missile that was test-launched.

Russia regularly carries out test launches of ICBMs and other missiles as it seeks to modernize its weapons.

The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Prominent surgeon says he was denied entry to Germany for a pro-Palestinian conference

BERLIN (AP) — A prominent British-Palestinian surgeon who volunteered in Gaza hospitals during the first weeks of the Israel-Hamas war said he was denied entry to Germany Friday to take part in a pr ...
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BERLIN (AP) — A prominent British-Palestinian surgeon who volunteered in Gaza hospitals during the first weeks of the Israel-Hamas war said he was denied entry to Germany Friday to take part in a pro-Palestinian conference — an event that police later ended early.

Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta said he arrived at Berlin airport on Friday morning before being stopped at passport control, where he was held for several hours and then told he had to return to the U.K.

Airport police said he was refused entry due to “the safety of the people at the conference and public order,” Abu Sitta told The Associated Press by phone. There was no immediate comment from German federal police.

Abu Sitta said his ban was to last until Sunday, covering the planned duration of the Berlin conference he was to attend, entitled the Palestine Congress. The gathering was to discuss a range of topics, including German arms shipments to Israel and solidarity with what organizers called the Palestinian struggle.

Berlin police said later Friday they pulled the plug on the event, attended by up to 250 people, on its first day after a livestream was shown of a person who is banned from political activity in Germany. They wouldn’t identify the person, but said they decided after a legal assessment to end the congress and asked those attending to leave.

Organizers wrote on social network X that the conference was “banned by the police without reason.”

Germany remains one of Israel’s staunchest defenders, even at a time of growing international outrage over the soaring Palestinian death toll in Gaza, which has surpassed 33,000.

German officials have stressed Israel’s right and duty to defend itself since the start of the war — though their tone has gradually shifted, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock increasingly decrying the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and calling on Israel to allow more aid to reach the territory.

Shortly after Hamas’ Oct. 7. attack on Israel, the German government implemented a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas.

Since the war erupted, Germany has clamped down on many pro-Palestinian activities and demonstrations, with officials citing fears of possible antisemitic or anti-Israel incitement.

The hard line has broad political support at home, but has drawn criticism.

“Germany’s deportation of Dr. Abu Sitta is a naked act of authoritarian censorship, more in line with the policies of dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and China than a rights-respecting democracy,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Washington-based human rights watchdog Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN, said in a statement.

Abu Sitta, who recently volunteered with Doctors Without Borders in Gaza, has worked during multiple conflicts in the Palestinian territories, beginning in the late 1980s during the first Palestinian uprising. He has also worked in other conflict zones, including in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Friday’s congress was viewed with great wariness by German officials before it started and was heavily policed.

Earlier on Friday, German Interior Ministry spokesperson Maximilian Kall told reporters in Berlin that federal security authorities had been in touch with their local counterparts in the capital “about questions of, for instance, entry bans,” he said. He added that he couldn’t give details.

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Jeffery reported from Jerusalem.

Jack Jeffery And Geir Moulson, The Associated Press


2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

No link between Ozempic, Wegovy and suicide, EU drug regulators say

Drug regulators in Europe have found no evidence that popular diabetes and weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are linked to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. The European Medicine ...
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Drug regulators in Europe have found no evidence that popular diabetes and weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are linked to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts or actions.

The European Medicines Agency regulatory committee announced the results of its review on Friday. It’s the latest group to conclude there’s no known tie between a new class of obesity drugs and suicide.

In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a preliminary review showed no evidence of such a link, though the agency said it could not rule out that “a small risk may exist” and that it would continue to study the issue. A federally funded U.S. study also found that people taking semaglutide, the medication in Ozempic and Wegovy, had a lower risk of suicidal thoughts than those taking older medications to treat diabetes and obesity.

The review by the European Union’s regulators was triggered last July by anecdotal reports that people taking the drugs had thoughts of self-harm. The regulators examined studies, post-marketing data and other research related to medications used in nearly a dozen drugs used to treat the diseases. The group did not review information regarding tirzepatide, the medication used in drugs sold as Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Both agencies said they would continue to closely monitor reports of suicidal thoughts or actions in people taking the drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. Patients taking the drugs should report any mental health or other problems to their health care providers, officials said.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Jonel Aleccia, The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Jurors in Coutts blockade public mischief trial will hear final arguments next week

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The Crown and defence lawyers have wrapped up their cases in the trial of three men accused of orchestrating the border shutdown at Coutts, Alta., in early 2022. The Crown announ ...
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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The Crown and defence lawyers have wrapped up their cases in the trial of three men accused of orchestrating the border shutdown at Coutts, Alta., in early 2022.

The Crown announced it will not call any further evidence, and the defence told court it won’t call any evidence at all.

The trial before a jury is now scheduled to move to closing arguments on Tuesday.

Alex Van Herk, Marco Van Huigenbos, and Gerhard Janzen have pleaded not guilty to a charge of mischief over $5,000.

The Crown has presented evidence it says proves the trio spearheaded the protest that tied up cross-border traffic between Alberta and Montana for two weeks in early 2022 in a protest of COVID-era rules and restrictions. 

The defence has argued that the protest group was a mishmash of competing interests to the point it wasn’t clear who was calling the shots.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20240412130440-661972079b70ca88c94b4c8ajpeg.jpg, Caption: Anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators leave in a truck convoy after blocking the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. The Crown has wrapped up its case in the trial of three men accused of orchestrating the border shutdown at Coutts, Alta., in early 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

–>

2 hours ago

CBC Nova Scotia

Community group aims to restore former N.S. Black church

Members of Yarmouth's Black community with ties to a former church have come together with the goal of restoring the site. ...
More ...A small white church building with a sloped roof is next to a parking lot that contains a power lift to repair the roof.

Members of Yarmouth's Black community with ties to a former church have come together with the goal of restoring the site.

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Man charged in slaying after woman’s leg found at Milwaukee-area park

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A 33-year-old man was charged Friday in the slaying of a woman whose leg was found on the beach of a lakefront park near Milwaukee. Maxwell Anderson is jailed on first-degree intent ...
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — A 33-year-old man was charged Friday in the slaying of a woman whose leg was found on the beach of a lakefront park near Milwaukee.

Maxwell Anderson is jailed on first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and arson charges in the death of Sade Robinson, according to a criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee County circuit court.

Anderson, of Milwaukee, was arrested April 4, two days after the leg was found by a passersby down a bluff at Warnimont Park along Lake Michigan in Cudahy. The leg had been severed just below the hip.

Robinson had been reported missing April 2 by a friend. An employee of the building where Robinson lived told police that Robinson was excited about a date she had planned for April 1, according to the complaint.

Surveillance video from a restaurant showed Robinson and Anderson sitting together at the bar on the evening of April 1. Her burned car was found the next morning.

Additional human remains were found April 5 and April 6. Those remains have not positively been identified as belonging to Robinson, police said.

“At this point in time, we don’t believe there are any other victims out there,” Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball told reporters Friday.

Anderson was ordered held on a $5 million bond. A preliminary examination was set for April 22.

The Associated Press left a voicemail Friday seeking comment from an attorney listed as representing Maxwell.

The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

AP Decision Notes: What to expect in Michigan’s state house special elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michigan Democrats hope to restore their slim majority in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday when voters fill two vacant seats in suburban Detroit. The chamber deadlocke ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Michigan Democrats hope to restore their slim majority in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday when voters fill two vacant seats in suburban Detroit.

The chamber deadlocked at 54-54 in November when two Democratic members won mayoral elections. Democrats previously had full control of state government since the 2022 midterms, when they flipped the state Senate and the House and held on to the governorship.

In District 13, which includes parts of Macomb and Wayne counties northeast of Detroit, Democrat Mai Xiong faces Republican Ronald Singer. Xiong is in her second term on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, where she represents parts of the city of Warren. She had the endorsement of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the Jan. 30 special primary. Singer is a mechanical engineer who ran unsuccessfully for this seat in the 2022 general election.

In District 25, which includes the city of Westland in Wayne County west of Detroit, Democrat Peter Herzberg faces Republican Josh Powell. Herzberg, a member of the Westland City Council, defeated fellow councilmember Andrea Rutkowski in a five-way Jan. 30 primary, 36% to 30%. Rutkowski had Whitmer’s endorsement, while Herzberg was endorsed by Kevin Coleman, the new mayor of Westland, who most recently held the seat.

Democrats are heavily favored in both contests. Former Democratic state Rep. Lori Stone, who last represented the 13th District before her election as mayor of Warren, defeated Singer in the 2022 general election with 67% of the vote. Coleman last carried the 25th District with 63% of the vote.

The winners will serve for the remainder of the year.

Here’s a look at what to expect on Tuesday:

SPECIAL ELECTION DAY

The special state House elections will be held on Tuesday. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT

The Associated Press will provide coverage for the special elections in state House districts 13 and 25. On the District 13 ballot, Xiong is the Democratic nominee and Singer is the Republican nominee. On the District 25 ballot, Herzberg is the Democratic nominee, Powell is the Republican nominee and Robert Stano is the nominee for the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan.

WHO GETS TO VOTE

Any voter registered in the 13th or 25th state House districts may participate in Tuesday’s special elections.

DECISION NOTES

The 2022 general election provides a good indication of the challenge both Republican nominees face in the special elections.

In District 13, most of the district is located in Macomb County, where Singer received 40% of the vote. In Wayne County, which makes up about one-fifth of the District 13 electorate, Singer received only 3% of the vote.

In District 25, which is located entirely within Wayne County, the Republican nominee in 2022 received about 37% of the vote.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

The AP may declare a winner in a race that is eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.

WHAT WILL TURNOUT LOOK LIKE

Turnout for special elections tends to be much lower than in regularly scheduled elections. In District 13, a total of 29,611 votes were cast in the 2022 general election, while 6,700 votes were cast in the Democratic and Republican special primaries on Jan. 30.

In District 25, the total votes cast in 2022 was 33,477, while 7,820 were cast in the Jan. 30 special primaries.

HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?

In the 2022 general election, the AP first reported results at 8:05 p.m. ET, or five minutes after polls closed in most of the state. By noon ET the following day, about 97% of total votes had been counted.

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Tuesday, there will be 203 days until the November general election.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Robert Yoon, The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publicatio ...
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The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers. Week of April 15, 2024:

TOP 20 GLOBAL CONCERT TOURS

1 Coldplay $7,566,660 52,321 $144.62
2 U2 $5,648,036 16,608 $340.08
3 Bad Bunny $4,602,849 15,730 $292.61
4 Karol G $4,202,877 34,187 $122.94
5 Eagles $3,374,128 11,690 $288.62
6 Luis Miguel $2,831,468 25,053 $113.02
7 Madonna $2,793,780 13,039 $214.26
8 ENHYPEN $2,145,209 11,030 $194.48
9 Nicki Minaj $2,050,476 12,937 $158.49
10 Bruno Mars $2,017,727 5,166 $390.52
11 Travis Scott $2,005,782 15,725 $127.55
12 Tool $1,479,479 12,066 $122.61
13 Los Temerarios $1,430,068 13,268 $107.78
14 Don Omar $1,271,241 10,418 $122.02
15 Blake Shelton $1,077,442 10,722 $100.49
16 Peter Kay $991,187 13,400 $73.97
17 Marc Anthony $935,608 7,639 $122.48
18 André Rieu $811,996 9,292 $87.39
19 Nate Bargatze $791,547 10,209 $77.53
20 Cody Johnson $767,582 11,991 $64.01

For free upcoming tour information, go to www.pollstar.com

___

The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

‘HELP’ sign on beach points rescuers to men stuck nine days on remote Pacific atoll

Three men stranded on an uninhabited Pacific atoll survived for over a week before being rescued by U.S. Navy and Coast Guard aviators and sailors, according to the Coast Guard. The fishermen spelled ...
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Three men stranded on an uninhabited Pacific atoll survived for over a week before being rescued by U.S. Navy and Coast Guard aviators and sailors, according to the Coast Guard.

The fishermen spelled out “HELP” with palm fronds on a beach, enabling Navy and Coast Guard aviators to pinpoint them on the remote island, a coast guard statement said.

A Coast Guard ship, the Oliver Henry, picked up the men Tuesday and took them back to the atoll where they had set out nine days earlier and 100 miles (160 kilometers) away, according to the statement.

They were “obviously very excited” to be reunited with their families, Coast Guard L. Cmdr. Christine Igisomar, a coordinator of the search and rescue mission, said in a Coast Guard video.

The men had embarked March 31 from Pulawat Atoll in a 20-foot boat with an outboard motor. Pulawat Atoll is a small island with about 1,000 inhabitants in the Federated States of Micronesia about 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers) east of the Philippines.

The men were fishing when they hit a coral reef, putting a hole in the boat’s bottom and causing it to take on water, Lt. Keith Arnold said in a Coast Guard video.

“They knew they weren’t going to be able to make their return home and would need to beach their vessel,” said Arnold.

On April 6, a relative reported them missing to a Coast Guard facility in Guam, saying the men in their 40s had not returned from Pikelot Atoll. A search initially covering 78,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) began.

The crew of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon plane from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan spotted the three on Pikelot and dropped survival packages. The next day, a Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules plane from Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii dropped a radio the men used to report they were thirsty but all right, Arnold said.

“The help sign was pretty visible. We could see it from a couple thousand feet in the air,” Arnold said.

A similar rescue of three men from Pulawat Atoll happened on Pikelot Atoll in 2020. Those men spelled out “SOS” on the beach.

An Australian military helicopter crew landed and gave them food and water before a Micronesian patrol vessel could pick them up.

Mead Gruver, The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Maine lawmakers approve shield law for providers of abortion and gender-affirming care

The Democratic-controlled Maine Legislature gave final approval Friday to a bill that would protect health care workers who provide abortion and gender-affirming care from legal action brought in othe ...
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The Democratic-controlled Maine Legislature gave final approval Friday to a bill that would protect health care workers who provide abortion and gender-affirming care from legal action brought in other states.

If signed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, Maine would join more than a dozen states that shield medical providers and others from out-of-state investigations regarding abortions. Republican were firmly against the bill to shield against out-of-state lawsuits.

The Maine Senate voted 21-13 on Friday, a day after a 76-67 vote in the House.

The votes came after attorneys general in 16 states threatened legal action if Maine proceeded with a shield law preventing out-of-state repercussions for those who provide abortions and “gender transition surgeries for children.”

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey called those accusations “meritless” and said shield laws were necessary due to other states’ efforts “to punish beyond their borders lawful behavior that occurs in Maine and other states.”

“Harmony between our states would be best preserved and promoted by the exercise of restraint by all parties seeking to control health care related policy choices in other states,” Frey said previously in a statement.

There was spirited debate over the measure in Maine.

On Thursday, the Maine House censured two lawmakers after one of them accused legislative colleagues of bringing the wrath of God in the form of a mass shooting and recent storms by enacting such laws. The lawmaker, and another who agreed with him, were required to provide a formal apology on the House floor to be allowed to speak and to vote.

“We are grateful and proud of all of the lawmakers in the legislature who endured threats of violence, abhorrent political rhetoric and rampant disinformation to stand and vote to protect safe, legal, medical care in Maine,” said Lisa Margulies, from Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund.

Abortion is legal in Maine at all stages of pregnancy with a doctor’s approval. And lawmakers last year approved a bill to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to receive limited gender-affirming care, which does not include surgery, in some cases without parental consent.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 and ended a nationwide right to abortion, states have moved in opposing directions. Most of those under Republican control now have bans or other restrictions in place. Fourteen states now ban abortion in all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions. Most Democrat-dominated states have moved to protect access.

At least 13 states have shield laws protecting medical providers and others from out-of-state investigations regarding abortions — and at least nine, including Maine, have executive orders laying out similar policies.

It’s a similar situation with gender-affirming care for minors.

At least 24 states have adopted laws in the past three years banning or limiting treatments including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery — which is rare for younger patients — for minors. At least 12 states have shield laws that apply to gender-affirming care and two have executive orders.

___

Associated Press writer Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

David Sharp, The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Brazil court says government must compensate victims of stray bullets in police raids

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state must compensate victims of stray bullets during military and law enforcement operations. The ruling means that the ...
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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state must compensate victims of stray bullets during military and law enforcement operations.

The ruling means that the state is now civilly liable for deaths or injuries resulting from either police or armed forces operations, even in cases where the forensics reports are inconclusive.

The country’s top court was ruling in a case stemming from the killing of a man by a stray bullet in 2015 during an army action in Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished Mare neighborhood. The court ordered the federal government to pay 300,000 reais ($60,000) to his family, who will also receive a lifetime pension and have the victim’s funeral expenses covered.

​​“The risk of stray bullets and violent firearm deaths is recurring in the country. Efforts are being made to reverse this pattern of violence, which spares no one, including children,” said Cristina Neme, a sociologist and coordinator of Instituto Sou da Paz, a nonprofit that monitors public security.

Brazil registered over 47,000 homicides in 2022, nearly 14% caused by the police, she added. That rate is even higher in Rio de Janeiro state, where the police caused almost 30% of the homicides.

Fogo Cruzado, a nonprofit organization that provides real-time reporting of gun violence in Brazil, has registered 1,195 stray bullet casualties in the Rio metropolitan area since July 2016. According to the data, 284 were killed, and 911 were injured.

In a statement on Friday, Fogo Cruzado stated that the state should compensate all victims of stray bullets, not just those hit in military operations.

“Stray bullets occur because the state has failed to protect citizens’ lives and to control the circulation of firearms,” the organization said.

Gabriela Sá Pessoa, The Associated Press

2 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Jury convicts Memphis, Tennessee, man of raping a woman a year before jogger’s killing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man has been found guilty of raping a woman a year before he was charged with kidnapping and killing a school teacher who was on an early morning run. A jury in Mem ...
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man has been found guilty of raping a woman a year before he was charged with kidnapping and killing a school teacher who was on an early morning run.

A jury in Memphis convicted 40-year-old Cleotha Abston of kidnapping and raping the woman in September 2021.

According to The Daily Memphian, the jury’s Friday decision found Abston guilty on three counts of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and unlawful possession of a weapon. Jurors had heard testimony from witnesses Tuesday and Wednesday, and then closing arguments on Thursday.

The Memphis news outlet reports that the victim reported she had been raped on Sept. 21, 2021, after meeting Abston on a social dating site and agreeing to meet him at his apartment.

Abston allegedly held her at gunpoint, covered her face with a T-shirt, walked her outside the apartment and raped her in the backseat of his girlfriend’s vehicle.

“I didn’t want to die,” she testified Tuesday, explaining why she complied.

Abston was not charged in the 2021 rape case until after being charged with snatching Eliza Fletcher from a street near the University of Memphis on Sept. 2, 2022, and forcing her into an SUV. Her body was found days later near a vacant duplex.

Abston was not arrested on the rape charges before Fletcher’s killing because of a long delay in processing the sexual assault kit, authorities have said. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say they will pursue the death penalty if Abston is convicted of first-degree murder in Fletcher’s death, but no trial date has been set in that case.

The killing of Fletcher, a 34-year-old kindergarten teacher and mother of two, shocked the Memphis community and led to a flood of support for her family. Runners in Memphis and several other cities held an early-morning running events in her honor a week after she was abducted. A second run honoring Fletcher was held last year.

Abston was arrested after police detected his DNA on sandals found near the location where Fletcher was last seen, an arrest affidavit said. An autopsy report showed Fletcher died of a gunshot wound to the head. She also had injuries to her right leg and jaw fractures.

After Fletcher’s death, the Legislature passed a law requiring the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to issue a quarterly report on sexual assault kit testing times.

Abston’s lawyer, Juni Ganguli, had filed a change of venue motion seeking to have jurors from the Nashville area hear the rape case, but a judge denied the request. Ganguli had said that heavy media coverage and social media commentary threatened Abston’s ability to receive a fair trial if Memphis-area jurors are used.

Ganguli had said social media comments about news stories in the Fletcher case have been overwhelmingly negative and toxic.

The rape victim in the 2021 case has since sued the city of Memphis on allegations that the Memphis Police Department did not properly investigate her case, but the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge.

The Associated Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Commercial vehicle crashes into Texas Department of Public Safety office, multiple people injured

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A commercial vehicle crashed into a Texas Department of Public Safety office in a rural town west of Houston on Friday, seriously injuring several people, according the agency. ...
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A commercial vehicle crashed into a Texas Department of Public Safety office in a rural town west of Houston on Friday, seriously injuring several people, according the agency.

Texas DPS officials said in a social media post on X that the crash happened at the agency’s office in Brenham, Texas, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Houston. Officials said there are reports of multiple serious injuries but did not specify how many people were affected or the extent of the injuries. They also requested people avoid the area to clear the way for responding medical personnel.

DPS officials did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.

City of Brenham officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking further information.

Acacia Coronado, The Associated Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Robert MacNeil, creator and first anchor of PBS ‘NewsHour’ nightly newscast, dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert MacNeil, who created the even-handed, no-frills PBS newscast “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour” in the 1970s and co-anchored the show for with his late partner, Jim Lehrer, for ...
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NEW YORK (AP) — Robert MacNeil, who created the even-handed, no-frills PBS newscast “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour” in the 1970s and co-anchored the show for with his late partner, Jim Lehrer, for two decades, died on Friday. He was 93.

MacNeil died of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, according to his daughter, Alison MacNeil.

MacNeil first gained prominence for his coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings for the public broadcasting service and began his half-hour “Robert MacNeil Report” on PBS in 1975 with his friend Lehrer as Washington correspondent.

The broadcast became the “MacNeil-Lehrer Report” and then, in 1983, was expanded to an hour and renamed the “MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.” The nation’s first one-hour evening news broadcast, and recipient of several Emmy and Peabody awards, it remains on the air today with Geoff Bennett and Amna Nawaz as anchors.

It was MacNeil’s and Lehrer’s disenchantment with the style and content of rival news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC that led to the program’s creation.

“We don’t need to SELL the news,” MacNeil told the Chicago Tribune in 1983. “The networks hype the news to make it seem vital, important. What’s missing (in 22 minutes) is context, sometimes balance, and a consideration of questions that are raised by certain events.”

MacNeil left anchoring duties at “NewsHour” after two decades in 1995 to write full time. Lehrer took over the newscast alone, and he remained there until 2009. Lehrer died in 2020.

When MacNeil visited the show in October 2005 to commemorate its 30th anniversary, he reminisced about how their newscast started in the days before cable television.

“It was a way to do something that seemed to be needed journalistically and yet was different from what the commercial network news (programs) were doing,” he said.

MacNeil wrote several books, including two memoirs “The Right Place at the Right Time” and the best seller “Wordstruck,” and the novels “Burden of Desire” and “The Voyage.”

“Writing is much more personal. It is not collaborative in the way that television must be,” MacNeil told The Associated Press in 1995. “But when you’re sitting down writing a novel, it’s just you: Here’s what I think, here’s what I want to do. And it’s me.”

MacNeil also created the Emmy-winning 1986 series “The Story of English,” with the MacNeil-Lehrer production company, and was co-author of the companion book of the same name.

Another book on language that he co-wrote, “Do You Speak American?,” was adapted into a PBS documentary in 2005.

In 2007, he served as host of “America at a Crossroads,” a six-night PBS package exploring challenges confronting the United States in a post-9/11 world.

Six years before the 9/11 attacks, discussing sensationalism and frivolity in the news business, he had said: “If something really serious did happen to the nation — a stock market crash like 1929, … the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor — wouldn’t the news get very serious again? Wouldn’t people run from `Hard Copy’ and titillation?”

“Of course you would. You’d have to know what was going on.”

That was the case — for a while.

Born in Montreal in 1931, MacNeil was raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1955 before moving to London where he began his journalism career with Reuters. He switched to TV news in 1960, taking a job with NBC in London as a foreign correspondent.

In 1963, MacNeil was transferred to NBC’s Washington bureau, where he reported on Civil Rights and the White House. He covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas and spent most of 1964 following the presidential campaign between Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, and Republican Barry Goldwater.

In 1965, MacNeil became the New York anchor of the first half-hour weekend network news broadcast, “The Scherer-MacNeil Report” on NBC. While in New York, he also anchored local newscasts and several NBC news documentaries, including “The Big Ear” and “The Right to Bear Arms.”

MacNeil returned to London in 1967 as a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Panorama” series. While with the BBC, be covered such U.S. stories as the clash between anti-war demonstrators and the Chicago police at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and the funerals of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Robert Kennedy and President Dwight Eisenhower.

In 1971, MacNeil left the BBC to become a senior correspondent for PBS, where he teamed up with Lehrer to co-anchor public television’s Emmy-winning coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973.

___

Associated Press media writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.

Dave Bryan, The Associated Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Striking crab fishers vow to resume protests at Newfoundland and Labrador legislature

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The man who led a fish harvesters protest that shut down the Newfoundland and Labrador government last month says there is another demonstration planned for Monday. John Eff ...
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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The man who led a fish harvesters protest that shut down the Newfoundland and Labrador government last month says there is another demonstration planned for Monday.

John Efford says he’s expecting a large number of fishers, who are refusing to fish for crab this year, to gather once again at the provincial legislature.

Efford says processing companies are trying to undermine solidarity among striking harvesters by phoning them individually to entice them to fish.

Harvesters have been refusing to fish this year after a government-appointed panel used a formula proposed by seafood processors to set this year’s starting price for crab at $2.60 a pound.

The union representing inshore fishers says it rejected an offer Thursday from the Association of Seafood Producers to pay fishers $3 per pound for the first three weeks of fishing, and then return to a price set by its formula.

Efford says Monday’s protest will be a continuation of the demonstrations outside the legislature he led last month, which demanded more free market conditions in the fishery, and forced government officials to delay their delivery of the province’s annual budget.

“If we don’t do it now, we won’t have enough (fish harvesters) left next year, there are going to be bankruptcies,” Efford says about continuing the demonstrations. “The endgame is corporate control, and this is how they get the corporate control: they’re going to break us, they’re going to ruin us, they’re going to bankrupt us, and they’re going to completely take us over.”

The Association of Seafood Producers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, harvesters refused to fish crab for the first six weeks of the season after opening prices were set at $2.20 per pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Eight buffaloes in Kenya electrocuted after walking into low-lying power lines, wildlife agency says

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Eight wild buffaloes walked into low-lying power lines in western Kenya and were electrocuted, the national wildlife agency said Friday. The incident happened at the Lake Nakur ...
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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Eight wild buffaloes walked into low-lying power lines in western Kenya and were electrocuted, the national wildlife agency said Friday.

The incident happened at the Lake Nakuru National Park known for its diverse wildlife species, the Kenya Wildlife Service said.

The power lines were lying low on the ground after a wooden support pole broke. The country’s power distribution company has begun the process of replacing the pole with a metallic one, the wildlife service said.

Conservationists have in the past raised alarm over the risk of wild animals being electrocuted by power lines.

In 2021, two giraffes were electrocuted when they walked into low-lying electric power transmission lines at the Soysambu Conservancy in western Kenya. Conservationists at the time said experts’ advice was ignored, leading to the deaths.

Also on Friday, President William Ruto announced the construction of a 100- kilometer (62-mile) electric fence in Lariak Forest in Laikipia county to prevent elephants from encroaching into neighboring farms.

The Associated Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

CP NewsAlert: Priest accused of sex assaults against children in Nunavut dies

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate say Johannes Rivoire, a priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in Nunavut, has died after a long illness.  More coming. The Canadian Press ...
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The Oblates of Mary Immaculate say Johannes Rivoire, a priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in Nunavut, has died after a long illness. 

More coming.

The Canadian Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Asking rent prices in March up 8.8% from year ago, but down from February: Urbanation

TORONTO — A new report says the asking rent for a home in Canada in March was up 8.8 per cent compared with a year ago, but down from February. The report by Urbanation, which analyzes monthly listi ...
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TORONTO — A new report says the asking rent for a home in Canada in March was up 8.8 per cent compared with a year ago, but down from February.

The report by Urbanation, which analyzes monthly listings from the Rentals.ca, says the average asking rent for all home types was $2,181 last month.

On a month-over-month basis, asking rents in March were down 0.6 per cent from February.

Based on the report, the average asking rent for a one-bedroom unit in Canada was $1,915, up 11.3 per cent from a year ago, while the average asking price for a two-bedroom unit was $2,295, up 10.6 per cent from March 2023.

Overall, asking rents for purpose-built rental apartments in March increased 12.7 per cent compared with a year earlier to reach an average of $2,117. Condominium apartment rents averaged $2,321, up 3.9 per cent from March 2023.

The increase in the national average came as the average asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments in B.C. fell 1.9 per cent year-over-year to $2,494 as average asking rents in Vancouver moved down 4.9 per cent to $2,993.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

The return of horse-drawn caissons to Arlington National Cemetery is delayed for at least months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The return of horse-drawn caissons at Arlington National Cemetery is being delayed for months and maybe longer, the Army said Friday, as it struggles to improve the care of the hor ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The return of horse-drawn caissons at Arlington National Cemetery is being delayed for months and maybe longer, the Army said Friday, as it struggles to improve the care of the horses, after two died in 2022 as a result of poor feed and living conditions.

Nearly a year after the Army suspended the use of the gray and black horses for funerals, officials said they are making progress buying new horses, getting better equipment, and improving the training, facilities and turnout areas. But Maj. Gen. Trevor Bredenkamp, commander of the Military District of Washington, said it’s been far more time consuming and difficult than initially expected to get the program going again. And it will take an extended period of time to get enough horses to meet the funeral needs.

“We have every intention to resume operations. I can’t give you a week or month or estimate, but it’s requirements based,” Bredenkamp said in a call with a small number of reporters. He said he doesn’t expect it will take years but “it’s going to take some time.” He said he would not describe the delay as “indefinite” but repeatedly acknowledged the stumbling blocks to restarting a sustainable program that protects the health of the horses.

The horses are part of the caisson platoon of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard, which is best known for guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the cemetery, located just across the river from Washington.

Two of the Old Guard platoon horses, Mickey and Tony, had to be euthanized within days of each other in February 2022. Both died from colon impaction.

The Army found that the horses had very little grass in their turnout fields and they consumed sand and gravel from the ground while eating the low-quality hay they were fed. The fields were littered with construction debris and manure and were only large enough to support six or seven horses, nowhere near the 64 that were using the fields when Mickey and Tony died, according to an Army investigation.

At the time, officials said the conditions were from mismanagement, lack of resources and a poor understanding of the horses’ needs. They also said soldiers needed better training on how to care for them.

On Friday, Bredenkamp said the Army is struggling to find enough horses to buy and to find nearby locations large enough for the horses to be kept and trained. The service is also getting lighter-weight caissons and conducting more extensive training for the soldiers to ride and take care of the horses.

Ray Alexander, superintendent of the cemetery, said there are 27-30 funerals a day, Monday through Friday, at Arlington, and of those six to eight qualify for escort honors. In order to meet that demand, without surpassing an appropriate workload for the horses, Bredenkamp said they need six squads of horses.

Currently, he said, they have 42 horses that are being cared for at a professional facility in Virginia. Two years ago, there were 60 horses in the program, but many had to be retired.

For the past year, the Army has used a funeral home hearse or another vehicle to pull the caisson. And in funerals for officers who were colonels or above, there is a riderless horse that walks behind the caisson.

Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press



3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Prosecutors: South Carolina prison supervisor took $219,000 in bribes; got 173 cellphones to inmates

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A supervisor who managed security at a South Carolina prison accepted more than $219,000 in bribes over three years and got 173 contraband cellphones for inmates, according to ...
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A supervisor who managed security at a South Carolina prison accepted more than $219,000 in bribes over three years and got 173 contraband cellphones for inmates, according to federal prosecutors.

Christine Mary Livingston, 46, was indicted earlier this month on 15 charges including bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Livingston worked for the South Carolina Department of Corrections for 16 years. She was promoted to captain at Broad River Correctional Institution in 2016, which put her in charge of security at the medium-security Columbia prison, investigators said.

Livingston worked with an inmate, 33-year-old Jerell Reaves, to accept bribes for cellphones and other contraband accessories. They would take $1,000 to $7,000 over the smart phone Cash App money transfer program for a phone, according to the federal indictment unsealed Thursday.

Reaves was known as Hell Rell and Livingston was known as Hell Rell’s Queen, federal prosecutors said.

Both face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and an order to pay back the money they earned illegally if convicted.

Reaves is serving a 15-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of a man at a Marion County convenience store in 2015.

Lawyers for Livingston and Reaves did not respond to emails Friday.

Contraband cellphones in South Carolina prisons have been a long-running problem. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said inmates have run drug rings, fraud schemes and have even ordered killings from behind bars.

A 2018 riot that killed seven inmates at Lee Correctional Intuition was fueled by cellphones.

“This woman broke the public trust in South Carolina, making our prisons less safe for inmates, staff and the community. We will absolutely not tolerate officers and employees bringing contraband into our prisons, and I’m glad she is being held accountable,” Stirling said in a statement.

The South Carolina prison system has implored federal officials to let them jam cellphone signals in prisons but haven’t gotten permission.

Recently, they have had success with a device that identifies all cellphones on prison grounds, allowing employees to request mobile phone carriers block the unauthorized numbers, although Stirling’s agency hasn’t been given enough money to expand it beyond a one-prison pilot program.

In January, Stirling posted a video from a frustrated inmate calling a tech support hotline when his phone no longer worked asking the worker “what can I do to get it turned back on?” and being told he needed to call a Corrections Department hotline.

From July 2022 to June 2023, state prison officials issued 2,179 violations for inmates possessing banned communication devices, and since 2015, more than 35,000 cellphones have been found. The prison system has about 16,000 inmates.

Stirling has pushed for the General Assembly to pass a bill specifying cellphones are illegal in prisons instead of being included in a broad category of contraband and allowing up to an extra year to be tacked on a sentence for having an illegal phone, with up to five years for a second offense.

That bill has not made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Jeffrey Collins, The Associated Press

3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Oil and gas companies must pay more to drill on public lands under new Biden administration rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oil and gas companies will have to pay more to drill on public lands and satisfy stronger requirements to clean up old or abandoned wells, according to a final rule issued Friday b ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Oil and gas companies will have to pay more to drill on public lands and satisfy stronger requirements to clean up old or abandoned wells, according to a final rule issued Friday by the Biden administration.

The Interior Department’s rule raises royalty rates for oil drilling by more than one-third, to 16.67%, in accordance with the sweeping 2002 climate law approved by Congress. The previous rate of 12.5% paid by oil and gas companies for federal drilling rights had remained unchanged for a century. The federal rate was significantly lower than what many states and private landowners charge for drilling leases on state or private lands.

The new rule does not go so far as to prohibit new oil and gas leasing on public lands, as many environmental groups have urged and as Democratic President Joe Biden promised during the 2020 campaign. But officials said the proposal would lead to a more responsible leasing process that provides a better return to U.S. taxpayers.

The plan codifies provisions in the climate law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the 2021 infrastructure law and recommendations from an Interior Department report on oil and gas leasing issued in 2021.

“These are the most significant reforms to the federal oil and gas leasing program in decades, and they will cut wasteful speculation, increase returns for the public and protect taxpayers from being saddled with the costs of environmental cleanups,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

Along with efforts to clean up so-called orphaned, or abandoned, wells, “these reforms will help safeguard the health of our public lands and nearby communities for generations to come,” Haaland said.

Haaland and other officials said the new rule provides a fair return to taxpayers and focuses oil and gas leasing in areas that are the most likely to be developed, especially those with existing infrastructure and high oil and gas potential. The rule will ease pressure to develop areas that contain sensitive wildlife habitat, cultural resources or recreation sites, officials said.

The new royalty rate set by the climate law is expected to remain in place until August 2032, after which it can be increased. The higher rate would increase costs for oil and gas companies by an estimated $1.8 billion in that period, according to the Interior Department.

The rule also would increase the minimum leasing bond paid by energy companies to $150,000, compared with the previous $10,000 established in 1960. The higher bonding requirement is intended to ensure that companies meet their obligations to clean up drilling sites after they are done or cap wells that are abandoned.

The previous level was far too low to force companies to act and did not cover potential costs to reclaim a well, officials said. As a result, taxpayers frequently end up covering cleanup costs for abandoned or depleted wells if an operator refuses to do so or declares bankruptcy. Hundreds of thousands of “orphaned” oil and gas wells and abandoned coal and hardrock mines pose serious safety hazards, while causing ongoing environmental damage.

The Interior Department has made available more than $1 billion in the past two years from the infrastructure law to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells on public lands. The new rule aims to prevent that burden from falling on taxpayers in the future.

Matthew Daly, The Associated Press



3 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Trudeau says he doesn’t understand why NDP is pulling back from carbon price support

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he doesn’t understand why the federal New Democrats are pulling back their support for the carbon price, though he acknowledges they are facing poli ...
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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he doesn’t understand why the federal New Democrats are pulling back their support for the carbon price, though he acknowledges they are facing political headwinds.

New Democrats have long been supporters of the climate policy, and even campaigned on it in the 2019 election. 

But this week, the NDP shifted its position, saying carbon pricing is not the “be-all, end-all” and encouraging premiers to come up with new ideas to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. 

The NDP also backed a non-binding Conservative motion demanding that Trudeau sit down with provincial and territorial leaders within five weeks to discuss the policy. 

The Conservatives insist that the carbon price is making life less affordable for Canadians, while the Liberals say rebates mean most Canadians end up with more money at the end of the day.

Trudeau says the Conservative message seems to be resonating with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, but the Tories say Singh is trying to run away from his record. 

The Tories have introduced more than 20 motions in the House under leader Pierre Poilievre to scrap the federal carbon price. 

The NDP voted against all but two of them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024. 

The Canadian Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Democratic donors paid more than $1M for Biden’s legal bills for special counsel probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic donors covered more than $1 million in legal fees racked up by attorneys representing President Joe Biden in a yearlong special counsel probe into his handling of classi ...
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic donors covered more than $1 million in legal fees racked up by attorneys representing President Joe Biden in a yearlong special counsel probe into his handling of classified documents.

The use of party funds to cover Biden’s legal bills is not without precedent and falls within the bounds of campaign finance law, but it could cloud Biden’s ability to continue to hammer former President Donald Trump over his far more extensive use of donor funds to cover his legal bills.

The former president has tapped more than $100 million in donor money for a web of legal challenges, ranging from his upcoming criminal trial in New York over hush money payments to ongoing prosecutions over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and his refusal to turn over classified documents to the federal government after leaving office.

For months, Biden aides and advisers have criticized Trump and Republicans for their spending on the former president’s legal issues, which has left the GOP campaign cash-strapped and diverted resources from battleground states.

“We are not spending money on legal bills or hawking gold sneakers,” Biden campaign finance chair Rufus Gifford told MSNBC last week.

The payments to Biden attorney Bob Bauer and the law firm Hemenway & Barnes were disclosed in regular campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the payments, confirmed the money went for work on the Biden probe. Axios first reported on the payments.

The money for Biden’s legal team came from the Democratic National Committee’s legal account, according to the people. That account is primarily funded by high-dollar donors who have already met federal contribution limits for the party’s political activities.

“If these corrupt Democrats didn’t have HYPOCRISY, they’d have NOTHING!” the Republican National Committee said in a post Friday on X.

Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Trudeau reveals Liberal plan to build nearly 3.9M homes by 2031 amid housing crisis

The federal government has released the housing plan, which it says will build nearly 3.9 million homes by 2031 ahead of the federal budget announcement next week. Trudeau was joined by Finance Min ...
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The federal government has released the housing plan, which it says will build nearly 3.9 million homes by 2031 ahead of the federal budget announcement next week.

Trudeau was joined by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to announce what they call “the most comprehensive and ambitious housing plan ever seen in Canada.”

The housing plan’s three main goals are to build more homes, make it easier to rent or own a home and help Canadians who can’t afford a home.

Trudeau said they want to ensure no Canadian pays more than 30 per cent of their income towards their home in an approach that focuses on increasing the housing supply to bring down prices.

“It’s a Team Canada approach that provides incentives for provinces, territories, builders and non-profits to come on board.”

The plan includes the already announced $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund as well as providing an additional $400 million dollars to the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to incentivize an additional 12,000 new homes in the next three years.

Trudeau said they would also increase support for workers in the skilled trades and create apprenticeship opportunities for the next generation.

“The construction industry will need reinforcements to get all this work done,” said Trudeau. “Canada is working hard under our government to pass legislation that is about workers and about supporting the kinds of good clean jobs that the future is going to bring.”

Freeland said they will be revealing more of their plan in the federal budget announcement to ensure fairness for every generation.

“We need to make the dream of home ownership a reality for younger Canadians,” added Freeland.

Some of the measures for renters announced Friday include creating a Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights and launching a $15 million Tenant Protection Fund.

For those who can’t afford a home, the federal government said they will provide $1 billion to the Affordable Housing Fund and invest $250 million to address the urgent issue of encampments and homelessness in communities across Canada.

The Parliamentary Budget Office revealed Thursday that Canada would need to build 1.3 million additional homes by 2030 to eliminate the country’s housing gap.

The Trudeau government has made several housing-related announcements ahead of the federal budget, including the announcement they will allow 30-year amortization periods on insured mortgages for first-time homebuyers purchasing newly built homes. That change is expected to take effect Aug. 1.

The budget is being presented on April 16.

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Nova Scotia Teachers Union will focus on deal after overwhelming strike mandate

HALIFAX — The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union says the overwhelming strike mandate it received from members is a message to the provincial government to get serious at the bargaining tab ...
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HALIFAX — The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union says the overwhelming strike mandate it received from members is a message to the provincial government to get serious at the bargaining table.

Ryan Lutes says the fact that 98 per cent of members who voted on Thursday supported a potential strike shows teachers have no confidence in the government’s handling of public education.

Lutes told reporters today that while the focus of his 10,000-member union is on getting a deal, the government has to be a willing partner that’s serious about addressing teacher priorities.

The union says it needs more engagement from the province on issues such as school violence, teacher retention and more pay for substitute teachers.

Both sides have been in negotiations since last June, and two days of talks with a conciliator are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Education Minister Becky Druhan has referred to the strike vote as a “distraction,” but she has also said she’s optimistic a fair deal can be reached through bargaining.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Nigerian transgender celebrity jailed for throwing money into the air, a rare conviction

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A popular Nigerian transgender woman was on Friday jailed for six months after a local court convicted her of throwing the local currency into the air, a practice known as spra ...
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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A popular Nigerian transgender woman was on Friday jailed for six months after a local court convicted her of throwing the local currency into the air, a practice known as spraying, a rare conviction that was criticized by many in the West African nation where it is common, though illegal, for people to spray money.

Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju better known as Bobrisky, was accused of “tampering” with the naira notes by spraying them at an event. She had pleaded guilty when first arraigned by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency in the economic hub of Lagos.

Bobrisky’s imprisonment was criticized by many in Nigeria, a deeply conservative country where openly identifying as a transgender person is criminalized.

Her six-month sentence — handed without the available option of a fine — is the maximum permitted by law for the offence. She is allowed to appeal the judgment.

“Selective enforcement of the law is a problem in Nigeria,” said human rights lawyer Festus Ogun, who asked why Bobrisky was “singled out” by the anti-graft agency.

Bobrisky said in court that she was not aware of the law. “I am a social media influencer with five million followers … I wish I can be given a second chance to use my platform to educate my followers against the abuse of the naira,” she told the judge.

Spraying naira notes ($1 = 1,197 naira) is seen as an abuse of the local currency because people eventually trample on the notes when they fall to the ground.

Her sentence would deter others from abusing the currency, Abimbola Awogboro, the presiding judge said at Friday’s sitting. “Enough of people mutilating and tampering with our currencies. It has to stop,” he added.

Chinedu Asadu, The Associated Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese headline one of the most anticipated WNBA drafts in years

NEW YORK (AP) — Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and others make this one of the most anticipated WNBA drafts in recent years. There are several impact players up for grabs, but their talen ...
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NEW YORK (AP) — Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and others make this one of the most anticipated WNBA drafts in recent years. There are several impact players up for grabs, but their talent is nearly eclipsed by their popularity among basketball fans.

“Caitlin is kind of in a world of her own, but I don’t know that we have seen this kind of excitement across the board,” ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said. “You know, Angel Reese has a massive following. Cameron Brink has a large following of people, whether it’s following them on social media or following them throughout the course of their college career.

“We have women coming into the draft this year, who people are very much aware of and eager to see how their game is going to translate at this level.”

Clark has helped bring millions of new fans to the game with her signature logo shots and dazzling passing ability. The Iowa star was a big reason why a record 18.9 million viewers tuned in to the NCAA championship game where South Carolina beat the Hawkeyes.

The NCAA Division I all-time scoring leader will go first to the Indiana Fever on Monday night when the draft takes place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in front of 1,000 fans.

“This is the first time we’re going to have fans at the draft, so I think that’s going to be special,” ESPN analyst Andraya Carter said. “For people watching at home to see and hear a crowd and fans and people there, I think it’ll be really exciting.”

While Clark is a lock to go first, Brink, Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso have all been in the discussion to be taken at No. 2 by Los Angeles. The Sparks also own the No. 4 pick with Chicago choosing third.

“They are foundational. They’re an incredible opportunity for our organization,” Sparks GM Raegan Pebley said. “We definitely want to see two players that not only have the skill set to make an impact early, but also a long runway ahead of them, opportunities to develop, opportunities to, not only be excellent in what they do, but how they impact the other pieces around them as we continue to build this team.”

Dallas is fifth and Washington sixth. Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Connecticut, New York and Atlanta close out the first round. In all, there are three rounds and 36 picks in total.

Here are a few other tidbits for the draft:

INJURY SETBACKS

All-Americans Mackenzie Holmes of Indiana and Elizabeth Kitley of Virginia Tech won’t be able to play in the WNBA this season because of knee injuries. Holmes said on social media that she is having surgery next month.

“At this time to ensure my body is healthy and my playing career is as long and successful as possible, I have decided to get the necessary surgery in May to prevent further issues and alleviate the pain it has caused,” she said. “I have declared for the 2024 WNBA draft and pray that a team honors me with a selection knowing I will be ready for the start of 2025 training camp.”

Kitley tore the ACL in her left knee in Virginia Tech’s final regular season game and missed the entire postseason.

“Whenever you see any player go through an injury at any point in their career, but especially at that point, this special season that Virginia Tech was having. But I think she’s a player that has, I’ll use this word ‘track’ again,” Pebley said. “Just a lot of runway ahead of her. She’s going to, I think, have a great career with her versatility, her footwork abilities. And I think her impact around the rim.”

INVITEES

The WNBA invited 15 players to the draft Monday, including Clark, Reese, Brink, Jackson, Cardoso and Kitley. The others are Aliyah Edwards and Nika Muhl of UConn; Charisma Osborne of UCLA; Celeste Taylor and Jacy Sheldon of Ohio State; Alissa Pili of Utah; Marquesha Davis of Mississippi; Dyaisha Fair of Syracuse; and Nyadiew Puoch of Australia.

___

AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

Doug Feinberg, The Associated Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Podcast: The Todd Veinotte Show April 12th, 2024

Hour 1: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director, Agri-Food Analytics at Dalhousie University, joins Todd to debate the path of carbon pricing. Animal rights advocate and author Tracy Jessiman shares h ...
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Hour 1: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director, Agri-Food Analytics at Dalhousie University, joins Todd to debate the path of carbon pricing. Animal rights advocate and author Tracy Jessiman shares how the father of a boy killed by dogs calls media attention to ‘brutal’ urges for kindness for the dog’s owner. Weekly chat with Tim Powers, Summa Strategies, Abacus Data. Derek Spinney, VP of Corporate Services, Infrastructure and CFO for Nova Scotia Health, discusses opposition raising concerns about Nova Scotia Health’s missing business plans.

Listen here

Hour 2: It’s the Friday Free For All. Todd takes your calls!

Listen here

Hour 3: Frank Palermo, Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University’s School of Planning, discusses Heritage Trust Nova Scotia holds a successful forum on the impacts of the Housing Accelerator Fund on HRM. Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of The Lobster Council of Canada, shares how lobster harvesters in Atlantic Canada to vote on increasing the minimum legal size this year. El Jones, a well-known community activist and educator, was chairperson of the committee created to define what it means to defund the police discusses how the minicipality is asking for input on HRM’s next Chief of Police. Sports with Cecil Wright.

Listen here

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Tennessee governor signs bill requiring local officers to aid US immigration authorities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to communicate with federal immigration authorities if they discover people are in the t ...
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to communicate with federal immigration authorities if they discover people are in the the country illegally, and would broadly mandate cooperation in the process of identifying, detaining and deporting them.

The Republican signed the measure Thursday, and it takes effect July 1. While the bill’s proponents have argued that Tennessee law enforcement agencies should assist more in immigration enforcement, immigrant advocates have warned that the bill is broad and confusing and could embolden rogue officers to target immigrant families.

“When there is an interaction with law enforcement, it’s important that the appropriate authorities are notified of the status of that individual,” Lee told reporters Thursday. “I think that makes sense. So, I’m in support of that legislation.”

Tennessee has aligned with other Republican-led states that have also sought to deploy their authorities into more immigration tasks as the presidential election approaches, arguing that President Joe Biden has shirked his duties to enforce federal immigration law.

That includes a Texas law that allows authorities to arrest migrants who enter the U.S. illegally and order them to leave the country, but it remains blocked temporarily in court. In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds this week signed a bill that mirrors part of the Texas law. Another approach at a Texas-style bill is advancing in Louisiana. Idaho lawmakers considered a similar measure but adjourned without passing it.

In Tennessee, Republican bill sponsor Sen. Brent Taylor said his proposal is meant to apply when law enforcement officers, including sheriff’s departments that run jails, learn the immigration status of someone in their custody for another alleged crime.

“This is not going down and hunting somebody who looks Hispanic, pulling them over and demanding papers,” Taylor said.

But the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition said the law is written broadly and could give more authority than Taylor has claimed. The group criticized Lee’s decision to sign the bill.

“He could have listened to the warnings from police chiefs, educators, domestic violence victims’ advocates and legal experts and stopped this misguided bill from becoming law,” said Lisa Sherman Luna, executive director of the coalition’s voter engagement arm. “Instead, he rubber-stamped the state legislature’s continued descent into authoritarianism and green-lit a law that could open the door for racial profiling, unlawful detention, and separated families.”

The Metro Nashville Police Department raised concerns about the bill. A Nashville police spokesperson has said the proposal could erode the trust its officers have built with immigrant communities and dissuade some victims or witnesses from cooperating in investigations.

The Tennessee bill says law enforcement agencies and officials “shall” cooperate in various immigration tasks already spelled out in state law, instead of saying they “are authorized” to do so, which was put into Tennessee code in a toughening of state immigration law that passed in 2018.

The bill also refers back to a federal law that says it is voluntary for states and local governments to get involved in certain federal immigration law enforcement tasks.

A legislative fiscal analysis of the bill says “most, if not all, law enforcement agencies already communicate with the federal government regarding an individual’s immigration status,” citing information from the Tennessee police and sheriffs associations.

Lee has not vetoed a bill while in office in Tennessee, where lawmakers have a simple path to override a governor. He is among the governors who have sent National Guard troops to the border, at a proposed combined cost of $6.4 million for this budget year and the next.

___

Associated Press reporters Sara Cline in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

Jonathan Mattise, The Associated Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Regulator limiting leverage in bank mortgage portfolios

OTTAWA — Canada’s banking regulator says it will be putting limits on how much leverage banks allow in their uninsured mortgage portfolios. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Instit ...
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OTTAWA — Canada’s banking regulator says it will be putting limits on how much leverage banks allow in their uninsured mortgage portfolios.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says the loan-to-income limit on new uninsured mortgages will help reduce the risk of borrowers being unable to pay their loans. 

Because the limit will apply on a portfolio level, individual borrowers won’t face a specific limit.

OSFI says for banks, the common limit on portfolios will be that new loans can’t exceed 4.5 times a borrower’s income, but the portion of new loans that can exceed the limit will be tailored to each bank.

The regulator says the measure will act as a backstop to the minimum qualifying rate, also known as the mortgage stress test, which can still allow for higher leverage at times of low interest rates.

OSFI says the limit is expected to take effect at each financial institution’s fiscal first quarter of 2025.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

4 hours ago

CityNews Halifax

Rescuers in Ukraine pull 5 puppies from the rubble of a building destroyed by fire

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Rescue workers in Ukraine have pulled five puppies from underneath the rubble of a destroyed building, a video released by the country’s emergency services Friday showed. ...
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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Rescue workers in Ukraine have pulled five puppies from underneath the rubble of a destroyed building, a video released by the country’s emergency services Friday showed.

Officials said the puppies were rescued from a non-residential building that was on fire in the northeastern city of Sumy, close to the border with Russia. The video showed the puppies squealing as the firefighters cuddled them in their hands and rinsed them off with water.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the rescue took place or what caused the fire.

“Fortunately, everything is fine with the little one(s), they were not injured. The furries were returned by their mothers,” officials said in a post on the emergency services’ Telegram channel.

“This rescue story reminds us of the importance of human compassion and the willingness to help everyone, regardless of the circumstances,” they added.

The Associated Press

4 hours ago

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