MONTREAL – A fireball exploded and lit up the skies over Yellowknife early Thursday morning, but was not believed to have caused any damage.
One expert compared it to a similar incident that took place over Montreal last November.
March 5, 2014 One of the brightest fireball I've seen tonight! Vee Lake, Yellowknife, NWT @AuroraMAX @spectacularNWT pic.twitter杭州夜网/2p6705Si0c
— Yuichi Takasaka (@ytakasaka) March 6, 2014
An image of the explosion was posted on the website of Spaceweather杭州夜网. It was captured by a photographer who was leading a tour of the Aurora Borealis.
The exploding meteor was described as being so bright that it turned the night sky blue.
READ MORE: Western University researchers find asteroids like Russian event more likely than believed
Peter Brown, a physics professor at Western University in London, Ont., viewed the photo of the bright fireball, which he calculated was less than one metre in size.
He told The Canadian Press the fact that there was an explosion meant the object had probably penetrated deep into the atmosphere.
But Brown said that he was almost certain the explosive force was too weak to cause any damage.
He added that the view of an exploding fireball is something that people might only see once a year.
The Western University physics professor noted the meteor that exploded over the skies of Montreal in November 2013 created a thundering boom, but it also shook houses.
The two fireballs over Yellowknife and Montreal paled in comparison to what happened over Chelyabinsk, Russia just over a year ago.
That’s when a meteor estimated to be about 10 tons exploded over the Ural Mountains on Feb. 15, 2013 with the power of an atomic bomb.
The sonic blasts from that fireball shattered windows and injured about 1,000 people.
The Chelyabinsk meteor explosion, one year later
Fireball lights up night sky
Meteorites found in Northern California likely from giant fireball over weekend
©2014The Canadian Press
TORONTO – A new report says Canadians spent nearly $30 billion on prescription medications in 2013 and another $5 billion on over-the-counter drugs.
The report says, though, that the annual rate of growth in the prescription drug spending figure was one of the lowest in more than two decades.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information says the growth in prescription drug spending went up by only 2.3 per cent last year.
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It suggests the slowing of the growth of spending on prescription drugs is due to the fact that expired patents on some commonly used drugs have allowed for cheaper generic versions to come on the market.
The report says government policies aimed at lowering drug prices have also had an effect.
READ MORE: Canada losing out on negotiating lower drug prices, study says
Prescribed drugs made up nearly 14 per cent of total health spending in Canada in 2014.
The top 10 classes of drugs accounted for 34 per cent of all prescription drug spending by public drug programs during 2013.
Public programs spent nearly $500 million on a type of medication called anti-TFN drugs, used for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Rounding out the top five drug classes by spending were: statins to lower cholesterol, proton pump inhibitors for gastric reflux, drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration and drugs for obstructive airway conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
READ MORE: Why critics say the EU trade deal will drive up Canada’s drug prices
A small proportion of individuals accounted for a large proportion of drug spending for the public programs, the CIHI report shows.
Just under 13 per cent of people accounted for 60.8 per cent of the drug spending in public programs. The report says public drug programs are spending more on high-cost drugs.
TORONTO – If you were around in the 1970s, you’ll likely remember the PBS special Cosmos, hosted by renowned astronomer Carl Sagan. For many people, that show was responsible for introducing them to our universe. It was wildly successful, reaching an estimated 700 million people.
In the show, Sagan explored not just astronomy, but the very essence of life, from the infinitesimally small, to the uncomprehendingly large. More than 30 years passed and rumours swirled about the possibility of reintroducing the series to a whole new generation.
But in our day and age — a time of instant gratification and shortened attention spans — how do you wow the audience in a 13-part show about the universe?
Carl Sagan standing next to a model of the Viking lander in Death Valley, California. Bill Ray/The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive
Carl Sagan standing next to a model of the Viking lander in Death Valley, California.
Bill Ray/The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive
The 4 best places for life in our solar system
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Fox plans to bring back ‘Cosmos’ science series in 2013, while promising a strong 2011 season
You put it on network television — in this case, Fox (Global in Canada) — and put funny-man and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane at the helm.
READ MORE: Seth MacFarlane Discusses The ‘Cosmos’
You create a “Worldwide Premiere Event” airing it on National Geographic and National Geographic Wild at the same time.
You use state-of-the-art graphics depicting the Big Bang, collisions of worlds, and a sleek “spaceship of the mind” to take you on your journey.
You also include comic book-like animation to tell historical stories that might otherwise be lost in bland dialogue.
And you bring in world renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to host it.
Put this all together and you have a way of capturing the attention span of those who might otherwise pass up the opportunity to learn about our universe.
In the 1970s, there were specials like Wild Kingdom, National Geographic Explorer and PBS specials like Cosmos. Science shows actually had science programming. But with the addition of hundreds of channels all vying for our attention, so-called specialty channels that promised science content had to reinvent themselves.
In order for science to be appealing these days, it has to be sleek and sexy. National Geographic is now “Nat Geo,” a cable channel with a cool nickname. Shiny graphics, maps, and exciting footage are all used together with narration to provide a more immersive experience. And this is what the new Cosmos is doing.
Tyson is a logical choice for taking over where Sagan left off: his enthusiasm and love of astronomy and science is clear. He has mass appeal. And Sagan was a huge influence on Tyson, the two having met while Tyson was a teenager. Tyson has often said that he wants to follow in Sagan’s footsteps.
WATCH: Carl Sagan’s influence on Neil deGrasse Tyson
The question is whether or not — in the age of the Internet — that this kind of show will have legs. Can science television still capture the attention of millions of viewers when they can look at images from Hubble or a Mars rover while sitting at their desks?
But it’s not just about seeing pretty images. It’s about trying to understand what you’re looking at. It’s about putting things into perspective. It’s about learning.
It’s time real science was brought back into our homes.
Cosmos airs on Global Television Sundays at 9 p.m.
TORONTO – A study tracking the brain health of retired NHL players over several years has received $750,000 in additional funding to expand recruitment to university hockey alumni.
Thirty retired NHL players are currently enrolled in the study begun in 2011 by researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.
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The new funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will allow former university hockey players up to age 90 to join the study.
Lead investigator Brian Levine says the new funding will allow researchers to generalize their findings from a sample of hockey players more representative of the general population.
The former NHL players are undergoing comprehensive cognitive testing, brain scans and other tests aimed at identifying risk factors associated with dementia.
READ MORE: NHL Players’ Association hands Harvard $100 million to study brain injury
They will also have the option of donating their brains after death to determine if any neurodegenerative disease had occurred.
The study is unique because it focuses on aging hockey players, looking at numerous factors that can potentially affect brain health over time, said Levine, a senior scientist with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and an expert in head trauma and dementia.
“This is one of the most comprehensive studies out there,” he said Thursday in a statement. “In addition to concussion history, we are looking at lifestyle factors, chronic illnesses, and genetics and proteins related to dementia, which can all impact cognitive health in aging.”
READ MORE: Brain scan may detect brain disease in NFL players
Levine and his colleagues are testing individuals with and without a history of concussion, and those with and without age-related cognitive and behavioural changes. Comparing these different groups of volunteers is crucial to isolating important factors in neurodegenerative disease.
“As former super-fit athletes from a high-impact sport, we are very interested in contributing to research that will help illuminate the different factors that influence the aging process, particularly around brain health and dementia,” said Mark Napier, executive director of the NHL Alumni Association.
“We hope that the findings will have wider implications for all aging adults.”
READ MORE: Mood swings, memory loss first symptoms of brain disease in hockey, football players
The study has also enrolled age- and education-matched family members and friends of the retired NHL players to form a comparison group that is undergoing the same assessment.
The comparison group will help researchers tease apart the brain health factors that may be specific to retired hockey players as opposed to those that are present in the general population. Follow-up testing will take place every four years.
University hockey alumni who are interested in enrolling in the study should contact Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute recruitment hotline, 416-785-2500, ext. 3100. Eligible participants may still be active in recreational sports; however, those who are still actively competing as a professional, semi-professional or university hockey player will not qualify.
BRISBANE, Australia – A German tourist who was missing for more than two weeks in the Australian Outback survived by eating flies after becoming lost and stranded by floodwaters, police said Friday.
Daniel Dudzisz was picked up by a motorist late Thursday near the township of Windorah in Queensland state, police Inspector Mark Henderson said.
The 26-year-old insulin-dependent diabetic had last been seen on Feb. 17 when he left Windorah to walk 77 kilometres (48 miles) north across rugged terrain to the settlement of Jundah, Henderson said.
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Dudzisz became stranded by floodwaters for about 10 days and lived on insects for most of the time he was lost, Henderson said.
“He joked about never going hungry in the Australian Outback because of the amount of flies you can eat for their protein,” Henderson told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
“He had some baked beans and cereal when he left Windorah and exhausted that pretty quickly, and said he’d been eating flies ever since,” Henderson added.
Dudzisz told police he had heard search helicopters but their crews could not see him through the canopy of trees, Henderson said.
Dudzisz, who had an adequate supply of insulin with him, refused medical treatment at Windorah.
“He certainly was hungry, but other than that he was in reasonable spirits,” Henderson said.
Henderson said Dudzisz remained determined to trek west to the sparsely populated Northern Territory.
“He has made an agreement now that he will stick to the main roads now rather than going cross country,” Henderson said.
Dudzisz had been hiking for several months through New South Wales state and Queensland, ABC reported.
©2014The Canadian Press
HAMILTON, Ont. – The mother of a dead Canadian soldier sent a one-penny payout cheque received a formal apology from Canada’s defence minister on Thursday along with a promise to take another look at whether his death was related to his military service.
Breaking her public silence, Denise Stark said she thanked Rob Nicholson for the apology, which came in a morning phone call after days of questions in the House of Commons.
“I explained how our wounds had been re-opened since receiving the cheque,” Stark said.
“He acknowledged how insensitive this was.”
WATCH: Minister of Defence apologizes for 1 cent cheque sent to dead soldier’s mom
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Defence minister apologizes after one-cent cheque sent to dead soldier’s mom
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In October 2011, 10 months after returning from a seven-month tour in Afghanistan, Cpl. Justin Stark, 22, killed himself.
The family of the reservist with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada had considered his estate long settled when the cheque for one cent in her son’s name – dated Feb. 28 – arrived from Public Works.
The cheque was marked “CF Release Pay.”
Stark said she didn’t believe the incident was malicious or personal.
Nicholson promised to take a look at a military board-of-inquiry finding that the soldier’s death was not related to his experiences serving in Afghanistan, said Stark, her husband at her side.
“Wayne and I continue to be dissatisfied at the board’s confident conclusion that Justin’s tour in Afghanistan did not cause him trauma,” his mother said.
Stark stressed there would be no financial gain in having his death linked to his military service.
“It only involves having the recognition that those who died in theatre also have.”
Nicholson called the incident a “bureaucratic screw-up.”
He also promised to investigate to see whether the same thing had happened to others with the aim of ensuring it did not happen again.
“The death of a child is tragic but a death related to war … I just don’t have the words to describe,” she said choking up.
“Then add to that, a death by suicide – it just adds another layer to my grief.”
Wayne Stark thanked Nicholson for taking the situation seriously, and New Democrat MP Wayne Marston, who raised the issue in the Commons.
“We also hope this will help to bring positive changes to the treatment of our veterans and the families of our fallen,” he said.
In Ottawa on Wednesday, Treasury Board President Tony Clement accused a civil servant of making “a very insensitive and terrible error.”
He said the individual involved “should come forward and apologize.”
Donna Lackie, president of the Government Services Union, said this week the data and information used to create the Public Works cheque would have come from the Department of National Defence.
The department would have no way of knowing why the cheque was requested, or the background of the person whose name was on it, she said.
“It’s not the first time a one-cent cheque has gone through,” Lackie said.
The Simcoe Reformer reported that in 2011 that Stark spent much of his tour of duty working to secure the town of Nakhonay, a small village 15 kilometres southwest of Kandahar city squarely in the heart of Taliban territory.
Several tribunals were held to determine whether his death was related to his work as a soldier, with a preliminary finding that it was not related to his service, according to his mother.
Keven Ellis, a family friend who heads a motorcycle group that supports veterans, the North Wall Riders Association, said the already emotionally distraught mother had been “devastated” by the cheque incident.
-With files from Terry Pedwell in Ottawa
©2014The Canadian Press
A former RCMP officer and a minor hockey and baseball coach has been charged with sexually assaulting eight minors in the late 70s and early 80s in Clearwater, B.C.
58-year-old Alan John Davidson was arrested on Thursday in Calgary, Alberta.
Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, operations officer for the RCMP’s BC Major Crime Section, said Davidson coached minor hockey and baseball in the Thompson and Okanagan area, starting in the late 70s.
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The investigation into Davidson began in November 2012, when a man came forward to Burnaby RCMP, saying in the early 80s he was attending high school in Clearwater when he had allegedly been sexually assaulted by his minor hockey coach.
Fitzpatrick said this man indicated the possibility that others on the team may also have been similarly assaulted.
Following further investigation, another witness came forward and said he had been sexually assaulted by his baseball coach.
Eight victims have now come forward citing similar allegations of assault. All of those victims are male.
The investigation then extended into Alberta and Saskatchewan as Davidson was an RCMP officer in those provinces following the allegations of assault.
Video: RCMP announce charges laid against Alan John Davidson
He served in the RCMP for 14 years, from February 1982 to August 1996. He completed basic training in Regina before being posted to Coronach, Sask. He was then transferred to Lloydminster, Alta. in 1983, Yorkton Saskatchewan and then North Battleford, Sask. He retired in August 1996 and moved to Alberta to pursue a personal business opportunity.
Fitzpatrick said at this time they have no information and are unaware of any alleged offences that may have occurred during Davidson’s time as an RCMP officer.
However, investigators believe there may be other victims connected to this investigation. They are appealing for any other victims to come forward.
“I would also like to commend those individuals who came forward after all these years, considering the traumatic nature of the allegations,” said Fitzpatrick. “A great deal of work has been done to date, however our investigation is ongoing and we respect that there could be other individuals out there with information connected to our investigation. It is important for you to please contact the police.”
To assist potential victims and witnesses in recalling memory, the RCMP has released a timeline of where the accused had lived and worked over the last three decades.
1970s to 1981 – Clearwater, BC
August 1981 – February 1982 – Regina, Saskatchewan
February 1982 – December 1983 – Coronach, Saskatchewan
December 1983 – April 1986 – Lloydminster, Alberta
April 1986 – August 1993 – Yorkton, Saskatchewan
August 1993 – 1996 – North Battleford, Saskatchewan
August 1996 onwards – Alberta (currently resides in Calgary)
If anyone has any information they are asked to call the toll free tip line at 1-877-687-3377.
Davidson’s next court appearance will be April 3 in Kamloops.
Buck Pierce speaks to the media about his new role with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
WINNIPEG — Quarterback Buck Pierce, who announced his retirement Tuesday, is back with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Pierce will join head coach Mike O’Shea’s staff as running backs coach.
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The Buck stops here
“Buck has been through the trenches as a quarterback in this league. He has great experience, and will be a valued asset to our coaching staff,” O’Shea said in a team media release. “He will be able to relate to our players very well, and the ability to add a former CFL quarterback to our staff was important to us. He will be a great teacher to our running backs and a strength to our offensive staff.”
Pierce spent nine seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Bombers and B.C. Lions. He finished with 15,289 yards passing and 76 touchdowns.
RELATED: The Buck stops here
“Deciding not to play football anymore was a difficult decision, but having the opportunity to rejoin the Bombers in a coaching role was really a perfect fit. I am thrilled they wanted me to be a part of what I believe will be a great thing here in Winnipeg. I said when I was traded that I hoped one day I would be back in some capacity, and today is a really special day for my family and me,” said Pierce.
Though he played as a quarterback, Pierce should know a thing or two about running with the football. He carried the ball 233 times during his CFL career for 1,684 yards and 14 touchdowns.
TORONTO — Lupita Nyong’o had her brother at her side when she won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Academy Awards on March 2, but she celebrated with Canadian rapper K’naan.
The pair was photographed making the rounds in L.A. after the Oscars, sparking rumours of a romance.
As she arrived for a post-Oscars talk show appearance, K’naan was spotted holding her golden statuette.
The 31-year-old Mexican-born actress made her feature film debut in 12 Years a Slave and currently appears in the thriller Non-Stop. She previously worked as a production assistant on movies like 2005’s The Constant Gardener.
Nyong’o, who has remained tight-lipped about her private life, has also been linked by tabloids to Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto.
Last year, K’naan moved to New York City, where Nyong’o lives. He is currently in Los Angeles working on a movie about Somalia.
The 36-year-old has not commented on a possible relationship with Nyong’o but mentioned her in an Instagram post last month.
Born Keinan Abdi Warsame in Somalia, K’naan came to Toronto as a teenager.
He has released five full-length albums and earned five Juno Awards.
K’naan’s breakthrough song, “Wavin’ Flag” — co-written by Bruno Mars — was chosen as Coca-Cola’s anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was re-recorded by a group of Canadian musicians to raise funds for victims of the Haiti eathquake.
His most recent single is “Hurt Me Tomorrow.”
K’naan was previously married and is the father of two sons.
WATCH: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wants to send a powerful message to Russia
TORONTO – Nine Russian soldiers taking part in military exercises in Canada have been expelled from the country after Prime Minister Stephen Harper cut all bilateral military activities with Russia.
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The soldiers, six from Saint-Jean, Que., two from New Brunswick’s CFB Gagetown and one from Gatineau, Que., were told to leave the country within 24 hours and will be leaving Saturday, a government source told Global News.
Canada condemns Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine
Prime Minister Harper said Canada remains extremely concerned about the crisis in Ukraine and reiterates his call for Russia to “respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“Today, our Government is taking additional measures to further increase pressure on President Putin and the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops to their bases by imposing a travel ban against a number of individuals responsible for threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. This ban will prevent these individuals from travelling to Canada,” Harper said in a Friday statement.
In response to the Russian incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region, Harper said Tuesday: “I have this morning directed that, effective immediately, all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation be suspended.
“This includes exercises, such as NORAD’s Exercise Vigilant Eagle, and scheduled meetings.”
Harper said the Canadian government views the crisis “with the gravest concern.”
Canada won’t recognize Crimean referendum
On Thursday Harper said Canada won’t recognize Crimean’s forthcoming referendum on joining Russia.
Lawmakers in Crimea voted unanimously to split from Ukraine and join Russia, and will hold a referendum March 16 to allow voters on the disputed peninsula to weigh in on the decision.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said it’s impossible to organize a meaningful referendum in the 10-day time frame proposed.
He said Canada is deeply concerned about Russia’s military actions.
“This is a vestige of another century,” he said. “It’s a Soviet-style tactic that’s unacceptable for a G8 country and unacceptable in 2014.
“We’re going to condemn it in the strongest of terms and work with friends and like-minded allies to see it reversed.
“It’s going to be a challenging issue.”
–with files from The Canadian Press
WATCH: Ukraine’s UN ambassador says the world only has “a couple of days” to bring Russia to the table