Alberta, Manitoba, B.C. top 3 at curling’s Brier in Kamloops – Winnipeg

by admin on 29/07/2019

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – The favourites going into the 2014 Canadian men’s curling championship are the favourites coming out as the round robin draws to a close with Alberta, Manitoba and B.C. sitting one, two, three.

Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton and B.C.’s John Morris won their final round-robin games Thursday night to finish the Tim Hortons Brier preliminary robin at 9-2.

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Alberta’s Kevin Koe sits at 9-1 with only one game left Friday morning, after a 9-6 win over Prince Edward Island Thursday afternoon. If he wins Friday, the final three in order will be Alberta, Manitoba and B.C.

All that’s up for grabs is the fourth and final playoff spot. Saskatchewan and Quebec, at 6-4, are leading the race but Newfoundland and New Brunswick are hanging in at 6-5. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick play Friday morning.

“There’s still some hope,” Quebec skip Jean-Michel Menard said of his chances to reach the three vs. four playoff game, although he has to face Alberta.

One scenario could even see four teams needing to work through tiebreakers Friday, if both Saskatchewan and Quebec lose.

“If both of the teams lose there’s four teams at 6-5, which looks like a messy tiebreaker, so hopefully we don’t have to go through that,” Menard said.

Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock knows his path to the playoffs.

“Win our last and either get some help from Alberta or play a tiebreaker,” said Laycock.

Morris said they will be happy to get into the playoffs through the three vs. four game. He got passed by Manitoba Thursday morning when he lost 7-6 to Stoughton in an extra end.

“We’re prepared to go through the three-four game we’re prepared to go to the one-two game, it doesn’t matter,” he said after his final game at night.

“If we have to play a few extra games in this spiel, we’ll get our money’s worth.”

Stoughton noted the strange way the tiebreaker system works that could actually change the order if Alberta loses to Quebec Friday. B.C. would move into top spot leaving Alberta in second and Stoughton in third.

“Its kind of interesting, I mean Koe can actually pick who he’s going to play,” said the Manitoba skip and three-time Brier winner.

He admitted that isn’t a likely outcome, since Koe will be trying hard to win to get hammer and choice of rocks going into the page playoffs.

Manitoba gave up three in the first end to Ontario Thursday night but quickly gained control again to come back and win 8-6.

“It seems like the theme of the week but year. It was well played again, he makes what, a double raise double? There was nothing we could do about it.”

In his afternoon game, Koe had a similar experience. He started with a big four in the first end and a deuce in three but gave up a single and a three to keep the Islanders close. They even managed the rare occurrence at this Brier of a steal against Koe.

“We got up early and then I just threw one bad shot and gave up a three ender (and) after that they started making a lot of shots,” he said. “We definitely could have made it easier on ourselves.”

But with a win Friday in their final game against Quebec, he gets hammer and choice of rocks for the one vs. two playoff. It’s an experience Koe says he has never had, either in 2010 when he won the Brier or in 2012 when he came second.

“It’ll be a different feeling, not having our backs against the wall,” Koe said.

Stoughton started the Brier with four wins — though none were decisive — before losing to Alberta and Quebec. He admitted both he and third John Mead needed to pick up their game.

The Thursday morning game wasn’t mistake-free for Manitoba or B.C., but the last and most costly miss was made by the hometown favourites.

After exchanging deuces in the first two ends, it was singles until B.C.’s Jim Cotter missed a key double with his last rock in eight, letting Stoughton draw to the button for two to go ahead 6-5.

“It was a real tough double,” said Morris. “We missed it by a hair.”

Cotter was a little happier Thursday night as they beat Laycock and Saskatchewan 6-3.

“We bounced back,” he said. “We had a solid team game. We were definitely a little better than this morning.”

Greg Balsdon and Ontario were sitting at 4-6 with one game left to play friday morning after losing to Manitoba.

The Northwest Territories-Yukon team of Jamie Koe was tied with Eddie MacKenzie out of P.E.I. at 3-7 with one game left, Jeff Currie and Northern Ontario were finished at 2-9 and Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy was winless at 0-10 with their final game against Ontario Friday.

©2014The Canadian Press

Pope Francis needs ‘to do more’ when it comes to sexual abuse: survey – National

by admin on 29/07/2019

TORONTO – Although most Canadians view Pope Francis and his “simpler lifestyle” in a positive light, 42 per cent don’t think the pontiff has done enough on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, according to a recent survey.

Released on Friday, the Angus Reid Global survey asked respondents from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom their views on Pope Francis as the pontiff marks his one year of papacy on March 13.

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  • Pope Francis vs. wind: Pontiff battles strong breeze during address

Overall, from the three countries surveyed, Canadians identified themselves as having the strongest ties to the Catholic Church.

According to the findings, a majority of the respondents—both Catholic and non-Catholic Canadians—view the Pope as having a positive effect on the church. While nearly two in five of Canadians said that while Francis has improved their view of the Catholic Church, only 14 per cent of non-practicing or “lapsed” Catholic Canadians said they would explore coming back to the church.

Less focus on sexuality, more focus on poverty

Canadians are the most enthusiastic about Francis’ desire to move the church’s focus away from issues of homosexuality and reproduction by putting more emphasis on poverty. Over 56 per cent of non-Catholics and 72 per cent of Catholics viewed Francis’ comments in a positive view.

Action still needed on sexual abuse

When it came to dealing with sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, the survey found that 42 per cent of Canadians say Pope Francis did not do enough in his first year. This number drops to 32 per cent among practicing Catholics.

Americans are most forgiving on this issue with 33 per cent of those surveyed saying they believe Francis has done enough.

READ MORE: Vatican comes under sharp criticism for sex abuse

Francis is coming under increasing criticism from victims’ advocates who say the pontiff simply needs to do more when it comes to dealing with the issue of sex abuse.

Three months after the Vatican announced a commission of experts to study best practices on protecting children, no action has been taken, no members appointed, no statute outlining the commission’s scope approved.

Living a simpler, less luxurious life

Eighty-two per cent of Canadians said they have “positive feelings” about the pontiff giving up the “the trappings of luxury in his daily life.”

READ MORE: Pope offended by his own myth, mystique

In an interview on Wednesday, Francis said he found the hype that is increasingly surrounding him “offensive.”

“The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person,” he said.

– With files from The Associated Press

©2014Shaw Media

Canadian economy sheds 7,000 jobs, unemployment rate stable – National

by admin on 29/07/2019

OTTAWA – Canada’s jobs market continues to sputter as the economy gave back some of January’s gains by shedding 7,000 workers overall in February, a disappointment to those hoping for a strong start to the year.

The loss was tiny in relative terms and insufficient to alter the 7.0 per cent unemployment rate.

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But after last week’s news of stronger fourth quarter economic growth than forecasted, and an encouraging 29,000 employment increase in January, economists had expected that February would also see gains in the order of about 15,000 jobs.

The setback in February continues a pattern of up and down months in the Canadian labour market, which has been virtually stalled since last August.

While the last 12 months has seen a pick-up of 95,000 workers – a weak number – Statistics Canada notes that “there has been little overall employment growth in Canada since August 2013.”

The softness was reflected in the employment rate, which held steady at 61.6 per cent, still about two percentage points below the pre-recession highs.

There were 15,500 fewer people classified as employees but 8,600 more people became self-employed.

There were some bright spots in the employment report, which is one of the most important barometers of how the economy is doing.

Despite the overall loss of jobs as 25,900 fewer people were in part-time work, as full-time employment rose by 18,900.

As well, the weakness came in the public sector, as declines in health care and social assistance, education services as well as transportation and warehousing contributed to a 51,000 dip in the labour pool. Private sector employment rose by 35,200.

Regionally, Quebec and British Columbia both had off employment months of 25,500 and 10,400 respectively, while Alberta and Nova Scotia saw gains of 19,000 and 2,900.

By industry, there were 9,000 more workers in natural resources and 7,900 more in agriculture in February, but 25,000 fewer in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. Manufacturing saw a small pick-up of about 5,000, while construction lost 3,600.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said the country’s trade deficit had significantly narrowed to $177 million in January from $922 million the previous month, although most of the improvement had little to do with jobs generating exports. In fact, in volume terms, exports fell 5.3 per cent, while a sharp decline in imports and better prices helped the bottom line.

©2014The Canadian Press

Birthday surprise revealed for Michigan boy ‘with no friends’ – National

by admin on 29/07/2019

TORONTO – A Michigan boy received quite the birthday surprise Friday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Colin, who will turn 11 on March 9,  has been diagnosed with issues similar to Asperger’s Syndrome. In February, Colin’s mother Jennifer set up a Facebook page for her son, which quickly went viral with people sending well wishes from all around the world.

Thinking he was on “Good Morning America” (GMA) to help with a video game segment, the birthday boy was all smiles to learn that he and his family were on the show to celebrate his birthday.  Surrounded by dozens of balloons and a birthday cake, the GMA hosts also announced that Colin and his family were leaving to Walt Disney World that afternoon to celebrate his birthday.

According to Jennifer, Colin’s condition affects his social skills and “makes it difficult for him to maintain friendships at school.”

READ MORE: ‘Secret’ Facebook page for Michigan boy with ‘no friends’ goes viral

Jennifer says when she asked her son if he wanted a party for his birthday he told her there wasn’t a point because “he has no friends.”

“He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office,” reads a Facebook post from Feb. 2.

“So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day.”

The Facebook page “Happy Birthday Colin” has over 2.1 million ‘likes’ and countless video messages and posts from people worldwide.

On 苏州纹眉学校, people used the hashtag #HappyBirthdayColin to send Colin birthday well-wishes:

Jennifer says she asked people who knew him not to reveal the surprise prior to his birthday and says, before today, her son was unaware of the overwhelming social media campaign surrounding him for his birthday, even though children told Colin they saw his story on TV.

Colin’s mom says her son has also received over 40,000 letters, packages and cards from people around the world.

SEND COLIN A BIRTHDAY WISH: To wish Colin a happy birthday on his Facebook page, click here.

Here’s a look at some of the well-wishes Colin has received:

The Ladies of Alpha Xi Delta at Indiana University wish Colin a ‘Happy Birthday.’

The Rosenberg Police Department in Texas also sent a message:

When asked about her son, Jennifer says he is a kid who loves his Nintendo 3DS, and Pokemon and is “obsessed” with Doctor Who.

“He loves his family, especially his little sister. He’s loving and caring to everyone. He gets picked on at school a lot, but despite his Momma’s requests not to, he always asks the principal to not punish the offenders, because everyone deserves forgiveness,”  she wrote.  “He’s an amazing boy, and I swear I’m not just saying that because he’s my baby.”



  • ‘Secret’ Facebook page for Michigan boy with ‘no friends’ goes viral

©2014Shaw Media

Ukraine decides against boycott, will compete in Sochi Paralympics – National

by admin on 29/07/2019

SOCHI, Russia – Ukraine will compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi despite Russia’s military moves in Crimea.

The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee decided against boycotting the games, announcing a few hours before Friday’s opening ceremony that its athletes would stay.

The decision came after discussions between Ukrainian officials and athletes over whether to pull out in light of the crisis back home and Russia’s military takeover of the Crimean peninsula.

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“We are staying at the Paralympics,” Valeriy Sushkevich, president of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine, said at a news conference.

However, he added that the circumstances were far from ideal.

“I don’t remember a situation when the organizing country during a Paralympics started an intervention on the territory of a country taking part,” Sushkevich said, according to the R-Sport agency. “I don’t know what to extent the team can focus on the result now.”

The Ukrainian official said the team would leave Sochi if there is any escalation of military conflict.

“I declare should this happen we will leave the games,” Sushkevich said. “We cannot possibly stay here in this case.”

He said he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night to discuss the situation and request peace during the games.

Suskevich said he did not receive any guarantees but it was important that Putin agreed to listen.

Putin and IOC President Thomas Bach are expected to attend Friday’s opening ceremony. Several countries have decided not to send political leaders or dignitaries to the ceremony in protest of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s decision to compete in Sochi was welcomed by the International Paralympic Committee.

“We want sport to prevail and a full complement of teams to compete in what we are confident will be a fantastic Paralympic Winter Games,” IPC President Phillip Craven said.

“All week the IPC has been working closely with the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee in an effort to keep them here in Sochi. The talking point of Sochi 2014 needs to be great sport and great athletes, not global politics.”

The IPC has appealed for Russia to recognize the U.N.’s Olympic Truce, which asks warring parties to cease hostilities during the Olympics and Paralympics.

About 575 athletes from 45 countries are due to compete in the 10-day Paralympics. Five sports are on the program – alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

©2014The Canadian Press

STARS air ambulance resumes flying at noon Friday – Winnipeg

by admin on 29/06/2019

WINNIPEG – The STARS air ambulance service, grounded in Manitoba since early December, will resume flying at noon Friday, Health Minister Erin Selby says.

The resumption of service follows the completion of a critical incident review on a flight after a woman died on November 28, 2013.

“The patient passed away due to an underlying medical condition,” said Selby.

It had been suggested the patient died after she received insufficient oxygen during a STARS flight, but that wasn’t the case said Selby.

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  • No set date for return of air ambulance helicopter: health minister

The critical incident report does say STARS medical crews received inadequate training.

“They have received further training during the suspension of service,” said Selby. “And a clinical oversight panel will make sure patients are safe.”

But this training still isn’t enough according to a 24-page review by Dr. Stephen Wheeler.

“STARS Manitoba’s preparation of its air medical crews for helicopter flight operations in Manitoba is currently inadequate,” said Wheeler. “A complete re-evaluation of the training program should be performed and further training of current staff should occur.”

Selby said December 2, 2013 she grounded the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society service over concerns about three critical incidents.

RELATED: Province grounds air ambulance chopper

Health officials suggested in the November 28 death, protocols put in place following earlier critical incidents weren’t followed.

In another incident, a two-year-old boy suffered severe brain damage after a breathing tube came loose during a flight in May, depriving him of oxygen.

The grounding of the service brought criticism from rural emergency responders who say the service is needed in their areas.

“Without STARS, it stresses everyone out to some degree knowing it’s not there,” said St. Anne Fire Chief Ken Dayment. “It’s a big relief to all emergency services when you know those people are there to back things up.”

But STARS CEO Andrea Robertson is optimistic for STAR’s future.

“We’re very, very confident that we’re going to provide very high quality patient care,” said Robertson.

While grounded, STARS would have been dispatched to 24 cases. Instead, patients had to rely on ground ambulances.

©2014Shaw Media

Winnipeg Jets giveaway leads to L.A. Kings victory – Winnipeg

by admin on 29/06/2019

WINNIPEG – Marian Gaborik didn’t get on the score sheet in his debut with the Los Angeles Kings, but he felt comfortable in a 3-1 victory Thursday over the Winnipeg Jets.

Gaborik was acquired in a trade with Columbus on Wednesday and skated on the top line with centre Anze Kopitar and right-winger Justin Williams.

“We created some things,” said Gaborik, who logged 16:38 of ice time. “We had some good time on the power play as well.

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“We got some great help by our (defence) offensively as well so I think it’s going to get better and better.”

Mike Richards scored the game winner on a Winnipeg giveaway that helped run the Kings’ (36-22-6) winning streak to six games.

“I was just as excited as a lot of the people that were here that came in from (my hometown) of Kenora (Ont.),” Richards said of the 20-plus game tickets he had to find.

Captain Dustin Brown had Los Angeles’ first goal and Alec Martinez added a third-period power-play goal.

Goalie Jonathan Quick only needed to make 17 saves for his 20th win of the season.

Olli Jokinen notched his 15th goal of the season for Winnipeg (30-27-7) and a busy Ondrej Pavelec stopped 38 shots.

“They move the puck well, they can spend a lot of time in your zone,” Pavelec said. “We have to forget about this one and focus on the next one.”

Winnipeg and Phoenix were tied at 67 points heading into the game, one point behind Dallas for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver was one back of the Jets and Coyotes.

Vancouver was visiting Dallas on Thursday night and Phoenix was hosting Montreal.

“I liked the speed of the game that we started the game with,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. “I thought we moved the puck sharp and we moved our feet. And then I thought we ran into the L.A. Kings.

“When they’re at their best, they will take your game and frustrate you to the point that you start to change what you’re trying to do because there’s nothing given easily.”

The biggest cheer in the scoreless first period was for Jets forward Dustin Byfuglien, after he sent Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin over the boards into the bottom of Winnipeg’s bench.

Los Angeles outshot the Jets 11-7 in the opening frame.

Winnipeg didn’t get its first shot of the second period until almost seven minutes in, but the Jets scored on their 11th of the game.

Evander Kane went around Kings defenceman Drew Doughty and then beat Muzzin to the puck off the boards behind the net, sending a quick pass to Jokinen who shot the puck past Quick at 12:03.

But the jubilation of the MTS Centre only lasted 42 seconds.

Brown scored his 12th goal of the season after centre Jarret Stoll sent a long backhand pass across the front of the net that hit Brown’s skate and the puck trickled across the goal-line past Pavelec at 12:45.

Then Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom, at the boards by the Kings’ bench, made a pass across the ice that was supposed to be for Jokinen. Richards intercepted it halfway, crossed the blue-line and then fired a shot by Pavelec at 16:15 for his ninth of the season.

Los Angeles also outshot the Jets 10-6 in the second. The Kings are now 19-0-0 this season when leading after the second period.

With Jets forward Blake Wheeler in the penalty box for high-sticking, defenceman Martinez scored unassisted at 15:51 with a shot on Pavelec’s blocker side.

The Jets had to juggle all four lines from Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders because of injuries.

Winnipeg rookie centre Mark Scheifele sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the loss. The second-line centre is out for at least four weeks and possibly the rest of the regular season.

Forward Chris Thorburn was also injured in the game and is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Those deletions made Maurice put his top line of Andrew Ladd, centre Bryan Little and Wheeler back together.

Jokinen was centring the second line with Kane and Byfuglien. Michael Frolik, who’s only played a few games at centre during his six-year NHL career, was put in the middle with Matt Halischuk and Devin Setoguchi.

The fourth line was centred by Jim Slater with Eric Tangradi and Anthony Peluso.

Winnipeg hosts Ottawa on Saturday afternoon and the Kings play in Edmonton Sunday.

©2014The Canadian Press

Bay and Adelaide reopened after loose glass panel at Trump Tower – Toronto

by admin on 29/06/2019

Watch the video above: Bay and Adelaide reopened after loose glass panel at Trump Tower. Jackson Proskow reports. 

TORONTO – Toronto’s public works and infrastructure committee chair Denzil Minnan-Wong thinks more effort should be made to protect citizens from falling panes of glass and other material coming off of Toronto’s high-rises.

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“We have to make sure proper inspections are done and the other thing that may need to be revisited, is the building code tight enough to protect both the people in the building and the people on the ground,” Minnan-Wong said.

The call to action comes a day after pedestrians noticed a large panel dangling from a room on the 52nd floor of the Trump Tower, forcing the closure of Bay and Adelaide streets Thursday night and into Friday afternoon.

“This is becoming far too frequent and far too common, it is a danger to the public and if this is going to happen more often, maybe the rules need to be tightened up municipally or provincially.”

The intersection reopened shortly before 2 p.m. Friday.

Ontario’s building code was amended in July 1, 2012 to include new glass installation guidelines for builders following numerous incidents of falling glass reported a year prior.

But, the amendment doesn’t impact buildings already under construction and only applies to new builds after 2012.

Aerial Footage: Hanging glass dangles from Trump Tower

The city’s role, according to chief building official Ann Borooah, is to verify all construction in the city complies with the Ontario Building Code.

“We respond to any unsafe conditions associated with the buildings,” she said. “Our role there is to make sure the buildings and the situation around them, the public space where it may affect safety, is remedied.”

The province says existing buildings are also not required to be retrofitted to the new requirements.

“In terms of retroactivity, I know that there will probably be a significant cost to everyone who has purchased a condo unit,” said Minnan-Wong.

“And it might not be a bad idea for individuals thinking of buying condo units to ask very careful questions about how safe their buildings are and about the windows that are going to form parts of their building.”

WATCH: Minnan-Wong calls for greater action to address falling glass in Toronto.

The Trump Tower isn’t the only building having problems with its glass of late.

A stretch of road in downtown Toronto at the Shangri-La Hotel needed to be closed off after glass fell from that structure last November.

This was the third such incident for the luxury hotel in 2013.

“I think we need to ask pretty sharp questions to builders about how they’re constructing these buildings and how they’re fastening windows to buildings,” said Minnan-Wong.

While it’s not known exactly what caused the piece of glass to become dislodged, Jeff Archbold, a professional engineer working in forensic engineering, said extreme fluctuations in weather can cause glass to loosen.

“Toronto will have more instances like this because again, we’ve got these extreme changes in temperatures,” he said. “You’re going to have more moderate temperatures in Vancouver or in Europe or in the southern states.”

TTC service was affected with the number six bus diverted around the affected area.

With files from Jackson Proskow

Friday, March 7, 2014 on The Morning Show – Toronto

by admin on 29/06/2019

SANDRA BERNHARD – American comedian Sandra Bernhard is guest host on the national edition of The Morning Show. Bernhard began her stand-up career in the late 1970s and was identified as number 97 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest standups of all time.

BIG BROTHER EVICTION – Big Brother Canada had its first eviction of the television series’ second season last night. We introduce you to who this person is and discuss the challenges faced by contestants in the Big Brother House.

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IRONE SINGLETON – The American actor is one of many sci-fi stars to grace the carpet at Toronto’s Comi Con event this weekend. Singleton is best known for his strong role of Theodore “T-Dog” Douglas on the hit series “The Walking Dead” and for his portrayal of the nasty rival “Alton” in Sandra Bullock’s blockbuster “The Blind Side.” TORONTO SHOW ONLY

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – Plan Canada is hosting a Toronto exhibit featuring works by local painters, sculptors and artists to celebrate International Women’s Day and a new children’s book about Malala Yousafzai. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

EZONE – Liem Vu visits Toronto’s latest state of the art, multi-dimensional sports and entertainment complex catering to kids and adults of almost any age. The goal of the concept was to create a unique venue in which groups of people could get together to unwind, release some stress. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

THE NEXT STEP – Actor Trevor Tordjman is in-studio to talk about season 2 of the television show, “The Next Step.” The fictional show follows the lives of a group of elite dancers at The Next Step Dance Studio as they work to win the regional competition. The show premieres tonight on the Family Channel. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

AGAINST THE WILD – CJ Adams and Erin Pitt star as a brother and sister who test their survival skills when they get lost in the wilderness and are forced to trust their instincts to find their way home in the new movie, Against The Wild. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

CRIS CAB – The singer and songwriter shot to international fame came with “Liar, Liar” released on Island Def Jam Recods that has charted in Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium. The release was accompanied with a music video with cameo appearances by Pharell Williams. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

BRIAN BYRNE – “I Mother Earth” frontman Brian Bryne discusses the release of a new single with all proceeds from the sales going to suicide prevention and awareness in Canada. Watch the video for “Arizona (I Miss You Most),” which features Canadians who have lost loved ones to suicide. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

©2014Shaw Media

Turkish PM threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube – National

by admin on 29/06/2019

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this month’s local elections.

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In a late-night interview Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV station that his government is determined to stem the leaks he insists are being instigated by followers of an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric. He has accused supporters of Fethullah Gulen of infiltrating police and the judiciary and of engaging in “espionage,” saying that the group even listened in on his encrypted telephone lines. The Gulen movement denies involvement.

“We are determined on the issue, regardless of what the world may say,” Erdogan said. “We won’t allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering.”

Asked if the steps could include shutting those sites down, Erdogan replied: “That included. Because these people or institutions are (using social media) for all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage and spying.”

Erdogan this week acknowledged some of the leaked recordings, including two where he is heard meddling in a court case against a media proprietor and in a tender for the construction of warships. He has rejected as “fabrication” five recordings purported to be of Erdogan instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of money on the day that prosecutors and police carried out raids on the homes of three former ministers’ sons as part of a corruption and bribery investigation.

Erdogan, claiming to be a victim of a Gulen-orchestrated plot, has taken a series of steps to stall the corruption investigation, including removing hundreds of police officers and prosecutors and expanding government controls over the judiciary and the Internet. The new Internet restrictions sparked violent protests in Istanbul.

©2014The Canadian Press