Evacuation order lifted for one Oliver fire as conditions improve

Written by admin on 26/07/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

WATCH: Many residents are still under an evacuation order. Some, however, are ignoring it, and that’s a big concern for emergency crews who have to respond if something goes wrong. Nadia Stewart reports on the people who stayed in their homes, and why they did it.

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Two fires were raging near the picturesque tourist town of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley. Though residents affected by the three-square-kilometre Wilson Mountain fire were allowed home Saturday, about 100 homes near the 15-square kilometre Testalinden Creek fire remain under evacuation order.

“The fire activity out there this morning has been quite a bit milder than what we were seeing last night,” Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, said Saturday.

“Certainly there’s still a lot of work to do out there. The fire at this point is zero per cent contained, but we’re not seeing that incredibly aggressive wind event that came through the area yesterday,” he added.

The Wilson Mountain fire is now estimated at 317 hectares in size. Officials lifted the evacuation order Saturday, but residents in the affected area are still on an evacuation alert.

The Testalinden Creek fire is now estimated at 1,566 hectares, and 100 homes have been evacuated.

One home has also been lost.

However, the fires pose a smaller threat than the previous day, when officials said both blazes posed an imminent threat to the homes on the western edge of the town of 5,000.

WATCH: Night time footage of wildfires spreading near Oliver

On Friday night, close to 300 people registered at the Emergency Reception Centre in Oliver. Most were able to find a place to stay, however some spent the night at the town’s community centre.

Doug and Denisse Allan were forced to retreat to the centre, after watching the fire rapidly approach their home.

“It came a thousand feet from our house,” said Doug.

From the centre, he has a clear view of his home, so he knew early this morning it was fine.

“I can look across the valley and I can see the house and there’s grass around it so it wasn’t bburned but all around it is pretty much black,” he said.

Others were too scared to leave their home–some even ignoring the evacuation order and staying in their homes.

JC Oliveira heeded the order, but he didn’t go far. He loaded up the family van and parked across the street so he could watch fire crews fight to save the homes on his street.

Returning today before the evacuation order was lifted, he and his neighbours are a lot less on edge.

“See the fire over there is pretty extinguished. It cannot burn more than it already did,” said Oliveira.

Dozens of fruit trees that served as the makeshift fire guard were scorched and she expects they’ll have to be replanted.

“But that’s Mother Nature,” Souto said. “You can’t stress out about it.”

The region’s agricultural backbone may have prevented more extensive losses, said a spokesman for the Oliver Fire Department.

READ MORE: Wildfire near Oliver threatens local wineries

“Some of those orchards and vineyards that kept stuff green definitely saved those areas,” said Rob Graham, who was among 30
members of the department who assisted provincial crews.

“There were structures threatened, but that’s why we were there.”

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said approximately 300 people registered Friday night at an emergency reception centre in town. Upwards of 40 evacuees slept there, while others spent the night in their vehicles or bunked with friends and family.

He described the mood Saturday morning as “pretty calm.” following a fitful night.

“Last night it was pretty horrific when you’re at the foot of the hill… and watching flames licking at the backs of houses. It was pretty tense,” Hovanes said.

“And the smoke was thick. You could hardly breathe.”

– With files from Nadia Stewart

GALLERY: Photos of the Oliver fire (all pictures courtesy @br_webb/HomoCulture广州桑拿网)

A man on a hillside near Oliver uses a hose to fight a fire threatening his home.

Global BC

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Push underway to make green onion cake Edmonton’s official dish

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WATCH ABOVE: There’s a push to make the green onion cake Edmonton’s official dish. Fletcher Kent has more on the cake crusade.

EDMONTON — It’s fried, it’s flavourful, it’s delicious. Whether it’s at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, K-Days or Taste of Edmonton, there’s always a bustle of activity surrounding the tent selling green onion cakes.

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“We open at noon. I’ve got people at the door at 11 going, ‘Are you open yet? Are you open yet?’” said Mark Britton, a green onion cake vendor at this year’s Fringe Festival.

“It’s a Fringe staple for me. This is the first thing I do. I mean, on the first day of the fringe the first place I come is this green onion cake tent,” said Fringer Kory Mathewson.

The green onion cake originated in northern China, but a local restaurateur started serving a slightly altered version of the dish at Edmonton festivals in the early 80s. Now, there’s a push underway to make the local delicacy Edmonton’s official dish.

“My mission is to have the green onion cake declared the official dish of Edmonton,” said Salma Kaida, who has started a blog and online petition to do just that.

Kaida hopes to get 5,000 signatures on her petition. The cake crusader believes the green onion cake is a culinary link to what makes a person an Edmontonian.

“I think it is about culture. I think that sometimes Edmontonians struggle to describe themselves and this is just one little piece of the conversation,” she said.

“I feel proud to know that there’s something that’s uniquely Edmontonian,” added Mathewson. “There’s not many things that I can celebrate as being Edmontonian. If the green onion cake is one of them, I say I’ll embrace that to the end of the earth.”

Take Our Poll

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.

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It’s wedding day for Pierre Karl Péladeau and Julie Snyder in Quebec City

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QUEBEC – More than 400 people are expected to celebrate today’s wedding of Parti Québecois (PQ) Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau and television star Julie Snyder in Quebec City.

Mayor Régis Labeaume will officiate the ceremony in a 17th-century building and home of the historic Musée de l’Amérique francophone, a museum dedicated to francophone culture in North
America.

Preparations at the Musee de l’Amerique francophone for the wedding of Quebec Opposition Leader Pierre-Karl Peladeau and Julie Snyder Thursday, August 13, 2015 in Quebec City. Over 400 guests will attend the event on Saturday, August 15.

Jacques Boissinot /

Past premiers Pauline Marois and Bernard Landry are scheduled to attend the ceremony, which begins at 5:15 p.m. eastern.

Other likely guests include Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe,Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and most of the PQ caucus.

READ MORE: 5 things you didn’t know about Pierre Karl Péladeau

Singer Celine Dion couldn’t make the nuptials, but will send a special message.

Snyder is expected to wear three separate dresses and will arrive in a Tesla electric car, while Péladeau will travel by tandem bike along with his son, Thomas.

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Stay-at-home dad charged with 13 sex related offences involving youths

Written by admin on 25/08/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

TORONTO – A Toronto father of two has been charged with 13 sex related offences involving female youths between 13 and 16 years of age and police believe there may be more victims.

Police allege the suspect approached the girls while they were leaving school in the Rathburn Road and Renforth Drive area between April 1 and Oct. 27.

In four of the five incidents, the accused would ask the victims for directions when the conversation quickly turned sexual in nature.

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“He would change a simple conversation for directions to totally sexual overtones,” said Sex Crimes Detective Dan Luff during a press conference Tuesday morning.

“He would talk about their physical appearances and sexual experiences.”

In one case, police said the suspect approached a youth while his child was in the car with him.

“The child was in the car at the time of the incident,” said Luff.

Police said the accused also used social media to develop an online relationship with a 15-year-old girl who was subsequently coerced into a one-on-one meeting and sexually assaulted.

The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Fathi Rashid who faces four counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual interference, four counts of criminal harassment and one for invitation to sexual touching.

Police said Rashid also had been using the aliases Malik Gavin D Sweeti, Gavin D Sweetie or variations of these names to contact girls online.

He is also known to approach his victims in a white 2010 Hyundai Sonata and blue 2014 Mazda CX5.

The accused is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 4.

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Donald Trump’s book offers little in the way of new policy details

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NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is out with a new book that reads like a campaign manifesto, boasting success stories but offering few details on how he would implement his policy goals.

“Crippled America” does, however, provide insights into how the billionaire businessman, former reality TV star and Republican White House hopeful uses the media to his advantage.

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    The book speaks directly to voters, making the case that Trump has the experience and business savvy to accomplish things that traditional, all-talk, no-action politicians can’t. It comes as Trump is continuing to adjust to a new phase of the campaign in which the once undisputed front-runner is now facing heightened competition from a number of his Republican rivals.

    “This book is designed to give the reader a better understanding of me and my ideas for our future,” Trump writes. “I’m a really nice guy, but I’m also passionate and determined to make our country great again.”

    In many ways the book is an exhaustive version of the stump speech Trump has been delivering at rallies across the country, laying out what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the country and how he plans to solve them. And it is signature braggadocios Trump, complete with a 14-page biography and a list of some of the properties he has developed, managed and licensed over the years. The book also includes a note declaring that Trump’s net worth has increased since he launched his campaign.

    Trump also talks at length about his relationship with the news media, which he has used deftly to promote his campaign, saving him millions in television advertising.

    “I use the media the way the media uses me – to attract attention,” he writes, explaining that he “learned a long time ago that if you’re not afraid to be outspoken, the media will write about you or beg you to come on their shows.”

    “I have a mutually profitable two-way relationship with the media,” he adds. “We give each other what we need. And now I am using that relationship to talk about the future of America.”

    The book includes chapters on favoured Trump subjects including the dangers of illegal immigration and his commitment to Second Amendment rights for gun owners. And it delves into more details in some areas, particularly on how he plans to force Mexico to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, his signature campaign promise.

    “We could increase the various border fees we charge. We could increase the fees on temporary visas. We could even impound remittance payments derived from illegal wages,” Trump offers. “Foreign governments could tell their embassies to start helping, otherwise they risk troubled relations with America.”

    On education, he falls short of a call for a reinstatement of corporal punishment, but said says schools need stricter discipline, with trained security officers to enforce the rules.

    But Trump also makes no apologies for his often hazy plans.

    “A lot of times when I speak, people say I don’t provide specific policies that some pollster has determined what people want to hear. I know that’s not the way the professional politicians do it – they seem to poll and focus-group every word. But there’s nobody like me,” he writes, with dramatic line breaks. “Nobody. I ask people to look at what I’ve done throughout my whole career. Look at how successful I’ve been doing things my way.”

    He also works to try to push back on potential weaknesses, providing a list of conservative credentials to present to those who accuse him of being too liberal, and assurances that he is a practicing Christian.

    “God is in my life every day,” he says.

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Terrence Ross signs 3 year extension with Toronto Raptors

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TORONTO – Terrence Ross is staying with the Toronto Raptors.

Ross agreed to a multi-year contract with the Raptors late Monday that would keep him in Toronto.

“Happy to say I will be in #Toronto 4 more years! I want to thank God, my family, management, and the @Raptors!” said Ross from his verified 广州蒲友 account, adding a WeTheNorth hashtag.

The 24-year-old Ross had until midnight on Monday to sign a deal. If he did not, he would have become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Ross, who plays as a shooting guard and a small forward, is averaging 12.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and an assist per game this season.

All those numbers are improvements over his career averages of 9,2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.

“Terrence has shown growth with each season,” said Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri. “We are excited that he will be part of what we are building in Toronto. He is a great teammate and has worked hard to become one of our best shooters.”

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Ross tied the franchise record with a 51-point outing January 25, 2014 against the Los Angeles Clippers at Air Canada Centre. He also set career highs for field goals made (16), three-pointers made (10), free throws made (9) and minutes played (44) in that game.

The Portland, Oregon native was selected eighth overall by Toronto in the 2012 NBA Draft and averaged 6.4 points and 2.0 rebounds, making 65 three-pointers, in 73 games his rookie season. He followed that with career highs of 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 81 games. He also posted career bests in three-point field goal percentage (.395) and three-point field goals made (161) in 2013-14.

Last season, Ross appeared in all 82 games averaging 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds with 145 three-pointers as the Raptors won a franchise-best 49 games. In 11 career playoff appearances, he has averaged 5.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 24.1 minutes.

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New screening process for migrants tested on Greek island

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LESBOS, Greece – A garbage-strewn hillside on this Greek island has become the European Union’s testing ground for a new fast-track registration process for migrants. If it works, authorities plan rapid expansion to other refugee “hotspots” struggling to cope with the influx of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty.

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    Thousands are camping out here in a tent city that has sprung up around the police registration centre chosen for the pilot program, which includes translators and police interviewers who use a secret questionnaire aimed at helping to quickly determine the migrants’ country of origin.

    The EU chose to launch the program on Lesbos, because it is on the front-line of Europe’s migrant crisis. The island has been stretched to the limit with more than 300,000 migrants processed here this year, more than three times the island’s population – and most have landed in the past six weeks. Germany said Monday it expects other fast-track registration centres at migrant hotspots to begin functioning by the end of the month.

    Francisco Ramos, a soft-spoken Spanish policeman, is currently in charge of running the new program, which is housed in a converted freight container surrounded by razor-wire and guarded by riot police. Ramos and his colleagues interview more than 1,000 migrants and refugees per day to try to quickly establish their identity and pass the information on to police forces and authorities around the EU.

    “First the migrants are identified. They are screened. The purpose of this step is to establish the real nationality,” he said. “There are some migrants who are not telling us their real nationality.”

    Interviewers include interpreters familiar with regional dialects, and police officers who use picture books to help applicants point out answers. Questions are closely guarded to prevent migrants from studying potential answers beforehand. The migrants are fingerprinted – their palm and each finger – using a scanner before the information is relayed to Greek police.

    The migrants are screened by Frontex before receiving provisional travel passes from the Greek police – which does not have a formal screening process – while their details are entered in a database available to other European Union police forces. So far, the information has not been used to stop asylum-seekers travelling on to other parts of Europe.

    Frontex, the EU border protection agency, runs the service in addition to providing police and coast guard patrol support. It staffs the registration centre together with officials from European migration and asylum agencies.

    “This is part of a pilot project aimed at … speeding up the process. To try to put together the different steps of the registration process altogether in one place,” Ramos said. “Before, it might have all been in different buildings.”

    The registration scheme is being tested as authorities in Greece grapple with the question of what to do with migrants considered ineligible for asylum in Europe. Last week, Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas said the government has ruled out mass detentions of migrants reaching Lesbos and other Greek islands, despite pressure for such camps from other European governments.

    The Lesbos hotspot, Ramos said, was built to help stretched Greek authorities deal with the massive scale of the problem. On a typical day several dozen boats arrive on this island carrying refugees from the civil war in Syria – and every bit of help counts.

    “Everybody understands this situation is exceptional,” Ramos said.

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Tearful relatives identify Egypt plane crash victims; investigators analysing black boxes

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – The first 10 bodies of victims of Saturday’s plane crash over Egypt were identified by their families Tuesday, a string of tearful relatives leaving the city crematorium.

Alexei Smirnov of the Russian emergency situations ministry said that a total of 140 bodies and more than 100 body parts were delivered to St. Petersburg on two government planes on Monday and Tuesday and that a third plane is expected to bring more remains later on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Metrojet plane crash: What the data tells us

Metrojet’s Airbus A321-200 en route from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 on board. The overwhelming majority of the passengers were Russian holidaymakers flying home.

A portrait of 10-month-old Darina Gromova, a victim of a plane crash, is surrounded by flowers and candles at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

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    Egypt’s civil aviation minister said the joint investigation committee will start examining the data from the black boxes retrieved from the crash site.

    Hossam Kamal said the committee — which includes Egyptian and Russian experts as well as representatives from Ireland, where the Metrojet Airbus A321-200 was registered — will conclude its last field inspection at the crash site by the end of the day Tuesday and start working on the black boxes.

    Kamal said it “will take some time” to produce the final report and that the committee “has all the tools and experts to deal with the investigation.”

    Mourners continued to come to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport on Tuesday to lay flowers and leave paper planes and soft toys at the arrivals hall. On the outskirts of town, tearful families of the victims were leaving the premises of the crematorium where the identification procedures are taking place.

    In this photo made available Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, and provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Egyptian military officials approach a plane’s tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.

    Maxim Grigoriev/Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations via AP

    The Tass news agency on Tuesday quoted Alexander Rzhanenkov, an official at the St. Petersburg city hall, as saying that the first two bodies could be released to their families on Tuesday. He did not identify the victims but said they were from the St. Petersburg suburbs and a neighboring region.

    Alexander Agafonov, head of the Russian rescue mission in Egypt, said in a televised conference with other officials Tuesday afternoon that searchers have not found a single additional body on Tuesday having combed a 28 square-kilometer (10.8 square-mile) area. Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the site “should be studied centimeter by centimeter.”

    “If you need to sift through the sand where the remains or pieces of the fuselage could be, do it,” he said.

    READ MORE: Timeline of the Russian flight which crashed in Egypt

    Confusing reports and theories have emerged as to what could have caused the crash.

    Some aviation experts raised the possibility that a bomb on board the Airbus brought it down, while others cited an incident in 2001 when the aircraft grazed the runway with its tail while landing.

    Metrojet firmly denied that the crash could have been caused by either equipment failure or crew error.

    In Egypt, the U.S. Embassy has instructed its staff not to travel anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula pending the outcome of the investigation into the crash as a “precautionary measure.”

    The United States, Germany and Britain all had overflight warnings in place for the Sinai. They advised airlines to avoid flying over the peninsula below 26,000 feet and to avoid the Sharm el-Sheikh airport due to extremist violence and, notably, the use of anti-aircraft weapons.

    Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi insisted on Tuesday that the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula is under “full control” and that claims by the Islamic State group that it downed the plane were “propaganda” aimed at damaging the country’s image. In an interview with the BBC released Tuesday, el-Sissi also reiterated his assertion that the cause of the crash may not be known for months and that, until then, the causes should not be speculated on.

    Islamic State militants said on the day of the crash that they had “brought down” the Russian plane to avenge those killed as a result of Moscow’s recent air campaign in Syria, launched in support of IS adversary President Bashar Assad.

    But the group did not provide any evidence to back up its claim, and militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter jets.

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Mismanagement, internal strife detailed in new book on inner workings of Vatican

Written by admin on 27/07/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿网

The Vatican’s new leaks scandal intensified Tuesday as a book detailed the mismanagement and internal resistance that has been thwarting Pope Francis’ financial reform efforts.

Citing confidential documents, it exposed millions of euros in potential lost rental revenue, the scandal of the Vatican’s saint-making machine, greedy monsignors and a professional-style break-in at the Vatican.

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“Merchants in the Temple,” by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, is due out Thursday but an advance copy was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. Its publication, and that of a second book, come days after the Vatican arrested two members of Francis’ financial reform commission in an investigation into stolen documents.

The Vatican on Monday described the books as “fruit of a grave betrayal of the trust given by the pope, and, as far as the authors go, of an operation to take advantage of a gravely illicit act of handing over confidential documentation.”

“Publications of this nature do not help in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions,” the Vatican said.

The arrests and books mark a new phase in the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal. The saga began in 2012 with an earlier Nuzzi expose, peaked with the conviction of Pope Benedict XVI’s butler on charges he supplied Nuzzi with stolen documents, and ended a year later when a clearly exhausted Benedict resigned, unable to carry on.

With the scandal still fresh, Francis was elected in 2013 on a mandate from his fellow cardinals to reform the Vatican bureaucracy and clean up its opaque finances. He set out promptly by creating a commission of eight experts to gather information from all Vatican offices on the Holy See’s overall financial situation, which by that time was dire.

Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a high-ranking Vatican official affiliated with the Opus Dei movement, and Francesca Chaouqui, an Italian public relations executive, were both members – and now are accused in the leaks probe.

Chaouqui was quoted by Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Stampa Tuesday as saying she had nothing to do with the leaks and that she had tried to prevent Vallejo Balda from revealing Vatican secrets.

Nuzzi’s book focuses on the work of the commission and the resistance it encountered in getting information out of Vatican departments that have long enjoyed near-complete autonomy in budgeting, hiring and spending.

“Holy Father, … There is a complete absence of transparency in the bookkeeping both of the Holy See and the Governorate,” five international auditors wrote Francis in June 2013, according to Nuzzi’s book. “Costs are out of control.”

Citing emails, minutes of meetings, recorded private conversations and memos, the book paints a picture of a Vatican bureaucracy entrenched in a culture of mismanagement, waste and secrecy.

It might not be far off the mark given that Francis has repeatedly and publicly warned the Roman Curia against engaging in “intrigue, gossip, cliques, favouritism and partiality” and acting more like a royal court than an institution of service. Last Christmas he delivered an infamous dressing down of his closest collaborators, citing the “15 ailments of the Curia” that included living “hypocritical” double lives and suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s.”

That said, the book is clearly written from the point of view of the commission members, sympathetic to their plight and setting up an “us against them” narrative of the new reformers battling the Vatican’s entrenched Old Guard, without addressing why the Old Guard might have had reason to distrust them.

The book cites a memo listing six priorities when the commission began work, starting with the need to get a handle on the Vatican’s vast real estate holdings. Nuzzi cites a commission report that found that the value of the real estate was some 2.7 billion euros (dollars), seven times higher than the amount entered onto the balance sheets.

Rents were sometimes 30 to 100 per cent below market, the commission found, including some apartments that were given free to cardinals and bureaucrats as part of their overall compensation or retirement packages. The book says that if market rates were applied, homes given to employees would generate income of 19.4 million euros rather than the 6.2 million euros currently recorded, while other “institutional” buildings which today generate no income would generate income of 30.4 million euros.

The No. 2 priority on the commission’s list was to get a handle on the management of bank accounts for the Vatican’s “postulators,” the officials who spearhead candidates for sainthood. The process – which involves painstaking research into the “heroic” deeds of saintly candidates and the search for miracle cures – has always been steeped in secrecy.

After the Vatican’s saint-making office told the commission it had no documentation about the postulators’ funding or bank accounts, the commission had the postulators’ accounts frozen at the Vatican bank, Nuzzi said.

In an indication of the controversy that the commission’s work engendered, Nuzzi recounts a previously little-known incident: a March 30, 2014, break-in at the commission’s offices and theft of commission documents. The burglary was clearly an inside job, as the thieves knew exactly which locker to target to get the documents.

Finally, Nuzzi recounts the tale of Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, the No. 2 in the Vatican City State administration, who wanted a fancier apartment. Top-ranking Vatican cardinals often enjoy enormous apartments, with some commanding upward of 400 square meters apiece. When Sciacca’s neighbour, an elderly priest, was hospitalized for a long period, Sciacca took advantage of the absence to break through a wall separating their residences and incorporated an extra room into his apartment, furniture and all, Nuzzi recounts.

The elderly prelate eventually came home to find his possessions in boxes, and died a short time later, the book says. Francis, who lives in a hotel room, summarily demoted Sciacca, forcing him to move out.

The second book, “Avarice,” by La Repubblica Vatican reporter Emiliano Fittipaldi, details financial malfeasance at the Vatican, citing among other documents reports by independent auditors.

Among the revelations, Fittipaldi wrote in Tuesday’s paper that a foundation to support the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital in Rome paid 200,000 euros toward the renovation of the former Vatican No. 2’s sprawling apartment, under an agreement that the apartment would be used also for hospital functions. Former Vatican secretary-of-state Tarciso Bertone came under fire last year for the apartment, described as a “mega-penthouse,” in contrast to Francis’ vision of a “poor church.”

Fittipaldi also said 378,000 euros donated in 2013 by churches worldwide to help the poor, the so-called Peter’s Pence, wound up in an off-the-books account that had been used in the past to pay Vatican department expenses.

“Avarice” will be published on Thursday.

—;

Colleen Barry contributed from Milan.

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Father of slain teen told family she had run away, brother tells murder trial

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TORONTO – The father of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in a burning suitcase two decades ago explained his child’s disappearance from the family home by saying she had run away, the teen’s half-brother told a Toronto court on Tuesday.

But Cleon Biddersingh said he found his father’s words surprising because at the time, his sister had been extremely frail, in pain from regular beatings, had no money and no friends.

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“She’s so weak, she don’t know anyone, so where would she go,” the now 41-year-old recalled on the witness stand at Everton Biddersingh’s trial. “I didn’t believe that she run away.”

READ MORE: Brother of girl found dead in suitcase testifies at trial of father charged in death

Biddersingh is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his daughter Melonie. He has pleaded not guilty.

The case of Melonie’s death remained unsolved for about 18 years as police were unable to identify the girl’s charred remains until they received a tip that led to the arrest of Biddersingh and his wife in March 2012. Elaine Biddersingh’s first-degree murder trial is to begin next April.

The jury that will decide Everton Biddersingh’s fate has heard that in 1991 Cleon, Melonie and a younger half-brother, all born in Jamaica, were brought to Canada to live with their father and his wife. Jurors have been told that the younger half-brother died accidentally in 1992.

Cleon Biddersingh has testified that the opportunity was initially a dream come true, but soon turned into a nightmare. He alleged that he and Melonie were never sent to school, were turned into domestic labourers and were increasingly mistreated by their father, suffering frequent beatings and food deprivation.

In the weeks before Melonie disappeared, Cleon said his sister was crawling around the apartment because she was in pain and too weak to stand.

Her condition deteriorated to the point where she became incontinent, he said, and he’d have to clean her up.

READ MORE: Graphic images shown in trial of dad charged in daughter’s death

“You could see her bones, you could see her ribs,” he said, choking back tears. “It’s not Melonie anymore, there’s a lot of bruises.”

The last time he saw his sister, Melonie was lying on her side on the floor – where she was made to sleep – holding her stomach, Cleon said.

That night, his father woke him up saying Melonie had run away, Cleon testified.

“I remember he said (she’d) run away and he’s going to go drive down the road and see if he see her walking,” he said. “He leave the apartment and I just panic.”

While Biddersingh was out with his wife, Cleon said he searched a nearby stairwell where he had once found his sister before. The jury has heard that incident was the only time Melonie left the apartment herself, and she made it only as far as the third step before telling Cleon that she wanted to die.

When he found no sign of her, Cleon said he checked a closet to find Melonie’s clothes were still at home, then scanned the street from the apartment window but didn’t see his sister.

When Biddersingh and his wife returned, Cleon said he was instructed to dispose of a barrel in which Melonie was sometimes confined, throw out a chain used to shackle her to furniture and clean the balcony on which she was forced to bathe and relieve herself.

READ MORE: Trial begins for father charged in 1994 death of teenage daughter found in suitcase

Biddersingh did not call police to report his daughter as missing, Cleon said.

A few years after Melonie’s disappearance, Cleon said he managed to escape from his father’s home – by that time he was in his early 20s – and begin a new life.

He had children, married, told his wife a little about his painful past and tried to look for his sister through Internet searches over the years, court heard.

Cleon said he only found out his sister was dead when he was arrested in connection with her death in March 2012 and charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and indignity to a dead body. His charges were eventually stayed.

The jury has heard that Melonie died on Sept. 1, 1994.

Under cross-examination later Tuesday, Biddersingh’s defence lawyer repeatedly suggested to Cleon that punishments inflicted upon him and Melonie occured when their father’s wife was upset or angry.

“I take it the bottom line was that whatever was happening to Melonie was fundamentally being driven by Elaine,” said Jennifer Penman.

“Yes,” said Cleon.

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Hardisty mayor says Keystone not only game in town

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HARDISTY, Alta. — The mayor of the southeast Alberta community where the Keystone XL pipeline would begin said news that TransCanada Corp. has asked the U.S. government to temporarily suspend its application comes as a blow.

Anita Miller called the move “really unfortunate” and says it’s going to affect “lots and lots of people” in Hardisty, Alta., particularly in support businesses such as gas stations, hotels and restaurants.

But she said luckily, Keystone is not the only game in town and while activity has slowed down, there is still construction and expansion in the Hardisty area’s oil and gas industry.

In fact, TransCanada is just one of nine oil companies working in and around the town, which has 700 permanent residents along with 250 oil industry workers, though that number used to be 500 when oil prices were high.

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Related

    Notley sympathetic to energy woes but no short-term lifelines contemplated

    Notley meets with New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to talk Energy East pipeline

    Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement that TransCanada is taking a step they feel is appropriate, given the nature of their application before the State Department.

    She said her government’s focus is to spend time building relationships to promote projects “that have the best chance at success.”

    READ MORE: Notley meets with New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to talk Energy East pipeline

    She also said her government wants to improve the province’s environmental record in order to build support for Alberta products in markets that are not available at the moment.

    The Keystone XL expansion would carry crude oil along a 1,897-kilometre pipeline from Hardisty to Steele City, Neb., where it would link up with other pipelines that run to the Gulf Coast and the U.S. Midwest.

    It would carry an average of 830,000 barrels of oil per day to American refineries. Proponents have long suggested it would lessen American reliance on oil from the Middle East while creating thousands of jobs. But opponents have argued it would be an environmental disaster and have suggested its economic impact has been overstated.

    In May 2012, TransCanada filed a new application for a presidential permit — a requirement for any cross-border pipeline — after the U.S. State Department denied its first application.

    READ MORE: TransCanada says Q3 profit down from the same time last year

    Earlier this year, the State Department put off its decision again, pending the outcome of a court fight in Nebraska over the proposed route.

    On Monday, TransCanada sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking the American administration to delay its decision on a border-crossing permit, pending an ongoing dispute in Nebraska over the route.

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Dalhousie University president questioned on what school knew about teacher misconduct, The Cavity

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HALIFAX – It has been almost a year since news broke about the Dalhousie University dentistry scandal. While reports have been commissioned by the university, there are still questions that linger about what the university knew and how it responded to some of the reports’ findings.

RELATED: Dalhousie dentistry student from controversial 广州桑拿网 group comes forward

The dentistry scandal came to light last December after revelations that male students were posting misogynistic and sexist comments about their female peers on 广州桑拿网. The men were suspended from clinical work, and the university said the students decided on a restorative justice approach.

READ MORE: Female dentistry students feel forced into Dalhousie’s restorative justice approach

Inappropriate behaviour

A task force report published in June brought to light questionable behaviour from professors.

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The report found professors made inappropriate sexual jokes to students, commented on whether they were hot or not and made remarks such as how they would not mind having affairs with their female colleagues.

At the time, the university declined to comment on those specific findings in the task force report. But Global News recently questioned Dalhousie University president Richard Florizone about the behaviour at his school.

READ MORE: Faculty behind confidential complaint at Dalhousie come forward

He agreed when Global News said those types of behaviours seemed to run contrary to the school’s code of conduct.

RELATED: Dalhousie University confirms formal complaint filed

“It was completely unacceptable,” he said. “That’s why action was taken.”

Global News asked Florizone on whether those involved were reprimanded.

“They would have been dealt with exactly, according to our policy, when comments were made in class, they were raised up to the dean. There were apologies and there was steps taken to help the professors understand the impact of their comments,” he said.

Global News then asked for more specifics and asked whether anyone was disciplined for their behaviour.

“In each of these incidents, in all of them, whether it’s a student, staff or faculty member, they would be dealt with again very consistent with the policy, consistent with the law. Of course I can’t comment on individual cases but I can assure you each of them would be dealt with very fairly.”

Graffiti in student lounge

RELATED: Report into sexism at Dalhousie dentistry school released today

A report on the restorative justice process was published in May. But deep in the report was a section on “The Cavity.”

READ MORE: Dalhousie professor on dentistry report: ‘I’m not totally satisfied’

“The Cavity” is the student lounge in the dentistry school  and the report found it was covered in misogynistic, racist, sexist and homophobic graffiti. The report  found faculty knew about “The Cavity” and some even thought it was a rite of passage to sign it. It was only after the restorative justice process began that the room was painted over.

At the time, requests for comment specifically on “The Cavity” were denied. But Global News questioned Florizone on what the university knew and when.

Global News asked whether Florizone knew about “The Cavity” and its contents previously or whether the dean of dentistry knew about its existence.

“The specific content came to light during the process, during the dentistry review,” he said.

When Global News referred him to the report findings that staff knew about it and questioned why that information never made its way to the top level of administration, Florizone didn’t directly answer the question.

“Some students and faculty would have been involved because it was in a student space, not all of them because not all of them would have gone into that student space,” he said. “What the report pointed at is that this is a broader cultural issue so clearly there was enough people that thought this was fine.”

When Global News pointed out that type of graffiti was not “fine”, Florizone said the university was striving for a new, more positive environment and is moving towards recommendations from the task force report.

Global News then inquired whether anyone was ever reprimanded for the existence of “The Cavity”. Florizone promptly ended the interview and walked away from the conversation. He did not respond when asked again off-camera.

READ MORE: Dalhousie refuses to release names of suspended students to dental boards

Changes ahead

Earlier on in the conversation, Florizone said the university continues to work towards adopting the recommendations laid out in the task force report.

RELATED: Dalhousie dentistry students break silence on ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ 广州桑拿网 scandal

He said changes have been made to how orientation is conducted and the university is looking to hire an executive director of diversity and inclusivity.

READ MORE: Many Dalhousie dentistry students already employed

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Rally held at Surrey City Hall to protest city’s appropriation of golf course

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A rally was held at Surrey City Hall Monday night to protest the city’s appropriation of the family-owned Riverside Golf Centre.

Owner Ken Poirier and several supporters arrived at City Hall by bus hoping to get the ear of council. But when they brought out their signs and placards they were told they would have to stay outside as the signs weren’t allowed inside City Hall.

For more than 50 years, the par-3 course and driving range in South Surrey has been in Poirier’s family. But this summer, the City of Surrey expropriated the property to build a marsh and extend Crescent Road.

Poirier spoke on the steps of City Hall, outlining what he would like to see done with the land.

WATCH: Golf course appropriation being fought in Surrey

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“They have these wonderful grandiose plans, but they’re not looking at the effects that they’re going to have on the individual members of the society…taking our little 16-acre plot of land used by thousands of people..for a freshwater marsh, which is going to be used by far fewer people,” he said.

The owners were given $3.25 million for the land, but Poirier said there is no way he could start another business somewhere else with that amount of money.

“They’re taking away our livelihood, they’re basically throwing us out from our own neighbourhod, paying us so little we can’t even stay where we’ve been for the last half-century.”

No one from council is speaking publicly about the pleas to save the Riverside Golf Centre. In a news release, they stated the owners can pursue legal action if they are dissatisfied. If not, they need to be gone by the end of January 2016.

-With files from Jill Bennett and Justin McElroy

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