Russian official calls on US and Europe to act against ‘terrorism’ – National

DAMASCUS, Syria – Russia’s deputy foreign minister called on the United States and Europe to take “serious” steps to combat terrorism during a visit to Damascus on Saturday, warning that several Middle Eastern countries are threatened.

“Russia will not stand idle toward attempts by terrorist groups to spread terrorism in regional states,” Sergei Ryabkov told reporters, apparently referring to the rapid advance of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

VIDEO GALLERY: Violence in Syria

Raw video: Truck bombing in central Syria kills 34

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Raw video: Truck bombing in central Syria kills 34

00:25

Raw video: Giant tunnel blast in Syria caught on camera

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Syrian crisis remains the greatest refugee challenge facing UN

02:15

Syria’s bloody civil war attracts foreign fighters, including Canadians




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Russia has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s main allies since the start of an uprising against him in March 2011. Moscow has used its veto power four times at the U.N. Security Council to prevent international sanctions on Syria.

Both Russia and Assad’s government have portrayed the civil war in Syria as a struggle against foreign-backed “terrorists,” the word Damascus applies to all rebels fighting to end the Assad family’s four-decade reign.

Nearly two hours after Ryabkov’s comments, a car bomb exploded in a busy market in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, activists said. It was not immediately clear how many people were killed or wounded.

The activists said the market was crowded as many people went shopping a day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and feast in the evenings.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion caused extensive damage. The Observatory and an activist in the nearby suburb of Saqba who goes by the name of Abu Yazan said the Islamic State is believed to be behind the blast, because of a rivalry with other rebel groups in the area.

“Hospitals are full of wounded people,” Abu Yazan said via Skype.

Douma, one of the most populous suburbs of Damascus, has been under rebel control for more than two years.

The Islamic State has been fighting against rival rebel factions, including al-Qaida’s official affiliate, the Nusra Front, since January in battles that have left more than 6,000 people dead, according to the Observatory.

Ryabkov called for confronting terrorism by “taking integral measures against radicalism and by searching for a solution to prevent the influx of fighters from abroad,” adding that terrorism will have “catastrophic repercussions” on the entire region.

Thousands of foreign fighters, including hundreds from the former Soviet Union, are fighting against Assad’s forces in different parts of Syria, mainly on behalf of the Islamic State, which has carved out a sprawling enclave astride the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Ryabkov praised Damascus’ “responsible” decision to give up its chemical weapons, saying that doing so has boosted Syria’s security.

READ MORE: Conflict in Syria

On Monday, Syria finished handing over to Western powers 1,300 tons of chemical weapons it acknowledged possessing, completing a deal reached last fall under threat of U.S. airstrikes.

Ryabkov held talks a day earlier with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and his deputy, Faisal Mekdad.

According to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, Ryabkov congratulated al-Moallem on removing “all chemical material” from the country.

©2014The Associated Press

Discrimination continues for seniors in LGBTQ community

WATCH ABOVE:  The celebration is bitter sweet for many visitors taking in the festivities. The acceptance and support a reminder of what life isn’t like back home. Cindy Pom reports.

TORONTO – For 85-year-old Alf Roberts, Canada’s largest gay pride celebration is a chance to celebrate an identity he only felt comfortable sharing in his old age.

“At last, after all these years I don’t have to be careful when people ask me if I’m gay,” Roberts said. “I just say yes, I am.”

VIDEO GALLERY: Word Pride 2014

WorldPride is this weekend and businesses along the parade route are gearing up for a massive party.

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WorldPride is this weekend and businesses along the parade route are gearing up for a massive party.

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What’s open, closed, or partially shut down during WorldPride weekend?

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Mass wedding for same-sex couples at WorldPride

02:17

Toronto holds “Gay Family Day” as part of WorldPride




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    WorldPride is this weekend and businesses along the parade route are gearing up for a massive party.

    Mass wedding for same-sex couples at WorldPride

    Toronto holds “Gay Family Day” as part of WorldPride

Roberts came out when he was 80, shortly after moving into Fudger House, a long-term care facility for seniors in Toronto.

“I was a church organist for years and a music teacher, and you are very careful in those positions,” he said. “You don’t want everybody to know.”

For most of his life, Roberts would remain vague about his identity, responding “I am who I am,” when people asked him if he was gay.

Then, relief came when he realized that Fudger House touted a gay-positive environment.

Bill Ryan, a social worker and professor at McGill University, said it’s rare to be openly gay in a seniors home.

Ryan, who has conducted research on the elderly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for more than a decade, said stigma persists because residents in seniors homes lived in an era when homosexuality was considered a criminal act or mental illness.

Canada decriminalized homosexual acts in 1969.

“They grew up at a time when the only coping strategy that was allowed to them was to hide and camouflage themselves,” Ryan said, adding that most seniors don’t have the benefit of political activism over the last 30 years.

He added the baby boomer generation will be entirely different when they enter long-term care facilities.

“Those growing into their 50s and 60s would go to the courts and tribunals to claim their rights,” he said.

During his research on long-term care facilities, Ryan heard from one gay couple who would go into the senior centre’s bathroom to hold hands instead of showing affection in front of centre staff.

“He would visit during non-family visiting hours, and he would take his partner out of bed, help him into the bathroom and close the door behind him. Then they would hold each other for as long as they could and hug, and then he would open the bathroom door, put him back in bed, and not touch him again.

“It’s a powerful metaphor of what a lot of people experience,” Ryan said.

He added that the cohort of LGBT seniors in long-term care are particularly vulnerable, and are at higher risk of isolation and depression.

“The generation of those who haven’t had HIV or AIDS are dealing with a lot more isolation because many of their friends have died,” he said.

Donna Turner, spokeswoman for Rainbow Health Ontario–an organization that focuses on the health of the LGBT community –said changing the culture in seniors homes is an “uphill battle.”

Her organization is one of several that provides training to staff members in the hopes of quelling discrimination across Ontario.

“Long-term care facilities are particularly tough because there are some people who might already have pretty strong convictions, whether it’s residents or staff,” she said.

For the most part, care centres will ask for training after there has already been a “negative incident,” she said.

And while seniors homes in urban areas such as Toronto may be LGBT-friendly, she said, that’s not the reality across Canada.

Marie Robertson has been a counsellor and an activist for the LGBT community for more than four decades.

As a senior herself, Robertson, 61, said she has a “vested interest” in training staff to be LGBT-friendly at Canada’s senior care centres.

“So that when my generation needs care, we’re not going in the closet to access service,” she said, adding that she helps to train people in Ottawa.

Robertson said members of the elderly LGBT community lived most of their lives facing high risks of personal and professional discrimination.

“It was a very frightening time,” she said.

“Even in the last years of their lives, these people will die there and stay in the closet. That just breaks my heart.”

She added that while “some of this is their mind-set,” homophobia is still a problem in many seniors homes.

In the United States, this has led to the creation of centres marketed specifically to the LGBT community, however Robertson said in Canada that would be “a fantasy.”

She added that instead of isolating LGBT seniors, the answer is to address discrimination head on.

“I’ve been paying taxes all my adult life, and my taxes have gone into building the facilities that exist today,” she said.

With World Pride in Toronto wrapping up in a rainbow haze of revelry, Fudger House will be one of many organizations in Sunday’s parade.

Roberts — who has ridden in the parade since he came out at 80 — said it’s a chance to celebrate being true to yourself.

“If there are any young people who have someone they can talk to, they shouldn’t be afraid to come out,” he said. “That’s the message.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Survivor of fatal drunk driving crash shares her story

Getting into the car with a drunk driver behind the wheel almost killed 23-year-old Alyssa Alanis four years ago when the sedan carrying seven people she was in lost control, struck a light standard, flipped in the air and rolled over in Burnaby.

As Alanis copes with her decision to ride with a drunk driver, and struggles with her recovery, she wants others to learn from her mistake.

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“The consequences of one simple choice,” said Alanis as she broke down in tears, “can change not only your life but it can change others. Not only change it, but it can end it.”

The crash left the drunk driver, Baldip Chandi, uninjured, but two other passengers, including Alanis’s boyfriend died. He was sentenced on March 1, 2012, to three years in prison for drunk and dangerous driving. Alanis was thrown from the vehicle and was not expected to survive.

Corporal Robert McDonald, spokesperson for RCMP Traffic Services, was at the scene of the crash four years ago, and remembers being told that Alanis had a zero chance of survival.
“It took about a week before she finally changed her status from zero chance of survival to stable,” said Corporal McDonald.

February 2010 crash that killed two young men and injured three other youths.

Global BC

Alanis’s mother, Gigi, stands by her daughter’s side and desperately pleads for people not to drink and drive. She wants others to know about the struggles her daughter will face every day for the rest of her life.

“She may look normal physically but cognitively it’s very difficult for her,” said Gigi ” she can’t make decisions , she can’t go to school, she can’t go to work.”

“I used to be able to play the guitar,” said Alanis.

Alanis used to be a musician but her life has clearly changed forever.

“I used to be able to play the piano and I used to write my own music and perform it,” said Alanis “unfortunately I’ve forgotten all of that.”

RCMP officers across the province have launched their summer Counter Attack campaign, and both mother and daughter are using the occasion to warn others about the dangers of drinking and driving and the deadly risk of getting into a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel.

“It could change your life,” said Alanis “it could literally end people’s lives.”

Flooding, highway closures as heavy rain pounds Prairies

Watch above: Cars submerged after extensive flooding in Regina

MELVILLE, Sask. – Highways closed and communities declared states of emergency on Sunday after a deluge of rain drenched southeast Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba.

Melville, about 140 kilometres northeast of Regina, declared a state of local emergency after rain overwhelmed the city’s storm and domestic sewer systems, as well as its lift stations.

Watch below: Melville hit hard by flooding

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The Saskatchewan government said the Town of Carnduff, the Rural Municipality of Mount Pleasant and the Village of Maryfield have also declared local emergencies.

The government warned that about a dozen other communities were in the process of doing the same as heavy rain continued.

MORE: Heavy rainfall causes flash flooding for communities in southeast Saskatchewan

Moosomin mayor Larry Tomlinson said close to a third of his town was suffering flood damage and that the rain was still falling Sunday afternoon.

“Part of our town looks like lakes,” said Tomlinson. “We’ll just try to keep up to it. It’s all we can do.”

Watch below: Flooding in southeast Saskatchewan

RCMP said many highways were closed and that secondary roads were also impassable. One bridge on Highway 55 in Saskatchewan had washed out. And Highway 1 was closed near Wolseley because it was under more than a metre of water, police said.

As the sky continued to let loose, patients in a health centre in Gainsborough in the R.M. of Mount Pleasant were moved out. Later Sunday, firefighters went door-to-door advising everyone to leave.

“Right now the last road out of Gainsborough has about four inches of water over it and the village is flooding itself,” said Kris Carley, the emergency measures co-ordinator for the rural municipality.

The village’s mayor said residents were going to evacuation centres in nearby Carnduff or had gone to stay with relatives.

“There’s probably 50 houses full of water,” Vic Huish said, noting businesses were flooded, too.

“It’s going to be a disaster.”

Watch below: Highway 1 under water after extensive flooding

John Fahlman with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency said the storm came from the northern U.S. and hit the region near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary the hardest. Some areas, he said, received almost 230 millimetres over the weekend.

Tomlinson, meanwhile, noted that strong winds were also knocking out power to parts of Moosomin. That meant homeowners with electric pumps were left helpless until power could be restored, he said.

“We’ve got some basements that have as much as three feet of water in them,” he said. “It’s not great.”

Watch below: Officials update the flood situation in Regina

City officials in Regina reported the storm water drainage system was operating at full capacity. The city’s fire department also tweeted that the sewage system was at capacity and that residents should avoid baths, showers, and even flushing toilets.

The University of Regina responded by shutting off water to all buildings except its residences, and said it was evacuating most of the campus.

MORE: Watch radar timelapse of deluge over southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba 

Environment Canada rainfall totals from Friday to 10:04 a.m. MondayMoosomin200 mm (unofficial)Redvers175 mm (unofficial)Broadview~150 mmMelville128 mmYorkton120 mmRegina97 mmIndian Head87 mmHudson Bay77 mmNipawin60 mmMelfort60 mmWynyard49 mmEstevan43 mmWeyburn41 mm

In Manitoba, Brandon declared a state of local emergency due to overland flooding and flights at its airport were disrupted when the facility’s main access road was flooded.

Allison Collins, a spokeswoman for the city, said WestJet cancelled its flights to and from Calgary on Sunday and that the airline would evaluate whether flights would resume on Monday.

The Trans-Canada Highway west of Brandon was covered by 30 centimetres of water and police said late Sunday that it could close if the level continued to rise.

Rain in Manitoba also flooded the RCMP detachment in Selkirk on Saturday causing it to lose telephone service.

MORE: Deluge prompts Manitoba municipalities to declare states of emergency

Environment Canada forecasts on Sunday called for rain to continue in the region through the day, the night and into Monday.

Saskatchewan officials said the province is deploying teams to the affected areas and is collecting flood control equipment in Regina, which they say will help it cut response times for areas needing help.

“We’re focused on supporting municipalities as they support their citizens,” said Duane McKay, commissioner of emergency management and public safety.

With files from Global News

A bit of perspective from NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on board the International Space Station. “Storm begins to swirl near Winnipeg, Canada.”

Reid Wiseman/NASA

An aerial shot from near Melville where water can be seen rushing over and around a dam.

Government of Saskatchewan/Supplied

Outside Melville

Carmen Bochek

Flooding at the Albert St. underpass at Saskatchewan drive forced some drivers to abandon their vehicles.

Matt Myers/Global News

Flooding at the Albert St. underpass at Saskatchewan drive forced some drivers to abandon their vehicles.

Matt Myers/Global News

Regina’s Lakeview neighbourhood was just one of several areas hit by flash flooding on Sunday.

Matt Myers/Global News

A flooded backyard in Regina’s Lakeview neighbourhood.

Matt Myers/Global News

Regina’s Lakeview neighbourhood was just one of several areas hit by flash flooding on Sunday.

Matt Myers/Global News

Yorkton, Sk. This is on the East end of the city, going down Dracup Ave.

Karen Sheichuk/Supplied

Parking lot at Mosaic Stadium.

Adrian Raaber/Global News

Near Weyburn

Carrie Guenette/Supplied

#8 Highway north of Moosomin washed out.

Kristy Stewart/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Melville/Yorkton/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Washed out road near Melville, SK on Sunday.

Steve Silva / Global News

The basement of Melville’s city hall.

Steve Silva/Global News

Whitewood

Crystal Schaan/Supplied

A mass of earthworms flushed out by heavy rain in Regina.

Kent Morrison/Global News

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Water up to the roof of a car stranded on Albert St. near stadium

Kent Morrison/Global News

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot in Regina on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Rocanville

Kyla Chantel Broom

Horrible rain outside of Chamberlain. Strong wind speeds.

Melissa Nakhavoly/Global News

Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium

Adrian Raaber/Global News

Regina

Nikki Peever/Supplied

The dog park at Sandra Schmirler Way and 13th Ave. in Regina.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

Highway 1 near Wolseley was closed Sunday after being flooded by approximately six feet of water.

Raquel Fletcher/Global News

An aerial shot of flood waters near Melville.

Government of Saskatchewan / Supplied

Road closed signs are a common sight in southeastern Saskatchewan, where flood waters have blocked or washed away many highways.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

Flood water caused delays on Highway 1 near Balgonie.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

A flooded property in Hubbard, SK, northwest of Melville.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

An aerial shot from near Melville where water can be seen rushing over a berm.

Government of Saskatchewan/Supplied

Volunteers work to stack sandbags in Melville, SK.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

Sandbags are piled around a power station near Melville.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

Sandbags are piled in front of the Melville & District Health Centre.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

Red Cross volunteers in Regina load a truck full of supplies for flood relief in southeast Saskatchewan.

Canadian Red Cross/Supplied

Sandbags are piled in from of St. Paul Lutheran Home in Melville.

Mike McKinnon/Global News

UPDATE: Man charged following altercation near Whyte Avenue – Edmonton

EDMONTON – Police have charged a 26-year-old man with assault with a weapon in connection with a stabbing near Whyte Avenue early Sunday morning.

Levi Robert Gunnarson was charged with assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon, and two counts of breach conditions of recognizance.

Around 3:10 a.m. Sunday, police responded to reports of an altercation between four men in the area of 81 Ave. and 104 St.

It was reported that a 31-year-old male had been struck with an unknown object, and a 22-year-old man stabbed.

Both men were taken to hospital, where the 22-year-old was in serious but non-life-threatening condition.

One man was apprehended nearby; he and a number of witnesses were interviewed by investigators.

Police continue to investigate the circumstances that led up to the altercation, but believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor. They add that the incident does not appear to be random.

On Monday, detectives said they believe there may be one more adult male involved in the altercation.

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Suspects sought after 10 people shot in crossfire on Bourbon Street in New Orleans – National

WATCH ABOVE: Aftermath footage of shooting in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

NEW ORLEANS – One person remained in critical condition Monday after a weekend gunfight on Bourbon Street, the historic thoroughfare of nightspots that is a major destination for visitors in tourist-loving New Orleans.

Police said ten people were hit when shots rang out at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday. Five remained hospitalized at LSU Hospital. In addition to the critical patient, four were stable.

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Police initially said nine people were shot but updated the number Monday afternoon, reporting that they are now counting a man who had walked into a police station in a district neighbouring the French Quarter Sunday afternoon, almost 12 hours after the shootings. The man said he had been shot on Bourbon Street that morning. He had a minor chest wound and refused medical attention.

Victims’ identities and hometowns have not been made public but police said some were not from New Orleans.

Images captured from a surveillance camera above a bar showed people running down the street in the chaos of the shooting. Police placed several views of the shootout online asking for the public’s help in identifying the two shooters.

The violence happened as New Orleans prepares for a major summer tourist event: The annual Essence Festival opens Thursday and runs through the Fourth of July weekend.

“This Essence Festival, we’re using an overtime package of about $300,000 to make sure there’s more police officers here in the French Quarter area,” police chief Ronal Serpas said Sunday. “There will be plenty of police officers visible during Essence and July Fourth.”

What sparked the shooting remained unclear. “What happened was two young men got angry at each other and shot at each other,” Serpas said.

The scene on Bourbon Street on Monday was business as usual, with music blaring from bars as tourists strolled, drinks in hand.

Associated Press reporter Kevin McGill contributed to this story.

©2014The Canadian Press

NHL $69-million salary cap may spark money-saving trades

PHILADELPHIA – Trade talk mostly fizzled at the NHL draft.

“It just seemed to me there were a lot of phone calls, a lot of talking, people interested, but nothing really happened,” Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray said.

Aside from Ryan Kesler getting dealt before proceedings got underway and then James Neal a few hours later, the weekend passed without much major action.

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One small trade — the Calgary Flames getting Brandon Bollig from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick — looked like a preview of many more to come as cap-strapped teams try to get under the US$69 million ceiling set for next season.

“It’s a puzzle to put together and try to make all the numbers work,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday.

“That’s clearly the biggest factor you’re faced with when you have salary cap being what it is. You’re going to have some tough decisions. We’re not the only team that’s in that position. There will be other teams that face the same things.”

Without naming names, Bowman was describing the plight of the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, along with his Blackhawks, who almost certainly have to make sacrifices just to be cap-compliant.

In the Bruins’ case, it might mean saying goodbye to Jarome Iginla, a 61-point player and a major piece of their Presidents’ Trophy-winning season.

“If we can’t sign Jarome, we’re going to find a good player at that position,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said Friday night. “We feel all our young guys and our current players are going to get better.”

It’s unclear what else the Bruins might have to do with forwards Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Justin Florek and defenceman Torrey Krug and Matt Bartkowski needing new deals as restricted free agents.

According to CapGeek, Boston has just over $1.6 million to spend.

The Flyers, technically over the cap by a couple hundred thousand dollars, have some room with defenceman Chris Pronger bound for long-term injured reserve.

But they’re still reportedly shopping Vincent Lecavalier to rid themselves of at least part of his $4.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons.

Chicago managed to part with Bollig’s $1.25-million cap hit but might have to clear more salary to fill out the roster.

Enter the likes of the Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres, teams with salary-cap space to take on salary. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish knows players won’t be given away, but talent should be available.

“We’re in a pretty enviable position to be able to take on some of those contracts,” MacTavish said Friday night. “Those are really the style of deals that we’ve looked to make over the last little while where we give up a few assets, take the contract and the cap space, so we’ll be trying to do some of that.”

That was part of what went into the Flames trading for Bollig, who just signed a contract extension in March.

When the cap was set at $69 million, it was at least $1 million, if not more, less than GMs were hoping for.

“We’ve been looking at situations with the cap where people that may have difficulty or be in a situation where they had to move money,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said.

Sabres GM Tim Murray implied that he’d be willing to accept expensive contracts, but only if he gets an asset like a draft pick in return.

“I tried to make a big trade today, a unique trade,” Murray said Saturday.

“I said, ‘We got to do like the NBA.’ So I went to a team and said, ‘You trade me your first pick from yesterday.’ He didn’t want to be the first guy to do that. So I’m not sure I did, either. But I thought it was a good idea.”

There could be a market for those NBA-style deals if GMs determine the cap space gained is worth it.

More likely, teams up against the $69 million limit will be getting partial value on current players to clear room to manoeuvre when unrestricted free agency opens Tuesday.

Plenty of money will get handed out then, and the teams that don’t have the space to do it will be forced to rely on younger players to fill the void.

Bowman, who has gone through this during two Stanley Cup runs, called it just the continuation of the development cycle.

“It’s a constant process of finding guys who will be able to fill those roles,” he said.

“It’s a never-ending game. That’s the state of the game today. But you have to find players, whether they’re free agents or like today draft picks and work with making it to the point where they can be NHL contributors.”

UPDATE: Squamish Service Road reopened

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A section of the Squamish River Forest Service Road that was washed out over the weekend has now re-opened.

The washout left hundreds of people stuck on the other side, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The washout was caused by heavy rain at the 23-kilometre marker of the road, where it crosses Mud Creek.  The Ministry was notified of the incident at 8 a.m. Sunday, and they expect it occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Hundreds of people were camping in the area. Ministry staff, local RCMP, Squamish Search and Rescue and Squamish First Nations were on site, offering the campers their assistance.

Three women interviewed by Global News were able to crawl through the muddy terrain, and out to the other side of the road. They described seeing, “canyons of mud.”

Ministry officials said that was the only way people could leave the site, before the road re-opened this afternoon.  They were urging people to stay put, due to the possibility of another slide.

Washouts occur frequently in this area.

– With Files from Julia Foy.

Aerial view of the road closure, Global News.

Washout in Squamish, Tabitha Saltys

Washout in Squamish, Tabitha Saltys

Washout in Squamish, Tabitha Saltys

Washout in Squamish, Tabitha Saltys

Washout in Squamish, Canadian Outback Rafting

Washout in Squamish, Canadian Outback Rafting

Washout in Squamish, Canadian Outback Rafting


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Heavy rainfall causes flash flooding for communities in southeast Saskatchewan

REGINA – Heavy rainfall is causing flooding problems for many communities in the southeast part of the province.

In Regina, the storm water drainage and domestic sewer systems were operating at capacity Sunday night, and officials recommended residents delay showers, baths, and even flushing until capacity could be reduced.

Emergency Management Staff at the Ministry of Government Relations said they are in contact with municipal officials to determine the scope of the flooding and the need for additional support.

The Mayor of Melville, Walter Streelaski, said that the city had issued a local state of emergency due to excessive flooding, Sunday morning.

Streelaski said a command centre is set up at City Hall and that fire trucks are being used to pump out the water, but they are unable to keep up with the amount.

Residents are urged to drastically minimize their water use, as the city’s sanitary system is overflowing with the amount of rain it’s received in the last 24 hours.

A bit of perspective from NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on board the International Space Station. “Storm begins to swirl near Winnipeg, Canada.”

Reid Wiseman/NASA

Outside Melville

Carmen Bochek

Yorkton, Sk. This is on the East end of the city, going down Dracup Ave.

Karen Sheichuk/Supplied

Parking lot at Mosaic Stadium.

Adrian Raaber/Global News

Near Weyburn

Carrie Guenette/Supplied

#8 Highway north of Moosomin washed out.

Kristy Stewart/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Melville/Yorkton/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Whitewood

Crystal Schaan/Supplied

A mass of earthworms flushed out by heavy rain in Regina.

Kent Morrison/Global News

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Water up to the roof of a car stranded on Albert St. near stadium

Kent Morrison/Global News

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot while travelling through the Yorkton/Melville/Ituna area on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Brittany Kreklewich snapped this shot in Regina on Sunday.

Brittany Kreklewich/Supplied

Rocanville

Kyla Chantel Broom

Horrible rain outside of Chamberlain. Strong wind speeds.

Melissa Nakhavoly/Global News

Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium

Adrian Raaber/Global News

Regina

Nikki Peever/Supplied


Story continues below

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Melville is among many communities in the southern part of the province dealing with flash flooding.

The Town of Carnduff, the Rural Municipality of Mount Pleasant, and the Village of Maryfield have declared a local emergency due to heavy rain fall in the South East of the province.

Officials are urging residents to avoid travel if possible and to watch out for barricaded streets.

A number of highways across the province have also been shutdown, including High 8 from Moosomin to Spyhill.

SaskPower says roughly 8,000 people in southeast Saskatchewan are experiencing power outages due to flooding and winds. Crews are working to address the issues.

Meanwhile, SaskEnergy is warning residents to turn off gas if they are experiencing basement flooding.

Drivers are asked to avoid that part of the highway as severe flooding is crossing the road, and surrounding secondary gravel roads as well.

The overflow of water is also causing debris to collect on the roads.

Intense wind, rain hammering southern Manitoba – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG-Through most of southern Manitoba intense wind is wreaking havoc. Winds up to 80 kilometres per hour are ripping trees out of the ground, causing siding to peel off houses and causing power outages through most of Manitoba.

Here’s how high the wind gusts were throughout Manitoba Sunday:

Brandon         96 km/hGimli           83 km/hOak Point       83 km/hWinnipeg        81 km/hDeerwood        81 km/hPilot Mound     74 km/h

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Heavy rainfall warnings are also continuing in southern Manitoba Sunday. The western half of the province including Dauphin, Swan River, Brandon, Virden and Killarney are under a rainfall warning. Environment Canada says, “Precipitation associated with this weather system is now situated over southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan and will slowly move northeastward into the western Manitoba parklands. Moderate to heavy rainfall will continue today on the backside of this system. An additional 30 to 50 mm of rain is expected over the next 24 hours with localized storm totals of 125 to 150 mm possible in areas close to the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. Weather conditions will begin to improve later Monday.”

Saturday, the area was hit with heavy rainfall. Here’s total rainfall amounts from Friday to Sunday at 1:00 p.m. from Environment Canada:

Virden          137 mmPierson         124 mmBrandon arpt    117 mmDeloraine       116 mmMoosehorn       112 mmNeepawa          98 mmReston           97 mmForrest          92 mmHamiota          91 mmDauphin          88 mmBirtle           86 mmEriksdale        86 mmMelita           84 mmBoissevain       78 mm

The intense amount of rain is raising flood fears. The community of Cromer, Manitoba, southwest of Virden has been evacuated. Reston is asking for help with sandbagging efforts.

Activists push for guaranteed minimum income

MONTREAL – A group of academics and activists is trying to drum up interest in an ambitious plan to provide every Canadian with a guaranteed minimum level of income — whether or not they have a job.

Rob Rainer, a campaign director for the Basic Income Canada Network, envisions a country where everyone is assured a minimum of $20,000 annually to make ends meet.

“For many of us, we think the goal is no one should be living in poverty,” Rainer said at a conference on the issue over the weekend at McGill University.

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“That’s essentially what we’re striving to achieve.”

More than 100 speakers and participants were on hand for the conference, which focused on the merits of a guaranteed minimum income that would either replace or exist alongside existing social programs.

The idea is hardly new — the Canadian and Manitoba government conducted an experiment with the issue in the 1970s — but it has enjoyed a resurgence lately.

Switzerland is expected to hold a non-binding referendum this fall on whether to guarantee every citizen an annual income of Cdn $35,900.

And in the United States, the idea has supporters on both sides of the political spectrum.

Proponents on the left argue it represents an opportunity for greater redistribution of wealth, while those on the right see it as a chance to cut back on bureaucracy and return control to people’s lives.

The two sides disagree, however, on whether there would be accompanying tax hikes and whether other social programs would remain place.

Almaz Zelleke, a professor at New York University, said guaranteed income has rarely had this much attention in the United States since President Richard Nixon tried to introduce such a program for families in the 1960s. That effort was ultimately thwarted by Congress.

At the conference, Zelleke gave a presentation laying out how a guaranteed income could be offset by taxes and work from a practical, fiscal standpoint. But even she admitted it would be a challenge to get such a plan on the agenda in Washington, D.C.

“To be very honest, it’s not on the agenda of any mainstream political party in the United States,” she said in an interview, but added a recent surge in media attention has, helpfully, “generated discussion among people who understand that there are problems with the welfare state.”

In Canada, the town of Dauphin, Man., was famously the subject of a government pilot project where residents were provided with a guaranteed minimum income from 1974-1978.

The goal of the program, which cost $17 million, was to find out whether providing extra money directly to residents below a certain household income level would make for effective social policy.

The community’s overall health improved and hospital rates declined during the period, according to a 2010 study by Evelyn Forget, a professor at the University of Manitoba.

Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal, who officially resigned from his post this month, argued for years in favour of the idea, saying it would provide more effective services at a reduced cost.

Quebec’s new minister of employment and social solidarity was also once a prominent advocate.

Francois Blais, a former political science professor, published a book in 2002 called “Ending Poverty: A Basic Income for All Canadians,” though Philippe Couillard’s Liberal government has made no commitments on the issue.

At the federal level, Rainer conceded it’s far from the agenda of the current Conservative government, but said there’s a “little bit of traction” among opposition parties.

Liberal Party delegates passed two resolutions related to guaranteed minimum income at a meeting in Montreal this year — a move Rainer called “pretty significant.”

The Green Party also endorses the notion in its party platform.

“The idea is not new, it’s not really radical,” Rainer said, pointing out that seniors and families with children receive a form of guaranteed income from the government.

“Where it does become more radical is when you get into the area of the working age population, and the idea that people should receive some income whether they are in the labour market or not. That’s a fairly radical idea in our culture, because most of us were brought up to believe that in order to survive you have to work.”

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Israel targets Hamas sites amid suggestion of reoccupying Gaza Strip – National

WATCH: Several rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on June 28. One hit a paint factory in Israel’s southern city of Sderot, burning it to the ground. Footage believed to be from the scene shows a large fireball.

JERUSALEM – Israel carried out airstrikes on militant targets in the Gaza Strip early Sunday after a rocket attack, the military said, as the country’s foreign minister suggested it consider reoccupying the Hamas-ruled territory to stop the increasing rocket fire.

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There has been an increase in rockets launched from the Hamas-ruled territory toward Israel this month, as the army has carried out a wide-ranging operation against Hamas in the West Bank while searching for three Israeli teens who Israel says were abducted by the Palestinian militant group.

The military said it targeted 12 locations in Gaza on Sunday, including concealed rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites and what it called “terror activity” sites. The airstrikes were in retaliation for six rockets from Gaza that struck Israel the previous evening. Two of the rockets hit a factory in the town of Sderot, setting it ablaze.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said limited operations against militants in Gaza only strengthen Hamas.

“The alternative is clear,” Lieberman said on Army Radio. “Either with each round we attack terror infrastructure and they shoot, or we go to full occupation.”

Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but continues to control access to the territory by air, land and sea. Israeli leaders have said the pullout cleared the way for Hamas to seize control of the territory two years later and turn it into a base for rocket attacks on Israel, but there has been little support for reoccupying the territory.

On Friday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza who were members of the Tawhid Brigades, an ultraconservative Islamic militant group unaffiliated with Hamas, according to Palestinian security officials and militants from the group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters and the militants because they operate underground.

WATCH: Security footage captures fatal Israeli air strike

The security officials had initially said the two fighters were members of a militant group allied with Hamas that often fires rockets at Israel.

Since the beginning of June, over 60 rockets have been launched from Gaza toward Israel — more than four times the amount in May — and 28 of the rockets hit Israeli territory, the military said. The crude, makeshift devices rarely wound anyone, but they have caused damage and sown panic in communities along the frontier.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has asked Israeli authorities to consider outlawing a Muslim group in Israel, following calls in support of abducting Israeli soldiers at a demonstration in an Arab-Israeli town.

“In many cases, those behind such calls and demonstrations are from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement,” Netanyahu said. “It constantly preaches against the state of Israel and its people publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas.”

Israel has arrested the movement’s leader, Raed Salah, on a number of occasions, banning him from Jerusalem and accusing him of incitement. Salah has called for a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel.

In 2003, Israel jailed Salah, an Israeli citizen, for more than two years, saying his organization funneled money to Hamas, which at the time was frequently carrying out deadly suicide bombings in Israel.

Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank contributed to this report.

©2014The Associated Press

A look at the 5 highs and lows from the fall session of Parliament

OTTAWA – A number of major themes echoed through the turbulent fall session of Parliament that comes to an end this week. Here is a quick look at some of them:

Politics: With the next scheduled federal election less than a year away, the Conservatives were working to hold their majority, while the New Democrats pondered byelection omens and the Liberals piled their political eggs in Justin Trudeau’s basket.

There were six byelections held in June and November, and the Conservatives held onto four seats — despite the oft-repeated maxim that byelections tend to go against a party in power. The Liberals held one and picked up another. The NDP, however, saw popular support plummet. The party finished second in Trinity-Spadina, which they had won with 54.5 per cent of the vote in 2011. In Whitby-Oshawa, the party fell to 8.1 per cent of the vote from 22.3.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers a question during question period in the House of Commons, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 in Ottawa.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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Finance: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government touted the imminent return to a budget surplus, while rolling out a series of targeted goodies, including a new child benefit, tax breaks and income-splitting for families, EI premium cuts for small business and new infrastructure spending pledges. Plunging oil prices are a growing cloud on the government horizon, however.

The NDP and Tom Mulcair pledged to bring in a multibillion-dollar program of $15-a-day child care. That came just before Quebec announced changes to its own cherished $7-a-day program, saying it would jack up prices in a sliding scale.

READ MORE: Unreal exchange in House of Commons over Canada’s involvement in Iraq

Trudeau condemned income-splitting, but was short on details of his own plans. He did say he wants to stress infrastructure and help for the middle class as the basis of his fiscal policies. He suggested Harper’s tax breaks are wrong and that he might reverse some.

A woman leaves the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after paying her respects at the National War Memorial, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was killed by a gunman, in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Terror: Terrorism re-emerged as a political issue in the fall with the brutal rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and disturbing attacks at home. The Conservatives dispatched six CF-18 fighter-bombers to participate in air strikes against ISIL. This came over the objections of the NDP and Liberals, who both argued for more humanitarian aid and against military action. Trudeau scorned Harper’s use of jets as a macho gesture.

Attacks in Quebec and Ottawa which left two soldiers dead and saw a shootout in the Centre Block of Parliament sparked a debate over what constitutes terrorism. Were the attacks the work of deranged individuals, as the opposition argued, or terrorist-inspired assaults which should be warnings for the future, as the government claimed?

Federal Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews are shown in recent file photos.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Scandals: Anonymous accusations of misconduct, which led Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to suspend two of his MPs, sparked an onerous discussion of harassment on Parliament Hill and how to deal with it. The debate sits stalled, with no clear way forward and two political careers in limbo.

The government’s handling of veterans benefits had the opposition demanding that Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino resign or be fired. Each government effort to extricate itself from the political mire just seemed to dig it in deeper.

An April trial date was set for disgraced Sen. Mike Duffy on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. That will resurrect the whole Senate expense scandal just five months before the scheduled election.

Minister Stephen Harper walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit Thursday Sept.5, 2013 in St.Petersburg, Russia.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Foreign Affairs: Although Harper has long been accused of ignoring foreign policy and scorning the United Nations, the autumn saw his stock rise internationally. Amid Russian aggression against Ukraine, Harper travelled to Kyiv to show his support and won international notice for a public rebuke of Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a summit in Australia.

He and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird worked behind the scenes as Michaelle Jean was selected to lead the Francophonie. The government also contributed money, vaccines, equipment and people to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The opposition nagged about some details, but generally left the government’s foreign efforts alone.

©2014The Canadian Press