New Brunswick Speaker jumps from Liberal ranks amid harassment allegation

first_imgFREDERICTON – The speaker of the New Brunswick legislature is leaving the Liberal ranks to sit as an Independent, and is launching a case of libel and slander against the government.Chris Collins issued a lengthy statement Thursday, criticizing Premier Brian Gallant’s actions after an allegation of harassment was made against Collins last month.At the time, Collins’s lawyer, T.J. Burke, said his client had been given no information about the nature of the allegation but would fight it “tooth and nail.”Gallant announced in early April that Collins was being suspended from caucus, saying he had been made aware of potential allegations of harassment in February but the individual only recently made the complaint.Collins said a teleconference Gallant had with media on April 5 was done without any concern for his rights or those of the complainant.“I was placed upon the alter of public consumption then and there, for reasons not yet completely clear,” Collins wrote.“The handling of this file by the premier has been nothing less than atrocious.”Collins said he has never seen a human resources matter handled in this matter, and the actions have damaged his political opportunities in the provincial election set for Sept. 24.“Because of the above noted actions of Mr. Gallant, I have instructed my counsel to initiate notice under the The Proceedings Against the Crown Act, for a cause of libel and slander,” he wrote.Premier Brian Gallant issued a statement Thursday evening, saying Collins has always been a passionate representative for his constituents.“Ensuring a harassment-free workplace is of paramount importance and therefore we take any allegations very seriously. In this matter of public interest we proceeded in the fairest way possible to respect the rights of all concerned. Because this matter may be subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Gallant wrote.He said the party looks forward to finding a strong Liberal candidate for Collins’ riding of Moncton Centre.Collins said he has asked the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly to move his seat to the opposition side, and he will finish his term as an Independent member of the legislature. He will not re-offer for the Liberal Party in the upcoming election.Collins was first elected to the provincial legislature in a 2007 byelection, after serving three years as a Moncton city councillor. He was briefly minister of local government under former Liberal premier Shawn Graham, and was elected Speaker after the Liberals returned to power in September 2014 under Gallant.last_img read more

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BC to probe money laundering red flags in real estate horse racing

first_imgVICTORIA – Two government reviews will dig deeper into possible money laundering in British Columbia, expanding the province’s scrutiny beyond casinos.The reviews are aimed at stopping the possibility of money laundering in other sectors of the province’s economy, which were cited in a June report by former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, who concluded the practice was happening in the provincial gaming industry.“We can’t ignore that red flag,” Attorney General David Eby said Thursday. “We won’t ignore it.”Finance Minister Carole James said: “It’s important for us as government to say we aren’t going to accept that illegal activity.”The reviews will focus on the possibility of money laundering in real estate, horse racing, luxury vehicles and the financial services sector, Eby said.The first review is being done by the Ministry of Finance into real estate and financial services sectors. German will conduct the second review, which will focus on identifying the scale and scope of illicit activity in the real estate market, as well as whether money laundering is linked to horse racing and the sale of luxury vehicles.There is widespread concern about B.C.’s reputation as a haven for money laundering, said Eby.German’s original report said B.C.’s gaming industry and the system intended to combat money laundering were not prepared for an onslaught of illegal cash flowing through the casinos and they failed collectively. He estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through casinos.Eby said he is concerned that money launderers could possibly move their activities to other sectors of the B.C. economy now that much of the movement of large amounts of cash at casinos has been halted.“It’s essentially a game of whack-a-mole, I’ve said before, with money launderers,” he said.Eby said the new reviews, due in March, will follow German’s concerns about sectors beyond gaming while the Finance Ministry will look to identify and close regulatory gaps that could be used by money launderers.Maureen Maloney, a former deputy attorney general, was appointed chairwoman of an expert panel on money laundering in real estate, said James.“It really is an opportunity to do specific cases, to follow the money and to look at where the gaps are and to look at the system and closing those gaps,” she said.last_img read more

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Moroccos Princess Lalla Soukaina Mother of Twins

Miami – Princess Lalla Soukaina of Morocco, King Mohammed VI’s niece, is already a mother. The 29-year-old Princess gave birth to twins on Sunday, September 27 in Paris.Less than eighteen months after their acclaimed wedding ceremony, Princess Lalla Soukaina and her husband, Mohamed El Mehdi Ben Abdelmottaleb Regragui, have become parents.The gender of the twins and their chosen names are yet to be revealed. The announcement will come this Sunday on the occasion of the babies’ baptism, which will be celebrated according to Muslim tradition, in an Aqiqah ceremony, on the seventh day of their birth. King Mohammed VI flew to Paris on Monday to meet the twins and congratulate his niece, before returning to Morocco on Tuesday.Lalla Soukaina completed her undergraduate studies at the “College Royal” in Rabat, before moving to Paris in 2004 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Communications. That year, she was selected along with her mother, Prince Lalla Meryem, as the ‘top successful Arab women’ representing the beauty, elegance and intelligence of Moroccan women. She married Mehdi Regragui on October 11, 2014 followed by a traditional Moroccan wedding celebrated on May 28, 2014 in Rabat.Princess Lalla Soukaina is the daughter of Princess Lalla Meryem, first daughter of the late King Hassan II, who is said to have favored Princess Lalla in her childhood.Her father is Fouad Filali, son of the late Abdellatif Filai, former Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

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Tourism in Morocco Governments 2020 Vision and Plans for 2016

Fez – Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism has adopted a rigorous strategy for developing Morocco’s tourism sector to make Morocco one of the world’s leading travel destinations and to sustain tourism as the driving power for economic, social, and cultural advancement in Morocco.The government’s 2020 Vision Plan, which aims to increase revenues from tourism to MAD 140 billion by 2020, focuses on authenticity to make Morocco a more attractive destination for tourists. The ministry will adopt preemptive measures to preserve Morocco’s natural and cultural heritage to strengthen Morocco’s cultural identity.The 2020 Vision also encourages Morocco’s diverse sub-cultures, natural resources, and ecological system, and openness to Africa and Europe, The Ministry of Tourism works on these factors to make them meet the expectations of tourists.The 2020 Vision also focuses on service quality and entertainment to complement the basic tourism infrastructure. Morocco will increase its accommodation capacity, focusing on varied entertainment and leisure facilities in order to compete with other international tourism chains. Sustainable tourism is also among the major objectives of the 2020 Vision. The Ministry of Tourism will continue working on factors that have made Morocco a better touristic destination. The strategy will take into consideration maintaining authenticity and modernity through implementing an integrated system that involves monitoring and evaluation by the Sustainable Tourism Commission and the High Authority of Tourism.In order to cater to this ambitious vision, Morocco will double its residential capacity by creating 200,000 beds, double domestic tourism, and create 470,000 jobs.Abderrafie Zouiten, Morocco’s General Manager of National Tourism (ONMT), said in a meeting last Wednesday that “Morocco wants to attract 1.5 million tourists in the next two years” which will require an additional MAD 400 million over and above the cost of 2020 strategic vision. This plan focuses on tourists from Germany and the United States. Morocco’s plan is to forge new partnerships with airlines and open 57 aerial routes.Zouiten also explained that the office primarily uses digital media to provide information regarding Morocco’s geographical distribution of tourism, enhance Morocco’s reputation for tourism, and announce the administrative procedures needed for foreign tourists to come to Morocco.  “These steps which will be available next month, will enable 80 percent of tourists to use the Internet for planning and booking their trips,’’ he added. read more

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GM Canada to keep Maven carsharing in Toronto as number of US

David Paddon, The Canadian Press TORONTO — General Motors will continue to operate its Maven car-sharing service in Toronto despite plans to pull out of eight North American markets, including New York City and Chicago.GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright says the company continues to look for opportunities to improve and expand its Maven car-sharing operations in Canada.Maven’s Toronto fleet started in February 2018 with about 40 vehicles and a dozen Toronto locations — mostly in the downtown core and midtown neighbourhoods.The number of locations has more than doubled to 29 with more than 60 vehicles.Toronto was the first city outside the United States to have Maven, starting about two years after it was launched in 2016 in the United States.GM Canada has also designated Toronto as the future home of a “mobility campus” at the Eastern Avenue industrial corridor, east of the Don River Valley.“It will be a multi-use site (that includes) a dealership — you know, retail sales — but also a hotbed to show some of these latest innovations,” Wright said Tuesday.GM continues to say it is committed to doing research and development in Canada, even as it plans to end vehicle assembly in Oshawa, Ont., by the end of this year.GM Canada president Travis Hester announced May 8, along with Unifor national president Jerry Dias, that about 22 hectares of the Oshawa facility will be converted into a test track for autonomous and other advanced vehicles.That would complement a nearby GM R&D centre in Oshawa and another north of Toronto in Markham. The two R&D facilities work on advanced safety, infotainment, software development and autonomous vehicle technology read more

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US must take Sri Lanka as an example says Gammanpila

He said that there were reports that the army will prevent Sirisena from taking office as part of a coup in support of Rajapaksa.However Gammanpila said there was no coup and Rajapaksa accepted the results of the election and gracefully stepped down. (Colombo Gazette) The United States must take Sri Lanka as an example and accept the outcome of the Presidential election, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said today.He said that no one protested when Maithripala Sirisena won the last Presidential election and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ensured there was a smooth transition of power. Gammanpila recalled that hours before the final results were announced at the 2015 Presidential election, Rajapaksa met current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and discussed the smooth transition of power. However, he says in the US, supporters of defeated Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have been protesting and have refused to accept Donald Trump as the new President. read more

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Winners chosen in weekly Family Campaign draw

Two winners have been chosen in this week’s weekly draw for the Family Campaign.Michael J. Armstrong, associate professor in the Faculty of Business, and Karen Merritt, human resources officer in Human Resources, Environment, Health and Safety, are this week’s winners. They have won their choice of:$47 Brock One Card (usable at all food services on campus)$47 gift certificate for Centre for the Arts$47 gift certificate for the Campus StoreWeekly draws will continue until the campaign ends on Oct. 7.Related stories:• Volunteers needed for Family Campaign• Physics, Registrar’s Office create their own student awards read more

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Hamilton Animal Services returns rescued beaver to its natural habitat

A brave beaver, who was rescued by Hamilton Animal Services last month, has been returned to its natural habitat.The rodent was saved by a quick-thinking animal services officer after it became wedged in between two bars of a wrought iron fence at a home in Stoney Creek on April 25.The officer used soap to help the beaver slither from in between the bars. It was taken to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge in Jarvis, Ont. to be rehabilitated after suffering injuries from the fence. “After spending some time at the refuge regaining his strength, last week Animal Services released the beaver back in its original habitat so that he could return to his family,” said City of Hamilton spokesperson Ann Lamanes in a news release. Hamilton Animal Services is reminding residents if you see sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife to stay back from the animal, look for signs of an injury, leave it in its natural habitat, and call animal services at 905-574-3433. “Mom, I’m home!” – after spending time at a wildlife refuge, the beaver rescued by #HamOnt Animal Services is back in its original habitat. pic.twitter.com/xAAogndkQq— City of Hamilton (@cityofhamilton) May 8, 2017 read more

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Ottawa officers step in to help exhausted mom – by mowing her

ALSO IN THE NEWSGrateful skunk declines to spray police after rescueDND to lease parking lots to deal with Carling headquarters parking chaos, parkade planned for laterOttawa deputy police chief won’t be suspended amid sexual harassment complaint Ottawa police handout Ottawa police Const. Genevieve Bolduc To serve, protect … and mow?When a mom with a high-needs teen was having a truly trying day earlier this month, Ottawa police officers went beyond the call of duty to help, including mowing the woman’s lawn.Constables Genevieve Bolduc and Lisa Beaucage were dispatched Sept. 8 when the 18-year-old broke two windows of the family van in a west-end parking lot during an outing.Bolduc and Beaucage, who’d been called to help the family before, helped calm the young man, who has a disability, and spoke to his “clearly exhausted” mom.The officers cleaned up the glass and escorted mother and son home to make sure they were safe.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.As the officers pulled up to their home on a well-kept street, they could see that the lawn needed mowing. The mom explained that her mower had broken two months before but she’d been too busy to deal with it.While Beaucage, who “has experience in small engine repair,” figured out what part was needed to fix the machine, Bolduc borrowed a neighbour’s mower.Within 15 minutes, it was done.“It was a small gesture, but she felt like she was being supported,” Bolduc said. “She was crying when we first saw her and by the time we left, she was laughing.“I’m glad we could lighten her load.” read more

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Denmark Round 3 New defeats for KIF and AaB

2Nordsjælland Handball321076-7065 11FHK Elite310268-74-62 How difficult and balanced is Danish “Jack & Jones” League we can see from the fact that two Danish representative in Champions League, KIF Kolding and AaB has a lot of problems from beginning of the season. With such names as Spellerberg, Nikolic and Christiansen, Kolding lost two from three games and stay 12th from 14 teams with just one point. Last punisher was Silkeborg 27:29. Current champion AaB Handbold suffer hard defeat in Arhus 30:38, what was their second defeat in three rounds.Bjerringbro-Silkeborg -KIF Kolding 29 – 27Bjerringbro-Silkeborg: Frederik Petersen 8, Mads Øris Nielsen 6, Nikolaj Øris Nielsen 6, Dennis Kirkegaard 3, Jesper T. Ahle 3, Rasmus Lauge Schmidt 2, Goran Kozomara 1KIF Kolding: Lasse Mikkelsen 8, Bo Spellerberg 6 , Ratko Nikolic 4 , Anders Oechsler 2, Simon Edelberg Jensen 2, Lars Christiansen 2, Mads Forslund 1, Lukas Karlsson 1, Boris Schnuckel 1Århus Håndbold – AaB Håndbold 38 – 30Tvis/Holste.-Viborg 31-28 (15-13)Nordsjælland-FIF, Kbh. 23-22 (10-6)FC Midtjylland – Mors-Thy Håndbold 32 – 32 14Viborg HK300376-88-120 13Mors -Thy Handball301287-104-171 5Team Facts Holstebro320197-9344 1Aarhus Handball330092-79136 7HC Midtjylland311191-9013 8Lemvig Handball310280-7642 AaB HandboldDenmark HandballKIF Kolding 6Bjerringbro -Silkeborg320185-86-14 4AG Handball220060-5554 10Skjern Handball210147-51-42 3FIF320175-63124 9AaB Handball310290-92-22 12KIF Kolding301282-85-31 ← Previous Story ASOBAL (Round 2): Easy wins for Barca and Ciudad Real Next Story → Rhein Neckar Lowen looking for a right back read more

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Cervar to take over the Macedonian National Team

← Previous Story Boris Denič substitute for Serdarusic in Celje PL Next Story → RNL sacked Lindgren – Gudmundsson is the new boss According to the speculations in the Macedonian media, the current manager of the men’s National Team, Ljubomir Savevski, is likely to face a dismissal from the managerial position. The likely replacement is to be no other person but – Lino Cervar, who has been the manager of Metalurg in the past two seasons, but without any great success.The sponsor of Metalurg and the possibly new “sponsor” of the men’s National Team is supposed to keep his eyes closed about Cervar’s early elimination in the Champions League qualifiers this season, and to install him as the manager, completing his ideas to have him leading his club and his country. Savevski is blamed for the failure to qualify to the World Cup 2011, and is also facing possible boycott in the national team because of the few national team players that he made leave Vardar. read more

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Girl makes her own prosthetic leg out of Lego

first_imgIf you have access to the internet, you’ve most likely seen a plethora of impressive Lego projects — such as a life-sized X-Wing composed of five million Lego bricks, or a minimalistic-but-instantly-identifiable model of Stephen Hawking. However, you likely have never seen someone walking around in public using a Lego construction as a limb replacement. Furthermore, you likely have never seen someone build that Lego prosthetic, then attach it to themselves. Christina Stephens has a prosthetic leg, and a coworker in the research lab where she works joked that she probably couldn’t build a prosthetic out of Lego and wear it around. Well, Stephens took it as a challenge, and built her own prosthetic leg out of Lego and wore it around.The video shows Christina building the actual prosthetic leg out of a box filled with Lego parts, then attaching each layer to her leg. Eventually, she attaches the Lego foot to the new, colorful prosthetic, stands up, and the Lego construction doesn’t immediately crumble like you may have imagined it would.We’ve learned that a single Lego brick can take a lot of punishment: it takes a Lego tower 2.17 miles high in order to crush one brick. Furthermore, the average Lego brick can be used 31,112 times before it becomes unusable, where “using” means attached to and detached from another brick. So, the weight of a single human likely wouldn’t instantly destroy a well-made prosthetic Lego leg, which is essentially just a small Lego tower that is much shorter than 2.17 miles high.Stephens does experience problems, however — almost instantly — but they don’t have to do with the integrity of the bricks. The ankle portion of the leg isn’t equipped to handle the stress of walking angles, and the bricks become detached more than once, leaving the foot separate of the leg.A Lego prosthetic limb isn’t exactly practical, but if given the right Lego pieces, one could conceivably make a limb that is able to bend in the appropriate areas.last_img read more

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Découvrez les images dun barrage de 850 mètres construit au Canada par

first_imgDécouvrez les images d’un barrage de 850 mètres construit au Canada par des castorsCanada – La province d’Alberta héberge une construction assez inhabituelle : le plus grand barrage construit par des castors. Long de 850 mètres, il est même visible depuis l’espace sur des images satellites.Les habiles castors sont capables de mettre en œuvre ce genre de construction avec pour seuls outils leurs dents. Ils utilisent du bois, de la boue et de la pierre pour fabriquer ces barrages près desquels ils peuvent circuler en sécurité. Les castors sont en effet de très bons nageurs, mais sont malheureusement beaucoup moins habiles lorsqu’il s’agit de marcher. Grâce à ces barrages, il leur est plus facile d’échapper à leurs prédateurs, comme les coyotes ou les ours.Le barrage en question mesure 850 mètres. Il est situé dans la partie sud du parc national Wood Buffalo. Sa construction a débuté en 1975, et ils procèdent depuis lors à des réparations régulières de l’ouvrage.Les barrages bâtis par des castors mesurent en général moins de 75 mètres. Les scientifiques pensent que la construction de celui-ci a nécessité l’intervention de plusieurs familles, lesquelles se sont attelées quotidiennement à la tâche.À lire aussiQuand un panda s’attaque à un bonhomme de neige au CanadaCes barrages ont un effet bénéfique sur l’environnement : quand la matière végétale utilisée meurt, elle se transforme en tourbe qui stocke du CO2, y compris celui rejeté par les activités humaines.Découvrez le barrage en images : https://www.maxisciences.com/barrage/des-castors-construisent-un-barrage-de-850-metres-de-long_art7217.htmlLe 7 mai 2010 à 12:54 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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Science Confirms That Antarctica is Screwed And So Are We

first_img Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetcenter_img By now you should be more than aware of how bad the… er… climate situation is on Earth. If you’re not: humanity is attacking itself and the only home it has. This by pumping gigatons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, clear-cutting forests that could help reduce those figures, growing and eating animals for food, and generally ignoring decades of warnings from the smartest people on the planet.But, new data suggest that Antarctica, one of the seven continents and the largest repository of ice on Earth is melting faster each year.The new survey came from a host of satellite data published earlier this month in the journal Cryosphere. Researchers, in reviewing telemetry, found that the continent has lost almost two teratons of ice in 2015 — or 2,000 gigatons. A whopping 90% of that was on the western side, which you can see in the satellite imagery above. According to NASA, the folks who often launch the probes that study this and help coordinate much of our atmospheric monitoring, this is almost certainly “in response to ocean warming.”This data doesn’t conflict at all with anything we already knew. It is, however, a more holistic idea of the problem. The issue at hand is that the western sheet of ice is already inherently unstable. Further melting complicates that, and puts the whole sheet at critical risk. If the whole thing slipped into the sea, that could cause a rise of up to nine feet. That is beyond cataclysmic. It puts much of humanity at risk, because so many live on coastal areas (turns out humans like water and food, who knew?), many hundreds of millions would be displaced and the accompanying effects would be globe-spanning.At this point, the only way to save the West Antarctic ice sheet would be to radically curtail emissions very soon. Most current estimates, however, suggest that we won’t be nearly so lucky.Numerous gigantic icebergs have “calved” off the main sheet. Chunks the size of whole states have just… slipped into the sea. Thankfully, they don’t directly contribute to sea rise (though the reasons why are a bit complicated, and deal with how buoyant objects affect the volume of fluid they occupy). Icebergs are, however, critical as a sort-of wall to hold back the larger glaciers that sit further inland. As these walls fall, the melting of glaciers accelerates, making the problem worse.I’ll be honest. I’ve written about climate change a lot. And it’s really, really hard to maintain any level of hope for the future. This is grim, folks. Looking at this data every couple of days leaves scars. Knowing that humanity is doomed and that so many are hell-bent on doing absolutely squat.*long, heavy sigh while grabbing a whole bottle of bourbon*Here’s to the end of the world. Hopefully, we can science our way out of it.*downs the bottle*Otherwise, we’re screwed.last_img read more

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Special Representative of ECOWAS President Addresses IPC

first_imgBy Ndey SoweClaude Condor, political adviser and special representative of ECOWAS president said political parties are the blocks of democracy and good governance; that they are the most broad-based political platform in the country’s nascent democracy.Condor made these remarks on Monday June 10th 2019 during the official opening ceremony of the three day training of trainers on the Memorandum of Understanding and Code of Conduct of the Inter Party Committee (IPC) for political parties, held at Tendaba Camp in the Lower River Region.“ECOWAS considers the IPC as a representative of the collective aspirations of Gambians,” he said; that the training of trainers on the MoU and Code of Conduct of the IPC is a significant milestone in the history of the country.Condor said significantly, the IPC seeks to entrench democratic governance in the country; that this is in consonance with the ECOWAS Legal and Conflict Prevention Frameworks, and gave examples to the 1999 Protocol Relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peacekeeping and security, and the 2001 supplementary protocol on democracy and good governance. He said the training program aims to guarantee peaceful and respectful conduct of political activities including electoral campaign and voting. “It is indeed timely as the country is preparing to conduct the next presidential and legislative elections in the country in less than two years,” he said; that it is an activity of the democratic governance program supported by ECOWAS and the EU peace, security and stability mandate project. He urged members to perform their duties effectively and efficiently irrespective of their political affiliation and leaning and to be conscious of the fact that they have a fundamental role to play in building and strengthening democracy at the local, regional and national levels.“This is indeed commendable for the future of democracy in the Gambia,” he said; that ECOWAS’ commitment to the full institutionalization and operationalization of the Inter-Party Committee for its continued steadfastness and aspiration for a better future, for the Gambia.last_img read more

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Clark County retail sales up 65 percent in 4Q

first_imgClark County consumers dug deeper into their wallets to remodel houses, buy new cars and repair their existing vehicles in the last three months of 2010, according to a state report issued Wednesday.The sales boost was especially beneficial to local contractors, sellers of building materials and automobile dealerships, three categories that contributed to the county’s overall 6.5 percent increase in October-to-December retail sales last year. Clark County’s retail sales totaled $1.1 billion, compared with $1 billion in sales for the same three-month period in 2009, according to the Washington Department of Revenue. For the entire year, taxable retail sales in Clark County increased by 3.6 percent to $1.9 billion, much better than the statewide 0.1 percent decline to $100.8 billion in 2010.In Clark County, homebuilders and car sellers said their increase in sales stemmed from the pent-up demand of residents who could no longer put off home and vehicle maintenance. “You can only nurse ‘Old Betsy’ along for so long, and then the car either needs to be replaced or repaired,” said Jon Creedon, owner of the Vancouver Ford dealership, off state Highway 500 and Andresen Road.last_img read more

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Firefighters keep car fire from spreading to home

first_imgFirefighters stopped a vehicle fire from spreading to a Brush Prairie home Tuesday. Crews from Vancouver Fire Department and Clark County Fire District 3 responded to the passenger vehicle fire at about 1:40 p.m. The vehicle was parked next to a home in the 15000 block of Northeast 119th Street. The vehicle sustained major damage, according to fire officials.No one was injured.last_img

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From shy student to IS polemicist

first_imgAs a shy, studious teenager in Alabama, Hoda Muthana rarely made waves. After her abrupt transformation into a fiery supporter of Islamic State extremists, she is under the scanner of the top levels of the US government.The 24-year-old, who has since been married to three different jihadist men and has a toddler son, says she regrets her turn to radicalism and wants to return home — but President Donald Trump has personally intervened to block her.Growing up in Hoover, Alabama, a prosperous suburb of Birmingham with a sizable Muslim community, Muthana was raised by strict Yemeni immigrant parents who forbade her from owning a smartphone — ubiquitous among US teenagers — until she finished high school.The phone opened her world. Muthana says she was pulled in by messages of the Islamic State group which brainwashed her into flying furtively in 2014 to the militants’ self-styled caliphate, which then reigned over vast stretches of Syria and Iraq and had drawn in hundreds of Westerners, mostly Europeans of immigrant upbringing.Once she arrived, social media gave the Alabama girl a global audience among jihadists. In one tweet, she appeared to torch her US passport. In another, she called Americans “cowards” for not coming in greater numbers to the caliphate’s de facto capital of Raqa, Syria where she lived among Australians.In a message preserved by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Muthana hailed the deadly 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, the French newspaper that satirized the Prophet Mohammed, writing “Hats off to the mujs in Paris” and urging similar attacks.Detained by US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria as the Islamic State’s territory dwindles to its last sliver, Muthana said she no longer believes in the extremist ideology.”It’s not Islamic at all. Anyone that says so, I will fight against it,” she told ABC News, speaking in a soft, flat voice and sporting a blue veil.”I’m just a normal human being who has been manipulated once and hopefully never again,” she said.New world on smartphoneJordan LaPorta, who attended Hoover High School with Muthana from 2009 to 2013, said he saw her nearly every day as they took advanced classes together.”We were courteous, and she was a nice, quiet young woman,” he told AFP.”No one, myself included, had any idea that this radicalism was festering when the original story broke in 2015. People far closer to her than I were stunned by the news,” he said.LaPorta, now a student at the University of Alabama Law School, said that Muthana later threatened him for comments he made after her turn to radicalism, by tagging him on Instagram, calling him a “nerd” and saying he “deserved a neck” — a threat he reported to the FBI.Muthana’s father gave her a smartphone when she graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.She “really found a place of belonging on her phone, online,” said Hassan Shibly, a lawyer for the family.Islamic State recruiters “preyed upon her” and “gave her so much attention and played with her mind and they cut her off from her friends, from her family, from her community, from her mosque,” Shibly said.Father feels AmericanIn a highly unusual move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Muthana is not a US citizen, even though she traveled to Syria on a US passport.”This is a woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She is a terrorist. She’s not coming back,” Pompeo told the Fox Business Network on Thursday.The US Constitution’s 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, grants citizenship to everyone born in the country — with the exception of children of diplomats, as they are not under the jurisdiction of the United States.Muthana’s father, Ahmed Ali, served at the Yemeni mission at the United Nations. He filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to affirm his daughter’s citizenship, saying he had left his diplomatic post several months before her birth.In a 2015 interview with BuzzFeed News when his daughter’s case came to light, he voiced sorrow.”America is my country now,” he said. “My kids’ country. And if for me as an American citizen, if asked to me to defend this country, I will defend it.”LaPorta, her classmate, said that Hoover residents in a private Facebook group overwhelmingly said they did not want her back. He said she should return but face charges.”As for me, I do have some degree of sympathy. Young people make mistakes, and she has a young child not implicated in any of this due to any fault of his own,” he said.”But fleeing the country to join a terrorist organization is not an act of mere youthful indiscretion. Actions have consequences.”last_img read more

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Folk goes beyond borders

first_imgWords and languages are not barriers when music runs in your soul. British Council’s collaborative programme Folk Nations is a proof of it. With an amalgamation of tunes from Wales, Scotland, England and India, Folk Nations left the audience wanting for more. The event was organised by The British council and Indian Council of Cultural relation (ICCR) at the Kamani auditorium on Wednesday evening.In early 2013 British Council and the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) ran a residency workshop in Kolkata inviting a group of UK and Indian folk musicians to share their folk music tradition and collaborate in a week of immense music making. What emerged was a group of six gifted musicians –  Patsy Reid (Scotland), Hannah James (England), Georgia Ruth (Wales), Saurav Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Moni (India), Suhail Yusuf Khan (India) and James Mackintosh (Scotland). Their group represents a delicate weaving of UK and Indian folk that speaks immediately to the cultural heritage of these regions as well as its place in the contemporary music industry. Be it Suhail Yusuf Khan’s beautiful folk song Rangi saari gulabi chunariya re with Patsy Reed’s Scottish tunes in perfect sync to it, or Hannah James melancholy number The Three Ravens, with Suhail’s Indian alaaps, the folk music of different countries interwoven together left the audience amazed. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAttar Singh, an advocate, who had come to Kamani auditorium to witness the show said, ‘It is a very good initiative. It’s exciting to listen to music from different lands and how they have been interwoven with Indian folk. The approach is non-traditional but the music is traditional from each of these nations.’The audience, which consisted of many British expatriates, were tapping their feet and clapping along when Saurav Moni performed his song written on a heady draught of Bengal, Allah megh de, Paani de, Chhaya de Tui. The engaging evening ended with Saurav Moni’s song of rowing of the boats Haiyyo re haiyyo with Hannah James performing a tap dance to the tune. Songs of love and death, of romance and life sung in different languages and with foreign tunes left the audience moved. The performance will be repeated on the 17 October in Kolkata and in Shillong on the 19 October.last_img read more

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