Beating the odds: Amazing stories of survival – National

TORONTO – A seamstress has been pulled from the rubble of the Bangladesh building collapse.

After being buried 17 days in the collapsed garment factory, soldiers at the site say the woman, identified as Reshma Begum,  is in remarkably good condition.

VIDEO: Survivor found in Bangladesh rubble (May 10)

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Rescuers stopped all debris removal and used hand saws to cut the woman Begum out from the debris.

A crowd gathered and erupted into cheers after Begum was freed.

Here’s a look at other recent and remarkable stories of survivors found under rubble.

Naqsha Bibi: Rescued after 63 days (2005)

An astonishing 63 days after an earthquake struck Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on October 8, 2005, killing more than 70,000 people, Naqsha Bibi was found alive in the ruins of what was her believed to be her kitchen.

The 40-year-old woman survived on rotting food and rainwater.

Friends and family said they were shocked Bibi managed to survive for so long.

“We were not even looking for her,” said her cousin Faiz Din in an interview with the BBC. “We thought that Naqsha had either fallen down the hill or had gone to live in some relief camp in the city.”

A Pakistani Kashmiri earthquake survivor, Naqsha lies in the intensive care unit (ICU) ward of a hospital in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, December 12, 2005, following her rescue from the rubble.

Getty Images

Evans Monsignac: Rescued after 27 days (2010)

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitute earthquake struck Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

Nearly a month after the disaster, the hope of finding survivors was all but diminished until rescuers pulled out Evans Monsignac, a 27-year-old father of two who said he survived under the rubble by sipping sewage that oozed underneath the marketplace where he was buried.

“I was resigned to death. But God gave me life. The fact that I’m alive today isn’t because of me, it’s because of the grace of God. It’s a miracle, I can’t explain it,” said Monsignac in an intensive care bed at Tampa General Hospital, Florida, shortly after his rescue.

4-month-old baby girl: 3 days (2011)

For three days, family members believed they lost their four-month-old girl after a powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan’s northeast coast.

In the town of Ishinomaki, residents heard what they said sounded like a baby’s cry stemming from a pile of debris. Swaddled in a pink woolen bear suit, the girl was reunited with her parents—both of whom survived the disaster.

A soldier smiles as he holds a four-month-old baby who survived the recent tsunami with her family at Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011.

Getty Images

Kunio Shiga : 4 weeks later (2011)

More than four weeks after the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan in 2011, farmer Kunio Shiga  was found alive—and well—sitting among the rubble of his home.

The 75-year-old was running short on food and had no running water or electricity. His only source of company?  A battery-powered radio that Shiga listened to in hopes that rescuers would find him.

No one ever came.

“The tsunami came right to my doorstep. I don’t know what happened to my wife. She was here, but now she’s gone,” he told the Daily Mail in an interview.

Shiga said his neighbours fled his home city after evacuation orders from authorities but that he was unable to leave due to trouble walking.

– With files from The Associated Press

©2013Shaw Media

Astronauts successfully spacewalk, replace pump outside International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Astronauts making a rare, hastily planned spacewalk replaced a pump outside the International Space Station on Saturday in hopes of plugging a serious ammonia leak.

The prospects of success grew as the minutes passed and no frozen flecks of ammonia appeared. Mission Control said it appeared as though the leak may have been plugged, although more monitoring was needed before declaring a victory.

“No evidence of any ammonia leakage whatsoever. We have an airtight system – at the moment,” Mission Control reported.

WATCH: NASA officials hold a news conference following a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to replace a broken coolant pump.

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Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn installed the new pump after removing the old one suspected of spewing flakes of frozen ammonia coolant two days earlier.

The leak was reported by ISS Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency on Thursday.

“[I saw] a very steady stream of flakes or bits coming out…” Hadfield reported.

Listen: Hadfield tells Mission Control that the ISS crew is ready for a space walk.

Commander Hadfield did not make the EVA. Instead, astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn conducted an investigation.

©2013Shaw Media

Tests confirm Ariel Castro is father of 6-year-old girl found in home: Attorney General – National

Ohio’s attorney general says tests confirm that Ariel Castro is the father of the six-year-old girl who was held captive at his Cleveland home along with Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

The women and the child emerged from the home Monday, about a decade after the women had disappeared.

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Prosecutors said Thursday they may seek the death penalty against Castro, as police charged that he impregnated one of his captives at least five times and then starved her and punched her in the belly until she miscarried.

The horrific allegations were contained in a police report that also said one of the women, Amanda Berry, was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.

Castro was arraigned Thursday on charges of rape and kidnapping after the three women missing for about a decade were found alive at his home earlier in the week.

Police say the women were apparently bound by ropes and chains at times and were kept in different rooms. They suffered prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and had miscarriages, according to a city official briefed on the case.

Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping – covering the captives and the daughter born to Berry – and three counts of rape, against all three women.

©2013The Associated Press

Ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt convicted of genocide in Guatemala, sentenced to 80 years – National

GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan court convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Friday, sentencing him to 80 years in prison, the first such sentence ever handed down against a former Latin American leader.

It was the state’s first official acknowledgment that genocide occurred during the bloody, 36-year civil war, something the current president, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, has denied.

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“He knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out,” said Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios. “Rios Montt is guilty of genocide.”

Read also: Guatemala’s genocide trial – A ‘tangled’ path to justice

The 86-year-old former general laughed, talked to his lawyers and listened to the procedures through headphones. When the guilty verdict was announced, the crowded courtroom erupted in cheers. Some women who lost relatives in the massacres wept.

“Judge, Judge! Restore order!” Rios Montt shouted as cameramen and photographers swarmed him after the verdict was announced.

A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about mass rapes and the killings of women and children and other atrocities.

The proceedings suffered ups and downs as the trial was suspended for 12 days amid appeals and at times appeared headed for annulment.

Survivors and relatives of victims have sought for 30 years to bring punishment for Rios Montt. For international observers and Guatemalans on both sides of the war, the trial could be a turning point in a nation still wrestling with the trauma of a conflict that killed some 200,000 people.

“Rios Montt being found guilty … is a significant step forward for justice and accountability in Guatemala,” said Matthew Kennis, Amnesty International’s chair for Central America-Mexico Coordination Group.

Prosecutors said Rios Montt must have had knowledge of the massacres of Mayan Indians when he ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983 at the height of the country’s 36-year civil war. The three-judge panel essentially concluded that the massacres followed the same pattern, showing they had been planned, something that would not be possible without the approval of the military command, which Rios Montt headed.

Rios Montt had said he never knew of or ordered the massacres while in power. A co-defendant, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, a 68-year-old former general who was a high-ranking member of the military chiefs of staff during Rios Montt’s administration, was acquitted.

The 80-year sentence was somewhat symbolic, given Rios Montt’s age and the fact that Guatemala’s maximum sentence is 50 years. His lawyers vowed to appeal the ruling.

“This is an unjust verdict. We already knew they were going to convict him, the general (Rios Montt) even came with his suitcase packed,” said defence lawyer Francisco Palomo.

Indians from ethnic Mayan groups broke into song after the verdict, singing “We only want to be human beings … to live life, not die it.”

“This is a verdict that is just. This brings justice for the victims, justice for the people of Guatemala,” said Edgar Perez of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation, one of the groups that originally brought the criminal complaint against the ex-dictator a dozen years ago.

Dozens of victims testified of atrocities. A former soldier directly accused President Perez Molina of ordering pillaging and executions while serving in the military during the Rios Montt regime. Perez Molina called the testimony “lies.”

Ixil Indian Benjamin Geronimo, president of the Justice and Reconciliation Association, told the tribunal during closing arguments Thursday that he survived massacres and killings that claimed the lives of 256 members of his community.

“I saw it with my own eyes, I’m not going to lie. Children, pregnant women and the elderly were killed,” said Geronimo, who spoke on behalf of the victims.

Rios Montt testified for the first time at his trial Thursday.

“I declare myself innocent,” Rios Montt told the three-judge tribunal as many in the audience applauded. “It was never my intention or my goal to destroy a whole ethnic group.”

Rios Montt seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he himself was overthrown just over a year later. Prosecutors say that while in power he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter by subordinates of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj, towns in the Quiche department of Guatemala’s western highlands.

Those military offensives were part of a brutal, decades-long counterinsurgency against a leftist uprising that brought massacres in the Mayan heartland where the guerrillas were based.

A U.N. truth commission said state forces and related paramilitary groups were responsible for 93 per cent of the killings and human rights violations that it documented, committed mostly against indigenous Maya. Yet until now, only low or middle-level officials have been prosecuted for war atrocities.

Prosecutors and advocates for victims built their case on thousands of green folders stuffed with military documents, victims’ testimony and ballistic and forensic examinations of human remains, mostly women or children.

The court was packed with representatives of indigenous, human rights and student groups as well as former soldiers and family members of victims.

Military experts testifying for the victims have said this description of the chain of command makes it obvious that the military chief of staff and other high commanders including Rios Montt could have halted the massacres.

The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation carried out more than 60 studies to identify some 800 sets of human remains from the area that was evidence in the trial, the great majority of victims were women and children who suffered violent deaths.

Mayas were treated as an internal enemy because they were seen as lending support to the guerrillas, according to the indictment against Rios Montt.

Rios Montt is the first Latin American strongman to stand trial and be convicted of genocide in his own country.

Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet who ruled from 1973 to 1990 died in 2006, under house arrest, without ever being convicted on charges of illegal enrichment and human rights violations. In Argentina, former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was convicted and sentenced prison, but for charges other than genocide.

Associated Press Writer Olga R. Rodriguez contributed to this report

©2013The Associated Press

Police and AMA drive home dangers of distracted driving – Edmonton

EDMONTON – Some Edmonton teens got behind the wheel on Friday to learn first-hand about the risks of distracted driving. And as they learned, it’s not just texting and driving that can be dangerous.

“A lot of times there’s some everyday distractions that people don’t even think about, such as taking a drink of water or putting on chapstick, eating in the vehicle, dropping something in the vehicle and reaching down to pick it up,” says Rick Lang, manager of Driver Education at the Alberta Motor Association.

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On a closed course at Castrol Raceway, young drivers were asked to perform some of those tasks while trying to navigate through an obstacle course. The results were eye-opening.

“It proved itself to be quite difficult,” admitted one girl.

“If I was going a bit faster I don’t think I’d do as well,” said Omar Abou-Absi. “It sort of made me say ‘wow, that little thing can make you distracted.’”

Studies have shown texting and driving and drinking and driving are almost identical in terms of increasing a person’s risk behind the wheel. Other everyday distractions are not that far behind.

“All it takes is a couple of seconds off the attention span, and there’s the crash,” said Acting Staff Sgt. Kelly Rosnau, with EPS.

“We all believe that we can multi-task, and unfortunately, that’s what distracted driving is. We believe that we can multi-task and operate a vehicle at 60 km/hr without any effect on our abilities,” he added.

In reality, the effects can range from getting honked at or swerving, to hitting something or, worse, someone.

Even though the only items knocked down during Friday’s course were pylons, the drivers who took part in the driving test seem to have gotten the message about the real potential consequences of distracted driving.

“We all think we’re invincible and that nothing can touch us,” said Abou-Absi. “If we were to put every teen in the world through something like this, they would realize that they aren’t right and aren’t invincible, that they could just hurt themselves.”

Lang hopes that the teens who took part in the exercise will now spread the message to their peers. Because so far, police say it doesn’t seem to have sunken in.

Since the beginning of the year, Edmonton police have issued more than 1,700 distracted driving tickets, each ticket costing $172.

With files from Ross Neitz, Global News

B.C. election leaves fledgling Tories in the dust: former member, expert – BC

VANCOUVER – Once believed to be a contender to displace the B.C. Liberal Party against the front-running New Democrats in next week’s provincial election, the BC Conservatives now face grim returns at the ballot boxes, say a former party member and a political expert.

The rise and fall of the provincial Tories has been rapid – Elections BC numbers state the party had only two per cent of the popular vote during the 2009 election, yet the party sat nearly neck-and-neck in the polls with the Liberals three years later.

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But the gains were short-lived, superficial and counterproductive, said John Martin, a former Conservative candidate now running under the Liberal banner.

“They’ve just been having a disaster of a campaign,” he said. “They’re not going to win a seat.”

“When (the BC Conservatives) polled 23 per cent about a year and a half ago, or so, that didn’t equate into membership or donations.”

As a Conservative, Martin ran and lost to the NDP in a Chilliwack-Hope byelection just over a year ago.

Although he secured 25 per cent of the vote, Martin still ranked behind the Liberal candidate – an outcome he said made him realize the so-called free enterprise parties couldn’t usurp Adrian Dix’s NDP while divided.

“It was just a very temporary parking spot for some disgruntled people who wanted to see some things tighten up,” Martin explained.

But Conservative Leader John Cummins, 71, refutes Martin’s comments, saying Conservative doorknockers and candidates tell a different story of the support they’ve received from B.C. voters.

“I understand the polls and the gross numbers,” Cummins said. “But I think this is election is different. There is considerable upset with the Liberals.”

“The response that our people are getting at the doors is simply phenomenal.”

Martin switched party allegiance to Christy Clark’s Liberals about six months after the byelection loss, wanting to unite the counter-NDP vote and improve his own chances of a May 14 election victory, Martin said.

“It wasn’t a matter of leadership,” Martin said of Cummins, despite leaving at a time when the BC Conservatives were plagued with expulsions and resignations.

But Richard Johnston, Canada’s chair of research in public opinion and elections at the University of B.C., said Cummins’ leadership has played a significant roll in the fate of the party.

“In some ways the very thing that made John Cummins more credible than any of his predecessors in living memory was also what made it difficult for him to expand the base more than he has,” Johnston said.

The Conservative leader has largely run a niche “resentment” platform in both federal and provincial politics, Johnston said, and is an “authoritarian figure” within his party.

“He had sort of a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to things and the party bled personnel and credibility along the way. (In) some sense, it was kind of dead-on-arrival,” he said.

When some among his party called for Cummins’ resignation, the leader repeatedly rejected them, instead choosing to can mutinous members.

Cummins’ qualities aren’t those usually associated with the role of premier, Johnston said, adding the Conservatives’ campaign has been flawed from the start.

“What could be improved,” he asked laughing. “Well, if you were willing to run history backwards and start over.”

Several polls showed a drop in public approval for the Conservative leader after last month’s televised leadership debates, a forum Cummins used as a last-ditch attempt to steal votes from the Liberals.

“Everyone knows that the Liberals can’t win this election,” Cummins said at the start of the debates to viewers.

“So you’ve probably tuned in to see what (NDP Leader)Adrian Dix will look like as a premier,” he added.

The Conservative leader pointed out a vote in his direction would send a message – a protest vote.

B.C. Tory success has largely stemmed from voters’ fair-weather disapproval of the Liberals, according to Johnston.

“I think they went up because the Liberals were going down,” he said, largely blaming the harmonized sales tax “fiasco” for the Liberals’ slump. The HST was introduced by the then-Gordon Campbell government and voted down later in a province-wide referendum.

“But then it was over … the Liberals stopped coming apart.”

Johnston said despite a Liberal party that has been “dogged by troubles” in the lead up to the election, the party has nevertheless attracted a number of credible candidates – something the Tory camp has been hard pressed to do.

The Conservatives took a serious hit when four candidates were turfed for various social media blunders, Johnston said, which could have been avoided with a more rigorous screening process.

Two of the candidates – Ian Toothill in Vancouver-False Creek and Mischa Popoff in Boundary-Similkameen – are now running as independents.

An airtight vetting system, however, can be difficult for new parties that don’t have massive funds or ongoing operations, Johnston said.

“As you’re trying to build a candidate group, you kind of take what you can get and they’ve been punished for that,” he said.

Most importantly, Johnston said the Conservatives lack candidates so they’re not even an option in many voters’ minds.

The Conservatives are running 56 candidates in 85 ridings.

Cummins said he believes the Conservatives have a fair shot at winning seats in the Okanagan, the Shuswap, Peace River region, and the eastern Fraser Valley.

“I’m confident we can pick up, you know, a couple of seats out of Richmond,” he added. “We think we can carry the day.”

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as a Liberal stronghold in this province right now and I mean, I know what the polls are saying today … if you take a look at the undecided numbers, and undecideds are still up there.”

Cummins said he’s done the best he can with the limited resources his party has had for the campaign.

“We haven’t been able to get our message out the way that we wanted – obviously – and that’s been a problem, but we fully anticipated that,” he said.

Cummins’ self-dubbed “common-sense” platform includes balanced budgets, fair taxation, fiscal accountability, as well as plans to develop natural resources, the technology sector, and communities rural and northern B.C.

He’s also come out against tolls, foreign workers, and what he calls a punitive carbon tax that hurts consumers, industry, and commuters who lack transit alternatives.

“The support that we’ve been getting demonstrates there is a need for the BC Conservatives,” Cummins said.

But the Conservatives won’t have much of a shot to relive their Social Credit glory days, said the political expert from UBC, even with increased time, resources and a leader with broader appeal than Cummins.

“The province has changed,” Johnston said, adding rural and northern ridings don’t hold as much clout as they did fifty years ago.

“The outlying regions of the province – the Interior and the North – relatively speaking, counted for more demographically than they do now.”

Johnston said the best possible outcome for the BC Conservatives on May 14 would be to elect a few candidates to the legislature in Victoria.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.

The City of Bridges plans to ‘cement’ its title – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – By the end of July it’s expected the Circle Drive South Project will be complete and already there are plans for another big project. This one has the potential of adding two more river crossings by 2017.

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The North Commuter Parkway Project includes a bridge that will cross the river in the city’s far north, linking the Marquis Industrial area with University Heights. A functional planning study has been completed and a report will be up for approval at executive committee on Monday. If approved there, it will move forward to city council for full approval.

This project was a big part of city councillor Zach Jeffries’ campaign platform in Fall 2012. Jeffries says the new bridge is needed to get people from the growing northeast neighbourhoods of his ward across the river to the business district in the northwest.

“This is not a 1 off project, it’s part of a plan to grow Saskatoon to half-a-million people” said Jeffries.

The project includes 9 km of connecting roadway and the proposed size of the bridge has increased from four lanes to six.

The Traffic Bridge hasn’t been forgotten in all of this. Closed to vehicles since August 2010, the city does still recognize it as a necessary crossing to access downtown Saskatoon. Administration is recommending packaging a replacement for the Traffic Bridge in with the North Commuter Parkway Project.

Special projects manager with the city Dan Willems said doing it this way could help curb the cost “it takes advantage of joint financing so the financing can be shared and you also get a more competitive financing scenario based on a larger overall project value.”

Originally, the North Commuter Parkway Bridge was expected to cost $85.6 million. Now by proposing a bridge that’s 2 lanes wider, the price has risen to $118 million. Land and connecting roadways are estimated at $76.3 million and the addition of $35 million to replace the Traffic Bridge brings the dual project to a total cost of $229.5 million. 

“A large portion of our financing plan at this point assumes, or anticipates, a big contribution from the federal and provincial governments” said Willems.

Neither the federal or provincial governments have confirmed funding.

The city is aiming to complete the North Commuter Parkway Project by fall 2016, and the replacement Traffic Bridge, the following year.

Coming up this weekend on the Saturday and Sunday Morning News

Saturday

A shoulder injury sidelined Jasper Moedt’s university basketball career. Soon after his accident he was suffering depression, hearing voices, and having suicidal thoughts. Moedt was able to seek treatment and now helps other people in similar circumstances as a peer mentor for ‘Speak Up’ – a program provided by the Fraser Health Authority. To wrap up Mental Health Week, he will join us at 7:40am to share his story and stress the importance of recognizing early signs and symptoms of mental illness.

Tis the season for fresh BC spot prawns and a spot prawn and octopus salad is on our Saturday Chef’s menu. Chef Julian Bond – President of the Chefs’ Table Society and Program Director of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is organizing the BC Spot Prawn Festival at False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf. His is in studio at 8:20am.

The benefits of soaking up the sun and absorbing vitamin D may outweigh the risks of developing skin cancer, according to new research. And are you limiting the number of nuts you eat because of their fat content? You may not have to. Dr. Art Hister addresses both topics 8:40am.

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Thanks to a scheduling conflict, North America’s top lacrosse players are coming to the lower mainland. The National Lacrosse League Championship is being held at the Langley Events Centre this weekend. Jay sits down with the NLL’s Commissioner George Daniels and the LEC’s Director of Business Development Jared Harman just before 9am.

Since 2009, Denise Walker’s annual ‘Bachelor/Bachelorette Auctions’ have raised tens of thousands of dollars for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and the BC Cancer Foundation. In just 4 years, the events have also led to several marriages and two babies. The fundraising phenom, along with her boyfriend (and former ‘Bachelor’) tell us more about this year’s efforts.

And looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift? Don’t just buy tea for your mom, grow it. GardenWorks expert Leanne Johson shows us an array of teas you can harvest in your own garden.

The Noon News is pre-empted for PGA coverage on Global TV.

Sunday

The ‘Ted Talks’ aren’t officially coming to BC until next year, but that’s not stopping the leaders of tomorrow from bringing their minds together. Grade 7 student Qayam Devji from West Vancouver is curating the first ever [email protected] The conference’s theme is ‘Curiosity and Wonder’ and young speakers from Grades 4 to 12 will be presenting a myriad of different topics. Qayam and event organizer Janet Hicks tell us more at 7:40am.

One of our favourite chefs, Angie Quaale from Well Seasoned, has a delectable Mother’s Day recipe. She takes over the kitchen at 8:20am.

Need automotive advice? Rob MacGregor is our ‘Ask an Expert’ this week. He takes your questions at 8:40am.

The provincial election is only days away. The latest polls show the Liberals closing in on the NDP’s lead. Will it hold? What will the leaders do in these final moments to win over undecided voters? Our pundits, Marcella Munro and Greg Lyle are back for one last heated discussion in our final hour.

The Noon News is pre-empted for PGA coverage on Global TV.

©2013Shaw Media

News anchor Scott Pelley rips journalists, including himself, for lack of care, rash of mistakes – National

NEW YORK – Top CBS News anchor Scott Pelley delivered a tongue-lashing to fellow journalists on Friday, urging them to worry less about the “vanity” of being first on a story and more about being right.

“This has been a bad few months for journalism,” Pelley said. “We’re getting the big stories wrong over and over again.”

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The “CBS Evening News” anchor made the criticism while accepting a journalism award named for broadcast executive Fred Friendly from Quinnipiac University. He didn’t exempt himself, noting that during early reporting of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre last December he mistakenly reported that shooter Adam Lanza’s mother was a teacher in the school.

Media organizations were roundly criticized for falsely reporting an arrest of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect two days after the April 15 attack. Stories and pictures spread quickly on social media websites erroneously suggesting some people on the scene were suspects, and the images were used by some news organizations.

“In a world where everybody is a publisher, no one is an editor,” Pelley said, “and we’ve arrived at the point today.”

Twitter, Facebook and Reddit are “not journalism,” he said. “That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”

He repeated a maxim heard often in newsrooms recently: “If you’re first, no one will ever remember. If you’re wrong, no one will ever forget.”

The race to be first on stories is “vanity,” he said. “It’s self-conceit. We do it to make ourselves feel better.”

Media critic Howard Kurtz apologized this week on his CNN show, “Reliable Sources,” for messing up a story about NBA player Jason Collins and was sharply criticized by other media critics on the air.

Kurtz had written that Collins, who made headlines by being the first active player in one of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues to come out as gay, had hidden a previous engagement to a woman in his announcement. In fact, Collins revealed the engagement in his first-person Sports Illustrated story and in a subsequent ABC interview.

Kurtz’s story was published on The Daily Beast website, which subsequently parted ways with Kurtz in a decision he said was long in the works. Kurtz said the story was riddled with errors and shouldn’t have been written in the first place.

CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker said on Friday that he was comfortable with Kurtz’s apology and had no plans to replace him on the weekly media criticism show.

©2013The Associated Press

Councillor issues shop local challenge – Regina

Family-owned Nature’s Best Market was the first organic grocery store in the city when it opened 19 years ago.  Now, of course, Reginans have more options, but there’s still good reason to shop locally.

“We’re not the only ones anymore; there are three or four stores and I know a lot of customers support all of them,” said Jim Wright, owner of Nature’s Best.

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One of those customers is Ward 3 city councillor Shawn Fraser. He’s issued a challenge to engage people in the political process and support other locally-owned businesses.

“For about three weeks I’m going to shop exclusively, or as exclusively as I can at small businesses within ward three and beyond as they come up and I’m also inviting other people to try and do the same,” he said.

He said this month is a good time to start because people can take in the outdoor Farmer’s Market, Sask Fashion Week and the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. He said you shouldn’t be worried about the cost of taking on the challenge either.

“What we found is we actually don’t spend a lot more money. When we make a trip to the big box store, we end up buying things we weren’t expecting to buy, so we spend the money anyway, just on different things,” said Fraser.

The first annual Discover Saskatchewan trade show going on Friday and Saturday in the Agribition Building at Evraz Place takes shopping locally one step further, promoting products made here and companies that are 100 percent Saskatchewan.

“People don’t know that we have zip lining in Saskatchewan; we have scuba diving in Saskatchewan,” said Lynn McCann, president of We Shop Local and the coordinator of the trade show.

She added, “It’s very surprising that they aren’t aware of even some of the companies around Regina that they don’t know about.”

The trade show runs until 9 pm on Friday and until 6 pm on Saturday.

As campaign winds to an end, party leaders tread well-worn ground – BC

VANCOUVER – With just days left to convince British Columbia voters of their political prowess, party leaders tried to bring their campaign messages home on Friday.

New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix was on a blitz of Vancouver Island, the NDP stronghold where the B.C. Greens are hoping to gain ground — and where the Liberals took the unusual step Friday of taking out a full-page ad in the Island’s largest circulation newspaper touting the strong environmental stance of Green Leader Jane Sterk.

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“Who is strong enough to stand up for B.C.?” asks the banner across the top of the ad.

Immediately below is a photo of Sterk, who “says no to Kinder Morgan, says no to Enbridge Northern Gateway and says no to tanker traffic off our coast,” it said.

In comparison, the ad said Dix and the NDP are “flip-flopping.”

Dix said the Liberals will say anything and do anything to stay in power.

“What the Liberals are saying is: `Our path to get to power is for you to vote Green,’” he said at a campaign event in Esquimalt.

“I say: The way to change the government, to get a new and better government, is to vote NDP.”

The New Democrats held 10 of 14 seats on the Island, where the B.C. Green party has its best hope of a breakthrough next week.

Dix started his day in the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding currently held by Liberal cabinet minister Ida Chong, and where climate scientist Andrew Weaver is running for the Greens in what is now considered a three-way race.

Indeed, Sterk spent Friday as she has spent most of the campaign — meeting voters face to face in the few ridings where she believes the Greens have a real chance of victory.

The New Democrats spent the day making whistlestops the length of the island, while Premier Christy Clark held court at the Port of Metro Vancouver.

Clark brought four weeks of campaigning together at the shipping hub, saying getting B.C.’s and Canada’s natural resources to Asian markets is vital to the province’s economic future.

“This is the place that connects Canada to the world. It is right here in our city, in our province,” Clark said as the port bustled below, cranes loading and unloading ships traversing the Pacific.

“We have a responsibility to make sure this port is working for the people in Saskatchewan, the people in Ontario, the people in Quebec, across the country that need to get their goods to Asia.”

A New Democrat government would say no to the natural resource developments that keep the port running, Clark said.

The people of Alberta were notably absent from the list.

Clark has negotiated more than four weeks of campaigning without resolving the outstanding issue of whether or not a Liberal government in Victoria would support two controversial pipeline projects that would allow land-locked Alberta to expand the customer base for its oil beyond the United States.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford has said the neighbouring province faces a $6-billion revenue shortfall this year because oilsands crude fetches a discounted price in its sole market.

Clark has not declared support for or against the Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan pipelines throughout the campaign, but she issued a dire warning Friday about B.C.’s role in keeping the Canadian economy going.

“Canada cannot afford to have this province become a `have-not’ province, that fails to contribute to Confederation, again,” Clark said as port workers and Andy Smith, president of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association, looked on.

“British Columbians need us to succeed, absolutely… but every Canadian is depending on us too this time because there aren’t a lot of `have’ provinces left in this country.”

Smith, who hosted the premier’s event at the federal port, said his association supports the B.C. Liberals.

“My view on politics is driven by economics. As the BCMEA, we understand that there has to be a perception that this province is friendly to investment,” he said.

“An NDP government puts a chill on that kind of investment.”

©2013Shaw Media

Southwest Alberta ranchers losing cattle to grizzly bears – Lethbridge

It appears some southern Alberta cattle producers are facing an extra challenge this spring.

Dozens of ranchers claim their calves have been killed by grizzly bears.

“It’s getting to where the bears are getting bolder,” said Calvin Walper, strolling on his Twin Butte property where he’s encountered nearly a dozen bears, recently losing five-to-six head of cattle per year.

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Nanjing Night Net

“In the fall they’re a little smaller,” Walper said. “Being a 600 lb. animal, a bear can take them to the bush over there and feast on it.”

The problem isn’t exclusive to this ranch.

Fish & Wildlife officers say at least nine cattle in southwest Alberta have been killed since mid-April, with several others missing.

“It’s the combination of such a late green-up, not much fruit for the bears, and such a high density of grizzly bears between Twin Butte and Waterton,” said Perry Abramenko, who helps oversee the Pincher Creek district.

Walper claims the grizzlies are getting so accustomed to human contact, they’re coming within three metres of his family’s home. In one instance last year, two bears were found lounging where the family parks their vehicles.

“The dog started barking so we went outside, and here we have two bears just hanging out as if it was their yard as well,” said Walper.

Trapping is one form of controlling the grizzly population. When ranchers see a bear on their property, they’re warned to call wildlife officers right away.

“We come on-site to work the rancher to mitigate these conflicts,” said Abramenko. “Whether it’s helping with securing the attractant or removing the offending bear and helping them protect their livestock.”

If the bear isn’t caught in the act, says Walper, evidence of a conflict is tougher to come by, which means a producer may not be compensated for losing livestock.

“Our hands are tied,” he said. “There are bears being trapped, but where do they take them?”

“We can’t just keep taking problem bears and giving them to someone else because it’s a problem.”

He suggests a form of cull may be the safest option, balancing business with the environment, before it’s a human being instead of a calf being attacked.

SIU investigating, man fined after he climbs a tree in Kensington Market – Toronto

TORONTO – The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating an altercation between Toronto police and a man in his 20s.

The cause of the incident: The man was climbing a tree.

Twenty-two-year-old Dylan Deziel was climbing a tree in Kensington Market last Thursday when he was ordered to come down by a Toronto Police Officer.

“I came down from the tree and he started to handcuff me,” Deziel said. “I pulled away, right. I didn’t want to be arrested.”

But it’s what happened next that infuriated Deziel and his mother.

“He tripped me and I fell face first into that puddle right there,” Deziel said while standing beside the tree he was at. “Scratching my nose, beating up my lips and breaking my collar bone.”

When he was on the ground, he said, he was handcuffed.

He was also handed a $356 permit for climbing a tree without a permit.

Climbing a tree is, in fact, illegal according to city by-laws.

“No person shall in a park: Unless authorized by permit, climb, move or remove the whole or any part of a tree, rock, boulder, rock face or remove soil, sand or wood,” according to Toronto Municipal Code 608-6-C.

Prior to Deziel’s fine, the city confirmed to Global News, that bylaw had never been enforced.

And there has never been a complaint filed about a person climbing a tree.

However, the oddity of the bylaw doesn’t stop – if you want to obtain a permit to climb a tree in Toronto – you can’t, according to city staff.

“The intent is to protect the trees and individuals and there are circumstances where we might have an arborist competition or a contractor may be doing work in our parks and a permit is required under those circumstances,” Ray Stukas a Manager with the parks division of the city of Toronto said.

The Special Investigations Unit continues to investigate.

Nanjing Night Net

©2013Shaw Media