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A look back at the debate over Rogers Place as it sets to open in Edmonton

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

In a few days, Rogers Place will open to Edmontonians after years of debate.

In July 2008, Daryl Katz finally spoke to the media in person after becoming the owner of the Edmonton Oilers.  But even before that significant change, there was talk of a new barn for the beloved team.

“I was on the board of the Oilers Community Foundation;  I was on the board of Northlands,” Lyle Best tells Global News, when asked to look back on the long arena debate.

Best, an Edmonton entrepreneur, chaired the arena feasibility committee which endorsed the idea of a new arena in downtown Edmonton.

“The vitriol and the stuff they would toss at me and other committee members, but particularly me, it was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t think these people walked among us?,’” Best says.

 “If anything, this is a tremendous deal for taxpayers,” former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel says.

Watch below: ‘It’s a great time for the city’: Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel weighs in on opening of Rogers Place

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    Vitriol was also directed at Mandel.  He became the political face of the project.  Now, as a private citizen, he indicates no regrets about the deal.

    “I’m excited, it’s a tremendous opportunity for the city,” Mandel says, adding one of the goals of the project was “to build cities.”

    But before any building could happen, a deal had to be reached.  The battle lines were drawn quickly.

    READ MORE: Mandel begs province to support the downtown arena

    The Katz Group pushed Northlands to the side, wanting no partnership with the non-profit to run the new facility.

    Negotiations led to a trip to New York City in October 2011, where former mayor Mandel and a city team – along with Daryl Katz and his side – met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

    About a year later, as negotiations dragged on, the Oilers’ owner and an entourage visited Seattle, a city without an NHL franchise, but on the hunt to secure one.

    Many saw the moved as a veiled threat to move the team.  Days after the trip, Katz issued an apology.

    READ MORE: Oilers owner Daryl Katz apologizes to ‘Oilers fans everywhere’

    But the civic soap opera was far from over.  After new demands were presented, city council unanimously voted to cease negotiations in October 2012, leaving Katz Group officials stunned.

    “There were so many times during that period where I’d read a story or hear something and you’d go, ‘This is it,”’ Best says.

    “Forming those public/private partnerships is never easy,” the Edmonton Arena Corporation’s Bob Black says.

    Years later, overlooking Rogers Place as workers put the final touches on the facility, Black explains the debate was a “foreign process” to the company.

    READ MORE: Numbers connected to Edmonton’s Rogers Place construction will blow your mind

    Executives were not prepared for the fact the public process required consultation and public oversight.

    “It took us a long time to really grasp that process,” Black adds.  “We worked hard at trying to really understand that process.  But we had to come to a realization it was going to be slower than we’d wished for.”

    By May 2013, a deal was reached just months before the 2013 civic election.  Construction on the facility started in March 2014.

    Watch below: Sarah Kraus got a tour of the nearly completed Rogers Place in May 2016.

    The deal will see the Edmonton Arena Corporation – a Katz Group company – operate the city-owned facility and pay maintenance expenses.  But the company will also get all the revenues.

    “The critcism of the deal itself is that this is simply the privatization of public profit,” Jay Scherer, a University of Alberta researcher writing a book on the arena deal, laments.

    “Council had a number of key opportunities to certainly push back and to demand a better deal for citizens of Edmonton,” Scherer criticizes.

    “Luck and timing is always important,” Best says.

    For the local politicians who supported the proposal, the deal was about two things:  keeping the Oilers in Edmonton and finding a catalyst project to spark increased development downtown.

    As part of the deal, the Katz Group had to commit to spend $100 million in new development.

    Since arena construction started, the company and its partner – WAM Development Group – have announced the creation of Ice District with two office towers, a hotel, residences and retail.  The investment stands at more than $2 billion within a couple of blocks of Rogers Place.

    “It’s going to be a net gain if for no other reason than just the development around it and having a vibrant, live downtown,” Best says.

Players in Edmonton appear to knock record out of the park at world’s longest baseball game attempt

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

Dozens of exhausted but smiling baseball players wrapped up a truly epic ball game that unofficially set a record in Edmonton Monday.

While it still needs to be certified by officials with Guinness World Records, the players appear to have set a record for the world’s longest baseball game while also swinging for the fences in an effort to try and help strike out cancer.

Once the game wrapped up around noon on Monday, the final score was a staggering 378 runs for Team Red and 269 runs for Team Black after 269 innings of ball.

The game started Friday and was organized by Brent Saik who started the world’s longest hockey game in 2003. It was held in memory of his father, Terry, who died of cancer.

IN PHOTOS: World’s Longest Hockey Game at Saiker’s Acres

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    The summer after the first hockey game, Saik’s first wife Susan also succumbed to cancer. Her death prompted the next hockey game in 2005 to be played in her name. The hockey game has since been held in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

    Saik said the epic baseball game saw a range of emotions play out on the field.

    “It’s just a mess of laughing, crying and everything.”

    READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: World’s longest baseball game attempt underway in Edmonton

    Participants hoped to raise $250,000 for cancer research by playing the game, a number organizers said they surpassed.

    “To raise a quarter-of-a-million bucks is unbelievable,” Saik said. “And when you do the math, that number is very close to the hockey game. We did this in 72 hours and hockey was 252.”

    “This thing has saved lives and every one of these players know that and that’s why they come here.”

    For more information on the game or to donate to the cause, visit the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s website.

    If the record is certified, the 72-hour game will set a new benchmark for baseball games after the record was last set in Sauget, Illinois in 2015.

    “We’re talking about world’s longest football game next,” Saik said with a laugh after the game Monday.

    -with files from Caley Ramsay

    Watch below: The record still needs to be certified but over the long weekend, a 72-hour baseball game set an unofficial record for how long it was played and also helped raise money to fight cancer. But despite the serious motivation behind the record attempt, the players made sure to get in a few laughs as well. Kevin Karius explains.

    Watch below: The world’s longest baseball game got underway in Edmonton on Friday, raising funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Global’s Kevin Karius took part and on Sept. 2, 2016, he was at the ballpark with founder Brent Saik. 

    Dozens of ball players in Edmonton pose for a photo at the Edmonton Ball Park after playing a 72-hour game. Sept. 5, 2016.

    Morris Gamblin/ Global News

4 suspects wanted after woman allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint in Vaughan

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

Police are searching for four suspects wanted in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a woman at gunpoint in Vaughan.

According to Toronto police, the woman was kidnapped from the Highway 27 and Langstaff Road area around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police said the woman was driven to Toronto’s Weston Road and Imogene Avenue area, south of Finch Avenue West, where she was able to escape and later report the incident to police.

Investigators have released the identities of two wanted suspects.

Rasha Al-Enzi, 33, of Toronto.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

Trevor Smithen, 32, of Toronto.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

Police are looking for 32-year-old Trevor Smithen and 33-year-old Rasha Al-Enzi, both of Toronto.

Smithen is described as standing 6’1” and weighing 181 pounds. He has his hair in cornrows. He has the word “TRUM” tattooed on his right forearm and the word “TREVOR” tattooed on his left forearm.

Al-Enzi is described as standing standing 5’5” and weighing 100 pounds. She has multiple tattoos on her arms.

Two additional men are also wanted, but they have yet to be identified.

Police believe the suspects are travelling in a grey, four-door 2016 Chevrolet Sonic with the Ontario licence plate BZKN 727.

Officers encouraged anyone who sees the suspects or vehicle to immediately call 911 as police believe the suspects might be armed.

Anyone with information about the investigation is being asked to contact 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

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Peter Mansbridge retiring: 5 things to know about the CBC News host

Written on April 24, 2019 at 16:18, by

CBC News host Peter Mansbridge has been an absolute staple in Canadian households since he began anchoring The National in 1988, with his trademark low voice and measured tone.

On Monday night, Mansbridge, 68, announced that he’s retiring from his post in July 2017 after a long career.

He made a statement about leaving his role as anchor, saying that the 2017 Canada Day celebrations (which will fete our country’s 150th birthday) will most likely be his swan song.

READ MORE: #GordDowniesCanada: Beautiful pictures of Canada trend for Tragically Hip singer

“This next year will mark 30 years since I was named chief correspondent and anchor of The National… a position that’s an honour and a privilege to occupy. It’s been an amazing time to help chronicle our history, but I’ve decided that this year will be my last one,” he said. “I’ve let the CBC know that I’d like to step down from The National next July 1st — shortly after anchoring our very special Canada Day coverage for 2017.

As someone who believes strongly in public broadcasting, leaving the CBC’s flagship won’t be easy, but what’s important is that The National of the future will continue to reflect our world, our country and our people. There will be more to say about the future in the days to come, but now it’s time to focus on the new season and here at the National we will be doing just that.”

Mansbridge began his career in journalism at the age of 19 when he was offered a job at a local CBC radio station in Churchill, Man., after the station manager heard his voice over the intercom at the airport.

Mansbridge now resides in Stratford, Ont. There has been no mention of a replacement anchor for The National once Mansbridge is out.

Fans and Canadians of all stripes posted their thoughts on 桑拿会所 — some supportive, others using humour — following his announcement.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter protesters disrupt flights at London City Airport

—;

Here are five things you may not know about Peter Mansbridge:

1. Born in London, England in 1948, Mansbridge began his radio career in 1968 in Churchill where he helped develop CBC Radio’s news service to Northern Canada.

2. Mansbridge joined CBC Radio in Winnipeg as a reporter in 1971 and joined CBC Television the following year. He became The National‘s reporter in Saskatchewan in 1975, joined the network’s parliamentary bureau in Ottawa in 1976 and became chief correspondent and anchor of The National in 1988.

3. Mansbridge, who has covered every federal election since 1972 and has anchored all 10 since 1984, remains the only Canadian journalist to interview both U.S. President Barack Obama and former British Prime Minister David Cameron.

4. Mansbridge has won 13 awards for excellence, is an officer of the Order of Canada and has nine honorary degrees from eight Canadian universities and one in the United States. He was named Chancellor of Mount Allison University in New Brunswick in 2009 and named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame earlier this year.

5. He has hosted eight Olympic Opening Ceremonies (Seoul in 1988, Albertville in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Athens in 2004, Torino in 2006, Beijing in 2008, Sochi in 2014 and Rio in 2016).

With files from 

Peter Mansbridge Timeline | PrettyFamous

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Justin Trudeau honours fallen Canadian soldiers in Hong Kong

Written on April 24, 2019 at 16:18, by

HONG KONG – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid homage Tuesday to Canadian soldiers who died after fighting to defend Hong Kong during the Second World War.

On the final day of his week-long visit to China, Trudeau toured the mountainside Sai Wan War Cemetery. He also laid a wreath at a memorial engraved with the names of Canadian soldiers.

Trudeau walked past several rows of graves bearing the names of Canadians – each decorated with a single poppy and the Maple Leaf.

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There are 1,505 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried in the cemetery, including 283 Canadians who died after engaging the Japanese. Of those Canadian casualties, 107 were unidentified.

READ MORE: Will Trudeau open the door to Chinese foreign investment?

Local historian Tony Banham, who specializes in Hong Kong during the Second World War, joined Trudeau on his tour of the cemetery.

“To us in Hong Kong – I’ve been here 30-odd years – people don’t forget,” Banham told reporters afterwards.

“This casualty rate was horrendous and people from Canada and other countries who came here didn’t have to be here.

“They came here to attempt to defend Hong Kong. Hong Kong fell to the Japanese and for the next three years, eight months Hong Kong had a really terrible time. So, these people will not be forgotten.”

Banham said many of the Canadians buried in the cemetery died after the battle as prisoners of war.

On Tuesday, Trudeau also met with billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing, chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings, at his cavernous office on the 70th floor of a Hong Kong tower. Li is considered one of the richest people in Asia.

READ MORE: ‘Canada cares deeply about its citizens in difficulties abroad’: Trudeau on prisoners held overseas

Shortly after they sat down, the prime minister talked to Li about Canada’s connections with China, Hong Kong, and Asia in general.

Later Tuesday, Trudeau will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and meet with the chief executive of Hong Kong.

Peter Mansbridge to step down in July 2017

Written on April 24, 2019 at 16:18, by

TORONTO – Veteran CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge announced Monday night that his last day on The National will be next summer.

The network says Mansbridge will retire from the helm of its flagship news program after anchoring special Canada Day coverage next July 1, when the country will mark its 150th birthday.

Mansbridge’s career has spanned nearly five decades, including 28 years at the helm of the desk as anchor and chief correspondent.

The CBC says he has covered every federal election since 1972 and anchored all 10 since 1984. He has also hosted eight Olympic ceremonies, won 12 Gemini Awards and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.

Mansbridge, who is 68, began his career in journalism at the age of 19 when he was offered a job at a local CBC radio station in Churchill, Man., after the station manager heard his voice over the intercom at the airport.

He went on to help develop CBC Radio’s news service for Northern Canada before moving to Winnipeg as a radio reporter in 1971 and then joining CBC Television in 1972.

Mansbridge became chief correspondent and anchor 16 years later, taking over from Knowlton Nash.

Mansbridge was born in London, England, and now resides in Stratford, Ont.

“As someone who believes strongly in public broadcasting, leaving the CBC’s flagship will not be easy,” Mansbridge told viewers Monday night. “But what’s important is that ‘The National’ of the future will continue to reflect our world, our country and our people.”

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What you need to know about Philippine President Duterte’s deadly anti-drug campaign

Written on April 24, 2019 at 16:18, by

Philippine President Rodrigro Duterte made it clear Monday he has no interest in what Barack Obama thinks about his heavy-handed war on drugs and the extrajudicial killings associated with it.

WATCH: Obama calls Philippines president ‘colourful guy’

Duterte’s outburst, in which he vowed to “swear at” Obama should the U.S. president bring up the killings of suspected drug dealers, led to White House cancelling a planned meeting between the two leaders during a Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Laos this week.

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“I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions. Putang ina I will swear at you in that forum,” Duterte said, using the Tagalog phrase for son of a bitch.

READ MORE: Obama cancels meeting with new Philippine President Duterte

Since Duterte was inaugurated June 30, as many as 2,400 people have died amid a nationwide crackdown on the drugs in the Philippines.

“We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars —; or below the ground, if they so wish,” CNN reported Duterte as saying in his State of the Nation speech on July 25.

READ MORE: 1,800 drug-related killings over last 7 weeks in Philippines

The extrajudicial killings have alarmed the U.S., the United Nations and human rights alike, especially given that more than half of the killings appear to have been at the hands of vigilantes.

According to the Philippine National Police, police officers have killed more than 1,000 people suspected of having involvement in the drug trade. But nearly 1,400 deaths were considered “under investigation.”

READ MORE: Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte declares ‘state of lawlessness’ following bombing in Davao

Duterte has openly endorsed vigilante killings of drug dealers, drug addicts and other alleged criminals, on multiple occasions prodding everyday citizens to take matters into their own hands.

“If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself,” he reportedly told an audience of approximately 500 people in a Manila slum on June 30.

“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun … you have my support,” CNN reported him saying during a televised speech on June 6. “Shoot him [the drug dealer] and I’ll give you a medal.”

Duterte hasn’t taken kindly to international condemnation of his campaign to root out criminals.

WATCH: Puppets portray President Duterte’s war on drugs in Philippine schools 

UN human rights experts last month called on Duterte and his government to put an end to extra-judicial killings, saying: “Allegations of drug-trafficking offences should be judged in a court of law, not by gunmen on the streets.”

“Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the Government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard said in an Aug. 18 statement.

Duterte called the UN experts “stupid” and threatened to leave the world body.

WATCH: Philippines’ President Duterte goes on angry rant against U.N.

There’s no sign he’s going to let up his anti-drug crusade anytime soon.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, whom Duterte tasked with overseeing the crackdown, warned Monday no one is immune from facing punishment if suspected of being involved in crime.

“Rest assured, we do not discriminate,” Agence France-Press reported Dela Rosa as saying. “All of them, the rich, the poor, police, civilians… even if you are a politician, you will die if you are into drugs and you fight back.”

With files from The Associated Press

Tweet to @nick_logan

Donald Trump has a ‘bizarre attraction to dictators,’ according to Hillary Clinton

Written on April 24, 2019 at 16:18, by

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday expressed concern about “credible reports” of Russian interference in the U.S. election and accused Donald Trump of being fixated on dictators including Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Taking questions from reporters for more than 20 minutes on her campaign plane, Clinton said both Democrats and Republicans should be concerned about Russia’s behavior.

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“The fact that our intelligence professionals are now studying this and taking it seriously raises some grave questions about potential Russian interference with our electoral process,” Clinton said.

“We are facing a very serious concern. We’ve never had a foreign adversarial power be already involved in our electoral process. … We’ve never had the nominee of one of our major parties urging the Russians to hack more,” she said.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump crisscross in Cleveland

Trump, the Republican nominee, has praised Putin, the president of Russia, and has called on Moscow to dig up tens of thousands of “missing” emails from Clinton’s time as head of the U.S. State Department. He later said his comments were meant to be sarcastic.

WATCH: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent Labour Day trying to firm up support, with just 64 days until Election Day. Jackson Proskow looks at the big push from the candidates and the roadblocks they still face.

Clinton has previously tied Russian intelligence services to the cyber hack on the Democratic National Committee.

Asked on Monday if she believed the Russian government was trying to help elect her opponent, Clinton paused.

“I often quote a great saying that I learned from living in Arkansas for many years: If you find a turtle on a fencepost it didn’t get there by itself,” she said. “I think it’s quite intriguing that this activity has happened around the time Trump became the nominee.”

Clinton, a former secretary of state and a former first lady, has drawn criticism for not holding regular press conferences. On Monday she took questions on an array of topics for more than 20 minutes.

WATCH: Trump says he expects to do all three debates

Clinton dismissed concerns about her health as one of many conspiracy theories that were lobbed against her. She blamed seasonal allergies for a sustained coughing fit at an earlier event in Ohio. During the question and answer session on her plane, she also had to step away because of persistent coughing.

Clinton, whose use of a private email account during her time as secretary of state has dogged her 2016 presidential campaign, said she understood and took classification seriously when she was President Barack Obama’s top diplomat.

Clinton said that the attacks on her family’s foundation were not rooted in fact and sidestepped a question on whether her daughter, Chelsea, should step down from the foundation’s leadership if she is elected in November.

Syrian refugees face off against Calgary Police in soccer tournament

Written on March 24, 2019 at 17:47, by

For many Syrian refugees displaced from home – just the thought of playing a game of soccer was a dream.

But that dream came true Monday for some recent newcomers to Calgary as they faced off against an unlikely opponent.

The Syrian Soccer Sons team played soccer alongside members of the Calgary Police Service in a friendly match Monday – an idea that simply wasn’t an option back home.

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    “This is breaking so many barriers and breaking walls of fears, sending them the message in Canada anything is possible,”  said Sam Nammoura of the Calgary Syrian Refugee Support Group. “Just to be close to the police, is considered an achievement.”

    Many players participating in Monday’s game were sitting in a refugee camp up until a few months ago, merely dreaming of a moment like this.

    “This is not a field of soccer,”  Nammoura said. “This is a field of dreams.”

    Now the refugee are making the most of their opportunities on Canadian soil.

    “They’ve played in pouring rain, and terrible summer weather and they show up determined and happy to be there,” volunteer Kerri Workman said.

    The officers, meanwhile, are happy to welcome the group and hoping to change any misconceptions they might have about police.

    “Where they’re from, the trust of police is completely different,” acting Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley said. “We are not unlike them. We have our families here, and we love soccer.”

    Monday’s soccer game is a launch event before Wednesday’s North American Police Soccer Tournament, being held at the Calgary Rugby Union at 11 a.m.

    -With files from Bindu Suri

Boy who didn’t want to learn CPR during summer break ends up saving sister’s life

Written on March 24, 2019 at 17:47, by

A 12-year-old Missouri boy who told his mom he didn’t want to learn CPR during the summer break is crediting the same class for helping to save his sister’s life.

Kyle Prater, 12, from Cottleville was enjoying time off school during the summer when his friend’s mother suggested the kids should take CPR classes as a local library.

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“I called my mom and said, ‘I really don’t want to do this’ [but] she made me do it anyway,” said Prater to NBC affiliate KSDK News.

“It was not something I really even thought about,” said Prater’s mother, Kimberly, to KSDK. “It’s definitely going to be beneficial.”

Little did the family know that a few weeks later that 20-minute free class would end up saving Kyle’s nine-year-old sister, Camdon’s, life.

Kimberly said they had all gone out for ice cream when she looked in her rear view mirror and saw Camdon begin to choke on her cone.

“I hurried up and pulled over, I flew out of the car and pulled open the back door,” she told KSDK.

But Prater had everything under control.

I pulled my sister out of the seat and gave her the Heimlich maneuver,” said Prater.

He even told his mom “I got this.”

Kimberly said that Camdon was crying really hard and hugging her brother.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done. It just makes me realize how important it is,” Kimberly told KSDK. “It makes me emotional.”

According to David Lewis, assistant chief of the St. Charles ambulance district in Missouri, it doesn’t take a long time for permanent damage to occur when someone who is lacking oxygen.

“Brain death or hypoxy can occur from lack of oxygen in just four minutes,” Lewis told KSDK.

KSDK reported that it could take an ambulance in the area on average five minutes to make it to a scene.

All-in-all it was a scary realization of the importance it is to know CPR – and for one young boy the ability to save his sister’s life.

KSDK also wrote Prater will be given a commendation for his quick-thinking and has been asked to serve as an honorary Heimlich instructor.

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Decades after Vietnam War, Laos grapples with unexploded bombs

Written on March 24, 2019 at 17:47, by

Almost half a century later, scars from the U.S. Air Force’s bombings are still visible in Laos’ Xieng Khouang Province, the area in the impoverished country most heavily bombed during the Vietnam War.

From 1964 to 1973, U.S. warplanes dropped more than 270 million cluster munitions on Laos, one-third of which did not explode, according to the Lao National Regulatory Authority for unexploded ordnance (UXO).

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The bombings were part of a CIA-run, secret operation aimed at destroying the NorthVietnamese supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh trail and wiping out its communist allies. They left a trail of destruction in Laos, with U.S. planes also using the country as a dumping ground for bombs when their original target was unavailable and planes couldn’t land with explosives.

READ MORE: President Obama presents Congressional Medal of Honor to 86-year-old Vietnam veteran

U.S. bombs are still killing in Laos  – over 20,000 people have been killed or injured since the bombing stopped.

Kek, 28, is one of many U.S. bomb legacy victims, after losing both his hands when accidentally detonating a bomb while searching for scrap metal. Many of the homes in his area are held up by U.S. bomb shells serving as pillars.

Fifty-eight percent of those killed or injured by unexploded bombs in Laos from 2013 to 2015 were under the age of 14, according to UK-based Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which has been helping to find and destroy UXO in Phaxay district since June.

International organizations like MAG have been working with local villagers, training them to uncover bombs and educating them on what to do when they encounter suspicious objects.

Toui Bounmy Sidavong, 43, holds a bomb dropped by the U.S. Air Force planes during the Vietnam War, in the village of Ban Napia in Xieng Khouang province, Laos September 3, 2016.

REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Yianyang Bounxieng, 28, is a villager working as a support officer for MAG, and says the arduous task of clearing the explosives will help local families live better lives.

Using beeping metal detectors, a team of local technicians survey a hillside for unexplodedbombs. They find a BLU-26 cluster bomb, the size of a tennis ball, and mark it for demolition. As many as 106 other BLU-26 bombs have been found on the site over the past two months.

READ MORE: Obama lifts decades-old arms embargo against Vietnam

It is still unclear how long removing the threat of unexploded bombs will actually take, though a few estimates exist.

Neil Arnold, MAG’s technical operations manager, says a technical survey providing a clearer picture of the scale of the problem is expected in five years time. He also estimates it will take another 20 years to get to the stage of having just “residual risk” in the country.

Without a promising timeframe to finally remove all unexploded bombs, some locals in Napia Village have decided to work with it – a home factory in the area turns the scraps of metal from bomb shells into spoons.

Addressing the legacy of war in Laos will be a focus of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip toLaos this week, during which he will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and East Asia Summit.

Obama, the first U.S. president to visit Laos, is expected to announce more funding to help clear the leftover bombs and conduct Laos’ first national survey on unexploded ordnance.

“If America feels guilty,” says local village Vanvissa Vandee, “I want them to come and help completely dispose the remaining explosives from Laos.”

Land-locked Laos remains largely agricultural with around 80 percent of the population reliant on agriculture. Some land is simply too dangerous to farm.

Phyllis Schlafly, outspoken conservative activist, dies at 92

Written on March 24, 2019 at 17:47, by

ST. LOUIS – Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, has died. She was 92.

Schlafly died Monday afternoon of cancer at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said.

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Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold three million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited for helping conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona earn the 1964 GOP nomination.

She later helped lead efforts to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination, galvanizing the party’s right. She’d graduated from college while working overnight at a factory during World War II, her newspaper column appeared in dozens of newspapers and she was politically active into her 90s — including attending every convention since her first in 1952.

Yet she told The Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972 in suburban St. Louis, where she lived. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members.

“I’ve taught literally millions of people how to participate in self-government,” Schlafly said. “I think I’ve built a wonderful organization of volunteers, mostly women but some men, willing to spend their time to get good laws and good politicians.”

In this Aug. 10, 1976, file photo, women opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment sit with Phyllis Schlafly, left, national chairman of Stop ERA, at hearing of Republican platform subcommittee on human rights and responsibilities in a free society in Kansas City, Mo.

AP Photo

The Eagle Forum pushes for low taxes, a strong military and English-only education. The group is against efforts it says are pushed by radical feminists or encroach on U.S. sovereignty, such as guest-worker visas, according to its website, which describes the Equal Rights Amendment as having had a “hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages.”

As momentum grew in the 1970s for the amendment, Schlafly became its most outspoken critic — and was vilified by its supporters. She had a pie smashed into her face and pig’s blood thrown on her, and feminist Betty Friedan once told Schlafly: “I’d like to burn you at the stake.” She was chastised in a 1970s “Doonesbury” — a framed copy of which hung on her office wall.

“What I am defending is the real rights of women,” Schlafly said at the time. “A woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother.”

Thirty-five states ratified the amendment, three short of the necessary 38. Schlafly said amendment supporters couldn’t prove it was needed.

“They were never able to show women would get any benefit out of it,” she told the AP in 2007. “It (the U.S. Constitution) is already sex-neutral. Women already have all the rights that men have.”

Saint Louis University history professor Donald Critchlow, who profiled Schlafly in his 2005 book, “Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade,” said the defeat of the amendment helped revive conservatism and helped pave the way for Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

“What the ERA (defeat) did was show the right, and especially Reagan strategists, that a new constituency could be tapped to revitalize the right. It allowed the right to take over the party,” Critchlow told the AP shortly after his book was written.

Schlafly was born Aug. 15, 1924, and grew up in Depression-era St. Louis. Her parents were Republican but not politically involved.

Her own activism was born partly out of convenience. With the country involved in World War II during her college years, Schlafly worked the graveyard shift at the St. Louis Ordnance Plant. Her job included testing ammunition by firing machine-guns. She would get off work at 8 a.m., attend morning classes, then sleep in the middle of the day before doing it all over again.

The schedule limited her options for a major. “In order to pick classes to fit my schedule I picked political science,” Schlafly recalled in the 2007 interview.

She graduated from Washington University in 1944, when she was 19. Her first taste of real politics came at age 22, when she guided the 1946 campaign of Republican congressional candidate Claude Bakewell, helping him to a major upset win.

In 1952, with her young family living in nearby Alton, Illinois, Schlafly’s husband, attorney John Schlafly Jr., was approached about running for Congress. He declined, but she ran and narrowly lost in a predominantly Democratic district. She also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1970.

Schlafly earned a master’s degree in government from Harvard in 1945. She enrolled in Washington University School of Law in 1976, and at age 51, graduated 27th in a class of 204.

Schlafly received an honorary degree at Washington University’s commencement in 2008. Though some students and faculty silently protested by getting up from their seats and turning their backs to the stage, Schlafly called it “a happy day. I’m just sorry for those who tried to rain on a happy day.”

Citing Schlafly’s views about homosexuals, women and immigrants — she was an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, abortion rights and loosening U.S. border restrictions — protesters said she went against the most fundamental principles for which the university stood.

Schlafly remained active in conservative politics well into her 80s, when she was still writing a column that appeared in 100 newspapers, doing radio commentaries on more than 460 stations and publishing a monthly newsletter.

Schlafly’s husband died in 1993.

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Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Mont-Saint-Bruno park visitors on edge after jogger violently attacked

Written on March 24, 2019 at 17:47, by

The trails in Mount Saint Bruno park are not only beautiful they are also known as a peaceful haven away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

But the serenity was broken last Friday afternoon when at around 12:30 p.m., a man allegedly violently attacked a 50-year-old woman.

She is now recovering, but the attack has some visitors wondering if they are actually safe at the park.

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“Well, usually I come alone, so I do jog… but for now I won’t jog alone, that’s why we come together,” said Chloé Blais who was with her friend, Virginie Allard-Poliquin.

“It’s scary to know something like that can happen here,” Allard-Poliquin said.

“I won’t stop coming here but I’ll be coming with someone.”

“I thought it was just terrible because it’s such a lovely, peaceful mountain,” Janet Hosier, who has been coming to the park for 42 years, said.

“An attack can happen anywhere but here, it’s so strange and rare and bizarre,” Hosier said.

She explained she had never heard of such an incident in the time she’s been visiting the park and added she is not afraid to come back.

READ MORE: Police release composite sketch of suspect in Mont-Saint-Bruno attack

The woman was jogging alone in an area near Lac des Bouleaux when, as she told police, the man suddenly attacked her.

Police say she managed to fight the man off but no further details were released as the investigation is still ongoing.

Police are also asking for the public’s help to try and locate the man.

Police say releasing a computer sketch of what the man could look like has led to many tips.

“We’ve received a lot of information, good information,”  Marie Beauvais-Lavoie, a spokesperson for Longueuil Police said.

“We analyzed this information. And we also continue to ask the population to contact us if they have information,” Beauvais-Lavoie added.

Meanwhile police are taking extra precautions: they say they have bikes patrolling the area until new orders are given.

They are also urging the public to be careful, to never walk alone or always carry a cellphone.

Anyone that was at the park on Friday, Sept. 2, and saw anything suspicious or has any information regarding the suspect is asked to call Longueuil Police at 450-463-7211.