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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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Related

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  • U.S. on target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees, White House says

    “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.

Follow @alleywilson_

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.