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Tennessee man allegedly bulldozes neighbour’s house after heated dispute boils over

Written on September 24, 2019 at 16:06, by

A heated dispute between two neighbours in a town north of Memphis, Tennessee got out of hand over the weekend, after one man allegedly used a backhoe to demolish his neighbour’s home.

READ MORE: Neighbours recount West Kelowna takedown

Tipton County Sheriff’s Office say they arrested and charged 57-year-old Edgar McLellan with trespassing and felony vandalism, after matching the description of a person seen ramming a piece of heavy machinery into his neighbour John Higdon’s home.

John Higdon, 48, was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment just hours before having his home destroyed by a piece of heavy machinery.

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    A third neighbour called police and reported seeing the machine bulldoze Higdon’s home, collapsing walls, bursting pipes, and causing extensive water damage around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday.

    Police say they found a backhoe with remnants from Higdon’s home located on McLellan’s property.

    No one was injured in the incident, but Higdon believes the outcome could have been different had someone been in the home at the time.

    “He [ran] the tractor through both bedrooms where the bed sits,” Higdon told WMC.

    Sam Higdon, the homeowner’s brother, told FOX13 there was “nothing left” of the home and didn’t know what motivated McLellan to allegedly commit the act.

    “He’s never had a beef with this man,” he said. “Why would you want to put a family out of their home? Unless you’re just cold hearted.”

    READ MORE: North Shore residents stop bulldozer from clear-cutting trees on their property

    Officials said the two neighbours had been having an on-going dispute, which led to Higdon being arrested just hours before the bulldozing.

    According to police, officers responded to Higdon’s home Friday evening after reports he had discharged a gun several times into woods near his house. The 48-year-old claimed people dressed in camouflage were running in and out of the forest.

    During the incident, police say Higdon told them he had witnessed people shining lights into his home earlier in the week, and believed them to be employees of McLellan.

    Police searched the area but found no evidence. Higdon was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.

    “We live in the country,” Sam Higdon to FOX 13. “Everybody fires weapons out here.”

    Sam Higdon also told FOX13 that he believes McLellan should have to pay for repairs to the home.

    “It says, “Private property, No trespassing,’” he said, pointing at a sign on the home’s front door. “What he doing pushing somebody’s house down?”

    Both Higdon and McLellan have since been released on bail and are expected in court later this week. Officials said they are still investigating and both men could face further charges.

    Higdon and his son are now living in a trailer near the demolished home.

Video shows group destroying iconic Cape Kiwanda sandstone pedestal in Oregon

Written on September 24, 2019 at 16:06, by

Cellphone video captured a group of people knocking over a popular sandstone rock formation known as the “Duckbill” on an Oregon beach.

Oregon State Parks officials originally said they didn’t think the break at the site frequented by tourists was caused by humans.

But the video shot by David Kalas of Portland shows a group of visitors pushing the structure until it crumbled to the ground on August 29 at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

The sandstone pedestal was roughly 7 feet to 10 feet across and located in a fenced off section of the park.

Kalas told The Associated Press on Monday that he was with some friends making a drone video of their summer adventures on the Oregon coast when they went to the rock formation.

When they got the drone in the air, a group of eight people “came out of nowhere” and started pushing on the rock. Kalas says he started recording with his cellphone when it began wobbling.

“I didn’t think anything would happen,” Kalas said. “It’s a big rock.”

Five of the people stepped away, but when three others saw there was a crack, they pushed it over, Kalas said.

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“We confronted them and they said it was a safety hazard,” Kalas said. “They said one of their friends had broken a leg on it. It’s like their weird revenge thing.”

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department said Monday it will review the incident and takes vandalism seriously.

A similar episode in Utah caused an online uproar. Two Boy Scout leaders were sentenced to probation after recording themselves toppling an ancient rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park and posting it on YouTube.

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Fox News will pay Gretchen Carlson $20 million to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

Written on September 24, 2019 at 16:06, by

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has reached a detente of sorts with the network’s parent over charges she was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, the cable-news network’s former leader and guiding light.

The media conglomerate, controlled by the Murdoch family, said it had reached a settlement with Carlson, who anchored such programs as Fox & Friends and The Real Story during her time at the outlet. A report in Vanity Fair suggested the amount could total as much as $20 million, and a person familiar with the matter said the report was accurate. A spokesman for Carlson’s attorneys, declined to comment.

According to the Vanity Fair story, it’s also widely expected that Ailes will offer Carlson an unprecedented apology.

READ MORE: Fox News chief Roger Ailes denies harassing Megyn Kelly

“21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit. During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team,” the company said in a statement. “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”

The settlement appears to close at least one of the many storylines related to the behaviour of Ailes, who was the subject of a lawsuit Carlson filed in July alleging the executive subjected her to sexual come-ons and other inappropriate advances.

Her suit sparked an internal investigation at the news outlet, which is the most-watched cable-news network, where other women are said to have come forward alleging sexual harassment by Ailes.

READ MORE: Elisabeth Hasselbeck defends Fox News CEO Roger Ailes amid sexual harassment allegations

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, has stepped in to lead Fox News on an interim basis and Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, two veteran Fox TV executives, were recently named co-presidents and will lead Fox News and Fox Business.

“I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my complaint,” Carlson previously said in a statement. “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

Outcomes of Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaints | Graphiq

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Farmers are getting less for beef cattle, but you’re paying the same for steak. Here’s why

Written on September 24, 2019 at 16:06, by

Farmers are seeing steadily falling prices for beef cattle – but consumers haven’t seen any relief at the meat counter, yet.

Canadian farmers started to see much higher sale prices for beef cattle starting in October 2013, as American beef operations, hit by a severe drought, crossed the border to buy cattle to rebuild their herds.

Before that point, it was unusual for beef cattle to be sold in Alberta for much more than $100 per hundred pounds.

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    The price hike was profitable for farmers, but drove up prices for consumers.

    READ MORE: A hog, a year and 5.3 Canadians: Our appetite for animal products, by the numbers

    Beef cattle prices peaked in Alberta in May of 2015 at their highest point in this century. $191.30 per hundred pounds, and have been falling since then. In July, they were down to $139.51.

    That time lag reflects the long time, 18 months to two years, that it takes to rebuild a herd of beef cattle, explains Dalhousie University business professor Sylvain Charlebois.

    For consumers, though, beef prices have stayed high. A kilogram of round steak, for example, cost $18.39 in July, not much lower than the $19.12 it cost in July of 2015 and still higher than the $16.36 of July, 2014.

    So when will we see some lower-priced steak?

    “The question everyone is asking right now is how low the market can go,” explains Brenna Grant, an analyst at Canfax, a market information division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

    WATCH: Effective today, all beef on Earls menus in Alberta and Saskatchewan is 100 per cent Canadian. But what about other restaurants in Canada? Quinn Ohler finds out.

    “The retailer wants to be confident that those prices are not only going to decline, but they’re going to stay lower. It’s difficult to raise prices – consumers are very price-sensitive.”

    “But we are definitely expecting prices to come down over the next six months.”

    Beef prices crashed in 2003 because of mad cow disease, Charlebois points out, but very little of that was passed on to the consumer.

    “In 2003, farm gate prices went down 70 per cent overnight,” he says. “There was an instant oversupply of beef in the Canadian marketplace, and retail prices barely moved.”

    “Farm gate prices rarely couple with retail prices.”

San Francisco 49ers cut Bruce Miller after he allegedly punched 70-year-old man and son

Written on September 24, 2019 at 16:06, by

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers released tight end Bruce Miller on Monday, just hours after he was arrested for assaulting two men.

Miller was charged with aggravated assault, elder abuse, threats and battery after an early-morning fight at a San Francisco hotel, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Miller was booked into county jail.

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The police said they were called to the hotel at approximately 2:45 a.m. after Miller tried to enter a hotel room occupied by an elderly couple. The couple’s 29-year-old son, staying in the next room, then told Miller he was at the wrong room. Miller, who was intoxicated at the time, attacked the son and his 70-year-old father, who came to his son’s defence, police said.

Bruce Miller Overview | PointAfter

The father was punched by Miller and both men were taken to the hospital for their injuries, police said.

KTVU-TV first reported the arrest.

The Niners initially said they were investigating the situation, then released Miller.

This is the second time Miller had a run-in with the law. In March 2015, Miller was arrested after he was accused of shoving his ex-fiancee and destroying her cellphone during an argument in Santa Clara. Miller pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace, and was required to attend a 16-week anti-domestic-violence counseling course.

Miller joined the 49ers in 2011 as a fullback after playing defensive end in college. He was a key part of San Francisco’s teams that went to three straight NFC title games and one Super Bowl in his first three years. In 77 games over five seasons, has 62 yards rushing on 28 carries, adding 76 catches for 734 yards.

He moved to tight end this season under new coach Chip Kelly, who does not use a fullback in his offense. Miller made the team as the fourth tight end behind Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

READ MORE: Ex-NFL star Darren Sharper gets 18 years in prison for drugging and raping 16 women

Miller’s agent and lawyer, Jack Reale, said he was still gathering information Monday. Miller also did not respond immediately to a text message seeking comment.

Earlier Monday, the 49ers signed running back DuJuan Harris to a one-year contract and placed cornerback Will Redmond on injured reserve. The move gives the Niners a fourth running back as insurance with starter Carlos Hyde still in the concussion protocol after getting hurt in the third preseason game.

Harris had 27 carries for 140 yards and nine catches for 97 yards in two games with San Francisco last season. He was cut Saturday.

Redmond was drafted in the third round out of Mississippi State despite tearing his ACL in practice in October. He played in the final two exhibition games this summer. He will be eligible to return after sitting out at least six weeks and then practicing for two weeks.

The Niners also claimed defensive tackle Taylor Hart off waivers from Philadelphia and waived safety L.J. McCray. McCray had been traded Saturday to Seattle for an undisclosed draft pick pending a physical. But he failed the physical and was sent back to San Francisco.

San Francisco also added receiver Chris Harper to the practice squad.

Playmate Dani Mathers could face charges after body-shaming victim allegedly comes forward

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

Playboy model Dani Mathers may be leaving the mansion for the courthouse.

The 29-year-old playmate incited outrage after photographing an unsuspecting nude elderly woman in a gym locker room. The Playmate of the Year in 2015 followed up the photo with a Snapchat selfie, seemingly reacting to the woman with a look of shock.

The photo’s caption reads: “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either.”

READ MORE: Police investigating Dani Mathers for body-shaming nude shot of woman at gym

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Since then, a woman in her 70s has stepped forward to say she’s the “previously unidentified” woman and is willing to testify against Mathers, according to TMZ. The alleged victim has spoken to the Los Angeles Police Department,

Playmate Mathers’ attorney, Tom Mesereau, told People that he has not received any official word of impending legal action: “We hope the rumour is not true… Dani Mathers never tried to hurt anyone at any time and certainly never tried to break any law.”

Immediately after posting the photo, Mathers received an immense amount of backlash from people on social media and lost a job on a radio show. Many were outraged that a young Playboy model would body-shame an elderly woman.

The gym where the incident took place, LA Fitness, has since revoked Mathers’s membership and filed a complaint with police.

Mathers took to several social media platforms, including 桑拿会所, to apologize in the aftermath of the controversy.

Canada pushes for U.S. border legislation before new president, Congress sworn in

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

WASHINGTON – Canadian diplomats will be pushing for the adoption of border legislation as the current U.S. Congress convenes for its final few months of business.

The embassy in Washington wants U.S. lawmakers to deal with border reforms before a new president and Congress are sworn in next January.

At issue are pilot projects announced by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where travellers would clear customs in-land in order to lighten traffic at the actual border.

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Implementing legislation needs to be passed in both countries to begin the experiment, which will seek to replicate for land travel the preclearance system that already exists for travellers to the U.S. in major Canadian airports.

READ MORE: Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect this month

Ambassador David MacNaughton said this is the kind of issue with bipartisan support that could get through Congress in the midst of a heated campaign season. But that’s only if lawmakers remember it – the issue isn’t exactly top of mind in the current U.S. political debate.

Funding for Zika research, the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal are some of the high-profile issues facing U.S. lawmakers, who returned from the summer break Tuesday.

“We will be working with the proponents in Congress and in the administration … to get (preclearance) done,” MacNaughton said in a recent interview.

“Because if you don’t bring it up it could just inadvertently not get passed.”

He said there’s no actual opposition to the idea in Congress. The biggest challenge is finding the right place and time to get it passed. In the spring, an attempt to stick the item into an unrelated omnibus bill collapsed when the parties began arguing over other add-ons and, in order to save the core bill, they stripped out all the additions including the part on the Canada-U.S. border.

“The problem is how do you introduce it; where does it go; does it get attached to another bill,” MacNaughton said. “We’re hoping and expecting that they will pass the legislation by the end of the year.”

READ MORE: US-Canada border preclearance bill to be introduced in spring

The overall plan is to extend the early-customs system that has existed for years at large Canadian airports – applying it not only to new airports in downtown Toronto and Quebec City but also to land travel for the first time, starting with the Montreal train station and the Rocky Mountaineer west-coast rail line. It’s part of the long-term goal of achieving faster border-crossing for different types of passenger and commercial transport.

First the countries must pass legislation that would spell out the rights and responsibilities of customs officers operating on their soil.

In Canada, a bill recently passed first reading in Parliament.

Bill C-23 lets U.S. officers bring their guns into Canada for work purposes; sets conditions for questioning and strip-searches; lets people leave a customs line unless they’ve been detained; allows civil claims against the U.S. government but not against individual officers; and sets rules for the extradition of officers in the case of criminal misconduct.

An analyst of Canada-U.S. relations said these bills are a required step toward the next generation of border reforms.

READ MORE: More pre-clearance locations at airports, train stations mean easier travel to US: tourism association

“Airport preclearance has existed for many years but the original setup did not envision land, rail and marine entry – nor the complexities of a post 9-11 world,” said Laura Dawson of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

“The new legislation is essential for establishing a clear legal framework.”

As for its prospects in the U.S. Congress, Dawson said the biggest threat to the legislation is neglect and delay: “It’s not likely that there will be opponents… but with so many things competing for attention, it’s not certain that there will be many champions either,” she said.

“I am concerned that an important initiative will fall through the cracks.”

Most OPEC members support $50-60 oil price: Iran’s oil minister

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s oil minister says his country would support any decision by the oil producing group of nations that seeks to stabilize the oil market, Iranian state TV reported on Tuesday.

The remarks by the minister, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, came after talks with OPEC chief Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo on Tuesday in Tehran.

READ MORE: Should Canadians be cheering for lower or higher oil prices?

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According to Zangeneh, most OPEC members want to see the price of crude oil at 50 to 60 dollars per barrel.

“This price makes production of oil by OPEC members profitable, economical and useful, while preventing the rivals from raising their output,” he said,

Iran is trying to regain its share of the global petroleum market after the removal of Western sanctions following Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It has said it will participate in talks on a possible production freeze after it reaches an output of 4 million barrels per day by April 2017.

READ MORE: Canadian dollar hits two-week low amid falling oil prices

In late 2000s, Iran was the second producer in OPEC with a total production of 4.2 million barrels per day, with 2.5 million barrels exported. The current production is at 3.6 million barrels of oil a day, of which Tehran exports 2.2 million barrels a day.

The world’s two largest oil producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday agreed to act together to stabilize global oil output, though it’s unclear what that might entail.

Russia, which is not a member of the oil producing nations’ group OPEC, this year supported calls to freeze production, but the efforts fell through after Iran opposed the plan.

Canada’s auto union faces outside pressure from costs it can’t control

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TORONTO  – Canada’s autoworkers’ union, which steps up pressure in contract talks by naming a strike target on Tuesday, may see its ability to win concessions undermined by outside factors, ranging from high power rates to manufacturers’ increased reliance on more costly imported parts, industry experts say.

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The top priority for the union, named Unifor, is to persuade Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor and General Motors to pledge to produce new vehicle models in Canada. It will also seek a modest pay raise and shorter pay progression for new hires.

READ MORE: Why contract talks with the ‘Detroit Three’ automakers are so critical for Canada

A four-year contract covering some 20,000 Canadian workers at the three companies expires Sept. 19.

“All of those other issues, combined, overwhelm the effect of Unifor,” said Tony Faria, a University of Windsor professor who studies the industry, referring to labor costs.

Unifor estimates that, on average, labor represents about 4 percent of the cost of each vehicle its workers produce, versus 55 percent for parts and supplies.

Approximately 50 percent of the parts in Canadian-made vehicles are produced in the country, said Flavio Volpe, Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada president.

Many Canadian-based parts suppliers did not survive the 2008 financial crisis and resulting recession, he said.

Volume of Goods & Services Exported in Canada | FindTheData

High electricity rates in the province of Ontario are another thorn.

The Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, an industry group that advises government, cites a 2013 survey from Hydro Quebec that shows large power users in Toronto pay 123 percent more than Chicago customers, 50 percent more than Nashville and 37 percent more than Detroit.

READ MORE: Increased exports are good, but there’s still trouble on the economic front, experts say

Canada’s market size poses another problem. About 10 percent of all vehicles sold in North America are purchased in Canada, versus 80 percent in the United States, said Faria.

New government programs, such as Ontario’s cap-and-trade climate plan, and higher federal pension contribution could add further costs to automakers’ operations.

GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.

READ MORE: Ontario and Michigan sign deal calling for more integration of auto sectors

Unifor says any challenges are outweighed by Canada’s currency advantage, with the Canadian dollar worth just 77 U.S. cents.

“The companies are making money hand-over-fist, including in their Canadian operations, where they’re dealing with hydro costs, they’re dealing with our social programs,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias.

The union and industry are pushing the Canadian government to change how it funds incentives for automative production to grants from loans.

“We have to make sure our incentives are competitive to attract interest,” said Ray Tanguay, appointed auto industry czar last year to advise Ontario and Canadian governments. “If manufacturing of automobiles is important, then we have to commit and play to win.”

Canada should focus on developing skilled labor and advanced manufacturing to distinguish itself, rather than costs, he said.

In 2012, the union came up empty-handed in a push for new vehicle production. Their contract froze wages for existing workers for three out of four years and cut pay and pension benefits for new employees.

Unifor to target General Motors in labour negotiations with Detroit Three

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TORONTO – The union that represents about 23,000 auto workers in Canada has selected General Motors as its target company in the opening round of contract talks.

Unifor says any agreement it strikes with GM will serve as a template for negotiations with the other two automakers, Ford and Fiat Chrysler – a process referred to as “pattern bargaining.”

Unifor president Jerry Dias said the union chose GM as its target because that’s the company that poses the biggest challenge in terms of hammering out a deal.

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Dias said he’s concerned about the possibility that GM may be planning to shut down its operations in Oshawa, Ont., where it currently has two production lines.

The consolidated line, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox, is slated to close next year.

READ MORE: Oshawa, Ont., ground zero for latest talks between Detroit Three, unions

Meanwhile, the flex line – which produces the Chevrolet Impala, the Buick Regal and the Cadillac XTS – has no product scheduled past 2019.

Dias said more investment is also needed in new engines and transmissions at GM’s engine plant in St. Catharines, Ont.

GM has previously said it won’t make any promises about investing in its Canadian facilities or allocating any new products to its Oshawa plant until after an agreement with the union has been ratified.

“I’m here to tell you today that that is not going to happen,” Dias said during a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday.

“We are not going to ratify an agreement with General Motors under any circumstance unless there is a commitment to our facilities. If that may be considered a line in the sand, so be it.”

Unifor’s contract with the so-called Detroit Three automakers expires Sept. 19.

Last month, members of the union voted in favour of strike action to back their contract demands, which include wage increases and securing more work to build vehicles.