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How a B.C. man’s typo while booking campsite online nearly cost him $1,100

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A B.C. man is warning campers to be extra careful when making online reservations.

Last month, Michael Dixon tried booking a spot on the BC Parks website for next year. While making the reservation, he accidentally typed in August 2016 instead of August 2017.

“Oh my goodness, what did I just do?”  Dixon said.

Within minutes of making the mistake, he contacted BC Parks and tried explaining what had just happened. He was told by an agent nothing could be done.

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“He said his hands were tied and there was nothing he could do about issuing the refund,” Dixon said.

Dixon was on the hook for $1,103.90. The BC Parks cancellation policy states all fees are forfeited for cancellations made less than 28 days from the date of the reservation. Because of Dixon’s accidental typo, the computer had read he was only giving two days notice.  The policy also states refunds will not be granted for errors making a reservation.

“I just felt like the BC government stole eleven-hundred dollars from me for an error,” Dixon said.

Dixon said he was stonewalled and contacted Global BC’s Consumer Matters. Global BC contacted the provincial Ministry of Environment and received the following statement:

BC Parks has looked into this specific situation. The customer made an honest error in their booking.

The customer has been notified and the situation has been resolved and a refund has been issued.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate the customers patience.

Dixon says he’s now looking at other options. He’s considering other campgrounds without strict cancellation policies.

“I can’t see them having made the refund unless I took further steps to contact [Global News] for help,” says Dixon.

Dog overcoming disease goes on ‘barket’ list adventure

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Gremlin is a valley bulldog from Alberta that’s become a beacon of hope for pets with trouble eating. Since being skin and bones nearly four years ago, he now looks like a new dog.

At one year old, Gremlin was diagnosed with a condition called megaesophagus.

“It’s like his esophagus is paralyzed and the muscles that are supposed to propel his food down into his stomach don’t work properly,” his owner, Chrissy Wilson, explained.

Because food couldn’t be digested properly, it would come back up. Gremlin would regurgitate regularly – more than 20 times a day.

“It was a little sad, because we thought he wouldn’t make it,” said Chrissy’s youngest son, Rayden.

At his sickest, he weighed just 19 pounds.

WATCH: Gremlin has been able to overcome his condition that limited his food intake thanks to a special chair. Now, he’s on an adventure.

“He was getting really, really skinny and we couldn’t put any weight on. Then he started getting colds. He got pneumonia once,” Chrissy said.

At one point, he could hardly walk – his muscles were so weak.

“It was really really difficult to see someone literally wasting away and to do everything in your power to make it so he could eat, but he just kept regurgitating and regurgitating.”

When the Wilson’s took their dog out – strangers cast judgement.

“Most people were pretty cruel. They didn’t understand and there was a lot of ‘why don’t you just put your dog down?’ or ‘just let him go, you’re hurting him by keeping him alive.’

“But they didn’t get to see that he had so much spirit in him. So much to give and so much to live for.”

Even veterinarians told the family their beloved pet wouldn’t survive.

Refusing to give up on Gremlin, the Wilson’s found a mega-esophagus support group on Facebook and other owners suggested they make a doggie high chair that would force Gremlin to eat vertically. That way, gravity could help push the food down his throat, into his stomach.

It worked. Nearly four years later, Gremlin weighs 47 pounds and is loving life – playing fetch, chasing other dogs and cuddling with the Wilson kids.

You would never know he was sick – unless you watched him eat in his special chair.

“We just want to tell everybody that there is hope out there for people that do have dogs diagnosed with this condition,” said Chrissy. “It’s not a death sentence.”

Now, in hopes of raising awareness about mega-esophagus and sharing how their dog is overcoming the disease, the Wilson’s are spoiling Gremlin by taking him on a “barket list” adventure – the canine version of a bucket-list.

On Monday, he ate like royalty at Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse in Camrose – drawing lots of attention from other diners.

“With the permission of Alberta Health Services they granted us the OK to do this on our patio,” explained owner Colleen Konowalyk.

Konowalyk has a pair of labrador retrievers and said she could relate – and wanted to help. “I can’t imagine if someone, a veterinarian especially, said your only hope is to put your dog down.”

The meal at Mr. Mike’s crossed off two items on Gremlin’s list – eating a steak dinner and dining in a restaurant with his family. He’s also been jet-skiing.

Still on the list? Playing in a pool full of squeaky toys, having a play-date with all 10 of the other dogs in his litter and going on an ATV ride.

“He’s one of our kids. He’s part of the family. There’s no other way to put it.”

Follow @SarahNKraus
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Struggling Calgary cafe desperate in downturn gets no love from city inspectors

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A Calgary cafe in the heart of Kensington is facing the threat of closure. The Red Bush Coffee Company is a candy and coffee shop that’s struggling to survive.

Owner and operator Heather Ferguson has done whatever it takes to keep the doors open in spite of what she’s up against.

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  • Labour Day sees calls for more action from province over economic downturn

  • ‘It’s been awesome’: Alberta man laid off amid economic downturn

    “We’ve had so many road shutdowns and with the economy I’m just working hard to think outside the box,” Ferguson choked back tears. “Honestly it’s gotten very hard —; and I love my store and I really want to keep the doors open, [but] this is the last straw.”

    Upstairs from the store is a wide open space she uses for free events. She hosts neighborhood movie nights and brings in aspiring artists and musicians. But the city’s business license inspectors say she doesn’t have the appropriate entertainment license to include those activities and is forcing them to stop.

    “They’ve been brutal and very heavy handed.”

    Ferguson says it’s too expensive and too timely to get the new addition to the existing license. She insists the city shouldn’t be so stringent on entrepreneurs who are working through the rough times.

    “It’s just become laughable and I’m pulling my hair out,” Ferguson added.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) supports small businesses and says red tape is the number one gripe.

    “When small businesses have to deal with silly regulations and the city enforces stringently in a ‘down economy’ it makes customers and in turn employees suffer,” Amber Ruddy with CFIB said.

    Regular customers – who adore the place – said they’re frustrated a honest business is being treated like this.

    Zelda Brennan goes to the Red Bush almost every day.

    “We should all be supporting local business make it simple for them. It’s ridiculous really to put someone like that through the hoops.”

    Ferguson said she’d be happy just to be breaking even and wonders if she can beat City Hall.

    “I’m a lover not a fighter and I think this is going to one of those ‘for lease’ buildings. I think the outcome is not good.”

Labour Day sees calls for more action from province over economic downturn

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Robert Parker has been out of work for more than a year. It’s tough enough on the Edmonton man, but even harder because he has nine children and thereby, nine mouths to feed.

“Stressful. [I] got lots of resumes out but haven’t [had] any calls,” he said.

Parker was a welder in the oilfields when he was laid off. He said he has sent out more than 100 resumes across Canada but hasn’t had any luck.

“We need work. I don’t want to be another statistic.”

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Parker was just one of hundreds who lined up at the 27th annual Edmonton and District Labour Council Barbecue on Labour Day.

President Bruce Fafard said organizers started the event early this year because of the lineup. He said increased attendance at the barbecue may be the result of the downturn in the province’s economy.

READ MORE: 91% spike in Alberta EI claims since 2015; economist warns of defaults

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment numbers are at their highest in Alberta since September 1994 – 8.6 per cent in July, a 0.7 percentage point increase from June.

From July 2015 to July 2016, the province lost 103,000 full-time jobs and while EI claims are down from previous months, the number of beneficiaries is essentially unchanged at 77,000 in June. Year over year, the total number of beneficiaries in the province is up 48 per cent.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire presents silver lining for Alberta contractors

One man named Carl, who did not want his last name used, said he has been looking for work for more than a year.

Carl was laid off from his construction job and he adds he believes it was because of the drop in the price of oil.

“It’s been tough. It’s been very tough,” he said.

“Instead of [the province saying] ‘We have a plan to do it, we have a plan to help’…those plans take a long time. We want something immediate.”

However, Fafard said the provincial government is on the right track when it comes to the economy.

“The provincial government has been doing a good job of moving forward, like with the budget and investing in Alberta and into communities, infrastructure projects and not by cutting services,” he said.

Premier Rachel Notley said she understands people are hurting and the province is doing what it can to help them.

However, she touts how the province is maintaining civil service jobs and investing in a capital program to create 10,000 jobs a year.

“When you make capital available for diversification and for business to develop additional jobs – that takes a while. On the other side of it, we’re also dealing with job losses at the same time we’re injecting jobs into the economy,” she said.

Stampeders down Eskimos 45-24 in Labour Day Classic

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

The Calgary Stampeders extended their unbeaten streak to nine in a row with a 45-24 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in Monday’s Labour Day game.

The Stampeders (8-1-1) haven’t lost a game since their season-opener against the B.C. Lions. A three-game winning streak ended for the Eskimos (5-5).

The Stampeders have won seven of the last eight Labour Day games against Edmonton, including five in a row.

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  • Alberta’s former Lt.-Gov. and football star Norman Kwong dead at 86

  • Eskimos build up big first-half lead, hold on to beat Roughriders 33-25

  • CFL makes mid-season rule change on coaches challenges

    Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell compiled 380 passing yards to join Edmonton counterpart Mike Reilly with over 3,000 passing yards this season.

    READ MORE: Top quarterbacks to go head-to-head in Alberta’s Labour Day Classic

    Mitchell improved to 36-7-1 as a CFL starter and 17-3 at McMahon Stadium. He threw touchdown passes to Anthony Parker and Bakari Grant in front of an announced 31,440 for an afternoon kickoff.

    Jerome Messam rumbled for a pair of rushing touchdowns late in the fourth quarter and Roy Finch returned a punt to score for the Stampeders.

    Rene Paredes booted field goals from 21, 33 and 24 to get to 31 successful attempts in a row. The Calgary kicker is pursuing his own record of 39 consecutive set over the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

    READ MORE: Paredes, Calgary Stampeders beat Saskatchewan Roughriders 19-10

    Reilly ran 19 yards to score with just over three minutes remaining in the game and threw a touchdown pass to Derel Walker.

    Kenny Ladler ran an interception back for an Edmonton touchdown. Reilly totalled 217 passing yards.

    Messam scored rushing touchdowns of 47 and nine yards in the final six minutes and has at least one in each of his last five games.

    Jamar Wall picked off a Reilly pass intended for Adarius Bowman in the end zone in the first minute of the quarter.

    Mitchell faked a hand-off to Messam before throwing to a wide-open Grant for a 21-yard score and a 30-17 lead at 11:34 of the third quarter.

    Little went right for the visitors until late in the first half, when Reilly connected with Walker for a 36-yard pass and Ladler ran an interception back 65 yards in the final three minutes.

    Shaw added an 84-yard punt single to pull the Esks within a converted touchdown, but Calgary led 24-17 at the half.

    Reilly was sacked on back-to-back plays during Edmonton’s opening drive and intercepted by Wall again in the second quarter. The Eskimos lost a coach’s challenge and thus a timeout in the first quarter.

    Shaw’s short punt gave Calgary the ball on Edmonton’s 52-yard line. The Stampeders capitalized with their first offensive touchdown of the game.

    Calgary’s Finch recovered his own fumble on a punt return and ran for an 85-yard score to end the opening quarter. Mitchell was stopped running for an attempted two-point convert, but his team led 18-0 after the first quarter.

    With Eskimos defensive end Odell Willis on his heels, Mitchell got a 17-yard touchdown pass away to a sliding Parker in the end zone at 13:35.

    The hosts converted a two-point convert on Mitchell’s subsequent three-yard toss to Grant. Calgary immediately picked up another single point on a 93-yard kickoff by Paredes.

Could standing desks in school be the answer to how to keep kids fit?

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

Standing desks in classrooms could help children maintain a healthy body weight, a new study suggests.

These desks are set at a height that allows students to alternate between sitting on a stool or standing while working.

Standing desks “can interrupt sedentary behavior patterns” while kids are in school, “simply, at a low cost, and without disrupting classroom instruction time,” the authors of the study write in the American Journal of Public Health.

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The researchers studied third- and fourth-graders in three Texas elementary schools and found that kids spent more time on their feet, and slimmed down, when the standing desks were used instead of traditional classroom desks.

READ MORE: Back-to-school breakfasts: 7 kid-friendly, easy-to-make, dietitian-approved recipes

Healthy weights are assessed differently in children than in adults. Because weight and height change during growth and development, doctors don’t simply calculate kids’ body mass index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight to height. Instead, they compare the child’s BMI to the BMI of other children of the same age and sex. For children, a normal BMI can fall between the 5th and 85th percentiles – that is, not in the bottom 5 percent or the top 15 percent among kids their age.

The study started out with 24 teachers and 380 students. The teachers were randomly assigned to have standing desks in their classrooms, or regular desks.

Overall, compared to students who used regular desks for two years, students who had standing desks in their classrooms for two years in a row saw their BMI move 5 percentiles lower, on average.

About 80 percent of the kids started out at a normal weight, but the researchers didn’t separate out the results in the overweight kids.

READ MORE: Back to school: How much sugar is lurking in your kids’ favourite snacks?

Reducing sitting time among school-age students could decrease the inactivity linked to a range of health problems, including obesity and diabetes, Mark Benden of the Texas A&M School of Public Health Ergonomics Center in College Station and colleagues wrote in their report.

“If you look at the national trends, we’re more sedentary than ever before, and naturally that affects weight gain,” Benden told Reuters Health.

“With the focus on state testing and academics, we’ve lost the regular recess and physical education time in schools,” Benden said. Standing desks bring “a difference to the classroom that doesn’t take away from classroom time.”

Previous research has linked sedentary time to poor academic achievement and low self-esteem in children, the research team pointed out.

“We force kids to sit down, sit still and be quiet, and this is unnatural for young children,” Benden said. “If we want kids to sit less and move more, we should encourage activity in the learning process.”

Standing desks would help in that regard, he said.

A limitation of the experiment, Benden noted, is that during the two-year study, some students moved to a different school or switched classrooms.

“This study introduces the realities of the world that teachers change and kids move in and out of schools,” said Mark Tremblay, who studies healthy living and obesity at Children’s Hospital of Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada.

WATCH: Smart snacking: delicious and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas

Because we don’t know whether obese or disabled children were in the classrooms with standing or sitting desks, the results could be biased, said Tremblay, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Still, Tremblay said, “The findings are still encouraging. I’d say this is a large pilot study that needs to be further explored as a means to promote healthy living behaviors at early ages.”

Encouraging students to stand and move could help them develop healthy habits that may impact future obesity in adulthood, said Kermit Davis of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio who wasn’t involved with the study. Davis researches workplace stressors, particularly those that can stress the lower back.

“One key is not to just have students stand but also provide postural relief (such as stools) so they can lean or sit for micro breaks,” Davis told Reuters Health by email. “Too much sitting is certainly bad, but the other extreme of too much standing can also be bad.”

State funeral planned for former Lt.-Gov., CFL pioneer Norman Kwong

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

Albertans are being invited to pay tribute to former Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong, who died on Saturday at the age of 86.

A public state memorial for Kwong will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. at First Alliance Church in Calgary.

Public seating will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis. People are asked to be seated for the memorial by 2:40 p.m.

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  • Alberta’s former Lt.-Gov. and football star Norman Kwong dead at 86

    Known among family and friends as the so-called “China Clipper,” Kwong was the first Canadian of Asian heritage to play for the CFL when he joined the Calgary Stampeders in 1948.

    READ MORE: Alberta’s former Lt.-Gov. and football star Norman Kwong dead at 86

    As the youngest player to win a Grey Cup and an early owner of the Calgary Flames, Kwong is being remembered fondly by those who knew him.

    “Normie was just a great guy,” said Bryan Hall, sportscaster for 630 CHED in Edmonton. “He was marvelous in the dressing room. I started broadcasting the Eskimos in ’65 – he had retired in 1960 – but he never lost touch with the Eskies, even though his home was in Calgary.”

    “The China Clipper, yes, he got the Order of Canada, he went on to become the Lieutenant Governor of our province and all these other things… but as a guy – just as a guy – he was just so quiet spoken.”

    People from across Canada, the U.S. and as far as Beijing, China have been posting public messages of condolences on a government website set up Sunday.

    The public is invited to offer tributes and messages for the family in a book of condolences at Calgary’s McDougall Centre (455 6 St. S.W.) and at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton (10800 97 Ave.).

    The memorial service for Kwong will be livestreamed on the Norman Kwong memorial page.

    The Hon. Norman L. Kwong Memorial Fund has been set up to support youth in sports, with a focus on the underprivileged and new Canadians.

2 motorcyclists seriously injured after collisions in Scarborough, Brampton

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

Two motorcyclists have been seriously injured after collisions in Scarborough and Brampton Monday afternoon.

A call to Peel Region emergency crews came in just after 3:30 p.m. after a car and motorcycle crashed at the corner of Kingswood Drive and Linkdale Road, south of Kennedy Road North and Williams Parkway.

According to reports from the scene, several people in the nearby neighbourhood rushed to help move the car off the motorcyclist.

The man driving the motorcycle, who is believed to be in his 40s, was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition.

Meanwhile, Toronto police and paramedics were called to Fallingbrook and Kingston Roads, east of Victoria Park Avenue, around half an hour later after a motorcycle collided with multiple vehicles.

The driver, also a man in his 40s, was taken to hospital with a severe injury.

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    Motorcycle crashes just north of Toronto, rider airlifted to hospital

  • Toronto police launch motorcycle safety campaign

  • Interactive map: Toronto’s motorcycle death traps

Permanent Canadian resident in Moscow allegedly has status revoked due to clerical error

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

TORONTO – A permanent Canadian resident currently stranded in Moscow says she has had her status revoked due to a clerical error and accuses the government of refusing to listen to her efforts to get it reinstated.

Julia Yakobi says the Aug. 11 decision has left her stranded in her native country without means of returning to the country she now considers home.

Yakobi travelled to Moscow in July with an expired permanent residency card, a move that Citizenship and Immigration Canada allows but does not recommend.

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Yakobi applied for a travel document that would allow her to return to Canada, but was both denied the document and told she did not meet the criteria for permanent residency days before her scheduled flight home.

READ MORE: Canada plans to welcome up to 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016

She says tax returns, cellphone records and residential rental agreements show that she has lived in Canada for years, but CIC’s rejection letter said she had only spent 65 days in Canada since 2011 and therefore fell short of the ministry’s residency requirements.

Yakobi says CIC has refused to even look at her supporting documentation and insists she must go through a lengthy appeal process to resolve what she believes to be a simple administrative error.

The ministry says Yakobi became a permanent resident in 2003 and has been issued two permanent residency cards and three travel documents since. It says she applied for a travel document on Aug. 8 because her permanent residency card expired in December.

“Based on the documentation she provided with her application and the information on file, the officer determined that she did not meet the residency requirement,” the ministry said in an email, stating that Yakobi had only been in Canada for 65 days in the last five years.

READ MORE: ‘I’m Canadian’: Man who lived in Canada for 27 years still fighting for citizenship

The ministry said the officer considered Yakobi’s documented dates of entry and exit, noting that her last documented entry to Canada was in June 2013, as well as an income tax slip it said did not support her claim to have worked full-time in Canada.

One of Yakobi’s daughters, Nargis Hannah Yakobi, said the ministry’s own information supports her mother’s stance.

“The date of entry is in 2013, and the date of her exit was July 25, 2016, when she left for Moscow. How is that 65 days?” she said in an email. She also said her mother never claimed to work full time, and full-time work is not a requirement for permanent residency.

Yakobi said the saga has left her feeling isolated and anxious. She fears losing her jobs teaching Russian at various Toronto-area schools, holding on to the condo she has been renting for years, and returning to her two daughters and grandchild, who are all based in Ontario.

“I don’t belong here any more. All my life is in Toronto,” Yakobi said in a telephone interview from Moscow. “Everything is there. For the past several years, I built my life there.”

Yakobi said she first came to Canada to flee an abusive relationship in 2003, bringing her two young daughters with her.

The warm welcome that greeted her and the collective willingness to help her destitute family instilled a profound fondness and gratitude for Canada and the people who live here, she said.

While one of Yakobi’s daughters went on to secure Canadian citizenship, Yakobi herself remained in the country as a permanent resident. She was able to make multiple trips in and out of the country without incident over the years, but had stayed put since 2013, she said.

Yakobi’s permanent residency card expired in December 2015, several months before she opted to return to Russia to seek medical advice and attend to some personal matters.

She and her family concede that travelling with out-of-date documentation was unwise, but CIC’s own guidelines make such arrangements possible.

“If you have been in Canada at least once during the past 365 days, you are entitled to a travel document to enable your return to Canada,” reads a letter in which Yakobi’s request for such a document is declined based on residency requirements.

READ MORE: Journalist Mohamed Fahmy regains Egyptian citizenship

CIC guidelines state that a person must spend at least 730 days in Canada during the five years prior to applying for a travel document. Yakobi said she had been in the country for more than 1,200 days.

Yakobi felt she had adequate documentation to contest the ministry’s findings. She collected five years worth of tax returns, a letter from her landlord indicating the length of her tenancy, cellphone records dating back to 2014, and letters from past employers indicating her ongoing presence in Canada.

But Yakobi said ministry processes made it impossible for her to present the documents or even indicate that there may be a problem with her file. Emails elicited automated form responses, phone calls ended in assurances that nothing could be done, and officials at the Canadian embassy in Moscow informed her that their services were available only to Canadian citizens.

Yakobi’s letter said she can launch a formal appeal of the decision, a process she fears could take years.

Opting not to appeal, the letter states, would result in her being deemed “imadmissible to Canada as a permanent resident” and considered to have “lost” her status as a perment resident.

The ministry said that if Yakobi chooses to appeal, “she would be entitled to a travel document to allow her to return to Canada pending the outcome of an appeal.”

Yakobi said she sincerely believes the issue to be a clerical error that will not impact her view of her adopted country. Her daughter, who became a citizen in 2010, said her mother’s ordeal has soured her perception of Canada as a welcoming nation.

“We just cannot believe that our government would do this to someone who has been in this country for . . . years,” Hannah Yakobi said. “Who has tried to build their family and life here, who has paid taxes diligently, who has followed all the rules and laws, and they wouldn’t even look into it.”

Hannah Yakobi said the experience has left her feeling saddened and let down, while her mother’s feelings can best be described as confused.

“This is clearly, clearly a mistake,” she said. “But why they don’t want to correct this mistake fast so I can come back home? This is my main question, and I’m completely clueless.”

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Dubai bar aims to break record for world’s longest ‘domino drop shot’

Written on November 25, 2018 at 00:04, by

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The 6,148 whiskey shots perched atop glasses of energy drink waited for the push that might send them tumbling into the record books — just another night in Dubai, and another chance to make a certain kind of history.

Superlatives like “the world’s biggest” and “the world’s first” are almost as ubiquitous as the skyscrapers and mega-projects that have come to define this city-state on the Arabian Peninsula, home to the tallest building and the busiest international airport on Earth.

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With time, this largest-in-life approach has filtered down to more humble and odder pursuits — such as Monday night’s attempt at the world’s longest domino drop shot.

You probably weren’t aware that there was a record to beat in the domino drop shot, or even that there was something called a domino drop shot. Just imagine someone dropping a shot glass into a beer, but before you can guzzle it down, another thousand shots drop into another thousand pints behind it, like dominoes.

The current record holder for the longest drop is the Bahama-based location of the alcohol-soaked chain Señor Frog, which got 4,107 of its 4,109 shot glasses to fall correctly in February 2013.

On Monday, The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill in Bur Dubai sought to break the record. Staffers carefully set up over 6,000 glasses of Camros whiskey and Bazooka energy drink. It was an effort five months in the making, with tests twice a month that took 12 hours to set up.

“When you say Guinness World Record in Dubai, it’s something everyone will talk about,” said Ahmad Taher, the food and beverage manager at Citymax Hotels, which went for the record.

RELATED: Batman cosplayer awarded Guinness World Record for homemade suit 

Such an event would be inconceivable in other Mideast countries like neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is illegal and officials are preparing for the annual hajj pilgrimage, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life.

But in Dubai, which has a large expatriate population and relatively lax rules on alcohol, the event is unlikely to draw much attention — unless, of course, they make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Before Monday, the United Arab Emirates held 165 such records, including 129 set in Dubai, according to Guinness.

Among them are the architectural marvels of Dubai, like the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828 metres (2,716 feet), and the continent-shaped islands of The World, the largest man-made archipelago. The world’s longest driverless metro line passes by the twin towers of the J.W. Marriott Marquis, the world’s tallest hotel at 355 metres (1,165 feet).

RELATED: Toronto university students unofficially break world record for chewing gum bubble blowing

Then there are the stranger feats, like when Indian national Maharoof Decibels won the Operation board game with surgical precision in a world-record 21.87 seconds in 2008. Or when Mohamed Ahmed al-Mulla, an Emirati, typed the fastest blindfolded Arabic text message in 2009. The two-sentences included the phrase: “the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus.”

Some records are more infamous. The largest tanker ship ever hijacked? The UAE-based Sirius Star, later released by Somali pirates for a $3 million ransom. The highest shortage of women, according to Guinness? The UAE, with its vast workforce of male, low-paid migrant labourers.

One place the UAE isn’t ahead, however, is in the number of overall world records. The United States leads the pack with 6,874. But the UAE and Dubai dominate the Middle East, Guinness spokeswoman Leila Issa said.

“The UAE’s initiative to be the first in all industries and their drive for success and to be the best is what drives them to attempt Guinness World Records titles,” she said.

The Emirati push for world records corresponds with academic research on social comparison. Studies show that the higher ranked a person becomes in a field, “the more thirsty you are to get to that No. 1 position,” said Stephen Garcia, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

“Even with adults, if you say, ‘First one to the tree is the coolest person in the world,’ you’re going to get the adults running to the tree,” Garcia said. “That’s such a childhood game, but people are ready to run with it. Whenever you create a competition, people tend to buy in, even around these trivial dimensions, like this Guinness World Record.”

Garcia’s lack of enthusiasm was nowhere to be seen at the Huddle on Monday, where the vibration of the speakers in the bar caused a premature drop of some of the shot glasses at around 8:45 p.m., to the horror of onlookers.

The same thing happened again at 10:09 p.m., but was stopped by a nimble-fingered bartender. Five minutes later, another fourth of the shots fell into their glasses before time, sending some workers scrambling to reset the glasses as others asked patrons in the noisy bar to be quiet.

At press time, most of the shot glasses, and the world record set by Señor Frog, had yet to fall.