Teens are sleep deprived, suffering due to early school start times: study

Pushing first class to later in the morning could do wonders for chronically sleep deprived teens, according to a new study.

Teenagers often get a bad rap: they’re seen as “tired, irritable and uncooperative” because they choose to stay up too late, and lazy for not wanting to get up early, the study states. But teens don’t run on the same inner clocks as everyone else, and experience “a major biological shift in their sleep patterns” during puberty.

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The findings were published in the Learning, Media and Technology journal and recently presented at the British Science Festival.

Researchers from Harvard and Oxford studied the difference between conventional 9 to 5 schedules, referred to as “social time”, as opposed to the “biological time” the body naturally follows. They found there is no other time than during the teenage years that these two schedules differ more greatly. Adolescents’ biological time dictates a need for nine hours of sleep, and later sleep and wake times.

READ MORE: Tips for parents: making sure your children get enough sleep

When a teen’s alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m., it’s the equivalent of a 4:30 a.m. alarm for the average person in their 50s.

The result of an early wake up call goes beyond sleepy teens; chronic sleep deprivation can produce negative effects, both mental and physical, on the body.

“This level of sleep loss causes impairment to physiological, metabolic and psychological health in adolescents while they are undergoing other major physical and neurological changes,” the study states.

“Failure to adjust education timetables to this biological change leads to systematic, chronic and unrecoverable sleep loss.”

The study is not unique in its findings: in August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that most middle and high schools in the United States were starting their days too early.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said lead author Dr. Anne Wheaton. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

In 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics called a lack of sleep among adolescents “an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students.”

READ MORE: Doctors say schools should start later so kids can sleep longer

All three studies urged the same conclusion: let the teens sleep.

The most recent study states that at the age of 16, the biological wake up time is around 8:00 a.m., and school should begin between 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. At 18 the biological wake up time is closer to 9:00 a.m., and a class time of 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. would be most beneficial.

The researchers concluded that syncing up educational start times to teens’ body clocks would be a “a relatively simple step” to boost students’ performance and reduce health risks without having to alter teaching methods or at any great expense.

“Good policies should be based on good evidence, and the data show that children are currently placed at an enormous disadvantage by being forced to keep to inappropriate education times,” the study states.

©2015

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Ontario mother outraged after bus driver leaves 6-year-old daughter at park alone

WATCH ABOVE: Just two days into the new school year, a six-year-old girl was dropped off by a school bus at a park by herself — rather than being walked over to after-school care. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the situation could have escalated into something much worse.

TORONTO — A Bradford, Ont. mother is outraged after her six-year-old daughter was mistakenly dropped off at a park about 20 minutes from their home, rather than sent to after-school care.

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Juliette, who prefers not to use her last name, told Global News she was mortified to learn that her daughter was put on a school bus rather than walked over to the YMCA daycare, which is attached to the W. H. Day Elementary School.

“I talked to her teacher in the morning and let her know that she would be going to the YMCA care and she went though her folder and said yeah, she did have a list,” Juliette said.

“She just basically had to walk down the hall.”

Melanie Slade-Morrison, a spokeswoman for the Simcoe County School Board, said the school board was “apologetic to the family,” adding that this was an “isolated incident.”

Slade-Morrison insisted the Board isn’t looking to assign blame, but is looking at where there may have been breakdowns in communication.

Juliette said that her daughter Sarena should have been picked up at the bus stop where she was dropped off Tuesday.

When Sarena got off the bus, no one was there to pick her up as her parents assumed she was in her after-school program.

The bus stop is next to a park, so Sarena played there for 45 minutes by herself.

“I’m mortified, I’m sick to my stomach,” said Juliette.

“She went into the park and played for about 45 minutes by herself.”

That’s when a passerby noticed her and asked if she could help.  Juliette had written the name of the school on Sarena’s backpack so the woman called the school, which then alerted her parents as to where she was. Eventually Sarena’s aunt rushed to the park to pick her up.

Juliette, who works as a Doula and registered massage therapist and was in a Toronto hospital helping to deliver a baby, said she asked Sarena if she considered walking home from the park but the little girl said she wouldn’t leave the area because her mom taught her never to cross the street alone.

©2015

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Big grocery chains about to put the squeeze on shoppers: report

Consumers may be about to feel the full weight of the country’s two dominant grocery chains, both of whom have added considerable heft and could be planning to start throwing it around, according to experts.

With job cutsand store closureslargely behind them, Loblaw Co. Ltd. and Empire Co. Ltd. (owner of Sobeys and Safeway) are now turning their combined attention toward the end-game of their blockbuster acquisitions of Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway, respectively, last year: netting a bigger slice of cash from shoppers, experts say.

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“The big consolidations of 2014 should finally begin to bear fruit,” CIBC World Markets retail stock analysts said in a recent research report.

The fruit will come in the form of pricing and promotional strategies that mean lesshead-to-head competition between chains, and more sales squeezed from customers, the analysts said.

“Already we have seen some coordination of advertising programs to avoid direct item conflicts,” the CIBC report said. “But more importantly, the reduction in the number of competitors in both drug and food makes price checking and price signalling that much easier,” the analysts said.

“It fosters a much calmer, more coordinated market.”

Loblaw announced in July it was closing 52 unprofitable stores over the next year to help boost its bottom line. That announcement followed a similar one from Empire in mid-2014 that it was closing about 50 locations following its $5.8-billion purchase of Safeway Canada.

The pair of mega-deals, which were approved by regulators after Loblaw and Empire agreed to sell offsome stores, mean about half of Canadian supermarket sales are controlled by the two retailers, CIBC estimated.

MORE: Are discount grocery stores becoming a myth?

Click here to view data »

Scrutiny urged

Loblaw and Empire each argued that their added scale would benefit shoppers by allowing the retailersto buy more wholesale volumes. The savings they got from the bulk purchases would give them the flexibility to pass the discounts onto customers, they said.

But consumer groups and some academics warned when the deals were first announced that shoppers could suffer from higher prices.

“We view this as a loss of competition,” Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, said of the deals.

MORE: Scrutiny urged over supermarket mega-mergers

In a paper published on the Loblaw-Shoppers transaction, Douglas West, an economist and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta, called for an extensive analysis of prices on overlapping product lines.

“You have all these local markets across the country and the competitive intensity will vary by market,” West said at the time.

“I live in a little suburb of Vancouver, and we’ve got a Safeway and a Sobeys,” the CAC’s Cran said.

The loonie’s sharp decline as well as skyrocketing meat prices have already accelerated growth in supermarket prices. Food inflation remained relatively stable for several years following the recession, but began rising sharply at the beginning of 2014, Statistics Canadadata show.

MORE: Shoppers spending more on food thanks to loonie’s drop

Click here to view data »

Loblaw did not respond to requests for comment.On a conference call Thursday, Empire executives said hiccups with theirintegration efforts in the latest quarter had createddelays in introducing the grocer’s new pricing strategies, but the holdupsweren’t significant.

Next year

CIBC’s analysts said Loblaw and Empire still have work to do, but their respective pricing strategies should be fully phased in by next year. “By 2016, the most important element – pricing strategy – should be determined and coordinated,” the report from Aug. 12 said.

Empire is clearly showing it’s still a work in progress. The company said Wednesday earnings fell 14 per cent compared to the same period last year, citing costs associated with the integration of Safeway.

“From a pricing and promotional point of view it’s been more business as usual, with a few experiments here and there,” Marc Poulin, Sobeys CEO said on the call.“We’ve always said we want to make the transition to the new systems and processes first and foremost before we look at the way we market.”

MORE: Facing leaner times, Alberta grocery shoppers ‘trade down’

Belt-tightening among shoppers in Western Canada, where Safeways outnumber Sobeys, could also keep a lid on price growth, experts say.

Supermarket prices in regionssideswiped by the oil downturn will be difficult to raise and could actually tick lower, Kenric Tyghe, a retail stock expert at financial services firm Raymond James, said. “Necessitated by a more price sensitive Western Canadian consumer.”

Still, grocery shoppers elsewhere won’t likely seeanything close to lower food prices, the CIBC research note said. Next year “should be the culmination of consolidation: a distinctly less competitive marketplace.”

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©2015

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UPDATE: Testalinden controlled burn still under control

OLIVER – Plumes of smoke from a planned controlled burn have alarmed some in the Oliver and Osoyoos areas. However, there is nothing to worry about as B.C. Wildfire Service says the deliberately set fire hasn’t gotten away from them. The B.C. Wildfire Service started a controlled burn earlier today as they continue to fight the Testalinden Wildfire. Ground crews have already started work on that planned burn.

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“The ground crews have what they call drip torches so it is a small type of metal torch that has a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline in it and the crews actually walk along and light strips of fire in a controlled area within the controlled fire perimeter,” says fire information officer Colette Fauchon.

Fauchon says a helicopter will also be used to ignite the controlled burn in a larger area that is very steep where they can’t get crews on the ground. The method they are using is aimed at creating a low intensity ground fire.

Read More: Testalinden wildfire 80 per cent contained

“We don’t want to burn the trees. So this is one way that we can have a controlled burn and we don’t have to have a candling effect that people often see with high intensity fires,” she says.

The controlled burn is taking place within the fire’s 4506 hectare perimeter.

“The difficulty that we have is that a lot of the fire is on steep terrain. As the fire has been burning trees fall down, they roll down the hill and they just keep spreading the fire within the containment area. So this is one way for us to speed up that process of burning the fuel that the fire is going to burn up anyway over time,” says Fauchon.

The Testalinden Wildfire is currently considered 80 per cent contained. Depending on weather conditions, crews may finish the controlled burn today or continue with the controlled burn tomorrow.

– with files from Angela Jung

Smoke from the controlled burn at the site of the Testalinden Wildfire.

Angela Jung / Global News

Smoke from the controlled burn at the site of the Testalinden Wildfire.

Oliver Daily News

Smoke from the controlled burn at the site of the Testalinden Wildfire.

Oliver Daily News

Smoke from the controlled burn at the site of the Testalinden Wildfire.

Oliver Daily News

Smoke from the controlled burn at the site of the Testalinden Wildfire.

Oliver Daily News

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NHL waiting for Patrick Kane legal process to play out

WATCH ABOVE: Attorneys for Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane may be in talks with the alleged sex assault victim who claims Kane assaulted her in his home. Marissa Bailey reports.

TORONTO – NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league will wait for the legal process to play out in the sexual assault investigation involving Patrick Kane before making any decisions about his future.

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The Chicago Blackhawks star is under investigation by police in his hometown of Hamburg, N.Y., over an incident that occurred at his house. He has not been charged.

“Obviously when a player is involved in something like Patrick Kane is subject to right now in terms of the authorities investigating, it’s unfortunate, it’s a terrible thing, but we’re going to have to watch the process play out and at the appropriate time we’ll make whatever decisions have to be made at the time,” Bettman said Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.

READ MORE: Patrick Kane investigation involves woman in her 20s

According to The Associated Press, the Erie County District Attorney has postponed grand jury proceedings into the allegation against Kane.

Evidence was scheduled to be presented to jurors on Tuesday but the hearings were postponed for about two weeks, a source told the AP. The person, who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity, did not provide a reason for the postponement.

Kane is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her 20s at his off-season home outside Buffalo, a second person familiar with the investigation told AP on the condition of anonymity because police have not revealed the nature of their investigation.

The Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks are scheduled to open training camp on Sept. 18. With that date looming, Bettman declined to say whether the NHL had to make a decision on Kane by then.

READ MORE: EA Sports drops Blackhawks star from NHL 16 cover

“We will make whatever decision we have to make in the appropriate time frame that we have to make it based on the information that is available to us at the time,” Bettman said. “Beyond that I don’t want to speculate at this point.”

Beyond Kane, a handful of other NHL players have run into legal trouble in recent months.

Free agent Mike Richards was charged with possession of a controlled substance at the Canadian-U.S. border in Emerson, Man.; former Los Angeles Kings teammate Jarret Stoll pleaded guilty to two reduced misdemeanour charges to resolve a felony cocaine case stemming from an arrest at a Las Vegas swimming pool and Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly was charged with impaired driving and failing to remain at the scene of an accident in London, Ont.

Kings defenceman Slava Voynov has been taken into custody by U.S. immigration officials two months after pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge. He was originally charged with a felony and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour charge, and according to the Los Angeles Times, faces possible deportation to his native Russia.

Voynov was suspended last season when he was charged. Richards had his contract terminated by the Kings in late June, and his situation is pending a grievance hearing filed by the NHLPA.

Bettman said the NHL handles each situation on a case-by-case basis “because rarely are two of these circumstances identical.” He also commended the vast majority of NHL players for their behaviour.

“Overwhelmingly our players do the right things,” Bettman said. “We have over 700 players and overwhelmingly they conduct themselves in a magnificent, appropriate way that reflects well on each other, and on their teams, the league and the game.”

*With files from The Associated Press

©2015

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Nova Scotians rally to sponsor Syrian refugees

WATCH ABOVE: Global’s Marieke Walsh caught up with one group from Hubbards which is trying to bring two Syrian families to Nova Scotia.

HALIFAX -A community group in Hubbards is one of dozens across the province that is now hoping to sponsor Syrian refugees.

The group was spurred into action after seeing the picture of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body being carried off a beach.

“It was the spark for the community,” said Shelly Whitman, one of the organizers.

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“It’s not that people hadn’t been thinking about this issue or seeing the images of other migrants. That certainly has been something that people in the community have talked about. But I think that the political will and the momentum was certainly driven by that image.”

Whitman and a core group of people have started a fundraising campaign to bring two Syrian refugee families to Hubbards. At its first meeting over the Labour Day long weekend, the group had 61 people show up and offer financial and organizational help.

The Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia says its been inundated with phone calls from groups like the one in Hubbards asking how they can help Syrian refugees.

In the last three days, ISANS says its received 35 phone calls from individuals and groups who want to sponsor Syrian refugees to come to the province. That’s a marked difference from just a week ago when the organization rarely got a call from the general public.

“We’ve had an amazing response from the public. Our phone has been ringing constantly since Thursday,” said Evelyn Jones, refugee sponsorship coordinator for ISANS.

“We’ve had so many people call and say, ‘What can we do to help?’”

Whitman said the group needs to raise $70,000 in order to sponsor two families to come to Nova Scotia. She said the goal is to raise all of the money by January.

Despite the large amount that must be collected, Jones said she’s been impressed by how much money some groups have already raised.

“I’ve been hearing from people in the community that they’re having immediate commitment of donations,” she said.

Sponsoring refugees, and getting them to Canada can be a complicated process. ISANS, helps people who are making the application, navigate the system and helps them prepare for the arrival of the refugees.

“Sponsorship is not an overnight thing, they are making a commitment to be with the family before they get here, and while they’re here,” said Jones.

The federal government is speeding up the process for settling Syrian refugees. However, even with that Jones said she has seen it take anywhere from a couple of months to two years to bring Syrian refugees to Canada.

The United Nations says the Syrian refugee crisis is on a scale not seen since the second world war. Since January, Nova Scotia has settled 11 refugees. But, 44 more refugees are still having their paper work processed, said Jones. The province asked the federal government to let it settle more refugees but Ottawa hasn’t responded to the request.

ISANS is holding an information session for Nova Scotians who want to sponsor refugees on September 16.

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City of Edmonton could be looking at $10.6M budget shortfall

EDMONTON — Snow removal expenses may be partly to blame for saddling the City of Edmonton with a multi-million dollar shortfall.

The city hasn’t officially started crunching the numbers yet, but Wednesday, council heard it could be more than $10 million in the hole.

Snow removal is one expense that can be difficult to estimate year-to-year, which can then impact the accuracy of the budget.

“As with our budget every year, it all depends on how much it snows,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

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    Edmonton’s snow removal plan

“We are behind $10 million bucks because of snow early in the year.”

The transportation department said Edmonton didn’t get a lot of snow in terms of overall volume, but had small, more frequent weather events that drove up costs.

Pothole expenses, vehicle maintenance and tax appeals also contributed to the projected deficit.

READ MORE: Edmonton expects to be $10M over 2014’s snow removal budget 

The mayor hopes a mild winter could help get the city back in black.

“If we have a light winter, we’ll make that back up to Christmas,” he said. “If we have a heavy snowfall, we’ll have to dip into our reserve, which is there for dealing with this from one year to the next.

“It’s a normal seasonal variance. Administration has worked hard to clamp down on expenditures in other areas to offset this, so we’re actually off $15 (million) on snow but only off $10 (million) on the overall budget.

“Overall, it’s a risk to keep an eye on but it’s in the hands of the weather gods.”

Council also heard the city’s planning department is already dipping into its reserves. The branch manager said the department will start looking at staffing levels and vacancies. Scott Mackie said layoffs won’t be necessary right now.

©2015Shaw media

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Donald Trump, Ted Cruz square off against Iran deal at U.S. Capitol

WATCH ABOVE: GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both said they opposed the Iran nuclear, with Trump saying the agreement will be “renegotiated, or worse”, if elected president. Major Garrett reports.

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential rivals and friends-for-now Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on Wednesday savaged the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it an incompetently negotiated deal that will cost “countless” American and Israeli lives.

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“We are led by very, very stupid people,” Trump, the Republican front-runner weighed in, at a midday rally on Capitol Hill. He called the deal “incompetent” and poised to fail in the fight against Islamic militants. “We will have so much winning if I get elected, that you may get bored with winning.”

READ MORE: 6 ‘Trumpisms’ that would spell trouble for anyone but Trump

Cruz, who invited Trump to the event, said supporters of the deal will have blood on their hands.

“You cannot wash your hands of that,” he said, naming House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, as two men who could stand in the way.

“Any commander-in-chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared to stand up on Jan. 20, 2017 and rip to shreds this catastrophic deal.”

The pairing at Wednesday’s rally, sponsored by tea party and pro-Israel activists, is the product of what Trump acknowledged beforehand as “a little bit of a romance” at this early stage of the 2016 presidential race. In fact, the senator and the real estate developer are competing for many of the same anti-establishment, core Republican activists.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, greet each other on stage during a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The two spoke as Congress debated the deal, which is designed to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Republicans and Israel say Iran can’t be trusted because its leaders want to annihilate the Jewish state.

The agreement struck by Iran, the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany in July would provide Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions in exchange for a decade of constraints on the country’s nuclear program. The deal aims to keep Iran at least a year away from being able to produce enough nuclear material for a weapon.

READ MORE: Trump pledges to back Republican party’s 2016 nominee, not run as independent

Both candidates slammed President Barack Obama’s agreement to the complex deal at without negotiating the release of four Americans who remain in captivity in Iran. Trump added this pledge:

“If I win the presidency I guarantee you that these four prisoners are back in our country before I ever take office.”

Trump did not explain how he would accomplish that goal.

The event highlights the unique relationship between Trump and Cruz, a tea party hero who helped shut the federal government in 2013 and ultimately needs the same frustrated voters who have pushed Trump to a surprising lead in early polls. As Republican competitors turn against Trump, Cruz has offered only praise. The strategy could pay dividends for Cruz in the coming months, if Trump drops out of the race.

Still, Trump assured the group: “I’m not dropping out of anything. I never drop out.”

Some protesters carried Israeli flags, but more carried American flags. A few carried posters that said, “Jewish lives matter.”

The day gave Trump an opportunity to address foreign policy less than a week after he struggled to answer basic questions about key players in the Middle East during a radio interview.

The protest won’t change the ultimate approval of the international agreement, which has been clear for days: Even if a disapproval resolution should pass the House and Senate this week, President Barack Obama would veto it, and Democrats have the votes in hand to sustain his veto.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign released an Instagram video clip on the eve of the rally, using Trump’s words against him. Asked in a past CNN interview who he’d like to represent the U.S. in a deal with Iran, Trump responds, “I think Hillary would do a good job.”

©2015

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‘Students are still unsure about it’: SMU frosh take seminar on consent – Halifax

WATCH ABOVE: Two years ago, Saint Mary’s University has its reputation tarnished after the discovery of a frosh chant condoning rape and sexual assault, now the university and students are working together to make the campus a safer place. Global’s Julia Wong reports.

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HALIFAX – Two years after the discovery of a frosh chant condoning rape and sexual assault, Saint Mary’s University and its students are taking steps towards changing the culture that allowed the chant in the first place.

RELATED: ‘It was never meant to be offensive’: Frosh leader speaks out about SMU chant

A seminar called Safe at SMU where students discussed sexual consent was held Wednesday for more than 600 first-year students. This is the first time the sessions have been held. The university is making the interactive discussions mandatory.

RELATED: Man charged with sexual assault of woman at Acadia University

“[It’s] all about understanding what it is to have consent,” said Heidi Weigand, the director of the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health who oversaw the seminar.

“The idea that consent is having the ‘yes’ and so we want to make sure students are aware, coming into university, what are the different types of situations that come up, where can the complexities be and making sure they’re keeping themselves safe and keeping their peers safe.”

READ MORE: Saint Mary’s University changes frosh week, a year after ‘rape chant’

The seminars are led by students like Jean Legault, who ran the workshop on sexual consent.

“It’s something students are still unsure about. It’s something we want to make very clear and make sure students are safe in situations where that becomes an issue,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is get students thinking about what constitutes consent and get them to label situations as being either safe or unsafe. In many cases, what happens is the grey area disappears.”

READ MORE: Former frosh leader says complaint about SMU frosh chant went unheard

Dr. Esther Enns is the chair of the President’s Council Action Team, which was enacted at SMU after the scandal. She said the seminars are a direct result of recommendations to make the campus a safer place.

RELATED: 2 students face disciplinary action over frosh chant, SMU student pres. quits

“We have undertaken a lot of initiatives and there’s a lot of enthusiasm across all sectors of the campus for the initiatives,” she said.

Students say conversations are critical

Matthew Laustsen, 18, was in high school when the frosh chant scandal came to light. He said discussions about consent are much needed.

EXTERNAL LINK: Safe at SMU videos

“It is an issue around places like this,” the first year student said. “It is something we need to address and having something like dialogue going on just keeps that relevant.”

Scott Kilmer, 17, from Edmundston, NB agrees that the discussions are pertinent.

“It’s a great idea that they’re making a big deal about sexual consent, especially since some people don’t care for it and [this] makes them care for it,” he said.

Robyn Chapman of Halifax said dialogue about the issue needs to persist.

“I think it’s a good idea that we should be learning about it,” she said.

“I feel it’s important for everybody to know and understand, especially with the things that have been happening in Halifax.”

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Miley Cyrus enters fray to fight B.C. wolf cull program

WATCH:  The campaign to stop BC’s wolf cull is getting some high-profile support from singer Miley Cyrus. Grace Ke reports. 

The campaign to stop B.C.’s wolf cull got some high profile support from controversial pop star Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus, who is known for garnering equal amounts of hype and backlash, took to Instagram yesterday urging her 28 million followers to sign a petition to stop the killing of wolves in B.C.

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In her Instagram post Cyrus said, “I ask so much of my fanz, friendz, [sic] & family… But I am shameless when it comes to making changes in a world that at times needs to reevaluate its morals when dealing with kindness and compassion towards animals, humanity, and the environment.”

The killing she’s referring to is the province’s controversial wolf control program, which is in place to save endangered mountain caribou, and is about to enter its second year.

Cyrus encouraged her fans to sign the anti-wolf cull petition found on the website of a B.C. conservation group called Pacific Wild. By Wednesday afternoon the petition had almost reached its goal of 200,000 signatures.

“Within about an hour of her Instagrams, the site went down,” said Pacific Wild’s Michaela Montaner.

“It was great, we have a wonderful volunteer and IT team that worked together to get it back up very quickly and since then the support has been pouring in.”

The province started the first year of a five-year wolf cull program on Jan. 15, 2015 and as of April said 84 wolves were shot from helicopters in the South Selkirk Mountains and South Peace Region. The area is home to seven mountain caribou herds, four of which are in danger of being eliminated.

According to the government, the South Selkirk herd numbered 46 caribou in 2009 and declined to 14 in March 2015, and in the South Peace wolves account for 37 per cent of all adult caribou mortalities.

Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild has been critical of the hunt in the past, saying the real problem is habitat destruction and the cull is a taxpayer-funded program to kill an iconic species.

Cyrus echoed McAllister’s comments and has been actively debating if wolves are the problem with her followers.

For Pacific Wild, they’re hoping Cyrus keeps supporting their petition.

“We’re hopeful that it’s more than a fleeting support but even so it’s been an incredible boost to the campaign and we’re grateful for it,” said Montaner.

~ with files from Grace Ke and Canadian Press

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Global News parents reflect on back-to-school time

We asked members of our Global News team what back-to-school meant to them and their family. It’s always exciting for the kids, but a little more emotional for the parents. Take a look at what they shared.

Antony Robart is one proud pappa

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So as my little baby follows in her big brother’s footsteps and begins ‘big girl school’ aka ‘junior kindergarten’, I am of course filled with immense pride. But, I ask myself if I’m a bad parent for intentionally not correcting her grammar when she says she eats her ‘begtables’ because it gives her ‘bitamins’. Frankly, I find it too damn cute. Maybe when she’s 18 years old and still refers them as that, I may think about it. For now, I just want to bottle up the ‘baby’ I remember and slow her down (and her brother) from growing up.

Antony Robart is an anchor with Global News at 11PM.

Global News Graphics Supervisor Johannes Hage realizes time goes by quickly

Here’s a snapshot of my kids taking on a brand new year at school. They braved the newness of not being in daycare this year and waited outside for the school bell to ring. Lo and behold they thought they would be alone with no friends to hang out with, but as soon as we rolled up they saw a bunch of friends. This photo was them being patient with me for one photo before they darted to catch up with ole’ friends. Oh, how time flies.

Johannes (Yopi) Hage is a Graphics Supervisor with Global News.

Johannes Hage’s kids on the first day of school.

Global BC’s Lynn Colliar has a preschooler now

It was the first day of preschool for my daughter Teagan, she’s just four! Since my shift changed back to weekends, yesterday morning was fairly laid back. She was excited to go to “school” and understands kindergarten is next year. I cannot believe my wee baby will be in kindergarten next year!

Lynn Colliar is an anchor with Global BC.

Lynn Colliar’s daughter.

Global News Marketing Director Rhonda Halarewich celebrates milestones

Our back-to-school journey this year began with a couple milestones and mixed emotions. I have two amazing girls, who have each magically grown before my eyes. I truly feel like I blinked once and my girls were meeting their kindergarten teachers for the first time, then I blinked again, and here we are, a teenager going in to her first year of high school and a beautiful young woman entering her first year of university (Bachelor of Communications).

As we got ready for back-to-school this year, we realized that a few things have changed from their first year of school and that some things never will. I did NOT have to shop off of a required school supply list this year – and believe me, that was great! I did NOT follow the school bus this morning and that is only because they are now both taking public transit. I did NOT pick out their back-to-school outfits this year, however, I DID discover that they there was a pair of boots and a scarf missing in my closet this morning! I DID take a “first day of school” photo of each of the girls, like I do every year, but I did NOT post it on social media (at least not yet…) and I DID give them each a hug, I DID say a prayer, and I DID shed a tear (no matter how big they are, it’s hard to let go).

Rhonda Halarewich is the Marketing Director with Global News for the Western markets.

Rhonda Halarewich’s daughters on the first day of school.

Angie Seth of Global News gets teary

So here we go, another year in school! My eldest starts her third year at the University of Toronto being brilliant as always in the classroom, fierce on the ice playing for the Women’s Varsity Blues Hockey team, and looking gorgeous as always although she doesn’t see it. Yes, I am biased but I am in awe of her and I always will be! My middle child is a big girl today starting grade 1. She got all dressed up in her pretty blue dress, hair in a French braid, ready to take on the world! Blue eyes sparkling, got a big hug and kiss from her little brother on her first day (my eyes tearing up).

The question is am I ready for all this? Simply no. I never will be. These are my babies and my sweet miracles. I am blessed to have them. I cherish every smile, hug, laugh, giggle, snuggle, tantrum, cry, sleeping child. I want them to explore, think, challenge themselves, have fun, laugh, love, do everything, to be best of friends, to always take care of each other. Yes, it’s only the first day of school, but it’s on days like these I reflect back, I will never be ready for them to grow up, but I will always be proud of them and in awe of who they are…my sweet miracles!

Angie Seth is a weekend anchor and reporter with Global News.

Angie Seth’s daughter on her first day of Grade 1.

©2015

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‘Death by a thousand cuts’: N.B. labour board hears UNB women’s hockey case

FREDERICTON – There was no agenda to discriminate against women when the University of New Brunswick decided to eliminate its varsity women’s hockey program, a lawyer for the school said Wednesday.

Sylvia Bryson has been fighting to have the women’s hockey team reinstated as a varsity squad since filing a complaint with the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board in 2009, a year after the team was stripped of its funding and downgraded to a competitive sports club.

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Bryson, who played for the team, alleges that the decision to relegate the women’s team constitutes discrimination on the basis of their sex.

But in his closing arguments to the board, university lawyer Clarence Bennett said shortening the list of varsity sports was based on how it spent its funds.

“UNB was not motivated in any way by the fact they are women,” he said.

He added that there is no responsibility for the university to mirror its sports and spend exactly the same on men’s and women’s teams.

Bryson said while the women’s hockey team never received the level of resources given to the men’s team, the university compared their outcomes, such as win-loss records, when the decision was made to cut funding from the women’s squad.

“It was death by a thousand cuts,” she said after the hearing.

Lawyer Matthew Letson of the Human Rights Commission said the women were treated differently than the men’s team because of a discrepancy of funding and the ability to access equipment, such as a skate sharpener.

During the hearing, lawyers for the university said the men’s team generated some of its own funding through ticket sales and very few people attended the women’s games.

“The popularity of the team was undercut by a lack of funding,” argued Letson in support of Bryson.

Bryson said she’s aware the university has to evaluate how it spends money on all programs.

“Everybody is justified in evaluating programs but it is absolutely essential that they be done fairly and justly,” said Bryson, who has one year of eligibility remaining and wants to try out for the team again.

Bennett said the university does not have an obligation to provide particular sports, adding that the school doesn’t have a rugby team for men.

“If a male student wanted to play rugby and complained to the (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) we’d be looking at this differently. A woman can invoke the Human Rights Act,” Bennett said.

“There was no agenda to discriminate against women.”

But Letson said arbitrator Robert Breen must view the case as a question of equal treatment of gender.

Breen did not set a date for his decision, but said it will take some time.

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Labour Market Assessment report poses challenges – Halifax

WATCH ABOVE: The pace of construction in Halifax is creating jobs, but filling those jobs could be a challenge. Global’s Ray Bradshaw reports.

HALIFAX – Downtown Halifax’s Nova Centre construction project is just one of many that dominate the city’s skyline these days. The pace of construction in the city is creating lots of jobs, but filling those jobs can be a challenge.

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It’s a good time to be in the construction business in Halifax, but maybe not outside the capital city, according to the new ‘Labour Market Assessment’ report.

Brad Smith, Executive Director of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades, said among the workers employed, “34 per cent of them reported being under employed, indicating they worked less than they wanted to in the last 24 months,” but he notes the industry is expecting growth.

More than 1,400 people participated in the survey, which indicates many employers will be leaving the construction business. “33 per cent of employers for example said they plan on retiring in the next 5 years,” said Duncan Williams, President of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia. “47 per cent said they were planning to retire in the next ten years, which really means we have to become much more entrepreneurial in Nova Scotia to replace those workers.”

According to the report, 72 per cent of people who graduate from trades courses expect to be employed within two months, and 51 per cent of new graduates expect to move away from Nova Scotia.

Marjorie Davison, CEO of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, said government has to convince those young workers that Alberta doesn’t have to be their first or only choice. “We have to get the good message out to students that we have opportunities here and we have to give them good labour market information to show them where those opportunities are.”

There are many trade schools across Nova Scotia that offer opportunities to develop skills, including on-the-job training, and enrollment is up.

“The Trades Exhibition Hall is a great facility to come and learn about different opportunities in the construction industry,” said Trent Soholt, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council. “The Construction Association’s Building Futures for Youth is another great opportunity for individuals to learn about construction occupations and the opportunities that exist.”

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