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.


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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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UPDATE: Alleged Winnipeg letter bomber denied bail

WINNIPEG — Suspected letter bomber, Guido Amsel was denied bail Wednesday after the judge felt he could not be monitored properly in the community if released.

“I still believe in my clients innocence,” said Martin Glazer, Amsel’s lawyer, “I think the judge today made a mistake so we will appeal the decision and keep fighting until Guido gets out.”

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Glazer hoped if Amsel wore an ankle monitoring bracelet he could be released into the community but the judge said she does not see that as an effective way of monitoring someone who’s accused of sending bombs through the mail.

“I think that presumes guilt,” said Glazer, “you’re presuming the person’s guilty and saying they have to be watched 24 hours a day I think that’s a fatal error to make.”

Amsel sat straight up in the prisoners box and showed no reaction to the decision. He wore his prison grey jumpsuit instead of a suit and tie he wore throughout his three day bail hearing.

RELATED: Still no bail decision for alleged Winnipeg letter bomber after 3 days in court

His wife in the front row had to be consoled by family.

Amsel, 49, is charged with attempted murder after allegedly sending three bombs in early July, one exploded in the hands of lawyer Maria Mitousis who lost her right hand and suffered severe injures to her face, neck and chest.

Police safely detonated two other bombs in the following days. One sent to Amsel’s ex-wife Iris Amsel and Amsel’s former lawyer.

Court records show Amsel and his ex-wife were in a lengthy divorce battle and he owed her $40,000.

It took three separate days to complete the bail hearing but details can not be published because it’s under a publication ban.

The Judge was supposed to give her decision sooner Wednesday but Amsel’s lawyer handed in more evidence, delaying the decision by an hour.

The courtroom was packed with Amsel’s family, media and lawyers who have taken interest in the case.

Amsel’s trial could be 2-5 years away, if convicted he will face a lengthy prison sentence said Judge Heather Pullan.

“Obviously, he’s not happy with the decision,” said Glazer, “he was hoping to get out today and go back to his family and his work.”


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Red Deer area exceeds air-quality limits; environment minister concerned

WATCH ABOVE: Questions are being raised about the quality of the air we breathe. Tom Vernon reports.

EDMONTON – The province says the Red Deer region in central Alberta has failed to maintain a federal standard for air quality.

Results from Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards show the area has exceeded the acceptable amount of particulate matter and ozone exposure.

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Four other regions are approaching limits.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says Alberta is on track to have the worst air quality in Canada if something isn’t done.

“The elevated levels in Alberta are a result of emissions from industrial point sources, but also non-point sources like vehicles,” said Phillips.

The Red Deer air zone is now required to develop a response to reduce levels.

The Wildrose said Thursday it wants the NDP to provide more information on the source and origin of the air quality information. The Official Opposition pointed out that Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index describes Red Deer’s air quality health risk as “low.”

“Without a better explanation from the NDP, any new policy appears to be an overreaction,” said Wildrose Environment Critic Todd Loewen.

“We have conflicting data on the government’s own website and they have failed to identify pollution sources for the Red Deer data. It is clear we need to take a more balanced approach to this issue based on evidence and not ideology. Albertans will be rightfully dubious about claims that the Red Deer area has Alberta’s dirtiest air.”

Loewen also called on the government to provide comparisons to other provinces, identify sources for declines in air quality, and provide “common sense solutions.”

“Everyone wants clean air but it looks like the Environment Minister needs to do more homework before jumping ahead with new policies and regulations,” Loewen said.

Phillips said the four other zones – the lower Athabasca, upper Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan –  must develop plans to keep their levels from getting worse.

“I have heard from Albertans that they are worried about the impact of harmful emissions on the health of their families,” said Phillips. “We know, the science tells us, that air quality has a direct impact on human health and that’s of concern to us as a government.

“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health of Albertans.”

It is the first year of annual reporting by provinces and territories.

With files from Global News. 


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Arco Violini: an ensemble of young violinists who aim to give back

WATCH ABOVE: Arco Violini is an ensemble of highly advanced students from Etobicoke Suzuki Music. A key element of Arco is social consciousness and giving back to the community. Susan Hay has the story in this week’s Making a Difference.

TORONTO- Dr. Zachary Ebin is the director of Arco Violini, an ensemble of young students from Etobicoke Suzuki Music, who strive to give back to the community.

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Ebin has performed extensively in the U.S., Israel, and Canada. He has a master’s degree in music and violin performance from the Boston Conservatory.

“The most important factor in the success of a student is how much they practice,” said Ebin.

“They could have the best teacher in the world, they could have the best equipment in the world, but if they don’t practice they don’t go anywhere.”

The group started with five violinists, but has matured into a small chamber orchestra. It consists of students, like eight-year-old Rosanna Scopacasa, who dedicate their free time to intensive practicing, rehearsals and performance.

“My mom and dad thought it would be pretty amazing to have me start at the age of four, to study violin, and it teaches me something very special,” said Scopacasa.

“When we play concerts I know it brings joy to the audience and I want to pass it on.”

A key element of Arco is giving back to the community. The children have performed at hospitals, senior homes, and various fundraisers.

“I think everybody needs to learn how to give back and it’s just what’s going to make this world a better place,” said Ebin.

“Whether they become doctors, lawyers, or musicians, I think they’ll take a sense of what it feels like to give back to the community.”

Senja Rogers is the mother of Meigan and Jazlyne, who were once very shy and introverted children before joining the ensemble.

“It’s given them an identity, because they now say, ‘I play the violin,’ and they’re proud,” said Rogers.

“The music isn’t always just about the practice, but about a group experience and giving back to the community.”


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Sask. fisherman defies odds to capture weekend walleye tournament

Luck came in pairs for a Saskatchewan man who netted two whopping walleye over two days to win two major prizes in a fishing tournament. Ronald Highway of Pelican Narrows was participating in the Senator Pierre Settee Memorial Heaviest Walleye Derby in Cumberland House.

On Saturday. he hooked a contender weighing nine pounds, 12 ounces.

The catch was good enough to win a truck.

READ MORE: 9-year-old New Jersey boy catches 270-kg sturgeon during B.C. fishing trip

Highway returned to his lucky fishing hole on the Saskatchewan River for the second day of the tournament on Sunday and reeled in another big walleye that weighed the same as his first one.

That catch garnered a sport utility vehicle.

Highway says he gave the SUV to his wife.

Ronald Highway poses with the two vehicles he won at the Senator Pierre Settee Memorial Heaviest Walleye Derby in Cumberland House.

2015 Pierre Settee Walleye Derby / Facebook

The lucky sport fisherman said he’s never caught a walleye that big before, let alone two.

“We started laughing, I couldn’t believe it, me and my brother in-law. I was holding first and second, I was pretty nervous the last couple hours.”

Bill Thomas, the tournament’s weight master, said the second fish was released several kilometres from where the first one was released after capture.

“I don’t think it swam back to its home. He must have pulled out the twin.”

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Authors Marina Endicott, Patrick deWitt on long list for Giller Prize

MONTREAL – Marina Endicott, Patrick deWitt and Heather O’Neill are among 12 authors vying for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Last year’s winner, Us Conductors author Sean Michaels, announced the picks Wednesday in Montreal, where he outlined a long list stacked with established writers.

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The Edmonton-based Endicott makes the cut with Close to Hugh (Doubleday Canada), a look at one week in the world of gallery-owner Hugh Argylle. He falls off a ladder early in the novel and in the ensuing days wrestles with his relationship to his ailing mother and the prospect of newfound love.

Endicott finds herself again chasing the $100,000 prize after her novel Good to a Fault was a finalist in 2008 and The Little Shadows was longlisted in 2011.

Vancouver Island’s deWitt is in the running for his novel Undermajordomo Minor (House of Anansi Press). The gothic fairy tale follows Lucien (Lucy) Minor, a 17-year-old with a penchant for lying, as he leaves his village to work for a baron at the Castle Von Aux.

His comic western The Sisters Brothers was a literary sensation in 2011, winning the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the Man Booker and Scotiabank Giller prizes.

Montreal’s O’Neill is a contender for her story collection Daydreams of Angels (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.), which includes tales about a naive cult follower, the struggle of two young women in occupied Paris, and generations of failed Nureyev clones in post-Soviet Russia.

Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, while her follow-up, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, was a 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist.

The titles were chosen from a field of 168 books submitted by 63 publishers, which organizers say is a record number in the prize’s 22-year history. A short list will be announced in Toronto on Oct. 5.

The annual prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. Each finalist gets $10,000.

Also on the long list were Rachel Cusk for Outline (Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.) and Michael Christie for his novel If I Fall, If I Die (McClelland & Stewart).

The books were chosen by a recently expanded five-member jury that included Irish author John Boyne, Canadian writers Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick, and British author Helen Oyeyemi.

The prize was established in 1994 by businessman Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller. Its annual black-tie gala is a swank affair, attracting a who’s who of the literary world and beyond.

The gala will be hosted by Rick Mercer and is set to air Nov. 10 on CBC-TV.

The complete long list can be found at scotiabankgillerprize杭州丝足.


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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.


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