Calgary Police investigating swatting incident in U.S.

The Calgary Police Service is investigating what appears to be a swatting event involving an American high school.

Swatting refers to making a fake emergency call in order to provoke an emergency response.

Read more:
The growing problem of ‘swatting’ and why experts say it’s a dangerous trend

Officers began receiving concerned phone calls about a Snapchat message allegedly threatening a high school around 7:00 p.m. Sunday night.

Police now believe the social media posts are related to a swatting incident in the United States aimed at Central High School, which bears a similar name to a school in Calgary.

In a statement, CPS says there is no reason to believe the threats are targeting any school in Calgary and officers will continue to work with law enforcement south of the border.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Sudanese officials detained by military in apparent coup, government says 

Sudanese officials say military forces have detained at least five senior government officials on Monday, as the Sudanese Professionals’ Association has called on people to take to the street to counter an apparent military coup.

The association, Sudan’s main pro-democratic political group, also said there were internet and phone signal outages in the country. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The arrests comes after weeks of rising tensions between Sudan’s civilian and military leaders. A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled autocratic former ruler Omar al-Bashir in mass protests. In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.

Read more:
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The officials said the detained include Industry Minister Ibrahim al-Sheikh, Information Minister Hamza Baloul, and Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, member of the ruling Sovereign Counci, and Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Ayman Khalid, governor of the state containing the capital, Khartoum, was also arrested, according to the official Facebook page of his office.

The arrests have come as the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman met with Sudanese military and civilian leaders Saturday and Sunday in efforts to resolve a growing dispute. Sudan’s Stat News website highlighted the meetings with military officials.

NetBlocks, a group which tracks disruptions across the internet, said Monday it had seen a “significant disruption” to both fixed-line and mobile internet connections across Sudan with multiple providers.

“Metrics corroborate user reports network disruptions appearing consistent with an internet shutdown,” the advocacy group said. “The disruption is likely to limit the free flow of information online and news coverage of incidents on the ground.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Trudeau uses COVID-19 gnarled supply chains in free trade pitch to ASEAN countries

WATCH ABOVE: ASEAN nations say they've agreed on plan with Myanmar military chief on ending crisis ASEAN nations say they've agreed on plan with Myanmar military chief on ending crisis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the spectre of gnarled global supply chains in a bid Sunday to a bloc of Southeast Asian nations to win them over on a free trade deal.

Trudeau has long sought a trade deal with the 10-nation bloc, which includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.

He told a virtual business summit organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that a free trade agreement with Canada would be a “win-win” for all sides, particularly coming out of the pandemic.

Read more:
Myanmar military leader may be barred from ASEAN summit after hindering envoy

Speaking in a pre-recorded message, Trudeau argued that an agreement with ASEAN would help companies and entrepreneurs build connections and business relationships around the world.

He also said a pact would give investors more confidence to invest in international markets, and protect supply chains from the uncertainties brought by COVID-19.

Trade bottlenecks across the globe have been slower to recover than consumer demand for goods, and slowed further by ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks and public health measures.

All this affects inventories of in-demand consumer products or the delivery of parts needed to build things like cars, and pushes up transportation costs that get passed on to consumers, which is reflected in higher inflation rates.

“As we finish the fight against COVID-19, deepening our ties with ASEAN economies and diversifying trade across the Asia-Pacific will play a crucial role in our recovery,” Trudeau said in his address.

“My friends, a strong Canada-ASEAN relationship is a clear win-win for all of our businesses and all of our people.”

The economies of the 10-nation bloc as a group represent Canada’s sixth largest trading partner, but the country already has access to four ASEAN members _ Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam _ through a Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Liberals’ election platform promised a new hub to help businesses take advantage of opportunities under CPTPP, and a new Asia-Pacific strategy aimed at deepening ties in the region, including new trade deals.

Read more:
ASEAN leaders say consensus reached on ending Myanmar crisis

A preliminary analysis by ASEAN and the federal government on the merits of a free trade deal estimated Canadian exports of goods and services to the bloc could go up by 13.3 per cent, valued at US$2.67 billion

In his address, Trudeau said both sides must also ensure women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ entrepreneurs, visible minorities and other under-represented business owners get involved in and benefit from trade.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

‘Twindemic’ emerges with experts predicting more cases of the flu this season

WATCH ABOVE: Medical experts predict bad flu season this year

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and businesses return to normalcy, experts are predicting a bad flu season contrary to last year.

Dr. Ran Goldman, a pediatrician, and professor in the faculty of medicine at UBC says people should prepare for more viruses to run rampant this year.

Read more:
B.C. making flu shots free due to ‘unique circumstances’ of COVID-19

“This year as the economy opens and children are at school and we are more active, we are anticipating that there will be a more significant season with influenza”, Dr. Goldman said.

The news comes after BC health officials announced that the flu shot would be free for everyone aged six months or older.

The anticipated comeback of influenza is one of the reasons Dr. Goldman is encouraging people to get their flu shot – although it doesn’t eliminate the risk of getting influenza, it helps ensure people don’t get severely sick with the flu.

“The vaccine is preventing complications such as pneumonia and other serious and rare complications and by preventing those we are saving lives. So, if everyone is vaccinated, they are going to be protected from the flu and its complications which is especially true for older individuals as well as younger children […] and my suggestion would be for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get the shot.”

Pharmacists are now seeing more people lining up to get their flu shot – some who have never gotten immunized in the past.

Justin Dovale, a pharmacist and co-owner of Two Nice Guys pharmacy in Kelowna, says he is seeing more young people than usual coming in for a shot.

Read more:
‘These diseases are now vaccine preventable’: the parallels between polio and COVID-19

“The relative requirement for COVID-19 immunization likely has immunization at the forefront of everyone’s minds and you know for example an otherwise healthy 30 year old who didn’t necessarily fall into an eligibility group for the flu should have likely been immunized for COVID-19 and think will the flu shot just makes sense”, Dovale said.

With both COVID-19 and influenza in our communities, Dr. Goldman explains that it is difficult to differentiate between symptoms of the two viruses.

“We do know that influenza is affecting more children in that it is a quite significant illness in the first two or three days. COVID on the other hand is a bit of a slow progression of symptoms and may take longer to appear but it is very difficult to differentiate. The only way to do that is to take a test for COVID”, Dr. Goldman added.

Anyone interested in getting a flu shot can do so for free at pharmacies throughout the province.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

How much paid sick leave should be offered in B.C.? Residents can weigh in until Monday

Monday is the last chance for British Columbians to weigh in on proposals for a paid sick leave for workers in the province. Paul Johnson reports.

Monday is British Columbians’ last chance to weigh in on proposals for a paid sick leave for workers in the province.

B.C. has passed legislation that will implement employer-paid sick leave starting Jan. 1, 2022 — but just how many days will be covered has yet to be determined.

The province is now seeking public feedback on whether the requirement should cover three, five or 10 days of leave.

Read more:
Poll suggests small businesses in B.C. can’t afford paid sick leave

With just a day left for people to comment, the BC Federation of Labour is strongly promoting the 10-day option, arguing that other OECD countries like Australia, New Zealand and Sweden meet that bar or greater.

President Laird Cronk said the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw multiple business closures related to employees heading to work sick in workplaces ranging from meat processing to manufacturing to restaurants, showed the need for robust coverage.

“What we know for sure is that people went to work sick in the pandemic … we’ve seen it in multiple locations, because they didn’t have the means to stay home, they were so worried about paying the bills, paying the rent, and they didn’t have paid sick leave, so they made the untenable decision to go to work,” he said.

“What we know is other folks got sick, other folks took that back to their families, their communities, and in the COVID era that can have tragic results.”

Read more:
COVID-19: B.C. introduces sick pay legislation to fill gaps in federal program

While the maximal proposal is attractive to labour, business groups have expressed concern about the affordability of such a program to employers.

A survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found 64 per cent of members did not support the proposal, with more than eight in 10 citing costs.

It said nearly half of businesses have yet to return to pre-COVID revenues, but noted that more than six in 10 members backed the sick leave idea if it was fully funded by government.

“They have record numbers of debt, we’re talking of upward of $129,000, and recovery’s not quite there — there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Seth Scott, CFIB senior policy analyst for B.C. and northern Canada.

“Businesses are very concerned about this. they can not afford another cost right now … clearly businesses are not feeling so great about the economic outlook in both the short and the long term.”

Read more:
Lack of staff sick pay, rapid testing contributed to COVID-19 deaths in B.C. long-term care: report

The CFIB argues that if the government intends to implement the sick day policy, it should also be responsible for funding it.

Cronk said he understood businesses’ concerns, but argued that offering workers paid sick leave would actually be of net economic benefit from an employer’s perspective.

“What we need to do is make sure workers don’t go to work sick,” he said.

“The cost to businesses of having workers come to work sick in the COVID era is really difficult, it can shut down your business for up to 10 days, that can be the end of your business.”

The province plans to formalize the new paid sick leave model by the end of November, and have it in place by the new year.

The public has until Monday to participate in a survey on the proposed options here.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

SaskEnergy reminds residents about carbon monoxide danger

As fall fades into winter, SaskEnergy is reminding people of the dangers of a potential silent killer in their homes.

Read more:
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Spokesperson Alana Johnson said SaskEnergy wants to make sure people know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and what they can do to keep themselves safe.

“This time of the year it gets cooler out there and people are going to be using their furnaces more,” Johnson said.

“Carbon monoxide is produced in the combustion process, or when anything is burned, so when you’re burning wood, when you’re burning charcoal, when you’re burning propane, or when you’re burning natural gas. Where it becomes problematic is when there’s lack of ventilation and carbon monoxide can accumulate in small spaces like your home,” Johnson explained.

Carbon monoxide is also produced when furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces malfunction.

Low-level exposure causes flu-like symptoms. Continued exposure can cause unconsciousness, loss of muscle control, brain damage and death.

There were 16 carbon monoxide deaths in Saskatchewan between 2015 and 2019.

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up when there is inadequate air supply or ventilation for appliances.

“When your furnace is running a lot and especially when maybe there’s the freeze-thaw cycle, you want to make sure there is no ice or snow covering the vents that would allow for your furnace and appliances to vent properly to the outside.”

Read more:
Smoke, carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Saskatchewan residential buildings

Johnson said the real challenge is that carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and tasteless so it’s difficult to know if it’s in your home.

Safety measures to protect yourself from carbon monoxide include installing a CO detector and inspecting and maintaining all gas-powered appliances.

Johnson also recommends residents who have fireplaces ensure the chimney is free of debris.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Industrial explosion left fire crews battling blaze at crude oil tank farm northeast of Edmonton

It took a great deal of effort to control a fire at a crude oil tank farm northeast of Edmonton. Chris Chacon has more on the industrial explosion that rattled a rural area.

An industrial explosion at a crude oil tank farm took place Saturday afternoon at SECURE Energy’s Elk Point facility northeast of Edmonton.

“Talking to some of the local people, they heard the percussion. Some of them felt the percussion when it happened,” Two Hills County Reeve Don Gulayec said.

Gulayec said more than 35 firefighters from several departments along with RCMP and EMS initially responded.

Read more:
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The county also cut off the natural gas and electricity to the site.

“Basically, you’re dealing with a tank farm that holds hydrocarbon material, and they are all on fire. It’s huge. The thing is you don’t know what the potential for an explosion or things like that are,” Gulayec said.

Gulayec said experts in industrial explosions were brought in to suppress and control the fire. The Alberta Energy Regulator and an agency to monitor the air quality were also on site. As a precaution, people living nearby were evacuated from their homes.

“There were no fatalities. Some people were hurt from what I gather, but the extent of their injuries is unknown at this time,” Gulayec said.

In a statement to Global News, Secure Energy said: “At appropriately 2:35 p.m. MST on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, a fire started at SECURE Energy’s Elk Point facility. Our emergency response plan was immediately initiated, which included contacting local emergency authorities.”

“All employees are safe and accounted for. The fire is out, and we are working with all appropriate authorities to investigate the cause. The safety of our employees, the public and the environment remain our top priority.”

Gulayec said in the end, he is proud of the many men and women who volunteered to help battle this blaze.

“It was a big fire for our area,” Gulayec said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Former PPC candidate Mark Friesen sent to Ont. hospital with COVID-19, supporters say

For the second straight election, Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada has been shut out and in the process, they've prompted complaints to Saskatoon police about public health orders.

Former Saskatoon PPC candidate and well-known critic of COVID-19 restrictions Mark Friesen is in a Toronto hospital with COVID-19, one of his supporters said in a video.

The video is titled “How Long Will Canada Remain Docile?” and was posted on the video platform Rumble. In it, supporter Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson shared details about Friesen’s condition.

Read more:
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“Many of you are following what is happening with Mark Friesen. I love this man,” Tyler Thompson tells her viewers. “Many of you know, Mark got COVID, he is actually intubated at this time.”

It came to light earlier this week that Friesen had pneumonia and was transferred to Ontario, according to a different video posted by a supporter.

In that video posted Oct. 21, Tamara Lavoie says he has been in the hospital for three weeks. She adds that he was in ICU in Saskatoon and transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Oct. 20.

Lavoie nor her guest, former PPC candidate Jody Craven, mentioned COVID-19 in the video.

On Friday, Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency President Marlo Pritchard said the province’s current focus is moving COVID-19 patients to Ontario, rather than non-COVID-19 patients.

The provincial government covers the estimated $20,000 cost.

Featured in Tyler Thompson’s Oct. 23 video is an interview with Sean Taylor, a former federal candidate for PPC from B.C who says he is with Friesen at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Friesen has not spoken publicly and is not seen in any videos reviewed by Global News that have been posted to social media referencing his illness. His family members have also not been seen or heard from in the social media videos.

Taylor claims to be a former nurse who was fired but does not specify why he was fired.

In the video, Taylor is donned in PPE and mentioned he is not “double” vaccinated and was not allowed to stay in an unidentified hotel.

Global News reached out to Mount Sinai Hospital to ask what their visitor rules are for individuals not fully vaccinated, but a response was not provided before publishing.

Read more:
Saskatchewan planning to send 2 to 4 ICU patients daily to Ontario starting next week

Global News has reached out to several of Friesen’s family members for weeks for an update on his health but no one has responded.

“Well, he’s sick, right? He’s in a fight but I’m hopeful,” Taylor says about Friesen’s condition in the video.

Taylor also shared his views about Toronto, a city that has remained under stringent public health measures like gathering restrictions and mask mandates since the beginning of the pandemic.

“When I got off the plane yesterday and started travelling through Toronto, it’s a sci-fi horror movie out here,” Taylor said.

“Just the mind virus out here, like everyone’s masked and face shields and eye shields and it’s just, they’re pretty intense about the stuff out here,” Taylor added.

Tyler Thompson and Taylor also discuss how they claim Friesen was treated in hospital.

“We had some excellent care in Saskatoon, it wasn’t everyone, but the meanness with a lot of the staff and just the complete absence of empathy these days,” Taylor said.

Friesen has been a prominent critic of public health measures related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. He has appeared and spoken at rallies across the province and posts about his views on social media pages.

Read more:
Saskatchewan health officials consider next stage of COVID-19 triage

He attended a protest against proof-of-vaccination policies outside City Hospital in Saskatoon prior to the Sept. 20 federal election.

As of Sunday, a total of eight patients have been transferred to Ontario as Saskatchewan continues to battle the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The province currently has the second-highest rate of active COVID-19 cases across the country.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Quebec tables Bill 2, 'most regressive bill proposed on trans rights': advocates

Advocates are sounding the alarm over new legislation proposed by the provincial government that they say would set Quebec back on trans rights.

Proposed Thursday by Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, Bill 2 sets to amend the civil code and only allow transgender people who undergo gender-affirming surgery to request an official sex change on their birth certificate.

“This would absolutely make Quebec the most regressive in Canada for trans rights,” said Florence Ashley Paré, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law who is studying how science is used in legal cases involving trans youth.

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Paré said there is no other province or territory in the country that requires trans people to undergo surgery to access civil status change to their identity.

“This bill will set us back 15 years,” said Québec solidaire’s Manon Massé, who vowed her party would fight the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) bill at the National Assembly.

Paré, who is trans themselves, told Global News the legislation stands out as being the most regressive bill proposed on trans issues in the history of Canada. “All other bills were about progress. This is an exceptional case where we would go back on rights.”

READ MORE: ‘Deadly consequences’: Advocates warn trans people who are black face higher murder rates (2019)

The legislation, which contains 300 articles and will be the subject of public consultations, would essentially create separate sex and gender sections on birth certificates. Should a trans person not have undergone surgery, they would have to assign their sex at birth and would only be eligible to select the gender they identify with.

According to Paré and Massé, this would create a dangerous constant outing of trans people that would make them vulnerable to discrimination.

“ situations where people might get surgery they otherwise didn’t want just to meet the prerequisite from the government.”

Massé said the bill goes backwards on trans, intersex and non-binary rights in Quebec.

A 2020 report from Trans PULSE Canada suggests that trans and non-binary Canadians face increased levels of harassment, physical violence and sexual assault.

According to data released by the Quebec government in 2017, over 40 per cent of the province’s population surveyed has witnessed an act of transphobic or homophobic discrimination.

–with files from the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

WATCH: Global News Hour at 6 - October 24

Watch the online edition of the Global News Hour at 6 BC

The latest developments in the effort to battle a fire aboard a container ship near Victoria, and a look at the challenges of fighting a chemical fire at sea. British Columbians have one more day to weigh in proposed options for employer-paid sick leave. And the challenges B.C.’s live entertainment sector faces, despite relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.

Click here to view more Global BC videos.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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