Monthly Archives:September 2019

Industry says local developer ready to buy Exhibition Park – Halifax ( admin posted on September 21st, 2019 )

HALIFAX – A local organization with players in the tourism and hospitality industries says a developer is ready to buy and fix Exhibition Park.

“I can tell you that this is a very reputable company of proven performance,” said Jim Gourlay, executive director of the Exposition Managers Society of Nova Scotia.

The identity of the developer, a local company, isn’t being revealed yet.

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The property, which requires millions of dollars of repairs and upgrades, is set to close in November. Subsequently, at least ten major events will not be held next year, including the Halifax International Boat Show, and Halifax RV Show.

“To make a major decision like this without understanding the economic ramifications is very concerning,” said Darleen Grant Fiander, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and member of the group, of the closure.

If Exhibition Park doesn’t reopen, it would lead to a local economic net loss of $12 million, according to the group.

The mystery developer, said to be able to get the repairs and upgrades completed cheaper than the government would be able to, has offered a bid at market value for a contract lasting at least eight years. Two letters about the plan have been sent to the provincial government.

“We are currently considering proposals for the property, and evaluation of those proposals is underway,” said Toby Koffman, Media Relations Advisor for Department of Business, adding that two proposals have been submitted so far.

There is no firm date set for when the decision will be made.

“We encourage all interested parties to get involved in the discussion, and a decision will be made in the best interest of Nova Scotians,” said Koffman.

The group would help the developer with administration and marketing, with the hope of doubling the number of events that can be held at the property.

“We’re not saying we’re going to do anything miraculous – simply put Halifax where it should be,” said Gourlay, who is also the president of Saltscapes Publishing Limited.

The group said it wants the government to make a decision within a week, and that if there is any hope for exhibition park to open by next spring, repairs need to be done before winter.

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It’s ‘likely’ that school boards will be abolished, says Couillard – Montreal ( admin posted on September 21st, 2019 )

QUEBEC CITY – Premier Philippe Couillard was categoric Tuesday when discussing the future of school boards in the province.

He told reporters at the National Assembly that, while no decision has officially been made, it is looking increasingly likely that school boards will be abolished.

READ MORE: Quebec’s English school boards fight for survival

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    English Montreal School Board survy results

    Luc Horne on English school boards

  • Quebec’s English school boards fight for survival

Couillard said that the Jennings report on the future of school boards has been presented to Education Minister François Blais.

READ MORE: Quebec national assembly returns after summer break

“What we want to do is shift the centre of gravity of the system towards the school, the teachers and the parents,” said Couillard.

“The education project should be set up and imagined at the school level and the regional organization, or however we may call it, is going to be there to help the school and not direct the school.”

READ MORE: Can Quebec school board elections be saved? Should they be?

Though the province recognizes the importance of maintaining school boards for the English speaking population and the vital links those institutions play in the community, the Premier said there needs to be another way to maintain such relationships.

The Jennings report is set to be made public at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in Montreal.

WATCH: Quebec school boards fight for survival

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6 odd and awkward TIFF moments ( admin posted on September 21st, 2019 )

Toronto goes a little bit crazy at film festival time. Fans go ga-ga over the big stars in town, said stars do some serious partying and strange things happen. We can’t recount every weird occurrence from 40 years of TIFF – and there are plenty of them – but these are some of the highlights.

2015: Crowd hates the hug

Sir Patrick Stewart sure seems like a friendly and approachable star, but there are limits.

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One presumed superfan learned that — to her likely embarrassment – after making an overly intimate request.

At a press conference for Green Room, where Stewart plays a neo-Nazi gang leader, a woman stood up and said, “Since I’ll probably never get to do this another time, Patrick, can I have a hug?”

The request wasn’t as cute as she thought. After a second of stunned silence, the crowd booed her down and Stewart moved on to another question.

2011: Clooney’s caustic response

It’s not just the fans who ask silly questions either. Nobody looks to TIFF interviews for hard-hitting media questions, and every year brings fresh headlines of “Actor X responds to reporter’s dumb question.” In 2015, Legend star Tom Hardy captured headlines with his blunt response to a query about his sex life.

But perhaps the most stinging reporter rebuke came in 2011 when George Clooney humiliated a People magazine writer for a silly softball question. Paul Chi asked Clooney what was harder: directing movies or conducting a fairly public Hollywood love life.

Clooney clearly didn’t appreciate the question and embarrassed the hapless reporter with the following exchange:

Clooney: “What’s your name?”
Reporter: “Paul.”
Clooney: “What’s your last name, Paul?”
Reporter: “Chi.”
Clooney: “Everyone remember Paul Chi and his hard-hitting interview. Go back to your editor and tell them you asked that question, Paul.”

2007: Where there’s smoke, there’s ire

In the movie The Game, Sean Penn’s character lights up a cigarette in a fancy San Francisco restaurant, only to be told that it’s illegal in California. His response: “F—k California!”

Life imitated art in 2007 as Penn carelessly smoked through a press conference in the Sutton Place Hotel, despite the provincial ban on smoking during indoor events. Penn took plenty of criticism, and the province’s minister of health promotion admonished TIFF organizers to remind stars about Ontario smoking laws.

Despite the uproar, Penn escaped unpunished. The hotel was fined $600.

2004: Ed Harris explains violence … sort of

You’ll rarely see a press conference go from “lighthearted” to “painfully awkward” to “finished” as fast as this one. In case you couldn’t figure out that the film A History of Violence is about, well violence, actor Ed Harris made a clumsy attempt to explain.

1991: Premiere not a priority for director

The Fisher King isn’t among director Terry Gilliam’s best-received films, and it seems the auteur himself wasn’t too jazzed about it back in 1992. Or at least there was a more entertaining show in town.

Festival organizers were frantic when the director disappeared just before the premiere. He was eventually found at the SkyDome enjoying a Blue Jays game.

In his defence, the Jays were looking pretty good that year, just one year away from their first World Series win. And can you expect a Monty Python member and the creator of Brazil to behave in any rational way?

1987: Giant hassle

TIFF has morphed into a world-class festival that attracts major names, but the biggest star – literally – came to town back in the late ‘80s.

Pro wrestler Andre the Giant came to TIFF in 1987 to help promote The Princess Bride, but his sheer size created headaches for festival personnel. At 7’4″ and weighing over 500 pounds, the French heavyweight couldn’t fit into an average theatre seat, and needed a custom-built one for the movie premiere.

Then-theatre manager Don McKellar, who would go on to a distinguished directorial career, recalled that Andre required a seat exactly twice the size of a normal one.

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Mexico says eight citizens died in Egypt tourist convoy bombing ( admin posted on September 21st, 2019 )

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said Tuesday that embassy personnel in Egypt have identified six more bodies as those of Mexican citizens killed in air attack by Egyptian police and military forces.

The deaths of two Mexicans had earlier been confirmed, bringing the total number of Mexicans killed to eight.

Six other Mexicans were wounded in the attack. The department said Tuesday their condition is stable. There were 14 or 15 Mexicans who were travelling on a desert oasis tour at the time.

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Tuesday called Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to offer his condolences and reiterate that Egypt will provide all necessary medical assistance for the injured, presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement in Cairo.

READ MORE: Egyptian forces mistakenly fire on desert safari, killing 12

Egyptian forces hunting militants in the country’s western desert mistakenly opened fire on several vehicles used by Mexican tourists, killing 12 people on Sunday.

The other dead are believed to be Egyptians.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said Tuesday evening the government is investigating “the precise details of this tragedy,” adding that “the chain of events is still confusing and unclear.”

“We still do not know if the convoy was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if some error was involved,” Shukri said.

Egyptian officials initially said on Monday the tourists did not have permission to be in the area.

He didn’t mention any new information on the death toll or casualties from the incident.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu called the aerial attack “an unjustified aggression.”

The sister of one of the Mexican tourists killed said her brother, Luis Barajas Fernandez, 49, had been visiting Egypt for the first time.

“He had never gone to Egypt before,” said Ana Barajas, who lives in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas. “It was for pleasure,” she said of the trip.

The married 49-year-old had worked as a salesman in hospital and medical supplies.

“It is an unparalleled hurt,” she said of his death, adding the Mexican government was going to take care of the response to her brother’s death, and the repatriation of his remains.

Two other Mexican dead have been identified by name as Maria de Lourdes Fernandez Rubio and Rafael Bejarano.

The incident, among the deadliest involving tourists in Egypt, comes as the country is trying to revive its vital tourism industry after the turmoil following the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt has mainly been battling insurgents in the northern Sinai Peninsula, on the other side of the country, where Islamic militants stepped up attacks on security forces after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 amid massive protests against his rule.

But in recent months, militants loyal to the Islamic State group have carried out a series of attacks in more central parts of the country, including the bombing of the Italian Consulate in Cairo and the kidnapping and beheading of a Croatian oil surveyor who was working in the capital.

Egyptian officials initially claimed the safari convoy had wandered into a restricted area. The tour company involved “did not have permits and did not inform authorities,” Rasha Azazi, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, earlier told The Associated Press, adding that any trips to that area must be cleared by officials. “They were not supposed to be there,” she said, without providing further information about the incident.

Egypt’s western desert has long been a popular safari destination, with tourists flocking to its verdant oases, unique rock formations and white sand dunes.

In recent years, however, it has been the subject of security concerns because of the long, porous border with Libya. Egypt has been flooded with weapons, mostly from Libya, since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and plunged that country into turmoil.

Egyptian security forces frequently target smugglers in the western desert, and in July 2014, gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a border guard post, killing 21 troops.

©2015The Canadian Press

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Caught on Camera: Ferrari, Porsche have dangerous street race through Beverly Hills – National ( admin posted on September 21st, 2019 )

A dangerous street race through a residential neighbourhood in Beverly Hills has residents outraged after it was caught on camera this past weekend.

However, L.A. Police now say the men involved may avoid prosecution due to diplomatic immunity.

Residents captured the two high-performance cars, a white Porsche 9/11 and a yellow Ferrari LaFerrari, tearing through a residential neighborhood at around 6:45 p.m. PT Friday afternoon in the 700 block of North Walden Drive.

Amateur video shows the two drivers speeding, running stop signs and barreling through four-way stops, and at one point almost hitting another vehicle as they race down crowded residential streets.

Eventually, the Ferrari was forced to pull into a driveway with smoke pouring from its engine block, either from the race or from repeated “burnouts”.

WATCH: Ferrari, Porsche tear through residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills

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“My boys were out in the street biking and it was very scary. They were passing the stop sign several times for a good 20 minutes,” Roya Levian, a witness, told CBS 2 in Los Angeles.

READ MORE: Father of injured Surrey boy says drivers treat residential streets like a racetrack

Freeland journalist Jacob Rogers says he attempted to confront the drivers after they had pulled into the home, but the men claimed they were protected by diplomatic immunity.

“He told me verbatim, ‘I could have you killed and get away with it,’” Rogers told NBC Los Angeles. “I told him, ‘the press is allowed to be here on the sidewalk on a public street.’”

“He said, ‘F*** America’ and threw a cigarette at me.”

Police confirmed in a press release that the men are of Qatari descent and may in fact be protected by diplomatic immunity.

Police say they’ve taken the complaints from residents and are working with the U.S. State Department to determine what course of action to take.

Meanwhile, residents just want to feel safe walking down their own streets again.

“God knows if they could like hit one of us or something,” Joe Nouri told KTLA-5 News.

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