Category Archive:杭州龙凤

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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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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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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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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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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Alberta government to fund 400 more births by midwives this fiscal year ( admin posted on August 23rd, 2019 )

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is funding up to 400 more midwife-assisted births.

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said Tuesday that an additional $1.8 million in funding will see the number of births with midwives increase to about 2,774 this year.

Hoffman said continuity of care for women and babies is so important and this gives women a safe option for delivering their babies.

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“I’m a firm believer in the right health care services delivered in the right place by the right health care professional, and that’s exactly what midwives provide,” said Hoffman.

Alberta has publicly funded midwifery care since 2009.

Nicole Matheseon, president of the Alberta Association of Midwives, said more and more women want the continuous, personalized care that midwives provide.

“Now more expectant mothers have the opportunity to decide what’s best for them – giving birth in a hospital, in a birth centre or at home,” said Matheseon.

There are currently 94 midwives practising in the province, an increase of 163 per cent in the past five years.

©2015The Canadian Press

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‘Her dad was the highlight of her life’: Godmother pleads for missing Alberta girl’s return ( admin posted on August 23rd, 2019 )

UPDATE 9 P.M. MT: Remains of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette found, Amber Alert dropped

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CALGARY – Devastated by the murder of her close friend, the godmother of abducted two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, missing since the early hours of Monday morning, made an emotional plea for the young girl’s safe return Tuesday.

“We miss you, Hailey, and we can’t wait–we can’t wait to have you come home and we can have your snuggles and your laughs and just hear your voice,” said Rebecca Harrington, who said she’s close friends with both sides of the family. “Your dad loves you very much–loves you more than anything in the world, sweetheart. And we can’t wait for you to come home.”

Hailey’s dad, 27-year-old Terry Blanchette, was found murdered in the family home in Blairmore, Alta. on Monday morning. One person has been arrested in relation to his murder and his daughter’s disappearance.

MORE: Man arrested, Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

“She’s the most energetic kid you’d ever see,” said Harrington. “She’s running, she’s laughing, she does a scrunchy-face…she scrunches up her nose and gets so excited,” she said.

“Her dad was the highlight of her life. That kid had everything she needed.”

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Harrington said she received a call from Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, in the early stages of the investigation. She said she started to hear rumours of murder, but “didn’t want to think the worst.”

“I got a call from Amanda, his sister, she called to tell me personally Terry had been murdered and Hailey was abducted,” said Harrington.

“I dropped to the floor and my life just–they mean so much to me. I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Watch below: Video coverage of the abduction of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and murder of her father

Amber Alert continues as crews search for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

09:01

Amber Alert continues as crews search for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

01:50

Alleged murder, possible abduction and the search for Hailey continues

04:14

Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

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Amber alert investigation continues day after father found dead, 2-year-old daughter missing

03:00

Amber Alert still in place Monday night after two-year-old abducted

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Two-year-old girl’s grandfather speaks out during Amber Alert

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RAW: Grandfather of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette speaks to Global News

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Amber alert issued for abducted toddler

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Harrington said Blanchette was the “most outstanding single dad” she’s ever seen.

“He stepped up. He had a full-time job. He had two days off a week, and those two days were days for Hailey,” she said. “Any extra money went to her…he always put himself last.”

“I’ve seen such a change in the past two years that it’s incredible to see how he has evolved.”

Blanchette had a minor criminal history, including assault and theft, according to Calgary court records. Most recently, he pleaded guilty to assault and theft under $5,000 in July 2013 and paid a fine.

READ MORE: What we know so far about Terry Blanchette and daughter Hailey

Harrington said she’s heading to be with Blanchette’s family. She said Dunbar is in Crowsnest Pass with her mother, doing “as best she can.”

“It’s scary. I’ve talked to her on the phone…it’s her daughter; it’s her baby. Her baby is missing and she doesn’t know why…the father of her child, dead–all in one go. And no one can say anything. No one has answers.”

Harrington said Blanchette and Dunbar were separated before Hailey was born, but got together briefly for their daughter’s sake.

“From then on out, it was quite a rocky relationship but they did it for Hailey. They wanted to make it work for her. They didn’t want her to have separated parents. They wanted their daughter to have her mom and dad but it just didn’t work. But for them, Hailey is their number one.”

Harrington said the couple had shared custody of Hailey.

The Amber Alert was dropped Tuesday night.

TIMELINE: Abduction of 2-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

With an interview from Global’s Tracy Nagai

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Impact to rest Drogba, Piatti and others during western trip – Montreal ( admin posted on August 23rd, 2019 )

MONTREAL – The Impact will end their brief Western road swing on Wednesday in San Jose without striker Didier Drogba and some other key players.

With a stretch of four games in 10 days set to begin against the Earthquakes, head coach Mauro Biello opted to send Drogba, Ignacio Piatti, Justin Mapp, Marco Donadel, Laurent Ciman and goalkeeper Evan Bush home for extra rest.

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A team spokesman confirmed Tuesday that those players would not be available.

Drogba (toe), Piatti (calf) and Mapp (foot) are also recovering from injuries, which factored in Biello’s decision.

Ciman, meanwhile, is serving the second game of a two-match suspension.

The six players, who have accounted for 14 of the club’s 34 goals this year, left California for Montreal on Monday.

The Impact played to a 0-0 draw in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“We have a huge week coming up at home against three conference teams,” Bush told reporters after the Galaxy game.

“Looking at the results from the league, results are still going our way. I think that if we can win a few more games, we will be solidly in the playoffs.”

READ MORE: Costa Rican attacking midfielder Johan Venegas joins Montreal Impact

Montreal (9-11-5) is in a good position to make the Major League Soccer playoffs for the second time in its history.

The Impact are sixth in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season and have games in hand on their closest rivals.

Following Wednesday’s clash with San Jose (11-11-6), Montreal will play consecutive home matches against New England, Chicago and D.C. United.

READ MORE: Whitecaps crowned Canadian champions with win over Montreal Impact

The Impact players are riding high after back-to-back positive results.

Drogba scored a hat trick in a 4-3 home win over the Fire before Montreal held the Galaxy — the league’s highest scoring team — off the scoresheet.

“You try to avoid saying that we are sending messages,” Bush said.

“It’s more of a message to us, that we can come on the road and get results. It’s a big confidence builder. We have another game Wednesday, another important game that I think we are able to go get points there.”

READ MORE: Montreal Impact fire head coach Frank Klopas, name Mauro Biello as interim

Montreal is 1-0-1 since Biello took over as head coach after Frank Klopas was fired two weeks ago.

The Impact will likely start Dominic Oduro up front at Avaya Stadium and Johan Venegas should fill Piatti’s central attacking midfielder role.

In the back, Hassoun Camara could make his return from a knee injury after not playing for the Impact since April 22.

Eric Kronberg, a native of Santa Rosa, Calif., should get the start in goal.

Notes: Montreal is 2-0-1 all-time versus the Earthquakes in MLS. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has a league-best 99 goals since 2010. He has 13 goals this season. Piatti leads the Impact with eight goals. Montreal and San Jose split their two meetings in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2013.

©2015The Canadian Press

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Lawrencetown boy thwarts possible abduction – Halifax ( admin posted on August 23rd, 2019 )

WEST LAWRENCETOWN, NS – Parents and area residents in Lawrencetown are still in shock tonight over what is believed to be the abduction attempt of a young boy.

The 10-year-old boy was standing at a school bus stop around 7 o’clock this morning at the intersection of the Lawrencetown Road and Maple Drive. A truck went past him, circled at the Community Centre down the road and returned, parking at the Lawrencetown Grocery store across the street from the bus stop.

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“The passenger jumped out and started waving at the boy to come to the truck,” said RCMP Corporal Greg Church. “The boy pretended to ignore him and then a few seconds later, the white male driver – believed to be in his twenties as well – got out of the truck and yelled at the boy to ‘come over and get in my truck’. That’s when the boy became extremely frightened and ran to a nearby home,” said Church.

The boy contacted his dad, who went to his school – Atlantic View Elementary – and told the principal what happened. The principal contacted the RCMP, then shared the news with parents.

“Parents have been alerted through through our voice messaging system and a letter is going home this afternoon,” said Jim King. “Stock Transportation – our bus carrier – we’ve alerted our drivers as well, to be on the lookout for this vehicle.”

The young boy gave what police say is an absolutely amazing description of the black half ton Chevrolet truck, thought to be a 2003 model. “He is a car and truck enthusiast,” said Cpl. Church. “It has a red painted gas cover cap that’s on the outside of the vehicle. Also, there’s a red painted pinstripe going down the side of the vehicle. On the top of the vehicle, he said there were five amber marking lights.”

Jim King said the boy knew what to do because teachers at Atlantic View Elementary work with the students in a program called ‘Stranger Danger’. “We have lots of conversations in class about what to do, if you’re feeling unsafe and also what to do in a situation like this, and thankfully he did the right thing,” said King.

The situation has upset families and other residents in the area. Bill Nielsen, the grandfather of a Grade 2 student said, “It’s a scary situation. My grandson’s here and I’m very concerned about him. He wasn’t approached today, but somebody was, and that’s frightening.”

Another man, who would only give his first name as Frank, said,”I’m shocked to hear it … and I hope they catch them – whoever they are.”

If you have any information you are asked to contact RCMP or CrimeStoppers. The investigation is continuing.

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Johnny Depp says he would ‘destroy the little booger’ that bullies his kids – National ( admin posted on August 23rd, 2019 )

To anyone that even tries to bully Johnny Depp’s kids, be warned – he will destroy you.

RELATED: Johnny Depp on ‘Black Mass’ red carpet

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Depp was on the panel during a press conference to promote his latest film Black Mass debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie follows Whitey Bulger, an Irish-American gangster who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family.

In one scene, Depp’s character Bulger tells his son how to fight on the playground and for Depp, that was a piece of advice he took with him to the real world.

“If someone tried to bully my kid, if they didn’t destroy the little booger, I would,” he said.

So to all of the school bullies out there: don’t even think about laying a finger on Lily-Rose or Jack John.

Depp believes his methods were formed after listening to some advice his mother gave to him when he was a child:

“I remember when I was a kid you know, I was little maybe six or seven years old, there was some little horror at the school who was kind of needling me or whatever. And then I told my mom or something and my mom you know… coming from nothing but hillbillies. My mom said to me, ‘All right here’s the deal, the next time anybody puts their hands on you pick up a brick and lay them out.’ And I’ve taken that advice ever since.”

RELATED: Amber Heard tells mom ‘never make eye contact with the media’

The movie had its first screening Monday night, but will be hitting theatres September 18.

©2015Entertainment Tonight Canada

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Peace plan to weapons of war: What’s Russia doing in Syria? – National ( admin posted on July 23rd, 2019 )

As U.S. officials raise concerns about an increased Russian military presence in Syria, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning conflict negotiator claims western leaders “ignored” a Russian plan that might have seen Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad resign three years ago.

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The U.S., France and U.K. brushed aside the plan, the Guardian reported former Finnish president and 2008 Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari saying in an exclusive interview, even as the country’s civil war grew more brutal and millions of people were forced to flee their homes — contributing to what is now the greatest refugee crisis the world has seen in decades.

“It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said of the plan laid out by Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin, who also served as Russia’s ambassador to Canada from 1998 to 2003.

READ MORE: Russian forces expanding major airport in Syrian province: monitoring group

Ahtisaari said Churkin had a three-point plan to strike a peace deal between the Assad regime and opposition groups to end the civil war that has, since 2011, claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Syrians.

“He said three things: One – we should not give arms to the opposition. Two – we should get a dialogue going between the opposition and Assad straight away. Three – we should find an elegant way for Assad to step aside,” the Guardian reported him saying.

Ahtisaari claimed the U.S., U.K and France — all permanent members of the U.N Security Council along with Russia and China — weren’t interested because they felt Assad’s days were numbered.

“Nothing happened because I think all these, and many others, were convinced that Assad would be thrown out of office in a few weeks so there was no need to do anything.”

Ahtisaari’s claims were refuted by another European diplomat, whom the Guardian did not name, and by Sir John Jenkins, the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ executive director for the Middle East.

Jenkins questioned whether Churkin “was speaking with Moscow’s authority” and that he would have “wanted to hear it from [President Vladimir] Putin…

“And even then I’d have wanted to be sure it wasn’t a Putin trick to draw us into a process that ultimately preserved Assad’s state under a different leader but with the same outcome.”

READ MORE: Israeli defence chief: Russian troops already in Syria

It’s unknown whether a purported Russian plan could have ended the war and prevented the displacement of more than half of Syria’s population — more than 4 million refugees who’ve fled to other countries and approximately 7.6 million displaced internally — and prevented the rise of ISIS in Syria. Other attempts at a peace deal have fallen apart.

But on Tuesday Putin reaffirmed Russia’s military aid to the Assad regime, and its fight against rebel groups and extremists like ISIS, would continue.

Speaking in Tajikistan on, he said the situation in Syria would be “worse than Libya” without his country’s military assistance.

But now evidence appears to be mounting, showing just how much Russia is intervening to support longtime ally Assad.

“We have seen indications in recent days that Russia has moved people and things into the area around Latakia, and the airbase there,” CNN reported Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis saying Monday.

READ MORE: Obama warns Russia on helping arm Syrian government to fight ISIS

Foreign Policy on Tuesday, however, published satellite images highlighting the construction of an apparent air base near the port city.

Columnist Jeffery Lewis wrote the developments point to not just a failure of U.S. (and Western) policy regarding the war in Syria but also the grim outlook for both the bloody conflict and the humanitarian crisis spreading far beyond its borders.

“What Russia has done, however, is make it clear that it will not let Assad fall. He can’t win, but Russia won’t let him lose. That dooms Syria to what looks like endless war, as Assad fights to the last man.”

International involvement in Syria has largely focused on combating ISIS, through U.S.-led airstrikes and support for Kurdish and so-called moderate opposition groups.

But it’s the Assad regime’s forces and allied armed groups who are blamed for thousands more deaths than those caused by ISIS.

Citing numbers from the U.K.-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Washington Post reported last week ISIS militants killed 1,131 people in Syria in the first seven months of 2015, while the Assad regime and “pro-government militias” killed 7,894 people.

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Newfoundland Conservative candidate dropped from party after online comments ( admin posted on July 23rd, 2019 )

Blair Dale, a Conservative candidate in the Newfoundland riding of Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, has been dropped from the party, Global News has confirmed.

He appears to have been dumped after a blogger outlined posts by Dale on various social media accounts. According to the blogger, some of these posts included questionable comments on women, sex and race.

Even Dale’s OkCupid dating profile was scoured for his views on different issues, including mentions that he was pro-choice but only in cases of rape, and that he was open to dating someone who took “soft” drugs, like marijuana.

However, while the blog states that while these posts appear to have been written by Dale, they could not confirm that they actually were. Either way, Dale is no longer a candidate.

Before entering politics himself, Dale was working as an assistant to MP LaVar Payne in Ottawa, according to a LinkedIn profile.

Screenshot from Blair Dale's LinkedIn profile.

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The Conservatives are not particularly competitive in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity. Although it is a new riding, all of the former ridings it is composed of leaned strongly Liberal – electing only one Conservative between them between 2004 and 2011.

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Quebec national assembly returns after summer break – Montreal ( admin posted on July 23rd, 2019 )

QUEBEC CITY  – The Quebec legislature resumes sitting Tuesday after its summer break.

READ MORE: #LiftTheBan: Student video asks Quebec government to reconsider budget cuts

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Premier Philippe Couillard‘s governing Liberals and the Opposition Parti Québécois have promised less political partisanship during the daily question period.

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The session will play out against the backdrop of what could well be protracted contract negotiations between the government and public-sector unions.

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The Liberals have 70 members in the 125-seat national assembly, compared with 29 for the PQ and 20 for the Coalition Avenir Quebec.

Quebec Solidaire has three seats, there is one Independent and two ridings are vacant.

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Quebecers are expected to next go to the polls in the fall of 2018.

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©2015The Canadian Press

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WATCH: Breaching humpback whale lands on top of kayakers – National ( admin posted on July 23rd, 2019 )

There’s whale-watching. And then there’s this U.K. couple’s close encounter with a humpback whale in Moss Landing, California.

Amazing video shows a fully grown humpback whale jump out of the water and land on top of a pair of kayakers in a tandem kayak.

Michael Sack, owner and captain of Sanctuary Cruises, was just a stone’s throw away when he and his passengers watched the enormous sea mammal leap.

“For them to jump out of water and land on somebody – that has never happened before as far I know. I would say it was just pure coincidence and the whale maybe didn’t know they were there,” Sack told Global News.

Sack’s vessel and about 20 kayakers had stopped to watch a group of whales playing and feeding on Saturday morning.

One of Sack’s passengers shot the whole thing. Sack posted the video on YouTube, where by Tuesday afternoon it had racked up more than 600,000 views.


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It looked like the whale’s pectoral fin slapped the two kayakers, knocking them out of their boat and into the water.

They emerged uninjured – just a little shaken.

“They said it was one of the scariest things that ever happened to them,” Sack said. “They were in shock all day.”

Sack said on his blog the couple’s kayak appeared to have bent under the impact.

For the record, Sack doesn’t advise whale-watching in the kayak.

“It’s pretty crazy that it happened, but somehow they were OK,” he said. “It could have been a very serious matter. It could have been a lot worse.”

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The candidate who can’t vote for himself: Expat challenges Harper in Calgary ( admin posted on July 23rd, 2019 )

A Canadian barred from voting in the Oct. 19 election because he has been abroad too long is planning to run as a candidate in a city he has never set foot in against none other than the incumbent prime minister, Stephen Harper.

Not that Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge has any illusions about his chances of upending Harper, who has much bigger fish to fry, in Calgary Heritage.

Instead, his Independent candidacy aims to make a serious point: Every Canadian citizen should have the right to vote, regardless of where they live, but many don’t.

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“I’m kind of making a show out of it, but that’s exactly the goal,” Duchastel de Montrouge, 43, told The Canadian Press. “I’m not expecting to win.”

Like 1.4 million other expatriate Canadians, Duchastel de Montrouge was stripped of the right to vote by mail because he has lived abroad for more than five years under a law that has only been enforced under Harper’s Conservative government.

However, he said an electoral official in Calgary confirmed that the Canada Elections Act does allow any citizen to run as a candidate in any riding – as long as they meet the usual basic criteria, which include that they be at least 18 years old and not in prison.

They also need 100 signatures from people who do live in the riding.

“That’s taking a little bit longer than I thought,” said Duchastel de Montrouge, who lives in suburban Seattle.

READ MORE: Seat projections show a tight race but one thing’s (almost) certain – a minority government

Earlier this year, the Conservative government successfully appealed a court ruling that had thrown out the five-year expat rule as unconstitutional. One of the two Canadians who launched the charter challenge, Gill Frank, of Princeton, N.J., is now trying to raise money to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

So far, his crowd-funding campaign has yielded $10,500. Those who have donated expressed anger or resentment at being stripped of the right to cast a ballot.

“I feel completely disenfranchised as I have no right to vote anywhere,” said Carolyn Luce, who lives in France.

Duchastel de Montrouge said he has no plans to campaign in Calgary Heritage once his candidacy is formalized. In fact, he is actively dissuading anyone from voting for him, instead encouraging them via his website and social media to back a party that will restore the right of Canadians like him to vote.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

In the meantime, the engineer has taken on an auditor, appointed an official agent and opened a candidacy bank account. He’ll also have to put up a $1,000 deposit, which he said he hopes to get back.

His campaign budget, so far, is $30 – $20 from him and $10 from his official agent.

“We’re trying not to spend anything,” he said.

Still, he said he might have to spend several hundred dollars of his own to make his candidacy official – something he hopes to do this week. That may mean getting on one of the recently implemented direct flights between Seattle and Calgary to go drum up signatures for his candidacy and file his papers in person.

Spending the money will be worth it, he said, to raise awareness of what he sees as a technicality related to where he lives that has trumped his constitutional rights. Plus, he said, it’s a bit of an adventure.

“I’ve never been to Calgary,” he said. “That’s sort of the allure of it.”

©2015The Canadian Press

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