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E. Coli Discovered in Winnipeg Water Supply; Residents Told to Boil Before Drinking

E. Coli Discovered in Winnipeg Water Supply; Residents Told to Boil Before Drinking

Residents of Winnipeg remain under a boil-water advisory after abnormalities showed up in a number of samples

Schools were advised to turn off their taps, and parents were asked to provide their children with bottled water.

Residents of Winnipeg, Canada have been advised to continue to boil their water before drinking it or using it in food preparation after samples of E. Coli were found in the city’s water supply, reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The advisory was originally issued Tuesday evening, January 27, after 6 out of 39 samples tested positive for E. Coli.

As of 3 p.m. Coli, but the advisory remains in place in an abundance of caution. The city is waiting for the go-ahead from Manitoba’s chief medical officer before the advisory is officially lifted.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman announced that as a result of the abnormal samples, the city’s entire water system will be reviewed.

"We're going to assess all of the processes, not just how water is dealt with but also emergency preparedness here at city hall and with the administration, as well as communication with various stakeholders including the province," said Bowman.

"Contingency plans are being made in the event that we get different outcomes, because Winnipeggers, this is one of our core services providing safe and clean drinking water and so it's being treated with the priority that it demands."


Winnipeg awaits water tests after positive samples of E. coli

WINNIPEG – Officials with the City of Winnipeg are waiting for more test results today in the hopes than an E. coli scare ends up evaporating.

Six routine samples taken on Monday tested positive on Tuesday for E. coli and coliform at extremely low levels.

Five of the six positive tests were east of the river, but one was in the city’s southwest, leading Mayor Brian Bowman to issue a citywide boil-water advisory “out of an abundance of caution.”

Bowman said the hope was that additional testing would show the previous results to be false-positives, which would allow the city to lift the boil-water order.

Melissa Hoft, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said in a release there was no information to suggest there had been any increased illness attributable to the drinking water.

She said common symptoms would include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

“Most people who are affected by a waterborne illness would be able to recover at home,” she said. “A sign to be concerned about would be the presence of bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and people having either of those symptoms should seek medical attention.”

Hoft said hospitals in the city had activated contingency plans.

Surgeries would not be affected since all procedures are done using medical-grade water supply, she said.

“While hemodialysis does use the city water supply, the reverse osmosis process of dialysis filters all bacteria and potential contaminants, including E. coli,” she said in the statement. “This process is safe.”

As for other patients, signs had been posted at water fountains advising not to drink the water and staff were ordering bottled water for patient and staff use.

Throughout the city, residents were told to bring tap water to a boil for at least one minute before using it to drink, make food or infant formula or brush teeth.

But it is not necessary to boil tap water for other household purposes, such as laundry or washing dishes.

Adults and children who can avoid swallowing water can use it to bathe. All commercial buildings, public and private, including restaurants, daycares and rest homes, are under the boil-water advisory.

All city pools remain open and the city says they are safe to use. The Pembina School Division said schools would be open today, but asked parents to send bottled water with their children as the water fountains would be shut off.

Adam Schinkel, co-owner of Water World, a bottled water company, said his stores had closed for the day when the news broke.

“I got home around six o’clock, my phone started to blow up and all I was told was there was a boil-water advisory issued citywide in Winnipeg,” he said.

Schinkel said he started making calls and staff at the stores quickly headed back to reopen.

“Our phones are ringing off the hook and we have a steady stream of customers coming in,” he said. “We’re here to help people that do need the water. From what I’m hearing, a lot of the grocery stores are already sold out of bottled water, so that’s sort of where we come into play.”

However, Dave Bilyk, a homeowner in south Winnipeg, said his family was coping well and did not feel the need to rush out and buy bottled water.

“We boiled about five or six litres worth and that way we can run it through the Keurig (coffee maker) for coffee in the morning and we can use it for brushing our teeth and so on.”

He said the only hiccup so far is the fact his daughter does not fully trust assurances that the water is safe to bathe in. His son, however, feels differently.

“I think she’s skipping a shower cause she’s not convinced the water is really clean,” he said with a chuckle. “The boy didn’t have a problem but the girl does.”

Geoff Patton, acting director of the Water and Waste Department, said the test results are puzzling, adding some showed the presence of both coliform and chlorine. He said those two don’t go together and it suggests the samples may be “false positives,” or incorrect indications of the presence of bacteria.

“It’s hard to understand – we see clean results upstream and downstream of the locations, and then we see this unusual sampling. So what has happened? That is what we’re looking to do. We’ve taken additional samples this morning that were distributed through the entire city and we’re expediting those samples to make sure everything is safe.”

The health authority said the presence of chlorine was “reassuring because this would suggest that any bacteria or viruses present in the water would likely be killed.”

Officials didn’t specify what type of E. coli was found in the samples. The presence of E. coli in water indicates recent fecal contamination and may indicate the possible presence of disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline for total coliforms is zero per 100 millilitres of water and zero for E. coli.

Patton said the results of the samples included many with one coliform-forming unit per 100 millilitres and one that was higher, possibly nine.

While five of the six positive tests were east of the river, one was in the city’s southwest and Bowman said that led the city to expand its warning.

“This is a public health issue, this is the City of Winnipeg’s water supply, we’re confident in the safety of the water and we’re resampling to prove this out,” Patton said.

The city has faced water problems before. In 2013, a boil water advisory was issued and later lifted for a neighbourhood in Winnipeg when it was determined there was no E. coli contamination.

However, the city and province faced hard questions about how people were notified.

The province had issued an advisory five hours after the chief provincial public health officer said he had been aware of the positive test results. The city blamed the delay on Manitoba Health and said once it knew what was happening a news release was immediately issued.

Provincial officials said it took that long to determine a course of action.

Then about a year ago, the city finally figured out the cause of brown water that had been periodically pouring from residents’ taps for months.

They blamed manganese from Shoal Lake and water treatment plants, where it is used as a coagulant.

Then-mayor Sam Katz admitted the brown water was unappealing to residents and said that although health officials said the levels of manganese were not harmful, the city would nevertheless clean more than 2,500 kilometres of water pipes.

The city also said it would find ways to reduce the amount of manganese used during the water treatment process.

Winnipeg’s water is piped from Shoal Lake, Ont., about 150 kilometres east of the city, and treated at a plant near the Decon Reservoir east of the city. The $300-million facility opened in 2009 and can treat up to 400 million litres of water a day.

Seven people died and thousands were sickened in Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000 when E. coli got into the water system. An inquiry found cost-cutting by the government of former Tory premier Mike Harris contributed to the tragedy.


No E. coli found after boil-water notice issued

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A boil-water notice issued over the weekend affected about 37,000 residents of St. Johns County.

The notice was issued Friday night because traces of E. coli bacteria were found in the county's water system.

The boil-water notice was lifted on Sunday night, but it turned out that there never was E. coli in the water system, officials said.

The county said the E. coli reading could have been caused by human error, something that went wrong in the transport of the sample or even what was used to collect the sample.

But officials emphasized E. coli was never in the customers' water supply.

“That's our bottom line. Our concern is our customers and their public health and safety,” said Tony Cubbedge, environmental division director for the St. Johns County Utility Department. “We know that it was probably a little bit of an inconvenience, but we would rather err on the side of caution.”

People living in the southern part of the county, from County Road 214 down to the Flagler County line, were told to bring their water to a rolling boil for 1 minute before drinking it or cooking with it.

Some restaurants in the area were affected by drinks they couldn't serve.

“We will never know the root cause. There could be a lot of factors from sampling, from transport, analysis. But that sample has been processed,” Cubbedge said.

The county's offices are usually closed on the weekends, but because of the E. coli threat, the county brought in staff, which cost the county extra money. Officials said it was worth it because customer safety is the top priority.

The county also had about 50,000 bottles of water ready to be distributed in schools if the threat stretched into the week.

“We haven't really looked at a cost,” Cubbedge said. “Obviously, there's a lot of extra time involved this weekend with staff, (and) of course with the inconvenience to our customers as well.”

Officials said they are now reviewing the incident and their response to see if there are any areas that could be improved if something similar happens in the future.


Boil water advisory to remain in place until at least Thursday in Winnipeg after E.Coli confirmed in water samples

Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 5:34 PM - On Tuesday evening, officials issued a precautionary localized boil water advisory for the City of Winnipeg.

The advisory was imposed after samples taken on Monday tested positive for the presence of the E. Coli. bacteria.

Tests are routinely preformed on the city's water supply, with samples taken at more than 60 locations.

"The City took immediate action and resampled the locations that tested positive for bacteria, as well as sampled at additional adjacent locations," reads a press release. "Test results show that the chlorine levels at all 60 sampling locations surpass the requirement in the City’s Operating Licence. The City of Winnipeg is working with the Medical Officer of Health, Manitoba Health and the Office of Drinking Water to identify the cause of the atypical test results."

Additional samples taken Wednesday show the water is safe to drink but the boil water advisory will remain in place until additional tests are conducted Thursday

At a 3 p.m. press release, officials said the city said they're waiting on word from Manitoba's chief medical officer before the advisory is lifted.

In the meantime, residents are being advised to use bottled water for:

  • drinking and making ice
  • preparing beverages, including infant formula
  • preparing food
  • brushing teeth

Residents were reporting on social media that shortly after the statement, stores all across the city were sold out of bottled water.

Common symptoms caused by E. Coli can include nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal related signs.

Hospitals in the city are preparing contingency plans in case the results on Wednesday confirm the presence of the bacteria. According to a statement released by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, surgeries would not be affected since all procedures are done using medical-grade water supply.

Hemodialysis does use the city water supply but throughout the process all bacteria, including E. Coli are filtered out.

Some schools took to social media to remind parents to take necessary precautions before sending their kids to school.

Due to water advisory: Parents please send bottled water with your kids tomorrow. Our fountains will be turned off but schools will be open

&mdash Pembina Trails SD (@PembinaTrails) January 28, 2015

This isn't the first time Winnipeg has had an E. Coli scare. In 2013 a similar situation occurred until it was determined there was no E. Coli in the water.


A southern Manitoba community was placed under boil water advisory Friday night.

The province issued a precautionary advisory for Landmark, a hamlet with a population of about 1,300 located approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.

A notice given to residents Friday evening said routine testing June 24 showed the presence of total coliform and E. coli bacteria in the water supply at the Landmark public water system.

It told residents to bring water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before they consumed it for drinking, making ice, preparing beverages such as infant formula, washing fruits and vegetables and brushing teeth.

The advisory will remain in effect until health officials can confirm the water no longer poses a risk. It will notify residents when the water is deemed clear.

E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria. Its presence in water suggests either the water or sample has been possibly contaminated by sewage or waste in some way.


700,000 told to boil their water in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – The entire city of Winnipeg was under a boil-water advisory Tuesday night after routine sampling turned up some potentially harmful bacteria in the municipal water supply.

The city, which has a population of about 700,000, said the move was precautionary after six water samples showed the presence of E. coli and coliform at extremely low levels.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are issuing it citywide,” Mayor Brian Bowman told a hastily called news conference Tuesday evening.

“Hopefully we will find out that these were false positives tomorrow and very soon thereafter we will be able to lift this notice, but we do need to be cautious.”

Melissa Hoft, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said in a release there was no information to suggest there had been any increased illness attributable to the drinking water.

“Common symptoms associated with waterborne infection include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea,” she said.

“Most people who are affected by a waterborne illness would be able to recover at home. A sign to be concerned about would be the presence of bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and people having either of those symptoms should seek medical attention.”

Hoft said hospitals in the city had activated contingency plans.

Surgeries would not be affected since all procedures are done using medical-grade water supply, she said.

“While hemodialysis does use the city water supply, the reverse osmosis process of dialysis filters all bacteria and potential contaminants, including E. coli,” she said in the statement. “This process is safe.”

As for other patients, signs had been posted at water fountains advising not to drink the water and staff were ordering bottled water for patient and staff use.

Throughout the city, residents were told to bring tap water to a boil for at least one minute before using it to drink, make food or infant formula or brush teeth.

But it is not necessary to boil tap water for other household purposes, such as laundry or washing dishes.

Adults and children who can avoid swallowing water can use it to bathe. All commercial buildings, public and private, including restaurants, daycares and rest homes, are under the boil-water advisory.

All city pools remain open and the city says they are safe to use. The Pembina School Division said schools would be open today, but asked parents to send bottled water with their children as the water fountains would be shut off.

Adam Schinkel, co-owner of Water World, a bottled water company, said his stores had closed for the day when the news broke.

“I got home around six o’clock, my phone started to blow up and all I was told was there was a boil-water advisory issued citywide in Winnipeg,” he said.

Schinkel said he started making calls and staff at the stores quickly headed back to reopen.

“Our phones are ringing off the hook and we have a steady stream of customers coming in,” he said. “We’re here to help people that do need the water. From what I’m hearing, a lot of the grocery stores are already sold out of bottled water, so that’s sort of where we come into play.”

However, Dave Bilyk, a homeowner in south Winnipeg, said his family was coping well and did not feel the need to rush out and buy bottled water.

“We boiled about five or six litres worth and that way we can run it through the Keurig (coffee maker) for coffee in the morning and we can use it for brushing our teeth and so on.”

He said the only hiccup so far is the fact his daughter does not fully trust assurances that the water is safe to bathe in. His son, however, feels differently.

“I think she’s skipping a shower cause she’s not convinced the water is really clean,” he said with a chuckle. “The boy didn’t have a problem but the girl does.”

City officials said the water samples were part of routine testing and were collected Monday at 39 public locations. The results became available on Tuesday.

Geoff Patton, acting director of the Water and Waste Department, said the results are puzzling, adding some showed the presence of both coliform and chlorine. He said those two don’t go together and it suggests the samples may be “false positives,” or incorrect indications of the presence of bacteria.

“It’s hard to understand — we see clean results upstream and downstream of the locations, and then we see this unusual sampling. So what has happened? That is what we’re looking to do. We’ve taken additional samples this morning that were distributed through the entire city and we’re expediting those samples to make sure everything is safe.”

The health authority said the presence of chlorine was “reassuring because this would suggest that any bacteria or viruses present in the water would likely be killed.”

Officials didn’t specify what type of E. coli was found in the samples. The presence of E. coli in water indicates recent fecal contamination and may indicate the possible presence of disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline for total coliforms is zero per 100 millilitres of water and zero for E. coli.

Patton said the results of the samples included many with one coliform-forming unit per 100 millilitres and one that was higher, possibly nine.

While five of the six positive tests were east of the river, one was in the city’s southwest and Bowman said that led the city to expand its warning.

“This is a public health issue, this is the City of Winnipeg’s water supply, we’re confident in the safety of the water and we’re resampling to prove this out,” Patton said.

The city has faced water problems before. In 2013, a boil water advisory was issued and later lifted for a neighbourhood in Winnipeg when it was determined there was no E. coli contamination.

However, the city and province faced hard questions about how people were notified.

The province had issued an advisory five hours after the chief provincial public health officer said he had been aware of the positive test results. The city blamed the delay on Manitoba Health and said once it knew what was happening a news release was immediately issued.

Provincial officials said it took that long to determine a course of action.

Then about a year ago, the city finally figured out the cause of brown water that had been periodically pouring from residents’ taps for months.

They blamed manganese from Shoal Lake and water treatment plants, where it is used as a coagulant.

Then-mayor Sam Katz admitted the brown water was unappealing to residents and said that although health officials said the levels of manganese were not harmful, the city would nevertheless clean more than 2,500 kilometres of water pipes.

The city also said it would find ways to reduce the amount of manganese used during the water treatment process.

Winnipeg’s water is piped from Shoal Lake, Ont., about 150 kilometres east of the city, and treated at a plant near the Decon Reservoir east of the city. The $300-million facility opened in 2009 and can treat up to 400 million litres of water a day.

Seven people died and thousands were sickened in Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000 when E. coli got into the water system. An inquiry found cost-cutting by the government of former Tory premier Mike Harris contributed to the tragedy.


Winnipeg water samples come back clean boil water advisory remains in effect

Water samples tested in the last 24 hours in Winnipeg have come back clean, but a boil water advisory remains in effect as city officials await the all-clear from the province.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority initially issued a boil water advisory for the entire city on Tuesday, after low levels of bacteria, including E.coli, were detected in water samples.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Brian Bowman said the original samples may have indicated false positives.

The advisory remains in effect as the province conducts further testing.

“The province has the authority to lift the precautionary boil-water advisory,” Bowman said. “Once we receive that indication, we'll obviously notify Winnipeggers as quickly as possible.”

Winnipeg's Water and Waste Department manager of engineering services Geoffrey Patton said they re-tested water samples from six locations and all came back clean.

“We also re-sampled upstream and downstream of those locations at all six sites, and all of those samples came back negative,” Patton told reporters.

Patton said results from the provincial re-sampling are expected to come back Thursday afternoon.

While the advisory continues, Winnipeg residents must bring their water to a rolling boil for at least one minute before it is used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and preparing infant formula.

If boiling water is not feasible, residents are urged to use bottled water.

The health authority says it is not necessary to boil water for other household purposes, such as washing dishes and doing laundry.

Many citizens have snapped up cases of bottled water from area grocery stores.

Extremely low levels of E.coli were detected in six of 39 samples tested on Tuesday, but experts questioned whether the tests were correct. The positive results found odd chemical and bacterial pairings that would not normally appear together in a proper sample.

Patton said Wednesday afternoon they don’t know what caused the original samples to indicate harmful bacteria, but they will be investigating. Bowman promised to make the findings public.

“There were no issues with the distribution system or our operations,” Patton said. “All indications is that there was some sort of error, either in the sampling methodology or in the testing.”

As the advisory remains in effect, the public health scare is having a big impact in the city.

A power outage made matters worse for approximately 9,000 customers who lost power in the city’s north end Wednesday afternoon, after a fire affected a power line.

Hydro crews were working to restore power, but without electricity, affected residents couldn’t boil water.

In other parts of the city, restaurants were forced to boil water, and schools shut down the use of drinking fountains. Hospital were bringing in bottled water for patients.

Grocery and drug stores were overwhelmed by the demand, and some sold out of bottled water.

The shortage created online opportunists: An ad on Kijiji offered four gallons of water for $100.

This is not the first time the city of 700,000 has dealt with water supply issues.

In 2013, the city issued a localized boil-water advisory for one neighbourhood, only to lift it when no E. coli contamination was detected.

Then, last winter, frozen pipes left thousands of residents without running water for weeks.

With the latest scare, some residents say they will continue to buy water for drinking.

“It’s bottled water for me,” said one man purchasing eight jugs of water. “Or Coke, or anything else that comes in a can or bottle.”

With a report by CTV’s Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman updates media at a press conference as Geoff Patton, Acting Director, Winnipeg Water and Waste Department, Michael Jack, Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Winnipeg and Diane Sacher, Director of Water and Waste listen in Wednesday, Jan. 28. (John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Geoff Patton, acting director of the Water and Waste Department, updates media at a press conference, in Winnipeg, Wed., Jan. 28, 2015. (John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS)


Winnipeg's water scare pales compared to First Nations' 18 year boil advisory

When Winnipeg health officials announced a boil water advisory for the entire city on Tuesday, it was the Manitoba capital’s first-ever foray into the world of liquid terror.

Residents were outraged upon learning that their access to clean drinking water had been potentially tainted by E. coli. Those who refused to drink boiled tap water rushed to stores, making bottled water an impossible commodity to keep stocked.

Restaurants and businesses were forced to close or adjust their services – like those coffee shops that were only able to sell food and bottled beverages. Schools shut off drinking fountains and urged parents to send children to class with a supply of potable water.

It was an unprecedented moment for Manitoba’s capital, but not an unprecedented moment for the province itself. The First Nations community of Shoal Lake 40, located at the source of Winnipeg’s water supply, has been under a boil water advisory for 18 years.

The issue of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is a complicated one. The isolated community is located about two hours northeast of Winnipeg, on a small island that was cut off from the mainland when the Winnipeg aqueduct was built at Shoal Lake more than a century ago.

The construction left the community – located on the Ontario side of the provincial border – without year-round access to the outside world. While a dirt path is available during the summer, access is nil during the winter.

As the Winnipeg Free Press recently reported, the city’s water supply comes from Shoal Lake – a point highlighted by Chief Erwin Redsky in December, when he petitioned for the completion of a long-overdue project to link the First Nation community to the highway system.

Winnipeg has since agreed to build a winter road to the community, CBC recently reported, but it’s hardly the end of the challenges faced by community members.

The community’s isolation has created a lack of access to potable water, meaning residents have faced for more than a decade what Winnipeg has faced over the past two days: The need to boil their water before drinking it, cooking with it or brushing their teeth with it.

According to Health Canada, Shoal Lake is among 91 First Nations communities under drinking water advisories as of Nov. 30.

That number does not include British Columbia First Nations, which are managed under a separate health governance framework, but span from Atlantic Canada, through Ontario and into the Prairies. And many of them have been in place for years, even decades.

Shoal Lake 40 is listed with seven advisories, six of which have been in effect since 2000. The last was launched in 2007. There are, for the record, five boil water advisories and two “do not consume” warnings currently active in Manitoba, not counting Shoal Lake (which is in Ontario) and not counting Winnipeg.

On Tuesday, Winnipeg’s Medical Officer of Health and Manitoba Health announced a precautionary boil water advisory after test samples came back positive for the presence of bacteria.

The advisory was expanded to a city-wide order later in the day, out of what was referred to as “an abundance of caution.”

The city-wide warning remained in effect late Wednesday as officials worked to confirm what bacteria had been discovered. Geoff Patton, acting director in the water and waste department, told reporters there was an expectation that the previous sample had simply been tainted and that the water supply would be confirmed clean.

Meanwhile, the issue of Shoal Lake’s water supply remains a matter of concern.

Last month, environmentalist David Suzuki called Shoal Lake’s circumstances an “ironic example” of the disparity between aboriginal communities and large cities.

"The human body is about 60 per cent water. In a sense, this means the people of Winnipeg have a very real connection to the First Nations territories at Shoal Lake, source of the water they use for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing," Suzuki wrote.

"But while Winnipeg residents enjoy clean water, the people of Shoal Lake 40 suffer from substandard water, which puts their health at risk every time they turn on the tap."

In November, the International Joint Commission to Canada issued a public declaration of concern, suggesting that Winnipeg was in non-compliance with the water diversion agreement.

In a letter sent to both Manitoba and Ontario governments, the IJC asked that the matter be investigated. The agency suggested that Winnipeg’s removal of a land connection to the community “has directly led to the deaths of nine First Nations members.”

"Winnipeg’s water diversion interferes with every facet of our lives and our economy and Canada and Ontario enable that interference," Redsky said at the time. “[I]t’s really refreshing to have treaty commissioners – men and women of international stature who know the importance of keeping your promises – to have them come and see how our rights have been ignored and then have the hold Canada, Winnipeg and Ontario to account.”

It is notable that Winnipeg’s water scare is expected to be cleared within two days. Shoal Lake 40’s problem, in the meantime, is in danger of reaching two decades.

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Frenchman killed after stabbing, shooting 3 police officers

PARIS (AP) — A man with severe schizophrenia who had been on a watch list for Islamic radicalism stabbed a police officer at her station Friday in western France and shot two other officers before police killed him, authorities said. The slain suspect was a Frenchman in his 40s who had been on a watch list for Islamic radicalism because of his “rigorous” religious practices, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. The assailant had recently been released from prison and was under monitoring by psychiatric services, he said. The three officers were wounded but none is in life-threatening condition, the minister said. The motive for the violence in the Nantes suburb of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre was unclear, but Darmanin told reporters at the scene that the man “clearly wanted to attack police.” The attacker was born in France and did not have any past convictions for terrorism-related crimes, Darmanin said. The assailant, who lived in La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, entered the police station Friday morning saying he had a car problem, Mayor Fabrice Roussel said. He then stabbed the first police officer inside the station, apparently took her gun and fled, Darmanin said. The officer was wounded in the leg and hand. French police deployed helicopters, search dogs and more than 200 officers to find the suspect, and closed nearby schools and stores. When he was located, he fired on officers trying to arrest him, Darmanin said. The suspect was gravely wounded in an ensuing shootout, and died Friday afternoon of his injuries, according to a police official. The official, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said authorities are not searching for any accomplices. French President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to South Africa, called for “all efforts to clarify the circumstances” of the attack and to better protect France. Police and ambulances blocked roads in the normally quiet, residential area after the stabbing. Domestic security and attacks on police are a big political issue ahead of regional elections next month and France's presidential election next year. Two police employees have been killed in France in recent weeks. One was an administrative official stabbed to death inside her police station near Paris in what authorities are investigating as an Islamic extremist attack. The other was a drug squad officer shot to death in the southern city of Avignon. Angela Charlton, The Associated Press

All fired up but nowhere to charge: Alberta's lack of infrastructure zaps electric vehicle enthusiasm

The introduction of Ford's new all-electric F-150 Lightning truck has some Albertans looking at whether electric vehicles might work for them, but the lack of charging stations might continue to be a turn-off. The F-150, set to hit the market in 2023, is one of several electric trucks and vans that could appeal to Canadians who use their vehicles for work or recreation. Despite the hype, there are still concerns about whether there are enough public charging stations to keep the batteries going for extended travel. Those who already own electric vehicles (EVs) are familiar with the challenges. Chandresh Patel and his wife Sneha pose with their new Tesla in the showroom.(Submitted by Chandresh Patel) Chandresh Patel is a new Tesla Model Y owner who lives in Fort McMurray and works in the oil and gas industry. He loves his car and regularly uses it for daily commutes in and around the community. "But I also have another vehicle for the longer travels down to the south," Patel said. That vehicle has an internal combustion engine powered by the fuels Patel works to extract from the ground for a living. Heɽ like to ditch it and go full electric but that's not practical — yet. "When I drive from Fort Mac to Edmonton, which I have done a couple of times, there is only one charger on the way, in Athabasca," he said. That charger is off the main highway and it's not a fast one, meaning a recharging stop of up to three hours, he said. "It would be a huge difference if there was a Tesla Supercharger or a DC fast charger," Patel said. Those types of fast chargers, which would cut wait time to less than 30 minutes, are few and far between in Alberta. The network of electric vehicle charging stations is quite robust in Alberta cities as well as along highways 1 and 2, but once you head north, east or west of Edmonton the options are limited.(CBC News/PlugShare) On the highways north, east and west of Edmonton, there are only about two dozen chargers in total. Andrew Batiuk with the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta says it's a chicken-and-egg kind of problem. "EV infrastructure is not inexpensive and it's not super-easy to deploy, so people don't want to invest in it until there's a reason to do so — and that reason is having EVs in the marketplace," Batiuk said. "But then those owners of those potential EVs want to be able to travel, and they don't want to get that vehicle until they can travel. So you do get into this interesting situation of which comes first — the EV and the ownership of it or the charging network that supports it." Companies that operate the charging stations appear to be taking notice of the increasing demand and interest in EVs. FLO, the Quebec-based company that calls itself Canada's largest electric vehicle charging network, plans to expand, said Michael Pelsoci, the company's Western Canada sales director. The company already has 114 public charging stations in its Alberta network, including 26 with fast chargers. FLO has partnered with Atco to install several charging stations, like this one in Alberta.(Submitted by ATCO) "FLO expects to have more DC fast chargers on the network in northern Alberta, working with Epcor, in addition to new stations along Highway 16," Pelsoci said. "The key for successful mass adoption of electric vehicles is to build a charging infrastructure that is always one step ahead in its development." Atco, which has been involved in the design, construction and operation of more than two dozen stations in Alberta, said it doesn't have current expansion plans but continues to explore potential opportunities around the province. Six Petro-Canada charging stations in Alberta are part of its coast-to-coast EV fast-charge network. A spokesperson for Suncor, which owns Petro-Canada, didn't provide specifics but said the company is looking at sites for future opportunities.

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Norway concerned NATO chief taking on too much with reform plan -report

Norway objects to some of NATO's proposed reforms including steps to help stem climate change, fearing the Western alliance could take on too many extra responsibilities, Prime Minister Erna Solberg was quoted as saying on Friday. At a June 14 summit, NATO members including Norway will discuss Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's plan to revitalise the alliance, known as NATO 2030, addressing Russia, terrorism, cyber attacks, technology, climate change and the rise of China.

ɼold houses with no hot water': Flood victims return to Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

FORT SIMPSON, N.W.T. — A village in the Northwest Territories is looking to rebuild what has been lost after the worst flooding in more than 50 years destroyed homes and businesses. Fort Simpson's 1,200 people were forced from their homes earlier this month by record water levels during ice breakup on the Mackenzie River. Most have now returned, but Mayor Sean Whelly estimates more than 30 homes are unlivable after water damaged hot-water tanks and furnaces. At least 10 homes on the river's edge were destroyed, he said. "People are living in cold houses with no hot water. Some of them have medical issues, mental-health issues. People are stressed right out," Whelly said in an interview. A charter airline's business was also badly damaged and a hotel was so flooded that "you could have canoed in front of it." Whelly said some residents are staying in a hotel, while some are living with family in the village or in other communities. Fort Simpson is waiting on funds from the federal disaster assistance program, which flows through the territorial government, to help rebuild some of what was lost, he said. "People are emotionally and physically drained." The mayor is also worried repairs won't be completed by the end of the territory's short summer season. "We need a much faster response from the territorial government here," he said. "We're not really seeing any explanation (about) the program for assistance, and whether the government's willing to step up over and above any disaster assistance, particularly for hard-hit homeowners and businesses." The N.W.T.'s standing committee on accountability and oversight met Tuesday to discuss disaster assistance for communities affected by the flooding, including Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River. Municipal Affairs Minister Paulie Chinna visited both and said the damage is extensive. The disaster assistance program requires that residents pay for their own repairs and then get reimbursed. Caitlin Cleveland, member of the legislature for Kam Lake, questioned why the funds couldn't be given to the communities upfront. "What that ends up saying to people is if you have disposable funds, or if you have access to a loan, then you can access the disaster assistance policy," Cleveland said. Laura Gareau, deputy minister of municipal affairs, said the federal program does not provide full reimbursements and the territorial government has to put up some funds too. "To be eligible for the disaster financial assistance program, we have to ensure that the policy in structured so that we meet Canada's eligibility," Gareau said. Legislature members were still unsure about how flooded communities could get access to the funding. "I'm still very confused as to how the disaster assistance policy applies to residents," Yellowknife North's Rylund Johnson told the committee. Chinna said residents who start rebuilding their homes should keep receipts to be reimbursed for those costs. The territory's housing corporation is also visiting the affected communities to support those who may not be able to pay rebuilding costs in advance. "We're trying to find ways where we can eliminate where they would have to be paying for the renovations upfront." Chinna said an assessor will visit each community to evaluate damage. Whelly said he hopes the government comes up with a plan as soon as possible. "I don't think the government is intending to leave people permanently hanging. It's just the nature of government to be slow in responding to these things. "Once the water disappears, the problems don't really go away." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021 — By Emma Tranter in Iqaluit, Nunavut. ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press

Czechs to fully reopen restaurants, bars, admit some foreign tourists

PRAGUE (Reuters) -Czech restaurants, bars and nightclubs can serve customers indoors from Monday, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said, announcing a quicker-than-planned easing of COVID-19 restrictions following a court ruling. The Czech Republic will also open up to tourists from some European and overseas countries who have at least had their first COVID-19 shot, effective Tuesday. But last week the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that blanket restrictions on restaurants were illegal, acting on a complaint filed by a customer.

Indigenous women must lead fight against violence, Ontario report says

TORONTO — Indigenous women must be squarely at the forefront of efforts to combat the national tragedy of violence against them, a new Ontario government report asserts. The province's response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls offers a road map for tackling an issue that has inflicted horrors on countless lives for generations. The "Pathways to Safety" report outlines the province's framework for action aimed at remedying the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and children. Among its principles is the need to tackle anti-Indigenous racism. In a message accompanying the report, Jill Dunlop, associate minister of children and women's issues, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford said the tragedies of the past cannot be undone but things can and must change. "We are committing to providing supports to ensure future generations of Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people can live safely and heal from trauma," the ministers said. "As the strength, heart and soul of their communities, they deserve nothing less than to live free from violence and fear of harm." The report lays out six "pathways," including to safety and justice, while ensuring Indigenous women maintain a leadership role in identifying solutions. The document was built on advice from the Indigenous Women's Advisory Council set up last year. Cora McGuire-Cyrette, co-chairwoman of the council, said in an interview Friday that the new framework was a good starting point for tackling an enormous problem on the ground. "This is where the heavy lifting really does begin because we need everyone to work toward this," McGuire-Cyrette said from Thunder Bay, Ont. "This is not just an Indigenous issue, this is an everybody issue." What's most heartening, she said, is how Indigenous women — previously erased from conversations about discrimination and violence against them — were now being heard. Their singular expertise, she said, was now recognized. "I had never thought 15 years ago that people would be openly talking about violence against Indigenous women, because it was such an unpopular topic," McGuire-Cyrette said. "This is part of breaking that silence." The national inquiry, which issued its 1,200-page report two years ago, found Indigenous women, girls and gender non-conforming people were victims of intergenerational genocide. Deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses had resulted in "staggering" rates of violence, it said. The inquiry made 231 "calls to justice," almost all of which had implications for Ontario. "Ontario's strategy focuses on transformation, resourcing and structural change with an explicit violence-prevention lens," the province's report states. Outlined steps include increasing access to safe transportation options for Indigenous communities, and providing social and employment-related supports for urban Indigenous women. Other measures include making poverty reduction a priority and supporting access to affordable and safe housing. The government also said it recognized Indigenous distrust of the justice system, saying it would focus now on structural change that takes in policing and child welfare. "We are working to establish locally led Women's Circles and Family and Survivor's Circles to support the roll-out of actions within communities and identify community needs on an ongoing basis," the report concludes. McGuire-Cyrette said political and community will are key to making the required changes and Indigenous women themselves are at the forefront. "Regardless of all the violence that we face every single day of our lives, from the day we were born, we're still here leading in a healthy good strong way," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Sask. rancher calls for education, not hate, after small-town school apologizes for anti-farming sign

A Saskatchewan rancher hopes an apology from an Outlook, Sask., school can be used as a teachable moment. Adrienne Ivey farms and ranches in central Saskatchewan and blogs about her experience on View From The Ranch Porch. Ivey said she was disappointed after seeing Outlook Elementary School put up a sign reading, "Farming affects oceans. Chemicals hurt habitats & species. They also decr [decrease] oxygen levels." The school has since taken down the sign. Both the school and Sun West School Division apologized on social media, with the divison saying the sign's message was "unfair to the agricultural industry and we understand why many people, especially those whose livelihood comes from farming, found it offensive." The division said it will improve agricultural literacy in its schools. CBC Saskatchewan has contacted the school division for further comment. Ivey said she hopes this becomes a teachable moment not only for the students and staff, but for the general population. Ivey said nothing comes from hate and anger, and that it doesn't matter who put up the sign, but she hopes it inspires more farmers to share their stories. "It's really easy for anyone who isn't involved in agriculture to think that food production is no longer humanized, that maybe it's big giant corporations or nameless, faceless robots that are creating the food that we're eating. But it couldn't be any farther from that," Ivey said. Adrienne Ivey is a farmer and rancher in central Saskatchewan. (View From The Ranch Porch/Facebook) Ivey said Canadian grown and raised food is made by everyday people, and that farmers deeply care about the environment and the people eating the food. When it comes to the chemicals referenced on the sign, Ivey said chemicals are only used as tools, rooted in science. "They're very highly regulated and oversaw by Health Canada, and also the Canada Food System and Food Inspection Agency. So it's really important to understand that there is nothing used on Canadian farms that isn't highly, highly researched and studied and approved," she said. Ivey said the word "chemicals" is often used to only scare people or incite fear. Ivey said farmers are open books and love talking about what they do, so people who are fearful and want to know more should just ask. "When people don't understand and ask us honest, genuine, open questions, nothing makes us happier. Through all this, I've had many questions and I love answering them all," she said. Ivey said if people are concerned about their environmental footprint when it comes to food, it's simple to eat food produced as locally as possible and control food waste so less goes in the trash. She said she hopes the school can connect with Agriculture in the Classroom, a charity that tries to help students understand their local food systems.

Russia says U.S. decision not to rejoin Open Skies arms pact is 'political mistake'

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Friday a U.S. decision not to rejoin the Open Skies arms control pact, which allows unarmed surveillance flights over member states, is a "political mistake" ahead of a summit between the countries' presidents. The original U.S. decision to quit the pact was taken last year by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Moscow had hoped his successor Joe Biden would reverse it.

Vietnam coronavirus outbreak threatens to disrupt tech supply chain

A rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak has left factories operating below capacity in Vietnam's industrial northern provinces, where suppliers for Apple, Samsung and other global tech firms are located, industry sources said. After successfully containing the new coronavirus for most of last year, Vietnam is now battling an outbreak that is spreading more quickly. Four business sources said their operations had been affected as some areas have entered lockdown, raising concerns about supply chain disruption.

Albertan gives away 17 hand-built exact replicas of Prairie grain elevators

Einar Franson, 91, has been hand-building exact replicas of Prairie grain elevators since about 2008. Modelled after elevators that existed in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the replicas are crafted to scale — usually at an inch to the foot — and each took about 150 to 200 hours of labour. But Franson is now moving to Calgary, and also largely moving on from the hobby that's kept him busy for years on his acreage eight kilometres north of High River, Alta. Once thinking he would sell 17 of his replicas, Franson has decided to give them away instead, and to people with connections to their history. Einar Franson, 91, has been hand-building the replicas for the past 13 years or so.(Gaylene Merkel) "I had a talk with my son last night … [and] he kind of straightened me out," Franson told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday. "He asked me why I was selling them, and convinced me that I should be giving them away to people that want them." A lengthy history Franson has a lengthy history with Prairie grain elevators. For years, he worked as a grain buyer for some of the elevators he has replicated, and in 1952, Franson helped to dismantle one that his father had built in 1912. Modelled after elevators that existed in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the replicas are crafted to scale — usually at an inch to the foot.(Gaylene Merkel) But with the passage of time, the grain elevators that were once so prominent on Prairie landscapes have disappeared, he said. None of the original grain elevators that Franson models his replicas from are still standing. "It's actually sad when you think about it," Franson said. "You know, the whole [of] Western Canada was built on grain elevators and the grain trade, and you just don't see it anymore." All 17 already spoken for When Franson retired, he had a desire to work with wood, and received his journeyman carpenter's papers at age 60. He started thinking that he would like to revisit the grain elevators. "I just by chance happened to meet the superintendent of construction for [the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool]," Franson said. "[And] he wrote me … handwritten instructions on the total construction of elevators." Building the replicas evoked memories of the places on the Saskatchewan prairies where he has lived, including Colonsay, Burr, Kandahar and Foam Lake. "I [thought] about the farmers in the communities that we worked in," Franson said. "I built one for each of the towns that our three children are born in." But Franson and his wife will soon be living in Calgary, and he can't take them to the city. He will likely move on to smaller projects, but the larger replicas are for other people to enjoy — and all 17 are already spoken for. "I've already called three or four people, and told them that they could have the elevator of their choice," Franson said. With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

Liberal MP seen changing on camera announces he's 'stepping away' after allegedly being recorded urinating during virtual HOC session

Liberal MP William Amos says he’s “stepping away” from some of his parliamentary duties after being exposed on camera for a second time during a House of Commons meeting. Amos said he was attending a virtual, non-public House session Wednesday evening when he urinated “without realizing I was on camera.” Amos was the subject of controversy earlier this year when a college captured a photo of him changing on camera during a virtual meeting of the House of Commons.

Why (almost) nobody in Ottawa wants to talk about Quebec's new language bill

Former Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell once said an election is no time to discuss serious issues. While she later claimed her words had been taken out of context, there's some truth to the idea that a short election period doesn't allow enough time to properly explore complex, divisive issues. It also helps explain why Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is the only party leader in Ottawa who's determined to make Quebec's proposed language law — Bill 96 — an issue in advance of a possible federal election this fall. All the other party leaders are doing their best to deprive Bill 96 of oxygen — to escape another divisive debate over Quebec's place in Canada and to avoid a public showdown with the province's popular premier, François Legault. "I think that there is clear understanding that messing with François Legault politically is something that can be quite costly," said Daniel Béland, a McGill University political scientist and director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, in an interview airing Saturday on CBC's The House. "So I see this really as part of, you know, anticipation of the forthcoming federal election more than as really something that is grounded in deep constitutional thinking." In another time, a federal Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau might be expected to raise concerns about a law that would amend the Constitution unilaterally to recognize Quebecers as a nation and declare French as that nation's common language — a law that employs the notwithstanding clause to head off a constitutional challenge before one has even been launched. The political climate has changed Just four years ago, the prime minister dismissed a relatively benign attempt by then-Quebec premier Philippe Couillard to begin cross-country talks on his government's "Policy on Quebec Affirmation and Canadian Relations." Coullaird, a federalist, sought to explore conditions that could lead to Quebec signing the Constitution. "We are not opening the Constitution," Trudeau curtly told reporters at the time. But these are different times. Couillard has been replaced by the nationalist Legault. The Bloc is once again a recognized party in Ottawa and looking to add to the 32 seats it won in 2019. And there is evidence to suggest the number of Canadians whose first language is French is declining. Trudeau's government has sought to bolster the use of French. Earlier this year, it released a white paper on the Official Languages Act that proposes increasing the availability of French immersion courses across Canada and enforcing the use of French in federally-regulated workplaces within Quebec and in regions with a strong francophone presence outside of Quebec. WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Bill 96 "For a long time the federal government has recognized that we have two official languages, but that Quebec has a special role to play in protecting French in Quebec," the prime minister said this week when asked again about his position on Bill 96. "However, we also intend to ensure protection of minority rights." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said much the same on Wednesday, arguing Legault's government has the power to change the Constitution in an area that is exclusive to Quebec. "We, as a party, consistently defend the French language and we think it is important to do so," he told reporters. "With respect to the recent demand of Quebec, we absolutely support the recognition of the French language and Quebec as a nation." Even Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has been muted in his response. He released a statement saying his party will always respect the jurisdiction of provinces — including their power to unilaterally modify sections of the Constitution that pertain to them. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole — like other federal party leaders — seems to be steering clear of a confrontation with the Legault government over its new language bill.(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press) These responses are a clear sign that the major party leaders recognize there's nothing to be gained — and much to lose — by opposing Legault's bill. Quebec, with its 78 seats, will be an important battleground whenever the next election is called. Federal political leaders learned long ago that standing up for Quebec is always a better electoral strategy than standing against it. Voters in the province can sense a winner. In 2011, they gave the NDP under Jack Layton 59 seats in the province as the party went on become the Official Opposition for the first and (so far) only time. Former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney enjoyed similar largesse, taking 58 seats in the province on his way to forming the largest majority in Canadian history. Stephen Harper evaded a confrontation with Quebec over the nation question shortly after taking office.(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press) There's also an argument that Parliament itself recognized the Quebecois as a nation back in 2006, when then-prime minister Stephen Harper faced the "Quebec question" almost immediately after becoming prime minister. Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois leader at the time, introduced a motion for Parliament to recognize Quebec as a nation. Harper moved quickly to amend the wording to recognize the Quebecois as a nation "within a united Canada." The motion passed. Crisis averted. It's telling that politicians today often seem to forget those final four words in the 2006 motion. It's also worth asking why a constitutional amendment is needed if Quebec and Canada already recognize both the French fact in Quebec and that its residents are a nation within Canada. The Bill 96 paradox But the political calculations being made in Ottawa right now are more about what might have been. Bill 96 could have included even more draconian limits on the use of English. Protests against the bill inside Quebec are coming from sovereigntists who argue it doesn't go far enough in protecting and promoting the use of French. And some have argued that allowing the National Assembly to actually use a clause in the Constitution — the document that Quebec never signed — will make it difficult for separatists to claim in future that the Constitution was forced on them against their will. Béland agreed there's a paradox in Legault's use of the Constitution to support his nationalist agenda. "And certainly if this will go forward and also survive in front of the courts, that could certainly undermine one argument of the sovereigntist camp about the Constitution being illegitimate and not being really inclusive from a Quebec perspective," he told The House. "I think that this could certainly be an argument that could be used later by federalists." Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet wants what his opponents want to avoid — a political brawl with Quebec over Bill 96.(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) Which brings us to the Bloc. For Yves-Francois Blanchet, Bill 96 is a hot issue in search of a spark. He tried Wednesday to create some friction by seeking unanimous consent for a Bloc motion to affirm Trudeau's statement that Quebec is a nation and French its common language. It was defeated when former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said no. It'll be worth watching to see how Blanchet uses this unrecorded vote to bolster his party's claim that the Bloc alone defends Quebec's interests in Ottawa — when the premier seems to be doing just fine on his own. Right now, he's the only federal party leader who thinks this is a good time to be discussing this serious issue.

As Russia tensions simmer, NATO conducts massive war games

ABOARD HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (AP) — As tensions with Russia simmer, thousands of NATO troops, several warships and dozens of aircraft are taking part in military exercises stretching across the Atlantic, through Europe and into the Black Sea region. The war games, dubbed Steadfast Defender 21, are aimed at simulating the 30-nation military organization’s response to an attack on any one of its members. It will test NATO’s ability to deploy troops from America and keep supply lines open. Already in recent years, the United States and its allies have deployed troops and equipment in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to try to reassure those members neighboring Russia that their partners will ride to the rescue should they come under attack. Russia’s decision last month to send thousands of troops to the border area with Ukraine has raised concern at the military alliance, which launched one of its biggest ever defense spending initiatives after Russian troops annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Top NATO brass insist that the military exercises, involving some 9,000 troops from 20 nations, are not aimed at Russia specifically, but they focus on the Black Sea region, where Russia stands accused of blocking the free navigation of ships. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the exercises send an important message to any potential adversary: “NATO is ready.” “NATO is there to defend all our allies, and this exercise sends a message about our ability to transport a large number of troops, equipment across the Atlantic, across Europe and also to project maritime power,” Stoltenberg told The Associated Press aboard a British aircraft carrier off the coast of Portugal. The ship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the pride of the British Navy. It’s making its maiden voyage and carrying 18 F-35 jets: the first ever deployment of so many of the 5th generation planes aboard an aircraft carrier. The ship’s presence, part of a 6-7 month deployment that will take it south past India, through Southeast Asia to the Philippines Sea, is aimed in part at restoring Britain’s tarnished image as a major global power since it left the European Union. Adorned with high-tech U.S. jets and flanked by warships from other NATO countries, the carrier strike force also stands as an important symbol of unity as the world’s biggest security organization tries to recover from four tumultuous years under the Trump administration. Stoltenberg will chair a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14 with current U.S. President Joe Biden and his counterparts keen to usher in a new era of trans-Atlantic cooperation, as troops leave its longest-ever mission in Afghanistan while tensions with Russia, and increasingly China, mount. The war games tie in two new NATO command centers, one in Norfolk, Virginia the other in Ulm, Germany. Part of the focus of its first phase was to protect the undersea cables that carry masses of commercial and communications data between the U.S. and Europe. NATO says Russia is mapping the cables’ routing and might have darker intentions. “We all lulled ourselves into thinking that the Atlantic was a benign region in which there was not anything bad going on, and we could just use it as a free highway,” Norfolk’s commander, U.S. Navy Vice-Admiral Andrew Lewis said. “There are nations are out there mapping those cables. They may be doing something else bad. We have to be aware of that and answer that,” he told reporters. NATO says its policy toward Russia is based on two pillars: strong military deterrence and dialogue. But high-level meetings between the two historic foes are rare, and European officials insist that President Vladimir Putin is turning increasingly authoritarian and distancing himself from the West. “We’re ready to sit down with Russia, because we think it’s important to talk, especially when times are difficult,” Stoltenberg said. “The main challenge now is that Russia has not responded positively to our invitation, or our initiative, for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council,” their top consultative forum. Lorne Cook, The Associated Press

Quebec restaurant patios reopen as curfew lifts and backyard gatherings permitted

MONTREAL — As the curfew lifted Friday and restaurant patios reopened, Quebec's public health institute said the province could avoid another wave of novel coronavirus if people follow health orders. Jocelyne Sauvé, vice-president for scientific affairs at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, said Quebecers need to be patient and adhere to the government's reopening plan. "What we see from the models is that the reopening plan could work well, but as long as the public follows the speed of the reopening plan and doesn't get ahead of what's been put on the table," Sauvé told reporters. Models released Friday by the institute projected a gradual drop in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the greater Montreal area — if people stick to the plan. That area was defined as Montreal, its northern suburb of Laval, Que., and several less-populated adjacent regions. Under the government's reopening strategy, Montreal and Laval will remain at the highest pandemic-alert level until at least June 7, after which gyms are expected to reopen and indoor dining at restaurants will be permitted. The first step in the plan began Friday, when restaurant patios reopened across the province — including Montreal and Laval — and backyard gatherings were permitted again. But indoor gatherings are still banned and mask-wearing remains the rule in public places. Marc Brisson, a professor at Université Laval who does modelling for Quebec's public health institute, said the number of cases could begin to rise again in June — particularly among children and adults not yet vaccinated — if people don't follow the rules. The government has said it is particularly worried about private indoor gatherings after the curfew is lifted, which happened Friday. Brisson said the modelling forecasted a rise in hospitalizations if people get ahead of the reopening plan, but added that the estimated rise would be smaller compared with the second wave, which ended in March. New hospitalizations in the Montreal area could peak at around 30 a day in early July, the models predicted. The models estimated that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the fall will depend on vaccination rates. If 89 per cent of people over 12 are fully vaccinated, there would be a minimal rise in new cases and hospitalizations when schools reopen. But if 71 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated by the fall and assuming the number of daily contacts between people are at pre-pandemic levels, then Quebec could be reporting 1,000 new cases a day by October, followed by dozens of new hospitalizations. "It's very important to continue to follow the public health measures as we get out of lockdown and to have the highest vaccination coverage possible," Brisson said. "These two elements will have a big impact on how our summer and September will look." Meanwhile, Quebec police forces issued 20,958 tickets for curfew violations between Jan. 9 and May 23, the province's Public Security Department said Friday. Fines started at $1,000 plus $550 in additional fees. The curfew was originally set at 8 p.m. and more recently had been moved to 9:30 p.m. Some patio restrictions remain, and in regions under the province's two highest alert levels, tables will be limited to occupants of a single residence, or two adults with their minor children. The new regulations also allow outdoor gatherings of up to eight people on private property, and large venues will be able to host up to 2,500 people, though the venues will have to be divided into sections of 250 people and have separate entrances and washrooms. Quebec reported 419 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and four more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the previous 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by nine, to 385, and 91 people were in intensive care, a drop of five. The province says it administered 101,094 doses of vaccine Thursday, for a total of 5,306,336 about 58.1 per cent of Quebecers have received at least one dose. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

ɺ big blow to the sport:' Chuckwagon racers surprised, confused after Calgary Stampede cut event

This year's Calgary Stampede is happening, just without some of its usual staple of events like the Rangeland Derby — meaning no chuckwagon races, to the surprise and bewilderment of those counting on competing this year. But weeks later the Strathmore Stampede will go ahead, chucks and all. On Thursday, in what Calgary Stampede officials said was a "difficult decision," they announced the cancellation of the Stampede's biggest rodeo event. ""The pandemic has had a very serious impact on the sport, they haven't been able to race … like any other professional sport, it wouldn't be appropriate to go from spring training to a high-stakes championship," Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes told CBC News on Thursday. Chuckwagon events in Grande Prairie, Saskatoon, Medicine Hat and Bonnyville have been cancelled already this year due to pandemic health restrictions. This is our livelihood, says chuckwagon driver That news has would-be competitors like four-time Rangeland Derby champion Kurt Bensmiller confused and "disappointed." "They're really crippling a lot of drivers. I mean, this is our livelihood," he said Friday on The Homestretch. He says the Calgary Stampede's reasons for cancelling the event in the name of horse and driver safety don't make sense to him. "I'm trained the exact same that I do every year . we take our safety very serious," said Bensmiller. "My horses are fit and I would challenge anyone there at the Calgary Stampede or whoever they're getting their information from to come check my horses out." Bensmiller says the races at the Calgary Stampede are a key event in the season, both for potential income and in terms of competition. Chuckwagon driver Mark Sutherland says the Calgary Stampede is biggest financial event of the year for drivers.(Mark Sutherland/Facebook) Fellow chuckwagon racer Mark Sutherland is surprised by the Stampede's reasoning, saying he and his peers know how to keep their horses properly trained, despite what was implied. "I think there's probably more reasons at work that Stampede either isn't willing to share or just isn't what they thought was relevant," Sutherland told CBC News on Friday. He says the chuckwagon outfits are like any other small business in the province that have been "hurt drastically by the pandemic," especially given this is the second year the event hasn't happened. "The Calgary Stampede is financially the biggest event that that we have, and that's why it's such a big blow to the sport." The World Professional Chuckwagon Association called the news devastating for many families in the wagon racing community," in a statement Thursday. Strathmore Stampede keeping chucks Both Bensmiller and Sutherland are planning on taking part in other rodeo events in the province, including the Ponoka Stampede, which could take place in late June. The Strathmore Stampede, taking place weeks after the Calgary Stampede, is going "full-steam ahead with all our events," said Ryan Schmidt, CEO of the Strathmore & District Agricultural Society. Schmidt says it's the society's priority to keep attendees safe but that it is moving ahead "confidently." He says the Strathmore Stampede typically attracts about 40,000 attendees annually. "We will have the World Professional Chuckwagon Association, we will have the Canadian Professional Rodeo, and we'll have our … world famous running with the bulls," said Schmidt. "We want to give [chuckwagon drivers] a place to race." The Calgary Stampede is scheduled for July 9-18, and the Strathmore Stampede runs July 30 to Aug. 2. Barnes said the Calgary Stampede is "looking forward to having the chuckwagons back on our track here next year." With files from Lucie Edwardson and The Homestretch.

Michelle Good on why Indigenous people can't 'get over' residential school trauma

Michelle Good says her book "Five Little Indians" is her response to a frustrating question that often comes up in discussions about Indigenous people and Canada's residential schools: "Why can't they just get over it?" As an advocate, lawyer and daughter of a residential school survivor, Good says the devastating long-term impacts of the government-run system are woven into the fabric of her life. Good, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation west of Saskatoon, says she drew from these experiences in crafting her acclaimed debut novel, "Five Little Indians," with a braided narrative that shifts focus from the historic infliction of harm to how Indigenous people carry that trauma with them into the present day. "The question, why can't they just get over it? The answer isn't in the horror of the abuse," says Good, 64, from Savona, west of Kamloops, B.C. "The answer is in how that continues to play out, both with the survivor directly and intergenerationally and at a community level." "Five Little Indians," from HarperCollins Publishers, traces the intersecting journeys of a group residential school survivors in east Vancouver as they work to rebuild their lives and come to grips with their pasts. The book won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award on Thursday and is up for a Governor General's prize this coming Tuesday, earning Good the rare distinction of being a sexagenarian up-and-coming author. Now an adjudicator, Good says she first began working on the novel about a decade ago while juggling her law practice and her studies at University of British Columbia's creative writing program. While she may have come to writing later in life, Good says fiction has given her the freedom to explore truths that transcend the evidentiary rigours of the legal process. "A thing need not be factual to be true," says Good, who used to run a small law firm and has represented residential school survivors. "One of the reasons people respond to this book is that it's true, if not factual, on a very, very visceral level." As part of her writing process, Good says she studied hundreds of psychological assessments of survivors of childhood physical and sexual abuse to better understand how these injuries can shape a person's trajectory. She says this research informed how the central characters of "Five Little Indians" cope with the life-altering aftershocks of being torn away from their families and communities and forced into a system designed "take the Indian out of the child." "The whole point of the book is how difficult it is to live with those impacts from the harm of walking out of those schools just burdened with psychological injury, and facing lack of support, lack of resources (and) racism," says Good. "It's something that went directly to the fabric of Indigenous community and did profound damage." Since its 2020 publication, "Five Little Indians" has been making the rounds on the literary prize circuit, securing spots on the Giller long list and Writers' Trust short list last fall. Good also achieved the unusual feat of scoring three major awards nods in a single day in early May. "Five Little Indians" won the $60,000 First Novel Award this week, is in the running for the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize next month, and is among several heavyweight finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards, to be announced Tuesday. Others vying for the $25,000 prize in the Governor General's fiction category are Guelph, Ont.-based Thomas King for "Indians on Vacation," from HarperCollins Canada Halifax’s Francesca Ekwuyasi with "Butter Honey Pig Bread," from Arsenal Pulp Press Leanne Betasamosake Simpson for "Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies," from House of Anansi Press and Toronto-born Lisa Robertson for "The Baudelaire Fractal," from Coach House Books. Good says the awards acclaim has been "tremendously satisfying." But most meaningful of all is the reception the book has received from residential school survivors and their families who recognize their own stories in the characters Good created, she says. "It's my love letter to survivors," says Good. "I feel like that's something I can be proud of till the day I move on." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Putin offers Belarus leader support against West in Ryanair plane standoff

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday offered his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko support in his standoff with the West over his handling of the grounding of a passenger jet and the arrest of a dissident blogger. The West has accused Belarus of piracy after Belarusian air traffic control on Sunday informed the Ryanair pilot of a hoax bomb threat and Minsk scrambled a MiG-29 fighter plane to escort the jetliner down, and then arrested Roman Protasevich, a blogger and critic of Lukashenko, along with his girlfriend.

Hungary PM laments loss of UK from EU ahead of Johnson meeting

Hungary is missing Britain's presence within the European Union and the two countries need to build new bilateral ties, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday ahead of a meeting with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson. Orban, a maverick nationalist who has locked horns with the EU over a perceived erosion of democratic standards in Hungary and rows over immigration, is working to build a new conservative alliance within Europe.

CN Rail fined $100K for spraying herbicide on tracks without clearance, damaging vegetation

CN Rail has been fined $100,000 for spraying harmful pesticide over 150 kilometres of track in northwestern B.C., damaging vegetation near the Skeena River. The railway pleaded guilty on Thursday for failing to get proper authorization to spray the herbicide between Terrace and Prince Rupert in August 2017, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. Photos from environmentalists who spotted the damage showed what appeared to be a line of dead vegetation crossing creeks and waterways near the CN tracks. The line is near Highway 16 and runs along the Skeena River floodplain. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the pesticide was applied to 150 kilometres of track between Terrace and Prince Rupert, affecting vegetation beside the line.(T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation) The railway is required to remove invasive plants and noxious weeds along its tracks and throughout its railyards under the B.C. Weed Control Act, but must have an approved Pest Management Plan in place before work begins to ensure pesticides are used responsibly. CN's pest management plan had expired in May 2017. Under that plan, CN was required to leave a buffer of five metres between non-selective pesticide applications and bodies of water with fish species. Selective methods were permitted to be applied within one metre of such waterways. CN had hired a contractor to do the work, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. The railway was fined after pleading guilty in Prince Rupert. The majority of the $100,000 fine — $95,000 — will be sent to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which works to restore wildlife and habitat in the Skeena region.

Tories blast William Amos for relieving himself on camera in his second Zoom incident

OTTAWA — The Conservatives say an incident where Liberal MP William Amos relieved himself while on camera during virtual proceedings was "shocking, reckless" and an "affront to the dignity" of the House of Commons. The moment marks the MP's second Zoom lapse after he made headlines around the world last month when he appeared naked on an internal parliamentary feed of virtual question period. Amos said in a statement posted to Twitter last night that he "urinated without realizing (he) was on camera" during a virtual session of the House on Wednesday evening. He apologized for what he said was "accidental" and could not be viewed by the public, but stated the action was nonetheless "completely unacceptable." Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, deputy House leader for the Opposition, agreed with the latter part of that statement, saying the incident put lawmakers "in a very uncomfortable position" and amounted to Amos relieving himself in the Commons itself. Carol Hughes, acting as speaker, says she will review the situation and come back with a response to the House. After the incident last month, Amos said he was changing his clothes after a jog and did not realize his laptop camera was turned on. Bloc Québécois MP Sebastien Lemire later apologized for taking a screenshot of the moment, saying he had no idea how the photo quickly made its way to the media and ended up circulating online around the globe. The leaking of the image prompted fiery condemnation from the governing Liberals. Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez called for an investigation and described the incident as "mean-spirited'' and "life-changing'' for Amos. At a meeting earlier this month of the all-party board of internal economy — the governing body of the House — Liberal whip Mark Holland said Lemire should reveal where he sent the image and what his intent was. That board was set to meet again earlier Thursday, but the meeting ended up being put off. Amos, a Quebec MP, said he is temporarily stepping away from his role as parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and from his committee work so that he can get help. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Rodriguez's chief of staff Charles-Eric Lépine referred back to Amos's statement when reached for comment on Friday. "It is important to have a safe workplace environment for everyone on Parliament Hill and we take these matters extremely seriously," he said in a statement. In a written statement, Vecchio questioned the Liberals' claim that Amos accidentally exposed himself in this latest incident. "This is the second time Mr. Amos has been caught exposing himself to his colleagues in the House, and the House of Commons, virtual or otherwise, must be free of this type of unacceptable behaviour." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021. The Canadian Press


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Then about a year ago, the city finally figured out the cause of brown water that had been periodically pouring from residents’ taps for months.

They blamed manganese from Shoal Lake and water treatment plants, where it is used as a coagulant.

Then-mayor Sam Katz admitted the brown water was unappealing to residents and said that although health officials said the levels of manganese were not harmful, the city would nevertheless clean more than 2,500 kilometres of water pipes.

The city also said it would find ways to reduce the amount of manganese used during the water treatment process.

Winnipeg’s water is piped from Shoal Lake, Ont., about 150 kilometres east of the city, and treated at a plant near the Decon Reservoir east of the city. The $300-million facility opened in 2009 and can treat up to 400 million litres of water a day.

Seven people died and thousands were sickened in Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000 when E. coli got into the water system. An inquiry found cost-cutting by the government of former Tory premier Mike Harris contributed to the tragedy.


Precautionary boil advisory issued for areas in Norman

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A precautionary boil advisory has been issued for residents in a section of Norman.

Norman residents who live in areas north of Robinson and east of Flood are under the precautionary boil advisory.

“The Norman Public Water Supply has advised the users of its drinking water in areas north of Robinson and east of Flood only to use water that has been brought to a full, rolling boil for at least one minute, bottled water, or water from another acceptable source for consumption, use in food preparation, dishwashing, and brushing teeth. This precautionary boil advisory was issued by Norman due to E. coli in the drinking water,” a City of Norman news release states.

This boil advisory concerns only Norman Public Water water customers in the areas north of Robinson and east of Flood.

“Food facilities in the affected area MUST immediately close unless they can provide an approved alternative source of water i.e. bagged ice, bottled water, ‘boiled’ water (the water must remain at a rolling boil for at least one minute,” the news release states.

The city advises bringing large volumes of water to a rolling boil for at least three to five minutes.


Watch the video: Diseases (December 2021).