Archive for May, 2011
Monday, May 30th, 2011
High winds are expected to whip up on Manitoba’s lakes over the next few days. A forecast has predicted winds on Lake Manitoba could reach nearly 60 kilometers per hour this afternoon. So the province is warning people to prepare for high waves along the shorelines.
A tornado briefly touched down outside of St. Adolphe over the weekend. The weather office says there was no damage reported. But funnel clouds were reported as far apart as the Morden area, west to Brandon, and south to Steinbach. Hail the size of quarters also fell in the Warren, Woodlands and Stonewall areas.
Canadian Forces paraded through St. Boniface for the city’s first ever Veteran Appreciation Day over the weekend. The day was meant to recognize the volunteer work and other contributions that vets often make to their communities.
What happened in Japan has gottem scared. Germany has decided to pull the plug on nuclear power. The German government says all 17 of the country’s nuclear reactors will be shut down within 11 years. A government spokesperson says the decision was sparked by the March 11th disaster at the Fukishima power plant in Japan.
A moment of silence was observed yesterday at 5:41 Winnipeg time, by the people in Joplin, Missouri. It was to honor victims of that massive tornado which devastated the city exactly one week earlier. The storm killed more than 130 people, and there still many who are missing. President Barack Obama visited Joplin yesterday to offer hope for survivors, and promises of help.
The Harper government will apparently table legislation next month that will radically reform the Senate. Reports say the bill would limit the terms of all senators and would also allow provinces to hold elections for senators when seats become available.
Endeavour is heading home after undocking from the International Space Station. The shuttle is now set to land on Wednesday, then go into retirement at a museum in Los Angeles. Only one more shuttle mission remains….Atlantis, which is set to blast off sometime in July.
Computer industry analysts say the ever-expanding tablet market is now eating into sales of personal computers. Gartner research now predicts that global PC sales will grow only by 10.5 per cent this year….down from its earlier prediction of 16 per cent. More than 50 tablets will be on display in Taiwan at tomorrow’s opening of Computex….the world’s 2nd largest computer show.
The body of the 156th Canadian soldier to die in the Afghan mission is now on its way home. The body of 31 year old Karl Manning, a radar operator from Chicoutimi, Quebec, will flown back to this country today.
Friday, May 27th, 2011
A 12 year old Winnipeg boy has been charged with attempted murder. Police say the boy shot at a 24 year old man, but, the gun jammed and bystanders were able to grab the child and hold him til police arrived. A few hours earlier, police say Daniel MacIntyre high school was put into lockdown after someone fired a gun at a group of people near the school. Cops say the 2 incidents are connected, but not gang related. A 15 year old boy is now also facing several firearm charges.
It’s gonna be a good weekend for hundreds of flood evacuees out in Brandon. They’re set to return home, after flood waters forced them out nearly 3 weeks ago. City officials do have a warning however….some residents may find water in their basements when they return. But re-entry crews are scheduled to help people this weekend, including reps from hydro who will have to turn the natural gas back on in the area.
4 people are dead after the car they were in, crashed into a school bus about 100 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg. Police say the car crossed the center line, and crashed head on with the bus, which was carrying the driver and 18 children. Fortunately though, only 3 children from that bus suffered any injuries….and non of them are life threatening.
Couple of astronauts from the space shuttle Endeavour are now in the history books as they’re about to wrap up the 4th and final spacewalk of the mission. As they complete construction of the International Space Station, they are the last shuttle crew members to perform a spacewalk.
The maximum sentence has been handed down in the death of a 13 year old girl, more than 25 years ago. 47 year old Mark Edward Grant got life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years. The victim, Candace Derksen, disappeared in 1984 while walking home from school. Her frozen body was found in early 1985 in a shed, not far from her Winnipeg home.
If ya love a deal…..liquidation sales begin today at 146 Blockbuster stores in this country…all of which will close for good in the next few weeks. That represents about 37 per cent of Blockbuster’s stores across the country. Earlier this month, an Ontario court placed the company into receivership.
At the G-8 summit in France…….the pro-democracy movement in parts of the Middle East and north Africa, were the main topics at last night’s working dinner. Although Prime Minister Harper says he and his G-8 colleagues think the changes are good, they also know the risks involved. The G-8 meeting will wrap up today.
The death toll continues to rise down in Joplin, Missouri which was hit by a massive tornado last weekend. Officials say 126 people are now confirmed dead, with still hundreds missing. But they also say they’re hoping that many of those missing are safe, and have just not contacted family and friends because phone service is out in the area.
Tragic accident in a shop class at a high school in Ottawa yesterday. An 18 year old student is dead after a powerful explosion. Police say 12 students and a teacher were building BBQ’s, when fumes from an empty oil drum ignited and blew up. Fortunately, no one else was seriously hurt.
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
The breach at the Hoop and Holler bend has now been closed. The dike which was intentionally opened near Portage la Prairie to release water from the Assiniboine river, has done its job. The province says there’s no longer a chance that any more cuts will have to be made. And officials also say that property owners can ditch their sandbags now, although flood barrier tubes should be left in place for crews to remove.
Manitoba is proposing a new law to crack down on real estate fraud. The changes include tighter signature rules for land and mortgage transfers. It would also make it easier for victims of fraud to get compensation. Government officials say real estate fraud is a growing problem in Manitoba and across the country.
The city of Brandon is trying to stop millions of litres of river water from pouring into its sewer system. Officials say the water is putting a strain on pumps at a sewer pumping station servicing the evacuated area of Brandon. That means the city can’t lift the flood evacuation order until the situation is under control. If the pump station fails by the way, water would flow through sewers and into the basements of at least 500 homes in the evacuation zone. About 1400 people have been out of their homes for 3 weeks now.
Everyone loves a good party….so, even though the deal isn’t quite done…plans are underway for an official celebration downtown, to let hockey fans celebrate the return of the N.H.L. The party plan calls for sealing off Portage and Main to allow thousands of revelers to celebrate. As to when that might happen? Well some officials are saying this morning it could be as early as tomorrow.
Residents of Slave Lake, Alberta are going home. Essential workers have begun returning to the fire ravaged town, and the people who run key businesses like banks and grocery stores will follow. If all goes according to plan, other residents should be able to return to their homes by tomorrow. 7 thousand residents fled last week as a wild fire damaged and destroyed about a third of the town.
The numbers out of Joplin, Missouri are staggering. The death toll has now risen to 125, with more than 900 others injured. But, there is also well over a thousand people who are still missing or unaccounted for. As a result, at least 50 dogs are being used in the search of all the debris, as well as listening devices. Crews say they will not give up looking, even though some areas have been checked 4 and 5 times already.
There’s good news for anyone planning on traveling to Europe. Air traffic controllers say the ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland, is no longer a serious issue. And as result, air traffic in European air space is returning to normal. Ash clouds forced airport closures and hundreds of flight cancellations earlier this week.
The leaders of the G-8 nations are gathering in France for their first summit on world affairs since last year’s meeting in this country. Prime Minister Harper and other leaders will open 2 days of meetings today, with issues like the global economy and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, on the agenda.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Well it’s a sure sign that Manitoba floodwaters are going down. Winnipeg police have lifted a boating prohibition on both the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Officers say the rivers are now at or near normal spring runoff levels.
The province is taking a grave view of cemetery vandalism. The government has introduced legislation to boost penalties for such convictions. Fines would increase to up to 10 thousand dollars. And convicted offenders could now also be facing some serious jail time as well paying restitution.
City officials in Joplin, Missouri are refusing to abandon hope of finding more survivors 3 days after their city was devastated by a massive tornado. Rescuers are preparing to go over ground that they’ve already searched as many as 3 times already. As of this morning, the official death toll stands at 122, but, hundreds of people are still missing.
Hines Ward is known for his moves on the football field, and it turns out he’s pretty impressive on the dance floor too. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former Super Bowl MVP, is now the new champion of “Dancing with the Stars.” Ward, out danced actresses Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane to win the title last night. He’s now the second pro football player to win the dancing crown…..Emmitt Smith won it back in 2006.
There’s growing concern that a cloud of ash from a volcano in Iceland could disrupt European air travel for days. German air traffic controllers have grounded flights all over the country. And the ash cloud kept hundreds of flights on the tarmack in Britain yesterday….although officials say there are only a few cancellations today.
Prime Minister Harper heads to Europe today on his first foreign trip since the federal election. He’s heading to Normandy, France for a G-8 summit which opens tomorrow. The world leaders are expected to talk about a variety of issues during their 2 day sit down…including the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.
It’s a first in the country. Ontario is planning on introducing a new system to help track down Alzheimer’s patients who wander off. It’ll involve issuing a “Silver Advisory” to notify the public when a person is reported missing…similar to the current Amber Alert system used when a child disappears.
More deadly weather in the U.S. Midwest last night. Tornadoes have killed 5 people in Oklahoma and 2 in Kansas. Tornado sirens also sounded in Joplin, Missouri, but fortunately the weather passed through without causing any additional damage to the city. Joplin was of course devastated by a monster storm on Sunday night that killed more than 120 people…with hundreds of others still missing.
Experts are advising Canadians to make sure they’re up to date on their tetanus vaccinations as the gardening season gets underway. Exposure and infection can happen through something as simple as a scrape from a rose bush, or getting cut by gardening tools. Tetanus affects the nervous system and can even lead to death. The shot by the way is safe, and free for all Canadians…and should be repeated every 10 years.
Crews continue to sandbag cottages and homes around Lake Manitoba. A voluntary evacuation remains in effect for about 30 permanent homes on Delta Beach. The military were called in to help with sandbag efforts on the weekend…and they continue to help out in the area.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Fire investigators say they believe a blaze that killed over 4 thousand hogs at a barn in the RM of Hanover near Steinbach was accidental. The fire happened on the weekend, and the cause is still under investigation. So far, there is no estimate on the cost of the damage.
The RM of Portage la Prairie has issued a voluntary evacuation for about 30 permanent homes in the Delta Beah area…on the south shore of Lake Manitoba. Strong north winds this weekend, pushed water between homes and flooded the access road. Waves have also removed sandbags in some areas. The military has now been called in to help lay sandbags along the lake.
Barack Obama says he’ll be in Missouri by this weekend to view the damage caused by that killer tornado that slammed into the city of Joplin on Sunday. The President, who’s currently on a 6 day tour of Europe, calls the incredible scenes of destruction, “heartbreaking.” At least 116 people were killed, making it the deadliest single tornado in the U.S. in over 60 years.
And here we go again. A huge cloud of ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland is starting to play havoc with airline schedules in parts of Europe. So far, at least 200 flights have been cancelled in Scotland and Scandinavia. And officials warn that number could hit 500 within a few hours.
Emotions were pretty raw as buses carrying evacuees from Slave Lake, Alberta rolled through the fire ravaged town yesterday. Some wept as they saw the one third of their town that was destroyed by a wildfire 9 days ago. However, given that schools, and the hospital were left standing, one resident said the disaster could have been a lot worse.
Searchers in Joplin, Missouri vow to keep looking in the rubble until everyone is accounted for. At least 116 people were killed by a giant tornado that hammered the city on Sunday. It was the deadliest single twister to hit the U.S. in some 60 years. And, forecasters are saying there’s a chance tornadoes could hit the same region today.
California preacher, Harold Camping says he felt terrible when his prediction that the world would end this weekend, didn’t come true. Camping says he felt so bad, he even took refuge in a motel with his wife. But Camping is now back in the public eye…and with a new prediction ! He says he’s rechecked his biblical math and is now sure Judgement Day will come 5 months from now…on October 21st.
U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, will meet Prince William and his wife Kate, during their visit to Britain, which began this morning. The Obamas, who weren’t invited to the royal wedding in April, will meet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today at Buckingham palace.
Friday, May 20th, 2011
Officials leading Manitoba’s flood fight say they’re optimistic the worst is over as high waters start to recede along the swollen Assiniboine river. Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton says flood waters peaked Wednesday night and are now slowly starting to drop. A weak spot in the Portage Diversion, just west of the city has been reinforced and continues to divert water from the Assiniboine. Right now there are 1600 Canadian Forces personnel in the province continuing the flood fight.
Unbelievable story this morning. An H.I.V. positive Winnipeg man is accused of exposing his own mother to the virus that causes AIDS, by sexually assaulting her while she was passed out. The 28 year old has now been ordered to stand trial on charges aggravated sexual assault and incest.
U of M students have been warned to keep a close eye on their food and beverages. Authorities say an employee’s water bottle was intentionally contaminated with a noxious substance. They didn’t say what the substance was, but they did say it wasn’t anything like a date rape drug.
Some of the country’s biggest names in business will be in Toronto today for the funeral of Wallace McCain. The chairman of Maple Leaf Foods and co-founder of the McCain frozen food empire, died of cancer a week ago at the age of 81.
The charred northern Alberta town of Slave Lake will be visited today by both Prime Minister Harper and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. They’ll see first hand the scorching that one third of the town took last Sunday, when a wind-whipped wildfire suddenly shifted direction and forced the evacuation of all the town’s residents.
The first of four spacewalks is underway at the International Space Station this morning. 2 shuttle Endeavour astronauts are outside in space, retrieving 3 experiments outside, installing a new one, and doing some maintenance work.
So….you ready for Judgment Day tomorrow? A fringe Christian movement founded by California senior Harold Camping, is spreading the word that Jesus will return to earth tomorrow to gather up all the faithful and take them to heaven….and event known as the Rapture. And while the Christian mainstream isn’t buying it, others are milking it for all its worth. There are now several Facebook pages promoting things like “post rapture looting,” and some are even throwing “Rapture parties,” to celebrate the expected failure of the world’s demise.
Looks like this was his last night in jail….at least for awhile. A judge in New York has agreed to free the French banker accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid last weekend. Former International Monetary chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be freed on one million dollars bail on the condition he be confined to a Manhattan apartment under armed guard.
Legal experts say former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is right to delay his Hollywood comeback, because he could soon be starring in a made for tabloids divorce. The actor of course acknowledged this week that he fathered a child with the family housekeeper, more than a decade ago. His wife, Maria Shriver promptly left after hearing that news. One legal specialist says Schwarzenegger should seek a private settlement and remain quiet.
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Tenants in Manitoba will soon have yet another safeguard in place to keep them with a roof over their head. A new set of tenant protection rules was introduced yesterday, limiting the ability for owners to convert their properties into condos. It would also ban conversions if people are evicted without cause during the previous year, and tenants would also have to get at least 6 months notice, if they were going condo…up from the current 3.
Animal services wants dog owners in the city to take advantage of a license amnesty this summer before they crack down with a zero tolerance policy on unlicensed dogs. Starting June 1st, delinquent or non-licensed dog owners can purchase a license without the threat of retroactive fees and additional fines. The law in the city by the way is that….all dogs over the age of 6 months must be licensed.
People who live near the cut in the dike at Hoop and Holler bend say they’re glad the water hasn’t done much damage to the surrounding area. But the reduced flows have people further away wondering why they’ve been panicking to protect their homes. The province says the breach could be stopped as early as this weekend.
So how’d you like it if your grocery list included the usuals like milk, bread, butter…..and now beer? Well the province is apparently going to make some changes to the liquor laws, that would see booze like beer and wine, available in grocery stores. Apparently, an amendment to the liquor act could be tabled as early as today. A government spokesperson says the legislation if passed, would allow a pilot project with some grocery stores…who would then set up Liquor Mart boutiques with beer and wine.
No real surprise here……Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund, as he faces sexual assault charges in New York. In a letter released late last night, he says he wants to devote all of his energy to fighting the charges. Strauss-Kahn remains in jail, accused of trying to rape a hotel maid last weekend. Lawyers for the 62 year old Frenchman are expected to ask a judge again today, to release him on bail.
And the hunt is on. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office has declined to discuss whether a Bakersfield, California woman is the mother of the child he fathered. News crews started camping out in front of a home yesterday, believed to be hers.
Is it the last tape he ever recorded? A taped message from Osama bin Laden was apparently made shortly before his death and was just released. The 12 minute message, released on line, speaks of the winds of change in the Muslim world, praising recent anti government protests in the Middle East. Bin Laden was of course killed back on May 2nd in a raid by U.S. Navy Seals, at his Pakistani compound.
Jack Layton says it’s a slap in the face to voters. The NDP leader was furious to learn that Prime Minister Harper appointed 3 defeated Conservative candidates to the Senate. Immediately after the new cabinet was sworn in, the P.M.’s office issued a release saying that Larry Smith, and Fabian Manning were in the senate. And a former Quebec cabinet minister, Josee Verner, was also appointed to the Upper Chamber.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Some good news on the flood front this morning. The province says at some point in the near future it might plug the hole in the dike cut last weekend at the Hoop and Holler bend. The cut was made to ease pressure on the Assiniboine, and there was a fear it could flood 225 square kilometers of land, and affect 150 homes. But by yesterday, the water had only covered 2.7 kilometers and surrounded, not flooded, 3 homes.
The Assiniboine is starting to slowly drop, and while officials warn it’ll be weeks before things return to normal, they are starting to talk about life after the flood. The government will announce a compensation package in the next week, which will outline exactly what kind of reimbursement will be given to those affected by all the water.
Manitoba has placed 2nd in a new report that ranks the provinces and their track records on animal protection. Ontario was the only province that did better in the rankings. The report done by the Animal Legal Defense Fund named Quebec as the best province to be an animal abuser, although Nunavut got the lowest ranking on the scale.
Days after much of their town was ravaged by wildfire, thousands of residents of Slave Lake, Alberta want to know which homes are still standing. The Mayor says officials are setting up a system to let evacuees find out which properties were damaged or destroyed by the massive blaze. But police say it could be another 2 weeks before they’ll let anyone back into the town.
Prime Minister Harper’s new inner circle will get unveiled in Ottawa today. There’s word the P.M. has tapped John Baird to be the new foreign affairs minister, replacing Lawrence Cannon who lost his re-election bid this month. Many ministers are also expected to keep their portfolios…including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
Guards at New York City’s Rikers Island jail are making sure no harm comes to I.M.F. chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who’s charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid. The 62 year old diplomat has got a whole jail wing to himself and he’s now on 24 hour suicide watch.
The space shuttle Endeavour is getting ready to dock with the International Space Station this morning. Endeavour’s 6 astronauts spent much of the day yesterday, checking for any damage the shuttle may have endured during liftoff. But so far, NASA says things look really good.
She’s a trooper. Maria Shriver appeared at Oprah Winfrey’s farewell show in Chicago yesterday, the same day it was revealed that her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with another woman. Shriver called it a painful and heartbreaking time, and that, she and her children are trying to rebuild their lives. More details did come out late yesterday regarding the child though….it was apparently a boy….and he’s now 14 years old.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
Dry, sunny weather is helping flood fighters in the province. Officials say the swollen Assiniboine river was near its peak yesterday in Brandon, and will soon start to slowly drop. The government also downgraded its plan to pump more water out of that cut they made at the Hoop and Holler bend near Portage. They says it’s just not needed so far.
One of the biggest concerns in Manitoba right now is along the shores of Lake Manitoba. Water on the lake is near record levels because of high natural runoff and the high flows on the Assiniboine. Last week, strong winds from the north caused high waves to threaten lakefront cottage owners and prompted crews to ramp up sandbagging efforts. But, the calm, almost summer like weather yesterday….and the forecast for more this week…..kept the area trouble-free.
This news will please a ton of people. The Manitoba government has announced new rules for cellphone contracts. The rules stem from input received earlier in the year from both the public and industry. Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh says consumers say they’re frustrated by things like high cancellation fees, hidden charges and complex and unclear contracts. The new rules will now address each one of those issues.
City police say the water is still too high and currents too fast for divers to search for the victim of a boating accident over the weekend. 2 men were thrown into the flooded Assiniboine river near the Forks on the weekend, after their boat overturned, and only one man was rescued. The 35 year old survivor Johnny Perriee, is now facing charges of impaired operation of a vessel causing death, which is the first time that charge has been laid in Winnipeg.
About 7 thousand residents of Slave Lake, Alberta are nervously wondering if their homes have been destroyed by a wind-whipped wildfire. So far, the outta control fire has destroyed almost 40 per cent of the entire town. Firefighters say they’re havin a tough time putting the flames out because the blaze is just soooo big, and the winds soooo strong.
The Harper government says the economy will be its top priority when Parliament starts back up on June 2nd. First though, MP’s will have to elect a new speaker, who is pretty much the referee in the often unruly Commons.
Wow ! Talk about a bombshell regarding the split of former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver. Reports this morning say the split happened after he revealed he fathered a child more than a decade ago with a member of their household staff. The 2 had been married for more than 25 years, but as soon as Maria found that news out, she apparently moved out of their L.A. mansion.
It’s the end of an era in Las Vegas…..where the Sahara…a Sin City fixture for almost 60 years….closed its doors for good. Back in its heyday, the Sahara was a stage and playground for such big names as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Johnny Carson. Lately though, it had been having a tough time competing with newer and bigger casinos.
The crew of Endeavour is now inspecting the outside of the shuttle for any damage that may have happened during blastoff. Tomorrow, the bird is due to dock with the International Space Station. 19 years after its first flight, Endeavour is now on its final mission. After this, only one more shuttle mission remains….Atlantis in July.
Friday, May 13th, 2011
Well it’s like waiting for the guillotine to fall but the executioner keeps on going for coffee breaks. Anxious Manitobans southeast of Portage la Prairie are still waiting to see if the province will go ahead with that planned dike cut, intentionally flooding over 100 homes…but saving over 800 in the process. The dike along the swollen Assiniboine was first set to be breached on Wednesday, then, it was supposed to happen at 8 a.m. yesterday….when then was moved to the afternoon. Now officials are saying the earliest the dike breach will take place will be tomorrow…..if it’s still required.
Don’t expect to see much if any aerial footage of crews cutting that dike, if it does indeed go ahead. NAV Canada, issued a notice to all airmen yesterday that there are now flight restrictions over the affected area. Those restrictions will apparently stay in place until May 20th….but are not expected to interfere with regular flights in and out of area airports.
Some vehicle owners are runnin to the mailbox to get that MPI rebate cheque….but, end up being pretty disappointed. For example, even if they paid premiums for 12 months, they’re not getting rebates for that time period. MPI officials said its switchboards lit up yesterday from angry and confused callers ticked off with the cheque they got. MPI spokesperson, Brian Smiley says the confusion was caused because vehicle owners were expecting a rebate based on the 12 months they paid premiums for 2009/2010. However, he says the insurance year runs from March to February.
We’re not the only place battling high water these days. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning people in Lousiana’s Cajun country, they could be swamped with up to 5 meters of water this weekend. The mighty Mississippi has been spilling its banks now for the past couple of weeks.
The pachyderms at the Toronto Zoo are being sent packing. After some heated debate, a decision has been made regarding the fate of the Toronto Zoo’s 3 remaining elephants. The Zoo board has voted to send the 3 remaining elephants to another zoo instead of a sanctuary in California. Former t.v. game show host, and animal activist, Bob Barker says the move is yet another embarrassment to the city…and the elephants should be trucked down to the sanctuary instead.
We told you yesterday that the feds would have some sort of announcement when it came to soaring gas prices. Well, Industry Minister Tony Clement says his government will now ask refiners, distributors and retailers to appear before a committee to account for the massive jumps at the pumps. But that being said, he admitted, he wasn’t sure how fast this would happen, or if any of them would show up.
Here’s a little Hollywood news for ya this morning. Actor and Twitter King, Ashton Kutcher gave his followers a clue that he may be joining t.v.’s “Two and a Half Men.” In a tweet, the star asked, “What’s the square root of 6.25?” The answer? Two and a half. Warner Brothers has confirmed they are in talks by the way with Kutcher…but they refused to say what for.