Onestop shop for all human knowledge

first_imgLiving in a world of technology makes our lives convenient. However, technology is also making us increasingly disconnected from what we call the real world. Konversai aims to change that. An eBay of knowledge, Konversai is the world’s one-stop shop for any and all human knowledge. It connects people on a one-on-one basis and enables video conversations between them for the exchange of knowledge. There are millions of people who have knowledge and skills, have time, and need income but don’t have a way to offer it and earn from it. There are also millions of people who need face-to-face interactions to learn something or get trustworthy information but are limited by geography, time and money. Konversai offers the solution to both of these problems. It is the platform that allows everyone to be part of the gig economy. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainKonversai is the brainchild of Sushma Sharma, a corporate lawyer and a professor based in New York, with Law degrees from Delhi University, the University of Oxford and Columbia Law School. She originally comes from Patna in India and has lived in more than 6 cities in 4 different countries. She had no plans to be an entrepreneur but when her daughter, who was 7 years old upon moving to California from Hong Kong in 2014, developed an illness, a new journey began. It took months to figure out what was wrong, and that was a trying time to say the least. Only after her daughter recovered did Sharma find someone who had been through a similar experience with her son, and all she could think of was, “Why didn’t I meet her earlier?” Despite her extensive network, all she needed was a person who had experienced something similar and that wasn’t available. That was the beginning of Konversai – a place to find someone when you need him or her for any conversation or knowledge you seek. The idea grew rapidly to become a place where we can share all or some of our skills, experiences, and knowledge that we acquire during our lifetime. “Information is everywhere, but not knowledge,” Sharma says. “Right now you can Google anything, but when you speak with someone whom you can see and you learn from that person, there is a sense of trust that is lacking in anonymous online encounters.” Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardWith the proliferation of online video sharing, another video-based platform may seem redundant. But Konversai provides the kind of personal connection that does not exist in other social media platforms. In Sharma’s own words, “I felt so strongly that there had to be a place where you didn’t have to pretend to be someone, a place where you could talk to someone at a real level.” The platform can be used for any subject of interest – the only limit is your imagination. Whether it’s Hindi language, cooking, Bollywood dance, traveling, calculus, computer science, yoga, or something else entirely different, any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences have value on Konversai. You can use the platform as you wish (minor exceptions do apply). For a non-tech person to create a website, create a team, find users, and find funding has not been an easy journey. But with time, help of her team, initial investors, and many very good friends, she has still managed to grow Konversai from 6000 users just two years ago (at the time of tragedy) to over 150,000 + users. Konversai is continuing to grow at an exponential rate now, which shows that there is an intrinsic need in the world for it.last_img read more

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State hands over land to set up research centre in Jyoti Basus

first_imgKolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government has given the possession of a plot of land to Left Front for setting up a research centre in the name of former chief minister and party veteran Jyoti Basu.”We have handed over the possession letter to CPI-M state secretariat member Rabin Deb on Wednesday. The Cabinet approval for the same has already been received. I have asked Deb to inform us when they submit their building plan to Newtown Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) so that the process can be fast tracked ,” said Firhad Hakim, state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister in Nabanna on Thursday. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHe reiterated that no additional money was taken from the party while handing over the possession letter. The proposed centre is scheduled to have digitised information on Basu, besides housing an auditorium, a conference room, a seminar room, a library and guest rooms. The erstwhile Left Front government was allotted a five-acre plot of land in 2010 to build the Jyoti Basu Centre for Social Studies and Research in Rajarhat-Newtown with the party planning to launch the centre on Basu”s centenary in 2014. However, the deal delayed with the Trinamool Congress government assuming power in 2011. The Left Front delegation had called upon both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who asked Firhad Hakim to expedite the matter.last_img read more

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Noida authority conducts cleanliness drive

first_imgNoida: Aiming to achieve an improved ranking in Swachh Survekshan 2020, Noida authority, on early Sunday morning, carried out an intensified cleaning and sanitation drive called ‘Safaigiri’ at various sectors and RWAs of the city. Officials said that this was second phase of Safaigiri drive which got started on August 25 from sector 51 of Noida.Safaigiri, a cleanliness drive organised by the Noida Authority has been launched to improve Noida’s rating in Swachh Bharat Survey 2020. Under the drive, an intense cleaning and sanitation practices are carried out in the city with residents and authority officials, wearing gloves, scanning each corner of their residential pockets and pick waste dumped on roadsides, behind the society as well as in the green belt area of their sector. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The Safaigiri drive was started on August 25 to clean the city and know the civic issues of various residential sectors. Under the drive, we also make people aware of how to segregate waste at their end and an oath is also delivered to maintain cleanliness in their surroundings,” a senior Noida authority official said. Sunday’s drive was carried out in sector 14, 18, 46 and 105 of Noida. Noida authority Chief Executive Officer, Ritu Maheshwari also participated in the drive at sector 14 of Noida. The CEO listened to the civic issues from the residents and distributed home composting kits and dust bin to the residents. It is to be noted that the Noida city stood at 324 in national rankings of Swachch Sarvekshan-2017 which merely improved to 150 last year. The authority believes that creating awareness among people of waste segregation through such programs and with their support, the smart city Noida can turn up in top ten of 2020 Swachch Sarvekshan rankings.last_img read more

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Techies death HC frowns on illegal hoardings

first_imgChennai: Coming down heavily on the Tamil Nadu government over illegal hoardings, the Madras High Court on Friday wondered how many more lives should be lost as a result of such banners, endangering the lives of people.A day after a 23-year-old woman techie came under the wheels of a water tanker after she fell losing balance when an illegal hoarding crashed on her in a city suburb, the court asked if the government will take a firm stand against such unauthorised banners. “How many more litres of blood the state government needs to paint the roads with,” a Division Bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee wondered. The court asked whether at least now Chief Minister K Palaniswami will be willing to issue a statement against such unauthorised banners.last_img

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Smith goes past Inzamam to script unique Test record

first_imgLondon: Australia’s batting mainstay Steve Smith, who has been in incredible form in the ongoing Ashes series, has broken yet another record by going past former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-haq’s record of most consecutive 50+ scores against a single opponent in Test cricket. On the second day of the ongoing fifth and final Ashes Test at the Kia Oval, Smith scored 80 runs and in the process registered his 10th consecutive 50+ score against England. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh From 2001-06, Inzamam had scored nine consecutive 50+ scores against England. Third in the list comes former West Indies legend Clive Lloyd, who had also scored nine consecutive 50+ scores against England. Fourth in the list is former South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis (eight consecutive 50+ scores against Pakistan), followed by Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka, who also had eight 50+ scores in a row against Bangladesh. In the ongoing five-match Ashes series, Australia have an unassailable 2-1 lead.last_img read more

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Multidimensional approach

first_imgLast year, on the occasion of World Environment Day, India announced its resolve to phase out single-use plastic by 2022. This deadline was later updated to be 2025. Indeed, the monumental task of phasing out something that so essential to regular modern life is bound to take a good length of time and much more. This resolve was reiterated and the government’s decision was reinforced in the Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort. As practical matters stand, the ban of single-use plastic is sure to adversely impact a sizable part of existing investments in machinery and jobs in the industry will suffer. But this eventually gets counter-balanced in the long run with alternate systems functioning well in place. The overall cost of clearing out accumulated plastic stifling the environment, the use of which could have been avoided, will far outweigh the temporary loss from the clampdown on this pollution-causing industry. The menace of single-use plastic is known and felt too well. The issue is not so much about the discontinuation of plastic from common use, but the actual concern is the availability of option to replace plastic in a manner that this fundamental shift in basic practice does not affect people and their lives in any adverse way. For this, it is imperative that this resolve to ban single-use plastic be pursued with a multi-dimensional approach whereby a replacement is simultaneously prepared so as to seamlessly obliterate the greatest cause of pollution. One such initiative from Odisha comes as an example to emulate. The ban on single-use plastic in the forest-rich state has opened doors for the tribal community to thrive economically and empower themselves. About 5 million people in the state are involved in making single-use disposable plates from leaves using both hand and machine stitching methods. Mostly tribals, this focus on bring out for popular use alternate products is expected to bring increased income to those engaged in this business. Two major leaves of forest that they depend on for their earnings are sal and siali. The market value of Odisha’s leaf plate and cup market is said to be Rs 1,500 crore. 2.5 million people, most of whom are from tribal communities, are sal leaf pluckers, 1.5 million are siali leaf pluckers. Around one million are connected with other leaves for this purpose. Shifting focus to bio-degradable alternatives is the most obvious step in banning plastic from popular use. In 22 of the 30 districts of Odisha, residents of forest-fringe villages are traditionally involved in leaf-plate making. Along with counter-balancing the impact on the environment, the economic empowerment of people by this means is an encouraging assurance. Tribal women in some districts are known to have already formed federations to get a better deal in the trade. Economic empowerment is a fundamental component of development of a society and people. The next step to this is predictably education and means to invest in education from the result of economic development will further open many more doors for the common people to thrive and to prosper. In line with the engagement of tribal communities, Odisha government’s effort to launch a revamped Tribal Retail Outlet, ADISHA at the state capital is a necessary effort to and sale of tribal artifacts, and in the process, bring them to the mainstream with their distinctness and indigenous ideas that could be useful for the pervasive homogenised city culture. Promoting some of the original ways and practices of the tribals are important as not only are they in keeping with the government’s goal of inclusive development, but also because the tribal communities are very closely connected and associated with nature and their lives are shaped and regulated by the forests in many ways. Some of the vary basic lessons in sustainable growth are not novel innovative initiatives but simply the traditional ways of tribal life. Giving them the benefits they have been continually denied will serve the dual purpose of uplifting them, and considerably through them, the physical environment and thus everything else influenced by that. Roping in forest-dwelling communities extensively will make the accomplishment of this goal qualitatively better. The ban on single-use plastic is definitely not a one-way initiative and in order to make it effective and consequential, alternatives to seamlessly replace it are critical and decisive.last_img read more

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If you ever do this again well turn you in pastor told

first_imgA pastor prayed over Elizabeth Wettlaufer and told her not to kill again. A lawyer advised the registered nurse to take her murderous secrets to her grave. A Narcotics Anonymous sponsor dismissed her insinuations of harming seniors as the talk of a “pathological liar,” while an ex-boyfriend attributed her confessions of killing nursing home patients to a “psychiatric episode.”So in September 2016, nine years after the Woodstock, Ont., nurse administered the first fatal insulin injection on a senior in her care, Wettlaufer voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility in order to make sure her confessions were heeded, not just heard — and they were.Three weeks after leaving the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto in early October 2016, Wettlaufer was arrested.On Thursday, the former nurse pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.Documents released after court was adjourned detail Wettlaufer’s exhaustive efforts to seek help for what she described as her urges to kill and the numerous occasions on which her words were ignored.“Elizabeth was very clear that she has told various contacts over the past few years about her actions, and has still not been able to stop after telling them (including a lawyer, a priest, and a sponsor from Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous),” reads a discharge document prepared by CAMH on Oct. 5, 2016.“Elizabeth stated that she came to CAMH to talk openly about her actions, get the help she needed, and become better prepared for the eventual reporting of her actions to both the police and College of Nursing.”Wettlaufer had practised successfully as a nurse for many years before she began secretly attacking patients, according to her 2.5-hour interview with police that was played in court on Thursday.It was when she took a job at the Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock, Ont., that she reportedly began losing control.Wettlaufer told police that her marriage had fallen apart in February 2007 after her husband grew suspicious that she was involved with another woman.Months later, Wettlaufer told police, she administered her first intentional overdose to Clotilde Adriano, 87, a patient with dementia.“I was so angry and it was like a voice said inside me, ‘I’ll use you, don’t worry about it,’” she told Woodstock police during her confession.“…I believe it was the influence of that voice or whatever it was…And when I would do it afterwards I would hear like a laughter in my tummy.”Wettlaufer gave intentional overdoses to both Adriano and her sister, Albina DeMedeiros, that year, both of whom survived.Her first murder victim was James Silcox, 84, was recovering from hip surgery.She told police that she felt remorse after Silcox’s 2007 death, particularly when family members called her a good nurse and praised her care of their relative.Yet Wettlaufer also said that her first murder made her feel “like a pressure lifted from my emotions.”Later that year, Wettlaufer gave a fatal insulin injection to Maurice Granat. The following year, she tried the same against Michael Priddle and Wayne Hedges, both of whom survived.It was also in 2008 that Wettlaufer said she made her first attempt to share what she’d done.According to her police confession, she told a former girlfriend that she had killed two people already. The woman threatened to report the incidents if Wettlaufer killed again, she said.CAMH documents also suggest Wettlaufer sought psychiatric treatment somewhere in this time period. The documents reference a stay in a local psychiatric unit that she found unsatisfactory, and mention that she continued to see a psychiatrist in Woodstock despite not having a high opinion of him. There is no indication whether psychiatric professionals learned of her activities.The agreed statement of facts said Wettlaufer told a student nurse about the deaths between 2009 and 2011, a time during which she was not giving any suspicious injections. The statement said the student indicated her intention to report what she’d heard, but Wettlaufer talked her out of it saying no one would believe her account.Documents show that the confessions stopped shortly after this, but the killings resumed.Between 2011 and 2013, Wettlaufer killed Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, and 90-year-old Helen Young.She had tried immersing herself in religion during this time and turned to her pastor after being plagued with guilt over the death of Young, who suffered a seizure after receiving multiple insulin injections.Wettlaufer told police she felt God was failing her by preventing her from killing, prompting her to pour out her confessions at the pastor’s kitchen table.“I went to the pastor and I told him what had happened, and he prayed over me because he said that was the last thing he would have thought out of me,” she said in her confession.“And his wife there, too, and they prayed over me, and they said to me how this is God’s grace…but if you ever do this again we will have to turn you in to the police.”Months later, in March 2014, Wettlaufer killed Maureen Pickering, 79, days before getting fired from the Caressant Care home for an unrelated, allegedly unintentional medication mixup.She was employed again within a month at the Meadow Park nursing home in London, Ont., and shortly thereafter she killed her final victim, 75-year-old Arpad Horvath.That year, Wettlaufer told police, she consulted a criminal lawyer who advised her to remain silent about her actions and seek help for mental-health issues. Her confessions to a Narcotics Anonymous sponsor and a former boyfriend were also dismissed, according to the statement of fact.Wettlaufer, now working as an itinerant nurse at various private and nursing homes, tried to kill two more seniors, Sandra Towler and Beverly Bertram — both survived — before finally checking herself into CAMH.Days after the attempt to kill Bertram, Wettlaufer learned she was to be reassigned to work with diabetic children.The prospect terrified Wettlaufer, who realized she could not control her impulses.She initially drove off to Quebec with the intention of escaping her life, but then decided to turn around and face her actions,” reads the CAMH discharge document.Wettlaufer said she returned to Woodstock and pretended to go to work for about two weeks to prevent her parents from finding out what was wrong.Eventually, she said, she quit her nursing jobs to seek help.“I didn’t want to hurt anybody any more,” she told police.Wettlaufer will return to court for sentencing on June 26.Follow @mich_mcq on Twitterlast_img read more

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School district praises football coach who pulled team because of head injuries

first_imgFREDERICTON – A New Brunswick high school football coach’s decision to forfeit a game at halftime because of head injuries among his players is casting a fresh spotlight on how sports teams handle concussions.Coach Marcel Metti of the L’Odyssee Olympiens halted a game last Friday against the Tantramar Titans with his team trailing 35-0.Four Olympiens players had received body injuries, four declared concussions and four others displayed concussion symptoms but have since been cleared by a medical professional.“I’m really proud of the coaching team,” Monique Boudreau, superintendent of the Francophone South School District, said in an interview Tuesday. “I know it was a really big decision to make, but I think it was the best decision based on the circumstances.”The district recently adopted a new concussion protocol that says any player who receives a blow to the head must be cleared by a doctor before they can play again.Boudreau said that to replace the injured players, the coach would have had to ask ninth-grade students to compete against older and more robust players.“This would have put the young athletes at risk,” said Boudreau.Andy Clark, president of the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association, said officials have reviewed the game tape and have determined it was played within the rules of the game and there were no safety concerns.In a statement, he said all football coaches are required to take a concussion course “and as such they are to ensure players that exhibit symptoms do not play.”According to the Mayo Clinic, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that in Ontario and Alberta — the two provinces where the data was collected — 94 per cent of emergency department visits for sport-related brain injuries in 2014–2015 were concussion related. The data showed a 45 per cent increase in emergency room visits among 10- to 17-year-olds over a five year period.Hockey, cycling, football and rugby were the sports that sent the largest number of patients to the emergency department for brain injuries.According to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on 202 former football players found evidence of brain disease in nearly all of them, from athletes in the CFL, NFL, college and even high school.CTE — chronic traumatic encephalopathy — was diagnosed in 177 former players or nearly 90 per cent of brains studied. That includes seven of eight from former CFL players, 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semi-professional players, and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players.The CFL is facing a $200-million class-action lawsuit over concussions and brain trauma.Cathy Simon, a physiotherapist in Saint John, said she now regularly sees cases of athletic concussions, which she chalks up to better awareness.“Years ago it was kind of suck-it-up-and-keep-playing. There wasn’t a lot of education around concussion or what we should do to treat concussions and the long term effects of it. Now I think people are becoming more aware and so they are reporting it more frequently,” she said.She said while concussion protocols are necessary, the best situation would be to have a therapist on the sidelines of each game to watch for concussion symptoms.That is the situation at football games in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg.Brian O’Leary, the superintendent of the division, said coaches are busy just coaching the games.“They might not notice someone coming off wobbly. It’s an extra precaution and it’s a way of reducing the risk but there is still a risk in contact sports,” he said.O’Leary said Seven Oaks requires coaches to take a concussion course, and they’re looking at requiring players and their parents to take it too.“There are situations where parents can be pressuring a coach to put their kid in. So we want to keep that pressure off coaches and have parents understand and able to talk to their kids if they aren’t playing and are frustrated with it,” he said.last_img read more

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Trickortreat shifts to skateorswim as cities strive for healthy Halloween

first_imgREGINA – The gleeful “trick or treat” that children shout when they call at houses on Halloween is getting a healthier response in some cities across Canada.Instead of candy, little ghosts and goblins on some doorsteps are getting passes to go swimming, skating and even skiing.The eastern Ontario city of Cornwall started selling Halloween swim- and-skate passes in 2012.Aquatic co-ordinator Lori Gibeau says the city started with 1,000 passes, but the program proved so popular that it now offers 1,500.“And we have sold out every year that we have been doing this.”The Halloween passes are sold in packs of 10 for $10. Each pass is good for a child or student admission to a leisure swim or public skate and is valid from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.Gibeau, who is a mom to two teenage girls, believes the passes are popular for several reasons, including that they encourage family bonding time and are a good price.Normally, a one-time child fee for swimming is $3.92.“It might give people an opportunity to get involved in some recreation activities that they might not necessarily have a chance to. It’s a healthy alternative to the candy overload. You don’t have to worry about handing something out that may cause an allergic reaction,” she says.“Some people … use them for the little, little ones where they don’t think that they necessarily need candy, so instead of giving a bag of chips out to a two-year-old, they might give this out instead.”Melissa Coderre with Regina’s recreation department says the city used to give out passes to trick-or-treaters who went to recreational facilities on Halloween. The program was expanded in 2014 so the public could buy passes and give them out for a “balanced Halloween experience.”“It’s not just about (recreation) or it’s not just about candy. It’s about both,” she says. “And it also provides the community an allergy- conscious alternative to give out to kids who can’t have candy.”Teachers like passes for students, too, she adds.In Regina, the passes for a public skate or swim are sold in packages of 10 for $5. They don’t expire.They went on sale after Thanksgiving, but people started calling to ask about them in August, Coderre says.“We’ve sold out of our passes every year that we’ve done this program, and every year we’ve expanded the number of passes that we’ve sold by 5,000. The first year we printed 5,000 and this year we’re printing 20,000.“Last year we sold out maybe within a week.”Kids who get Halloween passes in Strathcona County, just outside Edmonton, can use them for swimming, skating and cross-country skiing.Jennifer Wilson with the county’s recreation services says the program started in 2013 after officials saw healthy Halloween programs in Calgary, Lethbridge, Alta., and Ottawa.“We weren’t really sure what to expect … but now that it’s been an annual ongoing thing, people watch for it every year and they are super excited to jump on it and get them,” Wilson says.“It’s been a really, really good program.”This year, the county printed 2,500 booklets of 10 tickets each. A book of 10 sells for $5. All proceeds are donated to a play program aimed at increasing recreational access for lower-income residents.The passes expire after the school Christmas break ends.Wilson says people are seeing the value of moving beyond handing out candy.“That’s really what we’re trying to do, is trying to shift the culture and shift people’s behaviours to seeing that being active and playing and having fun really is the treat.”last_img read more

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Spousal sponsorship process now moving faster immigration minister

first_imgOTTAWA – Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says the government has met its goal of shortening wait times for those hoping to sponsor their spouse from abroad.Hussen says the backlog of applications now sits at 15,000, down from 75,000 in 2016.Processing times are 12 months for those who filed an application prior to December 2016, while applications after that date take about 26 months.The Liberals had made family reunification programs an immigration priority upon coming to office in 2015 and have been gradually increasing the number of newcomers admitted in those programs since.In 2018, admissions are projected to hit about 66,000.Hussen says the government understands how important it is to reunite couples and it also makes for a stronger country.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said applications before December 2016 take 26 months.last_img read more

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Humboldt Broncos hockey player Evan Thomas remembered in Saskatoon

first_imgSASKATOON – Humboldt Broncos player Evan Thomas was remembered Monday as a humble and compassionate young man who wanted a career in medicine.A memorial was held this afternoon for the 18-year-old in his hometown of Saskatoon.Mini hockey sticks were handed out to people as they entered SaskTel Centre.Family members walked into the service beneath hockey sticks raised in the air by Thomas’s friends and former teammates.Mourners heard that Thomas, nicknamed E.T., was also passionate about playing baseball and was brilliant in school, winning a top science award in Grade 11.Thomas and 15 others on the Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s bus died after a collision between it and a semi-truck on April 6.last_img

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Mall plotters believed they were reincarnations of Columbine shooters report

first_imgHALIFAX – They weren’t just inspired by the Columbine shooters — two teenage gunmen with a mission to kill students and teachers at a suburban high school in Littleton, Colo.Lindsay Souvannarath and James Gamble thought they were them.Hundreds of messages between the co-conspirators plotting to terrorize a Halifax mall show “they believe they are reincarnations of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,” the lead investigator of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting says in a newly-released report.Kate Battan was contacted by a senior Crown attorney with Nova Scotia’s public prosecution service last year. She was asked to examine the online conversations between Souvannarath and Gamble to determine if there were similarities between their plan to go on a shooting rampage at the Halifax Shopping Centre with the Columbine massacre.Her report, released this week at Souvannarath’s sentencing hearing, draws dozens of unsettling parallels between the school shooting and the planned Valentine’s Day slaughter at the Halifax mall.The Columbine shooters left behind numerous writings, journals and the “basement videos” — three hours of Harris and Klebold talking about their plan, Battan explains.The materials are widely available in the Internet, despite much of it being sealed and eventually destroyed.“These videos represent a ‘call to arms’ in many respects and encourage others to follow in their footsteps,” she says, adding that the materials provide instructions to successfully carry out a similar violent act.“Harris and Klebold encourage others to follow in their footsteps and provide a blueprint for carrying out mass murder,” Battan says.“The writings of Harris and Klebold provide insight as to why they want to kill, how many they plan to kill and what they hope will be a model for others to follow.”While the conversations between Souvannarath and Gamble make numerous references to the Columbine gunmen, possibly the most disturbing is their belief to that Harris and Klebold have been resurrected.“Souvannarath compares herself to Harris, who was the more outspoken and aggressive of the two,” Battan says in her report. “Gamble compares himself to Klebold, who was more shy and reserved.”The Facebook messages between Souvannarath and Gamble illustrate the extent of the apparent delusion.Souvannarath says, “maybe Eric and Dylan have somehow become us, become part of our minds.”“We both feel like we ‘died’ a long time ago, maybe it’s because we’ve taken on the minds of these actual dead people, and that marks the time we both died.”She adds:”You want to die so badly because you know this isn’t the body you actually belong in — there’s a dissonance between mind and body where you’re Dylan but you’re not Dylan.”Souvannarath says it explains why they both can’t function in the adult world because, “Eric and Dylan died so young after all.”“When Eric and Dylan both died, their mission on Earth wasn’t really finished yet, so they had to take us over,” she says.The Facebook conversation between the so-called Columbiners, which started on Dec. 21, 2014 and ended on Feb. 13, 2015, includes other references to Harris and Klebold.They write a lot about what to wear during the shooting — “death outfits” that appear to be fashioned after the Columbine shooters, Battan says.“Souvannarath and Gamble write about wearing black clothing, black boots and acquiring trench coats,” the Columbine Task Force lead investigator says, noting that the style is similar to what Harris and Klebold wore.The co-conspirators also discussed sawing off their guns and bringing duffel bags and Molotov cocktails, as well as carrying knives and stabbing people at the mall when they run out of bullets — imitating Harris and Klebold’s plans.They also share an interest in the same types of music and writing, wanting to start a revolution and asking people if they believe in God before killing them. Again, Battan points out that these are all similarities they share with the Columbine killers.The planned attack was thwarted by police after an anonymous tip was received by Crime Stoppers, but not before Souvannarath boarded a plane in Chicago, Ill., for Nova Scotia.Gamble killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home, while Souvannarath was arrested at the airport. A third accomplice — a local man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the murderous plot — was sentenced to a decade in jail.Souvannarath, now 26, has been held at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional facility in a Halifax-area industrial park since her arrest three years ago.A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has reserved his sentencing decision until Friday.The Crown is recommending a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, while the defence says the sentence should be 12 to 14 years, with credit for time served.During her incarceration, a prison guard found a note scrawled on the back of a Sudoku puzzle in Souvannarath’s cell.“I was to be his Eric Harris, and he would be my Dylan Klebold,” Souvannarath wrote, noting that they must have known each other in a past life.“Eventually I realized that we really were Eric and Dylan, their minds having taken refuge in our bodies some time after their demise.”last_img read more

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Ontario ticket takes Saturday nights 7 million Lotto 649 jackpot

first_imgTORONTO – A ticket sold in Ontario claimed Saturday night’s $7 million Lotto 649 jackpot.And the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in the Prairies.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on June 20 will be approximately $5 million.last_img

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Torontos Greektown known for bustling patio culture becomes site of mass shooting

first_imgTORONTO – Toronto’s vibrant Greektown neighbourhood is best known by locals for its for bustling patios, a massive summer food festival and a plethora of dogs and strollers clogging sidewalks. It features spectacular views of the Toronto skyline, was famously home to late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, and was referenced in the Barenaked Ladies song, “The Old Apartment.”On Sunday, it became globally known for a shooting that killed two and injured 13 others. Authorities said the suspected gunman fled the area on foot and was later found dead with a gunshot wound.The horrific eruption of violence took place in an area known for family-friendly bars, restaurants and businesses, Howard Lichtman, a spokesman for the upcoming Taste of the Danforth festival, said Monday.Its eclectic mix of ice cream shops, parks, cafes, and burger joints has made it much more than just a hub for the city’s Greek immigrants who originally gave the east-end stretch its name decades ago, he says of the area, a haven for gyros, tzatziki and souvlaki, but also sushi and Ethiopian injera and kitfo.Even those who have never visited will likely recognize the impressive views it offers of downtown Toronto, with films including the 2013 romantic comedy “The F Word” showcasing a majestic skyline shot from the neighbourhood’s western boundary, next to the Don River.Famous Canadians with strong ties to the area include Blue Rodeo, whose music studio The Woodshed is within blocks of the shooting, and former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page, who on Monday tweeted a line from his nostalgic ode to a former residence.The crooner said he had lived in the area for 25 years, and it’s where his kids live today: “What an awful, violent year for Toronto,” he said on his verified account @stevenpage.Former Montreal mainstay Jay Baruchel also tweeted his sorrow from @BaruchelNDG, noting he moved to Toronto’s east end a few years ago: “I truly love it here. What happened on the Danforth last night was ugly, opportunistic barbarism.”Montreal band Arcade Fire, who played a show across town in the city’s west end Monday night, added they were “sending all our love to those affected.”And the Winnipeg-born star and writer of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” chimed in with her support for the area: “My heart is with all in Toronto’s Greektown,” Nia Vardalos said from her verified account, @NiaVardalos.“I hope the streets are packed tonight in defiance of fear and in solidarity of family and love.”Social media tributes also poured in from singer Jann Arden, comic Gerry Dee, former “Suits” star Patrick J. Adams and interior designers and TV personalities Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan.The colourful neighbourhood offers a unique mix of old and new, says Lichtman, noting the area has evolved dramatically as young professionals snapped up houses in leafy side streets, steps from the crosstown Bloor subway line.Markers of its historical Greek identity include an Alexander the Great statue and public square, St. Irene Greek Orthodox Church, and various cultural associations.One of its best known cultural hubs is the Danforth Music Hall, previously a silent film venue and later a Greek language theatre. Now, it hosts an array of stars both emerging and established — Justin Bieber played an acoustic set there in 2015, and Daniel Caesar held a five-show run at the venue late last year. Meanwhile, film shoots there have included the period musical “Chicago” and the New York-set disco drama “54,” according to the neighbourhood business association.Lichtman says the Danforth strip has always been considered safe, and welcoming. He says the annual Taste of the Danforth typically draws 1.6 million people and runs Aug. 10 to 12 this year.“You walk in the street and people nod and smile, that’s the kind of neighbourhood that it is.”Resident Valia Tseliou, who works at a nearby Greek radio station, described it as “like a small village for us,” while longtime resident Tina Papachristos says she feels sorry for relatives of the dead and injured.“I was up until about 5 o’clock in the morning, just devastated,” says Papachristos.George Vergados doesn’t live in the area, but like many mornings over the past 45 years, he headed to the fountain in the Alexander the Great Parkette on Monday.He said the local landmark was a popular gathering spot for residents and non-residents alike.“They all meet there, get together and have a coffee and just talk about old times and things that are happening. I guess now they’ll be talking about this tragedy.”— With files from Nicole Thompsonlast_img read more

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In the news today Jan 25

first_imgFour stories in the news for Friday, Jan. 25———MOUNTIES TO GIVE UPDATE ON KINGSTON, ONT., ARRESTSRCMP are expected to give an update today on a national security investigation that saw two people arrested in Kingston, Ont. Mounties say there’s no immediate threat to public safety after Thursday’s operation, which also involved local police. A senior government official speaking on background confirmed that the arrests were related to a national security investigation. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says any operational details on the RCMP investigation will be released by the Mounties. Goodale says the country’s official threat level remains at “medium,” where it has stood since the fall of 2014.———INDIAN ACT AT CORE OF PIPELINE DISPUTE: MINISTERCanada’s minister of Crown-Indigenous relations is pointing her finger at the Indian Act for creating a gridlock in northern British Columbia where some hereditary clan chiefs say a liquefied natural gas pipeline doesn’t have their consent. Carolyn Bennett would not say whether she believes the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have jurisdiction over the 22,000 square kilometres they claim as their traditional territory. But she says the situation is an example of why the federal government is working to increase First Nations capacity for self-governance, including a new funding program to rebuild hereditary structures.———PM WARNS OF IMMIGRATION FEAR-MONGERINGJustin Trudeau is warning voters to be wary of fear-mongering about immigration, suggesting the issue will be a hot-button topic during the federal election campaign this fall. The prime minister reminded the crowd during a town hall meeting in Miramichi, N.B., on Thursday that it was his Liberal government that granted asylum to 40,000 Syrian refugees in 2015-16. He said his government was glad to help, but he stressed Canadians — those in church and community groups, neighbourhoods and families — made the integration of Syrians a success. The public meeting in New Brunswick was part of a cross-Canada swing aimed at boosting the fortunes of Liberal candidates in an election year.———U.S. INDUSTRY URGES TRADE REPS TO TEAR DOWN TARIFFSAmerican automakers, aluminum producers, manufacturers and farmers are running out of time, money and patience as the North American tariff standoff persists. Industry emissaries are warning U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum, as well as their reciprocal countermeasures, are rapidly undermining whatever benefits the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will produce once it takes effect. “The damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA,” the group writes in a letter released this week by a coalition of more than 40 different industry associations and lobby groups.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Unifor national president Jerry Dias is expected to make an announcement on the next action in the union’s push to save the GM assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.— A sentencing hearing is scheduled today for Halifax businessman Hector Mantolino, who pleaded guilty to immigration fraud.— Calgary MP Kent Hehr will announce funding today for the Waterton Lakes National Park.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Montreal man on trial for murder of wife with Alzheimers testifies about

first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec man on trial for the death of his ailing wife has told jurors he suffocated her with a pillow to end her suffering.Michel Cadotte says he arrived to visit his wife on Feb. 20, 2017 — a Monday — after friction with his family led him to spend the weekend drinking.He says he had barely slept and was not feeling himself when he got to the long-term care facility where Jocelyne Lizotte was living.Cadotte says it saddened him to see Lizotte with her neck bent, sitting in a geriatric chair without a specialized head rest. He says he struggled to feed her lunch that day and gave her several pieces of chocolate, crying as he did it.As she fell asleep, Cadotte put Lizotte in her bed. He says he struggled to place a pillow under his wife’s head. He says he can’t explain what happened, but after a couple of attempts, he placed the pillow over her face and smothered her.“She was suffering too much,” Cadotte testified. “I didn’t want her to suffer anymore. I was suffering for her.”He is charged in the death of Lizotte, 60, who was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease that had left her unable to care for herself and detached from reality.Cadotte’s defence lawyers are drawing attention to his state of mind at the time of her death, which they say doesn’t support the second-degree murder charge brought against their client.One year before her killing, Cadotte had sought a medically assisted death for Lizotte but was told she didn’t qualify. The trial has heard he admitted to the head nurse and several relatives that he had taken Lizotte’s life.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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In the news today Aug 30

first_imgFive stories in the news for Friday, Aug. 30———ONTARIO ANTI-CARBON TAX GAS STICKERS COME INTO EFFECT TODAY  A new law requiring Ontario gas stations to start posting anti-carbon tax stickers goes into effect today. Earlier this year the Progressive Conservatives passed the law that makes it mandatory for station operators to post the stickers on their pumps. The stickers show the amount of money the federal carbon tax adds to the price of a tank of gas, but says nothing about the rebates available to offset the cost. The new law says individuals could face fines of up to $1,000 a day for repeatedly failing to post the stickers, while maximum fines for corporations go as high as 10-thousand dollars a day. Last week Ontario Premier Doug Ford said fines would be enforced, though not at the maximum levels.———LIBERALS USE HARPER VIDEO IN FUNDRAISING PITCHFormer Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper has been conscripted to help fill the election war chest — of the Liberal party. The Conservatives posted a video Thursday of Harper urging supporters to kick in money to help make his successor, Andrew Scheer, the next prime minister. But in a cheeky twist, the Liberals quickly promoted the same video to bolster their claim that Scheer would turn back the clock to the Harper era and to make their own appeal for funds. Trudeau has referred repeatedly to Scheer as Harper with a smile and has gone so far as to maintain that Scheer doesn’t take any important decisions without consulting the former prime minister. But the Conservatives appear to believe Harper is an asset. In the video released Thursday, Harper, who heads up the Conservative party’s fundraising arm, says “it’s important that we all get active because Canada is at a turning point.”———MELISSA TODORVIC TO APPEAR BEFORE PAROLE BOARDA young woman who pressured her boyfriend into killing his teenage ex-girlfriend more than a decade ago is set to appear before the Parole Board of Canada today. Melissa Todorovic last appeared before the board in November, when she was granted six months of day parole. At the time, the board said Todorovic had made progress in understanding what led her to orchestrate the 2008 killing of 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel, who she saw as a romantic rival. The panel said Todorovic had worked on addressing her emotions and relationship patterns, and found her remorse for the killing appeared genuine. It said, however, that Todorovic should expect to remain in counselling for a long time and required her to report any relationship with men to her parole officer.———VERDICT IN CHILD MENINGITIS DEATH SET FOR SEPTEMBERA judge in Lethbridge, Alta., is going to hand down a ruling Sept. 19 in the case of a couple charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son. David and Collet Stephan testified that they originally thought Ezekiel had croup and that they treated him with natural remedies, including a tincture of garlic, onion and horseradish added to a smoothie. They said he appeared to be recovering at times and they saw no reason to take him to hospital despite his having a fever and lacking energy. But in her closing arguments, Crown Attorney Britta Kristensen told court the couple was aware Ezekiel had meningitis. It is the second trial for the Stephans. The Supreme Court of Canada overturned their original conviction———SASKATCHEWAN CONFIRMS CASE OF ANIMAL ANTHRAXSaskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture says seven farm animals are dead due to anthrax. The province says the case was confirmed in the rural municipality of Golden West, located about an hour and a half drive southeast of Regina. It says lab results from Thursday confirmed anthrax caused the sudden death of seven animals. Dr. Betty Althouse, the ministry’s chief veterinary officer, says the animals were farmed livestock. She says the last cases of animal anthrax that resulted in death occurred in 2015. Anthrax is caused by a bacteria that can survive for decades as spores in soil. The province is warning farmers to be on the lookout for anthrax as changes in soil moisture from flooding or drying can cause spores to build up on pastures.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet today with Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.— Gov. Gen. Julie Payette visits the Netherlands where she will meet with King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and attend the official ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Scheldt.— David Morton, chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission, presents the key findings of an inquiry into gas prices in the province.— The Ontario Securities Commission will hold a hearing to determine whether to approve the proposed settlement agreement with Toronto-Dominion Bank, in connection with allegations that their currency traders shared confidential information in chatrooms.— Statistics Canada will report today Canada’s gross domestic product for the second quarter.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Ashley Greene Puts The Heat On Hunger

first_imgFor most children, summer is a time of fun and excitement, but for 18 million children in communities across the country it means the end of access to the free or reduced-price meals that nourish them during the school year.For every six children receiving free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, five lose access to those meals as public schools close for the summer.Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, hosted a special Put the Heat on Hunger volunteer event last week with celebrity friends Ashley Greene and Darby Stanchfield.The event was held at one of Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s partner agencies, Para Los Niños Charter Elementary School. Los Angeles County, according to recent Feeding America Map the Meal Gap data, has 536,100 food-insecure children, more than any other county in the United States.Greene, Stanchfield and other volunteers toured the school, served lunch and distributed fresh produce to 120 children at an on-site farmer’s market. Los Angeles Regional Food Bank supplied the produce, which included apples, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes and plums.“The end of the school year is a stressful time for many families across the country, and it should not be,” said Diana Aviv, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America. “When children lose access to school meals, their families’ grocery bills skyrocket and families are forced to make tough choices between food and other basic necessities.”Across the nation, the Feeding America network of food banks works to bridge this summer meal gap. Last year, 127 Feeding America food banks helped distribute 9.5 million meals to children at nearly 5,000 sites like the Para Los Niños Charter Elementary School.“We must ensure that our children receive adequate nutrition and support throughout the summer months,” said Aviv. “The Feeding America network feeds more children than any other hunger-relief organization in the county and we encourage everyone to partner with us to ensure all children have access to healthy meals regardless of the season.”Feeding America is teaming up with its Entertainment Council members and celebrity friends to host a series of Put the Heat on Hunger events across the country. The events are designed to raise awareness of the issue of child hunger and encourage the public to get involved.To learn more about summer hunger and how you can Put the Heat on Hunger in your community, visit FeedingAmerica.org.last_img read more

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More Stars Named For Comedy Night

first_imgVoice For The Animals Foundation (VFTS) presents “Wait Wait…Don’t Kill Me 2!,” a night of unforgettable comedy and entertainment that will hilariously take on the year in animal news, views and other topical animal events.Crain Ferguson (The Craig Ferguson Show), Whitney Cummings (Unforgettable) and Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) join Emmy and Tony-winning, Academy Award-nominated actress and animal advocate Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie) and her co-star June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie) among other comedic guests to bring the laughs to “Wait Wait…Don’t Kill Me 2!,”loosely inspired by NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!.” This annual fundraiser, hosted by actor Paul Scheer (The League), will take place Friday, April 27, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. at the Broad Stage Theatre in Santa Monica. All proceeds will support VFTA as they continue their fight for creating respect and empathy for animals through education, rescue, legislation and advocacy.Said Melya Kaplan, Executive Director of VFTA, “We are grateful to our returning all-star cast with Lily Tomlin, June Diane Raphael, Whitney Cummings, Casey Wilson, Craig Ferguson and Paul Scheer as host. It brings together some of funniest people on earth to raise money to help the Voice For The Animals Foundation (VFTA) continue their fight to give a voice to the animals. It is a fun evening of hilarity and I hope the public will join our efforts to take care of our animals.”The evening will begin with a star-studded VIP (Vegan Important People) Reception and red carpet followed by the “Wait Wait…Don’t Kill Me 2!” comedy program.To purchase tickets ($50-100), go to Eventbrite.com. For more information about the Voice For The Animals Foundation, please visit vftafoundation.org. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michael Stevens, (310) 890-9182.last_img read more

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CORNER GAS CTV Vancouvers Arts Club Theatre Company and Stratford Festival Mourn

first_img Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The producers and cast of CORNER GAS, CTV, Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company, and Stratford Festival extend its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of distinguished actress and director Janet Wright.  Wright passed away this morning in Vancouver at the age of 71.Janet played the beloved role of ‘Emma’ on CORNER GAS, Canada’s most successful sitcom.  In 1974, Wright co-founded the Persephone Theatre In Saskatoon with Brian Richmond and Susan Wright.  The first dramaturge at the Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company, Wright appeared in and directed more than 40 productions for the company.  During her seven seasons at Stratford she shone as a director and in many key roles as an actress.  In 2011, Wright returned to Stratford after more than a decade away, giving an unforgettable performance as ‘Ma’ in the acclaimed production of The Grapes of Wrath and portrayed a hilarious ‘Mistress Quickly’ in the The Merry Wives of Windsor. In 2014, Wright reprised her role as ‘Emma’ in CORNER GAS: THE MOVIE, which reached more than 7 million TV viewers in Canada.“Janet was like no other person I’ve ever met.  She had a giant wit, a giant heart, and was one of the strongest human beings to ever stride around this planet,” said Brent Butt, Creator and Executive Producer, CORNER GAS. “She was so great to work with.  When you looked at the call sheet in the morning, and saw you were doing scenes with Janet, you knew you’d be laughing that day, and probably at something terribly inappropriate.  We had this running thing, where if there was a scene with just our characters, I’d write it at the kitchen table, with our characters eating macaroni and cheese.  We were both trying to watch our weight, but she said if “our characters” were eating the stuff, it wasn’t really us.  I truly, honestly loved her.  We all did.” Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement “Both direct and loving, Janet was as honest in life as she was with her characters,” said Scott Henderson, Vice-President, Communications, Bell Media. “As the beloved Emma Leroy, Dog River’s frequent voice of reason on CORNER GAS, she entertained millions of Canadians with Emma’s quick wit and no-nonsense approach. We were blessed to have her as a member of the cast. She will be sorely missed by everyone at CTV and in Canada’s acting community.”“We are deeply saddened by the loss of actress/director/multi-talented Janet Wright,” said Bill Millerd, Artistic Managing Director, Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company. “She was a powerful actor and inspired director who created intelligent and challenging theatre for our audiences. We will miss her immense talent, her caustic wit, and her incredible strength in facing tragedy. Our love and condolences to the Wright family.”“Janet was an artist on an uncompromising search for the truth in all its unvarnished beauty,” said Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, who directed Ms Wright as Ma Joad in the 2011 production of The Grapes of Wrath. “She was a profoundly talented actress, director and ‎champion for the importance of the arts. I will never forget her passion and forever be inspired by her commitment to our work.”“Janet had a huge heart and an insatiable passion for the arts,” said Alicia Jeffery, Agent with the Characters Agency. “She was a lightning rod for the truth in all her performances and in life and never ceased to mentor younger actors, both as a director and as a fellow performer.  Nothing gave her more joy in our many calls than to sing the praises of a young actor or director she’d recently worked with.  Her loss is a hole in the fabric of our community that will never be truly mended.”In honour of Janet’s memory, CTV will rebroadcast CORNER GAS: THE MOVIE on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company will be hosting a Celebration of Life for Wright, with further details to be released. Twitterlast_img read more

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