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Surrey mother gets 1 year in jail after child found starving to death – BC

VANCOUVER – A Surrey mother has been jailed for one year after her young child was found starving to death. The now 25-year-old woman, who cannot be named, was charged with failing to provide necessities and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The woman’s son was 27 months old at the time and is now in foster care.

The mother also received two years probation.

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“From what we heard from investigators, this is one of the most severe cases that they have investigated,” said Cpl. Bert Paquet of the Surrey RCMP, in 2014.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between April 7 and June 14, 2014.

“We became aware of this case on June 16 [2014] after a local-area hospital contacted our investigators…making allegations of child neglect,” said Paquet. “Our investigators became involved as soon as they received the call. Our Special Victim’s Unit took the investigation over. The child was apprehended, has been removed, was removed that day from the mother’s care and has been improving since.”

Paquet said a publication ban is in effect in order to protect the victim.

“What we’re trying to do here is ensure the child’s safety,” he added.

“The child has been improving since being removed from the care of the mother.”

WATCH: Global News’ report on the case from 2014:

With files from Rumina Daya

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Robert Latimer’s lawyer asks court to overturn travel restrictions

VANCOUVER – For more than 20 years – on bail, in prison, on parole – Robert Latimer has followed every rule and condition imposed upon him, without transgression, his lawyer told a Federal Court judge on Wednesday.

Jason Gratl asked the court to overturn a parole board decision that bars Latimer from travelling outside Canada without express permission, saying it is an unreasonable limitation on the Saskatchewan farmer who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his severely disabled daughter.

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Related

  • Parole board denies travel request from Robert Latimer

  • Robert Latimer has parole condition lifted; two others remain

“Mr. Latimer really has done about as much as it is possible to do to demonstrate that he complies with all his conditions,” Gratl said. “The risk is essentially non-existent.”

Latimer, 60, killed 12-year-old Tracy in 1993 by piping exhaust into the cab of his truck on the family farm in Wilkie, Sask. She suffered from severe cerebral palsy and Latimer has always maintained he wanted to end her chronic, excruciating pain.

A 1994 conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, but he was convicted again in 1997. Latimer was sentenced to the mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years, despite a jury recommendation for less.

He was released on full parole, with conditions, in 2010. In July 2013, a parole board panel denied Latimer’s request to travel freely outside Canada without having to apply first for a limited-time passport.

Latimer, who did not attend the brief hearing in Vancouver, applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of that decision.

The circumstances in Latimer’s case were unique, Gratl told Judge Michael Manson.

“His daughter was born to him with cerebral palsy,” he said. “He cared for her deeply, on a practical level and emotionally, for 13 years.

“His daughter was in unbelievable agony as her skeleton degenerated over a period of years.”

Latimer is not an advocate – no Jack Kevorkian – Gratl told the judge, referring to the now-deceased American euthanasia activist.

Should the parole board lift the travel ban, Latimer will still check in monthly with his parole officer, Gratl said, and inform the parole officer of any travel plans. He would also check in over the telephone or electronically while he’s away.

Chris Bernier, the lawyer for the federal Crown, said Latimer can apply on a case-by-case basis for permission to travel. That restriction is absolutely reasonable, he said.

“This is a life sentence for murder that he’s still serving,” Bernier said.

The parole board recognized that Latimer poses no risk to reoffend but they took into account the severity and nature of his offence, he told the judge.

“He’s still able to travel,” Bernier said. “He would need to provide information on the place, purpose and duration of his travel. I don’t think that’s unduly onerous for him to provide that information.”

Last year, the board gave Latimer permission to attend a debate on assisted suicide and mercy killings in Britain, but United Kingdom Border Services denied him a visa.

He tried to apply to travel to South America to do some work with Habitat for Humanity, but that also fell through.

“The difficulty is that international travel restriction imposes a level of red tape and certain bureaucratic hurdles that make travel, practically, very difficult,” Gratl said outside court.

The judge reserved his decision. If successful, the parole decision will be sent back to the board to reconsider.

©2014The Canadian Press

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Reports contradict PM’s view on aboriginal women victims

OTTAWA – Dozens of federal, provincial and community studies compiled by the Conservative government appear to contradict the prime minister’s contention that the problem of missing and murdered aboriginal women isn’t a “sociological phenomenon.”

But some in the aboriginal community don’t quibble with the government’s other main response to calls for a public inquiry – that there has been more than enough research.

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Officials point to a non-exhaustive list of 40 studies conducted on the issue between 1996 and 2013.

A closer look at the research shows that in nearly every case, the authors or participants highlight the “root” or systemic causes of violence against aboriginal women and their marginalization in society.

READ MORE: Premiers, native leaders call for forum on missing and murdered aboriginal women

The legacy of colonization, including the displacement and dispossession linked with residential schools and other policies, are cited frequently in the reports. The impact of poverty and lack of housing are also cited as root causes of violence against aboriginal women.

“There are root causes of violence in the aboriginal communities that include things like poverty and racism and this is why it’s incredibly important for us to work with organizations, aboriginal organizations, across the country…,” Rona Ambrose, then status of women minister, told a parliamentary hearing in 2011.

Harper has offered a different perspective.

“I think we should not view this as sociological phenomenon. We should view it as crime,” he said last month.

“It is crime, against innocent people, and it needs to be addressed as such.”

WATCH:Almost 1,200 aboriginal women and girls have been killed or gone missing in Canada over the past decades. Now, the country’s premiers say something needs to be done. Ross Lord explains.

The government’s related position has been that there have been enough studies – the focus needs to be on action.

“What we don’t need, is yet another study on top of the some 40 studies and reports that have already been done, that made specific recommendations which are being pursued, to delay ongoing action,” Justice Minister Peter MacKay said last week.

Some inside the aboriginal community agree there have been enough studies, but there are varying opinions on whether an inquiry would just go over the same ground.

One 2005 report prepared by three B.C. community groups, entitled “Researched to Death,” pointed to the “striking similarities” in research and recommendations done up to that point.

“The only outstanding element is action,” the authors wrote.

Dawn Harvard, president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association, agrees there has already been substantial research on the sociological causes of violence against aboriginal women.

READ MORE: No endorsement from police chiefs for aboriginal women inquiry

But she says a national inquiry wouldn’t be about the sociology, but rather about determining what specific policies and initiatives are needed to address specific community problems – in-depth research that smaller groups don’t have the resources to do.

“The sociological studies have identified that there is a problem, so your inquiry is going to get into the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of what is this problem all about,” said Harvard.

“And one would hope that therefore we would have a much more effective response when we come out of it.”

For Michelle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, an inquiry would be an accountability exercise in a non-partisan forum – akin to the Gomery commission on the sponsorship scandal or the current Charbonneau commission into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry.

WATCH: Walk for inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women

“Do we do another research (report)? No,” said Audette. “But this inquiry will bring us together and say, why didn’t we implement those (prior) recommendations? Why are we not putting in place legislation that will force our police forces to automatically exchange data?”

Kate Rexe, who worked on the Sisters in Spirit research and policy initiative on missing and murdered aboriginal women, takes a different perspective.

She says that while an inquiry would provide public recognition for the victims’ families, it won’t necessarily reach the required level of detail.

“If we’re looking at a 30-year time span over a number of different police services, in various communities that have had varying levels of response of police to the families and the communities, you’re not going to get the answers that you would hopefully need,” said Rexe.

“I don’t necessarily agree with just having more research for the sake of research.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Star witness at corruption inquiry admits Rizzuto a contact – Montreal

MONTREAL — For years, former construction boss Tony Accurso has vigorously denied any links to organized crime, but on Wednesday, he came clean.

Asked by prosecutor Sonia LeBel if Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto was included in his list of business contacts, Accurso answered that he was a “minor contact.”

He also confirmed Vito’s son, Nick Rizzuto Jr., was also a minor contact and “someone he met with occasionally.”

The two men have since died.

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Related

  • Accurso’s bid to get out of Charbonneau dismissed by Supreme Court

  • More than 900 charges against Accurso and his construction companies

READ MORE: Tony Accurso testifies at Quebec corruption inquiry

For the past two days, prosecutors have questioned Accurso about his business activities at the Charbonneau inquiry, Quebec’s investigation into corruption in the province’s construction industry.

Accurso is the former head of Louisbourg Construction, one of the province’s most successful firms.

He is facing numerous criminal charges in Laval and Mascouche for using bribes, namely vacations on his luxury yacht, to secure public contracts.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Accurso was also grilled about his cosy friendships with union leaders, including former FTQ-Construction head Jean Lavallee.

“He was like a brother to me,” Accurso said.

“Like the brother I never had.”

Many in the construction industry and union executives appeared to have a problem with this description of the friendship. They believe Accurso’s company benefited financially from his relationships.

In a 2009, during a police wiretap conversation, former FTQ executive Jocelyn Dupuis is heard talking about Accurso, saying “he controls everything, he gets whatever he wants.”

On Wednesday, Accurso denied having any sort of influence.

His testimony resumes Thursday morning.

Passenger recalls seat dispute that diverted jet, says he could have handled it ‘much better’ – National

NEW YORK – The businessman whose dispute with a fellow airline passenger over a reclined seat sparked a national debate about air-travel etiquette says he’s embarrassed by the way the confrontation unfolded and that he regrets his behaviour.

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But don’t expect James Beach to stop using the Knee Defender, a $22 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front from reclining. He just plans to be nicer about it.

“I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed by what happened,” Beach told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I could have handled it so much better.”

The argument became so tense that the pilots of the Aug. 24 fight diverted the Boeing 737 to Chicago. An AP story about the incident started a broad public discussion of whether passengers should be allowed to recline. In the days that followed, two other flights were diverted under similar circumstances.

Beach, 48, reached out to the AP to clarify a few things about the episode, primarily that he initially complied with flight attendant instructions to remove the device.

For the record, he said, he never reclines his seat.

“You have the right, but it seems rude to do it,” said Beach, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall.

READ MORE: Plane diverted after passenger uses gadget to prohibit another from reclining

The dispute occurred on the final leg of Beach’s trip back to his home near Denver. After returning to the U.S. from a business trip to Moscow, he went on standby for an earlier flight for the leg from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver and was given a middle seat. When the jet was airborne, Beach took out his laptop to review a contract for his company, which develops waste recycling facilities, primarily in Russia. He used the Knee Defender – a Christmas gift a few years ago from his wife – to prevent the woman in front from reclining.

U.S. airlines prohibit use of the Knee Defender, but the devices are not illegal.

“I put them in maybe a third of the time. Usually, the person in front tries (to recline) their seat a couple of times, and then they forget about it,” Beach said. The device comes with a courtesy card to tell passengers that you’ve blocked them, but he doesn’t use it.

“I’d rather just kind of let them think the seat is broken, rather than start a confrontation,” he said.

Beach, who said he flies 75,000 to 100,000 miles a year, wasn’t so lucky this time.

When the flight attendants came through the cabin to serve beverages, the woman said her seat was broken. That’s when Beach told one of them about the Knee Defender. The flight attendant asked him to remove the device, and Beach said he did.

“As soon as I started to move it, she just full force, blasted the seat back, right on the laptop, almost shattered the screen. My laptop came flying onto my lap,” he said.

Beach complained, saying that he couldn’t work like that, but the flight attendant informed him that the woman had the right to recline. Both passengers were sitting in United’s Economy Plus section, which offers 4 more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

RELATED: What happens to unruly passengers who divert your flight?

His reply: “You asked me to let her recline a few inches, and she just took 100 per cent of it.”

That’s when Beach’s anger boiled over. He said he pushed the woman’s seat forward and put the Knee Defender back in. The woman stood up and threw a cup of soda – not water, as previously reported – at him.

“It was really just surreal and shocking. Did that just happen?” Beach recalls. “I said, ‘I hope you brought your checkbook because you just threw your Sprite all over my $2,000 laptop.”‘

The flight attendant stepped in quickly and moved the woman to another seat.

“I said a lot of things I shouldn’t have said to the flight attendant: some bad words, what’s your name and ‘I can’t believe you’re treating me like this,”‘ he recalled.

The pilots then changed course for Chicago – a decision that Beach said “amazed” him.

“The plane was dead quiet for the rest of that flight,” he added. “Nobody said a word.”

Ira Goldman, who invented the Knee Defender, said the passengers on the other diverted flights got upset after their knees and head were hit by reclining seats. He said airlines are “trying to wish this problem away.”

His solution: Install seats that slide forward within a shell to recline or to allow the use of his device, which has been sold since 2003.

RELATED: U.S. flight diverted over reclining seat dispute

“They’re selling the same space twice – to me to sit down and then inviting people to put their seat backs there as well,” he said.

When the plane landed in Chicago, police escorted Beach and the woman off. Neither police, nor the airline or the Transportation Security Administration has released any information about the passenger seated in front of Beach.

No criminal or civil charges were brought against them, but United would not let them continue on to Denver.

Beach says he spent the night at an airport hotel and then caught a flight home the next morning. He flew Spirit Airlines. It has no reclining seats.

©2014The Canadian Press

N.B. Election Notebook: Sept. 3 – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON, N.B. – As party leaders and candidates hit the road across New Brunswick campaigning for the upcoming provincial election, Global News will keep track of where they are and what they’re saying in our election notebook.

Read all 2014 New Brunswick election notebooks

Here’s what happened Wednesday, September 3.

Conservatives: Resource development

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PC leader David Alward was in Moncton Wednesday, reiterating his plan for job creation.

Alward continued to push his plan to create jobs by shale gas and natural resource development in New Brunswick, to avoid more workers leaving to pursue work in Western Canada.

He also said resource development will generate $10-billion in private sector investment.

Liberals: Infrastructure renewal

Liberal leader Brian Gallant was in Saint John, speaking in front of The Chamber, formerly the Saint John Board of Trade. Gallant continued to push his infrastructure renewal plan, to spend $900-million over six years on roads and highways, saying it will create jobs and boost the economy.

The Liberal plan also supports a variety of private sector opportunities, including the Energy East pipeline.

NDP: Supporting small business

NDP leader Dominic Cardy was in Fredericton, announcing his party’s plan for supporting small businesses.

Cardy pledged to get rid of the small business tax if elected. He says small businesses are the backbone of New Brunswick communities. This promise would cost the province $32-million.

Green Party: Platform

Leader of the Green Party, David Coon released their official party platform. Coon said the party is promising to ban shale gas, cancel all contracts signed under the province’s forestry plan, and make access to abortion easier.

Coon also announced his party would work on specific tax increases as a revenue source. He says he would increase corporate tax, raising about $68-million a year.

Read the party’s full platform here.

Canadians keep truckin’ as car models fall further out of favour – National

Despite a backdrop of towering debt levels and shaky employment, Canadian auto sales continue to race higher.

More specifically, sales are surging for pickups, crossovers and SUVs. Car models made by the top-selling makes meanwhile continue to drop sharply in popularity.

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Automakers said Wednesday total sales for the month of August rose eight per cent compared to August of last summer – an all-time high for the month and a clip that maintains this year’s record-setting pace.

Leading the pack is Ford, which sold nearly 28,000 vehicles, up 3 per cent in August compared to the same month in 2013.

MORE: Consumers on fresh shopping spree — despite lofty debt levels

That increase was powered by 10 per cent rise in truck sales, more than offsetting a steep drop in car sales, which declined by more than a fifth – or 20.5 per cent.

Ford sold 12,521 F-Series trucks and nearly 5,100 Escapes, representing two thirds of automaker’s total Canadian sales in the month. The Focus was Ford’s top selling car model, with 2,063 vehicles sold.

The percentage gain/loss of sales, truck vs. car across major automakers in Canada in August:

Click here to view data »

Car popularity plummets

The story at the country’s other major automakers is largely the same – strong sales growth in larger vehicle catagories while fewer consumers are opting for cars.

General Motors said sales were up 5 per cent overall in August, what Chrysler reported a spike of 22 per cent in sales.

At GM, the Chevy Silvarado and GMC Sierra models helped lift truck sales by 7.3 per cent, while the number of cars sold last month dipped by 1.1 per cent.

Chrysler’s boom in August was lifted by a 33 per cent uptick in truck, light truck, crossover and minivan sales. Car sales were off by nearly a third, or 32 per cent.

Gas prices decline

The run-up in sales of trucks hasn’t been dented by rising gas prices this summer. Gas prices rose sharply through June before coming back down through July and August to sit a few cents per litre lower than where they were a year ago, according to online tracking service gasbuddy杭州夜网.

Better incentives

August’s sales numbers build on July’s torrid pace, which saw car and light truck sales in Canada jump to an all-time record (1.93 million annualized), surpassing the previous peak set in May.

Experts suggest aggressive promotions from the big automakers is playing a major role, as well as rock-bottom interest rates that are encouraging bigger auto financing loans.

MORE: The rise of the 8-year car loan

“The advance reflects the best vehicle affordability in decades, partly due to enhanced incentives — including ‘employee pricing’ — as well as the rising popularity of crossover utility vehicles (CUVs),” Scotiabank auto expert Carlos Gomes said in a note.

Ebola: See how it spreads – National

If you’ve been following the fast moving Ebola outbreak in West Africa, you may wonder why containing the deadly virus is proving to be so difficult. After all, there have been nearly 20 previous Ebola outbreaks and few have gotten into the triple digits when the final case count is tallied. This outbreak, with over 3,700 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths, exceeds all previous known Ebola cases combined.

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An update released Wednesday by the World Health Organization provides a small but enlightening piece of the puzzle of how this virus is wreaking havoc through several countries in West Africa.

This story relates to spread in Nigeria, which experienced a single importation of the virus in late July. It has been hoped Nigeria would be able to stamp out spread of the virus by tracing contacts of cases and putting them into quarantine until it was clear whether they were infected or not.

For a while, it looked like the continent’s most populous country might be able to stop Ebola transmission. It looks considerably less promising now.

Here’s the story:

A man from Liberia named Patrick Sawyer became infected in that country, reportedly while looking after his sister, who died from Ebola. A government official, Sawyer was due to go to an economic conference in Nigeria and did so  — even though health officials in Liberia were urging people who were contacts of known cases not to travel.

Sawyer was sick by the time he arrived in Nigeria on July 20 and he died on July 25. Within days of his case being diagnosed, authorities in Nigeria were following 59 people who had had contact with the man. The case count started to grow. A doctor tested positive. Then a nurse, who died.

On Aug. 8, Nigeria declared its Ebola outbreak a national emergency.  The same day, the WHO declared the West African outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. A month after Sawyer arrived in Nigeria, the country was reporting 15 cases and four deaths, including Sawyer.

Despite the dismaying number of secondary cases from the single importation, Nigerian officials and the WHO still hoped the country’s actions would stop the spread of the virus. But one of the people who contracted the virus from Sawyer decided not to stay put.

The man broke his quarantine order and fled Lagos. He flew to Port Harcourt, in the oil-rich southern part of Nigeria. While there, he was cared for in his hotel room by a local doctor from Aug. 1 to 3.

The man who brought Ebola to Port Harcourt survived his infection. But he infected his doctor, who began to experience symptoms of the illness on Aug. 11. For the next two days, the doctor continued to treat patients  — even operating on at least two, the WHO report states.

On Aug. 13, when his condition deteriorated, the doctor stopped practising. He was admitted to hospital on Aug. 16.

While he was sick but before he was hospitalized, the doctor was visited by friends and relatives, some coming to celebrate the birth of a new child. In hospital, he was visited by members of his church, who performed what was described as a healing ritual involving the laying on of hands.

The WHO says that during his stay, the doctor was cared for, at one time or another, by the majority of the hospital’s health-care staff.

The doctor died on Aug. 22. His wife, also a doctor, has since been confirmed as an Ebola case. Another patient in the hospital is also infected. Multiple staff members are being tested for the virus.

More than 200 people who had contact with the doctor are being monitored. Of those, 60 or so are deemed to have had a high or very high risk exposure to the dead doctor.

“Given these multiple high-risk exposure opportunities, the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt has the potential to grow larger and spread faster than the one in Lagos,” the WHO says.

An emergency operations centre has been activated and a 26-bed isolation facility has been put in place. The WHO’s release says rather ominously that there are plans for possible expansion of the facility.

It also warns that the area is unstable, with civil unrest, security concerns and fear of Ebola creating an environment that could hamstring response operations. “Military escorts are needed for movements into the isolation and treatment centre,” the WHO admits.

Fifteen WHO technical staff are on the ground in Port Harcourt; 21 contact tracing teams are at work. A mobile diagnostic laboratory is in place.

Those numbers speak to an expectation that the Port Harcourt event is likely to generate a whole new wave of cases in Nigeria. So much for early control.

This is how Ebola spreads.

Nevada offers Tesla up to $1.3B for battery plant

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Gov. Brian Sandoval announced Thursday that Nevada won a high-stakes battle with four other states for Tesla Motors’ coveted battery factory, but the win comes with a hefty price tag — up to $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives over 20 years that state lawmakers still must approve.

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Sandoval revealed terms of the deal he negotiated with the electric car maker at a ceremony on the Capitol steps attended by Elon Musk, CEO of California-based Tesla. Musk confirmed the search was over for a home for his $5 billion lithium battery “gigafatory,” which the company hopes will bring it closer to mass production of a more affordable electric car.

The Republican governor called it a “monumental announcement that will change Nevada forever” and asserted that it would create more than 22,000 jobs and pump $100 billion into the state’s economy over the next 20 years — claims that critics said were exaggerated. Sandoval didn’t mention the total value of the incentive package in his remarks but nonetheless anticipated potential criticism for the size of the package.

“Even the most skeptical economist would conclude that this is a strong return (on investment) for us,” he said about the deal that already has drawn outside criticism from both the political left and the right that the tax breaks are too generous. So far, it has not encountered significant opposition from state lawmakers who must approve the incentives.

Musk told the audience that Nevada didn’t offer the biggest incentive package among the five states that tried to lure the factory, though he didn’t specify which did among California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

The most important considerations were not incentives, he said, but rather a high confidence that the factory will be ready by 2017, followed by assurances that batteries can be produced cost efficiently.

“It’s a real get-things-done state,” Musk said in explaining how Nevada prevailed in what was a “relatively close” competition.

Musk, who arrived from London just before the ceremony, briefly bungled the pronunciation of “Nevada.” But he recovered and twice received standing ovations from more than 200 dignitaries.

Later, Musk told reporters that Tesla would stop looking for another state as a backup. “Nevada is it,” he said.

The governor will call a special session of the Legislature as early as next week to seek approval of the incentives. Legislative leaders have reacted largely favourably at first blush.

House Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Las Vegas, said it represents “a significant opportunity to make a major stride to boost the economy” in a state that led the nation in unemployment during the depths of the Great Recession.

“I look forward to receiving the necessary information so the Legislature can meet and take necessary action to support this major industry coming to Nevada,” she said in a joint statement with Sandoval and Musk that the governor’s office issued Thursday.

Tesla’s choice for the facility gets it closer to mass producing an electric car that costs around $35,000 and can go 200 miles on a single charge. That range is critical because it lets people take most daily trips without recharging, a major barrier to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The factory would bring down the cost of batteries by producing them on a huge scale. The facility would be approximately 10 million square feet, equivalent to about 174 football fields, and be located at an industrial park about 15 miles east of Sparks, a Reno suburb founded as a railroad town more than a century ago.

The ultimate cost of the incentive package to Nevada taxpayers depends on how much economic activity the factory generates. On the low end, it could be worth $865 million, according to Steve Hill, executive director of Sandoval’s Office of Economic Development.

Hill projected the factory would generate roughly $5 billion a year for 20 years for Nevada’s economy and directly or indirectly create 22,000 new jobs over two decades. That includes an estimated 6,500 permanent jobs at the factory with hourly wages above $25 and a peak of 3,000 construction jobs leading up to the opening of the plant in 2017.

He also that even with the tax breaks, the project should generate approximately $1.9 billion in tax revenue for all levels of government — state, local and school districts.

The largest subsidy for an auto-related plant was $1.3 billion that Chrysler received in 2010 to build an assembly plant in Michigan, according to the research group Good Jobs First, which tracks large incentive packages by states.

The group’s executive director, Greg LeRoy, said Sandoval’s projections of job creation and return on investment for the Tesla factory were implausibly rosy.

The governor said that every $1 Nevada invests in the effort will bring $80 back to the economy. LeRoy called that assertion “off the charts false.” What he described as the proper calculation of tax breaks to tax revenues would put the return on investment at $2 or less for every $1 invested.

LeRoy also said the factory would create no more than about 10,000 permanent, non-construction jobs outside the factory, bringing the total to 19,500 — not the 22,000 that Sandoval’s administration claimed.

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: twice-lost wedding ring returns, 12 years later – Winnipeg

WATCH: A Winnipeg man’s wedding ring made a near miraculous return after 12 years.

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man’s twice-lost wedding ring made a miraculous return, 12 years later and an ocean away.

Helder Prazeres, who now lives overseas, was stunned last month to get a Facebook message from someone in Winnipeg with a picture of the wedding band he last saw in 2002.

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“Really shocked not just that somebody found it but somebody took the time to track us down and return it, that’s huge something for us is really amazing,” Prazeres said via Skype from his home in Alvor, Portugal.

Prazeres dropped the ring during a family picnic in Assiniboine Park in 2002. He spent a day trying to find it, but eventually gave it up for lost. Four years later, a Winnipeg treasure hunter armed with a metal detector heard a tell-tale beep, and found the gold ring in a ditch alongside a road in the park.

“It was from the year 2000 and it had the date that they were married and their first names on the inside,” said Art Crane. He reported it to the Park Police, but they had no record of such a lost ring. So it remained in the box of coins, key chains and rings he keeps in his pickup truck for eight years, until this summer.

The topic of lost rings came up at a family gathering, and Crane showed the one he found in the park to his son-in-law, Justin Phillips. Armed only with the two first names inscribed inside the ring, Phillips worked the Internet from his smartphone, eventually finding an old obituary which mentioned Helder Prazeres and his wife Julie. He typed Prazeres into Facebook and incredibly, the two strangers had a mutual friend. Phillips sent a Facebook message to Prazeres, asking if the ring was his.

“Hello Justin, I am actually speechless right now,” Prazeres writes back in the post dated Aug 8. He describes how he lost the ring, and arranges to have it delivered to his mother-in-law in Winnipeg. “I am still in shock, I thought I would never see that ring again.”

Helder Prazeres and Julie Salgueiro at their wedding in Winnipeg in 2000

Julie Salgueiro

That was actually the second miraculous return for Prazeres’ ring. Married in Winnipeg in 2000, he and his wife Julie Salgueiro were on their honeymoon in Italy when Helder lost the ring in a pool. Staff at the spa later found the ring when the pool was being cleaned, and mailed it back to his Winnipeg address.

Later in 2002, the couple returned to Winnipeg for a visit, retrieved the ring, and within days Prazeres had lost it again in Assiniboine Park.

“Going back to Canada, gettting the ring back and like a few days later losing it again? It was really embarassing, I was devastated, really really devastated,” Prazeres said.

The ring is now in the hands of Prazeres’ mother-in-law in Winnipeg, who plans to return it on a trip to Portugal next year.

“Twelve years after, it’s back, so there’s something about this ring, something fateful kind of reason why it’s found,” said Maria Salgueiro.

And what will happen to the ring after that? Prazeres has long since had it replaced. But the original is special.

“After this it’s going in the safe and it’s not coming out again,” Prazeres said with a laugh.

Family of 14 gets first table large enough to seat them all – Toronto

TORONTO- The day the Costa family moved into their new home they received a surprise that brought tears to their eyes.

The family of 14 has never been able to sit at one table together to eat dinner, but with the help of Jackie Morra that dream has now become a reality.

The large table complete with 14 chairs has also been outfitted with all the necessary dishes, linens and flatware. The table and chairs were donated by Sunpan Modern Home and the rest was donated by Target. Design consultant Jackie Morra contacted Sunpan and Target to ask for their help.

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The table was a complete surprise for the family.

“Oh my God, It’s so beautiful. Susan, thank you, ” Tanya Costa told Susan Hay.

Jackie and her husband Dan worked together as a team to assemble the table and chairs, as well as to set the table, the night before the big surprise.

“I feel like we’re setting up for a wedding,” Jackie said as she was pulling out the dishes.

“To have a table for everyone to sit down during like Thanksgiving, Christmas, dinner in general, it’s going to be so nice to have everyone there talking and being there as a family,” said the eldest daughter Julia.

The Costa family is now in the home that was built for them by Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity has helped to provide safe and affordable housing to more than 3 million people worldwide.

“It’s so beautiful, all the hard work everyone’s put in, how can you even thank them? It’s so absolutely amazing,” Julia said.

Judge reserves decision on Omar Khadr suit claiming torture, abuse

TORONTO – Potential embarrassment to the U.S. should not stop former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr from alleging in an expanded civil suit that Ottawa conspired with Washington to torture him and breach his rights, Federal Court heard Wednesday.

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In fact, Khadr’s lawyer John Phillips argued that doing so would allow a thorough airing of how the Americans treated him during years of detention.

“If this matter proceeds, I suspect the United States will be embarrassed by what comes out of the process,” Phillips told Judge Richard Mosley.

“(And) Canada is potentially liable for the torture and other punishment that was visited on Omar in Guantanamo.”

Khadr wants to expand his $20-million lawsuit against the Canadian government to include the allegation that Ottawa conspired with the U.S. to detain him indefinitely and otherwise abuse him at Guantanamo Bay.

For its part, federal lawyers argued international law does not allow Khadr to drag the U.S. into his civil action, first filed in 2004.

They also maintained that any abuses Khadr suffered at Guantanamo could be dealt with under his current statement of claim.

“He says he wants to affix Canada with U.S. acts alleged,” said government lawyer Barney Brucker.

“(But alleging) conspiracy is not necessary.”

Among other things, documents show Canadian agents went down to the infamous U.S. prison in 2003 and 2004 to interrogate the Toronto-born Khadr after first agreeing to share any intelligence with his American prosecutors.

Khadr’s military captors then subjected him to sleep-deprivation – known as the “frequent flyer” program – to soften him up for interrogation by the Canadians, previously released documents show.

Mosley, who reserved his decision, seemed disinclined to stop Khadr from trying to prove conspiracy – if the lawsuit gets to trial.

“There was clearly an effort to investigate and build a case against the plaintiff,” Mosley observed.

“That was something Canada took part in.”

Last December, Mosley ruled the proposed amendments to the lawsuit needed to be rewritten before the claims could be heard on their merits at a trial.

Phillips noted Canada made no effort to repatriate its citizen or to help Khadr deal with a prosecution under a military-commission process the U.S. Supreme Court itself ruled illegal in 2006.

He also pointed out that the Supreme Court of Canada later found that Ottawa had violated Khadr’s rights.

“I beg you to let this case proceed as pleaded,” he said to Mosley.

“We can't have child soldiers treated the way they've been in Guantanamo by this government.”

The U.S. government has denied torturing Khadr, 27, who pleaded guilty to five war crimes in October 2010 before an American military commission for incidents that occurred in Afghanistan when he was 15.

The Americans had arrested him in July 2002 following a brutal firefight in which he was terribly injured and an American special forces soldier was killed.

He was returned to Canada in September 2012 and is currently incarcerated in Alberta.

©2014The Canadian Press