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Practices of Ferguson Police Department to be investigated – National

ABOVE: Attorney General Eric Holder discusses the investigation into the Ferguson Police Department will entail 

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is launching a wide-ranging investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department following the shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb.

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  • Lawsuit claims police brutality, wrongful arrests at Ferguson shooting protests

  • Mourners fill church for Michael Brown’s funeral, urge black Americans to take action

  • Obama orders review of police ‘militarization’ programs

It’s a separate inquiry from an ongoing federal civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. A local grand jury is also investigating, which set off nearly two weeks of unrest in Ferguson and became a flashpoint in the national discussion of police treatment of minorities across the country.

This investigation, announced by Attorney General Eric Holder, will look at police department practices over the past few years, including patterns of stops, arrests and use of force, as well as the training the officers receive.

The Ferguson department says it welcomes the Justice Department investigation.

Holder two weeks ago visited the St. Louis suburb, where he met with investigators and Brown’s parents and shared personal experiences of having himself been mistreated by the police.

Police have said the shooting followed a scuffle that broke out after Wilson told Brown and a friend to move out of the street and onto a sidewalk. Police say Wilson was pushed into his squad car and physically assaulted. Some witnesses have reported seeing Brown’s arms up in the air before the shooting in an act of surrender. An autopsy paid for by Brown’s family concluded that he was shot six times, twice in the head.

The new investigation, though, will go well beyond the circumstances of the shooting. It will look at the actions of a police department that is predominantly white even though Ferguson is about 70 per cent black.

Some in Ferguson have said police disproportionately target black motorists during traffic stops. A 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general’s office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as frequently as white motorists but were also less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.

The Justice Department’s civil rights division routinely investigates individual police departments when there are allegations of systemic use-of-force violations, racial bias or other problems. The department says it’s opened 20 investigations in the past five years, more than twice the number opened in the previous five years.

The investigations typically encourage significant changes to policies and practices and often end with settlements – known as consent decrees – in which the department agrees to make specified reforms.

The Justice Department reached a court-supervised agreement in 2012 with the New Orleans police department that would require the agency to overhaul its policies and procedures for use of force, training, interrogations, searches and arrests, recruitment and supervision.

In April, it issued a harshly critical report of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, police department that faulted the agency for a pattern of excessive force and called for an overhaul of its internal affairs unit. The city and the Justice Department have been locked in negotiations over ordered changes.

©2014The Canadian Press

How does the strike affect your child’s learning?

VANCOUVER — Whether your child has special needs or is gifted, every day lost in the ongoing strike between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government can affect their education.

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Global News’ Randene Neil explains there have been few studies on how a strikes impact students’ grades. But the University of Toronto has studied a series of teachers’ strikes in Ontario during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in elementary schools. The results found the lower the grade of the student, the less he or she would be impacted by missing school days.

“Any kind of drop in test scores and such would depend upon how long the strike goes on, but would also be mitigated over time,” Dr. Daniel Laitsch from the Simon Fraser University Faculty of Education told Global News. “While you might have a short term drop in scores, certainly continued instruction I think would catch most of the students up,” he said.

But for students with special needs, it will be even harder to get them back into the classroom environment after an extended absence, according to parent Cheryl Hondronikolis. For every strike day missed, she says her son Steve will suffer setbacks that will take him months to regain.

And for those students who excel in academics, the strike will also impact them. Kole Poirier, an international baccalaureate student, wasn’t able to complete summer school this year, and now has to take difficult pre-requisites for engineering on top of his heavy course load.

–With files from Randene Neill.

Michael Bloomberg returning to helm of data and news company he founded – National

NEW YORK – Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is returning to lead the financial data and news company he founded in 1981 but left to serve three terms in City Hall.

The company, Bloomberg LP, said Wednesday that current CEO Daniel Doctoroff will step down at the end of the year.

Doctoroff was a deputy mayor under Bloomberg. His departure makes way for Bloomberg to take back the helm of the company, of which he still owns more than 85 per cent.

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The 72-year-old Bloomberg handed the reins of America’s largest city to Bill de Blasio on Jan. 1.

In a statement, Bloomberg said he never intended to return to his company after 12 years as mayor. But after reacquainting with its operations, he said, he could not resist its lure.

“I have gotten very involved in the company again and that led to Dan coming to me recently to say he thought it would be best for him to turn the leadership of the company back to me,” said Bloomberg, whose company has grown to employ more than 15,000 people in 73 countries and has made him a billionaire.

Doctoroff joined Bloomberg LP in 2008 and became CEO in July 2011. Before that he served six years as Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development. He said he had no job lined up but in the short term would focus on his not-for-profit interests.

Bloomberg, whose fortune Forbes estimates at $33.2 billion, credited Doctoroff with guiding the company through the financial crisis of 2008 and the deep recession that followed.

Bloomberg LP is privately held and is not obliged to divulge financial information, but it said Wednesday that its revenue grew to more than $9 billion this year from $5.4 billion in 2007. Its subscribers have grown to 321,000 from 273,000, it said, while it added more than 500 reporters and editors.

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: Addictions treatment centre celebrates 35 years

NORTH OKANAGAN – The Round Lake Treatment Centre first opened on the shore of Round Lake between Vernon and Falkland in 1979; it has been quietly helping addicts for 35 years.

It all started with an idea from an Okanagan Nation member who believed in a treatment centre for First Nations.

“If we created a treatment centre that had First Nations healing First Nations, we’d be more successful,” says board member Allan Louis.

When it first opened its doors the centre was unique.

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Executive Director Marlene Isaac says it was the first its kind in Western Canada: a treatment centre run by First Nations for First Nations.

Although most clients here are of First Nations descent, you don’t need to be aboriginal to seek treatment at the centre.

“Our success rates [are] so high because our counsellors are First Nations. Most of them have had addictions problems before so when the clients come here they know that they’re are talking with somebody that has actually walked the walk,” says Louis.

Consellor Juanita Joe is one of the centre’s success stories. She first came to the centre battling alcohol addiction.

“The modality of Round Lake Treatment Centre is culture is treatment and for me that was a big part of my acknowledgment of my healing,” says Joe who is now five years sober.

The centre is celebrating its anniversary this weekend.

For more information about the event you can visit: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛roundlaketreatmentcentre桑拿按摩/

WATCH: Okanagan Community Groups Step Forward

With the ongoing teachers dispute, many Okanagan parents are still scrambling to provide care for their children during the day.

Fortunately many community groups are stepping forward to help fill the gap and the demand for care is high.

The Kelowna Yacht Club is one of the many groups that have stepped forward to offer day

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“We did something in June as well so this is now a little easier I guess to put together and luckily we have a few instructors who are still in high school so they are also out of school which definitely helps run the sailing school,” says Valerie Cloutier with the Kelowna Yacht Club.

The demand is so high, the camp is already full for this week with only a few remaining spots for next week.
At the Parkinson Recreation Centre, day camps are also being offered as well but they too are at capacity this week.

The city run centre stepped in to help back in June when the strike first began but this time around, a lot more parents are signing up their kids.

“They have used up their resources of how many favors they can call in on. Are we surprised? not really there are lots of people out there that need help with kids right now,” says the centre’s Lori Angus.

Angus says 35 children are currently registered at the Recreation Centre but there could be a lot more next week if the dispute drags on.

“We have added the camp out in the Mission which is at Kinsmen field house for another 20 kids and we are on a day to day basis assessing what the demand is here and if necessary we will increase the number of kids here,” says Angus.

The Bumbershoot children’s theatre is also helping to fill the gap.

It’s partnered up with the Kelowna Art Gallery just like it did at the end of the school year to help parents out once again.

“They can register for single day or a week so they can call it as they go with the uncertainty with what is happening so they don’t have to make a big financial commitment,” says the theatre’s Tracy Ross.

“The program is very attainable. We are just trying to engage the community but not at high cost because this was not anticipated by a lot of families,” says Ross.

The cost for many programs ranges between $30 to $40 a day.

The Provincial Government is offering $40 a day in parent support pay for each child 12 and under for the duration of the strike.

You can register online. We’ve provided a link on our website.

Niche high school programs taking off – Regina

REGINA – Measure twice, cut once. The old adage is still carefully followed as high school students get a taste of the trades.

Traditional classroom lessons are being used at Campus Regina Public to build things like heating ducts.

“It doesn’t really feel like math because you’re building something while you do it,” said Macy Wilson, a grade 11 student. “It’s kind of like we’re doing math, but we’re not doing math.”

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Wilson is one of 900 students in the program, which offers 22 different courses ranging from plumbing to culinary arts.

From a new military training program for high school students announced Tuesday to Regina’s first sports academy launching this week, there’s more specialty education programming than ever in the city – changing the ways our kids are learning every school year.

“Students were telling us, ‘We’re dying at our desks, we need different approaches, we need our high school education relevant for us,’ ” said Greg Enion, Regina Public Schools’ deputy director of student achievement. “That led us over the last five years of developing this program.”

Enrolment has doubled over the last year alone, with a student achievement rate as high as 92 per cent.

Long term, the program is considered an intermediate step to post-secondary education in a province where skilled trades are in high demand.

“At the end of the day, what we’re all about is promoting employability,” said Jason Marchtaler, a plumbing and heating instructor. “I want to give them a taste of as many different trades as I can.”

The program aims to keep students focused today, while mapping out a career for the future.

“It feels more exciting and encouraging if you know what you want to do at a young age,” Wilson said.

New Samsung Note 4 is better but lacks the wow factor of the Note Edge

*Steve Makris is a technology expert who does a weekly Tech Talk segment during Edmonton’s Sunday Morning News.

Sandwiched between a maturing smartphone market and next week’s much anticipated iPhone 6 launch, Samsung revealed its new incrementally better Galaxy Note 4, available in October. But for a wow phone, the Korean giant showed the Galaxy Note Edge, with no delivery date.

The Note 4, a combined large phone and small tablet, better known as phablets, has been one of Samsung’s success stories, worldwide.

How does the Note 4 stack up?

Its best incremental features over the current Note 3 are a much sharper 5.7 inch QuadHD 3.7 million pixel screen and a functionally improved stylus S PEN coupled with smarter multi-windows features. An impressive front f1.9  3.7 megapixel camera can be easily fired by touching the rear heart monitor. It has a wide angle lens which also shoots panorama selfies covering 120 degrees. The rest will disappoint some folks looking for a reason to upgrade from a Note 3. But new users will delight on the things they can do with the S Pen stylus.

Appeasing techie types, the upcoming Galaxy Note Edge does have cutting edge features like a curved right side screen that even shows sideways from the new cases designed for it. This means you can see ticker tape-like notifications, from the side and when looking head on. Disappointedly, there is no delivery date announced and Samsung Canada is talking with the cellcos. Surely, the price of the special edition Edge will keep budget minded users at bay.

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The simultaneous three city Samsung launch in Beijing, New York and Berlin is clearly aiming the Note 4 to global shoppers, especially developing countries. Research firm IDC said emerging markets have accounted for more than 50 per cent of all annual smartphone shipments since 2011, while mature markets will continue to slow, currently at five per cent growth. Samsung sees a stylus-armed smart phone attracted to Asian language users as an alternative to keyboards.

In an impatient market that can quickly disfavour any company that misses a beat, including Apple and Samsung, phone makers are churning more models and features at a record pace. Motorola Mobility, recently purchased by computer maker Lenovo, is planning to release eight new phones before the holidays.

Coupled with several new mid-price smartphones designed and made in China, poised to hit the North American market later this year, the choices for repeat and first-time customers are many.

Samsung also showed the next stage of wearable smart devices. The Gear S smartwatch differentiates itself from competitors by being 3G data ready. This means an additional SIM card and no reliance on the smartphone other than upgrades and new apps. It is a rather large but thankfully curved smartwatch with sharp screen whose watch face view with moving arms looks like the real thing. Typing on its screen was a challenge so don’t expect long article typing on this phone…just short social messages.

Many were surprised by Samsung’s last offering, the Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset that lets viewers take in a 360 degree games or scenic tours by simply turning their head at any angle. An appearance by Oculus Rift VR headset creator John Carmack announced a new partnership with Samsung on supplying its five-times faster AMOLED screen technology for Oculus.

Like Apple whose older 4s, 5 iPhones remain popular, Samsung is challenged by consumer calls for something new and different. Past Samsung S3 and S4 models have sold better than the new S5, but the new incrementally better Note 4 stands out amidst smart phones with its useful hand writing and drawing ability.

Steven Sotloff’s family speaks out on death of their son – National

PINECREST, Fla. – The family of a journalist slain by Islamic State militants says Steven Sotloff dedicated his life to portraying the suffering of people in war zones, but was “no hero.”

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  • Islamic State video reportedly shows beheading of Steven Sotloff

  • Obama says U.S. won’t be intimidated after ‘horrific’ beheading video

Family spokesman Barak Barfi told reporters gathered outside the family’s suburban Miami home Wednesday that Sotloff “tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness,” and to give voice to the weak and suffering in the Arab world.

A militant video released Tuesday purported to show the beheading of Sotloff, who was kidnapped in Syria last year.

Barfi said Sotloff was “no war junkie,” but was drawn to the stories of the turbulent Middle East.

Barfi said Sotloff’s family was grieving, but have pledged to “not allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the sole weapon they possess – fear.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Phone scam dampens ALS ice bucket challenge donations

Watch above: the ALS ice bucket challenge has blown competing fundraisers out of the water and attracted scam artists

SASKATOON – It’s taken social media and the world by storm.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has soaked millions, raised awareness and generated $12.26 million in donations, shattering ALS Canada’s original $10,000 goal, for the fatal neuromuscular disease.

But a recent scam has put a damper on the cause.

A couple days ago, ALS Canada was forced to tweet that they don’t make phone calls to solicit donations after hearing someone was falsely soliciting over the phone.

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“It’s very disappointing that people would try and take advantage of this incredible generosity the public expressed,” said Tammy Moore, the interim CEO of ALS Canada.

“Depending on what’s out there, they’re opportunistic and so whatever is hot that’s the trend they’re going to jump on,” said retired Saskatoon police Sgt. Brian Trainor.

Trainor, who now privately investigates fraud, calls it another instance of the flavour of the month and recommends people use their sixth sense and be wary.

“They’re not telephone soliciting, they’re not knocking on doors, you want more information contact them. That’s what everybody should do. You get a phone call ask for more information, where do I contact for information, I’m interested in making a donation, if you are how do I find out more,” said Trainor.

This is the first time ALS Canada says anything like this has ever happened. So far, they’ve heard about one case in the country, unlike the challenge.

“With the interest that the ice bucket challenge has received, we’re looking at any of the risks and constantly monitoring because we know that’s become the target for potential fraud,” said Moore.

About 3,000 Canadians currently live with ALS. The average patient lives between two and five years after diagnosis. For every person who is diagnosed, a person living with ALS dies.

ALS Canada plans to work with all provincial society’s around the country to decide where all the donated dollars will be allocated, with most going towards research and client services for a disease that has no cure or effective treatment.

What is proposal “E80” and why is it so contentious?

Vancouver — We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric about clause E80 in the teachers’s dispute. Today, B.C. Teachers’ Union president Jim Iker said it’s one of the biggest impediments to the two sides reaching a deal.

Here’s some more information about what it is and what it means to both parties.

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According to the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association Framework for Settlement, proposal E80 deals with the “learning and working conditions” in the classroom. It’s about issues we hear so often about: class size, class composition and specialist teachers.

These matters were before the courts previously. In 2011, the B.C. Supreme Court said the provincial government had infringed on the teachers’ rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedom. The court said the government interfered with the teachers’ collective bargaining with legislation that voided terms of a negotiated collective agreement, according to the judgment. The legislation was declared invalid, but the courts gave the government 12 months to figure out a solution.

In 2012 they enacted similar legislation and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation took the case to court again. In January of 2014, Madam Justice Griffin released this decision.  In it, she says “there is no basis for distinguishing the new legislation from the previous findings of this Court,” and went on to explain the new legislation still interferes with the Charter rights of teachers. The government has appealed the case and both parties are awaiting a decision.

WATCH: Former crown prosecutor Sandy Garossino speaks to Global News about E80 and binding arbitration

“The two sides are playing the court case very differently,” Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer told Global News. He says the court put language back into the contract that gives the union more say over classroom staffing levels and size.

E80 sets out the BCPSEA’s proposal on these issues. At the very end, it reads: “these provisions supersede and replace all previous Articles that addressed class size, composition and staffing levels.”

Former crown prosecutor Sandy Garossino says she understands the government’s viewpoint.

“The teachers are of the view that this would eliminate on their ability to rely on [the court] decision. It’s the government’s view, and I think there’s some weight to this, that the impact of court decision was class size and composition was always a matter for good faith negotiation and they can’t escape that.”

“The impact of the ruling doesn’t cover future contracts.”

However, she said the strength of the Supreme Court’s ruling should be considered when analyzing current negotiations.

“They’re going to say all kind of things about why [the ruling] is in error…I can’t emphasize enough is anyone has to do is pick up that ruling…and go through it,” said Garossino.

“Over and over and over again, she goes through a litany of examples of where the government really never intended to negotiate in good faith with the union at all. It’s very hard to get past that ruling, and it really does in my view cast a completely different view on the nature of the negotiations that are going on now. The credibility of the government is certainly in question.”

A BCTF spokesperson told Global News it’s this clause that’s the source of all the controversy.  He says that it’s the government’s attempt to negotiate out of their court loss.

“Their proposal, E80, would ‘supersede and replace’ all previous class size, class composition, and specialist teacher provisions,” said Iker, in his press conference today.

Palmer says the government’s position is since the court said their decision is not clad in stone, they feel the issue can be negotiated.

In a press conference today, Premier Christy Clark called class composition, “the one issue that is most vital to the future of education in British Columbia.” But she said it can’t be the focus of all the attention at the bargaining table until the two sides are closer in wages and benefits.

“I’ve looked at that one from every angle,” said Palmer. “I don’t see a compromised position on that one. Even if they could settle everything else, I don’t know how the hell you settle that.”