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Flash mob attacks in Philadelphia leave 4 in hospital

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Four people, including an off-duty police detective and his wife, were taken to a hospital after a “flash mob” attack by some among a crowd of juveniles in downtown Philadelphia, police said.

Police said a large crowd of juveniles were at 16th and Walnut streets, a popular spot for dining and shopping, at about 6 p.m. Saturday when some people began randomly assaulting people on the street.

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A 55-year-old off-duty police detective saw a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman being assaulted and tried to arrest one of the offenders. He was punched from behind by several people, police said.

READ MORE: Six masked men enter Dartmouth home, assault homeowners

The detective’s 53-year-old wife splashed water on the offenders to try to stop them from attacking her husband, and she was punched in the face, police said. All of the offenders then fled.

One of the five people assaulted there declined medical treatment, but the other five were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for treatment. The police detective had an orbital fracture to his right eye while the others had minor injuries.

Immediately afterward, there was another assault by several juveniles nearby, and two 16-year-old youths were arrested, police said. The victim had minor injuries and didn’t seek medical attention.

One man told WPVI-TV that he feared for his safety when the large group of teens appeared, and he saw other people running into nearby stores to escape.

“It’s crazy out here,” said Dwight Magood. “I don’t know if they were trying to protest or ‘flash mobbing.’ But it’s not the right way to do it, whatever it was.”

Chris Rock makes ‘SNL’ cameo to mock white liberals shocked by Donald Trump’s win

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Chris Rock returned to Saturday Night Live to mock white liberals shocked by Donald Trump’s victory.

In the skit, he and host Dave Chappelle watch the election unfold with their friends, who started out confident in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s victory.

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When someone starts out claiming “this is going to be a historic night, we’re about to have our first woman president,” Chappelle is quick to point out: “Don’t forget, it’s a big country.”

READ MORE: Dave Chappelle wishes President-elect Donald Trump luck in ‘SNL’ monologue

The two of them sit back and watch as the liberals seem confused as they slowly realize Trump will become president.

“Oh my God, I think America is racist,” one person said.

Chappelle replied: “I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that. He was like a slave or something.”

Throughout the election the comedy show has brought levity to the contentious election season, and it ended with a stunning tribute from SNL regular Kate McKinnon.

WATCH: Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton performs Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah‘ 

Dressed as Hillary Clinton, she sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, less than a week after he passed away.

At the end of the song, she turned to the camera and said “I’m not giving up and neither should you.”

Chappelle hosted the show, and wished Trump well in the coming years, but reminded him that he should remember to give the “historically disenfranchised” a chance.

WATCH: Dave Chappelle wishes Trump luck, says he’s willing to give him a chance

*with a file from The Associated Press

Edmonton’s Val Sweeting to play Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot in Tour Challenge final

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Sweden’s Niklas Edin will try and make it two for two on this season’s Grand Slam of Curling calendar.

Edin beat Matt Nichols and Team Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 6-4 on Saturday in the Tour Challenge men’s semifinal.

Nichols, skipping in place of Brad Gushue while he recovers from hip surgery, led 4-3 through seven ends after scoring a single, but Edin responded with three points in the eighth to pull off the victory.

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    Edin will go for his second title of the season on Sunday when he faces Scotland’s Kyle Smith in the championship draw.

    Smith needed an extra end to defeat Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud 6-5 in the other men’s semi.

    Edin won the first stop on the Grand Slam tour in October, beating Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., at the Masters.

    The women’s final will see Edmonton’s Val Sweeting against Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot.

    Sweeting earned her spot in the women’s championship draw with a 9-2 drubbing of Allison Flaxey of Caldeon, Ont., while Englot used an extra end to beat Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg 6-5.

    Sweeting dropped her first round-robin draw but has won five straight en route to the final. Meanwhile, Englot needed a tiebreaker just to reach the quarter-finals.

Fundraiser set up for family of Calgary teen killed in suspected drunk driving crash

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

A fundraiser is underway for the family of a Calgary teen who was killed in a suspected drunk driving crash last month.

Shiraz Shermohammad died when his family’s car was struck just after midnight on Oct. 23.

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READ MORE: 19-year-old killed in crash on Metis Trail

His mother, father and one of his sisters were in the car when they were hit by a Dodge Journey driven by a 28-year-old woman who police say didn’t stop at the intersection of Country Hills Boulevard at Métis Trail N.E.

The eastbound Kia Forte driven by Shermohammad’s 43-year-old father was struck on the passenger side by the northbound Journey, according to police.

The father and teenage daughter were also in the car and were rushed to hospital in serious condition.

The driver of the SUV was arrested at the scene. She has since been released pending the results of the investigation.

At the time, investigators said they suspected speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash.

A GoFundMe page set up for Shermohammed’s family. 

“This Afghan family is in need; let’s help the remaining family by reaching our goal of $5,000.00 or more if possible so it helps the family with the financial situation,” Shermohammed’s family stated.

Shermohammed’s sister told Global News that her father is now out of the hospital but her mother and sister are still being treated at the Foothills Medical Centre.

She says this has been an extremely difficult time for their family, both emotionally and financially.

Sittara Shermohammed says her brother recently started a new job at a warehouse to help pay for his school fees and her father is not able to work now.

Event aims to spread message that computers aren’t just for the boys

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

For the second consecutive year, young females in Saint John got a chance to see exactly how computers work at Girls Learn to Code Day.

In what is typically a male-dominated field, IT professionals are spearheading an initiative to encourage girls to give computer technology a try.

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“Women are underrepresented in IT and they might be more reluctant than men to learn how to code or go to a place where they can learn how to code,” Susan Almon, the lead for the Saint John chapter of Ladies Learning Code, said . “We find the same thing with girls.”

In her efforts to encourage young women to pursue a career in the computer sector, Almon has noticed many don’t immediately consider it an option, despite computers being so prevalent in our society.

She hopes to change that by getting girls interested at a young age.

“I was in an event a few weeks ago for high school girls where we talked about careers and a lot of the girls were saying, ‘Well, I don’t really know about computers,’” she said. “And I was thinking, ‘Well you could. There’s no reason why you can’t.’ So programs like this counter that.”

Now in its second year in the Port City, the initiative has grown from a handful of attendees last year to over 20 this time around.

Almon says the success comes from showing the girls that working with computers can be a lot of fun.

“Part of our goal is for these girls to go home, back to their schools, back to their soccer teams, their girl guide groups – and say, ‘Wow, that was really cool, I made a game all by myself,’” she explained.

Girls Learn to Code Day is a Canada-wide initiative that takes place in cities across the country.

Teen dies in hospital after head-on collision in northeast Calgary

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Calgary police said a 17-year-old has passed away Friday after injuries suffered in a head-on collision that sent four others to hospital Thursday night.

Emergency crews were called to the area of 16 Avenue and 19 Street N.E. shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Police said a speeding vehicle lost control and struck another vehicle, sending debris flying across the road.

Three males, all believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, were taken to Foothills Medical Centre with critical, life-threatening injuries Thursday night, according to Alberta Health Services. Paramedics said all three men were thrown from the vehicle they were in.

Two people from the other vehicle – a man and woman, both believed to be in their 20s or 30s – were taken to Rockyview General Hospital with minor injuries.

Acting Staff Sgt. Travis Juska said police have seen a variety of collisions at the intersection.

He called the crash a “stark reminder that people need to slow down when they’re driving.”

Police respond to a two-vehicle collision in the area of 16 Avenue and 19 Street N.E. on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

Global News

With a file from Global’s Kim Smith

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Drug addict sheds tears for his despicable crime against elderly woman

Monday, November 26th, 2018

It was a vicious home-invasion style robbery that left an elderly West Kelowna woman injured and highly traumatized.

On Thursday, a chronic drug addict was in a court room for a sentencing hearing after earlier pleading guilty to break-and-enter with intent to commit an indictable offense while wearing a mask.

In the middle of the night on October 25 2015, Benjamin Duane Barnhart pried open the kitchen window of an 85-year-old woman.

There was a struggle in her bedroom with Barnhart trying to gag his victim with a scarf.

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He demanded money, jewellery and prescription medications.

When Barnhart was distracted, the woman fled to a neighbour’s home while Barnhart fled with about $200 and the victim’s bank cards.

A few hours later, the cards were used for purchases at several stores and to withdraw $800 from a bank machine.

Security camera pictures helped police track down Barnhart, who was well known to them, at his nearby residence.

Saying the victim’s safety was violently violated in the security of her own home and she was profoundly impacted, the prosecutor is asking for a prison sentence of six to seven years.

Barnhart’s legal aid lawyer is seeking a term of three and a half years, saying Barnhart’s long-time drug addiction fueled his crimes while claiming he’s a strong prospect for rehabilitation.

At times crying in court, the 25-year-old apologized to the victim and her family, saying: “Everyday I think about it and I truly don’t have the words to describe how sorry I am. I never planned to do such a thing and I’m disgusted. Just want to say sorry.”

The judge is expected to hand down his sentencing decision in early December.

Canadian soldier found dead in military gym in Jordan

Monday, November 26th, 2018

OTTAWA – A Canadian soldier who was looking at ways to train the Jordanian military as part of Canada’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has died, the Department of National Defence said Thursday.

Maj. Scott Foote, 50, of Carbonear, N.L., was found unconscious in a military gym in Jordan’s capital city of Amman, officials said. Foote was pronounced dead after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

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His death has been labelled non-combat related. National Defence has launched an investigation, but officials said there were no indications of foul play.

READ MORE: Governor General David Johnston tours refugee camp in Jordan

A veteran of Afghanistan, Foote arrived in Jordan at the beginning of September as part of a small team tasked with examining ways in which the Canadian Forces could train Jordanian counterparts.

“This mission is not a combat mission,” said Maj.-Gen. Omer Lavoie, commander of 1 Canadian Division in Kingston, Ont., where Foote was most recently serving as a logistics officer.

“It’s a mission where we’re there to enhance the capabilities of the Jordanian Armed Forces in areas such as resources, planning, organization and equipment.”

A similar team is currently working in Lebanon. Lavoie said both missions fall under the umbrella of Canada’s broader effort to fight ISIL.

Foote was to return to Canada just before Christmas, Lavoie said. He leaves behind a wife and son.

“Maj. Foote was a good Newfoundlander and always maintained his eastern roots,” Lavoie said.

“Scott was level-headed, jovial and a good mentor for his peers. He was an outstanding officer and a great member of my team here at 1st Canadian Division.”

Peachland residents warned of mail thefts

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Residents in Peachland are being told to regularly pick up their mail from community mailboxes.  The warning comes as police investigate at least a dozen reports of stolen mail.

“Residents are encouraged to immediately report to police if they observe suspicious activity or unknown persons around those mailboxes,”  says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

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The thefts being investigated happened between October 28 and November 15.  Police say in most cases the mailboxes were discovered damaged and empty.  Canada Post is also investigating saying affected customers have been notified.

On one occasion a Canada Post employee reported that they discovered nearly 50 pieces of mail abandoned near the intersection of Coldham Road and Desert Pines Avenue. The mail was reportedly seized by the employee, to be sorted and properly delivered to the intended destinations.

The following are some of the areas which have been reportedly targeted by the unknown suspect or suspects:
• 4400 block of Trepanier Road;
• 5300 block of Princeton Avenue;
• 5600 block of Gladstone Road;
• 5900 block of Victoria Street;
• 6000 block of Ellison Avenue;
• 6100 block of Wilson Road;
• 6200 block of Winton Crescent;
• 6300 block of Thompson Drive;
• 7100 block of Brent Road;Security at 1-866-607-6301.  You can also remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers online

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880 or Canada Post Postal Security at 1-866-607-6301.  You can also remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers online or by calling at 1-800-222-8477.

N.B. government drops controversial bilingual school bus court case

Monday, November 26th, 2018

The New Brunswick government is stepping away from its court cases concerning separate school bus systems for English and French students in the province.

A new policy released Wednesday says the responsibility will now be on the individual school districts, apparently closing the book on reviewing the controversial bilingual bus issue.

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READ MORE: Constitutional case over bilingual school busing in New Brunswick gets underway

The provincial government has withdrawn its request to the Court of Appeal to determine whether there is a constitutional obligation to provide separate school buses for English and French schools.

The province says the school districts will now be in charge of the transportation of their pupils as part of a Policy 514 within the education act.

Policy 514 will outline how district education councils can operate, including sharing services with other districts, or engaging private sector transportation providers in the process.

It will also repeal the regulatory requirement for districts to seek government approval before entering into transportation contracts with third parties.

READ MORE: New Brunswick French immersion returning to Grade one

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny said in a release that what government is implementing will clarify that pupil transportation rests in the hands of education councils, which are elected by the public, including parents.

Kenny also noted in the release that government previously hoped to get clarity on the bilingual bus issue, but says it’s clear the court of appeals is hesitant to rule on the reference question they posed.