Nov 16

John Oliver pokes fun at Chechen strongman’s lost cat Instagram post. It didn’t go over well.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov didn’t take kindly to comedian John Oliver making fun of him for posting about his lost cat on Instagram.

The 39-year-old, described as a “ruthless” ruler and repeatedly accused of violating human rights and cracking down on press freedom and political dissent, has spent the past two weeks waiting for his tiger-like cat to come home.

READ MORE: Trump, Putin share an embrace in Lithuanian street art

He took to his Instagram account May 20 to make a public plea for any information about his feline companion.

A translation of Kadyrov’s Instagram post, via the Moscow Times, reads:

“We all thought that he would reappear, since he is very attached to the children and loves to play with them and go out with them in the yard. But now we have begun to seriously worry. Perhaps he is with someone nearby. That person may not know how to find the owners. I am sure that no one needs someone else’s cat. Therefore, we would be grateful for any information. Thanks in advance.”

The wayward feline is a toyger, short for “toy tiger.” It’s a cross of a Bengal cat and a domestic shorthair cat, bred to look like a tiger.

Oliver poked fun at Kadyrov Sunday night during the weekly broadcast of his HBO program Last Week Tonight.

“Kadyrov being upset about his lost cat is not good. This is a man whose security forces have been accused of kidnappings and torture, and whose Wikipedia page has an entire section dedicated to accusations of human rights abuses,” the comedian noted, before taking a couple of jabs at the content Kadyrov’s Instagram account.

“It’s not just where he announced that he lost his cat, it’s also where he keeps his 1.8 million followers updated with videos of his workout routine set to the finest European rave music,” said Oliver before going on to describe Kadyrov as “a can of Monster energy drink come to life.”

READ MORE: Azerbaijan throws some shade at Kim Kardashian after Armenia posts

Kadyrov’s Instagram account is notorious: at times described as “creepy” and “weird“, his account has everything from pics of him wrestling in the snow and frolicking in the leaves, to cuddling baby animals and posing with assault weapons.

“Honestly, I cannot recommend his Instagram account enough,” Oliver said. “It almost makes you forget he was once accused of beating a prisoner with a shovel handle before executing him… Almost, but not quite.”

That was a claim by Kadyrov’s defector former bodyguard, Umar S. Israilov, made before he was murdered on a street in Vienna in 2009.

Kadyrov was appointed leader of the Chechen Republic by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007.

His close ties with Putin were also fodder for Oliver’s jokes – something that wasn’t all that hard to do given the ubiquity of Putin’s visage on the account.


READ MORE: Putin-themed cafe opens in Siberia, features NATO leaders in bathrooms

The jabs pushed Kadyrov to take to Instagram once more, in English no less, to hit back at Oliver and attempted to mock him.

Kadyrov posted an image of Oliver, with a Putin T-shirt photoshopped onto him, saying the comedian “got his wish to appear publicly in a T-shirt with an image of Putin, but not Obama.”

He heaped praise on the Russian president and criticized the U.S., accusing President Barack Obama of sparking deadly “new wars and bloody internal conflicts.”

As for his missing cat, he assured his followers that reports of the cat turning up everywhere from Iceland to New Zealand, and even the Oval Office, were false.

Follow @nick_logan

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Nov 16

More details emerge in Ashley Simpson missing person case

NEAR SALMON ARM – It’s been more than three weeks since a woman suddenly disappeared from the Salmon Arm area in B.C.’s interior.

Now two of the last people known to have seen Ashley Simpson are telling their stories.

Brent Cox said the 32-year-old had been living in a trailer on his property with her then boyfriend, Derek Favell.

Cox said he and Favell have been friends for a long time so when Favell asked to stay on Cox’s property with his girlfriend, Cox agreed.

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Cox said the last time he saw Simpson was the last Wednesday in April when she was doing yard work.

“That day she seemed great and then right before I left for town, her and Derek got into a little bit of a fight. It wasn’t much of a fight. I heard Ashley yelling a little bit and I asked her to keep it down,” said Cox.

Read More: ‘Somebody knows something’: mother of missing woman looking for answers

Favell confirms the couple did fight that day over money.

“We kind of had a bit of a fight. I ended up going to sleep. I woke up in the morning, I thought Brent had [driven] her into town or [driven] her down to someone’s to go spend a couple days,” said Favell.

“She had done [this] before where she had taken off at night and we had to get someone to go pick her up because she was walking. I kind of figured that she had done the same thing.”

But Cox said he didn’t know about Simpson leaving till Favell told him about it the morning after the fight.

“[I] came home that evening and nobody was here. The next morning I learnt from Derek that Ashley had left. He had received a text from her in the morning that she was gone and she would send for her stuff.”

Favell recalled that conversation with Cox this way.

“I told [Cox] that I’m pretty sure that she took off this morning. She had sent me two texts at about 7:30 to 8 o’clock in the morning…basically she was done with me and didn’t really want me and didn’t really want to have anything to do with me,” said Favell.

Simpson’s family was expecting her back in Ontario for a summer job. At first Cox thought she had simply left to head home.

However, now she has been missing for weeks and police say foul play may have been involved in her disappearance.

“The investigation into Ashley’s disappearance has not come up with much information to date. Normally with missing persons matters…a good percentage of them are located in short order. We tend to get information on their whereabouts or information as to where they were last seen,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

“With the case of Ashley Simpson the lack of information and leads, leads us to believe that foul play may be a contributing factor in her disappearance.”

Favell said he was “crushed” when he realized she was missing and he filed a missing persons report after learning Ashley had also not been in contact with her family.

“It has been pretty well hell for the past few weeks,” he said.

Cox said he has been doing everything he can to help including allowing search and rescue to go through his property.

“I let them through the home. I let them through the property, they took their dogs through. [I’m doing] anything I can do to help because I really feel for Ashley’s family and her friends,” said Cox. “I’ve got kids of my own.”

Read More: Mother pleads for public’s help in finding her daughter

On Tuesday, police issued as statement saying there is nothing to connect Simpson’s disappearance to the case of another young woman missing from the north Okanagan. Caitlin Potts was last heard from in February. Police say they haven’t ruled out foul play in her disappearance.

Nov 16

Controversy flares over suicide barriers on iconic Burrard Street Bridge

It’s one of Vancouver’s most iconic bridges.

Deconstruction of the railings along the Burrard Street Bridge is about to get underway but what’s going up in its place, isn’t sitting well with some people. One Vancouver city councillor is introducing a motion asking the city to reconsider plans for the new fencing, saying that there was no public consultation on the matter.

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“My concern on the public consultation process was there was none prior to us making a decision regarding the fencing,” said NPA councillor George Affleck.

“It came in last minute to council. Vision Vancouver voted in favor of it, the heritage community were disappointed and so the consultation was made after the process.”

The fencing in question is being put up to prevent people from jumping off the bridge. According to the Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, there are about 17 suicide attempts a year on the Burrard Street Bridge and say that while suicide hotlines are a great step towards prevention, nothing is stronger than a physical barrier.

David Fine is leading an online petition against the new fencing on change长沙夜网 and it currently has more than 800 signatures.

“In Toronto the Bloor Viaduct is the second worse spot in North America for suicides, and they put up fences there, and afterwards they did a study and found that although suicides from the bridge decreased, overall numbers did not,” Fine said.

“So you just push the problem somewhere else.”

There have also been concerns from the heritage community when it comes to the aesthetics of the art deco structure and views for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The heritage community has said very clearly that this art deco, this historical piece of architecture…  will be impacted by this fencing,” Affleck said.

“The second issue is from aesthetics from a pedestrian point of view and the cyclist. We have as our action plan to get people on their bikes and walk and this will have an impact on the beauty of walking across this bridge.”

Some opponents say there are other options, including netting below the bridge. The city says they consulted with a number of groups including the heritage community and BC Crisis Centre.

Councillor Affleck will introduce the motion at next week’s city council meeting.

~ with files from Grace Ke

Nov 16

Welcome Home Warriors: National champs back in West Kelowna

The BCHL West Kelowna Warriors arrived home Tuesday morning to a heroes’ welcome.

Escorted by police and greeted by diehard fans, the team bus rolled in just before 1:30 a.m. with their national RBC Cup trophy in tow.

“Everyone’s pretty banged up,” said goaltender Matthew Greenfield. “But it feels unbelievable to bring a championship back here.”

The team credits all the support from hockey staff, management and the community for their success, but first and foremost, they credit the unbreakable bond between the players.

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“We really became a family playing for one another and that’s why we were able to make it so far,” said goaltender Keelan Williams. “Everyone fought, fought hard so we could walk together as brothers the rest of our lives.”

The Warriors were never front-runners to win it all. Few thought they’d even make it out of the Interior Division. But the players believed.

“Right from day one we knew we could do something special this year,” said forward Kylar Hope.

In the moment the Warriors captain first hoisted the RBC Cup, while he was overjoyed, his first thought was for the city he represented.

“[I was] happy. So happy we could do it for West Kelowna. And this community wanted it more than us I think.”

Less than a handful of players are expected to return next season, so for most on the team, it was the perfect ending to a Cinderella season and their BCHL careers.

“We worked hard,” said forward Jared Marino. “Glad to say it’s over but it’s been an awesome ride. We’ll remember this team forever.”

Fans will have a chance to celebrate the team’s success and congratulate the players first hand this Thursday, as a parade is planned at 5:30 p.m.

It starts in the Mount Boucherie Secondary School parking lot, then onto East Boundary Road to Ross Road moving down Hewl Road and finishing at Royal LePage place where there will be a free barbecue.

Nov 16

8-month-old infant allegedly killed in shooting by father in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – An 8-month-old boy was shot to death in his mother’s arms Tuesday, and the suspected shooter – the boy’s father – remained at large, St. Louis police said.

The deadly shooting occurred shortly after 1 p.m. by an Interstate 270 exit ramp near the city limits, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said. The baby, Reign Crockett, was shot once as his mother attempted to escape a slowing car in which two other young sons were passengers, Dotson said. Police believe Diata R. Crockett, 34, was aiming at the mother, Dotson said.

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The victim’s brothers, ages 2 and 3, were found unharmed several hours later at a family member’s home in the St. Louis suburb of Bellefontaine Neighbors, near Ferguson.

The mother flagged down a passing motorist who drove her and the infant to an area hospital as Crockett pursued them, Dotson said.

According to Dotson, an 11-minute 911 conversation includes audio in which the unidentified Good Samaritan and the boy’s mother, whose name was not released, can be heard saying: “He’s trying to run us off the road. He’s trying to cause an accident. He’s following us.”

Crockett, whom police initially said was 35, remained at large Tuesday evening. His criminal record includes convictions for burglary, resisting arrest and forgery, online court records show, and Dotson said that “he may be wanted for a parole violation.” It’s unclear when Crockett was released from prison.

“He’s armed, he’s considered dangerous, and he’s used violence not only today but in the past,” Dotson said.

Police said the incident began as a domestic dispute at the couple’s St. Louis County home, also in Bellefontaine Neighbors, where Crockett forced his wife and three of their six children into the car at gunpoint.

Crockett was believed to be driving a black 2014 Hyundai Sonata rental car with Illinois license plate V446952, wearing a lime green shirt and green pants. Local media reported the car was found abandoned Tuesday night in St. Louis County.

Dotson said the shooting was the type of crime that “makes me sometimes question humanity.”

—;

Associated Press reporters Jim Salter in St. Louis and Maria Fisher in Kansas City contributed to this report.

Nov 16

Alberta fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions eased ahead of long weekend

The Alberta government said Thursday the fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions issued earlier this month were being eased in many areas of the province.

The government says wet, cool weather in some areas has reduced the wildfire hazard.

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    The fire ban and OHV restrictions remained in place for the Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray Forest areas. In the parts of Alberta’s Forest Protection Area where the fire ban is still in effect, portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and BBQs designed for cooking or heating are allowed. All open fires are still prohibited.

    Cities, municipalities or federal lands like national parks may still have fire bans or restrictions in place.

    On Tuesday, wet and cool weather in the Lac La Biche Forest Area allowed the province to adjust the boundaries of the fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction.

    As of Tuesday, May 24, the fire ban and OHV restriction will no longer be in effect in portions of the Lac La Biche area south of Fort McMurray.

    The ban and restrictions remained in place for the Fort McMurray Forest Area.

    The Alberta fire ban map boundaries as of Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

    Courtesy: Alberta Government

    A province-wide fire ban was issued May 5 due to extremely dry conditions.

    Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips said the step, while rare, was necessary to protect the dry forest regions and make sure essential resources aren’t being pulled away from other wildfires burning in Alberta, including the massive wildfire in Fort McMurray.

    READ MORE: Edmonton air quality affected by Fort McMurray wildfire smoke

    On May 5, Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee announced a province-wide ban on the recreational use of off-highway vehicles due to their fire risk.

    Larivee said the ban applies only to recreational use on public land and provincial parks, including designated off-highway vehicle trails.

    The ban did not apply to agricultural, commercial or industrial use, Larivee said. Nor will it apply to Indigenous people using off-highway vehicles for farming, business operations or traditional use.

    Watch below: Municipal affairs minister announces province-wide ban on use of recreational highway vehicles

    “Alberta is very hot and very dry. And we know that often, we have had in the past, off-highway vehicle use has led to the sparking of fires,” Phillips said during her media address Thursday.

    “Many Albertans have asked, ‘What can I do to help?’ This is something that they can do.”

    READ MORE: Where Fort McMurray fire evacuees can get help and information

    The province has also banned the use of incendiary targets, often used in target practice, on Crown land. These also pose a fire risk.

    “They look a lot like a coaster. You tape them onto a tree or something like that and you shoot them with a bullet and they explode,” Oneil Carlier, minister of Agriculture and Forestry, explained.

    The fire hazard map of Canada as of May 5, 2016.

    Courtesy: Natural Resources Canada

    Visit the government of Alberta’s website for the very latest information on the wildfire status across Alberta and the current fire ban situation.

    You can also download the Alberta Wildfire app for Android and Apple for real-time.

Nov 16

Sask. court hears of alleged murder plot thwarted by wife’s mistrust

The murder conspiracy trial involving the father of Vancouver Canucks forward Linden Vey began Tuesday. Curtis Vey and Angela Nicholson each face two charges of conspiracy to commit murder connected to their alleged plans to kill their spouses.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Vey is from the Wakaw, Sask. area and Nicholson lives in Melfort, Sask.

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    READ MORE: Murder conspiracy trial involving father of Canuck Linden Vey starts today

    In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Lori O’Connor told a 14-person jury that Brigette Vey suspected her husband was cheating on her. In July 2013, she planted an iPod under a kitchen table to record his conversations.

    In that recording, she learned that her suspicions were correct, but also found out about the alleged plot, O’Connor said.

    In a previous interview with Global News, Jim Taylor, Nicholson’s husband said police shared details of the plan. Taylor would die of a drug overdose while Brigette Vey would die in a house fire, Taylor said.

    The Crown’s first witness, RCMP Cpl. Dereck Wierzbicki, said he learned of the alleged plan on July 3, 2013. Three days later, the pair was arrested and placed in cells with undercover officers, Wierzbicki said.

    Police also seized electronics for other evidence of a potential plot. While sifting through phone and computer records, Wierzbicki said investigators found nothing to discern whether the plot was fact or fiction.

    Vey’s defence lawyer Aaron Fox questioned why Wierzbicki asked investigators to search for evidence that would remove any potential defence that the pair was simply fantasizing or having a hypothetical conversation.

    Wierzbicki told court he didn’t want the unit to fabricate evidence, but wanted to be able to “corroborate” and “solidify” the charge.

    In order to prove conspiracy to commit murder, the Crown must show there was an agreement between Nicholson and Vey and that there was intent to follow through with it.

    The trial is expected to last nine days and hear from 11 Crown witnesses. Brigette Vey is scheduled to testify Wednesday.

Nov 16

‘I can’t even tell you how many we’ve seen’: Alberta storm chaser following tornadoes in Kansas

Several possible tornadoes were reported across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Colorado on Tuesday and a team of Albertans were there to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature unleashing her full fury.

Cochrane-based storm chaser Braydon Morriseau said the storms he saw in Kansas Tuesday completely put him in awe. As a founding member of the Prairie Storm Chasers group, Morriseau has seen his share of tornadoes touchdown but said Tuesday was an extremely active and unique day.

WATCH: Tornadoes touch down in Kansas, more wild weather on the way

“We got a super cell where they were intersecting and it became a prolific tornado producer as it moved north,” Morriseau said as he described Tuesday’s chase. “It skirted the outskirts of Dodge City as a very large multi-vortex tornado.”

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    According to NBC News, the Dodge City tornado left two people critically injured and damaged an area landfill building.

    “I can’t even tell you how many we’ve seen … close to a dozen today,” Morriseau said in disbelief.

    “We did come up on one house that was skimmed by one of the tornadoes and checked on [the people there]. They were alright and then we continued and we came across a big propane tank in the middle of the road from like an oil rig site – and it was blowing propane out. It was pretty crazy.”

    But the rare sight of two tornadoes becoming one is what he says he will always remember. At around 6:30 p.m. local time, Morriseau reported seeing two separate twisters collide and become one.

    “It’s a very rare phenomena and that was probably my coolest moment, seeing the main tornado and then a little one – like a satellite tornado wrapping around it becoming one tornado.”

    Morriseau said they were careful to keep a safe distance and to list the time and exact location of each storm photo.

    “We’re trying to report and relay to the National Weather Service to give them some ground truth and let them know what’s going on visually.”

    Morriseau said he plans to stay in the region to guide severe weather tour groups for the next couple of weeks.

Nov 16

‘Fantastic’ May long weekend for Okanagan tourism, despite weather

KELOWNA – In the Okanagan, summer means plenty of sunshine, but that’s not what was forecasted for the unofficial start to the hottest season of the year.

Despite that, the May long weekend kept its reputation as one of the busiest tourism weekends of the year.

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“From all accounts, our stakeholders in the many attractions and accommodations in Kelowna are saying it’s a fantastic May long weekend… they’re very pleased with the activity,” said director of marketing and communications with Tourism Kelowna, Chris Shauf.

In fact, not only was it another lively Victoria Day long weekend, it was exceptionally busy for many local businesses.

“We were almost 100 per cent [capacity] so it was fantastic… We had to open our patio a few times over the long weekend as the rain came and went… It felt a little bit like summer despite the clouds,” said general manager of Manteo Resort, Heather Schroeter.

The long weekend was even a record-breaker at some tourist hot spots, like Cedar Creek Estate Winery.

The winery’s marketing manager believes this was the busiest May long weekend the business has had in the last four years. Anahita Pouget said the winery saw 20 per cent more visitors this year than last year.

General manager of the Delta Grand, Daniel Bibby, was surprised with how busy the hotel was over the long weekend, despite the forecast of clouds and chance of rain.

“This was one of the best long weekends we’ve had in a long time, so I think guests were ready to travel, it was sort of that feeling of, ‘What rain? Let’s get out and enjoy Kelowna and the valley,’” said Bibby.

The rain also didn’t put a damper on camping plans for many tourists and locals. Many of those at Bear Creek Park in West Kelowna had a hard time booking their campsites because of the demand.

“We found out that there was a site cancelling, so we were just online go, go, go and we finally got it,” camper Doug Adams told Global News on Saturday.

With the start of the official summer season just around the corner, campsites, hotels, resorts and many other local attractions are already starting to pre-book.

“We saw a lot of people coming in and checking with our visitor team for opportunities and options about what else they could experience in the area,” said Shauf.

The tourism boost seen in the Okanagan isn’t isolated; there’s promising numbers throughout B.C. The province says the number of international visitors in the first quarter of 2016, is 16.8 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.

Nov 16

Calgary’s ‘Falconridge rapist’ to be released this summer

Andrew Jefferson, better known as the “Falconridge Rapist,” will be granted statutory release this summer.

After serving two-thirds of his sentence, Jefferson will be released to finish the remainder of his sentence in a community correctional centre or residential facility until it concludes in May 2017.

READ MORE: Controversy in the ‘Falconridge rapist’ case

Jefferson was first arrested after committing sexual offences between 2006 and 2007. Following his release he returned to jail after an attempted stabbing and theft of  a vehicle in 2013. After serving his sentence, Jefferson will be subject to a 10-year Long Term Supervision Order (LTSO) during which he must report to a parole officer. Other conditions will be determined after monitoring the final year of his sentence in the community.

01:56

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High-risk Falconridge rapist sentenced

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    Jefferson was described in court documents as not having a behavioural management problem, an improvement upon his behavior during his first sentence. The Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) said in these documents that Jefferson still struggles with emotions during stressful time periods, and he is a risk for future violence towards an intimate partner and has a history of re-offence. The same documents said that Jefferson is now understanding and motivated to take part in the programming that is recommended for him, including anger and emotions counselling. He has successfully completed a High Intensity Sex Offender program.

    READ MORE: Calgary’s ‘Falconridge rapist’ sentenced to four years for B.C. assault, carjacking

    “The CSC reports that [he] accept[s] responsibility for [his] offending and [has] expressed remorse and victim empathy.”

    He will have to report to a parole officer, and various counsellors, as well as complying with eight conditions of release. These conditions include no drugs or alcohol, seeking and remaining employed, following a treatment plan, and avoiding specific groups of people including the victim and her family, and anyone who is involved in criminal activity or substance abuse.

    If Jefferson becomes an undue risk to the community he can be returned to prison by his parole officer, and the Parole Board of Canada can revoke leave if any conditions are breached.