Sep 23 2018


Five things to know about RCMP regimental funerals – Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: On Monday, an RCMP regimental funeral will be held for Const. David Wynn. Here are a few details on what the service entails.

EDMONTON — The City of St. Albert and people from across Alberta and Canada are preparing to say their final goodbye to Const. David Wynn, who was shot last weekend while investigating a vehicle theft in the community northwest of Edmonton.

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An RCMP regimental funeral will be held for Const. Wynn on Monday in St. Albert. A uniformed procession will leave Holy Family Church in St. Albert at noon and arrive at Servus Place for the start of the funeral at 2 p.m.

“It’s our way of honouring the service, the sacrifice of our members. It’s a way in which we can pay ultimate respects to their memory and leave a memory for their families,” Staff Sergeant Major Doug Pack said of holding a regimental funeral.

“For us, it is a big deal. It just means that we’re able to say our goodbyes as a family, which is what any other family would want to do for its loved ones.”

READ MORE: Funeral for St. Albert Mountie Cst. David Wynn to take place Monday

The decision to hold a regimental funeral is that of the commanding officer, after consultation with the next of kin, national headquarters and the commissioner’s office.

Regimental funerals have been held since the force was created in 1873. However, the name of the service has evolved from what was previously known as “buried with full military honours.”

Here are five things you may not have known about regimental funerals, according to the RCMP.

Funeral procession

The bearer party is made up of eight casket bearers. Honourary pallbearers are those who escort rather than help carry the casket. They can be a combination of RCMP members or non-members.

The pall is a covering, usually of black, purple or white cloth, placed over the casket/tomb. While it’s not essential to designate pallbearers for every funeral, it is customary to do so for a full-scale regimental funeral.

The insignia bearer is nominated by the next of kin and will usually be an RCMP member of similar rank of the deceased.

If approved by the next of kin, a firing party may be authorized to fire volleys at the funeral of an officer below the assistant commissioner rank. Three rounds of blank cartridges are discharged at the graveside immediately before Last Post is sounded.

In a regimental funeral where a procession takes place, a charger (a riderless horse) will be led by a Constable/Junior NCO immediately behind the insignia bearer.

Order of Dress

Dress for members participating in or attending regimental funerals will be “review order” with a Sam Browne (brown leather belt), medals, decorations and mourning ribbon. Officers and warrant officers will also wear a Stetson (felt hat) when parading with other ranks.

Colours (RCMP guidon)

The guidon is the RCMP’s consecrated regimental flag. It contains the honorary distinctions and theatre honours awarded to the Northwest Mounted Police, Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the RCMP for gallantry in battle.

The guidon is only paraded by itself or with other military colours. It is never paraded with other flags, including the National Flag of Canada, or other flags, banners or ensigns.

With permission of the commissioner, the RCMP guidon is often present at RCMP regimental funerals. The RCMP guidon is carried and escorted by a guidon party, which is made up of at least three members; the guidon Bearer and at least two armed escorts. The guidon is only carried by a warrant officer.

Flags and Ensigns

Flags are authorized to be at half-mast during the mourning period. Once the funeral services are complete, the flags will be raised back up to full-mast to mark the end of official mourning. The Canadian flag is used to dress the casket, however, the Royal Union (Union Jack) or RCMP Corps Ensign may also be used if requested by the next of kin or following the wishes of the deceased.

At an appropriate time, the flag used to drape the casket may be presented to the next of kin. This usually happens on the day of the funeral or the following day.

Saluting and Removing Headdress

Officers and NCOs in command will salute each time the casket passes by, while the casket is being placed on a gun carriage or hearse, during the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille, and at the foot of the grave when paying their final respects.

The headdress is removed:

On entering a religious/sacred building;By the bearer party before lifting or handling the casket;At the start of the graveside service, signalled when the chaplain steps forward; andAt the start of the chapel service where cremation is to take place, signalled when the chaplain steps forward.

The headdress is replaced:

At the graveside service before the sounding of the Last Post and the Rouse, signalled when the chaplain steps back; andAt the end of the chapel service where cremation is to take place, before the sounding of the Last Post and the Rouse, signalled when the chaplain steps back.

Those wishing to attend Wynn’s funeral on Monday are urged to use free Park and Ride and arrive early as the doors will be locked and late-comers will not be allowed in once the service begins.

Global News will be livestreaming the funeral. A live feed of the funeral will also be shown at St. Albert’s Arden Theatre.

The Wynn family encourages mourners to pay their respects at a public visitation being held Sunday night at the St. Albert Alliance Church.

For more information on the funeral service, visit the City of St. Albert’s website.

For more information on RCMP regimental funerals, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

Follow @CaleyRamsay


Sep 23 2018


Indonesian rescuers fail for 2nd time to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia jet – National

WATCH ABOVE: Divers work to retrieve AirAsia plane fuselage

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia – The second attempt to lift the fuselage of the crashed AirAsia jetliner failed Sunday as the wreckage sank back to the ocean floor when a rope linking the lifting balloons broke.

Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir said strong current was the main obstacle. The rope had been fastened and linked to a ship, but broke again as the fuselage was lifted.

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“We could not fight against nature,” Simorangkir said.

“We just hope the weather would change and be conducive.”

The attempt on Saturday failed because lifting balloons deflated. Divers reached the fuselage for the first time on Friday. Most of the victims are believed to be inside.

Simorangkir said rescuers retrieved one body Sunday that floated as the fuselage was being raised.

A total of 70 bodies have been discovered from Flight 8501, which crashed Dec. 28 with 162 people on board while flying from Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya, to Singapore.

Dozens of navy divers have been fighting strong current and poor visibility while trying to lift the fuselage from 30-meter- (100-feet-) deep waters in the Java Sea. The cockpit has been located about 500 metres (yards) away, and the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot are believed to be there.

Bad weather is a suspected factor in the crash. The pilots asked for permission to climb to a higher altitude, but air traffic controllers couldn’t allow it because of heavy air traffic. The flight disappeared soon afterward.

Transportation authorities have ruled out sabotage and say a preliminary accident report is expected to be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization this coming week.


Sep 23 2018


Shiite rebels in Yemen’s capital fire into air to disperse protesters, detain 11 – National

SANAA, Yemen – Rebels occupying Yemen’s capital have dispersed a handful of demonstrators protesting against them, firing automatic rifles into the air, breaking journalists’ cameras and scuffling with the crowd while detaining 11 people.

In another protest Sunday in Sanaa, around 200 demonstrators gathered in Change Square for a march toward the presidential palace. The square was the birthplace of Yemen’s 2011 uprising against longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh.

State news agency SABA reported that parliament postponed a meeting which had been scheduled for Sunday to decide on whether to accept the resignation of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who quit as president Thursday along with his Cabinet. Hadi remains at his private residence.

Meanwhile, U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar was in Sanaa meeting with Houthi representatives, as well a variety of Yemeni political parties.

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Sep 16 2019

From gadgets to gear, five hot new golf products introduced at Orlando golf show – National

ORLANDO, FLA — Tens of thousands of people involved with the sport of golf descend on Orlando’s sprawling Orange County Convention Center each year to see the latest and greatest from a game obsessed with the latest and greatest.

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The 2015 PGA Merchandise Show, which ran last week, didn’t disappoint. From shoes that are said to increase energy transfer and make it easier to walk a course, to elaborate software designed to track every shot you hit on the course, and a robot that will teach you how to hit better golf shots, there were plenty of intriguing offerings throughout the show.

Here are five new golf endeavours you’ll need to try out in 2015:

Cool gadgets:

Arccos Golf — Not a club or new piece of clothing, Arccos is a system that connects every golf club in your bag through Bluetooth to your phone, allowing you to track every shot you hit over the course of a round. Every club has a simple sensor that attaches easily to the end of the grip and in turn you’re provided with distances, club averages, and other critical data. Not inexpensive — the system retails for $449.99 in Canada and can be purchased at Best Buy — the eyes of golf instructors lit up when I told them of the possibilities of the Arccos. The only downside is that Arccos can’t be used in tournaments as it provides real time information. If that’s a concern, consider Game Golf, a similar device that is a little more complicated, but less expensive and provides similar information.

New rocks:

Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Ball: A ball with a compression usually aimed at senior golfers, Callaway says it has created a product with a soft feel around the greens that has low spin off the driver. That’s golf’s Holy Grail. The company says its “Soft Fast Core” is key to the product, and staff player Phil Mickelson has been raving about it since he first hit it.

Hot kicks:

Adipower Boost (men and women): adidas Golf announced its latest shoe at the show, with the key ingredient being “Boost,” a cushioning system the shoemaker says will offer maximum energy return and unrivaled comfort. “Boost” is actually a foam cushioning system comprised of thousands of TPU energy capsules fused together, and the company says it stores and releases energy in a way that is new to the shoe industry.

Cool inventions:

Snap Cam Headcover: Created by a former hockey player turned golfer from Burnaby, BC, this smart product was at the back of the massive Orange County Convention Center, an area where new products are introduced. Many are created by dreamers who mortgaged their houses in support of a new putter they say will help you make more putts. Not the case with the Snap Cam Headcover. Ever wanted to tape your swing for your golf instructor when you were alone on the range? Snap Cam allows you to easily attach your phone to your driver’s headcover and swivel it so it acts as a tripod. Clever and simple.

The Snap Cam Headcover.

Robert Thompson

Swinging robots:

RoboGolfPro: At a booth in the middle of the merchandise show sat the RoboGolfPro, with its electronic arms guiding students through swings. Not entirely new — the device was at last year’s show — the RoboGolfPro lets a trainer program it to allow a golfer to feel what the company says is the perfect golf swing by guiding the club while you hold it. There was a lineup every time I walked by, and there’s a RoboGolfPro at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. if you’d like to give the concept a try.

The RoboGolfPro.

Robert Thompson


Sep 16 2019

2 more firefights between Canadian forces and ISIS as critics warn of mission creep – National

WATCH ABOVE: Captain Paul Forget of the Royal Canadian Navy confirmed Monday that Canadian special forces have exchanged gunfire with ISIS members twice in the past week. Vassy Kapelos reports.

TORONTO – Canadian Forces exchanged fire with ISIS forces in “self-defence” in two more incidents since the last briefing on the country’s involvement in the mission against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Navy Captain Paul Forget said Monday that since last week’s event during which Canadian special forces returned fire “after being engaged” by ISIS, two similar events occurred.

“In both cases, Canadian special operations forces, again, acting in self-defense effectively returned fire, neutralizing the threat,” said Forget. “There were no injuries as a result of these engagements.”

WATCH ABOVE: Department of Defence updates the nation on anti-ISIS campaign

Forget emphasized the risk to Canadian special operations forces “remains low” but “does not mean no risk,” and said CF-18 jetfighters conducted 12 additional air strikes in support of Iraqi forces preparing to liberate Mosul, the country’s second largest city.

When asked by Global News reporter Vassy Kapelos if further exchanges of gunfire might indicate risk has indeed increased, Forget replied: “It’s not for me to speculate on that.”

WATCH ABOVE: NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson got into a heated exchange Monday in the House of Commons over reports that Canadian forces have twice in the past week engaged ISIS militants in direct combat

Opposition parties have expressed concern over what they believe is “mission creep” in Iraq, since the firefights were made public last week. The government maintains that was strictly in self-defence but Liberals and New Democrats see it as proof that the mission, which they opposed, has expanded.

With files from



  • Canadian special forces returned fire with ISIS in Iraq last week


Sep 16 2019

Wynne to meet election officials over claims of byelection misconduct

WATCH: Alan Carter reports that Premiere Wynne will meet with Elections Ontario about the misconduct claims during the Sudbury byelection.

TORONTO – Premier Kathleen Wynne and a senior Liberal official will meet with Elections Ontario this week in an investigation into claims of improper behaviour in a byelection.

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Wynne asked Andrew Olivier, the Liberals’ candidate in Sudbury, Ont., in last June’s general election, not to seek the nomination for the Feb. 5 byelection there because she had another preferred candidate.

Olivier has alleged that the Liberals offered him a job or appointment in exchange for his stepping aside for Glenn Thibeault, who left his job as an NDP MP to run for the provincial Liberals.

The Ontario New Democrats asked Elections Ontario to investigate, pointing to the Election Act, which makes it an offence to promise a job or appointment to induce a person to withdraw their candidacy.

This week, Elections Ontario will meet with Wynne and Ontario Liberal campaign director Pat Sorbara, the Liberal party said in a statement Monday.

Wynne said Monday she is “pleased” Elections Ontario is moving forward.

“We knew that there had been a request, we knew that there had been some concerns,” she said.

“We’ve been very clear about what the interaction was, that there were no specific offers made in requests for any specific action, that many of the allegations that have been made by the opposition parties are false and so I’m pleased that Elections Ontario is going to move ahead and get this dealt with.”

Olivier, who is quadriplegic and records conversations in lieu of taking notes, released audio of his talks with two Liberals, including Sorbara. Wynne has said she doesn’t know if her conversation with Olivier was recorded too, but if so, any audio would confirm what she has said all along, that they were encouraging Olivier to stay involved with the party, but no specific offers or commitments were made.

The Liberals say Olivier’s recordings vindicate them, as they were discussing ways Olivier could remain involved in the party or with accessibility work, but only after he was already told he wouldn’t be the candidate.

In one of the recordings he posted to YouTube, a man he identified as Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal and chairman of Sudbury’s police services board, says he is there on behalf of the premier to ask if he would consider stepping aside and nominating Thibeault, and telling Olivier they want to give him options “in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever.”

Lougheed is neither a government nor Liberal staff member and speaks for himself, the premier’s office has said.

In a statement to local media, Lougheed said that he does not have the authority to offer jobs and “at no time” did he promise Olivier a job or appointment if he stepped aside.

Sorbara called Olivier the next day and suggested Wynne had all but decided to appoint Thibeault as the candidate in favour of an open nomination race.

“We should have the broader discussion about what is it that you’d be most interested in doing, then decide what shape that could take that would fulfil that, is what I’m getting at, whether it’s a full-time or part-time job at a (constituency) office, whether it is appointments to boards or commissions, whether it is also going on the (party executive),” Sorbara said.

The Ontario Provincial Police concluded the Liberals did nothing criminal, but the force is reviewing new information since the recordings came to light.

Olivier is now running in the byelection as an independent.

The Sudbury seat was vacated in November by New Democrat Joe Cimino, who resigned after just five months as a member of provincial parliament. The seat was previously a long-held Liberal riding and Sorbara told Olivier the premier is desperate – “desperate in a good way” – to get it back.


Sep 16 2019

Former Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin seeking re-election as Progressive Conservative

EDMONTON – Independent MLA Joe Anglin has announced he’ll be seeking nomination to run for re-election as a Progressive Conservative. The Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA left the Wildrose last November and has sat as an independent since.

Anglin said he made the decision to run for the PCs after holding a number of town hall meetings, and listening to constituents.

The MLA also cited Premier Jim Prentice’s willingness to protect landowner rights as a key reason in his decision.

“The issue of Bill-36 still needs to be addressed. The province is also facing difficult economic times, and constituents have indicated to me they want someone with experience to represent them in the legislature,” Anglin said.

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READ MORE: Wildrose says Alberta bill to protect private property rights weak

When he left the Wildrose, Anglin said his decision was based on the party losing focus on its original mission of creating a true grassroots party. He added the party and its leadership were in crisis.

READ MORE: Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin leaves party to sit as an independent

Danielle Smith – Wildrose leader at the time – believed Anglin was secretly recording caucus meetings, although she admitted not having proof.

“There was some concern that whatever we said in full, frank discussion was potentially being recorded,” said Smith.

In December, Smith was one of nine Wildrose MLAs who crossed the floor to join the PCs. The defection left the Wildrose with five MLAs, the same number as the Liberals.

READ MORE: Wildrose leader, 8 others join Alberta’s PC party

At the time Anglin said he felt “like the pretty girl at the dance without a date,” implying he could determine who was the Official Opposition.

Despite the comment, he chose to stay independent. Anglin’s decision to now run as a PC creates the possibility that he and Smith will once again be members of the same party.

The nomination vote will be held on February 21. Earlier this month, PC party executive director Kelley Charlebois announced that the party struck a committee to oversee nominations and plans to have 35 nominated candidates in place by Feb. 21.

By law, Alberta is to hold an election during a three-month window in the spring of 2016, but Premier Jim Prentice hasn’t ruled out taking voters to the polls a year early.


Sep 16 2019

Saskatoon police investigating shooting, stabbing – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – Police have two separate, and unrelated, weapon investigations underway. The first involves a stabbing Sunday afternoon and the second a shooting Monday morning.

In the first investigation, Saskatoon police were called to the 700-block of 20th Street West around 5 p.m. Sunday for a report of an injured man. Officers found a 29-year-old man with stab wounds to his abdomen and right forearm.

He was taken to hospital by paramedics in stable condition.

READ MORE: Two charged in stolen semi-tractors investigation

The second investigation was launched after a man fired a shot at a residence in the 1000-block of Patrick Crescent around 7:45 a.m. Police say the man then fled in a white SUV.

Investigators believe both incidents are not random in nature.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



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Aug 16 2019

LIVE BLOG: Eastern U.S., Canada preparing for potentially dangerous blizzard

TORONTO – The eastern United States and Atlantic Canada are bracing for a potentially historic snowstorm.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents, “This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before. Don’t underestimate this storm. Prepare for the worst.”

READ MORE: Blizzard of 2015: ‘Potentially historic’ storm heads for U.S. Northeast; could impact Maritimes

Blizzard warnings have been issued across New York state, as well as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Maine.

Travel is being seriously impacted across the most populous area of the United States.

Boston’s Logan International Airport has cancelled flights leaving after 7 p.m. Monday, with no flights expected until late Wednesday.

The storm is expected to produce anywhere from 18 cm to 60 cm of snow along the eastern seaboard.

Blizzard warnings have been issued from New York City to Bangor, Maine with winter storm warnings (white) also issued. In Canada, blizzard warnings have been issued for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Global News

–with files from Global News and The Associated Press

Follow @NebulousNikki


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Aug 16 2019

Zero-tolerance towing policy will target out-of-province drivers ‘flouting the law’ – Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: Starting in February, drivers from outside Ontario with three or more unpaid parking tickets will be towed. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO- Mayor John Tory today announced Toronto’s zero-tolerance towing policy will be expanded to out-of-province offenders.

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Tory made the announcement Monday, and says habitual out-of-province offenders have been “selfishly blocking traffic” and “flouting the law.” He says the policy, to tow cars with three or more outstanding parking if found parked illegally, will now apply to everyone, both residents and visitors from outside the province.

Tory says it’s been a “long standing problem.” The city has little power in collecting outstanding fines from drivers with plates outside of Ontario. It does not have access to the information attached to plates and cannot enforce payment of tickets.

Tory says thousands of out-of-province vehicles get ticketed, but the majority go unpaid. He says some drivers have tickets “blowing in the wind like confetti.” He adds tow trucks will now await habitual offenders.

He says “We have to have zero tolerance to those who park illegally.”

WATCH: Toronto mayor John Tory announced Monday an expanded zero tolerance policy for out-of-province repeat parking offenders in the city.

The vehicles will be subject to a towing fee of approximately $200 plus daily storage fees of up to $80.

Tory says the policy will go into effect in February, after an education period by Toronto Police.

Traffic and road congestion appear to be the topic du jour at city hall.

Tory’s announcement comes as the budget committee discusses the proposed budget plan. It’s the first of four meetings, with the last on Thursday. The budget will be passed in March.

Meanwhile, city council is considering a $433-million plan that will chop the 20-year project to fix the crumbling Gardiner Expressway down to 12 years.

Tory’s towing announcement follows a week full of meetings and announcements regarding traffic and congestion.

The mayor chaired a second meeting with the road closures coordination committee. He announced children under 12 will ride the TTC free starting March 1, and everyone else will have to pay 10 cents more. A few days later, the executive committee approved another $1.65 million to study his flagship SmartTrack plan.

WATCH: Toronto mayor John Tory announced Monday an expanded zero tolerance policy for out-of-province repeat parking offenders in the city.

Tory ended the week at odds with the province’s finance minister, Charles Sousa.

Sousa said the city shouldn’t assume it will get financial help from the province.

Tory said he spoke to Premier Kathleen Wynne about the $86 million in funding, and not to Sousa.

TORONTO- Traffic and road congestion appears to be the topic du jour at city hall Monday morning with a “significant” announcement from Mayor John Tory.

Tory’s announcement comes as the budget committee discusses the proposed budget plan. It’s the first of four meetings, with the last on Thursday. The budget will be passed in March.

Meanwhile, city council is considering a $433-million plan that will chop the 20-year project to fix the crumbling Gardiner Expressway down to 12 years.

Tory’s announcement follows a week full of meetings and announcements regarding traffic and congestion.

Aug 16 2019

What to do if your flight is affected by the US Northeast blizzard

TORONTO – The “potentially historic” snowstorm heading for the U.S. Northeast and Canadian east coast Monday morning has more than 5,000 flights cancelled along the U.S. eastern seaboard. About 29 million people are under a blizzard warning from New Jersey to Massachusetts and into Maine, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. So what do you do if you’re supposed to be travelling (other than look to the skies and curse Mother Nature)?

Airlines are urging passengers to check for cancellations or delays, with many posting alerts on their sites. About 75 flights in and out of Toronto Pearson International Airport have been cancelled as a result of the approaching weather system. JetBlue, whose flights are largely in the Northeast, has already cancelled about a third of its entire schedule.

Scroll down for links to the numbers you need to change flights

Airlines had already cancelled 2,194 flights as of 8:30 a.m. Monday, according to FlightAware. More than 2,000 additional flights were scrapped for Tuesday, and the problem even impacted the snowbirds: In West Palm Beach, Florida, about 30 per cent of all flights were cancelled, with major cancellations also reported in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

The governor of Connecticut tweeted a travel ban would be in effect for the state as of 9 p.m. local time Monday night:

New Yorkers were urged to stay home Monday, with a warning from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that mass transit and major roadways could be closed before the evening rush hour. About half of all flights out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport were called off Monday; about 60 per cent of flights heading into the airport were scratched.

And Boston Logan International Airport has issued a winter weather advisory instructing passengers to check the status of their flights. It said there’d be no flights after 7 p.m. Monday and didn’t expect them to resume until late Wednesday. The airport provided phone numbers for each of the airlines that operate out of its facility here.

Air Canada:

You can check Air Canada’s travel alert section here, or sign up for its Flight Notification service to automatically receive alerts for delayed or cancelled flights on your cellphone. The airline tweeted change fees would be waived Jan. 26-28 for the U.S. East Coast and Jan. 27 for the Atlantic provinces.


WestJet has issued a travel advisory for New York, Halifax and Moncton due to the winter storm warning. You can check the status of your flight here or call  1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET) to make alternate flight arrangements without penalty. WestJet Vacations customers should contact 1-877-737-7001.


“When a customer books a flight through Expedia成都丝足,” said the company’s vice president and managing director, Sean Shannon, in a past interview with Global News. “The contractual obligation is between the ticket issuer (in this case, the airline) and the customer. As such, the customer is bound to the rules and regulations imposed by the airlines as they relate to flight delays and regulations. These conditions vary by airline.”

READ MORE: What are your rights as a passenger when it comes to flight delays?

In general:

There’s no legislation in Canada that airlines or travel companies legally have to do anything for you if a flight is delayed, but each airline has a “Contract of Carriage,” which must be on the company’s website. Passengers are advised to read it and check flight delay policies before booking.

If you feel that a carrier has not complied with its terms and conditions, a complaint can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. However, you first need to try and address the matter directly with the carrier. You can learn more about your flight rights on the Transport Canada website.

With files from Global News reporter Trish Kozicka and The Associated Press



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Aug 16 2019

WATCH: Kurdish fighters nearly push ISIS out of Kobani – National

BEIRUT – Kurdish fighters backed by intense U.S.-led airstrikes pushed the Islamic State group almost entirely out of the Syrian town of Kobani on Monday, marking a major loss for extremists whose hopes for easy victory dissolved into a bloody, costly siege that seems close to ending in defeat.

Story continues below



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Fighters raised a Kurdish flag on a hill in the border town near Turkey that once flew the Islamic State group’s black banner. It represents a key conquest both for the embattled Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition, whose American co-ordinator had predicted that the Islamic State group would “impale itself” on Kobani.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and senior Kurdish official Idriss Nassan said the Islamic State group had been nearly expelled, with some sporadic fighting on the eastern edges of the town.

“The Islamic State is on the verge of defeat,” said Nassan, speaking from Turkey near the Syrian border.

“Their defences have collapsed and its fighters have fled.”

In September, Islamic State fighters began capturing some 300 Kurdish villages near Kobani and thrust into the town itself, occupying nearly half of it. Tens of thousands of refugees spilled across the border into Turkey.

By October, Islamic State control of Kobani was so widespread that it even made a propaganda video from the town featuring a captive British photojournalist, John Cantlie, to convey its message that Islamic State fighters had pushed deep inside despite U.S.-led airstrikes.

READ MORE: ISIS captive John Cantlie in new video purportedly taken in Kobani

The town, whose capture would have given the jihadi group control of a border crossing with Turkey and open direct lines between its positions along the border, quickly became a centerpiece of the U.S.-led air campaign in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared it would be “morally very difficult” not to help Kobani.

The U.S.-led air assault began Sept. 23, with Kobani the target of about a half-dozen airstrikes on average each day, and often more. More than 80 per cent of all coalition airstrikes in Syria have been in or around the town. At one point in October, the U.S. air dropped bundles of weapons and medical supplies for Kurdish fighters – a first in the Syrian conflict.

Analysts, as well as Syrian and Kurdish activists, credit the air campaign and the arrival in October of heavily armed Kurdish peshmerga fighters from Iraq, who neutralized the Islamic State group’s artillery advantage, for bringing key areas of Kobani under Kurdish control.

Nassan said U.S.-led coalition strikes became more intense in the past few days, helping Kurdish fighters in their final push toward Islamic State group positions on the southern and eastern edges of the town.

The U.S. Central Command said Monday that it had carried out 17 airstrikes near Kobani over the last 24 hours that struck Islamic State group infrastructure and fighting positions.

Nassan said he was preparing to head into Kobani on Tuesday and expected the town to be fully free by then.

Gharib Hassou, a representative of Syria’s powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, based in Southern Kurdistan, said fighting was still going in “two or three streets,” adding that most of the militants withdrew to the town of Tal Abyad to the east.

“There are a lot of dead bodies … and they left some of the weapons,” he said. Kurdish fighters also suffered high casualties, he said, adding that more reinforcements will be sent to reinforce control over the town.

Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Observatory, said the Kurdish force was led by Mohammed Barkhadan, the Kobani commander of the main Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Barkhadan is a well-known militia leader among Kurds and in 2013 he led an offensive that ousted Islamic militants out of the northern Syrian town of Ras Ayn, Aburrahman said.

Since mid-September, the battle for Kobani has killed some 1,600 people, including 1,075 Islamic State group members, 459 Kurdish fighters and 32 civilians, the Observatory reported earlier this month. The Islamic State group, increasingly under pressure, has carried out more than 35 suicide attacks in Kobani in recent weeks, activists say.

Retired Marine Gen. John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group militants, in November predicted Kobani would be a defeat for the extremists.

The Islamic State group “has, in so many ways, impaled itself on Kobani,” he said in an interview in Ankara with the Turkish daily Milliyet.

Associated Press writers Bram Janssen in Irbil, Iraq, Umut Colak on the Syrian-Turkish border and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.


Aug 16 2019

Lower Sackville student dies after meningococcal meningitis diagnosis

HALIFAX – A high school student from Lower Sackville diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis last week has died.

Sackville High School confirmed in a news release on its website Monday morning that a Grade 10 student had died due to a serious illness.

Friends of the student have identified him as Rylee Sears in interviews and condolence messages on social media.

Capital Health confirmed a case of meningococcal meningitis last week and said it had called people who could have been in contact with the infected person, whom it did not identify, at a party the previous weekend. A letter was also sent home to parents of Sackville High students.

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The health authority has informed people who were potentially at risk to watch for symptoms until Jan. 27. It has also advised that although the illness is contagious, it can only be spread through direct contact with nasal or mouth fluids. Symptoms of meningitis present between two to 10 days after exposure, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“This type of meningococcal disease — in Nova Scotia, we see anywhere from no cases a year up to two to three cases a year for the entire province,” said Dr. Robin Taylor, the medical officer of health for Capital Health.

“So that gives you an idea of how rare it is.”

Taylor also says the risk to the public is low in this particular case. So far, they have interviewed more than 130 people who were in contact with Sears and have given some of them antibiotics.

“We know who has been exposed and we’re in contact with them and making sure they get antibiotics so we can break the train of transmission,” she said.

“So from this particular case, the risk to the wider community is no more than it would have been three weeks ago or is in the next couple of months.”

The flag at Sackville High flew at half-mast on Monday morning, as students trickled in and out of the school during exams.

Friends and classmates say the news of Sears’ death has hit them hard.

“As soon as I found out, I just started bawling my eyes out because I can just imagine his girlfriend too — she’s hurt too,” said fellow Grade 10 student Kaitlyn Rhyno.

Many spoke of Sears’ love of hockey and dedication to sports.

“[He was a] great guy. He was great at sports, athletics [and had] great qualities,” said Grade 10 student Kane Rick.

Sackville High is providing counselling services for students at the school and offering students the option of postponing exams, which began on Monday.

The Halifax Regional School Board posted a short video to YouTube in which it acknowledges the death of a student and urges people who might have been in contact with that student to alert Capital Health.

“We’re very saddened to hear about the passing of this student. Our condolences are with the family as well as the students and staff at Sackville High as they deal with this very difficult and unspeakable tragedy,” HRSB spokesman Doug Hadley told Global News.

With Global News files