Archive for August, 2019

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


  • Heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions for Maritimes, forecasters warn

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

  • U.S. blizzard expected to make its way to the Maritimes



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



  • U.S. blizzard expected to make its way to the Maritimes

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

  • Airlines cancel thousands of flights ahead of Northeast snow


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.

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  • Syrian border town Kobani turned ghost town after months of fighting

  • Coalition aircraft strike targets in Syria-Turkey border town Kobani

  • Islamic State group losing ground in symbolic Kobani battle

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