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Sep 16 , 2019 / By :

WATCH: As Mike Armstrong reports, a coup in Yemen could open a new and dangerous chapter in the story of al-Qaeda.

SANAA, Yemen – Yemen’s powerful Shiite Houthi rebels shelled the residence of the country’s embattled president Tuesday and simultaneously swept into the presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa, as a top military commander warned that a full-fledged “coup” was underway.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was inside the residence as it came under “heavy shelling” for half an hour but he was unharmed and protected by guards, officials said. In New York, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting over the chaos in Sanaa.

The shelling was a dramatic development that put the U.S.-backed Hadi into a precarious position and represented the starkest challenge to his authority since the Houthis swept into Sanaa from their northern stronghold and seized the capital in September.

WATCH: Raw video shows the devastation of the aftermath of intense fighting in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

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Information Minister Nadia al-Sakkaf posted on her 桑拿会所 account that the shelling started at 3 p.m. local time “by armed forces positioned over rooftops facing” the president’s house.

READ MORE: Canadian consulate in Yemen still operating amid chaos in capital

At the same time, Houthi rebels also raided the president’s offices, sweeping into the presidential palace and looting the grounds’ arms depots, according to Col. Saleh al-Jamalani, the commander of the Presidential Protection Force that guards the palace.

“This is a coup. There is no other word to describe what is happening but a coup,” al-Jamalani told The Associated Press, adding that the rebels were likely aided by insiders.

In a starkly different narrative, the Houthis’ TV network al-Masseria claimed the rebels intercepted and foiled attempts by an unspecified group to loot weapons from the presidential palace.

The escalation shattered a tense ceasefire that had held overnight and throughout the morning, following Monday’s heavy clashes that engulfed the city, leaving ordinary Yemenis stunned and fearing for their country.

WATCH: The U.N. Secretary-General said he had grave concerns over the situation in Yemen Tuesday.

The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the “deteriorating situation” in Yemen and urged all sides to cease hostilities.

The latest spasm of violence followed apparently unsuccessful negotiations earlier in the day between Hadi and a representative of the Houthis at his residence.

Also earlier Tuesday, Houthi fighters roamed the streets on foot and in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns, manned checkpoints across Sanaa and near the prime minister’s residence, and beefed up their presence around other key building, including the intelligence headquarters.

READ MORE: Shiite gunmen kidnap Yemen president’s chief of staff

The show of force came after they seized control of state media in Sanaa and clashed with Yemeni soldiers near the presidential palace on Monday. Heavy machine-gun fire and artillery shells struck around the presidential palace and sent civilians fleeing as columns of black smoke rose and sirens wailed throughout the city.

Monday’s violence left at least nine people dead and 67 were wounded, Yemen’s deputy health minister, Nasser Baoum, said, while both Houthis and Hadi’s forces blamed each other for the outbreak.

Houthis’ power grab has been long anticipated and analysts say they are only “finishing the job” they began in September.

“What is happening now is just one more step toward (the Houthis’) consolidation of power,” said Abdel-Bari Taher, a veteran Yemeni journalist and writer.

Tuesday’s negotiations at Hadi’s residence focused on the shake-up of an 85-member commission tasked with coming up with the outline of Yemen’s future federation, as stated in the draft constitution, Cabinet spokesman Rageh Badi said.

Reforming the commission has long been overdue and was part of a U.N.-brokered peace deal following the Houthis’ capture of Sanaa.

The Houthis accuse Hadi of violating that deal by calling in the current members of the commission to a meeting days ago, prompting the rebels to retaliate and abduct his top aide, Ahmed bin Mubarak, and setting the wheels in motion for the latest violence.

But one of Hadi’s advisers, Yassin Mekkawi, claimed a “deal” to resolve the violence had been struck during the talks at the president’s residence and that it would be announced later Tuesday. He declined to elaborate.

READ MORE: Is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula trying to overshadow ISIS?

The weakening of Hadi, a top U.S. ally, also undermines efforts by America and its allies to battle al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, which claimed responsibility for the attack on a Paris satirical magazine earlier this month. Washington has long viewed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the Yemeni branch is known, as the global terror network’s most dangerous affiliate.

The Houthis’ blitz in Sanaa and expansionist aspirations in central Yemen, where Sunni tribesmen dominate, also threatens to transform the current conflict into a sharply sectarian one, pitting Sunnis against Shiites. Al-Qaeda in Yemen, which has waged deadly attacks targeting both the Houthis and Hadi’s forces, stands to benefit.

The Houthis are also seen by their critics as a proxy of Shiite Iran and are believed to be allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades before he was ousted in 2012 after Arab Spring protests. The rebels deny any Iran links.

Suspected al-Qaeda militants on Tuesday tried to assassinate a top army commander in the southern Hadramawt province, killing five of his guards in the attack, military officials said.

The militants set off explosives, hurling them at the commander’s convoy, then opened gunfire but the commander managed to escape unharmed, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

©2015

Sep 16 , 2019 / By :

Imagine looking through your back window and seeing this barreling towards you.

That was the case for one driver on Interstate 95 in New Jersey this past Sunday morning – and he managed to record the entire hair-raising incident.

Rain “flash-freezing” on roads and sidewalks left an icy glaze under feet and tires across much of the northeastern U.S., causing crashes that claimed at least five lives.

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“This is the worst type of winter precipitation to combat, because it can freeze instantly and it doesn’t need to be the whole pavement for vehicles crossing it to have problems,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Eugene Blaum said.

From  Maryland  to New Hampshire, more than 5,000 accidents were reported due to black ice.

READ MORE: Man walks away from crash after being pancaked between trucks

However, it could have been 5,001 if not for an incredible bit of timing, luck, or both.

The amateur video shows a driver pulled over on I-95 near New Brunswick, New Jersey, halted by another black ice-induced accident in front of him.

He turns his camera round to shoot out his back window – just in time to capture a tractor trailer lose control at high speed, and barrel straight towards him.

It’s a hair-raising moment to be sure, as the out-of-control semi slams into the highway divider at high speeds, jackknifes its double load, yet somehow avoids slamming into the back of the car by mere inches.

-With files from the Associated Press

READ MORE: 1 dead, 1 injured when highway overpass collapses in Cincinnati

©2015

Sep 16 , 2019 / By :

TORONTO – The founder and chief executive of GoodLife Fitness says his company will look at Target Canada store locations as part of its growth strategy.

In a statement issued by fitness club chain, David (Patch) Patchell-Evans thinks the stores would be “spacious and convenient locations.”

He noted GoodLife acquired 12 former Eaton’s stores in 1999, when the one-time giant of the Canadian retail industry was wound up.

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GoodLife, a private company based in London, Ont., says it’s aiming to have 400 fitness clubs by the end of 2015, up from about 350 this spring.

MORE: Get ready for more Walmarts, Canada

Target Canada has been operating under court supervision since last week, when its U.S. parent decided to close all 133 locations in this country.

The locations are mostly former Zellers stores that were acquired from Hudson’s Bay Co.

Target will work with a court-appointed monitor as it winds up its Canadian business, which launched in March 2013. The Target Canada business will continue to operate for a time, but major decisions, such as the sale of its major assets, will require approval from the Ontario Superior Court.

“When considering a business to take over some of the Target locations, GoodLife is a perfect partner because of our long-term success and our experience with this type of location,” Patchell-Evans said in the statement.

Sep 16 , 2019 / By :

WATCH ABOVE: 16×9’s full episode on PTSD and first responders “In Harm’s Way”

Following 16×9’s powerful story on the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) crisis among Canadian first responders, viewers got the chance to join three experts Monday for an online chat to ask questions and share their own experiences.

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Global News producer Brennan Leffler was joined by Vince Savoia from the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, RCMP Sgt. Jag Soin, and Dr. Jeff Morley, a psychologist and recently retired member of the RCMP, for a live chat on the struggles associated with PTSD that have led to more than 30 first responders taking their own lives since April 2014.

READ MORE: The PTSD crisis among Canada’s first responders

From firefighters in Quebec to emergency dispatchers in Alberta, viewers from across Canada shared their stories that often touched on the stigma associated with PTSD in the workplace.

“Been suffering PTSD for 4 years, very strongly relate to these stories,” said one reader. “Doctors gave me diagnoses around the problem (depressive disorder, alcohol addiction, non-specific psychosis). PTSD is just too much for so many to accept, and there are too many suffering with it, and it’s just too costly to deal with. So I’m on disability, but there is no help. Severe trauma is what it is and it does real damage to real human beings.”

Morley, who was featured on 16×9, is a psychologist who sees many first responders dealing with PTSD and said changing work place culture attitudes towards PTSD and mental health is one of the “hardest parts.”

“Resourcing levels and toxic workplaces only amplify impact of traumatic stressors on first responders,” said Morley.

WATCH: An extended interview with Sgt. Jag Soin

Wayne Easter, who is the director for both the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Many to One PTSD Support Foundation, said he has seen first-hand how serious PTSD is within the emergency services community.

“Having almost lost a very close friend to PTSD had it not been for taking the time to get them to talk, we all need to take a much bigger part in recognizing this disorder and assisting those with it be it initial diagnosis or assisting them with support afterwards,” said Easter.

In Edmonton, veteran paramedic Greg Turner was laid to rest Saturday after taking his own life while on the job the morning of Jan. 26.

READ MORE: ‘Depression made that choice’: Wife of Edmonton paramedic who took his own life

Currently Alberta is the only province where workplace insurance coverage is presumptive for PTSD, meaning the diagnosis alone is sufficient to make a claim.

“The key is to get PTSD recognized as an occupational disease,” said a viewer identified as Peter. “In Ontario it is an outdated system that does not recognize PTSD when it is cumulative versus an acute incident. Almost everyone I have heard that applies under the cumulative policy is denied and has to appeal as I am doing.”

“We know the work has risk and that it takes a toll,” Morley told Global News. “So when a first responder comes forward, overcomes their own stigma and fear to say ‘help’… I think we need to presume that it’s legit.”

Sgt. Jag Soin, who has served more than 20 years with the RCMP, shared his traumatic story with 16×9 about responding to a domestic disturbance incident in 2001 in northern Labrador that quickly escalated when he and his partner were doused with gasoline and set on fire.

READ MORE: 6 months, 23 first responder suicides – what are we doing to help? 

“The last thought that came through my mind, I thought this is it. I am never going to see my son again,” said Soin.

His is still recovering from the incident 13 years later. The haunting memory of the incident has led to nightmares and self-medication involving alcohol, all while keeping silent.

Morely said Soin’s story is a common one, as responders will hesitate to speak with someone if they know their information will be shared with their employer.

“Responders won’t talk openly with a psychologist if they know [the] psychologist [is] required to send a report to their employer detailing their issues,” he said. “Worried this [will be] used against them.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg firefighter trapped in fatal 2007 blaze still battles PTSD

One viewer pointed out emergency dispatchers who often field hundreds of traumatic calls are left out of the PTSD conversation.

“I am an EMS dispatcher in Ontario. The dispatchers are all too often forgotten, but we too suffer PTSD. I have PTSD and if it weren’t for my faith and perseverance in getting help for myself, I wouldn’t be here today,” said a viewer identified as “EMD.”

Morely said while talking about the PTSD crisis is essential it’s also important to recognize how resilient first responders are.

“People can get PTSD from a single traumatic event,” he said. “Most first responders are exposed to dozens if not hundreds over the course of a career, and overall cope quite well. People can both have PTSD and be resilient. Yes, PTSD is a significant issue, but we need to honour how resilient first responders are – even those struggling with PTSD.”

Below is the full live blog featuring Global’s Brennan Leffler, Vince Savoia, RCMP Sgt. Jag Soin and Dr. Jeff Morley.

©2015

Sep 16 , 2019 / By :

CROSS LAKE, Man. – Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger is apologizing to aboriginal communities for the damage hydro-electric development has done to their traditional land, way of life and cultural identity.

In a speech to the Cross Lake First Nation on Tuesday, Selinger said hydro development has changed water levels affecting everything from transportation and water quality to hunting and trapping.

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“The effects are more than just those on land and water and on plants and animals,” Selinger told about 200 gathered for what the community called a day of reconciliation. “We recognize that hydro development can affect the cultural identities of aboriginal peoples because of the close relationship of aboriginal peoples to the land and resources.

“Looking back on what has happened and on the effects on aboriginal communities in Manitoba, I wish now on behalf of the government of Manitoba to express my sincere apology to aboriginal people affected by hydro development.”

Agreements have been reached with many First Nations to address the effects, Selinger said. The province and Manitoba Hydro are committed to continuing to work respectfully with aboriginal people, he added.

Selinger agreed to visit Cross Lake following a six-week occupation of the Jenpeg generating station last fall. Protesters had said they wouldn’t leave the grounds of the dam until they received a personal apology from the premier.

The occupation ended in November with an agreement to negotiate the First Nation’s concerns over revenue-sharing, environmental cleanup and help with residential electricity bills that hover around $600 a month in the winter.

Chief Catherine Merrick told the gathering that hydro development in the area has forced people to move and disturbed graves along the lakeshore. People have also “died as a result of dangerous ice and floating debris caused by Jenpeg,” she said.

“The hydro project has also contributed to mass unemployment and mass poverty for our people. It has piled on top of the other difficulties we have faced,” she said.

“It is not possible to capture in words the damage done. Much of the harm is irreparable. It has forever changed our ways of life and our health.

Merrick said nothing can truly replace what has been lost.

“That is a bitter reality we must live with. All we can do is stand here today to let out the grief and to heal our nation. Mr. Premier, you have contributed to that healing today.”

Hundreds of protesters from the First Nation north of Lake Winnipeg marched to the hydro dam on Oct. 16. The generating station continued to operate during the occupation, but protesters wouldn’t let anyone in or out.

The band signed an agreement in 1977 after the Jenpeg dam was built, but Merrick said their traditional lands are regularly transformed into a floodway and none of the promised economic development and employment programs materialized.

During the occupation, Selinger was sympathetic and said protesters have some long-standing concerns that need to be addressed. But his apology is only the beginning of reconciliation, Merrick said.

“The apology does not fix the past. It does not even fix the present,” she said. “Our lands, waters and resources are still a mess. Our people still lack a fair share of the opportunity generated by the river. Our people still have to face debilitating hydro bills.”

Jenpeg is about 525 kilometres north of Winnipeg and is key in Manitoba Hydro’s northern electricity generation. The dam helps regulate the level of Lake Winnipeg, which has become swollen in recent years due to flooding. It also acts as a reservoir for other northern generating stations.

— By Chinta Puxley in Winnipeg

©2015

Aug 16 , 2019 / By :

WATCH ABOVE: When you call for an ambulance, you expect a quick response. But, several paramedics say a failed system is making patients wait. Kendra Slugoski reports.

EDMONTON – Desperate for change, paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are speaking out about their frustration on the front lines.

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“I’ve had to explain to families why it took us a half hour, 45 minutes to get to their side when they’re crying for help,” says ‘Mike’ a rural EMT. Afraid of losing his job, Global News has agreed to protect his identity.

“When the odds are so significantly stacked against you, when you’re not protecting the community you chose to work in because you’re somewhere else and tragedy strikes, you begin to lose hope,” Mike writes in a blog post.

READ MORE: Code Red – A blog from one ‘utterly frustrated EMT’ 

Alberta Health Services took over the ambulance fleet in 2009 and developed a borderless system. It allows dispatch to pull ambulances and their crews outside of the city into the metro areas.

“We often refer to Edmonton as the vortex. Once you’re in, good luck getting out.”

Mike says he is often dispatched to drive patients to Edmonton for non-emergency transfers. Once in the hospital, he must stay with that patient until a bed is available. Many of his days are spent sitting and waiting.

Mike has also been called to different counties because their ambulance crews are tied up in the city.

“So now you’re getting these holes in the province where there’s no EMS coverage whatsoever. On multiple occasions, I’ve been the only ambulance available in a 100 kilometre radius.”

READ MORE: Code Red Part 1 – Paramedics warn of lengthening response times 

In 2012, 11 paramedics put their livelihoods on the line and spoke to Global News about long waits in hospital emergency rooms, as well as a lack of ambulances on the road.

Our award-winning Code Red series prompted the health minister to promise more resources and more paramedics.

Three years later, many other paramedics say nothing has changed.

One of those paramedics is a 40-year veteran. George Porter now works in southern Alberta, but has spent time in cities and towns across the province.

AHS does not have response time benchmarks, but Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck says times have remained consistent.

“I challenge that,” says Porter, who explains he has expressed concern to management and a previous Health Minister. Porter says rural crews are constantly being called for inter-facility transfers and are basically being treated like taxi drivers.

“A huge percentage of the transfers we’re doing don’t need to be in an ambulance. They need a ride.”

But Alberta’s top paramedic says it comes down to geography.

Sandbeck says Alberta is a big province and an ambulance can’t be everywhere quickly. AHS maintains the borderless system is a better use of resources.

“I believe every Albertan would like to know they’re going to get the closest ambulance and that’s what our deployment model does.”

GRAPHIC: The maps below Alberta Health Services’ zones and the regions and the populations of those regions (as of 2011 AHS records).

Paramedics and EMTs say once they arrive in big city hospitals, they are waiting hours to release a patient.

According to one Edmonton paramedic, it’s not unusual to spend an entire shift in the emergency room and sometimes staff even trade off.

“They take over patient care there, they’re stuck there their entire shift and another paramedic relieves them.”

A Calgary paramedic says patients should also be alarmed.

“They should be absolutely concerned — people in the metro areas, people in the big cities for sure. Their hospitals are back-logged, ambulances are not available.”

AHS says it has tried to reduce hospital times for EMS crews, but says it hasn’t had a lot of success. A pilot project was launched at two Edmonton hospitals to free up space in emergency rooms, and allow ambulance crews to get back on the road.

READ MORE: AHS pilot project aims to cut ER wait times, get more ambulances on the road 

Porter says the solution is simple: non-emergency transfers should not take priority over emergency coverage.

“I don’t get it. I haven’t got it from day one and I still don’t get it, why we’re in this situation five years after the fact.”

Aug 16 , 2019 / By :

One Texas cop has put the would-be husbands of the world on notice with this elaborate (and incredibly cute) proposal.

Galveston Police officer Gregory Parris enlisted the help of his fellow officers to help him pop the question to his longtime girlfriend Sara Wolff.

Here’s how it went down: Galveston police officers pulled over Wolff in what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, ostensibly because she had a busted tail light.

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Meanwhile, officer Parris was watching from a nearby squad car, ring in hand. And despite being a veteran of many a traffic stop, he admits this particular one was different.

“That day I was very nervous,” officer Parris told KHOU News in Houston.

Dash cam footage captured the entire exchange, as the officer who pulled Wolff over told her she had several outstanding warrants.

A second police officer is called to the scene, and Wolff begins to cry as she asks what she could have done to possibly merit this kind of response.

But dread soon turns to delight as Officer Parris makes his move, walking over to his shock girlfriend, dropping down on one knee, and asking the question.

No, not “Do you know how fast you were going?”

“He said Sarah Jane Wolff will you be my wife,” said Wolff.

Thankfully, she immediately said yes.

“She might have gone to jail otherwise,” Officer Parris joked afterwards.

Wolff said she was beyond impressed by her husband-to-be’s elaborate proposal.

“I can’t imagine being proposed to any better than that,” said Wolff. “It was perfect for us.”

©2015

Aug 16 , 2019 / By :

LINCOLN, Neb. – The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline took its first steps in Nebraska on Tuesday since the state’s high court removed a major legal barrier for the planned route.

Officials with TransCanada said they’ve filed paperwork in nine counties to acquire access to the remaining land that’s needed to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline. The two-year window for TransCanada to invoke eminent domain in Nebraska closes Thursday.

The pathway could still face legal challenges in Nebraska. Opponents have sued to try to prevent the Calgary, Alberta-based company from using eminent domain and to overturn the state pipeline-siting law that allowed ex-Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route in 2013.

The pipeline would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines headed for Gulf Coast refineries.

VIDEO: Senators insist they aren’t anti-Canadian by proposing pipeline amendments

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By law, TransCanada can use the courts to force Nebraska landowners to sell access to their land. Company officials say they still need to acquire 12 per cent of the total land easements from Nebraska landowners who have not yet reached a deal with the company. Some holdouts have said they won’t negotiate no matter how much TransCanada offers.

TransCanada’s Keystone projects land manager, Andrew Craig, said the company will continue to work to acquire easements voluntarily. Craig said eminent domain proceedings traditionally take about six months.

The company has acquired 100 per cent of the private landowner easements in Montana and South Dakota, Craig said.

“This is all we have left,” Craig told The Associated Press. “… We think 88 per cent voluntarily agreements in the last two years is a substantial success.”

VIDEO: Senator doesn’t believe Canada should be the only economic beneficiary

Pipeline opponents argue that many of the landowners in Montana and South Dakota were “bullied” early in the process and told they had no other option.

“Farmers and ranchers have the grit and stomach to prevent TransCanada from polluting our water. Landowners will match TransCanada’s lawsuits in local courts and continue to take our fight to the one person who can put an end to all of this: President Obama,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of pipeline opposition group Bold Nebraska.

President Barack Obama has downplayed the project’s benefits, and the White House has publicly threatened to veto legislation in Congress that would fast-track the project.

Environmentalists and other pipeline opponents argue that any leaks could contaminate water sources and the project would increase air pollution around refineries and harm wildlife. Supporters, including state and national Republicans and oil industry members, say those fears are exaggerated and argue that the pipeline would create jobs and ease the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

At least 70 per cent of the Nebraska landowners have signed agreements, Craig said, and he expects the company will sign agreements with at least half of the remaining landowners without having to use eminent domain.

In the two lawsuits filed last week – which could delay the entire 1,179-mile Canada-to-Nebraska project – seven landowners in Holt and York counties said they’ve received written warning that pipeline developer intends to initiate eminent domain proceedings.

Those still willing to negotiate mostly have concerns about compensation and restoration of native grasslands that could take three to five years to regrow, Craig said.

©2015

Aug 16 , 2019 / By :

EDMONTON – Things continue to look up for the Edmonton International Airport, which saw 8.2 million passengers in 2014, breaking the previous record set in 2013.

Travel to the United States went up 8.5 per cent in 2014, while international travel grew 13.1 per cent. It was also a big year for new airlines and routes out of EIA.

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Icelandair began year-round service to Reykjavik in the spring, adding additional flights during the summer.

American Airlines began service to Dallas-Fort Worth in April, and in October added a non-stop flight to Los Angeles.

In November, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced new non-stop passenger and cargo service to Amsterdam, beginning in May 2015.

“Adding three major international air carriers is a great show of confidence that opens new destinations for leisure travellers, and new opportunities for business,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO.

The airport’s two largest carriers – Air Canada and WestJet – increased overall seat capacity.

There was also much fanfare when the world’s largest aircraft – the Antonov An-225 – landed at the airport in June.

WATCH: The An-225 lands at the Edmonton International Airport, live on the Morning News. 

Cargo services grew for the fifth year in a row, with over 370,000 square feet of new facilities announced or completed. Three major freight carriers –  Cargojet, DHL and FedEx – all began flying larger planes into EIA to accommodate higher volumes and larger shipments.

EIA said commercial development was also strong, with over $330 million spent or committed in private investment. The Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel opened and a second Shell Aerocentre was built. Canadian North also announced a new pilot training centre, housing a Boeing 737 flight simulator.

“With outstanding support from our community, from our passengers, and from our business partners, 2014 has been another great year for Edmonton International Airport,” said Mr. Ruth.

The Edmonton International Airport has been Canada’s fastest-growing major airport for the past 10 years and the fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic.

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Aug 16 , 2019 / By :

TORONTO – The French satirical magazine at the centre of this month’s deadly terror attacks in Paris has launched an app as worldwide demand for its latest issue grows.

The Charlie Hebdo app is illustrated with the current cover of the magazine, which features the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign reading, “Je suis Charlie” – the phrase of support that has become synonymous with the attacks.

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“Because a pencil will always be better than barbarity… Because freedom is a universal right… Use the official app to read Charlie Hebdo and to support us by buying the latest issue,” the app’s description reads.

The magazine has been struggling to keep up with demand for the issue; the first since the deadly shooting which killed 12 people, including many of the magazine’s editorial staff.

Copies of the issue have sold for as much as $680 on eBay.

The Charlie Hebdo app is available for Android, Windows Phone and Apple’s iOS platform.

However, Apple’s decision to approve the app stands in stark contrast to its previous opinion on satirical and controversial content.

READ MORE: ‘Je Suis Charlie’ app approved in 1 hour after developers contacted Apple CEO

In 2010, the tech giant banned apps from many editorial cartoonists for breaching its policy against “ridiculing public figures.” Stephane Charbonnier, the Charlie Hebdo editor who died in the attack, publically criticized Apple’s stance on satirical cartoons.

Apple later changed its stance on satirical comedy.

Charlie Hebdo’s cover has sparked protests in several Muslim cities, as many believe the caricature is an insult to Islam.

Protesters have been rallying against the magazine for days in Afghanistan – chanting “Death to France,” burning French flags and demanding the French Embassy in Kabul be shut down.

When it comes to religious content, Apple’s app guidelines state, “Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.”

However, the guidelines now specify that “professional political satirists and humorists” are exempt from these rules.

The app itself is free, but users have to purchase the magazine via an in-app purchase for CAD$3.49. Currently the issue is available in French, English and Spanish.

©2015