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Austria fears for top climbers missing in Canada

Austria fears for top climbers missing in CanadaBERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with the friends and families of two of the country's best-known climbers missing and feared dead in Canada along with an American alpinist following an avalanche.David Lama und Hansjörg Auer have been missing in Alberta's Banff National Park since Wednesday together with American climber Jess Roskelley. Their sponsor, outdoor apparel company The North Face, said the three members of its Global Athlete Team are presumed dead.Kurz said Lama and Auer had "shaped the international climbing and alpinist scene in recent years with many achievements."Lama, 28, was feted for achieving the first free ascent in 2012 of the Compressor Route of the Cerro Torre, one of the most striking peaks in the Andes. The feat was captured in the 2013 documentary "Cerro Torre - A Snowball's Chance in Hell."The son of a Nepalese mountain guide and an Austrian woman, Lama had also won numerous climbing competitions in his younger years before devoting himself full-time to mountaineering in 2011.Auer, 35, became the first person to free solo climb Italy's Marmolada peak via the south face in 2007.Parks Canada said the three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway on Wednesday.Officials said safety specialists immediately responded by air and observed signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment.Roskelley climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20. At the time he was the youngest American to climb the world's highest peak.His father, John Roskelley, told The Spokesman-Review, that the route his son and the other climbers were attempting was first done in 2000.In the 2013 documentary, Lama addressed the constant peril extreme climbers are exposed to, insisting that the risks were carefully calculated — more like a game of poker than Russian roulette."I think it's important to be aware of the risks, but in the end there will always be things that are out of our hands," he said.Frank Jordans, The Associated Press


Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with waterQuebec's history, mythology and culture are intertwined with its rivers and lakes, but recurring floods that experts say will only get worse because of climate change are forcing Quebecers and their political leaders to rethink their relationship with water. In 17th century New France, land was distributed to settlers in long, rectangular strips with access to the river. More than 300 years later, Quebec entered its modern era in large part through the development of its massive hydro-electric potential. Alexandrine Bisaillon, a researcher with the climate change think tank Ouranos, said the province was founded on the belief that water can be controlled.


As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle's Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle's Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some supportVANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana prohibition where activists smoked weed in public, boldly defying what they considered an unjust law.But as Vancouver's 4-20 and Seattle's Hempfest grew into large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and tens of thousands of attendees, the Canadian event has drawn scorn and opposition from elected officials, while American politicians have tolerated and even supported the gathering. Seattle's more permissive approach could be a model for Vancouver, given that marijuana is legal now and there are no signs of 4-20 winding down, said Park Board Commissioner John Irwin."My approach is that we permit it. Logically, I think that takes some of the protest steam out of the event," he said. "The other issue I have with not permitting it is you don't have as much control in the negotiations that occur. You can't set parameters."Irwin's board colleagues have refused to issue a permit, citing costs, damage and safety concerns. But the city and police have not swooped in to shut down 4-20 either, instead they are taking steps to maintain public safety during the massive gathering expected Saturday at Sunset Beach.In Seattle, Hempfest has grown to a three-day protest festival, or "protestival," drawing large crowds to a 2.5-kilometre stretch of waterfront in Myrtle Edwards Park. Past speakers have included actor Woody Harrelson, former U.S. congressmen Dana Rohrbacher and Dennis Kucinich and various Seattle mayors and councillors.The event has received a city permit every year since 1995, said Vivian McPeak, executive director of Hempfest. Obtaining a permit is no easy feat — it takes all year and involves numerous meetings and many pages of plans that need to be approved by various city departments, he noted.But McPeak said Hempfest has won support with its "safety first" approach. It rents extra automated external defibrillators in case anyone suffers cardiac arrest, employs its own trained safety patrol and security, aggressively prevents sales of cannabis at the event and doesn't allow anyone to bring in alcohol, he said."It's been about attention to detail. We've had to tangle with the city a couple times in the course of 27 years. It's our 28th year and sometimes we don't agree on things," McPeak said. "But over the years, we've gained a lot of respect for all the people in the city departments that we work with."Seattle Coun. Lisa Herbold spoke at the event as a candidate in 2015. She said the city's voters have long supported loosening the laws around cannabis, as they passed an initiative way back in 2003 that made pot possession the lowest police priority."Hempfest has always been considered a free-speech event focused on the ending the criminalization of cannabis users, supported by some prior administrations, several council members, and most importantly, the voting public," she said.Jodie Emery, a spokeswoman for 4-20, said she constantly points to Hempfest as a perfect example of what can be achieved by cities. However, she added that the Vancouver event has previously received some political support — former NDP MP Libby Davies spoke at a past 4-20, for example."In Vancouver, we've not really had this much vitriol in years," Emery said.Police have said the 25th annual event, featuring vendors selling marijuana, baked edibles and drug paraphernalia, is expected to be a big draw because of a concert by California hip-hop group Cypress Hill.Providence Health Care said in a statement that 40 people, including four under 18 years old, were treated in the ER at St. Paul's Hospital during last year's 4-20 event. Those figures were down from previous events, the statement said.Emery said 4-20 is a "permitted event in all but name," in which organizers work closely with park board and city staff. Organizers pay for security and toilets and there are paramedics and first aid stations on site, she said.Last year, the event cost the city $237,356, of which organizers repaid $63,201. Emery said they did not repay the remaining amount because it represents policing costs and she believes no public event should be forced to pay an "astronomical" policing bill.Unlike the Pride Parade and Celebration of Light fireworks show, 4-20 does not receive subsidies from the city, Emery added.Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he wants to see the event transform into more of a festival that would attract visitors."What I would really like to see is to get it to a (permit-ready) status, where we could make this work in a way that moves it away from the confrontational protest type of vibe to a celebration and actually trying to build the industry here in Vancouver," he said in an interview."I think that the legalization of cannabis can be a huge economic benefit to our city."Hempfest commissioned a University of Washington professor to conduct an economic study in 2014, which found that about half of the festival's approximately 120,000 attendees were from outside of the county and that patrons spent $7.1 million in the area.Park Board Commissioner John Coupar, who opposes permitting 4-20, said Vancouver has held cannabis trade shows and other events."I have no objection to cannabis per se. For me, it's around smoking in the park and it's taking over the whole park without consideration for everybody else who wants to use that park," he said."My job is to really preserve and protect parks as a commissioner and that's what I'm trying to do."Laura Kane, The Canadian Press


Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragmentsBelmont Meat Products is recalling its Kirkland Signature brand Harvest Burger - Gourmet Blend - Veggie Burgers due to the possible presence of pieces of metal in the products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the burgers were sold in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and possibly other provinces. The recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019.


CNOOC Petroleum North America fined $450,000 for blast that killed two workers

CNOOC Petroleum North America fined $450,000 for blast that killed two workersFORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The company formerly known as Nexen Energy has been fined $450,000 after pleading guilty to charges in the deaths of two oilsands workers in northern Alberta.The two men died from an explosion at the Long Lake facility near Anzac on Jan. 15, 2016.Drew Foster, 52, of Niagara Falls, Ont., was pronounced dead at the scene and David Williams, 30, of Scotchtown, N.S., later died in hospital.Nexen Energy was charged in 2017 with workplace offences under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act.Some of the charges related to ensuring a compressor was properly serviced and that staff in charge of the machine had read its operating manual and safety rules.The company, which is now called CNOOC Petroleum North America, pleaded guilty in Fort McMurray provincial court to failing to ensure the health and safety of the men.Quinn Wilson, CEO of the company, said it has been working on its safety practices to make sure that something similar never happens again."Drew Foster, David Williams were strong contributors to our company. They were valued and they were working overtime to help us," he said Thursday outside court."As an operator we take full responsibility for what happened to those two men that day."Court heard 16 victim impact statements from family members and a friend of the men.Tracy Foster, Drew's widow, told the court about the events that led up to the explosion, including her husband’s decision to become a millwright and move across the country."Drew was the rock of our family. No amount of time will heal what we've lost," she said.Crown prosecutor Alana Elliot read a statement from Dave Williams' mother, who wrote that her living room has become a shrine to her late son.Williams' father, Michael, wrote that he sometimes visits the cemetery several times a day."Day after day. Surgery after surgery for 10 days we hoped and prayed David would be able to fight this, but the condition worsened."Other charges related to their deaths were withdrawn. (CJOK, The Canadian Press) The Canadian Press


Friday 19th of April 2019 01:17:28

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