Archive for: ‘May 2019’

Macleod Trail divergent diamond interchange project hits major milestone

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

City officials are celebrating the completion of a major milestone in an innovative new interchange that will be unlike anything Calgarians have ever seen.

Calgary’s first-ever divergent diamond interchange will be located at Macleod Trail and 162 Avenue South.

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  • Calgary to construct innovative interchange on Macleod Trail

    A diverging diamond interchange (DDI) is designed in such a way that the two directions of traffic on 162 Avenue will briefly cross to the opposite side of each other on bridges over Macleod Trail. This allows for more effective traffic flow at the signalized intersections within the interchange, and for left-turning vehicles to proceed without crossing opposing traffic.

    READ MORE: Calgary to construct innovative interchange on Macleod Trail

    On Friday, the City of Calgary will mark the opening of the south side overpass bridge detour, which – because of the removal of traffic lights on Macleod Trail – will result in the free flow of traffic at that location.

    The completed south side overpass will handle both east and west traffic over the next 12 months while crews construct the north-side overpass. It officially opens on the weekend.

    WATCH: This YouTube video shows the design for an innovative new diamond interchange for Macleod Trail and 162 Ave, South.

    The interchange design, first seen in North America in the state of Missouri, was once hailed by Popular Science magazine as one of the “100 best innovations of 2009.” Since then, it has been used in a number of locations in the United States, and in various countries around the world.

    When completed, Calgary’s DDI will be the first built in any urban centre in Canada.

    The estimated cost for the project is $65 million.

Body No. 421: How forensic pathologists identify victims of Europe’s refugee crisis

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

MELILLI, Sicily  —; Body No. 421, bagged in midnight blue, is heaved from a refrigerated truck onto a metal stretcher and wheeled into the tent that serves as a morgue. It joins other putrefying corpses that fill the air with a pungent scent that clings to the clothing and hair of the living.

The body is that of a young man, one of hundreds who drowned 77 nautical miles off the coast of Libya in the deadliest known migrant disaster. Eighteen months later, volunteers are trying to find out who he was.

READ MORE: Nearly 11,000 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in 48 hours: Italian coast guard

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WATCH ABOVE: United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants

A volunteer reaches into the body bag and pulls out the dark, slime-covered remains. Another uses a sharp, black-handled knife to cut out samples for further study. Others examine the muscles and bone structure, photograph the skull and teeth and take notes on a clipboard.

The team’s leader, University of Milan forensic pathologist Cristina Cattaneo, emerges with a slimy pair of children’s jeans reading “Manchester United.” She hoses them down carefully. The jeans, and the personal effects found in the pockets, are among the most useful of clues.

It is the first time that forensic scientists have tried to build a full accounting of victims in a migrant disaster.

Firefighters filled 458 body bags

It was early evening on April 18, 2015, when the distress call came. A fishing boat packed with hundreds of people was in trouble, the caller said. The Italian Coast Guard radioed a nearby freighter and told it to provide assistance.

When they saw the approaching ship, the frantic migrants rushed to one side of the deck, causing the boat to list and then capsize. The boat sank to the bottom.

Twenty-eight people made it to safety. Hundreds more were locked below deck.

READ MORE: Hundreds of migrants in Serbia set off on foot for Hungary in protest against border closure

A year later, the Italian Navy returned to the site and used a complicated pulley system to bring the wreck to the surface. As the boat emerged from the water, the horror of what had lain below became clear.

“Water started coming out of various openings that the boat had on the side, we also saw human remains coming out of these openings,” said Rear Adm. Paolo Pezzutti, who was in charge of the operation. “It was a spectral vision we saw coming out of the water.”

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Back at port in Sicily, firefighters in protective suits, rubber gloves, goggles and helmets cut into the rusted hull with hatchets and saws.

They found bodies packed in almost unimaginably close quarters. There were five bodies for every square meter. Two hundred were locked in the engine room alone.

Meticulously, the firefighters filled 458 body bags. Many contained the remains of more than one person.

The team expects to complete the autopsies this month. Cattaneo predicts the volunteers will analyze some 700 bodies, maybe as many as 800 or 900. So far, all of the victims have been men and boys, mostly between the ages of 12 and 27.

READ MORE: UN touts ‘breakthrough’ in refugee crisis as division grows in US, Europe

When they are finished with their examination, the volunteers zip the bag back up and load body No. 421 into a metal container that will go inside a wooden coffin.

Using a black marker, Cattaneo carefully writes PM3900421 on the container – PM for “post mortem” and 39 for Italy’s telephone country code.

That’s the code that will mark the grave until the body is connected to a name.

WATCH: Egyptian officials say nearly 150 bodies of migrants pulled from Mediterranean

European rules require that asylum-seekers register in the first country they enter. Because few of them want to end up in Italy, many leave their IDs back home.

That means Cattaneo’s team must rely on DNA samples from the bones, teeth, and the objects found on the bodies.

At Cattaneo’s Labanof laboratory in Milan, plastic baggies and small cardboard boxes containing items found in the migrants’ clothing sit in neat lines along the table. Cattaneo goes over them one by one.

Some contain ID cards that were sewn into clothing. Several bags contain little wooden sticks used for cleaning teeth. One has a photo of a saint.

Another contains what looks like a small brown candy in a pink wrapper. On closer inspection it’s a spoonful of dirt, bagged by the traveler as a memory of home.

3,611 migrant deaths

The tragedy has done little to slow the business of trafficking in human lives. Smugglers in Libya continue to reap a fortune by taking migrants’ cash and piling them on top of one another in rickety vessels unfit to cross the Mediterranean.

So far in 2016, more than 316,899 people have reached Europe by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Another 3,611 set out but never made it.

In December, the second stage of the process will begin: contacting relatives of those who had IDs on them, and searching for others who are looking for missing kin.

READ MORE: Kidnapped Nigerian boy tells harrowing story of being smuggled to Europe on migrant boat

That won’t be easy. The dead came from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, Senegal, Mali, the Ivory Coast and Bangladesh, among other places. Some of those countries have repressive governments; others have poor populations with little access to internet or phones.

Cattaneo is working with Italy’s office for Missing Persons, run by High Commissioner Vittorio Piscitelli. The office has built a database of information gained from the autopsies.

When families searching for their loved ones reach out, the information they give will be compared with the data on file. Gathering that information will be perhaps the biggest challenge. The Red Cross has signed up to help.

“If we don’t have people to show the data to, or any data to compare it with, we risk doing all this work in vain,” Piscitelli said.

Despite the challenges, Cattaneo is determined to carry on. In a plane or train crash involving European and American victims, she notes, forensic experts rush to the scene and identify all the bodies. That isn’t the case in migrant tragedies.

“These bodies become nobody’s business,” Cattaneo says. “This is the largest mass disaster in Europe after the Second World War and it is the largest humanitarian crisis in terms of dead, unidentified bodies . but nothing has been happening for these people.”

Body No. 421’s final destination is a cemetery in Catania, on the island of Sicily. In an unkempt field lined with mounds of dirt, small black plaques list the codes associated with the bodies buried below.

Some day, the volunteers hope, the young man’s relatives may be able to put a name to the number and come to find him.

His dream of a new life in Europe was dashed, but at least he would have the chance to go home.

Corey Feldman seeks redemption, but falters, in repeat ‘Today’ performance

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

Corey Feldman returned to the Today show on Thursday morning to talk about his much-publicized first performance, and seek redemption by performing for the second time.

The Goonies actor, 45, took the stage on the NBC morning show to perform the song Take a Stand from his new album, Angelic 2 the Core.

“This song, by the way, is for America,” Feldman told host Tamron Hall before performing. “We’re at a time right now when the world needs to focus, really, on peace and love and tolerance, especially with all the bullying. So, this is about the government. This is about the race. This is about the United States.”

WATCH BELOW: Corey Feldman Talks New Album

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READ MORE: Corey Feldman unfazed by ‘Today’ show response, will continue with music

Feldman’s second performance was similar to his first in almost every respect. He started out with several more layers of clothing than he ended up with, and he performed his signature dance moves.

His latest display caused a stir when he dropped an American flag on the ground while performing. “We love you America!” Feldman proclaimed at the end of his four-minute set. Hall picked the flag up off the ground and handed it back to him.

Some audiences were captivated by the performance.

Others viewers quickly took to social media to express their outrage over the Stand by Me actor’s flag gaffe.

READ MORE: Corey Feldman leaves angry, disturbing voicemail for ‘angel’ who quit show

Late Thursday evening, Feldman issued a statement to People with an explanation and an apology for dropping the flag.

“We were excited and grateful to be asked to return to the Today show, but there wasn’t much time to prepare. We scrambled to find an American flag to use as a patriotic symbol at the last minute and with no rehearsal,” he stared.

“Once I was on stage, my brain reverted to my choreography, which was to throw my hands up in the air with a peace sign. As a dancer, my instinct is to drop anything in my hands.”

“In that live moment, it came off as wrong and for that I’m deeply sorry. It was the exact opposite of my intention,” Feldman concluded.

READ MORE: Corey Feldman says he was ‘basically a slave child’ in Hollywood

Thursday’s performance was intended to make a statement: he is planning on pushing forward with his music career.

His return to the show was on National Stop Bullying Day (Oct. 13),  and Feldman addressed the backlash to his Go 4 It performance on Today last month and said the kind words he received from Pink, Kesha, Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson and his friends helped him deal with the “bullies.”

“I’m not letting the bullies get to us,” he said, explaining why he returned to the show. “A lot of people get hate in the beginning because we’re doing something new — it hasn’t been done before. But, it’s all about innovation and being an artist, and we can’t be afraid to share out art.”

Watch Feldman’s performance in the video, above.

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Renewable energy now accounts for 11% of Canadian energy

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

CALGARY – The National Energy Board says a renewable power project building spree between 2005 and 2015 took its share of overall generation in Canada from two per cent to 11 per cent.

NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic says the buildup means Canada is the fourth-largest generator in the world of environmentally friendly power from sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric plants.

READ MORE: Ontario government cancels plan for more renewable energy sources

Renewable generation capacity grew by 26 per cent from about 75,000 megawatts in 2005 to nearly 95,000 megawatts in 2015, according to the federal regulator’s report, Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape.

The report says hydroelectric power capacity grew by about nine per cent to over 79,000 megawatts during the decade.

WATCH: Is Vancouver’s renewable energy strategy a good one?

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Non-hydro renewables such as wind, solar and biomass grew more than six-fold, from 2,360 megawatts in 2005 to 15,600 in 2015.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power capacity declined by 6,230 megawatts and natural gas capacity increased by 8,400 megawatts.

“I think that’s one thing people don’t really understand (is) just how significant on a world scale Canada is on the renewable front,” said Milutinovic.

“It is fourth in the world on renewables after China, the U.S. and Brazil and it’s second in the world in terms of hydro production; only China is bigger.”

She says she expects the trend to renewable power to continue thanks to support from governments and consumers.

“Almost every province and territory has some sort of policy to encourage or promote renewables or support them,” she said.

“Things like Alberta moving off coal by 2030, 50 per cent renewables for power generation in Saskatchewan by 2030, all of those things offer strong support for renewables.”

READ MORE: Alberta communities begin preparing for life after coal

The report notes that 11 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the electricity sector in 2014, the latest year for which statistics were available. That’s down from about 16 per cent in 2005.

From 2000 to 2014, emissions from the power sector fell 40 per cent, the report says, due mainly to the phase out of coal in Ontario and initiatives to reduce emissions in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ontario and Nova Scotia have seen the largest gains in renewable power generation over the decade, with its proportion in Ontario increasing from 23 per cent to 34 per cent and in Nova Scotia from 12 per cent to 24 per cent, the report says.

Hydro is the dominant source of electricity in Canada accounting for 55 per cent of total installed capacity. Four provinces and one territory — British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon — derive more than 85 per cent of their power from hydro.

Two provinces and a territory relied primarily on coal or natural gas for electricity in 2015: Alberta (90 per cent), Saskatchewan (83 per cent), and Nunavut (100 per cent).

Is CETA dead? Canada-EU trade deal in peril after Belgian decision

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

BRUSSELS – One of Belgium’s regional governments has voted to reject the wide-ranging CETA trade deal between the European Union and Canada, threatening a complex agreement that is supposed to be signed in two weeks.

The deal requires unanimous approval from the European Union’s member countries, including Belgium.

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READ MORE: Canada to send special envoy to meet with Belgium over CETA rejection

Under Belgium’s constitutional rules, however, one of its three regions can effectively veto such a deal for the whole country.

Wallonia’s regional legislature rejected the deal by a 46-14 margin on Friday, with one abstention.

The francophone region of 3.5 million people fears the deal with Canada will leave the farming and industrial sectors too exposed to cheaper imports from Canada.

READ MORE: CETA: Protests against Canada-EU trade deal held across Germany 

Environmental activists and trade unions have all warned such international deals could worsen local standards for food, work and industry.

Paul Magnette, the leader of the region of Wallonia, said Friday he would “not give the full powers to the federal government” to back the deal at an EU meeting Tuesday, where the 28 member states have to decide on full approval of the agreement.

Magnette said that “the guarantees are insufficient” and said labour, environmental and legal standards needed to be improved before such a deal could be approved.

“We have to say ‘no’ so we can negotiate,” Magnette said.

The agreement has already been backed by an overwhelming majority of the 28 member nations of the EU, a bloc of half a billion people.

It is scheduled to be officially signed at an EU-Canada summit in Brussels with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Oct. 27, seven years after talks started under the previous Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.

READ MORE: CETA: Canada-EU trade deal has Germany’s approval, minister says

The Belgian national government and the dominant Dutch-speaking region on Flanders back the deal.

“We are certainly brave,” said Marie-Dominique Simonet of the Walloon Christian Democrat CdH party.

The Liberal MR party, which is also represented in the national government, was scathing. “You are taking Belgium and Europe hostage,” said Virginie Defrang-Firket in the legislature. “Nobody will trust us anymore,” she said.

The EU says the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement deal with Canada will improve trade, create jobs, and remove just about all tariffs and custom duties while at the same time guaranteeing European standards on anything from food and health quality to labour rights.

For many, the CETA is only a prelude to an even bigger free trade deal, called TTIP, that is being negotiated with the United States, and which has given rise already to massive protests in several member states, including Belgium — and Wallonia.

Talks are planned ahead of Tuesday to see to whether Wallonia might withdraw its rejection.