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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Canada Canada News from the Associated Press


Judge OKs $11.2M settlement for hacked Ashley Madison users

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:41:31 UT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge on Friday approved an $11.2 million settlement between the marital infidelity website Ashley Madison and users who sued after hackers released personal information, including financial data and details of their sexual proclivities. U.S. District Judge John Ross in St. Louis gave preliminary approval to a class action settlement that was initially announced last week by Toronto-based Ruby Corp., the parent company of Ashley Madison. The company denied wrongdoing but said in a statement that it settled to "avoid the uncertainty, expense, and inconvenience associated with continued litigation." McDonough said there is no estimate on how many people will seek part of the settlement money, which could range from as little as $19 for those victimized by the hack up to $2,000 for those who were victims of identity theft because of the hack. In addition to monetary penalties to the FTC, Ruby agreed in December to end certain deceptive practices, to not create fake profiles, and to develop a stronger data security program.

Battering rams of the Arctic: icebreakers, explained

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:37:31 UT

THE ARCTIC CIRCLE (AP) — When ice floes stretch to the horizon in the Arctic Circle, threatening to strand normal ships, icebreakers are in their element. [...] specially built ships ply waters of the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Great Lakes of North America — places where thick ice forms at least part of the year. The MSV Nordica, operated by Finnish company Arctia, a government-owned enterprise, is equipped with several heavy-duty engines and a hardened bow and rounded hull.

Coast Guard spent $300K searching for man who faked death

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:36:35 UT

An indictment released Thursday charges Ryan Meganack, a commercial fisherman and boat captain from Port Graham, with conspiracy and "false distress" for planting evidence that he had been lost at sea while he hid out at a camp in the woods near the fishing village. Meganack last year faced sexual assault charges and on Dec. 5 was scheduled to enter a guilty plea, which would have meant a prison sentence. According to federal prosecutors, Meganack and Rodriguez hatched a plan to stage a boating accident.

Banff resort evacuated as crews tackle nearby wildfire

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:34:39 UT

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — A popular Rocky Mountain resort in Banff National Park in western Canada is being cleared of guests so crews can fight a wildfire raging in the nearby backcountry.

Canadian tribe opposes proposed powerline project in US

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 23:12:14 UT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Supporters of a controversial project that would bring Canadian hydro power to markets in southern New England like to talk about how this would use much cleaner energy than the coal-fired power plants that once dominated the region. Hydro Quebec denies the tribe's allegation, saying the fishery's decline has more to do with climate change and the tribe's fishing practices. [...] much of the focus of the project has been on the route of the transmission lines through New Hampshire that would be built by the utility Eversource. Opponents say the proposed towers — some as high as 155 feet — would mar scenic views in the northern part of the state, hurt tourism and damage property values in communities in the project's path. "If representatives of the Pessimit community have concerns or financial demands, we are always willing to listen," said St.-Laurent, adding that they partner with the tribe on scores of development projects including a salmon restoration effort that almost doubled the number of adult salmon to 1,000 from 2002 to 2007.

No foul play: Burundi robotics teens likely meant to vanish

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:59:30 UT

A member of the Burundi-American community was a little more straightforward, saying he has little doubt the teens are seeking asylum, though he emphasized he had no direct knowledge of the situation. Police in D.C. posted missing-person fliers Wednesday asking for help finding the teens, who had last been seen at the FIRST Global Challenge around the time of Tuesday's final matches. FIRST Global President Joe Sestak, a former congressman from Pennsylvania, made the initial call to the police, according to a FIRST Global statement. According to police reports, the teens were traveling on U.S. visas good for one year. Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer in northern Virginia not involved in the situation, said that if the teens apply for asylum in the U.S., Immigration and Customs Enforcement could seek to detain them pending removal proceedings. Oscar Niyiragira, chairman of the United Burundian-American Community Association Inc., said many in the community feel Canada offers better odds for asylum, particularly now that the Trump administration has taken a harsh stance on immigration. In January, Human Rights Watch reported that members of a pro-government youth militia had "brutally killed, tortured, and severely beaten scores of people across the country in recent months." Abuses included driving a knife into the eye of one victim and beating a 15-year-old boy to death, the rights group said, accusing Burundi's government of being unwilling to restrain youth militia members.

British Columbia extends emergency as wildfires continue

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:25:37 UT

Calmer winds have allowed firefighters to build guards around scores of wildfires currently threatening communities in central and southern British Columbia, said chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek. Fire information officer Navi Saini said a person was injured while driving in an evacuated area west of Williams Lake. Officials said Wednesday that a fire that destroyed eight homes north of Kelowna is 100 percent contained and residents of 58 properties in Lake Country can immediately return home, although an evacuation alert remains in place.

Residents of British Columbia village to return after fires

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:17:53 UT

CACHE CREEK, British Columbia (AP) — Residents of a British Columbia village were thrilled to be heading home Tuesday after being rushed out by a fast-moving wildfire but feared an uphill battle to repair the community's tourism economy. Lisa Balouch, manager of the Sunset Motel in Cache Creek, said the loss of 11 days of visitors is significant not only to hotels but to restaurants, gas stations and other businesses. Officials said the 200-square-mile (520-square-kilometer) Elephant Hill fire, formerly called the Ashcroft Reserve fire, continued to burn out of control, but the imminent threat to Cache Creek had diminished.

International date line that splits US, Russia, explained

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 20:51:00 UT

THE ARCTIC CIRCLE (AP) — The international date line is an imaginary border that runs through the middle of the Pacific Ocean and marks the boundary between calendar dates, effectively making it the zero-line for the planet's time zones. While such a concept had existed for centuries, it wasn't until 1884 that the line was formally agreed upon at an international conference in Washington, D.C. The international date line is on the opposite side of the planet from the Greenwich — or prime — meridian that marks zero degrees longitude. The islands of Big Diomede in Russia and Little Diomede in the United States are separated by 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) of water, with the international date line running midway between them.

Sears Canada gets approval to begin liquidation sales

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:35:39 UT

Sears lawyer Jeremy Dacks says the company wants to start sales of its merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible so it can maximize benefits for its stakeholders. The beleaguered department store owner has been operating under court protection from creditors since June 22, when it announced its plan to shutter 59 stores and cut approximately 2,900 jobs.

Wildfires in B.C. have forced nearly 40,000 to evacuate

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 23:11:28 UT

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (AP) — Fast-moving wildfires in British Columbia have forced nearly 40,000 people to leave their homes and residents are flooding into crowded evacuation centers amid a provincial state of emergency. Speaking in Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, Goodale said 500 additional Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers have also been sent in to assist with evacuation and police communities when they have been cleared out. More than 3,000 staff, including firefighters, support staff and 450 personnel brought in from other provinces, are hard at work, said BC Wildfire Service chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

Lighting should have alerted pilots of potential disaster

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 16:26:01 UT

Investigators looking into the frighteningly close call involving an airliner that nearly hit planes on the ground at San Francisco International Airport will try to determine why the pilots made such a rookie mistake and nearly landed on a busy taxiway instead of the runway. [...] there is the radio transmission in which one of the Air Canada pilots sounded puzzled about seeing what appeared to be the lights of other planes on the runway. Investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board may arrive this weekend and interview the pilots and air traffic controllers, an agency spokesman said Friday. After an air traffic controller ordered them to abandon their landing, the pilots pulled up their Airbus A320 just in time, circled and landed correctly on the runway. A recording of the radio calls between pilots and the control tower captured uncertainty in the Air Canada cockpit as the plane approached shortly before midnight on July 7. From the vantage point of the Air Canada crew, four parallel surfaces appeared below them — from left to right they were taxiway F; runway 28L, which was closed; runway 28R, on which they were supposed to land, and taxiway C, where the other planes were waiting their turn to take off. Chris Manno, an American Airlines pilot, said the Air Canada crew should have stopped their approach while they figured out why they were seeing lights from other planes on what they thought was the runway. Three passengers died after the plane's tail struck a seawall while landing on runway 28L — next to the runway where the Air Canada jet landed.

Debate over use of jumbo bomber as wildfires rage in West

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 15:58:27 UT

The operators of the Boeing 747 converted from a passenger jet into a firefighting air tanker say it has proven itself battling forest fires in countries outside the U.S. The modifications allow it to drop more than 19,000 gallons (72,000 liters) of a flame-squelching combination of ammonium phosphate and sulfate mixed with water that comes billowing out in a red-colored line. [...] the company says the U.S. Forest Service is seeking to keep the plane grounded by offering a contract limiting firefighting aircraft to 5,000 gallons (18,900 liters) of fire suppressant and won't say why. The company says the federal agency is putting homes and lives at risk just as the current wildfire season surges past the 10-year average for land area burned in a decade that includes some of the most destructive and deadly wildfire seasons on record. The Forest Service spent $1.6 billion in 2016 fighting wildfires, an amount second only to the $1.7 billion spent in 2015, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Besides the 5,000-gallon limit, the interim approval the Forest Service gave for the use of the 747 in January expired last month before the fire season took off and it got a chance to fight fires in the U.S. The company said without the approval, states wouldn't be reimbursed from the federal government for using the 747. Limiting air tankers to an initial attack role could save the Forest Service money by reducing costs on the largest and most expensive fires where air tankers, Stahl said, are ineffective.

Former US President Jimmy Carter out of hospital in Canada

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 00:35:22 UT

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was back at a Habitat for Humanity worksite Friday, a day after he was hospitalized for dehydration while working with the organization to build homes for needy families in Canada. A smiling Carter showed up in blue jeans and a work shirt to the site in the St. James neighborhood of Winnipeg, where hundreds of Habitat for Humanity volunteers joined the former president and his wife, Rosalynn, to build 25 homes. Habitat for Humanity, which has had a long association with the Carters, is constructing 150 homes this year for people in need in Canada to celebrate the country's 150th anniversary.

Robot helps passengers through Seattle airport security

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 23:00:33 UT

SEATTLE (AP) — A robot named Tracey greeted passengers at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, providing tips to get them smoothly through security checkpoints. CEO Paul McManus says it is a demonstration model, but future versions could recognize when a traveler is wearing sunglasses or a hat and ask them to take it off before the security checkpoint.

Large police contingent expected at slain trooper's funeral

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:02:19 UT

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) — Several thousand law enforcement officers from across the U.S. and Canada are expected to attend this weekend's funeral for a New York state trooper killed in the line of duty. WWNY-TV in Watertown reports ( ) that state police officials expect 3,000 to 5,000 officers to attend Saturday's services for Trooper Joel Davis.

Jet was within 100 feet of hitting 2 planes in San Francisco

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 01:21:11 UT

An Air Canada plane with 140 people on board came within 100 feet of crashing onto two of four planes lined up to take off at San Francisco International Airport last week, according to a preliminary report Canadian air safety regulators released Thursday. The finding provided the first official accounting of how close the Air Canada plane came to causing what could have been one of the worst disasters in commercial aviation history. Taxiways are the aviation equivalent of feeder roads that planes use to roll between runways and terminals, and have different lights than runways. The deadliest crash in aviation history occurred in 1977 when a KLM Boeing 747 taking off in the Canary Islands plowed into a Pan Am 747 that was waiting to take off; 583 people died in the crash and fires. According to the report released Thursday, the plane at that point was less than a mile from the taxiway.

Fisherman killed saving whale recalled as longtime advocate

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:51:43 UT

ST. ANDREWS, New Brunswick (AP) — Members of the marine community in the U.S. and Canada said Thursday that a Canadian fisherman who died freeing a whale from fishing gear was a longtime whale advocate who bridged gaps between fishing and conservation. The New England Aquarium said Howlett was a lobsterman, boat captain and whale rescue expert who helped found the Campobello Whale Rescue Team. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries department is suspending whale entanglement response efforts until further notice so it can review its "own emergency response protocols," said Chris Oliver, the assistant administrator of the department.

Canadian investigators: Jet landing at San Francisco airport came within 100 feet of hitting two planes

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:19:52 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Canadian investigators: Jet landing at San Francisco airport came within 100 feet of hitting two planes.

Lobster season slow, prices holding steady for seafood fans

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:49:44 UT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — New England's summer lobster season is off to a slow start, but consumers are paying a little bit less for the critters than they were a year ago. Lobster catch typically picks up in the warm months when many lobsters shed their shells and reach legal harvesting size. The wholesale price for 1¼-pound hard shell lobsters was $7.63 per pound in early July, business publisher Urner Barry reported. The value of the crustaceans has also been high, and consumers and wholesalers have frequently been paying more for them, partly because of increased interest in U.S. lobster from China.