Kelowna RCMP hoping to reunite lost photo album, slides with family

An old photograph of five young men, dressed in suits, looking dapper and posing around a pool table, is one of many inside a photo album that was recently found, abandoned in the Central Okanagan.

On Friday, Kelowna RCMP released some of the images, hoping to reunite them with their owner or family members. Police say security officers on patrol found several boxes of Kodak slides and the photo album along the 1800 block of Cooper Road, following a property complaint.

A photograph of the distinctive cover of the photo album.

A page within the photo album, which contains three photographs, dated in the 1950s.

“It’s obvious that the person who left these precious items behind saw no value in them,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “However, we know that these photographs had serious sentimental value to someone in our community and we need help re-uniting them with their memories.”

A Kodachrome slide of a man and a woman standing together next to an unknown river. This slide was discovered inside a container which had a specific date range from the 1970s.

If you are the owner of these photographs or slides, or you know any of the persons seen in them, you are asked to contact Cst. Remi Desrosiers of the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

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Tourism minister Melanie Joly postpones trip to China amid detainment of Canadians

Canada’s tourism minister has called off her scheduled trip to China after the news that two Canadians were detained by Chinese officials.

A spokesperson for Melanie Joly confirmed that both Canadian and Chinese officials agreed to postpone the trip, which was supposed to take place next week. No new date was given for the trip.

Joly was scheduled to attend the closing ceremonies for the Canada-China Year of Tourism.

“Canada and China mutually agreed to postpone the Canada-China Year of Tourism Closing Ceremony and Minister Joly’s planned travel to China. Both governments agreed this would allow us to better achieve our shared objectives,” ministry spokesperson Jeremy Ghio told Global News.

No official reason for the cancellation was given, but tensions between the two countries rose dramatically earlier this week, when two Canadians were detained by Chinese officials for threats to Chinese national security.

Friends say they can’t understand how the pair pose threats to Chinese national security. Michael Korvig is a former diplomat and current political analyst and Michael Spavor is a businessman who runs tours to North Korea.

On Thursday, Chinese government officials confirmed the two Canadians are being detained over national security concerns.

Canadian consular officials have been granted access to Korvig, but officials said they haven’t been in contact with Spavor since he was detained.

Chinese officials added that the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver was a mistake and called for her immediate release.

Meng, a prominent and celebrated businesswoman in China, was arrested in Canada and could face extradition to the U.S.

The U.S. and China have been going through a trade spat recently, and U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he could intervene in Meng’s case if it helped reach a trade deal.

But Canadian officials have stressed that Meng’s arrest was not political in any way.

Foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan are expected to discuss the situation Friday afternoon with their American counterparts, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

On Thursday, opposition leader Andrew Scheer accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of previously having a “naive” approach to Chinese relations — saying the Liberal government “has pursued a policy of appeasement, putting us in a situation where we don’t have leverage.”

In the statement, spokesperson Jeremy Ghio stressed that having close ties to China was good for both countries.

“We look forward to meeting again to continue building people-to-people ties and strengthening the tourism relationship between Canada and China — a relationship that creates good jobs for middle-class families and opportunities for people in both countries,” he said.

 

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Another 16 call centres linked to CRA scam busted in India: RCMP

The RCMP says an additional 16 call centres linked to the Canada Revenue Agency phone scam have been dismantled by Indian authorities.

Police said the call centres involved are believed to be among those behind the threatening phone messages commonly received by Canadians. The callers pose as CRA agents and demand payment of fines or tax debts, usually in Bitcoin, on a threat of prosecution.

The call centre operations were shut down by local authorities, who received information from the RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as well as the support of an RCMP officer stationed in India, the RCMP said.

The announcement brings the number of Indian call centres busted in relation to the CRA scam to 19 since September.

“This latest development is part of a broad and long-standing international effort to address call centres that perpetuate fraud,” the RCMP said in statement Thursday.

The RCMP said earlier this fall that the scam has bilked more than 4,000 victims out of $15.2 million.

The bogus calls are so common that Canadians have become wary of speaking with legitimate representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency, The Canadian Press reported last month.

“Prevention and awareness are very important when it comes to reducing these fraudulent calls,” Sgt. Guy-Paul Larocque, acting officer in charge for Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said in a statement.

“If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and report the phone number and information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.”

Signs of a telemarketing scam 

Knowing the tactics behind common scams help you avoid becoming a victim. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, here are a few signs that a call is not legitimate.

  • The offer sounds too good to be true. Win a contest you can’t remember signing up for? Asked to participate in an investment opportunity promising unrealistic returns? If it sounds like a scam, it probably is.
  • The caller is requesting private information about financial accounts. You don’t need to provide a credit card number to accept a prize. And legit businesses don’t need account info beyond the method of payment you are using to make a purchase.
  • The caller tries to form a friendship with you. “Criminals love finding out if you’re lonely and willing to talk. Once they know that, they’ll try to convince you that they are your friend – after all, we don’t normally suspect our friends of being crooks,” the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said.
  • There’s a strong sense of urgency to the offer. “If you are pressured to make a big purchase decision immediately, it’s probably not a legitimate deal. Real businesses or charities will give you a chance to check them out or think about it.”

(Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre)

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Pre-trial date set for man charged with murder of 2 Oshawa women

The man facing murder charges related to the deaths of two Oshawa women is now one step closer to trial.

Adam Strong appeared in an Oshawa courtroom from jail via video feed on Tuesday, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit as a pre-trial date of Feb. 28 was set regarding the cases of Rori Hache and Kandis Fitzpatrick.

Tuesday’s in-court appearance marks his second since Durham police charged 46-year-old Strong with the murder of the two women.

Investigators initially charged Strong with improper/indecent interference with a dead body last December after they found Hache’s remains in his Oshawa basement apartment, but the Crown dropped this charge in November after police charged him with first-degree murder.

Hache’s mother, Shanan Dionne, had been hoping for police to charge Strong with murder ever since he was first accused in her daughter’s death.

She said at the courthouse Tuesday: “I’m leaving here feeling better than I have on most appearances because it’s happening. I believe there’s enough to convict.”

“We all get the idea that it’s bad,” she continued.

Three months before officers discovered the teen’s remains in his home, a fisherman discovered her torso at the Oshawa lakefront.

Fitzpatrick, who is also from Oshawa, has been missing for a decade and would have turned 29 years old this year. Police say they consider her Durham Region’s 10th homicide victim of 2018.

Strong’s judicial pre-trial will be a meeting involving his lawyer, Tom Balka, as well as the Crown to sort out any legal and procedural issues before the trial officially begins.

They are urging anyone with information about Hache or Fitzpatrick’s cases to call the Major Crimes — Homicide Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5407/5325.

Anyone who would like to send information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca. Tipsters may be eligible for a $2,000 cash reward.

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Angela Merkel suggests she’d work against UK staying in EU in new Brexit vote

Angela Merkel caused an awkward moment when she suggested she would work AGAINST Britain remaining in the EU after a possible second Brexitreferendum.

The German Chancellor briefly stunned reporters in Brussels when asked by a British journalist how she would react to the country staying in the European Union.

To some surprise in the room, she said Germany would work to prevent that happening.

"We would of course take note of that," she told journalists.

"You know we are preparing for such an eventuality, but in terms of what is in my power and what we can take responsibility for, we will do everything to ensure that this does not happen," she replied, before coughing.

Merkel, who was suffering from a cold throughout a two-day EU summit in Brussels, appeared to think she had been asked what she would do in the event of a disruptive "no-deal" Brexit.

Her spokesman promptly told her that she had misheard the question, and she rephrased her answer.

"Ah, right," she said. "That is a totally speculative question, and I never answer those."

It comes as Theresa May admitted she had a ‘robust discussion’ with European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker at the disastrous Brexit summit.

Mrs May was caught on camera furiously remonstrating with the euro chief.

According to the Mirror’s lip-reading experts, she was complaining about Juncker referring to her and her negotiating position as "nebulous."

And at a press conference this afternoon, she admitted she had a "robust discussion with Jean-Claude Juncker".

She added: "I think that’s the sort of discussion you’re able to have when you have developed a working relationship and you work well together.

"And what came out of that was his clarity that actually he’d been talking – when he used that particular phrase [nebulous] – he’d been talking about a general level of debate."

Mrs May said: "The EU is clear, as I am, that if we are going to leave with a deal, this is it.

"But my discussions with colleagues today have shown that further clarification and discussion following the council’s conclusions is in fact possible.

"There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal."

Following reports that European Commission president Mr Juncker had described her presentation to EU leaders on Thursday as "nebulous", Mrs May said: "I was crystal clear about the assurances that were needed on the backstop, having heard the views of MPs in the House of Commons."

Mrs May said it was in the interests of the EU and UK to "get this over the line", warning: "A disorderly Brexit would be good for no-one."

She said that the EU27 conclusions made clear that the EU is determined to work speedily on a future relationship – or alternative arrangements – to ensure by the end of 2020 that there will be no hard border in Ireland, so that the backstop need not be triggered.

The conclusions confirm that any backstop would be temporary and that, if it was ever needed, the EU would negotiate "expeditiously" an agreement to put a replacement in place.

She said: "As formal conclusions, these commitments have legal status and therefore should be welcomed."

But she said she had discussed with EU leaders, including Mr Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk, the fact that MPs would require "further assurances".

She said: "It is in the overwhelming interest of all our people in the EU and the UK to get this done and as quickly as possible."

Mrs May managed a smile when a reporter she looked like she had had a "trying week", jokingly replying: "Has something happened this week?"

When asked whether the problems with her party at home and dealing with the EU had made her want to quit as leader, she said it was "our duty as a Government and as a Parliament" to see Brexit through.

She added: "I never said it was going to be easy.

"Negotiations like this are always tough. There are always difficult times and as you get closer to the very end that can get even more difficult because you are sorting out the last details of something."

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Electoral boundaries reset, Winnipeg gains extra seat at expense of rural Manitoba

Boundaries for the next Manitoba election have been set and Winnipeg will get an extra legislature seat at the expense of rural areas.

The independent commission that reviews electoral boundaries every 10 years says the Winnipeg region’s population is growing quickly, and the city – along with two bedroom communities – will have 32 of the 57 seats in the legislature.

The Southdale constituency in the city’s southeast is being divided into two and the southern portion will be called Lagimodiere.

The boundaries for most other seats in Winnipeg are being adjusted and some are being renamed.

3/3. In the city, Charleswood becomes Roblin. Logan becomes Union Station, extra seat in the southeast. https://t.co/t9mz2Yt3Pr

Other changes will see areas of Brandon north of the Assiniboine River join the rural constituency of Spruce Woods.

Northern Manitoba will continue to have four legislature seats, despite its slower-growing population.

“The four northern electoral divisions were and will remain the largest in size. That is the reality when large parts of the north remain sparsely inhabited,” said Friday’s report from the 2018 Electoral Boundaries Commission.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew welcomed the retention of northern seats, given the economic downturn in mining and other industries in the region.

“A lot of these communities are facing some real unique challenges over the next few years,” he said.

“Ensuring that there are a good amount of northern representatives here to voice the concerns of people in the north is a positive step.”

The next provincial election is slated for Oct. 6, 2020.


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Man arrested after stealing purse, attempted taxi theft in Salmon Arm

A man of no fixed address is in custody in Salmon Arm, awaiting trial, after being arrested for theft and robbery on Monday.

Salmon Arm RCMP say the incident unfolded at approximately 6 p.m. on December 10th, when they received a complaint that a purse had been stolen from Shuswap Lakes General Hospital.

The man allegedly fled the hospital on foot towards McGuire Lake. Police say they quickly attended the area and found a man who had just assaulted a female taxi driver and was attempting to steal her car. Police say the taxi driver was not hurt.

The 25-year-old man was arrested for robbery, theft, fraud and obstruction of a police officer. Further, police added he had just been released to appear in court in another B.C. town for property crime offences just one day before.

Police say the man made a brief court appearance and the judge kept him in custody. Police added that further charges may be recommended.

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Mick Mulvaney: Budget director to replace John Kelly as Trump's chief of staff

Mr Trump said in a tweet on Friday that Mr Mulvaney “has done an outstanding job” in his administration and would take over as “acting chief of staff” next year.

It was not clear what “acting” meant for how long he planned to stay in the role.

Earlier, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie became the latest high-profile candidate to pull out of the running for one of the most powerful jobs in the White House.

In a statement, Mr Christie said: “Now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post.”

In the week since Mr Kelly announced he was leaving, speculation has swirled over his successor.

The president’s first choice was Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, who bowed out after being unable to come to an agreement on how long he would serve in the role.

By Friday, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was considered to be a serious possibility.

Mr Kushner, a White House adviser with responsibility for Middle East policy, was believed to be one of five candidates on a shortlist Mr Trump said on Thursday he was reviewing.

Appeals from both in and outside the White House had been made to Mr Trump promoting Mr Kushner’s credentials, Reuters said, quoting two sources.

Also reportedly on the list was US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who has been at the heart of Mr Trump’s trade policy, overhauling foreign trade deals by using tariffs to try to open markets.

To his critics in Washington, the prolonged search illustrates that the chaos of the Trump administration is making it harder for the White House to function.

The White House chief of staff – in effect the president’s gatekeeper – is considered to be one of the plum Washington posts, as it involves carrying out the president’s priorities and making sure he has the information to make decisions.

But it is widely reported Mr Trump does not enjoy reading briefs, makes up policy on the hoof and has little time for detailed analysis, making the chief of staff’s role much harder than usual.

As well as the difficulty of managing Mr Trump, Mr Mulvaney faces a daunting in-tray when he takes up the role next month, with the looming threat of increased scrutiny from a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the continued fallout from the Russia investigation.

Mr Kelly lasted nearly a year and a half, having succeeded Mr Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, who left after six months.

Both men found themselves dealing with regular crises in the often chaotic and factional Trump White House, where personal alliances can count for more than policy clarity and political nous.

Journalist and TV presenter Piers Morgan had offered to take on the role, and, in a bizarre twist, so had former baseball star Jose Canseco.

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Avalanche warnings issued for Alberta mountain regions

Avalanche warnings were issued for parts of Alberta’s mountain regions Friday.

The warnings include Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks, where Parks Canada said the risk of avalanche was high.

“Numerous natural, skier-triggered, skier-remote and explosive avalanches have been reported over the past two days,” Parks Canada said on its website Friday. “Most were in the size 2 range but we expect them to get bigger as the storm and strong winds continue. Avalanches may run further downslope than expected, so be cautious of overhead hazard.”

In Kananaskis Country, the avalanche risk rating was “considerable” at the alpine level.

Avalanche Canada also issued warnings for parts of B.C. on Thursday.

For a complete list of avalanche warnings in Alberta and B.C., visit the Avalanche Canada website.

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Dominic Chappell: Former BHS owner must pay total of £124k for breaking pensions law

Mr Chappell, a former racing driver, was found guilty of not giving the pensions watchdog documents about the company’s pension scheme after BHS went into administration in 2016.

The 52-year old was re-sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday after losing his appeal against his conviction earlier this year.

Judge Christine Henson QC, sentencing Mr Chappell, criticised him for showing a “complete lack of remorse” over his offences which represented a “blatant” refusal to comply with pension law.

She ordered Chappell, of Blandford Forum, Dorset, to pay a £50,000 fine and £73,900 in court costs.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) began investigating the company over concerns about two pension schemes representing 19,000 members of staff, soon after Mr Chappell bought BHS from billionaire Sir Philip Green in March 2015 for £1.

The retail chain went into administration the following April, with the loss of around 11,000 jobs, leaving a £571m pension deficit.

Sir Philip agreed to pay £363m towards the pension black hole, with pressure brought to bear on the retail tycoon as stories and images of a lavish lifestyle contrasted with BHS staff first losing their jobs and then retirement nest eggs.

Prosecutor Alex Stein argued Mr Chappell had shown a “persistent, deliberate and blatant” refusal to comply with pension law.

Mr Chappell had also not provided “full and frank” disclosure of his financial information ahead of sentencing, including in relation to a yacht called Maverick II and a property in Marbella, Spain, Mr Stein said.

Mr Chappell, who was representing himself because he could not afford the legal fees, denied owning the boat.

He said he had temporarily held the property in Spain in trust for his sick mother at no gain to himself.

He also denied having any “hidden assets” and said he did not have “cash available” to pay any fine.

Mr Chappell argued the collapse of BHS made its impossible to pass on the documents to the TRP because he was locked out of the office.

He claimed the purchase of BHS had relied on undertakings by Sir Philip and an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“I’m not a Philip Green sitting on a £100 million yacht in the south of France who writes a cheque for £350 million to make the problem go away,” he said. “I’m a victim of the circumstances that came out of British Home Stores. I wish to god we never got involved in it.”

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