Barr: Mueller report confidential, will try to make much public

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general said on Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe report is required to be confidential but he will try to make as much of it public as possible.

Justice Department regulations require that Mueller’s report on Russian election activities be confidential, nominee William Barr said at his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing. “What I’m saying is, my objective and goal is to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public,” he said.

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Alberta government announces new rules for construction zones to improve traffic flow

It’s something most people who drive on Alberta highways in the summer have experienced: cruising along until seeing a sign indicating a reduction in the speed limit for a construction zone. But then, after slowly meandering slowly through the construction zone, the realization sets in that no construction crews are out.

On Tuesday, Alberta’s transportation minister announced he is enacting the Traffic Accommodation in Work Zones regulation to improve traffic flow through construction zones on provincial highways while still ensuring they are still safe for workers.

“More and more people have talked to me about being frustrated on the highway when the speed limit is reduced in an area for seemingly no reason and there are instances where they might get a ticket, double fine and demerits, even though the stretch of road they were on had no construction taking place at all, no workers on site, and nothing to suggest a lower speed limit was necessary,” Brian Mason told reporters.

Mason added that in these cases, traffic can often become congested or frustrated drivers begin using dangerous tactics like tailgating while following people obeying the reduced speed limits.

“We need to take driver psychology into account when we make our rules.”

When the construction season begins in spring, contractors will now be required to cover speed-reduction signage in a construction zone where no workers are present and if there are no safety concerns.

Among the changes the new rules call for are more consistent use of road construction signage, limiting the distance of lane closures in construction zones — in most cases — to no more than three kilometres, more gradual speed reductions through construction zones, longer distances for speed transition zones that come before construction zones and more frequent use of electronic speed displays and rumble strips to slow traffic at actual construction sites.

Mason emphasized to reporters, however, that the new rules are in no way meant to compromise the safety of people who work on Alberta’s provincial highways.

Watch below: (From Nov. 8, 2018) When you run into trouble on the roads, they bail you out. But tow truck drivers say their work is dangerous and drivers aren’t slowing down. After another close call last weekend, they’re calling for a simple change to help grab drivers’ attention. Sarah Kraus reports.

“We all need to focus on making sure that when we’re driving on Alberta highways, we’re also keeping an eye out for people who are working and make sure we do everything possible to protect them,” he said. “And that is… critically important, because ensuring that the safety of the people working on our highways, whether they’re a tow-truck operator or construction people, is of paramount importance, and I don’t ever want to lose sight of that very important factor.”

Mason said his government engaged in consultations with a number of stakeholders, including the Alberta Construction Safety Association, Consulting Engineers of Alberta, the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

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Labour MPs set to pile fresh pressure on Corbyn to back second Brexit referendum

A large group of Labour MPs are set to come out in favour of a second referendum on Wednesday morning.

Tonight many were in discussions with colleagues and their local parties before making a final decision.

They will make an announcement at 10am on Wednesday morning.  

It will put pressure on the Labour leadership to support another vote in line with the vast majority of their membership.

Some reports suggested 100 Labour MPs were involved. However, sources said many of these were already known backers of a second referendum.

The MPs have chosen their moment to act because Theresa May’s government is expected to survive a no confidence vote brought by Mr Corbyn tomorrow night.

Labour have left a second referendum as one of several "options on the table", which will become available with equal preference if an election can’t be achieved, a spokesman for the Labour leader said.

That is in accordance with a motion that was agreed at the party conference in September.

But if tomorrow night’s vote fails, Remain-backing MPs claim their leader, who has said a second referendum was not his priority, should pivot to back one.

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Latest Brexit news

  • Brexit vote is biggest defeat in history
  • No confidence vote to be held Wednesday
  • Search to see how your MP voted
  • Guide to what happens now
  • Live fallout and reaction
  • Full list of record 118 Tory rebels
  • Summary of the deal and sticking points
  • What will No Deal really mean?

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Brexit vote: Remain and Leave's reaction shows enormity of PM's failure

A defeat of 230 votes. It is the most severe defeat for a sitting prime minister since universal suffrage.

In normal times, a prime minister losing a vote of such importance would surely resign.

The last time a sitting PM was defeated on a scale such as this was Ramsay MacDonald in 1924. That brought down his government.

:: LIVE: PM’s Brexit deal defeated as Corbyn tables no confidence motion

Theresa May’s indefatigability, however, remains apparently undimmed. She gave no sense that she intends to go anywhere. Within the chamber, her own benches, having just destroyed the only objective of her premiership, nonetheless rallied around her. A paltry consolation prize.

Nor did she give any indication that she would bring the deal back, as some had predicted. Given the massive scale of the defeat, that now seems remote.

Instead, she essentially invited the Opposition to table a motion of no confidence against her own government. Mr Corbyn duly obliged.

:: How your MP voted on Theresa May’s Brexit deal

That is what will happen next – on Wednesday. The fact that the PM invited it confirms, however, that she is confident she will win it. The DUP will not desert her yet. The danger for Labour is that Mrs May will use a confidence vote to reestablish the authority of her government and her premiership.

In doing so she will have restored the status quo ante, except with even less certainty given that the one group with a definite Brexit plan (the government) will be denuded of it. And there will be even less time remaining.

This government’s authority, already enfeebled, is now completely shattered. Neither it, nor anyone else, has a clear plan on how to proceed.

The one thing with Brexit on which you can rely, however, is that the can, wherever possible, is kicked down the road. The only way of doing that now, of deferring difficult decisions for longer, is to extend the Article 50 process. There would probably be a majority for that, if the Commons can make it happen. My guess is that it will.

:: New record for biggest defeat ever suffered by a government

In a peculiar twist, both groups of protesters outside parliament, for Remain and Leave, cheered loudly on hearing May’s deal had failed. That represents the enormity of her failure.

That she thought she could split the difference on an issue of political theology was folly. Perhaps she should always have chosen a side. But their cheers also represent the grave risk of two groups, with opposite objectives who both think they’ve won.

In opposing the PM’s deal, both Remainers and Leavers have rejected a settlement which would at least have given them something – be it a softer Brexit, or a guaranteed Brexit of some sort. They’ve both gambled in rejecting it. They’ve bet the house. Only one side can be right. And one faction might, in the end, have cause to regret the turn of the events of this historic night.

We have just over 70 days until Brexit day. There is no majority for anything. No plan B from the government. An opposition strong enough to wound but not to kill. A morass of different backbench groups all with their own competing versions of what should and what will happen next.

The truth is that none of the great institutions of British politics has the faintest idea.

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Edmonton mayor responds to Global News investigation about city’s calcium chloride memo

Mayor Don Iveson gave a measured response when asked to comment on a Global News investigation about a city memo outlining the detrimental impacts of calcium chloride on Edmonton roads – a memo that was not provided to city council.

“That’s why we’re doing a pilot and studying all along the way what the corrosion impacts are and the pavement impacts are,” Iveson said.

“I think it’s something we’re going to want to keep an eye on. When the results of the pilot come back, at the very least, we’ll want to discuss what the infrastructure impacts are.

“If that happens when the pilot comes back, then good. If that needs to happen sooner, councillors can bring it forward as well.”

The memo outlines research conducted by the city showing the use of calcium chloride brine created degradation that was “roughly 20 per cent more detrimental than salt-exposed” samples. It also found that calcium chloride-soaked samples had 12 per cent deeper ruts and had 1.5 times the mass loss of sodium chloride-soaked samples. The general conclusion that calcium chloride is detrimental to pavement degradation aligns with findings Global News heard from three engineering experts in Canada and the U.S.

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the use of calcium chloride on Edmonton roads.

Councillor Scott McKeen, who reviewed the memo, plans to make an inquiry as to why city administration did not share it with councillors. The memo is dated June 11, 2018. There were discussions in the summer and fall of 2018 regarding the future of the calcium chloride pilot program. The de-icing program was ultimately adopted for a second year.

Iveson said city administration spoke at a “high level” about impacts to infrastructure.

“If there are continuing questions about that, obviously that needs to be aired. That needs to be discussed to council’s satisfaction if that happens,” he said.

Iveson was then asked whether he had concerns that the memo was seemingly held back from council.

“I can’t speak to that. We were given general summary information. Council’s often given high-level information and administration felt that trade-offs, with respect to infrastructure, pavement and asphalt conditions, were reasonable,” he said.

“Council often receives a lot of summary information rather than all of the backup information, so this is not uncommon — we wouldn’t see every report generated.”

The city had spoken to the media in November 2018 and said the impacts to infrastructure from calcium chloride were “minimal.”  Another media event in December 2018 saw a spokesperson mention research was being done, but the conclusions of the memo were not divulged.

When asked for an explanation as to why the information known in June 2018 was not shared with the public, Janet Tecklenborg — director of infrastructure operations with the City of Edmonton — reiterated how the calcium chloride was still a pilot project and the study done by the city, which was done in a lab, needed to be put into context.

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PM vows to 'listen' to concerns after historic defeat on Brexit deal

In a resounding defeat for the prime minister, 432 MPs voted against the deal – a majority of 230 – with 202 supporting it.

Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a no confidence motion in Theresa May’s government, giving her less than 24 hours to fight for her job.

The Withdrawal Agreement had been sealed with Brussels in November after two years of negotiation, and the historic vote now plunges the nature of the UK’s departure from the European Union into doubt.

A third of Conservative MPs – 118 in total – were among those walking through the opposition lobbies, with only three Labour MPs backing the deal: John Mann, Kevin Barron and Ian Austin.

The prime minister was fully prepared for the loss, springing to her feet immediately afterwards with a promise to “listen” to concerns.

She warned the result would only provide more uncertainty, and “tells us nothing” about what a majority of MPs actually support.

Setting out her next steps, Mrs May confirmed she would hold meetings with Tory MPs, then her confidence and supply partners the DUP and a group of other senior, cross-party MPs.

She vowed to offer a “constructive spirit” but said given the time pressure as the clock counts down to Brexit day, “we must focus on ideas that are genuinely negotiable and have sufficient support”.

Mrs May also beat Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to the punch by saying there would be time cleared for a no-confidence motion – before he had the chance to call it.

The motion will be debated throughout Wednesday, with the vote to be held at 7pm.

If successful, a new government would have to be formed using current parliamentary arithmetic. If that proves impossible, then a general election will be held.

Before the vote, Mrs May made a last-ditch plea to convince MPs to back her plan, saying: “I believe we have a duty to deliver on the democratic decision of the British people, and to do so in a way that brings our country together.”

The magic number the prime minister needed to win the crucial House of Commons vote on her Brexit deal was 318.

Before the vote, Sky News analysis suggested she would fall far short, with 224 having been expected to turn against her deal.

The UK is due to leave the EU by default at 11pm on 29 March.

Mrs May triggered Article 50 – the exit mechanism starting a countdown – two years earlier.

In a statement, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening’s vote. While we do not want this to happen, the European Commission will continue its contingency work to help ensure the EU is fully prepared.

“I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible.”

European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”

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Gillibrand Heads to Colbert Show Ahead of Expected 2020 Announcement

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to make explicit in an appearance on the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday what has been becoming increasingly clear for weeks: she is planning a run for president in 2020.

Mr. Colbert teased the “last-minute booking” on Monday with a heavy dose of winking and nodding. “Why would she be coming on here so suddenly?’’ he asked. “She’s coming on to talk to our audience tomorrow night — I can’t imagine why she would be here.”

Ms. Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has already secured office space for a campaign headquarters in Troy, N.Y., expanded her political staff and has planned a weekend trip to Iowa. She would need to file to start an exploratory committee to pay for those costs.

“I want to know what she’s here to say,” Mr. Colbert added. “Say would be the right word? To say something.”

Ms. Gillibrand would be the latest entrant in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary to take on President Trump. A decision to enter the race would represent a quick turnabout from a pledge during her re-election campaign, less than three months ago, that she would serve out her full six-year term in the Senate.

Other prominent Democrats have entered the race in recent weeks including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Julian Castro, the former federal housing secretary, and Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii congresswoman. Richard Ojeda of West Virginia and John Delaney, a former Congressman from Maryland, have also declared their candidacies.

Other senators expected to enter the race soon include Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, while Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and former Representative Beto O’Rourke are weighing candidacies.

Ms. Gillibrand first signaled her interest in the White House on Mr. Colbert’s show days after her re-election in November, saying, “I believe right now that every one of us should figure out how we can do whatever we can with our time, with our talents to restore that moral decency, that moral compass and that truth of who we are as Americans.”

Mr. Colbert joked, “That close!”

He gets another crack on Tuesday.

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Search to see how your MP voted on the Brexit deal

MPs have inflicted a the worst defeat since at least the Second World War on Theresa May’s Brexit deal – throwing Britain into crisis.

An astonishing 118 Tories rebelled against their Prime Minister to vote down the 585-page agreement with the EU.

Theresa May must now come up with a Plan B within days while Labour prepares a no confidence vote.

So how did your MP vote in a session that will be in the next generation’s history textbooks?

Downing Street’s efforts to pick off the huge number of Tory rebels came to little – and Labour, the SNP and Lib Dems voted against.

Here are the full results, including our searchable widget.

How did your MP vote on Brexit?

How did Tory MPs vote on the Brexit deal?

How did Labour MPs vote on the Brexit deal?

How did SNP MPs vote on the Brexit deal?

How did Lib Dem MPs vote on the Brexit deal?

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Latest Brexit news

  • Live updates on the Brexit vote
  • ‘We are playing with people’s lives’
  • Blow as DUP WON’T vote down government
  • What happens if PM loses
  • Summary of the deal and sticking points
  • What will No Deal really mean?
  • What is the Northern Ireland backstop?
  • Voice of the Mirror

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Kingston’s $180M third bridge sports a new look

A new architectural design has been unveiled for Kingston’s $180 million third bridge crossing.

Instead of having a signature archway rising above the centre section of the 1.2 kilometre bridge, the arches will be located below the deck.

The concept was unveiled by Mayor Bryan Paterson at his annual state of the city address at the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

Paterson says the revised “arch-below design” is meant to be more visually appealing on the Cataraqui River, which is part of the Rideau Canal system, a UNESCO world heritage site.

“To help accentuate the natural beauty of the Rideau Canal,” said Paterson. “That was something we felt was important, so hence the move to under arches.”

Further bridge design details are expected to be unveiled in the coming months as the structure — the most expensive infrastructure project in Kingston’s history — inches closer to a mid-summer construction start date. The work is expected to take about three years.

The bridge is meant to reduce traffic pressure on the nearby Highway 401 and LaSalle Causeway, while promoting a faster route for emergency vehicles and public transit. The bridge will also include a dedicated multi-use pathway from shore to shore to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.

In addition to the revamped look, the mayor revealed that bridge will be built using more concrete than steel, because of the crippling U.S. trade tariffs on steel and aluminum, which threaten to drive up the price of the bridge.

“The composition is absolutely a response to the tariffs on steel,” the mayor said.

He added: “The commitment to the community is to do everything we can to bring this bridge on time and on budget. So when something like that happens, where you get an unexpected imposition of tariffs on steel, then you need to be able to react to that.”

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AG nominee Barr pledges to support federal whistleblower law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr pledged at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday to support and uphold the False Claims Act, a law that lets whistleblowers file lawsuits to help the federal government recover losses due to fraud.

“I will diligently enforce the False Claims Act,” Barr told Republican Senator Charles Grassley, marking a reversal from prior comments he made in which he declared the law was an abomination and unconstitutional.

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