Top U.S. general confident allies will step up in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer said on Friday he was confident that U.S. allies would step up in Syria, after Washington announced it would be leaving hundreds of troops in Syria.

In addition, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “There is no change in the basic campaign (in Syria). The resourcing is being adjusted because the threat has been changed.”

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Save the date: Valour FC announce inaugural home game

Professional soccer is one step closer to kicking off in Winnipeg as Valour FC announced the team’s inaugural home game.

The match will take place Sat., May 4, 2019 against the visiting FC Edmonton at Investors Group Field.

The full schedule will be released Wed. Feb. 27.

The team says they have 12 players under contract and will continue to fill out the roster ahead of training camp in March.

Season ticket sales opened in October with rates ranging from $15-28 per match for adults to $11 per match for youth.

All home matches will be held at Investors Group Field.

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Police seek public’s help on 3rd anniversary of unsolved Pritchard murder

Winnipeg police are looking for the public’s help in solving a murder that took place on this day three years ago.

The Homicide Unit is still investigating the death of Marilyn Rose Munroe, who was found dead Feb. 22, 2016, in the 200 block of Pritchard Avenue.

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Police said they want to speak with anyone who might have information about Munroe’s whereabouts between Jan. 12 of that year – when she was first reported missing – and 10 days later when her body was found.

At the time of her death, police described Munroe as 41 years old, 5’6″, 130 lbs, with long, dark hair. She was last seen in the area of Selkirk Avenue and Andrews Street. She was wearing several layers of sweaters and a carrying a plastic bag.

Anyone who saw or had contact with Munroe during that time is asked to call homicide investigators at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

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Britain's Harry and Meghan to champion cause of girls' education in rural Morocco

RABAT (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan will begin a three-day visit to Morocco on Saturday during which they will show their support for rural girls’ education in the Atlas mountains.

The visit at the request of the British government is the second to the kingdom in recent years by a member of the royal family, following a trip by Prince Charles in 2011. Queen Elizabeth visited Morocco in 1980.

It is expected to be the final royal overseas trip before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are due to become parents this spring, according to British media.

The couple arrive in Casablanca on Saturday evening. The next morning they will fly to the Atlas mountains where they will meet girls at a boarding house run by Education for All, an NGO that builds dormitories near schools to reduce school drop-out rates among girls aged 12 to 18, the UK embassy said.

“This visit will help give international publicity to the work we do and will help us raise money to build more boarding houses,” Michael McHugo, founder of Education for All, told Reuters by phone.

While in Asni, Harry and Meghan will meet local high school students and teachers and afterwards attend a football game.

“The visit will add new momentum to tourism in the region,” said Montassir Itri from Asni.

On Monday, the Duke and Duchess will attend an equestrian event in the capital Rabat centering on horse therapy for children with special needs, followed by a cooking event and a meeting with young social entrepreneurs.

The couple is also expected to meet a member of the Moroccan royal family later in the day at a palace in Rabat.

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Second debris flow on Highway 97 in Okanagan

A second debris flow fell across part of Highway 97 in the Okanagan, temporarily affecting southbound traffic on Friday morning.

Debris from a silt bluff covered part of the highway just south of Summerland. Both southbound lanes to Penticton were closed, but have been reopened. The debris was blocking the right southbound lane.

The northbound lanes to Kelowna were unaffected.

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Penticton Chamber of Commerce calls for paved alternate highway route in wake of rockslide closure

Highway 97 rockslide in Okanagan could cost $1 million

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Romanian magistrates stage unprecedented protest against judicial changes

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Magistrates protested outside courthouses across Romania on Friday and many prosecutors will stop work next week, in an unprecedented protest against changes in judicial legislation that have raised alarm bells over the rule of law.

Romania’s government used an emergency decree to alter the legislation on Tuesday, mostly stripping prosecutors of more of their powers. It was the latest in a series of changes the ruling Social Democrats have made in the past two years that have triggered massive street protests.

The European Commission, U.S. State Department and thousands of Romanian magistrates have said the changes threaten the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

“Sudden changes made to judicial laws through an emergency decree, without consulting the Superior Magistrates Council and the body of magistrates, have a major impact on the ability of the overall prosecuting body to fulfil its constitutional duties,” Bucharest prosecutors said in a statement.

The February decree, put forward by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, changes the appointment process of chief prosecutors and removes most oversight of a prosecuting unit that investigates magistrates, something critics say was created to intimidate.

Judges and prosecutors were gathering outside courthouses across the country on Friday in silent protest, holding banners that read “Independence,” “Rule of law,” “An independent judiciary has independent prosecutors” and “Mister minister, enough.”

Prosecutors in cities from capital Bucharest to the small eastern Romanian city of Suceava will not work cases except emergencies from Monday for three to seven days. Many judges will also follow suit.

Prosecutors’ and judges’ associations were meeting to decide on further forms of protest.

Romania is regularly ranked one of the European Union’s most corrupt states, and Brussels has kept its justice system under special monitoring since it joined the bloc in 2007.

The country’s anti-corruption prosecuting agency, DNA, has convicted thousands of public officials, including ministers and lawmakers, across party lines for high-level graft.

Their efforts have won praise from Brussels, diplomats and foreign investors, but disdain from most local politicians.

The Social Democrats say the changes are intended to curb abuses committed by magistrates. The party has so far ignored European Commission recommendations to reconsider the changes.

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‘Damaging winds’ of up to 110 km/h forecast for Toronto on Sunday

The City of Toronto is under a special weather statement warning of damaging winds of up to 110 km/h on Sunday.

Environment Canada issued the advisory on Friday in anticipation of the weather event beginning Sunday afternoon and through to the evening hours.

The wind gusts will persist as a sharp cold front moves into parts of Southern Ontario. The weather system is expected to weaken on Monday.

Officials say damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. There is also the possibility of power outages due to downed electricity lines.

The national weather service said flurries are also in the forecast on Sunday. Local snowfall amounts in the two to five centimetres range are possible by Monday morning.

Road conditions may become treacherous as the strong winds coupled with the snow can create whiteout conditions in localized areas.

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Crown expected to wrap evidence portion in Dennis Oland murder trial

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A bloodstained jacket, a missing cellphone and a multitude of police errors – Crown prosecutors are expected to conclude the evidence portion of their case against Dennis Oland at his second degree murder trial in Saint John, N.B., today.

Oland has been charged with the bludgeoning death of his father, multimillionaire businessman Richard Oland, in what the prosecution has described as a fit of rage spurred by Dennis Oland’s money problems.

The Crown will wrap up its blood and DNA evidence this morning, replaying testimony from Oland’s first trial in 2015.

A jury convicted the 51-year-old investment adviser at that time but the verdict was set aside on appeal and the new trial ordered.

The final prosecution witness, John Ainsworth, will be cross examined by defence this afternoon.

He was in the building where Richard Oland was murdered on July 6, 2011, and likely heard the murder. But he didn’t see anything and he can’t pinpoint the time.

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Brazil prosecutors say they are seeking arrest of senior Vale executive

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian prosecutors are seeking the arrest of a Vale SA senior executive, authorities said on Friday, following the collapse of a dam holding mining byproducts that is believed to have killed over 300 people.

This is the first time that prosecutors are seeking to detain a senior-level executive, although several mid-level employees have been arrested in the wake of the disaster in the town of Brumadinho. Eight employees are still being held.

The executive, Director of Ferrous Metals Peter Poppinga, has not been arrested after a judge declined to issue a warrant. But prosecutors told Reuters they are still seeking his arrest in an appeal of the judge’s decision.

Vale, the top iron ore exporter in the world, told newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, which first reported the news, that it supported the Brazilian judge’s decision not to arrest Poppinga.

The death toll from the burst dam has risen to 169 people, with 141 people still missing.

Vale has faced global condemnation and scrutiny since the dam, which held back mining byproducts, burst in January in the company’s second such disaster in four years.

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Italian ruling-party lawmakers push for Huawei ban: paper

MILAN (Reuters) – A group of lawmakers from Italy’s ruling coalition is pushing the government to ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for the country’s rollout of 5G mobile communications, Il Messaggero newspaper said on Friday.

Lawmakers from the Lega party, which governs alongside the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, plan to call in parliament for Rome to use its “golden powers” of industrial veto to block Huawei, already a supplier to major telecom operators in Italy.

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces international scrutiny over its ties with the Chinese government and suspicion Beijing could use its technology for spying — something the company has denied.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned that the United States would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei systems, citing security concerns.

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