News

FORT SMITH, N.W.T. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on the second leg of his annual visit to Canada's North, armed with initiatives to promote fresh food production in the region.

Harper says the federal government will spend $2 million to build a permanent campus for the Northern Farm Training Institute in the Northwest Territories town of Hay River.

The money will let the two-year-old school run programs year-round from a campus set on 300 acres of farmland with greenhouses, offices and classrooms.

VANCOUVER - The Law Society of New Brunswick will hold a special meeting next month to review its decision to accredit a controversial law school proposed in British Columbia.

The group voted in June to recognize future graduates of Trinity Western University — a private Christian school that requires all students to sign a covenant that bars same-sex relationships.

Since then hundreds of members have petitioned the law society to reconsider that decision, prompting the meeting planned for Sept. 13.

CALGARY - The loss of a witness on behalf of the state of Montana could have an impact on Canadian Ronald Smith's attempt to avoid death by lethal injection.

A hearing is scheduled for next July on whether new drugs being proposed by the state comply with language in execution protocol requiring an "ultra-fast-acting barbiturate.''

But an expert who Montana was going to use in its argument has withdrawn his services and the state has been unable to find a replacement.

MONTREAL - Quebec police investigating the Lac-Megantic train disaster say they've visited the United States four times to seize documents and to interview witnesses — and they expect to go back.

A provincial police spokesman said Friday that investigators still have evidence to gather in the U.S. for analysis in Quebec.

"We still have some work to do," Lt. Michel Brunet said about the cross-border investigation, which was conducted in co-operation with Interpol.

TORONTO - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is wrong in saying that police investigations, not a national inquiry, are the best way to deal with crimes involving missing and murdered aboriginal women, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday.

"For Stephen Harper to say that there's not a systemic aspect to this, I think is just — I think it's outrageous quite frankly," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - A central Florida man has been charged with murder in the death of his baby daughter, who authorities say was left in the man's truck for at least four hours.

Brevard County prosecutors officially charged 31-year-old Steven Darnell Lillie on Friday with third-degree felony murder, manslaughter and leaving a child under the age of six unsupervised in a motor vehicle. Florida Today (http://goo.gl/Znr54V) reports that he was previously charged with aggravated manslaughter.

WASHINGTON - Model aircraft hobbyists, research universities and commercial drone operators and investors have filed lawsuits challenging a government directive that they say imposes tough new limits on the use of model aircraft and broadens a ban on commercial drone flights.

The three lawsuits filed Friday ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the directive, which the Federal Aviation Administration issued in June. The agency said its move is an attempt to clarify what is a model aircraft and the limitations on their operation.

ABUJA, Nigeria - Two alarming new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria, widening the circle of people sickened beyond the immediate group of caregivers who treated a dying airline passenger in one of Africa's largest cities.

The outbreak also continues to spread elsewhere in West Africa, with 142 more cases recorded, bringing the new total to 2,615 with 1,427 deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday.

OTTAWA - Ottawa police have released a video of a person of interest in a recent "nighttime prowling incident" in the city's Rockcliffe area ­— the same neighbourhood that's home to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Police won't say, however, whether there's a link between the man in the video and a break-in at Trudeau's home last weekend while his wife and three young children were sleeping.

They are asking for the public's help in identifying the thin, bearded man, who appeared to be using a cellphone, as seen in black and white images from a security camera.

GAZA, Palestinian Territories - Gaza militants Friday gunned down 18 alleged spies for Israel in an apparent attempt to plug security breaches and deter others, a day after Israel killed three top Hamas military commanders in an airstrike likely guided by collaborators.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that the Great Recession complicated the Fed's ability to assess the U.S. job market and made it harder to determine when to adjust interest rates.

Yellen's remarks to an annual Fed conference offered no signal that she's altered her view that the economy still needs Fed support from ultra-low interest rates. The timing of a Fed rate increase remains unclear, though many economists foresee an increase by mid-2015.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - Shadowing central bankers and economists at the Federal Reserve conference here, a group of about 10 demonstrators pressed Fed Chair Janet Yellen not to yield to pressure to raise interest rates.

Carrying placards and green T-shirts embossed with the slogan "What recovery?" they said they'd come from New York, Missouri, Minnesota and elsewhere to draw attention to people left behind by the recovery and still unable to find work.

LUHANSK, Ukraine - Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated sharply on Friday as Moscow sent more than 130 trucks rolling across the border in what it said was a mission to deliver humanitarian aid.

Ukraine called it a "direct invasion," and the U.S. and NATO condemned it as well.

The trucks, part of a convoy of 260 vehicles, entered Ukraine without government permission after being held up at the border for a week amid fears the mission was a Kremlin ploy to help the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

VANCOUVER - A Liberal MP who has met with Mounties across the country says officers tell her harassment and bullying continue within the force, despite assurances of action by the RCMP's top brass.

MP Judy Sgro (seh-GROH), along with Senator Grant Mitchell, hosted four private sessions between April and October 2013 asking Mounties to share their experiences.

Sgro says they were told of recurring incidents with the direct knowledge of superiors, that participants claimed were dismissed as hazing, character building or "just the guys blowing off steam."

VIDEO: Onlookers applaud Kingdom Hall’s roof raising
By Thia James paNOW Staff

After working through the rain earlier this week, volunteers working to build Kingdom Hall along Highway 2 just south of Marquis Road, applauded as the first section of the roof was placed on the building Friday morning.

Kingdom Hall will be the new place of worship for the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Prince Albert. A couple hundred Jehovah’s Witnesses from all around Saskatchewan, and even some from Alberta, have come to the site to help with construction. 

NEW YORK - A parole board has again declined to release John Lennon's killer.

It's the eighth time 59-year-old Mark David Chapman has been denied parole. New York corrections officials announced the decision Friday.

They say a three-member board denied Chapman's parole after a hearing Wednesday.

Chapman shot Lennon outside the former Beatle's Manhattan apartment building in December 1980. The musician, singer, songwriter and activist was 40.

Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

VANCOUVER - The state of Alaska says it wants greater involvement as a controversial B.C. mine moves through the approval process and it suggests the federal government should consider a more comprehensive review.

The KSM gold and copper mine proposed by Seabridge Gold Inc. (TSX:SEA) has raised concerns in Alaska about the potential impact on fish and the environment.

The northern B.C. project has passed the provincial environmental assessment process but is currently awaiting a decision from the federal government.

OTTAWA - Some local TV stations will be forced to close and more than 30,000 people could lose their jobs if Canada's broadcast regulator adopts changes it wants Canadians to consider, says a broadcast industry watchdog group.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission proposed new regulations this week that would, among other things, allow consumers to pick the individual channels they want from cable and satellite service providers.

Back to school shoppers rush in
By Alex Soloducha paNOW Staff

It’s that time of year again: back to school season. Whether you dread it or you love it, come fall it’s inevitable.

For most families, this means a yearly trip to the mall for school supplies and new school clothes.

Kyle Carnahan, technology sales supervisor at Staples, said there’s been quit a rush of customers at their store.

“It’s been pretty crazy in here,” said Carnahan. “Especially these last three weeks, we’re going to see an increase.”

TORONTO - Actor Tom Hanks has added his voice to those protesting the artificial turf surfaces that Canadian venues will use at the upcoming FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup.

"Opinion: Women's World Cup is the best Soccer of the year," Hanks tweeted to his 8.73 million followers on Friday. "Hey FIFA, they deserve real grass. Put in sod."

After a devastating drop in population numbers over the past two years, the monarch butterfly is starting to make a comeback, and the increase is being noticed at Point Pelee National Park.

WASHINGTON - The FBI and Homeland Security Department say there are no specific or credible terror threats to the U.S. homeland from the Islamic State militant group.

An intelligence bulletin, issued to state and local law enforcement, says while there's no credible threat to the U.S. as a result of recent American airstrikes in Iraq, officials remain concerned that Islamic State supporters could attack overseas targets with little warning.

Man sentenced in fatal Pelican Narrows fire

paNOW Staff

A Pelican Narrows man was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to criminal negligence causing death after a fire that killed a 10-year-old girl.

Denasia Highway was staying at her grandparents' house in the community when the fire happened on September 24, 2013. The grandparents made it out safely and thought the girl had as well. It wasn't until later they learned the tragic truth when her remains were found among the burned rubble.

MACHAKOS, Kenya - In an industrial area outside Kenya's capital city, workers in hard hats and white masks take shiny new power drills to computer parts. This assembly line is not assembling, though. It is dismantling some of the estimated 50 million metric tons of hazardous electronic-waste the world generated last year.

BANGKOK - Interpol said Friday it has launched a multinational investigation into what Thailand has dubbed the "Baby Factory" case: a 24-year-old Japanese businessman who has 16 surrogate babies and an alleged desire to father hundreds more.

Police raided a Bangkok condominium earlier this month and found nine babies and nine nannies living in a few unfurnished rooms filled with baby bottles, bouncy chairs, play pens and diapers. They have since identified Mitsutoki Shigeta as the father of those babies — and seven others.