Kelowna’s Mayor Sugarplum ready for big reveal

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran will be dressing in drag in a fundraiser for the Okanagan Pride Society.

Basran is unveiling his alter-ego, Mayor Sugarplum, at the Sugarplum ball this Saturday.

So, why dress in drag? Well, Basran’s actually poking fun at some criticism he’s received.

Last summer, Kelowna city council approved funding for rainbow crosswalks to be painted in the Lawrence Avenue and Pandosy Street area.

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READ MORE: Rainbow crosswalks in downtown Kelowna

“I want a city that’s open, accepting and inclusive of all people and really a place that allows people to be who they are born to be,” said Basran.

While most people supported the move, some were critical of the decision.

While most people supported the move, some were critical.

One of those critics went online, calling Basran the ‘Sugarplum mayor.’

“They were thinking they were insulting me, but I actually found it kinda funny,” said Basran.

So Basran, with help of members of the Okanagan Pride Society and Okanagan Young Professionals, brainstormed on how the turn the insult into something positive. That’s when the Sugarplum Ball was born.

Basran won’t be wearing heels and fishnets, but won’t fully divulge what his outfit will look like either.

“Think David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust,” he said.

And while he’s garnered attention from all across Canada, Basran said he isn’t doing to for the spotlight.

“There will always be people who think I’m doing it for attention. I ran for office to make our city better. I believe acceptance and inclusion makes our city better,” said Basran.

NATO leaders gear up for standoff with Russia

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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WARSAW, Poland – NATO leaders geared up Friday for a long-term standoff with Russia, ordering multinational troops to Poland and the three Baltic states as Moscow moves forward with its own plans to station two new divisions along its western borders.

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Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that on the first day of a landmark two-day summit, U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of the 27 other NATO countries also declared the initial building blocks of a ballistic missile defence system operationally capable, recognized cyberspace as a domain for alliance operations, committed to boosting their countries’ civil preparedness, and renewed a pledge to spend a minimum of 2 per cent of their national incomes on defence.

“We have just taken decisions to deliver 21st-century deterrence and defence in the face of 21st century challenges,” Stoltenberg told a news conference. He said deployment of the new NATO units to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a rotational basis would start next year, with no end date.

READ MORE: Canada and NATO: Details on Eastern Europe military commitments

“It’s an open-ended commitment and will last as long as necessary,” he said. “And it is a new reality because we didn’t have that kind of presence in the eastern part of the alliance before.”

He announced plans as well for an enhanced NATO presence in the Black Sea region, where Russia has also reasserted its influence, with creation of a multinational brigade under Romanian and Bulgarian command.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, the summit’s official host, warned that Western democratic values are being undermined by a “notorious lack of respect for international law” as well as terrorism and high-tech warfare, and said NATO needs a coherent strategy to address those problems.

After arriving in Warsaw, Obama announced his decision to send an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland as part of the NATO effort to reinforce its presence on the alliance’s frontiers near Russia. Following bilateral talks, Duda thanked Obama, saying Poles “are grateful for the good will, for understanding that security is where the world’s strongest army is, and that army is the U.S. Army.”

WATCH: President Obama commits to deploying 1000 troops to Poland during NATO summit

In a column published in the Financial Times, Obama, who is making what is expected to be his last trip to Europe as president, called on NATO to stand firm against Russia, terrorism and other challenges, and to “summon the political will, and make concrete commitments” to strengthen European co-operation after Britain voted June 23 to leave the European Union.

Creation of the new NATO units, telegraphed long in advance like most items on the summit agenda following months of deliberations by allied governments, is vigorously opposed by the Kremlin. It follows a raft of other decisions taken during the last 22 months to increase NATO’s ability to face Russia and other new security challenges, including tripling the size of the alliance Response Force to 40,000 and formation of a highly nimble Spearhead Force that can start to move within days.

As Obama and the other heads of state and government were gathering in the Polish capital, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is willing to co-operate with NATO, even though he said it acts toward Russia like an enemy.

Russia “has always been open for dialogue” with NATO, especially to combat what it sees as a “genuine threat” – terrorism, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

READ MORE: 450 Canadian soldiers to join NATO force in Latvia

“Russia is not looking (for an enemy) but it actually sees it happening,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow. “When NATO soldiers march along our border and NATO jets fly by, it’s not us who are moving closer to the NATO borders.”

But German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, whose nation will furnish the core components of the new battalion going to Lithuania, called it an appropriate measure to counter what she called a “completely unpredictable and aggressive Russia.”

Von der Leyen said Poland and the Baltic states want greater protection because Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has proven Moscow “doesn’t respect borders.” The minister told German broadcaster ARD that NATO must maintain a dialogue with Russia, but from a “position of strength.”

“It’s important that NATO deploys with such strength that it’s clear nobody can see an advantage in attacking this military alliance,” she said.

Stoltenberg said Canada will furnish the framework components for the battalion to be sent to Latvia, and that Britain will do the same for Estonia. NATO officials have estimated the four battalions will have a total strength of about 4,000 soldiers.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau attends his first NATO summit in Poland

“NATO has responded with speed and determination,” Stoltenberg said. He added that the new units, composed of troops from different alliance members, will make clear to Russia and anyone else “that an attack on one ally would be considered an attack on the whole alliance.”

Earlier, the secretary-general said keeping members of NATO safe also means supporting partner nations in the Middle East and North Africa menaced by extremist violence.

“It’s not enough to keep our defences strong; we must help to make our partners stronger,” Stoltenberg told a pre-summit meeting of defence and security experts.

“Training local forces is often our best weapon against violent extremism,” he said.

Also on the summit program is increased assistance for Iraq’s military, extension of the West’s financial commitment to the Afghan military and police, aid for Tunisia, and getting NATO more involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group by authorizing use of AWACS surveillance planes to assist the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting the militants.

Warsaw may have become the world’s most highly secured city during the summit, NATO’s first since September 2014. The meeting is taking place after a series of recent extremist attacks around the globe. Helicopters hovered Friday above the National Stadium, the meeting’s venue, while 6,000 police officers, backed up by soldiers, gendarmes, firefighters and other security officials, helped patrol the city of 1.7 million.

After Friday’s deliberations, NATO leaders dined in the same room of the Polish presidential palace where the now-defunct Warsaw Pact military alliance formed by the Soviet Union was created in 1955.

Killer robot used by Dallas police sparks ethical debate

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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When Dallas police used a bomb-carrying robot to kill a sniper, they also kicked off an ethical debate about technology’s use as a crime-fighting weapon.

In what appears to be an unprecedented tactic, police rigged a bomb-disposal robot to kill an armed suspect in the fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas. While there doesn’t appear to be any hard data on the subject, security experts and law enforcement officials said they couldn’t recall another time when police have deployed a robot with lethal intent.

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READ MORE: ‘Military-style’ rifle used in Dallas shooting, officials say

The strategy opens a new chapter in the escalating use of remote and semi-autonomous devices to fight crime and protect lives. It also raises new questions over when it’s appropriate to dispatch a robot to kill dangerous suspects instead of continuing to negotiate their surrender.

“If lethally equipped robots can be used in this situation, when else can they be used?” says Elizabeth Joh, a University of California at Davis law professor who has followed U.S. law enforcement’s use of technology.

“Extreme emergencies shouldn’t define the scope of more ordinary situations where police may want to use robots that are capable of harm.”

WATCH: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says a robot that typically diffuses bombs was planted with C-4 explosives. Rawlings says they gave the suspect ample opportunity to surrender before they used their C-4 explosives.

Dallas Police Chief David Warren defended his department’s decision. “Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger,” Warren said.

Police appear to setup a remotely operated robot during a stand off with a gunman barricaded inside a van at a Jack in the Box restaurant at Interstate 45 and Dowdy Ferry Road, Saturday, June 13, 2015, in Hutchins, Texas. The gunman allegedly attacked Dallas Police Headquarters.

AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Robots, soldiers and police

Police have been using such robots for decades for bomb disposal and in hostage standoffs and fires. Meanwhile, militaries around the world have come to rely on their robotic friends to disable improvised explosive devices — a need that only increased with the U.S. occupation of Iraq in the past decade.

Many of the robots joining police forces are coming from a U.S. Department of Defence program transferring surplus equipment from the military. These exchanges have provided law enforcement agencies with robots such as Packbot made by Endeavor Robotics, the Talon from QinetiQ and the MARCbot made by Exponent.

But military experts said ground-level robots are rarely used to kill the enemy. Their main purpose is to detect and defuse bombs to save lives. Military robots are “fairly clunky and used best for reconnaissance rather than the offensive,” said Tom Gorup, an infantry veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who’s now an official at the IT-security firm Rook Security.

03:27

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Calgary’s top cop responds to Dallas tragedy

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Dallas grieving after sniper kills 5 police officers at protest

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Global News Hour at 6

Why the ambush on police in Dallas was successful



How it (probably) worked

The robots working for police departments across the country range in size from something as small as a dog bone to as large as a truck. Some are little more than a mechanical arm mounted onto a vehicle and equipped with a video camera and two-way audio communications, according to William Flanagan, a retired deputy police chief from New York’s Nassau County who now does law enforcement and technology consulting. The most versatile robots can climb stairs and navigate other tight spots, such as this one made by Icor Technology.

Many models used by police are about the size of a backpack.

Flanagan speculated that police in Dallas probably equipped their robot with a low-powered explosive — possibly one similar to what bomb squads use to blow up suspicious packages — that would only disable what’s closest to it.

Dallas police didn’t respond to a request for further information about their use of the robot.

READ MORE: What we know and don’t know about the ‘ambush’ on police officers

Machine vs. human

Robotics expert Peter W. Singer, of the New America Foundation, said the killing marked the first instance he’s aware of in which police have used a robot to lethal effect. But when he was researching his 2009 book “Wired for War,” a U.S. soldier told him troops in Iraq sometimes used surveillance robots against insurgents, he added in an email Friday.

William Cohen, a former Exponent employee who helped design the MARCbot, said that robot was built to save lives instead of ending them. Although he was relieved the killing of the armed suspect in Dallas assured no other police officers or bystanders would be harmed, Cohen says he’s worried about what might happen next.

“I am very uneasy about it,” Cohen said. “It opens a whole new set of questions of how to deal with these kinds of situations. Where are the police going to draw the line when trying to decide between continuing to negotiate and doing something like this?”

___

Associated Press writers Paul Weber in Dallas, Frank Bajak in Houston and Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

‘Important milestone’: Preliminary work underway on southwest ring road

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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It’s been a long time coming, but nearly 70 years after a southwest ring road was first proposed, work on the project has begun.

For now, it’s preliminary work – to relocate utilities like power lines and remove vegetation.

Several buildings, formerly on the Tsuu T’ina Nation before the province acquired the land, have been removed.

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  • Feds announce up to $582.9M for southwest Calgary ring road

  • Southwest Calgary Ring Road to be completed in 7 years: Government

    “This is a tremendous milestone in this overall project,” Garry Lamb with Alberta Transportation said. “I’ve been involved with this project since 2005, and so, for us to finally get to the point – where we’re going to be building the southwest section of the ring road, including crossing the former Tsuu T’ina Nation lands, is a real important milestone for us on this project.”

    A final agreement to start building the ring road is expected be signed by this September, when full construction will begin.

    READ MORE: Feds announce up to $582.9M for southwest Calgary ring road 

    WATCH: Calgary traffic study aims to fast track southwest ring road 

    Calgary’s mayor suggests traffic disruption will be minimal.

    “I live just off of the East Stoney Trail and you barely noticed the construction because it was just outside of where people were normally going, so traffic headaches should actually not be awful,” Naheed Nenshi said.

    It’s anticipated the section through former Tsuu T’ina land will be built first.

    Once completed, the project will include 31 kilometers of six and eight lane divided highway, 14 interchanges and three river crossings.  It’s being funded through a public-private partnership.

    -With files from David Boushy

Canadian women’s basketball team keeping close eye on men ahead of Rio

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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In between their two daily practices, Canada’s women’s basketball team has been keeping a close eye on the men.

The Canada’s women’s squad clinched its spot in the Rio Olympics way back in August, while the men are two wins away from earning their first berth in 16 years.

“I was up at 4:30 in the morning the last couple of days, watching them,” said women’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis.

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    Lac-Megantic firefighter heading to Rio to compete in Olympic weightlifting

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  • Canada’s Olympic gymnastics team to include Minnedosa woman

    The Canadian women host China in three exhibition games Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, as their final preparation for Rio kicks into high gear.

    The men, meanwhile, are playing at a last-chance qualifying tournament in Manila, where they need a victory over New Zealand in Saturday’s semifinals, and then a win in Sunday’s final to clinch their first Olympic berth since 2000.

    READ MORE: Montcalm earns Olympic spot at track & field trials in Edmonton

    Four years ago, the women were in the exact same spot, securing the last spot for the London Olympics just one month out from the Games.

    “It’s too early to get up (to watch the men) when we have two practices a day, but I think I’m going to wake up on the weekend to see their games,” Lizanne Murphy said. “I really hope they qualify, that would be so great for our country.

    “I think we’re going to do great regardless, but I just think it would mean so much more, and it would get the guys committed to playing for Canada. Because I think they just need to play on the big stage and they would show how much you can love playing for your country.”

    The women’s team, No. 9 on the most recent FIBA rankings, looks forward to a tough test from No. 8 China, the team the Canadians face in their first game in Rio on Aug. 6.

    “These are going to be great games, China is good, they’re playing very well,” Thomaidis said. “So it will be a great chance for us to test ourselves against someone different. We can only do so much against ourselves and against those boys.”

    (The women regularly scrimmage against a group of male high school and university players.)

    READ MORE: Road to Rio: Olympic swimmer and Victoria native Ryan Cochrane

    The exhibition series will give Canada a chance to experiment a little.

    “I think we’ll get a lot out of it,” said veteran forward Tamara Tatham. “We’re putting in a few new things and to be able to get out there and try different things, it’ll be cool to see different lineups and see what China throws at us and what we can expect at the Olympics.”

    The Canadian women made the quarter-finals four years ago in London, and aren’t shy about saying their goal in Rio is a medal.

    They have some recent solid results. The women went 5-0 en route to winning their first-ever Pan Am Games gold last summer, then won the FIBA Americas qualifying tournament.

    They went 4-1 on a European exhibition tour last month, losing their opener to No. 3 Spain, before reeling off victories over Cuba (No. 13), France (No. 4), Australia (No. 2), and China (No. 8).

    “But we know these (exhibition) games mean absolutely nothing right now and a lot of things change and we have to get a lot better, and I think we’ve done that this camp,” said veteran Kim Gaucher. “We’ve really grown.”

    The final Olympic roster will be announced during the final phase of training camp, which tips-off July 22 in Toronto.