Roadside bombs kill 14, wound others during morning rush hour in Syrian capital

Two roadside bombs exploded near a bus carrying troops during the morning rush hour in the Syrian capital early Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding others, state TV reported.

The attack was the deadliest in Damascus in years, and a rare event since government forces captured suburbs formerly held by insurgents in Syria’s decade-long conflict.

Syrian state TV showed footage of the charred bus in central Damascus, saying the blasts occurred while people were heading to work and school. The report said a third bomb was discovered and dismantled in the same area.

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No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred at a main bus transfer point under a bridge, where vehicles converge and head out to different neighborhoods of the capital.

“It is a cowardly act,” Damascus police commander Maj. Gen. Hussein Jumaa told state TV, adding that a police force had cordoned off the area immediately and made sure there were no more bombs. He urged people to inform authorities about any suspicious object they see.

Jumaa said one of the wounded had succumbed to his wounds later Wednesday raising the death toll to 14.

More than an hour after the blast occurred, workers cleared the scene of the explosion, and the burnt-out bus was removed.

President Bashar Assad’s forces now control much of Syria after military help from his allies Russia and Iran helped tip the balance of power in his favor.

Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011 has left more than 350,000 people dead and displaced half the country’s population, including five million who are refugees abroad.

In August, Syria’s state media said a short circuit triggered an explosion in the gas tank of a bus carrying soldiers, killing one and wounding three.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

At least 34 dead amid heavy rains in northern India as flooding overwhelms country

At least 34 people have died following days of heavy rains in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, the state’s chief minister said, as rescuers continued work to free those stranded on Wednesday.

Aerial footage of the affected areas showed engorged rivers and villages partially submerged by floodwaters.

“There is huge loss due to the floods … the crops have been destroyed,” Pushkar Singh Dhami told Reuters partner ANI after surveying the damage late on Tuesday.

“The locals are facing a lot of problems, the roads are waterlogged, bridges have been washed away. So far 34 people have died and we are trying to normalize the situation as soon as possible.”

Read more:
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet he was “anguished” by the loss of life.

The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand is especially prone to flooding. More than 200 were feared killed in February after flash floods swept away a hydroelectric dam.

Unseasonably heavy rains across India have led to deadly floods in several areas of the country in recent days. Authorities in the southern state of Kerala said on Monday more than 20 people had died there following landslides.

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Jane Wardell)

© 2021 Reuters

Olympic flame lit in Beijing ahead of February's Winter Games

China lit its Olympic flame in Beijing on Wednesday after the ceremonial torch arrived from Athens, ahead of the Chinese capital’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Games in February.

The Winter Games will be held from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, when Beijing will become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that means overseas spectators will be excluded.

At a welcome ceremony held near the National Stadium, shaped like a bird’s nest and built for the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing Communist Party chief Cai Qi lit a cauldron to symbolise the arrival of the Olympic flame in China.

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The flame had left Athens on Oct. 19 and travelled to Beijing in a red lantern designed in the likeness of a Han Dynasty tomb artefact, carried by torchbearers decked in white.

China will display the Olympic flame at Beijing’s Olympic Park from Wednesday. In early February next year, 1,200 torchbearers will carry the flame through the cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou and the district of Yanqing, which are the competition venues.

The torch relay route has been “appropriately reduced” due to the need to guard against the spread of COVID-19, said Beijing Vice Mayor Zhang Jiandong at the ceremony.

The ceremony went off without a hitch on Wednesday in Beijing, where, like elsewhere in China, security is usually tight.

At a ceremony in Athens on Oct. 18 to hand over the flame to China, three protesters unfurled a banner reading “No Genocide Games” and waved a Tibetan flag.

Rights groups have called for a boycott of the Beijing games to protest against what they termed as human rights atrocities in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. China has rejected those claims.

Greece’s Olympic Committee (HOC) said it was disappointed the Athens ceremony had been used for political purposes.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

© 2021 Reuters

Brazilian Senate report recommends Bolsonaro face criminal charges for COVID-19 response

WATCH: Brazil's COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500,000

Brazilians will turn their focus on Wednesday to the Senate, where a report six months in the making will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be indicted on criminal charges for allegedly bungling the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and pushing the country’s death toll to second-highest in the world.

A draft of the report arising from a Senate committee’s investigation, a copy of which was reviewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday, recommended the president be indicted on 11 charges, from charlatanism and inciting crime all the way up to homicide and genocide.

In the committee’s so-called “G7” group of senators who aren’t from Bolsonaro’s base, three opposed inclusion of homicide and genocide charges, said five committee members who agreed to discuss details of the sensitive talks only if not quoted by name.

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Analysts said it was unclear such recommendations would lead to charges against the president. That would be a decision for Brazil’s prosecutor-general, who was appointed by the president.

Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing, and repeatedly accused the investigation of being a political instrument aimed at sabotaging him.

Critics have denounced Bolsonaro for downplaying the coronavirus’ severity, ignoring international health guidelines on masks and restrictions on activity designed to prevent the virus’ spread, touting unproven treatments and delaying the acquisition of vaccines.

Anger over the president’s stance prompted creation of the Senate committee in April, which has investigated allegations that Bolsonaro’s management of the pandemic caused many of Brazil’s more than 600,000 deaths from COVID-19.

The draft report of nearly 1,200 pages was written by Sen. Renan Calheiros, who was scheduled to present his final version Wednesday to the 11-person committee.

The document has to be approved by the committee before being sent to the office of the prosecutor-general, who would decide whether to carry forward the investigation and perhaps pursue charges. In Brazil, members of congressional committees can investigate, but don’t have the power to indict.

Regardless of the exact content of the report’s final version or whether the prosecutor-general moves forward, its allegations are expected to fuel criticism of the far-right leader, whose approval ratings have slumped ahead of his 2022 reelection campaign.

“The major impact of the investigation is political, because it generated tons of news that certainly will be used by campaign strategists next year,” said Thiago de Aragão, director of strategy at political consultancy Arko Advice.

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In its current shape, the draft report concludes that the government “deliberately exposed the population to a concrete risk of mass infection,” influenced by a group of unofficial advisers who advocated for pursuing herd immunity even after many experts said that wasn’t a viable option.

Even during the worst throes of the pandemic, Bolsonaro steadfastly opposed social distancing measures, claiming the poor would suffer worse hardship if the economy ground to a halt. He continues to argue that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19, though scientists have dismissed it as ineffective.

During six months of investigation, senators obtained thousands of documents and heard testimony from over 60 people.

“This committee collected evidence that abundantly demonstrated that the federal government was silent and chose to act in a non-technical and reckless manner,” the draft report reads.

A particularly thorny issue was Sen. Calheiros’ insistence on including a recommendation that the International Criminal Court investigate Bolsonaro for possible genocide of Indigenous peoples, said the senators who spoke with AP. They said that angered committee members, including critics of the government, who called genocide an exaggeration that could threaten the entire report’s credibility.

While there was less opposition among senators to recommending indictment for homicide, they had similar concerns about doing so, the senators said.

“The prosecutor-general’s office will look with a magnifying glass for errors, failures and inconsistencies in order to wash their hands of it,” said political analyst Carlos Melo, who teaches at Insper University in Sao Paulo. “If you have 10 accusations that are very strong, and one that has inconsistencies, that’s what the government will latch on to, to try and discredit the whole report.”

In addition to Bolsonaro, the draft report recommended charges for dozens of allies and current and former members of his administration.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

City of Winnipeg unveils COVID-19 economic recovery plan

The City of Winnipeg has its eye on economic recovery and it has a massive two-year strategy in place to make that happen.

The COVID-19 Economic Response and Recovery Plan has been unveiled and will be reviewed at a number of city committee meetings next week.

“There’s been some significant impacts downtown and throughout the City of Winnipeg,” Councillor John Orlikow said.

“And if we don’t help address the impacts that happened, such as lost business, slowing of development downtown, our parks, it’s going to take us longer to recover.

And I think we’re ready to recover. We’re tired but we want to move forward, so this plan is to show us that the City of Winnipeg is committed to speeding up as best we can, the recovery from COVID.”

RELATED: City of Winnipeg projects $16.6M deficit due to COVID-19

The plan targets businesses, community centres, downtown, and infrastructure.

The downtown strategy includes a request for $90 million, with $30 million coming from each level of government.

The city’s portion would come from Canada Community-Building Funds (previously known as gas tax funding) while up to $20 million in Tax Increment Financing would support construction of affordable housing in the downtown with a new program.

More than half of the proposed $90 million, would go to revitalizing downtown places, including the renewal of Broadway, upgrades to Central Park and more.

“This report clearly indicated downtown is a priority,” President & CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber and Commerce Loren Remillard said.

“There’s a recognition that our downtown is being severely impacted and this is putting in significant dollars. That’s very encouraging.”

The city would also continue to support community centres through operating and debt grants.

On the business side, the city says it would continue to increase the Small Business Tax Credit Threshold, and continue the temporary patio program and waiver of fees until the end of 2022.

And another $10 million from the Canada Community-Building Funds would be used to improve parks to accommodate physical distancing measures.

Executive Director of Exchange District BIZ David Pensato is also encouraged by the report.

“This is a very strong signal that the city is willing to work with us,” Pensato said. “We’re looking forward to digging into the details with the city and other counterparts to make sure the investments being made are strategic and consequential.”

The report will be presented at the city’s five community committee meetings next week and then will be presented for consideration at the November 17 EPC meeting.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Edmonton Oilers rally in 3rd period for win over Ducks

WATCH (Sept. 15): As Connor McDavid is getting set for his seventh season as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, the team is preparing for the most normal-looking season in nearly two years. As John Sexsmith explains, the team has several mature players who hope that experience translates to success on the ice.

The Edmonton Oilers came from behind in the third period for a wild 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night at Rogers Place.

“It was kind of a sloppy game,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said.

“They can’t all be masterpieces. It was good. We found a way to get two points. That’s a good thing going on the road.”

The teams combined for five goals in the first period, with Ducks defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk starting it off just after the five-minute mark. Zack Kassian tapped in a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for his first of the season.

“Good teams find ways to win,” Kassian said.

“In past years, we would’ve found ways to lose that game, but tonight we found a win,” he added. “Whenever you can start the year 3-0, that’s a positive step, and now we need to take that energy and bring it on the road.”

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With just over five minutes to go in the first, Mike Smith made a big save on Trevor Zegras.

The Oilers quickly transitioned the puck to Connor McDavid, who beat Anthony Stolarz five-hole on a breakaway. Just 15 seconds later, Sam Steel beat Smith from a sharp angle to make it 2-2.

The Ducks took two penalties on the same play in the final minute of the period. McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for a one-timer, and the Oilers were up 3-2.

The Ducks struck twice in 1:13 midway through the second. Nic Deslauriers beat Smith blocker side, then Steel cut in front and slid in his second of the night.

Smith left the game with 8:25 to go in the second, having allowed four goals on 15 shots.

“He just tweaked something that he didn’t want to hurt any worse. Lower-body injury and he’s day-to-day,” Tippett said.

“He’s going to see a doctor in the morning, just to check things out.”

Kassian struck on the power play early in the third, redirecting a power play pass from Evan Bouchard. Bouchard then put the Oilers ahead with a weird goal. From the right-wing corner, he poked the puck toward the Ducks net. It ticked off Stolarz’s left skate and snuck into the net.

“I honestly still don’t know how it went in, but I’ll take it,” Bouchard said.

Koskinen made his best save of the night late in the third, shooting the right pad to stop Adam Henrique with Stolarz on the bench for an extra attacker. Draisaitl scored an empty netter with 1:01 on the clock. Shattenkirk registered a late goal to round out the scoring.

“You don’t want to give up five goals ever. That means you have to scramble offensively to win a game and we don’t want to be a team like that,” Draisaitl said. “There’s lots of things we can do better defensively and we’ll work on it and get better at it.”

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“I just want to have fun and, obviously, it’s not easy to go in and you don’t want to see (Smith) going down, but when I went in there, I just wanted to have fun. That’s my mindset,” Koskinen said.

Koskinen stopped 20 of 21 shots to get the win.

The Oilers, 3-0, will visit the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg Jets blow third period lead, lose to Minnesota in overtime

The Winnipeg Jets thought they had their first win sealed.

With less than two minutes to go and nursing a one-goal lead, Mark Scheifele scored into an empty net to give the Jets what they thought was the insurance marker.

But the Wild challenged and the goal was overturned because the play was offside, and Minnesota would find the equalizer moments later and win it on an overtime power play to stun the Jets 6-5 for the comeback win in a chaotic game in St. Paul Tuesday night.

Trailing 5-3, the Wild quickly erased a two-goal third period deficit in the final five minutes. Joel Eriksson Ek tied the game with just 59 seconds left and also got the winner on a three-on-one in OT to give him the hat trick.

Kyle Connor scored two goals and added an assist, but was also the player who was offside on the disallowed empty net goal.

“I thought I was good,” said Connor. “Obviously, I looked at it too. I was offsides there. Just one of those things, a little attention to detail by me. Just stay onside. It’s as easy as that and win a game.”

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The Jets surrendered four different leads in a see-saw back-and-forth affair.

“They got some lucky bounces and they ended up in our net,” said Scheifele. “But we played hard. It was a hard-fought game. It was a rivalry game, us against Minnesota. It was hard fought, fun hockey. Too bad it ended the way it did.”

Winnipeg was outshot in each of the three periods and ended up allowing 44 shots on goal.

“I liked it ’til we were offside with the empty net,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “That’s a hard fought, good battle game on the road. I liked big chunks of it, didn’t like that last minute and a half.

“You want to win that game so you can take all the good out of it and build from it. We’ll try to take some of it. We got to clean up some things obviously.

“I thought this was the first game this year that’s had NHL intensity in it. The building was right, the game was hard, lots of physicality, lots of good chances at both ends. But both teams were playing hard for their chances.”

Andrew Copp was elevated to the top line after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive for COVID-19. Copp scored once and finished with a three-point night.

The Jets power play finally connected after going 0-for-8 in the first two games. The Jets scored twice on the man advantage against the Wild and finished the night 2-for-6 with the extra skater.

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The game started off well for the Jets as Connor scored twice in the first period but the Wild responded after each marker to make it 2-2 after one.

Josh Morrissey got the Jets’ first power play goal of the season in the second to give Winnipeg the lead for a third time, but for a third time the Wild had an answer as Mats Zuccarello was credited for his second of the game.

Pierre-Luc Dubois restored the lead for the Jets with a power play goal early in the third before Copp, carried the puck up the ice on a two-on-one, roofing it over the shoulder of Cam Talbot to make it 5-3.

But the Wild were not done. Marcus Foligno scored Minnesota’s second power play marker of the game with just under five minutes to go to cut the lead to one.

It seemed the Jets had iced the game with an empty-netter from Scheifele in the final moments, but the Wild challenged for offside and the goal was disallowed because Connor was just barely over the blue line before the puck.

The Wild would make good on their second chance to tie it up as Eriksson-Ek batted it out of mid-air and through the legs of Connor Hellebuyck, who had no chance on the play.

In overtime, the teams traded chances before Karill Kaprizov drew a penalty on Morrissey, but it was Winnipeg who had a great chance to end it on a shorthanded two-on-one. Adam Lowry made a great pass to Logan Stanley, but he was denied.

That sprung the Wild back the other way on a three-on-one, with Eriksson Ek tapping in the winner past Hellebuyck, who did not get much help on this night, making 38 saves as the Jets picked up their first point of the season. Talbot stopped 25 shots in the win.

The penalty kill continues to be a problem for the Jets, who allowed three power play goals to the Wild and have now surrendered seven in three games this season.

The Jets dressed an extra defenceman, going with seven blueliners and 11 forwards as Nathan Beaulieu made his season debut. Evgeny Svechnikov returned to the lineup after being scratched on Saturday, while rookie Cole Perfetti sat out for the first time this season.

Winnipeg will now return to Canada for their home opener Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks.

Pregame show begins on 680 CJOB at 5 p.m., with the puck dropping just after 7 p.m.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Wearing a mask won't affect children's performance on the ice: USask study

The results of a new study show most Canadians support a mask mandate in schools. But as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, opposition to the measure is strongest in Quebec as well as the Prairies.

Wearing a surgical mask during hockey will not impact children’s performance, according to a new study from the University of Saskatchewan amid the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study looked at the effect mask wearing had on youth hockey players between the ages of nine and 14.

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“COVID-19 is quite easily transmitted during hockey,” said principal investigator Phil Chilibeck.

“The players are playing close to each other, they’re breathing hard, and the arenas don’t have that great of ventilation.”

Researchers found wearing a mask didn’t negatively affect players’ performance on the ice, and didn’t have much impact on their physiology.

“A little bit lower oxygen levels at the muscle but not enough to impact their performance,” Chilibeck noted.

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However, he said some participants reported they felt like they were exercising harder.

“If they’re wearing masks while playing hockey, that’s something to consider. Maybe a coach would want to implement a shorter shift for those players,” he said.

Researchers said they hope the study encourages players, especially those unvaccinated, to mask up while taking part in the game.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

RCMP: Lac du Bonnet teen arrested after armed carjacking ends in rollover

An 18-year-old from Lac du Bonnet was arrested after a wild string of events during which police say he robbed a woman while armed, took off with her vehicle, and then rolled the car on the highway.

Police said just before 1 p.m. on Oct. 15, the teen pulled a knife on a 60-year-old woman at a gas station on Minnewawa Street and then stole her car.

Officers later spotted the vehicle rolled over at the intersection of highways 11 and 44. The suspect was seen trying to flee the scene on foot and was eventually arrested.

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Several witnesses told police the man had attempted to carjack another vehicle without success.

The 18-year-old was taken into custody and then transported to hospital for a medical assessment, where he remains.

In a bizarre twist, officers were then informed of a house fire on Leslie Avenue in Lac du Bonnet, and say the house belonged to the suspect.

The home was damaged extensively and police believe it was deliberately set.



© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Montreal hospital visitors require proof of vaccination but exceptions apply

As of Oct. 15, if you’re visiting a Quebec hospital, you must show proof of vaccination.

The rule applies to health care centres including hospitals, long-term care homes, clinics and seniors residences.

But different institutions have different exceptions.

At the MUHC, hospital visitors are asked for their vaccine passports, but people who come for treatment and some people who accompany them can stay regardless of their vaccination status.

In MUHC outpatient clinics, caregivers accompanying a patient requiring assistance with mobility, translation, cognitive impairment will be allowed to enter.

For the inpatient unit, caregivers visiting a patient who is at the end of life, in labour, unable to consent to their care, needing assistance that cannot be provided by the hospital are allowed in.

Read more:
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination now required to enter Quebec hospitals, long-term care homes

Visitors, however, must follow certain rules such as wearing masks at all times, staying in the patient room, waiting room or examination room, maintaining a two-metre distance from others, especially if eating or drinking, and not using the common areas such as restaurants or shops.

Children’s hospitals such as the Montréal Children’s Hospital have different exceptions.

Emergency and outpatient children up to 18 years-old are allowed to be accompanied by a parent or caregiver, even if they don’t have the COVID-19 vaccine.

For inpatients, two essential caregivers are also allowed in and are given a designated bracelet.

But siblings of a patient under 12 years old, who are not vaccinated, are not admitted as the fourth wave of the pandemic is ongoing, until further notice.

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“For us it was really important that all of our pediatric patients up to 18 years-old got the parental or caregiver support that the institution can’t provide while making sure we comply with the rules,” said Alexandra Black, the Manager for Quality Improvement at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

At the Sainte-Justine Hospital, exceptions include the caregiver of an out-clinic patient. They can accompany them to their appointments or if they’re hospitalized. The spouse or caregiver of a patient giving birth is also exempt as well as a patient’s siblings who are under 12 years-old.

The government of Québec has provided a framework of reference but each healthcare centre is allowed to tweak it in order to provide appropriate care for their particular clientele.

Check your hospital’s website for the rules before you head out.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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