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  • admin 19:07 on 29/05/2019  

    MONTREAL – A man arrested this week in connection with the alleged $22.5 million fraud involving the awarding of Montreal’s English superhospital contract is proclaiming his innocence.

    St-Clair Martin Armitage issued a statement on Wednesday, saying he’s saddened by the allegations of fraud and will vigorously defend himself.

    Anti-corruption police in Quebec arrested Armitage on Tuesday at the airport in Montreal upon his arrival from England.

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    Related

    • Anti-corruption police nab Montreal hospital contract fraud suspect at airport

    • Montreal superhospital contract under corruption inquiry microscope

    • Winning superhospital bid announced internally before made official

    READ MORE: Anti-corruption police nab Montreal hospital contract fraud suspect at airport

    The British national had been sought by the unit, known as UPAC, since May 8 in connection with the awarding of the contract to build the $1.3 billion McGill University Health Centre.

    The lucrative contract, finalized in 2010, is the subject of an alleged fraud where ex-SNC-Lavalin executives are accused of funnelling money to former McGill hospital officials Arthur Porter and Yanai Elbaz in exchange for the contract.

    Armitage is facing charges similar to the others accused – conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and breach of trust – and was freed on bail late Wednesday.

    ©2014The Canadian Press

     
  • admin 19:07 on 29/05/2019  

    ABOVE: The boom in the rat population around the Burrard Street Bridge is being blamed on the compost bins. Rumina Daya reports.

    Thanks to some community garden compost bins, a Vancouver YMCA daycare could use the services of the legendary rat-catcher, the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    The Little Beach YMCA Child Care, which is located just off Beach Avenue and Burrard Street, had to shut down their outdoor playground due to a rat infestation.

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    According to YMCA communications manager Kelly Walker, the rat infestation was discovered near compost bins installed near a community garden on Thursday night.

    Walker says they notified the City of Vancouver and closed the playground since the rats posed a health and safety issue for their preschool program participants.

    The city responded first on Friday and then on Tuesday, by sending a crew and pest control team to the clean up the site, remove the bins, exterminate and set traps.

    But as of today, there are still dozens of rats hanging around the area. The daycare has now been closed for four days.

    Albert Shamessm, director of waste management for the city,  says they will be sending out another crew later today to clean the site again and fully exterminate the area.

    “I think it’s more of an aesthetic risk than it is a health risk,” he said. “I think there could be a risk of the kids getting bitten so I think it’s prudent for the Y to keep the kids away but we’re not at risk of any disease transmission from my understanding from Vancouver Coastal Health.”

     
  • admin 19:07 on 29/05/2019  

    TORONTO – A man and his mother died after he tried to retrieve his wife’s cellphone from a cesspool in China last month.

    According to the South China Morning Post, the man jumped into an open-pit toilet after his wife dropped her brand new phone in it.

    He quickly lost consciousness from the fumes and his mother jumped in to help.

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    When she fainted, the wife went in and soon all three were lying unconscious in the knee-deep waste.

    READ MORE: One dead, one in hospital, one missing after trying to retrieve cellphone near river

    The man’s father called for neighbours to help before jumping in and getting stuck himself.

    Two neighbours who entered the pit to help also fainted.

    “The smell was too strong. I lost consciousness before I could see anything,” a neighbour told the South China Morning Post.

    The six people were eventually pulled out of the pit when locals found a rope to use.

    Neighbours say that everyone had a pulse when they were pulled out of the pit and that it took over an hour for an ambulance to arrive.

    The man and his mother died in hospital.

    READ MORE: 7 people die after climbing down well in Cambodia to retrieve 75 cents

    A doctor at the hospital told the South China Morning Post that the victims suffocated.

    The wife and a neighbour were put in intensive care and the father suffered injuries.

    The phone was worth an estimated 2,000-yuan (CDN$348).

     
  • admin 19:07 on 29/05/2019  

    CALGARY- The fallout continues over the Drop-In Centre’s plan to open a building in northeast Calgary, with the organization now defending itself over an alleged breach of contract.

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    Related

    • Drop-In Centre pushes ahead with Quality Inn renovation despite concerns

      More debate expected at Quality Inn affordable housing meeting Tuesday

    Officials deny they haven’t met the conditions of the provincial grant that would provide more than $5 million for its new project to turn the Quality Inn into housing. Stipulations included that there had to be sufficient community consultation, which area residents say hasn’t happened.

    “It’s our understanding that we are compliant, and that we have met the terms of the grant,” says Debbie Newman from the Drop-In Centre. “I have not received a phone call, and as I understand it’s in the hands of the minister.”

    The province’s municipal affairs department says it’s rescinding the grant, claiming the organization changed the original plan. However, the Drop-in Centre says its requested and received a written exemption on consultation from someone in the ministry two years ago.

    “…there will be no issue with this, in fact I just signed off on another project, where all we are doing is a MOU between the Proponent and the Province which commits to you working with your neighbours, in lieu of consultation,” the e-mail from the assistant deputy minister of municipal affairs reads. “This sounds like a great opportunity so good luck.”

    Based on that exchange, the Drop-In Centre purchased the Quality Inn, paying more than $8 million for the property.

    Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick says he is reviewing the file, and will have a detailed response later this week.

    City planners still have to approve their development permit application.

     
  • admin 19:07 on 29/05/2019  

    CALGARY- Monique Beaumont has lived along the banks of the Elbow River her entire life, and says she’s seen enough to not be worried about this year’s flood season.

    “This is actually in my opinion pretty low, so I’m not at all worried,” she says, surveying the rising water. “Because I’ve had 50 years of watching the river level, I know to sort of look and know what’s standard. But I wish it would stop raining.”

    Silt still covers her yard, after nine feet of water invaded her home during the June 2013 floods.

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    “I think we’re all a little more nervous than we need to be, but it’s a 100 per cent chance every year. So it’s a gamble.”

    While water levels throughout the city appear to have peaked, experts continue to keep a close watch.

    “It looks like this system has chose to slip south, but we’re well aware of weather patterns this close to the mountains, and it very well could slip to the north,” explains Rick Valdarchi from water resources.

    With memories of last year’s flood still fresh, the acting director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency says it’s no wonder Calgarians are on edge.

    “There’s a certain psychological aspect to experiencing the flood, and we understand that people are very concerned,” says Tom Sampson. “I think we need to run with the experts, and they are telling us at this point in time water is not going to be at levels we cannot manage.”

    Officials are now turning their attention to other communities that may be in need.

    “We believe Calgary at this point in time is in good shape, and we’re looking now to help others who have helped us in previous years.”

     
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