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  • admin 20:52 on 11/09/2018  

    SEATTLE – There are two ways to view the smartphone Amazon introduced to the world on Wednesday: It’s either the latest in a long line of phones with fancy features many people will never use or a magic wand for shopaholics.

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    The phone’s most significant feature, called “Firefly,” employs audio and object recognition technology to identify products and present the user with ways to purchase the items through Amazon. Users can simply snap a photo of a book, for instance, and Firefly will offer up its title and author, give more information about it and provide ways to buy it through Amazon with a single click.

    Seven years after Apple’s iPhone took over the category, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos believes there is room in the market for something different. Even with the dominant leads that Apple and Samsung hold, Bezos told The Associated Press in an interview, “it’s still early” in the wireless device business.

    People change phones all the time, he said. It’s not about taking market share right away, but making a phone that is ideal for a certain customer and hoping it takes hold.

    “We wanted to make a device that’s great for one person,” Bezos said. “It’s like a certain person likes chocolate and another person likes vanilla. The customer can choose.”

    While the new Fire Phone comes with some features that are practically industry standard — like a slim profile, a sturdy glass touchscreen, minimalist buttons and one camera for facing toward and away from the user— it breaks new ground in other areas.

    The phone’s Firefly object recognition feature can identify items and product names captured with the device’s camera. It can also pull in useful information such as phone numbers, website addresses. The company has catalogued more than a hundred million items that Firefly can recognize and has tweaked the technology to recognize words and characters in a variety of real-life situations.

    Another feature, called “dynamic perspective,” uses four infrared, front-facing cameras that tell the phone where the user’s face and eyes are located. The feature adjusts the user interface so that tilting the screen relative to the viewer’s face can toggle through screens, scroll through websites, make online video game characters fly up or down, and render buildings and other custom-made art in 3-D.

    The entry-level Fire phone costs $199 with a two-year AT&T contract, which places it at the high end of smartphone pricing. But the phone comes with 32 gigabytes of memory, double the standard 16 GB. It also comes with 12 months of Amazon Prime, the company’s free shipping, video, music and book subscription plan, which normally costs $99 a year.

    “This is a very aggressive price point for a premium phone,” Bezos said.

    The new device fits with Amazon’s broader aim to create a more efficient shopping experience while steering more consumers to its retail products.

    “It goes back to the mission of Amazon, which is to sell you stuff,” said Ramon Llamas of the research firm IDC. “It reduces the number of steps it takes to buy things on the phone.”

    Fire also comes with a 4.7-inch screen, suitable for using with one hand, and earbuds with flat cords and magnets that are designed to eliminate tangles.

    Persuading consumers to buy the Fire over an iPhone or Samsung phone will be tough, analysts say, particularly because Amazon isn’t offering price breaks the way it has with Kindle tablets. And sophisticated technology such as 3-D will appeal primarily to early adopters of technology.

    “The technology’s cool, but consumers don’t buy technology,” said Julie Ask, an analyst at Forrester Research. “We buy solutions. We buy services. We pay for things that make our lives easier.”

    Charles Golvin, founder of Abelian Research, believes the phone will appeal mostly to people who already use Amazon services heavily.

    “Any loyalist of iPhones or Google is going to have to judge whether there’s enough value in what Amazon is offering with Fire to make the transition,” he said.

    Samsung and Apple dominate worldwide smartphone sales with a combined 46 per cent share, according to IDC. And in the U.S., Apple leads with more than 37 per cent, with Samsung at nearly 29 per cent.

    Amazon could succeed even if it doesn’t steal market share from the top phone makers. Michael Scanlon, managing director with John Hancock Asset Management, said success will be measured by whether Amazon can increase loyalty among its Amazon Prime members and get them to boost purchases.

    Amazon is giving Fire owners a free year of membership, which normally costs $99, and existing subscribers an extra 12 months of membership. Prime offers free two-day shipping, encouraging impulse purchases. It also offers free access to some movies, TV shows, music and books and could encourage consumers to buy additional content, once they are used to the offerings.

    Meanwhile, Firefly could encourage more purchases. The feature lets you snap bar codes, phone numbers and more. It can even direct you to facts and data, such as a Wikipedia entry with information about a painting you snapped. It listens to songs, TV shows and movies and can pull up extra info like lyrics, actor bios and other information through its IMDb database.

    The phone will be available July 25 in the U.S. exclusively through AT&T. People were able to start ordering it Wednesday.

    ___

    Anick Jesdanun reported from New York.

    ©2014The Canadian Press

     
  • admin 20:52 on 11/09/2018  

    FARMINGTON, Utah — A Utah teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of murder, acknowledging that he intentionally and knowingly stabbed his two younger brothers to death last year.

    The 16-year-old agreed to the first half of the plea deal Wednesday in a juvenile court in Farmington, Utah, as his parents sat in the front row. His father wiped tears from his eyes while his mother sat in silence.

    The teen, whose name The Associated Press is not revealing because of his age, remained serious throughout the proceeding. He did not cry as he repeatedly told the judge he understood the parameters of the deal.

    The agreement calls for him to serve time for one count of murder in juvenile detention until he turns 21. At that time, he’ll be transferred into the adult court system and serve a sentence of 15 years to life in adult jail. He’ll be in adult court later Wednesday to formally accept that part of the deal.

    The teen did not say anything about what happened, but his attorney, Todd Utzinger, said the boy is sorry for what he did. The teen decided to take the deal in part to avoid putting his parents through a trial, Utzinger said.

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    The agreement brings resolution to a case that sent shockwaves through the middle-class subdivision where the family lives in West Point, a city of 9,800 about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City.

    The teen’s younger brothers, 4 and 10, were found dead in May 2013 when his mother returned home from taking another sibling to a dance recital. At first, the older brother was thought to be a third victim because he was missing from the crime scene, but police found him hours later with traces of blood on him.

    Authorities said they believed stabbings were an unplanned attack.

    In signing off on the deal, juvenile court Judge Janice Frost said the agreement adequately balances public safety needs while giving the teen access to treatment and rehabilitation services in juvenile court that he needs.

    Frost implored the teen to take advantage of treatment he’ll receive in juvenile detention and the opportunity to finish his high school degree. She said it’s clear he needs guidance and direction he would not receive in adult prison.

    Frost told him multiple times that how he behaves in juvenile detention will impact how long he spends in state adult prison.

    “You can’t make up for what happened. But you can commit to doing better and being better,” Frost said. “It’s a sad thing that happened, but you can move forward from this. I hope you can take advantage of your opportunity.”

    Outside court, Utzinger said sending the teen first to juvenile detention gives him a real chance at rehabbing. He did not discuss what issues he’s dealing with or the motive of the killings.

    “It would be inhumane for any 16-year-old child to go straight to the prison without first having an opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation,” Utzinger said. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

    ___

    ©2014The Canadian Press

     
  • admin 20:52 on 11/09/2018  

    WATCH ABOVE: Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro. Rachel Lau reports.

    MONTREAL – Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro.

    The accident occurred near the corner of Westbury Avenue at about 10:40 p.m.

    Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro on June 17, 2014.

    Yannick Gadbois/Global News

    “Investigators are on site now to try and get some info from people around,” said Jean-Pierre Brabant, a spokesperson with the Montreal police.

    “They’re going to be looking at video surveillance this morning to get more information on the vehicle.”

    The 70-year-old woman was transported to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

    Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro on June 17, 2014.

    Noemie Cabana/Global News

    According to police, the driver got out of the car, looked around for a few moments and then got back in the vehicle and drove away.

    “We’re looking at an SUV that could be dark or black,” said Brabant.

    “That’s the only information we have, according to witnesses, so that’s why we’re looking for the help of the population.”

    According to Albert Barchichit, a close family friend, the woman was a Dollard-des-Ormeaux native.

    “She was here two weeks ago, you know?” he said.

    “It’s too bad when you know the people, it’s very bad?”

    Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro on June 17, 2014.

    Noemie Cabana/Global News

    He said that she was eating dinner nearby and was probably on her way home when she was hit.

    “I know her family very well. I have to call them,” he said.

    “This lady, her husband passed away two years ago.”

    Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 9-1-1 or Info-Crime at 514 393 1133.

    Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident on Queen Mary in Cote-des-Neiges, just a few feet away from Snowdon metro on June 17, 2014.

    Noemie Cabana/Global News

    Watch: Raw video from the scene of the accident in Cote-des-Neiges

    HangZhou Night Net

     
  • admin 18:38 on 29/06/2019  

    UPDATE AT 5:45 P.M. MT: Calgary Police have confirmed to Global News that they have taken one man into custody in connection with the attack.

    CALGARY- Police appear to be closing in on a suspect, following a frightening sexual assault in Canyon Meadows over the weekend.

    A woman was stalked after getting off a bus in southwest Calgary late Sunday night, then attacked as she walked along a pathway.

    Earlier this week the Calgary Police service released surveillance video and photos of a man they want to speak with in connection to the attack, and now believe they know who he is.

    However, as he is under age 18, his identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, meaning the images can no longer be shown. It’s believed he is still on the loose and police are trying to track him down.

    Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police.

    HangZhou Night Net

    Related

      Canyon Meadows sex assault

    • Police investigate Canyon Meadows sexual assault

      Sex assault suspect believed to be a young offender

     
  • admin 18:38 on 29/06/2019  

    Watch the video above: Cancelled surgeries at RUH in Saskatoon push wait times back

    SASKATOON – Power is on again at Royal University Hospital; however, officials say the site does not have a back-up power system for key areas in the event of another failure.

    In total, 37 surgeries were postponed on Tuesday and Wednesday after a piece of electrical equipment failed unexpectedly.

    On Tuesday night, power was restored to medical systems and adequate airflow registered in operating rooms at the Saskatoon hospital.

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    Related

    • Surgeries cancelled at Royal University Hospital for a second day

    • Power disruption causes surgery cancellations at RUH

    With all services returning to normal on Thursday, the health region will move ahead with all scheduled surgeries.

    Patients who has surgeries cancelled are said to have been contacted directly by their surgeon’s office and will be penciled back in the schedule.

    “I think it will be over the week or a little bit more so we’ve scheduled a few patients into the next two days and we’re looking at next week,” said Jackie Mann, Saskatoon Health Region’s vice president of integrated health services.

    The goal – to have surgeries scheduled as soon as possible.

    “There’s a number of things that go into this right from the availability of the patient, to the entire team, some of the surgeries require more than one surgeon so we just have to really look at how can we move things around to make sure we can get these people in,” said Mann.

    The postponed procedures included heart and brain surgery, which can only be done at RUH.

    Officials say two operating rooms were available for emergency surgeries both days, with one surgery performed.

    Contingency plans were in place to ensure that systems without emergency backup power did not pose a risk.

    “The example of what actually did happen two nights ago demonstrates that we’ve got the ability to respond and have some mitigation plans in place when things do fail,” said Nilesh Kavia, SHR’s VP of finance and corporate services.

    The root cause of the distribution panel failure is still unknown and occurred during a planned power shutdown.

    The cost of the disruption is yet to be calculated.

    “Our infrastructure is a key concern for us. The project that we were working through is one of a multiple step process for us to resolve the infrastructure issues particularly related to electricity and we want to get to a stage where we have a comprehensive failure safe situation at RUH,” said Kavia.

    Officials say it could take some time to get there, but this was one of the initial steps to help get to a sustainable state.

     
  • admin 18:38 on 29/06/2019  

    CALGARY- Those in the market for a new home are being warned to anticipate some extra paperwork.

    As of July 1, anyone using a realtor to search for homes will have to sign a written contract outlining responsibilities, a timeline and who pays fees.

    The hope is it will help eliminate any confusion caused by verbal agreements.

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    “Nothing is changing at all in terms of the relationship and how it’s been working. It’s just that we feel as a regulator it’s important to put some of these elements in writing so that both parties understand,” explains Kevin Clark from the Real Estate Council of Alberta.

    “The gap between expectations and reality is always a concern.”

    Homebuyer Lisa Davidson recently signed an agreement with her realtor, Sharon Murphy, and says it helped her know what to expect.

    “It really helps you as a buyer figure out what you really want, and I think that’s important because you may think there are things that are really important to you, but when you actually sit down and write it out everyone knows.”

    “It’s going to make us more effective at our job, because we’re going to know right from the beginning what our clients are looking for,” Murphy adds.

    She thinks it will also help eliminate ‘window shopping’, which is when someone uses a realtor to see homes, then buys it with the assistance of a different agent.

    The new contracts are negotiable, and already in use in provinces such as B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

     
  • admin 18:38 on 29/06/2019  

    MONTREAL – Akshay Grover has been running since he was eight years old, and even sold old video games to buy himself a treadmill when he was just 12. Now, at 16, when asked to come up with a project as part of the International Baccalaureate he is completing in high school, Grover is taking things one step further.

    This summer, Grover will be running from Montreal to Toronto to raise funds for Childhood Cancer Canada, an organization which helps the 10,000 children living with cancer in the country.

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    “I can do something that I love while helping others,” said Grover.

    “I can use that to help those in need,” he added. Grover has been training three to five times a week since last August – rain or shine.

    “He inspires all of us,” said his former teacher and project adviser, Vanessa Amar. “I’m training now so that I can maybe start him on his run.”

    “He’s motivating everybody at all the grade levels; he’s in the 10th grade and he’s got 11th graders behind him and their parents are calling and wanting to sponsor him,” said Amar.

    Though his mother, Sabrina Kandola, was initially worried about the safety of her son running along the highway, she will be with him every step of the way.

    “I wasn’t going to be that mother that was going to stop my child from having this great ambition,” she said.

    Grover will be completing the 550 kilometre journey in just two weeks, running the equivalent of a marathon a day. To those who have told him he may not make it, Grover has a simple answer.

    “You’ve got to believe in yourself,” he said, “even if others don’t believe in you.”

    “You have to know that it’s going to take time and determination and hard work. And you have to put in the time and effort,” he said.

    “I’m so very proud of him because he’s going to be touching so many people’s lives, as well as other peers,” said his mother. “If other teenagers can be busy at home and focusing on a dream like this, I can’t even imagine what the world would be.”

    Grover’s adventure will begin August 1. By then, he hopes to have raised $10,000. Donations can be made here.

     
  • admin 18:38 on 29/06/2019  

    WATCH: Chilean fans storm media room in attempt to get into Spain-Chile match

    Chile’s soccer team has an ardent fan base.

    That fact revealed itself again Wednesday in the lead up to the team’s Group B match against Spain when about 100 supporters invaded the media room at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

    Dozens of Chilean fans can be seen storming the media lounge while a surprised press corps immediately begins filming the melee with phones and cameras.

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    Related

    • Chile dumps Australia 3-1 in Group B action

    • World Cup: Spain’s dominant era ends as defending champs bow out

    The fracas was an apparent — and it seems successful — attempt to gain access to the match, which Chile went on to win 2-0, eliminating the defending champions from the 2014 tournament.

    READ MORE: Spain’s dominant era ends as defending champs fall to Chile

    In the lead up to the tournament, Chile got an inspiring boost from the ‘Los 33,’ the group of surviving miners who spent 69 days trapped underground in 2010 before being rescued.

    The group appeared on Chilean TV ads in a moving commercial for one of the country’s banks.

    The ad, which shows the men standing arm in arm urging their side on, appears to have motivated more than just the team.

    WATCH: Chile mining disaster survivors cheer on World Cup team in ad

     
  • 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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    HangZhou Night Net

    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.

    Story continues below

    HangZhou Night Net

    “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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