HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia sailboat captain has pleaded guilty to two drug charges after 250 kilograms of cocaine were found hidden in his vessel after it pulled into a small marina two months ago.The Canada Border Services Agency says its officers boarded the vessel at East River Marine in Hubbards, N.S., late on Sept. 3.The agency says the Canadian-registered, 29-foot boat — called Quesera — had arrived from the small Caribbean island of Saint Martin.Inside the vessel’s forward sleeping quarters, officers found several bricks of cocaine hidden inside a sealed bed frame, and the RCMP were called in.Sixty-eight-year-old Jacques John Grenier of Hubbards pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importing cocaine.A third charge, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, will be dealt with at Grenier’s sentencing hearing on Jan. 25 in Halifax provincial court.In the past four years, the CBSA in Atlantic Canada has recorded between 130 and 159 drug seizures every year, many of them at ports handling large shipping containers.Finding such a large stash in a small boat is unusual, Dominic Mallette, the agency’s acting director for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, said in September.“In terms of small vessels … something of this magnitude is extremely rare,” he said. “It’s very difficult to be aware and monitor the sea.”Mallette said the agency knew the boat was coming in that night, but wouldn’t say if it had been tipped off.“I can tell you that we had an awareness and we were ready,” he said. “Anything beyond that would jeopardize our internal work.”The RCMP confirmed it was the second significant suspected drug seizure in Nova Scotia this year. In May, about 200 kilograms of hashish was found hidden inside chocolate bars stacked in a shipping container at the Port of Halifax.
VANCOUVER – A lawyer for a retired RCMP inspector accused of sexually assaulting a civilian employee says the complainant consented to a relationship with his client.David Butcher told provincial court there is no basis for the Crown’s argument that Tim Shields abused his position of authority to coerce the woman when she said he kissed and groped her in a unisex washroom at the RCMP’s British Columbia headquarters in 2009.“Mr. Shields says she’s a fraud, a liar and a perjurer,” Butcher said Tuesday during closing submissions. “Mr. Shields asks the court to positively find there was actual consent in this case.”The complainant, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, has testified Shields told her he had something important to tell her when she followed him down a flight of stairs and into a ground-floor washroom but she was “frozen and confused” when he locked the door behind them.She testified that Shields undid her bra, touched her breasts, unbuttoned her pants and put her hand on his genitals.Shields, who is 52, joined the RCMP in 1996 and was promoted to inspector in 2009. He was charged with one count of sexual assault in May 2016 and has pleaded not guilty.Butcher said Tuesday it’s ridiculous that the woman believed Shields had any work-related matter to discuss with her in a washroom, suggesting a friendly relationship turned sexual as both people sent each other flirtatious emails.“We say there was substantial agreement on what happened here, but equally some significant differences.”He outlined evidence from the woman, when she said she’d met with Shields in his office “maybe 20 times,” sometimes with the door closed, and that she often hugged him when she walked in.Shields has said their hugs became intimate and the complainant once pushed him into a corner in his office as their embraces and conversation turned sexual.He said after the washroom incident, the woman referred to Shields in a performance review as one of three “superb leaders,” suggesting her allegations could be questioned.Justice Patrick Doherty said it wouldn’t be unusual for someone to write such comments in a performance review if they wanted to keep their job.The Crown is scheduled to begin closing arguments on Wednesday.Butcher said while Crown counsel may say some issues raised by the defence rely on myths and stereotypes about sexual assault complainants, including whether they maintain a friendly relationship with an alleged abuser, some facts must be used to assess credibility and the “factual mosaic” of a case.Shields, who was the Mounties’ media spokesman in B.C., was suspended with pay in May 2015 in the middle of a code of conduct investigation. He left the force in December of that year.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Tim Shields was charged last May.
VICTORIA – Searchers say they’re still looking for new clues three days after a small plane with two people on board vanished in southeastern British Columbia.Lt. Melissa Kia with the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says rescuers scored an area about 18 kilometres north of Revelstoke again on Tuesday with aircraft and ground crews, including search dogs.She says the searchers saw no signs of the aircraft before shutting down the search for the night on Tuesday.The rescue centre’s spokeswoman, Katelyn Moores, says the search grid has been refined based on more complete information from radar and the cellphone tower that picked up a signal from the pilot’s phone at about the same time the plane was reported missing on Saturday.The plane was on a flight from Penticton, B.C., to Edmonton when it disappeared.CTV News is reporting the pilot’s name is Dominic Neron, a 28-year-old journeyman electrician from Spruce Grove, Alta., and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, who is 31.Moores says the search area is mountainous and densely forested, and that combined with the heavy snow was making the search challenging.It is an area Eldon Gjesdal, a pilot who sold Neron’s plane to him in the spring, said is also challenging to navigate.“It’s just very rugged. The valleys are very closed in and if it’s the Rogers Pass in the Revelstoke area, it’s rough terrain,” Gjesdal said.Gjesdal said Neron bought his 1963 Mooney from him after flying for about two years. He eventually wanted to get his commercial licence.The search is expected to resume again on Wednesday morning.(CTV Edmonton, The Canadian Press)
TORONTO – The sudden flameout of Sportsnet broadcaster Gregg Zaun caps a controversy-laced career for one of television’s most outlandish personalities.Zaun was anything but subtle in his colourful stint as an MLB analyst, a platform he used to regularly criticize the Toronto Blue Jays — most recently calling out ace Marcus Stroman and retired catcher J.P. Arencibia with blunt jabs that polarized fans and players alike.Behind the scenes, it would seem, the former catcher was brazenly offensive in a different way, with reports now emerging of sexist behaviour involving female co-workers.Rick Brace, the president of Rogers Media, said in a statement Thursday that the company was immediately terminating Zaun’s contract as an MLB studio analyst, leaving a considerable hole in Sportsnet’s baseball broadcast team. The network leaned heavily on Zaun, featuring him in pre-game and post-game segments as well a mid-game updates.The reason cited was “inappropriate behaviour and comments” toward female employees in the workplace. There were no allegations of physical or sexual assault.The bombshell follows years of over-the-top antics that branded the 46-year-old as a strident commentator willing — perhaps even eager — to court controversy.Indeed, his self-appointed nickname as “the Manalyst” seemed to speak to a readiness to take unpopular positions, even if it involved the beloved home team.And his brightly coloured outfits were tailor-made to go along with his jarring comments — a fashion statement he admitted was inspired by the similarly churlish Don Cherry, the granddaddy of coarse commentary over his own checkered run with “Hockey Night in Canada.”But it wasn’t always this way.Zaun himself admits to a relatively unremarkable 16-year run in the big leagues, albeit one that included a World Series win with the Florida — now Miami — Marlins in 1997.The California-born Zaun was primarily a back-up in the early days of his professional career, starting with the Baltimore Orioles in 1989. He made his major-league debut with the team in 1995.Then came the Marlins, and then his run with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2004 to 2008, during which time he debuted as a starting catcher and would prove valuable as a switch-hitter.It was during this time that Zaun began a part-time broadcasting career with Sportsnet, offering his playoff thoughts following the 2006 season alongside Jamie Campbell.Controversy tainted his baseball career when his name was included in the Mitchell Report — the 2007 document that followed U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell’s 20-month investigation into performance-enhancing drug use in MLB. Zaun denied that he ever bought PEDs.Zaun signed with the Orioles again in early 2009 and retired from professional baseball in 2011, when he became a full-time MLB studio analyst with Sportsnet.The move catapulted him to a new sphere of fame and notoriety, and he repeatedly crossed the line with comments both on the air and in social media.He took heat in 2012 for a Twitter post in which he called women at a Toronto bar “tubby, unfortunately man-ish, and super stuck up.”He later apologized amid blowback, but it would be far from his last misstep.This past April, he called out Stroman for “showboating” on the mound, only to double-down when players complained by calling them “thin-skinned.”“They’re used to mommy and daddy telling them how pretty they are. I have no problem giving them a dose of reality,” he told the Vancouver Province in October.It would seem reality has hit back with scrutiny into sexist behaviour in the TV sports world — a testosterone-fuelled industry that some say is long overdue for a reckoning.Zaun is the first high-profile sports media personality to be held to account for inappropriate behaviour amid an ongoing wave of sexual harassment allegations.Recent giants who have been fired or implicated in other fields include movie producer Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K., hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and NBC’s “Today” host Matt Lauer.
VANCOUVER – Terry Lake, the former British Columbia health minister who oversaw the declaration of a public-health emergency amid the deadly fentanyl crisis, is urging more research on the effects of marijuana on opioid addictions.Now a vice-president at a medical cannabis company, Lake said there is preliminary evidence that shows marijuana can help people with addictions reduce their use of hard drugs and ease the painful symptoms of withdrawal.“I’m not saying it’s the answer to the opioid crisis. I’m saying it’s one of the options we should explore,” said Lake, who chose not to run in last spring’s provincial election.“It’s very promising and deserving of further research and there’s no better place to do that than in British Columbia.”Lake, who was hired last August by Quebec-based Hydropothecary, will join a researcher, an activist and others for a discussion of pot as an opioid substitute at the Lift Cannabis Expo in Vancouver on Sunday.There have been “intriguing” early studies that have suggested cannabis might play a beneficial role in lowering the risk of overdose deaths, said M-J Milloy, a research scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use.A 2014 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that states with legal cannabis had an opioid death rate that was 25 per cent lower than states where pot was illegal.A Canadian paper, published last year in The International Journal of Drug Policy, surveyed 271 medical cannabis patients and found 63 per cent used pot as a substitute for prescription drugs and 30 per cent used it as a substitute for opiates.Milloy conducted a study that showed marijuana may help wean people off crack cocaine. His team tracked 122 Vancouver-area crack users over a three-year period and found they reported using the harder drug less often when they opted to consume pot.He said there’s a need for more formal, controlled trials on the effect of cannabis on opioid use, and he and fellow scientists at the B.C. centre plan to undertake some of that work.“We certainly have reports from people who are suffering from opioid use disorder that cannabis helps them mitigate the feelings of withdrawal,” said Milloy, who will participate in the talk with Lake on Sunday.“We also know that many people suffering from things like trauma and chronic pain, which are often the roots of opioid addiction, that they also report that cannabis is useful for them.”Some addictions specialists are skeptical of the idea, Lake noted, as they’re concerned about simply substituting one drug for another. More study is needed, and Lake said he hopes Canada will become a hub for marijuana research after it legalizes pot.While Lake may have a financial interest in promoting medical cannabis, he said he thinks companies must be cautious about “overhyping” the benefits of the drug.“It’s not a panacea. It’s not a cure-all. It very much is dependent on the individual, the condition they are dealing with and their individual response,” he said.British Columbia’s public-health emergency, declared in April 2016, is still underway. Between January and November last year, 1,208 people died of illicit drug overdoses in the province, exceeding 2016’s total of 985 fatalities.Lake said he’s come to believe Canada should adopt the approach of Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs and aims to help people dealing with addiction from the perspective of a health concern rather than a criminal problem.Sarah Blyth, an activist who will join Lake and Milloy for the panel discussion, co-founded the High Hopes Foundation, which provides dried cannabis and oil to opioid users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.Blyth said a lot of people who have received marijuana through the foundation have stopped using opioids or cut back, though she said she didn’t have concrete numbers.“It helps them go to sleep. It helps them ease physical pain. It helps them ease some of the tension they’re dealing with,” she said. “They know it’s properly dosed. They know what they’re taking.”For several years, the Eden Medicinal Society dispensary chain has also offered cannabis to opioid users to help ease the pain of withdrawal. The chain recently partnered with University of British Columbia psychologist Zach Walsh to deliver a more formal study, which is ongoing.Eden gathered its own data prior to joining forces with Walsh, and found there was a 50 per cent reduction in opiate use among people accessing the program, said Tyler James, the chain’s director of communications.“It was really just to stave off some of the withdrawal symptoms, which can be very debilitating,” he said.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.
OTTAWA – Canada’s reputation as a nation with an open and optimistic world view that flies in the face of rising pessimism and nationalism elsewhere is being challenged by new research.Fewer than half of Canadians appear on the “open” side of an index devised by EKOS Research and The Canadian Press to gauge populist sentiment here.The remainder either have a closed-off view of the world or are on the fence — a potentially volatile swing group.The research aggregated polls involving 12,604 people to explore to what extent Canadians’ views are in line with voters who backed two of the most surprising manifestations of 21st century populism in recent years — Donald Trump’s campaign for U-S president and the exit of Britain from the European Union.Both were understood to be the results of rising discontent among those sideswiped by technological, cultural and economic transformation and seeking to regain some measure of control by eschewing the political status quo in favour of a dramatic new approach.Whether Canada could be facing a similar issue has been a question ever since.The results of the study suggest 46 per cent of Canadians are open-minded towards the world and each other, with the highest numbers found in B-C and the Atlantic provinces.But 30 per cent report feeling economically and culturally insecure, a sentiment found in the largest numbers in Alberta and Saskatchewan.The remainder — roughly 25 per cent — have a mixed view.To gauge where Canadians sit, EKOS Research and The Canadian Press aggregated responses to questions posed in two telephone polls between June and December about people’s perceptions of their economic outlook, class mobility, ethnic fluency and tolerance. Pollsters also asked whether they believed such movements were good or not.The results were in turn plotted on a spectrum from “open” to “ordered” — a new way of classifying people’s political viewpoints that goes beyond the traditional right-versus-left.The telephone polls had a margin of error of 0.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.—
CALGARY – A lawsuit by NHL linesman Don Henderson against former Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman has been set aside by a judge to be handled by an arbitrator within the league.The $10.25 million lawsuit was filed by Henderson after he was hit from behind during a game against the Nashville Predators.In his statement of claim, Henderson says he suffered a concussion and injuries to his neck, back, shoulder and knee, with the neck injury requiring surgery.Henderson also claims he suffered shock, anxiety, depression, headaches and permanent and partial disability.The statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court.The lawsuit was set aside by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Willie DeWit, a former Olympic boxer.Henderson was hurt during the second period of Calgary’s 2-1 loss to Nashville on Jan. 27, 2016.Wideman was checked hard into the boards by Predators winger Miikka Salomak. He banged his stick on the ice en route to the players’ benches and is alleged to have shoved his stick into Henderson’s back in front of the Predators’ bench.Henderson went down, but got to his feet and finished the game.“I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that,” Wideman said following the game.But the statement of claim says “Wideman intentionally and deliberately struck Don Henderson.”As the result of his injuries, Henderson said he’s been unable to work any NHL games since then.The NHL suspended Wideman for 20 games, which was later reduced to 10 games by an arbitrator, although Wideman had already served 19.Wideman’s contract expired last season. (CTV Calgary)
EDMONTON – Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Canada is committed to meeting its climate change targets despite a growing gap between promises and emissions projections.“We’re absolutely committed to meeting our target,” McKenna, who was in Edmonton this week for an international conference on cities and climate change, told The Canadian Press.“We’re all in.”In 2015, Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 722 megatonnes annually of carbon dioxide equivalent. The Paris climate accord commits the country to reducing that total to 517 megatonnes by 2030.In December, the government delivered a report to the United Nations outlining progress on reaching that target. The report acknowledged that both current and planned policies are likely to leave the country 66 megatonnes short of its target.That figure is 50 per cent higher than a similar report made to the UN 18 months ago.“It’s a good-news, bad-news story,” said McKenna.“Our economy is growing and our projections are based on our economic growth. It just means that we need to be doing more. There’s huge opportunities that we haven’t built into our target.”McKenna said Canada has plenty of time to catch up to where it’s supposed to be.“It’s a 2030 target,” she said. “We’ve said this is a transition and you don’t transition overnight.”Billions of dollars marked for public transportation in the last federal budgets will help, she said.New technologies for carbon-heavy industries such as cement manufacturing are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions and aren’t yet figured into the projection. The federal government is also counting on reforestation to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint, because growing trees pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in forests.“We need to figure out the opportunities. We know that they’re huge.”Environment Canada officials have attributed the 22-megatonne increase between the two UN reports to a growing population and increased output from Canada’s oil and gas industry. The proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, approved by the federal Liberals to take hydrocarbons from Alberta’s oilsands to the British Columbia coast, is widely expected to increase associated emissions.McKenna said that has been taken into account.“The approval of (the Kinder Morgan pipeline) was made in the context of our climate plan,” she said.The minister pointed out that Alberta has capped emissions from the oilsands and implemented a carbon tax. Ottawa will bring in its own climate levy, she said.“We’re doing a lot. There’s coherence across the board.”Keith Stewart, climate campaigner for Greenpeace, said McKenna’s reassurance ignores the facts.“The math simply doesn’t add up,” he said.“There’s still a big gap between what we’ve promised to do and what we are actually doing, and building new pipelines makes that gap bigger. If Canada really is ‘all in’ on climate action, then we have to stop building new fossil fuel megaprojects and invest in green energy solutions instead.”An Environment Canada official pointed out that a 22-megatonne change in the overall context of Canada’s total emissions could simply be the result of annual changes in the economy or in how things are measured.As well, cities and provinces haven’t yet outlined their plans for investments in transit or reforestation clearly enough for Ottawa to estimate their greenhouse gas impacts, the official said.— Follow @row1960 on Twitter
TORONTO – A majority of Canadian girls and young women have found the #MeToo movement heartening when it comes to the prospects of increased gender equality, but feel they still face discrimination, a new survey suggests.The online poll of just over 1,000 females aged 14 to 24 also finds about one-third of respondents said they feel less equal than their male counterparts and have less opportunities to lead.Plan International Canada, part of a group focused on advancing girls’ rights and equality around the world, commissioned the Nanos survey in part to gauge the state of gender equality.The survey also looked at the effect of the #MeToo movement, which was sparked by the downfall last year of Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul whose alleged abuse of women over decades led to an international debate and backlash over pervasive sexual harassment.According the poll, 28 per cent of Canadian girls and young woman said #MeToo had made them hopeful about gender equality in the future and another 40 per cent were somewhat hopeful. Only 11 per cent said they were left somewhat or totally pessimistic.Asked what #MeToo means to them, respondents cited support for victims of sexual harassment and awareness to end such bullying.More troubling was the indication from the survey that two in three of those asked said they had a friend who had been sexually harassed and that fewer than two in 10 said they felt completely safe in public spaces. Still, most said they do feel safe or somewhat safe when out it in public.When it comes to gender-based discrimination, seven in 10 females said they had bumped up against the issue even though more than half said they believed they had the same opportunities to lead.In other findings:— More than 60 per cent feel an affinity with the feminist movement, while 25 per cent do not feel that way.— Most say they are more or less optimistic about the future of gender equality at home and abroad.— Girls 18 to 24 reported lower levels of perceived gender equality and higher levels of discrimination than their younger counterparts.— About one-third reported feeling occasionally discriminated against because of their gender; the same percentage said they rarely felt that way.— About one in five said they never felt they were discriminated against.The poll also indicates that about 37 per cent of Canadian women feel pressure to have a successful career, while just eight per cent report pressure to get married or have kids. About 30 per cent report pressure to do it all: have a successful career as well as get married and have children.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
OTTAWA – The Liberal government is introducing long-awaited pay equity legislation for federally regulated employees.Under the proposed system, employers would need to examine their compensation practices and ensure women and men in workplaces that fall under federal jurisdiction receive equal pay for work of equal value.It would apply to all federally regulated employers with 10 or more workers.This includes some private-sector employers, the federal public service, parliamentary workplaces, and the offices of the prime minister and other ministers.The act obliges employers to establish a pay equity plan within three years of the legislation coming into force.Employers would also have to identify job classes, evaluate work, and compare compensation associated with similar jobs dominated by men and women respectively.
Trump now says he disagrees with the chants, even though he didn’t discourage them at the rally, and the message was similar to his own words. MONTREAL (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s prime minister and the head of the European Union are taking some clear digs at U.S. President Donald Trump following the recent controversy around his racially charged attacks against four congresswomen of colour.After wrapping up an economic summit in Montreal on Thursday, President of the EU Donald Tusk began his remarks saying he felt at home in Canada.“Because in Montreal, I didn’t hear anyone shouting ‘Send him back,’” he said.The President of the EU, Donald Tusk began his remarks with a shot at US President Donald Trump and his supporters. Said he enjoys being in Montreal because no one shouted at him “send him back”— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) July 18, 2019It was a not-so-subtle jab at Trump and his supporters, who at a rally Wednesday night doubled down on his recent tweets saying the four congresswomen of colour should “go back where they came from” if they don’t like his policies. That prompted the crowd to chant “Send her back.”EU President Donald Tusk asked to speak more about the recent controversy with US President Donald Trump and the rally chants of ‘send her back’. Tusk says he is pro-American, but if you feel something is totally unacceptable then you have to speak out #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) July 18, 2019Tusk was hesitant to criticize further, but Justin Trudeau did not appear to have a problem with it.“I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong, and completely unacceptable,” Trudeau said. “I want everyone in Canada to know that those comments are completely unacceptable.”Tusk did add if something is totally unacceptable, it has to be called out despite the impact it might have on business and trade.
VICTORIA — Discipline proceedings will be held in British Columbia against two municipal officers who were detained while vacationing in Cuba following an assault allegation.The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in British Columbia says the RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged actions of Vancouer Const. Mark Simms and Port Moody Const. Jordan Long.It says if misconduct is proven to have occurred, a range of disciplinary or corrective measures up to and including dismissal may be imposed.Andrea Spindler, deputy police complaint commissioner, says in a news release the commissioner has determined it is in the public interest to release limited information but no further details will be provided at this time to protect the integrity of the proceedings.The Port Moody Police Department said in January that Long was acquitted in November by a Cuban judiciary regarding allegations of being an accessory to a sexual assault.In January, the families of the two constables said in a Facebook post that they had been declared innocent and returned home.Rollie Woods, who was the previous deputy police complaint commissioner in B.C., said in April 2018 that the men were in Varadero when they were arrested following allegations that an Ontario teenager was assaulted while vacationing in the same area.A 17-year-old female alleged to Cuban authorities she was assaulted by Simms, and officials held Long as a material witness in the case, Woods said.Spindler says discipline proceedings are not open to the public.The Canadian Press
This Wednesday, Her Majesty the Queen will launch the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace.Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Gold Olympian, double Commonwealth Gold medallist, and recently appointed UNICEF UK Ambassador, will be the Baton’s special escort as it makes the processional journey down the Mall to receive the Queen’s message.“I am so proud to be taking part in launching the Baton,” said Sir Chris, who has supported UNICEF since 2009. “It brings together three of my life’s passions – sport, Scotland and making a difference for children.“What could be more important than UNICEF and the Glasgow 2014 Games coming together to use the immense power of sport to transform children’s lives around the Commonwealth, including at home in Scotland?”Over 248 days the Baton will cover 198,000km, starting in New Delhi and visiting all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth until it reaches its final destination – the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony.“The Baton beginning its journey around the Commonwealth supported by young people will be a great day – and one that I hope will signal change in a great many lives,” added Sir Chris.Source:UNICEF UK
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is delighted to announce that Prince Charles is to become its first Vice Patron.Since joining ZSL’s Exceptional Young Zoologist Club aged just 13, The Prince has been a long-time supporter of the Society; most recently visiting ZSL London Zoo in November with the Duke of Cambridge to attend a United for Wildlife meeting.During the visit, their Royal Highnesses were given a tour of the Zoo’s new Tiger Territory exhibit, where they came face-to-face with male Sumatran tiger, Jae Jae, before meeting conservationists for an urgent discussion on how to end the escalating crisis of illegal wildlife trade.The Prince will join his mother, HM Queen Elizabeth II, who has been Royal Patron of the Society since her coronation in 1953.ZSL’s Director General Ralph Armond said: “I am delighted that The Prince of Wales, a long-term campaigner on wildlife conservation, has chosen to become the Vice Patron for the Zoological Society of London. During his recent visit in November it was clearly evident that he shares our passion for animals and protecting them in the wild.“The Prince’s commitment to stopping illegal wildlife trade is very closely aligned with ZSL’s conservation work, and he has shown particular interest in the conservation technology we are developing, including next-generation cameras that will be used by park rangers to help catch poachers.”During his five-year term as Vice Patron, The Prince will be involved in ZSL’s wide-ranging work, which includes ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, conservation projects in more than 50 countries around the world, and its science arm, the Institute of Zoology.
Country music super star Martina McBride paid a visit to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana last Friday, May 15, in Gary, Indiana.Martina McBride And Team Martina Visit Food Bank of Northwest IndianaCredit/Copyright: Sheila JonesShe performed at the Star Plaza Theater in nearby Merrillville, IN, just outside of Chicago, on her 2015 “Everlasting” tour that night.Martina’s “Team Martina” global volunteer group participated in the food bank visit, attracting local fans – and those from as far away as Texas and Florida – who joined the team for the day helping the food bank. Before enjoying the concert that night, fans volunteered alongside Martina to sort and box over 300 packages of food to be distributed to local food pantries to help those in need and fight hunger in northwest Indiana.Martina McBride And Team Martina Visit Food Bank of Northwest IndianaCredit/Copyright: Sheila JonesThe Food Bank of Northwest Indiana distributes 4.5 million meals annually and serves as a link for hunger relief to children, families and seniors throughout Lake and Porter Counties in Indiana.McBride, long known for her philanthropic work, was awarded the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award last week in Nashville at the 2015 Music Biz Convention and will receive the Beacon of Hope Award in a ceremony at Lincoln Center on June 6 for her work in helping orphaned children at Covenant House International. Her “Team Martina” charity initiative encourages fans to volunteer in their own home towns and out on tour to help good causes in the communities that Martina performs in. Fans may join the group by visiting TeamMartina.com.This summer, the team has adopted a children’s orphanage at Covenant House International and, partnering with McBride, will provide music instruments to the children living there. Fans may make donations to the music program online from now until June 26, 2015, for a chance to win prizes like a personal video message taped just for the winner by Martina or attend a private sound check with her or win lunch with her in Myrtle Beach, SC, this summer to benefit the children’s orphanage.Visit Crowdrise.com/Soundcheckor TeamMartina.com.McBride, four time CMA Female Vocalist Of The Year, released her first cook book late last year entitled “Around The Table” and she most recently signed to Nash Icon Records, a joint venture between the Big Machine Label Group and Cumulus. She is expected to release new music later this year.
As a tangible way to honor those who fought to defend their freedoms, Americans are being encouraged to perform their civic responsibility just days before Veterans Day in a new national PSA from Got Your 6 and issue-driven media company ATTN:.Video: “Don’t Just Thank, Vote!” PSAThe PSA launched a nonpartisan campaign “Don’t Just Thank, Vote!” featuring actors and veterans Rob Riggle, David Eigenberg, and J.W. Cortes, actors Tom Arnold and Joe Manganiello, and supporters of the veteran empowerment organization Got Your 6.Through the online fundraising platform Omaze, Don’t Just Thank, Vote! t-shirts are being sold for $25 each to raise funds and awareness to support the campaign.“We know that veterans are more engaged in the democratic process, but even if all 21.8 million veterans were to cast a ballot in November, we still wouldn’t reverse the downward trend in voter participation,” said Iraq War veteran and Got Your 6 Executive Director Bill Rausch. “Got Your 6 believes that voting is the most basic civic responsibility, and that disengagement is a sign of faltering community health. As veterans, we feel it is our responsibility to lead from the front by challenging Americans to not just thank us for our service, but to honor every veteran by voting.”According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 70 percent of registered veterans voted in the 2012 presidential election, compared with 60.9 percent of registered non-veterans. A recent report by Got Your 6 demonstrates that that gap is even more profound in local elections, with 15 percent higher voting rates for veterans over their non-veteran counterparts.Not only are veterans statistically more likely to vote this Election Day, they are also uniquely positioned to encourage non-veterans to do the same.The “Don’t Just Thank, Vote!” PSA acknowledges that voter turnout in the United States is among the worst of all developed nations. To increase the voting rate on Nov. 8, the veteran-driven campaign challenges all citizens to show their support of the men and women who wore the uniform through actions, not just words.Viewers are directed to Got Your 6’s voter registration and reminder portal gotyour6.org/vote. In partnership with TurboVote, the site allows users to receive election reminders, get registered to vote, and apply for absentee ballots.
International supermodel and DKMS Ambassador, Coco Rocha, and DKMS Global Ambassador and Co-Founder, Katharina Harf, welcomed supporters to the Jimmy Choo store on Madison Avenue this week for an exclusive shopping event to benefit DKMS.Coco Rocha and Katharina HarfDKMS is an international nonprofit dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. DKMS founder, Peter Harf, spoke about the importance of getting swabbed and potentially saving a life by becoming a bone marrow donor.“Coco and Jimmy Choo have both been incredible partners as we continue our work to support patients battling blood cancer and to motivate people to register as bone marrow donors. Our mission is as simple as it is life-changing. Everyone can get swabbed and therefore, everyone can become a lifesaving hero,” said Katharina Harf.The evening also celebrated cancer survivor Anthony Daniels, who was diagnosed with blood cancer at just 19 years old during his sophomore year at Fordham University. Despite four relapses and 30 rounds of chemotherapy, Daniels never gave up trying to find a bone marrow match. While searching for a match, he teamed up with DKMS to help raise awareness about becoming a bone marrow donor. As a result, Daniels’ efforts and story helped register more than 4000 potential bone marrow donors and more than 50 cancer patients found their lifesaving donor matches.The event, held at Jimmy Choo’s Madison Avenue location offered guests and supporters the opportunity to discover the Jimmy Choo Autumn Winter 2016 Collection.
The Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) raised $516,625 to support programs and services that improve the lives of people impacted by mental health challenges in New York City and across the United States.Kimberly Williams, President of the MHA-NYC with the 2017 MHA-NYC Gala honorees: Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City; Brandon & Michi Marshall and the Zirinsky FamilyCredit/Copyright: Sean SimeThe organization’s 25th Anniversary Gala, which was held at Gotham Hall in Manhattan and themed “Just Talk About It: Stories of Recovery and Success,” focused on the power of “just talking about” mental health concerns and celebrated people whose public words and deeds have helped thousands find hope and care.• First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray was honored for her unprecedented leadership and commitment around her ThriveNYC initiative and her introduction of NYC Well, the City’s comprehensive call, text, and chat hotline for mental health support. • New York Giants Wide-Receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife Michi Marshall were recognized for their passionate mental health advocacy since 2010, when Brandon disclosed his lifelong struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder and became an inspiration and role model to fans everywhere. • The Zirinsky family was recognized for over 50 years and 3 generations of continuous Board membership and unwavering commitment to improving mental health services. Cynthia Zirinsky, founder of Gracie Square Hospital and the Richard and Cynthia Zirinsky Center for Bipolar Disorder at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, was honored along with her daughter, legendary CBS News producer Susan Zirinsky; her son-in-law, TV news innovator, Joe Peyronnin; and her granddaughter, Morgan Stanley executive Cynthia Eckes.“It’s gratifying to see the wide range of support shown at our Gala to promote mental health and emotional wellbeing,” said Kimberly Williams, President of MHA-NYC. “Not only did we exceed our fundraising goal, but we brought the conversation about mental health issues into the open and demonstrated how simply talking can lead others to take action and achieve wellness.”More than 300 leaders in business and government attended the event, which was hosted for the second year in a row by Bill Ritter, Co-Anchor of WABC’s Eyewitness News, who lent his support to underscore the prevalence of mental health conditions and the importance of sharing our stories.With less than 40% of people with mental health conditions receiving treatment, MHA-NYC is a leading provider of innovative mental health services, advocacy, and education in New York City and across the country. Monies raised at the Gala directly support these efforts and the millions of people who benefit from them every year.
Former NBA player and NBA Cares Ambassador Felipe Lopez recently traveled with the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign to Dajabon, Dominican Republic to help fight malaria.There, he met with officials from the National Center for Tropical Diseases Control within the country’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to learn about the progress made toward malaria elimination on the island of Hispaniola. He also met with community health workers, civil society organizations, children and families affected by malaria.Lopez, a native of Santiago, also visited the Dominican Republic to see the efforts of his private foundation, the Felipe Lopez Foundation, that provides opportunities for at-risk youth.“I’m happy to see that my home country is on the brink of eliminating this deadly disease,” said Lopez. “I hope my fans will join Nothing But Nets and its partners on the winning team to beat malaria once and for all.”By 2016, the Dominican Republic had only 755 malaria cases, down from almost 3,000 in 2010. This progress was made possible due to the scale-up of community health workers supported by U.S. Government agencies, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This strategy allowed access to remote areas and mobile populations, making it possible to achieve universal access to malaria diagnosis and treatment, as well as to implement an excellent community-based surveillance system.Nothing But Nets is the world’s largest grassroots campaign working to protect vulnerable families from malaria, a disease that kills a child every two minutes. Malaria is preventable and treatable – and in the Dominican Republic, it is on the path to being eliminated by 2020. Since 2016, Nothing But Nets has partnered with the Malaria Zero Alliance to mobilize additional resources and momentum to ending the disease in Hispaniola.“The Dominican Republic and Haiti represent the only island in the Caribbean where malaria is still endemic. Elimination in Hispaniola is an important milestone toward a malaria-free Americas,” said Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Director of Nothing But Nets. “We are thrilled to have Felipe Lopez join the cause to help us inspire the momentum needed to ensure no child dies from a mosquito bite.”NBA Cares is a founding partner of Nothing But Nets, inspiring countless basketball fans to join the fight against malaria. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, along with several other professional and Olympic athletes, have joined the cause to help end malaria for good.Since 2006, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $60 million from hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters, and in cooperation with the United Nations and partners, delivered more than 10 million bed nets and other malaria prevention and treatment to families in 31 countries around the world. Anyone — from students to superstars to CEOs — can help protect families from malaria. To help Felipe Lopez save lives, click here.
Kaiser Permanente and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors have teamed up for a televised message about how mental resilience helps the NBA All-Star grow as a person and as a top-level athlete — and how it can help anyone overcome day-to-day hardships and excel.Stephen Curry, Golden State WarriorsThe message will air throughout the 2018 National Basketball Association playoffs. This is the third year Curry has partnered with the nation’s largest integrated health care system on a public health message emphasizing the importance of mental health and wellness and its impact on total health: mind, body and spirit working in unison. Since 2016, Kaiser Permanente has been active in media and elsewhere encouraging people to understand the importance of mental resilience and to end stigma around mental health conditions.“Our caregivers see firsthand many people who experience mental health conditions,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO. “While we most often hear about the negative side of mental health, we have so many reasons for hope. Mental health conditions are treatable and we can help people deal with the ongoing stresses of daily life — and build greater resilience. Who better to deliver that message than Steph Curry, who lives in the limelight and practices resilience every day?”Video: Wins and Losses – 30-Second Spot | Kaiser PermanenteIn the latest TV message, “Wins and Losses,” Curry is depicted at various moments in his life, both low and high. In one scene, he is knocked down on a playground as a boy and has to get up and dust himself off. In another, as he is drafted by the Warriors, he speaks of learning humility. “My mind,” he says, “is where every challenge I’ve faced is won or lost.” The message: Train your mind to be resilient.This message builds on an ongoing campaign by Kaiser Permanente, “Find Your Words,” to foster a national conversation about mental health and wellness — and more specifically, to encourage those who need help overcoming depression and other conditions to speak up and get that help. The website provides important links for those who would like access to additional resources.“Stress adversely affects the health of many of our members and patients, so we wanted to put out a message of hope, embodied by Stephen’s example, that you can manage stress rather than having stress manage you,” said Don Mordecai, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s national leader for mental health and wellness. “The first step to tackling stress may be to start a conversation with your support system — family, friends and physicians — to begin your path toward resilience. We are happy to partner with the NBA, which has a tremendous reach, so we can bring this message to millions of people who need to know how to start that conversation.”Kaiser Permanente’s work with Stephen Curry and the NBA is an extension of the two organizations’ shared commitment to improving the health and wellness of fans and the communities in which they live, learn, work and play. The nonprofit has served as the NBA’s official health care partner since 2015 and is the presenting partner of NBA FIT Week, held in January, and the annual Total Health Forum. Together, the NBA and Kaiser Permanente have hosted FIT clinics engaging thousands of youth in cities throughout the U.S.Kaiser Permanente also provides the NBA with research-oriented strategic consulting, health-related content, and the development of year-round health and wellness programs.