Dr. Phil sues National Enquirer for $250M over spousal abuse articles

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – “Dr. Phil” McGraw and The National Enquirer are lining up for a courtroom brawl after the television talk-show host and his wife filed a $250 million lawsuit against the supermarket tabloid and its sister publications, charging that they falsely accused him of being an abusive husband and a hypocrite who doesn’t practice what he preaches.

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The lawsuit was filed last week in Palm Beach County, Florida, against the Enquirer, its owner American Media Inc. and sister publications, Star Magazine and the website Radar Online. According to the suit, the publications damaged McGraw’s reputation by falsely accusing the TV psychologist of physically and verbally abusing his wife, Robin.

The articles also said that Robin McGraw tolerated the abuse and that the couple are getting divorced. The suit also says the Enquirer falsely accused McGraw of busting a man’s head with a beer mug during a drunken melee while in college in the early 1970s.

READ MORE: Mother of Rehtaeh Parsons shares daughter’s story on Dr. Phil

The suit says such allegations unjustly harm the McGraws’ reputation as outspoken opponents of spousal abuse. It adds that Robin McGraw started a foundation aimed at helping battered spouses and that the couple’s marriage is solid.

McGraw, 65, hosts the popular Dr. Phil talk show, where the booming-voiced Texan is known for passing out folksy advice to guests with various problems. He also produces “The Doctors” and other TV shows and publishes bestselling diet and self-help books. Forbes Magazine ranks him as the world’s fourth-highest-paid celebrity, with annual earnings of $88 million.

“Dr. and Mrs. McGraw, after enduring years of the National Enquirer, Star and other American Media Inc. publications knowingly and recklessly printing outrageous lies about them, their marriage, their integrity and their character,have finally concluded that enough is enough and too much is too much,” their attorney, Lin Wood, said in a statement.

American Media said in a statement that it will defend itself and will expose Phil McGraw’s “stale and fraudulent claims for what they really are.”

READ MORE: Global TV 2016-2017: New TV shows include Bull, MacGyver, The Blacklist: Redemption

“It’s a delicious irony that Dr. Phil, whom a California judge has called a ‘charlatan’ and the Daily Beast has called a ‘quack’ whose ‘unseemly melange of exploitation, celebrity parasitism and credential mining goes back years’ has filed a lawsuit against AMI and accused it of being a ‘trashy tabloid,’” the statement said. “This from the man who visited Britney Spears in the hospital in 2008, then issued a public statement about the visit in violation of her family’s trust.”

The judge’s comments came in 2010 after McGraw featured on his show a couple who had shoplifted more than a million dollars of goods.

According to the lawsuit, since 2003 the Enquirer and its sister publications have published more than 85 articles about the McGraws, an average of one every two months, accusing them of felonies, hypocrisy and professional misconduct. The lawsuit says the stories are false or exaggerated and aimed at increasing what it said are American Media’s shaky finances.

“Those articles were manufactured and published to increase corporate revenues and profits at the unlawful financial, reputational, and emotional expense of its targets, while simultaneously using their names, likenesses, and fame as a buzz-creating and revenue-generating catalyst,” the lawsuit says.

READ MORE: Mr. Robot Season 2: A darker, deeper trip into Elliot’s psyche

The lawsuit says that the McGraws and American Media reached a two-year agreement in 2013 stipulating that the couple would not sue the company if it stopped running articles about them. The lawsuit says that shortly after the agreement expired late last year, the Enquirer and Star again ran a story that the McGraws contend is false.

The lawsuit says the story accuses Phil McGraw of smashing a man’s head with a beer mug during a drunken brawl while he was a student at Texas Tech University in the 1970s. The lawsuit says the nightclub where the brawl allegedly took place didn’t open until six years after McGraw graduated and didn’t get a liquor license until 2009.

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6 activities to help you cope during Montreal’s summer heat wave

The sun is shining, and temperatures soaring – that means summer is really upon us.

Experts are warning Montrealers to take care of themselves during the current heat wave, as well as stay hydrated and safe in the sun.

“It’s very important to do daily sun protection. Not even on sunny days, but every day,” said Dr. Beatrice Wang, director of the melanoma clinic at the Royal Victoria Hospital of the MUHC.

READ MORE: Sun safety: reducing your risk of health issues from heat stroke to melanoma

But once you slap on the sunscreen and grab that hat and bottle of water, it doesn’t have to be all serious business.

Here are six things you can do to cope during this heat wave:

Christine Latreille’s young son at the Aquaciel park in Lasalle.

Christine Latreille/Strollerparking长沙夜网

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Go to a park/splash pad

It seems like a simple tip, but parks are perhaps the easiest place to cool down as a family.

Just in case you can’t decide which park you want to go to, stay-at-home mother Christine Latreille has tested — and blogged about — almost every park on the island of Montreal.

“You want to keep the young families interested in coming to your city,” she told Global News.

“Pack a picnic and spend the whole day there.”

READ MORE: 5 amazing parks to take your kids to this summer

A cyclist ride his bike along the Lachine Canal in Montreal.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Have a picnic

The Lachine canal is a perfect picnic spot — but surprisingly, not a lot of people take advantage of it.

It’s right by the water, so it’s cooler than being in the heart of downtown.

Not only can you walk or bike to Atwater market for a snack, but there are enough trees to sit under and read a book and plenty of sun to play soccer or toss a football around.

Cinéma sous les étoiles.

Cinéma sous les étoiles/Facebook

Go to an outdoor cinema

This one is more for an evening outing — but when the heat sticks around past the sunset, grab a drink and head to an outdoor cinema.

There are screenings at many green spaces across city, so check your neighbourhood websites — best of all, they’re free.

It’s all about Bubble Madness for these soccer players.

Caroline Demers

Try an unusual sport

Have you ever gone swimming with a mermaid tail or played soccer while wrapped in a plastic bubble?

Montrealers are getting creative when it comes to finding new ways to play traditional sports.

READ MORE: 5 unusual sports to try this summer

A horse-drawn carriage in front of Place Jacques Cartier in Old Montreal.

CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson

Join a free walking tour

What better way to discover the city than to take part in a free walking tour of Montreal?

Not only will you get to meet tourists from all over the world, but you might learn a thing or two — tour guides can answer any and all questions about the city’s history, architecture and more.

Many of the tours start in the Old Port and will take you on a whirlwind tour of the city’s biggest monuments and most interesting corners.

Bathers bob in the wave pool to beat the heat.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Go for a swim

It’s summer, it’s hot — go for a swim.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, check your neighbourhood websites for swim times and schedules.

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Chilling Facebook Live video captures shooting of three men in Virginia

A Virginia man appears to have captured his own shooting on a Facebook Live stream Tuesday night, authorities said.

Norfolk police are continuing to investigate the shooting that sent three men – two age 27 and the other age 29- to hospital with life threatening injuries. Police said in a statement Wednesday morning the two of the men were “doing better, but one is still listed in critical condition.”

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“During the shooting incident, one of the men inside the car was broadcasting a live video to Facebook,” police said. “This video has been confirmed to be of the actual shooting incident.”

In the video posted to Facebook by user T.J. Williams, three men can be seen smoking in a car while listening to rap music.

READ MORE: Philando Castile’s girlfriend speaks out after fatal shooting, says police ‘took his life for no reason’

The music is interrupted after roughly five minutes as a series of gunshots ring out and the camera falls to the ground.

“Call an ambulance, please,” a man can be heard saying, following the gunshots.

A person is then heard again calling for an ambulance and informing the dispatcher that three people have been shot.

“Stay calm, stay relaxed,” a male voice is heard telling one of the injured victims. “Stay relaxed, don’t go to sleep.

“Give me your hand. Stay relaxed, I got you. You stay with me, stay with me. It’s going to be alright. They coming, they coming to get you,” the man says. “Everyone keep their eyes open, keep listening to my voice.

READ MORE: Philando Castile’s girlfriend livestreams moments after fatal Minnesota police shooting

After roughly 12 minutes, first responders can be heard in the background. The video continues for more than an hour as the screen goes black and a beeping sound can be heard before the battery presumably dies.

“At approximately 6:10 p.m., Norfolk dispatchers received a call for gunshots heard in the 900 block of Bainbridge Boulevard,” police said in a statement. “As police responded to the scene, the call was quickly updated to possibly three gunshot victims. Upon arrival, officers located three men inside a vehicle suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.”

Police are asking are asking anyone who may have information about this shooting incident to contact the Norfolk Crime Line.

The chilling video follows the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota last week, the aftermath of which was broadcast on Facebook Live by his girlfriend Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds.

The video was viewed millions of times and renewed debate about police use of force, particularly against minorities.

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Tornado touched down near Endiang, Alta.: Environment Canada

A tornado touched down near the central Alberta community of Endiang Wednesday afternoon, according to Environment Canada.

On Wednesday evening, the weather agency confirmed a tornado, given a preliminary rating of EF0, touched down about three kilometres northeast of Endiang at around 2:25 p.m. No damage was reported as of 9 p.m.

Environment Canada said the twister was considered “landspout tornado.”

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    A tornado warning was dropped at 2:54 p.m. Wednesday afternoon for areas of Stettler County after Environment Canada issued the warning for areas near Byemoor and Endiang at 2:34 p.m.

    “We were just moving some things around the yard…and noticed a funny little cloud was moving and starting to get bigger,” Stuart Somerville, who farms about three kilometres northeast of Endiang, said. “Everyone here noticed it around the same time so we all stood out in the yard to watch it to see if we needed to run for cover.”

    “It did get quite big for a while there and it was moving really fast. I’ve never really noticed them fast like that before,” Somerville said.

    Environment Canada said its meteorologists are still looking for people to submit photos of the tornado and any damage it may have caused. Anyone with information is asked to call 1.800.239.0484 or to email [email protected]长沙夜网.

    While Environment Canada said the Endiang tornado was the only funnel cloud seen to have touched the ground, it had a number of funnel cloud sightings reported to it in parts of central and southern Alberta Wednesday.

    A farmer northeast of Endiang, Alta. took this photo of a funnel cloud around the same time Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for the area on July 13, 2016.

    COURTESY: Stuart Somerville

    Watch below: A farmer northeast of Endiang, Alta. spotted a funnel cloud while he was working just as Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for the area on July 13, 2016. (COURTESY: Stuart Somerville)

    Several people south of Edmonton captured pictures of funnel clouds that formed in the Leduc area earlier Wednesday afternoon.

    The pictures were snapped as a special weather advisory was in place for the region.

    READ MORE: Alberta sees 5 tornadoes in 4 days: Environment Canada

    Early Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada said conditions were favourable for the development of funnel clouds in several regions southeast of Edmonton, adding a few funnel clouds were spotted in the Leduc area.

    Environment Canada said these types of funnel clouds are generated by weak rotation under rapidly growing cloud or weak thunderstorms. The weak rotation is normally not a danger near the ground, the weather agency said.

    Watch below: Video captured Wednesday afternoon shows a funnel cloud in the Leduc area

    The city of Edmonton was not under the special weather advisory Wednesday afternoon. However, areas southeast of the city including Red Deer, Drumheller and Hanna were included in the advisory.

    Also Wednesday afternoon, severe thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued for areas in southeast Alberta. For a full list of weather watches and warnings in place in Alberta, head to Environment Canada’s website.

    READ MORE: What to do when severe summer weather hits

    Want your weather on the go? Download Global News’ Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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Federal, Saskatchewan governments announce $27.8 million for water and wastewater projects

The federal and provincial governments announced Wednesday that it will provide more than $27.8 million for water and wastewater infrastructure projects in eight Saskatchewan communities.

Each government will provide $6,766,000 for a new wastewater treatment plant in Lumsden, Sask., and $2,045,000 for water and wastewater treatment system upgrades in Lanigan, Sask.

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    Six northern Saskatchewan communities, including Île-à-la-Crosse, Dore Lake, Pinehouse, La Loche, Creighton and Beauval, will get up to $5,088,583 for the construction or upgrade of water treatment plants and reservoirs.

    The new facility in Lumsden will handle wastewater from residential and commercial developments in the town and the Rural Municipality of Lumsden.

    Two new wells in Lanigan are set to improve drinking water quality as are the new and upgraded facilities in the northern communities.

    “Our community has been struggling for years trying to provide a water supply which conforms to regulations,” Lanigan Mayor Andrew Cebryk said in a statement.

    “We will now be able to enjoy a water supply which is safe and healthy as well as esthetically pleasing throughout the year with our Water Treatment Plant Reverse Osmosis System.”

    The funding will be provided through the federal government’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component-National and Regional Projects.

    The Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC) provides funding to support infrastructure projects nationally, regionally and locally.

    “Modern infrastructure that meets the needs of our communities is key to ensuring that Canada will remain the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” Ralph Goodale, federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, said in a statement.

    Follow @AlexaHGlobal

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Kirkland coyote: don’t feed wild animals, expert warns

Whether on social media, in the news or just by word of mouth, Kirkland resident Jordan Furfaro has heard lots of chatter about the Kirkland coyote.

READ MORE: Kirkland coyote: residents on edge after multiple sightings

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    He contacted Global News to say that, about a month ago, while out for a walk with his dog, he saw different side of the creature.

    “It was following us back to my house, it seemed super friendly, it was trying to play with my dog,” he said.

    “It looked hungry, so I figured I’ll give it a little bit of dog food.”

    “So, I went inside, got some dog food, put the bowl on the grass and basically, he just started devouring the food.”

    READ MORE: What should you do if you come face to face with a coyote?

    Furfaro explained when he first saw the coyote, he thought it was a stray dog, but as the animal ate, he began to realize it was actually a wild animal.

    “I was literally in touching distance of the animal the whole time,” Furfaro told Global News.

    “For, I would say, at least five minutes, if not more, and basically he just looked like he wanted to play. It kept picking up the bowl, throwing it around, jumping around.”

    The Kirkland resident said while he hasn’t encountered the coyote since, and doesn’t intend on ever feeding it again, he doesn’t believe the animal is dangerous.

    READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Coyote on the loose in Kirkland

    “It’s a wild animal, I understand, but it’s obviously in an unfamiliar area and it’s going to try to protect itself if it feels the need to,” he said.

    “I almost feel like if it did show any aggression to somebody, my thought is maybe it was provoked and that’s purely based on my experience and interaction with it.”

    Skedaddle Urban Wildlife Specialist Chris Grabas insisted feeding coyotes is never a good idea.

    READ MORE: Kirkland coyote: residents want town officials to focus on safety

    “They’re very rarely going to be coming to you – unless somebody like you spoke with, has been feeding it,” he said.

    “Hence, that’s where it gets that link…and who knows how it’s going to react if you don’t give them food.”

    WATCH BELOW: Spotting the Kirkland coyote

    Kirkland coyote chases

    02:46

    Kirkland coyote chases

    02:22

    Kirkland residents on edge after coyote sightings

    01:47

    EXCLUSIVE: Coyote on the loose in Kirkland

    01:54

    Coyote spotted in Kirkland



    This is a concern for officials at the Town of Kirkland.

    Mayor Michel Gibson said authorities are currently taking steps to capture the wild animal.

    “Especially where Harris Park is, towards the Trans-Canada, we have an empty lot there, zoned industrial – there’s a possibility that he’s living in that area,” Gibson told Global News.

    “So, what we did is we contacted the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and they gave us the permission to put a safe trap to capture and relocate him – not into an empty industrial lot, but into a wild forest.”

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Pokémon GO: What parents should know about playing safely

The sudden popularity of Pokémon GO has raised concerns about possible privacy breaches, potential injuries (caused by people looking at their smartphone screens and not where they’re walking) and even being lured into robberies, according to some reports.

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    But the augmented reality game could pose some serious real-life risks for some of its youngest users, who could fall victim to those who may want to use the video game to lure and take advantage of children.

    READ MORE: Here’s how Canadians are playing ‘Pokémon Go’

    Police in Greenfield, Indiana arrested a convicted sex offender Wednesday after he was caught allegedly playing Pokémon GO with children outside a courthouse, NBC affiliate WTHR reported.

    Zuick, a 42-year-old registered sex offender who was on probation after pleading guilty to four counts of child molestation in April, was reportedly spotted outside Hancock County Courthouse playing the game on a smartphone with a 16-year-old boy. Zuick, according to Fox 59, was under orders not to interact with children and could have his probation revoked.

    Organizations that work to protect children from sexual exploitation say parents should know how the game works and set some guidelines before allowing kids and teens to hit the street to “catch ’em all.”

    “When children are dealing with strangers, it requires some form of caution — not only by the children but by the parents,” said David Matas, a lawyer for Beyond Borders, an organization that works to prevent child exploitation. “Parents need to inform themselves of the risks.”

    The game may not have been designed for nefarious purposes, but that’s the case with many other applications or interactive games that have wound up being used to prey on children, he explained.

    “Whether it’s used for good or bad depends upon the people who are using it.”

    WATCH: Tech experts and fans break down the Pokémon GO craze that’s hitting Canada. ()

    How the game works

    First things first, here’s a very basic look at what you need to know about playing Pokémon GO.

    Using the app on a mobile device, the players wander around to collect virtual “Pokéballs” and capture Pokémon hidden in real-life locations. It’s quite similar to orienteering or geocaching, which uses a GPS device to locate hidden containers with hidden trinkets or tokens to exchange.

    But with Pokémon GO, users can lure others to what’s known as a “PokéStop” where you may be able to capture specific characters you’re on the hunt for, and “Pokémon gyms” where your Pokémon face off in battles.

    These locations have included everything from churches to police stations and even more somber and sensitive locations like the U.S. Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. The stops can also be set up at individual homes, in parks or at playgrounds.

    Pokémon character Squirtle seen in the Pokémon GO game.

    Handout/Niantic Labs

    READ MORE: Auschwitz bans visitors from playing Pokémon Go

    How do you protect your kids and still let them have fun?

    The game is great for getting children — and adults — up off the couch and being active, said Signy Arnason, the director of Cybertip长沙夜网.

    “[But] within the offending community, they often take what [are], at face value, very positive and good things and turn them into something they can utilize to their benefit.”

    One of the first things parents can do, Arnason said, is to actually play the game themselves and identify any safety concerns.

    WATCH: Police looking at Pokemon Go link in 3 armed robberies at the University of Maryland

    For young children, she suggested parents should institute a “buddy system,” making certain their kids are playing with a friend or a group of friends rather than on their own. “There is safety in numbers,” she said.

    And that’s to ensure general safety and awareness — again, not paying attention to surroundings while staring at a screen — not just the chance someone could be aiming to take advantage of youngsters.

    READ MORE: From private drivers to betting rings: Weird ways people are capitalizing on Pokémon Go

    The fact people are using their phones to play the game, which in theory can be tracked, shouldn’t make parents any less cautious, she added.

    “Really? We don’t think people can get around those things to try and make who they are?” Arnson said. “If I’m surfing off of a Wi-Fi [signal] and plant a lure at a particular location, you’re not going to know who I am if I’m [on] someone else’s Wi-Fi.”

    Kids in their early teens are at an age where they’re more independent but also vulnerable and afraid of being culpable, Arnson said. They may not want to tell parents when something bad happens to them because they think it may get them in trouble. Those are the children who are easily “duped” into doing something sexual because someone older is manipulating them.

    WATCH: The Baltimore Police Department released video of a car crash that was the result of the driver being distracted while playing Pokemon Go.

    “That notion of… luring teens or tweens for the purpose of trying to sexually harm them isn’t as popular right now as extorting children, extorting them for more [sexual] content.”

    Arnson said raising these concerns is by no means fear mongering over a game that is largely being played for fun. “There are some risks you have to be aware of and what do you do to mitigate those concerns,” she said.

    Follow @nick_logan

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Harjit Sajjan: spread of terrorism in Africa on Canada’s peacekeeping radar

OTTAWA – Containing the spread of terrorism across Africa is a consideration for Canada as it mulls where best to contribute to a UN peacekeeping mission, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Wednesday.

The government has yet to make up its mind on where it will send its peacekeepers, in fulfillment of a major foreign policy priority, Sajjan said. But Canada wants to have an impact wherever it deploys troops, he added, and doesn’t want to send a contingent to a specific country simply for the sake of doing so.

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Sources say a mission to Mali, the West African country where more than a dozen peacekeepers have been killed this year, is a serious option for the government.

“Mali was definitely on the radar screen,” said a well-placed source with knowledge of the process, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.

READ MORE: US military sends support to protect its citizens in war-torn South Sudan

Sajjan said the need to control the spread of Islamic militants across the Middle East and Africa is part of the government’s calculation in determining where Canada’s eventual peacekeeping mission will be focused.

“We can’t look at a country in isolation,” Sajjan said from Kuwait after visiting Canadian military personnel there and in neighbouring Iraq who are talking part in the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against the Islamic State.

“The reason I think when it comes to looking at Africa … you can look at various groups like Boko Haram, al-Shabaab who are trying to make a greater network with (ISIS).”

In West Africa, Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in northern Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, while al-Shabaab has used the chaos in Somalia to establish a foothold that has threatened East Africa.

France is leading the current UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has faced threats in its north from al-Qaida and other militant groups. The 12,000-strong mission has been trying to stabilize the country after French forces drove out an al-Qaida occupation in 2012, making it one of the most dangerous peacekeeping missions on the planet.

Last month, the UN special representative for Mali said 19 peacekeepers had been killed in attacks by extremists between February and May of this year.

WATCH: Climate change to blame for drought, food security in Africa

“It is a risky venture because it can be unpredictable, but we will do our assessment,” Sajjan said during a conference call with journalists. He said the Forces will “mitigate” any threats by making sure they have the right training and equipment.

“We need to look at the root causes of the problem, how certain radical groups will feed into other conflict zones,” Sajjan said.

“Certain parts of the world … haven’t gotten the right amount of attention, and that’s why we’re looking at Africa.”

A source said military personnel will be sent to West Africa in the coming weeks “to scope it out” for a potential mission.

READ MORE: U.S. drone strike kills at least 150 at al-Shabab training camp in Somalia

Sajjan himself hinted that he would be making “certain visits” to gather first-hand information on the ground, as he did this week in Iraq.

Protecting civilians and leveraging Canada’s ability to provide French-speaking troops would be among the considerations in deciding where the country decides to deploy, said Chantal Gagnon, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion.

Mali and Canada are both members of La Francophonie. Mali is also one of Canada’s so-called countries of focus for international development assistance.

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Shotgun seizure latest in growing trend seen by Prince Albert, Sask. police

A loaded shotgun is the latest in a spike of firearm seizures undertaken by the Prince Albert Police Service in the northern Saskatchewan city.

Officers were called to the 200-block of 32nd Street West just after 8:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday for a report of three men walking in the parking lot, one with a long-barrelled gun.

READ MORE: Saskatoon police deal with 4 weapons calls in 24-hour period

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    While police were responding, the trio approached a man on a bike.

    They allegedly threatened the cyclist and then pointed the gun at him.

    He was able to flee unharmed.

    Officers arrived and arrested two men. The third man ran to a nearby restaurant where he was taken into custody.

    READ MORE: Teens ride away on BMX bikes stolen in Saskatoon street robbery

    Police say a loaded shotgun was found underneath a vehicle in the parking lot.

    The three men are facing a number of firearms and attempted armed robbery charges as the investigation continues.

    Since late 2015, Prince Albert police said there has been a significant increase in the number of firearms they have seized. So far in 2016, 52 firearms have been seized compared to 19 at this same time last year.

    “The majority of complaints relating to firearms have involved gang or drug activity, but this is certainly a concern for all community members,” said Police Chief Troy Cooper.

    “It is a very real danger for the officers who respond to these types of calls.”

    On Wednesday, officials said the growing trend is not unique to the city and has been documented in other large centres in Saskatchewan.

    Anyone with information in regards to illegal firearms or gang activity is asked to contact Prince Albert police at 306-953-4222 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

    Thomas Piller contributed to this story

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Rail trail donors raise $450,422 for project construction

More than 800 people are reported to have answered the call from an anonymous donor who sought to match funds received for the Okanagan rail trail project.

The anonymous donor originally put forward the idea of matching up to $50,000 in donations received between July 1 and July 10. Within three days, $33,000 of that sum was received.

READ MORE: Unknown donor willing to put $50,000 towards Okanagan Rail Trail

As a result of the rapid growth of the fundraising total, the anonymous donor doubled the matching challenge to $100,000.

What’s being called by ambassadors of the rail trail project as the Canada Day Matching Funds Challenge, ended up bringing in a total of $225, 211.

WATCH BELOW: Rail trail controversy continues in Lake Country

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    On top of that, two north Okanagan residents, Don and Cathy Archibald, decided to help.

    Between the Archibalds and the original donor, $450,422 will be provided for the construction of the rail trail.

    “This trail will help shape the future of this valley and provide an incredible legacy for our communities,” Don Archibald said in a news release.

    “We need to do all we can to ensure this trail gets built as soon as possible to allow us all to enjoy the benefits.”

    The donations are being collected by the Community Foundation of North Okanagan and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

    The campaign is being run by a group of residents, rail trail supporters and businesses who want to see the project move forward.

    A total of $700,000 has been raised through the campaign, which organizers say will fund nearly four-and-a-half kilometres of the trail construction.

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    Lake Country Mayor dispels what he labels rail trail misinformation



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‘Online predator’ vigilante’s viral video useless to investigators: police

Toronto police are highly critical of a self-styled “online predator” catcher whose latest confrontation video has gone viral, saying his efforts are useless to real child exploitation investigators.

In a video posted Tuesday to Facebook, Justin Payne confronts a man at a Toronto subway station. Payne claims the man thought he was meeting up with an 11-year-old girl, who Payne posed as online to lure him.

In the footage, Payne follows the man to a parking lot and yells in his face at one point.

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“You came to meet an 11-year-old girl off the Internet. I was talking to you the whole time —; that was me!”

The video has been viewed more than 475,000 times.

Payne asserts he will inform police of the meeting, but spokesman Mark Pugash said he’s not aware of investigators receiving any information —; and criticized Payne for his vigilante tactics.

“He has no training. There is considerable risk to what he does,” Pugash told Global News.

“I’m not sure you can catch anyone —; and by catch I mean hold them to account legally —; if you’re not trained in how to do it.”

READ MORE: ‘I could literally have a pedophile within 30 minutes sitting in that chair’: Vigilante says he’s exposing predators in Edmonton

Pugash said “proper investigators” with police have extensive training that ensures evidence gathering and their online interactions stand up to legal scrutiny,

“Evidence that is unacceptable in court is of no use to police,” said Pugash, adding Payne may also be putting himself at risk if he inadvertently receives child pornography from one of his targets.

Pugash said such online vigilantes, if they do want to assist police, must hand over their phones and other communications devices for evidence, but that Payne has refused to do so before.

“He has no understanding of what the law requires. And indeed how could he.”

“I think he’d be the first one to admit he has no training or experience in how to gather evidence. Is he entrapping people? I don’t know, and neither does he,” Pugash said.

Payne, a father who reportedly works in construction, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But he’s not the only one online posing as young girls to lure alleged predators.

READ MORE: Vigilante videos going viral

In Edmonton, a group calling itself “Creep Catchers” troll the internet pretending to be preteen girls, set up meetings with would-be dates and then confront them on camera. It claims to have members in several other Canadian cities. Hacker group Anonymous has also targeted alleged online child porn sites and their users.

Pugash, meanwhile, said police in Toronto don’t need any help from Payne.

Investigators with the sex crimes unit have done major projects that have “rescued children around the world,” he said.

“They’re online every single day doing some of the most difficult work that is possible to imagine doing. And they do it effectively and they do it legally so they can go to court and the people are held accountable.

“He can do none of that.”

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Former London mayor Boris Johnson named UK foreign secretary

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson has been appointed Britain’s new foreign secretary, one of the biggest jobs in government.

READ MORE: Europe in disarray as leaders try to rethink union after Brexit aftermath

Johnson was one of the leaders of the campaign to leave the European Union. He has been given the job by new Prime Minister Theresa May, who backed the losing “remain” side ahead of the referendum.

WATCH: Boris Johnson calls ‘Brexit’ vote ‘glorious opportunity’ for Britain 

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    Johnson had hoped to become British prime minister but saw his dream fade amid Conservative Party plotting after last month’s vote.

    He will not be responsible for leading Britain’s EU exit talks. That job will go to Veteran Conservative euroskeptic David Davis, the new dedicated “minister for Brexit.”

    Davis has been appointed to lead Britain’s exit talks with the European Union. May named Davis to the newly created post of secretary of state for exiting the European Union.

    Davis is a long-serving lawmaker who often clashed with May when she was home secretary over privacy and free-speech issues. He has criticized British spies’ snooping powers for being too intrusive.

    He has long advocated leaving the European Union, a plan he will now be in charge of implementing following Britain’s vote to quit the bloc.

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Parks Alive! is back in Kelowna

A summertime tradition in the Okanagan that brings entertainment to local neighbourhoods is back.

Park and Play is a Festivals Kelowna initiative to bring music and games closer to where people live and encourage families to be active and connect with their neighbours.

“I think it’s just more about communities, getting everybody out and seeing the beautiful parks that we have in the city,” program coordinator Melissa Sbrega said.

Through the initiative, free, live music will be available in various parks throughout Kelowna.

“We are so lucky to have hundreds of parks throughout it and they’re all green spaces and to promote it and get everybody out and use the green space that we have an dto meet their neighbours and listen to some great music.”

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Sbrega said 85 local bands from Summerland to Vernon have been hired.

“We do have some touring artists as well but we try to give a stage for our local bands because we’ve got a big depth of talent [locally],” Sbrega said.

Tuesday night’s entertainment could be found in Ben Lee Park in Rutland.

Festivals Kelowna has partnered with local bands to offer free, live entertainment in Kelowna parks.

Parks all over the city will be alive with activity through the month of July.

Click here to view the full park and play schedule.

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  • Festivals undergo makeover to revitalize downtown Kelowna

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