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.

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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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‘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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Edmonton Oilers sign fourth-overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi to entry-level contract

The Edmonton Oilers have signed Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth-overall pick at the 2016 NHL draft, to a three-year entry level contract.

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    The 18-year-old forward spent last season with the Finnish Elite League’s Oulu Karpat, recording 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists), 22 penalty minutes and a plus-5 defensive rating in 50 games.

    He also posted nine points (four goals, five assists) in 10 playoff games.

    READ MORE: NHL Draft 2016: Edmonton Oilers select Jesse Puljujarvi

    The six-foot-four, 203-pound winger has spent the past two seasons with Karpat, accumulating 39 point sand 32 penalty minutes in 71 career games.

    The Tornio, Finland native represented his country most recently at the 2016 world junior hockey championship, leading the tournament in scoring with 17 points in seven games, helping Finland capture a gold medal.

    READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers trade Taylor Hall to New Jersey

    His 17 points ranks him second in all-time points for a player under the age of 18 at the tournament, behind Jaromir Jagr and tying Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros.

    Puljujarvi joins a young Oilers core led by star centre Connor McDavid.

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Donald Trump seeks $10M from former aide alleging he leaked confidential info to reporters

WASHINGTON– Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seeking US$10 million in damages from a former senior campaign consultant, Sam Nunberg, alleging that Nunberg leaked confidential information to reporters in violation of a nondisclosure agreement.

In a court filing obtained by The Associated Press, Nunberg accuses Trump of trying to silence him “in a misguided attempt to cover up media coverage of an apparent affair” between senior campaign staffers.

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The document cited a New York Post story about a public quarrel between the staffers published last month.

The highly unusual legal dispute reflects Trump’s efforts to aggressively protect the secrecy of his campaign’s inner workings.

The AP reported last month that Trump requires nearly everyone in his campaign and businesses to sign legally binding nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from releasing any confidential or disparaging information about the real estate mogul, his family or his companies. Trump has also said he would consider requiring such agreements in the White House.

In the court filings, Nunberg denied disparaging Trump and accused the presumptive GOP nominee of attempting to “bully” him into silence after Nunberg decided to publicly support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid.

“Mr. Trump’s actions in starting a $10 million arbitration, seeking to silence Mr. Nunberg and have the proceedings sealed, are a cautionary tale of what the American people face if Mr. Trump is elected president,” said Andrew Miltenberg, Nunberg’s attorney. Miltenberg said Trump’s attorney argued for the documents to be sealed in a hearing Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Most young Americans think Donald Trump is ‘racist,’ poll finds

Trump attorney Alan Garten did not respond to AP calls and emails. Nunberg declined to comment Wednesday.

In particular, Nunberg said Trump filed a $10 million arbitration claim against him and falsely accused him of being a source of a New York Post story from mid-May that recounted a public quarrel between former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. Lewandowski was fired from the campaign in June after months of tension with other senior Trump advisers.

Nunberg denied being the source of the article, but in court papers referred to the quarrel as being part of an “apparent affair.”

Hicks did not respond to detailed requests to respond to the allegations sent via email and text, as well as a voicemail.

Nunberg’s filed the court documents in an attempt to block private arbitration proceedings initiated by Trump in May.

In addition to asserting a right to discuss the campaign on free speech grounds, Nunberg’s lawsuit also argued that the campaign’s arbitration claim was invalid because it was brought by an exploratory group Trump formed for his 2012 campaign, “which has nothing to do with the Trump Campaign’s activities in the 2016 presidential campaign cycle.”

“The Trump Campaign was not in existence prior to or at the time of the agreement, and Mr. Nunberg did not agree or intend that it apply to any future entity such as the Trump Campaign,” Nunberg’s complaint said.

An affidavit filed by Sam Nunberg’s mother, Rebecca Citron Nunberg, said the Trump entity bringing the claim against Sam Numberg is not registered in the state of New York, depriving it of its ability to pursue legal claims against him.

—;

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4 communities under states of emergency as Sask. flooding situation improves

Emergency management officials in Saskatchewan say things are improving following widespread, heavy rain that brought flooding to several parts of the province.

Emergency management commissioner Duane McKay says rain is beginning to taper off and water is starting to move out of flooded communities.

READ MORE: Arborfield issues evacuation order as breach gives way to approaching floodwaters

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    The four that are under states of emergency are: The towns of Carrot River and Arborfield, the Rural Municipality of Arborfield and the Shoal Lake First Nation.

    Estevan was under a state of emergency but that was lifted Wednesday afternoon.

    The city flooded on Sunday night when storm sewers were unable to keep up with at least 130 millimetres of rain that fell in just over two hours.

    Helen Fornwald, Estevan’s emergency measures co-ordinator, says residents are still assessing damage to their homes.

    About 400 people in the town of Arborfield were ordered to leave their homes on Tuesday after a road gave way, sending water rushing toward the community.

    Arborfield Ald. Ashley Gray told Global News that the sewer system is still intact, but water behind a berm is an “imminent threat.”

    “On Monday night, we had three track hoes out there and they built it up as much as they could. And it held and it’s still holding,” Gray said.

    Highways in the Shoal Lake area are closed due to flooding and washouts.

    East of La Ronge, Highway 165 remains closed between the junctions of highways 106 and 912.

    READ MORE: Rain washes out Highway 165 in northern Saskatchewan

    The latest road conditions can be found on the Saskatchewan highway hotline.

    Carrot River officials say they have received authorization under the provincial disaster assistance program and are encouraging property owners to call their insurance agent and fill out an application, even if they don’t have insurance.

    Officials in the town also say that people can start using water again for normal use but are urging moderation at this time.

    READ MORE: Estevan under state of emergency after city hit by heavy rainfall

    The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency says some areas received more than 100 millimetres of rain over two days and the moisture didn’t have anywhere to go because the ground was already saturated.

    Rainfall warnings that were in place from the southwest corner of Saskatchewan through to the northeast have ended.

    With files from

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Halifax police’s human trafficking awareness campaign nets tips, charges

A campaign launched by Halifax police earlier this year encouraging employees in the hospitality industry to spot signs of human trafficking and forced sex work has yielded not only calls, but also charges.

In February, Halifax Regional Police and RCMP produced a series of pamphlets and posters highlighting the signs of human trafficking. The material was distributed to employees of local hotels, taxi and bus companies, as well as the airport.

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“We’ve had 12 calls to our vice members and from that, we’ve investigated some of the calls, which linked us back to the hotels,” said Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet of the HRP’s Special Enforcement Section.

“The hotels were very cooperative because they understood the importance of cooperation in an attempt to help the victims. And through that, we were able to lay the charges.”

READ MORE: Man accused of human trafficking arrested in Cole Harbour

In total, police have laid three human trafficking charges since the campaign began. The youngest victim in those cases was just 14 years old.

Gaudet says police are working with the Public Prosecution Service to move ahead on those charges and are hoping for convictions, but they also measure their success in other ways.

“Of course, our main goal is to help the victims. As police officers, we like to be able to lay the charges and follow that through court but our main goal is to help the victims, to get them off the street to stop being victimized,”Gaudet said.

Denise One Breath Mitchell, a victim support navigator with the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre, was part of a panel of stakeholders who worked with police to shape the campaign.

She’s encouraged to see the program is successful and praises it for creating much-needed awareness.

“It’s giving that information and knowledge to people to really take notice when something is not right and when you feel in your gut that something is not right about this situation, to report it,” she said.

Gaudet says the rapport with hotel staff and the hospitality industry has been invaluable.

“They get that feeling and a lot of times that feeling is correct,” he said.

“They’re saying, ‘this doesn’t look right, this young girl with this adult male, she looks a little withdrawn, she seems a little scared,’” Gaudet said.

“You pick that up, that’s body language and that comes from their experiences at the desk and that’s valuable. That’s valuable to us and it helps us with our investigation.”

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How well did the flu shot work in Alberta this year?

Alberta Health says this season, the influenza vaccine was between 45 and 50 per cent effective.

“This year we actually had a year where influenza H1 was circulating,” Dr. Martin Lavoie, deputy medical officer of health for Alberta Health, explained.

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    “Of course it’s not as high as we would like, obviously, but this is way higher than last year when we had H3 circulating and the vaccine effectiveness was actually close to zero. It provided almost no protection last year, and so this year, providing about 50 per cent is actually pretty good.”

    Health officials said last year’s flu vaccine wasn’t an ideal match to combat the season’s nasty H3N2 virus. In new research, scientists say it was a single mutation that caused the drift, making the vaccine less than 20 per cent effective.

    READ MORE: Flu vaccine offered little or no protection in Canada this year

    “If we look at the year before, when the vaccine effectiveness was just about zero, we had way more people being way more sick, ending up in hospital, ending up in ICU and dying compared to this past season where the vaccine effectiveness was not perfect, but much higher,” Lavoie said.

    “It makes a big difference.”

    READ MORE: Virus mutations: Here’s why scientists say last year’s flu vaccine was a bust

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    This year, 27 per cent of Albertans received the flu shot, which was down by three per cent from the year before.

    Lavoie stressed, regardless of its seasonal effectiveness, the flu vaccine is still the best protection we have.

    “For some people, being immunized will make a difference between life and death. Every year, Albertans die from influenza and we’ve got dozens and dozens and dozens of Albertans dying every year.”

    WATCH: Kids’ nasal flu spray may not be as effective as advertised 

    Recently, officials in the U.S. deemed the nasal spray form of the vaccine commonly used in children isn’t as effective as previously thought. The latest numbers showed it only worked three per cent of the time.

    Here in Canada, health authorities will be examining the research on the nasal spray next week.

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