1 dead after tornado touches down in Mississippi

Written by admin on 07/15/2019 Categories: 上海夜生活

COLUMBUS, Miss.  — Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.

A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died when he drove into floodwaters in Tennessee, officials said.

READ MORE:
From the ‘Regina Cyclone’ to the ‘1974 Super Outbreak’: 10 of Canada’s most notable tornadoes

Columbus Mayor Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband were renovating a house Saturday evening, and when the husband went to get them something to eat, the building collapsed in the storm and killed her.

Smith said 12 other people were injured, but the injuries did not appear to be major. City spokesman Joe Dillon said the tornado also seriously damaged a school and two community centre buildings.

IN PHOTOS: Tornado destroys a church in Columbus, Miss.

Broken lumber, loose paneling, insulation, and destroyed pews are all that remains of the First Pentecostal Church Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019 after a tornado Saturday in Columbus, Miss. At least one person was killed during Saturday’s storm that shattered businesses and wrecked homes.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Church members lift beams as they try to determine the status of a Hammond organ that was trapped by tornado debris in the First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A child plays around the podium that was virtually undamaged or moved in the tornado that destroyed First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A church member tosses to the side a large stone that was part of the exterior of the First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Pastor Steve Blaylock looks over the broken lumber, loose paneling, insulation, and destroyed pews in the First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019 after a Saturday tornado.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Pastor Steve Blaylock looks over the broken lumber, loose paneling, insulation, and destroyed pews in the First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019 after a Saturday tornado.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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“There was pretty extensive damage,” Dillon said Sunday, a day after the Columbus twister struck. “But the streets today have been filled with workers and volunteers, all working hard to clean up the mess.”

In Knox County, Tennessee, officials said a man died after his vehicle became submerged in high water.

Saturday afternoon’s tornado in Columbus was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson. She told The Associated Press that experts were dispatched Sunday to the east Mississippi city of about 23,000 people to gauge the tornado’s intensity. Officials said a second, smaller twister damaged a mobile home and a shed and snapped trees in a small community in the region that same afternoon as severe storms rolled through.

READ MORE: Incredible fire tornado shocks wildfire crew in northern B.C.

At First Pentecostal Church in Columbus, the Rev. Steve Blaylock said the building was “a total loss,” with a wall pushed in, holes in the roof and substantial water damage. He and his congregants tried to salvage what they could on the morning after the storm. But he said they still held a Sunday prayer service and even went ahead with a scheduled baptism, using a borrowed portable baptismal pool.

“We will rebuild. We’ve got a good church here,” Blaylock said. “It’ll be a testimony of God.”

WATCH: Havana residents clean up after freak tornado rips through city

Residents of one street on the east side of Columbus were out early Sunday morning with chain saws, clearing away branches of the many trees that had snapped or were uprooted in the storm. Metal siding and roofing materials were scattered throughout the neighbourhood of older homes. While the houses generally remained standing, sheds and outbuildings were mostly demolished.

WATCH: Storm damage team assessing tornado aftermath west of Seattle

Lee Lawrence, who said he has been selling used cars for decades in Columbus, told The AP that four buildings on his car lot were destroyed. He said trees toppled across vehicles and car windows were blown out.

Lawrence said he was at home getting ready to take a bath when the storm struck.

“The wind all of a sudden just got so strong and it was raining so much you could hardly see out the door, and I could hear a roaring. Evidently it came close,” he said, speaking with AP in a phone interview.

“It will be a start-over deal,” Lawrence said. “I can’t say it will come back better or stronger, but we’ll come back.”

A photographer working for The AP in Columbus said some antique cars on Lawrence’s lot were resting in the debris of a destroyed building a nearby pet grooming business appeared now to be mostly twisted piles of metal. A printing shop had been speared by a pipe.

Elsewhere around the South, homes, highways, parks and bridges were flooded or put out of commission amid the heavy rains and severe storms.

WATCH: Drone footage captures aftermath of tornado in Taylorville, Illinois

News outlets report that water rescues have been performed in some Middle Tennessee counties.

Interstate 40 near the Tennessee line with North Carolina was closed by a rockslide, one of the dozens of roads and highways shut down throughout the region, transportation officials said.

Officials said a mudslide destroyed a Subway restaurant in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. No injuries were reported.

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In West Virginia, authorities have evacuated 11 families in the southern part of the state after low-lying areas flooded from heavy rains. Workers cleaned up from mudslides and high wind warnings remained in effect Sunday for much of the state. More than 50,000 customers were without power at one point, emergency officials said, warning driving would be difficult in high winds and more power lines could fall.

In Bruce, Mississippi, rivers broke flood stage and flash floods poured into homes and businesses. News outlets report that officials in Grenada, Mississippi, declared a local state of emergency after dozens of streets and homes flooded. A 6-mile (9-kilometre) stretch of the Natchez Trace Parkway was closed in Mississippi after water covered part of the road.

WATCH: Ice rushes down Ontario’s Grand River, raising flood risk

Kentucky announced Friday that it was closing the U.S. 51 bridge over the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, because of flooding on the southern approach. The bridge, which carries 4,700 vehicles a day, is likely to stay closed until Thursday, and possibly longer.

The Ohio River at Cairo was predicted to crest Sunday at its third-highest level ever recorded, and stay that high into next week. The Tennessee River near Savannah, Tennessee, also was forecast to crest at near-record levels.

Associated Press writers Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama, contributed to this story, along with staff photographer Rogelio Solis and freelance photographer Jim Lytle working in Columbus, Mississippi.

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Billy Porter wears tuxedo gown at 2019 Oscars: ‘I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress’

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Talk about a grand entrance.

Singer and actor Billy Porter hit the 91st Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday in a bold velvet tuxedo gown.

The all-black, one-of-a-kind design by Christian Siriano featured a bow tie, ruffle-cuff white shirt and a classic tuxedo jacket. But the best part? A strapless, full-skirted black gown.

Credit: Getty Images

Speaking with Vogue magazine before he walked the red carpet, the Pose actor said Siriano wanted to play with the masculine and the feminine.

“This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress,” he told the magazine.

“I want people to understand that you don’t have to understand or even agree with other people’s authenticity or truths, but we must all respect each other.”

WATCH: Oscars 2019: Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet honour Karl Lagerfeld in matching outfits

And with this statement, Porter recognized that people may not understand his look altogether.

“People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black a** in a ball gown — but it’s not anybody’s business but mine,” he said.

Last month, Porter also turned heads at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, walking the red carpet in a bright pink cape.

Credit: Getty Images

The custom Randi Rahm creation took six months to make, the Hollywood Reporter noted.

“I immediately knew this look would be a very important statement for Billy in many ways,” Rahm told the site.

Oscars 2019: Lady Gaga walks the red carpet in Alexander McQueen gown

03:15

Oscars 2019: Lady Gaga walks the red carpet in Alexander McQueen gown

01:36

Oscars 2019: Jennifer Lopez dresses in a shimmering Tom Ford gown

01:12

Oscars 2019: Bradley Cooper walks red carpet with his mother Gloria Campano and Irina Shayk

01:37

Oscars 2019: Spike Lee pays tribute to Prince on the red carpet

01:29

Oscars 2019: Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet honour Karl Lagerfeld in matching outfits

00:34

Oscars 2019: Billy Porter, Jordan Peele compliment each other’s outfits



“It needed to speak to his amazing personality, the importance of his role on the groundbreaking show Pose, as well as the message we collectively want to send to the world regarding the fluidity of fashion, tolerance and acceptance.”

—With files from the Associated Press

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Montreal taxi drivers say they need to save their industry from extinction

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Hundreds of Montreal taxi drivers got together on Sunday to discuss the state of their industry and how they can save themselves from possible extinction.

READ MORE: Taxi drivers’ class-action lawsuit against Quebec government gets green light

Three separate taxi drivers’ unions have agreed to merge under one banner to confront any possible changes to their jobs.

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Related

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  • ‘Bonjour’ to a new look: Montreal taxis get makeover

    READ MORE: ‘Bonjour’ to a new look: Montreal taxis get makeover

    “In the whole battle against Uber, we believe our fractured representation worked against us,” said Kamal Sabbah of the RPTM.

    “Certain actors, like politicians, were playing the different associations against each other. We are stronger when we are united and speaking with one voice.”

    The Regroupement des travailleurs autonomes métallos (RTAM) has absorbed the Regroupement des propriétaires de taxi de Montréal (RPTM) and the Association haïtienne des travailleurs du taxi (AHHT).

    WATCH BELOW: New safety measures for Montreal taxis

    “It’s a major change in the taxi industry,” longtime taxi driver Danny Attalah told Global News.

    “It may be the end of the taxi as we know it so we’re trying to pull everyone together to face that.”

    Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel had previously promised to reform the taxi business.

    READ MORE: Montreal taxi drivers skeptical about promise of compensation

    He has yet to explain what those changes could be, however he has mentioned ending the Uber pilot project, while implementing changes to modernize and create an impartial industry to promote innovation.

    WATCH BELOW: Montreal taxi drivers skeptical about $250M compensation

    Last October, a class-action lawsuit spearheaded by taxi drivers against the provincial government was given the go-ahead by Quebec Superior Court Judge Mark Peacock.

    It could cost the province up to $1 billion over the loss of value of taxi permits, if the lawsuit is successful.

    READ MORE: Teo Taxi halting operations, laying off all drivers, says union rep

    Drivers believe amalgamating their associations will give them a more powerful voice in discussions with the transport minister.

    They fear that if they don’t act now, the taxi permits that some bought for over $200,000 may soon be worthless.

    WATCH BELOW: City unveils new standardized look for Montreal taxis

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Virginia politician facing sexual assault allegations draws comparison to lynching victims

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RICHMOND, Va. — Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax compared himself to Jim Crow-era lynching victims in a surprise speech Sunday, as he resists widespread calls to resign prompted by allegations of sexual assault.

Fairfax strongly defended himself and lashed out at his critics from his rostrum in the state Senate as the 2019 legislative session was coming to a close.

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READ MORE:
Embattled Virginia politicians defy calls to step down

“I’ve heard much about anti-lynching on the floor of this very Senate, where people were not given any due process whatsoever, and we rue that,” Fairfax said, referencing legislation the General Assembly passed expressing “profound regret” for lynchings in Virginia between 1877 and 1950.

“And we talk about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those very same auspices. And yet we stand here in a rush to judgment with nothing but accusations and no facts and we decide that we are willing to do the same thing,” Fairfax said.

WATCH: Virginia Lt. Gov. denies second sexual assault claim

When he finished his five-minute impromptu speech, stunned senators sat in awkward silence.

Fairfax, who is black, has been accused by two women of sexual assault. Both of the alleged victims are African American.

Earlier this month, Vanessa Tyson publicly accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex in his hotel room during the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. Her lawyer said last week that Tyson plans to meet with prosecutors in Massachusetts to detail her allegations.

Meredith Watson has also publicly accused Fairfax of sexual assault. She issued a statement accusing him of raping her 19 years ago while they were students at Duke University.

READ MORE:
Sex, blackface and a lottery: What’s going on in Virginia politics?

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but both women have come forward voluntarily.

House Republicans announced plans Friday to hold a public hearing where Fairfax, Tyson and Watson can testify, a move that Fairfax and some Democrats have panned as a political ploy.

Fairfax has indicated he won’t participate in the hearing, leaving it an open question whether Republicans will try to compel him to testify. Fairfax has said the accusations should be investigated by law enforcement.

WATCH: Democrats call on Virginia’s Fairfax to resign after second accuser comes forward

Republican House Majority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert said Fairfax’s comments about lynchings were highly inappropriate.

“That is the worst, most disgusting type of rhetoric he could have invoked,” Gilbert said. “It’s entirely appropriate for him to talk about due process and we would intend to offer him every ounce of it, and he’s welcome to take advantage of that anytime he would like.”

But black lawmakers did not object to Fairfax’s speech.

“He said what he needed to say,” said Sen. Mamie Locke.

Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Del. Lamont Bagby said he’s heard similar rhetoric from his constituents, who have expressed concerns that Fairfax is being treated unfairly because of his race.

READ MORE:
2nd woman accuses Virginia lieutenant governor of sexual assault

Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats and both white, are embroiled in their own scandal after acknowledging they wore blackface in the 1980s. Northam has also resisted widespread calls to resign and instead said he intends to devote his remaining years in office to addressing the state’s deep and lingering racial divisions.

The trio of scandals has rocked Virginia politics and exposed deep divides among Democrats.

WATCH: Virginia’s political crisis deepens

State Democrats have expressed fear that the uproar over the governor could jeopardize their chances of taking control of the GOP-dominated Virginia legislature this year. The party made big gains in 2017, in part because of a backlash against President Donald Trump, and has moved to within striking distance of a majority in both houses.

At the same time, the Democrats nationally have taken a hard line against misconduct in their ranks because women and minorities are a vital part of their base and they want to be able to criticize Trump’s behaviour without looking hypocritical.

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Richmond family reunited with firefighters who saved them from house fire 15 years ago

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It was an emotional day in Richmond on Sunday as two children who narrowly escaped death from a house fire 15 years ago got to meet the firefighters who saved them.

Brandon and Kaitlin Laxa were four and three years old, respectively, when a fire broke out at their townhouse on the night of Nov. 5, 2004. Firefighters smashed through the upstairs windows to rescue the children and their grandfather while the fire raged on the lower levels.

Their parents, Theresa and John Laxa, arrived at the home to find it surrounded by fire crews and could only watch helplessly as their children were put into ambulances on stretchers.

WATCH: Our original report by Catherine Urquhart from the scene of the house fire on Nov. 5, 2004

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Brandon suffered serious burns to his arms, while Kaitlin suffered smoke inhalation and wasn’t breathing when fire crews found her.

On Sunday, both of them said getting the chance to meet the people who got them out of that burning house was an incredible experience.

“It’s amazing, just being able to thank them for the hard work they put in that day,” Brandon said. “Without them being there and putting that training to use … we wouldn’t be here today. That’s something I can’t thank them enough for.”

READ MORE:
Firefighters launch campaign in bid to ‘wake up Vancouver’ to smoke alarms

Kaitlin said hearing about how the firefighters had to perform CPR on her that night to keep her alive was overwhelming.

“I’m happy to be alive,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have my friends or my family. I’m happy to be here.”

Mike Welsh, acting captain with the Richmond Fire Rescue Department was one of the firefighters who responded that night and helped administer CPR to Kaitlin. At the time, he had only been a crew member for four years and felt compelled to check on Kaitlin in hospital two days after her rescue.

“I was still learning how to cope with everything and I’m so glad I went there that day because (what) I saw there was life and a chance of recovery,” he said.

READ MORE:
B.C. first responders gather for mental health conference

Fifteen years later, he said he’s happy to see both Kaitlin and Brandon have been able to live full and healthy lives after that terrible night.

“Most of our calls don’t have this kind of a happy ending,” he said. “I’m just glad everyone is living their lives and moving forward. It’s good to see.”

The event was organized by Jen McElgunn, a Richmond firefighter and a camp counsellor at Burn Camp, a summer camp for burn survivors where she first met Brandon and Kaitlin.

“When Brandon told me last year about what happened … I realized it was a really cool, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone to come around full circle and get closure,” McElgunn said.

WATCH (Aired July 20, 2014): B.C. firefighters join children at Lower Mainland Burn Camp

The event also had an additional impact on Brandon, who recently graduated from the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s firefighter program, a career path he decided on shortly after high school.

“It’s not only a way for me to give back what’s been given to me, but being around firefighters my whole life and seeing the work they put in on duty and off duty…it shows that it’s more than just a career,” he said. “They’re really trying to change people’s lives for the better.”

No one on Sunday was happier or more overwhelmed than Brandon and Kaitlin’s mom, Theresa, who still thinks about that night 15 years ago and how it could have turned out much worse.

“I can’t thank them enough,” she said through tears. “It’s not enough to say thank you.”

—With files from Jill Bennett and Catherine Urquhart

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Former soldier and first responder camps out in Leduc to raise funds for mental health programs

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When Russ Lee joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1999, he never imagined that he’d suffer from PTSD or become a champion for mental health — but that’s exactly what happened.

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Fast forward to 2019 and Lee is camped outside of Fire Station No. 1 in Leduc, raising money for the Legacy Place Society. The organization provides assistance to first responders, military veterans, 911 operators and their families who may be suffering through a wide range of mental health problems, including suicide and marital breakdown.

READ MORE: PTSD, suicide and first responders — A lot of talk and not much progress

“When I returned from Kandahar, (Afghanistan), I quickly realized that something wasn’t right and I started to slide down that rabbit hole of depression and anxiety and was later diagnosed with PTSD,” Lee recalled.

He now wants other first responders and veterans to know that they’re not alone in their struggle.

“I took a lot of time of and was able to fight that battle, take control of it and learn about the disorder,” he said. “Now, I spread the message that you can overcome this.”

WATCH: Legacy Place Society fundraiser to support first responders, military and veterans in crisis

On Sunday, Lee was just two days into a week-long camp-out at the fire station, with the goal of raising $15,000 for Operation Legacy. He plans to donate 100 per cent of the funds raised to the organization.

READ MORE: Edmonton firefighter’s death prompts discussion about PTSD, mental health

“It’s important for me to spread the word, and the easiest way I can do that is by speaking out,” Lee said. “The response I’m getting from the public, from friends and family, is what’s keeping me going, keeping me motivated.”

Lee is inviting people to drop by and visit him. He’ll be camped out until noon on March 1.

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Oscars 2019: The best and worst outfits on the red carpet

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One of Hollywood’s biggest nights for fashion — the Oscars — did not disappoint.

The 91st Annual Academy Awards kicked off on Sunday in Los Angeles, and stars hit the red carpet with some of the season’s trendiest looks.

The Oscars tend to bring out bling, glam and bowties, but this year we saw a bounty of spring hues, tulle and women in pantsuits.

Oscars 2019: Jennifer Lopez dresses in a shimmering Tom Ford gown

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Oscars 2019: Jennifer Lopez dresses in a shimmering Tom Ford gown

01:29

Oscars 2019: Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet honour Karl Lagerfeld in matching outfits

00:34

Oscars 2019: Billy Porter, Jordan Peele compliment each other’s outfits

01:12

Oscars 2019: Bradley Cooper walks red carpet with his mother Gloria Campano and Irina Shayk

01:37

Oscars 2019: Spike Lee pays tribute to Prince on the red carpet



The red carpet kicked off with a statement by actor and singer Billy Porter. The Pose star showed up in an all-black one-of-a-kind velvet tuxedo gown — the first time in Oscar history that a man has worn a gown on a red carpet.

Below are some of our favourite and least favourite looks.

Best Dressed

Brie Larson

Credit: Getty Images

Regina King

Credit: Getty Images

David Oyelowo

Credit: Getty Images

Lady Gaga

Credit: Getty Images

Amandla Stenberg

Credit: Getty Images

Yalitza Aparicio

Credit: Getty Images

Awkwafina

Credit: Getty Images

Henry Golding

Credit: Getty Images

Octavia Spencer

Credit: Getty Images

Glenn Close

Credit: Getty Images</em

Stephan James


Credit: Getty Images

Amy Adams

Credit: Getty Images

Michael B Jordan

Credit: Getty Images

Emma Stone

Credit: Getty Images

Constance Wu

Credit: Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson

Credit: Getty Images

Angela Bassett

Credit: Getty Images

Kacey Musgraves

Credit: Getty Images

Helen Mirren

Credit: Getty Images

Michelle Yeoh

Credit: Getty Images

Queen Latifah

Credit: Getty Images

Leslie Bibb

Credit: Getty Images

Molly Sims

Credit: Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez

Credit: Getty Images

Chadwick Boseman

Credit: Getty Images

Tessa Thompson

Credit: Getty Images

Melissa McCarthy

Credit: Getty Images

Chris Evans

Credit: Getty Images

Worst Dressed

Maya Rudolph

Credit: Getty Images

Linda Cardellini

Credit: Getty Images

Gemma Chan

Credit: Getty Images

Charlize Theron

Credit: Getty Images

Laura Dern

Credit: Getty Images

Sarah Paulson

Credit: Getty Images

Danai Gurira

Credit: Getty Images

Rachel Weisz

Credit: Getty Images

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Osoyoos tourism agency lauds TripAdvisor endorsement

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The destination marketing organization responsible for promoting tourism in Osoyoos, B.C., is lauding an article by TripAdvisor that names the Okanagan town as one of North America’s best lake towns for relaxation or adventure.

The popular online American travel website, which claims to be the largest in the world, included Osoyoos and Kelowna as part of its top 18 list posted on Feb. 20.

Kelley Glazer, executive director with Destination Osoyoos, said the organization wasn’t alerted that Osoyoos made the cut until after the article was posted.

WATCH (Aired Mar.22, 2018): Osoyoos tourism employers team up to house seasonal workers amid housing crunch

“It is definitely great, free advertising,” she said on Sunday.

“Known for warm water, beautiful beaches and surrounding vineyards, Osoyoos is a majestic lake town not to be missed,” the website stated.

READ MORE:
Osoyoos open for business despite flooding

The article boasted about the many wine tours available in Osoyoos and also suggested sightseeing opportunities.

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“Drive or hike up to Anarchist Mountain Lookout, where you’ll enjoy spectacular, uninterrupted views of the Okanagan Valley and parts of Washington state,” it said.

Glazer said the feature may encourage prospective visitors from the U.S. to travel to the desert town, a market that Osoyoos is hoping to attract.

WATCH (Aired Oct. 3, 2017): Okanagan hospitality operators turning to Alberta and Ireland for trained workers

“Osoyoos has enjoyed a very healthy tourism traffic, but our reach is typically not that far geographically,” she said.

“We tend to pull a lot of traffic from the Lower Mainland and up our own valley as far as Kamloops and Vernon and a little bit into Alberta. Something like this will give us the opportunity to reach out to people much further afield, perhaps impact our U.S. visitation a little more.”

She said it is challenging to track the correlation between advertising and visitor numbers but notes that online travel sites like TripAdvisor can have a major influence on bookings.

READ MORE:
Okanagan culinary industry starved of trained workers, offering incentives

“Buying advertising and saying what you are and who you are these days is not nearly as valuable to the consumer as unpaid media or the kind of validation you would get from a social media site like TripAdvisor,” Glazer said.

Kelowna was also named by the travel website as one of the top 18 lakeside towns to visit in North America.

“Kelowna is well known for its stunning vineyards, and there is no shortage of wine tours available to experience it all,” said the feature article.

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‘Unjust and arbitrary’: Québec Solidaire calls out government over 18,000 cancelled immigration files

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Québec Solidaire added its voice to the mounting opposition to Bill 9 — the Coalition Avenir Québec’s immigration bill — on Sunday.

Tabled two weeks ago at the National Assembly by Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, the proposed legislation is aimed at changing how the province accepts immigrants. The bill includes the implementation of a French language test and a Quebec values test.

Jolin-Barrette also announced the cancellation of 18,000 immigration applications filed under the Regular Skilled Worker Program.

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Speaking at a rally organized in support of the affected immigrants, Québec Solidaire MNA Andrés Fontecilla called the decision “unjust and arbitrary.”

READ MORE: ‘Tinder of immigration’: Quebec outlines plan for how to welcome newcomers

Fontecilla’s message was echoed by fellow MNA Ruba Ghazal.

“We feel like the government is making bad decisions, as if they don’t understand how the immigration system works,” she said.

Québec Solidaire is accusing the government of not upholding its end of the bargain, arguing that the concerned immigrants played by the rules, filing all the required paperwork in what is sometimes a long and arduous process.

“They are following qualified worker programs so they did all that they should do, and some of them are learning French,” she said. “Unfortunately, the government did as if, ‘OK what you did is not important, start again.’”

Québec Solidaire is not alone in its thinking: a group of immigration lawyers has filed for an injunction to stop the cancellation of the applications.

WATCH: Fighting Quebec’s immigration bill

Lawyers argued that Bill 9 had not yet been passed into law and that the province should continue to process the applications under existing laws.

Olga Redko, one of the lawyers fighting for the injunction, said the decision to cancel the files has had a devastating impact for thousands of people and that remedial action is required.

“The decision of the minister not to process these files has an immediate impact so we need the court’s intervention right now,” she said on Friday.

READ MORE: Quebec immigration minister defends cancellation, says 18,000 immigration applicants can re-apply

Government lawyers countered that if the matter were so urgent, an injunction should have been filed sooner.

Québec Solidaire is hoping the government will reverse its decision, accusing the administration of playing a numbers game in the search for the perfect immigrant.

“It’s important the government sees the lives behind these applications,” Ghazal said. “It’s not only papers — it’s real people, families, children.”

Rosalei Gaaneordiaga, Sheriel Bautista and Marine Ttebautista, who are friends, attended Sunday’s rally. All three came to Quebec from the Philippines under the live-in caregiver program.

WATCH: McGill farming grad fears she’ll have to leave Quebec because of CAQ immigration plan

Gaaneordiaga, who has been working in Canada for five years, expressed surprise after receiving an email last Feb. 7 stating that her application for the Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) had been suspended.

The trio said they don’t understand why their applications were suspended, as they didn’t apply under the skilled worker program.

Now, they say, they are living in limbo.

“We can’t bring our family. We can’t be a permanent resident if we don’t have CSQ,” said Bautista. “We don’t know what will happen to us.”

—With files from Global’s Dan Spector, Kalina Laframboise and Amanda Jelowicki

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Syrian family left feeling grateful after escaping house fire in Fredericton

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A family of eight Syrians is feeling a lot of gratitude on Sunday, despite escaping their burning home the day before with only the clothes on their backs.

“Thank God. They were very thankful that they were rescued, they came out and they were all safe outside,” said Charbel Mouhawej, who was translating for Midiya Bda, the matriarch of the family.

Bda, 30, and Nafee Hassan, 35, were able to safely evacuate their children out of the bungalow on Saturday morning — although it was not easy.

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READ MORE: Imam says turnout at Halifax funeral for seven fire victims shows widespread support

Mouhawej says the family is still feeling overwhelmed after the horrifying experience.

“One of the children was still in the room, and because of the heat from the inside, she was struggling to be able to pull the door to open it and come out and then she was able to come out,” said Mouhawej, translating for Bda.

The couple, along with their six children — four girls Sada, 14, Rehab, 13, Sidra, 12 and Rihan, 8, and two boys Adnan, 5, and Alwan, 3, — are temporarily being housed by the Multicultural Association of Fredericton at one the group’s homes.

Sada, 14, Rehab, 13, Rihan, 8, and Sidra, 12, pose in an undated handout photo.

Nafee Hassan-HO

On Saturday, staff members with the association took the family to buy groceries and clothes.

“We saw an outpouring from the rest of the newcomer community, with friends preparing a meal for them and a lot of people visiting and outreaching,” said Lisa Bamford Degante, executive director of the association.

The fire came on the same day as a funeral for seven Syrian children killed in a house fire in Halifax.

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Saying goodbye to the Barho children

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Group prayer for 7 children killed in a Halifax house fire

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Bda told Global News that it was something on her mind.

“She could see the children from Halifax playing outside. She saw that image of [those] children and she started crying, and her husband was saying, ‘Why are you crying?’ and she said, ‘I just imagine those other kids who died and that’s how I’m thinking of it,’” said Mouhawej, translating for Bda.

As the family begins to rebuild, they say they know it’ll take a lot of work but they’re happy to be safe.

READ MORE: Funeral held for all 7 children killed in Halifax house fire

They are especially thankful for the help from first responders and community members.

“The family told us they’re starting again like they did when they first came to Canada last May,” said Degante.

The family says they hope to find a new home as soon as possible.

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