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What are Crimea’s first steps to leave Ukraine and join Russia? – National

ABOVE: European leaders condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimean Peninsula

Crimea is now officially a sovereign and independent state in the eyes of Russia, while the autonomous territory has, on paper, cut off most ties with Ukraine in a resolution approved on Monday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the order to recognize Crimea‘s independence and sovereignty late Monday evening, hours after the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea approved a resolution on the region’s independence.

READ MORE: How are Canada, the U.S. and the European Union reacting to the referendum results?

A text of the Crimean resolution was made available on the website of state-run English-language news agency Russia Today.

The document declares Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which had a special administrative status in Ukraine, as independent. Sevastopol will, if Crimea’s accession to Russia goes through, have a special status within the region.

The resolution declared an end to any Ukrainian governance.

“From the day on which this resolution comes in force, no laws of Ukraine will be applicable or valid on the territory of the Republic of Crimea, and no orders or instructions of the Supreme Council of Ukraine or other bodies of authority of Ukraine issued later than February 21, 2014 will be acted upon,” the resolution decreed.

It also terminated Ukrainian control over any businesses or organizations set up “by Ukraine or with its participation on the territory of the Republic of Crimea.”

Those institutions will now belong to the Republic of Crimea, the resolution states. The same goes for all Ukrainian state-owned property in the territory, while the property of all Ukrainian trade unions and other non-governmental organizations will become assets of their Crimean counterparts.

The document concluded with a request for the Kremlin to accept Crimea as “a new constituent entity of the Russian Federation with a status of republic.”

READ MORE: Real threat of armed conflict in Ukraine, former ambassador to Ukraine, Russia says

Putin’s order acknowledged the results of the referendum, which saw almost 97 per cent of voters who turned out vote in favour or joining Russia.

“According to the will of the peoples of the Crimea on the all-Crimean referendum held on March 16, 2014, [I order] to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state,” Putin’s signed order reads, according to Russia Today.

WATCH: Crimean residents react to news of reunion with Russian Federation

Putin is set to address the upper and lower houses of Parliament on Tuesday. Russia already appears to be benefitting from its prospective new territory.

READ MORE: What you should know about Crimea’s referendum

While these are still early steps towards Crimea reunifying with Russia, along with plans for the republic to switch time zones to be in line with Moscow and to adopt the Russian ruble as its currency, alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia until it’s withdrawn from circulation in 2016, Russia Today reported.

According to Bloomberg, the ruble ended a six-day “losing streak” on Monday and Russian equities saw gains after hitting a four-year low.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reportedly boasted about the economic advantages of welcoming Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS> reported Monday.

“I think Crimea and Sevastopol are extremely advantageous for the country from an economic point of view,” ITAR-TASS reported Sobyanin saying. “I am sure that the travel businesses will start booming in Crimea.

With files from The Associated Press

©2014Shaw Media

Lights out: traffic signals malfunction in Winnipeg – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Wet weather caused traffic light malfunctions throughout Winnipeg again on Monday.

In most cases, the lights that failed were flashing red in all directions.

The City of Winnipeg is putting special covers designed to prevent the problem on 50 to 80 traffic lights this year. However, it will take several years to get the majority of them covered.

Traffic lights weren’t working at Ellice Avenue and Colony Street on Monday.

Lauren McNabb

Here is a list of outages up to about 3 p.m. Monday:

11:46 a.m. – traffic lights flashing red in all directions along Route 90…. at least two intersections, Dublin, Inkster and Notre Dame. There may be others.

12:03pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Regent and Stapon. (Update at 2:22pm … still flashing and no Cadets on scene)

12:20pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at St. Mary Avenue and Memorial

12:25pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions Bison Dr. and Pembina.

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12:30pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions Portage Avenue and Moray.

12:32pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Ellice Avenue and Colony.

12:38pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Kenaston and Sterling Lyon Parkway.

12:48pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Confusion Corner (Osborne / Corydon / Pembina)

1:36pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Grant and Shaftesbury (originally sent in at 12:33)

1:38pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Stafford and Grant.

1:39pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions on Main at Marion and Goulet (originally sent in at 12:13)

1:40pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at McPhillips and Inkster (originally sent in at 12:08)

1:40pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Pembina and Stafford (originally sent in at 11:48)

1:54pm – traffic lights flashing red in all directions at Portage Avenue and Sherbrook.

2:03pm – Regent and Plessis

2:05pm – York and Main.

2:27pm – Lagmodiere and Grassie (police on scene directing traffic)

2:39pm – Nairn and Panet

(CJOB)

New streetcars to hit Spadina in August but riders remain worried about wait times – Toronto

Watch the video above: New TTC streetcars will roll out in August. Mark McAllister reports. 

TORONTO – Cutting curbs, replacing overhead wire and changing the height of streetcar islands are among the changes needed to get the city ready for new, longer streetcars. But TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said Monday that it’s all going smoothly and on budget.

Despite those assurances, some riders still worry that the new streetcars will mean less frequent service.

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TTC passengers will get their first chance to ride the new streetcars on August 31, when six of them will be deployed along the Spadina Avenue route. That number will increase to “12 or 13” in October, Ross said.

“Over the next five to six years, [the streetcars] will roll out across the network,” he said.

The new Bombardier-built streetcars will be wheelchair accessible, have room for 251 passengers, have air conditioning and bike racks. They will also accept Presto cards.

But the $2 billion project has not been without problems, including along St. Clair Avenue where some of the islands are not the right height.

“There’s a portion of the platforms on St. Clair, not all of them, some of them… that will need to be either lowered slightly or raised. So there will be some adjustments on some of the platforms, in terms of the height,” Ross said in an interview Monday. “Nothing that will cause massive disruption on St. Clair.”

The effort involved in getting the streetcars rolled out is huge. The $2 billion cost is largely made up of the streetcars themselves ($1.2 billion), while the other $800 million funds the infrastructure needed to operate the streetcars, including the new “very modern” facility of Leslie Barns, near Leslie Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, new overhead wiring throughout the city, the curb adjustments at hundreds of intersections, streetcar island adjustments,  token vending machines that will be placed along some routes and training for employees.

In Photos: The new, longer TTC streetcar

The front of the TTC’s new streetcars.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A look down the length of the TTC’s new streetcar.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A look down the length of the TTC’s new streetcar.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A look at the side doors from inside the new streetcars.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The new TTC streetcars come with electronic warning signs for commuters.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The streetcars come with bicycle storage inside.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The new streetcars will have bicycle storage inside.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The streetcar is equipped with security cameras around the outsides of the vehicle.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A look down the length of the streetcar.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The electronic sign that lights up when a stop is requested.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A panorama of the new streetcar from the outside.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A panorama of the streetcar from the inside.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The TTC's new streetcars will be equipped with Presto card readers.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

A look down the length of the TTC’s new streetcar.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

The new TTC streetcars also come with a warning for passing drivers.

Jackson Proskow / Global News

And in five or six years, when all the streetcars are supposed to be deployed, that will mean fewer streetcars on the road, which some riders think will hamper service quality.

“Wait times on some of the lines downtown could increase because these streetcars are bigger so they are going to run them less frequently,” Jessica Bell, co-chair of TTC Riders said. “We think that is a big problem because we’re already waiting a really long time for our streetcar to arrive and ridership is at record levels.”

Ross is adamant however that the new streetcars, while there will be less of them, will be more reliable and result in better service.

“You’re going to seem much greater reliability,” he said. “You’re going to see far fewer instances of bunching and far fewer instances of large gaps.”

However, a TTC report released in June suggested wait times are likely to increase between 30 and 90 seconds depending on the route.

– With files from Mark McAllister

©2014Shaw Media

Are you registered to vote in Quebec? – Montreal

MONTREAL – There have been many anecdotal reports circulating of Montrealers concerned because their names weren’t registered to vote on the election list.

Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer is encouraging Quebec residents over the age of 18 to check their voter information cards to make certain that their names appear correctly.

Voters can also make sure they’re registered to vote by visiting the Election Quebec website here.

The website requires the correct information, including the exact legal name of the voter, or it turns out a negative response.

Quebec residents checking to see if they’re eligible to vote need to make certain they’re using correct details.

Chief Electoral Officer

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Brenda Fayerman told Global News that she couldn’t understand at first why her children weren’t eligible to vote after checking on the website.

“At first my kids’ were not there. Couldn’t understand why not. Then figured out that their middle names had to be included,” she said.

“The website looks for an exact match on the name even though the date of birth and address match!”

Quebecers have until March 25 to add their name to the voter list or register a change of address.

There will be another revision period held from March 26 to April 3.

Have you noticed issues? Please let us know in the comments below.

©2014Shaw Media

B.C. facing water lawsuit over fracking

VANCOUVER – A pair of environmental groups allege the British Columbia government is skirting its own laws by allowing energy firms to spend years using large quantities of fresh water for natural gas extraction without having to go through the rigorous process of applying for long-term water licences.

The lawsuit represents the latest attempt by environmental groups to target the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which opponents have linked to a litany of problems including water pollution and climate change.

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The case is also complicated by the fact that recently tabled changes to provincial water laws appear to allow the practice now being scrutinized in court, meaning it’s unclear what effect the case could actually have.

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Sierra Club of B.C. were in front of a B.C. Supreme Court judge Monday alleging the government has been “systematically” breaking the law and asking that a series of short-term water approvals granted to Encana (TSX:ECA) be thrown out.

Under provincial water legislation, resource companies that require fresh water for their operations can either apply for a long-term water licence or obtain a short-term approval that lasts up to two years.

The environmentalists’ lawyer, Karen Campbell, said the process to obtain a full licence requires that people who are potentially affected by the licence be notified and be permitted to provide input or lodge objections.

In contrast, the Oil and Gas Commission has the ability to grant short-term approvals on its own.

Campbell said the Oil and Gas Commission routinely issues the same short-term licences more than once, allowing companies to use thousands of cubic metres of water for years without going through the full licensing process.

“What we’re looking at is, in effect, each of these approvals ends up being one long approval,” Campbell, a lawyer for the group Ecojustice, told court.

“The act has more checks and balances in granting licences than it has in granting approvals … If an applicant wants to use water for more than 24 months, it should do so through a licence.”

Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure deep underground to break the rock and free the natural gas. The practice is seen as a critical component of B.C.’s push to foster a liquefied natural gas industry.

Campbell said the environmental groups’ examined years of short-term approvals issued by the Oil and Gas Commission and found 83 per cent were repeated more than once, some as many as six times.

She argued the law limits short-term approvals to 24 months to ensure companies planning to use water for longer than that obtain full licences.

The provincial government filed a written response with the court last month, insisting its officials acted within the law.

“The Water Act contains no express prohibition on repeats of approvals,” says the government’s response.

Encana (TSX:ECA) also filed a response, which says the company followed the rules when it obtained its water approvals.

The court petition targets 83 short-term water approvals issued to Encana, but the company says 82 of those only relate to water from excavated pits that collect water naturally, rather than from lakes, rivers or streams. The 83rd was for a body of water known as Wasp Lake, but that approval expired last year, the company says.

Last week, the provincial government outlined a major overhaul of its water legislation with a proposed bill titled the Water Sustainability Act.

A new provision in the current version of the bill appears to allow the government to issue consecutive short-term water approvals to the same company. The bill says short-term approvals may be issued “whether or not a use approval was previously issued authorizing the person to divert water from the same water source supply for the same water use purpose.”

Outside court, Morgan Blakley, another lawyer for the environmentalists, said it’s difficult to predict what the proposed changes will mean for the legal challenge until the bill is actually passed into law.

“Whether or not this provision would essentially gut this lawsuit has yet to be seen,” he said.

“If the government wants to change the law to essentially legalize what my clients are alleging is unlawful, that’s up to the government, but it’s also up to the voting public to choose who’s in government and what government does.”

___

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After-school acting program tries to help kids get motivated – Toronto

TORONTO – Lights, camera, action! Three words young actors with the Streetwise Actors program hope to hear as part of their futures.

But for now, the bunch continues to participate in the free after-school program, a weekly initiative created to keep kids get motivated and on the right track.

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“Really what it’s about is increasing self-esteem, self respect and respect for other people,” founder of Streetwise Actors David Nash said.  “To give them something to do which is good for them, other than the sort of behaviours, as a society, we really don’t want them to indulge in.”

Through Streetwise Actors, people between the ages of 11 and 18 learn transferable skills that go beyond basic acting tips, something young actor and aspiring director Edward Mines can attest to.

“Well, I’ve certainly become a lot more confident and I’d to say I’ve become better working with a team, collaborating with people and also, become more of a leader,” Mines said.

In an effort to raise these confidence and creativity levels, participants produce a number of skits and plays for the enjoyment of friends, family, and older adult audiences in local long-term care facilities and retirement homes.

“Some of them haven’t interacted with children for years, and to see them brighten up when the kids come into the room is fantastic,” Nash said.

For other participants like Samantha Rideout, Streetwise Actors has helped her feel comfortable in her own skin, something that wasn’t possible before joining the program.

“I feel more open and confident on stage.  I can actually feel like myself,” Rideout said.  “I’ve just made so many friends here, more than at school, and I really, truly feel accepted because I don’t feel accepted in many places.”

Interested participants are welcome to join Streetwise Actors on an ongoing basis.  For more information on the program, all inquiries can be sent to [email protected]杭州夜网

What’s a bank CEO make? If you run CIBC, $10M last year – National

TORONTO – CIBC president and chief executive Gerry McCaughey earned $10.01 million in total compensation last year, according to documents filed ahead of the bank’s annual meeting next month.

The pay packet was up from the $9.93 million he received from the bank in 2012.

McCaughey’s compensation for 2013 included a base salary of $1.5 million, $3.74 million in share-based awards, $935,880 in option-based awards and a $3.12-million cash bonus. The value of his pension earned for the year amounted to $717,000.

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READ MORE: Luxury retailers, Walmart winners of widening income gap this year

That compared with a base salary of $1.5 million, $1.92 million in share-based awards, $960,000 in options-based awards, a cash bonus of $2.94 million and $1.92 million in long-term incentives in 2012.

The value of McCaughey’s pension earned in 2012 amounted to $687,000.

Richard Nesbitt, CIBC’s chief operating officer, was the second-highest paid executive at the bank with a total of nearly $7.41 million for last year, up from $7.36 million in 2012.

Chief financial officer Kevin Glass earned $2.57 million, up from nearly $2.36 million, while David Williamson, group head of retail and business banking, earned $4.43 million, up from $4.13 million.

Victor Dodig, group head of wealth management, earned $3.97 million, up from $3.26 million.

CIBC’s annual meeting will be held April 24 in Montreal.

Civic deficit, snow operations on Saskatoon city council agenda – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – Saskatoon city council meets Monday evening to discuss year-end financial results, snow program operations and a bylaw for loud vehicles.

Up for discussion is a preliminary civic financial report for 2013 indicating a net unadjusted deficit of $3.3 million.

Councillors will be asked to approve a $1-million transfer from the fiscal stabilization reserve to stabilize the deficit.

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The snow removal and ice management program posted a $4.6 million deficit. This could be partially reduced using the program’s stabilization reserve and the weather reserve, if council approves.

Information will also be received telling council how the city’s snow and ice operations dealt with the winter of 2013-14.

According to the city, improved strategies and procedures yielded significant successes.

There was slightly above average snowfall from December to February. A total of 22,000 loads of snow were removed from streets during the season.

Work on the snow grading program was postponed in January due to extremely cold temperatures. Administration subsequently shifted the work to focus on snow removal.

Also on the agenda is a recommendation from administration to change a noise bylaw to make it an offence to operate a vehicle in a manner that disturbs the public’s ears.

The city solicitor will be asked to prepare a bylaw amendment which would include a specific provision for motorcycle decibel levels.

Saskatoon is also considering revamping speed zones for motorists, specifically on streets surrounding kids’ playgrounds.

Council will see if it wants pursue “Child at Play Speed Zones” with a comprehensive study for $50,000.

Council will also be asked to renew the building lease for the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. If approved, the new lease will expire on Nov. 30, 2018.

Both parties agree on an annual rent of $10; however, the farmers’ market is responsible for all operating costs, utilities and property taxes.

Sask. government calls for more grain transportation accountability

SASKATOON – Saskatchewan’s provincial government is calling for greater accountability and specific measures as the federal government prepares emergency legislation to clear the current grain backlog.

At the same time, Saskatchewan’s lone liberal MP is calling the federal government’s efforts to get grain to port “too little, too late.”

Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister Lyle Stewart said a number of specific measures need to be included in the legislation.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan farmers frustrated with ‘unprecedented’ grain backlog

“In order to protect Canada’s reputation as a world-class exporter of agriculture products, we need a world-class transportation system that ensures our farmers can move their crop,” Stewart said in a release.

“We need to get our farmers’ grain to market, ensure they get paid and find long-term solutions to long-standing grain transportation issues.”

Those measures include accountability, mandatory service level agreements with reciprocal penalties for non-compliance, increasing target shipments to a minimum of 13,000 grain cars per week and increasing minimum fines to $250,000 per day for not reaching those targets.

On March 7, an order in council set a minimum target of 11,000 cars a week and fines up to $100,000 a day for failing to meet the target.

READ MORE: Feds orders railways to move minimum amount of grain each week

Both the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments want any money collected to benefit farmers instead of landing in the federal coffers.

The Alberta government also said rail track access should be increased so grain shippers can receive competitive service from more than one rail company.

READ MORE: Grain farmers urged to call members of parliament over grain backlog

Last week, federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt told delegates at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities that railways will be hard-pressed to meet the targets.

“It actually pushes them to their limit,” said Raitt. “It’s the highest amount that they’ve ever moved in terms of grain.”

“[It’s] a classic exercise in too little, too late,” said Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan’s lone liberal MP.

“The costs and losses for farmers from demurrage charges, extra debt, lost sales, deferred sales, spoilage and depressed prices are probably now approaching $5-billion.”

There are four important steps the federal government can take to show it is serious about clearing the backlog, said Goodale in a Monday speech at the college of agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan.

First among those, said Goodale, is to establish a credible, competent and completely independent system to monitor, measure, analyze and report publicly on results in grain transportation, marketing and handling.

“There must be accountability throughout the supply chain, from farmers, to shippers, to railways and to port. We believe our recommendations for the legislation will help accomplish this,” said Goodale.

“This crisis has been getting relentlessly worse since last October.”

Goodale also wants to see a cost review to track costs and revenue for getting grain to ports, an amendment to the Canada Transporation Act to define service levels for railways, and basic coordination in grain handling and transportation logistics.

“With spring finally around the corner, the Conservatives are only now asking the system to handle about what it would handle in any event at this time of year without any order,” said Goodale.

The federal government is expected to table the legislation when Parliament resumes on March 24.

Alaskan malamutes have history of deadly attacks – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Alaskan malamutes are generally known as a friendly breed of dog but have fatally attacked children before.

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At least three people have been mauled to death by malamutes in the USA since 2005. Two of those killed were kids. In Canada, four people have died after being attacked by “sled dogs” between 1990 and 2007 according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. It’s not known how many, if any, of those deaths involved malamutes. Last month, a six-day-old baby girl was mauled to death by an Alaskan malamute in the United Kingdom.

A seven-year-old St. Andrews, Manitoba girl was killed by a pair of Alaskan malamutes Sunday afternoon.

The challenge for police will be to figure out what set the dogs off in this case, suggested Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society

“Any large dog, be it a collie or a golden retriever, and young people, they have to be monitored,” said McDonald. “When you’ve got a seven-year-old and a dog that’s mad, these are the tragic results.”

Alaskan malamutes are described by the Working Alaskan Malamute Club of Manitoba as a large, powerful dog suited by nature for its original purpose as a heavy work dog in the north. The average male weighs 85lbs. Females are somewhat smaller, usually weighing 75lbs. The breed is roughly comparable to the German Shepherd in size but is thicker-set, heavier boned, more powerful and compact in build with shorter ears, broader head and shorter, heavier muzzle. Alaskan malamutes are said to be a wonderful pet and companion dog who are dependable and extremely affectionate.

– with files from The Canadian Press