Cargo ship runs aground off Newfoundland

PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. – An investigation is underway after a cargo ship lost power off the southwest coast of Newfoundland and ran aground Saturday.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said the 180-metre bulk carrier MV John 1 ran aground Saturday afternoon about 1.5 kilometres from Rose Blanche, but all 23 people onboard were rescued safely.

The Canadian Coast Guard said the vessel was en route to Montreal from Spain when its engine failed and it lost power Friday morning.

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Spokeswoman Jan Woodford said the vessel was not in danger, so it hired a tugboat from Mulgrave, N.S., to help. The coast guard vessel Earl Grey was also called to the area, she said.

Overnight, winds shifted and the cargo ship began drifting dangerously close the coastline, said Woodford.

“The CCGS Earl Grey attempted several times to connect a tow line to the vessel to prevent it from running aground,” Woodford said in an email statement. “These attempts were unsuccessful.”

A Cormorant helicopter from Gander was flown to Stephenville, N.L., about 200 kilometres north of Rose Blanche, as a precaution. Another Cormorant from Greenwood, N.S., was also standing by.

When the ship ran aground, all 23 people hoisted into a helicopter and brought to Burgeo, N.L. No one was injured.

A spokesman for the rescue centre said there was no indication that the ship was taking on water.

Woodford said a federal environmental response crew was headed to the area to investigate.

©2014The Canadian Press

Saskatoon students’ 5 Days for the Homeless wraps – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – University of Saskatchewan students braved the elements and slept outside, all for a good cause in Saskatoon this past week.

Friday marked the last of “Five Days for the Homeless” – a national campaign aimed at raising awareness for at risk youth.

Giving up the comfort of their own homes and basic necessities, five students from the Edwards School of Business slept outside anywhere and everywhere, including loading docks.

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    Five-year Saskatoon poverty reduction plan announced by coalition

They went without access to showers – while still attending classes at the U of S since Monday.

Proceeds of the campaign go to EGADZ youth centre in Saskatoon.

“There’s actually a lot of students on campus that are homeless and you can’t even tell so for us to spread awareness about that issue it’s a big task because not a lot of people know but at the end of the day we’re spreading awareness about that,” said David Liebrecht, campaign VP internal affairs.

“We’re also donating towards EGADZ. Not a lot of people know about EGADZ. They help out a lot with the homeless around Saskatoon and with our donations we really hope to make a difference with that.”

The students raised just over $11,000.

The campaign goal this year was $15,000. If you would like to donate you can go online to 5Days桑拿按摩.

U of S college of dentistry skeptical about new ‘oil pulling’ trend – Saskatoon

Watch the video above: Does ‘oil pulling’ really improve your oral health?

SASKATOON – It’s the latest health fad to be making the rounds on social media. Oil pulling – the  ancient Indian practice of gargling oil to cleanse the body and mouth of toxins.

At Sangster’s Organic Market in Saskatoon, owner Julie Sylvester has seen a 70 per cent jump in coconut oil sales over the last week ever since oil pulling hit social media.

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    Is coconut oil a superfood?

“It could be a fad but it might work, it might not. I can’t really say if it works or not,” said Sylvester.

So Julie gave it a try, putting coconut oil in her mouth and using it basically like mouthwash. Although she didn’t do it for the recommended 20 minutes, she admits it wasn’t as uncomfortable as she first thought it would be.

“Actually it wasn’t the bad but definitely I used half a teaspoon and it wasn’t enough but it actually felt kinda nice so definitely going to try it every day, see if it works out so maybe I’ll have whiter teeth and fresher breath by the end of it.”

Social media sites also claim that oil pulling can prevent plaque build-up and treat gum disease.

“I think just because it’s ancient and just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s necessarily effective,” said Ken Sutherland, acting dean for the college of dentistry at the University of Saskatchewan.

“As scientists we need to look at not what the claims are but what the actual results are and to-date while there is modest implications that it may dismiss some of the bacteria inter-orally many of the claims at this point are unproven.”

Sutherland says although oil pulling doesn’t appear to be harmful.

“Rinsing edible oil in your mouth shouldn’t cause any problems as long as you don’t swallow a significant amount of it or not personally harmful but it’s not a good idea to spit it in your sinks or toilets and plug them up with oil but I don’t think there’s any indication that there’s any significant harm.”

Whether or not it works for you, dentists stress this practice should not replace good oral hygiene.

“This particular technique, oil pulling is recommended 10 to 20 minutes a day, if you spend half that time brushing and flossing your teeth we have proven scientific, positive effects for doing that,” said Sutherland.

City of Vancouver approves Downtown Eastside community plan

The City of Vancouver voted to approve their local area plan with several amendments for the Downtown Eastside Saturday.

The city hopes the plan will guide change and development in the area over the next 30 years and improve quality of life for its low-income residents and community members.

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[email protected]: “This plan is balanced, it’s thoughtful. This plan speaks to pushing harder to foster community health.” #DTES #vanpoli

— Van Mayor’s Office (@VanMayorsOffice) March 15, 2014

“In recent years, the Downtown Eastside has struggled with many complex challenges including drug use, crime, homelessness, housing issues, unemployment, and loss of businesses in the community,” the city said in a statement.

The new plan will be developed in partnership with the DTES Neighbourhood Council, Building Community Society and the Local Area Planning committee.

“The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan represents a thoughtful, balanced, and resident-driven vision for Vancouver’s oldest and most diverse neighbourhood,” said Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson. “This plan reflects residents’ aspirations for a community with safer and more stable housing, protections for low-income residents, stronger support for mental health and addictions, and a more vibrant local economy.”

Amendments to Saturday’s motion included a strategy to engage partners and funding for an Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, ensure a third of new units rent at a shelter rate and increased protection for SRO residents.

Thousands of people, including Downtown Eastside residents, participated in the public consultation process to design the plan.

The plan will include affordable housing options both in and outside of the neighbourhood, including 3,350 social housing units over the next three decades. It will also add new rental and ownership housing for middle-income families without displacing existing residents, the city said in a release.

The city also hopes to attract new retailers, jobs and economic development to the area. The city said the plan will create 3,500 new jobs and reduce empty storefronts.

Under the plan, Hastings Street will be revitalized as an economic engine, the city said, while offering community facilities and services for every age and income.

Strathcona, Gastown and Japantown will not be rezoned in order to preserve heritage buildings and new developments will be placed near Clark and Hastings hubs.

“After three years of community input, the approval of this plan marks a historic opportunity to protect the best of the Downtown Eastside and to shape a more hopeful future for the neighbourhood and its residents,” said Robertson.

The Downtown Eastside is currently home to approximately 18,500 residents, 67 per cent who are considered low-income. 6,300 of those residents are on social assistance.

The median household income in the area is only $13,691, compared to $47,299 citywide.

City of Vancouver infographs:

City of Vancouver infographic on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan.

City of Vancouver

City of Vancouver infographic on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan.

City of Vancouver

Gunmen kill 6 Egyptian soldiers at checkpoint – National

WATCH: Aftermath footage of Egyptian checkpoint attack, six military police officers dead

CAIRO – Gunmen stormed an Egyptian army checkpoint outside Cairo early Saturday morning and killed six soldiers, including some still in their beds, officials said, in what amounted to an escalation by militants on military targets near the capital.

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Just days earlier, masked men opened fire on a busload of military police inside city limits, another rare attack on soldiers this far from the restive Sinai Peninsula, where the army is fighting a counter-insurgency campaign.

READ MORE: UN declaration criticizes Egypt over violence used against protesters

Provincial security chief Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Yousri told state news agency MENA that the gunmen also planted explosive devices after Saturday’s attack in Shubra al-Kheima, but bomb disposal experts managed to diffuse two and detonate another in a controlled explosion.

The military blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack, calling the group “terrorists” and saying they had planted the additional bombs to target rescue workers rushing to the scene.

Armed Forces Spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said the soldiers, of a military police unit, were attacked just after morning prayers. The Health Ministry confirmed the death toll.

“These cowardly operations will only increase our determination to continue the war against terrorism,” Ali said in comments on his official Facebook page.

Amr Darrag, former head of the Foreign Relations Committee for the Brotherhood’s political party, condemned the attack on his 桑拿会所 account and denied responsibility.

“How can the (Brotherhood) be accused (a) few minutes after the attack with no evidence or investigation?” he wrote.

Egyptian authorities say the Brotherhood has orchestrated a series of bomb attacks on police and other targets following the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Islamist group. This week, prosecutors referred about a dozen Brotherhood members to trial for allegedly forming an armed unit that has carried out attacks in the Nile Delta.

READ MORE: Freelance Canadian photographer killed in bomb attack in Syria, family says

They have produced little evidence open to public scrutiny to bolster these claims, however, and most attacks have been claimed by the country’s most active militant group, an al-Qaida-inspired organization based in the Sinai called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem. The Brotherhood denies being involved in the attacks.

Authorities in recent days have also said they arrested a number of individuals they accuse of planning attacks on the police, including a group of 12 in the Delta governorate of Menoufia and others in northern Sinai.

Separately, Champions of Jerusalem said that one of its founding leaders was killed when a bomb he was carrying was set off by a car accident.

In a statement posted on militant websites early Saturday, the group said Tawfiq Mohammed Freij died Tuesday when an accident set off a “heat bomb” he was transporting in his car. It did not say where the accident took place.

READ MORE: Parents of jailed Australian journalist haunted by his appearance in Egyptian court

It said Freij, also known as Abu Abdullah, was one of the founders of the group, who masterminded its attacks on pipelines to stop Egyptian gas supplies from being shipped to Israel.

It called him the “field commander” of an August 2011 cross-border attack into southern Israel that targeted a bus and other vehicles near the resort city of Eilat, killing eight people. Egypt’s Interior Minister identified Freij as a key figure in the extremist group in January. David Barnett, a research associate with the Washington-based Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said that Freij is the highest ranking member of the Ansar identified thus far.

The wording of the most recent statement suggests that Freij moved from either Sinai or Gaza to Cairo or elsewhere in Egypt in early 2013 to supervise the group’s operations, including a failed suicide car bomb attack on the interior minister in Cairo in September 2013.

The statement could not be independently authenticated, but militant groups regularly use the websites to make announcements.

Also Saturday, a Cairo court sentenced 68 members of the Brotherhood and other youth movements to two years jail for participating in a protest without a permit. They had been arrested during protests on the third anniversary of the 2011 uprisings that led to the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities have been cracking down on Morsi supporters and other regime critics since the Islamist’s overthrow last summer, saying they seek to establish law and order.

Following Saturday’s attack, the National Defence Council, headed by the president and attended by military chief and other security officials, held a meeting in which members discussed security arrangements in advance of the upcoming presidential elections. They stressed the need for an atmosphere of “security and peace” to ensure a high turnout.

Meanwhile, Giza’s criminal court sentenced Zohair Garana, the Mubarak-era tourism minister, to five years in jail on corruption charges. He still faces other corruption charges in a pending case.

©2014The Canadian Press

Crimeans overwhelmingly vote to leave Ukraine, join Russia – National

WATCH: International observers tried to oversee the vote, but with a heavy military presence, they weren’t allowed. Paul Johnson reports.

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The United States and Europe condemned the ballot as illegal and destabilizing and were expected to slap sanctions against Russia for it.

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Ukraine’s new government in Kyiv called the referendum a “circus” directed at gunpoint by Moscow – referring to the thousands of Russian troops now in the strategic Black Sea peninsula after seizing it two weeks ago.

But after the polls closed late Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with jubilant chants in the main square, overjoyed at the prospect of once again becoming part of Russia.

The Crimea referendum offered voters the choice of seeking annexation by Russia or remaining in Ukraine with greater autonomy. After 50 per cent of the ballots were counted, Mikhail Malishev, head of the referendum committee, said more than 95 per cent of voters had approved splitting off and joining Russia.

Opponents of secession appeared to have stayed away Sunday, denouncing the vote as a cynical power play and land grab by Russia.

Russia was expected to face strong sanctions Monday by the U.S. and Europe over the vote, which could also encourage rising pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine’s east and lead to further divisions in this nation of 46 million. Residents in western Ukraine and the capital, Kyiv, are strongly pro-West and Ukrainian nationalist.

The Crimean parliament will meet Monday to formally ask Moscow to be annexed and Crimean lawmakers will fly to Moscow later in the day for talks, Crimea’s pro-Russia prime minister said on 桑拿会所.

In Moscow, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin, suggested that joining Russia was a done deal.

“We understand that for 23 years after Ukraine’s formation as a sovereign state, Crimeans have been waiting for this day,” Naryshkin was quoted as saying by the state ITAR-Tass news agency.

Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky said the annexation could take “from three days to three months,” according to Interfax.

Some residents in Crimea said they feared the new Ukrainian government that took over when President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia last month will oppress them.

“It’s like they’re crazy Texans in western Ukraine. Imagine if the Texans suddenly took over power (in Washington) and told everyone they should speak Texan,” said Ilya Khlebanov, a voter in Simferopol.

Emotions high in Crimean port of Sevastopol

In Sevastopol, the Crimean port where Russia now leases a major naval base from Ukraine for $98 million a year, more than 70 people surged into a polling station in the first 15 minutes of voting Sunday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister insisted that neither Ukraine nor the West would recognize the vote.

“Under the stage direction of the Russian Federation, a circus performance is underway: the so-called referendum,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Sunday. “Also taking part in the performance are 21,000 Russian troops, who with their guns are trying to prove the legality of the referendum.”

WATCH: It’s decision day in Crimea, as Jennifer Madigan reports, it’s the fears of what’s coming next that have many concerned

As soon as the polls closed, the White House again denounced the vote.

“The international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence,” it said in a statement. “Russia’s actions are dangerous and destabilizing.”

Russia raised the stakes Saturday when its forces, backed by helicopter gunships and armoured vehicles, took control of the Ukrainian village of Strilkove and a key natural gas distribution plant nearby- the first Russian military move into Ukraine beyond the Crimean peninsula of 2 million people. The Russian forces later returned the village but kept control of the gas plant.

On Sunday, Ukrainian soldiers were digging trenches and erecting barricades between the village and the gas plant.

“We will not let them advance further into Ukrainian territory,” said Serhiy Kuz, commander of a Ukrainian paratrooper battalion.

Despite the threat of sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vigorously resisted calls to pull back in Crimea. At the United Nations on Saturday, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution declaring the referendum illegal. China, its ally, abstained and 13 of the 15 other nations on the council voted in favour.

WATCH: Dozens of Canadians gathered in Ottawa Sunday to protest the Crimea referendum to join Russia by demonstrating a mock referendum in front of the Russian embassy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Putin by phone Sunday, proposing that an international observer mission in Ukraine be expanded quickly as tensions rise in the east. Her spokesman said she also condemned the Russian seizure of the gas plant.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke and agreed to support constitutional reforms in Ukraine that could ease the tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Ukraine’s Regional Policy Minister Volodymyr Groisman told The Associated Press the new government was already working on giving towns and regions more autonomy but said there were no plans to turn Ukraine into a federation.

In Donetsk, one of the main cities in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russia demonstrators called Sunday for a referendum similar to the one in Crimea.

In Sevastopol, speakers blared the city anthem up and down the streets but the military threat was not far away – a Russian naval warship still blocked the port’s outlet to the Black Sea, trapping Ukrainian boats.

At a polling station inside a historic school, tears came to Vladimir Lozovoy, a 75-year-old retired Soviet naval officer, as he talked about his vote.

“I want to cry. I have finally returned to my motherland. It is an incredible feeling. This is the thing I have been waiting for for 23 years,” he said.

Tatar minority reject referendum

But Crimea’s large Muslim Tatar minority – whose families had been forcibly removed from their homeland and sent to Central Asia during Soviet times – remained defiant.

The Crimea referendum “is a clown show, a circus,” Tatar activist Refat Chubarov said on Crimea’s Tatar television station. “This is a tragedy, an illegitimate government with armed forces from another country.”

The fate of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in their Crimean bases by pro-Russian forces was still uncertain. But Ukraine’s acting defence minister, Igor Tenyuk, was quoted as saying Sunday that an agreement had been reached with Russia not to block Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea through Friday. It was not clear exactly what that meant.

On the streets of Simferopol, blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags were nowhere to seen but red, white and blue Russian and Crimean flags fluttered in abundance.

Ethnic Ukrainians interviewed outside the Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral of Vladimir and Olga said they refused to take part in the referendum, calling it an illegal charade stage-managed by Moscow. Some said they were scared of the potential for widespread harassment.

“We’re just not going to play these separatist games,” said Yevgen Sukhodolsky, a 41-year-old prosecutor from Saki, a town outside Simferopol. “Putin is the fascist. The Russian government is fascist.”

Vasyl Ovcharuk, a retired gas pipe layer, predicted dark days ahead for Crimea.

“This will end up in military action, in which peaceful people will suffer. And that means everybody. Shells and bullets are blind,” he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement on the results of the Crimean “referendum”:

“The so-called referendum held today was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control.

“This “referendum” is illegitimate, it has no legal effect, and we do not recognize its outcome. As a result of Russia’s refusal to seek a path of de-escalation, we are working with our G-7 partners and other allies to coordinate additional sanctions against those responsible.

“Any solution to this crisis must respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as the constitution of Ukraine. Mr. Putin’s reckless and unilateral actions will lead only to Russia’s further economic and political isolation from the international community.”

Dalton Bennett in Sevastopol, Yuras Karmanau in Strilkove and Jim Heintz and Maria Danilova in Kyiv contributed to this story

WATCH LIVE: Follow Global News’ on-the-ground coverage in Ukraine by Global National correspondents Mike Armstrong, Paul Johnson and Tom Clark. 


©2014The Associated Press

Canadians keep close watch as Crimea referendum nears

WATCH: Toronto’s Ukrainian community keeping close watch on Crimea referendum. Global’s Cindy Pom reports.

TORONTO – Canadians are following the escalating crisis in Ukraine closely on the eve of the Crimea referendum to decide whether the region should be annexed by Moscow.

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Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement Saturday saying the Canadian government remains “extremely concerned” about the situation in Ukraine, including acts of violence that have left at least two people dead.

“Such violence is completely deplorable and does not form the basis of a pretext for further violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Baird. “Canada renews its condemnation of Russia’s illegal military intervention on the Crimean peninsula and its continued provocations along the Ukrainian border.”

WATCH: Tensions rise in Crimea as referendum vote approaches between Russia and Ukraine. Paul Johnson reports.

READ MORE: Russian forces seize town outside Crimea border

Earlier Saturday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution proposed by the U.S. declaring the referendum illegal. The final vote on Saturday was 13 members in favour, China’s abstention, and Russia as a permanent council member using its veto.

“Crimea is part of Ukraine today, it will be part of Ukraine tomorrow, it will be part of Ukraine next week,” said Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. following the vote.

Members of Toronto’s Ukrainian community, some with relatives and friends in Crimea, are worried about the future of the region if it becomes a part of Russia.

For long time family friends Adile and Alie Khalilova who are both Tatar, a Muslim minority in Crimea, they fear their community will be targeted by Russian supporters.

“With pro-Russians here… I feel like Crimean Tatars, we look slightly different, our language is different, I think Crimean Tatars would suffer the most,” said Adile via Skype from Ukraine. “I do not want my president to be Putin. So I’m 100 per cent against that.”

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

Currently the majority of Crimea’s population are ethnic Russians. Sunday’s referendum ballot will ask voters whether to reunify Crimea with Russia or keep the country as a part of Ukraine.

On Sunday the Ukranian Canadian Congress will hold a rally at Dundas Square in Toronto against the Crimean referendum. The protesters will then march towards the Russian Consulate.

Khalilova, an immigrant from Crimea, says she’ll be joining the protest in support of her friend and to voice her opposition to Russia.

“We try to protect our country just with our heart, and with our brain,” said Khalilova.

*With files from Cindy Pom

©2014Shaw Media

UPDATE: Police investigate Edmonton condo fire – Edmonton

(Above: Fletcher Kent reports on the latest developments in Saturday’s condo fire)

EDMONTON – The developer of a southwest Edmonton condo that was destroyed by a fire Saturday morning is blaming arson.

In a statement, Cove Properties says “From the initial review of the footage captured by our security cameras on site, it appears an individual broke into our building early Saturday morning and set one or more fires inside.”

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On Sunday, the developer said he could no longer comment as the Edmonton Police Service had taken over the investigation.

“Right now this is becoming more and more of a police investigation,” said Fire Investigator Daryl Brennan on Monday. “They do have some security video that they are reviewing.”

“We’re trying to look at those areas and see if we can find some kind of trace evidence that might be usable.”

The developer says its security team immediately called 911. Emergency crews arrived at around 3:30 a.m. at the complex, which is located in the area of 10 Ave. and 173 St. southwest.

The condo complex – called Essence at Windermere South – was under construction and there are no reports of anyone being hurt in the blaze.

A massive blaze destroys a condo in south west Edmonton, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Darlene Young, Global News

A massive blaze destroys a condo in south west Edmonton, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Darlene Young, Global News

A massive blaze destroys a condo in south west Edmonton, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Darlene Young, Global News

A massive blaze destroys a condo in south west Edmonton, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Cove Properties says there were 79 units in the building, 50 were sold.

Roughly 12 fire trucks were called out to respond, and about 50 fire fighters.

Eight homes were evacuated on the west side of the condo project as a precaution.

“We could actually feel heat through the house,” said Albert Wong, who lives nearby.

“It felt like it was summer time already, at that point.”

“We looked outside and thought, ‘oh, it’s morning already.’ Actually, it’s not, there’s a whole huge ball of fire outside.”

“We left the house quickly grabbed our dogs and our valuables and got in the car and drove off, unfortunately fearing for our home,” Wong added.

“911 was very cooperative,” he told Global News. “They were really on top of things right off the bat.”

“When we opened up the garage door, we felt this big camp fire hitting our face, so it was extremely scary,” said Wong.

“There was a huge explosion that blew off too, when we were leaving the house.”

(Watch the video above: Kelsey Cochrane was in a vehicle travelling past the fire when she captured the footage)

The fire was under control shortly after 4:40 a.m.

Crews say they will let the fire burn out, and try to prevent it from spreading to nearby buildings.

“Something like this, if there’s no risk of life in the structure, we’re going to contain it and try to minimize the damage to nearby structures, surround and drown as we call it,” said District Fire Chief Trevor Whyte.

“The concern that we had was propane, and I think there were four 200-pound propane tanks,” explained Whyte. “That was the cause of the evacuation on these homes.”

Cove Properties says it’s working with police to determine who is responsible for committing the act.

“They’re doing everything that they can do,” said Brennan.  “They’re putting up security cameras.”

The developer adds it will rebuild the condo building “immediately.”

Meanwhile, Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes says he’s interested in the results of the investigation.

“If there are learnings out of that, we’ll certainly take those on and take a look.”

It’s a “real concern, obviously, to see people’s potential homes destroyed in a fire like this.”

This isn’t the first fire to destroy a condo that is under construction.

In July 2007, a blaze in MacEwan destroyed a condo complex and several homes around it.

Last September, another fire gutted a building in Rutherford. Investigators have determined both of those were started by an arsonist.

“We’re going to take a good look at all of this because it’s not a pattern we want to see continue,” said Hughes.

©2014Shaw Media

Aboriginal police officer recruitment in Saskatoon grows – Saskatoon

Watch the video above: Aboriginal police recruits reach all time high in Saskatoon

SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Police Service, dignitaries and RCMP attended SIAST’s Aboriginal Police Preparation Program graduation on Friday in Saskatoon.

Jazmyne Black was honoured to graduate from the program. Her dad was an RCMP officer and she hopes to follow in his footsteps.

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  • Aboriginal woman becomes top cop in Saskatchewan as head of RCMP division

“Because of him, it inspired me to become somebody like him. He has a good head on his shoulders and he’s very knowledgeable. He just makes me feel determined to be a better person,” she explained.

Officers like Black’s dad helped to pave the way for future generations.

Ernie Louttit is a retired officer from the Saskatoon Police Service, he joined the force in 1987.

“When I first started with Saskatoon police, I was the third native officer, and there was an old boys’ club. And they didn’t want to work with women, they didn’t want to work with natives,” said Louttit.

He also encountered backlash from the aboriginal community.

“It was both ways, so a lot of native people would call me an ‘apple’ – like I was red on the outside and white on the inside, and that I was betraying my people by being a police officer,” Louttit explained.

Several decades later, Saskatoon police not only embraces diversity, but says it’s essential.

“It helps our officers understand the diversity, understand the culture, and hopefully come up with some solutions to some of the issues we’ve had historically,” said police chief Clive Weighill.

Saskatoon police has joined forces with several groups around the province to form the Saskatchewan Police Aboriginal Recruiting Committee.

“We’re up now to about 11 per cent composition of either First Nations or Métis, so that’s come up from about four or five per cent beginning at the year 2000,” said Weighill.

The Saskatoon Police Service says it’s not easy for anyone to become an officer and that its rigorous application process catches many applicants off-guard. But those with the right skills and determination make it through.

The service hopes 16 per cent of its force will be aboriginal by 2020.

Chicago River dyed green in annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition – National

WATCH: Timelapse of the Chicago River being turned green for St. Patrick’s Day (March 15)

CHICAGO – The Chicago River is glowing a bright emerald green Saturday as the city kicks off its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Thousands of cheering onlookers clustered along downtown bridges as members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130 began dumping containers of dye into the river from motorboats Saturday morning. The annual tradition began at 9:30 a.m. and immediately precedes the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

GALLERY: Thousands gather to see Chicago River dyed green

Elizabeth Saathoff left, and Scott Wrobel right, both of Chicago, photograph themselves with a smartphone after the Chicago River was dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ Paul Beaty)

The Chicago River being dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ Paul Beaty)

Kayakers float on the Chicago River after being dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ Paul Beaty)

The Chicago River being dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/ Paul Beaty)

The Chicago River being dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

The union has done the dyeing since 1962. Organizers had feared that large chunks of ice would impede the process, but recent warm temperatures kept the river clear. The hue typically lasts about six to 12 hours.

The parade began at noon. The route winds through downtown and ends at the landmark Buckingham Fountain.

A second parade on the city’s South Side takes place Sunday.

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©2014The Canadian Press