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America’s beloved ‘Sundance Kid’ asks for Canada’s help to take on oilsands

TORONTO – Hollywood heavyweight Robert Redford, fresh from a campaign against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, is setting his sights on Alberta’s oilsands.

In a column published today in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Redford denounces the oilsands development near Fort McMurray, Alta., and calls on Canadians to join him in his effort to shut down the project.

“Where spruce and fir and birch trees once rose and waters ran fresh and clean, tar-sands production has left a lifeless scar visible from outer space,” he writes.

The result, he continues, is “a vast repository of enduring pollution that threatens fish, birds, animals, public health and an entire way of life for native people.”

Redford, long a champion of environmental causes in the U.S., said he developed a greater appreciation of Canada’s natural wonders during a recent stretch in Vancouver, where he has been working on his latest directorial effort, “The Company you Keep.”

Extracting energy from the oilsands results in three times the amount of carbon emissions generated by producing conventional North American crude oil, Redford argues.

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He urges Canadians and Americans alike to reduce their oil consumption, speak out against the oilsands and maintain their resistance to TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial effort to ship 700,000 barrels of bitumen daily from northern Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Under siege from critics, the U.S. State Department has ordered a review of the project, prompting TransCanada to agree to re-route the pipeline away from the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region of Nebraska.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers was quick to decry Redford’s perspective.

“Canadians lack any appetite for this kind of trite, hypocritical and uninformed attack on an industry in the total absence of offering a reasonable solution,” said spokesman Travis Davies.

Hollywood, he said, is itself a pretty resource-intensive business.

“If you’re of the belief that we can be off hydrocarbons tomorrow, then show me how. Put a solution out there,” Davies said.

“Until we are, we think that Canadian energy is a responsible choice and the right one for North America.”

Redford’s editorial also condemned the Northern Gateway pipeline, Enbridge Inc.’s proposed 1,200-kilometre project to transport oil from the oilsands to northern B.C.

“Crossing the territories of more than 50 First Nations groups, slicing through rivers and streams that form one of the most important salmon habitats in the world and putting at risk the coastal ecosystem of British Columbia?” Redford asks.

“Americans don’t want to see that happen any more than Canadians do, and we’ll stand by you to fight it.”

Maude Barlow, national chair of the Council of Canadians, called Redford’s clarion call a welcome opportunity to take up a cross-border cause, since each country’s energy policies wind up having repercussions on the other.

“The way the pipelines and the export market has happened, we have integrated Canadian energy as really a North American energy grid,” Barlow said.

“If we’re going to slow the pace of the tar sands and start to move towards a more sustainable energy future, we’re going to have to do it together.”

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MPP Dave Levac elected Speaker of The House in surprise result

TORONTO – Longtime Liberal Dave Levac was elected Speaker of the Ontario legislature Monday, taking over as chief political referee in Ontario’s first minority parliament in a generation.

Three other Liberals were also vying for the job: Donna Cansfield, Kevin Flynn and David Zimmer.

Flynn was dropped after the first ballot, while Zimmer and Cansfield – who could have been the first woman elected to the post – lost after the second ballot.

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An emotional Levac thanked his colleagues in the legislature, calling it an honour to serve as Speaker.

“I accept the challenge humbly, and very proud to say that we are the elected members of Ontario,” he said.

“I’ll do my best to work with all of you to keep the dignity and the honour and the trust of this place in your hands. It’s your house, it’s our house.”

The Speaker oversees debate in the legislature but can also be called upon to break a tie vote – a critical role with the Liberals holding 53 of the 107 seats and the opposition together controlling 54.

The Speaker, by convention, tends to vote with the governing party, although there have been exceptions.

There was speculation after the Oct. 6 election that the minority Liberals might push for a Speaker from one of the opposition parties, which would level the playing field by taking away their one-vote advantage. But that didn’t happen.

Levac replaces Steve Peters, who held the post since November 2007, and will be Ontario’s 41st Speaker since 1867.

The job also comes with a bump in salary to nearly $153,000 a year and an apartment at the legislature. It’s also one of the few roles that includes a portrait on the walls of the legislature along with one of the premier.

Now that a Speaker has been chosen, the legislature can officially get back to business with a throne speech on Tuesday.

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Breast cancer guidelines advise against routine mammograms

TORONTO – Most women age 40 to 49 should not have routine mammograms and those 50 to 69 can wait slightly longer between the tests than previously recommended, updated Canadian breast cancer screening guidelines advise.

And for the first time, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care that developed the guidelines says that women aged 70 to 74 should be getting mammograms on the same schedule as those 50 to 69.

The revamped guidelines, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, apply to women with an average risk of developing the disease. They include those with no previous breast cancer, no history of the disease in a first-degree relative like a mother or sister, no known BRCA genetic mutation and no previous exposure to radiation of the chest wall.

In its previous set of guidelines penned in 2001, the expert panel made no recommendations for average-risk women in their 40s as to whether they should have routine screening or not.

But the task force now advises against the practice for that age group, saying the potential harms from false positives and unnecessary subsequent cancer treatment outweigh the possible benefit – a slight reduction in the number of deaths from the disease.

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“Before there was no recommendation for or against, and clinical practice followed that lead,” said task force chair Dr. Marcello Tonelli of the University of Alberta. “Most organized screening programs don’t recruit women aged 40 to 49 years as a result.

“The biggest change of all is probably in the way in which we frame all of our recommendations, that breast cancer screening has risks and it has benefits, and how women weigh those up will influence their personal decision to be screened or not.”

In the 2001 guidelines, women 50 to 69 with an average risk of breast cancer were advised to have mammography every two years. But the new guide extends that period, saying such tests can be done every two to three years.

The panel now suggests women age 70 to 74 should also have mammograms every two to three years.

“In routine practice, one of the challenges in producing guidance and then implementing it in real life is that patients don’t turn up for screening or any other service on the anniversary of their last test,” said Tonelli.

“So the intent here was to give a range so that someone who is appearing for screening at two years and a day is still falling within recommended practice (and) even after two years and six months,” he said from Edmonton.

“We also wanted to signal that since the last set of guidelines were produced, there has been some evidence produced that longer screening intervals, like every three years, might be just as good as every year.”

The new guidelines have grown out of an intensive review of international clinical trials, which looked at the risk of developing breast cancer in the various age groups and the potential harms inherent in the breast X-ray that can arise from misdiagnosis.

“Specifically, the harms could range from a woman being told she has an abnormality on a mammogram and being asked to repeat the mammogram, being asked to go for a biopsy of her breast, being asked to have part or all of her breast removed, and all the way up to surgery and radiation and chemotherapy.

“These are the spectrum of possible harms, so if you don’t have breast cancer, but you have your breast removed and have surgery, I think we’d all agree that’s a harm of screening.”

The task force determined that screening 2,100 women every two to three years for about 11 years would prevent just one death from breast cancer. However, it also would result in 690 women having false-positives that would lead to unnecessary followup testing, including 75 women having unnecessary breast biopsies.

“For every woman that had cancer found with mammography, there are many more that have had a false positive result or a scare,” Tonelli said.

While no primary studies looked at the risk of overdiagnosis specifically among women 40 to 49 years, “data from our systematic review show that for every 1,000 women aged 39 years and older who are screened using mammography, five will have an unnecessary lumpectomy or mastectomy,” the authors write.

“In addition to unnecessary intervention, false-positive results can lead to fear, anxiety and distress.”

Dr. Cornelia Baines, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s foremost experts on breast cancer screening, lauded the task force’s recommendations, calling them “completely warranted.”

“All in all, I think it’s a superb set of guidelines that really are very, very carefully drawn, carefully thought out and totally justified on the basis of existing evidence.”

Still, she predicted they will be greeted with the same indignation and criticism that occurred in 2009 when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force presented similar recommendations, which also advised women to defer routine mammograms until age 50.

The switch from the previous recommendation that American women in their 40s have a mammogram every year or two like their older sisters caused a firestorm of controversy.

If Baines has any criticism about the revamped Canadian guidelines, it is that they could have been clearer in illustrating the potential harms arising from false-positive results, which could “serve as a disincentive to wanting screening.”

“They don’t say it in a way that really hits home,” she said, noting that for women age 40 to 49, there is a one in three chance of having a false-positive result, and one in every 200 will be falsely diagnosed with breast cancer and unnecessarily treated.

“I had breast cancer,” said Baines. “I can’t imagine how I would feel if I thought there was a major chance that all the emotional upheaval, all the miseries of treatment, all the misery of followup, all the misery of diagnostic labelling was all useless because I didn’t really have breast cancer.

“I do know for a fact that only a minority of women who get breast cancer die of it.”

This year in Canada, an estimated 23,600 women overall will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 5,100 will die of the disease.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada has endorsed the new guidelines, as has the Canadian Cancer Society.

Gillian Bromfield, director of cancer control policy for the Canadian Cancer Society, said they reinforce the organization’s own breast-screening recommendations, which suggest women 50 to 69 should have a mammogram every two years.

“For women age 50 to 69, all the major health organizations are quite consistent that this is the age group that should be getting screened on a regular basis,” she said. “When you get outside of that age range, that’s where you start to see a bit more inconsistency.”

Among women in their 40s, for example, the evidence isn’t particularly strong that routine mammograms help to save lives, Bromfield said. Even so, some women will still want screening and should talk to their doctors about the benefits and risks.

Indeed, that is the overriding advice of the guidelines, Tonelli stressed.

“They say: ‘Here is what you can expect to get in the way of benefits from screening and here’s what you might expect in the way of harms. And based on what you, yourself, feel about your trade-off of those risks and those benefits, you together with your doctor can make a decision that’s right for you.’”

In a related commentary, Dr. Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, calls the new guidelines “more balanced and more in accordance with the evidence than any previous recommendations.”

Gotzsche writes that scientific evidence does not support mammography screening and he argues that it could even be harmful because it can lead to unnecessary mastectomies.

“The main effect of screening is to produce patients with breast cancer from among healthy women who would have remained free of breast disease for the rest of their lives had they not undergone screening.”


Guidelines: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活

Commentary: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活

Canadian Cancer Society: 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had an incorrect spelling for Bromfield

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Alberta cancer lab closure ‘life and death matter,’ says former Tom Baker doctor

EDMONTON – A former Tom Baker Cancer Centre doctor is speaking out against what he says is the planned closure of the centre’s pathology lab at the end of the month – a move he believes will put patients at serious risk.

“This truly is a life and death matter for cancer patients,” said Dr. Tony Magliocco, the former director of pathology at the centre.

Magliocco said the Tom Baker has developed reliable and precise tests, and he has never been assured the new lab services provider, Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS), has the same expertise for the complicated testing procedures.

At a press conference at the legislature annex in Edmonton, the Wildrose party introduced Magliocco – via telephone – who said his concerns were met with intimidation. He said he had his resources withdrawn, he was not offered a new contract, and felt his career in Alberta was in jeopardy.

He said he finally resigned his position in August and has now taken a new job in Florida.

The tests affected include breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and brain cancer.

“These services have been offered to Alberta patients and also to patients from across Canada,” Magliocco added.

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Speaking to reporters at the legislature on Monday afternoon, Health Minister Fred Horne expressed concerns that Magliocco was intimidated but said he believes the switch to Calgary Lab Services will “enhance the capacity” for testing. He said the clinic has been validating testing processes for the past four months.

CLS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alberta Health Services.

“I’m very confident that this is a good move and it will expand capacity for this sort of testing,” Horne said.

The minister said he was concerned about a letter Magliocco was allegedly sent by a superior, which warned if that if he caused trouble over the issue that he would regret it.

“While I’m concerned about the language I’m encouraged that there’s the Health Quality Council review,” Horne said. “There’s the College of Physicians and Surgeons, there’s the Alberta Medical Association and there is the medical staff bylaws in Alberta Health Services. And all of those avenues offer a physician who feels that he or she has been unfairly dealt with some avenues to pursue that.”

Magliocco still feels the lab closure, which he said is scheduled for Nov. 30, could have “serious and potentially life-threatening impacts on our cancer patients in Alberta.”

He said he tried to raise his concerns time and time again – with his superiors at Tom Baker as well as AHS and government officials – the only reasoning he was given for the closure was “efficiency.”

He has also taken the issue to the Health Quality Council of Alberta.

“Why is a perfectly functional lab being closed? What is going to be replaced with? Why is it being sent to a lab that doesn’t have experience with these methods? This is a recipe for disaster as far as I’m concerned.”

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said Magliocco’s story shows why the Redford government needs to call a full, public judicial inquiry instead of a review led by the Health Quality Council of Alberta.

“Lives are at stake and the government needs to reverse the decision to close this lab,” Smith said.

“You will see why it is doctors say that the health quality council review is not enough. You will see why it is a full, public judicial inquiry needs to be done,” Smith said.

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Loonie slides to six-week low against U.S. dollar as commodities weaken

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was trading at a six-week low at midday Monday. 

The loonie was off 1.05 of a cent at  96.30 cents US as commodity prices tumbled along with global markets. It earlier fell to 96.02, the lowest it has been since Oct. 6. 

The January oil contract was down $1.31 at US$96.36 a barrel, while the December gold contract plunged $39.50 to US$1,685.60 an ounce and the copper contract shed 11 cents to US$3.29 a pound. 

The loonie’s decline comes as a reaction to weakening commodity prices, while rising market uncertainty is bolstering the U.S. dollar, seen as a safe have in times of economic turmoil. 

Equity markets also saw big drops as politicians south of the border approach a Nov. 23 deadline for an agreement on how to improve Washington’s finances by $1.2 trillion over the coming decade. The main hurdle in the bipartisan panel’s negotiations has been how much to raise in new taxes. 

“The news has spurred a classic flight to safety supporting a stronger Japanese yen and U.S. dollar,” said a report from BMO Economics. 

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“As oil (West Texas Intermediate crude) trades almost $6 per barrel from last Thursday’s high, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason to buy the Canadian dollar against the current backdrop,” BMO said. 

Even as the U.S. deadline approaches, Europe is the bigger concern that will put pressure on the Canadian dollar, said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier. 

“I think it will continue to go down until we get some sort of resolution out of Europe – until people feel confident that these countries that need to get money, can get money.” 

Spain on Sunday became the third European country in as many weeks – after Greece and Italy – to change its government because of discontent generated by the sovereign debt crisis. 

It dumped its ruling Socialists for the conservative leadership of Mariano Rajoy, who inherits an economy racked by debt and nightmarish unemployment, which at more than 21 per cent is the highest among the 17 countries that use the euro. 

Kicking off a week of light economic news, Statistics Canada reported Monday that wholesale sales rose 0.3 per cent in September to $48.7 billion. By volume, Statistics Canada reports wholesale trade fell 0.5 per cent. Economists had expected a 0.7 per cent again. 

Meanwhile, the number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels. The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 1.4 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million.

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David Ferrer beats injured Andy Murray in straight sets at ATP World Tour Finals

LONDON – David Ferrer pulled off the first upset of the ATP World Tour Finals by beating an injury-hampered Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5 on Monday.

In the opening match of Group A, Ferrer’s consistency was enough to overcome the third-seeded Murray, who struggled with a groin injury that he said may prevent him from taking any further part in the season-ending tournament.

The seventh-seeded Spaniard broke in the 10th game of the first set and twice came from a break down in the second to stun Murray and the home crowd inside London’s O2 Arena.

Murray finished with 44 unforced errors and made just 46 per cent of his first serves. He said he sustained the injury during training a few days after the Paris Masters earlier this month.

“I’ll decide tomorrow whether I keep playing or not,” Murray said. “If it wasn’t Slams or this event, I wouldn’t have played (at all).”

Murray added that it would be “really gutting” to have to withdraw.

In the last event of a season in which the top players have complained about the gruelling nature of the men’s tour, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic was due to test his shoulder injury in his opening match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic later Monday.

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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both came through three-set matches on Sunday to set up the 26th meeting of their long rivalry on Tuesday.

But while Nadal, who struggled with an illness, and Federer were able to overcome their dips in form on the opening day, Murray couldn’t escape his problems.

Ferrer, meanwhile, won his first match at the O2 Arena after going 0-3 last year, and beat Murray for the first time on a hard court after five losses.

“I played very good,” Ferrer said. “I played very consistent all the match. Maybe the first set I play better than the second. In the second sometimes I was a little bit nervous. In important moments, I take my chance, and nothing else.”

Murray beat Ferrer in straight sets in Tokyo and Shanghai on a run of three straight titles in Asia in September and October, part of a 17-1 run following the U.S. Open that helped him overtake Federer for the No. 3 ranking.

British boxer David Haye was in the crowd and tweeted that he was looking forward to seeing his friend Murray “smash the Spaniard!” Instead, Murray repeatedly swung and missed.

He broke for a 2-1 lead in the first set but then immediately conceded the advantage with an error-strewn game. And as Murray’s form fluctuated wildly, Ferrer maintained his trademark consistency from the baseline.

Serving to stay in the set at 5-4 down, Murray asked the umpire to call for the trainer and subsequently dropped serve for the second time, blazing a forehand long and wide on Ferrer’s second set point.

The trainer gave Murray a vigorous massage during the injury time-out, and it seemed to have done the trick when Murray immediately broke serve in the second set.

The stadium was about two-thirds full for the afternoon session and Murray’s performance didn’t give them much to shout about as he first lost serve to love in the fourth game and then double-faulted to give up another break in the eighth.

Ferrer, meanwhile, found his best form just when it counted. Leading 6-5, the Spaniard punched a perfect volley onto the sideline to bring up match point, and then pounced on an ill-advised drop shot from Murray to seal the win.

If Murray decides to continue, he will face the loser of the Djokovic-Berdych match on Wednesday, needing a win to maintain any realistic hope of reaching the semifinals.

Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia is the first in line to replace Murray if he withdraws.

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Arizona’s Heard Museum exhibits versatility of bolo ties; worn with tux or jeans

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The sometimes plain, sometimes heavily decorated neckties are a symbol of the West, worn with everything from blue jeans to tuxedos.

Texas links the bolo to the romanticism of the pioneer era and suggests that anyone who wears one refuses to be bound by convention. New Mexico says they reflect the state’s tri-cultural heritage – a mix of Hispanic, American Indian and Anglo influences.

In Arizona, where the bolo tie was declared the official state neckwear in 1971, an exhibit honouring the ubiquitous western neck adornment opened Saturday at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

The braided leather cord with an ornament on a sliding clasp has decorated the necks of cowboys, politicians and runway models, reflecting the bolo tie’s versatility.

“I just like it because it’s a distinctive look,” said Norman Sandfield, a Chicago resident who donated his collection of bolo ties to Phoenix’s venerable Native arts and culture museum. “It makes me look confident. It’s a conversation starter.”

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The exhibit, “Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary,” showcases Native designers who have brought unique designs with traditional inspirations to the bolo. Small ornaments made with silver and a single turquoise stone have evolved into elaborate figurative pieces with numerous stones or jewels.

The bolo tie emerged as a form of men’s neckwear in the 1940s but it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact origin, said exhibit curator Diana Pardue, who co-wrote a book on bolos with Sandfield that accompanies the exhibit. While the authors found pictures with bolos in magazines and other publications from the 1950s and 60s, Pardue said there was little written about them.

One common story is that Wickenburg, Ariz., silversmith Victor Cedarstaff hung his silver-trimmed hatband around his neck on a windy day in the 1940s while on horseback to keep it from flying away. Someone comment just how nice his “tie” looked. Cedarstaff later patented it. Others say the bolo tie as fashioned by American native artists appeared much earlier.

Western television personalities including the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers helped popularize the bolo.

The bolo tie long has been a staple of western wear in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and surrounding states, and generally is an acceptable replacement for a cloth or bow tie. Popular with men and women, bolos have carried over to more trendy fashion.

New Mexico lawmakers declared the bolo the official state tie in 2007 – following up on a non-binding memorial nearly 20 years earlier. What legislators wore around their necks prompted spirited debates about which chamber had the more professionally-attired members – the bolo-sporting senators or the representatives whose rules didn’t allow bolos on the floor until 2009.

Said Sandfield, “The simple rule is – if there are any rules – is that the higher you wear it to the collar, the dressier it is. The lower you wear it, the more casual it is.”

Don Prusakowski promotes the wearing of the ties through the Bola Tie Society of Arizona. Yes, bola. Prusakowski quickly explains that b-o-l-a is the tie and b-o-l-o is a knife, showing that not everyone even agrees on the spelling. They’ve also been called string, Texas, lariat and goucho ties, and piggin necklets.

“It’s consistent,” said Prusakowski, 77, of the tie’s popularity. “What you do get is a lot of people who come from the East and Mideast, and they want to be cowboys. They start wearing bola ties. They find it’s much easier and much more comfortable.”

Texas also designated the bolo as state tie in 2007.

The Heard has 350 bolo ties on display, with the exhibit running through September 2012.


If You Go…

NATIVE AMERICAN BOLO TIES: VINTAGE AND CONTEMPORARY: Through Sept. 3 at the Heard Museum; 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活heard杭州夜网 or 602-252-8848. Open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Christmas. Adults, $15; seniors 65 and over, $13.50; students with ID and children 6-12, $7.50; children 5 and under, American Indians and members, free.

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Shafia murder trial hears about girl’s fear of brother

KINGSTON, Ont. – A teenage Montreal girl who was allegedly murdered,
along with two sisters and her stepmother, by her brother and parents,
warned a suitor at school that her brother could not know about their

“Let me explain the rules of my friendship. First, be
aware of my bro, then if (you) sometimes wanna talk, come in the
library, and if my brother is around, act like complete strangers,”
Zainab Shafia wrote in an email sent Feb. 16, 2008, to the young man.

Two days earlier, he had sent her a card on Valentine’s Day, expressing romantic interest.

Zainab’s brother Hamed attended the same school.

witness dated and later married Zainab, although their union was
annulled one day after the wedding. His name cannot be published because
of a court order that protects his identity until he completes his
testimony at the murder trial of Mohammad Shafia, 58, Tooba Mohammad
Yahya, 41, and their son Hamed Shafia, 20.

The three are accused
of murdering Zainab, 19, her sisters, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, and Rona
Amir Mohammad, 52, who was Shafia’s first wife. All three defendants
have pleaded not guilty.

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The victims were found dead on June 30, 2009, inside a car submerged in the Rideau Canal.

allege the incident was an honour killing, orchestrated by the father
because he was angry over the conduct of the victims, particularly
Zainab, and because he believed they had shamed him and their family.

Zainab’s suitor was on the witness stand for just five minutes Monday morning before the trial adjourned.

read from a document handed to him by crown lawyer Laurie Lacelle. The
witness said the document included the text of Zainab’s first email to
him in 2008.

In it, she thanked the young man for the valentine
and explained that she would call him while they were at school, using a
friend’s cellphone.

“I don’t want to give (Hamed) the slightest idea that we’re friends,” she wrote.

lawyer Patrick McCann, who represents Hamed Shafia, rose to express
concern about the document that was being tendered as an exhibit.

document, your honour, was produced for the first time this morning,”
McCann said. “It’s not been covered by any ruling with respect to
admissibility of hearsay and I’m not sure how that is being filed at
this point.”

Lacelle asked that the jury be excused.

Discussions that took place in the absence of the jurors cannot be reported.

The trial then adjourned for lunch.

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10 things about Botox injections

TORONTO – Botox has been a favourite of North American women for years, as Hollywood stars and soccer moms alike embrace the cosmetic injection to temporarily treat the appearance of wrinkles. But more and more, men are taking to the skin-smoothing treatment.

We take a look at 10 things you should know about Botox:

(1) Botulinum Toxin Type A, more commonly known as Botox, is a protein complex produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large doses, this toxin can cause the paralytic illness botulism.

(2) Botox® Cosmetic injections are commonly used for treating wrinkles on the face, but Botox injections can also be used to treat various neurological disorders, such as dystonia.

(3) Botox is the only botulinum toxin product marketed in Canada. 

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(4) Adverse reactions to Botox include: bruising at the injection site, headaches, allergic reactions, paralysis of the face, irregular heartbeat, and chest pains.

(5) Botox injections generally last for 3 to 4 months.

(6) Botox injections should not be given more frequently than every two months.

(7) In 2009, Health Canada made changes to the labelling information of Botox and Botox Cosmetic, warning of “distant toxin spread.”

(8) Possible symptoms of “distant toxin spread” include, droopy eyelids, muscle weakness, swallowing difficulties, pneumonia, speech disorders, breathing problems and death.

(9) Botox was recently approved by Health Canada as a treatment for chronic migraines. 

(10) Uses of Botox also include treating muscle spasms in the neck, eyes and feet, muscle pain, and excessive sweating.



With files from Health Canada

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European Commission proposes to ban removal of shark fins, then tossing the fish back into sea

BRUSSELS – The EU’s executive arm said Monday that it wants to completely ban shark finning – the practice of removing sharks’ fins and throwing the finless creatures back into the sea to die.

Under the proposal approved by the European Commission, all boats in EU waters – and EU-registered boats anywhere in the world – would have to land sharks with their fins attached to prove that the rest of the shark had not been discarded. The law, should it go into effect, would primarily affect fishing vessels from Spain and Portugal.

In theory, the EU already bans shark finning. But as it now stands, the fins and bodies can be separated on board vessels with special permits, and then landed at different ports. The EU tries to ensure that no bodies have been discarded by making sure the weight of the fins does not exceed 5 per cent of the entire weight of the fish landed.

But environmentalists have called the EU effort lenient and a loophole, and said having the fins and carcasses offloaded at different ports made the law difficult to enforce. EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki on Monday agreed.

“We want to end the horrendous practice of shark finning and protect sharks much better,” he said.

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The environmental group Oceana welcomed the proposal, saying it deplored the waste involved in discarding the body, which can be used for food. The practice of shark finning is driven by the lower value of shark meat compared to the fins, which are in demand in China for use in shark fin soup.

Also, landing the fins and bodies still attached allows researchers to document the variety of sharks taken and use the data to protect the fish populations, said Amelie Malafosse, a policy adviser at Oceana.

The European Commission says sharks are vulnerable to over-exploitation because they mature late and give birth to small numbers of young at a time. And some species have come under threat because of the sharp increase in demand for the fins, the commission said.

To become law, the proposal must also be approved by the European Council – the 27 EU heads of government – and the European Parliament. European Parliament fisheries committee Vice-President Struan Stevenson predicted a tough fight.

“When these proposals come before MEPs,” he said, referring to members of the European Parliament, “I have no doubt that a few countries will seek to water them down. However, we will push for a rigorous ban. We need a ban on finning that enables fishermen to catch sharks in a way that puts conservation and humane treatment before making a quick buck.”

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