Venezuelan protesters march again – National

CARACAS, Venezuela – Thousands of anti-government activists marched peacefully Sunday to an upper-class Caracas district shaken by more than two weeks of unrest, trying to maintain the movement’s momentum during a long holiday break.

Afterward, several hundred protesters erected barricades, burned tires and threw rocks and fireworks at National Guard troops, who responded with tear gas in what has become a nearly nightly ritual of clashes since mid-February. No injuries were immediately reported.

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President Nicolas Maduro had sought to dampen protesters’ spirits by declaring a seven-day holiday weekend coinciding with Carnival and historical commemorations and by promoting the Sunday sale of subsidized food at government-run markets.

“Happiness will conquer the embittered,” Maduro said in a TV appearance at a recreation centre. “The Venezuelan people have won because happiness and peace have conquered.”

Whether they headed for balmy beaches or joined the barricades in anti-government protests, many people are fed up with crippling inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, unchecked violent crime and government mismanagement of the economy in a nation with the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

Hundreds queued up at one central Caracas market, an increasingly common sight across the country, where coffee, flour, cooking oil, toilet paper and other staples have been in short supply for a year. Longer lines have been seen at such markets in the provinces.

The unrest is Venezuela’s worst since President Hugo Chavez died of cancer a year ago and the opposition came within a hair of winning the presidency in April’s election, but it remains to be seen if it will spread to include the lower classes who benefited from Chavez’s generous social welfare programs.

Most of the marchers on Sunday, whether students or their grey-haired elders clad in white shirts and wearing hats with the Venezuelan flag’s colours, hailed from the upper classes. But there were some from poorer sectors.

One marcher from the poor district of Catia said many people there had been intimidated into silence by pro-government militias but are now beginning to join the protests. “People there are starting to wake up. The insecurity has become unbearable,” said Liomar Moreno, a 21-year-old graphic design student.

Saturday night had been the first evening in 16 days when the wealthy, opposition Chacao district where Sunday’s march ended was not shrouded in tear gas from pitched battles between young protesters and security forces.

But the confrontations resumed Sunday, and had about them a choreographed dynamic. Protesters, many of them teens, showed up with beer boxes full of Molotov cocktails and shields made of aluminum siding, handles fashioned from garden hoses. National Guardsmen protected themselves not just with plastic shields but also with semi-permanent chain-link barricades. Protesters wore heat-resistant gloves on their throwing hands to hurl tear gas canisters back at guardsmen.

Elsewhere in Venezuela, protesters have similarly maintained burning barricades in cities from Valencia in the industrial heartland to Merida and San Cristobal in the west.

By government count, 18 people have been killed and more than 260 injured in the unrest since Feb. 12.

Early Sunday, the government released 41 people arrested Friday in Caracas’ wealthy east as radicals hurled Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles at National Guard troops. It said they had all been ordered to appear in court within 30 days.

Others were still in custody, including a top opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez.

The opposition has spurned Maduro’s attempt to engage in a “peace dialogue” until the government frees detainees. Other demands include creation of a “truth commission” to determine how those who died in protests were killed. Pro-government thugs are accused of gunning some down.

Maduro says the unrest constitutes a coup attempt by “the fascist right wing” and is backed by the United States. Washington denies the accusation and says Maduro is trying to silence the opposition by repressing free speech.

“Nobody is tiring here, and we’re all going to fight until (the government) falls,” said one marcher on Sunday, Carlos Eduardo Vega, who works for the food company Polar.

But 14-year-old Heliot Bello, who lives on the street where Sunday’s street battle occurred, wasn’t optimistic.

“The only thing we’ve gotten out of this in two weeks is blocking the highway a few times and lots of dead students. But what else can you do?” he said.

Chacao’s mayor, Ramon Muchacho, complained of fatigue from the violent tactics of student protesters who have made his district the epicenter of Caracas’ unrest. They lack clearly defined goals, he said.

“The student leaders need to set clear objectives for those in the streets. How are we going to change the government?” Muchacho said. “I think they should be preparing them for a long battle.”

Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Andrew Rosati and photographer Fernando Llano contributed to this report.

©2014The Canadian Press

Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lawrence among Oscar fashion stars

NEW YORK – That’s a wrap, Lupita Nyong’o, but may all the best dresses keep coming your way.

With a supporting actress Oscar now in her possession, a tearful Nyong’o concluded a red-carpet season Sunday night as a fashion darling for sexy silhouettes and colours that wow.

She didn’t disappoint at the 86th Academy Awards, wearing a pale blue Prada goddess gown and a sparkly gold-and-diamond headband from Fred Leighton.

Actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Nor did Jennifer Lawrence in a $2 million, 100-carat diamond necklace from Neil Lane to accent her girl-on-fire orange-red strapless dress from Dior.

Jennifer Lawrence attends the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

On Cate Blanchett’s ears were 33 carats of opal in a huge drop design that did justice to her beaded Armani gown in a light tan colour.

Cate Blanchett arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Blanchett’s heavily embellished gown sparkled under the lights at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles when she collected her Oscar for best actress in Blue Jasmine.

While she’s not under contract by Giorgio Armani, Blanchett does favour the house. “Armani has made donations to the theatre that she and her husband run in Sydney, so she’s very loyal to him,” said Hal Rubenstein, editor at large of InStyle magazine.

Muted colours, like those worn by Blanchett and Nyong’o’s ice blue, were one of the night’s big trends, said Estee Stanley, a stylist who worked with Portia de Rossi, in a regal Naeem Khan halter with beads and lace, and Jessica Biel, dressed in a metallic sparkler from Chanel dripped with diamond jewelry from Tiffany.

Actress Portia de Rossi (L) and TV personality Ellen DeGeneres attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Jessica Biel attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Fitted, body-conscious gowns prevailed on the red carpet, said fashion bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez.

“The colours of the night were pinks and blues. Statement necklaces were back,” Fitzgerald said.

But Marquez mused: “A general sameness hung over the whole thing. There was not enough experimentation.”

While some of the necklines plunged, said Rubenstein, “there was nothing overtly sexy. They were all fairly reserved.”

Here’s our five to talk about:

LUPITA NYONG’O

Actress Lupita Nyong’o attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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“I felt Lupita’s dress was glorious,” Rubenstein said. “She’s just not making a mistake.”

He praised her colour choice and the full-pleated gown with a plunging bodice. The colour, he said, was perfect for her dark skin tone. He called her jeweled headband a nice touch of youth and wit.

“There are now so many other awards shows where you can take chances. You can be silly, you can be funny. The Oscars is like coronation night. On Oscar night you look for classic glamour, you look for the glamour that really is defined for us by Hollywood, by the movies that we’ve seen. All those great Edith Head costumes. … The way Grace Kelly was dressed by Hitchcock. That’s what we have drilled into our head as what glamour is and so many people reference that type of glamour,” Rubenstein said.

On this night, Nyong’o was among them.

“She carries herself so beautifully. She has such poise. Such grace,” he said.

Marquez added: “I loved this, full stop. Every single bit of it. The colour is perfect, the way the skirt flows and moves is sublime. She won the entire night as far as I’m concerned.”

Fitzgerald said he “loved it, but not as much. I think the neckline is too plunging and too wide. Everything else about is pretty close to perfect, though. It’s a fresh take on the princess gown, with an even fresher take on the tiara.”

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Jennifer Lawrence, left, and Channing Tatum shake hands at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Ok, so yeah, she tripped again, this time on the red carpet as opposed to running up the Oscar steps to collect a statuette, but she giggled it off and stunned in strapless Dior akin to the bright colour of a Calvin Klein she wore in 2011.

Of a Lupita versus Jennifer smackdown, Rubenstein chided: “C’mon now, they both looked beautiful. Jennifer’s was also a beautiful colour.”

Lawrence, with a swept-back bob, pulled off a bit of ruffle at the hip. It was a form-fitting dress in contrast to her full gown at last year’s Oscars, when she stumbled as she made her way up the stairs to collect her award for Silver Linings Playbook.

“The Dolby is a very big theatre and when you wear a dress with a lot of volume like she did last year, you kind of get lost in that volume,” Rubenstein said. “The more body-conscious dress really focuses on you.”

Fitzgerald and Marquez were not quite as impressed.

“I’ll say it: I’m bored,” Marquez said. “It has none of the drama of last year’s Dior gown. It’s just another slinky gown on a night with more than enough of them.”

Fitzgerald added: “I have to agree. And the red seems kind of done. It just doesn’t feel very fresh.”

SANDRA BULLOCK

Nominee for Best Actress in ‘Gravity’ Sandra Bullock arrives on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Was it Navy blue? Royal blue? Simply, dark blue? Whatever. It was a deep-tone Alexander McQueen and an example of an edgy fashion house offering up an Old Hollywood-style stunner, Rubenstein said.

Both Rubenstein and Stanley called the look Navy, noting a pleated draping that fell to one side. It was in line with a lot of blue, some green, and not quite so much red as in years and carpets past.

Marquez called it, “Another stunner for the night – and a personal best for her. She tends toward colorless, slinky dresses and pin-straight hair. It’s refreshing to see something with some shape.”

Fitzgerald also lauded her loose, sideswept hair – a deep and dramatic side part another trend of the night.

He called the dress “crazy-dramatic. It’s the kind of look, top to bottom, that makes you step back and say ‘Now, that’s a movie star.”‘

CHARLIZE THERON

Charlize Theron attends the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Black made a reappearance, said Rubenstein, and it remains a dynamic colour.

Theron was elegant in black Dior, paired with a $15 million Harry Winston necklace that had a cluster of diamonds at the centre.

“Her simple dress and massive necklace was a classic yet fresh look,” Stanley said.

The look had invisible straps and a curvy plunge, clinging to her body with a partially sheer train in back.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is the look that won the night,” Fitzgerald said. “She’s serving up serious Madame X here,” as in sexy, dark and mysterious.

Theron’s short hair fell over her forehead from the evening’s popular side part.

AMY ADAMS

Actress Amy Adams attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

She wore a blue column strapless by Gucci with a lapel-like, fold-over at the strapless part. It was another Navy and stuck close to the body, flowing into a short train at the hem.

“There were columns, columns, columns,” Rubenstein said of that time-tested silhouette, and Adams was a prime example.

The simple silhouette left plenty of room for her Tiffany jewels. They included rhodochrosite, lapis and turquoise earrings with diamonds in 18-karat yellow gold, worth $35,000, and a $1.4 million yellow diamond bracelet, also in 18-karat yellow gold.

The earrings? “Stunning,” Stanley said.

©2014The Associated Press

Gallery: Canucks fall to Senators in Heritage Classic

The Vancouver Canucks fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators at BC Place during the NHL’s Heritage Classic Sunday.

In addition to the action on the ice, the event featured Sarah McLachlan singing the national anthem, a performance by Tegan and Sara and fireworks at the end of the game.

More than 50,000 fans attended the event, which was the first Heritage Classic ever to be played indoors.

PHOTOS: Heritage Classic at BC Place 

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

Members of the 1994 Vancouver Canucks team reunited on Sunday at the Heritage Classic game at BC Place. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Neil Khare

The Heritage Classic took place at BC Place on March 2, 2014. Credit: Chris Gailus


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Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games security cost jumps to $239 million – Toronto

TORONTO – The Progressive Conservatives demanded the resignation of the Ontario cabinet minister in charge of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto on Monday after it was announced security costs for the event had jumped by $33 million.

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While Tourism Minister Michael Chan was assuring the legislature the Games were on time and on budget, the government announced the estimated costs of security will increase to $239 million from the last estimate of $206 million. The original cost of security built into the Toronto 2015 Pan Am budget was $113 million.

“Security is evolving, and that file will evolve right up to the Games,” Chan said.

Chan has no ability to control rising costs for the international sporting event and should resign or be fired, said PC critic Rod Jackson.

“It’s easy to be on time and budget if your budget is a moving target and keeps going up,” said Jackson. “It’s disingenuous at best, and shows the minister does not have a grip on the Pan Am Games and it’s time for him to go.”

The Ministry of Community Safety announced a contract is now “almost in place” for private security services at next year’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which will be held in 14 communities across southern Ontario.

The $239-million figure includes the private security contract plus the cost of the Ontario Provincial Police and local police forces and their overtime, but could rise if the threat level increases, said Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur.

“The integrated security team under the OPP who are planning the event, that’s their forecast,” she said. “I am confident, but right now the threat for the game is low and if the threat does increase then we will have to adjust according to the threat.”

One thing that could raise the threat level – and the security costs – is if someone like U.S. President Barack Obama decides to attend the Toronto Games, but he could afford to provide his own security, joked Chan.

“Well if they want to, I think America is rich enough to do it,” he said with a chuckle.

The government pointed out that the private security guards hired for the Pan Am Games will not be given police powers, and will act much like security guards who work at professional sporting events or concerts.

The security bill is just a fraction of the nearly $900 million that was spent on security at the Vancouver Olympics, but officials believe there is a lower risk profile at the Pan Am Games with far fewer high-profile dignitaries expected to attend.

Ontario’s Liberal government was already under fire for not including the cost of building the athletes’ village in its original $1.4-billion budget for the games.

The total price, including security, transportation and the athletes’ village, will drive the cost of Toronto’s Pan Am Games to an estimated $2.5 billion.

However, the transportation plan still has not been developed and the costs, originally estimated at $75-$90 million, are expected to go even higher.

“Transportation is an evolving file and the latest I have right now is we are engaging the different municipalities to make sure the regular costs they incur will be their own expenses,” said Chan. “Anything on top of that, we will pick up.”

The province hopes to recoup about $65 million when the athletes’ housing is turned into 253 affordable rental apartments, a 740-square-metre YMCA and 500 residences for George Brown College students after the Games.

About 10,000 athletes and coaches from 41 countries are expected at the Pan Am Games, with events to be held at 34 different competition venues around the Golden Horseshoe from St. Catharines in the south to as far north as Minden Hills and Orillia.

©2014The Canadian Press

Winnipegger calls for public AEDs after wife does CPR at McDonald’s – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Dave Pineau hopes some good will come from an “incredibly sad and awful experience” during his son’s fourth birthday lunch.

The family was at the Vermillion Road McDonald’s restaurant on Friday when 90-year-old Bryant Hodge collapsed at the counter.

Pineau’s wife, Diane, stepped forward and with another man, performed CPR for 10 minutes, when paramedics arrived and took over.

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She asked the staff if they had an AED – an automated external defibrillator, which uses an electrical shock to stop life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia and allow hearts to resume normal function – but the answer was no.

Pineau learned later Hodge didn’t survive.

The next day, Pineau decided to post the story on his Facebook page with a call for businesses to have AEDs in restaurants.

“Obviously my wife and I were relatively upset about what we saw and what our kids saw,” he said. “I thought (an AED) might have given him a better chance.”

The post has been shared more than 400 times and Pineau, who has learned that McDonald’s restaurants elsewhere have AEDs, is confident the company will respond – but it’s not just a McDonald’s issue, he pointed out.

Manitoba’s Defibrillator Public Access Act requires high-traffic public places such as gyms, arenas, community centres, golf courses, schools and airports to have AEDs on site as of Jan. 31. However, restaurants are not required to have them, and Pineau hopes that will start to change.

“This incident could literally have happened anywhere,” he said.

McDonald’s Canada is “deeply saddened” by the incident, a spokesman said in a statement emailed to Global News on Monday.

“The safety and security of our customers is a top priority, which is why we mandate every restaurant to have at least one shift manager on duty who is not only trained and certified in first aid but also undergoes regular re-certification as per their province of operation’s guidelines,” the statement from Western Canada communications manager John Gibson said.

“We applaud the quick work of our customers who provided CPR, as well as the emergency responders. Further inquiries regarding defibrillators are best addressed by Manitoba Health.”

©2014Shaw Media

Snapped tow line latest snag for Protecteur

VICTORIA – Canadian navy ship HMCS Protecteur was about 400 kilometres northeast of Pearl Harbor on Monday afternoon after towing operations resumed for the aging vessel, which was damaged in a fire.

The navy said in a news release that weather conditions had improved in the Pacific Ocean since Sunday, when a tow line broke, and that damaged vessel was now being towed toward Hawaii at a speed of about nine kilometres per hour.

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Protecteur endured an engine-room fire last Thursday that caused minor injuries to 20 sailors who were attempting to douse the flames.

“It is anticipated that USS Michael Murphy, which has been providing assistance to Protecteur up to this point, is expected to detach from the scene and proceed back to Pearl Harbor with family members and civilians.”

Nearly 300 people were on the vessel, including 17 family members who were allowed to join the crew on its return leg to Esquimalt, B.C., a common practice after a long mission. They are between 14 and 73 years old.

“We remain in close contact with HMCS Protecteur and continue to provide the required support to the crew onboard as well as the family members,” the navy said.

“Family members in Canada continue to receive daily briefings by senior staff through the Military Family Resource Centre.”

A team of military personnel were headed to Pearl Harbor to provide support to families and crew members and to deal with the ship, the navy said.

A damage assessment will be done before Protecteur is brought home to Esquimalt and an investigation into the cause of the fire is being initiated, said the navy.

Lt.-Cmdr. Desmond James at CFB Esquimalt, located on Vancouver Island west of Victoria, said earlier Monday that the aging vessel was being towed through heavy seas on Sunday when the tow line broke.

“Towing operations are hard enough but you’ve got these big war ships and they’re being tossed around in the water, pushed left, pushed right, up, down, back and forth. That really puts a strain on the tow line.”

James said the USS Sioux, a deep-water ocean tug, has taken over towing duties and the slow return to dry dock in Hawaii, about 600 kilometres southwest, had resumed.

The 44-year-old vessel was in the Pacific Ocean, north of Hawaii, when the fire broke out.

Commodore Bob Auchterloine, the commander of the navy’s Pacific fleet, has said sailors suffered dehydration, exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

He said a doctor on board provided treatment.

The 172-metre Protecteur was damaged last August in a collision with HMCS Algonquin while en route to Hawaii.

Algonquin sustained most of the damage, but Protecteur’s front end was damaged. Both ships were forced to cancel a voyage to Australia and return to port in Esquimalt for repairs.

Last October, the military announced Protecteur, along with its sister ship HMCS Preserver, on the East Coast, will be retired in 2015.

(The Canadian Press, CFAX)

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: NASA astronauts congratulate ‘Gravity’ on Oscar wins – National

TORONTO – It’s high praise, indeed: astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) congratulated Gravity on its Oscar wins Sunday night.

Gravity won a total of seven Academy Awards on Sunday night, including Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón); Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Cinematography; Film Editing and Original Score (Steven Price).

WATCH: NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino on Gravity Award Win

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  • ‘Gravity’ dominates but ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture at Oscars

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  • Report: NASA could have prevented astronaut’s near-drowning

The film is about two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who are stranded in space after their space shuttle is damaged by debris from satellites that collided.

READ MORE: ‘Gravity’ dominates but ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture at Oscars

Though the film is rife with scientific inaccuracies, many astronauts have said that the special effects — from the tools used, to the interior of the ISS — were highly detailed and accurate. The film made $705 million worldwide.

READ MORE: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson takes aim at ‘Gravity’

The film used real images taken from space. On Monday, NASA created a Flickr gallery of images entitled “Gravity – NASA’s Real-Life Images from Space.”

©2014Shaw Media

B.C. residents support ban on GMO foods: new poll – BC

B.C. and Alberta residents say they would support a ban on genetically modified foods, according to a new poll from Insights West.

In an online poll, 50 per cent of Albertans and 56 per cent of British Columbians say they would support a ban on GMO foods in Canada.

66 per cent of B.C. residents say they hold a negative opinion of GMO foods, and 55 per cent of Albertans feel the same.

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“A ban on genetically modified foods is a very attractive proposition for Albertans and British Columbians aged 18-to-34,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Across the two provinces, those who hold negative views on genetically modified foods tend to look at them as unhealthy.”

There are currently no laws in Canada mandating GMO labels, but some companies have added a “non-GMO verified” logo to their packaging.

British Columbians are checking the labels, for information on calories (60 per cent), fat (62 per cent) and sodium (59 per cent).

712 adults were surveyed online for the poll between January 7-January 9, 2014 and January 24-27, 2014. Margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points for the British Columbia survey, and +/- 3.9 percentage points for the Alberta survey, 19 times out of 20.

©2014Shaw Media

FIFA panel says yes to turbans, hijabs in soccer – Montreal

MONTREAL – Soccer’s international rule-making body has given a final go-ahead to allow players to wear religious head coverings during games, clarifying an issue that stirred controversy in Quebec last summer.

READ MORE: Quebec soccer association upholds ban on turbans

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Related

  • Listen: Brigitte Frot on Quebec’s ban on turbans in soccer

A FIFA panel known as the International Football Association Board made the decision Saturday, extending a two-year trial period during which hijabs were permitted.

Turbans will also be allowed.

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Last year, Quebec’s soccer federation set off a political firestorm – and was suspended by the Canadian Soccer Association – for enforcing a ban on turbans and other religious headwear.

The federation lifted the ban after FIFA clarified last June that such headwear was acceptable.

READ MORE: Quebec soccer federation scraps controversial turban ban after FIFA ruling

A spokesperson for the Quebec Soccer Federation said they are satisfied with the decision and plan to follow the rules.

“All we’ve wanted, for years, is to have a clear position (from FIFA) and rules to follow, and now we know what to do, and we’ll do it,” said Michel Dugas.

The decision on head coverings follows extra trials after a July 2012 decision to approve scarves worn by Islamic female players.

READ MORE: FIFA weighs in on soccer turban rules: head coverings allowed for now

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Saturday’s decision extended to male players following a request from Sikh community leaders in Canada.

“You cannot have discrimination,” Valcke said at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

“It was decided that what can apply to female players can also apply to men.”

READ MORE: Cases of ‘hijabaphobia’ increasing in Quebec

Last year, the Quebec organization had cited safety issues for its controversial move as well as the fact the garments were not endorsed by FIFA.

The Parti Quebecois government came out in favour of the federation’s position, while many federal politicians slammed it as exclusionary.

Dugas maintained the federation wasn’t trying to create problems and only wanted to get clarity from FIFA.

“It’s a debate that isn’t easy, and that’s probably why it took so long,” he said.

– with files from Catherine Gignac

©2014The Canadian Press

‘Jeff’s Musical Car’ nominated for two ECMAs – New Brunswick

MONCTON –  Jeff Boudreau has taken listening to tunes in the car to a whole other level.  Just over a year ago, he launched a web show called Jeff’s Musical Car.

“I was driving around with my son one day and I had a camera in the front and I flipped it inward to get him dancing and singing along with me,” Boudreau said. “I put it on Facebook and everyone liked it and the idea just popped into my head.”

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Boudreau mounts a few cameras in his car and records musicians playing live crammed into the back seat. The unique concept has exploded online and now Boudreau is being recognized for thinking outside of the box. He has been nominated for two East Coast Music Awards.

“That was probably my proudest moment since I started this, for media person of the year and media outlet of the year and I am still in shock about that,” he said.

He said he launched the show to help local bands get more exposure. Corey Hachey is lead singer for the band, 60lp’s and said Boudreau’s show has helped to give his band more exposure.

“We did a Jeff’s Musical Car ride in April and since then we’ve had people come out to our shows and say, ‘Hey we saw you on Jeff’s Musical Car. So we came to check out your life show,’” Hachey said. “So it has definitely helped us out in that respect.”

Boudreau doesn’t make any money with his show, it’s just a hobby and is all about the love of music.

“Just to expose people to others genres of music. I cover rock to punk to country,” Boudreau said “It’s just a way for people who would not have given a band a chance but in this setting they would be more likely to do that.”

The ECMA winners will be announced on April 6 in Charlottetown

House price correction to ‘start this year,’ big-name investor warns – National

Yet another big-name foreign observer is warning that Canada’s long-booming housing market is due for a potentially nasty correction – and it expects the slide to start this year.

Pimco, one of the biggest institutional investors in the world, said it believes housing prices could decline as much as 30 per cent over the next several years.

Ed Devlin, the man in charge of the U.S.-based fund’s Canadian investments, said in a newspaper article that Pimco has grown increasingly “bearish” on the Canadian housing market over the last several quarters.

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READ MORE: Home prices stretched by 10%, bank report says 

Data from Morningstar shows that since late 2012 Pimco has cut in half the amount of money it holds in investments in Canada, one of the fund’s top country picks until late.

“I’ve been talking with clients and writing about how the housing market is overvalued,” Devlin told the Financial Times (paywall).

“I actually think it starts this year,” the Pimco executive said of the potential slowdown.

Two to five years

Devlin said he expects borrowing rates to rise off their historic lows in the coming months and mortgage loan growth to slow, developments that will bring the country’s years-long housing boom to an end.

A market correction won’t be totally sudden, however, with Pimco suggesting it it expects events to play out over a two- to five-year time frame.

“While we think the housing market in Canada is overvalued and due for a correction, the correction will likely happen over several years,” Devlin said.

Ottawa efforts to cool market

Ottawa has moved repeatedly to cool the market place in recent years. It has taken steps to reign in how much mortgage debt the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. backstops while cutting back the length of home loan terms to 25 years, forcing borrowers to save bigger down-payments.

But with the exception of a lull in late 2012 and early 2013, the pace of activity has remained brisk, fueled by ultra low interest rates as well as the government’s own national housing insurer, which has backstopped hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages.

READ MORE: CMHC moves to raise mortgage insurance premiums

The rise has sharpest in the country’s biggest and most expensive cities, notably Vancouver and Toronto, where average prices now sit at levels several times average household incomes.

READ MORE: January price gains strain affordability in big city housing markets 

Calmer opinions on home front

Pimco joins other foreign observers in calling a potentially sharp downturn, a group that includes Germany’s Deutsche Bank which says the country’s housing market is the most overvalued in the world.

Within Canada, calmer opinions prevail.

TD Bank for example, said it too thinks the market is overvalued but but by a much more modest 10 per cent. The bank said rates will slowly drift higher but that the rise should be manageable for consumers.

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, continues to see home prices gliding into a soft landing.

©2014Shaw Media

Croatia accuses Serbia of genocide, underscoring lingering tensions – National

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Croatia on Monday accused its Balkan neighbour Serbia of genocide in the early 1990s as the former Yugoslavia shattered in spasms of ethnic violence, in a case at the United Nations’ highest court that highlights lingering animosities in the region.

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Croatia is asking the International Court of Justice to declare that Serbia breached the 1948 Genocide Convention when forces from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia attempted to drive Croats out of large swaths of the country after Zagreb declared independence in 1991. It also wants the court to order Serbia to pay compensation.

Serbia previously has faced allegations of genocide at the world court.

In a landmark 2007 judgment, the court cleared Belgrade of committing genocide in the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, but said Serbia breached the genocide convention by failing to prevent the slaughter, Europe’s worst mass slaying since World War II.

Croatia opened its case by showing judges a video of the devastated remnants of the Croat city of Vukovar, which was besieged and pounded with heavy artillery by Serb forces in 1991, killing hundreds.

It remains to be seen if Zagreb can convince judges that the crimes amount to genocide. The U.N.’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, a separate court based in The Hague, convicted Serbs of crimes in Vukovar, but has never characterized atrocities on Croat territory as genocide.

“We will show you that the crimes that took place in the campaign against Croats amount to genocide,” Croatia’s agent to the court, Vesna Crnic-Grotic, told the judges.

Serbian representative Sasa Obradovic acknowledged that “horrific crimes were committed in Croatia,” but told reporters that they do not constitute genocide.

In Belgrade, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic expressed hope that the case would ease past tensions, but also warned it could revive nationalist sentiments.

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Associated Press writer Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this story.

©2014The Canadian Press

Recipe: Inside-out eggplant Parmesan rolls

I’ve always been a big fan of eggplant Parmesan. There are a bunch of ways to make this classic Italian dish, but I’m partial to what you might call the full-fat version: thick slices of breaded eggplant that are sauteed, then baked until creamy, and finally topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese.

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A vegetarian delight, eggplant Parmesan nonetheless can be very heavy. You gobble it down with gusto for dinner, but discover it still sitting in your gut like a brick the next day. So I wanted to concoct a lighter recipe that still retained all of the ingredients that make my favourite version so wonderful.

Eggplant tends to soak up oil like a sponge, so the first thing I did here was to take a cue from my mom. She used to make an easy but inventive side dish with eggplant, cutting each one into 1/2-inch slices, brushing every slice with her homemade vinaigrette, then baking them all until they were tender and golden. This limits how much oil they can absorb. For simplicity, I sprayed each slice with a modest amount of oil before baking them.

Unfortunately, this clever strategy created a new problem. The eggplant in my favourite version is breaded. Here it isn’t. I was happy to lose the oil, but I didn’t want to lose the bread, particularly in a saucy dish like this. So I literally turned the recipe inside out, placing the bread – in the form of croutons – inside the rolled-up slices of eggplant.

The croutons do get tender during baking, but they also absorb and marry the other flavours in the filling: Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper. Full disclosure: I’m well aware that roasted red peppers are not typical of traditional eggplant Parmesans. I added them because they contribute bulk and good nutrition. And because I love the tang they lend the dish.

Even though this recipe uses less than the usual amount of cheese, my crack team of testers didn’t seem to miss it. My secret? The speedy marinara sauce. Loaded with garlic, a bit of oil and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, this sauce radiates so much robust flavour that folks forget the missing cheese. And I encourage you to make this marinara at home rather than use store-bought; it is simple, fast and quite tasty.

A few notes about buying eggplant. I recommend the biggest you can find for this recipe. You’ll know they’re fresh if the skin is smooth and the flesh is firm to the touch. If you can’t find large eggplants, use the smaller ones and just overlap the slices slightly to make substantial roll-ups.

I believe that this eggplant Parmesan is an excellent candidate for the centerpiece of a meatless meal. Just round it out with some steamed broccoli and a tossed green salad, and you’re good to go. This is the kind of cozy cold weather meal that will make everyone glad winter is not quite over.

INSIDE-OUT EGGPLANT PARMESAN ROLLS

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

2 slices large rustic (not bagged sliced) white or whole-wheat bread, crusts discarded and bread cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oilKosher salt2 pounds large eggplantOlive oil cooking spray1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper2 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes1/2 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese1 teaspoon minced garlic2 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce or speedy marinara sauce (recipe below)Fresh basil, to garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F and adjust the oven racks so there is one in the top third and one in the bottom third of the oven.

In a medium bowl toss the bread cubes with the oil and a pinch of salt. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the cubes in an even layer and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them back to the bowl.

While the cubes are baking, prepare the eggplant. Leaving the skin on, slice it top-to-bottom into 1/4-inch-thick slices, discarding the end pieces that are mostly skin.

Spray the baking sheet you used for the bread as well as a second large baking sheet with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle the eggplant slices very lightly with salt on both sides and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Spray them lightly with additional olive oil spray. Bake just until barely golden, 16 to 20 minutes, switching the sheet pan positions in the oven after 8 minutes.

Add the red pepper, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic to the bread cubes and toss well.

Pour half of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking pan. Set aside.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a kitchen surface, overlapping a few if they are small to make a wider rectangle (you will need 12 portions total), and divide the filling among the portions, mounding it in the centre of each slice. Roll up the slices to enclose the filling. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

Divide the rolls between 6 serving plates, making sure that each portion has ample sauce. Top with fresh basil.

Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories; 90 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 11 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 9 g protein; 780 mg sodium.

SPEEDY MARINARA SAUCE

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Makes 2 1/2 cups

2 large garlic cloves, smashed2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilHefty pinch red pepper flakes28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)Kosher salt

In a medium skillet combine the garlic and the oil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, turning over the garlic several times, until it is just golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt, bring to a boil, and cook at a brisk simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups.

©2014The Associated Press

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