Vandals target Penticton, B.C. BMX Club with racist graffiti

A bike park in Penticton has been targeted by vandalism and racist graffiti, leaving volunteers who run the Penticton BMX Club to clean up. As Jayden Wasney reports, hate-motivated graffiti appears to be on the rise in the Okanagan. Also, a warning to our viewers, the images depicted in this story are offensive.

A Penticton, B.C. BMX bike club was recently targeted by racist graffiti, marking a disturbing trend in the South Okanagan to start the new year.

On January 27, volunteers at the Penticton BMX Club were notified that a shed on their property had been hit by vandals.

Graphic imagery, racist and hate-motivated language can be seen spewed across the front of the building’s exterior wall, including references to the KKK and white power. The vandals also damaged parts of the shed.

Unfortunately, racist graffiti appears to be on the rise in the region.

In Summerland, just a day after the BMX park’s shed was defaced, a string of vehicles were spray painted with what police are calling “alarming words.”

“While someone may think that spray-painting a vehicle, or tagging or vandalism could come off as a joke, in incidences like these, this wasn’t received as a joke. Property offences and property crimes are very serious,” said Const. Dayne Lyons on Feb. 2.

Prior to that, several Penticton Indian Band signs were subjected to spray-painted racist remarks, drawing the ire of the public.

Although it is unknown if the events are connected at this time.

The BMX club is receiving an outpouring of responses on social media, denouncing the despicable act, including some members of the community offering to help clean up the mess.

Global News reached out to the organization, as well as the Penticton RCMP on the most recent incident, but did not receive responses.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy revokes citizenship of numerous former politicians

Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home following a prisoner swap, officials on both sides said Saturday. Top Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians were freed. Russian defence officials, meanwhile, announced that 63 Russian troops had returned from Ukraine following the swap.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revoked the citizenship of several former influential politicians on Saturday in the latest of steps to “cleanse” the country from pro-Russian influences.

“Today, I signed the relevant documents to take another step to protect and cleanse our state from those on the side of the aggressor,” Zelenskyy said during his nightly video address.

Zelenskyy would not list the names, but said they had dual Russian citizenship.

According to Ukrainian state media, the list includes several top politicians from the office of Viktor Yanukovych, who served as Ukraine’s pro-Russian president from 2010 until he was removed from office in 2014.

The list included Dmytro Tabachnyk, former minister of education and science, Andriy Klyuyev, former deputy prime minister and head of Yanukovych’s administration and Vitaliy Zakharchenko, former interior minister, RBC-Ukraine news agency reported.

Ukraine has stripped a number of people of their Ukrainian citizenship and has sanctioned hundreds of Russian and Belarusian individuals and firms since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

 

(Reporting by Nick Starkov, David Ljunggren and Lidia Kelly;Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne;Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2023 Reuters

Emaciated dog found chained to wall in Okanagan gives birth to seven puppies

A malnourished dog in Kelowna, B.C. is safe and sound after being found in terrible conditions.

The BC SPCA says an Australian shepherd, Noelle, was found chained to a wall in a freezing cold basement with no heat or insulation, emaciated and very pregnant.

“This poor mom was in an area of the basement that had been separated by plywood and fencing,” says Eileen Drever, senior officer for the BC SPCA.

“She was exposed to freezing temperatures and had no protection from the cold except for a sprinkling of alfalfa straw and some dirty towels. She was surrounded by piles of feces and urine.”

Mom Noelle was found in a freezing cold basement chained to the wall.

Mom Noelle was found in a freezing cold basement chained to the wall.

BC SPCA
The litter of puppies.

The litter of puppies.

BC SPCA

The dog was immediately taken to a veterinarian for an examination. Noelle was brought to BC SPCA’s Kelowna Animal Centre where she gave birth to seven healthy puppies.

The SPCA then started looking for a foster that would be able to take care of the mom and her seven pups. Even though it may be a challenge, a local foster stepped up and took the family of dogs home.

One of the puppies.

One of the puppies.

BC SPCA
One of the puppies.

One of the puppies.

BC SPCA

The foster parents Martyn and Linda say that Noelle is doing well and loves taking care of her pups.

“She feeds them, cleans them and even cleans up after them, which we haven’t seen in other moms we have had in our home.”

Some of the puppies at their foster home.

Some of the puppies at their foster home.

BC SPCA
One of the puppies.

One of the puppies.

BC SPCA

The family of dogs will soon be getting ready to be adopted out to families of their own.

The foster parents say the happy pups enjoy playing with their toys, love attention and are very cuddly.

Once Noelle is spayed and fully recovered she will also be available for adoption at the Kelowna Animal Centre.

Noelle is feeling happy and healthy in her foster home.

Noelle is feeling happy and healthy in her foster home.

BC SPCA
One of the young pups.

One of the young pups.

BC SPCA

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Protesters in Montreal march in solidarity with anti-government demonstrators in Iran

WATCH: Protesters at a march in downtown Montreal Saturday afternoon said the biting cold was little match for what anti-government demonstrators in Iran have been enduring for months. Global's Phil Carpenter reports.

Protesters at a march in downtown Montreal Saturday afternoon said the biting cold was little match for what anti-government demonstrators in Iran have been enduring for months.

“This is the least we can do, really,” said Saba Shahcheraghi, a volunteer with the Woman Life Freedom movement, the group which organized the event.

Hundreds marched along Park Avenue to Place des Festival in support of protests in Iran, which started September 2022, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody.

“We want everybody, the international community to recognize that people of Iran are fighting day after day for their freedom, and that this is not something isolated to a geographical area,” Shahcheraghi told Global News.

Because, she pointed out, the fight for human rights should concern everyone.

At Saturday’s protest other groups, including Amnesty International Canada, added their voice to the protest, out of concern for what they say the Iranian government is doing to its people.

“You can be arrested and put in jail and condemed to the death penalty for just sayin that you are not ii agreement with the government or the regime, or for not wearing a veil correctly,” France-Isabelle Langlois, executive director for Amnesty International Canada Francophone, pointed out.

In February, a couple in Iran was sentenced to ten years in prison after they posted video online of themselves dancing in public.

Others in the country have been executed over crimes allegedly committed during the protests.

In Montreal, demonstrators are calling on the Canadian government to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

“They are killing every day in Iran,” reasoned Mahak Karami, one of the protesters.

Some added that she has concerns about their family there and that they might be targeted if they speak out.

“It’s been five months that the internet situation is not a very good situation, and I don’t have any news from them.”

She and other Iranian Canadians stress that though they’re grateful for the support in Canada, they plan to keep up the pressure on the Iranian regime to help make sure that it eventually comes to an end.

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu's judicial overhaul plans

Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered Saturday for a weekly demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government’s proposed judicial overhauls, which opponents say threaten Israel’s democratic values.

The protesters marched at two locations in the central coastal city of Tel Aviv, waving flags and chanting slogans against the justice minister. “Doctors fighting for the life of democracy,” read a banner raised by a doctor at the Tel Aviv protest.

The protest is the fifth against the new government, a coalition of ultra-Orthodox and far-right nationalist parties that took office in December.

The government launched proposals to weaken the Supreme Court by giving parliament the power to overturn court decisions with a simple majority vote. It also wants to give parliament control over the appointment of judges and reduce the independence of legal advisers.

Smaller protests were reported in several Israeli cities.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Black youth gather at Calgary event to help empower immigrants

WATCH: Calgary’s Immigrant Outreach Society focuses on the unique challenges Black East African refugees face. IOS executive director Adi Sahilie outlines February events hoping to inform and inspire.

Dozens of youth with East African backgrounds gathered at the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary on Saturday during an event aimed at helping them achieve their full potential.

Adi Eyassu Sahilie moved to Canada 12 year ago from Ethiopia. She said even as a skilled worker and fluent English, she missed job opportunities because of discrimination.

“It might be really shocking, but to be honest as a black person, facing racism or facing discrimination, it feels like the air you were breathing,” Sahilie said.

Many people don’t think racism exists, but especially for people of colour, like Black people and Indigenous, the discrimination level is really severe.

As a black person you face that kind of racism but I don’t want to just complain — I want to bring a solution. That’s why we are working around racism and helping black youths because if anyone doesn’t feel valued, their mental health is not going to be OK,” Sahilie said.

As the executive director of the Immigrant Outreach Society (IOS) — a black led non-for-profit organization that provides culturally appropriate mental health intervention for ethnic minorities from East Africa — Sahilie has organized the “Stepping Into Your Future” black youth event.

The event on Saturday was aimed at connecting youth from East Africa to services they might not otherwise access.

“I know from our youth that they never get a chance to connect with them. They don’t know what kind of services they are offering so that’s a huge barrier,” Sahilie said.

“I am a black youth in Calgary, so I had to be a part of this event to help people like me feel included and to feel celebrated,” said Kalkidan Debele, a grade 11 student at Bishop O’Byrne High School volunteered at the event.

She wants to help other young people feel like they can appreciate their ethnicity.

“If you feel like you’re insecure of your background or your language, just know that there’s a place for you. You don’t have to change yourself. You are valued. You are important. Your beliefs are important. Your experiences are important,” Debele said.

Dibora Mehari is a Calgary university student born in Eritrea. She’s on a mission to empower other Black immigrants, to help them ditch the “learned helplessness” she says keeps some people from achieving their full potential.

“We have this learned helplessness as a visible minority. If I come out in my freedom and live in liberty, not under this learned helplessness of a visible minority or the underdog mentality, I think that’s what they are facing — that kind of thing is a self fulfilling prophecy,” Mehari said.

Saturday’s event also included members of the Calgary Police Service, which organizers said will help minimize animosity between CPS and youth.

The Immigrant Outreach Society is hosting several more community events over the next few weeks as part of Black History Month.

 

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk to donate proceeds to Tyre Nichols fund

Family and friends were joined by public figures for the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who died on January 10 after being brutally beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee. Jackson Proskow reports on the emotional tributes for Nichols, and the calls for action following another publicized episode of police brutality.

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk says he will donate half of the proceeds of autographed photos of himself and BMX rider Rick Throne to the memorial fund for Tyre Nichols.

“My proceeds from these will go to the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund, which includes plans to build a public skatepark in his honor; as our worlds continue to grieve his loss,” Hawk tweeted on Friday. “He was a talented skater among other admirable traits. Let’s keep his legacy alive.”

The photos can be purchased on Thorne’s website for $30. Only 1,000 copies will be available for sale.

Half of the proceeds from the autographed photos will go to Nichols’ memorial fund “to help his family out, and to build a memorial skate park in his name, honoring his love for skateboarding,” according to Thorne’s website.

Nichols was a 29-year-old skateboarder, FedEx worker and father to a 4-year-old boy.

He died Jan. 10 after police stopped him for what they said was a traffic violation and beat him. Video released after pressure from Nichols’ family shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him with a baton as he screamed for his mother.

Six officers have since been fired and charged. One other officer has been suspended, but has not been identified.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Three 20-year-old men arrested after a man, 57, was stabbed and robbed: Winnipeg police

Three 20-year-old men have been arrested after a 57-year-old man was stabbed and robbed on Friday, Winnipeg police say.

Close to 11 p.m. officers went to the 600 block of Main Street and found a man suffering from significant injuries from a stabbing.

He was provided emergency medical care and taken to the hospital in an unstable condition where he upgraded to stable.

Three suspects were taken into custody in the 500 block of Main Street. A knife was seized and some of the victim’s property was recovered, police say.

Police say it is believed that a group had randomly confronted the man without provocation. Then the man was seriously assaulted and robbed of his belongings.

Consequently, three 20-year-old men have been arrested, charged, and have been detained.

The investigation is ongoing.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Edmonton's Manchester Square sees uptick after rocky start

Edmonton’s Manchester Square is offering local business owners a creatively fresh space to operate.

Anna Liska just opened her third business — Rhubarb Café and Cocktails —in the square. Two years ago, she moved in her event business, “Always Occasions.”

“I’ve been here with some of the original businesses from the very beginning and then we chose to continue to expand because honestly, we see the excitement and the growth that the square is going to offer,” Liska said.

She said she instantly fell in love with the building, which was built using historical European cities as design inspiration.

“The feeling of the square and everything that the family orientation that we have down here and support from other tenants was a game changer. (It) made me feel like it was possible and it was going to last and we’re going to make it,” she said.

While the building and its growing business community is thriving, Manchester Square didn’t have the easiest start. Construction on the building started in 2018, and developers ran into road bumps by 2020.

Giordano Morgulis, vice president of 76 Group, said they unveiled the building at the worst possible time — March 2020, right when the world was flipped upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been hit and miss just in terms of local businesses being ready to start up again after the two years we had,” he said.

Things are looking up, however, as 13 of the 19 units are now occupied and more are expected to move in over the next couple months.

“It’s definitely a different building than it was a year ago and even a year ago was different than it was two years ago. The project is definitely a passion project to make a statement on the city to state we can do fun and unique stuff that doesn’t really fit into the mold of Edmonton and we can do something out of the box,” he added.”

As for Liska, she is looking forward to the continuing growth and arrival of new tenants.

“It’s really nice to see more businesses really popping up and the more that open, the more people come down here, the more exciting it is to be in the square, the more there is to do when you come down here.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Eyes glued to Carolina skies as suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down by U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters on Saturday afternoon that he had given the order to officials to shoot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon earlier this week and that the military successfully "took it down" earlier in the day.

Eyes were locked on the Carolina skies Saturday as the suspected Chinese spy balloon that traversed the U.S. over the past week drifted over the Atlantic Ocean and was shot down by a fighter jet.

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a crowd lining the beach boardwalk cheered as the balloon was struck by a missile from an F-22 fighter. The balloon quickly deflated and plummeted to the ocean.

“That’s my Air Force right there, buddy!” a person exclaims just after the missile’s impact, in a video taken by tourist Angela Mosley.

“I came out of the store and looked up and there were fighter jets circling and then the balloon’s there,” Mosley said. “One of the fighter jets gets going fast and gets closer to it, and then we heard a boom and we knew it was gone.”

Mosley said no boats appeared to be in the water beneath the balloon as the wreckage fell, but she said several aircraft arrived soon after. U.S. officials tried to time the operation so they could recover as much debris as possible before it sinks.

The balloon had become a major flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Beijing. The Biden administration had previously hesitated to shoot the balloon because of risks to people on the ground from falling debris.

Software engineer and storm chaser Brian Branch captured photographs of the balloon high above western North Carolina just hours before it was taken out. He could see a payload hanging from the round, white balloon, which officials have said was about the size of three school buses.

“I’m kind of surprised they didn’t shoot it down over Montana,” Branch said.

There had been reports of sightings Saturday in upstate South Carolina, including Greenville and Spartanburg, and suburban Charlotte in North Carolina.

The maneuverable balloon entered the U.S. air defense zone north of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Jan. 28, crossed into Canadian airspace two days later and then back into the U.S. over northern Idaho on Tuesday, U.S. defense and military officials said. It wasn’t acknowledged by government officials until Thursday, a day after commercial flights were temporarily halted at the airport in Billings, Montana, where people on the ground saw the balloon seemingly loitering high above the city.

China said it was a weather research vessel blown off course, a claim rejected by U.S. officials who said the craft had been over areas of Montana where nuclear missiles are siloed.

In Congress, Republicans pounced on the initial decision not to shoot it down over rural Montana as a sign of weakness on the part of the Biden administration.

But in York County, South Carolina, not far from the North Carolina border, the county sheriff’s office advised against anyone trying to take out the balloon on their own as it passed over the region Saturday morning.

“Don’t try to shoot it!!,” the sheriff’s office tweeted Saturday as the balloon passed over the region at an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,600 meters). “Your rifle rounds WILL NOT reach it. Be responsible. What goes up will come down, including your bullets.”

The fascination with the balloon that swept the nation also spawned fake videos that purported to show it being shot down.

Those included an unverified video out of Billings of a “massive explosion” over the city Friday evening, two days after the balloon passed over. The video was picked up and broadcast by Fox News, where Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said in an interview with Tucker Carlson that he was “monitoring the situation.”

It was viewed millions of times before local officials batted down speculation that a Chinese balloon had been shot down. The city of Billings issued a statement that declared “there have not been any explosions in, around, or across #Montana.”

Another video purported to show the balloon brought down in North Carolina Friday afternoon _ about the same time people reported seeing it above Missouri.

By Saturday morning in Polkville, North Carolina, Branch — the storm chaser — said he was able to watch the balloon for about an hour and 15 minutes before it drifted into the path of the sun.

“Nothing around it, nothing barring it and no rednecks in North Carolina shooting at it,” he said. “I let it just pass on by. If it was spinning, if it was a tornado, I would have chased it.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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