Like magic Delicate fossil of oldest baby snake found in amber

first_imgEDMONTON – It curves elegantly, its delicate bones looking as if they could easily slither out of the amber encasing them into the forest undergrowth that would have been home.The oldest fossil of a baby snake ever found leaves University of Alberta paleontologist Tiago Rodrigues Simoes in awe.“It’s like magic,” he said.Simoes, with fellow paleontologist Mike Caldwell, describes their 100-million-year baby in an article published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.The snake skeleton, less than five centimetres long, is almost complete except for the skull. Entombed in a chunk of amber about the size of an adult thumb, it includes 97 tiny vertebrae, most with their feathery ribs still attached.The sample comes from Myanmar, where amber quarries have been around for decades. Caldwell said the snake was discovered in a quarry that was only opened a couple of years ago.Amber, fossilized tree resin, usually holds ancient bugs and beetles. This quarry, Caldwell said, has a high concentration of vertebrates.The paleontologists’ attention was first drawn to the amber by a colleague in Saskatchewan, who was interested in what seemed to be pieces of snakeskin within it. That turned out to be true, but a little ho-hum.“It’s kind of cool,” said Caldwell. “But you can’t tell much of a story with a piece of shed snakeskin, even if it’s got colour on it, or at least light and dark patterning.”A couple of months later, the colleague called back. He’d had a chance to examine the sample more closely and thought what was first identified as a centipede looked more like a snake.The team went at it with sophisticated imaging technology from CT scans to synchrotrons. Without removing the fossil from the amber, they laid bare its smallest details.“The beauty of this thing is that you can actually see it’s a brand-new baby snake,” Caldwell said. “It’s the interior details that make it clear.“I’ve learned critical details about snake development.”It turns out that ancient snakes formed much the same way modern ones do.The fossilized baby snake’s spinal cord was still turning into bone in the same way those of its descendants still do. The fossil also showed the beginnings of other features found in adult snakes that were growing exactly as they do in contemporary snakelets.“We have some of the major elements of development constant,” Simoes said. “Maybe it’s common to all of them in their early evolutionary history.”Perhaps just as important is what else was found in the amber — many examples of bugs and debris that would be found on a forest floor.The baby is the first one to prove that snakes lived in forests, too, fleshing out understanding of both ancient reptile and forest ecology.“It is an ancient form of super glue,” Caldwell said. “That’s the magic of amber.“The marvellous thing about amber is that it falls out of a tree and it hits whatever was at the bottom of the tree. It picks up the bugs and the plants and the bug poop. And the baby snakes.“We’re not ever going to get that in the rock record.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960last_img read more

Montreal museum says Picasso ads back online after running afoul of Facebook

first_imgMONTREAL – A museum exhibit ad featuring a painting by world-renowned artist Pablo Picasso was back online Friday after originally being rejected for violating Facebook’s anti-nudity policy, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts said.Museum spokeswoman Pascale Chasse said the advertisement was blocked by the company’s ad-review algorithm because it showed Picasso’s painting entitled, “Femmes a la toilette,” which features two nude women.The artwork, which is drawn in the artist’s cubist style, features two women grooming themselves against a red background.It is among the featured works in the museum exhibit, “From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present,” which ends in September.Chasse said her initial reaction to the rejection notice was one of surprise.“It’s true that there’s some nudity, but it’s in good taste,” she said in a phone interview. “It’s a very important work of Picasso recognized everywhere in the world.”“How can you be in museums all across the world, but you can’t be on Facebook?”Chasse said she found the situation slightly funny at first, but eventually contacted Facebook after two different ads were subsequently rejected by the company’s ad-review algorithm.She was eventually able to speak over the phone to a Facebook representative, and later received an email from Facebook stating that the original ad was being put back online.Facebook said in a statement it is reviewing its advertising standards in light of the incident.While Facebook’s advertising standards don’t allow nudity, even in paintings, the company suggested that exceptions could be made for fine art.“We want to make sure that museums and other institutions are able to share some of their most iconic paintings and (we) are currently reviewing our approach to nudity in paintings in ads on Facebook,” it read.Chasse said she was satisfied with how Facebook handled the incident, once she was able to finally speak to a human being rather than a machine.She added that the museum intends to follow up with Facebook to make sure its campaigns, and those of other museums, won’t be affected in the future.last_img read more

In the news today Jan 31

first_imgFive stories in the news for Thursday, Jan. 31———MINORITY NDP GOVERNMENT WINS KEY B.C. BYELECTIONThe New Democrats won a crucial provincial byelection in British Columbia on Wednesday that allows Premier John Horgan’s minority government to maintain its grip on power after facing a spirited campaign from the Opposition Liberals. With the win, the NDP has 41 seats in the legislature and continues to hold power with the support of three Green party members in the house. The Liberals have 42 seats and there is one Independent, who serves as legislature Speaker. With almost all the votes counted, New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson had an almost 1,900 vote lead over B.C. Liberal Tony Harris.———HUMBOLDT FAMILIES GRIEVE AS SENTENCING NEARS ENDAfter three days of giving heart-wrenching victim impact statements, families of the Humboldt Broncos are hoping to see an end to the court process. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who is 30 and from Calgary, has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving for causing the crash last April that killed 16 people and injured 13 others. Court has heard that Sidhu blew through a stop sign at a rural intersection and the bus driver had no chance of avoiding a collision. There were 90 victim impact statements read at the hearing, and final sentencing arguments are scheduled for today.———ALBERTA EASING CUTS TO OIL PRODUCTIONAlberta is easing mandatory production cuts as the price of oil increases, but the industry says the tactic won’t solve the underlying problem — a lack of adequate pipeline capacity. Premier Rachel Notley said Wednesday that the temporary cuts are working, but she agrees more pipelines are the answer and until that happens more oil will be shipped by rail. Notley thanked companies for working with the government to protect jobs and the economy. Last month, the province ordered production of raw crude oil and bitumen to be reduced by 325,000 barrels per day — almost nine per cent of production.———TRANSIT OFFICER SHOT IN SURRY, B.C. The RCMP asked residents of a neighbourhood in Surrey, B.C., to lock their doors and turn on their outdoor lights Wednesday night as they searched for a suspect in the shooting of a transit officer. Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said the RCMP set up containment zones in an area around the Scott Road SkyTrain station and also around a home in the area. A transit police spokesman said Const. Josh Harms was recovering in hospital. Sgt. Clint Hampton said the 27-year-old has been with the transit police for three years. He was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.———MILITARY SEARCHING FOR MISSING PLANE IN N.W.TThe military is searching for a plane missing in the Northwest Territories with two people on board. RCMP say contact was lost with the aircraft at 9 a.m. near Wha ti about 160 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife. Weather conditions in the area are poor. The military says a CC-130 Hercules is en route to the area from Winnipeg and two other aircraft are helping in the search. Members of a Canadian Ranger Patrol Group are preparing to go to the aircraft’s last known position. There is no word on the condition of the aircraft or the pilots.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a town hall-style meeting in Milton, Ont.— Paper Excellence Canada and Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp. will hold an informational update regarding the registering of a wastewater treatment facility environmental assessment as well as the timeline leading up to this project milestone.— Statistics Canada will releases gross domestic product by industry figures for November, and industrial product and raw materials price indexes for December.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Feds win interim interim stay for 15day cap on solitary confinement

first_imgTORONTO — The federal government won’t have to comply immediately with a court decision that limited solitary confinement to 15 consecutive days, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided.In granting Ottawa’s urgent request for an “interim interim” stay, the country’s top court said the government had met all three needed conditions. Those factors, the court said, include whether there was a “serious issue” to be tried and whether it would cause the government “irreparable harm” if not granted.“I am satisfied that these factors have been met for the purpose of the interim interim stay only,” Justice Suzanne Cote said. “This order will remain in effect until the determination of the motion for an interim stay, which shall be dealt with on an expedited basis.”In a ruling last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal said placing prisoners deemed a risk to themselves or others in segregation for more than 15 days amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and was therefore unconstitutional. The court gave correctional authorities 15 days — until Friday — to comply and end the practice.The federal government sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, along with a request to put the lower-court decision on hold pending the outcome. However, because the request for an interim stay would only be heard well after Friday’s deadline to comply with the ruling, Ottawa sought the interim interim stay.In support of its request, the federal government said the lower court did not take into account the consequences of capping administrative segregation, and warned that imposing a hard limit in all cases could be dangerous.“There is currently no alternative recourse to address these situations, placing the safety and security of all federal institutions, the inmates and the staff at high risk,” the government said in its notice of leave to appeal.Critics of isolation say studies indicate that depriving inmates of meaningful human contact for much of their day can cause long-term, even permanent, psychological damage.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has pursued the case, called it “deeply disappointing” that the government was seeking to appeal.It opposed the interim interim stay request, calling it highly unusual for courts to allow practices deemed to violate the charter because they amount to cruel and unusual treatment to continue.“Canada asks this court to prolong a dangerous practice that is ‘harmful and offside responsible medical opinion,’” the association said in its filing. “The impact on those affected is real and serious.”Having granted the interim interim stay, Cote gave the association until April 23 to respond to the request for an interim stay, and Ottawa a further two days to reply. It’s not clear when the Supreme Court will decide on the stay motion or whether it will hear the government’s appeal.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Nigel Barkers Taylor Swift Photo Book To Be Auctioned For Charity

first_imgBoys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Sony Electronics have announced the beginning of a limited edition auction of Eight Hours/Taylor Swift, a 34 page, oversized photo book featuring the 6-time Grammy award winning artist, Taylor Swift, photographed by renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker.Ten copies of the limited edition books, donated by Sony, signed by both Barker and Swift, will be auctioned off on eBay, with all proceeds benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of America.The book is a collection of Barker’s photos taken on Sony cameras during “one 8-hour day” with Taylor on location in Southern California. It is one of the most extensive photo collections of Swift published to date. The creative vision for the book was conceived by Swift and Barker and is a fusion of three themes that represent the different sides of Taylor: every day casual, Hollywood glamour and performer chic.The auction runs through December 17 and can be found at eBay here.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Linkin Parks Chester Bennington To Be Honored By MusiCares

first_imgThe ninth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert will honor Chester Bennington, lead vocalist of two-time GRAMMY-winning band Linkin Park, and Tony Alva, legendary skateboarder, surfer, musician and original member of the skateboarding team Dogtown Z-Boys at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on May 30.Bennington will be honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, and for his commitment to helping other addicts with the addiction recovery process. Alva will be the recipient of MusiCares’ From the Heart Award for his unconditional friendship and dedication to the mission and goals of the organization. All proceeds will benefit the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment regardless of their financial situation.“Chester and Tony are passionate and highly influential artists in their respective professions and each of them has achieved impressive and much-deserved success,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and MusiCares. “What unites them around the mission of MusiCares is their willingness to lend their time and talents to raise funds for our organization, and their desire to be of service to music people struggling with addiction. We truly appreciate their steadfast support and committed generosity.”“MusiCares MAP Fund is an amazing program that takes care of their own, and actually saves lives,” said Bennington. “It’s been so rewarding to support them and see firsthand what they’ve accomplished for so many artists.”“Skateboarding, business and music have brought me enormous satisfaction over the years,” said Alva. “It doesn’t compare though with the power of being sober, which I am grateful for every day of my life, and that’s why I wanted to join MusiCares to help raise funds, so more people can get the help they need.”This special dinner and concert offers Living Room Sets that seat 10 for $12,500, Individual Floor Seats for $1,250 per person, and VIP Balcony Seats for $100 per person. Contact Wynnie Wynn for ticket information at 310.392.3777 or General Admission Balcony Seats for $40 per person are available only through AXS beginning at 10 a.m. PT on April 5 at Out of respect for the clients the MusiCares MAP Fund serves, the event will be alcohol-free.Bennington is the lead vocalist for Linkin Park. The alternative band earned their first GRAMMY in 2001 for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Crawling,” a track from their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Their second GRAMMY came in 2005 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Numb/Encore” with Jay-Z. The band has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and is the biggest band on Facebook — with more than 51 million fans and counting. In the span of time since Linkin Park’s debut on the Billboard 200 in 2000, no other artist has had more top 10 singles on the Alternative Songs chart. With the release of their latest album, 2012’s LIVING THINGS, which reached No. 1 in more than 20 countries, no other band has achieved more No. 1 albums this century. In 2005 Linkin Park founded Music For Relief, a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $5 million for victims of natural disasters and environmental projects.Alva is a legendary skateboarder, surfer, musician, and original member of the skateboarding team Dogtown Z-Boys. Considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time, Alva joined the legendary Z-Boys skateboard team in 1972, bringing the trend of skating in empty pools into the mainstream. He is known as the originator of vertical skateboarding, and is credited as one of the first skateboarders to perform frontside airs. In 1974 Alva began a long collaborative relationship with Vans and eventually started his own company, Alva Skateboards, in 1977 at age 19. Alva Skateboards was the first company owned and operated by a skateboarder, and one of the first companies to use layered maple plywood for skate decks. Alva was the first skateboarder to successfully market himself as a brand name, becoming the prototype for the modern professional skateboarder. Alva continues to skate, surf and play music with his band G.F.P. while operating his company Alva Skates and overseeing his board lines Alva|Surfcraft and the Power Station Project. In September 2012 Alva celebrated six years of sobriety.The MusiCares Foundation offers programs and services to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities and car payments; medical expenses including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; psychotherapy; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, and other critical illnesses. MusiCares offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects, including financial, legal, medical, and substance abuse issues, and programs in collaboration with health care professionals that provide services such as flu shots, hearing tests, and medical/dental screenings. The MusiCares MAP Fund allows access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community. Staffed by qualified chemical dependency and intervention specialists, MusiCares Safe Harbor Rooms, supported by the Bohemian Foundation, offer a support network to those in recovery while they are participating in the production of televised music shows and other major music events. MusiCares holds weekly addiction support groups for people to discuss how to best cope with the issues surrounding the recovery process. The MusiCares Sober Touring Network is a database of individuals across the United States who can take music people to recovery support meetings while on the road.Established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. For more information, please visit read more

Naughty Boy And Naughty Bob Join PETA Campaign

first_imgHot on the heels of his Brit Award nomination, comes a new collaboration from chart-topping sound creator Naughty Boy: a brand-new PETA campaign that shows the Hotel Cabana producer reclining with his beloved cat, Naughty Bob, in his lap above the words “It’s Naughty Not to Neuter.”Naughty Boy’s PETA Ad“There’s no excuse for not neutering,” Naughty Boy says. “Animal shelters are severely crowded with dogs and cats, and that will continue as long as too many puppies and kittens are being born. We can fix the problem by ‘fixing’ our dogs and cats.”Why are Naughty Boy and PETA so fixated on getting animals fixed? One unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 cats in just seven years, and an unneutered male can help create limitless litters of kittens. Every year in the UK, many thousands of unwanted animals are left at crowded animal shelters, where many must be put to death. The less fortunate ones will never make it to a shelter – they will be forced to fend for themselves in all weather extremes, lose battles with traffic and disease and have no constant food source. Fixing cats and dogs is also an easy way to ensure healthier, happier animals. Spaying females eliminates stressful heat periods and the risk of developing uterine infections, and it greatly reduces the risk of developing mammary cancer. Neutering makes males far less likely to roam or fight and prevents testicular cancer.Naughty Boy, also known as Shahid Khan, has worked with numerous musicians, including Chipmunk, Wiley, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, Cheryl Cole and Emeli Sandé. Hotel Cabana is his debut album, and its first single, “La La La,” featuring Sam Smith, reached the top of the UK’s music charts.Naughty Boy joins a growing list of musicians and producers – including Jay Sean, Waka Flocka Flame, Mark Ronson, Simon Cowell, Joss Stone, Paul McCartney and Morrissey – who have teamed up with PETA to promote kindness to animals.For more information, please visit read more

America Ferrera Takes A Stand On International Womens Day

first_imgAmerica Ferrera has taken a stand on International Women’s Day.“Today, on International Women’s Day, there’s a lot we can be proud of when it comes to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls everywhere,” wrote Ferrera in an email to supporters of the Clinton Foundation. “But the truth is, we still have so much more to do. Take the fact that women around the world still don’t have equal pay, or that nine countries around the world don’t provide for paid maternity leave.“When you look at the facts, you have to ask yourself: Where do we really stand when it comes to gender equality? The answer is: We’re just not there yet.“In a symbolic act, the Clinton Foundation, and a multitude of partners are temporarily removing women from images we see every day to show that we’re not there yet on gender equality. I’m taking a stand with them and you can too.”Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, and the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project engaged in a collaborative effort to raise awareness that women are “not there” yet on issues of gender equality. For the entire day, the media landscape was eerily devoid of women, and the public was directed to to learn why.“We are taking a collective stand that full participation for women and girls anywhere and everywhere remains the unfinished business of the 21st century,” said Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton. “By knowing the facts and what has worked and hasn’t worked to advance gender equality, we can accelerate the pace of change for women and girls — both at home and around the world.”NOT THERE, which was created in collaboration with award-winning agency Droga5, coincides with the release of the No Ceilings Full Participation Report, a 20-year data driven review on the status of women and girls since 1995, when Secretary Clinton called on the international community to ensure that “women’s rights are human rights.” At viewers are able to see the facts on gender equality in full focus and are encouraged to learn more and explore the interactive series of data visualizations created by No Ceilings.Condé Nast, for the first time in history, removed the cover images on Vogue, Glamour, SELF, Allure, Teen Vogue, W, and Brides and directed readers to to learn about gender equality. On Clear Channel Outdoor’s Times Square billboard, the largest digital ad display in North America, Beats by Dre removed images of women and directed tourists from around the world to visit Invaluable advertisements from Unilever brands Dove and TRESemmé, Under Armour, kate spade new york, the New York City Ballet, and many more removed women and directed audiences to Additionally, the NOT THERE campaign and No Ceilings data was featured in Snapchat’s newly launched “Discover” platform as a day-long takeover of Snapchat’s “Snap Channel.” And, iHeartMedia radio stations across the country launched an on-air NOT THERE campaign that played clips by iconic female artists – sans the female vocal track.“I think sometimes the media gives the false impression, through its visual imagery, that women are treated equally in the global conversation. It is important for us to correct that impression, even symbolically on March 8, to move the conversation forward and create real change,” said Anna Wintour, Artistic Director of Condé Nast and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue.Once on, visitors are greeted by the voices of Amy Poehler, Cameron Diaz, Jenny Slate, Padma Lakshmi, and Sienna Miller, who came together in a sharable video to inspire Americans to learn the facts on gender equality and inspire action on a global scale.last_img read more

Oxfam Joins With Stars To Launch I Hear You Project In Support

first_imgThis week, Oxfam launches “I Hear You”, a project designed to amplify the personal stories of the world’s most vulnerable refugees with some of Hollywood’s leading voices.The video series features Margot Robbie, John Cho, Gael García Bernal, Minnie Driver, and more reading the real life stories of refugees from around the world who have been forced from their homes as they flee conflict, disaster, poverty, inequality, and the effects of climate change, in the hopes that you might hear their stories and join the campaign.In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ), six of the videos, featuring Margot Robbie, John Cho, Gael García Bernal, Anna Camp, Minnie Driver, and Al Madrigal will debut on Vanity Fair’s website, along with CNÉ’s The Scene, here.In addition, “I Hear You” features Melissa Leo, Oliver Platt, Erik Griffin, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Ari Graynor, Jordana Brewster, Yasmine Al Massri, and Andrea Riseborough. The creator of the project, Julie Anne Robinson, is a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated theatre, TV and film director/producer.“I came up with the idea for this project because I wanted to find a way to communicate the human stories of displaced people,” said Julie Anne Robinson. “These are people we tend to fear and reject, but I found they are driven by the same things as all of us- love of their children and a desire to work.”“I don’t believe we can become numb to the pain and suffering of so many people in the world when there are actually real things we can do,” said Minnie Driver, actor and Oxfam celebrity ambassador. “We can share and we can be available to help other each other, and it feels like we’ve forgotten that. I hope that this project helps to remind people of their fundamental humanity and the kindness and love we can and must extend to one another. Love is better than anything.”The full series of videos, including information on how to take action, can be found on Oxfam’s site There, visitors can hear the real life stories of refugees, read more about the refugee crisis, and learn what they can do to help. Viewers can text “I Hear You” to 977-79 to join the campaign.“More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes because of violence, persecution and war. These are not just numbers. These are people, with individual stories just like every one of us. Now is a time for solidarity and compassion, not a time to close our minds, our hearts, or our borders.” said Raymond Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Oxfam is pleased to join together with Vanity Fair to shine a spotlight on the millions of individuals who have endured unimaginable loss and hardship. Together we can bring an end to the worst refugee crisis of our time.”Oxfam is calling for people to stand together in support of refugees by signing on to a pledge to act with compassion towards all people who have been forced to flee their homes and to advocate for displaced people to be welcomed to the U.S. and other countries regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion or sexual preference. Oxfam is currently working in 20 countries affected by the refugee crisis to help people who have fled their homes because of violence, conflict or persecution. Oxfam is providing food and clean water and building much-needed toilets to prevent the spread of disease, while also making sure people have the information they need to stay safe and obtain access to legal aid. You can sign the pledge at read more

Your Chance To Live Under Stephen Colberts Desk With Jon Stewart

first_imgHere’s your chance to live under Stephen Colbert’s desk with Jon Stewart during a taping of The Late Show.Live Under Stephen Colbert’s Desk with Jon StewartFun fact: Jon Stewart has been living under Stephen Colbert’s desk since his departure from The Daily Show. More fun fact: You’re joining him there for the most cramped and hilarious time of your life! Forget behind the scenes, because you’re going underneath the scenes for a truly inside look at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. You’ll meet Stephen, hang out with Jon under the desk for a segment, ask that night’s guest a question and deliver one epic punchline that’s sure to bring down the house. And since Jon gets to tag along on Stephen’s show, you’ll also get to bring a friend of your own to cheer you on from VIP seats. Flights, hotel and nonstop laughs included.To be in to win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, all you have to do is donate to NEXT for Autism through The more you donate, the more chances you have to win.NEXT for AUTISM is a nonprofit organization that transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching and supporting innovative programs. They believe that individuals with autism have the potential to live fulfilling, productive lives when supported by excellent services and connected to their communities. While many organizations engage in advocacy or fund scientific research, NEXT For AUTISM addresses the needs of people with autism and their families across the country right now. They create and support exceptional educational, clinical and vocational programs, all cutting-edge, all with an eye towards affecting fundamental shifts in current approaches to autism services. Autism now affects an estimated 1 in 68 American children. The need for support far exceeds the current services available. With your donation, NEXT for AUTISM can continue to address the needs of individuals and families living with autism right now.last_img read more

IfOnly And Lucasfilm Offer Signed Movie Memorabilia To Support NapaSonoma Fire Relief

first_imgLucasfilm has teamed up with Tipping Point to help support the relief efforts in the Napa and Sonoma areas which were devastated by fires earlier this year.Rare First Order Stormtrooper helmets worn during the filming of Star Wars: The Force AwakensThe team behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the latest chapter in the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, are giving fans three chances to bid on truly unique signed memorabilia through IfOnly.Star Wars fans will be able to bid on two screen-used First Order stormtrooper helmets worn during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and have never been offered to the public until now.One of the helmets celebrates the recent release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and features signatures by screenwriter and director, Rian Johnson, as well as Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy. The second helmet includes autographs from both The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy.Finally, an extremely limited-edition porg maquette, which is one of only five screen-used examples ever made, features the autographs of Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy, and creature designer Neal Scanlan. With detailed etching and colors, the statuette showcases the doe-eyed creature that populates the sacred Jedi island of Ach-To. This particular porg was used as a film prop to line up shots in The Last Jedi in several locations overseas and in-studio throughout the filmmaking process.Proceeds from the sale of each of these one-of-a-kind collectibles will benefit Tipping Point’s Emergency Fire Relief Fund, supporting low-income communities affected by the devastating fires in the North Bay.“Giving back to the community is one of the most important privileges we have,” says Lucasfilm EVP and General Manager, Lynwen Brennan. “This particular tragedy both directly and indirectly affected so many of our employees, so it’s a cause that is very near and dear to us. We are delighted to be able to help and offer our support by providing some rare pieces for auction that we hope will draw attention to this extraordinary relief effort from our friends at IfOnly and Tipping Point.”“We are thrilled and honored to once again work with our friends at Lucasfilm in their efforts to support a worthy cause by featuring these incredible pieces of cinematic history. As a Bay Area company, we are proud to be a part of the efforts to help those most affected by the North Bay fires,” said Sean O’Neill, Director of Entertainment at IfOnly.The auctions begin on February 9th, with the first offering closing on March 2nd at 3pm EST; they can be found at read more

Annual SiriusXM Top Comic competition ups the ante with more cash prizes

first_img Facebook Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO – SiriusXM Canada, the country’s leading audio entertainment company, today announced the return of the highly anticipated SiriusXM Top Comic competition in search of Canada’s best in comedy. New this year, the grand prize winner will receive international exposure with a guaranteed spot to perform at JFL Sydney in Australia, in addition to JFL42 (Toronto), JFL NorthWest (Vancouver), Just For Laughs Montreal and inclusion in a JFL TV taping airing on a Bell property network. The Grand Prize winner will also receive $25,000 from SiriusXM; and for the first time in the competition, the two runners-up will also receive cash prizes of $2,500 each. Advertisementcenter_img SiriusXM will select the 60 best comics and provide them with travel grants to audition in front of a live audience and a panel of industry judges, either in Toronto (May 22-24) or Calgary (May 29-31). Auditions will be hosted by Ben Miner and recorded for broadcast throughout North America on SiriusXM’s uncensored comedy channel, Canada Laughs (ch. 168).Three comics from each night will be selected by the judges to move on to the Semi-Finals while Canadians will have the chance to vote daily for their favourites. The six comics with the most votes, as well as two additional comics chosen by a panel of industry judges, will move on to compete as Finalists live on stage at the Top Comic Finale in Torontoduring Just For Laughs’ JFL42 festival, presented in association with SiriusXM.Top Comic is part of SiriusXM Canada’s ongoing initiatives to provide exposure to Canadian talent. Last year, New Westminster, BC’s Gavin Matts took home the title and grand prize, with Sterling Scott of Edmonton, AB and Graham Chittenden of Brantford, ON placing as runners-up. Previous winners include Chris Robinson, Faisal Butt, Pete Zedlacher, Eric Andrews, Matt O’Brien and Brian Stollery.Canada Laughs (ch. 168) features uncensored Canadian comedy 24/7 including stand-up, sketch and more, putting the spotlight on the rich pool of extraordinary talent from Canada. Canada Laughs is available to all Sirius and XM subscribers in Canada and across the U.S. and joins SiriusXM’s hilarious comedy lineup, including Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Radio, Comedy Central Radio, SiriusXM Comedy Greats, Raw Dog Comedy, Jeff and Larry’s Comedy Roundup, Laugh USA and more.SiriusXM subscribers will be able to listen to Top Comic content on SiriusXM radios, and those with streaming access can listen online, on-the-go with the SiriusXM mobile app and at home on a wide variety of connected devices including smart TVs, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers and more. Go to to learn more.About SiriusXM CanadaSirius XM Canada Holdings Inc., operating as SiriusXM Canada, is the country’s leading entertainment company. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music; premier sports talk and live events; comedy; news; and exclusive talk and entertainment. SiriusXM is available in vehicles from every major car company and on smartphones and other connected devices as well as online at SiriusXM Canada on Facebook at, on Twitter at @siriusxmcanada, on Instagram at @siriusxmcanada and on YouTube at radios and accessories are available from retailers nationwide and online at SiriusXM. In addition, SiriusXM Music for Business provides commercial-free music to a variety of businesses. SiriusXM is also a leading provider of connected vehicles services, giving customers access to a suite of safety, security, and convenience services including automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery assistance, enhanced roadside assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.SiriusXM Canada has been designated one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies nine years in a row and is currently a Platinum Club Member. Login/Register With: “There’s no denying that Canada is home to some of the best in comedy, and we can’t wait to once again showcase and celebrate homegrown talent throughout the competition,” said Ben Miner, Canadian comic and host of SiriusXM’s Canada Laughs.  “We’re thrilled to be able to include an international performance opportunity for greater exposure on the world stage. For a comedian, the chance to perform at JFL Festivals across Canada, and internationally, can absolutely catapult their career.”Starting today at 10 am ET, Canadian comics can register at where they will be able to submit a video of their best material. The deadline to register is Friday, April 27 at 11:59 pm ET. Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgDebbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds a photo of her son during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 14, 2018. (Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitter Advertisementcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO – A film about the killing of a young Indigenous man in Saskatchewan has won a top prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.Tasha Hubbard’s “nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up” has won the best Canadian feature documentary award, which comes with a $10,000 cash prize.The film, which opened the festival, is about the case of Colten Boushie. Advertisement The 22-year-old member of the Red Pheasant First Nation was shot to death after the vehicle he was in drove onto a farm property near Biggar, Sask., in 2016.Last year, a jury acquitted farmer Gerald Stanley of second-degree murder after he testified his gun went off accidentally as he was trying to scare off young people on his property.The Hot Docs jury said the film “has created a lasting document that brings together past and future to illuminate oppression and resilience.”Other Hot Docs award winners announced Friday night include Matt Gallagher’s “Prey,” which won a $5,000 special jury prize for its look at a sexual abuse survivor who takes on the Catholic church in an Ontario court.The emerging Canadian filmmaker award, which comes with a $3,000 cash prize, went to Emily Gan for “Cavebirds.”Pailin Wedel’s “Hope Frozen” won the $10,000 best international feature documentary award.The $50,000 Rogers Audience Award for best Canadian documentary will be announced as the festival wraps on Sunday.last_img read more


first_img Login/Register With: DRAKE HYPES RAPTORS WIN IN ‘MONEY IN THE GRAVE’ VIDEORapper hoists Toronto’s NBA trophy at OVO Fest, lounges with Rick Ross in new black-and-white clipDrake chills with Rick Ross and celebrates the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship onstage in his new “Money in the Grave” video. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Advertisement Advertisement The clip opens with Drake exiting a vehicle as an excavator digs out a grave nearby. From there, the rapper hangs out on a basketball court, sips wine with a cigar-smoking Ross and performs live at Toronto’s OVO Fest after the Raptors’ victory (while decked out in the jersey of Percy “Master P” Miller, who played for the team in the 1999 pre-season) READ MORE DRAKE DROPS NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR ‘MONEY IN THE GRAVE’ FEATURING RICK ROSSDrake has unveiled his moody new black and white music video for “Money in the Grave”, featuring Rick Ross.The Canadian rapper can be seen boarding private jets and sipping fancy wine in the clip, also filming some scenes from a construction site. READ MOREDRAKE AND RICK ROSS SHARE VIDEO FOR “MONEY IN THE GRAVEHaving teamed up on a pair of new tracks this year, Drake and Rick Ross have now shared a video for “Money in the Grave.”Directed by Theo Skudra, the black and white clip opens with Drake at an oil well in the dead of night, backfilling an open hole in the earth as his entourage looks on. READ MORE Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more

MKO member dies in police custody

first_imgAPTN National NewsA northern First Nation is accusing both the RCMP and Health Canada of negligence after one of their band members died while in custody.Witnesses say Tracy Okemow of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak First Nation repeatedly called for help but was allegedly told to quit faking.She was later rushed to Winnipeg hospital where she later died.APTN National News reporter Ntawnis Piapot has more on this developing story.last_img

Exiled Waterhen residents face being evicted again

first_imgAPTN National NewsNearly 300 people were removed from their community by a tactical team in the mid 1990s and feel they are at risk of being displaced again.Former members of Waterhen First Nation have been living in exile since in a small Manitoba town.A dozen of them face eviction and fear they could end up homeless.APTN’s Dennis Ward has the story.last_img

Indigenous women share successes as business owners

first_imgAPTN National NewsFirst Nation, Metis and Inuit women take on a lot of roles.Caregiver, teacher, role model and, sometimes, business owner.Women entrepreneurs gathered in Gatineau this week to share their successes and everything in between.APTN’s Annette Francis has the story.last_img

Mohawk Elder Billy Two Rivers talks wrestling the Oka Crisis and being

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsMention the name Billy Two Rivers to someone, and there’s a good chance they’ll know him for any number of reasons.Especially old school wrestling fans, who will remember his 24 years in the ring, where according to Two Rivers, he never played a villain.“No, I didn’t have a choice, they loved me,” the 83 year old said with a laugh.Ever the showman, he agreed to meet with APTN even though he’s currently rehabbing a back injury in the hospital.Two Rivers made his debut in 1953 after being trained by fellow Mohawk wrestler Don Eagle.Eagle saw Two Rivers playing lacrosse in his home of Kahnawà:ke, and recruited him.They trained in Columbus, Ohio until Two Rivers made his debut in Detroit in 1953 at the age of 17.When asked to describe his first match, Two Rivers guffawed.“The first one was a laugh on me.”Two Rivers always entered the ring by vaulting over the top ropes.Aside from being flashy, it was also a way to avoid getting his famous headdress stuck between the ropes on entry.But nerves got the best of him during his first match ever in Detroit.“My first time there, my knees were knocking. So I went, I got up on the apron on the ring, I grabbed the top two ropes, and I vaulted,” he said. “I was so nervous, as I was clearing it my toe caught the top rope and you ever see a chicken fall into a ring? There I was on the mat in a pile of feathers. Well, I never lived that down for about 10 years.”It didn’t help that there was a group of Mohawk ironworkers on the crowd to help him remember.(Billy Two Rivers enters the ring in classic style)Still, despite a rocky start, Two Rivers combined a fierce wrestling style with colourful regalia to travel the world.The United Kingdom, Japan, the United States all came out to cheer him on.Well, most of them.Right before a match in Hanover, Germany a spectator criticized Two Rivers for wearing an inauthentic pan Indigenous outfit.Two Rivers said he had to explain that even though he’s Mohawk, he was proud to wear boots made by Huron-Wendat and a headdress gifted from the Blood tribe in Alberta,“He says to me ‘what is this you’re not Indian, what are you?’ I said ‘yeah I’m Indian, I’m a native North American Indian’ he said ‘what are you dressed like this for’ I said it’s because I’m an ambassador and I represent the people all across the country,” said Two RiversBut being an ambassador wasn’t enough to make him feel safe when it came to wrestling in places like Belfast during the late 60’s, when the violence known at as “the Troubles” was among its worst in Northern Ireland.“They had four gates to get into the city,” recalled Two Rivers. “At night the soldiers would come out, their faces darkened, they would stand in a corner so as not to be seen, waiting for the rebels or something. And the greatest concern was that they were going to put a bomb underneath the ring or something,” said Two Rivers.“They were bombing everything back in those days.”That wouldn’t be the last time in his life Two Rivers would end up in a militarized zone.(Billy Two Rivers in hospital with a picture of himself jumping into the ring)After ending his wrestling career in the mid 70’s at the request of his daughter, Two Rivers became a council Chief for the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke.He was among the leadership group charged with brokering peace after Kahnaw:àke barricaded the Mercier bridge in support Kanehsatake during what’s known as the Oka crisis.“I got a call about 5:30, six in the morning, and it was [Grand Chief] Joe [Norton] and he says ‘Billy, the bridge is blocked’ I said ‘What!’”Despite having travelled the world over, the summer of 1990 was witness to the worst act of racism he ever saw… and it was right next door to his own community in Montreal.In what’s become known as the “Rocks at Whiskey Trench” incident, a convoy of Mohawk women, children, and elders leaving Kahnawà:ke  were stoned in their cars by Quebecers on August 28, 1990.Two Rivers says the incident was premeditated.“There was fellows going to the different businesses there and saying ‘come on out, and let’s stop these Indians.’ These people, they didn’t care,” said Two Rivers.Still, Two Rivers takes pride in helping to broker peace on the Kahnawà:ke side near the end of the 78 day stand-off.Then, in 1998, after 20 years on council, Two Rivers retired.Well, retired might be a misnomer.Since then he’s done acting in films and TV shows like Mohawk Girls, had a photo of himself used on the cover of a Van Morrison album – without his permission – (that led to an out of court settlement) and served as an elder for the Assembly of First Nations.But most of all, Two Rivers is proud of his nine grandchildren.Many of whom speak Kanienʼkehá꞉ka, the Mohawk language, with him.Judging from pictures of his family pinned to a bulletin board, it also appears they have also inherited his athleticism.“There’s my granddaughter, she won her [Olympic] wrestling championship,” Two Rivers says of a photo of her pinning another wrestler with a headlock.To say that Two Rivers has lived a rich life is to state the obvious.“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in this world over here, I’m trying to pass everything I know on to the next generations,” he concludes.But to assume that Two Rivers doesn’t have at least few more chapters left would likely be a mistake.And while he doesn’t mind being remembered for his wrestling, his body of work suggests he should be better known as something else: Billy Two Rivers, renaissance read more

Founder of Canada Jetlines takes helm as CEO of rival Flair Airlines

first_imgKELOWNA, B.C. – The founder of Canada Jetlines is taking over as chief executive of Canadian discount carrier Flair Airlines Ltd.Jim Scott replaces Flair founder and former president Jim Rogers, who will remain an adviser until 2019 after selling his shares in the Kelowna-based company.Scott is a former airline pilot who led Canada Jetlines between 2012 and last year.He will be joined by Jerry Presley, who represents the majority owners, as executive chairman. He was previously an adviser to Canada Jetlines.The changes come more than six months after Flair’s purchase of NewLeaf Travel Company’s assets.Flair Airlines currently flies from seven Canadian cities: Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Vancouver. It has plans to soon announce an expansion of its fleet and route network.The airline faces the prospect of competition with the launch next summer of WestJet’s discount Swoop airline and Canada Jetlines.Flair operates seven aircraft and plans to add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft later in 2018. Four more planes are slated to be added to the fleet in 2019 to accommodate nearly 1.5 million passengers.last_img read more