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World stock markets steady following terror attacks; impact ‘limited’

TORONTO – North American markets rose Monday morning, following on a mixed day for European and Asian shares amid worries about the possible economic effects of the attacks in Paris last week.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index gained 23.23 points to reach 13,098.65, helped by strength in the gold and health care sectors. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 13.37 points at 17,231.87, while the broader S&P 500 index gained 0.21 of a point at 2,023.25.

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Shares were holding up better than many expected in the wake of the terrorist attacks that killed and wounded hundreds in France’s capital.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX edged up 0.4 per cent, while France’s CAC-40 was little changed. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell nearly 1 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost nearly 1 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.7 per cent.

“Immediate market reaction to the Paris outrages has been limited in European markets,” Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said, suggesting the impact of the Paris attacks would be of a similar magnitude to terror attacks on London and in Madrid a decade ago.

“Experience from the London subway and bus bombings in 2005 as well as the Madrid train bombings in 2004 suggest that the economic impact should be limited and temporary,” Archer said.

On the commodity markets, the December gold contract gained US$4.30 at US$1,085.20, while the December crude oil contract slipped 15 cents to US$40.59.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.16 of a cent to 74.93 cents U.S.

—; With files from The Associated Press, Global News

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Transplant gives new face, scalp to burned firefighter

NEW YORK – A volunteer firefighter badly burned in a 2001 blaze has received the most extensive face transplant ever, covering his skull and much of his neck, a New York hospital announced Monday.

The surgery took place in August at the NYU Langone Medical Center. The patient, 41-year-old Patrick Hardison, is still undergoing physical therapy at the hospital but plans to return home to Senatobia, Mississippi, in time for Thanksgiving.

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The surgery has paved the way for him to regain normal vision, and in an interview last week he said that will let him accomplish a major goal:

“I’ll start driving again.”

More than two dozen face transplants have been performed worldwide since the first one in France in 2005. Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team that did Hardison’s transplant and recently wrote a review of the field, said Hardison’s is by far the most extensive performed successfully in terms of the amount of tissue transferred.

The transplant extends from the top of the head, over Hardison’s skull and down to the collarbones in front; in back, it reaches far enough down that only a tiny patch of Hardison’s original hair remains — its colour matched by the dark blond hair growing on his new scalp. The transplant includes both ears.

It’s “a historic achievement,” said Dr. Amir Dorafshar, co-director of the face transplant program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the operation. “This type of treatment option will potentially revolutionize the care of patients with severe facial burn injuries.”

The surgery began Aug. 14 and lasted 26 hours. It left no scars on Hardison’s new face because the seam of the transplanted tissue runs down the back of his skull.

The donor was 26-year-old New York artist and competitive bicyclist David P. Rodebaugh. He had died of injuries from a biking accident on a Brooklyn street.

Hardison was burned Sept. 5, 2001, in Senatobia in northwestern Mississippi. A 27-year-old father of three at the time who’d served for seven years as a volunteer firefighter, he entered a burning house to search for a woman. The roof collapsed, giving him third-degree burns on his head, neck and upper torso.

He spent about two months at a Memphis, Tennessee, burn centre. Doctors used a layer of skin from his legs to cover his wounded head, but he had lost his ears, lips, most of his nose and virtually all of his eyelid tissue.

Since he could not blink, doctors used skin grafts to reinforce what remained of his eyelids and sewed them nearly shut to protect his eyes. That left him with only pinhole vision.

“I was almost totally blind,” he recalled. “I could see just a little bit.”

His face was “one huge scar,” Rodriguez said. Hardison still went to baseball games and did other things outside, although people stared. He playfully told curious children that he had fought a bear. Still, he said, life was hard. He endured 71 surgeries.

Eventually a church friend of his wrote to Rodriguez, who had performed a 2012 face transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The doctor said he would try to help, and in August 2014 Hardison was placed on a waiting list.

“We were looking for the ideal donor,” one who matched Hardison on biological traits to minimize the risk of his body’s rejecting the new tissue, as well as things like skin and hair colour, said Rodriguez, who by then had moved to NYU Langone.

A year later, Rodebaugh was identified as a potential donor by LiveOnNY, the non-profit organization that seeks transplant organs and tissue in the New York City area. A native of the Columbus, Ohio, area, he had signed up to donate organs. His mother gave permission to use his face, noting that Rodebaugh had always wanted to be a firefighter, said LiveOnNY president Helen Irving.

The hospital paid for the transplant operation, which included attaching four bone segments to Hardison’s skull, as anchors to prevent the face from drooping.

Now, three months later, the lower part of his face remains swollen, but Rodriguez said that will go away in a few months. With his new eyelids and more surgery, he’s expected to regain a normal field of vision for the first time in more than a decade. He will have to continuing taking medications to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant.

Eventually, “a casual observer will not notice anything that is odd” in Hardison’s new face, which will blend features of his original face and the donor’s, Rodriguez said.

Hardison said his new face has already made a difference when he goes outside.

“I used to get stared at all the time, but now I’m just an average guy,” he said.

He’s been told he can’t return to firefighting because of insurance concerns, but he has another plan: motivational speaking or something similar, perhaps for wounded veterans.

His message? “Just how there is hope.”

©2015

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Anonymous declares war on Islamic State after Paris attacks

The hacker collective Anonymous declared war against the Islamic State group Saturday after a series of brutal attacks in Paris on Friday night killed 129 people and injured hundreds more.

In a video posted to YouTube on Nov. 14 a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask said the group would hunt down the Islamic State militants who claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

WATCH: Minute of silence held at Sorbonne, crowd breaks into another chorus of French national anthem

“Expect massive cyberattacks. War is declared. Get prepared,” says the masked man in French.

“Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down. You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go. We will launch the biggest operation ever against you.”

“We don’t forgive and we don’t forget.”

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READ MORE: Who is Abdelhamid Abaaoud? Belgian jihadi ID’d as mastermind of Paris attacks

Anonymous is an international network of activist computer hackers which has claimed responsibility for many cyberattacks, including others on ISIS and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Following the January attacks against the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris they attacked websites related to Islamic State and took down thousands of ISIS twitter accounts.

WATCH: Mohamad Abdeslam, one of the brothers of a dead suicide bomber in the Paris attacks, said on Monday neither he or his family could have imagined that they were involved with the attacks in Paris on Friday evening.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris where police say attackers worked in three synchronized teams, wearing matching suicide vests and carrying the same weapons laid siege on a stadium, a concert hall and Paris cafes leaving 129 people dead and over 350 wounded, 99 of them seriously.

©2015

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Injured Manitoba Moose forwards Raffl, Fraser almost game ready

WINNIPEG —; Two injured members of the Manitoba Moose are nearing their return but it won’t happen during this weekend’s series against the Bakersfield Condors.

Thomas Raffl is once again taking full contact in practice. He was seen last week skating with the team but was wearing a red, non-contact jersey. The forward has missed essentially the entire year after dislocating his collar bone and breaking a rib in Manitoba’s season opener against the Marlies in Toronto. Raffl is still listed as week-to-week.

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“It’s a little disappointing,” Raffl said. “I worked out hard all summer and prepared for the season. I just wanted to play but that’s life. You’re always going to be thrown back but you have to stand up and come back.”

RELATED: Manitoba Moose end disappointing home stand with another loss

Matt Fraser meanwhile participated in his first practice on Monday since suffering his second concussion in as many years.

“Not being part of the team, working out on own and skating on your own, you can only do so much of it before it’s too much,” said the Moose forward. “Getting out there with the guys and being part of a practice is something I crave. It’s good to be back out there but it has to be baby steps to make sure I’m prepared when the puck drops.”

Fraser was injured by a brutal hit from behind in a match against the Milwaukee Admirals on October 29. Admirals forward Vladislav Kamenev was suspended two games for the blow.

“I don’t think you ever really expect to get hit from behind,” Fraser said. “It’s partially my fault for not being prepared. You have to make sure you’re on at all times but at the same time, that player has to recognize when he can see numbers that you can’t do that.”

The Moose will try for their first win streak of the season Friday when they host the Condors in the first of a two-game in three days set.

©2015

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Large-scale emergency exercise gets underway for people living near Point Lepreau nuclear plant

FREDERICTON – It’s a situation many in the province don’t want to think about, but over the next two days New Brunswick Power, in consultation with the province, will conduct a large-scale emergency response exercise to prepare for a nuclear emergency at Point Lepreau Nuclear Generation Station.

As part of the licence to operate the generating station, they must conduct an emergency response exercise every three years. This year, the exercise involves residents in the area, businesses and schools.

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“We’re going to see a lot of movement of people in the St. George, Saint John area, schools, health care,” said public safety minister Stephen Horsman.

Everyone within a 20 kilometer radius would be evacuated in a real emergency.

READ MORE: Canadian nuclear power plants completing upgrades prompted by Fukushima disaster

Minister Horsman gave details on what people can expect, adding they will be working with the RCMP and Ambulance NB.

As real as possible

Greg MacCallum, Director of New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization, said that residents in the area have been notified of the exercise and about 200 of them have volunteered to take part.

They will be evacuated from their homes, along with any pets and brought to a reception centre.

Students and staff at Fundy Shores School in Dipper Harbour will also be evacuated, he said, adding they will be bused to a nearby school.

“That representative group will enable us to test all those control measures all the way through to including a reception centre, established, set-up to receive them, to register them, to provide for their needs,” MacCallum said.

He added the goal of the excercise is to make it as real as possible.

EMO staff have been preparing for more than 18 months for the exercise, including setting-up a mock decontamination area at the generator in September.

Gaetan Thomas, CEO at NB Power, told reporters that the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in 2011 was a major teaching point for the industry.

“We have done a lot of changes since [then],” he said.

“Tomorrow and Wednesday will be the first time we will experiment some of those procedures. We have the equipment in place; we have the mitigating equipment in place.”

Point Lepreau underwent a multi-billion dollar project to upgrade it between 2008 and 2012. Part of those upgrades included adding back-up generation and its own water supply to keep the reactor cool in an emergency.

Though, on Monday, Minister Horsman stressed that it was unlikely to ever happen.

NB Power will also be testing plans related to grid reliability on the 18 and 19 of November.

©2015

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‘I pretended to be dead for over an hour’: Paris attack survivor’s terrifying account

A young woman’s chilling account of survival on the night of the deadly Paris attacks has swept across the Internet.

Isobel Bowdery was at the Bataclan concert hall Friday night, one of the targets of the coordinated attacks that left 129 dead in the French capital.

READ MORE: Paris attacks: What happened inside Bataclan concert hall?

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“You never think it will happen to you,” her post begins. “It was just a Friday night at a rock show. The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling.”

Bowdery, 22, said at first when three men strapped with explosives entered the hall and started shooting, she and others “naively believed it was all part of the show.”

Soon, she said, it was all too apparent that a “massacre” was underway.

“Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriend’s dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. In an instant.

“Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry —; not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t.”

She wrote that as she “lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet” she envisioned the faces of loved ones, and reflected on good memories of her life.

“The images of those men circling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

READ MORE: Paris attacks: What we know so far about the victims

Eighty-nine people died in the concert hall attack, and many more wounded. Police were eventually able to take control of the hall, and the three attackers were killed by police gunfire and the gunmen’s self-detonated explosives. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Bataclan and other attacks.

VIDEO: Footage captures moment gunshots heard at Bataclan, band flees stage

Bowdery writes that as a survivor she feels compelled to share the stories of the “heroes” who helped her: the man who reassured her and shielded her, the police who rescued her and others in the concert hall, to the “complete strangers” who picked her up and consoled her after the attack, the woman who opened her doors to offer shelter to strangers and even bought Bowdery new clothes to wear so she could change out of her bloodied shirt.

And she pays tribute to those who lost their lives.

READ MORE: Paris attacks: French President calls for 3-month extension of state of emergency

“Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. To live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt [sic] about but sadly will now never be able to fulfill. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.”

Along with her story Bowdery posted a picture of her now blood-stained white shirt in a Facebook post which has been widely shared.

Bowdery, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, was at the concert with her boyfriend who was struck with shrapnel and injured; the two were separated in the chaos. In his Facebook post on the attack, Amaury Baudoin urges the world to “come together”.

“It isn’t France which is being targeted, it’s Freedom, your Freedom so I urged you to come together. The war they’re waging is the war of fear. Show them that we’re not afraid and that we won’t fall into the grips of hatred.”

Global News reached out to Bowdery for comment, but did not receive a response by time of publication.

©2015

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WATCH: Astronauts observe moment of silence for victims of Paris attack

NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) paid their respects to the victims of the Paris attacks on Monday.

Mission Control in Houston announced the moment of silence to honour the 129 people who were killed in terrorist attacks around the city Friday night.

In a co-ordinated attack, eight men shot and killed people indiscriminately as Parisians were out enjoying a leisurely night in the City of Lights. Seven of the men blew themselves up.

“We were obviously shocked and saddened by what occurred there in Paris, and we stand with the people around the world in the fight…against terrorism,” said commander Scott Kelly who is taking part in a one-year mission aboard the ISS.

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  • Paris attacks: What happened inside Bataclan concert hall?

©2015

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“I really didn’t expect he was going to punch me.” Father and son assaulted while cycling – Halifax

HALIFAX – Jesse Williams is sporting a black eye today after he and his 64-year-old father Peter Williams were assaulted while cycling on Old Sambro Road Sunday morning.

“It took me completely off guard that somebody would feel that an incident in traffic would merit jumping out of their car and punching me in the face,” Jesse told Global News on Monday.

Halifax Regional Police say the cyclists were heading down the road when a vehicle passed them near West Pennant Road. Peter says the vehicle passed too close to his son Jesse, that’s when Jesse gave the driver a hand gesture and things started to get out of control.

“The driver proceeded to slam his brakes on in front of us almost causing my son to crash into him. Where upon the driver jumped out and proceeded to assault us,” Peter said.

The driver first punched Jesse in the face and then punched Peter. He then took off before returning to the scene to wait for police.

Jesse Williams is pictured here with an injury to his right eye and cheek moments after being punched in the face on Sunday.

Courtesy of Jesse Williams

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The 50-year-old male driver has been charged with two counts of assault in relation to the incident, and is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.

A change in attitude

“I was really scared. He knocked me to the ground,” said Peter.

“I really didn’t expect he was going to punch me…and he did,” Jesse said. “I feel a bit rattled.”

The pair suffered minor injuries in the assault, but the ordeal has left them both feeling shaken.

Peter is a cycling enthusiast, he and his son ride the Sambro loop often, but says they won’t anymore.

“Honestly I am afraid to ride Sambro Road right now. I don’t know if I will go back to riding there. I really don’t know what to do. So yes, as of today it’s changed the way I feel about cycling in HRM,” said Peter.

©2015

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U.S. military to boost intelligence sharing with France

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration announced Monday a new intelligence-sharing arrangement with France designed to more readily and quickly allow joint military planning in the campaign against the Islamic State.

After President Barack Obama announced the arrangement to reporters in Turkey, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that Defence Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have authorized military personnel to share information quickly with their French counterparts.

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Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the action was taken in light of the terror attacks in Paris. French warplanes bombed Islamic State targets in Syria Sunday in close co-operation with the U.S. military.

READ MORE: French President calls for 3-month extension of state of emergency

Cook did not provide details about the kinds of intelligence that would be shared but said the new instructions build on efforts made over the past year to work more closely with French military, intelligence and security services to target the Islamic State.

Current and former American intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Washington already maintains extremely close counter terrorism co-operation with Paris. The new sharing mainly involves military intelligence in Syria and Iraq, they said. Bureaucratic hurdles slow the exchange of such information, even among allies.

The new arrangement would allow the U.S. to share intelligence with France that previously has been limited to what’s known as the “Five Eyes” of English-speaking countries – the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The intelligence would allow France to increase its ability to identify and propose targets to be hit by airstrikes, officials say.

France is not a member of the Five Eyes and will not become one, officials say. Those countries maintain near-universal sharing of electronic eavesdropping and other intelligence, and tend not to spy on one another.

READ MORE: Canada’s fight against ISIS —; Will it end, and what happens next?

Close allies though they may be, France and the U.S. have a history of spying on one another. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden disclosed American eavesdropping on French officials, and the French for years have carried out economic spying against the U.S., American officials have said.

Large segments of the French public also were disturbed by Snowden revelations of French co-operation with American mass surveillance, which complicated the intelligence relationship.

Just because information is shared does not mean it is always acted upon.

A senior Turkish official, for example, tells The Associated Press that his country shared information last year and in June about Omar Ismail Mostefai, who has been named as one of the Paris attackers. Mostefai entered Turkey in 2013, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Turkey never heard back from France, the official said.

—;

Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Lolita C. Baldor and Desmond Butler contributed to this story.

©2015

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Federal government formally drops niqab appeal

The Liberal government has officially dropped an appeal of a court’s decision allowing women to wear niqabs during citizenship ceremonies.

Immigration Minister John McCallum and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould formally noticed the Supreme Court of Canada of the decision to drop the appeal on Monday.

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“The Federal Court of Canada found that the policy requiring women who wear the niqab to unveil themselves to take the Oath of Citizenship is unlawful on administrative law grounds, and the Federal Court of Appeal upheld this ruling. The government respects the decision of both courts and will not seek further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

“Canada’s diversity is among its greatest strengths, and today we have ensured that successful citizenship candidates continue to be included in the Canadian family. We are a strong and united country because of, not in spite of, our differences.”

The Conservative government expressed its intention to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision about a month before the election.

Justin Trudeau made it clear at the time that his government would not appeal to the ruling.

Stephen Harper’s government argued it was important for new citizens to show their face at the moment they become Canadian.

The Liberals accused the Conservatives of using the niqab, which is worn by only a small number of women, as a distraction and a wedge issue during the recent federal election campaign.

with a file from

©2015

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Alberta school boards will not debate LGBTQ policy

EDMONTON – A proposal for the Alberta School Boards Association to create a policy to protect all LGBTQ students and staff in Alberta was voted down Monday.

Alberta school boards are in Edmonton for their annual meeting and Edmonton Public was set to propose an “emergent resolution,” but the issue for debate was voted down.

The Edmonton Public School Board wanted to add the policy to the conference agenda. In order for that to appen, two thirds of the more than 60 boards had to vote in favour.

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READ MORE: Edmonton Public School Board calls on ASBA to support LGBTQ policy

It was close, but in the end, the motion was defeated.

Thirty-nine boards – or 62 per cent – voted in favour, including Edmonton Public and Catholic boards. But, 66 per cent was needed.

Twenty-four boards – or 38 per cent – did not feel the LGBTQ debate was an emergent issue.

“We’re shocked,” said Edmonton Public School Board Chair Michael Janz. “The minister gave clear direction to school boards that he expected policy to be enacted in the next four months.”

“We can’t think of a possibly more emergent issue right now in the province in education. This has been an international news story.”

One board that voted against the motion told Global News it is not against the policy, but already has one that protects all students and staff.

LGBTQ advocates say it’s a major blow.

“I’m really concerned by the boards that voted against this motion,” said Dr. Kristopher Wells, with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services. “Why don’t they see this as an issue that should be part of public discussion for a public Alberta School Boards Association? What are they afraid of?

“The silence is speaking overwhelmingly from the Alberta School Boards Association.”

“They refuse to speak up on Bill 10, they refuse to speak up in support of gay-straight alliances, and today, they refuse to speak up in support of LGBTQ students,” added Wells.

Wells asked what will happen to school boards who do not meet the education minister’s policy deadline?

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The president of the ASBA said it has helped school boards navigate an inclusive policy. In a statement Monday, the association said:

“While a procedural debate to place a motion on the order paper was not successful at its Fall General Meeting today, immediately following the procedural debate a directive from the floor was introduced to specifically address LGBTQ+ issues. A directive for action is a formal process that asks the board to take action.”

“Today’s directive for action reaffirms and enhances ASBA’s policy statement that all students should be provided with welcoming, caring, respectful, safe and healthy learning environments,” said Helen Clease, ASBA president.

“ASBA’s current policy is over-arching and does not expressly name any specific group of vulnerable students. The directive for action makes specific reference to issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“Our mandate is to support school boards in the development of their own policy,” Clease added. “This directive highlights the importance of that work following a request from the minister of education that all school boards provide him with details on their policies, regulations and guidelines supporting LGBTQ+ students.”

ASBA Manager Scott McCormack clarified the association helps school boards develop the policy they chose, including whether or not they want LGBTQ students and staff specifically mentioned.

“School boards tell us what policy development support they need and we will absolutely include that language if that is what they ask. We have been doing this already. We have issued a policy advisory about safe, caring, healthy learning environments and updated recently to include amendments to the School Act from Bill 10.”

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READ MORE: Alberta tells all school boards to create LGBTQ-inclusive policies

Education Minister David Eggen has given a March deadline to boards to develop a LGBTQ policy. He is scheduled to speak at the conference Tuesday.

In 2012, the ASBA rejected a similar proposal from the EPBS on sexual orientation and gender identity. More than 60 per cent of school boards voted against the proposal.

In 2011, the EPSB became the first school board in Alberta to pass a sexual orientation and gender identity policy.

“Our policies need to be inclusive of all students,” said Ralph Wohlgemuth, a trustee with Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools.

“I’m a believer that by identifying certain groups you sometimes run the risk of alienating others. So, from that perspective, my preference is to have it all-inclusive.”

“My opposition to this as an emergent issue is not an opposition to boards putting whatever they want into those policies as long as all of those students are supported,” Wohlgemuth added.

The Edmonton Public School Board also wanted to debate a motion to be able to opt out of ASBA membership. That was also defeated.

With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News

©2015

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Loonie headed toward 71 cents US —; and could stay there till 2017

If you’ve been holding back buying some U.S. greenbacks for an upcoming trip or purchase hoping the loonie would recover some ground from its present lows, you’ve got a window of about four weeks to do so.

Starting in mid-December, the Canadian dollar is widely expected to face a substantial amount of downside pressure. On Dec. 16, the U.S. Federal Reserve, or central bank for the United States, will make its next decision on interest rates in that country.

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  • Vacation sellers offer up incentives as loonie weighs on travel costs

  • Loonie drops to 11-year low in midst of ‘ongoing pressure’

The overwhelming consensus is that the Fed will raise its key rate that day, inaugurating a long-awaited “rate lift off” for the world’s biggest economy from the ultra-low interest rate levels that have been in place since the financial crisis to help boost growth.

MORE: Latest coverage —; the plunging loonie

Ultra low borrowing rates are no longer needed for the U.S. economy to grow. But higher rates – or a rate “tightening cycle” – will have some consequences for the global economy, as well as here in Canada. And that includes knocking the loonie lower.

“We expect the Canadian dollar to hit a bottom of 71.4 cents U.S. in the first quarter of 2016,” TD Bank economists said in a new research note on Monday (the first quarter runs January through to the end of March). The loonie is currently trading at 75 cents U.S.

The Canadian dollar will likely stay around that low 70-cent level for some time, too, TD believes.

“The currency is likely to remain fairly soft until the latter half of 2017, when we expect the first hints of a Canadian [interest] rate hiking cycle,” TD said.

Click here to view data »

WATCH: For Canadian travellers thinking of spending some time south of the border, the falling dollar has made it more difficult but not impossible to take a trip. Seán O’Shea reports.

©2015

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B.C. town installs turkey-crossing signs

CASTLEGAR, B.C. – Wild turkeys in Castlegar, B.C., now have a way to cross the road and get to the other side.

A flock of about 30 turkeys has been causing traffic troubles in the West Kootenay town for about a year and a half, said Coun. Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff.

“Basically, people were driving and slamming on their brakes because two, three, four times a day, they cross the road, I guess to go feed or to do whatever turkeys do,” she said.

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The poultry crossings caused some minor fender-benders, slowed traffic and even damaged vehicles.

“I had people contact me and say they had seen a turkey fly and crack somebody’s windshield. You know, they’re big birds, right? And if you just hit them a certain way, they could fly up and do that,” Heaton-Sherstobitoff said.

When the birds became a safety issue, city council came up with two bright yellow signs adorned with pictures of the fowl to warn drivers of the hazard.

“We think we’ve got a great turkey picture there. And if it makes people happy or makes them slow down there, then we did a good job for a couple of hundred bucks,” Heaton-Sherstobitoff said.

The signs were installed on Columbia Avenue about two weeks ago and so far, they seem to be working.

“People told me last week that the turkeys are actually crossing right below the signs,” Heaton-Sherstobitoff said. “So the big joke now is that turkeys in Castlegar know how to read, so that’s where they’re crossing.”

Credit: Jana Command Spender

Credit: Jana Command Spender

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