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World & Canada News - Mar. 23, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 00:00
The Earth is on track to see another year of extreme and unusual weather trends in 2017, say experts at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).“We are now in truly uncharted territory,” World Climate Research Programme Director David Carlson said in a statement.
2016 was the warmest year on record, a new WMO analysis report notes, and with carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere reaching new heights, the warming trend has persisted.
Already this winter, the Arctic has seen three “heat waves” and Antarctic sea ice was at a record low. These changes are leading to new oceanic and atmospheric patterns which has a huge effect on our weather.
“Some areas, including Canada and much of the USA, were unusually balmy, whilst others, including parts of the Arabian peninsula and North Africa, were unusually cold in early 2017,” a statement from the WMO reads.
The WMO used data from more than 80 national weather service providers for its analysis. The report’s authors urge action on climate change.
“The influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas.
Climate-change targets agreed to through the landmark Paris Accord must be adhered to, Taalas said: “It is vital that its implementation becomes a reality.”
Global warming doesn’t just result in warmer weather, it leads to more severe weather incidents. That can mean drought or flooding, stronger or more frequent hurricanes and snowstorms, tornadoes and wildfires.
Extreme weather and natural disasters took a record-breaking toll on Canada in 2016 - a staggering $4.9 billion in insurance claims. That prompted a warning from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) that we must be more prepared for wild weather due to climate change.
“Severe weather due to climate change is already costing Canadians billions of dollars annually,” Don Forgeron, IBC president and CEO, said in a January press release.
“The record damage reported in 2016 is part of an upward trend that shows no signs of stopping. That is why Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry is calling on governments across the country to come together and implement expansive climate policies that will better prepare Canadians and their communities for when disasters strike.”
Last month, the National Research Council told Global News that Canada’s national building codes are being updated to adapt to the effects of climate change.
“We can see temperature-change trends, we can see higher wind-load trends, we can see evidence of wildfires for example in Fort Mac or Kelowna … in Calgary, where we’ve had these flood situations where they’ve knocked out entire cities … the codes need to start adapting,” said NRC program director Philip Rizcallah.
*with files from Rebecca Joseph
Two immigrant high school students who 'raped a fourteen-year-old girl in a bathroom' arrived in America just months ago from El Salvador and Guatemala
Daily Mail/Mail Online/Mar. 21, 2017
Two teens who were arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl at their high school had recently arrived from Central America, reports suggest.
Police in Maryland arrested Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez, 18, after the young girl told school officials the pair had forced her into a bathroom stall and raped her.
Sanchez is now facing deportation proceedings as he had a pending 'alien removal' case against him, according to the Washington Post.
He is believed to have entered the US illegally from Guatemala seven months ago.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't report on Montano's immigration status as he is a minor.
Montano arrived from El Salvador about eight months ago.
Sanchez was held without bond in court on Friday. Montgomery County Assistant States Attorney Rebecca MacVittie called him a 'substantial flight risk'.
Montgomery County Police announced the arrests on Friday, saying that the alleged assault happened the day before at Rockville High School.
According to investigators, the victim was walking in a school hallway at around 9am when she ran into the two teens.
Montano asked the freshman to walk with them and to have sex, but the girl turned them down, according to a press release from the Montgomery County Police Department.
The 17-year-old boy repeated his request, then forced her into a boys’ bathroom and into a stall, where he and Sanchez proceeded to rape her.
They reportedly took turns holding her down while repeatedly assaulting her and she cried out, and was eventually able to escape the bathroom.
The teenage girl later reported the alleged attack to school officials, who immediately called the authorities.
Despite their age, both the boys were placed in the ninth grade.
Investigators with the Special Victims Division arrested Montano and Sanchez on campus that same day on charges of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offense.
Montano is charged as an adult, but police have not released his booking photo.
On Friday, Rockville High School sent a letter to parents addressing the incident and the arrests, according to WUSA.
'Ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming learning environment for all of our students is our top priority. Our staff remains vigilant in the monitoring of our school each and every day,' the note said in part.
Gboyinde Onijala, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Public Schools, said that staff at Rockville High will increase monitoring of the hallways and bathrooms. The school has one school resource officer.
AND IN CANADA
Teacher wins $1M global prize for work in northern Quebec
Maggie MacDonnell recognized for her work in rural Salluit, Que., community
By Benjamin Shingler/CBC News/Mar 19, 2017
A Canadian woman has won a global teaching prize worth $1 million US for her work in Salluit, an Inuit community in northern Quebec.
Maggie MacDonnell, who grew up in Nova Scotia, beat out 20,000 other nominees for the 2017 Global Teaching Prize, which has become one of the most-coveted and high-profile awards for teaching excellence.
The prize, awarded annually by the Dubai-based Varkey Foundation, was established three years ago to "underline the importance of educators worldwide."
The foundation said in a statement MacDonnell has "made an outstanding contribution to the lives of her students and everyone in Salluit."
Her approach focused on emphasizing "acts of kindness," such as running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training.
Salluit, which has a population of 1,450, is so remote that it's accessible only by air. The tiny village witnessed six suicides in 2015, all affecting young males between the ages of 18 and 25.
"The memory that continues to haunt me is when I see these Canadian teenagers, their very own classmates of the deceased, literally digging the grave," MacDonnell said.
"I didn't know until I came to Salluit that that was a Canadian reality."
Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub won for her efforts in encouraging students to renounce violence and embrace dialogue. The inaugural prize went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from Maine.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize to MacDonnell, who made the trip for the award ceremony with several of her former students.
Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a video message from the International Space Station.
Changing the community
As a teacher, MacDonnell helped set up a fitness centre, a community kitchen and a second-hand store that benefited not only her students but also the general population, the organization said.
She had earlier told CBC News she plans to use the prize money to help "reawaken a love for the land" among Inuit youth with an environmental stewardship project.
She wants to create a kayak program so Inuit can access the land more easily and affordably, in an effort to counter some of the effects of colonialism.
In a statement, the local school board said it was "delighted" by MacDonnell's win, saying it stands "not only as a recognition of her work at Ikusik School, Salluit, but also as an acknowledgement of the essential work performed by all teachers."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his congratulations on Twitter.
MacDonnell is currently on a leave of absence from her teaching position while she takes a job at the Kativik School Board for several months, managing a budget of about $500,000 to promote healthy living in all 14 Nunavik communities
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