‘Immoral and unethical’: human rights advocates blast Trudeau on Saudi arms deal

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Human rights groups blasted the Liberal government on Wednesday urging them to halt the $15-billion sale of light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a country with serious human rights concerns.

Several organizations said during a press conference in Ottawa Wednesday that the deal goes against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to take a stronger stance on human rights issues around the world.

WATCH: Peggy Mason from the Rideau Institute speak on the Saudi arms deal

Reality check: Why is Canada really moving ahead with the Saudi arms deal?

Trudeau has previously defended the deal saying it would be bad for Canada’s trading reputation, and pointed out that Canadian jobs are at stake.

“It is a pernicious argument to assert that Canadian jobs must depend on the killing, maiming, injuring and repressing of innocent civilians abroad,” Rideau Institute president Peggy Mason, told reporters in Ottawa.

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In a letter to Trudeau, the coalition of groups – which includes Amnesty International Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and other agencies – said the deal contravenes Canada’s export laws.

“We urge you to consider seriously whether our export controls have served their intended purpose with the authorization of this deal,” the letter reads.

“To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical.

“The government has had every opportunity to uphold this position, but has chosen not to.”

READ MORE: The changing nature of why the Liberals stand behind Saudi arms deal 

Initially made by the Conservative government in February 2014, the deal would see General Dynamics Land Systems manufacture light-armoured military vehicles, known as LAV3s, for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The contract is estimated to create about 3,000 jobs in London and southwestern Ontario.

The Liberal government had initially said they could not cancel an agreement that had been negotiated by a previous government, but documents released to the Canadian Press found the Conservatives had only approved minor-level export permits for the vehicles.

The documents showed that Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion quietly signed off on $11 billion worth of LAVs to Saudi Arabia.

“We believe deeply that the integrity and the credibility of Canada’s export control regime has been utterly compromised with the authorization to proceed with this deal,” said Cesar Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares.

The Trudeau government has faced mounting pressure from human rights groups that have decried the country’s human rights record.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups issued a joint statement last month calling for a halt to arms sales to Saudi Arabia over human rights violations in the Saudi-led bombing campaign aimed at rebel Houthi forces in the neighbouring country of Yemen.

Hilary Homes, Amnesty’s spokesperson on the arms trade, told Global News last week her organization hopes that evidence surrounding human rights violations in Yemen are examined.

“Given the way forces are conducting themselves in that conflict … anything you sell those parties in the context of the conflict, we don’t feel confident that they will use it properly,” Homes said.

*With a file from Monique Muise

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Cenovus reports $118M Q1 loss, staff down 31% compared to 2014

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CALGARY – Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) reported a first-quarter loss of $118 million as it said its cost-cutting plan was on track.

The company said Tuesday the loss amounted to 14 cents per diluted share for the three months that ended March 31 compared with a loss of $668 million or 86 cents per share a year ago.

READ MORE: Cenovus plans further job, executive pay cuts in 2016

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    The improvement was due in large part to unrealized foreign-exchange gains of $413 million offset in part by a $170 million asset impairment charge. That compared with unrealized foreign exchange losses of $514 million a year ago.

    Cenovus says it had an operating loss of the quarter of $423 million or 51 cents per share compared with an operating loss of $88 million or 11 cents per share a year ago.

    READ MORE: Calgary post-oil plunge: uncertainty and opportunity

    Revenue totalled nearly $2.25 billion after royalties, down from $3.14 billion in the same quarter last year.

    During the quarter, the company produced an average of 197,551 barrels of oil per day, down from 218,020 a year ago.

    Cenovus has been slashing costs and jobs to deal with the drop in oil prices last year.

    READ MORE: Cenovus Energy to slash 440 more jobs as oil price fallout continues

    The company says it has largely completed the job cuts announced last year with its staff down 31 per cent compared with the end of 2014.

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Thailand grapples with heat wave as average temperature hovers above 40°C in April

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BANGKOK – Animals at Bangkok’s zoo are being fed special frozen fruit pops. People are flocking to shopping malls just to soak up the air-conditioning. Authorities are telling people to stay out of the blazing sun to avoid heat stroke.

April in Thailand is typically hot and sweaty, but this year’s scorching weather has set a record for the longest heat wave in at least 65 years.

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    The average peak temperature each day this month has been above 40°C (104 degrees Fahrenheit), with the mercury spiking one day to 44.3°C (111.7°F) – just short of the all-time record.

    The heat wave has also fueled a new record for energy consumption and prompted health warnings on everything from foodborne illness to drowning, both of which rise every April when Thailand’s hottest month coincides with school summer break.

    “As of now we can say we’ve broken the record for the highest temperatures over the longest duration in 65 years – and the season isn’t over yet,” said Surapong Sarapa, head of the Thai Meteorological Department’s weather forecast division. “1960 was the last time the weather was this hot.” That was the year Thailand began keeping national weather records.

    On this very day, April 27, in 1960, Thailand posted its hottest day ever recorded with 44.5°C (112 F) in the northern province of Uttaradit.

    WATCH: UN agency says El Nino droughts may get even worse

    Countries across Southeast Asia are feeling the heat, which scientists say is triggered by El Nino, a warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide and tends to push global temperatures up. El Nino has also been blamed for causing the worst drought in decades across the region.

    Thailand’s Department of Disease Control has warned people to beware of food poisoning and other food-related illnesses that typically increase during hot weather when bacteria can thrive on unrefrigerated food.

    “Stay indoors, try to limit activity outdoors. Wear sunglasses, wear hats with large brims. Drink more water than usual,” the disease control centre said in a statement this week. It also reminded of the increased risk of drowning in hot weather as children flock to Thailand’s beaches, ponds and lakes to take a swim.

    “Do not let young children out of your sight for even a brief moment,” the statement said, noting that an average of 90 children die every month in Thailand from drowning but that number increases to about 135 in April.

    Thais are used to the heat. April typically brings an average of 38°C  (100 F) days. The current stretch of sweltering weather has been a main topic of conversation, but people are taking it in stride.

    “This April is so hot. I’ve got the air conditioner AND fan turned on at home. And I’m keeping ice cream in my fridge at all times,” said Jarossanon Thovicha, a 30-year-old Bangkok resident who works in the fashion industry and is living in fear of her next electricity bill.

    “My husband and I have been going out to the mall and spending time there over the weekends to save on electricity at home,” she said.

    Nationwide, energy consumption set a record high on Tuesday at 29,004.6 megawatts, said the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. It was the latest in a series of peaks reached earlier this month, and EGAT is urging the public not to keep air conditioners on all day.

    “We are asking for public co-operation in conserving energy for one-hour a day from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. until May 20,” the national power utility said in a statement Tuesday.

    In Cambodia, the hot weather was blamed for the death of an elephant trained to carry tourists at the famed Angkor Wat temple compound. Local media carried pictures of the pachyderm which collapsed last Friday and quoted the Angkor Elephant company as saying she had apparently died of a heart attack due to high temperatures and lack of wind.

    The Dusit Zoo in Bangkok says it’s taking extra precautions so its animals stay safe.

    “Monkeys and apes at the zoo are getting fruit popsicles,” said Saowaphang Sanannu, head of conservation and research at Bangkok’s main zoo.

    Oranges, watermelon, pineapple and other fruit get chopped up, mixed with fruit juice or water and is then frozen for the chimpanzees, orangutans and other primates. Bears already have waterfall displays in their habitats, so can take dips whenever they want, and are getting the same fruit pops as the others.

    “Tigers are getting meat popsicles. We’ll freeze pork legs and chunks of meat to feed them and cool them off at the same time,” Saowaphang said. “Deer, giraffe and elephants get increased shade and sprinklers to provide rain and decrease the heat on the ground.”

    Temporary relief is forecast later this week with scattered tropical storms. But it will be brief, with the heat expected to return next week before tapering off in mid-May when the monsoon rains are expected.

    —;

    Associated Press Writer Nattasuda Anusonadisai contributed to this report.

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Nashville homeowners group kills family’s frontyard zombie statue

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A Tennessee man was horrified to receive a letter from his homeowners association last week ordering him to remove a decorative lawn ornament celebrating the undead that he considers a “family member.”

“It said, ‘During a recent inspection of the neighbourhood we noticed that you have a zombie in your front yard that must be removed,’” Jim Grinstead told News Channel 5.

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    Grinstead claims the statue named “Clawed” is more than just a piece of home decor.

    “I don’t own guns, but I have a zombie, so it’s my own personal choice of a defence system,” he said.

    He jokingly suggests the grave monster could provide protection during a zombie apocalypse.

    “It may very well save our lives in the biggest crisis that this world could face,” said Grinstead. “Other than global warming.”

    According to Grinstead, neighbours have never complained to him about the statue, which is why the notice is so upsetting.

    “I don’t have the freedom to pick what I want in my yard, because somebody wants to read the rules so strictly that it can’t allow for individuality,” he said. “That’s a shame.”

    Grinstead agreed to remove “Clawed” from his landscaping, but knows he will feel a sense of loss.

    “When we come up the driveway at night, we can see him waiting there for us with a smile,” he said. “To know that he is going to have to go is like losing a family member. It’s disturbing.”

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Lobsang Sangay re-elected as prime minister of Tibet

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DHARMSALA, India – Lobsang Sangay has been re-elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile in voting held last month, officials announced Wednesday, with Sangay saying the election shows that Tibetans in exile “are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

Tibetan election officials announced the result in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, the headquarters of the government-in-exile. Sangay, 47, defeated his only rival, Penpa Tsering, receiving about 58 per cent of the 58,740 votes cast.

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    It was the second election since the Dalai Lama stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Tibetans living in exile cast their votes in 40 countries.

    China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, and the Communist Party has governed the Himalayan region since 1951. But many Tibetans say that they were effectively independent for most of their history, and that the Chinese government wants to exploit their resource-rich region while crushing their cultural identity.

    The Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

    China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile, and hasn’t held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.

    “This election sends a very clear and powerful message to the Chinese government and the country, China,” Sangay told reporters after the result was announced. “It is a clear statement that even exile Tibetans are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

    Sangay said his government would continue to fight for basic freedoms and genuine autonomy for Tibetans living under Chinese rule in Tibet.

    Last month, he called for China to engage in dialogue on autonomy for his people’s homeland. Stressing that a dialogue with China would be his main initiative, he said he hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping would look at the Tibetan issue and take the initiative to hold talks with Tibetan exiles.

    On Wednesday, Sangay called the results of the election “the consolidation of democracy” and said an increased participation of Tibetans in the voting process reflected their maturity.

    “By democratic standards, the exile Tibetan democracy is now a full-fledged, consolidated democracy,” he said.

    The international community, he said, should look at his administration as a legitimate democratic identity. He said the exiled government “in many ways” reflected the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet.

    Tibetan officials in exile say at least 114 monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule over their homeland in the past five years, with most of them dying. U.S. government-backed Radio Free Asia puts the number of self-immolations at 144 since 2009.

    Beijing blames the Dalai Lama and others for inciting the immolations and says it has made vast investments to develop Tibet’s economy and improve the quality of life.

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton edge closer to presidential showdown

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WASHINGTON – With five convincing victories in hand, Donald Trump strengthened his grip on the Republican primary race and pushed tantalizingly close to a general election showdown with Hillary Clinton. The Democratic front-runner is now 90 per cent of the way to her party’s nomination after four solid victories of her own Tuesday.

The Republican race now turns to Indiana, where next week’s primary marks one of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s last chances to slow Trump and push the race toward a contested convention. While Trump does need to keep winning in order to stay on his narrow path to the GOP nomination, he declared himself the party’s “presumptive nominee” after Tuesday’s results rolled in.

“It’s over. As far as I’m concerned it’s over,” he declared. The real estate mogul now has 77 per cent of the delegates he needs.

WATCH: Trump urges Cruz, Kasich to give up after huge primary wins

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Trump was headed to Indiana Wednesday after delivering a foreign policy speech in Washington. The address at a downtown hotel is the first in a series of speeches the Republican front-runner is expected to give in the coming weeks, all with the goal of easing Americans’ concerns about his readiness for the presidency.

READ MORE: Donald Trump completes sweep; declares himself ‘presumptive nominee’

Likewise, Clinton was eager to turn her attention to Trump. While Clinton advisers say they won’t underestimate Trump, as many of his vanquished Republican rivals did, her campaign sees opportunities to not only energize Democrats in an effort to keep him out of the White House but also appeal to Republicans turned off by the brash billionaire.

“If you are a Democrat, an independent or a thoughtful Republican, you know that their approach is not going to build an America where we increase opportunity or decrease inequality,” Clinton said of the GOP candidates.

VIDEO: Clinton says campaign is about a better future, restoring confidence, following dreams

Trump’s victories came in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Clinton ceded only Rhode Island to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, in an interview with The Associated Press, conceded he has a “very narrow path and we’re going to have to win some big victories.”

In the Republican race, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are desperately trying to force a convention fight. The challengers have even taken the rare step of announcing plans to co-ordinate in upcoming contests to try to minimize Trump’s delegate totals.

READ MORE: Donald Trump is fine with American celebs moving to Canada if he’s elected

But that effort did little to stop Trump from a big showing in the Northeast, where he picked up at least 105 of the 118 delegates up for grabs. He now has 950 of the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination.

Cruz spent Tuesday in Indiana, where Kasich’s campaign has withdrawn in an attempt to give the Texas senator a clear path.

“Tonight this campaign moves back to more favourable terrain,” Cruz said during an evening rally in Knightstown, Indiana. His event was held at the “Hoosier gym,” where some scenes were filmed for the 1986 movie “Hoosiers,” about a small-town Indiana basketball team that wins the state championship.

VIDEO: Big wins for Trump, Clinton mean dim hopes for Cruz and Sanders

Trump has railed against his rivals’ co-ordination, panning it as a “faulty deal,” and has also cast efforts to push the nomination fight to the convention as evidence of a rigged process that favours political insiders.

Yet there’s no doubt the GOP is deeply divided by his candidacy. In Pennsylvania, exit polls showed nearly 4 in 10 GOP voters said they would be excited by Trump becoming president, but the prospect of the real estate mogul in the White House scared a quarter of those who cast ballots in the state’s Republican primary.

READ MORE: Trudeau’s gender-equal cabinet could be replicated in U.S. if Clinton wins presidency

In another potential general election warning sign for Republicans, 6 in 10 GOP voters in Pennsylvania said the Republican campaign has divided the party – a sharp contrast to the 7 in 10 Democratic voters in the state who said the race between Clinton and Sanders has energized their party.

The exit polls were conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Democrats award delegates proportionally, which allowed Clinton to maintain her lead over Sanders even as he rattled off a string of wins in recent contests. According to the AP count, Clinton now has 2,141 delegates while Sanders has 1,321.

That count includes delegates won in primaries and caucuses, as well as superdelegates – party insiders who can back the candidate of their choice, regardless of how their state votes.

Sanders has vowed to stay in the race until voting wraps up in June. He continues to raise millions of dollars and attract big crowds, including Tuesday night in West Virginia, where he urged his supporters to recognize that they are “powerful people if you choose to exercise that power.”

Clinton’s advisers are eager for the Vermont senator to tone down his attacks on the former secretary of state. She’s been reminding voters of the 2008 Democratic primary, when she endorsed Barack Obama after a tough campaign and urged her supporters to rally around her former rival.

—;

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey in Philadelphia, Michael Rubinkam in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and Ken Thomas, Laurie Kellman, Chad Day, Stephen Ohlemacher and Hope Yen in Washington contributed to this report.

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Nick Gordon, Bobbi Kristina Brown’s fiancé, tells all about her final days

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Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of late singer Whitney Houston and ’90s R&B artist Bobby Brown, died in hospice care in July 2015 after nearly drowning in a bathtub seven months earlier.

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At the time, details around her death were sketchy and conflicting, with some sources saying she died right there in the tub, while others speculated that her father was keeping her alive on life support.

READ MORE: Bobbi Kristina Brown died from combination of drugs, drowning

Now, for the first time, Brown’s fiancé, Nick Gordon, who found her in the bathtub on that January night, is revealing never-before-heard details about his harrowing experience. The story is so convoluted that Gordon has been accused of killing Brown himself, something he has vehemently denied from the beginning. There is still a civil lawsuit being brought against him by Bedelia Hargreaves, Brown’s conservator.

Gordon is scheduled to appear on Dr. Phil on both Thursday and Friday in a two-part interview, and he told his story to the U.K.’s Daily Mail in advance.

Among the more startling revelations:

Brown almost drowned in a bathtub once before after drinking too much and falling asleep, and was ironically rescued by her mother — Gordon says this happened the night before Houston died in the same way.Brown frequently used drugs to deal with many personal issues; Gordon says she struggled daily with what she perceived as abandonment by her father of both her and Houston. Her mother’s death acted as a catalyst, and Gordon says her drug habit amplified immediately afterwards.On the night that Brown nearly drowned in the bathtub, Gordon insists that he and a friend tried to give her mouth-to-mouth, attempting to resescuitate her: “I ran to my room and then I saw my girl on the floor,” he said. “It was so traumatizing. I dropped to my knees and kept giving her chest compressions and blowing into her mouth. I thought she was going to come round but that never happened.”Gordon was there on the night Houston drowned in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton, and he saw her lifeless body on the floor, her lips blue. He says he was traumatized by the incident, only to relive it again with his fiancée.Gordon claims that he and Brown went through “a couple” of miscarriages.

READ MORE: Bobby Brown, family mourn Bobbi Kristina while aunt vows feud isn’t over

Gordon went into rehab after an intervention on Dr. Phil last year. He says he is now clean and sober.

“I blame myself for not getting to Krissy quick enough that day,” Gordon told the Daily Mail. “I can’t blame myself for another addict’s addiction, but I feel like I failed her. She didn’t make it. I wish she got help. I wish she got my spot [in rehab]. I did not protect her the way that I was supposed to — even if it was from herself.”

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Bobbi Kristina Brown Timeline | PrettyFamous

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Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam ready to co-operate: lawyer

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PARIS – The French prosecutor’s office said that key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was transferred to France Wednesday morning and was to go before investigating judges for eventual charges.

Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium last month after four months on the run, was wanted in France for his role in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 victims.

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    He was the only survivor of the attacks and his testimony would likely prove precious to definitively linking events of the night of carnage when three teams of attackers blew themselves up or sprayed gunfire at Paris night clubs, a noted music hall and the sports stadium outside Paris.

    READ MORE: Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam charged with attempted murder over Belgium shootout

    The transfer of the suspected extremist who had been Europe’s most wanted fugitive was carried out without advance notice and in secrecy. Abdeslam had been held in a high-security cell at a jail in Beveren near Antwerp.

    French lawyer Frank Berton, announcing Wednesday he will lead Abdeslam’s defence, described his in a French TV interview as a young man “falling apart” and ready to co-operate. Berton said he was “rather surprised” his client had already arrived.

    Berton met Abdeslam in the Belgian prison and told the iTele TV channel that his client wants to talk, telling him “he has things to say, that he wants to explain his route to radicalization” as well as his role (in the attacks) – but not take responsibility for others.

    READ MORE: Judge to decide if suspects in Paris, Brussels attacks to remain in preventive custody

    “That means be judged for facts and acts that he committed but not for what he did not commit simply because he is the only survivor of the attacks,” Berton said.

    Abdeslam, whose brother blew himself up in the Paris attacks, is charged with attempted murder over a March 15 shootout with police in Brussels. He was arrested three days later.

    Belgian police questioned Abdeslam about potential links to the three suicide bombers who attacked the Brussels Airport and subway on March 22, killing 32 – just days after Abdeslam’s arrest.

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‘Behind the News’ with Global Edmonton’s two Quinns on the weekend

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In the May issue of Avenue Edmonton magazine, you’ll learn more about Global Edmonton’s two Quinns: Quinn Ohler and Quinn Phillips, who lead our weekend news and sports coverage.

Here is the extended interview:

Global Edmonton has not one, but two Quinn’s on the Global News desk.

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True to the definition of their name, they are unique, intelligent, community minded storytellers with real personality and together they anchor Edmonton’s #1 ranked Weekend News: Global News at 6 and 11. Their combined energy engages viewers and makes weekends worth watching.

On 老域名怎么购买, Quinn Ohler describes herself as Global News Anchor/Reporter, farm girl and athlete wannabe. Quinn Phillips states that she is Global Edmonton Sports Reporter/Anchor, loves to tell stories, and loves to laugh even more. But there is way more to their story. 

We know you share a name and that you work on the same Global newscasts, is there anything else (surprising) that you have in common?

Quinn Ohler (QO): Quinn and I have very different backgrounds. I’m from small town southern Alberta and she grew up in Edmonton.  But I think our parents raised us in very similar ways. For one thing, sports and sportsmanship was a big part of our upbringing. Quinn Phillips was a swimmer, I was a figure skater, and we both grew up watching and following hockey.  I spent my entire childhood in an arena watching my brothers play hockey, and playing hockey myself, before my mom pulled me out for doing a spin during a breakaway. We have both taken a lot from sport and used it in our daily lives.

The two of us also wear our hearts on our sleeves. When we are happy everyone knows, and when we are upset, everyone knows. (I don’t cry at every major sporting event like she does though.)

We both spent time working at Global Lethbridge (there’s a third Quinn there working now) and we find it hilarious when people send emails to the wrong Quinn.

Oh, and (surprise!) we are both natural blonde.

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#tbt to prove that I was once a blonde. One of my favourite pics from working in Lethbridge with @paulkingsmith ! #yql #yeg #stanleycup

A post shared by Quinn Ohler (@quinnohler) on Feb 4, 2016 at 8:25am PST

Quinn Phillips (QP): I made the mistake of reading Quinn’s answer before I wrote mine, so now I’m having trouble coming up with something else.

But I can say we both love sweets, love to laugh, love a good challenge at the gym and on a not so positive front we are both far too accident prone. Every step off the curb in heels is a risk.

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Oh that lighting! Worth the "hold at the top. Again." Nice work @brettkirkland10 #30 #movingonupintheworld

A post shared by Quinn Phillips (@quinnpglobal) on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:31am PST

Besides the News, what do you like to do on the weekends?

QO: There are things to do on weekends besides work? (laughs) I love running in the river valley, or getting in a workout at the gym. I also adore taking in lots of local festivals, and of course the Downtown and Strathcona Farmer’s Markets, or just sleeping in before I have to come into work in the early afternoon.

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The @globaledmonton crew at #move for #movember #mondays. Thanks guys! @margeauxmorin @beth.toth @a_streck @shallima_maharaj @quinnphillips

A post shared by Quinn Ohler (@quinnohler) on Nov 16, 2015 at 10:29pm PST

QP: Friday nights I typically reserve for something social so I really don’t feel like I’m missing out too much on the weekend.

I try not to miss a Saturday morning workout at my gym, either as it really sets the tone considering that Saturday is technically my Monday. But to be honest, my mornings before I go to work are pretty chill; I don’t like feeling rushed going in to work and I like to have time to watch any afternoon sporting events.

Describe a favourite (or inspirational) sports/news moment in your career.

QO: I got to go skydiving with the military once when I was working in Lethbridge. That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a story.

One of the most heart-wrenching stories I did was with a military family. I was out at CFB Edmonton doing a homecoming story right before Christmas. A young mom came up to me and invited me to their home to surprise their little girl.  The little girl had written a letter to Santa, and in it she had asked for a few small toys, but what she wanted most was for her dad to be home for Christmas (he wasn’t supposed to be home until a couple of months into the new year, but came back early.)

Her mom wrapped up her dad in a giant box, and invited Santa to their home to read the letter with them. The little girl opened the box and jumped into her father’s arms. They both cried and held each other and told each other how much they loved each other.  I sat in the corner of their house in tears, not sure how the heck I was going to tell a story that was so touching.

WATCH: Sat, Dec 14, 2013 – A five-year-old Edmonton girl’s Christmas wish came true Friday night. Quinn Ohler has more on the heartfelt father/daughter reunion.

QP: This one is tough because I know there are things from earlier in my career that I’m forgetting. But I will say that getting the chance to go to the Memorial Cup when the Oil Kings won it in 2014 was unbelievable. My cousin was assistant coach at the time, so to share that with family is pretty special.

The Oilers cup run in 2006 when I worked in Red Deer was also pretty special. We were given the opportunity to come to Edmonton to do stories so I got to work alongside my dad.

WATCH: Global News sports reporter/anchor Quinn Phillips caught up with some Edmonton Eskimos Wednesday and they threw her right into the action.

You have each blogged about your Dads and how they have inspired you. How does your Dad continue to influence your life today?

QO: My dad is Superman. I can hardly talk about my dad without tearing up. He has been an inspiration long before he was injured in a truck rollover eight years ago. He’s an athlete, who always worked very hard as a farmer to give his kids all he could. I get a lot of who I am from my parents: my work-ethic, my love of sport and community and my passion for family.

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This makes my heart smile. Superman is back on skis after 7 years. @scialberta thank you. Pic courtesy @okenoughalready #cop #yyc #allthefeels #wishicouldhavebeenthere

A post shared by Quinn Ohler (@quinnohler) on Jan 11, 2015 at 10:24pm PST

Since the crash, he’s been the definition of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. He’s never let his disability (my dad is a quadriplegic) get in the way of anything he’s done, nor has he stopped doing the things he loves, like downhill skiing. I also get to watch him be an absolutely amazing grandfather to my nephew. *tears up with pride*

QP: (Her dad is Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Inductee and former Edmonton Oilers play-by-play voice Rod Phillips.)

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Throwing it back to the super fun 90s. Me, the fam and ol’ Lord Stanley’s cup. #tbt

A post shared by Quinn Phillips (@quinnpglobal) on Sep 10, 2015 at 7:32pm PDT

My dad used to bring home news copy from 630 CHED and make me practice reading it, at that time I didn’t think I’d ever want to listen to him again. Ha ha. It’s pretty incredible to have a dad that shares the same career and we’re very similar people, as well, so I can really rely on him for advice about anything from the mental game, to asking questions about hockey or football.

READ MORE: From the Sports Corner: Growing up Oilers

He’s the one person whose opinion really counts when it comes to my work – when he compliments a story or my cast my heart explodes with pride. 

On being healthy — both physically and mentally — why is this important to you?

QO: Leading a healthy lifestyle has always been a huge part of my life. I started as a figure skater when I was two and only had one real slip up where I wasn’t doing any physical activity for months on end. I had multiple jobs: I was working at Global Lethbridge, CJOC (a Lethbridge radio station), a photolab and coaching skating.

I didn’t have time to sleep, let alone work out and I was eating a ton of fast food because I was always on the road. I realized then that the changes in how I felt, both physically and emotionally, were because of a lack of healthy eating and exercise. Now I try to work out regularly (minus a couple of health issues), and eat right as much as I can.  Physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand for me. If I’m not working out or eating right, I don’t feel like me.

Move for Movember wrap up

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Move for Movember wrap up

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Global’s Do-MO-Nation Team Moves for Movember!

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Global’s Do-MO-Nation Team ready to kick off Movember

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Join our Move for Movember HIIT workout at Global Edmonton



QP: If I didn’t, I would be a literal monster. Ha ha.  But on a serious note, there’s nothing better than having the ability to improve yourself every single day.

What would be three items in your grocery cart (or that are staples in your fridge)?

QO: A ton of fruits and vegetables; sparkling water (it’s an addiction); and candy for my work candy drawer!

QP: Tomatoes; eggs; and if you see a bag of chocolate, specifically M&Ms, please take them out!

You are both actively involved in giving back to the community? What is the most fun you have had while fundraising?

QO: Bust-a-Move with the Global Gazongas was soooo much fun. The women I work with are remarkable and getting to spend time as a group raising money for breast health was an unbelievable experience.

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#Repost from our Early News Producer @cymeadows. ・・・ Just your average Saturday morning working out with 300 of your closest friends for #bamyeg. Thanks to everyone who donated. We survived. And checkout front row/white t-shirt @quinnpglobal who gave it 110% for all 6 hours. No lie. Our next Global athlete of the week. @cadevaney @mertz_emily @jen.crosby @laurellife @erinchalmers @tonia_h09 @nicoledechamp + Kelsey.

A post shared by Global Edmonton (@globaledmonton) on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:30pm PDT

QP: I’m with Quinn, Bust-a-Move is a blast and I get to do it alongside colleagues and they get to see how much I sweat when I workout.

WATCH: Global Edmonton wardrobe sale raises more than $9K for breast cancer research

What does Our City mean to you?

QO: Our City means that, as much as our viewers call Edmonton and surrounding areas home, so do we. We are in the community taking part in various events, we are at the farmer’s market, the city gyms, the Eskimo or Oilers or Oil King’s games.

The stories that you care about, we care about too. It’s fun to watch behind the scenes as our newsroom discusses story ideas because our producers, reporters, anchors and other staff members have just as much passion about stories that shape our community, as our viewers do.

QP: Everything. Edmonton is my hometown, most of my friends and family are here and I absolutely love that I get to share sports stories from the area with fellow Edmontonians.  There’s so much pride in this city and I get to help boost that.

Who is funnier (or who has more fun)?

Quinn Ohler (left) and Quinn Phillips (right) in the Global Edmonton newsroom.

Karen Bartko, Global News

QO: Not even a question, the other Quinn is. She’s also more clever, prettier and a just an all around better person than I am.

I often times will be sitting in the studio quietly checking social media or my email during a commercial break, and she will start a dance party or have me in stitches right before I have to go on air. I get giggle fits a lot, or will reference inside jokes on air to make her laugh, but I don’t think that makes me funny.

QP: I saw Quinn’s answer and I’m not a better person, she’s incredibly sweet and kind.  I will say that my job, in sports, does allow me to be far less serious and have a lot more fun with things. I had a performance review at a job (not in media) and was told I needed to be more serious. So that says something, good or bad, I’ll let you guys decide.  This job is too much fun, I need to make sure that people enjoy it with me.

Learn more about the Global News Quinn’s on their blogs and by watching them Weekends at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Global News.

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Montreal woman gets ‘back on her feet’ after losing legs to flesh-eating disease

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MONTREAL – Two years ago, Kathy Wilchek went through an indescribable nightmare, contracting flesh-eating disease that took both her legs.

The simple act of walking was taken away, and she thought she would never get back on her feet.

“Doctors were saying she wouldn’t walk again,” said Frank Pandolfini, Wilchek’s boyfriend.

“Rehab told her most people get discouraged and they stay in their wheelchair.”

After losing her legs, Wilchek was fitted with prosthetic limbs, but walking was an exhausting challenge.

“She would walk maybe five, 10 minutes and then she’d be in pain,” said Pandolfini.

But the couple refused to give up and scoured the Internet to find alternatives.

WATCH: Zumbathon for Kathy Wilchek

They found Munjed Al Muderis, a doctor in Australia who offered a new surgery that promised remarkable results.

They raised $100,000 to make the journey to Sydney, Australia, and within days, Wilcheck was walking.

Kathy Wilcheck walks on prosthetic limbs after losing her legs to flesh-eating disease, Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

Global News

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“They had her standing up already within a week, and half an hour after that she was walking on crutches,” said Pandolfini.

“It was just a struggle every day, every night. She’d cry. I mean, this has changed everything.”

Now, instead of despair, there is hope in her life.

“Walking out of my house, going to a restaurant, see a film, just being the same height as everyone else,” Wilcheck told Global News.

The couple credits each other, their children and their newest granddaughter for helping them find the strength to move on from the tragedy.

“I’m learning to walk with her,” said Wilcheck.

Their next goal: once she’s able to fully walk again, the couple want to get married.

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