Inflation rate unchanged in Saskatchewan for February

OTTAWA – The inflation rate in Saskatchewan remained unchanged in February.

Statistics Canada reported on Friday the yearly inflation rate was 2.3 per cent, the same level as in January.

Saskatchewan was the only province that did not see a deceleration in consumer prices for the month and had the third highest inflation rate next to Prince Edward Island and Alberta.

One reason the rate did not change was due to an increase in gas prices. StatsCan said only Saskatchewan and P.E.I had a gas price increase on a year-over-year basis, but at a slower rate than in January.

In Saskatoon, the rate increased one-tenth of a point to 2.2 per cent while it dropped by one-tenth of a point in Regina to 2.3 per cent.

Nationally, the yearly inflation rate was 1.1 per cent in February, dipping four-tenths of a point from January.

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  • Canada’s annual inflation falls to 1.1% in February

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  • Inflation rate rises 2.3% in Saskatchewan for December

New Saskatoon police headquarters to be completed next month

SASKATOON – After several delays, construction of the new headquarters for the Saskatoon Police Service is set to be completed next month.

On Thursday, the city said the building’s completion date is April 4 and police will then move in over the next several months.

The latest delay was caused when the contractor, EllisDon, ran into problems with frozen pipes in the rooftop in late February, resulting in water damage to many parts of the structure.

Police chief Clive Weighill said the delay will not result in any increase to costs.

“We’ve extended the lease for the current properties that we have for another two months, but that will be off-set because we won’t have the operating costs for the new headquarters,” said Weighill.

“If we have to wait two months, I think we can handle that quite easily.”

Saskatoon police were originally supposed to move into the $122-million building last fall.

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Alex Bilodeau’s last race: Olympic champion retires as season ends

LA PLAGNE, France – Reigning Olympic moguls champion Alex Bilodeau will retire at the end of the World Cup season.

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association made the announcement on Friday.

Bilodeau, of Rosemere, Que., will compete in one last event, the season-ending World Cup in La Plagne, France on Friday before hanging up his skis.

READ MORE: What comes after gold? Retired Olympians struggle with return to daily life

The 26-year-old is currently 31 points behind Deux-Montagnes, Que., native Mikael Kingsbury for the Crystal Globe – awarded at the end of the season to the athlete at the top of the overall world standings. Bilodeau won the FIS moguls World Cup title in 2008-2009.

Bilodeau took gold medals at both the Sochi and Vancouver Winter Games, making him the only freestyle athlete to win back-to-back Olympic titles. Kingsbury took silver in Sochi last month, and has won the Crystal Globe the last two seasons.

On the women’s side, Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal trails American Hannah Kearney by only five points in the world standings. Kearney has won four FIS moguls World Cup titles, including the last three seasons.

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©2014The Canadian Press

Eglinton Crosstown east tunneling to cause major traffic congestion – Toronto

Watch the video above: See what business owners on Eglinton Avenue say about the coming congestion. Mark McAllister reports.

TORONTO – Drivers traveling along Eglinton Avenue East between Leslie Street and Laird Drive will continue to face increased commute times as construction intensifies later this summer on the Crosstown LRT east section.

Lane restrictions on the heavily congested route have already begun in order to make way for the large excavation shaft needed to insert two tunnel boring machines.

The underground tunneling project involves drilling a 3.25-kilometre section west to Yonge Street and is expected to last nearly three years.

READ MORE: Drilling begins for Eglinton Crosstown LRT

Lanes along that portion of the Eglinton route will be reduced to one direction each side for the duration of the project.

The machines work in pairs and each are about 81 metres long, weighing 511,000 kilograms. They were given the nicknames Don and Humber representing the rivers nearby.

Traffic in the area will also be heavily congested as the walls are built for the underground stations at Laird, Bayview and Mt. Pleasant.

The Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit system is a 19-kilometre corridor that includes a 10-kilometre underground portion, between Keele Street and Laird Drive.

The Ontario government has invested $5.3 billion into the project which will be comprised of 25 stations linking 54 bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines.

The project is expected to be complete by 2020.

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Black Friday is the new Boxing Day, retail data suggests – National

By now, most have heard repeatedly about how December’s punishing ice storms kept consumers snowed in and away from shopping malls, something that generally dented sales for virtually all retailers with the possible exception of Canadian Tire.

But buried in the retail numbers for November through January is a second, emerging factor: the rise of Black Friday as a genuine consumer event here in Canada.

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“The ice storm was likely one factor weighing in December, but there appear to be some seasonal issues surrounding Black Friday as well,” Bank of Montreal economists said Friday ahead of the latest reading on how much consumers collectively spent on everything from cars to clothing.

Noting that “Black Friday deals are a relatively new phenomenon in Canada,” the bank economists pointed out that for two years in a row categories like electronics have seen sales spike in November before falling “sharply” in December – traditionally the month when iPods and other gadgets are bought up before Christmas, or afterward via Boxing Day sales.

Electronic sales snapped back in January, Statistics Canada said Friday, jumping 1.6 per cent in the month compared to a year earlier.

Take Our PollJanuary’s retail sales in general rose 1.3 per cent – more than double the predicted rise, according to TD Bank.

Two years may not be long enough to solidify a trend just yet, but experts say the evidence is mounting.

“I would definitely say that Black Friday has become an entrenched event in Canadian retail,” said Doug Stephens, a Toronto based consultant and principal analyst at Retail Prophet.

Big U.S. retailers like Walmart have led the charge, hoping to lure shoppers away from Canadian retailers who’ve grown accustomed to waiting until after the holiday rush to slash prices and unload excess inventory.

READ MORE: How retailers ensure Black Friday doesn’t bury them in red 

In contrast, the massive U.S. discount retailer reduced prices on everything from Samsung smartphones to Tassimo single-cup coffee brewers during the Nov. 28 weekend last year, triggering 2 million visits from online shoppers to its Canadian e-commerce site.

Stephens said Canadian retailers are responding in kind, pulling ahead aggressive sales they otherwise would have waited to roll out.

“Boxing Day will definitely be the victim in all of it,” the analyst said.

There’s still one factor that favours the Dec. 26 holiday shopping event, however: Canadians still get Boxing Day off, while most of us are stuck working through Black Friday.

Vancouver mother, doctor, killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan – BC

WATCH (above): Condolences are pouring in tonight for Roshan Thomas, the Vancouver woman killed in an attack in Afghanistan. John Daly has the story of her life and legacy.

Roshan Thomas, a teacher and an optometrist from Vancouver, was one of the Canadians killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

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Sources have confirmed to Global National that Thomas was one of two Canadians killed when gunmen opened fire on a luxury hotel in Kabul.

Thomas’ husband, Dr. Rahim (Roger) Thomas is an ophthalmologist in Richmond. The couple have three children.

“She was doing what she loved to do,” said Samira Thomas, Roshan’s daughter. “She spent her life living the ethics of her faith and part of that meant going and serving communities that she felt she could enable in helping them. So she was running early childhood development centres there, and she had been for the last 10 years.”

Her son, Karim, said one of the things that was always important to his mother was that educated Afghan people gave back to their country. “Some of the students, there are students there right now actually, who have done exactly that, and there are others back here in Canada who have done that already.”

Foreign Affairs will only say two Canadians died.

Senator Mobina Jaffer tweeted that her friend worked hard for the education of Afghan girls:

She also tweeted that Roshan was about to become a grandmother for the first time.

Roshan and her husband had a long history of working in Afghanistan, providing eye services to refugees and others in vulnerable communities.

In 2003 October, Roshan and her family travelled to Afghanistan to open the country’s first independent school of excellence – the SPARKS Academy in Kabul.

WATCH: Two of Roshan’s children and some of her students talk about her work and legacy.

They had started working in refugee camps in Pakistan years before, delivering eye care to those in need, and that is where they first came to know about the Afghan people and what their country was going through.

Global News has learned teenage gunmen gained access to the tightly-secured Serena Hotel in Kabul by telling security they wanted to enjoy Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebrated in Afghanistan.

Sources say the gunmen waited three hours until the restaurant was full before attacking foreigners at around 9:45 p.m. local time. Nine people were killed in total.

Thomas’ colleagues, who were also at the hotel, were offered refuge and assistance at the Canadian embassy, located 3.2 kilometres from the hotel.

WATCH: Video of Roshan Thomas provided by her family.

Sources told Global News the second Canadian victim is from Calgary.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued the following statement about the attack:

“Canada condemns this brazen and cowardly terrorist attack on the Serena Hotel, in Kabul, which has claimed the lives of many and left several people injured.

“On behalf of all Canadians, we extend our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of two Canadian citizens who were killed in this attack.

“Many of these people dedicated their lives to helping everyday Afghans build a better country for themselves, including education, and enhancing the role of women and girls in Afghan society. For this selfless work to be met with violence, especially on the occasion of Nowruz, just further proves the depravity of the Taliban and those who support them.

“Acts of terror must not go unpunished, and those who perpetrated and supported this violence must be held accountable.

“While events like this highlight the security challenges that remain in parts of Afghanistan, it only strengthens our resolve to combat the scourge of terrorism in all its forms.

“Canadian consular officials in Kabul are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and are providing consular assistance.

“Due to privacy concerns, and out of respect for the families of those Canadians killed in today’s attack, further information will not be made available.”

The funeral for Roshan will be held Monday, March 31 at 12, at Headquarters Jamatkhana, 1250 Gladwin Drive, North Vancouver.

The Thomas family will arrive at 11 am and last respects will commence at 12 noon.

The public is asked to arrive anytime before 12.

Donations can also be made to Roshan’s foundation, the Sparks Humanitarian Society at:

1443 W 48th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6M 2P1
Canada

Or online at 杭州夜生活sharethespark杭州夜网.

Cheques made out to Sparks Humanitarian Society can also be sent to the same address.

©2014Shaw Media

New drug coverage plan passes in New Brunswick legislature – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON – The first phase of a new provincial drug plan passed Friday morning in the New Brunswick legislature.

The plan was an election promise made by the Alward government back in 2010 to cover drug costs for people who don’t have insurance through an employer.

It also covers people who can’t get drug coverage through social assistance programs.

Health minister Hugh Flemming spoke to health officials after the plan passed and called it a “great day for the people of New Brunswick.”

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“Today is why I get into politics,” he said.

“It’s to do something constructive for people. I’ll be 60 my next birthday. This isn’t a job. I’ve had a job for the best part of 35 years.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the people of New Brunswick. I’ve been privileged to be able to do that today.”

The first phase of the plan is expected to begin May 1. The second phase begins in 2015, at which time the plan will be made mandatory.

The plan will cover any prescription drugs that are on the provincial formulary, which is a list of covered drugs. It has been criticized for not including certain drugs. 

Flemming was emotional while he spoke about the plan, but said it’s “not a crime” to be emotional — and he said he’s not alone.

“It’s emotional to 170,000 people who don’t have drugs and who are going to get it.”

©2014Shaw Media

Recipe for herbed matzo-stuffed roasted chicken

Why is it that we only stuff poultry one day a year?

Let’s face it, stuffing takes an already delicious dish – roasted poultry – and makes it even more so by adding flavourful, fat-soaked carbs to the mix. Yet outside of Thanksgiving, few of us ever think to stuff and roast a bird. Admittedly, most of us don’t have the time to prepare a stuffed turkey on a weeknight. But why not try a chicken?

The beauty of a roasted chicken is that aside from about 15 minutes prep, nearly all of the time is hands off. And we can keep the roasting time itself pretty minimal by spatchcocking the chicken (cutting out the backbone and roasting the bird flat) before stuffing and roasting it.

Since Passover is coming up, I decided to play around with a matzo-based herb stuffing. But if you’d rather stick with a more traditional stuffing base, the same technique works just as well.

HERBED MATZO-STUFFED ROASTED CHICKEN

Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra1 medium yellow onion, diced4 stalks celery, finely chopped4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme1 teaspoon dried basil5 sheets (5 ounces) salted matzo, crumbledChicken brothKosher salt and ground black pepper5-pound whole chicken
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Heat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 13-by-18-inch baking pan with cooking oil.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the oregano, parsley, thyme and basil and cook for another minute. Add the crumbled matzo. Stir well, sprinkling in just enough broth to make a moist stuffing, about 1/2 cup. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the stuffing evenly in the prepared baking pan.

Place the chicken on the cutting board with the breast down. One on side of the backbone, use kitchen shears to carefully cut from the neck hole down the length of the backbone and out the rump. This will require a little effort, but the shears should cut through the bones without too much difficulty. Repeat the cut along the other side of the backbone, removing and discarding it.

Spread open the chicken, exposing the cavity, then overturn the bird and set it over the stuffing in the pan. Season under the skin with salt and pepper. Rub the outside of the skin with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 165 F. If the chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil.

Nutrition information per serving: 710 calories; 400 calories from fat (56 per cent of total calories); 45 g fat (12 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 185 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 50 g protein; 580 mg sodium.

©2014The Associated Press

Farley Chatto shows luxury furs at Toronto fashion week

TORONTO – Farley Chatto received a warm welcome back to the Toronto runway as the longtime homegrown designer presented a collection of luxury furs.

In a recent interview, Chatto said his last official show in 2008 featured menswear, but he was motivated to return to the catwalk to show a full fur line after seeing others incorporate bits and pieces of fur in their collections.

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His collection – dubbed “Far & Away” – was unveiled on Thursday at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week, with luxury furs including mink, fox and chinchilla featured in a variety of coats, capelets, vests, stoles, scarves and trapper hats.

“Predominantly, the biggest change you’re going to notice is the fit. There are going to be much more fitted, much narrower,” Chatto said about the new line.

“You’re going to get nice fitted tops, narrow armholes, narrow sleeves – as much as you can do with fur – but still showing the luxury and the beauty of fur by having these beautiful sweeps, as we call it, full, flared jackets.”

As a fresh twist on the oversized furs from decades past, men are also seeing more trimmed and tailored styles of coats, Chatto added.

The line was awash in vibrant shades, with coats, stoles and infinity scarves featured in rich red, blue, green and mauve hues – sometimes fusing multiple colours within a single garment.

Womenswear designer Caitlin Power said she was inspired to work with fur following the presentation and was impressed by Chatto’s creativity. She singled out a blue and black coat in the range among her standouts.

“This is the first time I’ve seen anything from Farley, so I was blown away.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Indian court gives 4 men life in prison for raping call-centre op – National

Watch above: A look at the charges they were convicted of and why an Indian court sentenced four men to the maximum punishment.

NEW DELHI – An Indian court sentenced four men to life in prison on Friday for raping a call-centre operator last year inside an abandoned textile mill in the financial hub of Mumbai.

Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the Mumbai court delivered the maximum punishment to the four after finding them guilty of rape, unnatural sex and abduction.

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The court delayed until Monday the sentencing of three of the defendants and a fourth person in the rape of another woman, a photojournalist, that occurred several weeks later at the same location, Nikam said.

READ MORE: Analysis: Mumbai gang rape case highlights lingering gender issues in progressive Indian city

Nikam said he might ask for death sentences for the three defendants because of their involvement in two rape cases.

The four sentenced on Friday are expected to appeal the verdict in a higher court.

Both trials were completed in seven months by the fast-track court. Rape cases are being handled more rapidly since December 2012, when a 23-year-old medical student was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Widespread protests following that attack also prompted stricter anti-rape laws.

Four men have been sentenced to death in the New Delhi rape case.

©2014The Canadian Press