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B.C. Attorney General David Eby announces bid to become premier

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia Attorney General David Eby has announced his bid to become the province’s next premier, saying he has secured the support of a large majority of New Democrat members of the legislature.

Eby’s announcement ends weeks of speculation as other high-profile New Democrats have bowed out of this fall’s leadership election, with the winner set to be announced on Dec. 3.

Premier John Horgan announced last month he would resign due to health reasons, following two bouts with cancer, paving the way for a new leader.

Notable cabinet ministers, including Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon, Finance Minister Selina Robinson and Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen, have said they will not be vying for the top job, making Eby the contender to beat.

Eby is so far the only candidate running to replace Horgan, who has said he no longer has the energy to seek re-election.

In announcing his leadership bid, Eby told supporters at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House on Tuesday that more housing, affordable childcare and family doctors are needed for communities.

“Building public housing for middle-class families was something government never had to do when I was growing up,” he said, adding that’s needed because pressures in the housing market are pushing people onto the street.

He said rent-to-own, long-term lease and co-operative housing could be built, and not just by the private sector.

Eby, who was born in Kitchener, Ont., and will turn 46 on Thursday, said he strongly urged Horgan to run for the party’s leadership in 2013 and co-chaired his campaign after the NDP’s tough loss to the BC Liberal party. 

He won his Vancouver-Point Grey riding in 2013 over then-premier Christy Clark, forcing her to run in a byelection in Kelowna.

The timing for his chance at the premier’s job wasn’t right then, Eby said, adding: “I was just recently elected. I didn’t even know where the bathrooms were in the legislature. My wife and I were expecting, and she was in school.”

Now, he represents a “generational shift” in the legislature, Eby said.

“I think if I’m successful, I’ll represent a new generation of leaders in British Columbia. I’ve got a young family and will be able to bring that experience to the legislature with me.”

He plans to spend the next two months touring the province with this wife, Cailey Lynch, who is a family physician, and their eight-year-old son Ezra and two-year-old daughter Iva.

Eby’s role in the legislature has included launching an inquiry into money laundering, calling on municipalities to take action on affordable housing and moving the Insurance Corporation of B.C. to a no-fault vehicle insurance model after comparing its financial state to a “dumpster fire.”

Pivot Legal Society founder John Richardson said he hired Eby in about 2004 for his first job after the now-attorney general was called to the bar.

Richardson, speaking earlier Tuesday, said Eby advocated tirelessly as a human rights lawyer for the homeless and under-housed residents of the Downtown Eastside and was “clearly talented and very smart.”

Eby would go on to write “The Arrest Pocketbook: A Guide to Your Rights,” for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and become its executive director before embarking on a political career.

Pivot’s efforts to shift public policy on issues such as poverty, homeless and drug use seem to have been a natural extension of his later work, Richardson said, although Eby did not articulate any intention to enter politics at the time.

“There are certainly a lot of issues that haven’t really moved,” he said. “We still look at the Downtown Eastside and see it’s still in the same dire straits as it was 10 and 20 years ago. So, perhaps with the power of a premier he’d be able to take some steps to address it.”

Eby said his work as a community advocate is now supported by every member of the legislature when it comes to services such as supervised consumption sites and prescription opioids to help those struggling with addiction.

“I think my experience working with people with serious mental health and addiction leads me to believe that we can do a lot better,” he said. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to respond to the crisis in many downtowns across the province. It can and should include mental health treatment in a more aggressive way.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2022.

 

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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Zimbabwean lecturer develops low-cost sun cream set to help people with Albinism

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Harare, Zimbabwe- Dr. Joey Chifamba, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) chartered industrial chemist and pharmaceutical nanotechnology expert has developed a low-cost sun cream which is set to help people with Albinism.

According to Dr. Chifamba, the sun cream harnesses zinc and titanium from natural sources as well as indigenous trees and was made using 5th generation emerging technologies including nanotechnology and biotechnology.

Speaking to a local publication, The Herald, Dr. Chifamba said his ground-breaking sun cream will help people living with Albinism who suffer from actinic (solar-induced) skin damage, freckles, sunburn as well as other various skin cancers.

“No product has ever been developed to protect Albinistic persons from actinic damage. The sunscreens that are given to them are designed for white-skinned people and do not take into consideration specific conditions and differences found on Albinistic skins.

This makes them not very effective and not very suitable especially for all-day everyday wear since Albinism is a lifelong condition.

We employ nanosized metallic oxides sunblocks conjugated together with nano-optimized indigenous herbs with antibacterial, antifungal and wound healing effects to create aesthetically pleasing cosmeceutical products for every day all day use by Albinistic persons.

In our innovation we have developed ground-breaking cosmeceuticals which are not only sunscreens but complete actinic damage retarding treatments that consider Albinistic skin differences and deal with various symptoms of actinic damage including wrinkles, premature aging, inflammation, bacterial and fungal infections,” said Dr. Chifamba.

Furthermore, Dr. Chifamba said the products which were developed in consultation with the Albino charity organization of Zimbabwe and other Albino welfare groups, are already available to people living with Albinism who are registered with the charity organization.

People with Albinism have skin that is very sensitive to light and sun exposure. Sunburn is one of the most serious complications associated with Albinism because it can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and sun damage-related thickening of the skin.

Albinism is a rare genetic condition caused by mutations of certain genes that affect the amount of melanin your body produces. Albinism can affect people of all races and all ethnic groups

For most types of Albinism, both parents must carry the gene in order for their child to develop the condition. Most people with Albinism have parents who are only carriers of the gene and don’t have symptoms of the condition.

Other types of Albinism, including one that only affects the eyes, mostly occur when a birthing parent passes the gene for albinism on to a child assigned male at birth.

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Donald Trump loyalist, Alex Jones ordered to pay US$49 million in punitive damages

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Donald Trump loyalist, Alex Jones ordered to pay US$49 million in punitive damages

Austin, United States of America (USA)- A jury in Texas on Friday ordered Alex Jones, a loyalist to former US President Donald Trump, to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

The jury announced its decision a day after awarding the parents more than U$4.1 million in compensatory damages and after testimony on Friday that Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his media outlet, Infowars, were worth US$135 million to US$270 million.

Prior to Friday’s Court proceedings, Jones told his audience that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax and that the grieving parents of those who died were actors.

The total of US$49.3 million is less than the US$150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the deadliest classroom shooting in US history.

“He stood up to the bully Adam Lanza and saved nine of his classmates’ lives. I hope that I did that incredible courage justice when I was able to confront Alex Jones, who is also a bully. I hope that inspires other people to do the same. This is an important day for truth, for justice, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Lewis.

Before the jurors began deliberating about the punitive damages, Wesley Todd Ball, a lawyer for the family, told the jury that it had the ability to send a message for everyone in the country and perhaps this world to hear.

“We ask that you send a very, very simple message, and that is, Stop Alex Jones. Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please,” said Ball.

Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights, conceded during the trial that the attack was 100 percent real and that he was wrong to have lied about it, but Heslin and Lewis told jurors that an apology wouldn’t suffice and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.

The parents told jurors about how they have endured a decade of trauma, inflicted first by the murder of their son and what followed, gunshots fired at the home, online and phone threats, and harassment on the street by strangers. They said the threats and harassment were all fueled by Jones and his conspiracy theory spread to his followers via Infowars.

Jones who was in the courtroom briefly on Friday but not there for the verdict still faces two other defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families in Texas and Connecticut.

Nevertheless, Jones has also claimed, among things, that the Pentagon was using chemical warfare to turn people Gay, that COVID-19 is not real and that September 11 was an inside job perpetrated by the government.

 

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FBI still worried of another attack from Afghan rebel groups

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Washington D.C, United States of America (USA)- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), head, Christopher Wray has expressed grave concerns over another attack from Afghanistan rebel groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

His comments come just days after the US killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan via drone strike.

“I am worried about the possibility that we will see al Qaeda reconstitute, ISIS-K potentially taking advantage of the deteriorating security environment, and I am worried about terrorists, including here in the United States, being inspired by what they see over there,” said the FBI director during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike, ending a years-long manhunt which placed al-Zawahiri near the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list. The 71-year-old Egyptian national headed up the group after the death of terrorist kingpin Osama Bin Laden in an American raid in 2011 and is thought to have helped plan the 9/11 attacks.

The Department of State also cited it believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of al-Zawahiri.

Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating a possible assassination plot against Iranian-American journalist, Masih Alinejad.

According to US news sources, a man was arrested carrying a loaded AK-47 rifle in a possible plot to assassinate her.

Alinejad herself shared security camera footage of the suspect at her front door on Twitter on Sunday, saying, “My crime is giving voice to voiceless people. The US administration must be tough on terror.”

The arrested man was taken in by Police after a traffic stop. They said he ran a stop sign and when they checked his vehicle, they found a gun in the backseat, according to the complaint filed by the FBI.

He was charged with possessing a firearm without a proper serial number. At his Friday (last week) hearing, the Judge ordered him to be held without bail.

The suspect initially claimed that he knew nothing about the weapon and said he was just in the area looking for an apartment, but later he told the investigators that he owned the gun and that he was looking for someone in Brooklyn.

In July last year, US prosecutors charged four Iranian spies with trying to kidnap Alinejad from her home in Brooklyn and taking her to Venezuela. Investigators said that they had also tried to lure her to the Middle East before that.

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