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Hong Kong court says media tycoon Jimmy Lai not guilty of criminal intimidation in 2017 case – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – A Hong Kong court declared media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai not guilty of criminal intimidation on Thursday, ending one several cases against him after his high-profile arrest last month under a new national security law.

Thursday’s verdict was for a case that dates back to 2017 and was unrelated to his arrest. Lai, who is a key critic of Beijing, had used foul language when confronting a reporter from Oriental Daily News, a major competitor to Lai’s tabloid Apple Daily. Police however only charged him in February this year.

The mainland-born media magnate had pleaded not guilty.

Dressed in a light grey suit and green shirt, he smiled after the verdict was read out and shook hands with supporters who filled the courtroom.

His case comes after he was arrested for suspected collusion with foreign forces on August 10, making him the highest profile person to be arrested under the Beijing imposed law.

The 71-year-old had been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he met officials including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor” 

After Lai’s August arrest around 200 police officers searched the office of his Apple Daily newspaper.

The national security law punishes anything China considers subversion, succession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

Critics say it crushes freedoms, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged anti-China, pro-democracy protests last year. 

Lai’s pro-democratic Apple Daily has vied with pro-Beijing Oriental Daily for readership in the special administrative region. In 2014 Oriental Daily published a fake obituary of Lai, claiming that he had died of AIDS and many types of cancer.

Prosecutors in the case said Lai had intimidated the Oriental Daily reporter.

Lai’s lawyers said Lai had been followed by reporters for three years and his comments were not intended to harm the reporter but expressed his exasperation.

Lai is also facing separate court cases for illegal assembly relating to anti-government protests last year.

(Reporting by Yanni Chow; writing by Farah Master; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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VOCM Receives Media Award for Coverage of Mental Health Issues – VOCM

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VOCM News has been recognized by the Canadian Mental Health Association with their Media Award for 2020.

The award recognizes a person, group, or organization that has shown outstanding quality promotion and awareness of mental health issues in the province.

The CMHA-NL calls VOCM a “great corporate and community citizen using its platform to raise awareness of mental health issues, promote available supports, and reduce stigma.”

Board member Ronalda Walsh says the award is a way to recognize those efforts.

The award was presented yesterday at the CMHA-NL’s annual general meeting.

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Kitchener joins other councils in supporting value of local media – TheRecord.com

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KITCHENER — Kitchener council unanimously passed a resolution Monday affirming the value of local news media.

The resolution, introduced by Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, endorses laws and regulations to support and rejuvenate news outlets across Canada and urges Ottawa to move quickly to support an ecosystem for a healthy news media.

“The local media really is what ultimately protects our democracies,” Vrbanovic said. “And having a strong media helps ensure that the tough questions get asked,” and that elected politicians and public servants are held accountable.

The resolution was the brainchild of a group of retired Waterloo Region journalists who have started a grassroots campaign calling for measures to ensure the country continues to enjoy the benefits of a thriving news media, which has been hard hit by declining revenues.

All 12 of the local councils have passed similar resolutions, as have councils in Hamilton, Windsor, Kingston and elsewhere.

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Slave Lake man kidnapped, beaten, robbed during social media meeting with woman in Ponoka – CBC.ca

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Ponoka RCMP have charged two men and a woman after a Slave Lake man was kidnapped, beaten and robbed during a supposed get-together with a woman he met through social media.

The 22-year-old man had been communicating online with the woman for almost a year before meeting with her in Ponoka on Sept. 7, police said in a news release on Thursday.

When the victim arrived, he got into what was later determined to be a stolen vehicle with the woman, and was allegedly assaulted by two men, including one armed with a gun.

The three accused — the men were 25 and 26, and the woman was 21 — forced the victim to provide his banking information while driving to several banks to make withdrawals, RCMP said.

The victim’s truck and cell phone were also allegedly stolen before he was dropped off in Blackfalds. 

Police discovered a loaded shotgun in this stolen vehicle in Red Deer on Wednesday. Two men and a woman have been charged after a man was allegedly kidnapped, assaulted and robbed. (RCMP)

On Wednesday, police located a stolen vehicle in Red Deer’s Gasoline Alley and arrested the two male suspects.

During a search of the car, investigators found a loaded shotgun, an imitation firearm, methamphetamine and more than 60 pieces of stolen identity documents, police said.

The two men are charged with kidnapping, assault and two counts of robbery with a firearm.

The woman has not been found. She is wanted by the RCMP. She has been charged with robbery.

Police discovered more than 60 pieces of stolen identification during the arrest of two kidnapping suspects on Wednesday. (RCMP)

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