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More areas placed under flood watch in southern B.C., as province braces for return of storms – CBC.ca

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THE LATEST:

  • Rain has begun to fall on the southern parts of British Columbia on Saturday, threatening communities already ravaged by floods and mudslides. Up to 120 millimetres of rain is expected.
  • The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the South Coast, Lower Fraser Valley and the southern regions of Vancouver Island.
  • Evacuation alerts were issued Saturday for some low-lying properties north of Pemberton and in B.C.’s Southern Interior. Find more information here.
  • Three highways were proactively closed on Saturday afternoon as the province braces for more damage from storms. For all road closures see here.
  • More than 2,000 residents in Merritt are under a boil water advisory after being allowed to return home, following the evacuation of the city due to floods.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that a new committee will be formed to manage the province’s recovery from the flooding disaster.
  • The provincial and federal governments will be matching all donations to the Red Cross’s flood fundraising campaign for one month, tripling the donation amount for each individual donation.
  • For a list of up-to-date flood warnings, visit the River Forecast Centre.

Communities throughout southern B.C. are preparing for an atmospheric river to strike on Saturday, even as federal plans to help the province recover from devastating floods and mudslides were announced.

Rain is falling in the region, but the heaviest precipitation is set to arrive on Saturday night, according to Environment Canada, which issued a rainfall warning on Friday and warned of another storm front arriving on Tuesday.

More than 100 millimetres of rain will hit near the mountains in southern B.C., with 80 millimetres of rain set to fall on the Fraser Valley, an area southeast of Metro Vancouver devastated by floods two weeks ago.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the community of Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley on Friday, seeing flood damage first-hand and talking to local officials, first responders and First Nations leaders.

Hundreds of people remain away from their homes due to the disaster, with supply chains still constrained and communities still dealing with standing water.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the estimated 220 millimetres of rain falling on the city over the next five days would be a “situation they had never faced before.”

Trudeau said he saw “amazing” strength and resilience from first responders in Abbotsford, and he praised community efforts in the wake of the floods.

WATCH | The prime minister visits a community battered by floods: 

Trudeau tours flood-ravaged B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first visit to B.C. since record-breaking rainfall caused widespread flooding and mudslides in the province. 2:54

Later on Friday, he announced a committee set to shape the province’s recovery from the widespread floods at a joint media conference with B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“It’s not going to be enough for us to be there now and in the coming weeks — we need to be there for each other in the coming months and coming years,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, with Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun on Friday. Braun said the community is bracing for more than 200 millimetres of rain over the next five days, threatening a community already swamped by floodwaters. (Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters)

Highways proactively closed

The province closed some highways on Saturday as further damage from storms is anticipated.

The three highways affected are:

  • Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton.

  • Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet.

  • Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon.

Highway 1 and Highway 3 closed at 2 p.m. PT, and Highway 99 closed at 4 p.m. PT.

Reopening times will vary based on weather conditions, the province said.

B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming urged residents not to travel unless they needed to over the weekend, and he said large-scale rebuilding operations will take extreme weather events into account.

“Consider restricting your travel because we have significant weather events,” he said on Friday. “We do need to have our highways functioning for the movement of goods and we need to be safe.”

B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming asked residents of the province to avoid travel this weekend unless it was essential, with further storms on the horizon. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Merritt evacuees to be allowed back in phases

In the community of Merritt in the province’s Interior, some residents are being allowed back to see how floods have impacted their homes, but others remain away due to damage to power lines.

Re-entry to the city of 7,500 is being done on a phased basis after it was entirely evacuated following floods on Nov. 15. Currently, residents in phases 1 to 3 of the plan can return.

Greg Lowis, an emergency public information officer in Merritt, said there has been “substantial” damage to the city’s infrastructure, including a collapsed bridge and damage to dikes.

More than 2,000 of the returning evacuees are under a boil water advisory as sewage systems in the city remain damaged by the floods.

Donna Ray’s home was placed in Phase 4 of the re-entry plan, meaning there is no estimated time for when she can return. She described her future as “uncertain,” as short-term forecasts threaten to bring more damage to the city.

“The looming threat … isn’t going to affect me anywhere I am because my house is already ruined,” she said. “It can’t do any more damage.”

Water floods a street in a residential part of Merritt, B.C. Many residents of the city of 7,500 are unable to return to their homes due to damage to power and water lines. (CBC)

Premier admits dike management model flawed

The province says supply chains are getting back to normal after significant damage to road networks. 

Federal support to clear the backlog at the Port of Vancouver, as well as fuel shipments from the U.S., is said to have helped alleviate shortages.

Horgan told the news conference on Friday that neighbouring Washington state was also helping with water management.

The City of Sumas, Wash., said damage to levees during the previous storm event may lead to greater water flows, and the Nooksack River was expected to reach the “moderate flood” stage on Sunday.

Particular attention is being paid to the Nooksack and whether it will overflow its dikes. If that happens, floods may worsen in the Fraser Valley region.

Braun, Abbotsford’s mayor, said at a news conference on Saturday that he thought the city could handle the incoming precipitation after dike repairs were made.

But he also said the Nooksack riverbed had experienced sediment buildup during the last period of heavy rain, making forecasting a potential flood scenario tougher.

Crews repair the Sumas dike in Abbotsford, B.C., after heavy rains and flooding. Premier John Horgan says the current dike management system in the province, largely left to municipalities, is flawed. (City of Abbotsford)

“We’re going to watch the Nooksack like a hawk,” he told reporters. “We are not anticipating to lift any evacuation orders before the middle of next week.”

Braun said he appreciated provincial and federal help with rebuilding the dikes in the city.

WATCH | Metro Vancouver mayor calls for more uniform flood mitigation:

Port Coquitlam, B.C., mayor calls for more uniform flood preparation after ‘big wake-up call’

4 hours ago

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West called on the provincial and federal governments to provide more funding for flood response and mitigation in British Columbia. 1:14

Horgan admitted that B.C.’s dike management system, which is largely left up to local municipalities, is flawed and needs changing.

“[The diking system] was a bad call,” he said. “There needs to be more than those local dollars at play if we’re going to protect communities going forward.”

The premier said he would be working with Trudeau to get provincial and federal funding and support communities with their flood management plans.

READ MORE:

  • The flood disaster has caused an unprecedented load on shelters throughout the province, with a co-ordinator in Abbotsford saying they were seeing record numbers of beds being occupied.

  • The B.C. Agriculture Council said some farms have lost acres of crops due to the floods, and it may take years for them to recover.

  • One of those farms was run by Avtar Dhillon, who lost his saffron crop to the floods in the Sumas Prairie region of Abbotsford. He says he has not lost hope and wants to grow the crop in B.C. again.

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Prince Andrew seeks jury trial, denies Virginia Giuffre’s sex abuse claims

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Britain’s Prince Andrew on Wednesday asked for a U.S. jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre‘s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Andrew, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her.

David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim.”

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse,” Boies said.

Andrew’s ties to Epstein, who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in Britain’s Royal Family.

Earlier this month, the family removed Andrew’s military links and military patronages, and said the second son of Queen Elizabeth would no longer be known as “His Royal Highness.”

Andrew’s filing was an “answer,” a common document in U.S. litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday.

Giuffre received $500,000 in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December 2022.

If Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.

Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Giuffre’s civil lawsuit.

Kaplan this month denied Andrew’s earlier request to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit, which the prince said he was shielded from under the 2009 Epstein settlement.

Andrew renewed that argument in Wednesday’s filing, and also said Giuffre lacks legal standing to sue because she lives in Australia.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Canada pledges non-lethal support for Ukraine, extends training mission

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Canada on Wednesday said it would send non-lethal equipment to Ukraine, and help the Eastern European country gather intelligence and counter cyber attacks as Russia builds up its military presence on its borders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his government would extend for three years and double the size of a mission to train the Ukrainian military called Operation Unifier.

Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine but denies planning to attack its neighbor. The United States and Britain have started sending more arms to Ukraine.

“With rising tensions, and unwarranted Russian aggression, Canada will be there to provide ongoing support to Ukraine so that it can defend itself,” Trudeau told reporters.

Canada will also set up a task force and expand its diplomatic capacity – including in Kyiv – to coordinate support for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.

“Diplomacy is the only viable path forward for Russia. Any further aggression will have serious consequences including coordinated sanctions, and Canada is prepared,” Joly said.

Defense Minister Anita Anand will visit Latvia and Ukraine “in the coming days” to visit Canadian forces in both countries, Trudeau said.

Some 200 Canadian military personnel are already in Ukraine as part of the training mission, which has been provided to “over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers”, Anand said.

Trudeau said the training mission would be extended by three years, at a cost of C$340 million ($268.5 million), with 60 additional Canadian soldiers leaving within days. Ultimately as many as 400 Canadian trainers may be sent, the prime minister said.

Trudeau said the non-lethal equipment would include things like “body armor, optics and scopes”. Anand said it would include surveillance equipment.

Canada also said it would provide up to C$50 million in development and humanitarian aid, adding to a loan of up to C$120 million promised last week.

Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a strong line with Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

($1 = 1.2661 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Ismail Shakil; editing by Richard Pullin)

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The Best Casino Restaurants in Canada

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In the past, gaming establishments that were not under the jurisdiction of the government or other related agencies have not found favour with the Canadian populace. Laws permitting single-game sports betting were passed only in August of 2021, with many people now anticipating that the day will not be far off when gambling in Canada will be allowed throughout the country.

As the world comes out of the explosive trend of playing casino games online and starts visiting land-based casinos again, one other thing has entered the public mindset. Something that the online casino experience can’t match: food. Land-based casinos come with restaurants, and in this article, Kevin N. Cochran lists out every casino in Canada that tantalizes the palettes of culinary experts worldwide. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Neros Steakhouse

With its luxury hotel next to the gambling facility, Caesars Windsor is clearly one of Canada’s top destinations. They boast a large selection of slots, including several progressives with jackpots in the six-figure bracket, as well as a variety of table games. The hotel itself boasts 700 rooms, allowing it to accommodate a large number of people.

A steakhouse, like many other casinos in Canada, is the best place to eat. Neros is a high-end restaurant, yet the costs are more reasonable than you may expect. While some steakhouses charge upwards of $50 and $60 per entrée, most things are priced between $29 and $41. When you start looking at premium cuts like bison tenderloin and 20-ounce dry-aged tomahawk ribeye, you’ll start to see prices above $50.

Ponte Vecchio

Fallsview offers a veritable feast of dining alternatives, with over 20 different establishments to choose from. Ponte Vecchio, which got the 2019 Diners’ Choice, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, is our favourite. This restaurant, named after a historical bridge in Florence, Italy, is, as you might expect, an Italian eatery.

Consider starting with the wine list, which is wonderful. After that, the choices can take you in a variety of wonderful directions. Authentic plates of pasta are always a fantastic choice. The Osso Buco veal shank is always a classic, but the Agnello Arrosto is the one true champion. A maple-dijon-coated rack of lamb is served with truffle polenta, tomato ragu, lamb jus, and rapini to balance out the richness.

The Victor

One of Canada’s newest gaming venues, Parq Vancouver, is a behemoth. There is roughly 72,000 square feet of gaming space in Vancouver, albeit not all of it is dedicated to the casino. There are over 600 slot machines, as well as a variety of table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, and Jade Salons for private gaming.

There are a few good restaurants here, but we’ll start with The Victor, which serves a steak and seafood fusion. While that may sound like most steakhouses, this isn’t the case because this is a modern dining room with sushi, caviar, and ceviche on the seafood side and bone marrow, porterhouse, and wagyu on the meaty side.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is the place to go if you’re seeking one of Montreal’s greatest casino restaurants and want to have a unique experience. Robuchon, who regrettably passed away two years ago, was one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. A visit to L’Atelier, which means ‘workshop,’ is a wonderful experience.

The tasting menu is the way to go if you’ve hit it big at the tables or have some cash to spend. The complete trademark tasting menu is $200 per person, making it pricey. On a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, though, you may complete a four-course menu for $85.

Honey Salt

Honey Salt is a wonderful option at the Parq Vancouver if you’re searching for something a little more informal yet still stylish. This restaurant takes a farm-to-table approach and has a strong local focus. Consider it a hip neighbourhood hangout that’s still enjoyable but a little more toned down than a steakhouse.

This is the place to go if you want a golden-seared scallop. These delicate jewels are covered with a truffle jus and served with roasted or pureed cauliflower. It’s flavourful, and it’s only one of the menu’s many fascinating selections.

Conclusion

Restaurants in casino towns are often the most top-tier establishments of their ilk in that area, so if you’re planning to splurge in a casino, you might as well take a detour to get some quality grub. At the end of the day, casinos are all about having a good time, and food is probably the best medium to achieve that. So, go crazy, and feast like kings! We’ve all deserved it after the last couple of years.

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