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Ripudaman Singh Malik, man acquitted in Air India bombing, killed in B.C.: son

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SURREY, B.C. — Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of two men acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombing, has been killed in a targeted shooting in Surrey, B.C.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team released a statement Thursday confirming Malik’s death, saying the shooting appears to have been targeted and there was believed to be no further risk to the public.

An employee who works at a nearby car wash said he heard shots on Thursday morning and ran outside to find Malik unconscious in his red Tesla.

“There were three gunshots. One hit him on the neck, that’s it. And I just took him out. He was alive,” said the man, who didn’t want to be named because of safety concerns.

Police arrived in about 10 to 15 minutes, he said, and an ambulance took longer.

The man said he knew Malik as a customer at the car wash and because he had a business nearby.

Jaspreet Malik said in a statement on social media that his 75-year-old father came to Canada in 1972 and was committed to his community and family, including his wife, five children and eight grandchildren.

“The media will always refer to him as someone charged with the Air India bombing,” Malik said. “The media and RCMP never seemed to accept the court’s decision and I pray today’s tragedy is not related.”

Sarj Basra, owner of the Auto Shine Car Wash and Detail, wasn’t at work when the shooting happened but said it’s upsetting and scary that something like that would happen in their neighbourhood.

“Someone we know has passed away to violence,” Basra said.

“He was always joking. You know, always coming in here, talking to us, standing around,” he said, adding many of Malik’s vehicles were serviced at his business.

Asaf Gill, who owns a carpet business, said he had an appointment with Malik about a half-hour before he was killed.

“But then I come here and find this,” he said of yellow police tape that surrounded the scene where a tight-knit business community was in shock.

The homicide team’s statement asks for the public’s help in solving the case.

“We are aware of Mr. Malik’s background, though at this time we are still working to determine the motive,” Sgt. Timothy Pierotti said.

He said that because the shooting took place in a residential area, they are confident that witnesses exist that could help solve the crime.

RCMP said shortly after the attack that a vehicle believed to be used in the shooting was found engulfed in fire a few blocks away.

Malik and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri, were found not guilty in March 2005 of murder and conspiracy in a pair of Air India bombings that killed 331 people on June 23, 1985.

B.C. Supreme Court heard during the trial that a suitcase bomb was loaded onto a plane at Vancouver’s airport and then transferred in Toronto to Air India Flight 182.

The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 passengers and crew. About an hour later, a bomb destined for another Air India plane exploded prematurely at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, where two baggage handlers died.

Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man convicted in the bombings, testified for the Crown at Malik and Bagri’s trial, and was later convicted of perjury.

Deepak Khandelwal of Oakville, Ont., was 17 when his sisters, 21-year-old Chandra and 19-year-old Manju, were killed when Flight 182 fell from the sky.

“It’s like a nightmare that never stops giving,” he said about the many years it took for the trial to start, the missteps made by police during the investigation and an inquiry into Canada’s worst mass murder.

“It just brings back all the horrible memories we’ve had to go through for the last 37 years,” said Khandelwal, whose family was living in Saskatoon when the bombings happened.

“I was supposed to be on the flight as well,” he said. “I actually just cancelled a couple of days beforehand because I was finishing Grade 12 and got a scholarship to go to a program at the University of Calgary. And so, I chose to do that instead of going to my uncle’s wedding.”

Khandelwal and other families who are part of the Air India Victims’ Families Association, said the Canadian government failed to provide them with the support they needed after the deaths. Most of the victims were Canadian citizens.

“I would just hope that the Canadian government and government agencies can do a better job,” he said.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology in 2010, saying families were not treated with respect following the worst terrorist attack in aviation history until the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

Rob Alexander of Hamilton was 15 when his father boarded Flight 182 to visit his mother in India.

Alexander was supposed to go with his dad, Dr. Mathew Alexander, a cardiac surgeon, who was booked on an Air France flight before switching to Air India because it turned out to be cheaper.

“He said to me, ‘Go to your basketball camp. I’ll be back in 10 days.’”

Alexander said he’s grappling with how to deal with hearing about the death of Malik.

“It’s a very weird feeling to describe. Because in the end, we’ve gone through all the hurt and trauma and we had no support from the government over the years,” he said.

Alexander and other families credit the residents of Cork, Ireland, who supported them as they arrived to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

Families did not hear for days that everyone on board had died. Alexander said he believed that his dad was busy helping people as a 40-year surgeon who was “just getting into his stride and was very well respected in his community.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.

 

Hina Alam and Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

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Hockey Canada trying to ‘salvage’ World Juniors amid scandal, low ticket sales – Global News

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Amid low tickets sales, a flight of sponsors and a national scandal of sexual assault allegations, Hockey Canada appears to be trying to “salvage” its World Juniors championship, says one expert.

The tournament got underway on Tuesday in Edmonton, Alta., with thousands of tickets still available. It was postponed  late last year as a result of the Omicron variant surge.

In the months since, the national organization has become embroiled in condemnation and controversy over its handling of the allegations. As a result, regional tourism body Explore Edmonton, told Global News, it paused promotion of the tournament in July.

“As the host city for the upcoming tournament, we continue to have discussions with Hockey Canada officials about their plans to address the need for change,” said Traci Bednard, CEO of Explore Edmonton.


Click to play video: 'Thousands of tickets still up for grabs for World Juniors Championship games in Edmonton'



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Thousands of tickets still up for grabs for World Juniors Championship games in Edmonton


Thousands of tickets still up for grabs for World Juniors Championship games in Edmonton

For sports culture expert Dan Mason, that’s not a huge surprise.

“Hockey Canada is hurting because they’re lacking sponsorship and the usual promotion that they get. I don’t think it’s necessarily something that they would really want to be doing anyway, given the circumstances that they’re in,” said Mason, a professor of sport management at the University of Alberta.

“I think they’re just trying to salvage this opportunity to have some player development.”

Read more:

As Hockey Canada re-opens alleged sex assault probe, here’s what 2018 players say so far

The World Juniors is the international championship for players aged 20 or younger competing for spots on teams run by the national hockey league.

It is run by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which confirmed last week it is now among the growing number of official bodies investigating Hockey Canada over its handling of sexual assault allegations. The Zurich, Switzerland-based world governing body for ice hockey said it wants more information amid a continued storm of criticism and condemnation, which has rocked Hockey Canada to its core.

“These are deeply troubling incidents that the IIHF takes extremely seriously,” the organization told Global News on Aug. 1.

Read more:

International Ice Hockey Federation probing Hockey Canada over alleged sex assault

TSN first reported in May that Hockey Canada had settled a lawsuit in which a young woman, “E.M.”, alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight hockey players including members of the 2018 Canadian World Juniors team following a gala organized by the organization.

In the months since, Hockey Canada has been engulfed in scrutiny including: three parliamentary committee meetings focusing on the matter, a funding freeze ordered by the federal sports minister, a financial audit, a renewed criminal investigation by police in London, Ont., and an NHL probe.

The organization has lost multiple major sponsors for the World Juniors tournament including Tim Hortons, Telus, Canadian Tire and Scotiabank, and faced a revolt from provincial hockey organizations vowing to withhold funding. The chair of the board of directors is gone — though the president Scott Smith remains. Former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell is leading a governance review due in November.

Whether Smith will remain in the role after that review remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, Canadian parents are furious, particularly over the revelations of a slush fund used to pay out sexual assault claimants using registration fees paid by parents for their children to play what Stompin’ Tom Connors once called “the good ol’ hockey game.”


Click to play video: 'Abuse survivors react to Hockey Canada executives’ testimony'



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Abuse survivors react to Hockey Canada executives’ testimony


Abuse survivors react to Hockey Canada executives’ testimony – Jul 28, 2022

Mason said he expects the impact of the revelations will play out in youth enrolment numbers.

At the same time, some locals who planned to attend the World Juniors said they trust that the problems in the organization are being taken care of and don’t want to penalize the players.

Randy Thompson spoke to Global News outside the Rogers Centre in Edmonton. He said he plans to catch a few games, and after years of COVID-19 disruption watching the World Juniors feels like a return to a “nice tradition.”

“I think it’s on all of our minds and we hope that there’s a positive resolution to that,” he said of the allegations and the outcry facing Hockey Canada.

“But hockey still is what it is and we shouldn’t let that affect us too too much. I think we need to stay true to our hockey culture or hockey tradition, and I know that the right people will take care of things.”


Click to play video: '‘More diversity’ needed at Hockey Canada following Brind’Amour resignation'



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‘More diversity’ needed at Hockey Canada following Brind’Amour resignation


‘More diversity’ needed at Hockey Canada following Brind’Amour resignation

The Canadian team is set to face off against Latvia on Wednesday in their first game of the tournament.

Team Canada’s head coach André Tourigny said leaders have been emphasizing to players that they are under the spotlight, but kept his remarks to the media brief about the outcry facing Hockey Canada.

“We’ve addressed that. We recognize that there’s steps to be taken,” said Tourigny earlier this week. “We did a sexual violence thing, we did a code of conduct thing.”

Read more:

Sex abuse ‘code of silence’ still runs deep in Canadian sports, says former league head

Brenda Andress, who was commissioner of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League for 12 years, told Global News she still sees a “code of silence” in Canadian sports when it comes to sex abuse and sexual allegations.

She said in an interview last week that many still have trouble wrapping their heads around the extent of the problem.

“Being in the sports world as long as I have been, there is a code of silence. There’s a culture that we have created, and I think most of us can’t handle the truth that’s out there — that’s really going on in our sports world,” Andress said.

“It’s time that we take a look at it in a lot deeper avenue than we’re currently doing.”

— With files from Global Edmonton’s Morgan Black.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Sask. woman, accused of faking own death, says she had 'no choice' but to flee – CBC.ca

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The Saskatoon woman accused of staging the disappearance of herself and her son has issued a statement to CBC News from an Oregon jail.

Dawn Walker, 48, was the subject of an extensive missing persons search after she disappeared with her son about two weeks ago. She was found and arrested in Oregon City on Friday and has been detained in the U.S. since.

“I left Saskatoon because I feared for my safety and that of my son,” Walker said in a written statement to CBC News. She didn’t name the person she said she fears, but Walker has previously made domestic violence allegations against her ex, who is the father of her seven-year-old son. 

Police have said the domestic violence allegations were investigated, but no evidence was found to support them. 

Walker’s friend, Eleanore Sunchild, recorded Walker’s statement during a visit at the Multnomah County Jail in Portland on Monday. 

Walker is charged in the U.S. with aggravated identity theft, which, if convicted, would lead to a minimum prison sentence of two years. She has also been criminally charged with parental abduction and public mischief in Canada. 

U.S. prosecutors allege that Walker faked her and her son’s deaths as part of an elaborate scheme that involved stolen identities and a fraudulent bank account. Police were able to locate Walker and her son last Friday by following bank transactions for gas, food, Netflix and Airbnb rentals. 

Walker says justice system failed 

Walker said she was “failed by the Saskatchewan Justice system, the family law system and child protection.”

She said she previously filed domestic abuse reports with Saskatoon police and RCMP and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The police services did nothing to assist me. I reported my concerns to the child protection authorities and again nothing was done. I am fighting systems that continuously fail to protect me as an Indigenous woman and protect non-Indigenous men,” Walker said.

“So many women and children before us have had to run for their lives to protect their children. The SPS and RCMP only cared when they thought I was dead and the pressure they were under because of their blatant failures.”

Before Walker was located by police, her friends and family suggested foul play or interpersonal violence could be involved in her disappearance. Saskatoon police were asked Monday about the allegations. 

“Any potential or any previous allegations made by Dawn Walker were thoroughly investigated and no charges resulted as a result of those investigations,” Saskatoon police Deputy Chief Randy Huisman said. 

The allegations of domestic abuse were also put directly to her ex, the father of the seven-year-old, by CKOM before Walker and her son were found. 

Andrew Jansen told CKOM he “would never hurt Dawn or [her son]. There’s no truth to any of that, and that’s all I can say.” CBC News contacted Jansen about the allegations. He declined to comment, saying he is taking time to focus on his son and family. 

After Walker was arrested, agents found and reviewed a series of notebooks with handwritten notes she possessed. Within those materials agents ‘found the defendant’s check list for how to stage her death and disappearance,’ according to the court documents. (United States Attorney District of Oregon)

Walker says she had ‘no choice’

In her statement, Walker had a message for the dozens of family members, friends and others who prayed and searched for her in the days after she was declared missing.

“I apologize to anyone I hurt. I was left with no choice. No one heard me. I love my son so very much. He is my only child…I was motivated out of my immense love for [him],” she said.

She said she witnessed something involving the boy “that scared me to the core,” but did not elaborate.

“More will come out as I further tell my story upon my return to our Treaty lands,” she said.

Sunchild and Walker’s family also emailed written statements to CBC News. They are pressing for Walker’s extradition to Canada and encouraging others to do the same. 

“We, her supporters, urge the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments to commence extradition proceedings immediately so Dawn can return to Canada to deal with her matters there,” said Sunchild, a Cree lawyer in Saskatchewan who is in the U.S. supporting Walker as a friend.

The family said Walker “deserves our compassion and understanding.… It’s not easy being an Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan. All she wanted to do was raise her son in peace.” 

Saskatoon police said the criminal investigation into Walker — and those who may have helped her — is ongoing. They said there could be more criminal charges laid depending on the outcome.

A rally is being held Tuesday evening at the Legislature building in Regina in support of Walker, who appears back in court next month.

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Stable weather allows fire crews to focus on containment of B.C. wildfires

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Crews battling the wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 500 properties in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan are taking advantage of calm winds and stable conditions to bolster fire lines.

The BC Wildfire Service says the the wildfire covers 68 square kilometres southwest of Penticton, with most of the recent growth due to planned ignitions needed to create the control lines.

An update from the wildfire service says newly created control lines are “holding well.”

It says a key objective is to continue mop-up work along Highway 3A in an effort to reopen the route connecting Keremeos and the evacuated community of Olalla with towns further north.

Crews are keeping a close eye on weather conditions as a storm approaches from Washington state, bringing showers later this week and possible lightning strikes on Wednesday.

The wildfire service has recorded 564 blazes since the season began, 58 of them in the last seven days, and lists the fire danger rating as high to extreme on Vancouver Island, the entire B.C. coast and across the southern quarter of the province.

Of the eight wildfires of note currently burning in the Kamloops and Southeast fire centres, only the blaze near Penticton continues to keep residents out of their homes.

None of the other seven have grown significantly in recent days and the wildfire service website says the roughly three-square-kilometre fire in grasslands northwest of Kamloops is now listed as “being held,” allowing crews to finish building control lines.

Wildfires of note are either highly visible or pose a threat to people or properties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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