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Stadium stampede kills eight in Africa Cup of Nations soccer match

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At least eight people died and 38 were injured in a stampede when fans stormed a stadium hosting an Africa Cup of Nations soccer match in Cameroon’s capital on Monday, the government said.

Images shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately authenticate, showed a panicked crowd trying to squeeze through a narrow entrance gate at the newly built Olembe stadium in Yaounde that was hosting a round of 16 game between Cameroon and Comoros.

One video showed dozens of fans scrambling over the stadium fence as a police officer walked by.

The stampede comes as a heavy blow for the tournament, which had grown in excitement on the pitch in recent days thanks to some match upsets but which was under scrutiny for a lack of readiness beforehand.

COVID-19 and insecurity caused by a separatist insurgency also complicated preparations.

Work on the 60,000-seat Olembe Stadium continued right up to the start of Africa’s top soccer tournament, prompting the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the continent’s soccer governing body, to hold an emergency meeting to discuss cancelling the competition altogether. [KBN2JZ0TJ]

“CAF is currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired. We are in constant communication with Cameroon government and the Local Organising Committee,” it said in a statement.

THE SHOCK, THE WEIGHT

High school teacher Vanessa Tchouanzi had come to see the match on Monday night with her friend, Veronique, who was also a teacher. Tchouanzi was barely able to get her words out as she recounted her experience over the phone to Reuters.

At the entrance to the stadium, crowds were still milling about just moments before the start of the game. Some were waiting to take COVID-19 tests.

As Tchouanzi tried to enter the stadium, ticket collectors became overwhelmed by a rush of people trying to get into the ground before kick-off.

“They shoved the gate and people started coming in in droves. The police were there, but the mass of people was stronger,” Tchouanzi said.

Tchouanzi and Veronique were knocked to the ground. Squeezed by the rush, Tchouanzi lost consciousness before someone pulled her up and away from the crowd.

A few minutes later, Tchouanzi found Veronique on the ground, unresponsive with a weak pulse. She was rushed to hospital but died soon after.

“She couldn’t take the shock, the weight of all those people,” Tchouanzi said through a flood of tears.

The government did not give any information on the cause of the crush or whether fans were allowed into the stadium without tickets. It is not clear why the match went ahead after the disaster.

Following a low turnout in the first round games at brand new stadiums, Cameroon authorities have thrown open stadium gates, organised mass transport and given out free tickets to lure fans.

Cameroon beat 10-man Comoros Islands 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.

 

(Reporting by Josiane Kouagheu; writing by Bate Felix and Cooper Inveen; editing by Edward McAllister, Richard Pullin and Nick Macfie)

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The latest on the French-language Conservative leadership debate in Laval

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LAVAL, Que. — Conservative leadership hopefuls are squaring off — in French — in the second official debate of the race, which is being held in Laval, Que.

Here are the latest developments. All times eastern:

8:55 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates Patrick Brown and Leslyn Lewis took turns attacking rival Pierre Poilievre for his embrace of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a solution to inflation.

Lewis, who is often reading from her notes during the French-language debate in Laval, Que., said Poilievre’s position was wrong.

At one point, Brown said Poilievre’s position on Bitcoin was similar to that of the leadership in El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.

The International Monetary Fund urged the Central American country to drop Bitcoin as its official currency earlier this year, citing its volatility.

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8:20 p.m.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest says Canada must renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

He says that is how he would deal with “illegal immigration,” such as migrants entering the country through the unofficial border crossing at Roxham Road south of Montreal.

Candidates were asked about immigration as the first question in the debate.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown used the question to say he was trying to build an inclusive party and attacked Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre for not publicly condemning the “white replacement” conspiracy theory espoused by Pat King, a leader of the Ottawa convoy protest.

Poilievre responded by saying he has in fact condemned King’s remarks and that people couldn’t believe anything Brown says.

While answering a question about public safety, Poilievre said the country needs to better deal with guns illegally brought into Canada.

Charest said Poilievre has no businesses talking about law and order when he supported the Ottawa convoy, which he called an illegal blockade.

The room then erupted into a mix of cheers and boos.

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8:10 p.m.

Candidates took to the stage and began by outlining one by one what legacy they wanted to leave behind as leaders.

Pierre Poilievre says he wants his legacy to be making Canada the freest country in the world, including by making sure people don’t feel forced to get vaccinated and that young people are able to afford a home.

Patrick Brown says he can win in urban areas, which the party needs, and has what it takes to build a party that can succeed in a general election.

Roman Baber, an Independent member of the Ontario legislature, introduced himself to the crowd.

He says he knows Canada is bilingual and has taken lessons, but still asked those watching to forgive his French.

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8:05 p.m.

The Conservative party’s leadership organizing committee announced before the debate began that it will announce the results of the leadership race at a downtown Ottawa convention centre on Sept. 10.

The party’s president, Robert Batherson, says it will be the first time since 2018 that members will gather together at a national event.

The party held a convention in Halifax in 2018.

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7:50 p.m.

House music issued from amplifiers as Conservatives of all ages began to take their seats ahead of tonight’s leadership debate.

Several hundred attendees, who were not wearing masks, crowded the ballroom of the Chateau Royal venue north of Montreal, seated between television cameras and the stage.

The six contenders are slated to appear at their podiums at 8 p.m.

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7:30 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates filed in for the race’s only French-language debate, being held at a reception hall north of Montreal.

The suburban venue in Laval, Que., saw scores of federal Tories and onlookers mingling in the foyer before the six contenders take the stage.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest greeted a handful of supporters with kisses, while Ontario MP Scott Aitchison chatted with party members amid sign-up booths for each candidate.

Bookending the stage beneath ballroom chandeliers were a bank of speakers and 14 flags — six with the Fleur-de-lis, eight with the Maple Leaf.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022

 

The Canadian Press

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Monkeypox: Cases in Canada climb to 16, PHAC says – CTV News

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.

The latest update on the spread of the viral disease came in a statement issued Wednesday evening.

The statement says Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory continues to receive samples from multiple jurisdictions for confirmation testing.

“At this time, cases of monkeypox are being identified and treated by local health clinics,” the statement said.

“There is ongoing planning with provinces and territories to provide access to approved vaccines in Canada that, if required, can be used in managing monkeypox in their jurisdiction.”

The PHAC says it has given Quebec a small shipment of the smallpox vaccine Imvamune from Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, with other jurisdictions able to receive some supply.

In April, Public Services and Procurement Canada submitted a tender to purchase 500,000 doses of the Imvamune vaccine between 2023 and 2028.

There is currently no need for mass immunizations, the PHAC says.

“I know Canadians are concerned,” Duclos said in a statement Tuesday. “The Government of Canada is prepared to respond to emerging public health events and takes precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.”

The national laboratory received its first samples during the week of May 16, before announcing the first two cases of monkeypox identified in Quebec on May 19. That number rose to five cases the following day.

Since then, other possible cases of monkeypox have emerged in Canada. On Wednesday, Toronto public health authorities said they identified two new suspected cases in the city, along with one probable case currently under investigation.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that was first discovered among colonies of monkeys used for research. Historically, it has also been transmitted from animals to humans, with the first human case recorded in 1970. The virus can spread through close contact with an infected animal, human, or contaminated material.

The federal government is prepared to help provinces and territories develop their own means of testing for the disease in order to monitor it more easily, Duclos said.

“Our surveillance system is working, as is our testing system, though we will continue to refine both, including supporting provinces and territories in building their own testing capacities so cases can be identified and traced even more efficiently,” Duclos’ statement read.

The government will also provide updated guidance on preventing infection, as well as procedures around isolation and case management. Canadians can expect the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to provide additional guidance in the coming weeks as well.

In his statement, Duclos emphasized that the emergence of monkeypox is not the same as COVID-19, which quickly spiralled into a worldwide pandemic.

“I want to re-iterate to Canadians that this is a different situation than we saw ourselves in with the emergence of COVID-19,” Duclos’ statement read. “While global understanding of the monkeypox virus is still evolving, we do have a supply of vaccines, which we will be sure to maintain, and we are working hand-in-hand with our provincial and territorial counterparts to roll out our response plan as quickly as possible.”

In an effort to avoid contracting the disease, Canadians are advised to physically distance from those around them, frequently wash their hands and wear masks in crowded environments.

With files from CTV News and The Canadian Press

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Peter Nygard sexual assault case to return to Montreal courtroom in July

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MONTREAL — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s sexual assault and forcible confinement case in Quebec will return to a Montreal courtroom July 8.

Nygard remains detained in Toronto and did not appear during the brief hearing before a judge at the Montreal courthouse.

Laurence Juillet, a lawyer for Nygard, asked for the delay while her client’s other pending sex crime cases move through the courts.

Nygard faces one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in Quebec. The crimes, which involve the same person, allegedly took place between Nov. 1, 1997, and Nov. 15, 1998.

He is also facing six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement in Toronto in connection with alleged incidents dating back to the late 1980s and mid-2000s.

Authorities in the United States have asked for him to be extradited to face sex-related charges in that country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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