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U.S. Senate approves bill to make daylight saving time permanent

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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity.

The Senate approved the measure, called the Sunshine Protection Act, unanimously by voice vote. The House of Representatives, which has held a committee hearing on the matter, must still pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.

The White House has not said whether Biden supports it. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to say if she supports the measure but said she was reviewing it closely.

Senator Marco Rubio, one of the bill’s sponsors, said supporters agreed the change would not take place until November 2023 after input from airlines and broadcasters.

The change would help enable children to play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression, according to supporters.

“I know this is not the most important issue confronting America, but it’s one of those issues where there’s a lot of agreement,” Rubio said. “If we can get this passed, we don’t have to do this stupidity anymore.”

“Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come,” he added.

The National Association of Convenience Stores opposes the change, telling Congress this month “we should not have kids going to school in the dark.”

On Sunday, most of the United States resumed daylight saving time, moving ahead one hour. The United States will resume standard time in November.

Since 2015, about 30 states have introduced legislation to end the twice-yearly changing of clocks, with some states proposing to do it only if neighboring states do the same.

The House Energy and Commerce committee held a hearing on the issue last week, where Representative Frank Pallone, the committee’s chairman, said, “The loss of that one hour of sleep seems to impact us for days afterwards. It also can cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and our pets.”

Pallone backs ending the clock-switching but has not decided whether to support daylight or standard time as the permanent choice.

At the hearing, Beth Malow, director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Division, argued daylight savings time makes it harder to be alert in the morning, saying it “is like living in the wrong time zone for almost eight months out of the year.”

Pallone cited a 2019 poll that found 71% of Americans prefer to no longer switch their clocks twice a year.

Supporters say the change could prevent a slight uptick in car crashes that typically occurs around the time changes and point to studies showing a small increase in the rate of heart attacks and strokes soon after the time change. They argue the measure could help businesses such as golf courses that could draw more use with more evening daylight.

“It has real repercussions on our economy and our daily lives,” said Senator Ed Markey, another leading sponsor.

Daylight saving time has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s after being first tried in 1918. Year-round daylight savings time was used during World War Two and adopted again in 1973 in a bid to reduce energy use because of an oil embargo and repealed a year later.

The bill would allow Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe daylight saving time, to remain on standard time as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Will Dunham, Chizu Nomiyama and Karishma Singh)

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519 shares Online Dating Safety tips for the LGBTQ2S+ community

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519, a Toronto-based wellness LGBTQ2S+ lobby group has shared some insightful tips when it comes to online dating.

According to 519, online dating can be overwhelming and scary! Remember to have a good time while trusting your instincts.

If you feel uncomfortable, or something feels off, always remember, that you can leave a date, place, situation, or cut off communication with whoever is making you feel unsafe

  1. Decide how you want to use photos on dating profiles.

If you don’t feel safe using a full photo, opt for one that doesn’t reveal your entire face.

Another option is linking your dating profile to your social media profile(s). Folks who are genuinely interested in knowing you will make the effort to visit them.

  1. Avoid connecting with suspicious profiles.

If the person you matched with has no bio or linked social media account(s), you could possibly be interacting with a bot or fake account.

Little or no details, or receiving vague responses are red flags.

You should block and report fake profiles.

  1. Most dating apps have a free video calling option. Use it!

Have a virtual date. Use it as an opportunity to connect with people for initial vetting.

Exchange personal contact numbers and do a few more calls once you feel it is safe to do so.

  1. Check out your potential date on social media.

If you know your match’s name or handles on social media or better yet if you have mutual friends online look them up and make sure you aren’t being catfished.

Use Google’s reverse image search if you are suspicious about their profile photo.

  1. Wait to share any personal information.

Never give your personal information such as your work or home address to someone you haven’t met in person.

Never share your Social Insurance Number (SIN), credit card details, passwords to your accounts, or banking information.

Some red flags to look out for in conversations:

They ask for financial assistance, or ask to “spoil you.”

They share links to surveys or websites and ask you to click on them and/or prove you are not a sexual assaulter

They disappear suddenly from the site, then reappear under a different name

They request your home or work address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts

Examples of user behaviour you may want to report:

They request financial assistance

They are a minor

They send harassing or offensive messages

They attempt to threaten or intimidate you in any way

There is a fast “romantic” build-up to the conversation

 

If you did send money or share financial information, report it to the financial institution used for instance your bank, Western Union, or MoneyGram. You may also want to check and or freeze your credit rating via Equifax and TransUnion.

Equifax – 1-800-465-7166 or consumer.equifax.ca

TransUnion – 1-800-663-9980 or TransUnion.ca

Gather all information about the situation, including the scammer’s profile name, how you made contact, social media screenshots, emails, etc. If you have been scammed or defrauded and feel comfortable, contact your local police service. The 519 can provide support by contacting Toronto’s Police Service and reaching out to us at AVI@The519.org.

File a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

1-888-495-8501 or AntiFraudCentre.ca

Notify the dating website or social media site where you met the scammer. Scammers usually have more than one account.

Be proactive, tell family, friends, coworkers, and neighbours about your experience to warn them about romance scams.

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Inquest to begin in N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman during wellness check

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FREDERICTON — The lawyer for the family of an Indigenous woman fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B., during a wellness check two years ago said a coroner’s inquest opening Monday offers a chance for her loved ones to get long-awaited answers.

Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia who had recently moved to New Brunswick to be closer to family, was killed on June 4, 2020.

Lawyer T.J. Burke says the Edmundston police department lacked the tools needed to de-escalate situations without using deadly force.

“In my opinion, the City of Edmundston suffers for the lack of technology,” he said in an interview last week. The city, he said, had “focused more on purchasing carbine weapons than they did on individual officers’ use-of-force weapons, such as Tasers.”

Investigators with Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, concluded last year that the shooting occurred after an intoxicated Moore approached the officer with a knife in her hand.

Patrick Wilbur, regional director of New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Services, said in a report released last June that a former boyfriend of Moore called police at 2:06 a.m. to request the wellness check as a result of his concerns over a series of messages he had received over a period of a few hours.

The former boyfriend, who lives in Quebec, told investigators that at one point it appeared as if the messages were being written by a third party, and he contacted police out of concern for Moore’s safety.

According to Wilbur’s review of the investigation report, police arrived at Moore’s apartment at 2:32 a.m. and the officer knocked on a window and shone a flashlight on himself to show he was in full police uniform. The review says Moore came out of the apartment and moved in the direction of the officer holding a knife.

Prosecutors concluded the officer shot at Moore to defend or protect himself and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances. They ruled out any criminal charges.

However, during the investigation, the officer said he regretted not giving himself an exit from the confrontation on the balcony outside Moore’s third-floor apartment. Wilbur wrote in his report that officers should always avoid cornering themselves in when responding to a call.

Wilbur said that while the officer had other deterrent measures, such as pepper spray and a baton, the events unfolded quickly.

Burke said he believes police also need to look at other approaches during wellness checks, such as the use of social workers or a mental health worker to help resolve tense situations.

Last June, Burke said Moore’s family intended to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the City of Edmundston and the officer who shot her. He says that lawsuit has now been finalized and will be filed very soon.

A coroner’s jury will be chosen Monday morning, and five days have been set aside for the inquest.

Coroner Michael Johnston and the jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the death. The jury will then have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.

While Burke will attend the inquest, he won’t have the opportunity to directly question or cross-examine the witnesses. A lawyer for the family can submit questions, but New Brunswick’s legislation only allows for questions to be asked by a Crown prosecutor during a coroner’s inquest.

“The legislation is archaic and it needs to change,” Burke said. “It essentially silences the victim in these types of matters.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2022.

 

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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Gas prices continue to soar for weekend drivers, experts predict no immediate relief

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National gas prices continued their staggering rise this weekend, with drivers in Vancouver told to brace for as much as $2.34 per litre at the pumps.

Figures on the fuel tracker GasBuddy showed the national average price of regular gas reached $1.95 per litre on Saturday afternoon, with provincial averages reaching $2.15 in Newfoundland and Labrador and $2.11 in British Columbia.

Gas Wizard predicted significant jumps in various cities Sunday, with Vancouver expected to see prices surge six cents to a national high of $2.34/litre. Montreal was projected to see a four-cent jump to $2.15, and Toronto was on pace for a six-cent increase that would take average prices to $2.09.

“These are mind-numbing, eye-popping prices that … is probably not sustainable for most Canadians on fixed incomes/middle class,” Gas Wizard analyst Dan McTeague, also president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said Saturday.

“I think it’s fair to say most Canadians are taking a pounding on this and it’s not the ones who drive for kicks and giggles, it’s the ones that need this to get to work…. And it will be long term.”

St. John’s is expected to see the biggest leap Sunday at 13 cents to $2.24/litre. Prices in Edmonton are projected to be among the lowest at $1.70/litre.

Many experts have attributed soaring gas prices to market destabilization brought on by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as well as recovering global demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

McTeague acknowledged those as factors, but characterized the spike as more of a supply issue that predates the war and is only being exacerbated now.

He called for a temporary suspension of the carbon tax and for Ottawa to offer an immediate energy rebate, noting that soaring gas prices have also increased the federal GST haul.

“They’re making money hand over-over-fist. It seems to me that it would be wise for them to at least consider some kind of a rebate, or at least a way to alleviate, through maybe a GST rebate, to insulate and help those on fixed incomes and those of course who are having a tough go of it,” said McTeague, a former Liberal member of Parliament.

On Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said reducing taxes would be a “short-sighted” plan that only offers a “modest amount” of relief.

He said he has asked the finance minister “to bring forward a basket of initiatives because this is not a short-term issue.”

Until then, he encouraged residents to reduce travel costs where possible.

“We need to do that by all of us taking the steps that we can to reduce the amount we spend and also ensuring that we’re working together. If you’re going to the grocery store and you know you’ve got a neighbour that needs something, ask if you can pick it up for them and reduce the number of trips that we take,” he said.

“Right now I encourage people to think before you hop in the car — do you need to make that trip?”

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

 

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

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