Search ongoing for missing radioactive capsule in Western Australia

The multinational mining company Rio Tinto has apologized for losing a small, highly-radioactive capsule along a 1,400-kilometre route in Western Australia.

The pea-sized capsule is just 6 millimetres in diameter and 8 millimetres long, according to the Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) — but it apparently still packs a radioactive punch.

The authority announced the disappearance of the capsule on Friday, two days after they were notified by Rio Tinto.

It is believed that the tiny capsule, which contains a small quantity of radioactive Caesium-137, fell from a delivery truck during transport from a desert mine site to the city of Perth.

A diagram showing the size of the radioactive capsule. It is 6mm by 8mm.

A diagram showing the size of the radioactive capsule lost by mining giant Rio Tinto in Western Australia.

Facebook / Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Australian authorities have been searching the transportation route — roughly the same distance as Ottawa, Ont. to Regina — since they were notified of the disappearance on Jan. 25. Australians have been warned the silver capsule could have unknowingly become lodged in a car tire.

Emergency services are using specialized radiation detecting equipment to locate the capsule. They said their chances of finding the device are “pretty good,” as per the BBC.

A firetruck and two people in high visibility vests walk alongside a road.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services members search for a radioactive capsule believed to have fallen off a truck being transported on a freight route on the outskirts of Perth, Australia.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services / AP

Authorities have said the capsule cannot be weaponized, and if a citizen happens to locate it, they should not touch it under any circumstances and instead call local authorities.

DFES said exposure to the capsule’s substance could cause radiation burns and radiation sickness; coming into contact with the irradiated capsule would deliver the equivalent of receiving 10 X-rays in an hour. Prolonged exposure to any radiation can cause cancer.

The authority said the radioactive substance Caesium-137 is used within gauges for mining operations.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation, said it will conduct an internal investigation into how the capsule became lost.

“We recognize this is clearly very concerning and are sorry for the alarm it has caused in the Western Australian community,” chief executive Simon Trott said in a statement released Sunday. “As well as fully supporting the relevant authorities, we have launched our own investigation to understand how the capsule was lost in transit.”

At the time of its disappearance, the radioactive capsule was being transported by a qualified subcontracted company. Before its transportation, officials confirmed the capsule was on the delivery truck. When the delivery arrived in Perth on Jan. 25, the capsule was no longer there.

“Upon opening the package, it was found that the gauge was broken apart with one of the four mounting bolts missing and the source itself and all screws on the gauge also missing,” wrote DFES in a statement.

Police determined the incident to be an accident and no criminal charges are likely.

This is not the first time Rio Tinto’s reputation has come under fire in Australia. In 2020, the company destroyed 46,000-year-old sacred Aboriginal rock shelters in Western Australia when expanding an iron ore mine.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith opposes assisted dying expansion as Ottawa eyes delay

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s office says the province objects to Ottawa’s plan to extend eligibility for medically assisted death to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness.

An update to assisted-dying law passed in 2021 included a two-year sunset clause that would see the expansion take effect this March.

Federal justice Minister David Lametti is now seeking further delay because he says there are concerns that health-care systems might not be prepared, and the Liberal government wants to do more consultation.

Smith’s office said it objects to Ottawa moving forward with expanding eligibility for assisted dying “without agreement” from Alberta.

“Given the government of Alberta’s responsibility to deliver health care services and to regulate the health-care profession, we object to the federal government moving forward with expanding … eligibility without agreement from the province,” a statement from Smith’s office said.

Her office said the province is consulting with experts about the potential effects that expanding eligibility would have on Alberta’s health-care system.

Some federal lawmakers have argued that excluding people with mental illness from access to assisted dying would violate their Charter right to equal treatment under the law.

When he announced the government’s intention to delay the expansion, Lametti said he had heard concerns from health-care providers about the system’s ability to handle the “more complex” cases.

“That includes having the time to implement those practice standards, and to complete and disseminate key resources that are being developed for clinicians and other health-care system partners,” he said in December.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Saskatoon police arrest 2 people following suspicious death investigation

Two people have been taken into custody following a suspicious death investigation in Saskatoon.

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) Major Crime Section are investigating a death that they are calling ‘suspicious’ which occurred early on Monday morning.

According to a press release, police were called to a residence in 1200 block of Idylwyld Drive north at approximately 7:20 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2023.

“Upon arrival, officers located a deceased adult male,” SPS stated. “A 28-year-old man and a 44-year-old man inside the home were taken into custody without incident.”

Further details will be released as the investigation continues with members of the Major Crimes Section, Forenic Identification Unit and the Canine Unit and Patrol, who all remain on scene.

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Premiers 'expect' feds to up share of health-care costs to 35% as Trudeau meeting nears

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet have concluded their retreat in Hamilton, Ontario, agreeing to meet with premiers in February to discuss health-care funding. Touria Izri looks at the gap between the expectations of the federal and provincial governments.

Canada’s 13 premiers say they “expect” to get a commitment from Ottawa to increase its share of health-care funding to 35 per cent, setting the stage for a possibly contentious first ministers’ meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week.

The premiers released a joint statement Monday, saying they welcome the Feb. 7 meeting, which was announced by Trudeau last week.

But they made it clear they want the outcome of these talks to be an increase to the Canada Health Transfer that would amount to about $28 billion from the current $45.2 billion.

“Provinces and territories are making substantial investments and taking action to innovate and improve health-care systems based on the unique needs and circumstances of their respective jurisdictions and residents,” the statement says.

“They expect the federal government to play a critical role in supporting real and lasting health care improvements for Canadians by increasing the federal share of funding through the Canada Health Transfer from 22 per cent to 35 per cent and by maintaining this level over time.”

Last week, Trudeau said he “won’t be signing any deals” with the premiers during the Feb. 7 meeting, but rather will be focusing on how to improve outcomes for patients.

Trudeau has said he will increase health-care funding to the provinces and territories amid what front-line workers are calling a “crisis” of understaffing and wait times, but so far, has not committed to any dollar figures or percentages.

While the discussions next week will include efforts to reach long-term funding arrangements, Trudeau said he wants the main focus to be on tangible ways to improve key areas of health care in which Canadians have been struggling to access timely care.

“Too many people don’t have access to a family doctor or a nurse practitioner, wait times in emergency rooms across the country, particularly in rural areas, have become dangerously low,” Trudeau said during a Liberal cabinet retreat last week in Hamilton, Ont.

“Providing money is certainly part of the solution, and we will do that, but funding alone won’t solve the issues that we’re seeing.”

Trudeau added that he wants to reach agreements with the premiers on a number of key priorities, which include: better access to family doctors in rural and urban areas, more sustainable health staffing, better and more timely access to mental health care and agreements from the provinces to modernize and share health data.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, the current chair of the Council of the Federation, which represents all premiers, said the fact Trudeau is finally sitting down with the premiers for a first ministers meeting is a “positive first step.”

But she stressed that they will be seeking an increase to the Canada Health Transfer “as soon as possible.”

“The sustainability of our health care systems requires a strong and predictable federal funding partnership now and over the long-term future,” Stefanson said in the statement issued Monday.

“Premiers look forward to seeing initial, substantive federal proposals as soon as possible and to ongoing constructive discussions with the prime minister.”

The premiers have been calling for a meeting with the prime minister for over two years, during which time they have consistently called for an increase in the federal share of health-care costs to 35 per cent, with no conditions attached.

Recently, however, federal officials have said there has been a “change in tone” in their talks with the provinces on health funding, with the premiers of Ontario and Quebec openly saying they will now agree to conditions such as sharing health data if it helps to ink a deal for more money.

Last week, Trudeau, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Intergovernmental Minister Dominic LeBlanc also said they also would try to seek bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories in some areas, due to differences among the regions in population, geography and access to certain services.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Okanagan weather: Arctic air and snow sinks in for the end of January

After a frigid start to the week with temperatures in the minus teens, the mercury makes its way back into minus single digits Monday afternoon with a chance of flurries.

The risk of flurries continues into the middle of the week with Tuesday’s high aiming for -3 C to finish January and Wednesday’s hoping to hop up to -1 C to kickoff February with snow.

Clouds linger through the rest of the week with the chance of more flurries.

Afternoon highs are likely to land around 1 C Thursday and stay just above freezing to finish the week on Friday.

Daytime highs are likely to linger above zero for the first weekend of February with the risk of more precipitation.

Here is your Okanagan 5-Day SkyTracker Weather Forecast.

Here is your Okanagan 5-Day SkyTracker Weather Forecast.

SkyTracker Weather

For weather on the go download the Global News SkyTracker Weather App for iPhone, iPad or Android.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg police investigate homicide at Manwin Hotel

Two Winnipeg police units were stationed outside the Manwin Hotel on Main Street early Monday following an incident on Sunday evening that left one man dead. Homicide unit investigators have not yet arrested any suspects.

Homicide detectives are investigating a man’s death a Main Street hotel in Winnipeg Sunday.

Police were called to the Manwin Hotel at 655 Main St. around 5:30 p.m.

They say officers first spoke to a man in his 30s, who had been injured in an assault, who said another man may have also been injured in the hotel.

Carl George Wescoupe, 40, was found dead in a hotel suite with what police describe as “severe injuries.”

Police haven’t said how Wescoupe was injured or if his injuries are connected with those of the other victim.

There was no update on the other man’s condition in a release Monday, and police say no arrests have been made.

The homicide unit is continuing to investigate.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204786-TIPS (8477).

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

2 arrested as Peterborough police investigation seizes $1M in drugs

Two people face multiple drug trafficking charges after police in Peterborough, Ont., seized more than $1 million worth of illicit drugs last week.

According to the Peterborough Police Service, as part of its investigation, on Jan. 25, drug unit officers, the emergency response team and Durham Regional Police Service officers executed search warrants at several locations in Peterborough and at a Durham Region residence.

Officers located and seized the following items:

  • seven kilograms (15.4 pounds) of crystal meth
  • five kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine
  • 0.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds) of crack cocaine
  • 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of fentanyl
  • three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of Xanax pills
  • 52 Percocet pills
  • 34 hydro morph pills
  • $3,000 in cash combined (Canadian and U.S.)
  • three vehicles

Jack Goneau, 54, and Regan Morrison, 37, both of Peterborough, were arrested and charged with five counts of possession of a Schedule 1 substance for the purpose of trafficking and one count each of possession of a Schedule IV substance for the purpose of trafficking (Xanax) and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000.

Police released the names “as a matter of public safety.”

Both were held in custody and make court appearances on Jan. 25, police announced during a press conference on Monday morning.

Police did not provide details on the investigation, citing that the case is now before the courts.

Chief Stuart Betts said the seizure is one of the largest in the service’s history.

“This is not a small-time drug dealer in our community,” he told reporters. “This is somebody preying on our vulnerable people. When I talk to media and council about ‘big city crime’ trending upward in our city, this is what I’m talking about.”

Pointing at the drugs, Betts said they are “harming families” and “killing people.” He commended the drug unit efforts for their “ongoing commitment to keep the communities safe.”

“We are dedicated to making sure this is off our streets,” he said. “We continue to focus on that and the efforts our members are making.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner rejects public advances from senior Liberals

An audacious attempt by a number of Ontario Liberal Party figures to pry Mike Schreiner away from the Green Party of Ontario appears to be dead in the water.

An open letter signed by a number of senior Liberal figures — including former candidates, cabinet ministers and activists — urged the Green Party of Ontario Leader to abandon his post and run to head the Liberals instead.

“All of us have followed your career and the clarity of purpose that you have shown in your political life is an inspiring contrast to the cynicism that dominates our politics today,” the letter reads.

“That is why we are taking this unprecedented step — to reach outside our ranks to urge you, the leader of another party — to join the Ontario Liberals and run for our party’s leadership.”

But Schreiner, who has made history as the first Green MPP in the province’s history, has brushed off the approach.

“It’s a no,” a spokesperson for the Ontario Greens told Global News.

Schreiner’s background advocating for climate-first politics is a key reason the collection of Liberal figures say they want to see him at the top of their party.

“Climate change is a defining issue of our time,” the letter said. “And on this — as on any other matter relating to the environment — you speak with both passion and authority.”

They referenced controversial Ford government policies to allow development in parts of the Greenbelt, reduce the power of conservation authorities and lower development fees as issues that required strong opposition.

The letter, however, was met with scorn and anger from other Ontario Liberals and with ridicule from opponents of the party.

Nate Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York who is considering a run for provincial leader, said that the party doesn’t need “gimmicks, open letters and Hail Marys” to solve its issues.

“That kind of change has to come from within,” he said.

Another potential leadership hopeful Ted Hsu said the letter, while “unprecedented”, went “too far afield” in search of a candidate for Liberal leader.

“I don’t think the next Liberal Leader should come from the leader of another party,” Hsu told Global News., adding that the move would be “very strange” to voters.

Other Liberal party stalwarts called the letter an “insult” the those who have signaled their intent to run and that the authors of the letter should be “ashamed of themselves.”

Interim Liberal leaders John Fraser, who has vowed to remain neutral in the race, characterized the letter as a means to “express an opinion.”

“I don’t think it says anything other than we’re an open party. Like no one’s raining down on them, I’m not raining down these people because they suggested this,” Fraser said.

The Ontario Liberals, who governed Ontario for 15 years consecutively until 2018, were roundly defeated when Doug Ford won his first term as Ontario’s premier.

Under incumbent Kathleen Wynne, the Liberals lost official party status as Ford’s Progressive Conservatives swept to win 76 of the Ontario legislature’s 124 seats. At the next election, Steven Del Duca failed to win back official party status or his own riding, and yielded just seven seats in the process.

The parameters for the next Ontario Liberal leader — a position some want Schreiner to run for — have not been set.

A recent report recommended the party review its leadership process, something interim leader John Fraser has said the party will be doing.

Based on what it hears in these upcoming consultations, the party will propose constitutional amendments at its annual general meeting in March, and only after the process for the leadership vote is established will the party set about deciding on dates and rules of entry for leadership contenders, Fraser said.

It means the party is unlikely to have a new leader anytime soon.

Asked whether the letter could damage the party in the eyes of the public, Fraser said the Ontario Liberals are expected to pay off their election debt this year and is expecting hundreds to attend a leadership convention in March.

“You don’t need to worry about us. We’re doing just fine,” Fraser said.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Meghan Trainor Is Pregnant With Her Second Child

Meghan Trainor is making her dreams come true.

On Monday, the “All About That Bass” singer revealed in a post on Instagram that she is pregnant and expecting her second baby with husband Daryl Sabara.

In the post, Trainor shared a photo of herself posing with images from her ultrasound.

Talking to People about the big news, Trainor said, “What a blessing. I’m just so grateful I can get pregnant. And I’m like, ‘I’m crushing it. This is amazing. This is my dreams.’ I’m halfway there — I want four kids!”

The 29-year-old also talked about how she and Sabara will share the news with their son Riley, who was born in February 2021, that he will be having a new sibling.

“We try to tell him, ‘There’s a baby in the belly,’ but then he points to his belly now and is like, ‘Baby.’ And we’re like, ‘Oh no, it’s not in yours — it’s in Mama’s belly!'” she said.

Trainor also revealed how she managed to keep the news a secret until her big announcement, four months into the pregnancy.

“Hoodies, babe! I wrote a smash that says, ‘Even with me hoodie on…'” she said, referencing her hit single “Made You Look.”

“I only wear hoodies,” she explained. “And everyone’s like, ‘You’re not even showing, you’re so small.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you can’t see me!’ For real.”

Trainor also appeared on the “Today” show Monday morning to talk about her second pregnancy.

“We were thinking about who do I tell first, and I was like, I told Hoda since I was 19 going to the ‘Today’ show (that) I will have the most babies in the world,” she said. “It finally happened, and we’re so excited.”

On April 25, Trainor will also be releasing her first book, Dear Future Mama, all about her experience going through her first pregnancy.

“When I was pregnant, I felt very alone,” Trainor said on “Today”. “It was also COVID times so I didn’t have any friends that were pregnant with me, and I just remember being like, I don’t want anyone else to feel like that. So now I can be your future bestie and I can help you and tell you all my TMI details of my pregnancy and how crazy it was.”

The book, whose full title is Dear Future Mama: A TMI Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and New Motherhood, is described as “a heartfelt and humorous guide for expectant mamas and their partners inspired by Meghan’s own journey into motherhood,” and “offers expert insights from Meghan’s own personal trainer, registered dietitian, husband, and ob-gyn.”

© 2023 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Grammys 2023: Harry Styles To Perform, Fans Can’t Keep Calm

The 2023 Grammys just added an exciting new addition to their lineup.

Harry Styles is set to take the stage to perform at the upcoming ceremony, with the news being announced during Sunday’s AFC Championship game.

Styles also shared the CBS teaser that aired on Instagram, which, unsurprisingly, got fans excited.

One person gushed, “Ok so I’m gonna cry,” as a second shared, “CANNOT WAIT TO SEE HIS OUTFIT FOR THIS ONE IT’S GONNA SLAY YOU JUST KNOW.”

A third added, “Come on Harry we want to see you win those Grammys.”

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The musician is nominated for six Grammy awards this year; Record of the Year (“As It Was”), Album of the Year (Harry’s House), Song of the Year (“As It Was”), Best Pop Solo Performance (“As It Was”), Best Pop Vocal Album (Harry’s House) and Best Music Video (“As It Was”).

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Styles will be joining previously announced performers including Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Lizzo and Sam Smith.

The 2023 Grammys will broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on CBS and will stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

GALLERY: 2023 Grammy Awards Performers: Bad Bunny, Harry Styles, Mary J. Blige & More Will Be Taking The Stage

© 2023 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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