‘Being a refugee is a circumstance, it’s not a choice’

If Sara Maria Gomez Lopez could do one thing, it would be to end the stigma associated with the word “refugee”.

“Being a refugee is a circumstance, it’s not a lifestyle. It’s not a choice,” said Gomez Lopez, a refugee from Mexico who arrived in Canada via Blaine, Wash., in 2012.

On the same day that Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out against the forced separation of asylum-seeking families in the U.S., Gomez Lopez wanted people to remember that irrespective of changes in policy, the circumstance of being a refugee almost always separates families. “For every refugee separated from their family, their language, their home, there is trauma.”

Gomez Lopez was on hand on Wednesday as the Immigrant Services Society marked World Refugee Day with the release of a report, Refugee Claimants in B.C.: Understanding Irregular Arrival Trends.

ISS also announced it is piloting of a two-way texting tool, newcomer.info, that will help ISS provide information to, and communicate with, asylum seekers throughout B.C.

The texting tool was developed by ISS in conjunction with the Vancouver Community Network which also developed StreetMessenger, a communication service for the homeless. ISS hopes the innovative tool will help manage the increased demand for services.

Chris Friesen, the director of settlement services at ISS, said that irregular arrivals in B.C. have increased, with 67 per cent of asylum-seekers arriving at a land-based crossing, either by walking across the Canada-U.S. border (59 per cent) or by entering one of Canada Border Services Agency’s land-based ports of entry (eight per cent).

Most respondents reported spending less than a year in the U.S., an indication, said Friesen, that recent asylum seekers entered the U.S. with a legal visa for the express purpose of continuing on to Canada.

Factors influencing the arrival of asylum seekers in B.C. include human rights …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Behind the making of Jack-Jack, the summer’s breakout star

NEW YORK — The breakout star of the summer moviegoing season isn’t a dinosaur, an Avenger or anyone aboard the Millennium Falcon. It’s a giggling pipsqueak in diapers.

“The Incredibles 2,” which last weekend set a new box-office record for animated films with $182.7 million in ticket sales, has been a coming out party for Jack-Jack, the seemingly all-powerful baby of the Parr family. Jack’s superhero powers were teased in 2004’s original, but, they were, crucially, kept out of view from his family members.

“The Incredibles 2,” though, is a runaway-train of Jack-Jack revelations. Just as infants half-consciously babble and wobble as they feel out their abilities, Jack-Jack’s unknowingly careens through his Swiss Army Knife of superpowers. A sneeze rockets him through the roof. Anger turns him into a purple devil. His crib can be escaped by simply walking through the bars. (Those are just some of his powers. Estimates run as high as 17.)

The New York Times called him “the burbling, gurgling cherry on this confection.” The Wall Street Journal hypothesized that Jack-Jack could be “as valuable a commodity for (Disney’s Pixar) as the Minions who stole the show in Universal’s ‘Despicable Me.'”

Jack-Jack fever has struck. And that’s been especially enjoyable for the real-life Jack-Jack, who was just a toddler when the first “Incredibles” was hitting theaters. Pixar animator Tony Fucile, who supervised animation and designed the characters for both “Incredibles” movies, used recordings of his infant son, Eli, to craft Jack-Jack’s voice.

Eli Fucile, now 16, is in the strange position of starring in one of the year’s biggest movies, while being unable to recall ever participating in it.

“I didn’t really understand it when I was younger. But as time went by, I realized: ‘Wow, I was actually in a pretty good movie,'” said Eli in his first interview. “It’s been …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Get Your Grind On: North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind reopens Thursday

North Vancouver’s popular Grouse Grind reopens Thursday, one month after it was closed for safety maintenance.

The Grind initially opened for the season on May 2, but it was closed again within a month to prepare for the busy season.

In anticipation of half a million hikers tackling the Grind this summer, Metro Vancouver shut down the 2,830 step, 2.9 km ascent on May 22 to remove dangerous trees, scale rocks, and update the steps and protective netting along the trail.

Now it’s ready, which will certainly delight experienced hikers, while disappointing the more casual hikers who have been using its closure as an excuse to enjoy easier hikes.

(In case the name didn’t tip you off, the Grouse Grind is difficult. In a FAQ on Grouse Mountain’s website, the question, “Am I ready for the Grouse Grind?” is answered, “If you are asking this question, please carefully consider if the Grouse Grind is the hike for you.”)

If it is the hike for you, you can conquer it as early as 6:15 a.m. on Thursday. You can race the sun to the top if you want.

The Grouse Grind Trail will be open daily from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through the summer.

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Source:: Vancouver Sun

Nevada sets 1st execution since 2006 after fight over drugs

LAS VEGAS — Nevada plans to carry out its first execution in 12 years using a never-before-tried combination of drugs that drew a court challenge over concerns that a convicted murderer could suffer during the lethal injection.

Scott Raymond Dozier is scheduled to die July 11, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said Wednesday, a day after a judge in Las Vegas signed the death warrant.

The state Supreme Court decided last month not to stop the execution on procedural grounds, despite challenges by lawyers and a rights group who argued that the procedure would be less humane than putting down a pet. There also were concerns that some of the state’s drugs would have expired.

“We have what we need to complete the execution order,” Santina told The Associated Press. “The same three drugs. We have some that are not expired.”

Dozier’s death warrant was signed by Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who last November blocked the execution over concerns that one drug in the three-drug protocol would immobilize the inmate and mask any signs of pain and suffering. The warrant didn’t address her previous concerns.

Batches of the disputed muscle paralytic, cisatracurium, began expiring April 1, but Santina has said the state had supplies that were good until Nov. 30.

The sedative diazepam, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and cisatracurium have never been used for lethal injections in any state. Diazepam is commonly known as Valium. Fentanyl is synthetic opioid that has been blamed for overdose deaths nationwide during an opioid epidemic.

An American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada official called for Gov. Brian Sandoval or prisons chief James Dzurenda to stop the planned execution until questions about the process and drugs are answered.

“The (state) Supreme Court never decided whether Mr. Dozier would experience extreme pain, or if he would suffocate to death, or …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News