REAL SCOOP: Retired gang squad media officer laid to rest

I remember that I was out Christmas shopping last month when someone texted me about the sad news that Shinder Kirk had been killed in a car accident. It was devastating to hear. Shinder was the former media officer for the Integrated Gang Task Force, which later become the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. He was dedicated to tackling gang violence and we worked together on a couple of projects under the Teens Against Gangs banner. There will be a big community memorial service in Abbotsford next Saturday that I am sure will be well-attended.

There was a funeral in Delta yesterday for family, friends and some colleagues.

Here’s my story on that:

Ultimate respect as retired B.C. gang squad media
officer Shinder Kirk is laid to rest

Updated: January 19, 2019

Hundreds of family and friends gathered at Delta’s Riverside Funeral Home Saturday to pay final respects to retired Abbotsford Police Sgt. Shinder Kirk.

Kirk, 59, died Dec. 22 in a two-vehicle collision near Nanaimo that left his wife Wendy and daughter Stephanie injured.

Kirk was a popular former media officer both for the Abbotsford Police Department and the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

His younger brother Rob thanked mourners Saturday for the outpouring of support and condolences following the tragic accident.

Some of the hundreds of social media tributes praising Kirk as a humble, dedicated police officer were read during Saturday’s service, including a tweet by Premier John Horgan calling Kirk “a warm and caring man, dedicated to fighting gang violence and a much admired leader in the South Asian community.”

Other tributes from police forces around B.C. were also read.

Rob Kirk said the death was particularly tragic given that his brother “put his life on the line every day when he went to work and made it through virtually unscathed, but then ends up leaving …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

REAL SCOOP: Bacon jury selection begins at Vancouver Law Courts

I was the only reporter at the Vancouver Law Courts Saturday for the beginning of the jury selection process for Jamie Bacon’s upcoming trial.

It was fairly extraordinary event – more potential jurors there than I have ever seen in 34 years covering courts. It will likely take several days until the jury is picked.

Bacon was there and looked like he was very fit, wearing a black shirt, vest and grey pants.

Please remember that there are MANY bans in place which is why there might be material you think should be in this story that is not there. Most of the bans are just for the duration of that trial, though the names of some witnesses will be protected indefinitely.

Here’s my story:

Hundreds attend special Saturday jury selection for
Jamie Bacon trial

Updated: January 19, 2019

Hundreds of potential jurors for the upcoming Jamie Bacon trial gathered Saturday at the Vancouver Law Courts for a rare weekend sitting.

There were so many who received notices for the Feb. 4 trial that they filled three courtrooms on the fifth floor, a section of the great hall on the fourth floor and most of the public gallery and lobby of Courtroom 20 — the high-security basement courtroom specially constructed for the Air India terrorism case.

There was even a refreshment table outside Courtroom 20 with free coffee, tea, water and snacks for the roughly 580 members of the public who attended.

All the potential jurors were connected to Courtroom 20 by video monitors so they could listen as B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge explained the process of whittling the large group down to 14 jurors and two alternates.

Bacon, a former Abbotsford resident, is charged with counselling an associate to murder another associate between Nov. 30, 2008 and Jan. 2, 2009. The man survived the alleged murder plot.

There …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

China’s 2018 economic growth sinks to 3-decade low

BEIJING — China’s 2018 economic growth fell to a three-decade low, adding to pressure on Beijing to settle a tariff war with Washington.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.6 percent over a year earlier, down from 2017’s 6.9 percent, official data showed Monday. Growth in the three months ending in December dipped to 6.4 percent — the lowest quarterly level since the 2008 global crisis — from the previous quarter’s 6.5 percent.

Communist leaders are trying to steer China to slower, more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment. But the deceleration has been sharper than expected, prompting Beijing to step up government spending and order banks to lend more to shore up growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses.

“Growth will remain under pressure,” said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report. “Key risks are the ongoing trade tension with the U.S. and that credit growth does not recover.”

Exports held up through most of 2018 despite President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese imports in a fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions. But they contracted in December as the penalties began to depress U.S. demand.

Economic growth in 2018 was the lowest since 1990’s 3.9 percent in the aftermath of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Growth in investment, retail spending and factory activity all declined, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

The impact of U.S. tariffs was limited, but China faces pressure from growing global support for import controls, volatile financial markets and declining investment spending, said the bureau commissioner, Ning Jizhe.

“Downward pressure on the economy is increasing,” said Ning at a news conference. Still, he added later, “the Chinese economy’s resilience and ability to resist shocks and the long-term trend of stability will not change.”

The slowdown is adding to pressure on President Xi …read more

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

The sub-million dollar Vancouver detached home is back

It’s back. After several years of continually rising prices for single-family detached homes in Vancouver, the sub-million dollar house has re-appeared. And it even has a white picket fence and grassy back yard.

The listing, at 1578 East 22nd Avenue, is priced at $998,000 — which is a hefty discount on the $1,264,800 value placed on the property on July 1, 2018 by the B.C. Assessment Authority. It was assessed at $1,319,600 on July 1, 2017.

The home is in the Kensington Cedar-Cottage neighbourhood on Vancouver’s east side, north of Kingsway and east of Knight. It has a 33 by 100 foot lot with no back lane and was built in 1922, when 840 square feet was deemed sufficient to raise a family in three rooms. It has an 821 square foot unfinished basement.

It may look rough, but there have likely been many good times in this living room at 1578 East 22nd Avenue since it was built in 1922.

Burst housing bubble in 2019? Don’t bet on it, B.C. developers predict
Sea to Sky, Fraser Valley homes have biggest B.C. Assessment gains
Arthur Erickson classic in West Vancouver on market for three times assessed value
B.C. home sales fall 25 per cent in 2018

This is what the kitchen looks like at 1578 East 22nd St. Vancouver.

This is what the kitchen might look like at 1578 East 22nd St. Vancouver.

How many more sub-million dollar single family detached homes appear on the market over the next year is truly anyone’s guess.

There is however writing on the wall, with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver last month revealing the sales of detached homes for Dec. 2018 was 43.6 per cent fewer than the same month in 2017. And the benchmark price for that class of home dropped 7.8 per cent in 2018. Not …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun