B.C. government widely criticized for four-year delay on fish farm tenures

VICTORIA — B.C.’s New Democrat government faced criticism Wednesday for deciding to let coastal fish farms operate for the next four years while companies consult with local First Nations.

Environmental groups said they support the NDP’s criticism of open-pen fish farms and a new requirement for Aboriginal consent, but the 2022 deadline is too far off and threatens to further endanger coastal salmon with the risk of disease.

Alexandra Morton, a longtime critic of open-pen fish farms, said she was disgusted the government refused to cancel outright 20 tenures in the Broughton Archipelago that were up for renewal on Wednesday.

“That’s what’s so disappointing about this government, they are chickens,” said Morton. “They are weak.”

Morton said the government had all the evidence it needed, including clear opposition from First Nations in the archipelago, to simply act. Instead, she said, it kicked the issue down the road until after the next scheduled provincial election in 2021 (or earlier depending on Premier John Horgan’s minority government).

“They are not going be here in four years,” said Morton. “Nobody is going to hear this little squeak from the NDP. Nobody is going to respect it.

“They literally used it as ransom for us to vote for them again. Four years, that’s eight generations of salmon coming and going that are going to be exposed to these viruses, to these sea lice which are still out of control and they did absolutely nothing to protect these fish.”

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, however, said B.C.’s new rules “clarify government’s expectations” of fish farms.

“We have thousands and thousand of jobs that depend on a healthy ecosystem including wild salmon,” she said. “As far as jobs related to the fish farm industry, we feel this four-year transition will allow us time and allow industry to look at how that situation …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

US stepping up Earth’s protection from asteroids, comets

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to protect the planet from incoming asteroids that could wipe out entire regions or even continents.

The National Science and Technology Council released a report Wednesday calling for improved asteroid detection, tracking and deflection. NASA is participating, along with federal emergency, military, White House and other officials.

For now, scientists know of no asteroids or comets heading our way. But one could sneak up on us, and that’s why the government wants a better plan.

NASA’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, said scientists have found 95 percent of all these near-Earth objects measuring one kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) or bigger. But the hunt is still on for the remaining 5 percent and smaller rocks that could still inflict big damage.

Altogether, NASA has cataloged 18,310 objects of all sizes. Slightly more than 800 are 460 feet (140 meters) or bigger.

There’s no quick solution if a space rock is suddenly days, weeks or even months from striking, according to Johnson. But such short notice would give the world time, at least, to evacuate the area it might hit, he said.

Ground telescopes are good at picking up asteroids zooming into the inner solar system and approaching from the night side of Earth, Johnson said. What’s difficult to detect are rocks that have already zipped past the sun and are heading out of the solar system, approaching from the day side. That’s apparently what happened in 2013 when an asteroid about 66 feet (20 meters) in size suddenly appeared and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging thousands of buildings and causing widespread injuries.

An asteroid double or even triple in size exploded over Tunguska, Russia, in 1908, leveling 770 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of forest. According to the report released Wednesday, casualties could be in the …read more

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

Police video from Las Vegas shooting shows chaos, confusion

LAS VEGAS — Police body camera videos released Wednesday show the chaos and confusion Las Vegas police officers and first responders faced at a mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip as waves of wounded and fleeing concert-goers sought help.

One 30-minute video shows an officer inside the venue as hundreds of people are fleeing and volleys of gunfire can be heard overhead. A dozen people are piled against each other seeking shelter behind a tall sign. The officer joins them, hiding behind the sign until there’s a break in the shooting and he and another officer yell for the group to start running.

“I have a girl that’s shot in the neck,” someone said as the gunfire starts up again.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released 23 videos and 130 audio files, including 911 calls, on Wednesday without comment. The FBI in Las Vegas also declined to comment.

It’s the department’s seventh batch of public records selected for release regarding the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting that left 58 people dead. They are being released under a court order in a lawsuit from several media organizations, including The Associated Press.

At one point during the 30-minute video inside the venue, the officer and others are running for cover in a large tent past people still crouching or laying on the ground. The officer and someone else yell for people to run toward them and out the back to safety. The gunfire gets louder and appears to be right overhead as people inside scream and hit the floor.

One woman appears to be shot and the officer helps carry her out.

Video from another officer who was near the site of the country music festival shows pickup trucks coming by with the wounded and others piled in the bed in the back. The officer directs the …read more

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

Convicted killer fugitive arrested in India for aiding drug ring

A convicted Canadian killer who fled the country while on parole for a 1999 gang hit has been arrested in India as part of a drug ring that has been shipping the drug ketamine to B.C. and beyond.

The RCMP has a Canada-wide warrant out for Kenny Cuong Manh Nguyen, 38, who failed to return from a 2015 trip to Vietnam authorized by the Parole Board of Canada.

According to the warrant, Cuong “contacted his parole officer and indicated that he has decided to remain in Vietnam and will not be returning to Canada.”

Cuong was arrested in Goa, India, last week in connection with a ketamine factory allegedly run by former B.C. gangster Jimi Sandhu.

He had entered India using a Vietnamese passport and didn’t admit to Indian police that he was Canadian at first. When he learned he could be facing a lengthy sentence for his alleged role in the ketamine ring, Cuong said he was from Canada and requested consular services.

Cuong was convicted of a second-degree murder for the fatal gang shooting of 19-year-old Doan Minh Vu in February 1999 outside Madison’s nightclub in downtown Vancouver. Cuong was in a vehicle driven by gang leader Gurmit Dhak, who was convicted of manslaughter for rolling down the window so that Cuong could take a better shot.

Dhak was gunned down in October 2010 outside Burnaby’s Metrotown mall. The aftermath of Dhak’s murder was a bloody eight-year-long gang war that left dozens dead across the Lower Mainland.

Sandhu was charged in 2014 with one of those murders, the fatal stabbing of Red Scorpion leader Matt Campbell. But after a year in pre-trial custody, the charge against Sandhu was stayed and he was eventually deported to India for earlier convictions.

At his immigration hearing, Sandhu, 28, claimed to be reformed and asked for another chance to stay …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun