Canadian sex workers are challenging criminal laws in court. Here's why

WATCH: Policing and the sex industry calls for change

An alliance of sex worker rights groups is in Ontario Superior Court Monday asking for several sections of the Criminal Code to be deemed unconstitutional.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform says sections of the law that criminalize advertising sexual services and communicating to buy or sell sexual services violate workers’ Charter rights.

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Sex workers call to be included in House of Commons committee studying Pornhub

Group coordinator Jenn Clamen says it also forces sex workers to work in unsafe, isolated conditions.

She says there shouldn’t be any criminal laws specific to sex work, and has dozens of recommendations to create a more regulated industry.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the prohibition on prostitution in 2013, saying the laws were disproportionate and overbroad.

But advocacy groups maintain the laws that were later put in place by the Harper government have failed to make things better for sex workers.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Woman in critical condition after being hit by vehicle in Mississauga

Peel Regional Police say a woman has been struck by a vehicle in Mississauga early Monday.

Emergency crews were called to Brandon Gate Drive and Goreway Drive at around 5:17 a.m. for reports of a pedestrian-involved collision.

Paramedics said they transported a woman with life-threatening injuries to a trauma centre.

Police said the vehicle stayed at the scene.

Road closures are in place in the area and police are advising motorists to take an alternate route.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

UK reverses tax cut for wealthy after market turmoil

WATCH: New British PM under fire, defends controversial tax cuts

British Prime Minister Liz Truss was forced on Monday into a humiliating U-turn after less than a month in power, reversing a cut to the highest rate of income tax that helped spark turmoil in financial markets and a rebellion in her party.

Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the decision to scrap the top rate tax cut had been taken with “some humility and contrition.”

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UK’s Prime Minister Liz Truss sticks by economic plan as her party worries

Truss and Kwarteng announced a new “growth plan” on Sept. 23 that would cut taxes and regulation, funded by vast government borrowing, to snap the economy out of years of stagnant growth.

But the plan triggered a crisis of investor confidence in the government, hammering the value of the pound and government bond prices and jolting global markets to such an extent that the Bank of England had to intervene with a 65 billion pound ($73 billion) program to shore up markets.

With the government’s credibility damaged, lawmakers in the governing Conservative Party said the reversal was inevitable. “So now it’s ‘survive a day at a time’,” one party insider said, declining to be named.

While the removal of the top rate of tax only made up around 2 billion out of the 45 billion pounds of unfunded tax cuts, it was the most divisive element of a package that drew the wrath of markets by failing to set out how it would be paid for.

Less than a day after Truss went on BBC television to defend the policy, Kwarteng released a statement saying he now accepted it had become a distraction from wider efforts to grow the economy and help households through a difficult winter.

“We listened to people and yes there is some humility and contrition,” he told BBC Radio. “And I’m happy to own it.”

The decision to reverse course is likely to put Truss and Kwarteng under even greater pressure, the latest embarrassing political U-turn in a country that has had four prime ministers in the last six years.

Kwarteng said he had not considered resigning. He said he had decided to reverse course in conjunction with the prime minister.

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“It is astonishing,” another lawmaker said. “We were left in an impossible position. The damage has already been done. We just look incompetent now, too.”

Britain’s opposition Labour Party said the government had destroyed its economic credibility and damaged trust in the economy. “They need to reverse their whole economic, discredited trickle down strategy,” Labour’s finance spokesperson Rachel Reeves said in a statement.

The pound, which fell to a record low against the dollar following the so-called mini-budget, edged up 0.4% to $1.120 at 8.25 a.m. (0725 GMT) while yields on British government bonds fell.

Mistaken policy

Truss, Britain’s 47-year-old former foreign minister who took office on Sept. 6 after winning a leadership contest among Conservative Party members, and not the country, had defeated former finance minister Rishi Sunak by vowing to put an end to “Treasury orthodoxy.”

She had argued that the government needed a radical plan to rescue the economy and make the country more dynamic, and that she was willing to take unpopular decisions to make it happen.

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Bank of England hikes key interest rate 0.5 percentage points amid recession fears

On their first day in office, Truss and Kwarteng then fired the most senior official in the Treasury department before releasing a policy that had not been costed or scrutinized by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

Investors – used to Britain being a pillar of the global financial community – took fright, hammering the value of British assets and driving up the cost of government borrowing, mortgage rates and corporate lending.

With Conservative lawmakers growing increasingly alarmed, Truss also failed to rule out that cuts to spending on public services and a limit to welfare benefit payments would be needed to pay for the policy.

As a growing number of lawmakers came out against the policy, the chairman of the Conservative Party, Jake Berry, warned that anyone voting against the package would be thrown out of the parliamentary party.

“We get it and we have listened,” Truss said on Twitter. “The abolition of the 45% rate had become a distraction from our mission to get Britain moving.”

Investors and economists said the reversal was a step in the right direction but the government needed to go further. It is not due to release a fiscal statement with the full scale of government borrowing and debt cutting plans until Nov. 23.

“The issue was not tax changes announced at the mini-budget but the institutional ‘scorched earth policy’ that preceded it,” said Simon French, chief economist of brokerage Panmure Gordon. “UK risk premia will likely only pull back if that is addressed.”

Conservative lawmakers told Reuters that the government had no choice but to reverse course. “It’s the right thing to do, but it’s unfortunate how it’s been managed,” one said, declining to be named. Another added: “More structure, clearly, is needed in decision-making.”

(Writing by Kate Holton, reporting by Elizabeth Piper in Birmingham, Kylie MacLellan, Kate Holton, Dhara Ranasinghe and Muvija M in London; editing by Andy Bruce, Gareth Jones and Hugh Lawson)

© 2022 Reuters

Swedish scientist awarded Nobel Prize in medicine for work on human evolution

Scientist Svante Paabo won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries “concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” the award-giving body said on Monday.

The prize, arguably among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).

It is the first of this year’s batch of prizes.

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“He was overwhelmed, he was speechless. Very happy,” said Thomas Perlmann, secretary for the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, who called Paabo with the news.

“He asked if he could tell anyone and asked if he could tell his wife and I said that was okay. He was incredibly thrilled about this award.”

Paabo, son of the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Sune Bergström, has been credited with transforming the study of human origins after developing approaches to allow for the examination of DNA sequences from archaeological and paleontological remains.

His key achievements include sequencing an entire Neanderthal genome to reveal the link between extinct people and modern humans.

He also brought to light the existence of a previously unknown human species called the Denisovans, from a 40,000-year-old fragment of a finger bone discovered in Siberia.

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Created in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and wealthy businessman Alfred Nobel, the prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace have been awarded since 1901, though the economics prize is a later addition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed medical research center stage with many expecting that the development of the vaccines that have allowed the world to regain some sense of normality may eventually be rewarded.

Still, it typically takes many years for any given research to be honored, with the committees charged with picking the winners looking to determine its full value with some certainty amongst what is always a packed field of contenders.

When asked why the prize was not awarded to advances in combating COVID, Perlmann said it was a good question he was not going to answer.

“We only talk about people who are getting the Nobel Prize and not those who are not receiving or not received them yet.”

Svante Pääbo’s most cited paper in the Web of Science was published in 1989, with 4,077 citations, said David Pendlebury, from UK-based scientific data analytics provider Clarivate.

“Only some 2,000 papers out of 55 million published since 1970 have been cited this many times.”

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This year’s festivities should in any case mark the return of the Nobel banquet in Stockholm after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, an event redolent of old-world pomp and glamour after years of social distancing.

Last year’s medicine prize went to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for the discovery of receptors in the human skin that sense temperature and touch, converting the physical impact into nerve impulses. Read full story

Past winners in the field include a string of famous researchers, notably Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Robert Koch, who won already in 1905 for his investigations of tuberculosis.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard, Simon Johnson in Stockholm and Natalie Grover in London; additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, and Marie Mannes in Gdansk, Editing by William Maclean)

© 2022 Reuters

Ontario education workers' union to issue results of strike vote amid talks with province

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario education workers demand raise as contract expires.

TORONTO — A union representing thousands of education workers in Ontario is expected to announce today whether its members support going on strike amid contract talks with the province.

Members with the Canadian Union of Public Employees have been voting on a potential strike mandate from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, and the union plans to unveil the results at a news conference this morning.

CUPE has asked the province for annual raises of 11.7 per cent, equal to about $3.25 per hour, arguing workers’ wages have been restricted over the last decade and are not enough to keep up with inflation.

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It says the Ford government is offering a two- per-cent raise to education workers making less than $40,000 a year and a 1.25- per-cent wage hike to everyone else, which it says amounts to between 33 and 53 cents an hour.

CUPE represents 55,000 workers including early childhood educators, school administration workers, bus drivers and custodians.

Labour deals for Ontario’s five major education unions expired on Aug. 31, and CUPE is scheduled to resume bargaining talks with the province on Thursday.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Suspicious package found in vehicle closes Ambassador Bridge

A suspicious package was found in a vehicle at the Ambassador Bridge, closing North America’s busiest land border crossing connecting Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ont., late Sunday evening.

Motorists were asked by Windsor police to use the Detriot-Windsor Tunnel instead as the bridge would remain closed for an “undetermined period of time.”

On a daily basis, the border crossing handles roughly $400 million in goods travelling between Canada and the U.S. on a daily basis. Overall, it facilitates nearly a quarter of the trade activity between the two neighbours.

More to come.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Festival of Grape brings together thosuands of wine lovers in South Okanagan

Thirty teams are competing for the title of Grape Stomp Champion at the 25th annual Festival Grape in Oliver, B.C.

“The Grape Stomp has been a tradition with this event,” said Ian Lobb, Oliver Tourism executive director.

“There’s incredible costumes, a lot of stomping and squishing of the grapes and a relay race, so it’s a real spectacle to watch.”

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To win, it takes teamwork, stamina and a good sense of humour.

“It was really squishy, occasionally you got the stems ,” said Kendra Kruger, who participated in the relay race.

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In between heats, there’s plenty of wine being poured, delicious food being ordered at food trucks, a market to explore and live music to dance to.

“The Festival of Grape started back in ’97 as a way to celebrate the harvest and wineries and the industry as a whole and it’s blossomed into what it is today,” said Lobb.

Making the 25th year of the festival, one to remember.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

University of Lethbridge researcher recognized for gut health study

A University of Lethbridge researcher is being recognized nationally for her work studying the effects of gut health on the brain. Jaclyn Kucey finds out how these studies can help patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world, with more than 300,000 people affected and 35,000 of those being Albertans, according to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

“By 2030, one per cent of Canadians, including Albertans, will be living with the disease,” says Kate Lee, vice president of research and patient programs with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Lee explains that IBDs are progressive autoimmune diseases that affect an individual’s gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation of the gut and leading to pain and scarring.

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“It’s very unpredictable bowel movements,” said Lee. “These are grown-ups who, as adults, are unable to control and predict when they will have the bowel movements, so it’s something that leads to a lot of anxiety and stress, especially when they leave their homes.”

In most cases, people diagnosed with the disease are between the ages of 20 and 30.

“So really the prime of their lives when they’re becoming independent,” said Lee. “Then they’re having to deal with this devastating disease.”

Lee says scientists have found that the industrialization of a nation contributes to growing case numbers.

Research on these diseases has led scientists to discover how important the gut microbiome is to our health.

Dr. Chelsea Matisz has researched gut health at the University of Lethbridge for five years. She is one of three women recently recognized by The Royal Society of Canada for the Alice Wilson award for her work on studying how gut health affects the brain and mental health using mice models.

“People think, well, of course, you’re anxious or depressed because you have these chronic illnesses, but it’s actually not just the psychological burden of disease,” Matisz said. “But rather changes in your brain resulting from the gut inflammation that can drive these mood disorders.”

Matisz’s research extends to what changes happen in the brain after short-term gut inflammation and potentially using psilocybin, cannabinoids or vitamin d to help anxiety and depression associated with chronic gut inflammation.

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Jody Ginther was diagnosed with Crohn’s and Colitis in 1998. He says the initial impact on his life was significant, only having a matter of minutes to find and use the washroom.

“Trying to stop my vehicle and hope that I could get to a facility that had a washroom,” said Ginther. “It was extremely difficult.”

Ginther said his flare-ups got so bad that he had to get his large intestine surgically removed.

Ginther says having research like this done in southern Alberta is impressive, and he’s hopeful her work will get us closer to a cure.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Stars of TV series 'Rust Valley Restorers' host 2-day car auction in Shuswap

Fans of the show Rust Valley Restorers have another chance to own a piece of Mike Hall and Avery Shoaf's collection of antique cars. Today was the first of a two-day live no reserves auction and as Sydney Morton tells us hundreds of people worldwide are bidding on the vintage vehicles that are waiting to be restored.

A year after auctioning off more than 550 antique cars, the gavel is coming down again at Rust Valley Restorers in the Shuswap.

Last year, the auction drew bidders from around the world, but Rust Valley Restorers T.V. personality Mike Hall kept 60 of his favourites. Now, he’s parting with even more of his collection of vehicles that need restoration work.

“I’m up to 120 again. I don’t know what happened,” said Hall.

“We’ve been generously allowed to use the storage yard from the church next door for the last three years, they’re very good people, but now they have plans to develop it. I have 30 days to have this whole lot cleared off, so either I start double stacking or I have to get rid of about 80 cars.”

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The auction is also being filmed for the popular T.V. show.

“The last auction, I tried to keep Dodges because I kind of have an affinity for Dodges. This time, I’m basically trying to keep Coronets and Super Bees,” said Hall.

The auction will leave only about 25 cars on the lot for Hall and his team to restore.  So far, it looks like finding buyers shouldn’t be a problem.

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“We have lots of activity,” said Todd Schwindt, EG Auctions.

“We have about 600 people online who have registered to bid and about every minute since we started we keep getting new bidders.”

The auction not only attracts car enthusiasts but also fans of the popular Rust Valley Restorers show and Hall.

The Rust Valley Restorers auction wrapped up Sunday, Oct. 2

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Crowds gathered for final swim as Edmonton's 65-year-old Scona Pool closes its doors for good

WATCH ABOVE: An emotional Sunday afternoon for Edmontonians who had a passion and love for an iconic pool that is closing its doors for good. After 65-years of being a popular spot, swimmers took their final dip at Scona Pool. Chris Chacon reports.

It was an emotional afternoon for Edmontonians who had a passion and love for the iconic Scona pool — which closed its doors for good on Sunday after 65 years in business.

“It’s been a heck of a lot of fun,” Scona Swim Team head coach Kirby Feng said.

In August, council voted to permanently close the decades-old facility after a report found it needed ongoing costly repairs and had significant system failures.

It also pointed out that there are three other City of Edmonton pools within five kilometres of Scona Pool: Bonnie Doon, Confederation and Kinsmen.

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A commute that poses a problem for some that live nearby.

“It’s tough for people in this community and area to see it close. They have long association with the pool, it’s been very easy for them to get to the pool, and now to access aquatic activities, they have to go further,” Edmonton Public Schools Ward F trustee Julie Kusiek said of the community pool.

“It will be a little bit of a barrier and there are some people with mobility issues who really aren’t able to go anywhere else,” Elaine Solez, with Friends of Scona Rec, added on the issues this closure may cause.

Ward Papastew Coun. Michael Janz said while the closure is a loss to the community, people will eventually be able to swim at Rollie Miles Leisure Centre.

“Looking forward, our goal is to get a new rec centre, a replacement rec centre on the other side here and that’s moving well on its way with city council,” Janz said.

But, it’s a project that’s still years away from completion.

“We were hoping Scona Pool could stay open until the new rec centre was built — and the new rec centre is currently in the design phase,” Solez said. “So it’s a minimum of three years, but we have no end date at this point.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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