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2016 Saskatchewan crop development well ahead of normal

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Warm weather and rain in the past week are having a positive effect on the 2016 Saskatchewan crop.

According to the weekly crop report, growth and development are well ahead of normal for this time of year, with the majority of the crops reported to be in good-to-excellent condition.

Earlier this week, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said some crops could be harvested in as soon as 30 days.

APAS president Norm Hall said the potential for a larger than average crop in Saskatchewan and across the prairies grows each week.

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    READ MORE: Railways need to be ready to move a larger than normal crop: APAS

    The weekly crop report states that “99 per cent of fall cereals, 96 per cent of pulse crops, 95 per cent of spring cereals and 94 per cent of oilseeds are at or ahead of their normal stage of development for this time of year.”

    The report also found that while excessive moisture is a concern in some areas, less than two per cent of the cropland and pasture is considered flooded.

    Topsoil moisture is rated at 86 per cent adequate, six per cent surplus and eight per cent short, while hay land and pasture is rated at 86 per cent adequate, three per cent surplus and 11 per cent short.

    READ MORE: Grain handler Richardson to create new $15M research farm in Saskatchewan

    The area most in need of moisture is crop district 4B in the southwest, where moisture is rated 38 per cent short on crop land and 45 per cent short on hay land and pasture.

    The wettest district is CD2B in the southeast part of the province, which is rated 26 per cent surplus on crop land and 20 per cent surplus on pasture and hay land.

Here’s why you shouldn’t peer at your smartphone in the dark with one eye closed

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

We’ve all done it: lie in bed at night, squinting at our smartphones in the dark with one eye open. But in a quirky case study, doctors are warning this habit could tamper with your vision and, in some cases, trigger temporarily “blindness.”

It happened to two British women, the new study reports. In one case, a 22-year-old woman couldn’t explain why her right eye would fail her a few nights each week. She could see perfectly out of her left eye, but could barely make out shapes in the room through her right.

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    In another case, a woman, in her 40s, lost her vision for about 20 minutes at a time.

    Doctors put the women’s health under a microscope to figure out what was going on. They had medical exams, MRIs and heart tests. They prescribed one of the women with blood thinners.

    READ MORE: How digital gadgets ruin your hand health

    The doctors thought she could have been having a stroke because vision loss is one of the common symptoms.

    Turns out, they were grappling with what the researchers have called “transient smartphone ‘blindness.’”

    “I simply asked them, ‘What exactly are you doing when this happened?’” Dr. Gordon Plant, of Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London, told CBS News.

    The younger patient would look at her smartphone before going to bed. Her left eye was typically covered by her pillow.

    The other patient checked her phone in the mornings before sitting up. She got her smartphone about a year ago, which was the same time she had injured her cornea.

    READ MORE: 4 ways your digital gadgets are ruining your body

    Dr. Omar Mahroo, an ophthalmologist at the hospital and co-author of the letter, told NPR there wasn’t permanent damage to their eyes. One retina was adjusting to light but the other was adapting to dark.

    “The retina is pretty amazing because it can adapt to lots of different light levels, probably better than any camera. It can reduce its sensitivity, so that when you’re on the beach or in the bright snow you can still see relatively well,” he told the broadcaster.

    The doctors reassured the women that the temporary vision loss was harmless. And if it’s an issue you’re grappling with, stick to looking at your smartphone with both eyes, and preferably, in light, the doctors say.

    The full findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    [email protected]长沙夜网
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    //

Led Zeppelin found not guilty of stealing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ riff

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

LOS ANGELES – Led Zeppelin did not steal a riff from an obscure 1960s instrumental tune to use for the introduction of its classic rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven,” a federal court jury decided Thursday.

The verdict in Los Angeles settles a point that music fans have debated for decades but didn’t find its way to court until two years ago, when the trustee for the late Randy Craig Wolfe filed a copyright lawsuit.

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The trust claimed that Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page lifted a passage that Wolfe, better known as Randy California, wrote for “Taurus,” a short work he recorded with his band Spirit in 1968.

Page and singer Robert Plant, who wrote the “Stairway” lyrics, said their creation was an original. In several hours of often-animated and amusing testimony, they described the craft behind one of rock’s best-known songs, all the while denying knowledge of one of the genre’s least-known tunes.

READ MORE: Led Zeppelin songwriter ignorant of similar Stairway riff

Plant cracked up the courtroom when said he didn’t remember most people he had hung out with over the years.

In closing arguments, Francis Malofiy, a lawyer representing Wolfe’s trust, criticized Page and Plant’s “selective” memories and “convenient” truths on the witness stand.

In trying to show the works were substantially similar, the trust had the tricky task of relying on sheet music because that’s what is filed with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Jurors were not played the “Taurus” recording, which contains a section that sounds very similar to the instantly recognizable start of “Stairway.” Instead, they were played guitar and piano renditions by musicians on both sides of the case. Not surprisingly, the plaintiff’s version on guitar sounded more like “Stairway” than the defence version on piano.

Experts for both sides dissected both compositions, agreeing mainly that they shared a descending chord progression that dates back three centuries as a building block in lots of songs.

The trust’s experts, however, went further and noted several other similarities that made the two works unlike the many other tunes they were compared to, including “My Funny Valentine,” and The Beatles’ “Michelle.”

Led Zeppelin’s lawyer said the trust didn’t own the copyright and that the plaintiff failed to prove a case that should have been brought more than 40 years ago when Wolfe was alive and Page and singer Robert Plant would have had better memories.

“How can you wait a half century and criticize people … 45 years later for the delay you caused?” Peter Anderson said. “They should have sued in 1972.”

READ MORE: Origin of Stairway to Heaven questioned at Led Zeppelin copyright trial

Wolfe, who drowned in 1997 saving his son at a beach in Hawaii, had spoken with lawyers over the years about suing, but they never took on the case because it was old, said Glen Kulik another lawyer for the trust. A Supreme Court ruling in 2014 over the movie “Raging Bull” opened the door to bring a copyright case at any time with damages only dating back three years and continuing into the future.

Malofiy asked jurors to give Wolfe a songwriting credit and millions of dollars in damages, though he didn’t provide a specific figure. The defence said record label profits from the past five years were $868,000, but Anderson reminded jurors that only a fraction of the eight-minute song was being challenged.

The trial took jurors and lucky observers who managed to pack into the courtroom on a musical journey through the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Spirit, a California psychedelic group that blended jazz and rock was achieving stardom as the hard-rocking British band was being founded.

Stops on the tour of testimony included Spirit shows at “love-ins” during the “Summer of Love,” Led Zeppelin’s U.S. debut as an opening act for Spirit and Vanilla Fudge in Denver in December 1968 and, finally, to a country house in the south of England where Page, Plant and bassist John Paul Jones described how “Stairway” was born.

READ MORE: Led Zeppelin lawyers ask judge to toss Stairway to Heaven case

Page said his ambition was to write a song that would accelerate to a crescendo and he first shared the opening with keyboardist and bassist John Paul Jones to get an ally in his scheme.

Singer Robert Plant said he was sitting by the fire at Headley Grange in the spring of 1970, when Page played the intro on acoustic guitar and he offered the start of a couplet he had been working on: “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold/and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

Jurors never heard a note from Page or Plant live, but they were treated to lo-fi vintage recordings of the band creating the song, renditions on guitar and piano by other musicians and, finally, the full recording of one of rock’s most enduring anthems.

Page, 72, bobbed his head and moved to the tune while Plant, 67, sat still. Both men wore sharp suits, white shirts and ties throughout the trial and had their hair pulled back in neat ponytails.

They didn’t chat with anyone in the gallery, including several fans, and were escorted by personal bodyguards to the restroom and in and out of the federal courthouse each day. One afternoon, a group of women clapped and Page flashed a smile as the rock stars were hustled across the courthouse corridor to a private hallway.

The case is not the first time Led Zeppelin was accused of swiping another artist’s work. The lawsuit listed at least six other songs in which the band reached settlements over songwriting credits for works including “Whole Lotta Love,” ”The Lemon Song,” and “Dazed and Confused.”

Led Zeppelin – Studio Albums | PrettyFamous

Democrats end 25-hour plus sit-in over gun control legislation

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

WASHINGTON – Exhausted but exuberant, House Democrats vowed to fight on for gun control Thursday as they ended their high-drama House floor sit-in with songs, prayers and defiant predictions of success. Republicans offered a dose of political reality, denying House Democratic demands and holding a Senate vote designed to show a bipartisan gun compromise can’t pass.

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“They’re staging protests. They’re trying to get on TV. They’re sending out fundraising solicitations,” House Speaker Paul Ryan complained in an angry denunciation of the Democrats’ 25-hour occupation of the Capitol chamber. “If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this, off of a tragedy?”

Ryan said the House would not be giving in to Democrats’ calls for votes on legislation expanding background checks for gun buyers and keeping people on the no-fly list from getting guns in the wake of the Orlando shooting. And in the Senate, GOP leaders scheduled a vote on a bipartisan compromise by moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, but only to show the “no-fly” legislation does not command the 60 votes needed to pass.

READ MORE: ‘No bill, no break’: Democrats hold sit-in, continue push for gun control vote

A visibly deflated Collins suggested Senate leaders were intentionally draining support from her bill by allowing a GOP alternative to also come to a vote.

“Let us not miss an opportunity to get something done,” she pleaded on the Senate floor. But Republican leaders, unmoved, were ready to move on.

“I think we need to be engaged in something more constructive that would have actually stopped shooters like the Orlando shooter,” said the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas.

Yet while they may have lost the legislative battles at hand, Democrats on both sides of the Capitol were congratulating themselves on a remarkable success in gaining attention for their demands for action to curb the widespread availability of firearms, first by a 15-hour Senate filibuster last week and then with their extraordinary occupation of the House floor.

Annual Firearm Background Checks | InsideGov

That latest effort broke up around midday Thursday after going through the night, even after Ryan moved up the Fourth of July recess and gaveled a chaotic House out of session in the early morning hours. Democrats chanted, “Shame! Shame!” and “No bill, no break.”

On Thursday Democrats streamed onto the steps of the East Front of the Capitol, where cheering crowds welcomed them with cries of “We’re with you!” under humid skies. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the civil rights icon who helped lead the sit-in, urged the crowd not to give up and to vote in the fall elections.

“We’re going to win,” Lewis declared. “The fight is not over. This is just one step.”

Lewis’ voice was firm as he evoked phrases from the civil rights movement, but the 76-year-old also showed his age and the hours of protest as members around him called “Help him up” as he stood on a makeshift podium to speak.

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For hours on the floor of the House, Lewis had led members in delivering speeches that mixed victory declarations with promises not to back down in their drive to curb firearm violence. Placards with photos of gun victims were prominently displayed. As night wore into morning some members rested with pillows and blankets, sustaining themselves with snacks sent over by allied Democrats in the Senate.

The public could see it all, because even after Republicans shut off the cameras in the House chamber, Democrats began recording the action on their cellphones, and C-SPAN and other networks carried the feeds. It was not the first time the minority in the House commandeered the floor, but was the first time social media allowed the world to see it, giving Democrats a public relations success and a megaphone.

Democrats said public opinion is with them and will shift votes on the issue over time. The National Rifle Association disputed that. In an interview, Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, said of Collins’ bill: “What the vote today showed was she doesn’t have 60 votes, and the reason she doesn’t have 60 is because it’s an unconstitutional approach” lacking an effective appeal process for people denied guns.

Pressure has built on Capitol Hill following the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando this month that killed 49 people and injured 53 others. The assailant also died. The attack followed other violent incidents over the past years including the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

—;

Associated Press writers Richard Lardner, Matthew Daly, Mary Clare Jalonick, Sarah Taylor and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Canadians in US prisons unlikely to transfer home

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

TORONTO – For Canadians serving time in American prisons, the odds of being allowed to transfer to Canada are akin to winning a lottery, even with a Liberal government that has promised to do more for those detained abroad.

Extensive data obtained by from several sources — including Global Affairs Canada, Correctional Service Canada, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Dept. of Justice — show most Canadians incarcerated south of the border are held in state facilities.

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In all, 964 Canadians were imprisoned in the U.S. as of May 18, 2016 — by far the biggest proportion of Canadians held in foreign prisons. Of those, 420 were held in state facilities and 394 in federal facilities.

READ MORE: A severely sick man spent 400 days in solitary. This isn’t an anomaly: In Canada, it’s common

However, states, which are generally responsible for prosecuting violent crime, are notoriously reluctant to let them transfer to serve out their sentences in Canada, the data show.

Under the International Transfer of Offenders Act, prisoner transfers from the U.S. to Canada require both state and federal approval. Between 1978 when the deal was negotiated and 2014, U.S. federal authorities allowed 1,256 Canadians to return to Canada.

The states, however, allowed just 161 Canadians to transfer. Florida, for example, which holds the most Canadians among states, allowed just four of them to leave between 2000 and 2010.

United States Jail Population | Graphiq

“There’s a great skepticism on the part of the states that sending someone who has offended against their state laws to a foreign country to serve their sentence is a good idea,” says Sylvia Royce, the former head of the prisoner transfer program in the U.S. and now a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

“They’re just not in that mindset.”

Many Americans see the Canadian system as too soft, given that U.S. criminal justice tends to fall on the “far right side of the spectrum” compared to countries such as Canada, where sentences are “so much more relaxed and humane,” Royce said.

READ MORE: Prison raids and selfies: Canadians reveal what it’s like to be locked up in Panama

Overall, the U.S. turns down more than half of Canadian transfer requests. In the past decade, American authorities approved 803 transfer applications — 759 federal and 44 state. They denied 867 applications — 639 federal and 228 state.

Other data show Ottawa approved 253 transfers from Canadian offenders over the past five years only to have 17 of those denied by American authorities. However, the proportion of state denials is likely much higher given that applications may not get as far as receiving Canada’s OK without prior state-side approval.

Among states, Florida holds the most Canadians, 97, in its federal and state prisons, while Texas at 90 and Pennsylvania at 85 round out the top three. Global Affairs Canada refused to break out the numbers by state and federal prisons, citing unspecified privacy concerns.

One such case is that of William (Russ) Davies, of Richmond Hill, Ont., who was sentenced to life in Daytona Beach, Fla., for a 1986 murder when he was 18 years old. Canada has previously agreed to take him back. Florida, without giving reasons, has consistently refused to let him go.

Davies, now 48, has a new application in process — he filed it two years ago — but there’s been no indication this one will be successful.

In an interview, Joseph Daou, the head of Canada’s transfer program, said Canada has to respect American jurisdiction when it comes to transfers.

“These decisions are discretionary,” Daou says. “It’s on a case-by-case scenario.”

Nevertheless, Daou said the system was working “very well.”

Rachel Smith, who runs the private International Transfer Services in Laguna, Calif., said states often look to see how Canada will deal with an offender before making a transfer decision.

“I think they’re stickier because they just want people to serve their sentence,” Smith said. “They’re just opposed to people transferring.”

Texas woman wakes up from surgery with British accent

Monday, December 24th, 2018

A woman in Texas claims she suddenly developed a British accent after undergoing a routine jaw surgery to correct an overbite.

“People who don’t know me, they’re like, ‘Hey, where are you from?’” Lisa Alamia told KHOU, a Houston, Texas television station.

But despite her accent, she grew up in Texas.

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    According to a press release from Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Alamia has been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome – a rare neurological disorder that has impacted fewer than 100 people worldwide since it was first described in 1907.

    READ MORE: Foreign accent syndrome – Can you suddenly develop a foreign accent?

    Alamia started speaking with a British accent right after her surgery in December 2015, according to the release. She underwent a complete neurological exam, including a MRI scan, and all tests came back normal.

    To her neurologist, Toby Yaltho, it’s a mystery.

    He told CTV News that he was initially suspicious of the woman, thinking she was maybe making it up. “If you talk to her, I’ll call her just to get an update on how she’s doing, she picks up the phone, she still talks like that. So this is definitely something that she’s not making up.”

    WATCH: A Texas woman who underwent jaw surgery claims she woke up to discover she had a British accent, part of what her doctors are calling an extremely rare case of foreign accent syndrome.

    But he has no idea what’s causing the accent.

    “I don’t think it can be explained. I looked back, talked to the doctors, tried to figure out if there was something that happened, tried to figure out if something happened during surgery. As far as we could tell it was not a complicated surgery. There was no injury or otherwise.”

    In the press release, Yaltho called Alamia’s condition a “fascinating and very rare case.”

    He is working with Alamia to reduce the accent through speech therapy.

    “I’ve learned that not everything in life has an answer,” said Alamia in the press release, “but the accent doesn’t define who I am. I’m still the same person I was before surgery; I just talk differently.”

Deal finalized for Quebec’s US$1 billion investment in Bombardier CSeries

Monday, December 24th, 2018

MONTREAL – After months of negotiations, Bombardier Inc. has reached a definitive agreement with the Quebec government on a US$1-billion investment in the CSeries passenger jet program

The two sides have been working out details of the agreement since the plan was originally announced in October.

The Montreal-based company is slated to receive the money in two instalments of US$500 million, the first June 30 and the second Sept. 1.

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    Once the Quebec government’s investment is complete, it will own 49.5 per cent of a new limited partnership with all the assets, liabilities and obligations of the CSeries aircraft program, including larger versions of the plane beyond the CS100 and CS300 should they be developed.

    Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said the investment demonstrates the provincial government’s confidence in the company’s largest aircraft.

    “Their investment will accelerate the momentum we’ve created, strengthen customer confidence in the aircraft and provide Bombardier with the financial flexibility needed to compete and win,” he said in a statement.

    Premier Philippe Couillard has said Quebec’s intervention in the CSeries was key to securing orders from Air Canada and Delta Air Lines.

    READ MORE: Delta deal’s signed, but Bombardier still wants federal cash

    Air Canada said Thursday that it continues to work on finalizing a contract with the manufacturer for up to 75 CSeries planes after the Senate passed amendments giving it relief from obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act, which required it to perform heavy maintenance on its fleet in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga, Ont.

    Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the federal government is continuing to negotiate potential financial support for Bombardier, which is seeking $1 billion from Ottawa.

    “We believe that long-term it’s (the aerospace sector) one of the more innovative places in the economy, so in that regard having a leading company like Bombardier is important and we’re engaging with them to think about how we can ensure that the sector remains successful,” he told reporters after speaking in Toronto to the Economic Club of Canada.

    Morneau wouldn’t discuss stumbling blocks but Ottawa has reportedly pushed Bombardier to change its voting structure, something the founding family that controls the company through multiple voting shares insists it has no intention of doing.

    The CSeries aircraft is two years behind schedule and has incurred about US$2 billion in cost overruns. The first plane is slated to be handed over to Swiss Airlines next week and enter into service July 15.

    READ MORE: Transport minister denies claims gov’t pressured Air Canada to buy Bombardier jets

    Quebec Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said the partnership with Bombardier will ensure the employment of up to 2,500 workers on the program.

    “So this is a win-win relationship that will benefit all Quebecers and the entire aviation sector,” he said in a news release.

    The new entity will be headed by Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. The board will contain three Bombardier nominees — former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson, who will be chairman, Bellemare and chief financial officer John Di Bert. Quebec will nominate two members.

    Under the revised deal, Quebec will receive warrants to purchase up to 100 million Bombardier shares or about 4.26 per cent of its outstanding shares. That’s half as many at the same price of $2.21 per share that was outline in the preliminary deal.

    Spokeswoman Sylvie Gauthier said the change was made to reflect Bombardier’s improved financial position.

    “We’ve derisked [sic] the program, we’ve had sales; the shares are nearly double where it was so that all comes to play in the negotiations,” she said in an interview.

    She said Quebec’s contribution will be used to help ramp up production until it reaches a break-even point in 2020 with 90 to 120 planes produced a year.

Woman who defaced U.S. national parks, posted exploits on social media, pleads guilty

Monday, December 24th, 2018

A San Diego woman who painted and drew on natural rock formations at U.S. national parks across the west and shared her work on social media, pleaded guilty June 13 to defacing government property.

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Casey Nocket, 23, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Fresno, Calif., to seven charges for the autumn 2014 painting spree at seven national parks including Yosemite in California and Zion in Utah.

She also admitted to defacing rocks at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

“The defendant’s defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures,” said acting U.S. Attorney Philip Talbert.

Nocket used Instagram and Tumblr to document her trip and her graffiti-like work, which led to broad outrage on social media. (Many of her original posts have since been taken down.)

READ MORE: Young Sequoia National Park visitor returns cone with apology note

Reddit users began posting about Nocket’s drawings, tipping off National Parks Service investigators.

NPS spokesman Jeffrey Olson told Global News that NPS staff used the Reddit thread to advance their investigation which started in October 2014.

Olson said social media has been both a boon and bane to the NPS.

“It has spawned some copycats but it has also helped us solve a crime,” he said. “There was quite a backlash on social media, shaming [Nocket] – some of it appropriate, some very inappropriate and threatening.”

Nocket was sentenced to two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service. She is also banned from all national parks for her probation period.

READ MORE: Spectacular ‘firefall’ at Yosemite park lights up social media

The vandalism spree caused serious cleanup problems at the national parks. The sandblasting and chemical stripping used to remove paint can cause even more damage to irreplaceable natural features, so cleanup crews have been relying on water, time and elbow grease.

“It’s very low tech and time consuming,” said Olson. “And therefore very expensive.”

At two parks, Crater Lake and Death Valley in California, the cleaning has yet to be completed nearly two years later.

A later hearing will determine how much Nocket will have to pay to help with the cleanup.

— with files from the Associated Press

Follow @jennynotjen

Deliberations continue in Michael Robertson murder trial

Monday, December 24th, 2018

A jury continues to deliberate the fate of Michael Robertson, accused of killing 42-year-old Rocky Genereaux in March 2015.

The second-degree murder trial wrapped up Wednesday afternoon and was handed over to the jury hearing the case.

Robertson was charged following a cell phone dispute in a home on Avenue I South.

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    READ MORE: Saskatoon man recounts 2015 stabbing on the stand at his murder trial

    He testified that he left his BlackBerry device at the residence and it was not working correctly after retrieving it.

    During the trial, Robertson said he confronted Genereaux about the device, believing he had tampered with it.

    Roberston testified that during the altercation, Genereaux became agitated, claimed to have HIV and lunged at him with an uncovered needle. He said the stabbing was in self defence.

    The jury heard closing arguments before beginning their deliberations Wednesday afternoon.

    READ MORE: Trial begins in 2015 Saskatoon homicide case

    Defence lawyer Brent Little claimed that Robertson’s testimony matched the majority of the other witnesses called and therefore it should be believed.

    “He did not want to cause Rocky Genereaux’s death,” said Little during his closing argument.

    “Imagine how quickly this happened.”

    Little argued it was understandable that Robertson fled the scene after the incident, since he was on parole and didn’t want to get arrested.

    READ MORE: Woman sentenced in fatal stabbing over cell phone

    During his testimony, Robertson claimed he didn’t know he killed Genereaux until two days later when he was shown a news report.

    Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko contended that the evidence shows Genereaux didn’t show the demeanor of a man who just attacked someone with a needle in the aftermath of the incident.

    She argued that Genereaux sounded bewildered in the background of a frantic 911 call played in court and there was no open or used needle recovered at the scene.

    She added that “there’s no evidence that Rocky had any reason to attack Mr. Robertson” and questioned why he would lunge at the accused, who testified that he was holding a roughly two-foot knife in his defence.

    “Why would he advance … why would he lunge his body toward a two foot knife,” Claxton-Viczko asked the jury.

    “Is he suicidal?”

    She also argued that Robertson could have used the much larger object to defend himself without killing the victim.

    “He can chop his arm off if need be,” said Claxton-Viczko to the jury.

Are you satisfied with your work schedule? Most Canadians aren’t

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Canadians want more workplace flexibility, a new survey stresses. Our schedule satisfaction lags behind seven countries in Europe, as well as India and the U.S.

Of the more than 7,000 Canadians polled by recruiting firm Randstad, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) said they’d like to work remotely at least occasionally.

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    And contrary to what we often hear, it’s not just millennials who crave the freedom.

    Over one-fifth (21 per cent) of employees aged 45 to 65 would love to work outside the office every day. That’s actually more than their younger counterparts.

    What can employers do?

    It’s time managers get with the changing times, said Randstad Canada’s human resources senior vice-president Faith Tull.

    “I don’t think anybody can be stuck in their ways nowadays. It won’t bode well for attracting the talent you need.”

    Companies that want to retain their employees and keep them motivated, she added, should survey staff to find out what’s important to them. Then make sure to actually listen and find ways to accommodate those desires.

    “There’s nothing like asking for feedback and then not implementing anything.”

    READ MORE: Secret to successful telecommuting? Moderation, research shows

    “You certainly can’t give them the world,” Tull acknowledged. But she believes managers can introduce work-life balance policies without decreasing productivity.

    In fact, “in comparison with employees who came into the office, at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive,” Harvard Business Review reported in 2014.

    If working remotely isn’t an option due to the nature of the job, Tull said employers can offer alternatives like:

    A compressed schedule (a 10-hour workday that allows for a four-day work week)Summer hours (that let employees leave early on Fridays)Flexible hours (that don’t involve a set start time)

    There’s a “high positive correlation between flexible working hours and employees’ motivation,” according to a 2013 study published by the Canadian Centre of Science and Education.

    READ MORE: 6-hour workday catching on in Sweden; could it work in Canada?

    “Organizations just need to not be stuck in one way of doing things,” she said.

    Tips for employees

    Tull encourages workers to:

       Bring up the subject during performance reviews. She suggests saying: “If I can’t get a [raise], what I would really value is some flexibility.”Look at their upcoming projects and see what can be done remotely. Come up with a plan that’s broken up into set deadlines and see if their boss is willing to work with them on it, given regular check-ins and progress updates.

    People searching for jobs are urged to research companies’ work-life balance policies online. The annual rankings of Canada’s top 100 employers is a good place to start.

    A closer look at schedule satisfaction

    Out of 15 industries Randstad polled, economists and consultants said they were most satisfied (77.7 per cent) with their current schedules. Those working in education were the country’s least satisfied (45 per cent).

    “People would think teachers have it good,” Tull said. But they often have to work after-hours and it can be tricky to find a replacement.

    The field also includes people (like administrative staff and day-care workers) who don’t get the luxury of time off during the summer and holidays.

    Here’s the full list of how Canada ranks globally when it comes to schedule satisfaction:

       Luxumberg Poland Netherlands Belgium France Sweden India Switzerland USA Canada