Pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok defy junta with rare anti-coup rally – National

BANGKOK – More than 200 pro-democracy activists defied Thailand’s junta and staged a rare protest in the capital that marked the anniversary of a coup that had pushed the Southeast Asian nation into a nearly decade-long turmoil.

The activists Saturday evening marched peacefully to Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, a symbolic location that has become a rallying point for protests in recent years. They carried anti-junta banners and shouted pro-democracy slogans as a ring of police kept watch but did not break up the rally.

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READ MORE: Bombings in insurgency-plagued southern Thailand kill 3

The demonstration started with a forum at Bangkok’s Thammasat University that was allowed by authorities, but they denied a request for a march outside of the campus.

The protesters, from a group called the New Democracy Movement, called the rally to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 19, 2006, coup that unseated then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on allegations of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for the king. The coup plunged Thailand into a cycle of sometimes violent street protests as Thaksin’s supporters and opponents struggled for power.

Last year, the army overthrew an elected government run by Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, on the pretext of restoring order and reconciling the politically divided country.

READ MORE: Thai police say Bangkok bombing suspect fled to Turkey

Saturday’s protest also appeared designed at least in part to embarrass the current leader, army chief-turned-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is scheduled to make an address this month at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Critics at home and abroad say the junta has made little effort toward reconciliation, and has focused on clamping down on dissent and civil liberties.

After initially promising quick elections to restore democracy, Prayuth now says polls will not be held until at least 2017.

©2015The Associated Press

Villa Maria College opens its doors to boys – Montreal

MONTREAL – For over 160 years, Villa Maria High School has been an all-girls school but in April the school announced it was going co-ed, starting in 2016.

While school admission applications for secondary schools in the province have only just started, Villa Maria says that they have already received over 75 applications by boys.

Maire Anna Bacchi, Villa Maria’s director general said she was pleased that the school’s decision to admit boys had generated such interest from Montreal-area families.

The new uniform for boys was on display at Villa Maria College. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.

Max Kalinowicz/Global News

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When the school first announced the changes not all parents were on board with the decision, arguing that single-sex education allows girls to build self-confidence, avoid distractions and assume leadership positions that they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

READ MORE: ‘Marias’ and ‘Marios’ to study together at Villa Maria as of 2016

Accepting boys was part of a three-pronged strategy to keep the school competitive and respond to students’ needs in a changing educational landscape.

Other changes include the implementation of the Education 3.0 project, a technology-based curriculum that will allow students to become responsible digital citizens.

Villa Maria College opened its doors to the public this Saturday and will do so again, on Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 4:00 p.m. to  7:00 p.m. The English sector open house will be held next Saturday, Sept. 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 4:00 p.m.

Wheelie world record set at Regina speedway

REGINA – Two wheels, 25 kilometres per hour, and over 100 laps. These are the numbers that are going to get Lucas Henwood in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest ATV wheelie.

“Riding with the front tire in the air is all balance,” Henwood said after his attempt. “Focus on your balance; tell yourself every ten seconds.”

“I’ve seen him do 115 laps consistently at one time,” said Henwood’s friend and coach Chad Metz.

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Metz coached Henwood through countless hours of training to get up to the triple-digit mark in laps. Henwood quickly past the old record at the 21-lap mark, and then he upped the ante; drift racers began to also cut laps on the track.

READ MORE: Organization calls on Sask. government to take action on ATV deaths

“That’s one of his favourite stunts I guess. So when the drifters came out here last year to do some racing he fell in love with the idea of bringing drifters out here while he was on the track,” said Metz.

“I love the drifters,” said Henwood. “People are out to watch them, and I’m just a bonus.”

After more than two hours and covering 50 kilometres, Henwood finally dropped down to two wheels after 102 laps.

“Feels good. It was a good run. It was a good ride; great ride,” said Henwood.

He also set up the event to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. All the of the gate admission, concessions, and a $1,000 donation from King’s Park Speedway are going to the charity.

“Cancer’s hit my family hard, the same as most. It’s a worthy cause. I’m the lucky one, I just want to ride and if I can do something good with it that’s the goal.”

Once Guinness verifies the footage of the attempt and witness testimony, Henwood will officially find himself in the record book.

Man charged with sexual assault, related to string of incidents – Halifax

HALIFAX – A 35 year-old Halifax man will be in court Monday to face a sexual assault charge, following a string of reported incidents said Halifax Regional Police.

The name of the man wasn’t released, and he remains in custody. The alleged sexual assault happened Thursday at 3:10 p.m. in the area of Chebucto Road and St. Matthias Street, said a press release, Friday. A man grabbed a 27 year-old woman from behind and touched her in a sexual manner over her clothing.

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Six other incidents were also reported on Thursday. There is currently an investigation on the connection between the cases but Staff Sgt. Bill Morris said they believe the same man charged with the sexual assault is linked to the other assaults and police aren’t looking for other suspects.

READ MORE: Police investigate string of assaults, suspicious circumstances in Halifax

“The investigators are trying to link all of the other files together to make sure there is enough evidence to take the person to court on the other outstanding files,” said Morris.

The other cases reported on Thursday included five reports of assault and one suspicious circumstance. In the assault cases police said the women were either knocked down or grabbed. An obscenity was said to the woman in the case of the suspicious circumstance. The victims were all female, the youngest was a 14 year-old girl, the oldest was 39.

The incidents were reported near Dalhousie University in the 6200 block of Coburg Road, the 6300 block of South Street, and on Cedar Street. The other incidents were reported further north on the peninsula near Windsor Street and Lawrence Street, Oxford Street and North Street, and Oxford Street and Berlin Street. The man was arrested on Dublin Street.

Dalhousie University’s Security Services is working with Halifax Regional Police, said Brian Leadbetter, a spokesperson for the university. A security bulletin was also released to all students, staff, and faculty.

READ MORE: Halifax man facing sexual assault charges after woman grabbed on Chebucto Road

The number of incidents in such a short time frame is rare said police. However, Hollaback! Halifax, a group that works to stop street harassment and violence says these types of incidents aren’t as rare as people might think. Despite the violence, Rebecca Faria, of Hollaback!, said she’s happy the women involved felt comfortable reporting the incidents to police.

“There’s a growing awareness that people have the right to report this sort of thing to police,” said Faria. “At least the people who were affected by it on Thursday believed and hoped that they were going to be believed by police when they report it.”

Police said the incidents were traumatic for the victims but none suffered serious physical injuries. In addition to the immediate impact on victims, Faria said reports of assaults affect all women and how they use public spaces. However, she said women should try to resist the urge to change their daily routines because of the attacks.

Comic and Entertainment Expo teleports into Saskatoon – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – Fan fiction took over Saskatoon this weekend for the second annual Comic and Entertainment Expo. Prairieland Park was packed for a “nerd-tastic” celebration of film, television, comics and more.

“A lot of people have this inner nerd in them and they’re excited about whatever medium or franchise it is,” said expo spokesperson Emily “Expo.”

Participants dressed up as their favourite characters, calling themselves “cosplayers,” a combination of the words costume and play.

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“Cosplay is this amazing community. A lot of the stuff is homemade. People put hours and hours, days, months, years making these amazing costumes,” Expo said.

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill seen pouring beers at pub in Ireland

Fans were eager to show off their original works of art, some designed by hand.

“This one I made myself so each of the leaves was stitched and glued on. There are over 3,000 leaves,” said cosplayer Melody Wood.

The event offers an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate a common love of fiction in all its forms.

“It’s growing, we are finding our community. Everyone is beginning to embrace their inner nerd,” said cosplayer Kris Brehaut.

Watch below: You may remember him from “Lord of the Rings,” but there’s more to Billy Boyd than acting. The actor and musician plays at Louis Pub with his band Beecake along with appearing at the Saskatoon Expo.

Fans of all ages flooded through the doors hoping to meet their favourite stars and shop at over 200 vendors. There was something for everyone, including live robot battles.

Canadian actress and model Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Prairies and share the excitement.

“Getting into costume is fun and I think that’s why a lot of people here enjoy it. You’re playing a part. Not any different than if you went to a sports game and people are in the jerseys with the colours of the team. It’s just it’s fun,” said Helfer.

Crowd favourite Star Trek actor William Shatner will also be representing Canada at the expo Sunday.

Global’s Kevin Stanfield was an emcee at the event.

Southern Alberta town hopes to rid storm ponds of invasive goldfish

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — There’s something fishy about the storm water ponds in a town in southern Alberta.

The town of High River says anywhere between 35 and 100 domestic goldfish have been spotted in the forebays of the storm pond system of Highwood Lake.

The town is asking people who can no longer care for their fish to contact pet shops or veterinarians.

Senior fish biologist Craig Mushens, who’s working with the town to fix the problem, says the fish are an invasive species.

The goldfish are also known as Prussian carp, and Mushens says they out-compete native species for food and habitat and spread diseases, as well as spread from one body of water to another.

Releasing live fish into Alberta water bodies is illegal and the fines can be as high as $100,000.

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Updated: Canada-wide warrant issued for Winnipeg mother who allegedly abducted son

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg family is pleading for their 12-year-old son to be brought home after an alleged parental abduction by his biological mother.

Late Saturday, police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Charlotte McMahon after she failed to bring her son, Tristan McMahon home from an overnight supervised visit.

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“We phoned in the morning to pick him up and grandma said that they were gone,” said stepmom Wendy Tronrud. “She had taken her car, keys, purse, all her money, packed the cats up and some belongings and all his photos and they were gone.”

The 35-year-old and her son were last seen in the area of St. James near Ness Avenue and Sturgeon Road.

“There have been tips that have come in, however nothing has been confirmed,” said Cst. Eric Hofley.

There have been no sightings reported of the duo or the car they are suspected of being in.

The young boy had recently moved in with his father and stepmom after concern’s about his mother’s mental state were brought up.

They also said legally his last name is McMahon-Tronrud although police said they couldn’t verify for that.

The family is concerned for his well being and said his mom suffers from a mental illness and has not been taking her medication.

“That’s our biggest worry is that she’s not thinking clearly so we just really want to hear from her,” said Tronrud. “She needs help. We are worried about him being alone with her right now.”

The young boy’s father was distraught and said the family has not been able to sleep since his son was taken.

McMahon is descried as 5’4” with a medium build, tattoos and red hair.  She may be wearing a brown jacket, black tights and dark shoes.

Tristan is described as 5’4 with a medium to heavy build and short brown hair. He could be wearing a grey t-shirt with yellow printing on the front, jeans and white runners.

Photo provided by family.

Photo provided.

Courtesy police.

The Tronrud’s said McMahon’s brother lives in British Columbia and police there have been in contact with him. They were able to speak with him earlier as well and he said he has not heard from his sister.

It’s unclear which direction McMahon could be driving.

Police said the she will be travelling in a black, four door Kia  with a Manitoba plate reading GVW 620.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Winnipeg Scouts selling safety whistles, raising money for Thelma Krull’s family – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Family members and friends of Thelma Krull are selling hundreds of safety whistles and bracelets to help being her home.

The grandmother has been missing for 10 weeks since leaving on a morning walk and never returning.

“We just need that one tip,” Krull’s friend and co-worker Connie Muscat said. “Just hoping that we’re going to come across that person who might not know this is happening and have recognized her.”

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Krull volunteered with Winnipeg Scouts for more than 20 years and with the season starting again, her colleagues say they’re lost without her.

“We have so many scouters that weren’t able to search or weren’t able to help in other ways so they really wanted to help,” East Winnipeg scouts organizer Dawn Cumming said. “These handmade whistles help with safety… you can just blow it if you’re kind of feeling a little vulnerable.”

So far the scouts have sold 600 bracelets to raise money for flyers and other materials that will help with the search. The goal is to sell 1,000 bracelets and raise $4,000 for the family.

Police say they are continuing to investigate Krull’s disappearance.

“Investigators are always seeking perhaps that one tid bit of information from the public that perhaps might help break this open,” Const. Eric Hofley of the Winnipeg Police Service said.

The reward for finding Krull has now increased to $20,000.

More than $10,000 is from from the Amalgamated Transit Union, $5,000 is from the transit employees’ safety whistle campaign and the other $5,000 is from family and friends.

The Krull family is hoping that adding more incentive might help bring their loved one home.

Thelma Krull has been missing since Saturday morning.

Handout / Winnipeg Police Service

Eskimos come back to beat Tiger-Cats 25-18

HAMILTON – Aaron Grymes and Otha Foster returned interceptions for touchdowns as the Edmonton Eskimos defence took advantage of backup rookie quarterback Jeff Mathews in a 25-18 come-from-behind win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday afternoon.

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Tied 18-18 with less than two minutes left, Jacory Harris, Hamilton’s third-string quarterback, fumbled on the Ticat 53 and it was recovered by Edmonton’s Don Oramasionwu. Seven plays later, Kendial Lawrence ran in a four-yard TD — Edmonton’s first offensive touchdown — and the Eskimos (8-4) took their first lead of the game with 43 seconds left.

Hamilton’s Zach Collaros, the league’s leading passer, was knocked out of the game early in the second quarter with a suspected knee injury after being hit from behind during a scramble by Edmonton lineman Mathieu Boulay. Collaros was replaced by Mathews, who is usually used on third downs.

Mathews had a fumble and three costly interceptions — one returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Grymes to tie the game at 18-18 midway through the fourth. Foster returned another 45 yards for a TD while Marcell Young made an interception in the endzone after the Ticats had a first-and-goal at the nine-yard line.

Mathews was replaced by Harris after his second pick-six and less than nine minutes left in the game.

Terrence Toliver scored a touchdown for Hamilton (8-4). Lawrence, Foster and Grymes scored for the Esks.

Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock was good on all three field-goal attempts, from 10, 42 and 39 yards. Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte hit from 29 yards out. Both kickers conceded safeties.

The Eskimos were enjoying their second-straight full game with starting quarterback Mike Reilly after he spent the summer recovering from a knee injury. He was intercepted once and didn’t throw a touchdown.

Collaros was good on 7-of-10 pass attempts for 90 yards and one touchdown before he left the game.

Hamilton was up 13-5 heading into halftime on a 10-yard TD strike from Collaros to Toliver in the first quarter and two field goals, from 10 and 42 yards out, by Medlock. Edmonton’s scoring in the first came on a conceded safety and a 29-yard field goal by Whyte, as Edmonton couldn’t get past midfield until the second quarter.

In the third, Whyte conceded a safety midway through the quarter to give Hamilton a 15-5 lead.

But Edmonton started a comeback with Foster’s interception. Edmonton failed on its two-point conversion attempt and the score was 15-11.

Mathews engineered a 39-yard drive on his return to the field, resulting in Medlock’s 32-yard field goal and a 18-11 Hamilton lead.

The Ticats were moving the ball and had first-and-goal at the nine to begin the fourth when Mathews attempted a TD pass to Luke Tasker that was instead nabbed by Young. But on Edmonton’s following possession, Emanuel Davis intercepted Reilly to get the ball back for Hamilton on the Edmonton 39.

Mathews threw his next pick-six midway through the fourth when Grymes had nothing but daylight straight to the endzone and the game was tied at 18.

©2015The Canadian Press

Okanagan correctional officer hopefuls put to the test

KELOWNA – The Okanagan Correctional Centre is looking to fill 300 new positions. However, they won’t be for the faint of heart. About two-thirds of the hires will be correctional officers; a job that needs you to be in good physical shape. That’s why hopefuls were put to the test on Saturday.

“This measures their physical abilities to be able to take the training that we offer if they are successful,” says Steve DiCastri, Warden of Okanagan Correctional Centre.

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Twenty people took part in the Corrections Officers’ Physical Abilities Test (COPAT) at the Capital News Centre in Kelowna on Saturday.

Each exercise in the test represents the type of strength needed for the job at the Okanagan’s first prison located north of Oliver.

“Restraining inmates at times, handcuffing techniques, responding to emergencies if they have to so we need to them to be physically fit for that,” says DiCastri.

In order to pass the test, participants have to make it through everything from stair climbs, agility tests, bar jumps, cardio, and strength pushing and pulling exercises.

“The push-pull exercise is for opening or closing moving doors; we have large doors in the facility so you have to open them and sometimes they’re jarred closed,” says DiCastri. “You have to be fit.”

The goal is to complete the COPAT in two minutes and 50 seconds. Many participants say it’s the final cardio exercise that is the hardest.

“It’s a lot more exhausting than I thought it was going to be,” says applicant Derek Theissen.

However, with a 90 per cent pass rate and an opportunity to take the COPAT a second time, it may be the competition for the jobs that’s the most intimidating for the hopefuls.

“There’s a lot of interest from all over the province,” says DiCastri. “We’ve seen about 1,200 people in our readiness/orientation sessions so we are hoping to get about 120 people, brand new.”

According to the Ministry of Justice, new correctional officer hires start with an hourly training wage of $19.99 and can work their way up to a maximum hourly salary of $30.18 after five-and-a-half years of full-time work.

READ MORE: The Okanagan Correctional Centre is hiring

Out of the 300 jobs that will open up at the facility, 240 of them will be corrections officer positions. Job postings will go up in November and DiCastri says the application process will run until March.

WATCH: Rare glimpse of new Okanagan prison