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Mansion dangling off cliff in Texas set on fire – National

WATCH ABOVE: Mansion dangling off cliff in Texas set on fire

TORONTO – A luxury home in Texas on the verge of falling into a lake was set on fire early Friday afternoon.

The owners vacated the 4000 square-foot home, which sits 75-feet above Lake Whitney in Hill County, after a crack in the cliff was discovered two weeks ago.

Earlier this week the bluff started crumbling, taking part of the house with it.

Neighbours across the lake told WFAA that it sounded like an earthquake when the cliff began crashing into the water.

Aerial footage released Wednesday (below) gave a clear view of the extensive damage the home has endured.

Debris from a section of it can be seen in the footage scattered below and the interior is exposed.

New video released by CBS on Thursday showed how massive the crack in the bluff had grown.

“It could go at any time. It could go tonight. We just don’t know,” Hill County Chief Deputy Mark Wilson told CBS.

The owner decided to burn the house Friday morning.

After close to two hours of prep work by officials, the home was set ablaze just before 1 p.m. ET.

Black smoke billowed out and the home was quickly engulfed in flames.

A house in Lake Whitney, Texas close to falling off the cliff it sits on was set on fire Friday afternoon.

Video still

Chunks of the house falling off the cliff set the debris below on fire.

A long-reach excavator will be used to clear the debris after the fire is out.

Building permits are not required in unincorporated areas of Hill County, which is why the house was allowed to be built so close to the edge of the cliff.

According to The Associated Press, the house was built in 2007 and is worth more than $700,000US.

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Ontario students vote for Wynne, NDP forms opposition – Toronto

TORONTO – It seems young Ontarians agree with their elders: they too wanted a majority Liberal government.

Nearly 170,000 students from 1,261 schools across Ontario voted in Student Vote 2014, showing more support for the left side of the political spectrum than Ontarians of voting age.

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  • Wynne wins majority: does Ontario need electoral reform?

  • Four more years: Ontario awakes to a Wynne-led Liberal majority

  • Ontario election results 2014: Real-time results on election night

In the student vote, the Liberals won a majority government with 62 seats in the student vote – increasing their count from 39 when the mock vote was held in 2011.

READ MORE: Here’s what Wynne promised

The NDP didn’t fare as well as the Liberals but did end up forming the Official Opposition with 33 seats, losing seven from 2011.

Tim Hudak on the other hand, didn’t win his riding in the student vote and his party won only 11 seats. In fact he finished third behind the Liberals and the NDP in his riding of Niagara West – Glanbrook.

The mock vote is meant to teach students about the democratic process, candidates and parties. Kids also spend time debating the future of Ontario. At the end of the lesson, they vote for representatives in their electoral riding.

The students may be interested in electoral reform after the results: eight per cent of the popular vote went to parties who did not win seats. In fact, the Libertarian Party won 3.3 per cent of the vote.

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Fitness competitors may look great, but not feel it on event day – Saskatoon

Watch above: looking great doesn’t equate to feeling great for fitness competitors

SASKATOON – Fitness competitors from across Saskatchewan will be in Regina this weekend for the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness provincial championships; however, preparation began weeks, if not months earlier.

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Marc Morris, a men’s physique competitor, said most contestants start to alter their diet three to six months before they take the stage. Some will also try to reduce water weight in the weeks leading up to an event.

This helps achieve the “look” needed to be successful in a physique competition; however it can come at a cost.

“You’re not going to feel your best when you’re at that low body fat, it’s just one of those things,” said Morris, who won the men’s short physique title at the IFBB Saskatchewan Novice Championships in May.

“Your body’s fighting to be at a different body weight, it doesn’t want to be this lean,” he added in an interview before his daily workout.

Overall, a bodybuilder’s lifestyle is a healthy one, according to Harvey Viteychuk, a veteran of the sport, who is the judging chairman for the Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association.

“Obviously the proper diet and the consistent training, things like that are very healthy,” said Viteychuk, who started bodybuilding in the late 1980’s.

“Getting ready for an actual competition, there are a few parts of it that you would look at it and probably not consider as healthy,” he added.

However, it’s not just the pre-event phase that can be delicate for a fitness competitor. After the psychological and physical strain of preparing for one day of competition, a participant might binge on the food he or she has deprived their body from in the lead up to the event.

“There can be some adverse effects after the contest, overeating being one of them,” said Viteychuk, who will be judging the competition this weekend.

“I’ve had situations where I’ve gained thirty-five pounds in a week.”

“There are unhealthy components of any type of sport or any type of athletic endeavor and its just finding ways of recognizing those aspects and trying to control them and deal with them,” said Morris, who is originally from Ontario, but now calls Saskatoon home.

Morris may have an advantage to navigating the health-related areas of fitness competitions better than some of his fellow competitors. He’s currently pursuing a doctorate in nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan.

“If it’s taken you a long time to get down to that low body fat you should probably take the time needed to actually get up to healthy body fat,” said Morris.

“I definitely want to take the time and be slow and progressive, adding body fat back on, or it can be a disaster,” he added.

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Top 5 tech-inspired gifts for Father’s Day – National

TORONTO – With Father’s Day just around the corner, you may be looking for a unique gift for the dad that has everything.

But after years of golf shirts, barbeque accessories and “World’s Best Dad” mugs you’ve run out of ideas.

So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of tech-savvy gadgets that dad will love.

Game Golf, CAD$279

If your dad is looking to improve his golf game, this wearable tech is the perfect solution.

Game Golf uses sensors, GPS and NFC technology to provide the user with a stream of data related to the user’s stroke, club performance, driving distances and more. Users can then watch animations of their game on a smartphone or computer to get tips on how to improve.

The system even allows the user to compare their stats to leading PGA golfers.

LG Pocket Photo, CAD$169

The LG Pocket Photo is great for gadget-obsessed dads who do everything on their smartphone. The device acts as a wireless Bluetooth printer, allowing users to edit and print photos instantly from their iPhone or Android device.

And, if your dad lacks patience, don’t worry – the Pocket Photo prints images in just 45 seconds.

iGrill Barbeque gadgets, CAD$19.99 to $99.99

Let’s face it – some dads are happiest when they are in front of the grill. If this describes your dad, why not get him a BBQ accessory that will make him feel like an advanced chef.

iGrill makes a series of Bluetooth-connected  BBQ gadgets that connect to users’ smartphones to help with the grilling process.

The iGrill 2 ($99.99) works with the iGrill app to monitor your meat’s temperature with up to four temperature probes.

Logitech Smart Control, CAD$129.99

If your dad is known to yell, “Where’s the remote,” then this is the gadget for him. The Logitech Smart Control turns your smartphone into a remote. Users can consolidate eight remotes into one app and even add up to 50 favourite channel icons.

Misfit Shine, CAD$99.99

Wearable-tech-maker Misfit Wearables’ has created Misfit Shine, and activity tracker that allows users to track their fitness level, calories burned and even analyze sleep patterns. The device, which is the size of a quarter, is also water and sweat-proof.

Unlike other activity trackers, the user can wear it virtually anywhere – dad can clip it to his tie, his shoes, or even his sunglasses.

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Mother of survivor of election-night shooting furious with Bain’s bail request – Montreal

MONTREAL — He’s charged with the first degree murder of Denis Blanchette, and with attempting to kill several others during a Parti-Quebecois victory party in 2012.

If convicted, Richard Henry Bain could very well spend the rest of his days behind bars.

Yet despite that possibility, Bain thinks he deserves to be released from prison this summer.

Today at the Montreal courthouse, lawyers for the alleged election-night shooter advised a judge they will be making a formal request for bail, pending the start of Bain’s trial.

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    Richard Henry Bain in court

  • Gallery: Memorial for Denis Blanchette at Club Metropolis

  • Suspect in Quebec election-night shooting gives judge list of requests

“He’s got the right to present a motion,” defence attorney Marcel Guerin told reporters.

“Will it be granted?  That depends on the judge.  But he’s got the right to present a motion for bail.”

The bail hearing begins July 29 and is expected to last three days.

Guerin told Global News they plan to present several witnesses, including the accused.

“On a bail hearing he has to be a witness,” Guerin noted.

READ MORE: Richard Henry Bain to be tried in 2015

The mother of Dave Courage, one of the survivours of the shooting, is furious with the legal move.

Yvonne Courage describes it as insulting.

“No, no, no, no, it can’t be. It’s impossible,”  Courage told Global News in a telephone interview.

“He’s asking to be released?  This man is very bad.  I don’t understand what is going on in Canada and Quebec.”

Last April, Yvonne and Dave Courage launched a civil lawsuit against the Quebec government.

They are demanding close to $300,000 in damages as a result of the shooting, where Dave Courage narrowly escaped death.

Richard Henry Bain’s trial is slated to begin in January 2015.

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Mounties ask Moncton residents for evidence in shootings investigation

The New Brunswick RCMP is asking anybody with photos or videos connected to a shooting rampage in Moncton that left three Mounties dead to submit them as evidence.

A special website has been set up where people can upload any digital recordings that may help in the investigation.

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MORE INFO: Visit the  RCMP page to submit photo and video files

In a release, the RCMP says the site is designed to make it easier for eyewitnesses to come forward, and that any evidence could “greatly assist” investigators.

The Mounties are especially interested in photos or videos from citizens who were under lockdown within the search zone in Moncton’s north end.

Officers plan to canvass every home in the lockdown zone, and have already made more than 1,500 inquiries in the neighbourhood.

Police have already received hundreds of tips, and are asking residents in the area to search their properties for evidence. If anything is found, residents are asked not to touch or disturb the article and contact Codiac Regional RCMP at 506-857-2400.

On Tuesday, police and members of the public filled a hockey arena in Moncton for the regimental funeral of constables Dave Ross, Douglas Larche, and Fabrice Gevaudan.

Ross, Larche and Gevaudan were gunned down on June 4 after responding to a report of a man with firearms in a residential neighbourhood in the northwest area of Moncton.

READ MORE: 13-year-old musician pens song honouring fallen RCMP officers

The shootings and the ensuing 30-hour manhunt for the alleged killer brought the city of 69,000 to a standstill until an arrest was made just after midnight on June 6.

Two other officers – constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen – were wounded and released from hospital.

Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton is facing three charges of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He is scheduled to be in provincial court July 3.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Darryl Hickie commits to staying on as Prince Albert MLA

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A Saskatchewan member of the legislature who came under fire earlier this week for working for the Prince Albert police force will continue to serve his constituents.

Darryl Hickie announced in April that he would not run again in the Prince Albert Carlton riding and would return to his old job as a police officer in the northern Saskatchewan city.

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  • Provincial politician also works as police officer: Saskatchewan NDP

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He then started his requalification and training to return to the force.

In a statement from the Saskatchewan Party on Friday morning, Hickie said he has now completed that process and will commit his time to serving as a member of the legislature.

“Just to be clear, I will continue to serve as MLA until the time of the next election and until then, I will not be doing any further work for the Prince Albert Police Service,” said Hickie in the release.

“At that time, I will move from serving the people of Prince Albert as their MLA to serving and protecting the people of Prince Albert as a police officer.”

The Opposition NDP raised the issue after people raised concerns about Hickie spotted carrying out investigations.

They said people were uncomfortable a politician may be conducting investigations involving his own constituents.

Premier Brad Wall said he was okay with Hickie returning to his old job only for retraining and recertification and that Hickie would step down if he decided to return to active duty at the end of retraining.

Hickie has represented the constituency of Prince Albert Carlton since 2007. He served as minister for corrections, public safety and policing from 2007 to 2009 and most recently was tasked with leading an all-party committee on improving traffic safety.

With files from The Canadian Press

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UN warns of war crimes, atrocities in Iraq – National

WATCH: The U.S. has now ruled out sending troops to help Iraq deal with Sunni militants, who have captured more towns and are moving closer to Baghdad, but Iran says it will get involved. The situation is a concern for the stability of the region and it’s also going to have an impact at the gas pumps.

GENEVA – With Islamic insurgents pushing toward Baghdad, the U.N.’s top human rights official expressed “extreme alarm” Friday at reports of war crimes.

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  • Iraqi Shiite cleric urges citizens to defend country

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned of “murder of all kinds” and other war crimes in the fast-deteriorating Iraqi war zone.

In a first estimate of the number of killed and wounded in the area, her office said the number of killed may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded could approach 1,000.

Pillay also shed some light on the brutalities occurring in Iraq, saying her office had received reports of militants rounding up and killing Iraqi army soldiers and 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul.

Her office said it has also learned of summary executions, rape, extrajudicial and reprisal killings, and about civilians being shelled as fighters from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant overran a succession of major cities earlier in the week.

Deeply disturbing, she said, are reports that the fighters, including prisoners they had released from jails in Mosul and provided with arms, have been actively seeking out and sometimes killing soldiers, police and others. She said victims also included civilians, who the fighters believe are associated with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

WATCH: President Obama says he will be weighing options for how to assist Iraq’s security forces, in the face of what he described as “significant gains” by insurgents

Pillay warned those fighting to abide by international law, which requires human treatment of members of armed forces who have laid down their arms. She also stressed that “murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture constitute war crimes.”

“I am extremely concerned about the acute vulnerability of civilians caught in the cross-fire, or targeted in direct attacks by armed groups, or trapped in areas under the control of ISIL and their allies,” Pillay said.

“And I am especially concerned about the risk to vulnerable groups, minorities, women and children,” she said. “There will be particular scrutiny of the conduct of ISIL, given their well-documented record of committing grave international crimes in Syria.”

A U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria said that the fighters were committing crimes against humanity and other violations in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo as recently as March.

Sunni fighters with ISIL have captured large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, aiming to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the border.

©2014The Canadian Press

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Kelowna residents deem road changes unsafe

KELOWNA – Plans to widen a main road in the old Glenmore area of Kelowna are being met with a lot of opposition from area residents.

The city is planning to widen Clifton Road between Clement and Lambert Avenue from two lanes to four this summer.

But many residents call the project dangerous and ill conceived.

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One of the issues locals are concerned with is that left turns onto Clifton will only be allowed at controlled  intersections.  That means drivers coming from side roads will have to turn right and make a lengthy detour to get back down to Clement.

Local residents say not only will this be inconvenient but it will increase traffic on quiet streets throughout the neighborhood as drivers take short cuts to get onto Clement.

Residents say a new development going up on the corner of Clifton and Clement will only add to the traffic congestion in the area.

The city held an open house last night to show residents the design plans.  It brought out many residents who wanted to express their concerns to city staff.

One of the other concerns residents have is the lack of controlled crosswalks across a busy Clifton Road.  They say the design plans need more crosswalks.

“We have children that live on either side of the street and have to cross there every day and four lanes of traffic to negotiate is frightening,” says one resident.

City staffers are collecting feedback from residents for consideration but admit they won’t be making every change that’s been suggested.

“We take the information here and then we rank it and look at different options what we can do to help but some changes will be made, some changes won’t.  That is just the nature of these sessions,” says City of Kelowna’s Purvez Irani.

The city hopes to start construction in August.

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P.F. Chang’s confirms credit and debit card breach – National

NEW YORK – P.F. Chang’s confirmed Friday that data from credit and debit cards used at its restaurants was stolen.

The company learned about the security breach on Tuesday from the U.S. Secret Service and began investigating the breach with the agency and a team of forensics experts.

While it knows that customers were exposed, it doesn’t know how many, when it happened, or which restaurants were affected.

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The company is working with credit card companies to determine which cards may have been affected.

READ MORE: Target confirms some Canadian shoppers had info stolen

All P.F. Chang’s restaurants are now using manual credit card imprinting devices to process card payments while the investigation continues. There are 209 P.F. Chang’s restaurants around the U.S. There are three Canadian locations.

It is unclear if Canadian consumers were affected by the breach.

For now, the company is asking customers to monitor their credit and bank accounts and report any fraudulent activity to their card companies. It also launched a website to keep people updated on the investigation and answer questions.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, owns its namesake restaurants and Pei Wei Asian Diners. The company was taken private in 2012 by Centerbridge partners LP for about $1.1 billion.

A wave of data breaches at other major U.S. corporations is putting consumes on alert and raising awareness about how vulnerable the system is.

Late last year, thieves stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers from customers shopping at Target Corp. stores. Personal information of about 70 million Target customers was also taken. Other companies, such as Neiman Marcus, Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. and Michaels Stores Inc., have also revealed breaches of their systems.

©2014The Canadian Press

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