WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence later this week while they’re both visiting a conference of U.S. state governors.The event will be a formal sit-down.The men will be in Rhode Island for a gathering of more than three dozen governors, and there had been whispers that the Canadian delegation might spend time with a high-profile U.S. federal official.That official is Pence, a Canadian official has confirmed.Lest anyone read any political intrigue into the meeting with the man who is second in line to the U.S. presidency, the official stressed this event was arranged before the latest headlines involving President Donald Trump’s family contacts with Russians.“It was confirmed before this week’s revelations,” the official said.The special counsel investing Russian election meddling is now examining an exchange involving Donald Trump Jr. in a probe that has now expanded to touch Trump’s immediate family.The release of emails this week has shown that Trump’s son went into a meeting with a Russian lawyer last year hoping for dirt collected on Hillary Clinton, and being told it was gathered by the Russian government to help Trump.The outreach to a vice-president is not uncommon: former U.S. president Barack Obama’s vice-president, Joe Biden, was hosted at an official dinner in Ottawa late last year.With NAFTA negotiations approaching, Canada also has a strategy of reaching out to 11 politically important states — in the hope that, if trade talks hit a rough patch, their governors will advocate for continued open borders.Some of those governors will be in Rhode Island.Trudeau will deliver a speech and hold a more informal public exchange with the governors Friday.
MONTREAL – Some of the asylum-seekers who have recently crossed the Canada-U.S. border say they’re struggling to find a place to live once they leave government-run temporary shelters.Ahmed Iftikhar, 42, says he walked across the border from New York in late July with his wife and four children.Since then, he says they’ve been moved from one temporary shelter to another: first a hotel, then the Olympic Stadium, and now a former convent in the city’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.The shelters have been set up to receive the surging number of asylum seekers who have been crossing into Quebec in recent weeks, but they are only intended as temporary housing.Asylum-seekers are generally expected to leave the shelters once they receive their first social assistance cheques, but several who spoke to The Canadian Press say that’s easier said than done.Iftikhar, who says he fled violence in Kashmir, says he’s walked as far as he can in every direction looking for an apartment, but hasn’t found anything to accommodate his family of five.He says authorities at the shelter gave him a one-week transit pass and a list of possible addresses to check out, but so far he hasn’t had any luck.“There is nobody to help,” he said as he watched his children play in a park near the shelter. “I want to leave here but I don’t know what to do.”Another asylum-seeker, who gave his age as 30 but did not want to give his name, said he crossed the border last week with $34 dollars in his pocket.He says he’s passed through 11 countries since leaving his native Haiti three years ago and decided to take a chance on a new life in Canada.He said he’s supposed to leave the shelter and find a new place to live by Aug. 20, but without a phone he isn’t sure how to find an affordable apartment, or a lawyer to help with his claim.“Six hundred or $700 dollars isn’t a lot to eat with, to sleep with,” he said outside a creole restaurant a block from the shelter where he’s been staying.Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 alone, 1,798 people showed up at an unofficial crossing from the U.S. into Quebec.In comparison, only 2,920 claims were filed in Quebec in all of 2015.So far the numbers show no sign of slowing.On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the armed forces said more tents were being set up at a temporary camp set up near the Lacolle border station to accommodate people waiting for processing.Lt. (Navy) Eliane Trahan said the camp’s capacity would more than double to 1,200 people, up from 500 last week.Many of those coming to Canada, like 30-year-old Marie-Junie Joseph, are originally from Haiti.In the United States, the Trump administration is considering ending a program that granted Haitians so-called “temporary protected status” following the massive earthquake that struck in 2010.Joseph said the threat of deportation drove her to leave North Carolina for Canada with her husband and daughter.“I came because the door is open here, because I heard Canada is open to immigrants” she said outside the Haitian restaurant in Montreal, her two-year-old daughter on her lap.Canada has already lifted its own moratorium on deportations to Haiti.Given the high volume of arrivals, many of the asylum-seekers now have several months to wait before their hearings before the hearings that will determine whether they can stay.Joseph, like the others, says her family hasn’t found an apartment yet.
TORONTO – The proportion of oral cancers caused by the human papillomavirus has risen significantly in Canada, say researchers, who suggest the infection is now behind an estimated three-quarters of all such malignancies. In a cross-Canada study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers found the incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers increased by about 50 per cent between 2000 and 2012.“It’s a snapshot of looking at the disease burden and the time trend to see how the speed of the increase of this disease (is changing),” said co-author Sophie Huang, a research radiation therapist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.Researchers looked at data from specialized cancer centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia to determine rates of HPV-related tumours among 3,643 patients aged 18 years or older who had been diagnosed with squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer between 2000 and 2012.“In 2000, the proportion of throat cancer caused by HPV was estimated at 47 per cent,” said Huang. “But in 2012, the proportion became 74 per cent … about a 50 per cent increase.”Statistics from a Canadian Cancer Society report last fall showed 1,335 Canadians were diagnosed in 2012 with HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer and 372 died from the disease.HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. Most people never develop symptoms and the infection resolves on its own within about two years. But in some people, the infection can persist, leading to cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men and oropharyngeal cancer in both sexes.Most cases of HPV-related oral cancer are linked to oral sex, said Huang, noting that about 85 per cent of the cases in the CMAJ study were men.HPV-related tumours respond better to treatment and have a higher survival rate than those linked to tobacco and alcohol use, the other major cause of oral cancer, she said, adding that early identification of a tumour’s cause is important to ensure appropriate and effective treatment.While some centres in Canada routinely test oral tumours to determine their HPV status, such testing is not consistent across the country, the researchers say.In the past, physicians generally tended to reserve tumour testing for cases most likely to be caused by HPV — among them younger males with no history of smoking and with light alcohol consumption — to prevent an unnecessary burden on pathology labs.“Only as accumulating data have supported the clinical importance of HPV testing has routine testing been implemented in most (though not all) Canadian centres,” the researchers write.The study showed that the proportion of new HPV-related oral cancers rose as those caused by non-HPV-related tumours fell between 2000 and 2012 — likely the result of steadily declining smoking rates.Huang said males tend to have a weaker immune response to HPV than do females, which may in part explain the higher incidence of oral cancers linked to the virus in men.HPV vaccines given to young people before they become sexually active can prevent infection — and the researchers say both boys and girls should be inoculated.Currently, six provinces provide HPV immunization to Grade 6 boys as well as girls, with the other four provinces set to add males to vaccination programs this fall, said Huang.“So vaccinating boys is very important because, if you look at Canadian Cancer Society statistics (for 2012), HPV- related oropharyngeal cancer in total numbers has already surpassed cervical cancers,” she said.“The increase of HPV-related cancer is real, and it’s striking that there’s no sign of a slowdown.”
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s health minister says he still has confidence in Atlantic Canada’s largest children’s hospital after a second senior executive resigned in the wake of a scandal over spending by the former CEO.Randy Delorey confirmed on Tuesday that the chief financial officer of the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre has resigned as a police investigation and auditor general’s review of the matter continue.The hospital sent a memo to staff late on Monday saying that Stephen D’Arcy’s resignation was accepted to “ensure confidence around both the Nova Scotia Auditor General’s review and the police investigation.”Tracy Kitch, former chief executive of the hospital, resigned last month after an independent review said she owed more than $22,000 for “potentially personal” expenses charged to her corporate credit card.In a statement, auditor general Michael Pickup announced last week that he intends to conduct financial and performance audits of the IWK’s books and practices, saying he was gravely concerned with the poor financial controls.Delorey told reporters he maintains confidence that the hospital’s interim executive team is operating the facility well, and the board is bringing in improved financial oversight.
OTTAWA – Canada has been quietly championing an initiative aimed at preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, which is expected to be unveiled at a major peacekeeping summit in Vancouver next month.Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gillian Bird, revealed the initiative in New York on Wednesday while addressing a UN special committee on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.“We welcome the forthcoming launch of the Vancouver Principles on peacekeeping and the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers,” Bird told the UN’s special political and decolonization committee“These principles will provide concrete steps on how to prioritize and further operationalize child protection within UN peacekeeping.”The Liberal government refused Thursday to discuss the initiative, although the title suggests it will be rolled out when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan hosts a peacekeeping summit in Vancouver on Nov. 14-15.But a senior government official said Canada has been championing the measure, which comes after the Canadian military in February issued the first-ever guidelines for dealing with child soldiers.Those guidelines were developed in concert with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and were intended to ensure Canadian troops are properly trained and emotionally prepared for dealing with child soldiers.The presence of child soldiers on the battlefield is a potential minefield for militaries like Canada, as the French learned the hard way in January when they were criticized for killing a 10-year-old boy in Mali.While the French military said the boy was acting as a lookout for an armed group suspected of planting improvised-explosive devices, the killing marred its counter-terrorism mission in the African country.The UN released a report earlier this month that found more than 8,000 children were killed or injured in conflicts around the world in 2016 and thousands of children had been recruited or used by warring factions.The number of children in Syria who were recruited or used in conflict more than doubled to 851 verified cases, according to the report, while more than 1,900 were recruited or used in Somalia.There were also more than 1,000 verified cases of children being recruited or used in South Sudan and 442 reported cases in Mali. Both those countries are considered to be strong candidates for a future Canadian peacekeeping mission.The UN said it has been trying to talk to rebel groups and other non-government factions in Mali, Sudan, the Central African Republic and other places to try to reduce the use of child soldiers.The unveiling of a new initiative aimed at eliminating the use of underage soldiers could help take some pressure off Canada and the Liberal government at the Vancouver summit.The high-level meeting is only supposed to be open to officials from countries that have made concrete pledges to peacekeeping missions.The Trudeau government promised last summer to make up to 600 soldiers and 150 police officers available to the UN for future peacekeeping missions, but have yet to make any concrete commitments.Instead, the number of Canadian peacekeepers deployed around the world has actually shrunk to its smallest point in recent memory — lower even than under the previous Conservative government.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
WINNIPEG – An award-winning architect says she has dealt with much worse in her professional life than a joke Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister made about her fashion choices, but she feels compelled to call out his focus on her footwear over her work.Pallister began his annual state-of-the-province speech Thursday by thanking Johanna Hurme, chairwoman of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.“I want to thank Johanna for dressing up,” he said to the audience. “I want to thank her for those heels. I notice they’re a foot high.”He later said it was an awkward remark that was meant to be a humorous nod to his own towering height.He also made reference to Hurme helping him with his food as his arm heals from a recent hiking injury.Hurme said in a statement Friday that she doesn’t think Pallister’s comments were ill-intended and that the moment wasn’t that personally significant.“The unfortunate reality is that I would not be in the position that I am in today, as an architect and as a business owner, should I not have dealt with much worse situations than this in the past,” she wrote.But she said she couldn’t stay silent, given the national attention the comment received.Before Pallister made his poorly received remark, Hurme had just finished a presentation on sprawl and the importance of dealing with the province’s infrastructure deficit.“And while I believe the premier was attempting to acknowledge my presence in the room, he unfortunately chose to do so, not based on my work or content of that presentation, but rather make a joke about the fact I was wearing tall shoes,” she said.“This, combined with the fact that the event took place in front of nearly 1,200 business leaders of our province, does require it to be called out and addressed.”Hurme said she shared her thoughts frankly in a phone call with Pallister and he expressed his regrets.Jocelyn Thorpe, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Manitoba, said Pallister’s comments point to a broader problem.“It’s harder for women to navigate the world as people with minds as well as with bodies,” she said.“There’s a higher expectation that women put more effort into how they look. Men put on a suit and they’re dressed up, but women have many more steps that they’re expected to fulfil in terms of their hair and face and clothes.”The senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto said Pallister focused on a garment that has for centuries been associated with what men find sexually desirable in women.“High heels have become the icon of femininity,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack.They were initially worn by men battling on horseback as far back as 10th-century Persia, but by 17th-century Europe they were fashionable for both genders.They became narrower and higher for women to fit with the beauty standards at the time.The more diminutive a woman was, the more attractive she was thought to be. The shoes angled a woman’s feet in such a way that all but the points of her toes were hidden by her skirts, making her appear smaller, said Semmelhack.Sky-high shoes also played into the historical notion that men are inherently rational and women irrational.“That has really stuck with us,” said Semmelhack.She noted how modern women are often judged either for wearing sensible shoes that are seen as too dowdy or for teetering on stilettos seen as too sexy.“(Pallister’s) comments are comments that have a very, very long-standing problematic connection to how women are assessed, that if they wear heels, that choice of footwear is irrational and at the same time, highly eroticized.”— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
OTTAWA – There are five potential replacements for Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet. Here’s a closer look at what’s known about the contenders:F-35 — Lockheed Martin, U.S.Largely overlooked in Tuesday’s news about a new competition to find a CF-18 replacement was confirmation that the F-35 is back in the running. The move represents the latest twist in the stealth fighter’s history in Canada, which included a promise by the previous Conservative government to buy it in 2010 and Justin Trudeau’s promise in 2015 to do precisely the opposite. The F-35 continues to face some developmental challenges and questions about cost, but a number of allies are already receiving it. For all those reasons and more, the stealth fighter can again be considered a front-runner.Super Hornet — Boeing, U.S.The Super Hornet is a newer, larger and much more modern variant of the CF-18s that Canada operates, and is primarily used by the U.S. Navy and Australia. It was first flown in the 1990s; proponents note that, unlike the F-35, it has a proven track record. That appeared to sell the Liberal government, which planned to buy “interim” 18 Super Hornets until Boeing launched a trade complaint against Canadian rival Bombardier. Now, because of its older technology and uncertain production future, and the aforementioned trade dispute, the Super Hornet could be in for a tough battle in what promises to be a lengthy competition.Typhoon — Eurofighter, European consortiumThe Typhoon has largely flown under the radar, but is built by a consortium of European companies that includes Airbus, which recently offered to buy a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-Series passenger jets. It’s too early to tell whether that will be an advantage, but it can’t hurt. Still, the Typhoon, which is operated by Germany, Spain, Italy, the U.K. and several Middle Eastern countries, doesn’t have a long track record.Rafale — Dassault, FranceThe Rafale has been used by the French military since the mid-2000s, and was recently sold to India, Egypt and Qatar. The aircraft has flown missions in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Dassault’s main pitch is offering to transfer intellectual property and create manufacturing jobs in Canada. But dissenters have questioned the Rafale’s compatibility with North America’s air defence system, Norad, as well as its cost.Gripen — Saab, SwedenThe Gripen was built almost entirely in Sweden and is likely the dark horse in a competition to replace the CF-18s. The aircraft does not have a long operational history and is not widely used outside of Sweden, but is said to be relatively inexpensive to operate. Like with the Rafale, there are questions about compatibility with Norad.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Newfoundland police are investigating multiple sexual assault complaints against a former RCMP doctor, making it the third police force in the country to probe similar allegations.Const. Geoff Higdon of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says the force has received complaints against a physician who conducted physical examinations on new RCMP recruits in Newfoundland and Labrador between 1981 and 2003.He says police believe it’s the same doctor currently being investigated by the Halifax Regional Police, which has received more than 100 complaints.Higdon says the complaints seem to resemble the allegations brought forward to Halifax police, including inappropriate sexual touching.In addition to the investigations in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Toronto police are continuing to examine more than 30 sexual assault allegations against another RCMP doctor who used to practise in the Mounties’ Ontario division.The three investigations into the doctors have together received more than 130 complaints, and Higdon says Newfoundland police expect more people will come forward.
VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s rare corpse flower, dubbed Uncle Fester because of its overwhelming stench, is no longer raising a stink.The Vancouver Park Board says the titan arum, a plant native to Sumatra and the largest flower on earth, has closed its funnel-shaped petal around its two-metre central spike as the brief bloom period draws to a close.The park board says in a statement that part of the petal is still slightly open and the red interior of the flower is still visible but the smell has dissipated.The flower only blooms a few times during its roughly 40-year life and while blooming it emits a powerful odour similar to rotting flesh in order to attract pollinators such as carrion beetles that feed on dead animals.After blooming, the huge central spike will collapse, completing the pollination cycle, although a park board official says the collapse is not expected to happen soon.About 4,100 visitors crowded through the park board’s Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park on Monday, the first full day of the bloom, and the wait to see Uncle Fester was estimated at up to three hours on Tuesday.
MONTREAL – The agency that represents a Quebec model known for his head-to-toe tattoos and his participation in Lady Gaga music video “Born This Way” says he has died.Dulcedo Management confirmed on its Facebook page the death of Rick Genest, who was better known as Zombie Boy.Dulcedo said it learned Thursday afternoon of the death and “was in shock.”The agency called the 32-year-old Montrealer an “icon of the artistic scene and of the fashion world.”On her official Twitter account Thursday night, Lady Gaga said, “the suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating.”The American singer added: “We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it.”Radio-Canada reported news of the death and cited a police source, but Montreal police did not confirm the death.
A Calgarian is facing multiple charges after a fatal hit-and-run in Manitoba.Manitoba RCMP say they have 29-year-old Justin Little in custody, following a collision in the rural municipality of St. Andrews.On August 10, a vehicle struck two 15-year-old boys riding bicycles on the shoulder of a road near Lockport, Manitoba. One of the boys was killed in the collision and the other injured.RCMP have laid 14 charges against Little including the impaired operation of vehicle causing death, dangerous operation of vehicle causing death, and failure to remain at scene of an accident.Lockport is located north of Winnipeg.
OTTAWA — A Liberal MP who’s stayed out of the House of Commons for months says he’s been busy with other important work.Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio appeared in the Commons Tuesday to defend himself with a scattered speech that included talk about the historical mistreatment of Italian-Canadians.First elected to represent St. Leonard-St. Michel in 2015, Di Iorio has been sending mixed messages about his future in politics since April, when he announced he was leaving but without giving a timeline.He says he raised the issue in the House in June before heading back to his riding to talk to his constituents about his desire to leave office, and said he wanted to find a way to continue his work.Di Iorio says his work continued throughout the summer and he had to cancel his vacation plans. It was sometime in August, he says, that his concern about representing his constituents was made public.In December, he says, he was told he would be absent from the House for a few weeks where he would focus on various tasks and would not receive a salary during this time.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Liberal chair of the House of Commons justice committee is open to probing whether the Prime Minister’s Office improperly tried to influence the justice minister not to prosecute Quebec corporate giant SNC-Lavalin.Anthony Housefather says the partisan nature of House committees make them imperfect for such investigations but he says if the committee members can come together in a non-partisan way, the committee might be able to do some good.The justice committee meets Wednesday at the request of opposition MPs to decide whether to launch a study and Housefather says as chair he will see that the meeting is public.Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet this morning, a month after she was moved from Justice to Veterans Affairs, and less than a week after allegations surfaced that she was pressured to drop a criminal prosecution against SNC-Lavalin for fraud and corruption related to its business dealings in Libya.Housefather says he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he says nobody from his office pressured Wilson-Raybould but he also believes more clarity is needed to explain exactly what went on.The ethics commissioner is also investigating the matter to see if any part of the Conflict of Interest Act was violated.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee says the government should offer financial incentives to political parties to nominate more women candidates to run for election.This is one of 14 recommendations of the status of women committee, which studied the ongoing under-representation of women in politics.Despite being active in their communities, women represent just 35 per cent of all legislators in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.The committee suggests political parties should be working harder to get more women to run by eliminating sexism and biases that might be built into their recruitment efforts.One potential fix would be to offer cash incentives, such as subsidies or weighted formulas for public financing to encourage parties to help more women to get nominated and then elected.The committee also says government should consider requiring political parties to publicly report on their efforts to recruit female candidates after every general election and should also encourage them to set voluntary quotas for how many female candidates they plan to field.The Canadian Press
LONGUEUIL, Que. — Police say a murder investigation is underway after a young man was shot to death at a restaurant in Brossard, Que.Longueuil police say a man opened fire in a restaurant in the city’s DIX30 neighbourhood Friday night, and the 25-year-old victim died of his injuries in hospital Saturday morning.He was not known to police, and the motive of the shooting is unknown.The incident occurred around 10:30 p.m. Friday inside a restaurant on Leduc Boulevard, south of Montreal, according to Longueuil police spokeswoman Melanie Mercille.A torched vehicle was found near the scene on Chemin des Prairies, but Mercille could not confirm whether it was related to the shooting.The suspect, who fled on foot toward Highway 10, had not been located as of this morning.Police erected a security perimeter around the crime scene and the investigation is ongoing.The Montreal area has seen two fatal shootings in crowded public places in a week.Last Saturday night, a man linked to organized crime was shot dead in a hotel in Laval, Que., on the Highway 15 service road.The victim, Salvatore Scoppa, 49, was shot at around 10 p.m.Police have not caught the suspect.The Canadian Press
In today’s Big Story podcast, they swarm in alleys, crawl up toilets and dig through foundations. By every measure, rats are on the rise in Toronto—and in large cities around the world. The difference between Toronto and so many of those cities? Other cities take action when homeowners report infestations. So far, Toronto has no official policy or strategy.Alberta claims to be free of mating rats. Vancouver has “The Rat Project”. New York and Chicago have extensive plans in place to corral exploding populations. So what is Toronto doing? What will happen when the study is complete later this year? And if you’ve got rats, like, right now, what can you do?GUEST: Amy Dempsey, feature writer, Toronto Star(We apologize for how often you might squirm while listening to this episode.)Audio Playerhttps://rogers-aod.leanstream.co/rogers/thebigstory_dai/tbs_06142019_dai.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and SpotifyYou can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba politician who was investigated for showing an assistant a picture of naked women and making inappropriate remarks says he has learned his lesson.Rick Wowchuk, a Progressive Conservative member of the legislature, admits he violated the legislature’s respectful workplace policy on five occasions, but would not discuss details.CBC News reported that Wowchuk’s former constituency assistant, who was not named, said the politician made a joke leading her to believe there were animal photos on his cellphone before he showed her a picture of naked women holding chainsaws.The woman also said Wowchuk called while he was in the bathtub and made comments about her wearing a bikini.Wowchuk was allowed to remain in the Tory caucus and was re-elected in his Swan River constituency in the Sept. 10 provincial election.Wowchuk says he has apologized and has undergone sensitivity training, which he says has made him a better person.The Canadian Press
Multi-Grammy-winning singer/songwriter John Mayer is raising funds for the Northern California Institute for Research and Education (NCIRE), one of the nation’s foremost organizations studying the effects of war on U.S. military personnel.Mayer partnered with the organization in 2011 on several pilot programs aimed at helping veterans overcome the effects of post traumatic stress and lead healthy productive lives as civilians.To raise the funds, Mayer has created a unique opportunity for fans that not only rewards the winners of an online raffle, but also helps educate fans on post traumatic stress and the need to help active military when they return home. Three winners will be chosen to spend a day with Mayer in the coming months, working together on a day-long volunteer project to help veterans. Raffle winners will work side-by-side with Mayer and veterans on the project and celebrate the completion of the project with a meal and photo session.Mayer’s programs with NCIRE include a Veterans Exercise and Wellness Program, Integrative Medicine for Traumatic Stress, Women Warriors Fitness and Nutrition Program and Military Acculturation Program. All four programs are based in the San Francisco Bay-area with hopes to replicate them in other parts of the country. Mayer first became interested in veterans issues following a visit to Camp Lejeune five years ago, and was honored by the Recording Academy earlier this year at its annual Grammys on the Hill event for his work on behalf of veterans.For more information on the raffle, click here. Entry deadline is November 1.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow will visit Lebanon this week to meet refugees from the conflict in Syria.As part of her mission she will appeal for additional international assistance as the needs and numbers of those fleeing Syria continue to rise.The visit of the internationally acclaimed actress to Lebanon comes just days after one of the region’s worst storms battered the country, bringing with it flooding and freezing temperatures, adding to the difficulties already faced by thousands of refugees. Most are living in make-shift shelters and tents or with host families who are often struggling themselves.To date, over 600,000 people have fled the violence and insecurity in Syria for neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Lebanon is hosting the largest number, with almost 200,000 people registered or awaiting registration. About half of the refugees are children.During her two-day visit, Ms. Farrow will travel to two locations close to the Syrian border, Wadi Khaled in the North and the Bekaa valley. She will speak with both the refugees and host families and visit UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces, where children who have witnessed the horrors of the conflict are provided with psycho-social support, including counseling. Ms. Farrow will also help distribute winter clothing while there as many of the refugees fled Syria with very few belongings.Source:UNICEF
Young people facing chronic kidney disease enjoyed a “Sea of Dreams” at Renal Support Network’s (RSN) 16th Annual Renal Teen Prom in Glendale’s Hilton Hotel Ballroom.RSN’s Founder, Lori Hartwell, who missed attending her own prom because of kidney disease, created this event so other youth struggling with kidney disease could have the chance to enjoy it. Bringing this joy to others is a great joy in itself for the many volunteers, from the drivers transporting teens to and from the prom, the hair stylists helping with hair and makeup, nurses who work with people who have kidney disease and the Notre Dame High School students who set up the decorations and socialize with the teens. And of course, movie star Jack Black was there!Many young patients return to this party year after year until they pass the age limit. Anahi Fuentes, 18, from South El Monte, came for the 4th time. Maria Curiel, 24, from Los Angeles, came for the 5th year in a row with her date Elias Anzures. Issey Hernandez, 21, said this was her 7th time attending. Each of them said they love the event and never want to miss it. They spoke as they were having their hair and makeup done by professionals. David Chandler, a stylist who travels all over the world and does many charity events, met Hartwell at a Beverly Hills kidney disease fundraiser. “She invited me here and I loved being a part of it. I’ve been coming ever since!” One excited teen, Harley Miller, arrived at the styling room and signed up to have her hair done. Miller, who had seen last year’s Prom on the internet’s YouTube.com, hadn’t been able to complete her senior year or attend her own prom in Eugene, Oregon.Joanna Galeas is one of RSN’s dedicated volunteer drivers. She heard about the prom when she was already past the cut-off age so becoming a driver was a way to get involved. “There are several drivers who bring kids from all over the area. I’ve had kidney disease since I was 15 but my kidneys lasted 10 years before I needed dialysis. I’ve been involved in RSN now for years and also help Lori connect with patients at RSN’s support group meetings.”Another volunteer driver was Richard Onibasa whose wife was a kidney patient who passed away in 2009 due to a post-surgical infection. “I got involved in RSN because I’ve seen the good work that’s been done and I want to remain a part of that.” Onibasa, who has been a volunteer driver for the past six years says, “I see some of the same young people year after year. One teen who I first met in high school has now started a college nursing program.”Professional stylist, Jacklyn Lopez, missed her high school prom due to kidney disease. Her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor, was at her side helping do makeup and was enjoying her supportive role as spokesperson, “My uncle gave my mother his kidney and she had the transplant six years ago,” said Taylor, “My godmother encouraged her to get into business as a make-up artist and even though she’s struggled with illness she’s done well. She just worked at the Golden Globes and she’s going to work at the Oscars this year too.”Her mother, Jacklyn, said she heard about RSN from a friend, and saw that they offered a lot of support. She gradually got more involved and this is her third year volunteering as a make-up artist for the prom.When Brenda Burroughs, Hartwell’s hair stylist, heard about the prom, she wanted to be a part of it.“Some of the kids are shy and some are outgoing. Last year I was the picture taker, as every kid wanted to have their picture taken with the star of the evening, Jack Black,” said Burroughs. “Jack spent time with each one of the teens. That spirit carries throughout the evening and it transforms your outlook! Through this event Lori has inspired all of us to look ahead, and to be the person who features the good things.”While Burroughs talked, a girl recently diagnosed with kidney disease arrived for a styling session. Her mother exclaimed to Hartwell, “Thank you for doing something joyful and lovely!”Lesley Holden, R.N., remembers Lori Hartwell when she was 7 years old and a patient, “Then I changed hospitals and didn’t see her for years. We reconnected several years ago when she was in sales – promoting an excellent product that helps with fluid removal during dialysis. I live in Santa Monica now and I’ve helped with every one of these proms. I also help organize the boutique where girls get to pick out donated dresses. I absolutely love being involved and helping empower these patients.”Holden was busy coordinating appointments for the nine stylists and 24 girls who had hair and makeup done, “The best part of this event is seeing these young people enjoying themselves in a completely different setting that takes their mind off their illness.”The most popular service opportunity at Notre Dame High School is looking forward to setting up and attending RSN’s annual Prom.“This event has so much buzz,” said acting chaperone Bill Lawrence, a teacher at Notre Dame. “It attracts a great cross-section of students: athletes, robotics students, drama kids, and academic superstars – they love creating a great party atmosphere for the teens!”Notre Dame Librarian, Tully Rosado, was also on hand as a chaperone. “I love the spirit of this event and so do our students. They say they enjoy it even more than their own school prom!”Notre Dame’s students have been participating in RSN’s proms since its first one 16 years ago.“The Notre Dame seniors are the secret sauce of this event,” said Hartwell. “They attend training sessions about dialysis and transplantation and I inform them about the challenges faced by young people with kidney disease. They come eager to mingle, dance and enjoy time with their peers.”Outside the ballroom was ABC News anchor Philip Palmer who donated one of his kidneys for a co-worker in 2007 and learned about RSN as a result.“You don’t have to have kidney disease to relate to this event,” he said. “It is so special to see these kids not only get to have a Prom but to be around others like them in a social, party atmosphere.”Later in the evening Palmer introduced Jack Black to the stage. Black entertained the teens, encouraged them to dance the night away, and spent the rest of the night meeting with each young guest who wanted to have a picture with him.“The general public doesn’t really know how nice a person he is,” said Palmer. “He spends time with each teen at this event and at other RSN events he supports.”In the foyer a mom who had brought her daughter was clearly enjoying the party but also used the opportunity to compare notes with other parents on finding kidney donors. Inside the ballroom another loyal volunteer had fashioned a huge paper jelly fish with long streamers and was carrying it through the crowd of dancers just above their heads. It truly was floating with them on their “Sea of Dreams!”For photos, click here.Source:Renal Support Network