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CALGARY PHOTOGRAPHERS LOCATE MYSTERY COUPLE WHO GOT ENGAGED IN BANFF

CALGARY – A photo of a proposal on a snow-covered mountain in Banff National Park went viral over the weekend as social media users tried to identify the couple.

Calgary photographers Diane Scaman and Mike Tan captured the intimate moment while doing a photo shoot in Banff on Dec. 30.

The picture shows a man down on one knee, proposing to a woman in a long coat.

Despite getting a picture of the magical moment, the photographers didn’t get a chance to get the name of the man or his new fiance.

In a bid to find the mystery couple, the photographers shared the image on Facebook on Sunday, hoping someone might know them.

Users were able to identify the couple as Karla Bliss and Stu Bilodeau from Invermere, B.C.

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Bilodeau told Global News he’s incredibly thankful for the photographers and those who helped track them down.

“It’s an amazing picture and I’m glad people liked it,” Bilodeau said. “I’m obviously very happy she said yes. I was pretty sure she was going to.”

He said the proposal initially seemed like it might fall apart because of a newly married couple who were wandering over to the picturesque spot.

“When I was standing there, this bride and groom were coming right down to exactly where I was standing, and I had to kind of nicely say, ‘hey guys, I see what you’re coming to do, but I’m actually waiting here for my girlfriend whose coming to meet me… and I’m going to propose.’  And they were kind enough to kind of move off to the side.”

The bride and groom where actually the reason photographers Diane and Mike were at the mountain; they were shooting their wedding photos.

“Their photographer had captured the moment,” Bilodeau said.

“I had it planned out, and I was hoping it was going to be as epic and picturesque as I was hoping… and it definitely turned out that way.”

ANTHROPOLOGIE IS SELLING A RUSTY TRASH CAN FOR $100

If you have US$100 to spare, you may want to hop over to Anthropologie‘s website to check out their latest “it” item.

Dubbed the “West Village Corrugated Can,” it’s essentially a rusty and slightly used-looking garbage bin. The company’s website says the unit is “handmade” and comprised of “corrugated tin” and includes a “mango wood or abaca rope handle.” If you look closely at the image, you’ll see the metal is covered in a thin coat of rust.

Its original price was US$148.

READ MORE: Toronto and Montreal among world’s most expensive cities: new report

Anthropologie is well-known for its hipster-chic wares and regularly sells items that have a rustic look about them (think slightly messy or dented and a little bit used), but this object has pushed even loyal shoppers’ buttons in a bad way.

“Really?! Are you serious? $100 for a rusty trash can!!,” said one person commenting on the product online. “O the humanity. How did we come to this?” said another. There’s even been backlash on

Even Oscar The Grouch’s spot is overpriced in Portland: https://t.co/J7l57dqxkv

— Whiffies pie cart (@Whiffies) January 18, 2016

i will steal you a trash can from somewhere in west village for like 5 bucks https://t.co/0QpQrv7IqU

— Heather Schmelzlen (@anchorlines) January 15, 2016

Interestingly enough, the can appears to be an accurate representation of the actual bins New York City used to use to collect refuse. DNAInfo contacted Ben Miller, a former planning policy director for the city’s sanitation department. who said, “Back in the days when everything was heated with wood and coal, they were called “ash cans,” after the largest bulk of their contents.” The article went on to say in the ’60s, “the city’s health department required metal cans as a means of controlling the rat population.”

READ MORE: How to claim a refund for overpriced electronics

This isn’t the first time Anthropologie has come under fire for its confusingly priced products. Buzzfeed recently asked two high-profile bloggers to analyze the “ridiculous things” one can buy at the shop. Their list included a decorative, rainbow-coloured broom which cost US$63 and a clock with feather hands worth an astonishing US$248. There’s also this Tumblr page whose purpose is to “digitally bitch-slap retailers, one overpriced item at a time.”

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NASA PROVIDES CLOSE-UP, HIGH-DEFINITION VIEW OF PLUTO ICE VOLCANO

It’s a volcano unlike any you’ve ever seen.

Wright Mons, south of the feature known as Sputnik Planum on the surface of Pluto, is one of two possible volcanoes on the dwarf planet. These volcanoes — known as cryovolcanoes — aren’t spewing out lava, but rather icy material, such as ammonia and nitrogen.

READ MORE: Pluto’s atmosphere seen in beautiful high definition

The volcano — named in honour of the Wright Brothers — was spotted on July 14, 2015, after NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest fly-by of the dwarf planet.

This composite image of a possible ice volcano on Pluto includes pictures taken by the New Horizons spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14, 2015, from a range of about 48,000 km, showing features as small as 450 m across.NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

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Wright Mons is about 150 km across and four kilometres high. Though planetary scientists have yet to confirm whether or not it is indeed a cryovolcano, if it is, it would be the largest in the outer solar system (it’s believed that Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is also home to cryovolcanoes).

READ MORE: U.S. Postal Service issues Pluto, New Horizons stamp

Pluto continues to intrigue scientists and Wright Mons is no exception: the scare distribution of the red material — believed to be tholins, soot-like, organic material and other compounds are exposed to ultraviolet light — around the area is perplexing, as is the fact that there is only one crater.

BELGIAN MAN LINKED TO PARIS ATTACKERS

RABAT, Morocco – Moroccan police have arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan descent, saying he is linked to the Islamic State group and had a “direct relationship” to the attackers who killed 130 people in Paris two months ago, the Interior Ministry said Monday.

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The man had travelled to Syria with one of the Paris suicide bombers, where he received military training and built relationships with IS field commanders, “including the mastermind” of the Paris attacks, and others who threatened attacks in France and Belgium, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement identified the suspect only by the initials J.A., and didn’t explain his suspected relationship to the Paris attackers.

But Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt told The Associated Press the suspect’s name is Gelel Attar, a dual Belgian-Moroccan national previously convicted in Belgium of involvement with a terrorist group. The letters G and J are represented by the same letter in Arabic script.

Several of the Islamic extremists who targeted a Paris rock concert, stadium and cafes on Nov. 13 had Moroccan origins and links to Belgium.

READ MORE: Paris fugitive hid out in Brussels apartment that served as bomb factory, prosecutor says

The Moroccan ministry said in a statement that the man was arrested Friday in the town of Mohammedia, near Casablanca, after travelling through Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. It said the suspect is under investigation.

At least one of the Paris attackers remains at large.

Morocco has emerged as a key ally for European investigators trying to piece together the geography of the Nov. 13 attacks. The head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, dubbed the “Moroccan FBI,” told the AP in a recent interview that his country put French and Belgian police on the trail of the network behind the Paris attacks.

Several of the attackers lived in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, home to many immigrants of Moroccan descent.

Last July, a Brussels court found 30 people guilty of involvement in an operation to recruit foreign fighters for Syria. Some were already in Syria when the trial took place.

READ MORE: French president commemorates Charlie Hebdo, terror attack victims

Among them: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, and Chakib Akrouh, a fellow resident of Molenbeek identified last week as the suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the suburban Paris home in which Abaaoud and his female cousin attempted in vain to hide out from police.

Van der Sypt told the AP Attar was convicted in absentia of taking part in the activities of a terrorist group and sentenced to five years in prison.

Pieter Van Ostaeyen, who monitors the activities of Belgian jihadis and extremists, said Attar, 26, was also from Molenbeek, and that he left Belgium for Syria on Jan. 4, 2013 in the company of Akrouh. He reportedly returned to Belgium that May 28, then travelled to Morocco. Despite being arrested there, he managed to return to Syria, Van Ostaeyen said.

He said Attar also used the name Abou Ibrahim.

MANAGERS PAID OVERTIME FOR STRIKE THAT NEVER HAPPENED

TORONTO – Correctional managers in all of Ontario’s jails and detention centres were paid thousands of dollars in overtime gearing up for and winding down from a strike – even though it never happened.

In the event of a threatened strike by jail guards, the government said correctional managers and other managers from across the public service would run the jails.

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But even before the workers were in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 10, managers were supervising inmates – the work of correctional officers – which the government said was due to “staffing shortages.”

READ MORE: Ontario corrections staff avoid strike, reach tentative deal

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has not disclosed how many managers were doing that work, or for how many days before the strike date.

“Leading up to the strike deadline, managers were deployed to institutions as they experienced varying degrees of disruption in their operations,” said Jonathan Rose, the director of communications for the minister.

“The arrival of managers at each institution varied depending on the circumstances but they were all less than a week.”

The ministry originally said managers “were required to provide supervision of inmates in several institutions” before the strike date due to staffing shortages. Rose later clarified that rather than several, it was actually all operational institutions.

READ MORE: Ontario starts training 144 new correctional officers for province’s jails

The government has not said how much it paid in overtime, except to say the correctional managers received 2.5 times their salary for hours worked beyond a normal work week, and managers with no experience working with inmates received double their salary for overtime.

And even though a deal was reached Jan. 9, averting a strike, managers spent 24 hours a day in several jails earning overtime in the days beyond that deadline.

“As part of the normalization of operations agreement, which was agreed to as part of the recent settlement, managers were required to continue supervising areas until searches of the institution could be completed by correctional officers,” said Lauren Callighen, a spokeswoman for minister Yasir Naqvi.

Searches had to be completed of areas that were controlled by the managers in order to look for contraband and weapons.

Trained jail guards abide by policy manuals “that make ‘War and Peace’ look like children’s books,” said Monte Vieselmeyer, the head of the corrections division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. But when managers step in, for example in a strike scenario, “they don’t run the units the same way we would,” he said.

The managers were supposed to leave when the sections they were controlling were cleared, but the union is suggesting that didn’t happen in at least one jail.

Denis Collin, the president of the OPSEU local at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, estimated there were 30 managers in his institution and “those numbers should have started falling”

faster than they did, he said. Managers were also still at the Central North Correctional Centre through last week, the government said.

Collin said he will be asking the ministry for an investigation of the return-to-work protocol, alleging there was “unjustified overtime.”

“(What) was upper management…still doing at our institution six days later? Camping out?” he said.

The union is also questioning the use of managers to address “staffing shortages” in the first place.

In the Ottawa jail, the guards stopped doing overtime days before the strike date, Collin said. That means the staffing situation there is so tenuous that when members are performing their scheduled work, the facility is deemed short-staffed, Collin said.

OPSEU says Ontario is short about 800 correctional officers, and the amount of new ones being hired just replaces those who leave.

“We’ve been short-staffed for the last five years,” Collin said. “Suddenly managers have to stay because we’re short-staffed?

It doesn’t hold any water because we’ve always been short-staffed.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged the need for changes in corrections and said the government will continue to hire more staff.

‘SELF-SOOTHE’ MASTURBATION BOOTH FOR NYC MEN

You might find this hard to believe but a sex toy company has erected a tiny booth in Manhattan for men to “self-soothe” in.

Last week, sex toy company Hot Octopuss opened the “GuyFi” masturbation booth so men can take a quick stress break from work.

The marketing gimmick plays off a New York City survey that suggests nearly 40 per cent of New Yorkers give themselves a little “hands-on” time at their place of employment to “alleviate stress.”

The booth was created “to take this habit out of the office and into a more suitable environment designed to give the busy Manhattan man the privacy, and the high-speed Internet connection, he deserves,” the company explained in a press release.

“GuyFi” masturbation booth in New York City.Handout via Hot Octopuss

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“There’s no denying that working a nine-to-five job can be stressful on both your mind and body, especially in a non-stop city like Manhattan,” Adam Lewis, Hot Octopuss co-founder said in a press release. “It’s really important for guys to look after themselves so that they can stay healthy and focus properly on the task in hand. We’re told time and time again how beneficial it is to have a break away from your desk.”

GuyFi is essentially an old phone booth that has a black curtain, chair and a laptop with an Internet connection.

“We hope the city’s men enjoy using the space we’ve created in whatever way they want. It’s completely free of charge … all that we ask is they thank us when they get their promotion!” Lewis said.

Though the company admitted to Mashable on Friday that “the brand is not actively encouraging people to masturbate in public as that is an illegal offense,” it didn’t stop Saturday Night Live from drawing attention to the booth(watch above this post).

SASK. POLICE UNIT HANDS OUT OVER 12,400 TRAFFIC TICKETS IN 2015

SASKATOON – The yearly statistics for traffic tickets from the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) unit are out, and they don’t paint a pretty picture of driving habits in the central region of the province. In 2015, police issued 12,419 traffic tickets.

Over two-thirds of those, 8,666, were for speeding, which includes school and construction zones. Officers also ticketed 120 drivers for going more than 50 km/h over the posted limited. Another 769 were ticketed for exceeding the post limit by 35 km/h.

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  • Saskatoon police crackdown on speeders in construction zonesCTSS members also laid 24 charges over alcohol and drug use while driving.READ MORE: Saskatoon speed blitz focuses on dangerous residential areasAnother 542 tickets were issued for cell phone usage. As part of blitz to target drivers using cell phones, all 10 officers from the CTSS unit were brought in to target distracted driving, a blitz that will be repeated this year.CTSS is a combined unit made up of members of the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) and the RCMP, which focuses on traffic enforcement throughout central Saskatchewan.SPS announced a new initiative Monday to allow people to play a more active role in traffic enforcement.Starting Tuesday, the page of the city’s traffic unit will have a poll each week asking people to vote over a 24-hour period for one of three locations for traffic enforcement.The following day, the location with the most votes will be the enforcement target.SPS Staff Sgt. Judy McHarg says people often offer suggestions as to where enforcement will take place and this will allow them to do that.“We see this initiative as a way to give them that opportunity and further engage with our community on a larger scale,” said McHurg.Saskatoon police will be using the hashtag #SlowDownYXE for the initiative.

OF BOTTLES OF WATER TO TROUBLED FLINT, MICHIGAN

NEW YORK – Cher is donating water to the residents of Flint, Michigan, as the city struggles with a drinking water crisis linked to lead contamination.

More than 180,000 bottles will be shipped to the city starting Monday, according to a statement Cher released to The Associated Press on Saturday.

READ MORE:  Lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan spurs National Guard to help deliver water

“This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it’s happening in the middle of our country,” the Oscar winner said.

The city’s 100,000 residents haven’t had safe water to drink since 2014, when officials began drawing water from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. However, the city did not treat corrosive water properly, which led to metal leaching from old pipes.

WATCH BELOW: Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore was born in Flint, Michigan and returned to his hometown to “insist” that President Obama visit the city when he is in Michigan next week.

The crisis prompted President Barack Obama to sign an emergency declaration clearing the way for federal aid.

READ MORE: In Flint, Michigan, daily life revolves around lead fears

Cher said she reached out to friend Brad Horwitz, who is an investor in the water company Icelandic Glacial. He contacted company leaders who agreed to double Cher’s donation. The 181,440 bottles are expected to reach the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan starting Wednesday.

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  • Obama signs emergency order over Flint water crisis
  • Flint, Michigan mayor declares emergency over lead water crisis

PARKING RATES AND OFFER MULTI-DAY DISCOUNTS


The hospitals will have to offer five-, 10- and 30-day passes that discount parking rates by 50 per cent to ease the financial burden on patients and their visitors, said Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

“This is important because we know that patients who are surrounded by loved ones get better faster, and we want to be sure their loved ones are there to help them through their health care challenges,” Hoskins said at the new Women’s College Hospital.

#hospitalparking that is more than $10/day will be discounted for frequent visitors https://t.co/kkuXlQJW1l pic.twitteQyP1L9SN

— ONThealth (@ONThealth) January 18, 2016

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“When you have a loved one who has been sick and in hospital for a lengthy stay you have many things that you’re already worried about. One of those things should not be how you’re going to afford hospital parking.”

Susan Kuczynski, a member of a group of parents of children with cancer, said the government’s move would help provide relief from the high cost of parking at some hospitals for families that have to make many repeat visits.

“Parking has been amongst the most highly ranked issues that Ontario parents advocating for children with cancer face,” said Kuczynski. “It’s mind boggling.”

VIDEO: Many facilities trying to help, offering special packages and price caps. Mark Carcasole reports.

The Ontario Hospital Association condemned Hoskins’ announcement, and said the Liberal government not only froze hospital budgets for the past four years, it also encouraged them to find new sources of revenue.

“Revenue generated from parking fees is always used for patient care, towards the purchase of capital equipment and projects, infrastructure, clinical research, and day-to-day operations such as facility maintenance,” OHA president Anthony Dale said in a statement. “The decision to cut revenues could not come at worse time.”

Dale said Ontario hospitals need transitional funding to offset the expected decline in parking revenues.

Hoskins admitted parking generates $100 million a year in profit for Ontario hospitals, from about $172 million paid in fees, but he didn’t offer additional funding.

“This will obviously reduce that net profit, but it varies pretty significantly from hospital to hospital, and at the end of the day it is a tiny, tiny portion of any individual hospital’s budget,” he said.

The New Democrats accused the Liberals of dragging their heels on a long-standing promise to deal with hospital parking fees.

“It’s been over 600 days since (Premier) Kathleen Wynne promised to cut hospital parking fees, and now patients and their loved ones will wait another 256 days before they see relief from these high costs,” said NDP health critic France Gelinas.

Smokey Thomas of the Ontario Public Services Employees Union said the Liberal government’s “attack on our hospitals has go to stop, and it’s got to stop now.”

Hospitals that charge under $10 a day for parking will be “encouraged” to offer multi-day discount passes as well, said Hoskins.

The issue becomes “more complex” when the hospitals don’t own their parking lots, which is the case at about 20 of the 147 hospital corporations in the province, including Kingston General, Sick Kids in Toronto and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

“We will be working with those hospitals to make best efforts, so that whether it’s a municipal lot or a privately-run lot, that we try to accrue those same benefits to frequent users,” said Hoskins.

ELECTRIC COMPANY ALMOST CUTS POWER TO LONG-TIME CUSTOMER

 retiree from Tennessee is looking for answers after Memphis, Light, Gas and Water — his former employer of nearly 40 years — almost turned off his utilities because they mistakenly thought he was dead.

R.C. Carter received a letter of condolences from MLGW last week, and was astonished to find out he was dead.

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  • Tennessee Powerball winners plan to go back to work Monday“Dear Sir or Madam, please accept our condolences on the passing of R.C. Carter,” read the letter. It went on to say Carter’s account required a new name to replace the deceased former employee, otherwise the utilities would be cut off.Carter, who has been a customer of MLGW since 1949, called the company several times to notify them he was in fact alive — but did not receive the response he was expecting.Carter said an employee sarcastically dismissed one of his efforts to convince the company he was very much alive.“I guess I’m the one that messed up. I’m supposed to send you flowers for your funeral,” said the MLGW representative.Carter had his own response for MLGW.“If I’m dead, I’ve got $45,000 worth of life insurance. Can I come and get it?” Carter asked.Having no luck convincing the company he was still living, and at risk of having his power cut off, Carter turned to a local news station for help.Gale Jones Carson, head of corporate communications for MLGW, explained the error was made by a third-party credit agency which thought Carter had died.“On behalf of MLGW, I do apologize to him and I will make sure the president personally calls Mr. Carter and gets the matter resolved,” Carson said.