Archive for September, 2018

DETROIT  — Volkswagen became the world’s top-selling carmaker trumpeting the environmental friendliness, fuel efficiency and high performance of diesel-powered vehicles that met America’s tough Clean Air laws.

VW’s success story was so good that pollution-control advocates did their own tests, hoping to persuade other countries to enforce the same strict standards.

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  • U.S. orders Volkswagen to recall almost 500,000 vehicles over emissions violations

Instead, they got a foul-smelling surprise: In actual driving, the VWs spewed as much as 40 times more pollution from tailpipes than allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We ran the program to show that U.S. diesels are clean,” said John German, senior fellow with the International Council on Clean Transportation, the group that blew the whistle on Volkswagen. “Turned out we found a violator.”

READ MORE: Volkswagen subject of U.S. criminal probe; class action filed in Canada

The EPA and the California Air Resources Board announced the violations on Friday, accusing VW of installing software that switches on pollution controls during smog tests, then switches them off again so that drivers can enjoy more engine power on the road.

VW got away with this scheme for seven years, and according to the EPA, didn’t come clean even when repeatedly confronted with evidence of excessive pollution.

Industry analysts say the company was likely trying to reduce costs and improve performance, to match its marketing.

Instead, VW’s stock plunged a stunning 17 percent on Monday, costing the company $15 billion in market value in a single day. It also outraged customers, turned up the heat on the CEO, and could bring up to $18 billion in penalties from the U.S. government alone.

The company stopped selling the vehicles and likely will have to recall nearly 500,000 Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Audi A3 cars dating to the 2009 model year.

CEO Martin Winterkorn promised a company investigation as he apologized on Sunday, saying VW had broken the trust of customers and the public. He also pledged to cooperate with government investigations.

READ MORE: VW Canada suspends sale of some models as emissions probe widens

U.S. diesel emissions limits, mainly for ozone-causing nitrogen oxide, are more strict than those in Europe. Removing the chemical requires additional hardware. Instead, VW used secret software — an algorithm that detects when cars are being tested on treadmill-like devices called dynamometers, and stealthily switches the engines to a cleaner mode.

Because smog tests are almost always done on dynamometers, VW got away with the scheme for seven years, until the “clean transportation” advocates went to West Virginia University, which tests emissions using equipment that fits in car trunks.

WVU tested three cars in real-world conditions — a 2012 VW Jetta, a 2013 VW Passat and a BMW X5 SUV. The BMW passed, but the university found significantly higher emissions from the Volkswagens, according to the EPA.

The university and the council reported their findings to the EPA and CARB in May 2014, but VW blamed the problem on technical issues and unexpected conditions. The automaker even did a recall late last year, without much improvement, the EPA said.

Only when the EPA and CARB refused to approve VW’s 2016 diesel models for sale did the company explain what it had done.

“We met with VW on several occasions, and they continued to dispute our data, so we’d return to the lab,” recalled CARB spokesman Dave Clegern. “Over time, VW had no other explanations left, and it was our lab staff who actually got VW to admit that there was, in fact, a defeat device.”

VW’s diesel cars represent just a fourth of its U.S. sales, so the company was probably trying to avoid the cost of more sophisticated pollution controls, since it sells far more diesels in Europe, said Alan Baum, a consultant in Detroit who advises automakers on fuel economy regulations.

READ MORE: GM reaches $900M deal to settle criminal probe; to pay $575M to settle civil suits

“That enabled them to offer the diesel without some of the additional hardware and software in the U.S.,” Baum said.

The scheme also gave VWs better mileage, German said.

The scandal is already damaging VW’s reputation as the people’s car. European regulators announced parallel investigations, and the EPA said it is expanding its probe to make sure other automakers aren’t using similar devices.

VW board members reportedly planned a crisis meeting Wednesday ahead of their regular board meeting. And at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said “we are quite concerned by some of the reports that we’ve seen about the conduct of this particular company.”

VW CEO Winterkorn will face difficult questions in the coming days.

“I’d be surprised if Winterkorn can ride this out, but in Germany there’s often a slightly slower process in these matters,” said Christian Stadler, a professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.

For a company to engage in such blatant trickery, top executives must have been informed, said Guido Reinking, a German auto expert.

Winterkorn is an engineer by training who led research and development across the VW group beginning in 2007, and became chairman of the management board the same year.

The illegal software was made and installed in vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines during the model years 2009 through 2015, the EPA said.

Car owners do not need to take any immediate action. The cars threaten public health, but the violations pose no safety hazards, and the cars remain legal to drive and sell while Volkswagen comes up with a plan to repair them at company expense, the EPA said.

VW didn’t acknowledge its scheme until Sept. 3, EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said Monday. On Sept. 9, without making any reference to VW, the Justice Department announced a renewed commitment to holding individual executives accountable for corporate wrongdoing. And when the EPA announced VW’s violations on Friday, it noted that in addition to the corporate fines of $37,500 per vehicle, individuals could be fined $3,750 per violation of the Clean Air Act.

On Capitol Hill, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said his subcommittee will determine whether auto buyers were deceived. “The American people deserve answers and assurances that this will not happen again. We intend to get those answers.”

NEW YORK — So much for that pitching plan the Yankees had for Toronto.

Masahiro Tanaka has a strained right hamstring and won’t make his scheduled start for New York this week during a crucial series at the Blue Jays.

The right-hander got hurt running to first base after bunting Friday in an interleague game against the Mets at Citi Field. He pitched another five innings — pretty well, too — but an MRI on Saturday revealed a Grade 1 strain, the least severe.

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“Our fear is that if he goes out there on Wednesday he could hurt it worse, and then you’re in a whole lot of trouble,” manager Joe Girardi said Sunday.

READ MORE: Blue Jays fall 4-3 to Red Sox, drop two of three games to Boston

It’s a considerable blow to the Yankees, who hope Tanaka will miss only one turn. They juggled their rotation specifically so he could face the Blue Jays, who held a three-game lead in the AL East over New York going into Sunday night’s Subway Series finale.

Struggling right-hander Ivan Nova, recently removed from the rotation, will pitch in Tanaka’s place Wednesday night.

“I’m not looking at it as something very serious,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I feel it’s getting better and better each day.”

Tanaka has been the team’s best starter lately. He is 12-7 with a 3.38 ERA, including 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in his last two outings against Toronto’s powerful lineup.

He acknowledged he tried to persuade the Yankees to let him start Wednesday but said he understands the decision.

WATCH: Blue Jays fans make hilarious parody of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’

“The season’s not over,” Tanaka said. “I’ll probably be able to pitch again.”

Tanaka will stay in New York to get three days of treatment rather than travel with the team to Toronto. The starting rotation already was missing 14-game winner Nathan Eovaldi, expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with elbow inflammation.

Adam Warren and rookie Luis Severino, slated to start the first two games of the Blue Jays series, were sent ahead to get some rest instead of flying overnight following Sunday night’s game against the Mets.

Nova is 6-8 with a 5.11 ERA in 14 starts since returning this season from Tommy John surgery. He was moved to the bullpen after giving up six runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-7 home loss to the Blue Jays on Sept. 12.

“It’s not what you want to hear. You want to pitch every five days,” said Nova, who did throw seven solid innings in a win at Toronto on Aug. 14.

READ MORE: All aboard! Baseball terms explained for Toronto Blue Jays bandwagon-jumpers

Nova has not appeared in a game since the demotion. He threw a side session Saturday and said he thinks the time off will be beneficial.

“He hasn’t been off starting that long, so that part shouldn’t be hard,” Girardi said. “He’s had some good starts and bad starts the last month. We’re just going to need a good start his next start.

“He’s been through it before,” the manager added. “He understands, and I think he’s looking forward to the challenge.”

It’s not the first time a front-line Yankees pitcher has been hurt after getting a rare opportunity to bat in a National League ballpark. Back in 2008, Chien-Ming Wang sustained a serious foot injury running the bases at Houston — before the Astros switched to the AL.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright went down with a season-ending Achilles injury while batting early this year, prompting another round of commentary about pitchers at the plate and the designated hitter.

“It’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “You get concerned whenever your pitchers have to hit. You try to do everything you can to keep them from getting hurt. You try to prepare them, and (one thing) that you can’t prepare is that sudden burst that they have to make, and I think it happened in (Tanaka) trying to beat the play to first on the bunt.”

Still, Girardi is glad the American League uses the DH and the NL doesn’t.

Tanaka said he enjoys hitting, too.

“I actually like the separation of leagues. My complaint as I mentioned yesterday is that they don’t hit in the minor leagues and that makes no sense to me,” Girardi said. “We tell our guys to take it easy in situations. But I’ve often said that one of the reasons they are successful is the competitive nature inside of them and they understand the importance of runs, and it’s just hard.”

©2015

TORONTO – The City of Toronto is extending separated bicycle lanes along Richmond Street and Adelaide Street.

The extension is part of a pilot project which began last year to improve the city’s cycling infrastructure.

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The new work will result in the extension of cycle tracks on Richmond Street, which is one-way westbound, from Parliament Street to York Street, and on Adelaide Street, which is one-way eastbound, from Simcoe Street to Parliament Street.

Cycle tracks will then be in place on both Richmond and Adelaide between Parliament Street in the east and Bathurst Street in the west.

Bicycle lanes will also be installed on both sides of Peter Street, from King Street to Queen Street.

“When the extension is complete, dedicated cycle tracks will run right across the city’s downtown from Bathurst in the west to Parliament in the east,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson, Chair of the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, during a press conference Monday morning.

The installation of the tracks is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Robinson said ridership numbers have skyrocketed since the pilot project started last year.

On Richmond, the number of cyclists have more than doubled from 500 in June 2014 to 1,300 in May 2015.

The numbers are even higher on Adelaide where cyclists have more than tripled from 550 in June 2014 to over 1,500 in May 2015.

“We anticipate they are going to go up,” said Robinson. “There’s been no negative impact on travel times.”

Amy Poehler may not have won an Emmy Sunday night, but she definitely won the Internet with her #SmartGirlsAsk campaign, a joint initiative between 桑拿会所, the Television Academy and Amy’s Smart Girls, an organization “dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves.”

The campaign asked people to submit intelligent questions for celebrities — a refreshing twist to the often mind-numbing “who are you wearing” questions that have become a red carpet staple. Hundreds of thought-provoking questions were tweeted out, at times from some pretty big names.

In another victory, Viola Davis became the first woman of colour to claim top drama series acting honours at Sunday’s Emmy Awards.

An emotional Davis, who won for her portrayal of a ruthless lawyer in How to Get Away With Murder, invoked the words and spirit of 19th-century African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“I can’t seem to get over that line,” she quoted Tubman as saying.

“The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis added. “You cannot win Emmys with roles that are simply not there.”

WATCH:  ‘It doesn’t end here,’ says Viola Davis after historic Emmy win

READ MORE: Natalie Portman sounds off on challenges facing women in Hollywood

Comments made by Matt Damon recently sparked a debate on diversity in the industry. And during a Toronto International Film Festival panel, female leaders agreed there’s still a long way to go to reach gender equality.

With files from The Associated Press

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©2015

HALIFAX – Canada’s “disrespected” military veterans would see more federal health-care support under an NDP government, including funding to help them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, party leader Tom Mulcair announced Monday.

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Mulcair said $454 million over four years would be spent to provide treatment for veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD. The money would also be used to improve long-term care services and the Veterans Independence Program, which provides housekeeping and other support to elderly and disabled former military personnel.

“I will ensure our government honours the sacrifices of our veterans and provides the services and benefits they’ve earned,” Mulcair said at a legion hall in Halifax, a city with deep military roots.

While many of the veterans gathered at the hall applauded the announcement, some were skeptical, saying they’d like to see further details before passing judgment on the plan.

When questioned about how he would pay for his promise, Mulcair said it was incorporated in his party’s fully costed policy, which has been criticized by his opponents as being overly optimistic and based on flawed numbers from the federal government’s spring budget.

WATCH:Mulcair explains where Veteran cash will come from

READ MORE: Liberal plan to scrap F-35s shows only Tories can keep Canadians safe

Mulcair also slammed the Conservative government, accusing it of letting veterans down through cuts to their health services.

“Ask our veterans and they will tell you about nine years of disrespect they’ve seen from Stephen Harper,” he said.

But the NDP would have to tread carefully when redefining benefits for veterans, said one man who didn’t want to provide his name, revealing only that he was a veteran of the Korean conflict and member of a long-time military family.

The man, who spoke to Mulcair personally as the NDP leader exited the hall, said any party in power will have to provide benefits and services tailored to individuals, not the “one veteran, one standard policy” that Mulcair spoke of Monday.

“The government has to be very careful how it makes changes,” he said.

WATCH: Why Mulcair wants to apologize to gay veterans kicked out of military

An NDP government would also apologize and “make amends” to former servicemen and women who were forced out of the military over their sexual orientation, Mulcair said, calling the move a measure of fairness that is long overdue.

He also promised to launch a public inquiry into the spraying of Agent Orange at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

The highly poisonous herbicide was sprayed at the army base in 1966 and 1967 by the U.S. military, with permission from Canada. It’s now known that exposure can lead to skin disorders, liver problems and certain types of cancers.

READ MORE: Mulcair apologizes for 1996 remark about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians

The federal government set aside nearly $100 million in 2007 for Canadians harmed by Agent Orange and other chemicals used at the base.

The NDP leader also repeated a promise to reopen nine Veterans Affairs offices that were closed by the Conservative government.

Mulcair made the announcements as his election campaign continues its tour through Atlantic Canada. He was scheduled to visit Charlottetown later in the day.

©2015

LOS ANGELES – Tracy Morgan made a triumphant return to the Emmy Awards on Sunday, telling TV’s biggest stars and power players that he had missed them after spending months recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Morgan’s presentation of the night’s final award was one of the ceremony’s biggest moments and the culmination of months of rehabilitation and work by the comedian.

“Thank you so much,” Morgan told the crowd boisterously cheering his return. “I miss you guys so much.”

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He referenced words from Jimmy Kimmel, who told last year’s audience that Morgan would return.

Morgan said, “Well, Jimmy, thanks to my amazing doctors, the support of my family and my beautiful new wife, I’m here. Standing on my own two feet.”

READ MORE: Tracy Morgan weds long-time fiancee

Morgan was seriously injured on June 7, 2014, when a Wal-Mart truck crashed into the limousine Morgan was riding in. The collision killed one of Morgan’s close friends.

Federal investigators determined the truck driver was fatigued at the time and they also faulted the comedian and others in the limo for not wearing seatbelts, which contributed to the severity of the injuries.

After the serious moments at the Emmys, Morgan began cracking jokes again. He said that after waking up from a coma, he was ecstatic to find out, “I wasn’t the one who messed up.”

Morgan was humble and low-key while onstage Sunday night and showed off his fighting spirit while talking to reporters backstage.

Morgan, 46, pointed to scars on his forehead at one point and forcefully told reporters about his recovery, “I don’t give up.

“My father was drafted into Vietnam at 17 and I never see him give up. Even when he had AIDS, he never gave up. We don’t do that as Morgans.”

READ MORE: Driver fatigue cited as cause of accident that injured Tracy Morgan

The comedian’s appearance backstage was a rarity for an actor who hadn’t won an award at the current show.

He said he was overcome with emotions walking out onto the stage Sunday night. “I wanted to let them know I missed them very much,” he said.

Morgan said another key factor in his recovery was his desire to marry his fiance on his own terms.

“I wanted to walk my wife down the aisle, with no cane,” Morgan said. The comedian married Megan Wollover in August.

He also said he hoped his accident would lead to positive changes.

“I just hope the thing that happened to me, can be prevented now from people just dying on the road,” Morgan said. “That’s what I hope.”

AP Entertainment Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.

©2015

MONTREAL – Jonathan Crompton threw touchdown passes to Samuel Giguere and S.J. Green in his first game back from an injury and the Montreal Alouettes defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35-14 on Sunday afternoon.

Stefan Logan returned a punt for a TD and Boris Bede booted four field goals and added two points on kickoff singles for Montreal (5-6), which has won three of its last four.

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The win put Montreal, last in the East Division, one win ahead of West clubs Winnipeg and B.C. in the race for a crossover playoff spot.

The Alouettes ended a five-game losing run to the Bombers over the last three seasons, and beat them at home for only the second time in their last seven meetings.

Backup quarterback Brian Brohm scored a touchdown and Lirim Hajrullahu had two field goals for Winnipeg (4-8).

Crompton began the season as the Alouettes starter but injured a shoulder in the season opener. He was intercepted twice.

Rakeem Cato, who had taken over as starter, but who missed two games attending to a family matter, went on late in the game.

A crowd of 23,262, the largest at Percival Molson Stadium in nearly two years, saw Montreal get field goals on its first two drives.

©2015

SASKATOON – The Breakfast Buzz is back with it’s new host Carly Robinson! Let’s start with a hot debate that has been raging across the country: Uber.

In cities where the ride-sharing service exists, some people swear by it while others loath the very concept.

When Uber looks to expand to a new city or region it gears up for resistance. That’s because regulation on the service remains unclear, and the cities and provinces need to draft new laws and legislations to deal with the service.

Right now in Saskatchewan, SGI requires all drivers for a rides-sharing service like Uber to have the same licencing and insurance requirements as taxis. Last week, Saskatoon city councillors passed a motion to lobby the provincial government to keep it this way.

READ MORE: Saskatoon city council will lobby province to have Uber regulated

What do you think Saskatoon?

Take Our Poll

Be sure to send us your comments, you might just see them on air on Global Saskatoon Morning News.

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©2015

EAST SELMA, Ala. – The pastor and members of the congregation that wrestled a gun away from a man who police say opened fired in an Alabama church are being praised as heroes.

James Junior Minter, 26, is being held without bond in the shooting of his girlfriend, his infant son and the church pastor, Earl Carswell, who tried to intervene Sunday morning, according to police Lt. Curtis Muhannad in the city Selma.

Minter was arrested shortly after he opened fire during a church service at Oasis Tabernacle Church in East Selma, Alabama.

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“A whole lot more people could have been shot,” District Attorney Michael Jackson said, “They all played a heroic role.”

Witnesses told police Minter sat in the front row in the church between his girlfriend and the baby, and then pulled out a handgun and started shooting, according to a statement released by the Selma Police Department. The girlfriend, 24, fell to the ground, and Minter fired at her, striking her in the jaw and shoulder. The baby, a 1-month-old boy, was shot in the hand.

Carswell, 61, then grabbed Minter and was shot in the leg. Members of the congregation helped subdue Minter and managed to wrest away his gun, according to police. Minter then ran out of the church.

The victims are in stable condition.

After he fled the scene, Minter was captured by police less than a mile away. His vehicle was left at the scene and a gun was recovered at the church, the statement said.

Police said Minter was likely upset over a recent breakup and visitation issues with his son.

Minter was being held at the Dallas County jail. The Selma Police Department said Minter has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and may face other charges.

WINNIPEG — The 44-year-old man who died after an officer involved shooting has been identified by family as Haki Sefa.

Winnipeg police say the incident happened at around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday on Highway 59, just north of Highway 44. The Independent Investigation Unit has been called in to investigate.

IIU Civilian Director Zane Tessler said they were called in to investigate the shooting at 11:24 p.m.

Tessler said the victim’s family called police Sunday evening because they were concerned for the well being of the driver, giving police the description of the van.

WATCH: IIU Executive Director breaks down response to officer involved shooting on Sunday

“We do have information from family members that were indicating there was some issues at home and the assistance from the police were sought,” said Tessler.

Officers located the van at Concordia Avenue and Lagimodiere Boulevard and followed him up Highway 59 where officers stopped the vehicle.

“at some point the police officers discharged their firearms and then began to apply life saving techniques on the occupant of that van,” said Tessler.

“I heard four times like bang bang bang bang, I said oh my goodness, am I dreaming,” said Marta Janusz, who lives nearby, “then I said to my husband gunshots you heard the gunshots.”

The IIU investigates all serious incidents involving police officers in Manitoba, whether occurring on or off duty.

RCMP blocked off Highway 59 Northbound until 2 pm. It has since re-opened.

WATCH: Global’s Skyview-1 helicopter over the scene of officer involved shooting

Global News was on scene Monday and could see a white cube van with no back windows sandwiched between two black unmarked Winnipeg Police tactical SUVs.

WATCH: Global’s Lorraine Nickel updates the situation from the scene

The doors on both of the black SUVs were still open along with the van’s driver side door.

Just a few feet from where the white van sits, what appears to be a black handgun is on the ground near a yellow police marker and a pair of glasses.

WATCH: Residents near the scene describe hearing gunshots

There are three Winnipeg police cars stopped behind the van.

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

A person has died following an officer involved shooting on Highway 59,

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

STARS Air Ambulance tells Global News the crew was dispatched but were told to stand down before going airborne.

MAP: Location of officer involved shooting:

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©2015