Archive for September, 2018

JERUSALEM – After finding high-tech solutions to halt suicide bombings and rockets, tech-savvy Israel is struggling with the resurgence of a weapon dating back to David and Goliath: the hurled rock.

Rock throwing is becoming commonplace in Jerusalem amid a wave of Palestinian unrest, leading to calls for a harsh crackdown and adding to tensions over access to a key holy site. But the outbursts appear to be decentralized and unorganized, and any tough new measures risk setting off another full-fledged conflict.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net


  • Israeli police, Palestinian protesters clash at sensitive Jerusalem holy site

  • Israel starts building border fence on frontier with Jordan as Syrian refugees flee civil war

The Palestinian rock thrower emerged as an iconic image of the first uprising against Israeli occupation in the 1980s and even as the second uprising last decade took on a more militant nature with suicide bombings and shooting attacks, rock throwing has been a regular feature of demonstrations since then. But in recent months, stone throwing has become a near daily occurrence in some neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital.

After an Israeli motorist was killed when his car crashed after being pelted with stones on the eve of the Jewish New Year, the Israeli government pledged to crack down.

Israel quickly built a new fence and installed greater surveillance measures at the site of the attack, and the government has pushed for more lenient rules of engagement for police. It is also promising tougher minimum sentences for offenders and heavy fines for minors and their parents as part of a zero-tolerance approach.

“Rocks and firebombs are lethal weapons. They kill and have killed,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday. “Those who try to harm us, we will harm them.”

Over the weekend, police said it arrested 48 suspects in stone-throwing and firebombing incidents. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s new minister of public security, has taken an even tougher line – and outraged the country’s judiciary – by suggesting that the promotion of judges should be tied to how harshly they sentence Palestinian rock throwers.

Netanyahu appeared to side with Erdan on Sunday, saying “with all due respect to the courts,” it is the government’s “right and duty” to punish perpetrators as harshly as possible.

But at a special meeting Sunday, Israel’s attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, said he opposed the proposed changes in open-fire regulations or setting minimum penalties for stone throwers, saying the current regulations are sufficient. Under pressure from Netanyahu and other ministers, Weinstein agreed to search for a compromise ahead of another meeting Thursday.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem interested in another round of major violence. But following last week’s deadly rock-throwing incident, along with days of clashes at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, the city appears to be on the precipice of a crisis.

The main source of tension is the situation at the hilltop compound in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

The site is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is located on the spot where the biblical Jewish Temples once stood.

The conflicting claims to the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City have frequently spilled over into violence.

In recent weeks, Israel has limited Muslim access to the mosque compound on several occasions to allow Jewish visitors to ascend. While Israel said this was a temporary move meant to reduce frictions, Muslims claim this is a violation of a longstanding “status quo” in place since Israel captured the area in 1967, and rumours have spread that Israel is plotting to take over the spot.

Netanyahu on Sunday called such suggestions “baseless, wild provocations” and said he was committed to preserving the status quo. More than 350 visitors toured the compound on Sunday with no violence.

For those living near where 64-year-old motorist Alexander Levlovich was killed last week, the new measures seem like a weak response to a danger that has been overlooked for some time. Rock attacks are rarely reported when they don’t cause casualties.

“It seems to me like giving a painkiller to a cancer patient,” said Nava Segev, a Jerusalem resident who says her home was hit with 17 firebombs in a single week. “This tradition of coming after something happens doesn’t seem effective to me.”

But Israel is limited in what it can do.

The rock throwing is mostly the domain of young men who appear to be unorganized and leaderless, making it hard for Israel to gather intelligence on pending attacks. Israel is also concerned that a harsh response to such attacks could lead to an escalation of violence, possibly igniting a new uprising. The collapse of peace talks last year and lack of contact between the two sides has only added to the tense environment.

Palestinians say the rock throwing is a visceral expression of frustration over their status in the city and particularly that of the mosque compound, where Israeli forces entered over the Rosh Hashanah holiday last week to disperse protesters who threw rocks and firecrackers. Palestinians consider the Israeli response excessive.

“We are talking about youth and kids who see on TV and social networks the practices of the Israeli police … and they react to it with throwing mainly stones and in some instances firebombs to show that they are angry,” said Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem.

“Unfortunately, the Israeli government is responding to the anger of these kids with tough measures like allowing the use of live ammunition … This is a license to kill.”

While it is unlikely that the young rock throwers receive direct orders to carry out attacks, they operate in an ideological environment that encourages attacks on Jews, said Shaul Bartal, a reserve Israeli intelligence officer who is conducting research into the phenomenon of “lone wolf” attacks for Bar-Ilan University.

He said the new government measures may be able to make a dent, but short of infiltrating the Arab neighbourhoods it would be hard to completely erase the threat.

“There can always be a situation where someone just decides to do something,” he said. “Israel has to figure out a way to cope with that.”

PHOENIX – Soft-spoken and handcuffed, a 21-year-old landscaper insists that he is not responsible for a string of Phoenix freeway shootings and that his gun has been sitting in a pawn shop for months.

Despite Leslie Allen Merritt Jr.’s impromptu assertion in court Saturday, investigators said they have proof that the gun wasn’t in any pawn shop at the time of four shootings they say he carried out.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

Newly released charging documents detail the detective work that traced the gun to the suspect after he took it to a pawn shop. Weapons from various local pawn shops were test-fired at the state lab, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said.

The Glendale resident faces several charges, including aggravated assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, carrying out a drive-by shooting and intentional acts of terrorism. Merritt told a judge that authorities have “the wrong guy.”

READ MORE: SWAT team arrests man suspected in string of Phoenix-area freeway shootings

In a brief court appearance, a prosecutor said Merritt should face a high bail after drivers spent the last three weeks on edge. Overall, 11 freeway shootings were reported, but Merritt is only charged in four.

“The suspect presents a dramatic and profound threat to the community,” said Ed Leiter of the Maricopa County attorney’s office.

Superior Court Commissioner Lisa Roberts set bail at $1 million, and Merritt, who had remained quiet during the proceedings, asked to address the court.

“All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy. I tried telling the detectives that. My gun’s been in the pawn shop the last two months. I haven’t even had access to a weapon,” he said as he stood handcuffed in a black and white striped jail uniform.

But a charging document released late Saturday night by Maricopa Superior Court said that investigators determined Merritt had not pawned his gun at the time of the incidents.

Merritt was arrested Friday evening after a SWAT team swarmed him at a Wal-Mart in Glendale. Minutes later, Gov. Doug Ducey proclaimed on 桑拿会所, “We got him!”

Graves said the break in the case was the result of exhaustive investigative work. Evidence from shell casings and bullet fragments determined that a gun Merritt pawned was used in four of the shootings on Aug. 29 and 30, Graves said. A tour bus, SUV and two cars were hit by bullets on Interstate 10 on those days.

Graves declined to comment on Merritt’s statement in court that his gun was in the pawn shop at the time of the shootings and similar statements made by his family.

“The evidence as you’ll see in the next couple of days speaks for itself,” Graves said. “We’re not going to get in a debate about that.”

The charging document said that investigators determined by testing that the bullets and the bullet fragments from four incidents came from a gun that was owned by the suspect.

Burges McCowan, a criminal defence attorney who used to work as a Maricopa County prosecutor, said he would piece together where Merritt was during the shootings if he were handling his case.

“I suppose it’s always possible the state jumped the gun and didn’t thoroughly look through his timeline before going after him,” McCowan said. “But I would hope in a case this important, they would make sure that the gun was not pawned during the time of the shootings.”

McCowan said he would also emphasize the other incidents and why Merritt hasn’t been charged in those. He also would not have allowed him to talk in court.

“I would agree with the judge who told him he shouldn’t talk. He might have pinned himself in now for his defence,” McCowan said. “If the records don’t match up with that statement, he’s made his situation worse.”

Eleven vehicles in all were hit by bullets or other projectiles, such as BBs or pellets, while driving along Phoenix freeways between Aug. 29 and Sept. 10. There have been no serious injuries, although a 13-year-old girl’s ear was cut by glass when a bullet shattered a car window.

Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said the investigation continues into who is behind the other shootings.

Messages seeking tips about the shootings will remain posted on electronic signs along freeways, and a $50,000 reward is still available, Graves said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Merritt’s father was adamant that his son had nothing to do with the shootings and anyone who says he was involved is a “moron.”

Leslie Merritt Sr. said he believes his son is being made a scapegoat by police who were desperate to make an arrest under immense public pressure.

“He has way too much value for human life to even take the slightest or remotest risk of actually injuring someone,” the elder Merritt said. He said his son likes guns but is not a criminal.

Merritt Jr.’s Facebook page, confirmed by his father, has two video clips that show him firing guns into the desert toward a palm tree, exclaiming “whoo” after squeezing off a round.

The Wal-Mart where Merritt Jr. was arrested Friday is 6 miles north of where some of the shootings occurred along I-10, a major route through the city.

The shootings prompted several school districts to keep their buses off freeways, and some commuters altered their routes.

Associated Press writer Bob Christie contributed to this report.

Living in Toronto is almost as expensive as living in Paris, and Montreal isn’t far behind. But it’s New York City, Zurich and Geneva that are three of the world’s costliest cities. That’s according to UBS’s latest Prices and Earnings survey, which examines prices, wages and earners’ purchasing power in 71 cities worldwide.

So where can you get the most bang for your buck? Well, it depends on what you’re after.

Time off

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net


  • Cheaper gas, costlier food, clothing: Welcome to the new normal, Canada

  • Top 10 most expensive cities to buy gas in North America are all in B.C.

  • Vancouver Island resort named most expensive hotel in North America

  • 90% say life in Toronto is increasingly difficult for average people

If work-life balance is most important to you, Paris is the place to be. Workers there put in around 35 hours per week, thanks to new government regulations, and enjoy an average of 29 days of paid vacation per year. Those who work in Hong Kong put in over 1,000 more hours than their Paris counterparts and only get 17 days paid vacation days.

Other cities where you can be paid to take a month or more off include Dubai and Rio de Janeiro (30 days), Dublin and São Paolo (31), Luxembourg (32), and Manama (34).

In some places, legal holidays can make a big difference. Bangkok, for example, averages only nine days of paid vacation but has 16 days of legal holidays so that brings the total of time off to around 25 days or five weeks. São Paulo has the highest combined amount of time off, with an average of 50 days, or around 10 weeks.

READ MORE: Are unlimited holidays the key to work-life balance?

Employees get an average of 18 paid vacation days in Montreal and 19 in Toronto. Those are the two Canadian cities on the list.

WATCH: Toronto may be expensive, but the majority of people surveyed last year said it’s worth it. Alan Carter reports. 

Of the American cities in the study, the average worker in Chicago and Los Angeles has the least amount of paid vacation a year (14 days).

On average, though, the survey states that a typical workweek around the world is over 40 hours, with over 4.5 weeks of paid vacation.


Looking to make a lot of dough? Head to Zurich, Geneva or Luxembourg.

Montreal comes in 11th on wage levels list, behind L.A. and Chicago. Toronto is in 15th place, behind London and Brussels.

In Nairobi, Jakarta and Kiev, the lowest-ranked cities, workers receive only around five per cent of average gross earnings in Zurich.

Cost of living

Zurich is the most expensive city in the survey, with a cost of living that’s 185 per cent higher than that of Kiev, the least expensive city on the list. Zurich residents have to pay four-and-a-half times more for the food than those in Kiev.

READ MORE: Cost of living, economy among most important issues in upcoming election, says new poll

Fun fact: the price of a haircut is most expensive in Oslo and 20 times higher than in Jakarta, which is the cheapest place to get your locks tended to.

Canadian cities like Vancouver and Calgary are notorious for their high cost of living. However, they were not included in the UBS index, which has been published every three years since 1971.

Here are some more highlights:

You can read the full report below.

View this document on ScribdFollow @TrishKozicka


TORONTO — A woman is fighting for her life in hospital after she and another man were shot inside a downtown Toronto restaurant on Sunday night.

Police say they responded to a 9:50 p.m. shooting call at Michael’s, an upscale steakhouse on Simcoe Street. Two patrons, a 29-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman both suffered gunshot wounds.

Police believe the shootings were targeted.

“You hear shots you hear noises, screams, breakage, I was on the phone, you know, it was very scary,” said restaurant owner Michael Dabic.

“They were in and out, they knew who to look for and they knew where they were. They weren’t searching the restaurant — the people that shot them, they knew where they were.”

Police said the suspects fled the area on foot.

Both victims were rushed to hospital with the male suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the woman remains in critical condition.

Police say they are looking for witnesses and anyone with information is urged to come forward.

“We have numerous shell casings recovered. It would appear that no one else was targeted,” said Det. Paul Ward of 52 division, adding that police ascertained from evidence and witness statements that the hooting was not an indiscriminate “melee shooting.”

“Two suspects wearing masks came in and shot them. The man was shot in the neck and the woman was shot in the hip.”

Dabic also released an official statement Monday, saying “Our thoughts and prayers are with the couple involved in the targeted shooting and we wish them both a speedy recovery.”

With files from Caryn Lieberman

HangZhou Night Net

WARNING: The following story contains explicit language

WINNIPEG – Pat Martin says he regrets the language he has used on the campaign trail in recent days and has offered an ‘unreserved apology’ to his fellow candidates.

In a story on the Huffington Post Saturday, the NDP incumbent for Winnipeg Centre called Liberal candidate, Robert-Falcon Ouellette a “political slut” and accused his wife of being “afraid she’ll have her hubcaps stolen if she ventures too far into the riding.”

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

The comments follow a debate earlier in the week where the NDP MP  could be heard muttering “son-of-a-bitch” following questions from the Green Party candidate Don Woodstock.

In a statement Sunday night, Martin wrote:

Over the last few days I have used some intemperate language that I regret. I would like to offer an unreserved apology to my fellow candidates and to anyone else who may have taken offense to the tone and content of these remarks.

I hope we can move past this and return to having a healthy discussion of the issues affecting Winnipeg Centre voters.

Ouellette finished third in the Winnipeg mayoral race in 2014. In the HuffPost article, Martin was also quoted as saying:

“He is full of shit, frankly. I mean, who do you think you are? You show up, and three years later you are going to be the mayor of Winnipeg. And that doesn’t work out, so, that’s okay, I’ll be the member of Parliament?”

Martin’s campaign adviser said the NDP candidate would not be speaking further to his comments, saying the apology and the statement made over the weekend “stand”.


TORONTO – An 81-year-old woman was killed and two others seriously injured following a multi-vehicle collision in Scarborough Sunday night.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Ellesmere Road.

Police said a total of six cars were involved in the collision, after a 65-year-old man driving a 2005 Honda made a left turn from Ellesmere onto Midland.

A 19-year-old man driving a Mercedes westbound on Ellesmere then collided with the Honda as it was turning, according to police.

Following the initial collision, police said a 20-year-old man driving a Lincoln MKT SUV westbound on Ellesmere also struck the Honda.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

Two other vehicles behind the Honda were struck by the other colliding vehicles while they were waiting their turn to proceed northbound on Midland.

Police said the 65-year-old-man and a passenger in the front seat of the Honda were taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

An 81-year-old woman, who was in the right-rear seat of the Honda, suffered life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The area was closed for several hours for the investigation but reopened to traffic just after 4 a.m. ET. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活222tips杭州桑拿, or by texting “TOR” and your message to CRIMES (274637).


TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays have advanced to the American League Championship Series after taking the ALDS with a wild 6-3 Game 5 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

Here are five Blue Jays players who made an impact in the Division Series:


Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista acknowledges the crowd after hitting a three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during seventh inning game five American League Division Series playoff baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.


Toronto’s right-fielder, who’s been with the organization since 2008, is relishing his first post-season experience – and contributing in a big way. The 32-year-old Bautista hit the series-winning three-run homer in Game 5, giving Toronto a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh after a controversial run had pulled Texas ahead in the top half of the frame.

“I knew I did something great for the team at the moment of impact because I knew I hit that ball pretty good,” Bautista said of his series-clinching shot. “I gave us the lead in a crucial moment so I was happy to do that.”

Bautista also hit an RBI double in the third inning Wednesday to account for four of Toronto’s six runs. He’s batting .273 with two home runs through five post-season games.


Pillar led the team with a .412 batting average through the first four games of the series and had a third-best OPS of 1.118. He had three hits in Game 4 – an 8-4 Toronto win that forced the deciding fifth game – becoming the first Blue Jay to record three or more hits in one post-season game since Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar did it in 1993.



The locker room experience: Behind the scenes of the Blue Jays’ clubhouse



The Toronto Blue Jays celebrate their ALDS victory



Blue Jays continue celebration of Game 5 win in locker room



Blue Jays ‘heading the right way’ as they prepare for ALCS



Toronto Blue Jays ‘not done yet’ as they prepare for ALCS



‘Let’s play ball!’: Blue Jays fans across Toronto celebrate Game 5 win



The Toronto Blue Jays advance to the ALCS

The Blue Jays centre-fielder made a name for himself this season as a formidable defender, and that continued into the post-season. Pillar made a spectacular snag in the fourth inning of Game 5, running from deep to shallow centre, diving forward and getting his glove under a ball before it hit the turf to rob Josh Hamilton of a base hit.


Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net


  • ‘Mini Bautista’ might be the best thing about Blue Jays epic ALDS win

  • Jose Bautista drops mic on ALDS with ‘bat flip seen ‘round the world’

  • Toronto Blue Jays played Game 5 under protest after controversial call

The Blue Jays rookie closer has continued his impressive first season into the playoffs. In four appearances in the five-game ALDS, Osuna worked 5 2/3 innings, giving up zero runs on zero hits. He came into Game 5 with a three-run lead and five outs to get and struck out four batters en route to his first post-season save.

“For a 20-year-old kid to be able to do what he’s done, to get the last three outs of the game, those are the toughest three outs to get in Major League Baseball, and that’s incredible,” left-hander David Price said about Osuna following the Game 5 win. “For him to be able to step up the way he has, that’s special.”

With Toronto trailing the best-of-five series 2-0, Osuna came up big in Game 3, getting the final three outs – Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus – in the Blue Jays’ 5-1 win. The next day he again worked a perfect ninth to help Toronto even the series.


Stroman’s season began in agony, tearing his ACL during a spring training fielding drill, but from that moment on he vowed to return to the mound in time for the 2015 post-season. Not only has Stroman lived up to his promise, he’s exceeding just about everyone’s expectations. Stroman started the decisive fifth game of the ALDS, giving up two runs on six hits, a walk and four strikeouts. He also pitched the second game of the series, a 6-4 extra-innings loss, where he went seven strong innings, fanning five and allowing four runs (three earned).


Donaldson tied for third place on the franchise post-season home run leaderboard with two (Jose Bautista, Pat Border, Kelly Gruber, John Olerud, Devon White and Dave Winfield are the others), and he drove in three runs over the first four games of the ALDS. Donaldson’s first homer of the post-season came in the first inning of Game 2 in Toronto, and cut the Blue Jays’ deficit to 2-1 in an eventual 6-4 loss in extras. His second gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 4 in Texas, which Toronto won 8-4. Donaldson had a game-tying RBI and a run scored in Game 5, too.


HAVANA – Pope Francis flies to eastern Cuba on Monday for the next leg of his pilgrimage after having met with both Raul and Fidel Castro but missing out on an encounter with Cuban dissidents.

The Vatican stressed that no official meeting had been planned with the dissidents. The Vatican embassy in Havana did make calls to some leaders “as a sign of attention to these people,” the Vatican spokesman said, but in the end the dissidents were prevented from reaching the cathedral where the greeting was planned.

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

The Castro meetings went off without a hitch.

READ MORE: In New York, chance to see pope in Central Park like hitting the lottery

The Vatican described the 40-minute session with Fidel Castro at the former president’s home as “informal and familial,” with an exchange of books and discussion about big issues facing humanity, including Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment and the global economic system.

Video of the encounter broadcast on Cuban state media showed the 89-year-old Castro chatting animatedly with Francis and shaking the pope’s hand, the pope standing in his white vestments and Castro sitting in a white button-down shirt and Adidas sweat top.

The meeting brought together the leader who shaped Cuba for the last half of the 20th century and Latin America’s first pope, who is credited by many Cubans with opening a path to the future by mediating the warming diplomatic relations between their country and the United States. After his Cuba visit, the pope flies to Washington for his first ever trip to the U.S.

WATCH: Pope Francis draws huge crowds during visit to Cuba

Francis called on Castro after celebrating Mass in Havana’s main plaza on his first full day in Cuba.

READ MORE: Pope to arrive in US Tuesday, to address immigration

In his homily delivered under the gaze of a metal portrait of revolutionary fighter Che Guevara, Francis urged Cubans to care for one another out of a sense of service, not ideology. He encouraged them to refrain from judging each other by “looking to one side or the other to see what our neighbour is doing or not doing.”

“Whoever wishes to be great must serve others, not be served by others,” he said. “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.”

It was a subtle jab at the communist system, which even the Vatican spokesman didn’t deny. “The pope doesn’t tend to make explicitly political speeches, but he has some general principles and everyone is free apply their different experiences of life on them,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

Many Cubans complain about the rigidity of the Cuban system in which nearly every aspect of life is controlled by the government, from cultural institutions to block-level neighbourhood watch committees. While the system has softened in recent years, Cubans can be excluded or lose benefits if they are perceived as being disloyal to the revolution.

Cubans are also increasingly concerned about growing inequality, in which those with access to foreign capital live lives of relative luxury while others can barely feed themselves, generating jealousy and division.

“Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it,” Francis told the crowd.

At one point, Francis was approached by a man who grabbed onto the popemobile and appeared to be speaking emotionally to the pontiff, who touched him on his hand and head before he was pulled away by security agents. Video showed what appeared to be the same man throwing leaflets in the air, and backers of a Cuban dissident group said on 桑拿会所 he was a member of the opposition.

The head of the opposition group Ladies in White said 22 of 24 members of her group who wanted to attend Mass were prevented from going by Cuban security agents. And two other well-known Cuban dissidents said agents detained them after the Vatican invited them to the pope’s vespers service at Havana’s cathedral.

Marta Beatriz Roque and Miriam Leiva said they received invitations from the office of the papal ambassador in Havana but said they were arrested as they tried to travel to the cathedral.

“They told me that I didn’t have a credential and that I couldn’t go to the pope’s event that was taking place there in the Plaza of the Cathedral,” Roque said.

Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that some dissidents were invited to events to receive a greeting from the pope but that he didn’t know why the greeting didn’t take place.

Francis met for an hour with Fidel’s brother Raul, a declared atheist who, perhaps jokingly, has said he likes the pope so much he is thinking of returning to his Catholic roots. Francis thanked the 84-year-old leader for his pardon of thousands of petty criminals before his arrival. Castro presented the pontiff with a huge sculpture of the crucified Christ made of oars by the artist Kcho and a painting of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint.

Francis is due to visit the shrine to the virgin near the eastern city of Santiago on Monday evening, after making a brief stop in the city of Holguin for a Mass.

Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo and Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana and Christine Armario and Andrea Rodriguez in Holguin, Cuba, contributed to this report.

An evacuation order has been issued for several homes northeast of Pemberton because of mudslides, as high water flows caused havoc through the Squamish-Lilloet Regional District on Sunday.

Properties between 9270 to 9280 Portage Road are under the evacuation order, along with Lot 1, DL 1548 Portage Road.

The largest impact was felt just north of Birken, 30 kilometres northeast of Pemberton, where two large mudslides have isolated hundreds of people between the community and D’Arcy, another small community on the shore of Anderson Lake.

Global News was given a photo of one of the mudslides, which appears to show a home almost completely submerged.

WATCH: Mudslides and flooding force evacuations northeast of Pemberton

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

Russell Mack, Director for Squamish-Lilloet Regional District Electoral Area C, says there is no one in the area unaccounted for.

“We’re still waiting for the slide to stabilize,” said Ryan Wainwright, SLRD Emergency Program Manager.

“We’re still hearing rocks rumbling down, so it’s going to be a wait and see as to when that slide is stable enough for people to start working on it.”

Several power lines have fallen down and all areas from Pemberton to D’Arcy were without power for several hours today. While power has since been restored to Pemberton, there are still 254 customers between Birken and D’Arcy without power.

It’s unknown when the road will be reopened, and power is not expected to be the area until Monday at 5 p.m.

“It’s something that is impacting our residents quite severely,” says Wainwright. He says emergency stations have been set up in D’Arcy and Pemberton to assist with people affected.

View this post on Instagram

So much for making it to the lake. Road and power lines washed out.

A post shared by John Thomas (@jhthomas70) on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

The South Coast experienced rain and high winds this weekend, and the BC River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for the Sea to Sky Corridor, along with the North Shore and Howe Sound. That advisory has now been ended.

A flood warning has also been issued for the Sea to Sky Corridor, and there are unconfirmed reports that flooding has blocked the Lillooet River Forest Service Road.

In addition, five vehicles on the Squamish River Service Road were lost due to mudslides.

In the Squamish valley, several hikers became trapped by washed-out roads. Squamish search and rescue was called in to take one stranded group out after RCMP received a distress call on Sunday.

Residents in the region who have been affected are asked to contact Wainwright at 604-698-6442.

WATCH: Flooding in Squamish:

Several fundraisers have been launched for victims of the slides. You can make donations at the Pemberton hardware store and cash donations are being accepted at the Pemberton Scotiabank.

An online fundraiser has been set up for one of the victims. Those who are interested in donating can go here.

Global News has a crew near the town of Birken

In sports, it’s often said that defence wins championships.

The Conservatives certainly hope that holds true on election night.

When the Conservative Party won 166 seats in 2011, it did so with 39.6 per cent of the vote. While it could go back to those heights, most polls conducted in the last month have had them between 28 and 32 per cent (except an Ekos poll released Thursday that put the Conservatives at 35.4 per cent).

Story continues below

HangZhou Night Net

And so, Stephen Harper’s road map involves less winning in new places, and more holding on to regions where his party won last time.

In this respect, they have a few advantages. Many of Canada’s 30 new electoral districts are in places where the Conservatives have traditionally done well, including Ontraio’s “905” belt, and the suburbs of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

And with both the Liberals and the NDP doing well in the polls, there’s the potential of vote-splitting on the left.

READ MORE: 10 ridings where strategic voting might decide the election

Even so, the Conservatives are anything but locks to finish election night with the most seats. Analysis by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) projects the Conservatives to win 114 seats, compared to 117 for the NDP and 106 for the Liberals.

See the LISPOP map below: 


Click to explore the latest seat projections in your riding

Leaning Conservative
Leaning Liberal
Leaning NDP
Bloc Québécois
Leaning Bloc Québécois
Too Close to Call

Note: “Leaning” indicates a 5% to 10% lead. “Too Close to Call” indicates a difference under 5%. Courtesy of Lispop杭州丝足.

The Conservatives could lose 15, 20, or even 25 seats they won by small margins in 2011—in the GTA south of York, Prince Edward Island, Vancouver Island, and a few other places—and still finish election night with the most MPs.

But if they lose these 10 ridings, they’d be in serious trouble.

1. Central Nova

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Central Nova

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 55.3 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives won 14 seats in Atlantic Canada in 2011, yet it’s unlikely they will get that many in this election. They received 37.9 per cent of votes then, but haven’t eclipsed 26 per cent for the region in any poll since Aug. 11.

However, they still hope to do well in rural seats in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick—Central Nova being a prime example. Held by the MacKay family for 39 of the last 44 years, it’s an open riding following Peter MacKay’s decision to leave politics.

Fred Delorey, a longtime staffer for the Conservatives, hopes to retain the seat for the party. In a Mainstreet/Postmedia poll of this riding released this week, Delorey led Liberal candidate Sean Fraser, a lawyer, 36 to 30 per cent.

2. Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Bécancour-Nicolet-Saurel

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 43.9 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives have shown in all three of their victories under Harper that they don’t have to win many seats in Quebec—but they would like to hold on to the five they won last election, all but one of which were clustered to the south of Quebec City.

Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis has been held by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney since 2006, and his vote total has been remarkably stable in all three wins, all between 44 and 46.4 per cent.

The NDP’s candidate is Jean-Luc Daigle, former Saint-Romuald mayor and Lévis councillor. Should he win, the Conservatives could be hard pressed to keep any of their seats in Quebec.

3. Kanata-Carleton

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Kanata-Carleton

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 53.7 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives won 73 of 106 seats in Ontario last election, their highest number in the province since the 1984 election.

While they expect to lose some in more urban areas of the province, it’s in suburban ridings surrounding Ottawa and Toronto where tight races could ultimately decide the election.

One of them is Kanata-Carleton, a new riding that local media have described as a toss-up seat. Small business owner Walter Pamic will try to hold the area for the Conservatives, but the Liberals have high hopes for Karen McCrimmon, a retired Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel who was the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron.

4. Peterborough-Kawartha

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Peterborough-Kawartha

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 49.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

As goes Peterborough, so does the government: the riding surrounding the city has voted for the party that formed government in all but one election since 1963 (the only exception was 1980). And in provincial elections, the Peterborough-centred riding has elected the party that won the most seats each time since 1977.

There is no incumbent here, because former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, who had held this riding since 2006, was found guilty last year of violating the Elections Act in his 2008 victory, and sentenced to one month in jail.

And a Nanos poll in the riding conducted earlier this month found the Liberals in first place with 41 per cent of decided voters, followed by the Conservatives at 29 per cent.

However, it only had a sample size of 300—one of the many reasons there’s plenty of debate over which way this riding will go on election night.

5. Vaughan-Woodbridge

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Vaughan-Woodbridge

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 56.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

There are nine ridings in the Regional Municipality of York, up from six in 2011, and while the Conservatives dominated this area last time (winning five of six seats, generally by large margins), former cabinet minister Julian Fantino is in tough. 

The riding has shrunk drastically from its previous boundaries, when it included all of Vaughan, and has become more urban in the process.

Fantino’s main competition this election is expected to be Liberal candidate Francesco Sorbara, a corporate debt analyst.

Simply put, this is one of many seats in the “905 belt” around Toronto the Conservatives are banking on. While they don’t need to win them all, Vaughan-Woodbridge will be a good indicator of the party’s overall success on election night.

6. Sarnia-Lambton

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Sarnia-Lambton

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 52.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Conservative

If Vaughan-Woodbridge is emblematic of the type of suburban, “905 belt” riding the Conservatives are banking on winning, Sarnia-Lambton is emblematic of the more rural Ontario ridings the party has to win.

The riding elected a candidate from the party forming government in every election since 1963, the longest such mark in Canada.

But the Conservatives will have to win it with a new candidate, engineering consultant Marilyn Gladu, as three-term MP Pat Davidson is stepping aside.

7. Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 57.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Conservative

Last election the Conservatives won six of eight seats in the Winnipeg area, their best result ever.

LISPOP and other forecasters are predicting the Conservatives to do worse this time around—although polling has been relatively sparse in Manitoba this election cycle.

A good indicator of how well the Conservatives are doing will come in this riding, where Steven Fletcher defeated his NDP challenger by 37.4 per cent, or over 17,000 votes.

It was the party’s largest margin of victory in Winnipeg in 2011, the area is suburban, and Fletcher remains popular. If the Conservatives don’t win here, they’re unlikely to take any of the city’s eight seats.

8. Edmonton Riverbend

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Edmonton Riverbend

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 59.4 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

Similar to Winnipeg, most forecasters believe the Conservatives are unlikely do as well this election in Edmonton—where they took seven of eight seats in 2011—but the question is by how much.

Redistribution has changed the boundaries of virtually every seat in the area, and made several that were split between Edmonton and the surrounding area into fully suburban ridings.

One of those new suburban districts is Edmonton West, which has the highest average and median income of all of Edmonton’s ridings (according to the 2011 National Household Survey). There is no incumbent running, and the highest profile candidate is Conservative Matt Jeneroux, a former MLA who lost his seat to the NDP in this year’s provincial election.

Outside of Edmonton West, there may not be a likelier seat in the city for the Conservatives to win—which means if they lose, they’ve likely lost several other Edmonton ridings as well.

9. Cariboo-Prince George

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Cariboo-Prince George

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 56.3 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

Conservative MP Dick Harris won each of his seven elections in this riding between 1993 and 2011 by between 15 and 30 per cent.

However, there are several reasons to suggest the margin with be smaller in this election. First, Harris is not running for re-election, with the Conservative candidate now Todd Doherty, who recently served as revenue director at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Second, the Conservatives are facing a rare challenge from the right: Sheldon Clare, president of the National Firearms Association, is running here as an independent.

Third, polls have generally shown the Conservatives with lower support in British Columbia — between 25 and 35 per cent — than they’ve received in recent elections.

The effect of this among voters in a relatively unique rural riding is unknown. But if the Conservatives can’t win here, it doesn’t bode well for their chances in several other B.C. Interior seats they currently hold, including Kootenay-Columbia, Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola, and South Okanagan–West Kootenay.

10. Delta

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Delta

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 48 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Conservative MP since 2011 and Minister of National Revenue, decided to run here when her Delta-Richmond East riding was split in two after redistribution.

But the Liberals are fielding a strong candidate in Carla Qualtrough, a lawyer and Paralympian swimmer.

The addition of North Delta, a much more urban neighbourhood than the rest of Delta, to this riding complicates things for the Conservatives.

The Conservatives don’t need to win many seats in Metro Vancouver to finish the night with the most seats—but Delta is likely one of them.