Canada to earn its ‘Great White North’ moniker this winter


Much of Canada is set to plunge into an old-fashioned cold, snowy deep-freeze this winter, according to the latest forecast from The Weather Network.

The return to a classic Canadian winter follows an exceptionally mild one last year brought on by a strong El Nino phase. The contrast could make the frigid temperatures and heavier snowfalls feel especially jarring.

“For most Canadian cities, count on doing more shovelling than last year,” chief meteorologist Chris Scott told CTV News. “It may not be a brutally cold winter all the time, but compared to last year this is more of a classic Canadian winter.”

A pedestrian trudges through the snow in Fredericton on December 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

Ontario and Quebec can expect a bigger dose of the white stuff than last year. This will be particularly true in the lake-effect snowbelts where lingering warm water in the Great Lakes is expected to fuel snow squalls late into the season.

Atlantic Canada is also supposed to see an uptick in active weather. Storms are expected to vary between those that push up from the Great Lakes to systems that push out to sea. The mixed bag of storm tracks means a variety of snow, ice and rain will be on the menu.

The Weather Network is calling for normal snowfall across the Prairie Provinces. However, Alberta’s foothills and high prairies could see a bit more than usual.

Western Canada is expected to see above-average precipitation thanks to a stream of Pacific moisture wafting across British Columbia. Snow conditions should be favourable in the Rockies, and the Lower Mainland will have an increased chance of flurries compared to recent years.

Ironically, the only places that are expected to be consistently warmer than normal are in the North: the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and parts of northern Quebec and Labrador.

Environment Canada thinks the plunge in temperatures may not come until January, offering plenty of time to stock up on thermal socks or book a flight to someplace warmer.

“We think the first half of this winter will be milder than normal,” said Environment Canada climatologist Dave Phillips. “The toughest part will be the end.”

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Elephant poaching costs African economies $25 million per year in lost tourism revenue


Hundreds of African Continue to be slaughtered by poachers every year. A variety of wildlife and conservation groups are doing what they can to protect the iconic species, but they need the support of governments in Africa.

According to researchers from the World Wildlife Fund, University of Vermont and University of Cambridge, economic losses stemming from elephant poaching far exceed investments in conservation and anti-poaching programs.

In a continent-wide survey, scientists estimated Africa’s tourism industry loses $25 million annually as a result of elephant poaching. When poaching pressure on a park and its animal’s increases, tourism suffers.

“While there have always been strong moral and ethical reasons for conserving elephants, not everyone shares this viewpoint,” study author Robin Naidoo, lead wildlife scientist at WWF, said in a news release. “Our research now shows that investing in elephant conservation is actually smart economic policy for many African countries.”

The illegal ivory trade is fueled mostly by demand in China and Southeast Asia. Every year, poachers kill between 20,000 and 30,000 African elephants. A recent survey found elephant herds in Africa are shrinking at an alarming rate.

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Italy earthquake leaves thousands homeless


The most powerful earthquake, 6.6 magnitude, in the history of Italy has left thousands of people homeless. They have spent the night in cars, tents and temporary shelters following the fourth earthquake in the area in three months.

More than 100 aftershocks were registered overnight into Monday.

The 6.6-magnitude quake struck near the central region where nearly 300 people were killed by a quake in August. The magnitude was recorded by the US Geological Service at 6.6, with a depth of six miles (10km).

People were pulled from the rubble in towns across central Italy and 20 were injured after buildings collapsed when Sunday’s earthquake hit “like a bomb”.

The series of quakes have now forced a total of almost 8,000 people to seek refuge in hotels and shelters, with many more sleeping in tents, cars or campers.

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Millions of children around the globe displaced from their home


UNICEF Report shows shocking number of children around the globe who forcibly displaced from their home countries by war, violence or persecution.

Almost 50 million children throughout the globe have been driven from their homes by violent conflict with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life. The report further found that 10 million out of 28 million, those children were displaced by violence and conflict, are child refugees.

Children make up about a third of the world’s population of 2015, they accounted for nearly half of all refugees, with the number of child refugees having doubled in the last decade. Children are also increasingly crossing borders on their own: more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries last year, tripling 2014’s numbers.

The report said 45 per cent of the children refugees came from just two countries: Syria and Afghanistan.

Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks including drowning during sea crossings, malnourishment, dehydration, kidnapping, rape and murder. When they arrive in other countries they often face discriminations and xenophobia, the report stated.

Showing his concern UNICEF Director, Ted Chaiban, said “What’s important is that these children on the move are children. And they should be treated as children. They deserve to be protected. They need access to services, such as education.”

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European Commission scrap roaming charges


Finally after several years battling to cuts the cost of making cross border calls and using data in the another country, the European Commission will get its wish and scrap roaming charges for travelers across the continent.

The European Commission released a draft of the regulation for the Roaming Fair Use Policy.The commission set a limit to 90 days for the surcharge free roaming phone use.  It means that costumers will only be able to use their mobile abroad roaming free for a maximum of 3 months, but only for 30 consecutive days at a time.

Moreover, the guidelines specified that users who will return to their home network daily will not be subjected to the count set by the new criteria. Which means that daily users who work across borders will not be charged for their abroad usage.

In addition to this, the new plans will lower call and text message prices to €0.04 per minute and €0.01 per SMS, while data usage is being cut to 0.85 cents (€0.0085) per MB.

The proposed draft will be discussed by member countries and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication, before being adopted by 15 December.

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