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Open ‘Safe Places’ in Seattle, King County for Heroin Use, Task Force Says

seattle-heroin

A task force is recommending the creation of sites in King County to provide medical supervision for people using illegal drugs like heroin, which would be the first in the U.S.

Vernal Coleman reports: The task force formed to help fight a heroin epidemic in the Seattle area has recommended the opening of public, supervised sites where addicts can use heroin.

The sites, supported by both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would be the first of their kind in the country.

“If it’s a strategy that saves lives … then regardless of the political discomfort I think it is something we have to move forward,” Constantine said during a Thursday news conference.

Murray said he would support establishing the sites if it can be done “in a way that reduces the negative impacts” on neighborhoods.

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The recommendations released Thursday call for a pilot program to establish two “community health-engagement locations” in targeted areas where users can inject heroin under medical supervision as an alternative to public restrooms, alleys and homeless encampments like The Jungle.

[Read the full story here, at The Seattle Times]

The committee called for putting one site in Seattle, and another outside of the city in an area where a high number of heroin overdoses have been recorded.

“One of the driving ideas behind this is creating a safe space where we can get people the medical, prevention and treatment services already provided elsewhere,” said Brad Finegood, committee co-chairman and assistant director of the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division. Read the rest of this entry »

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As Lawmakers Clash Over Refugees, Syrian Immigration Quietly Tops 100,000 Since 2012 

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Joseph J. Kolb reports: A proposal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States has ignited a bitter debate in Washington, but more than 10 times that number of people from the embattled country have quietly come to America since 2012, according to figures obtained by FoxNews.com.

“All civil order has collapsed, and meaningful background checks are impossible. Instead, we rely on cross-checking databases. However, many people with ties to terrorist groups are not in any databases, which means there is no way we can identify them before they arrive here.”

— Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Some 102,313 Syrians were granted admission to the U.S. as legal permanent residents or through programs including work, study and tourist visas from 2012 through August of this year, a period which roughly coincides with the devastating civil war that still engulfs the Middle Eastern country. Experts say any fears that terrorists might infiltrate the proposed wave of refugees from United Nations-run camps should be dwarfed by the potential danger already here.

“The sheer number of people arriving on all kinds of visas and with green cards, and possibly U.S. citizenship, makes it impossible for our counterterrorism authorities to keep track of them all, much less prevent them from carrying out attacks or belatedly try to deport them,” said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies.

“I think it’s reasonable to assume that the U.S. Government ran the minimum intelligence traces required at the time of entry.”

– Fred Burton, Stratfor

Numbers obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show 60,010 Syrian visa holders have entered the U.S. since 2012, including 16,245 this year through August. Additional numbers provided by a Congressional source showed another 42,303 Syrians were granted citizenship or green cards during the same period.

“It is highly unlikely that the 102,313 Syrians who were admitted over the past three years were effectively vetted,” said spokesman Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Even in countries where we have a strong diplomatic presence, the sheer volume of background checks being carried out precludes the kind of thorough vetting that is necessary.”

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The Syrians being admitted are coming directly from their homeland, usually through the U.S. visa program, as opposed to the refugees President Obama is seeking to take in through U.N.-run refugee camps. Most have secured legal entry before they arrive.

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

“Refugees are part of the admitted category,” said Jaime Ruiz, spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Their cases are approved prior to arriving into the U.S.”

Those who escaped Syria’s grinding civil war, which has killed an estimated 300,000, and made it to the U.S. are more likely to be those with the money and means to access the U.S. immigration bureaucracy, say experts. But even that system is susceptible to fraud. Read the rest of this entry »


Violent War for Dominance Breaks Out at Toronto Zoo After Alpha Female Dies

Chris Young/ The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Liam Casey reports: After the matriarch died last year, a vicious battle erupted among the female baboons at the Toronto Zoo for her throne that endured for months, prompting a brief closure of the exhibit and providing a fascinating glimpse into the animals’ behaviour.

Medical records show numerous injuries among five of the six female olive baboons, from deep lacerations near their eyes to hair ripped out and tail injuries. At least two required surgeries to close deep gashes.

The exhibit was closed for several days because “there were some injuries that we thought best to keep them at the back because our visiting public don’t know baboon behaviour,” said Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the zoo.

Chris Young/ The Canadian Press

Chris Young/The Canadian Press. A baboon with an injured tail lies of the floor as two baboons sit on a rock in their enclosure at the Toronto Zoo on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

The baboon house — the area not open to the public where the animals eat and sleep — also had to be modified to allow for more space and additional escape routes, Franke said.

Chris Dutton, the zoo’s senior veterinarian, said the animals are fine and are “incredibly tough and they heal incredibly well.”

Now, Dutton said, two females sit on the throne in an uncomfortable truce, with the rightful heir biding her time until the older one dies.

Baboons, both in the wild and at zoos, have societies that are run by females — and that dominance runs through family lines. So the oldest daughter of the matriarch is the rightful heir to become queen.

That’s what happened to Betty, the longtime queen of the 12-member troop who took the reins when her mother, Boss Lady, died.

But troubles began a year ago when keepers noticed differences in Betty’s behaviour, Franke and Dutton said.

“She was changing her naturally dominant behaviour and she was hanging out with the subordinates and starting to slow down a little,” Dutton said.

The medical records, obtained via freedom-to-information legislation, note Betty was “reported to be lethargic, losing weight and not eating well.”

Chris Young/ The Canadian Press

Chris Young/The Canadian Press. The war started when the deceased matriarch’s daughter was supplanted in succession by an older female.

By early December, Betty stopped eating.

So Dutton and his staff anesthetized her to figure out what was going on. An exploratory surgery revealed a tumour in her uterus that had spread to the abdominal wall. It was terminal, Dutton said, so they euthanized her on the operating room table on Dec. 5, 2014. She was 16 years old.

That’s when the brawling began. Read the rest of this entry »


Canada’s Left-Wing Liberal & New Democratic Parties on the ‘Wrong Side of History’? 

Muslim women in niqab face veils as worn by Rebekah Dawson, who has been told she can wear the veil in court but must remove it to give evidence. Photograph: Don Mcphee for the Guardian

Face Veil Controversy Rocks Canada’s National Elections.

John Fund writes:

Vancouver, British Columbia — Canada holds national elections on October 19, and the race there has taken a surprising turn. The ruling Conservative party is making political hay over a court decision that killed its ban on women wearing the niqab — or face veil — while taking the oath of citizenship. The opposition left-wing Liberal and New Democratic parties have been pounded relentlessly for not opposing use of the niqab. Conservatives have moved from third place into first place in the polls and are currently the only party with a shot at winning a majority of seats in Parliament. A full 83 percent of voters back the Conservatives’ position on the Muslim face veil….(read more)

Source: National Review Online


Chaos on the Coast: How Drought and Fire Ravaged North America’s West Coast 

The recipe for drought is simple: mix extended hot weather with a corresponding lack of precipitation and, voilà. Add in a carelessly tossed cigarette or a flash of lightning and drought conditions beget wildfires. Both have wrought damage and pain on North America’s West Coast during the summer of 2015.

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Source: National Post


[VIDEO] Wild Motorcycle Pursuit Through Canadian Shopping Mall Goes Viral

Video compiled by Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators of a motorcycle pursuit through a mall in Surrey, British Columbia was accidentally released and subsequently went viral on the internet….(read more)


The Hitchcockian Crows of Vancouver

(BEN NELMS for National Post)

(BEN NELMS for National Post)

VANCOUVER — Every day at dusk, thousands of crows across Vancouver drop what they are doing, take to the air and head east.

The effect is a blackening of the skies over east Vancouver as the crows loosely follow the SkyTrain to a nightly meeting point in central Burnaby where they crowd wing-to-wing for warmth and protection and intricately plot out the parks, beaches and alleys they will scour for food come morning. Read the rest of this entry »