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spaminator

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Serial cat killer's sentencing adjourned for review of psych report
Aleeta Raugust, 26, tortured nine cats, seven of which she killed

Author of the article:Bill Kaufmann
Published Aug 29, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 2 minute read

A sentencing hearing for a woman found guilty of torturing and killing multiple cats has been adjourned once again so lawyers and a judge can assess a psychiatric report that describes her as “psychopathic.”


On Tuesday, Justice Mike Dinkel agreed to adjourn sentencing arguments for Aleeta Raugust and a possible penalty decision to Sept. 14, calling the psychiatric report “heavy duty” with “very serious conclusions” that need to be fully reviewed by him, the prosecution and the defence.


He noted the report, which he’d partly reviewed, concluded Raugust was psychopathic.

It’s the second time in nearly three months the case has been delayed due to incomplete work related to Raugust’s psychiatric assessment.

In early June, the woman’s sentencing was delayed because doctors at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre hadn’t seen her due to a bed there being unavailable.

Raugust, 26, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment after pleading guilty in March to 10 charges — nine of them involving animal abuse, as well as a single count of threatening to damage property.


According to a statement of agreed facts read in by Crown prosecutor Rose Greenwood at the time of the pleas, Raugust tortured nine cats, seven of which she killed.

And the woman told police she may have killed more cats, admitting to throwing some into the river, Greenwood said.

She told police that she usually didn’t name the cats she adopted because she planned to kill them.

“I’m getting so angry and I’m starting to fantasize about hurting people when I get angry. And I don’t want to fantasize about that,” the cat killer told investigators, according to an account relayed to court by Greenwood last spring.

“I have a plan if I’m released from here and that’s why doctors won’t let me go,” the prosecutor quoted from Raugust’s statement.


The agreed statement also says that while she was at the Peter Lougheed Hospital last January, Raugust told her probation officer that she wanted to set fire to her former residence at 515 20th Ave. S.W. so she could watch its occupants burn.

Raugust had told hospital staff she was suicidal.

She’s currently in custody at the Calgary Remand Centre.

In December 2021, Raugust contacted a veterinarian, saying she had a kitten with injured legs at her home in the southwest neighbourhood of Somerset but refused to bring the cat in for treatment.

She later admitted to striking the Siamese kitten with a stick, shooting hairspray into its eyes and breaking its legs, covering the animal’s mouth so her roommates wouldn’t hear.

“I can’t unhear what I did. It haunts me,” she told a detective.

“I don’t know how to get past the guilt.”

The Crown is seeking a sentence of eight to 10 years in prison while the defence has yet to offer a position on a penalty.

Animal-rights activists attended Tuesday’s brief hearing, as did Raugust, who sat quietly in the prisoner’s box.

As she left the courtroom, the woman waved at her grandmother, who was also present at the hearing.

— With files from Kevin Martin

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn
 

spaminator

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Toronto Zoo 'deeply saddened' by death of Amur tiger Mila in Colorado
Two-year-old tiger fell off bench while under anesthesia

Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Aug 30, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
Mila the tiger.
Mila the tiger. PHOTO BY @THETORONTOZOO/X /TORONTO SUN
The Toronto Zoo is mourning the sudden death of a former resident Amur tiger that was moved to Colorado earlier this year.


Two-year-old Mila had been on her own at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in solitary confinement after experiencing a dental issue that required surgery.


Mila was resting on a bench to let an anesthetic drug take effect peacefully when zoo officials said she slipped off the waist-high bench less than a minute later, causing a fatal spinal injury.

The tiger died on Aug. 25.

Dr. Eric Klaphake, head veterinarian at the Colorado Springs zoo, said the young Amur tiger could have slid off from that height “a hundred times” and been unaffected.

“The team quickly entered her den when it was safe and diligently tried for 40 minutes to give her life-saving care,” Klaphake said.



A Toronto Zoo spokesperson said the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is “focused on preventing this freak accident from happening in the future.”

Mila, who was born in Toronto in 2021, had been moved away from her mother, Mazy, to Cheyenne in March on a future breeding recommendation but not been seen by zoo visitors yet, according to CBS News. The outlet noted Mila was the second Amur tiger to die at the facility since 2021. Savelli, age nine, died due to complications while recovering from an artificial insemination procedure, CBS said.



Dolf DeJong, Toronto Zoo CEO, said Mila “will be deeply missed by all, and while we feel certain the connections she made with guests will stay with them for a lifetime and were an inspiration to get involved in the fight to save this endangered species in the wild. We are deeply saddened by her loss.”

The Toronto Zoo is holding a memorial for Mila throughout the long weekend from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Guests can leave a message or favourite memory of the beloved Mila at the Amur Tiger habitat.

Staff are asking community members for a donation in Mila’s honour.
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spaminator

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Crate of puppy carcasses found off side road, OPP say
Police did not observe any food or water bowls inside the cage

Author of the article:postmedia News
Postmedia News
Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles
Published Aug 30, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a case of animal cruelty in iron Bridge after a crate of puppy carcasses was found off a side road. PHOTO BY SUBMITTED PHOTO
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a case of animal cruelty in iron Bridge after a crate of puppy carcasses was found off a side road. PHOTO BY SUBMITTED PHOTO
Ontario Provincial Police discovered a crate of dog carcasses on a side road within the Municipality of Huron Shores on Monday.


Members from the OPP’s East Algoma Detachment responded to an incident of animal cruelty off Red Rock Dam Road in the Iron Bridge area shortly after 4 p.m.


Police located a large metal cage covered with what appeared to be a white/green pool filter and a grey canvas tarp.

Under the tarp were carcasses of black and brown dogs. OPP said it was difficult to determine the number of puppies due to the severe deterioration of the dogs.

In a statement, OPP said its officers “did not observe any food or water bowls inside the cage. That would suggest whomever left puppies there, left them to suffer and die.”

Anyone with information regarding this animal cruelty incident is asked to contact the East Algoma OPP Detachment at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
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spaminator

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Cops find over 30 dead dogs in New Jersey home; pair charged with animal cruelty, child endangerment
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Aug 30, 2023 • 1 minute read

EVESHAM, N.J. (AP) — Two people were charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment after police found the bodies of at least 30 dogs at a home in southern New Jersey this week.


Investigators believe up to 100 dogs died in the home, including many believed to have been buried on the property. Officers found both live and dead dogs in the residence on Monday, along with several cats and rabbits, the Evesham Police Department said.


Nine of the live dogs were taken to an animal hospital for treatment, including several that were in “extremely poor health,” authorities said. One of those dogs eventually had to be euthanized.

Rebecca Halbach, 35, and Brandon Leconey, 32, were arrested Monday in Evesham, a suburb of Philadelphia. Police went to the home after someone associated with an animal rescue group based in North Carolina, which had given the pair money to care for some of its dogs, reported seeing several malnourished and sick dogs around the property.


Authorities said a 9-year-old boy who lived in the home was removed due to the “unhealthy conditions” and was turned over to child welfare officials. It wasn’t clear if he was related to either Halbach or Leconey.

When investigators arrived at the scene, they had to open the doors and windows to air out the home before it was safe for them to be inside.

No phone numbers were listed for Halbach or Leconey in public records and authorities did not know if either one had retained an attorney who can speak on their behalf. Authorities said more charges could be filed as the investigation continues.

Leconey was being held in the Burlington County Jail, while Halbach was being evaluated at a hospital for an undisclosed medical condition.
 

spaminator

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Shooting of a brown bear leaves 2 cubs motherless and sparks outrage in Italy
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Frances D'emilio
Published Sep 01, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
In this picture made available on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 by the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo the body of she-bear 'Amarena' lies on the ground after she was shot inside the Abruzzo Park in central Italy.
In this picture made available on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 by the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo the body of she-bear 'Amarena' lies on the ground after she was shot inside the Abruzzo Park in central Italy. PHOTO BY PARCO NAZIONALED'ABRUZZO /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROME (AP) — The slaying of an endangered brown bear near an Italian national park left her two young cubs motherless and sparked outrage in Italy on Friday.


Italy’s environment minister and animal rights advocates voiced anger and dismay over the killing of the bear in the mountainous Abruzzo region. Local residents, including families with small children, had often stopped to watch the bear and her cubs during the animal family’s frequent evening excursions through streets near the park.


The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise described the slain animal, nicknamed Amarena — or Black Cherry in Italian — as one of its most prolific brown bears. Residents coined the name because cherries and black cherries were among the bear’s favorite foods, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said.

The man who shot the bear with a rifle Thursday night in the town of San Benedetto dei Marsi told police the animal was on his property and he felt in danger, the Italian news agency ANSA said.


Prosecutors were looking into a possible charge of animal killing, and police took the rifle, which was legally owned by the 56-year-old man, as part of their investigation, the LaPresse news agency said.

The marsican brown bear, endemic to central Italy, is considered at an elevated risk of extinction. The park says about 60 bears live within the park or in its surrounding areas.

“The killing of a marsican female bear is a grave episode, on which it’s dutiful to shed light as quickly as possible,” Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto said.

“Our commitment is aimed also at the protection of the bear’s cubs, doing everything possible so that they can remain free,” he said in a statement.

Drones were being used in the search for the cubs, LaPresse said.


The head of World Wildlife Fund’s Italy office, Luciano Di Tizio, called the bear’s slaying a “very grave, unjustifiable crime of nature” and the result of a “constant campaign against wildlife.”

The motherless cubs aren’t yet self-sufficient and thus are at high risk, triggering the search for them in the parklands, he added.

“A self-assured, but completely peaceful bear, Amarena was part of the collective imagination and was the subject of pride in a land that has, in the bear, a symbol” of local nature, Di Tizio said.

The theme of bear vs. humans has taken on political connotations in Italy and landed in the courts. Earlier this year, an administrative court’s ruling spared, for now, the life of a brown bear that fatally attacked a runner on a mountain trail in Italy’s Alpine region.


Local political authorities had issued an order to have the 17-year-old female bear, known as Jj4, euthanized. A court hearing on the bear’s fate is expected in December. Animal rights groups have challenged the order to put down the bear.

The brown marsican bear which was killed on Thursday is a subspecies that is genetically different from alpine bears.

Italian state TV said Friday that Amarena was the mother of another one of the park’s bears that met a violent end. That bear, which was fatally struck by a car earlier this year, earned national fame when it broke into a bakery and munched on cookies.
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Tecumsehsbones

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The man who shot the bear with a rifle Thursday night in the town of San Benedetto dei Marsi told police the animal was on his property and he felt in danger, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Well, she's black and he was in fear of his life. . .
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Brown but close enough. That whole “Right to Bear Arms” thing meant she could’ve been pack’in!
View attachment 19188
Well, the picture clearly shows she had two bear arms.

And while I disapprove of the Great White(ish) Hunter thing, preferring "Leave the damn bear alone" as a solution, it's better than "OOOooo, I wanna pet da CYOOT widdle bear!"

Though, yeah, that one's usually pretty funny. . .
 
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Ron in Regina

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Well, the picture clearly shows she had two bear arms.

And while I disapprove of the Great White(ish) Hunter thing, preferring "Leave the damn bear alone" as a solution, it's better than "OOOooo, I wanna pet da CYOOT widdle bear!"

Though, yeah, that one's usually pretty funny. . .
One of our sets of Kids & Grandkids in BC (Coldstream) have bears going through their yard & neighbourhood regularly. Just use common (bear-aware) sense & everyone can co-exist.

Right to “Bear Arms” thing…
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spaminator

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Outrage after Quebec municipality euthanizes wrong dogs
Police are investigating the deaths in Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Author of the article:Michelle Lalonde • Montreal Gazette
Published Sep 07, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read
An SQ spokesperson said they are trying to determine whether a crime has been committed in the euthanization of two dogs in Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
An SQ spokesperson said they are trying to determine whether a crime has been committed in the euthanization of two dogs in Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
The Sûreté du Québec is investigating after a euthanization order targeting three dogs deemed dangerous by the municipality of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine resulted in the killing of two other dogs.


The municipality issued a statement recently confirming that on July 26, a euthanization order was issued for three dogs that an external veterinarian, contracted by the municipality, had deemed dangerous. They included a husky, a malamute and a Labrador.


On Sept. 2, two dogs corresponding to the descriptions of two of the three “dangerous” dogs were delivered to the municipality and presented as if they were the dogs under warrant. The two dogs were not wearing identification tags and were euthanized.

The next day, “according to very disturbing information received by the municipality from a citizen, the dogs delivered the day before were in fact the dogs of another owner,” the municipality’s statement says. “An investigation is underway to shed light on the exceptional circumstances of this case and to confirm the identity of the euthanized dogs.”


Meanwhile, the three dogs deemed dangerous have not been located by the municipality.

A spokesperson for Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Isabelle Cummings, told the Montreal Gazette the municipality has filed an official complaint with the Sûreté du Québec and an investigation is underway. No further comment would be made by the municipality, she said.

SQ spokesperson Sgt. Hélène St-Pierre said on Wednesday investigators are trying to determine whether a crime has been committed, and she would not comment further for the moment.

Reports by local news media and comments on social media suggest the municipality intervened with the owner of the three dogs in question following complaints that the dogs were running loose and had killed several cats. The dogs were reportedly assessed by a veterinarian, who concluded they were dangerous with a high risk of recidivism. When the owner did not comply with the order to bring the dogs for euthanization, a warrant for seizure of the dogs was issued. The owner then declared the dogs had escaped. It is not clear who brought the two dogs in for euthanization on Sept. 2.


On Facebook, local residents expressed outrage and compassion for the owner of the two dogs that were euthanized in error.

“Maybe I am taking it too much to heart,” wrote one woman, “but I cried all day about this and when I got home, I hugged my dog so tight.”

“Every dog owner is deeply moved by this story, personally when I get home I am going to microchip my dog!” wrote another. “… We all feel solidarity with this family. We are feeling a mix of sadness, hatred and anger.”

One person noted that this is not the first time the municipality of Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine has had the wrong dog euthanized. In February 2008, the Court of Quebec issued a decision ordering the municipality to pay Georgina Deraspe $600 after her dog was euthanized.


According to that ruling, on Feb. 21, 2008, Deraspe noticed her dog, a cairn terrier, was missing. The dog was registered with the municipality and had an identification tag on its collar at the time. A week later, Deraspe learned that a veterinarian had euthanized her pet on the order of a municipal inspector.

The small dog had wandered into the yard of a home daycare. The daycare owner had contacted the municipality to report that the dog was a danger to the children in her care. According to court documents, the inspector brought the dog to a veterinarian and asked for the dog to be euthanized immediately.

“Neither before nor after the dog was put to death did (the inspector) take the time to verify the number inscribed on the tag that would have allowed him to contact the owner,” Judge Jean-Paul Lecoste wrote in his ruling. “It is difficult to not characterize the conduct of this employee as lack of judgment. He offers no serious explanation as to why he didn’t check the number on the tag, except that (the dog) was dangerous. We could understand if this was a Doberman or a German shepherd. But it was a dog hardly more dangerous than a poodle.”

mlalonde@postmedia.com
 

spaminator

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Probe of Florida building collapse that killed 98 to be completed by June 2025, US investigators say
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Curt Anderson
Published Sep 07, 2023 • 2 minute read

The probe into the 2021 collapse of a beachfront condominium building that killed 98 people in South Florida should be completed by the fourth anniversary of the disaster, federal officials said Thursday.


The investigation led by the National Institute of Standards & Technology is looking into two dozen different scenarios that could explain why the 12-story Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida, abruptly failed early in the morning of June 24, 2021, they said. Surfside is a suburb north of Miami.


“We’re still not prepared to close the door on any of them yet,” said Glenn Bell, associate team lead of the Champlain Towers probe. “We are still testing, testing, testing.”

Bell told a meeting of NIST’s National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee on Thursday that most of the intensive work on such things as concrete core samples, corrosion in reinforcing bars and evidence of subpar construction in the 40-year-old building will be done by next spring, followed by a final report and recommendations by June 2025.


“We are driving hard now to complete this investigation by the fourth anniversary of the collapse. This investigation is one of the most complex and challenging of its type ever undertaken,” he said.

Much attention has focused on the pool deck, which investigators previously said failed to comply with the original building codes and standards, with many areas of severe strength deficiency that likely contributed to the disaster. Officials said Thursday the pool area remains a central focus, along with the garage beneath it.

“The interaction of the pool deck and the tower is really important in the progression of the collapse,” Bell said.

There also were studies done on the ground underneath the building to determine whether sinkholes, underground voids or soil irregularities might have played a role. Investigators have not found evidence that was a factor.


Judith Mitrani-Reiser, the Champlain Towers investigative team lead, said 24 computer hard drives have been recovered that might have video or other evidence that could help explain what happened. Photos were shown at Thursday’s meeting of a seventh-floor unit where a video camera on a table captured some debris falling from above before the building collapsed.

That kind of evidence is invaluable, she said.

“The information from the public has been just an amazing asset to our investigation,” Mitrani-Reiser said. “A different angle would really be tremendous. We are really at the mercy of what we can find.”

Meanwhile, at the site in Surfside, Dubai-based DAMAC International, plans to construct a building with 57 units ranging in size from 4,000 to 9,000 square feet (360 to 810 square meters). The luxury building would include a business center, event space and two pools, according to plans submitted to Surfside.

A judge last June approved a settlement topping $1 billion for victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse, one of the worst building failures in U.S. history.

The money comes from 37 different sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms and a luxury condominium whose recent construction next door is suspected of contributing to structural damage of Champlain Towers South. None of the parties admit any wrongdoing.

Plans are also still in the works for a permanent memorial to the victims.
 
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spaminator

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Ian Wilmut, a British scientist who led the team that cloned Dolly the Sheep, dies at age 79
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Sep 11, 2023 • 1 minute read

LONDON — Ian Wilmut, the cloning pioneer whose work was critical to the creation of Dolly the Sheep in 1996, has died, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said Monday. He was 79.


Wilmut set off a global discussion about the ethics of cloning when he announced that his team at the university’s Roslin Institute for animal biosciences had cloned Dolly using the nucleus of a cell from an adult sheep.


It marked the first time that a genetically identical mammal was created from an adult cell and spurred questions about the potential cloning of humans.

Dolly the Sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, is shown in this undated photo.
Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, is shown in this undated photo. PHOTO BY FILE PHOTO /Getty Images
Wilmut later focused on using cloning techniques to make stem cells that could be used in regenerative medicine.

“With the sad news today of Ian Wilmut’s passing, science has lost a household name,” Bruce Whitelaw, the director of the Roslin Institute, said. “Ian led the research team that produced the first cloned mammal in Dolly. This animal has had such a positive impact on how society engages with science, and how scientists engage with society.”

 

spaminator

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Calgary psychopathic serial cat killer given stiffest sentence on record
The judge said Aleeta Raugust showed 'bleak hope for rehabilitation' in her psychiatric assessment

Author of the article:Kevin Martin
Published Sep 14, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
"I'm concerned about the day she does get out of jail. She's not pet-sitting for me," said Justice Mike Dinkel.
"I'm concerned about the day she does get out of jail. She's not pet-sitting for me," said Justice Mike Dinkel.
In what is believed to be the harshest sentence given to a Canadian animal abuser, a Calgary judge on Thursday handed a psychopathic, serial cat killer a 6 1/2-year prison term.


Aleeta Raugust showed no emotion as Justice Mike Dinkel handed down his judgment, the stiffest animal-abuse case found on record.


Dinkel said Raugust’s crimes, if sentenced individually, would have garnered a sentence of more than 12 years.

But he said when considering a global term, that should be reduced to eight years.

The Calgary Court of Justice judge said even that term, however, would be exceedingly crushing to the 26-year-old offender, and reduced her total sentence to 78 months.

With credit for time she has already spent on remand, Raugust must serve an additional 66.5 months, or roughly 5 1/2 years, Dinkel said.

Crown prosecutor Rose Greenwood had sought a punishment in the eight- to 10-year range, arguing the multiple aggravating factors in the case warranted a stiffer sanction.


But defence lawyer Moira McAvoy said an appropriate sentence would have been five years.

Neither the Crown nor defence were able to find a precedent case close to that figure.

Offender found to be ‘psychopath and sociopath with bleak hope for rehabilitation’
Dinkel noted the prognosis for Raugust is not optimistic.

He referred to an extensive psychiatric assessment that found she was a strong threat to reoffend.

“In the end, Raugust was found to be a psychopath and sociopath with bleak hope for rehabilitation,” Dinkel said.

Raugust earlier pleaded guilty to nine animal-abuse charges involving cruelty to nine felines, seven of which she killed.

She also pleaded guilty to a charge of uttering threats when she said she would burn down her apartment building if released from hospital, after she was admitted with suicidal thoughts last Jan. 23.


Dinkel said a harsh sentence was warranted, at one point expressing concern for what would happen once she is released.

“I’m concerned about the day she does get out of jail. She’s not pet-sitting for me,” he said, when McAvoy noted her client would have to be freed eventually.

“I find these offences against defenceless and vulnerable cats to be grave,” he said.

“I also find that Raugust’s moral blameworthiness is very high based on the results of the psychiatric report, which concludes that she is a psychopath with moderate to high likelihood to reoffend.”




The judge acknowledged Canadians find animal abuse abhorrent, but he said he also had to apply the law and not succumb to public pressure.

“I have no doubt that the Canadian public wants to see tougher sentencing with respect to these types of cases,” he said.

“I understand and accept that certain members of the public will find any sentence I impose inadequate, however, I must not be swayed by such thinking,” Dinkel said.

“As much as I may find personally the actions of Raugust to be abhorrent and unconscionable, my duty is to focus on the need for denunciation and deterrence, and balance that with the principle of restraint,” he said.

“Simply put, I must apply the law.”

After handing down his sentence, Dinkel addressed Raugust directly.

“Ms. Raugust, the prognosis for you is not great. Feel free to prove them wrong. Good luck.”

KMartin@postmedia.com

X: @KMartinCourts
 

spaminator

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Canada announces $5 million for Libya flood victims as death toll mounts
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Sep 15, 2023 • 1 minute read

OTTAWA — Canada is announcing $5 million in aid for groups helping people in Libya who have been displaced by disastrous flooding.


International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said the money will help provide emergency health care, water and shelter to northeast Libya through groups like United Nations agencies and the Red Crescent.


The flooding started last Sunday, when storm Daniel caused dams to burst.

Some 10,000 people are missing and presumed dead in a disaster that has already claimed more than 11,000 lives.

Libyan authorities warned Friday that waterborne disease and explosive ordnance that shifted during the flood could claim even more lives.

The country’s two opposing governments, who have been divided for years by civil strife and war, have struggled to respond.

— With files from The Associated Press
 
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