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Legal clinic challenges Ontario panhandling law as unconstitutional

TORONTO A Toronto legal clinic has launched a constitutional challenge against an Ontario law that targets panhandling. The Fair Change clinic argues that the Safe Streets Act violates the rights of people who beg for money, including freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The clinic says the law enacted in 2000 to address aggressive panhandling and squeegeeing criminalizes poverty. It says people ticketed under the act are unable to pay the fines.

Gerry Williams, a former Fair Change client, says he faced nearly $10,000 in tickets for panhandling, which the clinic helped him appeal. Williams, who says he had a traumatic upbringing on a fly-in First Nation, says the fines he could never have paid added an extra burden to his homelessness, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder. A previous constitutional challenge failed after the courts agreed the law infringed on individual charter rights, but said the infringement was justified in the interests of public safety.

A spokesman for Ontario s attorney general did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Movie ‘Triumph’ – Castanet.net

Movie 'Triumph' - Castanet.netPhoto: Kate Bouey Triumph Coffee in Vernon was used as a movie location Wednesday.

Rolling! shouted the director as a movie scene was shot at a Vernon coffee house, Wednesday.

Extras and film hands were seen inside Triumph Coffee on 30th Avenue around noon, with movie lights shining inside the building which was closed to the public. At least a half dozen trucks for lighting and gear lined a nearby street. The coffee shop was one of a number of locations in the North Okanagan being used in the production of a thriller called ‘Distorted’.

‘Distorted’ stars Christina Ricci, John Cusack and Brendan Fletcher and is being directed by Rob W. King. The Canadian production company behind the film is Minds Eye Entertainment out of Saskatchewan. People walking down the street had to move around extra equipment lying on the sidewalk under the eye of a security guard.

Paddlewheel Park was also the scene of some movie action while the former glass plant in Lavington was to be used as another film location this week, according to someone involved in the production. The movie is also being shot in Kelowna. This is the third feature film that Minds Eye has shot in the Okanagan Valley.

Man who stabbed Michigan police officer a Canadian resident: FBI

A Quebec man entered an airport in Michigan on Wednesday, yelled Allahu akbar and stabbed a security officer in the neck, according to U.S. federal prosecutors who said they are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. Amor Ftouhi, 49, was arrested shortly after the incident and was charged with committing violence at an airport, FBI special agent in charge David Gelios told a news conference. Gelios said the incident happened at 9:45 a.m. at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, about 80 kilometres northwest of Detroit.

Ftouhi entered the United States legally in Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and made his way to Flint on Wednesday morning, he said.

We do know Mr. Ftouhi entered the airport, he spent a little time on the first level, then he went upstairs he spent some time in the restaurant up there, Gelios said.

Then he came out, he was carrying baggage. He went into a restroom. He spent a little time in the restroom. Dropped both bags and came out, pulled out a knife, yelled Allahu akbar, and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck. Lt. Jeff Neville with the Bishop International Airport police underwent surgery and his condition was upgraded from critical to stable, said Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. Ftouhi appeared in federal court later Wednesday and heard the charge against him. He will get a court-appointed attorney and court spokesman David Ashenfelter said he will remain in custody until a bond hearing next Wednesday.

Authorities said there was no immediate indication Ftouhi was involved in a wider plot, but the investigation is in its early stages. The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed Neville with a large knife and declared Allahu akbar, the Arabic phrase for God is great. The FBI, which is leading the investigation, said Ftouhi said something similar to you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.

As we progress and take this matter to grand jury for indictment, other charges could be pending later on, Gelios said. It s an ongoing investigation, there are joint operations going on in Canada as we speak. We want to thank our Canadian partners who are helping us further investigate this attack. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a heinous and cowardly attack.

There is complete co-operation between the RCMP and other Canadian authorities and agencies with all of their counterparts in the United States and we will do everything we possibly can to assist in this matter, Goodale told reporters in Ottawa.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement he was proud of the swift response by authorities from both nations. He said the attack was being investigated as an act of terrorism and added it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Canadian TV footage showed police escorting at least one person away from a four-storey Montreal apartment building where the suspect is believed to have lived. There was a significant police presence outside the building.

City police spokesman Benoit Boiselle said officers with the department were assisting the RCMP in a search of the apartment. He said the FBI requested the search after the attack. Meanwhile, witnesses in Flint described seeing the suspect led away in handcuffs by police, Neville bleeding and a knife on the ground.

The cop was on his hands and knees bleeding from his neck, Ken Brown told local media.

Cherie Carpenter, who was awaiting a flight to Texas to see her new grandchild, told a local TV station she saw the attacker being led away in handcuffs. She described the man in custody as appearing blank, just totally blank.

With files from The Associated Press

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