Archive for June 2019

Our live coverage has ended. This is an archived live blog.

Latest updates:
-Death toll rises to 11
-Russia has opened a terrorism case as a result of blast
-Authorities clarify only 1 blast occurred, not multiple
-Russian anti-terrorism committee says it found, deactivated a bomb at a second subway station
-Officials say suspect was 23-year old who came from ex-Soviet Central Asia and was linked to radical Islamist groups
-Search warrants have been issued for at least 2 people

WATCH: At least 11 people are dead after a bomb exploded on a subway in St. Petersburg, Russia. As Jeff Semple reports, terrorism is suspected, but all possible causes are being investigated.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – A bomb blast tore through a subway train deep under Russia’s second-largest city Monday, killing 11 people and wounding more than 40 in a chaotic scene that left victims sprawled on a smoky platform. Hours later, anguish and fear rose again when police found and defused a shrapnel-packed explosive device at another St. Petersburg station.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came while President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city, his hometown. In the past two decades, Russian trains and planes have been frequent targets of terrorism, usually blamed on Islamic militants.

News reports initially said police were searching for two suspects, and Russian state television showed a photo of one suspect wearing what appeared to be a skullcap characteristic of Russia’s Muslim regions. However, the Interfax news agency later cited unspecified sources as saying police now suspect the blast was the work of a suicide bomber linked to radical Islamists.

Deadly blast rocks St. Petersburg metro

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Deadly blast rocks St. Petersburg metro

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At least 9 reportedly killed in St. Petersburg subway explosion

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Video shows St. Petersburg explosion victims on ground, rescue crews rushing to scene

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Putin says not yet clear what caused St. Petersburg metro blast



The National Anti-Terrorism Committee said it was looking for the “perpetrators and organizers of the terror attack.”

St. Petersburg, a major tourist destination famed for its imperial palaces and lavish art museums, had been spared previous attacks.

READ MORE: Russia may use St. Petersburg bombing as reason to tighten control: expert

“From now on, I will be scared to take the subway,” said Marina Ilyina, 30, who brought flowers to the station where the train stopped after the bombing. “We in St. Petersburg thought we wouldn’t be touched by that.”

The explosion occurred in midafternoon as the train travelled between stations on one of the city’s north-south lines.

The driver chose to continue on to the next stop, Technological Institute, a decision praised by the Investigative Committee as aiding evacuation efforts and reducing the danger to passengers who would have had to walk along the electrified tracks.

The National Anti-Terrorism Committee said the death toll was 11, with another 45 people being treated for wounds in hospitals.

Amateur video broadcast by Russian TV showed people lying on the platform of the Technological Institute station, and others bleeding and weeping just after the damaged train pulled in.

“Everything was covered in smoke. There were a lot of firefighters,” Maria Smirnova, a student on a train behind the stricken one, told independent TV station Dozhd.

Within two hours of the blast, authorities had found and deactivated another bomb at another busy station, Vosstaniya Square, the anti-terror agency said. That station is a major transfer point for passengers on two lines and serves the railway station to Moscow.

Russian law enforcement agencies confirmed the device was loaded with shrapnel, and the Interfax news agency said it contained up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of explosives.

Interfax cited an unidentified law enforcement official saying that investigators think the suspected suicide bomber left the bomb at the Vosstaniya Square station before blowing himself up on the train.

The agency said authorities believe the suspect, a 23-year old who came from ex-Soviet Central Asia and was linked to radical Islamist groups, carried the explosive device onto the train in a rucksack.

Asked about the report, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov wouldn’t comment, saying it’s up to law enforcement agencies to comment on details of the probe.

The entire St. Petersburg subway system was shut down and evacuated, but partial service resumed after about six hours.

Security was immediately tightened at all of the country’s key transportation sites, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee said. Moscow officials said that included the subway in the Russian capital.

Putin, who meeting with the president of Belarus at the Constantine Palace on the city’s outskirts, offered condolences on national television.

“Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services are doing their best to establish the cause and give a full picture of what happened,” a sombre-looking Putin said.

He later laid flowers outside the Technological Institute station, where the damaged train arrived after the explosion.

Some residents of St. Petersburgh, a city of 5 million, responded with both dismay and determination.

“They won’t succeed in breaking up our country. We are all citizens of one country despite various political views and religious beliefs,” said 24-year-old Alexander Malikov, who brought flowers and candles to an improvised memorial outside one of the stations.

The bombing drew widespread condemnation.

President Donald Trump said it was “absolutely a terrible thing.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. was prepared to offer assistance to Russia.

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, which is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces along with Russia, says the incident was the type of “terrorism” Russia was fighting in Syria.

Wounded treated by emergency services at scene of St. Petersburg metro blast

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Wounded treated by emergency services at scene of St. Petersburg metro blast

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Emergency services, helicopter at scene of St. Petersburg metro station blast

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Hundreds gather outside St. Petersburg subway station following explosion

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Stream of commuters outside subway station in St. Petersburg following deadly blast



Most of the terrorist attacks in Russia have been connected to the insurgency in Chechnya and other Caucasus republics in the southern part of the country.

The last confirmed attack was in October 2015 when Islamic State militants downed a Russian airliner heading from an Egyptian resort to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.

The Dec. 25, 2016, crash of a Russian plane near the southern city of Sochi that killed 92 people, including members of the Red Army Choir, is widely believed to have been due to a bomb, but no official cause has been given.

Two female suicide bombers killed 40 people and wounded more than 100 in the Moscow subway on March 29, 2010. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the attack, warning Russian leaders that “the war is coming to their cities.”

A Moscow-to-St. Petersburg train was bombed on Nov. 27, 2009, in an attack that left 26 dead and 100 injured. Umarov’s group also said he ordered this attack.

Russian airports also have been targeted. On Jan. 24, 2011, a suicide bomber blew himself up at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, killing 37 people and wounding 180. The same airport in August 2004 saw Islamic suicide bombers board two airplanes and bring them down, killing a total of 90 people.

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Vasilyeva reported from Moscow. Vladimir Isachenkov and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.

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A lion and a bear, just rescued from Mosul’s zoo, are waiting at a checkpoint in northern Iraq to fly to safety outside the country.

The two animals nearly starved to death in their cages while battle raged around them in the Iraqi city earlier this year.

READ MORE: Starving bear, lion the lone survivors found at Mosul zoo once held by ISIS

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Related

  • U.S. claims responsibility for Mosul airstrike that locals claim killed 200 civilians

  • Civilians flee hunger, shelling in besieged Mosul

  • 90-year-old rescued from Mosul says ISIS war worse than Saddam Hussein reign

    Mosul is being contested by Iraqi government forces and Islamic State militants.

    Several other animals at the zoo died from neglect but these two were finally rescued by the animal charity Four Paws.

    The first attempt to move them met with failure as Kurdish authorities denied them entry into their autonomous region last Tuesday and they had to be moved back into the zoo.

    The city of Mosul lies inside Iraq while the nearest international airport is in Irbil, in the self-governing territory of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Another attempt was made on Thursday and the animals are still stuck at a checkpoint between Mosul and Irbil.

    They are being taken care of by a veterinary team but are in ill health: the bear suffers from pneumonia, while the lion has a joint condition.

    Four Paws said on Sunday it was optimistic that the animals would be allowed to cross into Kurdish territory and leave the country in the coming days to a new home.

    There are several other animals stuck in the decrepit zoo, including three monkeys, three peacocks, two goats and a pregnant horse.

NEW YORK – President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is due to spend Monday in Iraq with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior administration official said.

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The official did not release additional details about the trip in which Kushner is accompanying Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. The official said that Kushner wanted to see the situation in Iraq for himself and show support for the Baghdad government.

The administration official who provided the information late Sunday wasn’t authorized to speak about confidential meetings by name and demanded anonymity.

Kushner’s West Wing portfolio is robust. He has been deeply involved with presidential staffing, recently launched a task force meant to modernize government using lessons drawn from the private sector, and has played the role of shadow diplomat, advising on relations with the Middle East, Canada and Mexico.

READ MORE: Jared Kushner to testify in Russian probe after connection with Russian bank surfaces

And though Kushner had no previous diplomatic or government experience, Trump also tasked him with trying to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump told Kushner at a gala a few days before his inauguration.

Kushner was also the latest Trump associate to be swept up into the ongoing probe into contacts with Russian officials. The White House confirmed last week that he had volunteered to be interviewed by the Senate intelligence committee. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the committee’s chairman, said that Kushner would likely be under oath and would submit to a “private interview” about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials.

Kushner is married to Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka. He was expected to have a major role in meetings later this week between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s winter retreat in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Iraq trip was first reported by The New York Times.

Kushner’s trip began against a backdrop of an ongoing investigation into civilian deaths in an area of Mosul near the site of an air-strike by U.S.-led coalition forces last month.

His visit marks an early foray for the Trump administration into the situation in Iraq and came just two weeks after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was assured by the president the U.S. will accelerate its support for his country’s struggle against the Islamic State group.

READ MORE: Who in Trump’s inner circle doesn’t have ties to Russia?

Al-Abadi met with Trump and Kushner in Washington recently and said he had the impression that the United States would take a more aggressive approach, although he did not say what that might entail.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis recently presented Trump with the outlines of a comprehensive approach to defeating IS and other extremist groups on a global scale, but specifics have yet to be worked out. Officials have indicated that the approach is unlikely to depart radically from the Obama administration’s strategy, at least with regard to ongoing efforts in Iraq and Syria.

Iraq was part of the Trump administration’s original travel ban but was removed from the revised version after a request from the Pentagon and the State Department highlighting Iraq’s key role in fighting the Islamic State. The second travel ban, which restrictions immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, has been halted by a federal court. The U.S. Justice Department has announced an appeal.

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Associated Press writers Vivian Salama and Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.

Stephen Harper may be gone from federal politics but the former prime minister’s Calgary riding and that of former Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney remained true blue in a pair of byelections Monday.

In Calgary Heritage, Bob Benzen was leading with about 70 per cent of the vote, well clear of the Liberals’ Scott Forsyth at 22.6 per cent.

“Many people have pointed out to me that I have some really big shoes to fill and it’s true,” Benzen told cheering supporters.

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He thanked Harper for his friendship and advice during the campaign and also the former prime minister’s wife, Laureen, his youngest brother, Robert, and his mother, Margaret.

“Once again the voters in Calgary Heritage have elected a Conservative to elect the productive middle-class values of prudence, hard work, merit and risk taking,” said Robert Harper, who served as Benzen’s honorary campaign chairman.

“The voters of Calgary Heritage have once again rejected the false gleam of the Jane Austen middle class (to) which Justin Trudeau belongs.

“Bob, like real middle-class Canadians, knows that doing a job means working hard and doing the job he’s been elected to, unlike a middle-aged Justin Trudeau, who acts like a preening adolescent, pretending to do a job.”

Benzen told reporters voters have sent a message to the federal Liberals that they do not want a carbon tax and need support for jobs, especially in the struggling energy sector.

He said it was essential that the Conservatives maintain Harper’s legacy in Calgary Heritage.

“If I couldn’t hold the prime minister’s riding that would have been a terrible defeat for me and a terrible defeat for the Conservative party,” Benzen said.

In Calgary Midnapore, Conservative Stephanie Kusie cruised to an easy win, posting 76.5 per cent of the vote with just over half of polls reporting, leaving her closest rival Liberal candidate Haley Brown at 17.6 per cent.

“I would like to thank the Conservative Party of Canada, the 22nd prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, and 19-year member of Parliament and my predecessor Jason Kenney,” Kusie said.

She told reporters that the byelections in Calgary have given a voice to those who are frustrated with the way things have been going.

“I think it sends a message that the Liberal Party policies, Justin’s policies, are not working here in Calgary Midnapore. The electorate has shown that…they are not satisfied with the job the Liberal Party is doing.”

READ MORE:
2 byelection signs set on fire in Calgary-Midnapore riding

Advance polls for both ridings were held on March 24, 25, 26 and 27.

In total, five seats were up for grabs in the byelection, including two in Ontario and one in Quebec.

Calgary-Heritage candidate list:

Khalis Ahmed – New Democratic Party

Bob Benzen – Conservative Party of Canada

Scott Forsyth – Liberal Party of Canada

Stephen J.  Garvey – National Advancement Party of Canada

Darcy Gerow – Libertarian Party of Canada

Taryn Knorren   – Green Party of Canada

Jeff Willerton – Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Calgary-Midnapore candidate list:

Haley Brown – Liberal Party of Canada

Kulbir Singh Chawla – National Advancement Party of Canada

Larry R. Heather – Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Holly Heffernan – New Democratic Party

Stephanie Kusie – Conservative Party of Canada

Ryan Zedic – Green Party of Canada

With files from Melissa Gilligan

Monday’s suck, but Am640’s The Morning Show can help make the start to your week that much better.

Here are some highlights from today’s show:

Ontario creating service to help people access medically assisted dying.
Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying with Dignity Canadajoins The Morning Show to discuss.

Corus Radio, Global News team up with Longo’s for April Foods Day.
Rosanne Longo, Longo’s Spokesperson and Chair of Longo’s Family Charitable Foundation, spoke with Matt and Supriya about this year’s April Foods Day drive.

If you’d like to donate please visit the the Daily Bread Food Bank. Thank you for your support!

OPP charge 12 drivers with stunt driving, impound luxury cars after Hwy. 400 incident.
Amedeo DiCarlo, lawyer representing alleged stunt drivers stopped by the OPP, tells us about his clients’ encounter with the OPP.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the OPP speaks to the charges laid against the alleged stunt drivers.

Mayor John Tory picks Michelle Holland to prep Toronto for hi-tech future.
Michelle Holland, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 35-Scarborough, joined The Morning Show to talk about her new task.

Where you live in Ontario could impact your risk of heart attack or stroke, study indicates.
Dr. Jack Tu, Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and lead author of the study, joined The Morning Show to discuss.

Unfounded: Mishandling of sex-assault cases violates right to equality, lawsuit alleges.
Robyn Doolittle, investigative reporter with The Globe and Mail, speaks to the case of Ava Williams.

Those are your highlights from today’s show! Consider yourself in the know. Catch The Morning Show live Monday to Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

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