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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gunman takes eight lives in Edmonton; one in Calgary

   Canada column for Sunday, Jan. 4/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   A suicidal man with a criminal history killed six adults and two children in Edmonton in an act that police said was fueled by domestic problems.
   Also in Alberta, a New Year’s Eve party in Calgary turned deadly when a gunman shot seven people, with one of them dying of his wounds.
   Police called the Edmonton slayings a “planned and deliberate” act of domestic violence.
   Sources say Phu Lam, 53. then took his own life at an Asian restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan where he worked.
   His first victim was Cyndi Duong, 37, a married mother of three, at her home in southwest Edmonton.
   A few hours later, police discovered seven bodies in a northeast Edmonton home owned by Lam. They were two men, three woman and a young boy and girl.
   Police said they were awaiting autopsy results before releasing their names and relationship to the shooter.
   In Calgary, gunshots were reported at a house party attended by about 50 people.
   Abdullahi Ahmed, 26, a native of Somalia, was shot in the head and died while six others were wounded. Police said that so far they have established no motive.


   Three shootings in the past week in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, have raised concerns about escalating gang violence there.
   Yaqoub Ali, 26, was arrested for firearms offenses after a man in his 20s was shot in the foot at an outlet shopping mall on Dec. 26.
   Last Monday, a man was wounded by gunfire on a downtown street and later that day, numerous shots were fired in a suburban neighborhood wounding a teenager.
   Acting Police Chief Jill Skinner said the force is “significantly increasing the number of guns and gangs investigators looking into those cases.”
   In Toronto, Christopher Husbands was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting deaths of two people at the Eaton Center food court that prosecutors said was a revenge killing.
   Husbands, 25, who also wounded five bystanders, will be sentenced later this month.


    News in brief:
   - Government figures show that 176 people have been refused entry to Canada under the partial travel ban for those arriving from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. The government put the controversial measure into place in October to bar people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from receiving visas to come to Canada. As well, the government has stopped processing visa and visitor applications from there.
   - Ontario has enacted tough new rules making it illegal to smoke on outdoor bar and restaurant patios, playgrounds and public sports fields. The sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at universities and colleges is also banned. It said tobacco kills 13,000 people in Ontario annually and causes an estimated $2.2 billion in direct health care costs.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has dropped to 85.16 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.1742 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,707 points and the TSX Venture index 699 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline across Canada is down to 95.48 cents (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Dec. 31) 6, 7, 8, 29, 35 and 45; bonus 12. (Dec. 27) 7, 22, 26, 27, 42 and 47; bonus 28. Lotto Max: (Dec. 26) 15, 20, 29, 39, 40, 43 and 46; bonus 12.


   Regional briefs:
   - Winnipeg’s six hospitals are coping with an outbreak of flu cases as more than 900 people turned up for treatment at emergency rooms on Saturday last week. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the severity of the illness has pushed the admission rate to more than 20 percent.
   - Three men and a young girl were killed and three others injured in snowmobile and ATV incidents in Quebec. Police said two snowmobiles collided on the St. George River in Alma, killing one man and injuring three others. A seven-year-old girl died when a snowmobile rolled over near Clova and two 18-year-old men died when an all-terrain vehicle flipped in St-Lambert-de-Lauzon.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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