What are ‘sovereign citizens’? Baton Rouge shooter joined anti-government group, changed name

Gavin Long, the gunman who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge in an ambush-style attack, identified with an anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement who don’t believe they’re subject to federal and state laws, including paying taxes or getting a driver’s license.

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The 29-year-old resident of Kansas City, Missouri, filed documents in May 2015 declaring himself a member of the United Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah, a group that believes black people were the original inhabitants of the U.S. and changed his name to “Cosmo Setepenra,” according to court records obtained by the Kansas City Star.

READ MORE: Gunman ‘was seeking out’ police in ‘ambush’ on 6 officers

So-called sovereign citizens believe themselves to be above the laws of  the land say experts, and have a history of violent confrontations with police.

“[Sovereign citizens] is a social and political group or movement who believe in a variety of conspiracy theories and worldviews that the government is a hostile entity that is out to essentially take away the rights and privileges of law abiding citizens such as themselves,” David Hofmann, an assistant professor of Sociology at University of New Brunswick told Global News.

“A lot of [sovereign citizens] pick and choose what they want to believe, but the overarching theme is they want to disconnect themselves from what they see as a hostile federal or state government.”

WATCH: Baton Rouge shooter calls for ‘bloodshed’ in YouTube video made prior to his death

In various social media posts linked to accounts under the name “Cosmo Setepenra,” Long discussed his anger at the recent killing of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police and argued African-Americans should utilize force, not peaceful protests to fight “oppression.”

“100 percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppression, from victims fighting their bullies, 100 percent have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed,” he said in a video

READ MORE: What we know about gunman Gavin Long who killed 3 police officers

Sovereign-citizens have been classified by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern Poverty Law Center as extremists, with the FBI labelling them as a “domestic terrorist movement.”

A 2013-2014 survey by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, found that law enforcement agencies perceived the sovereign-citizens movement as the top threat in the U.S., ahead of jihadists.

In recent years there have been several law enforcement officers killed during traffic stops with those identifying themselves as “sovereign citizens.”

In 2012, two deputies were killed and two more wounded in Louisiana after a shootout with several heavily armed suspects tied to the “sovereign citizens” ideology. And in 2010, sovereign citizen Jerry Kane, together with his son Joseph Kane, died in a shootout with police after killing two cops in Arkansas.

Sovereign citizens connected to Freeman-on-the-land?

WATCH ABOVE: Police dispatch calls reveal frantic moments following shooting in Baton Rouge

A similar ideology exists in Canada known as Freeman-on-the-land. It originated in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, and members of the movement believe they can declare themselves sovereign by cutting all ties with government.

“[Freemen] use pseudo legal documentation and ritualistic behaviour to ‘sever’ themselves from the government,” said Hofmann, who has studied the freeman movement in Canada. “They believe that one has to consent in order to be governed.”

Members of the Freemen movement argue that by opting out of things like health cards and social insurance numbers they are exempt from government laws.

READ MORE: Alberta justice minister says he has ‘had it’ with Freeman-on-the-Land movement

A declassified 2012 report from the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), described freemen as extremists capable of serious domestic terrorism.

CSIS estimated there were 30,000 freemen in Canada, although Hofmann disputes that number saying it likely includes sympathizers and not just active members.

Hofmann says while the majority of Freeman don’t directly pose a threat to national security there are a few members of the “radical fringe who engage in violence.”

Last year, Norman Raddatz shot and killed Const. Daniel Woodall, and wounded Sgt. Jason Harley in Edmonton before setting fire to his home.

In 2012, two RCMP officers were shot in Killam, Alberta after two men, Bradford Clarke and his nephew Sawyer Robison, refused to allow the RCMP to execute a search warrant for a handgun and opened fire on the officers at the scene.

CAMH pleads guilty to workplace safety charge after beating of nurse, fined $80K

TORONTO – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health was fined $80,000 Monday after pleading guilty to failing to implement procedures to protect a nurse from workplace violence.

It was one of four workplace safety charges against CAMH related to an incident in January 2014 at a facility in Toronto, where a nurse was beaten by a patient. The three other charges were withdrawn by the Ministry of Labour.

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Line Forestier, the lawyer representing the ministry, said in an agreed statement of facts that the nurse was working the night shift when she was attacked.

READ MORE: CAMH faces 4 charges in nurse’s beating

She said the nurse was out patrolling the halls alone, when a patient grabbed her from behind, pushed her to the floor and beat her. As a result of the attack, the nurse suffered a fracture to her eye socket, impaired vision and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The nurse was wearing an alarm around her neck called a “screamer,” Forestier read from the statement. But those alarms work by emitting a loud noise – they aren’t hardwired into the building’s communications system – and don’t automatically trigger a building-wide alert.

Forestier said that a second nurse came to the first nurse’s aid, and she now also suffers from PTSD related to the incident.

Neither of the nurses have been able to return to work in the two-and-a-half years since the incident, court heard.

READ MORE: Union claims staff cuts partly to blame for patient beating of nurse

Rob Little, the attorney representing CAMH, noted that since the incident, the procedure surrounding night patrols has changed. Now nurses patrol the halls in pairs, rather than individually.

Ontario Court Judge Robert Bigelow ordered CAMH to pay a fine of $80,000.

The Ministry of Labour had asked for a fine of $100,000.

Representatives from the Ontario Nurses Association and Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the unions that represent nurses at CAMH, said they weren’t happy with the ruling.

They said that the hospital should have been fined the maximum allowed by the law – $500,000 per charge.

Dr. Rani Srivastava, chief of nursing at CAMH, said in a written statement that the incident had a “devastating impact” on “all of us at CAMH.”

“We deeply regret that we failed to meet our obligations for workplace safety, and that our valued staff members were injured.”

Gambling on U.S. election is most popular novelty betting in B.C.

With the Republican Party Convention kicking off today, American politics is one of the hottest conversation topics on social media, but it’s also becoming a popular gambling ground here in B.C.

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Americans don’t get to vote until November, but U.S. election bets are already the most popular novelty betting category on the BC Lottery Corporation’s website PlayNow长沙桑拿.

Doug Cheng with BCLC says only B.C. residents get to bet on anything from the gender of the next Royal baby to who is going to play the next James Bond on their website, which is the only legal gambling online portal in the province.

“With novelty betting, we try to tap into water cooler topics and current events that people either are talking about or we think they will talk about,” says Cheng. “So if we know people are talking about a certain topic, we want to give them an outlet to be proactive and have some fun with it as well, and these wagers are a way for us to do that.”

Cheng says BCLC was the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer novelty betting on the U.S. Election in 2014 through its website.

He says since then, the popularity of the bets has steadily increased, especially as Donald Trump gained momentum at the turn of the year when he started to solidify his status as the front-runner.

READ MORE: Donald Trump completes sweep; declares himself ‘presumptive nominee’

“The timing just worked out great for us with the convention coming up today and also the fact that Trump is such a contentious candidate that it’s an ongoing water cooler topic,” says Cheng.

PlayNow长沙桑拿 has a number of wagers on the U.S. elections, ranging from who will be the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate to whether an independent candidate will win the election.

Currently, Hillary Clinton has the edge over Donald Trump with 2 to 5 odds.

Trump’s odds of winning the presidency are currently slightly under 2 to 1. Cheng says Trump’s odds have vastly improved from his odds of 100 to 1 in January 2015.

The site also offered betting on Brexit vote results, but has not dabbled in Canadian politics yet.

“I think in general, Canadians pay a lot of attention to American politics, because obviously what happens there politically has an impact on us here,” says Cheng. “Someone would even argue that American politics is more interesting than Canadian politics anyway. We also have a candidate like Donald Trump, who dominates headlines with things he says and does. That definitely has been a big driver for us.”

Bail denied for controversial Edmonton landlord facing more charges

Abudullah Shah, also known as Carmen Pervez, was arrested Friday and charged with a slew of offences, including careless use of a firearm.

Edmonton police executed a search warrant on a property near 93 Street and 111 Avenue on Friday afternoon.

Ammunition, an edged weapon and stolen property were found and seized, EPS said.

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    Shah was arrested and charged with two counts of careless use of a firearm, possession of an offensive weapon dangerous to the public, two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and three counts of breaching recognizance.

    READ MORE: Stop work order issued to Edmonton hookah bar, site of New Year’s shooting

    Tuesday morning, Shah was denied bail.

    Several community members attended the bail hearing.

    “Jail is where he belongs,” McCauley resident David Williamson said. “I don’t think he should be out on the street on bail.”

    Williamson lives a few doors down from one of Shah’s properties.

    “I’ve been threatened and intimidated by his associates,” Williamson added.

    READ MORE: Edmonton landlord, 2 others face charges after nearly 2 pounds of meth seized  

    Earlier this year, the landlord was charged with numerous drug offences.

    After a drug seizure in April at the same address, Shah was charged with five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

    At that time, police seized two pounds of meth, hundreds of pills, as well as roughly $8,600 in cash. The street value of the drugs was estimated to be over $96,000.

    “I’ve witnessed first hand the effects – the detrimental effects – on a community and his tenants,” Williamson said on Tuesday.

    “It’s a cancer within our community.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton landlord with criminal past facing list of drug charges 

    The EPS raided the same address in December 2015. Neighbours had been filing complaints about the property for months.

    Shah was previously convicted in a $30-million mortgage fraud.

    He is a landlord for dozens of properties in Edmonton’s inner city – some of which have been the source of public concern and complaints.

    A stop work order was issued for Eclipse Hookah Lounge on 93 Street and 111 Avenue after a 25-year-old was fatally shot there on Jan. 1, 2016.

Dozens of Lindsay inmates urge inquest into detainee’s mysterious death

Eighty-eight immigration detainees held as inmates at the maximum-security Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont. have signed a petition urging a coroner’s inquest into the mysterious death of a prisoner in June.

Starting on June 21, detainees at the Lindsay jail started to circulate a petition to Ontario’s chief coroner calling for an inquest into the death of Abdurahman Hassan, a Somali-Canadian detainee, ten days before. It seemed like the only tool to shed light on what happened to him, activists who work with them explain.

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They were careful not to let the guards notice.

Activists who published the petition said that it was shared between four ranges that are “effectively cut off from each other” by inmates who do work in the jail, and was eventually smuggled out.

“The cleaners and the servers had a huge role to play in passing the petition around, because oftentimes, especially in the summer, all the detainees are on lockdown because a lot of the guards take time off,” explains immigration detention activist Mina Ramos.

“They pretended they were sending a legal document to a paralegal we have connections with, and very luckily it got through.”

Detainees’ names are censored in the public copy of the petition because they were uneasy about the reaction in countries they may be deported to, Ramos explains:

“Some of these individuals are coming from countries where they were already in danger. We have people who visit our Web site internationally. We don’t know who’s looking, and some of these individuals don’t want people back home, in case they get deported, knowing who they are and what they are doing.”

Immigration detention activist Tings Chak dropped the petition off at Ontario correctional minister Yasir Naqvi’s office in Toronto Monday.

“With the CBSA, an agency that has zero oversight, a coroner’s inquest is one of the only accountability measures that might be available,” she said.

“It’s clear that there are very few accountability mechanisms in place when we see deaths happen.”


 Abdurahman Hassan

Hassan had an overwhelming list of problems.

Almost nothing has been made public about the 39-year-old Somali-Canadian immigration detainee’s death in a Peterborough, Ont. hospital on June 11, but transcripts of Hassan’s detention hearings offer a glimpse into a life in shreds.

Hassan was bipolar, and several of his lawyers doubted whether he understood what they were trying to explain, or whether he was competent to make decisions. He had a history of suicide attempts, which at one point involved eating feces. He also had insulin-dependent diabetes and asthma.

He also had a long and serious criminal record.

His crimes, in due course, had led to a deportation order, and in the meantime meant that immigration detention hearings refused to release him. His mental illness, on the other hand, made him impossible to deport.

So he sat in the Lindsay jail for three years with no real way out, undeportable, unreleasable – and, lawyer Ben Liston told a detention hearing in May, getting steadily sicker.

“Mr. Hassan … only has sporadic access to psychiatric professionals, no access to therapy or programming or mental health services, and where his condition has noticeably deteriorated over the past years and months.”

Liston pressed unsuccessfully for Hassan to be sent to a jail in Brockville, Ont. that is also a psychiatric hospital. He would not comment for the record for this story.

Ontario’s correctional ministry wouldn’t say why Hassan wasn’t removed from the jail for mental health care.

“We cannot speak to the specifics of this or any case, and are not in a position to release personal information of this nature for any current or former inmate,” spokesperson Brent Ross said. “In general, the Ministry works very hard to ensure that inmates that require medical assistance receive the care and treatment that they need, as they would in the community.”

At a March immigration detention hearing that in theory offered him a chance at freedom, he ranted strangely about birds.

At the hearing, Hassan referred to himself as “a person with mental issues that is struggling.”

Immigration officials asked whether he understood basic facts about the hearing, and the answers were not reassuring.

Fellow inmates remember Hassan as someone who was profoundly unable to cope in jail. They describe a person who was not able to walk normally, bore facial scars from attacks from other inmates, was in and out of solitary confinement – which made his mental illness worse – and suffered from untreated sleep apnea which at one point forced a cellmate to wake him up to 20 times a night.

READ MORE: Detainee who died last week had diabetes, asthma, severe mental illness

Suddenly, on June 11 – the third anniversary of his detention – Hassan was dead. The little that is publicly known about his death is summarized in a terse press release from Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit – that an unnamed 39-year-old man had died in hospital in Peterborough after being restrained by OPP and Peterborough city police officers.

The SIU’s investigation is ongoing, spokesperson Monica Hudon said in an e-mail.

The CBSA’s own release about Hassasn’s death contained almost no information.

Little is known about deaths in immigration detention, compared, for example, to the federal prison system, which will release a name and a few details when an inmate dies.

The CBSA only recently started making any kind of public statement when a detainee died. Last fall, Global News reporter Leslie Young had to scour records and file a series of access-to-information requests to compile what is apparently a fairly complete list of detainees who have died in custody.

Young’s research shows a CBSA detainee death where nothing is publicly known other than that it happened at some point after December of 2003:

Basic facts about the death of Lucia Vega Jiménez, a detainee whose suicide led to a B.C. coroner’s inquest, started to leak out only about a month after she died.

Earlier this month, Ontario’s correctional ministry denied an access-to-information request filed by Global News asking for documents connected to Hassan’s death, citing 13 different statutory grounds. These included a clause barring records from release if they “relate to labour relations or the employment of a person by an institution.”

Hassan’s long stretches in solitary confinement were bad for his mental health, remembers Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari, a Pakistani immigration detainee in Lindsay.

“You could see cut marks on his cheeks – those are marks from when you get into fights in prison. People make shanks out of different things, lunch boxes, make them into knives and cut each other to leave a mark that ‘This is what I did to you.’”

“It seemed like he was somebody who couldn’t make sense of what was going on around him,” Ansari said.

“The last time I saw him, he was in the yard for a few minutes, and he just told me to pray for him. You could just see him raising his hands, and saying ‘Pray for me’ – that’s it. That was a couple of months ago.”

Saskatoon weather outlook – July 18

Chance of thunderstorms tonight as the heat returns this week!

Saskatoon Forecast

Today

The day began in the fog around 12 degrees until mid-morning when mostly sunny skies overtook.

We then quickly warmed up into the mid-20s by noon in the sunshine, feeling like 27 with humidity.

We’re shooting for a high in the mid-to-high 20s in the sunshine today, which is expected to feel like the low 30s with humidity.

Tonight

Clouds will roll back in overnight along with a pulse of thunderstorms that may bring some strong wind gusts as they pass by through the overnight period as temperatures fall back toward the mid-teens.

Tuesday

We may see a few lingering morning showers or thunderstorms before clouds clear out of the area midday to give us some sunshine to end the afternoon.

Chance of thunderstorms from the overnight period into the early morning in Saskatoon Tuesday.

SkyTracker Weather

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We’re also looking at quite a warm day – exactly how warm is dependent on how long the cloud cover and shower/thunderstorm activity linger in the morning.

If the storms end overnight and are done by morning we could shoot as high as the low 30s tomorrow, but if they linger a little longer into the morning along with the clouds, we may only hit a high in the high 20s.

One thing is for certain, we are expecting humidex values in the low 30s tomorrow afternoon, so prepare for a hot day!

Wednesday-Friday

Mostly sunny skies look like they’ll stick around both Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures in the high 20s, possibly popping up into the low 30s, but humidex values should be in the low 30s under mostly sunny skies and just a few clouds through the afternoon.

There is a slight chance of late day thunderstorms on Wednesday, but otherwise the main thunderstorm risk is Friday as an upper trough destabilizes the atmosphere.

At this point, we’re looking at a daytime high in the upper 20s with clouds building in through the day with a chance of late day showers and thunderstorms for Friday.

Weekend Outlook

Depending how long it takes the upper trough to swing through, we may see some showers and thunderstorms lingering through Saturday with temperatures in the mid-20s.

Sunday looks more stable at this point with some upper ridging moving back in, clearing skies back out to give us a mostly sunny day with a daytime high in the high 20s, possibly even into the low 30s.

July 18: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Carol Langenberger at Blaine Lake.

Carol Langenberger / Viewer Supplied

Saskatoon weather outlook is your one-stop shop for all things weather for Saskatoon, central and northern Saskatchewan with a comprehensive, detailed look at your local forecast that you can only find here.

Russian doping scandal: Canadian experts ‘repulsed,’ ‘disheartened’ by report’s findings

They swapped samples, tampered with them and some even “disappeared.” The findings out of an independent investigation that confirmed Russia cheated at the Olympics has left Canadian leaders in the anti-doping field “repulsed,” “astonished,” and “devastated.”

The investigation, led by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren of Western University, concluded that Russia carried out widespread, state-sponsored doping that led to 312 falsified results spanning from 2011 to 2015.

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    In the report’s Monday unveiling, McLaren said that labs in Moscow and Sochi protected Russian athletes.

    “No one would ever assume that a country hosting an Olympic Games would work so actively to sabotage the doping controls that surround the event…I’m repulsed and astonished. It’s like something out of a spy novel in some respects,” Dr. Andrew Pipe told Global News.

    READ MORE: How Russia pulled off state-sponsored cheating at the Olympics

    He’s a physician at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute who has spent decades in sports medicine. Since the 1980s, he’s taken part in 11 Olympics, helped to construct world anti-doping measures and led the formation of Canada’s own anti-doping agency.

    Paul Melia, president of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, said he was “disheartened” by the findings.

    WATCH: An independent investigation led by a Canadian law professor has confirmed widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russian sports. 

    He said he thinks of the response from “clean” athletes who jump through so many hoops to play their sport on a global stage.

    “Everything we do is to try to ensure that not just Canadian athletes, but athletes around the world, have a level playing field. We demand so much of them to apply to this world anti-doping code – we take their blood, urine, check on their whereabouts, look at their medical records,” Melia told Global News.

    “All of that is very intrusive, and they do it willingly because that’s the price they pay for a clean sport. So for them to do that and to hear a country was undermining everything they were doing and they were competing against these athletes…that must be discouraging for them,” Melia said.

    Melia said world officials made huge strides in anti-doping measures. Athlete biological passports – or ABPs, for example – were implemented. They act as identity cards containing each athlete’s blood profile in its uninterrupted state. Athletes have to be tested at random and often to create a baseline of what their typical blood makeup looks like. Then, officials can easily detect an aberration.

    READ MORE: Who is Grigory Rodchenkov?

    But the report found that Russian athletes circumvented most of this – in the lab, the “disappearing positive methodology” meant that samples of positive test results were turned into negative ones.

    “Laboratory staff was under strict instructions to report all positives to the ministry of sport, whatever the circumstances,” McLaren said.

    In summary, samples were swapped out to cover up doping.  Russia’s own secret service, called the FSB, was even tasked with figuring out how to swap dirty urine with clean urine, the report said.

    “They [FSB] developed a method for surreptitiously removing the caps of the bottles for use at Sochi,” McLaren said. “As a result there were no positive samples at the Sochi Games for Russian athletes.”

    READ MORE: Report confirms Russian sample-swapping, widespread doping during Olympics

    Pipe called the swapping system “deceptively simple” – a quick “switcheroo” that took place in the middle of the night.

    It’s the scale that’s troubling, too. While single athletes or a unit led by coach may be found guilty of doping, this is a “whole new scale.”

    “No one has been brazen enough to do this in an Olympic Games…we put great faith in the lab scientists and lab apparatuses around the world. It’s appalling to learn what has taken place in this setting and the architecture behind it all,” Pipe said.

    Melia called the findings “disillusioning.”

    WATCH: According to a WADA report, the drug testing lab at the Sochi Olympics “operated a unique sample swapping methodology” that allowed “dirty” Russian athletes to compete at the 2014 Winter Games.

    “We were developing new test techniques and it felt like we were moving forward and making progress to stop doping in sport. To think this kind of doping was going on and it was run by the government of Russia and their lab with no regard for the code or integrity of the sport,” Melia said.

    READ MORE: World Anti-Doping Agency wants IOC to ban all Russian teams from Rio Olympics

    The bottom line? He suggests that while world anti-doping codes have been put in place, it doesn’t mean countries are abiding by the rules.

    “We’ve naively believed they’ve adopted the code and they say they’ve been following the code, but they’ve been doing the opposite,” Melia said.

    Following Monday’s report, the WADA’s executive board wants the IOC to ban all Russian teams from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

    WADA also wants Russian government officials to be denied access to international competitions, including the upcoming Olympics.

    With files from Adam Frisk and the Associated Press

    [email protected]长沙夜网
    Follow @Carmen_Chai

New trend giving the finger to engagement rings

Why wait for someone to “put a ring on it” if you could do it yourself?

That’s the idea behind the “self love” pinky ring that’s popping up on social media threads as a testament of a woman’s commitment to herself.

“An engagement ring is external love, whereas the pinky ring is entirely self-sufficient love,” said 23-year-old Aaryn Doyle of Ontario.

She and her best friend Vita Chambers showed off their matching bling on Instagram last month.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you @fredandfar for our beautiful pink rings we love them @aarynelan #rings #cousinsister #saphire

A post shared by Vita Chambers (@vitachambers) on Jun 18, 2016 at 1:53pm PDT

Laura Chambers, who lives in Maine, recently bought one for her daughter’s university graduation. She says she fell in love with the simple design as much as the message behind it.

“What better gift can one give to their daughter… a daily reminder to smile and put yourself first,” she said. “The ring represented everything we’d spent the formative years quietly instilling in our daughter: to be strong, do what makes you happy, be you and follow your instinct.”

Laura Chambers and her daughter Hannah.

All the women admit to having their own struggles with self-love at times. But the triangular trinket is supposed to serve as a daily reminder to love and honour oneself.

Melody Godfred came up with the idea for it after treating herself to a pinky ring, shortly after giving birth to her now-four-year-old twin girls.

“I… found myself drowning because I was never on my own priority list,” the 34-year-old L.A. entrepreneur said, looking back at the difficult time of managing life with two newborns.

READ MORE: Balancing business and motherhood: how female entrepreneurs are making it work

She eventually learned to let go and accept herself (along with all her shortcomings) — a tough feat after having grown up surrounded by “super women” who held themselves to an ideal of perfection, even if it was to their detriment.

Seeing the stone on her little finger every day and remembering what it’s supposed to be convey, proved to be powerful for Godfred.

And when she launched her company Fred + Far with her friend Samina Far this past February, her hope was to help other women make that same mental shift.

“Up until now the only ring women have been taught to wear represents a symbol of commitment to someone else. And it’s also very contingent on being chosen.”

“We’ve been taught that we all need a ring, and it needs to be big and …that if it’s not big and we’re not chosen then we’re not of value.

“We’re kind of taking that narrative and turning it over, saying, ‘you know what, I’m going to use this as a tool for empowering myself.”

The Fred + Far rings are all 1.5-carat conflict-free white sapphires that either come in a sterling silver setting (for USD$150) or solid gold for roughly double the price.

Each purchase comes with a “pinky promise pledge card to commemorate the commitment” a woman is making to herself.

View this post on Instagram

Say hello and congratulations to @jesspakdaman for joining us. Wise words from Jess: "We women do so much for our children and families that we ignore our own needs, but if we can’t stay healthy for them, emotionally and physically, then we’re failing as role models and most importantly failing ourselves." Let’s show her some love. #lovemytribe 💅🏻 💅🏻 💅🏻 💅🏻 #selflovepinkyring #selflove #pinkypromise #fredandfar #takethepledge #loveyourself #loveyourselfie #loveyourselffirst #fitmom #happymom #happywife #happywifehappylife #treatyourself #trendsetter #pinkyring #statementpiece #rosegold #happygirlsaretheprettiest #feminist #imwithher #motivation #mondaymotivation #supermom #fitgirl #ring #bestie #love #inspo #bling

A post shared by Fred and Far🔻A Self Love Mvmt (@fredandfar) on Jul 11, 2016 at 11:10pm PDT

Skeptics might be asking themselves: “Isn’t this just another ploy to sell rings?” After all, diamond engagement rings became part of our culture when the diamond company De Beers instilled in us that “A Diamond is Forever.”

READ MORE: What to spend and how to save on a diamond ring

Godfred doesn’t mind the criticism.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to spread the mission of self love,” she said.

“We’re happy this conversation is happening even if it’s not always taken in a positive light. I still think it’s spreading the message and that, for us, is absolutely the most important thing.”

She also points out that she and her business partner are not jewelers by trade. In fact, down the road, they may even sell something entirely different to remind women of their relationship with themselves.

As for Doyle and Chambers, as much as they love their pinky rings, both admitted they wouldn’t shy away from posting their engagement rings online when that moment comes.

READ MORE: Moissanite and coloured gems big in engagement ring fashion

“I believe both rings go hand in hand,” 23-year-old Chambers said. “Both should be celebrated.”

According to mythology, she added, the Greeks believed we were born as a whole but were then ripped apart into two, leaving us to search for our other halves (i.e. our “soul mates”).

“I think for you to find your other half,” she said, “you need to find yourself first.”

Follow @TrishKozicka
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SaskGaming profit rises to $65.4M

SaskGaming is declaring a profit of $65.4 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year. That’s up $15.6 million from 2014, according to its latest annual report.

In the 15-month period ending on March 31, the Crown corporation recorded revenue of $158.2 million, a $30.2 million increase compared to $128 million in 2014.

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    This is the first year that SaskGaming is reporting annual results as of March 31, which is why the latest figures cover a 15-month period. The Saskatchewan government decided last November that Crown corporations’ fiscal years should match the government’s budget cycle, which is April 1 to March 31.

    SaskGaming, which owns and operates Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw, said it had a total guest count of 4.39 million people in the fiscal year ended March. In 2014, the guest count was 3.54 million.

    As for expenses, SaskGaming reported $92.8 million in the 15-month period compared to $78.2 million in the 12 months.

    Income before payment to the General Revenue Fund (GRF) was $65.4 million in the 15-month period. In the 12-month period in 2014, the income was $49.8 million.

    The payment to the GRF came to $32.7 million, split between the First Nations Trust and the Community Initiatives Fund. A portion of the Community Initiatives Fund goes toward the Clarence Campeau Development Fund, also known as the Métis Development Fund.

    The First Nations Trust distributes the funding to all First Nations in the province and requires those funds to be spent on economic, social, recreational facilities and educational development. The money also goes toward justice, senior and youth programs, health initiatives and community infrastructure.

    The Community Initiatives Fund is overseen by the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sports, It provides grants for human development and community vitality.

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Moncton cat rescue group makes plea for more foster parents

A Moncton animal rescue group is having to turn animals away for the first time in more than 20 years.

According to Annick Le Parque, who started Sasha’s Cat Rescue, the not-for-profit rescue is unable to take in any more stray cats or kittens until it finds more volunteer foster parents.

“Right now we are at capacity” Le Parque said on Monday.

ChangSha Night Net

Le Parque said her group has rescued and adopted out more than 400 stray, abandoned or neglected cats in the last two years alone.

But, she said, this spring has been her busiest breeding season yet.

“Winter was very mild and a female can have three litters in a season,” Le Parque said.

As a result she currently has 35 cats and kittens in foster care.

Moncton’s Caroline McGraw recently fostered her first litter of kittens. The young mother was a little apprehensive about the idea at first.

“It is a big responsibility. But for us, we have kids and we have animals, so what is one more,” she said.

She said the hardest part of being a foster parent was giving them up when they are finally adopted out.

“I cried of joy and cause I was a little sad, but then you are so happy,” she said.

LeParque said the kittens are easier to adopt out due to their “cute factor”.

It’s the adult cats, like “Chase and Carter” —; the 8-year-old brothers she currently has up for adoption (pictured above) —; that are harder to find homes for.

“We are looking for homes for them. They are bonded brothers. Chase has an eye missing, we don’t know what happened. He came to us that way. Chase needs Carter to move in life and because of that we cannot separate them.”

Le Parque said she hopes that an adoptive parent for the brothers will come along soon.

“I know there is someone out there for Carter and Chase.”

She said she’s also hopeful that more people will step up to become foster parents soon, because having to turn away these innocent little faces because of a lack of volunteers simply breaks her heart.

Le Parque can be reached at [email protected]@com.