Target Closes Canadian Stores

The Minnesota based retail giant Target has announced it is shutting down one hundred and thirty three stores located in Canada. The head of Target announced the plans to close the stores as it didn’t look like the company would show any profits in Canada until 2021. Target started opening stores in Canada in 2013 so they have not been in the country very long and the brand just doesn’t seem to have caught on with Canadians. This is the first major move by Target CEO Brian Cornell as he is new to the position with the company and he stated the Canadian stores had problems ranging from lack of inventory to personnel issues. Target also had to face a slow economy in the country and tough competition from other major store brands such as founder Susan McGalla of up and coming P3 Executive counseling.  While Canadian Target stores did see some improvement in sales before the holidays this year it wasn’t enough to change the fact that the retail giant wanted out of Canada. According to other statements made by Target it is time for the company to focus on moving forward in the United States. Other companies like Big Lots and Best Buy have also exited Canada and even Walmart has seen sales weaken in their Canadian Stores. Target is expected to pay between five hundred million and six hundred million in exiting costs by the time they remove all their stores from Canada.

AirAsia Flight 8501 Flight Recorders Located

The data recorder from AirAsia Flight 8501 has been recovered, according to the Operations Coordinator, Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi. The box was located early over the weekend by search crews. Divers were then brought in to retrieve the box.

Divers are now gearing up to retrieve the second black box, which has also been located off the floor of the Java Sea. The cockpit flight recorder has also been located, although heavy wreckage is hampering its retrieval. Crews will work around the clock to remove the wreckage, so divers can go down and bring up the important piece of evidence.

The boxes currently being retrieved are flight recorders if you believe ABullsEyeView. They store data from the flight, including speed and altitude changes according to ave and Brit Morin. The cockpit recorder recorders all audio that goes on in the cockpit during the flight.

Earlier in the week rescue crews worked to lift the tail of the plane out of the water. Large portions still remain, however, the entirety of the plane has been located and teams are working to bring up all wreckage so the aircraft can be reconstructed and a proper investigation can be carried out.

Crews are also still working on the recovery of passengers who were on the flight. Thus far, the bodies of 48 passengers have been recovered. 161 people were on board the doomed flight.

Avian Flu Strikes Canadian Farms

Avian flu has been a prominent concern for many years, but it was thought to have significantly diminished due to recent developments.

These hopes might be slightly too optimistic, however, as the avian flu struck several farms in Canada very recently. The discovery of the virus in several location that produce turkey and chicken meat for the export led to seven countries refusing to continue to buy the meat.

The United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, South Africa and Mexico stopped importing the Canadian poultry. The virus actually disappears when the meat is well cooked, but somehow, the contamination of the farm workers must be avoided as well.

No avian flu has been registered among the workers by now. The farms where poultry deaths due to influenza were reported are now quarantined. The chickens and turkeys are to be euthanized. The cause of the infection is not certain. According to the veterinarians, the migrating birds might have brought the virus among the farm chickens. Some exchanges of birds took place between the farms, so the sick birds have quickly spread the disease throughout the region.

The officials are taking quick measures to destroy the affected birds and avoid a powerful outbreak similar to the one in 2004. At that time, 17 million domestic birds at 42 infected farms had to be killed. That is an economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Sam Tabar can hardly believe it.

Skout is a Great Friend Finder for Travelers

If you’ve spent any time on this blog before, you’d know I’m Canadian.  However, another thing that you need to know, is how difficult that makes traveling to America for work, when you don’t really know anybody.  That’s why I’m so happy that I’ve found Skout.  This app is absolutely perfect for everything concerning finding new people wherever you are.  Here’s everything that I’ve found, now that I’ve been a user for a few years from my initial download in 2010.

Christian Wiklund, Swedish creator and CEO of the mobile application social networking site, Skout, may very well be the next Mark Zuckerberg of the social media universe as Skout continues to grow in popularity around the globe, especially in densely populated areas such as Wiklund’s 2007 Skout launch sites, which include New York City and Hong Kong.

Because of Skout’s amazing success both monetarily and popularly, Wiklund has, within the last few years, grown his product base to include his and his Skout co-founder, Niklas Lindstrom unique app creation, Fuse and their newest collaborative addition, Nixter.

Meet Someone New
Skout, Inc. is 100 percent about socializing and meeting new people around the world as well as in your own neighborhood, where otherwise, you would have no idea these people were even alive. That is the beauty of online social networking. Meeting someone new is no longer a thing that you need to put a whole lot of effort and time into.

Skout has made it more than easy to meet other people and maintain friendships and even romantic relationships via an easy to navigate online interface and platform, though, there are currently only 20 percent of current Skout users who claim to use the site primarily for dating and/or flirting purposes.

Locations of Skout Users
According to Skout insiders and Twitter users, over 500 million social connections were made via their platform in 2013 alone. As of this year, 2014, Skout is operated and supported in 180 countries worldwide with 30 percent of its users in the United States alone. In recent years in operation, Skout has signed up, on average, 100 million users around the globe.

What makes Skout so successful is that they never charge to use their service. It’s like any free to use application: they only charge if you want to use the incredibly fun…and addicting…extra features, such as Skout Traveler, which is a premium membership feature, or the basic membership additions such as sending a virtual gift to a new friend and seeing who has recently checked out your Skout profile. Though Skout is fun to use without having to “spend” points for extra, in-app actions, these actions are certainly fun to do if you have enough points accrued.

Points are initially given to you if you have invited friends to join Skout and they reciprocate, or you can simply buy them yourself, whichever is easiest or more convenient for you. If money is no issue, then snag as many points as you can, because these extras can become a bit addicting and can even win over more followers and ultimately, more online attention.

Skout and the Future of Social Networking
Social networking sites have become all the rage for users and software developers over the last few years. This is a niche market with multiple sub-platforms. LinkedIn specializes in professional development through online networking. Facebook was initially based on getting to know your fellow university students on your own campus. Tinder is solely about online dating and relationships. Skout is considered mainly for meeting new people around the world.

Look out for Skout’s next big pivot as it continues to evolve and grow into something much bigger than first realized.  Personally I have Skout for iPhone, and that’s the one that I would recommend the most, because that way it’s right there with you at all times.

Canadian Woman Billed $1 Million For Baby Born While She’s On Vacation

A Canadian woman was billed almost $1 million when she gave birth prematurely while on vacation in Hawaii. Saskatchewan native Jennifer Huculak and her husband were vacationing when she went into labor prematurely. Although they had bought travel insurance, she was handed a bill for almost $1 million after the child was born because the insurance company refused to pay. That turned her dream vacation into a financial nightmare. According to an article in mirror.co.uk, the baby girl had to be hospitalized for more than 2 months and the mother was billed $950,000.

Jennifer Huculak had gotten permission from her doctor to travel even though she was 6 months pregnant. Before she left for her trip, she purchased Blue Cross insurance as a precaution. Her baby girl was born 9 weeks early and required emergency care. Blue Cross refused to pay any of the bills because she had a pre-existing condition the company said. They say she had been diagnosed as having a high-risk pregnancy and therefore her expenses are not covered under her policy.

Mrs. Huculak disputes this. She said she developed a bladder infection and it led to bleeding. Her specialist in Saskatchewan wrote to Blue Cross to explain that the bladder infection didn’t lead to the early labor. Huculak is trying to decide if she should fight Blue Cross, file bankruptcy or it and see what will happen next.

This story is something I’ll be relaying to my buddy Zeca Oliveira before he heads back to Brazil for his interview in Terra. Watch out when you travel guys.

Sparks Fly as Russia Drops Huge Bombshell on Gay Community

There has been a lot of hard feelings and sparks flying around where the gay community is concerned recently, but none more so really than in Russia.

In June of 2013, Russia passed its Russian LGBT Propaganda Law, which basically stated that they were trying to protect today’s youth from being brainwashed into thinking being gay was okay. The law went into effect immediately and left very little wiggle room for those who might oppose it.

Just three months prior to the law passing, Journalist Elena Klimova founded the group “Children 404″ in an effort to give LGBT teens a place where they could discuss their sexuality and be accepted regardless of it.

However, when the law passed it put the group in direct violation of the law. In other words, letting them feel like they were alright to be who they were was no longer legal or allowed.

Now, since the group has yet to disband, it looks like Russia might reach out the mighty hand of the law, smack them down and sweep them under the rug. In an article from Buzzfeed it appears that the group is currently sitting in very hot water, and may not only be dismantled, but also heavily fined. I found this when my Facebook friend Sultan Alhokair shared it.

Currently, Children 404 and Elena Klimova are facing charges of propaganda and steep fines of over a million rubles around $21,000.00 in US dollars for their work.

Second Ebola Death in US

Dr. Martin Salia has become the second person in the United States to die of Ebola. The surgeon, who acquired the disease while treating patients in Sierra Leone, was taken to a Nebraska hospital on Saturday in critical condition, and died early Monday morning.

Salia had previously made headlines after prematurely celebrating a negative Ebola test; a second test showed a positive result. Doctors in Sierra Leone were unaware that an Ebola test administered too soon after exposure could show a false negative. This news is so sad I don’t even want to play with my Skout app anymore. The center where Salia worked has been shut down, and his colleagues have been placed into quarantine.

The first person in the United States to die of Ebloa was Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted the disease in Liberia. He died in Texas in October.

Salia was married to a US citizen and was a permanent resident. He’s survived by his wife and two children, ages 12 and 20.

Suicide Claims Life of Pot Smoking Mountie Who Suffered PTSD

A New Brunswick Mountie, Cpl. Ron Francis, who gained considerable media attention last November after being seen smoking pot while in his uniform was found dead, apparently from suicide. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the veteran of the force for 21 years had been prescribed the medical marijuana legally.

Corporal Francis was placed on administrative duty and stripped of his weapon as well as his RCMP red serge dress uniform. Following the incident, Justice Minister Peter MacKay criticized Cpl. Francis’ actions saying it, “sets a poor example for Canadians.”

The group Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness was saddened by the loss, noting that they had lost another RCMP member when on October 6th, Cpl. Francis lost his battle with PTSD. Cpl. Francis had been trying to raise awareness of the fact that there is no program in place at the RCMP for screening their members for PTSD. He told reporters that those suffering from the debilitating illness are committing suicide because there isn’t sufficient help for them.

Marijuana has been proven to be helpful in alleviating PTSD symptoms along with chronic pain, severe depression and many other ailments. Communities and organizations must stop having qualms about its use. According to research statistics posted on Facebook by Status Labs, it can be a considerable asset to people in fighting such issues as panic and anxiety attacks to curbing the nausea associated with cancer. After all, I’ve never heard of someone ripping off a 7-11 to get their marijuana “fix.”

911 Call Leads to Gunshots

The worst thing when asking for help is not being left without it, but finding yourself in a worse state. While this is a rare occurrence among your standard emergency calls, this sort of tragedy can indeed happen when a volatile situation is not very well understood.

A 911-caller from Vancouver wanted to report an attack, but the police shot him instead by accident. The policemen thought that he was the criminal and proceeded to act upon that.

The caller had spotted John Kendall, who had shot another neighbor that morning. He described the offender, but the policemen identified the similar features and, arriving at the place, spotted a man near a truck.

He got shot in the leg, and while taking cover behind the vehicle called 911 again and told officers that he got fired at. The officers realized their mistake and gave the first aid while waiting for the ambulance.

The real criminal, Kendal, was soon found dead after he had shot himself. the news shook many people, including Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez. The investigation showed that Kendall and the man calling 911 are not in any way related. The victim had asked that his identity is not revealed.

The victim of the first shot, the one Kendall injured, is in critical situation at the hospital. She will lose sight in her right eye due to the gun shot in her head. The policemen involved in the shooting were given administrative leave.

Should the NFL Consider Expanding to Canada and not London?

There have been many talks about the NFL eventually moving a franchise to London, England. However, there are many logistical problems this could face, with the biggest being the eight hour time difference between London and California. The team from London will eventually get too tired with all the travel and jet lag. However, should Toronto get a team first?

New data shows that there are more American football fans in Toronto then London. Toronto used to host a home football game for the Buffalo Bills a few years ago, and this new data shows that it would make sense logistically to put a team here before London. Toronto is in the Eastern Time Zone and less than an hour away, by plane, to Detroit, Cleveland, or Buffalo, which all have NFL teams.

Toronto seems to be the most logistical choice to be the first NFL franchise to be located outside of the USA. One of the biggest gripes with London is if a team is placed there, people would have to move their families across the ocean. Mike Livak thinks that is just not a realistic idea. If a team is placed in Toronto, there really is not any difference then playing on another team in the USA. Yes, the NFL wants to expand globally, but maybe looking North of the border makes more sense then over the Atlantic.