Sacramento, Calif., OKs NBA Kings arena deal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With the clock clicking down, Sacramento city officials took their last shot at keeping the NBA Kings in California’s capital by approving a public-private deal to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail centre downtown.

The city council’s approval of the arena Tuesday was the last step in what has been a full court press by Mayor Kevin Johnson to keep Sacramento’s only major league sports team from bolting to Seattle, where a new ownership group and arena deal awaits. He now must convince NBA owners to block the Maloof family from initiating the move, a deal made public in January.

Since then, the mayor, himself a former NBA All-Star, has scrambled to assemble a group to buy the team, convince Commissioner David Stern to consider a counter offer, and get approval for the financial deal that would build a $448 million arena on the site of a shopping mall — a development many say will revitalize a problem area in its bustling city core.

Next week, Johnson will present the arena plan and purchase offer to an NBA committee. The following week, the NBA Board of Governors will vote on whether the team can be sold, and whether it will stay or move.

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“We want the folks of Seattle to get a team, we wish them well, but we want to keep what’s ours,” Johnson said after the 7-2 vote to approve the arena. “We’re going to New York to talk about the viability of this market and the love affair we’ve had with our team.”

The Sacramento investment group includes Silicon Valley software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle, co-owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Johnson announced late Monday that Paul Jacobs, CEO of the international technology company Qualcomm, also agreed to become part of the Sacramento bid.

“We have four billionaires who have said that Sacramento is worthy. It’s been a long time since people have validated us in this way,” said city councilmember Steve Hansen, who voted in favour of the deal.

The NBA has said the aging Sleep Train Arena in the suburbs four miles north of downtown no longer is adequate.

“We’re in competition to keep the Sacramento Kings from being taken away from us,” said City Manager John Shirey as he began outlining the arena plan for council members. “We’ve known all along that we need to present the NBA a first-rate, quality place for them to play.”

The Seattle group, led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, has had a deal to acquire a 65 per cent stake in the team for $341 million.

The Chamber of Commerce, labour groups and fans spoke in favour of the arena deal, saying that keeping the Kings saves 800 jobs and creates 6,500 more during the construction and downtown revitalization process.

The plan was opposed by several groups and speakers, some of whom asked the council to take more time to study whether the deal is good for the city. City officials reached a preliminary arena agreement Saturday with the investment group, but the late negotiations left little time for community members to study the proposal before the vote.

“Mr. Mayor, your attempts to pull off an upset win could adversely affect this community for decades,” said attorney and professed Kings fan Jeffrey Anderson, who asked the council to put the plan before voters or he would file a lawsuit to stop it.

Other speakers said the timing of the deal was ironic given that nearby Stockton is in bankruptcy court after over-extending itself with debt, including a minor-league hockey arena.

Development partners compared their vision of a downtown arena to other projects that have revitalized urban areas such as the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the new Barclays Center where the Nets began play in Brooklyn this season. Architect AECOM, tapped to build a new Kings arena, recently completed the Barclays venue.

“I have a lot of faith in this site. It’s nothing short of world class,” said AECOM’s Bill Crockett.

The arena will be built on the west end of city centre on the site of the Downtown Plaza, an aging mall that has lost more than half of its sales revenue in the last 10 years as stores have moved to the suburbs. It’s just blocks from Interstate 5, a short walk from Amtrak and sits at a gateway to downtown and the city of 475,000.

The city’s share is $258 million, the bulk of which would come from event parking collections and ticket surcharges. Nearly all of the city’s parking lots are used by government workers who vacate downtown after 5 p.m. The city would own the arena.

The investment group will contribute $189 million to the arena construction and would be responsible for all capital improvements.

The 18,500-seat downtown arena also could host hockey, concerts and family entertainment. The development would include 475,000 in office space, 300,000 in retail space, 250 hotel rooms and 600 housing units.

The arena term sheet includes a 35-year non-relocation agreement with two five-year extensions that would keep the Kings in the city until the last quarter of the century.

Best-kept secret in B.C. is good news for drinkers: Booze prices will remain unchanged when HST ends

Liquor prices in B.C. are not going up on April 1 despite a three-per-cent increase in sales tax.

Those facts may be the best-kept secret of 2013, says Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers Association of Canada.

“We know consumers have been very concerned about this,” Cran said Tuesday. “It’s strange that B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch has a piece of good news, yet it’s not well-publicized.”

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    End of HST on April 1 means some things will be cheaper, and average B.C. family will save $350 a year

According to the provincially owned Distribution Branch, liquor prices will “generally remain unchanged” when sales taxes rise from 12 to 15 per cent on April 1 as the Harmonized Sales Tax is eliminated.

The Branch says its liquor markups at the wholesale level, which were increased in 2010 to compensate for a three-per-cent drop in sales tax under the HST, are being reduced to their former levels.

Liquor taxing and prices will return to their pre-2010 regime on Monday when B.C. goes back to a combination of the Provincial Sales Tax and the Goods and Services Tax.

The branch published its news on Feb. 15 at on bcliquorstores南京夜网, but the information was not widely picked up.

“Liquor markups will be reduced,” the branch said. “To minimize the impact on current shelf prices, the Branch will revert to pre-HST markup rates that were in place on June 30, 2010.

“Total provincial revenue from the sale of liquor products will generally not change.”

Vancouver lawyer Mark Hicken, who operates a website called, said the bulletins on that site are mostly reviewed by those in the liquor business.

“It’s kind of bizarre. The message does not appear to have been broadcast,” Hicken said.

Cran said the Consumers Association inquired last week but wasn’t given the information.

“We didn’t pick up on it. The distribution branch didn’t seem to have anything in place to inform the public,” he said.

Taxpayer Allan Galajda, who belongs to a wine-tasting club, was under the impression until Tuesday that the branch would keep its price markups and pocket the increased taxes.

“Why didn’t they say something? This is government’s inability to communicate with the taxpayer,” he said.

Now that the word is finally out, he’s pleased.

“It’s a level playing field. What they did on one hand they’re reversing on the other. It’s a good thing,” he said.


Tories claim Liberals gave ETFO a special deal – Toronto

TORONTO – The governing Liberals must have given Ontario’s public elementary teachers a special deal to resume extracurricular activities, the Progressive Conservatives charged Wednesday.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is refusing to tell taxpayers what’s going on behind closed doors with the teachers’ unions, said Tory education critic Lisa MacLeod.

“She talks about clarity, yet she refuses to provide any details,” she said.

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“Is she prepared to water down standardized testing in the province at the behest of teachers’ unions? Was there a promissory note for future negotiations to talk about future increases to teachers’ salaries?”

But Wynne insists there’s no special deal and no new money for public high school and elementary school teachers.

The Liberals are working with the unions on a new process for collective bargaining and how it will be implemented for the next round of negotiations once the current contracts expire in two years, she said.

“As I’ve said, implementation details, no new money and what’s the collective bargaining process going to look like going forward,” Wynne said in explaining the content of the talks.

“So that is really what we have been talking about. And whether you buy it or not, that’s the reality.”

The aim is to have a “clear bargaining process that has a provincial component and a local component,” she said.

Over the last few years, new contracts with teachers have been reached through a so-called provincial roundtable, where representatives for the government, school boards and unions hammer out a framework agreement.

That template is then used in local negotiations to fine-tune a final agreement, as the school boards are technically the teachers’ employers.

But talks with the unions need to remain confidential for now to create trust between all the parties so they can come to a resolution, Wynne said.

No details will be released until an agreement is finalized, said Education Minister Liz Sandals, a former school board trustee.

“What we know is that you don’t negotiate with the media, with the cameras,” she told reporters. “And as persistent as you may be, we’re not changing that rule.”

Students have waited long enough for the Liberals to clean up the mess they created, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“They’ve thrown the whole school system into chaos,” she said.

“They’ve put kids and families and parents and education workers through the wringer, and now they’re trying to clean up the mess. So God bless, clean up the mess and let’s move on.”

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said late Tuesday night that it was lifting a ban on voluntary activities, citing progress in talks with the government.

ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a statement that the talks will continue and the union is confident the government “has demonstrated a commitment to dealing with concrete items of importance” to its members.

Public school teachers withdrew from extracurricular activities in the fall to protest a controversial law that freezes wages, cuts benefits and stops strikes. It was used in January to force new two-year contracts on them.

Former premier Dalton McGuinty maintained the move was necessary to fight Ontario’s $12-billion deficit, but teachers said it violated their constitutional rights.

Talks with the unions started anew after McGuinty stepped down and Wynne – a former education minister – replaced him as Liberal leader at the end of January.

ETFO’s decision to lift the ban comes a month after the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation told its members that they could go back to extracurricular activities.

But OSSTF president Ken Coran noted a majority of public high school teachers may not return to extracurricular activities.

©2013The Canadian Press

Court tosses Ontario’s claim to life insurance payout for insane wife killer – Toronto

TORONTO – Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has ruled it would be “manifestly harsh”and “clearly not in the interests of justice” to order cash from a murdered woman’s life-insurance policy to go to the province rather than to the mentally ill husband who killed her.

The case involved Ved Dhingra, who killed his wife Kamlesh in 2006 but was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

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While the court agreed with the province’s argument that the life insurance payout claimed by Dhingra was proceeds of unlawful activity, it found it would not be just for Dhingra to forfeit the funds and consequently dismissed the Attorney General’s application.

Ontario’s Attorney General had invoked the Civil Remedies Act to lay claim to $51,000 awarded to the now 72-year-old Dhingra.

The Civil Remedies Act, enacted in 2002, aims to compensate victims of crime and prevent criminals and others from profiting from wrongdoing. It specifically does not exempt a person found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

The province’s application to Superior Court came after Ontario’s top court had ruled last April that the Toronto man could collect on the policy because he was found not criminally responsible for bludgeoning and stabbing his long-estranged wife to death.

A Superior Court decision delivered on Tuesday found there was no evidence that the possible availability of a life insurance payout played any role in Dhingra’s conduct.

“I fail to see how the granting of the order would serve to deter others in any general sense from doing what Dhingra did,” wrote the presiding judge, adding that Dhingra’s personal circumstances could be taken into account.

Dhingra – now an elderly psychiatric patient subsisting on government pension and old age security payments – suffered from a mental disorder for years and was found not criminally responsible for his wife’s death in 2008.

He had purchased the life insurance policy for his wife in 1998.

According to details laid out in court documents, Dhingra began to show signs of escalating mental illness in 1988 and separated from his wife in 1993.

In 2005 he was found naked in the middle of a Toronto street and was taken to a mental health centre where it was determined that he had been schizophrenic for years.

In June 2006, after being released from hospital for treatment of a severe, self-inflicted wound, he stayed with his wife. Days later, he killed her by first smashing her head numerous times with a white religious statue and then stabbing her 24 times in the neck and torso.

Dhingra then overdosed on several medications himself but was later revived.

After being found not criminally responsible for his wife’s death, Dhingra entered a mental health centre and was released into the community in 2011 before claiming the insurance policy money.

The judge has crafted “a very smart and concise judgement here,” said Eric M. Wolfman, Dhingra’s lawyer. “Hopefully this is the end of the matter.”

©2013The Canadian Press

Non-profit seeks to provide healthy food to under-served communties, schools – Toronto

TORONTO – FoodShare is a non-profit organization from Toronto whose vision is to provide good healthy food for all. They partner with under-served communities and schools to increase access to and knowledge of healthy food. One of their many programs, Focus on Food offers a paid internship for marginalized youths.

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“Ten young people come and work here with us for an intensive six month period,” said FoodShare’s Executive Director Debbie Field. “They’re paid minimum wage, they get a graduation stipend if they complete the program, and they hopefully go on to find work in the food industry.”

Youth Engagement Coordinator Emma Dillabough is using her New York Culinary Degree to provide the interns with cooking skills that can facilitate their job search.

“I just try to make it fun. They tell me what they like, I try to incorporate it,” said Dillabough. “We try and make things healthy but also make it super tasty.”

The ten interns are divided into two groups. Five of them work in the warehouse where they pack healthy food boxes that go out to the community, and the other five work in the kitchen.

“The five who work in the kitchen learn how to cook from scratch and they help us every single day cook meals for our own staff and volunteers,” said Field.

The Focus on Food program has become very successful with some youth interns getting hired straight out of the program. In fact, 90% of the graduates are either getting a job or going back to school.

“This internship has taught me a lot of experience and a lot of influences on my cooking,” said youth intern Dylan Lavallee. “I’m learning a lot from different parts of the world and I’m learning how to use good food to make good meals.”

©2013Shaw Media

Vandals strike again at Hidden Valley Resort – Calgary

CALGARY- More cabin owners at the Hidden Valley Resort on the Siksika Nation east of Calgary have a big cleanup ahead of them.

RCMP say a total of twenty-five cabins have now been trashed by vandals who smashed windows and destroyed furniture and appliances.

A number of items were also stolen.

RCMP are baffled as to how the vandals went on the rampage undetected.

Hidden Valley is a gated community with 24 hour patrols.

This latest vandalism spree comes at a tense time at Hidden Valley – negotiations between cabin owners and the Siksika Nation have stalled after the band voted not to renew their lease.

The resort consists of about 300 cabins, a golf course and man-made lake.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort on the Siksika Nation east of Calgary.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort east of Calgary.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort on the Siksika Nation east of Calgary.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort on the Siksika Nation east of Calgary.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort on the Siksika Nation east of Calgary.

Vandals have trashed 25 cabins at the Hidden Valley Resort east of Calgary.

Global News

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  • Families face big cleanup after summer homes destroyed by vandals

    Cabin owners forced out of Hidden Valley Resort

‘Mr. Three Per Cent’ tells Charbonneau Commission he never took a cut from companies

MONTREAL – The man dubbed “Mr. Three Per Cent” is telling Quebec’s corruption inquiry he never took money from construction companies in exchange for access to lucrative city contracts.

Bernard Trepanier has been identified by witnesses as having collected a cut in cash from construction contracts on behalf of a Montreal municipal party.

But the former Union Montreal fundraiser told the Charbonneau Commission Wednesday that simply isn’t true.

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  • ‘Mr. 3%’ testifies at Charbonneau Commission

  • Vice-president of Dessau quits after testifying at Charbonneau Commission

He says he just sold tickets for fundraising events and that he didn’t get cash from engineering executives.

Trepanier says he was close to many of the biggest construction bosses in Quebec and also had contacts at just about every major engineering firm.

He earned the unflattering nickname “Mr. Three Per Cent” in Quebec news reports over recent months, as other witnesses cast him as a central player in corrupt municipal political schemes. Witnesses described a cartel system where companies inflated the cost of public projects, and split percentages with the Mafia, corrupt bureaucrats and the once-mighty Union Montreal.

Trepanier said it wasn’t his wealth of contacts that led him to be hired to head financing for Union Montreal in 2004.

Inquiry lawyer Denis Gallant suggested Trepanier was hired because he was an experienced fundraiser who could fill the young party’s coffers.

He said he didn’t do any fundraising until 2004. He also noted that his lack of experience led him to take the job on condition he not handle deposits or sit on the party’s executive or finance committees.

“I didn’t create (a system), it was already in place,” Trepanier said. “When you accept a post, it’s to do a job. I did my job.”

Trepanier admitted he solicited construction companies and engineering firms for funds using a list of firms that won contracts. He even says he took $200,000 from bigger engineering firms and $100,000 from smaller ones before an election in 2005.

But those amounts were spread out over years and not just for one election, Trepanier said.

Gallant described Trepanier as a “middleman” between construction companies, engineering firms and municipalities. Trepanier himself described himself as an opener of doors.

“I’ll also be suggesting later that you were a bagman,” Gallant told Trepanier.

He frowned as he heard the term. “That’s a big word,” Trepanier replied.

Trepanier has been accused of collecting a cut on contracts that was destined for the political party. He denied that on Wednesday. Another witness this week, ex-party agent Marc Deschamps, said Union Montreal never saw any of that money.

Trepanier was also questioned about contracts he had with engineering firms as part of his consulting company, Bermax.

He was paid money by firms like Dessau and SM, major Quebec engineering firms.  The witness, who has no background in engineering, says he was doing business development, scouting and other tasks in exchange for money.

For example, SM paid Trepanier $45,000 in 2008. Trepanier said the money was to help an employee with their alcoholism and to supervise renovations on a company condo in Florida.

He added a laboratory gave him $30,000 to head hunt and find prospective business that might be for sale.

Bermax is no longer active, Trepanier said.

©2013The Canadian Press

Halifax art dealer describes how Tillman allegedly stole artifacts

New details have been uncovered about a Halifax man suspected of stealing a million dollars worth of artifacts.

Until now, little has been known about John Tillman’s alleged activities as a self-proclaimed art dealer.

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RCMP allege Tillman spent decades stealing a trove of artifacts from museums and galleries throughout Atlantic Canada.

Halifax art gallery owner Ian Muncaster says Tillman bought a ship’s portrait 14 years ago from him.

Muncaster says Tillman paid for half of the portrait on his credit card, with the remaining $3,500 to be charged to his account later.

But when Muncaster charged the card it was declined.

“He told me that he was… a Canadian trader operating out of Moscow, buying and selling, that sort of thing,” Muncaster said.

Muncaster says that forgotten documents from his art gallery reveal ties to Russia, including faxes and letters from a Russian address.

“I mentioned that to the police and they said… there were… photographs of himself in Moscow,” Muncaster said, adding that Mounties haven’t come to see this new evidence.

Tillman, 51, was arrested on Jan. 18 after police searched his Fall River home and discovered more than 1,000 antiques, historical documents, paintings and other artifacts believed to have been stolen from museums, libraries and universities.

Among the rare artifacts believed stolen is an early edition of Charles Darwin’s classic ‘On the Origin of Species,’ as well as letters from George Washington and British General James Wolfe. Collectors say those three items may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tillman has been charged with several counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000, four counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000, two counts each of trafficking in stolen property and possession of forged documents.

Police say another person has been charged in connection with the thefts, but that person’s identity has not been released. The RCMP has posted many of the artifacts online hoping the public can help identify some of the items, a process they say could take more than a year.

With files from Ross Lord

Groups send letter to Alberta government, want details about oil sands water spill

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Eleven groups have banded together to send a letter to the Alberta government about their concerns over a waste-water spill at a Suncor oil sands plant.

The groups – representing the environment, First Nations and landowner associations – are demanding more information about the leak.

Suncor has said it doesn’t know exactly what’s in the waste water or how much of it spilled at its base plant north of
Fort McMurray.

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  • Workers stop discharge of waste water from northern Alberta oil sands plant

“This is all information that Suncor and the Alberta government should know and be immediate public knowledge, but we remain in the dark,” said the letter dated Wednesday.

“We hereby demand the immediate release of this information, including pictures, so Albertans can judge for themselves the impact of this spill.”

Suncor has said that it discovered Monday that a pipe carrying “process-affected” water had frozen and burst and that it took at least a few hours to shut the line down.

The company later confirmed that some of the liquid ended up in the nearby Athabasca River. Suncor said it doesn’t anticipate there will be any environmental impact because the discharge was diluted with clean water before it got into the river.

“We are concerned about the potential impacts the spill will have on our communities, the environment and Alberta’s waterways,” said the letter. “We are also concerned about Suncor’s inability to plan for something as simple as keeping a pipe from freezing.”

Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Council of Canadians and Forest Ethics Advocacy are among the groups that signed the letter.

It is addressed to Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen. A department spokesman said she was in Calgary on Wednesday and hadn’t yet received the document.

Wayne Wood said government crews were still at the site, working with Suncor and overseeing cleanup and containment.

He said the government is still waiting for test results from water samples taken from the spill site and the river. They may be available later this week.

©2013The Canadian Press

Timeline: Richard Kachkar trial – Toronto

TORONTO – A man who killed a Toronto police officer with a snow plow has been found not criminally responsible.

The verdict means the jury believed Richard Kachkar, 46, couldn’t appreciate what he was doing when he hit and killed 35-year-old Sgt. Ryan Russell because he was mentally ill.

The judge had told the jury there was “no doubt” Kachkar was driving the stolen snow plow on Jan. 12, 2011, but what the jury had to consider was his mental state.

Here is a look back at the events of the Kachkar trial.

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Jan. 12, 2011 – Richard Kachkar left a Tim Horton’s just after 5 a.m., got into a snowplow, and started driving. He crashed into a car dealership, threatened bystanders and asked many if they’d like a ride. He then struck and killed Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell in the stolen snowplow.

Kachkar was stopped by the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force, was tasered and shot twice by Cst. Craig Ashman. He was admitted to hospital.

Jan. 13, 2011 – Police arrest and charge then-44-year-old Kachkar with first-degree murder in the death of Russell.

Video footage from Russell’s scout car and information provided by civilian witnesses who came forward played a large role in the charges laid against Kachkar.

Jan. 15, 2011 – Kachkar was released from hospital.

Jan. 18, 2011 – A full honour police funeral attended by thousands of Toronto officers was held for Russell at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Feb. 4, 2013 – Kachkar’s first-degree murder trial began.

Feb. 28, 2013 – Court hears forensic psychiatrist testimony that Kachkar was psychotic when he struck Sgt. Russell. Dr. Philip Klassen said Kachkar suffered from a “low-grade” mental illness with periodic spikes.

March 27, 2013 – The jury finds Kachkar not criminally responsible in the death of Sgt. Russell.

With files from Global News

©2013The Canadian Press

Elections Canada to release report on robocalls – National

OTTAWA – Elections Canada is set to table a report on false or misleading telephone calls made during the last federal election.

But those looking to learn the true identity of the shadowy operative known as Pierre Poutine may be disappointed.

The Elections Canada report, to be tabled in Parliament today after question period, is expected to deal more generally with the issue of robocalls as well as the use of social media during election campaigns.

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    Elections commissioner recommends charges be laid in Guelph robocalls case

    Commission head says robocalls irrelevant in process

    Conservative robocalls within normal electoral review process, says Harper

    Fate of six Conservative MPs at heart of robocalls saga now in hands of judge

INTERACTIVE MAP: Ridings and robocalls

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand promised last March to report to Parliament within a year on “administrative as well as legislative issues around privacy and communications with electors in the context of evolving technologies.”

Elections Canada is still investigating reports of false or misleading telephone calls made across the country.

The agency’s investigation has centred on the southwestern Ontario riding of Guelph, where a number of residents say they received automated phone calls from someone claiming to be from Elections Canada and directing them to a wrong or non-existent polling station.

©2013The Canadian Press

Court convicts Bosnian Serbs of overseeing persecution, murder – National

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convicted two senior Bosnian Serbs on Wednesday of key roles in a campaign of murder, torture and persecution against Muslims and Croats during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and sentenced them each to 22 years in prison.

Mico Stanisic was the interior minister in the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic set up during his country’s bitter war, while Stojan Zupljanin was a senior security official in charge of police.

Prosecutors had sought life sentences for both men after charging them with involvement in a criminal conspiracy led by Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, to force Muslims and Croats out of what they considered to be Serb territory in Bosnia.

Presiding Judge Burton Hall said both men were in a position to prevent or punish crimes and neither did as Serb police and paramilitaries went on a rampage in early 1992, killing and mistreating non-Serbs as they tried to carve out a “Greater Serbia” during the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia.

The two men “both intended and significantly contributed to the plan to remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the territory of the planned Serbian state,” Hall said.

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Zupljanin stood and crossed himself as Hall said he was guilty of persecution, extermination, murder and torture. Stanisic stood stoically as he was convicted of persecution, murder and torture but was acquitted of extermination.

Zupljanin was convicted of extermination in part because he set up a notorious police unit that the court ruled “committed heinous crimes against Muslims and Croats, including rape, torture and murder” and that he deliberately shielded police under his command from prosecution in at least two massacres of Muslims.

The court’s detailed judgment, running more than 600 pages, provided a grim reminder of the horrors of war that erupted in Bosnia more than two decades ago.

Hall said one group of Serb paramilitaries, known as the Yellow Wasps, tortured Muslim prisoners near the town of Zvornik in April 1992, including forcing fathers and sons to perform sexual acts on each other. Other members of the Wasps forced prisoners to eat body parts cut off from other people, Hall said, adding “if a prisoner did not do so, he was killed.”

Both Karadzic and Mladic are still on trial at the U.N. court on charges including genocide for allegedly masterminding the slaughter, persecution and mass deportation of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war, which left more than 100,000 people dead.

The tribunal has indicted 161 people for their roles in atrocities in the former Yugoslavia over a decade starting in 1991, most of them Serbs. Only six trials remain to be completed.

U.S. hunters boycott Colorado over gun violence legislation – National

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Hunters across the country say they are boycotting Colorado because of recent legislation meant to curtail gun violence.

Colorado last week became the first Western state to ratchet back gun rights in response to mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theatre and an elementary school in Connecticut. Opponents warned the gun controls would hurt hunters, especially an expansion of background-check requirements to apply to personal and online gun sales.

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Republican opponents of the new background-check law said it would make criminals of hunters lending each other weapons for weekend hunting trips. In response, Democrats changed the bill to give people a 72-hour grace period to share guns without triggering background-check requirements. Republicans then complained the bill would imperil weeklong hunting trips.

Gun-rights advocates who said hunters would boycott Colorado in protest say they are following through on their threats.

Michael Bane, a freelance producer for The Outdoor Channel, announced he will no longer film his four shows in Colorado. And hunting outfitters say people began cancelling trips after the legislation passed, according to reports.

Northwest Colorado hunting guide Chris Jurney expects more state defections in a major tourism industry. Out-of-state hunters accounted for 15 per cent of hunting licenses last year, 86,000, compared with 489,000 for residents.

“There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them,” said Jurney, vice-president of the Colorado Outfitters Association. “That kind of unity among sportsmen is going to be big, and unfortunately for those of us who live here, we’re going to suffer the consequences of this misguided legislation.”

ColoradoParks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said his agency has asked the state attorney general’s office for advice on impacts to hunters. While legal possession of high-capacity magazines is grandfathered in, officials want to make sure they are still legal to use.

“We believe there’s the potential for impact. That’s out of our control,” he said. “Hunting is a tool to manage wildlife populations, and we do not believe the impacts will affect that part of our mission.”

Jurney said he expects the actual impact of gun regulations on Colorado hunters will be small. Varmint hunters tend to use high-capacity magazines, so they might be limited.

The Colorado Tourism Office, which tracks travel spending in Colorado, did not immediately return a call seeking details about whether a hunting boycott was being felt.