More and more Tibetans are lighting themselves on fire. Here’s why

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SELF-IMMOLATION AS A FORM OF protest first came onto the national scene in 1963, when Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Đức lit himself on fire at an intersection in Saigon and quietly burned alive. The photo that was taken of the event has seared itself into the memory of virtually everyone who has seen it, and it brought the plight of the Vietnamese people squarely onto the world’s stage.

The history of self-immolation did not stop there, though. The Arab Spring, the effects of which are still being felt across the world, was kicked off by a Tunisian street vendor by the name of Mohammed Bouazizi, who lit himself on fire in protest of unfair treatment by the Tunisian government. The ensuing unrest toppled several governments in the Middle East, and is still playing itself out in the horrifically violent civil war in Syria.

Self-immolation is a shocking enough form of protest that it seems to be particularly effective at setting off serious unrest.

Over the last 18 years in Tibet, 144 people have burned themselves to death.

The most recent was a 16-year old named Dorjee Tsering, who died of his burns three days later. This form of protest has seen a massive spike since 2009 as a part of protests against the Chinese treatment of the Tibetan people and the continued exile of the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. The Chinese drove the Dalai Lama out of Tibet in the late 1950s, and unrest has been a frequent occurrence since then.

What has kicked off the most recent spates of Tibetan unrest has been the fact that the Dalai Lama is getting up there in years, and it appears the Chinese government is going to try and choose themselves who the next Dalai Lama will be, in an attempt to wrest more political control over the region. This, to the Tibetan people, is nonsense, as the Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of past Dalai Lama’s, and thus could not be “chosen” by the Chinese state.

This issue is a symptom of larger unrest around the “cultural genocide” that China has been committing against the Tibetan people, largely in the form of oppressing their religion, taking action against Tibetan Buddhist activists, and by turning Tibet into a place that is more culturally assimilated into China.

In the meantime, as more Tibetans light themselves on fire, China appears to be attempting to repress any news of self-immolations in order to limit international outrage at the scale of the problem in the country.

h/t: RYOT.

according to tantra and Tibetan medicine

What is the place of dream in the Tibetan culture ?
The dream practice and analysis has been used in Tibet since ancient time and is considered as an important part of the medical analysis and mind training. Tibetan Bon faith healers (Ancient shamans) used dreams to read the relationship between the spirits and humans, and diagnose diseases. There were also independent female “Dream tellers“ who were also involved with the government to make predictions to the kings about the politics and prosperity of the country. After Buddhism came to Tibet in the 7th century, dream analyzing culture developed along with medical knowledge and spiritual practice and became a more important subject. Even today, there are emminent spiritual dream tellers and visionaries able to give predictions on future happenings. The practice of dream analysis increased with the use of healthy dream interpretation and dream omens as a diagnosis in medical practice, according to the Gyud-shi (the four medical tantras), and with Yoga tantra as a spiritual practice for transformation of the body/mind.

Are there different views on dreams ?
Dream is the secret language of the mind and phenomena, and a common subject of interest in the East and West. But Western psychologists neglect the religious and spiritual concept, as well as extraterrestrial (planets) and spirits influence on dream, and prefer to adopt the mode of scientific interpretation. The Tibetan dream interpretation is particular. It is mixed with cultural beliefs, which is a background of the psychology, and is firmly influenced by Buddhist philosophy of mind and phenomena

In sutra [1], dream is not regarded as important by it self, but is used as an important example of illusion. Dream is like an hallucination produced by drugs or other intoxication, without any real basis. In sutra, dream is then used as an analogy of impermanence.

In tantra, dream is also regarded as an illusion but this illusion is considered an experience similar to the Bardo state, or ‘intermediate state‘, experienced by the mind after death. According to Buddhism, from the moment of death until there is a new life, the consciousness enters a state called Bardo. Relating to one’s karma, this state lasts from few minutes or few days to a maximum of 49 days. During the death, the dream-like mental body sees many aspects of its new world with uncertainty and fear. It is a world of lights, colors and sounds, and the mind experiences it like going through nightmares or adventures in the dream. The mind also sees his previous house, family and work, etc and tries to continue to engage in daily life but without being able to interact with others. Such experiences occur and it is very difficult for the consciousness to recognize that death had happened.

The situation is very similar to the dream state, where we feel ‘normal‘, with a body and life that looks real. Friends come to meet us, events happen and all these aspects are perceived as external factors rather than as our own mind’s creation. We have to go through the dream and follow its progression without having much impact on it.

Because of the similarity between the Bardo and dream processes, the tantric Buddhist spiritual practice uses dream as a path of spiritual transformation for the mind in a training called ‘dream yoga‘, to prepare the consciousness to recognize these illusory states for what they are, and so to develop useful capacities for the moment of death.

What about Tibetan medicine and Psychology ?

Here, dream is considered as being a secret language of the mind, but also the messenger of channels blockage due to disorders. Also sometimes divine daka, dakinis, protectors or spiritual masters communicate through dream. Therefore many dreams are beyond common people’s interpretation.

To really become able to understand the dream process according to the Tibetan tradition, one should learn the tantric philosophy, and specially should understand the body, speech (energy) and mind worlds.

Briefly speaking, at a physical level, our body is of course made up of organs, flesh and physical and energy channels, and is, roughly said, composed by the five elements. But in tantra, we look at the body at a subtler level, and then consider five components: the channels, subtle wind, temperature (psychic heat), thikle (‘essence drop‘), and consciousness.

About the channels, three principal ones are specially described, but also 72.000 sub-channels. Channels are like a house, but who does dwell in it? It is the subtle wind. Wind is the main pressure, energy, power, that makes flow the consciousness and all the substances inside the body. The wind is inseparable from the mind. This ‘basic‘ wind is divided into five principal winds, from these winds, five secondary winds ramify, from these ten winds, the energy increases and produces 72.000 winds flowing into 72.000 channels. If the wind functions correctly, the mind functions correctly, if the wind is disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed, because wind is the vehicle of the mind, wind and mind are indissociable, like the sandalwood and its perfume. To function properly, wind needs temperature, produced by the fire.

So, wind is there, it is the energy, it is the pressure that makes the mind move, but what composes it ? Its source is thikle, the subtle material power of the wind, its material substratum. So thikle is the cause of the wind energy, it is a material power. It comes from the food refinement, and is the quintessence of the elements.

The last body/mind component is the consciousness. The mind is immaterial. But as the mind is immaterial, it cannot communicate and function unless it is associated with a material energy. Mind is like the sun, it covers all, and that mind is the main actor behind the manifestation of these four: channels, wind, temperature and thikle. The force of the wind, whose material resource depends on thikle, moves the mind. It is like a rocket: thikle is the benzine, but benzine, if not ignited by fire, cannot launch the rocket.

The mind itself is clear, luminous and one, and it has no color or form, but when it is confronted to an object, it produces six different consciousnesses (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mental consciousnesses), which perceive the external objects and phenomena such as form, sound, smell, taste and tangibles.

The mind, thikle and temperature, moved by the wind power, then circulate through the body without stop till the end of the life. This is the subtle level body called ‘vajra body’ in tantra. The mystic mind makes its journey to this mystery kingdom that cannot be discovered by the common mind and soul.

What does happen during the sleeping process ?
All senses are important but the eyes are very important in the sleeping process. Because eyes are our body light and when light is active, the high sleeping darkness cannot occur. When we are awake, and eyes opened, the consciousness is alert, and in interaction with forms, its sensory objects. When our consciousness remains active with the external objects, we cannot sleep. When we close our eyes, the eyes consciousness and other consciousnesses close too and dissolve into the mental consciousness, which means that senses’ organs begin to close and the sleep begins. The consciousness is then absorbed in the inside. This absorption process happens during the sleep, deep meditation, and also during fainting.

So the mind falls into a deep, dark and profound sleep and momentarily goes into an unconscious state. If the mind could remain in its own place (central channel) it would perceive things as they really are. But the mind is moved by the subtle wind. The mind begins to wake up, and the consciousness has no choice but to travel through the channels driven by the wind. The dream starts when the consciousness enters these channels. According to its travel through the different channels, dreams appear differently, taking on different forms and colors, reflecting its journey through a symbolic language.

Whether the channels are clean, healthy or blocked, tight or in bad condition, it has an impact on the consciousness’ travelling, and this is also expressed through the dream. According to the aspect of the dream, Tibetan physicians analyse and use them for the diagnosis.
According to the Tibetan Buddhism and cultural beliefs there could be the following category of concept and dreams: the dreams influenced by culture and beliefs, dreams and visions experienced by the yogic spiritual practitioner, dreams influenced by the environnement, planets and spirits, dreams produced by disease and omens, and premonitory dreams.

Is the dream analysis generally used in Tibetan Medicine ? is it taught during the Tibetan Medicine studies ?
Dream analysis is used a lot in Tibetan medicine. There are some explanations on that topic in the Gyud-shi, the medical tantras, and medical texts, for instance in the prognostication of death, so it is also taught during the studies, but not extensively. Actually, dream analysis develops along with the medical and spiritual practices. For example in the medical side, one asks the patients about their dreams and their physical or mental disharmonies, so the relationships between dreams and disease can be seen more and more accurately.

There are six types of dreams mentioned in Tibetan Medicine that can be generally interpreted: dreams of what was seen the previous days, dreams of what was heard the previous days, dreams of what was experienced the previous days, dreams of fulfilling the spiritual wishes, dreams of fulfilling the normal wishes, dream omens or illness prognosis.

Does a particular disease produce particular types of dreams ?
Yes, definitely. Before, during and after the disease, dreams are quite informative at all stages.

So, when a patient tells you a certain kind of dream, can you infer the causes or location of his disease ?
Yes, the dream can give some precious clues on the disease. But also, to a sensitive and experienced physician in the dream practice, it indeed happens to dream about the patient’s disease before the appointment. If not, the doctor asks to the patient the nature of his dreams, and the dreams very often reveal signs of humoral imbalances, organ’s weakness.

In dream analysis, what is the importance of the forms and colors ?
The colors and forms of the dreams manifest themselves as reflections of past experiences and elemental colors kept by the mind in Kunshi, the base of the mind, and whenever a strong emotion with similar situation, structure, color and so on appears, the mind recalls the memory and giving colors by the elements of the wind, produces its reflection in the form of a dream. For instance, when we think “white lotus”, some people can immediately see a white lotus in their mind and some are not able to do so because they have never seen the flower or probably there is no clear enough record of it in the Kunshi. Perhaps they only see a “mentally projected lotus” which could be different from the reality because the memory cannot produce it. So when the consciousness visits the different places of the body, it will express this through symbolic pictures. For instance, blocked channels may be reflected as obstructed roads or tiny passages, the liver may be seen in the form of the Australian Ayers rock, hairs like a forest, and so on.

In healthy people, colors that appear in the dream can be related to the elements, humors, and also to the body directions undertaken by the consciousness during the dream. The body is like a mandala. The elements are in their own position, when the consciousness visits these places, the dream is naturally influenced by the reflection of the elements, it is a bit like when you look at the sky, you see it as blue, but the sky itself as no color, it is a reflection. It is the general theory. Then colors are not necessarily to be taken as a sign of sickness.
But in the case of disease, it is different. For example the red color, or also maybe the vision of a fire, can show a Bile disorder sign.

Dream reading is very subtle, as it is a symbolic language. You can never rely one hundred percents on the interpretation because it is very difficult to decipher the codes of the inner world language. There are no mathematical or logical rules fixed in that matter. You have to learn the ancient dream language interpretation and develop your understanding through your own experience so it is a long training. Anyway, to reveal the secret language of dreams and its practice, one should learn them from the tantra and with a master.

[1] Sutras are a collection of teachings given by Buddha on various subjects. Tantras developed later, around the 10th century, and use special methods of meditation with visualization and mantra recitation of a particular Buddha-figure. According to Mahayana buddhism, tantras were also expounded by Buddha himself but had been kept secret until their exposure.

Tibetan activists detained during protest outside Chinese embassy in India on uprising anniversary

Tibet’s struggle for independence gained newfound emphasis on March 10 when Tibetans marked the 62nd anniversary of their uprising by staging a protest outside the Chinese embassy. Members of the Tibetian Youth Congress and other Tibetian Students organizations held a protest outside the Chinese embassy in Delhi and tried to reach the gates of the embassy. The protestors were raising slogans and waiving Tibetan flags under the banner of the Tibetan Youth Congress. Around 70 workers of the Tibetan Youth Congress were detained and taken to the Chanakyapuri police station and later released. The protestors' faces were painted with the colors of the Tibetan flag, while slogan-shouting activists painted "Free Tibet" and "Boycott China Products" as well as "Quit China." Tibetans commemorate the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising on March 10 by paying tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Tibet.

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More provinces expanding vaccine rollouts as COVID-19 cases rise nationally

Provinces continued to expand their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts on Sunday, amid what Canada's chief public health officer described as a recent increase in the number of new cases across the country. Dr. Theresa Tam said health officials are observing a rise in new infections after several weeks of levelling off. The country reported a seven-day average of 3,052 new cases daily between March 5 and March 11. In a statement, Tam expressed concern over an increase in cases linked to more contagious virus variants, as well as a higher infection rate in Canadians aged 20 to 39. "Circulation of COVID-19 in younger, more mobile and socially connected adults can increase the risk of spread into high-risk populations and settings," she wrote. Despite the rise in cases, Tam said severe outcomes such as hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. Her statement adds urgency to the vaccine effort, which is ramping up in several provinces as more doses arrive. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the province's COVID-19 vaccine booking system is ready to start taking appointments for those 80 and older as of Monday morning, following recent pilot projects allowing some pharmacies and family doctors to deliver the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to people ages 60 to 64. Saskatchewan also expanded its rollout, announcing that anyone who is 70 or older can book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. In Saskatchewan's Northern Administrative District, the cutoff age is 50 and over. Quebec, which is already vaccinating people ages 70 and up across the province or 65 and up in Montreal, will expand its booking system as of Monday to add some 350 pharmacies to the list of places where people can get shots. Health Minister Christian Dube noted that the province administered more than 30,000 doses on Saturday, and said Quebec would continue to increase the pace of vaccines. Unlike many other provinces, Quebec has authorized using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65, despite the national immunization committee warning of a lack of data on efficacy in that age group. Dube took to his Twitter account to reassure the population that the vaccine is safe, after several European countries temporarily suspended use of AstraZeneca over concerns surrounding blood clots. "Vaccination is the solution, regardless of which one," Dube said. Both the World Health Organization and Health Canada's chief medical adviser have said there is no scientific explanation to suggest a link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots. AstraZeneca said a review of 17 million patients who received the shot in Europe and the U.K. shows no elevated risk of blood clotting. Alberta, meanwhile, has been running out of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it has been offering to younger people. Albertans who were born between 1957 and 1961, and First Nations, Metis and Inuit people born between 1972 and 1976, are eligible for the AstraZeneca shots. That province also recorded its first two cases of a fast-spreading COVID-19 variant first detected in Brazil. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said both cases are travel-related and in the Calgary zone. While Tam warned that the average number of new COVID-19 cases was rebounding slightly across the country, that wasn't the case across the board. There was good news in Atlantic Canada, where Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases of COVID-19, while New Brunswick added five cases to its tally and Nova Scotia reported just one. Manitoba reported 44 new cases and one death, while Saskatchewan reported 98 new cases and two lost lives. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Black-clad women rally in Australia to demand gender violence justice

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TORONTO — Kaytranada lived up to his reputation as one of Canada’s respected, but stealth, music producers as he swept through the Grammy Awards on Sunday with a double win that needed little fanfare. The Montreal-raised DJ picked up best dance recording for his song "10%," featuring Kali Uchis, and best dance or electronic album for "Bubba" in a matter of minutes. And it all happened at the outset of a streaming ceremony, before the television broadcast, where most of the awards were handed out. "This is crazy. This is insane," Kaytranada, born Louis Celestin, said in a remote video feed as he accepted the second of his two awards. "I'm taking this one back to Montreal." His blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance helped set the tone for a night of speedy celebrations that culminated with the physically distanced broadcast show from downtown Los Angeles, where a select group of nominees attended in person. Celestin lost the third of his nominations to Megan Thee Stallion for best new artist. Justin Bieber became the owner of a country Grammy, the latest twist in his pursuit of being considered an R&B singer, rather than a pop star. The Stratford, Ont.-raised musician won best country duo or group performance for "10,000 Hours," a hit single recorded with country pair Dan and Shay. Bieber had expressed displeasure ahead of the Grammys over seeing music from his recent "Changes" album nominated in pop categories when he felt it was in the R&B spirit. He didn't show up at the ceremony, posting on Instagram at the start of the Grammys broadcast that he was staying in to watch a movie. Other Canadian winners included Shawn Everett, who now has six Grammys to his name. The music engineer, raised in Bragg Creek, Alta., won for Beck's "Hyperspace," in the best engineered album, non-classical category. He shares the award with a team of fellow engineers who worked on the album, but it was Beck who accepted the award on their behalf. Everett said in a year when so many have faced hardship because of COVID-19, lamenting the loss of a traditional Grammy gathering seems like a low priority. But he felt the absence of his parents on awards night as his nominations often served as a reason for the family to visit. "For me, it’s a celebration of my parents and how much I’ve loved them and they’ve helped me," he said. "I wasn’t able to be there with them, that’s the biggest bummer." Jim (Kimo) West, who ran into a familiar pandemic technical glitch when his name was called for best new age album Grammy but his microphone was muted at home. Viewers couldn't hear his acceptance speech, so producers quickly shuffled on to the next category leaving West without a chance to thank the fellow artists who collaborated on his Hawaiian slack-key guitar album, "More Guitar Stories." The Los Angeles-based musician maintained his sense of humour about the gaffe. "(Usually) after the main show you go to some nice parties, and now I'm just going to order some takeout, hang out and watch TV," said the Toronto-born guitarist for "Weird Al" Yankovic. "I really want to win another one so that I can have the real experience." A musical adaptation of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" won best musical theatre album for the main vocalists and producers involved in the project. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press

Martial law imposed in parts of Myanmar city as deaths rise

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's ruling junta has declared martial law in parts of the country's largest city as security forces killed more protesters in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month's military coup. At least 38 people were killed Sunday and dozens were injured in one of the deadliest days of the crackdown, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent group tracking the toll of the violence. Most of those killed — 34 — were in Yangon, where two townships, Hlaing Thar Yar and neighbouring Shwepyitha were being placed under martial law. Video from Hlaing Thar Yar township showed people running away after gunfire was heard. Those fleeing carried one injured person and tried to revive two others, one who seemed to be dead or dying, the footage from independent Democratic Voice of Burma showed. Hlaing Thar Yar was the location of 22 civilian deaths Sunday, according to the aid group, which said more than a dozen civilians were wounded and described a large number of junta forces engaged in the township. Since the takeover six weeks ago, Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency, with its civilian leaders ousted and detained and military leaders in charge of all government. But the announcement on state broadcaster MRTV late Sunday appeared to be the first use of the term martial law since the coup and suggested more direct military control of security, instead of local police. The announcement said the State Administrative Council acted to enhance security and restore law and order and said the Yangon regional commander has been entrusted with administrative, judicial and military powers in the area under his command. Four other deaths were reported in Bago, Mandalay, and the northern city of Hpakant in Kachin state, according to the aid group and local media. In Yangon, video posted on social media showed crowds of people, some wearing hard hats and gas masks, running down a street amid sounds of gunfire. The demonstrators quickly sprayed vapour from fire extinguishers as they retreated — a tactic widely used to smother tear gas and create a vapour screen that makes it harder for police to pursue or shoot demonstrators. There were also reports of injuries from live rounds and rubber bullets in other parts of Yangon, including Insein district, where billows of black smoke could be seen after security forces reportedly set roadblocks on fire. In a new tactic, anti-coup demonstrators used the cover of darkness to hold mass candlelight vigils Saturday and Sunday nights in a Yangon commercial area that was usually the scene of their daytime protests. After-dark rallies were also held in Mandalay and elsewhere. The protest movement has been grounded in non-violent civil disobedience from the start, with marches and general strikes among its main features. But some protesters have advocated stronger, more agile methods of self-defence — such as holding small rallies that are quick to disband and reunite, and devising cover from fire extinguishers and billowing laundry. On Saturday, the civilian leader of Myanmar’s government in hiding vowed to continue supporting a “revolution” to oust the military leaders who seized power in the Feb. 1 coup. Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was named the acting vice-president by Myanmar's ousted lawmakers and is a member of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, addressed the public for the first time since the coup. “This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close,” he said in a video posted on the shadow government’s website and social media. “In order to form a federal democracy, which all ethnic brothers who have been suffering various kinds of oppressions from the dictatorship for decades really desired, this revolution is the chance for us to put our efforts together," he said. He added: “We will never give up to an unjust military, but we will carve our future together with our united power. Our mission must be accomplished.” At the end of the message, he flashed the three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance to the military rulers. The aid group's tally of Sunday's victims appeared to raise beyond 100 the number of civilians killed by security forces since the coup. Confirmation is nearly impossible in the country due to the security situation and a crackdown on independent media, but various groups have carefully compiled tallies with similar figures. The actual death toll is likely higher, as police apparently seized some bodies, and some victims have had serious gunshot wounds that medical staff at makeshift clinics would be hard-pressed to treat. Many hospitals are occupied by security forces, and as a result are boycotted by medical personnel and shunned by protesters. Police have also aggressively patrolled residential neighbourhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades as an intimidation tactic. They have also taken people from their homes in targeted raids with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being hauled away. The Associated Press

Former tenants of Toronto building say high carbon monoxide levels forced them out years ago

Former residents of a west-end apartment building that was recently deemed unsafe by the city due to high levels of carbon monoxide have come forward, saying they had to vacate their units for the same reason years ago. On Thursday, nine tenants of 1407-1409 Bloor St. W were left in the cold after they were ordered to vacate their units within 24 hours after potentially lethal levels of carbon monoxide were detected in their building. The four units in question are located above an auto repair shop. The city has since said the units were built without a permit. The situation is all too familiar for former tenant of the building Andrija Dimitrijevic, who said a carbon monoxide leak forced him to permanently vacate his unit in 2017. "It was such a shocking turn of events, like it completely upended everything," he said. Dimitrijevic said that he'd fallen in love with the space when he first moved into 1409 Bloor St. W in 2013, noting that finding a place in the city that "fits artists" is difficult, especially at a decent price. He'd used the loft-style unit, which he called one of his favourite apartments to date, as a live-work gallery for his photography business and had put around $10,000 worth of renovations into the unit. This image provided to CBC Toronto by a resident who was told to vacate on Thursday displays the type of loft-style units found in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood building. (Submitted by Miles Gertler) Then, four years after Dimitrijevic moved in, his carbon monoxide detector went off. When Toronto Fire assessed the unit, they said the levels were six or seven times higher than the safe amount. The fire department told him and his partner they had to leave their unit because they weren't permitted to live above a garage, Dimitrijevic said. "They literally waited in the apartment while we packed bags and left. We weren't even allowed to stay that night." Dimitrijevic's landlord at the time returned his first and last month's rent, and he was given about a month to gather his belongings. City deputy mayor 'very disturbed, disappointed' Ana Bailão, the deputy mayor of Toronto and councillor for Ward 9 — Davenport, said she's now committed to helping out the tenants who were forced out of their units on Thursday with no accommodation from their landlord. Brad J. Lamb, a developer with Lamb Sterling Corp., also known as Lamb Development Corp., owns and manages the building. Residents say he's refused to help them out in terms of hotels, movers, food and more. "They said, 'Here's your last month's rent deposit, that's it.' They said, 'We will not be offering you any support in this situation,'" resident Michael Seater had said of Lamb and his representatives. Bailão told CBC Toronto she was "very disturbed, disappointed" by the way the situation was handled. "[You'd] think that any landlord, in the middle of a pandemic, especially in these circumstances, would work with tenants to say, 'You know, we have to keep you safe, let's work out a plan . not, 'Here's a letter, you have 24 hours, our deal is off," she said. "The way that these tenants have been treated is not right and we need to support them," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão. (CBC) Lamb has not responded to multiple interview requests from CBC Toronto. Bailão said she's spoken with the property management company, but she asked for Lamb to call her. As of Sunday, she said she's still waiting for that call. Both her office and city staff have been in contact with the tenants over the weekend, Bailão said, advising them on where to look for legal support. She said she'll be looking into any opportunity for rental replacement and for rental relocation for them. "The way that these tenants have been treated is not right and we need to support them." The deputy mayor said the property was recently bought by Lamb's development company. Although it's unclear whether he knew that the units were built without a city permit, Bailão said a property buyer would normally do their research. "You check the permits, you check if these units are legal, your lawyers check these things," she said, adding that she's "very surprised" that the illegitimacy of the units wasn't recognized. Lamb applied for 18-storey condo at same location In November 2020, a development company submitted an application to the city to build an 18-storey condominium at the same location as the Bloor Street West building in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood. Bailão confirmed the applicant for this building is Lamb's development company. Lamb tweeted a link to the condo, which, if approved, will be called The Sterling Automotive and located at 1405 Bloor St. As of Sunday, the city and his website both say the development has not yet been approved. However, the deputy mayor said that when you're building communities, you have to work with the community that's already there — something she said Lamb failed to do. A November 2020 application submitted by Lamb Sterling Corp. to the city of Toronto shows Lamb's plan to build an 18-storey condo at the site of a property he currently owns, which has faced multiple carbon monoxide leaks. (City of Toronto) "Looking at the way that our neighbours were treated by this landlord is very discouraging. It doesn't give us a lot of hope in this process that we have ahead of us," she said. "Trust needs to be built and obviously it is very concerning to see the way that these tenants were treated just when we're about to embark [on] this process." On Thursday, the city sent Lamb a notice about the building's unsafe conditions and Lamb passed on the message to his tenants without offering any accommodation, she said. "Just imagining receiving a letter saying you have 24 hours to pack up your belongings, your life and leave. How do you respond to that in normal times, but particularly in the middle of a pandemic?" Bailão said. Units still listed on rental sites Another resident who lived in the building 15 years ago said carbon monoxide was an issue for him back then as well. "We were there for about two years and then one day, the alarms were going off," Martin Stelnick, another artist, told CBC Toronto. In 2008, he lived under a different landlord who initially told him it was likely his fault because he was operating his thermostat incorrectly. He vacated the unit shortly after this incident. CBC Toronto has learned that the units that were vacated on Thursday still pop up on rental sites like Padmapper, and others. A listing for a unit at 1407 Bloor St. W was posted by Lamb's company to a rental site on March 10, one day before residents were forced to permanently vacate all units on March 11. The listing, which remained online as of Sunday night, said the unit is available April 1. ( "These units are not allowed to exist," said Bailão. On Thursday, the city ordered that the units be vacated and banned from occupancy. One ad for a unit at 1407 Bloor St. W was posted on Wednesday for $3,195 and is listed for occupancy as of April 1. The poster is Lamb's real estate company. "I lost not just my place to live, I lost my place of business. My business hasn't fully recovered since then," said Dimitrijevic, saying he understands what the current residents are going through. "I just hope that these people find new places to live and my heart goes out to them." Residents forced from the building told CBC Toronto they plan on taking legal action.

Passed out in the drive-thru

Coffee shop drive-thru’s often feature long morning lines, but sometimes it’s more than high demand keeping cars backed up. That was the case Jan. 2 at the Vidal St. Tim Horton’s. Drivers approached the order box but found the way blocked by a running car. The mini traffic jam eventually caught the attention of staff who came outside to investigate. In the white Saturn sedan sat Graham Jillson. He was unresponsive and slumped over the wheel. In Sarnia Court Mar. 4 it was revealed Jillson had passed out after smoking a substantial amount of fentanyl in the parking lot immediately prior. Staff called emergency services who arrived and tried to get Jillson’s attention. But he wouldn’t wake up. Police finally busted a car window and peeled back the glass to turn off the running car and assist Jillson. Paramedics were able to revive Jillson, who said he’d just smoked fentanyl. He was taken to the hospital for treatment. “The situation that occurred I feel very bad for, because I could have put people at harm,” says Jillson. “I’m grateful that the first responders came and got me out of my car.” “It really bothers me that I could have hurt somebody, and I’m embarrassed,” he says. “I’m willing to accept any of the consequences.” “There was a tremendous level of impairment. The police had to break into his car to get him out as he was unresponsive while the vehicle was still in drive,” says Crown Attorney Ryan Iaquinta as he asked for an elevated $2,300 fine. “These are obviously very aggravating features, to have someone behind a vehicle in that state.” But Justice Krista Leszczynski says Jillson understands the gravity of his actions, and was impressed he’s enrolled in addiction treatment programs since. “Your words are genuine and they demonstrate some insight into the wrongfulness of your conduct and the risk that you posed.” Leszczynski settled on a $2,000 fine and one year driving ban. “I wish you all the very best in addressing your addiction.” Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

Sky Global CEO says he is being targeted for building tools protecting privacy

The CEO of a Vancouver-based company who is accused in the United States of aiding the illicit global drug trade through the sale of encrypted communications devices is denying the allegations. Jean-Francois Eap says in a statement that he believes that he and his company Sky Global have been targeted for building tools to protect the fundamental right to privacy. The U.S. Department of Justice says Eap is one of two men linked to the Canadian company named in the indictment by a federal grand jury in San Diego. It says the indictment alleges that Sky Global devices are designed to prevent law enforcement from monitoring the communications between members of transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Eap says he became aware of the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges via media and has not been contacted by authorities. He says the allegations are "unfounded" and "entirely false." "The indictment against me personally in the United States is an example of the police and the government trying to vilify anyone who takes a stance against unwarranted surveillance," Eap says in the statement. Eap denied that that technology was created to prevent police from monitoring criminal organization, adding that it exists to prevent anyone from monitoring and spying on the global community. The indictment alleges that Sky Global installs sophisticated encryption software in cellphones that allow users to communicate with each other in a closed network through encrypted servers in Canada and France. It alleges the company used the system to facilitate the importation, exportation, and distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine into Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, including the United States and Canada. The indictment also alleges the system was used to help launder the proceeds of drug trafficking and obstruct investigations. Eap says he does not condone illegal activity in any way, shape or form, nor does Sky Global. "We stand for protection of privacy and freedom of speech in an era when these rights are under increasing attack. We do not condone illegal or unethical behavior by our partners or customers," he says. "To brand anyone who values privacy and freedom of speech as a criminal is an outrage. In the coming days, my efforts will be focused on clearing my name of these allegations.” The Justice Department also names Thomas Herdman, a former distributor of the devices, who could not be reached for comment. The Department says they are charged with conspiracy to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2021. The Canadian Press

The Latest: Album of the year Grammy goes to Taylor Swift

LOS ANGELES — The Latest on the Grammy Awards (all times local): 8:10 a.m. Taylor Swift will go down in Grammy lore. Swift’s album “folklore” won the Grammy Award for album of the year on Sunday night, making her the first female artist to win the award three times. She also won it in 2010 for her album “Fearless,” and again in 2015 for “1989.” Swift’s “folklore” won over nominated albums by Jhené Aiko, Black Pumas, Coldplay, Jacob Collier, HAIM, Dua Lipa and Post Malone. She thanked her collaborators, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, and her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, adding they turned writing songs during a pandemic fun. ____ MORE ON THE GRAMMYS — The Grammys are drunk in love with Beyoncé: The singer has surpassed Alison Krauss to become the most decorated female act in Grammy history. — Doja Cat went for neon feathers and a moto jacket-inspired leather dress zipped all the way down and DaBaby brightened up the Grammys in a bright mustard and green floral suit as music’s big night Sunday offered a luxe fashion moment for the stars. — Kanye West, Fiona Apple, Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé along with her daughter, Blue Ivy, are among some of the winners at the Grammy Awards. — A peek behind the masks and precautious at the Grammys ___ 8:05 p.m. Beyoncé has just won her 28th Grammy, making her the winningest woman in Grammy history. Beyoncé broke the record with her victory Sunday night for best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” surpassing the 27 Grammys won by Alison Krauss. She had tied the record just minutes earlier when she won best rap song with Megan Thee Stallion for “Savage.” She won another Grammy with daughter Blue Ivy for best music video earlier Sunday. Accepting the award on the outdoor stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Beyoncé said “this is so overwhelming, I’ve been working my whole life, since 9 years old, I can’t believe this happened, it’s such a magical night.” ___ 7:50 p.m. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” has won the Grammy for best pop vocal album. It’s the third Grammy for the English-born singer-songwriter, who won best new artist at the 2019 Grammy Awards and whose performance of “Levitating” from “Future Nostalgia” aired early in the show. Accepting the award on Monday night, she said, “One thing I’ve really come to realize is how much happiness is so important. I felt really jaded after my last album where I felt like I had to make sad music to feel like it mattered. I’m so grateful and so honoured, because happiness is something that we all deserve.” Dua Lipa won over albums by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift. ___ She thanked her managers, who have been with her since she was 17, her label and her team. “This is insane,” she said. “This means so much.”7:30 p.m. The Grammy for best rap song goes to “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé, giving Beyoncé a record-tying 27th Grammy. With the total, Beyoncé matched Alison Krauss as the woman who has won the most Grammys, and may surpass Krauss later Sunday night. Megan Thee Stallion accepted the award minutes after her head-turning performance of “W.A.P.” with Cardi B aired on the show. She praised all the nominees, saying, “Music really helped a lot of us get through the pandemic.” Megan, who earlier was crowned best new artist, thanked Beyoncé for her role in the song, saying “When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be the rap Beyoncé.” Beyoncé jumped on the mic to say, “I just want to quickly give my love to Megan,” adding “I have so much respect for you” and thanked her for inviting to contribute to the track. ___ 7:05 p.m. H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe” has won song of the year at the Grammys. The song with its Black Lives Matter themes won the songwriter’s award Sunday night over songs by superstars including Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Billie Eillish. H.E.R. shared the award with co-writers Dernst Emile II and Tiare Thomas. As she accepted she said, “I’ve never been so proud to be an artist. We wrote this song over FaceTime, and I didn’t imagine that my fear and my pain would turn into impact and it would possibly turn into change.” H.E.R. previously won Grammys for best R&B performance and best R&B album. ___ 6:45 p.m. Bruno Mars celebrated Little Richard, Lionel Richie honoured Kenny Rogers and Brandi Carlile paid tribute to John Prine during an in memoriam segment on the Grammy Awards that featured an especially long list of names after a year of the coronavirus pandemic. Mars, joined by Anderson .Paak blazed through Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Richie sang “Lady,” the ballad he wrote and Rogers made a hit adding, “I miss you Kenny” as he ended. And Carlile sang “I Remember Everything” for Prine, one of the artists lost in 2020 to the coronavirus, along with Charley Pride, K.T. Oslin, Adam Schlesiner, Trini Lopez and many others. The performances were interspersed between montages of the names and faces of the dead. Host Trevor Noah introduced the segment by telling viewers they can see the names of nearly 1,000 people in the music industry who died last year at Brittany Howard, backed up by Chris Martin on piano, ended the tribute with a stirring version of the Broadway standard “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” ___ 6:35 p.m. Harry Styles has won his first Grammy, taking for best pop solo performance for “Watermelon Sugar.” Styles accepted the award Sunday night for the song that he also performed to open the show, dressed in a leather suit and a feather boa. He’s nominated for two more Grammys on Sunday night. Styles topped fellow nominees Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift. The former One Direction member has put out two solo albums and his sophomore effort is called “Fine Lines.” It also contains the song “Lights Up.” ___ 6:30p.m. Taylor Swift performed at the Grammys for the first time in five years, singing a medley of songs from her albums “evermore” and “folklore” in a mystical woodland-and-cabin setting. Swift sang “Cardigan,” “August” and “Willow” on Sunday night, starting while lying on a faux-grassy hillside with trees and projected fireflies behind her in a gold gown and headpiece that had echoes of a forest fairy. She made her way into a cabin where she picked up a guitar and was backed up by collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. The audience-free scene was set up on a stage inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, where most of the performances were pre-recorded this week because of pandemic precautions, though the show is presenting all of the performers as though they were live. Swift is nominated for six Grammys on Sunday including album of the year for “folklore.” A win would make her the first woman to take the award three times. Just before her performance, Miranda Lambert won best country album, a Grammy previously won by Swift, in a category that was nearly all women. Lambert’s “Nightfall” beat out albums by Ingrid Andress, Brandy Clark, Little Big Town and Ashley McBryde. ___ 5:55 p.m. The Grammys are spotlighting some of the nation’s best-known music clubs that were forced to close their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. Representatives from the Station Inn in Nashville, the Troubadour and Hotel Café in Los Angeles, and the Apollo Theater in New York were chosen to present trophies during Sunday night’s show. Each of the venues holds a unique place in music. JT Gray from the Station Inn, known for its bluegrass tradition, will announce the best country album. Rachelle Erratchu of the Troubadour, where Elton John made his U.S. debut in 1970, will hand out the best pop solo performance trophy. Billy Mitchell of the Apollo, famed for its amateur nights, will award the best rap song. Candice Fox of the Hotel Café, known for featuring acoustic-based songwriters, will announce album of the year. ___ 5:25 p.m. Megan Thee Stallion has won best new artist at the Grammy Awards. The 26-year-old became just the fifth rapper to win the award, which she accepted in person on the outdoor stage Sunday night, tearing up before she even began talking. The award was the first one handed out during the telecast, but Megan Thee Stallion had already won a Grammy earlier Sunday for “Savage,” her hit that features Beyoncé. The song is also nominated for best rap song and record of the year. She beat out fellow nominees Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus, D Smoke, Doja Cat and Kaytranada. Megan Thee Stallion had a monster musical year that also brought unwanted attention when she was shot in the foot. Rapper Tory Lanez has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the shooting. “It’s been a hell of a year, but we made it,” she said. ___ 5:10 p.m. Trevor Noah opened the pandemic-altered 63rd annual Grammy Awards on an outdoor stage in front of a sparse crowd outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, with the Grammy’s usual home, the Staples Center, as a backdrop. “We have made the decision to socially distance from the Staples Center,” the host said. “This is not a Zoom background.” Noah walked inside the Convention Center during his presentation, where the show’s performances, many of them pre-recorded, will be broadcast from. On four stages that face one other in the audience-free room, he introduced Black Pumas, HAIM, Billie Eillish and Harry Styles, who began the night’s music with a rendition of his “Watermelon Sugar.” The song is among the nominees for best pop vocal performance, one of three nominations for the ex-One Direction singer. He performed with a full band wearing a black leather sports coat with no shirt underneath, and a green feather boa. Eillish, who dominated last year’s Grammys, immediately followed with a performance of “Everything I Wanted.” The three sisters of HAIM played immediately after Eillish. ___ 4:50 p.m. Jacob Collier says he recorded his Grammy-nominated album in the same North London home “where I learned to walk as a 1-year-old.” Before Sunday’s Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Collier told The Associated Press that “Djesse Vol. 3,” which is nominated for album of the year, is the fourth he has recorded in his music room there. Collier said: “I produced it by myself and I played the instruments on the album and I wrote the songs and arranged it and mixed it and stuff. But I mean, really it was just an experiment.” He says the acclaim for the album and the nomination came “completely out of the blue” and it’s surreal to “be among these giants, these legends of the industry. Collier’s fellow nominees in the category include Taylor Swift and Post Malone. — Marcela Isaza at the Grammy Awards (@misaza) ___ 4:40 p.m. Noah Cyrus says it’s “been a roller coaster of tears” to be nominated for best new artist at the Grammy Awards while dealing with the loss of her grandmother. The 21-year-old Cyrus told The Associated Press before Sunday’s Grammy Awards that she had already been thinking of Loretta “Mammie” Finley, who died in August, when “someone said, ‘You look just like your grandma.’ And I started tearing up and it’s just been really emotional because I would have given anything to be with her, you know, or let her have her just be able to watch this on the TV. But I feel like I kind of have her with me.” She said she has taken comfort and support from her family, which includes her father Billy Ray Cyrus and sister Miley Cyrus. Wearing a wildly elaborate Schiaparelli cream-colored gown, Noah Cyrus says to make her own name she has had to “try to work with ten times more passion, more love” and to “be more driven.” — Jonathan Landrum Jr. at the Grammy Awards (@MrLandrum31) ___ 4:30 p.m. DaBaby says his Grammy performance will be “beautiful” despite performing in a “room full of nobody.” DaBaby is among the performers who, because of the pandemic, pre-recorded a performance at the Los Angeles Convention Center with no audience that will air during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast. Decked out in a broad-brimmed, green-and-red fedora, yellow turtleneck and floral jacket in the run-up to the show, DaBaby told The Associated Press that “at the end of the day, we still have the ability to express ourselves through camera. So it’s no different than like a music video.” He says he added a third verse with a special message to his performance of “Rockstar,” which is nominated for four Grammys, and could become just the second rap song to win record of the year. DaBaby says he “feels like it’s going to touch everybody.” — Marcela Isaza at the Grammy Awards (@misaza) ___ 3:15 p.m. Brandi Carlile is excited to perform at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, even if there isn’t an audience. She says she’s really only performing for one person — the late singer-songwriter John Prine. “I think that in the past performing in front of an audience is the only thing that matters to me,” Carlile tells The Associated Press. “But this time I’m just performing for John Prine. It’s just for John, and I know he’s there.” Carlile spoke to the AP this week and addressed how different it feels to be playing live music again after a year of the pandemic. She says “it feels good to be dressed up and to be sparkling.” She said that after being a performer for her entire adult life, the lockdown has given her a chance to stop. Even if she is ready to get back to rhythm of touring. “I’m kind of a born entertainer, you know, that’s who I am. But I always wondered what would happen if I stopped for long enough to kind of look inward,” Carlile says. “I’m really happy with what did happen, but I’m ready to get back on the road again.” — Jonathan Landrum Jr. at the Grammy Awards (@MrLandrum31) ___ 3 p.m. Country star Mickey Guyton says her performance Sunday night on the Grammy Awards will be “a moment for Black people in country music.” Guyton, a first-time nominee and first-time performer, is the first solo Black female artist to be nominated in a country category at the Grammys, following in the footsteps of the Pointer Sisters who have won a country Grammy Award. “My life changed once I started running towards everything that made me different,” Guyton told The Associated Press during interviews backstage prior to the show. “They say country music is three chords and the truth. So I started writing my truth as a Black woman, singing country music and my experiences in my life. And one of those first songs was ‘Black Like Me.’” She said that stepping on that stage is not only important to her, but all those communities that have felt marginalized in country music. “I realize that not only am I walking through those doors as a Black woman, I need to hold the door open for many other Black, brown, LBGTQA plus artists that have the same dreams,” says Guyton. — Jonathan Landrum Jr. at the Grammy Awards (@MrLandrum31) ___ 2:20 p.m. Justin Bieber is a Grammy winner in the country genre for his “10,000 Hours” collaboration with Dan + Shay. Dan + Shay accepted the best country duo/group performance Grammy virtually. Bieber did not appear during the Grammys Premiere Ceremony, where the majority of Sunday’s awards are bestowed. It is Bieber’s second Grammy. He previously won for best dance recording for “Where Are U Now” with Diplo and Skrillex. Dan + Shay have won two previous Grammys, for “Speechless” and “Tequila.” ___ 2: 15 p.m. Late singer songwriter John Prine won two posthumous Grammys for best American roots song and best American roots performance for his last recorded song, “I Remember Everything,” a song about loss and memory. Prine died last year at the age of 73 of complications due to COVID-19. His wife, Fiona Whelan, told reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday that the song spoke to the importance of memories and really connected with people this past year. “John had a way of pointing out the most simple everyday things that sometimes we overlook,” said Whelan. Prine, a two-time Grammy winner who wrote songs like “Angel from Montgomery” and “Sam Stone,” also received a lifetime achievement award last year. “I feel John’s presence today very strongly,” said Whelan. ___ 2 p.m. Megan Thee Stallion has won a Grammy for “Savage,” her collaboration with Beyoncé. She excitedly screamed for several seconds and rushed to compose herself while accepting the award virtually during the Grammys’ Premiere Ceremony. She thanked God, her grandmother and her mother for pushing her, then turning her gratitude toward Queen Bey. She said: “I still can’t even believe this,” as she struggled to keep her composure. Megan Thee Stallion is among the performers on the main Grammys show that airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The win brings Beyoncé one step closer to becoming the most decorated woman in Grammys history. ___ 1:35 p.m. The late jazz pianist Chick Corea won two Grammys Sunday only about a month after his death. Corea won the trophy for best improvised jazz solo and moments later won for best jazz instrumental album, which he shared with Christian McBride & Brian Blade. The wins for “All Blues” and “Trilogy 2” means Corea has a staggering 25 Grammys. His widow, Gayle Moran, accepted both awards virtually. “His mission in life was to keep the music fires burning bright,” she said through tears. Corea, who died at 79 on Feb. 9 of a rare form of cancer, was not the only artist who won a posthumous Grammy. John Prine also won two. ___ 1 p.m. Billie Eilish and her producer brother, Finneas, have won a Grammy for their song “No Time to Die” from the pandemic-delayed James Bond film. The pair appeared remotely to accept the song written for visual media honour and Eilish excitedly thanked actor Daniel Craig and “No Time to Die” director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Eilish says “It was a dream to make this song, to work on this.” As for Finneas, he said: “I feel very lucky to be your brother.” The award was announced during the Grammys’ Premiere Ceremony, which hands out the majority of the awards ahead of the main telecast at 8 p.m. Eastern. “Jojo Rabbit” and the “Joker” soundtrack also won Grammys in the segment of the show that awarded music created for visual media. “Jojo Rabbit” director Taika Waititi accepted the award virtually from what appeared to be a trailer. He said he was working on a film set. He joked, “I guess they’re just giving Grammys to anyone now. I’ll take it.” ___ 12:20 p.m. Beyoncé — and her 9-year-old daughter Blue Ivy — have won the Grammy Award for best music video. Blue Ivy is the second youngest winner of a Grammy behind Leah Peasell, who was 8 when The Peasall Sisters won album of the year at the 2002 show for their appearance on “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Neither Beyoncé or Blue Ivy were on the virtual Premiere Ceremony where the award was announced. The win brings Beyoncé a step closer to becoming the most decorated woman in Grammy history. Beyoncé won her 25th Grammy on Sunday, hours before the official awards show begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. With 27 wins, Alison Krauss holds the title for most Grammys for a female artist. ___ 11 a.m. It could be a night for the history books for Taylor Swift and Beyoncé at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Beyoncé has never won album of the year throughout her career — she’s not up for the honour this year because she didn’t release a project during the eligibility period — but she is the most nominated act. Trevor Noah will host the show, which airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS and Paramount+. The Grammys were originally scheduled for Jan. 31 but were pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic. ___ Follow AP’s complete coverage of the Grammys at The Associated Press

Watford man draws knives to defend friends

A Watford man avoided a criminal record after brandishing a pair of knives during a fight. That, according to Justice Deborah Austin, was because “there is a context here that is unusual.” She was referring to the motive behind Adam Fillion's involvement in a neighbourly dispute that quickly escalated to violence. A number of people were drinking at an Ontario St. apartment complex in Watford last July when they noticed a neighbor attempting to get in his car. This concerned them, partly because he had no insurance but also because they believed he was high on cocaine. The man became angry at his neighbor’s suggestion to hand over his keys and attacked him, causing a swollen eye. That’s when Fillion stepped in, running inside to grab a pair of kitchen knives and bringing them outside to wave at the aggressor. The presence of the weapons brought the scuffle to a close. “What I did was to defend my friend and to stop a fight,” Fillion says in court Mar. 3. “But I absolutely agree that I went overboard, and I accept my punishment.” “It was an excessive response, but it was motivated in self-defence and defence of others,” Austin says when it came time for his punishment. “Obviously some force is justified, but your description of going overboard has really hit the nail on the head.” “It is not contrary to the public interest that I grant you the benefit of a conditional discharge in these circumstances,” says Austin. “You will be spared a criminal record.” Fillion also received a year of probation. He can’t contact or go near the man he waved the knives at, or possess any weapons. Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

Tibetan tourist guide dies following torture in Chinese prison, sparks fury

A Tibetan tourist guide, Kunchok Jinpa, aged 51, who was tortured in Chinese prison succumbed to prison injuries resulting in largescale fury over the custodial deaths.

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) expressed concern over the increasing number of custodial deaths in China.

There had been no news of Jinpa's whereabouts since his detention in 2013. New information indicated that the Chinese authorities detained Kunchok Jinpa on November 8, 2013, providing his family no information on his whereabouts, and later convicted him of leaking state secrets for passing information to foreign media about local environmental and other protests in his region.

His 21-year sentence is unparalleled for such an offence, and no information about his trial or conviction had been publicly available outside China until now, stated TCHRD.

Kunchok Jinpa died in a hospital in Lhasa in the Tibetan Autonomous Region on February 6, 2021, less than three months after being transferred there from prison without his family's knowledge.

Local sources said he had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was paralysed.

"A well-regarded Tibetan man in his early 50s known for his strong courage and conviction in exercising human rights in Tibet has been beaten to death by the Chinese authorities in Tibet while he was being transferred to a hospital in Lhasa. He was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment because he shared information about peaceful protests that were happening inside Dhiru in Tibet to the outside world i.e. International Media," said Tenzin Dawa, a researcher at TCHRD.

She further stated, "So there must be an immediate impartial and independent investigation of custodial deaths in Chinese prisons and all these investigations must be carried out according to the United Nations standards. We also call upon the Chinese authorities to revoke its policy being subjected to arbitrary detentions and imprisonments."

Tibet has been under Chinese-occupation since March 1959. Over 155 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet since 2009 in protest against China's repression and occupation.

Watch the video: Tibetan monk sets himself on fire at shrine in Nepal


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