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3 people involved in naked kidnapping have rare, psychotic disorder: court

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Court has heard that three people involved in a bizarre naked kidnapping case south of Edmonton last year suffered from a rare, shared psychotic disorder.

A courtroom in Leduc was packed with supporters as a judge heard a joint recommendation from lawyers for a conditional sentence.

Court has heard the group was not affected by alcohol or drugs but believed it was the end of the world and wanted to save their neighbours when they forced them from their home last November.

Two women and one man, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful confinement.

One of the women, the only one dressed at the time of the kidnapping, also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Her teenage daughters were also arrested but not charged.

Strange things happened

An agreed statement of facts says the group, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, had gathered at a home near Leduc on Nov. 2, 1017.

The mother, who was then 35, had taken her daughters there to visit her 27-year old nephew and his 30-year old wife.

Strange things happened over the next three days.

The group didn’t leave the house and barely ate any food. One of the teens heard screaming and banging and saw ashes in the air.

Some of the people hid in a bedroom or bathroom because they believed they were in danger from wicked people or demons.

They also believed that the Great Tribulation had happened and Nov. 6 would be Armageddon. So they rushed off to find safety and save a neighbouring family.

But four who were naked didn’t have time to put clothes on.

“They had to leave right away because it was unsafe,” said the court document.

They were in such a hurry that after piling into a BMW SUV, they drove through the garage door. 

Chant “Jehovah” 10 times

They then forced the neighbours — a man, his adult daughter and her six-week-old son — out of their house and into the snow without shoes.

The woman and her baby were put in the back seat of the SUV and the man was put in the trunk.

He was ordered to chant “Jehovah” 10 times and the group also chanted “Jehovah” as the vehicle sped down roads and through a red light on the way to nearby Nisku.

The man in the trunk was able to jump out when the vehicle slowed, because the trunk’s latch hadn’t shut properly.

His daughter was also able to get out with her child, although her hand was slammed in the door as she made the attempt.

 A passing truck stopped to help the family and they climbed inside. But the SUV then rammed the truck from behind.

The woman and her baby were thrown into the truck’s dash but not injured. The SUV then went into a ditch.

When RCMP arrived, the group were chanting and refusing to get out of the vehicle. They clung to each other and the SUV.

One of the teens believed the police “were monsters who would kill them,” said the document.

Officers said the group displayed extreme strength. Two were pepper sprayed but seemed unaffected. The three adults were also shot with Tasers several times.

One also slid under the SUV and had to be dragged out with a strap. 

The neighbours later told Mounties the group seems “demonized” and “obviously not in their right minds.”

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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