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Russie : quatre morts dans une explosion due au gaz dans un immeuble de l’Oural

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Quatre personnes sont mortes et quatre autres, dont deux enfants, ont été hospitalisées à la suite d’une explosion lundi matin dans un immeuble de la ville russe de Magnitogorsk, dans l’Oural.

Les services de sécurité russes, le FSB, ont confirmé que l’explosion était due au gaz et qu’une enquête criminelle a été ouverte.

Une importante partie de l’immeuble résidentiel d’une dizaine d’étages s’est effondrée après l’explosion, qui est survenue vers 6 h (heure locale). Les responsables craignent l’effondrement de deux autres sections du bâtiment.

Vingt-huit personnes ont été localisées, mais le sort de près de 70 autres reste inconnu. Une cinquantaine de personnes pourraient se trouver sous les décombres, selon la télévision nationale.

L’immeuble a été construit à l’époque soviétique, en 1973.

Les résidents qui ont échappé au drame ont été amenés dans une école à proximité. Les températures sont actuellement glaciales et pourraient tomber jusqu’à -23 degrés Celsius dans la nuit du Nouvel An.

Selon une habitante de la ville interrogée par la radio Echo de Moscou, l’explosion a fait voler en éclats les fenêtres des immeubles avoisinants.

Des images de la télévision nationale ont montré des centaines de secouristes s’activant au milieu des décombres.

L'immeuble endommagé par une explosion au gazLes dommages à l’immeuble résidentiel de Magnitogorsk, en Russie, sont importants. Photo : Reuters

Deux ministres dépêchés sur les lieux

Devant la gravité de l’accident, le président russe, Vladimir Poutine, « immédiatement averti », a demandé au ministre des Situations d’urgence, Evgueni Zinichev, et à la ministre de la Santé, Veronika Skvortsova, de se rendre sur les lieux pour coordonner personnellement les secours.

Selon les autorités locales, 110 personnes étaient enregistrées dans le secteur sinistré de l’immeuble.

Les explosions au gaz meurtrières sont relativement communes en Russie, car la plupart des infrastructures remontent à l’époque soviétique et les normes de sécurité sont souvent ignorées.

La région de l’Oural est riche en minerais. Magnitogorsk compte plus de 400 000 habitants et abrite l’une des principales aciéries du pays.

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Students call on University of Ottawa to implement pass/fail grading amid pandemic

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OTTAWA — The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is calling on the university to introduce optional, one-course-only pass/fail grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students’ union said nearly 5,000 uOttawa students have signed its petition supporting the grading system.

In a letter to the university, the UOSU said it is asking the school to make changes to the grading structure, including allowing one course per semester to be converted to the “pass” or “satisfactory” designation.

The UOSU also made recommendations regarding a reduction of workload and course delivery.

“The adaptation to online learning during the pandemic for students has created unique challenges and disruptions that could not have been anticipated,” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s Advocacy Commissioner. 

“The use of flexible compassionate grading options has been introduced in other universities, such as Carleton University which includes a use of Pass/Fail which we feel could be implemented at the University of Ottawa.”

Carleton University approved the use of flexible and compassionate grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms in early November.

The UOSU also called for all grades that constitute a fail to appear as “Not Satisfactory” on their transcript, which would not be included in grade point average calculations. 

The union represents more than 38,000 undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.

In a response to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said it is aware of the petition.

“Last spring a decision was made by the (University) Senate to allow the Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory mark to be used, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, which hit us close to the end of the Winter 2020 semester. The University is aware of the petition and is looking into the matter.”

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OPP warn of phone scams in Ottawa Valley

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Upper Ottawa Valley OPP warn residents of a phone scam that’s been making its way through the region recently. 

Police say a scammer pretends to be from a local business and tells the person their credit card didn’t work on a recent purchase before asking the person on the phone to confirm their credit card number. 

The victim may not have even used the card at the store, but police said the scammer creates a sense of urgency. 

Police remind residents to verify the legitimacy of any caller before providing any personal information over the phone. 

Similar scams have been reported recently in the region, according to police, with scammers posing as police officers, Revenue Canada or other government agencies demanding payment for a variety of reasons. A Social Insurance Number scam has also been reported recently, where a victim is asked for their SIN number under threat of being arrested. 
 
If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded, you’re asked to contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

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The human history of Ottawa Valley is thousands of years old. Archeologists may have found a piece of it on Parliament Hill

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OTTAWA—Archeologists working on Parliament Hill have discovered a relic of Indigenous life that one Algonquin leader sees as a symbol of his people’s long history in what is now the heart of Canadian political power.

The jagged stone point was unearthed last year on the east side of Centre Block, but its discovery was not publicized as officials worked with Algonquin communities to authenticate the object, the Star has learned.

Stephen Jarrett, the lead archeologist for the ongoing renovation of Parliament’s Centre Block, said this week that while such an object is “not an uncommon find,” the stone point joins just a small handful of Indigenous artifacts ever discovered on Parliament Hill.

“It’s about the size of my palm, and it could be used as a knife or a projectile,” Jarrett said this week in response to inquiries from the Star.

He said the point is made of chert, a type of sedimentary stone most often used for implements of this type. And while the point was unearthed in what Jarrett calls “disturbed soil” — earth that has been dug up and moved, most likely during construction of Parliament — the soil it was in “is natural to the site.”

That means “it came from a source nearby, but finding exactly where it came from is impossible,” Jarrett said.

For Douglas Odjick, a band council member responsible for education and culture with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, this artifact of “an original world” is a testament to the longevity of his Algonquin nation in an area they still claim as unceded and unsurrendered territory. Based on the assessment of Ian Badgley, the top archeologist with the National Capital Commission, Odjick said the stone point is likely 4,000 years old and dates to a time when the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers — along with all their tributaries that stretch out into the surrounding area — served as a great hub of regional trade activity.

“It symbolizes who we are and how long we’ve been here,” Odjick said, comparing the area to an ancient version of a busy hub like New York’s busy Grand Central Station.

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