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Canada: Saudi accused of sexual assault disappears before trial | Saudi Arabia News

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Canadian authorities are searching for a Saudi citizen accused of sexual assault after he failed to show up for a court hearing in the Canadian city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, the local Chronicle Herald newspaper said.

Mohammed Zuraibi al-Zoabi, a student at Cape Breton University, faces charges of sexual assault, assault, forcible confinement, uttering threats, criminal harassment, dangerous driving and assault with a weapon (a vehicle) in separate trials related to two incidents that occurred in Sydney between 2016 and 2017.

Local police told the Chronicle Herald that al-Zoabi’s passport was given as collateral when the 28-year-old student posted his $37,500 bail in cash, a hefty sum provided by the Saudi Arabian embassy.

“It should be impossible (for him to leave the country or enter without a passport) unless Saudi Arabia furnished him with a Saudi travel document,” Lee Cohen, a Halifax-based immigration lawyer, told the Chronicle Herald.

“They have done this before.”

Asked by the paper whether he was still in Canada, al-Zoabi said “probably not … I can’t tell you that”, adding that he wouldn’t come back for the trial because he feared they might be “unfair”.

“I can’t respect that,” he said of the warrant and charges. “Everybody’s against me just because I’m a (racial expletive) and foreign student despite the fact that we boosted so much money to that island of Canada.”

The Saudi Arabian embassy did not respond to a Chronicle Herald request for comment on al-Zoabi.

Jessica Hines, the manager of Kevin’s Towing in Sydney, Cape Breton, described al-Zoabi as “rude, obnoxious and thought he was above women and the rules”.

“First time I met him consisted of him coming into my office and snapping his fingers because I didn’t greet him quick enough as I was busy,” Hines said.

“I immediately marked my dominance by telling him, ‘I don’t jump for men when they snap their fingers at me’, and made him sit and wait for near an hour.”

Between March 2012 and April 2016, al-Zoabi racked up 34 infractions ranging from speeding, driving uninsured, driving without a valid license, unregistered and uninspected vehicles. Unpaid to this day, the fines amount to $68,967.

News of al-Zoabi’s suspected escape will only serve to further exacerbate Canada’s already poor relations with Saudi Arabia, which last year barred the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticised Saudi authorities for detaining female activists.

Most recently, Canada agreed to grant asylum to a Saudi teenager fleeing abuse from her family. 

Rahaf Alqunun, 18, was greeted by Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Saturday, ending an ordeal that saw her stranded at Thailand‘s international airport for about a week. 






‘Brave new Canadian’: Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun arrives in Canada (2:17)

Riyadh was already struggling to deal with the blowback from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul late last year. 

Turkish and Western intelligence officials have either hinted at or directly blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder but Saudi monarch King Salman left his son’s portfolios unchanged in the latest reshuffle.

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25 Best Senators’ Memories From 25 Years at Canadian Tire Centre

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There is a special birthday in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata this weekend.

Canadian Tire Centre turns 25. Its doors first opened on Jan. 15, 1996, for a Bryan Adams concert. The Senators played their first game in their new arena on Jan. 17, 1996, when they lost to the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life has at that arena. I don’t know how many Sens games I have been to there — I would ballpark it somewhere between 600 and 700. But I thought it would be fun to look back and share my 25 most memorable moments at the arena. I am not counting numerous concerts as great moments in the building — I often joke that the four best concerts I have ever seen there are Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks and Garth Brooks. I am not counting the 2009 World Juniors either. I am sticking entirely to the Sens.

25. Paul MacClone

Mike Watson was just sitting in his company seats, minding his own business, watching the Ottawa Senators take on the Florida Panthers on a January night during the 2012-13 season. The casual discussion among reporters after the game was how he broke Twitter.

Watson’s friends had told him that he looked like then-Senators’ head coach Paul MacLean. When he got face time on the new high-definition scoreboard, in the front row and directly behind the coach, the crowd buzzed and cheered.

Senators coach Paul MacLean had a doppelganger behind the bench.

The shot of Watson behind the bench spread quickly on social media. Surely, everyone thought, he must have been planted in that seat. He wasn’t. The last time he had sat in those seats, Cory Clouston was the coach, and no one noticed him.

As the season went on, the MacLean doppelganger became a local celebrity and was somewhat of a mascot during Ottawa’s playoff run.

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With spare parts and derring-do, Ottawa’s own Rocketman reinvents skating

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An Ottawa man is turning heads on frozen stretches of the Ottawa River with a homemade device he jokingly refers to as his “jetpack.”

In reality, Brydon Gibson’s gas-powered, propeller-driven invention is more Rona than NASA.

“I got my hands on some weed whacker motors and I figured strapping one on my back and making skating a little bit lazier would [be] a good idea,” said Gibson, 24.

He bolted a 38-centimetre propeller to a wooden frame, fashioned a throttle out of a brake handle and cable salvaged from a 10-speed bike, then added padded straps cut from a dollar store backpack. He laced up his skates, and suddenly Gibson was zipping along at speeds reaching 40 km/h. 

“I was actually getting a little scared at one point because I was going a little too fast,” the inventor admitted.

There are no brakes, but there is kill switch to cut the power “when something goes wrong,” said Gibson. “It’s actually a little finicky.”

This is not the first iteration of Gibson’s invention. As a teen, he built an electric propulsion device in his parents’ basement, though it never got to the testing phase.

“Ever since I was a kid … I’ve been taking apart things I found on the side of the road, making a mess of my parents basement, spreading electronics everywhere,” he said.

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‘It is frustrating’: U.S-educated nurse from Ottawa hits barriers to getting licensed in Ontario

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Before she accepted a swimming scholarship to attend Boston’s Northeastern University, Ottawa’s Rachael Geiger made sure it had the kind of nursing program she wanted. The school’s baccalaureate nursing program offered a fifth year of co-operative placement after four years of study — something Geiger thought would leave her well prepared for a career as a nurse when she returned home after university.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Two and a half years after graduating summa cum laude from Northeastern, the 25-year-old is unable to work as a registered nurse in Ontario.

Geiger said she was initially surprised, especially since she wrote the same licensing exam in Massachusetts as is written in Ontario, the NCLEX-RN exam. She is licensed to practise in Massachusetts and Illinois.

“I never thought it would be such a challenge.”

She and her family are frustrated at how difficult it has been for her to get registered to be able to practise in Ontario. That frustration is heightened by the fact that nurses have seldom been in such high demand in Canada and around the world as the COVID-19 pandemic strains health systems and shortages loom. Local hospitals are among those trying to recruit nurses. The Canadian Nurses Association has been warning that Canada will experience extreme shortages in coming years.

“It is frustrating to sit and see all the news about nursing shortages and not be able to help,” said Geiger.

Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the professional association that represents registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in the province, said she was “more than surprised” to hear of the difficulty Geiger has had.

But Grinspun, who initially studied nursing in Israel and then the U.S. before becoming one of the country’s nursing leaders, said the system of allowing foreign trained nurses to work in Ontario is unnecessarily slow and complicated and leads many valuable nurses to simply give up or find another career. Grinspun herself challenged the system when she first came to work in Ontario.

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