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B.C. notaries say first-time home buyers relying on bank of mom and dad


However, only eight per cent of first-time-buyer clients got more than half of their down payments from parents, compared with 19 per cent in 2015.

“While more first-time buyers are getting financial help, they appear to be getting a lower proportion of their down payment over the last four years,” the report states.

Fifty-nine per cent of notaries said their clients typically get less than 25 per cent of the down payment, while a third said their clients typically got between 25-50 per cent of their down payment.

The survey, released Monday, found 74 per cent of notaries thought house prices were an issue in their communities. Only notaries in northern B.C. and the Okanagan indicated “house prices were not an issue in their community.”

Notaries also reported increased mortgage restrictions and lack of supply were making it harder for first-time buyers than in previous years.

In the Fraser Valley, notaries reported more first-timers were buying strata units compared with other years.

Northern B.C. was the standout in the report, with 40 per cent of notaries saying there had been an increase in first-time-owner activity — provincially it was reported to be flat. This was attributed to resource sector growth. The multibillion-dollar Site C dam and LNG Canada projects are underway in northern B.C.

Northern B.C. is also expected to be one of the few areas in the province that will see climbs in assessed values when the 2020 assessment roll is released Jan. 1, 2020.

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Home for the holidays: Prince Philip leaves hospital


Prince Philip has been discharged from a London hospital and joined his wife Queen Elizabeth II for Christmas at her rural retreat

LONDON —
Prince Philip was discharged from a London hospital Tuesday and immediately taken by helicopter to join other senior royals at Queen Elizabeth II’s rural retreat in time for a traditional family Christmas.

His arrival is a bit of welcome good news for the queen at the end of a year that she admits has been “bumpy.” Her comments are thought to relate not just to Britain’s difficult path toward Brexit but also setbacks experienced by the royal family in 2019.

Buckingham Palace did not reveal details about Philips medical treatment and said that he wished to thank everyone who had sent good wishes during his four-night stay at the private King Edward VII hospital in London.

The palace had previously said that the 98-year-old prince was being hospitalized for planned treatment of a pre-existing condition. The fact that he did not go to the hospital by ambulance and that the queen did not change her plans to be by his side suggested it was not an emergency situation.

Philip, a man of great pride, walked out of the hospital on his own Tuesday morning even though many patients of that age use wheelchairs when they are discharged. The prince left the hospital on foot and entered a vehicle unaided. He was dressed elegantly with his tie in a Windsor knot and waved to a nurse as he departed the hospital.

The palace said he had been hospitalized as a “precautionary measure.” Officials did not explain the nature of his treatment, which appeared to have been timed to allow him to receive the care he needed and return to the family in time for Christmas.

He has suffered from heart disease and other ailments including a bladder infection in recent years and has largely stepped out of the public eye since he announced his retirement from royal duties in 2017.

The Palace said at the time the decision was not health-related and was simply a reflection of his advanced years. “I’ve done my bit,” Philip told friends when he stepped down after decades of royal events, often carried out silently one step behind the queen.

On Monday, Prince Charles said his father was faring well but was suffering from age-related problems.

“When you get to that age, things don’t work so well,” he said.

Philip arrived at Sandringham in time for Christmas Eve, when the royals usually exchange small gifts.

It is not known if Philip will be strong enough to attend a Christmas morning church service traditionally attended by the queen and other senior royals. He did not attend last year.

The small church service near the queen’s palatial home usually draws well-wishers hoping to get a glimpse of Elizabeth and her family and perhaps to exchange Christmas wishes with the royals.

Church is usually followed by a family lunch at Sandringham and then the broadcast of the queen’s message to Britain and the Commonwealth countries. Excerpts released ahead of time reveal the queen plans to admit it has been a challenging year. It was recorded before Philip was hospitalized.

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

She is thought to be referring both to Britain’s laborious exit from the European Union, which is now almost certainly going to happen on Jan. 31 after voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the royal family’s difficulties.

The problems facing the queen’s family this year included Prince Andrew’s retreat from public duties following a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and failed to show empathy for Epstein’s young female victims.

The family has also endured what many close observers think is a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, who has traveled with his wife Meghan and young son Archie to Canada rather than spend the Christmas holidays at Sandringham, as has long been customary for senior royals.

Both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with 7-month-old Archie.



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Now the longest serving professional athlete in Toronto, Kyle Lowry has found a place to call home


PHILADELPHIA—It takes a few seconds for Kyle Lowy to digest the information when it’s mentioned him in a quiet moment in the Raptors locker room.

He’s getting dressed after his 507th regular season Raptors game and he has been told he is the longest-serving professional athlete in Toronto, with more time with the Raptors than Morgan Rielly has spent with the Maple Leafs or Jonathan Osorio with TFC or, well, anybody with the Blue Jays.

“That’s pretty bizarre,” he says.

Whether that’s an indictment of the other Toronto franchises or a testament to Lowry’s abilities or just a sign of the peripatetic life of professional athletes is hard to say. It’s probably a little bit of all three things.

But for whatever the underlying reason might be, Lowry’s longevity in Toronto is impressive, especially given that he figured he’d be in the city and country for a short time.

“I thought I was going to be here for a year, two years, and be long gone,” the 33-year-old, six-foot guard said. “Come up here for business and that’s about it but, at the end of the day, I think the perseverance and the work I’ve put in and the belief the organization has in me means something.”

Lowry is not a particularly warm and fuzzy guy who’ll publicly profess undying love for anything other than his family, the city (Philadelphia) where he was born and raised, his NFL Eagles and Villanova University.

And maybe that’s why he doesn’t get all the adulation that is due him for what he has accomplished in the city and the impact he’s had on the franchise.

He joked this week about the social media chatter that suggested maybe he came back too soon from a broken thumb in light of two consecutive losses at home, and that he is still a bit of a contrarian so there are factions of the media that don’t sing his praises all the time.

“People talk, you deal with it and keep doing your job,” he said. “At the end of the day, it don’t really matter to me because as long as my wife and kids and my family are happy, we’re all happy.”

But he has a sense of belonging in Toronto that means a lot to him. He owns a year-round residence in the city and he does outside-the-spotlight things just because. He might never say “I am Toronto” but that’s truer than you might think.

“We made it home. We’ve got a home here — I’m here September to June — so it’s been home,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve come to really understand it, take the good with the bad.”

There has been far more good than bad with Lowry and the Raptors. No matter what anyone feels or thinks about him or how he’ll eventually be remembered, he has presided over the greatest era in franchise history.

Since got here — in a July 2012 trade with Houston that cost the Raptors a journeyman in Gary Forbes and a draft pick that ended up with Oklahoma City (Steven Adams) — the Raptors have been one of the consistently good-to-great franchises in the league.

Lowry has been the one constant in a run that has included last June’s NBA championship, another appearance in an Eastern Conference final, a 370-225 regular-season record going into Sunday’s game and six straight playoff appearances.

He has re-signed with the Raptors twice when free agency was a possibility, and he was rewarded for his service and his sparkling play with a one-year contract extension worth $31 million (U.S.) in October.

How long he stays remains a question, like it is with every athlete in every sport. As a proven winner with a championship pedigree, he may be a valuable trade chip for president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster to play next spring or even next summer and then the title of “Longest Serving Toronto Athlete” will be passed to someone else.

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For now, though, it’s the guy who thought he’d blow in and out of town with barely a ripple.

“They’ve rewarded me and for the most part, the city has showed me unbelievable love and that’s why I give back as much as I can,” he said. “I give back with my Holiday Assist (Christmas program), my (Thanksgiving) turkey drive. I want to do as much as I can.

“It’s home.”

Doug Smith





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Keefe, Leafs a hit at home


The Maple Leafs chose the low-key approach to Sheldon Keefe’s first home game, but Frederik Andersen hogged all the Hogtown screen time anyway.

Keefe can hang his first Scotiabank Arena win on Andersen’s 29 saves, including an eye-popping snare in the second period in an eventual 2-1 win over Buffalo on John Tavares’ overtime goal.

With his parents leading a clan gathering of Keefe Nation, the new coach improved to 4-1 with a difficult home-and-home split with the Sabres.

“I’ve been in this environment before (the farm team Marlies play a few times at SBA), but never quite like this, so full, as much emotion and energy,” Keefe said. “I’m hoping it’s better from here.”

Keefe’s replacing of Mike Babcock was only mentioned briefly in a pre-game in-house broadcast before many fans had arrived. Much like his predecessor, Keefe was grateful Andersen was there to save the day when his team lagged or was pushed off the puck.

“Nice to have a guy capable of that,” said Keefe, whose team lost the only game Andersen didn’t start for him, Friday in Buffalo. “You’re going to need that at certain times and it gives is confidence. It wasn’t the prettiest at times, but we found a way to get two points.”

The Leafs also won the second of back-to-back games for the first time this season, Keefe switching the rotation with Michael Hutchinson opening and Andersen closing.

“We’ve talked a little bit about how to do this scenario,” said Andersen, who seemed leery of not starting the first game. “We have a middle man in our goalie coach (Steve Briere), a little buffer there. But we talked to Sheldon as well and thought we’d try to do it this time. We started out great yesterday (Hutchinson struggled later in the 6-4 loss). It would’ve been nice to get all four points, but I’ll take two.

“When you’re seeing the puck well, you get in good position and that leads to a few more saves when you’re out of position. That’s the key to my game to track the puck around.”

Another back-to-back debate looms next week, with Toronto playing in Philadelphia on Tuesday and home again to face Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche on Wednesday.

GAME ON

After Andersen made two stops in OT, Tavares beat Carter Hutton glove side at the 1:45 mark. Hutton was tough on the Leafs, making 41 saves but has gone without a win for five weeks.

Andersen recorded his seventh victory against Buffalo as a Leaf and broke a tie with Curtis Joseph for the second most against the Sabres, who have been a prickly foe for Toronto going back to their birth in the early 1970s.

William Nylander scored on a power play, with Auston Matthews assisting, and though the latter has just one point the past three games he nearly had the winner in the final seconds of regulation when he went five-hole on Hutton and Marco Scandella swept it off the goal line.

For Nylander, his 10th goal came almost a year to the day he ended his damaging contract spat with the club, returning to double figures for the first time since 2017-18.

After a scoreless first period, in which Andersen had to be alert for teammates getting out-hustled to pucks and the Leafs survived a Nic Petan penalty, they hit on their own power play. Matthews braked by the boards and dished to Nylander, who was given too much room by an otherwise tight Sabres defence. Tavares and Matthews had their hands full with Jack Eichel, who won five of his first six draws and pressed the duo all night.

Buffalo thought it tied the game midway through the second as Conor Sheary ripped a wrister from the slot that Andersen coolly snagged. But the Sabres quickly pointed for a review and indeed most of the goalie’s glove was behind the line — but not the puck.

On another Leafs clearance collapse in that period, Andersen gloved a Jeff Skinner shot on his knees with no stick. Rasmus Ristolainen, one of seven defencemen deployed by the Sabres in this game, burst in through the left side of the Leafs and beat Andersen early in the third period.

BEST FOOT FORWARD

Keefe was glad to have Alexander Kerfoot back in the lineup after a two-game league suspension from an illegal hit in the game a week ago against Colorado. Kerfoot flew off the bench in the first period on a long change to keep a puck in during the first period.

His return meant Jason Spezza sat after being one of Keefe’s best players in the first four games. But the coach said the 36-year-old Spezza wouldn’t necessarily sit every portion of a back-to-back, citing the Leafs being on the ice six straight days for resting him Saturday.

LOOSE LEAFS

Tavares had his 400th NHL assist on the Nylander goal … The Marlies are 4-1 under co-coaches A.J. MacLean and Ron Davison, but as Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night In Canada, many unemployed minor pro and former NHL bench bosses would love the gig … In a touching pre-game Hockey Fights Cancer ceremony, young survivor Khanya Solano and her family rang the bell to signify the end of her chemo treatments. The Leafs will auction off their purple warm-up sweaters and sticks … Leaf defenceman Cody Ceci apologized to referee Ian Walsh whom he surprised by hitting about 15 feet away from the net in open ice with a wild third period wrist shot … For the first time since mid-October, the Leafs have gone two games without allowing a power play goal.

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270 Million People are Migrants, Who Send Home a Staggering $689 Billion — Global Issues


Pakistani migrant workers build a skyscraper in Dubai. Credit: S. Irfan Ahmed/IPS
  • united nations
  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019
  • Inter Press Service

In its latest global report, IOM noted that the overall figure represents just a tiny fraction of the world’s population, although it is a 0.1 per cent increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago.

“This figure remains a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5 per cent), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5 per cent) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born,” IOM’s Global Migration Report 2020 said.

According to the UN agency, more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America.

An estimated 52 per cent are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people.

 

Most hail from India, Mexico and China

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants, with 17.5 million living abroad, followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million).

Other findings indicate that the number of migrant workers declined slightly in high income countries – from 112.3 million to 111.2 million – but increased elsewhere.
Upper middle-income countries saw the biggest increase, from 17.5 million to 30.5 million.

 

Money sent home reaches $689 billion

Linked to this, international remittances also increased to $689 billion in 2018, IOM said, the top beneficiaries being India ($78.6 billion), China ($67.4 billion), Mexico ($35.7 billion) and the Philippines ($34 billion).

The United States remained the top remittance-issuer, at $68 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($36.1 billion).

 

African migrants tend not to leave continent

Although most migrants travelled to the US, the report confirmed other important migration corridors from poorer countries to richer nations such as those to France, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“This pattern is likely to remain the same for many years into the future, especially as populations in some developing subregions and countries are projected to increase in coming decades, placing migration pressure on future generations”, IOM said.

In Africa, Asia and Europe, most international migrants stay within their regions of birth, but the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America do not.

In Oceania, finally, migration levels remained about the same in 2019.

Focusing on the Middle East, data showed that Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world, including the United Arab Emirates, where they make up almost 90 per cent of the population.

 

Conflict linked to record displacement

Highlighting how ongoing conflicts and violence in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have led to massive internal displacement in the last two years, IOM’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that a total of 41.3 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2018 – a record since monitoring began in 1998.

Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, at 6.1 million, followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the DRC (3.1 million).

After nearly nine years of conflict, Syria is also the top refugee-originating country, at well over six million – dwarfing Afghanistan (at around 2.5 million) – out of a total of nearly 26 million.

Finally, turning to the impact of climate and weather disasters, the report notes that Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines contributed to the fact that 3.8 million people were newly displaced there at the end of 2018, the largest number globally.

This story was originally published by UN News

© Inter Press Service (2019) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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Duke stunned at home by Stephen F. Austin, loses 85-83


Duke, the No. 1 college basketball team in the country, was stunned Tuesday by Stephen F.  Austin, losing in dramatic fashion in overtime.

ESPN called the win the sport’s biggest Division I upset win in 15 years, and pointed out that the Blue Devils were favored by 27.5 points. It was the school’s first nonconference loss at their home court since 2000. Duke, at one point, held a 15-point lead.

Duke had the ball in the closing seconds of overtime, but Tre Jones missed a jumper with about 15 seconds left and Wendell Moore rebounded it. Hounded by the Lumberjacks’ high-pressure defense, Hurt threw the ball away in a scramble with about 3 seconds left and it went to Nathan Bain — who went the length of the floor for a buzzer-beating layup. The Lumberjacks won 85-83.

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“I told our players, ‘Banners can’t beat us tonight,’” Stephen F. Austin coach Kyle Keller said. “The players have to beat us.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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Raptors shut down the Sixers in the final minutes to stay unbeaten at home


They all can’t end on four bounces on the rim but a Raptors-Philadelphia regular-season game in November can have almost as much juice and drama as a playoff game in May.

This time it was Pascal Siakam playing the hero: He made a traditional three-point play that gave the Raptors a lead with 61 seconds to go, had a brilliant steal of a pass with 12 seconds left, and sealed the victory with a dunk at the buzzer as the Raptors squeezed out a 101-96 victory in a delightful affair at the Scotiabank Arena.

On a night when the Raptors held Sixers all-star centre Joel Embiid scoreless — the first time that’s happened in his career — Siakam poured in 25 points and Toronto shut down Philadelphia when it mattered the most.

“I think we ended it with eight consecutive stops to end the game, that’s pretty good, especially in a close game like that,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse after his team improved to 7-0 at home.

The job the Raptors did on Embiid was astonishing. Marc Gasol fought him for every inch of space under the basket and Embiid simply couldn’t handle the simplest of double-teams as he went 0-for-11 from the floor and missed all three foul shots he tried.

“I can’t have this type of production,” Embiid said. “I would have never thought that I would be here, talking about zero points in an NBA game, but here’s what it is. Some nights you make shots, some nights you don’t … You gotta keep grinding and keep working.”

Nurse said before the game that he wanted to find out what the newest of the Raptors would do against a big, tough opponent.

It wasn’t so much Siakam and VanVleet and Gasol that he wondered about, it was the likes of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Terence Davis II and Chris Boucher, the guys who had yet to go through these kinds of games.

He got a solid effort from them all, especially Hollis-Jefferson, who played 31 minutes with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“He’s just a good player,” Nurse said.

  • A changed man: Fred VanVleet struggled mightily against Philadelphia in the East semifinal in the spring. He had only three baskets and 14 points in the seven-game series, playing so poorly he told Nick Nurse he would understand if the coach sat him.

VanVleet made nine shots on 15 attempts Monday and finished with 24 points.

“It’s pretty invaluable to play an extra two months in that type of competition and he became a prime-time player for us in those playoffs,” Nurse said. “Obviously this year, with the change to the roster, he becomes a starter and he’s logging major minutes. He’s just a better player and playing with more confidence.”

  • Down goes another: The Raptors must lead the NBA in “fractures of the distal phalanx” now that Matt Thomas has joined the list of injured players. Thomas has the same distal phalanx fracture on the middle finger of his left hand as Kyle Lowry has on his left thumb. There is no timetable for his return yet.

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Lowry has been out since he suffered his finger injury in a Nov. 8 game in New Orleans.

  • Up next: Mississauga’s RJ Barrett, the No. 3 pick in last June’s draft, leads the New York Knicks into the Scotiabank Arena for a 7:30 p.m. game Wednesday night. The Raptors have beaten the Knicks six straight times in Toronto.
Doug Smith

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California man held in Army veteran’s death also facing kidnap charge after police find hostage in his home: reports


A Southern California man arrested Monday in the alleged murder of a 34-year-old U.S. Army veteran also faces a kidnapping charge because police found a hostage in the suspect’s home, authorities said Wednesday, according to reports.

Antonio Silva, 27, of Santa Ana, is suspected of killing Adrian Darren Bonar, 34, whose body was found wrapped in a tarp in the trunk of a Lexus found abandoned in Anaheim last month.

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Silva’s hostage had been at the house for at least two days and was released from a hospital Tuesday after treatment for unspecificed reasons, The Orange County Register reported. Also found in the home were two grams of fentanyl and firearms including two handguns and two rifles, KTLA of Los Angeles reported.

Antonio Silva is seen in an undated booking photo. (Anaheim Police Department via AP)

Antonio Silva is seen in an undated booking photo. (Anaheim Police Department via AP)

Bonar grew up in North County San Diego and was honorably discharged from the Army after serving during the Iraq War. His body was found in an abandoned car on a dirt road near a freeway in Anaheim Hills on Oct. 17. The vehicle may have been there as long as four days, KTLA reported.

Police didn’t give any more information about the manner of Bonar’s death nor about the circumstances under which Silva’s hostage was taken captive.

Adrian Darren Bonar, who served in the U.S. Army, was found dead Oct. 17 inside an abandoned vehicle, authorities say. (Anaheim Police Department)

Adrian Darren Bonar, who served in the U.S. Army, was found dead Oct. 17 inside an abandoned vehicle, authorities say. (Anaheim Police Department)

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“Regardless of what Adrian may have been involved in, he’s the victim of this crime,” Anaheim Police Chief Jorge Cisneros said, according to The Register. “No one deserves to die in this fashion.”

The investigation is ongoing.



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