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Referee banned from working NHL games after being caught on live mic wanting to call penalty on Predators

Referee Tim Peel has been banned from officiating future NHL games after he was caught saying he wanted to call a penalty against the Nashville Predators during a game on Tuesday.

Peel was wearing a microphone for the Detroit-Nashville game Tuesday night and was heard making the comment over the TV broadcast.

“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a [expletive] penalty against Nashville early in the,” Peel was heard saying before his microphone was cut off after Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson was called for a tripping penalty at 4:56 of the second period.

Peel worked the game with referee Kelly Sutherland. The Predators were called for four penalties and the Red Wings three in Nashville’s 2-0 win.

WARNING: Clip contains profane language


“Nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game,” Colin Campbell, the league’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, said in a statement issued by the NHL Wednesday. 

“Tim Peel’s conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve,” he said in the statement. “There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention, and the National Hockey League will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity our game.”

The NHL’s statement was unclear on whether Peel had been fired, but TSN reported Wednesday he planned to retire following this season.

NHL players weigh in

Nashville’s Matt Duchene on a local radio appearance Wednesday wondered aloud what would have happened if Detroit scored on the power play, won the game and the Predators missed the playoffs by a point.

“The crazy part is he was talking to [teammate Filip] Forsberg in that clip, and he told our bench that,” Duchene said. “Really bizarre. I don’t think there’s a place in hockey for that.

“You’ve got to call the game. I’ve always been frustrated when I’ve seen even-up calls or stuff like that. If one team is earning power plays, you can’t punish them because the other team is not.”

Even-up — or make-up — calls are when referees will penalize one team to compensate for what they perceive to be an incorrect penalty imposed on the opposing team. 

Duchene and other players around the league cast doubt on “make-up calls” being a regular part of hockey, though he acknowledged “there’s definitely nights where you’re skeptical of it.”

“Some of the good refs definitely have a feel for the game and they know the ebbs and flows, and they know to try to keep the game as even as possible unless the play dictates otherwise,” New York Rangers forward Ryan Strome said. “But as players, all you can ask for is that they try to call it as fair as possible.”

‘The league had to do what they had to do’

Washington centre Nicklas Backstrom, a 14-year veteran, said the incident was a first for him.

“I’ve never heard anything like that,” Backstrom said. “I think it’s maybe unfortunate that it happened and came out that way. But at the same time, the league had to do what they had to do.”

Predators coach John Hynes said it probably doesn’t matter how he feels about what the official said.

“But the referees are employees of the league and rather than me comment on it, it’s an issue that I think the league will have to take care of,” Hynes said.

Most players and coaches expressed respect for on-ice officials and lamented how difficult their jobs are in keeping track of the fast-paced game. Buffalo interim coach Don Granato said he has “full faith” in the people who work for the NHL.

“[Peel] made a mistake, but unfortunately you don’t want make-up calls to be part of the game,” Edmonton’s Adam Larsson said. “I don’t think it’s right. I think if it’s an obvious one I don’t think it should be made up for.”

Peel, 54, from Hampton, N.B., has been an NHL referee since 1999.

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CBC | Sports News

Elon Musk, Now World’s Richest Man, Reaffirms His Intention to Live on Mars

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For the last few years, Jeff Bezos has been the richest person in the world — even after losing a large chunk of his fortune in a divorce. That changed this week when a Tesla stock surge made Elon Musk the world’s richest man. In celebration, he’s not going to Disneyland. Nope, Elon Musk is apparently very serious about living on Mars, and he wants to bring a million people along for the ride. 

After Musk officially became the world’s most successful capitalist on Thursday, he pinned a 2018 tweet to his Twitter page announcing his intention to use his wealth to start a colony on Mars. According to a recent interview, that’s also why he’s selling all his property, including a home that once belonged to Gene Wilder. Oh, it might have a little something with Musk moving to Texas for tax reasons, but he’ll tell you it’s about Mars. 

Founding a colony on the red planet won’t be easy or cheap, but Elon Musk does have $ 188 billion. That includes stock and assets he probably cannot sell, but he’s not hurting for cash, either. SpaceX and the in-development Starship rocket are key to Musk’s plans. By 2050, Musk has said he hopes to have a fleet of 1,000 Starships with three vessels launching every day. 

The Starship is still a long way from carrying passengers, but Musk believed we’re only years away from setting foot on Mars.

Musk has talked about the cost of a trip to Mars, most recently pegging the cost around $ 500,000. For well-to-do Americans, that’s in reach if you sell everything you have on Earth as Musk claims to be doing. For everyone else, Musk says there will be loans. However, I am still unconvinced of the wisdom of going into debt to travel to a billionaire’s private planet where there are no laws. I have read this sci-fi novel, and it doesn’t end well. 

This all feels much more real today — the richest single person on Earth wants to go to Mars. He can probably make that happen thanks to the unfathomable wealth at his disposal. Whether or not it’s a good idea is another story. NASA has spoken generally about its plans for Mars, which could include a crewed mission in the 2030s. NASA is more cautious because, for one, it doesn’t have billions of dollars burning a hole in its proverbial pocket. There are also a lot of unknowns about living on Mars. The low gravity and high radiation could make long-term colonization dangerous or impossible until technology advanced considerably. And yet, Elon Musk seems dead-set on going to Mars sooner rather than later.

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New device allows Toronto specialists to ‘stream live’ from brains of patients with Parkinson’s, epilepsy

Imagine watching your brain activity on a computer screen in real time.

For Gord Luke, a Wawa, Ont., resident with Parkinson’s disease, that’s now a reality. Sitting in a room at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto’s west end, the 66-year-old can see his brain signals being tracked digitally, thanks to surgically implanted electrodes in his brain and a newly approved device in his chest.

Building on decades-old technology known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which can help control the shakes and muscle tightness tied to brain disorders like Parkinson’s, the device puts a new high-tech tool in physicians’ toolkits: The ability to capture brain activity of DBS patients such as Luke around the clock.

“We can actually stream live from his brain,” said Krembil neurologist Dr. Alfonso Fasano.

As Fasano fiddles with the laptop, his patient’s sturdy frame is still, with the electrode stimulation keeping his symptoms at bay.

Controlling symptoms in real time

With a couple of clicks, Fasano tweaks the level of stimulation from the electrode in the right hemisphere of Luke’s brain, and he quickly starts shaking — his left foot is tapping up and down involuntarily. With another tweak, his foot is back firmly on the ground.

The short-term hope, according to Fasano and his colleague, neurosurgeon Dr. Suneil Kalia, is that patients will be able keep a digital diary of their symptoms, which physicians can match up to the ongoing log of their brain activity. 

“Physicians can later look at that brain diary to see when symptoms were severe or better, and fine-tune their therapy,” Kalia said.

In Luke’s case, Fasano hopes he’ll eventually be able to adjust the settings on the device from the comfort of his own home, in consultation with his medical team by phone, from thousands of kilometres away.

“We can record for days, months, the different signals in the brain,” Fasano said. “This will be, like never before, a window into their activities.”

The personalized treatments that follow could help alleviate symptoms for years on end, according to Fasano and Kalia.


An MRI scan reveals the inside of 66-year-old Gord Luke’s brain. A patient with Parkinson’s disease, his scan also shows the two recently implanted electrodes for deep brain stimulation. (University Health Network/Krembil Brain Institute)

Approved by Health Canada in October, the Percept PC Deep Brain Stimulation system was developed by Medtronic, a Dublin-based medical technology company.

Working alongside surgically implanted brain electrodes, the small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin of a patient’s chest, which sends electrical signals through thin wires to a targeted area of the brain and offers real-time recording.

Patients with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s tend to see symptom improvements once their DBS electrode implants are turned on. With the chest and brain implants working in tandem, physicians can now see exactly what’s happening inside their patients’ brains when that switch is flipped.

Automatic adjustments may one day be possible

Previously, medical teams could only track those signals during brain surgery, according to Kalia.

“What this new device allows is whether it’s the first day after surgery or even five years after the surgery, we can interrogate the device,” he said.

Through ongoing research, Fasano says the technology may lead to “adaptive stimulation” in the longer term, where the device adjusts the level of stimulation automatically.

It’s a bit like a smart home thermostat. At first, those high-tech temperature controls require a homeowner to adjust the settings manually. Too cold in the morning? Crank up the heat. Too hot by the afternoon? Turn it back down.

Over time, as the technology learns someone’s patterns and preferences, the thermostat can start making those adjustments on its own — regulating the temperature, and keeping people inside the house comfortable automatically.

Kalia said that’s a lot like how the implants could one day regulate — or even predict and ward off — symptoms like seizures and tremors. The first three Canadians underwent surgery to install their new smart technology this fall, and there more to come.


Imagine watching your brain activity in real time on a computer screen. For Gord Luke, a Wawa, Ont., resident with Parkinson’s disease, that’s now a reality. (Nicole Brockbank/CBC)

‘Like being with them all the time’

Though wary at first of having the procedure, Luke said he jumped at the chance to try the new device in November. His Parkinson’s symptoms have worsened over the last six years.

“Your muscles tighten up, everything shakes, you shuffle more than walk, you’re prone to falls,” he said. “It really changes your life, big time.”

Speaking to CBC News outside his downtown Toronto hotel, he said the day before his medical team at Krembil turned on the electrode, he was barely able to walk. Now, much of his shaking and unsteadiness has subsided. 

Driving a car, spending more time outdoors, and carving wooden animal figurines are all pastimes Luke plans to pursue back home in Wawa. 

It’s not a cure, to be clear. But it offers Luke, who’s a 10-hour drive from the Krembil specialists, a way to manage his disease’s progression with fewer trips to Toronto and log a treasure trove of data for his medical team at the same time.

Fasano says that’s a welcome change from the small glimpses of someone’s life physicians typically get when patients like Luke visit, which can’t possibly capture their day-to-day symptoms and flare-ups. 

“It will be like being with them all the time,” he said.

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CBC | Health News

Buy American policies will live on — even if the Trump presidency doesn’t

Tensions over Buy American rules appear destined to live on after this year — even if Donald Trump’s presidency doesn’t.

It’s one takeaway from trade policies laid out by U.S. election frontrunner Joe Biden, who in a speech Thursday promised to turn the page on numerous Trump-era practices.

With at least one glaring exception. 

One notable area where he’s emulating the president’s rhetoric is the idea that contracts for large-scale public projects should go to U.S. firms.

Biden has promised to spend $ 400 billion US on clean energy and infrastructure with American products, materials, services and shipping companies favoured; he then reiterated the pledge in a Pennsylvania speech.

“Products made by American workers,” Biden said.

“When we spend taxpayers’ money — when the federal government spends taxpayers’ money — we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs. I plan to tighten the rules to make this a reality.”

Buy American: what the rules say

Existing free-trade rules guarantee Canadians some access to U.S. publicly funded construction work, within limits.

The rules are more porous for work funded at the state and local level. Also, the old NAFTA procurement rules have been eliminated in the new agreement, leaving Canadian companies relying on similar rules agreed to at the World Trade Organization.


But Biden suggests he wants to tighten the global rules too. 

His new plan says he’d work with allies to modernize international agreements so that countries’ procurement tax dollars are spent at home.

The big-picture political context looming over Biden’s speech involves his need to address one lingering political weakness.

It involves economic policy, and working-class voters.

The political context

While the presumptive Democratic nominee has been leading President Trump in numerous national and swing-state polls, surveys also show that the current president is more trusted on economics.

A notoriously critical plank of Trump’s economic policy is trade protectionism — especially when it comes to public works projects, with his series of executive orders and other moves, like at the NAFTA negotiating table, to erode free trade in procurement.


Trump, seen here at an electrical contractors’ conference in Pennsylvania in 2018, has seen his standing erode with virtually every demographic group. Polls, however, do show he still holds a strong edge with white working-class voters. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

 

One Washington trade-watcher said he still assumes Biden would be a more favourable interlocutor for Canada when it comes to trade.

While free-trade purists hate Buy American rules, and warn they drive up the cost of products, they remain generally popular.

Eric Miller said it’s normal for campaigning politicians to promise Buy American rules.

Biden or Trump? 

What’s less normal, Miller said, is the current administration’s habit of constantly threatening tariffs against allies.

“In many ways [this speech from Biden] is expected. No politician in the United States will run against ‘Buy American.’ The name itself sounds good,” said Miller, a former Canadian official who now runs the Washington-based Rideau Potomac consulting firm.

“I am skeptical that Joe Biden would be a big user of Section 232 [national security tariffs on allies like Trump]. … Biden’s instinct is not to go after allies. It is to work with allies. “

WATCH | ‘Is this who we are?’ Biden asks Americans:

In a speech highly critical of U.S. President Donald Trump and his response to the death of George Floyd, former vice-president Joe Biden acknowledged that racism has long torn the U.S. apart. 3:09

Some aspects of Biden’s trade policies will, indeed, be more welcome in foreign capitals. 

Biden’s just-announced plan promises a more cooperative approach on steel and aluminum. He said he would build alliances to press China to reduce its excess production and alleged dumping of products at below-market prices.

“Rather than picking fights with our allies and undermining respect for America, Biden will work with our closest allies,” says his plan.

“[We’ll] focus on the key contributor to the problem – China’s government.”

A wakeup call on China

Miller said that section should also serve as a wakeup call to Ottawa: U.S.-China tensions will continue and Canada must prepare to live in a world with that growing rivalry.

“I think there is some hope in some quarters that somehow this [tension] is all going to go away and that the U.S.-China disagreements will somehow moderate,” Miller said.

“Even if we have a Biden presidency we are not going to be magically pulled back to 2016. …  Deep structural changes in the functioning of global affairs and realignments in balances of power do not reverse easily.”


Biden lags behind Trump with some categories of working-class voters. His trade policy was a pitch to such voters. On the day he made a speech promising Buy American policies, he visited his childhood home in Pennsylvania. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

One pact relevant to that international alliance-building is the multi-country trade deal formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which now exists without the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden doesn’t envision quickly rejoining the pact now rebranded as the CPTPP — but he’s leaving open the possibility of re-entering eventually.

Miller said Canada should take the initiative quickly to work with other CPTPP countries, and start talking about what conditions a U.S. re-entry might look like.

Biden’s trade policy includes one other element with potentially major international significance: he’s calling for a “carbon adjustment fee,” essentially a tariff, for countries failing to meet their Paris climate goals.

While that could mean, in theory, a tax on Canadian exports, Miller said he suspects Canada’s domestic carbon pricing and cooperation with a Biden administration on regional climate projects, like Arctic oil-drilling bans, might allow it to avoid such a tax.

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CBC | World News

McIlroy, Johnson win ‘Driving Relief’ exhibition as live golf returns to TV

Rory McIlroy delivered the money shot Sunday as live golf returned to television for a Skins game that revealed plenty of rust and raised more than $ 5 million US for COVID-19 relief funds.

McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, who had not won a skin since the sixth hole, had a chance to win the final six skins worth $ 1.1 million on the final hole at Seminole in the TaylorMade Driving Relief exhibition. Both missed and they returned to the par-3 17th for a closest-to-the-pin contest.

From a forward tee at 120 yards, Matthew Wolff was 18 feet below the hole. His partner, Rickie Fowler, missed the green. Johnson found a bunker. Down to the last shot, McIlroy barely stayed on the shelf left of the pin, measured at 13 feet.

“Air five,” McIlroy said, alluding to the social distancing in place at Juno Beach, Florida.

WATCH | McIlroy, Johnson win Driving Relief skins match:

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s closest to the pin shot secures a victory with partner Dustin Johnson over Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in the Driving Relief skins match to go towards COVID-19 relief efforts. 2:20

The final carryover gave McIlroy and Johnson $ 1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation. Fowler, who made seven birdies, and Wolff made $ 1.15 million for the CDC Foundation.

“I’m proud to be part of an event to entertain people at home on a Sunday afternoon and to raise money for people who need it,” McIlroy said as he played the 18th hole.

Wolff, the 21-year-old Californian with big game and plenty of swagger, earned $ 450,000 toward relief funds by having the longest drives on two par 5s — 356 yards on No. 2 and 368 yards on No. 14.

Fowler’s seven birdies were worth $ 270,000 in a separate fund from Farmers Insurance, while McIlroy made four birdies worth $ 175,000 and Wolff had three birdies for $ 135,000. Johnson, who showed the most rust, had two birdies for $ 75,000.

PGA Tour Charities allowed for online donations during the telecast, raising more than $ 1 million. The donations will continue until Tuesday. When the exhibition ended, more than $ 5.5 million had been pledged, starting with the $ 3 million guarantee from UnitedHeath Group.

Players carried their own bags.

‘Nice to get back on the golf course’

Television had a skeleton crew on the grounds — the play-by-play and analysts were 200 miles away in St. Augustine, Florida, while host Mike Tirico was at his home office in Michigan. The match went over four hours, primarily because players were at times held in place to give the six TV cameras time to get in position on the next hole.

Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice-president of of rules and competition, was the only one to handle the flagstick. Bunkers didn’t need to be raked because they were the only match on the course, which closed for the summer last week.

“It was an awesome day,” McIlroy said. “It was nice to get back on the golf course and get back to some sort of normalcy.”

The players wore microphones, though the banter was limited and ended early.

Most of it came from McIlroy, who had to make a short birdie putt on the second hole to match Wolff’s birdie. He rolled it in and said to Wolff, “I think you forget I’ve won two FedEx Cups that total $ 25 million. That doesn’t faze me, youngster.”

Fowler played the best golf and staked his side to the lead with four birdies in a six-hole stretch around the turn, including a 20-footer on No. 11 that was worth two skins at $ 200,000. He raised his finger and McIlroy said, “Did you hear all those cheers?” There were no fans, and fewer than 50 people were at Seminole. All were tested for the new coronavirus.

That was the start of golf’s return.

The last live competition on TV was March 12, the first round of The Players Championship. It was cancelled the next day, along with other tournaments that either were scrapped or postponed.

Next up is another exhibition match on May 24 down the road at Medalist, where Tiger Woods plays when home. Woods and Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a match billed as “Champions for Charity” that will raise $ 10 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

The real show is to return on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. The tour has said it will not allow fans for at least a month, and perhaps longer depending on it goes. Players will have access to charter flights and a designated hotel.

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