Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brandon University coach sinks basket from mid-court

In Brandon Manitoba, Brandon University basketball coach Gil Cheung sank a basket from half-court winning free tuition for a student.
The video of the Brandon Bobcat's coach sinking the basket has gonve viral on the Internet. Cheung made the incredible shot during a Shoot Out For Tuition contest at Brandon University last Friday, February 15th. The contest is sponsored by a local restaurant.
Cheung told CBC News:"The ball just felt real good. I stood there and as soon as I let it go ... I didn't think it could miss."The last time Cheung landed a three-pointer was in a Canada West conference game just 10 years ago last week.
In the contest, students were selected at random to participate in the contest. They could shoot themselves or name anyone else present to the shot for them. Mason Kaluzniak was the lucky student to name the coach to take the shot for him. Kaluzniak does not have to worry for his tuition for a year. Kaluzniak had attended the game because he simply wanted to see the Bobcats win over the Regina Cougars. He is taking a degree in Bachelor of Physical Education Studies at the university. When asked on CNN why he picked Cheung to make the shot Kaluzniak said:"At BU we have a student body of about 3,000 people, so I know, especially in our phys-ed department we're really tight-knit with our professors and the coaches, so when I went out there the only guy that I really knew was Gil . I really never thought it was gonna happen, so I figured I may as well pick a friend of mine so that when he missed I could bug him."
As of the posting of this article, the video had received over 1.4 million hits. One spoil-sport comment claims that the shot should not count since the coach's foot went over the center line. Locals are calling it the shot seen around the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Canada loses jobs in January

During January, the Canadian economy shed 21,900 jobs after two months of increases. The loss was largest in education and manufacturing jobs.
In spite of the loss of jobs, the unemployment rate in Canada has actually fallen even further to 7%. In December. the rate was at 7.1% which was also a decrease from the month before. These seeming contradictory movements are caused by many Canadians simply no longer seeking jobs and leaving the labor market for various reasons.Statistics Canada reports that 57,500 people stopped looking for jobs. This is over twice as many as there were lost jobs allowing the unemployment rate to decline.
Canadian housing starts also declined from 197,118 in December to 160,577 in January. On the employment front, Ontario and British Columbia registered declining employment while Alberta, Saskatchewan and also New Brunswick had increases. The construction industry was improving with 17,000 jobs added during January.
Doug Porter, the chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said:"Combined with the steep drop in housing starts as well as the still-wide trade deficit, the jobs report rounds out a day of infamy for Canadian economic stats. To some extent, the drop in jobs appears to be a payback for the surprising strength in the second half of last year, and would normally be little cause for concern. However, with housing softening notably, and consumers and governments not in much mood (or ability) to spend, the economy will need a major helping hand from a stronger U.S. performance in the year ahead to help generate renewed job gains."
Many jobs that were lost were in the public sector which lost 27,000 jobs. Compared with January of 2012, the number of private sector employers was 1.9% higher while the number of public sector and self-employed remained relatively the same. Over an entire year, Statistics Canada reports that employment had increased 1.6% or by 286,000 in full time work. The number of hours worked on average also increased by 1.7%.

Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg Manitoba

The annual winter festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Festival du Voyageur, began on Friday February the 15th with a torchlight walk over the Red River.
The festival runs for a total of ten days with numerous different events. The program can be found here in English and here in French.
More than a hundred artists are set to perform at the Voyageur Park and 10 other sites around the city. There are popular jigging and fiddling workshops. This year will be the 44th year of the Festival. The Festival is a sign that winter will soon be over. However, there is no problem with melting so far this year. The ice on the river was plenty thick for the traditional torchlight walk.
As you can see from the attached videos, snow sculptures are also a big part of the festival. The weather has cooperated for this feature as well.
Other shows include a Louis Riel look-alike contest. Riel was born in 1844. He was the founder of the Province of Manitoba and a spiritual and political leader of the Metis people on the prairies. However, he mounted two rebellions against the Canadian government and was hanged in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1885.
There is also a beard growing contest. The Festival Beard category participants started their beards back on December 13th and will be judged on February 22nd. Many of the beard growers collect donations which will go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. There are various categories of beards including the Voyageur Beard category that is wild and woolly, and the Novelty category such as a groomed moustache or beard. There is also plenty of French Canadian cuisine at the Festival, especially on February 21 and 22, at the Soiree du Bourgeois that includes entertainment in the Maison du Bourgeois inside historic Fort Gibraltar.