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Last Day Of School, High School Grads, Lacombe Afghan Monument

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2:00 pm – An investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Didsbury RCMP has resulted in Child Pornography charges being laid against a Didsbury resident. Read More.
12:28 pm – Lacombe County Council decided to defer the further study into a potential boat launch at Anderson Park. This boat launch was considered for the east shore of Gull Lake at the County-run Anderson Park, which is located between the Wilson’s Beach and New Saratoga residential subdivisions. Read More.
12:19 pm – Red Deer’s Safe Harbour Society is receiving $36,151 from the Alberta Government for maintenance and upgrades that address fire, health and safety risks. Read More.
12:13 pm – Spending Canada Day in Red Deer? Here’s what going on in our City to celebrate Canada 150!
12:03 pm – Lindsay Thurber student Ursulla Khan has been named as one of 32 students from across Alberta to sit on the Minster’s Youth Council. Read More.
9:58 am – The 2017 All Canada Sheep Classic starts today at Westerner Park! June 29 – July 1. Details Here.
9:29 am – Live tune on the Ross Street Patio from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm today! Read More.
9:17 am – Road construction continues throughout Red Deer today. Plan your travels by avoiding the congestion. Details Here.
9:10 am – The City of Red Deer has provided an update on the 67th Street / Johnstone Drive Roundabout project. Expect construction to continue there throughout the summer. Read More.

9:00 am – The outdoor tennis courts in Red Deer’s Rotary Recreation Park are expected to re-open Saturday, July 1st after resurfacing work this spring. Read More.

 8:49 am – Ponoka RCMP are hoping you can help them find 34 year old Joseph Buffalo. He’s been reported as missing and was last seen on June 26th around 1:30 pm in the area of the Centennial Centre in Ponoka. He’s described as 5’11” tall, 180 lbs, Brown hair, Brown eyes and last seen wearing a navy sweater and grey sweat pants.
8:43 am – RCMP in Rocky Mountain House are investigating after a break, enter, and theft from the “The Beer Cabin” liquor store In Nordegg. It happened around 4:30 a.m. on June 28th. Officers responded and found the suspects had already left. The suspect vehicle is described as a white Ford F-250 or F-350, possibly a diesel, was used to force entry into the liquor store and then several males entered the store and stole property.  Two men in the group were seen to have guns and were making efforts to disguise their identity. There were no employees present in the liquor store at the time of the incident. Investigators have been provided a partial license plate for the suspect vehicle: BJJ5(Alberta).

8:35 am – After receiving tips from the public, charges have been laid against 23 year old Jared McLeod of Red Deer in relation to an April 23rd vehicle theft at the Best Western Hotel in Rimbey. Read More.

8:21 am – It’s a special day in the City of Lacombe today. Dignitaries such as Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr and Mayor Steve Christie will celebrate the arrival of the LAVIII Monument. It’s part of the Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial Project. The event takes place at 1:00 pm at the Lacombe Legion Hall at 5138 49th Street.

For more local news, click here!

8:11 am – Today is the official last day of classes for thousands of Red Deer Catholic Regional School students. However, Graduation ceremonies will take place on Friday, June 30th for students of Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer and St. Dominic Catholic High School in Rocky Mountain House. Notre Dame’s Grad will be at the Enmax Centrium starting at 10:00 am, while St. Dominic’s Grad will be at the Lou Soppit Community Centre in Rocky starting at 5:00 pm.

7:58 am – Students at Red Deer’s Gateway Christian School will be celebrating their graduation with family and friends today. Grad ceremonies take place at the First Christian Reformed Church starting at 4:30 pm.

7:53 am – Today marks the last day of school for over ten thousand Red Deer Public School students. This means there will also be an early dismissal this afternoon and report cards will be sent home.

For more local news, click here!

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International

Biden says Putin will pay ‘dear price’ if he invades Ukraine

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said he believes Vladimir Putin doesn’t want full blown war in Ukraine and would pay a “dear price” if he moves forward with a military incursion.

Biden, speaking at a news conference to mark his one-year anniversary in office, also said he believes that Russia is preparing to take action on Ukraine, though he doesn’t think the Russian president has made a final decision. He suggested that he would limit Russia’s access to the international banking system if it did further invade Ukraine.

“I’m not so sure that he is certain what is he going to do,” Biden said. He added, “My guess is he will move in.”

Biden’s comments came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a visit to Kyiv accused Russia of planning to reinforce the more than 100,000 troops it has deployed along the Ukrainian border and suggested that number could double “on relatively short order.” Blinken did not elaborate, but Russia has sent an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to its ally Belarus, which also shares a border with Ukraine, for major war games next month.

The U.S. president said he believes the decision will “solely” be Putin’s and suggested he was not fully confident that Russian officials with whom top White House advisers have been negotiating are fully informed about Putin’s thinking.

“There’s a question of whether the people they’re talking to know what he’s going to do,” Biden said.

Biden also suggested a “minor incursion” would elicit a lesser response than a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, saying “it’s very important that we keep everyone in NATO on the same page.” Biden later in the news conference sought to clarify that he was referring to a non-military action, such as a cyberattack, that would be met with a similar reciprocal response.

Ukraine, meanwhile, said it was prepared for the worst and would survive whatever difficulties come its way. The president urged the country not to panic.

Blinken’s visit to the Ukrainian capital came two days before he is to meet in Geneva with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That follows a series of inconclusive talks last week that failed to ease rising tensions.

Russian military activity has been increasing in recent weeks, but the U.S. has not concluded whether Putin plans to invade or whether the show of force is intended to squeeze the security concessions without an actual conflict.

Biden, who spoke with Putin twice last month, said he’s made it clear to him that Russia would face severe sanctions. Still, he said the decision for Putin could come down to “what side of the bed” he wakes up on.

“He’s never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed if he moves, No. 1,” Biden warned. “This is not all just a cake walk for Russia,” Biden said. “They’ll pay a stiff price immediately” and in the medium and long term “if they do it.”

In Kyiv, Blinken reiterated Washington’s demands for Russia to de-escalate the situation by removing its forces from the border area, something that Moscow has flatly refused to do. And, Blinken said he wouldn’t give Russia the written response it expects to its demands when he and Lavrov meet in Geneva.

Meanwhile, a top Russian diplomat said Moscow would not back down from its insistence that the U.S. formally ban Ukraine from ever joining NATO and reduce its and the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow had no intention of invading Ukraine but that its demands for security guarantees were non-negotiable.

The U.S. and its allies have said the Russian demands are non-starters, that Russia knows they are and that Putin is using them in part to create a pretext for invading Ukraine, which has strong ethnic and historical ties to Russia. The former Soviet republic aspires to join the alliance, though has little hope of doing so in the foreseeable future.

Blinken urged Western nations to remain united in the face of Russian aggression. He also reassured Ukraine’s leader of NATO support while calling for Ukrainians to stand strong.

Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the U.S. and its allies were steadfast in backing his country and its democratic aspirations against Russian attempts to incite division and discord through “relentless aggression.”

“Our strength depends on preserving our unity and that includes unity within Ukraine,” he told Zelenskyy. “I think one of Moscow’s long-standing goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within our countries, and quite simply we cannot and will not let them do that.”

The Biden administration had said earlier it was providing an additional $200 million in defensive military aid to Ukraine. Blinken said more assistance is coming and that it would only increase should Russia invade.

Zelenskyy thanked Blinken for the aid, which was approved in late December but not confirmed until Wednesday.

“This (military) support not only speaks to our strategic plans of Ukraine joining the alliance, but more importantly to the level of our military, our military supplies,” he said, referring to Kyiv’s desire to join NATO.

“Your visit is very important,” Zelenskyy said. “It underlines once again your powerful support of our independence and sovereignty.”

Zelenskyy released a video address to the nation on Wednesday evening, urging Ukrainians not to panic over fears of a possible invasion. But he said the country has been living with the Russian threat for many years and should always be prepared for war. He called on all Ukrainians, especially the elderly, to “breathe” and “calm down.”

Ukraine’s president also gave assurances that the country was strengthening its defense capabilities and doing everything possible to resolve the crisis through diplomacy.

“Ukraine doesn’t want a war, but must always be prepared for it,” Zelenskyy said.

From Kyiv, Blinken plans a short trip to Berlin for talks with German and other European allies on Thursday before meeting with Lavrov.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called on the European Union to draw up a plan to ease tensions with Russia, “We should build it among Europeans, then share it with our allies in the framework of NATO, and then propose it for negotiation to Russia,” he said.

Washington and its allies have kept the door open to possible further talks on arms control and confidence-building measures to reduce the potential for hostilities.

Ryabkov insisted, however, that there can’t be any meaningful talks on those issues if the West doesn’t heed the main Russian requests for the non-expansion of NATO with a formal response. He said the Russian demands are “a package, and we’re not prepared to divide it into different parts, to start processing some of those at the expense of standing idle on others.”

Blinken, though, said no such formal response was coming. “I won’t be presenting a paper at that time to Foreign Minister Lavrov,” he said. “We need to see where we are and see if there remain opportunities to pursue the diplomacy and pursue the dialogue.”

The Biden administration and its allies have accused Putin of creating the crisis and say it is up to him and the Russians to decide whether to invade and suffer severe economic consequences.

Russia has brushed off calls to withdraw its troops by saying it has a right to deploy its forces wherever it likes on its own territory. It also has rejected U.S. allegations that it’s preparing a “false flag operation” to use as a pretext for intervention. Russia has angrily denied the charge.

Before Blinken’s visit to Kyiv, a delegation of U.S. senators traveled to Ukraine to emphasize congressional support for the country.

Russia in 2014 seized the Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader and also threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces in the country’s industrial heartland, called Donbas.

___

Lee reported from Kyiv. Associated Press writers Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv contributed to this report.

Matthew Lee And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press

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Justice

CP NewsAlert: Four people including baby found dead in Manitoba near U.S. border

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WINNIPEG — Mounties in Manitoba say they have found the bodies of four people — including an infant and a teen — near the United States border.

They say the four died from exposure during a blizzard and freezing temperatures.

RCMP say American authorities first notified them about a group that had crossed into the U.S. from near Emerson, Man., and they had items with them for an infant but no baby.

Mounties went searching yesterday and located the body of a man, woman and infant.

They also found a teen’s body nearby.

RCMP are telling people not to attempt to cross the border in either direction because it can be deadly.

More coming …

The Canadian Press

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