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2nd American missionary sick with Ebola to land in US Tuesday morning – National

ATLANTA – A second American missionary stricken with Ebola is expected to fly Tuesday to the U.S. for treatment, following a colleague who was admitted over the weekend to Emory University Hospital’s infectious disease unit.

A Liberian official confirmed to The Associated Press plans for Nancy Writebol to depart with a medical evacuation team. The official, Information Minister Lewis Brown, said the evacuation flight was scheduled to leave West Africa between 1 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. local time Tuesday.

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Writebol’s son, Jeremy Writebol, said his mother “is still struggling” but that “there seems to be improvement” and that the family is optimistic she will recover amid a spreading Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 729 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The Writebols’ mission team partner, Dr. Kent Brantly, also was improving Sunday after he was admitted to Emory’s quarantine unit a day earlier, according to a statement from his wife.

“Our family is rejoicing over Kent’s safe arrival, and we are confident that he is receiving the very best care,” Amber Brantly said, adding that she was able to see her husband Sunday.

READ MORE: Canadian-made Ebola drug not used on U.S. missionary

Brantly and Nancy Writebol served on the same mission team treating Ebola victims when they contracted the virus themselves. Brantly was serving as a physician in the hospital compound near Monrovia, Liberia, when he became infected. Writebol worked as a hygienist whose role included decontaminating those entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area at that hospital.

There is no cure for Ebola, which causes hemorrhagic fever that kills at least 60 per cent of the people it infects in Africa. Ebola spreads through close contact with bodily fluids and blood, meaning it is not spread as easily as airborne influenza or the common cold. Africa’s under-developed health care system and inadequate infection controls make it easier for the Ebola virus to spread and harder to treat.

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Any modern hospital using standard infection-control measures should be able to handle it, and Emory’s infectious disease unit is one of about four in the U.S. that is specially equipped to test and treat people exposed to the most dangerous viruses.

Patients are quarantined, sealed off from anyone who is not in protective gear. Lab tests are conducted inside the unit, ensuring that viruses don’t leave the quarantined area. Family members can see and communicate with patients only through barriers.

Brantly arrived Saturday under stringent protocols, flying from West Africa to Dobbins Air Reserve base outside Atlanta in a small plane equipped to contain infectious diseases. A small police escort followed his ambulance to Emory, where he emerged dressed head to toe in white protective clothing and walked into the hospital on his own power.

READ MORE: 1st time Ebola patients brought to US, doctor now in Atlanta for treatment

A physician from Texas, Brantly is a Samaritan’s Purse missionary. The Writebols are working through SIM USA. The two Christian organizations have partnered to provide health care in West Africa.

The Rev. John Munro, the Writebols’ pastor at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, described the couple as “quiet, unassuming people” who felt called by God” to go overseas 15 years ago.

Jeremy Writebol said his parents spent five years in Ecuador and nine years in Zambia before going to Liberia last August.

Munro added, “They take the Great Commission literally,” a reference to the scriptural instruction from Jesus Christ to “make disciples of all nations.”

Munro, whose church sponsors the Writebols’ mission work, recalled speaking with the couple when the Ebola outbreak began. “We weren’t telling them to come back; we were just willing to help them come back,” he said. “They said, ‘The work isn’t finished, and it must continue.”‘

READ MORE: 5 things to know about the Ebola outbreak amid fears of global spread

The outbreak comes as nearly 50 African heads of state come to Washington, D.C., for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit – billed as a tool for African nations to integrate more into the world economy and community. With the outbreak, however, the presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone have scrapped their plans to attend the three-day summit opening Monday.

Meanwhile, some airlines that serve West Africa have suspended flights, while international groups, including the Peace Corps, have evacuated some or all of their representatives in the region.

In the United States, public health officials continue to emphasize that treating Brantly and Writebol in the U.S. poses no risks to the public here.

“We know how to control it: hospital infection control and stopping it at the source in Africa,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Frieden’s agency is ramping up its effort to combat the outbreak. He promised “50 staff on the ground” in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone “in the next 30 days.”

Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press reporter Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Longueuil woman survives attack by ex-husband – Montreal

LONGUEUIL — Residents of an apartment building on De Rousillon Street in Longueuil told Global News that they can’t get the horrible sounds out of their heads.

On Sunday evening around 7 p.m., a woman in a first floor unit was heard crying for help.

Police said the 46-year-old victim was possibly threatened with a gun by her former husband, and then left her tied up in her apartment.

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“It’s only the investigation that will tell us why he was in that mental state,” said Longueuil Police spokesperson Constable Ghyslain Vallieres.

After the alleged attack, police said the armed 49-year-old suspect fled the scene, and threatened to jump off the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.

The bridge was closed to traffic for about an hour during the delicate police operation.

The man eventually gave up and was arrested.

“He faces forcible confinement charges and other serious criminal counts,” Vallieres told Global News.

Many residents said they knew about the violence in the couple’s relationship, but they admitted they ignored what they saw.

“I know she came up crying a lot to my house, she came crying,” the victim’s friend, Margaret Martin, said.

“She wanted me to call the cops, but you don’t want to get involved.”

Groups that support women in abusive relationships said this case puts the spotlight on a major issue: witnesses of abuse should speak out.

“I think people hestitate because they don’t want their names out there,” said June Michel, a spokesperson with Women Aware.

“You can request that your name remain anonymous in the records of the report.”

The victim in this case is being treated for shock and is expected to make a full recovery.

UPDATE: Over $34,000 raised for woman seriously injured in a hit and run – BC

Vancouver police are looking for the driver suspected of committing a hit and run early this morning that sent a young woman to hospital with a serious head injury.

The victim has been identified by family and friends as 26-year-old communications consultant Ovey Yeung.

Police say the incident happened shortly after 4 a.m. on Pacific Boulevard between Abbott and Carrall Street.

Ovey was walking along Pacific Boulevard with a friend when she was hit.

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After being struck by the vehicle, she was rushed to the hospital and remains in critical condition.

Her family is still waiting on a prognosis.

“We don’t know what is going on just yet,” Ovey’s older sister Ardelis Yeung told Global News. “We will just have to wait and see.”

Ardelis says her sister has been slightly responsive so far.

“It is very hard to say if she will make a full recovery. At this point, it is just a waiting game. We will have to wait and only time will tell,” she says.

Family and friends have launched a campaign to help raise money for her recovery. Over $34,000 has been raised since Tuesday.

Yeung is pleading with any witnesses to come forward.

“To the driver, I am sure you feel awful right now about what you have done,” she says. “But the longer you wait, the worse it is going to get for yourself. And if you truly feel bad, you will come forward and help us out.”

Ovey Yeung, Facebook

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Ardelis says Ovey is a very ambitious young woman with a long, fulfilling life ahead of her.

“We’d really like to see this not impede her too much,” she says.

Police are looking for a dark-coloured Honda Civic, which could have frontend damage. They do not have a driver description.

Video obtained by police shows there may have been several witnesses to the incident including two people standing on the corner of Abbott and Pacific, and someone on rollerblades across the street.

Anyone with information is asked to call the VPD Collision Investigation Unit at (604) 717-3012 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Grandfather’s diaries open a window on First World War for defence chief

OTTAWA – Gen. Tom Lawson, Canada’s top military commander, was thumbing through his grandfather’s First World War diaries when he had a startling moment of kinship with a man he knew only as a “tough” old guy.

One of the journal’s entries told of a soggy day in southern England in 1918 as newly minted flight-lieutenant Norman Moran endured the rigours of Royal Flying Corp training at the controls of Sopwith Camel biplane, a notoriously tricky fighter plane.

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Moran was preparing to fight high above the grinding morass of trenches and shell fire, but ultimately didn’t get the chance.

The war ended before he could get to France, but even still he lost two dozen friends and colleagues to training accidents on the Salisbury Plains southwest of London.

One of the under-appreciated legacies of the war to end all wars is how it spawned a culture of service in succeeding generations, with many of those in uniform today tracing their ancestry back to that calamitous time.

Reading through the time-worn passages, Lawson said he recognized his grandfather buried much of his grief, but the diaries still gave him a glimpse of an anxious young man struggling to master what was then a dangerous machine.

“It was a connection I’d never felt to my grandfather,” Lawson said of the diaries, which he only received last Christmas.

“His experiences in flight training were very much like my experiences in flight training. You (start) with terrible self- confidence and you have to build that self-confidence to become a pilot.”

READ MORE: Former European enemies unite during ceremonies marking start WWI

Moran, Lawson’s maternal grandfather, went on to serve in the Second World War as a squadron commander alongside U.S. forces in Alaska. Both Lawson’s father and his paternal grandfather also served in uniform.

Lance Cpl. Thomas Lawson started out as cyclist, but ended up serving as a rifleman during the exceptionally bloody last 100 days of the First World War, when the 100,000-strong Canadian Corps served as the shock troops of the British Army on the Western Front.

Other soldiers, notably retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, also trace their lineage back to the war.

Both of Leslie’s grandfathers, former general Andrew McNaughton and Brooke Claxton, served with distinction in the artillery. Leslie’s father was also a gunner in Korea.

Historian Jack Granatstein said the war helped foster a legacy of service in a number of families, but the phenomenon is most pronounced among junior non-commissioned officers, the backbone of the military.

“Seems to me I can think of a large number of sergeants who sent their kids to (Royal Military College) so that they would keep the connection but do it as an officer,” said Granatstein, who penned the book The Greatest Victory: Canada’s One Hundred Days, 1918.

“I’m not sure you can do that in the UK, for example. I don’t think the son of a sergeant could end up at Sandhurst (Britain’s officer training school). But ours is a more democratic society. Getting into RMC is a matter of having sufficient grades.”

Being the grandson of a lance corporal, Lawson, who was appointed chief of defence staff in October 2012, embodies that spirit to a certain extent. He rose to become Canada’s top military commander.

On Friday, the military marked the milestone event of 50 years since the creation of the chief of defence staff position.

Lawson counts former general Sir Arthur Currie, the commander of Canadian Corps and the architect of the victory at Vimy Ridge, as one of his heroes.

The wars Currie fought off the battlefield, with his allies and most notably with the volatile Sam Hughes, Canada’s minister of militia and defence, have been significantly instructive for Lawson.

“He teaches me today that there things that are far more important than simply following orders,” he said. “There is ground for a chief of defence staff to die on, so to speak, in defence of the Canadian Armed Forces, but (also) in defence of Canadians and Canadian interests.”

There’s another interesting parallel, Granatstein says.

Lawson is struggling today with a shrinking defence budget in much the same way Currie and other soldiers from the First World War generation had to fight to preserve what was built up during the conflict.

Jim Brady, press secretary wounded in Reagan assassination attempt, dies – National

WASHINGTON – James Brady, the affable, witty press secretary who survived a devastating head wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and undertook a personal crusade for gun control, died Monday. He was 73.

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“We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim “Bear” Brady has passed away after a series of health issues,” Brady’s family said in a statement. “His wife, Sarah, son, Scott, and daughter, Missy, are so thankful to have had the opportunity to say their farewells.” The statement did not say where Brady was when he died.

Brady suffered a bullet wound to his head outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. Although he returned to the White House only briefly, he was allowed to keep the title of presidential press secretary and his White House salary until Reagan left office in January 1989.

Brady, who spent much of the rest of his life in a wheelchair, died at a retirement community in suburban Alexandria, Virginia, where he lived with his wife.

A federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers bears his name, as is the White House press briefing room.

“He is somebody who I think really revolutionized this job,” said Josh Earnest, President Barack Obama’s press secretary. “And even after he was wounded in that attack on the president, was somebody who showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and that he felt very strongly about.”

Brady “leaves the kind of legacy … that certainly this press secretary and all future press secretaries will aspire to live up to,” Earnest said.

Brady seriously wounded in assassination attempt

Of the four people stuck by gunfire on March 30, 1981, Brady was the most seriously wounded. A news clip of the shooting, replayed often on television, showed Brady sprawled on the ground as Secret Service agents hustled the wounded president into his limousine. Reagan was shot in one lung while a policeman and a Secret Service agent suffered lesser wounds.

Brady never regained full health. The shooting caused brain damage, partial paralysis, short-term memory impairment, slurred speech and constant pain.

The TV replays of the shooting did take a toll on Brady, however. He told The Associated Press years later that he relived the moment each time he saw it: “I want to take every bit of (that) film … and put them in a cement incinerator, slosh them with gasoline and throw a lighted cigarette in.” With remarkable courage, he endured a series of brain operations in the years after the shooting.

On Nov. 28, 1995, while he was in an oral surgeon’s office, Brady’s heart stopped beating and he was taken to a hospital. His wife, Sarah, credited the oral surgeon and his staff with saving Brady’s life.

When Reagan was elected his advisers appeared hesitant to give Brady the White House spokesman’s ‘ job. Nancy Reagan was said to feel the job required someone younger and better-looking than the 40-year-old, moon-faced, balding Brady.

“I come before you today not as just another pretty face, but out of sheer talent,” Brady told reporters. A week later, he got the job.

Gun control efforts

He was divorced from the former Sue Beh when, in 1973, he courted Sarah Jane Kemp, the daughter of an FBI agent who was working with him in a congressional office.

Sarah Brady became involved in gun-control efforts in 1985, and later chaired Handgun Control Inc., but Brady took a few more years to join her, and Reagan did not endorse their efforts until 10 years after he was shot. Reagan’s surprise endorsement – he was a longtime National Rifle Association member and opponent of gun control laws – began to turn the tide in Congress.

“They’re not going to accuse him of being some bed-wetting liberal, no way can they do that,” said Brady, who had become an active lobbyist for the bill.

The Brady law required a five-day wait and background check before a handgun could be sold. In November 1993, as President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law, Brady said: “Every once in a while you need to wake up and smell the propane. I needed to be hit in the head before I started hitting the bricks.”

Clinton awarded Brady the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. In 2000, the press briefing room at the White House was renamed in Brady’s honour. The following year, Handgun Control Inc., was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as a tribute to Brady and his wife.

Survivors include his wife, Sarah; a son, Scott; and a daughter, Melissa.

©2014The Associated Press

Rory McIlroy moves to world No. 1; Tiger’s back problems linger – National

WATCH ABOVE: Rory McIlroy rises to the top with win at Bridgestone

Rory McIlroy rose to become the top player in the world, Tiger Woods hurt his back and Graham DeLaet caught the flu.

All three stories played out on Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational, part of the World Golf Championships, in Akron, Ohio, where McIlroy, who won last month’s British Open, continued his stellar play, bettering Sergio Garcia by shooting a 66 in the final round. The win elevated McIlroy past Adam Scott, who was the No. 1 golfer on the planet for 11 weeks.

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“You just try to win golf tournaments and my goal between now and the end of the year is to win as many tournaments as I can, not to finish number one in the world,” he said.

The win comes after the 25-year old Irishman won the British Open in dominant fashion at Royal Liverpool. Asked if this is the best he’s played, McIlroy said it’s close.

“I mean, it’s the most comfortable I’ve ever felt trying to close out a golf tournament out there today,” he said. “I felt normal. I felt like it was the first round or the second round. It didn’t feel like a fourth round. When I say mentally it’s the best I’ve ever been, I didn’t get ahead of myself.  I didn’t start to think about score.  I didn’t think about where I was in the tournament.  I just kept playing my shot after shot after shot.”

Graham DeLaet of Canada hits off the 17th tee during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 2, 2014 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Canadian Graham DeLaet started the tournament strongly, but ended spending it in bed trying to recover from the flu. DeLaet, from Weyburn, Sask., started feeling poorly earlier in the week, and withdrew from the tournament on Sunday. He was resting, his agent said, in an attempt to recover from a fever.

But McIlroy’s win was overshadowed in some ways by Tiger Woods. The former world No. 1 was playing for only the third time since returning from disc surgery on his back. Woods had struggled all week at the tournament (which doesn’t have a cut like a standard PGA Tour event). Woods appeared to hurt his back on a shot during his second hole on Sunday, but he soldiered on, attempting to play through the injury.

“I just jarred it and it has been spasming ever since,” Woods told tour officials after withdrawing on the eighth hole.

Woods’ caddy drove him to his car, where he struggled to remove his golf shoes before driving away.

Many questioned Woods’ quick turnaround from major back surgery. He played one tournament before the British Open, where he finished at 6-over par in 69th place and showed little of the flair that led to 14 major championships.

Woods had a similar back surgery to the one DeLaet underwent in late 2010 after his rookie season. DeLaet tried to come back mid-way through the 2011 season, but struggled with his game and elected to stop playing. He returned in 2012 and emerged as one of the game’s great ballstrikers.

Woods now faces some significant uncertainties for the rest of the year. He is 217 on the FedEx Cup rankings and currently does not have a spot on the Ryder Cup team. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson is on record as saying Woods would be on the team if he’s healthy or playing well. Right now neither is true. And if he doesn’t make the FedEx Cup, it is quite possible Woods won’t play again until later in the year, when he could potentially play in the final World Golf Championship of the year.

Death toll from strong earthquake in southern China rises to 398 – National

WATCH ABOVE: Rescuers were racing against time to carry out search and rescue operations in the quake-hit Ludian County in southwest China’s Yunnan Province

BEIJING – Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of a strong earthquake in southern China’s Yunnan province as the death toll rose to at least 398 people, with more than 1,800 injured.

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About 12,000 homes collapsed when the quake struck Sunday afternoon in impoverished Ludian county, around 370 kilometres (230 miles) northeast of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Ma Yaoqi, an 18-year-old volunteer in the quake zone, said by phone that at least half of the buildings had collapsed on the road from the city centre of Zhaotong to the hardest hit town of Longtou. The rest of the buildings were damaged, she said.

“I saw dead bodies being wrapped in quilts and carried away,” said Ma, who had arrived with 20 other volunteers Monday. “Some were wrapped with small quilts. Those must be kids.”

Overhead footage of the quake zone shot by state broadcaster CCTV showed older houses flattened but newer multistory buildings still standing.

The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at a depth of 10 kilometres (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. China’s earthquake monitoring agency put the magnitude at 6.5.

Rain and thunderstorms were forecast for the area Monday afternoon, complicating efforts to bring tents, water, food and other relief supplies to survivors. Roads had caved in, and rescuers were forced to travel on foot.

Armed police rescue the wounded after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Armed police rescue the wounded after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Armed police rescue the wounded after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Local people evacuate the area after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Armed police rescue the wounded after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Rescue workers try to rescue the wounded on August 4, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Armed police rescue the wounded after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on August 3, 2014 in Zhaotong, Yunnan province of China. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Zhaotong’s Ludian county at a depth of 12 kilometers. The quake struck Longtoushan Township at 4:30 pm, Beijing time on Sunday, about 50 kilometers from the city center of Zhaotong.

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Repeated aftershocks also were making the rescue work dangerous. The USGS showed four aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 and higher hitting after the initial quake.

The Yunnan Civil Affairs Bureau said on its website that 398 people were killed and 1,801 injured. Another 29,400 people were evacuated, CCTV said. The death toll is expected to rise after rescuers reach remote communities to assess casualties.

Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were old and made of brick, Xinhua said, adding that electricity and telecommunications were cut off in the county.

The mountainous region where the quake occurred is largely agricultural, with farming and mining the top industries, and is prone to earthquakes.

Relief efforts are underway, with more than 2,500 troops dispatched to the disaster region, Xinhua said. The Red Cross Society of China allocated quilts, jackets and tents for those made homeless by the quake, while Red Cross branches in Hong Kong, Macau and neighbouring Sichuan province also sent relief supplies.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reached the worst-hit area Monday afternoon to oversee quake relief, Xinhua said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered “his condolences to the Chinese Government and the families of those killed,” according to a statement from his office. The statement said the U.N. was ready to “lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs” and “to mobilize any international support needed.”

The White House also offered its condolences.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that lost their lives,” said National Security Council deputy spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. “The United States stands ready to assist.”

CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years.

In 1970, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in Yunnan killed at least 15,000 people, and a magnitude-7.1 quake in the province killed more than 1,400 in 1974. In September 2012, 81 people died and 821 were injured in a series of quakes in the Yunnan region.

In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan province left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

Associated Press news assistant Fu Ting contributed to this report.

PHOTOS: Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage on Toronto set of ‘Pixels’ – Toronto

TORONTO — Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage were armed and ready for battle Monday afternoon on Toronto’s Bay Street.

The two stars, along with Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars), were shooting scenes for Pixels, a sci-fi action comedy in which a team of “Arcaders” takes on invading aliens disguised as characters from popular ’80s video games.

In the movie, Gad (Frozen) is a conspiracy theorist and Dinklage (Game of Thrones) is a felon. The two are recruited, along with their friend Sam (Adam Sandler), by the U.S. president (Kevin James).

Benson plays a sword-wielding character named Lady Lisa.

Peter Dinklage runs in a scene for ‘Pixels’ in downtown Toronto on Aug. 4, 2014.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Josh Gad in a scene for ‘Pixels’ in downtown Toronto on Aug. 4, 2014.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Bay Street from Wellesley Street to Grosvenor Street was transformed into a city block in Washington, D.C. and littered with wrecked vehicles and giant holes in the pavement. The Ontario government’s Hearst Block doubled as a federal office building in Washington.

Ashley Benson and Peter Dinklage on set of ‘Pixels’ in downtown Toronto on Aug. 4, 2014.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Gad, Dinklage and Benson could not see the aliens they were aiming their weapons at and running away from — the creatures will be added later using CGI.

Pixels, which also stars Michelle Monaghan, Brian Cox and Jane Krakowski, is directed by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Home Alone).

Last March, Global News was first to report that Pixels would be filmed in Toronto.

The three-month film shoot is scheduled to wrap up Sept. 8. Pixels is due in cinemas next May.

Josh Gad on set of ‘Pixels’ in downtown Toronto on Aug. 4, 2014.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

Josh Gad, Ashley Benson and Peter Dinklage on set of ‘Pixels’ in Toronto on Aug. 4, 2014.

John R. Kennedy / Global News

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Rock guitarist Dick Wagner’s West Island connection

MONTREAL – The last ever song Dick Wagner recorded in March of 2014, was a cover of Kiss’ Every Time I Look at You to help raise funds for a palliative care home just outside of Montreal.

Wagner, who died last week of respiratory failure aged 71, was a skilled guitarist who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss and Aerosmith, and also co-wrote many of Cooper’s hits.

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He became involved with the fundraising project for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence at the behest of local rock reporter and project organizer, Mitch Lafon.

READ MORE: Rock guitarist Dick Wagner dies at 71

Lafon was on the Global Montreal Morning News with  Richard Dagenais last year to launch the first album A World With Heroes, which raised over $30,000 for the cancer care home in Hudson.

A World with Heroes was released in 2013 and has raised over $30,000 for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence in Hudson.

Courtesy Mitch Lafon

The album featured artists from big name bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath, Cinderella, Whitesnake, Honeymoon Suite, Slaughter, Brighton Rock,  Slaves On Dope, Great White, and many more.

Find out more about the A World With Heroes album here.

Over the past 25 years, Lafon has developed enduring friendships with some of rock’s elite, but he told Global News that he still finds it incredible so many stars would volunteer their time and their music to this very local project, for nothing in return.

“They just did this out of the kindness of their hearts,” Lafon said.

For him, the biggest take-away from this endeavour has been the realization of how important it is to give back to your community.

“You can go to the care home and see how the money was used. You can see that they hired a new nurse, and you can see concrete results.”

Lafon’s father-in-law passed away at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence, and last Aug. 27, he released the first album to mark what would have been his 75th birthday.

The new EP, which Dick Wagner collaborated on, will mark the one-year anniversary of Lafon’s  father-in-law’s death and will again be released on his birthday.

Ferry carrying hundreds capsizes in Bangladesh – National

LOUHAJONG, Bangladesh – A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, killing at least two people and probably many more as horrified villagers watched from the shore, authorities said.

It was unclear exactly how many people were on board the M.V. Pinak because ferry operators in Bangladesh rarely maintain passenger lists. Local media said there were about 250 passengers, but the figure could not be immediately confirmed.

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Azizul Haque, who was among at least 44 people who survived by swimming to shore, said he jumped overboard when it became clear the ferry was going down.

“The ferry went out of control due to wind and current, tilting from one side to the other,” Haque, 30, said. “Then the captain jumped out because he probably understood it was sinking. The river was rough, and there were many passengers on board.”

The ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj district, about 44 kilometres south of the capital, Dhaka.

More than four hours after the ferry capsized, authorities said they were still waiting for a larger vessel needed to launch a proper rescue operation. Local police officer Khalid Hossain said two bodies had been recovered so far.

“We are waiting for a big rescue vessel which is on its way,” said Nurul Alam Dulal, a local fire official. “It’s very difficult to go there at the scene and stay afloat.”

Jasim Uddin, 35, was among a crowd of people who watched the vessel go down from the shore, recording it on his cellphone as it disappeared.

When the survivors began to come to shore, he said they were exhausted and panicked.

“One woman swam nearly to shore and was picked up by a speedboat,” he said. “She was crying, saying she has two daughters. It was panic. Everyone was praying to God.”

As news spread of the accident, about 500 people including relatives of the missing gathered by the water, many of them weeping and holding photos of their loved ones.

Scores of people die in ferry accidents every year in Bangladesh, where boats are a common form of transportation. The Padma is one of the largest rivers in Bangladesh, a delta nation crisscrossed by more than 130 rivers.

Poor safety standards and overcrowding are often blamed for the accidents. In May, about 50 people died in a ferry accident in the same district.

On Monday, the Ministry of Shipping ordered an investigation into the latest tragedy, giving a 10-day deadline.