DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The executive chairman of Ford Motor Company said he doesn’t think that a drop in oil prices will dissuade people from buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
Bill Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said the Dearborn, Michigan automaker will continue to promote green technology.
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“Fuel is a cost and anytime we can save our customers money, I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “I believe our point of view of greater fuel economy coupled with better performance is absolutely the right way to go.”
Ford was speaking to a select group of media in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, where the company recently established a business unit to serve the Middle East and Africa.
On Wednesday the company held the Middle East debut of its 2015 Mustang atop one of the viewing decks of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The iconic Mustang is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The Ford chairman has for years been warning about worsening gridlock in major cities. What’s needed, he said in a speech in Dubai, is a “leap in thinking” to develop technology that would help alleviate congestion.
“For most of my adult life I worried about how am I gonna sell more cars and trucks. But today I worry about if what if all we do is sell more cars and trucks,” he said.
“The entire auto industry needs to rethink its approach,” he said. “We can’t just keep making and selling automobiles the way we always have.”
He envisions a future in which cars send signals to one another about traffic jams and reroute drivers; spot potholes and alert authorities; check a driver’s vital signs and measure and filter allergens in the air.
He said governments will eventually have a role to play in these developments, but that “it’s early days yet.” He said work now is primarily with universities on vehicle-to-vehicle communication devices.
TORONTO – A new international test shows Ontario students are among the most computer literate even though the province’s schools generally put less priority on facilitating the use of technology than other participating countries.
The International Computer and Information Literacy Study was administered last year to some 60,000 Grade 8 students in 20 countries.
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The study looks at students’ ability to collect, manage, produce and exchange information using a computer, as well as teachers’ and principals’ attitude and confidence regarding technology in the school setting.
It is believed to be the first international test of its kind.
Ontario students scored an average of 547 out of 600 in overall computer literacy, significantly above the international average of 500.
The province is in a statistical tie for the top spot with Australia and the Czech Republic.
Students had to perform basic tasks such as copying or saving a document, creating and modifying information and using multiple applications at once. They also had to answer a questionnaire, as did teachers, principals and technology co-ordinators.
The CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, which helped arrange Ontario’s participation in the test, said the results show the province’s efforts to integrate technology into the classroom have paid off.
“Because we’ve done that over the years, I think that our students are in fact more comfortable with its use in the learning process,” Bruce Rodrigues said.
“The reason that’s important is that as we move into looking at some of the global competencies in innovation… students will need to be able to be nimble with the use of computers to compete in the global economy.”
Girls scored higher in overall computer literacy than boys, but boys reported being more confident performing advanced tasks such as creating a computer program or building a website.
Ontario teachers reported a higher level of confidence in using technology for their work than their counterparts in other participating jurisdictions, and schools in the province had equal or superior access to resources compared with the international average.
However, while principals reported that most Ontario schools made facilitating the use of technology a priority, they still put less emphasis on it than the international average in almost every area measured.
More Ontario schools complained that outdated and insufficient equipment was hindering their use of technology than in other jurisdictions. They also reported more difficulty developing expertise or obtaining technical support.
In Canada, only Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador participated, but the results for Newfoundland and Labrador were not available.
WATCH: U.S. President Obama heads to Las Vegas after unveiling the most sweeping changes to immigration policy in three decades. But the plan is getting a chilly reception from Republicans. Susan McGinnis reports.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama invited a showdown with newly empowered Republicans in Congress, ordering far-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system that will protect nearly 5 million people from deportation while testing the limits of his presidential powers.
In a televised address Thursday night, Obama described the most sweeping changes to fractured immigration laws in nearly three decades, saying that taking executive actions were a “commonsense” plan consistent with what previous presidents of both parties had done. Immigrants living illegally in the United States would be saved from deportation by receiving work permits; millions more would remain in limbo.
Obama sought to break a stalemate in America’s long-simmering debate over immigration by cutting out Congress, confronting Republicans who swept congressional elections earlier this month and all but ensuring that the contentious debate will carry on into the 2016 presidential campaign.
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Furious Republicans, who take full control of Congress in January after capturing the Senate from Democrats, warned that Obama would face serious consequences for what they described as an unconstitutional power grab.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who has refused to have his Republican members vote on broad immigration legislation passed by the Senate last year, said Obama’s decision to go it alone “cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.”
“To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill,” Obama said.
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Republicans were united in opposing Obama’s move but divided on how to respond. Lawmakers have raised options including lawsuits, a government shutdown and even impeachment. Party leaders are seeking to avoid a government shutdown, say such moves could backfire and anger voters ahead of the next presidential election in two years.
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Republicans are in a bind over immigration: the U.S. electorate is rapidly becoming more diverse, especially more Hispanic. Republican leaders have said the party risks its long-term future if it does not act to solve America’s immigration problems. But many in the party’s conservative base oppose any reform that includes a path to citizenship for those who enter the country illegally.
The White House says the president is exercising his executive authority to tackle immigration reform unilaterally, as Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did before him.
Obama, who had been weighing potential executive actions since early summer, planned to sign a pair of presidential memorandums Friday and travel to Las Vegas for an immigration rally as he appeals for support.
As Obama spoke from the White House, immigration supporters with American flags draped over their shoulders marched on the street outside carrying signs that read, “Gracias, Presidente Obama.”
While Obama’s measures are sweeping in scope, they still leave more than half of the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally in limbo. The president announced new deportation priorities that would compel law enforcement to focus its efforts on tracking down serious criminals and people who have recently crossed the border, while specifically placing a low priority on those who have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years.
Obama, whose approval ratings have sagged, insisted that his actions did not amount to amnesty.
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“Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time,” he said.
The main beneficiaries of the president’s actions are immigrants who have been in the U.S. illegally for more than five years but whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents. After passing background checks and paying fees, those individuals can now be granted relief from deportation for three years and get work permits. The administration expects about 4.1 million people to qualify.
Obama is also broadening his 2012 directive that deferred deportation for some young immigrants who entered the country illegally. Obama will expand eligibility to people who arrived in the U.S. as minors before 2010, instead of the current cutoff of 2007, and will lift the requirement that applicants be under 31. The expansion is expected to affect about 300,000 people.
Obama says that although there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children coming across the border over the summer, overall the number of people trying to cross the border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.
Obama also touted his efforts to bolster security at the U.S.-Mexico border and pledged to continue shifting resources to those areas and easing backlogs at immigration courts.
Now that Obama is acting on his own, some on the right are pushing to use must-pass spending legislation to try to stop Obama’s effort. One lawmaker has raised the spectre of impeachment.
CALGARY – 80-year-old Laurie Schmaus has seen seven deers killed on his property near Millarville, but never anything like this.
His beloved 14-year-old Jack Russel Terrier, Trixy was recently pinned down by a cougar on his driveway.
“I was in this position and I come running and I tripped and fell and by the time I landed I was 3-4 ft from the dog… I was yelling like you can’t believe and swingin’ my arms,” describes Schmaus.
Schmaus didn’t hesitate and lunged at the large cat, moments before it was about to clamp down on his dog.
“That dog has meant so much to the family and me. I’ve got 80 years in… She’s going to have to take me and the dog!”
Schmaus has seen dozens of cougars in the over thirty years living near Millarville. The area is known for its healthy cougar population.
So it’s not the first time residents have gotten an up-close look at the usually elusive species.
Five years ago, another resident pulled a dead deer carcass off the highway and onto his land. He decided to string up a camera and within 24 hours four cougars had paid a visit.
Dead deer carcass attracts four cougars to Millarville property
Conservationists say healthy deer populations are boosting cougar numbers.
Laurie Schmaus was able to scare the large cougar away and says he has no hard feelings towards the hungry cat.
“I can’t blame them; they gotta make a living too you know.”
TORONTO – Police are reminding motorists to drive with caution due to icy conditions on roads and highways.
A number of collision were reported throughout the Greater Toronto Area overnight and early Thursday morning.
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The eastbound lanes of the QEW in Oakville were particularly treacherous in the early morning hours with multiple collisions.
The City of Toronto said local road salting operations started Wednesday evening and will continue throughout the day today.