The Surrey RCMP is warning the public, and sex workers in particular, after a woman was attacked in Newton on Tuesday. Mounties said it happened shortly before 7 p.m. in Kwantlen Park near 132 Street and 104 Avenue. Police said the woman had met the suspect about a block away and walked with him to the park, where he produced a weapon and sexually assaulted her. The woman was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police believe the attack was linked to street-level sex work, and said the RCMP immediately took steps to warn other sex workers in the area “The decision to disclose that the victim is a sex worker is being provided to ensure that persons in this vulnerable group specifically can be aware of this incident.” Police believe there may have been witnesses to the attack, and are asking for anyone with information to come forward. The suspect is described as light-skinned with dark hair in a “fade-style” hair cut. He appeared about 26 years old with a slim build and was wearing dark clothing.

 

Police in surrey have issued a warning that strong illicit drugs are circulating following three overdoses early this morning — one of them fatal. The R-C-M-P say a 46-year-old woman died at a home and two people overdosed at a shelter but were revived when staff administered Naloxone. Police say the pair at the shelter had injected an unknown drug and none of the bystanders were willing to provide information about it. In addition to the warning about the drug supply, the Mounties are reminding people not to use alone and to have a Naloxone kit on hand.

New federal forecasts project that COVID-19 variants could fuel a surge of 20,000 new cases per day by mid-March if public health restrictions are relaxed further. The Public Health Agency of Canada released modelling today suggesting that while infections continue to decline nationally, the spread of virus mutations threatens to reverse that progress. The latest case count in BC shows 617 new COVID-19 infections, when the province had been averaging under five hundred for the last month. Four more people have died for a death toll of 13-hundred and 21 people. There have also been new outbreaks reported at Mission Memorial Hospital, Fleetwood Villa care home and at the Simon Fraser University Childcare Centre

 

Vancouver police say they have arrested a suspect in a stranger attack that happened in a city lane last weekend. Police say they received help form the public in identifying the man. A 24-year-old woman was walking home from shopping on Davie Street when she was grabbed from behind in a lane. Police say a 57-year-old man was arrested and they’ll be recommending charges to Crown counsel.

 

Premier John Horgan says data released today by Vancouver police reinforces the need to prosecute violence against people of colour as a hate crime. He made the comment after police reported that anti-Asian hate crimes last year were up more than 700 per cent over 2019 while general hate incidents doubled. Horgan says there are difficulties in prosecuting hate crimes, partly due to having to prove the crime was race-related — but it’s important perpetrators face the full extent of the law. He also says his government is working on anti-racism legislation and consultations are being conducted over what it should contain.

 

Fans of science and space were on the edge of their seats — as NASA returned to the red planet SUCCESFULLY this week. Celebration erupted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California after the dedicated project crew safely landed the Mars rover, Perseverance. One of the probe’s main objectives is to gather possible evidence of ancient life. University of Alberta planetary geologist Chris Herd is part of the team that is tasked with monitoring the rover and telling it when and where to draw martian samples for further study.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is indicating his government won’t let provincial opposition stand in the way of cities that want to ban handguns. Trudeau told a news conference today that federal officials will have conversations with municipalities seeking handgun controls, even if their provincial leaders object. Federal legislation tabled this week would allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation. 

 

US President Joe Biden has used his first big appearance on the global stage to call on fellow world leaders to demonstrate that “democracies can still deliver.” At the same time, he underscored his administration’s determination to reorient the U-S away from Donald Trump’s “America First” approach. Biden spoke in a virtual address to the annual Munich Security Conference.

 

Federal health officials are warning that COVID-19 variants could fuel a surge of 20-thousand new cases per day by mid-March if health restrictions are relaxed further. Canada’s chief public health officer, Doctor Theresa Tam, says provinces and territories need to keep their guard up against the variants. New modelling projections released today indicate that without the variants, Canada is actually bringing the pandemic under control. But Tam is worried the variants might reverse all that. 

 

The federal fisheries department says its keeping herring quotas in the Straight of Georgia at last year’s levels to ensure the continued health of the fish stock.Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it has set the commercial fishing allocation at 16,330 tonnes or about 20 per cent of the estimated fish stock. Some environmental and Indigenous groups had called for stricter limits on the fishery to avoid a potential collapse of an important food source for B-C’s marine ecosystem. The federal department says the harvest rates ensure the majority of mature fish and younger herring remain to support the overall health of the species.

 

British Columbia is recording 508 new COVID-19 cases. Health officials also announced six new deaths at a news conference today. The figures mean a total of 75,835 COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in B-C since the pandemic began. British Columbia’s death toll sits at 1,327.