By Scott Gardner The Hamilton Spectator Fri., Dec. 21, 2018 Cheryl Stark loves Christmas. A lot. You’d never know it if you pulled into the driveway of the home she shares with her husband, Cory, just below the escarpment in Stoney Creek. There are just a few lights on the tree out front. No wreathes. A small Santa sign is pointing toward her front door. But, once you cross that threshold, there’s no mistaking it’s Christmas. The fully decorated 12-foot Christmas tree in the main foyer is the first thing you notice. But Cheryl is always looking to build on the display. “If I could find a 16-footer, I’d buy it,” she says. Further inspection reveals countless stuffed snowmen, a two-foot-tall bear that sings “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” and a seven-foot Santa complete with the requisite elven helper. It’s the lights, however, that really set the stage. Hundreds of them. They are along the … [Read more...] about From a seven-foot Santa to a mini-village with 140 decorative houses, this is a Christmas display of epic proportions
Seven leaves tree
By Robert Collison Special to the Star Fri., Aug. 31, 2018 When one thinks of skyscraping icons of contemporary Canada, the Peace Tower or the CN Tower spring to mind, but these man-made structures face competition from a thousand-year-old Douglas fir on Vancouver Island called Big Lonely Doug. At 20 storeys high, it is the second tallest fir tree in the country, but it has come to represent something more than its status as a statistical superlative. As Harley Rustad notes in his book, Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees, the struggle to save our country’s ancient trees has sparked “an internal confrontation within many Canadians between what kind of country Canada had always been — rich through its resources — and what it was working to become: environmentally progressive.” And Big Lonely Doug has come to represent that struggle. That line comes early in Rustad’s very timely narrative, and it refers … [Read more...] about When one big tree is left standing in a forest, can we hear its message?
By Haruka Nuga The Associated Press Yuri Kageyama Sun., July 8, 2018 HIROSHIMA, JAPAN—Searches continued Sunday night for victims of heavy rainfall that hammered southern Japan for the third straight day, as the government put the death toll at 48, with 28 others presumed dead. Japanese government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 other people were unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture. More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, he said. Some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions. “Rescue efforts are a battle with time,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “The rescue teams are doing their utmost.” The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3 centimetres, the highest since such records started in 1976. The assessment of casualties has been difficult because of … [Read more...] about Southern Japan hit by heavy rains, leaving 76 dead
SEOUL: North and South Korea held their third summit Friday, stirring hopes of peace following years of tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The North's leader Kim Jong Un shook hands with the South's President Moon Jae-in on the southern side of the border truce village of Panmunjom, ahead of a summit with US President Donald Trump expected in the coming weeks. Friday's meeting came after tensions soared last year as the North made rapid progress on its banned nuclear weapons programmes, while Trump engaged in an increasingly bellicose verbal scrap with Pyongyang's leader. North and South previously held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007. Here are some key moments in the decades-long standoff between the two Koreas: War but no peace The US and Soviet Union agreed to divide the Korean peninsula between them in the days after Japan's surrender ended the Second World War and its rule over the territory. In June 1950 the Communist North invaded the capitalist South, … [Read more...] about Seven decades of danger and detente between two Koreas
The magnitude 9.0 quake -- which struck under the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011 -- and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and took the lives of thousands of people. The killer tsunami also swamped the emergency power supply at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, sending its reactors into meltdown as cooling systems failed in what was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Abe, lawmakers and family members who lost their loved ones in the disaster bowed their heads in silent prayer at a ceremony in Tokyo at 2:46 pm (0546 GMT) -- the exact moment the quake struck. Japanese private broadcasters also showed residents in the affected areas offering a moment of silence. "I offer my condolences to those who lost their beloved family members and friends," said Abe, dressed in formal mourning attire. Hideko Igarashi, one of the three residents from the disaster-hit region … [Read more...] about Japan tsunami, nuclear tragedy remembered seven years on