When you begin using social networks and other sites to promote your business, you will need to start looking at SMO ? social media optimization. SEO, or search engine optimization, focuses on drawing attention from the search engines and getting to the top of the rankings. SMO sounds similar and indeed is somewhat similar but you will be focusing on drawing attention from the other members on the social media websites and getting popular among the largest number of these users possible. There are many things that you can do in your social media optimization campaign but here are three involving your website that are particularly crucial to your success.
The first thing to do when planning a social media optimization strategy for your website is to make your site interesting and “sticky”. People don’t share boring websites on the social media sites. They share sites that either make them laugh, show them something very useful or otherwise engage them. Creating a “sticky” website just means that your visitor will stick around for longer and come back more often. Ways of doing that include adding fresh content on a regular basis, conducting polls or surveys and anything that adds an element of interactivity with the audience. Those are the things that people want to link to so give them what they want and you’ll be rewarded.
The next thing to do on your website is to make it easy for people to share your content with their favorite social media sites.
Most of the media sites offer buttons you can use like “Tweet This” so that readers can just hit that button and login to Twitter and automatically post your content. There are a number of applications, both free and paid, that can be added to your website to make this even easier.
Try to give your visitors as wide a choice as possible, even if you don’t use all the social sites yourself.
The last tip that we’ll cover for maximum social media optimization on your website itself is to make it easy for your audience to connect directly with you at the sites you are trying to build a presence on.
Even though we said to give them a wide choice for sharing, you are not going to be focusing on dozens of social networking sites. There just isn’t time in the day to be an active participant in too many. However, the ones that you are active in, add a widget or button that allows them to become one of your “friends” or “followers” – whatever your chosen site calls your network.
Social media is the wave of the future. It is how more and more people are communicating with each other. If you have a business, regardless of if it is a physical location or web based, you need a presence on these outlets. This article will show you how to do it successfully.
If you are considering using a consultant to assist you with your social media marketing campaign, make sure they use the sites they would recommend. If they truly believe and know how to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and others, they should have a page of their own. Do the research to verify this to be sure they are a company you want to use.
Find bloggers within your niche, and leave comments on their blogs. The great thing about comments is that you can usually leave a link with the comment, giving readers of that blog a way to find your site or blog. While sticking with blogs with bigger followings is more likely to generate more traffic for you, visitors from smaller blogs can add up as well.
When using social media marketing, you cannot limit yourself to one area of the internet. Since there are many different social media sites in existence, there are many opportunities to reach potential customers. Join every social media option available and take full use of the resources they offer to get the best results.
Add a link to your Facebook page or a ‘like’ button with a Facebook feed on your blog or website. You can easily find HTML codes for these in the settings of your Facebook profile. This will allow your visitors to ‘like’ your page and subscribe to your posts without having to look you up on Facebook.
When you begin a social media marketing campaign leave room for trial and error. Depending on you target audience, some things that are effective for other businesses may not work for you. Watch for what is and is not working and make changes as necessary. This will show your customers that you are connected with their needs as well.
Being successful in the world of social media has a lot to do with how you portray yourself. The ideas presented here are all an attempt to make your business as attractive as it can be to the millions of people out there on these sites daily. Use the ideas here to get started today.
There’s an old adage in military planning: no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. It works just as well with election campaigns — certainly with any plans the parties might have drawn up when this election year began.
The Liberals and Conservatives have one target in October: 170. That’s the number of seats needed to form a majority government. But the paths of least resistance leading each party to that number look very different today than they did six months ago.
In early February, the Liberals enjoyed a comfortable lead over the Conservatives in the polls. How that support broke down across the country put the party in a good position to be re-elected with a majority, even if it was reduced in size.
The thinking at the time was that the Liberals would be able to compensate for losses in places like Ontario, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia with gains in Quebec — at least enough to put them over the 170-seat mark.
But then the SNC-Lavalin affair blew those plans up. The Liberals have been trailing the Conservatives in the polls — and the seat projections — ever since. Both parties have had to draw up new plans as the front line has shifted.
So what do the paths to a majority government look like now?
The CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker makes it possible to map out the path of least resistance for each party to reach 170 seats, and how that path has changed over the last six months. The seat projections currently put both the Liberals and Conservatives in minority territory — so to find the path to 170, we merely need to add seats in places where each party is estimated to be trailing by the smallest margins.
In other words, this projection tells us which 170 seats are likely to be the easiest for each party to win, based on where they stand in the polls today.
The Liberal path to 170
The Poll Tracker update of Feb. 12 was the last to include only the polls that were conducted before the Globe and Mail broke the SNC-Lavalin story.
On that day, the path to a Liberal majority government was quite different from the one the party had taken in 2015. In that election, of the seats won by the Liberals by the biggest margins, 75 were in Ontario and 37 were in Quebec.
But by early February, things had flipped. The path of least resistance for the Liberals included 59 seats in Quebec and only 57 in Ontario.
In addition to those seats, the Liberal path to 170 included 27 seats in Atlantic Canada, 14 in British Columbia, 11 in the Prairies and in the North, and two in Alberta.
Today, the path of least resistance to 170 for the Liberals counts on 69 seats from Ontario, 55 from Quebec, 13 from B.C., eight in Nova Scotia, six in Newfoundland and Labrador, six in Manitoba, four in New Brunswick, three in Prince Edward Island, three in the North, two in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan.
This scenario represents 12 more Ontario seats, a drop of six in Atlantic Canada and a loss of four seats in Quebec compared to the Liberals’ pre-February path to a majority. It shows how voting intentions have shifted over the last six months — the Liberals’ standing in Quebec and Atlantic Canada is now relatively worse than it is in Ontario.
Quebec still plays an outsized role in the Liberals’ quest for 170 seats in 2019 — the party is estimated to need 18 more seats from the province today than it needed in 2015 — but it now looks like Liberal planners can hope for fewer losses in Ontario that need to be made good in Quebec.
The Conservative path to 170
In many cases, the Conservatives and Liberals are vying for the same seats that will decide which party wins and whether it will be a minority or majority government. Accordingly, Ontario has become less important for the Conservatives, while Quebec and Atlantic Canada have become more important.
Back in February, when the Conservatives were trailing in the polls and a majority government seemed out of reach, the path to 170 looked tough.
Their easiest path included 72 seats in Ontario, 55 seats in Alberta and the Prairies, 23 in B.C., 14 in Quebec and just six in Atlantic Canada.
With the exception of more seats in Quebec and fewer out east, it was a map that looked very similar to the majority government Stephen Harper cobbled together in 2011 — with a heavy emphasis on Ontario and Western Canada.
Now, however, the polls suggest the Conservatives might have an easier time winning seats east of Ontario than they would in making significant gains in the province itself.
The easiest Conservative path to 170 today includes 59 seats from Ontario, followed by 33 in Alberta, 25 in B.C., 19 in Quebec, 13 in Saskatchewan, eight in Manitoba, seven in New Brunswick, five in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island.
That would represent significant gains over 2015 in many parts of the country. But compared to 2011 — and adjusting for the 30 extra seats that have been added to the map since then — the numbers are roughly similar in the West and in Atlantic Canada.
The Conservatives’ required seat count is much lower in Ontario and much higher in Quebec. There are more than four times as many Quebec seats in the easiest Conservative path to a majority than there were in 2011.
It all shows how decisive Quebec could be in October. While the sheer number of seats up for grabs in Ontario still makes it the linchpin of any majority government, Quebec is the province where both the Conservatives and Liberals are counting on gains in order to put together a map that gives them 170 seats.
That means both parties are planning an offensive in Quebec this fall. We’ll see if those plans can survive through to election day.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets while protesters hurled rocks during clashes in a rural Hong Kong town on Saturday, as several thousand activists gathered to protest an attack by suspected triad gang members at a train station last weekend.
Protesters wearing black streamed through Yuen Long, even though police refused to grant permission for the march, citing risks of confrontations between demonstrators and local residents.
For the protesters, it was a show of defiance against the white-clad assailants said to have beaten dozens of people last Sunday night, including some demonstrators heading home after the latest mass protest in the summer-long pro-democracy movement.
Police said some of the attackers at the train station were connected to triad gangs and others were villagers who live in the area.
The streets of Yuen Long became a sea of umbrellas as the march began Saturday afternoon. A symbol going back to the Occupy Central protests that shook Hong Kong in 2014, umbrellas have become tools to help protesters conceal their identities from police cameras as well as shields against tear gas and pepper spray. Some also wore masks to obscure their faces.
“Hong Kong police know the law and break the law,” protesters chanted as they made their way through the streets.
Max Chung Kin-ping, one of the rally’s organizers, said there were 288,000 participants. The police had yet to release their turnout figure, which is generally lower than organizers’ estimates.
Protesters built barricades out of street furniture and umbrellas, creating multiple standoffs during which rocks and bottles were thrown.
Police, widely criticized for failing to better protect the public from last weekend’s attack, responded with tear gas as they pushed activists into retreat as it grew dark.
“Many people want to go but some will stay. There is still a lot of anger. I’m not sure which way it will go. Nam Pin Wai [village] could be a target,” said a man going by Kenneth, 27, as he retreated from one of the front lines.
Less than three hours after the start of the march Saturday, police fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.
The government issued a statement at around the same time, warning police would move in to break up the demonstration.
The statement said some protesters were “holding iron poles, self-made shields and even removing fences from roads,” and some had surrounded and vandalized a police vehicle with officers inside.
‘Stop charging or we use force’: police
As the demonstration rolled into the evening, officers in riot gear faced off with protesters using wooden sheets as shields.
Live footage from broadcaster RTHK showed protesters on one street forcing back riot police by throwing umbrellas and waving rods at them. On another street, officers repeatedly raised warnings and fired tear gas at masked demonstrators who were standing their ground.
Soon afterward, many of the protesters dispersed, but others stayed put. A group of officers appeared with batons and held up banners that read, “Stop charging or we use force.” At least one woman was knocked down when police used the rods.
Later in the evening, protesters encircled a smashed-up black car. The windows of the car were shattered and its body was covered with posters denouncing the police. It was not immediately clear who owns the vehicle or who destroyed it.
Trains halt usual stops
Last Sunday, about 100 white-shirted men stormed the Yuen Long mass-transit station hours after protesters marched through central Hong Kong, and defaced China’s Liaison Office — the main symbol of Beijing’s authority over the former British colony.
On Saturday, the city’s public transit network announced its trains would not be making their usual stops in Yuen Long. Several area businesses and public facilities were closed in anticipation of the march. Service at a nursing centre was temporarily suspended and sports venues shut down early.
Hong Kong’s government issued a statement after the march began that said police were “concerned about possible deterioration of the situation.
“Police appeal to members of the public to stay calm and leave the area as soon as possible as a chaotic scene may ensue within a short period of time,” the statement said.
A few hours before the start of the march, a man was arrested in Yuen Long for injuring someone with a knife, police said.
Massive demonstrations began in Hong Kong early last month against an extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to face trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised. The bill was eventually suspended, but protesters’ demands have grown to include direct elections, the dissolution of the current legislature and an investigation into alleged police brutality in the Chinese territory.
Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under the framework of “one country, two systems.” The arrangement promises the city certain democratic freedoms that are not afforded mainland citizens, but some residents say these liberties have been steadily eroded in recent years after the arrests of booksellers and democracy activists.
A distrust of China’s Communist Party-led central government in Beijing has undergirded the protests this summer. After last Sunday’s march, a group of protesters vandalized Hong Kong’s Liaison Office, which represents the mainland government. They spray painted the building’s surveillance cameras, and threw eggs and black ink at the Chinese national emblem, an act Beijing has vehemently condemned.
In response to the police’s objection to Saturday’s march in Yuen Long, protesters have cheekily labelled the procession a “shopping trip,” as well as a memorial service for former Chinese premier Li Peng, who died on Monday. Li was a hard-liner best known for announcing martial law during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that ended in bloodshed.
Some Yuen Long residents stood outside Saturday with signs warning protesters not to enter. For their part, demonstrators pasted calls for democracy on sticky notes around the area.
Activists in Poland say so-called LGBT-free zones across the predominantly Catholic country point to efforts by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to stoke anti-LGBT sentiment ahead of a parliamentary election this fall.
Local media reports suggest that across Poland, more than two dozen cities and towns — some led by PiS members — have declared their regions LGBT-free zones in recent months. The majority are situated in the historically conservative southeastern part of the country.
While the declarations are not enforceable, activists say they signal a targeted effort to exclude LGBT residents.
“It’s a statement saying that a specific kind of people is not welcome there,” said Ola Kaczorek, co-president of the Warsaw-based Love Does Not Exclude Association.
The number of supposedly LGBT-free regions has grown since Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski signed a declaration in February supporting sexual and gender diverse communities in that city, Kaczorek said.
Officials of the nationalist PiS party, which won a majority in 2015 running on an anti-immigration platform, have been vocal in their opposition to LGBT rights. Activists say that with migration to Poland slowing significantly since 2015, the party is looking for a new group to target.
At a rally ahead of European Parliament elections in May, PiS president Jaroslaw Kacynski told a crowd that “LGBT ideology” was a “threat” to Polish society.
“They are not saying LGBT+ people are a threat, but they’re saying that LGBT+ ideology is a threat,” said Kaczorek. “Then people who are taking part [in pride marches] are not seen as humans, but as a part of some kind of ideology … [and] that is terrifying for some people.”
Violence at pro-LGBT march
On July 20, advocates took to the streets of Białystok, a city in the Law and Justice party stronghold Podlasie Voivodeship, for the region’s first-ever Pride march, and were met with violence from conservative and religious protesters.
Białystok is considered an LGBT-free zone, according to a map plotted by LGBT advocacy group Lambda Warsaw.
Video from the event shows firecrackers exploding throughout the crowd and homophobic chanting from a group of men burning a rainbow flag.
“I have never seen anything like that before,” said Małgorzata Mróz, a 20-year-old University of Warsaw student who travelled to join the march.
“People shouted at me that I’m a bitch, that I should die,” she said adding that counter-protesters threw rocks and bottles at LGBT advocates.
It’s been just this great grassroots movement that’s been growing and expanding– Ola Kaczorek
Both Mróz and Kaczorek told Day 6 there wasn’t enough of a police presence.
While the Polish government did not respond to a question about accusations that they support anti-LGBT sentiment, they did address the violence in Białystok.
“In Poland, there is no acceptance of behaviours slighting the rights of other persons,” said Elżbieta Witek, the minister of the interior and administration, in an emailed statement to Day 6.
But while the country’s Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski told private broadcaster TVN on Sunday that LGBT people shouldn’t be excluded in Poland, he questioned the intent of pride marches.
“These kinds of marches, initiated by groups that are trying to force through their non-standard sexual behaviours, awaken resistance … it’s worth considering if such events should be organized in the future,” he said.
Mróz, who grew up in Częstochowa, organized a pride march in the small, southern city last year. There was no violence like that in Białystok, but the march was unwelcomed.
“Częstochowa is also my city,” she said. “I will be there because it’s my place and I have a right to be there.”
Church and state
Ahead of last weekend’s events in Białystok, Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda opposed the march, in a statement, calling it “foreign” to the region. Wojda also expressed “gratitude” for those who “defend Christian values.”
“The church has a huge influence on people and it’s a great outlet if someone wants to use it — and the ruling party is using it because lots and lots of people are regularly going to the church,” Kaczorek said.
Though Kaczorek believes the Law and Justice party will win a second term in an election to be likely held in October, she has hope the LGBT community’s activism will pay off.
When Gazeta Polska, a conservative weekly magazine, included stickers emblazoned with the words “LGBT-free zone” in Wednesday’s issue, a Polish judge ordered a ban on distributing the stickers any further Thursday.
Kaczorek believes if the ruling party continues to oppose LGBT rights, it will encourage the community to fight back.
This year, there were more than 20 pride marches across Poland’s 16 voivodeships.
“It’s been just this great grassroots movement that’s been growing and expanding — and there are new young people in smaller towns that don’t want to migrate to bigger cities,” Kaczorek said.
“They want to show themselves in their local communities and do something to show that we are here; we are everywhere. We are normal everyday people.”
A homicide suspect who allegedly sent photographs of a swastika armband and a Hitler Youth knife to an online friend was not a Nazi sympathizer, but he did think the memorabilia was “cool,” says his father.
The photographs also show Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, in military fatigues, holding an Airsoft replica rifle and wearing a gas mask.
The man is a suspect along with Kam McLeod, 19, in two homicides in Northern British Columbia.
Alan Schmegelsky said that his son took him to an Army Surplus store eight months ago in his hometown of Port Alberni, B.C., and that Bryer was excited about the Nazi items there.
“I was disgusted and dragged him out,” Schmegelsky said. “My grandparents fled the Ukraine with three small children during the Second World War.”
The teens are charged with second-degree murder in the death of University of British Columbia botany lecturer Leonard Dyck and are suspects in the fatal shootings of Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler, all in Northern B.C.
The search for the two men is focused on the thick and boggy forests of northeastern Manitoba.
Despite his son’s fascination with the items, Schmegelsky said he didn’t believe Bryer identified as a neo-Nazi.
“He thought he was Russian. Germans are their enemies,” he said.
But Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, wonders why someone who relates to Russia and communism — as has been reported elsewhere — would covet Nazi items.
‘Swastika represents one thing’
“That really doesn’t hold water when he’s full-on wearing a swastika arm band and has swastika-emblazoned weaponry,” said Balgord. “There is clearly some neo-Nazism thing going on here.”
“The swastika really only represents the one thing today and that is white supremacy. It’s hatred targeting primarily Jews, but all sorts of other people. The Nazis did not only target Jews in their genocide.”
Balgord said the sale of neo-Nazi memorabilia is fairly widespread, but not widely discussed in Canada.
The RCMP announced they are investigating the photos, although the context is unclear.
Balgord said, to the best of his knowledge, no one in Canada has ever been prosecuted for selling neo-Nazi memorabilia, however he believes the case can be made that it constitutes a hate crime.
“There will be a legal argument that these materials do contravene some portions of our law like the willful promotion of hate propaganda or hate materials, given what the symbology represents,” he said.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Duncan, B.C., resident Thomas Elliot, who’s been trying to get the Cowichan Used.ca website to stop selling what he considers hate material.
Last year Elliot noticed Used.ca was hosting the sale of a replica Nazi knife that is almost identical to Schmegelsky’s.
Photos on Used.ca highlighted the multiple swastikas on the handle and sheath.
‘Glorifying inherent racism’
“The original may have some historic value, but since a replica is simply produced for the sole purpose of making money and glorifying the inherent racism of World War II Nazi Germany, then that is in fact worse than selling the original items,” said Elliot.
Used.ca told Elliot the knife didn’t contravene company policy.
Other Nazi material is for sale on the Cowichan Used.ca website by the same person who sold the knife. Elliot remains bothered that a website is not only promoting the material, but profiting from it, too.
A Used.ca spokeswoman declined a request to be interviewed.
Meanwhile, the mystery of where Schmegelsky obtained the Nazi knife appears to have been solved.
The Port Alberni Army Surplus he took his father to has shut down. But according to The Canadian Press, all its merchandise was sold to “A” Company Military Surplus in nearby Coombs, including the Nazi material.
Alfred Bergkvist, owner of “A” Company, said he didn’t recognize the red Nazi armband, but that his store does stock Hitler Youth knives identical to the one in the photo.
He recalled that two boys came into his store about three weeks ago and bought one of the replica knives inscribed with the German words for “blood and honour.”
“They were really excited about it,” he said, adding he didn’t know whether the pair were Schmegelsky and McLeod.
Russian police arrested more than 1,000 people in Moscow on Saturday in one of the biggest crackdowns of recent times against an increasingly defiant opposition decrying President Vladimir Putin’s tight grip on power.
The detentions came before and after a protest to demand that opposition members be allowed to run in a local election. Authorities had declared it illegal and sought to block participation, but several thousand people turned up anyway in one of the longest and most determined protests of recent years.
Chants of “Russia without Putin” and “Putin resign” echoed through central Moscow as guards clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people.
At least one woman and a man appeared to have suffered serious head wounds.
Though the authorities have the resources to break up demonstrations, Saturday’s events showed how many activists and especially younger people are intent on pressing to open Russia’s tightly choreographed political system to competition.
Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny had called for Saturday’s protest to persuade officials to allow opposition-minded candidates to run in a Sept. 8 vote.
Authorities say they were barred because they failed to collect sufficient genuine signatures in their support.
The opposition has no seats in parliament and is starved of air time on state TV, where many Russians still get their news.
Opinion polls have shown support for Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist, only in the single digits. But backers note he won almost one-third of the vote in a 2013 Moscow mayoral race and say his movement could build momentum in the Russian capital if allowed to compete fairly.
Though Putin’s approval rating is still high at well over 60 per cent, it is lower than it used to be due to discontent over years of falling incomes. Last year, the 66-year-old former KGB intelligence officer won a landslide re-election and a new six-year term until 2024.
Burnishing his man of action image, Putin spent Saturday diving to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland in a mini-submarine to pay tribute to a Soviet submarine that sank there during the Second World War.
Arrested ‘sitting on a bench’
OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, said police detained at least 1,067 people before or at Saturday’s protest. As in past sweeps, many were only held for a matter of hours.
Police put participation at more than 3,500 people, of whom it said around 700 were journalists and bloggers.
Some activists were arrested twice after being released and then returning to protest in a different place. Reuters witnesses said some of those detained appeared to be ordinary passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One of those detained, Alexander Latyshev, 45, said he had came from the nearby Vladimir region to discuss business with an associate and been randomly detained. “I was just sitting on a bench (when they took me),” he told Reuters inside a police bus.
Before the protest, police detained activists to prevent them from attending the protest and blocked off some streets.
During the demonstration, they raided an office being used by Navalny’s supporters to live stream the protest.
TV Rain, an independent station covering the protests, said its editor-in-chief had been called in for questioning.
Under Russian law, the location and timing of such protests needs to be agreed with authorities beforehand, something that was not done for Saturday’s event.
Navalny was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday and other members of the opposition have had their homes searched. Ilya Yashin, a Navalny ally, said on Facebook on Saturday that police had searched his Moscow flat overnight before detaining him and driving him out of the Russian capital.
He called for another protest next Saturday.
Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, said on Twitter she and another activist had been detained on Saturday morning. Other prominent activists, Dmitry Gudkov and Lyubov Sobol, were detained later. Sobol was arrested a second time later on Saturday after being released.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin ally, had warned that authorities would act decisively against the risk of “serious provocations.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the police investigative arm, has already opened a criminal investigation into an opposition rally in June which it said may have obstructed the work of Moscow’s electoral commission.
An authorized protest in Moscow last weekend, also calling for the disbarred candidates to be registered, was attended by more than 20,000 people, according to the White Counter monitoring group.
The Canadian military has landed in Gillam, Man., with an aircraft to help join the search for two young homicide suspects in Northern Manitoba.
“Just another big shock to this community. To have the RCMP presence is one thing but military that’s stepping it up another level,” said Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman.
The Department of National Defence confirmed that a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130H Hercules aircraft from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg will assist with an aerial search.
The statement said an RCMP officer will be on board the aircraft to direct the search and said this remains an RCMP-led effort, with the Royal Canadian Air Force in a support role. The RCMP will determine the area for the air search.
RCMP officers have started going door-to-door at every home and building in the Gillam area. They’re doing the same on the Fox Lake Cree Nation. Police are hoping this will help drum up new leads to help with the investigation.
Police are also searching large abandoned buildings like the Keewatinohk Converter Station Camp near Gillam, which has over 600 rooms.
Police started scouring the woods around Gillam, Man., and Fox Lake Cree Nation for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, after a burnt-out vehicle driven by the pair was found near Fox Lake Monday.
Watch as RCMP conducted roadside checkstops outside Gillam, Man., heading into the weekend:
RCMP tactical officers have set up a roadblock and are checking every vehicle that goes in and out of Gillam, Man., as the search for for two homicide suspects continues. 1:03
Police have said Schmegelsky and McLeod may have changed their appearance to try to evade the intense search that includes officers from several jurisdictions searching on foot, with dogs and using drones.
In the ongoing search for the suspects, RCMP officers have started to canvass every home in Gillam & Fox Lake Cree Nation. In addition to the canvass, they are also thoroughly searching every abandoned home in the area – over 100 cleared so far. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/rcmpmb?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#rcmpmb</a> <a href=”https://t.co/SdQhyqxJrn”>pic.twitter.com/SdQhyqxJrn</a>
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Saturday that it has requested help from the Bear Clan Patrol, a neighbourhood watch group based in Winnipeg.
A statement from the assembly said the group is co-ordinating teams to fly to First Nations communities including Fox Lake Cree Nation, York Factory First Nation, and War Lake First Nation.
Watch July 21 surveillance video of the suspects in Meadow Lake, Sask.:
RCMP have confirmed that Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were seen in Meadow Lake, Sask. If spotted, the suspects should not be approached, and RCMP say 911 or local police should be contacted immediately. 0:16
“The patrol groups will provide a sense of security to our First Nations communities that are now facing a great deal of uncertainty. As we roll out this strategy, we ask that all community members continue to co-operate with the RCMP. If anyone spots these two young men, please contact the RCMP right away — do not put yourself at risk. Keep your doors locked and your kids close,” Acting Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Sheldon Kent said in the statement.
‘Being there for communities’
This is the first time in its history that the Bear Clan Patrol has travelled to remote First Nations to act as “ambassadors” in a hunt for fugitives. The patrol group, which was created to keep the peace and assist residents in inner-city communities in Winnipeg, has expanded its reach to the northern portion of the province to back up Manitoba Mounties as they begin canvassing the homes of Gillam residents.
“We’re not quite sure what it’s going to be like,” said James Favel, executive director of Bear Clan Patrol. “We’re going to go up there, and we’re going to provide ambassador services … be present in the community,” Favel said.
“It’s just about being there for the communities. That’s our main focus.”
More air support for the massive hunt for the two B.C. homicide suspects just landed in Gillam. This is the Mounties’ plane. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcmb?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#cbcmb</a> <a href=”https://t.co/bSSRufr9yj”>pic.twitter.com/bSSRufr9yj</a>
Mounties said on Saturday there have been no new sightings of the suspects and no information to indicate the men have fled the area, though RCMP remain open to the possibility.
Many residents remain on high alert for the two men. “I’m still keeping an eye as I’m driving around, I’m still looking in the bush line thinking in areas they could be hiding,” Mayor Forman said.
But not everyone is convinced they’re still around Gillam.
“I think it’s still a very mixed emotions between different people … I still feel that it’s a high possibility that they’re in the area,” Forman said.
On Friday, the RCMP said someone may have inadvertently helped the men leave the area, but stressed there have been no confirmed sightings of the two since they were seen in the Gillam area on Monday. Police have said there have been no reports of local stolen vehicles since then.
The public across the country has been urged to keep a careful watch out for the pair.
Residents of a small, remote Manitoba First Nation say they are relieved to have RCMP officers door knocking in their community, which some people haven’t left in days due to safety concerns in the massive search for two B.C. homicide suspects.
“I’d rather have police walking around here than having murder suspects over there or over there, I don’t know where they are,” Fox Lake Cree Nation resident Dwight Beardy told CBC News Friday night.
An RCMP tactical team dressed in camouflage went door to door on the First Nation, about a 45-minute drive from Gillam, Man.
It’s the new normal for the quiet community. Teams of police continue to swoop by the area and have a 24-hour checkstop set up that every driver must go through to get to the First Nation.
The hope is the door knocking will help drum up new tips about B.C. homicide suspects Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky.
For days, Mounties have relied on a drone, a canine unit and a helicopter in their effort to track down Canada’s two most wanted men.
“To have the RCMP presence is one thing, but the military, that’s stepping it up another level and once again that proves they really feel they are in the area,” says Gillam Mayor Dwayne Forman.
‘A lot of people feel uneasy’
The massive police hunt for the men has left the Fox Lake community members scared.
“I live here and a lot of people feel uneasy, on edge, like I do. You know I’m at home with a deadbolt. I have to lock my door that way, then I have another lock that I need to lock just so I feel safe,” said lifelong resident Linda Neckoway.
“My windows are all closed up just because I feel that fear that somebody could come in, even break the door down,” said Neckoway, who organized a community bonfire Friday night to help support her neighbours and young children.
She said the community’s children have been told what’s going on and were terrified when fireworks went off the other night.
“Some of the kids that were really scared, they’re full of fear and they started crying when they heard that, like, oh my God, what’s happening?”
Neckoway said community bonfires are helping people cope. She plans to help put on more to encourage residents to leave their homes.
The RCMP say they have received more than 120 tips in the case.
Mounties warn that while they are focusing their efforts on the Gillam and Fox Lake areas, it’s still important for all Canadians to keep an eye out for the two suspects, who could have left Northern Manitoba.
In the New York tennis stadium where the U.S. Open is played every summer, Fortnite players — many not old enough for a driver’s licence — are competing for a $40 million prize pool in a first-of-its-kind tournament.
Like many professional sports, video game competition is dubbed the World Cup. Like many professional athletes, the competitors warm up, train and scrutinize their strengths and weaknesses for hours a day.
“I’ve been going over my film,” said Canadian contestant Hayden Krueger, 17. “Going over, like, what mistakes we’ve made, our good plays, making new strategies, applying those into our games.”
Krueger is better known in the gaming world and to his 20,000-plus Twitter followers as Elevate. He beat 40 million hopefuls to become one of 100 contestants in the lucrative three-day finals. The winner will take home $3.8 million, the same amount tennis champions Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep each scored at Wimbledon this month.
Practising eight to 12 hours a day, Calgary-born Krueger, who now lives in the U.S., says he stands to make about $150,000 US in earnings this year from tournaments alone. That doesn’t include sponsorship deals or streaming revenues.
“So it kind of just all adds up and it makes a good job,” he told CBC’s Steven D’Souza in New York.
The teenager has a rigid routine.
“I wake up every day and I immediately warm up and then play scrims [practice rounds] against other professionals until super late at night,” said Krueger. “Then I’ll watch a TV show and go to bed and repeat that every single day.”
The commitment — and its payoff — is enviable enough that players have fans turning up in droves to watch them perform. Competitors, who range in age between 13 and 24, are often stopped between rounds to sign autographs or pose for selfies.
The award-winning battle royale game, which has become a cultural phenomenon since it was released in 2017, involves 100 players being dropped onto an island to compete for survival. It’s free to play, but part of Fortnite’s internal currency allows participants to make upgrades and purchase add-ons for their avatars, such as “skins” (costumes) and “emotes” (signature dance moves).
Eyes on the prize
It’s left some parents torn between trying to indulge their child’s interests and wondering whether their kids are spending too much time and money on the product. Kim Jeffords, who made the eight-hour drive from from Niagara Falls, N.Y., for her son, Nick, to attend the event, said she’s spent at least $25 a week on game-related purchases for him.
“I really don’t want to add it up because it will probably scare me,” she laughed.
Nick, blond and sporting a Nike T-shirt and polarized Wayfarer sunglasses, said he plays the game “at least 12 hours a day.”
“I don’t take breaks,” he said with a smile.
At 11, his skills qualified him for the week-to-week round robin action. He was just too young to enter the finals.
“It is easy to get lost [in the game] because you want to become the best,” said esports journalist Victoria Rose. There are a lot of games with that issue.”
Among them, she says, are Grand Theft Auto, Dota and Starcraft. Rose says serious players will often switch to home schooling or take classes online to leave more time for the game.
“It’s mostly these very well trained, very educated players who know how to play efficiently, who know how to balance their work life to become the top players,” she said. “Just being here is a $50,000 guarantee. It gives you eyes to have sponsorships, to have a future.”
While Fortnite is still enjoying widespread popularity and massive revenue, some data suggests the game might be experiencing a slight decline in interest compared to when it burst onto the video game scene two years ago.
‘Astronomical’ prize money
The World Cup, launched for the first time this year, could be another way to keep the game top-of-mind. Epic Games, which created Fortnite, has pumped more than $100 million in prizes over the last season of tournaments which is “astronomical in terms of esports,” according to ESPN sports host, Arda Ocal.
“This [event] is a massive deal, if not only for the giant prize pool itself, but also the amount of viewers that this entire season in competitive esports has had,” said the Canadian-born broadcaster. “For Fortnite, this is a great way for people to continue to know and learn about their game but also get engaged and be motivated to play the game after watching it.”
But just because the payout is high, doesn’t mean the contenders show up in the lap of luxury — particularly the Canadians.
“The organizers took a big convoy from just outside of Toronto and Waterloo. They drove all the way down to New York City, the eight- or nine-hour drive,” said Ocal.
“The CEO of the organization was driving and he had all the sponsor materials and the T-shirts and everything in the car. Although this is a giant multimillion-dollar operation, it’s still hilarious to hear that these kind of road trips are happening.”
The solo finals will be held Sunday afternoon. Next month, the Dota 2 esports tournament will surpass Fortnite‘s prize pool, offering over $40 million — the largest pot for this kind of competition.