Pilots reach limit, flights called off

TORONTO (AP) – Air Canada canceled about 4 percent of its domestic schedule Sunday because some of the airline’s pilots had reached the limit of their allowed flying time for the month, a company spokesperson said.

Laura Cooke could not specify how many flights or passengers were affected.

Cooke said pilots have a certain number of hours they can fly a day.

When they reach their daily maximum, for example when a plane is diverted due to a storm and needs to wait four hours until it is safe to fly, the airline calls in reserve pilots to take over.

She said a large number of July storms combined with airport construction in Halifax caused regular pilots to run out of hours and for reserve pilots to approach their limit.

Cooke said most people were contacted in advance and were not inconvenienced.

Space technology used to test air

HALIFAX (AP) – A unique laser-radar destined for the arctic plains of Mars is providing insight into the atmospheric conditions above Halifax by measuring aerosols, clouds, water vapor and temperatures.

But the team of researchers sifting through this data is excitedly awaiting the day they will fit their device, called a lidar, onto a space craft and blast it into the sky.

“This is just epic – I love it,” Tom Duck, one of the lead scientists on the project, says in his office at Dalhousie University’s physics and atmospheric science department.

Duck is one of a handful of scientists at three Canadian universities designing and building the laser-radar, an innovative machine that will soon collect vital information about Mars’ atmosphere.

The team says the device will beam a centimeter-wide laser from a spacecraft that lands on Mars for roughly 90 days after it touches down in 2008, following its launch 10 months earlier.

Shooting in street clears out crowd

TORONTO (AP) – Hundreds of people ran for cover after pre-dawn gunfire rang out at a jammed public square on Sunday.

It was one of three fatal but apparently unrelated shootings in a 12-hour span.

At least 1,000 people were partying at Dundas Square, a downtown gathering spot, at 4:30 a.m. when the shooting happened, said Toronto police Staff Insp. Jeff McGuire.

“It was packed, it’s safe to say wall-to-wall people,” he said. “I’m sure you’re going to fit more than 1,000 people there,” he said, adding that hundreds of officers were on the scene as part of stepped-up security deployed for large crowds, such as the weekend Caribana festival celebrating Caribbean culture.

A 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Nepalese officials freed by Maoists

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – Maoist rebels on Sunday freed seven government officials they had seized in eastern Nepal, and all were safe and in good health, an official said.

The freed hostages telephoned from the town of Birtamod, about 350 miles east of Katmandu to report they had been released, said Vijaya Poudel, the administrative chief of Illam District, where the officials were seized on Saturday.

The rebels stopped the officials as they were traveling in a van on the Mechi highway near Kolbung village, 20 miles north of Birtamod. Of the 10 people in the van, two officials and the wife of one were not held. The officials had apparently defied a rebel order to stay off the road.

Rebel violence has escalated since King Gyanendra seized control of the government in February. He said the measure was necessary to quell the 9-year communist insurgency, which has left more than 11,500 dead.

The rebels claim to be inspired by Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong and are seeking to overthrow the country’s monarchy.

Beach closed after body found

WESTBROOK, Conn. (AP) – State police closed the town beach Sunday afternoon following the discovery of a man’s body floating in Long Island Sound.

State police did not release the man’s name. Troopers said they had tentatively identified the man, believed to be from out-of-state, after finding a car belonging to him in the West Beach parking lot.

Beach-goers who discovered the body called 911 shortly before 3 p.m.

The chief medical examiner’s office was to perform an autopsy and try to determine the cause of death.

Professor killed by pickup truck

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – A University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth professor died after he was struck by a pickup truck during a morning jog near his home.

James Kaput, 63, was hit from behind by a 1991 Chevrolet pickup on Saturday. Witnesses told police that the truck drifted to the right side of the road and struck Kaput, throwing him about 50 feet.

The math professor died at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford from severe head injuries.

“He was very patient and incredibly intelligent,” Stephen Hegedus, a longtime colleague at UMass Dartmouth, told the New Bedford Standard Times.

Kaput was to officially retire in August.

He finished up his teaching career at the end of the school year in May, Hegedus said.

No charges have been filed against the driver – 38-year-old Kenneth Demoranville of New Bedford. Police said alcohol and speed do not appear to have been factors in the crash.

At UMass Dartmouth, Kaput had focused on researching and developing innovative methods of teaching complicated math concepts to school-age children.

“Even though he was internationally known, he worked very hard with the local school districts,” Hegedus said.

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