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In today's Morning Brief, the three men charged in the alleged conspiracy to murder Hardeep Singh Nijjar — Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh — are all believed to be connected to the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, according to sources involved in the Nijjar investigation.

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What is the Bishnoi gang and how could it be linked to Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing?

The three men charged in the alleged conspiracy to murder Hardeep Singh Nijjar — Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh — are all believed to be connected to the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, according to sources involved in the Nijjar investigation.

Canadian police sources say the Bishnoi gang is one of a number of criminal enterprises from the Punjab and Haryana states in northern India that have spread into North America in recent years, even as its founder Lawrence Bishnoi has languished in Indian prisons since 2014.

Many features of the gang culture from which the Bishnois emerged would be familiar to observers of North American organized crime. Others are distinctly Indian.

WATCH | 3 men charged with murdering Sikh activist Nijjar appear in court:

3 men charged in Nijjar killing linked to Bishnoi gang, sources say

1 month ago
Duration 0:01


Punjabi gangsters rap on YouTube, flash guns, vehicles and bling on Instagram, and issue threats via Facebook. While a gang might murder in response to a rival's diss track, the same gang might vow revenge for the violation of a religious taboo, as the Bishnois have against one of India's most famous movie stars.

Their violence is partly rooted in village codes of honour and vendetta, but it's mainly driven by modern imperatives of business and politics. Indian media describe drug smuggling and extortion as the gangs' biggest sources of income, both at home and abroad.

Nijjar, a prominent Sikh activist, was gunned down outside his gurdwara in Surrey, B.C., last June. In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rose in the House of Commons to state that "Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India" and Nijjar's killing.

The three men arrested on Friday face first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the Nijjar case. The men have not yet filed pleas in court. Read the full story here.

Royal excitement

Children wait for Queen Camilla during a visit to a school in London, England.

(Justin Tallis/The Associated Press)

Precious, second from right, 10, and Joanne, 10, wait to see the Queen consort, Camilla, during her visit to Moreland Primary School in London, England, on Tuesday.

In brief

Canadians routinely wait hours on the phone and in person when dealing with Passport Canada, leaving many travellers infuriated by the quality of the agency's customer service. Post-COVID chaos at passport offices prompted the federal government to step up and promise a series of changes to get the documents into travellers' hands in a timely manner. Passport Canada claims that after a prolonged period of pandemic-related delays, the agency has returned to its normal "service standard" of getting passports to most people in 10 or 20 business days, depending on where an application is initially filed. But the agency's service standard makes no promises about how quickly they will serve people in person or over the phone. Data and anecdotal reports suggest Passport Canada's customer service track record is poor. A CBC News analysis of passport office wait times shows people in urban centres often wait several hours to get face-to-face with a customer service agent at Passport Canada-branded offices. Read the full story here.

As the largest and fastest-growing school district in British Columbia, Surrey's boom is straining its schools, pushing it to try unconventional options to accommodate the surge. Clusters of portable classrooms have become a familiar sight. Some schools have rejected in-catchment students for lack of space. This fall, a third of Surrey's high schools will extend the school day, creating an additional learning period and boosting capacity by 15 per cent. "That's going to be a challenge for both staff and students to adjust to — and we don't see that as a temporary measure. That's going to be more of a permanent measure as we move forward and really try and manage this growth," said Mark Pearmain, district superintendent and CEO. Overcrowding has been an ongoing issue for Surrey for years, but it's not alone. Multiple school boards across the country are grappling with the issue or projecting they will be soon. Read the full story here.

WATCH | Population surges in different communities worsen school overcrowding: 

Why building new schools is a process that's 'very much catch-up'

1 month ago
Duration 2:44

 

You can have more than one friend at a time. You can love multiple family members equally. So what's the difference if you're in a meaningful, consensual romantic relationship with more than one person at once? That's the general philosophy behind polyamorous relationships, and a new report says they're on the rise. Steph Davidson, 41, a publicist in Toronto, said not only is she seeing more polyamorous people in her circles and on dating apps, but there's a wider social acceptance and understanding. "My friends, when I first started dating someone who was non-monogamous, their immediate instinct was, 'You deserve all of someone,'" Davidson told CBC News. "And now they're, like, 'I'm really happy for you, and this really seems to be a great fit for who you are and the way that you live.'" Polyamory is a deliberate relationship structure where everyone can have as many romantic partners as they want, according to Egale Canada, a 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy organization. It's a form of consensual non-monogamy and one of the growing types of diverse families in Canada, notes a report from the Vanier Institute of the Family released last week. Read the full story here.

The first rhetorical shots have just been fired in a political battle that could last years. The catalyst: lab-grown meat. Florida this month became the first U.S. state to ban meat created from cell cultures. Alabama is following suit. Other states are enacting softer restrictions. Even in Canada, early whispers of the discussion are stirring. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a bill that sets a $500 US fine, corporate penalties and potentially even 60 days in jail for making, selling or distributing lab meat in his state. DeSantis insisted lab meat isn't some benign product about which consumers can make their own choice. Instead, the Republican governor cast it as an early step in a sinister plot by global elites to eventually ban livestock farming entirely, and supplant it with manufactured meat and the eating of insects. Read the full analysis from CBC's Alexander Panetta here.

The first playoff series of the inaugural season of the Professional Women's Hockey League begins in Toronto tonight. Toronto earned the power to choose its opponent by virtue of finishing atop the regular-season standings and selected fourth-place Minnesota over third-place Boston. The other semifinal series, between Boston and second-place Montreal, begins on Thursday. Both first-round matchups will be best-of-five. The winners will compete in another best-of-five round to crown the first-ever Walter Cup champion. Read our preview of both semifinal matchups here.

WATCH l Hockey North previews the PWHL playoffs: 

PWHL Playoff Preview: Toronto selects Minnesota, Poulin vs. Knight dream matchup

1 month ago
Duration 7:01

 

Now here's some good news to start your Wednesday: When practising the final poem she would perform on a national stage, Hamilton poet Karessa McQueen was "convinced" she would cry. She'd never performed anything like a poem she calls Coneflower, which deals with domestic violence. As a survivor, the prospect of doing so was "nerve-racking," McQueen said. But in the end, "it was liberating," she told CBC Hamilton. "I was able to take growth and a feeling of love out of something that was tragic and make it my own." With that poem, the 32-year-old won the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam competition on April 26. The contest, which took place in Vancouver, featured 24 poets who competed in rounds by performing three-minute pieces. Read the full story here.

First Person: Life as a farmer is unpredictable. My faith in God gives me strength

As a farmer, there are no guarantees that the weather will co-operate, that illness will not strike or that the crops will grow. That's why Marlis Stewart leans on her faith. Read her column here.

Front Burner: Is India hiring gangs to kill political enemies in Canada?

Three gang-affiliated men have been arrested for the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C., but investigators believe the order may have come from the highest levels of India's intelligence service.

Today in history: May 8

1828: Henri Dunant, a co-founder of what became the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, is born in Geneva. He later shared in the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

1882: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Athabasca are formed as districts of the Northwest Territories.

1886: Coca-Cola is served for the first time, at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta.

1984: Canadian Forces Cpl. Denis Lortie sprays the Quebec National Assembly with gun fire, killing three and wounding 13 before surrendering several hours later. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled in 1995. 

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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