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MEA says evaluating Pakistans offer to grant consular access to Kulbhushan

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first_imgNew Delhi: India on Thursday said it was evaluating Pakistan's offer of granting consular access to Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav on Friday.External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India is examining the proposal in the light of the judgement of the International Court of Justice relating to Jadhav's case. "We have received a proposal from Pakistan. We are at this point of time evaluating the proposal in the light of the judgement of the International Court of Justice. We will maintain communication with Pakistan in this matter through diplomatic channels," he said during a weekly media briefing. Also Read - Uddhav bats for 'Sena CM'Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017 following which India had moved the ICJ. The Hague-based ICJ last week ordered Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav without further delay and undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence awarded to him. Asked whether Pakistan has put some conditions for granting consular access to Jadhav, Kumar refused to give a direct answer. Also Read - Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K"I do not think this is the appropriate forum for me to get into the kind of modalities which are being discussed between India and Pakistan," he said. There were reports that Pakistan has put a condition that a Pakistani official will have to be present when Jadhav is given consular access. Sources said Pakistan set the proposal to India through Indian High Commission in Islamabad three days ago. In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said his government is awaiting India's response to the proposal of granting consular access to Jadhav on Friday. Following the ICJ's order, India has asked Pakistan to grant full consular access to Jadhav at the earliest in "full compliance and conformity" of the world court's verdict. In its 42-page order, the court, while rejecting Pakistan's objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that "a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review" of the sentence of Jadhav. The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court's decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India. The ICJ upheld India's stand that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts in the case.last_img
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Ayodhya Mediation fails SC to commence daytoday hearing from Aug 6

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first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday ordered day-to-day hearing from August 6 of the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case after noting that mediation proceedings to resolve the dispute amicably have failed. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the report of the three member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, that its effort to find out an amicable resolution to the dispute have failed. The bench said that in view of the development, the land dispute will be heard on day-to-day basis from August 6. The mediation panel in its report submitted on Thursday said the Hindu and the Muslim parties have not been able to find a solution to the vexatious dispute.last_img
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CWC to meet on Aug 10 to decide new Working President

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first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's top decision making body, will meet on August 10 to decide on a Working President after Rahul Gandhi quit as the President following the party's dismal show in the Lok Sabha elections. "It has been decided to hold the next CWC meeting on 10th of August at 11 a.m. at AICC (All India Congress Committee)," Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal tweeted. The Congress has faced a severe leadership crisis for the last two months. Although Rahul Gandhi has submitted his resignation as party President, it has not been accepted.last_img
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Kashmir on agenda of UNSC as disputed territory Pak

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first_imgIslamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said that Kashmir has been on the agenda of the UN Security Council as a "disputed territory" as it rejected India's contention that Jammu and Kashmir is its internal matter. "Pakistan rejects the unilateral action by India to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir," Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said while addressing the weekly media briefing here. India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Also Read - Saudi Crown Prince 'snubbed' Pak PM, recalled jet from US India has said Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and the issue was strictly internal to the country. Faisal said Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to utilise all options after revocation of Article 370 by India. "No unilateral step by the Indian government can change this internationally accepted disputed area as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolution nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and of Pakistan," Faisal said. Responding to a question, Faisal said Pakistan had always been ready for negotiations and dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues. "It is India that has always shied away from negotiations and talk," he added. India maintains that terror and talks cannot go together with Pakistan.last_img
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CBI to conduct narco test on truck driver cleaner in Guj

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first_imgNew Delhi: The CBI has taken the driver and cleaner of the truck involved in the Unnao rape victim's accident, to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar to conduct Narco analysis test on them.This comes after the special CBI team constituted to probe the accident case had conducted a lie-detector test on the driver, Ashish Pal, and the cleaner and owner of the truck. With the Supreme Court-mandated deadline to finish the accident probe and file a chargesheet by August 14 fast approaching, the Central Bureau of Investigation may also conduct brain mapping of the driver and the cleaner if they do not agree to undergo the Narco test. Also Read - Uddhav bats for 'Sena CM'The central probe agency had swiftly taken over the investigation in the case after the authorities in Uttar Pradesh hurriedly registered a murder case in the matter the day after the accident and immediately consented to the CBI taking it over. The CBI swung into action, assigning over 20 additional officers to the case and a six-member team of experts from the probe agency's Central Forensic Science Laboratory here. Sources here had told the Millennium Post that the team had visited the accident spot multiple times and collected quite a bit of forensic evidence pertaining to the case. Also Read - Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe Unnao rape case came into the limelight again after the victim, who was travelling with her two aunts and lawyer was hit by a truck in a head collision that left her and the lawyer in critical condition, killing her two aunts. The accident turned suspicious after it came to light that the truck's number plates were blackened. It also came to light that about 10 days before the accident, the rape victim's family had written to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, asking to move the cases to Delhi because of continuous threats and intimidation from Sengar's men.last_img
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Govt will double outreach by spreading message on optimum nutrition during Poshan

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first_imgNew Delhi: The government will double its outreach during 'Poshan Maah' next month by taking the message of importance of optimum nutrition to every household, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said on Friday. 'Poshan Maah' or nutrition month, launched by the government last year, is celebrated across the country in September. Speaking at a ceremony to facilitate anganwadi workers for their contribution, Irani said there are five aspects of nutrition - first 1,000 days in the life of a child, fight against anaemia and diarrhea, personal hygiene and knowledge of what is nutritious. Also Read - India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details "The government will double its outreach during Poshan month by taking the message of importance of these five aspects of nutrition to every household," she said. Irani facilitated more than 300 awardees that included, states, districts, blocks, anganwadi workers and helpers and distributed Rs 22 crore among them. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh were among the states to be facilitated at the ceremony. On the occasion of Janmashtami, Irani drew an analogy between Yashoda and anganwadi workers, and Kans and "evil" of malnutrition. She said she hopes anganwadi workers would beat malnutrition in the same way Yashoda defeated Kans. Also Read - Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Irani said it is a common misconception that malnutrition is a problem of both rural and poor population. "Malnutrition is prevalent not only in rural and poor areas but also in urban areas of India and there is a need to spread awareness on what is healthy and nutritious food," she said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message was also read at the occasion where he said the government firmly remains committed to provide affordable and quality healthcare to poor, needy and smallest sections of the society. "Health and nutrition are the priority areas of our government. Health remains one of the key areas in our quest of building an inclusive and new India. An integral part of our vision is achieving 'kuposhan mukt bharat' (malnutrition-free India) by 2022," the message read. "Digital technology, convergence and targeted approach are to be optimally utilised to reduce malnutrition. This one-of-a-kind initiative is an endeavour to fight malnutrition through multiple interventions. We remain firmly committed to provide affordable and quality healthcare to poor, needy and smallest sections of the society," it said. The emphasis on health and nutrition will surely make a lasting contribution in furthering healthcare to every nook and corner of the country. However, such schemes can succeed only through a lasting community participation, the message read. The initiative to present incentive awards for Poshan is an acknowledgement and appreciation of the efforts of workforce at grassroots level such as anganwadi workers and helpers, auxillary workers and nurses, among others, it added.last_img
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Konkona Sen Sharma to direct web series

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first_imgKonkona Sen Sharma is set to make her digital directorial debut with a series based on the life of Arati Das, better known as Misss Shefali. Chronicling the life of a young Bengali girl who ruled as the 'Queen of Cabaret' in Kolkata, the Zee Studios' series will also mirror politics of West Bengal in the '60s and '70s through her life journey. "The whole era of post-Partition and pre-liberalisation fascinated me. Since I am from Kolkata, I have been aware of the subject and her unique story. Also Read - An income drop can harm brain"It's about the fascinating life of this female protagonist who decided to live life on her own terms, it's extremely interesting, and right up my ally. That is why I decided to make this series," Konkona said in a statement. The director said casting is underway. "We are still developing the script and we plan to go on floors early next year. It is going to be an interesting journey," she added. Ashima Avasthi, VP & Head, Zee Studios Originals said the team is delighted to partner with Konkona for the show. Also Read - Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma Award"Filmmaking is literally in her blood. She was born into the trade, and has performed admirably across disciplines, from acting, writing to directing. Over the next one year, we are working towards building a varied slate of 10-12 original shows along with direct-to-digital films. "We will focus on especially curated stories that remain untold across genres such as biopics, crime thrillers, light-hearted comedies, slice of life dramas, dark comedies among others," she added. Konkona made her feature film directorial debut with 2017's "A Death in the Gunj". For which, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director. Apart from various films in her career, the acto has also starred in the critically acclaimed Lipstick Under My Burkha in the same year which won her numerous international awards.last_img
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Six arrested with Phensedyl syrup bottles worth Rs 56 lakh

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first_imgKolkata: State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has nabbed six persons and seized Phensedyl syrup bottles worth Rs 56 lakh from New Town on Wednesday evening.All the accused persons have been produced before the sixth Additional District Judge, Barasat, and were remanded to CID custody for 14 days. According to CID officials, on Thursday afternoon, CID officials came to know from their sources that two trucks carrying some sort of banned drug would be smuggled out to Bangladesh. Based on the source information, CID officials along with police force were deployed to spot the trucks at Narkelbagan crossing in New Town. Also Read - Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAround 7 pm, the police saw two trucks, bearing registration numbers of Haryana, moving towards the airport. The trucks were stopped at Narkelbagan. During the search, CID officials found huge quantity of Phensedyl bottles inside the truck. After getting confirmed about the banned drugs, six persons, including two drivers along with the trucks, were taken to New Town police station. The bottles were counted and it was found total 36,000 bottles of phensedyl were being carried in the trucks. Later, a case was initiated under relevant sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and six of them arrested. The drug was procured from Uttar Pradesh and was being sent to Bongaon to be smuggled to Bangladesh.last_img
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Kin of missing MBA student allege police inaction

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first_imgKolkata: Siliguri resident Debmalya Roy, who was pursing MBA at a private college in Odisha, went missing while taking bath in the sea at Puri on Monday. His family members alleged that Odisha police refused to lodge a complaint.They accused that the Puri police did not help them and alleged that there could be some foul play in the incident. They said Debmalya went to the sea with his four Odia classmates and held them responsible for his disappearance. Also Read - Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThey said the victim had been subjected to harassment on a number of occasions at the private management college in the past couple of months. He was abused because he was a Bengal resident, they said. "The matter was taken up with college authorities but no steps were taken in this regard," said Asoke Batabyal, a relative of the victim. It was also alleged that the victim had received threat calls from some unknown numbers in Odisha but no steps were taken in this regard. Also Read - Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe family said they gathered information about the incident after talking to a woman, who owned a tea stall on the beach. The woman claimed to have witnessed the incident how the victim's classmates left the beach immediately after the incident. It was learnt that Debmalya had joined the college in June this year and he had been harassed by some of his classmates. The family of the victim wanted to know why his classmates, who accompanied him on the beach, left the spot and rushed to the college immediately after he was reportedly drowned in the sea. The Odisha police claimed that it was an accident and victim was swept away by strong current. However, his family members are not ready accept what the police say.last_img
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Owners of multimillion dollar Vancouver home owners say they cant stomach tax

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first_imgVANCOUVER – Lynne Kent says owning a home in Vancouver that’s valued at $4 million isn’t the blessing it may appear to be.She and her husband are among a small group of homeowners in British Columbia facing a tax bump on homes assessed at over $3 million who say they simply can’t afford it — a claim that some are questioning.“I think the whole property value escalation is more of an albatross than a benefit, and have seen it that way because this whole escalation is really pushing us out of our home,” said Kent, 71.The school tax increase introduced in the B.C. budget would be set next year at 0.2 per cent on the portion of property valued above $3 million. It would increase to 0.4 per cent on the portion above $4 million.For the Kents, that would mean an extra $2,000 annually.Kent and her husband bought their three-bedroom bungalow in the Kitsilano neighbourhood in 1972 or 1973 for about $40,000, which was their household income at the time. They renovated the 1923 home in 1982, themselves.As retirees, they live on Canada Pension Plan and Old-Age Security payments, plus some savings, she said.They could sell their home, and are eligible to defer both the new tax and property taxes, but Kent says that’s not the point.“We raised our kids here, we have grandkids who are in university, who are part of our family life here. We hope to have great-grandkids here. It’s our home. We didn’t buy it as a money-making asset, we bought it as a home,” she said.Kent said she disagrees with the concept of deferring taxes on an ideological basis, since it means the province is stuck with the tab in the meantime.“We want to pay our taxes. It’s not that we don’t want to pay our taxes, but we want them to be fair,” she said.The school tax sparked a protest last week that prompted Attorney General David Eby, who represents many multimillion-dollar home owners in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey, to cancel a town hall because of security concerns.A online petition with almost 13,000 signatures characterizes it as a cash grab on a “vulnerable minority” that disregards incomes, financial circumstances and the ability to pay.But Brendon Ogmundson, deputy chief economist for the British Columbia Real Estate Association, says he thinks the tax has been blown out of proportion.It will be rare that someone who owns a home valued at more than $3 million can neither afford the tax, nor defer it, he said.“There’s going to be cases where it might be true, for whatever reason, that there’s a hardship. And the government should look at those cases. But in general, we’re talking about very wealthy households, whether they got there through income or the increase in their home prices,” Ogmundson.The tax will affect fewer than three per cent of homeowners in the province, he said, and therefore won’t have much of an impact on the real estate market, if any.Tom Davidoff, associate professor of strategy and business economics at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder school of business, said the tax is so low, relative to property values, that it will be negligible even after many years of accrual.Davidoff said it’s a smart tax for places like Vancouver, where housing supply is limited and it’s difficult to build more because of limited space and zoning restrictions.“If you tax a $4-million house, other than the person in the house who has to pay the money, which of course is a negative for them, nothing bad happens in the economy,” he said.“When you do income taxes or sales taxes, you can chase away actual economic activity.”Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, said the net wealth in homes today has increased in B.C. by over $650 billion in the past four decades. One third of that wealth has gone to people over 65 and five per cent has gone to people under 35, he said.While he said he understand seniors’ concerns about the school tax, it’s a problem that many people would like to have.“There are literally hundreds of thousands of younger British Columbians and renters of all ages who would love to see their standard of living shrivel before their eyes in a way that actually nets them over $5 million, while they were sleeping and raising their kids and watching their televisions and cooking in their kitchens, because that is how this wealth accumulation has unfolded,” he said.Even if the bubble bursts and the value drops by half, many of those homeowners will still have a couple of million dollars in their pockets if they sell, he said.Some are still wary, however. Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, says it could represent a slippery slope to an extension of the tax to less expensive homes.And she pointed to families not unlike the Kents, who have children and want to pass their homes on to the next generation, which may not be able to afford the taxes on them.From Sims’ view, it doesn’t matter if a home is assessed at $8 million. The homeowners don’t deserve a “surprise” $16,000 new tax each year, she said.“On paper, their homes have ballooned in assessed value,” Sims said. “That is why this is really unfair, because it’s based on assessed value, not (price) when it’s sold.”last_img
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Expert New Conservative leader has work to do

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first_imgThe new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada has his work cut out as he attempts to sell himself to Canadians.President of Mainstreet Research, Quito Maggi, said Andrew Scheer surprised a lot of people by winning the leadership but he is not well known outside the Conservative party.“Nobody knows who Andrew Sheer is. He’s now going to have to spend the summer, and probably a good chunk of the next year, getting Canadians to know who he is and they might not even like what they get to know when he does that so there’s going to be some big challenges ahead for him,” Maggi said.He said it will be interesting to see how voters react to Scheer’s social conservative views.Scheer narrowly won the leadership on Saturday over perceived front runner Maxime Bernier.last_img
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Other Nobel winners failed to persuade Suu Kyi to speak up for

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first_imgOTTAWA – Aung San Suu Kyi rebuffed three fellow Nobel laureates who tried in a private meeting four years ago to persuade her to speak up for Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority, The Canadian Press has learned.The result of the closed-door meeting in New York City in September 2013 foreshadowed the worldwide outrage she now faces for not defending her country’s Rohingya Muslims.All three attendees, including American Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, who worked with the Canadian government to ban landmines, added their voices Friday to the global condemnation of Suu Kyi.An estimated 270,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for neighbouring Bangladesh, saying they are running from attacks by government troops and Buddhist mobs.Suu Kyi, who is an honorary Canadian citizen, has dismissed the complaints as misinformation and says the Myanmar government, which she now leads, is fighting a militant insurgency.But there have been widespread global calls for her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize to be rescinded and for world leaders to denounce her silence.Four years ago, three of her fellow female Peace Prize winners — Williams, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi and Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee — met her privately in what proved to be a futile effort to persuade her to recognize the Rohingya issue.“We were disappointed in her reaction behind the scenes,” said Rachel Vincent, the director of the Ottawa-based Nobel Women’s Initiative, who was also at the New York meeting.Suu Kyi was in the U.S. on a tour organized by the U.S. State Department. The meeting took place in office space provided by Human Rights Watch, Vincent said.“We felt the appropriate thing to do was to voice our concerns, first, privately. But it has become clear that it was necessary to become public in our concerns.”On Friday, Williams, Ebadi and Gbowee and four other female Nobel laureates sent Suu Kyi a letter telling her she had betrayed the values of the Nobel Peace Prize with her silence.“How many Rohingya have to die; how many Rohingya women will be raped; how many communities will be razed before you raise your voice in defence of those who have no voice?” said the letter.“Your silence today casts a dark and disturbing shadow on the prize and its values, which we are privileged to represent.”Vincent said Williams and her fellow Nobel laureates stood up for Suu Kyi during her years of house arrest in Myanmar, defending her in numerous public statements. Williams was one of the few who managed to win permission from Myanmar’s ruling military junta to visit Suu Kyi during her detention.“When she asked people around the world to use their freedom to support freedom for her and many Burma democrats in prison, she entered into an unwritten compact,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.“But now it looks like she’s reneging on the deal … and it’s a gut punch to the world community that supported her.”Suu Kyi visited Ottawa last spring and had a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He raised concerns about the treatment of the Rohingya during the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office said at the time. Trudeau reiterated that concern this week during the Liberal caucus retreat in Kelowna, B.C.“Prime Minister Trudeau needs to go further and make clear to Aung San Suu Kyi that unless her government ends the atrocities, Canada will do more than denounce abuses and needs to reassess Canada’s bilateral relationship with Burma,” said Farida Deif, the Canada director of Human Rights Watch.So far, government officials say privately there is no consideration being given to rescinding her honorary Canadian citizenship. Suu Kyi is one of six international figures to receive that honour.An online petition by Change.org has almost 390,000 signatures calling for Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Peace Prize. A Gatineau, Que. man has also launched a private petition calling on the government to revoke her Canadian citizenship.last_img
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The Wednesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

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first_imgHighlights from the news file for Wednesday, Oct. 25———CENSUS: ‘TYPICAL CANADIAN’ PROVING ANYTHING BUT: Increasingly, the face of the average Canadian is anything but average. There was plenty of diversity on display in Wednesday’s deposit of Statistics Canada census data, including 250 different ethnic origins across the country, and hints of more to come. Visible minorities could comprise fully one-third of Canadians by 2036 as immigration drives population growth not just in cities, but across the country. The data also showed younger Canadians are opting less for home ownership, choosing instead the rental route as housing prices climb ever higher.———BOC HOLDS INTEREST RATE: The Bank of Canada left its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday following two straight hikes but suggested future increases are still likely, albeit at a more-gradual pace. In its scheduled announcement, the central bank said it held off this time in part because it expects the recent strength of the Canadian dollar to slow the rise in the pace of inflation. To make its case, the bank also pointed to the substantial, persistent unknowns around geopolitical developments as well as U.S.-related fiscal and trade policies, such as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.———FINANCE MINISTER TO MEET ETHICS COMMISSIONER: Finance Minister Bill Morneau will sit down with the federal ethics watchdog to see what more he can to do reassure Canadians he will not let his personal fortune get in the way of his job. “The rules work, but what we will consider in my situation is how the population can be absolutely certain there will be no possibility of a conflict,” Morneau said Wednesday. Morneau said ethics commissioner Mary Dawson gave him good advice when she recommended putting up a conflict-of-interest screen to prevent his family business, Morneau Shepell, from coming into conflict with his duties as finance minister after the Liberals won the 2015 election.———ONTARIO BANS PROTESTS AT ABORTION CLINICS: It will soon be illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics in Ontario. The legislature passed a bill Wednesday to create zones around the eight clinics in the province of between 50 and 150 metres in which anti-abortion protests, advising a person not to get an abortion, and intimidation or interfering with a woman’s ability to access the services will be banned. The ban will also automatically apply to 150 metres around the homes of abortion staff and health professionals who provide the services.———WITNESS SAYS ACCUSED MURDERER ADMITTED BURNING WOMAN: A witness in the trial of two men accused of murder testified Wednesday that one of the defendants confessed to him about burning a woman’s body and tossing it in a lake. Desi Liberatore has told court that Mark Smich performed a rap in 2012 in which he described “torching a body.” After the song, Liberatore says Smich told him that he did, in fact, burn a girl and dump her body and a cellphone in a lake. Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., and Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Toronto woman Laura Babcock.———NEW FUNDS FOR COAST GUARD, FISHERIES: The Trudeau government is promising an infusion of much-needed cash for the Canadian Coast Guard and federal Fisheries Department, both of which have been struggling with major funding shortfalls for years. The promised new money totals more than $1.2 billion over the next six years and is included in the Liberals’ fiscal update, which was released to much fanfare on Tuesday. The money will be used to keep the coast guard’s aging ships, navigational aids and communications equipment in working order, as well as to train new staff and provide icebreaking services, among other things.———BOEING SAYS TRADE SANCTIONS CAUSED RIPPLES: Boeing’s relationships with Canada and Britain will survive even though the trade complaint launched against the C Series aircraft is having “ripple effects” on those bonds, the U.S. aircraft giant’s chairman and CEO said Wednesday. Dennis Muilenburg said the trade action is not targeted at customers or countries, but at fair trade. Boeing has 2,000 direct employees in Canada and hundreds of suppliers that allow it to contribute $4 billion a year to the Canadian economy.———VETERAN’S MEDALS STOLEN: A British Armed Forces veteran is facing the prospect of his first Remembrance Day without his nine medals for years of service in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Iraq. Jim Watson’s medals were stolen during a break-in at his apartment in Kindersley, Sask., over the weekend along with military memorabilia and other household items. The medals, which had just been remounted for the Nov. 11 ceremony, were missing from the sideboard where he left them. The 54-year-old says the theft left him devastated and in disbelief.———STUDY SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON CONCUSSION: A new Canadian study suggests teenage athletes who sustain concussions may still be experiencing brain changes even after they have been cleared to return to play. Researchers at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine examined 17 bantam hockey players aged 11 to 14 who suffered concussions while playing. They studied MRIs the players received 24 to 72 hours after they were concussed, and then another set of MRIs the players received three months later. Even though the players showed no outward concussion symptoms at the time of the second brain scans, the study found changes were still occurring in the athletes’ brains.———SIX TO BE ADDED TO WALK OF FAME: Six influential Canadians from the circles of sports, entertainment and culture will be added to Canada’s Walk of Fame next month. Olympic gold medallist Donovan Bailey, Oscar-winning actress Anna Paquin and civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, are among the diverse selection of people who will be inducted at the annual awards gala in Toronto on Nov. 15. The others are Canadian folk icon Stompin’ Tom Connors, telecommunications leader Ted Rogers and science TV host and environmental activist David Suzuki.———last_img
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Tidal wave moment In one day MeToo cause makes political cultural landfall

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first_imgWASHINGTON – In the span of a single day, a long-building tidal wave made political and cultural landfall, with pent-up disgust over sexual abuse against women bursting onto an iconic cover of Time magazine, washing over Capitol Hill and potentially wiping away a once-promising political career.After a solid few eons, the patriarchy had a rocky few hours Wednesday.It began with Time naming as its Person of the Year, ”The Silence Breakers,” a group of women so vast as to be innumerable — the famous, not-so-famous and downright powerless who this year raised their voices against sexual mistreatment.The day ended with Democrats exploding the career of a formerly bright star: One after another, a group of lawmakers, most of them women, called on their colleague Al Franken to resign from the Senate and he has scheduled a career announcement Thursday.That sets the stage for political standoffs ahead — with an Alabama senate race involving an accused child-molester and a president whose election was cited by Time magazine as the blow that broke open this cultural geyser.Time’s story points to the election of Donald Trump, despite numerous groping allegations and despite the video of him bragging about doing it, for inspiring a sense of outrage reflected in the massive women’s march on the first day of his presidency.Trump was the last Time Person of the Year.This year’s cover featured an anonymous field worker, a Mexican-born woman who picks strawberries; another anonymous woman, a hospital employee, showing just her elbow in the frame; movie star Ashley Judd; lobbyist Adama Iwu; singer Taylor Swift; and engineer Susan Fowler.”The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labour in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name,” said the cover story.”But now they have a voice.”The piece tells the story of celebrities like Judd, who sounded the alarm years ago about alleged predator Harvey Weinstein. It describes actress Alyssa Milano tweeting an old slogan, coined years ago by social activist Tarana Burke, ”#MeToo,” going to bed, waking up to see 30,000 messages about women sharing abuse stories and bursting into tears.Swift talks about her lawsuit against a DJ who groped her. She wonders what abuses must be endured by less-powerful people than her. This is a recurring theme in the article — that millions of women experience this and can’t afford to speak out.”(Yet) dozens, then hundreds, then millions of women … came forward with their own stories of harassment,” said the story. ”Actors and writers and journalists and dishwashers and fruit pickers alike: they’d had enough. What had manifested as shame exploded into outrage. Fear became fury.”The fury crashed into Capitol Hill.First one senator, Democrat rising star Kirsten Gillibrand, then another, and another and finally the head of the party apparatus, called for Franken to resign, in a sudden but collaborative takedown effort that illustrated a shift in the politics of sexual misconduct.A growing list of groping allegations appears set to fell the former comedian, now a two-term Minnesota senator. Via Twitter, Franken announced he would be making an announcement Thursday.Gillibrand called this a moment of reckoning. She said it’s too important to remain silent just because allegations involve a friend, colleague, partisan ally and, in the case of Franken, someone she’s also fond of.”Enough is enough,” Gillibrand later told reporters, after posting a message on Facebook.”When you start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you’re having the wrong conversation. We need to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘None of this is okay.”’Democrats are now poised to flip the spotlight onto their opponents.At the moment, Republicans are rallying behind a Senate candidate from Alabama who in addition to being fired twice as a judge, being anti-gay and wanting to bar Muslims from serving in Congress, faces numerous allegations of long-ago sexual advances on young girls.Some Republicans are encouraging their party to join in the moment of moral cleansing and dump Roy Moore. One soon-to-be-retired senator, Jeff Flake, even donated $100 to Moore’s Democrat opponent.But the party apparatus is coalescing behind Moore.That includes Trump. The president, who has just endorsed Moore and will speak at a rally near the Alabama border Friday, has more groping allegations against him than Franken and a Quinnipiac poll this week said 70 per cent of Americans want Congress to investigate the allegations against Trump.But on Wednesday, Congress had the president’s back.A Democratic lawmaker tried advancing articles of impeachment against Trump, which referred to sexism but were mainly about alleged racism. The effort was defeated 364-58, with the vast majority of Democrats also protecting the man in the Oval Office.last_img
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Liberals expand directives on using torturetainted info to military diplomats

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first_imgOTTAWA – The Liberal government has expanded its directions covering the use of foreign intelligence likely obtained through torture to include the Canada’s military, diplomatic service and electronic spy agency.The move means the Canadian Forces, Communications Security Establishment and Global Affairs Canada are being prohibited from using information gleaned from torture, unless it means saving lives.That includes preventing a terrorist attack or protecting Canadian soldiers on overseas missions.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland say the directives are designed to ensure Canadian officials have clear guidelines and are not complicit in any abuse.The directives “clarify and strengthen the measures on the disclosure or requesting of information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment,” Sajjan said in a statement issued Thursday.“They also prohibit certain use of information likely obtained through mistreatment, except when it is absolutely necessary to prevent loss of life or significant personal injury.”The measure has sparked mixed reactions, with NDP defence critic Randall Garrison describing it as a “public-relations exercise” that will have little real effect because of the exception allowing torture-tainted intelligence.“In the end, the Canadian government remains complicit with torture,” he said. “The prohibition on the use of torture. It’s not: sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.”Amnesty International Canada called the new directives a welcome change from those issued by the previous Conservative government, although the group expressed concern with the fact that some torture-tainted info would still be allowed.That concern was particularly acute when it came to the military, said Alex Neve, Amnesty Canada’s secretary-general, given its recent history in Afghanistan and Iraq of partnering with groups that have questionable records.Canada soldiers “may therefore be faced with decisions about what to do with information that bears the taint of torture on a regular basis,” Neve said, so “the need for extra vigilance to ensure that the Canadian military is not implicated in torture is all the greater.“That is why there should simply be an absolute ban on using any such information.”Both Amnesty and the NDP have repeatedly called for an inquiry into the Canadian military’s role in the handling of detainees who were later tortured by Afghan security forces during the last decade.The Liberal government, and the Conservatives before them, have refused.The directives issued by Sajjan and Freeland and published Thursday are similar to those issued to the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canadian Border Services Agency in September.They partially reverse instructions from the previous Conservative government that allowed international exchanges even when there was a real risk of torture.Human rights groups and the federal NDP had called on the Liberals to repeal the Conservative government’s instructions, saying they effectively condoned torture and flouted Canada’s international obligations.Torture victims will say anything to stop the pain, making their information unreliable, they argue.The new versions forbid officials from disclosing or requesting information when doing so would result in a “substantial risk” of torture that could not be managed through assurances from a foreign government.They also prohibit use of information likely obtained through abuse in any way that creates a risk of further mistreatment, as evidence in a court proceeding, or to prevent risks to property such as a building.However, the directives allow the use of information gleaned through torture “to prevent loss of life or significant personal injury.”The directions cite an impending terrorist attack as one scenario in which such information could be used, but officials indicated in a background briefing that a pending attack on Canadian soldiers in the field could also qualify.In such cases, the information must be accurately described and characterized, and it must be clear that it is being used solely to try to prevent an attack.last_img
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Saskatchewan village wonders what happened to time capsule contents from 1968

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first_imgALVENA, Sask. – When a Saskatchewan village held a summer party to crack open a time capsule sealed in a cairn 50 years ago, they expected it would contain centennial coins, newspapers, letters from the children at the community’s former school and mementoes of rural Canadian life in the 1960s.But when all they found was a stubby beer bottle and a broken glass jar containing some old county documents, disappointed residents of Alvena wondered who was to blame.“The buildup was there because we sort of started talking about this last year,” said Elaine Stadnyk, who was a teenager when materials were collected for the capsule in 1968.“It was a big disappointment.”Alvena mayor Ernie Sawitsky explained the cairn containing the capsule was built beside lakefront facilities that were constructed with funding to mark Canada’s centennial the year before.Sawitsky said there was supposed to be a compartment inside the cairn, and all you had to do was remove the right stone to get at the capsule, which he said the builder informed him years before contained money, a local paper, a copy of the Western Producer and other items.But the day before the big party in July, when Sawitsky and the man who built the cairn set to work to chip out the stone to make sure everything would go smoothly, the elderly builder couldn’t remember which stone was the right one.“We tried with chisel and hammer, trying to find the secret rock. It got to a point where I had to bring in my backhoe and start smashing down the cairn,” Sawitsky said.“We finally found a jar which contained some paperwork. It was in regards to who was on council in 1967 with the Village of Alvena and the R.M. of Fish Creek. And we thought, we’re just going to keep going, we’re bound to find the capsule itself.”“We dismantled the entire cairn, just to find out it’s made of solid cement and rocks.”There was no compartment — the glass jar was embedded in concrete and was cracked during the dismantling. A short-neck beer bottle of undetermined brand, also stuck in concrete, survived the smashing. And that was it.Bad news travels fast in a village, but some of the people who came to the party were former residents like Stadnyk who drove there that day and hadn’t heard. The area’s MP had been invited. Some remembered collecting items at school for the capsule, but couldn’t remember what they were and hoped to see them.The capsule and its contents were supposed to be on display.“We were hoping that it never got placed in the cairn. We were hoping that maybe the day of the festival somebody would walk in with the box and say, ‘Hey, here it is!’ But nothing happened. Nobody came forward,” Sawitsky said.Ben Maruschak built the cairn. At 84, he confessed his memory isn’t as sharp as it once was, but he thinks people may be remembering better things in the capsule than were actually put there.Maruschak said he was on the committee to construct the lakefront facilities, and agreed to build the cairn because he’d built others, including one in honour of former prime minister John Diefenbaker in Wakaw, Sask.Maruschak said he doesn’t remember what went into the time capsule. But he doubts anyone could have tampered with it because you couldn’t tell which stone it was behind.“I think the speculation today what was in it is probably people that had nothing to do with it,” Maruschak said. “There’s very few people that are alive today that were a part of that project. Maybe two or three.”“I don’t know where this missing capsule has come from. It’s a good story.”Stadnyk said her father was on the committee that built the lakefront buildings and that something from her family supposedly went into the capsule. But he wouldn’t tell her what it was, and he died in 1979.“All my dad said to me was, ‘You’ll have to wait and see,'” she said.Sawitsky said the cairn will be rebuilt with a new time capsule that they’ll open every 25 years.“We decided that 50 is a little bit too long,” Sawitsky said.—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmontonlast_img
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Federal use of AI in visa applications could breach human rights report

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first_imgOTTAWA – A new report is warning about the federal government’s interest in using artificial intelligence to screen and process immigrant files, saying it could create discrimination, as well as privacy and human rights breaches.The research, conducted by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab outlines the impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions within the technology could lead to “life-and-death ramifications” for immigrants and refugees.The authors of the report issue a list of seven recommendations calling for greater transparency and public reporting and oversight on government’s use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to automate certain activities involving immigrant and visitor applications.“We know that the government is experimenting with the use of these technologies … but it’s clear that without appropriate safeguards and oversight mechanisms, using A.I. in immigration and refugee determinations is very risky because the impact on people’s lives are quite real,” said Petra Molnar, one of the authors of the report.“A.I. is not neutral. It’s kind of like a recipe and if your recipe is biased, the decision that the algorithm will make is also biased and difficult to challenge.”Earlier this year, federal officials launched two pilot projects to have an A.I. system sort through temporary resident visa applications from China and India. Mathieu Genest, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, says the analytics program helps officers triage online visa applications to “process routine cases more efficiently.”He says the technology is being used exclusively as a “sorting mechanism” to help immigration officers deal with an ever-growing number of visitor visas from these countries by quickly identifying standard applications and flagging more complex files for review.Immigration officers always make final decisions about whether to deny a visa, Genest says.But this isn’t the only dive into artificial intelligence being spearheaded by the Immigration Department.In April, the department started gauging interest from the private sector in developing other pilot projects involving A.I., or “machine learning,” for certain areas of immigration law, including in humanitarian and compassionate applications, as well as pre-removal risk assessments.These two refugee streams of Canada’s immigration system are often used as a last resort by vulnerable people fleeing violence and war to remain in Canada, the Citizen Lab report notes.“Because immigration law is discretionary, this group is really the last group that should be subject to technological experiments without oversight,” Molnar says.She notes that A.I. has a “problematic track record” when it comes to gender and race, specifically in predictive policing that has seen certain groups over-policed.“What we are worried about is these types of biases are going to be imported into this high risk laboratory of immigration decision-making.”The government says officials are only interested developing or acquiring a tool to help Immigration and Justice Department officials manage litigation and develop legal advice in immigration law.“The intent is to support decision makers in their work and not replace them,” Genest said.“We are monitoring and assessing the results and success of these pilots before we launch or consider expanding it to other countries and lines of business.”In April, Treasury Board released a white paper on “responsible artificial intelligence in the government of Canada,” and is currently consulting with stakeholders to develop a draft directive on the use of automated decision-making technologies within government.Molnar says she hopes officials will consider the Citizenship Lab’s research and recommendations, including their call for an independent, arms-length oversight body to monitor and review the use of A.I. decision-making systems.“We are beyond the conversation whether or not A.I. is being used. The question is, if A.I. is here to stay we want to make sure it is done right.”—Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.last_img
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In the news today Dec 6

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first_imgSeven stories in the news for Thursday, Dec. 6———FORCILLO TO LEARN IF TOP COURT WILL HEAR APPEALA Toronto police officer who shot a teenager on an empty streetcar five years ago finds out today if Canada’s top court will hear his case. A jury acquitted Const. James Forcillo of the second-degree murder of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in 2016. However, jurors convicted him of attempted murder related to a second volley of bullets he fired after Yatim was down and dying. Forcillo’s lawyers argue the first and second volleys were artificially divided into discrete events. ———CHINA DEMANDS RELEASE OF EXEC ARRESTED IN VANCOUVERChinese officials are demanding Canada release Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, who was arrested in Vancouver over the weekend and faces possible extradition to the U.S. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters today that the Chinese government also wants Canadian officials to reveal the reasoning behind Meng Wanzhou’s arrest on Saturday. A clerk at the B.C. Supreme Court says Meng appeared in court Wednesday and a bail hearing is scheduled for Friday. Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod says the U.S. is seeking Meng’s extradition, but couldn’t provide further details because a publication ban is in effect at Meng’s request.———DOMESTIC HOMICIDE VICTIMS LARGELY WOMEN: REPORTMore than three quarters of Canada’s domestic homicide victims were women, according to a new report released today that said belonging to some specific demographic groups elevates the risk of a violent death even more. The report from the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative, a multi-year project studying domestic homicides with a focus on vulnerable groups, tracked data from across the country and analyzed relevant deaths between 2010 and 2015. Of the 476 people slain in a domestic homicide during that time, the report found 76 per cent of them were women or girls.———FEDS DROP VALUES TEST FROM JOBS PROGRAM Contentious wording in Ottawa’s summer jobs program that tied pro-abortion beliefs to funding eligibility is being dropped after a backlash to what was styled last year as a values test. Instead, the federal Liberals have re-tooled the 2019 version of the Canada Summer Jobs program to require applicants to declare they don’t work to infringe on any Canadian’s legal rights. Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says the change — made after informal consultations over the past few months — should clear up concerns from faith-based groups who expressed outrage over this past year’s requirements.———FIRST MINISTERS MEETING EXPECTED TO BE TENSEPrime Minister Justin Trudeau is bracing for a barrage of criticism from premiers as they sit down at a First Ministers meeting Friday in Montreal. It’s expected to be one of the most fractious gatherings of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial leaders in decades. Many of the premiers are upset about the federal approach to pipelines, carbon taxation, environmental assessments, the General Motors plant closure in Oshawa, Ontario, and the oil price crisis. Trudeau says he’s prepared to talk with his provincial counterparts about any subject, including oil, which he calls an important economic resource.———ONTARIO ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TO MEET WITH McKENNAThe federal environment minister is set to meet with her Ontario counterpart in Toronto today where they are expected to discuss the province’s new plan to address climate change. The Progressive Conservative government’s plan, unveiled last week, replaces the cap-and-trade system brought in by the previous Liberal regime and does not put a price on carbon. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has urged Ontario to enact a carbon pricing plan, a federal requirement that Premier Doug Ford has consistently pushed back on.———HALIFAX TO MARK 101 YEARS SINCE EXPLOSIONPeople will gather this morning to remember the many lives lost in what remains one of the worst human-made disasters in Canadian history. Today marks the 101st anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, when two wartime ships collided in the harbour and sparked a massive blast that claimed almost two-thousand lives and obliterated a section of the city. A moment of silence will be held at Fort Needham Memorial Park at 9:04 a-m — the exact time of the explosion on December 6th, 1917.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— The Supreme Court will release its ruling in the case of Marc Cyr-Langlois. The court will determine the necessary conditions under which a breathalyzer test can be conducted, and whether a belch can throw that process into doubt.— The trial continues today for Dennis Oland in the murder of his father.— The trial of Const. Laurence Gary Basso continues on charges of assaulting a man outside a Halifax homeless shelter on Feb. 25.— Statistics Canada will release its international merchandise trade figures for October.— Maxime Bernier, leader of the newly formed People’s Party of Canada, will be in Quebec City today for a rally.The Canadian Presslast_img
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Video shows woman being told Go back to your country while visiting

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first_imgBANFF, Alta. (NEWS 1130) —  Video of a confrontation between a woman and a group of people is going viral, after she was apparently told to “go back to your own country”.Victoria, who doesn’t want to give her last name because she is worried about potential repercussions, says she was in a line up at Banff National Park today when a man cut to the front.She told the man what he did was rude because the line was long and families were waiting patiently.Tensions rose when she saw him on a trail shortly after this confrontation.“That’s when he goes ‘Go back to your own country.’ As soon as he said that I took out my phone and was like ‘Did you just tell me to go back to my own country?'”Video posted to Twitter shows a man try to grab her phone, and Victoria being told “you’re pushing limits you don’t want to push”.I was just assaulted by a man who first told me to go back to my own country, at Banff National park. Please share. @BanffNP I reported it to the proper authorities and I hope something happens. But I think it would be good if it goes viral. These people don’t get to win. pic.twitter.com/FRe9xnq2tV— TheTravelTipster (@TravelTipsterGo) August 4, 2019“It was so fast, he kind of came at me and he tried to grab my phone and pushed me. I just really grabbed onto my phone really hard and I just stood my ground,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do at first. I was just sitting there kind of in shock. Like, ‘Did that really happen?’ Then I realized that what he did was essentially assault.”She says she was able to get to a park ranger, and says police are now investigating.Victoria says she recorded the video and posted it to social media because she hopes it will help police identify and find the man.“I was concerned this guy would get away with it,” she explains. “I just really hope they locate him because it’s not right what he did.”last_img
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Having the right facts doesnt always mean having the right answer survey

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first_imgOTTAWA — A survey probing how people use facts to form beliefs suggests that even when given accurate information, many people still get the facts wrong.The Digital Democracy Project told poll participants that Canada is not on track to meet its climate-change commitments, which is true.But even when armed with that fact, barely half of those surveyed then correctly answered a question on the subject.Researchers say the results show it is possible for journalists and politicians to correct the record, but not easy.The project, led by the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, is exploring how people’s ideas are shaped by the information they consume and in turn how that might shape their vote this fall.The survey on climate change was the second round of the study and used an online panel to quiz 1,554 people between Aug. 17 and 23.The Canadian Presslast_img
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