Shimla: There are visible signs of anxiety, if not worries, among 8000 Kashmiri porters on Narendra Modi government 2.0 decision to trifurcate Jammu & Kashmir and scrap Article 370, apart from removing Article 35A.”We don’t know how the situation turns. Right now, the worry is how to get connect to families and how their well-being as phones are not working in the valley and life has come to a complete halt,” says Mohammad Yusuf. Yusuf, who had been living in Shimla since 1975, says this this has happened for the first time. The phones have suddenly gone off and there is no other way to speak to the families in the crisis situation. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Manzoor Ahmad, who hails from Kashmir and working in Shimla as porter for past 18 years, too has similar complaint. “Abrogation of article is not unexpected thing. We have been hearing these speculations a long time ago in the valley. It’s not fair for me as being a poor wage earner to comment on such an important decision of the India’s government. Yet, the point is it should bring peace in the valley and create jobs. Why are we here away from homes, only to earn livings,” says Ahmad. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KShimla, as par official reports has 7000 to 8000 Kashmiri porters. Called as Khans in local parlance they are in fact Shimla’s lifeline. It’s difficult to manage trade, tourism and retail business without their help. They work at LGP agencies to carry cylinders for home deliveries. Help tourists to find hotels, carry their luggage on their backs, do loading and unloading job, and also work at ration/PDS depots. Every time there is trouble in Kashmir, the Kashmiri porters do feel scared though many admits that it’s militancy and lack of job avenues they have chosen Shimla to go the labour jobs. “This is very peaceful state. Shimla suits us climatically also. The place has lots of scope for earning, which helps us to feed the families back home. The developments in Kashmir or any violence sends us to tense moments,” admits Tariq, who is now into shawls business.
New Delhi: Union minister Shripad Naik on Sunday encouraged children to take inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and contribute towards making a ‘New India’. He was addressing 3,500 children from 41 government schools, who will display ‘Naya Bharat’, as well as 700 NCC cadets who will participate in the Independence Day celebrations at the majestic Red Fort here on August 15, the defence ministry said in a statement. The Minister of State for Defence said children should contribute towards taking India to “newer heights”. Naik called upon the students to imbibe the virtues which will be shared by the Prime Minister during his Independence Day address. Later, he gave away souvenirs to a teacher and a student from each of the participating schools along with the unit-in-charge of the NCC group and a cadet on behalf of all participating children and cadets.
Gurugram: To decongest Old Gurugram, a challenge that has been plaguing commuters for long, The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has floated tenders to finalise concessionaires for installing and operating automated parking systems at the proposed mixed-use, multi-level parking facilities in Sadar Bazar and Kaman Sarai.On average, 28,000 cars are registered and added to Gurgaon roads per annum. The number of two-wheelers stands at 22,000, an MCG official said. Additionally, according to the NHAI, city’s arterial road, the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is accessed by 4.5 lakh vehicles every day. However, the city currently has only one multi-level parking facility near the HUDA City Centre, which was opened in May. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderA parking space for approximately 1,000 four-wheelers and 200 two-wheelers is estimated to have been reserved at the Sadar Bazar multi-level parking, while in Kaman Sarai, space for accommodating 2,000 four-wheelers and 400 two-wheelers has been reserved, said, officials. MCG is looking for concessionaires who have experience in making, installing and operating stack parking facility, said an MCG official privy to the development. Stack parking is essentially a mechanical technique used for parking vehicles one above the other using hydraulic platforms to ensure maximum utilisation of space Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAs per the tender documents, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, the Kaman Sarai multi-level stack parking will cost Rs 22.32 crore, while the Sadar Bazar facility will cost Rs 10.93 crore. Each of these facilities must be built in 27 months. The estimated cost for constructing the buildings, barring the parking system, is Rs78.26 crore for Kaman Sarai and Rs 33.56 crore for Sadar Bazar MCG officials had floated e-tenders on June 15 for finalising contractors who could construct the multi-level parking facilities for each of the two locations. On July 4, the process ended and concessionaires for each of the facility were subsequently finalised. In the past, MCG has come up with schemes of free parking inside the basement of the malls to using vacant areas as parking spots. Yet, the schemes have not proved to be successful in resolving the parking woes.
Kolkata: The state government has proposed “club invitee” cards instead of “VIP passes” for the pandal hoppers in the ensuing Durga Puja. The “club invitee” cards would be meant for the physically challenged, senior citizens and people of the locality or the club members.It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a meeting with the Puja committees last Friday at Netaji Indoor Stadium had appealed to the latter to do away with the practice of issuing VIP passes. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to sources, several Puja committees had approached the state government for an alternative card wherein the physically challenged and senior citizens can enter the puja pandals with ease. They had claimed that people of the locality or the club members should at least get some concession. Following this, the government has proposed the Puja committees to come up with “club invitee” cards and include these sections under it. “There should be a separate gate named ‘Members Gate’ through which the physically challenged and senior citizens or the club members will be allowed entry,” a member for Forum for Durgotsav said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAddressing an administrative and coordination meeting with the Puja Committees at Netaji Indoor Stadium Banerjee had said the practice of issuing VIP passes should not be welcomed. “If anyone wants to visit a pandal he/she may enter the Puja pandal along with others after queuing up properly,” she had said. Banerjee had asked state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sujit Bose, Mayor Firhad Hakim and state PWD minister Aroop Biswas not to distribute VIP passes in their areas. Bose is associated with Sreebhumi club in Lake Town, Hakim with Chetla Agrani while Biswas is associated with Suruchi Sangha in New Alipore which are huge crowd-pullers.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said the ISRO scientists worked hard for Chandrayaan-2 mission and the nation is with them.The lunar mission’s lander ‘Vikram’ lost contact with the ground station minutes before its planned soft landing on moon surface.”We are proud of our scientists. The @isro team worked hard for #Chandrayaan2. A befitting tribute to our founding fathers who envisioned India’s place in the league of scientifically advanced nations far ahead of their times,” she tweeted.She congratulated the ISRO scientists and said the nation is with them.”A testimony to the scientific temper they ingrained in us, and their unmatched caliber and dedication. My sincere gratitude and congratulations to @isro. We are all with you.May you continue to make us proud,” she added.
Washington DC: Eritrea is the world’s worst country for press censorship, a media watchdog said Tuesday in a report which also cites extreme measures in nine other countries including North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia. Under the three worst regimes — Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan — the media “serves as a mouthpiece of the state, and any independent journalism is conducted from exile,” said a report by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USOther countries on the list of the 10 worst regimes for media “use a combination of blunt tactics like harassment and arbitrary detention as well as sophisticated surveillance and targeted hacking to silence the independent press,” the report said. Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, and Iran were cited for “jailing and harassing journalists and their families, while also engaging in digital monitoring and censorship of the internet and social media,” the group said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe rankings were based on factors including restrictions on privately owned or independent media; criminal defamation laws; restrictions on the dissemination of false news; blocking of websites; surveillance of journalists by authorities; license requirements for media; and targeted hacking or trolling. “The internet was supposed to make censorship obsolete, but that hasn’t happened,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon. “Many of the world’s most censored countries are highly wired, with active online communities. These governments combine old-style brutality with new technology, often purchased from Western companies, to stifle dissent and control the media.” The report covers 10 countries where the government tightly controls the media, including Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, and Cuba. It noted that in other countries including war-ravaged nations such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, conditions for the media are “extremely difficult, but not necessarily attributable solely to government censorship.” In Eritrea, the report noted, the state retains a legal monopoly of broadcast media and journalists’ alternative sources of information, such as the internet or satellite broadcasts of radio stations in exile, are restricted via government-controlled internet services. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stepped up the use of radio signal blockers and advanced radio detection equipment to prevent people from sharing information, CPJ said. The group said Saudi Arabia’s already-repressive environment for the press has “suffered sharp deterioration” under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the report. China has the most sophisticated censorship apparatus, according to CPJ, which noted that Chinese internet users are blocked by the “Great Firewall” and that authorities monitor domestic social media networks and conduct surveillance of international journalists.
Kolkata: A 35-year-old man who opposed the snatching of valuables at Kankinara railway station in North 24-Parganas late on Friday night, was brutally killed by a gang of miscreants after suffering splinter injuries in various parts of his body. The incident has created panic in the area with commuters raising protests against the poor deployment of police at various railway stations in the Sealdah Main Line. Police said the victim, Biswajit Biswas (35), was returning to his residence at Krishnanagar from Bihar after receiving the news of his elder brother’s death. Biswas missed Naihati Station as he was fast asleep and when he woke up, he realised that he had reached Kankinara station. Without wasting any time, he deboarded in the wee hours. Having found no option to return home, he decided to halt at the station and planned to take the first train to Naihati. While he was waiting at platform number 3 at around 2.30 am, a gang of armed miscreants walked up to him and tried to snatch his valuables. A scuffle broke out which eventually turned fatal as the miscreants hurled bombs on Biswas and fled. The railway police later reached the spot and took the victim to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.
OTTAWA – A pair of relative political rookies — Seamus O’Regan and Carla Qualtrough — have been tapped to guide two of the federal Liberal government’s most complex and politically sensitive portfolios: military procurement and veterans affairs.The appointments — Public Services and Procurement for Qualtrough, Veterans Affairs for O’Regan — are big jumps for the pair, who will be wrestling with some difficult challenges even before the ink on their swearing-in papers has dried.O’Regan’s appointment was the more high-profile move, given his background as a national TV host before being elected to federal office in 2015.The rookie backbencher from St. John’s takes over from Calgary MP Kent Hehr, who was demoted to minister for sport and persons with disabilities after a rough tenure in the veterans’ portfolio.The Liberals were elected two years ago on a promise to address many of the complaints veterans had raised about their treatment under the Harper Conservatives.Hehr fulfilled some of those commitments, including the re-opening of nine Veterans Affairs Canada offices closed by the Tories.But he stoked anger and frustration by repeatedly obfuscating on the Liberals’ biggest promise: bringing back lifelong disability pensions, which were replaced by lump-sum payments and a new system of benefits for injured ex-soldiers in 2006.Veterans reacted with mixed emotions to O’Regan’s appointment.Some hoped the former Canada AM host’s personal friendship with Trudeau would translate into real action for veterans, but others feared that the relationship was the main reason he got the job in the first place.During a news conference Monday, Trudeau defended his decision to promote O’Regan, who vacationed with the prime minister and his family on the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas this past Christmas.“He is a friend, that’s true,” Trudeau said in French.“But he’s also someone who has been there to deliver for Newfoundland and Labrador, who’s shown his skills and abilities. He’s certainly going to be an exceptional minister.”The prime minister also stood by O’Regan, whose brother is a senior naval officer, when asked about the new veterans affairs minister’s past struggles with alcohol and mental illness.O’Regan spent Christmas 2015 at a “wellness centre” where he received treatment for alcoholism, a subject he openly discussed Monday when he greeted reporters for the first time as the minister for veterans affairs.“In my case, anyway, there is nothing better than purposeful work,” he said. “This is sweet, and I feel great … the stresses and strains of purposeful work is something that I find completely invigorating, and it keeps me very healthy.”The big question for veterans is whether the Liberals will make good on the promise to bring back the lifelong disability.“It’s irrelevant who the minister is if they don’t have the pension,” said Aaron Bedard, one of six disabled Afghan veterans suing the government in B.C. Superior Court for a return to the pensions.The stakes are high for the government, as well, given the emotional nature of the veterans’ file, which many believe helped scuttle the Conservatives’ re-election efforts two years ago.Qualtrough’s task at Public Services and Procurement Canada isn’t any easier, despite her experience in cabinet as Canada’s most recent minister for sport and people with disabilities.The former Paralympian and ex-sports and disabilities minister takes over from Judy Foote, the longtime Liberal MP who resigned from cabinet last week for family health reasons, at a time when the department is facing big challenges.One is the ongoing effort to fix the federal government’s troubled Phoenix pay system, which has affected thousands of public servants and cost millions of dollars to fix — with no end in sight.Yet Qualtrough is also being thrown into the deep end when it comes to several multibillion-dollar military procurement projects, with decisions looming on naval warships and interim fighter jets.The fighter-jet file in particular is a potential landmine, as everyone waits to see whether the Liberals scrap their plans to buy 18 interim Super Hornets from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.That decision is expected to come down to whether the U.S. Commerce Department decides this month to penalize Canadian firm Bombardier, which Boeing has accused of unfair trade practices.Qualtrough would not say Monday whether Canada still needs interim fighter jets to strengthen the air force’s aging CF-18 fleet until a full replacement can be purchased.“I can tell you that having been in this job for an hour that it would be premature to come out and answer that question directly,” she said.“But I can assure you as I get briefed up that the fighter jet file will be top on my plates and on my desk and I will be able to provide a more informed decision as soon as I’m briefed up.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
HALIFAX – Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan opened a security conference on Friday by saying Canada is embracing a more muscular approach to international security, touting a new peacekeeping strategy and increased military spending as signs of an “increased role.”Sajjan told the Halifax International Security Forum on Friday that Canada has shown initiative in a host of international conflicts, while maintaining its multilateral approach to foreign policy.“For Canada, the development of this policy served as a tangible example of how the sharing of ideas and perspectives can translate into policy that responds to the challenges of our modern world,” Sajjan said. “We recognize that these engagements is vital not only to our own domestic security, but to global security.”Sajjan trumpeted several Canadian peacekeeping commitments unveiled during this week’s United Nations peacekeeping summit in Vancouver. They included offering soldiers, equipment and a feminist perspective on peace missions. The federal government has also promised to increase military spending by $62 billion over the next two decades.Appearing on a panel with Sajjan, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Canada’s revitalized defence efforts, despite estimates suggesting its military spending still falls short of the alliance’s target of two per cent of GDP.During last year’s presidential election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump chided NATO member countries for not pulling their weight.Stoltenberg told the conference that Trump has changed his tune since the campaign. Stoltenberg said he does not have any doubts about the American commitment to the alliance.He said both Canada and the US have increased their military presence in Europe recently, showing that NATO remains strong.“Actions speak louder than words,” Stoltenberg said. “Having Canada and United States back in Europe is not a sign of fracturing. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and a strong transatlantic bond.”Stoltenberg praised Canada for sending hundreds of soldiers to Latvia to lead a NATO battle group there.Sajjan cited Canada’s “unwavering” commitment to Ukraine as further evidence of its emerging leadership role, as well as its recent efforts to help contain the Islamic State group in Iraq.Sajjan told reporters that Canada will deal with threats posed by the Islamic State, whether they come from afar or closer to home.He said the military and other security agencies are taking measures to ensure that Canadians who fight with the Islamic State pose no threat if they return to Canada, while abiding by international law.He said returnees are being monitored to ensure they are not a threat.“We will make sure that we put every type of resource into place so that Canadians are well protected,” Sajjan said as the three-day conference began Friday. “Our main priority is making sure that they don’t become a threat to Canada.”Representatives from more than 70 countries are attending the three-day forum in Halifax, which bills itself as an annual gathering of democratic leaders committed to global security and prosperity.Topics on the agenda include the role of women in peacemaking, Russian relations, nuclear weapons and climate change.
TORONTO – Fans and a Who’s Who of hockey remembered Johnny Bower as a great goaltender and a better man Wednesday.NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Hall of Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour were just some of the hockey elite on hand for what was billed as a celebration of the legendary goalie who died Dec. 26 at the age of 93 after a bout of pneumonia.Coach Mike Babcock and the entire current Toronto lineup watched from the Air Canada Centre floor. Four generations of Bowers including Nancy, Johnny’s wife of 69 years, were also front and centre.Fans, many in Leaf jerseys, sat in the lower bowl and chanted “Go Leafs Go” when prompted by Bower’s grandson John Bower III.They heard stories about a family man who loved to laugh — especially at himself — a humble guy who knew the value of a buck, doted on animals and always worked tirelessly for others.A Canadian who lied about his age so he could enlist in the Second World War. A booster of female hockey. An honorary member of the Union of Ontario Indians with the name of “Johnny With a Heart as Big as an Eagle’s Wingspan Bower.”A five-foot-nine man with a huge heart who became synonymous with the Maple Leaf after a winding 13-year journey to becoming an NHL regular. Bower was 34 before he was Toronto’s starting goalie.In 12 years, he built a Hall of Fame career that include two Vezina Trophies and four Stanley Cups before he retired at the age of 45 after just one game in the 1969-70 season.“His road to the Maple Leafs and the four Cups was much bumpier, much harder and much longer than many of us,” said teammate Dave Keon. “And yet, he became the centrepiece of our team.“Winning the Cup takes heart, but John was our soul.”A blue and white casket with the Maple Leaf logo stood in front of the dais. Bower’s banner, which normally hangs in the rafters, was displayed behind the podium between the banners denoting the four Stanley Cups he won in the 1960s.Team members wore buttons with JB etched on the Leafs logo.Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Bower was a player respected by teammates and opponents alike.“Generous, soft-spoken, warm and welcoming. I’m sure Johnny had an ego but he didn’t show it. There was no entitlement in Johnny Bower,” said Shanahan.Keon reminded listeners that prior to Bobby Baun scoring his storied overtime winner on a broken ankle in Game 6 of the 1963–64 Stanley Cup final, Bower had made a key save early in the third period to keep it a one-goal game.Toronto tied it up and then won it on Baun’s goal.“In sports as in life everyone remembers the heroic moment, in this case an overtime goal,” Keon said. “But only teammates remember the save that got us to overtime. That save as much as the goal, if not more, brought us back to Toronto where John shut out the Wings 4-0 to win our third Cup in a row.”Teammates Ron Ellis and Mahovlich also spoke at the memorial.Immediately prior to the event, current Leafs centre Tyler Bozak said Bower represented “what a Maple Leaf is” and talked of how he used to quiz him about how he played without a mask night after night.“He’d act like it was nothing. That’s the crazy part about it,” he recalled with a laugh. “None of us could even come close to comparing to anything that he went through as a player.”Morgan Rielly recalled the care with which Bower use to sign autographs, unlike other players who might cut corners“He took time for every person, for every kid, every fan,” said the 23-year-old defenceman. “He made sure they got what they were looking for.”Former captain Darryl Sittler recalled how competitive Bower was, even when retired, when he dressed for practice.“He didn’t want a puck in the back of his net,” he said.Keon also recalled one day after practice when his 10-year-old son took shots on Bower, who let the first puck in but then stopped the rest.“I let him have one Davey, because he’s your son,” Keon said Bower told him later. “But one was all he was going to get.”Bower, who became known as the China Wall, was happily playing in the minors in Cleveland when he was picked up by Toronto almost 50 years ago. He said he only showed up to avoid being suspended for not reporting.Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976, Bower’s No. 1 was raised to the rafters in Maple Leafs Gardens in 1995 and permanently retired in 2016 when he was voted the seventh best Leaf of all time in the franchise’s centennial season.The Leafs, in their first game at home since Bower’s passing, wore jerseys with Bower’s name and No. 1, during warmups prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Four generations of Bowers including Nancy, his wife of 69 years, accompanied by Leaf greats watched a pre-game tribute from ice-level that drew a prolonged standing ovation.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter
VANCOUVER – People who live with chronic pain need options beyond prescription opioids, and it’s up to the British Columbia government to provide more services such as physiotherapy, says the head of a group that supports patients and their families.“There has really been a lack of any appropriate response to chronic pain in our province and in our country,” said Maria Hudspith, executive director of Pain BC, the only non-profit society in Canada to bring together clinical experts and policy-makers to work on chronic pain management initiatives.Beside painkillers, patients must have access to physical therapy and psychological support but wait lists stretch from one to three years at the few specialized pain clinics in the province, she said.“We’ve seen this overreliance on the prescription pad as the only tool in the toolbox,” Hudspith said. “Some people may become dependent on the medication in order to function and some of those people may become addicted.”One in five people in B.C. lives with pain that can be relentless and crippling but she said some communities have no specialized health-care providers for patients who need intervention after an injury or surgery, for example.A lack of dedicated pain services means patients make more doctors’ visits and may require more surgeries, resulting in high health-care costs and poor quality of life, Hudspith said.“There’s a growing recognition that this is a huge problem that is really, in many way, at the root of a lot of issues that we’re seeing.”Hudspith said Pain BC has been in discussions with the provincial government to expand services.Neither the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions or the Health Ministry could provide any information when the provincial government was contacted for comment.In June 2016, B.C. doctors became the first in Canada to face mandatory standards for prescribing opioids and other addictive medications. At the time, the College of Physicians and Surgeons replaced guidelines offering only recommendations with legal standards that allowed for consequences, such as complaint hearings and disciplinary action.Following the introduction of the standards, some doctors began weaning or cutting patients off pain medication. Hudspith said that has left people suffering, especially if they don’t have access to other options for pain relief.“We have documented cases of people who are no longer able to work, they’ve maxed out their sick time, they’re contemplating going on disability,” she said.While the college’s policy came into effect with the intention of minimizing the effects of opioids in the midst of an overdose crisis, overdoses have “continued like a runaway train,” Hudspith said.“There are people who have said to us or have said to their physicians or MLAs (members of the legislature) that they are going to the street and buying opioids through the illicit market despite the risk,” she said.The society has been working with the province’s medical association to create educational material for doctors, but Hudspith said “robust mentoring” is crucial so doctors and other clinicians can build their skills to provide evidence-based care for people who suffer from chronic pain.“Chronic pain is a very misunderstood condition. The approach needs to be very different from other chronic conditions that are very well understood.”She cited Project Echo, a mentoring program in Ontario, as a way to care for patients with chronic pain as doctors get guidance on specific challenges from a team of experts.Serena Patterson, a psychologist in Comox, B.C., said she has suffered with fibromyalgia for 30 years and also developed migraines before starting to see clients with chronic pain, many of whom suffer from depression, shame and stigma.Some people go from doctor to doctor for years trying to get help for conditions that remain undiagnosed for years while they’re denied long-term disability and unable to work or afford private therapists, she said.Publicly funded clinics with a variety of experts who work together, including nurses and other health-care providers offering physical, occupational, massage and psychological therapy, would serve patients most effectively, Patterson said.“We have a medical system that is geared toward fixing acute problems but does a terrible job with chronic pain.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
CALGARY – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province is likely to end up owning a piece of the Trans Mountain pipeline.Ottawa agreed to buy the Alberta-to-British-Columbia crude conduit this spring for $4.5 billion from U.S. company Kinder Morgan.Kinder Morgan had threatened to walk away from a planned $7.4-billion expansion to the line because of resistance from the B.C. government.Notley announced in May that her government would make up to $2 billion available, if necessary, to keep the project going.The federal and provincial governments want Trans Mountain to go ahead because it would enable Canadian crude to be shipped by tanker to countries other than the U.S. market.Notley said at the premier’s annual Stampede pancake breakfast in Calgary that her government is likely to buy a small equity stake in the pipeline.“I think there’s a good possibility … but I honestly can’t get into much more detail on it until all the final decisions are made,” she said Monday.“What I will say is whatever role Alberta takes is one that will absolutely be fiscally responsible and there’s a good, solid business case for it. If anything, it will open up opportunities for other Albertans.”After flipping flapjacks for crowds gathered outside the government’s downtown Calgary offices, Notley met with her cabinet.She told ministers that pieces of pipe have already arrived at yards in the industrial area of Acheson, just outside the pipeline’s starting point in Edmonton, as well as in Edson, Alta., about 180 kilometres to the west.The Acheson site is about a quarter full and the Edson site is half full, Notley said, and construction is on track to begin this month.Trans Mountain would triple the amount of Alberta crude flowing to the B.C. Lower Mainland.Once the expansion is complete, the oil is to be loaded onto tankers and shipped across the Pacific.
WARNING: Some of the details in this story are graphic.OTTAWA _ The case of an Ontario trucker acquitted in the death of an Alberta woman referred to at trial as a “native” and a “prostitute” is to go before the Supreme Court this week in what could set a precedent in Canada’s sexual assault laws.Bradley Barton says Cindy Gladue died after a night of consensual, rough sex in an Edmonton motel in June 2011. Her body was found in the bathtub after Barton called 911. She had an 11-centimetre cut in her vagina and had bled to death.A jury found Barton not guilty of first-degree murder and manslaughter. The Crown appealed following nationwide protests and the Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.The Appeal Court ruled serious errors were made in the original trial and in the judge’s charge to the jury about Barton’s conduct and on sexual assault legislation as it pertains to consent.The Supreme Court is to hear arguments Thursday on several procedural matters, including the role of interveners, but may also decide for the first time whether an “objective likelihood of harm” cancels out sexual consent.The Alberta Crown, as well as attorney generals in other provinces, including Ontario, is arguing for such an addition to the law.Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, says it would be a big deal if the top court agrees. He plans to argue that the Crown brought up the consent versus harm argument on appeal, not at trial, and it shouldn’t affect his client’s case.It would be akin to double jeopardy, Bottos says. “We’re just trying to hold the line.”Lise Gotell is a gender studies professor at the University of Alberta and chairwoman of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, or LEAF, one of 16 groups intervening in the Barton case. She points out the court has previously ruled that a person killed in a fist fight couldn’t have consented to bodily harm.“But the court has never made a ruling on whether or not this rule applies in a sexual context.”The Barton case is complicated, says Gotell, who adds that LEAF won’t argue for the new consent provision because it believes Gladue didn’t agree at all.Barton has testified that he hired Gladue for two nights of sex that included putting his fist in her vagina. When he woke up after the second night, he said, he found her dead in the tub.A medical examiner testified that the wound to Gladue’s vaginal wall was likely to have been caused by a sharp object and, in a rare move, he used Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue as an exhibit.That was disrespectful and dehumanizing, says Gotell, as were the comments from lawyers who referred to Gladue more than two dozen times before the jury as a native prostitute.The 36-year-old Metis woman was a mother of three girls. She struggled with addiction and poverty and deserved better, says a factum filed by lawyers with another intervener, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.“We recall her strength and dignity now because the trial in relation to her death failed to do so,” it says.Muriel Stanley Venne, the founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, a co-intervener with LEAF, says there’s never been a better time, in light of the #MeToo movement, for a case like this to be heard.“I believe this is the most important case in my lifetime,” says Venne, who is 80. “Our Cindy Gladue is the embodiment and the hero that we are looking for to change the conduct of the court.”
SURREY, B.C. – Police officers acted appropriately in dealing with a carjacking suspect as they attempted to arrest him at a ferry terminal in Nanaimo before he was fatally shot, British Columbia’s police watchdog said in a report released Monday.The report from the Independent Investigations Office determined that the male, whose name and age have not released, shot himself as police also opened fire during the confrontation on May 8 at the Departure Bay ferry terminal .It says police opened fire on the male as he raised a long-barrelled handgun.The report says while his intention was to shoot himself, it was impossible for police to know that he did not intend to shoot the officers who had tried to arrest him.“That was his only intention,” the report says. “However, as he did this, the gun would have been pointed at several police officers.”It says at that point, police had reasonable grounds to use lethal force.While the report says the evidence shows the man only intended to take his own life, there was no way of knowing that he wasn’t going to shoot at the officers who had tried to arrest him.The officers had to act quickly to protect themselves, their fellow officers and the public, it says.“Indeed, that was their duty at law.”RCMP officers had been called to the Departure Bay terminal to arrest a male in connection with allegations of a violent carjacking in Penticton, B.C.An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds.The report also includes toxicology results, which show the suspect had a high dose of fentanyl in his body but it adds that toxicity is dependent on individual tolerance and how the drug was administered.It concludes that the male “appeared to be in a desperate state,” and his actions presented a life-threatening situation to the police.“Their actions were both justified and consistent with their duties as police officers,” the report says.
WASHINGTON – States and storylines for Canadian observers to keep an eye on Tuesday as voters in the U.S. head to the polls for midterm elections:WOMEN: He’s not on the ballot, but Donald Trump might as well be — which is why Democrats have been focusing their campaign efforts on college-educated white women, arguably the most motivated segment of the American electorate after two years of a famously divisive and misogynist president. Add to the mix the against-all-odds confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in spite of high-school sexual assault allegations from the credible Christine Blasey Ford, and you have a powerful voting bloc capable of — and widely expected to — overturn the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Can Trump’s all-out effort to mobilize his base, comprised heavily of non-college-educated men, break up the so-called Blue Wave?MICHIGAN: Thanks to term limits, change is coming to Michigan regardless of the outcome. Former Democratic Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer is battling rival Bill Schuette to succeed the term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, while some polls suggest Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from Republican challenger John James. Michigan is one of eight states bordering the Great Lakes that belong to the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, an interstate agreement with Ontario and Quebec to monitor the quality and quantity of Great Lakes water. “Usually it’s a relatively bipartisan issue, but it could be impacted by who wins the gubernatorial races in particular,” said Capri Cafaro, executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs and a former state senate Democrat in Ohio, another signatory.MARIJUANA: Also on the ballot in Michigan — as well as another key border state, North Dakota — are measures to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The drug remains illegal at the federal level, which is why crossing the border has become more complicated for Canadians working or partaking in the newly legalized pot industry. But as legalization looks poised to spread to more and more states, it can only help expedite action on the federal front, which some observers, including former Trump spokesman Anthony Scaramucci, expect the president to take after the midterms.TURNOUT: While midterm elections typically generate less voter interest than their presidential counterparts, 2018 is already bucking the trend. In the 37 states plus Washington, D.C., where some form of early voting is allowed, more than 31.5 million ballots had already been cast as of Saturday, with 22 states and D.C. exceeding turnout levels from 2014. In closely watched Missouri, for instance, projections anticipate turnout of 55 per cent, the highest in nearly 25 years.OHIO: One of the most critical elements of Donald Trump’s remarkable 2016 victory was his ability to flip blue-collar Ohio, long a critical battleground that the Republicans won by eight points two years ago, thanks in large measure to his “America First” trade mantra. Whether Democrat challenger Richard Cordray can wrest the governorship away from opponent Mike DeWine — two-term Republican Gov. John Kasich has reached his term limit — depends largely on whether Cordray’s focus on workers’ rights can overthrow working-class fondness for the president.NAFTA/USMCA: It’s not a ballot issue for Americans, who have long since moved on. But with the deal still requiring ratification in all three countries and Section 232 tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum exports still in place, there are more than enough loose ends to keep stakeholders near the edge of their seats. Few experts anticipate any problems in Congress even if the Republicans lose the House; it’s less an issue of ‘if’ than of ‘when.’ And ‘when’ is important, given the ongoing impact of tariffs — deferred, to a degree, by a strong domestic economy — and U.S. farmers keen to have access to export markets in Mexico and Canada.WISCONSIN: When Canadians contemplate all their recent NAFTA angst, the dairy-drenched border state of Wisconsin often springs to mind — and gratitude to Trump for a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that provides better access to export markets could well play a role Tuesday. But Wisconsin is intriguing for a different issue, one near and dear to Canada’s heart: health care. Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker, a Trump ally and a vociferous critic of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, have been desperately trying to convince voters they won’t eliminate Obamacare’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Walker is in a pitched battle with Democratic rival Tony Evers.TEXAS: Deep in the heart of this traditionally Republican bastion is one of the marquee matchups of the 2018 midterms: the Canadian-born Republican senator and Trump tormentor-turned-ally Ted Cruz versus young upstart Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke. Cruz has a fairly comfortable lead in the polls, but the very fact that O’Rourke has given Cruz a scare underscores the fact that Democrats, fuelled in part by O’Rourke’s surge and energized young and Latino voters, are challenging Republicans all over in the increasingly progressive Lone Star state.
CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — A six-year-old boy who captured the attention of a province — and one of his Star Wars heroes — has passed away from cancer.Kaiden Little’s family posted a Facebook message saying the little boy died at about 2:15 p.m. Monday in Newfoundland, two years after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of neuroblastoma.The sad news prompted a response from actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the little boy’s favourite movies, the Star Wars franchise.Just a couple of hours after his death, Hamill posted a tweet that said, “So sorry to hear of the tragic loss of Kaiden… The Force will be with him from here to eternity!”The family said in its message that they were “devastated and hurting from the pain of missing our boy,” but that he “fought like a true Super Hero right to the end and used his Star Wars force to show all how brave he is and how much love he had to give.”A picture accompanying the message on the site, called Kaiden’s Janeway Adventure, shows what appears to be Kaiden’s hand resting on the hands of his family.Condolences also came in from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, who had treated him to a police convoy after learning the little boy had wanted to become a police officer.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The NDP justice critic is urging the Liberal government to help him improve a bill to help Canadians carrying burdensome cannabis records and ensure the legislation passes before the fall election.Murray Rankin put forward a private member’s bill last year to expunge cannabis records, to ensure past records for simple possession are wiped outright.He says the Trudeau government’s current approach to suspend records rather than expunge them is far from enough to help an estimated 500,000 Canadians carrying past offences.Earlier this month, the federal government introduced legislation designed to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions, formerly referred to as pardons, for simple cannabis possession.Rankin says he has spoken with Liberals and Conservatives who have shown an interest in allowing for expungments, noting U.S. jurisdictions where cannabis is legal are also moving forward with this approach.A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the government welcomes “constructive ideas” from any MP to improve legislation and will consider proposals during the normal parliamentary process.The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba member of the legislature investigated for showing his assistant a picture of naked women on his cellphone is to remain in the governing Progressive Conservative caucus.Rick Wowchuk, who was re-elected in Swan River in last week’s election, was found to have breached workplace policy.CBC News reported days before the election that Wowchuk’s female constituency assistant had also alleged that he called her from the bathtub and made inappropriate comments about her wearing a bikini.He apologized during the election, saying he deeply regretted causing any offence.Tory caucus chairman Wayne Ewasko confirms Wowchuk is still in caucus and remains the MLA for Swan River.Ewasko isn’t providing any details on what the caucus discussed.The Canadian Press
Today sees the New York Restoration Project’s annual Spring Picnic fundraiser, to be co-chaired by Adrian Grenier, Marisa Tomei and Tim Gunn, and attended by several other high-profile celebrities.Founded by Bette Midler, the NYRP is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming open space in underserved communities to create a greener, more sustainable New York City. In partnership with the City of New York, NYRP is also leading MillionTreesNYC – an initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout New York City’s five boroughs by 2017.In its 11th year, the Spring Picnic will take place in the first place the organization began its work: Fort Tryon Park, New York City. Guests will enjoy cocktails, picnic supper, dancing and singing, in return for donations which will help the NYRP continue its work.For more information about the event, click here.Copyright ©2012Look to the Stars
MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) has announced a historic live concert in Myanmar to be held on December 16th to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking.The free live concert will be held at the Yangon People’s Square, which lies at the base of the magnificent 2600 year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most iconic and auspicious sites in the country.Multi GRAMMY award-winning singer songwriter Jason Mraz will headline the event becoming the first international artist ever to perform at an open-air concert in Myanmar. Also performing are Myanmar’s top artists including Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein and R Zarni. Sharing the stage at the free concert will be speakers from the anti-trafficking sector, government and donor community who work to fight human trafficking in Myanmar.In addition, MTV EXIT has launched a contest giving fans a chance to win a trip to see Jason Mraz live in Myanmar. Contest details are here.MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar will be broadcast in Myanmar on national television and will air across MTV’s international network in early 2013 as a special edition of “MTV World Stage,” MTV’s weekly live music series. Available in more than a half-billion homes, the program will feature performances, interviews and key educational information about human trafficking.The event is funded by the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Walk Free, a global movement to end modern-day slavery; and produced in partnership with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the United Nations Inter-Agency Project Against Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).Jason Mraz has taken his musical journey from coffee houses to stadiums globally and now has two GRAMMY awards and six GRAMMY nominations to his credit. In 2008, his third album, We Sing We Dance We Steal Things, featured the hit “I’m Yours,” which sold more than 21 million units worldwide and the GRAMMY-winning songs “Make It Mine” and “Lucky.” Most recently, Mraz released Love Is A Four Letter Word, which features the chart-topping song, “I Won’t Give Up.” Mraz has been a longtime advocate against human trafficking, engaging with anti-trafficking organizations in Ghana and The Philippines. The Californian singer last performed to capacity crowds in Asia in June 2012 as part of the Tour Is A Four Letter Word world tour.Human trafficking is a tragic crime that enslaves and exploits its victims, the majority of which are women and children. There are more than 20 million people living in slavery around the world with Myanmar and Southeast Asia particularly affected. The concert forms part of a wider initiative that seeks to educate and train youth through innovative television programming, digital content, capacity building workshops and community-based events. MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar follows the production of two Myanmar MTV EXIT documentaries on human trafficking, which were broadcast in 2010 and 2012 on national television to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking.MTV EXIT is also proud to partner with Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm. Further details on the concert including how to obtain free tickets will be released soon. For more information, click here or follow MTV EXIT on the following social media platforms: Twitter @mtvexit and Facebook.Source:PR Newswire