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first_imgMumbai: Producer Ekta Kapoor is all praise for National Award-winning actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who is the lead actor in her upcoming romantic-comedy production, “Dream Girl”. “After hearing the script, I felt there is only one actor who could pull off the kind of voice modulation that the role required. I told (director) Raaj (Shaandilyaa) that man (Ayushmann) bets on scripts, he will not see how big the director is or how many films he has done. He will only read the script,” said Ekta, at the film’s trailer launch. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka She added: “It takes a lot to play a woman, and he has that ability. You have to be a really talented man to play a woman.” In the movie, co-produced by Ekta’s Balaji Motion Pictures, Ayushmann essays a man who can talk in a female voice and his actions lead to hilarious consequences. While Ayushmann admitted it was not at all easy to talk in a female voice, he also shared that his experience of working on radio, where he had done voice modulation, helped him shoot the film. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna The actor also shared what he feels about women. “They are more compassionate as a gender, and calmer. I feel they are more attached, even though I do not believe in generalisation. I think men and women are the same in everything in life,” he said. The subject of his National Award win as Best Actor for “Andhadhun”, naturally cropped up. “It is overwhelming. It feels surreal. I still have butterflies in my stomach. It adds responsibility on me, too. My approach towards work has always been serious and, even though I am not very serious person in real life, I have always approached scripts with that mentality and sensibility. It has worked till now, I hope it works in the future as well,” he said. “Dream Girl” is directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa and also stars Nushrat Bharucha, Manjot Singh and Abhishek Banerjee in key roles. The rom-com is slated to hit theatres on September 13.last_img read more

first_imgSeoul: South Korean President Moon Jae-in struck a conciliatory tone towards Japan on Thursday, offering to “join hands” if Tokyo chooses dialogue as relations between the two countries dip to fresh lows.Seoul and Tokyo — both of them democracies and market economies — are mired in long-running disputes over Japan’s use of forced labour in the first half of the 20th century.The two neighbours have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat trade war that saw them remove each other from their lists of trusted trading partners this month, raising concerns over global supply chains. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThat came after Tokyo imposed restrictions on exports crucial to tech giants such as Samsung last month, following a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for wartime labour.But Moon sought to dial down the temperature on Thursday, saying Seoul was willing to work with Tokyo to secure “fair trade and cooperation” in the region.”If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands,” Moon said in a speech to mark the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 rule. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsDressed in a light blue hanbok, Moon — who earlier this month vowed South Korea will “never be defeated again by Japan” — insisted that Seoul has “not dwelt on the past”.”Reflecting on the past does not mean clinging to the past but overcoming what happened and moving toward the future,” said Moon.”We hope that Japan will play a leading role together in facilitating peace and prosperity in East Asia while it contemplates a past that brought misfortune to its neighbouring countries.” Tokyo maintains that all issues of wartime compensation were settled under the 1965 treaty that re-established diplomatic ties which included a package of about 800 million in grants and cheap loans for the former colony.The dispute has raised concerns over the potential implications on the security cooperation between the two US allies in the face of a series of North Korean missile tests in recent weeks.Pyongyang and Washington are engaged in a long-running diplomatic process over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes that has seen three unprecedented encounters between their leaders in the space of a year although little progress has been made on denuclearisation.Moon sought to play down North Korea’s recent tests — following the example of US President Donald Trump — as he assured Seoul had “even stronger” defence capabilities and was working to prevent escalation of tensions.But, he added: “The ultimate goal that these actions serve is dialogue, not confrontation.” The dovish South Korean president has long favoured dialogue with Pyongyang, dangling cross-border business projects as incentives.Moon said economic cooperation with the North will provide a one-stop solution to “problems we currently face, such as low growth, low birth rate and an aging society”.But proposed projects are currently blocked because of international sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.Moon pledged Thursday that he will “solidify the foundation” with the goal of “achieving peace and unification by 2045”, although his single five-year term presidency ends in 2022.Pyongyang has recently given Seoul the cold shoulder, saying nuclear talks will be “strictly” between the North and the US and refusing to hold a separate dialogue with the South.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned the police on Wednesday against harassing drivers and transporters on highways. She was addressing the administrative review meeting in east Midnapore.During the meeting, Banerjee said she had received several complaints against police for harassing drivers. “The drivers may commit mistakes but cases are given against them arbitrarily. The civic volunteers on duty are sent to collect money by the police. I am not going to tolerate this. I have asked Anuj Sharma, Commissioner of Kolkata Police, to take action. I also request Virendra ji to look into the matter seriously,” she said, adding that more CCTV cameras will be installed on highways and those involved in the matter will not be spared. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”Buses carrying tourists to Digha are stopped by police to check papers. This is their duty but then cases are given against the driver if they fail to give money. What is this? This will not be tolerated,” Banerjee added. Meanwhile, she instructed the administration not to allow hawkers on Digha beach. “We are constructing a 7 km pathway and no hawkers will be allowed there. They will be rehabilitated elsewhere. We want to keep the pathway free from encroachment,” she said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayBanerjee also asked the officials to expedite construction of the Jagannath temple in Digha. “Get hold of the best masons who are expert in constructing temples. Once it is constructed the people visiting Digha will be visiting the temple and the place will be developed as a centre of religious tourism,” she said. She added that Digha will come up as an international tourism centre. “People go to Goa to enjoy the sea. Digha will come up as a major tourist spot. All modern facilities will be set up to attract visitors. The state government has proposed to introduce seaplane facility in Digha as well,” she maintained. The state government is also set to bring up a museum at Pichabori, an important place in the freedom movement of India. “Undivided Midnapore had played a major role in the Indian freedom movement. We will set up a museum and a monument to pay respect to the freedom fighters,” she said. She said the state government has also proposed to install blue plaques on important buildings which had been visited by great people. She added that the state government is going to set up a university at Mahishadal, which will be named after Mahatma Gandhi to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. She inaugurated 74 projects including laying the foundation stone of some, worth Rs 400 crore. Among these, she laid the foundation stone of a state-of-the-art fish market with storage facility of sea fishes at Mohona in Digha. The Chief Minister instructed the district administration to look after the export of betel nuts, flowers and cashew nuts, for which East Midnapore is famous. Ramnagar I and II, Contai I and II and Khejuri blocks are famous for betel nut, whose export is going up. She also asked the district administration to rehabilitate the flower sellers at Deulia bazaar.last_img read more

first_imgGurugram: The Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL) has come up with four new routes. These new routes of the city bus service Gurugaman was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday. One of the new routes (number 119 ) of the city bus service will also cater to the residents of Faridabad as it will ply between IFFCO Chowk and NIT Faridabad. The areas which will be covered by this route include Baliyawas, Mangar, Pali zone, Sainik Colony, Masjid, RK Hospital, Metro Mor, Khushboo Chowk, Bristol Chowk, Sikanderpur metro station and MG Road. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe services from IFFCO Chowk will begin at 7:00 am and commence at 6:00 pm. Commuters will be able to complete the entire journey in one hour and fifteen minutes. From NIT Faridabad, the first bus will depart at 8:30am and the last bus is scheduled for 7.25pm. Similarly, another route will cover the distance between Gurugram bus stand and Palam Vihar. This route will include Sector 12 Chowk, CRPF Camp Chowk, Rajeev Nagar Chowk, Ashok Vihar 2 and 3, Park View Residency and Cosmos Executive Apartment, among others. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe duration of this route will be 30 minutes. The first bus will depart from the Gurugram Bus Stand at 7.45am and the last bus at 5:45 pm. From Palam Vihar, the last bus is scheduled for 6.20pm. Meanwhile, commuters will soon be able to take a bus service that will be a loop service between Rajiv Chowk, Huda City Centre and Rajiv Chowk. This route will ply through Medanta, sectors 40, 44, 46, Huda City Centre, Sector 31/40 Housing Board Colony, Jharsa, among others. The fourth bus route will cover the distance between IFFCO Chowk to Dundahera. Almost a year after its launch, on September 2018, the Gurugaman bus service hit a daily ridership of 50,000 last month. According to data shared by the Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited, ridership on the service jumped 67% between May and July, going from about 30,000 passengers Presently, four important routes make up more than half of Gurugaman’s daily ridership — Route 212 (from Basai to Huda City Centre and back), Route 134 (from IFFCO Chowk to IMT Manesar), Route 112 (from Sector 56 to Gurugram Railway station) and Route 111 (from Huda City Centre to Bhondsi). In all, these have a daily average ridership of about 33,000 day to 50,000 per day.last_img read more

first_imgNEW DELHI: One woman died and two others were injured when a portion of a three-storey building collapsed in outer Delhi’s Badli area on early Friday morning.The deceased has been identified as 18-year-old Poonam who was residing at the second floor with her husband. Her husband has also received injuries. Delhi Fire Service (DFS) officials said they received information about the incident at 5.15 am after which the staff rushed to the spot and started rescue operations. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe building was old and one portion collapsed before the residents could come out to a safer position. “I heard a huge thud early morning and when I reached here i saw a part of the building has collapsed. The injured were rescued from the debris. However, one girl could not be saved,” said a local resident. The two injured have been shifted to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial hospital and Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital for treatment, fire officials added. The condition of the injured is said to be stable. “We have registered a case of negligence under IPC section 304 A and investigating the incident,” said a senior police officer.last_img read more

first_imgGurugram: Bucking the economic slowdown, four revenue districts of Gurugram have recorded a 30% growth in collection of Goods and Services Tax (GST).The additional chief secretary (excise and taxation), Sanjeev Kaushal who conducted a review of the tax collection, said Gurugram (east) has showed the highest growth rate with an increase of 65 percent in July and Gurugram (north) has recorded a growth rate of 43%. All the four revenue districts of Gurugram account for 60% of the total revenue in Haryana under the GST regime. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderKaushal said the select band of top taxpayers of Gurugram district comprising 2,552 taxpayers have also shown an increase of 22.10% in July. The return compliance of the district has also gone up particularly among the top taxpayers. More than 90% top taxpayers of Gurugram have filed their GST returns He also underlined the importance of the return compliance for the success of GST and directed all the district in-charge to ensure that the compliance level goes up to 100% amongst the top taxpayers. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsWorking on the data mismatch, the department recovered and reconciled more than 175 crores from the taxpayers showing different amounts in their returns The department has also cancelled 2,949 registrations of the taxpayers who were found non-existing and non-functional during the physical verification. The department has imposed tax and penalty amounting to Rs 5.28 crores during roadside check. The ACS said that the department is processing refunds under GST promptly and all the refund applications are being disposed of within a stipulated period of 60 days. Notwithstanding the slowdown, Haryana has witnessed a growth of nearly 40 per cent in GST collections in the past one year. The collections under the state GST Act for July this year was Rs1,971.02 crore as against Rs1,404.98 crore last July — an increase of Rs566.04 crore. The GST collection figures of the Excise and Taxation Department show that Gurugram recorded 30 per cent growth rate under the GST regime this July, the highest so far.last_img read more

first_imgMumbai: Domestic equity benchmark BSE Sensex advanced over 200 points in early session on Friday, led by gains in index heavyweights Infosys and RIL, amid positive cues from global markets.After rising 223 points, the 30-share index was trading 164.05 points, or 0.45 per cent, higher at 36,808.47 at 0930 hours, while the broader Nifty rose 44.15 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 10,892.05.In the previous session on Thursday, the BSE barometer ended 80.32 points, or 0.22 per cent, lower at 36,644.42, while the Nifty settled 3.25 points, or 0.03 per cent, higher at 10,847.90. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalTech Mahindra was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack in early trade on Friday, rallying over 4.70 per cent, after the company announced expansion of its strategic multi-year collaboration with AT&T.Other gainers included Tech Mahindra, Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, NTPC, Axis Bank, ONGC, Tata Motors, Infosys, PowerGrid and RIL, rising up to 1.95 per cent.On the other hand, Sun Pharma, Yes Bank, HDFC duo and HCL Tech slipped up to 2.47 per cent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAccording to Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management, regular news flow from the RBI and the Finance Ministry have helped to stabilise equity markets lately.”Markets continue to display resilience in holding on to important technical long term support,” he said, adding that investors were further calmed by news of upcoming resumption of talks between China and the US.Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea were trading in the green in their respective late morning sessions. On Wall Street too, stock exchanges ended significantly higher on Thursday.The rupee, meanwhile, appreciated 12 paise against its previous close to trade at 71.72 in early session.Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.26 per cent higher at 61.11 per barrel.On Thursday, foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth a net of Rs 561.17 crore, while domestic institutional investors purchased shares worth Rs 699.31 crore, provisional data showed.last_img read more

first_imgSrinagar: In a major operation, Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday gunned down a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant who was responsible for attacking a leading apple trader’s family in which a girl child had also been injured. Some policemen were also injured in the exchange of fire but are said to be out of danger. Asif Maqbool Bhat was killed in a brief shootout with the police and security forces in Sopore around 9 a.m. “When we intercepted Bhat today (Wednesday), he attacked us. He threw a grenade at us. A few police personnel were injured but they are out of danger. In the ensuing encounter, the militant was neutralised,” Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said in a press briefing. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details He said Bhat had attacked the family of Haji Hamidullah Rather, a prominent fruit grower of Sopore and a resident of Dangerpora area, on September 8. “The militant fired at the family members of Rather, injuring four of them including a girl aged between four and seven years. The girl is admitted here in a hospital. Other members of the family were also evacuated from that place.” The girl was Rather’s daughter Asma. Bhat, and his associates, had also shot and injured a migrant labourer, identified as Shafi Alam, the same day, the DGP added. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “The injured boy has been brought to a Srinagar hospital. I am told that his condition is fine and he is likely to be discharge any moment.” Bhat was also responsible for making use of over ground workers (OGWs) to print and publish posters threatening people to stay away from the fruit business, not to open shops and refrain from normal day-to-day activities, he said. “We were watching those activities. We were after these people who are involved in this. Eight people who are indulging in this kind of activities were apprehended by Sopore police along with the computers and other equipment they were using for printing those threatening letters and pasting them at various locations.” The DGP said that Bhat, along with two other fellow militants Sajjad and Mudassar, was very active in the area over the last one month and had created a lot of terror. “They were roaming around in villages, going to the people and threatening them, telling them not to go for daily chores… So we were tracking him.” On a specific input, police, along with other security forces, laid some “nakas” (checkpoints) close to Sopore town, the DGP said, adding Bhat was challenged to stop when he came. “Bhat, however, did not stop and threw a grenade on our party in which couple of our police personnel were injured but they are out of danger. He was later neutralised in the encounter. “With the killing of of Bhat, I believe that the area will heave a sigh of relief. The terror which he was creating there would be taken care of to some extent. We also know his other two associates and we are after them. We will see it in the near future. We will take care of them,” he said. The elimination of the top LeT member comes two days after the police, along with the army and other security forces including the Central Reserve Police Force, busted a terror module of the LeT in the Sopore area with the arrest of eight militants. Sopore’s Senior Superintendent of Police Javaid Iqbal said the men had hatched a conspiracy to print posters threatening locals from venturing out of their homes, either for trade, travel, schools or office. They used to distribute these posters in local villages.last_img read more

first_imgFederal wildfire researchers say most regions in Canada could be facing a long, hot, fiery summer.Wildfire starts and the amount of land burned were below average for the first few weeks of the season, but dry weather is turning things around, said Richard Carr, a fire research analyst with Natural Resources Canada.“We’ve had a long, lingering winter and a bit of a slow start to the fire season, but the numbers are higher than the same time last year.”Across the country, wildfire starts have been above average since the end of April. On the national fire danger map, the risk in almost all of the three most westerly provinces is rated at least high. Saskatchewan shows as almost entirely extreme.Two provinces have already had their first evacuations of the year. About 40 people in Crutwell, Sask., have had to flee their homes at least twice. Seven families in Lac du Bonnet, Man., also had to leave.Manitoba has counted 119 fires so far. Last year at this time, the figure was 27 and the year before that it was 58.Nationally, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says Canada is about 100 fires ahead of the 10-year average for early May.Although some parts of the country are flooding, much of the forested area remains dry, said Carr.“It’s pretty dry across that whole stretch, right from British Columbia to western Ontario.”Ontario has banned open fires in its northwest and Alberta has posted bans in many parks and municipalities. A ban in Saskatchewan covers Crown land in provincial parks, except in the Cypress Hills.The Alberta government produces a map that displays how dry forests are. Almost the entire forested region of the province rates at least 89 out of 100.More worrisome are Environment Canada’s weather predictions for the summer. Although precipitation is difficult to predict and some rainy relief is expected by July, Carr said the data suggests it will mostly be hot and dry.“There’s still a fair amount of Canada that’s showing drier than normal conditions,” he said.“If we get rain during that time, we might go into a lull and have a normal summer. But if it stays dry — and it looks like there’s a chance that it might — we might be a busier season.“A number of models are predicting a warm summer across North America. That’s really increased.”Canada has about 8,000 wildfires every year that burn an average 21,000 square kilometres of forest. The amount burned varies widely from year to year, but federal statistics suggest that figure has been rising for the last several years.Scientists theorize that increased wildfires will be one of the main effects of climate change as hotter weather and less predictable precipitation creates more volatile forests.Fire conditions are tough to predict. Heavy rains, lightning strikes or gusting winds can change everything.But Carr said conditions are lining up for a difficult summer.“It is picking up pace now.”— Follow @row1960 on Twitterlast_img read more

first_imgEDMONTON – The sweet smell of NHL playoff success isn’t the only aroma that’s exciting people in Edmonton.While fans of the Edmonton Oilers celebrated their team taking a 2-0 lead in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, a corpse flower known as “Putrella” bloomed at the city’s Muttart Conservatory.The two-metre-tall plant produces an odour similar to rotting meat during the bloom, which is anticipated to last just 48 hours.The conservatory says it will stay open late Saturday and Sunday to accommodate all of the people who are expected to line up for a whiff of the flower’s stench.Nearly 9,000 people visited when Putrella became the first corpse flower to bloom in western Canada in April 2013.In its native Indonesia, the corpse flower’s smell attracts carrion beetles, which become covered in pollen that they carry to nearby corpse flowers for reproduction.The conservatory says that due to its enormous size, a massive amount of time and energy is needed for a corpse flower to bloom.Because of this, it goes through years of growth and dormancy stages.Putrella’s last bloom was in 2015.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – The Defence Department says a painstaking review of dusty personnel files in the national archives may be needed to determine how many people were forced out of the military for being gay or lesbian.The Trudeau government has signalled its intention to apologize to former military members, hoping to make amends to those who endured federal discrimination over the decades due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.The policies had their roots in government efforts that began as early as the 1940s to delve into the personal lives of employees who were considered security risks.However, inquiries to Defence — including a formal request under the Access to Information Act — reveal the department has no firm sense of the numbers affected between 1969, when homosexual acts were decriminalized, and 1992, when military restrictions on gays were lifted.National Defence’s human resources system does not include information on a person’s sexual orientation, nor does it record the specific reason why a person was released from the Armed Forces, spokeswoman Suzanne Parker said in a written response to questions from The Canadian Press.Due to these limitations, it is “impossible to provide a tight estimate” of the number of Forces members released between 1969 and 1992 due to their sexual orientation, Parker added.A February 2016 briefing note to the senior associate deputy minister of defence, released under the access law, recommended that “further work be done” to determine the number of people discriminated against and whether the federal government should offer a redress package.The government now faces a brewing class-action lawsuit in Federal Court that would cover members of the military and other federal agencies who were “investigated, discharged, terminated, sanctioned or faced threat of sanction” by the government after June 27, 1969 because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.The lawyers chose the date of decriminalization as the starting point because, since homosexual acts were illegal until that point, breaking a law would have provided the government with legal grounds for disciplining or firing employees.The government is committed to conducting archival research to try to determine the number of people affected by the policies, Parker said. “It may entail pulling and reviewing every single personnel file from Library and Archives Canada to determine the circumstances of each case.”Todd Ross, one of the lead plaintiffs in the court case, joined the Forces in 1987 at age 18 and came under investigation by the military police. He eventually admitted being gay while attached to a polygraph machine, an experience that was incredibly traumatic, his lawyers plan to argue in court.Ross accepted a discharge rather than spend the remainder of his naval career performing “general duties,” with no hope for promotion or advancement, they say.In 1967, the military issued Canadian Forces Administrative Order 19-20, “Homosexuality — Sexual Abnormality Investigation, Medical Examination and Disposal,” which formally banned gays from serving.Openly homosexual recruits were prevented from enlisting, and soldiers discovered to be gay were dismissed, says the heavily censored February 2016 briefing note. Any personnel who suspected another member of being gay or lesbian was required to inform a commanding officer.The policy was loosened somewhat in 1988. The order to inform superiors was dropped and dismissal of homosexuals was no longer automatic, the note points out. However, those who did not quit upon discovery were denied access to promotions, security clearances and transfers.The official military restrictions on gays were lifted in 1992 after it became clear they violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Defence records indicate that 43 Canadian Forces members were released under CFAO 19-20 between January 1985 and January 1988, says an internal draft note from March of last year, also disclosed under the access law. Between January 1988, when the interim policy came into force, and October 1992 when the policies on homosexuals were revoked, about 47 members were affected. Statistics prior to 1985 were not available.However, another version of the draft note excludes the figures and says the number of people affected by CFAO 19-20 “is not known.”“Regardless of the numbers originally mentioned in the draft document, we are now actively trying to identify these individuals,” Parker said.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

first_imgVICTORIA – The more than 45,000 people forced by wildfires to flee their homes were top of mind for John Horgan as he was sworn in as premier of British Columbia on Tuesday, becoming the first New Democrat to take on the role in 16 years.Speaking in Victoria, Horgan said he and the 22 members of his newly appointed cabinet would do whatever it takes to support those residents affected by the dozens of blazes tearing across the province’s central and southern Interior.“I want to commit to those who are in distress today that these 11 men and 11 women will be working as hard as we can to ensure that we get through this crisis and you are back in your homes safe and building a future for your families in this great province,” Horgan said in his first speech as B.C.’s 35th premier.“Canadians come together in times like this,” he added. “It’s heartening to see people across political stripes, people across the country, coming together to help fellow Canadians, British Columbians, get through a difficult time.”Horgan thanked his family, including two sons and his “beautiful, spectacular, stellar wife” Ellie for their support throughout his political career.He also saluted his basketball coach, who was present for the swearing-in ceremony, and others for instilling the values his mother started teaching him and his siblings following his father’s death.“I am only here because of you. I’m only here because of the goodwill of other people,” Horgan said as he pledged to work hard to ensure that the province’s economy works not just for the few but for everybody.The New Democrats take office with a one-seat edge over the Liberals after reaching a deal with the three Green members of the legislature elected on May 9. The Liberals won 43 of the 87 seats in the legislature, but the government of former Liberal premier Christy Clark was defeated in a confidence vote last month.Clark spent her last day as premier meeting with wildfire evacuees and volunteers at a reception centre in Kamloops. She said people continue to tell her how grateful they are for the help they have received.Doug Donaldson will take responsibility for the wildfire crisis as the NDP’s new forests minister. He said he would be getting to work immediately, starting with a conversation with the Liberal MLA previously in charge of the emergency response.“I’m going to be phoning (former forests minister) John Rustad. He’s agreed to work with me to ensure we have a smooth transition, because the whole wildfire situation is totally a non-partisan issue.”The NDP has also created a new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, with former health critic Judy Darcy at the helm, as the death toll from opioid overdoses continues to climb in B.C.“Everyone has been given a significant task to do in the executive council, but none I don’t think greater than Judy’s,” Horgan told reporters following the ceremony, as he emphasized the challenge associated with bringing together different parts of the bureaucracy to create an entirely new ministry.“It’s a big challenge, but we start by making sure it’s a priority every day.”Melanie Mark, the first First Nations woman to be appointed to cabinet in B.C., wore a red button blanket and carried an eagle feather as she was sworn in as minister of advanced education, skills and training.NDP stalwart Carole James received a standing ovation when she was sworn in as deputy premier and minister of finance, while longtime New Democrat Mike Farnworth, who challenged Horgan for leadership of the party, took over as solicitor general and public safety minister.Six members of the legislative assembly were named as parliamentary secretaries, ranging in areas such as poverty reduction and emergency preparedness.Green party Leader Andrew Weaver congratulated Horgan and his cabinet as he attended the swearing-in ceremony.“This minority government is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do politics differently in British Columbia,” Weaver said in a statement. “We have a historic opportunity to put partisan politics aside and work together across party lines to advance good public policy that is in the best interest of British Columbians.”last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA — As negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement falter, the Trudeau government is expecting premiers and federal cabinet ministers to fan out across the United States to push the merits of the trilateral trade pact.Federal cabinet ministers will be heading south in the coming days to continue their full-court press for the deal, following the end of the fourth round of NAFTA talks that saw American negotiators drop bombshell proposals on dairy, autos and other issues that Ottawa views as non-starters.Transport Minister Marc Garneau will attend Friday’s meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence governors and premiers in Windsor and Detroit.Government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the trade talks, say these moves are not a just a response to the latest round of talks, which exposed massive gaps between American bargaining positions and those of Canada and Mexico.They say the effort has been long planned as part of a co-ordinated attempt to reach out to U.S. lawmakers, using premiers and cabinet ministers to target key states.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., briefed the premiers on the latest NAFTA developments during a first ministers meeting two weeks ago.“It’s in everyone’s interest to continue the outreach that has been ongoing,” said one source.“I think the provinces and territories understand that as much as we do, which is why we’ve seen a strong level of engagement on their part.”Later this month, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will use a meeting of the Toronto Global Forum to meet Florida Gov. Rick Scott.“In the face of the NAFTA renegotiations and U.S. protectionism, our partnerships are demonstrating that free trade benefits businesses and workers on both sides of the border,” Wynne says in a statement promoting the conference.Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dispatched 11 cabinet ministers to key U.S. states to make the case for NAFTA and to keep people and goods flowing over the border.Their key talking point is that 35 U.S. states call Canada their top customer, while nine million Americans depend on trade with Canada for their jobs.Those efforts continued on Wednesday when Freeland met in Washington with Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who has been highly critical of Trump.In the coming days, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan is to travel to North Carolina to meet politicians and academics.In November, MacNaughton and Andrew Leslie, Freeland’s parliamentary secretary on U.S. relations, are to attend the Halifax Security Forum in anticipation of meeting Sen. John McCain.Garneau’s visit to the Friday meetings in Detroit and Windsor will have him in the company of several key U.S. politicians, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan.Wisconsin was the setting for some of Donald Trump’s harshest anti-Canadian trade rhetoric when he criticized Canadian dairy policies for hurting mid-western farmers.This week, U.S. negotiators called for an end to Canada’s supply management system for dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey within the next decade.On auto parts, the U.S. also tabled a proposal for all cars to have 50 per cent U.S. content to avoid a tariff. The U.S. has requested this policy be phased in within one year, which automakers call impossible.Government officials say they are noticing how U.S. business and labour groups are starting to speak out in support of NAFTA and its economic benefits. They point to warnings coming from prominent business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that tearing up NAFTA would be bad for the economy.last_img read more

first_imgMONTREAL – The concept of “western alienation” is real and dangerous, and people in the region feel as though their aspirations aren’t in line with those in the rest of Canada, Rona Ambrose said Tuesday.“We have a population in Alberta feeling as though their goals aren’t part of the federation’s goals — it’s dangerous,” the former interim Tory leader told an audience in Montreal as they celebrated the opening of a new school of public policy at McGill University.She said one incident that recently provoked sentiments of alienation in Western Canada was the rejoicing of politicians in Quebec — notably outgoing Montreal mayor Denis Coderre — to news that TransCanada was abandoning its Energy East pipeline project.She added the ill-fated plan to ship Alberta crude through Quebec to a port in New Brunswick for refining and sale overseas represented “hope” for Albertans, who have been suffering economically since the price of oil fell several years ago.Ambrose cited opposition inside neighbouring British Columbia to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as another factor leading western Canadians to question their place in the country.“Over a short time frame, (opposition to energy projects) has become a political issue on the ground,” said Ambrose, who spent 13 years representing citizens in Alberta at the federal level and served as interim Conservative leader.“It’s getting easy to stir up feelings of alienation — it’s not good for the federation.”She said the idea that western Canadians, especially Albertans, are increasingly feeling out of place inside the vision of Canada put forward by the current federal government “is very real.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for lacking enthusiasm for getting Canada’s oil and gas resources to market.The Conservatives blame Trudeau’s government for the failure of Energy East while Ottawa says the company’s decision to cancel the project was due to business considerations.Hard feelings in Western Canada toward Ottawa were summed up recently by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall:“(Trudeau’s) actions and his government’s actions may well have some westerners wondering if this country really values Western Canada, the resources we have, and the things we do to contribute to the national economy and to quality of life for all,” he said.Ambrose was among several prominent Canadians on hand to celebrate the opening of a school of public policy made possible by a $10-million donation by the Max Bell Foundation.Former prime minister Paul Martin as well as Michael Sabia, president and CEO of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, were among those who spoke at the event.Ambrose retired from politics last summer and is now a Global Fellow for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which is based in Washington, D.C.last_img read more

first_imgTORONTO – Police say three people believed to be victims of a scam targeting Chinese students have been located.Toronto police say they believe the disappearances were linked to a scam in which Chinese students are told to go into hiding and stay off social media or their relatives in China will be hurt.Police allege the families in China are then contacted and told that the student has been kidnapped, and are then asked to pay a large ransom.Investigators say Juan Wen Zhang, 20, who went missing on Nov. 8 in Toronto was located on Saturday in Montreal.They say Yue (Kandy) Liu, 17, who disappeared on Nov. 10, was found Sunday in Kirkland, Que.And Ke (Jaden) Xu, 16, who was last seen in on Nov. 9, was located on Monday morning in Ontario.Const. Caroline de Kloet said Monday that the investigation into who contacted the students is ongoing.Loved ones notified police that the students were missing, De Kloet said.Police say one of the victims became aware of the scam when she turned her phone on in the Montreal area.last_img read more

first_imgKINGSTON, Ont. – Two eastern Ontario teens are facing charges after a social media argument escalated into a fight with weapons on a front yard.Police in Kingston, Ont., say two girls became involved in an argument over social media on Sunday and it escalated to the point where one of them proposed they settle their differences in a fight.They say the complainant went out to her front yard and saw the other girl and a boy approaching and calling her names. It’s alleged the boy fired a pellet gun at the complainant multiple times and missed, at which point the other girl pulled out a knife.Police say the alleged victim struck the girl, causing her to drop the knife, and the two engaged in a physical struggle during which the complainant’s face was scratched and she was kicked several times by the boy.The alleged assailants fled when neighbours said they were calling police and the complainant was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.A boy and girl — both 17 — surrendered to police on Monday. He is charged with two counts of assault with a weapon and assault, while she faces one count of assault with a weapon.last_img read more

first_imgYARMOUTH, N.S. – Three Nova Scotia fishermen who were captured on video abusing and killing a seal pup on their boat have been handed hefty fines and a fishing prohibition.Prosecutor Alex Pink said Mark MacKenzie, the boat’s captain, was ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 and banned from fishing from Jan. 1, 2019, until June 30, 2019 — the most lucrative time for the groundfish fishery off Yarmouth.“It is a significant penalty and a groundfish prohibition is significant as well,” he said Wednesday from his office in Yarmouth. “That could be thousands and thousands of dollars that that person will not be able to earn.”Two other people on board also received fines.Jay Alexander Jenkins was fined $3,500, while Brendon Douglas James Porter must pay a fine of $2,500.A trial for the three was supposed to begin Tuesday in Yarmouth provincial court, but they pleaded guilty to a charge under the Fishery General Regulations relating to the release of incidental catch.Pink said it’s difficult to say how the sanctions compared to other cases because “it’s not something we see very often in this country.”The matter gained national attention last year when a video surfaced on Facebook showing a seal being taunted and prodded with a buoy, and being kicked amid laughter as one man suggests killing it while another talks of getting a machete.“I want to play tug-of-war with him,” one person can be heard saying in the video, which was obtained by CBC before it was deleted.The penalties follow intense public condemnation of the abuse and prompted responses on a local newspaper’s Facebook site, praising the judge but also saying they should have been handed stiffer sentences.“I believe they deserved a whole lot more than they got!!!!” wrote one woman on The Vanguard’s site.Another said: “So amazing to see this good outcome! Animal abuse like this is never OK under any circumstance.”Last February, federal Fisheries Department officials said the charges were laid after they were alerted to the video showing the mistreatment of the seal aboard a vessel off Yarmouth.The men have until Dec. 18, 2018, to pay the fines.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s appalling record on Indigenous health is undermining its efforts to be a global health leader.That’s according to research published this week in one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals, which calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to start backing up his lofty rhetoric with concrete action.The Lancet, a peer-reviewed journal founded nearly two centuries ago in the United Kingdom, is showcasing the Canadian medical system for the first time in a series of articles and commentary authored by a collection of scholars and public figures across Canada.The glaring contrast in between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes is one of the central themes, which include poorer rates of chronic disease, infant mortality trauma, suicide and overall life expectancy.“It looks to us as though there is a developing country within Canada’s borders,” said Lancet executive editor Jocalyn Clark.“If you can’t be a leader at home on Indigenous health and equity, how can Canada be the leader we need it to be internationally?” she added. “People are getting really impatient and instead of promise we need progress.”Clark called Trudeau’s progressive agenda a reason for optimism, adding that now is the time for action as Canada takes over the G7 presidency for 2018.One of the articles focuses on Canada’s historic role as a middle power that, up until the government of former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, excelled at using diplomacy and collaboration to advance global health initiatives, punching above its weight.But overseas aid development from Canada has declined in recent years, the study finds, with contributions hovering around 0.26 per cent of gross domestic product, placing Canada 15th among the 35 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.“Canada’s new policy directions must be backed by resources,” writes Timothy Evans, head of health and nutrition at the World Bank, in an accompanying commentary.“The failure to come anywhere close to achieving the development assistance target … raises legitimate questions about whether ‘Canada is back.’ “Stephanie Nixon, a health researcher and co-author behind one of the series papers, said that while overall aid from Canada may have stalled, the proportion of that assistance earmarked for health initiatives has risen in recent years.The abdication of international leadership in the era of U.S. President Donald Trump and populist-fuelled turmoil rocking Europe has left a vacuum that Canada is well placed to fill, Nixon said — but Canadian political leaders will have to back up the messaging with action.“Our sense is that Canada has got its talk right. Now it’s time for Canada to get its walk right as well,” she said.Another piece in the series charts the development of universal health care in Canada from its origins as a provincial program to cover hospital costs rolled out by then-premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas. Author Danielle Martin warned that without continuous innovation and update, medicare risks losing relevance.“You don’t sort of say, ‘Well, we’ve done universal health coverage,’ and then pack it up and go home,” said Martin, a Toronto-based physician and public health scholar.One concrete step for change is the expansion of medicare coverage to include prescription drugs, she said.“Imagine an international reader of a journal like this looking at the Canadian system and saying, ‘Wait, what do you mean you have a modern, universal health-care system that doesn’t include prescription drugs?’ No other developed country has made that choice. It’s absurd.”The series also includes commentary from Trudeau, who lays out his vision for global health and gender equality.Canada’s focus is on three areas, he said: comprehensive sex education, reproductive health services and investment in family planning and contraceptives.“Everyone benefits when women and girls can participate freely and fully in our economies and societies,” Trudeau said.Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott says in an accompanying note that Canada is quadrupling the number of mental health wellness teams for Indigenous communities across the country and is investing in health infrastructure in the country’s remote regions.Lancet editor Clark said the series applauds the successes of Canada’s health-care system while at the same time shining a spotlight on some of its challenges, which include coping with an aging population and longer-than-average wait times for elective surgery.The aim is to showcase Canada to the international community and also push for change domestically, she said.“I’m a Canadian, so I recognize that in Canada, we tend to be quite insular when we talk about our health-care system,” Clark said.“As the series argues, Canada tends to be a little too comfortable in its own beliefs about how great its health-care system is. That limits Canada from probably being as strategic as it needs to be on these issues.”— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

first_imgSNOHOMISH, Wash. – A second murder charge has been filed against a Washington State man accused in the death of a Canadian couple 31 years ago.William Earl Talbott is facing two charges of aggravated first-degree murder, according to court documents filed Friday in Washington state’s Snohomish court.The bodies of Victoria’s Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, and her high school sweetheart Jay Cook, 20, were found in 1987 about one hour’s drive apart in Washington State.The Skagit County Sheriff’s department announced Talbott’s arrest last month after investigators made a break in the cold case using a new strategy involving genetic genealogy, uploading DNA from the crime scene to a public, online genealogy database.Investigators then combed the family tree to identify Talbott as a suspect and collected a fresh DNA sample from him to confirm a match.Talbott, 55, was arrested in May and charged with the first count of first-degree murder in Van Cuylenborg’s death, with investigators saying at the time that they expected to lay a second charge in Cook’s death after gathering more evidence.last_img read more

first_imgFREDERICTON – A legislative committee in New Brunswick has concluded that harassment allegations against Speaker Chris Collins were founded, but only in part.The legislature’s administration committee met for two hours Monday before deputy Speaker Bernard LeBlanc emerged to read a prepared statement, saying the committee had received a summary of findings from an independent, third-party investigator.“The investigation was conducted in an impartial and fair manner,” LeBlanc said outside the legislature. “It was extensive and is now complete.”LeBlanc said investigator Leslie Macleod concluded that a complaint of harassment lodged against Collins earlier this year was “founded in part,” and that there was a violation of the province’s workforce harassment policy.The name of the complainant and details of the allegations have yet to be released.LeBlanc said committee members would not be commenting on the findings, and he declined to answer questions when reporters pressed for details.Premier Brian Gallant later issued a statement, saying he expected a remedy to be determined by the “appropriate authority within the legislative branch.”“We take any allegations of harassment seriously and must always work to ensure we have safe and respectful workplaces,” the Liberal premier said.Gallant announced in early April that Collins was being suspended from the Liberal caucus, saying the premier’s office had been made aware of potential allegations of harassment in February, but the complainant didn’t come forward with allegations until two months later.In May, Collins announced he would sit as an Independent while pursuing a case of libel and slander against the provincial government.Collins’s lawyer, T.J. Burke, has said his client was given no information about the nature of the allegation but would fight them “tooth and nail.”The member for Moncton Centre said Gallant’s decision to suspend him was done without any concern for his rights or those of the complainant.“I was placed upon the altar of public consumption then and there, for reasons not yet completely clear,” Collins wrote in May.Collins said he has never seen a human resources matter handled in this manner, saying the actions of the premier have damaged his political opportunities in the provincial election set for Sept. 24.First elected to the provincial legislature in a 2007 byelection, Collins had previously served three years as a Moncton city councillor. He was briefly minister of local government under former Liberal premier Shawn Graham, and was elected Speaker after the Liberals returned to power in September 2014 under Gallant.last_img read more