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Firhad Hakim to hold councillors meet next week to select Mayor

first_imgKolkata: Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister, will sit with the councillors of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) next week to select the Mayor. Sabyasachi Dutta recently resigned after the councillors moved a no-confidence motion against him for his anti-party activities. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Krishna Chakraborty, chairperson of the BMC, Tapas Chatterjee, Deputy Mayor and Debashis Jana, a senior BMC councillor at Nabanna and discussed the steps that should be taken to resolve the impasse. Firhad Hakim was also present in the meeting. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaIt was decided that he would meet the councillors next week to select the Mayor. Some councillors have expressed their reservation over the appointment of Tapas Chatterjee as the Mayor. Chatterjee was an active member of the CPI(M) and was the chairman of Rajarhat Gopalpur municipality. In 2011, Chatterjee contested in the Assembly elections with a CPI(M) ticket from Rajarhat-New Town constituency and was defeated by Sabyasachi Dutta. After Chatterjee joined the Trinamool Congress, differences with Dutta came out in the open. There had been stormy meetings of the Mayor-in-Council members. On July 1, Dutta refused to share the dais with Chatterjee to commemorate the birth and death anniversary of Dr BC Roy which was organised by the BMC.last_img read more

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Film screening for underprivileged children

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to inspire underprivileged children to fight all odds of life with bravery, a special screening of the movie Super 30 was organised for them in the city on Sunday.”We have selected Super 30 because it has a strong message. We have organised the screening of the movie for under privileged children (who have excelled in their board exam or appearing for their board exam) to encourage and overcome the hurdle to achieve their goal,” Jui Biswas, Trinamool Congress councillor from New Alipore (ward no 81) told Millennium Post, outside Indira cinema in Bhowanipore. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAround 200 underprivileged children attended the special screening of Hrithik Roshan starrer Super 30, directed by Vikas Bahl, having tagline ‘Ab Raja Ka Beta Raja Nahin Banega.. Ab Raja Wahi Banega Jo Haqdaar Hoga..’ The movie, based on the life of award winning mathematician Anand Kumar and his educational programme, released on July 12, 2019. It also stars Mrunal Thakur, Nandish Sandhu and Pankaj Tripathi. “I am coming here (Indira cinema) for the first time,” said S Shaw, a student, who attended the special screening of Super 30 at Indira cinema. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIn the movie, Hrithik Roshan plays the role of Patna-based mathematician Anand Kumar. He rises to fame for training underprivileged children for the IIT entrance examinations. The film has been declared tax free in Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. “Through this movie we want to encourage the under privileged children to how to cope with difficult situations in life. As a mother, I also want my daughter to see this movie. My message to the students is work hard and achieve your goal,” pointed out Biswas.last_img read more

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Man booked for sending obscene texts

first_imgGururgam: The Gurugram police has booked an unidentified person for allegedly sending emails containing vulgar and pornographic images to several employees of a private company in Udyog Vihar and insulting a female staffer of the company by way of levelling malicious allegations. An authorised representative of the company filed a complaint at cyber crime police station on August 1.In the complaint, the representative stated that several employees, including the human resource (HR) department, received at least three emails from a man who introduced himself as a fiancé of a female employee of the company. In the emails, the suspect levelled malicious allegations against the female staffer and another male employee. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The person circulated vulgar, obscene and pornographic images containing an indecent representation of women and further alleged that the said images are of the female employee,” said the complaint. The police said the first email was sent on July 15. The following day, the suspect sent another email to several employees repeating the allegations and again circulating indecent material. A third email was sent on July 29. A case was registered against the suspect under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of Indian Penal Code and 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act at the cyber crime police station on Tuesday, said police. Off- late many molesters have adopted the route of social media like Twitter, Facebook and messenger services as means of sexually harassing women by sending them lewd messages. While this form of cybercrime is a new phenomenon, most of the criminals get emboldened by the fact there is a low rate of conviction that enables the law enforcement officials to penalise them.last_img read more

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Hiking income tax appeal limit to reduce litigation help govt focus on

first_imgNew Delhi: The finance ministry’s decision to significantly increase the limit for the income tax department to appeal disputes in higher forums will reduce litigation and ensure smoother transition to the proposed direct tax code, say experts. The monetary limit for an appeal before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has been increased to Rs 50 lakh from Rs 20 lakh by the CBDT. In case of high courts, the limit has been doubled to Rs 1 crore and in case of Supreme Court, the revised limit for filing appeal has been increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore It is for the second time that the limit has been raised within a year. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The CBDT has once again increased the monetary limits for the filing of income-tax appeals by the Tax Department before the Tribunal, High Courts and Supreme Court. “This will further help in de-clogging the courts and also help the Department in focussing its resources on high value/complex appeals. Reducing the pending litigation under the existing income-tax law would also ensure smoother transition into the new Direct Tax Code,” said S Vasudevan, Partner, Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan Attorneys. Experts opined that one of the reasons to raise the monetary limits could be that the revenue department has fared poorly in the appeals filed by it, which is evident from the Economic Survey of 2017-18. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostVasudevan said the survey had stated that while the departmental appeals account for 85 per cent of the total number of appeals, the department was found to have a failure rate of more than 65 per cent. Frank D’Souza, Partner & Leader – Corporate and International Tax, PwC India, said the tax administration’s step to increase the thresholds for filing of appeals by the revenue department continues on its series of similar measures that it has been undertaking over the past 4-5 years. “This is a welcome move. However, the administration should put some serious thought behind a litigation withdrawal scheme along the lines that has been recently introduced in relation to indirect taxes,” D’Souza said.last_img read more

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Parts of WB celebrate August 18 as India Inclusion Day

first_imgMalda (West Bengal): Like in the past, parts of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh celebrated August 18 as “Bharat Bhukti Dibas” or “India Inclusion Day”, to hail rectification of the “Radcliffe Line” that had awarded parts of undivided Bengal to India three days after they were added in East Bengal province of Pakistan on August 15, 1947. Sir Cyril Radcliffe had awarded large parts of Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, 24 Parganas and Dinajpur districts to East Bengal. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja According to documented history of the partition, Pakistan flags were unfurled by Muslim League supporters in English Bazar, Murshidabad, Ranaghat and other areas of the new frontier. However, three days later, the Radcliffe Line was modified following protests at several Hindu-majority areas that fell in Pakistan. While Malda, Nadia and Dinajpur districts were bifurcated and awarded to both the countries, Murshidabad was returned in entirety to India. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Bongaon subdivision of Pakistan’s Jessore district was merged with 24 Parganas. While Radcliffe had awarded all the 16 police station areas of the Malda district to East Pakistan on August 15, 1947, three days later, 11 of them were returned to India. The then District Magistrate of Malda, Ashok Sen had hoisted the Indian national flag in Malda district administrative building on August 18, 1947, marking inclusion of the western part of the district into India. Continuing with the tradition, English Bazar municipal councillor Amlan Bhaduri unfurled the national flag on Sunday (August 18) in Fulbari area of the Malda district headquarters to celebrate the occasion. “We celebrate the ‘Bharat Bhukti Dibas’ every year in Fulbari’s Babupara locality. We make it a point to include the elderly, who witnessed partition, into the programme besides encouraging youngsters to be part of it so that they are aware of their past,” organiser Devdeep Dutta said Monday.last_img read more

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Rlys earn Rs1377 cr in fines from ticketless travellers in 3 years

first_imgNew Delhi: Railways’ earnings from fines on ticketless travellers has gone up by around 31 per cent in the last three years, an RTI has found.Efforts to curb ticketless travel have resulted in the Indian Railways earning a revenue of Rs 1,377 crore in fines between 2016 and 2019, it said. In 2018, a Parliament Railway Convention Committee, which inspected the railways’ financial report of 2016-17, had expressed concern over the loss of revenue due to ticketless travel. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Following this, the railway board directed its zonal railways to intensify the drive against ticketless travel across the country and fixed annual targets for every TTE. According to the RTI filed by a Madhya Pradesh-based activist, in 2016-2017, the railways recovered Rs 405.30 crore in fines from ticketless travellers, while the following year, they recovered Rs 441.62 crore. In 2018-2019, the amount recovered was Rs 530.06 crore. As many as 8.9 million passengers, more than the population of Israel, were caught without tickets from April, 2018 to January, 2019. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOnce caught, a ticketless passenger has to pay a minimum fine of Rs 250 along with the cost of the ticket. If a person refuses to pay the amount or does not have the money to do so, he is handed over to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and booked under Section 137 of Railways Act. The person is then presented in front of a magistrate, who can fine him for as much as Rs 1,000. In case the person still does not want to pay the fine, he or she may be jailed for up to six months.last_img read more

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575 youngsters from Jammu and Kashmir join Indian Army

first_imgAs many as 575 young boys from Jammu and Kashmir joined Indian Army’s Jammu Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) Battalion on Saturday with an aim to fight for the nation. During their passing out parade in Bana Singh Parade Ground of Jammu-Kashmir Light Infantry, the young soldiers inspired one and all as their impassioned voices echoed throughout the Valley.Their passing out parade, depicting graduation of recruits and their transformation into young soldiers, was reviewed by Lieutenant General Ashwani Kumar. “The standard of the parade today was no less than the passing out parades we have in officer training academies,” said Lieutenant General Kumar.Emphasising on the importance of the regiment, Kumar said that the regiment was closely connected to Kashmir as it was primarily composed of the locals.(Inputs from DnaIndia.com)last_img read more

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Mugabe to be buried at hilltop shrine in Zimbabwe

first_imgHarare: Robert Mugabe will be buried at a hilltop shrine reserved exclusively for Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, an official said Saturday, as the southern African nation began several days of official mourning. No date for the funeral has been set, and it’s not clear when Mugabe’s body will arrive from Singapore, where he died Friday. Mugabe, who was 95, will be buried at the National Heroes Acre, which has been set aside for Zimbabweans who have made huge sacrifices during the war against white-minority rule and who dedicated themselves to the nation, which emerged from the ashes of colonial Rhodesia. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “We don’t have the date yet,” deputy information minister Energy Mutodi said. “That is still in the hands of the family and the president, but comrade Mugabe will be buried at the Heroes Acre. That is where he deserves to rest.” Located on a hilltop, and built with the help of North Korean architects, the plot has a commanding view of Harare, features a huge bronze statue of three guerrilla fighters and boasts black marble and granite flourishes. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Mugabe is viewed by many as a national hero despite decades of rule that left the country struggling. He was an ex-guerrilla chief who took power in 1980 when Zimbabwe shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise. Mugabe had been forced to relinquish power by a previously loyal military in November 2017. Flags flew at half-staff Saturday, but there were no public activities to mark the death of a man who singularly shaped the once-prosperous country in his own image and created a repressive system that some say remains even today. Reaction to his death was mixed, although praise ironically came mostly from ruling party officials and military leaders. The state-run Herald newspaper, which vilified Mugabe when he was forced to resign and when he subsequently voiced support for the opposition, carried glowing tributes. In a “commemorative edition,” the newspaper, which often acts as a mouthpiece of the government, carried a montage of his pictures with the headline: “Robert Mugabe-1924-2019” on its front page and glowing reports throughout. In an editorial page, the newspaper praised Mugabe for “his uncompromising stance when it came to the rights of Africans.” “Whatever happened towards the end of his leadership should not be used to rubbish the good things that he did during his life,” the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and one of the commanders who led the military campaign to oust Mugabe after years of propping his rule, was quoted as saying in a separate story in the newspaper. Others were less charitable. “95 and out,” read the privately-owned Newsday newspaper. “Despite his intellectual prowess, Mugabe’s failure to let go of power when it was time was his major undoing . In short, he was a liberator who turned villain. Leaders need to know when to draw the line,” said the newspaper in an editorial. “End of an era as Mugabe dies, leaves Zim poor, divided,” read the front page headline of another privately-owned newspaper, the Daily News. “Notwithstanding the many mistakes that he made, many Zimbabweans will probably agree that had he not held on to power beyond the 1990s, he would today be largely remembered as one of Africa’s best leaders in history,” the paper said in an editorial. Both newspapers were major targets of Mugabe’s vitriol, with editors and reporters routinely arrested during Mugabe’s rule. On the streets of the capital, Harare, few seemed bothered as people struggled to cope with biting economic problems largely blamed by critics on Mugabe’s rule and perpetuated by his successor and an ally who later turned foe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa took power in 2017 with the help of the military. “Who cares?” said Percy Maute, a street vendor pushing a cart full of tomatoes along a busy street named after the former president. “I don’t care. I am too busy looking for money to mourn a man who put me in this position.” A small group of people drank beer and sang pro-Mugabe songs outside a liquor outlet and wore T-shirts with Mugabe’s face. Although only a few people cared to join or commiserate with them, they danced vigorously and spoke glowingly of a man they said fought for the liberation of not just Zimbabwe, but “the rest of Africa.” “Bob was our hero, he taught us that the white man is not a master,” they sang. Mugabe was popularly known by the nickname Bob.last_img read more

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Hrithik Tiger fight on icebreaker ship in the Arctic

first_imgMumbai: Bollywood action heroes Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff have filmed a jaw dropping sequence on the biggest cargo ice-breaker ship that plies in the Arctic Circle. “‘War’ has been hugely mounted to give audiences a film that is the biggest in terms of an action spectacle. Yes, it took months but we managed to secure the permission to shoot on a massive ice-breaking ship and filmed a visually stunning action sequence with Hrithik and Tiger. I hope audiences will love what we have shot!” Director Siddharth Anand said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka Anand said his wife Mamta was in the Arctic six years ago and she filmed an incredible video of an ice-breaking ship ploughing through frozen ice, breaking them. “When she showed me this, I was awe-struck by it. I knew instantly that one day I would shoot this magnificent visual for one of my films and I’m delighted that this idea worked out for ‘War’ because when you have two of the biggest superstars of our generation in an action movie, you want to give them and the audiences the best spectacle that no one has ever seen,” he added. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna “War” has been shot in 7 different countries and 15 world cities. A production source said that this sequence will see the two looking to beat each other in a jaw-dropping fight sequence. “Just to give context to how big the ice-breaker ship is, it is about 300 feet long and can break through ice that is about 10 feet deep! It is the biggest ice-breaker cargo ship in the Arctic and the production crew had to wait for 5 months before they could get the permission to shoot on this ship!” the source added. The film is set to be a visual spectacle for quintessential action lovers. Produced by Yash Raj Films, the high-octane film will release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on October 2.last_img read more

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Water found for the first time on superEarth exoplanet

first_imgLondon: In an “incredibly exciting” finding, astronomers have for the first time discovered water in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star outside our solar system with Earth-like temperatures that could support life. K2-18b, which is eight times the mass of Earth, is now the only exoplanet known to have both water and temperatures that could be potentially habitable, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe planet orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18, which is about 110 light years from the Earth in the Leo constellation, noted the researchers who used data from ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope. The discovery is the first successful atmospheric detection for an exoplanet orbiting in its star’s ‘habitable zone’, at a distance where water can exist in liquid form, they said. “Finding water in a potentially habitable world other than Earth is incredibly exciting,” said first author Angelos Tsiaras from the University College London (UCL) in the UK. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”K2-18b is not ‘Earth 2.0’ as it is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition. However, it brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique?” said Tsiaras. The team used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere, researchers said. They believe that other molecules including nitrogen and methane may be present but, with current observations, they remain undetectable. “This is the coolest exoplanet that we’ve detected water in. While not a true Earth-analogue due to its size, this bodes well for our exploration of small planets,” Josh Lothringer, who studies exoplanet atmospheres at Johns Hopkins University in the US, said on Twitter. “K2-18b receives only 5 per cent more radiation than the Earth, leaving it with an equilibrium temperature of 265 K (minus 8 degrees Celsius),” Lothringer wrote in the tweet. Further studies are required to estimate cloud coverage and the percentage of atmospheric water present, the researchers said. The researchers noted that given the high level of activity of its red dwarf star, K2-18b may be more hostile than Earth and is likely to be exposed to more radiation. K2-18b was discovered in 2015 and is one of hundreds of super-Earths — planets with a mass between Earth and Neptune — found by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. “With so many new super-Earths expected to be found over the next couple of decades, it is likely that this is the first discovery of many potentially habitable planets,” said co-author Ingo Waldmann from UCL. “This is not only because super-Earths like K2-18b are the most common planets in our galaxy, but also because red dwarfs — stars smaller than our Sun — are the most common stars,” said Waldmann. However, some scientists who were not a part of the research, said the planet should not be described as “habitable.” “This is a Mini-Neptune and not habitable. The pressure at any surface of this planet is likely 10 times higher than the deepest point of the ocean in Earth,” Erin M May, who studies exoplanet atmospheres at the University of Michigan, in the US, wrote on Twitter. “This planet is about the same temperature as Earth, but 2.7 times larger. While the planet is not habitable due to copious hydrogen/helium, the measurement is a huge leap,” tweeted Andrew Howard, Professor of Astronomy at Caltech in the US.last_img read more

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Indias GDP growth rate much weaker than expected IMF

first_imgWashington DC: India’s economic growth is “much weaker” than expected, according to the IMF, which attributed it to the corporate and environmental regulatory uncertainty and lingering weaknesses in some non-bank financial companies. India’s GDP growth rate slipped to 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019-20, the lowest in over six years, according to latest official data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July projected a slower growth rate for India in 2019 and 2020, a downward revision of 0.3 per cent for both the years, saying its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will now grow respectively at the rate of 7 per cent and 7.2 per cent, reflecting a weaker-than expected outlook for domestic demand. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalHowever, India will still be the fastest growing major economy of the world and much ahead of China, the Washington-based global financial institution had said. “We will have a fresh set of numbers coming up but the recent economic growth in India is much weaker than expected, mainly due to corporate and environmental regulatory uncertainty and lingering weakness in some non-bank financial companies,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters at a news conference here on Thursday. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside, he said. Responding to a question on the recent GDP figures of India, Rice said the IMF will monitor the economic situation in the country. Sharp deceleration in manufacturing output and subdued farm sector activity pulled down India’s GDP growth to over six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter of 2019-20, according to official data released last month. The previous low in GDP growth was recorded at 4.3 per cent in January-March quarter of 2012-13. India’s economic growth stood at 8 per cent in the same quarter of 2018-19. “The GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q1 of 2019-20 is estimated at Rs 35.85 lakh crore, as against Rs 34.14 lakh crore in Q1 of 2018-19, showing a growth rate of 5 per cent,” the National Statistical Office (NSO) said in a statement. “We will update that assessment in the upcoming world economic outlook,” IMF spokesman said.last_img read more

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Appalled Trudeau calls for investigation of Canadian doctor in Gaza

first_imgOTTAWA – Justin Trudeau added his voice Wednesday to the calls for an independent investigation into the shootings by Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border that killed 59 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more during Monday’s mass protests.The prime minister said he was appalled by the shooting of a Canadian doctor who was trying to help wounded protesters in Gaza on Monday.In a statement, Trudeau described the reported use of excessive force and live ammunition as “inexcusable.”“We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded — along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children,” he said.“We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events.”Loubani, an emergency physician at Ontario’s London Health Sciences Centre and at Shifa Hospital in Gaza, says he was shot in both legs Monday even though his team wore high-visibility jackets that identified them as medical staff.In a statement Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for the Israeli embassy in Ottawa said Israel’s “position regarding Hamas and recent events in Gaza is clear.“We have asked Jerusalem for instructions, as this is a prime ministerial issue,” Itay Tavor wrote.Trudeau called for a thorough examination of the possible use of both excessive force and the incitement to violence.“It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza,” he said.Germany, Belgium and Ireland and several UN Security Council members have also called for an investigation into Monday’s carnage. But the council has taken no action because the United States, a permanent member, says Israel acted with “restraint.”Monday’s violence erupted as the Trump administration followed through on its campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.Canada and its other major allies do not support the embassy move. The government says the future of the Jerusalem needs to be part of a broader negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians — a process going nowhere at the moment.Monday was Gaza’s deadliest day in four years, as the violence escalated while the U.S. formally opened its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem several dozen kilometres away.Israel and the U.S. blame the militant group Hamas for endangering civilians in Gaza by inciting them to protest — a view echoed in Canada by several Jewish groups and the Opposition Conservatives.“In condemning the Israeli forces, Justin Trudeau ignores the role that the terrorist organization Hamas has played in inciting these clashes,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement Wednesday evening.“In responding to these events with nothing but criticism of Israel, Justin Trudeau has failed Canadians on the international stage once again.”The Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs requested an urgent meeting with Trudeau to convey its concern about his response to the violence.“We are deeply disappointed the government’s statement ignores Hamas’ direct responsibility for recent violence on the Israel-Gaza border,” the centre’s CEO, Shimon Koffler Fogel, said in a written statement.“This contradicts the government’s long-stated position that, as a close ally and fellow liberal democracy, Israel can count on Canada’s support when its security is threatened.”Koffler Fogel said Hamas uses civilians as “human shields” and has “left Israel no choice but to use force to protect the tens of thousands of Israelis who live close to Gaza.”Another Canadian Jewish group, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, released a statement expressing disappointment with what it called Trudeau’s “strong and unbalanced” comments.“While we despair about loss of life, Canada should steadfastly condemn Hamas for inciting violence and for attempting to enter a sovereign nation to carry out terrorism,” the group’s president Avi Benlolo said.“It’s disappointing that our prime minister did not condemn Hamas in his statement.”Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a Monday Twitter message said: “It is inexcusable that civilians, journalists + children have been victims. All parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected.”Since March 30, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 injured in protests at the border fence.The Canadian spokeswoman for the United Nations Children’s Fund in Gaza told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that it has confirmed that six Palestinian boys and one Palestinian girl among those killed in Monday’s shootings.They are among the 13 children who have been killed and the 1,000 injured since March 30, Genevieve Boutin, UNICEF’s special representative said in a telephone interview from East Jerusalem.Boutin said there is no legal justification for anyone to shoot at children under any circumstance.“According to international law, a child is a child, first of all, no matter what brought them there,” said Boutin.“At this point, the United Nations has been clear — many journalists have observed this — they’re largely unarmed and they’re quite far away from the soldiers. So for us, they’re all child deaths that should have been avoided.”Asked whether an investigation was warranted, Boutin replied: “We all work for the secretary general, so we would echo his call for an independent investigation.”last_img read more

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Six stories in the news today May 5

first_imgSix stories in the news for Friday, May 5———MANY CANADIANS BRACING FOR WEEKEND FLOODINGResidents on both coasts and in waterlogged central Canada are bracing for flooding due to forecasts calling for heavy rain throughout the weekend. Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for much of southern and eastern Ontario, where some areas could receive up to 90 millimetres of rain. A special weather statement also covers a large swath of southern B.C. due to the potential for severe thunderstorms. Heavy rain is also expected in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick starting Friday night.———STRANDED CLIMBER RESCUED FROM MOUNT LOGANA climber from Argentina who was stranded on Canada’s highest mountain after an earthquake in Yukon has reportedly been rescued. Natalia Martinez, 37, began a solo climb of Mount Logan April 22, but two large earthquakes on Monday caused avalanches near her camp. A message posted on a climbing website late Thursday said Martinez was rescued in a three-hour operation and brought to southwest Yukon.———CANADIAN DETAINED IN DEATH OF CANADIAN IN BELIZEPolice in Belize say a Canadian man remains in custody as a “person on interest” in connection with the deaths of a Toronto woman and her American boyfriend this week. Police have said Francesca Matus, 52 and her American boyfriend, Drew DeVoursney, died of strangulation. A Belize police sergeant told The Canadian Press late Thursday that the man was still in custody and “still very much a person of interest” and that no one else was in custody in connection with the murders.———LATEST JOBS NUMBERS DUE OUT TODAYStatistics Canada will release its job survey for April today. In March, the agency reported a gain of 19,400 net jobs — and the vast majority of the new work was full-time. But Statistics Canada noted that the bulk of those new positions were in the self-employment category, which can include people working for a family business without pay. The agency says the unemployment rate crept up in March to 6.7 per cent from 6.6 per cent because more people were looking for work.———CALGARY JURY TO RESUME DELIBERATIONS IN GAS-AND-DASH TRIALA Calgary jury determining the fate of a man charged in the hit-and-run death of a gas station worker will continue its deliberations for a second day. Joshua Cody Mitchell, 22, is charged with second-degree murder in the 2015 death of gas station attendant Maryam Rashidi. She tried to stop a driver from leaving a Centex station in Calgary without paying for $113 in fuel. She climbed onto the hood of the stolen truck before it swerved, which caused her to fall off and be run over.———FEDS ADVISED TO BEWARE UNSOLICITED PROJECT BIDSAn internal federal document is raising red flags for Ottawa over unsolicited, non-government proposals for infrastructure projects. The warning comes as the Trudeau government designs a new arm’s-length infrastructure bank that will seek to lift the country’s economy by using billions in public dollars to attract billions more in private investment. The Finance Department briefing note describes unsolicited infrastructure proposals as the kinds of offers presented to governments from outside public authorities, typically from the private sector.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Companies reporting results today include Air Canada, Enerplus, TransAlta, TransCanada and Interfor.— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly and the Youth Council will take part in a Facebook Live event. (4:30 p.m. ET).— A pretrial conference will be held in Halifax for a taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger.— A statue honouring missing and murdered indigenous women will be unveiled in Saskatoon.last_img read more

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BC SPCA investigating absolutely sickening alleged abuse of chickens

first_imgVANCOUVER – Animal advocates say they have opened an investigation into “absolutely sickening” alleged animal abuse by a chicken-catching service in Chilliwack, B.C.B.C. SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty says the agency has launched a formal investigation after receiving undercover video that allegedly shows multiple workers throwing, hitting, dismembering and killing the birds, and forcing the animals into violent sexual acts with each other.She says the workers were hired to round up chickens for transport to a slaughter plant in Port Coquitlam.Moriarty says the footage was shot by a non-profit animal advocacy group between May 10 and June 9.Investigators with the B.C. SPCA are now working on a report that will be forwarded to Crown counsel and Moriarty says they will be recommending multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.She says if the individuals are convicted, they face a fine up to $75,000, a maximum five-year prison sentence and could be banned for life from owning or being around animals.The people shown in the video need to be held accountable for their actions, Moriarty says.“The video includes some of the most brutal and sadistic acts of violence against animals I have ever seen,” she says. “It is extremely difficult to watch.”last_img read more

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Former astronaut Julie Payette sworn in as Canadas 29th Governor General

first_imgOTTAWA – “Through hardship to the stars” is the motto that will guide Julie Payette, the former astronaut who was sworn in Monday as Canada’s newest Governor General.Those words are in the Latin “Per Aspera Ad Astra” on a new coat of arms designed to capture Payette’s essence as a scientist, mother and music lover.Payette, 53, urged Canadians to discover their own strength to help others as she spoke without written notes after being installed as the 29th person to represent the Queen in Canada.Payette, the first Canadian to work aboard the International Space Station and the the second Canadian woman to go into outer space, told an audience of dignitaries and invited guests that Canadians can “truly move mountains” to tackle serious issues such as climate change, poverty, migration and nuclear threats.She also issued a tongue-in-cheek apology as she briefly relied on space references in making her point that Canadians can achieve miracles if they work together, because they are all connected in one way or another.“We are inextricably bound by the same space-time continuum,” Payette said as she stood in front of the Senate’s red throne.“And, sorry, but we’re all on board the same planetary spaceship.”Surrounded by dignitaries including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his cabinet colleagues, Indigenous leaders and about 400 invited guests, Payette was sworn into the mainly ceremonial position by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada.Payette swore the oaths of allegiance of the Governor General and commander-in-chief of Canada and of the Keeper of the Great Seal of Canada.After the oaths, cannons outside the Parliament Building crashed out a 21-gun salute, which could be heard inside.The audience included justices of the Supreme Court in their fur-trimmed red robes, former governors general, several provincial premiers and Payette’s friends and family, including her 14-year-old son Laurier.Payette spoke directly to Indigenous leaders in the chamber in praising their generosity and courage through history and heralding the government’s attempts at reconciliation with the people who taught Canada’s ancestors how to survive the cold and appreciate the gifts of nature.“It is a good thing that we finally decided again to listen to their wisdom,” she said.“We have to achieve reconciliation for the well-being of our communities and for our children,” she added, speaking in Algonquin.Payette was also formally presented with the ceremonial collars marking her as chancellor of the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit and the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, as well as head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.The Montreal-born space explorer credited her parents for supporting her lofty goals, and urged young Canadians to follow their own dreams and work to make them a reality.“There is no magical solution other than working hard and moving forward,” she said.While much of the ceremony was dictated by protocol, Payette herself chose the music, which included a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung by Joannie Benoit and Melissa Bedard.The Juno Award-winning Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir, of which Payette was a member, also performed.Trudeau spoke of Payette’s flights into space as inspiring moments, calling her a two-time extraterrestrial Canadian.He praised her as a mother, an athlete, a pilot, a scientist and someone who “went where very few others had dared to go.”“Your journey through space and through life may be unique, but the qualities which underpin every one of your successes are not,” he said.The prime minister also took time to thank Payette’s predecessor, David Johnston.“You have made Canada a stronger and a better country.”In his parting statement, issued Friday, Johnston thanked Canadians for the privilege of serving them.“It has been a great honour to serve as Canada’s 28th Governor General, to represent Her Majesty The Queen in this important role within our constitutional monarchy and to give back to this country I love so much,” the former academic said.Payette followed her investiture with a visit to the National War Memorial where the new Governor General laid flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.The new viceregal Coat of Arms, which includes a depiction of an astronaut’s helmet and stars, can be found online at: http://bit.ly/2ySarfA.— Follow @tpedwell on Twitterlast_img read more

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Thompson Rivers University vicepresident died of accidental overdose family

first_imgKAMLOOPS, B.C. – The family of a British Columbia university executive who died suddenly last month says his death was caused by an accidental overdose.Relatives of Christopher Seguin say in a statement that the 39-year-old man was taken to hospital following an overdose in his hotel room in Victoria and died on Sept. 22.Seguin was vice-president of advancement at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.In an internal email to staff obtained by the media after Seguin was hospitalized, the university’s vice-chancellor said the family passed on a message that Seguin was critically ill and not expected to survive.The family’s most recent statement says the cause of death doesn’t diminish him as a loving husband and father, and as a cherished son, brother and friend.Seguin, who was born in Pinawa, Man., leaves a wife and two young sons.“Christopher’s passion and the boundless energy which he used to help improve the lives of others are the stories that deserve our focus,” the statement said.A celebration of Seguin’s life will be held in Kamloops on Saturday.Seguin was a graduate of Kamloops High School and played varsity football at Simon Fraser University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics.He focused his graduate work on international studies.Seguin held a number of positions at Simon Fraser, including cultural liaison in the school’s international education department and advancement officer for athletics.Thompson Rivers says he returned to Kamloops in 2007 and helped the university set “fundraising records virtually every year of the last decade, generating millions of dollars for student awards, groundbreaking research and major buildings.” (CFJC)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported the university issued a statement saying Seguin was hospitalized with a critical illness.last_img read more

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Bell Canada alerts customers who may be affected by data breach

first_imgThe RCMP has launched an investigation into a data breach at Bell Canada that appears to have compromised customer names and email addresses, but no credit card or banking information.Bell Canada spokesman Nathan Gibson told The Canadian Press that “fewer than 100,00 customers were affected.”RCMP spokeswoman Stephanie Dumoulin, at the police force’s national division in Ottawa, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said they couldn’t disclose details.“We are following up with Bell to obtain information regarding what took place and what they are doing to mitigate the situation, and to determine follow up actions,” said the federal privacy watchdog’s spokeswoman Tobi Cohen.Bell Canada has alerted customers who were affected, and also informed them that additional security, authentication and identification requirements have been implemented.“When discussing your account with our service representatives, you will be asked for this additional information to verify your identity,” its emailed notice to customers said.Katy Anderson, a Calgary-based digital rights advocate with OpenMedia, said she’s glad Bell is implementing additional security checks.“However, this is the second time the company has been hit by hackers in eight months,” Anderson said in a phone interview.Bell Canada revealed in May that an anonymous hacker had obtained access to about 1.9 million active email addresses and about 1,700 customer names and active phone numbers.Anderson said that the public should realize that centralized data is vulnerable, by its nature.“When a breach like this happens, which we’re seeing more and more, it’s always a good reminder to change your passwords, update your security questions with things only you would know, and consider using a password manager,” Anderson said.Bell’s latest data breach follows several other high-profile hacks, including at credit monitoring company Equifax and car-hailing service Uber, though those companies did not immediately disclose the breaches.The federal government is in the process of reviewing changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act that would require companies to notify people in the event of a serious data breach.But until those come into force, Alberta is the only province in Canada that has mandatory reporting requirements for private-sector companies.#BREAKING – 100,000 Bell Canada customers are victims of a cyber breach. The company says hackers have illegally obtained customer information, primarily subscriber names and e-mail addresses. This is the note Bell sent out. pic.twitter.com/PUe8Bt07Gn— Richard Southern (@richard680news) January 23, 2018last_img read more

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Political commentary on court verdicts hurts views of justice system lawyers

first_imgVANCOUVER – The public perception of political interference in criminal trials places the independence of Canada’s judiciary system at risk, lawyers say.Concerns have been raised following federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s comments on the acquittal of a white farmer charged in the death of an Indigenous man in Saskatchewan.Edmonton-based criminal lawyer Tom Engel said when politicians, especially the justice minister, appear to criticize verdicts, the public may believe that future decisions by the courts are influenced by the remarks.Wilson-Raybould said in a tweet that Canada “can and must do better,” after a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in at a news conference Saturday, saying Canada has “come to this point as a country far too many times.”Engel said if the case is appealed, he doesn’t believe the politicians’ comments would colour the decisions made by the appeal courts or Supreme Court of Canada.The problem, he said, is that the public may perceive that there is an influence.“You can’t have even that kind of appearance in our justice system,” he said.Michael Lacy, a partner in the criminal law group Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP in Toronto, also said politicians “have no business at all” in commenting on the outcome of a trial.“It undermines the independence of the judicial branch,” he said in an email.“Saying anything that amounts to commenting on the correctness of the verdict, to improve your public image or ensure an appropriate approval rating, should be criticized in Canada,” Lacy said, adding public figures should stick to offering sympathies over the tragic loss of life.Rallies were held across the country Saturday to show support for, and solidarity with, the Boushie family.The trial heard that Boushie was shot in the head while he was sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask. Stanley testified that he was trying to scare off Boushie and the others in the vehicle. He said the fatal shot occurred when he reached into the SUV to grab the keys out of the ignition and his gun “just went off.”The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and Boushie’s family have raised concerns about the trial because there were no visibly Indigenous jurors selected.Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said Saturday that the courts are rife with systemic racism and the justice system is in need of an overhaul.Engel said the case does raise questions about the diversity of a jury and how members are selected. He said politicians could use this an opportunity to look at how legislative changes can improve those processes, while steering clear of discussing the verdict.The use of peremptory challenges to eliminate certain people from juries is a procedure that needs to be reconsidered, he said, adding it’s understandable that people are questioning the apparent whiteness of the jury in this case.“You can’t go from that fact to say the verdict was wrong. Nobody knows that,” Engel said. “I think the perception that’s been created here is just awful in terms of the integrity of that trial and whether racism played a part.”—Follow @Givetash on Twitter.last_img read more

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Trudeau disappointed with Fords constitutional override but wont intervene

first_imgOTTAWA – Justin Trudeau made it clear Tuesday he would not block the Ontario government’s use of the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to forge ahead with plans to cut the size of Toronto city council, even though he was disappointed with the province’s decision.Trudeau said he and his government are staunch supporters and defenders of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it provides a set of guarantees that Canadians value and identify with as fundamental safeguards.“So any time a government chooses to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the charter’s protections, it has to be done deliberately, carefully and with the utmost forethought and reflection,” Trudeau said during an event in Winnipeg.“But I won’t be weighing in on the debate on how big Toronto municipal council should be,” he added. “We shall respect and allow Ontarians to judge whether their government is doing a good thing or not.”The notwithstanding clause gives provincial legislatures and Parliament the ability to usher in legislation that effectively overrides charter provisions, but only for a five-year period.Ontario Premier Doug Ford took the rarely used step Monday after a judge said it was unconstitutional to slash the number of city council seats in the middle of a municipal election without consultation, as it interfered with the right to freedom of expression of candidates and voters.Toronto Mayor John Tory called the premier’s reaction a “gross overreach” of the province’s powers and said in a tweet Monday night he had met with Trudeau, who was in the provincial capital for a women’s summit, to discuss his concerns.Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the notwithstanding clause is an extraordinary part of the Constitution that should be used only in the most exceptional of cases, after serious and sober consideration.“The rights and freedoms guaranteed by the charter are of utmost importance in our society and our government will always stand up to defend them,” he said in a statement.But like the prime minister, LeBlanc stopped short of federal intervention, saying Ontarians “will ultimately judge the actions of their provincial government.”While the Liberals chose not to pick a fight with Ontario’s newly elected Progressive Conservatives, they appeared to have few if any alternatives.A provision of the Constitution technically permits the federal government to disallow provincial legislation, but the provision was last used in 1943, raising questions in legal circles about whether it has become obsolete.LeBlanc’s suggestion the notwithstanding clause could be invoked in a legitimate emergency makes sense, said Michael Pal, an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa.Beyond such exceptional circumstances, a government in Ottawa can play a leadership role in preserving rights and freedoms by refraining from reliance on the provision, he added.“If the federal government ever starts using the notwithstanding clause, it’s very hard to say to a province, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t use it either.’ So the federal government really sets the tone.”Ontario’s use of the clause in relation to freedom of political expression is worrisome because it could open the door to “some bad places” such as limiting criticism of the government or the right to protest, Pal said. “These are not fanciful scenarios if you look around the world.”Caroline Mulroney, the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, serves in Ford’s cabinet as attorney general. The senior Mulroney denounced the notwithstanding clause in 1989 as a “major fatal flaw” of the Constitution.Appearing at an event in Ottawa on Tuesday, he said that while in office he “had no interest in using it, no matter what.”“I had difficulty with anybody invoking a provision that (would) override the Supreme Court of Canada. And that’s why I opposed it then, and that’s why I oppose it today.“And, no, I haven’t discussed this with my daughter.”A spokesman for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had no immediate comment on Ford’s move.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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Ridehailing group says BC model looks a lot like expanded taxi industry

first_imgVANCOUVER — A coalition of businesses and interest groups advocating for ride-hailing in British Columbia says legislation introduced yesterday will just create an expanded taxi industry, not the ride-hailing services that customers expect.Ian Tostenson of Ridesharing Now for BC says members are “bewildered” that the future of ride-hailing in the province remains uncertain and the government hasn’t committed to a start date for the service.Tostenson, who also represents the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, says the coalition is especially concerned that the Passenger Transportation Board would have power to limit the number of drivers on the road, where they can drive, and also set rates.He says the organization was expecting to see legislation that more closely matched the customer-driven supply and demand model that exists in other jurisdictions.Tim Burr of ride-hailing company Lyft says the company sees legislation introduced Monday as a “procedural step forward” but the regulation and rule-making process will come next.He says the company is used to rolling up its sleeves to work with legislators and regulators in many jurisdictions and remains committed to working with the B.C. government to bring the service to the province.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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