New Delhi: Soon, your favourite cup of tea may be served in eco-friendly ‘kulhads’ across all major railway stations, stalls at bus depots, airports and malls across the country, with Union Transport and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari writing to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in this regard. Currently, caterers at two railway stations, Varanasi and Rae Bareli, use terracotta-made ‘kulhads’, glasses and plates. “I have written a letter to Piyush Goyal to make use of kulhad mandatory at 100 railway stations and also suggested airports and state transport undertakings having tea stalls at bus depots to make the use of kulhads mandatory. We will also encourage malls to have kulhad tea stalls,” Gadkari said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSME said the move is expected to provide a huge market for local potters and also help conserve the environment by eliminating the use of paper and plastics to serve beverages. Gadkari said he has also instructed the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to supply equipment for large-scale production of kulhads as their demand increases. “We distributed 10,000 electric wheels to potters for making kulhads last year. This year, we have set a target of distributing 25,000 electric wheels,” KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said. Under the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana, the government has been distributing electric wheels to potters to increase their productivity. In 2004, then railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had introduced ‘kulhads’ to boost the pottery industry and also give passengers a taste of eco-friendly cups. He had made it clear that hot beverages should be served only in ‘kulhads’.
Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh): Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Vikram Singh Saini, who represents the Khatauli assembly seat, has made an outrageous statement on India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, calling him “aiyaash” (immoral or philanderer). He further said that Nehru divided the country after being fooled by the British. The BJP lawmaker, known for his controversial statements, said that the Nehru-Gandhi family was “aiyaash”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ He commented on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s marriage with Sonia Gandhi in Italy and added that “the whole family has been indulging in such activities.” The BJP legislator also shared a snapshot of an old photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other world leaders on Facebook. In the grab, Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg appears to be looking at Modi. The BJP member, however, gave an unexpected spin to the photo. “Modi ji only sees the glory of Bharat Mata and nothing else. Hail the son of Mother India,” Saini’s Hindi caption roughly translates to. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K He ended the post with a jibe at Nehru and a piece of advice for Solberg, “Don’t look at him in a wrong way silly woman. He is Modi, not Nehru.” Explaining the post, Saini said, “One woman politician was gazing at Modi. Our Prime Minister does not know anything other than his country.” The BJP lawmaker had earlier kicked up a controversy when, after the abrogation of Article 370, had claimed that BJP workers were ‘excited’ as now they can marry “fair girls from Kashmir”. He had earlier also said that Hindus should produce more children.
Related stories:How Las Vegas shooting takes psychological toll on bystanders2 Canadians identified as victims in Las Vegas shootingSniper kills 59 in Las Vegas, 23 firearms recovered from hotel room Global Affairs Canada confirms it knows of at least four Canadians who were killed and another four who were injured during the mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip on Sunday.They were killed when a gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers from his nearby hotel window. Nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds were injured.“A team of consular officials has been deployed to Las Vegas to assist Canadians,” spokesman Philip Hannan said in a statement. “Consular officials are on the ground and working closely with U.S. authorities to identify and help any more Canadians hurt in this attack.”A model with two young sons and a restaurant staffer about to be promoted to manager are among the Canadians confirmed dead in a mass shooting at a country music show in Las Vegas. Tara Roe Smith, who was 34 and lived in Okotoks, Alta., was there with her husband, Zach, and another couple for a weekend getaway, said her aunt, Val Rodgers. She was there with her husband, Zach, and another couple for a weekend getaway, said her aunt, Val Rodgers.“They were there just to have a good time and to enjoy a concert,” Rodgers said from her home in Brandon, Man., Tuesday.“She was a beautiful soul. She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly.”Roe Smith worked with Calgary modelling agency Sophia Models International for 10 years, said owner Bill Giofu.“She was always a friendly face when she came in to see us at the agency, a very caring spirit,” he said. “We are deeply saddened and shocked and pray for everyone affected by this tragedy in Vegas.”Roe Smith also worked as an educational assistant at the Foothills School Division.“It has been a challenging time for our division yet we continue to stand together and support one another,” John Bailey, superintendent of schools, said in a statement. “We have put our crisis response team in place and they will remain as long as is needed to assist students and staff.”Lyndsay Perham’s childhood friend, Calla Medig, was also at the Route 91 Music Festival when she was shot. Going to Las Vegas for the festival had become an annual tradition for the country music fan, Perham said.“She was a very loyal friend. We always had fun together,” said Perham, who grew up with Medig in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper, Alta. “We had a very tight-knit group of girls and we just did everything together growing up.”Medig, 28, was with her best friend when she was shot, Perham said. The friend managed to get Medig to a hospital, where she died.“We’re going to miss her and we’ll just have to try and get through it together, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to.”Medig had taken time off from her job at a Moxie’s restaurant in west Edmonton to attend the festival said her boss, Scott Collingwood.When news broke about the shooting Sunday, Collingwood said he immediately called Medig, but it went right to voicemail. She didn’t answer texts or Facebook messages, he said.On Monday, he called her roommate, who went to Vegas with Medig, and got the terrible news.“She was a little bit of everything around here. She was kind of a rock and, as of Thursday, she would have been our newest manager,” Collingwood said. “A lot of us around here have super heavy hearts and we already miss her.”Another Alberta woman, Jessica Klymchuk, was identified as one of the shooting victims on Monday.Klymchuk was a mother of four who lived the northwestern Alberta town of Valleyview, where she worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at an area Catholic school.St. Stephen’s School was planning a candlelight vigil for her on Tuesday evening. A family friend has set up a crowdfunding page to support Klymchuk’s children.“Jessica was an amazing mother who worked to provide her children with as best a life as she could,” Noella Marie wrote on the GoFundMe page, adding Klymchuk was engaged to the “love of her life,” Brent Irla.Another Canadian victim of the attack, Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, B.C., would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.Bartender Heather Gooze was serving McIldoon when the gunfire began. He was shot in the stomach and Gooze said she helped carry him out.She said she held his hand for his final moments.“The fingers kind of squeezed and then just stopped. You don’t have to be a doctor to know,” she said. “And I kept thinking about if this was me, would people stay with me? Would they make sure that I was OK?“I couldn’t go.”The death toll in the Las Vegas massacre now stands at 59 people, with over 500 others injured, making it the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.The gunman was identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev. He had checked into the hotel room on Thursday, authorities said. Police said he was a retiree with no criminal record in the Nevada county where he lived.SWAT teams using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room in the sleek, gold-colored glass skyscraper and found he had killed himself, authorities said.Assistant Clark County Sheriff Todd Fasulo says officers found 23 firearms in the Mandalay Bay hotel room of the shooter and 19 firearms at his home.Tens of thousands of concertgoers screamed and ran for their lives as shots rang out on the outdoor festival.Other Canadians recalled the terrifying scene.Jesse Harrison, of Toronto, and his wife were standing near the stage when the barrage of shots rang out.“It sounded like fireworks, just lots of popping… and then the music stopped and then more popping and then everybody hit the ground,” he explained during a Skype interview with CityNews.“We didn’t know where it was coming from so we jumped under our seats. It felt like it was right on top of us.”Harrison said they eventually decided to make a run for it.“It would stop for a few seconds and then people would start running and stampeding and started up again and everyone hit the ground again. It felt like it kept going for minutes.”He said in all the confusion they lost each other in the crowd but met up at a hotel where they were put in lockdown.With files from Mary Jo Laforest in Edmonton, The Associated Press, ABC News and News Staff
TORONTO – An Ontario police officer who pleaded guilty to assault after siccing his K9 unit dog on a compliant suspect was granted conditional discharge on Wednesday, as the judge blamed the incident on an “impulsive error in judgment.”Justice Harvey Brownstone said the officer had taken responsibility for his excessive use of force and had expressed remorse for his actions.“It is abundantly clear that this offence was an isolated incident that arose from an impulsive error in judgment and not by a premeditated act or loss of temper or a personality disorder,” Brownstone said as he delivered the sentence in a Toronto courtroom.Earlier this month, York regional police Const. Michael Partridge admitted his role in the assault on March 30, 2016, that left a man with minor injuries.Partridge was originally charged with assault and assault with a weapon — the weapon being the dog — but he pleaded guilty to one count of assault on the day his trial was scheduled to begin.The Crown had been seeking a conditional three-month sentence with house arrest, while the defence sought a conditional discharge.A surveillance video that captured the incident became a key piece of evidence in the case. The video shows Partridge kicking and punching the suspect while the dog he had released bit and clamped down on the man’s arm.Crown lawyer Peter Scrutton told court the assault lasted for 30 seconds.“It’s just due to luck that this dog bite didn’t cause real injury,” he said.York police had been investigating break-and-enters in the Toronto area and wanted to arrest three men following one alleged break-in at a home in Brampton, Ont.They followed the men to downtown Toronto and were met by city police.Around 3:30 p.m., one of the suspects was arrested after he walked out of a condominium and a subsequent search revealed a baggy with loose ammunition.Partridge was there with his police dog, Lex, to help if needed. Officers spotted two other suspects, who bolted with police following, court heard.One officer ran after one of the suspects who eventually stopped running and lay face down in an alley. Partridge and his dog were well behind in the chase.The suspect, Median Jackson, is seen in surveillance video lying on the ground for about two minutes as an officer stands nearby waiting for someone to arrive with handcuffs, court heard.Partridge did not know the suspect was on the ground obeying the officer’s orders when he yelled out “Police, K9, you’re under arrest, come out,” court heard.Almost immediately, Partridge released the dog before he knew Jackson’s whereabouts. The dog bit down on Jackson’s arm and began thrashing its head back and forth, video evidence showed.“He was too hasty in siccing the dog on the suspect,” the judge said.Court heard Wednesday that it was the first time Partridge had released his dog during his nine months in the K9 unit.“Clearly this incident indicates a need for more thorough and intensive training in the use of police dogs in such circumstances as well as in the procedures that officers should resort to when pursuing and apprehending suspects resisting arrest,” Brownstone said.“It is hoped all police officers can learn from this incident in order to prevent recurrence.”York police did not agree with the judge.“In our respectful opinion, Const. Partridge engaged in a course of conduct that was contrary to the training he received as a member of York Regional Police,” Chief Eric Jolliffe said in a statement.Toronto police opened an investigation into the arrest and eventually laid the charges late last year.Police charged Jackson with one count of break and enter and breach of probation, but both were later dropped due to Partridge’s actions.Partridge still faces three allegations of misconduct under the Police Services Act and remains suspended with pay until the case is heard.The judge ordered Partridge 12 months probation and to participate in training programs. He will not have a criminal record.Outside court, Partridge’s lawyer, William MacKenzie, said his client feels bad about the incident, but wants to return to the force and continue his career.“With the benefit of hindsight, it was unnecessary, but certainly in the circumstances it was, from my perspective, understandable,” he said.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version carried incorrect attribution for a quote from the chief of York regional police.
TORONTO – Teenagers who use electronic cigarettes are at risk of graduating to tobacco smoking, a large Canadian study suggests.The study of more than 44,000 Grade 9 to 12 students in Ontario and Alberta, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), shows a “strong and robust” linkage between so-called vaping and subsequent tobacco use.“We found that youth that had used e-cigarettes were significantly more likely to start smoking a year later,” said lead researcher David Hammond, a professor in the school of public health at the University of Waterloo.“They’re more likely to try smoking and they’re more likely to become daily smokers.”The big question, said Hammond, is whether it’s the use of e-cigarettes that is making some young people smoke.“A lot of what we’re seeing in our study and a lot of other studies out there is a simple fact, and that is the kids who do risky things, the ones that are more likely to try e-cigarettes are also more likely to try smoking,” he said from Waterloo, Ont.“And guess what? They’re also more likely to try alcohol and marijuana. It’s all to do with the fact that kids who are susceptible are going to try different things.“We’ve had something like two million Canadian youth try e-cigarettes and we’d be foolish if we weren’t concerned about kids trying nicotine products at an earlier age than they typically try smoking.”The research, known as the COMPASS study, looked at e-cigarette use among students in 2013/14, with a follow-up a year later. Students were classified into six categories: current daily smokers, current occasional smokers, former smokers, experimental smokers, puffers; and those who had never tried smoking.Those teens who vaped in the 30 days prior to the start of the study were more likely to start smoking cigarettes and to continue smoking after one year, researchers found.“Youth may be trying e-cigarettes before smoking because they are easier to access,” said Hammond, noting that tobacco cannot be sold to minors.Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, said vaping by young people is of significant concern.“Certainly nicotine is addictive and we don’t want e-cigarettes to be a mechanism whereby youth get addicted to nicotine,” he said.“And that’s why it’s so important to prevent kids from using e-cigarettes or starting smoking.”While Canada has not approved nicotine-containing e-cigarettes for sale in conventional retail outlets such as supermarkets, the products are widely available online and in vape stores.Non-nicotine e-cigarettes, which come in hundreds of flavours, do not require government approval to be sold and make up a large part of the market in Canada.However, that is expected to soon change. Bill S-5, which would create new regulations governing e-cigarettes, was approved by the Senate in June and is currently before the House of Commons.Among its provisions, Bill S-5 would outlaw the sale of vaping products to minors and prohibit the promotion of e-cigarettes containing flavours that appeal to youth, as well as restricting advertising of these products.But Cunningham said the provisions in Bill S-5 for e-cigarette advertising are weak compared to those for both tobacco and for cannabis, when the latter product becomes legal next year.“And I think the bill should be amended to strengthen the restrictions on e-cigarettes advertising,” he said.The Canadian Medical Association recommends a ban on the sale of all electronic cigarettes to those younger than the minimum age for tobacco consumption in their province or territory.The doctors group also wants the licensing system tightened to limit the number of outlets where tobacco products, as well as vaping devices, can be purchased, along with restrictions on the promotion of e-cigarettes.“Protecting Canada’s youth should be of the utmost importance for government and health-care professionals alike,” said CMA president Dr. Laurent Marcoux.“The findings in this (study) provide even more evidence that the government should continue to work to limit sales and decrease the appeal of products that are often targeted towards Canada’s youth,” Marcoux said by email.The CMAJ is editorially independent from the Canadian Medical Association.-Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $26 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.That means the jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Jan. 5 will grow to approximately $35 million.
MONTREAL – The U.S. trade agency that handed Bombardier Inc. a big victory last month says Delta Air Lines could still import C Series from Canada.The American carrier has said it will delay deliveries until the planes they ordered are built at an Airbus and Bombardier C Series assembly line that will be set up in Alabama.However, the U.S. International Trade Commission says Delta is contractually obligated to take delivery of the planes from Canada unless the deal is renegotiated.“We find that Delta might indeed import at least some, if not all, of the CS100s due to be delivered pending any renegotiation of the terms of its contract with Bombardier,” said a 194-page report issued late Wednesday.Bombardier declined to comment on the report, saying it will take “the necessary time to digest its content before making any comment.”Commissioners voted unanimously Jan. 26 that the C Series hasn’t caused Boeing material harm even though the Department of Commerce concluded that the planes are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and are subsidized by the Canadian government.The ruling means the anti-dumping and countervailing duties totalling 292.21 per cent that were imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce won’t be applied.In its report spelling reasons for its decision, commissioners said they concluded that Boeing didn’t lose revenues from United or Delta sales campaigns because it didn’t offer a competitive product.It also said C Series imports and prices for the aircraft won’t significantly depress prices for Boeing planes or spur demand for more imports.Part of its argument centres on evidence — though much of the numerical details have been blacked out in the report — that there is no evidence of imminent C Series purchases in the U.S.The commission noted there has been no sales momentum for C Series in the U.S. since the Delta order, with no carrier signing purchase deals.The USITC also rejected Boeing’s claim that the C Series imperilled its 737 Max 7 program, which hasn’t received any orders since 2013.“The program’s commercial performance largely reflects the up-gauging trend among U.S. airlines and Boeing’s success at selling larger, more profitable single-aisle (aircraft).”The commission added that it is obliged not to determine a threat based on “mere conjecture or supposition.”The report was released a day before Bombardier is to disclose its fourth-quarter and full-year results.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)
An advocate for the rights of jurors has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the federal and Ontario governments for post-traumatic stress disorder he developed during a lengthy murder trial.Mark Farrant spent five months as a juror at the 2014 trial in Toronto of Farshad Badakhshan, who was convicted of murdering his 23-year-old girlfriend, Carina Petrache.Badakhshan’s trial heard that he stabbed the university student and then set fire to their place. Petrache fled the blaze but was badly burned and died on the way to hospital. Badakhshan was also severely burned.After the trial, Farrant was diagnosed with PTSD, which spurred him to become an outspoken advocate for the need to provide counselling for jurors hearing horrific cases.In a statement of claim filed in Toronto on Friday, Farrant seeks damages from the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada “as a result of being subjected to graphic and disturbing evidence during his time as a juror.”The claim, which has not been proven in court, says Farrant has suffered “ongoing mental health problems including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, nervous shock and other issues, as a direct result of being compelled to serve on the jury.”It alleges Farrant continues to suffer from stress, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, significant weight loss, loss of income and a diminished capacity to enjoy life.“The psychological distress and injuries caused as a result of the plaintiff’s experience as a juror have and will continue to have a significantly negative impact on his family relationships, including but not limited to those with his wife, and two young children,” the claim reads.Farrant successfully advocated for a new jury support program in Ontario and has been lobbying the federal government to develop a national standard to ensure every juror has access to the same level of support.He said there is more awareness of the effects of trauma on first responders, but there needs to be recognition that jurors can suffer too.“Thanks to Mr. Farrant’s persistent efforts, we are seeing overdue action being taken to recognize the psychological harm that can be caused as a result of sitting as a juror and being exposed to graphic evidence,” his lawyer, Todd McCarthy, said in a release.“Unfortunately, this change is too late for Mr. Farrant who received no treatment or therapy during or after his time as a juror. It is within this context that he brings this action.”In an email, Farrant acknowledged that the $100,000 in damages he is seeking isn’t a huge amount of money.“The claim has a modest financial component as I believe this action is an extension of the advocacy work I have been doing,” Farrant said Tuesday.In a 2017 interview with The Canadian Press, he said no juror should be forced to suffer in silence.“They shouldn’t feel like it’s a continued burden for them, like it’s their job to feel and just hold those emotions inside,” Farrant said.“Some people might feel … it’s their burden to suffer alongside with the families. That’s not the case.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
TORONTO – Survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s residential school square off against the federal government this week in another round of a convoluted legal battle over document secrecy.Among other things, the plaintiffs want Ontario’s top court to order a review of all St. Anne’s compensation claims adjudicated before the government disclosed thousands of documents from a 1990s criminal investigation by provincial police.They also want the court to set aside a decision allowing Canada to keep secret civil-litigation materials — despite an initial ruling to turn them over. The documents were generated during 62 lawsuits related to horrific physical and sexual abuse 154 Indigenous people had suffered at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont.Those lawsuits were all resolved without a trial but before the government settled a broader class action brought by Indian residential school survivors in 2007. As part of the class-action settlement, the government set up a compensation scheme for survivors known as the independent assessment process.The two St. Anne’s plaintiffs in this week’s appeal — known as H-15019 and K-10106 — were both initially denied compensation but succeeded after a legal fight and reviews. They maintain the difficulties they had in advancing their claims can be attributed to the government’s failure to disclose all relevant documents it had in its possession.They also argue other claimants may have run into the same issue.“Canada failed the St. Anne’s survivors and misled the adjudicators,” the plaintiffs say in written Appeal Court submissions. “Canada continues to fail in the duties it owes to the St. Anne’s survivors, the adjudicators, and the administration of justice by refusing to produce transcripts from examinations from discovery that are part of the factual narrative of St. Anne’s IRS.”The federal government, the plaintiffs argue, has no legal basis to claim “settlement privilege” to keep the civil documents secret. They say such privilege applies only to negotiations toward settlement of a lawsuit, not to sworn testimony and factual evidence contained in transcripts that are a normal part of such litigation.St. Anne’s, which the plaintiffs describe as “veritable house of horrors where, for generations, indigenous children suffered unspeakable physical and sexual abuses,” has long been the subject of criminal and civil proceedings. Courts in Ontario and British Columbia have issued close to 20 separate decisions and endorsements related to the compensation process involving the now-defunct school.In January 2014, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ordered Canada to disclose all transcripts of criminal or civil proceedings related to St. Anne’s. Six months later, court documents show, the government simply wrote Perell to say it would not be handing over civil transcripts on the grounds they were confidential under the doctrine of “settlement privilege.”Last April in a new decision, Perell concluded Canada was not obliged to produce the civil transcripts — the ruling now under appeal.For its part, the Canadian government maintains the Appeal Court should not interfere. It asserts the issues are moot because H-15019’s claim has now been settled, and Perell was right to find that K-10106 had no standing to raise the matter.“In addition to legal arguments, the appellants make numerous unsupportable allegations that do not withstand any scrutiny of the evidence,” Ottawa asserts in its factum. “The appellants are wrong to allege that previous disclosure issues involving St. Anne’s…amounted to ‘material suppression of evidence.’”Intervening in H-15019’s appeal, lawyers acting as independent counsel under the Indian residential schools settlement argue Canada’s assertion of settlement privilege has never been recognized in law. They also argue “other claims from St. Anne’s that are yet to be heard could still be affected by the failure to disclose the civil transcripts.”The case is expected to be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday.
TORONTO – Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government had barely been in power for an hour Friday before it was under attack about the perceived lack of diversity in its cabinet.Shortly before officially taking the reigns of the province, Doug Ford announced the 20 ministers tasked with helping him shepherd the new government’s agenda of fiscal restraint.But while the cabinet drew praise for enlisting members with considerable public and private sector experience, critics also noted the fact that only seven women and one visible minority currently have a seat on the front benches.Two out of three opposition parties said the makeup of the cabinet does not reflect the diversity of either the Tory caucus or the province as a whole.Political observers also noted the lack of diversity, but said the current cabinet composition makes an effort to balance different sets of interests including regional representation and willingness to commit to the promised agenda.The Progressive Conservative party did not respond to a request for comment.Critiques of the new Tory cabinet, which features plum portfolios for Ford’s past political rivals as well as veterans of provincial and federal politics, began pouring in almost immediately after Ford delivered a speech to cheering supporters gathered outside of the legislature.Newly elected New Democrat Sarah Singh, whose party now forms the official Opposition in the legislature, said the image of the predominantly male, white cabinet sends a disheartening message for those hoping to feel supported by the Ford administration.“For me as a young woman of colour, and I’m sure for many others across this province, they’re not seeing themselves reflected in the decisions that were made today,” Singh said after extending her congratulations to the newly minted ministers.Singh also criticized Ford’s decision to assign the Indigenous affairs portfolio to a minister who’s already overseeing the major files of energy and northern affairs.That move, Singh said, suggests reconciliation with Indigenous residents will be a lower priority than it has been under past regimes.Similar concerns emerged from the camp of the Green party, whose leader Mike Schreiner made history in the June 7 election by being the first person elected to the house under his party’s banner.Schreiner issued a statement lauding the depth of talent in the cabinet ranks, but lamenting that diversity seemed only confined to the skill sets on display.He noted that having only one member of a visible minority, Seniors and Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho, does not adequately represent four million Ontarians who identify as belonging to a minority group.Schreiner also took aim at the comparative lack of women in the upper echelon of the new government, though Ford’s two primary leadership rivals — Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney — were assigned the prestigious titles of health minister and attorney general respectively.“All governments should strive for gender parity, so it is unfortunate that just seven of the 21 ministers named today are women,” he said. “This is made more troubling by the fact that you have reduced the Ministry of the Status of Women to a non-portfolio responsibility and unnecessarily changed the name to ‘women’s issues.’”Social media teemed with criticisms of the new cabinet, with hashtags such as #OnGovtSoWhite decrying the lack of racial diversity gaining the most prominence.Political observers said Ford’s choices for high office send a message about where his governing priorities lie.Andrea Lawlor, a political science professor at Western University’s King’s University College, said the relatively homogeneous cabinet was formed from the ranks of a caucus rife with candidates from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.The group does feature members from all across the province, however, and Lawlor said Ford’s focus on veteran legislators may be an attempt to suggest that a new government is not necessarily the same as an inexperienced one.“I don’t think it’s an oversight, I think it’s a notable absence,” she said. “I think it suggests that, in an attempt to keep his cabinet as small or efficient as possible, he was … going for the people who he knows will present his agenda and who he knows will have the experience to perhaps balance the fact that he is not only a new premier but a new (member of the provincial legislature) MPP.”Rob Leone, a former Conservative member of the Ontario legislature, agreed that Ford’s choices reflect a desire to showcase a combination of political savvy and people with skills to manage large files and organizations.Leone said he would expect to see a more diverse cabinet further into Ford’s mandate when rookie caucus members have had time to get some experience under their belts.For now, though, Leone said he sees no problem with the current cabinet configuration.“People will assess cabinets on a variety of criteria, but the one that matters most is whether a minister does his or her job well,” he said. “Our parliamentary system is about to put them to the test.”
OTTAWA — The Canadian Press has learned that Canada is planning to send hundreds of election observers to Ukraine to prevent Russian meddling in its March 2019 presidential elections.Government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say as many as 500 monitors could be sent in missions run by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe as well as a separate mission organized between Ukraine and Canada.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau are announcing the $24-million contribution that will also support electoral reforms, gender equality and inclusive governance in Ukraine.Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada told The Canadian Press recently that his country is convinced it will face Russian interference in the upcoming presidential ballot.Andriy Shevchenko also says the recent Russian seizure of three Ukrainian ships and their two dozen sailors in the Kerch Strait last month is another attempt to destabilize Ukraine ahead of the election.Freeland, who is at OSCE meetings in Milan, said that Canada is a steadfast partner of Ukraine, and that electoral observation missions are key to strengthening democratic institutions.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia professor who went missing in Colombia earlier this month has been found dead.A statement sent to Simon Fraser University faculty and staff says Colombian police recovered the body of Ramazan (Ramo) Gencay outside of Medellin.University president Andrew Petter says the economics professor will be deeply missed and that his heart goes out to Gencay’s family, friends, students and colleagues.Gencay’s wife Carole Gencay says on Facebook that her husband suffered an untimely death in Colombia and a celebration of life is being planned.Global Affairs Canada says a Canadian citizen has died in Colombia and consular services are being provided to the person’s family.Petter’s statement to university employees says there are numerous support services available for students, faculty and staff.“I know how distressing this news is for the SFU community, and I wish to reassure everyone that we will continue to do everything we can to support Ramo’s family at this sad and difficult time,” he said. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move the province’s land-locked oil to market by rail.It says 4,400 leased railway cars will move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020.Shipments are expected to begin as early as July.The province estimates the plan will lead to a $5.9-billion increase in royalties, tax revenues and profits over three years, meaning a net gain of $2.2 billion.It expects the discount for Western Canadian heavy oil versus U.S. light crude will shrink by US$4 a barrel. The rail investment is meant to be a medium-term measure as new pipelines to coastal ports, such as the Trans Mountain expansion to the West Coast, remain in limbo. The Canadian Press
Cambridge University in Britain says it’s rescinded an offer of a visiting fellowship for controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.A Cambridge spokeswoman says Peterson requested a two-month fellowship at the school’s Faculty of Divinity, which had been slated to take place in October and November of this year.But she says the university opted to rescind the fellowship opportunity after a review of Peterson’s work.Peterson has earned a global following after becoming an outspoken critic of political correctness and advocate for free speech on post-secondary campuses.The best-selling author says Cambridge did not directly notify him of the fact that the fellowship he requested after a 2018 visit was rescinded, an allegation the university denies.In a blog post, Peterson called the school’s decision “a serious error of judgment” and wished the Faculty of Divinity “the continued decline in relevance that they…deserve.”The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — THE WAR TO JUNE 6: Allied fortunes had rebounded by 1944 after the massive German conquests of 1940-41. British and American armies had driven the Germans from North Africa and Sicily, forced Italy to surrender and were moving up the Italian boot while Allied bombers were pounding German cities and towns day and night. In the East, the Soviets were on the march to Berlin. And in the Pacific, the Americans were making headway against the Japanese.WHY INVADE? Military planners recognized Germany could not be defeated by strategic bombing or naval blockade. Instead, they would have to invade to both free occupied Allies and ensure Europe didn’t fall into the hands of the Soviet Union.WHY NORMANDY? The decision was largely dictated by technology and supply problems. Beaches had to be within range of British-based fighter planes and easy striking distance of a port, which would be needed to unload supplies. The Nazis believed the Allies would attack at the Pas de Calais, which was the closest point to Great Britain. Knowing this, the Allies devised an elaborate deception to keep the Nazis focused on this area while actually preparing for Normandy, which had lighter defences, suitable beaches and the requisite proximity to ports.WHO HAD THE ADVANTAGE? In many ways, the Allies and Germans were well-matched. The Allies had far superior air and sea power; the Germans had troops and tanks available for quick reinforcement. The Germans had better tanks and anti-tank guns while the Allies had more of both. German troops, in many cases, were better trained and superbly led by hardened veterans. The Germans, however, were hampered by shortages of supplies, especially fuel while the Allies had plenty of everything. German generals also faced ham-handed interference by Adolf Hitler; Allied generals were able to unfold their plans without harassment from above.WHY D-DAY? A combination of factors including weather, the phases of the moon and the tides led to June 6 being the day of the invasion. As for the moniker, military planners habitually designated the day an operation was to begin as D-Day — the ‘D’ has no particular significance. However, because the Normandy invasion was largest of its kind ever attempted, D-Day became forever associated with the operation on June 6, 1944, the official name of which was Operation Overlord.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canadians will be asked this fall to choose between moving forward with the Liberals or getting ahead with the Conservatives.But while they both seem to be urging voters to go in the same direction — onward — the messages underlying the two main parties’ campaign slogans are very different.The ruling Liberals have settled on “Choose Forward” as their official campaign theme, part of their bid to cast the election as a choice between building on Justin Trudeau’s record of accomplishments or rolling back the clock to the era of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.The Conservatives, meanwhile, have settled on “It’s time for you to get ahead,” with emphasis on the “you” — as opposed to the wealthy corporations and high-priced lobbyists whom Leader Andrew Scheer maintains have gotten ahead under the Trudeau government.Both parties have also released new national television and online ads that expound on their campaign themes.The Liberal ad shows a smiling Trudeau engaging with constituents in his working class Montreal riding of Papineau and delivering his campaign message while riding a transit bus.He talks about things he says the Liberals have done to help average Canadians, such as cutting taxes for the middle class, creating the Canada Child Benefit and tackling climate change — all things he notes the Conservatives have opposed.“The Conservatives like to say they’re for the people, but then they cut taxes for the wealthy and cut services for everybody else,” Trudeau says — a sly reference to the slogan employed by unpopular Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whom the Liberals are doing their level best to turn into an albatross for the federal Conservatives.The ad concludes with the prime minister facing the camera and saying that “in October we’ve got a choice to make — keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years. I’m for moving forward for everyone.”The ad is buttressed by a series of “stories” from individual Canadians talking about how they’ve benefited from various Liberal policies or why, in general, they support the ruling party.The Conservative ad features Scheer alone, talking into the camera about his plan for Canadians: “Lower the cost of living and leave more money in your pockets.”“I believe that Canadians across this country are so frustrated because they’re working so hard and they’re following all the rules, but they feel like they’re falling further and further behind or they’re barely getting by,” Scheer says.In a news release announcing the slogan, Scheer says it’s intended to draw a “sharp contrast” between who gets ahead under the Liberals and who will get ahead under a Conservative government.“We’ve seen who gets ahead under Trudeau. It’s billion-dollar companies and high-priced lobbyists like Loblaws who get generous handouts from hard-working taxpayers,” he says, referring to federal funding of up to $12 million to help the supermarket chain install more energy-efficient refrigerators.“It’s long-time corporate donors to the Liberal party like SNC-Lavalin, who Trudeau broke the law trying to protect from criminal prosecution.”Not to be left out of the moving onwards theme, the Green party is campaigning on the slogan: “Not Left. Not Right. Forward Together.”Signs for the fledgling People’s Party of Canada, meanwhile, are plastered with the phrase “Strong and Free.”The New Democratic Party, which has been using the lines “on your side” and “a new deal for people” in the run-up to the campaign, is set to reveal its official campaign slogan and its first ad next week.Trudeau has until Sept. 15 to call the election, which is scheduled for Oct. 21.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A Crown attorney says former overseas hostage Joshua Boyle is lying about his wife Caitlan Coleman being a neglectful, unfit mother.Prosecutor Jason Neubauer says Boyle, who is accused of assaulting Coleman, wants to portray her as a bad parent to feed a larger fiction about Coleman being mentally ill.Boyle, sitting in the witness box, denies making the allegations up, saying Coleman was an incompetent mother who often hit their eldest child.Testimony in Boyle’s assault trial resumed late today after several hours of procedural wrangling over whether certain evidence should be allowed.Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to offences against Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in the period of October to December 2017.The offences are alleged to have taken place after the couple returned to Canada following five years as hostages of Taliban-linked extremists who seized them during a 2012 trip to Afghanistan.The Canadian Press
The Public Theater has announced that, for the first and only time, Sting will perform songs from his new album, The Last Ship, for 10 concerts to benefit The Public Theater in their intimate, 260-seat Anspacher Theater from September 25 – October 9.An evening of music and storytelling with one of the world’s most prolific artists, these performances will offer unique insight into the creative process of both his new album, to be released September 24, and his forthcoming play of the same name, premiering in 2014. All proceeds benefit The Public Theater and are tax deductible.“Sting is one of the great artists of our time, a brilliant songwriter who is also a model of activist commitment,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “The Last Ship is shaping up to be a masterpiece, both an elegy for and a celebration of the working class life of the Newcastle shipyards. The Public is honored to call Sting a friend and thrilled to be hosting these benefit concerts.”Sting added, “The Public Theater, a New York institution committed to supporting all of the city’s distinct communities, was a natural fit to perform this material that is, at its core, about the importance of community.”In the spirit of The Public Theater’s ongoing mission of accessibility, a limited number of free seats will be distributed the day of each performance via a lottery system. Entries will be taken between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. each performance day, with a drawing beginning at 6:00 p.m. (All entrants must be present to win.)Sting also has a long tradition of hosting special events for members of his official fan club. In addition to these 10 performances, 100 Sting.com Fan Club members will receive free tickets, selected via lottery, to attend a very special concert in celebration of Sting’s birthday on Wednesday, October 2 at The Public Theater. For details, please visit www.sting.com.American Express Cardmembers can purchase advance tickets beginning on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. EST through Sunday, July 14 at 10 p.m. EST at PublicTheater.org or 212-967-7555.An exclusive pre-sale for Sting.com Fan Club members will begin Saturday, July 13 at 12noon EST and conclude Sunday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Sting.com Fan Club members must purchase tickets by phone at 212-967-7555.Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Sunday, July 14 at 10:01 p.m. EST here and beginning Monday, July 15 at 12noon EST by phone or at the box office.Benefit ticket prices range from $250-$2,500, with tickets at the top tier to include VIP seating and a pre-show meet & greet with Sting. Tickets are tax deductible for US residents. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.This fall, Sting will release a new album of original material entitled The Last Ship. Drawing inspiration from the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England where he was born and raised, Sting has crafted both an entire world and a close-knit community of original characters. In celebration of the album, these intimate benefit concerts at The Public Theater will reveal Sting’s influences behind the album through storytelling and visual projections paying homage to the traditional roots of the North East of England, with music from pub-like folk tunes to a wall of sound from Sting’s full band, many of whose members also hail from the North East.Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure. The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues—including its landmark downtown home at Astor Place, which houses five theaters and Joe’s Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to its beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; and the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Public’s wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions.Source:PR Newswire
On May 6, 2014, more than 625 tri-state area business, healthcare and community leaders attended the 12th Annual Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Laugh for Life: New York and raised $700,000 to benefit innovative MMRF approaches to extend patients’ lives and accelerate new treatments to lead to a cure for multiple myeloma, a fatal blood cancer.Walter M. Capone of the MMRF, Fran Drescher, Michael Reinert, Aviva Drescher and Anne Quinn Young celebrating at the 2014 MMRF Laugh for Life: New York“The MMRF Laugh for Life event provides us the opportunity to honor all who are united in our mission to cure myeloma, but especially the courage of patients, their families and friends,” said Walter M. Capone, President of the MMRF. “Thanks to those who inspire and support events like ‘Laugh,’ we are able to accelerate new and even more effective therapies for patients and advance cutting-edge research through our partnerships with the best scientists, researchers and clinicians in institutions and companies worldwide.”The MMRF was proud to honor Fran Drescher, actress, comedian, producer and President and Visionary of Cancer Schmancer Movement, with the Carol Goldschein Spirit of Hope Award presented by Celgene Corporation. This award is presented annually to a patient, caregiver or individual who exemplifies the true spirit of hope – one who generously advocates for the benefit of others, works tirelessly to help cancer patients, and inspires hope through their perseverance. Drescher’s cousin Aviva Drescher, TV personality, author and philanthropist, accepted the award on her behalf. Susie Essman, stand-up comedian, actress, writer, television producer, and voice artist, served as headliner for the comedy event. Michael Reinert, Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP and a member of the MMRF Board of Directors, served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.“It’s a huge privilege to be honored by the MMRF, an organization that has had an amazing impact in advancing the field of myeloma research,” said Drescher. “No organization is doing more to shape the future of cancer research and directly benefiting the lives of so many patients.”The MMRF is a leading cancer research foundation that is developing new models and innovative means for accelerating the next generation of myeloma treatments as quickly as possible. The organization is currently spearheading the world’s first and only open access data platform in multiple myeloma, which will empower patients with information to make decisions about their individual medical choices and enable researchers and others to make faster treatment discoveries for this incurable blood cancer.“The MMRF is known for bringing great researchers, scientists and the multiple myeloma community together for a common cause, developing a plan to achieve that cause, and staying with it until the goal is achieved,” said Joel Beetsch, Vice President of Global Patient Advocacy at Celgene Corporation. “Celgene is proud to partner with the MMRF on behalf of the many, many patients and families it serves.”Upcoming MMRF events in the tri-state area include the MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run on June 8, 2014 in New Canaan, CT and the MMRF Fall Gala on November 8, 2014 in Greenwich, CT. For more information on MMRF events, please visit www.themmrf.org/events.
WWE has announced the launch of this year’s Superstars for Hope, a global online auction on Charitybuzz.com, featuring unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America.Fans can now visit www.Charitybuzz.com/WWE through Tuesday, April 5 to bid on exclusive experiences with WWE Superstar John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and packages with the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, New York Yankees and many more.“WWE is dedicated to using the power of our brand to give back to the community in as many ways as we can,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “I am proud that this year’s Superstars for Hope campaign will support Boys and Girls Clubs of America to further enhance their efforts to build future leaders and positively affect the lives of our youth.”“Boys & Girls Clubs of America is honored to receive support from WWE’s Superstars for Hope campaign,” said Frank Sanchez, National Vice President, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “WWE and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will work together to provide Club kids all across the U.S. with the tools and skills to eradicate bullying in their communities. We are thankful to have a partner like WWE that cares so deeply about America’s youth.”Online auction highlights include: • Meet and greet backstage at Monday Night Raw with WWE Superstar John Cena. • A tour of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, a meet and greet with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and NXT Superstars, and a NXT Championship Title. • Meet and greet backstage at Monday Night Raw with WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. • Two tickets to attend a live taping of America’s Got Talent in Hollywood, CA. Prize package includes a photo opportunity with judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel. • Four VIP tickets to a live taping of CONAN. • Four Delta SKY360° Suite tickets to a New York Yankees game along with pregame field passes for batting practice. • A suite at a Dallas Cowboys home game during the 2016-2017 season. • A suite at a Dallas Mavericks home game during the 2016-2017 season. • Two Rascal Flatts concert tickets and VIP Experience passes. • Four tickets to the NASCAR Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. • Four Snoop Dogg concert tickets and backstage meet and greet. • VIP all-inclusive club seat tickets to Beyonce’s sold-out Formation Tour on Monday, May 16, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium. This package includes parking and complimentary food and beverages throughout the evening in the BNY Mellon field level club.Fans can click here now through Tuesday, April 5, to participate.