NEW DELHI: After the direction from the CM, all departments started working on the queries raised by the Centre on the matter of giving property rights to the people of unauthorised colonies. According to the sources, the Delhi government will also review the budget allocation on the project. “The government will ensure everything we need to do to give the rights to the people of unauthorised colonies,” said a leader.Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has directed his ministers to immediately accept all conditions in the Centre’s communication to the Delhi government for regularisation of unauthorised colonies, sources said on Monday. The direction was given at a meeting of all ministers on Saturday, where Arvind Kejriwal reviewed for over four hours every point regarding regularisation of unauthorised colonies. The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) government had last week released Rs 500 crore for development works in these colonies. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderKejriwal had earlier this month announced that residents of unauthorised colonies in Delhi would soon have ownership rights of their houses and claimed that the Centre has agreed to the AAP government’s proposal in this regard. “It is not the time for blame game. Even a minute’s delay will not be tolerated. It has been decades that residents of unauthorised colonies have been waiting to lead their lives with dignity. We have to cooperate with the Central government on this very important issue to every extent possible,” said a leader. Following the review of the entire regularisation process, Arvind Kejriwal has consulted technical experts over the issue, sources said. Experts’ views will be considered while finalising the Delhi government response to the Centre for regularisation of unauthorised colonies, a source also said.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to call an all-party meeting on holding future elections through state funding, saying it was one of the most urgently required electoral reforms in the country. Noting that state funding of elections is currently the norm in 65 highly developed countries like Germany, Italy, France and Japan, Banerjee said it is also required in India to make the elections “free, fair and transparent”. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja “The issue is broadly of electoral reforms and especially to prevent corruption and criminality in our democratic polity. The time has come for Government funding of elections which is the norm today in 65 countries in the world,” Banerjee wrote in her letter. “Given the examples across the world on Direct Public Funding of political parties and given that India has gained notoriety of having spent the largest amount of funds in the world in elections 2019… I urge you to call an all party meeting with a single agenda of Government funding of elections in India,” she wrote. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Citing a report published by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) on poll expenditure, Banerjee said the expenditure on the 2019 general elections had been roughly around Rs 60,000 crore ($8.65 billion) which is more than the combined expenditure on the US Presidential and Congressional elections ($6.5 billion). She noted that corruption cannot be checked if the spiralling of election expenditure is not controlled. “The political parties spend lavishly on publicity and logistics and are said to have even distributed cash for votes. The Election Commission of India has imposed strict limitations on expenditure incurred by the candidates in their election campaigns but not on political parties,” Banerjee said. “Mother of all corruption lies in the spiralling of election expenditure. If we are not able to address this we can’t check corruption,” she added.
New Delhi: The JD(U) cannot use its poll symbol ‘arrow’ to contest elections in Jharkhand and Maharashtra owing to its similarity with the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol used by the JMM and the Shiv Sena in the two states, the Election Commission has said.The EC had earlier given concession to the Janata Dal (United) under a rule to contest polls in the two states using its symbol. But it has now withdrawn the concession after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha moved the poll panel, saying similarity in symbols could confuse voters. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The JD(U), the JMM and the Shiv Sena are state parties of Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra respectively. “Having considered all aspects of the matter, the Commission has directed that the JD(U) will not be granted concession under paragraph 10 of the symbols order to use their reserved symbol ‘arrow’ for contesting elections in the states of Jharkhand and Maharashtra henceforth,” the EC order issued on August 16 said. In March this year, the EC had ordered that the JMM and the Shiv Sena cannot use their poll symbol in Bihar. The move had come after the JD(U) moved the poll panel in January this year. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe observation made in the order dated March 8, 2019 are equally applicable for the present case of JMM, the EC said. The same principle would apply in Maharashtra where Shiv Sena has the “bow and arrow” as reserved symbol, it said. Candidates fielded by Shiv Sena and JMM in Bihar and those by JD(U) in Jaharkhand and Maharashtra can contest on a “free symbol”. The free symbol is used by registered but unrecognised parties and independent candidates. A list of free symbols is made available by the EC.
New Delhi: Fulfilling the promises that she had made for the holistic development of her Parliamentary constituency, Union Minister for Women and Child Development & Textiles Smriti Irani on Wednesday inaugurated the 1,000th Nand Ghar in Amethi.While inaugurating the 1,000th Nand Ghar in her Parliamentary constituency, Irani said, “It is a great honour to be a part of this initiative and see the community and industry leaders come together for a noble cause that focuses on the overall well being of children and women. With Nand Ghar, a key component of holistic development has made its entry in Amethi.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”As we embark upon the launch of “Poshan Maah” (nutrition month) in September, it is good to see that Vedanta through its CSR activities has come forward to support the government in its endeavour to enhance the development of women and children,” she said. “We hope that we would continue receiving such support and do more for women and children from underprivileged sections across the length and breadth of the country and realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of an empowered New India,” the Union Minister said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe inauguration of the 1,000th Nand Ghar is a key milestone for the flagship CSR programme of ‘mining to metals’ conglomerate Vedanta Ltd, which has been spearheading this programme in association with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to build and refurbish Anganwadis in various states across the country. The completion of the 1,000th Nand Ghar would usher in a new era of progress and growth for women and children and lead to their holistic development. With these 1,000 Nand Ghars, the initiative is benefitting around 40,000 children and 30,000 women across India. Vedanta has planned an outlay of over Rs 800 crore for setting up 4,000 Nand Ghars across India over next few years, thus complementing the government’s vision for a strong and prosperous nation. With 4,000 Nand Ghars spread across India, the flagship CSR programme will touch lives of around 4 million community members while directly impacting around 2,00,000 children and around 1,80,000 women on an annuawl basis. The Nand Ghars are equipped with televisions for e-learning, solar panels for reliable power, safe drinking water, clean toilets and have emerged as an ideal model for replication in other parts of the country. There are currently 14 lakh Anganwadis in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Vedanta Group Founder and Chairman Anil Agarwal said, “We have always believed in actively being a part of the growth and future of the nation with a focus on the development of the women and children of our country.”
New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) sharp increase in income led it to transfer a record high surplus of Rs 1.76 trillion (lakh crore) to the government, Kotak Securities said on Friday. According to the Kotak report, RBI’s income was driven by higher interest income due to open market operations (OMOs), accounting change in recording foreign exchange (FX) gains, and writing back of excess risk provisions. It said that with liquidity already in surplus, the Rs 1.5 lakh crore outflow may prompt the RBI to mop up liquidity and lead to lower than estimated OMO purchases, which is a negative for bonds. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal According to Kotak, higher income and no provisions had led to the higher surplus. “RBI’s income more than doubled to Rs 1.9 trillion in 2019 (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019) led by a 30 per cent higher domestic income at Rs 632 billion from a larger portfolio of rupee securities (OMOs) and Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF)/Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) operations, 173.6 per cent higher foreign income at Rs 750 billion largely driven by Rs 214 billion due to accounting change (weighted average cost of holdings) of FX gains/losses, and Rs 526 billion of write back of excess risk provision from contingency fund (CF) following the Jalan Committee recommendations. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost “With FX related accounting change, FX sales will likely lead to higher earnings compared to earlier. For the more discerning reader: CF adjustment is lower than Rs 526 billion due to reversal of debit of Rs 168.7 billion towards Investment Revaluation Account-Foreign Securities (IRA-FS) in 2018”, it said after analysing the central bank’s annual report. “Without any further provisions to the CF+ADF, expenditure was low at Rs 171 billion. This led to a surplus transfer of Rs 1.76 trillion to the government. Of the Rs 1.76 trillion being transferred, Rs 280 billion has already been paid out towards the FY2019 budget as interim dividend. RBI’s balance sheet expanded by 13.4 per cent to Rs 41 trillion as on June 30, 2019,” the report said. “On the asset side, domestic and foreign investments rose by 57.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively, with RBI’s gold holding increasing by 16.3 per cent (RBI bought 51.9 tons through the year). Domestic assets constituted 28 per cent, while foreign assets constituted 72 per cent of total assets,” it added. Liabilities were led by increase in notes issued, other liabilities (led by higher transferable surplus), and deposits (CRR and reverse repos) by 13.4 per cent, 11.1 per cent and 17.2 per cent, respectively. “If the balance sheet expands at a similar pace next year, in order to maintain CRB of 5.5 per cent (per Jalan Committee), provisions of around Rs 250 billion will likely be needed; thereby lowering the surplus,” Kotak said. The report feels the scope of OMOs will reduce once this surplus money comes into the banking system. “The excess provision from the CF is accounted as domestic earnings and through the income statement as part of transferable surplus (part of other liabilities on the balance sheet). The surplus moves to the government’s deposits with the RBI. “As the government spends (and probably front-loads it) it moves out of the RBI’s liabilities and most of it remains in the banking system (and some of it leaks out into currency in circulation). With banking system liquidity already in surplus the surplus liquidity could be mopped up through reverse repos and lower the quantum of OMOs that market would have estimated,” it said. “This will likely be negative for the bond market which is already concerned on the fiscal deficit targets. Overall, while the government’s surplus from the RBI is around Rs 1.5 trillion, compared to the budget estimate it is around Rs 580 billion higher. This may not be enough to cover up for the tax revenue slippages without expenditure reductions in order to stick to GFD/GDP of 3.3 per cent,” it pointed.
HALIFAX – Blood-stained cash was found in medical student William Sandeson’s apartment, and a pistol found nearby had blood at the end of its muzzle, his murder trial heard Thursday.Halifax police Sgt. Sandy Johnston said she found stains that appeared to be blood splatter on the floors and walls of the kitchen and bathroom, and a 9mm pistol in a safe, as well as bullets and an extra clip.Officers found a backpack of wet money in a black garbage bag, the bills worth $2,270 and “stained red,” apparently with blood, Johnston said.The backpack had a “strong smell,” which she likened to “decomposition,” when she opened it.Sandeson, 24, is accused of the first-degree murder of Taylor Samson, a 22-year-old physics student at Dalhousie University. Sandeson is a former varsity track athlete originally from Truro, N.S., who was set to start his medical studies at Dalhousie within a week of his August, 2015, arrest.The Crown alleges that the last time Samson was seen alive, he was recorded on a surveillance video walking into Sandeson’s apartment to sell him 20 pounds of marijuana for $40,000.Johnston, who was a forensic officer at the time, said she examined Sandeson’s apartment on Aug 19, 2015, taking extensive photo and video evidence.“We examined the scene looking for anything that would be related to evidence as to what happened to Taylor Samson,” she told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury.She said another officer found “small red staining along the slide” of the gun, as well as at the end of the muzzle, which she said appeared to be blood.The gun had one live round in it and another bullet was found lodged into the window frame in the kitchen. A box of ammunition was found, with two rounds missing.Johnston said the bathtub and sink had “wiping marks,” which testing suggested could be blood.Various cleaning products were recovered from the apartment as well, including two bottles of bleach.Earlier this week, Frances Mysketyn-Driscoll, who worked with Sandeson at a group home in suburban Lower Sackville, said he came in to work coughing on Aug. 16, 2015, saying he had been doing a lot of cleaning the night before, and had inhaled bleach.The case resumes Monday.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, July 25———HORGAN, TRUDEAU MEET FOR FIRST TIME: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and brand new B.C. Premier John Horgan bent over backwards to appear congenial after their first meeting Tuesday, avoiding any mention of their differing positions on expanding Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline. The two leaders even showed up to their first face-to-face meeting in nearly identical blue suits, right down to their striped socks and matching shoes, prompting Trudeau to joke about their clear “compatibility.” Trudeau then announced plans to travel to B.C. next week to assess the fire damage and meet with people displaced by the fires. For his part Horgan, thanked Trudeau for being quick with a response to B.C.’s forest fire emergency and noted Trudeau’s “deep roots” in B.C. He called him an “ally” who will help the feeling of isolation on the “other side of the Rocky Mountains.”———FIRST NATIONS TO GET MORE CONTROL OVER MONEY: First Nations leaders say they’ll be able to do more projects and build more homes because of changes that give them more control over financial resources. The federal government says First Nations will now be able to carry funding from year-to-year, instead of having to return money if a project wasn’t completed within a fiscal year. Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde says the problem was projects often didn’t get approved until late in a fiscal year. Bellegarde says First Nations would then panic about spending the money properly or losing it and that meant projects wouldn’t get finished. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says Ottawa will also work with First Nations on a new approach to funding essential services, such as fire, emergency services and potable water. The AFN says those services are underfunded and that causes critical problems in many communities.———PACIFIC NORTHWEST LNG NOT GOING AHEAD: Petronas and its partners have cancelled the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas megaproject they had planned to build in British Columbia. Anuar Taib, chief executive of Petronas’s oil and gas production division, said Tuesday the decision to scrap the project came after a careful review of changes in market conditions. “We are disappointed that the extremely challenging environment brought about by the prolonged depressed prices and shifts in the energy industry have led us to this decision,” Taib said in a statement. LNG prices have been hit by a global oversupply as numerous projects have come online, challenging the economics of the project and others that have been proposed in the province. The consortium has spent billions developing the natural gas fields in the B.C. after buying Progress Energy Canada, but it would have required even more, including an $11.4-billion LNG terminal in Port Edward, B.C.———MAN FACING EIGHT CHARGES IN MONTREAL STABBING: A Montreal man has been charged with first-degree murder and seven other counts in the stabbing of a pregnant woman and the death of the newborn. Sofiane Ghazi, 37, appeared in court by videoconference this afternoon. One of the charges is attempted murder in connection with his partner, the woman who was stabbed early Monday. The baby was delivered by emergency C-section after the attack but later died in hospital. Ghazi also faces charges of vehicle theft, uttering threats, armed robbery and three of breaking his conditions.———WETTLAUFER GUILTY OF MISCONDUCT, NURSES’ COLLEGE RULES: An Ontario nurse who killed eight seniors in her care has been found guilty of professional misconduct and had her certification revoked by the province’s nursing regulator. “This is the most egregious and disgraceful conduct this panel has ever considered,” said Grace Fox, the chair of the five-person disciplinary panel at the College of Nurses of Ontario that heard Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s case. In June, Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of eight seniors, attempted murder of four others and aggravated assault of two more people, all by way of insulin overdoses, between 2007 and 2016. She confessed to the murders while at a psychiatric hospital in Toronto in the fall before detailing the crimes to police in Woodstock, Ont. The disciplinary panel deemed Wettlaufer’s conduct unprofessional, dishonourable and disgraceful. Wettlaufer was not present at the hearing in Toronto. She is serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years.———B.C. RANCHERS TALLYING WILDFIRE LOSSES: Ranchers in the centre of British Columbia’s cattle country are facing “heartbreak” as they return to scorched fields, dead and displaced livestock and damaged infrastructure following weeks of wildfires. General manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association Kevin Boon said the process of tallying losses has just begun and could take some time because the extreme heat of the wildfires would leave little evidence of a carcass. He said it’s expected hundreds if not thousands of cattle were killed or injured by the fires. Generations of infrastructure like barns and equipment have been lost in some cases, and kilometres of fencing will also need to be replaced. The devastation is expected to take an emotional toll on ranchers who have seen their livelihoods disappear in an instant, Boon said, and it will continue to have long-term effects beyond the immediate costs of rebuilding. The fires have disrupted breeding season, meaning calving next spring will be either delayed or significantly reduced, he added.———KUSHNER, MANAFORT MEET WITH CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS: Two key members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign met Tuesday with congressional investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner returned to Capitol Hill for a second day of private meetings, this time for a closed-door conversation with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee. Separately, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with bipartisan staff of the Senate intelligence committee and “answered their questions fully,” his spokesman, Jason Maloni, said. Manafort’s discussion with the committee staff was confined to his recollection of a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, according to two people familiar with the interview. Both demanded anonymity to discuss details because the interview occurred behind closed doors. Both Manafort and Kushner have faced scrutiny about attending the Trump Tower meeting because it was described in emails to Donald Trump Jr. as part of a Russian government effort to aid Trump’s presidential campaign.———CANADA URGED TO STEP UP PRESSURE ON TURKEY: The federal government is being urged to step up the pressure on Turkey amid concerns about an ever-expanding crackdown on human rights advocates, journalists and opposition members inside the country. Canadian officials have been voicing their concern about the situation in the country ever since the chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kilic, was arrested last month. The most recent was Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who took the Turkish government to task last week for the large number of people who have been detained. The comments were unusually direct given Canada and Turkey are both members of the NATO military alliance. But Alex Neve, the head of Amnesty International’s Canada branch, says other countries have been more forceful, and he’s hoping Canada will follow suit. The starting point would be to explicitly call for the release of Kilic and other human rights advocates, Neve says, which Freeland has yet to do.———POLICE INVESTIGATE THEFT OF HISTORICAL PLAQUES: Edmonton police are investigating the theft of metal plaques from a city neighbourhood that honour military heroes and some of the grimmest battles from Canada’s history. The Griesbach Community League says more than 15 metal plaques have been removed from the residential community that used be an army base. Some of the plaques tell the stories of soldiers from Alberta who were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for gallantry. Another tells the story of the Second World War battle of Ortona, a bloody battle for a town in Italy that cost Canada more than 2,300 casualties, including troops from the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. One of the plaques has information about the involvement of Canadian soldiers in the First World War battle of the Somme in France. Brad Tilley, president of the Griesbach Community League, says the plaques were pried off their stands and people are worried the thieves will melt them down for scrap.———CANADA’S MASSE SETS WORLD BACKSTROKE RECORD: Around this time last year, Kylie Masse might not have pictured herself as a world champion and record holder. That all changed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Still riding the momentum from the bronze medal she won at the 2016 Games, Masse roared to victory in the 100-metre backstroke in a world-record time Tuesday at the world swimming championships in Budapest, Hungary. In the process she became Canada’s first female world champion swimmer. Masse powered to the wall in a time of 58.10 seconds, edging the previous long-course backstroke record of 58.12 seconds set by British swimmer Gemma Spofforth at the 2009 world championships in Rome. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” Masse said in a conference call Tuesday. It’s been a lot of excitement and joy for Masse over the last year. She followed up her bronze in Rio with silver medals in the 100 backstroke and the 4×100 relay at the 2016 short-course world championships in Windsor, Ont., near her hometown of LaSalle before her record-breaking performance at Budapest’s Duna Arena.
MEMRAMCOOK, N.B. – A Nova Scotia Mountie who worked to educate the public about the need to slow down when driving past emergency vehicles was killed after being struck while helping motorists change a flat tire.Const. Frank Deschenes, a 12-year RCMP veteran stationed in Amherst, died when a utility van collided with his police car and an SUV shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday on the Trans-Canada Highway near Memramcook, N.B.Deschenes had stopped to assist two people in the SUV change a tire, RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said Wednesday.“It is extremely challenging to describe what it feels like when we lose one of our own,” said Asst. Commissioner Brian Brennan.The officer, a 35-year-old former member of the force’s famed Musical Ride who got married this summer, died at the scene. The two people in the SUV were treated for their injuries.Police say the van’s driver was taken into custody after being released from hospital. No charges had been laid as of early Wednesday evening.Rogers-Marsh couldn’t say why the Nova Scotia officer was in New Brunswick at the time, but did confirm that Deschenes was on-duty and in uniform.Cpl. Darren Galley, who had been Deschenes’ supervisor in traffic services in Amherst, said they were involved in initiatives to inform the public about legislation that requires drivers to slow down and move over when emergency vehicles are stopped along the highway.“I think traffic was his passion,” Galley said from Moncton, where he now serves. “He came to work everyday and did a 100 per cent job … He was always friendly, always a happy, go-lucky guy and he’s going to be sadly missed.”Galley said the officer had transferred from Bible Hill, N.S., to Ottawa at one point to become part of the Musical Ride before transferring back to Nova Scotia at the Amherst detachment.Deschenes was also a tactical unit member and had won the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.Nine years ago, Deschenes was praised for preventing a possible train derailment with just seconds to spare by putting himself in the path of an oncoming train.Early on Dec. 1, 2008, a car was stuck on railway tracks just south of Brookfield, N.S., after striking a pole and spinning out of control as a CN freight train approached.Deschenes acted calmly and coolly by crashing his police cruiser into the car, pushing it out of the way just 45 seconds before the train arrived. The RCMP said at the time the officer’s selfless actions saved lives by preventing a derailment.Brennan said the fact that Deschenes had stopped to help change a flat tire spoke to the kind of person he was.Ralph Goodale, the public safety minister, issued a statement offering condolences to Deschenes’ family, friends, and colleagues.“The death of a police officer is a stark reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of our police women and men who put themselves in harm’s way each and every day to keep Canadians safe and secure,” Goodale said.Brennan said he couldn’t provide many details about Tuesday’s accident since it is under investigation.Rogers-Marsh said investigators would have to determine if everyone was in their vehicles at the time of the crash or standing by the vehicles.Rogers-Marsh said it has been a difficult time for members of the force.“When our members deal with fatal accidents it’s never easy to deal with that. It’s certainly very difficult when it’s one of your own co-workers or somebody that you might know. Our thoughts go out to the member’s family, friends and his co-workers,” she said.The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed for several hours while emergency crews attended the scene. The highway was re-opened Wednesday morning.— With files from Alison Auld in Halifax.
EDMONTON – Alberta RCMP are investigating the theft of a fleet of brightly coloured powerboats that were last seen being towed on trailers by pickup trucks down a rural prairie highway.The four boats are all Nautique Super Air G23s — a craft popular with people who enjoy wakeboarding and wakesurfing.The company that makes them calls the Nautique “a legend in the watersports world.”Cpl. Laurel Scott says the thieves made off with the boats and trailers early Wednesday morning from a dealership south of Edmonton.The trucks hauling the seven-metre long boats were last seen on Highway 39 driving east over a landscape better known for canola and wheat fields than bodies of water.The boats and trailers are estimated to be worth $800,000.“What we are hoping now is that maybe someone who was out driving might remember seeing these boats,” Scott said Thursday. “You would think they would stand out.”One of the boats is orange and black, another is green and black. Two are blue with white trim.
CALGARY – A Saskatchewan man who was jailed for brutal attacks on two women in southern Alberta agrees that he should not receive day or full parole.In 2013, the Alberta Court of Appeal declared Cory Bitternose a dangerous offender and called him a “loaded gun with a hair trigger” who should be jailed indefinitely.A Parole Board of Canada report obtained by radio station CHQR shows that Bitternose is making progress in prison.But the report from a review of his case last week says he is still a risk to reoffend and parole of any kind should be denied.Bitternose told a parole board panel that it will take years before he is ready for conditional release into the community.During the hearing Bitternose said he wasn’t opposed to staying in jail.“You know that it will be years before you would even consider yourself a candidate for conditional release,” reads the report.“You feel that escorted temporary absences and unescorted temporary absences are the next step in the gradual release process,” the board continued. “And this may be some years down the road.”Bitternose was driving a stolen truck in 2008 when he pulled up beside the two women as they were cycling home from a pub in Banff, Alta.He offered them a ride but took them to a vacant lot instead and started beating them.One woman managed to get away but her friend did not and was sexually assaulted.Court heard Bitternose has a long history of criminal convictions involving violent, random attacks and of disobeying court orders. (CHQR)
CALGARY – The union that represents WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots says it has filed an unfair labour practice complaint over the airline’s recruitment of pilots for Swoop, its new ultra-low-cost carrier slated to begin flying in June.The Air Line Pilots Association, International, says it has applied to the Canada Industrial Relations Board for a “cease and desist” order.It alleges WestJet Airlines Ltd. violated provisions of the Canada Labour Code by directly negotiating with pilots instead of the union over employment at Swoop, thus changing and ignoring well-established rules and policies. WestJet declined to comment on the labour board filing.During a conference call on Tuesday, CEO Gregg Saretsky said he wants to allow pilots from WestJet and WestJet Encore to seek promotions to work at the new airline and that WestJet is negotiating with the union to maintain one seniority list for all of its pilots, thus allowing them to move from one brand to another without losing pay and seniority rights.Swoop is to launch with three aircraft in June and grow to six by September and 10 by the spring of next year, eventually reaching 30 to 40 aircraft on domestic and international flights.The union says it has also asked the federal labour minister to appoint a conciliation officer to help move along stalled negotiations with WestJet to conclude terms of its first contract. WestJet pilots voted to be represented by ALPA last year.Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA)
VICTORIA – A former Victoria police chief “caught in a web of untruths” was handed unprecedented disciplinary action Wednesday after a review found Frank Elsner committed eight acts of misconduct under British Columbia’s Police Act.B.C. Police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe demoted Elsner to the rank of constable and dismissed him from policing after he reviewed investigations and discipline proceedings involving the former chief.Lowe said in a statement that Elsner’s police record will also state that faced a 30-day suspension and was required to take training for harassment and sensitivity in connection with unwanted contact with a female officer.“These findings and the accompanying discipline measures are unprecedented in Canadian policing,” said Lowe in an 11-page report.Elsner had already resigned as chief in May last year. He could not be reached for comment about the ruling.The investigations and discipline proceedings before two retired judges were held after a 2015 Victoria police board investigation examined reports that Elsner sent inappropriate Twitter messages to a the wife of an officer in his department.In the end, the commissioner determined Elsner committed eight acts of misconduct, including discreditable conduct, inappropriate use of police department equipment, deceit and attempting to procure a false statement.Lowe’s report says Elsner lied to investigators, minimized an inappropriate relationship he had with the wife of one of his officers, attempted to convince another witness to provide a false statement, had unwanted physical contact with two female officers, made inappropriate sexual remarks towards an officer and misused the department’s equipment.“I have reviewed the investigations and disciplinary processes concerning these matters and I have concluded that the decisions and discipline proposed by the discipline authorities are reasonable and appropriate based on the evidence,” says the report. “Therefore, I have determined that the decisions and discipline are final and conclusive.”The report says the former chief, who also faced an allegation of misleading an internal investigator, changed facts to suit his story.“It becomes clear on reviewing the former chief’s evidence that he is caught in a web of untruths,” says retired chief judge Carol Baird Ellan in her report on Elsner’s comments about his interactions with the wife of one of his officers.“Where he finds himself facing contradictory evidence, he tailors his statements to reveal only that part of the truth he feels he must, to address the established facts with which he is faced.”Retired Justice Ian Pitfield found Elsner should face a 30-day suspension and undertake sensitivity training for three incidents of discreditable conduct involving two female officers that involve non-consensual conduct and violates the police department’s harassment policies.In one incident, Elsner stood behind one female officer and pressed his groin against her buttocks, says Pitfield.“Mr. Elsner’s action in relation to (officer A) amounts to the application of force, however minimal, without consent,” says Pitfield in the report. “As a police officer and chief constable, Mr. Elsner knew or ought to have known that the application of force, however minimal, to an individual constitutes an assault.”Lowe said for women to feel safe and valued in policing, senior officers must conduct themselves with integrity and respect.“The determinations of retired Judge Pitfield demonstrate the deficit in leadership the former chief exhibited,” Lowe says. “His conduct caused emotional harm and violated the dignity of the affected parties, the gravity of which is amplified by his position of power and the importance of the office held by a chief constable.”Lowe’s report also calls on the B.C. government to amend the Police Act to appoint retired judges to review misconduct proceedings that involve chiefs or their deputies. The current system involves police boards, which are usually made up of local mayors and council members.Rollie Woods, deputy police complaint commissioner, said Wednesday that Elsner’s dismissal sends a strong message of deterrence to all senior police officers.“For senior officers in B.C. it would be unwise for them to consider harassing their employees and think there would be no consequences because the consequences as we see in this case are quite clear.”.
OTTAWA – Canada joined NATO allies on Thursday in blaming the Russian military for new cyberattacks that targeted the international chemical weapons agency and the investigation into the mysterious 2014 crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.A statement from Global Affairs Canada said the latest incidents are part of a malicious pattern of behaviour that has included Russia’s 2016 attack on the Canadian headquarters of the World Anti-Doping Agency.Canada and it allies accused Russia’s secret military intelligence unit, the GRU, of a brazen attempt to hack The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in April.Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said the attack was disrupted and four Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the Netherlands.The GRU was also accused of trying to hack the investigation into the 2014 downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine.Canada echoed a cascade of condemnation from Australia, Britain and the Netherlands in accusing Moscow of a series of unprecedented espionage operations in both the physical and digital worlds.The Global Affairs statement branded the Russian actions as “malicious,” saying Canada has “high confidence that the GRU was responsible” for the attempted attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Canada serves on the OPCW’s executive council.“The incidents identified by Canada and our allies, including the GRU’s attempt to undermine the work of the OPCW, underscore the Russian government’s disregard for the rules-based international order, international law and established norms,” the statement said.“The attempt to compromise the networks of the OPCW is consistent with Russia’s broader attacks on the independence and professionalism of the personnel of the OPCW.”The events have a connection to Canada, the statement said, pointing to the 2016 attack on the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency.Global Affairs said the cyberhacker group Fancy Bear/APT28 pilfered confidential athlete data from the agency’s website and circulated it publicly.“The Government of Canada assesses with high confidence that the Russian military’s intelligence arm, the GRU, was responsible for this incident.”U.S. authorities have charged seven GRU officers — including the four caught in The Hague — in an international hacking rampage said to have targeted more than 250 athletes, a Pennsylvania-based nuclear energy company, a Swiss chemical laboratory and the OPCW.In Ottawa, Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said: “I’m told that the FBI has charged seven Russian agents with involvement in this process and that the RCMP are also involved and assisting.”Moscow has issued a series of denials about the incidents.The Russian Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement Thursday that the allegations are “fake news” and part of an “anti-Russia witch hunt” by the U.S., Britain and their “willing allies, including Canada.”“The major goals in this brazen propaganda war are to brainwash and scare” international and domestic audiences and distract from NATO’s own expanding cyber war activities, the statement said.Russia had interests in the latest cases: the OPCW was investigating reports that a Soviet-made nerve agent had been used against a Russian ex-spy in England, and Russia has been blamed by some for being involved in shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.Britain’s National Cyber Security Center said Thursday that four new attacks are associated with the GRU as well as earlier security hacks. It also cited attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency, Ukrainian transport systems and the 2016 U.S. presidential race.“We are going to actually make it clear that where Russia acts, we are going to be exposing that action,” said British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who branded Russia’s actions as those of a “pariah state.”The British ambassador to the Netherlands said men caught with spy gear outside OPCW, for example, were from the same GRU section (Unit 26165) accused by American investigators of having broken into the Democratic National Committee’s email during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.The OPCW was investigating the poisoning in Britain earlier this year of GRU defector Sergei Skripal, in which the nerve agent Novichok was used.— with files from the Associated Press
YELLOWKNIFE – Nearly two-thirds of foster care homes in the Northwest Territories don’t get basic screening before receiving children to look after, says a critical report from the auditor general’s office.The report says the territory isn’t meeting key responsibilities to protect children in care and the situation is getting worse.“We determined that many of the services provided to children and families in the Northwest Territories that we examined were in fact worse than when we examined them in 2014,” audit director Glenn Wheeler said in a release.Glen Abernethy, the N.W.T.’s minister of health and social services, acknowledged the problems.“These findings are very concerning,” he said Wednesday. “Clearly, without question, more needs to be done and we need to do it better.”Abernethy said the territory has been bringing in a more preventative model for child services and some of the administrative issues the report found are a result of the changes.“We haven’t necessarily translated that well on the front line.”The report, tabled late Tuesday in the N.W.T. legislature, compares results from the previous audit to the present situation. It said there is little improvement for the roughly 1,000 children involved with child and family services.In 2014, social workers failed to check on children in care at least every two months in 59 per cent of cases. By 2018, that had risen to 88 per cent.The previous audit found 69 per cent of foster care homes didn’t receive basic screening such as a criminal record check. That level remains at 66 per cent — with the additional warning that 89 per cent of foster homes didn’t get an annual review, slightly worse than 2014.The audit also found that guardians, who assume full parental control and responsibility for children, were poorly screened. Auditors found one guardian had been criminally charged with assaulting the child.“We were seriously concerned when senior departmental and authority officials told us they were unaware this was occurring,” the report says.Although the figure has improved modestly from 2014, in nearly one-fifth of cases child welfare officials don’t respond to child protection concerns.The report also says that children are constantly shuffled around.In 2015, the N.W.T.’s own internal audit found children in permanent care moved homes an average of 12 times. In 2016, one child was moved 20 times.Abernethy promised quick action on the recommendations.“I want to see changes starting immediately,” he said.He noted child welfare has been totally reorganized over the last four years, which has created confusion over roles. The N.W.T. sees “incredible turnover” in staff, he said.As well, Abernethy acknowledged the department may have been underfunded, but will increase staffing and improve training.“I’ve given staff a two-year time limit to turn this around.”Abernethy said two annual internal audits uncovered some of the same problems the auditor general found.“We have been fixing (the problems.) Some of them aren’t as simple as flicking a light switch. They do take a significant amount of work.”However, Abernethy believes child services in the N.W.T. are improving.“As we continue to roll out these recommendations, we are going to have a safe, robust system for all children who are in care.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
MONTREAL – Friends, colleagues, adversaries and regular citizens lined up at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica Monday to offer condolences to the family of former Quebec premier, Bernard Landry, who died last week at the age of 81.Landry’s daughter, Pascale, told reporters the family has received tributes for their father from across the province and around the world.“The wave of sympathy really surprised and shocked me,” she said, “but it also comforted me, and what I love to see is that there are people from all over who gave us their sympathy.”Inside the basilica, Landry’s closed casket was draped in a Quebec flag next to a large photo of him.Former Liberal premier Jean Charest was one of the first who arrived to pay his respects.Charest said his former Parti Quebecois opponent “would make us suffer during debates.”Charest saluted Landry’s investments in the province’s video game industry and his economic vision for the province.“He gave economic credibility to the sovereignty movement,” Charest said.Charest’s successor, Pauline Marois, who held several portfolios in Landry’s government, struck an emotional tone.“We always have the impression that people like this will never go, will never leave us,” she said.The funeral for Quebec’s 28th premier will be held Tuesday afternoon at the basilica. His body also lay in state Saturday in Quebec City at the provincial legislature.Landry’s health had been failing in recent months, and he died Nov. 6 at home in Vercheres, Que. of complications from pulmonary disease.After Lucien Bouchard resigned as premier in January 2001, Landry replaced him as PQ leader and premier. He served two years before being defeated in the April 2003 election by Jean Charest’s Liberals.
The Canadian Press CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is handing out tax breaks for oil and gas drillers along with criticism of Ottawa’s lack of appreciation for how damaging are current price discounts on western Canadian oil.In a speech at a Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors event in Calgary, she announced her government would add oil and gas drilling to a list of trade-exposed industries exempt from the province’s carbon tax.The exemption, made retroactive to when the tax was introduced at the start of 2017, is expected to provide $750,000 to $1.5 million per year in relief for the drilling industry.Notley later criticized Wednesday’s federal fiscal report for underplaying Western Canada’s oil price crisis, blamed on insufficient pipeline capacity to take away a glut of crude trapped in Alberta.She told reporters that if Canada’s manufacturing sector was suffering as much, it would have been mentioned in the first paragraph of the update speech.The CAODC, meanwhile, says it expects little improvement in drilling activity next year, calling in its 2019 forecast for an increase of 51 wells to about 7,000. That’s down from about 13,000 wells in 2014 before global oil prices crashed.“Other industries in the same situation would be holding their hands out for a government bailout. Yet instead our industry has only asked for government permission and support to get our products to market,” said association president Mark Scholz.“The lack of action and attention by the federal government to this pressing issue is deafening.”
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Climate change is going to cost Canadians one way or another, but a new report looks at what government can do, and how much it should spend to help its people adapt.The Council of Canadian Academies says, for one, it will take prompt and thoughtful action in order to help Canadians avoid the damages of climate change over the next two decades.It will also take a lot of cold-hard-cash.“The Panel identified 12 major areas of climate change risk facing Canada from a national perspective, all of which could involve significant losses, damages, or disruptions over the next 20 years,” the report reads.Of the dozens of different threats posed by climate change, academics and researchers have narrowed down their list to just six top areas, but the biggest for Canadians is to the country’s infrastructure and to its food system — specifically agriculture threatened by droughts.Extreme weather events have the potential to impact homes, buildings, and entire communities, the report notes, adding there is ” increased probability of power outages and grid failures; and an increasing risk of cascading infrastructure failures.”In addition, the report says “Climate variability will challenge the business model of farms by increasing the uncertainty associated with the range of future conditions a farmer can expect.”Read the full report below:Failed to fetchJohn Leggat chaired the panel of experts that wrote the final report. He says the more money put into mitigation and adaptation, the better because the cost of a potential response to climate events and subsequent recovery is always much higher.“The whole idea is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put resources into mitigation and put resources into adaptation so that one reduces the risk significantly,” says Leggat.Farmers may need to switch to drought-resistance crops, or entirely to greenhouse growing, if they want to adapt.The study also finds the water levels in the Great Lakes are dropping, affecting shipping routes.Meantime, glacier melt is threatening B.C.’s hydro power, and as sea levels continue to rise, they’ll also cause coastal erosion along the way, inundating some areas with saltwater.This would mean communities along the coast will need to look at installing dikes and other defenses, which all come with added costs. In the north, people may have to go back to hunting and gathering — their traditional ways of survival.According to the research, a 2011 study put potential costs to Canadian businesses and the economy between $21 and $43 billion per year, depending on emissions, as well as economic and population growth.The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, which makes recommendations on how the government should spend money, requested the report.It says climate change risks can be meaningfully mitigated, but admits none are entirely avoidable.The report lays out how adaptation will cost all levels of government, significantly, but not nearly as much as doing nothing would.The risks that can more easily be mitigated, highlighted by the council, are physical infrastructure, health impacts, and governance issues. The hardest have been identified as risks to fisheries, forestry, the ecosystem, and wildlife.The “Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks” report was compiled by a panel of economists, scientists, doctors and catastrophe experts.-With files from The Canadian Press
Former Miss USA Ali Landry, Safe Kids Worldwide and BRITAX Child Safety hosted a celebrity party Saturday, September 8th to increase awareness of National Child Passenger Safety Week coming up on September 17 – 22, 2012.Ali Landry helps to increase awareness of National Child Passenger Safety WeekThe former beauty queen, actress and producer of TV Guide Network’s “Hollywood Girls Night,” held her second annual Red CARpet event to teach Hollywood new and expecting parent starlets the importance of child passenger safety and seek their help in raising national awareness. Among those attending the affair with their children were Tiffani Thiessen, Constance Zimmer, Ian Ziering and Marla Sokoloff.Landry, mother of two children ages 11 months and 5, became a certified child passenger safety technician in 2010 when she learned that 75 percent of car seats are used incorrectly. In addition to hosting her event, she’ll join Safe Kids and BRITAX child passenger safety advocate Sarah Tilton to share with reporters across the country the industry’s “best practices” for proper car seat use and remind the public about the many seat check events available during Child Passenger Safety Week.“There is a strong need for increased awareness about child passenger safety in this country,” said Tilton. “Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for children from age 1 to 14. Proper installation and use of car seats will help keep children safe. Yet, too many parents aren’t aware of how to properly use a car seat. And many more parents aren’t current on how state laws regulating car seat restraints are changing.”Added Landry, “Safe Kids, BRITAX and I are determined to see that every kid in America is buckled up safely for as long as possible. That’s why I’m encouraging all of Hollywood to join in the effort!”Through the combined initiatives of BRITAX, Safe Kids and Landry, parents at the Red CARpet event were taught that accidents can come from any direction and that their car seats should feature the latest safety technologies, be easy to use, and provide children with 360 degrees of protection.To help spread awareness of child passenger safety during the event, some attending celebrities Tweeted their favorite safety tips to followers. In addition, BRITAX donated to Safe Kids $2,000 in honor of the celebrity autographs collected at the event and will give away a Britax G3 convertible car seat through its Facebook sweepstakes on September 22. Those interested in winning the car seat should visit the BRITAX Facebook page for entry instructions.For more information about BRITAX, visit www.BRITAXUSA.com, or connect with BRITAX on Twitter or Facebook.Source:PR Newswire
As The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former Prime Minister of the UK Gordon Brown has been blogging at the Huffington Post about girls: girls without education, girls enslaved, girls in violence, girls without healthcare.But all of that is changing, he says, because girls have begun helping themselves, and there is plenty more girl protests and defiance planned for this year.“The rights of girls is moving to the top of the global issues agenda,” says Brown, “because young women are saying with rising resolve that they will no longer accept the rules and conventions imposed upon them by a male-dominated adult population. Demonstrations that started as cautious, often gentle, admonitions to the powers that be, with respectful requests for change, have now come to encompass a set of defiant, non-negotiable demands in the form of ultimatums — and rightly so. Protests that once were pleas to ‘please stop this’ have become protests that insist ‘no more and never again’.”But Brown says that this movement goes beyond just protesting and demanding that girls’ rights be upheld. “[Girls] have now become change-makers, demanding the righting of wrongs. [There is a] determination that action must follow words, young girls are saying they will no longer accept the casual disregard and routine neglect. Now the authorities are being forced to bring in reforms, from fast-track rape courts to changes in sentencing policy.“This is the year when a new form of female empowerment will not only change the way we see the world, but finally deliver rights that have been denied for too long.”Copyright ©2013Look to the Stars
With consumers becoming more and more concerned about the origins of the products that they buy, pleather, faux fur and other cruelty-free fabrics are more popular than ever – and everyone from high-street retailers such as H&M and Topshop to top designers Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney are meeting consumers’ demand for animal-free fashion.PETA Approved Vegan LogoNow, PETA – with the help of judges Sadie Frost and Meg Mathews – is recognizing the best cruelty-free contributions to the fashion world in the first-ever PETA-Approved Vegan Fashion Awards. The awards mark the launch of PETA’s new logo, which designers and retailers can use to identify vegan clothes and accessories that they sell online or in stores.“My two greatest passions are fashion and helping animals, so I was thrilled when PETA asked me to help judge their fashion awards”, says Frost, the founder of popular fashion and lingerie line Frost French. “It’s phenomenal how many retailers and top designers are using pleather, micro-suede and faux cashmere in their collections, and the quality is amazing. The new fabrics are kinder not only to animals but also to the environment. So with ethical consumerism on the rise – and its increasing importance to young people – retailers need to respond by using compassionately produced materials if they don’t want to be left behind.”The winners include Vivienne Westwood for Most Stylish Handbag, Ted Baker for Most Stylish Men’s Bag, Stella McCartney for Most Stylish Women’s Shoes and H&M for Most Stylish Men’s Shoes.Other retailers to take home prizes include Topshop, New Look, AllSaints and Burton. Bo Carter – known for her bright, playful designs and her refusal to use fur or leather – picked up the award for Most Talented New Designer.For more information and to see all the winners, visit PETAApprovedFashion.org.uk.