Nigeria insists Boko Haram defeated after 10year insurgency

first_imgLagos: Nigeria’s presidency claimed Boko Haram’s 10-year-old insurgency had been “defeated” but admitted that international jihadists posed a growing threat. “The position of the Nigerian government is that the Boko Haram terrorism has been degraded and defeated. The real Boko Haram we know is defeated,” the presidency said in a statement late Tuesday. It said the country was now facing “a mixture” of Boko Haram remnants, criminal groups and jihadists from the Maghreb and West Africa fuelled by turmoil in Libya and the collapse of the Islamic State caliphate in the Middle East. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”As a consequence of these international gangs, we have seen an increase of trans-border crimes and the proliferation of small arms in the Lake Chad Basin area,” the statement said. President Muhammadu Buhari, a former general who vowed to crush Boko Haram when he became president in 2015 for his first term in office, has previously said the group were “beaten”. The uprising began in northeast Nigeria in July 2009 when fighting between the hardline group and government forces left hundreds of jihadists dead, including leader Muhammad Yusuf. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsSince then, the bloody campaign has killed some 27,000 people, displaced over two million people and spilled over into neighbouring countries. In 2015, the Nigerian army forced the jihadists out of major towns but they remain at large in remote strongholds. Fighters still launch persistent attacks and a breakaway faction loyal to IS, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), has ratcheted up assaults against the military since last year. Over the weekend an attack by the Boko Haram group headed by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau killed 65 villagers close to the regional capital Maiduguri. The army has often been criticised for failing to safeguard local communities, with vigilante groups stepping into the void left by the authorities. But the presidency said it was looking to bolster its military capacity and expected the long-awaited delivery of Super Tucano turbo-prop warplanes from the United States “beginning next year”.last_img read more

Woman allegedly killed 8monthold son buried him in granary

first_imgGreater Noida: Gautam Buddh Nagar police have arrested a 25-year-old woman for allegedly killing her 8-month-old son who was missing from last 10 days. Cops said that the accused decomposed the body at granary at her house in Gopalgarh village in Jewar.According to police, the accused has been identified as Hema and she has been living with her husband Rohtash and two sons. “Hema is a housewife while her husband works as driver in a private company in Greater Noida,” said police. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe accused woman and her husband had also filed a missing complaint of their child on August 11. Kumar Ranvijay Singh, Superintendent of Police (rural), Gautam Buddh Nagar said that Rohtash returned home at night and found his wife was crying. “She told him that someone had kidnapped their son when she had gone outside to feed the animals,” said Singh. “On Wednesday morning around 8.30 am, Rohtash and his family members felt a foul smell coming from granary and when they opened the gate, they found the body of the infant. Police started the investigation from home and interrogated each member of the family separately. However, Hema’s statement were not found correct and she also kept on changing her statement,” added Singh. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”During interrogation, she broke down and revealed that the infant had fallen from the cot while playing and died. She had stuffed the boy in a bag and put it in the granary, fearing the family members would scold her for negligence. Prima Facie it appears that the woman is having an illicit affair with her brother-in-law and was jealous of his wife. It is being suspected that she allegedly wanted to frame her sister-in-law in the whole incident. However, we are investigating the case from all angles,” Singh said.last_img read more

Vedanta to work together with Niti for Odisha district

first_imgNew Delhi: Vedanta Ltd on Tuesday said it has collaborated with government think-tank Niti Aayog to help improve the quality of life of the people of Kalahandi district of Odisha. NITI Aayog and Vedanta will work together to assist the district by reviewing and co-creating strategic action plans to improve lives of local communities through interventions in health and nutrition, education, financial inclusion, skill development and basic infrastructure related aspects as defined in aspirational districts mandate under the overall development policies of the state government, the company said in a statement. “Vedanta Ltd signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) yesterday with NITI Aayog to help improve the quality of life of the citizens of Kalahandi district, Odisha, through their CSR fund as part of Aspirational Districts’ initiative,” the company said.last_img read more

Trumps personal assistant steps down over info breach Reports

first_imgWashington: Donald Trump’s personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout resigned on Thursday after she shared information about the president’s family with journalists, US media reported. Westerhout’s unexpected departure came after Trump learned that she had talked about his family and White House matters with reporters at an off-the-record session during the president’s recent working vacation in New Jersey, The New York Times reported citing unnamed sources. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLater, other outlets — including CNN and Politico — also reported her departure citing unnamed sources. CNN said Westerhout had failed to make clear during the interaction with journalists that her comments were off the record, and one reporter disclosed the conversation to the White House. Westerhout’s office was in front of the Oval Office and she had been described as Trump’s “gatekeeper” in US media. She had been his personal assistant from the beginning of his presidency. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe Trump administration has been particularly sensitive about staff leaking information to the media, with the president railing against both officials and journalists over reports about the state of affairs in the White House. The New York Times said Westerhout was now a “separated employee” and would not be allowed into the White House. A former administration official described Trump and Westerhout’s relationship as “close”, CNN said, but added that talking about his family was “a red line”. Westerhout was not a high-profile staffer, but her exit adds to a long list of administration officials who have quit since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.last_img read more

Building collapses due to tunnel boring in Bowbazar

first_imgKolkata: Three buildings were severely damaged and around a dozen-odd suffered cracks in Bowbazar area, allegedly due to the ongoing work of tunnel boring undertaken by the authorities of East-West Metro.Mayor Firhad Hakim, who is also the state Urban Development minister, visited the spot and working in tandem with the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) officials, ensured that the affected residents got relocated in hotels situated in and around the area. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA portion of a building located at Durga Pithuri Lane collapsed in the wee hours of Sunday, while some others located at the same lane, Madan Dutta Lane and Sankhari Para Lane developed cracks. “Safety of the people residing in these buildings is our top priority. We will not allow anybody to stay in the buildings that have suffered damages. I have spoken with KMRC and they have already made arrangements for the fooding and lodging of the affected residents in nearby hotels,” Hakim said, after holding a meeting with officials of KMRC, Kolkata Police and Fire department in the afternoon. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe affected residents claimed that no prior notice about tunnel boring work and evacuation had been issued to them. They said that KMRC, which is executing the project, started boring work under Durga Pithuri Lane at around 7.00 pm. Within a few minutes, most of the buildings in the locality started shaking and it seemed like an earthquake. “A loud sound was heard and cracks started developing in the building walls. After a few minutes, the lights went off,” a resident alleged. “On Saturday, I reached my home (10 A, Durga Pithuri Lane) at 10 pm and saw that most of the buildings had been evacuated by the KMRC officials and police. We were keeping our fingers crossed hearing the sound of cracks and ultimately were shifted to a hotel at 5 am,” said Dr Pradip Laha, a local resident. Most of the buildings that have suffered damages are more than 150-years-old and engineers expressed their apprehension that with the extent of damage, a few of them may be beyond repair. “Initially we will charge cement in the cracks and try to mend them as much as possible. Then we will consult structural experts who will examine the building and will certify what needs to be done and accordingly, the repair work will be taken up,” Hakim said. MP Sudip Bondhopadhyay, who went to the spot earlier in the day, said: “People always wanted Metro here. They are not against Metro. They did not expect this will happen. It’s a human error.” Manas Sarkar, managing director of KMRC, who visited the spot, said that considering the safety of the residents, arrangements for lodging of 254 people have already been made. He assured that the KMRC will do necessary repair work and build the buildings afresh, if needed. It may be mentioned that KMRC is executing the 16.6 km long EW Metro corridor, which will connect Salt Lake Sector V with Howrah Maidan. The tunneling work from Sealdah to Esplanade area is going on at present.last_img read more

UK PM Johnson loses majority

first_imgLondon: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his working parliamentary majority ahead of a crucial Brexit vote on Tuesday after Conservative MP Phillip Lee defected to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats. “The Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Bracknell MP Phillip Lee has joined the party,” the Lib Dems said in a statement.last_img

US extracted spy that confirmed Putin role in 2016 US vote Reports

first_imgWashington DC: US agents extracted a high-level Russian government source who had confirmed Vladimir Putin’s direct role in interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, US media reported. The source, who had been providing information for decades, had access to Putin and had sent pictures of high-level documents on the Russian leader’s desk, CNN reported. The network said the spy was pulled out of Russia in 2017 due to concerns that President Donald Trump and his cabinet could expose the asset due to repeated mishandling of classified intelligence. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe CIA refuted this. Brittany Bramell, the agency’s director of public affairs, told CNN: “Misguided speculation that the President’s handling of our nation’s most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate.” The agency offered to extract the source in late 2016 but the informant initially refused, citing family issues, the New York Times reported. This prompted fears that the informant had become a double agent — but months later the source relented, the Times added. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe unnamed individual was key in providing information that led US intelligence to conclude Putin directly orchestrated Russian interference in favor of Trump and against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, the Times said. The informant was also directly linked Putin to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, resulting in the release of a flood of embarrassing messages, the newspaper reported. According to the Times, the agent was the CIA’s most valuable Russian asset.last_img read more

Hiking onstreet parking rates and pedestrianising markets part of the plan

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA has suggested hiking surface parking rates and pedestrianising markets in a plan prepared for a pilot project to decongest roads in Lajpat Nagar, Krishna Nagar, and Kamla Nagar. Last week, the apex court had directed the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), civic bodies and the Delhi government to explore how radio frequency identification (RFID) tags can be used for effective parking management in the city and to submit the plan for the pilot project in two weeks. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderEPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said the plan was ready and it was discussed in detail at a meeting on Tuesday. “The meeting discussed the total number of vehicles and where can we accommodate them. Which areas will be pedestrianised? Where will be the surplus vehicles shifted?” he said. The markets will be pedestrianised. The emphasis will be on stack and multi-level parking systems, he said. “To promote multi-level parking, we have suggested increasing the rates of on-street parking. Multi-level parking will be cheaper,” the EPCA chairperson said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”The EPCA is also exploring technological solutions like RFID tags and software applications to prevent unauthorised parking. We will see which technology is cost-effective and hassle-free and then take a final call,” Lal said. Additional Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation Randhir Sahay said the SDMC will hold meetings with traffic police, resident welfare associations, and market associations starting Wednesday on how the plan will be implemented.last_img read more

Summer temperatures will be like whiplash says meteorologist

first_imgTORONTO – Temperatures this summer are expected to feel like “whiplash,” and may swing between hot and cool over the course of the season, a top meteorologist says.The Weather Network released its summer forecast Tuesday, and chief meteorologist Chris Scott said it may feel like being on a teeter-totter.“When you’re going down, before you reach the bottom, someone jumps on the other side and you’re jerked right back up again,” he said. “That’s what our weather patterns are going through. They’re getting kind of jerked around by the overall patterns in the Pacific Ocean with El Nino.”Scott said that while British Columbia has had a cool spring, that should turn around for summer and it’ll end up being a little warmer than average — though he notes that it shouldn’t be excessively hot.And he said precipitation-wise, the region should get the average amount of rain — which is to say, not a ton. Scott said it could present an issue for forest fires.In the Prairies, temperatures will vary by the region. Scott said Alberta could get some of the same warm temperatures as British Columbia, but the eastern Prairies can expect it to be cooler than average.And while there may be a few dry pockets, meteorologists aren’t predicting any prolonged droughts.Scott said it won’t be as hot or dry in Central Canada as last summer.“We will be on that battle ground, between warm to the south — and hot, humid weather at times — and cool to the north,” he said. “We’re painting in much of northern Ontario with below normal temperatures, most of southern Ontario with near-normal and just a little bit of southern Quebec at above-normal.”“Versus last summer, I wouldn’t say a cooler summer — let’s just say not as hot,” he said, adding there won’t be quite as many days above 30C as there were in Toronto last year.In terms of precipitation, he said it may be a little bit above normal, though the regions affected by flooding in the spring likely won’t have to worry about further issues in the summer.Meanwhile, Scott said the southern parts of the Maritimes will be a little bit above normal temperature-wise.But he added that in Newfoundland and Labrador, it may be chillier than average whenever there’s a wind coming off of the ocean, which is cooler this year than it usually is.In the North, Scott said Yukon can look forward to a warmer than normal summer.Much of the Northwest Territories will see near normal temperatures, but southern Nunavut should expect a cooler season than usual.last_img read more

Looters taking advantage of BC fires are typical at natural disasters expert

first_imgVANCOUVER – As if the risk of losing their homes isn’t enough, wildfire evacuees in British Columbia have faced the additional threat of looters searching through their belongings after they rushed to safety.Rob Gordon, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Surrey, B.C., says looting is an unfortunate but routine part of virtually every natural disaster, from fires to floods, hurricanes to earthquakes.“It’s predatory behaviour of the worst kind,” Gordon said, adding that looters are opportunists.“There is nothing especially organized. People just see a chance to make off with somebody else’s possessions, and they’ll do it if they can get away with it.”The RCMP said they have arrested a half-dozen people accused of exploiting the disaster over the past week.Emergency officials have ordered thousands of residents to lock up and leave since the province declared a state of emergency on July 7 after hundreds of fires started across B.C.’s central and southern Interior.Gordon said looters are often locals who have had an eye on a particular house or business. Besides cash, the most likely items to be stolen are typically small, portable and easy to resell, such as electronics, jewelry and guns, he said.“There’s a market in firearms,” he explained. “And they’re, generally speaking, quite easy to move.”To help prevent looting, Gordon would like to see police train volunteer safety officers who would remain in their communities during an emergency, when it’s safe to do so.“My betting is there would be a lot of people willing to go back into their communities to protect their property and the property of their neighbours,” he said, comparing it to a volunteer firefighting program.“It’s a model of emergency service which is already in place in many respects,” Gordon said of auxiliary policing systems. “A lot of communities have them. The Gulf Islands have them. I’m just surprised that is not the case in the Interior.”Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said he has been receiving reports of “fake fire marshals” knocking on doors telling residents their street is under an evacuation alert.“We believe that these are people potentially looking for opportunities to rob vacant homes,” Simpson said.“Most of my thoughts are unprintable. I think it’s unconscionable that these individuals take advantage of this situation.”Swindlers are not necessarily always on the ground when emergencies hit. Evan Kelly of the Better Business Bureau warned about scam artists who set up fake crowdfunding websites to take money illegally.“It really comes down to the emotional aspect, and that’s what scammers are trying to capitalize on here,” he said, describing such cons as “the lowest of the low.”Kelly encouraged people interested in donating online to contribute to charities that have registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. Door-to-door solicitors should be able to provide a tax receipt immediately without leaving the front step, he added.— Follow @gwomand on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version based on information provided by the RCMP said at least a dozen arrests had been made by police.last_img read more

Feds provinces must reform foster care to tackle youth homelessness study says

first_imgOTTAWA – A first-of-its-kind study in Canada has painted a national picture of homeless youth and drawn a link to the foster care system that researchers say could be playing a more active role in keeping young people off the streets.The study found nearly three out of every five homeless youth were part of the child welfare system at some point in their lives, a rate almost 200 times greater than that of the general population.Of those with a history in the child welfare system, almost two of every five respondents eventually “aged out” of provincial or territorial care, losing access to the sort of support that could have kept them from becoming homeless, the study found.The result is that Canada is creating a group of young people who are at higher risk of becoming homeless because they lack resources when coming out of foster care, said Stephen Gaetz, the study’s co-author and director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.The study released Wednesday comes months before dozens of cities will take part in the second, federally organized point-in-time count of the homeless population that will include a focus on young people.The first federal point-in-time count last year asked respondents for their ages, but changes to the questionnaire are coming for the 2018 count to help communities that choose to put extra attention on targeting the youth homeless population including when someone first became homeless.The survey also will now includes questions about immigrants and refugees, as well as gender identity to better help cities co-ordinate and plan services or, in the case of newcomers to Canada, whether there may be “an issue that can be addressed upstream.”The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the updated questionnaire under the Access to Information Act.The first count last year included 32 cities. More cities have suggested they are interested in taking part in next year’s count.All of the data will feed into the Liberal government’s anti-poverty strategy that will target vulnerable populations like youth. Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, said the government will look at the youth homeless study released Wednesday to see how its recommendations can be worked into the national anti-poverty plan.The study is based on a survey of 1,103 young people who were homeless in 42 different communities in nine provinces and Nunavut.There are about 6,500 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 homeless on any given night.The report urges the federal government to focus on preventing youth homelessness — particularly among Indigenous youth — and on provinces and territories to focus on “after care” by providing support as needed until age 25.“We’re not calling out child protection services,” Gaetz said. “We’re not pointing fingers going, ‘It’s horrible what you’re doing.’“Rather, we’re saying this is an unintended consequence of a whole number of things, but it’s something that we can identify as leading to bad outcomes when young people leave care.”New census data released last week reported some 43,880 youth in foster care in 2016, a decline of about 4,000 from the 47,890 young people Statistics Canada counted in 2011, the first time such data was collected for the census.The problem is particularly acute for Indigenous youth, who in 2011 made up nearly half of the children in care nationally. Statistics Canada is set to release more census details about Canada’s Aboriginal population later this fall.The study says that the problems with Indigenous child welfare, which governments have vowed to tackle, highlight the need for structural reforms to the system.“None of these approaches can be a one-size-fits-all approach,” said study co-author David French, director of policy and planning with A Way Home, a national, anti-youth-homelessness coalition.“So when you speak about Indigenous young people or young people who identify as LGBTQ2S, or new immigrant young people, each of them does require a targeted response underneath a specific strategy.”LGBTQ2S stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit, the latter term referring specifically to members of the Indigenous community.— Follow @jpress on Twitterlast_img read more

Personal political divisions erupt over ballistic missile defence

first_imgOTTAWA – Personal and political divisions over ballistic missile defence were on clear display Tuesday, as a group of parliamentarians gathered on Parliament Hill to discuss the threat posed by North Korea.Members of the House of Commons’ defence committee agreed during a rare summer meeting to a series of emergency briefings in the coming weeks on the government’s plan should North Korea attack.The meeting came as the U.S. Treasury Department upped the ante on North Korea by sanctioning several Chinese and Russian entities for supporting the rogue state’s nuclear and missile programs.There was no immediate word of Canada following with its own sanctions.Instead, much of the discussion in the hallways before and after the committee meeting centred on whether Canada should join the U.S. continental missile-defence shield, after famously opting out of the system in 2005.The Trudeau government has sidestepped questions about Canada’s intentions, saying only that ballistic missiles are one threat being discussed as Canada and the U.S. look to upgrade North America’s defences.But one Liberal MP said Tuesday that Canada should reconsider its decision not to join the U.S. missile shield, even as the Conservatives danced around the issue and the NDP reaffirmed its historic opposition.Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen said a lot has changed since then-prime minister Paul Martin decided Canada would not join ballistic missile defence in 2005.“Personally, I think that we do need to start to look at what Canada’s role will be in that,” he told reporters after the committee meeting.“We should be having an ongoing discussion about what our role should be in that. And I think 10 years plus after the fact is a timely opportunity to have that discussion again.”Gerretsen would not comment on the government’s official position, or whether his view was shared by many other members of his party.But fellow Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr, chairman of the defence committee, noted that Canada has limited resources when it comes to defence — a reference to the fact the U.S. has spent about $100 billion on its missile shield.Fuhr also played down the threat posed by North Korea, citing military officials and defence experts who told the committee last year that there was no direct threat to Canada from another country.“Even if we wind back the media in the last 30 days, I don’t think Canada was ever mentioned in the rhetoric that was flying back and forth between North Korea and the United States,” he said.Meanwhile, Conservative MPs refused to say Tuesday where their party sits now.The Liberals were in office when Canada declined to join the defence system in 2005, but Stephen Harper made no move to reverse course during the Tories’ 10 years in power.That was despite Conservatives having pressed for Canada to join while they were in opposition to Martin’s government.Conservative defence critic James Bezan suggested his party would take a position once the defence committee is briefed on North Korea, even as he referenced the fiery debate from 12 years ago.“You’ve got to remember the history behind that discussion, the wounds that were created because of the decision by Paul Martin back in 2005. And things didn’t change until this summer,” Bezan added.“So from this point forward, everyone is looking at how we can best work with the United States. How we can work through NORAD in dealing with this new threat.”The only party with a clear position appeared to be the New Democrats, with NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere calling on the Liberals to reaffirm their opposition to ballistic missile defence.“It’s cheaper to develop new weapons than to develop that kind of defensive system,” she said.“And that kind of defensive system only leads countries like North Korea but also countries like China and Russia, who may feel concerned, to upgrade their systems and it leads to escalation.”Laverdiere called for Canada to take more of a leadership role in finding a diplomatic solution and to support efforts at the UN for full nuclear disarmament around the world.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.last_img read more

The Monday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Monday, Oct. 2———TWO CANADIANS AMONG DEAD IN VEGAS: Two Canadians were among dozens of people killed in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of thousands gathered at an outdoor country music festival Sunday. Jessica Klymchuk, of Valleyview, Alta., and Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, B.C., were among at least 58 people who died in the horrific attack that also left more than 500 others injured, including an unknown number of Canadians. In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the “senseless and cowardly act of violence.”———HIGH-RISE SNIPER KILLS DOZENS AT VEGAS CONCERT: A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino rained heavy fire down on a crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival, turning the expanse into a killing field from which there was little escape. At least 58 people died. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. At least 515 people were injured. Authorities said SWAT teams using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room in the gold-coloured glass skyscraper and found he had killed himself.———CHARGES LAID IN EDMONTON ATTACK: A suspect has been charged in an attack which saw an Edmonton officer stabbed and four people injured when they were hit by a rental truck fleeing police. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder, four counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and one weapons-related charge. Police raised the possibility of terrorism charges on Sunday when revealing that Sharif had been investigated two years earlier for espousing extremist views and was found to have an Islamic State flag in his car.———ACCUSED IN QUEBEC MOSQUE SHOOTING GOING STRAIGHT TO TRIAL: The accused in the slayings of six men at a Quebec City mosque last January will bypass his preliminary hearing and go straight to trial, the Crown announced on Monday. Prosecutors filed a direct indictment against Alexandre Bissonnette during a brief hearing in Quebec City. Crown prosecutor Thomas Jacques also announced another charge — one more count of attempted murder with a restricted weapon.———PAYETTE NOW 29TH GOVERNOR GENERAL: Amid all the pomp and pageantry afforded the Queen’s representative in Canada, former astronaut Julie Payette took the formal oath of office Monday to become the country’s 29th Governor General in a traditional ceremony on Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood by as Payette read the oaths of allegiance of the Governor General and commander-in-chief of Canada, and of the Keeper of the Great Seal of Canada. The audience included justices of the Supreme Court, political and Indigenous leaders and other dignitaries, including former governors general, several provincial premiers and Payette’s friends and family.———PREMIERS TO TALK TAX CHANGES WITH MORNEAU: The Liberal government has been fielding a lot of complaints about controversial proposed tax reforms and now the premiers are about to have their turn as they gather in Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The provincial and territorial leaders will get a chance on Tuesday to hear Finance Minister Bill Morneau discuss his proposals to eliminate small business tax provisions the Liberals argue allow wealthy Canadians to avoid paying their fair share. The suggested changes have led to an outcry from doctors, farmers, small business owners and even some premiers, who are concerned about the effect they would have on their provincial economies.———TECH SECTOR WARNS FEDS OVER TAX PROPOSALS: The country’s fastest growing technology companies and industry investors are urging the federal government to meet the sector before going ahead with controversial tax-reform proposals. In a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Council of Canadian Innovators warns his tax proposals would limit tech entrepreneurs’ access to capital that’s vital for their companies’ growth and job creation. The association also says the changes, if implemented, would create uncertainty for corporate tax planning, intensify a brain drain of tech talent away from Canada and negatively affect Ottawa’s highly publicized investments to help high-potential firms scale up.———SINGH MEETING MPS ON 1ST DAY AS NDP LEADER: Jagmeet Singh spent his first day as the newly elected leader of the federal NDP meeting individually with MPs in Ottawa as he prepares to name an interim leader in the House of Commons. Singh, a member of the Ontario legislature who does not currently have a Commons seat, is expected to name an MP in the coming days who will oversee the work of the federal caucus. NDP national director Robert Fox says Singh will be paid directly by the party because he can’t be paid through parliamentary channels.———BORUTSKI MURDER TRIAL BEGINS: Basil Borutski had nothing to say for himself Monday as the former millwright, accused of killing three women in the Ottawa Valley in 2015, refused to enter a plea at the start of his murder trial. The 59-year-old remained silent in the prisoner’s box as a court clerk first asked him to confirm his name before asking how he would like to plead to the three first-degree murder charges against him. The charges relate to the deaths of Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, whose bodies were found in separate crime scenes in and around Wilno, Ont., on Sept. 22, 2015.———DEVOS TO VISIT ONTARIO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s education secretary, who holds controversial views on publicly funded education, is set to visit Ontario to learn about its public school system. Ontario government officials confirmed Betsy DeVos’ trip is taking place but wouldn’t provide details. U.S. embassy officials provided few specifics, except to say DeVos’ visit is on Thursday and Friday and involves a study tour to Toronto “to examine best practices in Ontario’s education system.”———last_img read more

Ontario strengthening police oversight redefining core police duties

first_imgTORONTO – Sweeping changes to Ontario’s policing laws were introduced Thursday, including strengthening oversight, making it possible to suspend officers without pay and redefining police duties.The new rules, contained in a massive piece of legislation years in the making, would include the first update to the province’s Police Services Act in more than 25 years.“The issues faced by police services and their members today are far more complex than when the act was developed,” said Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde. “The last time the act was revised, there was no internet, the Blue Jays won the World Series and you needed a briefcase to carry your cellphone.”Many of the policing updates stem from Appeal Court Justice Michael Tulloch’s report on police oversight, released earlier this year, and include requiring the Special Investigations Unit or SIU, one of the province’s police oversight agencies, to report publicly on all of its investigations and release the names of officers charged.Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said he has “deep respect and appreciation” for the more than 26,000 police officers in Ontario who risk their lives to keep people safe, but it’s also important to establish checks and balances.“We have all heard the growing concerns that some communities, in particular black and Indigenous communities, feel unjustly harmed at the hands of police,” he said. “We have witnessed such tensions across North America and we have learned that Ontario is not immune.”An Inspector General would be established to oversee police services, with the power to investigate and audit them, and Ontario’s ombudsman would be able to investigate complaints against the police oversight bodies.The three police oversight agencies that already exist in Ontario — the SIU, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) — would get expanded mandates.The OIPRD will be renamed the Ontario Policing Complaints Agency and would investigate all public complaints against police officers. The OCPC would be renamed the Ontario Policing Discipline Tribunal, dedicated solely to adjudicating police disciplinary matters, so that isn’t done by the police services themselves.As well, the SIU would be able to investigate not just current, but also former police officers, volunteer members of police services, special constables, off-duty officers and members of First Nations police services.Police officers who don’t comply with such investigations could be fined up to $50,000 and/or be sent to jail for up to one year.The SIU said it “wholeheartedly welcomes” the new Policing Oversight Act, tabled as part of the larger bill.Selwyn Pieters, a lawyer who frequently takes on issues of anti-black racism, said the expanded mandates and more layers of oversight will serve the public well.“I think those are fundamental when you talk about fairness, when you talk about impartiality, when you talk about balancing the scales between civilians and police officers,” he said. “We know the SIU has been criticized in terms of how it interacts and how it deals with shootings, particularly involving black men.”Suspending police officers without pay was one of the most discussed issues during the five-year process to update policing legislation, Lalonde said.Ontario is currently the only province in which chiefs can’t revoke the pay of suspended officers, who collect millions of dollars each year. Right now, suspended officers have to be paid even when convicted of an offence, unless they are sentenced to prison.The new legislation proposes to allow suspensions without pay when an officer is in custody or when they are charged with a serious federal offence that wasn’t allegedly committed in the course of their duties.But if an officer wants to fight that, the matter would go to the disciplinary tribunal, which would make the final decision. If the officer is ultimately found not guilty of the charge they faced, they would be reimbursed for the lost pay, Lalonde said.Fred Kaustinen, the executive director of the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, said the rules strike a reasonable balance, though he would have liked a bit more flexibility for chiefs when it comes to suspension without pay.“When you have egregious offences conducted by some of the 26,000 members, sworn police officers in the province, it erodes that public trust and also is hugely expensive if somebody’s still on full pay and benefits because police officer salaries are very high in this province,” he said.Local police boards would also be created for the Ontario Provincial Police, similar to the structure of municipal police services boards — which will be required to undergo more training, such as on diversity. The new act would also allow First Nations police forces to establish their own police services boards.An amended Coroners Act would require coroner’s inquests when police kill through use of force, another one of Tulloch’s key recommendations.The government’s stated approach is to share the burden of community safety with municipalities. They will be required to implement community safety plans, such as identifying a need for more addiction and mental health programs, aiming to prevent problems before police get involved.The new act will also for the first time clearly define police responsibilities as those that can only be performed by an officer. That will be worked out in regulations, but Lalonde said for example, sworn constables may not be the best people to monitor construction sites.The Police Association of Ontario warned Thursday that those changes would open the door to privatization and could risk public safety, but Lalonde disputed the suggestion.“When you call 911 and you need a police officer, a police officer will respond,” she said.Two new pieces of legislation would also allow police to track a cellphone and search a home in missing persons cases — something they can only do now when a crime is suspected — as well as making accreditation and oversight of forensic labs mandatory.last_img read more

Roadsides not best place for planting monarchcritical milkweed study finds

first_imgTORONTO – Efforts aimed at reversing a steep decline in the monarch butterfly population by planting traditionally unloved milkweed need to take into account the size and location of the planted patches, new Canadian research indicates.The study, out of the University of Guelph, finds that restoring milkweed along roadways is less effective than doing so on agricultural lands. Milkweed is critical to the survival of the monarch population because it’s believed to be the only plant the butterflies feed on as caterpillars.“Roadside patches, which received half the number of eggs compared to agricultural landscapes, may potentially pose a number of threats to monarchs because of vehicle collision and accumulation of noxious chemicals,” the study’s authors write.“A better strategy may be for managers to develop incentive programs with landowners to plant and maintain milkweeds in agricultural landscapes.”The research, published in the journal Biological Conservation, looked at what monarch butterflies prefer when it comes to laying eggs on milkweed.Milkweed plants on farm land, according to the two-year study carried out primarily by now graduated master’s student Grace Pitman, have more than three times the amount of monarch eggs than those growing in urban gardens and roadsides. That might be because female monarchs can find the plants more easily in agricultural fields.“Based on these findings, it will be important to develop programs with landowners and other pollinator initiatives or ecosystem service programs to actively restore milkweed in agricultural landscapes,” the authors write. “Ideal areas for planting milkweed patches are crop margins, field corners, and other marginalized cropland within close proximity to crop fields.”At the same time, small patches in gardens and urban parks can still be useful for adult monarchs to lay eggs and find nectar for themselves, the paper states.Most monarchs migrate thousands of kilometres along various routes through the United States between Mexico and Canada, where they are mostly found in southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec, and the most southerly parts of Manitoba and British Columbia. They are considered an indicator species of the overall health of the environment.However, monarch populations are estimated to have plunged by 90 per cent or more across North America over the past two decades. Part of the decline has been blamed on the attempted eradication of the otherwise prolific milkweed, which has traditionally been viewed, or officially listed, as a noxious weed, even poisonous to livestock.For several years now, conservationists have been pushing milkweed restoration as a way to counter the monarch decline, arguing the plant can easily be controlled in an agricultural setting. Roadsides, which are plentiful in the monarch range, have featured prominently in the restoration push.“It looks like it’s not the best place to attract females to lay eggs,” study co-author Ryan Norris, an associate professor in the department of integrative biology, said from Guelph, Ont., on Wednesday. “Whether females don’t like roadside habitats, or they do like them but are getting killed, is something that needs to be looked at further.”Small, low-density milkweed patches of under 16 square metres in agricultural landscape appear to be most useful, in part because they tend to be home to fewer predators that feast on monarch eggs or larvae than medium-sized patches, the study finds. Large patches may be important for male monarchs to search for mates, but they might interfere with females trying to lay eggs.One big unknown, Norris said, is whether more eggs translate into more adult monarchs and what impact pesticides might have on survival rates.“That’s a trickier thing to measure,” Norris said. “It’s much harder than going around counting eggs.”last_img read more

Surging water levels wash away part of railway bridge east of Montreal

first_imgSHERBROOKE, Que. – Surging water levels in a Quebec river have washed away part of a railway bridge east of Montreal.Genesee & Wyoming Canada Inc., which owns the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railway, says the water levels in the St-François River rose overnight Friday night.No trains were involved and the damage affects only railway infrastructure.Genesee & Wyoming Canada says there were no injuries.A railway emergency and recovery team is on site in Sherbrooke to assess damage and prepare the ground for future work.Alternative routes will be established shortly to maintain customer service.last_img

Politics and MeToo voices from a survey of staffers on Parliament Hill

first_imgOTTAWA – Long hours. A male-dominated workplace. Precarious employment. Alcohol. A culture of silence.The Canadian Press surveyed those working in the offices of MPs, senators and cabinet ministers in Ottawa, asking them to share their experiences with sexual misconduct on Parliament Hill and their thoughts on the surrounding culture. Here’s some of what the respondents — who completed the survey in anonymity — had to say.— “It is a workplace, but there is widespread alcohol before, during and after official duties are carried out. Is there any other workplace in Canada where consuming alcohol on the job is acceptable, and even promoted by management (MPs in this case)?”— “Save your voice for when it counts, when it’s silent, when someone needs you, or when you need to speak up. Don’t waste this opportunity.”— “I am concerned that this movement could have some unintended, negative consequences for female staffers. I have already heard male parliamentarians say they will no longer hire female staffers and it is difficult for us to break into legislative work as it is.”— “Partisanship can be an ugly beast that prevents us from standing up for ourselves. It’s not right. We, staffers, deserve a safe and harassment free workplace just as does anyone else.”— “The whisper network is very real. As soon as I got a job on the Hill, friends who already worked there started telling me stories and giving me names of MPs and staffers to avoid. It was never in a gossipy way, simply friends trying to help me protect myself.”— “As a male working on the Hill for many years, it has become apparent to me that women speak of and warn each other about male abusers. The fact that they talk about it between themselves, yet haven’t felt able to disclose publicly, condemns our system and all of us and it’s tragic.”— “I find there are a fair amount of ‘stories of stories,’ but very little actual first-person or directly witnessed events.”— “In my experience what has bothered me the most are the comments and jokes of a sexual or sexist nature that come out of the blue and unexpectedly turn a formal work situation into an uncomfortable, embarrassing, or humiliating situation (usually, but not always, for women). As a staffer, you are expected to laugh it off or be branded as uptight or not to be trusted.”— “Ever since the #MeToo movement has come to Parliament Hill, I have noticed a change surrounding how male MPs treat me. I feel even more disrespected because instead of staring at my chest, they’ll refuse eye contact or take the next elevator to avoid being alone with me. It makes me equally uncomfortable that so many men have to do that to control themselves. I think the solution to this is to promote more women and give more men female bosses so that they learn to respect women and take them seriously.”— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitterlast_img read more

Woman 49 killed by her own dog in Alberta police say

first_imgROCKYVIEW, Alta. – Police say a woman was killed by her own dog in Rocky View, Alta., on Saturday evening.RCMP say the boxer-pitbull cross initially attacked a three-year-old girl, leaving her with serious but not life-threatening injuries, before turning on the 49-year-old woman.They say the deceased was the dog’s owner, and the attack happened in her home.Witnesses reported to police that the dog had not shown previous signs of aggression and was otherwise well-behaved.Investigators say the dog, along with one other in the residence, has been quarantined in Calgary and will be monitored.last_img

Nenshi aims to entice Vancouver tech sector workers to Calgary

first_imgVANCOUVER (660 NEWS) – Naheed Nenshi has ventured to the coast and hopes he won’t be returning to Calgary alone. Nenshi is hoping to convince people in the thriving west coast tech sector to move to Calgary.Nenshi aims to do two things with the trip, number one is traveling with Calgary companies, in order to do business with some Vancouver companies.“The second reason I am here is to steal your children. We are also doing a tech hiring fair with a bunch of Calgary tech companies who have jobs to fill that are looking to Vancouver candidates, so it’s a bit of both.”Nenshi believes the trip can be beneficial for everyone involved.“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to create better business relationships to help Vancouver companies grow here, but also to help support the Calgary economy as well.”He says Calgary is dealing with some problems like a historically high unemployment rate, but we may need outside help to fix those issues.“We really need people who have worked in a healthy tech ecosystem like Vancouver, whether it is software engineers, or coders, or folks who can help our businesses grow.”He says the tech sector will help the city’s economy diversify as it would help other industries, like financial services and life sciences, grow.Nenshi says Vancouver will want to avoid some of the issues that have been found in Silicon Valley with exorbitant housing costs that would limit the number of young people able to live in the city.Vancouver already has a high cost of living in comparison to many other Canadian cities, which could be one reason why people would want to come over the Rockies to Calgary.Calgary’s Mayor also says he looks forward to dealing with the newly elected mayor of Vancouver, Kennedy Stewart.“I am happy to talk to Vancouver people about the economy, the environment, energy and pipelines.”With files from Breakfast Television on City TV.last_img read more

Ottawa funding program to help reduce homelessness in 38 communities

first_imgEDMONTON – The federal government is putting more money into a program first tested in eight communities to help reduce homelessness.Edmonton Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault on Friday announced $885,000 to expand a pilot project by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Even one person on the streets in Canada is too many, “Boissonnault said in a release. “Projects like this one … support communities in our mutual goal to reduce chronic homelessness.”The money is to help develop lists of homeless people, including their names and circumstances, and to streamline access to housing and support services.It’s part of a campaign by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, which aims to get 20,000 of the country’s most vulnerable people off the street in 20 communities by July 2020.Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, said the “by-name” list allows agencies to track the number of people “coming to homelessness or returning to homelessness.”The project was initially tested in eight communities: Toronto, the Peel Region, Lanark County, Hamilton, Windsor and Waterloo Region in Ontario; Edmonton and Whitehorse, Yukon.The new federal money expands the pilot project to an additional 30 communities.Edmonton officials say the project has helped to prioritize their work.“To solve a problem, you really need to understand it,” said Susan McGee, chief executive officer of Homeward Trust, a community-based organization in the city.“It’s very much focused on who is homeless in your community.”McGee said identifying those people by name helps to understand their housing needs and other services they need.“The whole objective here is about creating urgency and giving communities the tools they need to bend the curve on chronic homelessness,” Richter added.The federal government, as part of its national housing strategy, has announced a total investment of $2.2 billion to fight homelessness over 10 years.last_img read more