CALGARY – A Calgary woman who is now paralyzed after police say she was pushed in front of an oncoming transit train is awake from life-saving surgery and feels thankful to be alive, her son says.Allan Hein says his mother, Rozalia (Rose) Meichl, doesn’t remember much of the incident Thursday afternoon on a platform near Stampede Park where she was allegedly shoved from behind onto the tracks, but knows she can’t feel her legs.Hein says she spoke to him on the phone Sunday and remains optimistic despite the horror she went through.“She said, ‘Well son, I know that I can’t move my legs, I just can’t feel them. But I’m still alive so I’m feeling great,’” Hein said in an interview.“‘I’m aware I’ll never walk again and I’m aware that I’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, but son, I’m still breathing and I’m still alive and I’ve got family that love me.’”The train was able to stop in time, but Meichl was seriously injured and taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.A suspect was taken into custody by a transit officer. Police believe the attack was random and unprovoked.Hein says his mother and a friend were planning to return home on the train that day after taking in some horse racing. She was being followed and harassed by someone who was clearly intoxicated or on drugs, he says, and his mother finally told them to leave her and her friend alone.They thought that was the end of it, and as a train approached, a recorded announcement warned people to stand behind the yellow line at the edge of the platform. His mother’s friend looked up the tracks to see if it was their train, and Hein says the friend looked back in time to see Meichl get “two-arm pushed” off the platform and onto the tracks.Hein was at the gym when his sister called, bawling, and told him their mother was at Foothills Hospital. Doctors told them that evening that she likely wouldn’t live.Meichl hasn’t had an easy life. She’s had mobility issues due to a spinal condition that developed in her 20s and prevented her from working, and she raised two kids as a single mother.Despite her difficulties, Hein says his mother found time to volunteer and fundraise for charities.“Mum always did the best with what she had,” Hein said.A GoFundMe page, set up by Hein’s ex-wife, is helping raise funds to assist Meichl with her rehabilitation and living arrangements after she leaves hospital, which Hein says doctors believe is at least four months away.Hein says the generosity has helped restore his faith in Calgarians.“I know that life isn’t fair, but my mum is a great human being and has done nothing but provide care and compassion for those that are in her life.”Stephanie Favel, who is 35, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and breach of probation.—By Rob Drinkwater in EdmontonFind the GoFundMe like at https://www.gofundme.com/support-rose039s-road-to-recovery
CALGARY — The arrival of a family of giant pandas to the Calgary Zoo last spring created a stampede of visitors once the guests on loan from China were introduced to an eager public.The zoo surpassed previous records for both attendance and memberships.“We got 1.48 million visitors — that’s a lot of people. If you look at the size of our community with just over 1.1 million citizens in Calgary, the penetration is immense,” Calgary Zoo CEO Clement Lanthier said Thursday.The zoo sold 100,000 annual memberships and saw an average of 4,065 visitors every day.Lanthier said the attendance actually came in slightly lower than the 1.5 million visitors the zoo expected.“We were severely hit in August when the wildfires in B.C. moved a lot of smoke within Calgary for almost 10 days, so that impacted dramatically our attendance,” he said. “Everything in Calgary went into a stall because the smoke was so intense.”Even with the lower-than-expected attendance, he said, the zoo is in good financial shape with people shelling out cash for panda stuffies, panda T-shirts and food. “On the revenue side, we are ahead of what we had budgeted.”The previous record year at the zoo was 2012 when 1.45 million visitors came to see the penguin exhibit, suggesting black-and-white attractions are the quickest way to stay in the black.“We also had the ring-tailed lemur, which was also black and white, and the snow leopard — arguably they’re black and white — so maybe that’s the way to go forward,” Lanthier said with a laugh.He isn’t expecting another attendance record in 2019.“Typically, with the second year of any attraction, panda or anything else, you have a little decline of the attendance.”The adult pandas, Da Mao and Er Shun, along with their cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are housed in a 2,000-square-metre, indoor-outdoor habitat.The furry foursome was shipped to Calgary from Toronto in April and spent about a month in quarantine.The two adults are on loan to Canadian zoos from China as part of a 10-year deal signed in 2012. The cubs were born in Toronto in 2015.It cost around $30 million to house the pandas in Calgary, including $14.4 million for the exhibit itself. Expanded parking lots, washrooms and restaurants were also required to accommodate more visitors.The adult pandas are to remain in Calgary for the next five years, while the cubs are expected to return to China before their parents.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
A raging forest fire in northwestern Ontario has prompted the full evacuation of the First Nation community of Keewaywin, authorities said on Thursday.More than 200 residents considered vulnerable had already been flown this week to Sioux Lookout, Ont., as the fire moved closer, while roughly 200 more were being sent to another city Thursday. Joe Meekis, a former long-time chief of Keewaywin — which has about 450 residents — called the situation scary.“The community is threatened,” Meekis said in an interview from Sioux Lookout. “Everybody has to get out.”Known as Red Lake Fire Number 23, the blaze which is now about 546 square kilometres began as a small fire a week ago about 40 kilometres from the community. Earlier this week, the winds picked up and it “grew really fast,” Meekis said.Smoke began drifting into the community, prompting residents to close windows and doors, and shut down air conditioners.Ultimately, the chief declared an emergency and the initial transfer of babies, pregnant women, and children under five and their families began. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a total of 227 people were flown about 330 kilometres south to Sioux Lookout, which has declared its own state of emergency aimed at defraying the cost of helping the arrivals.Volunteers in the town were helping provide access to snacks, supplies and information, as well as responding to requests from the evacuees, a spokesman said.“All evacuees are being housed at a local hotel, and a local restaurant is providing all of the meals,” said Brian MacKinnon, the town’s manager of corporate services. “(However), Sioux Lookout is presently at capacity with respect to the number of evacuees we can host.”As a result, the more than 200 remaining evacuees were being flown to Timmins, Ont., on Thursday, leaving just a skeleton crew in the community for security purposes, Meekis said.“They’re moving people today, as we speak,” Meekis said.By noon Thursday, the fire was 10 kilometres southwest of the Keewaywin boundary, which is 12 kilometres from the town itself, according to the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources.Jonathan Scott, an information officer with Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services, said an incident management team was on site looking for “aerial ignition opportunities” in which fires are deliberately set to take the blaze to natural barriers and slow its spread. Crews and equipment were also in the area.Despite some isolated heavy rains Wednesday night, the fire hazard in the region ranged from low to extreme. Speaking from Dryden, Ont., Scott said 12 new smaller fires were confirmed on Wednesday near Red Lake, Fort Frances, Dryden and Sioux Lookout.In all, more than two dozen fires are burning in northwestern Ontario, 12 out of control.Large numbers of huge forest fires are not unusual in the region. There have been 183 to date this season, well below the 500 of last year and about half the 10-year average of 366, Scott said. Still, the fires pose a logistical challenge.“Ontario is so stretched with their resources,” Meekis said. “There’s fires all over the place. So we have to sort of fight for the resources.”Keewaywin’s last full evacuation occurred in 2011. While the community was spared, damage to the surrounding area was significant.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Eva Longoria and Ricky Martin will launch the Global Gift Foundation Dinner on December 3, 2015 at the Related Groups’ Auberge Residences & Spa sales office located at 1400 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FloridaThe Global Gift Initiative Miami edition will feature red carpet arrivals, cocktail reception, dinner, special performances, a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind items and an awards ceremony. The evening will be hosted by Lili Estefan from ‘El Gordo y La Flaca’ and TV actor and presenter Michael Yo.This Global Gift Initiative will be supporting The Eva Longoria Foundation – an organization which provides education and entrepreneurship opportunities to women; The Ricky Martin Foundation – an organization which advocates for the well being of children around the globe in critical areas such as education, health, social justice and education; and the Global Gift Foundation USA – whose simple mission is to create positive change in the development, welfare, health and social inclusion of societies most vulnerable.WHEN: Thursday, December 03, 2015LOCATION: Related Groups’ Auberge Residences & Spa sales 1400 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Florida
Advertisement Advertisement Neil Young recorded his 1976 acoustic album Hitchhiker in a single day, but until now fans could only dream of getting their hands on it. Young is putting the finishing touches on a massive archival website of his music. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) Advertisement Twitter “The musical information found here is a work in progress, always growing and adapting to new information as we find it,” he wrote.While the musician didn’t say when the website would launch, he timed it with another big reveal — news that his 1976 acoustic album Hitchhiker would finally be made public on Sept. 8 after more than four decades in the vaults.Hitchhiker releaseRecorded at a Malibu studio in a single day, Hitchhiker is one of several elusive “lost albums” in Young’s repertoire, and the musician hinted that other unreleased albums will appear in his archive “once they are completed.”Hitchhiker features two never-released tracks, Hawaii and Give Me Strength, and early versions of songs like Pocahontas and Powderfinger, which later appeared on his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps.The album’s title track arrived on streaming music services and in digital stores on Friday.New site will use Young’s streaming serviceYoung plans to launch the archival website using his new high-fidelity streaming music service Xstream, which he says gives listeners music at the highest quality their network allows.The musician has been an enthusiastic supporter of high-quality audio in an era which has favoured the convenience of muddy-sounding MP3s and low bit rate streaming audio files. Login/Register With: Neil Young is putting the finishing touches on a massive archival website focused on his storied music career.The Toronto-born rocker teased fans on Friday with a message outlining plans for the Neil Young Archive, “a living document” that he says will provide an interactive timeline of his entire discography.‘Work in progress’Starting with his first single in 1963 and running through to his most recent recordings, Young says the website will cover “every single, recorded track or albums I have produced” along with a collection of “credits, memorabilia, films or videos, press and photographs.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Director Kevin Smith says he will do what he can to save the Rio Theatre. – Global News Advertisement Smith, who studied at the Vancouver Film School, is in town to direct a TV series and has offered to hold a benefit to raise money for the Rio, located on Broadway and Commercial Drive. Twitter Facebook A Hollywood director is throwing his weight behind an effort to save an iconic East Vancouver theatre.Kevin Smith, best known for the 1994 indie film Clerks, tweeted his support for the Rio Theatre, which is under threat of development.VFS alum and Vancouver lover here, ready to assist! I’ve long loved the @RioTheatre and would be honored and happy to do a benefit screening/Q&A to raise loot & awareness for the @RioTheatre! Would a Family Day event be too soon? https://t.co/jvJrPd8twk— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 2, 2018
APTN National NewsThe Lake St. Martin First Nation in Manitoba was forced to evacuate due to flooding last spring.Since then, the number of evacuees has inexplicably risen.This has raised concerns in Ottawa.However, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs say it’s much ado about nothing.APTN National News reporter Matt Thordarson has this story.
APTN National NewsThe family of an Indigenous woman that died in Toronto under suspicious circumstances is suing Toronto police for $14 million alleging the force was negligent in the events leading up to her death in April 2013 and during the subsequent police investigation that labeled it a suicide.Cheyenne Fox’s family alleges Toronto police didn’t properly respond to two 911 calls prior to Fox’s death April 25, 2013 when she fell to her death from a 24th floor balcony of a Toronto condo according to a statement of claim filed in Peterborough court Friday and obtained by APTN National News.None of the allegations have been proven in court and all defendants, including Toronto police, are expected to be served Monday.Fox died at about 11 p.m. that night, but the first 911 call came in at approximately 6 p.m. from someone who witnessed Fox jump from a moving taxicab on Highway 401.It’s alleged she lept from the “still moving” cab because the driver was sexually assaulting her.Two people stopped and picked her up on the side of the highway.The document states they drove Fox to her destination at 80 Harrison Garden Blvd. to meet an alleged “custumer” as she was working as a sex worker, potentially forced into it by a human trafficking ring.The second 911 call came about two hours later at 8 p.m. from someone inside condo unit 2419 at 80 Harrison Garden Blvd., the document alleges.The claim alleges someone from the unit called police upon Fox’s arrival claiming she was intoxicated, trespassing and refusing to leave the place.“No response from the Toronto Police Service Board ever came in respect of the two 911 calls that were made by third parties in relation to Cheyenne and the serious danger or harm that she was reported to be in,” alleges the statement of claim.It’s then alleged she tried to “escape” the home, but someone “physically forced Cheyenne to remain at his property.”The pair started drinking, according to the document.A third call to 911 was placed at 11 p.m. due to an alleged fight between Fox and the occupant.The caller said Fox had jumped over the balcony.Police arrived minutes later to “collect the badly beaten and lifeless body of Cheyenne.”Fox’s family say Toronto police also failed to provide “adequate or effective” reports or effectively communicate with the family after the death.The family alleges police failed, as well, in considering Fox “was murdered.”Last fall, the family said police told them the case was closed and Fox’s death was determined to be suicide.“(Police) blamed Cheyenne for her death attributing ‘risky’ behavior and a ‘high risk lifestyle’ instead of engaging an adequate or effective policing strategy to protect vulnerable women,” the document alleges.Fox’s father John Fox is scheduled to hold a press conference Monday at 2 p.m. in front of police headquarters in downtown Toronto.Attempts to reach Toronto police Saturday were unsuccessful.Kjackson@aptn.ca
APTN National NewsIn just over a week, chiefs from across Canada will converge on Winnipeg to decide who will be the next national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.They’ll have three choices – Perry Bellegarde, Leon Jourdain and Ghislain Picard.One of them will need about 300 votes to win and the chiefs are the people who decide.Left out of the equation are the people, the so-called grassroots who do not get a vote.Regardless, APTN National News took questions to the candidates.The same eight questions were emailed to the candidates who were allowed an unfiltered chance to speak directly to the people.We begin with Picard, an Innu who stepped in as interim national chief of the AFN when Shawn Atleo abruptly quit earlier this year.APTN: Why do you want the job of national chief? GP: Because the future of our national organization is too important to stay idle. Over the years, my region and its Chiefs have always stood by the national organization independently of the circumstances, because they always believed that there is a purpose for a national political process, lobbying and advocating on behalf of First Nations.APTN: What effect is funding cuts having on the AFN’s ability to lobby for First Nation interests, essentially where’s the money going to come from to get the job done?GP: The funding cuts have definitely an impact on the AFN operations and limit its ability to do the important work needed. While we have to look at the resourcing issue on the longer term, I feel there is enough work to count on the support of the leadership across the country. Some Chiefs have offered to lend a hand in the collective task of lobbying and advocating on behalf of First Nations. To see the AFN be more self-sustaining as a national organization, is a longer term goal that will need the guidance of the leadership across the country.APTN: How will you work with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or whoever wins the next general election?GP: Part of that response could be provided through a First Nations’ platform leading into the next federal election. Moreover, I feel that First Nations have the ability to determine the conditions that should prevail in trying to engage government for whichever party might become the next government. I fail to see a purpose in engaging with a government, such as the current one, that continues to deny fundamental principles related to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.APTN: To your critics, the AFN is fractured and unworkable. What will you do to unite the organization and make it effective? The AFN is a national political organization. With all due respect to our specific realities, we have the ability to agree on overarching principles that would support and guide our national process. It is a challenge before us.APTN: The chair of the Specific Claims Tribunal wrote in a report that if it doesn’t get more resources it will fail. What will you do? GP: Here is another example where government has the upper hand when it sets limitations on a situation that has been outstanding for far too long. Beyond major flaws such as the federal government continually challenging claims by First Nations, there needs to be a framework that calls for parties, especially government, to act in good faith. The Specific Claims Tribunal should stand alone and not be part of the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada and receive adequate funding to conduct the work and pursue the objective of a more efficient process of resolving claims.APTN: What are you going to do with the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act? GP: The position with regard to the Act is very clear: the federal government needs to withdraw the Act. The outcomes of the Halifax Assembly gave clear direction in terms of how we need to engage with ourselves, based on the regional diversity, and with government. The process is in place and the discussion so far refers to the need of a broader fiscal framework to address the issue of underfunding. Any process for reform, if mutually agreed, must see First Nations’ interests represented by First Nations leadership.APTN: Chief’s salaries are a big topic at the grassroots level. For example, should a chief make $400,000 a year when 80 per cent of his or her band members live on $400 a month, should there be limits?GP: All Chiefs are supportive of the principles of transparency and accountability. It is understood that the Assembly of First Nations has a clear mandate of advocating on behalf of First Nations with little to say on local governance. The AFN does not have the authority to determine the principles that should guide local governance but it could provide the forum to address issues related to code of ethics.APTN: What do you want to see accomplished after your term in office? GP: We definitely need to have a strong and relevant national organization. That’s want I want to see. I also want to see a national organization reflecting on the realities of the Nations and Peoples it represents. Making sure that the national organization is a strong voice for all of our Nations and gain the credibility from our Nations and their Peoples as well as respect from governments would be a significant achievement.Tomorrow: Perry Bellegarde.
APTN National NewsIs prohibition improving the way of life for the Vuntut Gwitchin?Some residents of Yukon’s most northern community are hoping changes to a 25 year-old law will help curb bootlegging and other social ills in Old Crow.APTN’s Shirley McLean has more.
Tamara Pimentel APTN National NewsThe number of Saskatchewan children in foster care is alarming.Recent statistics show nearly 85 per cent of kids in foster care are Indigenous.Many in the province are asking why the number is so high and what can be done about it.
Tom FennarioAPTN NewsThe chief of the Winnipeg police service apologized to Indigenous women Thursday for how they have been treated by his force.“Indigenous women were not treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” Chief Danny Smyth told the commissioners.“As the chief of the Winnipeg police service I offer my apologies for past conduct and policies that contributed to harming Indigenous women and girls.”Winnipeg has one of the highest Indigenous populations in the country.Smyth says it’s a population that has not been served well, but that Winnipeg Police are making efforts to rectify that by working more with frontline workers and taking more of harm reduction approach.Harm reduction is something Rachel Willan says could’ve helped her back in the day.She told the inquiry that the only way she survived the sex trade and the pimp she worked under was with the help of friends.“Women defended me. Women locked the door,” she told the inquiry.“All held the door because they wouldn’t let him into the door where I was, while I was hiding in a closet filled with dirty clothes and needles. Hiding from him.”This was just one of the harrowing stories Willan recounted from her life on the streets of Winnipeg.A life that started with sexual abuse, 53 child service placements – then eventually the sex trade, drugs, and prison.The Metis woman escaped with the help of her current husband.“It doesn’t take anybody, a rocket scientist to know what it takes to surround a woman with love and have her exit on her own,” she said.“And you know what, they find themselves because I did.”Diane Redsky has devoted the last 25 years of her life to combating sexual exploitation.The Ojibway woman from Shoal Lake First Nation was part of a 2014 task force to end sex trafficking.“What we learned was that the biggest risk factor to sex trafficking is just being a girl,” she said. “Right off the bat, if you are a girl you are already at risk.“The common recruitment age is 13, and I’ll tell you something when I first started doing this work 25 years ago the average age was 16.”Redsky is now based in Winnipeg where she said there is a specific market for vulnerable Indigenous women.She said the longer a woman is sexually exploited – the shorter her life expectancy.The inquiry will now hold two dates for final submissions to be made by those individuals or groups with standing.The final report is due April 30, firstname.lastname@example.org@tfennario
CALGARY – Negative market reaction to a slight rise in its 2018 spending plan by natural gas producer Seven Generations Energy Ltd. (TSX:VII) shows how little patience investors have for anything but conservative management in the oilpatch, analysts say.On Thursday, shares in the company plunged by as much as 10 per cent after it announced it would increase its budget by five per cent to about $1.75 billion next year compared with 2017. The stock closed at $16.58, down $1.37 or nine per cent from Wednesday.The reaction was in sharp contrast to the eight per cent rise in shares of Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TSX:TOU) on Nov. 9, the day after it announced it would chop its 2018 capital budget by 29 per cent to $1.08 billion from the previously planned $1.52 billion because of low gas prices.Both Calgary-based companies produce liquids-rich natural gas from wells near the sparsely populated northern Alberta-B.C. border.“I think the capital discipline within the sector seems to be getting some traction, the focus on capital allocation and returns rather than growth,” said National Bank Financial analyst Travis Wood.He said he was surprised at the Seven Generations selloff because its 2018 budget was very close to analyst forecasts and its production next year is expected to be only slightly reduced by ongoing outages at a third-party gas processing plant.Seven Generations CEO Marty Proctor said at the company’s investor day on Thursday it will “outspend” cash inflows in 2018 to increase production and complete construction of a new gas plant but will return to a balanced budget in 2019.“We are targeting cash flow self-sufficiency — that is, a balanced budget — in 2019,” he said. “We are targeting continued profitable growth … by around 100,000 boe/d to reach 300,000 boe/d by 2022.”The company plans to grow its output by around 15 per cent to roughly 205,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2018, with 55 to 60 per cent natural gas liquids.Tourmaline, meanwhile, cut its production target range for 2018 to a midpoint of 275,000 boe/d from the previous 290,000 boe/d, containing about 16 per cent liquids.“The company has elected to moderate growth in its natural gas business until the Western Canadian and North American supply/demand outlook is more transparent and balanced,” it said in a news release.Wood said investors were likely also attracted to Tourmaline’s introduction of a modest dividend of eight cents per quarter.“We have noted a strong theme of budgets funded by internally generated cash flows which is resonating with investors, and which differs from the previous mantra of ‘growth at all costs’,” wrote RBC analyst Michael Harvey in a report earlier this week.“However, we do expect upward revisions to most company budgets if commodity prices and access to capital improves in the medium term.”RBC said it believes Western Canadian producers will spend about seven per cent less in 2018 than in 2017 but production will increase by about 15 per cent as accelerated drilling in the fourth quarter comes on line early next year.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.
The annual pace of inflation slowed in October as increases in the price of gasoline were smaller than in September, Statistics Canada reported Friday.Its consumer price index was up 1.4 per cent in October compared with a year ago, following a 1.6 per cent increase in September. Excluding gasoline, the index was up 1.3 per cent compared with a year ago – more than the 1.1-per-cent increase in September.Prices were up in seven of the eight major categories compared with a year ago with the transportation and shelter categories contributing the most.Transportation prices last month were up 3.0 per cent compared with a year ago following a 3.8 per cent increase in September as gasoline prices were up 6.5 per cent year over year in October compared with 14.1 per cent in September in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. Shelter costs were up 1.2 per cent.Prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products were up 2.7 per cent from a year ago, while food costs were up 1.3 per cent as food bought in restaurants gained 2.9 per cent.Prices for clothing and footwear, the only category to move lower, fell 1.5 per cent compared with a year ago as the cost of women’s clothing fell 4.6 per cent compared with a year ago.The Bank of Canada, which uses a two per cent inflation target in setting monetary policy, raised its key interest rate target twice this year following strong economic growth to start 2017.However, economists expect growth for the second half of the year to come in at a slower pace and the central bank has suggested that while further rate hikes are likely, they will be cautious and pay close attention to the incoming economic data.Of the Bank of Canada’s three preferred measures of core inflation, which seek to look through the noise of more-volatile items, CPI-common increased to 1.6 per cent compared with 1.5 per cent in September, while CP-median slipped to 1.7 per cent from 1.8 per cent. CPI-trim held steady at 1.5 per cent.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit rose in January to the highest level since October 2008, defying President Donald Trump’s efforts to bring more balance to America’s trade with the rest of the world.The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit rose to $56.6 billion in January, up 5 per cent from $53.9 billion in December and the highest since October 2008’s $60.2 billion trade gap. The trade deficit — the gap between what America sells and what it buys abroad — has risen for five straight months.Trump rattled financial markets last week by promising to slap big tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. He blames persistent deficits on abusive practices by U.S. trading partners and on bad trade deals that put American companies at a disadvantage or encourage them to move factories overseas.Exports fell 1.3 per cent to $200.9 billion in January, and imports were flat at $257.5 billion.The United States ran a $76.5 billion deficit in the trade of goods, which was partially offset by a $19.9 billion surplus in services such as education and banking.The $36 billion January deficit with China was the highest since September 2015. The trade gap with Mexico narrowed to $4.1 billion from $5.4 billion in December.Trump upset America’s allies last week by vowing to slap tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Europe has threatened to retaliate with sanctions on U.S. exports of blue jeans, bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, raising the risk of a potentially destructive trade war.“He is not afraid of getting into a trade war although that is not what we want,” Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in an interview Wednesday on the Fox Business Network. “We are just looking for fair and reciprocal trade.”Trump is also demanding a rewrite of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in an attempt to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and to shift more auto production north of the border.The president views trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness and as the result of unfair practices by America’s trading partners. Most economists say they are caused by bigger economic forces, mainly the fact that the United States consistently spends more than it produces.The trade gap has continued to rise since Trump entered the White House partly because the U.S. economy is strong and American consumers have an appetite for imported products and the confidence to buy them.____Martin Crutsinger contributed to this story.____Follow Paul Wiseman on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PaulWisemanAP
OTTAWA – The Aecon construction firm will likely be allowed to bid on government-funded infrastructure projects even if Ottawa approves a Chinese state-owned company’s controversial proposal to take it over, an internal federal document says.Last October, the CCCC International Holding Ltd., of China made a $1.5-billion bid to acquire Aecon Group Inc., which has a long history of participation in Canadian construction and engineering projects such as the CN Tower, Vancouver’s SkyTrain, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Halifax shipyard.The Trudeau government has been warned by experts to proceed cautiously when weighing any investment bids by Chinese state firms and to be as transparent as possible in reviewing the proposed deal. The Liberals have also come under intense domestic pressure to reject the takeover bid.The federal government announced a full national security review of the Aecon deal in February. At the time, a spokesman for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said that, based on advice from security agencies, the government believed there is “a potential of injury to national security.”If the deal moves forward, however, the government is unlikely to restrict Aecon’s eligibility to bid on projects funded under Ottawa’s infrastructure plan, according to an internal government document obtained recently by The Canadian Press.The federal government has budgeted $180 billion in total infrastructure spending over 10 years.“It is not anticipated that the change of ownership of Aecon will affect its ability to bid on Canadian infrastructure projects,” reads the document, which was prepared last fall by Infrastructure Canada.“At this time, there is not enough information available on the transaction or the current and potential role of Aecon in federally funded infrastructure projects under the plan to accurately assess the impact of this transaction on the delivery of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure plan.”The memo was obtained under the Access to Information Act.Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, said Tuesday that there should be no concerns about the proposed acquisition of Aecon because the Chinese side is only focused on business and market interests.“My first impression, to tell you the truth, (is) that I think the Canadian media or the Canadian public is too sensitive about the Aecon case because Aecon is just a construction company,” Lu said in response to a question about the takeover bid during a news conference at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.“From your side, you have your rules and regulations on the foreign companies overtaking Canadian companies. I think for the national security issue it is your internal affairs. The Chinese side does not want to interfere (with) it.”Lu, who spoke through an interpreter, added that China just wants to ensure Canada has the same standards for Chinese companies as it does for foreign companies from other countries proposing to take over Canadian firms.The Infrastructure Canada briefing document said all foreign investment transactions undergo a process to determine their net economic benefit for Canada. They are also subject to a national security review led by the country’s security agencies, the note said.The CCCC International Holding Ltd. (CCCI) is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC) and, the briefing adds, is one of the world’s largest engineering and construction firms.It continues: CCCC generated revenue of US$62 billion in 2016 and its core business activities include the construction of ports, roads, terminals, bridges, rail and tunnels; Aecon, meanwhile, generated revenue of $3.2 billion in 2016.The government document noted some possible economic positives for Aecon if CCCI is permitted to take it over.“At this time, there is not enough information available to determine whether the acquisition will benefit the infrastructure sector in Canada,” the document said.“However, the firms in Australia and Texas which were bought in 2015 and 2010 by CCCI have grown since their purchase and expanded operations internationally.”If the takeover is accepted, Aecon would maintain its headquarters in Canada and keep its Canadian management team.Late last month, Aecon’s self-imposed deadline to complete its sale to CCCI was extended to July 13 from March 30, given the federal government’s ongoing national security review.That review was expected to wrap up by the end of March, but Bains has said the government plans to take the time it needs to do its due diligence.
TORONTO – Maxar Technologies Ltd. stock plunged Tuesday after the formerly-named MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates was targeted by a analyst report from an acknowledged short-seller firm.The company’s shares ended down $7.59 or 13.15 per cent at $50.14 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after Spruce Point Capital Management issued a press release that warned, among other things, that Maxar’s dividend is at risk.Spruce Point also set an intermediate price target for Maxar stock in the range of US$20 to US$25 per share — about half of Maxar’s previous 52-week low of US$42.11 on the New York Stock Exchange.Maxar said Spruce Point’s report contains a number of inaccurate claims and misleading statements.“Maxar believes it is a direct attempt by a short-seller to profit, at the expense of Maxar shareholders, by manipulating Maxar’s stock price,” the company said in a statement.A decline in stock prices tends to benefit short sellers that plan to buy the shares after they’ve fallen.Maxar stock had already fallen every trading day since the space technology company reported second-quarter financial results on July 31.However, 10 out of 11 analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters Eikon rated Maxar a “buy” or “strong buy” on Tuesday and none rated it a “sell” or “strong sell. The mid-point of their estimates was C$62.32.Short-selling is a normal technique used by investment managers and some active individual traders but it is uncommon for firms to issue press releases to draw attention to their analysis.Previous campaigns by other short-sellers have drawn attention to significant problems at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, now renamed Bausch Health Companies Inc., and Sino-Forest Corp.Spruce Point Capital said Maxar may generate US$50 million or less of free cash flow in 2018, after interest expenses and capital spending, leaving “little room” for its US$68 million per year of dividend payments.It also said MacDonald Dettwiler’s acquisition of Space Systems Loral in 2012, and DigitalGlobe in 2017, were poorly timed and executed.MDA — known for providing equipment to the International Space Station, U.S. Space Shuttle program and the Canadian government — changed its name to Maxar last October as part of its DigitalGlobe deal.Companies in this story: (TSX:MAXR)
Workers at the General Motors plant in Oshawa have stopped working as they wait for details on the company’s plan to close the facility.A source familiar with the situation has told The Canadian Press that General Motors Canada will shutter the plant as part of a shift in global production that will also affect operations in other countries.Unifor, the union representing more than 2,500 workers at the plant, said it has been informed that there is no product allocated to the Oshawa plant past December 2019.On Monday morning, dozens of workers were seen walking out of the Oshawa Assembly Plant, with some saying they were very unhappy with news of the planned closure.One man said the union had told workers at the plant to go home and would be speaking with employees at an afternoon meeting.A spokeswoman for GM Canada said Sunday that the company had “no news or comment tonight” and would not be commenting on speculation.According to GM’s website, the Oshawa Assembly Plant employs 2,522 workers with Unifor Local 222. Production began on Nov. 7, 1953, and in the 1980s the plant employed roughly 23,000 people.
Lahore: A man has been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly assisting in solemnising the wedding of two Hindu minor girls, who were reportedly abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, as the teenagers approached a court in the country’s Punjab province seeking protection. The two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), were allegedly kidnapped by a group of “influential” men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi. Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown soleminising the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering a nationwide outrage. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered a probe into the issue. According to Geo TV, the teenagers approached a court in Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province seeking protection. “Police have arrested a man from Khanpur who is suspected to have assisted in the nikah (marital contract) of the girls,” it said. However, it is not confirmed whether the arrested man is the cleric who performed their marriage. Earlier, there were reports that the cleric who performed the minor girls’ marriage was arrested from Khanpur in Sindh. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a prominent Hindu lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party, said he would present a resolution in the National Assembly in its next session demanding an end to forced conversions. The draft resolution demands that the most unfortunate incidents of kidnappings and forced conversions must be condemned unanimously by all honourable members of Parliament. “The bill against forced conversions which was unanimously passed by Sindh Assembly in 2016 and then reverted due to pressure of extremist elements, must be resurrected and passed in the Assembly on priority basis, ” says the draft resolution. The resolution would seek strict action against controversial religious elements for supporting such inhuman practice. A war of words broke out between India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry over the reported abduction, forced conversion and underage marriages of the two Hindu teenagers. The spat started soon after Swaraj sought details from the Indian envoy in Pakistan into the reported abduction of two Hindu teenaged girls. Swaraj, while tagging a media report about the incident, tweeted that she has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the matter. Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry responded to her tweet, saying it was his country’s “internal issue”. In a Twitter post in Urdu on Sunday, Chaudhry said the prime minister has asked the Sindh chief minister to look into reports that the girls in question have been taken to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab. He said the prime minister has also ordered the Sindh and Punjab governments to devise a joint action plan in light of the incident, and to take concrete steps to prevent such incidents from happening again. The Hindu community in Pakistan has carried out massive demonstrations calling for strict action to be taken against those responsible, while reminding Prime Minister Khan of his promises to the minorities of the country. Last year, Khan during his election campaign had said his party’s agenda was to uplift the various religious groups across Pakistan and said they would take effective measures to prevent forced marriages of Hindu girls. Rights activist Jibran Nasir tweeted that the sisters were converted at the Dargah Barchundi Sharif and were taken to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab following their marriages. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan. According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. Majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province. According to media reports, approximately 25 forced marriages take place every month only in Umerkot district in Sindh province.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said Article 35A, which restricts non-permanent residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir, is “constitutionally vulnerable” and also hampering economic development of the state.The statement comes amidst the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pressing for early elections to the state assembly in the state. The state is under President’s rule and the Union Cabinet takes all policy decisions related to the militancy-hit state. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In a blog, Jaitley said the seven-decade history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir confronts changing India with several questions. “Was the Nehruvian course, which the state had embarked, a historical blunder or was it the correct course to follow? Most Indians today believe that it is the former. “Does our policy today have to be guided by that erroneous vision or an out of box thinking which is in consonance with ground reality?” Jaitley questioned. The senior BJP leader and in-charge of the party’s campaign committee for general elections said Article 35A was “surreptitiously” included by a presidential notification in the Constitution in 1954. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KArtcle 35A, he said, was neither a part of the original Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly, nor did it come as a Constitutional Amendment under Article 368 of the Constitution which requires an approval by two-third majority of both Houses of Parliament. “It came as a presidential notification and is a surreptitious executive insertion in the Constitution.” Jaitley further said the Article gives the right to the state government to discriminate between two state citizens living in the state on the basis of declaring some as permanent residents while leaving out the others. It also discriminates between permanent residents of the state and all other Indian citizens living elsewhere, he added. “Lakhs of Indian citizens in J&K vote in Lok Sabha elections but not in Assembly, municipal or Panchayat polls. Their children cannot get government jobs. They cannot own property and their children cannot get admitted to governmental institutions. “The same applies to those who live elsewhere in the country. The heirs of ladies marrying outside the state are disinherited from owing or inheriting property,” the minister added. He said the state does not have adequate financial resources and its ability to raise more has been crippled by Article 35A.