IPU starts online admission for B Voc course

first_imgNew Delhi: The Indraprastha University here has started online admissions for its Bachelor of Vocation programme in courses such as Applied Arts (women only), Software Development, Interior Design (women only), Automobile, Construction Technology, Power Distribution Management, Printing Technology, and Electronics and Communication. The programme will be available in various upgraded polytechnics of Delhi government such as GuruNanak Dev Institute of Technology, Pusa Institute of Technology, Meera Bai Institute of Technology, Ambedakar Institute of Technology, Aryabhat Institute of Technology and others.last_img

US China wrap up trade talks after Trump tweetstorm

first_imgShanghai: Chinese and US negotiators held their first face-to-face talks Wednesday since agreeing to a trade war truce last month, but the short meeting in Shanghai was overshadowed by a Twitter tirade from President Donald Trump. Washington and Beijing have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than USD 360 billion in two-way trade in a row centred on demands for China to curb the alleged theft of American technology and provide a level playing field to US companies. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Vice Premier Liu He Wednesday morning. The group then went behind closed doors for around four hours in the first face-to-face negotiations since Trump agreed to a truce with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in June following a breakdown a month earlier. The talks were relatively brief and the group emerged later, a little earlier than expected, for a group photo before the US trade officials left for the airport without speaking to reporters. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Lighthizer and Mnuchin arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday and joined Chinese officials for dinner and informal discussions – just as Trump took to Twitter to lambast what he said was a lack of willingness by Beijing to broker a fair deal. “My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit,” Trump wrote Tuesday. This time the US leader said Beijing was supposed to start buying US agricultural products but they have shown “no signs that they are doing so”. “That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through,” he added. Trump had previously accused China of reneging on its commitments when previous talks broke down in May. Analysts said his remarks would do little to ease the already-tense relationship between Washington and Beijing. “Whatever shred of optimism markets had about the ongoing trade negotiations were dealt as a severe blow when President Trump flew off the handle again,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at VM Markets Singapore. “(The tweets show) Trump seems eager to get a deal, that shows his weakness,” said Shanghai-based professor Shen Dingli. A commentary in the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily on Wednesday, while not mentioning Trump by name, complained that as the talks started, “the drums of some Americans struck again on the side, disturbing the main melody”. Days before the Shanghai meeting, Trump threatened to pull recognition of China’s developing nation status at the World Trade Organization, which Beijing called “arrogance”. Expectations were already low before the talks, although and analysts predicted that little of substance would be announced. “The short duration of the current meeting to me suggests that this is exploratory,” said J Michael Cole, a Taipei-based senior fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington. “It signals that no major breakthroughs are expected and that the expectations of achievements are modest at best.” Officials on both sides were keeping a low profile throughout their Shanghai trip. US trade negotiators entered and left their hotel on Shanghai’s waterfront through side doors without going through public areas, and did not stop to speak to the press or show their faces. Trump said last week he believed Beijing was hoping to delay a deal until after the US presidential election in November 2020, saying China wanted to see if a Democratic opponent wins the vote so it could “continue to rip off the USA”. “He (Trump) can’t afford politically to step up and say ‘I made a great deal with China’ when it’s not a great deal,” said Derek M Scissors, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “So the most likely outcome is we get nothing until the election.” But the trade war is taking its toll on both sides. In a report published Wednesday in official news agency Xinhua, The Political Bureau of China’s Central Committee warned of “new risks and increasing downward pressure” on the Chinese economy.last_img read more

Will making India a 5 trillion economy bring real change asks Manish

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday questioned whether the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s target of making India a USD 5 trillion economy would bring any real change on the ground given that 85 percent of the country’s resources are still in the hands of 15 percent select few.The Deputy Chief Minister also asked whether people want a progressive nation or a regressive one and be content with just memories of the country’s past glories. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe AAP leader was speaking about ‘What will be the Picture of Future India’ organised here. “In the Union Budget, the government announced making India a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years will be a priority. Jubilation and celebrations marked the announcement and those who did not celebrate were criticised. I have no doubts that India will become a USD 5 trillion economy, but not just because the government says so, but because I believe that the countrymen will make it so,” he said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Today, we are a USD 2.7 trillion economy and very close to achieving the USD 5 trillion target. Ten years back, we were USD 1.2 trillion. But when you are asked to celebrate, the question arises what changes shall we see in the country in this economy, as 85 percent of all resources is still in the hands of 15 percent few people,” Sisodia added. “Will this situation get corrected in the USD 5 trillion economy or remain the same? We have to decide whether we want to be a forward-looking nation or remain content remembering our past glories. We have two options before us, and I want to see my nation be a forward-looking one. It depends on you (people) what to choose as what we will collectively decide will become our destiny,” he said. Sisodia said there was a need to work in the fields of education and healthcare in order to bring real difference in the lives of people, rather than celebrating the USD 5 trillion economy target. “The aim of a religion should be spreading peace and harmony and not disharmony. Women should be given respect not just in books, but in real life. The government and elections should be a medium and not an end. Farmers should be able to live in dignity…This is the kind of India we need. We need to question the above factors as the dream and enthusiasm of the USD 5 trillion economy is lacklustre and incomplete,” he said.last_img read more

Gurugram constable dragged for several metres on bonnet of car

first_imgGurugram: For a city that has witnessed numerous incidents of murderous rage against the policemen, Sunday night was one more example of utter lawlessness and violence on display against cops after a constable deputed with Gurugram police was seriously injured when a car dragged him several metres on the busy Pataudi road.The incident occurred at around 11:30 pm, the constable who has sustained injuries on his head, shoulders and neck is presently receiving treatment in the hospital. Meanwhile, the persons involved in the crime have not been arrested. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The incident occurred at around 11:30 pm when a Hyundai Accent car hit our constable and dragged him several metres when the vehicle was asked to stop. We are trying to ascertain that whether people in the car had a criminal background or not,” said Subash Bokan the Gurugrampolice spokesperson. The incident follows just days after a couple (husband and wife) tried to run their vehicle over a cop when he asked the vehicle to stop for checking. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIt did not end there. In more drama that followed thereafter Anamika and her husband Rahul, the manhandled the law enforcement officials and the local media personnel that were present around the area. They were later arrested. This is not for the first time when cops have been targeted by commuters in such a manner. There have been incidents in the past when the cops have even lost their lives due to the reckless and careless approach adopted by the drivers. Many drunken drivers and rash drivers who have been penalised for their unlawful act have also got in a scuffle with the law enforcement personnel. Not only deaths but various police officials have also sustained severe injuries due to rash driving. To tackle such incidents a number of meetings have been held. It was decided among the officials that though tough action against the culprits will continue, the police on their part will try to be composed and be calm in order to tackle with angry commuters. Certain commuters also allege that there is growing anger against the police as they feel that often they are often being harassed on the pretext of being checked.last_img read more

Arpita Ghosh forms new dist committee

first_imgBALURGHAT: District Trinamool Congress chief Arpita Ghosh has formed a new district committee of the party by dissolving the existing committee in a meeting here in Balurghat on Saturday. The meeting was conducted in a private hotel at Raghunathpur.Addressing a press conference after forming the committee, Ghosh said: “We have formed a 60-member led new district committee instead of existing one. The new committee will work strengthening Trinamool to fight against its political rivals for 2021 assembly elections in Bengal. The party will announce the name of chairmen and other convenors from the new committee shortly.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to her, it has been decided that three existing MLAs Bachchu Hansda, Goutam Das and Tofaf Husain Mondal who were elected from Tapan, Gangarampur and Kumarganj assembly constituencies in 2016 will work as new chairmen from those three constituencies. “We will announce the name of chairmen and other convenors shortly for the rest of three Assembly constituencies-Balurghat, Kushmandi and Harirampur where we have no existing MLA. We have also stressed on strengthening the frontal organisation of the party before upcoming assembly poll. The new committee members will cooperate with each other and campaign on various development projects undertaken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from booth level to block level,” she said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayShe said Mamata Banerjee’s recently launched ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ campaign has already received huge response from common public. “I have instructed the MLAs along with party leaders and activists to reach out to people staying in villages covering all six constituencies and address problems of people there. We should not forget that rural people are our base and our party has relentlessly been working for poor and backward people since capturing power in 2011 in Bengal,” she said. It has also been decided that Gangarampur MLA Goutam Das will work as district party coordinator. Notably, after nominated as district Trinamool chief in June, Ghosh has been directed to power up Trinamool Congress to arrest the surge of the BJP in South Dinajpur ahead of assembly poll. “It was for her initiative for which the party has retained power in Gangarampur and Buniadpur municipalities from saffron brigade. We are about to capture power in zilla parishad also after a majority of the elected members who had shifted to BJP recently returned back to Trinamool,” said veteran Trinamool leader Shankar Chakraborty.last_img read more

2022 World Cup qualifiers Djibouti defy odds Zimbabwe survive scare Rwanda sets

first_imgJohannesburg: Djibouti triumphed unexpectedly, Zimbabwe survived a scare and Rwanda created a record as the first round of African qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has concluded. French coach Julien Mette was hired by Djibouti recently and promised to restore the “dignity” of a national team used to heavy losses. It did not take him long to succeed as a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) earned the “Shoremen of the Red Sea” a 2-1 aggregate victory. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhForcing a goalless draw in Manzini completed an amazing turnaround for the tiny Horn of Africa nation, who were crushed 8-1 overall by the then Swaziland in a 2018 World Cup eliminator. “Officials did not speak to me about qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship or the World Cup,” Mette told the FIFA website. “All he (the president of the national football federation) wanted was to stop losing 5-0 and 6-0 and I said I would definitely bring him that dignity.” Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterRanked 195th of 211 football nations, Djibouti must now wait for the second round draw, which will include the teams ranked 1 to 26, who received first round byes. The 40 survivors will be split into 10 groups of four with the winners advancing to a final two-leg stage to decide which five African teams go to Qatar. In Harare, Khama Billiat scored two minutes into stoppage to hand Zimbabwe a 3-1 win over minnows Somalia, whose solitary-goal first leg win proved insufficient to survive. A dramatic finish to the return match saw Marshall Munetsi give Zimbabwe a second leg lead 13 minutes from time only for Omar Abdullah Mohamed to equalise. Zimbabwe had to score at least twice to avoid a shock exit and Knox Mutizwa, direct from a free kick, and Billiat with a hard close-range shot netted for a dramatic victory. Like Djibouti, Somalia have suffered many heavy losses in World Cup qualifiers with home matches having to be played outside the country because of an unstable security situation. The side that tackled a Zimbabwe team packed with full-time professionals included Mohamud Ali, who combines playing sixth-tier football in England with being a driving instructor. Meanwhile, Rwanda created a record for a World Cup qualifying aggregate winning margin in Africa by trouncing the Seychelles 7-0 in Kigali for a 10-0 overall victory. The previous nine-goal mark was set by Ghana in a 1974 World Cup qualifier and equalled by Libya in a 2006 tie. Rwanda fell just short of the record eight-goal margin for a single match set by the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 2002 qualifier and later equalled by Libya. Guinea-Bissau, once minnows but qualifiers for the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, fell behind at home after 11 minutes to an aggregate-tying goal from Sao Tome. The visitors, whose “The Falcons and True Parrots Team” nickname must rank among the most eye catching in football, retained the second leg lead until midway through the second half. Joseph Mendes, who equalised in Bissau on 66 minutes, was yellow carded for taking his shirt off when celebrating, and scored again to give Guinea-Bissau a 2-1 victory. The “Djurtus” (wild dogs) progressed 3-1 on aggregate to keep alive the seemingly improbable dream of coach Baciro Cande, who believes a team ranked 123rd in the world can qualify for Qatar.last_img read more

Govt shouldnt wait for an apple to fall on its head CPIM

first_imgNew Delhi: Taking a dig at Union minister Piyush Goyal’s comment that maths did not help Albert Einstein discover gravity while speaking on the government’s target of USD 5 trillion economy, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said instead of focusing on distant dreams, the minister should focus on reality.The Commerce and Industry was trolled over the gaffe in explaining that achieving the target of nearly doubling the size of the economy to USD 5 trillion should not be looked through the prism of maths. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In a tweet, Yechury said, “The govt shouldn’t wait for an apple to fall on its head before it realises that the Math about the economy is all bad. It doesn’t even need an Einstein (due apologies to Newton) to tell us that. Instead of focusing on distant dreams, minister would do well to focus on reality.” At a meeting of the Board of Trade, Goyal said, “Do not get into the calculations that you see on television…Oh if you are looking at USD 5 trillion economy, the country will have to grow at 12 per cent, today it is growing at 6-7 per cent.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Do not get into those maths. Those maths have never helped Einstein discover gravity. If he had only gone by structured formulae and what was past knowledge, I do not think there would have been any innovation in this world,” he said while wrongly attributing the discover of gravity to renowned scientist Einstein. The slip up was not lost on the netizens who quickly took to Twitter to point out that gravity was discovered by Isaac Newton and Einstein is credited for his theory of relativity. Some even made fun of the minister’s statement.last_img read more

New Parliament building by 24 says Hardeep Puri

first_imgNew Delhi: Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri onFriday said the country is likely to get new buildings for the Parliament, central ministries and other government offices by 2024. Speaking at ‘Land Pooling: Building India’s Capital’ event, organised by Ficci and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Puri said the government is planning to reconstruct those buildings built between 1911 and 1927 like North Block, South Block, Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Parliament building. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”We are going to reconstruct all of that. By the time we meet in 2024, at the time of next election, it is our expectation we will be in a new Parliament building,” he said, adding that the government’s request for proposals has received great response from the stakeholders. Calling the old buildings “heritage”, he said the buildings have served their purpose. “I will say that the technology has changed. Also, most of the buildings were not earthquake resistant and a lot of money is spent every year on the repair of these buildings.” Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsHe said Parliament House is a heritage building. “But we don’t have rooms for our MPs, also there is no space for new MPs if the number of seats are changed in future.” Saying that no plan has been finalised as of now, he added the government is looking for ideas and suggestions. Calling the Land Pooling Policy for Delhi an important step towards making Delhi the world’s largest megapolis with the highest international standards, he said it will add 17 lakh residential units, hugely contributing to the country’s GDP and jobs. The Minister said the Policy is a “balanced policy” as out of the 17 lakh dwelling units, it provides 5 lakh dwelling units to people from the economically weaker sections. He also invited private sector companies to come forward and explore opportunities. Highlighting the plan, he said the pre-bid meeting happened on Thursday and the stakeholders have shown a positive response. “I am aiming and expecting that by October we will float the tenders and by next year the work will start. Although this is a tentative schedule,” Puri said. He added that now the government has the designs, it will do the consultation on the policy. Puri also said that the work related to the Land Pooling Policy will be done by the CPWD. “The Land Pooling Policy was pending from 12 years. This will solve a lot of issues of Delhi. Farmers too are very happy with the policy,” Puri said. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who is also the Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, said that the system is being geared up to offer ease of doing business to both local and international developers and investors, who have already started showing interest in the venture.last_img read more

Britishera Town Hall returns to MC City museum proposed

first_imgShimla: Almost a year after its restoration, the British-era Town Hall, one of Shimla’s monumental buildings, will finally go back to Shimla Municipal Corporation — its legitimate owner though will locate the only office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, a condition imposed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, flanked by Chief Secretary Srikant Baldi and Shimla Mayor Kusum Sadret on Sunday visited the Town Hall and inspected room-by-room space. More than a century-old Gothic-style building is a favourite haunt for the tourists. But this has remained unoccupied due to High Court orders. “The building has gone complete restoration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding to the tune of Rs 8 crore. We don’t want the landmark building to suffer ruins and thus need to be used for the benefit of the citizens, tourists and stake-holders. I am happy the High Court has allowed it to be handed back to the Shimla MC though only Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be able to get offices here,” he told the Millennium Post, after spending 45 minutes at the complex. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu and Commissioner Pankaj Rai briefed the Chief Minister about orders of the High Court and made suggestions as to how the ground floor and top floor can best be used for the tourists and citizens. “If the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the High Court gives us some concessions, we will like to install a lift for the top storey for its use as city museum while the lower storey will remain as an activity area, besides having commercial use of the space,” he said. Town Hall is a grand old legacy. Its condition had turned very bad thus the state government got ADB funding for major restoration works from floor to the ground, besides re-creating an old charm of architectural importance and woodwork inside the building. But lobbying has begun within the Municipal Corporation as Councillors, more than 40 in number, also want space in the building while the Commissioner also has taken up the issue to set-up a camp office. “We may have to approach the High Court afresh and inform about we practical difficulties. I am, however, in any case, will move to the building on September 29 along with Deputy Mayor,” said Sadret. There are possibilities for the building having a high-end cafe shop, information centre and a boutique of traditional crafts and arts for tourists. Terming the Town Hall as “priceless architectural marvel”, the High Court has reminded the government of its responsibility to maintain the historic landmark building, located on the Mall road as also being a major tourists’ attraction. Earlier in 2017, the High Court had opined that the important heritage building could be used either as a city museum or a library rather than leaving it at the mercy of the ‘babus’ by allowing a public office to run from there.last_img read more

Saskatchewan First Nations group releases suicide prevention plan

first_imgWHITECAP DAKOTA FIRST NATION, Sask. – Saskatchewan’s painfully high Indigenous suicide rates call out for a co-ordinated, community-run approach to bring them down, says a plan from the organization that represents the province’s First Nations.The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations released its suicide prevention strategy on Thursday.“It’s going to be a great tool to address some of the issues around mental health,” said vice-chief David Pratt. “It’s the first of its kind in our region.”Indigenous people in Saskatchewan — especially northern Saskatchewan — are afflicted with some of the worst suicide rates in Canada.Overall suicides are four times higher in the Indigenous population than in the province’s general population.For males between the ages of 20 and 29, the rate is 10 times higher. First Nations girls between 10 and 19 kill themselves almost 30 times more often.From 2005 to 2016, 508 lives were lost.“We feel like something has to be done,” said Pratt. “We can no longer sit back and allow our young people to lose hope.”The plan says current efforts to fight suicide in Saskatchewan are failing, beginning with how the problem is understood.The province doesn’t compile regional suicide breakdowns. Nor does it have information on substances found in people who have taken their lives or even numbers on suicide attempts.The strategy draws on previous efforts from Quebec, Nunavut and U.S. Indigenous communities that have shown promising results.It emphasizes community-based prevention through grants to fund locally developed projects.It suggests that programs rooted in traditional activities be developed. Elders and others should be engaged to share stories and traditional teachings relevant to each First Nation.It also calls for heavy investment of resources in early childhood development and parental support, as well as in teaching kids how to bounce back from bad experiences.More mental-health care is needed, says the strategy, including better screening of and followup with those at risk of suicide. Programs to address family violence are also required.The plan suggests economic development is also key.“Substantial reduction in the rate of death by First Nations peoples in Saskatchewan will not occur without multifaceted targeted suicide prevention measures and fundamental and profound improvements in social and economic conditions.”The strategy quotes documents that show the government has known about the high suicide rate for nearly 40 years.“The failure of the federal and provincial governments to take actions commensurate with the high burden of suicide-related loss and suffering among Saskatchewan First Nations communities since at least the 1970s is a powerful example of systemic racism,” it says.The strategy calls for immediate funding to put the report into action over the next five years.That’s just the start, said Pratt.Better housing and education, as well as improved services such as better internet, are all tied into the problem.“We need a major investment,” he said. “I’m confident the government’s going to do what’s right.”In Nunavut, where suicide rates are highest, funding for mental health and suicide prevention grew to almost $34 million in the most recent budget from $9 million in 2011. Since 2014, rates have fallen 13 per cent.Federal New Democrat MP Charlie Angus tabled a bill Tuesday calling for a national plan on suicide prevention.Pratt said Saskatchewan can’t afford not to deal with the problem. He points out that Indigenous people could make up half the province’s population by the end of the century.“We’re the fastest-growing demographic in the province. If we don’t start addressing these issues today, this province is on the verge of a social and economic catastrophe.”— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitterlast_img read more

NAFTA checklist A handy guide to key issues as formal process set

first_imgWASHINGTON – The formal process in renegotiating the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement has begun. The U.S. administration served notice Thursday that it will enter discussions with Canada and Mexico, following a 90-day consultation period.Here’s a sneak preview of key issues at stake:—Dairy: A prime sensitive spot when Canada negotiates trade deals. In Canada’s sheltered dairy industry, imports get slapped with a 270 per cent duty beyond a fixed quota. Canada faced intense pressure to pry open the system in recent negotiations. Canada accepted more European dairy on its grocery shelves, in a deal with the EU. It would have allowed another 3.25 per cent under the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dairy farmers were upset. The Harper government softened the blow with a multibillion-dollar compensation package. This time, with TPP dead, the U.S. could seek a more dramatic opening. U.S. policy-makers have two concerns: First, with Canada’s supply management controls, in general; and more specifically with rules related to milk-protein products.—Auto parts: Among the top U.S. priorities. It involves rules of origin — and how much local content is required to avoid tariffs. It’s clear the White House wants more car parts sourced at home, and fewer from Asia. What’s not clear is the details: will it insist on a specific quota for American parts, or be content with more production in North America, generally? How will it tinker with the rules — by simply raising the threshold for avoiding a tariff, currently 62.5 per cent, or by also insisting on a stricter formula for calculating that percentage? Will the policy lead to higher car prices? Will changes really shift production from Asia, or will companies simply pay more in duties and add it to the sticker price? The details matter here.—Consumer rights: The U.S. government wants to help Canadian shoppers — specifically, to help them buy more things from the U.S., through lower duties. It’s a standard priority of American administrations, and could wind up on the negotiating table. Canada has one of the most punitive duty systems in the world, taxing imported online purchases above $20, a pittance compared to the $800 limit Americans enjoy. But Canadian retailers say a change in this system would be of one-sided benefit to American retailers, resulting in shuttered bricks-and-mortar stores in Canada.—Buy American: Canada wants freer trade in public projects, specifically infrastructure. Some American lawmakers want to go the other way: they want more barriers to foreign bids, and would do away with the exemptions currently enjoyed by Canada and Mexico in NAFTA. Trump is a big booster of Buy American rules, generally, but hasn’t revealed his intended direction here. The U.S. has its own complaints about Canada. The U.S. bemoans the fact that some provincial entities have regulations that undermine U.S. suppliers, like Hydro-Quebec with wind energy. It also complains that U.S. software companies get shut out of public contracts, because of concerns about Canadians’ privacy.—Labour mobility: Canada wants changes here. So does industry. Businesses hate the current professional visa section in NAFTA. It allows easy visas for a list of jobs — but that list reflects the economy of 1993. It barely references digital jobs. Companies complain about unnecessary paperwork and hassles in sending employees to a branch across the border. Another problem involves spouses — one spouse gets a visa but the other can’t work across the border. One potential challenge in addressing this issue: it could quickly get dragged into the broader, heated and very political U.S. debate on immigration.—Softwood: Will there be peace in our time on softwood lumber? Perhaps. This was the first thing mentioned the day after Trump’s election, when the ambassador to the U.S. was asked what he’d like to see in a new NAFTA. Lumber has been the source of recurring spats: Once a decade, the U.S. imposes tariffs over what it views as illegal product-dumping from wood off public land; it winds up in tribunals; Canada tends to win most cases, and that leads to a temporary deal, with restrictions on Canadian wood, before the deal expires and the skirmishes resume. Canada isn’t the only party that wants a softwood deal in NAFTA; Trump’s point man on the negotiation, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, has also alluded to it as an ideal addition to the agreement.—Liquor: Canada’s liquor boards are a repeated source of complaint in the U.S. government’s annual report on trade barriers. It laments the high taxes and tight controls on what gets sold in Canadian stores. The U.S. is especially miffed at B.C. and Ontario for keeping imported wines off grocery shelves. It’s even launched a trade action over the issue.—Digital services: TPP allowed freer movement of data between countries. It would have restricted the right of any country to insist upon local storage facilities for digital information. Critics called this worrisome, for reasons of protecting personal information. Supporters called the change liberating — meaning it would become easier for someone to start a business from anywhere in the world.—Pharmaceuticals: The U.S. has tougher patent rules on drugs — which can delay the introduction of generics, increasing prices. One U.S. drug company, Eli Lilly, recently sued Canada at a NAFTA panel over court decisions that struck down patents. It lost. But many U.S. lawmakers, funded by big pharma, want changes in Canada. Another potential issue involves cutting-edge biologics drugs. It was a heated issue in TPP. Canada wasn’t involved in that tussle, but would be this time if the U.S. pushes a harder line: the U.S. allows 12 years of patent-like protections for data on these products, while Canada is closer to the international norm at eight years.—Telecommunications and broadcasting: Canada fought for cultural industries to be exempted from its U.S. trade deals — meaning books, recordings, broadcasts are not subject to free trade. Culture was a significant irritant in original negotiations; it hasn’t come up in recent complaints from the U.S. administration. One thing the U.S. could seek is greater access to telecommunications, like cell-phone services, according to a draft list of priorities recently sent to Congress.—Snapbacks: A controversial item on the draft document sent to U.S. Congress, a tariff snapback means a country could reinstate duties on a certain product if increased imports hurt its producers. Other countries will resist fiercely if U.S. negotiators seek this addition.—Dispute settlement mechanism: This was a make-or-break issue for Canada in the original Canada-U.S. trade deal. Rather than allowing American judges to preside over cases involving trade actions by American companies, Canada insisted upon a third-party mechanism. That demand almost sank the original trade agreement in 1987. The Mulroney government threatened to cut off negotiations over this issue. In the end, the mechanism was created. It was later incorporated into NAFTA. Many Americans still resent it. A key reason: Softwood lumber, and U.S. losses in Chapter 19 cases. The commerce secretary, Ross, says it’s unfair that an international panel, which might include one American and two Canadians, should interpret America’s domestic trade-remedy laws. Numerous members of Congress agree. Eliminating Chapter 19 is listed as a priority in the administration’s draft notice to Congress.last_img read more

Womenonly spas no male genitals rule ignites transgender debate

first_imgTORONTO – Controversy over a female-only spa’s “no male genitals” policy has reignited debate over the rights of transgender people to access traditionally gender-exclusive spaces, even as the federal government pushes stronger protections prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.The uproar over Toronto’s Body Blitz Spa prompted a flurry of complaints on social media, with longtime regular Shelley Marshall among those vowing to boycott the luxurious retreat.Marshall says she tried to bring her transgender friend to the spa last year but was told she would only be welcome at the bathing suit-optional facility if she had undergone sex reassignment surgery.“I didn’t want to embarrass my friend, I didn’t want to humiliate my friend, I didn’t want all this to happen,” Marshall says of not speaking out at the time. “I’m embarrassed I never stuck up for my friend.”Toronto-based LGBTQ author Jia Qing Wilson-Yang tweeted last week that she was told not to visit the spa because they “won’t allow male genitalia.”That followed a Facebook post by Weronika Jane who says the spa’s manager called a friend one hour before their booking “to say that they couldn’t come because they had a ‘no male genital rule.’”On Wednesday, “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany added her voice to the protest, tweeting that until the spa “changes its policies and is an inclusive space for all women, I’ll no longer be going.” The Regina-born actress plays a slew of characters on her Space series, including lesbian and transgender characters.Body Blitz refused to comment on the issue, but released a statement insisting it supports the LGBTQ community.“However, because Body Blitz Spa is a single-sex facility with full nudity, we are not like other facilities. We recognize that this is an important discussion for single-sex facilities to have and we will seek to find a satisfactory resolution,” reads the statement.Some people found the position comforting.“Thank you for standing up for women. Private spaces for naked female bodies. Identity irrelevant,” said one social media supporter, signed Rachel Ralison.But the whole flap has been disappointing to client and York University Prof. Sheila Cavanagh, who specializes in gender and sexuality studies.She says that aside from violating provincial laws governing gender discrimination, such incidents highlight the difficulty in adhering to strictly binary definitions of gender.“There are many ways of being trans and there are many ways of being a woman,” says Cavanagh, noting that trans rights are enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code.“And certainly surgery or hormones, per se, do not make a woman…. I think it’s gender identity that matters and what is between our legs is our own business.”She notes that not all trans people transition with surgeries and not all trans people use or take hormones.Transgender is also a very broad term. Some transgender people identify as bi-gender or non-gender or agender, which means they don’t strictly identify as a man or a woman. Still others are intersex, which the National Health Service in the United Kingdom defines as a genetic “mix of male and female sexual characteristics.”Cavanagh says the rules around gender-exclusive places are typically based on fears that men will enter a space in which they are not welcome or “that non-trans women will somehow be triggered or made afraid by the presence of a penis.”But Cavanagh says her research on violence in gendered bathrooms found no evidence of a trans woman assaulting a non-trans woman in a public space.“The fear of violence against women is unfortunately used to justify trans-exclusion policies,” she says, noting that many women shelters have trans-positive policies.“It’s not just violence against cis-gendered women, it’s also violence against trans women that matters.”Marshall says she can’t see how a trans-positive policy could be abused.“I don’t think a man is going to try and sneak in as a woman and pay $75 to go sit (in a pool). For what purpose?”But she sees all sorts of ways a trans-phobic policy can hurt a trans person.“A trans person has to live as a woman before they can get surgery,” says Marshall. “This is just another way of telling them: you have no place in our society.”Cavanagh takes heart in believing Bill C-16 is likely to pass. The federal legislation would bolster existing provincial laws to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Currently, trans rights are interpreted in various ways by each province.Adding weight to this movement are the increasing number of businesses and public bodies making their trans-positive policies more explicit.Many school boards welcome transgender students and staff to use the washroom or change room of the gender they identify with.At the national fitness chain GoodLife, members are able to use the change room of the gender they identify with, while various YMCAs across the continent have opened gender-neutral change rooms.Despite this, harassment continues, says Cavanagh.“In addition to developing a policy, members need to be educated so that transphobia isn’t allowed under the auspices of women’s safety.”last_img read more

Half of those considering divorce have change of heart a year later

first_imgEDMONTON – A new study suggests many people contemplating divorce have a change of heart a year later.Researchers at the University of Alberta and Brigham Young University in Utah conducted an online survey of 3,000 Americans aged 25 to 50 who have been married at least a year. One out of four of the respondents said they had thought about divorce in the last six months.The study suggests half of those considering divorce had a significant change in their feelings when they were asked again a year later.“Marriage has its ebbs and flows,” said Adam Galovan, a family scientist in the University of Alberta’s Department of Human Ecology and co-author of the study.“A lot of them just need some time.”Of those who said they thought about divorce in the past, but not recently, about 90 per cent said they were glad they stuck it out with their spouses.The researchers grouped those thinking about divorce into three categories — soft, serious and conflicted. The soft thinkers were generally more hopeful about improving their marriages than the serious thinkers.A third group dubbed conflicted thinkers yielded some intriguing results, said Galovan.That group was dealing with more intense issues such as adultery, addiction and abuse, and was the smallest at about five per cent.While they were the most hopeful initially, they ended up having the highest rate of divorce of the three groups a year later.“Part of that might be that they were also the most religious, so maybe they were hopeful initially because of their religious convictions that things would work out,” said Galovan.While only Americans were surveyed in the National Divorce Decision Making Project, Galovan said he suspects similar trends would be reflected in Canada.He said thoughts of divorce often end up bringing issues to light that couples can work through.“It’s scary, but that initial scary thought can lead to improvement.”last_img read more

Police launch probe after another reporter faces notorious sexist slur

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Police are investigating after a female reporter was heckled with a notorious sexist slur while on camera in St. John’s, N.L.Const. Geoff Higdon of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says they received a complaint Thursday that a CBC reporter was heckled as she reported from the annual St. John’s Regatta a day earlier.Peter Gullage, executive producer for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, said Friday reporter Carolyn Stokes was doing a lakeside interview. A young man ran up behind her and screamed the phrase — often abbreviated to “FHRITP” — as a friend recorded it, he said.“It happened in full HD — the guy ran up to Carolyn and yelled it,” Gullage said. “From our point of view it’s workplace harassment.”The phenomenon has plagued journalists in the United States and Canada since 2015, with one of the more high-profile cases involving a heckler screaming it at a reporter covering a Toronto FC soccer game.Toronto’s CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronted several men about their use of the sexually explicit remarks while doing fan interviews. One of the men was fired by Hydro One after CityNews aired the video. In Calgary, police charged a man with a traffic offence in May 2015 after he hurled the same vulgarity at a CBC journalist.Meanwhile, a man accused of shouting the same slur at another St. John’s news reporter last April entered a not guilty plea to a mischief charge Thursday.NTV reporter Heather Gillis was interviewing a city councillor in April when a man in a passing truck allegedly called out the phrase. Gillis said it was the third time she has been targeted with the expression since she started working at the broadcaster in December 2011.“I’m fed up — I’m tired of it,” Gillis said in April. “No one should have to endure that while they’re working. I’m a professional and I was humiliated interviewing a politician. It’s time for it to stop.”Gullage said the CBC caught the most recent slur on video.“The investigation is ongoing,” Higdon said Friday.last_img read more

11 years in prison for killer in 2015 Calgary gasanddash death

first_imgTwo years after 35-year-old Maryam Rashidi was run over and killed while trying to stop a gas-and-dash at her Centex station in northwest Calgary, her killer learned his prison sentence.Joshua Cody Mitchell was handed 11 years total for the high-profile death, 10 for the manslaughter charge and one for the hit and run, with other charges being served concurrently.Some of Rashidi’s family, including her mother and brother, travelled all the way from Iran to see Mitchell sentenced.“We couldn’t be for the trial before here, but we did all the best to come here for this day, to show Maryam that we support her and we wanted to be her for here today,” her mother Kobra Mohammadi said through a translator. “She was very kind, she was very nice to everybody since she was a kid, and she would always insist to do the right thing.”The Crown was asking for 12 years and a lifetime driving ban for Mitchell, while the defence was seeking seven to eight years behind bars and a driving ban of five to seven years.Mitchell was originally charged with second-degree murder, but was given the lesser charge in May.On June 7, 2015, Rashidi chased Mitchell’s stolen truck from a 16 Avenue N.W. Centex gas station to a nearby Home Depot parking lot, after he left without paying $113 for the gas.Court heard after jumping up and down on the truck a couple of times, Mitchell eventually drove over her and she was killed.Mohammadi said while they truly believe it should’ve been a murder conviction, she has sympathy for the Mitchell family.“I feel bad for him,” she said. “I am a mom and I feel bad for his mom as well and I don’t want to see my kid in this situation, as his mom did.”Before the lawyers made their arguments, two victim impact statements were read by Crown Prosecutor James Thomas.One was by Rashidi’s late husband Ahmad Shallo, who in a tragic twist of fate, died in a car crash this summer while driving from Vancouver to Calgary to mark the second anniversary of Rashidi’s death.But in a statement written before his death, he said:“Some things that you lose can be recovered over time,” he said. “Other losses are immeasurable and can never be retrieved, for instance, the loss of innocence of a child when his mother is taken from him.He talked about how after his death, their son Koorosh asked who will get his Christmas presents.“In reply to my question ‘why do you ask that?’ he told me “because I have no mom.”Mitchell did address the court.“I would like to apologize to the family and friends of Mr. Rashidi,” he said. “If I had the chance to change what happened that day, I would.”Judge Alan Macleod noted Mitchell’s young age and remorse during his decision, but noted the aggravating factors that led to his decision.Those included the fact that Mitchell was on recognizance at the time of the crime, with a condition that he not drive.He also noted that while this may have been a very sudden decision, he must’ve known that driving over Rashidi had the risk of causing great harm.“The circumstances, the gravity of the offence, his responsibility, the total circumstances of the context of the theft of the gas and the stolen motor vehicle, all made this an appropriate outcome,” Thomas said.“He should absolutely not be behind the wheel ever again,” Thomas added. “He was on release at the time, it was a series of dangerous driving offences, there is no reason he should ever be behind the wheel.”Defence lawyer Kim Ross said it’s unclear if they will appeal.The other issue is what will happen to Rashidi’s son Koorosh.Currently, the eight-year-old is staying with Shallo’s second wife, but the Rashidi family says they will fight for custody.last_img read more

Teachers wanted BC at crisis point in effort to fill jobs jobs

first_imgVANCOUVER – Teachers have their pick of jobs in British Columbia, but the head of their union warns that some students are going without their specially trained educators who are covering substitute positions that districts haven’t been able to fill.B.C. Teachers Federation president Glen Hansman said students requiring one-on-one attention or support in small groups from special education teachers are shouldering the burden of staffing issues.“The bulk of the time, it’s the child who’s supposed to be receiving special education services who’s unfairly having their program bumped that day,” Hansman said.There was already a lack of substitutes before the shortage of teachers became a crisis in the current school year, he said, adding some school districts don’t have enough special education teachers either.“The students with special needs are legally entitled to those accommodations and we’ve been putting a big spotlight, as have parents, on the fact that the system has been underserving those students for many, many years.”The Education Ministry couldn’t say how many teachers are still needed across the province after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling last year restored smaller class sizes and composition of classes after the previous Liberal government stripped those bargaining rights from teachers’ contracts in 2002.“Schools and districts are very near the end of hiring over 3,500 full-time teachers, the largest hiring campaign of teachers in B.C.’s history,” the ministry said in a statement.A task force of education experts appointed to assess workforce challenges is expected to provide recommendations by the end of the month, it said.Hansman said the starting salary for teachers in British Columbia is the second-lowest in Canada, after Quebec, so that’s deterring people from moving to the province, where the high cost of housing is an issue.He said the Coquitlam and Central Okanagan school districts were among those that “got out of the gate” early with hiring strategies after the top court’s ruling.He singled out the Vancouver School District for acting too slowly.“Vancouver seems to be the number one star with not doing itself any favours when it came to recruiting people,” Hansman said.David Nelson, associate superintendent of the Vancouver School District, said 470 teachers were hired last spring but many have resigned to work in other districts closer to where they live as jobs opened up.“Our recruitment team has been working countless hours, evenings, weekends, as soon as we knew of the Supreme Court ruling and we did our very best to keep out in front of it,” he said. “But it’s been hard to keep up when you’re also seeing teachers leave on the other end.”Nelson said a team of 10 people travelled to a Toronto recruitment fair of 4,800 teachers last month but only two people accepted jobs.The district has implemented a $1,500 moving allowance as an incentive for anyone arriving from another province and is also looking into providing temporary home stays, Nelson said.“So asking employees or individuals who work for the school board if they have a room or a suite they’d be willing to make available either for a short- or long-term to help a candidate in relocating,” he said.Brent Mansfield was an elementary school teacher for three years before he left his job in 2010 to run a non-profit group but the long hours working from home and lack of social contact brought him back to his passion for teaching last June.“It was a personal decision that came at a really strategic time,” he said.“I actually found that within 24 hours of jobs closing, I’d had multiple offers, which never would have happened before,” Mansfield said, adding he got his first pick for a position at a school four blocks from his home in Vancouver, where he teaches grades 3 and 4.“They have a school garden and I knew a couple of the teachers, and that was my dream.”Several teachers at the school are recent graduates of the University of British Columbia, Mansfield said.“That was almost unheard of,” he said of his previous stint in teaching. “That being said, the struggle on the opposite side is we’re actually short of teachers so oftentimes when someone’s sick it’s actually a (special education teacher) who’s covering. It’s a little chaotic right now while the system gets settled down.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.last_img read more

How Cambridge Analytica billionaire got his big break from Canadian bilingualism

first_imgWASHINGTON, United States of America – The controversy over Facebook data gathering has a Canadian backstory far older than the adventures of the young whistleblower from British Columbia who worked for the contentious firm Cambridge Analytica.This story involves the firm’s billionaire bankroller.Robert Mercer is the 71-year-old funder of an assortment of right-wing causes, ranging from Cambridge Analytica to Breitbart News to Republican campaigns. The story of his wealth includes a breakthrough in the 1980s and Canadian bilingualism.Back then, Mercer was a talented mid-career computer programmer at IBM. He’d grown up in New Mexico with an interest in computers, and as there were no courses in the field in the 1960s at his college, he sought experience writing programs for a mainframe in the weapons lab at the Kirtland Air Force Base.There, he said in a 2013 lecture, he learned he loved everything about computers. But he also learned he did not love big government. He described that summer as a formative experience on his political path. Frustrated with a clunky program that calculated the effect of fusion bombs, he recalled rewriting the program to make it 100 times faster.“Then a strange thing happened,” Mercer said in a 2014 speech.“Instead of running the old computations in one-100th of the time, the powers that be at the lab ran computations that were 100 times bigger. I took this as an indication: that one of the most important goals of government-financed research is not so much to get answers as it is to consume the computer budget.“Which has left me ever since with a jaundiced view of government-financed research.”He graduated college in 1972 and took a job at IBM. There, he helped develop the field of computer-generated translation. He explained in a paper co-written with colleagues that computer-translation efforts are almost as old as the modern computer itself.In the 1940s, fellow-travellers had sought to have machines translate language. But they stumbled into two main obstacles: the weak processing power of older computers, and the shortage of translated text in digital format for programmers to study.Advances in computing gradually solved the first problem.The second problem was solved by a tip in the 1980s about where to score massive amounts of translated text, which would allow the programmers to detect patterns in data and develop algorithms based on that.That news came from older IBM colleague John Cocke.“John was on a plane and … he struck up a conversation with the guy next to him and then suggested they have a drink together,” Mercer’s colleague Peter Brown recalled at the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing.“Before he knew it the guy was telling John about the proceedings of the Canadian House of Parliament which were — and probably still are — kept in computer-readable form in French and in English.”Canadian government employees had already done the work.They had translated millions of words spoken in Canada’s Parliament from English to French, and vice-versa, at a reliable quality, with literal and figurative meanings of phrases swapped between languages, all of it was in the public domain, available for use by researchers.“That’s what I liked about the Canadian Hansards data,” Mercer told the 2013 conference.“I think that’s what appealed to John about it as well.”Mercer and his colleagues scooped up about 100 million words’ worth of data. That’s how one of the landmark research papers in the field of computer translation wound up including the words, “Bobby Orr,” and “fuddle-duddle,” the insult phrase made famous by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.One of their papers said the algorithm reduced the work flow of a translator by 60 per cent, requiring 776 keyboard strokes to repair mistakes within a certain sample, versus 1,916 keystrokes to start from scratch.When it granted Mercer its lifetime achievement award decades later, the Association for Computational Linguistics noted the thousands of research papers that cite his work, and credited him with technologies we now use every day.“(Their approaches) now dominate the field of machine translation,” the ACL said, “and provide the underpinning of many of the tools that people now regularly use, such as speech recognizers on mobile phones, context-sensitive spelling correction, and web-based machine translation systems.”His research led to tremendous wealth.It turns out that his ability to detect patterns in linguistic translation was useful in stock trading. In 1993, Mercer and Brown got recruitment letters from the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.They initially tossed the letters, but later had a change of heart, as Mercer struggled with college tuition bills for his daughters. They accepted a 50-per-cent pay raise, changed jobs, and eventually recruited other members of their old IBM team.The finance work is a little more hush-hush but Brown described it as based on their previous research: “From building speech-recognition systems and translation systems … we definitely used that skill set.”Mercer and Brown wound up running the fund after its founder retired.In recent years he’s become famous for his political investments: the research group that looked into Hillary Clinton’s alleged conflicts of interest and bankrolled the book “Clinton Cash,” the Government Accountability Institute; Breitbart; and the campaign of Donald Trump.He founded Cambridge Analytica; teamed up with young researcher Christopher Wylie, a Canadian Liberal and spent millions to amass voter data, including from Facebook users.last_img read more

Canada on hot seat to deliver on climate change and plastics at

first_imgOTTAWA – Doubt is percolating about Canada’s ability to deliver on its two biggest environment commitments at this week’s G7, with no agreement yet on a plastics waste charter and Canada’s recent pipeline purchase casting a pall over its commitment to climate change.Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Tuesday it is still uncertain whether Canada will get its proposed zero plastics waste plan signed at this week’s G7 leaders summit.Speaking at the Canada 2020 conference Tuesday in Ottawa, McKenna said most of the negotiating has already taken place, but she was unable to say if all the G7 leaders will sign the charter when their two-day meeting in Quebec gets underway Friday.“Who knows at the table what happens,” she said. “I’m optimistic.”In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would make plastics and a zero-waste plastics charter a key deliverable as part of Canada’s G7 presidency. The wording of such a charter has been in the works for months — one goal is to set a target date for eliminating plastics from landfills, as well as commitments from each country on how to get there.If the G7 can make such a commitment, the hope is then to get the G20 to follow suit when that summit happens in Argentina in the fall.Earlier this week, Canada’s chemical industry and plastics makers jointly set 2030 as the goal for eliminating plastic waste by recycling or incinerating for energy, while environment groups would like to see plastics stop going into the garbage or the incinerator by 2025.While the U.K., France and Italy all appear to be on board, the positions of Germany, Japan and the United States are less clear.McKenna said the U.S. has been “pretty positive” on the issue of a plastics charter. But she also said that if President Donald Trump doesn’t get on board, there are many other Americans who will. She said there’s action on the file already from state governments and business leaders, including major multinationals like Pepsi, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s that are responsible for much of the world’s single-use plastic food and beverage waste.Trump has not been clear on where he stands on marine debris. But last August, he overturned a six-year regulation allowing national parks to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.The Canadian plastics charter will also aim to help developing countries better manage their waste, considering that about 90 per cent of the plastic that ends up in the ocean is carried out to sea by 10 rivers — eight of them in Asia and two in Africa.Trudeau is also facing increased pressure to deliver a solid climate change commitment, particularly after committing to spend $4.5 billion buying the Trans Mountain pipeline. Luca Bergamaschi, the lead Italian negotiator on climate change from last year’s gathering, said European leaders see Trans Mountain as evidence Europe will have to carry the ball on climate.The European contingent has lost patience with Trump’s stance on tariffs and climate change, and will be taking a hard-line approach on environmental issues, Bergamaschi added.“The Europeans are less willing to compromise in order to appease the U.S. and maintain unity at all costs,” he said.It is setting up to be another six-against-one finish, much like last year’s G7. However, Bergamaschi noted, no other country has joined Trump’s high-profile abandonment of the Paris accord — a sign that the rest of the world remains committed and the agreement will survive without the White House.Bergamaschi and Catherine Abreu, the executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, say international climate change organizations also want the G7 to set the stage for countries around the world to agree to raise emissions targets they say remain far too low.Trans Mountain puts all the more pressure on Trudeau to deliver a strong climate message, Abreu said.Indeed, Trump’s recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs might actually make it easier for Trudeau to side with Europe, rather than pushing for a watered-down compromise, she added.last_img read more

Singer who won rights case against comedian exits social media following threats

first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec singer embroiled in a legal battle with a Quebec comedian says he is shutting down his social media after receiving hate messages and death threats.Jeremy Gabriel won a human rights case against comedian Mike Ward in 2016, arguing that a joke mocking his disability had amounted to discrimination.Ward was in Quebec Appeal Court last week seeking to overturn the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered him to pay $42,000 in damages to Gabriel and his mother.In a message Monday before he closed his accounts to the public at midnight, Gabriel said he respects his critics but will never understand how so much hatred can be spread.Gabriel, 22, has Treacher Collins syndrome, a congenital disorder characterized by skull and facial deformities. Known in Quebec as “Little Jeremy,” he became a minor celebrity in the province after he sang with Celine Dion and for the Pope.Between 2010 and 2013, Ward included a joke in his routine that made fun of Gabriel’s appearance. The tribunal concluded Ward’s joke violated Gabriel’s right to dignity, honour and reputation, as well as his right to equality and to be safe from discrimination.In his statement on Facebook, Gabriel says there is a “limit to what a human being can bear, and this limit was crossed in recent days.” The singer’s manager Jean Perruno said he did not know is Gabriel intends to file a police complaint. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Alberta Energy Regulator suspends fracking well linked to Monday earthquake

first_imgSYLVAN LAKE, Alta. — The Alberta Energy Regulator has ordered a company to suspend fracking operations at a well site linked to an earthquake that was felt in the communities of Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.Natural Resources Canada says the 4.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in central Alberta around 5:55 a.m. on Monday.The regulator says Vesta Energy Ltd. must suspend hydraulic fracturing operations at the site.It says Calgary-based company must submit a report of all seismic activity in the area since April and specific fracturing data for the well site from Jan. 29 to Monday.The regulator has also ordered Vesta to file a plan to eliminate or reduce future seismic activity from fracturing.  Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping chemicals and sand underground to break up rocks to help get oil and natural gas flowing.“A Vesta representative contacted the AER through the 24-hour emergency response number at 06:20 a.m. on March 4, 2019, and informed the AER that seismic activity of magnitude 4.32 was detected due to Vesta’s fracturing at the site, and that Vesta had shut down the fracturing operation,” the regulator said in a release Tuesday.“All operations at the site are suspended immediately unless otherwise directed in writing by the director.”There were no immediate reports of damage but the community of Sylvan Lake said the power went out in most of the town Monday morning.Natural Resources Canada’s website says the tremor was classified as a light earthquake.The Canadian Presslast_img read more