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Television actor harassed by appcab driver

first_imgKolkata: A television actor was allegedly harassed and manhandled by an app cab driver while she was going to a shoot on Wednesday morning.The police has initiated a case at Tiljala police station on the basis of a complaint lodged by the actor, who is a resident of Kasba and has arrested the driver Jamshed Hossain. According to the complaint of the actor, she had booked an Uber cab at 8.15 am and the vehicle No. WB-04E-9566 driven by Jamshed picked her up from near her residence. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersWhile she was on her way to her destination the driver allegedly misbehaved, abused, outraged her modesty and pulled her out of the car after cancelling the trip near 42 bus stand on C.N.Roy Road under Tiljala police station. The incident happened in front of a restaurant at Uttar Panchana Gram near VIP Bazar area. The actress shared the details of the incident on her Facebook page. She wrote that the incident left her ‘dumbstruck’. “This had never happened to me before,” she wrote. She added that she will pursue legal actions in consultation with her family. “This is a clear violation of the safety standards set by our community guidelines and we have removed the driver’s access to the app. We stand ready to support law enforcement authorities in their investigations,” an Uber spokesperson said.last_img read more

Pentagons stratagem

first_imgStrangely, days after the meeting between the American President Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Pentagon informed the US Congress of its decision to approve military sales worth 125 million to Pakistan. The US government claims that it is being given under the Foreign Military Sales programme to be disbursed to 60 US contactors as salaries and is only for around the clock monitoring of the use of F-16 aircraft in Pakistan as spelt out in the end-user agreement between US and Pakistan. But what exactly is strange? Firstly, why is it that the Pentagon cannot pay its inspectors directly for the work being done on their behalf? And secondly, what about the US admission that it is in response to Pakistan’s request for continuation of technical and logistical support services? Also Read – A special kind of bondApparently, a game is being played. I suspect that these US contractors will be engineers of the Lockheed Martin, manufactures of the F-16 aircraft, and they would upgrade the necessary infrastructure of the F-16 aircraft to be able to carry advanced versions of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missiles as compared to the current variant, which was not adequately successful in Balakot and post-Balakot aerial combat. Modern air-wars are seen as BVR missile-wars where targets as far as 150 kms could be easily engaged using aircraft’s own radar. Obviously, Pakistan has taken serious note of the development of Astra BVR missile by India’s DRDO being fit on SU 30 Mki and Mig 29 combat planes apart from longer reach being inducted from Russia, the existing equally potent missiles on Mirage 2000 and most dangerous of all, the Meteor on the Rafale being inducted. Also Read – Insider threat managementIn fact, after the shooting down of the F-16 aircraft by the much older Indian Mig-Bison, there was not only inevitable consternation in the Pakistani Camp but also in the Lockheed Martin group who were extremely fearful of the adverse publicity. At that time the US magazine Foreign Policy had risen in their support and brought out a story by Lara Seligman in which she had quoted two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation that US personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing. She, apparently, was saying this at the bidding of Pentagon. This correspondent for many years covered Military Aviation and was very close to the Pentagon and thus to Lockheed Martin, who have deep inroads into Pentagon. In fact, the Pentagon, away from public gaze, supports US arms manufacturers. The stoppage of US arms aid to Pakistan itself is full of paradoxes. The US government just invented a ruse to deliver weapon systems. They provided F-16 aircraft to Pakistan seemingly for fighting terrorists. This logic itself is full of holes. How can a fighter plane be effectively used against a few terrorists on the move or hiding in the mountain-side? This falsehood truly surfaced when post-Balakot the Indian Government raised the point about Pakistan using F-16s and produced a crashed AMRAAM missile used on F-16 as evidence. At the same, they brought to the notice of the US Government the clear violation of the end-user agreement with them. The US government chose to respond several months later, only to say, that since the agreement between the US and Pakistan is strictly confidential they would neither comment on nor divulge the nature of agreements. It is sad to admit that we were living in a fools’ paradise. We must acknowledge that since the very beginning of the emergence of Pakistan, the US considered Pakistan a frontline state. We would recall CENTO. The Central Treaty Organisation was one of the Cold War’s weirdest alliances. This was largely the result of the improbable quintet of nations making up the Organisation: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The United States was integral in setting-up the alliance in 1955, yet never became a member itself. Then came the Reagan Doctrine. This doctrine was a centrepiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Under this Doctrine, the United States provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to “roll back” Soviet-backed pro-communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to diminish Soviet influence in these regions as part of the administration’s overall strategy to win the Cold War. And in Afghanistan, Pakistan was its principal ally which spearheaded in raising a force of Mujahideen fighters trained by CIA in collusion with Pakistan’s ISI. It broke the Soviet back. Let me reiterate. Pakistan will continue to be useful to the US despite its present alleged anathema on terrorist linkages. Although, the US-India relationship is globally being described as a strategic centrepiece but is it mere business or more? Defence acquisition from the US has crossed over $13 billion (2017) and they included 13 C 130 J Hercules aircraft, 10 C -17 Globemaster, 12 P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Boeing, 22 AH 64 Apache helicopters, 15 CH 47 Chinook helicopters and 145 M777 Howitzers. (The author is a retired Air Commodore and strategic-affairs commentator. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Mahanadi in spate 11 Odisha districts on high alert

first_imgBhubaneswar: Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi on Wednesday asked Collectors of 11 districts to prepare for the impending flood in Mahanadi river. Due to heavy rainfall in the lower catchments of the Mahanadi, about 11.5 lakh cusec of floodwater is likely to be discharged at Mundali in Cuttack between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday. Sethi asked Bolangir, Boudh, Subarnapur, Nayagarh, Khordha, Cuttack, Angul, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Jajpur Collectors to take necessary steps. One gate of the Hirakud dam in Sambalpur on Wednesday was also opened following heavy rain on the upper catchment areas. “This is likely to cause a medium flood in river Mahanadi and its distributaries,” said the SRC. He informed that 12 ODRAF teams and three NDRF teams have been deployed in the likely affected districts for rescue and evacuation operations. Besides, fire service teams in respective districts will be deployed, he added. The Collectors have been instructed to immediately activate District Emergency Operation Centres and Control Rooms of different departments round the clock. Hirakud Dam authorities on Wednesday released first flood water from the reservoir in this rainy season. The flood water from the Hirakud Dam was released from one gate at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. “Keeping in view a medium level flood situation downstream, we wouldn’t release the amount of water earlier planned. Symbolically, one gate will be opened for some hours and it will be closed,” informed Water Resources Secretary P.K. Jena. “Keeping in view the situation downstream — aiming to keep it moderate. We will wait a few more days, calculate and take onward decision when to release the flood water,” said Jena.last_img read more

Minors marriage thwarted

first_imgKolkata: A child marriage was stopped after officials from a city-based NGO rescued the girl from Sarat Ghosh Garden Road on Friday.The incident came to light when the welfare organization officials acted on a tip-off and stopped the girl’s parents from conducting the marriage. The officials went to the 16-year-old girl’s home who was about to get married with the consent of her parents. The officials asked the girl’s parents to show the age proof of her daughter. When her parents hesitated to disclose her age, the officials counselled the parents and convinced them to make arrangement of her daughter’s marriage once she reaches the age of 18. However, the girl has been handed over to the parents. She will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) latest by August 20. According to National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) released recently, the prevalence of child marriage in India is the highest amongst Scheduled Tribe girls (15 per cent) followed by Scheduled Castes (13 per cent). This apart, West Bengal has the highest rate of child marriage amongst SC girls.last_img read more

OBC conducts performance review of its branches invites ideas on future strategy

New Delhi: The first stage of the bottom-up consultative process designed to generate ideas and to review performance of branches and their alignment with national priorities, was conducted at the Circle Office, Delhi- North & West of Oriental Bank of Commerce on August 17-18, 2019, which was guided by Mukesh Jain-Chairman & Managing Director of the Bank. This was the first of its kind consultation wherein the branches themselves were asked to review their performance, deliberate on the issue before the banking sector, and ideate on future strategy and the way forward. The meet focused on the ways and means to increase credit to various sectors of the economy, enhance use of technology to bring about innovation and enable big data analytic, and make banking citizen-centric as well as more responsive to the needs and aspirations of senior citizens, farmers, small industrialists, entrepreneurs, youth, students and women. read more

CMs flying squad busts fake bar code providers

first_imgGurugram: The Chief Minister flying squad on Friday conducted a raid at the Nathupur slums and busted a fake bar code providers to the private taxis. The fake unit was being set up so that the tax to the public authorities that was to be given by the transporters was avoided.According to the law enforcement officials, the unit run by a person identified as Ajay was deliberately set up in the shanties so that its whereabouts are not identified. In effect, it effectively targetted the truckers and the commercial drivers who purchased the identification codes at a cheap rate so that they can avoid paying taxes to the government. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”We feel that there is a strong group that is operating in the city which is allowing the transporter to operate through illegal means and thereby cause loss to the public exchequer. We were successful in arresting four people from our recent raid. We are in the process to identify some more illegal units that are operating around the city,” said a senior official from the Chief Minister flying squad. “Most of the people who use their vehicles for commercial means for example passenger buses and trucks often use the services to get the fake documents from such units so that they can hoodwink the public officials. Most of the trucks according to our report is also being used in the illegal mining of the Aravallis,” added the public official who was a part of the raids.last_img read more

Just one suspect in death of twoyearold girl Quebec City police

first_imgQUEBEC – Quebec City police say their investigation into the slaying of a two-year-old girl points to just a single suspect.Police say in a statement their probe is progressing and investigators have spoken to witnesses in recent days.Rosalie Gagnon’s body was found in a garbage can last Wednesday and she was pronounced dead in hospital.The toddler’s 23-year-old mother was charged with mischief, violating probation and obstructing the work of a police officer in the infant’s death.Audrey Gagnon returns to court on Wednesday for a scheduled bail hearing.Following an autopsy, police confirmed the girl had been stabbed to death.The investigation was triggered after the discovery of an empty stroller near a park and the mother was tracked down and arrested a few hours later.A silent march is scheduled for Tuesday evening in the Quebec City neighbourhood where the incident took place.Over the weekend, Quebec’s minister for youth protection said she was seeking an inquiry into the girl’s death.Lucie Charlebois asked the province’s human rights and youth rights commission to examine the type of services the toddler’s family had received.last_img read more

Transportation Safety Board to release findings on sunken tugboat off BC coast

first_imgVANCOUVER – Results are expected today from an investigation into what caused a tugboat to run aground off British Columbia’s coast in October 2016, spilling thousands of litres of fuel into the ocean.The Transportation Safety Board is set to release a report of its findings on the Nathan E. Stewart, a 30-metre tug that was towing an empty barge when it hit rocks near Bella Bella and partially sank.About 107,000 litres of diesel and 2,240 litres of lubricants, including gear and hydraulic oils, leaked into the Pacific Ocean.Chief Marilyn Slett of the nearby Heiltsuk First Nation has said the fuel spill forced the closure of prime seafood harvesting and fishing areas and has had devastating social, cultural and economic impacts on her people.Earlier this year, she said her community was still working to recover a $150,000 payment from Houston-based company Kirby Offshore Marine, which owned the boat.The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released a report in November saying the tug’s second mate told investigators he missed a change of course after falling asleep, which the board says is the probable cause of the vessel running aground.The report says Kirby’s safety management procedures had also been ineffectively implemented, contributing to the sinking.It says there was a lack of documentation on safety rounds and no evidence that safety management procedures were implemented on board the Nathan E. Stewart.last_img read more

Coalition for Quebecs Future captures LouisHebert riding in byelection

first_imgQUEBEC – Coalition for Quebec’s Future captured the riding of Louis-Hebert in a provincial byelection on Monday, wresting away what was once considered a safe Liberal seat and a Quebec City-area stronghold for the governing party since 2003.Former coroner’s office spokeswoman Genevieve Guilbault was assured victory in the riding for the third-place Coalition party, garnering just over 51 per cent of vote.Ex-political attache Ihssane El Ghernati finished second with almost 19 per cent and Parti Quebecois candidate Norman Beauregard took third place with just over 16 per cent.Voter turnout was registered at 52.4 per cent according to the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec.Voters in the riding went to the polls to choose a new member of the legislature, left vacant after the departure of longtime Liberal Sam Hamad in April.The byelection was considered an important test for the governing Liberals in a riding they’d held for years with comfortable majorities, especially with the next provincial election around the corner in 2018.The campaign was chaotic from the outset, with both the Liberal and Coalition original candidates dropping out within hours of each other over allegations of psychological harassment dating back to their former jobs.The result leaves the governing Liberals with 68 of the 125 seats in the legislature, compared with 28 for the PQ, 21 for the Coalition, and three for Quebec solidaire. There are five Independent members.The runoff was a record 15th byelection in Quebec since the last provincial election in April 2014.last_img read more

Im not trying to blame Catherine Garnier tells prosecutor at murder trial

first_imgHALIFAX – A Crown attorney accused a Halifax man Tuesday of trying to find a way to blame off-duty police officer Catherine Campbell for her own death.Cross-examining Christopher Garnier at his murder trial, Christine Driscoll questioned Garnier’s claim that Campbell had asked to be slapped and choked, suggesting a different scenario had unfolded.“There was a struggling on the bed, wasn’t there?” Driscoll asked as she cross-examined Christopher Garnier Tuesday at his murder trial.“No. There wasn’t,” he replied. “I did not punch Ms. Campbell.”The Crown alleges Garnier punched and strangled the 36-year-old Truro, N.S., police constable after they met at a Halifax bar, and used a compost bin to dispose of her body near Halifax’s Macdonald Bridge.In his opening statement Monday, defence lawyer Joel Pink told the 14-member Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury that Campbell died accidentally during “rough sex” that she initiated.Garnier, 30, told the jury that during sex play, Campbell encouraged him to choke and slap her before she died. But he said his memories about the night are fragmented.“You’ve come up with an explanation that explains from your point of view what happened and also entirely places the explanation and the blame on Ms. Campbell, correct?” said Driscoll.“I’m not trying to blame Catherine … She was nice to me that night,” Garnier said, speaking in a low voice. “Just because she wanted to do that doesn’t make her a bad person.”Driscoll focused her cross-examination Tuesday on inconsistencies between what Garnier told police about the night Campbell died and what he told the jury.She noted he told police after his arrest that he heard Campbell’s last breaths, but told the jury he heard air leaving her lungs in the early hours of Sept. 11, 2015.Garnier said he didn’t know at the time of the 9.5-hour-long police interrogation on Sept. 16, 2015, whether he heard gasps or air coming out of her lungs, because he was having a hard time remembering details about the incident.Driscoll noted Garnier was trained as a firefighter.“You’re a trained first-responder, and you don’t know what you heard?” she asked.“I was trying to decipher what I was hearing. I didn’t know,” said Garnier, dressed in a black sweater with grey and white stripes across the chest.She added that as a trained first-responder, he would know that if someone’s neck is injured, great care needs to be taken in the handling of that person.Driscoll said Garnier told the jury his arm was across Campbell’s neck, that he went to get a towel when he noticed blood after slapping her, and that he pulled her up by the shoulders and shook her after coming back into the room and seeing her motionless.“You’re not the least bit worried about injuring her?” said Driscoll.“Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking,” he replied.Driscoll questioned why Garnier did not perform CPR on Campbell or call 911.She said that during the police interrogation, Garnier told the officers that he had told them what he could remember about the night, and didn’t have any reason to hold back.But Driscoll noted he never told them anything about Campbell mentioning domination, or asking him to choke her. She pointed to the fact that Cpl. Jody Allison asked about rough sex during the interview.Garnier told the jury Monday he was telling interrogators what they wanted to hear, and that he didn’t want them to think “I was just trying to blame it on her.”“Well you’re blaming her today, aren’t you,” Driscoll said on Monday.Driscoll also suggested it would have been difficult for Garnier — who is right-handed — to slap Campbell with his left hand, as he described for the jury on Monday.Garnier said that slapping her with his left hand was awkward, and that he believes his watch hit her face. Driscoll noted it was the first time Garnier mentioned the watch.A medical examiner has testified Campbell had facial injuries including a fractured nose.Garnier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body.He finished testifying Tuesday. The trial continues Wednesday.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.last_img read more

Alabama shocker Six ways stunning Senate result upends American politics

first_imgWASHINGTON – It took a near-miraculous confluence of factors for a pro-choice Democrat to win the state of Alabama — but it happened. The ruby-red Republican state delivered a stunning result to elect Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate.Last time Democrats didn’t even mount a campaign. A write-in Democratic candidate lost to Jeff Sessions by a nearly inconceivable margin of almost 95 per cent, and this time the party won by 1.5 per cent.Here are six ways this reshapes American politics.1— Passing bills just got harder for the GOP. Republicans will hold just a one-vote majority in the Senate. That means their legislation can be more easily defeated, and their judicial appointments rejected. All it takes is for two Republicans to defect, instead of the current three. This gives Republican moderates like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski quasi-veto power on everything. Aware of this, the parties scrambled Wednesday over the timing of a major vote on taxes: Republicans rushed to pass a bill this year, ignoring a demand from Democrats that they pause for a few weeks so the newly elected senator can be sworn in.2— Republican infighting. The GOP has been a tinderbox of internal tension, and this is one more spark. Recriminations began before votes were even counted. The party establishment swiftly blamed the nationalist, alt-right wing for elevating controversial candidates like Roy Moore. It was party insurgents who propelled the gay-bashing, anti-Muslim, accused one-time molester of adolescents to the nomination. A close confidant of congressional leader Mitch McConnell pointed this out, while counting was still underway Tuesday. Josh Holmes tweeted: ”I’d just like to thank Steve Bannon for showing us how to lose the reddest state in the union.” GOP lawmaker Peter King put it more crudely, on CNN: “(Bannon) guy does not belong on the national stage. He looks like some disheveled drunk that wondered on to the political stage.” The party’s other wing retorted with its own grievances. The Bannon types castigated party elites for failing to support Moore, denying him donations and endorsements. Bannon’s Breitbart website offered an early taste of that counter-attack with the headline: ”Republican Saboteurs Flip Seat To Dems.”3— Democrats energized. After a dominant performance last month in races across the country, Democrats now have ample reason to believe they can reclaim the House of Representatives in next year’s midterms. Turnout has been unexpectedly high in Democrat areas; among youth; and among African-American voters. There’s been a surge in fundraising and candidate-recruitment. The party can now point to its long shot win in Alabama, as it tries recruiting star candidates for anticipated close races.4— Start the Senate-watch. Winning either of the two congressional chambers next year would give Democrats big power — to stall bills, launch investigations and generally thwart Trump’s presidency. But the ultimate prize isn’t the House; it’s the Senate. So far, that’s seemed positively unattainable. By a fluke of the calendar, the Senate seats up for election next year are overwhelmingly Democratic, giving them few opportunities for pickups. The odds have just narrowed. To end the GOP majority, Democrats now need just two Republican seats — they will be gunning hard in Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere, but must still defending their own two-dozen seats up for re-election. Why does the Senate matter so much? It doesn’t just adopt laws, like the House. It’s also the chamber that approves presidential nominations — to the cabinet, federal agencies, and the Supreme Court. And that court has three judges aged over 75 years old, with their eventual replacements poised to decide hot-button issues like abortion.5— Spotlight on Donald Trump. His unpopularity is starting to worry his party. Fearing a tidal wave in next year’s midterms, some Republicans are grumbling that the president must adjust his behaviour. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, on CNN, called the results a wake-up call for Trump: ”It is a very clear warning shot.” He urged the president to tone down the constant conflict and chaos, as it’s turning off voters: ”It’s just debilitating. It wears people out. … (People are) worn out by the daily controversy coming from the president’s Twitter feed.” A big Trump fan agreed the result could up the pressure on him, for other reasons. Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham speculated Democrats will now recycle sexual-misconduct allegations against Trump, compare them to Moore’s, point to voters’ rejection of Moore and argue the president should be investigated. That’s already begun. Several Democrats have been calling for investigations, or even for Trump’s resignation.6— Roy Moore goes away. This is the silver lining for many Republicans. A number commented after Tuesday’s results that his presence in the Senate would have been a political millstone. They said Democrats would have made Moore a national campaign issue — someone who’s called for homosexuals to be jailed; who said Muslims should be barred from Congress; and who was reportedly once banned from a mall for his alleged habit of creeping on adolescent girls. They worried Democrats would turn Moore into the poster-boy for the Republican party and feared how that might play in states far less hospitable to them than Alabama.last_img read more

Social conservatives find new voice in Ontario as Tory candidates duke it

first_imgTORONTO – The emergence of a Tory leadership candidate committed to repealing Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum may yet see the Progressive Conservative party, which was pushed to the centre under former leader Patrick Brown, shifting to the right — at least until the spring election campaign gets underway.While observers say it’s unlikely that Tanya Granic Allen will end up as party leader, social conservatives who feel betrayed by Brown are delighted with their new-found voice.“We worked hard to help Patrick Brown become the leader,” said evangelical activist Charles McVety. “Once he became the leader he took an about-face turn. Not only did he change the (sex-ed) policy, then he basically banned us from the party.”Brown, who recently stepped down as leader after denying allegations of sexual misconduct toward two young women, may yet have another crack at stamping his vision on the party, announcing on Friday that he was entering the leadership race.“We can’t lose the project we’ve been working on,” Brown said at the Tory party headquarters in Toronto after filing his papers. “It’s far too important.”Brown, who had actively courted the social conservative vote in his first run to become leader before realizing the party risked alienating the wider voting population, followed a well-worn path.Former Ontario premier Mike Harris firmly banished what became known as the “family values coalition” to the backbenches after he won office in the 1995 election. Among them was the late Jim Flaherty, who later went on to become provincial and federal finance minister, and whose wife Christine Elliott is running against Granic Allen.Similarly, former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper refused to allow anti-abortionists to gain traction — particularly in his first two elections.“Most voters hover around the centre of the political spectrum — that’s where the votes are,” said Anna Esselment, an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. “What Mike Harris wanted was to ensure that they won, and Harper knew that they were not going to win the election if they were perceived as being branded as the scary hidden agenda.”McVety said the Ontario leadership candidates could also be making promises to social conservatives they will renege on later.“You’re always worried about that,” he said. “But then you have to look at the promises and the character of the people making the promises.”Among other things, Ontario’s three-year-old sex-ed curriculum has modules on same-sex relationships for Grade 3 students, lessons on masturbation for Grade 6ers, while anal sex is discussed in Grade 7 as part of a broader approach to avoiding sexually transmitted infections.In Thursday’s televised debate, Granic Allen, 37, slammed Brown’s past flip-flop on “radical sex ed,” repeatedly raising the spectre of “anal sex in the classroom” as she attempted to set herself apart from her leadership rivals, including former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford and lawyer Caroline Mulroney.“Where were these candidates when (Liberal Premier) Kathleen Wynne was ramming through crazy policies to our province, for example, like her sex-ed agenda?” Granic Allen said. “I was out there in the trenches with the grassroots speaking out again and again on these issues.”In response to her loud denunciation of the curriculum, all three of her rivals at the debate sought to condemn it as well — although Mulroney said she wouldn’t scrap it if she were elected leader and became premier. Ford was clear he, too, would change the sex-education curriculum if he manages to find his way into the premier’s office.Brown expressed surprise at finding the sex-ed issue back on the party’s agenda.“Some of the debates that we’re devolving into are debates that I wish we’d already move on from,” Brown said late Thursday on Toronto radio station AM640. “The fact we’re talking about sex ed again and climate change — I thought that that page had been turned.”Granic Allen, a married mother of four, is president of the group Parents As First Educators. She also sits on the board of the Catholic Civil Rights League, an anti-abortion advocacy group, and has been a spokeswoman for Campaign Life Coalition. She describes herself as a businesswoman, writer, commentator, and “staunch defender of parental rights.”Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said candidates like Granic Allen inevitably pull the debate to the right.“One should not underestimate (her) potential impact,” he said.On the other hand, Esselment said, Granic Allen’s impact is likely to be moderated when Tory members and the leadership candidates themselves look beyond the immediate race.“You’re not always going to win based on the ends of the spectrum,” Esselment said. “So, the other three candidates will be careful about being drawn too much one way or the other.”For the moment, however, social conservatives like McVety are rejoicing at having both Granic Allen and Ford as leadership contenders of a party they feel has long ignored them. We aren’t asking for much, McVety said.“We just want one thing, at least,” McVety said. “Something, give us a bone to chew on.”last_img read more

Human remains found near Whistler BC linked to missing Australian woman

first_imgWHISTLER, B.C. – RCMP say human remains linked to a missing Australian woman have been found near the resort town of Whistler, B.C.Police say in a news release that Alison Raspa was reported missing last November.Visitors to Alpha Lake Park called police on Friday to say they’d found what appeared to be human remains in the partially frozen lake.Mounties say the cause of death has not been confirmed, but it does not appear suspicious.Raspa’s family has been notified in Australia.The RCMP and the coroners service are investigating in an effort to determine the cause of death involving the woman who was last seen leaving a bar.last_img read more

Debate over Wood Buffalo UNESCO site politicized scientists

first_imgTwo prominent water scientists say a debate over Canada’s largest national park has become politicized and industrial development is being blamed for changes it didn’t cause.Brent Wolfe of Wilfrid Laurier University and Roland Hall from the University of Waterloo say B.C. Hydro’s Bennett Dam on the Peace River has had only a marginal effect on northern Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park.After 20 years of research and nearly two dozen published papers, they conclude climate change has been drying out the world’s second-largest freshwater delta for more than a century.And that there may be nothing anyone can do about it.“What our research shows is that this landscape is overwhelmingly influenced by natural processes,” says Hall. “You’re going to end up wasting a lot of effort.”Their conclusions are disputed by the author of a report done for the federal government, as well as by another leading researcher.Wolfe and Hall criticize the 561-page study that was done in response to concerns the park’s environment has deteriorated, which potentially threatens its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The study concluded that 15 out of 17 measures of environmental health are declining in the area, mostly because of lower river levels and fewer floods to replenish lakes. It said industry and dams, as well as climate change and natural cycles, are behind the problem.Wolfe and Hall say sediment cores in area lakes show that the Wood Buffalo region has been drying out since the early 1900s.“All of our evidence suggests that drying began in the early 20th century,” Wolfe says. “We also have evidence that the flood frequency has been declining.“This has led us to conclude that the main cause of drying is long-term climate change.”The two say the federal study ignores their findings because they are politically inconvenient.“Society is familiar with attempts by large corporations to obscure the debate with misinformation to stifle credible evidence of their environmental footprint championed by scientists and environmentalists,” they write in a document released to The Canadian Press.“But we have less experience when the situation is reversed — when environmental NGOs, aboriginal organizations and government agencies ignore scientific evidence that runs counter to what they perceive.”David Schindler, a retired University of Alberta ecologist who has extensively studied Wood Buffalo, says there’s little doubt that the dam has changed flood patterns on the Peace River.“Hydro dams are designed to damp high flows and hold back water for low flow periods,” he said in an email.Don Gorber, who wrote the report for the federal government, says Wolfe and Hall’s research was consulted. He says the dam does play a role in changes to the park, but adds that his study agrees that climate change is a major factor.Gorber says what’s important is trying to decide how to preserve Wood Buffalo’s environment and the livelihood of the First Nations who depend on it.“We’re not denying the fact for the past 100 years there’s been a decrease (in water),” he says. “I’m hoping that these people will help try to find a solution as opposed to criticizing one side or the other.”Parks Canada is developing plans to address concerns.Wolfe and Hall say there may be no solutions to be found.Deltas change, they say, and perhaps should be allowed to.“The kind of viewpoint that’s being forwarded is that to maintain this UNESCO World Heritage Site it has to be held in this state that existed the year before the dam,” Wolfe says.“This is leading towards a call for more water in the delta. Where are you going to get that water from if it’s not flowing down those rivers in the volume that it used to?“It could lead to a lot of expensive restoration projects that will have limited or no success.”— Follow @row1960 on Twitterlast_img read more

Federal government urges talks to continue as Canada Post begins rotating strikes

first_imgThe statement also says the government believes in a fair and balanced collective bargaining process, signalling it is not considering back to work legislation.Meanwhile, parliamentary secretary for public works Steve Mackinnon says he is still hopeful the situation can be resolved.“I know the parties are working very hard, I think both are motivated to ensure that we get a collective agreement,” Mackinnon adds. “We have every hope and expectation that the parties will get this resolved at the table.”RELATED: Canada Post strike could delay B.C.’s referendumHe says management at Canada Post is taking steps to avoid any major disruptions“I know they’re going to make sure that everything possible can be done under the circumstances to make sure that Canadians don’t suffer a drop in service.” CANADA (NEWS 1130) – As postal workers begin their rotating job action across the country, the federal government is urging both sides to keep the talks going.With Canadians worried about their mail delivery, the Trudeau government is encouraging both sides to continue negotiations in order to reach a deal.RELATED: Canada Post strike creates ‘uncertainty’ for small businesses: CFIBThe federal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu has released a statement encouraging the crown corporation and the union to maintain negotiations.She says federal mediators have been working with both sides and they will continue to be available to help the crown corporation and its workers reach an agreement.WATCH: Postal union announces rotating strikes in 4 Canadian citieslast_img read more

Newfoundland harassment investigation misses scope of problem critics

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Tensions were high in Newfoundland and Labrador’s legislature today as members moved to address reports on harassment by two ousted members of the Liberal caucus, with some arguing the investigation failed to address the scope of the problem.The province’s commissioner for legislative standards completed five reports on allegations of harassment against former Liberal cabinet ministers, Eddie Joyce and Dale Kirby, which surfaced in April.Commissioner Bruce Chaulk recommended the legislature reprimand the two men, but for the most part he found their behaviour did not violate the member’s code of conduct, and in some cases, was to be expected when working in politics.The incidents described include Kirby allegedly telling member of the legislature Pam Parsons: “You’re beautiful and I love you,” before he suggests she should stop being so vocal. As well, both Joyce and Kirby were accused of using profane language towards other members.One report referenced an interview with Cathy Bennett, who recently retired from politics, citing a culture of intimidation in cabinet.Bennett, a former finance minister, criticized the investigation for focusing on the actions of individuals rather than a system that allows harassment to fester.Tracey Perry, a member of the legislature who complained about Joyce, said something had to be done to prevent more women like Bennett from leaving elected office.“We’ve lost many, many, many good people,” Perry said. “Just a few months ago, we lost one of our brightest and it’s very unfortunate that that happened because of the environment and culture of politics … We tolerate behaviour that we would not tolerate in our own homes.”Liberla Premier Dwight Ball made a similar statement on Tuesday, highlighting the need for women to feel welcome in politics and declaring a “zero-tolerance policy” for bullying and harassment.The scandal has gripped the government since last spring, with critics taking aim at Ball for his lack of awareness around the ongoing conflicts within his cabinet.Now that the reports have been tabled, it’s now up to the other members of the legislature to decide what the recommended reprimand should look like.The process itself has come under scrutiny, with Ball acknowledging that it has been “flawed.”Cabinet minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh, one of the complainants against Joyce, has said she was not satisfied with the findings or the process, and would have preferred a fully independent investigation.Chaulk does not typically investigate interpersonal workplace complaints but said a lawyer from firm Rubin-Thomlinson with expertise in workplace investigations carried out interviews with him.Amanda Bittner, a Memorial University professor who studies gender and politics, said she found the reports “problematic and disturbing.”Bittner said some of Chaulk’s analysis, like referring to MHA’s comments as “not sexual in nature,” show a limited understanding of gender dynamics in the workplace.“Something doesn’t have to be sexual assault in order to be sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment without any sexual overtures is still a problem, and it clearly took place, based on the reports that were released. He’s missing the point.”A harassment-free workplace policy for government officials came into effect in June and work is ongoing to develop a legislature-specific policy.But Bittner said the way the issue has been handled so far suggests the government has a long way to go in dealing with the nuances of harassment complaints.“The stakes in parliamentary politics tend to make folks cover up bad behaviour rather than deal with it head on,” Bittner said.“All the harassment legislation and protocol in the world won’t fix the problem unless there is political will to actually do something about it.”Outside the legislature on Wednesday, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said that debates on the reports will likely be pushed back until next week.last_img read more