New Tehri: Nine children died and eleven were injured when a van taking them to school fell into a 200-metre-deep gorge in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal district on Tuesday morning, an official said. The accident occurred on the Kangsali-Madannegi road near Lambgaon in Pratap Nagar area, around 150 km from Dehradun, Tehri District Magistrate V Shanmugam said. Nine children died on the spot and eleven were injured. The driver jumped off the vehicle to save himself and fled the spot, Shanmugam said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Five children who had sustained serious head injuries were airlifted to the AIIMS Rishikesh. Five others are under treatment at a hospital in Bauradi, while one was taken by his parents to Shrinagar in Pauri district, the district magistrate said. The children, aged between four-13, were going to the Angels International School, Madannegi. They were from Kangsali village in the area. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat expressed grief and ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. An official said overloading appeared to have been one of the factors that led to the accident as the van could accommodate only 10 people, but was carrying 21, including the driver.
After trying to get into the film industry since a long time, Pamish Verma finally got a chance to give his first audition in 2009. In the year 2011, he signed a film in which he just had two dialogues.But the actor-turned singer Parmish, who has many songs like ‘Gaal Ni Kadni’, and ‘Sab Fade Jange’ to his credit wanted to make it big. So, he decided to come up with his music video ‘Zimmewaari Bhook te Durri’ in 2014 that talks about a college drop out who struggled in a foreign country in the hope to make a living for himself. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaSince then, the actor has even been immensely appreciated and loved not only for his songs but his acting skills as well. “Even before I started singing songs, I came up with my music videos, and my acting skills were appreciated,” says the actor, who was not sure if he would get accepted as a singer or not. When asked his priority and what will he choose if given an option between both, he assures that acting is his first job, something he always wanted to do. “I would always choose acting over singing,” he asserts. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod KhannaSharing on what criteria he chooses his roles and projects, the actor reveals, “I choose work based on what makes me happy, something I feel I can do justice to. If a genre, a film, a character is offered to me and I feel I won’t be able to pull that off, I would not do that.” Stating the example of the very first film in which he did a substantial role, he shares, “Like my first film Rocky Mental, I knew I could play this character well, I knew I could be him. After that film, I did not find any story which I want to do. Therefore, for two years, I did not work in any film,” adds the actor who works for the audience and wants to make them happy with his craft. However, Parmish had waited for too long before getting his first break, and so he did not want to give up that easily. And then was the time when he wrote his film Dil Di Yaan Gallan. “I thought if I am not getting stories which I want to do, I will write my own,” mentions Parmish, who comes from writing and direction background. The singer will now be seen in the Punjabi remake of Singham, in which he is playing the lead. Though it is a remake, Parmish feels that there would not have been a point to make it again if nothing was changed. “If the director decided to make this film just like the original Singham which had already been made, or if I acted like Ajay sir, the whole idea of remaking it that too in Punjabi would have been wasted. For that, people could have just watched the dubbed version of that film in Punjabi.” “I think it is the essence of Punjab and what’s the take of Punjab industry on this film, which we have tried to capture,” he confirms. All in all, the basic idea of Singham has not changed. The screenplay, the back story, and a little treatment to the execution has been changed in the Punjabi version of the film. But was he under any pressure while essaying the role ( earlier performed by Ajay Devgn) which had been appreciated immensely in the past? “I think more than pressure, responsibility can be the correct word for what I felt while shooting,” he says.
Lucknow: Taking serious note of six killings in Allahabad, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday suspended Senior Superintendent of Police Atul Sharma, an official said.The decision came after three people were killed in Dhumanganj, one in Allahapur and a double murder took place in Tharwai area of Allahabad on Sunday. “The Prayagraj SSP has been suspended,” Additional Chief Secreatry (Home) Awanish Awasthi said. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has slammed the state government over the “deteriorating” law and order situation and said “Uttar Pradesh is becoming Hatya Pradesh”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”After the murder of a journalist and his brother in Saharanpur, six killings took place in the past 12 hours in Prayagraj (Allahabad). Due to deteriorating law and order, Uttar Pradesh is becoming ‘Hatya Pradesh’. Is this what the BJP wants UP to be identified as. When there’s no guarantee of people’s lives, then how can there be any development or faith,” he said in a tweet in Hindi. Earlier in the day, Sharma was transferred and attached to the DGP office while Special Task Force SSP Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj was made the new SSP of Allahabad.
New Delhi: India’s economic growth is set to slow further in the April-June quarter of this year to 5.7 per cent amid contraction in consumption, weak investments and an under-performing service sector, says a Nomura report. According to the global financial services major, even though growth is set to slow further in Q2 (April-June) the economy is expected to see some recovery in the July-September quarter. “High-frequency indicators continue to show familiar pain points a deep contraction in consumption, weak investment, a slowing external sector and an under-performing services sector,” Nomura said in a research note. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The report added that some indicators are showing early signs of bottoming out. Data so far for July show that 53 per cent of indicators have improved compared with 31 per cent in June, the report noted. Nomura’s Composite Leading Index (CLI) for Q3 (July-September) has ticked marginally higher to 99.9 from 99.8 in Q2, led by higher industrial production growth, an improvement in visitor arrivals growth, equity markets and lower policy rates. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost “While the concurrent state of the economy remains quite concerning, nascent signs of green shoots and positive performance of leading indicators provide some signs that a recovery may be slowly materialising,” the Nomura report said. India’s economic growth slowed to 6.8 per cent in 2018-19 – the slowest pace since 2014-15. There are ominous signs showing that slowdown may be deep. Consumer confidence is waning, foreign direct investment has plateaued and international trade and currency war is further aggravating the problem. To take stock of the situation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held several meetings with officials and industry leaders who have asked for stimulus measure to boost consumer demand and private investments. Though there are increasing signs of the government taking stock of the slowdown, and possibly announcing some short-term measures to buoy business confidence, Nomura assesses limited fiscal space for any substantive stimulus. “We currently expect GDP growth in Q2 to slow to 5.7 per cent YoY from 5.8 per cent in Q1, before improving to 6.4 per cent YoY in Q3 and 6.7 per cent in Q4,” it said, adding that it was closely watching for signs of sustainability of the growth turnaround. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) will come out with the GDP figures for the first quarter (April-June) on August 30. Meanwhile, the automobile sector is facing its worst crisis in two decades and reports suggest thousands of job losses in the auto and ancillary industry. In the real estate sector, the number of unsold homes has increased, while fast-moving consumer goods companies have reported a decline in volume growth in the first quarter.
Moscow: Russia on Thursday launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station. Named Fedor, for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research with identification number Skybot F850, the robot is the first ever sent up by Russia. Fedor blasted off in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft at 6:38 am Moscow time (0338 GMT) from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz is set to dock with the space station on Saturday and stay till September 7. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSoyuz ships are normally manned on such trips, but on Thursday no humans are travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system. Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor was strapped into a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in his hand. “Let’s go. Let’s go,” the robot was heard as ‘saying’ during launch, apparently repeating the famous phrase by first man in space Yury Gagarin. The silvery anthropomorphic robot stands 1.80 metres (5 foot 11 inches) tall and weighs 160 kilograms (353 pounds). Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsFedor has Instagram and Twitter accounts that describe it as learning new skills such as opening a bottle of water. In the station, it will trial those manual skills in very low gravity. “That’s connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programmes and science, Alexander Bloshenko, said in televised comments ahead of the launch. “The first stage of in-flight experiments went according to the flight plan,” the robot’s account tweeted after reaching orbit. Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth carry out tasks while they are strapped into an exoskeleton. Such robots will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as space walks, Bloshenko told RIA Novosti state news agency. On the website of one of the state backers of the project, the Foundation of Advanced Research Projects, Fedor is described as potentially useful on Earth for working in high radiation environments, de-mining and tricky rescue missions. On board, the robot will perform tasks supervised by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who joined the ISS last month, and will wear an exoskeleton in a series of experiments scheduled for later this month.
New Delhi: The Delhi Police has written to all districts and units about linking the General Diary (GD) entries of missing persons with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).Police sources told Millennium Post that the letter was written to all districts, units with the subject regarding GD entries not linked with missing person registration. It was written from the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. Quoting letter content, sources said, “On perusal of data of all GD entries relating to the missing persons lodged at the police station for the month of July 2019, it has been observed that a large number of GD entries of missing persons have not been linked with the corresponding missing person form.” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAdding further sources said, “It indicates that the missing person entries have not been entered in CCTNS. If this practice continues, the database of missing persons will not be updated in CCTNS application.” The officers were requested to direct SHOs of concerned police stations under their jurisdiction to complete the data of missing persons by entering the corresponding missing person form in CCTNS application at the earliest possible. “It may also be ensured that in future the GD entries of missing persons are immediately linked with the corresponding missing person form,” sources added quoting letter content. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to Delhi Police annual report 2018, the CCTNS is a project envisaged by the Ministry of Home Affairs and aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effective policing through the adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system. “Now the data entry in General Diary, FIR for lost property, complaints and other modules like complaints, zero FIR, missing persons, MLC, NCR, preventive action, crime details, accused arrest, property seizure and final form are being done in CCTNS,” added the report.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday recorded the voice samples of TMC MP Aparupa Poddar and ex-TMC MLA Sovan Chatterjee at the agency offices in Kolkata’s Nizam Palace, in connection with the Narada sting operation case. As per directions of the Supreme Court of India, the CBI had earlier summoned 11 accused to record their voice samples for investigation in the case. In addition to Poddar, the list included leaders such as former TMC MP Sultan Ahmed and current Transport Minister in the West Bengal government, Suvendu Adhikary among others. Sources said that Adhikary is to appear before agency officials to record his voice sample on Thursday. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Earlier, the CBI had sought sanction to prosecute Adhikary and three TMC MPs – Prasun Banerjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Saugata Roy in the case from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The case pertains to a series of videos that were released by Narada News in the run up to the 2016 Assembly polls in the state. The videos purportedly showed several TMC leaders demanding and accepting bribes. However, the implicated leaders have maintained that the sting operator, Mathew Samuel, owner and Editor of Narada News, had pretended to donate to their election campaign and that the money was not a bribe. Interestingly, while the tapes show an IPS officer accepting a bribe on behalf of now-BJP leader Mukul Roy, the agency has not yet sought sanction to prosecute him.
HALIFAX – The typically frigid weather that grips the Maritimes at this time of year may be hindering the growth of some plants — but in a dreary corner of a Halifax park, a large plant that is more suited to the hot desert is about to put on the show of its life.The agave americana, a plant native to Mexico and the southwestern United States, is blooming for the first time since it sprouted 25 years ago inside a greenhouse at Halifax’s Public Gardens.With the arrival of spring, the large plant has been moved outside, where its asparagus-like stalk is expected to grow nine metres over a few weeks, then branch out with clusters of blooming flowers — and then die.The agave is turning heads in the downtown core.Earlier this week, some onlookers stopped to include the plant in selfies.“It’s exciting,” Taylor MacGillivray said, standing at the tropical display bed. “Even going to Mexico you’d be lucky to see it.”Photos of the agave on the Halifax Public Gardens’ Facebook page have garnered hundreds of likes and shares.“We were really excited last Monday when this plant started to show that it was going to flower,” said Heidi Boutilier, a horticulture specialist.A professed “plant geek,” Boutilier said the agave’s blooming period usually lasts a few weeks.Boutilier confirmed that once the agave flowers, the plant will die — a process that is well known to those familiar with desert plants.The blue agave plant can be used to produce tequila, but staff at the Public Gardens have no intention to brew their own batch, Boutilier said.“We let it do its thing,” she said. “We aren’t going to cut it down and harvest it. We’re just going to let her take her natural course.”
NAPANEE, Ont. – Paul Bernardo, one of Canada’s most infamous killers, was ordered Friday to stand trial for allegedly possessing a homemade shank in the maximum-security prison where he’s serving a life sentence.Bernardo appeared briefly via video link in a Napanee, Ont., courthouse for a hearing on a weapon possession charge, with a judge ruling that a trial on the matter would start Oct. 5.Court documents show the weapon allegedly possessed by Bernardo was a shank comprised of a screw and a pen. The alleged offence took place at a prison in Bath, Ont., on Feb. 9, the documents show.Bernardo’s hearing was delayed Friday morning as court staff dealt with technical issues. When a video link was established, Bernardo appeared from prison dressed in a blue T-shirt and smiled at the judge during a brief exchange about the hour-long delay.Justice Geoffrey Griffin ordered Bernardo to appear in the Napanee courthouse in person for the start of the trial.He noted that Bernardo’s lawyer had requested a trial date after mid-September.“There was a real possibility we could have given you a date before October, we could have likely given you a date this summer, but it was your lawyer that asked for a date after Sept. 15th,” Griffin said.As the date was being discussed, Bernardo asked that the trial take place before an upcoming parole hearing.“Your honour, I have a parole date in October and I’d like to have the matter handled before that, if that’s possible,” he said.Griffin, who initially considered scheduling the trial for Oct. 26, moved it to Oct. 5.Bernardo was arrested in the 1990s on allegations that he raped and murdered multiple teenage girls at his southern Ontario home.His 1995 trial for the deaths of 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French horrified Canadians as lawyers presented videotaped evidence of his repeated brutal attacks on the teenagers.Bernardo was eventually convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault in both cases and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 25 years.He was later convicted of manslaughter in the death of Tammy Homolka, the younger sister of his wife Karla Homolka, who was convicted of having roles in all three killings and served a 12-year prison sentence after striking a deal with prosecutors.After admitting to raping 14 other women in and around Toronto, Bernardo was labelled a dangerous offender.
HALIFAX – A Halifax adjudicator is lamenting that the law treats pets as chattels, musing aloud about a more perfect world in which they could be recognized as living, feeling creatures with rights and needs.Eric Slone, an adjudicator with Nova Scotia’s small claims court, wrote wistfully about the nature of humans’ relationship with their pets in a ruling that awarded custody of a nine-year-old, mixed-breed dog named Lily.Slone noted he has decided other such cases and was being forced to rule again on who gets custody of a family pet because there is nowhere else for people to go with such disputes.“In a more perfect world there would be special laws recognizing pets as living, feeling creatures with rights to be looked after by those who best meet their needs or interests, and there would be specialized accessible courts to determine the ‘best interest of the dog,’ as there are for children in the family courts,” he said in a written ruling released this week.“In this less perfect world, there is the small claims court operating on principles of property law, treating pets as ‘chattels’ not very different — legally speaking — from the family car.”Slone heard the case of a former Halifax-area couple who he said never discussed the ownership of Lily, who is part duck toller, until their relationship disintegrated.The woman, a volunteer SPCA dog walker, bought Lily in 2009, at a time she and her boyfriend were not living together. They later adopted a second dog, Cooper, while living together and that dog and Lily became “very bonded,” Slone said.The boyfriend took Cooper with him when the couple broke up in 2012, and the two traded Lily back and forth for years. But they argued about how to handle some health issues, and increasingly about custody.In March 2017, it all came to a head when the man sought to pick Lily up from his ex-girlfriend’s house, prompting an argument and ending with him calling Lily to his car and driving off. He refused to return her, so she took him to small claims court.In his ruling, Slone said the woman may have had the strongest ownership claim at first, but that changed over time. He noted that Lily ran to the man on that emotionally charged day in March 2017.“It is telling and ironic that the immediate and perhaps ultimate decision was made by Lily herself,” Slone said.The man had paid thousands of dollars in vet bills, Slone said, and became the predominate human in Lily’s life. He considered himself “the ‘alpha’ in Lily’s pack,” the adjudicator noted.“Determining ownership of family pets is not easy for the court, nor necessarily fair to the disputants. Often, as is the case here, neither of the people in this dog’s life was really concerned about legal ownership until things went wrong. When families break apart, the family dog will usually be awarded to the person with the best case for legal ownership,” Slone wrote.“While the previous arrangement of having the dog split its time between the two households could have continued, had the parties co-operated, when ‘push comes to shove’ the ownership falls on one side or the other, and in this case it is (the man) who I find to be the legal owner of Lily.”
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lost the harshest critic of his plan to impose a carbon tax with Brad Wall’s surprise announcement Thursday that he’s retiring as Saskatchewan’s premier.But just as Trudeau pulled that persistent thorn from his right side, he was stabbed in the left side by another thorn as British Columbia’s fledgling NDP government unveiled plans to block construction of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline.The twin announcements underscored the political teeter-totter Trudeau has been riding as he attempts to prove it’s possible — indeed necessary, in his opinion — to simultaneously combat climate change and build new pipeline capacity to get western Canada’s fossil fuels to tidewater.Wall has threatened to go to court to prevent the federal government from imposing a carbon tax of $10 per tonne — rising to $50 in 2022 — on provinces that don’t implement a carbon pricing regime of their own by next year.Saskatchewan is the only province that has flat-out refused to even consider carbon pricing, which Wall maintains would devastate the province’s already struggling oil and gas industry.While his successor will doubtless carry on the crusade, along with federal Conservatives led by fellow Saskatchewanian Andrew Scheer, Wall has been the most articulate and highest-profile opponent of the scheme with a knack for simplifying the complicated issue. For instance, he’s summed up the federal carbon tax plan as “a ransom note.”“He was a fierce defender of Saskatchewan and western Canada on this critical issue so it is a loss in that sense,” Conservative Sen. Denise Batters, a long-time friend and supporter, said in an interview.Just how much relief Wall’s departure will give the Trudeau government on the carbon pricing front remains to be seen.“Whenever a person who has cut such a large figure, certainly in Saskatchewan politics but also on the national scene, when a person of that longevity and strength decides to make a break and go do something else, it’s obviously a major change,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who holds the Liberals’ only seat in Saskatchewan, said in an interview.“What will result from that, who the successor will be, how it will effect the policy debate about various issues from time to time remains to be seen.”Goodale praised Wall’s unquestioned “passion” for Saskatchewan and pointed out that, apart from the climate change file, he has worked co-operatively with the federal Liberals on a host of other issues: health care, child care, infrastructure, softwood lumber and the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.Wall briefly stoked renewed speculation Thursday that he may jump to the federal political arena when he said he’s leaving politics in Saskatchewan. “I should have said anywhere,” he clarified later.Goodale said the federal carbon pricing plan is “an absolute linchpin” for getting approval of any pipelines.“With carbon pricing in place, we can not only argue the economic gains that come from pipelines … but also the environmental integrity of the process because it is rooted in that fundamental principle of carbon pricing,” he said.Yet, just as Wall’s departure will silence the leading critic of Trudeau’s carbon tax plan, the government has to contend with a newly minted NDP government. It reasserted Thursday its campaign vow to use “every tool available” to block Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which the Trudeau government has approved.In the few weeks following the new government’s swearing-in last month, there was briefly some small hope among federal Liberals that Premier John Horgan might back off. Indeed, the pipeline wasn’t even mentioned when Horgan had a first, congenial meeting with Trudeau a couple of weeks ago, at which the two leaders chose instead to focus on issues upon which they agree.That hope was dashed with Thursday’s announcement that B.C. is joining the legal fight against the pipeline. The Horgan government also warned Kinder Morgan, which had planned to start construction in September, that the province has rejected five of eight environmental management plans required to begin work on the project because of inadequate consultations with effected First Nations communities.“Until that has been completed, Kinder Morgan, with the exception of some private land and some clearing of right-of-way, cannot put shovels in the ground,” said B.C.’s environment minister, George Heyman.A spokesman for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the federal government “will stand by” its decision to approve the Trans Mountain expansion, “based on facts and on evidence and what is in the national interest.”“We have taken an approach to resource development that will grow our economy and protect the environment,” Alexandre Deslongchamps said. “Our government believes that these priorities go hand-in-hand.”Goodale said the Trudeau government only approved the Trans Mountain project after thorough, comprehensive and inclusive consultations “where all points of view were heard and treated respectfully and taken into account.”
EDMONTON – The Alberta government will be offering an Arabic language curriculum across the province next year.Alberta Education is working to develop the bilingual program with Edmonton Public Schools, one of a few districts in the province that provides the option.The Edmonton public board says Arabic is its fastest growing language program.The province contracted the board last year to help develop a modified version.The program, for students in kindergarten through Grade 12, will be available starting in September.Education Minister David Eggen says the government recognizes the economic and academic benefits of proficiency in more than one language.“We are thrilled to be moving forward in our commitment to develop the provincial Arabic language arts K-12 curriculum by September 2018. We know this new curriculum will make life better for so many students in Alberta,” he said in a release.The president of the Canadian Arab Friendship Association, Yazan Haymour, says his organization appreciates Alberta’s effort to promote Arabic education.“This move forward will help to enrich the linguistic and cultural diversity of students and allow for better achievement on the social, academic and cultural level.”
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Three First Nations say they have reached a memorandum of understanding with the federal government that could keep their bid to include day students in a settlement for residential school survivors out of court.The Tk’emlups and Sechelt bands in B.C. launched a class-action lawsuit in 2012 after a settlement between the government and about 86,000 residential school survivors excluded day scholars, students who attended the schools but did not live at them. They were later joined in the lawsuit by the Grand Council of the Crees in Northern Quebec.The First Nations say the memorandum commits both sides to resolve the case without going to court by finding a fair settlement in a timely manner.Jo-Anne Gottfriedson, the Tk’emlups day scholar co-ordinator, says it’s hoped this development will allow the First Nations to avoid a legal fight.“We hope that we will have a mutual understanding and if not, there’s still that litigation process that we can fall back on,” Gottfriedson told CFJC. “But we’re definitely hopeful at this point, because it’s been long overdue and the day scholars endured just as much as the residential school students.”The Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs said “exploratory discussions with the plaintiffs have been productive” and the memorandum includes a process and timelines to try to find a resolution outside the courts.Gottfriedson estimates about 70,000 Indigenous people qualify as day scholars.“There are so many people who are impacted by this and I’m really happy that we’re going to move forward on it and work together, acknowledging each other’s sovereign governance which is very hopeful,” she said.The First Nations say in a news release the tenor of negotiations between the plaintiff bands and the government changed in late 2016, when the government committed to trying to find a settlement outside of the courts.Gottfriedson says the Trudeau government has been open to finding a resolution.“With our prime minister recognizing the Truth and Reconciliation (Commission) recommendation that nobody should be left out, I’m very hopeful and I’m very optimistic as to how this is going to roll out in the best interests of our people.”The bands in B.C. say the students attended 140 schools across Canada.The lawsuit filed by the bands also seeks to clarify Canada’s role in the failure to protect aboriginal language and culture.(CFJC)
OTTAWA – Environment Canada is investigating allegations that fish plants in British Columbia are spewing virus-laden bloody water from processed, farmed salmon into the water off the coast of Vancouver Island.As well, Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc says he is open to making additional changes to the Fisheries Act to ensure nothing flows into the water that is toxic to the already-threatened Pacific wild salmon.The moves come after B.C. photographer Tavish Campbell published a video showing clouds of red liquid billowing from a pipe coming out of a fish processing plant and flowing under the water in one of the most common salmon migration routes.Although the video has just started to gain public attention, Leblanc said he received it about two weeks ago.“It’s designed to shock people,” he said Wednesday. “I was suitably concerned when I saw it.”He said scientists from his department and Environment Canada are seeking clarity on the situation, including about test results Campbell says showed the bloody water was full of the piscine reovirus, a common virus in farmed salmon that is deadly to wild salmon.In Norway, there are strict regulations about what fish processors have to do to disinfect what’s known as bloodwater, because they know about the extensive diseases carried by farmed fish, Campbell says.“In beautiful British Columbia we’re just dumping it in the channel but it’s out of sight so no one knows,” Campbell says in the video, filmed during three separate dives between April and November.B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman is also investigating, and has pledged to do a full audit of the plants in the video, as well as those across the province to make sure they are compliant with provincial regulations.A spokesman for Heyman told The Canadian Press on Wednesday there are provincial regulations for fish processing facilities that include the requirement of an effluent discharge permit. Two of the plants in the Campbell video were issued permits more than 20 years ago; one is in the process of being updated now to reflect more modern standards including better filtration and disinfection technology.Leblanc said the government has already committed to updating the Fisheries Act to “incorporate modern safeguards” and if there are ways to do that to protect wild salmon he wants to hear them.“I would be open to all kinds of thoughtful suggestions to make sure that we’ve strengthened it in the right way.”Sum of Us, a U.K.-based advocacy group targeting corporations it believes are acting unethically, has a suggestion. It launched a petition Wednesday calling on Leblanc to change the Fisheries Act to force companies to properly treat wastewater so there are no viruses or other pathogens that can harm wildlife.Sum of Us Canadian spokeswoman Emma Pullman said there are no regulations in Canada at either the provincial or federal level to control or monitor what is in the wastewater released into the ocean from fish farms and processing plants.NDP fisheries critic Fin Donnelly said Leblanc’s job is to protect wild salmon and if water tainted with virus-infected blood is spewing into the ocean along migration routes then he’s not doing his job.“This could be the final nail in the coffin of Pacific wild salmon,” said Donnelly.BC Salmon Farmers Association executive director Jeremy Dunn said in a written statement he understands why people are concerned by the video but insists the rules are being followed and the discharge is safe.“While the wastewater remains red in colour, the water being discharged from Browns Bay Packing Company is treated to remove solids and ensure pathogens are neutralized,” said Dunn.Leblanc said he’s hopeful the updates to the Fisheries Act will be ready to introduce in the first few months of 2018.— follow @mrabson on Twitter.
HALIFAX – Police in Halifax say a pedestrian who was struck by a car has been ticketed for allegedly failing to activate the lights at a crosswalk.They say a male pedestrian was struck by a car at a marked crosswalk equipped with amber lighting on Saturday night.Halifax Regional Police say the pedestrian failed to activate the crossing lights before entering the roadway.They say witnesses confirmed that the lights were not flashing at the time of the incident, and officers made sure the lights were in working order.They say the pedestrian was sent to hospital for treatment, but his life is not thought to be in danger.He was issued a ticket under a section of the Motor Vehicle Act that prohibits entering a crosswalk without activating the lights if they’re available.
A training plane didn’t hit even reach 300 feet in the air before a steep dive into the terrain at the Springbank Airport that resulted in the death of two people on Oct. 26, 2017.The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released an updated report on its investigation into the incident that left an instructor and a student from the Springbank Air Training College dead.The Piper PA 34-200T Seneca II was in the air for about 54 seconds before it lost speed and altitude.“The aircraft speeds and altitudes that were captured on radar data were not normal for an aircraft of that type on departure,” Western Regional Manager Jon Lee said. “What we were looking at was the rate of climb, the takeoff and after it got to a certain altitude it didn’t climb anymore. That is of great interest to us still.”The TSB determined there were no mechanical failures based on wreckage from the scene that was analyzed. The impact of the crash sparked a fire and it destroyed the plane but parts were recovered. Lee said the Board is also waiting on toxicology and autopsy reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.“Those reports are yet to come, definitely something that we do look at. Now, unfortunately, both occupants died so we can’t interview them to find out the exact details about the human factor side of it like how they were feeling,” he said.The TSB is still conducting interviews, examining radar data and working with Piper Aircraft Inc. to look at the plane’s performance. Its report said the aircraft was fit to fly and the instructor, who was seated on the right-hand side, had logged over 2,100 flight hours before the incident.Weather was not a factor in the crash and the investigation continues.
VANCOUVER – Staff at a bird rehabilitation centre in Kamloops, B.C., typically don’t know where their rescued animals originally came from, but a recently discovered golden eagle was able to reveal just that.The young golden eagle was found weak and starving just before the new year on the shore of the Thompson River.Residents who spotted the bird called the Conservation Officer Service, which brought it to Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre — the only facility of its kind within a 400 kilometre radius.Animal care supervisor Adrienne Clay said officers noticed right away that the eagle was both banded and carrying a GPS tracker.Using the number on the band, staff were quickly able to determine the eagle was from Alaska and was born around May of last year, Clay said.They were also able to connect the GPS tracker to Alaskan researchers at Denali National Park.“I honestly had no idea golden eagles migrated from Alaska all the way through Kamloops,” she said, adding it also helped explain the eagle’s poor condition.“They need to be in pretty tip-top shape and trained up for hunting so they can actually make these huge migrations.”Wildlife biologist Carol McIntyre, who is involved in the study, wasn’t immediately available for an interview.A recent article McIntyre published said golden eagles typically migrate to central Mexico for the winter and over a 20-year life span will travel more than 400,000 kilometres.Climate change, habitat loss and urban development are increasingly posing threats to the birds during their migration. Noting there have been declines in reproduction, McIntyre said conservation efforts are important to prevent an irreversible collapse of the population.Clay said in this case, it appears a number of factors played against the bird.A recent cold snap with plenty of snow likely made hunting difficult for the young bird, she said. Flying a long distance without sufficient food weakened it to a point it could no longer fly.“If he had landed anywhere else outside the city, it’s really unlikely he had been spotted,” she said. “He’s a really lucky bird.”The eagle is expected to make a full recovery and Clay said it will be released back into the wild this spring.“Once we get this animal through this juvenile period and give it a second chance at life next summer … I think he’ll live a very long and healthy life.”The GPS tracker will remain on the bird, which Clay said will help answer questions staff at the rehabilitation centre have regarding what happens to animals once they’re released.Having monitored other birds, Clay said she believes they return to their summer home and complete a proper migration the following season.This eagle would help confirm that theory for her.“The researchers always know where this bird is,” she said. “We’re going to follow up with it and see where it goes.”—Follow @Givetash on Twitter.
PIKANGIKUM, Ont. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising a remote northwestern Ontario reserve help with a housing shortage that the chief says is worse than ever.Trudeau said during a visit to Pikangikum First Nation that Ottawa is serious about working with the community to improve its housing.He said more and better housing in Indigenous communities is one of his government’s priorities.Earlier in the day, Pikangikum Chief Dean Owen said the backlog of homes needing to be built on the reserve is almost twice as much as it was when he became chief.Some new houses and a new school have been built, but the chief added that construction on the reserve is hampered by a lack of electrical capacity.The community called on Trudeau to come visit after a fatal fire in 2016 that killed six adults and three children under five in one home.Trudeau told students during a question-and-answer session at the school that the government wants to make investments that are going to make a real difference.“We know that unless you can start with safe, secure, adequate housing, it becomes difficult to succeed in anything else in life,” he said Friday. “It is difficult to go to school, difficult to work, difficult to raise a family right.“It needs to start with housing.”Owen said there were 1,800 band members in 2005 when he became chief of the reserve, about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont.“We had a shortfall, backlog of homes back then close to 300 homes. Thirteen years later, we’re at 3,100 people on reserve and the backlog has since almost doubled,” Owen said in an interview Friday before Trudeau’s arrival.Owen said an extended family of nine or 10 people often shares one of the reserve’s existing homes and people are forced to sleep in shifts.He said construction on the reserve is hampered by a lack of electrical capacity.“The problem actually has to do with the size of the electrification that we have running diesel generators,” he said. “We maxed that out pretty much two years ago.”The federal government last summer announced up to $60 million in funding to connect Pikangikum to Ontario’s power grid. Owen said that should help.“That will definitely allow for more housing, more infrastructure. We’re pretty much in dire need for living like anyone else in Canada or Ontario — water and sewer in every home.”Pikangikum faces challenges on top of substandard housing. A boil-water advisory has lasted more than a decade on parts of the reserve. The community has a water treatment plant, but about 80 per cent of homes are not connected and rely on truck delivery or hauling water by hand.Trudeau said his government has eliminated boil-water advisories on about two dozen reserves and is still working to erase them entirely by March 2021.Suicide also remains prevalent.Answering a question about young people killing themselves, Trudeau said the solution is twofold.“We need to make sure that you’re getting the support from people who will help you through that difficult moment. But we also need to make sure that it’s not just a Band-Aid, that we are giving you opportunities to be hopeful about your future, about your capacity to build a better life, have a great family.”The prime minister started his visit Friday with a meeting at the band office. He told council members, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and others that he was in the community primarily to listen to concerns and see what the government can do to help.Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents about 50 First Nations in northern Ontario.“We see a lot of challenging things in the news from time to time about difficulties faced by people in this community,” Trudeau said. “But … one of the things I’ve been excited about … is that there is a lot of work being done and a lot of good stories as well that we are working to build.”The prime minister then visited Eenchokay Birchstick School, which opened about 18 months ago after the former school burned down.He stopped briefly in a couple of classrooms. In one, he took part in a game where he stepped on tiles on the ground with different letters on them as students shouted out the letters — sort of a hopscotch with the alphabet.In another room, he quizzed elementary school students on words in Ojibwa. He first held up a picture of a bear, or “makwa,” and told the kids his brother once had a dog with that name.
EDMONTON – An Alberta university that was defrauded of $11.8 million in a so-called phishing attack says it has recovered more than 90 per cent of the funds.Edmonton’s MacEwan University says in a release that legal proceedings to recover the stolen money have concluded and the institution has recouped $10.9 million.The institution credits recovery of the large sum to the quick response of an internal team at the university, legal counsel in several jurisdictions, fraud units at the banks involved in the transactions and police.The downtown Edmonton school says it has put stronger financial controls in place and is implementing IT security awareness and training programs for staff and faculty.The scam occurred last August when a series of fraudulent emails convinced three staff members to change electronic banking information for one of the university’s vendors.The university didn’t realize what had happened until days later when the vendor — Clark Builders — called asking to be paid.MacEwan spokesman David Beharry said at the time that most of the missing money — $11.4 million — was traced to a bank account in Montreal and to two accounts in Hong Kong.He said $6.3 million was seized from the Montreal account and action was taken to freeze the two Hong Kong accounts.He also said the three employees were not high-level staffers and the university did not believe there was any collusion. He did not say if the three had been suspended or reprimanded.“We really believe this is simply a case of human error,” he said.The Edmonton Police Service says it has not laid any charges in the case, but the investigation remains active.The fraud prompted Alberta Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt to instruct all university board chairs in the province to review their financial controls.MacEwan said in Wednesday’s statement that employees are now required to verify — by phone and a followup email confirmation — all changes to vendor master files. The changes are also reviewed by the employee’s supervisor, manager or director.Supplier audit reports that have been implemented show all changes made to vendor information and are used to review and approve those changes.As well, MacEwan is implementing mandatory training to improve employees’ understanding of social engineering attacks, phishing and other online scams.Beharry said he has no information about any of the money that has not been recovered.
OTTAWA – The Trudeau government only found out by accident that former prime minister Stephen Harper was planning to visit the White House next week in the midst of a looming trade war between Canada and the United States.According to one senior official, Harper himself didn’t mention the visit, bucking convention by not informing the Canadian government.Instead, the Canadian embassy in Washington got a call from John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, asking who would be accompanying the prime minister to the meeting on Monday.Baffled, the embassy contacted the Prime Minister’s Office, to see if Justin Trudeau had somehow forgotten to mention he was heading to Washington.Trudeau’s foreign policy adviser, John Hannaford, then contacted his counterpart in the White House, who eventually apologized for the mixup and explained it was former prime minister Harper who would be visiting.Harper’s office did not respond to a request for comment and it wasn’t clear Thursday whether the meeting is still scheduled to take place Monday — one day after Canada’s retaliatory tariffs on imports of a wide range of U.S. goods, and as well as steel and aluminum, are set to come into effect.Nor was it clear whether Harper might have been planning to meet with anyone else at the White House or what he intended to talk about.As president of the International Democrat Union, an alliance of right-of-centre political parties around the globe, there may have been any number of issues Harper would want to address, including Israel and Iran.The visit to the U.S. capital comes amid heightened tensions between Canada and the U.S. over the prospect of a trade war.Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement have stalled since Trump last month imposed a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports from Canada and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imports.Trump has since threatened to impose more tariffs on Canadian-made automobiles and dairy.And he and other administration officials have also engaged in personal attacks against Trudeau in speeches and on political talk shows and social media.In Montreal on Thursday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau noted that opposition parties have united behind the government in its response to U.S. tariffs and threats of a trade war.“We speak with one voice, and we certainly hope that will continue to be the case, and we fully expect it to be the case,” he said.Harper was a team player earlier this month when he appeared on Fox News to defend Canada’s trade relationship with the U.S. He suggested that Canada “is the wrong target” for Trump’s wrath over unfair trade practices.However, in a memo to clients last fall entitled “Napping on NAFTA,” Harper accused the Trudeau government of bungling negotiations on the continental trade pact.Asked Thursday if Harper should have advised the government that he planned to visit the White House, Garneau said: “Mr Harper is a private citizen and I’m sure he’s sensitive to those things because he’s a former prime minister himself.”