No firefighting mechanism at Nandaram Market reveals audit

first_imgKolkata: The firefighting measures at Nandaram Market are not up to the mark, a fire audit conducted by the Fire and Emergency Services department mentioned on Monday.A fire broke out in the market on July 13, following which the Fire and Emergency Services department conducted a fire audit and found that the firefighting mechanisms are not up to the mark. The electrical wiring has not been changed for decades and there is no reservoir to meet any emergency. Despite repeated requests, the traders put the wares on the corridor and not inside their shops. There are no firefighting gadgets as well. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThere have been several incidents of fire since the market complex was inaugurated in the early 1980s. In 2008, a devastating fire broke out in which goods worth crores of rupees were destroyed. Again, in 2018, a fire broke out in the building. Every time a fire breaks out, the Fire and Emergency Services department conducts a fire audit and detects that the firefighting gadgets are not in place. The recommendations of the Fire and Emergency department are flouted but the market is not closed down on humanitarian grounds, said a senior official. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayA senior KMC official said the main reason for not having any proper firefighting arrangement is the unplanned construction of the building. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had given clearance to set up a six storeyed market building in the late 1970s. Flouting the plan, the owners went ahead with the construction and erected 12 more floors. The KMC moved the High Court in the mid-1980s and the court had ordered demolition of the illegally built floors. However, the order could not be carried out as the KMC did not have the specialized hammer needed to pull down the structure. Also, it was found that demolition of the illegal portions would affect the adjacent structures. Taking advantage of the KMC’s inability to pull down the illegally-built portions, the owner went ahead with the construction and sold out space.last_img read more

Milky Way is warped and twisted and not flat Study

first_imgLondon: The Milky Way is “warped and twisted” and not flat as previously thought, according to researchers who have developed a large-scale three-dimensional (3D) map of our galaxy. By measuring the distance from the Sun to thousands of individual pulsating stars scattered across the Milky Way, the researchers have charted the galaxy on a larger scale than ever before. Their new three-dimensional map, published in the journal Science, provides a broad view of our place among the stars. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe map reveals the S-like structure of the Milky Way’s warped stellar disc. “Our map shows the Milky Way disk is not flat. It is warped and twisted,” said Przemek Mroz, from the University of Warsaw in Poland. “This is the first time we can use individual objects to show this in three dimensions,” Mroz said. Much of the current understanding of the spiral shape and structure of our galaxy is built upon indirect measurements to celestial landmarks and inferences based on other galaxies in the universe. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHowever, the galactic map drafted by those limited observations remains incomplete, researchers said. Like so many lighthouses on distant foggy shores, classical Cepheid variable stars — massive young stellar bodies that burn hundreds, if not thousands of times brighter than our own Sun — pulsate at regular intervals and are visible through the vast clouds of interstellar dust that often obscure dimmer stellar bodies. Using the periodic variations in their brightness, researchers said the distances to these stars can be precisely determined. Dorota Skowron from the University of Warsaw and colleagues charted the distance to more than 2,400 Cepheids throughout the Milky Way. Most of the Cepheids were identified by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) — a Polish astronomical project that more than doubled the number of known galactic classical Cepheids. By determining the 3D coordinates of each distant pulsing star relative to our Sun, Skowron and colleagues built a large-scale 3D model of the Milky Way galaxy. The new map illustrates and helps constrain the previously observed shape of the galaxy’s warped stellar disc.last_img read more

Heavy shower brings down rain deficit in South Bengal

first_imgKolkata: A heavy shower in South Bengal districts during the last two days has brought down the rain deficit in the state to some extent. The Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore predicted that some more rain is expected in South Bengal in the next 24 hours. The situation may turn normal from Sunday.A senior weather official said that rainfall in the past two days has pulled down the level of rain deficit in the state so far and also contributed to a favourable atmosphere for the farmers who had been facing difficulties while cultivating their crops. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to the weather office prediction, the rain deficit remained around 50 percent before heavy showers lashed various South Bengal districts, including the city, in the past few days. The deficit has been brought down to around 40 percent in South Bengal, whereas the figure in the state is around 29 percent. “Rainfall will be reduced in the next 24 hours and the situation will improve from Sunday. There may be some more rainfall by the end of next week. The low pressure trough formed over Bay of Bengal has moved towards the west, as a result of which the intensity of the rainfall has reduced. The monsoon axis also became active in the region which further accelerated the rainfall and pushed down the mercury by a few notches,” a weather official said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe weather office also said that currently there is no deficit in rainfall in the North Bengal region. The city weather may remain comfortable in the next two days with the mercury hovering around 32-35 degree Celsius. The coastal districts may, however, continue to receive light to moderate rainfall till Sunday. Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea till Sunday. Those who had sailed away earlier, have already returned to the seashore.last_img read more

Brazilborn historymaker Elkeson vows to take China to World Cup

first_imgShanghai: Brazilian-born striker Elkeson said he wants to fire China to the World Cup after he became the first footballer without Chinese ancestry to be named in the national squad. The recently naturalised 30-year-old will make more history when — as widely expected — he lines up for Marcello Lippi’s side in a 2022 World Cup qualifier away at the Maldives on September 10. Lippi has long complained about a dearth of attackers and on Wednesday moved to plug the gap with Elkeson, who will use the Chinese name Ai Kesen and take up a Chinese passport. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe move, which could start a trend of Brazilians playing for China, has divided football fans in the world’s most populous country. But the Guangzhou Evergrande striker vowed to win over the doubters, saying in an open letter: “Having Chinese nationality allows me to contribute to the national team once again playing in the World Cup. “I want to tell the world: I have officially begun a new journey, I am Chinese, I want to return all the love and care you have given me over the years. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”I hope to get your support, as always.” China similarly gave a passport to London-born midfielder Nico Yennaris earlier this year, although unlike Elkeson the former Arsenal reserve is half-Chinese. Although many other nations, notably 2022 hosts Qatar, call up players born in other countries, China had resisted doing so until now. Elkeson, who has scored more than 100 goals in about 150 games in the Chinese Super League, qualifies for China because he has played in the country since 2013. Calling it “a gamble”, the forward nevertheless said that he wants to “leave my mark” on Chinese football. “I want a new challenge, I want to see where my limits are,” he wrote. “I want to repay the love of the Chinese people in these seven years. “I accepted this challenge without hesitation,” he added.last_img read more

Sitharaman urges Congress to internally discuss security

first_imgChennai: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday urged the Congress party to have an internal discussion on national security and voice its views. To a query on the statements issued by Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi being quoted by Pakistan to its advantage Sitharaman said: “The Congress leadership should speak in one voice on issues of national security.” She said some of the statements of the Congress leaders have helped Pakistan. Sitharaman said as an old political party, there should be an internal discussion within that party.last_img read more

60s Scoop survivors accuse government of backtracking after legal battle

first_imgTORONTO – Survivors of the ’60s Scoop accuse the Liberal government of opting for further hard-ball litigation, despite losing a bitterly fought legal battle, as a way to avoid paying compensation to thousands who were taken from reserves in Ontario as children and placed with non-native families.Even though Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has admitted Canada wronged the aboriginal children and said she wanted a settlement, Justice Department lawyers appear to be on a different path.Documents obtained by The Canadian Press indicate federal lawyers are fighting an attempt to move into a damages phase after Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled in February that Canada had breached its “duty of care” to the children.The decision had prompted Bennett to say the government would “absolutely” not appeal and would try to resolve the issue.However, a day after a May 11 meeting to start hammering out settlement details, according to those present, a government lawyer argued Belobaba had not found the government liable for the harm suffered by thousands of on-reserve children who lost contact with their roots after placement in non-aboriginal homes.Belobaba asked for a written explanation on the issue, which was provided late last week.“The court and the parties always contemplated that class identification, causation, damages and quantum of damages would have to be determined individually,” the government lawyers said in a memo to the judge.“The summary-judgment decision does not establish liability — the claim is pleaded in negligence — and while duty of care and breach have been established on behalf of the class, causation in fact and damages still need to be proven individually.”In addition, the government insists there’s “no evidence” of how many people are involved and deciding on a total amount of damages is impossible.Ahead of a hearing with Belobaba scheduled for Wednesday, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case called the government’s position “mean and cruel.”“With the Conservative government, we got an abject ‘forget it, get lost’,” Jeffery Wilson said. “With the Liberal government, we got talk of reconciliation (but) instead we get this.”Wilson, who represents lead plaintiff Chief Marcia Brown Martel, accused Ottawa of rendering Belobaba’s ruling meaningless by essentially pushing for thousands of individual trials. Canada, he said, was undoing the spirit of reconciliation by indicating it would litigate to the very end.A senior Bennett spokesman, however, denied the government was trying to back-pedal on its admission of culpability or obligation to compensate the Scoop victims. Nor is there an attempt at a back-door appeal of Belobaba’s ruling, he said.“The government admits that there is a liability but determining what that amount is means you need to look at what the individual experience was,” James Fitz-Morris said from Ottawa. “We’re saying that we need to hear from individuals as to what was the range of harm that was done to them, and not re-arguing that there was harm. We’re not re-arguing that.”At the same time, Fitz-Morris said, the government was committed to pursuing an out-of-court settlement with all ’60s Scoop victims across Canada. About 18 other class actions have been filed.“We really are looking at this like two streams and they’re not mutually exclusive,” Fitz-Morris said. “Just because they’re continuing with the quantum hearing doesn’t mean that we’re going to back away from negotiations.”The class action Belobaba ruled on, launched eight years ago, sought $1.3 billion on behalf of about 16,000 indigenous children in Ontario — roughly $85,000 for each child harmed by being placed in non-aboriginal homes from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.Brown Martel, who has proposed claimants chip in settlement money for a new national healing foundation, a scholarship or chair at a university, said she would welcome a national settlement.Yet her disappointment at how the government was now behaving toward her group of victims was palpable.“It’s actually very disheartening. It’s very sad,” Brown Martel said in an interview. “What they’re saying now is just negating everything that Justice Belobaba had to say. What I hear Carolyn Bennett say and what I see the government of Canada do is contrary.”last_img read more

Vancouver Aquarium asks courts to overrule ban on cetaceans in Stanley Park

first_imgVANCOUVER – Officials with the Vancouver Aquarium say they have applied for a judicial review aimed at overturning a park board bylaw banning whales, dolphins and porpoises from its facility in Stanley Park.The aquarium says it is asking the B.C. Supreme Court to rule the cetacean ban is invalid and set it aside.In a news release, the aquarium says its petition claims the park board doesn’t have the statutory power to enact the amendment, that board commissioners refused to hear from aquarium officials and that the decision renders a $100-million aquarium upgrade obsolete.The aquarium says it has already spent $45 million of public and private funding on the upgrade.The application says the bylaw causes numerous adverse impacts to the aquarium’s mandate of conservation, including the loss of a long-term home for rescued cetaceans that cannot be released.Park board spokeswoman Daria Wojnarski said in an email statement that because the matter is before the courts, the board would not comment.Aquarium CEO John Nightingale said the ramifications of the bylaw are so far reaching that they would change the mission of conserving the world’s oceans.“As a result, we have no choice but to defend ourselves,” Nightingale said in the release on Thursday.“We cannot stand by and allow the park board to threaten the health and welfare of cetaceans, or develop bylaws on the fly that undermine our animal protection, conservation, research and education mandates.”Park board commissioners voted 6 to 1 in favour of approving the bylaw last month.At the time, board chairman Michael Wiebe said scientists have found cetaceans are best treated in a natural habitat and research data captured from aquariums is no longer necessary.last_img read more

National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria

first_imgOTTAWA – There are fears Canadian military aircraft operating over Syria could be caught in the middle of a new and potentially explosive dispute between the U.S. and Russia.Moscow warned Monday that it will track allied aircraft operating west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential targets after the U.S. shot down a Syrian government warplane.American officials say the Syrian jet dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — a claim the Syrian government and Russia both dispute.The Canadian military has been flying surveillance aircraft and a refuelling plane over Syria as part of its contribution to the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition.But while National Defence says it is monitoring the situation, it otherwise wouldn’t comment Monday on where the Canadian planes have been flying in Syria and whether they are in any increased risk of danger.“For operational security considerations, the Canadian Armed Forces will not disclose the frequency of the flights or the exact locations nor the details of our force protection measures and risk assessment process,” spokeman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email.The previous Conservative government first deployed Aurora surveillance planes, a Polaris air-to-air refueller and six CF-18 fighter jets to participate in the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIL in October 2014.While the planes were initially restricted to operations over Iraq, the Tories decided in March 2015 to expand the mission to include Syria as well.The newly elected Liberal government withdrew the CF-18s the following year, but kept the other planes in the region to continue supporting fighter jets from the U.S. and other allied countries.A senior military officer told The Canadian Press during a visit to the region in February that the Auroras and Polaris had flown between 20 and 30 missions over Syria in the previous few months.While former Canadian diplomat Ferry de Kerckhove said it was unlikely Russia would risk shooting down a coalition aircraft, Canadian or otherwise, he worried about the increasing rhetoric and tension in Syria.“This is very dangerous,” he said. “And if it rises, they could certainly be caught in the middle. If we’re talking about an escalation in the tension, there could be some concern for the Canadians, absolutely.”The Trudeau government is reviewing possible changes to Canada’s mission against ISIL, whose current mandate is set to expire at the end of the month.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said the new mission will not include sending troops into Syria, but has not otherwise commented on whether the Auroras and Polaris will stay in the region.Monday’s tensions between Russia and the U.S. erupted after a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane, the first such incident in Syria’s more than six-year-old civil war.Canada also has 200 special forces troops in northern Iraq, along with a helicopter detachment and a combat hospital.American officials say the Syrian jet dropped bombs close to U.S.-backed forces fighting near the city of Raqqa, which serves as ISIL’s de facto capital.The U.S. has been providing air and ground support to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a collection of different groups that have been the U.S. government’s main partners in the fight against ISIL in Syria.But the Syrian military said its Su-22 fighter jet was flying a mission against ISIL. Russia, which has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful backer, condemned the downing of the plane.The Russian defence ministry went on to say in a statement that all aircraft belonging to the U.S.-led coalition operating west of the Euphrates “will be tracked by the Russian (surface-to-air missile) systems as targets.”Tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Syria are not new, but have so far been peacefully managed.The most recent was in April when the U.S. fired missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government.In response, Russia temporarily suspended a hotline intended to prevent midair incidents with the U.S. over Syria.last_img read more

Quebec revising winter tire rules incentivebased approach suggested for elsewhere

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec will reportedly bring forward the mandatory date by which winter tires must be put on all vehicles in the province and also increase fines for those who don’t follow the rules.It remains the only Canadian jurisdiction that requires drivers to have winter tires by law — between Dec. 15 and March 15. The nine-year-old legislation comes with the threat of a fine from $200 to $300.In B.C., drivers are required to have winter tires installed on their vehicles if travelling on designated highways around the province, mainly in the Interior and near high mountain passes.Despite some occasional calls in other parts of the country, there doesn’t appear to be an appetite for Quebec-style rules in other provinces.Advocates agree that winter tires should be used in the vast majority of the country — the Maritimes and the Prairies along with large swaths of Ontario for example — but suggest an incentive-based approach would help increase the number of users.“The call often comes for (provincial) legislation nationwide, but we think that may be a step too far,” said Lewis Smith, national projects manager at the Canada Safety Council. “Some places in Canada just don’t need them.”Winter tires are recommended in areas where temperatures drop below 7 C, which excludes some parts of the country.Smith said awareness campaigns that educate drivers about the differences between all-season tires and winter tires in frigid conditions are far better than forcing the issue.He cited a Rubber Association of Canada survey that suggested only half of Canadian motorists outside Quebec use winter tires.“So that’s obviously a number we’d like to see increase and it’s a number we’ve been pushing to see increased in recent years,” Smith said.George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, says his organization is in favour of widespread winter tire use, but believes incentives would work better.In Ontario, for example, insurers have been required recently to provide a discount for those who use winter tires, while Manitoba’s insurance board offers low-interest financing for such tires.“If we can see that it is able to move the needle, that’s the kind of incentive-based compliance we’d hope to see,” said Iny.“I would like to believe that if people are doing something that’s incentive-based, maybe they would have less of a mindset to try to avoid it.”Iny said there have been unexpected consequences to the Quebec law, which the government is considering changing to make winter tires mandatory between Nov. 15 and March 15.Because there is a hard deadline to put them on, but no firm deadline to remove them, many Quebec drivers keep winter tires on throughout the summer, which creates another set of performance issues in warmer months.Iny said Quebec’s apparent plan to bring forward the date would only cause headaches for retailers, who already deal with a crush come the fall.Before the law was passed in late 2008, an estimated 80 per cent of cars were equipped with winter tires, so legislation only had an impact on the last fifth of motorists, Iny said.“Part of the reason why it was accepted in Quebec is that many people were already there,” he said.“But I can see why a government would be reluctant and that’s why, again, we’d prefer something incentive-based. We would like it if the private insurance provinces (the Maritime provinces for example) would offer an incentive.”A 2012 report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation found there had been a 36 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in winter collisions in Quebec since the law was passed.The suggestions for moving up the deadline in Quebec came during public meetings, with certain parts of the province experiencing harsh winter conditions earlier than the heavily populated southwestern part of the province.“For CAA-Quebec, it’s not so much the date as the temperature,” said spokeswoman Annie Gauthier. “The magic number — the moment where one should install winter tires is when the temperature drops below 7 C.”According to reports, the Couillard government is expected to table legislation next week, before the holiday break.last_img read more

Nova Scotia Teachers Union calls surprise strike vote over education reforms

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s teachers union has called an unexpected strike vote, setting up a showdown with the province’s Liberal government over education reforms.Any strike would not be legal, the union admitted as it battles a revamp of its membership and other reforms.“Our education system is once again under attack from the McNeil government,” union president Liette Doucet said in a statement Tuesday.Doucet said the move follows information sessions around the province on a report by consultant Avis Glaze and what the government’s embrace of it means for students and the profession.“It was clear NSTU members agree the situation is dire and that as teachers and administrators we need to stand up for public education. We need to be prepared to fight for what is right and just.”She said as a result the union executive approved the strike vote for Feb. 20.The report, released last month, makes 22 recommendations including the removal of principals and vice-principals from the union and the creation of a provincial college of educators to license, govern, discipline and regulate the teaching profession.It also calls for the elimination of the province’s seven English-language school boards.Doucet said the strike vote would give the union a mandate to implement a job action if the government is unprepared to back down on its reforms.In an emailed response, the Education Department said the teachers contract agreement is in place until July 31, 2019.“Any job action undertaken while this is in place would be illegal,” said department spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn. “We are disappointed that the union executive is taking this position and ask that it consider how such action would affect students and their families.”Legislation is expected to enact many of the Glaze’s reform recommendations in a legislature session that begins Feb. 27.The teachers union has already flatly rejected an $800,000 compensation offer from the government to make up union dues that would be lost over the first year following the removal of principals and vice-principals from the union.Education Minister Zach Churchill said last week that the offer isn’t indefinite and that other areas of the education system require investment.Churchill also said while there’s no firm number yet, about 1,000 principals, vice-principals, and school board management supervisors would be affected.It is the latest chapter in the ongoing strife between the province and its teachers.Last February the Liberals enacted legislation that imposed a contract on Nova Scotia’s 9,300 public school teachers. The government imposed a three per cent wage increase over four years and also froze a retirement bonus for teachers backdated to July 2015.The legislated settlement came after the union rejected three tentative agreements.Premier Stephen McNeil said the move was necessary in order to end a work-to-rule job action that began in early December 2016.last_img read more

Fords victory in Ontario spells both good bad news for PM Trudeau

first_imgOTTAWA – Doug Ford’s resounding victory in the country’s most populous province is bad news for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the federal-provincial relations front — particularly on the climate change file where the two are on a “collision course,” as one veteran Liberal MP candidly admitted Friday.But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad news for Trudeau politically. Indeed, history suggests the ascendancy of Ford’s Conservatives in Ontario may actually turn out to be good news for Trudeau’s federal Liberals.First, the bad news for the prime minister.With Thursday’s decimation of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, Trudeau has lost a dependable and trusted ally on any number of federal-provincial files, including climate change. Instead, he’ll have to deal with Ford, a bombastic populist who represents the antithesis of pretty much everything Trudeau stands for.“Clearly, Mr. Ford’s agenda is not the same agenda as Mr. Trudeau’s and so I think federal-provincial relations will be a bit more challenging,” long-time Toronto Liberal MP John McKay said Friday.Ford won a commanding majority on a platform that included a pledge to scrap Ontario’s cap-and-trade carbon pricing system. And he’s vowed to join Saskatchewan in challenging any attempt by the federal government to impose a carbon price on the provinces, going all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.Under federal legislation, all provinces have until the end of this year to enact carbon pricing plans and, if they don’t meet federal standards, a national price will be imposed on them — which, as McKay conceded, puts Trudeau “on kind of a collision course” with Ford.“You can’t sugar-coat this one … we are committed to pricing carbon, period, end of story.”Sarnia Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu said Ford’s victory should be a “wake-up call” for Trudeau, warning him that Canadians think his carbon tax is “just a tax grab for the government.” She pointed out that Alberta could be next to drop out of the pan-Canadian carbon pricing plan if United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney defeats Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP next May.However, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, a fellow Conservative, injected a note of caution. He warned “there’ll be tremendous complexity in dismantling” Ontario’s membership in a cap-and-trade market with Quebec and California and that it will cost “billions of dollars in expense for the government of Ontario to unwind that system” of auctioning off greenhouse gas emissions allowances.Ontario’s fourth auction last November alone generated more than $422 million in proceeds, which by law are to be invested in programs to reduce carbon pollution.Still, federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer expressed his satisfaction at gaining an ally in the fight against Trudeau’s “carbon tax.” And just as Ontarians rejected Wynne’s deficit-driven, big spending policies, he predicted they’ll reject her policies (that is, Trudeau’s) at the federal level in 2019.If so, they’ll be bucking historical trends.Since Confederation, Ontario voters have almost always opted for a different party federally than the one they’ve chosen provincially — even when that’s meant electing a premier and prime minister guaranteed to be at each other’s throats.From 1995 to 2002, Conservative Premier Mike Harris and the Liberal prime minister of the day, Jean Chretien, were openly at war with each other. Yet, in two federal elections during that period, Chretien managed to sweep almost every seat in the province.Trudeau and Ford both appear to be taking pains to get their relationship off to a collegial start. The prime minister called Ford on Thursday night to congratulate him and Ford said he told Trudeau he stands united behind him in his fight against U.S. President Donald Trump’s imposition of crippling tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports.But Liberal MPs’ reaction demonstrated the potential for that relationship to quickly sour.In pondering the lessons for the federal Liberals from the Ontario result, McKay said they need to ask “why would people embrace such a manifestly obvious unqualified candidate for premier; what is it that drives people to make those decisions that many of us would regard as almost irrational?”And fellow Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, asked about Ford’s reluctance to talk about LGBTQ rights, commented acerbically: “I’d be surprised if he knows the other 26 letters in the alphabet too.”But just as Chretien ran against Harris, Trudeau may find the polarizing Ford to be a useful foil for demonstrating his progressive values in the next federal campaign.As well, Ford’s own history and penchant for controversy could bite his federal Conservative cousins, which may explain why Scheer has kept a bit of distance thus far.Straight-laced Scheer got a taste of that earlier this week when he was asked how he feels about being associated politically with someone who allegedly dealt drugs in his youth and whose family members, notably late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, have struggled with drug addiction. Scheer awkwardly talked about how he’s always had compassion for people struggling with substance abuse.However, in the short term at least, Scheer may be right in hoping that Ford’s success will rub off on federal Conservatives. For that matter, Andrea Horwath’s strong showing, vaulting the NDP into official Opposition status in Ontario, may also give a boost to federal New Democrats.But, as former NDP leader Tom Mulcair can attest, the spill-over effect from provincial elections can be ephemeral.In the weeks immediately following the NDP’s stunning 2015 breakthrough in Alberta, Mulcair’s federal party vaulted into the lead in national public opinion polls, riding Notley’s coattails. Once voters focused on the federal election campaign a few months later, however, that lead evaporated. Mulcair’s NDP wound up placing a distant third.last_img read more

Olympic bid postmortem with Mayor Nenshi

first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS) –It has been just over a month since city council shuttered the 2026 Olympic bid, and supporters are continuing to scratch their heads over what went wrong.It’s a question that Mayor Naheed Nenshi tries to answer in his year-end interview with 660 NEWS. During the interview, he blames several factors including misinformation shuttled and spread by social media.“I do think it was about information. For the better part of two years, I worked really hard on this file, but I was trying not to be an advocate. I was trying to say ‘I’m an advocate for Calgary, not for the Olympics’.”READ MORE: Calgary City Council officially cancels 2026 Olympic bidHe also points to the poor timing of reaching a funding deal with other levels of government.“We got that great deal 11 days before the plebiscite. It’s not enough time to engage Calgarians in a conversation,” he said.“I wish we had more time to really have a more thoughtful discussion, like the 2010, or the 2013 election was, about the differing visions for future of the community.”While the Olympic discussion seemed to divide the city, he says people still love living, working and raising their kids in Calgary.READ MORE: Calgary Olympic bid survives council votelast_img read more

Canada to boost presence overseas to attract more international students

first_imgOTTAWA — Canada plans to attract more international students by expanding its presence overseas in an effort to advance classroom diversity and boost economic benefits that already amount to billions per year.The economic effects of foreign students nearly doubled between 2010 and 2016, when they reached a total of $15.5 billion in Canada for everything from tuition fees to rent and groceries, according to a federal analysis.To put that in perspective, the document says the sector supported nearly 170,000 jobs in 2016 and had greater economic impacts than Canada’s exports of auto parts, aircraft and lumber.The vast majority of foreign students have been coming from India and China, while recent years have seen surges from countries with fast-growing economies like Vietnam.Officials from universities, colleges and the federal government are now in the early stages of developing an “aligned” strategy that will broaden campaigns in other parts of the world, Universities Canada president Paul Davidson said in an interview. He expects Canada to promote itself as an education destination in places with expanding economies and large populations of young people, like Colombia and parts of Africa.“We’re looking at where in the world there is a growing middle-class demand for higher education, a place where Canada has got linkages and connections,” said Davidson, whose organization represents 96 institutions.Canada has been an attractive place to study for years. In 2000, federal numbers show there were 122,665 valid study permits in Canada — a number that hit 572,415 last year for an increase of 467 per cent. Numbers compiled by Universities Canada say full-time international student enrolment at universities rose by about 15 per cent across Canada between 2017 and 2018.The 2018 growth came despite a diplomatic dispute last August between Canada and Saudi Arabia, which has been one of the top home countries for international university students.The Saudi government suspended diplomatic ties with Canada, expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its own envoy to Ottawa after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her department criticized the regime on Twitter for its arrest of social activists. Saudi Arabia also ordered thousands of its citizens studying in Canada to come home.Davidson said diplomatic efforts by the federal officials and the higher-education community helped reduce the impact. In the end, he said many Saudi students stayed, including medical trainees who had been in Canada for several years as well as those in studying in other areas of health science and some graduate programs.“The Saudi situation underscored the importance of having a diverse range of countries to work with,” Davidson said.Last month’s federal budget announced nearly $148 million of funding over five years for international education, part of which will be dedicated to efforts to attract more foreign students to Canada.International Trade Minister Jim Carr said beyond the economic impacts, students from abroad often establish important, decades-long links with Canada.“We believe that international students add value to our communities, that they experience Canada’s fine institutions and take with them an appreciation of who we are as Canadians,” Carr said in an interview.“Sometimes they stay, sometimes they go back to their home countries and become, really, ambassadors for Canada.”Denise Amyot, president and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, said foreign students bring new perspectives that help their Canadian classmates better understand the world. Their higher tuition fees strengthen institutions and ensure a wider choice of programs are offered for all students, she added.Amyot, who represents 132 publicly funded colleges and institutes, said her members have also seen rising numbers of international students. In 2006-07, she said foreign students made up a four per cent share of enrolment in the college system — by 2015-16, it had grown to eight per cent.She said immigration policy changes in Canada have helped it compete with other countries in attracting the world’s increasingly mobile post-secondary students. The policies, she added, have sped up visa processing times, permitted foreign students to work in Canada while they study and improved a graduate’s chance of obtaining permanent residency.Numbers from the Immigration Department show that last year 10,950 former study permit holders became permanent residents. Between 2015 and 2017, the annual total failed to eclipse 3,000.“Some of our best immigrants, in fact, have been international students that have studied in Canada, worked in Canada,” said Amyot. “This becomes very, very attractive and Canada has a shortage of employees right now, so it is really helping our labour-market situation.”Follow @AndyBlatchford on TwitterAndy Blatchford, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Risk of student loan defaults rising say documents warning system is broken

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal officials warned in a presentation earlier this year that the risk of student loan defaults and delays was on the rise, noting bleakly: the “system is broken.”Federal student debt alone is approximately $17 billion and the federal government has to regularly write-off millions of dollars in loans it will never collect.The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press, say the costs for post-secondary education have increased at rates “above wage growth and inflation” over the last decade, while the cost of living has also jumped, creating an affordability crunch for new and graduating students.And yet, the documents acknowledge that post-secondary education is a must for many entering the job market.Recommendations for how to address the problem were redacted from the documents, but student groups say they should include more non-repayable grants and waiving interest payments on student loans.The Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations are each readying to launch get-out-the-vote campaigns on campuses to get students to the polls during the fall federal election.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Celine Dion Records Video For World Prematurity Day

first_imgA new global television message from Celine Dion calls on families to use social media to connect with each other and ask governments take action to prevent premature births and save babies’ lives.Video: Celine Dion World Prematurity Awareness DayThe campaign is a joint effort of the March Of Dimes, the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organization.“I share the fears and concerns of all parents knowing that more than one million babies around the world die every year because they didn’t get enough time to grow,” Ms. Dion says in English and French versions of the video. The video message can be viewed here.The message directs viewers to, where they can write about and post a picture of their child, family member or friend whose child was born too soon. A world map will light up each individual’s posting and allow them to connect and support each other from anywhere in the world.Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. According to a May 2012 report Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth, 75 percent of these deaths could be prevented through low-cost interventions, such as skin-to-skin “Kangaroo Mother Care” and wider availability of antenatal steroids to help premature babies’ lungs develop.“There is hope,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “We know much about how to save babies’ lives. Now, we are calling on governments, the private sector, businesses, health officials and community leaders to implement these interventions, and do more to prevent prematurity.”On November 17th, partners from around the world will mark the second World Prematurity Day in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.The World Prematurity Network (WPN) including, Bliss, United Kingdom, European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants, throughout Europe, Home for Premature Babies, China, Little Big Souls International Foundation, Africa, National Premmie Foundation, Australia, hope to harness the power of the Facebook story campaign to encourage governments to give top priority to reducing preterm birth. The WPN includes consumer and parent groups that are leaders in addressing preterm birth in their countries. Together, members call for actions to prevent preterm birth and improve care for babies born preterm.In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects. About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefited the March of Dimes life saving research and education.Source:MarchOfDimes.comlast_img read more

Trumpeter Alison Balsom Visits Music Therapy Centre

first_imgThe award-winning classical trumpeter Alison Balsom took time out of her hectic schedule to pop into the Nordoff Robbins London Centre last week and check out their music therapy work.Alison, who will be receiving the PPL Classical Award at this year’s O2 Silver Clef Awards, met with one of the centre’s clients and spoke at length with music therapists.Following the visit Alison said, “It’s a lifetime opportunity for any artist to come here and witness first hand the importance of Nordoff Robbins and how their music therapy is dramatically changing people’s lives.”Alison went on to say, “I feel like I have a duty to highlight the value of Nordoff Robbins because the difference it makes to a person’s life is unquantifiable. People don’t see the results until you see it first hand.”Alison has cemented an international reputation as one of classical music’s great ambassadors and is ranked among the most distinctive and ground-breaking musicians on the international circuit today.Balsom is to receive the PPL Classical Award at this year’s Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards on Friday 28th June at the London Hilton on Park Lane.“I am truly honoured to be receiving the PPL Classical Award at the 2013 O2 Silver Clef Awards,” she said. “I am so proud to be involved with something so vital and life-changing for so many people. As a musician, I can’t think of a more valuable thing for me to do than to help highlight the constant need for a charity such as Nordoff Robbins. The value of something which is abstract and yet healing, unquantifiable, and yet so obviously transforming, is something that we as musicians live and breathe every day. I am so moved to see it being shared so skillfully in music therapy, helping so many children and adults in so many profound ways.” Source:Nordoff Robbinslast_img read more

Garth Brooks Helps Jimmy Carter Build Homes With Habitat For Humanity

first_imgCountry music stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood joined President and Mrs. Carter and nearly 3,000 volunteers this week to help build, renovate and repair 86 homes in Oakland and San Jose, Calif.; Denver; New York City; and Union Beach, N.J. as part of Habitat For Humanity’s 30th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood joined President and Mrs. Carter and nearly 3,000 volunteers this week for Habitat for Humanity’s 30th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Brooks and Yearwood worked alongside volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver today to help build 11 new townhomes and repair 15 existing homes in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood. The country music stars built with the Carters in Oakland and San Jose earlier this week and will travel to New York City next, where they will work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity New York City and low-income families to help repair 15 homes on Staten Island and in Queens.Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 3 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates for fair and just housing policies and provides training and access to resources to help more families improve their shelter conditions. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Stars Attend Chairs For Charity Event

first_imgAn exclusive art auction featuring extraordinary chairs and fine artwork from top designers, celebrities, artists, and tastemakers took place in Los Angeles last week.Kevin Zegers, Erin Foster, Jonathan Tucker and his wife, and Sara FosterCredit/Copyright: Faye Sadou/WENNProceeds from this event will benefit the Los Angeles LBGT Center’s work with youth experiencing homelessness.Andie MacDowell strikes a sultry poseCredit/Copyright: Faye Sadou/WENNAmong the stars who attended included Kevin Zegers (Gracepoint, The Colony), Tracey Bregman (The Young and the Restless), Willie Garson (White Collar, Sex and the City), George Kotsiopoulos (E! Channel’s Fashion Police), Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove, Magic Mike XXL), Sara Rue (Impastor), Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), Diane Warren (Award Winning Songwriter), Sara Foster (Barely Famous, 90210), Erin Foster (Barely Famous), Mimi Rogers (NCIS), Lolita Davidovich (True Detective, The Longest Ride), Mircea Monroe (Impastor, Hart of Dixie), and Jonathan Tucker (Justified).Impastor co-stars Mircea Monroe and Sara Rue Credit/Copyright: Faye Sadou/WENNHighlights of the evening, held at the The Washbow on Thursday, included • A glowing and pregnant Sara Foster attended the charity auction along with her sister and fellow Barely Famous star Erin Foster. • Sara Rue arrived with fellow Impastor co-star and charity advocate Mircea Monroe. • Justified’s Jonathan Tucker attended alongside his wife Tara Ahamed Tucker. • True Detective star Lolita Davidovich brought her husband and daughter along and the family won two velvet chairs by Jeff Hitchcock, a directors chair from Big Bang Theory as well as a hidden set of first class Delta Airlines tickets. • Additional celeb attendees and winners include Mimi Rogers (NCIS) who bid on the custom tufted ottoman by Jeff Hitchcock and Dominique Vorillan “Cuba” Photograph as well as Cedar Cove and Magic Mike XXL star Andi MacDowell who won the Thanet Rocking Chair and Diane Arlovs “Mae West”.Erin and Sara FosterCredit/Copyright: Faye Sadou/WENNlast_img read more

Craig T Nelson Swings For Kids

first_imgThe Orthopedic Institute for Children (OIC) held their annual “Swing For Kids” Golf Classic at the Palos Verdes Golf Club recently.Craig T. Nelson at the Orthopedic Institute for Children Swing For Kids Golf Classic Credit/Copyright: Getty ImagesThe daylong event was hosted by Craig T. Nelson. Nelson stated that he wanted to work with the OIC and Swing for Kids Golf Classic because he believes in what UCLA is doing, furthermore he believes that the OIC is helping any and all kids with Orthopaedic issues as they do not turn any away.As Craig has been golfing since the age of 11 years old, naturally this cause and event interested him. The renowned star is set to release the Incredibles in 2018, as well as Book Club, which he will star in along with Dianne Keaton, Jane Fonda, Alicia Silverstone, and Mary Stern Berger to name a few.During this event, guests enjoyed a day of golf and a culinary experience with a dinner provided by Chef Michael Fiorelli, executive Chef of Love & Salt. Additionally, guests enjoyed unique on-course features, including tequila tastings, hand-rolled cigar bars, international cuisine pop-up tastings, and many other surprises. All proceeds from the tournament and event will be used towards the building of a new Physical Therapy Center that will help kids heal faster and better. This will give parents the tools to aid in their child’s rehabilitation.At the event Craig T. Nelson helped present a plaque to the League for their constant donations to OIC. A New Wing within the new Physical Therapy Center will be named after the League, as they recently donated $200k to this new center. The League was formed in 1936 when Phoebe Brockway and nine friends (including Lillian Disney) formed the League for Crippled Children (currently just The League). Phoebe had an orthopaedic condition and promised founder, Dr. Lowman, that she would dedicate her life to Orthopaedic Institute if he could make her walk again. Through physical therapy, Dr. Lowman held up his end of the deal and a once bed-bound child (bed-ridden at age 8), gained the ability to walk. For more than 80 years, the League has donated over $8,000,000 and has provided thousands of hours of volunteer services, always with a heart for physical therapy to honor their founder. Tens of thousands of children have received care because of their generosity.The Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) Swing For Kids Golf Classic will help raise awareness for children in orthopaedic needs across the nation.Copyright ©2017Look to the Starslast_img read more

Brendan Cole Swaps Dancing Shoes For Football Boots

first_imgBrendan Cole, former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer and TV personality, has today announced he will be taking part in this year’s eagerly anticipated Soccer Aid for UNICEF match on ITV.Following weeks of speculation regarding his next venture, Brendan finally put the rumours to bed today by unveiling his next project will mean a change in discipline. As he prepares to foxtrot his way down the wing, and turn the Theatre of Dreams football pitch into his biggest dancefloor yet, Brendan will join Usain Bolt’s Soccer Aid World XI, who will take on Robbie’s England at Old Trafford on Sunday 10th June.Brendan Cole, Soccer Aid World XI said: “As soon as the curtain fell on my Strictly career, I knew my next move had to be Soccer Aid for Unicef. For years, I have been a massive fan of the match and have always watched the game in between performances. To be able to finally announce that I will be swapping my dancing shoes for football boots this summer feels incredible. What’s bigger than the nation’s love of dancing? The nation’s love of the beautiful game, of course – and I’m aiming for tens across the board”.Over the coming weeks, the England vs. Soccer Aid World XI rivalry is set to intensify further, with some of football’s biggest legends and celebrities set to join fellow A-listers Usain Bolt, Sir Mo Farah, Robbie Williams, Gordon Ramsay, Clarence Seedorf, Robert Pirès and now Brendan Cole, in what is setting up to be a game like no other.The international friendly match will take place at Old Trafford on Sunday 10th June, just four days before the FIFA World Cup in Russia begins. Tickets are on sale now and the game will be broadcast live on ITV. Kick-off scheduled for 20:00 BST.Soccer Aid for Unicef is the original England vs. Soccer Aid World XI charity match. It was launched and co-founded in 2006 by Unicef UK Ambassador Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes, and has previously featured A-list stars such as Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers and Niall Horan, plus footballing royalty including Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Ronaldinho. Soccer Aid for Unicef 2018 is set to be bigger and better than ever.Unicef, the world’s leading organisation for children, has joined forces with ITV to make the pro-celebrity football match bigger and better than ever, with more potential to raise money and vital support for children in danger. Soccer Aid for Unicef is produced by Initial, part of Endemol Shine UK, for ITV.100% of all public donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef will go towards supporting the vital work protecting children in the UK and globally. The money raised through profits from ticket sales and viewer donations during the match will add to the incredible £24 million that has already been raised through Soccer Aid over the last 12 years.Swiss watchmaker Hublot and Global Sports Brand PUMA are Official Soccer Aid World XI Partners, with both brands acting as kit sponsors for the Soccer Aid World XI team.Tickets for the Soccer Aid for Unicef football match on Sunday 10th June 2018 at Old Trafford are available now at or by calling 0161 444 2018 with tickets priced between £10 and £50.Visit to find out more and follow @SoccerAid on Twitter and Instagram, ‘Soccer Aid’ on Facebook and use the hashtag #SoccerAid for regular player and match updates.last_img read more