Month: October 2019

Only 39 of land needed for bullet train project acquired

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is missing on its deadline of land acquisition as till date only 39 per cent of the 1,380 hectares of land required has been acquired.A senior National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. (NHSRCL) official requesting anonymity told IANS: “Till date, we have acquired about 39 per cent of the land.”He said the NHSRCL has acquired 537 of the 1,387 hectares land required in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceIn Gujarat, the NHSRCL has acquired 471 of 940 hectares of land, while in Maharashtra, it has acquired 66 of 431 hectares. “Of the nine hectares land required in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the agency has been unable to acquire even a single piece of land,” he said. The government had set a deadline for December 2018 to clear the land acquisition roadblock.Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14, 2017 laid the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) 508-km long Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics PrizeJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Union Railway Ministry have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the 508-km corridor, with Japan to partially fund the project.The official said the railways has floated the tenders for the construction of tunnelling works, including testing and commissioning for double line high speed railway using tunnel boring machine (TBM) and New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) between Mumbai underground station at Bandra-Kurla Complex and Shilphata in Maharashtra. According to the official, a 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, 7 km of which will be under the sea.The NHSRCL official said that the design and construction of civil and building works including testing and commissioning of 237 km length of mainline for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor between Zaroli village at Maharashtra-Gujarat border and Vadodara in Gujarat, which is 47 per cent of total length of the project, elevated except one mountain tunnel of about 280 metre, 24 river crossings and 30 road and canal crossings have been floated.He said the tenders to construct the stations in Gujarat’s Vapi, Bilimora, Surat and Bharuch have also been floated.The official said that the work on utility diversions on various locations is progressing well while the work at Sabarmati hub in Ahmedabad has started.The bullet trains are expected to run at 350 km per hour covering the 508 km stretch in about two hours. In comparison, trains currently plying on the route take over seven hours to travel the distance, whereas flights take about an hour.last_img read more

Redesigned Thane station to minimise mangrove destruction Khare

first_imgNew Delhi: The National High Speed Rail Corp Ltd (NHSRCL), implementing the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train project said on Saturday they have reworked the Thane station’s design in Maharashtra to reduce the number of mangroves affected. Under the new design not 53,000 but an estimated 32,044 mangroves may be affected, NHRSCL Managing Director Achal Khare said in a statement. “All the required wildlife, forest and CRZ clearance has been taken,” he said. He said the forest clearance came with a few conditions though. The Ministry of Environment had put a condition that the Thane station design be reviewed so that the affected region can be limited. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey Colony “We wanted to reduce the affected portion of the Mangrove region without changing the location of the Thane station — this is what we discussed with the Japanese engineers and modified it accordingly,” Khare added. The NHSRCL MD said that passenger areas like the parking area and passenger handling area have now been moved out of the mangrove region. “The location of station is the same but after the redesigning now only three hectares will get affected as compared to the earlier 12 hectares of mangrove region. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! “So this way, we have reduced the destruction of 21,000 mangroves and now only 32,044 mangroves will get affected by the entire project,” he said. Earlier there were around 53,000 mangroves getting affected. Khare also said the NHSRCL will compensate at the rate of 1:5 for mangroves affected, by depositing money into mangroves cell, which will do “the compensatory afforestation.” So against the cutting down of 32,044 mangroves around 1,60,220 new mangroves would be planted and the entire financial expense will be borne by NHSRCL, Khare said. New mangroves will be planted through mangrove cells, Khare added. On Monday, while replying to a question raised by Shiv Sena legislator Maneesha Kayande in the state Legislative Council, Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote had said that as many as 54,000 mangroves spread over 13.36 hectares will be affected because of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor.last_img read more

Package for power sector structural reforms in offing

first_imgNew Delhi: The government will soon unveil a package for power sector and go ahead with structural reforms to achieve the objective of ‘One Nation One Grid’, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Friday. The minister in her maiden budget speech also assured that all willing rural households will have cooking gas and electricity connection by 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence. She however kept mum on details of the package for power sector. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”Our government launched Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in 2015 aimed at financial and operational turnaround of DISCOMs. The government is examining the performance of the scheme and it will be further improved,” the minister said. UDAY was launched in November 2015 with an objective of turnaround of debt-laden power distribution utilities in the country. “We will work with state governments to remove barriers like cross subsidy surcharges, undesirable duties on open access sales or captive generation for industrial and other bulk power consumers. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”Besides these structural reforms, considerable reforms are needed in tariff policy. A package of power sector tariff and structural reforms would soon be announced,” Sitharaman said. She further said that to take connectivity infrastructure to the next level, the government will build on the successful model of ‘One Nation, One Grid’. She proposed to make available a blueprint this year for developing gas grids, water grids, information-ways, and regional airports. Talking about the recommendations of the high level empowered committee on retirement of old and inefficient plants, and addressing low utilisation of gas plant capacity due to paucity of natural gas, she said suggestions would also be taken up for implementation now. In November last, the panel had recommended the government that the Ministry of Power and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas may jointly devise a scheme in line with the earlier e-bid RLNG Scheme (supported by Power System Development Fund) to revive gas-based power plants. The government has taken necessary action on all recommendations of the panel except regarding revival of gas based power plants. Under the earlier scheme, the government had provided subsidy to stranded gas-based plants and those running at sub-optimal level, to buy expensive imported gas. Lauding the government’s two mega initiatives of Ujjwala Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana she said,”by 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence, I would like to assure the nation that every single rural family, except those who are unwilling to take the connection, will have an electricity and a clean cooking facility.”last_img read more

UPSC civil services prelims exam results declared

first_imgNew Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Friday declared the results of the civil services preliminary examination, a government order said.The results of the examination held on June 2 can be seen on UPSC web site — www.upsc.gov.in. “The candidature of these candidates is provisional. In accordance with the Rules of the Examination, all these candidates have to apply again in the detailed application Form-I (DAF-I) for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2019, which will be available on the web site https://upsconline.nic.in during the period from August 01, 2019 (Thursday) to August 16, 2019 (Friday) till 6:00 P.M,” the government said in a statement. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!It said the e-admit card along with the time table of the main examination will be uploaded on the Commission’s Website for the eligible candidates around 3-4 weeks before the commencement of the examination. “Changes, if any, in the postal address or e-mail address or mobile number after submission of the DAF-I may be communicated to the Commission at once,” it said. The candidates are also informed that marks, cut off marks and answer keys of screening test held through the civil services preliminary examination will be uploaded on the website only after the entire process examination is over i.e. after the declaration of final result of civil services examination, the statement said.last_img read more

Will discuss Kashmir only with Pak bilaterally

first_imgWashington/Bangkok: Rejecting any mediation by US President Donald Trump on Kashmir, India on Friday made it clear to America that any discussion on the issue if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally. The assertion by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar came hours after President Trump said he would “certainly intervene” on the Kashmir issue if New Delhi and Islamabad wanted him to. Jaishankar who met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Bangkok on the sidelines of the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meeting conveyed India’s stand that any discussion on the Kashmir issue would be between India and Pakistan only. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsPresident Trump’s stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue triggered a massive political row in India. The government asserted that no such request was made by Prime Minister Modi to the US president and all issues will have to be resolved with Islamabad bilaterally. “Held wide-ranging discussions with @SecPompeo on regional issues,” Jaishankar tweeted after his meeting with his American counterpart. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” he said in another tweet. Meanwhile, President Trump on Thursday said he would “certainly intervene” between India and Pakistan on Kashmir if they wanted him to. But he said it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist if the two South Asian neighbours wanted him to help in resolving the issue. When asked how would he “want to resolve the Kashmir issue”, Trump said, “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene.” In Parliament, Jaishankar had said that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally and Prime Minister Modi made no request to President Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue with Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Khan has said that he welcomed US mediation on the Kashmir issue.last_img read more

US welcomes conditional truce in Syrias Idlib region

first_imgSydney: The United States Sunday welcomed a ceasefire in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region after months of deadly government bombardments but insisted attacks against civilians must stop. Air strikes on Idlib province halted on Friday after the Syrian regime agreed to a truce on the condition that rebel backer Turkey implements a buffer zone in the area. Most of the region and parts of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia — which currently hosts some three million people — are controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe area is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive under a September Turkish-Russian deal, but it has come under increasing fire by Damascus and its backer Moscow since the end of April. The government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has accused Turkey of dragging its feet in implementing the deal, which provided for a buffer zone of up to 20 kilometres (12 miles) between the two sides, free of heavy and medium-sized weaponry. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsWashington welcomed the conditional ceasefire, but “attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop”, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “The United States believes there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and only a political solution can ensure a stable and secure future for all Syrians,” she said. The US also reiterated its support for a United Nations-led peace effort, with Ortagus calling it “the only viable path to a political solution”. Since late April, 790 civilians have been killed in regime and Russian attacks, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says. Fighting over the same period has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 combatants, including 900 regime loyalists, according to the monitor. More than 400,000 people have been displaced and dozens of hospitals and schools damaged since April, according to the UN. The Syrian conflict has killed more than 370,000 people and driven millions from their homes since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.last_img read more

Govt plans to transfer BSNL land debt to SPV union alleges undervaluation

first_imgNew Delhi: The government is mulling to transfer land assets and loans of loss making BSNL to a special purpose vehicle in an effort to make the state-owned telecom firm a debt free entity. Employees Union of BSNL, however, has alleged that the land parcels proposed to be transferred to the SPV at value of Rs 20,210 crore are at prime locations of big cities and are “grossly undervalued”. BSNL management denied the allegations saying the valuation has been done only on indicative basis and final valuation will be done before disposing the proposed land parcels. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe SPV is proposed to sell the land parcel and pay off BSNL debt estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore. “It is astonishing to note that in the name of monetisation of lands, for the purpose of making BSNL a debt free company, BSNL’s land are being transferred to the SPV at a “throw-away price,” BSNL Employees Union said in a letter to the telecom secretary. The union said that market value of the 63 land parcels identified for transfer to SPV is very high, however, these are being transferred at a “dirt cheap price” in the name of book value. When contacted BSNL Chairman and MD P K Purwar said, “Such allegations are baseless and incorrect since the valuation has been done on indicative basis for the purpose of preparation of cabinet note. Final valuation will be done by a government registered valuer. The SPV proposed is also 100 per cent owned by government of India like BSNL”. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe union said that it gathered information around land parcel of Chennai and Kerala circle and found them grossly under valued. “In Chennai City, 8 land parcels are being transferred by BSNL to the SPV. The total market value of these land parcels has been determined by the BSNL management as Rs 2,753.67 crore. Whereas, the market value of these 8 land parcels comes to Rs 3,867.89 crore. Thus, it could be understood that in Chennai city alone, the BSNL’s land parcels are being under valued by Rs 1,262.89 crore,” the letter said. It also alleged that BSNL has identified 10 acres of land in the Regional Telecom Training Centre in Thiruvananthapuram at a value of Rs 10 lakh/cent (apprx 435.5 sq ft), while Kerala government six years ago paid Rs 15 lakh/cent compensation for road widening. “The SPV, which has been created to sell BSNL’s land, is going to hand over these lands to the corporates and to the entrepreneurs, at a throw away price. We are afraid that, in this process, BSNL is going to incur a massive financial loss,” the union said in the letter.last_img read more

5 RS members elected to office of profit panel

first_imgNew Delhi: Five Rajya Sabha members were elected unopposed to the parliamentary joint committee on office of profit, sources said on Thursday. According to the sources, the MPs elected unopposed to the joint committee are Mahesh Poddar (BJP), K Keshava Rao (TRS), Vijayasai Reddy (YSRCP), Dola Sen (TMC) and Sasmit Patra (BJD). The committee has 15 members — 10 from Lok Sabha and five from Rajya Sabha. It is learnt that the members from Lok Sabha have been elected as well. The chairman of the committee is still to be nominated. Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu nominated BJP MP Rakesh Sinha as a member of the Press Council of India. The sources said Sonal Mansingh (Nominated) has been elected unopposed to the Central Advisory Committee for the National Cadet Corps, while Congress MP M V Rajeev Gowda made it to National Institute of Mental Health and Nero-Sciences, Bengaluru without contest.last_img read more

Bandhan Bank StanChart tie up for cobranded credit cards

first_imgKolkata: Private lender Bandhan Bank on Friday forayed into the credit cards business in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. Bandhan Bank, which got the universal banking license from RBI over five years back, would provide co-branded credit cards to its account holders only. “We are launching co-branded credit cards in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. The cards, in three variants, will be offered to the bank’s account holders,” MD and CEO of Bandhan Bank, Chandrasekhar Ghosh, said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”I hope this is a good match. Standard Chartered has a good experience in the credit cards business,” he said. The credit period offered will be of 52 days, Ghosh added. The Kolkata-based lender has a customer base of 40 lakh spread across 1,000-odd branches in the country. CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Zarin Daruwala, said it will offer back-end support and look into the credit filters of applicants. Meanwhile, Bandhan Bank, on Friday, celebrated its fourth anniversary. UK Sinha, former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), graced the occasion as the chief guest and delivered the Anniversary Lecture on “Who is afraid of capital markets?”. Also, the bank launched a new savings account, called ‘Elite’, for high deposit customers. The Elite International Debit Card offers free insurance coverage for the customer and a host of lifestyle privileges like airport lounge access among others. The Elite account also provides unlimited digital and ATM transactions along with preferential handling of banking service requests.last_img read more

Eating nuts twice a week lowers heart attack risk

first_imgEating nuts at least twice a week can slash the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by almost 17 per cent, a new study suggests. “Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat and contain little saturated fat,” said study author. “They also have protein, minerals, vitamins, fibre, phytosterol, and polyphenols which benefit heart health. European and US studies have related nuts with cardiovascular protection but there is limited evidence from the Eastern Mediterranean Region.” Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe study, examined the association between nut consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease. A total of 5,432 adults aged 35 and older with no history of cardiovascular disease were randomly selected from urban and rural areas. The intake of nuts including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and seeds was assessed in 2001 with a validated food frequency questionnaire. Participants were interviewed every two years until 2013 for the occurrence of cardiovascular events and death. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardDuring a median 12-year follow-up, there were 751 cardiovascular events, 179 cardiovascular deaths and 458 all-cause deaths. According to the findings, eating nuts two or more times per week was associated with a 17 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to consuming nuts once every two weeks. The connection was robust even after adjusting for factors that could influence the relationship such as age, sex, education, smoking. to name a few.last_img read more

Yukon justice minister directs review of jail where mentally ill man segregated

first_imgWHITEHORSE – Yukon’s justice minister plans to direct an independent review of how the Whitehorse Correctional Centre handles mentally ill inmates following a high-profile criminal case alleging excessive use of segregation.Tracy-Anne McPhee’s decision follows the conclusion of Michael Nehass’s criminal case, which raised concerns about his treatment at the jail.“I’m very keen to make sure we determine exactly what happened in this case,” McPhee said.“The vast majority of inmates present (with mental health issues), and, as a result, we need to make sure that we are properly providing services for them.”McPhee said officials are working on finding someone with the necessary expertise to conduct a review.There are also concerns that the jail is not serving the needs of First Nations inmates.Nehass, 33, is a member of the Tahltan Nation and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.McPhee said there’s an effort to develop more culturally relevant programming, including incorporating traditional food, cultural workshops, language lessons and a newly established healing room.Nehass was charged in 2011 with assault with a weapon and forcible confinement, among other charges, related to the assault of a woman at knife point in Watson Lake.While he was found guilty of many of the charges in May 2015, he was declared unfit for trial in January 2017.Nehass’s lawyer, Anik Morrow, said his client spent 22 to 23 hours a day in a cell in the segregation unit.When outside, he was kept in handcuffs, belly chains and shackles, even while he showered, Morrow said.In January 2014, guards in riot gear held Nehass naked and shackled to the floor of his cell for a court appearance by video.Yukon Supreme Court Justice Scott Brooker noted Nehass’s time in segregation caused his mental health to deteriorate.Nehass’s nearly six-year legal saga concluded earlier this month, when the Crown stayed criminal charges.Morrow said that amounted to a gag order on many of the issues in the case.He said it also left Nehass stranded in Ontario, where he had been sent via court order to be assessed at a mental health facility in Whitby. A variation of the order meant he would be transferred to a mental health centre in Kamloops, B.C.The Yukon NDP has been calling for a public inquiry into Nehass’s case and an independent audit into the use of segregation at the correctional centre.NDP Leader Liz Hanson said she wants an open and frank public discussion, not only about Nehass’s case, but about the systemic issues involved.“It just begs this government, in the spirit of reconciliation, let’s revisit what’s going on at WCC,” Hanson said.She noted the facility, which opened in 2012 at a cost of more than $70 million, has not met the goals of a community jail and is akin to a maximum security prison.Roger Ellis, who is currently on the jail’s Elders Advisory Group, has also raised issues about the needs of mentally ill inmates and said several elders who have spoken out over the years have yet to receive a response.While Nehass was incarcerated since December 2011, he has never been sentenced for the alleged crimes. (Whitehorse Star)last_img read more

Nova Scotia announces 27M to help black residents get titles to their

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Liberal government is committed to doing the right thing to help African Nova Scotians gain clear title to land that has been in their families for many generations, a cabinet minister promised Wednesday.“African Nova Scotians have suffered, more than anyone else in Nova Scotia, great indignities and injustices with respect to land,” Tony Ince, the Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, told a gathering at a church in Cherry Brook, near Halifax.Ince announced residents of five predominantly black communities will get $2.7 million over two years to help clarify their land ownership.Ince said the province is taking action to address disparities and “systemic discrimination” that blacks have faced.“As an African Nova Scotian I understand what land means to our people. I can only imagine the frustrations you have felt and as minister … I can assure you that my government is committed to doing the right thing for you.”Land was provided to black and white Loyalists by the Nova Scotia government in the 1800s, but land titles weren’t given to black settlers, creating longstanding confusion and in many cases the inability for owners to pass property on to relatives.The communities to get initial help include North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook in the Halifax area, and Lincolnville and Sunnyville in Guysborough County. In all, 13 communities will eventually see government assistance, officials said.The initiative includes funding to assist with legal fees and other costs, and to hire two community liaison officers to assist residents through the process. A land surveyor and two survey technicians will also be hired to complete surveys and to compile support plans.The government says it will also consider amending legislation to reduce barriers to land ownership.The Land Titles Clarification Act was introduced in 1963 to help people of African descent get title to land given to their families long ago, but this week a panel of United Nations experts said the province had failed to properly implement it.The UN panel, which looked at anti-black racism in Canada, heard from residents that the funding had dried up over time for a program that had become expensive, unjust and discriminatory.Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, who also represents some of the areas affected, agreed Wednesday.“I have been trying to help the community but with zero resources,” Colwell said. “Now today … we are putting in this first phase of this program and it will be resourced more if we need to resource it more, that’s the difference.”Still, some in attendance, like Evangeline Downey of North Preston, expressed displeasure with the government’s plan to do much of the work through the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission. She also thought the formal announcement should have come at a community meeting to discuss the government’s plan.“We’d like to pick our own lawyers, that way nobody can steal our land,” Downey told the ministers.“We’d like to know what’s going on, not you telling us this, this or this.”Colwell promised Downey that a community meeting would be held at a future date. Downey later told reporters that meetings should be held in each community.Spencer Colley, chair of the East Preston Ratepayers Community Development Association, said while he doesn’t believe there is widespread mistrust of the government’s plan, there are historic grievances at play.“People want to get something that they own that they have been on for so long,” said Colley. “Yes there is mistrust, but again we have to learn to start trusting and get the work done.”A pilot project involving volunteers in the North Preston area and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has been working for the past few years to help residents with their ownership battles.Dwight Adams of the North Preston Land Recovery Initiative said it’s still not known how many African Nova Scotians are affected by land ownership issues.Adams said it is something the new government program will have to sort out.“We have to find out exactly what those numbers are. We have people that have been battling this forever and a day.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated that Keith Colwell is Nova Scotia’s natural resources minister.last_img read more

Feds earmark cash to protect children from online sexual exploitation

first_imgOTTAWA – The Liberal government has announced millions of dollars in new money for a national centre that works to protect children from online sexual exploitation.The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will receive $4.1 million over five years, and $857,000 a year ongoing.The centre, a registered charity, says victims of childhood sexual abuse often suffer great distress over the fact video or pictures of the crimes are circulating in cyberspace — adding to the pain they already experience.The new funding will allow the protection centre to develop and maintaining Arachnid, an automated crawler that detects online child sexual abuse images and videos, and can help ensure prompt removal.It will also help the centre identify victims and improving support for survivors, as well as continue operation of Cybertip.ca, a national tip-line for reporting online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.The centre will also receive $93,600 to establish a survivors’ network, allowing victims to connect and to create support resources.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

Winnipeg police did their best in death of 15yearold Tina Fontaine chief

first_imgWINNIPEG – The chief of police in Winnipeg says the force did its best to investigate the death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was pulled from the Red River.Danny Smyth told the city’s police services board Friday that he was disappointed a jury last week acquitted the man accused of killing Tina Fontaine in 2014.“Frankly, we did our best on this one,” Smyth said.Raymond Cormier was found not guilty of second-degree murder in Tina’s death. Her body was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks when it was found in the Red River days after she was reported missing.Smyth told the board he “certainly had hoped for a different outcome” but added that it was clear the jury didn’t find enough evidence to convict.“I wish we could have brought forward additional or more compelling evidence,” he said.Smyth commended the officers who he said worked hard on the case and thanked prosecutors for taking it to trial.“If not anything else, this trial provided transparency,” Smyth said. “The community was able to learn about the investigation. They were able to see evidence and learn about the circumstances that led up to Tina’s death.”He suggested that one positive outcome prompted by Tina’s death is that Manitoba no longer uses hotels to house children in care.Tina was raised by her great-aunt, Thelma Favel, on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. She left to visit her mother in Winnipeg at the end of June 2014 and became an exploited youth.Favel called Child and Family Services with concerns about Tina, who ran away repeatedly from a youth shelter and hotels where she was placed.She was last seen leaving a downtown hotel, where she told a private contract worker employed by child welfare that she was going to a shopping centre to meet friends.It’s not known how Tina died. A pathologist testified at the trial that the girl’s death was suspicious because of the manner in which her body was found.(CJOB, CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)last_img read more

Shot teacher not entitled to more compensation under govt rules ombudsman

first_imgREGINA – A teacher who was shot in the face at a school in La Loche in 2016 says she’s disappointed the Saskatchewan ombudsman has determined she can’t be compensated for pain and suffering under government rules.Charlene Klyne, a substitute teacher, lost all vision in her left eye and can only see dark shadows in her right eye. She has numerous pellets lodged in different spots from her jaw to her chest that can’t be removed by surgery.Last year, she complained that workers’ compensation payments weren’t enough to cover her bills.The provincial government asked ombudsman Mary McFadyen to review the case and she said Wednesday that Klyne has received all the support provided by government programs and workers’ compensation.“Through no fault of her own, Ms. Klyne was badly injured at work in a horrific event. We looked at the government agencies within our jurisdiction and found they provided her the supports that were within their authority to provide,” McFadyen said in a release Wednesday.“Those benefits did not include compensation for pain and suffering.”Klyne, who hasn’t been able to work since the shooting, said she’s disappointed with the ombudsman’s review. She said the province hasn’t upheld its commitment to take care of the victims of the deadly school shooting.“It is part of the government, and they are sweeping everything under the carpet — like I’ve said since this happened,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “They just want us to go away and ignore the whole situation.”A gunman opened fire at the La Loche high school in January 2016, killing a teacher and teacher’s aide, and wounding seven others. He also killed two brothers at a nearby home.Following the shooting, the provincial government had committed to supporting the victims and the community.“The offer to help was so pronounced,” said Buckley Belanger, an NDP MLA for Athabasca, which includes La Loche. “Fast forward two and a half years later and it is so discouraging to see what limited support they are affording a lot of the shooting victims.“While this one is specific to Ms. Klyne, I’ve talked to a lot of the victims and a lot of them are very frustrated and angry and very disappointed.”Belanger said the ombudsman had to work within a set of parameters, but the Saskatchewan government should have updated its legislation to address some of the concerns that came out of the shooting.“You would think after a horrific event like a school shooting that the government would respond accordingly,” he said. “They never did.”The province said in a statement that the ombudsman’s review showed Klyne received “all the entitled services and benefits under the Victims of Crime Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.”The government said they have increased addiction services, student counsellors and victim services to follow through on its commitment to help the community.Klyne said she expected more from the government as a victim, but added that she’s not finished fighting.“I’m working on getting a lawyer, getting more papers together that the lawyer requested and going from there,” she said.In the meantime, Klyne’s son has set up a GoFundMe campaign to try to get some help for his mom.last_img read more

Police arrest 13yearold after alleged threats against Montreal high school

first_imgDOLLARD-DES-ORMEAUX, Que. – Police say a 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with alleged online threats against a western Montreal high school.Montreal police spokesman Benoit Boisselle says the accused is a student at the school and police are recommending he be charged with uttering threats.He is expected in youth court at a later date.Boisselle says police searched the teen’s home today but didn’t find any weapons or explosives.He says the investigation is ongoing but there is no longer any direct threat to Ecole secondaire des Sources, a French-language high school in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.Administrators made the decision to close the school today, citing exceptional circumstances.Parents were informed by email Wednesday that the school, which has a student body of 1,530, would not open Thursday because of a police investigation.Police were at the school Wednesday and would only say the threat involved alleged bodily harm.It was the second west-end Montreal school to close this week.On Tuesday, Beaconsfield High School shut for the day because of an online threat.It was later determined the threat on social media was meant for another U.S. institution that shared the school’s initials.last_img read more

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

first_imgVANCOUVER – A legal advocacy organization on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is circulating flyers with pictures of two police officers and asking if anyone has been harassed by them.Lawyer Anna Cooper says the Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated that shows them seizing marijuana from a booth run by a program that offers the drug as an alternative to opioid users in the neighbourhood, one of the poorest in Canada.“We started to see a lot of stories online and hear a lot of stories directly about how those particular officers had a long history of being extremely abusive toward individuals living, surviving and working in that community,” Cooper said.Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver Police Union, condemned the poster campaign as “adversarial and confrontational.”“Unfortunately, the actions by Pivot only succeed in inflaming a difficult situation, particularly by recklessly identifying the officers and providing an incomplete narrative about the incident,” he said in a statement. “While our officers are public figures who understand their actions come under public scrutiny, this sort of identification potentially has broad consequences, both for the officers and their families.”Pivot Legal Society and the Overdose Prevention Society set up a table Tuesday distributing the flyers, asking anyone with allegations to come forward. Cooper said using a photo was the only way community members would know which officers were in question. The officers are not named on the flyers.“We had dozens of people tell us they had negative experiences with the officers,” she said.The range of allegations that are being made is broad, ranging from rude or threatening behaviour to “roughing people up,” she said.Cooper said the complaints will likely be brought to the chief of police and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner. None of the allegations have been tested in a complaint review process.She said she didn’t want to release details of the allegations until they are formalized as a complaint next week.“Even if all they were doing was treating people in extremely hostile, condescending, rude and disrespectful ways, that should not be acceptable to the Vancouver Police Department, not only because they should expect more from their officers but because that’s bad policing,” she said.“They need to be working with this community around community safety. These activities undermine that relationship and any possibility of working together.”The Vancouver Police Department declined an interview request Thursday.Police spokesman Sgt. Jason Robillard told a news conference Wednesday that the department was aware of the posters but he didn’t know if any official complaints had been filed.“We are a public office so you can take our picture, you can post it,” he said.He said anyone with complaints against an officer can file them with the police complaints commissioner.In a statement, police said the seizure of marijuana from the booth in the Downtown Eastside has been mischaracterized as a “raid.” Although the vendor told them the products were medicinal, police allege they were marked for sale and packaged in a manner consistent with trafficking, which is an illegal activity not allowed at the market.Police said they allowed the vendor to leave with a warning, but they were forced to act the next day despite a hostile crowd when they found the same products on display.Stamatakis of the police union said Pivot should take up any issues it has with the chief of police, not individual officers.“If the officers didn’t do their jobs, as directed, they would not only be criticized but could also be accused of neglecting their duties and face disciplinary consequences,” he added.Ronnie Grigg, general manager of the Vancouver Overdose Prevention Society, said the seizure of cannabis products from the booth galvanized the gathering of complaints against the two officers.“I think the flash point and sort of the tipping point for us is the confiscation of some cannabis products that we use for a program, and I’ll say a very successful program, that provides alternatives for people with opioid addictions,” he said.Grigg said he has witness the officers interact with vulnerable people who were unthreatening, including allegedly “aggressive arrests” and confiscating sleeping bags from people.last_img read more

Frustrated patients viral video demonstrates NS health crisis doctors say

first_imgHALIFAX — Doctors Nova Scotia says a viral video made by a frustrated young mother who says she waited two years for her cancer diagnosis demonstrates the province’s troubling family doctor shortage.President-elect Dr. Gary Ernest says the idea that there are people who can’t get help for minor problems, let alone for more serious health issues, constitutes “a health crisis.”In an emotional Facebook video that has been viewed more than 2.5 million times and struck a national chord, Inez Rudderham says she went undiagnosed with Stage 3 anal cancer for two years due to her lack of access to a family doctor.The 33-year-old Rudderham described her case as the “face of the health-care crisis in Nova Scotia,” and has asked to meet with Premier Stephen McNeil.Ernest noted that Rudderham had to seek care in emergency departments, which he says are not set up to do primary care in ways that a family doctor who knows the patient would.On Thursday McNeil said his government is trying to update an antiquated health system, and said other jurisdictions face similar issues.Provincial health officials were trying to meet with Rudderham.As of March 1, 51,119 people who have registered with the province are currently without a family doctor. National figures place that figure at closer to 100,000, when the number of people who haven’t registered are taken into account.According to 2017 figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Nova Scotia has 1,234 family doctors and 1,222 specialists for an overall physician total of 2,456, serving a population of about 965,382.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Premiers to focus on Quebec over pipelines religious symbols at conference

first_imgSASKATOON — Canada’s premiers are meeting in Saskatoon on the final day of their annual gathering with Quebec expected to be at the centre of talks.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he is trying to work with Quebec Premier Francois Legault on moving oil through the province by pipeline as part of a future energy corridor.But Legault says there is no “social acceptability” in Quebec for oil pipelines.Kenney says he believes Legault understands the financial pain Albertans are feeling.He says provinces that receive equalization payments should help develop resources that pay the bills in the federation.Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he plans to express his concerns with Legault about Quebec’s new law that bans public servants in positions of power from wearing religious symbols.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is hosting the meeting of The Council of the Federation and says some disagreements are expected.The premiers are also to discuss health care, Arctic sovereignty and cannabis. Bill Graveland and Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

If we cant take the heat how can we adapt to the

first_imgIn today’s Big Story podcast, this isn’t an episode about fixing climate change. It’s a story about how to live with what’s happening. It doesn’t matter if you disagree over why we’re seeing more heat waves, higher average temperatures, and melting permafrost—it matters what we’re going to do about it. So how do humans learn to live in a hotter world?There is a surprising number of simple things that both individuals and governments can do that can turn “unbearable and dangerous” into “uncomfortable but hopefully safe”. Will we do them? Or will we spend the next few months arguing about a Carbon Tax while elderly and vulnerable people die in sweltering apartments with no air conditioning?GUEST: Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of WaterlooAudio Playerhttps://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/chtbl.com/track/G9G45/rogers-aod.leanstream.co/rogers/thebigstory_dai/tbs_07252019_dai.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and SpotifyYou can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.last_img read more