Month: October 2019 Page 1 of 8

Five former Michigan Catholic priests charged with sex crimes

first_imgDetroit: Michigan prosecutors announced Friday that five former Catholic priests are facing sexual abuse charges as part of the state attorney general’s ongoing investigation into clergy abuse going back decades. Attorney General Dana Nessel said the priests served in dioceses in Detroit, Lansing and Kalamazoo, and that they’ve been charged with various counts of criminal sexual conduct. Four of them were arrested this week in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, and the fifth awaits extradition from India. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’A sixth priest faces an administrative complaint and has had his counseling license suspended by the state, officials said. Nearly all of the charges, which involve victims who were as young as 5 years old when they were abused, came from roughly 450 calls to a tip line and were corroborated by files seized from dioceses last fall and interviews with multiple victims, Nessel said. She added that the cases are just the “tip of the iceberg,” as investigators have only gone through at most 10% of the information they have obtained. They also found many cases in which they could not bring charges because statutes of limitation had expired, priests had died or victims wouldn’t come forward. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China”We’re holding people accountable in this case, some of those clergy who preyed on young children and vulnerable adults,” Nessel said at a news conference. “Unfortunately, they were hiding in plain sight … and taking advantage of their position of faith and authority.” Those charged were Timothy Crowley, 69, of Tempe, Arizona; Neil Kalina, 63, of Littlerock, California; Vincent DeLorenzo, 80, of Lantana, Florida; Patrick Casey, 55, of Bellaire, Michigan; and Jacob Vellian, 84, of Kerala, India. It wasn’t immediately clear if they have attorneys. DeLorenzo was charged Thursday with three counts each of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. DeLorenzo, who served several Michigan churches, admitted when he resigned from a Flint-area parish in 2002 that he had sexually abused a child. He wasn’t charged at the time, but the Diocese of Lansing recently said a total of eight people had accused him of sexual abuse and that he was being defrocked. Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea issued a statement welcoming the actions of prosecutors, saying this way “the truth can come out and justice may be served.”last_img read more

Kolkata college adds Humanity in religion tab of forms

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to spread a humanitarian message, Bethune College in Kolkata included ‘Humanity’ as an option in the ‘Religion’ section of the college admission forms, an official said on Friday. Established in 1879, the first women’s college in Asia has taken a noticeable step by keeping ‘Humanity’ as the first option in the ‘Religion’ tab of their online application forms for the undergraduate admission process that started on May 27. “We have noticed that some youngsters don’t want to disclose their religion. There were options like ‘non-believer’ but we thought that humanity is something that all the religions talk about. Humanity is above every religion,” Mamata Ray Chaudhuri, Principal of the college which functions under Calcutta University, told IANS. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga She said it is better to have faith in humanity rather than becoming a non-believer at a young age. The college alumni and students welcomed the step. “Being an ardent believer in humanity myself, I would really like to congratulate the college authorities for coming up with such a progressive initiative. Such a step will hopefully restore faith in mankind and help us accept the heterogeneity of views,” Ananya Sasaru, a former student of the college, told IANS.last_img read more

Harmeet Ayhika win as India complete golden sweep in Cwealth TT

first_imgCuttack: Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee won the men’s and women’s singles titles as hosts India completed a clean sweep, claiming all the seven gold medals on offer at the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships here on Monday. Harmeet, 26, beat favourite G Sathiyan 4-3 (9-11 6-11 11-5 11-8 17-15 7-11 11-9 in a hard-fought final to claim the men’s singles title. After being down 0-2 initially, Harmeet made a valiant comeback to outwit Sathiyan in a marathon seven game contest. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhEarlier in the day, Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar claimed the men’s doubles gold by stunning top seeds Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal 3-1 (8-11 11-6 13-11 12-10). In women singles, Ayhika won her maiden gold in the championships, thrashing former national champion Madurika Patkar 4-0 (11-6 11-4 11-9 19-17). Pooja Sahasrabudhe and Krittwika Sinha Roy defeated compatriots Sreeja Akula and Mousumi Paul 3-1 (11-9 11-8 9-11 12-10) to claim the women’s doubles crown. Interestingly, no paddler could replicate their gold-winning performance in other events. The domination of home paddlers could be gauged from the fact that all finals Monday featured only the Indians. Indian paddlers topped the medals tally with seven gold, five silver and three bronze. England (2 silver, 3 bronze) were second ahead of Singapore (6 bronze), Malaysia and Nigeria (1 bronze each).last_img read more

China asks India Pak to avoid any action that may increase tensions

first_imgBeijing: Voicing serious concern over the situation in Kashmir, China on Tuesday asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid actions that “unilaterally” change the status quo and exacerbate tensions between the two countries. “China is seriously concerned about the current situation in Kashmir,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a written response to media queries about the militaries of India and Pakistan exchanging fire along the Line of Control and the Indian government’s move to revoke Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent. This issue is a legacy of history between India and Pakistan, which is also the consensus of the international community,” Hua said, without directly referring to revocation of Article 370 by India. “The parties concerned should exercise restraint and act with caution, especially to avoid actions that unilaterally change the status quo and exacerbate the tension,” she said. “We call on the two sides to peacefully resolve relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard regional peace and stability , she said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThis is the second statement issued by China on the Kashmir issue in recent weeks. On July 26, China said India and Pakistan should peacefully settle the Kashmir issue and other disputes through dialogue and expressed its support to the international community, including the US, in playing a “constructive role” to improve ties between the two countries. The statement was issued in response to US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington. India rejected Trump’s offer, saying that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. Over the years, China’s official stand on Kashmir has been that it is an issue left over by history and should be properly addressed by India and Pakistan through consultation and negotiations.last_img read more

Forum directs builder to pay Rs 15 lakh refund to flat buyer

first_imgMumbai: A consumer forum here has ordered a construction firm to refund over Rs 15 lakh to a buyer for failing to hand over a flat in suburban Kandivali on time. In its ruling passed recently in favour of the complainants- Amit Monterio and Francis Monterio, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum told the construction firm, Vijaykamal Properties, that the flat buyers cannot be held responsible for pending litigations. The duo had booked a flat in a building located in Kandivali (W) Mumbai in 2014. They had made an initial payment of Rs 15,51,168 to Vijaykamal Properties for the flat costing Rs 77,55,840. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ As per the agreement, the duo was supposed to get the possession by June 2017. However, the builder failed to hand over the property and did not even complete the construction, the complainants said. They said that the construction firm did not respond to the legal notice sent by them. Following which they approached the consumer forum, seeking refund of the amount paid. In the reply before the forum, the builder argued that he could not hand over possession of the flat due to multiple litigations pending against the property. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K He further submitted that Origin Realtors LLP was also introduced as a co-promoter in the project, which was then revised and registered with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) and as per the new plan, the project was expected to be completed by December 31, 2023. The forum, however, said, “Due to multiple litigations the opponent could not give possession of the flat to the complainants. However, for these litigations complainants cannot be held responsible.” The forum also said that after the project was revised, no fresh agreement were executed with the complainants. Therefore, the buyers should have got possession of the flat by June 2017 as per the deed executed earlier. Since the realtors failed to hand over the flat within that time, the duo should get the refund of the amount they had paid, it added. It directed the builder to refund the entire amount paid by the buyer alongwith interest of 9 per cent per annum and also ordered him to pay Rs 10,000 towards the cost of litigation.last_img read more

Connecting better

first_imgIn keeping with India’s Neighbourhood First policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi just concluded his second state visit to India’s protectorate and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. In a pre-departure statement, the Prime Minister said that “India-Bhutan partnership today is of a special character and substance and forms an important pillar of Government of India’s Neighbourhood First policy”. This visit was made with the purpose to promote valued friendship with the Himalayan state. A time-tested friend, not only is it important to refresh ties with the protectorate state, but it is also necessary to keep Bhutan close and in confidence given the spreading influence of China in the region. Prime Minister Modi reiterated that his visit to Bhutan at the beginning of his renewed term of government reflects the extent of importance the Indian government attaches to its relations with Bhutan. The Prime Minster expressly stated that “India and Bhutan enjoy excellent bilateral ties exemplified by our extensive development partnership, mutually beneficial hydro-power co-operation, and strong trade and economic linkages. These are, reinforced by a shared spiritual heritage and robust people-to-people ties.” The year 2018 marked the golden jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two neighbours. With 50 years of positive ties behind, the Indian Prime Minister marked his visit to Thimphu also as a gesture to step up their relations. Bhutan is a small country that is exemplarily maturing into a democratic state. Today, Bhutan is the perfect example of a country developing in balance with environmental sensitivities and general well-being of its common people. Its success may be credited to the former King of the state and also to its people, but India too has a significant role to play in bringing Bhutan to where it stands now. Bhutan receives India’s support on several fronts such as development, education, foreign policy, security, etc. Although it has been five decades since the formal laying down of diplomatic ties between the two countries, it is since the time of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the two nations have shared strong ties. Also Read – A compounding difficultyA common perspective of the premiers of both nations is that besides government-to-government engagement, the focus must be on people-to-people interaction and development as well. And the beginning of this has to be with regional diplomacy; Ladakh, for instance, is a strategic region which has been sharing cultural and religious values with Bhutan for centuries. With this example of Ladakh and its newly acquired status of Union Territory, it must be emphasised that there needs to in place be a coherent policy dedicated to trans-Himalayan region with respect to development and cooperation. Diplomatic finesse must be the hallmark of reaching out to Himalayan countries in the awareness that non-territorial proximity with China is easier to come by for these regions. A reactionary policy is bound to be counter-productive, as in the example of cancellation of gas subsidy as a punishment for Bhutan’s first Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley for meeting informally with the then Chinese premier in 2013. China’s far-sightedness in reaching out to Himalayan regions by means of policies is only too well established globally. The developments in Tibet region, in particular, stand testimony to this. China’s three-pronged strategy comprising local, regional, and government-to-government is deployed vigorously to propagate the mythological conception of Zhangzhung in the western Tibet Autonomous Region as a historical fact. Also Read – An askew democracyPrime Minister Modi’s second visit to Bhutan was a positive event where he was received very warmly by his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering at Paro airport. A wide range of talks was held between the two state leaders which focussed on steps to expand further their bilateral partnership across various sectors. Ten Memoranda of Understandings were also signed between them to reinvigorate the ties. With the inauguration of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant by Modi, the occasion was also marked by the launch of stamps to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation. The other areas that the MoUs cover include those of space research, aviation, IT, power, and education. In an economic venture, Modi launched the RuPay Card in Bhutan and symbolically made a purchase at the 1629-built Simtokha Dzong and also planted a sapling there. This place now functions as a monastic and administrative centre and is one of the oldest dzongs (meaning fortress) in Bhutan. India also facilitated a positive approach by increasing the currency swap limit for Bhutan under the SAARC currency swap framework. An additional $100 million will be made available to Bhutan under a standby swap arrangement to meet the foreign exchange requirement. The two state leaders jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station and SATCOM network which is developed with assistance from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for utilisation of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan. India also intends to enhance communication, public broadcasting, and disaster management coverage in Bhutan with its space development initiatives. Enabling better people-to-people approach, collaboration between Royal Bhutan University and IITs of India and some other top educational institutions are in the pipeline in order to come together to meet mutual requirements for education and technology in both countries. It is necessary and of great value to consolidate India-Bhutan ties further for the prosperous future and mutual progress of the people in both countries.last_img read more

Didi Ke Bolo TMC leaders face tough time answering uncomfortable questions

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Didi Ke Bolo campaign is helping the TMC reach out to people in distress, but at the same time forcing party leaders to handle uncomfortable questions about cut money, arrogance of local leaders and syndicates. As advised by poll strategist Prashant Kishor and his organisation, appointed by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) after its poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee on July 29 had launched a dedicated helpline number and a website as part of ‘Didi Ke Bolo’, to enable people to have a direct interface with party functionaries. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja As part of the programme, over 1,000 party leaders are visiting 10,000 villages to redress the grievances of people. Senior TMC leaders cited examples of Rima Datta of North 24 Parganas district, Samar Mandal of South 24 Parganas district, Ebadur Rahman of Hooghly district, Jagannath Chakraborty of Howrah district and Md Firoz of Jalpaiguri district who had received assistance for medical emergency or getting admission to colleges. “After getting calls from people in distress, we contacted local TMC leaders and departments concerned, who were asked to resolve the issues. All the complaints were addressed within 24 hours,” a senior TMC leader told PTI. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Even people from West Bengal who were stuck in floods in Karnataka and Kerala were rescued after their location and coordinates were passed on to the disaster management department, the TMC leader said. However, the initiative has also raised some allegations against a section of party leaders. “People have called up the helpline number and complained about extortion, cut money and syndicates. As soon as we received such calls, we looked into their grievances. “Some callers have complained against certain leaders, especially those who have joined the TMC from other parties after we came to power in 2011,” another TMC leader said on condition of anonymity. During the mass outreach programme too, the party leaders are being forced to bite the tongue while answering queries on cut money and alleged arrogance of local TMC leaders, a party functionary said. “We are facing a tough time answering these questions. But we can assure the people that steps will be taken to address these issues,” a TMC leader, who faced such uncomfortable questions, told PTI. Among those participating in the outreach programme are senior party leaders and ministers Rabindranath Ghosh, Jyotipriyo Mullick, Arup Roy, Firhad Hakim, Partha Chatterjee, Sashi Panja, Sadhan Pande, Tapan Dasgupta, Nirmal Ghosh and Abdur Rezzak Mollah. “In some of the areas that we have visited, people are questioning us why we are hesitating to throw out corrupt and arrogant leaders from the party. We will submit our observations to the leadership,” said another TMC leader. Reacting to the development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said people of West Bengal are “fed up” with the misrule of the state government and “cut money business” of the TMC. “The questions they are facing are just a mild reflection of the people’s ire towards them. Time is running out for the TMC as people are getting ready to throw them out of power in next assembly polls,” Ghosh said. In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has bettered its performance from two seats in 2014 to 18 this year, in the 42 seats of the state. The TMC, which won 22 Lok Sabha seats, has sought “professional help” to refurbish its image in order to counter an aggressive and ideology-driven BJP in the state, ahead of the 2021 assembly polls, sources said.last_img read more

Man who killed children struggles with anger management psychiatrist

first_imgCOQUITLAM, B.C. – A man found not criminally responsible for killing his three children because of a mental disorder is making slow progress but still faces serious anger issues, a psychiatrist says.Dr. Marcel Hediger told a British Columbia Review Board hearing Wednesday that it’s unlikely he would recommend Allan Schoenborn be granted supervised outings into the community within the next year, saying he would first need to see a sustained period of at least six months of healthy anger management.The board granted the director of a psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam, B.C., the discretion to allow Schoenborn escorted outings into the community two years ago, but he still hasn’t been allowed to leave.“Mr. Schoenborn quite consistently doesn’t feel he has a significant anger-management issue,” Hediger told the three-person panel.“He does say he has a short fuse, but that is the extent to which Mr. Schoenborn acknowledges he has a significant management issue.”Hediger said he believes anger played a role when Schoenborn stabbed his 10-year-old daughter Kaitlynne and smothered his sons Max and Cordon, eight and five, at the family’s home in Merritt in April 2008. Schoenborn has repeatedly denied that anger factored into the killings, Hediger added.The hearing ended Wednesday without a conclusion and another date to complete the arguments hasn’t been set.The brother of Schoenborn’s former spouse, Mike Clarke, told reporters during a break in proceedings about the toll the process is taking on his family.“It’s a day-by-day thing for my sister,” he said. “As time goes by it’s getting a little worse for her.”It is clear Schoenborn needs a lot of treatment, Clarke added, saying he wants the man who killed his niece and nephews locked up “until the day he eventually passes away from old age.”Crown attorney Wendy Dawson asked the three-person review panel to reverse a 2015 decision giving the hospital director the discretion to authorize supervised excursions, arguing Schoenborn poses too much of a risk.She said Schoenborn’s anger issues are entrenched and that any earlier progress was a ploy to earn privileges from the review board.Dawson said Schoenborn had gone through nearly three years of cumulative counselling for anger management and he still struggles with applying his lessons in the heat of the moment.Schoenborn attended the review hearing wearing a collared, blue work shirt and torn jeans. He spent most of the time staring into his lap and slowly rocking back and forth in his seat.Schoenborn interrupted with an unintelligible comment while Dawson was questioning Hediger about the night of the killings.“Altruistic was found,” Schoenborn said. “This has got to be said.”Barry Long, chairman of the review panel, told Schoenborn he would have his turn to offer his version of events.Schoenborn apologized, agreeing with Long’s suggestion everyone take a five-minute break.Both the lawyer representing the hospital director and counsel for Schoenborn want the conditions imposed in the 2015 review board decision left unchanged.Two years after the children were killed, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Schoenborn was not criminally responsible because he was experiencing psychosis and believed he was protecting his children from sexual abuse, though no evidence was heard suggesting they were being abused.When the review board granted him escorted community outings, it said Schoenborn was diagnosed as having a delusional disorder, a substance abuse disorder and paranoid personality traits, but that his symptoms have been in remission for years.The Crown has also filed a separate court application to have Schoenborn designated a high-risk accused, which would end the possibility of the outings and extend the time between annual review hearings up to three years.The former Conservative government used Schoenborn as an example in 2014 to introduce the new designation, which can be applied to people found not criminally responsible because of mental disorder.Schoenborn’s next appearance in that case is scheduled for mid-June in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

Live with Kelly and Ryan readies for Trudeau guest appearance in Niagara

first_imgNIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can expect a mix of personal and political talk when he sits down with morning show co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest during their visit to Canada.“On our show, we really are about having fun and positivity and about getting into who people really are,” said Michael Gelman, executive producer of “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in a phone interview.“A lot of the conversation is going to be about him, him personally … in addition to being the leader of your country. We’re going to have 3,000 people in the audience and I think everyone will be really excited to see him.“We will be brushing upon things that are going on in the news; but again, we’re not a news show, we don’t pretend to be a news show. But we can’t ignore things that are happening out there.”Trudeau will be the first sitting Canadian prime minister on the long-running daytime show when he appears at their first live taping in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Monday. The show will be taped at the Oakes Garden Theatre, which showcases panoramic views of the American and Horseshoe Falls.Other guests slated for Monday’s show include “Orphan Black” actress Tatiana Maslany and American singer Erin Bowman.“He always seemed like a great guy, an interesting person, and as leader of all of Canada, I think the American public and Canadian public are interested in what he has to say,” said Gelman.The second episode, which will air Tuesday, will be filmed immediately after the live-to-air Monday show. Tuesday’s guests will feature “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, “Cars 3” star Nathan Fillion, and musical performers French Montana and Swae Lee.It’s not the first time the show has visited the tourist city. Episodes were filmed there in 1996 when the show was known as “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee,” with former co-hosts Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford; and in 2006, when Ripa had already joined as a host, replacing Gifford.The New York-based show also taped episodes north of the border on Prince Edward Island in 2010, and in Banff, Alta., in 2012.“We love the people,” Gelman said of Canada. “There’s so much natural beauty and so many things to do up here, so it’s been a real haven for us in terms of finding locations to visit.”“Live with Kelly and Ryan” airs on CTV in Canada, and in national syndication in the U.S.last_img read more

Vancouver braces for heat wave poor air quality from wildfire smoke

first_imgVANCOUVER – Southern British Columbia is bracing for a troubling combination of a heat wave and poor air quality from wildfire smoke, prompting officials to take a number of extraordinary measures to keep residents safe.The city of Vancouver is opening cooling centres, installing misting stations in public parks and adding temporary water fountains. It is also providing water and sunscreen to homeless people and increasing staff to monitor those sleeping outside.“We’re concerned,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson on Tuesday.“Everyone is at risk in the city with heat stroke and exhaustion being realities when we have this combination of impacts, so we’re ramping up efforts to make sure the city has supports in place.”Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement about the hot weather for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, Southern Gulf Islands and east and south Vancouver Island.A massive ridge of high pressure over the area is expected to push temperatures in many communities into the mid- to high 30s.Air-quality advisories cover much of southern B.C., and were issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley starting Tuesday, as smoke from wildfires in the Interior drifts into the region, bringing high concentrations of fine particulate matter that are expected to last for several days.Dr. Reka Gustafson, medical health officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, urged young children, pregnant women, seniors and people with chronic health problems to be especially cautious.“The poor air quality affects anyone with cardiac conditions, respiratory conditions and diabetes,” she added. “You should really not have physical exertion.”Residents are being urged to use air-conditioned lobbies or common areas in their buildings or take advantage of air-conditioned rooms in community centres. Homeless people have been offered the use of showers at two public parks.The region’s pet population is also at risk and the SPCA issued a reminder on Tuesday to the public not to leave animals in hot cars.A Port Coquitlam veterinary hospital issued a warning of its own when it posted a photo of the body of a dog, covered in a blanket, that died after being left in a hot car on Friday.“We are heartbroken. Such a preventable disaster,” reads the post from Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital. “Family is distraught. Please please stop doing this people!!”A follow-up post from the veterinary hospital said the owners of the dog are not “bad pet people” and the photo was published as a reminder that the tragedy can happen to anyone.Reached by phone on Tuesday, veterinarian and hospital owner Dr. Leah Montgomery said she was no longer speaking to the media about the post. She would not provide a reason.The SPCA encouraged people to leave their pets at home when they are going out in the car.“People don’t realize just how quickly their cars can become death traps for their pets — it can take as little as 10 minutes for the vehicle to reach temperatures where the animal can suffer irreparable brain damage or death,” said community relations manager Lorie Chortyk in a statement.The society is urging anyone who sees a dog in distress in a parked vehicle to note the licence plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner. If no owner is found or the animal is suffering symptoms of heatstroke, call the SPCA.The heat also doesn’t bode well for the province’s wildfire situation, with danger ratings to remain high to extreme across much of southern B.C.“The ongoing dry weather poses a continued fire risk as land becomes more parched,” said Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Chief Darrell Reid. “For this reason, the ban on open fires including campfires remains in place and will remain so until further notice.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.last_img read more

More federal cash for water sewer systems wont solve wave of problems

first_imgOTTAWA – A new report from a bipartisan think-tank says the federal government should scale back its spending on water and sewage systems in Canadian cities for each community’s financial good.The Ecofiscal Commission report being released today makes the case that the fees homeowners pay for the water running through their taps and down their drains don’t cover the full cost of service, leading to gaps in funding that upper levels of government have been trying to fill for years.So long as fees don’t cover costs, that gap is likely to remain.“While most of us have access to good water, some of us don’t,” said Chris Ragan, the commission’s chairman.“If your infrastructure deficits are there, there’s always the possibility that we might run into a problem tomorrow.”The recommendations in the report about how to fund thousands of municipal water systems run upstream to the billions in new spending federal and provincial governments are pouring into infrastructure to close a funding gap that the commission estimates at $142 billion. The report says that at start of 2015, there were at least 1,838 communities under drinking-water advisories, the result of crumbling infrastructure.The Liberals plan to pour some $9.2 billion into so-called green infrastructure funding over the next 11 years, with an extra $5 billion through a new infrastructure financing agency with the hopes that it pries two or three times that amount from private sector investors wooed by the idea that they can charge user fees for water and waste water systems to see a return on their investment.About 90 per cent of all the homes in Canada receive water and waste water services from their local municipality, with the remaining 10 per cent using a well or septic tank and a tiny percentage in communities that have to haul in water.The cost to homeowners has increasingly fallen further away from the costs to run a system and expand it to handle long-term growth expectations, the report says.As long as the cost of water remains relatively cheap, consumption will remain high and put a greater burden on community systems, adding more strain to existing water systems, said Ragan, an economics professor at McGill University.Ragan said upper levels of government could help small communities where there aren’t enough taxpayers to make covering costs easy for each taxpayer, or help cities design user fees to ensure low-income households aren’t overwhelmed by rising rates.Canada ranks fourth in OECD in per capita water use, even though consumption has dropped by about 35 per cent to 223 litres a day in 2013 from 343 litres a day in 1999, according to Statistics Canada.— Follow @jpress on Twitter.last_img read more

The Wednesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Wednesday, Nov. 29———ALBERTA JUDGE NAMED TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA: Alberta-based judge Sheilah Martin has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Martin served on Alberta’s superior court before being elevated to the appeal court of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Prime Minister’s Office cited her strong focus on education, equality rights and increasing the number of under-represented groups in law schools and the legal profession.———TORY MPs ADMONISH TRUDEAU OVER LGBTQ APOLOGY: Two Conservative MPs say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went too far in his apology for past state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ. Conservative MP Harold Albrecht said Trudeau went beyond apologizing for historical wrongs when he expressed his support for children discovering their sexual orientation or gender identity as young as the age of six. Tory MP Ted Falk says he supported an apology but the fact that some of the statements went beyond that kept him from responding with as much enthusiasm as others in the Commons.———PRODUCER FIRED OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS: An executive producer for several Vancouver-shot superhero shows has been fired following a “thorough investigation” into allegations of sexual harassment against him. Warner Bros. Television Group says it has terminated Andrew Kreisberg’s employment. Kreisberg had been suspended from his work on “Arrow,” “Supergirl,” “The Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow” amid accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching made by 19 former and current employees. Kreisberg had responded by saying he made comments of women’s appearance or clothes in a non sexualized manner.———GOVERNMENT PROMISES TREATMENT CENTRE FOR ONTARIO FIRST NATION: The federal government has promised to pay for a treatment centre for an Ontario reserve plagued by mercury contamination. Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott delivered the news to community leaders during a meeting Wednesday in Toronto that included Ontario Indigenous Relations Minister David Zimmer. Mercury contamination has plagued the English-Wabigoon River system in northwestern Ontario for half a century, since a paper mill dumped 9,000 kilograms of the substance into the river systems in the 1960s.———TORIES WANT MORNEAU TO RESIGN: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling for Bill Morneau’s resignation and says if he fails to do so, then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should just fire him. Morneau has been under fire for weeks when he proposed tax-system changes that enraged small business owners. Since then, Morneau has faced intense political pressure for not fully disclosing his personal financial arrangements.———BLOGGERS WHO DENY CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ON POLAR BEARS IGNORE SCIENCE: An analysis of dozens of blogs that question the threat climate change poses to polar bears has found the writers ignore virtually all the science on bears and sea ice. The study looked at 90 blogs that regularly discuss climate change. Half supported the consensus view that changes are happening and are the result of human activity. The other half didn’t.———ARGUMENTS OPEN IN RCMP SEX ASSAULT CASE: The Crown says a retired RCMP inspector mistakenly thought that a civilian employee consented to sexual activity in a washroom at the force’s British Columbia headquarters. Michelle Booker says Tim Shields did not take any steps to see if the woman agreed to allow him to allegedly kiss and grope her in 2009. Shields was charged with one count of sexual and has pleaded not guilty.———U.S. RATTLES ECONOMIC SABRE AGAINST NORTH KOREA: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. may target additional financial institutions with sanctions following North Korea’s latest intercontinental missile launch. Tillerson didn’t specify which institutions could be targeted. His comments came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that more sanctions were coming. North Korea said the missile it launched Wednesday can carry a large nuclear warhead and has “significantly more” power than missiles it’s tested earlier.———SHOCK EXPRESSED OVER LAURER FIRING: Natalie Morales says she was shocked when she woke up Wednesday to learn that her former “Today” show co-anchor Matt Lauer had been fired. She says the “Today” show has been her family for 16 years and learning about the allegations against Lauer is very difficult. She has also praised the unnamed woman whose accusations led to Lauer’s dismissal by NBC.———last_img read more

New Brunswick signs with fourth company to supply recreational cannabis

first_imgFREDERICTON – New Brunswick has signed a deal with a fourth company to supply marijuana for the province’s recreational market.The Liberal government says a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Nuuvera Inc. (TSXV:NUU)The agreement was reached as the federal government prepares to legalize the recreational use of cannabis later this year.On its website, the company says it will supply 2.5 million grams of cannabis and related products for the province’s marijuana market.Agreements have also been signed with three other producers: Organigram, Canopy Growth Corp. and Zenabis.One of the commitments in the memorandums is that suppliers will provide two per cent of their gross sales to the government to support its education efforts.last_img read more

Get on with tackling outstanding issues with Indigenous child welfare Sinclair

first_imgOTTAWA – Enough talk about the over-representation of Indigenous kids in the child welfare system — it’s time for action, says the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Murray Sinclair, now an independent senator, says it’s critical to get all the federal, provincial and territorial players moving now — a message he plans to deliver this week at an emergency conference in Ottawa with officials and experts from across the country.“The most important thing right now is get the parties that are involved in child welfare in Canada … to start doing something,” he said in a recent interview, adding that the child welfare system is “frozen by analysis, so they are paralysed into thinking their job is too huge and they are not going to be able to fashion any type of a proper resolution.”Sinclair said he hopes the conference will focus on “how do we move in concert with each other, so provincial, territorial and federal government officials talking about what is it that each party has to do in order to address the over-representation and unnecessary over-representation of Aboriginal children in care.”The impact of that over-representation can be devastating. There is, for instance, an unmistakable link between the number of children who end up in care and the sky-high rate of Indigenous people who end up in jail, Sinclair said.As chair of the TRC, Sinclair spent six years documenting Canada’s residential school legacy — a government-funded, church-operated assimilation program from the 1870s to 1996 — and issued 94 recommendations, including several involving child welfare reform that topped the list.Among other things, the commission called on federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Indigenous children in care by taking action — including providing adequate resources to allow Indigenous communities and child welfare organizations to keep families together where possible and keep children in culturally-appropriate environments.Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and her senior officials seem prepared to take additional steps to confront systemic failures, Sinclair said. But he warned them against getting caught up in a “well-intentioned dialogue” without being able to point to concrete changes.“At a certain point in time, there’s going to be a turning point,” Sinclair said. “I think with child welfare, we are there. I think we actually have a minister and we have senior officials in place within her department who are prepared to try and make some change.”At the Assembly of First Nations’ special chiefs meeting in December, Philpott announced that the upcoming federal budget will include more money for First Nations child welfare services on reserves but she stopped short of saying how much. She reiterated that promise Tuesday as she outlined the goals of her new department and said fixing the child welfare system is her number one priority.She said the Liberal government is keen to fix the “funding gap” in the resources available to Indigenous children as compared to non-Indigenous kids and conceded the Liberals have been called out repeatedly for not doing enough.But it will take far more than additional funds to address systemic problems, Philpott insisted, arguing that reform must also focus on prevention, keeping children with their families and communities and returning children currently in care.She said the two-day emergency meeting, which starts Thursday, is not intended to assign blame. Rather, it’s aim is to look for ideas on what can make the system work better and what kind of funding is needed to implement those ideas.Philpott also said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked her to work as fast as possible to change outcomes for Indigenous people in Canada.For their part, the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society want the federal government to earmark more money for the problem and have pointed to a unanimous motion passed in the Commons in fall 2016 that called for an immediate $155-million cash infusion.NDP Indigenous Affairs critic Charlie Angus estimates the immediate shortfall in funding is at least $300 million a year.— with files from Mia Rabson— Follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

No endangered listing for Labrador caribou as Innu hunt continues

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Newfoundland and Labrador won’t list two caribou herds as endangered while it continues talks with Indigenous groups.That’s despite a recommendation last fall from a federal committee that the George River and Torngat Mountains herds should be listed under the province’s Endangered Species Act.A 2016 count estimated the George River herd at just under 9,000 animals — down from 74,000 six years earlier.A hunting ban has been in place since 2013, but the Innu Nation says its own management plan allows for killing 100 animals.The Nunatsiavut Government for Labrador Inuit questions the caribou counts and wants to hunt 90 animals.It says there should be no endangered listing while joint management efforts with the province continue.last_img read more

US Attacker at Michigan airport was on mission to kill Americans

first_imgFLINT, Mich. – A U.S. prosecutor says a Montreal man accused of stabbing a police officer at a Michigan airport was willing to die if he could have seized the victim’s gun and attacked others.Jurors heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Amor Ftouhi, a Tunisian who was living in Montreal. He’s charged with three crimes at the Flint airport in 2017, including an act of terrorism.Federal prosecutor Jules DePorre said Ftouhi saw himself as a martyr who wanted to “kill Americans until he himself was killed.” Ftouhi’s lawyer didn’t make an opening statement. Ftouhi says he is innocent.The trial opened Tuesday with jury selection.The weapon allegedly used in the attack will apparently be shown to jury members. The federal prosecutor received authorization from a judge to bring two weapons into the courtroom, a hunting knife and a machete.The government says Ftouhi legally entered the U.S. at Champlain, N.Y. in June 2017 and attacked Lt. Jeff Neville five days later at the Flint airport, about 80 kilometres northwest of Detroit. Neville survived.Witnesses at the airport reported that the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great.” The attacker also made reference to people killed in Syria, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, according to information reported by the FBI.Ftouhi, 50, has been detained since his arrest June 21, 2017. Married and the father of three children, he had been living in Canada for 10 years and worked occasionally as a truck driver. He holds Canadian and Tunisian citizenship.last_img read more

The deciding factor Suburban women play important role in Manitoba election

first_imgWINNIPEG — Manitoba’s political parties are using their platforms, candidates and advertisements to reach out to women voters who some analysts say could play a deciding role in important constituencies in Tuesday’s election.The Progressive Conservatives have ads about Brian Pallister’s humble roots and family life, a possible attempt to soften a leader whose approval rating remains low with women. His wife, Esther, has also appeared by his side at many campaign events.The party has tried to highlight NDP Leader Wab Kinew’s past misogynistic rap lyrics and social media posts. Attack ads have pointed to domestic violence allegations made by Kinew’s former partner. He has denied them.Despite the Tories’ efforts, Kinew has continued to poll more favourably with women.The New Democrats have rolled out a campaign about their leader’s redemption — how he has become a supportive family man, husband and father. They’ve also used attack ads with women, who appear to refer to Pallister as an “ass.”“In some ways, this election has really been subtly and really overtly about women,” says Mary Agnes Welch with Probe Research.Welch says men tend to vote the same way every election but women are more likely to support different parties. Getting the female vote doesn’t guarantee a win, she adds, but it can swing key seats — specifically suburbs — and affect whether a minority or majority government takes office.“How women vote in those key ridings in this election could be the deciding factor because they are the ones that shift.”A Probe Research poll released earlier in the week showed the Progressive Conservatives had a significant advantage among male voters, but only a slight edge among women.A different poll by Mainstreet Research on Friday had the two parties neck and neck with female voters.Traditionally, women have leaned towards the New Democrats, Welch says. Under former premier Gary Doer, the NDP gathered and retained the female vote, particularly in the suburbs.But when Greg Selinger stepped into the job, women voters dropped away.“How important is that women’s vote? My contention has always been that it is, in many ways, more fluid than men,” Welch says.Christopher Adams, a political analyst with the University of Manitoba, says women watched as key female NDP politicians walked away and the party raised the provincial sales tax.In the 2016 election, Adams says, more women voted Progressive Conservative and many didn’t vote at all.“A lot of the middle-class women moved over to Brian Pallister, not because they were attracted to his policies, but just that they were tired of the NDP.”Key for the Tories is to retain those votes and, therefore, the suburban ridings they secured in the last election, Adams says.Polls have shown health care is the largest issue for Manitobans, and specifically for women.Pallister has been criticized for his government’s health-care overhaul that has some emergency rooms in Winnipeg and most of the province’s quick-care clinics. Adams says that’s why significant health promises, including one to inject an extra $2 billion in the health budget, have been repeated.The New Democrats have focused their campaign on health. They are promising to hire and train more nurses and reopen two Winnipeg emergency rooms.Adams says that’s helped bring back some women to the NDP, but it may not be enough to flip any constituencies.Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Alan Alda To Be Honored At Stars Of Stony Brook Gala

first_imgStony Brook University’s 2013 “Stars of Stony Brook” Gala will honor one of its own this year, actor-director-writer-educator and six-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Alan Alda, on Wednesday, April 24 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.Mr. Alda is being honored for his central role in creating and growing The Center for Communicating Science (CCS) at Stony Brook University. A vital new approach to education, The Center works to enhance the understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively – via techniques including improvisational theater workshops – with the public, public officials, the media, and others outside their own discipline. Since 2009, Mr. Alda has served as a founding board member, frequent visiting professor and media ambassador for CCS, which operates under the auspices of Stony Brook’s School of Journalism and its founding dean, Howard Schneider.“As people increasingly become aware of the challenges facing our world, scientists must be able to communicate effectively so those issues are better understood,” said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX Corporation, Chairman of the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees and Co-Chair with James H. Simons of the Stars of Stony Brook Gala. “The Center for Communicating Science is the single most important resource working in this arena today. It was very much the brainchild of Mr. Alda, and continues to be powered by his vision, passion and on-going personal involvement.”Mr. Alda has had a lifelong passion for science. After interviewing more than 700 scientists in his role as host of the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers, he realized how important it is for scientists to possess strong communication skills. To meet this need, he played an important role in creating Stony Brook’s Center for Communicating Science and remains actively involved in its work, including championing workshops that use improvisational theater games to help scientists communicate more directly and personally.“We are truly honored and privileged to be recognizing Alan Alda and The Center for Communicating Science at this year’s gala,” said Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Alan represents the best in us, a man who is using his experience and public profile for a groundbreaking and sorely-needed educational first that can benefit all of mankind.”The Center for Communicating Science (CCS) was established in 2009 at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York, with the cooperation of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. It is located within the Stony Brook School of Journalism, with a multidisciplinary steering committee of science faculty members.CCS works to enhance the understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, the press and the many decision-makers outside of their own discipline. Central to its mission is the belief that scientists have a responsibility to share the meaning and implications of their work, and that an engaged public encourages sound public decision-making. In addition, the ability to communicate directly and vividly can enhance scientists’ career prospects, helping them secure funding, collaborate across disciplines, compete for positions, and serve as effective teachers.CCS offers a range of instructional programs for science graduate students and scientists, including workshops, conferences, lectures, and coaching opportunities, as well as credit-bearing courses offered through the School of Journalism.The Center’s groundbreaking “Improvisation for Scientists” is a three-hour workshop spearheaded by Mr. Alda. The goal of schooling scientists in improv theater techniques is not to turn them into actors, but to free them to talk about their work more spontaneously and directly, to pay dynamic attention to their listeners and to connect personally with their audience. Now in its second year, “The Flame Challenge” presents a challenge to scientists around the globe, to communicate complex science in a way that will interest and inform an 11-year-old. The question put to the worldwide science community in 2012, “What is a flame?” garnered participation of over 800 scientists and was ultimately judged by 10,000 11-year-olds around the world. The 2013 campaign, which poses the complex question “What is time?” has more than doubled with 20,000 students participating worldwide. As in 2012, the winner of this year’s competition will be announced by Mr. Alda at The World Science Festival in June.CCS is today also working to develop new approaches to curriculum and establish a clearinghouse for best practices and a supportive network of institutions working to improve public communication of science. For more information, click here.The Stars of Stony Brook Gala begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 PM at Chelsea Piers, followed by dinner at 7:30 PM. To reserve tickets, inquire about sponsorship, or for more information, call 212.245.6570, ext. 15 or email tamaral@eventassociatesinc.com.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Billboard Music Awards PreParty Supports Charity

first_imgOn the eve of the Billboard Music Awards, the stars came out for a night of celebrating at the Guggenheim Partners’ official pre-party.The event was held at HYDE at The Bellagio and raised funds to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation, which supports research for leukemia, cancer and AIDS at top research hospitals around the country.Jermaine Dupri and Mad Linx were DJs for the evening, which featured surprise spur-of-the-moment performances from today’s hottest artists including Ludacris, Estelle, Fred Durst, Donovan Leitch and Austin Brown. Natasha Bedingfield was also in attendance.Find out more about the TJ Martell Foundation here.last_img read more

Russell Simmons To Host Annual Art For Life Benefit

first_imgRussell Simmons and Danny Simmons will host the 15th Annual ART FOR LIFE benefit, Saturday, July 26th in Bridgehampton.Soledad O’Brien will emcee the evening that will honor Michael Bloomberg, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jason Flom, Kimora Lee Simmons and Featured Artist Carrie Mae Weems for their career achievements and philanthropic work.The event’s Honorary Chair is Star Jones; and Event Chairs are Jamison Ernest, Kimberley Hatchett, Rhonda R. Mims, Camilla Olsson and Josue Sejour (The Sejour Group); with music by DJ M.O.S. Events sponsors include Gold Sponsor BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin and Bronze Sponsor Target.Launched in 2000, ART FOR LIFE is Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s primary fundraising event. This year’s benefit will celebrate the gala’s “15” year milestone; highlighting youth that have grownup through our Rush programs, and honoring exemplary individuals who have supported the Foundation’s mission throughout the years.This year’s coinciding ART FOR LIFE online auction via Charitybuzz will launch on July 17th and will run through August 7th. Highlights include: Dinner with Miss Universe Gabriela Isler, Be a Roadie for a day with John Legend, Meet and Greets with Heidi Klum, Michael Strahan and more!
In addition there will be an ART FOR LIFE Art Auction on Charitybuzz from August 27th thru September 17th with select works available during a live auction held at Christie’s NYC on September 8th. The art auction includes works from 2014 AFL Featured Artist Carrie Mae Weems, as well a past Featured Artists Rashid Johnson (2013), Shepard Fairey (2009), Kehinde Wiley (2006); along with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Yoko Ono, Sante D’Orazio, and many more!Proceeds from ART FOR LIFE benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which directly serve over 3,000 inner-city youth each year. Founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to under-represented and emerging artists.For more information, visit www.rushphilanthropic.org.WHEN: Saturday, July 26thWHERE: Fairview Farms19 Horsemill Lane Water Mill, NYTICKETS: To purchase tickets, please contact Tracey Doolin at Inez Weinstein Special Events, Inc., at (212) 254-6677 or via email tdoolin@inezevents.com. Tickets available online here.last_img read more

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