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Apex court threatens Maha of contempt for overriding order

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday threatened contempt proceedings against Maharashtra government officials for “virtually overriding” its order staying 10 per cent quota to students of economically weaker sections (EWS) in admissions to post graduate medical and dental courses in the 2019-20 academic year.A vacation bench comprising Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna also extended till June 4 the deadline for concluding the admission process asking the Maharashtra government to refresh the merit list after excluding the EWS category students. The top court took strong note of a clause of the notice issued by the state government’s Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell on Thursday after it had passed the earlier order. The clause reads: “The admissions of all the candidates (except those admitted under EWS Category) from the previous admission process are not disturbed.” Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCAs per the May 30 order of the apex court, the admissions of the EWS category students had to be cancelled and the merit list was required to be “reshuffled” so that rankings of the general category students get changed accordingly, the bench said. “We will issue contempt proceedings against Commissioner and Competent Authority of the state CET Cell and other officers. You (state) are virtually overriding the interim order passed by this court (on May 30),” said the irked bench. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsA student, who was earlier allotted a seat in a particular stream of medical science, can now get a better course if the merit list is reshuffled, it said, adding that now “you are saying that it could not be done due to paucity of time. You are the person who has created all the problems”. It said that when this court specifically directed that the notifications “extending the benefit of reservation to the extent of 10 per cent to EWS, inter alia, in PG medical courses shall not be applicable for admission for the academic year 2019-20 unless the MCI increases the number of seats (which has not taken place) and once the admission of all candidates allotted seats during the previous rounds under EWS category are cancelled and the category of all EWS candidates are converted into open category, necessary consequences of reshuffling must follow”. The top court stayed the clause ‘C’ of the May 30 notice of the CET Cell and said that it “can be said to be in the teeth of the interim order of this court” and it “virtually tantamount” to not giving full effect to its order. Advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, appearing for the state, said there was little time left as the last date of counselling for admissions was ending on May 31 and therefore, it was not possible for the government to reshuffle the entire admission list. He however submitted that there was no other “mala fide intention” on the part of the government and sought some more time for re-drawing the merit list. The apex court said: “The authorities are hereby directed to complete the process of admission including reshuffling on implementation of Notice…and considering the interim order passed by this Court on May 30… “In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we extend the time to complete the counselling and to complete the admission process in PG medical and dental courses for the Academic Year 2019-20 as directed above up to June 4, failing which a very serious view shall be taken for not complying the interim order passed by this Court in its true spirit.”last_img read more

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Snehodiya to be inaugurated on June 25

first_imgKolkata: Debashis Sen, Additional Chief Secretary, IT&E, who is also the chairman of the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) announced that the much-awaited project of Snehodiya, a proposed habitat for senior citizens in New Town would be inaugurated by Firhad Hakim, the Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister, on June 25. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had named the project ‘Snehodiya’. Sen was addressing a session at the 5th Real Estate Conclave on ‘Navigating the Undercurrents’ at a city hotel on Saturday. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga’Snehodiya’ is a project of the WBHIDCO, which is a first-of-its-kind venture by any state government agency. There are around 100 rooms and a guest house comprising six rooms. The project has come up opposite Swapno Bhor on a 3.5 acre land and has a two-storeyed building housing a library, an auditorium and a coffee corner. It has been decided that 75 percent of the price paid at the time of purchase will be refunded to the occupants or their heirs in case the flat is vacated. There will be a senior citizens’ park. There will be doctors, nurses and attendants to look after the elderly. It will have all the modern facilities, Sen said. He also stressed on the necessity of introducing more paying guest facilities in and around New Town and Sector V to accommodate a large number of working professionals coming to the city. Nandu Belani, president of CREDAI, Bengal, said the real estate is a major contributor to the economy in Eastern India and it plays an important role in fulfilling the basic needs and aspirations of the common people.last_img read more

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We are working with authorities on increasing vigilance Richardson

first_imgBirmingham: ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said that the global body is working with the authorities to ensure that there are no further untoward incident like the clash between Afghanistan and Pakistan fans during a World Cup match in Leeds on Saturday. Two persons were evicted from the stadium after fans of both countries clashed outside the stadium, requiring intervention from the Yorkshire Police. This was after an aircraft flew over the Headingly Stadium with a “Free Balochistan” banner. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan in terms of land area and it borders to the north of Afghanistan. Richardson said that ICC is in process of upping the security and ensure no such political slogans are raised at the ground. “We are working with various security teams to beef up the security. Obviously, it is very difficult to get hold of every person present at the ground. But our security team would be looking for any person, who is trying to raise any political slogan or banner,” Richardson told mediapersons during a brief interaction. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open Meanwhile, ICC has asked the curators not to produce belters. The tracks on offer in the ongoing World Cup have not exactly been batting belters and that’s exactly what the curators were told before the start of the tournament, said Richardson. English pitches over the years have been traditionally batsmen-friendly with the World Cup hosts producing tall scores but the current edition has seen scores of 265-270 proving to be challenging for the batsmen. “We didn’t have any specific instruction for the curators. All that was told to them was to prepare firm even paced wickets,” Richardson said. “We didn’t want it to be exactly batting tracks and there should be something for the bowlers. Also a bit of turn on offer for spinners,” said the former Proteas wicketkeeper. That the wickets are not loaded in favour of batsmen was something that England captain Eoin Morgan and opener Jonny Bairstow acknowledged on various forums. Asked about the slowish tracks at Southampton and Manchester, where India’s batting line-up struggled, Richardson termed it more about weather conditions that led to wickets being a bit slow. In fact, India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said that he felt that the track at Manchester started deteriorating as he was batting. The Sunday’s match between India and England game has been billed as ‘One Day 4 Children’ as part of ICC’s tie-up with the UNICEF. Some of ICC’s sponsors like UBER and booking.com will be donating to the fund for each boundary scored and wickets taken respectively. The funds will be used for children’s education.last_img read more

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High drama in Goa 10 of 15 MLAs split from Congress join

first_imgNEW DELHI/ PANAJI: As it holds onto power by a thread in Karnataka, the Congress has imploded in neighbouring Goa. Ten out of 15 Congress MLAs have split from the party in Goa and have merged with the ruling BJP.”Ten Congress MLAs, along with their Opposition Leader, have merged with the BJP. The strength of the BJP has now risen to 27. They had come for the development of the state and their constituency. They have not put forward any condition, they have joined BJP unconditionally,” Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayThe Congress is left with only five MLAs in the seaside state where the party had emerged the single largest party in 2017. Since two-thirds of the MLAs have split, they do not have to quit the assembly. The MLAs who broke away are Babu Kavalekar, Babush Monserrate, his wife Jennifer Monserrate, Tony Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Clafasio, Wilfred De Sa, Nilkant Halankar and Isidore Fernandes. As they met the Speaker, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was present. The BJP now has 17 lawmakers in the 40-member assembly.last_img read more

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Delhi wakes up to a sultry morning

first_imgNew Delhi: It was a sultry morning in the national capital with the minimum temperature settling at 31 degrees Celsius, four notches above normal. The humidity level was recorded at 57 per cent. “The minimum temperature at 8.30 am was recorded at 31 degrees Celsius, four notches above normal,” a Meteorological Department official said. The weatherman has predicted partly cloudy skies towards the afternoon with the possibility of strong surface winds. “The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to settle around 39 and 31 degrees Celsius respectively,” the official said.last_img read more

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Govt asks SC collegium to rethink its pick for Andhra HC

first_imgNew Delhi: The government is learnt to have asked the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate a judge of the Allahabad High Court as chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.While returning the file of Justice Vikram Nath last month, the government did not cite any reason, sources said. This is perhaps the first recommendation to be returned to the collegium by the present government. The NDA-I had returned several recommendations back to the collegium. Also Read – Don’t use ‘lynching’ to defame India: BhagwatOn April 8, the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recommended the name of Justice Nath for elevation as chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. “Mr Justice Vikram Nath is the senior-most Judge from Allahabad High Court and is functioning in that high court since his elevation. Having regard to all relevant factors, the collegium finds Justice Vikram Nath suitable in all respects for being appointed as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The collegium resolves to recommend accordingly,” a resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court website read. See P6last_img read more

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Security deployment beefed up at vital installations and sensitive areas in JK

first_imgSrinagar: Kashmir remained on edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare-up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsVarious educational institutions also directed their students to vacate hostels. Additional paramilitary forces, which arrived here last week, have been deployed across the city and in other vulnerable areas of Kashmir Valley, the officials said. In Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top security officials on Sunday and is believed to have discussed the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. The hour-long meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayThe meeting came amidst fresh skirmishes between security forces of India and Pakistan along the border with the Army foiling an attack by BAT on a forward post along the LoC in Keran sector, killing five to seven intruders. The Indian Army has asked its Pakistani counterparts to approach them by raising white flags and take possession of bodies which are lying on the Indian side of the LoC. Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P Malik has dismissed speculations that the Centre might be planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state’s residents in government jobs and land. Political parties in J-K had expressed apprehensions about such action after the Centre deployed additional troops and curtailed the Amarnath Yatra. The National Conference (NC) held a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) where they expressed concern over the “uncertain and uptight” situation in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has called an all-party meeting at her residence on Sunday evening to discuss the situation. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Jammu and Kashmir has issued a notice to former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. See P5last_img read more

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Misbah steps down from PCB Cricket Committee

first_imgKarachi: Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has stepped down from the PCB Cricket Committee after joining the race for the position of national team’s head coach. After days of speculation that Misbah would be appointed head coach cum chief selector, the 44-year-old on Monday confirmed he was applying for the head coach job the deadline for which ended on Monday. “It has been interesting to see my name being mentioned as a future head coach of the Pakistan cricket team, but the fact is I only made the decision today,” Misbah said in a statement. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”I am applying for the head coach’s role fully aware that the competition will be tough as I envisage there will be a few more very competent and highly qualified people applying for one of the most challenging jobs in the game.” According to insiders, the PCB has not received applications from any high profile foreign coaches as yet with the best-known name being former Australian batsman Dean Jones. Former captain Waqar Younis has applied for the post of bowling coach and said he had thought about submitting his resume for the head coach but with Misbah in the race he would prefer to work as bowling coach. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe change of mind for Misbah came after he met with the PCB Director International Cricket Zakir Khan following which the PCB announced he was stepping down as a member of the Cricket Committee which recommended not renewing the contracts of former head coach Mickey Arthur and his support staff after the World Cup. The PCB had advertised for the post of the head coach and support staff on August 9 and wants to announce the new team management by early September so that it can start work for the upcoming limited over series against Sri Lanka at home from September 25.last_img read more

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WI reach 1454 at Lunch after Ishant Jadeja strike

first_imgKingston: India inched closer towards another clean sweep after West Indies lost a couple of wickets to be reduced to 145 for 4 in pursuit of an improbable 468 in the second and final Test here on Monday. West Indies require another 323 runs with only six wickets, if a physically indisposed Darren Bravo comes out to bat in the later stages. Ishant Sharma (2/28) got his second wicket of the innings while Ravindra Jadeja (1/33) removed the dangerous Roston Chase but was unlucky not to have scalped Shamarh Brooks (36 batting off 84 balls) after overstepping. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhStarting the day at 45 for 2, the hosts were left unsettled when Bravo (23 batting) added only five runs to his overnight score before complaining of uneasiness and left the ground. The reason for his ill health couldn’t be ascertained as a medical bulletin from the West Indies team management is expected. Brooks was joined by a dogged Chase (12 off 36), who was ready to bring his best defensive game to the fore negotiating the troika of Jasprit Bumrah (0/22), Mohammed Shami (1/44) and Ishant safely. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHowever after a 41-run stand, it was Jadeja who trapped Chase leg-before as the umpires’ call upheld the on-field decision. It was a fuller delivery that was pitched on leg stump and hit Chase on the front-leg. Shimron Hetmyer (1), who has had a nightmare of a series, didn’t last long as Kohli’s plan to keep a fielder at cover paid off. Birthday boy Ishant bowled one at a drivable length and the uppishly played shot was gleefully pouched by Mayank Agarwal. Brooks, who had looked pretty solid, could have also been on his way back had Jadeja not overstepped. It was a delivery that held its line as Brooks prodded in-front and the thickish outside edge was taken by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip. Earlier, Hanuma Vihari continued his fine form and in vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s company took India closer to a series sweep by sharing an unbeaten 111-run stand in the second innings of the second Test. The visitors had set an improbable 468-run target before the West Indies on day three of the match on Sunday. The in-form Rahane (64 not out) and Vihari (53 not out) got India’s second innings back on track after the top-four were dismissed for 57 runs. The fifth-wicket partnership between the duo allowed India to declare at 168 for four, giving Jasprit Bumrah and Co. 13 overs to have a crack on the struggling West Indies batsmen. The West Indies were 45 for two at stumps on day three and with their batsmen showing very little application in the series, the hosts are unlikely to get anywhere close to the massive target.last_img read more

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Pakistan PM Imran vows not to disappoint Kashmiris at UNGA

first_imgIslamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran said on Friday that he will not disappoint Kashmiris at the United Nations General Assembly and vowed to raise their plight at every international platform, after Indian revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Addressing a gathering in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir, Prime Minister Khan said the Kashmir issue has been internationalised, noting that even the European Union and the British Parliament discussed the matter. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The next week I am going to address UN General Assembly and I will not disappoint the people of Kashmir. I will stand for the rights of Kashmiris as nobody did it in the past,” he said on his scheduled address at the UNGA on September 27. The Kashmir issue has been internationalised with United Nations Security Council holding closed consultations on it for the first time in 50 years, Khan said on his second visit to Muzaffarabad after India revoked Article 370 of its Constitution and ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, evoking a sharp response from Islamabad. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsAsserting that abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making “irresponsible statements” and provocative anti-India rhetoric by Pakistani leaders over the issues internal to the country. “The European Union, for the first time, said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved as per UN resolutions. OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and 58 countries supported Pakistan that oppression was committed in Kashmir and that curfew should be lifted in Kashmir,” Khan said. The Prime Minister warned that India’s actions in Kashmir will result in the rise of extremism. “I want to warn India that extremism will rise as the people in Kashmir will stand up against oppression. When people are fed up, then they decide that it is better to die than being subjected to disgrace,” he said. “Even if I am subjected to this kind of treatment, I will fight against it as death is better than insult,” Khan said. Khan claimed that the February 14 Pulwama attack was carried out by a young man who was fed up with the treatment being meted to the Kashmiris. He warned that Pakistan will respond to any kind of attack by India. “If India throws a brick, we will respond with a stone,” he said. Continuing with his tirade against India over the Kashmir issue, Khan called the BJP-led government “fascist” and “supremacist”, alleging that it poses a threat to Pakistan as well as to the minorities in India. “I want to give a message to Modi… You will never succeed despite oppression because Kashmiris are not afraid of death. So you cannot defeat them, no matter what you do,” he said. Khan also said what is happening in Kashmir will be dangerous for the liberal-minded people of India. Referring to the Balakot strikes by the Indian Air Force, he said Pakistan returned the Indian pilot in a goodwill gesture as Islamabad wanted to solve all problems through talks. The Prime Minister said Pakistan’s gesture was interpreted as a weakness. “We are not afraid of anything like death. We did it because we wanted peace,” he said.last_img read more

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No apology from Nova Scotia premier to teen cleared in privacybreach case

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is not offering an apology to a 19-year-old man who was arrested after allegedly breaching the province’s freedom-of-information website.Police dropped the case against the young man on Monday, saying there was no criminal intent and “no grounds to lay charges.”McNeil initially referred to the man’s actions as “stealing,” but has since backed away from such strong language.On Tuesday he was asked about opposition calls for an apology for his early characterization of what occurred. McNeil wouldn’t address an apology directly, despite repeated questions from reporters.“The information was taken outside our system,” he said. “We had a responsibility … to turn that over to police. They did their due diligence and determined the course of action that they’ve taken.”The youth was arrested after a dramatic raid on his family’s home on April 11 after it was alleged he downloaded 7,000 documents from the public website.Prior to dropping the case, police gave him notice to appear under a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that prohibits unauthorized use of a computer with fraudulent intent.Both the Opposition Tories and NDP say the onus has shifted to the government to take responsibility for what the auditor general has warned were lax security measures around the portal.McNeil said it’s now the government’s job to ensure all safeguards are in place before the portal is put back in operation.“People deserve and expect their information that is provided to government be protected,” he said.Both the province’s privacy commissioner and the auditor general are considering whether the province upheld its own privacy procedures in the way the website was designed.last_img read more

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Police ramp up search for young Newfoundland mother last seen a week

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Police and relatives of a missing Newfoundland woman have taken to social media in a desperate bid to find the young mother last seen last Wednesday.The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary reached out on Twitter seeking information about Cortney Lake, a 24-year-old woman from the St. John’s suburb of Mount Pearl, and say her week-old disappearance is suspicious.Police created the hashtag #HelpFindCortney and have distributed images of her at an Esso station in St. John’s, where she made a purchase and then left last Wednesday. The force also tweeted a photo of the young woman that people could use as their profile pictures in order to expand their reach in the search for Lake, who has a six-year-old boy.Const. Geoff Higdon said Wednesday the hashtag has been retweeted hundreds of times.“Twitter’s been on fire with hundreds and hundreds of retweets,” he said in St. John’s. “It’s been used a fair bit. We were trending in Canada yesterday …. It’s all about getting the message out to as many people as possible.”He said the use of social media may also yield information for the investigation as police can track conversations, but he couldn’t say if it had produced anything yet.Many tweets expressed hope that Lake would be found safely, while also urging people to share her image.“Hoping she comes home safe to her little boy!” one woman said on Twitter.Friends had also created a Facebook page about her disappearance that had about 9,000 members, as well as a GoFundMe page to raise money for a reward.Higdon said her disappearance was considered suspicious because there was “a significant deviation from her routine,” and that she hasn’t been using her social media, cellphone or bank account since last week.Police described Lake as being 5’8″, about 120 pounds with light brown hair. She was last seen wearing a grey parka with a pink hood, pink and white plaid shirt and black pants and glasses.Jason Pike, the father of Lake’s son, told VOCM radio he had never been out of contact with her for more than a few days and was trying to shield the little boy from word of her disappearance.Glenda Power, Lake’s aunt and a spokeswoman for the family, said in an email that they were not commenting at this time.last_img read more

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BC government promises to tackle affordability changing fixed election date

first_imgVICTORIA – British Columbia’s minority New Democrat government released an ambitious list of affordability-focused pledges in its throne speech Friday, and the possibility of delivering those promises grew stronger when a Liberal member “betrayed” his party to become the Speaker.The surprise acclamation of Darryl Plecas as Speaker added more breathing room to the razor-thin NDP minority government led by Premier John Horgan, who has an agreement with the Green party to combine votes for a one-seat majority in the 87-seat legislature.“Certainly, it does give us more flexibility. I’m not going to deny that,” Horgan said, referring to the Liberal Speaker.“I’m excited about the next number of years,” he said.Plecas’s acclamation ends months of speculation on how Horgan would manage a government with such a narrow minority had he followed protocol and offered up a New Democrat member as Speaker.Interim Liberal Leader Rich Coleman said he was disappointed with Plecas. He accused him of betrayal, saying the Abbotsford South Liberal assured him he was not interested in the Speaker’s job.“Basically, when you tell your colleagues you are not going to do something, they take you at your word,” he said. “You break your word. You go do it and become the Speaker. You have de facto already went and joined the NDP.”Green leader Andrew Weaver said the Liberals reacted poorly to Plecas’s decision when they should have congratulated him on stepping forward.“I thought the Liberals did themselves a lot of damage in the public eye today based on their almost, ‘pick up my baseball bat and go home kind of approach,’ ” he said.No party was able to win a majority following the May 9 provincial election, which gave the Liberals 43 seats, the New Democrats 41 and the Greens three.The NDP and Greens used their voting agreement to oust the Liberals last June in a non-confidence vote.The pressure on the NDP minority eased when former Liberal premier Christy Clark resigned last month, leaving her seat open until filled in a byelection. Plecas’s move into the Speaker’s chair has given the government even more room because he has been effectively removed from the Liberal voting pool.Coleman said Plecas technically remains a member of the Liberal party for now, but he will not be attending caucus meetings.The throne speech, read by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, said British Columbians can expect reforms to provincial campaign finance laws that “eliminate corporate and union donations, put strict limits on individual contributions and make sure that only people living in B.C. can donate to our political parties.”It said the government will set the terms for an electoral reform referendum and change the current fixed election date from the spring to the fall every four years starting in 2021.The speech highlighted affordability for British Columbians, mentioning a $100 monthly increase to income assistance and disability rates and the removal of tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.Protection from hefty increases for renters and annual bus passes to people with disabilities as of next January were part of the list of promises.Liberal jobs critic Jas Johal said the throne speech paid scant attention to economic and job creation issues that produce the revenues that pay for government spending programs.“I heard very little today about how we’re going to do that,” he said.The speech cited homelessness and noted the devastation from the worst wildfire season in the province’s history.“The circumstances that bring a person to homelessness can be as arbitrary and unexpected as a wildfire but it is no less devastating. Those without homes need and deserve our help,” Guichon read from the speech.The speech said the government will take on the issue of overdoses that killed 876 people between January and July, many of them as they were alone because they weren’t aware of the risks of fentanyl-laced substances or couldn’t get treatment.It highlighted education as a high priority and said next week’s update to the budget will restore funding for classrooms, a key plank for the New Democrats after the Liberals stripped cash and provisions from teachers’ contracts, leading to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that called for reinstatement of funding.last_img read more

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Ombudsman offers opposition tool to hammer Quebec Liberals ahead of election

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec’s ombudsman gave the opposition the perfect tool to hammer the government ahead of the 2018 provincial election: she said on Thursday that Liberal efforts to balance the budget are hurting the elderly.While the Liberals have posted a series of balanced budgets since taking office and are expected to be flush with cash before next fall’s election, the government hasn’t been able to dispel the impression their economic successes have come off the backs of society’s most vulnerable.Marie Rinfret’s first report since becoming ombudsman noted that despite the well-documented fact Quebec’s population is aging, home care for the elderly is “levelling down” and “unacceptable.”The number of people receiving home care fell about one per cent between 2015-16, she said. Additionally, the average length of time dedicated per patient, at home, fell seven per cent between 2010-16.Rinfret noted long delays and rising frustration throughout the health care sector. She also said the number of complaints her office received increased 38 per cent since around the time the Liberal party won office in 2014.“The number of complaints judged well-founded increased by 58 per cent over the same period, since 2013-14,” she told reporters.Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee was quick to pounce on the news, saying the Liberal party has a “compassion deficit.”Lisee has made it clear through public comments and speeches his party’s main line of attack against the Liberals will be on health care and education.Thursday’s question period reflected the strategy.“The day of the year the premier hoped wouldn’t come is the day the ombudsman deflated the Liberals’ propaganda balloon about the so-called end to their toxic austerity program,” Lisee said.“The day when (she) would deflate the propaganda balloon that the Liberals’ sound management created billions in surpluses in order to give back pre-electoral treats. But on the backs of whom?”Couillard’s response wasn’t particularly hard-hitting; he asked the PQ leader to review the reports during the time his party was in power “and the problems were more serious.”Mini-scandals regarding elderly care have dogged the Liberals since their election in 2014.Health Minister Gaetan Barrette was embarrassed after news reports indicated the elderly in government-run residences were fed “powdered potatoes.”He said more money would be invested for better food and he made a big show of inviting journalists with cameras to a residence in 2016 in order to try the meals given to the province’s seniors.Barrette was also targeted during the “bath scandal,” when the opposition attacked the government for only offering seniors one single bath per week in residences.The minister announced in September a multi-million dollar investment in order to hire a few hundred extra employees, specifically to give seniors “two baths per week — if they want one,” he said.last_img read more

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On video accused killer says women police lied to get him sent

first_imgOTTAWA – Women and law enforcement had been conspiring to ruin Basil Borutski’s life for decades, the accused killer told police the day after three of his female Ottawa Valley acquaintances were found dead in 2015.“The whole judicial system sucks the big one,” Borutski is heard saying on a videotaped police interview from Sept. 23, 2015.The interview — the first piece of evidence submitted by prosecutors in Borutski’s trial — came after 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam were found slain at their homes in three different locations in Renfrew County, about 200 kilometres west of Ottawa.Culleton was strangled with a television cord, and Kuzyk and Warmerdam were both shot. Borutski had relationships with all three women and lived with both Warmerdam and Kuzyk. In 2012 he was convicted and sent to jail briefly for offences against Warmerdam and her son and in 2014 he was convicted and sent to jail for offences against Kuzyk.Throughout the first 90 minutes of the videotaped interview, Borutski sits with his arms crossed, often with his eyes closed, and constantly accuses police of “malicious prosecution” in previous criminal cases — including the two that involved Kuzyk and Warmerdam.He says he talked to a lawyer overnight but doesn’t want any “crooks” to talk to anymore and accuses the police who arrested him of refusing to give him food or water, or let him take his medication.“That wasn’t nice,” Borutski said.He told police he was on oxycodone for chronic pain and was also being treated for depression, a hernia, leg cramps and athlete’s foot.In the video, Borutski takes Ontario Provincial Police Det. Sgt. Caley O’Neill through a convoluted tale of relatives, friends, his ex-wife and former girlfriends who all conspired to accuse him of things he didn’t do and police officers who engaged in corrupt investigations that landed him in jail.“The most horrible thing you can do is put an innocent person in jail,” he’s heard to say.Borutski said a 2011 conviction for drunk driving was the result of being framed by police who saw his fake criminal record, decided he was guilty, and put alcohol into the breathalyzer before he blew into it.His ex-wife accused him of raping her and assaulting her only because she wanted custody of their kids, he said.Warmerdam accused him of threatening her son only after she realized he wasn’t going to come into a lot of money because a judge sided with his ex-wife and didn’t give him a penny.Kuzyk,. he said, was mad because she wanted more from their relationship; he didn’t because she was 20 years younger than him and he saw her more as a daughter than a lover.“Women use the system to their advantage financially, for every reason they can,” he said.Throughout the interrogation, O’Neill makes an effort to befriend Borutski, but at times his patience is clearly tested — particularly after the accused complains repeatedly that the lies of women had sent him to jail.“You going to jail for a while kind of pales in comparison to being dead, don’t you think?” O’Neill says at one point.After about 90 minutes of the video, the judge stopped it to break for the day. Borutski does not directly reply when O’Neill tries to get him to explain why he killed the women, though he doesn’t correct his assertion that he did kill them.Borutski only corrects O’Neill when he refers to their deaths as “murder.”“I didn’t murder anybody,” he said.He says he is in custody “for killing, not murder.”Borutski, who is representing himself, has refused to participate in the trial. He does not speak when spoken to and doesn’t look at any of the documents given to him, although on Thursday he could be seen looking up at the video screen, watching intently.— follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more

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PM talks Donald Trump at Washington gala as first daughter Ivanka looks

first_imgWASHINGTON – With Ivanka Trump looking on, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained why he’s hoping to get her father to include progressive ideas like protections for women, the environment, and labour in a new NAFTA agreement, while acknowledging that some provisions might be “aspirational” and non-binding.The prime minister found himself in the awkward position of being asked to comment on his relationship with Donald Trump on a stage at a Washington gala while the president’s daughter was seated at a front table, 15 metres away.A number of people in the room groaned or booed when the moderator brought up Trump’s name at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, the first event Trudeau attended upon arriving Tuesday for two days Washington, which will include a visit with the president at the White House.It got more awkward when a later speaker at the gala took what appeared to be a subtle shot at the American administration — led, of course, by the father of a woman seated a stone’s throw away.People in the crowd cheered wildly when the speaker asked: “Who wants to move to Canada?” They cheered again when she said, “You guys like immigrants, right?”The prime minister made an allusion to the unique situation earlier in the evening, when he was being interviewed on stage.When the moderator commented on his colourful socks, Trudeau said they’re great for killing time in conversation, like right now, he said, as the sock-talk let five seconds elapse where he wasn’t being asked to comment on Trump.But Trudeau said he and the president share a goal of helping the middle class and he raised examples of how his so-called progressive grace agenda might achieve that. Trudeau cited the gender chapter in the updated Canada-Chile free trade agreement as an inspiration, and appeared to acknowledge what some critics have said about its provisions: that it simply states aspirational intentions, but doesn’t carry legal teeth.“It talks about things like pay equity, women’s rights like maternity leave. Things like that. It can be aspirational, it can be concrete,” Trudeau said.“(But it’s about recognizing that) putting progressive elements into trade deals – labour protections, environmental protections, actually helps us make the case for trade and reassure people that the benefits of trade will be distributed more fairly.”He drew several nods of agreement from Ivanka Trump as he discussed the challenge of getting women to enter politics.She nodded when Trudeau joked that women often express fear about the impact on their families and lives, while men proudly respond: “What took you so long.”Trudeau was asked about what he learned from his own father, the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau and he replied: having respect for people.During the gala dinner, the prime minister sat with his wife Sophie beside Ivanka and the U.S. deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.The prime minister has met the first daughter several times.The first was in February during his first White House meeting with Trump.They announced the creation of a Canada-U.S. Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, a joint initiative meant to help businesses owned by women.The idea for the project came from Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, who worked on it with two senior White House staffers: Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, and Powell.The group, which has had a low public profile since, says it’s working on recommendations over the coming months to achieve its five priorities, including increasing women’s presence in science-based education programs and improving access to capital.The prime minister and his wife also sat next to Ivanka Trump at a Broadway screening of the play “Come From Away,” about Canadians taking in stranded U.S. air travellers after the 9-11 attacks.last_img read more

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BC man suffered severe injuries in fatal encounter with police watchdog says

first_imgVANCOUVER – British Columbia’s police watchdog is shedding light on the severe injuries suffered by a man during a deadly encounter with Vancouver police in a court document seeking an order for an officer to be interviewed as a witness.The injuries are outlined in a petition filed Wednesday by the Independent Investigations Office asking the B.C. Supreme Court to compel the officer to co-operate with its investigation into the death of Myles Gray.The petition lists the findings of an autopsy describing Gray’s injuries, which include a fractured voice box, dislocated jaw, damaged testicle, broken eye socket and fractured sternum. It says the cause of Gray’s death has not been determined.It says Gray died Aug. 13, 2015, after eight police officers responded to reports of a distraught man who was described by a caller as “apparently high on drugs and alcohol” and spraying a woman with a garden hose.The investigations office alleges in its petition that Const. Hardeep Sahota of the Vancouver police has refused to grant investigators a second interview. The petition says Sahota is considered a witness and her actions are not believed to have contributed to Gray’s death.“As there were no civilian or independent witnesses to the incident, and given her presence during most of the incident, the interview is essential to the progress of the … investigation,” the document says.“Investigators have exhausted all means to get Const. Sahota to comply with her statutory duty to co-operate. This failure to co-operate has frustrated, and continues to frustrate, the (Independent Investigation Office’s) ability to fulfil its mandate of conducting a thorough investigation into an incident involving the police that resulted in a man’s death.”Neither Sahota nor the Vancouver police have filed a response to the petition with the court and the officer’s lawyer, Kevin Woodall, declined comment, saying the Vancouver Police Union would issue a statement.The petition quotes from a letter it received from Woodall outlining two conditions before his client would agree to a second interview.He asks for an advance transcript of Sahota’s initial interview with the police watchdog and requests it promise in writing it will not disclose her statements to anyone other than Crown counsel to either consider or prosecute criminal charges.The independent investigations office declined both requests, saying it would provide Sahota and her lawyer with access to a transcript of her earlier interview under supervision but it does not distribute written copies of transcripts during active investigations.The office also said it should be “self-evident” that it does not provide evidence from investigations “to anyone without due authorization.”“Authorized agencies other than the Crown, such as the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner or the coroners’ service may have lawful requirements for that material,” the document says.Vancouver police spokesman Sgt. Jason Robillard said he had not seen a copy of the petition.“This has been a long, difficult process for everyone involved, including Mr. Gray’s family and friends and our officers and their families,” he said, adding that there was no further information the department could provide at this time.— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

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Vandals who smashed Hamilton shop windows planned ahead police say

first_imgThe masked vandals who caused up to $100,000 in damage in Hamilton on Saturday night were organized and likely planned their actions ahead of time, police said Monday.Around 30 people assembled in a city park before marching down a busy street, hurling rocks through shop windows and at people’s homes, police said.“We know this is not a spontaneous act committed by these people,” Insp. Paul Hamilton said. “This was very well planned, very well executed.”Members of the group carried a banner with them that read, “We are the ungovernables.”“I can’t give you a name for this group and we haven’t identified anybody yet,” Hamilton told reporters on Monday.Vandals wore multiple layers of clothing that took off to change their appearance as they fled the scene — a common tactic at major demonstrations, he said.An event billed as the Southern Ontario Anarchist Bookfair took place in downtown Hamilton over the weekend, the inspector said.“I’m not connecting this to the bookfare specifically, but like-minded people attended that event from right across the province, so we are investigating the possibility that there are people from outside this community that committed these acts,” he added.Police initially received calls about people causing “mischief” in the park Saturday night. The two or three officers who arrived at the scene were “not prepared for 30 or so adults, so they had to retreat and call for backup,” Hamilton said.The group scattered, some of them getting into vehicles, when about 30 officers from various units showed up, police said.Hamilton called on witnesses, and even vandals themselves, to speak to police.“Not everybody threw rocks at windows that night, so maybe there’s somebody in that group that doesn’t agree with the philosophy of this group and what took place,” he said. “We really hope that one of those people would step forward and provide us with some information.”last_img read more

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Residents fighting to save New Brunswicks beloved kissing bridges

first_imgRIVERVIEW, N.B. – Raymond Boucher says if you haven’t shared a kiss beneath the beams of a covered bridge, you’re missing out.A longtime New Brunswick resident, Boucher has fond memories of travelling through two covered bridges with the woman who would eventually become his wife on their way to her grandfather’s house when he was just 19.Now at 75, Boucher says both of those bridges — and many more — are gone.“In 1953, we had 340 covered bridges in the province, and we now have 58,” he said in a phone interview from Riverview, N.B. “Since 2004, we’ve lost 6.”Once commonly known as “kissing bridges” for the romantic interludes that often occurred in the relative privacy they offered, the picturesque wooden structures speckled across the province offer a window into a simpler time, said Boucher.Boucher is the president of the Covered Bridges Conservation Association of New Brunswick, a group calling for the restoration and preservation of the small province’s iconic landmarks, which they say are a big draw for tourism.Sunday afternoon, residents rallied at Starkey Bridge near Codys and McGuire Bridge in Elmsdale — both closed as a result of flood damage — to ask the government to protect what’s left of the covered bridges.Boucher said only three of the 58 covered bridges in the province are protected as heritage structures, including the Hartland Covered Bridge, the longest existing bridge of its kind in the world.The rest are in danger of being torn down and replaced with steel and concrete structures, he said.“We are the only Atlantic province that has covered bridges within our boundaries,” said Boucher, noting that Quebec and Ontario are the only other Canadian provinces with covered bridges.The issue is somewhat personal for Jen DeLong, who made the two-hour drive from Woodstock, N.B., on Sunday to attend the rally at Starkey Bridge — which she said was built by her great-grandfather, Dan Starkey, in 1912.“He had relatives all around there, and to make it easier to get from one farm to the other, the bridge was built,” she said.Though it was once a spot where DeLong would go fishing with her father, she said a combination of lack of upkeep from the province and flooding in the spring has caused the bridge to be closed down.She said she’s concerned about the structure being replaced by a steel bailey bridge.“The bridge is in our family’s heritage, and even the people around there, they’ve lived with this bridge for all these years,” she said.Dan Tingley, senior design engineer at Wood Research and Development Ltd., said in a phone interview that with proper maintenance, timber bridges can last just as long, or even longer, than their steel or concrete counterparts.“A timber bridge, properly built, will outlast a steel bridge by twofold and outlast a concrete bridge by threefold,” he said.During his time at University of New Brunswick in the 1980s, Tingley helped develop a way to make timber last longer: creating high-strength laminates out of fibres like Kevlar and carbon, then attaching it to the timber elements to help prevent decay and increase bridge capacity.Tingley trained people to use the low-cost technology in communities around the world, but he said New Brunswick didn’t go for it.“People from New Brunswick were travelling to Japan, and Australia, and Europe to restore timber bridges, and right here in our backyard … the government didn’t embrace it,” he said.The province’s department of transportation and infrastructure was not immediately available for comment, but Minister Bill Fraser told CBC News in April that they aren’t trying to get rid of covered bridges — they’re working to develop a policy to help preserve them.Boucher said that needs to happen faster before more of the covered bridges come down.“Because once they’re gone, they’re gone,” he said.— By Alex Cooke in Halifaxlast_img read more

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Public Safety Canada says printing a gun without licence could lead to

first_imgPublic Safety Canada says it’s closely monitoring U.S. moves that would allow designs for 3D-printed guns to be posted online, but there are rules already in place to prevent unauthorized weapons from being made.“Regardless of manufacturing method, a business licence is required to produce a firearm and all firearms are subject to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and their associated regulations,” the department said in a statement.It adds it’s illegal to make or possess a firearm without the right licence and registration certificate.“The Firearms Act requires that a business, museum, or organization must have a firearms business licence to manufacture ammunition, firearms, restricted or prohibited weapons, or prohibited devices. A business licence is valid only for the activities specified on the licence.”Anyone who makes weapons or ammunition knowing they aren’t authorized to do so could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the section of the Criminal Code that deals with weapons trafficking.The legal wrangling in the U.S. around 3D-printed firearms dates back to 2013, when Texas-based Defence Distributed started publishing downloadable gun blueprints online. The plastic guns are easy to hide and difficult to trace.The State Department ordered company founder Cody Wilson to cease, but the U.S. government settled with his company in late June, which would have allowed the files to be posted again on Wednesday.But on Tuesday a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of the blueprints, saying they could end up in the wrong hands.“There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made,” said U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik.Eight Democratic attorneys general had filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with Defence Distributed. They also sought the restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.U.S. President Donald Trump has said on Twitter that he is looking into the matter, has spoken to the National Rifle Association and that it “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”Kerry Stevenson, editor and founder of the 3D printing blog Fabbaloo, said the level of alarm over the release of the 3D-printed gun designs is unwarranted.“These files have been informally available for a couple of years now and anybody who really, really wanted them would surely have found them already,” he said.But the combination of two hot-button issues — 3D printing technology and the proliferation of guns — has created a big media buzz, Stevenson added.“People think that 3D printers are these magic machines that can make anything like a Star Trek replicator. But they aren’t. They’re just another machine that can make certain kinds of stuff.”He noted that there have long been computer-driven machines used to manufacture products out of metal, which would make more durable guns than the hard plastic ones 3D printers churn out.He said 3D-printed guns are not strong enough to withstand more than a few uses before they crack. Weighing the poor product quality against the substantial costs of 3D printers, Stevenson said he can’t see many people resorting to that method to get their hands on a firearm.University of Calgary law professor Lisa Silver said authorities need to find a balance between making sure 3D printing technology is allowed to flourish for its many legitimate and beneficial uses, while restricting any potentially dangerous activity.She said it’s likely Canada’s firearms laws and regulations would cover 3D-printed firearms, but the language may have to be tweaked to make it completely clear.“If I were the government, I would want to make sure all my legislation is up to date, that I’ve got the opinion of my policy people that say ‘yes, it would cover that kind of firearm,’” she said.The advent of 3D-printed firearms could also make police investigations more complex, Silver added. For instance, search warrants may need to be extended to computer forensics, when they wouldn’t have in the past.“It’s another one of those new technologies that the police just have to keep apace of and be one step ahead of people who are going to use them for criminal activity.”— With files from APlast_img read more

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