Ghaziabad: Ghaziabad police have booked a man for allegedly raping a 22-year-old girl on pretext of getting her job in a multi national company on Thursday evening. The victim has alleged that the man had called her to a hotel for meeting and raped her by making her consume drink laced with sedatives. Police have registered an FIR at Sihani gate police station based on victim’s complaint. According to police, the accused has been identified as Ankur Tyagi, a resident of Ghaziabad. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAs per reports, the victim is a native of Bulandshahr and she used to live at a rented accommodation in Sihani Gate area along with her cousin sister. Around one month ago the victim had quit her job as HR at a Noida based company and was looking for another job when she met the accused, the report said. “I came into contact with the accused through one of my friends who told me that he may help me out in getting a job. I spoke to him over phone and he promised me a lucrative job at a multi-national company in Noida. On Thursday, he had called me to a hotel in Sihani gate area for meeting and offered me a soft drink which was laced with sedatives. I fell unconscious after consuming the drink and the accused raped me. When I gained consciousness, I called police and registered a complaint against Tyagi,” read the complaint. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsMeanwhile police are yet to make any arrest into the matter. “Based on the complaint received, an FIR under sector 376 (punishment for rape) of Indian Penal Code has been registered against Ankur Tyagi at Sihani Gate police station. We are investigating the matter and are checking CCTV footage of the hotel. As of now we have not made any arrest into the matter, however, investigations are underway and actions will be taken soon,” said Shlok Kumar, Superintendent of Police (City), Ghaziabad.
New Delhi: Delhi Police Crime Branch has registered a case and started probing a case against fraudsters for running fake job racket in the name of a private security company.Police said that scamsters were using web portal, e-mail id and phone calls to dupe job seekers of their hard-earned money. The investigating agency said that the security company filed a complaint alleging that fraudsters are misrepresenting themselves as recruitment agents of the company (complainant) and offering senior security job. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderPolice further added that the fraudsters asked candidates to deposit amounts in three categories (registration, verification, procedure charge). The cheaters took online payment from targeted victims. They also prepared fake offer letter by using the fabricated letterhead of the company. Later the targeted candidate reached the company office for inquiry related to the job. The company officials apprised the candidate that the letter was fake.
New Delhi: A day after the Parliament adopted a resolution revoking the special status of J&K and passed a bill bifurcating the state into two union territories, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik directed Deputy Commissioners of respective districts to take stock of requirements of the people. In a meeting at the Raj Bhavan, the governor was informed that emergency services in hospitals were functioning normally, people were seen in markets buying daily provisions and electricity and water supply was also satisfactory. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’A Raj Bhawan spokesperson also said if tourists and other people in Kashmir feel any kind of distress, they should contact the nearest police station or go to the magistrate of the area. Over 500 important political workers and leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre decided to revoke provisions of Article 370 and divide the state to two union territories, officials said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KActivists across the political spectrum have been detained in Srinagar as well as other parts of the valley, they said. According to latest reports, about 560 such workers have been lodged in makeshift detention centres in Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar and other such centres in Baramulla and Gurez. Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah of the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP have been detained at Hari Niwas on Gupkar road. However, the situation in all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir was “comfortable”, PTI quoted officials as saying on Wednesday. Meanwhile, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Wednesday undertook a whirlwind visit to the militancy-infested south Kashmir and assured the locals that their security is the government’s responsibility. Doval arrived in Kashmir on Tuesday, a day after the Centre revoked the provisions of Article 370, which gave special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. He is reaching out to the local population in the Valley as a confidence building measure (CMB). “Everything will be alright. Your safety and security is our responsibility,” Doval told people in Shopian district. An unprecedented security cover and several restrictions are in place in Kashmir. All modes of communication have been snapped in the Valley. Doval was seen eating food on a footpath outside closed shops and talking to locals. He exchanged views with them on the security situation and the government’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. “Your children and their children will continue to live here. They will make their name in the world,” the NSA told people. After the government’s move, Poonch district witnessed protests and stone-pelting resulting in minor injuries to a police officer, PTI quoted officials as saying, while Kargil town observed a shutdown in protest against modifying Article 370. However, after an intense period —from the time the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was introduced to the time Parliament passed it— some shops had opened in Srinagar, PTI reported. The movement of people on the roads picked up despite restrictions, PTI quoted a senior official of the state administration as saying. The official also said that the authorities were extending assistance to people who had a marriage in the family, PTI reported.
New Delhi: Louie Anderson jumped at the chance to essay the role of a woman “without being cartoony” in the series ‘Baskets’. The Emmy-award-winning star says getting under the skin of the character has altered his view of what women are up against in the world. “It (essaying role of a woman, being a man) did change my perception (about women). I realised how hard my mother worked and how much I took for granted,” Anderson said. “I thought my mom woke up with make-up and her hair done. I learned much more about empathy, and humanity having the opportunity to play Christine Baskets. I was treated differently being dressed as Christine than I was as Louie Anderson,” he added. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaAnderson took on the influences from his late mother Ora Zella Anderson to get the Emmy-winning role of Christine right. “My mother for sure is the architect of this character along with my five sisters. My mom was a strong mother character. She bore 11 children and had a difficult marriage, and yet showered us with love and adoration and gave us hope for our futures.” Did it take a lot of convincing to say yes to the role of a woman? “Almost no convincing, I jumped at the idea. You get to a certain age in life and you realise that you should take chances, you should broaden your horizons. I have five sisters and a mother, I have a good catalogue of gestures, nuances, personalities and points of view to draw from,” he said, adding that he got attracted to the role due to the “chance to play a woman without being cartoony”.
How do I assure that my pet’s newborn litter finds a good home? To find a good home for your litter spread the word that you are putting them up for adoption well in advance. You can even contact rescue groups or animal shelters to help you find some potential adopters. When you have someone eager to adopt you should properly screen the person and take an interview to ensure that the baby will go into a loving and caring household. Once you have found someone whom you think would be a good and responsible animal owner, invite the person to come spend time with the litter on a regular basis to get them familiarized. Also Read – Feel what you fearAlso, explain any details about taking care of the animal, any precautions or things to prepare in advance. Also work out details like who will get the litter sprayed and neutered and other details in advance. After the litter goes to their new homes keep in touch with the new owners for a while to ensure that they do not have second thoughts about adopting a pet or face other problems. If possible do a home check to confirm that they have got all the necessary items ready to welcome their new family member. Also Read – Homecoming My guinea pig seems to have blood in his urine. What should I do? If your guinea pig is peeing red coloured urine then it can by be a symptom of uroliths or bladder stones. This can be very serious ailment for your pet and very painful as well. Sometimes if the stone are small they can pass out on their own but if they are big they can get struck in the urethra or cause irritation in the bladder. Sometimes these stones can cause a tear inside the bladder leading to serious complications. If you notice any symptoms like blood in the urine, pain in the abdomen area, change in urination patterns or not urinating at all then immediately consult your vet. It is possible to avoid further complications and problems if the condition is caught early. As preventive measures, give your Guinea pig plenty of water and a healthy and balanced diet to reduce chances of getting uroliths. My rabbit bit me. Is it dangerous? Do I need to get shots? If your pet rabbit has bitten you, the first step is to properly clean the wound and apply a disinfectant. If the wound is deep or does not stop bleeding then it is best to consult your physician. If your rabbit has not been vaccinated then tetanus shot will be necessary. Even if your rabbit is vaccinated, it is recommended to get your tetanus shots periodically (every 10 years), but if you have not had a shot in the past 5 years then it is safer to get a tetanus injection. (Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York: Ace golfer Tiger Woods has revealed that he had undergone surgery last week to repair minor cartilage damage in his left knee, but said he is expecting to return to practice soon. “I’m walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks,” Woods said on Tuesday, adding that his schedule to play at the PGA Tour’s inaugural event in Japan in October won’t be affected, reports Xinhua news agency. The 43-year-old had the surgery last week during the Tour Championship. This is Woods’ fifth surgery to his left knee dating back to his college days in 1994. Woods, who had won his 15th major at the Masters in April, did not finish among the top 30 in the FedEx Cup and failed to qualify for the final event at East Lake.
New Delhi: The odd-even road rationing scheme will come into effect in Delhi from November 4-15, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday among a slew of other measures to combat high-level of air pollution caused due to stubble burning in neighbouring states during winters. Kejriwal announced the odd-even scheme as part of the seven-point ‘Parali Pradushan’ action plan that also includes mass distribution of anti-pollution masks, mechanised sweeping and water sprinkling on the roads, tree plantation, and special plans for 12 pollution hotspots in the city. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details During the 12-day scheme, vehicles will ply alternately on odd and even dates as per their registration numbers. In the previous two experiments in January and April in 2016, a fine of Rs 2,000 was imposed on the violators of the rule. Kejriwal said the details of the scheme will be shared with people in coming days. In the past, two-wheelers and female commuters were exempted from the rule. According to the graded response action plan (GRAP) devised by the Central Pollution Control Board, the odd-even scheme for private vehicles is implemented when the pollution level at ‘severe plus’ category persists for 48 hours or more. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The air pollution level in Delhi remains low in 11 months of a year but picks up in November due to stubble (parali) burning in the neighbouring states. Dense cloud of smoke covers Delhi, which becomes a gas chamber, the chief minister said. “The Centre, and governments in Punjab and Haryana are making their efforts to prevent crop burning and the Delhi government will extend all possible help to them,” he said. Asserting the efficacy of the odd-even scheme, Kejriwal said studies have shown that it could reduce air pollution by 10-13 per cent. The scheme was criticised by some sections including experts on the ground that effect on air quality was limited. “We will utilise our experiences of implementation of odd-even schemes twice in the past in Delhi,” he said when asked about overcharging by cab aggregators after the scheme is implemented. The chief minister said that under the long-term plans to improve air quality in the city to “good” category, the government will soon announce its bus aggregator and e-vehicle policy. Kejriwal said over 1,200 suggestions were received from the people regarding ways to combat air pollution in Delhi during winters. He also received feedback of environmental experts and resident welfare associations based on which the action plan was prepared. “The Delhi government will make large-scale procurement of around 50-60 lakh ‘best quality’ N-95 anti-pollution masks which will be distributed among the people in October month before the spike in air pollution in next month due to parali burning,” he said. The Delhi government will hold a mega laser show on the eve of Diwali and appeal to the people to follow the ban on bursting of crackers on the festival. “We appeal to the people to avoid bursting crackers on Diwali. The government will host a laser show on the eve of Diwali so that all people in the city could celebrate the festival. We hope people will not burst crackers after this.” Sprinkling of water and mechanised sweeping of roads will be undertaken to curb dust pollution. Twelve major pollution hotspots will be dealt with special plans and measures, he said. Burning of waste and garbage will be checked through deploying two ‘environmental marshals’ in each ward. Besides, the government will engage RWAs and people to prevent the practice. Also, a “Delhi Tree Challenge’ campaign will be started by the government in which saplings will be home-delivered to people, he said. A war room will be set up to deal with complaints on air pollution. Awareness will be created among schoolchildren and they will be roped in to motivate their parents to help in efforts to curb pollution, the chief minister said.
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia New Democrats are promising to bring in $15-a-day child care beginning next year if they win the May 30 provincial election, a pledge the other parties quickly dismissed as likely beyond the province’s means.Party leader Gary Burrill also said Tuesday that his party would provide free child care to families whose net income is less than $30,000 annually and create 400 new spaces across the province.Burrill says average monthly fees for licensed care currently are in the range of $825 for a toddler and $781 for a pre-schooler, and parents need more assistance.“We know that parents face few struggles as widespread and difficult as the struggle to find affordable, quality child care for their kids,” he said.He says the program would lead to the creation of about 800 jobs either as a result of the direct hiring of child care workers or as a result of parents being able to work.The program’s annual cost would gradually rise over the next four years to $70 million per year by 2021.The Liberal party has promised a free, universal program for four-year-olds, which by 2020 would see 9,000 children being cared for at an annual cost of about $49 million.Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday that his plan would live within the province’s means.“One of the biggest differences (between the proposals) is we actually know how we’re going to pay for it,” said the premier.There are currently about 18,885 licensed child care spaces in a system that is a mix of not-for-profit centres and profit-based daycares, with a wide range of fees.The existing system provides subsidies for low-income families, with about one quarter of the families receiving assistance. Families with a net income of $35,000 or less receive the lion’s share of the assistance.The average daily rate for infant care is $42 daily in Halifax, and the maximum subsidy for poor families would cover about $29 of that, said a department spokeswoman.Tory Leader Jamie Baillie offered few details Tuesday on what his party is planning for early childhood education, saying he’ll work with the child care providers to determine the way forward.“We’re very keen to work with daycare providers on ways to ensure there’s affordable daycare for young Nova Scotia families,” he said.“Having said that I can’t help but wonder about the NDP plan to throw to just throw so many mountains full of money at these issues without any idea of how to implement it or pay for it.”
OTTAWA – It’s dusk on a warm summer evening in Ottawa.As people emerge from a new light-rail station a block south of Parliament Hill, they look down the street to the west, to see a glowing glass tower.They walk towards it, lured by an LED-screen projecting a live performance from a theatre on the other side of the country.This is the final dream for the $110.5 million addition to the National Arts Centre, the single-largest, national legacy infrastructure project timed to help celebrate Canada 150.It just won’t happen in time for Canada to blow out its 150 candles on July 1.For several years, downtown Ottawa has been a flurry of construction, leaving a snarled mess of barricades and stressed-out commuters, as much of the Parliamentary precinct, including Parliament Hill itself, undergo massive renovations. Not all the projects were done with Canada 150 in mind, but parts of downtown are looking quite spiffy, as the city prepares to host its largest-ever influx of tourists.Expectations are that more than 400,000 will be on the Hill for Canada Day alone and the city will draw as many as 10 million throughout the year.They will have to take the good with the bad when it comes to construction.The first phase of Ottawa’s new light rail system under downtown was never supposed to be finished for Canada 150, but the original project agreement included a clause that would have downtown streets “restored to pre-construction configuration before the 2017 Canada Day celebrations.”A recent update given to Ottawa city council says construction will be halted for the Canada Day weekend and streets will be cleaned for it, but thanks to the massive sinkhole that opened downtown in 2016, some street-level areas still won’t be ready.As for the NAC, the first floor of the new 5,500 square-metre expansion will open on Canada Day. The “lantern” glass tower with the LED projectors and the rest of the second floor will be ready in October, followed by a new 600-seat conference and events room next February.It was always planned that way, says chief architect Donald Schmitt, who led some reporters on a tour of the construction space last week. He was hired in 2011 to start re-envisioning the building Canada built for its 100th birthday in 1967, but funds for the renovation didn’t get approved until late in 2014 and construction didn’t begin until February 2016.More than 200 tradespeople are now on the site as the rush is on to get the finishing touches on the first floor in time for a 2 p.m. ribbon cutting on July 1. Even to meet this first deadline, the project had to take special steps, including constructing 247 triangular wooden roof pieces in a warehouse south of Ottawa and then installing them with cranes, saving months of time.When the NAC was first built, it was supposed to be ready for the Centennial in July 1967 but ran almost two years behind schedule, eventually opening on June 2, 1969.The city will see other additions this summer. The National Gallery will open new Canadian and indigenous galleries on June 15. Across the Ottawa River at the Canadian Museum of History, one of three main sites for the national Canada Day festivities, a new $30-million Canada History Hall will open July 1.Museum CEO Mark O’Neill calls it the most significant legacy that will be left behind by Canada 150.“There are great Canada 150 projects across the country, but if you look at the projects that will be legacy … I don’t think there is any other project out there that is similar in nature to this one.”There will still be a lot of construction around on July 1. On Parliament Hill itself, cranes, scaffolds and construction fencing will loom large around the West Block. On the edge of the Rideau Canal, across from the famed Chateau Laurier, the city’s old railway station is being refurbished to house the Senate when Centre Block closes for restoration in 2018.The old central post office across Elgin Street from the National Arts Centre is cradled in scaffolding, hidden behind a blue and red wrapping printed with Canada 150 logos.Most of these renovations were not part of the $500 million earmarked for community infrastructure legacy projects and local and national festivals and celebrations to mark the birthday across the country.While the Centennial celebrations gave Canada the world’s first UFO landing pad in St. Paul, Alta., the sesquicentennial will bring the “red couch tour” which is, quite literally, a red sofa travelling the country and stopping for people to sit and reflect on what Canada means to them.
MONTREAL – Montreal police officers have put away their camouflage pants until at least Friday night as their union and the city engage in intensive negotiations to try to reach a deal on pensions.Late on Monday, the Montreal Police Brotherhood announced it was temporarily putting its controversial, nearly three-year old pants protest on hold.With few exceptions, officers have not worn police-issue pants since July 2014 as part of pressure tactics over a pension reform battle.The brotherhood said in a statement progress in negotiations with the city was behind the move to revert to the proper uniforms.Officers will wear them until at least 11 p.m. on Friday, when a further decision will be made.In addition to camouflage and other non-regulation pants, police have also worn red armbands and baseball caps as well as plastering their vehicles with union-issue stickers decrying the labour strife.Mayor Denis Coderre, speaking to reporters at a conference of mayors in Montreal, said he was happy with the decision.“It’s been three years,” said Coderre. “I think what’s important is we’ve gotten to another step, we’re negotiating right now and I think it’s a good gesture.“You know, I’ve always said authority comes with the uniform.”The brotherhood declined further comment.Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux tabled legislation in April that would force police to wear the proper uniform.He said if the bill passes, officers would face fines ranging from $500 to $3,000 for a first violation and possibly double that for repeat offences.He said it’s important for police to wear their uniforms to maintain public confidence and ensure officers can be easily identified.Police have occasionally donned proper attire for events like funerals after receiving heavy criticism for wearing camouflage pants and jeans at the funeral for former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau in June 2015.
OTTAWA – Many NDP supporters may be focused on putting their feet up for the rest of the summer but their party’s leadership race is about to enter a critical phase as candidates eye the last leg of the campaign to replace Tom Mulcair.From now until the finish line, four candidates — Quebec MP Guy Caron, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, Ontario MP Charlie Angus and Ontario legislator Jagmeet Singh — will be focused on the final push to sign up new members, especially with a looming Aug. 17 cutoff to bring in fresh blood.“At the end of the day, that’s going to be a big factor in who can win this race,” said former NDP national director Karl Belanger. “It is crunch time … When you bring your own people in, it is much easier to know where they are going to end up and who they are going to end up supporting.”This week, fundraising figures from Elections Canada from the second quarter will also be released ahead of a debate in Victoria — a telling moment in the race, Belanger said, noting it is critical for campaigns to demonstrate momentum when party members are preparing to make up their minds about the next leader.“If you are able to show your capacity as an individual to raise a significant amount of money, you are showing the potential you have once you become leader and use the organization and infrastructure that is in place to raise even more money,” he said.Veteran B.C. MP Nathan Cullen, a candidate in the last NDP leadership contest, said he is also watching to see how the campaigns demonstrate their strength from here on out, including fundraising prowess and social media savvy.“If you are able to demonstrate and be the momentum candidate, that is worth its weight in gold,” Cullen said. “This is a critical time.”In the first quarter, Angus led the fundraising pack with $110,765 followed by Ashton at $65,521 and Caron at $57,235. Singh was not included in this batch because he had yet to enter the race.Ashton’s campaign says it has raised more than $100,000 in the month of July alone — an indication of what’s to come, says the MP.“I will say that if our campaign is any sign, we have seen some incredible response in terms of … fundraising,” Ashton said. “Our campaign has seen that you are able to raise money and … build support.”All party members are eligible to vote for a new leader, either online or by postal mail. The winner must not only get the most votes, but also must attain at least 50-plus-one per cent of the ballots. As a result, although voting begins in September the balloting could last several rounds, stretching well into October.The ballot is preferential, meaning voters can rank candidates in their preferred order. Only those who cast ballots online can change their vote in between rounds.For his part, Singh is trying to appeal to members as a so-called “growth candidate,” suggesting the next leader needs to attract newcomers to the party.“I think the benefit of that is that we will have a bigger party,” Singh said. “At the end of the candidacy … the goal would be to financially support the party so that we are in a better position to compete in 2019 and to grow the party so that we are in a better position to form government.”Membership and money are both central concerns for the party that had about 45,000 members late last year — a far cry from the 120,000 members the NDP had following the 2012 leadership race won by Mulcair.The party is also carrying about $5.5 million worth of debt, according to 2016 financial returns.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Six young Nova Scotia men treated the sexual integrity of girls as young as 13 like “bartering chips or baseball cards” when they shared intimate images of them without their consent, the Crown argued in its sentencing recommendations.The boys, who are all from the Bridgewater area, have admitted to forming a private Facebook group where they decided to exchange photos of at least 20 girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17, without their consent.They were scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but the case was adjourned until Sept. 6, due in part to the fact that one of the accused did not comply with the requirements of a pre-sentence report.Defence lawyers had also asked for more time after the Crown submitted a brief outlining proposed penalties.The 21-page document, submitted in Bridgewater provincial court, says the young men should be prohibited from using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.“They treated the victims’ sexual integrity as bartering chips or baseball cards that could then be traded and circulated amongst friends,” the Crown brief states.“This objectifies the female victims and undermines their autonomy.”It recommends against jail time, but says the six young men should be on probation for two years, with the possibility of reducing that.“We’re expecting that the sentencing hearing is going to be in dispute — what the proper penalty is definitely not agreed upon by the defence,” Crown attorney Peter Dostal said outside court.“This isn’t a prosecution of just people sexting. This is a prosecution of people misusing these materials, disseminating them and potentially putting them out there for the whole world and that is the real evil that the criminal law has been attempting to stop.”The Crown brief also said the boys should be barred from contacting the victims, undergo counselling, try to find work or attend educational programming and complete community service.The defence lawyers declined to comment as they left court.When the six were charged in July 2016, four of the accused were 15 years old and the other two were 18. However, all were under 18 when the offences were committed, which means their identities are protected from publication under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The victims’ identities are also protected.The case is one of Canada’s largest involving a relatively untested law introduced in 2015 to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. It came after the suicide of Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons, whose family says a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted was circulated among students at her school in Cole Harbour.Court documents said two Dropbox accounts were created for the purpose of sharing dozens of intimate images of girls in various states of undress or naked. An agreed statement of facts said everyone who uploaded photos either knew outright or were “wilfully blind” to the fact that the subjects didn’t consent to their distribution.In the agreed statement, the photos’ subjects cited a variety of motivations for sending the images.Some said they felt pressured by what they described as persistent requests for intimate images, while others said they were vying for boys’ affections or just joking around, the statement said.The document said one 13-year-old girl was repeatedly asked for sexual photos by one of the accused over the course of several days, despite persistent rejection. Another girl who was 14 at the time said the boy would talk about how they could trust each other, then asked her for naked photos.In the sentencing document, the Crown dismisses the argument that some of the young men allegedly provided unsolicited intimate images of themselves to the girls.“Any reliance upon the accused as being victims of the female’s actions further perpetuates the trend of victim blaming,” it states.?????
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Liberal government will next month re-introduce a budget shelved because of its May 30 election call.The budget will be tabled Sept. 26, five days after the legislature opens on Sept. 21 for its fall session.The $10.5-billion budget introduced April 27 included a tax cut for about 500,000 low and middle income earners by increasing the basic personal exemption by up to $3,000 for taxable income up to $75,000.It also featured a second consecutive operating surplus.Premier Stephen McNeil has said the new fiscal document will contain all the measures in the original budget, along with a few additions that are likely health-related.Health care was an issue that was largely seen to have contributed to the Liberals’ loss of seven seats in the spring vote, which nonetheless returned them to power with the province’s first back-to-back majority in nearly 30 years.
TORONTO – Gord Downie, the poetic lead singer of the Tragically Hip whose determined fight with brain cancer inspired a nation, has died. He was 53.Downie died Tuesday night “with his beloved children and family close by,” the band said in a statement on its website Wednesday morning.In the wake of his diagnosis with glioblastoma — an incurable form of cancer — the musician became a symbol of perseverance in the face of his mortality.“Gord knew this day was coming — his response was to spend this precious time as he always had — making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss … on the lips,” said the statement, which was attributed to the Downie family.“Gord said he had lived many lives. As a musician, he lived ‘the life’ for over 30 years, lucky to do most of it with his high school buddies. At home, he worked just as tirelessly at being a good father, son, brother, husband and friend. No one worked harder on every part of their life than Gord. No one.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in tears as he paid tribute to Downie and how he devoted the last chapter of his life to advocating for the rights of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.“He loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country,” Trudeau said.“He wanted to make it better, he knew as great as we were we need to be better than we are. That’s why this last year’s been devoted to Chanie Wenjack and to reconciliation. This is something I’ve certainly drawn inspiration and strength from.“We are less without Gord Downie.”Downie, one of Canada’s most revered singer-songwriters, penned a steady stream of 1990s rock radio staples including “New Orleans Is Sinking,” “Blow at High Dough,” “Courage (For Hugh MacLennan),” “Ahead By a Century” and “Bobcaygeon.” While Hip albums released in the 2000s didn’t produce as many hits, the band hung on to its unofficial status as Canada’s favourite rock band.While the Hip was frequently described as quintessentially Canadian, Downie had dismissed the suggestion that he set out to celebrate his homeland in song.“I haven’t written too many political lyrics,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press in 2014. “Nor have I written any pro-Canada lyrics, any kind of jingoistic, nationalistic cant…. That stuff doesn’t interest me and I don’t even know if I could write that if I tried because I don’t really feel it.“Social causes are quite obvious. Music brings people together. So my function in anything I do is to help bring people closer in.”In the aftermath of the shocking May 2016 announcement that Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer the band said it would mount a tour — which many correctly assumed would be the Hip’s last.Interest was off the charts and tickets sold out nearly immediately. While the band’s managers assured fans that Downie was prepared to “blow people’s minds,” he was suffering from serious memory issues. In the recently released documentary “Long Time Running,” Downie recalled his struggles with lyrics as he prepared to perform.“I actually couldn’t remember a damn thing. I think I started to cry,” the singer said of the first tour rehearsal. Dave (Billy Ray) Koster, the Hip’s technical director, recalled Downie’s trouble with the hit “My Music at Work,” a song which repeats its title in the lyrics 18 times.“He would look at me and say, ‘Billy, what’s that line called?’ and then he would write it down,” Koster said. Downie ultimately had six teleprompters on stage to help him get through the concerts.Despite conflicting with its coverage of the Summer Games in Rio, the CBC broadcast the last show of the tour live — in the Hip’s hometown of Kingston, Ont. — and thousands of fans also attended public viewing parties across the country to experience the band’s swan song.An impassioned Downie led the group through a nearly three-hour set and acknowledged the country’s enthusiastic support.“Thank you, people, for keeping me pushing and keeping me pushing,” he said from the stage, which prompted a “Gordie!” chant from the audience.He used the national platform to call for more attention to the inequities faced by Indigenous Peoples, particularly in the North.“We’re in good hands, folks, real good hands,” Downie said in reference to Trudeau.“He cares about the people way up North, that we were trained our entire lives to ignore, trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what’s going on up there. And what’s going on up there ain’t good. It’s maybe worse than it’s ever been, so it’s not on the improve. (But) we’re going to get it fixed and we got the guy to do it, to start, to help.”About two months later, Downie released the multimedia solo project “Secret Path,” which recounted the life of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school in northern Ontario.“Secret Path” won three Juno Awards in April — best adult alternative album, best songwriter for Downie, and best recording package for its presentation with a graphic novel. While Downie didn’t attend the Juno festivities, he appeared in a pre-recorded acceptance speech during the telecast.“First Nations have many, many stories like this one,” he said in reference to Wenjack’s experience being separated from his family and put in a residential school.“My dream would be that this record with Jeff Lemire’s drawings might help people. Might give teachers something to help teach our young ones.”In June, Downie was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada for his work in raising awareness of Indigenous issues. He was also set to be honoured by the Order of Canada along with his bandmates for “their contribution to Canadian music and for their support of various social and environmental causes.”The Tragically Hip’s last release, “Man Machine Poem,” won the Juno for rock album of the year and the band also took home the group of the year prize, which was its third time winning the award among 11 nominations.The Hip’s modest beginnings can be traced back to 1984 in Kingston, where Downie co-founded the band with four high-school friends — including guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay. Guitarist Paul Langlois joined in 1986 when saxophonist David Manning left the band.The early years were a slog as the Hip graduated from local university campus shows to dive bars like the Toucan, where they played on a stage tucked in the back corner of the venue’s basement.A small but loyal fan base began to form just as their self-titled debut EP hit record stores in 1987. While not one of the Hip’s most-loved releases — and one the band didn’t touch during their career-spanning final tour — it offered a sliver of insight into Downie’s songwriting and performance potential.Downie’s reputation for adding monologues to songs during live performances was started with a memorable rendition of “Highway Girl,” which fans nicknamed the “double suicide rant” version. Part of the mid-song rant would later make up the lyrics of the song “Locked in the Trunk of a Car.”But it was the live “killer whale tank” version of the fan favourite “New Orleans Is Sinking,” off the band’s 1989 followup “Up to Here,” that cemented Downie’s legacy as a unique live performer always capable of surprising an audience.The legend of the band’s thrilling concerts grew as rock radio stations devoured the Hip’s output of one hit album after another. “Road Apples” in 1991 produced favourites like “Little Bones,” “Long Time Running” and “Three Pistols,” and the next year the record “Fully Completely” introduced another slew of soon-to-be classics including “At the Hundredth Meridian,” “Fifty Mission Cap” and “Wheat Kings.”Stories of the Hip’s ability to attract huge crowds wherever they played in Canada gradually began to trickle south of the border, and the band got its biggest chance to break through in the United States in 1995, thanks to a fellow Kingston native. Dan Aykroyd introduced the Tragically Hip as musical guests on “Saturday Night Live” to play two songs off “Day for Night,” which was released six months earlier.The band won over pockets of fans in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere but never got as big internationally as they were back home, where they collected 16 Junos, a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, and immortalization on a postage stamp in 2013.While playing sold-out shows to adoring audiences, Downie also sought out opportunities to stretch himself creatively outside the confines of the Hip.He dabbled in acting with roles as a police officer in “Trailer Park Boys: The Movie” and as a recovering cancer patient in the drama “One Week.” Prior to “Secret Path” he had cultivated several other solo projects, starting with the album “Coke Machine Glow” in 2001, released with a companion book of poetry; “Battle of the Nudes” in 2003; and “The Grand Bounce,” credited to Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, in 2010. Late last month, Downie surprised fans by announcing he would be releasing a new solo album of 23 original songs produced with long-time collaborator Kevin Drew. “Introduce Yerself” is slated for release Oct. 27.In 2014, Downie recalled the thrill of performing for a different kind of audience — at a country music festival — in support of a side project with the Sadies.“In this country, perhaps with a certain identity trailing you around, it’s hard to be miscast,” Downie told The Canadian Press.“It’s hard to play a gig where you might get the hook, where you might be booed gloriously off the stage. I don’t mean that to sound immodest…. (When) you’re kids, it’s the thing you’re most afraid of, but it’s the thing you miss, just the sort of lack of approval.”Staunchly dedicated to his environmental side projects, Downie was a devoted board member of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper advocacy group, helping to raise money for the cause through benefits. After his diagnosis, he lent his name to brain cancer research with the Gord Downie fund at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.Downie’s final public performance was in February as a surprise guest during a Blue Rodeo concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall. Singer Jim Cuddy introduced Downie for a rendition of the 1992 hit “Lost Together,” alongside members of the Sadies. As the song finished, Downie kissed and hugged his fellow musicians, waved to the audience and left the stage.Follow @dfriend on Twitter.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – There were outraged headlines around the world when about 80 women and children were left to die in the freezing North Atlantic off Newfoundland as crew members raced to save themselves.It was Sept. 27, 1854. The luxury ship Arctic had collided in heavy fog with the steamer Vesta off Cape Race, N.L., killing an estimated 350 people.Editorial writers and readers were incensed over the blatant violation of what is today considered an increasingly archaic custom — women and children first. Public anger over the Arctic helped shape that almost mythic tradition of nautical gallantry in the face of death, but it was still an inconsistent practice in the decades that followed.It is now widely seen as anachronistic, a sort of Victorian throwback with no legal weight, said Roger Marsters, curator of marine history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.“It’s certainly not a rule that has any force in international maritime law,” he said in an interview. “At its best, it’s a custom. But more realistically I think it’s an ideal that’s espoused more often that it is observed.”Historically, far more men survived shipwrecks than women, and more women survived than children, he said in an interview.“Titanic’s officers and crew actually enforced women and children first.”Just over 700 people would be rescued from lifeboats or makeshift rafts after the so-called unsinkable ship went down after striking an iceberg April 15, 1912, about 600 kilometres off Newfoundland’s southeast tip.More than 1,500 people died. They included almost 80 per cent of male crew whose discipline has been immortalized in plays and movies about the great ship’s sinking.Overall, the survival rate on Titanic for men was around 20 per cent, compared to about 74 per cent for women and 52 per cent for children.The cry “women and children first” is initially traced to the wreck of HM Troopship Birkenhead off South Africa after it struck a reef and sank on Feb. 26, 1852. On board were more than 600 military personnel, including members of the Queen’s (Second) Royal Regiment of Foot.The captain ordered that 25 women and 29 children be launched in a cutter, one of the few lifeboats available. Accounts of that night describe how troops who mustered on listing decks as the vessel began to tilt, her stern rising, obeyed orders not to move until those passengers were safely away.Rudyard Kipling hailed their sacrifice in the poem “Soldier an’ Sailor too” with the line: “But to stand and be still to the Birken ‘ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew.”The Arctic disaster off Newfoundland two years later was notorious as a very different, “every man for himself” response.Newspaper accounts said several of the Arctic’s lifeboats capsized in rough waters as panic erupted despite the captain’s attempts to restore order. There were reports that crew members seized remaining lifeboats, leaving about 80 women and children to die.A study in 2012 by Swedish economists at Uppsala University suggests what happened on the Arctic was no isolated incident. It analyzed 18 maritime disasters from 1852 to 2011 involving more than 15,000 passengers and crew from 30 countries. It found that women had a survival advantage over men in just two of those incidents — Titanic and the Birkenhead.In 11 other shipwrecks, women were at a disadvantage. In five more, there was no clear distinction.“Indeed, we find that crew members have a relative survival advantage in nine of the 19 disasters,” wrote co-authors Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson.Crew are likely to be more familiar with the vessel, have emergency training and get early details of danger, the study noted. Men are also often physically stronger than women.“In the evacuation of a sinking ship, success is typically determined by the ability to move fast through corridors and stairs, which is often made difficult by heavy list, congestion and debris,” the study said.Captains with ultimate authority onboard set the tone in a crisis, it says. Francesco Schettino was captain of the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia that partially sank after hitting rocks off the island of Giglio on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 passengers and crew. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.Schettino would later say that, as chaos broke out during a frantic evacuation, he slipped and landed on the roof of a lifeboat.There is no legal requirement that women and children get priority during rescues at sea, says maritime lawyer Peter Swanson of the Vancouver-based firm Bernard LLP.“It’s sort of a Victorian-era custom that developed late in the 19th century,” he said in an interview.It could also raise a Charter of Rights challenge if applied in modern times, Swanson added.“Women today obviously are viewed as much more able to take care of themselves.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The Liberal government’s national security legislation, introduced in June, is being studied by the House of Commons public safety committee. The wide-ranging package would:— Limit, but not scrap, a measure from the Harper Conservatives allowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to disrupt terror plots, not just gather information about them.— Amend other contentious provisions of existing legislation that deal with information-sharing, terrorist propaganda and promotion of terrorism.— Roll the functions of existing watchdogs into a super-agency known as the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.— Empower the new watchdog to ensure more than a dozen federal security organizations comply with the law.— Create an intelligence commissioner, an independent agent who would authorize certain intelligence and cybersecurity activities — a measure intended to boost public confidence.— Allow the public safety minister to assure parents their child is not on the no-fly list when confusion arises at the airport.— Modernize the CSIS Act, establishing in law a regime authorizing activities — such as infiltration of a terrorist cell — that might otherwise break the law.— Require CSIS to seek a judge’s permission to keep datasets that primarily contain personal information about Canadians.— Give the Communications Security Establishment’s cyberspies power to take action against online threats to Canadian interests.— Repeal a provision first passed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks that required a person to appear before a judge and answer questions.
EDMONTON, AB. – An investigation into the hunt of a large cougar by a television show host in Alberta has determined it was legal, says the province.Steve Ecklund, host of the outdoor show “The Edge,” bragged about hunting the big cat in early December. He triggered outrage online when he posted several photos of him holding the dead cougar and another of him making a stir-fry from the meat.Environment officials said Thursday that they investigated after receiving complaints from the public about Ecklund’s hunt of the male cat in an area between Rocky Mountain House and Drayton Valley in east-central Alberta.“Did the hunter have a proper licence? Was the quota still open in that specific management area? Was everything done legally?” said carnivore specialist Paul Frame. “As far as we know, that was a legal hunt.”Ecklund and his television network defended his right to hunt the cougar.“We fully support the ethical and legal kill that Steve Ecklund has presented us,” Ryan Kohler, president of Wild TV, said in a video statement posted on Twitter. “Unfortunately he is getting some huge backlash, but that won’t change the fact that we love our hunting heritage here in Canada.”Ecklund had a written statement at the end of the video.“I’d like to say thank you to all the outdoorsmen and women alike for their continued support,” he said.His original post led to criticism from dozens of people, including Laureen Harper, wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper.“Must be compensating for something, small penis probably,” Harper said in a post on Twitter.Alberta Environment said the province has a cougar hunting season for management purposes.“There’s a long-standing tradition of hunting cougars in Alberta,” said Frame. “It’s been regulated since ’69, with the quota in place since 1990.“We adjust quotas based on the environmental conditions of the time, so we review them annually or biannually.”There’s currently an annual quota of up to 155 cougars that can be killed across the province by residents each winter season. Another 30 cats can be hunted by non-residents.Frame said there were 1,025 licences given out in the 2016-17 hunting season and 125 cougars were killed.So far this season, which is open until the end of February, more than 775 licences have been sold. Once a quota in an area is reached, the hunting season closes there.The province says there are between 2,000 and 3,500 cougars in Alberta.“Cougar hunting is popular, especially with hounds,” Mark Boyce, a professor of population ecology with the University of Alberta, said in an email interview from his remote cabin.Most cougars are in the Rocky Mountains and the foothills, but they exist throughout the province.“There is considerable concern about rising numbers of cougars because they are dangerous … and occasionally they kill livestock,” said Boyce. “Hunter harvests are low enough that they do not threaten our cougar populations and sustainable harvests are possible.”Some hunters eat the meat, while others use the hide or have the cougar’s entire body mounted.He suggested the criticism of Ecklund is unwarranted.“This is an anti-hunting rant,” said Boyce. “There is nothing illegal about cougar hunting, but I understand that some people do not accept hunting. That is a personal choice.”
OTTAWA – The federal and British Columbia privacy commissioners are joining forces to investigate Facebook and Canadian political consultancy AggregateIQ — two firms at the centre of an international uproar over the unauthorized use of social-media data.The controversy involves allegations of the improper use of private Facebook information to help support major political wins, including Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.The federal privacy watchdog launched an investigation last month to look into allegations about the unauthorized access of private Facebook data.It is now broadening its investigation by joining the B.C. privacy czar’s probe of Victoria-based firm AggregateIQ, which began late last year, to determine whether the company broke privacy laws.Facebook estimates 622,161 users in Canada had their data improperly shared with another political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which is linked to AggregateIQ.Privacy commissioners in B.C., and the United Kingdom had previously opened investigations into AggregateIQ over its alleged role in the 2016 Brexit campaign, which resulted in Britain’s vote in favour of leaving the European Union.
FREDERICTON – The Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature plans to fight allegations of harassment “tooth and nail,” his lawyer said Monday.T.J. Burke says Chris Collins is devastated that an allegation has been made against him, and believes it may be a political stunt intended to keep him from running for re-election in his Moncton riding in September’s election.“We do believe that the person behind this may be politically motivated to prevent Chris from running in that riding again. Why else would a person sit on the allegations for more than two years?” Burke said.He said Collins has been given no information on the nature of the allegation; Premier Brian Gallant has said only it involves a former employee of the legislative assembly.“We don’t know whether the person is a male or a female. We don’t know whether this happened one year ago, two years ago, or three years ago. We don’t know if the substance of the allegations have any criminal content or civil content to it,” he said.Collins, who has been suspended from the Liberal caucus, voluntarily relinquished his administrative responsibilities to the deputy Speaker on Monday morning. He has not commented publicly, and Burke said his client won’t be commenting until the matter has been dealt with.The province’s Progressive Conservatives said Monday morning that a full public inquiry would be the best way to look into the allegations, and intended to seek one at a meeting of the Legislative Administration Committee later in the day.Stewart Fairgrieve, the Tory member of the legislature for Carleton, said anything short of an investigation under the Inquiries Act would be a coverup.But after the meeting, Fairgrieve said he and other committee members had agreed to have an independent investigator look into the matter.Victor Boudreau, the government whip, said the clerk of the legislature — with the help of the legislature’s solicitor — will choose the investigator and get the process moving as quickly as possible.“I certainly can’t speculate on how long the investigator will take. We simply asked that it be done as quickly as possible,” Boudreau said.Time is of the essence, as parties are all nominating their candidates for the Sept. 24 provincial election.The nomination process for Collins’ riding, Moncton Centre, has yet to happen.Gallant announced last week that Collins was being suspended from caucus, saying he had been made aware of potential allegations of harassment in February, but the individual only made the complaint last week.Fairgrieve is questioning the premier’s handling of the matter.“Other directives should have been taken,” Fairgrieve said.He read from the government’s workplace harassment policy that says “managers are responsible to take appropriate preventative or corrective action and put a stop to any harassment they are aware of, whether or not a complaint is filed.”While speculation is rampant about the nature of the harassment complaint and who may be involved, those details are being kept under wraps.Boudreau said the complainant’s affidavit has been seen only by the clerk and solicitor of the legislature, and the investigator will decide who else needs to know the details.Green Leader David Coon said he was uncomfortable making decisions in the Legislative Administration Committee meeting without knowing the details.He said the committee operates in confidence and should have been given all the information.Burke said Collins is prepared to fully co-operate with the investigation.“We want to get to the bottom of these baseless allegations,” he said.Collins was first elected to the provincial legislature in a 2007 byelection, after serving three years as a Moncton city councillor. He was briefly minister of local government under former Liberal premier Shawn Graham and was elected Speaker after the Liberals returned to power in September 2014 under Gallant.
MONTREAL – Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard defended attacks by his troops against the rival Coalition Avenir Quebec as the province’s election campaign hit the one-third mark on Tuesday.Couillard said he wouldn’t condone the harsh words of three candidates, including two outgoing senior ministers, who accused the Coalition of a lack of transparency and frequent flip-flops.Coalition Leader Francois Legault, whose party has been steadily ahead in the polls, called out the Liberals for those frequent attacks and questioned why Couillard didn’t deliver them himself.But Couillard dismissed his opponent’s complaint Tuesday, saying that while the Liberal campaign has kept to his plan of being positive, it doesn’t prevent criticism of opponents when warranted.“It’s a campaign of debates, my candidates aren’t engaging in personal attacks, they are asking questions,” he said in the Gaspe region, adding they are valid questions related to Coalition policies and commitments.“This is the essence of democracy: we have debates, we have difference of opinions, so we can criticize. Have we been criticized in the recent four years? Sometimes. It is it legitimate for us to do the same? Of course it is.”Asked to evaluate his first two weeks, Couillard said he’s received positive marks for the Liberal campaign thus far.“The appraisal is that we’ve been doing an organized campaign, well managed, according to an established plan, day after day after day,” he said.“We are leading a campaign that’s strong on our promises, and the link between those promises and the everyday lives of people and people see it.”Legault, meanwhile, said he wants to bring the focus back to ideas with his party still leading in the polls ahead of the Oct. 1 vote.“I hope in the last two-thirds that are left, we talk more about our proposals on the economy, health and education, of our extraordinary team,” the Coalition leader said.“There have been all sorts of other subjects … in the campaign. I hope we’ll come back to the merits of the propositions in the three sectors that are most on the minds of Quebecers — that is the economy, education and health care.”Also on Day 13, a Coalition candidate was forced to resign for hiding embarrassing information from the party, while Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee came to the defence of an incumbent member of the legislature facing allegations.The Coalition kicked out Stephane Laroche after The Canadian Press revealed he was caught several times allowing minors into the bar he owned south of Montreal.Additionally, Quebec’s workplace safety board had ruled he violated the law by paying women less than their male counterparts.Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Lisee said he would keep a PQ candidate who, according to Radio-Canada, was arrested in July for alleged impaired driving.Guy Leclair admitted in a statement he was arrested on July 13, but denied he refused a breathalyzer test.Lisee said he was informed of events 10 days ago and called the accusation “serious.”But he added that Leclair is entitled to the presumption of innocence.The political parties headed to the province’s outlying regions Tuesday, with Couillard dangling the prospect of decentralizing the decision-making teams in certain provincial departments and relocating them to those areas where it makes geographical sense.For example, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean would see the province’s Forestry Department move to its region or employees specializing in mining would see their resources moved to Abitibi-Temiscamingue, he said.In Thetford Mines, 250 kilometres east of Montreal, Legault made several promises to better support Quebecers who take care of a sick or elderly family member.One of them was a pledge to create 20 temporary care homes and hike a caregiver tax credit to $2,500 from $1,176.Back in the Gaspe, Lisee promised to reduce the cost of hunting and fishing licences and encourage the practice, particularly among youth.The PQ says the measures would be welcome among the roughly one million Quebecers who hunt and fish.Lisee was joined by candidate Sylvain Roy, who has represented the eastern Quebec riding of Bonaventure for the party since 2012 and is in another fight of his own: he is beginning throat cancer treatments as of Wednesday while seeking re-election.— with files from Patrice Bergeron in Matane, Que., and Stephanie Marin in Carleton-sur-Mer, Que.