Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu will attend the convocation ceremony of the National School of Drama (NSD) on August 5, 2019, to be held at Abhimanch auditorium at 5:00 pm. More than 200 students who completed their 3-year course at NSD between 2010 and 2019 will be awarded the diploma at the convocation.Vice President will be the Chief Guest at the convocation in which other key dignitaries including Minister of State Culture & Tourism (I/C), Prahlad Singh Patel will be the Guest of Honour and Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Arun Goel will be present. Former Chairman of the National School of Drama Chandrashekhara Kambara, eminent theatre personality and former director of National School of Drama, Ratan Thiyam, the Special Guests, will also grace the occasion where Acting Chairman, NSD Society, Dr Arjun Deo Charan, and Director In-charge, National School of Drama, Suresh Sharma will be present. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainA total of 237 students will receive their diploma after completing the course of dramatic arts from the National School of Drama (NSD). NSD is foremost theatre training institution in the world which has been recently ranked 14th among the best film schools in the world by CEOWORLD Magazine of the USA. “We are extremely happy to be able to confer the diploma to their rightful owners in the gracious presence of Vice President. The continuous support that we received from the Ministry of Culture was crucial in providing a world-class education to the students year after year. My best wishes are with the outgoing students, who I am sure will excel in all fields of theatre,” says Suresh Sharma, Director In-chargee, National School of Drama (NSD). “The convocation is a heartening development and some students who have endured a gap to get their diploma will finally meet a revered culmination. I am extremely thankful to Vice President who has agreed to take out time from his tight schedule,” says Dr Arjun Deo Charan, Acting Chairman, NSD Society.
Melbourne: Bollywood star Aamir Khan is set to work with South superstar Vijay Sethupathi. Sethupathi confirmed the news to PTI on the sidelines of the 10th edition of Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). “We are in talks and details will be announced soon,” Vijay told PTI. Reports of the duo collaborating started doing the rounds last month after the “Dangal” star paid a visit to the sets of Sethupathi’s Tamil film “Sanga Thamizhan”. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The 41-year-old actor also revealed he is a huge fan of superstar Shah Rukh Khan and megastar Amitabh Bachchan. “Amitabh Bachchan is my favourite actor and I have seen his several films, including ‘Pink’,” adding that meeting Shah Rukh, who is the chief guest at IFFM, was a pleasure. Sethupathi also won the best actor award at IFFM for Tamil-language film “Super Deluxe”. The movie, which won an honorary award ‘Equality in Cinema’ at the festival, is directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. “Super Deluxe” was also nominated in the best director and best film categories. The IFFM, which kicked off on August 9, will screen over 60 films from all across India and the subcontinent in over 22 languages. The festival runs through August 17.
Parents and teenagers often find it difficult to talk about sex and alcohol, but a new study suggests that doctors can help. Results published in the journal JAMA Network Open suggest that doctors have an opportunity to help parents and teens communicate about sex and alcohol in ways that will help young people make healthier choices about sexual behaviours and alcohol use. The randomised clinical study evaluated whether interventions targeted at parents in primary care pediatric settings might improve communications between parents and their teenagers about sexual health and alcohol use. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainAccording to the researchers, the study included 118 parents-adolescent pairs, with 38 pairs in a sexual health intervention, 40 pairs in an alcohol prevention intervention, and 40 pairs in a control group for comparison who received usual care. The interventions were selected because in previous research, they have been shown to encourage teens to wait until they are older to have sex, use protection if they do have sex and reduce alcohol use. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardParents in the interventions received coaching on key messages regarding sexual health and alcohol and were encouraged to engage in parent-adolescent communication about it within two weeks, at which time there was a follow-up call to parents from health coaches. Participants were surveyed four months later and the researchers reported an increased frequency of parent-teen communications in the intervention groups compared to the control group.
Coimbatore/Chennai: Security has been tightened across Tamil Nadu following intelligence inputs that members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba had infiltrated into the state, police said on Friday.Coimbatore Police Commissioner Sumit Sharan said the city was under a high alert following information that the terrorists were heading there. Officials said security had been beefed up in the state following reports that six members of the terror outfit LeT infiltrated into the state by sea from Sri Lanka and moved to different cities. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Security has been stepped up at many places, including airports, railway stations, bus stands and places of worship across the state. An alert has been sounded especially in coastal districts to prevent any further possible intrusion, the police said. Chennai Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan said “storming operations” were underway as part of precautionary steps. Sharan said 10 numbers quick response teams habve been put at strategic places just in case to respond if there is any requirement. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”We have put arrangements at all the shopping malls, important temples and all important installations. We have also informed the Army and the Air Force to alert their defences,” he told reporters. The city and its surroundings have come under a tight security cover, with over 2,000 police personnel being deployed, and vehicle check and such checking points enhanced, the police commissioner said. “As of a now, a general red alert is maintained.” Sharan said the police had not released any photographs of any suspects so far as was being telecast in some TV channels, but said searches were on based on information and the description of the suspects. When pointed out that the developments come close on the heels of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) action in the city, he said: “There is no need for panic, for worry. What the NIA did was a separate operation (and) this is a separate issue.” The NIA had in June arrested Mohammed Azarudeen, the alleged head of the ISIS Tamil Nadu module who was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, one of the suicide bombers in the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka in April. In 1998, Coimbatore was rocked by serial bomb blasts coinciding with the visit of BJP leader L K Advani to the industrial city, leaving 58 people dead and over 200 injured.
Milan: Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini scored the first goal of the Serie A season on Saturday as the champions kicked off their bid for a ninth consecutive title with a pedestrian 1-0 win at Parma. As the champions struggled without coach Maurizio Sarri, absent from the bench as he recovers from pneumonia, Serie A runners-up Napoli won a 4-3 thriller in Fiorentina. Skipper Lorenzo Insigne scored a brace for Napoli including the 67th-minute winner and had a role in Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon’s goals for the southerners. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIn Parma, Chiellini made the difference early, connecting with an Alex Sandro deflected shot to fire in from close range after 21 minutes in Emilia Romagna. “He (Sarri) can be proud because the team have shown that we are united, that we can train with dedication and application. We will improve, but the important thing is to grow by winning,” said 35-year-old Chiellini after just his 27th goal in his 14-year Juventus career. Sarri’s arrival has been hailed as the dawn of a new era for Juventus with a different exciting style of football. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterBut the Turin giants new-look side mirrored Massimiliano Allegri’s of last season. Apart from Argentine Gonzalo Higuain, back from a loan to Chelsea, preferred up front alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in place of Paulo Dybala, the team was the same as last season. New Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt remained on the bench with Welsh international Aaron Ramsey not in the group, while French midfielder Adrien Rabiot came on after an hour in place of Sami Khedira. Sarri’s assistant Giovanni Martusciello was on the bench and took instructions from the former Napoli and Chelsea boss. “I spoke to him before, during the break and at the end of the game, when obviously he was much happier with the result,” he said. “Being a perfectionist he was still angry at the mistakes made.” Martusciello defended the lineup, insisting “taking a gamble in the first game of the season would have been unnecessary”. “This is a team full of champions.” Ronaldo drew a blank with a goal ruled offside and several missed efforts against Parma who finished 14th on their return to Serie A last season. Ronaldo squandered a golden chance after half an hour, controlling a Higuain cross with his chest but sending wide across the face of goal. The Portuguese looked to have made up for his earlier error on 34 minutes, finishing off a Douglas Costa effort into the back of the net. The goal was ruled offside after consultation with VAR with Ronaldo deemed to be marginally offside. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner again proved wasteful after an hour latching on to a Costa cross but sending the ball over the top of goal. His frustration continued five minutes later with Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe denying the Portuguese at full stretch. “Great to start the season with three points!” the 34-year-old Ronaldo tweeted after the game. In Florence, midfielder Erick Pulgar converted a penalty after just nine minutes to the delight of the home crowd and new club owner Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso. But Mertens pulled Napoli back after 38 minutes with Insigne adding a second from the spot just before the break. Nikola Milenkovic’s powerful header six minutes after the break kept Fiorentina, 16th last season, in the game.
New Delhi: A 20-year-old man involved in the cases of child abuse was arrested from Baprola area in Dwarka district. The investigating agency said that the accused had sexually abused three girls.Deputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said that further investigation is going on. Police identified the accused as Pawan Kumar, a resident of Ranhola. He was working as a tailor. A senior police officer, elaborating more about the case, said, “They have registered a case on August 24. A 10-year-old victim had gone to buy sugar from a shop suddenly the accused came there on a motorcycle and told her that her mother is calling her.” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAdding further, the officer said that the Kumar took her on his bike to an isolated place and physically assaulted her. The minor girl objected and started crying for help. Later the accused person dumped the child near a hospital. A public person alerted the law enforcement agency about a missing girl. When police personnel reached the spot, the victim had returned to her home. She was counselled and got medically examined. A case has been registered into the matter. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsA team under inspector Sunil (SHO Najafgarh) was formed and they started scanning the CCTV cameras. The accused along with his motorcycle was captured in one of the CCTVs. “Information about the accused was collected through sources by a head constable Prem Prakash and identity of Pawan was zeroed down. Later the accused was nabbed,” police added. The investigating agency further added that on inquiry accused admitted that he has assaulted 3-4 minor girls in the same manner from the last 4-5 days. The other two victims aged around 14 and 12 years. Three cases under POCSO Act and various IPC sections were registered in the concerned police station.
New Delhi: CPI(M) leader from Kashmir Mohd Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday criticised the Centre for detaining former chief minister Farooq Abdullah under PSA and said that “people across the border are clapping” that the government has done what they could not. Addressing a press conference with CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, the former member of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly said that whatever is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “We, Abdullah and others are not terrorists. It is such a horrible time. I am very disturbed,” he said. Tarigami said he was under house arrest since August 5, when the Centre announced abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of the state into Union territories. He was brought to the AIIMS here for treatment on the direction of the Supreme Court after it allowed Yechury to meet him in Srinagar and submit a report on his health condition. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Tarigami slammed the government over scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and contested its claim of normalcy returning to the Valley. “It has been 40 days of restrictions but the government claims there is normalcy. Do this in Delhi or any other city and see what is the situation of business, hospitals, schools and media. “How can they say that everything is under control? They are claiming that no one has been killed. I say people are dying, there is suffocation in the state,” Tarigami said. Alleging that the “very foundation of the unity of India with Kashmir is under assault”, he said, “Listen to our version, the version of the people of Kashmir. We all want to live peacefully. I am not a foreigner.” People of Jammu and Kashmir had decided to remain with secular India, Tarigami said. “Today Kashmiri politicians are in jail… people sitting across the border are clapping that you have done what we could not,” he said and hit out at the government for detaining NC leader Abdullah. “What is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country. Now Kashmiri people do not have much expectations with today’s regime,” he said. Tarigami said militancy can be tackled with the help of people but the government’s policy is not helping in building trust. “I want to ask, can you build trust among people by beating them, putting them in jails, suspending internet and telephone lines, crippling the daily life? Isn’t it playing into the hands of the enemies of this country? he asked. CPI(M) General Secretary Yechury said that the ground situation is Kashmir is completely different from what the government is claiming. He also criticised Abdullah’s detention and said that the situation is “very serious” in the state. “It has been more than 40 days since the abrogation of Article 370. There is complete breakdown of communication in the state. The communication gap is isolating people,” he said. “There is no public transport and also there have been reports of shortage in medicines and treatment at hospitals. The situation needs to be improved,” Yechury said. On Sunday night, Abdullah, the 81-year-old patron of the National Conference (NC), was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). He was under house arrest since August 5. Several other leaders were detained or arrested on the day and restrictions imposed on communication and movement of people in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has maintained that the steps were taken to maintain law and order and prevent any loss of life. Restrictions have since been lifted in Jammu and Ladakh regions. The curbs have been eased in the Valley, though mobile and internet services are still suspended, according to officials.
WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. – Emergency officials in British Columbia’s southern Interior warn that devastating wildfires that charred thousands of square kilometres of timber and bush last year now have the potential to make seasonal flooding even more severe.The warning from the Cariboo Regional District comes as about 120 properties were ordered to evacuate Sunday in the Upper Nazko region about 100 kilometres west of Quesnel.Flood warnings have been posted for the Nazko and West Road rivers in the region and Emily Epp, the regional district’s emergency operations centre spokeswoman, said surging water had already cut some roads and trapped residents on their land.“The RCMP is helping them evacuate by helicopter and then we are transporting them by bus to emergency support services reception centre in Quesnel,” Epp said early Monday.Flood watches were also posted by the River Forecast Centre for many other waterways around the Cache Creek, Merritt, Williams Lake and Quesnel areas, and Epp said the 2018 spring thaw was shaping up to be challenging.“We are definitely seeing much more significant flooding than we usually do in our regional district and the experts at the River Forecast Centre and Ministry of Environment are advising us that a lot of this is due to the impact from the wildfires last year,” she said.More than 12,000 square kilometres of timber and bush burned across B.C. between July and September 2017, with the largest wildfire ever recorded in the province, called the Plateau fire, destroying a massive area west of Quesnel and Williams Lake.The Nazko watershed, where the current flooding is occurring, was significantly impacted by that blaze, Epp said.“The experts are telling us that with the devastation to the landscape, the water and snowmelt is able to flow much more accessibly into the rivers and streams and so causes these high stream flow and potential flooding issues,” she said.In southern B.C., evacuation orders were lifted early Tuesday and replaced with an evacuation alert for most properties in the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District community of Tulameen. Residents on four streets closest to Otter Lake remained under an evacuation alert.Evacuation orders had also been posted for the Sportsman Bowl area north of Oliver.On Saturday, a mudslide forced the evacuation of 12 properties in the Killiney Beach area on the northwest side of Okanagan Lake.The Central Okanagan Regional District said in a news release Monday that workers are trying to stabilize a road in the area and an assessment is underway to determine if a slope above the properties is stable.“Only when conditions are safe, will the order will be rescinded and residents allowed to return,” the regional district said.Rapidly rising river levels and the likelihood of flooding in low-lying areas for the southern Interior, Boundary, Kootenay and Peace regions prompted the River Forecast Centre to maintain high streamflow advisories there.Recent rains, extremely heavy snowpacks and another round of temperatures in the mid to high 20s for many parts of southern B.C. are expected to add to flooding risks in the coming days.The Provincial Emergency Co-ordination Centre advises people to stay away from eroded banks and keep children and pets away from stream banks, which could be unstable.The centre also says to pay attention to changing conditions, especially in low-lying areas and it has listed steps to take in case flooding occurs, including creating a household emergency plan and moving valuables and equipment to higher ground.Note to readers: .
OTTAWA – An Alberta man who tortured and starved his roommate is not getting a chance to appeal his conviction before Canada’s top court.The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed Dustin Paxton’s request to challenge a 2016 ruling from the Alberta Court of Appeal which upheld a guilty verdict of aggravated assault and sexual assault.The Supreme Court, as usual, did not list reasons for its decision.Paxton was convicted in 2012 for the prolonged and brutal abuse of a man who was his friend and roommate. He was designated a dangerous offender and is serving an indeterminate jail sentence.The victim was dropped off, near death, at a Regina hospital in April 2010. He was emaciated, battered and bleeding.In its November 2016 ruling, the Alberta Appeal Court upheld the convictions and said there was no evidence to suggest that the victim was consenting to sexual contact with Paxton.The Appeal Court also rejected other arguments from Paxton’s lawyers, who said the trial judge made errors, showed bias and shouldn’t have excluded a defence expert who found the victim’s testimony unreliable. They also questioned the victim’s memory about events that had happened years before.“It is hard to imagine a situation more compelling than the one found to exist by the trial judge, of regular beatings inflicting serious bodily harm on (the victim), to support his evidence that he feared being beaten by Paxton if he did not comply with his sexual expectations,” wrote the judges.“Paxton created an atmosphere where (the victim) was required to provide total obedience through physical and psychological control of this vulnerable person.”During Paxton’s trial in Calgary, court heard that he humiliated, starved, beat and sexually assaulted his roommate over 18 months while they lived together in Alberta and Saskatchewan.The man, who cannot be identified, testified that he suffered a traumatic brain injury from the abuse and can no longer hold a job.He said he has trouble with his balance, can’t swallow properly and has to drink through a straw. The man lost some of his lip during the prolonged ordeal, had his ribs broken and sustained a ruptured bowel.“Before the assaults, I was extremely good-looking and very attractive to women and now I am disfigured,” he testified.The trial heard how the smallest things such as leftovers in the fridge would provoke an attack. The victim testified that he took the abuse because he didn’t want to look like “a sissy” and had dreams of making big money in a moving business he and Paxton had started.— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
Ahead of The Year of the Dog on Friday, Calgarians joined the festivities leading up to Chinese New Year.For the 26th year, Calgary’s Chinese Cultural Centre is hosted the Chinese New Year Festival on Sunday, which included performances, food and more.Tony Wong, vice-president of the centre, said events like these are not only a large part of the Chinese culture, but they also help to reduce stereotyping against Chinese people.“Slowly the attitude of the society changes and discrimination [fades] into the background,” he said.Shuyan Yu performs magic for a small crowd. pic.twitter.com/WsfxtfGm81— 660 NEWS Calgary (@660NEWS) February 11, 2018More than 20 years ago, Iris Cheung immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. She said she brought her Canadian-born children to the event because it’s good for them to celebrate traditions.“At least they know their roots, yet they still get used to the western culture, but they’re still part of their heritage,” she said.When he was a teenager, Austin Liew immigrated to Canada from Malaysia. He said even though the celebration of Chinese New Year isn’t nearly as big in Canada as it is in Malaysia, he and his wife bring their children to the festival every year.Liew family enjoys the Chinese New Year Festival. pic.twitter.com/GdSYnKLt5n— 660 NEWS Calgary (@660NEWS) February 11, 2018Ophelia Liew said she wants her children to experience their cultural roots.“Growing up in Canada with a different kind of ethnicity, it’s really important to just, kind of, like share Canadian identity, but also your own ethnic identity,” she said.Liew said growing up as a first-generation Canadian she was pushed to be a good citizen, meaning her own culture took a back-seat, but she plans to pass along a different message to her children.“I think there’s room for both your own identity and a Canadian identity and you don’t have to choose between one, or the other,” she said.
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is expanding restrictions on where people can smoke tobacco and cannabis ahead of the legalization of recreational pot use this summer.Justice Minister Mark Furey issued a statement Tuesday saying the province will add five new areas to the Smoke-free Places Act where smoking of both products will be banned.That includes the smoking or vaping of cannabis or tobacco on or near playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation sites, public trails, and provincial parks and beaches — except within a rented campsite.Furey said people will be able to smoke and vape cannabis in their own homes, on their private property, or in their apartment if it is permitted in the lease.However, cannabis use will not be allowed in vehicles, under new legislation to be introduced during this legislative session.If cannabis is being carried in a vehicle, it must be stored in a closed, fastened package and out of reach to the driver or passengers.Violations of the new rules carry a fine of up to $2,000.“We looked carefully at how we could balance the legalization of cannabis with our goals to reduce smoking of any kind,” Furey said in the statement.The Nova Scotia government said its approach is in line with measures adopted in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.By contrast, most of the other provinces have opted for a full public consumption ban, which means people in those provinces will be permitted to smoke cannabis only in their private home or on their property, the province said.Nunavut is the only jurisdiction that has yet to announced its plans regarding public consumption.Meanwhile, smoking of all kinds in Nova Scotia is already prohibited in all indoor public places and workplaces, and in many outdoor spaces, including school and daycare grounds, bar and restaurant patios and within four metres of an entrance or air intake.Smoking is also prohibited in vehicles where children are passengers.The new legislation will prohibit the use of tobacco in vehicles used as part of one’s work, unless the vehicle is also for personal use and is only driven by one person during work hours.The amendments will also confirm that municipalities can pass bylaws that put additional restrictions in place. The stricter rules will apply.
The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the constitutionality of a New Brunswick law that ensnared a man who brought home a trunkload of beer and liquor from neighbouring Quebec.The unanimous high court decision Thursday effectively preserves the current trade regime, saying provinces have the power to enact laws that restrict commerce if there is another overriding purpose — in this case the desire to control the supply of alcohol within New Brunswick.In October 2012, Gerard Comeau of Tracadie, N.B., drove across the border to Quebec to buy several cases of beer and some liquor from three stores.Comeau was fined $240 and administrative fees under New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act for being in possession of a large amount of alcohol he had not purchased through his province’s liquor corporation.The trial judge accepted Comeau’s argument the Liquor Control Act provision amounted to a trade barrier that violated Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867.The Constitution Act section says, “All articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of any one of the provinces shall, from and after the union, be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”The New Brunswick attorney general was denied leave to challenge the trial judge’s decision in the provincial Court of Appeal, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, ultimately siding with the province.The ruling underscores a need to renegotiate last year’s interprovincial free-trade agreement, which contains pages of exemptions and creates secretive working groups, but fails to adequately address trade barriers, said Conservative MP John Nater.“Canadians recognize the economic benefits of reducing interprovincial trade barriers,” he said. “It should not be illegal to work or to transport legal products across provincial lines.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the interprovincial agreement “a significant step” towards full free trade within Canada.“We know there continue to be issues that will require further discussion with the provinces, but this is something that we’ve made significant progress on, and we will continue to.”Comeau, a 64-year-old retired power linesman, said he wasn’t entirely surprised by the Supreme Court decision.“I’m not really disappointed,” he said in Campbellton, N.B. “I’m not really sad. I got an answer to what the law is.”Comeau said he’s unlikely to continue buying beer in Quebec. “If it’s against the law, it’s against the law.”For Comeau, the case was simply about his right to stock up on cheaper suds. But for provinces and territories, business interests and economists, it was about whether the correct interpretation of the Constitution entailed full economic integration, potentially reshaping the federation.In its reasons, the Supreme Court said New Brunswick’s ability to exercise oversight over liquor supplies in the province “would be undermined if non-corporation liquor could flow freely across borders and out of the garages of bootleggers and home brewers.”The framers of the Constitution agreed that individual provinces needed to relinquish their tariff powers, the court said. In this vein, the historical context supports the view that Section 121 forbids imposition of tariffs — and tariff-like measures — that impose charges on goods crossing provincial boundaries.However, the historical evidence nowhere suggests that provinces would lose their power to legislate for the benefit of their constituents, even if that might affect interprovincial trade.“Section 121 does not impose absolute free trade across Canada,” the decision says.Rather, the historical and legislative context — and underlying constitutional principles — support a flexible view, “one that respects an appropriate balance between federal and provincial powers and allows legislatures room to achieve policy objectives that may have the incidental effect of burdening the passage of goods across provincial boundaries.”The decision confirms the authority of provinces to tax, price and regulate harmful products such as alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, said Rob Cunningham, a policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.“From a public health perspective, the judgment is very positive.”Dan Paszkowski, president of the Canadian Vintners Association, is now hoping for signs of progress on trade liberalization in a forthcoming study being conducted under the terms of the Canadian trade agreement.“We are going to continue to work with that group to develop an interprovincial trade system for Canadian wine.”With files from Kevin Bissett and Teresa Wright
In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala, Canadians with ties to the region fear for friends and relatives left stranded by the disaster that’s been called the worst in the country’s history.More than 300 people have died this week in the wake of the flooding, officials said, and more than 800,000 have been displaced by the floods and landslides that are a result of heavy rains that began on Aug. 8.“No one was prepared for this,” said Prasad Nair, president of the Mississauga Kerala Association, located west of Toronto. “Most people have lost everything that they have.”Nair, who came to Canada from Kerala in 2003, said one of his relatives saw his house fully submerged in water and had to stay on the roof for two days before being rescued.“The house that I lived in during my childhood has been fully submerged in water for five days,” said Nair, 47.The international community needs to understand what’s happening in Kerala because the state will need help, he said.“Most of us here are Canadians and we will always be a part of Canada, but a part of us belongs there too.”Nair said the association will continue to fundraise for the disaster, but urged the Canadian government to pledge to donate, especially to rebuild, as officials estimate over 10,000 kilometres of roads have been damaged.“We are working really hard to get an appointment with the PM’s office,” he said. “But we have not heard anything back from him yet.”“Canada has the technology, ability and experience in these kinds of disaster operations,” he said.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter Saturday that he sends his deepest condolences to those affected, and a spokesperson for Global Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Joe Thottungal, 46, came to Canada 20 years ago from Kerala and in 2004 opened a restaurant in Ottawa that serves Keralan cuisine.He said it’s devastating to see the state he grew up in face such destruction.He regularly returns to the region, and has for the past three years brought Canadians along with him to explore the state’s food scene.Its tea plantations, backwaters and abundance of spices like cardamom are some of the reasons tourists are so keen to visit, he said.Nelson Abraham, who also owns a restaurant in Ottawa, said some of his Canadian friends who travelled to the province are stuck because the airport is closed.“Everyone that we know is safe, but a lot of people are suffering for the food and the drinkable water,” Abraham said, adding that he will return to India later this year to take care of his family.“My mother is alone there, so I must go,” he said. “I think everything will be all right in the next month … at least I hope so.”Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that its thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of those killed in the flood.It said 3,748 Canadians in India have officially registered with the department’s emergency notification system, but this is not necessarily a complete picture of how many Canadians are in the country.— With files from The Associated Press.
HALIFAX – A Halifax man who strangled an off-duty police officer and used a compost bin to dispose of her body is appealing his sentence, calling it “manifestly excessive.”Christopher Garnier was convicted in December of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body in the death of 36-year-old Catherine Campbell.The conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice ruled last month that Garnier would be able to apply for parole after serving 13 and a half years — less 699 days for time served.A notice of appeal filed last Thursday says Justice Joshua Arnold imposed a “manifestly excessive sentence.”“The sentencing judge failed to properly take into account the circumstances of the appellant and over-emphasized the aggravating factor of the improper interference with a human body in determining parole ineligibility,” the document said.“Such other grounds of appeal… may be revealed after a review of the transcript evidence.”The document, signed by Garnier, also said: “I desire to present my case and argument in person.”“At the conclusion of the appeal the appellant will request a reduction in sentence,” it said.Garnier, 30, had earlier appealed his conviction, in part because he says police interview tactics elicited a false confession.Meanwhile, outrage has been building over Veterans Affairs Canada’s decision to pay for treatment for Garnier’s PTSD — a mental illness his lawyer had argued was brought on by the murder.At a court hearing last month, a Crown lawyer confirmed Garnier was being seen by a private psychologist, and that Veterans Affairs was covering the cost because his father is a veteran who has also been diagnosed with PTSD.Veterans Affairs says relatives of veterans are eligible to apply for PTSD treatment, and Minister Seamus O’Regan has said he would be “looking into how and why this decision was made.”Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has questioned the department’s justification, and federal Conservative shadow critic Phil McColeman has called it an “absolute travesty.”In handing down his sentencing decision on Aug. 14, Arnold noted that Garnier and Campbell met for the first time at a downtown Halifax bar, and hours later she was dead in a north end apartment.“On Sept. 11, 2015, as shown on the surveillance video from the (Halifax Alehouse), Catherine Campbell was expecting romance and affection on the evening she was murdered. She was vulnerable,” he said.“For reasons unknown, Mr. Garnier punched her in the face, broke her nose, strangled her to death, and then, in an effort to hide his crime, treated her remains like garbage.”The judge also detailed how Garnier attempted to cover up the murder.“After she was strangled to death, Mr. Garnier put Ms. Campbell’s body in a green bin. He put garbage bags on top of her body, and in the green bin, to hide her body. He then wheeled her throughout the north end of Halifax, dropped her down a small cliff, dragged her through brush, and eventually put a large box used to house feral cats on top of Ms. Campbell’s remains.”Arnold noted that Dr. Matthew Bowes, Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner, had told the jury it would take between two and six minutes to cause death by strangulation.During his trial, Garnier repeatedly told the jury he did not remember using the large green compost bin to dispose of the body near a harbour bridge, where it stayed undetected for nearly five days.Garnier had also argued that Campbell died accidentally during rough sex that she initiated.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.
OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Less than a month to go before Christmas, there remains a backlog of packages and regular mail as postal workers are told to get back to work.Despite threats by the union to challenge the back-to-work legislation, the federal government is convinced it will hold up in court.The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is outraged its workers are being forced back on the job, saying it is looking at all options — including legal ones — to fight this bill.RELATED: Postal workers return to picket lines as Senate set to debate back-to-work billThe union argues the legislation is unconstitutional because it violates their members’ right to strike, an argument that held up in court when the previous Harper government took similar actions.But Employment Minister Patty Hajdu says she is confident this bill will stand the test. “We put forward legislation that had a Charter statement. We did so in a way that drafted the legislation completely differently than the previous Harper government’s legislation.”But she says ultimately, it could be the courts’ call.The minister claims the move was a last resort, but a necessary one.“There was a significant, growing economic harm to the country. Small businesses were struggling. Rural and remote communities were struggling. There really wasn’t a way forward for the two parties. They were at a complete impasse.”
OTTAWA — The political drama around the SNC-Lavalin controversy continues, as the House of Commons justice committee held an emergency meeting Wednesday.MPs decided to launch an investigation into allegations the Prime Minister’s Office tried to pressure the former justice minister into helping the engineering firm to avoid criminal prosecution. The Liberal motion passed 5 to 4.A Liberal motion has passed 5-4 to launch an investigation into the SNC Lavalin affair. However the witness list put forward by the Libs leave off some important figures in this controversy including former Justice Minister @Puglaas #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 13, 2019RELATED: Vancouver-Granville MP resigns from cabinet amid scandalAhead of the meeting, Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt was putting pressure on the Liberals to pass the Opposition motion as is, so the committee can launch an investigation and call nine witnesses to testify.Conservative Lisa Raitt asked if they will call the Prime Minister to testify if the committee investigates. He is not currently on their list of witnesses. She says they have their list and they will see what happens. #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 13, 2019Those witnesses include top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Wilson Raybould, a Vancouver MP, resigned from cabinet on Tuesday in the middle of this political storm.“If they defeat or they water it down in any way, it is nothing less than an admission of guilt,” said Raitt.Conservative Deputy Leader @lraitt makes the case for a Justice Committee investigation. Says if the Liberals truly believe the Prime Minister and his office did nothing wrong then they should pass the motion as is. Claims any watering down is an admission of guilt #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/QbniS864os— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 13, 2019Raitt says all options are on the table to get answers, including a judicial inquiry.The witness list put forward by the Liberals in their motion left off some key players, including Wilson-Raybould.Speaking in Halifax, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wouldn’t rule out contacting the RCMP. “All options are on the table. There’s an opportunity today for Liberal members of Parliament to do the right thing, support our efforts to shine the light of day.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied Wilson-Raybould was pressured to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than pursue a criminal trial on charges of bribery and fraud related to the company’s efforts to secure government contracts in Libya.Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould never once spoke up if she felt there was any wrongdoing.He said the government followed all the rules. “If anyone felt differently, they had an obligation to raise that with me. No one, including Jody, did that.”RELATED: Trudeau ‘surprised’ by minister’s resignationNDP Leader Jagmeet Singh warns that if the Liberals shut the committee’s work down, it would send a dangerous signal to Canadians about the state of their democracy.Due to solicitor-client privilege, Wilson-Raybould is seeking legal advice on what she can say in public.Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion has initiated his own investigation into the matter, specifically whether there’s been a violation of the Conflict of Interest Act. – With files from the Canadian Press
CANADA (660 NEWS) — As the percentage of people paying for food with cash declines, businesses like Walmart are considering going cash-free. There are many benefits for grocery stores to go cashless including shorter checkout times, heightened convenience and a reduction in theft and human error.“No one wants to really wait to pay for their food items and that’s why the cashless food economy is becoming an attractive proposition for both the consumer and the industry as well,” explained Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. He says cashless stores have prompted some backlash with San Francisco lawmakers even considering a ban.A recent survey by Payments Canada, 42 per cent of consumers use cash fewer than four times a month when purchasing food. A year ago, it was only 20 per cent.“Almost a million Canadians don’t have a bank account, or a credit card, or a debit card, and so that’s problematic,” he pointed out. “So, if you are to go cashless, 100 per cent you are excluding a segment of the population that has less means.”While it definitely offers benefits for consumers and businesses alike, opponents argue it discriminates against low-income shoppers who may not have a bank account.“You can basically go in and out of a grocery store without seeing anyone, without talking to anyone, and the money will be withdrawn from your bank account or will be applied to your credit card in an instant,” he said.He also pointed out that digitizing food transactions allows food service companies to increase food prices, partly because it will go unnoticed by consumers who don’t visualize money physically leaving their wallets.Amazon has said its go stores will accept cash eventually, and it also intends to launch a program that will allow anyone to go cashless regardless of their socio-economic status.
This week, President Barack Obama urged America to “come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.”“The President laid out a clear and compelling roadmap to helping American families, especially the nearly one in four children living in poverty,” said Mark K. Shriver, senior vice president of Save the Children’s U.S. Programs. “We are pleased by his call for increased investments in early childhood education—we know firsthand the difference that high-quality early learning programs can make and have long advocated for more resources for such programs. We look forward to supporting efforts to make the President’s ideas a reality, and believe the National Commission on Children is a proven way to do that.”Leading up to the President’s national address on Tuesday, Save the Children — joined by more than 40 other organizations — gathered nearly 100,000 voices in support of a children’s commission, calling on the Obama Administration to speak out and take action for underserved kids in the United States.“We were pleased to see poverty referenced throughout his speech, and not just in America, but in developing countries where Save the Children is on the ground helping children survive and thrive,” added Save the Children’s CEO Carolyn Miles. “We’ve made progress in ending child deaths from treatable and preventable causes but we hope the Administration’s continued support will create further opportunities to make zero child deaths — and the promise of an AIDS-free generation — a reality.”“Now is the time for the country to come together to find bold, new ideas to ensure all children — here in America and around the world — are safe and protected,” continued Miles. “We want to work with the President, policymakers from both sides of the aisle and everyone who cares about children to get this work done.”Child protection has been a top priority for Save the Children throughout its nearly 100-year history. The organization’s programs in the United States and across the globe focus on the needs of the most vulnerable children, while aiming to keep all children free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Save the Children partnered with other likeminded organizations to call on the President and Congress to establish a National Commission on Children dedicated to reducing childhood poverty, obesity, illiteracy and violence.To learn more and join the effort to keep America’s kids safe, visit www.savethechildren.org/protect.Source:Save the Children
Double Academy Award winning Hilary Swank has travelled to Ethiopia to learn more about the importance of education and the opportunities that it brings in some of the more disadvantaged communities in the world.Hilary Swank Visits Ethiopia With UNICEFPartnering with UNICEF and Montblanc, Hilary shares a commitment to give every child the opportunity to learn how to read and write, making a crucial contribution to breaking the poverty cycle, one step at a time.Video: Montblanc ‘Signature for Good’ 2013 – Hilary SwankVisiting a countryside beyond the Ethiopian capital, Hilary Swank and Lutz Bethge, Montblanc CEO witnessed the success of the Child-to-Child (CTC) pre-primary education in providing preschool-aged children with early learning at the Dima Guranda Primary School in the Sebeta District, Oromia Region.Through the hard work of young facilitators, usually older students, CTC has become a winning model to prevent children from dropping out of primary school.While at Mekdella Primary School, Hilary Swank was particularly moved by the “Gender Club”, a school supported activity programme promoting gender equality in education giving girls and boys practical knowledge to overcome inequalities and violence, as well as achieving a better understanding of health, hygiene and environmental issues.Empowered with better knowledge provided by teachers; these self-confident young women and men have a fighting chance of improving their situation.In Ethiopia alone, support from Montblanc has contributed to the establishment of 2,400 and rehabilitation of 800 Alternative Basic Education Centres reaching 846,000 children including many orphans and pastoralists. Providing children with quality basic education will in turn give them significantly better chances in life.For every piece in the “Signature for Good” Collection sold between 1 March 2013 and 31 March 2014, Montblanc will donate part of its proceeds to raise at least $1.5 million dollars to UNICEFʼs education programmes, focusing on the most vulnerable children, through the Schools for Africa and Asia initiatives, and programmes in Latin America.For more information please visit www.signatureforgood.montblanc.com.
This week’s “4th Annual Thirst Gala” helped put a spotlight on The Thirst Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to building fresh water wells and providing developing countries with clean water.Supporters from all over the world gathered at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel to honor those that have gone above and beyond to help raise awareness for the organization, raise money for fresh water wells and bring attention to the global water crisis.The star studded evening included a silent auction, live auction, five star three course meal and performances by Coco Jones and Jenn Bostic with the John Burroughs show choir. Special guest in the audience was Sibusiso Shiba, The Thirst Project ambassador on the ground in Swaziland, Africa. Sibu’s village in Swaziland received a fresh water well thanks to the organization, after he had shared that his daughter was sick due to dirty drinking water.Pauley Perrette (NCIS) received the Pioneering Spriting Award for her incredible support of the organization over the last year including co-hosting the 3rd Annual Thirst Gala which helped raise $188,000, shooting PSAs and personally funding several wells. Her heart. support and influence was acknowledged and celebrated at last night’s gala. Robbie Brenner, president of production at Relativity, was awarded the 4th Annual Vision Award for leading the way in supporting the important work that the Thirst Project does in combatting the world water crisis. Relativity has been a longtime sponsor of The Thirst Project’s events and in 2011 the company gave up its employee holiday gifts and funded a freshwater well in Uganda. Robbie continues to push her company to take up the call to meet the needs of those who are suffering most in the world. Additional honoree include Chelsie Kent, Student at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, CA who received the Power of Youth Award and Paola Nilsen, Teacher at West Islip High School in West Islip, NY, who received the Volunteer Award.Presenters for the evening included Audrina Patridge (Scary Movie), Charisma Carpenter (The Lying Game), Christian Serratos (The Twilight Saga), Crystal Reed (Teen Wolf), Josh Sussman (Glee), Michael Welch (The Twilight Saga), Camila Banus (Days of our Lives), Roshon Fegan (Disney Shake It Up!), and Tahj Mowry (ABC Family’s Baby Daddy),The following celebrities were in attendance Aaron O’Connell (The Haves and the Have Nots), Alice Greczyn (The Lying Game), Allie Gonino (The Lying Game), Amy Paffrath (Sullivan & Son), Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives), Arianne Zucker (Days of Our Lives), Audrey Whitby (AwesomenessTV), Cassie Scerbo (Make It Or Break It), Chrishell Stause (Days of Our Lives), Christian Alexander (The Lying Game), Drake Bell (Diving with the Stars), Drew Seeley (Lovestruck: The Musical), Gracie Dzienny (Supah Ninjahs), Jen Lilley (Days of our Lives), Jordan Wall (The Glades), Melissa Ordway (The Young and the Restless), Mike Faiola (Awkward), Mollee Gray (Teen Beach Movie), Molly Tarlov (Awkward), Olesya Rulin (Family Weekend), Stevie Lynn Jones (NBC Crisis), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey) and Tyler Lepley (The Haves and the Have Nots).