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ONGC energises revenue by 116 to Rs 26759 crore in Q4

first_imgNew Delhi: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Thursday reported a 31 per cent drop in its March quarter net profit as it faced a double whammy of a drop in production and fall in prices. Net profit in January-March at Rs 4,045 crore was 31.6 per cent lower than net profit of Rs 5,915 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal year, the company said in a statement. While oil production dropped 5 per cent to 4.8 million tonne, the price it realised for every barrel of crude oil sold was 3.6 per cent lower at $61.93. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsGas production, however, rose 8.2 per cent to 6.275 billion cubic metres. Also, gas price climbed 16.3 per cent to $3.36 per million British thermal unit. Revenue was up 11.6 per cent to Rs 26,759 crore in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 as compared to Rs 23,970 crore a year back. Oil and Natural Gas Corp board approved a final dividend of 15 per cent (Rs 0.75 per share). This is on top of interim dividends of 125 per cent (Rs 6.25 a share) declared previously for 2018-19 fiscal. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chief”The total dividend payout for FY’19 would be Rs 8,806 crore (excluding dividend distribution tax),” the statement said. For the full fiscal 2018-19, net profit jumped 34 per cent to Rs 26,716 crore while revenue was up 29 per cent at Rs 109,655 crore. Oil and Natural Gas Corp said it made 13 discoveries in FY19. “Of the 13 discoveries, 8 discoveries were made in onland (Nomination-6, NELP-2) and 5 in offshore (Nomination-2, NELP- 3). Out of 13 discoveries, 5 discoveries were monetised during the year itself,” it said. The statutory levies rose to Rs 7,188 crore in the quarter from Rs 5,764 crore in the year-ago quarter while expenditure under depreciation, depletion, amortization and impairment has increased to Rs 4,883 crore from Rs 3,245 crore a year earlier. ONGC has deposited a total of Rs 4,180 crore as service tax, GST and the applicable interest in response to the tax demand by authorities while it is contesting the order legally. The Company has received demand orders from Service Tax Department at various work centres on account of service tax on royalty, and has filed appeals against such orders before Tribunal, the company said. At March-end, ONGC’s borrowings fell to Rs 21,594 crore from Rs 25,592 crore a year earlier. The ONGC Board has also recommended a final dividend of Rs 0.75 per share.last_img read more

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Budget Nokia 22 launched in India for Rs 6999

first_imgNew Delhi: HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, launched its new budget smartphone – Nokia 2.2 – in India on Thursday. The smartphone would be available in tungsten black and steel colours at an offer price of Rs 6,999 for the 2GB+16GB storage variant and Rs 7,999 for 3GB+32GB storage variant till June 30. After the offer ends, it would be available for Rs 7,699 and Rs 8,699, respectively. “Nokia 2.2 is the most accessible smartphone in the Indian market that gives you the promise of Android One and brings you the most secure Android experience. I’m happy to share that Nokia 2.2 is being announced in India first than globally, and we’re not stopping at that,” Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer, HMD Global, told reporters here. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app The smartphone would be available across mobile retail outlets, Flipkart and Nokia.com/phones starting June 11. Prospective buyers can pre-book the device from June 6-10. The handset comes with a 5.71-inch display with brightness of up to 400nits, and features a teardrop notch on the top with a 5MP camera for face recognition. A MediaTek Helio A22 chip fuels the phone. In terms of optics, the device houses a 13MP sensor with single flash. The camera comes with features such as “AutoHDR” and “Low light image fusion” technology. The device runs Android 9 Pie OS but will be updated to Android Q, the company added. Reliance Jio subscribers buying the Nokia 2.2 would get an instant cashback of Rs 2,200 along with 100GB additional data.last_img read more

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Please restore normalcy a mellow Mamata requests doctors on strike

first_imgKolkata: A mellowed Mamata Banerjee put the ball on the agitating junior doctors’ court after they refused her offer of a meeting on Saturday, holding out three key assurances and requesting them to rejoin work. She said all their security demands would be met, no action would be taken against them for the now five-day-old strike, and they would be free to contact her, the governor, chief secretary or the police commissioner for a resolution through talks. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga Immediately after Mamata’s news conference at Nabanna, the state secretariat, the junior doctors said the strike would continue as the chief minister had not agreed to their demand to meet them at NRS Medical College and Hospital. Late on Saturday night, the junior doctors rebutted several assertions made by Mamata at the media conference but said a general body meeting would decide if talks can be held at any other venue. At the media conference, Mamata adopted a tone that was in sharp contrast to the belligerence she had displayed at SSKM Hospital on Thursday, which had escalated the confrontation. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers On Saturday, Mamata concluded her opening remarks at Nabanna with an impassioned plea: “Please restore normalcy. Start the service for the people: my humble submission to them. I’m not going to take any stringent action (against the agitators), though we have everything with us. Let good sense prevail.” Redeploying the people skills that had once stood her in good stead, Mamata said: “They are young, they made a mistake, let them be, I forgive them.” After issuing the invitation on Friday evening, Mamata had waited for the junior doctors to turn up, but as they couldn’t decide immediately whether to accept the invite, another meeting had been set for Saturday at 5pm. On Saturday afternoon, the junior doctors issued a statement Mamata addressed the news conference amid a sense of dejection in the administration following the junior doctors’ refusal to turn up for the meeting, and amid a perception that her stridency was preventing a resolution. By then, the Union home ministry had sent an advisory to the Bengal government “urgently” seeking a report on the cease-work by doctors — a move described as unusual by officials in Delhi. At the outset, Mamata sought to address the perception that the government had done nothing to resolve the crisis. She pressed chief secretary Malay De to describe the steps the administration had taken since Monday night’s mob attack on junior doctors at NRS following a patient’s death. Mamata then took the microphone. “We have taken all possible action. I sent a minister, officers and the police commissioner to talk to them (the agitators),” she said. “The police arrested five of the accused immediately, and stringent charges have been brought against them. The police commissioner has enhanced security at all the medical colleges and hospitals.” She added: “I waited five hours yesterday and three hours today to talk to the junior doctors.” Over the next half-hour, Mamata tried to give her side of the story and hammer home the fact that poor patients across the state continued to suffer -– a factor that can turn public opinion against attempts to prolong the strike. Rarely before have emergency services been affected in state-run medical colleges and hospitals for five days on the trot, with no certain end in sight. Several senior doctors who had provided moral support to the agitation when it started told this newspaper on Saturday that some of the junior doctors had begun making “illogical and unreasonable demands”. A government source said: “Had Mamata tried sending this message two days ago, there would not have been many takers. But today, people know how the patients are suffering because of the strike.” Some junior doctors have accused Mamata of arrogance for her failure to visit them or Paribaha Mukherjee, an intern severely injured in Monday’s attack, and cited her belligerence during the visit to SSKM Hospital on Thursday. Mamata tried to rebut the charges at the news conference. “When I entered (SSKM), the agitating doctors sitting there created an obstruction…. While I was walking, I was pushed. They were shouting and filthy comments were passed,” she said. “Despite that, I told the police not to arrest anybody. They are young, they had made a mistake, let them be, I forgive them. Had this taken place elsewhere, a lot of action would have been initiated.” Never losing her composure, unlike at SSKM, Mamata was at pains to underscore that she was pursuing a reasonable approach devoid of vindictiveness or rancour. Mamata repeatedly — and in detail — contrasted her government’s approach with that of others elsewhere in the country to doctors’ strikes. She said her government could have taken stringent action, such as enforcing the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma), blocking the registration of the agitating doctors, extending their period of internship or filing FIRs against them. “Such stern steps have been taken by 9 to 10 states in the past few years. But we did not do it,” she said. Sources said that although Bengal had desisted from adopting Esma owing to the erstwhile Left Front government’s opposition to the act, the state government could have implemented its provisions through an ordinance. By explaining what she could have done, sources said, the chief minister had attempted to underline her government’s apparent lenience and put pressure on the agitators to call off their strike. She tried to highlight her eagerness for a solution by suggesting the junior doctors could meet other authorities if they were averse to talk to her. “They had two main demands. First, a heightening of their security; second, action against the accused. Both have been done. Still, if they think I’m not capable enough, they can hold meetings with the governor, chief secretary or the police commissioner. If they have additional demands, those will also be taken care of,” she said. The option of talks with the governor, sources said, was a significant conciliatory gesture on Mamata’s part since she has had testy ties with Keshari Nath Tripathi and had as recently as Thursday accused him of exceeding his brief at the behest of BJP leaders in Delhi and Calcutta. Sources close to Mamata hoped that her news conference would help undo the damage her belligerence had caused on Thursday when she gave the agitators four hours to join duty or face action, and called some of them “outsiders”. Neither the heath department nor the police have initiated any action, though, a point Mamata took care to highlight. “She had looked overly belligerent till yesterday. But she has deployed her tried-and-tested outreach skills, and this has helped her turn the tables on the agitating doctors,” a Nabanna official said.(With inputs from Telegraph India)last_img read more

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Balbir Sr admitted again to hospital following ill health

first_imgChandigarh: Three-time Olympic gold medal winning hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior was again admitted to a hospital here following ill health but his condition is stable, his family said on Wednesday. The 94-year-old has been at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here since Monday, his maternal grandson Kabir said. Before coming to PGIMER, he was at a private hospital at Mohali for a week. In January, Balbir Sr was discharged from PGIMER after spending 108 days in the hospital, where he took treatment for bronchial pneumonia. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevOnce again, it is the same complication which he suffered earlier, Kabir said. “His condition is stable,” he added. One of the country’s tallest sportspersons, Balbir Sr became the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympic history. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men’s hockey final in an Olympic Games still remains unbeaten. He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games. He was also the manager of India’s World Cup-winning team in 1975. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsMeanwhile, Punjab Chief minister Amarinder Singh has released the assistance amount of Rs 5 lakh for the treatment of Balbir Senior. The cheque was Wednesday handed over by the Director Sports, Punjab and Additional Principal Secretary of the Chief Minister Amrit Kaur Gill to Kabir. Gill said that she went to enquire after the health of Balbir Sr on the directions of the chief minister. Apart from handing over the cheque to the family, she also assured them of every possible assistance on behalf of the CM.last_img read more

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Inclusion of 17 OBCs in SC list unconstitutional Mayawati

first_imgLucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati on Monday slammed the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to include 17 Other Backward Castes (OBC) in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list as “unconstitutional and politically motivated”. Mayawati said the move will not bring any benefits for OBC groups and Yogi Adityanath had deceived them. “No government can include or remove any caste from the Scheduled Caste list. Article 341 prevents a government from doing so. Only the President and Parliament have the powers to do so,” she stated. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! The BSP President further explained: “Part 1 of Article 341 clearly states that the President can specify any group to the SC list through a public notification on the Governor’s advice. Part 2 says that if a notification is released under part 1 of Article 341, it can only be changed by Parliament. Part 2 also states that Parliament can specify, include or exclude any group from the SC list.” She pointed out that the notification cannot be undone by any other notification. “These castes will no longer get the benefits of quota under the OBC category. They will be treated as general castes. It is clear that Yogi government has issued this order to deceive these castes,” she stated. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed Mayawati also alleged that the order had been issued keeping in view the upcoming bypolls in the state and appealed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to immediately withdraw it. She urged the Centre to initiate the constitutional procedure to include these groups in the SC list and demanded an increase in the quota limit for them. “I appeal to the Centre to include these castes in the category and increase SC quota proportionately as per constitutional procedure,” she said. In a decision taken on Friday, the Yogi Adityanath government had moved 17 OBCs in the SC list, thus fulfilling a long pending demand of these castes. The OBCs added to the SC list are — Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham, Machua, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar, Potter, Dhimar, Manjhi, Tuhaha and Gaur. The Chief Minister also directed all district officers to issue caste certificate to the families of those belonging to these castes.last_img read more

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Experts call for proper DNA testing in sexual assault cases

first_imgNew Delhi: Experts on Wednesday called for a country-wide implementation of one-stop sexual assault examination, care, and research centres enabled with state-of-the-art DNA collection and testing facilities. In a symposium on the “Role of Forensic DNA Technology in Expediting Justice and Fighting Crime”, Sudhir K Gupta, the head of the Forensic Medicine department at AIIMS in New Delhi said that the lack of proper facilities at hospitals has a direct correlation with the quality of DNA evidence collected. Also Read – Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bans single use plastic”About 80 to 90 percent of the time, results from DNA evidence are not conclusive because of errors in the collection and storage of vaginal swabs and semen samples,” Gupta added. Director of Delhi Forensic Sciences Laboratories, Deepa Verma, who was also on panel said that proper preservation of DNA evidence is crucial. She added that one-stop sexual assault examination, care, and research centres are a step in the right direction.last_img read more

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IT dept running amok to meet Indias revenue shortfall Rahul

first_imgNew Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the Modi government, alleging that the Income Tax Department is “running amok” in a bid to meet India’s revenue shortfall. “The FM (Nirmala Sitharaman) said in her budget speech that an elephant should take just 2 pounds of rice & not trample the entire paddy field,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “Meanwhile, the IT dept elephant is running amok in a bid to meet India’s revenue shortfall,” he said. Gandhi also shared media reports alleging that “tax terrorism” was hurting India’s growth.last_img read more

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Servant had criminal record family ignored verification

first_imgNew Delhi: The investigation in the case of abduction and murder of Krishna Khosla revealed that their domestic help who was involved in the crime had a criminal record.According to police, servant verification of the accused was ignored by the deceased’s family member. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Parvinder Singh said that the accused identified as Kishan (domestic help) was found involved in two cases including snatching which were registered in a South Delhi’s police stations. “In the past, we had collected accused details through the door to door survey,” added police. From the past one year, the accused was employed in the deceased’s house. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAdding further, the official said that the accused was getting salary of more than Rs 7,000. According to police, after abducting the senior citizen, the accused had switched off his mobile phone but with the help of technical intelligence, Kishan and his associates were arrested. “After the abduction, the accused stopped their tempo at L-Block of Sangam Vihar area where they took out the stuffed body from the refrigerator and buried his body in a pit,” police said. Adding further, an investigator said that more than 10 teams including special staff of the South Delhi were working in the case. “We also got clue about their movement in Tigri area which helps us to solve the crime,” police said. The investigators are now probing the roles of the other accused. Additional DCP stated that the accused have got four days police custody.last_img read more

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Tripura CM backs Shahs one nation one language call

first_imgAgartala: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has supported Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s call for ‘one nation, one language’ and said he didn’t believe English language was the only key to development. Addressing a function here on Monday, the Chief Minister said, “There are examples of successful countries, like Japan, Russia, Germany and France, which grew without the help of English.” Those who couldn’t speak English should not be belittled as it was not the only factor to attain success in life, the Chief Minister said. Shah said on Saturday a common language would become “the mark of India’s global identity.” Speaking at a function on the occasion of “Hindi Diwas”, Shah urged people to use Hindi more often to help fulfil dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel of ‘one nation, one language’.last_img read more

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Justin Cox former Saskatchewan Roughrider found not guilty of assault

first_imgREGINA – A player who was cut from the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team over an alleged incident of domestic violence has been found not guilty of assault causing bodily harm.And Justin Cox, 24, says he hopes he can resume his career now.“Hopefully I get it back. I really want to play with the Roughriders,” Cox said Monday after the decision by provincial court Judge Pat Reis.“Hopefully I can get to wear that green and white again and you know, play football again, period.”The defensive back was released by the CFL team on April 19, one day after Regina police charged him as the result of investigation into an allegation of intimate partner violence.But Reis said there’s no evidence to support the charge after hearing from five Crown witnesses.“I just don’t see the evidence is there,” Reis said when senior Crown prosecutor Kim Jones attempted to make closing comments in the case.Jones acknowledged that outside court.“There has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault causing bodily harm took place and the Crown’s case didn’t meet that standard,” he said.The defence decided not to present any evidence or call any witnesses.Court heard that police were called April 18 about a 23-year-old woman with injuries consistent with a physical attack.A police officer and an acquaintance of the woman told the court that they saw a bump on her head and bruising after a fight at Regina home. They also said it appeared a braid of hair had been torn from her head.Riders’ wide receiver, Joe Craig, who was living in the house with Cox, told court that the couple was arguing over the code for an iPhone.Craig said he was standing between Cox and the woman, and he never saw him hit her.“No, sir, not all,” Craig testified.Craig also said Cox did not push her down a flight of stairs, but that she fell.“When I turned around, she was on the ground,” he said.The woman told the court that the braid was a loose hair extension that came out when she fell down the stairs.In her own testimony, she described a rocky relationship.Court heard police were called to another apartment of the couple because of noise complaints.The woman said she was unhappy with the attention that she believed Cox was giving to other women and that would lead to arguments where she would scream at him.“I would get very jealous,” she told the court.She said Cox would “try to get away from the situation” and that she would physically block the door, jump on him to keep him from leaving and throw things at him. She said he never intentionally hit her.On April 18, she said they had their “usual argument” and Cox said he was leaving her.“It made me very angry, much angrier than I’ve been in a very long time,” she said.Defence lawyer Sharon Fox asked if the woman threatened to ruin Cox’s career and the woman said: “That’s correct.”The Riders released Cox when the assault charge became public and the CFL also said he would no longer be allowed to play with any team in the league.The former Mississippi State player had signed a two-year extension with the Roughriders in December after he recorded 42 defensive tackles and four interceptions in 15 games in 2016, en route to being named the team’s most outstanding rookie.Cox was released by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 after being arrested and charged with domestic violence twice in less than a year.last_img read more

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RCMP seeks cause of illnesses suffered by Canadian diplomats in Cuba Official

first_imgOTTAWA – Eight Canadians required followup medical care after diplomats and family members in Cuba suffered unexplained ailments, a senior Global Affairs official says.A total of 27 people from 10 diplomatic families underwent testing when some complained of dizziness, nosebleeds or headaches — symptoms that developed amid concern about possible acoustic attacks.There is no indication anyone has suffered permanent damage and the eight who needed additional care have since returned to work or school, the official said Wednesday at a media briefing.The RCMP is leading a government-wide investigation into the illnesses, which remain a mystery, he said.Canada is working with the United States — many of whose personnel in Havana also took ill — and Cuban authorities to try to solve the puzzle.The United States appears to be no closer to finding answers.The Canadian official spoke to the media on condition he not be identified, an effort by Global Affairs to shed light on the odd occurrences without compromising privacy of the families or security in Cuba.Cuba seems as baffled by all of this as Canada and the U.S., he said. The island nation welcomes about 1.2 million Canadian tourists a year, and therefore has real incentive to get to the bottom of the issue.Last April, U.S. representatives in Havana asked the Canadian and other embassies if staff had been hearing any strange sounds or experiencing medical symptoms.Some American diplomats had reported such symptoms since December 2016. In May 2017, a number of Canadian staff came forward.Recently declassified memos show the federal government sent a doctor to Havana in June to examine diplomats and family members. The visit by Dr. Jeffrey Chernin of Health Canada revealed symptoms similar to those experienced by U.S. staff.Word of the perplexing phenomenon started percolating publicly during the summer, fuelling theories about the cause of the illnesses. Sonic attacks, contaminated air or water and even persistent noise from crickets have been floated as possibilities.The notion of some kind of auditory assault stemmed from the fact U.S. personnel complained of hearing a high-pitched sound before experiencing symptoms. This has been less of a factor with the Canadians.Canada is conducting environmental assessments of its embassy and all diplomatic residences. It has also stepped up security measures in conjunction with the Cuban government.The United States brought many diplomats home from Havana last year and expelled Cuban representatives from Washington.In August, Ottawa acknowledged that an unspecified number of Canadians in Cuba had been affected.The official said Wednesday that three diplomatic families had returned to Canada out of concern about the strange illnesses. Two of these families had experienced symptoms.But staff levels at the mission in Cuba remain at usual levels, as some new diplomats — fully apprised of the medical issues — have arrived in Havana, the official said.Most of the cases involving Canadians developed in May, though there were separate incidents in August and December of individuals feeling strong waves of pressure, he added.At this point, Global Affairs has no reason to believe that Canadian tourists could be at risk.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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BC Summer Games athletes report inappropriate touching at dance

first_imgVICTORIA – Police and the BC Games Society are investigating allegations of inappropriate touching involving teenaged athletes who were part of the BC Summer Games that ended Sunday on Vancouver Island.Games president Kelly Mann says about 800 to 1,000 of the more than 2,300 athletes who competed in the four-day event were at a dance Saturday at the Cowichan Exhibition Park where the touching is alleged to have occurred.Mann says about 30 of the female athletes, aged between 14 and 16, complained of being touched and organizers immediately ended the dance and began gathering details.He says a complaint was made to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment the following day and a file was opened, although Mann says no suspects have been identified.The society drafted a letter that was sent to athletes, coaches, parents and affiliated sports organizations, informing them of the situation, offering access to assistance for the young victims and setting up a confidential email to gather more information.An RCMP news release confirms the investigation is underway into allegations that some male athletes may have inappropriate touched a number of female athletes at the dance.Police urge anyone who may have been a victim of the touching or has information about the allegations to contact the Cowichan/Duncan detachment.“The RCMP is mindful that these serious allegations likely involve persons under the age of 18,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau says in the release.Mann says the incident is very upsetting and his first reaction was to ban dances at all future B.C. games functions but the girls who reported the event asked him to reconsider.“They are not going to let the actions of a few damage the enjoyment of the many, which is courageous of the young girls to speak that way,” Mann says.Many of the athletes are required to sign a code of conduct agreement prior to competing and Mann says only a fraction of the large contingent of BC Summer Games athletes were involved, but he wants the matter to be widely discussed.“I’m approaching this as an educational moment for all of us,” he says.“We need to make sure that our codes of conduct are not just pieces of paper but they are in fact being enacted and reinforced, through whatever means.”The society will also examine how the dance was set up and supervised.“This wasn’t a dark room where somebody could get away with something,” he said. “But it was a crowded dance floor of, I’m going to say, 300 people,” says Mann.All the letter to athletes, parents and coaches were expected to be received by Monday and Mann says athletes due to take part in the 2020 BC Winter Games in Fort St. John will also be informed.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said there were 300 people at the dance.last_img read more

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Fords office denies ordering staff to stop using term climate change online

first_imgTORONTO – Emails from Ontario civil servants asking staff to stop using the term “climate change” on government social media accounts were based on false information, Premier Doug Ford’s office said Friday.Several internal emails published on a Toronto blog said Ford’s office had directed workers at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as well as Ontario Parks to not use the term online.A spokeswoman for Ford said the premier’s office has never issued such a directive to anyone in government.“The premier’s office has never given direction to anyone in the government not to use the term climate change on social media,” Laryssa Waler said in a statement. “To say otherwise is 100 per cent false.”In a memo to civil servants Friday, three of the province’s top bureaucrats said the government has launched an investigation into the matter and taken immediate action to correct the inaccuracy.“Integrity, accuracy, professionalism and the highest possible ethical standards are core principles of our work,” the memo said. “In order to ensure greater trust and integrity within the system, an internal audit is already underway to strengthen our security procedures.”Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who has clashed with Ford over the cancellation of cap and trade, had earlier tweeted that his government appeared to be “muzzling” staff with the order.“After Ontarians & Cdns have experienced extreme weather linked to climate change — extreme heat, forest fires, flooding — the Ontario gov’t appears to be muzzling @OntarioParks by banning words ‘climate change’,” she wrote on social media. “Time to focus on climate action. We have a plan. Ontario has no plan.”Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner wrote the province’s Environment Minister Rod Phillips asking him to clear the air on the controversy.“I am asking you to please clarify what has transpired and to state unequivocally that all public servants and political staff within your ministry and all government ministries and departments are permitted to speak about climate change,” he said.In a reply to Schreiner, Phillips calls the emails “a mistake” and says the province takes its commitment to fight climate change seriously.“We understand the importance of taking steps to ensure we protect our environment,” he said. “We care a great deal about the environment and remain committed to take action to encourage lower emissions.”Phillips has promised that a new provincial plan to address climate change will be unveiled this fall.last_img read more

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Scientists call for greater advocacy of research

first_imgThe Canadian Press Three of Canada’s top environmental scientists want the federal government to listen harder to what science is saying about the future.In a letter released today, they say they want federal politicians to put aside partisan differences to address what the scientists are calling a crisis.Queen’s University biologist John Smol, who is receiving one of Canada’s top scientific honours this week, also argues in a newly published article that it’s time his colleagues hung up the lab coats and stepped outside.Smol says science is under attack and one of the results is poor progress on climate change.He acknowledges scientists have been historically reluctant to make waves, but adds researchers are increasingly willing to speak about how their work affects public policy.Smol suggests they must become more publicly active to address what he calls a crippling lack of scientific literacy in Canada.last_img read more

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Liberals set to decide on future of Social Security Tribunal sources

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal cabinet ministers will soon decide whether and how to reform the oft-maligned tribunal Canadians use to appeal federal benefits rulings, potentially undoing changes made six years ago intended to make it work better.The Social Security Tribunal hears appeals of government decisions on things like eligibility for Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. It replaced four separate bodies in 2013.One key change was cutting the number of people hearing most cases from three to one. Another was to replace part-time hearing officials in many places with full-time staff in fewer locations.A report last year from consulting firm KPMG estimated the moves saved about $22.6 million a year. Timelines for decisions also spiked as the tribunal was undermanned and overwhelmed with cases, and didn’t have a proper transition plan. The KPMG report argued the tribunal wasn’t designed with the appellants in mind.Labour and employer groups have each told the government they want a return to the system as it existed before the tribunal’s creation. Still, KPMG warned against a return to that old system, saying the current one could be improved without a total makeover.Officials are now expected to ask ministers to consider partially reverting to the three-person panels that once heard cases, or to go with a hybrid system of old and new, or simply make tweaks, say sources with knowledge of the recommendations, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss issues under cabinet review.A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the minister’s office couldn’t speak to, or verify the authenticity of, documents related to matters of cabinet confidences, which are closely guarded government secrets legally protected from unauthorized release.In the fall, Duclos asked the new chairman of the tribunal to create a “client-centric culture” to make appeals move quickly and transparently.The tribunal now allows people to choose whether to have their hearings in person, on the phone or by videoconference. Rule changes have also made it easier to launch an appeal and waiting times have dropped. The backlog of cases has fallen from about 7,250 in April 2017 to 3,925 at the end of last year.The tribunal has made “a lot of progress, but there is still more to do,” said chairman Paul Alterman in a public post this month.Over the last few months, the government held closed-door consultations with stakeholders, labour and employers groups, as well as experts who offered six options for officials to mull over before presenting them to cabinet.Sources described how officials talked about improving the qualifications of people hearing appeals, including whether to have multi-member panels for disability claims involving complicated medical histories. There was a sense that officials, including Duclos, were taking the ideas seriously.Stakeholders say a benefit of the previous system was that people had their cases heard in their communities by people who understood the lie of the land locally. When someone talked about conditions at a particular company, for instance, the panellists knew what they were talking about.Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said the previous system was fair and equitable for workers. The Liberals, he said, will have a “terrible time” explaining any decision other than a return of the three-person panels.“We have no foundation to make any argument to keep that (tribunal) system based on the experience of our members and, to a large extent, what the unemployed have had to experience,” Yussuff said.Monique Moreau, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said her members want any changes aimed at getting people through the system quickly, and in a way that makes them feel comfortable, as well as ensuring employers feel represented.“We were actually fans of the previous system and I think some of the changes that have come in the newer model, they haven’t really lived up to expectations,” Moreau said.Officials are likely to label a return in any way to the old system as the most expensive option for the government to consider. Tweaks to the tribunal would be the cheapest. The sources weren’t able to put a dollar figure to any of the options being discussed.Jordan Press, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Inmate who spent four years in solitary subject to abhorrent treatment judge

first_imgA mentally ill Indigenous man kept in isolation in an Ontario jail for more than four years endured treatment so “abhorrent and “inhumane” it affected his ability to stand trial for murder, a judge ruled while staying the charge.Superior Court Justice John Fregeau ruled that Adam Capay, whose case sparked a public debate on solitary confinement in correctional facilities, endured permanent memory loss and had his pre-existing psychiatric disorders greatly exacerbated after spending four and a half years in segregation, often without proper sleep or access to mental health services.Fregeau’s late January decision, which resulted in Capay’s release, was subject to a publication ban that only lifted once prosecutors indicated this week they did not plan to appeal the stay of the first-degree murder charge in the case.Capay, 26, was accused of stabbing Sherman Quisses twice in the neck while both were at a correctional facility in Thunder Bay, Ont. While the judge acknowledged that Capay was responsible for Quisses’ death, he said the man’s subsequent years of isolation amounted to cruel and unusual punishment that violated his charter rights and left him unable to proceed to trial.“The treatment of the accused was, in my opinion, outrageous, abhorrent, and inhumane,” Fregeau wrote in his Jan. 28 decision. “There would be ongoing prejudice to the accused if forced to proceed to trial.”Fregeau’s ruling outlined a litany of difficult circumstances Capay faced beginning during his turbulent childhood on the Lac Seul First Nation in northwestern Ontario.Capay grew up in a family dominated by substance abuse and violence, the judge said. Capay was repeatedly sexually abused as a child, exposed to alcohol at age seven and had inhaled solvents by age eight, Fregeau wrote. Capay’s father once tried to force his son to kill him when he was 10, the judge added.Fregeau’s ruling said Capay was placed in segregation at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre immediately after his 2012 attack on Quisses.Between June 4, 2012 and Dec. 6, 2016, Capay was largely kept in isolation for 23 hours a day.For much of that time, Capay languished in cells where the lights were kept on 24 hours a day. For long stretches, the detention blocks he was held in did not allow him to flush the toilet from inside the cell.Over his four and a half years in segregation, Fregeau found Capay received less than 11 hours of mental health support from jail staff.Capay’s long-standing isolation was known to correctional officials, who repeatedly signed off on extending his time in segregation even as the total number of days climbed up over the 1,600 mark.Fregeau noted Capay’s plight only came to light in 2016 after a guard tipped off Ontario’s human rights commissioner while she was visiting the facility.Calling the segregation review process “meaningless” in Capay’s case, Fregeau cited the testimony of an expert witness who described the system in dehumanizing terms.“People are filling out forms. They’re checking boxes, but it’s as if Adam Capay’s disappeared,” Michael Jackson, a British Columbia-based professor with expertise on the Indigenous people within the justice system, told court.Fregeau accepted testimony from other experts who said Capay suffered permanent memory loss and considerable deterioration in his mental state as a result of his long time in isolation.Crown lawyers had conceded his treatment while incarcerated amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, but said there were steps the court could take to ensure Capay still stood a fair trial. Defence lawyers contended the impacts of his segregation compromised his ability to stand trial or mount a credible defence.Capay’s lawyers said the decision to stay the first-degree murder charge is an indictment of the treatment their client endured.“A stay of proceedings was the only appropriate remedy,” Karen Symes and Adriel Weaver said. “The Crown’s decision not to appeal affirms that conclusion.”The lawyers acknowledged, however, that the decision is “a painful one” for Quisses’ family and community, saying they too suffered “profound harm” due to the actions of corrections officials.Capay’s case prompted the provincial Liberal government of the day to order a review of the use of segregation in jails. It also announced a 15-consecutive-day limit on inmates being held in disciplinary segregation, down from 30.The review, released in 2017, called for an end to indefinite segregation of inmates in the province’s jails, but stopped short of urging an outright ban on the practice.The province’s ombudsman has also urged the government to end indefinite segregation and said no inmate should be kept in isolation for more than 60 days in a year.Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones said the Progressive Conservative government respected Fregeau’s decision. Her thoughts were with the Quisses family, she said, noting the government has taken steps to manage inmates more effectively.“We must prevent a similar case from happening again,” she said.Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Miranda Lambert And PEDIGREE Brand Unite To Help Shelter Dogs

first_imgMore than four million dogs enter shelters each year – and the PEDIGREE Brand is dedicated to helping change the lives of shelter dogs in a big way.Miranda Lambert And PEDIGREE Brand Unite To Help Shelter DogsTo show their support, today PEDIGREE announced plans to improve shelters across the country through a shelter renovation project. This project is a continuation of the documentary-style See what good food can do campaign that launched in earlier this year to show first-hand how good food can change the lives of shelter dogs, like those featured in the campaign.“Shelter staff and volunteers work around-the-clock to provide love and attention to these pets. Providing much needed improvements to the shelters is a natural next step for us,” said Merritt Gilbert, brand manager, PEDIGREE Brand. “We hope that through the shelter renovation project – and by giving the shelters good food to feed their dogs – we will create a more welcoming and healthy environment. We believe this will lead to more dogs finding their loving homes.”Shelter Renovation ProjectThe PEDIGREE Brand, with the help of independent charitable organization GreaterGood, PEDIGREE associates and community volunteers, is facilitating shelter improvements in every state across the country – such as painting, installing new signage and enhancing kennels and play areas. And, to kick-off the shelter renovation project, PEDIGREE visited special friend and dog-lover, Miranda Lambert, at the Tishomingo Animal Shelter, in her hometown. Miranda, along with her family and friends, rolled up their sleeves to help more than 50 PEDIGREE Associates from across the Midwest transform the Tishomingo Animal Shelter into one that’s more welcoming for the dogs and potential adopters. Together, they cleaned, painted and constructed agility courses – all to help more pets find forever homes.“I’m so happy to be working with PEDIGREE because they are as committed as I am to helping all these beautiful dogs find loving homes. I started supporting this shelter to ensure every dog in my hometown would have a safe place to stay and enough food to fill their bellies. And, PEDIGREE has helped me deliver on both those promises,” said Lambert during the work day at the shelter.Sharing the See what good food can do StoryAlong with the debut of the PEDIGREE Brand’s documentary-style See what good food can do campaign earlier this year, dog loving friends David Ortiz and Josh Duhamel shared their stories through documentary films. In David’s film, he shared his favorite memories about his own dogs Foxxy and Happy while spending time at his local animal shelter, and Josh reminisced about his beloved rescue dog, Meatloaf, and the importance of dog adoption to him and his family. Now, dog lover Miranda Lambert is unveiling her story with a film that showcases her passion for dog adoption and showcases the renovation of her hometown shelter. Check out Miranda’s story – as well as David’s and Josh’s – at Facebook.com/Pedigree.Every dog owner has a tale to tell – stories of lives transformed by shelter dogs who have found their forever homes, the impact a family pet has made on their life, the difference good food has made in the life of their pet and more. PEDIGREE is continuing to rally the support of dog lovers nationwide by calling on them to share their stories – like Miranda, David and Josh have done – with #DogTales on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For each story shared, the Brand will donate an additional bowl of food to a shelter in need. Together, we can see the impact that good food can make in the life of a shelter dog.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

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Bill Clinton To Travel To AsiaPacific Region

first_imgOn July 16-23, President Bill Clinton will travel to India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia to visit the work of the Clinton Foundation and deliver remarks at the 20th International AIDS Conference.The trip will highlight President Clinton’s longstanding commitment to the Asia/Pacific region, as well as the work of the Clinton Foundation on a number of issues that are critical to the region, including global health and improved access to medicines; climate change; and economic development.President Clinton has a long commitment to the Asia/Pacific region. As President, he helped enhance global economic growth by responding quickly to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, and promoted economic development by elevating the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to a head-of-state event. President Clinton also encouraged inclusive, democratic governance across the region, and worked to promote peace and defuse conflict.Since leaving office, President Clinton has focused on the Asia/Pacific region – working to improve access to life saving medication through the Clinton Health Access Initiative; supporting commitments to global philanthropy through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI); and addressing the causes of climate change through the Clinton Climate Initiative. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, President Clinton was named U.N. Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery. Along with President George H.W. Bush, he headed an international effort to help countries devastated by the disaster recover, rebuild, and enjoy stronger economic opportunities. President Clinton traveled to the Asia-Pacific region fourteen times – eleven as President, and three times as U.N. Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.last_img read more

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Leona Lewis Joins Cast Of Cirque du Soleils One Night For ONE

first_imgGRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Leona Lewis will make her honorary debut in the fourth edition of One Night for ONE DROP imagined by Cirque du Soleil on Friday, March 18 at The Smith Center for Performing Arts.Leona Lewis Rehearses For One DropCredit/Copyright: Getty ImagesKnown for her many chart-topping hits including number one song “Bleeding Love,” the platinum selling recording artist will share the stage with some of the world’s greatest acrobatic performers for a one-night-only performance created by Hassan El Hajjami. Presented by MGM Resorts International, One Night for ONE DROP is an annual celebration to raise funds and awareness for critical water issues worldwide.“Access to safe water and basic sanitation is an absolute crisis for more than half the world’s population,” said Catherine Bachand, CEO of ONE DROP. “With Leona’s evident devotion to giving back, we are excited to have her join us in our effort to provide safe and sustainable water across the globe. Her participation will make for an even more spectacular evening where we celebrate life and raise awareness and funds to solve these global water issues.”“I’m so excited to be performing in this amazing production,” said Lewis. “I’m always looking for new, thrilling ways to give back to the community and can think of no other resource more precious than water. One Night for ONE DROP is going to be an unforgettable experience and I truly hope everyone joins me in making a positive impact on our world.”With her instantly recognizable mezzo-soprano voice, Lewis has earned the title of “best-selling act to emerge from The X Factor.” The record-breaking artist has garnered a total of seven BRIT Award nominations and three GRAMMY nominations, with her quadruple-platinum hit “Bleeding Love” named the “best-selling digital song of 2008.” Among her many accolades, Lewis is known for making history by becoming the first female solo artist from the UK to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in more than 20 years. I Am, her most recent album and the first to be released by Def Jam Recordings, features a special collaboration with GRAMMY Award-winning artist Diane Warren and includes stunning hit singles such as “Fire Under My Feet,” “Thunder” and “I Am.” Lewis has also contributed her voice to film, performing the GRAMMY and Golden Globe nominated theme song for James Cameron’s Avatar. In addition to her music, Lewis is an extremely passionate humanitarian and animal rights activist whose “I Am Empowered” social campaign has become known worldwide.All proceeds will benefit ONE DROP’s global initiatives, along with innovative educational programming in Nevada through a partnership with the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Individual, tax-deductible VIP tickets, which include the post-show extravaganza and after-party, are available for $3,000, with show-only tickets starting at $100. Sponsorship packages and individual tickets are available at www.onedrop.org/onenight or by calling 1.844.33.WATER. In addition to the show, packages will include pre-and-post-show parties complete with live performances, breathtaking attractions, Cirque du Soleil artists, delectable hors d’oeuvres, celebratory cocktails and more.last_img read more

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Malala Yousafzai Accepts An Honorary Canadian Citizenship

first_imgIn her second attempt, activist Malala Yousafzai was successful in coming to Canada’s capital to accept an honorary citizenship.During her first attempt in October 2014, she was stopped at the airport due to an attack at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. This time, however, went off without a hitch, while Malala’s 20-minute speech to Parliament received several standing ovations. The first ovation came in reference to the 2014 incident.“The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim, but he did not share my faith,” Malala said. “He did not share the faith of one and a half billion Muslims, living in peace around the world. He did not share our Islam, a religion of learning, compassion and mercy. I am a Muslim and I believe that if you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill an innocent person, you are not Muslim anymore.”In her speech she also spoke about world refugees, the violence many are fleeing and praised Canada’s efforts thus far yet holds out hope for more. “Your motto and your stand ‘Welcome to Canada’ is more than a headline or a hashtag,” she said. “It is the spirit of humanity that every single one of us would yearn for if our family was in crisis.”Malala said she was impressed with Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet, but she also had a message for her new fellow citizens.“I would like to tell something to the children of Canada: You do not have to be as old as the very young Prime Minister Trudeau to be a leader,” she said. “I have learned that even a child’s voice can be heard across the world. To the young women of Canada I want to say, step forward, raise your voices, and the next time I visit, I hope to see more of you filling these seats. And to the men of Canada, be proud feminists, and help women get equal opportunities as men.”But her bigger ask was for the leaders in the room: to seize every opportunity to ensure that all girls in all countries receive an education. After reciting several statistics showing the economic benefits to countries that educate their boys and girls, Malala said: “Education is vital for the security of the world because extremism grows alongside inequality, in places where people feel they have no opportunity, no voice, no hope. “You can see Malala’s full speech here.Copyright ©2017Look to the Starslast_img read more

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