Naaz Joshi Making India proud

first_imgThough Section 377 was decriminalised by the Supreme Court of India in September 2018, people of the LGBTQ community are still struggling to make a space for themselves in the society. One such individual, who belongs to this section of society – Naaz Joshi fought back all the odds and left no stone unturned to make the country proud. Naaz has become the World’s first transgender to win ‘Miss World Diversity’ pageant for three consecutive years now. In an exclusive interview, she shares the struggles of her journey, experiences of the contest, and much more. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain Being a transgender, how was your experience in ‘Miss World Diversity’ contest? Did you face any kind of inequality during the show? It gives me immense joy and pleasure to represent my country at the international platforms. I feel there are problems in everyone’s life (being born like this is mine), but overcoming those problems and emerging as winner is what we all should focus on. I have been participating in the contest for past four years now and every time I go they are new expectations and challenges. But speaking of the inequalities, I think I haven’t faced the amount of inequality anywhere in the world, except India. I personally feel that my community is more accepted by citizens of other countries than ours. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardWhat is the idea of beauty for you? Opposite to the Indian concept of beauty! According to them, people who are fair are beautiful. I feel it’s the heart that decides the beauty of a human being. Since the time I was born, I have seen my mom using fairness cream. I think it is important that we educate our society about the notion of beauty – which is beyond looks. Tell us something about the initial years of your life – how did you deal with the identity, what problems did you face? I was born in 1980, in a middle class family. My mother was a Muslim and Dad was Hindu. At a very early age, I witnessed various ups and downs – I was sent to my uncle’s home, I was raped at the age of 11, and I worked at dance bars till the age of 18. I came to Delhi in the year 2002, where I did my three years fashion designing course from NIFT Delhi. Then, I worked with designers like Ritu Kumar and Ritu Beri. After that, I started working for a massage parlour and there I met the man who gave me my first break in modelling career – Rishi Taneja. He made biopic on my life and it was showcased at various places. During that time only, one of the news magazines decided to put my photo on its cover in 2015, and I became India’s first transgender model. Post that, I started my own company which organises beauty pageants every year, and since then I have been working for women empowerment. How do you think decriminalising LGBTQ in India will bring a change for your community? After section 377 has been scrapped from our country, there have been changes in the society. I see that now, lesbians, gays and bisexuals are very much accepted in our country, however for the trans women; we still have a long way to go. I am hoping that discrimination against transgenders will decrease too.last_img read more

Celebrate life works and philosophy of Kabir

first_imgThe fourth edition of unique Mahindra Kabira Festival is on its way back to historic, fascinating Varanasi to celebrate the life, works and philosophy of 15th-century mystic-poet Kabir, who is believed to have been born there.Presenting a rich two-day programme of music, literature, discourse, curated walks, boat rides on the Ganga, and an array of local cuisine – the Mahindra Kabira Festival will run from November 22 to 24, 2019 – offering an immersive experience inspired by Kabir’s teachings. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainMusic sessions by leading artistes on the rugged ghats of Varanasi, walks down mysterious city alleys, talks and discourses, dreamy boat rides on a timeless river, and food that is linked with Varanasi’s ancient culinary traditions, are all on the anvil. The Festival’s 2019 line-up includes young and passionate performers like Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café, Neeraj Mishra and Ujwal Nagar, along with veterans like Om Prakash Nayak, Mooralala Marwada, Shabnam Virmani and noted sarangi player Ustad Kamal Sabri, among others, at the famous Shivala and Guleria Ghats. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardIn its previous three editions, the Mahindra Kabira Festival has hosted acclaimed and popular vocalists like Kailash Kher, Shubha Mudgal, Malini Awasthi, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, Vidya Shah, Vidya Rao and Prahlad Tipaniya, to name a few. Celebrated Meghwal singer Mooralala Marwada’s distinct voice and folk music will swirl together with Kabir Café’s livewire rock fusion to form a heady mix. Three-time Grammy nominee Pandit Ajay Shankar Prasanna will also present a collaborative ‘Flute Symphony’ with eminent artistes experimenting with the sounds of the wind. The festival will also collaborate with Unity Earth – an international organisation, which is on a mission to accelerate the realisation of unity and peace on earth. World class musicians associated with the organisation will perform exclusive jam sessions at the Festival. The Kabir Math will partner with the Festival to bring to the forefront more of the mystic poet’s teachings. Acclaimed author Purushottam Agrawal will enlighten the audience on Kabir’s work and philosophy over a literary discourse. There will be a specially-curated storytelling performance by actor and co-founder of Jashn-E-Qalam, KC Shankar. The festival will also offer an experience of being on the enigmatic mystic’s trail through ‘Heritage Walks’, curated and conducted by Navneet Raman and Ajay Pandey from the Benares Cultural Foundation. Local artists from Kala Prakash – sitar player Neeraj Mishra and flutist Rakesh Kumar will give cultural performances. While attendance to certain events like morning and evening music across the two days is free and open to all, the festival has in store customised ‘Delegate Packages’, which offer a curated experience. These meticulously planned one and two-day packages are an opportunity to live out the history of one of the world’s oldest cities and its powerful character while coming close to understanding Kabir’s essentially syncretic path of life. Delegates also have an option to choose from a range of designated festival hotels to stay at during their visit.last_img read more

Delhi BJP chief writes to Kejriwal opposing reintroduction of oddeven scheme

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari on Saturday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urging him to reconsider the move to implement the odd-even scheme again as it would cause problems to the people. This is merely a “gimmick to divert the attention” of Delhiites from core issues as the AAP government has “substantially failed” to deliver and wants to use taxpayers’ money on advertisements for its own publicity, Tiwari alleged in the letter to the Delhi Chief Minister. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder “I am writing to you, with great anguish over your government’s decision to introduce odd-even policy in Delhi once again in the month of November. The decision has been taken without a proper thought. This had created so many problems for Delhiites the last time it was done,” he said. Kejriwal on Friday announced implementation of the odd-even scheme in Delhi from November 4 to 15, saying it will be one of the seven measures against high level of pollution in the city due to crop stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab during the period. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings Tiwari said the AAP government’s decision to stick to the odd-even scheme speaks volumes of its “inability” to come up with any scientific and reasonable measure to fight air pollution. “In the interest of the people of Delhi, I urge you to rethink over this decision of implementing odd-even scheme and kindly spare Delhiites unnecessary hassles they would be subjected to with this move,” Tiwari said in his letter. Tiwari alleged the move was an “insult” to the law abiding citizens who get their vehicles regularly checked for pollution as they will face problems in commuting and dropping their children to schools. The AAP government has targeted private vehicles although there is no scientific study to support that they are the biggest source of air pollution in Delhi, he said. As a matter of fact, the air pollution in Delhi has reduced by 25 per cent with the opening of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways in Delhi, thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Tiwari said “The two expressways keep out nearly 60,000 heavy commercial vehicles from Delhi roads, considerably reducing traffic congestion as well as pollution level,” he said. Under the scheme vehicles ply on odd and even dates as per their registration numbers. The scheme was previously introduced in Delhi by the AAP government in January and April 2016. The opinion of experts as well as the people is divided over the efficacy of odd-even formula in combating air pollution. Announcing its implementation, Kejriwal had said studies showed odd-even scheme reduced air pollution level by 10-13 per cent. Critics of the move point to lack of adequate number of public transport buses in the city, and role of dust in bringing down air quality. Tiwari, in his letter, said that instead of bringing new buses to boost public transport, the government was targeting massive publicity campaign in the name of the odd-even scheme. “While its efficacy has always remained doubtful, it gives you another avenue to get publicity and use the taxpayers money towards a torrent of advertisements,” he blamed. He claimed that a robust public transport system in the city needed 20,000 buses, but the AAP government has been able to procure just 25 buses so far despite being in power for over four years. Tiwari demanded that the chief minister declare the amount to be spent on advertisements of odd-even scheme.last_img read more

Business group calls for lower tax rate for womencontrolled companies

first_imgOTTAWA – A cross-border council on women in business recommends that companies controlled by women should get lower tax rates.The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders made the suggestion in a report released Wednesday that offered recommendations for how companies can better support women in business.The group interviewed investors, institutions, asset managers, pension funds and venture capital firms and found that women are not being financially backed at the same level as men and are less likely to have leadership roles within corporations.That’s why it called for a lower tax rate for women-owned businesses, similar to the lower rates already offered to private corporations that are Canadian-controlled.It says a lower tax rate could encourage more women to create and lead companies and incentivize businesses to include women in their succession planning and ownership roles.It called on capital providers to make markets more hospitable for women by expanding or modifying their offerings to target female entrepreneurs.The council was created by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump last year and aims to help women-owned businesses contribute to economic growth, competitiveness and the integration of the two economies.The group also encouraged the Canadian and U.S. governments to continue to pursue programs that ensure women-owned businesses are included in government tender processes on a preferred basis, that push companies to adopt clear and strong diversity policies and that increase the number of women in key roles that influence investment decisions.The council is made up of 10 female executives — half from Canadian companies and the other half from American companies.The Canadian members include CEOs Annette Verschuren, of NRStor Inc., Dawn Farrell of TransAlta Corp., Linda Hasenfratz of Linamar Corp. and Tina Lee of T&T Supermarket Inc., as well as Monique Leroux, chair of the board of directors from Investissement Quebec.last_img read more

Tens of thousands of BC residents go home after being forced out

first_imgKAMLOOPS, B.C. – Tens of thousands of anxious British Columbia residents who were forced to escape raging wildfires have returned home in recent days as firefighters made progress and conditions improved.About 20,000 people remained displaced on Monday, but that number was down significantly from 45,000 last week, said Chris Duffy, executive director of operations at Emergency Management BC.People have returned to 100 Mile House and its surrounding areas, as well as Princeton, Cache Creek and Lac La Hache, all communities where evacuation orders have been downgraded to alerts, he said.“Those are thousands and thousands of people starting to mobilize and return home, so those numbers can change quite dramatically,” Duffy said.Residents of an area northwest of 100 Mile House were cleared to go home Monday, as were people from the communities of Little Fort and Clearwater, north of Kamloops.An evacuation order is still in effect for 10,000 residents of Williams Lake. The Cariboo Regional District is pressing ahead with plans for re-entry, although city official Geoff Payton said unpredictable conditions make it impossible to set a firm date for a return.Duffy said the hope is for Williams Lake residents to return “early to mid-week.”Regional districts make decisions to lift or impose evacuation orders, with advice from wildfire and emergency officials.Firefighters caught a break on Sunday when a windstorm failed to stir up the flames. Nineteen new fires were sparked, with nine caused by lightning, five blamed on humans and the rest under investigation.Crews were battling 154 wildfires on Monday.BC Wildfire Service information officer Navi Saini warned more winds were anticipated in the Cariboo region on Wednesday and Thursday, combined with thunder showers, but without a significant amount of rain.Although the wind storm didn’t kick up the fires, it did topple trees and bring down power lines in B.C.’s Shuswap region as well as around Golden and Revelstoke.“It was like Armageddon for about 10 minutes. You just felt helpless,” said Jon Keen, who was visiting Shuswap Lake, about 100 kilometres east of Kamloops, when the storm hit.“Big tall trees just started bending and snapping in half,” he added, describing a tree falling on his cabin and another coming down on a truck parked nearby, while a third narrowly missed the family’s camper.There were no reports of injuries but BC Hydro said thousands of customers were still in the dark on Monday and estimates of when power might be restored would have to wait until crews stretched thinly by wildfire repairs could assess the extent of the problem.More than 750 fires have scorched about 3,700 square kilometres since April 1 in B.C.Norbord Inc. (TSX:OSB) said it has resumed production at its oriented strand board mill in 100 Mile House, which was temporarily shut down July 10 as a huge blaze flared nearby.Emergency officials in Prince George said the number of evacuees has grown slightly because eight babies have been born since pregnant women were among people who arrived at reception centres there.All the newborns are believed to be healthy and Northern Health said nearly 1,800 children, including the eight newborns, are among the nearly 10,000 people receiving assistance in Prince George.RCMP said an impaired driver was arrested at a checkpoint in Williams Lake. The 35-year-old man from Fort St. John allegedly provided breath samples that were more than twice the legal limit, said Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau.“This is obviously very concerning to us, because not only is this person putting his own life at risk but also the lives of our officers and Canadian Forces officers who are at these checkpoints.” (The Canadian Press, CHNL, 250 News)— By Laura Kane in Vancouverlast_img read more

Moncton council to decide on whether to restore water fluoridation

first_imgMONCTON, N.B. – Despite pleas from dentists to restore fluoride to the water supply in Moncton, N.B., at least one city councillor says he’ll vote against it when council meets to make a decision next week.Moncton ended fluoride use in 2011, and local dentist Suzanne Drapeau-McNally says she has seen a dramatic increase in tooth decay among young children ever since.“Children who previously had no cavities, all of a sudden come in and have a higher number of decays,” Drapeau-McNally said.Moncton city council was supposed to make a decision this spring, but Coun. Shawn Crossman asked that the decision be delayed until Sept. 18 to gather more information.Crossman said he spent the last seven months reading studies and listening to the public, and hasn’t seen any evidence to prove that fluoride prevents tooth decay.“There’s nothing there that says fluoride is stopping tooth decay, absolutely nothing,” he said.“There’s a much bigger picture here. Sugar is a factor, what do our diets look like, what is the person’s overall health? There are other factors that contribute. Fluoride is not going to solve everybody’s problems.”Crossman said in fact he has seen information that fluoride can be harmful to very young children.Drapeau-McNally said fluoride is a natural element that protects tooth enamel against the acids that cause tooth decay, and she’s seen no studies to show negative impact of 0.7 parts per million of fluoride in public water supplies.“We have public health across the world and none have found evidence that community water fluoridation is harmful to health,” Drapeau-McNally said.“I remain solid that the scientific studies show the results are conclusive — it is a win situation to add fluoride to our Moncton water,” she said.Last year, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health and the New Brunswick Dental Society’s board both came out in support of fluoridation.“The value of water fluoridation should not be underestimated. The studies are clear and unequivocal and the benefits of fluoridation are well documented for all individuals in the community regardless of age, education, or socio-economic status,” they wrote in a joint statement.While federal and provincial governments set guidelines for fluoridation, the decision to use fluoride is left up to municipalities.Brantford, Ont., became the first Canadian community to add fluoride in 1945, and many others followed. Health Canada reported in 2009, the last time it counted, that about 45 per cent of the population was drinking fluoridated water.Big cities including Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg fluoridate. Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver don’t, along with Waterloo and Windsor in southern Ontario.City council in Saint John, N.B., voted against fluoride in 2014.Crossman said he hasn’t done a poll of other councillors, but believes most will support his decision when council meets on Monday.— By Kevin Bissett in Frederictonlast_img read more

Former US energy secretary says communication key for energy project approval

first_imgCALGARY – The former U.S. secretary of energy in the Obama administration says there are no easy answers when it comes to winning public support for critical energy infrastructure projects.American nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, who was energy secretary from 2013 to 2017, gave a speech in Calgary focusing on the need for innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while still ensuring a supply of energy needed to maintain the North American standard of living.He says there’s no “cookie-cutter solution” to overcome public opposition to projects such as the Energy East pipeline cancelled Thursday by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP).Moniz says the key to winning social licence to build is listening to the community and educating it about the liabilities and benefits the project might offer.He says the recent interest by China in improving its greenhouse gas emissions will have an indirect benefit for Canada in that it will drive a resurgence in world demand for liquefied natural gas.He expects that will translate into at least four more new U.S. LNG export facilities in the next five years, some possibly sourcing Canadian gas, and could provide a market for a Canadian LNG industry.Although about 20 LNG projects have been proposed for British Columbia, only one small project has been approved and two large projects have been cancelled or put on hold because of deteriorating global LNG prices.“I do expect the LNG market to grow substantially. There is a little bit of an oversupply for a few years but longer term, I think it will be a big market,” Muniz said.“For Canada, well, obviously it’s a question of getting product on the water, so there are routes through the United States but Canada has to figure out how to get it either west or east or south.”He says the boom in shale oil and gas production in the United States makes it important for Canada to diversify its energy customer base by finding more routes to ocean export points.last_img read more

PMO brings in prominent employment law firm to probe allegations against staffer

first_imgOTTAWA – The Prime Minister’s Office has hired a prominent employment law firm to handle an investigation into allegations against one of its senior staffers.The PMO has asked Rubin Thomlinson LLP to be the independent, third-party investigator dealing with the complaint process involving Claude-Eric Gagne, deputy director of operations for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Janice Rubin, who was hired by the CBC to lead the third-party investigation into allegations against former radio show host, Jian Ghomeshi, is a partner at the firm, but the PMO would not say whether she is involved.Gagne, who has been on leave since Nov. 1 pending the outcome of the investigation, says he challenges the veracity of the allegations, but is co-operating fully with the investigator, who has given him the opportunity to explain his side.Calling in a third party to examine allegations of workplace harassment is one of the steps that can be taken under the policy governing whose who work for the federal government, although that Treasury Board policy does not technically apply to those who work in the PMO.Last month, the Liberals proposed changes to workplace harassment rules that would include expanding the scope to include the PMO.last_img read more

Montreal suspends pit bull ban will consult before reworking bylaw next year

first_imgMONTREAL – Pit bulls are once again allowed in Montreal as the Projet Montreal administration follows through with an election promise to do away with the controversial bylaw that banned them.Coun. Craig Sauve, the executive committee member in charge of animal services, said Wednesday the ban will be suspended, as will several specific sections of the city’s animal control bylaw pertaining to the breed such as mandatory muzzling and special permits.“The pit bull-style dog will no longer be considered a dangerous breed in Montreal,” Sauve said. “We’ll have a global approach that includes all dogs and I believe it’s the right approach for Montreal.”A new bylaw will be introduced in the first half of 2018 after extensive consultation.All current dangerous dog provisions for animals that bite remain intact, minus the elements of breed-specific legislation which “discriminate against owners who have been good owners,” he said.Sauve said the city will consult scientific and animal-behaviour experts as well as dog-owners and people who don’t have dogs.Projet Montreal has said the breed-specific nature of the previous bylaw was based on bad science and that it would proceed with a more humane one focusing on dog-owners and education.Ex-mayor Denis Coderre’s administration passed the controversial bylaw in 2016 and cited the security of citizens after a Montreal woman was mauled to death in her backyard by a neighbour’s dog.Coderre’s party, which is now called Mouvement Montreal, said it is “disappointed” with the suspension of the bylaw.Leader Lionel Perez said the city’s own data suggests the number of dog bites related to pit bulls accounted for 40 per cent of the total bites reported in 2016 and 2017, even though they represent just three per cent of canines in the city.Under the previous set of rules, new pit bulls weren’t allowed on Montreal territory and those already on the island had to abide by more stringent rules.“What the administration is doing today is removing the series of additional protections that the bylaw gave Montrealers, particularly the one that required the absence of a criminal record for owners of pit bulls,” Perez said.Separately, Quebec has tabled its own law to ban dangerous dogs but it’s unclear whether it will become a dominant issue with a provincial election coming in October.The pit bull ban was a key election issue during Montreal’s municipal campaign this year, and Projet Montreal promised to repeal it.“I don’t think it’s responsible for us to wait until the next election to see what the situation is,” Sauve said.Mayor Valerie Plante said Wednesday she is in favour of a global approach in dealing with dog bites and that her administration has a responsibility to avoid creating a false sense of security among the population.“What we want is to make sure Montrealers are safe (and) we want to prevent dog bites,” she said.“We don’t want to target one breed in particular. What we’ve seen in recent months is the complexity in identifying pit bull-type dogs.”last_img read more

Trudeau says he is talking to premiers about Trans Mountain pipeline battle

first_imgOTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he talks to premiers regularly about the need to get a western pipeline expansion built, but stopped short of agreeing to intervene in an emerging trade war between British Columbia and Alberta.Speaking to reporters before the weekly Liberal caucus meeting today, Trudeau says he is working with the provincial governments and will stand up for getting the pipeline built, but did not say anything about what exactly he will do to make that happen.Trudeau is facing more and more pressure to intervene to get construction started on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple capacity of the pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to a marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.Trudeau’s government approved the expansion more than a year ago, saying it was in the national interest, but opponents have managed to delay construction and last week B.C., moved to possibly halt it entirely with proposed regulations to ban increased flows of oil pending research into how a spill could be cleaned up.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley responded first with legal threats and then, on Tuesday, cut off imports of $70-million in wine from British Columbia in retaliation.It is the latest chess move in the ongoing fight between the NDP governments in B.C., and Alberta as the former campaigned on a promise to stop the pipeline and the latter needs to get it built if it has any hope of getting re-elected next year.Pipeline proponents are pushing Trudeau to act to get construction started.last_img read more

Fire near popular walking trail in Cole Harbour NS contained

first_imgCOLE HARBOUR, N.S. – Officials say a large blaze that forced the evacuation of homes near a popular hiking trail in Cole Harbour, N.S., has been contained.Deputy fire Chief Roy Hollett said there were several flare-ups early Monday that came within roughly 400 metres of homes near the Salt Marsh Trail about a half hour outside Halifax.The fire, which was originally reported at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, had become dormant overnight but sparked up again.Hollett said the fire came within about 100 metres of homes Sunday, prompting an initial evacuation.On Monday morning, between 10 and 20 homes in the area on Astral Drive were under a mandatory evacuation order that originally applied to roughly 85 homes, though it was lifted for most of them by about 9 p.m. Sunday.Those evacuees were allowed to return home by Monday afternoon, as the province’s Natural Resources Department announced the fire was 90 to 100 per cent contained.“We wouldn’t lift the evacuation unless we were comfortable nothing else was going to happen,” said Hollett.It’s estimated that the fire covered an area of about 20 hectares of forested land that was littered with brush from previous storms, making it harder to both access and to fight. Hollett said a lack of snow this winter also left little precipitation in the ground.Because the fire was deep inside the woods, crews had to haul hoses about three kilometres before being able to fight sections of the blaze.It wasn’t yet clear what may have started the fire, but Hollett said he was comfortable saying the cause was not weather-related.“The (statistics) show that the majority — 98 per cent of fires in this area — are human-caused, whereas out west, it’s a high percentage of lightning strikes,” said Hollett.Department of Natural Resources personnel were expected to be on site for several days.Environment Canada had issued a special air quality statement, saying residents downwind of the fire may experience smoke and elevated pollution.last_img read more

In the news today June 12

first_imgFive stories in the news for Tuesday, June 12———TRUMP, KIM HOLD HISTORIC SUMMIT IN SINGAPOREU.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un concluded an extraordinary nuclear summit Tuesday by signing a document in which Trump pledged “security guarantees” to the North and Kim reiterated his commitment to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The leaders also offered lofty promises, with the American president pledging to handle a “very dangerous problem” and Kim forecasting “major change for the world.” The broad agreement was light on specifics, largely reiterating previous public statements and past commitments. It did not include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the U.S. and North Korea.———TRUDEAU RECEIVES RARE UNIVERSAL SUPPORT IN HOUSECanada’s House of Commons stood Monday in defiance of Donald Trump, denouncing his name-calling tirade against Justin Trudeau and endorsing the prime minister’s firm response to protectionist U.S. tariffs and tweeted presidential threats against dairy producers and automakers. MPs of all political stripes unanimously adopted a motion to that effect proposed by New Democrat MP Tracey Ramsey even as Trump continued to rail against what he described as unfair trade policies of Canada and other traditional U.S. allies.———PREMIER PONDERED MILITARY HELP AFTER BRONCOS CRASHSaskatchewan’s premier wondered if the military could help with autopsies following the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Emails obtained by The Canadian Press show provincial coroners were scrambling to quickly do autopsies on the 16 people who died. The Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s bus and a semi truck collided April 6th. Two days later, Premier Scott Moe offered to contact people outside the province and questioned whether the military could assist.———WORKPLACES NOT READY FOR LEGAL WEEDA marijuana conference happening in New Brunswick has heard that many Canadian workplaces aren’t nearly ready for the fast-approaching legalization of marijuana. Jason Fleming, vice-president of human resources for Ontario marijuana producer MedReleaf, says there’s still a lack of definitive testing — and many employers have not educated staff on new policies. The issue was discussed Monday at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B. Fleming says companies will need months to properly write and communicate new policies.———TEENS WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES FACE STIGMAFor teens and young adults with Type 1 diabetes, stigma surrounding the difficult to manage condition can be a major issue at a time when they are faced with the stresses of going to school, figuring out their career path or starting jobs, as well as embarking on romantic relationships. In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health found that a sense of stigma can lead many young people to be neglectful of their diabetes health, putting them at potential risk of both short- and long-term complications.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Dairy Farmers of Canada.— NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference with environmental groups calling for a clean energy economy.— Gov. Gen. Julie Payette hosts the presentation ceremony of the Michener Award for outstanding public service in journalism, and the Michener-Deacon Fellowships.— Zackary Massingham, CEO of AggregateIQ, appears at Commons ethics committee on the breach of personal information involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.— Hudson’s Bay Co. holds its annual meeting in Toronto.— New Brunswick Auditor General Kim MacPherson releases volume one of her 2018 annual report.— World Cannabis Congress wraps up in Saint John, N.B.last_img read more

Ford government pauses Liberal laws including vaping laws and ticket resale price

first_imgTORONTO – A number of laws passed by Ontario’s previous Liberal government have been put on hold by the newly elected Progressive Conservative regime, including measures to tighten rules around vaping and to cap resale values for sports and concert tickets.A spokesman for the Progressive Conservatives said Wednesday the new government, which was sworn in Friday, wants more time to consult and examine the laws before they come into effect.While some advocacy groups welcomed the move, critics questioned the government’s reasons for revisiting the laws.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accused Premier Doug Ford of making changes without any explanation or public notice.“No one voted for business to be conducted in secret, behind closed doors,” Horwath said in a statement.“And I’m sure no one voted to have a premier that would listen to influencers and lobbyists while shutting out everyday people affected by the laws. Ford seems to believe the public doesn’t deserve information about what he’s up to and why, and that’s wrong.”Ford has made several changes since he was elected last month, including putting the public service under a hiring freeze and imposing a wage freeze on its managers, and taking steps to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade system.The province’s chief science officer also said Wednesday that she had been fired by the new government.Molly Shoichet, a biomedical engineer, was hired seven months ago by former premier Kathleen Wynne to advise government officials and promote the province’s research domestically and abroad.Ford’s spokesman, Simon Jefferies, said Wednesday that the government is underdoing the process of “finding a suitable and qualified replacement.”Jefferies said earlier in the day that the government will delay the implementation of new rules around vaping, which would have regulated the activity in much the same way as smoking.“The government will work with the public, experts, and businesses to re-examine the evidence related to vaping as a smoking cessation tool to ensure that any changes are in the best interests of everyone and protect Ontarians’ health and safety,” he said in a statement.Halting the new regulations will not change the current provisions in the Smoke Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, he said.Maria Papaioannoy-Duic, spokeswoman for the Vapor Advocates of Ontario, lauded Ford and new Health Minister Christine Elliott for the move.Vaping advocates have argued that the activity is safer than smoking and moves people from the toxic chemicals found in tobacco to an alternative, which can help them break their habit.Joe Mihevc, the chair of Toronto’s Board of Health and a city councillor who once served alongside Ford, said he questions the decision to pause the legislation.Public health units across Ontario have studied the impacts of vaping and agreed with the restrictions the previous government’s laws placed on the product, he said.Mihevc said he believes that once the government digs in and does its own research it’s likely to find claims that vaping is an effective tool to help smoking cessation aren’t true.“We considered it a closed action” once the bill was passed by the Liberals, he said. “I also wonder what public health evidence, not lobbyist energy, is being used to resurrect this as a live issue?”The government also confirmed Wednesday it has delayed a law which would have capped sports and concert ticket resale prices at 50 per cent above original face value will not immediately move ahead.“The previous government attempted to institute a cap on ticket resales with no way to enforce that cap, resulting in less consumer protection,” Jefferies said. “We have paused the implementation of this section until we can review this provision in full to make sure it is in the best interest of Ontarians.”The legislation also bans so-called “scalper bots” that buy a large number of tickets online for an event and then resell them at a large profit. The ban on the bots has not been halted by the government.The provisions in the new Ticket Sales Act are contained in omnibus consumer protection legislation that also includes strengthening rules around home warranties, real estate practices and travel services in Ontario.The Liberal government passed the bill in December 2017 and it was set to come into effect on July 1.The Tory government has also halted changes to legislation that strengthen oversight of law enforcement and redefine police officers’ duties. The government will now further consult with stakeholders, including police associations who felt the law was rushed.Bill 175, dubbed the Safer Ontario Act, passed in the legislature in March and offers the first updates to the Police Services Act in more than 25 years.One of the most significant changes involves expanding the mandates of the province’s three police oversight agencies, increasing the scope of what they can investigate and adding extra accountability measures.The Tory government will also delay changes to immunization reporting rules, which Ontario’s doctors had argued would burden them with excessive paperwork.The legislature is expected to be recalled for a brief summer session next week, and Ford is expected to give a throne speech laying out his government’s priorities.Two longtime Tory legislators — Randy Hillier and Rick Nicholls — said Wednesday that they will run to be Speaker of the House. Tory legislator Bill Walker said he was contemplating a run for the job.The speaker acts as an impartial arbiter over debate and is selected at the start of every new term by a secret ballot of legislators.last_img read more

Harassment complaint made against Alberta university womens hockey coach

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The head coach of the University of Lethbridge women’s hockey team is to receive more training after the school investigated a formal harassment complaint filed by six of her players.In documents obtain by the Lethbridge Herald the players outlined 21 complaints against Michelle Janus.They included claims the coach told a player she had to do mandatory counselling because of a suicide attempt; that bullying was allowed; and that players had to pay between $2 and $20 into a fine jar for broken rules, some of which involved their sexual history.The players alleged the coach used ice time to threaten players, was disrespectful to people on the team and threw and broke equipment.The university would not talk about the results of its investigation.But in a decision dated July 31, the school told the players that while “the policy on harassment has been violated,” Janus would remain as head coach and undergo more in-depth education and training.“There were certain incidents assessed … as ongoing coaching and instruction for the sole purpose of improving performance,” the report said. “Other incidents … created an intimidating environment.”Player Alannah Jensen told CTV that lines were crossed.“There is a difference between being intense and being abusive,” Jensen said in a interview.CTV said Janus did not return its request for comment.The school said a code of conduct will be established in the year ahead to improve the environment around the team.Janus was named head coach of the women’s hockey program in June 2015.— By Nick Kuhl at the Lethbridge Herald and CTV Calgary.last_img read more

UVic study finds homeless vulnerable finally get care when at deaths door

first_imgVICTORIA – The lives of 25 homeless or marginally housed people in Victoria only started to get better when they were close to death, says a University of Victoria study released Thursday.Researchers followed the people for two years during the study, which concluded that many of them received the best health care available only when they had reached the end of their lives.Kelli Stajduhar, a professor at the university’s school of nursing and Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, said 13 people died during the study and the health status isn’t known for the 12 who survived while the research was underway.The study, “Too Little; Too Late: How we fail vulnerable Canadians as they die and what to do about it,” finds that people living on the streets are in a world of unmet needs, multiple losses, persistent grief and trauma.Stajduhar said the study recommends better training throughout the health-care system to inform providers about the barriers to care endured by marginalized people, including end-of-life support.It called for improved polices to help health workers understand why the homeless avoid care and aren’t getting treatment for life-threatening conditions until it’s too late.Stajduhar said many participants said they were often told by doctors and health providers that their lifestyles of addiction, poverty and homelessness could lead to an early death, but early diagnosis of potential health conditions was limited.“Even if they have advanced illness, that’s not really what they are focusing on,” she said. “They’re focusing on the need to get housing. The need to get food. The need to just live daily life, get money to live, which is kind of sad. They’re just in survival mode while they’re dying.”The study participants, 16 men and 9 women, ranged in age from 19 to 81. Of those people, 15 had cancer, three had uncontrolled diabetes, two suffered from chronic lung disease and five were not aware of their life-threatening diagnosis.Of the 13 people who died; five had access to palliative care for more than two weeks, five received palliative care for less than two weeks and three people did not receive palliative care.“For the people who died, when they were able to come in contact with service providers who had palliative orientation to care that was sometimes the best kind of care that they had gotten, ever,” said Stajduhar.The study does not use the real names of those involved but included details of interviews, where at least two of the participants said they went to a hospital suffering with pain, were diagnosed with cancer and then were given months to live.A homeless man identified as Cliff spoke glowingly of his palliative care treatment.Cliff told researchers he went to a hospital emergency ward complaining about severe back pain and was told he had advanced cancer of the spine and less than six months to live.His last days were spent in comfort.“I am surprised at how much is actually available to me, and how well I’ve been treated,” he told researchers and is quoted in the report. “And since I got the cancer, it’s been nothing but positive reaction from anything I do need or wherever I’ve had to go to get help. I am getting top-rate service. So you know, I can’t complain about anything right now.”But dying wasn’t as easy for others in the study, it said.A 56-year-old man called Sammy, suffering with late-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and schizophrenia, died alone in supportive housing, in a pool of his own vomit with his oxygen mask hanging at his side.“Death and dying in this population occur in some palliative care settings,” the report says. “But more likely they will die in hospital or alone, on the street and in vehicles, or in shelters or transitional housing.”last_img read more

Burgess Shale fossils add branches to tree of life says Royal Society

first_imgDirk Meissner, The Canadian Press VICTORIA — The tiny remains of an extinct bug-like creature discovered at British Columbia’s 500-million-year-old Burgess Shale fossil deposit add a new branch to the evolutionary tree of life, says a PhD student who tracked down the organism’s development.The discovery of fossilized soft tissue, including the unique digestive tract, antennae and appendages of extinct agnostids help solve a long-standing evolutionary riddle about the agnostids’ family tree, says Joe Moysiuk, an ecology and evolutionary biology PhD student at the University of Toronto.The peer-reviewed study, published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in the United Kingdom, links the agnostids to trilobites as distant cousins. Evolutionary researchers have pondered if trilobites were related to agnostids and the new research proves the connection, Moysiuk said.“Agnostids appear to be what we call the sister group, sort of like a distant cousin of trilobites,” he said. “They are more closely related to other trilobites than other anthropods, like say, crustaceans or like arachnids, spiders and such.”Trilobites, which are also extinct, are similar to today’s horseshoe crabs, Moysiuk said. Moysiuk and Paleontologist Jean-Bernard Caron, an associate evolutionary biology professor at University of Toronto and a senior curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, conducted the research.Moysiuk said their research also helps answer questions about the origins of agnostids, which lived between 520 million and 450 million years ago.The work emphasizes the importance of continued exploration at Burgess Shale to trace the evolutionary process of other species, Moysiuk said in an interview.“This is an animal that’s been a big mystery in terms of where it fits into the tree of life for a very long time and so it’s always nice to fit in a little piece of the puzzle.”Agnostids are typically less than a centimetre long, with armour plates on their backs, a circular head shield and a similar looking tail shield, he said.Moysiuk said finding the agnostids in the Burgess Shale area is important because not only is the hard, shell-like part of the creature preserved, but so is the soft tissues such its nervous system and digestive tracts, sometimes even containing the last meal of the animal.“These fossils really give us this unparalleled insight into what life was like back in the Cambrian period.”He said the discovery of the crustacean-like soft tissue was “even weirder than what we would have imagined.”They found a pair of sensory antennae at the front of the animals body and two pairs of swimming appendages, that it would have used like oars to paddle its way through the water, he said.“They have lots of segments and these strange sort of club-like outgrowth coming off of them, which we hypothesize may have been used for respiration in these animals. So they were breathing through their legs, potentially.” Moysiuk said he’s been at the Marble Canyon site at Kootenay National Park where the fossils were found, but spends much of his time at the Royal Ontario Museum, where there’s a huge collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale.last_img read more

BC looking into vaccination registry due to measles outbreak health minister

first_imgTORONTO — The B.C. government is considering a mandatory vaccination registration program similar to that in Ontario in the wake of an outbreak of measles in Vancouver, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday.Such a system would be aimed at boosting the proportion of residents in the province who are vaccinated against the highly contagious disease, he said.“While there are some people who are expressing opposition to immunization, and others who can’t be immunized for medical reasons, some people simply fall through the cracks of the system,” Dix told reporters.“We want to make it harder for that to happen. So action is coming.”Dix stopped short of saying a plan is in place or when it might be announced, but he noted that some of the groundwork has already been done: the idea of a vaccination records registry had been contemplated after an outbreak of 343 cases of measles in B.C.’s Fraser Valley region in 2014.In the meantime, said Dix, “the message is for parents to immunize (their children).”There have been nine confirmed cases of measles in Vancouver in recent weeks, including eight at two French-language schools in Vancouver, a cluster that began after an unvaccinated B.C. child contracted the disease during a family trip to Vietnam. The other case is unrelated.   Measles is nothing to sneeze at: complications include blindness, ear infections that can lead to deafness, pneumonia and encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. The disease can also be fatal. In 2017, there were 110,000 measles deaths, most among children under age five, the World Health Organization says.Infection with the virus begins with a high fever, coughing, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a blotchy rash that spreads from the face and neck to the rest of the body. The virus is spread through air-borne droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes.Public health officials say the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infection.However, some people — infants, people with certain underlying health conditions and those undergoing chemotherapy — cannot be vaccinated and must rely on high vaccination levels within their community in order to be protected from infection by so-called “herd immunity.”Dix said Ontario’s system makes it more difficult for those eligible for vaccination to miss getting their shots — and he wants to see B.C. with a similar model.In Ontario, vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella is required by law for all children attending school, although parents can seek an exemption on religious or conscientious grounds. The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires parents or guardians to provide proof of vaccination before their child can attend school.Earlier this week, 33 children and staff at the two measles-affected Vancouver schools were ordered to stay home until at least March 7 because they either hadn’t been vaccinated or weren’t able to provide proof of immunization.Dix said that provincial medical officers of health have the authority to exclude children and adults without vaccination proof from schools. Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Police probe apparent onice violence at Alberta kids hockey tournament

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An on-ice confrontation between a referee and some adults at a three-on-three hockey tournament for children in Lethbridge, Alta., is under investigation by police.Cellphone video shot by a spectator appears to show five unidentified people not on skates approach an official on the ice Sunday at the eighth annual Quest for the Cup tournament.The referee initially skates backwards before getting shoved by someone in the group.Both people then fall to the ice before a third person intervenes.It’s not known what prompted the confrontation at the tournament, which involves boys and girls between the ages of seven and 12 and is put on by the Lethbridge-based skills development organization, High Performance Hockey.A statement posted to High Performance’s website Sunday evening confirmed the altercation occurred and says the organization is co-operating with the police investigation.The statement said the tussle “should serve as an example to all about the importance of ensuring the rink is a safe place for our children. Actions like this have no place in our game”It also said the tournament is an opportunity for players to enjoy the game of hockey with their friends.“For that reason, we are especially disappointed to see an act like this occur.” (CTV Lethbridge, The Canadian Press)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Stars To Come Together For Hurricane Sandy Victims

first_imgIn response to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the networks of NBCUniversal — including NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA – will join forces to air a one-hour live benefit telethon, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” on Friday, November 2 (8-9 pm ET).Hosted by NBC “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, the telethon will be broadcast from the New York studios of NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It will air live across the East Coast and tape-delayed on the West. Additional networks could join the broadcast of the telethon prior to airtime.Money collected will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.The telethon also will be live-streamed on event will feature performances by artists including Christina Aguilera (NBC’s “The Voice”), Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Sting, and appearances by Jimmy Fallon (NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”) and NBC News’ Brian Williams.The American Red Cross response to Sandy is very large and will be very costly, affecting a massive area spanning much of the eastern half of the country. Financial donations help the American Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at read more

Alonzo Mourning CoHosts NBA AllStar Weekend Benefit

first_imgThomas A. Rizk, Linda Rizk, and Geoffrey Rizk of Rizk Ventures, LLC and Alonzo Mourning and Tracy Wilson-Mourning of the Mourning Family Foundation co-hosted “Zo’s All-Star Weekend Groove with a Purpose,” a “FUNraiser” on Thursday February 12th, 2015.Thomas A. Rizk, Linda Rizk, Tracy Wilson-Mourning, and Alonzo Mourning at the Rizk Ventures and Mourning Family Foundation EventCredit/Copyright: Owen Kolasinski/BFAnyc.comThe event kicked off the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Weekend. Proceeds from the event benefited the Mourning Family Foundation’s programs and services that support underprivileged youth.“We were excited to co-host this amazing event and team up with Alonzo Mourning and Tracy Wilson-Mourning again,” said Linda Rizk, Co-Founder of Rizk Ventures. “The night was a great success and the money we raised will make a huge difference in the lives of underprivileged children.”The evening included a roundtable discussion titled: The “Power of Influence Through Sisterhood” moderated by Tracy Wilson-Mourning, Gayle King (co-anchor of CBS This Morning and Editor at Large for O, The Oprah Magazine) and musician MC Lyte. The conversation highlighted the empowerment of women that Honey Shine, Inc., a mentoring organization under the Mourning Family Foundation umbrella, provides to girls by encouraging education, advocacy, and leadership.“Our event brought together individuals of influence to celebrate All-Star Weekend and, more importantly, to give back to our community and discuss the powerful impact we can have nationwide,” said Tracy Wilson-Mourning. “We are so fortunate to have young brilliant business minds like Geoffrey Rizk and his family, Tom and Linda and Alexandra, who have committed to supporting us in our endeavors. Their work with our organization has been invaluable.”“We have been long time supporters of Alonzo and Tracy because they have worked tirelessly to champion the needs of children, a core component of our philanthropic efforts at Rizk Ventures,” said Geoffrey Rizk, Managing Partner of Rizk Ventures.“Alonzo and Tracy have had a profound effect on the communities they serve,” stated Klaus Lederer, Managing Partner at Rizk Ventures. “We applaud their efforts and will continue to support these organizations as our business grows domestically and internationally.”Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more