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  • Rahul still our leader say Congmen BJP calls resignation brand new drama

    first_imgNEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi’s decision to step down as Congress president triggered varying reactions on Tuesday, with the BJP dismissing the move as “brand new drama” of the party and the Congress asserting that the Gandhi scion will remain the “voice of the party workers”. More than a month after declaring his intention to quit, Rahul on Wednesday formally resigned as Congress president, saying he is responsible for the loss in the Lok Sabha election and that accountability is critical for the party’s future growth. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Senior BJP leaders were quick to take a dig at the Congress following Rahul’s announcement, with Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi terming calling it “yet another drama of the grand old party”. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the timetable for organisation election and membership drive is already in place in the BJP, referring to a long spell of continuing uncertainty in the Congress after Gandhi first offered to resign following his party’s drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedAsked for her reaction, Union minister Smriti Irani, who had defeated Gandhi in Amethi in the Lok Sabha polls, merely said, “Jai Shri Ram”. BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli described the Congress as a family-run party unlike the BJP which is, he said, runs democratically. BJP ally Shiv Sena expressed that Rahul’s resignation will pave the way for restructuring of the main opposition party and herald a new era in the 133-year-old organisation. Shiv Sena spokesman and MP Sanjay Raut said with the resignation, the Congress has become “Gandhi family-free” under the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The Modi storm has uprooted Rahul Gandhi. It is during Modi’s tenure that the Congress has become “Gandhi family-mukt”. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, a Congress ally, lauded Rahul for sticking to his earlier decision and said that he is a young leader who can become party president again in the future. “Mubarak Ho, that he stood by his decision. He is young and he can become president again in future. He had always wanted someone else in that position, I cannot say that his resignation was due to Congress’s defeat in the recent elections. I think he will now work towards building the party,” Abdullah told a news agency. Meanwhile, top Congress members asserted that Rahul will continue to be their leader and would always remain the “voice of the party’s workers”. “It is very sad to see him quit as he put in enormous effort and at one point, we felt he caught the pulse and we saw a return of the Congress. Even though he has quit as the Congress president, he continues to be our leader. Reluctantly we have to accept it. If he has announced it, his advice sadly has to be followed. We will put our heads together and do our best,” former Union minister and senior party leader Salman Khurshid said. Former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said even after his resignation, Gandhi would remain the voice of the party’s workers. “We are proud to have @RahulGandhi ji as our leader! Congress President or not, he would always be the voice of millions of Congress workers and those who believe in its ideology! Rahul ji has taken a right decision-and we support him,” he said in a tweet. “We request him to take back his resignation because we know his struggle,” deputy chief minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot said.last_img read more

  • HC seeks ASI reply on PIL relating to ancient temple in Bihar

    first_imgPatna: The Patna High Court has sought a reply from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on a PIL seeking directions to authorities concerned for the preservation of a temple in Bihar’s Kaimur district which is said to be more than 1,600 years old. A Division Bench comprising Justice Jyoti Saran and Parth Sarthy passed the order Friday on the Public Interest Litigation filed by Gaurav Kumar Singh, a student of Chanakya National Law University here. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! The PIL seeks a writ of mandamus (direction) for protection and preservation of Maa Mundeshwari temple and idols of the deities in it. The PIL, which has also named the Union ministry for Youth and Culture as a respondent, has also sought a direction for the repair of the damage that has already been caused to the temple’s structure, idols of the deities installed inside it and its boundary wall besides deployment of armed personnel, i.e., CISF or police for its security. The petitioner has appended to the PIL the printout of an email he wrote to several authorities on March 29 this year, drawing their attention towards the decrepitude of the temple “which is more than 1600 years old” and was declared a “protected monument way back in 1914”. The court directed the ASI to file its reply while fixing August 9 as the next date of hearing in the matter.last_img read more

  • Three ILFS group entities enter into pact with secured lenders

    first_imgNew Delhi: Crisis-hit IL&FS Monday said it has entered into an agreement with secured lenders of three group entities, that have a debt burden of Rs 5,071 crore, as part of resolution process.Binding term sheet has been signed with secured lenders of three entities — Moradabad Bareilly Expressway Ltd, Jharkhand Road Projects and West Gujarat Expressway Ltd. This move is in line with the current management’s efforts to monetise assets and would also help in repaying debt to mutual funds. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”Total debt across these three entities is approximately Rs 5,071 crore — Rs 3,242 crore from secured lenders and Rs 1,829 crore from unsecured lenders,” a release said. The revised proposal involves certain concessions and modification of terms of financial debt availed by these entities from lenders. The release of cash flow from existing accounts will be used for servicing financial and operational creditors, reduction in debt service coverage ratio requirement; utilisation of surplus cash and preference to secured lenders over unsecured lenders in case of a shortfall, it added. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsThe major secured lenders of Moradabad Bareilly Expressway Ltd include India Infra Debt Ltd, L&T Infrastructure Finance Company, L&T Finance, L&T Infra Debt Fund, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. The overall debt is around Rs 1,567 crore. Jharkhand Road Project is undertaking developments of five projects. India Infra Debt Ltd, L&T Infra Debt Fund, Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund, Aditya Birla Health Insurance and Capital Asset Fund are among the major secured lenders. The aggregate debt is around Rs 1,545 crore. According to the release, West Gujarat Expressway has been awarded road project in Gujarat and its major secured lenders include L&T Infrastructure Finance Company and L&T Infra Debt Fund with debt of about Rs 129 crore.last_img read more

  • One kanwariya dead another 4 injured as two bikes collide

    first_imgMuzaffarnagar: One kanwariya was killed and another four were seriously injured after two bikes crashed into each other on the Delhi-Dehradun national highway near Barla village here, police said on Saturday. The accident occurred on Friday night, killing 23-year-old Arun from Haryana, they said, adding that the injured were shifted to a hospital. In another incident in the same village, a labourer, identified as Arif, was killed on Friday night at a kawar camp along the highway when he accidentally fell in a pan of boiling oil. The family members of Arif staged a protest after laying the body near the camp, demanding compensation, police said. The body was sent for post-mortem after the police intervened, they said.last_img read more

  • Michael Bay in talks for Sonys Black 5

    first_imgLos Angeles: Filmmaker Michael Bay is in negotiations to direct Sony’s upcoming action movie “Black 5”. Ehren Kruger, who worked with the filmmaker on several “Transformers” movies, has penned the script of the film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Black 5” centres around an elite military team with advanced technology. Bay’s frequent collaborator Erwin Stoff will produce the project. The director is currently awaiting the release of his Netflix actioner “Six Underground”, which is his first project outside the “Transformers” franchise in years.last_img read more

  • Schools should play key role in curbing child abuse DCPCR

    first_imgNew Delhi: “Schools should play a key role in curbing child abuse,” was one of the agendas that was discussed in a meeting held between DCPCR and other stakeholders including Child Welfare Committee, civil society organisations, lawyers. According to Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), the meeting was held on Tuesday at Delhi Secretariat. The chairperson of DCPCR Ramesh Negi, in the meeting said, “65 per cent of the crime is done by a known person. It is vital to ensure that children in our homes are safe too. School can play a crucial role in ensuring child’s safety.” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAdding further, he said, “Schools, during meetings, should create awareness among parents to report cases to concerned authorities if their children are being abused by their relatives.” In the meeting, it was also discussed that there should be adequate street lighting in those areas from where cases of missing are regularly being reported. Sources said that the stakeholders talked about providing street furniture (chairs) for residents of the areas vulnerable to kids. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Residents or neighbours can also keep a tab on children when they are playing outside their homes. It will deter the crime in the area,” an official said during the meeting. Another official pointed out that schools should comply with the guidelines of DCPCR such as setting up of Child Abuse Monitoring Committee at schools. In July, a compendium of missing children released by DCPCR revealed that Narela, Sahbad Dairy, Jaitpur, Vijay Vihar, Khajuri Khas, Dabri, Uttam Nagar, Mehrauli are the areas from where most missing cases were reported. Jyoti Duhan Rathee, DCPCR official emphasised on the need to have many conversations on the topic of child sexual abuse. Moreover, she emphasised the importance of victim compensation, mandatory reporting and the need for all the stakeholders to come and work together. An official from NGO said that as per their survey 49 percent of the crime is committed at the house of either the victim or the offender.last_img read more

  • Modi invokes 911 points at roots of terror in Pak

    first_imgMathura (UP): Invoking the 9/11 attack on America this day 18 year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the roots of terrorism are being nourished in India’s neighbourhood and asserted that New Delhi is fully competent to meet the challenge. “Today terrorism has become an ideology which has transgressed every border. It is a global problem and has become a global threat, whose strong roots are getting nourished in our neighbourhood,” Modi said in an apparent reference to Pakistan. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details He said the entire world needs to take a pledge against this ideology, against those who are taking it forward and those giving shelter and training to terrorists. “There is need for strong action,” he said. “India is fully competent to face the challenge. We have shown this and will also show it in future.” He was addressing a gathering here after the launch of the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) for eradicating foot and mouth disease and brucellosis in livestock. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Modi said his government’s effort to strengthen anti-terror laws is a step forward in this direction. Remembering the 9/11 attack, he said, September 11 is also a special day for another reason, as it was on this day a century back when Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic address in Chicago. “Through that speech, the entire world thoroughly understood the culture and tradition of India. But it is unfortunate that on that very September 11, the 9/11 terrorist attack took place in the US, and it shook the entire world.” He said people need to unite whether the problem is sickness, pollution or terror.last_img read more

  • A look by the numbers at the wildfires burning across British Columbia

    first_imgASHCROFT, B.C. – Here are some numbers on the wildfires that are burning across British Columbia:Number of fires: There were 220 wildfires across B.C. at one point on Sunday. Ninety-eight new fires started on Saturday.Firefighters on scene: More than 1,000 firefighters were either deployed or on days of rest. At least 200 contractors backed them up. An additional 300 firefighters recruited from other parts of Canada are expected to arrive on Monday and Tuesday.Evacuees: The latest estimate is 7,000 people.Fire sizes: The fires have burned an area of more than 236 square kilometres.Hardest hit: The four biggest fires ranged in size from about 20 to 44 square kilometres and drove thousands from their homes in the communities of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, 105 Mile House, 108 Mile House, 150 Mile House and the Alexis Creek area.Government financial response: B.C. announced a $100-million fund to help communities and residents rebuild. The fund includes $600 that will be made immediately available by electronic transfer through the Red Cross to people who have registered after being forced from their homes.Federal help: Three Canadian Armed Forces Griffon helicopters were expected to arrive in Kelowna on Sunday and some larger fixed-wing aircraft are to arrive over the next few days. The aircraft would be on standby and ready to help wherever they were needed, but they would not be assisting with fire suppression at this time.last_img read more

  • Liberals can afford to spend 8 billion a year on daycare program

    first_imgOTTAWA – International Monetary Fund researchers say the federal government can afford to spend $8 billion annually to reduce the cost of child care spaces nationwide because the program would pay for itself.The proposal is more than 10 times what the Liberals have promised to spend annually over the next decade on child care.The IMF predicts the cash would bring down the national average for child care fees by about 40 per cent, a figure expected to be high enough that it could entice more women into the workforce and drive greater economic growth.By the organization’s estimates, there are about 150,000 highly-educated women who are stay-at-home parents.If they all entered the workforce and started paying taxes, the IMF says, they would boost economic growth by two percentage points, equal to about $8 billion more in federal income tax revenue — enough to cover the cost of the program.But the IMF adds a caveat to the proposal: It should be conditional on employment so that highly-educated mothers are prodded into the workforce.A spokeswoman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government’s commitment of $7.5 billion over 11 years towards child care would increase women’s labour market participation.“When quality educational child care services are affordable, parents — particularly women — can more easily participate in the labour market and invest in their careers. Taking gender equality seriously means taking child care services seriously, and our government will continue to work on improving gender equality,” Emilie Gauduchon-Campbell said.“Canada succeeds when women and girls are given opportunities to succeed.”The Liberals’ economic growth council, which met with IMF researchers as part of the study, recommended in a February, pre-budget report that the government consider creating a national child care program to boost productivity by getting more women, particularly those with younger children, into the workforce.Maternal labour force participation rates have risen in recent decades, but the IMF report notes there remains a gender gap in participation and wages — one that isn’t as wide in Quebec where there is a subsidized system.The Liberals unveiled their child care proposal in this year’s budget, pledging $7.5 billion over 11 years, beginning with $500 million this year and increasing to $870 million annually by 2026 in order to fund spaces — or improvements — in provinces and territories.The money could potentially create 40,000 subsidized spaces over the next three years at a cost of $1.3 billion.The federal government has to sign funding agreements with provinces and territories before the money can flow.A key step in that process took place last month when Duclos and his provincial and territorial counterparts signed a national framework that sets the goals for federal child care spending. At the time, Duclos hinted that the deal could one day lead to a national system similar to the one in Quebec.But the IMF also believes the Liberals’ signature Canada Child Benefit might be having the opposite effect on women in the workforce.The $23-billion-a-year benefit is worth up to $6,400 annually for a child under six, and up to $5,400 a year for children six to 17. The benefit is income tested, meaning that the less a family earns, the more it receives in benefits per child.The IMF says the benefit doesn’t provide incentives for parents to work or get job training.The effect on low-income families may be the largest, with the IMF team calculating that they would see their finances worsen if both parents work due as a result of a reduction in the child benefit, increases in taxes, and covering the high cost of child care. Middle- and high-income families see their finances improve or not change at all if both parents work, the report says.Gauduchon-Campbell said the Liberals introduced the benefit to help more women and girls. She said the government also intends to introduce pay equity legislation next year.last_img read more

  • Saskatchewan man who attacked woman set her on fire not dangerous offender

    first_imgPRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A homeless woman who was viciously beaten before being set on fire says she worries her attacker will hurt someone else after a judge ruled Wednesday Leslie Black won’t be designated a dangerous offender.Black pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the beating, burning and sexual assault of Marlene Bird in an alley in Prince Albert, Sask., in 2014. Her injuries were so serious both legs had to be amputated and she lost much of her eyesight.“He’ll do that to somebody else,” said Bird, who is 50, outside court Wednesday. “He’s got to learn not to treat women like that.”She said it was painful to see her attacker but she felt it was important for Black to see her.“He just looked at me and looked down,” Bird said. “Didn’t say sorry.”Judge Stanley Loewen said in his ruling that after the 2014 attack, Black walked to a nearby 7-Eleven and bought candy. Black then walked past Bird, who was still on fire, and ignored her.It was several hours before Bird was discovered and was barely clinging to life with burns so severe they exposed her facial bones.“Her right foot was attached only by a piece of skin,” Loewen said, noting the photos of her wounds were “quite disturbing.”Loewen ruled while Black’s brutal crime warrants a lengthy jail sentence and a long-term supervision order, he felt his risk to reoffend could be managed in the community.The judge will sentence Black on Sept. 22.Bird told court in June she can’t do anything on her own now, including simple things such as picking a blueberry or going to the bathroom.In handwritten letters filed with the court, Bird said she has to wear adult diapers, can’t control her bowels and feels disgusted with herself when she can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Bird said she also fears entering the city because of the attack.At a March court hearing, Black said if he could go back to the night he attacked Bird, he would have taken his father’s advice and stayed home.In a brief statement, which Black read despite a stutter he has had since witnessing his mother’s murder when he was nine years old, Black said he understands that Bird and her family have not forgiven him.“I apologize for what I did,” he said at the time. “I still can’t forgive myself.”Black said he is not a violent person and wants to get the help he needs to succeed in life.“I’m usually a happy-go-lucky guy.”A pyschiatrist told the dangerous offender hearing that Black has at least eight separate conditions, including antisocial personality disorder, childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suspected fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.Black’s defence lawyer argued his client’s actions were brutal, but said that does not mean Black will violently offend again.One psychologist testified Black is not necessarily at a high risk to reoffend if he gets intensive, long-term therapy. But another psychiatrist testified that officials can’t presume to understand Black and what he’s capable of given what he did to Bird even though he had no history of violence.— With files from CJME, CKBIlast_img read more

  • Some evacuees settling in for possible long stay in Winnipeg Brandon

    first_imgWINNIPEG – Hundreds of northern Manitoba residents forced to flee forest fires are heading home this week but most evacuees still have no idea when they might return.The Canadian Red Cross says the fire situation has improved near the Poplar River First Nation and 750 or so people who had to leave starting Aug. 11 are being flown back in small groups.But 5,000 others who were evacuated last week from three other Indigenous communities are still in Winnipeg and Brandon.The Manitoba government says a large forest fire burning near their communities is being held back but still poses a threat to the area.The Red Cross says now that the summer tourist season is over, hotel rooms have opened in Winnipeg and Brandon and many people are being moved out of large emergency shelters at a soccer facility and the Winnipeg Convention Centre.Regional vice-president Shawn Feely says about 600 people are staying in the two large shelters overnight.“What we’re finding is, people register and they’re directed to the shelter. Then they find their way to friends and family so they sleep at friends and families’ (homes) and they’ll go back to the shelter for services,” Feely said.The non-profit agency was looking at closing one of the shelters because of dropping numbers, but had not made a final decision Tuesday.The Red Cross has enlisted the help of other social agencies in Winnipeg to help provide entertainment and activities for the evacuees. Shuttle buses are running from the convention centre, which has no shower facilities, to the soccer facility to allow evacuees to clean up.Feely said there was no word on when the remaining evacuees could return to their homes in Wasagamack, Garden Hill and St. Theresa Point, but the convention centre and soccer facility are available for at least a few more weeks“There’s no pressure at this point in time,” Feely said.“If it continues on for a long period of time — and I’m not going to define a long period of time — then there’s obviously events booked in these facilities, so we will have to adjust our plans accordingly.”last_img read more

  • Ontario legislature resumes amid two Liberal trials focus on labour and pot

    first_imgTORONTO – Major labour law changes, including a $15 minimum wage, and marijuana will be on the front burner as Ontario’s legislature returns from its summer break on Monday.But the business of legislating also resumes at the same time as two Liberal trials get underway and are sure to dominate Ontario politics.Both opposition parties will likely try to keep reminding people of the Election Act bribery charges trial in Sudbury related to a 2015 byelection and mischief and the breach of trust trial in Toronto related to the cancellation of two gas plants before the 2011 election.Premier Kathleen Wynne is set to testify in the bribery trial in Sudbury on Wednesday.“It’s a sad day for the people of Ontario that they will be seeing their premier as a witness on the stand in court on Wednesday,” Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said in a statement.Wynne was asked last week if she was worried the trials would overshadow her agenda.“I really don’t have control over that,” she said. “My job is to implement our plan to make sure that we do everything that we can to make this a fair place to live.”Wynne and her team have been pushing the fairness theme hard over the past months. Expect that to continue through the fall and all the way to the June 2018 election.A key part of that is the Liberal government’s labour bill that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2019 as well as give equal pay for part-time workers, increased vacation entitlements and expanded personal emergency leave.Public hearings on the bill were held this summer and it will go back before the House with some tweaks for second reading, before being sent for a second round of committee hearings.Though the minimum wage increase has proven popular in government polling, business groups have been campaigning hard against the phase-in period, saying the increase — it is currently set to rise to $11.60 in October — is too much to absorb that quickly.The business groups say they’ll continue to press for amendments to the bill, but they’re also eager for the government to unveil a promised package of offsets to help businesses cope with increased costs the labour bill will bring.That is set to be announced in the fall and Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid has said a break for small businesses will come “likely on the tax side.”The NDP will continue to push for more changes to the labour bill, including more vacation days and paid sick days. Party Leader Andrea Horwath also indicated in a statement she would turn part of her attention to Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown — who is leading in the polls.“Patrick Brown won’t tell us what his plans are, but after years of standing with Conservatives who cut like Stephen Harper, Mike Harris and Tim Hudak, we can expect his priorities to be conservative cuts and conservative privatization,” she wrote.Legislation to control the sale of recreational marijuana is set to be tabled this fall, after the Liberal government on Friday announced its plan to sell pot to people 19 and older in as many as 150 standalone stores run by the province’s liquor control board.Opposition parties and cannabis activists slammed the plan and are expected to continue to be vocal as the legislation is crafted and goes to public hearings.Other policies the government has previously said will come this fall include:— The next long-term energy plan— Police oversight legislation— Legislation to create two new northern ridings— An updated Police Services Act— Ticket sales and resales legislation— Legislation to create safe zones around abortion clinicslast_img read more

  • Celebrated Yukon First Nations leader Mike Smith has died

    first_imgWHITEHORSE – First Nations leader, Yukon lawyer and residential school survivor Mike Smith died Wednesday in Whitehorse.His family released a statement Thursday saying that Smith wanted his condition and last days to remain confidential. His age and cause of death were not released.“Mike was a great leader who shared the vision of the many leaders he worked with in trying to build a better future for his people,” the statement says.He was Yukon’s regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations when he died.Smith was a residential school survivor who went on to earn his law degree in 1984 and become one of the first two Indigenous lawyers in Yukon, the statement says.He was a “great legal mind,” at the forefront of the Yukon First Nations land claims movement, which gathered momentum in the early 1970s, it says.Smith became the chief of his Kwanlin Dun First Nation in 2003 and served three terms. During that time, he signed a land claim and self-government agreement.He was also instrumental in the vision that brought about the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre on the riverfront, the family says.He was an eldest brother and a “devoted family man.”“We’re still very devastated by the loss of not only a brother, but the head of our family,” his brother Steve Smith said in an interview Thursday.Smith was a father of three and grandfather to four.The City of Whitehorse ordered flags to fly at half-mast at city buildings to recognize his passing.(Whitehorse Star, CKRW)last_img read more

  • Muslim FBI agent who helped Canada wants to reclaim his religion from

    first_imgOTTAWA – A Muslim FBI agent who helped Canadian authorities foil a terrorist plot says his religion is being desecrated by violent jihadis — and he wants the public to hear a different story.The keys are educating people about the true tenets of Islam and including Muslims in the fight against those who warp the faith for their own ends, said the undercover agent, who has written a candid book as Tamer Elnoury, his cover name during the Canada-U.S. operation.“Al-Qaida and ISIS are the only ones with a voice,” Elnoury said in an interview. “I wanted to start the conversation. Because at the end of the day, the only way we’re ever going to win this global war on terror is if we stand united against it, and we understand it, and we don’t just use the jihadi brush to paint every Muslim.”An Arabic speaker, Elnoury has been doing undercover counter-terrorism work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2008, a calling that has taken him around the world.In 2012, he found himself posing as a wealthy American real estate player and al-Qaida backer to halt a plan to derail a passenger train that travels from New York to Toronto.“American Radical” is his story of the investigation that led to terrorism convictions and life sentences in 2015 for Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian citizen doing advanced research in nanotechnology in Montreal, and Raed Jaser, a stateless Palestinian who settled in Toronto with his family.The look in Esseghaier’s eyes when he talked about killing infidels was something Elnoury had never seen before, he writes. “It was a look of hatred and death. It made me physically sick.”Elnoury testified, using his pseudonym, during the rail-plot trial in Toronto, and was dismayed by the media focus on Islamic extremism.“Nothing true about Islam,” he writes. In the media’s defence, he adds, all they heard were Esseghaier and Jaser’s interpretations.Elnoury recounts how, despite the concerns of the Crown prosecutor, he wanted to squarely address the question in the witness box.“These religious views that are presented are a complete desecration of my religion,” he told the court. “So it stands out to me when I am having a discussion about rationalizing killing innocent women and children.”Elnoury said in the interview it was important to speak his mind.“I felt like it was lost on the world at that moment that the person testifying against them was an American Muslim,” he said.“I know people in the Islamic community — in mosques, family members, relatives, friends — who can’t even say the word ISIS because they’re so disgusted by the fact that it’s even said in the same breath as the religion of Islam. So what I would love to see is their voice heard.”Canada’s nice-guy international image won’t protect it from extremists, Elnoury said.“When you send troops overseas in this war, you put a bull’s-eye on your back, regardless of your stance in the world. That’s the way you will be viewed by our enemy.”Bridging communities through education and inclusion is the best way to ensure “we’re going to have someone who looks like them or sounds like them to help defeat them,” he said.For those Muslims wary of being profiled or targeted by police and intelligence services, Elnoury points to himself as “living proof” the agencies simply follow the evidence.“And if you see something that stands out, stand up — stand up for your religion, stand up for your country, and make sure those individuals are stopped dead in their tracks.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

  • US nuclear commander says he would resist illegal order from Trump

    first_imgHALIFAX – The top commander of U.S. nuclear forces says he would push back if President Donald Trump asked him to carry out an order he deemed “illegal.”Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten told the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday that he and Trump have discussed what would happen if the president ordered a nuclear strike he believed to be unlawful under international law.“I think some people think we’re stupid. We’re not stupid people,” Hyten said.”We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”Hyten would be in charge of U.S. nuclear forces in a war. If Trump decided to launch a nuclear attack, Hyten would provide him with strike options, and the president would make his decision.“The way the process works, it’s simple,” said Hyten. “I provide advice to the president, he’ll tell me what to do, and if it’s illegal, guess what is going to happen?“I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’”Hyten said he and Trump would work to find another course of action.Hyten said he is trained every year in the laws of armed conflict —which are guided by principles that include necessity. Under that framework, carrying out an illegal order is a punishable offence.“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail,” he said. “You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”Hyten made the remarks while participating on a panel called “Nukes: The Fire and the Fury,” an apparent reference to Trump’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea this summer.Hyten said the U.S. can defend itself against North Korea’s nuclear threats.“Can we live with a nuclear North Korea? The answer is yes,” said Hyten. “The question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we want to live in that world?”—With files from The Associated Press.last_img read more

  • Calgary decides to stay in the game for possible 2026 Olympic Games

    first_imgCALGARY – Calgary is continuing down the road of bidding for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games, at least until the next off-ramp.City council voted Monday to spend up to $2 million more on work towards a possible bid.City administration said if council didn’t vote for the funding, Calgary should stop pursuing a bid.But only $1 million of that money will be released until it is known what the federal and provincial governments are willing to contribute to a bid. Council wants that answer by early 2018.“What I heard clearly from members of council is they didn’t want to kill this.” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.“They wanted to move forward, but they also understand that one of the really critical things is we’re going to need all three orders of government — federal, provincial and municipal — to agree to move forward.“This is going to a mutual decision between the three orders of government on whether or not to move forward.”City staff estimates a bid price tag would be between $25 million and $30 million.Calgary was the host city of the 1988 Winter Olympics.The International Olympic Committee’s executive director of Olympic Games was pleased Calgary didn’t bow out of 2026 on Monday.“I’m extremely happy that the council came to that decision,” Christophe Dubi told The Canadian Press from South Korea. “Calgary has got tremendous assets to bid. You hosted the Games already so you have a number of venues that are there.“You have tremendous capabilities to host in Canada. You have very good expertise in Games organization. You also have the support of the population for winter sport in general. It’s a die-hard sport-loving nation. I think you have all the raw materials to do something extraordinary.”The IOC will invite cities to bid in October, 2018 and the deadline is January, 2019.A project team of city staff and consultants took over the work of the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee, which estimated the cost of hosting the Winter Games at $4.6 billion.Calgary wants a deeper dive into five areas before it greenlights a bid: capital costs; security; operating costs; finances; financial guarantees.Council gave $5 million for CBEC to conduct its research. CBEC’s work came in $1.5 million under budget and those savings were passed onto the project team.The money approved Monday will be used to prepare Calgary to make a successful bid if the city decides to go ahead, and lay the groundwork for a bid corporation should city council decide early next year to form one.“This $2 million we’re asked to spend, or $1 million until the province and the feds are in, is a risk,” Nenshi acknowledged.“We may end up not bidding or there is a small possibility that we bid and we lose the bid, but are we willing to take that risk to do something that could be incredibly special for Calgary.”Council also voted to study venues outside of Calgary as a cost-saving measure, which could mean using Edmonton’s facilities or incorporating venues from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.last_img read more

  • Former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger leaves legislature for the last time

    first_imgWINNIPEG – Former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger welled up in the legislature Wednesday as he said goodbye to his fellow politicians, ending 18 years of sometimes-tumultuous service.He used his final speech to call for a more inclusive political system.“Progress has been made, but I know we can make this place better for everyone, particularly (so that) those historically left out can be heard, seen and respected,” he said before pausing to collect himself.It was a relatively quiet end for Selinger, 67, who has recently been seated in the back row of the Opposition NDP benches.Selinger was first elected in 1999 and served a decade as finance minister under former premier Gary Doer. He balanced several budgets, championed Francophone language rights and cracked down on payday lenders.He took over the party leadership in 2009, worked with the private sector to help bring the NHL back to Winnipeg and bolstered the province’s defences during the flood of 2011.Selinger’s popularity dropped as the economy sputtered. He opted to raise a variety of taxes instead of cutting spending, and started running a long string of deficits. A hike in the provincial sales tax in 2013 led to widespread voter anger.The following year, five of his top cabinet ministers revolted and called on him to step down to help the party rebound. He refused and held on to the top job by a razor-thin margin at a NDP convention.Selinger quit as NDP leader after the party lost the 2016 election, but kept his Winnipeg legislature seat until Wednesday. He announced last month — pushed by current NDP Leader Wab Kinew — that he would leave politics, after several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by one of Selinger’s former cabinet ministers.When asked Wednesday what he would do differently if he could go back to the weeks leading up to the cabinet ministers’ revolt, he hinted he might have warned the rebels more strongly that a public spat would hurt the party.“You always talk to people about the potential risks of certain actions and then people make their choices. Was there a way to do that more forcefully? Perhaps. Was there a way to do that more persuasively? Perhaps,” Selinger said.“We have a primary responsibility to stay focused on serving the people of Manitoba and as long as you keep that focus, you’re going to be OK. If you start getting off that focus, then other things can happen.”One political analyst said Selinger, who started out as a social worker and served for a time on Winnipeg city council, should be remembered largely for his dedication to social justice and his deep knowledge of issues.“Not many people in public life in Manitoba could match Greg Selinger in terms of his mastery of different policy files,” said Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba.But Selinger lacked political instincts and failed to appreciate the turning tide in his support, Thomas said.“He seemed to have trouble coming to terms with the fact that political careers are time-limited,” Thomas said.“He probably should have resigned when there was open revolt … in the cabinet and saved his party at that point.”last_img read more

  • NDP leader says Canada should declare antiSikh violence in 1984 a genocide

    first_imgOTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Canada should declare that anti-Sikh violence that took place in India more than three decades ago was a genocide.Singh — who spent much of this week defending himself following the emergence of several videos showing him appearing at various events where others promoted Sikh independence and violence — says there is clear evidence attacks on Sikhs by Hindus which followed the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 were not spontaneous, but rather organized by government.Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards a few months after Sikh separatists who had barred themselves inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar were killed in a military assault. The Air India bombing in 1985 was carried out in reaction to the temple attack and the post-assassination violence.India has said fewer than 3,000 people died in the attacks, but Sikh leaders sometimes put the number closer to 10,000. Singh said this week many Canadian Sikhs moved to Canada following the attacks, feeling persecuted and afraid to remain in India.Singh believes labelling the event a genocide will help bring peace between Hindus and Sikhs.He introduced a motion calling the attacks a genocide in 2016, when he was an NDP member of the Ontario legislature. That motion failed, but a very similar one brought forward by Liberal Harinder Malhi passed last year at Queen’s Park.That motion was described by Indian media as a “body blow” to India and the Indian government called it “misguided.” Although the motion was passed in a provincial legislature, the Indian government did not distinguish between the levels of government when complaining to Canada about the motion and it was among the tensions that contributed to a troubled state visit to India by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month.Trudeau’s office did not respond when asked if the government would support a genocide motion.Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said the 1984 violence was tragic and the issue is close to the hearts of many Canadians of the Sikh faith.“We must continue to call for truth, justice and accountability for all victims,” he said in a statement. “After 34 years, we must continue to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”Singh said the NDP doesn’t have a motion prepared, but that it would be very appropriate for Parliament to approve such a motion.“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It would be a proper thing to take, not only nationally but I think it’s something that is appropriate at the international level as well to make sure this is clarified, that it was not communal violence but was state-organized violence.”Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 set up a special team to investigate the attacks, but at least 199 cases were discarded for lack of evidence. Earlier this year the Indian Supreme Court set up its own team to investigate those 199 cases again.The lack of justice for those deadly riots is the root of much of Sikh unease with the Indian government today, says Harvinder Khehra, a Calgary teacher who immigrated to Canada from Punjab in 2009.Khehra says the Indian government seems to be afraid of the political influence of Sikhs in Canada and is behind both the Trudeau trip problems and the Singh stories this week. He says he believes the Indian government wants to raise concerns about Sikh politicians to influence non-Sikh voters into not voting for them again.Khehra says people who peacefully lobby for Khalistan are exercising legal right of free speech and he knows nobody who invokes violence as a means to achieving that end.The Canadian government also accused people within the Indian government of trying to undermine Trudeau’s trip last month by facilitating the invitation to a reception of a man convicted in the 1980s of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister on a trip to Canada. The reasoning was that some in the Indian government refuse to believe Canadian Sikhs aren’t pushing for an independent state and want to undercut Sikh influence in Canadian politics.Singh said these are serious allegations that should be investigated further. Earlier this month Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale wouldn’t answer questions about those allegations at a committee hearing, saying they were infringing on classified matters.The Indian government has denied having any involvement.— follow @mrabson on Twitter.last_img read more

  • Parliament Hill staffers share experiences with sexual misconduct at work

    first_imgOTTAWA – With the #MeToo movement shining a spotlight on Parliament Hill’s day-to-day workplace realities, a new survey by The Canadian Press is giving voice to some of those who toil in obscurity for powerful political bosses.A total of 266 people responded to CP’s anonymous online survey, which asked employees in the Ottawa offices of MPs, senators and cabinet ministers to share their opinions — and their personal experiences — with sexual misconduct in the workplace.The non-representative results don’t allow broad conclusions about the scale of the problem. But they nonetheless tell a story, at once heart-wrenching and hopeful, about male and female staffers from all parties coping with a culture many say fosters the conditions for abuse.“Working in politics, we all know someone who has been sexually assaulted or harassed. It goes without question,” one respondent wrote in the survey, which provided no way to verify details or identities.“We have very little job security, our bosses are very powerful people in their own way, and it’s easy to find yourself in a situation that is incredibly uncomfortable — that can turn ugly.”Sexual harassmentSixty-five survey respondents said they had personally experienced sexual harassment in their role as a political staffer, either directly in the workplace, at a work-related function or during interactions involving colleagues or superiors. More than twice as many — 145 respondents — said they had not, while 56 people declined to answer the question.The types of experiences varied, ranging from staring or leering to sexualized threats or intimidation. Many respondents mentioned more than one.Asked to specify which incident had the greatest impact, 26 respondents cited being subjected to inappropriate or unwanted comments, jokes or gestures of a sexual nature. Fourteen said it was being pursued sexually against their wishes. Seven said they were leered at and three said they received inappropriate or unwanted telephone calls, text messages or emails of a sexual nature.One respondent suggested it was difficult to choose a single incident, because one type of behaviour can escalate and lead to another.“All of this impacts me in the exact same way because it consistently reinforces the notion that no matter what degrees you hold, experience you have, and relationships you’ve built, that you don’t know if you’re in that room because you’re good enough or because someone in that same room wants to (have sex with) you,” the respondent wrote.Asked who was the perpetrator of the specific incident, six said it was the MP they worked for, while 24 said it was another MP. One mentioned a senator for whom they worked; two others cited senators from a different office. Eleven participants said it was a colleague who works elsewhere on Parliament Hill and two said they’d been harassed by journalists.Of those who specified the perpetrator’s gender, 92 per cent said it was a man.Those who took part in the survey described a range of ways in which they’d been affected by the sexual harassment. Several said they now take pains to avoid certain people, particularly when alcohol is around, and to warn other potentially vulnerable staffers to do the same.Several respondents mentioned they had changed the way they dress for the job.“I find I over-analyze the clothing I choose to wear in the workplace,” one wrote. “Is something too tight, too low, too short, etc.”Several respondents linked the experience to mental illness, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.“I guess I just felt very objectified, like I was just a piece of meat and not a smart and valuable person,” one wrote.Another, however, described feeling empowered by the experience.“I’m not saying it’s good, but in my case it gives me a little more fuel in my fire to change the world.”Sexual assaultTwenty respondents said they had experienced sexual assault in the workplace, while 71 per cent reported no such personal experience.Asked to specify the incident that had the biggest impact, five respondents said it involved unwanted touching. Another five named unwanted kissing and four respondents said the behaviour was groping. One mentioned sexual intercourse.Two respondents said the sexual assault was committed by their employer — an MP in one case, a senator in the other — while seven respondents pointed to MPs in other offices. Four said the perpetrator was a colleague on Parliament Hill, but not in their office; another said it was a member of the media.Men were the perpetrators in 89 per cent of the cases where respondents chose to specify a gender.Those who did also described a variety of effects the experience had on their lives, including two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. One male respondent, who reported being sexually assaulted by another man, said the incident made him question his own sexual orientation.One woman who described unwanted touching by an MP said she has trouble trusting other male MPs, and gets jittery when people get too close.Additional detailsThe Canadian Press emailed the online survey, which was available from Feb. 20 to March 12, to staffers currently working in the parliamentary offices of MPs and senators, as well as to key ministerial aides. The emails were sent to roughly 1,500 people, although due to staff turnover and changing roles, it is difficult to determine precisely how many received the message.They were also encouraged to share it with colleagues also currently in those roles, a distribution method sometimes called snowball sampling. Just as a snowball grows while rolling downhill, a survey distributed this way can gather more data. Since there is no way to guarantee the total size of the population, however, the results cannot be considered representative.The Canadian Press has agreed to shared anonymized, aggregated data with Samara Canada, a non-partisan charity that promotes civic engagement, for further research. The organization also provided feedback on the design of the survey.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitterlast_img read more

  • Broncos forever – Global Affairs CEO and Humboldt alum on bus crash

    first_imgLong before he was the head of one of Canada’s biggest global affairs organizations, Kelly Ogle was a Humboldt Bronco. Twice. “I played for the Humboldt Broncos when helmets were almost optional,” he said Monday at the University of Calgary. “I’m sorry if I get a little bit of emotional here, that’s 45 years ago, but I spent two years of my life in Humboldt.” Ogle is the president and CEO of the Calgary-based Canadian Global Affairs Institute, which also has an office in Ottawa and publishes research on defence, diplomacy, trade and development. But before he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1978, Ogle played junior hockey, suiting up for Humboldt in the 1972-73 and 1975-76 seasons. “I will always remember the community and people, it was a large part of my life, I rode those buses for a couple of years,” he said. “It’s been a tough weekend, and I’ve talked to a number of former players over the weekend, and this is, it’s a large tragedy.” Ogle is originally from Coleville, Saskatchewan near Kindersley and touched on the team’s importance to the town, even when he played. “It is the community from October to April,” he said. “It’s just such a large part of a small community.“I’m beside myself with grief, all I can do is pray.” He was one of the panellists for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s announcement on the federal government launching a new innovation program for addressing defence challenges. The minister addressed the Humboldt disaster at the start of the event. “We are here for you,” Sajjan said.Despite the national and international coverage of the bus crash, Ogle tried to stay focused on his appearance at the university Monday. But that didn’t stop the conversations with former teammates all those years ago and the flow of memories from his trips on the team bus. “Your life is on the bus,” he said. “The hockey’s part of it, but the bus is where the comradeship and brotherhood is, it’s on the bus.” Ogle paused before answering what those conversations were like. “Broncos forever, heavy hearts,” he said.last_img read more