Month: October 2019
New Delhi: Former Congress chief and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi on Friday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking help for people affected by flood following incessant rain in Kerala over the past two days. Modi assured him of all necessary assistance. “Wayanad MP Rahul GandhiA spoke to the Prime Minister seeking all possible assistance for the people severely affected by the floods and landslides in the state, especially in Wayanad. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “The Prime Minister has assured to provide any assistance required to mitigate the effects of the disaster,” Gandhi’s Wayanad MP office tweeted. On Thursday, the Wayanad MP spoke to Kerala Chief Minister P. Vijayan to seek assistance for the flood affected people in his parliamentary constituency and other parts of the state. Gandhi had decided to postpone his trip to Wayanad as he felt it would affect the rescue operations. Incessant rain in Kerala have claimed 23 lives in the past two days. Over 22,000 people have been shifted to some 315 relief camps across the state, officials said. Till late on Thursday the toll was eight, but Friday’s count put the number at 23. Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki were the worst affected. There has been 260 mm of rain in Wayanad — the parliamentary constituency of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. A huge landslide has marooned around 2,000 people in Meppadi in the district.
New Delhi: The Indian Davis Cup team wants the tie against Pakistan in Islamabad next month to be shifted to a neutral venue and is baffled that the national federation has merely asked for a security re-check so far. After repeatedly making statements that the All India Tennis Association (AITA) will seek a neutral venue, its general secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee surprisingly sought just a security re-check from the International Tennis Federation. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIt left the players and the team management disappointed and after discussing the matter among themselves, they have decided to approach the federation. “We have asked AITA to request for a neutral venue,” said India captain Mahesh Bhupathi. Another player, who did not wish to be named, said the team is “quite surprised” with how AITA has dealt with the situation. The AITA said it would go ahead with the visa formalities for the tie if the September 14-15 clash is cleared by the ITF following a fresh security check. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterA section within the AITA is also surprised that the Indian government was not ready to take a stand despite escalating tension between the two nations following recent scrapping of the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir. Sports minister Kiren Rijijiu on Monday said that since the Asia Oceania Group 1 tie is not a bilateral series and the world body is involved in hosting of the Davis Cup, they can’t stop tennis players from travelling to Pakistan. “We understand that the Olympic charter does not allow government interference but this is a question of lives of the players. The government always jumps in when Indian citizens are trapped abroad and try to ensure their safe passage back to country,” said an official on condition of anonymity. “Are tennis players not citizens of India? How can the government risk their lives by not stopping them?” he asked. The AITA is also being criticised for not seeking a neutral venue despite the prevailing circumstances. “It’s beyond understanding why AITA did not ask for change in venue in clear terms? Why are they beating around the bush? Do players mean anything to them,” said another official.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted interim protection from arrest to Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, till August 20 in a money laundering case linked to the AgustaWestland Chopper scam. Justice Sunil Gaur said the Enforcement Directorate is at liberty to ask Puri to join the investigation. The court granted the interim protection till next Tuesday, when it would further hear Puri’s plea challenging a trial court’s order denying him anticipatory bail. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Prui’s counsel submitted that he be given interim protection till the next date of hearing as he apprehends arrest. ED vehemently opposed the plea. ED’s counsel said no relief should be given to him as a non-bailable warrant was issued against Puri on August 9 and he was absconding and not joining the investigation in the case. Earlier in the day, the court asked the ED to file a status report apprising its about the development in the money laundering case linked to the now scrapped, Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland Chopper deal after Puri was denied anticipatory bail last week. The court said the status report should explain “the exact role of petitioner (Puri) in (alleged) money laundering which is detected so far”. The court also asked the ED the reason for seeking his custodial interrogation.
Popular Malayalam film actress Manju Warrier along with a film crew is stranded in flood-hit Himachal Pradesh prompting a union minister to intervene in the matter. The 30-member crew is stuck in Chatra, 100 km from Manali. They have been there for the past three weeks shooting for a film by director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, reports mathrubhumi.com. The actress was able to contact union minister V Muraleedharan seeking help, who in turn has reached out to Himachal Pradesh chief minister and sought immediate help. “Spoke to Himachal Pradesh CM on Malayalam film crew stuck in Chatru. Mandi district administration is in touch with stranded crew members. Evacuation efforts are on to bring them back to Manali today,” the minister of state for external and parliamentary affairs said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Himachal Pradesh has been lashed by incessant rains past few weeks, killing more than 30 people, and many areas are cut off due to landslides and bridge collapse. Hundreds of tourists are stranded in the state’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district after a freak snowfall on Sunday cut off roads in the region, officials said. They said rescue work was on. According to officials, about 150 tourists were stuck in Chandra Tal lake near Kaza town. The crescent-shaped lake is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres or 14,100ft in the Himalayas. The worst affected is the Miyar valley which was cut off due to landslides at several places on the roads leading to the region. More than 300 vehicles were also stranded on the Spiti-Leh road after flash floods in nullahs triggered landslides.(Inputs from Hindustan Times)
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday warned that the country was heading towards a presidential form of government.”I want to tell you, especially to the educated class and to students, that we are heading towards a presidential form of government [with] one election, one leader, one political party and one emergency,” she said at a gathering to observe the foundation day of her party’s student wing, Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad, at Mayo Road on Wednesday afternoon. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBanerjee also touched upon a host of issues including the changes to Article 370 in Kashmir and the decision of the Reserve Bank of India to transfer ₹1.76 lakh crore to the Central government. Banerjee said she would meet the students and interact with them on November 14 and 15 respectively. “I will talk to them and pick leaders who will work for the next two years.” She set up a committee comprising Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee, state president Subrata Bakshi, ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim and Moloy Ghatak and MMiC Baiswanor Chattopadhyay to give forms to the students. The ones among them interested in politics will be chosen and Banerjee will speak to them. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”BJP is trying to silence everyone to fulfill its agenda. In Kashmir, BJP did not talk to other political parties and have silenced the people at gunpoint. We really do not know how the people in Kashmir are spending their days. This is undemocratic,” she maintained, and added: “Bengal will stand by its friends in Kashmir.” Banerjee also added that BJP has created an atmosphere of fear throughout the country. “The Opposition leaders are summoned by the Central agencies. Anybody raising their voice against BJP becomes a target and the Central agencies are sent after them,” she said. “I may be sent behind the bars but I am not going to support the communal politics of the saffron party.” Criticising the media, the Chief Minister said: “All media houses, be it national or local, have been purchased. The electronic media cover only the BJP leaders. In print media, the same photographs of BJP leaders are printed in all newspapers. They are scared and they do not have any freedom.” Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said: “When the country is reeling under acute financial crisis, some leaders are touring abroad. The Reserve Bank of India has given Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the Centre by breaking the emergency fund.” She added: “The unemployment problem has taken an alarming turn. The Centre is going to disinvest in the Central PSUs. In Indian Railways and BSNL, people are losing jobs.” She also maintained that in view of the “dark period through which the country is passing,” it is absolutely necessary for students to come forward and protest against “all undemocratic steps taken by the Centre.” She urged them to protest against the fake news being circulated on social media by BJP. The TMC chief maintained that students will observe the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, the bicentenary of Vidyasagar and the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh incident.
Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) proposed to supply 24×7 drinking water by 2023 with special measures to stop its wastage, said Mayor Firhad Hakim on Friday.He was addressing a gathering to celebrate 20 years of partnership between the KMC and Asian Development Bank (ADB). A book was released to mark the occasion. Hakim took part in a discussion titled ‘Kolkata: A partnership for a more sustainable, inclusive and more resilient city’ at a Central Kolkata hotel on Friday afternoon. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTwo books, namely Kolkata by Neeta Pokhrel and Partnering for development by KMC were released on the occasion. Subrata Gupta, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Municipal Affairs department, Khalil Ahmed, Municipal Commissioner and Jadav Mondol of Kolkata Environment Improvement Investment Programme (KEIIP), along with senior civic officials were present at the function. Takehiko Nakao, president ADB, was also present. Hakim said KMC has always considered ADB as a partner in providing better amenities to the people of Kolkata and not merely a lending agency. “It is not that KMC is borrower and ADB a lending agency. On the contrary, KMC has always considered ADB to be a partner in providing better amenities to the people of Kolkata,” the Mayor said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayHe said KMC had partnered with ADB for the first time way back in 1998, when Kolkata Environment Improvement Project (KEIP) was taken up. ADB has played a major role in improving the drainage and sewerage system of Kolkata, he added. Hakim also urged ADB to provide funds to augment the drainage systems in Jadavpur, Garden Reach, Behala and Howrah. The ADB officials said that they have got the proposal and will consider the matter. KEIP is conducting a survey regarding the same. Hakim said Kolkata is one of the largest cities in India and lakhs of people come to the city from the districts everyday for work. The KMC supplies 350 million gallons of potable water per day and clears 4,000 metric tonnes of solid waste daily. The KMC is determined to provide better amenities to the people of Kolkata. It has given emphasis on its own revenue and reduced its dependence on the state government. Hakim said the ADB funds have been used mainly to improve the drainage system and conserve water bodies. He also said that the programme Talk to Mayor has become immensely popular, where the people get a chance to talk directly with the Mayor and their problems are addressed immediately.
London: Scotland Yard have charged an Indian-origin man with the murder of a 69-year-old musician found bleeding on the doorstop of a home after being stabbed in south-west London. Gurjeet Singh Lall was charged on Friday with the murder of Allan Isichei, who succumbed to his injuries after Raj Grover a local resident called the emergency services on finding him bleeding outside his home last week. “Homicide detectives from Specialist Crime are investigating,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement confirming that Lall had been charged with the fatal stabbing. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The 35-year-old accused appeared in custody at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Friday and was remanded to appear at the Old Bailey court next Tuesday. Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward with any information related to the attack on August 24 evening. Grover, who runs a property business in the area, had spoken of his shock at finding Isichei bleeding at his doorstep after the attack in Southall a suburb populated by numerous Indian migrants from Punjab. Grover gave first aid while his wife called an ambulance, but the victim succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “He rang the bell and I went out. He was full of blood, and then I was running to pick up a towel,” said Grover, who was getting ready to head out for his own birthday party at the time. Isichei was a former rugby player for Wasps Rugby Club and a keen jazz musician, who died after leaving the Plough Inn pub in Southall, where he regularly performed music. Wasps Rugby Club said it was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the death of their former teammate and coach. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Allan’s wife Sandra, children Emma, Daniel and David, along with all his other family and friends during this difficult time,” the club said in a statement.
New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has rejected the oil ministry’s plea seeking $314 million (around Rs 2,245 crore) from insolvency-bound Videocon Industries in unpaid profit petroleum from the Ravva oil and gas fields in the eastern offshore. The ministry had on October 22 last year sent Videocon a demand notice for payment of government’s share of profit petroleum, which is calculated after all capital and operating cost is deducted from the sale of oil and gas. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalVideocon, which holds 25 per cent stake in Ravva oil and gas fields, had been admitted to insolvency and the resolution professional (RP) overseeing the process approached the Mumbai-bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the demand saying the company cannot be asked to part with any money, including share of profit, during the moratorium period. NCLT upheld the RP’s plea, which was challenged before the NCLAT. A three-member NCLAT bench headed by chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya also upheld the same and said that the petroleum ministry could not recover these proceeds during the moratorium period from Videocon Industries, against whom insolvency was initiated in June 2018. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”NCLT rightly held that during the period of moratorium, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas cannot recover any amount nor can issue demand notice to the corporate debtor through ‘interim resolution professional’ to pay any amount,” said the NCLAT. The appellate tribunal also upheld the NCLT order staying the demand note by the ministry and directing to approach the RP for recovery of the amount. “We hold that NCLT rightly stayed demand notice dated 22nd October, 2018 during the pendency of the resolution process as long as the ‘moratorium’ is applicable on the corporate debtor,” said the NCLAT. As per Section 14 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), no recovery can be enforced from the corporate debtor, once the moratorium period comes into force once the insolvency is initiated by the NCLT. The matter is related to a ‘Production Sharing Contract’ executed between the government and ONGC, Videocon Industries, Vedanta and Ravva Oil (Singapore) on October 28, 1994. While state-owned ONGC had a 40 per cent participating interest, Videocon 25 per cent and Vedanta had a 22.5 per cent in the production sharing contract. A dispute between the government and Videocon arose in 2002, which was initially referred to the International Arbitration Tribunal, which partially upheld the company’s contentions. The Government of India filed an appeal on May 10, 2005 before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Federal Court of Malaysia, where on May 16, 2016, it failed to get any relief. Both admitted Videocon’s contention that the courts had no jurisdiction to decide on the issue and award of the International Tribunal in favour of Videocon became final. However, the petroleum ministry had on October 22, 2018 sent a demand notice to Videocon asking it to allocate $314 million as “government share of profit petroleum”. Following this, Videocon’s RP had approached the NCLT, contending that company could not be asked to part with any money, including share of profit, during the moratorium period. The NCLT in its order had said: “It was judicious to direct the ministry not to press for implementation of the said demand notice.”
Ho Chi Minh City: India’s Sourabh Verma registered a thrilling three-game win over China’s Sun Fei Xiang to claim the men’s singles title at the USD 75,000 Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 badminton tournament here on Sunday. Second seed Sourabh, who has won the Hyderabad Open and Slovenian International earlier this year, recovered from a mid-game slump to beat Sun 21-12 17-21 21-14 in the summit clash which lasted an hour and 12 minutes. “I am very happy with the way, I played this week. I played three Japanese and these players have similar kind of style. Most like to attack and the little differences in their style is something you have to figure out on the court. So it was nice to beat them,” Sourabh told PTI. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhHe beat three Japanese shuttlers — Kodai Naraoka, Yu Igarashi and Minoru Koga — on way to his title win. “The final was a tough match but I am happy I could play my game and come out victories. This title will give a boost to my confidence,” the Indian said. It was a third career meeting between Sourabh and Sun. The duo has faced off twice this year at Canada and Hyderabad with the Indian coming up trumps on both the occasions. Talking about the final match, the world no 38 Indian said: “In the first game, I waited for his weak returns. I realised his defence was a little weak, so I looked to exploit that. He committed too many unforced errors and it helped me. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”In the second game, I was troubled by the drift from one side and he jumped into a huge lead. But after the change of side in the decider, I went back to the strategy that worked for me and I am happy I could win,” added the National champion. Asked if he will play the USD 400,000 Korea Open World Tour Super 500 event to be held from September 24 to 29, Sourabh said: “I will head back home now and depending on the condition of my body and the time required to recover, I will take a call if I want to go to Korea or not.” In the finals, Sourabh dominated the proceedings in the opening game as he jumped to a 4-0 lead early on and kept moving ahead. He enjoyed a 11-4 cushion at the break and surged to a 15-4 advantage after the breather. Sun tried to recover but the gap was too wide to be bridged as Sourabh pocketed the first game comfortably. The Chinese came out all guns blazing in the second game, zooming to a 8-0 lead. He lead 11-5 at the interval and even though the Indian tried to make a comeback, it proved an uphill task as Sun roared back into the contest. In the decider, Sun had a slender 4-2 lead initially but Sourabh ensured he enjoyed 11-7 advantage at the breather. The Indian then maintained his lead, despite the Chinese snapping at his heels. Leading 17-14, Sourabh blasted off the next four points to shut the door on his opponent and win his third title of the year. The 26-year-old from Madhya Pradesh had won the Dutch Open and Korea Open last year.
The Transportation Safety Board says it can only offer a ‘plausible scenario’ into the cause of the October 2016 plane crash in Kelowna B.C., which killed former Alberta Premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice, as well as three other people.Lead investigator Beverley Harvey said the pilot involved, Jim Kruk, had very little experience flying at night, with just two night takeoffs in the previous six months, which does not meet Transport Canada’s requirements to carry passengers at night.Harvey said pilots with insufficient night flying are at a greater risk of experiencing what’s known as spatial disorientation — physical illusions that occur during periods of prolonged acceleration.That includes the initial climb after takeoff.“It’s a likely scenario,” Harvey said. “The pilot, unfortunately, had not completed the Transport Canada requirements for the night takeoffs and landings.”The Norjet-owned Cessna Citation 500 left from Kelowna, en route to Calgary, on the evening of October 13, 2016, with Kruk, a former RCMP officer, Prentice, Dr. Ken Gallatly and businessman Sheldon Reid on board.Gellatly was also the father-in-law to one of Prentice’s three daughters.Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft departed controlled flight and entered a steep descending turn until it hit the ground.No emergency call was made, and post-impact fire destroyed the aircraft.Harvey said Kruk had a valid Transport Canada medical license, there were no extreme environmental conditions, engines were producing substantial power and there was no part of the aircraft that was lost during flight.“All we have is a hypothesis, a scenario that doesn’t have enough facts to be definitive,” TSB Chair Kathy Fox said. “That simply isn’t good enough.”Fox is calling for the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems by commercial operators and private business operators.Fox reiterates they don’t assign blame, because they can truly only speculate, but they know recordings will help and Transport Canada has to do more. #yyc #abpoli #cdnpoli— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 26, 2018In 2016, shortly before the crash, Transport Canada exempted private business operators from planned national surveillance.“Any oversight would only be conducted on a reactive basis,” Fox said of what the decision meant.Fox not only challenged Transport Canada but also discussed specific gaps between the agency and the operator of the plane, Norjet.The investigation found no record Norjet had ever been inspected by Transport Canada, which meant risks such as an unqualified night-flying pilot and non-compliance with inspections.Fox said while the aircraft was suitably equipped and Kruk was suitably trained, the company did not get the required approval for single-pilot operation.“We do believe that Transport Canada needs to do more with respect to inspection and auditing of the private business aviation sector,” she said.In a statement, federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said department officials are conducting a review of the report and would submit a formal response within the 90-day required time frame.“Transport Canada takes recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board very seriously and shares their goal of maintaining and improving the safety of Canada’s transportation network,” the statement said.Norjet could not be reached for comment.In a statement, the Prentice’s family thanked the TSB for its work.Jim Prentice ‘s family has released a statement following the TSB’s investigation. “It is our hope the learnings from this tragic event can be used to prevent similar accidents in the future.” #yyc #abpoli #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/UDXVQQj2yd— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 26, 2018“While this report cannot restore what has been lost, it is our hope the learnings from this tragic event can be used to prevent similar accidents in the future,” the family said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families impacted by this tragedy.”
HALIFAX – A non-Aboriginal history professor has been given the green light to teach a residential schools course at Mount Saint Vincent University, despite objections from some who say the course should be the purview of Indigenous academics.The Halifax school says a meeting was held Tuesday at the request of Dr. Martha Walls, who developed the course. The discussion included history department leaders, faculty, school administration and the senior adviser to the president on Aboriginal affairs.“Dr. Walls has the support of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty and administration at the Mount, to teach the course regarding residential schools,” the university said in a statement after the meeting.“Indigenous faculty and staff at the Mount believe that true allies committed to honest reconciliation — like Dr. Walls — must be engaged in sharing knowledge of First Nations/Canadian history in order to reach all those in education who should be reached with this important information.”The Mount said there was a thoughtful discussion Tuesday over concerns raised on social media.Last week, critics said the decision to assign a “settler scholar” to teach the course was a kind of historical appropriation and reinforcement of the systemic oppression of First Nations.“Consistent with her usual practice, and as was originally planned, Dr. Walls’ curriculum will prioritize first voices, Indigenous narratives, firsthand accounts and primary sources,” said the statement.“This is an approach that is consistent with academic inquiry that often reaches beyond one’s own community or identity.”The statement called truth and reconciliation a partnership and said it requires “complex and sometimes challenging discussions.”“Critique, discussion, and reflection are at the heart of academic inquiry and are foundational to research and teaching. In keeping with our commitment to academic freedom, today’s meeting represents our responsibility as an academic institution to take up difficult questions.”The university said it recognizes the consequences of colonization and is committed to continued work with partners inside and outside the school and will continue to “strongly support” Indigenous students and communities, including increasing the number of Indigenous faculty in the university.The meeting came a day after a group of Canadian professors spoke out against the university’s handling of the controversy.The Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship said a professor’s race or ethnicity should not be a consideration when assigning a course and it chided Mount Saint Vincent for holding the meeting, saying it would undercut university collegiality and academic integrity.Society president Mark Mercer said it was also up to the Mount’s history department to consider a professor’s expertise and perspectives — matters he said should be judged on academic grounds alone.But critics maintain only Indigenous Peoples have the lived experience to understand the complex and cumulative ways they’ve been discriminated against, and that they should teach their own history.In the midst of the criticism, Walls received support from Sherry Pictou, a women’s studies professor at the university who is Mi’kmaq.Pictou said she had “full confidence” in Walls as both as a historian and an ally to the Indigenous community.According to findings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children were often taken from their families by force to attend government residential schools, where at least 6,000 died from malnutrition, disease and widespread abuse.About 7,000 survivors testified before the commission and related graphic details of rampant sexual and physical abuse at the schools.
WHITEHORSE – More than 100 aftershocks had shivered across the Alaska Panhandle, southern Yukon and parts of northwestern British Columbia by early Tuesday following two powerful earthquakes a day earlier, but seismologists say while people need to be prepared, it isn’t time to be alarmed.The U.S. Geological Survey reported the aftershocks, including at least a dozen Tuesday morning, in the wake of the 6.2 and 6.3 magnitude earthquakes Monday that were centred near Skagway, Alaska, but were felt as far away as Whitehorse and Ross River, which is more than 300 kilometres away.Earthquakes Canada also reported a 4.5 magnitude quake jolted the Carcross region, about 75 kilometres south of Whitehorse on Tuesday morning.Earthquake seismologist Alison Bird of the Geological Survey of Canada said continued shaking is expected.“It’s sort of a swarm of activity, there seems to be some intense earthquakes,” she said.“It’s fairly normal to have this sort of thing. This is an area that gets a lot of earthquakes anyway, but sometimes it sort of flares up in sudden activity.”Powerful earthquakes almost always spawn aftershocks that can continue for years, she said, adding that the level of seismic activity in the Haida Gwaii region of B.C. remains elevated, five years after a magnitude 7.8 quake there.Following Monday’s earthquakes, the Yukon government issued messages via Twitter confirming that the school in Ross River, about 200 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse, remained closed as engineers checked for safety.The four-storey Lynn Building in downtown Whitehorse was also closed after being evacuated Monday when large cracks were spotted in its foundation but other structures, as well as the clay cliffs overlooking downtown Whitehorse had been checked and declared safe.“It is a good reminder that we can have large earthquakes in that area and they can get much larger than this, so people up there tend to be prepared for that sort of thing,” said Bird.
REGINA – Husky Energy is going to see how much more oil — if any — can be cleaned up from a major spill last July along the North Saskatchewan River.The company has started more shoreline cleanup and assessment of the leak, which spilled 225,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with diluent onto the bank of the river near Maidstone, Sask., last July. About 40 per cent reached the river and the oil plume flowed hundreds of kilometres downstream.About 93 per cent of the oil was cleaned up last year.Wes Kotyk, an assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Environment, says the intent is to find areas that were missed, possibly because of high water levels.Kotyk says one spot has already been identified 18.5 kilometres from the source of the spill.“That’s one area where some oil has been observed and so they will be going to clean that up and they will be looking for any others,” Kotyk said Monday.He said Husky’s (TSX:HSE) cleanup work will involve 55 people, some on boats, as well as dog handlers moving up and down the shoreline to find possible cleanup spots.How any remaining oil is dealt with will depend on whether it’s found along the shoreline or at the bottom of the river, he said.“Anything that is recoverable will be,” Kotyk said.“A monitoring plan is being developed and sampling to determine if there is any submerged or sunken oil and, if there is, then they would have to come up with a plan for how to deal with that.”He could not say how long the cleanup will take, but added that Husky could be onsite the rest of the year if necessary.“It’s hard to say if what’s remaining is going to be done within a month or two months. It’s a matter of they need to do the investigation and find out what’s there first, and then they can determine what time frame that it would take to do that additional cleanup.”The spill forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut their intakes from the river and find other water sources for almost two months.Environmentalists have called for Husky to be fined for discharging a substance that could hurt the environment.Saskatchewan’s Justice Ministry is reviewing Husky Energy’s response to alarms before the spill to determine whether charges are warranted.Government investigators say the leak began July 20, the day before the spill was discovered. Investigators found that the pipeline’s alarms were warning of potential problems and continued until the line was shut down for scheduled maintenance at 7:15 a.m. on July 21.Husky Energy said last summer that pipeline monitoring indicated pressure anomalies at 8 p.m. on July 20 and the company started a shutdown at 6 a.m.The company, which has spent more than $107 million on the cleanup, said the pipeline buckled because of ground movement.Husky has said it accepts full responsibility and is using what it learned to improve systems and operating procedures.It could face fines of up to $1 million a day under the Environmental Protection Act and $50,000 a day under the Pipelines Act.
QUEBEC – In the end, Donald Trump’s presidency has lasted longer than Loto-Quebec’s plan to accept bets on its outcome.Just one day after inviting players to make wagers on whether Trump would still be U.S. president after May 1, 2018 on its Mise-o-jeu platform, the provincial Crown corporation cancelled the bet on Thursday.The Couillard government says it asked the provincial Crown corporation to rescind the bet.Audrey Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Quebec Finance Minister Carlo Leitao, says the lottery corporation understood its position that the subject was a sensitive topic.Anyone who placed bets would be reimbursed, she added.The wager was supposed to be the latest foray into political betting for the Loto-Quebec, which also accepted bets on the outcome of last year’s U.S. presidential election.A spokesman said the U.S. election betting set a record for the corporation as its most popular non-sporting bet of all time.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Canada’s “Come From Away” has won three Drama Desk Awards, including outstanding musical.The 9/11-inspired production was awarded the top prize at a ceremony held at New York’s Town Hall on Sunday night.Canadian husband-and-wife duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the co-creators of “Come From Away,” won outstanding book of a musical.Jenn Colella won outstanding featured actress in a musical for her portrayal of real-life retired airline Capt. Beverley Bass.Gander, N.L., is the setting for “Come From Away,” which explores the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The remote town saw its population double in size as it provided refuge to 6,579 passengers and crew from 38 planes diverted when U.S. air space was closed.Now in its 62nd year, the Drama Desk Awards are billed as the sole major New York theatre honours where Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions compete in the same categories.“Come From Away” has already won outstanding musical honours from New York’s Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, D.C.Broadway’s biggest prize could still be in store for the Canadian musical when the Tony Awards are handed out on June 11. “Come From Away” has been nominated for seven Tonys, including best musical.
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The jury in gruesome Alberta triple murder trial has a difficult road ahead even after they finish their deliberations, says a former juror who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the jury box.Deliberations are to begin Wednesday in the case of Derek Saretzky, 24, who is charged with first-degree murder in the September 2015 deaths of Terry Blanchette, his two-year-old daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Hanne Meketech, who was killed five days before the father and daughter.“It’s a pretty awful one. I get about three-quarters through an article and I think, you know what, that’s enough,” said jurors’ rights advocate Mark Farrant in an interview with The Canadian Press from Toronto.Farrant spent five months at the 2014 trial of Farshad Badakhshan, who was ultimately convicted of murdering his 23-year-old girlfriend, Carina Petrache.Farrant was later diagnosed with PTSD and has become an outspoken advocate for the need to provide counselling for jurors hearing horrific cases.He said the jurors at the Saretzky trial have been bombarded with horrific images of blood and death. When some of the graphic evidence was shown during the trial, some jurors broke into tears and needed a break before they could continue.That takes its toll every day, Farrant said.“It’s impossible not to take that home with you. That stuff lives with you. You are so wrapped up in that case, I would be surprised if you are thinking about anything else,” said Farrant.“Especially in a case as disturbing and heinous as the one involving Saretzky. I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be wrapped up in that.”The jury has heard a video confessions where the accused told police he bludgeoned and stabbed both Blanchette and Meketech. He also admitted to choking the little girl and then dismembering, cannibalizing and burning her body.Although no real motive emerged during the trial, Saretzky told police he was being told by the devil to do bad things.He has pleaded not guilty to three charges of first-degree murder and to a count of causing an indignity to the girl’s body.Court has heard Saretzky knew all three victims, as well as Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, who he claimed to have dated. Dunbar testified that they were only friends.Farrant said a jury has to separate emotion from the simple facts of the case.“You might feel through the case a number of emotions — revulsion, you might feel hostility toward that person and anger — but really you can’t let that cloud what you do at the end of the day.”Fourteen jurors have heard all the evidence, but in the end only 12 will determine guilt. Farrant feels sympathy for the two alternates who are dismissed.“I’ve heard that from a number of jurors saying that in some ways is barbaric. The feeling that I sat through months and months of this and am told through a lottery that I’m not the one to see this through,” Farrant said.Farrant said jurors shouldn’t wait to seek counselling once the case is over.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
BRAMPTON, Ont. – A 27-year-old woman declared brain dead by doctors at a Toronto-area hospital will remain on life support following a court ruling on Thursday.Ontario Superior Court Judge Lucille Shaw granted Taquisha McKitty’s family an injunction until their next court date in two weeks.The injunction gives the family a chance to have another doctor examine McKitty and her medical charts.Doctors at Brampton Civic Hospital signed McKitty’s death certificate on Sept. 20, six days after she was admitted to the hospital following a drug overdose.The hospital has said two experienced physicians make the determination of death, following a recognized standard of practice and criteria.McKitty has been on life support since then, and her family has been fighting with the hospital to keep her alive, saying her heart is still beating and she has been responsive.“When we touch her, when we ask her to move, she moves,” Ajwoa Atuahene, McKitty’s cousin, told Toronto radio station 680News. “She’s responding. She’s doing everything on her own. She’s fighting and she’s not ready to go.”“We’re going to fight and we’re going to continue to save Taquisha’s life,” Atuahene said Thursday outside the Brampton, Ont., court.“This means so much to us as a family because this is all we’ve been asking from Day 1 is just to give her more time,” she said of the injunction.“They wanted to pull the plug on her within one week. That’s not enough time.”(680News)
#WednesdayWisdom had a sombre undertone on October 18.Social media was buzzing with the passing of Gord Downie.Statement – https://t.co/vOTvlJ2jqA pic.twitter.com/Z6dHmr1xpM— The Tragically Hip (@thehipdotcom) October 18, 2017The Tragically Hip frontman died Tuesday of brain cancer, surrounded by family and friends.Many of the posts and tweets centred on a country in mourning, and condolences to the Hip and Downie’s family. Rest in Peace, Gord.Canada’s identity & culture are richer for Gord Downie’s work.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 18, 2017 Heartbroken today. Few Canadians touched this country like Gord Downie. Thank you for everything you gave us. My deepest condolences. pic.twitter.com/00DdU6IVZn— Doug Gilmour (@DougGilmour93) October 18, 2017 A Canadian Icon.Rest in peace, Gord. pic.twitter.com/cLHgyhhSr7— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 18, 2017Tweet us your favourite memories, @660NEWS. “I write every day. I walk around in silent conversation with my latest unfinished songs.”- Gord Downie, 2009. Well written.— paulbrandt (@paulbrandt) October 18, 2017 With the passing of Gord Downie, we look back at what The Tragically Hip’s music has meant to Canadian baseball.https://t.co/TRw69czAMh pic.twitter.com/ofIK2liInG— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 18, 2017
VANCOUVER – A British Columbia woman plagued by bedbugs on a nine-hour flight to London is a victim of the explosive growth in the critters globally, but travellers shouldn’t worry they’ll become a common feature on planes, says an entomologist.Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight with her seven-year-old daughter and fiancee Eric Neilson on Oct. 10 when she said they noticed what appeared to be bedbugs crawling out of the seat in front of them.She said the flight attendants couldn’t move them because there were no other available seats on the plane. After landing, Szilagyi discovered they were covered in bites.“To actually see them pouring out of the back of the TV on the seat, that was actually really gross,” she said. “Once we arrived at our Airbnb … we put everything through the washing machine on the hottest heat we could, put everything in plastic bags, sanitized everything that we could.”Murray Isman, a University of British Columbia professor of entomology and toxicology, said with the increase in personal travel and the spread of the insect globally, it’s not surprising bedbugs are finding their way onto commercial aircraft.“One of the ways bedbugs travel is in hand luggage and personal luggage,” said Isman, who also works with a company that develops bedbug repellents. “Where there is a lot of movement of people in and out, sooner or later someone is going to transfer these things in something they’re carrying, and this is how they get spread from hotel to hotel to hotel and this is how people bring them home.”Changes in local insecticide use and climate change are other factors contributing to the spread of bedbugs, he said.But travellers shouldn’t be too worried there will be more incidents of bedbugs biting passengers on planes, Isman added.“If you think about the normal situation which is someone sleeping in a hotel bed or a bed at home, the bedbugs don’t like a lot of disturbance or movement. They like it quiet, dark,” he said, adding the critters would first have to get out of luggage and onto a plane’s chairs and upholstery to even reach people.Szilagyi took to Twitter to share photos of her daughter’s bites after she said her calls to British Airways failed to guarantee they would not be on the same plane.“What we both would have been satisfied with was if it was possible to just have us on a partner line, not to fly back with British Airways,” she said, having been left unsettled by the experience.In a statement, British Airways spokeswoman Caroline Niven said the airline has been in touch with the customer to apologize and will investigate the incident further.“British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bedbugs onboard are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft. The presence of bedbugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world,” the statement said.Niven added that any reports like Szilagyi’s are taken seriously, and the aircraft would be subject to any checks and treatment necessary.A statement from the Vancouver Airport Authority said it took immediate steps when learning about the incident to work with its cleaning and pest control partners to ensure the airport remains clean and sterile.Isman said exterminating the bugs is the best option for airlines since treating people and luggage before they get on an aircraft isn’t feasible.With travellers increasingly aware of the problem, he said more people are at least taking preventive measures by carrying insecticides or repellents to hotels to reduce the spread.—Follow @Givetash on Twitter.
There is new hope for thousands of people diagnosed with Huntington Disease, as the results of a clinical drug trial with Canadian patients were announced on Monday.Huntington has been described as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS all rolled into one debilitating condition. It attacks the brain, and can affect a range of abilities, from motor skills to one’s connection to reality.“It basically means that parts of their brain really stop working,” says Dr. Rachel Harding, a biomedical scientist at the University of Toronto. “It’s really quite a horrific disease.”The news has been more than 10 years in the making, with 46 patients in the UK, Germany and Canada in the initial trial.“I am cautiously optimistic that this could not only halt the progression of the disorder, but lead to an improvement in symptoms,” says Dr. Blair Leavitt, research director at the Centre for Huntington Disease at the University of British Columbia.The very first patient was treated in Vancouver in September 2015.“This is the first time that a treatment in people has been shown to be safe and has shown that it alters the levels of abnormal proteins that causes Huntington Disease,” says Leavitt, who is one of the international researchers involved.Those with the disease carry a mutation in the huntingtin gene, which results in the production of a toxic protein that attacks the brain and nervous system.“There are not many good days when you have a neurodegenerative disorder,” says Dr. Karim Nader, a neuroscientist at McGill University. He also suffers from Huntington Disease, which has affected his motor skills and speech.“It effects every aspect of our lives,” says Nader. “Each time you try to board a plane, to come back to a conference or go to a conference, each time the border agents are convinced that you must have been drinking.”Huntington is a genetic disease — children who have a parent with Huntington’s have a 50/50 chance of inheriting it. The consequences are also fatal, with many dying early from a list of complications including pneumonia and heart failure.“We’ve adanced into a new era,” says Leavitt. “We’re now using all of the information that we’ve gathered over the last 20 years, and really targeting the causes of this disease.”The next step is phase three of the trial. Researchers hope it will prove the treatment, which is an injection into the spine, can stop the disease in its tracks.Though there’s no word on when the next stage will begin in Canada, CityNews is told it will be announced in the very near future. When it gets started, Nader says he’ll be taking part.“It’s a blessing,” says Nader. “If you believe in evolution, you wouldn’t say it’s a miracle, so let’s say it’s a genetic miracle.”