Itanagar: The BJP has won 41 seats in the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly after results of all the constituencies were announced, an election official said Saturday. Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh were held for 57 seats as three BJP candidates were earlier declared elected unopposed.The Janata Dal (United) won seven seats, the National People’s Party (NPP) five, the Congress four, the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) one and Independents two. Counting of votes on Friday for Daporijo, Dumporijo and Raga constituencies in Upper Subansiri district was delayed, the official said. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twistAmong the prominent BJP winners are Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who won from the Mukto seat, bordering China, for third time in a row. Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein won from the Chowkham constituency. In the Daporijo seat, the result of which was announced early this morning, BJP candidate Taniky Soki won the seat defeating his nearest Congress rival Togam Tamim. BJP candidate Rode Bui bagged the Dumporijo seat defeating his nearest NPP rival Paknga Bage while NPP’s Tarin Dakpe won the Raga seat, the official said. Counting of votes on Friday for Daporijo, Dumporijo and Raga constituencies in Upper Subansiri district was delayed as the counting officials went away from the counting centre without handing over the results for which counting could not be continued as per the guidelines. See P4
Washington DC: Indian-American Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris was interrupted on-stage by a protester who grabbed the microphone from her hand while she was answering a question on equal pay at an event in San Francisco. Approximately 10 minutes into her speech at MoveOn’s Big Ideas Forum on Saturday, Harris was asked about her proposal to address the gender pay gap by moderator Stephanie Valencia when she was approached by a tall man dressed in black and wearing a press badge who jumped on the stage, the CNN reported. Harris appeared puzzled but remained calm as the protester grabbed the mic from her hand, it said. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’While taking the microphone, the protester, identified as 24-year-old animal rights activist Aidan Cook, said he wanted her attention for a “much bigger idea” than the gender gap she had been speaking about. “We were protesting just a few minutes ago asking for your attention to a much bigger idea…,” Cook said, as the moderator tried to intervene. The 54-year-old Senator calmly walked away from the protester as the security staff and some other people, including Harris’ husband Douglas Emhoff, managed to remove the protestor, who was resisting to leave the stage, from the event. No charge was imposed on Cook for his action. After Cook’s removal, Harris returned to the stage and continued her speech. Meanwhile, MoveOn, the liberal advocacy group behind the event, have said they “severely regret” the security failing.
Mumbai: Tipping Point, Viacom18 Studios’ digital content arm, has bought the rights for screen adaptation of Tanushree Podder’s novel ‘Boots Belts Berets’. The web series will capture the roller-coaster ride of Podder’s four protagonists – Pess, Bertie, Randy and Maachh – when they are thrust into the world of National Defence Academy (NDA), a journey of boys becoming men of honour. “Tipping Point seeks out narratives missing in the mainstream. We produced 12 short films, which were received well by viewers owing to their quirky and novel concepts. With this brand new web series, we maintain our proposition to produce standout contemporary content that will shock, awe or warm the heart,” Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios, said in a statement. For Podder, the adaptation of her novel into a web series is like a “dream come true”. “I am thrilled that ‘Boots Belts Berets’ is being adapted into a web series. There’s nothing more exciting for an author than to know that the story will be reaching many more people. It’s a dream come true,” she said.
New Delhi: At a time when children are dying in plenty in Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) or Japanese Encephalitis (JE) cases, the government’s focus on the affairs of doctor’s strike in West Bengal has raised eyebrows of many. Even though the death toll in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district due to AES/JE rose to over 90 in 15 days, not much has been done by the concerned ministries to contain the deaths.However, the local administration, which has failed to decipher the root cause of the disease, has started an awareness drive in nearby villages. Most importantly, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is also scheduled to visit the district on Sunday to take stock of the situation. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceWhile talking to Millennium Post, Muzaffarpur’s chief medical officer Shailesh Prasad Singh told that the AES disease is still an enigma. “Much has been done in the direction to find out the root cause of the disease, but there is no report to validate the origin of the deadly virus. Researchers from international agencies like the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, WHO, UNICEF, etc had made several visits to the district to unravel the mysterious disease, but situation prevails as it was earlier.” Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize”It’s the failure of government. Deaths due to AES/JE is not a new thing for Bihar, it’s happening from several years and the governments at the Centre and state are busy in their own affairs such as visiting different countries, conducting researches, etc. Even though the country has research institutes of world repute, but we are still clueless on this matter,” said a health activist, who is working in Muzaffarpur. “In June 2014 too, the then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had visited the affected district and had assured to extend every possible support to Bihar to contain and manage the surge of AES/JE. Teams of international health agencies visited had also visited the district in 2014, but why the governments are not able to contain the disease,” the health activist said, adding that more than 290 cases of AES/JE have been reported till now. Meanwhile, commenting on the situation that’s prevailing in the district for several years, the Muzaffarpur CMO summed up that sleeping empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating lichi on empty stomach are some of the visible causes of JE. “JE is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches. The disease commonly hitting children below 10 years and once a child gets affected with the disease, the chances of survival are very negligible,” Singh told Millennium Post. On his visit to the district, Vardhan said, “I would discuss the management measures being recommended by the high-level expert team of the Centre, and support that can be extended through National Health Mission (NHM) for health systems strengthening and other ministries of the Central government as part of the immediate and long term measures.”
Washington: India’s high tariffs on US goods is “unacceptable” and must be withdrawn, President Donald Trump said Thursday ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. President Trump early this morning tweeted, “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!” Also Read – Rajnath Singh arrives for Rafale handover ceremony in France Trump will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit. This would be his first meeting with Modi after the BJP’s stunning victory in the general elections. It comes after the India visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which he met Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The Trump-Modi meeting assumes significance in the wake of the strain that has popped up in the bilateral relationship on a host of trade and economic issues. India has raised tariffs on 28 items exported from the US in retaliation to America’s withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products. The Trump administration wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lower the trade barriers and embrace “fair and reciprocal” trade.
NEW DELHI: The Union Budget of 2019-20 financial year got higher allocation for the environment sector, however the Centre did not present any vision to combat air pollution which is a major issue in Delhi, said the environment lists. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the budget as “Green Budget”.The Centre on Friday increased the allocation for Environment Ministry from last fiscal by 10.4 percent to Rs 2,954.72 crore for 2019-20. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech, allocated Rs 460 crore for pollution control schemes including National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) with a vision for “pollution-free India with green Mother Earth and blue skies”. The revised budget for pollution control schemes in the last fiscal was a mere Rs 5 crore. The finance minister proposed lowering of the GST on electric vehicles (EVs) from 12 to 5 percent. Also to make them affordable to consumers, the government will provide additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase EVs, Sitharaman said. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsNCAP is a time-bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner. However, the environmentalists see no push in the vision of combating air-pollution which is a major issue in Delhi and in the northern parts of India. “This budget was presented amid the talks on the water crisis in India and air pollution. While the government focused on infrastructural development, there has been no focus on ecology, air pollution and public health,” said Vimlendu Jha an environmentalist. “Air pollution in Delhi and northern India is a major issue and it deserves a separate focus. The EV policy and water related announcements were also nothing new, therefore there is a lack in all over push to combat air pollution in Delhi and adjacent area,” said Jha.
Shimla: Tears have not stopped rolling from those eyes, which once spotted a bright young law student at Panjab university Sushma Sharma, later Sushma Swaraj in 1971-73.Whether it’s Kali Dass Batish, a former ABVP activist and student leader at Panjab university or Aruna Kapoor, a retired sessions’ judge – one of her close class-mate in the law in Chandigarh, everyone looked heart-broken in the demise of a leader, who shared a strong social bonding, much above the heights she had achieved in the politics. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’As Batish, and his entire family remained glued to TV on Wednesday watching minute-to-minute coverage, and rich tributes being paid to India’s tallest leaders, Aruna Kapoor’s husband Dr Harbans Kapoor, turned emotional repeatedly recollecting his close families ties with the former foreign minister. “My wife and Sushma ji were prolific debaters of the college together. She was an extraordinary orator in Hindi and my wife Aruna used to team her-up in English. Travelling on cycle rickshaw together, and going around Chandigarh markets, are few good memories we shared,” says Dr Kapoor, a cancer specialist. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KAruna Kapoor says there are so many fond memories about her in the college days and hostel life. “Once we went to Ferozepur for a debate on behalf of the college. All rival teams surrendered beforehand on seeing Sushma ji. She had earned a wide reputation as No 1 debater, and had been on a winning spree always,” she recalls. “Once we were listening Hindi news bulletin on All India Radio (AIR) and news-reader was Sushma Sharma. She jumped-up telling all of us, look girls –one day you will hear this. “Yeh Akashwani hai, abb samachar Sushma Sharma se! We had a big laugh and wished her good luck too. But never knew she will gain remarkable popularity as such a popular leader of the Indian Nation.” Batish, on the other hand, remembered how Sushma Swaraj once herself tweeted about him declaring that Kali Dass Batish inducted her into the ABVP 40 years back. “I never knew she used to call me her mentor and this she had told to Narendra Modi ji (then BJP general secretary in Himachal Pradesh) and former Chief Ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. It’s Modi ji who once shared this with me,” Batish told the Millennium Post. Batish recalls having met her in Chandigarh, where she was doing her law and he (Batish) studying his Post-graduation, was a student leader. “I shared the stage with her in a debate. She won the first prize. Thereafter, we became very good friends and remained in touch for a long time,” he recalls. Initially, she was not in the ABVP but gradually she got associated with the organisation. He recalls, “Once I went to Narnaul in Haryana for an ABVP event. She saw some posters about my visit. She made it a point to attend the event and met me also.” Batish shared on his Facebook a Twitter post of Sushma Swaraj to fresh his memories. In town, the BJP held a condolence meeting and paid floral tributes and remembered her connections with Shimla.
Mumbai: Maharashtra NCP MLA Dileep Sopal on Monday announced he will soon join the Shiv Sena and contest the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls. Sopal, who represents Barshi Assembly constituency in Solapur district, served as a state Cabinet minister in the previous Congress-NCP coalition government. Addressing a gathering in Solapur on Monday, he said, “I will join the Shiv Sena in the coming days and contest the state elections.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ A close aide of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray also confirmed that Sopal will be joining the saffron party. Last month, NCP MLA Pandurang Barora, who represented Shahapur Assembly seat in Palghar district, joined the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra. On Sunday, rumours were doing the rounds that NCP’s former minister and heavyweight leader from Konkan region, Bhaskar Jadhav, may join the Sena. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The speculation gained ground after Jadhav, a former Shiv Sainik and sitting MLA from Guhagar constituency in Ratnagiri district, visited Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra here and held a closed door meeting. However, Jadhav later said, “These are just rumours. I will remain with the NCP.” On Saturday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis virtually extended an invitation to NCP’s Satara MP and Maratha royal Udayanraje Bhosale to join the BJP. Bhosale on Friday lavished praise on the chief minister for carrying out development works in Satara. The MP had also accused the previous Congress-NCP government of creating “obstacles” in the progress of his constituency. Bhosale, who is the descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is one of the NCP’s four MPs from Maharashtra. Recently, his cousin and NCP’s Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale deserted the Sharad pawar-led party and joined the BJP along with other legislators like Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad. The state Assembly polls are due in September-October.
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Monday instructed the North 24-Parganas district administration to conduct trust vote at Bongaon municipality within 12 days.The High Court has reportedly asked the District Magistrate of North 24-Parganas to hold the trust vote at her office within the stipulated time amidst adequate security arrangements. The district police superintendent has been asked to provide security to the councillors from Bongaon municipality who will turn up at the DM’s office during the trust vote. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTrinamool Congress had claimed in July that they had established control over Bongaon Municipality by defeating BJP in the no-confidence motion. Senior Trinamool Congress leaders in the district claimed that the BJP councillors did not turn up in time. They also alleged that BJP had tried to create trouble over the trust vote that took place last month. During the previous trust vote, unprecedented police arrangements were made in front of the municipality. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayOn the other hand, BJP leaders claimed that they had 11 councillors in the municipality out of 22 in total. Both the rival parties claimed their control over the municipality board following the trust vote. BJP later moved to the Calcutta High Court in this regard. It has ordered a fresh trust vote within 12 days and the district administration will ensure that it happens without any trouble. Bongaon municipality in North 24-Parganas district has been in a legal tangle for some time following dispute over a confidence vote, as both the parties claimed majority. State Food and Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick had earlier accused the saffron party of engineering the defections. It may be mentioned here that after the Lok Sabha elections, BJP allegedly continued its march to engineer defections from Trinamool Congress in various municipalities across the state.
Muzaffarnagar (UP): Security has been beefed up with additional police deployment in Kawal and Malakpura villages in this district of Uttar Pradesh in view of the sixth death anniversary of two men who were killed in Kawal, following which communal riots had erupted in the district and adjoining areas. A “havan” would be organised in Malakpura to mark the death anniversary of the two men — Sachin and Gaurav — and a number of people, including Union minister Sanjeev Balyan, were expected to attend it, former block president Virender Singh told reporters here on Wednesday. Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have been clamped in Jansath tehsil of the district to maintain law and order. Three men — Sachin, Gaurav and Shahnawaz — were killed in a clash over a road accident in the district on August 27, 2013, triggering communal violence.
Paris: Neymar is reportedly set to complete a transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona after a summer of incessant speculation. According to Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport Italia, the Brazilian will return to the Camp Nou two years on from joining PSG from the Blaugrana for a world-record transfer fee. “An agreement was reached between clubs and between Barcelona and the player,” Di Marzio said. “In the coming hours the parties will sign on the dotted line and make official Neymar’s return to the Camp Nou—his first home in Europe before becoming the most expensive player in history.” Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIn 2017, PSG stunned the football world by pulling off the transfer of Neymar after paying the Brazil star’s £198 million buyout clause. While Neymar has excelled when on the field for PSG, his time at the club has been far from straightforward. Injuries have prevented him from playing a part in the latter stages of both his seasons in Paris. There’s also been constant speculation about a move back to La Liga, with Real Madrid the team most strongly linked during Neymar’s first season at PSG. Following the 2018-19 campaign, rumours regarding Barcelona coming back in for their former player intensified. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterNow, Neymar appears set to move back to the Catalan giants, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League, two La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey. He’ll be part of a high-class group of attacking players, with Antoine Griezmann arriving already this summer to join Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez up top. Barca fans and neutrals around the world will be excited see Neymar link up with Messi and Suarez again, as the trio were sensational in unison during their time together at the Camp Nou. Given the manner in which he left the Blaugrana, Neymar may take some time to win over the Barcelona supporters should the switch go through. However, if he can reach the world-class heights he did in his first spell at the club, he will likely be forgiven. It will be interesting to see how manager Ernesto Valverde fits all of the attacking talent Barcelona boast into the same side. Given the effort that’s gone in to bringing back Neymar, he will surely be guaranteed a starting spot in his preferred berth on the left flank.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong was reeling Sunday from some of the worst clashes to rock the city in months after hardcore pro-democracy protesters hurled petrol bombs at police who fired tear gas and deployed water cannon, before making mass arrests inside train stations.Police had banned a planned demonstration in the financial hub on security grounds, but tens of thousands defied authorities Saturday to march through the city’s main highways for the 13th consecutive weekend. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe rally quickly descended into violent clashes with riot police which stretched into the early hours of Sunday, with officers pursuing protesters into metro stations and making mass arrests.Video footage captured by local media showed elite police charging and pepper spraying two couples cowering on the floor of a train compartment, with one man crying in anguish as he wrapped his arms around a friend.A small group of hardcore protesters surrounded the city’s parliament, unleashing a barrage of rocks and petrol bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThick, black smoke swirled from a large fire started by masked demonstrators at a barricade on a major thoroughfare, close to Hong Kong police headquarters.Police dispersed crowds with water cannon as the night spiralled into a cat-and-mouse chase across the city, with police making numerous arrests.”With such escalating violence and progressively lethal weapons of protestors, the safety of police officers and other members of the public is seriously threatened,” police said in a statement. Police said officers fired two warning shots into the sky after being attacked by group of “violent protesters who attempted to once snatch police pistols”.Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s rejection of universal suffrage for Hong Kong that sparked the 79-day “Umbrella Movement” in 2014.”Peaceful protest doesn’t work,” 22-year-old demonstrator Stone told AFP, giving one name.As protesters streamed into a nearby metro, graffiti on a pillar inside the station read: “We shall never surrender.” The hospital authority said Sunday that 31 people were admitted with injuries following the clashes, including five who remain in a serious condition.Protesters were preparing to demonstrate again on Sunday, with plans to rally at a bus terminal outside the city’s airport, with disruption also expected at train stations enroute to the airport.Police on Friday rounded up several high profile pro-democracy activists and politicians in sweeping arrests condemned by rights groups.The months-long protests were sparked by an attempt by Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government to pass a now-shelved bill which would have allowed extradition to China.But they have expanded into a wider pro-democracy push, bringing millions to the streets in peaceful marches but also groups of hardcore protesters clashing with police.Beijing’s state news agency Xinhua posted a video on Twitter late Saturday of armed Chinese riot police holding “anti-riot drills in Shenzhen”, a city which borders Hong Kong.Beijing has also unleashed a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle in an attempt to muzzle the movement, which it views as a direct challenge to its rule.At least five high-profile activists and three lawmakers were arrested on Friday in a sweep that rights groups said was taken directly from Beijing’s playbook.Two of the Umbrella Movement’s leaders, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, were among those arrested, charged and bailed for “inciting others to take part in unauthorised assembly”.Police denied the sweep was timed specifically to weaken the weekend’s protests.More than 900 people have been arrested since June in connection with the protests.The European Union’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the developments were “extremely worrying”, while US President Donald Trump said his economic pressure on China was forcing Beijing to take a more moderate line on Hong Kong.The weeks of violence have damaged Hong Kong’s reputation for stability and prosperity.
Spend more time standing to increase energy expenditure and combat the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a new study suggests. The research published recently has also found that we burn 45 kilocalories more, per six-hour period while standing compared to lying or sitting. “If we take steps to combat a sedentary lifestyle by making small lifestyle changes, such as spending more time standing, this could reduce the risk of developing diseases such as obesity or Type 2 diabetes,” said study lead author. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainFor the study, the researchers used a sample comprising 53 young adults, who were classified into two types, “savers” and “spenders” of energy, depending on the amount of energy expenditure they consumed when switching from sitting or lying to standing. “Savers consume very little energy in their activities and, therefore, the difference between sitting/lying or standing is practically nil for them. But energy spenders burn approximately 10 per cent more energy when they switch from sitting or lying to standing.” The factor that appears to have the greatest effect is muscle mass. People with more muscle mass expend more energy than people with less muscle mass, said the researcher. In light of the results, the authors recommend spending more time standing in the office as a good strategy to use up more energy and thus avoid storing it as fat.
CALGARY – A tank containing crude oil or asphalt exploded at a Wisconsin refinery owned by Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. on Thursday, injuring several people and causing a blast that one worker described as sounding like a sonic boom.No fatalities have been reported, but at least five people have been taken to hospitals in Duluth, Minn., following the explosion at the oil refinery at about 10 a.m., Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger told The Associated Press.Panger didn’t have details about the extent of their injuries. Others were walking wounded.The 50,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Superior purchased by Husky last year has been shut down and there’s no word yet on when it might restart, said company spokesman Mel Duvall.“We have responders on site,” he said.“There have been some injuries and those folks are being treated in hospital but all personnel have been accounted for and at this time we are not aware of any fatalities.”He said he couldn’t confirm the cause or location of the incident which occurred about an hour before Husky’s annual general meeting began in Calgary.A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like “a sonic boom” and that it happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs.Panger said the fire was out by 11:20 a.m., although smoke could be seen rising from the plant. Panger said a small tank exploded containing either crude oil or asphalt.Superior police are advising people to stay away from the area and roads around the refinery have been blocked off. There have been no neighbourhood evacuations. Superior is a city of about 27,000 people that borders Minnesota to the north and the tip of Lake Superior.No damage estimate was available. The Superior Fire Department sent all three engine companies to the explosion, and nearby Duluth sent over a command vehicle.Husky announced the purchase of the refinery from Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners last year for $560 million in cash. It’s Wisconsin’s only refinery, and it produces gasoline, asphalt and other products.The refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, has a processing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products. It processes both heavy crude from the Alberta oilsands and lighter North Dakota Bakken crude.– With files from the Associated Press
MONTREAL – A former student leader who rose to prominence during Quebec’s 2012 student protests has been named an official spokesperson of the left-wing party Quebec solidaire.Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was chosen as the party’s male spokesperson at a gathering today in Montreal.He is also the party’s candidate in a provincial byelection in the Montreal riding of Gouin on May 29.Quebec solidaire is sovereigntist and left-leaning party that has no leader but is represented by one male and one female spokesperson at a time.Manon Masse was chosen as the party’s female spokesperson.The party has two of 125 seats in Quebec’s legislature.
MONTREAL – Several hundred people shouted “refugees welcome!” in Creole as they gathered outside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday to show support for the waves of asylum-seekers crossing the border from the United States.Members of the group stood on a hill near the entrance to the stadium, waving signs and balloons and chanting messages of welcome.“We are here with them, to support them and to help them establish themselves,” organizer Serge Bouchereau told the crowd through a megaphone.“This is a vast, rich country that can welcome many, many people who are in bad situations and can’t stay in their own countries.”The Olympic Stadium is one of several venues that has been transformed into a temporary shelter to accommodate some of the refugee-claimants, whose numbers have soared in recent weeks.The City of Montreal says between 250 and 300 people are now crossing the Canada-United States border to seek asylum every day, up from 50 per day in the first half of July.Many of those crossing the border, like 32-year-old Adline Tidas, are of Haitian descent.In the United States, the Trump administration is considering ending a program that granted Haitians so-called “temporary protected status” following the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.Tidas said she had been living in Ft. Lauderdale since 2009 but left the United States last week because she feared being sent back to her home country.“The government gave an extension of eight months, and I don’t want to go back to Haiti,” she said in an interview near the stadium.She said conditions in the shelter were good and she was feeling optimistic about her future.“(Canada) looks like a good place, I’m supposed to be here,” she said.“Right now, anything I can do to work, I will do it. But my dream is, I want to be a nurse — to help people because people helped me.”Several in the crowd said they had come to Canada as immigrants themselves and wanted to show their support for the newcomers.“I have a standard of living that is very high because this country accepted me, and I wish it for others as well,” said 22-year-old Alexis Audoin, who was born in France.The event was organized by Solidarity across borders and the Non-status action committee, both of which are calling for open borders and the regularization of undocumented immigrants.A separate counter-demonstration had been organized to protest the arrival of the asylum-seekers, but organizers announced on Saturday that it had been cancelled.
TORONTO – A Canadian who survived the Second World War nuclear bomb attack on Hiroshima will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.Setsuko Thurlow, 85, was 13-years-old and living in Hiroshima when the U.S. dropped the first of two nuclear weapons on Japan.Thurlow, who married a Canadian and moved to Toronto in the 1950s, will accept the awards with the executive director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn, in Oslo, Norway in December.ICAN says Thurlow has been a leading figure in its movement since its launch in 2007.ICAN says she played a key role in efforts at the United Nations to adapt a landmark treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.Thurlow has campaigned against nuclear weapons for her entire life and said in a release on Thursday that she is “deeply humbled” to be asked to be invited to the Nobel Prize ceremony.“It has been such a privilege to work with so many passionate and inspirational ICAN campaigners around the world over the past decade. The Nobel Peace Prize is a powerful tool that we can now use to advance our cause,” she said.Nobel said earlier this year that it was recognizing ICAN for its work in drawing attention to the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
TORONTO – Toronto is revisiting a shelved proposal to use a federal armoury to cope with unprecedented demand on its homeless shelter system, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.John Tory and members of council had rejected a motion to open the Moss Park Armoury to the homeless last month, weeks before an extended cold snap gripped the city and dramatically increased demand for shelter spaces.As temperatures dropped to around -20 C for several nights and thousands of residents signed a petition calling on Tory to revisit the armoury proposal, the mayor initially said other city-owned properties presented better options.Tory reversed course on Wednesday. He said the city was in talks with Ottawa to turn the Moss Park Armoury into a seventh winter respite site, a temporary shelter opened up during cold months.Much rests on whether the facility can be available 24 hours a day, said the mayor, who noted that when the armoury sheltered the homeless in past years, it could only be used overnight as the facility was used by the Canadian Forces during the day.Tory said he personally planned to reinforce the city’s request, which he said would add about 100 beds to the overtaxed system that has seen demand surge by 30 per cent over the same time last year.“Demand continues to increase and the system is undoubtedly under strain,” Tory told reporters. “Even with increased capacity, this leaves us too close to the edge in these unprecedented weather and social conditions.”Tory said the frigid weather was not the only cause of the spike in demand on the shelter system. He said an influx of refugees in the past two years, coupled with what he described as a mental-health crisis and rising housing costs, are also critical factors.He said mental-health supports will be key for any long-term solution for the city’s homeless.“We pride ourselves on our health-care system, and yet a majority of people in our shelter systems and on our streets are not getting the health care they need — in this case, mental-health care — and this must be addressed,” Tory said.Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said in a statement Wednesday that his office will be scheduling a meeting with Tory to discuss mental health and homelessness in Toronto.“I remain whole-heartedly committed to continuing to work with Toronto, as well as communities in all corners of Ontario, as we continue to build a mental health system that can be there for all of us when we need it,” Hoskins said.Public Safety Canada said in a statement that it has not received an official request for assistance, but added that Ottawa, the Ontario government and the city are “working closely to identify and evaluate options.”In the short term, however, the city said efforts are focused on providing more shelter spaces. Toronto has added 30 new beds at one major downtown centre and 10 more are coming in the next few weeks, Tory said.The city is following through on its commitment to increase shelter capacity by 400 beds in the coming months and to build new facilities in 2018, the mayor added. Those measures will go ahead regardless of whether the Moss Park Armoury becomes a respite centre, he said. If it is approved, it will offer 24-hour support until mid-April, he added.Kapri Rabin, executive director of the not-for-profit agency Street Health, applauded the city’s proposal to use the armoury.“What’s particularly positive about the armoury in the downtown east is it’s located in an area where there is a huge community of folks who have no place to go and are in temporary 24-hour facilities that are not suitable for people to actually live in,” she said, noting that some of those centres do not have amenities like showers.But Rabin said the move does not address the growing long-term need for more shelter space and affordable housing.“I think there needs to be a much larger discussion around the crisis that actually exists in the shelter system, which isn’t a new crisis,” she said. “The city is always in this position of having to respond to things at the last minute.”The executive director of Covenant House Toronto, an agency for homeless youth, said more shelter space isn’t the solution for getting people off the street.“Shelter beds are critical and I think there is a particular number that will be required on an ongoing basis to sustain the emergencies that people experience … but the longer-term solutions are those more affordable housing options that will get people out of the shelter system more quickly,” Bruce Rivers said.He said dealing with homelessness should not just the city’s responsibility, but that of all levels of government, as well as the real-estate industry.The city’s ability to address the needs of the homeless is now the subject of two inquiries following confusion over the availability of spaces during the prolonged cold snap.Advocates have said in recent days that they tried to find spots for homeless people only to be told that they were completely full. The city has said there are still beds available and blamed miscommunication for the confusion.Calling the miscommunication “indefensible,” Tory said he welcomes the inquiries recently announced by the city’s general manager of shelter support as well as Toronto’s ombudsman.The latest data from the city indicates Toronto’s shelters operated at between 94 and 95 per cent capacity on the weekend with 5,460 people staying in the shelter system on Jan. 1. Another 445 people used winter respite centres.— With files from Daniela Germano
EDMONTON – An Alberta legislature member is apologizing for saying Indigenous people don’t tend to vote and when “these people” do engage in politics they only want to talk to the prime minister.Dave Schneider, the United Conservative member for the southern Alberta riding of Little Bow, has apologized on Twitter for comments he made recently to media in his constituency.“Apologies to any offended by my choice of words,” Schneider posted Tuesday. “Certainly was not my intent. It continues to be a privilege to represent all constituents since being elected. Encourage all to be engaged in our democracy.”He did not reply to a request for an interview.Schneider is a first-term legislature member and serves as the Opposition’s agriculture and forestry critic. In a story published last week in the Vauxhall Advance, Schneider is quoted expressing concerns about changes in his constituency that will take effect in the next election in 2019.Schneider’s sprawling rural seat includes the Siksika reserve and is being expanded to include the Blood reserve as well.“Not that that’s bad, but these people don’t traditionally vote, and how is the population going to get engaged in this political system in the province?” Schneider told the newspaper.“The Indigenous people generally like to speak to the most important person in Canada, like the prime minister.”Alberta’s Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan and Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation had called for Schneider to make amends. They said his comments were improper and disrespectful.“In no manner are these statements a proper or respectful representation of all constituents in the Cardston-Siksika area (Little Bow), which includes thousands of Indigenous people,” Alexis posted on Twitter.He said he took particular offence to the reference “these people.”Feehan said at the legislature that Schneider has missed a groundswell of political engagement by First Nations.“Somehow an MLA who lives right in the core of Alberta hasn’t any clue as to what’s transpired in the Indigenous community over the last 50 years,” said Feehan. “This is truly an attitude out of the 1950s.”In his interview, Schneider also said it’s difficult to meet constituents because of access restrictions on reserves.Feehan said he would be happy to help.“There’s nothing in the Indian Act that says you can’t talk to the people in those communities. All of our MLAs do,” he said. “If he’s worried about being on the reserve without permission of the chief and council, it’s a phone call away.“Tell him I’m more than happy to supply him a list of phone numbers if that is something that would facilitate his first little foray into the Indigenous community.”Schneider won the constituency overall as a member of the former Wildrose party in the 2015 election, but fared poorly at the four Siksika polling stations. He received 25 votes compared with 332 for the leading vote-getter on the reserve, Bev Muendel-Atherstone of the NDP.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation was in the Little Bow constituency.
HALIFAX – Opposition critics fired back Thursday after Premier Stephen McNeil said previous Nova Scotia governments did “zero” to address doctor shortages.McNeil defended his government’s record when asked why doctor shortages appear to be growing, after a Halifax emergency room physician said the number of visits to his E-R had doubled over the last five years.Following a cabinet meeting, the premier told reporters that doctor shortages are a national problem that his government has acknowledged, although he admitted there is more work to do.“Again I will argue successive governments before ours believed this issue was going to go away and did zero to address it,” said McNeil.The Progressive Conservatives held power between 1999 and 2009, while the NDP was in office from 2009 until the Liberals won the 2013 election.McNeil said his government is continuing efforts to recruit and retain doctors while it shifts the system to utilize more collaborative care teams.“We are working with our primary care teams to deal with the challenge. We have not run away from it … we actually put money in the budget.”Progressive Conservative health critic Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin said she believes health professionals and the public would say that health care was better 10 years ago — and she said McNeil needs to be accountable.“I don’t think the people of Nova Scotia are interested in a scorecard of what different political parties have done in the past. They are interested in what’s going on right now with our health care system.”NDP Leader Gary Burrill was blunt in dismissing the premier’s apportioning of the blame.“I think it is a load of disingenuous manure,” said Burrill. “It is a ridiculous deflection of responsibility, to rather than take account of their own failures to try to point this to governments that have come before.”Burrill added that blaming others this far into the government’s mandate is “weak, ineffectual, and incompetent.”Earlier this month, provincial health officials said 42,000 Nova Scotians are actively seeking a family physician, although federal statistics, which include people who aren’t looking, place that number at closer to 100,000.That’s mainly due to 60 or more doctor vacancies caused by retirements and other issues.McNeil has said governments, including his own, have been slow to implement collaborative practices, where health care teams that include physicians and nurse practitioners serve as the patient’s entry point to the health system.About 50 of more than 70 planned collaborative practice teams are currently in various stages of development.