Mamatas unique mass outreach scheme

first_imgKolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched a first-of-its-kind unique public outreach campaign titled ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ (Tell Didi) with the target to reach around 1.6 crore families, which is 80 percent of the total households in Bengal in the coming 20 months ahead of the 2021 state Assembly elections.This is the second of the major public outreach programmes initiated by her followed by the “Jan Sanjog Yatra,” which she announced during the Martyrs’ Day Rally at Esplanade on July 21. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAs part of the programme, TMC representatives will reach out to the families, have dinner at the booth-level party workers’ houses and spend the night in villages. During the level-playing interaction, they will give a phone number: 9137091370 that will enable people to put across their views, grievances, if any, directly to Didi. People can also get straight access to the Chief Minister digitally through www.didikebolo.com. Using this platform, people can reach out to her by simply calling on a number or logging onto the campaign website with their suggestions and problems. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe campaign will commence with more than a thousand elected representatives and party functionaries who will personally visit 10,000 villages and urban habitations over the next 100 days, meet people and listen to their problems. “The objective of the initiative is to improve citizen’s participation and engagement by providing a platform to every individual to share their views or problems and suggestions for expedited action,” Banerjee said. The brochure that was released by her on Saturday in a press conference lists a stepwise do’s for the party representatives. Trinamool leaders, after reaching a village or town assigned to them by the party headquarters, are required to hold a meeting of the booth-level party workers. They should try to meet three to five prominent personalities of the area and seek their views. The party leaders should then hold an interactive session with the local party workers and booth-level members and stay overnight at the house of one of the party members. The next day they should conduct door-to-door visits of the neighbouring households. Before leaving the area, they should hoist the Trinamool flag there. Banerjee addressed the media conference all by herself and held a meeting with the MLAs and senior party leaders in the district level at Nazrul Manch, asking them to popularise the phone number in the best possible manner. All the MLAs present in the meeting were given bags, small batches, T-shirts and visiting cards to make the new initiative popular that Banerjee termed as the ‘modernization’ of TMC. It may be mentioned that Banerjee had roped in poll strategist and Janata Dal (U) vice-president Prashant Kishor in June. According to party sources, Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) has designed the campaign for the election to the 294-member state Assembly scheduled to be held in 2021. Representatives from the IPAC were also present during Banerjee’s press conference. The initiative will be followed by similar launch events across the state by elected representatives and key functionaries of the party in over 1,000 locations over the next three to five days.last_img read more

Rakesh Asthana gets addl charge of DGNCB

first_imgNew Delhi: Former CBI Special Director, Rakesh Asthana, was on Wednesday night given the additional charge of Director-General of the Narcotics Control Bureau. Asthana currently holds the position of DG in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. The 1984-batch IPS officer was at the centre of the CBI versus CBI battle that broke out last year when the probe agency registered a corruption case against its own Special Director. The infighting within the Central Bureau of Investigation saw major transfers of officials, with former Director Alok Verma and Asthana, both being removed from the agency. The FIR against Asthana alleged that he had agreed to accept a bribe of Rs 5 crore to stop issuing summons to Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Sana Babu. Asthana had then claimed that part of the bribe was actually intended for Verma and sent his complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission. Sana was earlier arrested by the ED in connection with a money-laundering probe against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Earlier this year, Verma was shunted out to DG Fire Services but refused to take up his post. Moreover, former interim CBI director Nageswar Rao was also moved out of the CBI earlier and posted as DG Fire Services.last_img read more

Jaitleys mortal remains brought to BJP headquarters ministers leaders pay respect

first_imgNew Delhi: The mortal remains of former finance minister Arun Jaitley were on Sunday morning brought to the BJP headquarters where Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and senior party leaders and workers paid their last respect.The body will be taken to the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna river for performing the last rites around 2.30 pm with full State honours, a senior BJP leader said.A flower-decked gun carriage will carry the mortal remains from the BJP office to the cremation site. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The 66-year-old passed away at the AIIMS here on Saturday. He was undergoing treatment at the hospital, where he was admitted on August 9.BJP working president JP Nadda, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Yoga Guru Ramdev paid their last tribute at the party HQ, saying the BJP would seek his strategy whenever there was an election in the state.”He has been a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. We have won several elections in the state by working on his strategy. We will always feel his absence,” Rupani told reporters. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KJaitley’s body wrapped in the national flag was brought to the BJP headquarters located on the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg here from his Kailash Colony residence.BJP workers and mourners queued up in large numbers outside the party headquarters to pay their last respects to the leader.Outside the party office, people chanted “Jab tak suraj chand rahega Jaitley tera naam rahega” (Your name will endure as long as the Sun and the Moon exist)” and ‘Jaitley ji amar rahe’ (Long live Jaitley). Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla, Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Anurag Thakur, and several BJP leaders and AAP’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh also paid their last respect to Jaitley.”He was a great speaker and parliamentarian and his death is a huge loss to the country and the party. Whenever the party used to face any problem, his advice would be sought,” an emotional Heptulla told reporters. On Saturday, Jaitley’s body was kept at his residence where President Ram Nath Kovind, BJP chief Amit Shah and several leaders across the political spectrum offered him floral tributes.Shah on Saturday said Jaitley was a crusader against corruption and credited him for the successful implementation of the GST and demonetisation, and taking the Jan Dhan Yojana to the masses.last_img read more

Making room for eswachta

first_imgTogether with adding more dimensions to Swachh Bharat Mission to clear out the clutter and clean up India and taking the country to heights of development with digitising as much as possible, a hitherto overlooked matter of grave concern has been the management of e-waste. A study confirms that India happens to be among the top five countries in the world for the amount of e-waste it generates; China, USA, Japan, and Germany being the other countries on the list in the study conducted by ASSOCHAM-NEC. Maharashtra is the largest contributor of e-waste at 19.8 per cent and recycles only about 47,810 TPA (tonnes per annum). Its counterparts Tamil Nadu (13 per cent) recycles about 52,427 TPA, UP (10.1 per cent) recycles about 86,130. Other states like West Bengal contribute 9.8 per cent e-waste, Delhi 9.5 per cent, Karnataka 8.9 per cent, Gujarat 8.8 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh’s share is studied to be 7.6 per cent. 82 per cent of India’s e-waste comprises personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs, and the remainder being larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment. Out of the composite global e-waste, only 20 per cent of it is recycled each year, meaning that 40 million tonnes of e-waste is either placed in landfill, or burned, or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard manner. 66 per cent of the world’s population is covered by e-waste legislation. Given this, recycling e-waste and managing it altogether is a challenge and it is more than necessary to rise to it. One way to address the situation is to focus on customers as the key to better management of e-waste. With this approach, consumers are encouraged to correctly dispose off their electronic discards, increase reuse and recycling, and adopt sustainable consumer habits and move towards a circular economy. In principle, this is a most favourable idea. In practice, however, the consumer cannot be the sole primary aspect of this type of clean-up. There needs to be institutional initiative and necessary intervention in coordinating and ascertaining that a consumer-centric approach works effectively. Roping in the seller to buy back discarded electronic items must be made a rule-bound practice for proper disposal of e-waste. The hazards of not properly disposing e-waste are many, the noxious fumes and the toxicity are detrimental to both health and environment not just immediately after disposal but for a long time after that. In India, however, the lack of an updated inventory for the amount of e-waste generated makes it difficult to quantify the e-waste recycled and disposed. Also Read – A compounding difficultyA well designed, regulated e-waste recovery system will go a long way in detoxifying the environment and even bring crucial additional benefits like generating jobs and, in turn, wealth. For that, it is necessary that the increasingly generated e-waste does not end up in landfill and severely pollute land, water, and air. Nearly 95 per cent of India’s e-waste is recycled in the informal sector and in a crude, hazardous manner. A report on e-waste presented by the UN in World Economic Forum on January 24, 2019, points out that the waste stream reached 48.5 MT in 2018 and the figure is expected to double if nothing changes. Just about 20 per cent of global e-waste ends up being recycled. The UN report highlights that due to poor extraction techniques, the total recovery rate of cobalt from e-waste is only 30 per cent. The report further cites that one recycler in China already produces more cobalt from recycling than what the country mines in one year. It has been proved that recycled metals are 2 to 10 times more energy-efficient than metals smelted from ore. It is suggested that lowering the amount of electronics entering the waste stream and improving end-of-life handling are crucial for building a more circular economy, where not only is waste reduced, resources are conserved and are fed back into the supply chain for new products. In India, laws to check regulation of e-waste have been lying in place since 2011, mandating that only authorised dismantlers and recyclers collect e-waste. E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 was enacted on October 1, 2017, and over 21 products (Schedule-I) come under the purview of this rule. Most Indians, however, are oblivious to this provision. The very specific goal of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to make India open defecation free, and that considerable progress has been made in this direction, specifically taking up the cause of e-waste management to spread awareness about it will definitely be fruitful. As an initial step in this direction, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics medals will be made of 50,000 tonnes of e-waste. The organising committee is said to make all the medals from old smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets. By November 2018, organisers had collected 47,488 tonnes of devices, from which nearly 8 tonnes of gold, silver, and bronze will be extracted to make 5,000 medals. About 1,600 or 90 per cent municipal authorities in Japan were involved in collection activities – proving the point of employment generation and potential wealth creation!last_img read more

Train halts due to tech snag at Konnagar Stn

first_imgKolkata: Passengers had a harrowing time as a Down line local Howrah train stopped at the Konnagar railway station on Thursday evening.According to sources, the local train stopped due to technical snag and triggered panic among the passengers at Konnagar railway station, which is one of the busiest stations. Announcements were made at the station urging the passengers to vacate the train. Railway engineers immediately reach the spot to find the cause of technical snag. However, no loss of life was reported. While the Konnagar railway station is located on the Howrah-Bardhaman main line, it was electrified in 1958. The railway station serves Konnagar Town and has three platforms.last_img read more

Promoting Bangla cinema

first_imgBengal Association, New Delhi organised ’12th Bangla Cine Utsab 2019′ from September 13-15, 2019 at Muktadhara Auditorium. National Award Winner and Renowned Bangla actor Rituparna Sengupta was invited as Chief Guest of the inaugural ceremony. Various full-length feature films and short films by renowned as well as budding Bangla cine directors and producers were showcased during the three-day festival. pics/naveen sharmalast_img

Gurpreet fights hard Naveen stays in medal contention

first_imgNur-Sultan (Kazakhstan): The Indians finally showed some stomach for fight as Gurpreet Singh impressed in defeat at the hands of former world champion Viktor Nemes, while Naveen stayed in medal contention, albeit with a bit of luck, here on Monday. Naveen was the first to lose, to 2018 Pan-American champion Oscar Pino Hinds by technical superiority, but the Cuban reached the final to help the Indian stay alive in the 130kg category of Greco Roman style. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhNaveen now has to first win against Heiki Nabi from Estonia and then defeat Kyrgyzstan’s Murat Ramonov to reach the bronze medal round. It was Gupreet Singh (77kg) and Manish (60kg) who brought some cheers to the dejected Indian camp by winning their respective first rounds convincingly. In a sensational start, Gurpreet pinned Austria’s Michael Wagner after wriggling out of a difficult head-lock position, while Manish won his 1/16 round against Finland’s Lauri Johannes Maekhonen by technical superiority. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterGurpreet later fought his heart out against world number two Serbian to make exit from the championships. “I have learnt my lessons. Mere power and stamina won’t do. And it has to be a combination of two techniques to win against these wrestlers,” Gurpreet said after his bout. The wrestler from Mohali said he genuinely thought of winning a medal and Olympic qualification. “I did not come here to just participate. But I have learnt that I need to have more power in in my arms. Now I will try to win Olympic qualification at the Asian event next year,” he said. Up against the world number two Serbian in 1/16 round, Gurpreet led 1-0 after getting a passivity point and maintained the lead till the end of the first period. In the second period, it was Gurpreet who conceded a point on passivity but wriggled out of a tricky ground position to avoid more damage. Viktor, while trying to push Gurpreet out of the mat, lost balance near the edge of the circle and fell with the Indian on him, but the referee still handed two points to the Serbian. India’s coach Hargobind Singh challenged the call but lost and as a result lost one more point. The Serbian kept his lead to advance to the next round. In poetic justice, Nemes later lost his quarterfinal to Kazakshtan’s Askhat Dilmukhamedov, who benefitted from debatable refereeing. It though ended Gupreet’s hopes of getting a repechage round. In the very competitive 60kg category, Manish trailed 0-3 after losing first point for passivity but turned it around brilliantly, logging 11 points in a row to win by technical superiority. Manish was faster and more aggressive on the mat while the Finn hardly attacked. However, in his next bout against Moldova’s world number three Victor Ciobanu, Manish lost by technical superiority. The Moldovan later lost a fiercely fought quarterfinal to Japan’s wily wrestler Kenichiro Fumita, spelling Manish’s ouster.last_img read more

No winning ticket for Friday nights 33 million Lotto Max jackpot

first_imgTORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $33 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.That means the jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Apr. 27 will grow to approximately $50 million, and there will be two Maxmillions prizes of $1 million each up for grabs.last_img

Tighten privacy foreign funding rules in Liberal voting bill Electoral officer

first_imgOTTAWA – The acting head of Elections Canada is supporting the Trudeau Liberals’ attempt at rewriting federal election rules, but warns more needs to be done to limit the influence of foreign money at the ballot box.Acting chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault said the government’s elections reform bill, known as C-76, would significantly modernize the way federal elections are run in Canada and improve integrity in the system.But the legislation didn’t go far enough in some areas, he said. Absent any changes, C-76 would leave a loophole allowing foreign funds to be used by, or passed between, advocacy groups trying to sway voters.Perrault told a Commons committee studying the legislation that there should be strict wording in the bill to prevent foreign cash from influencing election outcomes.He also said provisions in the bill cracking down on hackers trying to sway an election were too narrow, and that they should lower the burden of proof to capture cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the vote or undermining trust in the electoral process.And Perrault also told MPs on the procedure and House affairs committee that they may want to look at whether parties should have to meet the same standards that apply to federal institutions, such as oversight by the federal privacy commissioner.C-76 is an omnibus bill that would reverse a number of changes the previous Conservative government introduced, including restoring the use of voter information cards as a valid form of identification.The bill would also limit spending by parties and advocacy groups during the three-month period before an election is officially called.The Liberals hurried the bill to committee by limiting preliminary debate in the House of Commons, drawing the ire of opposition parties that want more time to debate the legislation.The Liberals argue extensive debate isn’t needed because 85 per cent of the bill contained measures recommended by either Elections Canada, or the procedural and House affairs committee now studying C-76.Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould told the committee the government is open to amending the bill. But she suggested proposals to further tighten limits on third-party spending, particularly if they receive foreign donations, could run into legal challenges.Perrault said he was confident that Elections Canada could have all the changes in place for the October 2019 federal election, but that there would likely be room for improvement in how the rules were implemented for subsequent federal campaigns.last_img read more

NS pharmacist sanctioned for baking medical marijuana into cookies

first_imgHALIFAX – A pharmacist in Cape Breton has been fired and temporarily stripped of her licence for baking marijuana cookies for a patient and packaging them in a prescription bag.The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists says it has reached a settlement agreement with JoAnne Andrews, who agreed that her actions last September amounted to professional misconduct.In a decision last week, the college says a patient gave Andrews medicinal marijuana at the pharmacy where she was practising in Sydney and that she took it home to bake into cookies.The agreement says Andrews brought the cookies to the pharmacy for the patient to pick up, but left them in a bag when the patient didn’t show up before her shift ended on Sept. 7.Andrews gave the cookies to the patient at the pharmacy on Sept. 8, and was fired the next day.“Ms. Andrews acknowledges and agrees that her conduct … amounts to professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming contrary to the Pharmacy Act and regulations,” says a decision from a hearing committeeUnder the agreement, Andrews was given a letter of reprimand, fined $1,000, had her licence suspended for 30 days, ordered to take an ethics course and notify the college of where she’s practising for three years.last_img read more

Trump leaked phone call Dont worry about Canada says hes happy with

first_imgWASHINGTON – A leaked transcript of a Donald Trump phone call shows the president’s private comments about trade with Canada, and suggests he had an overwhelmingly positive attitude about the northern neighbour as he took office.The purported remarks made in a private phone call from late January are every bit as flattering as the president’s public comments just days later when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House.They came in a call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and were part of a leaked transcript published Thursday by the Washington Post. The context for the exchange was Trump’s bitter and escalating feud with Mexico at the time.U.S.-Mexico relations had just reached their nadir over the proposed border wall, and who would pay for it. Pena Nieto cancelled a trip to Washington.In the call, Trump told the Mexican president that he got huge crowds during the campaign, and had promised throngs of 25,000 to 50,000 people that Mexico would pay for the wall, so he pleaded with the Mexican president not to publicly contradict him on the issue.Pena Nieto encouraged a more positive discussion: He supposedly urged Trump to focus on the fact that the three NAFTA countries could negotiate a new trade framework. That prompted a rejoinder from the president.“Canada is no problem,” Trump replied, according to the leaked transcript.“Do not worry about Canada, do not even think about them. That is a separate thing and they are fine and we have had a very fair relationship with Canada. It has been much more balanced and much more fair. So we do not have to worry about Canada, we do not even think about them.”Those remarks echo public comments he made a few days later at a news conference with Trudeau. His rhetoric has ebbed and flowed since then. Trump has complained about Canadian dairy and lumber policies, and often threatens to scrap NAFTA barring a new deal.The reality entering trade talks is a bit more mundane.The U.S. has posted its priorities for the NAFTA negotiations starting Aug. 16, and they lie somewhere between the two extremes of the everything-is-fine attitude in that January phone call and the more aggressive talk favoured by some Trump advisers and occasionally the president himself.The U.S. positions include a laundry list of traditional American demands when it comes to Canadian trade. Most of the U.S. NAFTA demands could be found on annual lists published by the U.S. government, year after year.Those demands include more access for U.S. dairy and wine on Canadian store shelves; freer trade in telecommunications and banking; stricter patent rules for drugs; and tax cuts for online shopping of imported U.S. goods.Other priorities dear to the Trump administration include changes to auto-parts rules and the dispute-settlement process.A Canadian trade expert doesn’t put much stock in those January quotes. That’s because the president’s tune has changed, and could change again, said Peter Clark, a former federal official and now president of Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates.“That was then, this is now,” Clark said in an interview. “I think (Trump) was pretty relaxed about Canada early in the year… He’s got his neck out now on dairy, on lumber…“He’s only as reliable as his last tweet, or his last phone call.”Late Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau hosted a NAFTA call with his provincial and territorial counterparts, during which they pledged “to ensure that the message about the value of NAFTA and the trade relationship with Canada is understood by key U.S. decision makers.”last_img read more

Time to restrict travel of Myanmar military elite with UN sanctions Axworthy

first_imgOTTAWA – Myanmar’s military elite need to have their wings clipped by targeted United Nations travel sanctions in order to discourage the continued ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, says former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy.“We’re talking about targeting specific people, particularly in the military,” said Axworthy, the chair of the Canadian-based World Refugee Council, which is working with the UN to reform the global refugee system.“A lot of these guys like to fly off to Bangkok and get a new suit or something. I’m not being facetious,” Axworthy said in an interview. “A restricted-travel sanction would be very effective for a lot of the elites in Myanmar.”Axworthy, a former Liberal foreign affairs minister under Jean Chretien, called on Canada to lead a diplomatic push for sanctions through its diplomats at the UN and in missions across Asia.The current Liberal government, which has dispatched special envoy Bob Rae and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to the region, suggested Thursday it was open to the idea.“We continue to consider all options at our disposal to press Myanmar on this issue, including potential sanctions,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.“The responsibility for ending the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar falls squarely on that country’s military leadership and its civilian government — these are crimes against humanity.”Axworthy also poured cold water on an agreement announced Thursday between Myanmar and Bangladesh to return the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled a military purge of their northern Rakhine state.The government of Myanmar announced no details of the plan, which was immediately criticized by Amnesty International. Refugees in Bangladesh have said their homes were set on fire by soldiers and Buddhist mobs; some reported being shot at by security forces.“It sounds to me like they’re talking about camps, and concentration camps and things of that kind,” Axworthy said.Austen said Thursday that Canada is trying to learn more about the proposal “to ensure that it is in good faith, feasible, and, most importantly, that refugees will not face further persecution upon their return.”Canada will spend $35 million over five years to help Bangladesh address the needs of women and girls as the country deals with a massive influx of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.Bibeau announced the new spending — to be directed through United Nations agencies — on Thursday from Bangladesh, where she was getting a first-hand look at the crisis that has seen more than 620,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar since August.Bibeau visited women and children in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, currently the epicentre of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crisis.It started when the Myanmar army began what it calls clearance operations in response an attack by a group of Rohingya insurgents, an offensive that many have since characterized as ethnic cleansing.On Wednesday, the United States did just that, threatening penalties for Myanmar military officers involved in the crackdown.“We all agree that it’s ethnic cleansing and the action that has been taken by the military is just not acceptable,” Bibeau said Thursday in a conference call with reporters from Bangladesh. Freeland has used the same term to describe the situation in recent weeks.Axworthy said the fact that the term “ethnic cleansing” is now being widely used only strengthens the case for targeted sanctions against key players in Myanmar.last_img read more

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to exonerate Tsilhqotin warriors hanged in 1860s

first_imgOTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to formally exonerate six First Nations war chiefs more than 150 years after they were hanged by British Columbia’s colonial government following a deadly confrontation with a crew of white road builders.On Monday, Trudeau will absolve the Tsilhqot’in of guilt “in any way, shape or form” related to the killing of 14 construction workers in 1864, said Chief Joe Alphonse in a video posted on the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s Facebook page.“The Chilcotin War is what defines us,” Alphonse said.“If you come into Tsilhqot’in territory you had to have Tsilhqot’in permission. And when the Waddington road-building crew came in, they didn’t get that permission. And when they took our women, abused our women, we declared war on them.”After the workers were killed, five chiefs arrived at what they believed would be peace talks with government representatives, where they were arrested, tried and hanged. A sixth chief was executed the following year in New Westminster.“They were tricked into being convicted — wrongly convicted — for murder,” Peyal Francis Laceese, a youth ambassador with the Tsilhqot’in National Government, said in the video.“This is where they were hung,” he added, walking over snow-covered ground outside Quesnel in B.C.’s Interior.“One-hundred-fifty-four years ago and I still feel their spirit. I still hear those songs. I still speak their language.”The Tsilhqot’in have long disputed the government’s authority to execute the six chiefs as criminals, describing the confrontation as an altercation between warring nations.The B.C. government apologized for the hangings in 1993 and installed a commemorative plaque at the site of the hangings.Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett is scheduled to hold a press conference alongside the Tsilhqot’in Nation leadership Monday in Ottawa following the official exoneration.The prime minister’s office declined comment.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter.last_img read more

Whos who in the federal cabinet shuffle new faces and old faces

first_imgOTTAWA — David Lametti loves the law, he said just after being sworn in as Canada’s new justice minister.“I know it’s a cliche to say that, but I do,” the 56-year-old said outside Rideau Hall. “I have done my best to teach and to think about the ways in which law has an impact on our daily lives. I’ll continue to do that.”Lametti is the child of Italian immigrants. As a boy, he went to construction sites with his father, a carpenter who founded his own construction company. His mother was a caterer in the Niagara region after his father’s early death.His education took him from the University of Toronto to McGill University, to Yale Law School and Oxford University, where he co-captained the Oxford Blues men’s hockey team with Mark Carney, who’d become governor of the Bank of Canada.Ex-teammate Trevor Farrow called Lametti smart, funny and highly organized, a guy who took charge of the team and organized trips and games. Farrow, now associate dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, said Lametti always had something nice to say about teammates and never took himself too seriously even when he was focused on the game.During a 2012 lunchtime seminar at the University of Cambridge — the video of which is posted online — Lametti spoke about how he was a bit of a philosophy junkie and sat in on lectures at Oxford, which led to him focus on the intersection of legal and ethical ideas.Lametti became a law professor and a founding member of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill. Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse, the centre’s current director, said Lametti’s interest is in how the law influences public policy and where both need improvement.“He’s a good scholar, a good academic, but he needs a position where he can make a difference … and translate what he knows into something concrete,” Moyse said, adding it was partly why Lametti go into politics.Lametti won the riding of LaSalle-Emard-Verdun — once held by former prime minister Paul Martin — in 2015 and served as a parliamentary secretary for the last three years.The father of three was also involved in his community, including as an assistant coach for an under-16 competitive soccer team.Here’s a quick look at the rest of the ministers involved in Monday’s cabinet shuffle.Bernadette Jordan– First woman elected to represent the Nova Scotia riding of South Shore-St. Margarets– Spent eight years prior to politics as part of a team raising millions of dollars for health care in the region around Bridgewater, N.S.– A former president of the Atlantic Community Newspaper AssociationSeamus O’Regan– Former television personality who spent a decade as co-host of CTV’s Canada AM show– From St. John’s, Newfoundland, and raised in Goose Bay, Labrador– Former executive assistant to justice minister and later senior policy adviser to premier in the Newfoundland and Labrador government– Appointed minister of veterans affairs in 2017Jody Wilson-Raybould– First Indigenous woman to hold the post of justice minister and attorney general– Worked as a provincial prosecutor in Vancouver after being called to the bar in 2000– Former regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.– Descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoplesJane Philpott– Spent three decades as a physician — in Niger and then as a family doctor in Stouffville, Ont.– Former chief of family medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital and taught medicine at the University of Toronto.– Previously served as health minister and Indigenous services ministerThe Canadian Presslast_img read more

Venezuelan diaspora in Canada holds out hope for democracys return

first_imgMONTREAL — Rebecca Sarfatti, a Toronto-based activist originally from Venezuela, says the retirement income her mother living in Caracas receives every month doesn’t cover the cost of bread and cheese for more than two days.“Meat has not been seen in a long while,” she said in an interview Thursday from Toronto. “Fish — forget about it. People are relying on grains and rice and whatever they can find.”Sarfatti is part of the Venezuelan diaspora in Canada looking anxiously at the political turmoil in their home country. But she is holding out hope that the 35-year-old opposition lawmaker who has declared himself interim president, Juan Guaido, can restore democracy in Venezuela.On Wednesday, violence flared once again in the South American country and at least 12 people were reported killed in the escalating confrontation with President Nicolas Maduro, who has drawn increasing international criticism.Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, said Wednesday in Caracas, that his taking power is the only way to end the Maduro “dictatorship” in Venezuela, which has seen millions flee in recent years to escape sky-high inflation and food shortages.Canada, the United States and many Latin American countries quickly announced support for Guaido. But other countries, including Russia, Turkey, China, Iran and Syria, are backing Maduro.Soraya Venitez, a Montreal artist and activist originally from Venezuela, participated in a protest Wednesday against the Maduro government. It was one of many rallies held in Canadian cities and around the world in response to an appeal from Venezuela’s National Assembly to take to the streets.Venitez, who works with a lobby and aid organization called the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum, said when she announced at the protest that Guaido had declared himself to be interim leader, people had tears in their eyes. “There is hope now. It’s a big window of hope that has been opened,” she said. “We want to rebuild our country.”Venitez, like Sarfatti, has family members all over the world who have left the deteriorating political climate in Venezuela. Two of Venitez’s female relatives recently fled Venezuela and travelled “for days” to Peru by bus and on foot, she said.“One is 23 years old and the other is 25 years old,” she said. “They are working now in Peru and sending money back to their families.”Sarfatti, also with the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum, said her mother is lucky because she owns her home and has a relative with a job living with her who helps pay expenses. Many others aren’t as fortunate, she said, adding that the price of basic foodstuffs increases so quickly due to inflation that the cost of cheese could almost double within 24 hours.She said the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum raises money to get supplies into Venezuelan public hospitals. Members send aid packages by boat, which reach her group’s network of doctors and human rights workers. They store the supplies in private homes until they can be smuggled into hospitals. Sarfatti says the material needs to be brought in clandestinely because if not, it will be stolen.“There are no official channels” that would allow her group to send aid openly, she said. “I know it sounds crazy, but this is the reality.”While Canada and others have supported Guaido, Venezuela’s top military brass pledged their support for Maduro on Thursday, delivering vows of loyalty before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television.In an address Thursday, Maduro recalled the long history of heavy-handed U.S. interventions in Latin America during the Cold War as he asked his allies for support. “Don’t trust the gringos,” he thundered to a crowd of red-shirted followers. “They don’t have friends or loyalties. They only have interests, the nerve and the ambition to take Venezuela’s oil, gas and gold.”Sarfatti said she recognizes that being aligned with the United States in support of Guaido gives ammunition to Maduro supporters who claim his critics are tools of an imperialist power. But she said the support of Canada and other Latin American countries for Guaido shows the opposition is much broader.“We appreciate the support of the world,” she said. “But at the end of the road, it’s us who have to step up. Our leaders have to step up and stand straight against this evil.” — With files from The Associated PressGiuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Can the Liberals go bold on skills training in budget 2019

first_imgThe story below was published on Macleans.ca on Feb. 21, 2019:OTTAWA – For his last budget before next fall’s federal election, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is signalling that he plans to highlight skills training. It’s a natural policy gap for the Liberals to try to fill. They’ve made a push to help parents raise kids, through their signature Canada Child Benefit. They’ve put serious reforms in the window for the retirement years by enriching the Canada Pension Plan and boosting the Guaranteed Income Supplement. But for what comes between childhood and retirement — the working years when Canadians increasingly worry about having to adjust to technological change — they haven’t staked nearly as clear a claim to bringing in bold policy.Yet any election-ready skills announcements in Morneau’s 2019 budget, which he’ll table on March 19, are bound to raise awkward questions about what’s happened up to now — or not happened. Way back in his 2017 budget, Morneau committed $225 million over four years to establish something called FutureSkills Lab, an agency with a mandate to devise new ideas in training for a fast-evolving, technology-driven economy. The name has since been dulled down to Future Skills Centre, but its long-awaited launch isn’t expected until mid-February, when the government is also planning to finally announce the members of a long-promised advisory group called the Future Skills Council.READ MORE: Federal Liberals to release pre-election budget on March 19The ponderous pace at which these modest steps have rolled out suggests Ottawa finds moving decisively difficult when it comes to skills policy and programs. It can be a frustratingly complicated field. The provinces have the main jurisdiction over education, making any federal incursion into it a test of federal-provincial diplomacy. Still, pressure for Ottawa to act is mounting as the pace of workplace change, especially with the spread of artificial intelligence, accelerates. “We’re going to have an increasingly large challenge to retrain or upskill existing workers in our workforce,” says Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto.Mullin’s think tank on innovation has estimated 42 per cent of Canadian workers are at risk of seeing their jobs eliminated or dramatically changed by automation over the next two decades. And Morneau has repeatedly cited this as a pressing problem. But what to do about it? Mullin casts the challenge in sweeping historical terms. The public school system arose to teach millions what they needed to move from farming to industrial work. As more jobs demanded more sophisticated skills, universities and colleges expanded rapidly. “But we don’t have the system right now to take someone who’s 35, 45, whose occupation or even entire sector is being eliminated, and make sure they continue to be productive members of society,” Mullin says.Some of the most fully thought-out proposals for skills policy focus, so far, not on mid-career upgrades but on the traditional education system designed mainly for young people starting out. For instance, the Business/Higher Education Roundtable, set up in 2015 by the Business Council of Canada, is urging Morneau to make a big push in what’s called “work-integrated learning.” Building on a $73-million, four-year program to subsidize student summer jobs, which the Liberals launched in 2017, the roundtable is asking the government to put up another $320 million over three years, which would be nearly matched by about $300 million from employers, to give more than 80,000 students a chance at that key early work experience.Another idea would see the federal government boost support for overseas education. The Study Group on Global Education, co-chaired by University of Ottawa professor Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has been lobbying for federal funding to send many more Canadian students abroad, which the group touts as essential — not some frill — in a globalized economy.These proposals wouldn’t address the growing anxiety about what to do when, for example, hundreds of middle-aged auto workers in Oshawa, Ont., suddenly find they need to switch jobs. Among the ideas popping up in the pre-budget chatter are so-called “wrap-arounds,” the term used to describe government financial support of, say, child care or transit costs for a working parent who enrols in retraining. There’s also talk of tax incentives for workers to save for taking just that sort of break from work to upgrade skills.None of these ideas, however, come close to Mullin’s concept of a whole new institutional framework for retraining. Maybe concepts as sweeping as Mullin’s will emerge eventually from the Future Skills Centre or the Future Skills Council — but they’ll be too late for this spring’s budget or the fall election to follow.last_img read more

Canada Post forecasts continuing sector losses despite booming parcel deliveries

first_imgOTTAWA — Canada Post says it will struggle to make a profit in coming years despite booming parcel delivery because of a continuing decline in letter mail, higher employee costs and billions in capital spending.In a corporate forecast quietly tabled in Parliament, the Crown corporation says it is expecting to achieve “modest” profits of between $10 million and $125 million from 2019 through to 2023 but those will be driven primarily by its Purolator subsidiary, while the base Canada Post segment will post losses.The five-year plan estimates Canada Post will need to invest $3.6 billion to keep up with the growth of e-commerce shipping while modernizing to meet shipper and customer expectations and stay ahead of competitors.Meanwhile, employee costs are rising, in part due to a rural pay equity ruling last fall identified as the main cause of an estimated $264 million loss in 2018, and which is expected to add $140 million in annual costs going forward.Canada Post says it expects to have to borrow about $500 million more by 2023 to cover capital needs and to make special employee pension plan solvency payments, expected to start at over $500 million in 2020 and total over $1.8 billion by 2023.It forecasts a post office sector loss of $22 million for 2019 as total revenue grows 3.5 per cent or $234 million to $7 billion — driven by a 13 per cent increase in domestic parcel volume offset by a drop in letter mail activity of about five per cent.The document says Canada Post has spent about $4.7 million to dismantle 2,280 community mailbox sites in 12 municipalities where it had begun but didn’t complete the conversion of door-to-door delivery, acting after the Liberal government ordered the cancellation of the program.“Although Canada Post is in a financially viable position today, the forecasted growth in parcels revenue will not be enough for the Canada Post segment to achieve profitability throughout this plan’s period, nor will it be enough to make Canada Post financially self-sustaining in the long term,” the document says.  The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Stars Get Lucky for Lupus

first_imgThe stars came out for Lupus LA’s 5th annual ‘Get Lucky for Lupus’ celebrity poker tournament at the Petersen Automotive Museum last Thursday, September 12th.Bob Guiney at the tablesCredit/Copyright: Tiffany RoseBob Guiney hosted the event, and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Star Josh Altman was honored for his philanthropic work with Lupus LA. The grand prize which was won by ‘Arrow’ actor Roger R. Cross, was was $10,000 dollar seat at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure poker tournament in the Bahamas. In addition to a riveting night of high stakes poker, guests enjoyed SodaStream hand crafted sodas, Venice Beach Beer and Skinnygirl Cocktails.Laila Ali helped raise funds for Lupus researchCredit/Copyright: Tiffany RoseLupus LA raised nearly $100,000 at the fete. Key attendees included: Michael B. Jordan, Ian Ziering, Bobby Brown, Laila Ali, Gilles Marini, Jason Collins (NBA), Michael Vartan, Shanna Moakler, Shannon Elizabeth and Tito Ortiz.last_img read more

Sharon Stone Helps Open InnovAge Greater California PACE Center

first_imgAcademy Award nominated actress and Hollywood icon Sharon Stone and Kish Rajan, director of business and economic development for Governor Jerry Brown, joined InnovAge this week to celebrate the opening of its first Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) center in California.Former state Senator Bill Emerson, who is currently the senior vice president of the California Hospital Association, was a special guest at the opening.“InnovAge Greater California PACE helps serve the needs of a rapidly growing senior population in San Bernardino and Riverside counties,” said Maureen Hewitt, president and CEO of InnovAge. “We have seen a great demand for this innovative system of care designed to meet the needs of individuals who want to remain living with more independence and with a greater quality of life within their homes and communities. The program also provides caregivers with the peace of mind that their loved ones are enjoying the best quality of life possible, and offers them a respite from the often strenuous demands of care-giving.”The InnovAge Greater California PACE (IGCAP) center will offer the latest senior care innovations in the Inland Empire. IGCAP will provide up to 2,000 aging adults with critical services they need to live safely and independently in their homes and communities, as well as employing more than 400 people at full capacity.According to the California Department of Aging, the senior population is estimated to increase by more than 150 percent in San Bernardino and by more than 100 percent in Riverside County by 2020.
The InnovAge Greater California PACE (IGCAP) center will offer services including a primary care clinic, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, a therapy gym, in-home care, day rooms for socialization, entertainment and nutrition education. The center will also provide transportation to and from the facility and to and from medical appointments. IGCAP participants receive all needed healthcare services, including primary care and specialist physician services, from IGCAP or from an entity, person or company authorized by IGCAP. IGCAP participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-network services.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Annual Rush HeARTS Education Valentines Luncheon To Take Place In New York

first_imgThe Annual Rush HeARTS Education Valentine’s Luncheon will take place on February 13.This year’s event will honor Daymond John (CEO & Founder of FUBU, star of ABC’s Shark Tank), Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers, CC and Amber Sabathia, and featured artist Shantell Martin for their careers and philanthropic achievements, and their unyielding dedication to youth, arts and education initiatives. Kimora Lee Simmons and Tim Leissner will serve as the Event Chairs. The event will celebrate The Amazing Rush Kids, feature a special guest performance and music by DJ M.O.S. & DJ Kiss.The Annual Rush HeARTS Education Valentine’s Luncheon raises funds for Rush’s Education programs for New York City’s inner city youth. Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation programs (Rush Galleries in the Schools, and Rush Little Kids, Rush Kids, Rush Teens and Rush Movers) are designed to inspire students, provide positive alternatives to high-risk behaviors, and support increased academic performance, by filling a void and providing arts education programs in public schools and through afterschool and weekend sessions.Now celebrating it’s 20th year Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation was founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, as a 501c3 organization, dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for emerging and underrepresented artists. Over the past 20 years, Rush has developed a broad base of friends, collaborators and supporters dedicated to supporting its mission. In addition to the 3,000 students served annually in its education programs, each year Rush exhibits the work of over 100 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries, and welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors to its spaces in Chelsea, Manhattan (Rush Arts Gallery) and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (Corridor Gallery). For more information, visit www.rushphilanthropic.org.WHEN: Friday, February 13, 2015WHERE: The Plaza Hotel – The Grand Ballroom768 5th Avenue at Central Park South New Yorklast_img read more