Deve Gowda denies saying midterm polls in Karnataka soon

first_imgBengaluru: Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Friday denied saying that there would be a mid-term Assembly election in Karnataka due to the reported rift with its coalition partner, Congress. “Gowda has been misquoted by a section of the media. He did not say there would be a mid-term poll in the state. He said he was preparing his party to contest in the local bodies elections due next year,” JD-S media secretary K. Guruprasad told IANS here, citing the former Prime Minister. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France Admitting that Gowda spoke to the media at his home in the city’s southwest suburb when they approached for his views on the International Yoga Day and the secret of his long and healthy life at the age of 87, Guruprasad said despite differences between the allies, there was no threat to the year-old coalition government in the southern state. “The media got it wrong as Gowda was referring to the local bodies elections, due in early 2020. Our party and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy are committed to completed the remaining four-year term with Congress’ support,” Guruprasad said. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize Gowda also denied reports that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah had told party President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi to withdraw support to the coalition government “as it was damaging their party’s prospects”, as evident from the lone seat the party had won in the recent Lok Sabha elections in the state. “In fact, Gowda recalled on Thursday that it was the Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi who approached him to forge a post-poll alliance and agree to make his son Kumaraswamy the chief minister of the coalition government to keep the BJP out of power,” said Guruprasad. A split verdict in the May 2018 Assembly elections threw up a hung house. With 104 seats in the 225-member house, the BJP fell nine short of half-way mark to have a simple majority. Managing to win 80 seats, the Congress rushed to the JD-S, which won 37, with unconditional support to form the coalition government on May 23.last_img read more

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Tamil Nadu water woes AIADMK performs havan seeking rain DMK stages protest

first_imgChennai: As Tamil Nadu reels under the worst water crisis, the ruling AIADMK Saturday performed ‘yagna’ in temples across the state, while the Opposition DMK staged “empty pot” demonstrations, urging the government to take steps to address the issue.Senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar took part in a ‘yagna’ at a Shiva temple here and planted saplings in the premises of the shrine. He told reporters that performing yagnas was “an expression of faith”, hoping that the Almighty will answer their prayers for rain. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaDMK leader and former city mayor Ma Subramanian, who led an agitation here, hit out at the AIADMK, saying executing plans with rationale alone could help address the situation. “Conducting such rituals have no utility,” he said. Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani took part in a ‘yagna’ at Patteeswaram temple in Coimbatore district. As Velumani took part in prayers, hundreds of DMK cadres staged a protest, seeking the minister’s resignation for his “failure” to create necessary infrastructure for water supply. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahTalking to reporters later, he said the move to bring water from Jolarpet in Vellore district to Chennai would not affect the water availability there. Former Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai took part in a prayer in another city temple. Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan participated in a puja at Pachamalai Murugan temple in Erode district. Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju took part in special prayers in Meenakshi and Subramania Swamy temples at Madurai. He said Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam have asked the 50 district party units to hold prayers in temples for rains. “Even as they tasked us to hold pujas, rains have started in Chennai and Madurai too will get showers,” Raju said, adding divine power has helped. Transport Minsiter M R Vijayabaskar and Agriculture Minister R Doraikkannu took part in prayers in Aadikumbeshwara and Pasupatheeshwara temples at Kumbakonam and Karur, respectively.last_img read more

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Global city to be built near Dwarka Expressway

first_imgGurugram: After announcing that Panchgram a new city roughly of the size of Chandigarh will be set up around the Kundali- Manesar -Palwal expressway, the Haryana government has announced one more city.Named the Global city the new urban settlement will be created by the public agencies in Gurugram near the Dwarka Expressway and will be spread around the areas of 1002 acres. The Haryana government expect that a new form of investment will come into the city not only from the multinational companies but also from various startups and new micro small scale medium Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in Denmarkindustries. In the past, the state government has achieved success with setting up of Udyog Vihar which are divided into six phases in Gururgam. Taking the cue from the growth mode of South Korea and Japan that emphasized the development of infrastructure especially its roads and highways, the Central and the state government is adopting the same model of growth. Huge investments have been put in by the state and the central government in enhancing road infrastructure at Delhi-Jaipur highway, Yamuna Expressway, Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway, and Delhi-Mumbai corridor., a part of it also goes through Gururgam. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe success of this model has been most felt in Haryana and rapid growth of its richest city Gurugram. Located along the Delhi-Jaipur Highway not only have the commercial, and industrial centres come up around National Highway-8. Most of the Fortune 500 companies that have their base in Gururgam are also located in the proximity to National Highway-8. There has also been the growth of new cities beyond Gurugram like Manesar and Bawal. The Haryana government has already begun the preparations for creating a roadmap for its ambitious project of creating a new township of Panchgram (Five villages) along the Kundali-Manesar -Palwal expressway. Spread in the area of 50,000 hectares there are plans to acquire land from over 34 villages in the Gurgram district.last_img read more

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Sterling Biotech bank fraud case ED summons actor Dino Morea and DJ

first_imgNew Delhi: The ED has summoned Bollywood actor Dino Morea and DJ Aqeel for questioning in the Sterling Biotech alleged bank fraud and money laundering probe case, officials said Monday. The actor and the popular disc jockey (DJ) have been asked to depose before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as it has got evidence that the two were paid some money by the Gujarat-based pharmaceutical group in the past, they said. They will be questioned about the circumstances of these payments made out of the proceeds of crime identified in the case and their statements will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the officials said. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! While Morea, also a model, has worked in a number of Hindi films, Aqeel is a popular DJ. The two could not be immediately contacted for reaction. The agency last week had made one of its largest PMLA attachments and frozen assets worth 9,778 crore of the group in India and abroad. The alleged Rs 8,100 crore bank loan fraud is being alleged to have been perpetrated by the Vadodara-based pharma firm and its main promoters Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara, all of whom are absconding. The Sandesaras are also under probe for their alleged nexus with some high-profile politicians by the ED as also by the CBI and the Income Tax Department under criminal sections that deal with corruption and tax evasion respectively.last_img read more

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4800 MBBS seats reserved for economically weaker students Min

first_imgNew Delhi: Around 4,800 MBBS seats have been reserved for students from economically weaker sections in the current year, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said Friday.He told the Lok Sabha that there has been an increase of 24,698 seats for Under Graduate and Post Graduate in medical colleges in more than two years. There has been an increase of 15,815 UG seats and 2,153 PG seats during the 2017-18 and 2019-20 period. In 2019-20, 10,565 UG seats and 2,153 PG seats have been increased, he said. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The Minister of Health and Family Welfare said there are now around 75,000 MBBS seats for students who qualify the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET). “The government has taken several steps to increase the number of seats in various medical educational institutes/ medical colleges across the country,” he said. Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour, Vardhan said around 4,800 MBBS seats have been reserved for students from economically weaker sections this year. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedAmong various measures, it has been made mandatory for all medical colleges to start PG courses within three years from the date of their MBBS course recognition. The minister said new medical colleges are also being established by upgrading district/referral hospitals preferably in under-served districts. In a written reply, Vardhan said 82 such new medical colleges are being established under a centrally-sponsored scheme. Under the scheme, the Centre would provide 60 per cent of the funding while the rest would come from the state concerned. In the case of North Eastern states, 90 per cent of the funds would be from the central government. Vardhan said in the first phase, 58 districts in 20 states/ Union Territories have been identified and approved. “Total cost of establishment of one medical college is Rs 189 crore. Funds to the tune of Rs 7,507.70 crore have been released to the state/ Union Territory governments for the approved medical colleges under the scheme,” he noted. As many as 39 medical colleges have become functional in the first phase of the scheme that was launched in January 2014. In the second phase, 24 new medical colleges in eight states have been identified. “The total cost of establishment of one medical college under this phase is Rs 250 crore,” the minister said. Out of the 24, 17 medical colleges have been approved till date and funds to the tune of Rs 1,375.13 crore have been released to the state governments, he added.last_img read more

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Heavy metal toxicity in veggies grown on Yamuna

first_imgNew Delhi: Dangerous level of metals have been found in vegetables grown in fields along the River Yamuna which could cause life threatening diseases like cancer, a study has found. According to the study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), samples from three east Delhi locations were collected to check status of metal concentration in seven vegetables -cabbage, cauliflower, radish, brinjal, coriander, fenugreek and spinach. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe vegetable samples were picked up from Usmanpur Khadar, Geeta Colony and Mayur Vihar and were tested for the presence of metals like Lead (Pb), Nickel (Ni), Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg). The report found the maximum lead contamination in coriander collected from Geeta Colony. The safe limit for lead in vegetables is 2.5mg/kg as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The level of the metal detected in samples collected from the floodplain ranges from 2.8mg/kg to 13.8mg/kg, it said, adding heavy metal toxicity can damage organs. “Prolonged human consumption of unsafe concentrations of heavy metals in foodstuffs may lead to disruption of numerous biological and biochemical processes in the human body. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Heavy metal toxicity can lower energy levels, damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, and liver. They can also damage the blood composition and other important organs. Long term exposure of metals may even cause cancer,” the study, conducted by NEERI on the directions of NGT, said. The report said that other metals –cadmium, mercury and nickel were found below the FSSAI standards. “In the present study, only levels of lead were found exceeding the FSSAI limits in most of vegetable samples, therefore, there is need for further investigation on the sources, from where Pb is getting accumulated in the vegetables, though corresponding soil samples also exhibited high levels of lead.last_img read more

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Mayawati slams Guj govt for tweaking Ambedkars slogan in textbooks

first_imgLucknow: BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday slammed the BJP government in Gujarat for reportedly “tweaking” a slogan by Dr BR Ambedkar in a Class 5 Gujarati textbook and demanded that it be restored to its original form immediately. “‘Shikshit Bano, Sangharsh Karo, Sangathhit Bano’ are the immortal words of Dr Ambedkar which inspire crores of Dalits and backwards to march ahead. But the Gujarat government’s books are imparting wrong education which exposes the BJP’s anti-Ambedkar and anti-Dalit face as that of the Congress,” she tweeted. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ In another tweet, Mayawati said it was but natural that there would be opposition to “such conspiracies and atrocities on Dalits committed by the BJP government in Gujarat”. “The BSP strongly condemns teaching of distorted historic slogans of Dr Ambedkar and demands that the tweaked slogan be removed immediately from the text books,” she said. Mayawati’s remark came against the backdrop of media reports that a chapter (in Gujarati) in a textbook of Gujarat State Board of School read as “one slogan of Babasaheb is worth remembering: Educate, organise and self-reliance is the true assistance”. Ambedkaraites have protested that the slogan in the textbook was not by Dr Ambedkar, who had said, ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’.last_img read more

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Police probe negligence angle as 17yearold drowns during swimming lessons in city

first_imgKolkata: Mohammed Shahbaz, a resident of Suhir Bose Lane, was a beginner in swimming. It is still not clear if any instructor was present when he jumped into the pool.A 17-year-old boy drowned while taking swimming class at the College Square Club in Kolkata on Sunday. Mohammed Shahbaz, a resident of Suhir Bose Lane, was a beginner in swimming. Police have registered an unnatural death case and are investigating if the club was negligent. According to the club management, Shahbaz dived into a deep pool (7to 10 feet deep) meant for experienced swimmers and drowned, said a member of the club. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja “Shahbaz had just taken admission into the club. Beginners are not allowed to swim into the deeper pool. Before anyone could notice, he jumped into the pool which is 7 to 10 feet deep. He didn’t know swimming so couldn’t come out. By the time people noticed that he has not been able to come to the surface, it was too late,” said a member of the club on the condition of anonymity.It is still not clear if any instructor was present when he jumped into the pool. According to a PTI report quoting swimming pool authorities, Shahbaz had “sneaked” into a large pool without the knowledge of the trainers. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Police fished out the body at 10 am, almost an hour after Shahbaz made an entry into the pool register. The body has been sent for a post mortem at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, said police. Meanwhile, Debasish Kumar, member of Mayor-in-Council, visited the spot and directed the management to shut the pool for the time being. “We will find out what caused this unfortunate incident. Last year, a similar incident had taken place and we made rules and regulations. We are trying to find out of all rules were followed,” Kumar told reporters. Last year, an ace swimmer, who worked as a life saver for children learning swimming, had drowned in a swimming pool. The swimming pool was kept closed for months. Kajal Dutta (67) was found floating on the water, hours after he had drowned in the pool.(Inputs from The Indian Express)last_img read more

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Yediyurappa to expand Cabinet on Tuesday

first_imgBengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will expand his over three-week-old Cabinet on Tuesday by inducting 18-20 legislators as ministers, an official said on Monday. “Yediyurappa has written to state Governor Vajubhai Vala for arrangements to swear-in 18-20 legislators as ministers in Raj Bhavan on Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m, an official of the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS here. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) legislative party meeting will be held on Monday evening in the city where Yediyurappa will brief the members on the composition of the Cabinet and explain the exclusion of others. “The chief minister is waiting for the arrival of party’s national general secretary B.L. Santosh from New Delhi by evening with the list of names approved by party’s national president Amit Shah in consultation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day,” a party official told IANS. After the first phase of expansion, the Chief Minister plans to fill the remaining dozen vacancies in the 34-member ministry a few months later. The ruling party has 105 legislators in the 208-member Assembly, and support of an independent (H. Nagesh) after 17 of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) rebel legislators were disqualified in July by previous Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar for defying their party’s whip. The Congress has 65 and JD-S 34 legislators in the House with 17 seats reduced. If the Supreme Court upholds the disqualification, by-elections will be held within six months after its verdict. All the 17 rebels have challenged their disqualification in the apex court on the grounds that they resigned from their Assembly seats before their party issued the whip. Yediyurappa, 76, took oath for the fourth time as Chief Minister on July 26, but could not expansion his Cabinet for various reasons beyond his control, as the party’s high command was busy with the Parliament session, legislative bills on Jammu and Kashmir and heavy rains and floods across the state over the last three weeks.last_img read more

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Govt to soon decide on Sinha panel report on MSME sector

first_imgNew Delhi: The government will soon take a call on the recommendations of U K Sinha committee to strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises sector, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday. The committee set up by the RBI under the former Sebi chief among other things had recommended creation of distressed asset fund with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore, insurance coverage to employees of MSMEs on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) schemes, and cash flow-based lending.last_img

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Auto players should also take up GST rate cut demand with state

first_imgNew Delhi: Amid clamour from the auto industry for a GST rate cut, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Friday asked players in the sector to also take up the matter with state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council, and assured all support from the Centre.Automobile and component manufacturers have been seeking GST cut on automobiles to 18 per cent from 28 per cent to help the sector come out of a prolonged slump that has resulted in job losses. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”You are aware that any rate cut on GST needs to be approved first by the fitment committee then by the GST Council. I request all of you to also reach out to the state finance ministers who are part of the GST Council,” Thakur said while speaking here at the annual convention of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association.He said the finance ministry has received multiple representations from car manufacturers, dealers and many of the stakeholders regarding the GST rate cut. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”Various OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are based out of various parts of the country. The issue is whether they (the manufacturers) taking these issues with their finance ministers or not,” Thakur later said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines.He said state finance ministers should be equally aware of the challenges faced by the OEMs or the automobile manufacturers.”Our humble request is to apprise them also so that whenever this issue is discussed in the GST Council meeting, everyone should have their view point,” he added. Thakur had reminded the gathering that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already suggested in the last meeting that the Centre was open to take it to the GST Council for deliberation, and most of the decisions were unanimous in the previous GST Council meeting.The next GST Council meeting will be held on September 20 in Goa.Thakur said the government has already come out with slew of measures to address challenges faced by the auto industry.”So, that is the priority our government is giving to this industry,” he said.”Let me assure you we stand by you at this juncture and we will be there to listen to your challenges as we know you are going to play the most important role in making India a USD 5-trillion economy by 2024-25,” he said.The government will consider various measures including the scrappage policy and we are working closely on that as per demand of the industry, he said.”This industry is going to do well…. (instead of) looking at this as a challenge, we will take it as an opportunity and be among the top-three automobile companies in the world,” he said adding that the companies “can do it… whatever decisions we have to take, we will take.”last_img read more

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RBI allows payment of all recurring bills through BBPS

first_imgMumbai: In a consumer friendly initiative, the RBI on Monday expanded the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to cover all repetitive bill payments, which may include school fees, insurance premiums and municipal taxes. Currently, the facility of payment of recurring bills through BBPS is available only in five segments — direct to home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water. “…it has been decided to expand the scope and coverage of BBPS to include all categories of billers who raise recurring bills (except prepaid recharges) as eligible participants, on a voluntary basis,” the RBI said in a circular. BBPS functions under the aegis of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). As per BBPS website, the facility would be expanded to include other types of repetitive payments like insurance premium, mutual funds, school fees, EMIs, and municipal taxes, among others.last_img read more

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Tropical storm Gert expected to have little impact on Atlantic Canada

first_imgHALIFAX – A tropical storm moving up the United States east coast is expected to produce storm-force winds over the southern Grand Banks later this week, but will otherwise have little impact on Atlantic Canada.Environment Canada meteorologist Darin Borgel said tropical storm Gert is expected to become a hurricane Tuesday.“But it is not expected to have any direct impact on the Canadian land territory. At this time it’s expected to turn off to the northeast and track across the southern Grand Banks sometime on Thursday morning,” Borgel said Monday.He said coastal parts of Atlantic Canada may see slightly higher than normal waves as the storm passes, but otherwise won’t see any impact from the storm.Borgel said marine interests will need to keep an eye on the forecast.“I expect anyone travelling those waters are already pretty aware of what’s going on. We are mentioning some gale storm force winds in our long range extended marine forecast,” he said.He said Gert will remain 500 to 600 kilometres off the coast.The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Gert was centred about 735 kilometres west-southwest of Bermuda Monday morning and had maximum sustained winds of 95 km/h. It was moving toward the north-northwest at 16 km/h.A gradual turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed was forecast for the next 48 hours and Gert is expected to become a hurricane by Tuesday night.Gert is the ninth storm since the tropical storm season started June 1, but the first to have any impact on Atlantic Canada.Borgel says the peak of the season is usually in August and September when the waters of the North Atlantic are at their warmest.Those warm water temperatures and a weak or non-existent El Nino are expected to contribute to an above-normal hurricane season this year.The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 11 to 17 named storms this year, with five to nine expected to become hurricanes and two to four expected to become major in force.An average of 35 to 40 per cent of storms that form in the Atlantic Basin actually make it into the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s response zone, meaning anywhere from four to six storms could affect Canada this year.A strong El Nino — the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean — can suppress hurricanes in the Atlantic.Hurricane seasons tend to be quieter in years with a strong El Nino and more active in years with La Nina conditions — like in 2016.Last year there were 15 named storms, seven of which reached hurricane status, with four of those reaching major hurricane status. A typical year has 12 storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.last_img read more

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As US shocks with NAFTA demands other countries asking What does Trump

first_imgARLINGTON, Va. – The chief U.S. negotiator shrugged his shoulders when asked about signs of trouble in the NAFTA talks on Sunday. John Melle pulled open a door, entered a work room, and offered a one-word reply about how it’s going.“Fabulous,” he said.Upon leaving those rooms, people are saying the exact opposite. The No. 1 discussion topic at this current round is whether Melle’s team is being ordered to sabotage the talks, so President Donald Trump can declare NAFTA has failed.That’s because the U.S. team has unfurled a half-dozen bombshells so far beyond the realm of what’s palatable to the other parties that it’s all but exploded earlier hopes of a quick, easy negotiation.The other countries are scrutinizing the body language of U.S. negotiators as they present ideas like a sunset clause that could end NAFTA after five years; ask to gut the deal’s enforcement mechanisms; and pursue non-starter ideas on dairy, textiles, automobiles and Buy American rules.Some of these American negotiators built the very agreement they’re now proposing to strip down. Melle has even praised NAFTA’s successes. One non-U.S. official described the body language of American negotiators as: “Kind of sheepish. They say, ‘We don’t have any flexibility on this.’”Another used an analogy: “The (U.S.) negotiators are like lawyers who hate their clients.”Everyone is now watching Donald Trump.The president has repeatedly stated his desire to invoke NAFTA’s termination clause, allowing him to cancel the deal on six months’ notice, in order to scare other countries into making concessions.It would fit a tactic Trump has been accused of: Break now, fix later.Critics have said Trump used this strategy on health care, undocumented young migrants, and the Iran nuclear deal — breaking an existing policy, then ordering others to put together a replacement, in a hurry, before a deadline hits, and chaos ensues.Could he try it on NAFTA?A front-page New York Times article on Sunday on Trump’s approach concludes with an analyst comparing Iran and NAFTA.Iran’s foreign minister sees parallels himself.Javad Zarif linked the NAFTA scrap to the one involving his country in an interview that aired Sunday: “This administration is withdrawing from everything. Somebody called it the, ‘Withdrawal Doctrine,’ for this administration. It’s withdrawing from NAFTA. It’s withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership. It’s withdrawing from UNESCO,” Zarif said in a CBS interview.“So people cannot trust anymore the word of the United States. You see, in order to bring United States on board for many of these international agreements, a lot of people make a lot of concessions. Now nobody is going to make any concessions to the United States because they know that the next U.S. president will come back and say, ‘It wasn’t enough.’”The Canadian and Mexican governments intend to sit through the storm.They say there are no plans to walk out, or make aggressive counter-demands, like pushing their own non-starters — such as free trade in softwood lumber. They say they’re better off working patiently.Officials do profess to being perplexed about Trump’s goal.Several Canadians said it’s unclear: Is Trump trying to get other countries to leave the table, declare talks have failed, and invoke NAFTA’s six-month termination clause? Or is this just overly dramatic early bargaining — a la, “Art of the Deal”?But one thing is increasingly clear, they say: hopes are fading for a quick deal by Christmas.“Do we want a deal? Yes. Do we want a quick deal? Yes,” one official said. “But are we gonna take any deal just to wrap up quickly? Obviously not. If it takes more time, it takes more time.”The initial rush for an agreement was prompted by the political calendar, as some worried that if a deal wasn’t completed by the time national election campaigns start in Mexico and the U.S. next year, it won’t happen before 2019.And that would mean an extra year of uncertainty watching Trump — scrutinizing whether he’s readying to pull the plug on NAFTA.That lingering uncertainty over NAFTA, coupled with homeowners’ concerns about possible interest hikes, are acting as drags on an otherwise strong economy, the Bank of Canada governor said last weekend.“These are sources of angst,” Stephen Poloz told reporters.He said it’s hard to predict the economic impact of a NAFTA termination. He said the bank’s own models rely on research from people like Dan Ciuriak, who assesses the impact of different tariffs on business decision-making.Ciuriak used to run the computer-modelling unit at Canada’s foreign-affairs ministry. Now a private consultant, he happens to be working on such a study about what would happen under different scenarios — ranging from the end of NAFTA, to the end of all trade deals with the U.S.He’s still crunching the numbers, and won’t publish for another couple of weeks.But his early estimate is that ending free trade would slice 2.5 per cent from the Canadian economy. He says the initial shock might be more severe.“That’s the ballpark,” said Ciuriak, who will publish his study with the C.D. Howe Institute.“That actual pathway to that (eventual) figure may be worse.”last_img read more

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Highflying kite interferes with air traffic at Victoria harbour

first_imgVICTORIA – Nav Canada says a high-flying kite interfered with air traffic in Victoria’s inner harbour Tuesday, causing some flights to be diverted.Victoria police say the kite was flying about 300 metres in the air and it took some time to track down the man flying it.Const. Matt Rutherford says kite enthusiasts and others should use common sense when enjoying their hobby.Rutherford says kites and drones shouldn’t fly too high in a city, especially when there is an active airport nearby where planes and helicopters land.He says the incident is concerning, and police will be working with Transport Canada to determine the next steps.Victoria’s harbour is used by float planes. (CFAX)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the incident happened on Monday.last_img read more

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For Monica Alberta man opens up on why he helped police catch

first_imgRED DEER, Alta. – Brady Flett says he knew within days of the deaths of an Alberta couple and their daughter that the supposedly grief-stricken son was involved somehow.Flett, though, did not see Jason Klaus as a killer at first, despite details he kept dropping that pointed to Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus having been murdered.“What I wanted to believe was maybe he owed some bad people a whole lot of money, and they ended up taking out his family for that reason,” said Flett, who was Monica’s boss and friend at Vortex Production Services in Stettler, Alta.“Never did I want to believe that he would do that.”The Klauses were shot and killed early on the morning of Dec. 8, 2013. Their farmhouse just outside Castor, Alta., was burned to the ground. The family dog was killed and left in the yard.Flett was a key witness in the trial of Klaus and his accomplice, Joshua Frank, who were sentenced last month to life in prison. Flett recently discussed his participation in the case with the Red Deer Advocate.During the trial, court heard that Klaus had a cocaine and gambling addiction and forged cheques on his parents account. He offered Frank money to kill the family. Frank told police he killed them because he was scared Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.The dead dog immediately raised suspicions with police.After a number of disturbing conversations with Klaus, Flett was convinced that he was directly responsible. On Jan. 15, 2014, Flett volunteered to become a police informant and encouraged Klaus to open up.He went to police after Klaus told him bizarre stories of ghosts providing details of the crime, including the kind of gun used, where it was dumped and the use of aviation fuel to start the fire.On one occasion, standing with Flett in the debris-filled basement of the remains of his family home, Klaus performed a chilling pantomime. Pointing his finger like a gun, he mimicked how his parents and sister were killed.“That’s the time where I had no doubt in my mind this was done out of a pile of anger,” Flett said.From mid-January 2014 to the arrest of Klaus and Frank the following August, every conversation and phone call Flett had with Klaus was secretly recorded by police.The evidence he gathered built a case against Klaus and led to the RCMP deciding to try to ensnare him in a four-month undercover sting.Police informant was a lonely role and Flett could not breathe a word until his testimony was completed at the trial, which ran for six weeks last October and November.“It was a long four years because my wife is the only person who knew anything of my involvement. My kids didn’t know. Nobody at work knew.”It was especially hard on his wife, Norma.“There were times I’d be gone from 2 o’clock in the afternoon to three in the morning and there was zero communication I could have with her.”She feared for their own children and five grandchildren. She even looked at moving to another country to get far away from Klaus and Frank.Flett said he was fully aware of the peril if Klaus had found out his role.“If you can take out your own family, taking out my family wouldn’t have been a big issue.”His wife’s fears were heightened when lawyers for Klaus and Frank went before a judge last August to ask that their charges be stayed, because the case had taken too long to go to trial. She was terrified the two would walk free.After 11 tense days, a judge dismissed the applications.Testifying in court, Flett was asked why he got involved.“For Monica,” he said.Flett still thinks about his executive assistant and close friend every day, he said.A photo of her and her beloved dog, Patches, hangs in Vortex’s lobby.“Monica sat side by side with me for 10 years,” Flett said.“There’s nothing I did that Monica didn’t know of and there was nothing that I needed done that Monica didn’t take care of.”last_img read more

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BC ministers discuss investigation of money laundering in real estate

first_imgVICTORIA – British Columbia Attorney General David Eby says terms of reference are being discussed as the province moves ahead with the second phase of its battle against money laundering.The first phase was unveiled last week with a report from former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, detailing money laundering in the gaming industry.Part two will focus on monetary transactions linked to the housing market and Eby says he is working with Finance Minister Carole James to identify issues.German says an examination of money laundering within the real estate industry must tackle problems linked to development and mortgages, as well as the sale of commercial and residential properties.He predicts the second phase will be a “larger beast to tackle,” because he says real estate drives the economy in B.C., while gaming has had less of an overall impact.German will also author the second report but says his investigation has just begun and there’s no word on a timeline for completion.Phase one of German’s work, a 247-page report that identified blatant examples of money laundering in Metro Vancouver casinos, makes 48 recommendations and seeks sweeping reforms.Those include appointment of an independent regulator overseeing the casino industry and creation of a specialized, around-the-clock police force to battle money laundering.German found at least $100 million has been laundered through casinos but admits the total could be much higher, although without a forensic audit, he can’t provide an estimate.Eby said last week that casino money laundering was linked to the opioid crisis and could also be connected to real estate. (CHNL)last_img read more

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Restored prison cemetery tells social history of BC councillor

first_imgJaimie McEvoy says he stumbled upon a hidden piece of British Columbia history by accident.The New Westminster city councillor spotted a coyote during a walk and followed it over a fence in pursuit of a photo.When he looked down through the tall grass, overgrown brambles and prickly bushes, he noticed rocks marked with prisoner numbers.The B.C. Penitentiary Cemetery, where at least 47 prisoners were buried between 1913 and 1968, was at risk of being forgotten, McEvoy said.Over the past two years, McEvoy has lead a task force to restore the cemetery where federal inmates whose families didn’t claim their remains were buried.It’s an important piece of B.C. history, he said, especially as a snapshot of a diverse segment of the population.“British Columbia has a lot of historical sites that honour the colonial heritage and colonial officials. This is sort of an average people’s historic site and it’s a multicultural site, it reflects what British Columbia really looked like,” he said, adding there are inmates of Indigenous, Hawaiian, Chinese and African descent.“In the lives of the prisoners, the crimes they were convicted of and how they were treated, it shows that whole social history of our province,” he said.The federal prison operated in New Westminster from 1878 to 1980. The inmates buried there died in prison and were serving time for everything from murder to stealing $15 worth of socks.A Chinese inmate named Gim Kim became the first documented inmate buried at the cemetery, and Alphonse Duquette, 18, was the youngest.Joseph Smith and Herman Wilson died after a failed escape attempt in which a guard was killed. One was shot and the other was executed as punishment.Five Doukhobor inmates served time for protesting nude.The most common causes of death were suicide and tuberculosis, McEvoy said.Rob McCullough, manager of museums and heritage services, said one man died at 72 and was serving time for a habitual criminal career. He was convicted of 45 offences in 54 years.But many remain a mystery.“The majority of them, we know their names, we know their age at death and we know for some of them, a bit about the crimes they committed. The vast majority we don’t have details on what they were there for or their families to that end,” McCullough said.Fellow inmates dug the graves, built the coffins and made the nails that sealed them. They placed rocks at the burial mounds marked with the prisoner’s number and nothing else, McEvoy said.While 47 burial sites have been confirmed, others are believed to be unmarked and McCullough said there may be up to 61 dead buried there.The city has spent $26,000 on the project, including $14,000 on geotechnical analysis to determine the size and scope of the graveyard and work with genealogists.McEvoy said the land was passed to the municipality after the penitentiary closed in 1980, but has been inaccessible because of a development next door.While the cemetery had been off the city’s radar for years, that wasn’t true for everyone.McEvoy said people have occasionally left flowers at the site. Beyond serving as a historical site, the city wanted to restore it as a spiritual space.The cemetery is now open to the public, with a walkway, interpretative signage and conserved grave markers.McEvoy said he hopes it will attract B.C. history fans.“I expect people from outside New Westminster who are interested in history and family members of people buried there (may come). And I think a lot of the neighbourhood will show up, since there’s been a lot of curiosity and fascination about the site.”last_img read more

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Trudeau is just the worst Manitoba teacher investigated for insulting PM

first_imgThe Canadian Press MIAMI, Man. — A rural Manitoba school division says it is investigating after a gym teacher posted a photo to Facebook showing him holding a sign insulting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.The photo was taken after an event attended by Conservative MP Candice Bergen at the kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Miami, Man.In an interview with CTV Winnipeg, physical education teacher Brent Unrau says he asked for a photo with Bergen and in it, the two hold signs that together read: “Trudeau is just the worst.”Unrau says in hindsight he should not have posted the photo and he removed it from social media three hours later.He says he doesn’t consider himself political and he was not trying to push a political agenda on any students.The Prairie Rose School Division says it is investigating the posting.“This interaction occurred after the planned events and was an unscheduled meeting/interaction,” reads a statement from the division. “The posting does not reflect the views of the division and the division does not condone this type of political partisanship.”Bergen also posted the photo to her Instagram and detailed what happened.In the post, the MP says a “constituent” asked her to hold a sign with his feelings about Trudeau and that she agreed because “a lot of people feel the same way you do Brent!”Bergen’s Instagram post has since been deleted.Area residents are split on the matter.Tina Waldner, whose children all go to Miami School, says that while the post surprised her, she found it funny.“I kind of chuckled at first. I mean a lot of us maybe carry the same opinion. It was just pretty bold,” Waldner says.But Kerri Wiebe, who attended Miami School growing up, reached out to the school division after seeing the post. She says a teacher should be non-partisan and should not endorse any political candidate on school grounds.“As an MP she should be setting an example for children, and doing this childish name calling in a school — she should have known better,” Wiebe says.Miami is about 115 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. (CTV Winnipeg)last_img read more

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Annie Lennox And Colin Firth Raid Their Closets For Charity

first_imgCelebrities across the UK have been raiding their wardrobes and homes to help raise money for charity mothers2mothers (m2m).Stars including Annie Lennox, Colin Firth, Livia Firth, Emma Bunton and Mollie King have donated to an eBay auction which will raise funds for the charity’s vital work in sub-Saharan Africa, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.A host of celebrities have donated designer clothing and other items to be auctioned on eBay as part of the mothers2mothers ‘make more than money’ special fundraising event, running throughout March.The inaugural auction will celebrate Mother’s Day with items up for grabs including an autographed selection of Kings Speech memorabilia from Colin Firth, artwork created by Annie Lennox, a beautiful jewellery box from artist and model Tali Lennox and two beautiful designer dresses from Emma Bunton and Mollie King.Every £30 raised helps mothers2mothers provide peer education and psychosocial support to one HIV-positive woman, over the course of her pregnancy, on how to keep healthy and prevent transmission of HIV to her baby. m2m Mentor Mothers also educate women on other topics critical to their health, ranging from family planning and reproductive health to tuberculosis and nutrition.Speaking of the auction, Colin Firth comments: “I’m delighted to support mothers2mothers by offering this autographed package of Kings Speech memorabilia. I have enormous respect for the work mothers2mothers are doing to protect babies from HIV, and hope this auction is a great success.”About her donation, Emma Bunton says: “This beautiful dress was hand made for me and I loved wearing it, but I’m delighted to donate it to such a good cause. mothers2mothers are doing amazing work in sub-Saharan Africa, helping mothers protect their babies from HIV infections.”Almost all babies infected with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa and acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. mothers2mothers trains and employs HIV-positive mothers, called Mentor Mothers, to work alongside nurses and doctors providing life-saving information to pregnant women and new mothers on how to protect themselves and their babies from acquiring HIV.Emma France, European Director of mothers2mothers said: “Every day, almost 900 children are infected with HIV. Yet most of these infections are preventable. Every day Mentor Mothers are helping mothers live healthy lives and have babies born free of HIV. Our supporters have been incredibly generous and this amazing auction offers everyone a chance to own a piece of fashion history and to help some of the most vulnerable mothers and babies in sub-Saharan Africa at the same time. It’s definitely worth a look – you might just find the perfect Mother’s Day gift! This is also your chance to sell your own personal treasures and donate the proceeds to mothers2mothers.”For more information on the auction, click here.The campaign is not only open to celebrities, anyone can donate items, to find out how, click here or to join the conversation, go to #m2m or @m2mtweets.last_img read more

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