Jamshedpur: The Jharkhand Police has detained six people for allegedly forcibly tonsuring the heads of nine men and trimming the nails of seven women in Seraikela-Kharsawan district after they refused to perform the rituals themselves following the death of a fellow villager, police said on Monday.One of the victims, however, claimed that the accused did this as they alleged that they (victims) practise black magic. The accused were detained on Sunday after the police received information about the incident that took place in Chhota Krishnapur village on May 23. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCSuperintendent of Police Chandan Kumar Sinha said a resident of the village died recently and the other villagers shaved their heads as per Hindu customs, but 16 men and women of 12 families refused to perform the ritual. The victims worship a “Guru Maa” and they neither follow Hindu rituals nor go to temples, he said. Considering their refusal inauspicious, the villagers held a meeting and directed the 16 men and women to take a bath and shave their heads so that they could be “purified”, the SP said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsWhen the victims refused to obey the diktat, the villagers allegedly forcibly tonsured the heads of the men and trimmed the nails of the women, he said. However, one of the victims, Sushila Mahato, offered a different version of the incident. “The villagers, including the gram pradhan, forcibly shaved the heads of our men and cut women’s nails alleging that we practise black magic,” claimed Mahato, who works as a cook in a government school. The victims did not inform the police directly as, Mahato claimed, they are supposed to do it through the village head. The SP said the detained people, including the gram pradhan, are being questioned. The victims have left their homes and taken shelter at the ‘Andh-Vishwas Unmulan Kendra’ (Centre for Eradication of Superstition) in Birbans village under the Saraikela police station. The centre is run with the support of an NGO, Free Legal Aid Committee (FLAC). FLAC chairman Premji demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and stringent action against them to check recurrence of such incidents. The incident stems from superstition, which still exists, particularly among the poor sections of the society, he said.
New Delhi: Police have arrested here a man who was transporting fake Indian currency notes smuggled from Bangladesh and valued at Rs 5 lakh, an official said on Tuesday. Santosh Kumar Singh, 32, a resident of Bihar and a key member of an international fake currency racket, was taken into custody from Kashmere Gate area. He said the fake currency, in the denomination of Rs 2,000, was supplied from Bangladesh to West Bengal and transported to Bihar before being brought to Delhi, said Sanjeev Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell.
Kolkata: Aiming to make the Bengali film and television industry an organised sector and ensuring equal rights for all, a new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-backed organisation has been launched here. The Eastern India Motion Pictures and Cultural Confederation (EIMPCC) was launched on Saturday evening in the presence of West Bengal BJP President and Vice President Dilip Ghosh and Jaiprakash Majumdaar, respuectively. However, eminent designer Agnimitra Paul, who recently joined the BJP and was appointed as the President of the newly formed body, stressed on the apolitical nature of the organisation. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers “This platform belongs to everyone working in the cultural fields including films, television, theatre and so on. There will be no interference and be assured that all problems in the entertainment industry will be dealt with. If needed, the matters will be taken to Delhi,” Ghosh said before a gathering of hundreds of artists and technicians. Stressing on the EIMPCC’s focus on genuine talents, Paul said: “Talented artists are not getting work till they are becoming ‘yes-men’ while many are getting opportunities due to political connections. But our organisation is completely apolitical. We won’t give work to people, but will stand by them in times of need”. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Without naming the Trinamool Congress, she said currently “there wass a lot of interference from a political party” and on many occasions filmmakers are instructed to take particular artists they recommend. Paul condemned the current practices of the industry where “there is no liberty”. She mentioned that she will see to the issues of non-payment, shutting down of single screens and so on. “I repeat that we have no colour and many political parties have endorsed our work, seeing our honesty and integrity towards our work.” It is the organisation’s aim to see that the members of the industry get benefits like health insurance, extra payment for over time and provident fund, Paul added. Director Sanghamitra Chaudhuri, who is the vice Chairperson of EIMPCC, said it should be a collective fight against corrupt practices. Actor George Baker, one of the two nominated Anglo-Indian members of the Lok Sabha, became nostalgic while vouching for unity among the artists and technicians. He said everyone working in front and behind the camera should get their due respect. Trinamool leaders Aroop Biswas and his brother Swarup Biswas hold key positions in existing bodies Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) and the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India (FCTWEI). Speaking on the occasion, Jaiprakash Majumdaar said their party wants a change and bring back the halycon days of the Bengali film industry which has been enriched by the creations of legendary directors like Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray. He said that they will see to end of the dominance of Biswas brothers. Negating Trinamool’s allegations against the BJP for politicising the entertainment industry, Paul said: “We are trying to break the existing political practices here and BJP leaders like Dilip Ghosh, Jaiprakash Majumdaar have endorsed us and rendered their support.”
Tokyo: India’s campaign at the ongoing Japan Open came to an end as B. Sai Praneeth lost his men’s singles semifinal clash to World no. 1 Kento Momota at the $750,000 tournament on Saturday. Praneeth, who had recorded an easy win over Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto to enter the semis, lost 18-21, 12-21 to Momota in a match that lasted for 45 minutes. The unseeded Indian started off the match on a great note as he took an initial 3-1 lead in the first few minutes. However, Momota came back with a great fight and took an 11-8 lead at the mid-game break. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Praneeth, who had been in great touch in the tournament so far, tried to up the ante and earned some points but ultimately lost the game 18-21 in 23 minutes. In the second game, the top-seeded Japanese didn’t led Praneeth take a long lead from the start and overturned a 6-9 deficit to make it 12-9 with the help of six straight points. From there on, the world number one raced to a seven-point lead and eventually won the match 12-21 in 22 minutes to make it to his second consecutive final. He will take on either Jan O Jorgensen or Jonatan Christie on Sunday.
Recognised as one of the oldest and most prestigious theatre festivals in Delhi, the Old World Theatre Festival will bring a constellation of original scripts from August 16 – 25, at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. In its 18th edition, the festival has invited a stunning array of productions that entertain, stimulate, provoke and educate in great measure.Announcing the line up, Vidyun Singh, Director Programmes, Habitat World, India Habitat Centre, said “We are delighted to see such diversity and vibrancy in Indian theatre, and this year we proudly bring a gamut of theatre performances, which engages with contemporary dilemmas and various issues concerning the country at large. The past few years have seen a steady and growing change in the Indian theatre milieu, as a new generation of theatre practitioners came into its own. They are brilliant, relentless and are undeterred by the practical concerns of revenue models, escalating costs of performance spaces and paucity of funds.” Also Read – An income drop can harm brain’1,2, Tree…’, a puppet theatre production about a 7-year old boy, his cat Bruce Lee and a plant which they have befriended will open the festival on August 16, 7:00 pm at The Stein Auditorium. Another delightful opening act is ‘Unravel: An Improv Play About Mental Health’ directed by Varoon Anand. Unravel is an interactive theatre production bringing experiences with mental health and wellness to the fore. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardOther plays during the festival include Gurleen Judge’s ‘Hunger Artist’ inspired by both Franz Kafka’s chilling short story by the same name and Dhasal’s masterpiece poem ‘Bhook’ (hunger), a moving portrayal of the agrarian crisis. Tara Arts London brings Black Theatre Broadcast of William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, about three outrageous hijras who cook up an explosive brew of treachery, ambition, and passion, setting an Asian family off on a path of bloody self-destruction directed by Jatinder Verma. Supported by the British Council, the renowned director will also lead a master class on August 18 with designer Claudia Mayer exploring the choices possible in re-locating Shakespeare’s text to another culture, and its consequences on approach to the text. Veteran Director Neelam Man Singh’s new production ‘Gumm Hai’s’ recurring leitmotif follows Pinki, a young girl of eleven who has gone missing from her village for two months, and how an inexplicable loss irrevocably changes the dynamics within a family and the community. ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ directed by Quasar Thokore Padamsee is the story of a seven years old. Mum’s in hospital. She finds it hard to be happy. He makes a list to cheer her up. Directed by dancer Sanjukta Wagh, Bombay-based beej’s ‘Faqeer Nimaana’ is a dance and music narrative based on Shah Hussain, a mystic weaver poet from 16th century Lahore. Sanjukta Wagh will be joined by musicians Radhika Sood Nayak, Hitesh Dhutia and Vinayak Netke. ‘Those Left Behind Things’ directed by Vikram Phukan is a play that follows the journey of Iranian asylum-seeker Hamid set in the dark alleys of Tehran to the neon-lit pier at Brighton. Based on Annie Zaidi’s acclaimed short story, ‘Jam’ directed by Bollywood actor Shivani Tanksale is a story of college friends who haven’t met for years. Under Pressure directed by Aruna Ganesh Ram explores themes of consumerism, minimal living, indigenous wisdom, the life of trees and the politics of nature. The Big Fat Company’s Head 2 Head directed by Shabari Rao is a unique devised theatre performance using sections of the iconic Kannada play by Girish Karnad. The festival will close with Makrand Deshpande’s ‘Pitaji Please’, story of love between a father and son and they are compelled to keep one lie between them to welcome a new person in their lives. The festival will also see workshops and master classes by visiting theatre practitioners, which includes workshops on Improvisation by Varoon Anand, Character Development by actor Aditya Garg and the Big Fat Company’s one day workshop for physically big actors.
New Delhi: Rape-accused Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his accomplice, Shashi Singh were produced before a Delhi court on Monday, in the case pertaining to the rape of a minor girl allegedly by the lawmaker at his residence in Unnao on June 4, 2017. Both the accused were produced before Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma. Sengar was lodged in Sitapur district jail in Uttar Pradesh and was expelled from the BJP last week. Accused Shashi Singh had allegedly lured the victim into going to Sengar’s residence in search of a job. A few days earlier, Sengar and nine others were booked for murder by the CBI after the rape survivor and the advocate were injured when a truck hit their car in Rae Bareli. Her two aunts were killed in the accident. The rape survivor’s family has alleged foul play. The Supreme Court had last week directed to hold trial on daily basis and completing it within 45-days.
New Delhi: Six people, including three children, died and 13 were injured in a massive fire at a building in Delhi’s Zakir Nagar area due to a short circuit early on Tuesday, officials said. Eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot after information was received around 2.30 am about the fire in a four-storey residential building, according to the fire department. The blaze, which occurred due to short circuit in electric metres, was doused by 5.25 am. The building in southeast Delhi housed 13 flats, the officials said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Around seven cars and 19 motorcycles were destroyed in the fire, the officials said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the site and said the cause of the blaze would be probed. He announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the deceased. The deceased have been identified as Zoha (34), Nagmi (30), Arbaaz (6), Amna (8) and Zikra (8). Their bodies have been kept at the AIIMS. The sixth body is yet to be identified and has been kept at the Safdarjung Hospital. Four fire personnel were also injured in the rescue operation. The injured firemen are station officer Tarachand, two fire operators — Mohan Lal and Dilbagh — and leading fireman Ram Niwas. The others who are injured have been identified as Athar, Faiz, Farukh, Abiba, Sayema, Saba, Rehan, Shabana and Umar, the officials said.
Ghaziabad: Two girls, aged six and nine years, were drowned in a pit filled with rain water near their house in Modinagar area of Ghaziabad on Thursday evening. Cops said that both the girls who were cousin sisters fell into the pit while cycling as they failed to comprehend the depth of pit. Police have not received any complaint into the matter while the family of deceased has also denied for post mortem. According to police, the deceased have been identified as Preeti (12) and Chanchal (6). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderKashi Prasad Mishra, Circle Officer, Modinagar, said that both the girls have left home around 4 pm on Thursday for cycling. “Both the girls have left home for playing on Thursday evening but when they didn’t return home hours after they went, their family went on a search in nearby area. They spotted the slipper of one of the girls floating in the pit and they suspected that the girls might have drowned in the pit. Immediately they informed police and both the bodies were rescued by 7:30 pm with the help of divers,” said Mishra. “The pit was located at a vacant plot which is owned by Modi industries group. The pit was around five to seven feet deep and was filled with rainwater. Both the girls fell into the pit as they could not fathom the depth. The cycle also fell over them into the pit due to which they failed to come out and got drowned. The family has not given any complaint into the matter and they have also denied for post mortem. We will initiate investigation into the case if a complaint is received,” added Mishra. Following the incident, MLA Modinagar Manju Shiwach, Chairman Nagar Palika, Ashok Maheshwari reached the spot and took cognisance of the situation.
Drinking coffee may be associated with a reduced risk of developing gallstones, a study claims. Among 104,493 individuals, those who drank more than six cups of coffee per day had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing symptomatic gallstones compared with people who did not drink coffee, according to a study. Drinking one extra cup of coffee per day was associated with three per cent lower risk, said researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainIndividuals with certain genetic variants that have been linked to increased coffee consumption had a lower risk of gallstones, they said. Although the study only uncovered correlations, the researchers highlighted several mechanisms by which coffee consumption might help prevent gallstones from forming. In observational analysis, those with coffee intake of over six cups daily had 23 per cent lower risk of gallstone disease (GSD) compared to individuals without coffee intake. The estimated observational odds ratio for GSD for one cup per day higher coffee intake was 0.97, equal to three per cent lower risk, researchers said.
New Delhi: Oil marketing companies have cited issues like sales tax as a barrier to the Civil Aviation Ministry’s plan to rationalise additional charges that airlines have to pay while uplifting aviation turbine fuel (ATF) at airports across India, officials said. Currently, airlines have to pay taxes for certain services, such as ‘throughput charges’, ‘into-plane charges’ and ‘fuel-infrastructure charges’ when they take the ATF at any airport for their planes. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”These charges are taxed multiple times as they are billed in a circuitous manner,” a senior government official said. A second official said the Ministry of Civil Aviation had formed a committee to develop a direct-billing mechanism between airline companies and airport operators so that these multiple taxes can be removed. The committee comprises representatives from airlines, airport operators, oil marketing companies (OMCs), other service providers among others. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAccording to government estimates, if a direct-billing mechanism is implemented, airlines would be able to save around Rs 400 crore per year. In India, ATF accounts for almost 40 per cent of any airline’s total expenditure. Therefore, any taxation on ATF always has a huge impact on airline companies. “The OMCs have told us that there are certain provisions in the sales tax regime at the state-level, as well as in the excise tax regime, which may prevent direct billing,” the official said. During one of the meetings of the committee, the official said, the OMCs — Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum — stated that the state governments would be reluctant to let go of the tax revenues that come from the circuitous billing. The official said the committee was expected to submit its report soon. Explaining the matter, the first official quoted above said: “Take the example of billing for throughput charges, which is done by the airport operator to the oil company. “In turn, oil company passes on the charges by billing airlines. However, due to such convoluted billing process, taxes such as GST and excise duty and VAT is added on to throughput charges.” The official said that at the Delhi airport, if the throughput charges levied by the airport operator is only Rs 100, the airline ends up paying Rs 164 as it is paying “tax on tax”, which includes the goods and services tax (GST), excise duty and value-added tax (VAT). According to the official, had the throughput charges been invoiced directly by the airport operators to the airlines, the latter would have got the input tax credit for the GST paid and there would be no application of excise duty or VAT. “The other charges — fuel infrastructure charges and into-plane charges — are also being billed similarly in circuitous manner, leading to tax on tax,” the official said.
New Delhi: Tata Motors on Wednesday reported a 32 per cent decline in global sales, including that of Jaguar Land Rover, to 72,464 units in August. It had sold 1,07,030 units in August last year. Global wholesale units of all Tata Motors’ commercial vehicles and Tata Daewoo range last month stood at 25,366 units, down 45 per cent from 45,719 units a year ago, the company said in a statement. The company’s global sales of all passenger vehicles were at 47,098 units, down 22 per cent from 61,328 units in August 2018.
New Delhi: “Did the officer, whom you approached regarding your complaint, behaved properly?” is among questions asked from complainants by Metro Unit of Delhi Police. The law enforcement agency said that efforts are being made to get feedback from the complainants regarding the behaviour of their personnel while interacting with them in serious cases.An officer said that they are making sure that their staff are more polite with the complainants. “Feedback is only taken in the cases which are serious in nature,” police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Metro) Vikram K Porwal told Millennium Post that steps are being taken to enhance the visibility of police around Metro jurisdiction. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHe further informed that station house officers (SHOs) were told to conduct briefing of their staff inside metro stations so that people can see the presence of police which will instill confidence among them. Elaborating more on feedback system of Metro police, DCP Porwal said that from his office they make calls to complainants. They also motivate their staff for effective policing. Recently, several groups of women thieves were busted in separate cases of thefts in Metro. “We have taken preventive measures against one of the groups,” police said. An officer further said that they have also conducted a security audit of more than 180 metro stations and they will be writing to concerned agencies regarding the issues which they found during mapping. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Our main concern was to ensure the safety of passengers. During the audit, we were focussing on dark stretches in Metro jurisdiction. We also checked whether any lift is opening on the plainclothes isolated,” the officer further said. DCP Metro said that they are making all efforts to reduce its response time in attending emergency calls. When DCP was asked about their plan to curb suicide in metro jurisdiction, he replied that their staff regularly conduct patrolling in plainclothes inside metro premises. Some symptoms related to suicidal tendency were briefed to them. Efforts are being made to curb such incidents.
FREDERICTON – Some key numbers Thursday from flooded New Brunswick:81: Number of roads and bridges fully closed to traffic.5: Roads partially closed.$172.50: Amount of fine for driving around road barricades, according to Saint John police.More than 200: Detour, in kilometres, around Trans-Canada Highway closure between Moncton and Fredericton.4: Number of ferries affected by the floods.5.34: Number of metres Saint John River was above sea level Thursday in the Saint John and Quispamsis areas7.92: Number of metres Saint John River was above sea level Wednesday in the Fredericton area, although water levels have risen slightly in several communities including Maugerville, Jemseg and Grand Lake.100: Approximate number of homes evacuated by Thursday morning.$160,000: Maximum government assistance for private homes, not including recreational properties, damaged by floods.10,000: Number of sandbags sent to the Grand Bay-Westfield area by Cooke Aquaculture of Blacks Harbour.347: Number of NB Power customers who have had service disconnected due to flooding.1,400: Number of residents along the Westfield Road area in Saint John offered a free one-way shuttle evacuation service from NB Southern Railroad
OTTAWA – Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has appointed Dr. Theresa Tam as Canada’s top doctor, the third person to head the Public Health Agency of Canada since its inception in 2004.Tam had been acting chief public health officer since the retirement of former PHAC chief Dr. Gregory Taylor in December.The pediatric infectious disease specialist has held a number of senior leadership positions at the agency, including assistant deputy minister of infectious disease prevention and control.One of Tam’s challenges will be dealing with the growing opioid crisis that has led to an unprecedented number of overdose deaths in the country.Tam says public health involves “harnessing the efforts of many to protect and promote the health of all Canadians, including the most vulnerable in society.”The federal government created PHAC to strengthen the country’s ability to respond to public health threats and disease epidemics such as the 2003 SARS crisis. Dr. David Butler-Jones was the agency’s inaugural chief public health officer.
DEER LAKE, N.L. – A small community on Newfoundland’s west coast is warning residents to be on the lookout for a possible panther roaming near the town.The Town of Deer Lake posted a notice on its Facebook page that says two women spotted the large black cat while walking on Glide Brook Road last Sunday.It described the animal as having rounded ears, a “muscular cat body” and a very long, thick rope-like black curled tail.The town’s post claims it wasn’t the women’s first encounter.One of them says she spotted a similar creature while walking on Pynn’s Brook Road in early September.No pictures have yet surfaced, but comments online report similar unconfirmed sightings in various areas of the island over the past few years.The town says provincial wildlife officials have been contacted, but that residents should be cautious while walking in areas outside the town.(VOCM)
OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau has been spared from testifying before a parliamentary committee over his controversial Bahamas vacation, as Liberals on the House of Commons ethics committee said Trudeau and can answer questions about the getaway during a cross-country town hall tour.Opposition MPs on the committee had hoped to convince the Liberal majority to compel Trudeau to appear and address his dealings with the Aga Khan, in particular his family’s contentious December 2016 visit to the billionaire spiritual leader’s private Bahamian island.Predictably, however, their efforts landed short of the mark as the vote fell along party lines, with Liberals voting unanimously to reject the Conservative motion hours after Trudeau dismissed the idea of him testifying as little more than an opposition effort to score political points.Tuesday’s meeting was a prelude of sorts to Wednesday’s main event, when the committee hears from Mary Dawson, the former ethics commissioner who called the prime minister on the carpet over the trip in one of the last official pronouncements of her tenure, which ended Monday.Dawson’s report, released just before Christmas, found Trudeau violated four provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act when he and members of his family accepted the trip, which left taxpayers on the hook for more than $200,000 and which Dawson said could be seen as a gift designed to influence the prime minister.Dawson also said Trudeau should have recused himself from two meetings focused on a $15-million grant to the billionaire philanthropist’s endowment fund of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Trudeau told Dawson he had no qualms about the meeting, describing his role in such scenarios “as ceremonial in nature.”Dawson found no evidence that Trudeau used his position to further the Aga Khan’s private interest.NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen said there are still several questions for Trudeau to answer from the report, including why the prime minister persists in calling the Aga Khan a family friend, and why Trudeau didn’t recuse himself from the two meetings cited in the report.“We have clear and open questions that we want to put to the prime minister. What we were told today is town halls and question period are just going to have to do,” Cullen said after the meeting.Conservative ethics critic Peter Kent, the architect of Tuesday’s ill-fated motion, said Trudeau has the same obligation to be accountable to Parliament as any other federal politician.“It is his responsibility to make himself available to members of Parliament to discuss the report and his feelings about the commissioner’s findings,” Kent said. “There is no more appropriate location, I believe, than before this committee, which is responsible for the ethical practices of the House of Commons.”The opposition can ask their questions during question period, while ordinary Canadians can grill the prime minister during a series of cross-country town hall meetings that got underway Tuesday in Halifax, said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.There’s no point in having the committee “re-litigating issues that we’re likely to see in question period,” he added.Trudeau was asked about the trip during two radio appearances Tuesday, and again during the evening town hall meeting, the first in a cross-country tour. Trudeau said he would have gone to the ethics watchdog first for guidance if he had to do it all over again.“We would have followed the recommendations that the ethics commissioner gave on this whatever they were and you can be sure that moving forward that’s exactly what will happen,” he said.“This is something that I take very seriously and I think Canadians can and should take seriously because people expect a lot of their prime minister and they’re right to.“People expect a lot of their elected officials — and they should — and that’s why the service that I offer as prime minister is grounded in trying to do right by the people who entrusted me with this responsibility.”Trudeau said he still believed the Aga Khan was a close family friend — a view that would have exempted the trips from any ethical review and Trudeau from any scrutiny.Dawson determined otherwise, noting that two men barely spoke for three decades before Trudeau became a major political player on the national scene.
OTTAWA – A think tank report commissioned by Elections Canada is recommending some stiff new restrictions on money raised and spent by advocacy groups to influence the outcome of federal election campaigns.And the recommendations are being welcomed by the Trudeau government, which is promising legislation along these lines sometime this spring.In a bid to ensure foreign money is not involved in the Canadian political process, the Public Policy Forum report says only citizens who are eligible to vote should be allowed to make donations to parties, candidates or advocacy groups, known as third parties, that try to influence how people vote.Moreover, it says third parties should face the same restrictions on donations — an annual maximum of $1,575 per individual — as political parties.There is currently no cap on donations to third parties and they can accept unlimited amounts of money from businesses, unions and other organizations which are banned from contributing to political parties.The report further recommends that every cent a third party spends on electoral communications should be reported and limited — not just what they spend on advertising, which is all that’s currently regulated.And to enable effective tracking of their spending, the report says third parties should be required to open separate bank accounts, into which they would deposit all donations for electoral purposes and out of which they would pay for all election-related activities.The report also recommends that spending limits be applied to all political entities — parties, candidates and outside advocacy groups — six months prior to the launch of a federal election campaign, not just during the official election writ period.“Current limits only kick in after the campaigning horse has left the barn,” the report says, noting that the advent of fixed election dates has resulted in parties and groups ramping up their spending months before an election is called, taking advantage of the absence of regulation during the pre-writ period.The report is the result of a roundtable discussion involving academics, political strategists and journalists. It was hosted by the Public Policy Forum last October, at the behest of Elections Canada.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised legislation to regulate pre-writ spending by political parties and his government has indicated it’s planning to introduce legislation sometime this spring that would impose more stringent rules regarding money raised and spent by third parties.“One of our top priorities is strengthening and safeguarding Canada’s democratic institutions from foreign interference,” Nicky Cayer, a spokesperson for Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, said in a statement Wednesday in response to the think tank report.“Canada has robust finance rules governing political fundraising from foreign actors, but our government will further strengthen and clarify these rules to ensure greater transparency around third party financing, close loopholes in the law, and ensure a stronger defence against foreign interference in our democratic process.”
HALIFAX – A monument erected in Halifax to honour the Polish-Canadian community further cements the bond between the two countries and highlights the centuries of history that forged it, dignitaries said at Sunday’s unveiling.Dominik Barcz, a fur merchant from a Polish city on the Baltic coast, was the first recorded Polish immigrant to arrive on Canadian soil in 1752, leading many generations of Poles who later found a new home in Canada.In a letter read aloud at a ceremony Sunday morning, Andrzej Duda, president of Poland, said he was proud of the many contributions Polish people have made to Canadian society in areas of science and culture while continuing to carry on their heritage.“We want to preserve and develop the closest possible bonds with our compatriots all across the world, and this connection — the Canadian-Polonia — occupies a very special place,” Duda wrote.“I trust that it will be a lasting trace of Polish people’s presence in Canada, and inspiration for even better cooperation between our two respective countries.”The monument, displayed outside the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, is built with a large piece of natural sandstone from southern Poland, mounted on a granite base from Nova Scotia.A plaque on the front of the monument reads: “A stone from Poland in honour of emigrants from Polish lands who contributed to the creation and development of Canada, which in return offered them shelter and new prospects.”“This is not just an average rock,” said Jan Skora, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland, who came up with the idea for a monument in 2016.“This is extremely important, emotionally, for Polish people, the people who cannot go anymore to Poland, to touch this rock and be in Poland. This is a special rock.”The first Polish migrants came to Canada soon after the First Partition of Poland in the late 1700s, and more would come in the 19th century.In the mid-1800s, two waves of Poles arrived in Canada, forming the country’s first Polish settlements in Ontario. Another wave occurred through the 1890s until the start of First World War, in part because of Prussian and Austrian occupation in their home countries.While immigration was restricted during Depression-era Canada, around 64,000 Polish exiles and refugees came to Canada between the end of the Second World War and 1956.According to Statistics Canada, around one million Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry, with about 10,000 people of a Polish background living in Nova Scotia — nearly 10 per cent of the province’s population.Chris Solarski, who attended Sunday’s event with his family, is one of them.His grandparents came through Pier 21, then an immigration facility, in the early 20th century.His ancestors settled near Toronto, where they had his parents, who in turn had him and raised him in the area. Seven years ago, he decided to move back to Halifax, where he found more information about his relatives at the Canadian Museum of Immigration.“We found the registry and we found their names, and what they came over with: literally $25 in their pocket and one suitcase,” said Solarski.While he said the language got lost over the years as his family settled in Canada, he said he tries to maintain Poland’s culture and holiday traditions as much as possible with his wife and two children.“It’s important to carry on so it keeps going. We’re Canadians first, but we still have that Polish heritage and we need to maintain that,” he said, adding that he was pleased to see a monument dedicated to families like his.“The people who came over, like my grandfathers and my grandmothers, they were the building blocks of the country and it’s important to recognize their contributions.”
CALGARY – The approval of Canada’s first LNG export terminal is expected to boost investor confidence in Western Canada’s natural gas sector.But the LNG Canada project’s ability to provide a new market for natural gas and thus support depressed prices won’t be seen until the facility is built sometime in the middle of the next decade, observers say.The announcement on Tuesday, coming on the heels of Canada reaching a trilateral trade deal with Mexico and the United States on the weekend, lifted the mood in the room at an investment bank’s commodity price forecast breakfast in Calgary.“It’s excellent news that we can get an announcement of a major project in Canada,” said Dale Dusterhoft, CEO of Trican Well Service Ltd., after the event.“The impact on the immediate market probably isn’t great, in terms of an immediate recovery of pricing, but if we can get this and others built behind it, it’s great for the long-term future of the Canadian business.”He said he doesn’t expect any increase in demand for his company’s well completion services in the next year or so but said it will start to grow in 2020 as LNG Canada’s completion date nears and producers increase exploration budgets to prove up their resources.The announcement ensures Canada will be able to export domestic energy products to global markets at a fair price, said Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.“The project … represents a major investment in the Canadian economy, which is critical as our country seeks to attract and retain foreign capital,” he said in a statement.Global natural gas demand is expected to increase 45 per cent to 199 trillion cubic feet per day by 2040, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which welcomed news that Canada will be able to export to customers other than those in the United States.The five partners in LNG Canada say they’ve agreed to build the $40-billion project that includes a gas liquefaction plant in Kitimat on B.C.’s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering gas from the northeast corner of the province.The partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetroChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — delayed a final investment decision in 2016, citing a drop in global LNG prices.A continued glut of gas in Western Canada and the march of American shale gas into its traditional markets including Eastern Canada convinced analyst Martin King of GMP FirstEnergy to roll back his forecast for a recovery in benchmark Alberta gas prices next year.At the event Tuesday, he said natural gas prices will average C$1.57 per thousand cubic feet in 2019, just two cents higher than this year, and marked down from an earlier prediction of C$3 per mcf.By comparison, New York prices are expected to average US$3.35 for the same amount of gas in 2019, up from US$3 this year.Gas traditionally sells for more in New York because it’s closer to major population centres but the difference has been widening recently due to pipeline capacity constraints in Alberta and B.C.“(LNG Canada) is something which is definitely a positive sentiment boost for the industry,” King said. “It certainly gives producers something to hang their hats on.”The project’s initial phase will require about two billion cubic feet per day of gas to produce about 14 million tonnes per year of supercooled liquefied natural gas, thus increasing the market for Western Canadian gas by about 10 per cent when it comes on stream, he said.The United States could become the largest LNG exporter in the world by 2025 as nearly a dozen new projects seek regulatory approval, King said, but he added Canada can compete because the Canadian West Coast is much closer to customers in Asia and its gas supply is cheaper.King said he estimates a total of between 300 million and 600 million cubic feet per day of gas production has been shut down at various times this year in Western Canada because of low gas prices.The LNG Canada decision is expected to encourage other proposed project proponents to make investment decisions.“We believe this project has the potential to be the first of many on the West Coast of Canada, if Canadian LNG follows the global standard, being that LNG export areas tend to be ‘hubs’ of terminals, rather than standalone facilities,” National Bank of Canada analysts said Tuesday in a report.It pointed out the project would be the largest energy project in Canadian history, dwarfing even the largest oilsands projects in both size and scope.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:TCW, TSX:CNQ)
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canadian couriers are bracing for a possible surge in shipments as the Canada Post strike slips into the holiday gift-mailing season.“It seems like a lot of consumers who are looking for an alternate are utilizing our retail network to do that,” UPS Canada communications director Steven Vitale said. “But overall, it’s our busiest time of the year so mixed together we’ve seen some increased volume for sure.”However, he says it’s unclear if the volume boost is because of the strike or just the regular start of the holiday season.He says the last day gift givers could ship something to arrive on Dec. 24 is Dec. 23, but getting parcels in earlier will avoid steep express delivery charges.In an email, FedEx said it hopes negotiations between Canada Post and its employee union, CUPW, are “resolved amicably,” but that it “has put in place a comprehensive contingency plan to manage unexpected volume.”RELATED: ‘We will fight’ in court if back-to-work legislation passes, postal union warnsWhile Canada Post says there are hundreds of trailers filled with mail sitting idle because of the strike, the union says there are only upwards of 80 trailers worth of backlog, which could be dealt with in a couple days.On Thursday, Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu tabled legislation to force an end to rotating strikes by Canada Post employees. The postal union has warned of a legal battle if the federal government passes the back-to-work legislation. – With files from Mike Lloyd and Stuart McGinn