Monthly Archiv: October, 2019

Five killed four injured at Yamuna Expressway

first_imgMathura: At least five persons were killed while four other suffered critical injuries after a speeding car rammed into a stationary motorcycle and a van in Sureer area of Mathura at Yamuna Expressway on early Monday morning. Police officials said that the speeding hatch-back car was travelling towards Agra from Noida.According to police, the incident occurred near 84 mile stone at Yamuna Expressway in Mathura district. Among the deceased were Dharmendra Kumar (40) of Panchkula district in Haryana, Surendra Kumar (32) of Pratapgarh, Bhikam Singh (50) of Karawal Nagar area in Delhi, Mahesh Master (60) also from Karawal Nagar in Delhi and Surendra Sharma (52) from Shahdra area in Delhi. Police officials said that Pawan Kumar (48), Shruti (18) and Rajendra Kumar, Suresh Kumar, all natives of Dayalpur in Delhi were injured in the incident. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarAnoop Saroj, Station House officer of Sureer Police Station told Millennium Post that three persons died on the spot and two succumbed to injuries while getting treatment at the hospital. “Both the motorcycle and the van were parked at the left side of the expressway when they were hit by the over-speeding Hyundai i20 car which was being driven by Vishal (25), resident of Bakauli, Delhi. Passerby immediately conveyed the information while the highway patrolling police along with team from Sureer police station rushed the victims to a nearby hospital where three were declared brought dead while two succumbed later. The bodies were sent for the post mortem while we have detained the driver of speeding car and will lodge ab FIR after a complaint is received from victim’s side” said Saroj. The officer further said that the speed of the vehicle was such that the driver lost his control over the vehicle. “Looking at the condition of mangled vehicles which were involved in the accident, we can make out at what speed the car was being driven at that time. We will investigate the case and will take appropriate actions” added Saroj.last_img read more

Govts total liabilities rise to rs 8468 lakh cr at endMarch 2019

first_imgNew Delhi: Government’s total liabilities reached Rs 84.68 lakh crore at the end of March 2019, up 1.5 per cent over the preceding quarter, a report released by the Finance Ministry said Friday. The total liabilities stood at Rs 83.40 lakh crore crore at end-December 2018. “The total liabilities (including liabilities under the ‘Public Account’) of the Government, as per provisional data, increased to Rs 84,68,086 crore at end-March 2019 from Rs 83,40,027 crore at end-December 2018,” it said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepPublic debt accounted for 89.5 per cent of the total outstanding liabilities at end-March 2019. Nearly 28.27 per cent of the outstanding dated securities had a residual maturity of less than 5 years. “The holding pattern indicates a share of 40.5 per cent for commercial banks and 24.6 per cent for insurance companies by end-December 2018,” the quarterly report on ‘public debt management’ said. During the March quarter of last fiscal, the central government issued dated securities worth Rs 1,56,000 crore as against Rs 67,000 crore in the year-ago period. The temporary cash flow mismatches were bridged through issuance of cash management bills amounting to Rs 60,000 crore during January-March quarter of 2018-19.last_img read more

Unlike Netflix Apple TV to have only few top shows

first_imgSan Francisco: Unlike Netflix’s content quantity, Apple has indicated that its TV+ service would only focus more on a handful of top-tier shows. According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet software and services, Apple would not create the most number of shows, but create the best of them, Engadget reported on Monday. Eddy did not think that Netflix’s emphasis on quantity was bad, but he said it was just not Apple’s intended model. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app As part of its TV services, the iPhone-maker is planning to release new movies and shows every month, with the first one most likely to be Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon starrer “The Morning Show”, the report added. Other shows would include Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and the “Little America” series from Big Sick creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon. Earlier in March, it was announced that Apple’s on-demand subscription service will start in over 100 countries this fall. Later in May, the Apple TV service began rolling out in over 100 countries, including India which comes bundled with Apple TV+, the company’s original video subscription service.last_img read more

SC seeks Centres reply on plea for setting up human rights courts

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking direction to the Centre for setting up human rights courts in every district of the country as mandated under the Protection of Human Rights Act.A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to all 29 states on the plea which also sought appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) for conducting speedy trial of offences arising out of human rights violation within a time period of three months. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The petition filed by a law student, Bhavika Phore, sought direction to the Centre for providing sufficient and adequate funds for setting up of human rights court in all 725 districts in 29 states and seven Union Territories in a time bound manner. She also sought an instruction to registrars of all the high courts for the same. The plea filed through advocate Aakarsh Kamra also sought the Centre and the states to adhere with and implement the provisions of Sections 30 and 31 of the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA). Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedSection 30 of the PHRA says the state government in concurrence of the Chief Justice of the concerned high court will specify for each district a human rights court for speedy trial of human rights violation, whereas Section 31 of the Act provides for the state government to specify and appoint SPPs for conducting cases. The plea refers to many reports on custodial deaths in the country in the past years referring to “abuse of power” and “unfathomable torture” undergone by individuals due to police excess. It also stated the records of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from 2001 to 2010, according to which 14,231 persons died in police and judicial custody, of which 12,727 died in judicial custody–a large majority of which was a direct consequence of custodial torture. “Torture remains endemic, institutionalised and central to the administration of justice. India has demonstrated no political will to end torture as it remains widespread and integral to law enforcement,” the petition said. “It is the obligation of the constitutional courts to zealously guard the right to liberty of an individual as the dignified existence of an individual has an inseparable association with liberty,” the plea said.last_img read more

LIC offers Rs 125 lakh cr line of credit by 2024 to

first_imgNew Delhi: As part of innovative modes of financing to meet India’s huge infrastructure appetite, insurance giant LIC has agreed to offer Rs 1.25 lakh crore line of credit by 2024, to fund highway projects, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. Keen on timely execution of the Rs 8.41 lakh crore ambitious Bharatmala project that aims to lay a grid of highways pan-India, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has been looking to harness various sources of finances including pension and insurance funds. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”LIC has offered us Rs 25,000 crore in a year and Rs 1.25 lakh crore in five years They have agreed in principle. We will rope in these funds in highways construction,” Gadkari said in an interview here. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) Chairman R Kumar had called on Gadkari last week. The Minister said that the line of credit will be used to fund the ambitious Bharatmala project, the revised cost of which has reached Rs 8.41 lakh crore. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBhartmala was approved initially at a cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore, which was risen later on account of land acquisition costs. In the first phase, 34,800 km including 10,000 kilometres of balance NHDP (National Highways Development Project) will be upgraded. Gadkari said the Bharatmala programme will be funded through cess, toll revenue, market borrowings, private sector participation, insurance fund, pension funds, masala bonds and other initiatives and the LIC credit line was one such initiative. The funds will be raised for 30 years and the interest rate will be revised every 10 years, as per initial plans. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and LIC officials will sit down and draw the modalities including finer details like interest rates, debt servicing and other details,’ said an official. The borrowings will be in the form of bonds to be issued by the NHAI. “We don’t have dearth of funds,” the Minister said adding that as the projects will be completed these will be put up for monetisation and the funds will be ploughed back to highway construction. The NHAI is eyeing Rs 4,995 crore from monetisation of third tranche of 566 km of highways under TOT (toll, operate and transfer) model. There are nine highway stretches of 566.27 km in TOT Bundle-3 in states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. The first bundle under the TOT model had fetched NHAI Rs 9,682 crore. The first bundle had a total of nine stretches involving 681 km and was awarded to Macquarie. The third auction assumes significance given that this is coming after an unsuccessful second bundle where investors quoted a discount to NHAI’s base price. Gadkari said that besides monetisation, the Ministry was also in talks with banks for funds. “Also, the Finance Ministry has given us approval to raise Rs 75,000 crore this fiscal,” he said. Gadkari said that his Ministry has shown exponential capacity to spend allocated funds in building highways, which are the backbone of the economy. “At present we spend more than 80 per cent of the allocation on capital expenditure. We are contributing to the growth rate,” he said. Apart from various sources of financing of highway projects, we are also contemplating going into the capital market and take the money from the common people like teachers, constables, poor people and give them good interest, he said. “We will try to give them more than 7.5 per cent to 8 per cent interest and we will use that money for construction of roads. On the one hand, we will construct the roads and on the other hand, we will give good interest to the poor people of this country,” he said. The Minister said that the aim was to build world class transport infrastructure in the country and added, work worth about Rs 11 lakh crore were awarded by his Ministry in the last five years. “Over 57,000 km of highway projects were awarded and over 40,000 km of roads were constructed in the last five years,” he said. Also, the budget allocation for Road Transport and Highways ministry has increased by about Rs 5,000 crore, he said.last_img read more

UP real estate Tall buildings taller criminals

first_imgLucknow: Behind every tall building, there is a taller criminal and the bigger the building, the bigger the criminal, goes the popular Uttar Pradesh adage. The nexus between real estate and criminals in Uttar Pradesh has become so strong that the lines have been almost completely blurred. It is difficult to say who the real owner of a particular building is. In this nexus, the politician merges perfectly as he lies somewhere in between the real estate owner and the criminal. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The modus operandi is simple. The real estate owner identifies the land, the criminal helps in getting the possession — legally or otherwise — and the politician takes care of government permissions. The money — black or grey — is pumped in by the “netas” and the “bahubalis” and the real estate owner gets a fair share, too. The New Hyderabad and the Mahanagar localities in Lucknow are perfect examples of how this nexus works. These centrally located areas in trans-Gomti region were once marked by palatial bungalows, most of them in a semi-dilapidated condition. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The bungalows were mostly owned and occupied by elderly couples whose children had settled abroad. Similar cases have been found in other cities like Allahabad and Kanpur, but the nexus blocks any action against this set-up. In the early nineties, the bungalows began vanishing, their occupants went missing and high rise buildings started coming up. The neighbours spoke in hushed tones about how the occupants vanished overnight. The police turned a blind eye because no one filed a complaint. Police officers and bureaucrats were also given flats in these buildings and the business flourished. The Yogi Adityanath government began cracking the whip on this and the first victim was Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Sharda Pratap Shukla whose “illegal” constructions in Sarojini Nagar were the first to be demolished. Another SP leader, Bhukkal Nawab, sensed the gravity of the situation and promptly joined the BJP to escape action. But the demolition threat continues over his illegal holdings since Adityanath is unrelenting. A criminal-turned-politician explained how the nexus is no longer as strong as it used to be. “First demonetisation brought a slump in the market and then the compulsion of Aadhaar and PAN card in all transactions put off the buyers. Earlier, people used to invest their black money in property, but now they opt for gold and diamonds. Besides, you never know when Adityanath cracks the whip. We are all lying low till the next elections,” he disclosed. A senior bureaucrat also echoed similar sentiments and said that his brother-in-law, who is a builder, had gifted a flat to him. “And I had a tough time explaining this to the Income Tax people who are apparently on an overdrive at the moment,” he said.last_img read more

Chance for Anderson to regain No1 spot

first_imgLondon: England pacer James Anderson will be looking to work his way back to the top of the ICC rankings when the Three Lions take on Ireland in their one-off Test at Lord’s from Wednesday. Anderson, who was overtaken by South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in November last year and subsequently by the present number one Pat Cummins of Australia, is ranked second and has a chance to bridge the 16-point gap in the one-off Lord’s Test before featuring in a potential direct contest with Cummins in the subsequent Ashes series. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Anderson’s teammate Stuart Broad (19th) will be looking to retain a top-20 place, which he has maintained since 2009, while Moeen Ali (25th, 621 points) is only 12 points behind his best ever rating points achieved in August 2017. Test skipper Joe Root is the highest-ranked batsman on either side in sixth place while Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are in 26th and 27th places, respectively. In the ICC Test ream rankings, England will remain in fourth position and on 105 points if they win the match but will go down to 104 in case of a draw and to 102 should they suffer a loss. Ireland will gain 13 points with a draw and 30 if they win, but will still need to play another five matches for a full ranking.last_img read more

Couple arrested for cheating

first_imgKolkata: A couple was arrested for cheating several people worth huge amount of money in the name of booking air and rail tickets.The incident came to light when Swati Ghosh, a reputed tour operator in the city, booked some air tickets from the accused persons identified as Sudipta Das and Abhisek Das and had paid more than Rs 5 lakh for the same. She handed over the tickets to her clients who went to Kedarnath a few days later. But, eventually Ghosh’s clients found the tickets were fake and demanded compensation. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHaving no other way Ghosh had to pay off the compensatory amount. Following the incident, she lodged a complaint at the New Alipore police station on June 6. After the case was initiated, police got in touch with the Pawanhans Helicopter Service which provides services at Kedarnath. According to police, the Pawanhans authority informed police that the tickets which police are asking about are fake. Following the verification made, police collected the mobile numbers of accused couple and tried to track it. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayBut it was found that the accused persons were changing SIM cards continuously. Investigators had also visited the address of their office in Lake Town but found it has been closed since February. Later, police got hold of their mobile handset’s IMEI numbers and tracked them. On Tuesday evening, the duo was traced and was nabbed from a hideout in the city. During search of their hideout, police seized seven computers and lots of suspicious documents.last_img read more

Queen dismayed at UK politicians inability to govern Report

first_imgLondon: Queen Elizabeth II is reportedly “dismayed” at the inability of Britain’s political class to govern properly, according to a UK media report. The 93-year-old monarch, who traditionally stays publicly neutral on political matters, is believed to have made the comments at a private event shortly after David Cameron’s resignation as British Prime Minister following the Brexit referendum in June 2016. A royal source described by ‘The Sunday Times’ as “impeccable” told the newspaper that the Queen’s frustration has only grown since then. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “I think she’s really dismayed. I’ve heard her talking about her disappointment in the current political class and its inability to govern correctly,” the source is quoted as saying. “She expressed her exasperation and frustration about the quality of our political leadership, and that frustration will only have grown,” said the senior royal source, who claims to have witnessed the Queen’s rare conversation on politics. The revelation comes as there is growing media speculation amid Buckingham Palace and Downing Street holding discussions about how to keep the monarch out of any looming constitutional crisis over Brexit and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave the European Union (EU) by the October 31 deadline, with or without a deal. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls There are fears that politicians will try to force the Queen to get involved if Johnson loses a no-confidence vote early next month and refuses to step aside. It is feared he would instead call a General Election after a forced no-deal Brexit, leaving MPs with no recourse of preventing the EU crash-out without any agreement in place. UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell has threatened to send Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to Buckingham Palace “in a cab” to tell the Queen that the Opposition party is “taking over” if Johnson were to refuse to resign after losing such a no-confidence vote. Under the UK’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the Queen could be required to ask Corbyn or another senior politician to form a government that can command the confidence of the House of Commons. Buckingham Palace has declined to formally comment on what is feared to further mount into a constitutional quandary in the coming weeks.last_img read more

LacMegantic rail bypass to be funded jointly by federal Quebec governments

first_imgThe Quebec and federal governments say they will jointly fund a rail bypass in Lac-Megantic, nearly five years after 47 people were killed when a train derailed and exploded in the town.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced today the two levels of government have signed an agreement-in-principle to jointly fund the project.The federal government will assume 60 per cent of the cost of building the bypass, with Quebec taking on the remaining 40 per cent.The 12.8 kilometre route taking rail traffic away from the downtown area was selected following a feasibility study.While the estimated cost is $133 million, the next phase of the study will clarify the final cost of the bypass.On July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying crude oil from the United States careened off the track in Lac-Megantic and exploded, killing 47 people and destroying part of the town centre.last_img

One year of Scheer Conservatives mark first anniversary with new leader

first_imgOTTAWA – There is money in the bank. Voters in the hopper. And from many angles, a spring in the step of many Conservatives these days.One year of Andrew Scheer, observers say, has not exactly been flashy but he has done the Conservative Party some good.“He’s been steady,” says Tim Powers, a conservative strategist and vice-chairman of Ottawa-based firm Summa Strategies. “You’d probably give him a solid B or B plus.”Carl Vallee, a former press secretary for the government of Stephen Harper, and now a partner in Montreal strategy firm Hatley, calls Scheer “very, very constant.”Scheer, the 39-year-old, dimple-cheeked father of five, has spent a year fashioning himself as the everyman to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s jet-setting millionaire ways. His advertising plays up the fact that while Trudeau grew up with a silver spoon or two, Scheer was raised in suburban Ottawa by middle-class parents who didn’t even own a car.Since Scheer took over as leader the Conservative fundraising machine is back in full tilt. The last two quarters were the best the party has had since the 2015 election, and the Conservatives are clearly outpacing the Liberals on the money front — by almost two dollars to one in the first three months of 2018.The polls, while volatile and often hard to parse this far away from an actual vote, have still been favourable of late for the Conservatives, showing them tied with or in spitting distance of the Liberals. If nothing else, the polls serve as a shot of morale in the arm of the Tory caucus and help in the recruitment of candidates.“There’s certainly no mass panic at the moment,” said Powers.As a former speaker, Scheer is one of the most recognizable faces within the Ottawa bubble but outside of it, he’s probably not the first name many people think of when asked to name a Tory politician. Vallee says in Quebec, Maxime Bernier is likely still the most well known. In Ontario and Alberta, provincial Tory leaders Doug Ford and Jason Kenney are eating up more air time.Powers said it’s not horrible if Ford or Kenney are getting more attention currently because they have elections to win before Scheer does. He says the big question mark for Scheer will come in August, when the Conservatives host their first policy convention since he took over as leader. It will also be about the one-year mark from the next election and Scheer has to use it to start to define himself and his version of conservatism.Duane Bratt, a politics professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said Scheer’s biggest problem may be that “he is still not well known.”He says any polls favouring the Conservatives have more to do with people being annoyed with Trudeau than with Scheer. And while Scheer has criticized many Liberal policies there have been few alternatives put forward, including how he’d handle the Trans Mountain pipeline or address climate change without a carbon price.Powers notes that Scheer has easily had a better year than either Trudeau or new NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, but it hasn’t been a year devoid of fires entirely.The appearance or reality of ongoing discord between Scheer Conservatives and those who supported Bernier — Scheer barely beat him on the final ballot of the leadership — continues to float beneath the surface like the lava of a Hawaiian volcano, threatening to burst through at any moment.Bernier himself caused an eruption when he published a teaser chapter from a coming book that said Scheer had won the leadership only thanks to the support of “fake Conservatives” in Quebec. They were people from the powerful dairy lobby, said Bernier, who joined the party only to vote against Bernier and his policy opposing supply management, which regulates production and pricing of milk, eggs and chicken.After a raucous caucus meeting, Bernier suddenly announced he would put off publication of the entire book — initially scheduled for this fall — in order to fully back Scheer as party leader.“They both have found a way to work together,” said Vallee.Brad Trost, the Saskatchewan social conservative MP whose surprise fourth-place finish in the leadership gave him some initial clout to push the party’s position, has mostly been sidelined after losing the nomination to run again in his riding. However, his ongoing lawsuit against the party over accusations he gave out the party’s membership list inappropriately is a simmering issue, and the social Conservatives who backed Trost and then shifted to Scheer may be a little restless in Trost’s absence.The biggest push Scheer has made of late is in Quebec. The second most populous province has not been an easy road for the Tories since Brian Mulroney was prime minister but Vallee says the collapse of support in Quebec for the NDP and the disintegrating Bloc Quebecois are opening the door to a two-horse federal race in 2019: Trudeau or Scheer.Scheer has launched what he calls a “listening tour” in Quebec this spring, complete with a website listeningtoquebecers.ca, and he travelled to the province multiple times in May.Vallee said there is a natural home for nationalist Quebecers in the Conservative Party of Canada, because many of their values are similar, particularly when it comes to fears about preserving language, heritage and history.last_img read more

Highlights of TSB report on whalewatching capsizing off British Columbia

first_imgVANCOUVER – Key findings of the Transportation Safety Board on causes and contributing factors in the capsizing of the Leviathan II, along with some recommendations made by the board:— Conditions were favourable for the formation of breaking waves and moments before the wave that capsized the boat struck, the master became aware of it and attempted to realign the vessel to minimize its impact, but there was not enough time for his actions to be effective.— The vessel maintained position on the weather side of a reef that was exposed to the incoming swell to allow passengers to view wildlife. As the vessel was leaving the area, a large wave approached from the starboard quarter.— It took about 45 minutes before search-and-rescue authorities became aware of the capsizing because the crew did not have time to transmit a distress call, nor did the vessel have a means to automatically send one.— Crew members were able to discharge a parachute rocket, which alerted a nearby Ahousaht First Nation fishing vessel that was instrumental in saving the lives of a number of survivors.— If companies that operate passenger vessels do not implement risk management processes for environmental hazards there is a risk of a similar capsizing and loss of life.— The life-raft deployed after the capsizing was fitted with an emergency pack that did not contain devices effective for signalling distress, such as a parachute rocket or buoyant smoke float.— Transport Canada should consider whether requirements for the use of digital emergency beacons should be applied to additional classes of boats and airplanes.— Operators of commercial passenger vessels on the west coast of Vancouver Island should be required to identify areas and conditions conducive to the formation of hazardous waves and adopt strategies to reduce the chances of passenger vessels encountering those conditions.last_img read more

Metis First Nations say they also wont be ready for legal pot

first_imgOTTAWA – Leaders of indigenous groups have joined a growing list of people asking the federal government to delay its plans to make recreational marijuana legal in Canada by next summer.The Metis National Council and the Chiefs of Ontario are before the House of Commons health committee as it reviews the federal pot legislation.Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says there are more questions than answers about everything from health implications and on-reserve sales to prevention programs and law enforcement on reserves and he says the government has much more work to do consulting First Nations.Day says there are also concerns about keeping marijuana out of the hands of First Nations youth on reserves, pointing to data from the United States which showed legal pot from Colorado was easily making its way to young people on reserves hundreds of miles away.Clara Morin Dal Col of the Metis National Council, says she feels everything is being rushed without proper attention to the impacts of the change.Police officials have told the committee there’s no chance they’ll be ready to start enforcing the new law by next summer.last_img read more

Montreal which doesnt allow cars to turn right on red thinks cyclists

first_imgMONTREAL – Vehicles can’t turn right on red on the Island of Montreal but if the Plante administration has its way, cyclists would get the green light to do so.It is one of various proposed amendments by Montreal lawmakers to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code, which is currently being reworked at the legislature for the first time since 1986.City officials recently outlined a number of would-be changes to the province’s plan, including the right-turn option and rolling stops at stop signs.Treating a stop sign as a yield — known as an Idaho stop — would require cyclists to slow down and yield to others at the intersection, but permit them to continue without coming to a full stop. The measure is used elsewhere, including some European cities.Cycling advocates say it is all about safety.“A cyclist at an intersection is the moment at which they are at their most vulnerable and there are the most accidents,” said Suzanne Lareau of Velo Quebec. “Getting away from that intersection (by turning on a red light) means an added measure of security.”Not being able to turn right on red has been a longstanding grievance for Montreal drivers.Montreal and New York City are believed to be the last jurisdictions in North America to prohibit right turns on red.Montreal has routinely balked at giving its blessing, with the safety of pedestrians and cyclists cited as the main reason for not allowing it. The rest of Quebec has permitted it since 2003.A coalition of 15 Montreal island mayors failed to persuade the city’s former administration to consider a change a little more than a year ago.Groups representing motorists like the CAA-Quebec said allowing right turns for cyclists and allowing the Idaho stop would be risky for everyone involved.“There is a lot of activity on the roads — in Montreal, there’s never been so much activity, there’s never been so many vehicles, there’s never been so many distractions,” said spokeswoman Annie Gauthier.“There’s never been so many situations that put us at risk, regardless of the type of road user we’re talking about.”One resident, Alexandre Laflamme, recently complained to Mayor Valerie Plante, with media present, that she is pushing Montreal’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly metropolis at the detriment of everything else.He said cyclists already don’t follow the rules.But Lareau dismisses the notion that cyclists are the only ones to blame.“What I always say is that there are people who don’t follow the rules — and some are on foot, some are cyclists and some are drivers,” Lareau said. “It’s not just cyclists who have a monopoly on bad behaviour on the roads.”For the city, it’s about striking a balance that would put all road users on an equal footing, including the million or so Montrealers who opt for the bicycle as their preferred mode of transport.The city also wants the province to consider a number of other measures including sideguards on heavy trucks and allowing cyclists to use pedestrian lights to cross, to be able to avoid vehicles.last_img read more

Canada notified in advance but not asked to help with Syria airstrikes

first_imgLIMA, Peru – Canada was told in advance that the U.S., Britain and France were planning to launch airstrikes against Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday — but was not asked to participate.“We were apprised in advance of the operation,” Trudeau told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Peru. “We were very supportive. And there was no request for Canada to join as part of that operation.”The comments came as the international community was still grappling with the aftermath of the Friday’s airstrikes against the Syrian government in retaliation for a suspected chemical-weapons attack that killed dozens of people.U.S. officials have said the strikes hit three chemical-weapons facilities, including one in Damascus and two in Homs. U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the attacks on Twitter as “perfectly executed,” adding: “Mission Accomplished!”Syria has denied launching any chemical-weapons attacks, including one on April 7 in the rebel-held enclave of Douma that killed at least 43 people and injured hundreds more and was the catalyst for Friday’s airstrikes.Russia, which has emerged as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest supporter, previously suggested Israel and Britain were behind the Douma attack and expressed outrage Saturday over the airstrikes. The U.S., Canada and their allies have largely dismissed Damascus’s denials and said the strikes were necessary, but have not said how they know that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical-weapon attacks.The joint airstrikes occurred as Trudeau was attending the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from across the Western Hemisphere every four years, and which was largely overshadowed by the Syria crisis.Earlier in the day, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence thanked Canada for backing the strikes and explicitly singled Trudeau out for praise during his address to summit participants.For his part, Trudeau described the airstrikes as “unfortunate, but necessary” to stop the Syrian government from launching further chemical-weapons attacks against civilians.“This is something we cannot accept, the use of chemical weapons on civilians,” he said, “and the international community needs to continue to stand extremely strongly as we continue to hold Syria accountable.”The prime minister also had some tough words for Russia, not only for its support to the Syrian government, but also its actions in Ukraine and the poisoning of a former Russian spy. Moscow has denied responsibility for the poisoning.“These are things that have demonstrated that Russia is not interested in being a positive actor in the global rules-based order and the rest of the international community needs to stand firmly united,” Trudeau said.last_img read more

Governor General Julie Payette wishes Canada a happy 151st birthday

first_imgOTTAWA – Governor General Julie Payette is wishing everyone a happy Canada Day on the country’s 151st birthday.In a release this morning Payette says “Wherever you are today, whether you’re in Canada or abroad, wear your maple leaf proudly. This is your celebration.”The former astronaut says her first year as Governor General has been “quite a ride,” allowing her to meet exceptional Canadians from all origins as she travels around the country.In her first Canada Day message Payette says Canadians are fortunate to live in a country where so much is possible and where people can — as she puts it — “dare to dream.”She urges Canadians to get out and discover their vast country in their own way, to have fun and to remain “open, caring and engaged.”last_img

We will not be dictated to Quebec premier Legault warns Ottawa over

first_imgQuebec Premier Francois Legault told Ottawa on Wednesday to stay out of the province’s business on health care.“We will not be dictated to by the federal government,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City as he entered his limousine.The strong words were in reaction to news that Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor threatened the province last summer over its tolerance of private health care services.Petitpas Taylor wrote a letter to former Quebec health minister Gaetan Barrette in August, warning him that Ottawa would cut health care transfer payments to the province if it continued to allow patients to pay out of pocket for medical exams.The letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, said allowing patients to jump the queue in the public system and pay for private exams is “unjust” and a violation of the Canada Health Act.Legault told reporters that Quebec has full authority over its health care system.“People prefer to enter the private system for certain exams — it’s going to stay like that,” Legault said.“With health care, we have the jurisdiction. We will manage our health care system the way we want. The federal government is not going to start telling us how to manage it.”Quebec’s new health minister, Danielle McCann, echoed the premier’s comments.She said Quebec’s public system can’t respond to current demand within prescribed wait times, so the province isn’t going to limit access to private medical exams.“For the moment, there is no way we are going to close the doors on people to access (medical exams),” McCann said.The federal government transferred $6.2 billion to Quebec in health care payments for the 2018-19 fiscal year.In her letter to Barrette, Petitpas Taylor said access to medical care in Canada should be “based on health needs and not on the capacity or the will to pay.”She said Quebec’s health care system can include private providers as long as the costs are paid for by the public health insurance system. Jocelyne Richer, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Albertans rallying for solutions to oil industry woes

first_imgSuncor says it is largely insulated from low local prices by its Canadian upgrading and refining assets and firm pipeline contracts.“In the short-term, the government of Alberta action has resulted in winners and losers in the market, shutting in valuable upgrading throughput and has made transporting crude oil out of the province by rail uneconomic,” Calgary-based Suncor said in a news release.It added it is co-operating with the government and the Alberta Energy Regulator and working hard to minimize associated contractor layoffs.Suncor said it will suffer from a “disproportionate allocation” of production cuts, adding its budget assumes the curtailments will be in place for three months before falling to 30 per cent of initial levels for the remainder of 2019.In an email, Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal wouldn’t reveal the company’s cutback number for competitive reasons.But she said it fails to properly consider the uneven historic and recent performance of Syncrude (the oilsands mine and upgrader in which Suncor has a 58 per cent interest) and gives only partial consideration for the fact that Suncor’s new 194,000-bpd Fort Hills oilsands mine did not have a full year of production in 2018.News Release: Suncor Energy announces 2019 capital program and production outlook https://t.co/E2UrDsTRF4— Suncor (@Suncor) December 14, 2018Throttling back production during the coldest months of the year, when it typically operates full-out without stopping for maintenance, could increase risks to safety and reliability, the company warned.“Suncor will not put the safety of our employees and contractors at risk,” it stated.Mike McKinnon, spokesman for Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, said the province’s decision to curtail production was a difficult but necessary one to prevent job losses in the industry.“We take concerns about safety and long-term resource stability very seriously, and have been engaged with Suncor and other companies on a daily basis to understand these challenges,” he said in an email.He said the province is working with companies on how much they must cut through an AER review panel and has made temporary adjustments to curtailment thresholds for companies facing higher reductions.Suncor said the cutbacks will result in higher operating costs per barrel, could affect the supply of crude oil to Alberta upgraders and refineries, may raise issues with its contracted pipeline commitments and could cause problems with the in-house consumption of diesel produced at its oilsands mines.The company said it expects average upstream production of 780,000 to 820,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day next year, up from about 730,000 boe/d in 2018.Suncor’s guidance matched analyst projections, with researchers at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. saying in a note it is “the ‘just right’ bowl of porridge for an uncertain outlook.” Will rallies supporting the oil and gas industry being held in Alberta have any effect on politicians in Ottawa?YesMaybe a littleNoVoteView Results “If we keep making it hard to do work here and invest here, everyone’s going to be out of a job. And that doesn’t just affect us oil and gas guys–that affects the restaurants, the car dealerships,” said Murphy.The pair says there’s been an overwhelming response and an outpouring of support. They say their phones have been ringing “off the hook” with people asking how they can help.“It means a lot and it means people care,” said Murphy. Premier Rachel Notley spoke in the city Friday and was greeted by a crowd of protesters. Murphy says recent action from the province is too little too late.“I feel like there’s a lot of pandering right now, which is understandable. I understand they have to try. I just wish they would’ve started trying three years ago instead of three months ago.”Murphy calls the curtailment a good start but he doesn’t see it a long-term solution. He also asks other provinces using Saudi oil, “if you call Alberta oil dirty, what would you call Saudi oil?”City Councillors to join Calgary oil rallyMeantime, Calgarians are expected to come out in droves on Monday for another rally.The rally at City Hall is hosted and organized by Canada Action, which is the volunteer-run group behind other pro-oilsands campaigns like the Lush boycott and a speech this week by Vancouver-based writer and researcher Vivian Krause.The rally could see nearly a thousand people show up around the noon-hour with interest in and RSVPs on the Facebook event growing. The event page also says the entirety of city council will be on hand during the rally supporting pipelines and the energy sector.Ward 4 councillor Sean Chu posted a video to his own Facebook page openly voicing support for the oil industry, saying he’s long been an oil ally.“Times are tough, and we know the anger, and frustration that is out there,” he wrote in the post. “I encourage you to email and call your MPs and Senators to let them know that our energy sector needs help, not more talk and barriers to tidewater. Let us get Canada working again. ”The video goes on to say a pipeline is needed to create jobs, attract investments, and equalize all parts of Canada.“I support Canada’s oil and gas industry because I am Canadian.”Because I am Canadian, I appreciate the massive contribution our energy industry makes to our local and national economy.Canadian resources are good for our families and the global environment.@Joe_Magliocca #YYCProud pic.twitter.com/WTjzOKTRcv— Oil Sands Action (@OilsandsAction) December 13, 2018A similar video from Ward 2 councillor Joe Magliocca was posted to Twitter via @OilsandsAction with a tweet that reads “I appreciate the massive contribution our energy industry makes to our local and national economy.”Ward 1’s Ward Sutherland, Ward 3’s Jyoti Gondek, Ward 5’s George Chahal, Ward 12’s Shane Keating, and other councillors all sharing similar sentiments on social media.Suncor concerned ahead of curtailmentWhile Albertans call for action, one major player in the oil industry is fearful of “unintended consequences” that could come from oil curtailment, including increased safety hazards for its employees.Suncor made that warning on Friday in a release. Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas company forecasts its production will grow by 10 per cent in 2019 on a stand-pat capital budget of between $4.9 billion and $5.6 billion.The issue has opened rifts in the Calgary-based oilpatch with companies like Suncor, Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. opposed to curtailments which are supported by bitumen-weighted producers like Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.The cuts announced by Notley earlier this month are intended to bring industry output in line with pipeline capacity to drain trapped oil from the western Canadian market and reduce resulting steep discounts for crude oil.WATCH: Pipelines are pipe dreams at first ministers meeting EDMONTON (CITYNEWS) – Thousands of Albertans are voicing their concerns nearly two weeks after the province announced the planned curtailment of oil production through all of next year.Fears continue to swirl in Alberta as an economy-driving industry struggles to remain afloat; many people have been forced out of work due to massive layoffs and cutbacks. At least two major Sunday and Monday are aiming to draw attention to just that.Organizers of a pro-pipeline rally in Grande Prairie saw 1,500 people attend the event on Sunday afternoon. According to the Facebook event page, upwards of 600 tractor trailers participated in a convoy at the rally as well.“People are frustrated, people are concerned, and people scared. And they should be!” shared co-organizer Taylor Horwath, who was inspired to get other Albertans out after a rally in Drayton Valley drew more than a thousand people about two weeks ago.The crowd gathered in Grande Prairie for a rally in support of the oil and gas sector. Video courtesy: Cole Murphy pic.twitter.com/iQzBKwxA4S— Crystal Laderas (@CrisLaderas) December 16, 2018After that rally, nearly 7,000 letters were dropped off at the Alberta legislature to be sent on to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The organizers of the Grande Prairie rally say they also received some 10,000 letters to be forwarded on to Trudeau from concerned Albertans.“We want to be positive. We don’t want to talk about how we got here, we want to talk about how we’re going to get out of this mess,” added fellow co-organizer Cole Murphy. The B.C.-native says he doesn’t understand why there’s a distaste in Canada for Alberta’s oil when production here is more ethical and regulated than oil coming from other countries.“Canada purchases oil from overseas and I can’t for the life of me understand why. We have the resources, we do it cleaner, we do it better, and we do it more efficiently and we’re buying off of someone else that doesn’t hold themselves to the same standards that we do.”Murphy and Horwath work for a service rental company that has a strong connection to the energy industry. They fear they will be laid off in the near future, joining the hundreds of thousands of people who have also been laid of from the oil and gas sector.PHOTOS: A look at the Grande Prairie RallyOpen Gallery5 itemscenter_img Take Our Poll-with files from the Canadian Press, Crystal Laderas, and Sarolta Saskiwlast_img read more

Political myths fog crucial Alberta election debate over carbon taxes economist

first_imgBetween politicians who fog the truth and the ones just in a fog, Chris Ragan wants to fan fresh air into a carbon tax debate that is clouding Alberta’s provincial election and drifting into an upcoming federal campaign.“It’s pretty clear this issue is warming up politically,” said Ragan, head of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a non-partisan group of academics and business leaders focused on economic and environmental solutions.“We have been sorry to see that there’s a bunch of stuff out there that is either misunderstanding or poorly explained. There are a bunch of myths out there.”The commission has just published a report on carbon tax misconceptions.The worst, Ragan said, is that a carbon tax doesn’t work.“If you look at B.C., if you look at California, if you look at the U.K, if you look at Quebec, these policies do work. What they don’t do is work overnight.”At least five different published studies have found British Columbia’s carbon tax, introduced in 2008, has cut overall emissions, reduced per capita gasoline use by seven per cent, improved average vehicle efficiency by four per cent, cut residential natural gas use by seven per cent and diesel use by more than three per cent.Meanwhile, the province enjoyed about three per cent annual economic growth between 2012 and 2017.Other jurisdictions that have successfully used carbon taxes to reduce emissions include Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, several U.S. states, the U.K. and the European Union.Three separate studies found B.C.’s tax either didn’t affect jobs or added them. A fourth found a small decrease in jobs for less-educated workers. Studies in the U.S. or the U.K. found little or no impact on job numbers.The commission’s report finds that far from hurting families, 70 per cent of Canadian households will receive more in carbon tax rebates than they pay.Energy economists such as Mark Jaccard at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University argue that regulations get faster, bigger results and are politically easier to enact. The big cuts to Canada’s carbon emissions, he said, have come from closing coal-fired power plants and clean fuel rules.“Some people will tell you you have to have carbon pricing,” he said on a recent podcast. “That’s not true. You could do it all through regulations.”You could, concedes Ragan. But that would cost the economy more. Besides, he said, bringing in carbon taxes gives governments an opportunity to cut other levies such as income tax.Albertans who believe the province could escape a carbon tax by rescinding provincial legislation may also be mistaken.Martin Olszynski, a University of Calgary law professor, said all Ottawa would have to do is pass an order in council to bring Alberta under the same federal tax that recently came into effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. None of those provinces had its own tax.“It’s a matter of getting cabinet together and writing the order,” Olszynski said.Looking to the courts to block Ottawa’s tax is an iffy bet, he suggested.In court hearings on Saskatchewan’s anti-tax constitutional challenge, Olszynski said, judges asked if allowing Ottawa to regulate greenhouse gases as a matter of “national concern” would impede provincial efforts to do the same.“If you recognize this matter as a matter of national concern, you would strip away the provincial ability to regulate these things,” he summarized.But Olszynski notes that courts have recognized that many issues — especially environmental ones — are best managed jointly between national and provincial governments.Other federal arguments in favour of a national carbon tax are backed by decades of case law, Olszynski added.Ragan said the debate over carbon taxes is as important to Canada’s future as debates over the GST or free trade with the United States.“It’s a big policy issue and it’s appropriate that we’re talking about it now.”Ragan just wishes the debate wasn’t so mythical.“We live in a democratic society where people play partisan politics. Those political debates don’t always stick to the facts.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960Bob Weber, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Centuryold love letters found in Winnipeg building to be returned to family

first_imgWINNIPEG — Century-old love letters are being returned to a family after they were uncovered by a construction crew working on a historic building in Manitoba.The letters from 1918 and 1919 are addressed to a Rebecca (Becky) Rusoff in Winnipeg from a soldier in Halifax named Soko.The man writes about how he thinks about Becky all the time, looks upon her as a perfect treasure and would love her until death.Sonya Berthin, with the property management company in charge of the building, says the letters were found in near-perfect condition while crews were working in the basement of the downtown Paris Building.They eventually learned the romantic was Hyman Sokolov, who became a prominent lawyer and journalist in the city, writing to the woman who would become his wife, Rebecca.Berthin has since been contacted by the Sokolov’s grandson and says they are working on returning the letters to the family.The Canadian Presslast_img