Railways announces slew of incentives for freight loading looks to increase loadingRailways announces slew of incentives for freight loading looks to increase loading

first_imgNew Delhi: The railways has deferred its busy season surcharge of 15 per cent on freight and hiked the number of rakes to be provided for the auto sector in a bid to increase freight loading, which is likely to take a hit due to the economic slowdown. The national transporter on Thursday announced that it was suspending its busy season surcharge of 15 per cent, which is levied between October 1 and June 30, for the current season. “Considering the current economic scenario, to give a boost to the industry and freight, the railways has taken measures to facilitate industry, especially in reducing rail transport cost,” Railway Board Member (Traffic) P S Mishra told reporters. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAdditionally, a further waiver of 5 per cent will be given on loading mini rakes or smaller parcel size. For the beleaguered auto sector, which is looking to cut costs, the railways has decided to offer more rakes for the transportation of automobiles. Earlier, it used to provide eight auto rakes, which has now been hiked to 26 and the national transporter has plans to provide as many as 50 rakes to the sector to transport their goods by this year end. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”This is being done on the request of the auto sector,” Mishra said. In fact, the railways is hoping that this would increase its present share of two per cent in loading auto freight to around 8-10 per cent by end of this fiscal, successfully moving part of the sector away from roads to railways. “On the industry’s request, the railways is also working on a special wagon design for transportation of four wheelers as well as two wheeler “as we expect to get more traffic from this sector,” he said. He also said that while the railways has seen a slowdown in freight traffic in some sectors such as coal, with the waiving of surcharges, the volumes might go up. Mishra also said railways has also come out with a scheme for round-trip charging on container traffic under which the haulage charges for 0-100 km slab will be charged for total to and fro movement, instead of charging for 0-50 km slab each way which will come out to be about 35 per cent cheaper per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) for the complete round-trip. “We have not see any negative impact till now. In the first five months of the current fiscal we have loaded more freight that last year… but the growth has not been at the leave we had expected.” In the first five month of the year (April-August), the railways hauled 500 MT on freight, but major chunk of growth usually comes in the second half of the year, Mishra said. In 2018-19, the railways transports 1223 million tonnes of freight, earning revenues of about 1.25 lakh crore. Mishra said he expects to surpass both the volume and revenues numbers this year. However, the growth in revenues is estimated to be in single digit he said.last_img read more

Ontario politician Jagmeet Singh launches bid for federal NDP leadershipOntario politician Jagmeet Singh launches bid for federal NDP leadership

first_imgBRAMPTON, Ont. – Jagmeet Singh launched a potentially historic bid Monday to make the leap from provincial politics to head up the federal NDP, with a speech heavy on themes of equality and social justice.If Singh is successful, he would be the first non-Caucasian to helm a major federal party.Singh, who was born in east Toronto to Punjabi parents, said while growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador and Windsor, Ont., he was picked on because his name, skin and hair were different.“I faced a lot bullying at school and often felt like I didn’t belong,” Singh told hundreds of supporters at Bombay Palace in Brampton, Ont. — the same place he celebrated his 2011 provincial win.Singh said he wasn’t alone, but it struck him as “incredibly unfair” that other kids who were no less capable couldn’t follow their dreams because their families had less money. Singh’s father studied medicine in Newfoundland and Labrador then moved the family to Windsor.“The values that guide me today, and will continue to guide me as leader, are the progressive, social democratic values rooted in my experiences growing up,” he said, switching often between English and French in his speech.Singh was named deputy Ontario NDP leader in 2015, when speculation was already swirling that he would run federally. Singh has also fought hard against police street checks known as carding.He said Monday after his speech that he wouldn’t be resigning his Ontario seat to run.“I’ve had busy schedules before and I’ve been able to still stay in touch with my constituents, so I plan to do that,” he said. The legislature rises for the summer June 1 and returns in September, which is also when online voting starts for the federal leadership.Supporters at his launch Monday included two provincial caucus colleagues, B.C. legislature New Democrat Rob Fleming, Manitoba legislature New Democrat Nahanni Fontaine and former MP Mylene Freeman.Singh brings an opportunity for “true representation,” Fontaine said.“He is really a break in the fabric of status quo,” she said.Singh, 38, is known around the legislature as a fashion plate with a recent spread in GQ, a Sikh who pairs his colourful turbans with three-piece suits, a mixed martial arts fighter, an avid social media user and lawyer-turned-politician.Singh said he will later roll out a policy platform, but listed the major issues facing Canada as inequality, climate change, Indigenous reconciliation and electoral reform.He took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task in his speech for what he called inaction on all of those issues and said that breeds cynicism.“The right wing is using this to foster a politics of fear and division,” Singh said.“We’ve seen its most alarming forms in France, in the U.K., and of course, in the United States. And together, we will do everything in our power to make sure it never comes to Canada.”The Conservative leadership candidates are “tripping over each other to drive a wedge between Canadians,” he added.The other official NDP leadership contenders to replace Tom Mulcair are B.C. MP Peter Julian, Ontario MP Charlie Angus, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Quebec MP Guy Caron.Singh would break through a long-standing barrier at the federal level, one that really ought have been shattered long ago, said Karl Belanger, Mulcair’s former principal secretary.“Having somebody from a different ethnic background than what we have seen over the past 150 years is something that needs to be applauded,” Belanger said.The NDP has had trouble connecting with ethnic minorities both in Ontario and at the federal level, said Queen’s University labour and history professor Christo Aivalis.Singh’s leadership would send a strong signal to the party and to the Canadian public, Aivalis said.“While some people fear that his turban, his name, his skin colour … could hurt him in certain parts of Canada, others say that in big cities where the majority of seats are, he speaks to a new Canada,” Aivalis said.Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Monday that Singh has been a help to the provincial party.“Jagmeet’s been an excellent member of our team,” she said. “He’s certainly done a lot of hard work to engage young people with our party, to engage folks in the broader GTA with our party.”Singh’s candidacy will undoubtedly bring a new dimension to the race, said Nathan Cullen, a veteran MP who sought the job in 2012 as one of several rivals to Mulcair.“I think it will likely change the dynamic for the good,” Cullen said in an interview. “I’ve always been a fan; he’s a compelling speaker and has solid progressive roots and I think would be a challenge for (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau.”The next leadership debate is scheduled for Sudbury, Ont., on May 28.— With files from Kristy Kirkup in Ottawalast_img read more

Scheer keeps eye on next election in debut crosscountry summer tourScheer keeps eye on next election in debut crosscountry summer tour

first_imgOTTAWA – Rest and relaxation might top the agenda for most Canadians right now but newly-minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is going full-tilt on the barbecue circuit in a bid to introduce himself and boost his party’s prospects before 2019.As part of his summer travels, Scheer spent a chunk of July in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador before moving on to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec.“A big part of my tour was to introduce myself and make connections with people who maybe weren’t following the leadership race but are inclined to support the Conservative party,” he said in an interview.Scheer, who is expected to tour western Canada this month, acknowledged his party will have to cultivate new support if it hopes to head back to 24 Sussex Dr., in addition to holding on to the 98 seats it has today.Pollster David Coletto said it takes a long time to build up a party’s ground game ahead of an election and summer is a critical time for outreach, especially with a new leader.“One of the interesting things about new Opposition leaders is nobody knows who you are,” said Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.“If you looked at the candidates who ran for the Conservative leadership, at least in the polling we did, he was probably one of the least well-known candidates in terms of just general name recognition and awareness.”If Scheer wants to win a majority in the next election, Coletto said he’ll have to make inroads in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals made a clean sweep in 2015. And on that score, he said Scheer has a long way to go.“You look at the polling that’s been put out in the last few weeks, ours included, the Liberals are still doing very well in Atlantic Canada,” he said.“The majority of the region would vote Liberal which is pretty much where they were at the last election so Atlantic Canada remains, I think, a fortress for the Liberals.”Scheer, a Saskatchewan MP who took the helm in May after a marathon leadership race sparked by the departure of former prime minister Stephen Harper, said his party is in the midst of beginning a new chapter and rebuilding trust, including with voters who were wooed to the Liberals in the last election.Conservative MPs are also preparing to hold their annual summer caucus retreat in Winnipeg on Sept. 7 and 8 — a key target area for growth.“There are several seats in the area that we held for many years and that we lost in the last election,” Scheer said. “We want to get some colleagues back and show Manitobans and Winnipeggers that we want to be there, we want to be there to listen to what we need to do better.”He also pointed to the electoral success of the province’s Progressive Conservative premier Brian Pallister, a former Conservative MP.“We want to have the opportunity to make connections with our provincial counterparts there … and start the groundwork to win some seats back that we should be able to win back in the next election,” Scheer said.For his part, Trudeau has also made a number of stops across the country this summer including at the Canada Games in Winnipeg and at the Calgary Stampede.Trudeau also held three fundraisers in July — an event in Mississauga, Ont. where tickets cost between $750 and $1,500, a donor appreciation event in Halifax and an event in Surrey, B.C. for $1,000 a person.Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for the prime minister, said Trudeau’s summer travels were not conducted specifically with the 2019 election in mind.“Obviously an Opposition leader would be spending more time targeting certain regions for political reasons, where I would say this wasn’t that kind of a tour,” he said.“It wasn’t a campaign-style tour where we held rallies or anything. It was … truly an opportunity to go to communities and meet people.”Trudeau is now expected to move into vacation-mode of his own in British Columbia.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

Toronto councillor apologizes for saying city planner should stick to the knittingToronto councillor apologizes for saying city planner should stick to the knitting

first_imgTORONTO – Toronto’s deputy mayor is apologizing for comments he made about the city’s outgoing chief planner after backlash from critics who called his words sexist.Denzil Minnan-Wong told the Toronto Sun last week that Jennifer Keesmaat “should stick to the knitting,” meaning city planning, rather than weighing in on other matters.Keesmaat fired back on CBC’s Metro Morning today, saying she found the comment deeply offensive.Minnan-Wong says his comments were taken out of context, but added he nonetheless believes the city’s next chief planner should focus on planning.Keesmaat plans on leaving the role next month after five years on the job during which she has often been an outspoken advocate on accessibility, transit and public space issues.Several local councillors, from Mary-Margaret McMahon to Mike Layton to Joe Cressy, called out Minnan-Wong for his comments.“First of all, I’m not going to mince words, he might as well have told me to go back to the kitchen,” Keesmaat told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway.“Just so you know, I’ve never been there — I’m not a very good cook — I think it’s a deeply offensive comment.”last_img read more

Canadas Kaetlyn Osmond wins Olympic bronze medal in womens figure skatingCanadas Kaetlyn Osmond wins Olympic bronze medal in womens figure skating

first_imgGANGNEUNG, South Korea – Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond has won a bronze medal in women’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics.The reigning world silver medallist from Marystown, N.L., skating to music from “Black Swan,” scored 152.15 in her long program for a combined score of 231.02.She was also third after the short program.Osmond’s medal is historic as it boosts Canada’s total in Pyeongchang to 27, an all-time high for the country at the Winter Games.Russia’s Alina Zagitova, just 15 years old, scored a combined 239.57 to capture gold. Teammate and reigning world champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia won silver with 238.26 points.Osmond, 22, who almost quit skating after breaking her leg in a training accident in 2014, nailed her long program, landing seven triples jumps. Her only mishap was a slight bobble on a triple Lutz.Canada hadn’t won an Olympic medal in women’s singles since Joannie Rochette claimed bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games just days after her mom died of a heart attack.It was a disastrous day for Gabrielle Daleman, who was seventh after the short program. The 20-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., fell three times — on her opening triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, her triple Lutz, and triple flip.Daleman, who won bronze at last year’s world championships, was deducted 4.00 points for the fallsOsmond and Daleman will be looked to as leaders of Canadian team that will have to rebuild after these Olympics. Among those retiring are ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who won double gold in Pyeongchang, three-time world champion Patrick Chan, and two-time world pairs champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who captured bronze.Osmond and Daleman, along with the retiring veterans, claimed gold in the team event to open these Games.last_img read more

Group of masked blackclad people roams Hamilton damaging stores carsGroup of masked blackclad people roams Hamilton damaging stores cars

first_imgHAMILTON – A band of masked vandals describing themselves as “ungovernables” roamed through a stretch of an Ontario city hurling rocks at small businesses and causing up to $100,000 in damage, local police said Sunday.Cafes, stores and vehicles along a roughly one-kilometre stretch of road in Hamilton took the brunt of the damage as between 20 and 30 people marched along the route on Saturday night.City police Insp. Paul Hamilton said the group, clad in black, sporting masks and carrying a banner saying “we are the ungovernables,” mobilized at a local park before taking to the streets shortly before 10:00 p.m.Police were called to the park after reports that people were spray-painting messages in the area, he said, adding some officers witnessed as the situation quickly escalated.“As they went along the street, they damaged some vehicles that were parked on the street, threw some rocks at some homes, set off some fireworks,” he said in a telephone interview. “Then they got onto Locke Street … which is heavily populated by restaurants and cafes, and threw rocks through windows of a number of the businesses there.”The chaos on the street caused anxiety inside many local restaurants fielding busy Saturday night crowds, said Tony Greco, Chair of the Locke Street Business Improvement Area.Patrons hid under tables as they listened to glass shattering and bangs echoing through the neighbourhood.Although no one was injured, Hamilton said police have so far received about 10 reports of mischief and estimate total damages of about $100,000 so far.Greco said that can take a significant toll on the sorts of independent operations involved in Saturday’s vandalism.“Insurance covers a certain amount. It puts a big dent in a small business,” he said.“It’s a hard thing that happened.”The vandalism came as a particular shock to local coffee and donut outfit Donut Monster, which just opened its doors as a retailer about two months ago after extensive renovations.Owner Reuben Vanderkwaak said he arrived at the shop late Saturday night to find at least half the newly installed windows shattered inside the shop and what appeared to be landscaping stones lying nearby.He said several other storefronts in the area appear to have been similarly hard-hit.But Donut Monster was open for business again Sunday morning, and Vanderkwaak said community members appeared eager to show support and move on from the vandalism.Encouragement came from the political realm too, as NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who represents the riding where the vandalism took place, tried to urge residents to get back out and patronize the damaged shops.“Let’s come together to greet each other as neighbours, shop local on Locke, and show these vandals that this attack will only make us stronger,” she tweeted.Vanderkwaak said his shop doors are open to all, including the alleged perpetrators, adding that understanding the mob’s motives for their destructive march could be helpful in preventing similar events in the future.“Violent actions don’t communicate very well,” he said. “I wanted an opportunity for people to come together and actually communicate in a peaceful way and … try to bring some reconciliation to whatever issues are at hand.”Neighbourhood resident Brianna Baraniecki, who witnessed 10 to 15 police cars converging on Locke Street towards the end of the march, shares the desire to understand what motivated the participants.She said a wish to treat the incident as a one-off is tempered by concern that the unknown group may plan further action.“I guess I’m just standing here kind of waiting to see what’s going to happen next,” she said. “I don’t really know if I believe that this was a truly isolated event or if they have intention, whoever they are, of continuing to do this. I guess I’m just a bit apprehensive.”Hamilton said police have made no arrests in the case so far, adding the arrival of nearly 30 police officers on the scene sent marchers scattering, shedding stray items of clothing along the way.He said police did not know details about the makeup of the group, including the ages or genders of its members.He said police are combing through evidence from the scene as well as surveillance footage from local businesses, but urged anyone else with information to come forward.last_img read more

Offshore oil worker who tested positive for drug use ordered reinstated courtOffshore oil worker who tested positive for drug use ordered reinstated court

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – An offshore oil worker fired for unauthorized drug use is getting his job back after Newfoundland and Labrador’s highest court reviewed his employer’s investigation of a “significant” incident involving helicopter safety.The court was told drug tests were ordered in January 2015 for eight Hibernia platform employees after a series of mistakes were spotted in manifests used to track luggage loaded on the helicopters that carry workers to and from the platform — about 300 kilometres southeast of St. John’s.A helicopter loading officer was fired after he tested positive for benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that includes tranquilizers like Valium.All parties involved in the case, including the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, agreed the errors constituted a “significant incident,” the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal said in a decision released Friday.However, a panel of three appeal court judges unanimously agreed with an arbitration board’s 2016 decision to reinstate the unionized employee because his employer, the Hibernia Platform Employers’ Organization, ordered the drug and alcohol tests without seeking an explanation for what happened.“There was not sufficient information to establish a possible link between substance use by the (employee) and the cause of the incident,” the board said in its ruling. “It was not appropriate to order the test in the exercise of managerial discretion.”The judges also agreed with the board’s conclusion that there were reasonable explanations for the errors.“The other explanations included the actions of the passenger who misplaced his bag at the top of the emergency stairwell, and the fact that procedures designed to improve loading operations and eliminate manifest discrepancies, such as the new check list, were not operational on January 13, 2015,” the board said.“The board concludes that the alcohol and drug test … was ordered without consideration of the explanation that errors in process had not been corrected, without an explanation from the (employee), and without sufficient reason to link the (employee’s) actions to the incident.”The three judges also agreed with a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge, who dismissed the employer’s request for a judicial review, saying it would not have caused a significant delay for the employer to question the eight-member heli-deck crew.The employer had argued that the board’s decision was unreasonable because it interfered with management’s right to order drug testing under the collective agreement.An investigation was ordered after it was discovered that a manifest, dated Jan. 13, 2015, included an entry for an 11-kilogram bag that wasn’t placed on the helicopter.Errors in the manifests were detected during a five-week period that started in late 2014. The heli-deck crew handling the baggage included the loading officer, six deck hands and one non-unionized supervisor.The board found the platform services supervisor did not obtain a statement from the employee before the supervisor reported to the offshore installation manager. As well, the manager did not speak to any member of the heli-deck crew before ordering the tests.As well, the board found the offshore installation manager was wrong when he assumed that a new check list procedure was in place.—By Michael MacDonald in Halifaxlast_img read more

Hundreds queue in Quebec to be among first buyers of legal cannabisHundreds queue in Quebec to be among first buyers of legal cannabis

first_imgMONTREAL – Marijuana smoke wafted through the heart of Montreal’s downtown shopping district Wednesday as hundreds of people lined up to purchase legal cannabis for the first time at Quebec’s state-run shops.Hugo Senecal, 39, emerged to cheers as he brandished a brown paper bag containing three different strains and a couple of pre-rolled joints, one of which he immediately lit up on the street.He and his friend Corey Stone arrived at 3:45 a.m. and waited over six hours to become the first customers allowed into the discreet beige and green storefront on Montreal’s Ste-Catherine Street when the doors opened at 10 a.m.“It’s actually the end of prohibition,” said Stone, 32.“There’s no police officer around. Everyone is leaving us alone.”Senecal said the staff was courteous and the price — about $136 for 20 grams — was slightly lower than what he would pay elsewhere.He said he would not necessarily switch over from the medical provider he already uses, but he had wanted to be part of a “historic” moment.“Worth the wait,” he said as smoke swirled around his head.Sarah Cantin and Ahmed Bakr rolled in on bicycles, waving a red-and-white cannabis leaf flag that had been signed by several of their friends from as far away as Egypt, Dubai, and San Francisco.After living overseas in countries where people are still jailed for smoking marijuana, Cantin said Wednesday was a shining moment for Canada.“I’m proud of my government,” she said. “To come back to live in a place where they look to the future and don’t just see the negative parts (of cannabis smoking.)”The downtown Montreal store was one of 12 that opened across the province on Wednesday, according to the subsidiary of the provincial liquor corporation that has exclusive rights over sales.An online store was also up and running. Spokespeople for the cannabis corporation were not granting interviews Wednesday. They said a report on first-day sales would not be available until Thursday.Large crowds were visible outside stores across the province.In Quebec City, about 100 people braved the wind and the rain to check out the government’s supply.“When you’ve been buying in secret for 50 years, and now it’s legal, it’s a big change,” 66-year-old Andre St-Gelais said.On Montreal’s St-Hubert Street, the customers who emerged from another of the city’s cannabis stores expressed satisfaction with the service and prices.“The employees seem well trained and you can see they know what they’re talking about,” said Olivier Ferro, who bought an assortment of dried cannabis flowers, capsules and pre-rolled joints.The upbeat celebrations outside the stores took place against the backdrop of cannabis laws that are among the strictest in the country.Sales in Quebec are restricted to government-run stores, and private cultivation is not allowed, in contrast to many other provinces.Many cities have chosen to ban smoking in all public places, and Quebec’s newly elected government has promised to raise the smoking age to 21 from 18.Stone expressed hope that legalization would eventually dissipate the “huge stigma” that still surrounds cannabis smoking.“You can see it in the people walking by,” he said outside the downtown Montreal outlet. “Some are smiling, but some are shaking their heads.”The provincial cannabis corporation said it would be offering some 110 products — from containers of pre-rolled Tsunami brand joints to small vials of cannabis oil.In a set-up closer to a pharmacy than a wine boutique, customers were asked to show their IDs before being led out of public view to select from the products kept behind a counter.Quebec’s major labour unions, meanwhile, were battling it out in an effort to unionize cannabis employees on their first day on the job Wednesday.Three unions had representatives on site at the Quebec stores, seeking signatures for union drives.One union — the Quebec Federation of Labour-affiliated United Food and Commercial Workers Union — announced that stores in Montreal and Rimouski had already signed on with it to unionize.The Canadian Union of Public Employees — also affiliated with the QFL — and the Confederation of National Trade Unions were also angling to sign up employees, who earn a starting wage of about $14 an hour.Provincial and Montreal police Wednesday afternoon reported no problems, on the roads or elsewhere, related to the first day of legal cannabis sales.— With files from Sidhartha Banerjee, Stephanie Marin and Caroline Plantelast_img read more

Town of Canmore supports Calgarys Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bidTown of Canmore supports Calgarys Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid

first_imgCANMORE, Alta. (CP) – Canmore’s town council has voted to support Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.The Rocky Mountain town an hour west of Calgary would host some of the events as part of the bid.Councillors supported the bid on the condition that satisfactory terms are reached with other orders of government for funding support to cover the operational costs of the games in the town.They also included an amendment to ensure all Olympic-related policing and security costs be covered.Housing affordability is a major issue in Canmore.The bid corporation’s plan calls for 240 affordable housing units in Canmore to be managed by the city’s housing corporation.last_img

Trudeau sits down with Chinas premier at Asian summit over free tradeTrudeau sits down with Chinas premier at Asian summit over free trade

first_imgSINGAPORE — The Trudeau Liberals’ commitment to what they describe as “progressive” trade deals was put into the spotlight today as promise hung over a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Chinese premier.Trudeau and Li Keqiang met at a key gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders, hoping to push ahead on talks toward a free trade agreement.Trudeau kicked off the meeting by saying the two leaders would have a “frank and open” talk.After the meeting, International Trade Minister Jim Carr told reporters the government remains interested in having a deal that helps female entrepreneurs, Indigenous Peoples and promotes other Canadian values.China has had a cool response to the proposals, but Carr didn’t say how Li and the Chinese delegation responded to the concepts at the meeting during the annual ASEAN summit.Carr says any trade deal will take time to pull together.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

A warm embrace for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fireA warm embrace for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire

first_imgOne by one, seven small white caskets were carried inside a cavernous waterfront hall on Saturday, where thousands of mourners gathered for an emotional embrace of grieving parents who lost their children in a devastating house fire.Seven black hearses lined up under the cold winter sun, the caskets brought inside the Cunard Centre by an honour guard.As they filled a stage, a heartrending sobbing could be heard, the anguish of a woman who lost all of her children in Tuesday’s fast-moving fire, and whose husband was in hospital being treated for severe burns.Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, who arrived in Canada with her family 18 months ago as Syrian refugees.But the overwhelming devastation of losing seven children in one night – from an infant baby to a teenager – hung heavy over the funeral.“I’ve done many funerals but nothing like this, so please bear with me,” an overwhelmed Sheikh Hamza said as he offered the ceremony’s English sermon.More than 2,000 people attended the two-hour service, with every seat filled and hundreds more people standing.Imam Abdallah Yousri said he hoped opening the ceremony to the public would allow Barho to see the entire community had been united in sympathy.“On what is our darkest day, we see the best of humanity when we look out into the sea of faces in front of us,” said Natalie Horne, vice-president of the community group that sponsored the Barhos’ refugee claim.“Our lives were enriched as a result of our relationship with you and your children,” Horne told Barho through tears. “We love them and we love you.”Many of those gathered openly wept when the children’s names were read: Teenager Ahmad; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2; and Abdullah, who was born in Canada on Nov. 9.“Together our community will find ways to honour your memories,” the city’s deputy mayor, Tony Mancini, said after reading the names.“I encourage each of you to use the sadness we share as a community to fuel acts of love and kindness towards our family, friends and neighbours.”It was a common theme throughout the funeral – a desire for the tragedy to lead to love and unity.“Life is short and temporary. Live it the best way possible,” Hamza said.Nova Scotia deputy premier Karen Casey told Barho “we will not abandon you. We will not leave you alone.”“Please accept our love,” Casey said. “Please accept our warm embrace.”Halifax MP Andy Fillmore told Barho the community would be there for her in the hard times to come. But he acknowledged it’s family that brings the greatest comfort, and said the federal government is trying to bring her overseas relatives to Canada quickly.“We are working as hard as we can to get your family here as quickly as possible so they can be by your side,” Fillmore said.Mourners, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, said they came because they had been deeply affected by the tragedy, and wanted to show their support for Barho as she faced unimaginable grief.“She doesn’t know me, I don’t know her, but I know I’m here. And she’s our family – their whole family is our family. I want to be here for all of them,” Cindy Samson said in an interview.Adnan Aboushahla said it was a “shock for anyone – not only for Muslim people, but for Christians and other religions,” to witness such a tragedy.“We want to do whatever we can – either give support, money, feelings, this grief,” said Aboushahla.Following the funeral service, the combined honour guards of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency and Halifax Regional Police carried each coffin back outside, one at a time, to the waiting hearses. There was to be a burial at a Muslim cemetery in Hammonds Plains following the funeral.Peter Andrews, Halifax fire deputy chief of operations, said it was a “huge honour to be invited to participate in this family’s darkest day.”He said none of the firefighters that responded to the horrific blaze were part of the funeral’s honour guard.“We put on a brave face today,” he said. “We’ll grieve in our own way in the weeks ahead.”The children’s father, Ebraheim Barho, remained in hospital Friday recovering from extensive burns. He was in critical, but stable condition.The cause of the blaze in the Halifax suburb of Spryfield early Tuesday remains unclear.Mourner Tareq Hadhad, a Syrian refugee who founded Peace by Chocolate in Nova Scotia, said it is hard for the parents to handle all the pain by themselves.“I would say it’s the most devastating period that I have ever lived, even though we lost family members back home in Syria. The loss of seven kids at once really has had a very devastating impact on the entire community here,” he said.Mourner Mouna Manna praised the outpouring of support, and said the mother’s burden is unimaginable.“I don’t even know where to begin to imagine how this would be, to lose not one or two but seven of them all at once … it’s a huge, huge devastation,” she said.The scale of the tragedy for the young family that arrived in Nova Scotia in the fall of 2017 as refugees has struck a chord with Canadians.A GoFundMe campaign had raised about $585,000 by Saturday evening.The Barho family lived in Elmsdale, a 30-minute drive north of Halifax, when they first arrived in Nova Scotia, and were embraced by residents there.They moved to the Halifax suburb of Spryfield to take advantage of language training and other immigrant services, and had planned to return to Elmsdale next month.The family was among 1,795 Syrian refugees who have come to Nova Scotia in recent years. The Trudeau government granted asylum to 40,000 Syrian refugees in 2015-16.A brutal civil war has raged across Syria since 2011, claiming more than 400,000 lives.last_img read more

Public safety minister says new law targets gangrun drug and crime housesPublic safety minister says new law targets gangrun drug and crime houses

first_imgThe Canadian Press VICTORIA — Properties linked to gun, gang and drug activities are now on the British Columbia government’s hit list.Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth introduced legislation that empowers people to report alleged illegal activities in their neighbourhoods and gives authorities more clout to shut down those sites.He says the Community Safety Act, if passed, would allow people to submit confidential complaints to a government unit that will investigate and enforce the act.Farnworth says the unit will collaborate with neighbours and take escalating steps that would include ending tenancy agreements and closing the property for up to 90 days.He says people living near so-called crack shacks and other dangerous and nuisance properties have been waiting years for help since the former Liberal government passed similar protection legislation in 2013 but didn’t proclaim the law.Farnworth says Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Yukon already have legislation similar to B.C.’s proposed Community Safety Act.last_img read more

Albertas turnofftaps law makes gas price jumps and shortages realAlbertas turnofftaps law makes gas price jumps and shortages real

first_imgVICTORIA — Get ready for higher gasoline prices and shortages in British Columbia and a supply surplus on the Prairies if Alberta Premier Jason Kenney uses a newly proclaimed law to restrict fuel exports to its western neighbour, say industry experts and court documents.“The one wild card factor that we really can’t predict is the political factor: would, in fact, the Alberta government actually put in effect, in practice, the curtailment of gasoline and diesel shipments from Alberta to the West Coast,” Michael Ervin, Kent Group Ltd., senior vice-president, said Thursday.The Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, the so-called turn-off-the taps law, was passed by the former Alberta government a year ago. Kenney’s United Conservatives proclaimed it as law this week and the threat to put the squeeze on B.C. is real, said Ervin, a petroleum market expert.“The possibility of that certainly changed, increased since Premier Kenney has been elected into office,” he said in a telephone interview from Sidney, B.C.Ervin said he expected gasoline prices in B.C. to jump by at least 10 cents per litre if Alberta started restricting fuel supplies. He said oil companies in Alberta may also feel the pinch because their B.C. customers will be cut off, creating a surplus there.The B.C. government immediately moved to have Alberta’s law declared unconstitutional with a legal challenge, claiming “the central purpose and legal effect of the act is to authorize and provide for discrimination against British Columbia in relation to exports of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels.”An initial hearing is set for May 7 in Calgary.An affidavit filed alongside the statement of claim outlines B.C.’s dependence on Alberta fuel products and the potential impacts of cutbacks.“The threat of refined fuel supply shortages can have rapid price impacts,” Michael Rensing, a B.C. government energy expert, says in the document. He pointed to an anti-pipeline protest in July 2018, where demonstrators hung on lines from a bridge above Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. He said those actions had the potential to cause fuel shortages on Vancouver Island.“They advised me that if the supply of gasoline to Vancouver Island was interrupted for even 48 hours, that could affect the ability of retail gas stations there to remain open,” the affidavit says. “If the volume of refined fuels supplied to B.C. consumers through the Trans Mountain pipeline is significantly reduced, shortages of those products will likely occur.”Rensing’s affidavit says an explosion at an Enbridge natural gas pipeline near Prince George last October saw prices increase by 10 cents within 48 hours. The explosion did not disrupt natural gas supplies to the refinery near Vancouver but the possibility of shortages sent prices upwards, it says.Alberta supplies, directly or indirectly, more than 80 per cent of the gasoline and diesel used in B.C., says the affidavit.“Each day British Columbians consume between 70,000 and 85,000 barrels of gasoline, and between 55,000 and 70,000 barrels of diesel,” says the affidavit. “Approximately 55 per cent of B.C.’s gasoline and 71 per cent of its diesel is imported from Alberta refineries. The majority of these refined fuels are transported to B.C. through the Trans Mountain Pipeline.”Brian Ahearn, vice-president Western Canada for the Canadian Fuels Association, urged Alberta to take a cautious approach on fuel restrictions.“Because certainly the transportation fuels business is a very integrated business with respect to transportation of fuels between Alberta and B.C.,” said Ahearn. “We’re really hoping the government will look at other solutions, other options.”B.C. Premier John Horgan, who’s already facing daily calls to provide relief to $1.70 per litre gas prices in Metro Vancouver, called Alberta’s law regrettable and said the federal government needs to put more fuel in the pipeline.“We’re trying a whole range of factors to reduce costs on people and then the gas price thing comes whack in the middle of that and there’s very little control I have over that,” Horgan said.B.C. Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson said he isn’t buying Horgan’s statements about his inability to reduce gas prices. Wilkinson said Horgan can drop some of the estimated 35 cents per litre taxes on fuel prices in the Vancouver area.“It sounds like we’re being told to suck it up,” he said.B.C. Business Council president Greg D’Avignon said concerns about higher gas prices and fuel shortages are causing widespread concern.“That impacts business,” he said. “It impacts families. It impacts the government. It creates a real crisis.”He urged Kenny and Horgan to step back from the dispute and see the strong bonds between their provinces. “We’re the two most integrated economies in the country, on labour, on trade, on the movement of goods, on investment, and there are huge opportunities of things we could be doing to grow our economies, but the Trans Mountain expansion and this energy conflict is in the way of it,” said D’Avignon.The premiers need to find a solution, he said.“People forget that families, friends and companies move back and forth between Alberta and B.C. everyday,” D’Avignon said. “When B.C. gets a cold, Alberta gets sick and vice versa.” Kenny was in Ottawa Thursday testifying before the Senate’s energy committee about the bill overhauling environmental assessments. He told the committee that Bill C-69 violates Alberta’s constitutional right to regulate its natural resources.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Canada files North Pole competing claim with Russia DenmarkCanada files North Pole competing claim with Russia Denmark

first_imgCanada is heading for negotiations over who owns the North Pole.After years of delay and political arm-twisting, Canada has made a claim to a vast portion of the Arctic seabed that includes the North Pole.The claim sets up the federal government for talks with Russian and Denmark, which had already filed their own claims.Canada document was filed last week with a United Nations body that is to determine the scientific validity of each country’s version of where the lines on the map should be.A decision is to be made after negotiations between the three countries.Canada’s submission is late — the previous federal government nixed plans for a claim in 2013 that didn’t include the North Pole.The Canadian Presslast_img

Another reason to avoid bunker as snapping turtle lays eggs on NSAnother reason to avoid bunker as snapping turtle lays eggs on NS

first_imgHALIFAX — For the second year in a row, a central Nova Scotia golf course is home to an unusual hazard after a resident snapping turtle laid eggs in a bunker.Debert Golf Course manager Mark Webb says the sand trap next to the seventh hole has been declared off limits after the turtle laid the eggs.Webb says the turtle nicknamed Shelley was rescued from the side of a road last year by a friend and brought to the course, where it has apparently found a home.The nine-hole course has several ponds that provide an ideal turtle habitat.Webb says that after a hatching last September, he was able to help three of the baby turtles make it safely to a pond on the course.Andrew Hebda, curator of zoology with the Nova Scotia Museum, says while snapping turtles often lay eggs in June, recent cooler springs have meant the eggs are being laid later in the summer.Hebda says the current batch of eggs may not hatch until October, and if gets cooler earlier in the fall the hatchlings may not emerge until next spring.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Man 70 charged with mischief for calling 911 to complain about OntarioMan 70 charged with mischief for calling 911 to complain about Ontario

first_imgHAMILTON (680 NEWS) – Police in Hamilton, Ontario have charged a 70-year-old man with mischief after he called 911 to complain about Tuesday’s Amber Alert for five missing children.In a release, police said the man called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. admitting he didn’t have an emergency, but was upset that the alerts were disturbing his attempts to rest.Police further alleged that the man admitted he was purposely trying to tie up emergency lines and would continue to call 911 in response to the ongoing alert.Douglas Bagshaw was later arrested and charged with mischief. He’ll be in court on Oct. 15.The children who were the subject of the alert were found safe at a rental cottage in Fort Erie.At this point their father has not been charged, but Niagara Regional Police said an investigation is ongoing.last_img read more

Pau Gasol Sees UNICEFs Work In ChadPau Gasol Sees UNICEFs Work In Chad

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While in Chad, Pau Gasol spent three days in the capital, N’Djamena, and three days in Kanem, where he saw UNICEF projects in Mao and Miouh, a small village where a feeding center has been opened, a water well has been installed, schools are supported by training teachers and supplies are distributed. In addition, hygiene habits are being promoted while providing supplies and practical information to prevent diseases such as cholera.“It is very important to reach places like Miouh, where families have problems that could not be addressed without the support of organizations like UNICEF,” said Pau.As an example of the scope of support, he referred to one of the girls he has met on this trip, Fatime, who was treated for malnutrition at a treatment center in Mao. “She lives 60 kilometers away from the center, in a village in the middle of the sand, without roads, but thanks to a network supported by UNICEF and other organizations, is now recovering. Stories like this are repeated. “
 
In Mao, Pau also visited a UNICEF program aimed to promote hygiene habits among children. He refereed a football game and made sure that the children washed their hands after finishing, since this practice prevents deadly diseases. In the same school, he shared a few hours with children attending ‘resit’ courses for pupils who have failed to complete the course due to the nutritional crisis.Besides FAO and WFP, he also visited a wadi, an oasis-like area in which the implementation of a simple system of irrigation and seed distribution contributes to the survival of thousands of families.In N’Djamena, Pau Gasol met with ministers of the Government of Chad to share the idea that sport is “an exceptional tool for the promotion of values, for the development of children and to contribute to the development of their countries.”While attending an event organized by UNICEF, the Government of Chad and the basketball federation and league, Pau delivered this message and joined several youth teams matches.Source:UNICEF Pau Gasol, Silver Medalist at the 2012 Olympics, two-time NBA champion and a UNICEF Spain Ambassador since 2003, recently visited several areas in the Kanem region in Chad, where thousands of families are affected by the nutritional crisis in the Sahel.After seeing firsthand the work of UNICEF with 71 partners and affected communities, Pau ended his trip to Chad noting that “thanks to everyone’s help many lives are being saved, only in Chad half of the children affected have been treated for malnutrition, but we must not forget that in the whole Sahel region there’s still hundreds of thousands of children who need this treatment, we have to keep the work and momentum going.”UNICEF has reached more than 335,000 children with nutritional treatment in the Sahel region so far this year. The goal is to reach 700,000 in the coming months to address the consequences of this crisis affecting 18 million people in nine countries in this African region.The crisis has its causes in extreme poverty, drought, rising food prices and conflicts.last_img read more

Jimmy Kimmel To Be Honored At Varietys Power Of Comedy EventJimmy Kimmel To Be Honored At Varietys Power Of Comedy Event

first_imgVariety is pleased to announce that Jeff Ross will be hosting their 4th Annual Variety’s Power of Comedy event presented by Xbox One on November 16 at The Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles.This entertaining evening of stand-up, sketch comedy and musical acts will feature performances by Joel McHale, David Spade, Adam Carolla, Dana Gould, Kevin Nealon and Jimmy Kimmel Live! house band Cleto and the Cletones. The celebration will honor Jimmy Kimmel with the 2013 Variety’s Power of Comedy Award, and will once again support The Noreen Fraser Foundation’s mission of raising funds for women’s cancer research.This year’s gala is presented by Xbox One and sponsored by Amazon Studios, GUINNESS and Johnnie Walker and will bring together over six hundred VIP guests, including some of Hollywood’s most talented comedians.“The caliber of comedic talent for our 4th Annual Variety’s Power of Comedy event is truly outstanding. We are thrilled to have Jeff Ross and so many wonderful performers join us in raising awareness for The Noreen Fraser Foundation,” said Michelle Sobrino, Publisher, Variety. “With Xbox One, Amazon Studios, GUINNESS and Johnnie Walker generously providing their support to such a worthy cause, this is sure to be a memorable event and also one of the funniest rooms in Hollywood that night.”Tickets and tables are currently available for purchase at a variety of supporting levels via The Noreen Fraser Foundation’s website and through Levy, Pazanti & Associates events. The event’s presenting sponsor, Xbox One, will be showcasing the new entertainment system at the event just days prior to its highly-anticipated launch on November 22. Xbox One is the ultimate all-in-one entertainment system built for the 21st century living room — introducing a new world of games, music, live TV, movies, sports, apps and Skype, all personalized and accessible with the sound of your voice.Guests attending Variety’s Power of Comedy will be responsibly enjoying the legendary GUINNESS beer, as well as specialty cocktails featuring Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch, the world’s number-one selling Scotch whisky brand. GUINNESS and Johnnie Walker remind you to drink responsibly.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits LebanonUNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Lebanon

first_imgUNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie is visiting Lebanon to highlight the plight of Syrian children, and to thank the Lebanese people for assisting refugees as the conflict enters its fourth year.On her three-day visit, which began this weekend, she met refugee families and held talks with President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.Jolie welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council 2139 on Humanitarian Assistance to Syria, which she described as “a long overdue step in the right direction for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women and children trapped in hard to reach areas across Syria.”The Special Envoy emphasized the need for the resolution to be more than just a paper declaration: “It must be implemented – and that will take political will and courage. The unity that the Council has shown must not be a one-off, but the start of a new phase in ending the conflict.”Jolie met orphaned Syrian children who fled to Lebanon and who are now living in the Bekaa Valley. There are 3,500 unaccompanied children, or children who have been separated from their families, now known to be living in Lebanon.Jolie said: “Meeting these children was a heart-rending experience. They have lost their families and their childhood has been hijacked by war. They are so young, yet they are bearing the burdens of their reality as if they are adults.”Access to education is one of many of the challenges faced by the refugee population. Syrian refugees struggle to maintain their shelter, pay the rent and access water. She met one little boy who expressed a wish to be a doctor when he grows up. His siblings started to laugh, explaining that he doesn’t understand what has happened to him. “How can he become a doctor in an empty tent?” they asked.Throughout the visit, Jolie stressed the vital contribution that Lebanon is making as the recipient of the largest share of refugees from the crisis. With the number of registered refugees nearing the one million mark, Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history. If the US were to welcome a comparable number of refugees relative to its population size, it would be sheltering 75 million people.The Special Envoy discussed the humanitarian crisis with President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Tammam Salam. She paid tribute to Lebanon for generously receiving refugees despite its own internal challenges.“The generosity and solidarity shown by Lebanon and Lebanese to its neighbor serves as an example to the world for which we should all be grateful. We all need to help them bear this burden,” said Jolie.Jolie’s visit to Lebanon is her third on behalf of UNHCR. She was last in the country in September 2012.Source:UNHCRlast_img read more

Robert De Niro To Be Honored At Friars Foundation GalaRobert De Niro To Be Honored At Friars Foundation Gala

first_imgThe Friars Club will present its highest honor – the Entertainment Icon Award – to Robert De Niro, and its Icon Award for Philanthropy to Carlos Slim at the annual Friars Foundation Gala.The Entertainment Icon Award pays tribute to individuals whose accomplishments transcend the entertainment industry by positively redefining the very culture we live in. De Niro will join Hollywood legends Tom Cruise, Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra as the fifth Entertainment Icon Award recipient since the Friars launched in 1904.Slim is the premier recipient of the Icon Award for Philanthropy, which pays tribute to Slim’s philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors and serves to applaud his work to stimulate education, advance health care and strengthen small businesses in Latin American countries and around the world.Expected to attend the event are 50 Cent, Richard Belzer, Tony Bennett, David Blaine, Orlando Bloom, Blythe Danner, Kit Harrington, Kevin Hart, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, Harvey Keitel, Larry King, Art Linson, Penny Marshall, Joel McHale, Kathrine Narducci, Edward Norton, Édgar Ramírez, Jane Rosenthal, David O. Russell, Arturo Sandoval, Ben Stiller, Sting, Sharon Stone, Kenan Thompson, Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken, Harvey Weinstein, Stevie Wonder and more.WHEN: Tuesday, October 7WHERE: Waldorf Astoria301 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022The Friars Club was founded in 1904 as a meeting place for entertainers and over the years has achieved legendary status. Its membership includes the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Brian Williams, Barbra Streisand, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise, Les Moonves, Whitney Cummings and Samuel L. Jackson. The Friars Club “Monastery” is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan in a classic townhouse and is a haven for entertainers young and old.The Friars Foundation was established in 1977 as the charitable arm of the legendary Friars Club. The mission of the Foundation is to help performing arts groups create superior, innovative and affordable programs for the enrichment, education and enjoyment of diverse audiences and participants. The Foundation also helps prepare the next generation of performers and musical artists through scholarship programs for students studying the performing arts. In addition, it has created the Gift of Laughter Wounded Warriors Program, which enables the Foundation to bring laughter and comedy to members of the armed forces injured during service.last_img read more