Bihar may sack staff who take dowry

first_imgBihar has decided to take action against government employees who demand or promote dowry and child marriage. Apparently emboldened by the success of the stringent prohibition laws, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier launched a campaign against dowry and child marriages on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on October 2. Later, the ‘Bandhan Tod’ mobile app was launched to raise awareness on resisting child marriage and providing assistance to adolescent girls in need of help. The Bihar Women Development Corporation (BWDC) has been made the nodal organisation to successfully implement the campaign. A department official told The Hindu that strict action would be taken against priests and religious leaders who facilitated child marriages. Even the managers of banquet halls and hotels would be asked to take assurances at the time of booking, said the official. “Government employees against whom complaints of taking dowry or abetting child marriages are received and are found guilty in our inquiry might be sacked from services,” he said.last_img read more

Pune school’s directives on girls’ innerwear, loo breaks angers parents

first_imgA controversy has erupted over a set of guidelines issued by a Pune private school, asking the girls to wear innerwears of specific colour while on the campus.As per the guidelines issued by MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul School, located in Kothrud area of the city, girls must wear only “white or beige inner-wears” under their bloomers every day.In another diktat, the co-ed school has directed its all the students to use urinals during specific time only.While parents have sought action against the school, the authorities have justified the guidelines, saying they are to ensure the safety of students.Guidelines mentioned in school diaryThese and some other such guidelines were mentioned in the school diary, which was handed over to students recently.One of the guidelines talks about the loo breaks.“The students are strictly advised to use urinals and toilets in specific time allotted in the time-table. In case of emergency and medical grounds, the students should take permission from their respective teacher and proceed to the toilet with a buddy,” it stated.The school administration has sought a written affidavit signed by the parents of the students.Terming the guidelines “coercive and unnecessary”, the parents have approached the Education department and sought action against the school administration.One of the parents said the mention of innerwear in the diary could have been avoided. “The parents and students are well matured and there was no need to include such guideline in the diary,” she said.Suchitra Karad-Nagare, executive director and trustee of the MAEER MIT group, justified the guidelines, saying the coloured innerwears worn under white uniform could draw unpleasant comments.Complaints from girls“In past, we had some girls coming to us and complaining about such unpleasant experiences. To prevent such incidents, we decided to include rules about innerwears in the diary,” she said.Instead of calling each and every parent and explaining to them about the move, the school administration decided to put that in the diary, the executive director said.On the loo break timings, she said it has been done to “bring discipline and to ensure the safety of the students as sometimes students excuse themselves and dodn’t return to their classes for long time”.Dinkar Temkar, Director, (Primary) Education, has directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to make inquiries.Two officers from the PMC’s education board have been appointed to look into the matter.last_img read more

Eye on Assembly polls, Naveen goes on an inauguration spree

first_imgEyeing a fifth consecutive term in Odisha, where Assembly polls will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik seems to have already got into the poll mode to stay ahead of the Opposition Congress and the BJP. Mr. Patnaik has started inaugurating roads, bridges, hospitals and other projects in different parts of the State to guard against anti-incumbency.Irrigation project He inaugurated a medium irrigation project in Sundargarh district on Wednesday. The project will provide irrigation cover to 5,750 hectares in Gurundia and Banei blocks.On Tuesday, the Chief Minister launched a massive plantation drive under the ‘Green Mahanadi Mission’ in Boudh and Subarnapur districts to rejuvenate the river.On Thursday, he is scheduled to inaugurate the much-awaited Gurupriya bridge that would link the mainland with 151 villages in the cut-off areas in Malkangiri district. The bridge is likely to open road link to the last Maoist bastion in the State.Under the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas’ (our village, our development) programme that was launched on the birth anniversary of late Biju Patnaik on March 5, Mr. Patnaik sanctioned 21,960 projects to be implemented at a cost of ₹547.74 crore in 101 of 314 blocks in the State by directly interacting with the villagers through videoconferencing. Apart from strengthening the BJD at the district level by inducting many prominent leaders from other parties, Mr. Patnaik has also reached out to the people through the newly-started ‘Ama Mukhyamantri, Ama Katha’ (Our Chief Minister, our issues) programme which involves discussion on issues of importance.He also announced a ban on the use of plastic bags, polythene and single-use plastic in the State starting Gandhi Jayanti through this programme on July 10.Three-party StateAs Odisha virtually continues to remain a three-party State since 2009, when the BJD snapped ties with the BJP, the leaders of the Congress and the BJP are busy fighting a perception battle – each trying to finish second in the electoral race in the future. While the Congress is struggling to regain the strength it lost due to infighting, the BJP has been working hard to occupy the second position in Odisha politics since it finished second in the Zilla Parishad polls in 2017. The Congress may remain in the second spot if it manages to have an alliance with the Left and other small parties in the State before the polls.last_img read more

Two farmers commit suicide in Buldhana, Maharashtra

first_imgTwo debt-ridden farmers allegedly committed suicide in Buldhana district of Maharashtra, police officials said today.Gajanan Jaybhaye, a resident of Saukhedtejan village, left his home on Saturday night and went to his farm. The 35- year-old subsequently consumed poison and set himself ablaze after building his own pyre with woods and animal fodder kept in the farm, a police official said.The incident came to light on Sunday morning, said the official. The police have registered a case of accidental death on a complaint filed by the father of the deceased. The official, quoting Mr. Jaybhaye’s family, said the farmer was facing some loan repayment-related problem. In the second incident, a 34-year-old cultivator hanged himself at his residence in Shivani Taka village under Sindkhedraja tehsil of Buldhana district, an official said. Rameshwar Kisan Tambekar killed himself on July 26 over non-repayment of bank loan and poor crop yield, he said.last_img read more

Injured Sharapova out of Wimbledon

first_imgIn this May 8, 2017, file photo, Maria Sharapova hits a return to Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match in Madrid, Spain. Sharapova has pulled out of Wimbledon qualifying because of an injured left thigh. Sharapova said Saturday, June 10, that the muscle tear she got at the Italian Open last month would not allow her to compete at grass-court tournaments she was scheduled to play. AP FILELONDON, United Kingdom — Maria Sharapova withdrew from Wimbledon on Saturday after failing to recover from a thigh injury, dealing another blow to the superstar’s bid to rebuild her career after serving a doping ban.The 30-year-old Russian, who was champion at the All England Club in 2004, was due to play in the qualifying event in the hope of making the main draw.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. What ‘missteps’? Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ At the moment the five-time Grand Slam title winner is ranked at 178.She was initially banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled she was not an intentional doper.After her ban expired, Sharapova returned to competition in April at the Stuttgart Open, reaching the semi-finals, and progressed to the last 32 of the Madrid Open.She failed to earn a qualifying spot for the French Open and was then denied a wild card into the main draw by Roland Garros organisers despite being a two-time champion.She was also controversially handed a wildcard for the WTA grasscourt event in Birmingham later this month, a key warm-up for Wimbledon.ADVERTISEMENT World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage “After an additional scan, the muscle tear that I sustained in Rome will unfortunately not allow me to compete in the grass court tournaments I was scheduled to play,” she said in a statement.“I will continue to work on my recovery and my next scheduled tournament is in Stanford from July 31.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutREAD: Bouchard urges life ban for ‘cheater’ SharapovaThe former world number one returned from a 15-month doping ban in April but has relied on wildcards to get into tournaments because her world ranking points expired while she was banned. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chickencenter_img MOST READ LATEST STORIES Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games NBA: Intensity grows as Warriors on the brink, Cavs on edge Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games But the injury she suffered in the Rome claycourt event in May has scuppered her plans, leaving her to probably hope for a wild card into the US Open, the season’s final Grand Slam event.She was champion in New York in 2006.“I want to thank the LTA (Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association) for their amazing support on my return and providing me with a Birmingham wild card, a tournament which I hope many of you will be able to attend,” Sharapova added in her statement.“I look forward to meeting you there next year.” CBBSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire View commentslast_img read more

Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu crash out of Indonesia Open

first_imgIn what may come as a major blow to the Indian fans, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal and Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu crashed out of the Indonesia Super Series Premier after going down against Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol and Beiwen Zhang of America respectively, on Thursday.After suffering a defeat in the first game, Nehwal rebounded strongly in the second before again going down to end up with a 15-21, 21-6, 21-16 defeat against her Thailand opponent in a thrilling clash that lasted 63 minutes.Earlier this month, the 27-year-old Hyderabadi had made it to the semi-finals of the Thailand Open before losing to Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan 17-13, 13-9.On the other hand, PV Sindhu suffered a major blow as she crashed out of the ongoing Indonesia Super Series Premier tournament after suffering a heart-wrenching straight-games defeat at the hands of Beiwen Zhang of America.After comfortable winning the first game, the fourth-seed failed to capitalize on the same and went on to suffer a 21-15, 12-21, 18-21 defeat against Zhang in a thrilling second-round encounter that lasted 54 minutes.last_img read more

Former Texas Football Star, Olympian Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones Has Died

first_imgJohnny “Lam” Jones, a storied Texas Longhorns multi-sport athlete from the late 1970s, has died. Jones passed away at 60 years old after a battle with myeloma cancer.Jones was a running back and wide receiver for the Longhorns, named to the Sporting News All-American team in 1979. He was a two-time All-Southwestern Conference player as a junior and senior.In 1980, he was selected by the New York Jets as the No. 2 overall pick. He went on to a seven year NFL career, finishing with brief stints on the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.Jones caught 138 passes for 2,322 yards and 13 touchdowns in the NFL.Johnny “Lam” Jones’ bigger impact as an athlete was in track and field, where he won Olympic gold.In 1976, as an 18-year old, he competed in the Montreal Summer Olympics. He was a member of the gold-medal winning 4×100 meters relay.Jones ran the second leg, setting a world record at 38.33 seconds in the race. He also finished sixth in the 100 meter spring in those Olympic Games.Jones was inducted to both the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame.Our thoughts go out to his family, and everyone else affected by his passing.last_img read more

First Responders Trained to Provide Psychological Support

first_imgA number of emergency personnel, who respond to traumatic situations, particularly major disasters, on Tuesday, March 19, benefited from training in Psychological First Aid (PFA).The workshop, hosted by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), examined practical ways in which responders can provide emotional and mental support.Participants included community health aides, psychology students, representatives of the Ministries of Health and Education, non-governmental organisations, and social workers.Director of Mental Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Maureen Irons Morgan, said that adverse events can act as a trigger for a maelstrom of psychological events, and leave persons petrified and hopeless.She noted that in these situations, health care professionals are called upon to find creative solutions, to help families and friends to cope, even with limited resources.Dr. Irons Morgan stated that with Jamaica facing hurricane seasons that feature between nine and 13 named storms per year, the training will enable first line responders, mental health professionals, and those working with vulnerable populations “to be better equipped to help mitigate the psychological effect of a (Hurricane) Sandy, or a Gilbert, or a Hurricane Dean.”Among the areas examined during the workshop were: the place of PFA in the overall response; key resilience factors; frequent needs of survivors; good communication skills; people, who need special attention; caring for yourself and team members; and crisis events.PFA is described as a humane, supportive response to a fellow human being, who is suffering and may need support. It involves: providing practical care and support, which does not intrude; assessing needs and concerns; helping people to address basic needs; listening to people, but not pressuring them to talk; comforting people and helping them to feel calm; helping people connect to information, services and social supports; and protecting them from further harm.By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporterlast_img read more

Province Invests in Arichatarea Students Families

first_imgAcadian and francophone students in Arichat will be learning and playing in a better school. “The province is putting kids and learning first by providing the best learning environment for Acadian and francophone students at École Beau-Port to ensure they are successful,” said Mat Whynott, ministerial assistant for Youth, on behalf of Education Minister Ramona Jennex. “The improvements will help to make life better for the students and families for many, many years to come.” The province will contribute $600,000, the Municipality of Richmond County $200,000 and Vitalité Isle Madame $250,000 to renovate and upgrade the school, adding a family studies area, a multi-purpose community centre, a fitness centre and administrative offices. The Department of Canadian Heritage will also invest $750,000 for a new daycare and preschool facilities. “Canada’s two official languages are an integral part of Canadian history and identity,” said James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “We are proud to protect, celebrate, and strengthen our linguistic duality, and our support for this project is proof of our strong commitment and leadership.” The Conseil scolaire acadien provincial is managing the project with the Department of Education. “Our school advisory committee is very pleased that government has approved the expansion of École Beau-Port,” said Sherry Boudreau, treasurer of the École Beau-Port School Advisory Committee. “This will give our students and community opportunities they did not have before.” The Conseil scolaire acadien provincial school has about 225 students in grades Primary to 12. Work on the project has just begun and is expected to be completed during the 2013-14 school year.last_img read more

Moving from megabytes to gigabytes Ottawa pledges 50M for Arctic internet

first_imgIQALUIT, Nunavut – The federal government has promised to contribute nearly $50 million to bring high-speed internet to Nunavut where some of the poorest and most expensive service in Canada has long been considered an economic drag.The money, together with $73 million from regional service provider Northwestel, will put satellite dishes and ground stations in all 25 Nunavut communities, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said Thursday in Iqaluit.“We’re moving from megabytes to gigabytes.”Everyone from local users to federal committee members has long identified poor internet as a major barrier to northern development.Current internet speeds in Nunavut are, at best, about three megabytes per second — enough to transmit just one medium-sized picture.Earlier this year, a report to then-Indigenous and northern affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett found internet access to be a greater concern among northerners than environmental conservation. The drag poor internet access has had on Arctic development has been pointed out in studies dating back to 2011.Mining companies have had to courier documents to northern regulators because internet connections couldn’t handle the file sizes. An Iqaluit band that recorded a music video to accompany its latest release found it couldn’t be uploaded.The new satellite dishes are expected to provide speeds of between five and 15 megabytes per second. Broadband capacity is expected to increase by 20 times.The dishes will be built over a three-year period, said Northwestel vice-president Curtis Shaw. The first communities are to be hooked up by early next year.All satellites will be open access for other providers, he said.The new dishes are expected to open a broad range of possibilities for northerners, said Shaw.“You think about a school having video-conferencing in the school, having distance education, a field trip to a museum.“From a health-care standpoint, you can now start sending results and use the internet for diagnostic tools. For an elder, it could mean not travelling out of the community for service.”Shaw said costs are also expected to come down.“We’re expecting costs will drop to the end user.”Actual Arctic internet users were dubious about Thursday’s announcement. Several pointed out on Twitter that five megabytes per second is still slow.“That’s the CRTC’s minimum requirement from about six years ago,” tweeted someone under the name of Ryan Oliver.Another said that by the time the satellite dishes are in place, increased demand will eat up any gains in speed.“Satellite is pointless,” tweeted someone under the name of Kyle Sheppard.Bains said the government remains committed to a fibre-optic link for northern communities.“We continue to look at that option and other options as well. We felt this was an important step in the short term to be able to use new satellite technology to provided that backbone infrastructure.”Bains said the project fulfils a government promise.“It’s about equality of opportunity. We want people to have the tools they need to succeed.”Many northerners are heavy internet users. Social media such as Facebook helps connect with relatives and friends in distant communities where travel is expensive. Such services are also widely used to trade items such as country foods.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow him on Twitter at @row1960last_img read more

A timeline of events in the Jaspal Atwal affair

first_imgOTTAWA – Controversy has swirled since a man who was convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 showed up at a reception for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India last month. Here is a timeline of events in the Jaspal Atwal affair:Feb. 21: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts to reassure Indian political leaders that his government repudiates violent Sikh extremism suffers an embarrassing setback with the revelation that Atwal — a Canadian Sikh convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — has been invited to attend events with the prime minister during Trudeau’s visit to India. A photo emerges of Atwal posing with Trudeau’s wife at a reception in Mumbai.Feb. 22: An invitation for Atwal to a reception in New Delhi is rescinded by the Prime Minister’s Office.Feb. 23: A senior Canadian official with knowledge of security issues says Canadian authorities believe it was no accident that Atwal was suddenly allowed into India and was able to make his way onto the guest list for two receptions with Trudeau. The official, speaking to a briefing arranged by the PMO on the condition of anonymity, says the suggestion has been made that Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who refuse to believe there is no risk posed to a united India by Sikh separatists living abroad.Feb. 24: Trudeau travels back to Canada.Feb. 25: Atwal tells the Canadian Press he has a good relationship with Trudeau and bowed out of the reception in New Delhi because he wanted to save the prime minister further embarrassment. The PMO says there is no merit to Atwal’s assertions.Feb. 26: A Conservative bid for an emergency meeting on the Atwal affair fizzles as the chairman of the House of Commons committee on national security says Tory MP Pierre Paul-Hus did not receive the required notices of support from at least four MPs to initiate an emergency meeting.Feb. 27: Trudeau stands by the senior government official who suggested factions within the Indian government were involved in sabotaging the prime minister’s visit to India. He says when a top diplomat and security official says something “it’s because they know it to be true.”Feb. 28: India’s Ministry of External Affairs issues a statement saying the Indian government had no role in Atwal being invited.March 1: Liberal MPs on the national security committee thwart a Conservative bid to summon the government’s national security adviser over the Atwal affair.March 8: Atwal tells a news conference he contacted Liberal MP Randeep Sarai to see if there was a chance for him to attend a reception with Trudeau while he was in India. Sarai had previously taken responsibility for the invitation. Atwal’s lawyer, Rishi Gill, says his client was never in contact with the Indian government to act on its behalf.last_img read more

Kin of deceased patient cry medical negligence

first_imgKolkata: Kin of a patient, who lost his life due to alleged medical negligence at Care and Cure Nursing Home in Barasat, lodged a complaint with the district magistrate of North 24-Parganas against a doctor at the nursing home.The victim, Kamal Dutta, a resident of Nabapally in Barasat died at the nursing home a few days ago. The family members of the deceased patient said Dutta was admitted to the nursing home as he was suffering from piles. Doctors said the patient needed a surgery. The daughter of the deceased patient, Arpita Dutta, alleged that the patient died due to a serious medical negligence by a doctor at the time of the operation. Dutta said a complaint was lodged against a nursing home doctor with West Bengal Medical Council and West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission. The family members of the victim demanded cancellation of the accused doctor’s licence. Kin of the victim urged the District Magistrate to take stern action against the doctor. They also protested against the accused doctor and demanded an explanation from him. The protest led to a chaos at the nursing home.last_img read more

Belgium takes Senegal to UN court over prosecution of former Chadian president

20 February 2009Belgium has instituted proceedings against Senegal, pressing for the prosecution of a former Chadian president accused of mass torture and other human rights abuses, in the United Nations court that adjudicates disputes between States. Belgium has instituted proceedings against Senegal, pressing for the prosecution of a former Chadian president accused of mass torture and other human rights abuses, in the United Nations court that adjudicates disputes between States.In the latest development of a dispute between the two countries that goes back to 2000, yesterday Belgium asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – based in The Hague, Netherlands – to weigh in on its demand that Senegal prosecute or extradite former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who is now under house arrest in the West African country.“Senegal’s failure to prosecute Mr. Habré, or to extradite him to Belgium to answer for the crimes against humanity which are alleged against him, violates the general obligation to punish crimes against international humanitarian law,” Belgium’s application read.The European State, which issued an international arrest warrant for Mr. Habré in 2005, also requested the court for provisional measures, pending a ruling, to ensure that the former president remains in custody in the meantime.Mr. Habré ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was overthrown and went into exile in Senegal, and it is alleged that during his rule thousands of Chadians were tortured and unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations took place. He was charged in February 2000 by a lower court in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, but an appeals court later ruled that Senegalese courts did not have the legal competence to try such cases if they were perpetrated in another country. In April 2008, however, Senegal’s National Assembly adopted an amendment to the constitution that together with previous changes allowed the country’s legal system to deal with such cases. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the time, Louise Arbour, welcomed the move as “a very positive development in the struggle to strengthen accountability and an important step forward in the never-ending fight against impunity.” In today’s application, however, Belgium’s complaint points out that since then Senegal has cited financial difficulties preventing it from bringing Mr. Habré to trial. Under conventional international law, it said, “Senegal’s failure to prosecute Mr. Habré, if he is not extradited to Belgium to answer for the acts of torture that are alleged against him, violates the Convention against Torture… [and] numerous texts of derived law (institutional acts of international organizations) and treaty law.” read more

SecretaryGeneral urges more action on eliminating antipersonnel mines

“Anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and terrorize populations while denying communities the means to rebuild their lives,” he said in a message to the Tenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention in Geneva. “Commitment alone is not enough. To reach the Convention’s objectives and ensure a positive impact on people’s lives we need greater efforts, capacity building and resources.”Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, the treaty has 156 States parties, with 39 still remaining to sign on. In 2008 alone, there were more than 5,000 casualties from landmines which continue to kill and maim decades after they are laid.Citing the accomplishments, Mr. Ban noted that over 42 million mines have been destroyed, production and transfer are almost non-existent, vast territories have been cleared and released for peaceful and productive use, and survivors have benefited through improved rehabilitation and reintegration assistance.“In short, the Convention has become an indispensable element of humanitarian disarmament frameworks as well as a key forum for cooperation and assistance in creating a mine-free world,” he said in the message, delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, renewing his call to all States that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention as soon as possible.“The Mine Ban Convention and other recent treaties on conventional weapons should spur Member States to further examine the impact of other weapons and identify appropriate ways and means to address the humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental concerns associated with their use,” he added. “This is especially true of explosive weapons used in populated areas. I encourage States to take bold action and achieve progress in responding to these challenges.”One of these treaties, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, entered into force on 1 August 2010, and 108 nations have signed it, with 46 of them also ratifying it. 29 November 2010Despite “undeniable” progress much more needs to be done to eliminate the horrors posed by anti-personnel mines, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a meeting of States parties to an international treaty banning their use and production. read more

BC premier close to endorsing Kitimat refinery plans

VICTORIA — Premier Christy Clark has come close to offering her government’s endorsement of a proposed $25-billion oil refinery development at Kitimat in northwest British Columbia.Clark told the B.C. legislature Thursday the oil refinery proposal being put together by media mogul David Black nearly meets the province’s five conditions for allowing heavy oil initiatives in the province.“Our government wants to use every tool at our disposal to move the proposal forward where it can be judged on its merits by a robust, rigorous, and most importantly, independent environmental process from political influence,” she said.Clark didn’t mention by name the Enbridge (TSX:ENB) Inc., Northern Gateway proposal to build a pipeline from northern Alberta to Kitimat to export Alberta oil to Asia on board supertankers.She compared the Black proposal to her government’s support of liquefied natural gas exports.“Our government takes the view that we should work together to address legitimate environmental and safety concerns and find a way to get to ’Yes,’ on projects that will grow our economy,” she said.Clark noted Black’s proposal calls for 6,000 construction jobs and 3,000 full-time jobs once the project is complete. She said refining oil in B.C. keeps more money in the province and with Black driving the development, ensures the project is B.C.-owned.Clark said the project would be the largest private sector investment in the province’s history.Black said Wednesday in Vancouver the Kitimat Clean Ltd. project would include an oil refinery to be built 25 kilometres north of Kitimat to process 550,000 barrels a day from Alberta’s oil sands.The projected capital cost of the refinery is $16 billion. The plan also includes a $6-billion oil pipeline and a $2-billion gas pipeline. It may also incorporate its own ocean-going tankers at a cost of $1 billion, Black said.Black said he’s on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of investors, though he would not name the participants.The owner of Black Press said he originally planned the refinery at the terminus of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, saying he hoped the plan would shift the debate about that project, which has sparked widespread criticism in B.C. from many who believe the environmental risk is too great.Black said he’s met with Enbridge officials and is still open to working with them, but he thinks the original Northern Gateway plan likely will have to be reworked or scrapped.He said there has been and still is little interest in the oil patch for a refinery, but oil producers will be happy to sell the oil.Coastal First Nations spokesman Art Sterritt said First Nations groups already have concerns with the way Black has decided to go public with his refinery plans.Coastal First Nations is an umbrella group representing some of the largest aboriginal groups in B.C.’s north and central coasts.“He’s (Black) already made the same mistake that Enbridge has made and that is going public and trying to jam people on a project before you actually go and talk to the First Nations,” said Sterritt.Clark said the refinery proposal comes close to meeting B.C.’s five conditions supporting heavy oil developments. The conditions include meeting strict environmental codes and ensuring the province receives adequate compensation, but they have caused tensions between Alberta and B.C. over Northern Gateway.She said Black’s plan calls for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and offers less environmental risk from oil tanker shipping accidents due to the use of smaller vessels.Energy Minister Rich Coleman said Black’s project may end up on provincial land in the Kitimat area.“We have Crown land up and around the Kitimat area that’s held for industrial use, so we’d be able to look at that for that type of use,” he said.Opposition New Democrat energy critic John Horgan, who said Clark’s statement in the legislature sounded as if she was reading a news release written by Black himself, said he will meet with Black on Monday to discuss his proposal.Horgan noted any refinery is years down the road. read more

New Brunswick budget to provide targeted spending as debt worries grow

FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government will bring in targeted spending increases in its budget Tuesday, with fiscal balance remaining years away.A government source with knowledge of the budget to be presented by Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says the document includes a 5.4 per cent hike in grants to community colleges, and funding for “research and strategic initiatives.”The source said it will also mean a five per cent increase in funds available for financial assistance for both university and community college students.The increase takes funding for those areas from almost $162 million last year to $170.3 million in the upcoming budget — the Liberals’ third.Meanwhile, the budget includes $2.4 million more for pre-school autism intervention programs, and there will be a small decrease to the small business tax effective April 1 this year, from 3.5 to three per cent.During a pre-budget news conference in a Fredericton public park, Rogers said her government remains committed to balancing the budget by 2020-21 by gradually reducing annual deficits.“None of us like debt and I can tell you fiscal responsibility is important to us … but I also want to say we’ll remain committed to protecting programs of health and education. This is what New Brunswickers want,” she said.Tom Bateman, a political scientist at St. Thomas University, says the $13.4 billion debt remains the fiscal elephant in the room — with every citizen’s share at about $18,000.In the province’s third quarter update, the finance department said the 2016-17 deficit is currently expected to add about $230 million to the total, not including any portions of the contingency funds that may be needed.Bateman said Premier Brian Gallant is walking a tightrope, dealing with the debt without making cuts to basic services that will could cause the Liberals major political damage.“The Gallant government has turned out to be fairly cautious. It’s not interested in rocking the fiscal boat too much,” he said in a telephone interview.He refers to the small spending increases as “drop in the bucket kind of stuff,” amidst rising pressures to keep spending more on health care as the population ages.“It’s a very difficult thing for New Brunswick governments to get ahold of … as a result our net debt grows and we’re fortunate to be in a low-interest environment and that’s what is keeping this livable.”He said as net debt grows, it’s consuming about eight per cent of the province’s spending and he predicts that will continue to climb.Bateman argues that the Atlantic provinces will ultimately need changes to federal transfer payments to assist with their debt problems, but adds it’s not clear the political will for this exists in other regions of Canada.Rogers said she expected to outline Tuesday how a recent agreement with the federal Liberals for health spending will assist in funding hospitals and care. New Brunswick budget to provide targeted spending as debt worries grow by Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 6, 2017 2:45 pm MDT Last Updated Feb 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

UN honours Nelson Mandela as champion of peace reconciliation

Condolences expressed to a member of the South Africa delegation on the passing of Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard UN Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (left) and General Assembly President John Ashe pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard ‹ › Mr. Mandela’s ground-breaking legacy and inspirational spirit was also hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who spoke to the press soon after the South African leader’s passing was announced. Calling him a “giant for justice,” the UN chief said Mr. Mandela “showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us – if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity.” Recalling his memories of meeting Mr. Mandela, the Secretary-General said he had been deeply touched and inspired. “When I praised him for his lifelong contribution to end apartheid he said ‘It is not only me, but hundreds and hundreds of known and unknown people that contributed.’ That has stuck with me ever since.” Among the many tributes pouring in from across the UN system to honour Mr. Mandela, the Security Council, which stopped a public meeting yesterday afternoon to hold a moment of silence, issued a statement last night expressing deep admiration for the “moral and political leadership” he displayed and his decisive role in shaping the peaceful transition to a united and democratic South Africa. See a compilation of photos of Mr. Mandela’s activities at the UN. In her remarks, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she remembers well how, when Mr. Mandela was finally released from prison, feelings in South Africa were boiling: feelings of hatred, “a thirst for revenge, a burning desire to discriminate against those who had so ruthlessly discriminated against us. I shared some of those feelings – it was hard not to, after living so many long years under apartheid.” But, she said, Mr. Mandela refused to go down that path, just as earlier he had refused to make a deal to win his own freedom in return for selling out on the principles of the liberation movement. “He turned it all around with words. He told us to throw our spears and guns into the sea. He told us to set aside our desire for vengeance and work for a South Africa not just free of racism, but free of all types of discrimination.” As a young lawyer, Ms. Pillay acted as a defence attorney for anti-apartheid activists, exposing torture, and helping establish key rights for prisoners on Robben Island. In 1995, after the end of apartheid, Mr. Mandela appointed her to be the first black woman judge on the South African High Court. Later, he launched her international career when he asked her to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where she served a total of eight years, including four as President. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said the agency and the entire AIDS community are heartbroken by the passing of the global statesman, whom he hailed as a “passionate advocate for people living with HIV.” He said that Mr. Mandela’s actions helped save millions of lives and transformed health in Africa. “He broke the conspiracy of silence and gave hope that all people should live with dignity,” said Mr. Sidibé, explaining that Mr. Mandela devoted much of his time advocating for access to HIV treatment, ending stigma and ensuring all babies are born free of the virus. “He was my personal hero and showed me that even in the face of adversity it is possible to realize your dreams and move mountains, the agency chief added. Hailing Mr. Mandela as “a giant among men,” Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the South African leader had taught the world an enduring lesson about the power of peace and reconciliation, the importance of forgiveness and respect for the dignity of all people. “the Greatest tribute we can pay him is to carry on his message of hope and to continue the fierce defence of the value she stood for,” she said.Mr. Mandela’s life and legacy were honoured by a host of other United Nations officials, including António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Jose Graziano Da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Guy Ryder, Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Executive Director of UN Women, and Hamadoun Toure , Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The staffof the UN World Food Programme also honoured the South African leader. The United Nations family today mourned the loss – and celebrated the enduring legacy – of Nelson Mandela, the former South African leader and peace advocate who passed away yesterday at the age of 95. As the UN flag was lowered to half-staff over the world body’s Headquarters in New York, the 193-member General Assembly held a moment of silence to honour the memory of the man affectionately known as “Madiba,” who emerged from 27 years of imprisonment to become South Africa’s first black President and is known worldwide for his compassionate yet determined efforts to dismantle the country’s legacy of apartheid. “Today, in this Assembly of Nations, we mourn the loss of Mr. Nelson Mandela, one of our world’s greatest leaders,” said Assembly President John Ashe, who added that the example of Mr. Mandela’s life and actions, “demonstrates the difference one person can make in the face of adversity, oppression and prejudice, while maintaining a disposition of humility, humour and modesty that is so rare amongst people of his stature.” In his remarks, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson hailed Mr. Mandela’s courage, farsightedness, political skills, and kindness, adding that: “In a world too often riven and divided by vicious cycles of violence and revenge, perhaps the most impressive of President Mandela’s gifts was his power of forgiveness, his ability to overcome bitterness and hatred.” “We remember Nelson Mandela today. But we should carry his spirit with us every day,” continued Mr. Eliasson. “It means, speaking out against prejudice and discrimination wherever we see their dark manifestations. It means, standing up against the indignity and deprivation that millions of our fellow human beings still suffer around the world.” Secretary General Ban Ki Moon speaks to the media on the death of former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Mark Garten Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd right) and leaders attending the Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa observe a minute of silence in honour of Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras The General Assembly observes a minute of silence in honour of the late Nelson Mandela. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard read more

Week In Brussels – Week ending Friday 5 October 2012

DOWNLOAD1. European Council adopts Energy Efficiency Directive2. Commission launches consultation on administrative burdens for SMEs3. EPSCO Council agrees general approach on EMF4. European Commission launches Single Market Act II proposal5. Week aheadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)