New Delhi: The incumbent MP and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from South Delhi Ramesh Bidhuri won by a margin of more than three lakh votes over his opponents. From the same constituency, AAP’s Raghav Chadha stood second. The debut of Congress candidate and boxer Vijender Singh in politics did not go well as he got the third position. As per the EVM count, Ramesh Bidhuri registered victory with a vote share of 56.58 per cent. Raghav Chadha secured 26.35 per cent of the votes polled in South Delhi. The boxer Vijender Singh got 13.56 vote per cent. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarRamesh Bidhuri had won from South Delhi in 2014, defeating AAP’s Devendra Sherawat by 1,07,000 votes. Talking to Millennium Post, the incumbent MP said, “The 2014 election was fought on issues like corruption, inflation and nationalism. This time nobody could bring up inflation as it was not a problem anymore. Many schemes like Ujjwala Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana helped several families. No one could raise allegations of corruption,” said Ramesh Bidhuri. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceHe further said, coming to the issue of nationalism, “This government killed terrorists at their home turf. This victory is the result of Narendra Modi’s strong intent and his strong policies towards the betterment of the nation.” When asked what will be his priorities towards his constituency, Ramesh Bidhuri replied that they will work on legitimising unauthorised colonies, giving water to every household and to start full phase metro. He further added that they will also expose the failures of the AAP government. Problems in South Delhi In South Delhi, water supply remained one of the biggest concerns for the residents. Reena, a resident of Govindpuri said,” In summer I sometimes buy water from tankers. I want water should reach to every household.” Reena was present in South Delhi’s Siri Fort area where votes were counted. Nirmala Mishra from Sangam Vihar wants cleanness in her area. “Ramesh Bidhuri in his last tenure had done development works in Sangam Vihar hope he will continue. Roads need to be developed in my area. Water facility should be available in every house,” said Nirmala. Celebration From the morning, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters thronged the counting centre. They were wearing Namo caps, t-shirts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s masks. The BJP supporters danced to drum beats in South Delhi. The scenes in South Delhi’s Siri Fort area, where votes were counted, were all about BJP’s landslide victory in the country. In between, 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm, beating of drums and slogans like “Ek Baar Phir Modi Sarkar” was went on. Donning saffron attires, supporters came to counting centres before 8 am on Thursday. People were also taking selfies with Narendra Modi’s placard. Many of the supporters of the saffron party were wearing t-shirts in which “Namo” was written.
Darjeeling: Backed by the BJP, villagers of Milanpalli started tilling the government land that had been marked to build a helipad at Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri district.Incidentally, villagers of the area have been protesting against the government’s decision to construct a helipad on the earmarked plot. Under the influence of the saffron party, they tried to forcefully occupy the government land and have stayed away from discussions with the district administration despite being invited for talks. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaMany of the villagers alleged that they have been indulging in cultivation in the Milanpalli area for the past 40 years. They further stated that despite many of the farmers having Patta (land documents), the government is using the land for a helipad. On Friday, Tourism minister Goutam Deb had visited the area. He had assured that anyone who has valid Patta will not have to part with their land. “This area has 244 acres of government land. Out of this, Patta had been given to 44 acres for agriculture. Minus the Patta land, we still have around 200 acres. For the land where we have given Patta, there is no question of requisition. Out of the land the government has, we require 3.46 acres for the project. Out of this, 2.45 acres will be used for the helipad and the remaining 1 acre will be used for constructing quarters for the employees. Despite knowing all these details, some BJP leaders from outside are constantly provoking the villagers just to create unrest and disturb the peace and tranquility,” alleged Deb. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersOn Monday, villagers along with BJP leaders arrived at the plot along with tractors and oxen and started tilling the land. When neither the district administration nor the police resisted, they celebrated dubbing it as a victory. Nabbendu Sarkar, district secretary of the Kishan Morcha affiliated to the BJP, said: “Wherever the government will try to requisition land in North Bengal, we will put up a resistance.” On Saturday evening, the government board had been removed from the plot. Trinamool has alleged provocation by the BJP to create unrest in the region. “The government will not give into any sort of provocation. They are trying to create a Singur-like situation. Under no circumstances will we allow peace and tranquility to be disrupted. The local residents are being misled and provoked by the BJP,” stated Khageshwar Rai, MLA, Rajgunj.
Los Angeles: “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” star Henry Cavill is the latest star to board the cast of Legendary Studios’ film adaptation of “Enola Holmes” books. The actor joins “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown in the project, to be directed by Harry Bradbeer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Author Nancy Springer has written the book series, which began with 2006’s “The Case of the Missing Marquess in 2006”. The story is about Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes who turns out to be a highly capable detective in her own right. Cavill, 36, will portray Sherlock in the film, while actor Helena Bonham Carter will be playing Enola’s mother. Jack Thorne has penned the script. Besides Legendary, Brown and her sister Paige Brown are producing the film through their banner PCMA Productions.
Lucknow: He has been the face of corruption in Uttar Pradesh for almost three decades but his proximity to politicians across the political spectrum has insulated him against any kind of drastic action. Arun Kumar Misra, the chief engineer of Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Corporation, can easily be termed “the man with the golden touch” –anything he touched turned into gold for him. Accused in multi crore scams, Misra has faced suspension and a brief stint in jail. His political godmothers and godfathers have ensured that even though he is under IT and ED scanner, he remains “protected”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ His properties, far in excess of his declared sources of income, are spread across country. His posh bungalow at Prithviraj Road in Delhi and the Asia School of Engineering and Management in Barabanki has been attached by IT. Several companies, including Ajanta Merchants Pvt Ltd, have been unearthed through which properties in Dehradun and Prithviraj Road were purchased. Arun Kumar Misra was first appointed as an assistant engineer in the UPSIDC in 1986. Within a few years, his name started becoming synonymous with all matters related to corruption. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Four years ago, the Allahabad High Court had sought an explanation from the Akhilesh government when Misra was reinstated as chief engineer of UPSIDC, even when he was named in corruption cases and had been suspended. The Allahabad High Court had also ordered the Akhilesh Yadav government to remove Arun Kumar Mishra from the post of chief engineer (Project) of UP State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) on the grounds that he possessed forged certificates of class 10 and B.Tech degree. While hearing a petition filed by Anil Verma, senior manager (finance) of UPSIDC, a Division Bench of Justice Arun Tandon and Justice A.K. Misra had asked the state government to recover the salaries, which were paid to him in 30 years of his career as engineer. Earlier, the CBI had probed his role in Rs 400 crore Tronica City scam of Ghaziabad and revealed that he was also involvement in money laundering cases. Soon after taking over as chief minister in May 2007, Mayawati had suspended him for his alleged role in the scam between 2005 and 2007. But she had reinstated him silently after a few months and the reason does not need much explanation. In 2013, the High Court directed the CBI to probe allegations against Misra and two other officials. The CBI, in its report, had said that Misra transferred crores of illegally-earned money to his bank accounts with fake names and addresses. Maximum money was deposited in the Punjab National Bank, Vidhan Sabha road branch of Dehradun and Arya Vanprasth Ashram Road branch of Haridwar. The CBI had earlier blocked his accounts and registered FIR. There was a time when the CBI had decided to declare him an absconder because he was evading any interrogation. However, he had appeared before the agency allegedly after fortifying himself with the help of his political masters. Misra was also sent to jail in 2010 after an SIT probe against him. He was again posted back in the UPSIDC. The court, in 2018, stayed his suspension. Interestingly, the central government, in 2015, also refused permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file an appeal against Misra even though he had also been named by the Enforcement Directorate in a separate case of money laundering. The case also finds important mention by the SIT on black money set up last year by the Narendra Modi government. Officials said that CBI was to file an appeal against the orders of Uttarakhand high court, which quashed proceedings against Misra. The agency had to challenge the order before the Supreme Court within three months of the verdict but the then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha ruled against filing an appeal even though the director of prosecution was in favour of appealing. The CBI sources said that by the time the agency decided to seek nod from the Law Ministry and DoPT to file an appeal against Misra in late 2014, three months had elapsed and the government turned down the agency’s request citing ‘delay’.
Jammu: After remaining suspended due to bad weather for a day, the Amarnath Yatra resumed on Saturday as around 4,000 pilgrims set out for the holy Himalayan cave, police said. Of the total 3,926 pilgrims, who left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas — one escorted convoys of 1,608 pilgrims headed to Baltal, while 2,318 to Pahalgam. Since the pilgrimage started on July 1, a total of 3,14,584 pilgrims have paid their obeisance before the ice stalagmite structure said possess the mythical power of Lord Shiva. The footfalls at the cave have broken several previous records. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ On Friday, 5,745 pilgrims had “darshan” at the cave shrine, an official said, while further advance of devotees towards the shrine from Jammu was checked following inclement weather along the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above the sea-level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, the ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. So far, 26 pilgrims have died during the yatra. In addition to this, two volunteers and two security men also lost their lives. The yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
Sirsa: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday exhorted the people to embrace the ideology propounded by Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev in its true spirit. He said the message of love, compassion, equality, peace and brotherhood that Guru Nanak promoted all his life holds extreme relevance even today. “..The message given by Guru Nanak Dev ji is as relevant today as it was during his time,” Khattar said here addressing a state-level function organised in the build-up to the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. The chief minister exhorted the people to participate in the celebrations through the year with full enthusiasm and gaiety, regardless of caste, colour, creed and religion. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’He announced that 9.75 acres land would be transferred to the Gurudwara Chilla Sahib in Sirsa where Guru Nanak Dev had spent over 4 months during one of his journeys. “Ownership rights of the land, which at present rests with the state government, would be transferred in the name of Gurudwara,” he said. He said the state government would provide all support and cooperation to the Gurudwara Chilla Sahib for starting projects of public welfare. He also announced to establish a Sikh Museum in Kurukshetra as an inspiration to the young generation. Khattar said that 400 posts of Punjabi teachers would be advertised soon to fill up the vacancies. Congratulating a large number of priests, saints and devotees who had converged in Sirsa not only from Haryana but also from other states, the chief minister emphasized that “education will not serve its purpose till the time moral values and good thoughts are instilled among the children”.
Shwegyin (Myanmar): Raging floods across Myanmar have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes in recent weeks, officials said Thursday, as monsoon rains pummel the nation. Aerial images from Shwegyin township in Bago region showed how the area had become a vast lake of water. Only the rooftops could be seen of many homes lining the Sittaung river. Emergency services have been helping bring people to dry ground, many seeking shelter in local monasteries. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Others waded through waist-deep floodwaters or rowed on wooden boats with pets and any belongings they could take with them. Than Aye, 42, who has diabetes and is partially-sighted, struggled to escape the deluge. “I could not do anything when the flooding started but then the fire service came to rescue me by boat,” he told AFP from the safety of the monastery that has been his home for the last five days. The most severe flooding is currently in eastern Bago region and Mon and Karen states, according to the social welfare ministry. “There are currently over 30,000 people (across the country) displaced by floods,” said director general of disaster management Ko Ko Naing. UN’s Office for Coordinated Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates around 89,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks, although many have since been able to return home.
New Delhi: The Delhi government Thursday approved a proposal under which people will be able to avail free WiFi facility within the next three to four months.Announcing the Cabinet’s decision at a press conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said people will also be able to use up to 15GB free data every month. As per the plan, 11,000 hotspots will be set up across the city in the first phase, he said. All the 70 assembly constituencies will have 1,000 hotspots, he said, adding 4,000 hotspots will be set up at bus queue shelters. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderKejriwal said under the project, which will be executed under a Public-private partnership (PPP) model, WiFi with 200 mbps internet speed will be available within 50 metre radius of the hotspot. The government will provide Rs 100 crore for the project annually, he added. He said one hotspot would provide free WiFi connectivity to around 200 persons simultaneously. Providing free WiFi facility was a pre-poll promise of the Aam Aadmi Party in the 2015 assembly elections. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Every user will be given free 15GB data, which is, I think, the single biggest initiative of a government anywhere in the world. We will learn from the experience of the first phase of project and we will create more hotspots if required later,” Kejriwal told reporters. He said he was happy that the AAP has fulfilled its major election promise of providing free WiFi in the national capital. “In the next three-four months, the Delhi government will start providing free WiFi to people. Our government will provide Rs 100 crore annually,” he said. Asked about any misuse of government’s WiFi facilty, Kejriwal said adequate safeguard measures will be taken. According to the government, the WiFI hotspots will be connected with CCTV cameras being installed under the AAP dispensation’s ambitious project.
New Delhi: In the first highest-level interaction after India’s announcement on Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump, and conveyed that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace.Modi’s comments on extreme rhetoric by some regional leaders was an obvious reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been making provocative comments against Modi government and Indian action in the last few days. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe 30-minute conversation between Modi and Trump covered bilateral and regional matters, and was marked by the “warmth and cordiality which characterises the relations between the two leaders”, a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) release said. The conversation between Modi and Trump took place two days after the US President asked Khan to resolve the Kashmir issue with India bilaterally during a telephonic conversation. In his telephonic conversation, Modi also highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception, the statement added. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Earlier on Monday teachers reported to work in many schools in Kashmir as restrictions were eased further on Monday but not many students were seen Officials said the government has made necessary arrangements for the opening of 190 primary schools in Srinagar city as security forces remained deployed in most of the Valley But all private schools in the city remained shut for the 15th consecutive day as parents were apprehensive about the security situation because of violent protests over the past two days. Only Police Public School at Bemina and a few Kendriya Vidyalayas saw a handful of students turning up Most educational institutions in five sensitive border districts of Jammu reopened after a fortnight on Monday with “full attendance” as authorities lifted curbs in large parts of the region, officials said. Educational institutions reopened in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and Chenab Valley districts of Ramban, Doda and parts of Kishtwar, the officials said. Earlier on Monday, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval briefed Home Minister Amit Shah on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions have been imposed since August 5, officials said. This was for the first time that Doval met Shah after his return from the Kashmir Valley, where he stayed for about 10 days and personally monitored the situation. The NSA apprised the Home minister the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other top officials also attended the meeting that reviewed the steps taken to maintain the law and order situation in the state. The issues related to restrictions imposed in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir were also figured in the meeting, the official said.
Hyderabad: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday appeared to have found fault with the Centre’s reported view against bringing in a new law to curb mob lynchings. “The Bill I’d proposed to curb mob violence sought to fix shoddy enforcement by ensuring independent investigation & prosecution. Unless errant cops are penalised & accused are imprisoned in a time-bound manner, the mob will only feel emboldened It’s not rocket science @AmitShah,” the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader tweeted. Owaisi, Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad, referred to media reports, quoting officials, that a new law to curb lynching is unlikely as existing laws were enough to combat crimes like lynching and all it required was “enforcement.” He had earlier favoured bringing in a law against lynching. He had also proposed a bill to check incidents of mob lynchings.
EDMONTON – A couple hundred people have attended a vigil at the Edmonton church where the body of a slain little boy was found last week.It was standing room only at Good Shepherd Anglican Church, where young girls sang traditional indigenous songs and drums were played outside as people arrived on Tuesday evening.The body of 19-month-old Anthony Raine was found outside of the church last Friday.Police have said the toddler had bruise marks all over his body and died as the result of a severe blow to his head.His father, Joey Crier, 26, and Crier’s girlfriend, Tasha Mack, 25, have been caused with second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death, failing to provide the necessities of life and assault.Neil Gordon, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, told those in attendance that the little boy’s death has had devastating consequences for many people.“We all know a toddler should have more opportunity for life, for experiencing joy and pleasure, to be given a chance to flourish, to run and jump and play,” said Gordon.“To find out what it’s like to eat too much candy or pig out on too much pizza, to have his first day at school, his first sleepover, his first scraped knee, his first kiss. And it is such a waste. So much potential lost.”The two-hour drop-in service was open to the general public and many who came did not personally know the little boy.“I think for us it was just about supporting this very strong community through a tragic and horrific thing,” said one woman.A wake has also been held at the Louis Bull First Nation near Maskwacis, Alta., where the boy’s biological mother, Dalyce Raine, lives.(The Canadian Press, CTV Edmonton)
WINNIPEG – An investigation has found that a Winnipeg police officer who suffered a life-threatening leg injury when his gun accidentally discharged did not have his hand near the weapon when it went off.The tactical support team member had just finished a firearms training exercise earlier this month when he stopped at a restaurant to get lunch.Police say he was holding his meal when his holstered gun spontaneously fired as he was getting back into his vehicle.Three arteries in his lower leg were severed.He applied a special tourniquet with the help of his partner to stop rapid and significant blood loss, and two nearby team members helped stabilize the injury.The officer remains in hospital and the investigation into what happened continues.
TORONTO – At eight years old, Julia Van Damme was like most other kids her age — going to school, playing sports and goofing around with her younger sister and older brother. But a routine eye exam turned up a baffling and unexpected finding — she was virtually blind in one eye.An MRI showed Julia had a golf ball-sized tumour in her brain, and the pressure it was exerting on her optic nerve was destroying the sight in her left eye.“I didn’t notice I was losing vision at all, because I was young,” said Julia, now 12. “I didn’t know what a brain tumour was. I didn’t know what cancer was then, so it was pretty hard for me to understand.”A biopsy of her tumour at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children determined Julia had what’s known as a low-grade glioma, a pediatric brain cancer that affects about 25,000 to 30,000 children worldwide.Because of its location in the centre of her brain, above the pituitary gland, the tumour couldn’t be removed surgically, and radiation in the area carried too high a risk of long-term effects. So Julia was started on standard chemotherapy, a gruelling 18-month course of weekly intravenous infusions, which in the end was ineffective in shrinking her tumour.But doctors at Sick Kids had another trick up their proverbial sleeves: tests they had developed to analyze the molecular makeup of individual brain tumours showed Julia’s cancer was being driven by a single genetic mutation called a BRAF (pronounced bee-raf) V600E.Research had shown that pediatric gliomas with this genetic signature often respond well to a drug used to treat adults with malignant melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.For almost two years, Julia has been able to keep her tumour from progressing by taking two pills in the morning and two at night — an oral regimen that was unheard of just a few years ago.“In the past, we used to treat kids with brain tumours just based on looking at the tumour, by how the cells looked (under a microscope) and by looking at the imaging,” said Dr. Uri Tabori, a neuro-oncologist at Sick Kids. “We did all tumour types sort of the same.”But in the last decade, researchers began to be able to delineate tumours into subtypes based on their genetic profile, allowing them to predict how each subtype was likely to behave given a specific treatment.“Then we realized that using these molecular tools, we can actually tailor treatment to some patients that’s different than others,” said Tabori, who treated Julia.“We can say for your tumour, it’s going to be very, very low-grade, slow-growing, and we should refrain from any toxic therapy. And for the other ones, we need to be more aggressive.“And the last part of that, which is amazing, is that some tumours will actually have pills that target the mutation. So instead of giving chemotherapy, radiation and aggressive surgery, you can just give the pill and the tumour will respond and the patient will get better.”Dr. Cynthia Hawkins, a neuropathologist at the hospital, has been at the forefront of developing the molecular tests to help doctors better diagnose and treat specific subtypes of childhood brain cancers, among them glioma and medulloblastoma, a fast-growing malignancy that accounts for about 20 per cent of all childhood brain tumours.“One of the issues that we run into with pediatric brain tumours, in particular, is that although some commercial entities have developed tests for adult brain tumours, most of them don’t do it for pediatrics because the numbers just aren’t big enough to make it financially viable,” Hawkins explained.“And most of these tests we had to develop from the ground up at Sick Kids,” she said, adding that hospitals across Canada, as well as from the U.S. and countries around the world now send tumour samples to the Toronto hospital for molecular analysis.While Julia is doing well — the oral medication Dabrafenib initially shrank her tumour by about 15 per cent and its size has since stabilized — her diagnosis sent the Mississauga, Ont., family on a journey they never expected to take.“We were shocked,” said her father, Dan Van Damme, especially since Julia had never indicated she was having trouble seeing, had an A average at school and had continued to play soccer and hockey, even sometimes taking a turn as a goalie.Even through her weekly rounds of chemo, Julia maintained an upbeat demeanour, said her mother Maureen. “She’s a trooper, she’s a tough kid and she never complained about ‘Why her, why do I have to do this?’“She was always smiling. We’d skip down the hallways to go get chemo,” she recalled. “She just has such a strong spirit and a great attitude.”Before Julia went into the hospital to have a biopsy of her tumour, her brother Dylan, now 14, and sister Clara, 9, went up to their rooms and each brought her a stuffed animal to take with her.“The bond the three of them made and the five of us made during this journey is ‘We’re in it together,’” said Maureen, a stay-at-home mom. “That was from Day 1 our motto: we’re in this together, you’re not alone.”“I think you realize when something like this happens to you what’s most important in life,” added Dan, who’s a salesman for LinkedIn. “We have a different outlook. Our family is this stronger unit, and we really focus on activities that we can do together as a family all the time.”As for their daughter, she has her sights set firmly on the future.“There’s always something to look forward to,” said Julia, who seems mature beyond her years. “When I’m going through something tough, I think about what’s going to happen in the future. And once I finish this (treatment), it’s done.“So it’s better for me to think about what’s going to happen later on after I do that,” she said, stressing that her long-term goal is to become an actress.Her advice to other kids going through cancer treatment?“What I try to do is stay positive. Be strong and just know that you can get through it … just have a positive mindset with what you’re going through, even though it’s really tough.“Think about what you can do in the future.”—Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter
Highlights from the news file for Monday, Dec. 4———CANADA, CHINA DELAY LAUNCH OF TRADE TALKS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concluded talks with the Chinese premier in Beijing, but they were not able to announce the start of formal free trade talks. Trudeau said there wasn’t one particular issue that held up the talks, but he wants a progressive trade deal that includes addressing issues such as gender, the environment and labour. Premier Li Keqiang lauded the “golden age” of relations with Canada and said China was amenable to continuing exploratory trade talks. The two countries have spent months in exploratory talks that have taxed China’s patience with Canada seeking to add provisions regarding the environment, human rights, labour and gender issues. Despite the fact the much anticipated next step in Canada-China trade relations failed to materialize, Li had kind words for Trudeau and Canada. Li said it was rare for him to have yearly leader’s meetings. “This is also a testament to the golden era of our bilateral relations. This also shows the importance you attach to the relationship between our two countries,” Li told Trudeau through a translator after their meeting.———FIRED BROADCASTER GREGG ZAUN ISSUES APOLOGY: Fired Sportsnet baseball analyst Gregg Zaun was “blindsided and emotionally gutted” by recent allegations of inappropriate comments toward female colleagues, saying in a statement Monday that he “naively” believed his language was not offensive. In an “absolute apology” issued through his Toronto-based lawyer Stuart Ducoffe, the former Blue Jays catcher said he was sorry “for any harm or distress which may have been caused by my comments with any female colleagues over the recent past.” Zaun was fired as an MLB studio analyst on Thursday after multiple female Sportsnet employees complained about his inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. “After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately,” said Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media, in a statement. “This type of behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values.” Monday’s statement was Zaun’s first public response to the allegations.———LIBERAL MP ACCUSES BEZAN OF SEXUAL COMMENTS: A Liberal member of Parliament from Quebec has accused a Conservative MP of making comments towards her that were “humiliating” and “sexual in nature.” Sherry Romanado forced the House of Commons into silence Monday when she rose shortly after question period to make the allegations against Manitoba MP James Bezan. “In May, the member from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman publicly made inappropriate, humiliating and unwanted comments to me that were sexual in nature,” Romanado said, as her fellow MPs shushed those around her. “These comments have caused me great stress and have negatively affected my work environment.” With that, Romanado sat back down, offering no further detail. Earlier Monday, however, Bezan himself rose in the House to offer an apology. “Earlier this year I made an inappropriate and insensitive comment in the presence of the member for Longueuil—Charles—LeMoyne,” Bezan said. He, too, did not elaborate, but Speaker Geoff Regan thanked him for his “gracious apology.”———FEDS WILLING TO REDUCE SHARE OF POT REVENUE: The Trudeau government is willing to give provinces and territories a bigger share of the revenue from a federal excise tax on cannabis, provided that the extra money is devoted to helping municipalities cope with the impact of legalizing recreational pot. The feds have proposed giving provincial and territorial governments half of the estimated $1-billion annual excise tax take once weed becomes legal next July. But The Canadian Press has learned that Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his officials have signalled a willingness to increase that share when they sit down next week with their provincial and territorial counterparts. The discussions have been taking place in preparation for a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers Dec. 10-11, where the issue of cannabis taxation is expected to be front and centre. A government official close to the discussions, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said it’s too early to discuss the percentage Ottawa will receive. The final decision will rest on an assessment of the needs of the municipalities — and a willingness by provinces and territories to agree to devote the extra revenue to those needs, the official said.———MAN ARRESTED IN DEATH OF GOOD SAMARITAN IN HAMILTON: Police arrested one man and were looking for another Monday in the fatal shooting of a Good Samaritan in Hamilton, a case that also prompted the city’s paramedic service to investigate its response to the incident. Yosif Al-Hasnawi — described by police as a brave young man who was trying to do the right thing — was shot when he tried to intervene as two men were accosting an older man in downtown Hamilton on Saturday night. Police say they arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with the shooting at about 3:30 a.m. Monday and charged him with accessory after the fact to murder. A second suspect, who police said was the alleged shooter, was still being sought and police said they were in the process of applying for a warrant for second-degree murder. The two suspects turned on Al-Hasnawi when the 19-year-old tried to help an older stranger, police said. Police said paramedics took Al-Hasnawi to hospital on Saturday night, where he died of his injuries. Some witnesses, however, criticized paramedics who responded to the shooting, saying Al-Hasnawi was clearly in distress but wasn’t taken seriously.———B.C. COURT RULES AGAIN INJURED VETERANS: The B.C. Court of Appeal has dealt a devastating blow to a group of injured veterans engaged in a landmark legal battle with the federal government. The six veterans involved in the so-called Equitas lawsuit had alleged that they were unfairly treated because of a major overhaul in 2006 to the way the government compensates those injured in the line of service. Chief among the changes was replacing lifelong disability pensions with a lump-sum payment, career training and targeted income support — a regime known as the New Veterans Charter, which veterans rejected as being worth less than the previous pension system, which they want reinstated or replaced with a true equivalent. The case, first launched in 2012 under the previous Conservative government but continued with the Liberals, is seen as having major implications for all recently injured veterans. The Equitas veterans scored a victory in 2014 when a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled that there was enough merit to the case — which the group planned to turn into a class-action lawsuit — to proceed to trial. But after the federal government appealed the decision, the three-judge B.C. Court of Appeal panel struck down the claim in its entirety Monday, saying the case had no chance of success.———GRIEVING MOTHER TESTIFIES AT INQUIRY IN NORTHERN ONTARIO: A grieving mother wiped back tears as she told a public inquiry about the torment of losing her daughter. Anita Ross was the first witness Monday to testify at the start of three days of hearings in Thunder Bay, Ont., of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ross spoke of her mounting despair the evening her 16-year-old daughter, Delaine Copenace, disappeared in February of last year. The Kenora, Ont., woman says her daughter went for a walk with other teens and never returned and police were initially dismissive of her concerns, suggesting the girl was probably just drunk somewhere. Ross says she felt she couldn’t trust most of the officers she had to deal with and that they seemed indifferent to her anguish. Police called off their search after 14 days and Delaine’s body was found in Lake of the Woods several weeks after she went missing. The coroner decided the teen had drowned with no evidence of foul play and there would be no inquest. Ross says her daughter showed signs of bruising and no bloating. About 50 family members and survivors are due to tell their stories during two days of public hearings and a third day of private submissions in Thunder Bay.———TRUDEAU APPOINTS SENATORS FOR NOVA SCOTIA, MANITOBA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed new senators for Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Mary Coyle, a champion of women’s leadership, gender equality and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, is the new senator for Nova Scotia. Mary Jane McCallum, a First Nations woman who provided vital dental and health services to northern, First Nations, and Indigenous communities during her career, will represent Manitoba. Coyle worked in international development in Indonesia, pioneered the development of a micro-finance bank in Bolivia and helped establish the First Peoples Fund to provide micro loans to First Nations and Metis communities in Canada. McCallum practised as a dentist, was a community leader in several areas across her province and led the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal dental health programs. These Senate appointments are the 29th and 30th Trudeau has made since taking office.———HIV-POSITIVE PEOPLE SAY RULING ONLY FIRST STEP: A move by the Ontario government to limit the prosecution of HIV-positive people who don’t disclose their status to sexual partners is being called a step in the right direction by those affected, but they say there’s much more progress to be made. The government announced Friday that people with low viral loads who don’t have a realistic chance of transmitting the disease can’t be charged with a crime if they don’t disclose their medical status to a sexual partner. Previously, non-disclosure could lead to an aggravated sexual assault charge that landed convicted people on a sex offender list. Ontario made the changes after studies showed that the risk of transmission is negligible if people are being treated for the disease or if appropriate precautions are taken. However, advocates in the community say there are downsides to the ruling as well. Jeff Potts, managing director of the support and advocacy group Canadian Positive People Network, said that decriminalizing only people with low viral loads means the community will be divided between people who are fortunate enough to get the medical treatment they need, and marginalized people who are not. “At the end of the day, laws that criminalize people living with HIV for any reason, unless it can be proven there was intentional harm, are unjust,” said Potts, who has been HIV-positive for three decades.———PRICEY TAMPONS THE NORM IN THE NORTH: A $15 box of tampons sold at the Calgary International Airport may have elicited shock online, but it’s common for feminine hygiene products to cost that much — or more — in many remote northern communities. Carlee Field was waiting for a flight from Calgary to Vancouver last month when she stopped to use the ladies’ room in the terminal. Inside the bathroom, she saw a box of tampons with a note that said all of the machines were empty and that it had been necessary to buy a $15 box from the Relay shop. The unsigned note’s author said the price mark-up was unacceptable and invited others to take a tampon if they needed one. Shortly after Field posted a photo on the social media site Reddit, the airport authority wrote that the machines had been refilled and the price at Relay had been lowered to $6.25. Moon Time Sisters, a group that collects feminine hygiene products to donate to communities in northern Ontario and Saskatchewan, says a box of tampons can cost $19 in areas where Indigenous women are often struggling with unemployment and low incomes.
OTTAWA – Being a good listener and ensuring people know that they’ve been heard are keys to earning public confidence as a judge, Supreme Court nominee Sheilah Martin said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with parliamentarians.Martin, who was named last week as the Trudeau government’s latest high court appointee, stressed the importance of thoughtfully considering all sides as an independent arbiter.“I think judges need to show respect to get respect,” she said. “And it has been my personal goal to be respectful in court, and to listen patiently and to let things unfold.”Martin said she hopes her written judgments make it clear that a losing party’s arguments have been fully understood. “I want to write that way, so that somebody would say, ‘Oh, OK, I was in good hands.’”Tuesday’s session included members of the House of Commons justice committee and the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee, as well as representatives of the Bloc Quebecois and the Green party.Martin was politely peppered with questions about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, jurors, victims, the environment, terrorism and sexual assault. She carefully phrased her answers to avoid any appearance of bias.University of Ottawa law professor Francois Larocque, moderator of the session, warned at the outset that Martin could not comment on matters that might come before the Supreme Court, nor cases she has already presided over as a provincial and territorial judge.Larocque billed it as a chance to get to know Martin better rather than a cross-examination — an opportunity for MPs and senators to ensure Martin “has the proverbial right stuff” to sit on Canada’s highest court.Martin displayed her comfort in both of Canada’s official languages, revealed an abiding love of teaching and showed flashes of wit.Asked about the legacy she wanted to leave, Martin replied, “I would hope that people said that I listened carefully, and that I was a deep thinker and that I had really nice hair.”Martin grew up in Montreal was trained in both civil and common law before moving to Alberta to pursue her career as an educator, lawyer and judge.From 1991 to 1996 she was acting dean and then dean of the University of Calgary’s faculty of law. Martin went on to practise criminal and constitutional law, and became a judge in 2005.She served on the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary until June 2016 when she was appointed as a judge of the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.Martin is also mother to seven children — proof, she said, that she’s capable of multitasking and resolving disputes.Last year, the Liberal government brought in a new Supreme Court appointment process to encourage more openness and diversity, which also requires justices to be functionally bilingual.In making the appointment, the Prime Minister’s Office underscored Martin’s emphasis on education, equality rights and increasing the number of under-represented groups in the legal world.As a lawyer and academic, Martin was part of a team working on redress for harm experienced by tens of thousands of Indigenous children at residential schools. She said delving into the abuse, isolation and loneliness suffered by the pupils reinforced in her mind the responsibility to learn about the lives of others.Conservative MP Rob Nicholson sought Martin’s views on training for judges on the subject of sexual assault.Martin, who has given presentations on sexual assault laws, said she has “rarely heard a good argument in favour of less education.”But she cautioned that when dealing with the education of judges, it’s important to be mindful of judicial independence and who is chosen to lead a seminar.Martin’s answers revealed a deep thinker with humanity and a broad perspective, said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who attended the session.Martin’s nomination to the Supreme Court ensures the nine-member bench will remain at full strength after Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retires Dec. 15 after 28 years on the court. The prime minister is expected to name a new chief justice soon.Wilson-Raybould said McLachlin exemplified the qualities a chief justice should have, citing her thorough understanding of the law, ability to foster collegiality among high court judges and leadership as a public representative of the court.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – President Donald Trump says he’s delaying signing a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement until after the midterms in hopes of reaching a better deal.Trump says in a Fox News interview that aired Sunday that he could quickly sign an agreement with Mexico and Canada, “but I’m not happy with it. I want to make it more fair.”He added that he would wait until after the fall elections.The president’s decision comes as the U.S. and Canada have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade dispute over Trump’s tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.Canada announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. on Friday.In the interview, Trump again threatened to impose tariffs on imported vehicles, saying, “The cars are the big ones.”
TORONTO – The fate of Ontario’s safe injection and overdose prevention sites is in limbo as the province’s new Progressive Conservative government weighs whether to continue funding the facilities authorized by its Liberal predecessors.Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday the government is reviewing evidence on the sites to see if they “have merit” and are worth continuing.“We need to take a look at the evidence and understand what the experts are saying, so I want to hear that. The premier wants to hear that. He wants to know that continuing with the sites is going to be of benefit to the people of Ontario,” she said.“That’s what we’ve promised to do in everything since we’ve been elected, is making sure that programs that we’re investing in have value, and this is no different.”The province will make a decision in the coming weeks on some of the sites that need their funding and approval renewed in order to stay open, including an overdose prevention site in London, Ont., the minister said. It will also eventually rule on the program as a whole, she said.“We’re going to be looking at all of the sites, and we’re going to be making a decision based on the evidence relating to the individual sites as well as the situation overall,” she said.Overdose prevention sites are temporary facilities approved by the province to address an immediate need in a community, while supervised consumption sites — also known as safe consumption or injection sites — are more permanent locations approved by the federal government after a more extensive application process.During the spring election campaign, Premier Doug Ford said he was opposed to safe injection and overdose prevention sites, though his party says Ford has since committed to reviewing evidence on the issue.Critics and advocates said shutting down the sites would be a major step back in fighting the opioid crisis that health officials say claimed nearly 4,000 lives across Canada last year.“To put it bluntly, we’ll have a lot more dead people,” said Nick Boyce, director of the Ontario HIV & Substance Use Training Program.There is overwhelming evidence from experts and from other jurisdictions around the world that supervised consumption sites save lives and help people dealing with addiction connect with other types of support when they are ready, he said.That sentiment was echoed by the opposition parties, who questioned the need for the review.The New Democrats said keeping the sites open would not only save lives, but also relieve pressure on local hospitals.The Liberals, who approved the overdose prevention sites, said experts had already been consulted on the issue.“I don’t know why they need to consult more experts, it’s all there,” Liberal interim leader John Fraser said. “It just comes back to the same theme with this government — there was no plan during the election, and there’s no plan right now, for those things that are important to families.”
WINNIPEG – A man previously convicted of killing his girlfriend in Thailand has been arrested in Manitoba on a Canada-wide warrant.Michael Karas, 61, was wanted in three bank robberies in Toronto between November 2017 and August of this year. On Thursday, police arrested him at a Winnipeg hotel.Karas previously was charged with the 1996 murder of a Thai woman whose body was found dismembered at a resort community in the south-Asian country.Court documents from his extradition case in Canada show Karas was in a relationship with Suwannee Ratanaprakorn. They were living together at a hotel in Pattaya on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand.The documents say Karas allegedly cut the woman’s body into pieces before dumping it in a swampy area not far from the hotel. The woman’s head, arms and legs were recovered, but her torso was never found.The records show he left Thailand almost immediately after the killing and returned to Canada, where he was arrested and held in custody on other charges.Karas was flown back to Thailand in 2011 to face a trial after Thai authorities had called for his return for more than a decade.During an interview with the Toronto Sun in 2016 while he was still behind bars in Thailand, Karas said he had been repatriated under a foreign inmate transfer and was coming back to Canada.He said he was wrongfully convicted of murder because he thought he was pleading guilty to manslaughter.“She came at me and I snapped her neck,” the Sun quoted him as saying.There is no word on when he arrived back in Canada or when he was released.
TORONTO — A 29-year-old Ontario man has pleaded guilty to leaving Canada to try to join Islamic State militants in Syria.Pamir Hakimzadah, of Mississauga, Ont., pleaded guilty Friday in a Toronto court to one count of leaving Canada to participate in a terrorist activity.Crown attorney Christopher Walsh says in an agreed statement of facts that Hakimzadah left Canada on Oct. 22, 2014 and flew to Turkey where he tried to find a way into Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.He says a taxi driver in Turkey suspected Hakimzadah was attempting to join Islamic militants and turned him over to police.Turkish authorities banned Hakimzadah from the country for a year and deported him back to Canada.The prosecutor says Hakimzadah admitted to trying to join the militants, which is when his family reported him to police.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — An anti-tobacco group is urging the Quebec government to appeal a court ruling that invalidated certain sections of the province’s tobacco legislation pertaining to vaping.The ruling handed down by Quebec Superior Court on Friday confirmed the province’s right to legislate on vaping, but struck down provisions banning demonstrations of vaping products inside shops or specialized clinics and prohibiting the advertising of vaping products to smokers seeking to kick their habit.The challenge to Quebec’s Tobacco Control Act, adopted in 2015, was brought by the Canadian Vaping Association and L’Association quebecoise des vapoteries, who argued the law infringed on its members’ rights, particularly freedom of expression.Justice Daniel Dumais has suspended his ruling for six months to allow lawmakers to rewrite the problematic sections of the province’s tobacco law to make them valid.But Flory Doucas of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control says the judgment doesn’t take into account the rise in vaping among youth that’s occurred since e-cigarettes were legalized by the federal government in May 2018.Health Canada has said it’s concerned by the trend, and in April federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor launched consultations on potential new regulatory measures aimed at reducing the uptick of vaping among youth.The Canadian Press