Students at DFC in Thunder Bay wrap up their school year head

first_imgWillow Fiddler APTN National NewsStudents at the Dennis Franklin Cromarty high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario have wrapped up another school year.And all season long, APTN has followed a handful of students as they lived far from home.Willow catches up with them as they clean out their lockers.wfiddler@aptn.calast_img

Friend of Colten Boushie heard bullets whistling by him on Saskatchewan farm

first_imgThe Canadian Press BATTLEFORD, Sask. – A friend of an Indigenous man shot during an altercation on a Saskatchewan farm broke down in tears in court when forced to examine a photo of Colten Boushie’s body.“How come you have to have that body laying in front of that thing like that?” said an emotional Eric Meechance Wednesday when asked to look at a photo of the barrel of a .22 calibre rifle that was near Boushie’s body.Saskatchewan Chief Justice Martel Popescul asked Meechance if he needed a break. Twenty minutes later he was dismissed as a witness.Gerald Stanley, 56, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the August 2016 shooting death of Boushie. The 22-year-old, who was from the Red Pheasant First Nation, died from a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.Meechance, 22, testified that he, Boushie, Cassidy Cross, Kiora Wuttunee and Belinda Jackson had been drinking throughout the day and had been swimming in the South Saskatchewan River. He said they heard a leak in one of the tires when the SUV crossed a culvert.He said they continued driving and stopped at one farm where Cross broke the stock of .22 calibre rifle that was in the vehicle trying to smash the window of a truck. They later drove on to the Stanley farm near Biggar, Sask., and were on an all-terrain vehicle but took off when someone started yelling at them, he said.When Cross crashed into another vehicle in the yard, Meechance said they both got out of the SUV and started running.“Within seconds … I heard two shots and I swear that they were toward me because I could hear a whistling,” Meechance told court. “I heard two shots whistle by me.”Meechance said he heard the third shot when he was crossing the main road near the farm.“Did you see what happened with that third gunshot?” asked Crown prosecutor Bill Burge.“No,” Meechance said. “You get shot at, you hear a third gunshot, you’re not going to turn around and start looking.”Defence lawyer Scott Spencer asked him why the group didn’t tell police they had a gun in their vehicle, suggesting that was a “pretty serious piece of information that the police need.”“I had a gun ban,” Meechance said.Spencer suggested Meechance wasn’t upfront when he said they went to the Stanley farm because they needed help with a flat tire. Meechance and others were “motivated by theft” and didn’t tell the Boushie family the whole story, he suggested.“Don’t you think they deserved to know that you were out checking vehicles? That you had a gun in there, you were shooting a gun out of the vehicle,” asked Spencer. “Didn’t you think the family deserved to know the truth?”“It’s not like we went there in a stolen vehicle. Not like we went there and whipped out a gun or nothing,” Meechance said.Sheldon Stanley told court his father looked like he was going to be sick after the shooting.He said an SUV drove into the family’s farmyard. Shortly afterwards, he said he and his father heard an all-terrain vehicle start and thought it was being stolen. The pair ran toward the SUV as it tried to leave the farm and Sheldon Stanley went in the house to get his truck keys.He said he heard two gunshots while he was inside and a third when he came back out.“I turned as my father walked behind the back of the grey vehicle towards me with a gun in one hand and a magazine in the other. He turned and looked at me and looked like he was going to be sick,” Sheldon Stanley, 28, told court. “He said ‘I don’t know what happened. It just went off. I just wanted to scare them.’“It just went off.”After Boushie was shot, Sheldon Stanley said the two women in the back seat of the SUV were “obviously upset and yelling at us.” He said they pulled Boushie’s body out of the car and, along with him, a gun that was missing a stock.“It was laying between his legs and, as they pulled him, it came out with him.”He said the two young women also attacked his mother while they waited for police.“They had her on the ground and they were hitting her,” he said, adding he told them to get back in their vehicle. “They did stop and got back in their vehicle.”last_img read more

Innu documentary filmmaker Kevin BaconHervieux makes history at the Gala du Quebec

first_imgLindsay RichardsonAPTN NewsAn Innu man from Quebec broke barriers on Sunday at the Gala du Quebec Cinema, taking home a prestigious trophy for his debut documentary.It was the first ever win for an Indigenous filmmaker, and Kevin Bacon-Hervieux’s first feature-length film.“Once I heard my name – for me, it wasn’t real,” Bacon-Hervieux said. “Never did I think I’d win.”The 26-year-old now touts the Iris Prize – the Quebec equivalent of an Academy Award – for his film Innu Nikamu: Chanter la Resistance, which took nearly six years to produce.“I thought it would be heavier,” Bacon-Hervieux explained while holding the prize, a 13-inch aluminum trophy designed by sculptor Marc-Antoine Côté.The 90-minute film – available in both French and English, chronicles the history of the Innu Nikamu Music and Aboriginal Arts Festival, which held its inaugural edition in 1985.“I wanted, with this film, for people – non-Natives – to feel invited. To come our way on the reserve, in Mali Utenam, to celebrate with us,” he said.The gathering is held annually in the community 900 kilometres northeast of Montreal.Before ever attempting a film, Bacon-Hervieux says he felt compelled to involve himself in the planning and execution of the festival, which for many years has tried to extend its reach to non-Indigenous spectators and performance artists.In 2014, at 22, Bacon-Hervieux entered a film prospectus into a contest and won a bursary that kick-started the novice filmmaker’s first-ever film project – while also working as the festival’s artistic director.But the story, he concedes, belongs to his home community.When scouting locations back in 1985, the community decided to reclaim their narrative and hold the festival on the grounds of the former Sept-Iles Indian Residential School – a dark stain on Mani-Utenam’s history.“It was an enormous challenge to integrate this heavy story into a film I wanted to be very positive,” Bacon-Hervieux said. “For me, and I think for people in general, the festival isn’t related to the history of residential schools.”“But the residential school in Mali Utenam united the community,” he added.The festival itself pays tribute to ancient traditions.Every summer, the Innu would return from the seasonal caribou hunt to hold weddings and festivities by the north shore of the Saint-Lawrence River.Many believe that Innu Nikamu re-ignited hope in a community that had known too much distress.A rough cut of the film ran nearly five hours long, Bacon says, because every anecdote was significant to the history of Quebec’s Innu population.Now shortened, the film serves as an introduction to Innu music, culture, and the complexities of Quebec history.“All that we did with this film was be honest. To retell what happened,” Bacon-Hervieux said.The Innu Nikamu festival will be held in Mali Utenam between August 1st and the 4th .lrichardson@aptn.calast_img read more

Trudeau pitches Canada in pursuit of key seat at AsiaPacific security table

first_imgMANILA, Philippines – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a sales pitch to core members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Tuesday in hope they will open the door to Canada joining their exclusive and influential circle.Trudeau said Canada looks forward to becoming a member of the association’s East Asia Summit and the ASEAN defence ministers panel at the earliest opportunity.“Canada is not only willing, but ready to be a key partner for the next 50 years,” Trudeau said in a speech in Manila, Philippines, at a special ASEAN-Canada summit in front of leaders of an alliance that includes Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.“This would allow Canada to become a full and dynamic partner of ASEAN.”With the appearance, Trudeau became the first Canadian prime minister to participate in the one-hour exchange at the ASEAN summit, during which members were to ask him questions and debate the depth of Canada’s co-operation in the region.The opportunity arrives as Trudeau makes efforts to raise Canada’s international profile and demonstrate it can wrestle with complicated challenges, at home and abroad. His government has also been building a case with hope it can eventually obtain a seat on the United Nations Security Council.Trudeau was asked later in the day about why he’s interested in expanding Canada’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.He replied that Canada currently has a mostly economic relationship with the region through its membership at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation.“There is more than just economics to discuss and the East Asia Summit has become the central place for discussing Pacific issues,” he told a news conference Tuesday.“Canada is a Pacific country, as you well know, and being able to engage on broader issues of security, of development, of human rights, of economic opportunity — broader than just the APEC group — is very much in line with how Canada wants to and should engage constructively with the region and, indeed, with the world.”The East Asia Summit is a larger ASEAN grouping focused on security that brings together leaders from 18 countries, including the U.S., China and Russia.“Canada is deeply committed to multilateral institutions and fora, and the East Asia Summit is an important one in an extremely compelling and growing region of the world,” he said.During his speech, Trudeau highlighted Canada’s efforts to help the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, including its decision to appoint former Liberal MP Bob Rae as a special envoy to the region.He told the room that Rae will engage in diplomatic efforts and identify ways in which Canada can support the response to the situation and the plight of the Rohingya minority.Trudeau was referring to a crackdown against the Rohingya by Myanmar’s security forces that began in late August. The alleged attacks have forced more than 600,000 Rohingyas into exile in neighbouring Bangladesh.Trudeau also said Canada stands alongside Asia in demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.“North Korea must immediately cease all activities that go against its international obligations and United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said.Trudeau attended the ASEAN summit thanks to an invitation from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who sat across from the Canadian leader as he made his remarks.Francisco Fernandez of the Philippine embassy in Ottawa says Canada sought the invitation and Manila didn’t hesitate to grant it, partly because of trade and investment ties and partly due to the 837,000 people of Filipino descent who live in Canada.— Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

Freshii CEO defends companys growth after withdrawing outlook through 2019

first_imgFreshii Inc.’s founder defended the eatery’s decision to withdraw its outlook through its 2019 financial year after falling short on several measures in its most recent quarter, while the company’s stock plummeted nearly 30 per cent.“We didn’t have enough confidence to revise the numbers again with conviction,” said Matthew Corrin, the company’s CEO, during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning — a day after the company released its third-quarter results.The decision was mainly due to the fact that the company missed its projected net new store openings, he said, due to a number of things outside management’s control.The Toronto-based eatery opened 10 net new stores in its third quarter, ending Sept. 30, as it opened 18 locations and closed eight.The company had expected to have 730 to 760 stores by the end of its 2019 financial year. It had previously anticipated having at least 810 stores by that time, but lowered its expectations in September 2017.It is now scrapping the revised figures.Predicting the timeline from signing a franchisee partner to when the store will open is difficult, Corrin said, due to the increasing number of markets in which Freshii operates. The eatery can be found in more than 35 states and provinces, he said, and 17 countries.Nuances between each location create unpredictability, he said.The company has also formalized a process to either change franchisee ownership or close locations that fall in the bottom 10 per cent based on an internal algorithm, he said, which accounts for the higher number of store closures this quarter.Still, Corrin assured analysts that the development pipeline remains healthy as Freshii has 175 stores in what it calls the active opening process.The company also experienced challenges in achieving its forecasted sales, expenses and earnings.Sales for restaurants open at least a year, a key retail metric, decreased 0.8 per cent compared with a same-store sales growth of 5.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.That marks the company’s first negative result for that metric in 22 quarters, Corrin said, adding the more years a company produces positive same-store sales, the more challenging it becomes to beat those results.The decision to scrap its outlook through the 2019 financial year will allow Freshii’s franchise partners and team at headquarters to focus on making decisions that are in the long-term interest of the company and its shareholders, he said.“We further believe that this increasingly long-term focus on the health of our network will allow us to better maximize shareholder value.”The company’s shares fell $1.08 or 27.14 per cent to $2.90 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.One day earlier, the company announced plans to buy back up to 10 per cent of its 25.6 million shares over the next year, believing that its share price doesn’t fully reflect its value.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:FRII)last_img read more

World faces impossible task at postParis climate talks

first_imgKATOWICE, Poland — Three years after sealing a landmark global climate deal in Paris, world leaders are gathering again to agree on the fine print.Top of the agenda during talks starting Sunday in Katowice, Poland, will be finalizing the so-called Paris rulebook, which determines how countries have to count their greenhouse gas emissions, report them to the rest of the world and reveal what they are doing to reduce them.A recent study warned that time is running out for the world to achieve the most ambitious target in the Paris agreement — keeping global warming at 1.5 Celsius. The planet has already warmed by about 1 degree since pre-industrial times and it’s on course for another 2-3 degrees of warming by the end of the century unless drastic action is taken.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Study Valve hole set off refinery blast fire in Wisconsin

first_imgSUPERIOR, Wis. — A hole in a valve was cited as the source of an explosion at a Husky Energy refinery in northwestern Wisconsin last spring that injured 36 people and required the evacuation of a large part of the city of Superior.The latest findings of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board were shared Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Superior.According to the update , erosion created a hole in the slide valve, allowing air to mix with hydrocarbons. The resulting blast sent debris hurtling into an asphalt storage tank. The puncture spilled about 15,000 gallons (12,490 imperial gallons) of hot asphalt, which later ignited.A spokesman for Husky Energy says the Canada-based company will continue working with the board to understand the cause of the explosion.___Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.comThe Associated Presslast_img read more

Petronas buys into LNG Canada project

first_imgKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian state-owned energy company Petronas says one of its wholly-owned entities has signed an agreement for an equity position in the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, B.C.Petronas, which did not divulge the investment amount in a news release early Thursday, says it expects the agreement to be completed in the next few months once regulatory approvals are obtained.The announcement comes less than a year after Petronas and its partners scrapped a $36-billion megaproject in British Columbia. A consortium led Petronas announced in July 2017 that it would not proceed with the Pacific NorthWest LNG project near Port Edward, B.C., due to what it called an “extremely challenging environment” brought on by prolonged low prices.In the new agreement announced Thursday, the Petronas-owned North Montney LNG Limited Partnership would hold a 25 percent stake in the LNG Canada project.Shell Canada Energy would hold 40 percent, PetroChina Canada Ltd., would have a 15 percent stake, Mitsubishi Corp., subsidiary Diamond LNG Canada Ltd., would also hold 15 percent, and Kogas Canada LNG Ltd. would have the remaining five percent.Petronas says the proposed project includes the design, construction and operation of a gas liquefaction plant and facilities for the storage and export of liquefied natural gas, including marine facilities.The plant will initially consist of two LNG processing units with an option to expand the project in the future.“Petronas is pleased to be part of the LNG Canada project,” said the president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin. “We are committed to deliver LNG and natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel in the world, to the growing global energy market.”(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

Genius Kids celebrate annual concert

first_imgOn the morning of March 10, 2019, Genius Kids, integrated daycare and pre-school celebrated their 11th annual concert. To celebrate and cherish the significant essence of many moods and emotions in an individual’s life, and how they contribute in making the lives of an individual more meaningful, 400 kids aged between 2 – 10 years performed on the theme ‘Emotions of Life’ at the event. Kids with colourful attires and pretty smiles offered magical performances on songs like ‘Halud Gandar Phool’, ‘Chil Chil Chillake’, ‘Bum Bum Bole’, ‘Amra Natun Jouboner Dut’, ‘Mohe Rang Do Laa’, to name a few.Chandrima Bhattacharyya, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal along with Riddhi Bandyopadhyay, noted singer, and Avirup Sengupta, ace choreographer graced the occasion. Speaking at the occasion, Bhattacharyya said, “It’s our duty to come together to shape a better world. And as children are our future, we must take proper care of their mental health too. Therefore, I believe extra curriculum activities are equally important in order to nourish their proper mental and physical growth.” Apart from the performances, the school also hosted a unique ‘Passing out Convocation’ for the little kids, in which tiny tots received their first ever certificates and gold medals. Around 78 Kids, who have successfully made their entry into reputed high schools across Kolkata were awarded at the event. Putting his views forward, Vikash Kumar Singh, Founder Director, Genius Kids said, “I am honoured to be a part of the Genius Kids family, and it has been my privilege to work towards nurturing talents among the tiny tots for last 11 years, and I wish all of them a great future and success in life.” Like every year, even this time the attempt was to join hands with the like-minded people and different organisations, to promote various facets in developing human values and ethics towards social commitment; besides changing the world for the less fortunate. At the event, the fund was handed over to few charitable organisations for various activities in women and child development.last_img read more

No margin for error

first_imgIt is not likely for an autonomous body of such reputation as the Election Commission of India (ECI), which is “always open to bringing about any improvements that would further the cause of free and fair elections”, to resist the prayers regarding more VVPAT verifications. However, in the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court of India following the petition filed by 21 political leaders of India, naturally belonging to the opposition parties, ECI has stated that the present method adopted by the body for counting and verification of votes is the “most suitable”. ECI elaborated on how the Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) works, stating that VVPATs are used in conjunction with the EVMs. The VVPAT exposes the printed slip to the voter for a duration of seven seconds through a transparent window and thus, as per ECI, counting of these slips will only be necessary in case of a discrepancy between the results shown by the EVM and that reflected on the printed paper slip. ECI further responded on the specific prayer of cross verification of 50 per cent EVMs by stating how the average time required to undertake such verification would be “six days”; with some constituencies having more polling stations it may take up to 8-9 additional days, delaying the results of the elections. Complimenting this obstacle with an additional requirement of extensively trained personnel and large halls to undertake such an activity, ECI justified its resistance to the petition’s prayer. To provide the apex court with a little aid in its verdict, ECI also stated how similar concerns had arisen earlier and that the court had found ECI’s proceedings regarding VVPATs to be satisfactory. ECI cited a cent per cent accuracy of VVPATs during the 2017 assembly polls as well as the recent assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh. Statistically, a 50 per cent sample to adequately match VVPAT tallies with those of EVM is not necessary as per the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. Its report on possible and appropriate VVPAT counts to the EC states that a sample verification of 479 EVMs would bring the level of confidence in the process to 99.9936 per cent. The current process of counting only one booth per constituency in each state is due to the presence of 10.35 lakh polling stations and 4,125 Assembly constituencies in the country. While ECI, logistically, may be stating the unadulterated version of its response but in a democracy, many may still argue the 50 per cent cross-verification process’ feasibility. In all likelihood, a delay of six days on an average is something that the petitioners might settle for owing to their desperation to eradicate any margin for error. Displaying strong determination to prevent BJP from a second term, and having confidence in the voters to register a victory, it is certain that these opposition leaders don’t want to leave any stone unturned in their pursuit. With the introduction of VVPAT which was specifically brought for an additional layer of accountability to the electoral process, ECI’s argument for more manpower and days might not convince the petitioners and the general public. However, an increase in the counts might be the most likely solution. Even the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi strongly urged the deputy election commissioner present in the court that ECI should consider increasing the number of VVPAT verifications to enhance the purity and credibility of the democratic exercise. The matter is to be heard today in the apex court. While the opposition parties are strongly supporting the prayer to make the counting process more transparent, there is not a word from the ruling BJP. In front of an entire term of a government which will be decided based on the results of the mandate, a delay of the result by few days is completely justifiable. In fact, ECI should deduce, if not 50 per cent, some percentage which satisfies the apex court. This would increase ECI’s credibility in front of people who may have concerns regarding ECI’s resistance to the prayer. The process of vote counting is supposed to be sacrosanct and as such must be done with everyone’s satisfaction to remove even an iota of doubt regarding any tampering – which is not impossible in case of EVMs. The very purpose of VVPATs is to ensure transparency, then why not exercise it?last_img read more

1,700 Jan Dhan bank accounts under EC’s scanner for suspicious deposits

first_imgNew Delhi: About 1,700 Jan Dhan bank accounts in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district have come under the scanner of the Election Commission-deployed surveillance teams for receiving suspicious deposits during the poll season, officials said.They said about Rs 10,000 each, totalling about Rs 1.7 crore, have been deposited in these accounts over the past few days and the instances have come under the scanner of investigative and intelligence agencies for possible abuse by political candidates as bribe to voters. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Income Tax department has launched an investigation into the issue, along with other agencies deployed to check black money and illegal inducements to voters during the ongoing polls in the country. The EC has sought a report from the agencies and they have informed it that the bank concerned in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh has been asked for a report and preliminary inputs suggest the money was deposited by banking correspondents, they said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe next level of probe is on, the officials said, adding it could be a case of some government scheme money or funds being deposited in these accounts. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched on August 28, 2014, with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities for all households. The government had said that it aims for financial inclusion and to ensure access to financial services banking/savings and deposit accounts, remittance, credit, insurance, pension. The Election Commission (EC) has deployed a large team of expenditure monitoring observers in all the constituencies to keep a check on illegal cash and other inducements to voters during the polls. The teams, tasked to ensure a level-playing field for all the candidates trying their luck at the hustings, are being supported by the intelligence and enforcement setups of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Customs department, the Intelligence Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Enforcement Directorate. The seven phase Lok Sabha polls will begin from April 11 and the counting of votes will take place on May 23.last_img read more

Senators urge Trump admin to delay decision on India’s GSP review

first_imgWashington: Two top American Senators have urged the Trump administration to delay until the end of the general elections its decision to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preference due to a lack of compliance.The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries. The US Congress in March last year voted to renew the GSP through 2020. In a letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, Senators John Cornyn from the Republican party and Mark warner from the Democratic party argued that India-US relationship was too important to rush such an important decision in the middle of an election cycle. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”As you know, India’s elections will conclude on May 23, 2019. We believe that the election season may serve as a hindrance for our Indian counterparts in negotiating and concluding a deal on difficult political issues,” the two Senators wrote in the letter to Lighthizer on Friday. It was in April last year that the USTR announced that it planned to review the GSP eligibility of a number of countries, including India. The USTR’s announcement specifically cited “concerns related to its compliance with GSP market access criterion,” based on petitions filed from the US medical device and dairy industries. “If another round of negotiations during the election season does not resolve the outstanding issues, we would ask you to consider delaying the issuance of a Presidential proclamation to withdraw India’s GSP benefits by at least 30 days, beyond the 60-day calendar, in order to move the negotiations beyond India’s elections,” the Senators said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAllowing for continued negotiations beyond the elections would underscore the importance of this bilateral relationship and provide a real opportunity to resolve these market access issues, potentially improving the overall US-India relationship for years to come, said Cornyn and Warner, who are co-chairs of the powerful Senate India Caucus. “We understand that the Trump administration may issue a proclamation withdrawing India’s GSP benefits 60 days or later from the congressional notification date,” the two Senators wrote. The letter comes in the middle of an intense Indian election cycle, during which the ruling government cannot take a major policy decision, which holds officials from making substantial progress on the crucial negotiations between India and the United States. “As Co-Chairs of the United States Senate’s India Caucus, we fully appreciate and support your efforts to address a host of market access issues facing American businesses in India. “Congressional support for the GSP programme was made clear last year when the US Senate and US House of Representatives reauthorised the programme, in nearly unanimous fashion, for three years,” they said. On March 4, 2019, Congress was notified of USTR’s intention to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country under GSP due to a lack of compliance. “While we agree that there are a number of market access issues that can and should be addressed, we do remain concerned that the withdrawal of duty concessions will make Indian exports of eligible products to the United States costlier, as the importer of those products will have to pay a ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) duty which is higher than the rate under GSP,” the Senators said.last_img read more

Bengal celebrates ‘Poila Baisakh’ with fervour

first_imgKolkata: Poila Baisakh, the first day of Bengali New Year, was celebrated with much fervor by the people across the state with youngsters taking out colourful rallies to soak into the spirit of New Year festivities.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended greetings through a video message on the social media and wished happiness and prosperity to the people. She also offered prayers at the Kalighat temple on Sunday night. Many people visited religious places such as Dakshineswar temple, Kalighat temple and Tarapith for an auspicious new beginning. With the day also marking the start of a new financial year, shopkeepers and businessmen observed the haal khata ceremony — closing their old account books and opening new ones. Businessmen thronged temples with their halkhata (account books) in the morning. Temples such as Dakshineswar, Kalighat and Tarapith witnessed a huge footfall on Monday. Adequate security arrangements were in place to handle the crowd. There was deployment of police personnel and civic volunteers in and around the temples to manage the extra rush. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA visitor, who came to Dakshineswar temple from Narayanpur, said he had to stand in the queue for more than an hour before offering puja. Another devotee Shibu Saha said he had been visiting the temple on the Bengali New Year for the past 20 years. “It feels great to welcome the New Year with a prayer to the Lord,” Saha said. North Bengal also celebrated the arrival of the New Year with gusto. Youths took out colourful rallies in Siliguri. State tourism minister Goutam Deb took part in a rally and local women clad in colourful dresses joined the event. There was great enthusiasm among the people. A cultural programme was organised at the Baghajatin Park in Siliguri. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe day was about dressing up in new clothes, exchanging pleasantries and greetings. Revellers, cutting across religious barriers, celebrated the day with family and friends. During this time of the year family members fly back to Bengal from across the world to be with their near and dear ones. All sorts of sweets starting from traditional sandesh (cottage cheese sweet), rosogolla (sugary spongy sweet) to sugar-free and fusion sweets kept flying off the shelves of confectioners. Traders welcomed customers with sweets and new Bengali calendars as people went on a shopping spree.last_img read more

Indian’s death in Maldives in 2016: AIIMS tells HC he died due to natural causes

first_imgNew Delhi: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which was asked to look into the death of a man who died allegedly due to medical negligence while on a honeymoon at a Maldives resort in 2016, has told the Delhi High Court that he died as a result of acute onset of high levels of fat in the blood.An eight-member medical board of the AIIMS, set up on the high court’s direction, has placed before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani a report which said the deceased suffered from hypertriglyceridemia, that indicates high levels of fat in the blood. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The board members have “unanimously concluded” that the “cause of the death was cerebro pulmonary oedema secondary to heart failure with associated hypertension”. “…death is due to acute onset of the disease and its complication, an unexpected natural cause of death,” it has said. The board, in its report, has also recommended “strengthening the medical case set up in such island resorts”. The report was filed after the high court on April 4 had asked the AIIMS to set up a panel to examine the forensic and post-mortem report of the deceased. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe direction had come on the plea by the deceased’s father, Chelakara Ramaswamy, who has contended that his son died due to medical negligence of the doctor — Dorjee Khandu — who treated him for food poisoning while he was staying at the resort at the Vilu Reef Island, which is more than 100 km away from Male, capital of Maldives, and can be reached only by sea planes. He has also alleged that the J J Hospital at Mumbai, where the post-mortem was carried out, did not follow the procedure properly and gave a “sham report”. He has further claimed that the Final Cause of Death Certificate, issued by the J J Hospital was not in terms of the Maharashtra Registration of Births and Deaths Rules, 2000. The court on April 4 had also issued directions to the forensics department of the Maharashtra government, which had carried out the post-mortem of the deceased and analysis of tissue samples, to find out how the viscera samples in the case had disappeared. The state government, in its report, has told the court that the viscera samples “got destroyed unknowingly”. It has said that the official in-charge of the samples was transferred and the acting in-charge had given the order to destroy all analysed viscera samples as a routine process. The acting in-charge was unaware about the instant case, the state government has claimed in its report.last_img read more

Police bust cricket betting racket in Baguiati, 8 held

first_imgKolkata: Bidhannagar Police busted a cricket betting racket late on Tuesday night and arrested eight persons from a housing complex in Baguiati. The arrested persons have been produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) Court at Barasat and three of them have been remanded to two-day police custody.According to police, on Tuesday night sleuths got a tip-off that some people are involved in betting on the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Acting on the information Detective Department of Bidhannagar Police and Baguiati Police station conducted a joint raid at a flat of the AWHO Housing complex at Tegharia. Sleuths found eight persons were betting over the said match. They could not produce any valid license for running such business. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaImmediately, all of them have been rounded up and taken to police station. Later, it was found that the prime accused in the racket identified as Raju Khandelwal had rented the flat to run the racket. During the search, sleuths seized huge numbers of mobile phones, laptops and other devices which were being used for the accused person’s gain. Following the seizure all of them have been arrested under sections of the West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act. Out of eight three persons identified as Raju Khandelwala of Bangur, Pankaj Maru of 136 Jessore Road and Pankaj Chhawcharia of Chawlpatti in Baguati have been taken in to police custody for further investigation.last_img read more

Rahul good leader, will reach consensus on PM candidate after tallying results: Chandrababu

first_imgHaldia (WB): TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu has termed Rahul Gandhi a “good leader who has concerns for the nation” and asserted that unlike 1996, non-BJP parties won’t commit the mistake of keeping the Congress out if such an alliance forms a government at the Centre.In an interview to PTI on the sidelines of a poll meeting in East Midnapore district’s Haldia in support of TMC candidates, he claimed the BJP is on its way out, and batted for a coalition government saying, “It’s better to have checks and balances.” On the contentious issue of prime ministerial candidate of a non-BJP front, Naidu, who has been rallying regional parties to form such a coalition, said the constituents “will reach a consensus after tallying the number of seats each party gets”. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghHe claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become desperate on realising that he is losing the Lok Sabha elections. “There is anti-incumbency. PM Modi tried his best, but he has no achievement. Because of that, he started talking about Pulwama (terror attack) and (Balakot) air strikes. In every meeting he is accusing and abusing opposition leaders,” the incumbent chief minister of Andhra Pradesh alleged. “If you go through Modi’s campaign you will see he is getting weaker and more desperate. Earlier also he was weak but he managed the media. He threatened all politicians so that no one raises their voice,” Naidu claimed. On whether a coalition of regional parties will include the Congress in government formation or keep it out if such an opportunity arises, he said, “You cannot have such restrictions. You need the magic figure (272 seats) to form the government. Restrictions will ultimately break the unity.” Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”All of us will sit together and reach a consensus to build the future of this country,” Naidu said. He lauded the Congress president by terming him a good leader, but evaded a direct reply to the question whether Rahul Gandhi’s name could be proposed as prime ministerial candidate, saying if he names someone others might get hurt which will break the opposition unity. “He (Rahul Gandhi) is a good leader. He has concerns for the nation, unlike Narendra Modi, who is hollow and never listens to anybody. Modi tries to rule by threatening others,” the TDP supremo said. Naidu’s comments comes just days after his meeting with Gandhi to discuss the post-poll scenario. The Telugu Desam Party president, who was the convener of the United Front government from 1996-1998, said time the experiment failed because the Congress was kept out of the government.last_img read more

CPCB asks DJB to set up vigilance system to stop waste water discharge into Yamuna

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Central Pollution Control Board has asked the Delhi Jal Board to penalise defaulters indulging in illegal activities leading to release of waste water into the Yamuna and set up a vigilance system to stop such discharge into the river. The CPCB has also sought an action plan and a compliance report from the Delhi Jal Board in the matter by May 20.The CPCB, in its notice to the CEO of the DJB earlier this month, said an inspection by a CPCB team found scattered habitations between Palla to Wazirabad on the flood plain of Yamuna. The team also found the possibility of discharge of waste water of said habitations to the river through temporary arrangements (tankers), it said. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar”Discharge of untreated waste water of these scattered colonies into river Yamuna makes water unfit to meet the primary water quality criteria – bathing quality,” the notice added. During an inspection, the team has identified a drain discharging waste water from scattered habitations into river Yamuna. The team also spotted tankers disposing waste water from the septic tank directly to flood bank of Yamuna river, it said. Following the observations, the CPCB has directed the DJB to plan sewerage management of scattered colonies between Palla to Wazirabad, set up vigilance system to stop such discharges through tankers immediately and penalising defaulters indulging in illegal activities leading to release of waste water into the Yamuna.last_img read more

French troops start disarming C. African Republic fighters

first_imgBangui (Central African Republic) — French troops on Monday began disarming fighters in the Central African Republic after a swell in sectarian violence that has claimed hundreds of lives and terrified inhabitants.But Paris warned the task would be difficult as former Seleka rebels who seized power in a March coup shed their combat gear to avoid detection, and clashed sporadically with soldiers dispatched to quell violence in the unstable country.Announcing the beginning of the disarmament, the army’s general staff said the process was going smoothly for the moment, despite a brief shoot-out Monday morning between soldiers and armed men near the airport. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that the disarmament would not be “an easy task”.“The problem is that many of the former Seleka (rebels) have traded their uniforms for civilian clothes… and it is difficult to identify individuals,” he said on France Inter radio.France is deploying 1,600 soldiers to its former colony, which has plunged into chaos since the Seleka rebels seized power, with reports of widespread rape and public killings taking place.Fabius said former Seleka rebel leader turned interim president Michel Djotodia had appealed to his former fighters to give up arms, but some have gone rogue and imposed a reign of terror in the countryside.The capital Bangui has also been the scene of bloodshed over the past three days, and nearly 400 people have been killed in the violence, Fabius said.“We have explained to everyone by radio and through other available media that they should bring back weapons,” Fabius said.“If this does not yield sufficient results, force will be employed,” he said.French President Francois Hollande, who sent troops into the west African country of Mali earlier this year to stop Islamists and Tuareg rebels from advancing on the capital Bamako, has said France cannot turn a blind eye to the massacres perpetrated in the Central African Republic.But the military intervention has prompted criticism from the public over its cost at a difficult time for the French economy.France says deployment costs ‘minimum’Fabius on Monday said the cost of the deployment was “minimal” as the French troops were drawn from bases in other African countries.“If we did not intervene quickly it would have cost much more,” he said.“If in place of a few hundred killed, there had been tens of thousands of deaths we would have had in any case to intervene in a country that was totally destroyed.”France has also been anxious to avoid charges of medding in its former African colony for political or economic reasons.It has repeatedly emphasised that it troops are being dispatched to the CAR to reinforce a 2,500-strong African Union peacekeeping mission and that it is ultimately Africa’s responsibility to tackle the various crises on the continent.There have been no major incidents since the French deployment. French troops came under fire near the airport on Sunday and Monday, but there were no indications of casualties.France has more than 5,300 troops stationed in a string of bases across western and central Africa, according to defence ministry figures.The UN childrens’ agency UNICEF told AFP in Bangui that nearly 480,000 people — mostly women and children — had been displaced since the country of 4.6 million people plunged into chaos after the March coup.But the deadly attacks witnessed before the French troops rolled in have ceased and life in Bangui is slowly returning to normal.Djotodia, the first Muslim leader of the CAR, disbanded Seleka when he took power, but while some militiamen remained loyal to him, others wreaked havoc.Local Christians responded by forming vigilante groups and the government was never able to assert its authority over the Christian-majority country.Reports have highlighted a series of horrors, with security forces and militia gangs raping with impunity, carrying out public killings and razing entire villages.Djotodia has accused forces loyal to the exiled former president Francois Bozize, whom he had toppled, of being behind the vigilante groups.London-based rights group Amnesty International has said that many involved in the latest violence are child fighters recruited by the former rebels. It said some were reportedly armed with axes and iron bars.last_img read more

Morocco Pledges Military, Intelligence Support to UAE’s Fight Against Terrorism

Rabat – Morocco has pledged its “active support” to the UAE’s fight against terrorism and the preservation of regional and international peace and stability, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.This action, part of the tradition of successful partnership and strong solidarity between the two brotherly countries, “reinforces a historic and multifaceted military and security cooperation with Gulf States,” the ministry said in a statement.“It supports and complements the other measures taken on the Moroccan territory to preserve the security and tranquility of Moroccan citizens face to the threat of international terrorism,” the same source added. According to the ministry, the contribution of the kingdom will focus on military operational and intelligence aspects.In addition to its recognized international humanitarian operations and peacekeeping commitment, the Kingdom of Morocco has participated in several military operations to defend national security and territorial integrity of brotherly and friendly countries, including in Congo, Golan, Zaire (now DRC) and Saudi Arabia in 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait, the statement recalled.Similarly, hundreds of Moroccan soldiers had, over several decades, been deployed on the UAE territory, as part of their contributions to training and security of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. read more

Morocco: One killed in Sale Juvenile Detention Center Fire

Rabat – One person was killed and 26 injured in a fire at a juvenile detention center in Sale, near Rabat.According to media reports, prisoners set the fire at the juvenile Centre for Reform and Education (CRE) in Sale over the weekend which killed one prisoner and left others injured.Prisoner Khalil Abdelkader, who was serving a six-month sentence for theft charges, succumbed to his burn injuries on Sunday, August 30. Fifteen prisoners were transported to the Ibn Sina Hospital in the capital Rabat for intensive care.A large numbers of juvenile prisoners were moved to other prisons as part of precautionary measures after the fire caused damage to the facility.An investigation into the matter is underway.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more