Gurugram: There are 1.5 lakh cases that are pending in Gurugram district courts. Most of the cases are petty offences of traffic violations, cheque bounce and property disputes.The recent revelation came in the view of Lok Adalat that will be organised on Saturday, July 13. Taking cognisance of the present state of affairs the district sessions judge RS Sondhi highlighted the importance of such sessions to be held on regular affairs. Judges have raised their concern that how the delay in dealing with smaller cases is amounting to bigger cases taking more time. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThere are cases in the court that have prolonged for five to ten years without any clarity of where the case is being headed. Top lawyers and certain judges at the courts however have also stated that there are various challenges that are increasing the number of cases on a daily basis. For long there is a demand for increasing the number of judges that are still less as compared to the number of cases being heard. According to sources, a district court judge on an average hears more than three to four cases in a day. What is adding to more difficulties is a large number of cases associated with juvenile crimes being transferred from juvenile justice board to district courts. Besides setting up the Special court there are also other initiatives that are being planned to reduce the number of cases at the city local courts. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderWith a large number of legal cases coming from rural areas of Gurugram, there are also plans to form village courts across rural parts of Gurugram. According to the plan a makeshift justice delivery system will be set up at certain villages in the Gurugram district. A cluster of three to four villages will be formed and the makeshift court that will be set up in different clusters. “The system of village courts (Gram Adaalats) has experimented in Kurukshetra, Haryana. We now plan to introduce this in Gurugram. We plan to send our senior judges and magistrates to these makeshift courts. There are large numbers of legal cases that are emanating from rural areas of the district. The village courts if successful will not only be beneficial in reducing the cases at the court but will also be useful for the rural citizens who have to regularly visit the District Courts for their cases,” said a top lawyer of the court. In January 2017, the foundation stone of new judicial complex was laid in Gurugram. Named the Justice tower it will be the largest judicial complex in North India and will house over fifty-five courts.
Mumbai: Malaika Arora shot to fame with her superhit dance number ‘Chhaiyya chhaiyya’ with Shah Rulh Khan in Mani Ratnam’s 1998 film, Dil Se. After all these years, superdancer Malaika has come out to reveal a shocking incident about the filming of the song. She was bleeding around the waist while dancing, she revealed. “I fell several times while shooting for ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’. I would sway right and left owing to the strong wind, and to avoid that, the team tied me with the train with a rope through my ghaghra. This was meant to help me balance and (stay in) sync with the train’s motion. Unfortunately, when I removed the rope, I discovered I had cuts along my waistline. I was bleeding, and everyone was worried,” she said, recalling the shooting for the iconic number on a reality dance show. Composed by AR Rahman and penned by Gulzar, ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’ made Malaika a dancing star in Bollywood. She would go on perform numerous other blockbuster dances – from ‘Maahi ve’ in Kaante to ‘Munni badnaam’ in Dabangg and the recent ‘Hello hello’ in Pataakha.
Thiruvananthapuram: As heavy rains pounded several parts of Kerala, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday issued a Red Alert in Idukki, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts on August 8. “These districts are likely to get extremely heavy rainfall of over 240 mm in 24 hours and may experience landslides,” an IMD release said. A woman died in Malappuram District when a tree uprooted and fell over her house, the District Management Authority said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Many places in Malappuram District are under water with some villages being isolated. Heavy crop damage was also reported from various parts of the district. The Makkootam ghat road in Kannur was also damaged in the heavy rains. “The traffic on the Makkootam ghat road has been diverted and the vehicles will have to take the Manathavadi road,” a revenue official said. Palakkad District also received heavy rains. The IMD also declared an Orange alert in various districts from August 6 to 9, includingin Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kasargod, Alapuzha, Idukki, Ernakkulam, Kannur and Thrissur districts.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has attached assets worth about Rs 300 crore in connection with its money laundering probe in an alleged ponzi scam involving a Telangana-based multi-level marketing group.The attached properties belong to promoter Nowhera Shaikh, arrested by the ED in the case, of Heera Group of Companies and others, and are spread across multiple states. The agency has issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for attachment of the assets valued at Rs 299.99 crore, it said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The attached assets comprise 96 immovable properties located in Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh worth Rs 277.29 crore in the form of agricultural lands, commercial plots, residential buildings, commercial complexes and balances in bank accounts worth Rs 22.69 crore,” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said in a statement. The case pertains to the fraudulent money circulation scheme, called a ponzi or chit fund, allegedly perpetrated by the Heera Group in Hyderabad and the ED had filed a criminal case of money laundering in the instance based on multiple Telangana Police FIRs over allegations of illegally collecting deposits from lakhs of investors by promising high returns. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe federal probe agency said the group “collected an amount of about Rs 5,600 crore as unauthorised deposits from around 1,72,000 investors across the country by engaging a network of marketing executives and direct selling agents with a false promise of paying high rate of returns of 3 per cent per month or 36 per cent per year.” Shaikh floated multiple schemes and extensively advertised the schemes to lure the victims, it said. She launched 24 firms/entities under Heera Group and 182 bank accounts were opened in different banks at different parts of the country in the name of these two dozen entities, the ED alleged. “Ten bank accounts were also opened in foreign countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia for collecting these deposits and Shaikh did not possess any valid permission either under the Banking Regulation Act, Companies Act, RBI Act or from any other government agency such as SEBI etc for collecting deposits,” it said. Shaikh, the ED charged, started gold, food and textile trading businesses only to create the impression that she is earning legitimate profits, but in reality, the pay-outs to the new members were simply being funded from the cash flows generated from new members/investments. “The volume of business in her gold, textile and food marts was miniscule and not sufficient to justify the high returns promised by her,” the ED statement said. “Shaikh along with her family members and close associates diverted the depositors’ money to their personal accounts and amassed huge movable and immovable assets for wrongful personal gain. “The diverted funds were further layered into various shell companies and in the form of benami assets so as to ultimately cheat lakhs of innocent victims and to launder these crime proceeds for personal benefit,” it said.
Economic developments and technological innovations have helped increase life expectancy worldwide. There was a time when thousands would perish because of epidemics like plague and smallpox which had an adverse effect on life expectancy. Such deadly diseases are under control now. Life expectancy in India was 32 years at the time of independence in 1947. In 1969 it rose to 47 years further growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019. India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund. The number of young people in our country increased at a rapid rate and the number of elderly also grew steadily. Also Read – A special kind of bondAccording to the law, a “senior citizen” means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of 60 years or above. Population Census 2011 revealed that there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and Help Age India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. From 5.6 per cent in 1961, the proportion of the elderly increased up to 8.6 per cent in 2011. (Source: Elderly in India 2016) Also Read – Insider threat managementAn elderly person has to face manifold challenges, including physical, mental, emotional, social and financial. They are always worried about social security. As one grows, both the physical and mental faculties face a downward trend. The person is more prone to fall prey to various types of diseases. Most of these diseases are of degenerative nature and thus are of chronic nature. List of risks including illnesses, disorders, ailments, maladies, and diseases associated with old age are quite long. Through various researches around 125 diseases have been identified to be directly connected with this age group. Arthritis is a very common condition leading to pain in the joints and lowering the quality of life by prohibiting day to day activity and movements of the person. It may be fatal in a little number of cases. Heart Diseases are the leading killers of persons above the age of 65. An elderly person needs to get his heart monitored time to time to get to know any disease cropping up well on time. This needs awareness and has financial implications as well. Cancer is the second leading cause of death. The person has to pay repeated hospital visits requiring expensive investigations, monitoring and medical or surgical intervention for a long period of time. All this seriously affects the economy of the whole family and psychology of the patient. Depression is one of serious issue associated with it. Respiratory Diseases are the third common cause of death among the elderly who are more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections. Many of them in this age group develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which requires repeated hospitalisation and intensive treatment. Cerebrovascular accidents occur as a result of leakage or clotting of blood in the brain or tumours in the cranium. A person may develop paralysis. His quality of life becomes very poor and he becomes dependent on others. This becomes a cause of serious psychological disturbance and a matter of stress for the whole family. Parkinsonism hampers the person’s capabilities and gradually cripples the physical capacities. Alzheimer’s disease occurs because of the degenerative process of the brain. The patient develops cognitive impairment and is unable to take care of himself. He is a concern to the family for safety and cost involved in his care. Osteoporosis makes bones brittle and the person is more likely to develop fracture of any bone. The fracture of vertebral bodies can cripple the patient. Falls are more common and these are an emergency condition, which requires hospitalisation. Incidence of Diabetes is increasing in our country. Those who had developed Diabetes in early age develop several complications by the time they reach elderly age. Complications may be related to the nervous system, heart, kidney, muscles and other body systems. Infections occur more commonly in this age group because of the lowering of immunity in this age group. Sometimes these may prove to be fatal. Depression is an increasing problem in our country which is occurring as a result of changing family relations, increase in the cost of healthcare, physical incapacities which increase with the age and person’s dependence on his siblings. Losing one’s life partner causes loneliness and isolation leading to depression. Poverty affects senior citizens health. Older women are slightly more likely than men to be living in poverty, and that gap widens in those over 80 years. Single older adults are also significantly more likely to live alone with fewer resources. Elderly age group is a challenging period in one’s life. Feeling of dependence on children for many day-to-day needs is difficult to accept. Financial deprivation adds up to the difficulties. The situation gets worse if the family is uncaring and neglecting the elderly. In our country where the social security net is very poor, elderly people face great difficulties as far as healthcare is concerned. To ameliorate the situation several steps have to be taken. Elderly need compassion. They need emergency care – sometimes repeatedly. Health care of the elderly has to be designed accordingly. (The views expressed are strictly personal)
Bengaluru: EPFO will launch an e-inspection system that will simplify inspection process and ensure organisations with open communications will not be subject to physical inspection until absolutely necessary, according to Central Provident Fund Commissioner Sunil Barthwal. EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) proposed to amend the Act to limit enquiry period to a maximum of two years in order to curtail harassment, he also said at a Confederation of Indian Industry-organised interactive session last Friday, a CII release said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’A small percentage of employees are unable to generate UAN (a 12-digit Universal Account Number to all employees entitled to EPF) due to mismatch in data, Barthwal said, adding to address this issue, the EPFO is looking at alternative authentication vis-a-vis the employee database. “The EPFO is working towards a three-day settlement period for KYC (Know Your Customer) compliant beneficiaries who have UAN linked to Aadhaar, have a bank account and a registered mobile number,” the release quoted him as saying. Barthwal also proposed to set up a society of self-regulating consultants, similar to ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), in order to curb “misuse and corruption.” “In a significant announcement for industry he proposed to decriminalise defaulters and treat the cases as economic offences,” the release said.
New Delhi: Around 60,000 teachers at Delhi government schools will be relieved of the tedious work of result tabulation and their focus now will be more on checking answer scripts as the whole process is going to be digitised.On an average each subject teacher of the Delhi government has been spending about 50 hours and class teachers around 310 hours every year for exams-related work at the cost of their teaching and family time, according to officials of the Directorate of Education (DoE). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe work includes checking answer scripts of students by the subject teacher, recording the marks on the reward list, cross-checking by another teacher, collation of all subject marks by class teachers, recording the marks in teacher’s diary and in master record sheet, transferring the data on an online module followed by preparation of individual report cards. “This amount of time is consumed because most of the work is done manually. But not anymore,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s education minister. He added that after introducing online leave and no-objection certificate facilities for teachers, the government is going to digitise the process of recording the exam data as well. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsLast month, Sisodia had asked his team to understand the exam process by talking to teachers and get their inputs on how it can be simplified, so that they do not have to spend a large amount of time on result tabulation. The findings were presented to him on Saturday. He directed the officials of the Directorate of Education to digitise the entire process so that all steps after the evaluation of answer scripts till the generation of report card can be done on the computer tablet. “The usage of computer tablet will remove the manual recording of data in multiple sheets. This will substantially reduce the time of subject and class teachers which they can now give to their students and family,” a senior DoE official said. Sisodia also directed that platforms be created and orders be issued for its usage immediately to ensure most features could be implemented from the mid-term exam this year. Early this year, all teachers of Delhi government schools regular as well as guest have procured a tablet of their choice, using the fund of Rs 15,000 provided to each one of them by the government. Apart from them, teachers are also given an additional allowance of Rs 200 per month for data pack. They are using this tablet to record attendance and store study material for their lesson planning and classroom teaching.
Kolkata: West Bengal State Fishermen’s Cooperative Federation Ltd., popularly known as Benfish, is all set to expand its ‘Ekushe Annapurna’ scheme in the city by opening up stalls in 23 more locations in the city.The scheme, under which rice, dal, vegetables and fish curry are served at Rs 21, has gained immense popularity in the city since its introduction in October 2016. The managing director of Benfish Bidhan Roy had written to Mayor Firhad Hakim in the month of June, urging him to provide space in the city so that the scheme can be extended. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja23 places in the city have been identified and the Members, Mayor-in-Council who constitute the highest decision making body in the KMC, had already approved the locations. The matter will be placed for the final nod at the monthly meeting of the KMC scheduled on September 19. The locations that have been earmarked include Ruby connector, Mukundapur, the area below Gariahat flyover, Southern Avenue, Brabourne Road (near Passport office), Maniktala Main Road, S C Mallick Road (near Jadavpur bus stand), inside the premises of KMC and an area near Tollygunge Metro station to name a few. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We have found out that this scheme has been very popular, particularly among the office-goers. Every day, thousands of people from the rural areas come to the city for their daily work, who look for rice and fish meal at a subsidised rate as they cannot afford to spend much on their food. The Ekushe Annapurna scheme is the best option for them,” said state Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha. The spaces that have been allocated for setting up the stalls are 100 square feet each in size and the mode of allotment will be at the rate of Re 1 per square feet per month on licence basis for a 12 month period, with the provision of further renewal. The scheme is the brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who wants to offer quality and nutritious food to all the people of the state. It is run on a no-profit, no-loss basis. At present there are 20 vehicles on wheels that provide quality and hygienic meals under this project at a subsidised rate.
New Delhi: The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday approved a slew of measures at its meeting, chaired by Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, including the measures to implement a transit-oriented development (TOD) model in the Capital, which is expected to focus city building in and around a transit node or corridor. This mode will be focused on large areas near rapid public transport, with ease of access to that transit facility in a bid to encourage increased usage of public transportation in the city. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe DDA said that the TOD model of development will help in the building of mixed-use, mixed-income developments where residential, commercial, civic or institutional establishments will be located close to each other, allowing for the formation of closely-knit social communities with vibrant shared spaces for the common public to use. Moreover, the Authority said that these developments will provide a variety of housing types for a range of income groups across the socio-economic scale and demographic types in the city. In order to facilitate this, all TOD integrated schemes will have a minimum component of 30 percent overall FAR (Floor Area Ratio) for residential usage and EWS FAR of 15 percent over and above the proposed FAR will be applicable. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIn addition to this, the DDA also approved certain amendments to the Master Plan Delhi 2021, under which banks will be allowed to house their bank lockers in the basements of the premises of the existing branch. Further, restaurants on the ground floor will not be allowed to operate unless they have valid appropriate licenses with all statutory clearances, as existing on or before Tuesday (September 17) and only on notified mixed-use streets. The DDA also approved the fixation of amalgamation charges for commercial properties in a bid to ensure ease of doing business. The new charges will be at 10 percent of the circle rates applicable at the time of submission of the request for amalgamation and will apply on the total area of the plot. The plots that are found to be amalgamated without permission and the lessee/owner approaches for regularisation, an additional charge of 20 percent of the rates may be recovered. Separately, the DDA also worked out that 10 percent of the market value of the plot and the market value of the extra floor generated will be calculated and the greater of the two will be charged towards amalgamated fees. Adding to these measures, the Authority also approved changes in the landuse policy for colleges and universities in the Narela sub-city, removal of embargo to execute conveyance deed for five years, changes to policy for damanges collection from residents and relaxations with respect to flats alloted to persons with disabilities.
Kolkata: Describing her scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday in New Delhi as a “courtesy” one, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would highlight various issues like funds that are due to the state during her talk with the PM.Talking to reporters at city airport before leaving for the national capital, Banerjee said she would also raise matters like changing name of West Bengal as well merger of public sector banks during the meeting. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAmid the hype surrounding the one-on-one meeting between the two leaders, Banerjee said her visit to the national capital was part of the “routine work”. According to sources in the state secretariat Nabanna, the CM and PM meeting is scheduled at 4:30 pm on Wednesday. “I go to New Delhi very rarely. I do not go anywhere because I have some responsibilities here. We have to go to New Delhi for some administrative reasons because it is the capital, the Parliament is there, the President, Prime Minister all stay there that’s is at times we need to go there. This is a routine work,” the TMC supremo said. Banerjee earlier in the day greeted the PM on his 69th birthday. Sources said that the Bengal CM was likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.
OTTAWA – The commander of the Canadian Forces mission in Iraq and Syria says he expects the government to extend the operation past its scheduled expiry date at the end of the month.Brig.-Gen. Dan MacIsaac told The Canadian Press that he’s looking forward to seeing a renewed commitment of more than 800 military personnel in the international anti-terror coalition as part of Wednesday’s long-awaited defence policy review.Details of that and other future foreign military deployments are expected to be unveiled when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff, release the government’s new blueprint for national defence.The table for that defence review will be set in a major foreign policy speech Tuesday by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. That speech will affirm “multilateralism and rules-based international systems, human rights, gender equality, the fight against climate change, and economic benefits being shared by all,” the government said in a statement.Freeland’s speech will be the Liberal government’s attempt to define its military, development, diplomatic and trade priorities, and how Canada plans to navigate a world order thrown into disarray by disruptive events such as the election of Donald Trump and the rise of anti-trade forces, sources say.The speech is meant to serve as the “umbrella” for Wednesday’s defence review and the release of the international development review later this month, said a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was still a work in progress.Wednesday’s defence review is expected to lay out the military’s priorities for future overseas deployments, and outline government’s 20-year plan for spending billions of dollars on military hardware to upgrade warships and fighter jets, among other things.Sajjan has said the review will also dovetail with the government’s broader innovation agenda and will explain how the military will partner with the defence industry to create jobs by developing of cutting-edge equipment.For soldiers such as MacIsaac, who is overseeing Canada’s contribution to the international anti-terror fight, it will bring more clarity to ongoing military operations.“We’re looking forward to the government releasing the defence policy review, likely in the next couple of days,” MacIsaac said in a lengthy telephone interview Monday from his headquarters in Kuwait.“I foresee government providing defence further direction, and the government of Canada is committed to contributing to defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.“We’re definitely here past the 30th of June.”The government has not formally announced an extension of the mission, which is Canada’s contribution to the international coalition of more than 60 countries that is trying to degrade ISIL.MacIsaac said the coalition is continually degrading ISIL’s command and control, weapons making and financing operations across Iraq and Syria, and has reclaimed a swath of land the size of Nova Scotia.“They’ve had to move many a headquarters and many a leader, and we are tracking those changes,” he explained.Though he didn’t specifically reference the recent attacks in London, Manchester and elsewhere, MacIsaac said ISIL is losing the ability to direct attacks across the globe.“There are many Daesh-influenced attacks but I’m not aware of any Daesh-directed attacks,” he said. “So it’s interesting to watch them now try to claim when someone does something criminal … They’re on their hind foot.”Asked if he had a message for war-weary Canadians, MacIsaac replied:“Canada is fortunate. We live in a safe place. But we have a duty to take collective action with our friends to advance the liberty of others and security at home.“If you think you have values, you’ve got to work to show it.”Freeland’s speech will address how Canada plans to project the “hard power” of its military and use its “soft-power” diplomacy, sources say.She will describe how and why Canada was able to play a role in shaping the multilateral order that was built after the Second World War — because the country suffered heavy losses fighting the two world wars, sources say.Now, with the world’s multilateral order under threat and the globe in a period of constant change, those sources say Freeland will say the country must now work to shape the shifting global forces to the Canada’s advantage.Much of that disruption is due to Trump’s “America First” foreign policy — throwing cold water on NATO and the G7, while dumping the Paris agreement on fighting climate change.The source said the speech may not mention Trump directly, but it will re-enforce Canada’s strong economic ties with the U.S., and how Canada’s foreign policy diverges — notably on climate — with its southern neighbour.
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s medical examiner says he’ll consider ordering a public inquiry into the death of a former Canadian soldier who fatally shot his wife, daughter and mother if a provincial review of the man’s mental health treatment doesn’t lead to changes.The provincial Justice Department had provided a statement last week stating Dr. Matthew Bowes had decided against ordering a judicial inquiry into the death of Lionel Desmond, a 33-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.But Bowes clarified Thursday that if he concludes a hospital review of Desmond’s treatment was incomplete, he’d consider using his rarely exercised power to call for a judicial inquiry under the province’s Fatality Inquiries Act.“Certainly, for me, it’s a ‘No’ right now because for me it doesn’t make sense to order a public policy renewal mechanism when there’s already one occurring,” he said in a telephone interview.“But I’ll be watching the results of that (review) very thoroughly, and if it’s not satisfactory and it’s not comprehensive, if it’s not fulsome and it doesn’t result in recommendations and if it doesn’t result in system change I’m certainly willing to re-examine that issue.”Desmond took his own life after shooting his 52-year-old mother, his wife Shanna, 31, and their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah.The Jan. 3 killings in Upper Tracadie, N.S., prompted a difficult debate over soldiers with PTSD, domestic violence and what should be done to prevent such tragedies.Catherine Hartling, Shanna Desmond’s aunt, has called for some form of public inquiry.Hartling has said some family members want to find out more about Desmond’s treatment and the mental health care he was supposed to receive, but remain too devastated by the events to speak publicly about their desires for an inquiry.Bowes said he hasn’t contacted the families, but would take their views into consideration if he does speak to them.Desmond served in Afghanistan in 2007, and had received treatment from a joint personnel support unit for a year prior to his release from the military in July 2015. Such units provide support to ill and injured soldiers, including mental injuries.Relatives of Desmond have said that after his release he had also sought treatment from the mental health unit at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish.Following the deaths, Premier Stephen McNeil said the province’s health authority will review what services were provided and what protocols were followed.However, that review is conducted under the province’s Quality Improvement Information Protection Act and is kept confidential, though next of kin are eligible to receive a list of recommendations.Bowes — who has been medical examiner for 13 years — said in an interview that he was inquiring with the health authority about what portions of the report he would be receiving, adding he hadn’t yet viewed the detailed report or its recommendations.PTSD has been the top diagnosis for the hundreds of troops released from the military for medical reasons every year since at least 2014. Some 18 military personnel took their own lives in 2015, many of whom had sought some type of mental-health treatment shortly before their deaths.The Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs have opened specialized clinics, hired more staff and cut red tape in recent years to provide better care and support as more military personnel have come forward seeking help for PTSD and other disorders.But some are questioning whether Ottawa and the provincial health authorities have done enough.Robin Whitford, an Ottawa resident whose husband suffered from PTSD after serving in the military, said in an interview Thursday that the failure to order a public inquiry into the Desmond case prompted her to write a letter to the prime minister on Wednesday.“A government that says it cares about the well being of all soldiers, veterans and their families, would surely want to know how this could have happened,” she wrote in the letter.“With the amount of money and resources that is spent on the very programs and services that are supposed to help support injured vets and their families should we simply accept these kinds of tragedies as unavoidable consequences of war?”“Please show us that this is not acceptable, that the lives of the Desmond family mattered.”
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Friday with indigenous activists who set up a demonstration teepee on Parliament Hill ahead of Canada Day celebrations.The prime minister and his wife arrived relatively unannounced at the site mid-morning, as the national capital was abuzz with preparations for the July 1 event that’s expected to bring some half a million people into the downtown core.The Bawaating Water Protectors from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., arrived Wednesday night to erect the teepee and engage in four days of what they called a “reoccupation” to draw attention to the history of Indigenous People in Canada during 150th birthday celebrations this weekend.Originally the group clashed with police, who arrested nine people and refused to allow the teepee, but all nine were eventually released and the structure was set up, then later moved to be close to the main stage for Saturday’s events.The prime minister stopped by while he was on Parliament Hill for rehearsals; the activists said they became aware Trudeau was going to visit when the RCMP came to search the structure.The Trudeaus spent about 30 minutes inside, meeting with four people.A video of the meeting posted on YouTube showed the prime minister sitting cross-legged, shoes off, and clasping a feather as he listened to a request from group member Candace Day Neveau that the current federal department responsible for indigenous affairs be renamed the office of honourable treaty relations, and that the current Indian Act be scrapped.“We have to move beyond the Indian Act, we have to end the Indian Act but we can’t do it with the stroke of the pen from Ottawa,” Trudeau said.“We have to do it with your partnership, with your leadership and there are people at different points along their healing journey . . . We need to respect your pace, your leadership.”Trudeau said young voices, like Day Neveau’s, were essential to the process and thanked the group for sharing the moment with him.“As a young leader I am here to say we are going to be holding you accountable for abolishing the Indian Act and for making things right for our people,” Day Neveau told him.Trudeau did not speak to reporters once he exited the tent, but later posted a series of messages on Twitter about the meeting, calling it respectful.“The painful fact behind this protest is that for too long, there’s simply been no space for Indigenous Peoples to be heard in Ottawa,” he tweeted.“Our government is committed & dedicated to moving forward on reconciliation – myself & everyone in cabinet. And we have a lot of work to do.”The teepee may come down Saturday afternoon, but whether it does will require consensus among the group, member Ashley Courchene had said earlier Friday.The Bawaating Water Protestors are just one of many indigenous groups planning protest events and demonstrations this weekend to draw attention to the fact that, for them, there is nothing to celebrate.Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said Friday the government respects the group’s right to protest peacefully.“We know that millions of Canadians will be celebrating tomorrow, but not all Canadians,” she said.“In the context of Canada 150, it is our time to reflect on the darker chapters that happened in our history and also work towards reconciliation and make sure that the next 150 years are way better when it comes to relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”As she clasped a bundle of tobacco in her hand after the meeting with Trudeau, Day Neveau said she hoped everyone could benefit from the message she and others are trying to communicate.“This is a tobacco offering to Canada to stand and support Indigenous People,” she said.“May this be an educational experience for everyone to say that young leaders are rising, Indigenous People are rising.”
LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – A woman driving through Labrador had a close encounter with a curious bear who appears to be making the rounds in the area.Lisa Baikie was driving on route 500 from Labrador City to Goose Bay on Sunday when she noticed a bear on the side of the road.She pulled over to take pictures of the animal and show her children, when the bear walked up to the passenger side of her car and popped up against the window.A video she took shows the bear — swarmed by mosquitoes — staring directly into the car and sniffing at the window before walking around to the back.Baikie says she was there for about 10 minutes before leaving, with the bear remaining on the road as it watched her drive away.On her Facebook page, people commented that they had seen a similar looking bear in the same area.(VOCM)
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A Liberal backbencher lost her bid Tuesday to become Newfoundland and Labrador’s first female Speaker after challenging her boss’s preferred male candidate.Pam Parsons lost to Perry Trimper in a secret ballot in the legislature dominated by the majority governing Liberals in St. John’s.An actual vote count was not released after the rare summer sitting to hold the election.Trimper was the man Premier Dwight Ball had publicly tapped for the job.Parsons, a 37-year-old former journalist in her first term in the House of Assembly, had said she wasn’t trying to sow internal rifts by running against the premier’s choice.Win or lose, Parsons said it was important to put her name forward.“I believe it’s my democratic responsibility to offer myself, to be the best I can be. We should always look to improve and grow.”Parsons said she was urged by House of Assembly members of all political stripes to put her name forward as the number of women in politics continues to lag.Outside the legislature, Ball said Liberals were free to vote as they wished. He said he welcomed Parsons’s challenge.“This was democracy in action today. We had a young woman who had an interest in doing this. It’s no different than the conversation that I had with Miss Parsons when she came to see me.“I told her: ‘Go and do what you feel you should do. Follow your heart.’”Trimper also commended her and said he looks forward to working with all members and the public — and to help increase women’s roles in politics.“This is the people’s house, and I look forward to doing what I can to support the people of our province.”Parsons said in an earlier interview that she met with Ball on Thursday at her request.“He encouraged me to make up my own mind.”Provincial members of the Young Liberals of Canada at Memorial University of Newfoundland had also supported Parsons.“We believe that she has the necessary skills to act as an effective non-partisan agent of the House, we believe that it is important that we elevate women to positions of power in our democratic institutions,” said a Facebook post Sunday signed by the branch.Asked if her move to challenge Trimper hints at dissent within Liberal ranks, Parsons said: “Absolutely not.”“I don’t look at this as, you know, going against the premier or going against my colleague Perry Trimper.”Parsons described Trimper as “brilliant” and said he’s a friend.There are 40 members of the House of Assembly, of which one-quarter are women. Two Liberals and two Progressive Conservatives were absent for the vote.Just Trimper and Parsons were candidates, and the winner’s name was the only result revealed.Current standings in the House of Assembly are 30 Liberals, seven Progressive Conservatives, two New Democrats, and one Independent.Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
MONTREAL – Quebec is cancelling its plan to distribute welfare cheques to asylum seekers at Montreal’s downtown convention centre.The province’s Employment Department announced today it will instead hand out cheques to refugee applicants inside the temporary shelters that have been erected around the Montreal area.Quebec says about 3,000 cheques will be distributed in shelters and the rest mailed directly to the private residences into which asylum seekers have already moved.Roughly 8,000 people, mostly Haitians, have crossed into Quebec from the U.S. since June.The basic monthly welfare payment for a person who lives alone in Quebec is $642.92.Asylum seekers are being asked to move out of the government’s temporary shelters and into a private residence after they received their money.The distribution of cheques is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
MONTREAL – The real estate market in Greater Montreal matched September’s heat wave with sales reaching an eight-year high for the month.The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board says 2,893 residential sales were completed last month, a six per cent increase from a year ago.Four of the area’s five metropolitan areas sustained growth, led by a 17-per-cent jump in sales in Laval, north of Montreal.Paul Cardinal of the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards has attributed monthly housing gains to strong job creation, consumer confidence and foreign migration.Sales on the island of Montreal, which accounted for 43 per cent of all area sales, were up five per cent.Condominiums continued to drive sales volume, rising 11 per cent overall, including a 49 per cent jump in Laval, north of Montreal.Condo sales have been growing steadily for months while selling times are down, said Mathieu Cousineau, GMREB president.He said the condo market has returned to a balanced market with 10 months of inventories.“For a little more than four years, there was a surplus of condominiums on the resale market and inventory had reached a new peak of 15 months exactly two years ago. The turnaround has therefore been quite impressive,” he said in a news release.Although fewer in number, sales of buildings with two to five units were up 23 per cent.The weak spot was single-family homes, where sales dipped by one per cent to mark the first sales decline in five months.Canada’s second-largest city remains a real estate bargain as the average price of homes grew 2.6 per cent to $364,862. That compared to $775,546 in Greater Toronto, also up 2.6 per cent from the prior year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
SUDBURY, Ont. – Police say 16 Remembrance Day poppy donation boxes have been stolen from businesses in Sudbury, Ont., over the past few days.Investigators are reviewing security camera footage after four consecutive days of donation box thefts.The money collected in the boxes goes to the Royal Canadian Legion, which uses it to support veterans and their families in the Sudbury area.Police say they do not know how much money was contained in the stolen boxes.Officers are advising businesses to remove the poppy boxes from public view when employees are not present.
VANCOUVER – Jessica Clark-Bojin remembers at one time having a reputation for her lack of cooking skills.“I couldn’t crack an egg. I was shooed out at family gatherings,” says the Vancouver native, laughing. “I had no experience in a kitchen whatsoever.”Now Clark-Bojin is shaking up the baking world with her elaborate pie creations, which range from detailed celebrity portraits to towering three-dimensional “pie-scrapers.”The former filmmaker’s journey from kitchen klutz to pastry pro started with a New Year’s resolution to cut down on sugar in 2016, when she began experimenting with pies to sate her dessert cravings. What began as a creative foray has become a full-time gig.“It’s the most fun job that I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “I never thought I’d be doing anything like this.”Clark-Bojin’s multi-tiered masterpieces include Calvin and Hobbes riding a wagon down a hillside and an Aladdin-themed castle. The self-described science fiction nerd has also concocted a glow-in-the-dark Tron apple pie and Star Wars themed fruit turnovers shaped like Jabba the Hut.Along the way, Clark-Bojin has tapped into her science background as a former university physics student to develop new methods and materials. Her innovations include colouring pastry dough, creating pigments that glow in the dark and baking three-dimensional shapes.“This isn’t cooking. This is chemistry!”The American talk show The Chew invited Clark-Bojin to New York to present a pie on the show in late 2016, which was followed by an invitation from the Food Network to start making videos for the cooking channel, she said.Pies are especially challenging because pastry dough quickly becomes tough when overworked and its inconsistency means it often changes shape unpredictably in the oven, Clark-Bojin said.She said one “aha moment” came while designing an alien face from the sci-fi franchise “Predator,” when Clark-Bojin came up with a method of blending different layers of pastry together, “like modeling clay,” using an egg mixture.“That opened a whole new world,” she said.Clark-Bojin said most of her baking gets done late at night after her five-year-old son, Cillian, is in bed. She described him as her harshest critic.“He’ll look at something that I’ve been slaving over for days and I’m really proud of and he’ll be like, “Hmm. It’s not your best work, mommy,’ ” she said.Clark-Bojin doesn’t sell her pies directly. She supports her work by offering how-to guides and dough stencils for sale.Her next task is to simplify her techniques.“My mission with all of this is not just to be a snooty pie artist,” she said, adding that the overall goal is to create a new industry.“I want to teach other people and inspire other people to create cool things in this medium that they love with this food that they love.”— Follow @gwomand on Twitter
OTTAWA – The United Nations group which regulates the international shipping industry is being asked to cut emissions from the cargo ships, oil tankers and other vessels that crisscross the world’s oceans, as they threaten to become the single-largest source of planet-warming greenhouse gases.Canada, however, is being secretive about what it wants to see done ahead of a meeting in the United Kingdom next week that will try to set some emission-cutting targets.A standoff is expected at the International Marine Organization meeting in London. While several countries, including those in the European Union as well as Japan and China, want significant cuts to shipping emissions, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Brazil want to move more slowly, fearing the economic impacts to the industry.Emissions from international shipping were excluded from the Paris agreement in 2015 with the IMO promising to handle it. In 2016 the IMO said it would aim to have an interim strategy in 2018 and a final plan in 2023.The IMO estimates that, if left unchecked, emissions from shipping could grow up to 250 per cent by 2050. Shipping emissions are not assigned to any one country, but on their own, they are bigger than the total emissions from all but the six biggest emitters — China, the United States, India, Russia, Japan and Germany.A spokesman for Transport Canada says Canada is one of the most ambitious members of the IMO, but would give no specifics about what Canada is pressing for or what it is willing to commit to doing to cut shipping emissions.“The government of Canada is playing a leadership role in the fight against climate change and has been amongst the most vocal and ambitious member states at the International Maritime Organization,” Pierre Manoni said in an email. “We are working with our international partners to gain consensus and develop an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime shipping.”Andrew Dumbrille, the sustainable shipping specialist at the World Wildlife Fund Canada, said that’s about the same response he got during a conference call with the government when he asked what they were proposing to do.“I can’t get anything more concrete than that,” he said.Dumbrille said Canada has been in favour of discussing short-term measures, such as reducing the speed of ships, which can be done immediately. He said cutting ship speeds can reduce emissions by as much as 30 per cent. But he says commitments on the longer-term side have been invisible, if they exist.The WWF says the shipping industry has to cut emissions 70 to 100 per cent by 2050. That would largely come through technological improvements including better fuels. Right now the shipping industry relies on the “dirtiest fuel on the planet” said Dumbrille.Heavy fuel oil, a byproduct of distilling gasoline, is a sludgy, tar-like substance that is half the cost of most alternatives but produces significantly more emissions, including carbon dioxide and black carbon, as well as fine particulate matter and sulphur, all of which contribute not just to global warming but to lung diseases.It’s estimated heavy fuel oil contributes to thousands of deaths from air pollution each year.Several countries are trying to ban the use of heavy fuel in the Arctic and reduce its use everywhere, but Canada last year asked to slow that process while it looks at economic impacts on Arctic communities.