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first_imgGuwahati: With the death of five more people, the toll in Assam floods rose to 64 on Sunday, even as water showed receding trends in some areas of the state.Eighteen of the state’s 33 districts still remain submerged, affecting 38.37 lakh people. Of the five fresh deaths, two were reported from Morigaon district and one each from Dhemaji, Goalpara and Kamrup districts, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). Flood water, however, receded in five districts and the displaced people returned to their kuchcha houses to find most of their dwellings swept away by torrential rains. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The flood water continued to submerge 2,669 villages, 1.35 lakh hectare of crop lands and a portion of Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district, the ASDMA bulletin said. The death toll of animals at the Kaziranga National Park is 141, he said. Meanwhile, the Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger level at Neamatighat in Jorhat district and Dhubri district, Jia Bharali at N T Road Crossing in Sonitpur district and Kopili at Dharamtul in Nagaon district, the bulletin said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOver 1,15,389 displaced people are still in 829 relief camps and relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations. Meanwhile, the Army provided medical and veterinary aid to the marooned people in the state, with a unit of its Red Horns Division along with others agencies organising a veterinary and medical camp at a village in Nalbari district, defence sources said. The 9th Battalion of the JAT Regiment also conducted a free health camp in Barpeta, where over 3,000 people and nearly 800 livestock were treated. The flood-affected districts are Dhemaji, Biswanath, Darrang, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat and Cachar, the ASDMA said.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: Growth of eight core industries dropped to 0.2 per cent in June, mainly due to contraction in oil-related sectors and cement output, according to official data. The government also revised downwards the growth rate of these eight sectors for May to 4.3 per cent from the earlier estimate of 5.1 per cent.The eight core sector industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity — had expanded by 7.8 per cent in June last year. These core industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). Crude oil output, which has shown negative growth in the past one year, contracted by 6.8 per cent in June, as per data of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe output of ‘refinery products’ too registered de-growth for the second month in a row. The contraction was 9.3 per cent in June 2019 as against a growth of 12.1 per cent in the year-ago period. The natural gas segment too posted a de-growth in June. Cement production, which was showing growth in the previous months, slipped into the negative zone. As per the data, the segment posted a contraction of 1.5 per cent during the month under review. However, steel and electricity production showed a growth of 6.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively. The fertilisers segment also posted a growth of 1.5 per cent in June, reversing the de-growth registered in the previous two months.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: An event organised by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind at the Talkatora stadium led to massive traffic snarls in central Delhi on Monday, officials said. Commuters coming towards Lutyens’ Delhi were stuck in a mile-long jam due to the ‘Aman and Ekta Sammelan’ organised by the outfit. The event witnessed the participation of close to 16,000 people. The Delhi Traffic Police had warned commuters against taking the route in the morning. “Traffic will remain heavy on Talkatora Marg and Vandemataram Marg due to a function at Talkatora Stadium. Kindly avoid these stretches,” it had tweeted.last_img read more


first_imgChennai: Siddharth Desai starred in Telugu Titans’ 40-29 win over Haryana Steelers in a Pro Kabaddi League match at the Nehru indoor stadium here on Sunday. Desai with 18 points, including a ‘Super 10′ (a Super 10 is achieved when a raider scores 10 or more raid points in a single game), played a key role and helped Titans’ snap the Steelers’ three-match winning run. Siddharth, who scored his second Super 10 of the season, took the fight to the opponent, along with his brother Suraj. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhTitans went into the match with just one win in eight matches, but the lack of confidence was certainly not evident from the outset as the Desai brothers of Siddharth and Suraj showed their class. In-form Vikash Kandola, on the back of a hat-trick of Super 10s, was in no mood to let the Titans run away with the match though as he kept pace with the South Indian team. The most crucial point of the first half came with eight minutes remaining when Siddarth Desai combined well with his team to tackle Kandola. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterVishal Bhardwaj, playing his 50th match in the PKL, brought about the first all-out in the match, assisting Abozar Mighani to tackle Naveen with four minutes remaining to half time. The first half ended 21-13 in favour of the Titans. In the second half too, the Titans’ defence kept Kandola at bay and they inflicted a second all-out on Haryana with 11 minutes remaining till the end with Siddharth Desai at the forefront. It was Titans’ second win of the season.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police arrested a Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh terrorist from Gaya in Bihar on Monday morning.The accused person, identified as Ejaz Ahmed alias Ezazul, is one of the masterminds of Bodh Gaya and Khagragarh blasts. According to sources, a few months ago, STF officials came to know that Ahmed was hiding somewhere in Bihar. However, the police failed to locate him as it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Later, the police decided to seek help from the Bihar Police as well as the Intelligence Branch (IB). Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to the plan, primary help was sought from the Intelligence Branch in Bihar to locate Ahmed’s hideout. Approximately 20 days ago, Bihar IB informed STF about Ahmed’s location. After the information arrived, a special team was formed and members of the team were briefed accordingly. All the members were asked to carefully proceed in the case after reaching Bihar as arrest of Ahmed was essential in order to know their further plans.A few days ago, the team went to Bihar and got in touch with the IB officials and confirmed Ahmed’s location. Following confirmation of Ahmed’s location and some other information, STF team approached Bihar Police for assistance. Details of Ahmed along with other information given by the Bihar Intelligence Branch was also provided to the police. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayFollowing that a team was formed by Bihar police which would assist the STF to nab Ahmed. Also, a plan was chalked out on how to raid the hideout. In order to confirm the success, a recce was done in and around the area where IB had located Ahmed. It was also decided to raid the place during daytime as the accused may flee taking the advantage of darkness during the night. Later on Monday morning police personnel in plaint cloth surrounded the house where Ahmed was staying at Pathantoli village of Buniyadpur in Gaya. Also, a contingent of Bihar Police was in the second layer in order to block all the exits from the house and the area. As soon as Ahmed opened the door, he was pushed inside and detained. But Ahmed yelled at STF officials stating that he was an software engineer and a reputed person in the area. Hearing his version, STF members got confused. In order to confirm his identity IB was contacted. After Ahmed’s identity was confirmed, he was brought to the local police station. He was arrested and was produced before the local court for transit remand, which was granted eventually. According to STF, Ahmed was the main leader of JMB in India since Kausar was arrested. Ahmed, originally from Panrui in Birbhum, had joined JMB in 2008. He was constantly in touch with JMB leader Salauddin. He had plans to release Kausar from jail. Several digital documents were seized from him.last_img read more


first_imgGwalior: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said party chief Sonia Gandhi would decide on the next Madhya Pradesh unit president and it would be acceptable to all.The former Guna MP’s statement comes at a time when there is speculation among political circles that he might look for options apart from the Congress if he is not made head of the MP unit. According to observers, Scindia has the backing of enough MLAs and ministers to create trouble for the Kamal Nath government whose wafer-thin majority in the 230-member House is due to the support of SP, BSP and Independent legislators. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Scindia had lost the race of CM to Nath narrowly after the Congress came to power in the state in December last year after 15 years of BJP rule. “Soniaji will take a call on MP Congress Chief. I had a talk with her. High command will take the decision, which would be accepted,” he told reporters here. Queried on speculations that former MP CM Digvijaya Singh was opposing his candidature as state unit head, Scindia asked mediapersons to put the question to the former, adding that “all were free to express themselves”. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KSingh, two days ago, had refuted media reports that Scindia had laid down an ultimatum to the party on the post of state chief. Singh had claimed such talk had no truth and were coming out of social media musings. “The day Soniaji decides, the new state Congress chief will be appointed. Right now, the post is not vacant as Kamal Nath is the MP Congress chief,” Singh had added. Incidentally, Scindia refused to answer queries on MP minister Umang Singhar accusing Singh of “destabilising” and “blackmailing” the Kamal Nath government. Speaking on other issues, Scindia said illegal mining in the state must be dealt with sternly.last_img read more


first_imgBALURGHAT: Irrigation department will construct a dam on Atreyee river to continue the free flow of water without hindrance.According to an official source, state Irrigation department has already initiated measures regarding the issue and delivered a letter to its counterpart in South Dinajpur to chalk out a plan to follow up the order as early as possible. “We have been instructed to start the procedure of making a dam on Atreyee so that the natural flow of water can’t be hindered. A high-level team from the state Irrigation department has already inspected the probable spots where the dam can be constructed. As preliminary process, we have started testing soil, water and sand of the river. The department will soon chalk out the draft of the entire plan and send the blueprint of the same to the higher authority,” said Irrigation officer of South Dinajpur, Swapan Biswas. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaInitially it was decided that the dam will build at Dangi or adjacent to area located in Saroj Setu in Balurghat. The officials, have, however, said the height or what type of dam will be built up is yet to ascertain. According to him, a similar dam will also construct on Punarbhaba in Gangarampur subdivision. It may be mentioned that the decision of building the dam on Atreyee has been taken after seeing the reluctant attitude of neighbouring Bangladesh government to resolve the long-standing problem of sharing water of the river, the lifeline of South Dinajpur people. According to a source, the natural flow of the river was restricted after Bangladesh government had constructed a dam at Mohanpur. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We are against constructing dam in Bangladesh and have sent letters separately to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mentioning the issue. Since the Bangladesh government had constructed the dam in 2013, the river runs dry during summer while incidentally they are channelizing excess water during monsoon causing flood,” said nature activist of Balurghat, Tuhin Subhro Mondal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also raised the issue while talking to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina but no move comes from the neighbouring country’s counterpart. Vice-chairman of North Bengal Development Department, Arpita Ghosh said: “We have been forced to build up similar river dam here in South Dinajpur on Atreyee just like Bangladesh to control the water of it. Thousands of fishermen and farmers depend largely on it. The flow of water has been artificially restricted by Bangladesh and thus creating problems for the local people here. Our Chief Minister’s appeal was also not even entertained by the Union government with its Bangladesh counterpart. Recently we have talked to the state Irrigation department and taken decision of constructing a dam here.” Notably the 390 km long Atreyee originates in Siliguri, flows into neighbouring country before entering Balurghat and Kumarganj blocks in South Dinajpur and flows back again into Bangladesh.last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA – U.S. imports of softwood from Germany have grown tenfold in the first half of the year as punishing duties pushed imports of Canadian softwood down.RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Quinn says Canadian lumber producers have plunked down an estimated $500 million so far in countervailing and antidumping duties after the U.S. accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing its softwood industry in the spring.Canada says it absolutely does not subsidize the industry, but cannot officially challenge the U.S. tariffs until after final decisions are made about the level of duties to be imposed some time this fall.Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Home Builders Association in the United States, says the impact on the price of Canadian wood products has made European wood more competitive and Germany in particular was ready and waiting to jump into the void.Howard says the U.S. cannot produce enough wood to meet demand and it has to come from somewhere.That somewhere is proving to be Europe, with imports from Germany up 916 per cent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.Imports from Austria were up 178 per cent, Romania 141 per cent, Russia 42 per cent and Sweden 41 per cent.last_img read more


first_imgTORONTO – Detentions of Mexican nationals by Canadian border agents have surged dramatically this year to levels not seen in a decade, new figures obtained by The Canadian Press show.According to Canada Border Services Agency, the total number of detentions from Jan. 1 into the first week of September hit 2,391 — roughly six times the 411 in all of last year — and equal to the previous five years combined.“CBSA cannot speculate why the number has increased,” spokesman Barre Campbell said in an email Thursday. “The agency’s role is to apply Canadian law at the border.”The sharp increase has contributed to a rise in the rate of detentions of all foreign nationals this year. Figures show agents detained 1,032 people each month this year, compared to 877 a month last year and 993 in 2015.Experts point to two main factors as the most likely cause of the upswing in Mexicans running afoul of border agents in Canada.Last December, the Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted a visa requirement for Mexicans coming to this country, making it easier to do so. The result was an immediate jump in detentions.Additionally, the crackdown on undocumented migrants under U.S. President Donald Trump and his threat to remove deportation protections from those foreigners who entered the States illegally as children — the vast majority Mexicans — may also have prompted many of those affected to look north to Canada.Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said on Thursday that Canada was working with Mexican officials to monitor migration trends and address any risks.“Canadian officials have co-operated closely with Mexican counterparts to lay the ground work for the visa lift and ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place,” Bardsley said in an email. “These efforts include measures to identify and deter irregular migration, including bolstering co-operation on travel-document integrity and traveller screening.”The last time the Mexican detention numbers were anywhere near current levels was in 2008, at 3,301, border agency numbers show. That year also saw the number of Mexicans seeking refugee status in Canada reach record levels.In response to what they characterized as phoney refugee claims, the former government under then-Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper imposed an onerous visa requirement in 2009 that meant all would-be Mexican visitors had to provide numerous supporting documents.“We are spending an enormous amount of money on bogus refugee claims,” Harper said at the time. “This is a problem with Canadian refugee law, which encourages bogus claims.”Harper’s visa decision resulted in an immediate plunge in detentions and asylum claims that lasted until 2015, with a slight uptick happening last year. However, the requirement angered the Mexican government and civil-rights groups in Canada among others, ultimately leading to Trudeau’s reversal of that decision late last year.Bardsley defended dropping the visa requirement as a boon to bilateral relations, trade, investment and tourism that he said will result in lasting economic benefits for Canada.Recent Immigration and Refugee Board statistics also show a dramatic increase in asylum requests from Mexicans this year, although the vast majority of such applications are rejected as unfounded.In 2016, for example, 242 Mexicans applied for refugee status. Almost three times as many — 660 — were recorded in the first seven months of this year alone. The board does not keep statistics of how many people came via the U.S. rather than from Mexico itself.The law allows the border agents to detain foreign nationals or permanent residents on reasonable suspicion they pose a danger to the public, may go underground, or where identity is in doubt. The CBSA data relates to detentions not detainees and may include a person detained more than once.last_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA – The Trudeau government has appointed a new chair of the Crown corporation that facilitated a controversial helicopter deal with the Philippines, and ordered the organization to become less reliant on selling arms.The shake-up at Canadian Commercial Corp. was announced Tuesday by International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne as he confirmed the Philippines had formally cancelled the helicopter deal.The Philippines originally planned to buy 16 aircraft from Montreal-based Bell Helicopters for an estimated $300 million.But that was before concerns were raised that the Philippine military could use the helicopters to commit human-rights violations during the course of operations against terrorists and communist rebels in the country.The Liberals initially defended the contract, saying the aircraft would only be used for search-and-rescue and disaster relief, but ordered a review after the Philippine military official revealed they would be used for “internal security operations.”In response to the review, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at what he described as restrictions on the use of military equipment against terrorists and rebels before ordering military commanders to kill the deal with Canada.In a hastily called news conference outside the House of Commons, Champagne confirmed that the deal had been officially nixed even as he defended the Trudeau government’s actions in relation to the contract.“With respect to the end use of these helicopters, human rights is a key component of foreign policy and our trade policy and it was the right decision to launch a review,” he said, adding that he would talk to Bell Helicopter in the coming days.The trade minister also revealed that businessman Doug Harrison, who heads an international transportation and logistics company based out of Richmond, B.C., had been appointed chair of the Canadian Commercial Corp.Harrison takes over from Stephen Sorocky, the Toronto-based investor who had served as interim chairman since 2016. A senior government official said the process to select and appoint Harrison pre-dated the helicopter deal with the Philippines.“As part of a renewal process, I’ve appointed a new chair of the board,” Champagne said. “And it is our aim to diversify. We wanted to diversify our portfolio and we will continue that and be less reliant on the defence sector.”The CCC is responsible for selling Canadian goods to foreign governments, including arms and military equipment, which the previous Conservative government emphasized as part of its mandate.But the Crown corporation has been criticized by arms-control groups and others for secrecy and not doing enough to take human rights into account before concluding deals, particularly with developing countries.It previously played a central role in the multibillion-dollar sale of Canadian-made armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia in 2014, which the Trudeau government has continued to support despite opposition from various corners.The helicopter deal was only made public when the Philippine military revealed the purchase; Champagne has said the contract was signed under the auspices of a previous agreement and that neither he nor any other ministers were asked to sign off on it.— Follow @leeberthiaume on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version suggested Sorocky was replaced as chairman of CCC.last_img read more


first_imgSURREY, B.C. – Anti-gang advocate Sukhi Sandhu says he will be watching closely as the new city council in Surrey, B.C., attempts what many local governments before have considered but few have done: replacing its RCMP with a municipal police force.The city just east of Vancouver is among the fastest growing in the province, with a young and diverse community that speaks more than 100 different languages and where about one-third of its residents are under 19. It’s expected to surpass Vancouver in population as the largest city in B.C. by 2041.With that growth, the longtime resident said he’s concerned about gun violence involving youth, even as the RCMP says overall crime is on the decline.When two teenagers were found dead on a rural road in what police called a targeted shooting in June, Sandhu said many in the city felt the same way: “Enough is enough.”Answering that problem will require a multilayered approach involving police, as well as schools, families and politicians, he said.“We have no hesitation in saying that we are at a crisis point socially in Surrey,” said Sandhu, who is a spokesman with the anti-gang violence group Wake Up Surrey.“We’ve seen rapid growth in our city in terms of our development but at the same time we’ve seen a social decay.”Council unanimously passed a motion immediately after it was sworn in this week to terminate its contract with RCMP and begin forming a municipal force.The RCMP says it would be the first time a local government moves from the national force since Cape Breton, N.S., made the move in 2000. Abbotsford, B.C., dropped the Mounties in 1995, when it amalgamated with Matsqui and formed the Abbotsford Police Department, and a small town in Prince Edward Island made the move in the early 1990s.Rob Gordon, a criminology professor with Simon Fraser University, said it’s a daunting and costly task. While it typically comes with the benefit lighter caseloads for local officers, it means immediately losing a 10 per cent subsidy that the federal government offers any municipality that uses an RCMP.“There will be a lot of eyes on Surrey to see whether or not it is cost effective to do this,” he said.Mayor Doug McCallum has defended the expense, which he said voters condoned when they filled all but one council seat with Safe Surrey party members who ran on making the change.“A local police force will understand the community better and will be more motivated to tackle problems,” his campaign platform said.McCallum has said he believes the switch to municipal policing can be accomplished within the next two years at a cost of about $120 million.Assistant RCMP Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who is in charge of the Surrey detachment, has already said his officers will remain on the job throughout any changes.Yvon Danduran, professor emeritus of criminology at the University of the Fraser Valley, said one benefit of a municipal police force is the perception of governance. The RCMP gets its direction from Ottawa, while a police board oversees a local force and the city holds the purse strings.“It’s really about ownership and control,” Danduran said. “If you have your own police force, you live with it, you improve it and you try to be proud of it.”The RCMP says statistics in Surrey don’t back up the alarm. Overall crime has declined in the past decade in all areas, including violent offences and property crimes.Cpl. Elenore Sturko said publicity around some high-profile cases, such as the hockey dad who was gunned down in front of his home in a case of mistaken identity in July, may be skewing perceptions of crime in the city.“People, especially externally, have a perception of Surrey as being a dangerous place or having a real crime problem that’s not necessarily supported by what we see statistically,” Sturko said.Shootings have declined by about half since a spike in 2015, when there were 59 instances of shots fired in the municipality, she said.Homicides remain relatively steady, with a local rate of 2.15 per 100,000 population in 2017, above the national average of 1.8. There have been 13 homicides so far this year, compared with 12 in 2017, eight in 2016 and nine in 2015.Mounties have also increased enforcement in several areas, Sturko said, including boosting staff on its gang enforcement unit. It has prevention programs specifically targeting at-risk youth and other education and community engagement initiatives like a diversity unit, she said.“It is such a unique community and we have unique needs, but we also have unique programs,” she said.“That doesn’t necessarily mean people’s concerns are alleviated. That comes with more work in sharing, for example, the success that we are having and letting the public know what kind of headway we’re making and what’s happening,” Sturko said.Sandhu said he is skeptical that changing the police force alone will answer a problem that requires more grassroots change. The solution has to come from the community itself, he said.“The current situation in the city of Surrey should be a red flag for all political leaders that when you neglect the demographics or uniqueness of a city and try to do a one-size fits all school district, a one-size fits all policing model, you are going to get to this stage.”last_img read more


first_imgLEWISPORTE, N.L. — A Newfoundland woman who launched a desperate bid to find family members missing thousands of kilometres away in a fire-ravaged California town says the search has come to a difficult end.Megan Janes says her aunt and uncle, Paradise residents Paula and Randy Dodge, are no longer missing but also “no longer with us.”In a post on Twitter, she says her family has “found our answer” and asks for prayers as they get through this “very difficult time.”Janes adds that her “heart is quite heavy” but that “God will see us through.”The couple were among hundreds of people reported missing after a massive blaze, called the Camp Fire, levelled the Northern California town.Nearly 8,800 homes were destroyed when flames hit Paradise, killing at least 56 people in the state’s deadliest wildfire. At least 130 people are still missing.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgThursday Nov. 15:— Police dispute the school’s claim that the administration contacted police about the alleged sexual assault on Monday.— The school is made aware of a third incident captured on video and notifies police, which later said it also involved an alleged sexual assault.— The school sends another email to parents about the incidents and the expulsions. Monday, Nov. 12:— In the morning, school administrators receive a video of a hazing incident, which police sources say involved members of the basketball team bullying a student in the washroom and soaking him with water.— The school launches an internal investigation and interviews the students involved and their parents.— The school contacts police to seek advice on how to handle the incident. Police advise that if the alleged victim thinks it was an assault, he should report it to police.— In the evening, the administration receives a video of a second incident, which police sources say involved a group of students on the football team pinning down another student in a locker room and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle. Sunday, Nov. 18:— Principal Greg Reeves says in a series of media interviews that the school has reported a fourth incident captured on video to police.— Reeves admits he didn’t report the alleged sexual assault to police on Monday because the victim had not yet informed his parents about the incident.Monday, Nov. 19:— Police say six boys have been arrested in connection with the alleged sexual assault at St. Michael’s — five of them turned themselves in, a sixth one was arrested on the way to school.— Police say they’re investigating three additional three incidents, including one involving an alleged sexual assault. They warn the ongoing investigation could lead to more charges.— The accused — aged 14 and 15 years old — appear in a youth court and are granted bail. Tuesday, Nov. 13:— The school investigates both incidents, identifies and interviews all students involved and their parents.— Four students allegedly involved in the hazing incident are expelled. Wednesday, Nov. 14:— The school continues its internal investigation and expels four students and suspends another one in connection with the locker room incident.— Toronto police receive media inquiries about a video of an alleged sexual assault at St. Michael’s circulating on social media.— Police send an officer to the school. Prior to the officer’s arrival, police receive word from the media regarding the expulsions of students related to an alleged “sexual assault involving an object.”— The officer meets with the principal, who hands over the video of the alleged sexual assault.— Police announce they have launched an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.— Police announce the video meets the definition of child pornography and advise it should be deleted immediately.— The school emails parents and issues a statement saying it notified police about both incidents on Monday.center_img Friday, Nov. 16— The school holds two information sessions for parents regarding the incidents. TORONTO — Here’s a timeline of events at St. Michael’s College School based on information provided by the school and Toronto police: Tuesday, Nov. 20:— Toronto police say they are investigating two more incidents — one is an alleged assault with a weapon, the other an alleged threat.— The school cancels mid-year assessments as well as all events involving external groups, teams, and public performances for the remainder of the year.With Ont-School-Investigation, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgVANCOUVER — New research from the University of British Columbia suggests dairy cows show personality traits like pessimism and optimism from a young age and their inherent outlook can predict their ability to cope with stress.Benjamin Lecorps, a PhD student in the animal welfare program, says the study has implications for animal welfare and suggests some commonalities between the human and animal worlds.Lecorps’s study, published last month in Scientific Reports, tested how calves that had previously been identified as fearful, sociable, pessimistic or optimistic reacted under stressful situations like being transported from one barn to another.He says the more pessimistic calves were more vocal and had higher eye temperatures, which are signs of stress.Lecorps says while optimism has been studied as a major predictor of how well humans cope with stressors — with implications for their social lives and mental health — few studies have focused on pessimism and optimism in other species.He says personality traits have often been studied as an average across a species or herd, but it’s important to look at individuals when considering animal welfare because some calves will be more vulnerable to challenges than others.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgHALIFAX — Federal officials are looking into how a Saudi man may have fled Canada while facing sexual assault charges, as legal experts suspect the Middle Eastern kingdom’s embassy played a key role.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Sherbrooke, Que., that it’s cause for concern when any person skips bail while facing serious criminal charges, and said, “in that particular case we are looking into it.”Lee Cohen, a veteran Halifax immigration lawyer, said the likeliest scenario is that the Saudi embassy provided Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi with travel documents to leave, as his passport was being held while the 28-year-old awaited trial in Sydney, N.S.Alzoabi’s whereabouts remain a mystery, but a court document says a sheriff unsuccessfully tried to locate Alzoabi on Dec. 8, and quotes his lawyer at the time as saying the young man had “fled the country some time ago.”Crown prosecutors say Alzoabi had $37,500 of his bail posted by the Saudi Arabian embassy last year in relation to the alleged sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement of a woman between Aug. 1, 2015, and March 26, 2017.Robert Currie, a professor at the Schulich school of law at Dalhousie University, says the case is similar to an incident just over a decade ago where another Saudi student managed to return to his country as he faced sexual assault charges in Halifax, even though his passport had been seized.He said if Saudi Arabia is assisting students who are facing trial in Canada to escape justice then it is a “flagrant violation of international law,” and Ottawa should demand explanations.The Saudi embassy has refused to provide any comment to media outlets since the story first became public last week.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgTORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $17 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in British Columbia.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Jan. 23 will be approximately $20 million. The Canadian Presslast_img


first_imgOTTAWA — Brand-name drug companies could put off introducing new medicine in Canada and scale back research here if the country makes a major shift to cheaper generic alternatives under a national pharmacare plan, according to an internal federal analysis.The concerns were included last year in a briefing document for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau that explored the feasibility and costs of a pharmacare program.Pharmacare is shaping up as a key campaign issue in the October election, particularly for the Liberals.The Finance Department’s analysis was created a few days before Morneau’s 2018 budget officially launched an advisory group on Canada-wide pharmacare, which the Liberals say will cut costs and improve Canadians’ access to prescription drugs. The document said more information is needed to fully understand how national pharmacare would affect drug spending in Canada — and what it would mean for revenues and business operations for the domestic pharmaceutical industry.In its look at the Canadian industry, the briefing note to Morneau said national pharmacare could influence the revenues of drug companies in several ways. Among the possibilities, it said a shift in favour of more generic drugs, mass-produced after patent protections for new medications expire, could lower costs.But that could come with a cost for patients.“For example, brand-name pharmaceutical companies may respond to a broad shift to generic drugs by delaying the introduction of new drugs in the Canadian market or by reducing the R&D activities that they undertake in the country,” said the analysis, labelled “secret,” which was obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information law.“Innovative Medicines Canada, which represents pharmaceutical patent holders, has warned that a national pharmacare program focused on cost containment may result in reduced access to medicines for Canadians.”The president of Innovative Medicines Canada said her members, which include multinational drug companies, fully support the role of generics. Some of the firms produce generic drugs as well, Pamela Fralick said in an interview.Fralick said drug companies are eager for more details on Canada’s eventual pharmacare plan — but she stressed there’s a far bigger issue for the industry right now: regulatory reform.In late 2017, the Liberal government proposed changes to the regulations governing patented medicines as a way to drive down drug prices. The update, which has yet to be put into force, would be the first major change to those rules in more than two decades.The proposal calls for an expanded list of countries Canada can use when comparing patented drug prices. It also includes new factors for the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, a quasi-judicial body operating at arm’s length from the government, to take into consideration when assessing whether a drug is overpriced.Fralick argued that the proposed reforms need improvement. It they proceed as written, she said companies could suffer a hit to their bottom lines of between 30 and 70 per cent.“(They’re) making drug-launch decisions, investment decisions, et cetera, based on what happens to this particular environment.”With all the uncertainty, companies have been holding back on bringing investment to Canada until the regulatory environment has been settled, Fralick added.Beyond the risk of missing out on investment dollars, she said if unfriendly conditions encourage companies to look elsewhere, new drugs could be delayed years before they get to Canada.The briefing to Morneau said research and development investments by pharma companies in Canada already “significantly lag” spending in other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 34 countries with advanced economies.The ratio of sales to R&D for all patentees fell again in 2017, to 4.1 per cent. That’s a decrease of 65 per cent since its high point of 11.7 per cent in 1995, according to numbers from the price-review board. The industry invested $870 million in 2017 and employed 29,870 people, said the board.“Since 2003, industry investment in R&D has been less than 10 per cent of sales — the target that the pharmaceutical industry committed to in exchange for more favourable patent terms in Canada,” said the briefing to Morneau.Fralick disputed the argument that innovative drug companies have been falling short on investment. The PMPRB formula doesn’t capture major industry investments in university research chairs and through venture-capital channels, she said.“There’s just a whole range of research going on in Canada that is not being counted,” she said, insisting that many of her members are “well above” the 10-per-cent target. “It’s unfortunate, there is a bit of tension right now with the industry right now.”The cost of national pharmacare is expected to be steep.An analysis by the parliamentary budget officer estimated a broad coverage regime would carry a $20-billion-a-year price tag. Recent work by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that Canadians spent $39.8 billion on drugs in 2018, about $33.7 billion of it on prescription medication.It’s the fastest-growing component of health spending, as Canadians live longer and spend more years with chronic conditions.Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgCHIANG MAI, Thailand — A Canadian tourist has died in Thailand after falling from a popular zipline on Saturday, according to a local media report.The Bangkok Post says the 25-year-old Canadian man fell from the Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai province in the late morning.The outlet says that after the man was released from the start of the zipline, the cable disconnected and he fell to the creek below.A spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that a Canadian died in Thailand, but declined to give further details for privacy reasons.The Bangkok Post says the man’s father is on his way to Thailand to repatriate his son’s body.It says an investigation is ongoing.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA — A Nova Scotia cabinet minister says the federal government would welcome any help the United States could offer in helping Canada in its ongoing dispute with China.Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan tells The Canadian Press that American influence could make a difference as tensions between the countries escalate.China has suspended Canadian imports of pork and canola from two Canadian companies each, following the December arrest of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant alleging she committed fraud.A senior Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said Canada is working with all allies, including the U.S., to pressure China.But the official stressed that has always been the case and does not represent a shift in strategy.Jordan says the world has changed in the four years since the last federal election, and that the government continues to try to seek out new trading opportunities to offset the situation with China.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgOTTAWA — The Trudeau government is facing mounting pressure from across the country to take more international action to hold Myanmar to account for the genocide of the Rohingya people.Thirty-four senators and more than 100 human-rights organizations and advocates sent a joint letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland this week urging Canada to initiate proceedings before the International Court of Justice for breaching the United Nations convention against genocide.This letter follows several similar letters that have also been sent to Freeland in recent weeks, including one from an all-party group of MPs who also called for Canada to take international legal action.In addition, Toronto and Montreal city councils have passed unanimous motions and several other Canadian mayors and rights organizations have sent their own letters to Freeland urging Canada to seek justice for the mass killing and atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.Last year, Canada became the first country in the world to officially recognize the crimes against the Rohingya as a genocide.That’s why senators and advocates say in their letter this week that Canada has a moral and legal obligation to take the next step and invoke the UN genocide convention to hold Myanmar responsible.The Canadian Presslast_img read more