Kolkata: The Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Limited (KMRCL) that is executing the East-West Metro project will soon write to the state Fire and Emergency Services department informing them that the staircases and escalators at Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium Metro stations are sufficient for quick evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency. The state Fire department had recommended additional exits for quick passenger evacuation. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga”We have followed the guidelines of US-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on ‘Fixed Gateway and Passenger Rail Systems’ which has become the standard regulation for international projects, particularly those connected with urban mobility. The calculated volume of passengers which will be using this station can be evacuated by the time frame set by NFPA,” a senior official of the KMRCL said. According to the NFPA, people need to be evacuated in four minutes time during an emergency. There are six stations in the route from Sector V to Salt Lake stadium which the KMRCL is hopeful of making operational by July. This route includes Sector V, Karunamoyee, Central Park, City Centre, Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium. The state Fire department has already given clearance to four of these stations after fire audit but is yet to do so in case of Bengal Chemical and Salt Lake stadium. There are two staircases and one escalator in these two stations. “We have already given the Metro authorities land on behalf of the state Urban Development department for an additional staircase. This will be able to clear out passengers at a faster pace during any emergency. The state government gives utmost priority to people’s safety and security,” state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sujit Bose said. The state Fire department had reasoned that there would be huge rush incase of a soccer match at the Salt Lake stadium. The additional exit at Bengal Chemical has been recommended keeping in mind the Duttabad slum which caught fire on more than one occasions earlier and is located close to the station.
New Delhi: Snubbed twice over for the ongoing World Cup, Indian middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu Wednesday retired from all forms of cricket without specifying his reasons for calling it quits. The 33-year-old Andhra Pradesh batsman was in India’s official standbys list for the big event in the UK but was ignored despite the injury-forced ouster of all-rounder Vijay Shankar. Opener Mayank Agrawal was brought in on the team management’s insistence and it is learnt, Rayudu was left quite disappointed by the turn of events. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”…I have come to decision to step away from the sport and retire from all forms and levels of the game. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BCCI and all the state associations that I have represented which include Hyderabad, Baroda, Andhra and Vidharbha,” Rayudu said in his mail to the BCCI. “It has been a honour and privilege to have represented our country,” he added. Rayudu played 55 ODIs for India, scoring 1694 runs at an average of 47.05. The player, who could never break into the Test team, was in the spotlight before the World Cup. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenDeclared the preferred No.4 batsman by captain Virat Kohli not many months ago, Rayudu was ignored for Shankar in India’s final squad for the big event. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad had justified the move by saying that Shankar had “three-dimensional skills”. Shankar couldn’t make much of an impact and was eventually forced out by a toe injury. Rayudu had taken a dig at Prasad’s statement with a cheeky social media post. “Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup,” he had tweeted at the time. He was later put in the standbys list but wasn’t called. “I would like to thank the captains I have played under, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and especially Virat kohli who always had shown great belief in me throughout my career with the Indian team. “It has been a wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought up on for the last 25 years at various different levels,” he wrote. The right-hander earned the reputation of being a temperamental player owing to several confrontations with fellow cricketers and even match officials in the domestic circuit. He retired from first-class cricket last year to focus on limited-overs format. He played in the now defunct Indian Cricket League in 2007 which came in the way of his selection to the national side. Eventually, he found himself among the 79 players, who were pardoned by the BCCI in 2009 for competing in the rebel league. He broke into the national ODI side in 2013 against Zimbabwe. Once the IPL rolled out, Rayudu was picked by Mumbai Indians (from 2010 to 2017) before also plying his trade with the Chennai Super Kings (past two seasons). He amassed 602 runs in the 2018 IPL season which included one century and three fifties. This year, Rayudu made 282 runs, including a solitary 50 to his name. Last year, Rayudu hit the headlines after being handed a two-match ban for a verbal altercation with on-field umpires during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
While parents usually take the blame for spoiling their kids by letting them spend huge amounts of time with high-tech electronics, grandparents are to be equally blamed for screen addiction in children. Grandparents have long been associated with letting their grandchildren do things their parents would never permit, such as extended bedtime, too much television time, and carefree fun. In the study published in the Journal of Children and Media, researchers found that today’s grandparents are still true to their traditional fun-loving image – allowing their grandchildren, while under their supervision, to spend about half of their time on a mobile phone, tablet, computer or TV. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe study reviewed the experiences of 356 grandparents of children aged 2-7 who take care of their grandchildren at least once per week and found that during an average four-hour visit, the children spent two hours either watching videos or playing games on electronic devices. Most of the experts suggest that grandparents should restrict technology use by setting simple rules for screen time when babysitting. This is particularly needed when children bring a device from home and expect to watch even more. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardThe unconditional love-shower of parents and grandparents can go to the point of spoiling children, said Pallavi Joshi, Clinical Psychologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in Delhi. “Over the past few years, grandparents’ responsibilities for their grandchildren have increased due to changes and issues in families and society. “If we focus particularly at the extreme amount of screen time the kids devote to the idiot box (TV), parents and grandparents may be blamed for the same, as they do not oppose this habit,” Joshi told IANS. “It’s just another sweet way for them to spend more time with children. But this habit should be kept in check before it becomes an issue,” she added. Increased screen time may critically impact a child’s development and have several negative consequences; it can stimulate the way a child behaves, even in the long run, as well as make them less physically active. Now, not all screen time is detrimental, but families need to develop limited, healthy screen habits. “Gadgets have started replacing traditional ways of engaging with children at home. Even with grandparents at home, it is getting increasingly difficult to curtail the screen time for young children. A lot of grandparents are unaware of the effects of excessive screen time,” a Child Psychologist said. We need to educate grandparents about the impact of technology on children’s lives and on its proper use that will benefit them.
New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy moved the Supreme Court Friday contending that Governor Vajubhai Vala cannot dictate Speaker K R Ramesh to conduct the proceedings of the Assembly which is debating the confidence motion moved by him. Kumaraswamy questioned the deadlines set by the Governor one after another to complete the trust vote. He said directions of the Governor are completely contrary and ex-facie in contravention of apex court’s earlier verdict. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day In his application, Kumaraswamy contended: “No such direction on trust vote could have been issued by Governor when confidence motion was already initiated.” He submitted that the Governor cannot dictate the House on the manner in which debate on the Confidence motion has to take place. The Chief Minister also sought clarification of the apex court’s July 17 order that the 15 rebel MLAs can’t be compelled to attend Assembly proceedings. The Governor had on Thursday set a deadline of 1:30 PM on Friday for the conclusion of the trust vote, which was not met. Thereafter, Vala again sent a communication extending the deadline till 6:00 pm.
New York: The US dollar strengthened against its major rivals on Friday amid a slew of economic data. In late New York trading, the euro fell to $1.1219 from $1.1266 in the previous session, and the British pound decreased to $1.2499 from $1.2538 in the previous session, Xinhua reported. The Australian dollar decreased to $0.7043 from $0.7066. The US dollar bought 107.77 Japanese yen, higher than 107.51 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar decreased to 0.9825 Swiss franc from 0.9832 Swiss franc, and it increased to 1.3062 Canadian dollars from 1.3045 Canadian dollars. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was up 0.36 per cent at 97.1493 in late trading. US consumer sentiment index edged up to 98.4 in July from 98.2 in June, according to a preliminary reading from the University of Michigan. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a reading of 99. The data came as markets are pricing high on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate cut moves later this month. Market expectations for a July rate cut were 100 per cent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool late Friday, with investors pricing in some 22.5 per cent chance of a more aggressive cut.
Santiago: Some 40,000 litres (10,500 gallons) of oil have spilt into the sea from a terminal on a remote island in Patagonia on the southern tip of Chile, local authorities said. The Chilean navy said Saturday it sent a team to the site — about 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of the town of Puerto Natales — after Chilean mining and steelworking company CAP alerted it to the incident. “Units were ordered to deploy immediately to the area to take stock of what has happened, to control and mitigate possible damage caused by the emergency,” said the Chilean navy. A barge and an ocean patrol boat were sent, along with a team to limit contamination at the site, the navy said, adding they have opened an investigation into the spill. The affected area is part of Chile’s extreme south, which has some of the world’s cleanest waters and richest marine ecosystems.
Dhaka: Bangladesh’s ex-premier and opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia on Sunday filed a petition in the High Court seeking bail on medical grounds in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in which she was jailed for seven years. In the petition, Zia said she has was suffering from several diseases, including diabetes and dental problem, the Daily Star reported. The 73-year-old three-time former prime minister also argued that since she has already served two-and-a-half years in jail in the case, she deserves the bail. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USA high court bench of Justices Obaidul Hassan and SM Kuddus Zaman will hear her bail petition on Tuesday, the report said. A Dhaka court on October 29 last year sentenced Zia to seven years of imprisonment in the corruption case. She is also undergoing a 10-year jail term in a corruption case in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician. The BNP chief has been admitted to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University since April 1 for treatment after spending more than a year in the Dhaka’s century-old jail, where she was the only prisoner.
Beijing: China’s first “cyber-dissident” Huang Qi, whose website reported on sensitive topics including human rights, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for leaking state secrets on Monday, a court said. He was guilty of “leaking national state secrets and providing state secrets to foreign entities”, the statement by the Mianyang Intermediate People’s Court said, adding that Huang will be deprived of political rights for four years.
Beijing: Jack Ma, who founded Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, is stepping down as chairman at a time when the rapidly changing industry faces uncertainty amid a US-Chinese trade war. Ma stepped down Tuesday as part of a succession announced a year earlier. He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of 36 people with the right to nominate a majority of the company’s board of directors. Ma, 55, founded Alibaba in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters to American retailers. The company has shifted its focus to serving China’s growing consumer market. Domestic businesses accounted for 66 per cent of its USD 16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June. (AP)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed eight out of the 44 girls of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur shelter home to be reunited with their families after all necessary clearances. A bench headed by justices N V Ramana directed the Bihar government to provide all necessary financial and medical assistance to these eight girls. It also directed the state government to assess the compensation liable to be paid to such victims under the scheme and submit a report to the court. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The bench also comprising justices M M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi directed the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to prepare a status report with respect to the remaining girls and submit it before the court in eight weeks. The apex court’s decision comes after TISS filed its field action project ‘Koshish’ before it in a sealed cover, saying the eight girls were fit to be handed over to their families. Several girls were sexually assaulted at the NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and the issue had come to light following a report by TISS, which had conducted a social audit.
Free market forces have given Canadians the ability to summon meals or cars at the touch of a button and demand a million dollars for an urban bungalow; but, as frustrated parents know all too well, the same forces haven’t solved the problem of finding childcare.The Canadian daycare market has a well-established surplus of demand, resulting in anxiety-inducing waitlists — joined as early as the day a couple learns they’re expecting — and monthly fees that can amount to more than a mortgage payment.“It’s worse than finding a house or looking for an apartment, it’s just insanity,” said Anjali Lowe, a civil servant in Ottawa.Lowe started to worry after nine months of silence from the dozen daycares where she applied through the city’s centralized waitlist system.With her maternity leave ticking down, Lowe widened her search and found a promising home-based daycare, only to lose the position after asking for a police check. She also considered a private daycare that was just adding spots, even though it would add 45 minutes to her commute and cost $2,500 a month.She finally managed to find a space — across the provincial border in Gatineau, Que., that worked as long as she made a temporary office change.“Eventually you find something, you don’t have a choice because you need to go back to work.”Lowe is among thousands of parents searching for childcare spaces every year when there aren’t enough to go around.In 2016, there was room for 28.7 per cent of all Canadian newborns to five year olds in regulated centres, according to a report by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, a group promoting a universal, publicly funded childcare system.In Toronto, one of the country’s most expensive daycare markets, a 2016 city-commissioned study found demand for licensed spaces outstripped supply by 4,069 spots, or about eight per cent of total demand. This, in a city where the median cost for childcare is $1,758 a month for children under 18 months, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.Economic theory supposes that in a competitive market, such a surge of demand inflates prices to a point where there is incentive for innovation and more providers to come on board. That, in turn, is supposed to increase supply until the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied, resulting in market equilibrium.But daycare is no ordinary market. Childcare providers say a host of barriers — including strict regulations and tight profit margins — combine to pressure supply and make meeting that demand an expensive challenge.One of the biggest hurdles is finding rental space for a daycare, said Abi Paul, who opened Chapter1 Daycare in Calgary in 2015.Some building owners don’t want to rent to daycares because of the renovations required, while operators who do find space have to pay rents charged to big conglomerates who might otherwise occupy the space, he said.“They’re paying the kind of rent that Tim Hortons or Starbucks or any other major tenant would be expected to pay.”The time and effort to renovate a space and get all of the inspections and approvals completed also adds to the challenge and costs. It takes well over a year to open a space, he said.Once the space is opened, because the business involves the delicate task of taking care of people’s children, there are also numerous regulations, including strict child-to-supervisor ratios that make it difficult to have flexibility in the business when other costs go up, said Paul.“You cannot reduce hours, you cannot lay off staff because of the ratio requirements, so the only avenue you have is raise fees.”Daycare does generally follow market principles, suggests Michael Krashinsky, an economist at the University of Toronto, but the cost of running a daycare means operators do their best to make sure spots are always filled — one of the reasons for the ubiquitous waitlist.“It’s not that supply and demand aren’t operating, in fact they are operating, but it means that you don’t tend to get your spot exactly when you want it.”Use of childcare in Canada shows the variety of ways the market is filling demand. About 31 per cent of parents use a home daycare, 33 per cent opt for daycare centres, and 28 per cent use private care like family or a nanny, according to a 2011 Statistics Canada report.The real problem with daycare isn’t the market, but with the ability to afford the actual cost of care, said David Blau, an economist at Ohio State University who’s studied the issue.“Often when people talk about not being able to find daycare, what they really mean is not being able to find daycare at a price that they’re willing and able to pay.”The question becomes a problem of public policy rather than market principle, said Blau.“The issue isn’t competition, the issue is just that high quality care is costly to provide…that is definitely a social problem, it’s not a problem caused within daycare market,” he said.“It’s a problem of whether the government or society wants to ensure people can have access to high quality care at an affordable price.”
REGINA – A young Regina man convicted of stabbing his former girlfriend to death with a hunting knife when he was 16 will be sentenced as an adult.A packed courtroom burst into applause Wednesday as Skylar Prockner, now 19, got an automatic life sentence with no parole for 10 years after pleading guilty earlier this year to first-degree murder in the January 2015 death of Hannah Leflar.Prockner didn’t show any emotion as Justice Jennifer Pritchard delivered her decision. His family left the courtroom angrily shouting the sentence was unfair.Hannah’s mother Janet Leflar said the adult sentence, which lifts the publication ban on his name, was a hollow victory.“We’re relieved that he got the adult sentence,” she said outside court. “We can finally say Skylar Prockner murdered my daughter which is a big victory for us but there are no winners today. Nobody won anything. She’s still gone.”The Crown had sought an adult sentence, while the defence had argued that the youth had no criminal record before the homicide and “has mental health issues.”“I didn’t see how the judge could have made any other decision given the circumstances and the evidence and the obvious lack of remorse,” Leflar said.The court had previously heard that Prockner had trouble coping with being dumped by Hannah, and that he eventually stabbed her multiple times with a hunting knife after hiding outside her house waiting for her to walk home from school.The 16-year-old girl was found in her Regina home by her stepfather.At a sentencing hearing in May, the teen apologized in court saying he was unstable at the time and wants to spend the rest of his life doing good.“I can’t apologize enough for what I’ve done,” he said at the hearing. “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what we do to right those wrongs that make us better.”Prockner said he’s found peace in God.“I know you may never forgive me for what I’ve done,” he said. “But I will never stop asking God for forgiveness.”At the hearing, Hannah’s mother told Prockner to “burn in hell” and urged the judge not to show any mercy to the killer of her only child.“I will never know my daughter as an adult. I’ve lost my entire future because of this, a future that revolved around my daughter’s plans. My future is now a blank wall,” Leflar said.Hannah was an honours student who had been named the top of her class for Grade 10 just before her death.The sentencing hearing was told that after he and Hannah broke up, the youth had trouble coping.When she started dating a different boy, he hatched a plan called “Project Zombify” to recruit friends to help him attack the couple with bats and knives.The attack never took place because Leflar and that boyfriend broke up, but the youth kept tabs on her. When he saw she had a new boyfriend, he stabbed her to death in her home.A second youth, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, is expected to be sentenced in September. (The Canadian Press, CJME, CKRM)
OTTAWA – Canada’s spy agency is facing questions about its workplace culture amid allegations that senior officials foster a prejudice and distrust for Muslims employees, who are seen as “essential to CSIS’ mission, but working without CSIS’ trust and respect.”The allegations are contained in a statement of claim filed Thursday in Federal Court by five employees who are seeking upwards of $35 million in damages for what they say was years of harassment condoned by supervisors.The statement of claim describes an “old boy’s club” culture at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service where complaints about inappropriate behaviour are dismissed, minorities feel distrusted, and advancement is based on personality and not merit, including suggestions of romantic relationships playing a part in promotions.In one complaint detailed in the court document, a witness told investigators that “the public would be shocked about this (workplace conduct) if they only knew; we keep our own secrets.”None of the allegations in the 54-page document have been tested in court.The case could become a political problem for the Liberals, who have vowed to take action against harassment and discrimination in the military and the RCMP, and faced calls Friday to take immediate action at the spy agency.Speaking in at a news conference in Providence, R.I., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the allegations of “harassment, discrimination, (and a) toxic work environment” unacceptable. He said he was confident the agency’s new director was “working very hard to ensure that we get to the bottom of this issue.”The five employees, who cannot be legally identified in the court document, allege that their complaints were ignored or dismissed by senior managers, some of whom suggested they should keep quiet out of fear of reprisal. All are no longer able to work resulting from depression, anxiety and other medical ailments linked to the harassment they faced.One woman, identified as Bahira in court documents, says a colleague didn’t speak with her for three years because of unfounded rumours that she was friends with the Khadr family; one member of that family, Omar, just received a multi-million-dollar settlement and apology from the Canadian government for the violation of his Charter rights during his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.She also alleges that managers had to approve her participation in personal and religious activities after she began wearing a hijab, despite having passed security screening.A gay man known as Alex alleges that a colleague wrote in an October 2015 email, “careful your Muslim in-laws don’t behead you in your sleep for being homo,” a reference to his Muslim partner, part of a larger set of allegations that Alex makes about being targeted for his sexual orientation.In another case, a supervisor argued at length that then U.S. president Barack Obama was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. And at a social gathering in Toronto, Alex alleged that a senior member of management yelled, “all Muslims are terrorists.”In a statement, CSIS director David Vigneault said the agency does not tolerate harassment, discrimination or bullying under any circumstance, which is reflected in the employee code of conduct. He added that any allegations of inappropriate behaviour are taken seriously.“I believe strongly in leading an organization where every employee promotes a work environment which is free from harassment and conducive to the equitable treatment of all individuals. CSIS employees are proud to be entrusted to carry out the very important work that we do,” the statement said.The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement that the allegations raise questions about the ability of the spy agency to carry out its mandate and protect Canadians.“It is unacceptable for discriminatory attitudes to be left unchecked in any context, but especially in the context of intelligence gathering when Canadian Muslims already face disproportionate scrutiny,” executive director Ihsaan Gardee said.NDP public safety critic Matthew Dube called on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to launch a investigation into the claims because of the effect such behaviour could have on national security.“With its expanded powers and limited accountability, CSIS must perform its duties with the utmost professionalism. This sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated, and if upon investigation these claims are proven correct, all those responsible must be dealt with swiftly and severely,” Dube said.A spokesman for Goodale wouldn’t comment on the allegations before the courts, but said the minister is committed to ensuring that all the security agencies in his portfolio, including CSIS, are workplaces free from harassment.
VANCOUVER – A collection of conservation groups has teamed up to launch legal action aimed at protecting endangered southern resident killer whales.The groups said Wednesday that the federal government failed to recommend an emergency order to protect the whales under the Species at Risk Act and they want a Federal Court to review that decision.Margot Venton, a lawyer and nature program director at Ecojustice, said they want the court to force the ministers to address existing imminent threats to the whales with an emergency order under the act.The order is a legal tool that enables the government to fast-track protection for critically endangered populations like the southern residents, she said.“The whales need a quieter ocean with more fish to eat, and they don’t have that right now,” she said. “The whales’ situation is not improving, and in these dire circumstances the groups are left with no choice but to go to court to force the federal government to act.”There are just 75 southern resident whales remaining and their critical situation has been highlighted in the recent attempt by experts to save the life of a young, emaciated killer whale within the pod.Also this summer, a female orca from the same pod pushed the body of her dead calf for more than two weeks when it died shortly after birth in July.The other groups taking part in the legal action are the David Suzuki Foundation, the Georgia Strait Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund Canada.In January, the same groups petitioned the federal government to use the emergency order power to protect the unique whales, Venton said.The federal government closed down several recreational and commercial chinook fisheries off the B.C. coast in May in an effort to free up more the fish for the whales. Chinook is a favoured meal for the resident killer whales that are found in coastal waters between B.C. and California.The fisheries and environment ministers said then that a lack of prey for the whales was one of the critical factors affecting their recovery.“The law is very clear,” Venton said. “Once the ministers determine the threats are imminent they must recommend cabinet issue an emergency order. Legal protections already exist and unfortunately the ministers have failed to meet this responsibility”Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in an emailed statement that the government is committed to protecting species at risk.“Our government has taken unprecedented, sustained, ambitious action over the past two years to protect and recover the southern resident killer whale,” he said.Measures in the $170-million whales action plan include reducing chinook fisheries, funding wastewater treatment facilities, implementing vessel slowdowns and moving shipping lanes to reduce noise, and conducting additional research in contaminants and more, the statement said.In response to requests from environmental and industry stakeholders the government has convened a working group to monitor implementation and to discuss additional measures that may be required, the minister said.“We are committed to working collaboratively with all willing partners, including Indigenous communities to ensure that we effectively protect and recover this iconic species.”Michael Jasny, marine mammals director for the Natural Resources Defense Council said it’s not that the government is doing nothing, but that it isn’t acting in a way that fully addresses the threats that face the whales.“And that’s not just us saying that, that’s not just science saying that, it’s what the government itself acknowledged.”
OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is fending off accusations that proposed changes to Canada’s election laws will do little to prevent foreign attempts to influence how Canadians vote.Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections.Should a foreign entity attempt something on the scale of Russia’s interventions in the 2016 American presidential election, Gould says that would be a matter of national security and the “full breadth” of tools available to the federal government would be applied.She says those include the Criminal Code, sanctions and the Magnitsky Act, which empowers the government to freeze the assets and impose travel bans on corrupt foreign officials who have committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.However, Sen. Serge Joyal, chair of the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, doubts C-76 includes sufficient penalties to deter foreign intervention in elections.He notes that his committee recommended last year that the Canada Elections Act should be amended to allow for the seizure and forfeiture of the assets of any foreign entity that attempts to interfere in a Canadian election.The Canadian Press
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The deputy mayor of Saint John is calling for a four-month ban on negative news about New Brunswick’s port city.Shirley McAlary says the city has a great quality of life, and the city council, the public and the media need to tell a positive story to convince others to move there.McAlary says she was speaking somewhat in jest when she suggested, during a growth committee meeting this week, that there be a four-month ban on negative news.She says the media has to tell stories like the Oland murder trial, and recent explosions at the Irving refinery and at a metal recycling plant on the waterfront.But she says national stories don’t always need to dwell on things like the city’s declining population.McAlary says the city needs to do a better job of marketing itself, and that starts with what Saint Johners tell others about their city.The Canadian Press
MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The City of Moose Jaw, Sask., is on the antlers of a dilemma — how to reclaim the title of having the world’s tallest moose statue?For decades its Mac the Moose statue held the record at almost 10 metres tall.But then Norway put up a silver moose statue between its capital city of Oslo and Trondheim, narrowly edging out Mac by 30 centimetres.Now, Tourism Moose Jaw has launched a campaign asking for suggestions on how the city can win back the title.One idea is to have Mac the Moose wear a Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet. Some people in Norway are aware of the campaign and say they are prepared to lock antlers with Moose Jaw to retain the honour of having the tallest statue.Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie said he’s taking the fight personally, noting his family has a connection to Mac because it was named after his wife’s great-uncle and former city councillor, Les MacKenzie.“There are some things you just don’t do to Canadians — you don’t water down their beer, you don’t tell them they can’t put maple syrup on their pancakes and you don’t mess with Mac the Moose,” Tolmie said Thursday.“(The Norwegians) purposely built a moose bigger than ours, but we’re going to be dignified and we’re going to win.”Longtime city resident Clayton Boyer said regaining the title is imperative.“I think we’ve lost a little bit of our sparkle,” he said, adding a top hat would help Mac grow a few feet.People in the community have started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $50,000 towards whatever addition is decided for the statue.Tourism Moose Jaw notes that Mac weighs 9,000 kilograms and has been luring visitors to the city since 1984.The statue won an award in 2013 for being Moose Jaw’s best celebrity. (CJME, The Canadian Press) CJME, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $17.4 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.The jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on Feb. 1 will be approximately $26 million.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have used their majority on a House of Commons committee to block an opposition attempt to investigate the leak of confidential information about applicants for a seat on the Supreme Court of Canada.Conservatives and New Democrats wanted the Commons justice committee to find out who leaked information about a dispute between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould over who should be named chief justice of the top court.But a motion to launch an investigation has been defeated by a vote of 5-4.The Canadian Press and CTV reported last month that Wilson-Raybould recommended Glenn Joyal, chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench, to become chief justice.According to sources, Trudeau was concerned about her choice because he believed Joyal favoured a conservative, restrictive approach to interpreting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Trudeau ultimately named sitting Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner to replace retiring chief justice Beverley McLachlin.The Canadian Press
CALGARY — There will be more security cameras, metal detectors and bag searches at this year’s Calgary Stampede.Officials say there’s no concern about an attack — it’s just a matter of public safety.“We’re mindful of other world events where other incidents have occurred … where harm has been done to people by vehicles and things,” Calgary police Insp. Paul Wyatt said Wednesday.“It would be naive of us not to put measures in place to counter that.”The 10-day exhibition and rodeo begins Friday and more than 100,000 visitors are expected each day.Metal detectors and bag searches have become a regular routine for people entering the Stampede grounds. Last year, main entrances to the park were blocked by large cement planters to prevent possible vehicle attacks.The number of cameras has been increased by 10 per cent this year to address some gaps in security, said Wyatt.It’s not just the Stampede grounds that will be under surveillance. The parade on Friday, which attracts up to 350,000 people, has to be watched too.“We have plans in place,” Wyatt said. “We hope we don’t have to use them, but we’re prepared.”Wyatt is also asking the public to look out for anything suspicious. “Watch for unusual situations or items or if someone is acting strangely. And if you see something, please say something.”The head of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency says police, fire and EMS officials have run through several possibilities.“We’ve run scenarios on the parade and we’ve run scenarios on the Stampede grounds. And I can tell you that we will be prepared and have the safest Stampede on record,” said Tom Sampson.Visitors are urged not to bring anything onto the grounds that they wouldn’t take through airport security.There are also new rules because this will be the first Stampede since recreational cannabis was legalized, said Jim Laurendeau, vice-president of park planning.“There will be no consumption of cannabis in Stampede Park. However, as a legal item, people can carry it and it will not be confiscated at the gates.”And for those who flout the cannabis rules?“Our policy is they’ll be asked to stop and if need be we would take measures including escorting them off the premises.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press