Wayanad (Ker): Stepping up attack on the prime minister on the second day of his visit to Wayanad, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha election campaign was filled with “lies, poison and hatred”, but his party stood for truth, love and affection. Gandhi, who is in his constituency on a thanksgiving three-day visit after being elected to Lok Sabha, addressed party workers at Kalpetta, Kambalakadu and Panamaram and continued his roadshow Saturday. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist A large number of Congress-led United Democratic Front workers and women thronged the route. Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran were with Gandhi in his special vehicle. Though it rained heavily in parts of the constituency Friday, the weather did not play spoilsport as it was bright and sunny till this noon. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France Gandhi said Modi “uses hatred, anger and lies” which are his “weapons”. He said his party will continue to fight the “worst sentiments” the prime minister represents. “At the national level, we are fighting poison. Modi’s campaign was filled with lies, poison, hatred and divided the people of the country. He used lies in the election… Congress stood for truth, love and affection,” he said addressing the crowd at Kalpetta. At Kambalakadu, Gandhi said there are big challenges in Wayanad which can be resolved by working together. “My job is to represent all of Wayanad. People from all parties supported me in the election. There are big challenges and issues in Wayanad. We will work together and solve everything,” he said. Gandhi had contested the Lok Sabha election from Wayanad, in addition to his family bastion of Amethi, but lost to Union minister Smriti Irani in the Uttar Pradesh constituency. He won from Wayanad with a margin of about 4.31 lakh votes. After the Congress party’s poor show in the second consecutive general election, Gandhi had offered to resign as the Congress president, but it was rejected by the party’s highest decision-making body. Congress won 52 seats in the 2019 polls. However in Kerala, the only state besides Punjab and Tamil Nadu where it did well, the party and its allies won 19 out of 20 seats. On Friday in Malappuram district, Gandhi said his party would emerge as a strong Opposition and defend the poor. Attacking Modi, he said, “Modi may have money, he may have the media by his side, he may have rich friends. But the Congress will continue to fight against the intolerance created by the BJP”. “The intolerance created by BJP and Modi will be dealt by the Congress party with love and affection,” Gandhi added.
New Delhi: A section of leaders in Delhi Congress have demanded replacement of its AICC in-charge PC Chacko in the wake of Lok Sabha poll debacle of the party in the national capital. Under the stewardship of Chacko, the Congress was engaged in long drawn discussion over pre-poll alliance with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which finally did not materialise but caused delay in announcement of party candidates in Delhi. Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit who opposed the alliance with the AAP was fielded along with other senior, well-known faces, like former president of the unit Ajay Maken, in the Lok Sabha polls but they suffered massive defeats in all seven seats. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in Denmark Chacko was made in-charge of Delhi Congress in November 2014. “Under leadership of Chacko the party has lost all the elections including the recent Lok Sabha polls as well as Assembly and MCD polls in 2015 and 2017. If Rahul Gandhi can think of resigning taking moral responsibility of the defeat, why should Chacko not also resign,” said party leader Rohit Manchanda. His view was supported by some other leaders in the party saying Chacko should step down since even Dikshit has proposed to resign over the party’s defeat. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic items Manchanda, who lost Delhi Assembly polls from Saket seat in 2003 by just 116 votes, alleged that Chacko “misbheaved” with him at Delhi Congress office on Friday. “I was there to greet him but he lashed out at me and said that he will ensure that leaders like me have no right to be there in Delhi Congress. I demand Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi to replace him with some other leader as in-charge of Delhi Congress,” Manchanda told PTI. He said that after the humiliating defeat of Congress in Delhi in parliamentary polls, he had written a Facebook post demanding resignation of Chacko which could be reason why he was “berated” by the senior leader. Chacko denied Manchanda’s allegation. “Nothing like that happened. He may be some unimportant person, I do not know him much,” he told PTI. Another senior Delhi Congress leader, who confirmed Manchanda’s allegation, said, “Everybody is concerned by such a big defeat in Lok Sabha polls so its natural that people responsible for it should quit. Party leaders and workers are losing confidence in contesting Assembly polls early next year under charge of Chacko.” Congress which ruled Delhi for 15 years till 2013, failed to open its account in 2015 Assembly polls and the recent parliamentary elections, besides being pushed to third place in civic body polls in 2017.
Washington DC: Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef, said an official US report. The State Department in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report alleged that some senior officials of the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities.”Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it said. According to some NGOs, the authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution, it said. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceThe report said that as of November, there were 18 such attacks, and eight people killed during the year. On June 22, two Uttar Pradesh police officers were charged with culpable homicide when a Muslim cattle trader died of injuries sustained while being questioned in police custody, the report said. Mandated by the US Congress, the State Department in its voluminous report gives its assessment of the status of religious freedom in almost all the countries and territories of the world. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics PrizeThe State Department said that the central and state governments and members of political parties took steps that affected Muslim practices and institutions. The government continued its challenge in the Supreme Court to the minority status of Muslim educational institutions, which affords them independence in hiring and curriculum decisions, it said. “Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and had led to increased communal tensions.”
Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted permission to Nalini Sriharan, serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, to appear in person on July 5 to argue her plea for six months’ ordinary leave to make arrangements for her daughter’s wedding.Nalini, who has been in prison for over 27 years, wanted the court to direct the Superintendent of Police, Special Prison for Women in Vellore, to produce her before the court so that she could argue her case for leave as party-in-person. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaA division bench of justices M M Sundaresh and M Nirmal Kumar gave her permission to personally appear on that day at 2.15 pm to argue her case, but made it clear that she shall act in accordance with the prison manual and rules and co-operate with the police escort. “This court is not in a position to deny her request. After all, a lawyer is only a representative of a party. “When the party wishes to appear in person and put forth her case, the court of law is not required to reject the request until and unless strong reasons exist,” it said. The court rejected the contention of the state counsel that there can be a law and order situation if Nalini is allowed to appear in person. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah”The APP (Additional Public Prosecutor) apprehends likelihood of law and order situation during her appearance. But we do not find any existing material on the apprehension. We direct the respondents to produce the petitioner before this court at 2.15 pm on July 5,” it said. The bench made it clear that it was open to prison authorities and police to take appropriate steps towards protection and security. “We further make it clear that petitioner shall act in accordance with the prison manual and rules and cooperate with the police escort,” it said. The court had on June 11 observed that the right of Nalini to appear in person to argue her plea cannot be denied. According to Nalini, a life convict is entitled to one-month leave once in two years and since she had never availed such ordinary leave for more than 27 years, she made a representation to prison authorities on February 25 seeking six months’ leave to make arrangement for her daughter’s marriage. Subsequently, Nalini’s mother also made a similar representation on March 22. As the authorities failed to consider her representation, she moved the high court. Nalini was initially sentenced to death for her involvement in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. However, her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Tamil Nadu government on April 24, 2000. She claimed that after commutation of her death sentence, around 3,700 life convicts, who had served 10 years of imprisonment and less, were released by the Tamil Nadu government. “My request to the state for premature release under the 1994 scheme of premature release of life convicts was cleared by the council of ministers and on September 9, 2018, the council advised the governor to release me and other six life convicts in the case. “But it has been over six months and the decision of the state is still yet to be implemented,” she had submitted. The AIADMK government had adopted a resolution recommending to Governor Banwarilal Purohit the release of seven lifers — Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas and Nalini. Chief Minister K Palaniswami had said his government was committed to the release of the convicts and expressed the hope that the governor would act on the cabinet recommendation for setting them free. His statement came amid renewed calls, both from the opposition and Tamil groups, for the release of the convicts, after the Supreme Court disposed of a plea against freeing them filed by the relatives of those killed along with Rajiv Gandhi. Former PM Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumpudur near here on May 21, 1991.
New Delhi: The CBI has arrested seven persons, including two senior officers of the National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) Limited, for alleged bribery in clearing bills pertaining to construction of BSF border outposts, officials said on Monday. The agency has arrested Rakesh Mohan Kotwal, NPCC Zonal Manager and Manager Latiful Pasha, and five private persons in the case, they said. It is alleged that Kotwal and Pasha had demanded a bribe of Rs 33 lakh from Anish Baid, owner of the Shree Gautam Construction Company Ltd, for passing the bills for construction of Border Security Force (BSF) border outposts done by his firm, the officials said. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at 18 locations in Delhi, Silchar, Jalpaiguri, Guwahati and Gwalior, they said.
Bengaluru: The case related to the death of a Kolkata-based woman, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds near the international airport here last month has been solved with the police arresting a cab driver on charges of killing her for gain. The woman (32), an event manager, was on her way to the city airport to catch a flight when the incident took place, police said on Saturday. Based on the woman’s belongings including her wrist watch collected from the crime scene, police teams were despatched to West Bengal and Delhi to ascertain her identity, they said. With the help of a woman missing complaint in Kolkata, they finally identified the deceased. After analysing the victim’s call records and mails, the culprit was apprehended on August 21. Investigation revealed the woman, who had arrived here on July 30, had booked a cab after fishing her work to get to her hotel room. After the drop, she had called the driver to ask if he could pick her early next morning to drop her at the airport, to which he agreed.
Los Angeles: Actor Andrew Scott has teased his comeback into the Sherlock universe as villain Jim Moriarty, as he said that the door is never fully closed. “I think everybody’s sort of doing their own separate thing just at the moment,” he said to digitalspy.com. “I know Stephen (Moffat) and Mark (Gatiss) have done a version of ‘Dracula’ which I’m looking forward to seeing. For me, the door is never fully closed. It’s closed at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be opened at some point in the future. But it’s definitely not something that’s on the agenda in the foreseeable future,” added the actor. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaHe also said that he doesn’t know much about the future of the BBC One series. Sherlock made Scott along with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman global stars. In second season of the series, Moriarty takes his own life, but keeps on making appearances through flashback sequences. Is he interested in making a comeback by similar means? “I would just listen to what their idea was, and just put forward a couple of my suggestions.
OTTAWA – Banning Canadians from growing a few marijuana plants in their homes or backyards once recreational cannabis is legalized would be both paternalistic and unenforceable, former federal justice minister Anne McLellan says.McLellan, who chaired the federal task force on cannabis legalization, offered that opinion Wednesday during an appearance before the Senate’s social affairs committee, which is examining the federal government’s bill to legalize pot use.The bill would allow individuals to grow up to four plants per dwelling — a provision that has raised concerns among senators, apartment and condo owners, municipalities and police.Moreover, the Quebec and Manitoba governments have decided to prohibit home cultivation altogether — a move which could ultimately lead to a legal squabble over constitutional jurisdiction between Ottawa and the provinces.McLellan declined to weigh in on the potential constitutional dispute, but she vigorously defended the task force’s recommendation, adopted by the government, that individuals be allowed to grow a small number of plants.“Let’s not be too paternalistic,” she told the committee.Expanding on that remark later outside the committee, McLellan said banning home cultivation would amount to “the state saying, ‘Oh, we’ve legalized this but, by the way, we don’t trust you to grow any of it yourself.’“It is paternalistic, it is unenforceable,” she added, noting that a lot of Canadians already grow a plant or two at home.In any event, she predicted “very few” people will bother to grow their own weed — running the risk of their pets or kids getting into it, reducing the resale value of their home or getting kicked out of their apartment or condo — once there’s a readily available, safe, legal, commercial supply.“We think there’ll be very few of them over time … just as you discover with wine making,” McLellan said.“Most people say, ‘Why would I do this? I can stop on the way home and I’ve got a whole lot more choice and quality assured at the retail store.’ Whereas if you’re growing your four plants outside, maybe somebody’s fertilizer or pesticide flew over the fence or a dog pees on it. Who knows?”Last week, the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee proposed that the federal bill be amended to prohibit home cultivation. Alternatively, the committee suggested that the bill explicitly recognize provincial authority to ban home cultivation if they choose.Senators have heard concerns about children getting access to home-grown pot and plants draining power and water in multiple-unit dwellings, triggering complaints about mould and smell.But Dr. Mark Ware, medical cannabis researcher and vice-chair of the legalization task force, said there are already lockable, self-contained, home-growing modules available that would negate most of those problems.“It’s like a big fridge where you just open the door and there are your four plants, it’s all contained, enclosed and sealed,” he said.“Technology is transforming home cultivation,” added McLellan. “It’s not four mouldy plants in your basement.”Ware said municipalities have a role to play in regulating home cultivation. They could, for instance, require people to obtain a permit to grow pot at home and help educate them on how to set it up safely.
OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government has agreed to create a so-called Magnitsky Act that would expand Canada’s international sanctions law to target gross human rights violators.Freeland announced the decision Wednesday night in the House of Commons.“Human rights are a non-partisan issue, and I look forward to working with the opposition on this initiative,” Freeland said in a statment. “We will work closely with sponsors and all committee members to bring forward some technical amendments to strengthen the bill and ensure it can have maximum effectiveness.”The move comes after the Commons foreign affairs committee agreed last month to support amending Canada’s sanctions regime to include the rights violators “in honour” of the Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after accusing officials of a $230-million tax fraud.NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere applauded the bill, saying that Canada must be a leader in human rights.“Several countries have adopted similar legislation and we are encouraged that the Liberals are finally taking this important step to support the Global Magnitsky movement,” Laverdiere said in an email.The decision is bound to further strain relations with Russia, which has reacted strongly to the imposition of Magnitsky-style legislation elsewhere.After the Obama administration enacted its Magnitsky Act in 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded with a law that banned American citizens from adopting Russian children.Ottawa and the Kremlin have their own differences, which includes a Russian travel ban on Freeland.Freeland was one of several Canadians placed on a Russian sanctions list in 2014 in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. In her previous career as a journalist, Freeland called Putin an authoritarian who was “really dangerous.”Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat MPs on the Commons committee supported the change to the Special Economic Measures Act as part of a mandated review of that law and the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.The committee decided to take an expanded look at the issues surrounding Magnitsky’s death. Human rights watchdogs say he was beaten in prison and denied medical treatment.To have done otherwise would have amounted to the committee missing a “piece of reality,” Liberal MP Bob Nault, the committee chair, said in an interview.The committee heard compelling testimony from lawyer William Browder, whose firm employed Magnitsky; former Liberal MP and human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler; chess legend and Russian democracy advocate Garry Kasparov; and other human rights advocates.Kasparov told the committee that the legislation was important because Russia was working so hard to oppose it.“That’s why Putin and his cronies and his agents and his lobbyists were so aggressive in trying to repeal the Magnitsky Act,” Kasparov said in December.“It is because it will hurt the very foundation of his so-called social contract with the Russian elite.”
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A convicted sex offender is facing a new sexual assault charge after he was placed in a special care home for people with disabilities.Andrew Michael Douglas, 29, pleaded not guilty in provincial court in Saint John, N.B., Thursday.Douglas was a resident of Joann’s Special Care Home at the time of the alleged incident.Joann LaPointe, the owner and operator of the home, which provides care and supervision to individuals in need of special assistance, says the provincial Department of Social Development assesses the suitability of residents.“They tell me if I’m allowed (to have a resident),” she said. “I don’t think they told me enough. I believe they only told me part of it … it’s sure an eye-opener for everybody.”Douglas was placed on the sex offender registry in 2011 after he posed on the Internet as a young girl, then contacted a 10-year-old girl on Facebook and tried to convince her to expose her breasts.When the 10-year-old refused to expose herself, Douglas told her he would create a website about her and put her phone number on it.The Crown prosecutor said at the time that the 10-year-old girl was not the only person targeted and that Douglas had tried to get other girls to expose their breasts while he was posing as the 13-year-old on Facebook.The court was told that Douglas has developmental delays and was not as responsible as he would otherwise be.In 2016, Douglas was given an 18-month conditional sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in a parking lot, and weeks later was ordered to serve 60 days in jail related to a common assault against a woman.A pre-trial conference in the new case is set for July 4 while the two-day trial is set to begin Aug. 17.Police say he has been remanded in custody.Saint John police Sgt. Chuck Breen says a complaint was lodged against Douglas on March 8 and he was arrested March 14.He said officers arrested Douglas in the court building while he was there regarding another matter.Breen said he cannot recall another case where a registered sex offender has been placed in a special care home.“I’m not saying it’s never happened before but it’s just not something I’ve run across,” he said.The Department of Social Development said in an email it can’t comment on specific cases that are before the courts.— By Brett Bundale in Halifax
OTTAWA – The Liberal government is launching its long-awaited strategy on gender-based violence Monday, which will include a way to develop and share research on everything from street harassment to getting boys and men involved in solving the problem.Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef will shed more light on which programs will get a share of the $101 million over five years — plus $21 million annually going forward — the 2017 budget committed to a federal strategy on gender-based violence when she unveils the plan in Toronto.That will include money for creating a centre of excellence within Status of Women Canada, which could help the relatively small agency with an annual budget of less than $40 million get better at making sure its ideas are both evidence-based and taken seriously government-wide.The need for more and better data was something the federal government had in mind when it began developing the federal gender-based strategy.“We need to understand when we spend money, how it’s being spent, what the results are,” Patty Hajdu, who was then minister for status of women, told The Canadian Press in June 2016 as she got ready to launch cross-country consultations. “We have no data. We have no plan.”Those consultations showed those on the front lines were looking to the federal government to play a leadership role in data collection and analysis, including by establishing national baseline data and finding ways to measure which solutions work and which do not.Experts recommended more research on how gender-based violence impacts specific groups of people, including visible minorities and the LGBT community, the use of safe technology in order to combat online violence, and indigenous women living in both urban and rural areas.Last Thursday, the government listed other potential research priorities for the centre of excellence in its response to a recent report from the status of women committee, such as “hypersexualization; street harassment; cyberviolence; violence on post-secondary campuses; sex trafficking; engaging men and boys to prevent and address gender-based violence; groups at higher risk of experiencing violence,” as well as the potentially harmful effects of algorithms for social media and other online technology.The centre of excellence will also help the government make sure that its gender-based violence strategy lines up with the recommendations coming out of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.The government said it will also get better at evaluating its own programs.The wide-ranging strategy is otherwise expected to focus on better support for survivors, a justice system that is more sensitive to the needs of those who experienced sexual assault or other forms of violence, as well as ways to stop it from happening.“It will focus on prevention, aim to address the root causes of gender-based violence, and enhance our knowledge of why gender-based violence happens in the first place,” Monsef said in a message accompanying the 2017-18 plan for Status of Women Canada.“It will also provide expert support to federal partners to deliver trauma-informed and gender-sensitive training to front-line federal law enforcement officers, increase the availability of shelter for those fleeing violence, and ensure that federally regulated workplaces are free from harassment and sexual violence,” she said.Other hints dropped in the government response include the public safety department thinking about creating a commissioner for online safety, and that the justice department is considering whether the Criminal Code should have tougher provisions against harassment as part of its ongoing review.Anuradha Dugal, who was on the advisory council for the strategy and was prevented from sharing details, said prevention will be key.“Focusing on prevention of violence so that the youngest members of our society learn about gender-based violence and know how to prevent it and stop it in their own lives (is) really important,” said Dugal, the director of violence prevention programs at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.The strategy was designed to be federal, not national, meaning those who have been calling for a comprehensive plan to ensure similar access to similar programs and services across the country will have to wait.Still, there are signs that the Liberal government is open to expanding it in the future, as the government response talks about aligning efforts with what the provinces and territories are doing.“I think the federal government is doing what it can, but I think it will only solve that problem of same level of service with very, very strong engagement and partnership across the country,” said Dugal. “But this is a really important first step.”— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, Sept. 12———NEARLY 700 CANADIANS BROUGHT HOME FROM CARIBBEAN: International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says 691 Canadians have now been flown out of the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean as the Liberal government fends off criticism of how it handled the disaster. And Bibeau acknowledged that the federal government could have been more efficient at communicating with those affected and their families. Bibeau said as far as she knows, all Canadians who wanted off the islands of Turks and Caicos and St. Maarten “have had the possibility” to get home as of Monday night. She urged any other Canadians who still need help, or their families, to reach federal officials.———N.L. PREMIER HEARS FEARS ABOUT TAX CHANGES: Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is worried there’ll be “unintended consequences” from the federal government’s plan to end what it calls an unfair tax advantage for some wealthy small business owners. And Ball says he’s not alone — he says he’s heard this from all provinces, from small businesses and doctors. Critics say drawing higher taxes from doctors could raise medical fees or make it tougher to attract physicians to rural areas.———POLICE WANT MORE TIME BEFORE POT LEGALIZATION: Canada’s police services say there is zero chance they will be ready to enforce new laws for legalized pot by next summer. Representatives from different police forces are appearing before the House of Commons health committee, which is studying the government’s bill to make marijuana legal. Representatives from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Saskatoon Police Service also say they want the government to reconsider allowing people to grow pot at home, because it will be difficult to police and could make it easier for young people to obtain marijuana.———JURORS SELECTED FOR TERROR-RELATED TRIAL: Fourteen jurors were selected Tuesday at the Montreal terrorism-related trial of two people, with particular attention in the vetting process paid to race and religion. El Mahdi Jamali, 20, and Sabrine Djermane, 21, each face four charges: attempting to leave Canada to commit a terror act abroad; possession of an explosive substance; facilitating a terrorist act; and committing an act under the direction or for the profit of a terrorist organization. Both pleaded not guilty through their lawyers.———FINANCIAL WATCHDOG WARNS ONT. MINIMUM WAGE WILL COST JOBS: Ontario’s financial watchdog says more than 50,000 people could lose their jobs if the provincial government goes ahead with its plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019. In a report that assessed the economic impact of the proposed increase, the Financial Accountability Office said the job losses would be concentrated among teens and young adults, while the number of minimum wage workers in Ontario would increase from just over 500,000 to 1.6 million in 2019. FAO chief economist David West said the province is entering “uncharted waters” with the increase.———QUEBEC ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES FOR FLOOD VICTIMS: Quebec’s public security minister says new measures to assist flood victims who feel they’ve been abandoned by the province will help them cut through the bureaucracy. Martin Coiteux was in Montreal on Tuesday to announce personalized meeting days will be held with affected residents, allowing them to meet directly with municipal and provincial representatives to deal with their cases. Several dozen people attended a rally on Montreal’s West Island on Sunday to protest the government’s response to the floods this past spring.———NORMANDEAU TRIAL EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN EARLY 2018: The Crown says the fraud-related trial of ex-deputy Quebec premier Nathalie Normandeau and five co-accused will likely be held in early 2018 and last at least four months. Prosecutor Claude Dussault said Tuesday he has 139 potential witnesses, although not all will necessarily testify. Normandeau, 49, is charged with conspiracy, corruption, breach of trust and fraud in a scheme in which political financing and gifts were allegedly exchanged for lucrative government contracts between 2000 and 2012.———EVACUATIONS MOUNT AS ALBERTA WILDFIRE SPREADS: A wildfire that Parks Canada says has spread to various spots in Waterton Lakes National Park has prompted evacuation orders in some surrounding areas. The Blood Tribe, a First Nations community southwest of Lethbridge, ordered everyone out early Tuesday from homes and apartments in the extreme southwest corner of the reserve. Residents of about 150 homes in another area of the reserve, further away from the fire, were told to be prepared to leave on short notice. Cotton said the blaze was moving rapidly.———JUDGE SUSPENDED FOR WEARING TRUMP HAT IN COURT: An Ontario judge who wore a hat in court bearing Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan has been suspended without pay after an oversight body ruled his behaviour constituted a “single aberrant and inexplicable act of judicial misconduct.” In a decision released Tuesday, the Ontario Judicial Council said it struggled to reconcile Justice Bernd Zabel’s actions with his stellar record as a judge. It found his conduct warranted the most serious reprimand possible short of removing him from the bench. The council received 81 complaints about the incident.———BURNED RACCOON DIES; POLICE LOOKING FOR SUSPECTS: A baby raccoon that was allegedly lit on fire and left in an Ontario park last month has died. Linda Moores of the Procyon Wildlife Centre in Beeton, Ont., said Tuesday the months-old animal, dubbed Phoenix Rose, died unexpectedly last Thursday after a near-miraculous recovery. In early August, a woman came across the raccoon in a park in Barrie, Ont., and took it to Procyon, a registered charity that rehabilitates wild animals.———
TORONTO – A single ticket claimed Saturday night’s nearly $40.5 million Lotto 649 jackpot.The ticket was purchased in Ontario, though the exact location was not immediately revealed.The draw’s guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in Quebec.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Nov. 1 will be approximately $5 million.
WASHINGTON – It took a near-miraculous confluence of factors for a pro-choice Democrat to win the state of Alabama — but it happened Tuesday. The ruby-red Republican state delivered a stunning win to Democrat Doug Jones, now elected to the U.S. Senate pending a potential recount.Last time Democrats didn’t even mount a campaign in Alabama. A write-in Democratic candidate lost to Jeff Sessions by a nearly inconceivable margin of almost 95 per cent. This time the Democrat won by 1.5 per cent, according to the initial count.Here are six ways this shapes American politics.1 — Passing bills just got harder for the GOP. Republicans now hold just a one-vote majority in the Senate. That means their legislation can be defeated, and their judicial appointments blocked, whenever two Republicans defect and vote with the Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents, down from the current three. This gives Republican moderates like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski near-veto power.2 — Republican infighting. The GOP has been a tinderbox of internal tension, and this is one more spark. Recriminations began before votes were even counted. The party establishment swiftly blamed the nationalist, alt-right wing for elevating controversial candidates like Roy Moore. It was party insurgents who propelled the gay-bashing, anti-Muslim, accused one-time molester of adolescents to the nomination. A close confidant of congressional leader Mitch McConnell pointed this out, even while counting was still underway. Josh Holmes tweeted: ”I’d just like to thank Steve Bannon for showing us how to lose the reddest state in the union.” Anti-Trump senator Jeff Flake, who even donated to the Democrat, tweeted: ”Decency wins.” The party’s other wing has grounds for its own grievances. Expect Bannon and others to castigate party elites for failing to support Moore, by holding back funding and endorsements. Bannon’s Breitbart website offered an early taste of that line of counter-attack, with the headline: ”Republican Saboteurs Flip Seat To Dems.”3 — Democrats energized. After a dominant performance last month in races across the country, Democrats now have ample reason to believe they can reclaim the House of Representatives in next year’s midterms. Turnout has been unexpectedly high in Democrat areas. Recruitment of candidates and fundraising has accelerated. The party can now point to its longshot win in Alabama, as it tries recruiting star candidates for closer anticipated races.4— Start the Senate-watch. Just winning one of two congressional chambers next year would give Democrats the power to stall bills and launch investigations, denting Trump’s presidency. But the ultimate prize isn’t the House — it’s the Senate. Until Tuesday night, it seemed positively unattainable for them. By a fluke of the calendar, the Senate seats up for election next year are overwhelmingly Democratic, placing the party mostly in defensive mode, with few opportunities for pickups. But the astronomical odds have just narrowed. To end the GOP majority, Democrats now need just two Republican seats, and they will be gunning hard in Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere, while defending their own two-dozen seats up for grabs. Why does the Senate matter so much? The upper chamber doesn’t just have power over which bills pass. It’s also the chamber that approves presidential nominations — to the cabinet, federal agencies, and the Supreme Court, where several incumbent justices are over 75 years old and nominees over the coming years could decide hot-button issues like abortion.5 — Spotlight on the White House. Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham speculated that Democrats will try turning this momentum against President Donald Trump. She said they will recycle sexual-misconduct allegations against him, compare them to Moore’s, point to voters’ rejection of Moore, and argue the president should be investigated. That’s already begun. Several Democrats have been calling for investigations, or even for Trump’s resignation. The grumbling about the president extends to his own side. Fearing a tidal wave in next year’s midterms, some Republicans started pressing the president to adjust his behaviour. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, on CNN, called Tuesday a wake-up call for Trump: ”It is a very clear warning shot.” He urged the president to tone down the constant conflict and chaos, as it’s turning off voters: ”It’s just debilitating. It wears people out… (People are) worn out by the daily controversy coming from the president’s Twitter feed.”6 — Roy Moore might disappear. To a number of Republicans commenting late Tuesday, this is the silver lining. They speculated Democrats would have constantly reminded voters of this lawmaker — who called for homosexuals to be jailed, for Muslims to be barred from Congress, and who was reportedly once banned from a mall for his alleged habit of creeping on adolescent girls. They said Democrats would have turned Moore into the poster-boy for their party, and campaigned against him next year, in places far less hospitable to Republicans than Alabama.
VANCOUVER – Researchers studying the activity of whales off British Columbia’s coast have had an unusual and “surreal” encounter with a sperm whale.Jared Towers is part of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada team monitoring the sound of cetaceans and marine mammals using a network of hydrophones in the Johnstone Strait off northeastern Vancouver Island.Towers said his colleagues at a research station on Hanson Island heard an unusual echolocation and determined on Sunday that the sound didn’t belong to orcas typically found in the area.“We started inferring that it was a sperm whale and kind of convinced each other that’s what it was,” he said Wednesday.They sent recordings to other specialists who study sperm whales and had their suspicion confirmed.Sperm whales are typically found in deep waters offshore, Towers said. Males typically occupy cold waters while females and juveniles frequent waters in the tropics.Conditions were too rough on Sunday to attempt tracking down the whale but Towers said the water was calm when he headed out with a colleague on Monday.“I had to sleuth for it,” he said.Towers used a hydrophone to follow the sound of the whale, which would go quiet while it surfaced, leaving him and the team to wait and watch.“We had to be patient,” he said. “It was often 30 to 40 minutes between surfacing.”Towers said his colleague described the experience of spotting the whale as surreal, and he agrees.“I’ve worked and lived in the area almost my entire life. I spend a lot of days on the water researching whales, that’s what I do, and I’ve never known there to be a sperm whale here before,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to know there is one out there and be fortunate enough to see it.”A sperm whale was last documented in British Columbia in 1984, and it was only heard, not seen, Towers said.It’s unclear why the whale came to the strait, but Towers said it could have been looking for a new source of food.The whale may have been attracted to fish and cephalopods, such as squid, in the area, Towers said, adding it was still there as of Wednesday morning.The sperm whale’s presence is likely an anomaly and doesn’t indicate significant changes about the environment, Towers said, adding orcas that frequent the waters can be an important sign of health of the ecosystem.“That’s why I do the work I do,” he said. “I like to see healthy whale populations out there.”
MONTREAL – In many ways, the birthday party at a Montreal seniors’ home on Sunday was like any other, complete with balloons, gifts and cake.But there was no way to fit enough candles on the cake, as each of the guests of honour is set to turn at least 100 years old this year.The party at the Waldorf seniors’ home was held to celebrate 20 of its oldest residents, who have lived a combined 2,030 years.Among the guests of honour was Emily Clyke, a survivor of the 1917 Halifax explosion and sister of Viola Desmond, who recently became the first black woman to grace Canada’s $10 bill.There was also Ruth Horwitz, who turns 105 on Monday and still remembers lamplighters who used to turn on the street lights.“They used to come when it was getting night and they’d light the lamps,” she said.“Now they just go on by themselves.”The 13 women and seven men, who all wore name tags listing their age and birthday, were surrounded by friends, family and dignitaries who travelled to attend the party.Guests sang “Happy Birthday” and mingled with the centenarians, who were also presented with certificates of congratulations from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Montreal’s mayor and the Queen.When asked the secret to a long life, several of the guests of honour agreed that a good attitude was key.“As my mother said, you have to make the best of everything, whatever the situation is,” said Horwitz, who wore a bright purple suit to the party.Sadie Wohl, who recently turned 103, agreed.“It’s good, honest living,” she said. “Being a good person and acting natural.”Many of the residents, including 101-year-old Donald Brown, said they’d lost friends and family along the way.But Brown, a widower with a penchant for cracking jokes, said he keeps busy by staying active and meeting new people.“My favourite thing is going to the front desk and asking when the exercise classes are,” the former literature professor said.Currently, only 0.02 per cent of the Quebec population lives to be 100 years or more.But that’s a number that could go up as people are living longer and healthier lives, according to Quebec’s minister responsible for seniors.Francine Charbonneau said the government is trying to prepare for that reality by funding home health care and other initiatives that will allow people to live longer in their own residences.“We have to start thinking they can live independently, because they’re in good shape for the age they are, and they have some stories that are out of this world,” she said at the party.“We have to be respectful, but we have to consider them like any other citizen.”Note to readers: This is a corrected version. A previous story misspelled the name of the residence
HALIFAX – A Halifax pastor used a service against racial discrimination to urge police to never use brutality or unnecessary roughness in carrying out their duties.Rhonda Britton told officers gathered at the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church that disrespect, vulgar language and violence should not be employed in the way they police the city.“Unnecessary roughness is not a part of your job. Disrespect of persons is not a part of your job. Profanity is not a part of your job. Brutality is not a part of your job,” Britton said, turning multiple times during her sermon to address police members in attendance, including the police chief.Speaking at the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sunday, she repeatedly stated that police, politicians and others need to speak up to help address inequalities faced by African-Nova Scotians.“This community is a vital part of this city and we deserve the care, the attention, the facilities and the amenities given to every other community, and we might deserve more because we’ve been neglected for so long,” Britton said.“Your silence makes you complicit.”Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais said he attended the service to show support for the elimination of racial discrimination. Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, a municipal councillor and two provincial politicians also attended.Halifax police Insp. Dean Simmonds said he had been racially targeted and discriminated against.“Don’t pass judgment or make assumptions because of what you may have been conditioned to until you’ve taken the time to truly try to understand,” Simmonds told the crowd.“Imagine waking up every day feeling like you have to put a piece of armour on to protect yourself from what’s outside your doors.”He wouldn’t comment on the force’s controversial practice of police street checks, which have been one focus of the Board of Police Commissioners after data was released showing black people are three times more likely to undergo such checks.Blais has supported the practice, saying it helps with policing. The data is being reviewed by a third-party for a study, with recommendations expected this year.(Global News)
COURTENAY, B.C. – RCMP in British Columbia say a young child has been hospitalized after eating marijuana-infused gummy bear candies she found while in the back seat of a vehicle.Police say the girl’s parents took her to hospital when she showed signs of medical distress and she was airlifted to another hospital for further medical treatment.Const. Monika Terragni of the Comox Valley detachment says the girl’s condition brings to light the dangers of edibles made with cannabis, especially those that resemble candy.Terragni says such products should be treated with the same care and control as prescription drugs.Police say it’s not known how many gummies the girl ate before she became ill but she is expected to make a full recovery.Last year, police in Victoria urged parents to check Halloween candy after a family reported their child was given a package of marijuana gummies while trick or treating.
FREDERICTON – The University of New Brunswick women’s varsity hockey team is set to play its first game Saturday, after a former player successfully fought to have it resurrected in the name of gender equality.“It’s a pretty significant sense of closure,” said Sylvia Dooley, who alleged a 2008 decision to downgrade the women’s varsity team to a sports club amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex.“This story will now shift to be more about this new team and what they’re going to do going forward. I’m really happy to see that finally actually happening.”In 2016, the province’s Labour and Employment Board agreed with Dooley and ordered the school to reverse its decision.Dooley, who played defence at UNB and is now based in Ottawa, said she will be in the stands when the Varsity Reds hit the ice for the first regular season game in a decade.She said she had an opportunity to revisit her old stomping grounds on Thursday.“The arena was empty, but I just kind of sat there and soaked it in,” said Dooley in an interview on Friday.“The arena, it has changed since I’ve played, but it still feels exactly the same as well… There’s a lot of anticipation and a lot of nostalgia.”Dooley said she met head coach Sarah Hilworth and that the team appeared excited to start the season with a home game Saturday in Fredericton against Mount Allison University.“I think they’re starting to recognize and see that it’s a big deal. They know that it’s a pretty significant shift to have the team back at UNB,” she said.“They’ll all excited to be part of that. For a lot of them, it was the reason why they came.”George MacLean, vice-president academic for the Fredericton campus, said the team is a “pretty impressive group.”He said there are women from across Canada and from a range of faculties, from engineering to arts.“There’s been quite a positive buzz ahead of Saturday’s game,” said MacLean.A reception was held on campus Friday to present the players with their new home jerseys.UNB had applied for a judicial a review of the Labour and Employment Board ruling compelling the school to reinstate a women’ varsity hockey team, and had also struck a task force in June 2016 to review the matter.The task force recommended the parties enter into a settlement conference. The agreements reached included the reinstatement of the team for this season, and that UNB withdraw its application for judicial review.UNB had also agreed to produce a revised gender equity policy no later than September 2017.MacLean said the policy was completed by the deadline and has been adopted by the university.— By Aly Thomson in Halifax.
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld the indefinite prison sentence a dangerous offender is serving for torturing and starving his roommate.Dustin Paxton was convicted in 2012 for the prolonged and brutal abuse of a man who was his friend and roommate.A judge designated him a dangerous offender and sentenced him to an indeterminate period in prison.Paxton appealed the sentence, but the Appeal Court ruled the original trial judge was correct in ruling that an indeterminate sentence was the only way to adequately protect the public.The same court rejected an appeal of Paxton’s convictions in 2016.Paxton’s victim was emaciated, battered and bleeding when Paxton dropped him off, near death, at a Regina hospital in April 2010. The Canadian Press