NEW DELHI: The national Capital is already reeling under hot and dry weather conditions, a heat wave is expected to grip Delhi with the mercury likely to breach the 45-degree mark. Hot and dry conditions prevailed in the city on Wednesday. Delhiites woke up to a hot morning, with the maximum temperature expected to hover around 44 degrees Celsius. “Heatwave conditions are expected in some pockets of the city with the temperature soaring up to 45 degrees. Such conditions exist when the maximum temperature goes up five degrees above the season’s average,” said an official. The weatherman has predicted that the city is unlikely to get respite from the scorching heat over the next two-three days. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarDry weather conditions are expected to continue over entire North and Northwest India. With this, temperatures are set to increase over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, West Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan. On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a maximum temperature of 41.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, and a minimum temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature is likely to shoot up to 44 degrees today and the weather office has predicted a maximum temperature of 45 degrees for the national capital rest of this week. MeT officials had earlier predicted that the mercury will continue its upward trend this week. Private weather agency Skynet had said that weather will remain dry throughout the remaining days of May and a few areas of the Delhi-NCR region may witness heatwave conditions.
Gurugram: It has now been more than eight years since Gurugram was declared a dark zone which implies to the region having low groundwater reserves.After the concern expressed by the Chief Minister ML Khattar, now government agencies have begun to take measures towards enhancing the groundwater reserves. To effectively implement the Zero Rainwater Discharge plan approved by the state government this week, the department of town and country planning (DTCP) has decided to ensure that individual houses, group housing complexes, and commercial buildings in private colonies have a functional rainwater harvesting system as per Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagarrules. Occupancy certificates of properties that violate the rules prescribed for rainwater harvesting will be cancelled, said KM Pandurang, director, DTCP. Teams from the DTCP will start inspecting rainwater harvesting facilities in various residential and commercial complexes across the city. There are over 125 pits that come under the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram. However, lack of proper maintenance and inability to check encroachments have ensured that these pits have not been of any utility. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceLast year with the aid of a private organisation the municipal body had started the process of cleaning the pits. However, in the later months, this exercise gradually fizzled out. The district administration had also directed various private schools that have a large area to create water harvesting pits. However, this action was also not followed up. The push for rainwater harvesting comes in the wake of Haryana chief minister(CM) Manohar Lal Khattar strongly advocating zero rainwater discharge system in Gurugram. Moreover, a project that will be overseen by the Chief Minister wherein sewage water will be treated for usage. HUDA department will keep a record of treated water taken by each builder from its Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and whether it was sufficient to meet its needs.
Melbourne: A Bangladeshi student who enrolled in an Australian university with the aim of killing someone in the name of the Islamic State group was jailed for 42 years Wednesday for stabbing her local host as he slept. Momena Shoma, 26, admitted to engaging in a terrorist act when she stabbed Roger Singaravelu in the neck with a kitchen knife just eight days after arriving in Australia. Shoma, who wore a black niqab showing only her eyes at the sentencing hearing in Victoria state’s supreme court, shouted “Allahu akbar” as she attacked Singaravelu, who survived and was also present at the hearing, the court heard. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests'”Your deeds and words, and the intentions accompanying them, are chilling,” said judge Lesley Taylor in handing down the sentence of 42 years, with a non-parole period of 31 years and six months. She faced a maximum sentence of life in prison. Taylor said her actions “sent ripples of horror throughout the Australian community”. “But they do not make you a martyr. They do not make you a beacon of Islam… They make you an undistinguished criminal,” she said. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaProsecutors said Shoma became radicalised in 2013 while living in Dhaka and became enamoured of the Islamic State and its calls for Muslims to engage in violent jihad against non-Muslims. After failed attempts to study in Turkey — with the aim of crossing into ISIS-controlled parts of Syria — prosecutors said Shoma received a scholarship to study at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and arrived in the city on February 1, 2018. She moved in with an Australian family under a homestay program for foreign students and immediately began planning an attack on them, the court heard. She purchased night vision goggles on February 3 and on February 6 rehearsed an attack by repeatedly stabbing the mattress of her host couple when they were not home.
Mumbai: The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Monday, in line with the Asian stocks, with the BSE Sensex trading 320 points higher. Both the domestic and Asian investor sentiment strenthened after US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he would not impose 5 per cent tariffs on Mexican exports, as Mexico agreed to strengthen immigration enforcement. At 9.29 a.m., the Sensex traded at 39,937.14, higher by 321.24 points or 0.81 per cent from the previous close of 39,615.90 points. It had opened at 39,787.33 and touched an intra-day high of 39,953.64 and a low of 39,785.14 points. The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,959.90, higher by 89.25 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 11,870.65 points.
Birmingham: India skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for Rohit Sharma who scored a brilliant century against Bangladesh and termed him as the “best one-day player”. On Tuesday, Sharma (104) scored his fourth century of the ongoing World Cup, thus helping India post 314/9 which they successfully defended at Edgbaston. The Indian vice-captain became only the second batsman after Kumar Sangakkara to hit four hundreds in a single World Cup and in the process became the leading run-scorer in this edition of the tournament. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherRohit unfurled a flurry of strokes and played with a lot of freedom while sharing a 180-run opening partnership with K.L. Rahul. During his 32-ball inning, Rohit hit five huge sixes and seven boundaries. “I have been watching it for years now, I have been saying it publicly, in my opinion Rohit is the best one-day player. When he plays, we are heading towards a big score and really happy with the way he’s playing,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation ceremony. “When he plays well we know we are heading for a big score. He gives everyone confidence to go out and bat,” he added.
One of the strangest stories that will ever be recorded in the history of Indian cricket is the story of Ambati Rayudu. In 2002, he scored 175 in a U-19 game against West Indies and created a buzz among Saurav Ganguly and Co. of being a young prodigy. He was made the captain of the Indian side for the 2004 U-19 World Cup, but since then his career started to go elsewhere.Suddenly he was in no man’s land. He moved from Hyderabad to Andhra Pradesh and then to Baroda. It was only in 2010 when Mumbai Indians gave him some stability. In the buildup to the 2015 World Cup, he virtually played every game averaging more than 40. With a solid temperament he cemented his spot in the World Cup squad, but didn’t feature even once in the Playing XI. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherThree years later when the number four conundrum was still open, he got selected from the 2018 Asia Cup onwards. Yet again, he virtually plays every game for the build-up to the 2019 World Cup and makes prominent contributions. “The only position we were trying to figure out was number four for a long time. We tried many players who unfortunately could not capitalise or cement their places in a way we wanted. With Rayudu coming in and playing well in the Asia Cup, it’s about giving him enough game time till the World Cup so that the particular slot will be sorted for us”, said Kohli after the Asia Cup. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenWhen the World Cup squad was announced, the omission of Rayadu triggered debates among the cricketing pundits. He was named as a reserve player. There was nothing else he could do better. With Shikhar Dhawan injured, India called-in Rishabh Pant. Frustrations have been part of Ambati’s 19-year long journey. Not once did Rayudu received a call from the selectors explaining where he had fallen short of expectations. But when Vijay Shankar was injured, Rayudu was overlooked and Mayank Agarwal was included in the squad, despite the fact that he was among the standbys for the World Cup. In a bizarre tweet, Iceland Cricket mocked the Indian selectors by offering Rayudu citizenship as well as a chance to play for their country. On Wednesday, his patience finally got the better of him and in a letter to BCCI he decided to hang his boots from all forms of the game. In 55 ODIs, Rayudu scored 1,694 runs with three centuries and 10 half-centuries at an average of 47.05. Ambati Rayudu hasn’t had the best of times of late. Almost a year ago, the experienced campaigner was set to be India’s answer to their number four conundrum. However, times started changing for the Guntur-born cricketer and he steadily lost his place in the national team.
Dehradun: The Uttarakhand High Court has come down heavily on the state government for not complying with its order prohibiting slaughter of animals in the open. Slamming the state government, Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma said if it failed to produce an order staying the high court’s prohibition on slaughtering of animals by August 20, sale of all meat in the state will be stopped unless their source was verified. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Warning against non-compliance of court orders, the bench said in case the state fails to produce a stay order when the petition is heard next on August 20, the court may direct senior superintendents of police and district magistrates of all districts to stop sale of any meat which has not been slaughtered in a legal slaughterhouse. The High Court had banned slaughter of all animals in the open in September, 2018 asking authorities to ensure that they are slaughtered only in legal slaughterhouses. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Arguing on behalf of the petitioner, counsel Kartikeya Hari Gupta informed the court that the state government has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the HC order banning slaughter of animals in the open but the apex court has granted no stay against the HC order. The chief justice observed that notices on the petition were issued by the apex court in April but till date the state has failed to show any stay order. In this light, the HC order banning the slaughter of animals in the open stands and needs to be complied with in letter and sprit, the Chief Justice said.
Melbourne: Australia has said that it will work towards forging deeper defence ties with India and focus on the strategic Indian Ocean, where China is “rapidly” expanding its footprints. Addressing the Western Australian Indo-Pacific Conference in Perth on Monday, Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said, “The Indian Ocean has not always received the same level of attention in our strategic thinking as the Pacific Ocean. Australia has tended to see itself as a Pacific Ocean state.” Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLike the Pacific, the Indian Ocean was increasingly characterised by “rising strategic competition” and “intensifying great power rivalries”, she said. The minister said there is a proliferation of naval activity and a race to secure access to strategic ports right across the Indian Ocean rim, which afford both economic and strategic advantage. “India has emerged as an economic powerhouse and is demonstrating leadership in a way that reflects its size and democratic values. China has rapidly expanded its Indian Ocean footprint establishing its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017,” Reynolds said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”So amid this back drop of rising opportunity and increasing risk, what are Australia’s defence interests in the Indian Ocean?” she questioned. Reynolds said Australia was “committed to work more closely in the Indian Ocean by cooperating with key regional partners, including India and Indonesia”. She said Australia’s relationship with India has “flourished” over the past 10 years. “In 2014, we conducted 11 defence activities together. By 2018 this had more than tripled to 38 bilateral activities,” she said. “There is scope to further increase the depth and complexity of our (defence) co-operation on land, at sea and in the air domain,” the minister said, adding that she has extended an invitation to her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh to visit Australia later this year to “advance these discussions”. Pointing to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to signify how little is known about the Indian Ocean, Reynolds said, “We cannot moderate behaviour in our region, without being able to monitor and track what is occurring above and below its surface.” Australia, she said, cannot do it alone. “We particularly welcome India’s recent leadership in this regard. The establishment of an Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region will help shed light on areas currently unseen,” she said.
Darjeeling: A Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) expedition successfully reached the summit of the highest peak of Europe on August 15 and fluttered the Indian tricolor.They also performed various yogic Asanas (postures) atop the mountain and will now try for getting the act (yoga) declared as a world record. The eight-member team scaled Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters) at 8:45 am on August 15. Leader of the expedition and principal of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Jaikishan told the Millennium Post: “We then unfurled the Indian National flag and other flags and then went onto to perform the yogic asanas.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaFrom 9:25 am to 10:00 am the team HMI performed Asanas at the summit to the yogic chants of Sadguru, Adi Yogi mantras. It was quite a task owing to the high altitude, heavy equipment, boots and oxygen cylinders. “We will try in the Guinness book, World Records Academy and the Limca Book of Records, Yoga at this altitude,” stated Group Captain Jaikishan. The HMI team also performed yoga at different altitudes while descending with the final act at the base camp (4100m) where many foreign climbers joined in. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe HMI team comprised of Group Captain Jaikishan, Subedar Devi Singh (Dy leader) and instructors Havildar Pankaj Kumar, Roshan Ghatraj, Aditya Gurung, Passang Tenzing Sherpa and Umang Mukhia. The expedition was flagged off from Delhi by Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik on August 6. “This expedition is also a part of our vision to climb the highest mountains in the 7 continents,” stated the expedition leader. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute teams have already successfully summited Mount Everest (2003, 2012) and Mount Aconcagua (6,962 m) located in Argentina, South America in 1999. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established on November 4, 1954 — a result of personal initiative of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India and Dr. BC Roy the then Chief Minister of West Bengal to promote mountaineering in India. Legendary mountaineers, including Late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Late Nawang Gombu have been associated with this institute.
Banda: Two women allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents in Banda district, police said on Monday. The first incident took place in Pangara village on Sunday, where a 20-year-old woman, identified as Aarti, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her room over being scolded by her mother, Additional Superintendent of Police Lal Bharat Kumar Pal said. In the second incident, which took place in Murwal village under the Baberu police station area on Sunday, Seema, 26, allegedly set herself ablaze after she had a tiff with her husband on phone. She had come to her stay at her parents ‘place and was to return to her in-laws’ by Tuesday, Pal said. Police said the bodies have been handed over to their family and investigation in both the cases is underway.
HALIFAX – Nicholas Butcher insisted Monday that the Montreal-born yoga instructor he’s accused of killing actually tried to kill him, as the defence closed its case at the second-degree murder trial.Butcher, the lone defence witness, told the 14-member jury the pair had been sleeping at Kristin Johnston’s home on March 26, 2016, when he awoke to someone stabbing him in the throat with a knife.The 36-year-old law school graduate testified that it was dark and he couldn’t see who it was, but managed to grab the knife and fight back — realizing seconds later he’d killed Johnston.During her cross-examination, Crown lawyer Carla Ball noted wounds on Butcher’s neck were located symmetrically on the right and left sides and in the centre — a pattern she suggested would be hard to achieve if someone had attacked him in the dark.She suggested Butcher’s neck wounds were self-inflicted.“The next thing she knows is that a knife is being plunged repeatedly into her neck by you until you are satisfied that she is dead,” Ball said, raising her voice.“And then you thought, ‘What am I going to do? I have to kill myself’ … and you took that knife and thought, ‘I watched her die by the knife being plunged into her neck so I’m going to use that knife and do the same thing to myself. That’s what you did, didn’t you?”Butcher denied Ball’s suggestions.“She tried to murder me,” Butcher said calmly in a deep voice.Dr. Jonathan Trites, a head and neck surgeon, had testified that Butcher had 13 sharp wounds on his neck.Ball also pointed out that Johnston had 10 wounds on her neck, but Butcher testified he stabbed her about four times. He did not offer an explanation for the discrepancy.She noted Butcher told a police officer “sorry” after they arrived on the scene, and told a doctor at the hospital he had “messed up.”“That’s because you took that knife quite intentionally and plunged it 10 times into Kristin’s neck,” said Ball.Butcher replied, “No. It was not intentional.”Breaking down on the stand last week, Butcher told the jury he tried to kill himself after realizing he had killed Johnston. He said he slit his wrist with the knife, a razor blade, and then cut off his right hand with a mitre saw. His hand was surgically reattached.Medical examiner Dr. Marnie Wood testified that Johnston had “defensive injuries” on her hands and fingers.Butcher was in a relationship with the 32-year-old yoga teacher, but friends of Johnston’s testified in Nova Scotia Supreme Court she had broken up with him hours before her death.Butcher, a graduate of Dalhousie University law school who was having difficulty finding an articling job, acknowledged Monday that he was $200,000 in debt from school.The jury heard messages in which Butcher told his landlord how “stressed” he was over his inability to pay rent on time.The jury heard from 32 witnesses over 14 court days. Lawyers will make closing submissions on Thursday.Butcher has pleaded not guilty.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The Trudeau Liberals’ promised national strategy to tackle the nation’s housing challenges may have as one of its pillars a right to housing for every Canadian, with federal officials signalling such a bold political statement could also be enshrined in legislation.Sources with knowledge of the government’s thinking said there aren’t any specifics tied to the promise at the moment, unlike the detailed benchmarks to measure progress on other parts of the plan, suggesting it is, for the moment, largely aspirational in nature.Federal officials have told housing advocates the government is considering enshrining the right in legislation to make it difficult for a future government to ignore or reverse.The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strategy has yet to be made public, say the Liberals are also looking to craft unique strategies each for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, instead of a singular Aboriginal housing strategy as first promised.A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government couldn’t yet speak definitively to the details of the strategy.Housing advocates have lobbied Duclos to take a human rights lens to the forthcoming housing strategy to give the country’s most vulnerable some recourse if they are wrongfully denied an apartment or home.That would in turn raise the possibility of new tribunals, for example, to handle complaints if people feels their right has been violated — all issues that sources say the Liberals are mulling over before the ink dries on the strategy.“If you have the right to housing, if it’s recognized, if it’s the basic underlying pin of a strategy, then it means something, because people have actual recourse in court,” said NDP critic Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, whose party has a bill before the Commons to add the right to housing to the Canadian Bill of Rights.Leilani Farha, the UN’s special rapporteur on adequate housing, said Canadian politicians have been slow to embrace housing as a human right. Although the government has shown “pretty bold and creative” thinking on housing, the key will be to translate that into a strategy, said Farha, who is also executive director of Canada Without Poverty.Officials are putting the final touches on the housing strategy with expectations for its release in late November to coincide with National Housing Day.Duclos used the day last year to release a report detailing what the government heard during consultations on the strategy. A November release would come after Statistics Canada reveals census data on the depth of Canada’s housing needs late next month.The latest housing data suggests 1.6 million households are in “core housing need,” meaning they spend more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or doesn’t meet their needs.The Liberals want to slash those figures with billions in spending over the next decade.The financial backbone for the strategy includes $11.2 billion over 11 years to ensure everyone in the country can find housing that is affordable and meets their needs, including $5 billion to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., to leverage an additional $10.9 billion in private sector investments.There are indications the Liberals are willing to make their housing strategy flexible to the needs of provinces and cities, which is a key issue for opposition critics.“We have seen legislation come down from this government that the provinces are not embracing,” said Conservative critic Karen Vecchio.“We have to make sure, is this something that are we pushing on the provinces or are we going to work with the provinces?”At an affordable housing symposium in Ottawa, federal officials asked local activists to ensure the money is spent wisely and isn’t bogged down in local regulatory processes, potentially delaying projects or leading to cost overruns. On Tuesday, the gathering was also told to also expect money for homelessness prevention in next year’s budget.— Follow @jpress on Twitter.
VANCOUVER – Canadian “Arrow” star Stephen Amell is offering to help “in any way, shape or form” as Warner Bros. Television Group investigates allegations of sexual harassment against an executive producer for a number of Vancouver-shot superhero shows.Andrew Kreisberg has been suspended from his work on “Arrow,” “Supergirl,” “The Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow” amid accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching from 19 former and current employees.In a video posted on his Facebook page, Amell said he offered his support to the “Arrow” cast and crew on Monday morning.Amell stressed to them that “if anyone ever feels anything less than 100 per cent safe or anyone feels as though they aren’t allowed to express themselves and be the person that they are, that they should come to whomever they’re supposed to go to and that I’ll stand right beside them, right behind them.”“I’ll speak on their behalf, if need be,” said the Toronto native, who starred in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.”“I also think that in situations like this, if you’re not an active part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem, period.”The accusations against Kreisberg were first reported by Variety, which did not identify the 15 women and four men, who said they feared retaliation.Kreisberg told Variety: “I have made comments on women’s appearances and clothes in my capacity as an executive producer, but they were not sexualized. Like many people, I have given someone a non-sexual hug or kiss on the cheek.”Kreisberg’s lawyer didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.Both Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. released statements stressing they’re committed to creating a safe working environment for employees and those involved in productions.Amell said he stands behind and fully supports the public statements made by “Arrow” star Emily Bett Rickards and “Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist about the allegations.“Our biggest asset on ‘Arrow’ is our crew, and furthermore, their biggest strength and our biggest strength is working on it as a team,” said Amell.“I think that we can do this because we promote and we champion a safe and progressive work environment.”— With files from The Associated Press.
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Some entrepreneurs hoping to provide renewable energy to Massachusetts electricity customers are touting their projects in the run-up to the decision, expected in late January, about which company could be chosen to help provide clean power to the Bay State.The stakes are potentially huge for the dozens of companies that have submitted proposals, some of which are proposing major infrastructure projects that would carry Canadian electricity produced by wind or hydro power across Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine to reach Massachusetts.While there are a variety of projects vying to be chosen by Massachusetts in the current round, even if they’re not selected, it’s likely there will other calls in the future for projects to provide more renewable power to southern New England.Last week, the backers of New Hampshire’s Northern Pass project, which would run a 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg on the Canadian border to Deerfield, carrying enough hydropower to about a million homes, were optimistic.Despite a vow of continued pressure from people who object to the Northern Pass project, the backer of the project Eversource expects to receive final regulatory approval in both the United States and Canada, allowing it to begin construction in April. Northern Pass claims it will be ready to transmit power by 2020.“We feel we have submitted the most mature project,” said Eversource spokeswoman Kaitlyn Woods. “We are confident it will be selected.”National Grid, the backer of the project known as the Granite State Power Link, is running online advertisements promoting its project. The company announced last week it had filed for a presidential permit, the first regulatory step needed for it to bring 1,200 megawatts of power to southern New England.The project would be built alongside an existing line that enters the United States at Norton, Vermont, and connect with an upgraded power line at Monroe, New Hampshire. It’s unclear when that project could be ready for construction.“I think we’re well positioned to win because ultimately we are the best options for customers,” said National Grid’s Joe Rossignoli. In addition to the Granite State Power Link, National Grid is backing a smaller project that would bring power from new wind and solar projects from upstate New York to Massachusetts.Another proposed project, the New England Clean Power Link, would carry power 154 miles down Lake Champlain from the Canadian border and into Vermont, where it would connect to the grid and feed Massachusetts’ demand for clean power. The project is backed by TDI-New England.“In addition to meeting all the Commonwealth’s requirements, TDI-NE believes the New England Clean Power Link is the right turn-key project for Massachusetts,” said Donald Jessome, president of TDI-New England. “Our project is fully permitted, enjoys wide spread support up and down the line and offers a fixed price bid.”In 2016, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law requiring the state to solicit contracts for 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy, including hydropower, onshore wind and solar power, along with at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy.Last summer, dozens of companies filed proposals — large and small — to meet that goal for the onshore supply of power. The timeline calls for the “selection of projects for negotiation” on Jan. 25 with the contracts being approved by late April.In Maine, the utility Central Maine Power has proposed working with two Canadian energy suppliers to move Canadian electricity along more than 90 miles of existing CMP corridors and 51 miles of newly purchased rights of way in western Maine.“We think these are the two best ideas,” CMP President Sara Burns said last summer when the proposals were released.
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada is to begin hearings Monday in an appeal that could force lawmakers across the country to give First Nations a role in drafting legislation that affects treaty rights.“This case is tremendously significant whichever way it comes out,” said Dwight Newman, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan.It could “fundamentally transform how law is made in Canada,” he said.The court is to hear a challenge by the Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta. It seeks a judicial review of changes made under the previous Harper government to the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.The First Nation argues that because the changes were likely to affect its treaty rights, the government had a constitutional duty to consult before making them.Cases on the Crown’s duty to consult appear regularly, but they usually concern decisions made by regulatory bodies. This one seeks to extend that duty to law-making.“Rather than being consultation about a particular (regulatory) decision, it’s a consultation about making the rules,” said lawyer Robert Janes, who will represent the Mikisew.Janes argues that First Nations are often kept from discussing their real issues before regulatory boards.“The place to deal with larger issues that First Nations often want to deal with are when the statutes are being designed. If you don’t deal with that in the design, the (regulator) doesn’t have the tools to deal with the problem when it comes up.”Legislation creating Alberta’s energy regulator, for example, specifically blocks the agency from considering treaty rights, which are the root of most Indigenous concerns with energy development in the province.Ensuring First Nations have a voice when laws are drafted will lead to better legislation, argues Janes.Not necessarily, says the government.“At some point, the need to consult in this manner may overwhelm and affect the ability to govern,” it says in written arguments filed with the Supreme Court.Ottawa argues that allowing the appeal would be a far-reaching intrusion by one branch of government into the work of another and that it is “not the courts’ role to impose restrictions or fetters on the law-making process of Parliament.”There’s nothing that prevents governments from consulting First Nations when laws are drafted, federal lawyers say. But they argue that forcing them to give Indigenous representatives a seat at the table diminishes Parliament, which is supposed to be the most powerful body in the land.It would also put more value on some rights than others, giving treaty rights preference over charter rights.The appeal is being closely watched. Five provincial attorneys general and seven Indigenous groups have filed as interveners.Newman said some provinces, such as Saskatchewan, already consult First Nations in drafting relevant legislation.Whichever way the Supreme Court decides, it will be “amongst the most significant duty-to-consult cases that have been decided,” he said.“Altering the parliamentary process itself contains dangers. It’s a delicately balanced process that’s been developed over hundreds of years and I don’t know if we can predict all of the effects of putting in additional judicially developed requirements.”Janes said one effect might be reconciliation.“If you’re going to talk about reconciliation … it doesn’t make much sense to say we’re just going to let one side make the rules and we’re only going to have a conversation afterwards.”— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
TORONTO – A medication commonly prescribed for morning sickness during pregnancy appears to be ineffective, based on results from a previously unpublished clinical trial paid for by its Canadian manufacturer and submitted as part of the approval process to both Health Canada and the FDA, a new report suggests.Dr. Nav Persaud, a family physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, obtained thousands of pages of documents from Health Canada related to the 2010 clinical study, which suggested Diclectin (pyridoxine-doxylamine) was effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.The trial sponsored by drug-maker Duchesnay Inc. of Quebec was conducted at six U.S. medical centres and compared symptom reduction in 101 women put on the medication versus 86 women given a placebo, or dummy pill.At the end of the two-week study, there was little difference in symptoms between the two groups; on a 13-point scale, women who took the drug reported symptom reduction only 0.7 points higher than that for women who got a placebo, the documents show.The study specified that the findings would be clinically important only if there were a three-point reduction in symptoms, Persaud said Wednesday in an interview. “But on all counts, there was less than one point between the groups.”The analysis by Persaud and colleagues was published online Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.Diclectin, sold as Diclegis in the U.S., is prescribed for alleviating morning sickness to millions of women around the world, including tens of thousands each year in Canada. At least one prescription for the drug is filled for every two births in this country.Persaud once routinely prescribed the medication, which is recommended by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynecology of Canada (SOGC). But in 2011, one of his patients questioned use of the drug, prompting him to start investigating the safety and effectiveness profile that led to the drug being granted marketing approval.“It did take a long time to get the information, but after looking at it, my practice has completely changed,” said Persaud, who suggests that Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should rethink their endorsement of the medication.Diclectin comes in a time-released pill that contains two main ingredients: pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, and doxylamine, an antihistamine.A Health Canada spokesperson said the federal department reviewed the safety and effectiveness data for Diclectin in 2016, including seeking advice from an external expert panel.“No new safety or efficacy issues were identified as part of the review,” the spokesperson said by email. “The available evidence continues to support Diclectin in the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”As well, updated SOGC guidelines continue to recommend pyridoxine alone or doxylamine/pyridoxine combination therapy (Diclectin) as a first-line treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy “when conservative measures have not been effective,” the spokesperson said.“Diclectin has been prescribed for more than 40 years in Canada and has been repeatedly proven safe and effective for use throughout pregnancy,” said Duchesnay spokeswoman Fiona Story.Both the safety and efficacy of doxylamine-pyridoxine have been proven in multiple studies and an estimated 35 million pregnant women worldwide have used the drug to manage their symptoms, Story said by email.The medication has been endorsed as a first-line therapy for morning sickness in guidelines issued by professional medical organizations like the SOGC and approved by regulatory bodies in countries around the globe, she said.“It is important to note that the specific clinical trial (DIC-301) being referenced … was designed and developed in collaboration with the FDA through a special protocol assessment. The clinical trial achieved a statistically significant endpoint using the method of analysis requested by the FDA in accordance with all FDA requirements.”Still, pregnant women with nausea and vomiting may want to consider other treatment options, said Persaud, referring specifically to the more common form of morning sickness, not the severe type known as hyperemesis gravidarum that has repeatedly hospitalized the Duchess of Cambridge.“I have completely stopped prescribing the medication and I would recommend that women with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy see their health-care provider about effective treatments,” he said.– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
BATHURST, N.B. – Two Bathurst, N.B., police officers who were cleared of criminal charges in the 2015 shooting death of a businessman will face a hearing for alleged code of conduct breaches.A judge threw out manslaughter and other charges last year against constables Patrick Bulger and Mathieu Boudreau in the death of Michel Vienneau, a Tracadie, N.B., store owner.But Bathurst police Chief Ernie Boudreau said Wednesday a Police Act investigator has completed a probe, and there is “sufficient evidence that code of conduct breaches may have been committed by the officers.”The 51-year-old Vienneau was shot in his vehicle outside the Bathurst train station on Jan. 12, 2015.The city has said the officers were investigating whether Vienneau and common-law partner Annick Basque were in possession of illegal drugs after returning from a trip to Montreal.In a statement of defence filed in a lawsuit filed by Basque, the city says the officers clearly identified themselves to Vienneau and had tried to stop his vehicle before it accelerated, pinning an officer against a snowbank. It says one officer fired at the car as it moved toward his colleague.The Mounties have said an investigation revealed that Vienneau was not involved in criminal activity.The officers had been charged with manslaughter with a weapon, assault with a weapon and unlawfully pointing a firearm, but Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman ruled in February 2017 after a preliminary hearing that the prosecution failed to produce enough evidence to warrant a trial.In a release Wednesday, the Bathurst force said a settlement conference was held June 20 to allow the officers to respond to the allegations. But “agreement regarding disciplinary and corrective measures could not be reached” and the matter will go to a hearing before arbitrator Joel Michaud.“The objective of police discipline and the New Brunswick Police Act is the protection of public trust, trust that is fundamental in establishing stability, integrity in effective delivery of police services,” Boudreau said in a statement.“The members of our police force will continue as they have since the tragic events of January 2015 to police with pride and achieve its organizational objective of delivering effective and efficient police services to this community.”Basque’s lawsuit alleges Vienneau’s death was due to police negligence. None of the lawsuit’s allegations or statement of defence have been proven in court.Vienneau’s mother, Sylvie Vienneau, has questioned why police didn’t arrest her son after he got off the train, rather than wait until he got in his car. And she asked who had told them he would be carrying drugs.“Our son is not in the drug world,” she said in an October 2015 statement.The province’s attorney general’s office says it has ordered chief coroner Gregory Forestell to hold an inquest into the death.
MONTREAL – A quick sketch of Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, who is vying for a second mandate as premier when Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 1.Age: 61Born: June 26, 1957, in Montreal.Job before politics: Neurosurgeon.Education: Earned a doctorate in medicine in 1979 and neurosurgery degree in 1985 from Universite de Montreal, a specialist certificate from College des medecins du Quebec and a specialist certificate from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1985.Professional career: Strategic adviser in health and in life sciences with Secor-KPMG; senior follow in health law at McGill University; head of the department of neurosurgery at St-Luc Hospital from 1989 to 1992, and again at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke from 1996 to 2003.Political career: Embarked on a career in provincial politics in 2003; served as health minister between 2003 and 2008; elected Liberal leader in March 2013; won byelection in December 2013; became premier in April 2014.Current riding: Roberval, about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.Quote: “We need to bring a team that is going to be both experienced and made of new people. We’ve always renewed ourselves at strategic moments. This is one of those moments.” — Couillard as he recently announced the controversial candidacy of former NHL player Enrico Ciccone to replace longtime Liberal backbencher Francois Ouimet.
HALIFAX – An American woman who plotted to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting spree at a Halifax mall is appealing her sentence of life in prison, calling it “manifestly harsh and excessive.”Lindsay Souvannarath was sentenced in April after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that would have seen two shooters open fire at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court in 2015.A motion to set a date for the appeal hearing is expected to be considered next week by Justice David Farrar of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.In her notice of appeal, Souvannarath argues that her sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years should be revised to a fixed sentence of 12 to 14 years.The Chicago-area woman provides five grounds for appeal, including suggesting that the presiding judge committed an error by imposing a burden on her to prove she was remorseful and had “renounced anti-social beliefs.”She also argues that Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski was wrong to compare the conspiracy to a terrorism offence and conclude it was equivalent in “moral blameworthiness, gravity and danger” to the public.The 26-year-old woman added that the judge offended the principle of parity by imposing a dramatically lengthier sentence on her than on co-conspirator Randall Shepherd.Souvannarath pleaded guilty last year, several months after Shepherd — a Halifax man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the foiled shooting plot — was sentenced to a decade in jail.A third alleged conspirator, 19-year-old James Gamble, was found dead in his Halifax-area home a day before the planned attack.The conspiracy can be traced back to December 2014, when Souvannarath and Gamble began an online relationship, exchanging explicit intimate photographs and a fascination with mass shootings.Thousands of Facebook messages between the two provide details of the conspiracy and Souvannarath’s obsession with Nazism, the 1999 Columbine shooting and a plot she nicknamed “Der Untergang” — a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at a Halifax mall.The massacre was to end with their own suicides.Souvannarath left her home in Geneva, Ill., on Feb 13, 2015, and flew to Halifax on a one-way ticket, allegedly carrying her “death outfit” and books on serial killers in her luggage.But the plan began to fall apart before she landed in Nova Scotia.Acting on a tip, police surrounded Gamble’s home outside Halifax. He agreed over the phone to come outside, but instead shot himself in the head.Meanwhile, Shepherd went to the airport on a city bus to meet Souvannarath, but was arrested while waiting.Officers also sent online photos of Souvannarath to border agents at the Halifax airport, instructing them to detain anyone matching her description arriving on a flight from Chicago via New York.When Souvannarath arrived, she was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency.The arrests made international headlines and shocked Nova Scotians. The spectre of shooters opening fire in the food court of a popular mall threatened thousands of shoppers and workers and unsettled the city for months.One judge noted that it was difficult to imagine a crime more damaging to a community’s sense of peace and security, while a Crown lawyer said the “horrible plan would have changed the face of Halifax forever.”Rosinski cited the explicit intention to create mass panic and undermine the community’s sense of security as an aggravating factor in the sentencing.“They intended to maximize dead and wounded casualties,” the judge wrote in his decision.
OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has praised the USMCA, the new trade deal Canada has signed with the U.S. and Mexico, though not without criticism at home.Trudeau spoke with reporters, along with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland after landing the major trade breakthrough last night, just before a U.S.-imposed deadline.After 14 months of tough negotiations, the prime minister framed this agreement as a victory.“It will be good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian business, and good for Canadian families,” said Trudeau.He said this deal — which will revamp the old NAFTA — protects supply management, staves off auto tariffs, and maintains fair hearings in any disputes with our large neighbour to the south.But the opposition parties are questioning that. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says, to him, the Liberals appear to have caved to demands from the Trump administration.“The Prime Minister has made major concessions on key areas,” Scheer says.“He’s made concessions on dairy, he’s made concessions on auto quotas and he’s made concessions on pharmaceuticals, meaning that Canadian patients will have to pay higher drug costs. Now we would have hoped that after making all those concession, we would be able to see a gain on an important issue like ‘Buy American.’”NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh elaborates on Andrew Scheer’s points and says the costs of prescription drugs will go up under the new agreement.“That mans people suffering from chronic illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease will see an increase in the cost of medication.”Canadian dairy farmers find little to praise in new trade dealDairy farmers, too, are angry with the concessions made to grant the US more access to our market. In a news release, Dairy Farmers of Canada, say they’re “deeply disappointed” about Canada’s concessions in new deal.“The announced concessions on dairy in the new USMCA deal demonstrates once again that the Canadian government is willing to sacrifice our domestic dairy production when it comes time to make a deal,” Pierre Lampron, the lobby group’s president says.“The government has said repeatedly that it values a strong and vibrant dairy sector – they have once again put that in jeopardy by giving away more concessions.”After trade deals with the Euro bloc and Pacific Asian countries in the last two years, Canada’s dairy lobby says the new North American deal weakens the domestic dairy sector.“USMCA follows two previous trade agreements in which access to the Canadian dairy market was granted, CETA and the CPTPP, which sacrificed the equivalent of a quarter of a billion dollars annually in dairy production to industries in other countries,” the release adds.Freeland said they will be compensated for their losses.“That is the fair thing to do,” said Freeland.She said the amount and type of compensation will be worked out in coming months.Trudeau said the USMCA is successful in maintaining fairness and balance between Canada and the U.S., a trading partner 10 times its size.Despite his praise for the deal, he cautioned that we are not at the finish line yet, as the agreement still needs to be ratified by all three countries.Both Freeland and Trudeau said it’s important to remember that when the negotiations began over a year ago the U.S. aim was to dismantle supply management entirely, and Canada did not let that happen.Trudeau noticeably did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump in his opening remarks, saying only in answer to a direct question that the relationship with the president has been challenging during the course of negotiations.